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As I begin my foray into the 2014 blogosphere, I want to make sure that I do it well and do it right.  I believe the best way to do anything right is to ground it in reality so that we are aware that what we see truly is, well, what IS.

Financial Reality is tough. Johnny gets paid more than Sally.  Karen gets paid more than Donald.  Life’s not fair.

The Jones’ just bought a brand new car.  The Smith’s just got a vacation house.  Billy and Susie down the street got everything on their Christmas wish lists.   Everybody is spending, but fewer and fewer are doing so based in reality.

Financial Reality is knowing what we spend, understanding how we spend, and utilizing our financial tools effectively.  Does that mean that we can’t finance a car?  No.  Does that mean we can’t rack up airline miles using a credit card?  No.  Does that mean that we get to do everything the family down the street does?  Oh, heck no.  Does that mean that we need to think before we spend, pay off what debt we do have efficiently, not accumulate more debt, save, and think outside the box?  ABSOLUTELY YES!!

As you begin your New Year, I want to encourage you to base your financial choices in reality.  Create a spending plan.  Know what you have coming in every month.  Know what you have going out every month.  Track your spending.  Know where to turn if you need help!  Ask for help when needed.  Pay off debt.  Set S.M.A.R.T. goals (stay tuned, more on that next week!)…and most importantly, realize…IT’S ONLY MONEY.

It’s only money?  Yes, strange thing for an Accredited Financial Counselor to say.  It’s true, though.  Dollars and cents control our lives because OUR MONEY uses US instead of us utilizing IT. 

Over the course of the next month I’m going to focus on Financial Reality–what it is and how to define it–as well as understanding Financial Reality when buying a car, utilizing a credit card, buying gifts, saving for vacation, teaching children about saving, and so much more!  I want to make sure that you realize that YOU have the POWER to CONTROL YOUR MONEY!!!   I have done plenty of things right with money.  I have also made lots of mistakes.  I will share my stories, what my husband and I have done right and wrong, the good, the bad, and probably some of the ugly too.  I’m looking forward to a New Year and helping you define your (New) Financial Reality!