Financial freedom and finances are topics that many of us worry about, know little about, and/or are afraid to discuss. This article provides tidbits that will help improve our financial stability. Take heed as I did. Financial expert, John Schmoll provides 31 SIGNS THAT YOU ARE FINANCIALLY STABLE. He authors frugalrules.com, an on line community to financial literacy and freedom. Let’s get started, see what we have to do, and work toward our goal. Here we go!
YOU CAN HANDLE AN EMERGENCY
Emergencies happen all the time. How big of an emergency can you handle? A majority of individuals can’t handle a $400 emergency. Many say you need to have a 6-12 month emergency fund. It may feel overwhelming to get to that amount. Don’t let that stop you! Start with $500 and build from there.
YOU HAVE NO PROBLEM SPLURGING ON YOURSELF
What does splurging have to do with financial stability? A lot in fact. It means that your budget can withstand that special purchase without a negative impact.
YOU INVEST EVERY MONTH
Many folks think that you need a lot of money to start investing. Being financially stable means you invest regularly. Whether that be in your 401(k) plan or in an online brokerage account or some other form, you’re actively growing your wealth every month.
YOU HAVE A LOW DTI
DTI, or Debt-to-Income Ratio measures your monthly debt obligations against what you make. Thus, lower is better.
YOU USE CREDIT CARDS WISELY
Those who aren’t financially stable use credit cards to buy things they don’t have money for or to finance the kind of life they want but can’t afford. If you use a credit card for convenience, to stretch your budget or to take advantage of rewards then you’re likely financially stable.
YOU PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARDS EACH MONTH
If you pay off your credit cards in full every month then you’re financially stable.
YOU DON’T FIGHT WITH YOUR PARTNER
Finances are one of the biggest reasons for divorce in America. Whether that be due to financial infidelity, or some other reason it can wreak serious havoc on a marriage. Financial stability, on the other hand, means you and your spouse are on the same page financially and are working towards common goals.
YOU CAN SLEEP AT NIGHT
I believe this is the most important part of being financially stable. Peace of mind is a huge indicator of being financially stable.
YOU’RE NOT UNDERWATER ON YOUR CAR
A financially stable person sees cars as a depreciating asset and thus believes it is senseless to owe more than a car is worth. This doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a car payment, but it means you don’t extend the car loan for so long that you owe more than it’s worth.
YOU’RE NOT SCARED OF THE FUTURE
A financially stable person smiles at the future. They’re excited for the opportunities and what they may bring about. Financial instability, on the other hand, stokes fear about what retirement may look like or if you’ll be free of debt.
KILLING DEBT IS YOUR TOP GOAL
Attacking debt is the top goal of those seeking financial stability. Debt enslaves you to someone/something else and restricts freedom. A financially stable person has a plan to kill debt or is already debt free.
YOU LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS
Many financially sound people do one thing really well – they live on less than they make.
YOU TRACK YOUR SPENDING IN SOME FASHION
Budgets don’t work for everyone. That doesn’t mean you don’t track your spending. Being financially sound means you know where your money is going and how it is working for you.
YOU CAN HANDLE LARGE PURCHASES
Large purchases are somewhat relative. Regardless of what it is, you’re able to make large purchases because you’ve planned for them.
YOU’RE FINANCIALLY NAKED WITH YOUR PARTNER
Remember the thing about not fighting above? Being financially naked with your partner is a big key to that. A financially stable person bares all things financial with their partner – not just the good parts.
A JOB LOSS ISN’T THE END OF THE WORLD
Losing a job can be traumatic. Financial stability allows you to roll with the punches of a job loss thanks to an ample emergency fund and other savings.
YOU MAKE EXTRA MONEY ON THE SIDE
Making extra money can mean many different things. It may mean you actively take on new roles in your day job. It may also mean starting a side hustle to make a few extra bucks in your free time. Bonus points – for using the money to kill debt or invest.
YOU’RE NOT UNDERWATER ON YOUR HOUSE
A financially stable person isn’t going to be underwater on a home. That’s a sign of buying too much house or not planning.
YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH
A financially stable person sees the impact health has on their finances – both short and long-term.
YOUR NET WORTH GOES UP EACH YEAR
This is really the culmination of everything. A financially stable person seeks to grow their net worth yearly.
YOU CONTROL YOUR FINANCES – NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND
What do your finances look like? Are you in control of them, or do they control you? Financial stability means you have the control so you get to decide where your money goes, not the other way around.
YOU CAN BUY WHAT YOU WANT
Financial stability provides the freedom to buy what you want. You’ve set aside the money and can do so with freedom from fear of how you’re going to afford it. If this describes you, then you’ve reached financial stability.
SPENDING MONEY JUST TO SPEND DOESN’T APPEAL TO YOU
On the flip side of the above, you know you can afford what you want but you see many other ways to put your money to better use. In short, spending simply doesn’t appeal to you – even if you can afford it.
YOU AUTOMATE SAVINGS
See it as a bill to your future that works even while you sleep. Automate your savings.
YOU HAVE PLANS
This is purposely broad. A financially stable person plans for the future. They save for retirement, they buy life insurance and they save for their children’s college education. The level of each is personal, but financial stability means you plan for them all, and others, so you can act with confidence.
YOU GET RID OF BAD HABITS
It’s crazy how much we spend on our bad habits. We’re all prone to them, but a financially stable person actively seeks to cut those bad habits to save money every month and grow the money instead of flushing it down the toilet.
YOUR CREDIT SCORE DOESN’T SCARE YOU
Credit scores aren’t perfect by any means. A financially stable person has a good credit score so when they do need to borrow they get the best rates possible.
PAYING BILLS DOESN’T SCARE YOU
Does the thought of paying your bills every month make you break out into a cold sweat? A financially stable person pays their bills each month with little fanfare as there are no surprises and you still have money left in your bank account when it’s over.
YOU CAN GIVE WITHOUT FEAR
You’re able to give with ease and not in fear of what it might do to your finances.
YOU DON’T BOUNCE CHECKS
A financially confident person knows what they have in their bank account and doesn’t watch their checks bounce like a rubber ball.
MISSING A PAYCHECK DOESN’T SCARE YOU
Running our own business can help you become more comfortable with this, but a financially stable person isn’t afraid when they miss a paycheck. They have funds in place to cover for emergencies and can deal with a temporary situations like this.
I know that this is a lot of reading, but hopefully the advice helped you as it did me. Financial literacy allows us to take a look at ourselves and remove our fears. We can improve at any age. Improving our financial profile also helps to eliminate stress.
Now that we have a guide, we can more intelligently plan. To accomplish these goals is work; lots of work. Not being ashamed to admit your shortcomings is the first step to recovery. Getting started is an acknowledgement that you are committed to being financially better this year than you were in years past.
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