Those That Help Themselves

You may have watched Nik Wallenda walk across a 2-inch wire over Niagara Falls in June. I thought it was truly incredible, especially as I listened to him calmly talk to his father and the TV commentators as he walked. Afterward, he talked about the difficulties encountered, especially the wind when he got out over the water. But the important things were to keep his focus on the wire, ignore the elements and pray as he walked. The result: a successful crossing from the American side to the Canadian side.

So, let’s talk about focus. How is your financial focus? Are you helping or hurting yourself financially?
Are you making good or bad choices or decisions? Do you have good or bad habits? Do you have reasonable and wise objectives, desires and goals?
In maintaining focus an investment of time is required, but we have to maintain financial vigilance in a number of areas.

In your personal banking do you keep up with what’s costing you money or how you can save? Watch for junk fees. Have a big balance requirement at a big bank? Try changing account types or banks, and put more money to work earning interest.
Do you have automatic savings set up for an account with a good interest rate?

Do an insurance check-up. An insurance broker who deals with a variety of providers can give you a good idea of whether your current policies are reasonably priced or whether you can get meaningful savings by changing providers. In looking for less expensive home or auto insurance can you get a multi-policy discount?
Do you have umbrella liability coverage? This gives additional protection beyond the liability coverage under your home and automobile insurance policies.

Do you have enough life insurance coverage? Insurance equal to 10 times annual earnings may be a place to start, but what you really need to do is figure out what needs your life insurance has to cover. What do those various amounts total up to?

Are you making financial decisions you cannot afford:

– Are you buying a new car when you should be buying used?
– If you’re a potential home buyer in a buyer’s market, have you properly and realistically determined what you should take on as a monthly mortgage payment (including principle, interest, homeowner’s insurance and property taxes)? What about the ongoing expenses of home ownership: utilities, yard maintenance, home maintenance, etc.?
– Are you continuing to take on consumer debt without a plan to address your existing consumer debt?

Finally, are you someone who is in a deep financial hole? Don’t just flounder! Work to get out of your hole. Make a plan and begin working on it. Take it little by little, a day at a time.

Help yourself. Then maybe you can help someone else.

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