Monday, March 29, 2010

How to Climb Out of a Financial Hole

Do you screen your calls, sweat bullets as you open a pile of bills or maybe  avoid opening them at all? We've been there.

Our turning point happened one Christmas when we were deciding who to give the annual $50 hamper to, we realized that we couldn't even afford it that year. I was broken hearted, defeated and ashamed that we couldn't even afford to give a measly $50. Never again am I going to mismanage SO badly that I can't even help others! We committed ourselves to becoming better stewards of what God's given us. That year, we committed our finances to God.

We had dug ourselves into quite the financial hole, but here are the steps we took to get out.

1)   Made an accurate budget.
2)   Planned debt payment (what we could put towards debt, we did)
3)   Made payment arrangements with all creditors and stood by our word.
4)   Wrote down specific, measurable financial goals: 1yr plan, 2 yr plan,
       and 5 year plan.
5)   Did monthly budget and goal 'check-up' to make sure we were on track.
       This is where we would adjust plans accordingly. (ie - budget unexpected
       income or expenses)
6)   Paid off debts 'snowball' style, as per Dave Ramsey's book "Total Money
       Makeover"  Smallest debt first, work up to largest (NOT interest rate!)
7)    Continue learning, adjusting existing plans, and setting new goals.
        (my favorite thing about New Years is that I get to make the budget for
         the new year. ... nerdy, I know. But I'm pumped about this!)

Praise the Lord, he taught us (and continues to teach us) how to manage what He gives us. And little has become more.

  • Credit rating has improved. (this means easier access to funds and lower interest rates)
  • We now own assets instead of only depreciating 'doo-dads' as Robert Kiyosaki calls them. Doo-dads cost money, assets make money. (note - we still own doodads, I'm just saying not exclusively)
  • We know where we are, what we can and can not do
  • We can give way more than ever before.
Just A Note:
If you're interested in our reading list, we read several helpful books and took several courses on money management and investing. Here's a brief list of what we read / took:

Total Money Makeover                            
                                - by Dave Ramsey
Storehouse Principles
                                   - by Al Jandl & Van
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
                                  - by Robert Kiyosaki
Master Your Money
                                  - by Ron Blue
Cashflow Quadrant  
                                   -by Robert Kiyosaki
Increase Your Financial IQ
                                  - by Robert Kiyosaki
Rich Dad's Guide to Investing
                                   - by Robert Kiyosaki
The 7 Keys for Creating Wealth in Canada
                                   - by Darren Weeks
Choose to be Rich 
                                     -by Robert Kiyosaki
How to Retire in One Year
                                     - by Robin J. Elliot
Joint Venture Bootcamp
                                     - by Robin J. Elliot

These are pretty much in order as we took them over the course of 3- 5 years.

What about you? Have you blogged about your personal financial story? I'd love to read it, and share it with my readers too.

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