Whether you’re into programming, machine learning, website development, cybersecurity, or any of the many other IT-related disciplines, it’s important to get your life, career, and finances on the right track. Unfortunately, too many busy technology mavens lose touch with essential tasks like filling out personal tax returns, getting student loan debt under control, and constructing realistic retirement plans. Even among IT pros who have loans, taxes, and retirement well in hand, there’s a need to analyze life insurance needs based on income, family plans, financial goals, and life expectancy. What’s the wise way to deal with some or all those challenges? Consider the points below to see what your best course of action is.
Consolidate College Loans
Consolidating school debt can be a powerful financial move for those just starting a tech career. The strategy is particularly helpful for individuals who want to combine multiple obligations into one and thus streamline their monthly payment process and pay less per month. For others, consolidation is the ideal tactic for keeping federal benefits. However, it’s imperative to review a comprehensive, plain language guide that delineates the pros and cons of consolidating student loans and explains how to get started with a consolidation.
Prepare Your Own Tax Return
Some wage earners prefer to hire licensed accountants at tax time, but it can be challenging and educational to prepare your own return. Keep in mind that it’s wise to check with an accountant when you’re done, just to catch any errors before sending the document off to the government. To begin the process, download one of the many free apps from a source your trust. Most of the apps are question-based and lead users through dozens of topics, gathering data in a step-by-step format.
Be sure to have all your prior year’s data at hand before beginning. Double-check amounts and review an on-screen version before printing a hard copy for your files. Transmit the electronic copy after an accountant reviews it. There are no fees to e-file federal returns. Pay the amount owed with an automated bank withdrawal. If you’re due a refund, include banking information to get a quick payment.
Make a Detailed Retirement Plan
Use a financial planning app to design a personalized retirement plan. Be ready to supply raw data based on your long-term savings goals, expected annual income between now and age 70, preferred investment types, etc. The trick is in estimating lifetime income, so experiment with various levels to get a feel for the different outcomes. If you’re in a company-sponsored 401(k) plan or already have an IRA, it’s much easier to feed relevant data points to the app and get realistic results.
Maximize Your Credit Scores
Get your annual no cost reports from the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Scan for errors after translating the bureau jargon with an online resource. Report any mistakes you find. Pay credit card debt as far below the 30% of limit point as possible, and don’t be late with monthly payments. Those simple tactics can help raise your scores significantly within about six months. Remember to regularly check for errors and report them as soon as they appear.