Monday, August 10, 2009


If you did some thinking about the “money misery” quiz, did you make a list of the things that were bothering you the most?  You need some plan of attack, some idea what to fix first.  If you still feel rather vague about it, I’d recommend you follow somebody else’s marching orders.  Again, I particularly recommend Dave Ramsey’s materials (for instance, his book The Total Money Makeover).

If you’re in great shape financially, it’s probably because you take an active interest in it, and you probably still have areas where you’d very much like to improve.

Since the biggest priorities for most people are to get out of debt and get some savings together, your next action item is going to be figuring out where you are today. 

Simply list your cash and your debts!  Write down how much money you hand on hand, and which accounts it’s in, and then write down each debt balance, how much the payment is, note of the interest rate and when the debt is scheduled to be paid off if you make the regular payments as billed.

For some people, that’s a pretty big assignment – they’ve got find all the papers, bring down or balance the checkbook all that.  

If you can handle something more, calculate your net worth:  List your assets – real estate, cash, stocks, retirement accounts, vehicles, and so forth.  On the consumer items like cars and furniture, list them for what you could sell them for, that is, at market value.  Then list your debt balances.  Subtract the total debts from the total assets, and you have found your net worth.  Show it to your spouse (who might help you with a few corrections).  Keep it.  Then, as you make financial progress, you can watch your net worth go up!

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