I had talked with many people, while on the Mexico adventure this Winter, about all the topics listed in the heading of today's title. Of course, 20 people have 20 different ideas about how, what, why, where, etc. to accomplish "financial happiness," so I'm in process of integrating all the wisdom into a platform of my own!
After having been married for a long long time and not taking very much responsibility for financial futures, I entered the "OMG, I'm on my own!" at 50, instead of 21. I think some of my laissez faire about financial matters stems from the fact that I was raised in a family of accountants - mom, dad and brother, so I never took on the role of knowledgeable person. Then, I was married at 17(!) to a much older man (22) and he managed the money. When I was divorced at 50 I tried to get a whole lot of saving into a shortened period of time. Fortunately, I'm fairly pleased with how I did - I do have enough income to live .... I, like lots of people, would just like more!
So, what to do? I thought a lot about it during my Mexico adventure. First of all I'll give 'thanks' to my friends, Kevin and Ruth www.travelwithkevinandruth.com, who, among other things, impressed me about the importance of simply KEEPING TRACK of expenses on a day to day basis. I have always used that axiom when it's been time to reduce weight .... just keeping track of foods passing my lips seems to turn into weight loss when necessary. Kevin and Ruth, if you don't know them, have been living a wonderfully full and adventurous life for several years and managing it on a budget that could be considered 'tight.' I applaud them and their way of life.
Secondly, when I voiced an interest in attempting to try on-my-own investing, it was suggested that I look for stocks that pay dividends; so, I've started researching this idea too, even though I haven't actually done anything - yet.
I collected thoughts, ideas, plans, successes, failures from all sorts of people - from all over the World - mostly the US and Canada. These have been roaming around in my head for a few months now and it's time to get started with organization of information for study, planning and doing support.
During the last several days, I've embarked on an aggressive (for me) computer project. The goal for this computer project is to be able to access accurate personal financial information any time I want. So far, my Excel workbook has worksheets called:
- Monthly Budget - all income and expenses recorded. I've broken down the month into increments of time so I can coordinate income and assign plans to expenses in a timely fashion.
- Cumulative Data - re: income and expenses throughout the year(s) - recorded in monthly increments.
- MPS Bible - This is the name of a spreadsheet I've kept for years - account numbers, login info, notes re: communication with companies, banks, subscriptions, etc. [Just managing login IDs and passwords is an almost full time job]! Each time I add / alter info on this document I save it to the current date. From time to time when housekeeping files and folders, I delete old and redundant info.
- Investment Info - this is what I've been working on mostly the last week. I'm bringing together all investment info on one spreadsheet - because I have several different investment firm accounts. My personal financial advisor is with one of these firms. I'm wondering, if I become really savvy, if it might be better to manage it all myself?
- Expense Form - an Excel form I print so I can carry a paper copy in my purse to record expenses as they occur so I don't chance forgetting them!
Happy Tuesday everybody!