How To Greatly Enhance Your Financial Success In A Fun And Easy Way And Take Control Of Your Finances Today! Sandy Hall Author
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The road to wealth is paved with goals. If you don't know why you're doing this -- why you're making sacrifices, why you're working so hard -- it's too easy to fail. But if you set goals, they can help guide you even when things get tough. When you have to make decision, your goals can help you stay focused on what's important.For your goals to be effective, they have to be personal. They have to mean something to you. Right now, one of my goals is to save money for travel. A couple of years ago, my goal was to save for a Mini Cooper. Before that, my goal was to get rid of 20 years of debt.To keep your focus front and center, you might use web-based tools like Joe's Goals, StickK, or 43 Things. You might find an accountability partner. Or you might advertise to yourself. And be prepared for setbacks. You're not going to meet your goals without mistakes. Stuff happens. The best way to deal with problems is to have a plan before they occur.Earlier this year, I stopped tracking my spending. I was spending less than I earned, and I figured it was too much work. I regret that. In fact, I've vowed to resume tracking my spending again in 2011.It doesn't matter how you track your spending -- the most important thing is to do it. You can use a cash notebook. You can use an online tool like Yodlee or Mint. (I tried Mint, but it didn't work for me. I'm trying Yodlee now.) You can use a piece of software like Quicken. (Here's a list of 16 powerful personal finance programs.)Whichever method you choose, stick with it. Make it a habit. Don't fudge the numbers. Record your transactions as soon as possible. Most of all, don't judge yourself. Tracking your spending is an exercise in data collection; it's not the appropriate time to change your habits.At least once each year, you should review the contracts and agreements you have with various banks and service providers. This is also a great time to review your financial accounts to be sure everything still matches your needs. Read your credit-card agreements and make sure you understand everything. (If you don't, then ask questions.) When I read my own agreements, I just dial the customer service line and ask for clarification. Check your service levels. We have a tendency to keep paying for the same service we've always had, whether it's with our phone, our electricity, or our gym membership. Now's a good time to make a quick check to be sure you're only paying for what you need. Ask for lower rates. In 2009, G.E. Miller shared how he cut his cable bill by 33% without losing any service. Many GRS readers reported similar success. Look through your monthly bills to see if there are any you could call to ask for a reduction on. If you rent, review your lease or rental agreement to be sure you're clear on all of the policies. While you're at it, consider asking for a rent reduction. Sound crazy? If you're a good tenant and regularly pay on time, it's not so far-fetched. Review your insurance. Are you carrying policies with three different companies? Consolidate them at one place. Check the deductibles on your auto and homeowners insurance. Are they too low? Could you afford to raise them and self-insure the first $1,000 of damage? And is your liability coverage high enough? Go over your investment accounts. Check your balances and asset allocation. The stock market soared last year -- are you now too heavy in stocks for your risk tolerance? If so, shift things around to get to your target allocation.This task may be boring, but it's important. Terms change all the time. Your own financial situation changes. Spending one afternoon a year to review your agreements (and ask for discounts) can keep you from getting trapped in contracts you don't want and save you money in the process.This just a small sample of what is inside....


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