Are you failing when it comes to money? No Surprise!

Generations have been neglected when it comes to being trained to handle their money….Let’s change that!

Allison Wheeler, Copy Editor

That headline got your attention did it not? I hoped that it would because as a society there is this assumption that we handle our money pretty well. That the way we handle our money is the way that everybody else does, so that means that is how you are supposed to do it. So it is normal, right?
However, let me ask you some questions, and this is not a test so be honest about it to yourself. Do you live from paycheck to paycheck wondering if you have enough money to get you through? If you had to come up with $800 by tomorrow, are you in a position to do so without borrowing it? Are you using credit cards (or borrowed money) as a way to pay for your lifestyle? Do you feel comfortable knowing where your next meal is coming from? Putting the view of society aside, as an individual you might actually be thinking, that maybe you don’t handle money all that well.
Something that has been lost from past generations is the art of finance. Now do not get bored already! I know I just said the dreaded F-word but believe me this is important and not as bad as you think! Financial principles have been lost over generations because parents have neglected to teach their children how to control their money and instead what ends up happening is the money controls their children. It is found that 70% of households live paycheck to paycheck and 51% could not cover less than one month’s expenses if they lost their income. Personally, I do not like those statistics.
I found myself in both of those statistics when I first came across the idea that I did not have to live life that way. It was almost unfathomable that I could do anything but live in that manner. However, I can proudly say now that I no longer fit either, and so can you.
This column is written to give you basic principles to win against money. To give you back the control. However know that personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. Your behavior with money is what needs to change. I’m sure that logically you know that charging $200 a month to eat out and then paying $25 back in that same month, will NOT work out in the end, but some people are doing it anyways, with multiple credit cards! So how do you do it?
This series of financial articles will be following the teachings, statistics, and guidelines of Dave Ramsey, whom writes a series of books surrounding personal finance. His most popular is “The Total Money Makeover” which many of you may have heard about and never picked up.  However, hear me out!  All of you need to know that this is an amazing book that you should really take a look at. After all, that is where all this information is going to come from! Through this column we will be following what Dave calls, “The 7 Baby Steps”, and we will also talk about some more information in detail to help you succeed in your own personal finance! So let’s get started!

Your behavior with money is what needs to change.”

Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 1 is to save $1000 as an emergency fund! Now I know you must be thinking, ‘Whoa, now wait just a minute, that’s a lot of moolah! I can’t just come up with $1000 bucks!”. Don’t sell yourself short! If you are being serious about becoming financial independent, you definitely can do this! There are tons of ways to make extra money: for those of you who received it (and haven’t spent it) save your refund check, pick up a few hours at work or ask for overtime, if you have a creative hobby or skill then sell your creations in person or online, if you have some extra time then look into online gigs that offer you money for small tasks, are you pretty good at a certain subject here on campus then be a tutor! The possibilities are there, you just need to take advantage of them! Take every penny you earn from your odd jobs and place them into a savings account (or a cookie jar if you really want to!) This emergency fund is going to be your backbone for winning against the control that money might have on you. I challenge you to make this a financial goal for the next month.  I want you to do what you can to get as much money as possible into your emergency fund. There is a quote that I love about this and that is from a man named Zig Ziglar, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Make it a goal. Have an aim!
As we go along in this series of articles, we will build up a foundation to success in personal finance together! If you have any questions about this Baby Step, or maybe you have some questions about personal finance in general, please feel free to email me at [email protected], and ask away! I will be more than happy to hear back from you, take your questions or even offer you some encouragement, because that means you are taking charge of your money and taking a step in the right direction of financial independence. Good luck fellow students!


This article is sponsored by the TRiO Student Support Services program at Lake Land College.

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