Ask Kim: Where to Start

Dear Kim,

My parents never talked about money because they didn’t want me and my siblings to worry. While I appreciate the way they protected us, I now realize in adulthood that I don’t know how to handle my OWN money. I don’t know how to save my money. Where should I start?


Financial First-Timer

Dear Financial First-Timer,

I wish they taught personal finance in every school. There are books you can start with to get the terminology down before starting. Dave Ramsey’s program is also great for beginners to understand budgets and finance.

Sit down with your bank and credit card statements and determine where your money goes each month. Decide where your leakage is in your monthly spending plan and adjust accordingly. I remember doing this with my youngest son, and he was appalled at how much he spent each month on fast food. Getting a 20-year-old to cook meals was tough, but he does it now.

Staying out of debt is so important as it drains your available money each month by paying interest charges that can be high. Another key in our “I want it now” society is understanding the difference between wants and needs. If you can learn the difference, the rest will fall into place.

Imagine putting your monthly take-home income on your table, picking up each dollar, and assigning it a task. We all have money that grows wings and flies away, but being intentional about where we spend helps minimize that.

Once you have a handle on where you are currently, think about what you want your money to do for you as you go through your life. Money is a tool to help you reach your goals. You have to know what those goals are before you can work toward them. That’s where working with a financial planner can help.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what your goals are, but talking through them can help define and clarify them for you. My old friend, Yogi Berra, said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”

Very true words.



If you need help navigating your finances, talk to Kim Spencer by clicking the link below!

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