Fixing your finances in 2017 and beyond

African American woman counting money in living room
African American woman counting money in living room

Forecast: Bright Future!

Holidays are done and a new year is thankfully coming through because 2016 had you snapping your head back in astonishment. The new year is bringing changes that you might or might not welcome. Either way, no worries. Change is good and along with improving your physical and mental health, now is a good time to improve your financial health by trimming your budget to fatten up your savings.

Financial advisors like Delta Jones-Walker of Atled Financial, LLC in Schererville, Ind., wanted people to realize that change is good.

“You are getting out of your comfort zone and that can be uncomfortable,” she said. “If you want to save more money and get rid of debt, you have to do some work.”

Jones-Walker said she noticed an increase in phone calls and appointments after the recent presidential election. “It is already a busy time because it is the end of the year, but people, especially women, want to know what do they need to do,” she said.

Wealth-building expert Bahiyah Shabazz of Gary, Ind., is founder of Brown Girls Do Invest and author of “Women Building Wealth.” Shabazz said now is the time to be proactive with your finances as opposed to being reactive.

“Talk to your partner, spouse and/or family about finances and clearly identify what your goals are in order to get out of debt and save some money,” Shabazz said. Jones-Walker agreed. “You need to focus on three main goals; trimming unnecessary fat off your spending budget, getting out of debt and, if you have a hobby, reinvent yourself and make money from it.”

Shabazz also encouraged making additional money on the side. “Find your passion, your hobby and if you have a full-time job, use some of that paycheck to finance your side hustle,” she said. “But don’t be a broke baller! Don’t earn money to spend it; establish a plan to either save that money or use it to cut down your debt.”

Shabazz added that women should take 30 minutes out of their daily schedule to familiarize themselves with financial information. “Read the newspaper, a book and watch television segments on finances,” she said. “And visit a financial advisor at least on a quarterly basis. Doing this will not lead to any surprises like your financial plan isn’t working the way you’d like it to.”

Jones-Walker has clients who call or meet with her on a quarterly and monthly basis. “I also provide them with a planning sheet with weekly savings goals like putting aside $25 in a piggy bank or jar one week and increasing the amount to where by the fourth week you can put aside $100,” she said. “You’d be amazed at how soon you’ll do this automatically.”

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MoneyLisa DeNeal1 Comment