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    2017: Financial New Year’s Resolutions

    By: Christy V. Temple

    Well, it’s that time of the year again to say goodbye to the old and to welcome in the new. I know this year has had a lot of ups and downs for me personally but that’s the great thing about a new year. This means we all get a chance for a fresh start to see how we can make the next year even better. Granted, we don’t have control over everything that may happen in a given year such as sickness, losing a job, death in the family, financial losses, etc. However, we do have the ability to control how we respond to these things and how we choose to move forward.

    Personally, one of the areas that I believe most people are concerned about in the New Year is finances. We all have to go to work every day to receive a paycheck so that we can afford to pay for the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc. For most of us, we want the ability to have more than just the basics though. We all have wants and needs and usually the wants sometimes tend to outweigh the needs in our own minds. The point to all of this is that sometimes we can tend to outspend what we make and then we can end up in debt.

    Oh, how we don’t love debt. Debt is like the bane of anyone’s existence. Instead, we should be looking at ways of getting rid of debt and finding new ways to save and cut back on our spending. I know this is hard to do but we all need to strive to stay away from debt. In the New Year let’s try to see what is possible with our finances and how we can turn the tide in our favor.

    I will wholeheartedly admit that in the past year my thinking has been completely changed when it comes to my household finances. The change has been as simple as reading a few books that have clicked with me and totally made sense. The books are as follows: Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan, Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey, and Love your life not theirs: 7 money habits for living the life you want by Rachel Cruze. If I could personally thank each one of these people I certainly would for the priceless information that they have bestowed on me and the world. All three of these people work together under the umbrella of Ramsey Solutions and they have benefitted countless numbers of people around the world with their common-sense advice that we should already now.

    However, for those of us who tend to be a little dense sometimes and think we know it all, here are the basic tenets to Dave Ramsey’s program. These are referred to as The Seven Baby Steps.

    Here they are in order: (courtesy of www.daveramsey.com)

    1. Start an emergency fund and save $1,000 for those unexpected things that will arise in life.
    2. Pay off all debt but the house. Start with the smallest debt and work your way up until it’s all gone.
    3. Focus on the goal of having 3-to-6 months-worth of living expenses in a fully funded emergency fund. This way you never have to rely on using a credit card again. For most people, this typically means having around $10,000 to $15,000 saved up. Now, if the unexpected happens and someone loses a job or has major medical expenses you are not left in debt.
    4. Invest 15% of household income for retirement. Now that you have no payments and a full emergency fund you can throw any extra money you have towards your retirement dream.
    5. Start a college fund for your children. This is where you can use a savings fund or an ESA, education savings account, to help put away money for the day your children go off to college.
    6. Pay off your home early. Now that you have taken care of all the rest of your debt, have a fully-funded emergency fund, a retirement fund, and college savings put away, now you can tackle paying off the house. This is a big one as it usually takes people anywhere from 5 to 7 years to do this by making extra payments. Once you have paid it off then you can put the rest of that money from the house payment towards additional retirement income.
    7. Build wealth and give. One of the best things that you can do with your life after taking care of all the rest is to get to a point where you can give freely to any charity, person or organization that you wish to leave your legacy.

    Okay, those are the baby steps by Dave Ramsey. Personally, I think they all make perfect sense and are totally doable. This won’t necessarily be the easiest thing to do in the world but it will be worth it in the end.

    So, if you are ready to truly make a financial change in the New Year I highly suggest the books I mentioned earlier in this post. They all write in a very no-nonsense kind of way where you can fully understand what they are saying. My particular favorite of all three books is Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan. I also listen to his podcast which is amazing. However, all three books are wonderful. Right now I am in the process of finishing up Rachel Cruze’s book, which is great at showing us how we should stop comparing ourselves to others when it comes to our financial status.

    I would personally like to thank each and every one of them for helping to put me and my husband on the right track towards a more prosperous financial future. If I ever get the chance to meet them I will let you know.

    As a side note, the Daviess County Public Library carries all three of the books listed here and I highly recommend them:

     
     
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