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  • Katherine Powers

Getting Your Money Under Control: Part 1

Hey guys, it’s Katie. This is the first part in a multiple step series on getting your finances under control. This blog’s theme: Setting goals. Throughout the course of this series, we’re going to explore different ways to accrue wealth and get on solid financial ground by setting goals and executing plans. Thanks for reading and I hope you find this helpful!

The world is filled with advertisements enticing us to spend our money; instant gratification for just three “low monthly payments” (plus shipping and handling). That’s is the name of the game. You name it: they’ll say, for only $199 a month, happiness can be yours! It’s a tempting thing to indulge our every whim on things that we honestly probably don’t need. And I mean, for the majority of us, the idea of paying cash for a house, a car, or an education is almost laughable. Since the acceptance of debt is so pervasive in our culture, wrapping our minds around living a debt-free life proves to be extremely difficult, maybe even impossible for many of us. The thing is, if you are able to cross that threshold, avoid the temptations, the Amazon 12-month-no-interest-no-payments-on-that-really-cool-thing, you have already taken the biggest step toward wealth. Congratulations!

The fact is, for most of us, the biggest obstacle on the road to financial success is finding our own motivation.

In order to get motivated, I recommend Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This book has been recommended to me numerous times over the years by people I know and trust, so I have recommended it to many friends, family, and colleagues. Dave does a great job explaining why consumer debt really is a bad thing, and gives you a no BS plan to get out of it – for good. Honest!In the meantime, while you’re busy getting motivated to get out of debt and build your own little empire of wealth, it’s actually a perfect time to dream big and set goals based on what wealth and financial freedom mean to you personally.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What are your values? Do you want financial security? Freedom? Time? Family? Here is an article and a worksheet to help you figure it out!

  • What would you like your net worth to be in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

  • What is your retirement age goal?

  • How much would you like to have saved for any additional things, like your children’s education, business investments, home improvements, etc?

Take a few days to think about these things. WRITE THEM DOWN. That’s the important part; when you write something down, not only does it become a real, tangible thing, it often serves to help you quantify and organize your thoughts. While you’re writing, make each goal you set “SMART”.

SMART goals are:

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Specific.

For example, if my goal is to start investing in 529 plans for my children, my SMART goal would be: Save $10,000 in a 529 plan by the end of 2016. What about you? Are you maybe saving up for a first home? Do you want to start your own business? Save for your child’s education? Heck, it could even be something as simple as putting away money for a vacation with the family; it all boils down to YOUR core values. So what are those values? What do you need to attain them? Write them down, and stay tuned for part two of this series, which will focus on determining your “starting line”. Don’t worry, we’ll cover what that means more in-depth next time



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