You are the CEO of your own money.
You’re the one in charge. You make all the major decisions. When it comes to your pocketbook, you’re the highest-ranking executive, and you’re the one overseeing everything.
That’s good and bad. The bad part is, you have all the responsibility, and there’s no one else to blame. The good part is, you have the power to make things better for yourself.
It’s time you embraced that power. It’s time to decisively take charge of your finances. Here are six ways to act like a CEO:
1. Get a Good Return on Your Investment
A good CEO focuses on“ROI — return on investment.
You want to invest your time and money in things that will return a profit. That involves making apples-to-apples comparisons: Should I do THIS or should I do THAT?
For example: If you already have an emergency fund, instead of sticking money in a savings account for a rainy day, you should really invest it. That’s the best way to grow your money.
With interest rates so low, a savings account these days will pay you pretty much zero interest. However, investing in the stock market has yielded an average annual return of 7%, adjusted for inflation, according to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.
Don’t know where to start? Beginners like Robinhood because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
2. Stay in the Black
A smart CEO always looks for ways to cut unnecessary expenses and improve their bottom line.
For example, do you carry a balance on your credit cards? Then you’re almost certainly spending too much money on interest. Credit cards charge notoriously high interest rates.
With help from a free website called AmOne, you could wipe out all of your credit card debt by the end of the week.
It’ll match you with a low-interest loan to pay off all your credit cards at once. Its interest rates start at 3.99% — way lower than the 20% or more you’re probably paying your credit card company. That could save you thousands in the long run, which is a solid CEO move.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online.
3. Pay Yourself First
CEOs make sure they get paid. There’s really no question about that. No matter what, CEOs make sure they Get. Paid.
Sure, obviously you need to fulfill all of your responsibilities and pay all your bills, etc. However, you also have to make sure to take care of yourself and your own financial needs.
Invest for your retirement. Build a nice fat retirement fund via a 401(k) or an IRA.
Also, make sure you have an emergency fund — a stash of easily accessible money that amounts to six months’ worth of salary, in case you unexpectedly lose your job.
With an Aspiration account, you can earn up to 16 times the average interest on your savings, and up to 5% cash back on debit card purchases.
4. Have a Mission Statement
This is another way of saying, “Don’t forget about your long-term goals.” When you’re making a money decision, ask yourself: “Does this get me closer to my goal?”
You should be taking specific steps toward your goal. That’s what a CEO would do.
For example, one of your long-term goals may be to own your own home. Or maybe you’d like to drive a better car.
If so, you’re going to need a good credit score. That’ll make a big difference in how much interest you’ll pay on a mortgage or car loan. That could easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage.
If you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame. Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score and personalized tips to improve it. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.
5. Focus on Stakeholders’ Interests
“Stakeholder” is a big buzzword in the corporate world. In business terms, stakeholders are people who have an interest in the company, like investors, employees and repeat customers.
In your personal life, your stakeholders are your family members.
Have you thought about how they’ll manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Now’s a good time to start planning for the future by looking into a term life insurance policy.
You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application can take minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called Bestow.
Rates start at just $16 a month. The peace of mind knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.
If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.
6. Innovate and Pivot
CEOs love this stuff. This is a big-time CEO move. They’re always talking about fostering innovation, keeping up with the times, and pivoting to the next profitable thing that’s just around the corner.
You can innovate in your personal financial life too. Just try a money-saving move that you’ve never bothered with before. You might be surprised by how much money you save!
For example, you’re probably shopping online more than you used to. (Most of us are.) Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re about to overpay?
That’s exactly what this free service does. Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
Remember: You’re the CEO of your money. It’s no one’s responsibility but yours.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s not a CEO, but he’s a believer in being strategic with your money.