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Like a lot of women who have reached the age of “thirty-something,” when I turned 30, my finances were a mess.

My husband and I were in good good jobs, but at the end of every month, we wondered where our money went.

We had thousands of dollars in credit card debt, and I had tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. I made a budget every month, but it never seemed to help.

Now, closer to my 40s, I’ve paid off $10k in student loan debt, and I am down to my last $2k of credit card debt.

I’m making serious progress, and it’s because of one small piece of advice that a friend gave me years ago…Take your goals one at a time.

When I approached finances in my 20s, I did it the same way I did everything; diving in the deep end, trying to do everything at once, and then flailing around and giving up when it was overwhelming.

The big mistake I was making was not speaking to a professional who could help me organise my approach to financial reform in my own home.

Many of my friends had finances that were just as confusing as mine, but the ones who had themselves together had a recommendation – “Talk to a professional”. I made sure to look around for a highly recommended financial planner in my area who I could trust and one that could speak to me in the terms I would understand. In the end I used AMP’s Find an Adviser tool.

As I dove further into understanding my financial situation I found out that I was pulling myself in so many directions. I never once felt shamed for the way I’d run up my credit cards or failed to save for retirement. Instead, I found myself having an honest and sincere conversation about how to change things up so that I could turn my finances around.

For me, the first step was learning a method of budgeting that worked for my family. Then, we set more reasonable goals around what we could pay off and when. Instead of paying a little extra on every bill.

I worked to pile up my extra resources on one bill at a time, pushing towards debt reduction so that I could begin saving.

I’ve started putting more money aside towards retirement, though I’m still mostly at the place of working to pay off the debts I have from before I got my finances in order. By using tools like this retirement calculator, it’s helping me plan my financial future so that my family and I are better off in the long run.

You never know what’s going to come around the corner so the more prepared you are, the better.

For too many years, I let the financial mess of my own making leave me feeling powerless to control my money. Without careful and intense attention paid, my money was controlling me, and that situation was an absolute disaster.

But with the help of some good financial advice I was able to make positive changes to my financial situation.

It’s been two years since I bounced a cheque, and longer since I had to scrounge to figure out how to buy groceries. The best part is that I’ve never felt deprived of or lacked the things my family wanted; I do however, feel in control and powerful when it comes to making positive decisions for the financial health of my family.

What do you use to plan and manage your families financial future? Please share in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • It is really useful to have a budget planner.

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  • Fantastic tips. I am 26 now and money is a huge struggle but its great to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel

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  • I wish I had been more careful with my money in my 20s. My dad was always telling me to put a bit away each pay to save for a home deposit but I waS TOO interested in having fun at the time.

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  • My eldest daughter is 28 and has just decided to start saving for a house deposit.
    Shes getting a set amount of her pay put into a bank account that she has no access to and i will be the only one with the password. She wants me to check the account every year and once it reaches a certain amount im then to let her know and she will then look for property to buy.

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  • Thankyou for this, although a little further along in age I suppose it is never to late to start, or as they say better late than never. Will be using some of these tools to find a financial planner to suit us and look for some long term goals.

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  • This is sound advice. We saw a financial planner about 6 years ago to have a health check before we purchased our first home. At this stage, our mortgage is likely to be paid out in another 6 years, and our other loans within 12 months.

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  • My tip is to track your expenses so you can see where your money goes and then make adjustments to save.

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  • Thankyou you have given me the imprison to see a planner, we have talked about getting financial help for a while but always put it off. I think now it is time to bite the bullet.

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  • A great read especially given I’m in my 30s.

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  • Thanks for a finance article – my tip is to look at your money, budget and finances everyday. It needs to be looked after daily.

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  • Very good advice in this article. Financial planners can really help point you in the right direction.


    • The right financial planner can help – shop around and get one that best suits you and your financial needs.

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  • Some very sound advice here.

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  • From the day I started work I’ve always been a good saver. It’s something my Mum instilled in me. It has helped us pay off two mortgages and to build up a nice savings balance too. Now we own our 2nd house we do need to make our money work harder, but we’re just enjoying a nice break now. The $ that used to go on our mortgage now goes directly into a savings account. We don’t notice it and it’s nice to see it build up. So my tip is SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! Every little bit counts.

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  • I never had any luxury expenditure, I had to tighten up my belt for years to pay off debt.
    In retrospect it would’ve been wise to seek financial advice and prepare for a raining day when I was young.

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  • Thank you for sharing this. Some great tips and advice.

    Reply

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