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Balance in Finances:
For the last few months, I have been reflecting on my financial situation and where I would like to be in the next five years and I must say – I have much work to do to reach that goal. In addition, I am an admitted “shopaholic”. A few months ago, I expressed my desire to an associate of mine concerning my desire to travel. Due to various circumstances, I have not had the type of vacation I desire in at least two years. I told him that “I couldn’t afford to travel in the magnitude that I desire!” He said, “Sure you can, you just need to re-adjust your priorities!” Today, as I sit in my bedroom staring at the stacks and stacks of shoes that I have purchased (my friends can testify to this fact) and the overflowing closets of clothes, I realize that I truly need to reassess my priorities. My Pastor, Bishop Reeves, said it all too well, “What good is it to own a Cadillac if you are parking it in front of an apartment building?” I am not saying that it is wrong to desire the luxuries of life but that desire should be balanced with life’s pertinent responsibilities. If you find yourself robbing “Peter” to pay “Paul”, then there is definitely a financial imbalance. It is crucial to develop a financial plan to achieve financial stability.
O.K., now that I have made an assessment, what’s next?
1. Develop a financial plan: Well the first step I have made was that I pulled my credit report and met with a friend of mine who happens to be a financial expert. She gave me some tips of what I could do to improve my financial outlook and to eliminate some of my “unsecured” debt. Ladies, we find it so easy to say “charge it” for that “one day sale” at Hecht’s (that was my favorite store until it went out of business) or Macy’s, not realizing that by charging we are actually paying MORE than the original price. Therefore, a sale is really not a sale. So, it is time for me to stop the madness, put the handcuffs on, and make a commitment to change my financial outlook.
2. Make a Pledge To Discipline: I avoid making New Year’s resolutions because I usually end up breaking it. However, I have made a life changing vow (not a resolution) to become more discipline in my spending habits. Back to the shoes, I probably could wear a pair of shoes a day for the next couple of months without repeating. That’s approximately 60 pairs of shoes and that’s ridiculous. Who needs that many shoes? The answer is no one. Therefore, I decree and declare that in 2008, I am putting myself on a shoe diet. I am making short-term limitations to receive long-term gains. I am sure this diet will booster my savings account; who knows, maybe I can take that much needed vacation.
3. Getting Serious About My Financial Outlook. No longer will I look like a million bucks without having the millions. Yes, I know image is everything and I that I should always look my finest! However, there is a point when it is more about self-indulgence than image. Incidentally, I could perform the same test with my clothes that I stated about my shoes. I could probably wear a different outfit for the next two months without repetition. I understand that it is time out for inattentive and sporadic living. Life is too short! My five-year plan includes a debt elimination strategy. There is the possibility that I can take that trip to Africa that I am so desirous of by seriously placing restrictions on my spending and setting goals to include a travel fund.
4. Make Provisions for Retirement: Although I would like to continually use the quote “Nothing gets old but clothes!”, reality and the aching of my limbs is convincing me that some things have “aged” throughout the years. Facing the possibility that my life could be half way over, isn’t easy either! Therefore, I realize that I am behind the 8-ball in making provisions for retirement and leaving a legacy for my children. This is not a resolution but a commitment to change: I will solidify my retirement plan! I will open a Roth IRA! I will booster my savings plan and I will make the necessary provisions to ensure that I will not be a burden to my children. I will exercise discipline over my financial life and I will continue to prosper.
I hope that my plan of action has encouraged you to make an assessment of your financial outlook and to develop your own plan as well. Of course, your plan will be tailor-made just for you! We all could stand to improve to balance our finances in one way or another. This time next year, I intend to report to you that I am a step closer to achieving my five-year goal and that 1/5 of the plan has been accomplished.. One day, I will be sending you photographs of my trip to Africa.
write by Maximilian