I can count the number of blog entries where I have written about losing weight, eating more healthy, wanting to try new make-up looks, etc. etc. But one area in which I need the most help in is money. *Cue violins here*
I’ve done okay for myself over the years. I have been blessed to have a wonderful man who I co-parent our daughter with and he contributes a lot to my income as well as my daughter’s needs where money is concerned. But I have also made a lot of bad decisions where it’s come to money; I am an impulse shopper and I tend to spend now and pay later.
Not a good thing, especially in this economy.
Recently, I sat down with Mr. Lewis, a financial planner for Edward Jones here in St. Louis and after meeting with him for an hour and a half, we both agreed I needed a financial intervention before it’s too late. The only thing he was able to compliment me on in my whole financial portfolio was that I started a 529 college savings plan with MOST (A Missouri state run and invested program) for both of my children which I contribute to religiously and has down well over the years.
His statement to me was the following: “You are still young so you still have time. But we don’t have another year to waste if you want to retire with no worries.”
My heart skipped a beat. And while I sat and sulked, Mr. Lewis pointed out the holes in my current state of finances:
- I managed to pay off all but one of my credit cards, but the one that still has a balance is almost at its limit and I haven’t been paying much over the minimum payment due.
- My life insurance policy (which I thought was a good investment) ended up not having enough coverage.
- I am not earning enough return on my savings account.
- The few investments I have are being invested moderately and not aggressive enough to make any real money. At my age, I should be more strategic with my investments.
- I have no will and two children.
- By paying just $40.00 more a month, I could’ve paid off my student loans last year.
- I am spending more than I am earning.
Money is an important matter I am finding out. When I was growing up in my household, my parents never discussed money or finances with me. Now that they are middle aged, only my father has a life insurance policy. The state of affairs where finances in concerned in their lives is sketchy at best.
After sitting down with this financial planner, I vowed to change my situation for the better. Life is not promised to any of us tomorrow and I have to be better prepared for emergencies and sudden changes in lifestyle. Right now that is not the case.
So with the shedding of the weight, drinking more water, eating more healthy, etc. etc., I also vow to take a hold of my finances and be wiser when it comes to my money and my future.
According to Edward Jones, those interested in their financial health should do the following:
- Check on the well-being of your investment portfolio on a regular basis-no less than once each quarter.
- Instill in a financial planner/strategist who not only knows the market but understands the current conditions as well as your needs.
- Pay off all debt before utilizing additional debt.
- Stay on top of your credit score with the three credit bureaus used.
- Do not co-sign for anyone.
- Have a will detailing your wants and desires should you pass away. This should be a legal document created by an attorney.
- Be honest about your financial situation. Do not hide financial troubles and/or concerns from your spouse.
- Save as much money as you can. Also save for larger purposes instead of using credit.
- Invest in life insurance for your needs.
What do you guys think? Do we as a society focus on the wrong things? How important is your financial health? Sound off and let’s all discuss!