First, buy something for Mom and Dad as a token of your appreciation for their support (flowers, lunch, take them to the mall, etc.).
Now that the easy part is over, let’s get down to business.
Financial stability is all about you. Unfortunately, we as a society do not talk about personal finance as much as we should and that hurts everyone. I hope that by helping you take care of yourself, you’ll help your friends and family take care of themselves too.
Where do we start? Well, personal finance is like climbing Mount Everest. It will take practice, but you do it one step at a time.
Step One: Define your goal
A well-defined goal can be the difference between success and failure. In our case, the goal is financial stability, but what does that mean? When I say “financial stability,” I mean:
- Spending less than you earn
- Becoming debt-free
- Saving enough for your kids’ education (if you choose to have kids)
- Saving enough for retirement
- Having money left over to enjoy the life you’re living now
These pieces are listed in a rough order of priority, but they are also listed from most to least clear in terms of evaluating your progress. I like numbers, but not everything can be quantified, especially when it comes to figuring out how best to enjoy your life. The good news is that by the time we get to the bottom of the list, you’ll have enough financial flexibility to figure out exactly what makes you happiest. The other good news is that as we move down the list, we are building strong habits that make the next step easier and easier, until we get to the point where we look back and see how effortless we have made our financial security and then we look forward to how much we can do when we are freed of financial woes.
Remember: the goal is not to be rich tomorrow, it is to be financially stable for life. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you, so take a deep breath and relax. We’ll get through this together.