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There are lots of words and phrases associated with personal finance, including saving, budgeting, loans, mortgages, refinancing, shares, bonds, credit cards, debt, social security, stocks, stock market, financial goals, investment portfolio, insurance and interest rates.
Which is why many of us have trouble understanding what personal finance is.
I think complicating this important issue more than it already is for many of us, is one of the underlying causes of so many of us being in debt. That said, if you are serious about managing your money better, you need to familiarize yourself with these terms.
I know, it looks and sounds scary, but believe me it is not as complicated as you think it is, if you can keep this equation in mind:
Make More + Spend Less + Save as Much as You Can = Better Money Management
MoneyPantry.com is a personal finance blog where I will help you do just that. I would like to make managing your financial life easy to understand and undertake.
And to be honest, I think it's fairly easy to understand what PF is once you get away from all the big words advisor and so-called gurus throw at you.
Now, whether your goal is to become debt free, increase your over all net worth, retire early, payoff credit cards or college loans, or simply to manage your money better, you need a plan of action. Personal finance planning comes down to 5 things. Get these right and you are golden.
First, you need to sit down and figure out your financial situation, how much you make, how much you owe, how much you spend, how much you have saved up etc. You can use a software to do that, or you can do it the old fashion way and use pen and papers. It doesn't matter how you do it, the important thing is that you do it.
Just like most other areas of life, goals can help keep you on track. These goals can be short, medium and long term. If you are just beginning, I would start with very small and achievable goals that can be reached fast. Accomplishing short term goals are easier and give you a boost of confidence, giving you more motivation to keep going for the long run. An example of a short term goal can be saving money to pay off a small credit card loan.
This plan is simply your road map for achieving goals you have set up in the last step. Its your guide, your blue print if you will. It doesn't have to be anything complicated. Simply write down what you need to do in order to reach each of your goals. For example, if you owe $500 on the credit card you are trying to payoff, and you want to pay it off in 10 weeks time, you would need to save $50 weekly.
You can plan until the cows come home, but if you don't put them into action, your goals are not going to be achieved. Discipline is the most important part here. You need to be committed if you want to reach your goals. Following our example above, you would, no matter what, put $50 every week aside so you can pay off that credit card in 10 weeks time.
Your car breaks down unexpectedly and its going to cost you a $1000 to get it fixed, your work hours get cut down, life is hectic and doesn't matter how much you plan, unexpected things happen and you have to deal with it. Now, you can either let it ruin your plan, or you can simply reassess your situation and make necessary adjustments so you can keep going. Needless to say, if you want to reach your financial goals, you need the second choice.
Start by browsing MoneyPantry.com. Use our navigational links above to find specific topics you would like to know more about.
You will find tips, advice and step by step guides on everything from ways to earn extra money, saving for and on everything life throws at you, becoming debt free, credit cards, insurance, early retirement and much more.
Read, learn and take action!
That is the only way you are going to get your personal finance together and become a better manager of your money.