All month long we’ve been featuring a series called “New Year, New You” showing you ways to improve your life throughout 2014. Right after getting your health in order, most people need to get their FINANCES in order….in order to have a solid present and a more solid future. A lot of people won’t admit it to themselves until its too late, but they’re living in the red…in massive debt that continues to accumulate. But with some savvy tips and a determination to be disciplined you can get out of from under that debt. And that’s something YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK. Life might be more easy, if money would just free fall from the sky. At least paying off all your bills and getting out from that massive amount of debt might be easier. Adam Simoes knows firsthand what many people feel when they get a bill in the mail. “There was a time in my life when I got into some debt with credit cards, and you learn really quickly that making those minimum payments doesn’t work,” says Simoes. Adam paid off his debt and now lives a DEBT DISCIPLINED lifestyle on a budget. Simoes adds “Our written budget includes an emergency fund and so we have budgeted for our kids for college, we’ve budgeted for car repairs we’ve budgeted for school loans.
Financial planners say budgeting for emergencies and putting away for the unexpected is by far the best way to stay out of the red. Gretchen Morse is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones Financial Services in Presque Isle and says “set a goal for yourself, if you want to start building up that emergency fund by about two thousand dollars put away a dollar amount every single week, or two weeks or month so by the end of the year you can say I did it.” “If you can’t stick to a budget at least try and put away a little bit of money into a savings account so that you have emergency cash typically we recommend 3-6 months living expenses in the bank so that so if you’re refrigerator breaks, you’re car breaks down you’re not having to struggle,” adds Scott Violette a Financial Representive for Barressi Financial in Presque Isle. But before putting it away, Morse says its critical to PAY OFF your debts. “Pay off your debt, get rid of as much debt as possible outside of your mortgage,” says Morse.
One of the big ways people get themselves into financial messes are those bad habits or everyday luxuries WE THINK are little, but add up COSTING US big. Vices like smoking, eating out or that cup of coffee every morning. You gotta ask yourself, are you willing to sacrifice that CAFFEINE to have more GREEN? Violette recalls past experiences with clients who’ve admitted “Smokers quit smoking and took that money and put it into an investment account and by the end of that year it was worth like 7-8 thousand dollars, we don’t wanna deny ourselves some of those simple pleasures but if its costing you 4 or 5 dollars every morning that adds up overtime.”Its not just those small luxuries that get people behind the eight ball instead of ON THE BALL financially speaking, Violette says sometimes necessities and must haves can have people living beyond their means. Things like a car. He says that’s a big ticket item most people realistically can’t afford. Adam, who’s an occupational therapist spends his days stretching patients’ limbs to get them back to health and feeling good. But its Adam who feels great about the fiscal present and future he’s providing for his family. All because he’s mastered how to STRETCH a dollar.
One thing financial planners can’t stress enough is BEING DISCIPLINED. That’s the biggest way to increase your money not your debt every year.