Claim Your Financial Power
Education is the key to a better life, and knowledge will give you the power to make better choices. When you knowbetter, you do better. Here are 5 tips to claiming your financial power:
Be willing to face the harsh truth.
In order to know how to improve your financial situation, you first need to know where you are. Gather up your bank statements, open up your apps, get a cup of coffee with your spouse, sharpen your pencils, and prepare to write it all out.
Write out all your debt. Write out all your income. Write out all your monthly expenses. Face the truth. Where is the shortfall? Does your family need to earn more income to cover regular expenses? Can you cut anything out? Are still wondering why there is no money left at the end of the month? Dig through every transaction. - No blaming and no arguing. This is about finding where you are, so you can find your way out.
Where do you want to go?
Have a heart to heart with your spouse about your financial future. What is important to you? Do you know the great thing about personal finance? It is PERSONAL. That means you get to decide what is important. You are free to make choices, but you are not free from the consequences of your choices. Remember, every dollar that is spent or earmarked for one thing is one that is not set aside for another.
What do you need to know more about?
What is one area of personal finance that is interesting or important to you that you could invest an hour a week learning more about? Is it retirement, investing, the stock market, or the magic of compound interest? Whatever it is, commit to spending at least one hour reading an article, researching online, listening to a TED talk or some other activity related to that topic.
Have open, frank conversations about money.
I firmly believe that economic success begins at the dinner table. Have conversations with your spouse, children,parents, and your friends about money. I am not advocating making people feel uncomfortable, but the more open dialogue we have about finance the less scary it is. The more we are willing to bring up conversations about budgets, financial decision-making, interest rates, and lending into light, the less opportunity there is for predatory lenders and tactics to take advantage of us, our community, and our loved ones.
Share your knowledge.
Be willing to spread the word about what you have learned and where you learned it. Share your experiences, good and bad. Often, those bad experiences teach us the best lessons. Ask others to share their best money lesson. Parents love to share their knowledge and often have been waiting years for us to finally want their advice!
What is your best money lesson? Did you have to learn the hard way?