Yesterday, I learned someone was going to lose their apartment this week. I chatted more to try to help come up with solutions. In their case, they had been struggling financially for awhile but the husband had only been out of work for one month.
Many people in the last five or six years have faced the same challenges. Whether it is an rent on an apartment or the mortgage on your house, if losing one month of income could put you in trouble, you need to start working from a goal-centric plan.
New start = goal-setting time
Believe me, I am not being critical here. I know how hard it is to get ahead. I just talked about my personal challenges here. Now that I am entering a new year of my life, I find every new start an opportunity to set more goals. Some people only set goals on New Years. I set them all the time. Sometimes those goals mean that there will be a change to normal traditions to get the ball rolling and reach those goals.
My Facebook birthday party was incredible. The number of people who took time to say happy birthday surprised me and made my day. Rob Poindexter, from Career Trend, asked if I got lots of cool stuff and I had to tell him no. But Rob understands goal-setting. He was also featured in my You’ve got to Start to Finish post awhile back.
Focus on the budget
We aren’t really a big gift-giving family. At Christmas, there are presents but otherwise, we mostly focus on the budget and any money gifts are supposed to keep us on track. Budget, savings… what’s that? Budget means that you give up some things to reach your goals.
Though this blog focuses on helping job seekers and career changers reach their goals, I believe that sound financial management is key to success in life in general. The upheaval we have suffered and the current financial stress on most Americans is due to the lack of balance between earnings, savings, and letting debt be the plan for financing our goals.
If you are running your life without a budget, you need to stop. You need to take time to track every penny you spend and put it in a spreadsheet, QuickBooks, or perhaps an online application. We are half-way through the year right now. Do you have a budget?
What are my goals?
- We’ve been on a debt-pay down plan forever but we have really taken it to heart in the past three years. If we stay on track all credit cards, medical debt, and family loans will be goal in April 2016 leaving only the mortgage. And if we continue to stay on track, the mortgage will be gone in October 2021, roughly 18 years ahead of the bank’s plan.
- At the same time, we hope to build a solid base of emergency savings starting with the baby step of $1000 which has already been tapped more than we would like. Then we would like to expand that to an emergency fund with 6 months of income minimal since as a self-employed person, there is no regular paycheck. Therefore, we need to budget in serious savings.
- My big goal that I still hope to pull off soon is a remodel of the kitchen that needed remodeling when we moved in on March 2, 1992. A kitchen is always the biggest expense. We can internalize the labor but still need to save and plan for the material budget.
- But before that, the little goals of new technology have to come. I had huge problems with the laptop I run Design Resumes on last summer but thanks to Jon at Integratech, we managed to reformat and keep the system running for another year but I think that as hard as I drive a computer, we need to plan and budget for new technology yet this year.
- Down the road, I need to get a car again. Living on top of a hill, as much as I like walking for exercise, it doesn’t work most of the year when ice and snow make walking perilous or in the summer when days like today with heat indexes of 106 F. I need to be able to have something to get me from point A to point B. But that too needs both savings and a budget plan.
You see how it works, you set a goal and you get a plan. You don’t jump ahead of yourself. Fund the basics first and set up at least that $1000 of reserves in savings. Most of the reason the United States itself is in trouble is that we forgot Benjamin Franklin’s advice, a penny saved is a penny earned. You can start by making budgeting and savings your new goal.
Julie Walraven can help you achieve results through using a personalized job search and resume writing strategy to take the mystery out of the process. To find out how, simply click here!