As the end of January approaches we can be grateful for the slow progression of increased daylight, our renewed attitudes on changes we are making for 2017, and the gathering of our financial information for the upcoming tax season! This a perfect time to start that “budget” that we always wanted to begin. Days are still gray (certainly here in Chicago!) and new dreams and destinies are percolating. Let’s take the time and energy to gather our financial documents. Sound exciting? Maybe not. Sound important? Absolutely! More than you can possibly imagine. Nobody wants to be on a budget, but it is the first step towards your desires, destinies and financial independence. Over the next couple of weeks I will explain the importance of knowing, analyzing, understanding and keeping personal financial documents. We will learn where to find your inflows and outflows of money. This is an instrumental step in your brand new successful 2017.
Year after year so quickly it goes! As we get older time flies faster and faster like a race that we can’t quite catch up in. But we don’t have to remain in the the last place position each year. Let’s make this the year we pull ahead. Let’s make this year we set aside some of that time that is whizzing by to educate ourselves with our own personal finances. Forget the resolutions of weight loss and cleaning your house (all good though) and focus on taking small steps everyday to learn about the international language of money. Don’t just resolve to save $300/per month. Don’t just resolve to cut back on your Starbuck’s habit, or resolve to brown bag it to work. Take action on locating where your money goes. Put together a budget. Track your spending. Learn your own personal must haves. Find a smart investment to put that $300/month in. Educate yourself rather than just tell yourself what you think you need to do because that is what the world says. As we begin a new year with new hope, a new attitude, a new philosophy, begin the new year with also a renewed effort to obtain what you desire starting with cleaning your financial house.
Here are three steps to consider to commence 2017 in your house of finances.
- Take a full inventory of all your bank accounts and investments. Put it all in front of you and really take a look at it. If you can’t read it (many can’t) ASK! This is your hard earned work!
- Look at all your spending, credit cards, debit cards, checks, automatic payments for the last 3 months. See if you can use a spreadsheet or app like Mint to put all of it in categories. Find someone to help you with this arduous process as it might be for some. Believe me, there are people out there that love this and find it exciting (me!).
- Use the above information to set up a budget for 2017. There are apps out there to help you or again, use a professional.
Starting out the new year with your own personal financial transactional knowledge will jump start you on your new educational pursuit to your desired life. Follow the flow and don’t let the year fly by without learning something about what it is you actually are working for in this lifetime. Knowledge is only power if you take action and use it. There is no need to be financially behind. Catch up this year and win your own personal race. The reward is your true desires.
I have been reading a lot about investing lately, a subject that is not taught in high school and only taught in college if you majored in finance. Investing is a simple concept that is extremely difficult to understand and certainly more difficult to master. Most people believe that investing is only for the rich people who actually have to put all of their extra money somewhere other than their mattress. The people I know can barely keep money in their checking account, let alone a savings or an “investment”. But this is a huge missing piece in the personal financial literacy puzzle! There are so many concepts and financial living strategies that the majority of the American population don’t know. And what is the saying? You don’t know what you don’t know? But it’s such an injustice that we are not forced to learn the basics of money. We must get into the habit of knowing, feeling, and emotionalizing that money is not just for the upper class. Money is for all of us. We need to learn and relearn and practice. The unfortunate truth is that investment strategies have been kept from us by the upper echelon of society. The other unfortunate truth is that people don’t want to develop a relationship with money. They have no problem spending it but don’t want to take the time to embrace it, love it, and make it duplicate itself. You can and you should find the extra money to invest. As I plow my own way through the investment learning process, I will be sure to pass on my strategies. In the meantime, look for ways to find the little extra money you have to love, endear, and encourage it to work for you in the wonderful world of investing!
You can have your cake and eat it too. Whatever you choose to have good or bad, and let’s hope for good, you dream it, desire it and it will become your destiny. The timing is not within your control, but your thoughts, wishes, and attitudes are. The universal law of attraction or laws of prosperity are laws within our universe and they are proven just like the laws of gravity. You attract what you think, feel and speak. This can be devastating, or present unbelievable opportunities to have everything you want and more. The key is what you are thinking. If you choose to think ” I will never have enough money to pay off my credit cards,” you certainly won’t. But if you choose to believe “My life is full of abundance and money. My credit cards are paid off completely and I have money in the bank,” so it shall be.
Seriously? Just like The Secret? You want and it appears? Well, not exactly. But it can be that simple. The details and timing are factors that you cannot worry about. The most difficult part is changing your thought patterns consistently. No, you won’t have money flying in from a stork or hanging off the tree in your backyard, but maybe you will develop a budget and notice a large sum of money that hasn’t been accounted for. Or maybe you will get an increase in pay or find an entirely different way of doing things that saves you a bundle. Whatever you believe about yourself and your surroundings will come true, so make sure you approach your thoughts, dreams and desires with extreme positivity because you will get what you want.
Despite what we have been told over the course of this last year, we as Americans, home of the free, where millions of people want to flock, are doing great! Unemployment is lower than it has been in years and consumer spending is up. This is great news for the economy and great news for you as an individual if you make the right choices. Believe it or not, so many people can survive on their salaries, despite what they think. It is all about priorities and choices. If you choose to live like a victim and complain that you can’t make ends meet then that is exactly what will happen, you won’t make ends meet. If you choose to put forth the attitude of “I want to change, live within my means and live out my dreams and desires,” you can and you will.
Before the holiday is a great opportunity to make some personal choice changes. Your budget must change to include gifting. It is NEVER a good idea to charge anything without intending on paying off your credit card completely. So let’s talk about these choices. Maybe you decide this month that you should forgo that $50 manicure and paint your own nails? Maybe you decide this month to skip that daily latte and brew your own coffee from home? Maybe you decide this month to give Aldi a try? You could get an entire week’s worth of groceries for $45! Maybe you decide this month to bag your lunch each day? Maybe this month you decide to get your hair cut and colored at the local beauty institute for $10 instead of $200? How much have we saved? Hundreds! There are options and wonderful choices in this great place we call America. If there is any time of year where we should prioritize our spending habits it’s now. Choose to have a Happy Thanksgiving on a budget!
How exciting to know that you can get the best deal of the year on any item that ever was after recuperating from an often long, diet crashing, possibly stressful day. Your options are endless and your Christmas gift list is large, which seems to grow as you shop. If there ever was a time to budget your money and stick to it, it is now. Don’t wait to begin your financial responsibilities on January 1. Start now! List your giftees and don’t deviate. As great as that new blender deal is, if it doesn’t benefit anyone on your list don’t add it for yourself. Wait until the after Christmas (just as good deals) and use your gift card from your brother and his wife. Whether you are shopping in a store or online, stay on budget and keep track of all your purchases. If you have the day off after Thanksgiving, focus on getting all your shopping done to enjoy and pay for all your purchases well before you celebrate the rest of the holidays. Black Friday doesn’t have to make you blue.
I have never been very political, until this election. As a strong independent woman who works in education and has a few side small businesses, I am very disappointed with the outcome. Be that as it may, as millions of others across the country and world, concern for the lack of knowledge among the American people is astounding! Unemployment is less than 5%. Look around at your local retail stores and restaurants and notice all of the help wanted signs in plain sight. There is nothing wrong with America. The economy is moving in the right direction. People are back to work and working hard.
But wait! There is something wrong with America! Personal financial literacy is very low. This is clearly demonstrated by the American people themselves. If they are personally feeling that America is in trouble then they don’t understand their own personal finances. They are having problems with living within their means, managing debt, budgeting and living the American dream. One man in power does NOT mean the American people can now live their dream. Their dream is inside all of us and with the correct knowledge we are ALL capable of achieving everything we want.