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Welcome back to Writers & Money Mondays. This week’s question was from Deni.
“How can I ensure that my credit stays in good shape and I can stop stressing about our finances while I finish writing my book? The stress is a creative killer and REALLY not helping my marriage.”
Thanks for writing in, Deni. And first let me respond to your “stress is a creative killer” comment, by saying “Amen sister!”
The best way to alleviate this romance and inspiration slaying stress is to have a plan. Below is a reprint of an article I wrote in 2011. It still holds true today. I hope this helps. Mindy
How a Financial Tune-up Month Can Change Your Life
by Mindy Halleck
Did you know that integrating a financial tune up month into your busy year can lessen your stress, protect your finances, your relationships and improve your overall health? That’s a tall task, I know, but it’s true. Think of it like having your oil checked, cleaning your furnace, having an annual physical or spring cleaning. By adding your financial welfare to the list of annual ‘things to do’, you will prevent stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety will destroy relationships, happiness and ultimately your health. You don’t want that; do you?
Pick a month; your birthday or the first day of spring, summer or fall. Winter never works; everyone is preparing for the holidays. Why add the stress. So, let’s say June 1st is your perfect time to perform a financial tune-up. If you’re newlyweds, this is a good habit to get into now, and it will provide you with a solid foundation for a happy financial life. If you’re old like me then it’s never too late to learn new tricks. No excuses.
Think of it as if you were going on a trip; you need to know where you are before you can figure out how to get where you want to go; Paris, college or retirement. And then you need to do the tune-up to make certain you arrive safely.
“Fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches.” The Duchess of Windsor, when asked what is the secret of a long and happy life
Regardless of age or financial circumstance there are issues you need to address annually to stay financially healthy and happy.
1 ) Order your credit report (make certain the information reported about you is accurate. If not, write to the repositories that provided the erroneous information and have them correct it.) Make sure to order your FICO score as well. Why? Because bad credit happens to good people and it happens fast and then it takes forever to clear up – So stay on top of your report.
www.experian.com – www.equifax.com – www.transunion.com – www.myfico.com
2 ) Make certain you’re paying the lowest possible interest rates on all debt. If not, call your creditors and request lower rates. If they won’t lower it, shop around (check on-line or your Sunday paper). If you can’t get it lowered then pay down the highest rate debt first.
3) Check on your insurance policies; coverage, names, disaster insurance, beneficiaries, etc.
4) Perform the same check up on all legal and identity documents to make certain they’re not expired and that the info is updated; wills, bank statements, driver’s license, passports, real estate deeds, etc. Sadly, no matter what your age, tragedy happens. Don’t leave your loved one’s name off your insurance or bank accounts. When that happens, tragedy strikes twice.
5) Finally, if your future plans rely on your ability to budget today, revise that budget. Make certain both spouses, all children and even your friends understand you have a commitment and need to stay on track with your pledge to the future so you will arrive safely.
If Christmas shopping will upset your budget, now (June) is a good time to set some limits and get prepared. If you haven’t created a livable, formal budget check out the free budgets at Google docs or look for one in office supply/stationary stores or the library. Or simple take a yellow pad and design your own.
Remember, by charting your future you take control of your destiny and live a fuller, happier and more fulfilling life. Good luck!
Reprint from 2011 article published on SELFGROWTH.com
If you’d like to hear my radio interview about Romance & Money, click here Romance & Money interview with James Rick
ROMANCE & MONEY is out of print and no longer available, however, the information here remains current and valuable.
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