There is a rough sea out there today for many American families. Today can be your day to set a course to avoid the rocks and get your family moving in a safer direction.
A lot of people still believe you can’t do a lot with a little. As a result, many millions of Americans are not saving money and paying down debt. Of course, many Americans are saving and many others are pushing their debt down.
Consider that in 1979 the average recommendation for an emergency savings fund was 3 to 6 months of expenses in actual savings. Is the job market even close to what it was in 1979? Of course it isn’t.
Think about this: If you lost your job, could you go out and replace it immediately with the same income? This is the $1 reason that we feel the 2010 – 11 recommendation for emergency savings fund should be 15 to 18 months of expenses in money market savings and certificates of deposit. And the best news is that you can do it.
If you have not seen our “1% Savings Plan,” you must check it out for free in our past blog entries here or at www.BoostMyWealth.wordpress.com or at www.MiddleClassMoney.com. It is an easy way to generate steady savings without killing your lifestyle.
How else can you start your path to boost savings and reduce debt?
First, sit down with your entire family. Tell them that you are going to ask them to all work with you to do what every smart company has been doing this decade and especially since the beginning of the financial crisis: You are going to reduce and eliminate debt and build a cash reserve. Why? Tell your family the reason for the meeting and the reason for doing it is teaching each other what is possible when the family comes together. You can also tell them it is for peace of mind and to establish goals and patterns for your family that will launch everyone at the table on a path to wealth in their lifetime.
Of course, money is not the most important thing, but it gives you important options if things get worse.
Lay out your spending over the last six (6) months. Offer for family members to put things in several categories:
Bills (that must be paid each month)
Spending to feed, shelter and put clothes on the family
Other spending (this can be for non-essential food, shelter, et all)
Be honest about what spending is essential and brainstorm about which expenses could have been avoided. Work together to try to identify areas where you could cut back spending in the future and keep tabs on how much money that is as you go through the process. Keep adding it up and keep that amount of money in one place as you write out the results of your spending over this six (6) month period. You will want to take this money and turn it into “family bill #1” in future months. In order to do this, it must be the first bill you pay each month. Say you have gone to the movies once a month and your family votes that you can stay at home and have “movie night.” Take the money you would have spent – say that is $40 (it is probably more) and make that a future monthly bill that you pay at the first of each month.
Score “family bill #1” to savings = $40 a month.
Perhaps you have this meeting once a week to talk about how to improve saving and reduce debt. Maybe one week you focus on how to save more money by reducing spending. The next week you look at debt reduction.
Start with credit card debt. Take out your credit cards and look at them because credit card companies are often the BIGGEST SINGLE FINANCIAL ENEMY of your family. These are the bad guys. Separate your credit cards and find out exactly how much interest you are being charged by each.
Begin making minimum only payments on each card EXCEPT the one with the highest interest rate. That card should receive as much additional payment BEYOND the minimum as you can stand to make until it GOES AWAY.
When you pay off a card, roll the money (all of it) to pounding the next one).
Once you have paid off the first card, celebrate with the family and rotate to the second card (the one with the highest interest rate). Keep doing this until credit card debt is 0.
Credit card debt is the #1 reason middle class families cannot build wealth today. See them as the enemy they are to your family.
Also make sure you find out if there are yearly …