Money Learning Checklist 3 – Credit

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Everyone knows what credit is, right?  It’s a happy word.  Credit, in its contextual sense, has a positive connotation.  Credit connotes having credibility, right?  That’s right, I’m credible – just ask me.  Everyone is credible in their own mind.

Americans love credit and credit cards.  I think some people believe that a credit card is a magic bridge to avarice.  Isn’t it fun to go into a store and not have to look at prices, fill up your cart, and walk out with all that stuff?  Everyone wants to look great and be surrounded with nice things.  But, the big façade associated with credit cards is that once that card is swiped, you have traded your soul.  Your soul is traded for the debt that you just created.

To me, debt is a four-letter word.  Oh, wait it is a four-letter word, but I mean the bad kind.  As I took a break from writing this piece, I saw a political cartoon in the newspaper that expressed my sentiments about credit.  It’s a large image of It, staring down at a person with a caption of “A national horror: DEBT”.  “It” is the star of that gruesome clown movie that continues to break ticket sale records.  I burst into laughter when I saw the trailer.  This is what constitutes entertainment?

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Money Learning Checklist 2 – Spending

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THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS.  SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE FOR DETAILS.

What a time to be writing about spending.  As I watched Hurricane Irma wind its way toward Florida, I can’t wrap my mind around the amount of emotional and financial devastation.  This would be a good time to think about an emergency fund that is funded slightly or not at all.  Yes, I know insurance covers some costs and FEMA comes through, I lived through Hurricane Sandy.  But I saw a Facebook post the other day from a Florida resident explaining that she wasn’t evacuating because she had no funds to leave.  I remember the same from New Orleans residents when Hurricane Katrina blew through Louisiana.  I can’t imagine not having an emergency fund to escape a dire situation, but, according to the stats, it’s a common position.

Let’s get this straight: Less spending = more emergency fund.

I request your fixation on the next two suggestions.

Entertain the “Enough” mentality in your life

If you reach the Enough mentality, mark the day on the calendar.  It’s a worthy milestone of your financial maturity.  Too many people don’t know what ‘enough’ means.  Marketers love these people and are happy to indulge your lack of ‘enough’.  ‘Enough’ means that you have reached a saturation point with your personal merchandise, take-out dependence, or whatever it is your bank account is hemorrhaging from.  It means that you’re happy with what you have and don’t need to cure boredom by spending endlessly.  Start feeling OK with what you have.  You don’t need any more clothes, furniture, shoes, wall hangings, candles, tablets, monthly subscriptions, sunglasses, makeup, cologne, curtains, or car accessories.  Live with what you have and realize that you can live without, too.

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If you haven’t visited my Facebook page, you are missing out on some great money information.  I pull a variety of interesting money articles from all over the World Wide Web.

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Money Learning Checklist 1 – Earning/Saving

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THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS.  SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE FOR DETAILS.

I recently presented an overview of financial planning at my local library.  It was my first on the library circuit.  For a late summer evening, a turnout of a dozen people was pretty good, I thought.  I wondered what aspect of finance would be the focus of their curiosity as the crowd was a variety of ages.  I started off with some basic concepts, as in understanding your money mindset.  This sequed into playing CEO in your own life.  I like to use the analogy of mimicking the responsibility of a corporate CEO, where one would keep a close watch on income, expenses, and net profit.

As I rambled on about how I worked these concepts into my book, How Ally Found Her Financial Freedom, I realized how truly engaged the group was, taking notes, and hanging on every shard of information.  Now, I’ve taught taxation courses on Monday nights, Tuesday nights, and Friday nights.  I’m used to the glazed eyes of confusion or immediate zoning out, conveying that they’ve mentally transported themselves to anywhere else, like maybe a Caribbean island.  Some participants were hard to read, but overall, everyone was soaking up my messages.

I broke my monologue to address specific questions.  I didn’t expect what happened next.  There was a deluge of questions on a variety of topics.  From basics on savings to “free” investing seminars, they wanted my opinion on areas such as dollar-cost-averaging, and asked for suggestions on stocks.

The session didn’t end until we were asked to leave because the library was closing.  One woman didn’t hang around until the end but took my cell phone number and called me later with a specific question.  She admitted to having no knowledge of financial matters.

What I realized is that people need information and guidance more than ever.

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