Just for myself.
So, one of my new life goals is to get debt free and stay that way. But, really, that’s just a very concrete way for me to describe getting my finances in order. I’ve started doing a number of things to get that particular set of ducks in a row, among them being to sign up for our 401k. When I first became eligible for that, I was in the middle of a divorce, so I didn’t take advantage of it. Then, frankly, I couldn’t afford it, so I more or less forgot about it. But, with the raise that will start after the first of the year, now seemed like a perfect time to start socking money away. I think the company matches me some, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I’m going to start taking money out of every paycheck, before taxes, and move it into an investment device.
Also, along with that, I plan to start using the automated transfer system at my bank to transfer some of that raise directly into my savings account every two weeks. The idea here, as so many personal investment gurus have said, is to pay myself first. And, from here on out, I’m going to transfer any automated payments from Google directly into my savings account, too. I think of that as “extra” money anyway, so I might as well set it aside.
What I’m trying to do with this pattern, is to set aside a contingency fund. If I really want to get out of debt and stay out of debt, I have to stop making any more debt! The only way to do that is to have some money set aside to deal with anything that might come up. (Incidentally, I’ll be following the basic plan from How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously, which is where I got the common sense idea to start building a contingency fund.) I know it will be slow going, but, I think it will be well worth it in the end.
Also, in the Spring, I’m going to find a personal finance magazine of some kind to subscribe to so I can educate myself better on financial matters. I’m not sure which I’ll go with, Money, Kiplinger’s, or SmartMoney, but I’ll most likely stick with one of those three.
And, finally, here are a couple of articles from Men’s Health about financial matters, which is what got me thinking about this today.
First, there’s “Your Biggest Money Worries – Solved“. I have to admit, that one hit a couple of mine, like “Affording Her” and “Paying Off Your Debts”, not to mention “Saving Enough For Retirement”. Surprisingly, this article about easy resolutions for the coming year sort of got me motivated, too. It all reminded me of how my parents taught me that the little things, when added up, can make big changes. Mom’s saying was “Inch by inch, life’s a sinch, but mile by mile, life’s a trial”. She used to say that to remind me that I had to be patient and do the little steps that made the bigger goals possible. It’s a good reminder.
But, what really got me thinking about this the most was Six Painless Ways to Build Wealth.
So, here’s hoping that a more serious, enlightened, “grown-up” approach to my finances will help me achieve yet another life goal. I’ll try to keep y’all updated.
Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car."