15 Easy Ways To Take Your Money Game To The Next Level in 2017

BY: - 26 Dec '16 | Money

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We hate rules. Maybe it’s the rebel inside all of us. But, if you really think about it, rules serve us well. They keep us safe. They help us achieve our goals. Rules of the road, for instance, ensure that we’ll arrive at our destination safely without accident.

There are rules to the money game as well. Unfortunately, too often we ignore them resulting in financial carnage. But if you follow some of these money rules, you’ll achieve financial success. Consider these financial rules for a prosperous 2017.

1. Pay yourself first.

YOU are the most important person in your financial universe. Unfortunately, we pay everyone else first, leaving only leftovers for ourselves. Make sure the first payments of the month are used to fund your financial priorities. Then worry about everyone else.

2. Remember, it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep that matters.

We’d all love a high paying job, but earning a large salary will not necessarily make you rich. Likewise, bringing home a meager salary will not keep you from achieving financial prosperity.

3. The true path to wealth is found in spending less than you earn.

Use what’s left over to pay off debt or to build money producing assets like stocks, bonds, savings accounts, or your own business.

4. Lifestyle inflation will gut your financial dreams.

As we earn more money, our tastes become more expensive. It’s almost inevitable. We trade McDonalds for Five Guys Burgers, Target for Macy’s, and our Toyota Camry for a Lexus ES. And in the process, we end up spending just as much as we earn…ruining any ability to create wealth.

5. The true scorecard to financial success is your net worth.

The scorecard of financial success is not the size of your home, labels on your clothes, or brand of your car.  Net worth is the value of your total assets minus your total debts. No matter what stage your financial journey, you should always strive to increase your net worth.

6. Your willpower is fragile.

That’s not a criticism. It’s just human nature. In the end, we too often give in to financial temptations. That’s why it’s important not to rely on willpower alone. To get ahead financially, put your financial life on autopilot. Automate your savings, your 401K contributions, and your bill payments.

7. Stop leaving money on the table.

Have you had a car accident in the last year? If not, why are you paying the same insurance premium? Too often we fail to shop around for the lowest rates on insurance, cable television, cellphone plans and a host of other services.

8. Invest in your greatest asset.

You are your greatest asset. You, with your knowledge and skills, create your income. Therefore to increase your income you need to invest in you. Increase your knowledge. Learn new skills or earn new certifications that will allow you to command a higher salary.

Control your money or your money will control you.

9. Pay attention to the big purchases.

Get the big purchases right – transportation and housing, and you’ll be way ahead in the financial game. Unfortunately, people continue to buy more house than they can afford. They spend little time searching for the best mortgage rates and they spend more time planning their weekend than researching a $35,000 automobile purchase.

10. Run your own race.

You’ll never get ahead trying to keep up with your neighbor who is drowning in debt financing her new Mercedes. Don’t worry about the Joneses. Worry about your finances.

11. Give every dollar a purpose.

Give your Washington’s, Jefferson’s, and Benjamin’s their marching orders. Tell each and every dollar where it is going. Remember, control your money or your money will control you.

12. Understand that experiences will always trump material possessions.

When you sit down with friends and reminisce, do you discuss the things you purchased, or do you relish the time you spent with friends and loved ones? Experiences always appreciate in emotional value, while material possession almost always depreciate in monetary value. So if you have the choice between buying a new toy or going on a trip, for instance, chose the trip every time.

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13. Don’t be afraid to earn more money.

Your ability to earn money is only limited by your imagination. We all have talents and experiences that others would be more than willing to pay for. A side hustle is the perfect opportunity to offer your talents to the world.

14. Invest as early as possible.

Compound interest has been called one of the most powerful forces in the universe. It is what allows small investments to grow over time. However, for compound interest to multiply your savings, you need time. The earlier you invest, the more time you allow compound interest to increase the size of your investment.

15. Realize that your kids are always watching you.

They are learning from both your success and mistakes. This may provide you with the greatest incentive for practicing great money habits, as these habits will become the basis for your children’s financial practices in the future.

BMWK, what are some of the money rules you follow to achieve financial success?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 274 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of MochaMoney.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.

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Money & Marriage: 2 Ways Couples Can Get on the Same Page Financially

BY: - 30 Dec '16 | Money

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Soon after Derek proposed to Carrie, he got a bit of a surprise. He found out her house was headed into foreclosure. They still got married and faced the financial disaster together because, as they put it: “We had no choice. The bank wasn’t taking excuses in lieu of mortgage payments.”

The conversations and decisions that Derek and Carrie had to make early in their marriage were tough, but they helped them to understand how each of them grew up, what they valued, and helped them get on the same financial page.

I ran across their short book, One Bed, One Bank Account, in the library a few months ago. And I wanted to share two of their tips for merging money, because a lot of people will be getting engaged/hitched over the next few months.

The $100,000 Question

If I suddenly came into a 100,000 dollars, here’s what I would do with it:

  • I’d give $10,000 to church.
  • I’d spend $10,000 on a family vacation.
  • I’d save $20,000.
  • And, I’d put the remaining $60,000 toward paying off our house early.

My husband said he’d do almost the same thing: pay off the house, save for our children’s college and invest in our business. (Lord knows, we’ve had many difficult conversations surrounding money…it’s a gift to be on the same page now.)

But what if he wanted to spend $100,000 on a new Tesla?

Chile, we’d have problems!!

Derek and Carrie Olsen say that asking this simple question is a great way to begin having money talks, because it is a fun non-confrontational way to share what each of you value.

One at a Time, Please, One at a Time

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When my husband and I had our first budget meeting. It lasted six hours. It was awful.

I cut my him off before he could finish a thought. I questioned how he designed the spreadsheet, why he had a line for tithes and offerings, why didn’t we have a line for new clothing and anything else I could say/do to stay in control.

This was no bueno.

In their book, Derek and Carrie give several guidelines for budget meetings/money talks. But I think the most helpful tip that gave was one for making sure only one spouse talks at a time. And that the other spouse is an attentive listener. They recommend using a coffee cup, brush or anything else to help identify the speaker.
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The Point of It All

Many studies point to money problems being the number one cause for divorce. But it’s not really the money that causes the problems. It’s the communication about money that leads to our relationships either thriving or dying.

As a result of overcoming the financial disaster early in their marriage and growing toward each other, Derek and Carrie have dedicated their lives to helping couples have better conversations on money.

And that’s the point of it all: when couples understand each other’s motivations, backgrounds and hopes for money…they can both win. Because learning to communicate about money breaks down barriers.  It forces us to trust each other and teaches us how to resolve conflicts.

BMWK: What tips can you share for having open and honest communication about money?

About the author

M. Simone Boyd wrote 32 articles on this blog.

Last year, M. Simone Boyd quit her job as an energy analyst to research what makes relationships thrive or die. She interviewed 10 Christian Black Men to get their advice on relationships and wrote a free guide. Simone is one of eight kids, and her awesome husband is an only child. She leads workshops, writes, and goes to the gym at least once a month.

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