By any measure that matters, summer is over. Vacations have ended, Oklahoma schools are about to start, and college football is in the air. After a summer more typical and relaxed than those in recent years, it’s time to get back to work.
We have a couple of months until the holidays command our attention, and radio stations begin roasting chestnuts 24-7. During this lull, I want you to spend some time organizing your finances. Even though we work forty hours a week to earn our money, I am always amazed at how little time we spend ensuring we meet our financial goals. Here are some tips:
- Be brave and look at your financial situation even if it frightens you. Begin by calculating how much you spend each month. Your cash flow is the basis for how much of an emergency fund you need, how much you should save for retirement, and how much life insurance you should purchase.
- If you have debt outside a reasonable mortgage and car payment, create a plan to eliminate it. Begin by paying off new purchases and accrued interest each month. Then, decide how much additional money you can apply toward your bills. If you have student loan debt, always make the minimum required payment, even if you’re hoping for federal relief.
- Break large financial tasks, like saving an emergency fund, into smaller pieces with timelines, just like a project at work. Even if you want to have six months of your bills in savings, start by trying to save two weeks’ worth. When you reach that goal, repeat it. If you take consistent, reasonable steps toward financial stability, you won’t get overwhelmed and quit.
- Remember that your finances are much more than your investment portfolio and life insurance policies. Talk to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner for assistance with additional topics including cash flow, education funding, taxes, retirement, group benefit selection, and estate issues.
Starting a financial plan is more difficult than finishing it. The space between summer and the holidays allows you to examine your financial life, take appropriate actions, and make changes to help you prosper! It’s worth the time.