How do i balance my finances?

How do i save for pension, my kids’ education, a crisis fund and home advancements while still paying down scholar loans and a home loan? It’s a challenging balancing act! -Brian

Daunting is right.

A lot of us have struggled to juggle our financial commitments and goals at some time.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are some steps you can take to gain control of your cash situation.

Step one 1: Count your cash

Start by calculating your monthly cash flow.

This way, you’ll know exactly how much bandwidth you have — or don’t have — to tackle your targets.

You can certainly do this by “evaluating all [your] monthly expenses right down to the expense of postage stamps,” says Brett Anderson, a qualified financial planner at St Croix Advisors.

If you’re spending a lot more than you’re making each month, try to scale back or increase your income.

If you do have cash left over after expenses, decide how much of that cash you’re ready to put toward your targets, says Marguerita Cheng, a CFP at Blue Ocean Global Wealth.

Step 2: Prioritize

Next, decide which of your economical wants requires the most urgent attention.

“The key is prioritizing two or three things. When those will be performed, you can scratch them off the list and put the next priorities,” says Kristin Sullivan, a CFP at Sullivan Financial Planning.

Most experts agree that saving for pension should be a high priority — even bigger on your list than saving for your child’s college education.

Related: How much salary will you absolutely need to retire?

“College could be funded many different ways, but there are no loans for pension,” explains Sullivan. It’s specifically important to start saving for retirement early on, as time is a key force behind pension fund growth.

If your company complements a share of your pension contributions, make sure your taking advantage of the full match. If your task doesn’t give a 401(k) or different similar retirement approach, consider beginning an IRA account.

Step 3 3: Take a step back

Defining the rest of your plan could be trickier.

“Everyone may have a similar starting point, but their destinations could be vastly diverse,” explains Eric Dostal, a CFP at Sontag Advisory.

Some experts say the next maneuver after addressing retirement ought to be to build an emergency savings account made up of three to 6 months’ worth of bills. Others advise paying down any high-curiosity loans, while some still say to give attention to saving for your loved ones.

Related: My budgeting app is judging me

When crafting your way, look at the time needed to accomplish each of your targets, says Richard Bergen a CFP at RLB Wealth Planning.

For example, in the event that you know your student loans will be forgiven in 25 years, but you’ve signed onto a 15-year home loan, you might want to pay down your mortgage first.

You should also know what you and your family need.

Related: 5 financial rules to live by

“A well balanced job and adequate insurance could imply that a crisis fund is less of important,” says Mitchell Kraus, a CFP at Capital Intelligence Associates. Alternatively, if you’re the only real bread winner and your job isn’t stable, a crisis fund is more vital.

Just remember that If you choose to put off paying off your loans, be sure to at least continue making the lowest payments. If you don’t, you’ll end up even deeper with debt.

Read more on: http://money.cnn.com