Financial planning training was recently given to soldiers of the 120th Infantry. The program which lasted 13 weeks focused on getting to a debt free, financially peaceful life. The most important lesson taught was to realize that a borrower is a slave to the lender. There are seven steps to become “financially comfortable”.
1: Have an emergency fund of at least $1,000.
2: Pay off debt from smallest to largest.
3: Have three to six months of your take home salary in savings.
4: Invest at least 15% in an IRA or other pre-tax investment.
5: Start a college fund for your children.
6: Add to your mortgage principal to pay it off early.
7: Build your wealth and give.
Building on these strategies it is important to plan your future in 5 year increments. Set goals for the next 20 years by those increments. Too many times adult toys rob us of our ability to acquire a sound financial plan. Ask yourself: Is this needed? Can I get something not so expensive? Will I need it next year or in 5 years? Will it cost me additional money just to have it? A good rule is to look at cost verses use. A good example is a RV. This can easily be a $50,000 initial investment. Add insurance and license(s) plus cost of fuel. Take it to an annual figure and divide that by the number of days per year you could use it. Use this approach to all your purchases. Most of all stop impulse buying!