When it comes to money, I’m definitely the nerdiest guy in my office. I’m not obsessed (anymore), but I do enjoy a good money read if I feel the author knows what he or she is talking about and the topic is pertinent to my interests. As much as I enjoy learning it for myself, I take great satisfaction in passing the best principles along to my interested friends and anyone else who cares. Depressingly, this is a very small number. But you’re here reading, so you care more than the average person, and I’m glad you do!
There are several different things you need to do right away to take back your paycheck. I’ll cover three big ones here. You know these, but every one of us not only needs to be reminded of them, but also encouraged to make progress. So put on your big kid boots and let’s go…
Stop Taking On Debt….IMMEDIATELY!
And I mean now. Not tomorrow, not after payday, not next month. Now. Duh, right? Wrong. I’m not just talking big ticket “wants” like cars and big kid toys. I’m talking “needs” like that $30 dinner you’re planning to put on your credit card, and that $50 buy-in poker night you know you’re going to win. Stop it.
Start Paying Off Old Debts
A big mistake often committed by well-meaning people trying to break the debt cycle is this: rather than paying off debt aggressively, they choose to make minimum payments and put as much as possible into savings. It’s not a lack of effort, just a lack of info. I’m here to help solve the latter. You’ll never earn enough interest in savings to outpace what you’re paying in interest to lenders. Won’t happen. And don’t even try the investment argument. If you’re in debt, you have no business tying up money in investments. There’s no way you’re going to find an investment that will come close to paying you more than that 18% credit card is charging you in interest. Start smallest to largest and pay those debts off!
Make a Difficult Cut
Seriously, get rid of the $30,000 car. If you want to exercise your financial muscles and build some equity in your life, you have to break bad habits today. Shed the flabby extras and streamline your operation. Look at your finances as your own little business, and protect that business from competition! You can’t afford to make those payments while taking back your paycheck, so take the plunge, make the cut, shed a tear if necessary, and move on.
These are only three of at least a dozen or more points I could rattle off in my sleep. And no, I didn’t invent this stuff. Dad and mom taught me. Just like someone else taught them. And on and on it goes. These principles are age-old, and I fully intend to keep them alive as long as someone will listen. There’s a lot more to cover, so check back for future articles!