ability to master your money is not something
that just happens. It takes time, training,
and temperament. Whatever praise or criticism
you may direct at the American public school
system, one thing must be acknowledged:
The handling of personal financial affairs
is not a subject to which much attention
is devoted. Whatever the average citizen
knows about saving and investing did not
come from the classroom. This is understandable,
of course, if only because the typical classroom
teacher is equally mystified by the world
of money. Nonetheless, there are those among
us who have figured out how it all works,
and what it takes to prosper.
you one of those persons that has managed
somehow to get the hang of it? If you
recognize yourself in most of the twenty-five
following scenarios, then you can confidently
answer "yes" to that question.
Your credit card bill is paid in full
each month with never a penny in interest
You understand that the variable annuity
in which your neighbor just invested will
prove to be a sad mistake.
Despite orchestrated furor by the media,
you recognize that the $30 it costs to
fill your vehicles gas tank is cheaper
in todays dollar that the $15 it
cost 20 years ago.
You enjoy financial talk shows for their
entertainment value while knowing that
95% of whats said is nonsense.
The only type of life insurance that youd
ever consider purchasing is a term policy.
Youre not tempted to invest in something
because of a hot tip you get from a friend
You have serious doubts that the 3-unit
course in basic English composition offered
at Eleganté University for $900
is any better than a similar course conducted
at Midtown Community College for $60.
You are sufficiently sophisticated in
real estate to know that the worst house
in the best neighborhood beats the best
house in the worst neighborhood.
You owe nothing on the vehicle you drive.
You have a pretty good idea by mid-November
how much your income tax obligation for
the current year will be.
When hearing that the S&P 500 Index
just hit an all-time high, you are not
inclined to call your broker with a buy
Its beyond your comprehension why
anyone not certifiably insane would purchase
a timeshare property.
Your checking account balance never drops
below the minimum limit that triggers
a monthly service charge.
Youre aware that an option to pay
your auto insurance premium in two installments,
with a "modest convenience fee"
instead of a single payment, probably
works out as a loan at about a 25% interest
Although you thoroughly enjoy the home
in which you live, its considerably
less expensive than you can afford.
You know practically nothing about the
option marketand intend to keep
it that way.
You feel instinctively that every dollar
you contribute in FICA taxes to the Social
Security system is a dollar lost to you
Whenever youre negotiating a purchase
and qualify to receive a discount, you
do not hesitate to ask for it.
You entertain no illusions that a financial
advisor will provide sound counsel merely
because of the Certified Financial Planner
(CFP) designation held.
You make the maximum possible contribution
to your retirement funds.
Whether your choice of wristwatch is a
top-of-the-line Rolex, a fashionable Cartier,
a respectable Bulova, or an economy Timex,
you recognize that all are battery-operated,
with a similar quartz movement, and none
fail to keep excellent time.
You find it baffling why anyone would
buy a lottery ticket.
You cannot remember when you last borrowed
money for an unexpected emergency.
The newspaper advertisement offering a
half-pound silver commemorative medallion
from The Perfidious Mint, at the "special
advance price of only 139 dollars,"
forces you to suppress a laugh.
You have no confidence in the concept
of "Investor Confidence."
the sentiments expressed in most of those
situations do not reflect your thinking,
youre not in control of your financial
destiny. In that case, you can use a little
guidance. A visit to the Newsletter Archives
on my website at www.onthemoneytrail.com
might be a good place to start.
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