Swinging Away at Personal Finance

June 28, 2007

Thanks to the author of No Credit Needed for providing today’s post.  He run’s several different websites and has a great story about how he got out of debt. You can read about his story and sites here, and keep up on his writings with his feed.

I enjoy playing golf, but I find that I tend to “over think” my swing.  Golfers talk about swing thoughts, or “what you are thinking about right before you swing the club”.  Basically, it’s good to have a few swing thoughts, but bad to have too many of swing thoughts.  When I’m playing well, my thoughts are, “Take the club away slowly, hit down on the ball…”.  When I’m playing poorly, my thoughts are more like, “Take the club away slowly, watch the left wrist, rotate, position the club at the top of the swing, drive the knee, shift your weight, follow through, hold the finish…”.  You get the picture.  Less is more.  The same can be applied to managing our personal finances.  I like to keep things “simple”.

I like to know where I am.  I balance my checkbook, check my savings account balance, and keep my bills organized.  In other words, at all times, I have a clear, easy-to-understand picture of how much money I have and where my money is deposited.

I like to know where I am going.  I create a specific, main goal, and then break that goal down into mini-goals.  When I was getting out of debt, my main goal was “Get out of debt”.  My first mini-goal was “Pay off credit card #1”.  I even went so far as to break down my mini-goals into micro-goals.  My first micro-goal was “Send $15 extra to credit card #1”.  Simple, effective, repeatable behaviors lead to predictable results.

Two years ago, I was in debt and had very, very little money in savings.  One year ago, I was debt-free and had a little money in savings.  Now, I’m debt-free, I have a fully-funded emergency fund, and I’m well on my way to fully-funding two Roth IRAs, two ESAs, a 403b retirement plan, and a pension plan.  As you learn more about personal finance, things tend to get more and more complicated.  I have learned to do two things:  1) Know where I am.  2) Know where I am going.

I’d like to thank Money Smart Life for the opportunity to write a guest article.  I read Money Smart Life everyday, and I’m always impressed by Ben’s writing.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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2 Responses to Swinging Away at Personal Finance

  • Moneymonk

    “One year ago, I was debt-free and had a little money in savings. Now, I’m debt-free, I have a fully-funded emergency fund”

    Way to go!!! you must be a Dave Ramsey


  • The Daily Dough (28 June 2007) - The Dough Roller | Smarter Money Management