I could give you many lists of things to do with your money in the New Year. I could also rattle off lists of different ways to track your spending. Those are all great, wonderful ways to get a handle on your financial life. You should make a budget and track how much you spend. These are all great goals. I know it’s not always easy to sit down and do these things on a regular basis.
Here is one resolution that you can easily keep: Pay attention. Two words. Pay attention to what is happening with your money and your financial life. It sounds very simple, but that is deceptive. Too many times, I meet with clients and one of the main reasons they are having money problems is because they just don’t know what is going on!
Quiz yourself: who do you pay your rent or mortgage to? How much is it each month? Who do you pay your car payment to? How much do you owe on other debts, and how much are the payments? Many people I see can’t even answer these questions.
This is so important, because you cannot know how you are doing if you don’t know what is going on! Many people are so intimidated by money that they don’t even make an attempt to know what is happening with their own money! People may say that their husband/wife/significant other keeps track of it. That’s no excuse for not knowing what is happening with your own money. Or, you might think that because you are bad at math, you can’t balance your checkbook. That’s not true either. You should at least have a running total of what you think is in your checkbook.
Here’s why it’s so important to pay attention. If you spend money each month, and have no idea whether you are coming out ahead (money left in your bank account), or behind, (have to borrow on a credit card to pay the bills), you will end up in major debt. And, with the interest rates on credit cards, you won’t be able to dig out of it. After a few years of not paying attention, you’ll suddenly be in trouble.
So this year, make one resolution, to pay attention to your money. I’d be happy to help you do that too! Don’t hesitate to call us if you have questions about your financial situation.
Happy New Year!
Law Offices of Daniel J. Winter
Offices in Chicago, Gurnee, Oak Lawn, and Skokie, Illinois