Your life depends on the decisions you make. How you manage your money is a major decision. If you build your home without the proper fortifications your home is at risk of being wiped out in the first storm you encounter. At that point you must start all over from scratch, and you may not achieve the necessary experience to properly fortify without being taken down another two or three times.
If at first you don’t success, just get right back up and start again.
Well, I must confess that I, like many others I imagine now, like to think we know it all and financial distress will never affect us. We graduate from high school, some go to college to get more expertise in a field of there choice, others go straight out to work and frankly I can see we don’t really know what we are getting into. I enjoyed working, and was a workaholic of sorts. Yet now I can see I made many foolish financial decisions with my own money.
Those decisions wreaked havoc over time causing my foundation of life to crack and leak. Not realizing the seriousness of my personal finances, I failed not once but three times in the course of my life. The cracks got bigger and bigger each time until finally the structure of my life collapsed into the cracks. Credit cards played a major role at the start of my life, everyone had one it seemed except me, and I asked my stepdad how to build credit to get one.
I wish he had told me straight out – don’t get involved with any credit cards, put your money in savings. But he didn’t, and the rest is history. Perhaps though, I was meant to go down this path to help others see they are not alone, and to help them get out of the cracks of there crumbled foundations and realize it is never too late to wake up and smell the coffee.
Building a strong financial foundation is key.
We seem to take so much until one day we decide we have had enough. Some event or obstacle rolled into our path that seemed to huge or heavy to move and tears us apart inside. Some may call it quits, but that is not the solution as I found out – I decided the third time that was the last time (hopefully) I would go down that path.
In my lowest moment I realized with the help of my stepdad there was only one thing that would help me and that was to start budgeting. I journaled all my available cash into a ledger and then what bills I had left to pay that very night of my stepdad’s pep talk. I remember how excited I was to discover the IRA account I had won over a radio contest in 1999.
It was what I needed to resolve my immediate struggle before me, and I realized I was not 59-1/2 yet so there would be penalties. The bank lady understood and helped me minimize the frustration of the penalties. From that point on, I kept a journal of my income and expenses. Having a budget in place is the key to building a strong financial foundation.
Research the areas you seem to struggle in
Over the next year I found budgeting helped me identify the areas I seemed to struggle in, and began to research other options on the internet. I learned it was not wise to carry all your cards around with you – they are too convenient that way. By the end of the first year I was sitting at my desk doing my taxes when I realized I had done it – improved my status and increased my credit score, while lowering my debt. But could I do it again?
I decided to repeat the year and do the same things, only this time document along the way. I successfully did it once more. If something isn’t working, pose a question in google to seek other possible options you can try. Talk to friends and relatives and see if they have any advice.
With your experience, and new knowledge, begin again.
As I gain new knowledge confronting my financial struggles even today, I find I am building a strong foundation for financial success. Growing up families did not talk about there financial situations openly, it seemed to be a taboo topic of conversation. However it is essential to set aside those old-fashioned ways and open up to talk openly and share our struggles.
There is nothing wrong with seeking help. Nothing wrong with letting our kids know what the families going through financially so they are aware and can make more educated decisions as they grow into adulthood. Keeping up with the Jones’ family is not a good image to follow as that new Corvette in there driveway may not be the status symbol that others think it seems like. It may be a mask of another real issue, they are hiding there true financial state so no one knows they are deeper in trouble financially.
Documentation helps reinforce your progress.
The grass is not always as green as it looks on the other side of the fence, there may be a constant infestation of disaster at the root. So don’t look at what your neighbors or friends are doing or have; but pay attention to your own affairs and seek to live differently by incorporation of a budget that you look at almost every day.
A budget is the documentation that will help reinforce your progress financially, and regular maintenance will help eliminate areas such as debt and enhance other area such as savings.
In conclusion you need a budget to help achieve all your goals and dreams in life. The earlier you start the better. We are all different so find the tool that works best for you whether it be the Everydollar App or open an Excel spreadsheet, or my favorite – and I have tried them all – the software program invented by Jesse Meecham, “You Need a Budget” or better known as YNAB. So, now go research an option that works best for you and get started TODAY fortifying your fortress.