Photograph taken by Shannon L. Buck copyright June 9, 2016.

It’s Time to Get Our Finances in Order

When you need (or choose) to live a frugal lifestyle, it’s important to know what your personal finance situation is. This used to be easy for me. There was such a small income that I knew exactly how much money I had and could I had to spend each month. I didn’t really think about my financial future, because there just wasn’t any money to do anything with.

Now that the girls are on their own and I only have me to take care of, things should be better. That’s what I let myself believe, any way. But they’re not. I make more money now, but it doesn’t go near far enough. Prices on everything have gone up so much over the years, it’s like I’m making less than I was when the girls were children. My plans to be saving for retirement by now flopped, and all I’ll have available is social security. At least that’s what I’m told. I’ll get social security. I’ve made no investments.

This is not good. And as it turns out, I’ll have to work even longer to get those social security benefits. Well, no offense to the people who thought raising the retirement age was a good idea, but who knows if many of use will physically be able to work that long. I’m watching the people nearing social security age now, and most of them are sick and in incredible amounts of pain.

Oh, there are the precious few who don’t have those issues. My landlord is in his 80’s and is still in the rental business, and he sells antiques and other things. He shows no signs of stopping, either. I don’t think he knows how not to work. I don’t know his financial situation, so I’m not sure if he is working because he has to or not.

Overall, most people are incapable of even enjoying their retirement to the fullest, either financially or because of their health. If we have to work until a higher age, is it likely we’ll do well in retirement? That we’ll recognize our dreams of finally being able to travel, or spending time with our loved ones rather than continuing to work?

It’s time to stop waiting and start learning how to generate more money for retirement.

Learning is a time-consuming activity, but a necessary one. We all need to know exactly how much money we have coming in, what assets we have (if any), what we are paying for things, and how much we’ll need for a comfortable life in retirement. We also need to know how to get there. What steps can we take in the coming years to have what we need after retirement.

Questions I’ve asked myself lately include:

  • How much will prices on items I depend on go up before I retire?
  • Is there any possible way for me to afford land and a small house before I retire, having it all paid off by that point, and to set things up for minimal utility use? And, just what size house do I need to hold what I want, but not be excessive?
  • What do my partial and full social security benefits look like for an early (or not) retirement? How much might that go up by the time I actually retire if I continue at my current income? What if I make more? Or less?
  • What can I do/set up before I retire to be sure I’m comfortable and have the help that I need around the house and the yard? What if I need nursing care in my home?
  • What if I have an accident or get sick, and can’t work for a period of time? What if I end up with a disability that makes it impossible for me to work?
  • How can I earn money from a piece of land, if other sources of income were to disappear?
  • How can I invest in such a way that I’m not paying and extreme amount of taxes when I need the money in retirement?
  • What are the differences between different types of investments? In what small ways can I invest now, to start? And in what ways will I be confident investing more money later?
  • Is it better to use a bank, or a credit union? Why? And how can I best use the right venue to grow my assets?
  • How can I earn the extra money I need to pay of all those medical and related debts now that I have enough money to get me through each bi-weekly pay period? I’d really like to get this done before retirement age.
  • How do I go about paying for my end-of-life expenses in advance, and set things up so my family knows exactly what to do?
  • Will I have to work after I hit retirement age to make ends meet?

With all the questions I have running through my mind, it’s time I get serious about my financial situation. How about you?

To start, I decided on two financial goals for the year:

  1. Finances – Researching Little Ways to Invest
  2. Finances – Separating Expenses

There’s more to financial planning than these two goals, however, and I’ve done some reading. I came across a 30 Day Money Cleanse from Personal Capital.

I’d like for you to join me in the challenge. You’ll notice that the link to the 30 Day Money Cleanse brings you to my blog, Single Mom Family, but the cleanse is not specifically for single moms. Anyone can join in, and I hope you do. It’s easier, sometimes, to do things with the support of others, and I want to support your path.

Please head on over to the challenge page and read more about what will be happening. I’m starting the cleanse on Friday, January 20, 2017. Be sure to follow along.

Shannon

 

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