Many Americans today are still recovering from the recession of 2008 and have begun to take steps toward learning some Financial Basics. The time of excess spending and the idea of “keeping up with the Jones” have been replaced by conservative thinking and a shift toward gaining back control of their financial future.
Incorporating some financial basics into that thinking will put you on the path to recovery much quicker. We have list below several steps that you can take and apply that will help you in taking back your financial future. These financial basics are a starting point that addresses some very basic ideas that should be a part of that of your financial recovery plan and planning for your future.
Step 1 – Setting Priorities
Identifying your goals is the first step. Sit down and evaluate your current situation and prioritize what the most important priorities are for you. List these priorities in order of importance and realize that you will not be able to achieve all your goals over night. It will take some time but if you start to do little things toward achieving your main financial goals you will get that much closer and eventually get there.
Step 2 – Make a Budget
Creating a budget is the only way to get your spending under control so that you can reach your financial goals. Take a look at where your money is going now and do some evaluation. The best way to get an accurate read on this is to track your spending for a 3 month period and then re-evaluate. This will help you to understand where every dollar is being spent. In order to make this easier it is best to use a software program that will help you with tracking and bill paying.
Step 3 – Basic Banking and Savings
Setting up a saving should be a part of your initial priorities. You never know when a raining day will hit. Unfortunately this is an area where many American consumers fail. It was estimated that in 2006 that NO ONE saved a dime, as a matter of fact households over spent each month by approximately $600.00.
Be sure to set a little aside and as time goes on and debt is paid down you will be able to add a little more to your saving.
Step 4 – Controlling Debt
Consumer debt is at an all time high. It is estimated that the average consumer, excluding mortgages is approximately $16,000.00 per household. Interest rates and finance charges are a robber of savings and financial well being. Using software to help you identify where each dollar is going will help you to see any waste that is occurring that could be used to pay off your debt. Being debt free should be a long term financial strategy.
Step 5 – Teaching Your Children Financial Responsibility
Let me ask you a question, how much financial basics where you taught during your formal educational years? Well it hasn’t gotten any better for our children. Today’s educational system lacks any core financial training for your kids. It is 100% your responsibility to make sure your children understand some basic financial skills. When setting up your financial goals include your children in that process. Help them to understand the importance of establishing financial disciplines in their lives. Make it fun for them so that they can see the results and not be afraid or have a negative feeling toward money. Teach your children about the importance of having good credit, saving for the future, protecting assets, having a long term plan to be debt free.
Step 6 – Planning for Retirement
The reality is that many Americans today that where in the prime earning years during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s (Baby Boomers) have lost a tremendous amount of retirement and investments due to the great recession of 2008. Many are still struggling to regain and unfortunately most will not. None the less setting a plan for retirement is critical to help support you once you reach retirement age. Some have chosen to work part time along with their full time employment to contribute additional money toward retirement. Others chose to find a vocation that they can work part time into their retirement that still allows them to due something’s that they dreamed about doing when retired. The key is to establish a plan for your retirement regardless.
Step 7 – Estate Planning
Preparing your estate for when you pass is the single most loving thing you can do for your family. Have a will and trust, financial and health care power of attorney in place to help elevate the burden your family will be facing when you pass. Have your things in order so that your family knows exactly what your wishes are and where all your important documentation is. Using a program like My Financial Lock Box will make certain that your family can find these documents and keep things going in the event of a sudden occurrence. Many of us know of the hardships and difficulties other families faced when a family member passed. It’s avoidable but you must prepare.
Hopefully these 7 steps will help you get a start on getting your financial in order as well provide for a secure financial future. Be patient but be persistent in these areas. Over time you will start to see the results of your efforts and feel much better about your life.
For more information on Financial Basics or the programs we offer