In January 1992, I started this weekly column, called "It’s Your Money." I was passionate about getting information about finances out to you in a way that was accurate and up-to-date with resources that would be useful as you made decisions.
I designed it as a consumer column to help prepare individuals and families to make financial decisions on their own or in partnership with financial professionals. Too many people ignore their finances because they are fearful that someone is going to sell them something that isn’t in their best interest. Knowledge helps you reduce financial risk.
For more than 13 years, I’ve answered your questions and covered a multitude of topics. I hope you’ve saved and earned more money because of the information I’ve provided.
Here’s my best advice for being in charge of your financial future.
1. Create an investment policy that you use to guide your asset choices. Most people buy mutual funds, stocks and other assets because someone has recommended them. Establish a plan that will guide you when you buy and sell assets.
2. Ignore hot tips from the media, friends and family. They are almost always less worthwhile than they sound. If you establish a balanced plan that includes stocks, bonds, foreign assets and real estate, you can be confident that your assets will see you through the ups and downs of the market.
3. Save more than you think you should. There are more unknowns related to finances than ever before. Pensions, health care costs, social security benefits and other considerations no longer are sure things. Protect yourself in retirement by building a larger savings portfolio than you thought necessary.
4. Use your financial resources to support your life’s passion. Live well, love well and share what you can with others.
5. Create your own treasury of inspiration to help when you reach difficult times. Books, magazines and newspapers are full of thoughts to motivate us when we experience tough times. It’s possible to get through difficult events by thinking long-term and using the inspirational thinking of others.
6. Make sure that you use a variety of financial planning tools including a cash flow plan, a daily/weekly/monthly record of your cash flow, a net-worth statement, an inventory of your finances to give the personal representative of your estate and finally, a will, living will, durable power of attorney and a health-care power of attorney.
7. I am now working one-on-one with individuals and couples to help them establish personalized financial plans. Education is still my passion, so visit my Web site at www.judymckenna.com and check out the "Learning More About Finances" section.
I wish you a life of satisfaction, fulfillment and prosperity. Thanks for reading all these years. And don’t forget – it’s your money!
Judy McKenna, Ph.D., CFP, Family Economics Specialist, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org