If you want to take control of your personal financial situation
, you probably set some of your New Year's resolutions to the tune of 1)
saving more money, 2)
investing more wisely or 3)
creating a household budget that tracks every penny in and out of your household. After taking a survey of some relatives this past Christmas, I was amazed to find that many consider balancing their checkbook to be keeping up with a 'budget.' Wrong, oh so wrong
If you really have the will to take control of your finances, and have written your financial resolutions down somewhere, how are you going to start? How are you going to measure success? What will be your milestones, and will they happen every month or quarter? Things like these are requirements for succeeding
in being rich over time.
As in, liquid
(plenty of assets and little to no debt). So, here's a few things
to noodle with as you form your plan. It's almost mid-January, you know.
- Track every penny you spend -- this is a requirement. If you're not detailed with every aspect of your finances, get that way or seek help from somewhere to do it.
- Develop a budget -- very easy to do on paper or in Excel on that family PC. List out income and expenses and see where to cut if cuts are needed. Too many Starbuck's visits? This will tell you.
- Get out of debt -- map out your debt and starting paying off the "worst" debt (highest interest) as soon as you can. This will take years for many of you. No worries -- just start now.
- Open a retirement account -- fund it with the minimum required if needed; just start it and send in $25 a month until you can contribute more.
- Spend less than you earn -- this goes without saying. A budget (referenced above) will set you straight on this one.
- Last but not least -- get educated. The internet is a free and readily available resource for most of us. Use it wisely. Even a few simple Google searches could lead you into a wealth of excellent financial planning information.
A couple of places to start:AOL's Money and Finance
has a wealth of resources for investment planningWalletPop
is our newest sister blog, and it's all about saving and making money