Do you handle your money or does your money handle you? There are basic financial fundamentals that we all need to address every year. It's a New Year and money mentor Valerie Coleman Morris says it's time for everyone to get a financial grip! She says the timing couldn't be better.
Valerie's message: Everybody's in a "clean slate" state of mind. It's the New Year. These aren't resolutions. These are doable, incremental, achievable money management goals that will alleviate a lot of money anxieties.
Money mindset: Once a month is all it takes. By year's end, you've done at least a dozen things to take care of your money and improve your money knowledge.
JANUARY: Get your free annual credit reports.
- Only from the government mandated website www.annualcreditreport.com
- Read them, challenge in writing anything that's incorrect or not yours
- Know what's being said about you and your money
- Use folders and label (Receipts 2010, insurance, investments, etc)
- Create a safe place to store
- Life, health, disability, long-term care and casualty
- moneycentral.msn.com has a calculator to help figure out how much insurance you need
- Credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, any long-term obligations
- Check to see if rates and/or terms have changed
- Especially if major life changes such as births, deaths, divorce, marriage, job loss or relocation.
- 66 percent of Americans do not have a will
- If you have children and no will, the state will decide their guardianship
- A good tool is The National Association of Certified Financial Planners www.napfa.org
- Be sure to know how they get paid (fee only, hourly, % of assets)
- Make sure you're contributing the % necessary to qualify
- Check the diversity of your investment portfolio
- List the value of all your assets and possessions
- List the amount of your liabilities and debt
- Helps accurately determine the level of home/renters insurance you need
- Every account that's paperless can be retrieved online 24 hours a day
- Saves time and money - no stamps needed
- Convert to online banking and bill paying
- Easy to set up an automatic, recurring transfer with your bank to move money from checking to savings
- The easiest money saved is money you never see
- Set up contribution that coincides with your pay day
- The best time to start saving for your retirement is in your 20s
- Make sure you're getting the best deal and are adequately covered
About Valerie Coleman Morris:
Valerie Coleman (now Valerie Coleman Morris) was a Bay Area native when it comes to television news. She began her career in the early 70s in San Francisco at KRON-TV as a reporter and then KGO-TV as a long time anchor. She was part of the Van Amburg/Jerry Jensen/Pete Giddings news team that branded "happy talk" as a new news genre.
Valerie's the former Business Anchor for CNN domestic and international - her dozen daily reporters were seen every day by more than 290 million households, businesses and airport networks.
She still appears on CNN as a personal finance guest expert but now focuses her works as a financial journalist/educator with a unique point of view about money. Her "mind over money matters" approach gives the thought process for a behavioral change: re-calculating your relationship with your personal money.
Valerie's mantra: "It's your money, so take it personally."
Valerie's blog site "Women and Money:" Posts domestically, internationally every Thursday -- thethinpinkline.com
Valerie's daily podcast "Valuable Money Tips" For professional women -- www.napw.com
CBS Network Radio "With the Family in Mind - Money Matters:" Three times a week syndicated radio column