GREENSBORO, NC -- Make overs are great. Somehow magic is done and what is old becomes new again. If only magic applied to money. But all is not lost. Certified Financial Planner Matt Logan of Matt Logan, Inc. has 6 steps to a financial make over . Not magic, but it works!
1- Start with a budget.
This is the basis to being financially healthy. It does not matter how much money you make a year, you need to have some sort of budget. We are all human so this budget shouldn't be carved in stone, but you need to make some sort of effort to keep your spending in line with your earnings. As I have mentioned before, a free online budgeting tool that I have mentioned before is Mint.com
2- Build up a cash reserve.
If you do not have funds to take care of the emergencies that arise in life, you are not financially healthy. Whether these emergencies are car repairs or a new roof, these things happen. If you do not have liquid cash set aside to access in these times, it can hurt all of your other planning.
3- Pay off all of your credit card debt.
I used credit cards to supplement paying for college, so I know all about running up credit card debt. The bad news is that it is really a lot easier to run up than it is to pay down. The good news is that you can pay them off and it will lower the financial stress that you probably feel because of them. First step here is to gather balances from all of your cards and build out a plan of attack to paying them down.
4- Begin investing monthly.
Once you have gone through the first 3 steps, you are ready to begin investing monthly. If you are getting a match for your 401k, this step should be bumped up to number 1. If you are not, and you qualify, you may want to look into starting a Roth IRA. No matter what avenue is the most appropriate for you, the most important thing is to begin investing on a regular basis even if it is a small amount.
5- Be sure that you have appropriate life insurance coverage.
This is another item people tend to put off. Many people think that what they have from their employer should be enough to cover this need. Unfortunately most times it is not. If you still have kids at home I usually recommend starting with having at least ten times your pay in total life insurance coverage. If you already have coverage, make sure you have it reviewed and be sure that your beneficiaries are checked.
6- Define your long term goals.
This is really where the rubber hits the road and you begin looking beyond your immediate financial situation. I tend to see that the wealthier an individual is, the longer the time they look at their financial situation. These goals may include early retirement, a place at the beach, funding your grandchildren's college education or starting your own business. This is where a financial planner can help you a lot by helping to define these goals and making sure you are taking appropriate steps towards achieving them.
Matt Logan is a Representative with Matt Logan Inc and Summit Brokerage and may be reached at www.mattloganinc.com, 336-808-0126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.