Are You Ready to Obtain Long-Term Financial Stability?
This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prudential and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
What are you waiting for? Let’s start now!
When it comes to money and financial planning, the hardest part is taking the first step. And be honest when itemizing your long-term hopes, dreams and financial goals. Every family has different reasons and wants for organizing their finances, so don’t be frightened or intimidated to lay it all out. There is often a stigma when it comes to having too much money or not enough. Let’s agree to let that go, shall we? Instead, take a look at where you can make some changes that will be beneficial to your family in the long run and prepare yourself for any unforeseen obstacles that the future may bring.
Those closest to us know our family is in the midst of what we are calling a “financial renaissance.” As we enter our 14th year of marriage, our needs have changed, and it’s time to reassess our short and long-term goals. Kiddo is 11 and we’ve officially outgrown our house. Plus, between you and I, it was never our “forever home.” Now we need to decide whether we are going to stay put and completely take the house down to the studs, or just move.
My business has also changed leaps and bounds since conception, and it’s time to check and make sure there is nothing I can improve on or do better. I would like to meet with a financial advisor, they are there to lend a helping hand and lead you into making the best decisions for your personal and business financial goals.
Oh, let’s not forget about: Retirement, our savings account, paying down some credit card debt, Kiddo’s college fund, and just everyday living expenses.
Financial Solutions: Planning for Financial Stability
I had to learn about financial security the hard way. You cannot deny the fact that there is a clear disconnect with financial planning due to the lack of awareness and familiarity. Facing the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. I was never taught from an early age the importance of saving. Scratch that, I was told about the importance, but I was never sat down and taught how to obtain long-term financial stability. Now as a parent, of a tween, I see first hand the importance of saving and planning, budgeting, and diversifying. We really need to invest in our family’s future as a whole and begin teaching financial classes in schools in order to improve financial wellness.
First Things First: Tackle Your Budget
Budgeting is everything, but even before that, you need to sit down and be honest about everything it is, not only you owe, but that you hope to one day be able to own, experience, or do whether it be investing in an early retirement, adoption, paying for your child(ren)’s college tuition, purchasing a summer home, traveling somewhere exotic, or my dream, paying for my daughter’s wedding. And if we’re being honest, I have a complete laundry list of line items. But the key to success is they need to be prioritized.
Have you ever heard the expression, “Pay Yourself First?” Well, it’s true and something you are going to want to take away from this post. It doesn’t matter if you are in the clear, simply adding to your financial portfolio, or trying to repay debts and repair your credit, you need to save today for in order to obtain financial freedom and a healthy relationship with money. Come up with a percentage of your paycheck, or weekly dollar amount that you place in a separate account.
How Do I Create a Budget?
What is a budget?
This is simply where we balance how much you earn against what you spend. You need to make a habit of tracking your spending so that you can see where you might be overspending, and use that extra cash to put towards your credit card balance. Before I had you write down a list of all your hopes and dreams. This time, write a list or everything you spend on a monthly basis. EVERYTHING. It’s helpful to mark your bills on a calendar so you can see the big picture, but if that’s even overwhelming, take baby steps and start with a week. Break things down in order of necessity: mortgage, car payment, home, car, and life insurance policies, credit card payments, utilities, groceries, and so on. Remember, by not including something, it can only hurt the big picture.
And whatever you do, don’t get discouraged. A financial budget is a living, breathing thing that will change from month to month and on an as-needed basis like when Christmastime, birthdays, vacations and other special occasions roll around. Having a budget doesn’t mean you are financially strapped, it means you are financially responsible.
Now that your budget is complete, do you have any money left? No matter what the amount…hundreds or thousands, that’s what you have today to set aside for tomorrow: your retirement contributions, building an emergency fund, paying off credit card debt and more.
Juggling the Finances
Finances can cause huge rifts and stress in families, but you can actually alleviate the pressure, the more organized you are. See the big picture. Are your bills due this week? When is payday? If you think you have it all organized in your head, then you will only be as successful as you are at that moment. And whatever you do, don’t become nervous because the number looks too big. Yes, finances can be very intimidating, but assign easy-to-handle dollar figures for each of your goals and start now!
The Wants vs. The Needs
This is where you are going to want to pay a little closer attention. Pay down your debt. Put off spending money on large purchases and reduce discretionary spending. Eliminating credit card or loan debt will provide you with found money that you can channel into an emergency fund. The dilemma: Your debt has a high-interest rate and your savings account has a very low-interest rate, leaving you with a net loss. Try this: If you have $500/month earmarked to pay down debt, use $250 of your available funds to pay down your highest-interest debt, then send the other half into an emergency account. Don’t forget to pay the minimums on the rest of your debts. Continue on this path, paying off one credit card or loan at time.
It’s Time for a Financial Renaissance
So let’s start with these for now. Trust me when I say that I have so much more to share with you not only about retirement funds, life insurance, and the rising costs of health care for the elderly, but my own personal stories. Both successes as well as stumbles!
It’s important to me to help you gain a better understanding of different types of financial solutions you can use to improve and empower your future. I am pleased to announce my commitment by sharing that I’ve accepted a position as an Ambassador with Prudential, and I’ll be attending Hispanicize LA event in Los Angeles, between October 11 – 13. Please stop by and let’s talk about how we can get you on the path of achieving your financial goals!
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