african trumpet edition 14_AFRITRUMPET NEW UK 1/27/2011 10:57 AM Page 6
6 Africantrumpet-The voice of Africans
Finances NineTips to start the Year aright!
MONEY MATTERS with Ken Barnes
As a new year starts, you as an economic being have been given another chance and opportunity to approach your finances with a new mentality and attitude and I pray that you do it right this time! I pray that you take all the right decisions to be able to inherit the economic and financial freedom and to enjoy it! Here are 9 things I suggest you consider and take practical steps to address and implement to put your financial life back on track or to enhance it!
Guard your credit rating jeal- ously and know what is on it. It is always good to know what is on your credit report because it determines your fico scores which determine your ability to borrow, rent a place, secure an employment, buy an insurance policy on your car and some- times determines whether that lady or man will marry you! Etc and what better time to know that than the beginning of the year! Creditors make a lot of errors on your credit report many times and not knowing it could hurt you. A simple error like your present address, job or occupa- tion or your name spelt wrongly when corrected creates some level of certainty and helps build your credit. Beware of the utilities companies, cable companies and those banks which have your student loans! Many times they are quick to put a derogato- ry report on your credit inadver- tently and timely correction is always of the essence. Go to
or call them at 1-877-322-8228 to request a free credit report. You can request your credit report from all three bureaus at the same time or one every four months to monitor any changes throughout the year.
Know how much you owe and work towards paying it off.
I once asked a lady who came to my office how much she owed in total in credit cards; auto loans etc and she could not tell me! Such a person is not prepared to be debt free. There is always the need to know at any point in time your total liabilities, which is the first step to becoming debt free. Get a journal and note how much you owe in Credit Cards, Car loans, students Loans, per- sonal loans, private debts, 401k loans etc. Many Financial plan- ning companies like Primerica Financial Services have products which helps you know that-The Financial Needs Analysis.
When that is known the next step is to map out a strategy to liquidate it systematically apply- ing a lot of discipline, devotion and dedication. Traditionally, financial planners advice that you start paying off the credit cards and debts with higher balances and higher inter- est rates first. The rational is that it saves you money in terms of the interest payments. While that is good, I advocate that if you have a lot of Credit Cards, exam-
ple 5 of them, some with low bal- ances like $300, or $400 which are all maxed out; chances are that they are hurting your credit more than those with $10,000 limits and $5000 balances on them. It will therefore be prudent to pay those off first even though their interest rates might not be as high as those with higher bal- ances. Eliminating all the credit cards with small balances gives you a psychological boost that at least you are making headway in paying off your debts.
Get a personal budget into place.
To set the stage for a prudent financial management for your- self this year and subsequent years, there is the need for you to know the sources of your income and how much you make. You will think this should be obvious but you will be amazed at how many people don’t know how much the really make a month. The other sequence is to know your items of expenditure and how much you spend on each of them. There is the need to know how much you spend on Gas, elec- tricity, water, car payments, insurance, rent,/mortgage, credit card payments, food, education, clothes, entertainments, gifts, remittances, maintenance, child support, alimony, etc. You also have to know how much you put down for savings both for pre- cautionary reasons and for long term investment.
Building Your Faith With Pastor Grace Pam
The Greatest Resolve
It’s a common
phenomenon to look forward to a new year with great expectations, hoping that the things that negated our bless- ings and hindered our increase have passed and we are starting on a new slate.
But, because of
this understanding many make unrealistic goals and resolutions only to find out that many of such goals are unattainable and soon become discouraged, leading to them throw- ing in the towel and going back to their old ways even if these ways have proven to be unproductive.
Some of the
common resolutions we make are: moving to start a new life, finding a new place of work, los- ing weight, getting clos- er to family, and even finding better friends. But, the greatest resolve is to make a decision for God. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelations 3- 20. Christ wants to be a part of our struggles and daily lives. He is the one that enables us to get through the hardships and to overcome the trails to become victori- ous in our endeavors. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4-13. The apostle Paul once said with an affir-
mative resolve that he can do all things through Christ, his strength. It is ok to make resolutions but to suc- ceed; we have to line up with Jesus. Christ is the master of all things, for by him and for him, was all things made. Christ walks with us and talks with us along life’s way so that we will make fewer mistakes. To connect with
Christ, ask him to come into your life as your master and savior, for he will begin to lead you by the Holy Spirit. The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalms 23. When Jesus is your master you will not lack anything. Attain your goals and resolutions in 2011 by accepting Jesus as your great Shepherd
You then have to total your income and march it with your total expenditure. That gives you a picture of whether you are spending more than you are making or not! Even if you are in the positives, it tells you the mar- gin and whether could you be saving more? A personal budget makes you halt to take a critical look at your financial situation to figure out which way to go and what to do better.
Figure out the money wasters in your life
Sit down and access your finan- cial life the past years! Look criti- cally at your budget and espe- cially within your expenditures figures, see which expenditures you could easily do away with. I call those money wasters. Could it be reducing the cable bill to a basic plan? Or eliminating the gym membership fees? (you have not been going anyway). Could it be an affinity for a brand name of a product for which the generic is equally good? The key is, how is this expense helping you and if you got rid of it will it hurt your life?
Figure out how to increase your income
Find a way to increase your Income legitimately. Find an additional job; reduce your expenditure pattern or do both. Whatever you decide to do find an economically wise way of boasting up your income to
ensure that your savings plan stays on course, your debt reduction plan does not get dis- turbed and you have a precau- tionary account in place.
Cultivate the habit of saving
This year, start a conscious sav- ings culture where you purpose- fully save before you spend! In other words no matter how small your income might be, learn to set part aside be it for precau- tionary purposes or for long term savings towards retirement, chil- dren education etc. One author once said poor people spend first before they save but rich people save first before they spend. Consult your financial planner as to which savings or investment vehicle will be great for you! My favorite is mutual funds because of their ability to grow fast due to the element of compound interest!
Get a life insurance in place!
As a sure security against any future eventuality and to cushion the effect of this eventuality and unforeseen circumstance be it, death or sickness, and to ensure that, that eventuality does not eat away all the hard earned saving resulting from all these sacrifices you have made in the past, get a life insurance policy in place!
Get an emergency fund in place.
Hope for the best but also plan for the worst. Common sense in the past has always taught us to be wise and plan for dry days! Conditions and situations past few years have further taught us that you never know when disas- ter will strike. The best way to get around this is to set aside emergency fund!.. It's very easy to forget about setting up and maintaining an emergency fund because we are so focused on everything else but car accidents and medical bills don't wait for prosperity to strike
Don’t “play” with your job!
In an economy where unemploy- ment has consistently been over and above 9.7% for over a year, there is the need to guard what job you have jealously and with care. Go to work with a smile and work hard. Stop calling in sick when it is not necessary, be punctual, do extra and remove what I call the “it’s not my job syndrome” from your mentality, attitude and vocabulary. Know that when it comes to laying peo- ple off, they use some of these factors among others to deter- mine who goes home.
Ken Barnes- MBA is the President of Barnes and Barnes Financial Inc and Barnes Training and consulting,Santa Clarita,CA. You can reach him at BarnesConsult@ymail.com
PaGAF LEADERSHIP MEETING & GATHERING OF
GHANAIAN ADVENTISTS IN CALIFORNIA
Where? Courtyard Marriott,Los Angeles Westside. 6333 Bristol Parkway. Culver City, CA 90230
When? Friday, February 25, 2011-6.00pm -9.00pm -Welcome Service Saturday, February 26, 2011- 9.00 am -10.00am - Sabbath School, Divine Service -11.00am -1.00pm, Strategic meeting -2.00pm-5.00pm
Who is invited to attend? All Ghanaian Adventists and friends in California - Churches in Riverside, Bay Area and Los Angeles group. All Ghanaians and friends in Ventura, Orange, LA, Riverside, Fontana, Anahiem, San Bernardino counties and beyond. Come let us fellowship in the Lord.
You Are invited.
GET MORE INFORMATION FROM: Bro. Daniel Amoako :614 638 0643, Bro Appiah :323 298 1716 www.pagaf.org
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