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.