Personal Finance Basics
10 Ways to Get Financially Fit Anytime
Ozeme J. Bonnette
Resolutions are a popular way to bring in the new year. But anytime is a good time to get your finances in order. Here are 10 personal finance basics to consider if you are ready to get your financial house in order now.
Become a tither
It is more blessed to give than to receive. Start this year off the right way by giving God His 10%. Let Him show you that He can bless you far beyond the money you give Him.
Many of us get upset when things don't work out as we would have liked. The only problem is that most people don't even know what they want.
Sit back and take a few days to figure out what you would like to see happen in your life over the next 12 months. Then, write it down. Oftentimes, we don't reach our goals because we forgot what they were. If the goals are written out, you can now hold yourself accountable to finding ways to get yourself closer to that goal every day.
Create a budget
Financial ruin can loom in the household that doesn't know where money goes. Create a financial game plan. Track all of your spending and find areas that need improvement. Then work on cutting back on the unnecessary expenses so that you can use the money on things you really want.
Pay off debt
The longer you pay creditors 20% interest, the more difficult it will be to reach other important goals, such as a family vacation, college education, or even retirement. Get those credit cards paid off, and vow not to run them back up.
Create an emergency fund
Are you prepared for the unexpected? The majority of Americans are not. Most households are one paycheck away from disaster. Work on setting aside 3 to 6 months' living expenses. It may be a challenge, but you definitely do not want to be caught off guard.
Increase retirement savings
We cannot count on pensions or Social Security. It is up to you to make sure that you live comfortably in retirement. Try to increase your retirement deductions. If you don't have a Roth IRA yet, start one.
Clean up credit
Credit is important. Your interest rates on borrowed money are largely based on your credit. Good credit leads to better interest rates and lower monthly payments. Contact those creditors and get everything straightened out.
Review insurance coverage
Insurance needs change. If there has been any change in the family structure, it may be time to reevaluate your insurance protection. Being overinsured can be just as costly as being underinsured.
Review estate plan
Although we don't like to think about death, it is a reality. It is also very real that we never know when our time here on Earth is over. Make sure that your estate is in order the way you would like so that a judge is not choosing a stranger to divide up your belongings.
Become more informed
The main reason many people aren't doing better financially is because they lack knowledge about resources and opportunities that may be available. Take time to learn more about the financial matters that apply to you and your household. Pick up some books. Attend some workshops or classes. There are so many resources available to help.
Ozeme J. Bonnette is a financial coach, speaker, and author of Get What Belongs to You: A Christian Guide to Managing Your Finances. After working for a top financial services company, she shifted her focus to speaking to groups hoping to increase financial literacy. She earned 3 Bachelor's degrees at Fresno State, and her MBA at UCLA's Anderson School. Her blog is http://www.povertynorriches.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.