October 24, 2008

"Manage Your Money Manage Your Stress"

By: Dekesha Grannum




"How many times do you find yourself stressing over money? If you're like most, I'm sure it's pretty often.  So what's the major cause?.....poor money management.


"73% of Americans name money as the
number one factor affecting
their stress level."


American Psychological Association Survey 2004


The reality of our today is that many don't know what proper money management looks like. It's rarely, if ever, taught in schools. This means that if you don't receive the information at home, you're on your own.


The first step to making a change is getting the right information. Below are some key categories to consider:


  • Credit Management
  • Emergency Fund
  • Retirement/Investment/Savings
  • Budget Management





Credit Management :

When dealing with credit, the rule of thumb is....If you can't buy it cash, don't buy it.  Credit will be the downfall of the impatient person.  Try to reserve the credit card for absolute emergencies. Buying small items to be paid off quickly for credit building is ok too.

Here is some more helpful information on credit and management.





Emergency Fund :


You're driving along, and your car stops. Later you find you need a new transmission. Do you have the money to pay for it? What about the unexpected hospital visit? This is where the emergency fund is critical.

It's purpose is to provide cash for the unexpected expenses. It acts as a cushion so that you don't have to resort to debt. The recommended amount of accessible money you should have is about 3 months worth of income.




Retirement/Investment/Savings :


I'm sure you don't want to work your whole life. Saving for retirement is very important in making sure you don't have to. This should be even before saving for your kids college.

Why? You can borrow money for school, but not to retire. So what are some options for doing this?

  • Contribute to your 401K or 403B at work
  • Contribute to a Koegh Plan, available for the self-employed
  • Contribute to an IRA or Roth IRA
  • Invest in Mutual Funds
It's important to understand all of your options and choose the one that works best for you and your situation.


Budget Management :


Do you know where your money goes every month? Setting up a budget will help you answer this question.  

Having a budget will help you to layout a plan. You can set goals, and use the budget to help you get there.  Being able to see your spending and saving habits can help you be more disciplined.

Here are some great worksheets you can use to get started.



Dave Ramsey Total Money MakeoverDave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover" is an excellent   resource to learn what steps you need to take to get your finances in order. I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to do, but this book helped me put it all in order.

In today's economy nothing is guaranteed. The job
or income you have now may not be there tomorrow.  Take the steps now to be prepared for the unexpected. Good money management = Reduced money stress.






 






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