A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


August 17, 2013

Better Safe Than Sorry


The following is a guest post from a young financial blogger, Annis Sadowski.   I don't accept just any offer from other writers, but I thought her topic was relevant to both young people and seasoned citizens, and deserved your consideration.  There are so many Americans who are worried about their financial future in the wake of what we have suffered through the last few years, and what we see on the horizon.  I'm not sure any of us will escape the coming hardship, and this guest article will provide no "miracle cures".  But Annis offers some good, common-sense advice and simple ways to approach your financial situation.  As a member of the younger generation, I wanted to encourage her efforts to reach her peers and make them think about their financial future. I applaud her insight and awareness. 

     As the nation is sleepwalking through yet another phase of recession and financial downturn, taking control over your finances has become a necessity, irrespective of your age. Everybody, from teenagers to students; from stay-at-home moms to divorcees and seniors should all be clear about their financial goal and have a clear idea of their financial future. Unless you know how you're going to spend your near future, you won't be able to arm yourself with the resources it will take to stay on the right financial track. If you're confused about the steps that you need to take in order to draw a clear picture of your financial future, here are some vital steps that you should consider:
   •    Adopt the 'no-blame-no-shame' strategy: The foundation of a financial start has nothing to do with some specific financial do's and don'ts. The most difficult step, or coincidentally the first step, is to absolve yourself (or your spouse, if applicable) of any guilt.   Write down the mistakes that you both have created so that you are able to rectify them in the near future.   Be honest and don't blame each other; this isn't about shaming the other person.  Instead, try to learn from your mistakes and help each other make better decisions in order to take better financial steps towards shaping your financial future.
     •    Get a snapshot of your finances:  It is almost impossible to map out a route to your ultimate financial destination if you don't know where you're presently standing.  Therefore before you draw a picture of your future finances, you should know what you have now.  Take a snapshot of all that you have so that you're clear about your net financial worth.  On one side of the ledger, assemble all the details like your savings account, checking account, retirement account, and other investment accounts.   Don't miss out on any source of income that happens to shower extra funds in the interval. Then you should make a list of all the debts that you owe to different creditors.  When you compare the two lists, you'll get a "bottom line" snapshot of your financial picture.
    •    Determine your retirement needs: When you're thinking about your future, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is your retirement.  Retirement is said to be your "golden years".  But when your biggest concern for your retired life is 'money', those years look anything but "golden".  If you don't want debts to mar your retirement, you should determine your retirement needs now, so that you may take the required steps to be as comfortable as possible during those coming years.
    •    Adopt a strategy towards your credit cards: You should then adopt a strategy to pay off your credit cards, and resolve not to use them unnecessarily. Although credit cards are an important part of our lives, you should not overuse or misuse them.   This will only lead to more debt and will eventually spoil your peace of mind.  If you are lucky enough to have a steady source of income, consider carrying cash in your wallet so that you don't resort to using your credit cards unnecessarily.  Credit cards should only be used during an emergency.
     So, when you're mapping your future, these practical steps will help you to keep your finances safe and secure.   Although legal companies abound to help you, should you find yourself in debt, it's always better to play it safe, than be sorry.

     You just might happen to be one of those who can't face our nation's economic monster because you're afraid of what it reveals about your personal finances.  And while Annis's article may not be the "magic pill" for our nation's financial woes, her suggestions will help you take the first steps towards gaining control of your future.  Thank you, Annis, for giving us some fail-safe methods for beginning that important self-examination.

1 Timothy 6:6-8       "But godliness with contentment is great gain,  for we brought nothing into the world, and[c] we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content."

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