Progress Toward Financial Stability


Image by noricum via Flickr

It’s no secret. I have a financial biography that seems not to agree with my character. Yes, I’m a nice guy when you meet me in person and depending on what day it is and the time, I might even look nice by the clothes that adorn my chubby frame. I walk upright with confidence and can be articulate when in the company of an audience that requires such. However, if I walk into the Nissan dealership and tell the salesman, “I want that Nissan 370Z right off the showroom floor”, he is going to want to know a little about my financial past. He is going to want to see the one thing I don’t want him to see…my credit score. Having had a brief career in the car business, I already know that Nissan salesman is going to walk back to his office and kindly escort me right back to my car and tell me to have a nice day somewhere else. “You’re rude Mr. Nissan Salesman.”

Seriously though, I want that 370Z. And reality is that because I have always put immediate action on the word want for instant gratification, I have ended up in this financial chaos that I don’t need. Isn’t that the way it works? When we put our wants before our needs and can’t deny our hunger for instant gratification, we often encounter an undesirable result. I need to improve the story my financial biography is saying about me. I can’t exactly change it because it is already written and published. However, I can begin a new chapter. How am I going to do that? Okay, I’ll tell you.

Before I can change anything that needs to be changed about my financial situation, I have to want to do it. I suppose this is one instance where placing action on the want can have a positive impact on the need.  Here is what I plan to do to progress toward financial stability:

  1. Pull My Credit Score: It’s time for me to see what others will see when I ask for an extension of credit. Now that I have done that, it’s time to call the creditors I owe small amounts of money to and seek a settlement. For those I owe a yearly salary to, I will respectfully request to make arrangements with them to settle my debt with them in monthly installments. I don’t want to owe a man anything but love. That’s what the Bible says in Romans 13:8.
  2. Pay Tithes Consistently: Speaking of the Bible, did you know that God requires 10 percent of our earnings? I knew that and because I haven’t been the solid Christian example God has destined me to be, I’ve been robbing Him. There are different perspectives on tithing and some of them are quite controversial. My perspective is based on Malachi 3:8-10 and this is where I shall stand. I can no longer tell God He isn’t worth a dime through my lack of tithing consistently.
  3. Budget Wisely: If I don’t make a solid plan to budget, I can’t possibly keep up with where all the money is going. If I can see where it is going, then I can be certain I am making progress. I found a practical and simple automated budget spreadsheet from Squawkfox that allows me to input my income and expenses on a monthly basis. In addition to the current expenses that my wife and I have, we now have to budget for the pay off of the creditors we want to no longer owe. It’s going to be a tight year.
  4. Don’t Resuscitate My Wants: Although I have been blessed with a higher paying job to start off the year, I must be disciplined enough to not allow the excess to activate that sleeping giant called want. After all the bills in the budget have been satisfied there could be an excess of $318 dollars left each month. Rent-A-Center just advertised a 100-inch Flat Screen LCD TV for $80 dollars a week. There goes the excess and I owe them 2 dollars.
  5. Emergency Fund: That’s what I’m going to do with the excess. I’m going to put it in this emergency fund. I’ve come to know that emergencies don’t give us a scheduled time to happen. They just do. What if one of the kids gets sick? What if the washing machine burns out? This emergency fund will keep me out of Rent-A-Center and the Pay Day Loan shops and won’t interrupt our budget. Would you agree?

Financial health is extremely important. In my youth I didn’t see the adverse and residual effects that would lay claim on my inability to get the things that are needed. I may not see that Nissan salesman this year or even next year. However, I am well on my way to financial stability by starting a new chapter in my financial biography. Aren’t you ready to start a new chapter? Just write it!

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