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Building Financial Security Through Money Management

Written by Miranda Marquit on October 8, 2012 in Retirement  |   2 comments

One of the worst feelings in the world is not knowing whether you have enough money to pay your bills. It also can be difficult when you don’t know from where your next paycheck will be coming. Financial insecurity can cause stress and anxiety in…

One of the worst feelings in the world is not knowing whether you have enough money to pay your bills. It also can be difficult when you don’t know from where your next paycheck will be coming. Financial insecurity can cause stress and anxiety in your life, and it can contribute to strain in your relationships.

In order to improve your relationship with money as well as your relationships with others, take stock of your financial stability and security so that you can identify what you can do to make your situation better. Improving your money management skills and budget can go a long way toward achieving financial security.

Income level

Your income level contributes a great deal to your financial security. Do you make enough money to cover the necessities of life? Is there enough coming in each month for you to meet your obligations?

If you know that you will be able to buy groceries and pay the mortgage, you are likely to feel secure in your situation. If you are concerned about your income level, look for ways to cut back your expenses or—better yet—find ways to increase your monthly income.

Income sources

Financial security isn’t just about your income level—it also includes your income sources. Do you rely mostly on a day job for your income? Do you worry that you will be laid off or that your hours will be cut?

When most of your money comes from one place, your feelings of security depend entirely on someone else. You can change this by cultivating diverse sources of income instead.

Debt obligations

When you’re drowning in debt, it’s hard to feel financially secure. This is because your money is not your own. It’s owed to someone else, and you are on the hook for repaying what you have borrowed—with interest.

Paying off debt can go a long way toward helping you feel more financially secure. Once you have paid off your debt, you won’t have to stress about someone else claiming your income.

Savings and emergency funds

Even if you live within your income level, you might be painfully aware that you are one financial setback away from disaster. This state of being is not one that allows you to feel financially secure. Instead, it can make you feel as though any problem could become a full-blown financial crisis.

Set aside money each month to build up your emergency fund, which can provide you with peace of mind. An emergency fund can give you the means to pay for financial setbacks, whether your car has broken down or your hours are cut at work. Build up your savings and you’ll feel more financially secure.

Contentment

Your level of contentment also has something to do with whether or not you feel financially secure. If you can be content with what you have, rather than thinking that you need more stuff, it can do wonders for your financial security. When you decide that you have enough, there is no striving for more and no inflating your lifestyle to the point that it becomes unwieldy.

It’s easy for money to take charge of your life if you aren’t careful. Soon, you may no longer feel in control of your finances. Consider the reasons that you want more money and really evaluate your motivations when making purchases. If your quality of life isn’t improved by your purchases, perhaps it’s time to think about contentment—and priorities. You’ll feel more financially secure when you aren’t always trying to keep up with a false ideal.

What do you think? What makes you feel more financially secure?

Miranda Marquit is a freelance writer and professional blogger specializing in personal finance, family finance and business topics. She writes for several online and offline publications. Miranda is the co-author of Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community, and the writer behind PlantingMoneySeeds.com.

2 comments

  1. Alice Stevens says:

    Hi Ilyce, I enjoyed seeing you in July for the Care-a-Thon at WSB.
    I am in good fiscal shape, but hear of many women suddenly on their own, usually 50 or older, who have no financial education.
    They are financially illiterate because their husbands always controled and/or did not share any financial information with them or these women didn’t care, had no interest, or were scared to ask. They are very vulnerable and often trust the wrong people for advice/help who take advantage of their ignorance.
    I wonder if you could give some tips for these women.
    You do so much good in your work,
    Alice Stevens
    Atlanta

  2. Ilyce Glink, Managing Editor, Equifax Finance Blog says:

    Alice:

    Thanks for writing. Your suggestion is a good one. I can provide a few suggestions here, but I think this topic is important enough that it deserves to be its own story and I’ll make sure we get into the story rotation as soon as possible.

    First, I completely agree with your contention that older single women have much less financial knowledge (many surveys have shown this to be true). If you’ve reached the age of 50 and you don’t know what you own and what you owe off the top of the bat, you should sit down with your husband and ask for a total accounting of your family’s financial stock.

    Ideally, this would include bank accounts, retirement accounts, other investment accounts, all assets (with current or estimated valuations), liabilities (debts) and anything else that has value. You’re trying to get a sense of your net worth.

    You and your husband should do a monthly or semi-monthly check-in on your finances, where you look at actual bank accounts and understand how money gets spent in your family. Better yet – all women should have online access to all accounts so you can see where the money is at all times.

    Make sure your name is on some of the bills and accounts so that you develop credit in your own name. My name has been on the telephone accounts for years. I have credit cards in my own name as well as accounts in my husband’s name.

    Understand where your future retirement income is coming from: How much will you get from Social Security. Do you have a pension? Does your spouse? How much does it cost you to live now and how much will it cost in the future? Is there any other income to include? These are key questions to ask as soon as possible, but particularly if you’re on the cusp of retiring.

    Where is the paperwork? You’ll want to know where your wills are (you need one, too), powers of attorney for health care and financial matters, living will and other estate paperwork. If you don’t have a will, living will, and powers of attorney for health care and financial matters, get on it. You’ll need that sooner rather than later.

    As I said, there’s more to talk about. But these points are a great start. Thanks for your comment.


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