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Personal Finance 101

by Dr. M Marie Sanders

 

Money, money, money ... people everywhere are talking about money. Regardless of where you live, money (its availability and use) affects your quality of life. Too bad the "money tree" simply doesn't exist. For most people, the amount of money you have to spend (today and tomorrow) depends largely on you. Why not manage your finances so that you get full satisfaction from each available dollar?

Personal Financial Planning: The Process of managing your money to achieve personal economic satisfaction.

When it comes to handling your personal finances, are you an explorer, someone who is always searching through uncharted areas? Or are you a passenger, just along for the ride on the money decision-making trip of life? Or, perhaps you are a researcher, seeking answers to the inevitable money questions of life. For many, the problem isn't lack of desire to plan for your financial future, but rather that you simply don't know how to make and execute personal financial plans. Start by taking the Samenmais Personal Financial Planning Assessment.

Getting Started

Step 1: Start today by making a list of the following items:

Step 2: Now make a separate list indicating where your want to "be" and at what time in the future?

What are your financial goals? Typical financial goals might include:

Step 3: What alternatives (or combination of alternatives) will accomplish these goals?

Consider:

Step 4: What are the consequences or risks of these alternatives? Evaluate the consequences and risks of each alternative.

Consequences of Choices: Each decision you make will have a direct effect on another alternative. For example, if you chose to divert some of your savings to paying off credit cards you may have to delay purchasing the new car that you intended to buy with the saved down payment.

Evaluating Risks: Uncertainty is a part of every decision. Depending on the size (in terms of money and time) of the decision, you may find the risk worthwhile or perhaps you'll decide not.

Step 5: What plan of action will I take to achieve my goals?

Create and implement your financial action plan. Based on the consequences and risks of each alternative, select the best possible choices to achieve your personal financial goals. Make a plan based on these choices that includes specific action items and dates to be accomplished. Be sure to be realistic. Often when we make too many changes at one time, we doom ourselves to failure. Make simple adjustments regularly rather than drastic adjustments all at once.

Step 6: How's it working?

Adjust the steps as necessary and keep going! Regularly review your plan and actions. Are you on track to achieve your goals? Did circumstances arise that you did not anticipate? If you are not achieving your goals (for any reason), return to step 1 and start again. The only way you'll fail, is to quit!

Remember, if you don't manage your money, it will manage you.

 

2 Personal Finance, Kapoor, Dlabay and Hughes, © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., pg. 5

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About the author

Dr. M Marie Sanders

Dr. M Marie Sanders (USA)

Ms. Sanders holds an MBA and a Doctorate and has 30+ years of business experience in privately held businesses and non-profit organizations. She was a professor for the University of Central Oklahoma teaching undergraduate and MBA classes in the college of business (Leadership and Human Resource Management) and holds real estate broker licenses in two U.S. states.

 

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