Welcome 2019! In the spirit of a new year, the Accredited Financial Counselors (AFC®) at Better Financial Counseling Network took some time to reflect back to early in our financial journeys.
Here’s some of the best decisions we made to grow bright financial futures.
Terri: Paying myself FIRST
In the beginning, that meant $20 a month. Slowly, and as debt was paid off, that amount increased. I have never stopped paying myself first. If you wait to see “what is left” to save, the answer will usually be $0. Pay yourself first and you will adjust your spending naturally.
Jerry: Starting young, making my money work for me
I was in the Navy, 18 years old, and studying in an electronics school. A Navy Lieutenant overheard me say that I had saved up $1000 for a downpayment to buy a car. The next day he brought in a brochure and explained mutual fund investing. I thought this is great, I can make money like the rich people! Despite that enlightened thought, I did what many 18 year old sailors would do, I bought a brand new truck. However, a year later I started investing in mutual funds. That investing continued through today and I have the peace of mind knowing I am on track for a comfortable retirement.
Marjorie: Making tradeoffs with money–there’s a limited amount.
Newly married, I moved across the country and into my husband’s garage apartment. OK, it was actually an apartment with a garage, but it was not new and not pretty and a bit cramped. When we visited friends who lived nearby and had new carpet, white wood moulding, a fireplace in the dining room and 3 bedrooms, I knew this was the type of living we should have.
Did we move? No. Why? Because instead we made a tradeoff. We saved on rent money and lived below our–ok my–desires, in order to pay off debt and save and invest for the future. It was a good trade.
Shari: Automating Investments
One of the best financial decisions I ever made was automating my investment contributions. I decided how much I wanted to contribute for the calendar year, figured out how much that would be each month and then set my automatic contributions with confidence knowing I would meet my investment goals for the year. Of course I keep this (self-imposed) fixed amount plugged into my monthly budget.