Thankfully, we're finally at a point where the only debt is the mortgage. Other than that: nothing. No student loans, no credit card debt, no medical bills, no second mortgages on the home, no consolidation loans.
The only way this was possible was because of the inheritance from my parents through their home and selling it last month. Although this has been an incredible burden lifted and a pivotal point, it doesn't lessen the fact that I would rather have my parents alive and healthy so they could still be a part of our lives.
At any rate, had I had Detox Your Finances (or any financial book for that matter) when I was in my 20s, I think I would have managed and understood finances better. Now - despite the lateness in my life - I feel like I have a much better handle on this subject.
That being said, there's still a lot of room for education and improvement as I look at and prepare for the rest of my life.
So, this book had some relevant information once I moved through the first 12 chapters that were more heavily focused on debt. The ideas that I found helpful and that I want to keep in mind:
- Try saving first and then spending. In other words, set aside a certain amount each month as savings, and then make the remainder your budget for the month.
- Look at your life to make it more balanced. For example:
.....spend more time with you family and/or friends.
.....spend more time on leisure activities, hobbies, or personal relationships.
.....divide your time between a number of different income-generating activities.
.....devote more time to the local community or volunteer activities.
.....deliberately decide to sacrifice part of your income for a better quality of life.
.....gain independence through self-employment.
.....make a business from something you love.
- Disposing of unwanted possessions can improve your financial well-being.
- Do not go into retirement owing anything on your mortgage.
- Don't invest a lot of money into a home that won't pay itself back. Rather, do little things that can add a lot. For example, declutter the home, wash the paintwork, steam clean the carpets, and add small touches like rails and molding in period properties. Replacing kitchen cabinet doors, tiles, and work surfaces can be an inexpensive way of improving the look of a kitchen.
- Determine your net worth each year. Look at assets (liquid, personal, and investment) and liabilities (current and long-term).
- Start to think five, ten, and fifteen years into the future. What are your financial goals and how are you going to make them happen?
- Know where your money goes every month.
- Check the accuracy of your bank statements and tax notices.
The first thing we must begin to
teach our children (and learn ourselves) is
that we cannot spend and consume endlessly.
We have got to learn to save and conserve.
We do need a "new economy," but
one that is founded on thrift and care,
on saving and conserving,
not on excess and waste.
An economy based on waste is
inherently and hopelessly violent, and
war is its inevitable by-product.
We need a peaceable economy.
- Wendell Berry
- Teach children the importance and basics of money management from an early age.