Business advice

Do you control your money or does it control you?
May 6, 2008, 6:41 pm
Filed under: Blogroll, businness advice | Tags: , , , ,

This is a good question to ponder when the country is awaiting their economic stimulus checks with baited breath. Consumers tend to think checks are going to keep coming. If you run your life on that premise, it means that you are planning on working until the day you drop dead. If you spend your life waiting anxiously for your next check, your money controls you.

Stop presuming that checks will continue to show up in your life as they can stop for a myriad of reasons. Nowadays, even government checks can be delayed.

I know. You are shaking your head wondering how to get control when all your money disappears as you soon as you pay your bills. Getting one’s financial accounts under control is a primary goal. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t save. Nor, does it mean that you can’t put away unexpected rewards, such as the economic stimulus check. I know several working folks who are planning to use it for a vacation or new ‘toys’ they could do without.

This type of behavior simply is saying to the universe that I will keep on working. I have absolutely no hope of ever putting my money to work. You either make a plan to put some of it to work, with more later, or you will be working until your funeral.

I know times are hard and money is stretched money is stretched to the point of snapping. My point is that you have to put money away, no matter what the circumstance. This is even more important when it comes to unexpected windfalls. You only spend that $600 on a vacation if you already have an investment plan in place.

This problem, of acting as if checks will continue is so widespread in this country that even the top-earners run up bills they will never be able to pay. They are under the illusion the good times will keep rolling forever. All you have to do to realize how nutty that idea is to look at the movie stars that have gone broke once shows were cancelled.

The lower end of the earning curve can start small. There was an interesting article in the business section of the Los Angeles Times just the other day on how one can find treasures at estate sales. Don’t shake your head until you investigate. Children start out with small stamp collections that eventually end up being passed on to the next generation. Collectibles can be a starting base for building wealth. They can be accumulated with small purchases in the beginning. Forbes used to have a section that talked about the ups and downs of the market value of various collectibles.

For the long term, one needs an investment or savings plan. Suze Orrman, the current national financial guru, continues to talk against using retirement money early. Whatever problem is bothering you currently should be dealt with other options besides taking out retirement funds. There are penalties, not to mention the loss of a nest egg for the down the road where the only sure thing may be a social security check. Once a retirement account is established, however, it can be used as collateral for a short-term loan without penalties.

Spend some time finding out how you can grow your money if you have only a small amount to play with. Online investment firms offer bank accounts which offer higher than normal interest rates. When you have enough put away, you can start trading a little at a time.

If you accumulate enough, open a CD, a certificate of deposit, and don’t crack it open, the first time something goes wrong. You can still buy United States Savings bonds and other investment bills issued by the US Treasury. Here is a link with more info:

If you feel the need to understand more about your finances, do some reading and then start a plan of action. You are losing money every day you put it off.

For more examples of my work:

Laura Bell