Whip Your Finances Into Shape

By now you’ve abandoned your plan to eat a healthier breakfast and spend an hour at the gym every day. Across the country, self-improvement resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Instead of succumbing to guilt and frustration over what you might not do this year, why not focus your energy on a goal that’s achievable at any time of year – financial fitness?

More Americans are concerned about their financial fitness rather than their personal health, and twice as many resolved to improve their financial health as their physical well-being, according to a recent online poll by American Consumer Credit Counseling. But taking control of your finances doesn’t have to be limited to the first few months of the year – you can get started anytime.

“Many people know they should save more, spend less and cut debt, but they may be unsure of how to go about it,” says Trey Loughran, president of the Personal Solutions unit at Equifax. “Starting out with a detailed strategy is the first step toward improving financial fitness.”

These five steps can help ensure this is the year you finally whip your finances into shape:

Add up all your debt

You know you owe, but do you know how much? Americans tend to underestimate how much debt they really have on credit cards, mortgages and auto loans, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Knowing how much you owe will give you a starting point to begin planning how you will pay it off.

Add up all your monthly expenses

Here, too, many people don’t have a firm grasp on how much they spend in a month. Gather all your monthly bills – utility bills, gas costs, insurance payments, grocery receipts, restaurant and coffee shop receipts, etc. Total them. Does the tally astonish you? Now separate the bills into those you must pay every month and those that are discretionary. You must pay your electricity bill, but do you really need coffee shop joe every morning? The discretionary expenses will give you an idea of where you have room to make changes in your spending habits. Now compare how much you spend in a month against how much income you bring in. If you’re spending less than you make, good for you – you can jump to Step 4. If you’re spending more than you bring in, go directly to Step 3.

Cut expenses.

Overspending can drive you into debt if you rely on credit to make up for a monthly shortfall. You can either try to increase your income by getting a second job or one that pays more, or you can cut unnecessary expenses. Evaluate your list of expenses from Step 2. What can you live without? Are there any “fixed” expenses that are actually flexible, such as your cable bill or cellphone bill? Look for places where you can save money and bring your spending in line with your earning.

Set up a budget.

Now that you know how much you owe, earn and spend each month, it’s time to create a budget. A personal or household budget is the framework for your future financial fitness. A budget helps you anticipate and manage cash flow so that you can meet your monthly obligations, set aside money for your future and work to pay down credit card debt.

Keep an eye on your credit.

Although everyone is entitled to view a copy of their credit report from each credit reporting agency for free at least once every year, not everyone does so.  If you’re working toward a specific financial fitness goal, such as paying down debt, building an emergency fund or saving toward a down payment on a house, it makes sense to monitor your credit regularly. Review your credit report and credit score so you can better understand how your past credit behaviors affected your finances, and how future credit decisions may also impact your life (keep in mind: the credit score provided may differ from the actual credit score used by lenders). You may also want to consider signing up for a credit monitoring product, which can alert you to key changes in your credit file and also help in protecting you from identity theft.

“Financial fitness is an achievable goal, no matter when you start,” Loughran says. “Fortunately, it’s easy to find plenty of resources to help, from financial planners and investment advisors to online resources like the Equifax Finance Blog (www.blog.equifax.com). With some knowledge and perseverance, it’s possible to make 2014 the year you finally get your finances in top shape.”

More from Dre Dynasty

A Recap Of Our 2015 Summer Issue Cover Party

This past Thursday, the beautiful Lilly Ghalichi did us the honor of...
Read More

14 Comments

  • 關于Ion Magnum技術: 它的作用是加快脂肪代謝而轉化成肌肉。專業設計的微電流模擬大腦到肌肉的正常神經傳導。乙醯膽鹼及ATP(産生能量的物質)都是由神經末梢釋放的。神經元共振導致神經末梢持續不斷的釋放ATP,甚至能達到正常釋放量的500。 Ion Magnum應用的是世界定級的神經生理學技術,它加快脂肪燃燒的速度,增强肌肉收縮,提高基礎代謝率(指的是你靜息狀態下消耗卡路里的速率)。複雜的微電流包含2000次與正常生理過程的相互作用,由此達到人體自然狀態下所不能達到的效果。它可以加快能量的轉化,增强體力和運動能力。 Ion Magnum目前由位於英國的創新科學研究中心開發、製造,該中心是由歐盟提供資金支持的。該設備及其組件均是由英國頂級的科學家手工製作的。該産品有CE標志,CE標志是歐洲共同市場的安全標志。 Ion Magnum基於最新的起搏器技術。

  • CO2激光(CO2 laser / 二氧化碳激光)的波長是10600nm,照射到皮膚上會被皮膚的水份吸收,瞬間將皮膚有問題的組織氣化。CO2激光可以用來消除各種皮膚問題包括疣、癦、痣、脂溢性角化、粉刺和汗管瘤等。當治療後,您的皮膚需要5至10天時間復原。期間保持傷口清潔便可。優點:CO2激光所切割的深度比刮除術較深,亦較精準。可以處理較深層的皮膚問題,例如去除癦、油脂粒、肉粒、疣、珍珠疣、角質增生等。其復原亦較快,減少留下疤痕的機會。它最大的優點在於,能夠進一步減少激光治療過程當中的熱損傷反應,提升了激光治療的安全性,治療過程中幾乎沒有疼痛感

  • 當蛋白線埋入皮膚後,皮下組織會將蛋白線視為異物,啟動異物反應,因此刺激膠原蛋白生長,且可促進新陳代謝,更新老化肌膚,所以客戶在術後也會發覺膚質變得較透亮白皙。膠原蛋白提拉線像一個“磁力線”一樣,將埋入處附近的肌肉和脂肪固定在原處,不會往下墜,其後會吸引皮下組織往蛋白線集中部位移動,就會逐漸產生提拉的緊實效果。也被用於填充美容的微整形,蛋白線材就好比蓋房子的鋼骨支架,先埋入皮膚當作基底結構,然後再注入好比水泥的玻尿酸或自體脂肪,因為有吸附力不易擴散,就可穩定固定住填充物,讓立體支撐力效果更好。

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.