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3 Financial Ground Rules

Posted October 3, 2012 by Kelley Long in Life After Five

I’m so excited to begin my tenure as the Career Girl Network financial contributor. It is truly my passion to help people remove money as a barrier to living their best life, and this is the perfect platform for me to share my motivation and enthusiasm. As one of my favorite quotes reminds me, “Live every day like it’s your last, ’cause one day you’re gonna be right.” But it’s hard to live that way if you’re constantly worried about money. My goal is to help everyone find that perfect financial place where they feel like they are making big life choices for every reason except money.

Achieving a feeling of financial security involves different steps for everyone and depends on your starting point, your goals, and your personality. However, there are a few things that apply to everyone, regardless of who you are or where you’re going. I present:

Kelley’s 3 Ground Rules for Financial Security

  1. Pay your bills on time. Every time. It seems simple, right? Yet so many people don’t seem to get this one, even those who have plenty of money to spare. There is no quicker way to mess up your credit or senselessly lose money to late fees than to pay your bills late, even once. Find a way that works for you to make sure this happens with every bill, every month.
  2. Build a cash cushion right away. If you don’t already have three to six months’ worth of expenses tucked away, today is the day to start. I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck and feel like money is tight all the time. It’s exhausting. I also know that having even just a tiny bit tucked away is a huge relief and can actually open you up to even more financial abundance. You can find a few dollars from each paycheck to start saving; I started with just $25 per paycheck back when I was drowning in debt. Having a little cushion allowed me to stay on my debt reduction plan even when unexpected things came up. Try it today and feel the relief right away.
  3. If you have credit card debt, stop using cards until it’s gone. This is the hardest one for people to accept, especially those who feel like every month there is a cash shortfall. You might have the best of intentions when you whip out that card for just one or two purchases every month (“I’ll just tack these new charges on to what I’m already paying this month,”) but they are rarely carried out. Believe me, I know. The ONLY WAY to get out of credit card debt is to stop using credit cards. Period.

Of course there are many other guidelines out there to help you achieve financial security, but these are the foundation. What rules or guidelines do you use to keep your money in check? And what topics would you like me to write about in upcoming columns? Please let me know in the comments below.

About the Author

Kelley Long

Kelley Long is a CPA/PFS and CFP® who believes that the true meaning of financial security means having choices in life. She uses her 15 years of experience in various financial services industry jobs to inform her work as a Resident Financial Planner for Financial Finesse, providing unbiased financial guidance through workplace financial wellness programs. She’s also a volunteer and media ambassador for Feed the Pig and 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. In Kelley’s perfect world, everyone would feel great talking about their money concerns, fears, questions and problems, because then everyone would see that we ALL have those concerns, fears, questions and problems. Kelley lives in Chicago with her husband and their Himalayan cat Miles, where she also teaches BODYPUMP group fitness classes at the Chicago Athletic Clubs.