By Hollis Page Harman, PFP CASL
JOB POSTING: CFO (Chief Financial Officer), Your Own Household
Think about it. Who is your financial role model? If it’s the federal government, then you’re in big debt -- living beyond your means and spending more than you earn. If money smarts wasn’t taught in school or at home, then where did you learn how to make your money work while you’re at work? Maybe you never did. But you can start.
Take the job! Become the CFO of your own finances: everything from financial housekeeping to financial decision-making. Sound daunting? Since 80-90% of us will be 100% in charge of our finances at least once in our lives, it’s just plain smart to have a financial game plan as soon as possible.
So let’s start now with a few easy budget busters to change your money habits.
1. Download My Financial Calendar: 12 months of money saving tips. “If I will make one financial adjustment a month, I can help myself get my money in order.” Click the image below to view the full calendar.
2. Dare to take a class about money. It could be about budgeting, investing, or how to retire. It could even be online at your convenience. Or simply read a book about personal finance. Look for a class at your local YWCA; financial literacy for girls and women is part of their mission statement. And if you happen to be on the Westside of Los Angeles, sign up for ours. It's a financial game plan for all life stages in five weeks called "The Economics of Being a Woman."
3. Save all receipts for the month of April. See where your money goes! You'll be fascinated with the results; then multiply by 12 to see your spending pattern for the year. How many movies with or without popcorn did you see, how many lattes did you consume, how much was the mani/pedi? Did 10% of your income go to savings? If not, where could you cut back to "pay yourself first"-that means save!
4. Get your three free credit reports annually: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. They give you a snapshot of your financial situation and an opportunity to check for accuracy and make any reporting updates. When you apply for credit, a job, an apartment or even insurance, your report may be accessed for the information it contains. Either call 877-322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
5. Tell a friend: help raise the bar of financial literacy. Plus, a buddy can help you stay on track.
Starting April 1, we celebrate National Financial Literacy Month. No joke! During the month of April, I'll bring you more money tips and financial tools you may never have learned...until now. It's interesting to note, we're comfortable talking about sex and drugs, but not money...until now. With many of us affected by the latest economic meltdown, we are now looking for answers and tools and ways. See you in April.
Hollis Page Harman empowers women take charge of their money to realize their hopes and dreams. Her book for kids 8 to 108, Money $ense for Kids! (Barron's) is read in homes as far away as the US Virgin Islands and through the Army Financial Readiness Program. Her wit and call to action make her a sought after speaker on financial literacy. Visit her at http://www.kidsfinance.com.