Monday organizer: Getting finances in order this year
BY NOUR HABIB World Scene Writer
Monday, January 07, 2013
1/07/13 at 6:47 AM
Those who are using the start of the new year as a chance to organize their life may want to consider adding finances to the list of things to organize.
Two Tulsa financial advisers offer tips to help people get their finances in order this year.
Kevin King of The Legacy Financial Group said it is important to write down detailed goals when it comes to financial planning. Make a priority list of where you'd like your money to go, such as to an emergency fund or toward buying a new car.
"If you don't have goals set out, it's funny how money will leak out," he said.
Setting specific goals will help you make sure your money goes where it should, rather than to miscellaneous items you don't need, like the last-minute purchase of a magazine at the check-out counter.
Donna Maddox, a registered investment adviser with Financial Planning Resources, said saving should be on people's priority lists this year.
"Economic growth going to be slow for next 2-3 years," Maddox said. "Stay focused on long-term savings."
She advises people to look at their income and expenses and look at what they can realistically set aside each month.
Savings can come from something as simple as ordering water instead of another drink when you go out to eat, or finding restaurants that offer discounts for children on certain days, King said.
For those who are in debt, paying it off should be one of their priorities, King said.
"Concentrate all of your free cash flow to paying that off," he said.
Maddox said for those who are struggling with their debt, there are organizations that can help by working with credit card companies to adjust interest rates or form payment plans.
Maddox said people should also be tracking their expenses.
"You need to see where your money is going every month," she said. This will help you avoid what she refers to as "the latte factor" - or spending a small amount on something regularly, like a $3 latte at a coffee shop every work day, which adds up at the end of the year.
Although he thinks tracking expenses is important, King said sticking to a budget is not essential.
"I'm not a huge believer in budgets," he said. "Life doesn't fit into a budget."
Unexpected expenses can often crop up, such as car repairs or medical expenses.
Tracking expenses, on the other hand, will help you be more mindful of where your money is going.
King said when people track their expenses, they're often struck with an "Aha" moment when they realize just how much they spend on certain things, like going out to eat.
Once you realize where your money is going, it is easier to rein in the expenses, Maddox said.
Use technology to help you keep track of your finances.
Accounting or financial planning software like Quicken, Quikbooks and Moneyguide are helpful and user-friendly, Maddox and King said.
Or simply download an expense tracker application on your smartphone.
Original Print Headline: Get finances in order this year
Nour Habib 918-581-8369
Organizations can help manage debt by working with credit companies. Courtsey