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A Beginner’s Guide to Planning Your Financial Future


(ARA) – “Who can you count on to take care of you?” asks James E. Stowers, founder of American Century Investments. This question is one which Stowers believes only has one right answer. That answer is ‘you’.

“Isn’t it your obligation to financially take care of yourself?” wonders Stowers, one of the country’s wealthiest men and leading philanthropist. He encourages people to use the lazy days of summer as an opportunity to get started on the road to financial freedom.

“Why not take advantage of this extra time to look at your financial priorities?” he asks. “By taking time now to look at your saving, investing and spending habits, you can work toward increased financial stability in the future.”

In his book, “Yes, You Can… Achieve Financial Independence”, published by Stowers Innovations, Inc., Stowers offers the following suggestions for turning time into money:

1) Determine Your Most Important Wants -- If you are like most Americans, you live on a limited income with more wants than your budget allows. This summer make a list of your wants and prioritize them based on your personal values. You may find some of your wants add more value to your life than others.

2) Get Your Money’s Worth -- Are you satisfied with the way you’re spending your money? Keep a journal listing exactly what you buy each day including interest payments and investments. At the end of the month, analyze how much money you spent and where it went. If you are not completely convinced that you got your money’s worth, adjust your spending habits. You’ll be surprised with how much you can save when you refine your spending.

3) Eliminate Personal Debt -- When you spend more than you make, you are spending your future income. According to YoungMoney.com, the average household debt in America has grown to $18,700, with credit cards and auto loans combined. Analyze your current payments and find ways to pay down your debt as quickly as possible. Remember, you can put a price on time. The longer you take to pay down your debts, the more money you will pay in interest. The sooner you are able to pay down your debts, the more time you will have to invest that money elsewhere. Options range from borrowing money at a low interest rate to pay off high interest credit card debt to stopping all other investments and using that money to bring your unpaid balance to zero.

4) Plan Ahead -- This summer, plan for the unexpected. How do you plan to use money given to you by others? What happens if you unexpectedly lose a loved one or have medical expenses to pay? Planning ahead can provide answers to these questions. Make sure your life and health insurance policies provide enough coverage (without going overboard) to protect you and your family if the unexpected should happen. Make a commitment to invest money received outside your regular current income to improve your financial future.

5) Invest Wisely -- Take the time to look at your investment portfolio. Wise investors have diversified and readily marketable investments managed by professionals. Remember that one of the biggest financial risks people face is the loss in value of a dollar. This summer, ensure the money you have invested has the opportunity to earn more than the erosion in the value of a dollar over the long term.

“Time is money. When you use your time wisely you can find money to save and reap the benefits of greater financial independence,” says Stowers. “More importantly, you put yourself in a position to take care of yourself.”

The book “Yes, You Can… Achieve Financial Independence” and the Stowers Financial Analysis CD-ROM are available by calling (800) 234-3445 or online at www.stowers-innovations.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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