The 4 Steps You Need to Take to Secure a Healthy Financial Future

By Christopher Haymon

Christopher Haymon is the founder of Adulting Digest.

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Are you planning for your financial future? If you’re like the average person, you’re more focused on today than tomorrow. But failing to plan comes with major consequences, and they don’t always wait until you’re 65+ to strike. These are the four steps you need to take to protect your family today and into the future.

1. Plan for Emergencies

According to a survey from GoBankingRates, 69 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account. That’s less than you need to cover a broken furnace or a trip to the emergency room, let alone a major event like losing a job.

If you’re among that 69 percent, prioritize building an emergency fund over other financial goals. Your emergency fund should cover three to six months of living expenses. This includes non-negotiable expenses like mortgage or rent, car payments, and utility payments, food, and gas. The exact amount in your emergency fund depends on your expenses along with other factors, such as benefits you might qualify for if you lost your job.

It’s also beneficial to have a general idea of how much your assets are worth when planning for emergencies. Assets include your home, cars, investments, and other items of value you own. You can use an online estimate to calculate an approximate value for your home.

2. Pay Down Debt

Debt seriously hampers long-term savings goals, especially if you have a lot of bad debt. Debt.org defines bad debt as debt that doesn’t increase your net worth or hold future value, and it’s this debt you should focus on paying off first. Common forms of bad debt are credit card debt and car loans. While student loans are often considered good debt, high balances can still make this debt burdensome, especially for privately held student loans with high interest rates.

There are two philosophies regarding paying off debt: paying off debt with the highest interest rate first, to minimize the total amount paid over time, or paying off debts with the smallest balance first, to build motivation by eliminating debt accounts. Choose the strategy that works for your finances and your morale.

3. Invest in Good Insurance

Life is full of unexpected events. If you’re not prepared in the event of a medical emergency, disabling health condition, or early death, you’re putting your financial security at risk.

Paying hundreds of dollars monthly for insurance is a hard pill to swallow, but when you look at the numbers, investing in insurance makes sense: one in four people will spend at least three months out of work due to a disabling condition, the average funeral cost is over $7,000 and is rising, and medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US.

Most Americans understand the value of a good health insurance policy, but life insurance and disability insurance are less understood. Disability insurance pays a portion of your income if you’re unable to work, both short-term and long-term disability policies are available. Many workers can purchase disability insurance through their employer at a discounted group rate. Life insurance pays money to beneficiaries in the event of the policy holder’s death. It’s important to have this if a spouse or children depend on your income or if you don’t have savings to pay for funeral expenses (though many people opt for burial insurance to help cover the cost of funerals). While many people opt for term life insurance due to lower premiums, a term policy doesn’t accrue cash value. Purchasing a whole life policy instead gives you the option to sell the policy later on to free up cash for retirement.

4. Save for Retirement

Unless you want to work until your final day, you need retirement savings. If your employer offers a 401(k), this is the best place to start. Workers contribute pre-tax income to a 401(k) through payroll deductions, and some employers match that contribution up to a set percentage. To save beyond the annual 401(k) contribution limit, or if you don’t have a 401(k), look to IRAs. You can save either pre-tax with a traditional IRA or post-tax using a Roth IRA. If you’ve maxed out both your 401(k) and IRA, talk to your financial advisor about other ways to invest.

You can’t afford to put off thinking about the future. While today may be comfortable, tomorrow won’t be without a strong financial foundation. Whether you’re just getting your finances on track or looking to expand your investments, talk to a financial counselor about how you can better prepare for your financial future.

How to Have a Positive Mindset About Money

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Raise your hand if you’ve heard the phrase, “Money is the root of all evil.”

Did you know that this quote originated from the Bible, and the entire quote is, “The love of money is the root of all evil”?

Kind of changes the meaning of it a little bit, doesn’t it?

Because of its origin, this verse is warning us about the perils of greed. But here’s something to think about - can you love money without being considered greedy? What if your love of money was more so your love of being able to take care of yourself and not have to worry about financial troubles?

Allow us to get all woo-woo for a second and say this: Your mindset towards money can determine whether money is abundant or absent in your life.

When it comes to attracting more wealth in your life, there are two schools of thought: the scarcity mindset, and the abundance mindset.

The scarcity mindset is believing that you never quite have enough of something - in this case, wealth or money. This is mainly due to forces outside of your control, or because there just isn’t enough for everyone. “The scarcity mindset views things like wealth, success, and fame as something like a pie. There’s only so much to go around and if one person takes too big of a slice, everyone else gets less.” - Matthew Kent, Medium

Rich people are inherently evil, no matter how many good deeds they’ve done with their money, because they took too big of a slice, so now there’s not enough for the rest of us.

Abundance mindset, however, implies the opposite. “The abundance mindset says that we can create more value for everyone. Instead of viewing wealth and success as a zero-sum game, we can create win-win situations where everyone comes out better than they were before.” - Matthew Kent

This means that there is no finite amount of money or wealth, and everyone can have as much of the pie as they want. It’s basically dog eat dog versus collaboration.

Many studies have proven that people who are wealthy are more likely to have a positive, abundant mindset than those who are not. They believe that they create their own life and destiny, as opposed to being controlled by it. They focus on the end opportunity, rather than the obstacles that may have to be crossed to get there. They admire their fellow wealthy peers, rather than see them as competition. See what the pattern is?

By changing your mindset to an open, abundant one - not just about finances, but about all aspects of life - you can create the wealth that you want. Here are four steps to take to get started on having a healthier, positive mindset surrounding money.

Stop thinking of money as the enemy.

Money is not the problem. Money is just an object - a way to acquire needs and wants. It has no mental capacity, emotions, thoughts, feelings, or motivations. The perception you place on money is just that - your perception.

By putting negative emotions towards money, you’re going to have negative experiences. By thinking you’ll never have enough money, you’ll never have enough money.

You can get help your finances with money, or you can hurt your finances with money - it’s up to you to decide which one happens.

Realize what you can and can’t control.

In the same vein, realize what you have control over, and what is beyond your control.

You can’t control when your car breaks down. You can’t control when your spouse overspends. You can’t control when the market crashes.

You can, however, control your reactions. Or, better yet - your preventative actions.

Your car breaks down? Good thing you’ve been putting money away into an emergency fund. Your spouse overspends? Good thing you’ve been practicing a budget so you can adjust as needed. The market crashes? Good thing you pulled out when you did.

Even if these preventative actions weren’t taken, you can control how you respond to these or any situations. Instead of getting angry and thinking, “This always happens when I can’t cover the cost,” try thinking, “Ok, so I have to have x amount of money - here’s my plan to take care of the issue now and how to recover in the future.” Wipe your hands clean, and move on.

Make plans for what you can control, and practice controlling your emotions in stressful situations. Both will help you be more prepared for the unexpected.

Do actions that make you feel good about money.

Build a positive relationship with money by doing things that make you feel good that involve money. For example, if you find you have extra cash this month, consider donating it to your favorite charity, or buying a gift for a loved one. Make sure that the action you’re spending money on is guilt-free; it can be as morally good as you want, but if you feel guilty, you’re only adding a negative building block to your money relationship.

If investing or putting it away in savings makes you feel good, do that - you don’t have to spend to feel good.

Practice gratitude.

Spending five minutes a day writing down events or aspects of your life you’re grateful for has so many benefits - including for your wallet. According to Forbes, being grateful can encourage you to be more patient, which means you’re more likely to make smarter financial choices and less likely to splurge or indulge in instant gratification.

If you’re still having trouble being positive about money, spend time being grateful for what money has done for you. Maybe you were able to go to school because you had access to money, even if you may be in debt right now. Perhaps you are now finally able to afford healthcare. Even using money to buy groceries for the week is something to be grateful for.

Thank your finances - don’t shame them.

How is your mindset about money? What ways do you practice gratitude in your life? Let us know in the comments!

What Will Make You Rich - And What's Holding You Back

If you’ve ever wondered why you just can’t seem to get richer, you may want to take a step back and examine the daily habits in your life. The solution could be something as small as a mindless task you take advantage of every day!

Here are habits that you are most likely doing that are preventing you from increasing your net worth - along with habits you can start incorporating to set yourself on the path to wealth.

What Isn’t Making You Rich

  • Microtransactions and Subscriptions

Netflix. Spotify. Amazon. Skillshare. Gym memberships. Do any of these sound familiar to you? When was the last time you used these products? Do you still find value in them? If not, it’s time to ditch them.

On average, a person in the US can save up to $500/year by cutting back on monthly or yearly subscriptions. Chances are, you may not even know you’re still paying monthly for a service you haven’t used in years! Take the time to comb through your bank account for recurring transactions. If any make you ask, “What the heck is this?”, it’s time to cancel.

  • Impulsive spending

Another practical way to begin accumulating more wealth is to reign in any bad spending habits you may have. If you find yourself buying because of an emotional reason, or feel that if you ever have cash in your pocket you just have to get rid of it, now’s a good time to reassess your spending habits. Find your triggers that cause impulsive purchases and nip them in the bud before they can cause any problems again.

  • Complaining too much

Accumulating wealth isn’t just a matter of spending less or saving more. You also have to be sure to have the right mindset. As long as you’re complaining about not having money, you’re putting the signal out into the world that you don’t have money and you won’t have money. Studies have shown that rich people do not complain as much as poorer people - they’re more likely to own up to mistakes, try new things, and aren’t as afraid to fail. By complaining, you’re setting yourself roadblocks on paths that could lead you to more money. Negativity never reaps anything.

  • Surrounding yourself with the wrong people

There’s a saying that goes, “The 5 closest people in your life are a reflection of yourself.” Like attracts like, which means we naturally tend to gravitate towards those who are similar to us, be in in lifestyle, careers, or habits. When it comes to money habits, this can be detrimental if your 5 closest people are all poor, not managing their money well, or negative. Try to find people that you want to be like or can look up to and incorporate them into your life.

What Will Make You Rich

  • Prioritizing savings

If you had an unexpected emergency happen today, could you cover the cost? Studies show that 69% of Americans do not have enough in their savings to cover $1,000 of an emergency cost. When you prioritize your savings, not only are you paying yourself first, but you’re also ensuring that should an emergency come up, you won’t have to dip into credit and set yourself back even further.

  • Paying down debt

The more debt you pay down, the higher your net worth becomes. You’ll never be able to build riches if you always have that lingering loan number in the back of your mind. Plus - the longer you take to pay it off, the more you will have to pay off because of interest, so you’re setting yourself up for an endless cycle of owing money.

Start paying off any debt as soon as you can - and make sure you’re doing it in a way that you won’t be putting yourself in a bind for the rest of your monthly expenses. The last thing you want to do while paying debt is to take out another loan to cover other costs.

  • Thinking outside the box

When was the last time you flexed your creative muscle? Studies have proven that rich people tend to be more creative thinkers; they aren’t afraid to try new methods to make more money. You can practice creative thinking as soon as today by viewing a situation at work from a different angle; the more you work on your creativity, the easier it will be to think of new solutions that might very well earn you a pay raise.

  • Having a financial mentor

Similar to surrounding yourself with like-minded people, consider finding a mentor for your financial journey. Many people learn best by following example; find someone who is in the financial place you want to be in. They can help you with any questions you may have, and you have someone to visualize whenever you’re about to make a decision regarding money. Think of them as the “What would Jesus do?” of finances.

Another way to help build your finances is to see an advisor. We at Milborn Advisors are committed to helping you on every step of your financial journey - we want to see your wealth grow as much as you want to experience it. Contact us today for a free 60-minute consultation!


How I Increased My Net Worth By $10,000 in One Year

By Amy Lancaster

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Up until I started working at Milborn Advisors, I had no money. Seriously - I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, wondering how I was going to come up with rent for the next month. Now that I am involved in the financial world daily, I decided I wanted to grow my own bank account and really start taking my own personal finance seriously. From August 2018 to now, I’ve managed to increase my net worth by $10,000.

Of course, it’s not where I want it to be yet - but it’s been a huge help in my financial future. I’ve been able to begin to pay off student loans - something I’ve never done before. I’ve raised my credit score. I have health insurance for the first time in my life. I have an emergency fund that can cover me for up to six months. All in all, while I still have a lot of work to do, I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished in a year.

Here’s how I did it.

I researched.

Ask anyone - I love learning about things. As soon as I see a movie, I immediately look up random facts about it. If I have even the slightest question about something, I google it. So, when I first got interested in finances, I read all the articles. I created an RSS feed that updates daily with blog posts just from financial sites. I looked into phone apps that would help keep me on track. I made sure I knew the ins and outs about everything I was going to be doing for the next year so I knew what I was actually doing.

I still do this, as well - not as feverishly, of course, because I’m still in the building stages, but once I get to a place where I can start contributing to retirement for example, I’ll be researching all of my options to make sure I choose the right one.

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Arm yourself with knowledge.

I created a plan.

After having all the facts, opinions, and experiences laid out in front of me, I began to plan. What was my goal for this first year of finance overhaul? What did I want to accomplish? I decided on three things:

  1. Open a savings account and start contributing to an emergency fund.

  2. Get to a point where I can start contributing a large sum of money towards my school loans.

  3. Figure out a way to earn more money.

From there, I broke these steps down further:

  1. Open a savings account and start contributing to an emergency fund.

    1. Calculate how much money I can realistically put away each month.

    2. Divide that up by every pay period, and immediately put it into savings when pay day hits.

  2. Get to a point where I can start contributing a large sum of money towards my school loans.

    1. Determine if I can pay off loans while still in school.

    2. Determine what number this is that won’t put me in a bind for other expenses.

  3. Figure out a way to earn more money.

    1. How can I use skills I already have to earn extra cash?

I created a budget and started tracking my expenses.

All of these goals could not be completed unless I had set a strict budget for myself and tracked where every cent was going. I’ll admit - I’m the extreme case who has an Excel spread sheet color-coded tracking literally every cent daily - but that’s what worked for me. Whether you’re checking daily or weekly (and I wouldn’t recommend checking less often than that), be sure to at the very least keep an eye on your account balances.

I was also just genuinely curious about where most of my money went (hint: it’s food. It’s always food.)

Here is how I broke down my expenses every month:

  1. I wrote out where all my money would be coming from for the month and what my total post-tax income would be.

  2. I kept track of when that money hits my bank account.

  3. I took my income and tacked off 20% of it towards savings, setting a specific date for myself on when to transfer it over.

  4. I wrote out all my necessary expenses for the month (bills and loans), and determined that total.

  5. I subtracted that total from the amount of income left after my savings contribution.

  6. I tacked off 30% of that amount and transferred it to my “fun money” account.

You’ll notice I determine the amount of savings before I calculate my necessary expenses. This is important - you want to pay yourself first before taking care of anything else. You’ll also notice that with this method, I have a left over amount of money with no job. The first year I did this method, I didn’t worry about that money - I was more focused on getting this system in place and seeing if I did actually have extra money left over after all the payments and transfers were made.

I would not recommend doing this - if you can give every dollar a job, do it. I could have been putting all that extra money towards retirement, hitting two birds with one stone (retirement contributions and loan repayments).

I opened multiple bank accounts.

Before starting, I had one checking account with Chase, and one checking account with a mobile bank called Simple that I never used but just didn’t close. I also had a bank account from my hometown that had been open since I was 5. It had $6.00.

Here’s how I now allocate my accounts:

  1. Chase checking account - for bills, loan repayments, and other necessary expenses.

  2. Chase savings account #1 - for emergency fund.

  3. Chase savings account #2 - for long-term savings goals (I’m currently saving up for a new laptop, for example).

  4. Simple checking account - for “fun money”.

The childhood bank account is obviously closed. RIP. (I did get that $6.00 back though.)

I started paying attention to my credit score.

You’ll notice that I don’t have any credit cards or accounts. This is intentional. From personal experience, I’ve seen credit burn my family directly, so I vowed to not have to rely on credit to improve my credit score. Of course, you don’t have to do this - if you’re good with credit repayment, it doesn’t hurt to have one.

I do eventually want to be able to either open a mortgage or get a car or do things that rely on good credit, however, so I still pay attention to this. I’ve had my bad credit score bite me in the butt in the past, and I was tired of it. Because of my changes, my score has increased by 50 points in the last year.

I began tracking my net worth.

Now for the fun part! While I obviously could tell the health of my bank accounts because of my overly-obsessive budget tracking, I wanted to put everything together and see the progression as a total lump sum. So, I downloaded an app called Personal Capital and plugged in all my info. It’s nice because it tracks your bank accounts, loans, and investments all in one place and gives you your total net worth number, along with assets and liabilities. I believe you can also get your credit score on there. Seeing those numbers change and rise is a great motivator, and it’s nice to have all that info in one place.

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I compared last year’s amount to this year’s, and rewarded myself.

As of August 1st, one year has passed since I began this journey. Seeing the amount of money I had from last August compared to now is so amazing. I can’t believe it. So, I rewarded myself by (correctly budgeting for, of course) purchasing new work outfits.

Don’t be shy about celebrating your successes. You’ve worked hard, and you should be proud of yourself!

Let me know if you try this plan - I’d love to hear your progress! Also - are you an obsessive budgeter like myself, or are you more lax about your budget? Let us know in the comments!

5 Money Goals to Make to Build Your Future

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In most aspects of life, the journey itself is just as important as the destination. This includes the path you need to take to get your finances in order. It can be intimidating - but with the right directions and guides, it definitely doesn’t have to be!

Here are five goals you can get started on today to pave your path to financial success and stability:

Determine a budget

The first thing you want to do is collect all your statements, account balances, and any money hidden anywhere, and figure out how much you have on you right now. If you don’t want to crunch the numbers yourself, sites like Personal Capital can quickly do this and display everything nice and neatly for you - for free!

Once you’ve figured out what you have and what you owe, it’s time to set up a budget. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Flex those Excel skills and create a spreadsheet, where you can track monthly, weekly, or even daily;

  • Use a budgeting app like Mint, which can send you notifications in real-time about your budget (the “Set it and Forget it” method);

  • Set a meeting with your financial advisor (wink wink) and set up a budget for you together - this can allow for flexibility and you won’t be tracking it alone or relying on a robot.

Once your budget is set, you can see exactly how much you need to survive the day-to-day, along with how much you can allocate towards debt, savings, and investments.

Click here to read about how budgeting can change your life.

Prioritize your debt

The next step is to start ticking away at those loans. Your budget will show you how much you can spend monthly on your loans - now start applying it! The nice thing too is that you can adjust numbers here and there depending on if you want to be more liberal or conservative with your debt repayment - just make sure you adjust the rest of your budget to make up for the difference so you don’t end up putting more money towards your payments than you can actually afford.

Read our guide here on how to begin tackling your debt!

Decide how you will contribute to retirement

After setting a budget and paying off your debt, the next task you’ll want to tackle is getting yourself set up for retirement. What kind of account do you want to contribute to? Does your company have a 401(k), or will you need to open an IRA? Be sure to research all your options, and pick the plan that’s right for you.

Roth or Traditional? Which IRA Is Right For You?

Don’t forget to address these aspects of retirement that are often overlooked!

Figure out how to make your money grow

Congratulations! You’re beginning to set up a nice cushion for yourself. But - don’t get too comfy yet. While having a stable income is good, don’t you want to learn how to earn more?

This is where investing comes in. What is considered fun or a gamble to some can be intimidating for others - what if I lose all that I’ve worked up towards? More often than not, however, investing is worth it purely for the fact that you will walk away with more than you put in. As the old adage goes - “You gotta spend money to make money.”

Again, be sure to do your research: you can start with this article here.

Seek Guidance

Even if all your ducks are in a row, having an advisor or a mentor is a great way to stay focused and to be sure you’re making the right decisions. Many of the top successful people will say that they had a mentor, and wouldn’t have made half of their money-making decisions without them.

Whether you’re planning for retirement, looking to get out of debt, or just wanting a question answered - we can help. Click here to contact us and schedule your free 60-minute consultation today!

What are your goals financially to help build and secure your future? Let us know in the comments!

How to Tackle Your Debt Once and for All

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When talking about debt, many people prefer to just avoid the conversation altogether for fear of shame. The reality is, if you’re in debt, you are part of the majority - as of 2019, 300 million people in the US are in debt, totaling an American Household amount of $13.21 trillion.

Read on to find out the different types of debt, how to create a plan on paying off loans, and why you should start ASAP.

Why should I pay my debt off sooner?

The most obvious reason? Interest. The longer you take to pay off debt, the more your payments are actually going to the interest and not the loan itself. Because of this, your payback amount will be guaranteed to be higher than your initial loan.

Also - the more you payoff initially, the less chance you have of paying off extra interest, and the more you’ll save in the long run. Avoiding paying the minimum balance is a sure way to guarantee you’ll pay off most the principal balance without those extra interest costs. Plus, the sooner it’s paid off, the sooner you won’t have to worry about it any more!

What types of debt are there?

There’s a decent chance you have more than one type of debt to pay - they’re not all created equal, and some are actually considered “good” debt. Here are the different types you may encounter:

  • Mortgage - You have to have a place to live, so this type of debt is almost unavoidable; however, if you invest smartly, you could actually make money in the long-term once you sell.

“If you buy a home for $235,000 and it appreciates 3% a year, it will be worth $485,000 when your 30-year mortgage is paid off. If it appreciates 4% a year, that initial $235,000 investment will be worth $649,000.” - Debt.org

  • Home Equity Loan/Line of Credit - This is a loan with a low interest rate that uses your house as collateral. You receive it as a lump sum and pay back off a certain amount each month, and it can be used to pay off high-interest credit cards. While this is a good way to keep interest rates low, you must be careful not to forget payments, as your house could be foreclosed.

  • School Loan - Depending on what you want to expand your knowledge on, taking out a school loan is great debt - as long as your future career can help pay if off easily. Nevertheless, acquiring a loan for school and paying it off on time is a great way to build your credit score and not feel so guilty about borrowing money, since it’s for the betterment of your future.

  • Small Business Loan - Most small businesses will take out a loan or ask for monetary help when first opening their doors. Much like the school loan, this will only work if your business can actually pay it off, otherwise you’ll end up owing more than what you started with.

  • Credit Card - While credit cards may seem appealing because they’re an immediate fix for financial woes, you end up paying big time in the long run. Some interest rates are as high as almost 20%, which means you’re paying extra on payback versus the amount you used for your initial purchase. While they can help you in a bind, credit cards can kill your credit score if you aren’t careful.

  • Payday Loans - Similar to a credit card, these loans are for getting you out of an immediate jam, but they come at a price.

“It’s quick and easy, but the finance charges range from $15 to $30 for every $100 borrowed. A typical two-week payday loan with $15-per-$100 fee equates to an annual percentage rate of 400%.” - Debt.org

  • Auto Loans - Depending on where you live, having a car may be a necessity. Be careful going into getting a loan for a car, however, because as soon as you drive it off the lot, it’s no longer worth what you paid for. You’ll be paying back a loan that doesn’t equal the value anymore.

Which One Should You Pay Off First

There are many ways you can tackle the order of your debts, from highest-interest to the smallest amount.

Paying off the debt with the highest interest rate makes sense - you don’t want to be paying more money than you have to, so wiping this one out will help combat those ridiculously high interest amounts you’re accruing the longer you leave them unpaid.

Paying off the smallest amount owed also makes sense - because it is smaller, it will get paid off more quickly. This is a great method if you find you lack motivation, because you’ll see substantial progress. Just remember, however, that those high interest loans are just going to get higher the longer they’re unpaid.

Ordering your debt repayment in terms of tax breaks can also factor into your final plan. School loans, for example, which typically have lower interest rates than credit card loans anyway, also come with a deductible on interest when filing taxes.

How to Create a Plan for Debt Repayment

You’ll need to determine:

  1. Which debts are the highest priority based on which method from above you use (highest interest, lowest amount, or order based on tax breaks);

  2. How much you can contribute to debt repayment each month (this will need to be done by creating a budget if you don’t already have one);

  3. If the repayment plan you make can be sustainable in the long run, meaning it won’t put you in the red, or be too little to make a large impact.

    1. You can, however, consider flexibility - perhaps you get a higher-paying job, or a raise, or you move to an area with a lower living cost. Any money that no longer has a job or any extra income can be accrued towards debt repayment. Just be sure to not lower this amount, and again, make sure it’s sustainable in the long run.

Once you have these steps in place, just keep monitoring, and start imagining your life without debt - because now, it will become a reality.

If you need help with debt repayment - whether you aren’t sure where to start, or you just need some encouragement - we can help. Schedule a 60-minute consultation with us today.

How to do a Semi-Annual Financial Check-In

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When a new year begins, it’s very easy to get excited about resolutions and goals. While this may be good for your finances at first, eventually life can and will get in the way. That’s why it’s always a good idea to do a 6-month check in with any of your goals, be they financial or otherwise.

Today, we’ll help guide you through your semi-annual financial check-in to make sure you’re still on track, or to get you back on track.

Gather up all your accounts and statements

First, you’ll want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row by getting all your financial account statements. This includes your bank statements, credit card statements, investment statements, any debts or loan repayments you’re doing, real estate/mortgage, and anything else you can think of that falls into this category. You could also include your credit score statements, but just be careful you aren’t checking these scores too often in one year, as this can affect your score.

Having all the documents laid out will make sure that, when you evaluate them, you aren’t forgetting anything. Make a check-list if you want to be extra-organized!

Re-evaluate your goals

A lot of the time, people will feel as though they are trapped in their goals and have to see them through before making a new one. This doesn’t have to be the case! Sometimes our values or expectations change, which means that our goals will also change. Don’t be afraid to admit if your goal doesn’t align with your beliefs or lifestyle anymore, and change it accordingly.

If your goal is still relevant to you, however, take a look at what steps you’ve accomplished so far, and take time to congratulate yourself. Even if you aren’t quite where you want to be yet, acknowledging that you’ve made progress at all is a great way to keep yourself motivated.

Write down your action plan for the next six months

It’s one thing to think about what your next steps are going to be - it’s another thing entirely to write them down. According to a study at the Dominican University of California, you’re at least 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down and revisit them consistently.

By taking your plan and writing it down step-by-step, you’ll set a clear path for yourself to make sure you will reach your financial goals, and you will also be able to know when you complete certain steps!

Do a quick check-in every month to stay on track

When it comes to my finances, I check my statements every single day to make sure I haven’t missed anything and that I’m on the right track. You don’t have to be as crazy as I am, but make sure you check in with your progress at the very least once a month. Once a week may be even better! That way, you can figure out immediately what has worked, what hasn’t, and change your plan accordingly.

Goals, especially financial ones, can be daunting if you don’t have a path or you’re unsure what to do. Follow these steps, however, and you’re much more likely to be successful!

What are some of your financial goals for the next six months? Have any of your goals changed from January? Let us know in the comments!