In the US, the month of April is synonymous with federal and state income tax deadlines.
For millions of Americans, Tax Day is a dreaded day. A more positive outlook to take, however, is that tax season is a government-facilitated reminder of the need to focus on your personal finances in general, and it is an excellent time to get motivated on building key transferable business skills.
Managing your personal finances is critical to both your personal and professional life. You don’t want to work yourself to death and have nothing to show for it. In fact, these days, it is routine to encounter individuals with loads of debt, no strategy to save for retirement, and no plans to address their financial situation. And, if you are drowning in personal finance issues, then you are likely to be unfocused at work and unprepared to navigate your career trajectory.
Are you one of those people? If so, use this tax season to set a new direction.
The first step is to do a survey of your finances. List out all your debts and understand the scope of your income. Next, develop a strategy to pay off your debt, to save for emergency expenditures, and to save for special events like retirement. There are many, many books and blog posts on this topic, and thus, there are many different strategies to approach managing your personal finances.
I suggest that you do a significant amount of homework on various strategies before you begin tackling your issues. I use a Dave Ramsey-like strategy in which you should first build an emergency fund, then pay off your debt (minus your house), then start saving for things like college for your kids and your retirement, and then pay off your house early. Once you do these things, you can really start building a sizeable nest egg to retire on someday.
There are many good personal finance strategies and it is less important on which one you pick versus simply having a strategy. That is, any strategy is better than no strategy at all.
Why is this important, especially here on Bio Careers blog? Ultimately, no matter what career field you are in, you have to have your personal life in order to be exceptionally successful in your professional life, and personal finance is a BIG area of your personal life. The more you master the management of your personal finances, the less stress you will have.
As your personal financial stresses relax, you will find your personal life and your work/job more enjoyable. On the other hand, learning how to manage your personal finances will allow you to build business-related transferable skills, such as balancing budgets, forecasting and financial planning, finance-related communication skills, etc., that you can apply to your professional life. The transferable skills aspect of managing your personal finances may be critical if you are seeking a career transition especially into an area that carries financial responsibilities.
So, use 2014 as the year you get your personal finances in order and build new business skills in the process.
Nathan Vanderford has a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural biotechnology, an MBA with an operations management focus, and a PhD in biochemistry. You can learn more about Nathan at www.nathanvanderford.com.