I was thinking about how many years I have been an “active” member of the American workforce. I am 30 years old now, and I started my first “paying” job when I was 15. So, I have worked, at a job, for 1/2 of my life. Now, for the first 14 1/2 years of that work-time, I simply went to my work, did my job, waited to get paid, and spent my money. I also amassed credit card, and automobile financing debt. I WORKED for 14 1/2 years, and I had NOTHING to show for it. Yes, I had provided for my family, and I had put food on the table, and shelter over my head, but if you looked at what I owned, and what I had in the bank, I had very, very, little. Something had to change.

SO…In April of this year, I began to get really, really serious about my money. I read books, I talked to older people, I read magazines, I listened to financial radio, I read my Bible…I did everything I could to educate myself about money. Ya wanna know what I found out?

Simple, dimple. The most important thing about PERSONAL finance is that it is PERSONAL. My money had to mean something to me. I had to take ownership of my money, my finances, my behaviors, my desires, my past, and my future. I had to realize that I would never, ever be rich if I kept doing “non-rich” behaviors. I had to stop wasting money, I had to stop impulse shopping, I had to organize my bills, I had to balance my check-book, I had to get a handle on MY finances. See, the problem WAS NOT the amount of money I was making, but the AMOUNT of money I was not paying attention to. I have made lots of money in a year, and very little money in a year. Guess how much money I had at the end of both years. The same amount. Zero.

You must learn to VALUE not just what money can buy in the now, but VALUE what your knowledge about money can do for you in the future. Managing money can be as simple or complex as you make it, but you MUST manage it. Do not allow yourself to be dragged around by the almighty green-back. It’s YOUR wallet, YOUR bank account, YOUR retirement, YOUR money.

Here is my rule of thumb: I will use the same energy and effort learning about how to manage my money as I use to earn my money. Pay-check to pay-check stinks. Get off of that miserable mouse-wheel right now! Today! Find the strength, from you faith, your family, your friends, wherever, but find the strength to put a stake in the ground and declare that your finances are PERSONAL. Take charge, today!

End of motivational speech…

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