Do you find that you're disappointed every year because you never seem to have enough money to do things that are important to you and your family? Start a tracking program to find out where your money is going.
One of the best is the checkbook method for keeping track of checks, cash and credit purchases. The directions are simple and are available at the BudgetTracker. When you have a good idea of how you're spending your money, develop a plan for the year and stick to it. The prize will be getting what you really want.
Are you troubled because your credit cards have big balances that you can't seem to pay off? Check out Bankrate.com and their credit card calculator which helps you figure out how long it will take you to pay off your credit card. When you've paid off your debt, start saving the amount that has been going to debt payments.
Once you're in charge of your spending, you're ready to look at long-term opportunities. Do a net-worth statement this year - a simple and useful version can be found at CNNmoney. Your job is to make your net worth grow every year. To do that, you'll need to know about investing.
Here is a great resource to help you learn how to invest. The Investing for Your Future web course, developed by a team of financial educators, is available to you for no charge 24 hours a day. Start this month, and commit to doing one unit each week.
Retirement planning is essential in your financial plan. To get an idea of how much money you need to save to enjoy a life style similar to the way you're living now, check out the online retirement planner calculator from CNN Money. This will give you an idea how much you need to save each month for your retirement. Many of you have matching contributions from employers - always take full advantage of these.
Perhaps you've wondered about purchasing long-term care insurance. Access the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension fact sheet which helps you compare and make decisions about long-term care.
You know that a will is important, but if you've never gotten around to drawing up one for yourself, read How Property Passes At Death. This fact sheet explains what happens to your money and assets if you do not have a will. Even young families need a will, especially to determine who would be responsible for children if both parents died in an accident. You will find online estate planning documents, such as Last Will & Testament and Estate plans, at legaldocs.com.
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