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For Those In the Winter Stage of Life, Married or Single
For Those In the Winter Stage of Life, Married or Single

This season of life usually includes people in their seventies and above, either married or single. The habits and procedures you develop at this stage of life will provide the foundation that you will build on throughout the rest of your life, whether consciously or unconsciously. To develop a proper foundation it is critical that you first review your  financial risks, and then set boundaries that you will operate within.  An improper foundation can reap untold devastation with the relationships of your life. Here are some key anchors that can assist your financial plans:

  1. First review the financial risks that you face that could cause either minor or major damage to your financial plan. These could include:
      • Review your debt, college debt, business startup debt, mortgages, vehicle, credit cards, installment purchases, or other debt you may have collected 
      • Review your income stability, where you are, and where you are going.
      • Review health and physical limitation risks you may be presented with.
      • Review your monthly obligations.
      • If you are a couple, how long will each continue to work?
      • If you have children still living at home, what are their plans?
  1. Next look at options for reducing the risks of item one. This would include:
      • A review of your insurance for your health, life, property, litigation protection, vehicles, scheduled property items, hobbies, owned business, volunteer involvements, etc. 
      • An investment of time and effort for proper relationships in you life at home, work, church, and community is important. The health of your relationships can be a key factor that can make or break you financially, physically, and emotionally, and some never recover.
      • An investment in continuing education to maintain your competitive edge for as long as you plan to work is very important in our rapidly changing culture.
      • Establish a daily investment in proper balanced personal care, nutrition, rest, relaxation, vacation time, exercise, time management and stress control.  Some stress is healthy; too much is harmful.
      • Review plans for a balanced debt reduction that fits your overall budgetary plans. 
      • If you are a couple, and both of you are still working, and there are plans for one to stop work at some time in the future, you should have a plan for working toward saving on one income and living on only one income.
  1. View savings as a bill that must be paid first in your monthly budget, or you will never develop a good savings plan. When they spend first and then save, most people will have nothing left to save. The other side of this strategy requires the setting of realistic savings figures for where you are financially in life.
      • You should have five different savings accounts in your budget if you are to have a successful plan.
        • Long term savings
          • If children are in your home, funds are needed to help them launch their life
          • Retirement funds should be in place.
        • Short term savings
          • Home purchase
          • Capital improvements and purchases as home applicances, etc.
          • Vehicle purchases and repair fund.
          • Continuing education for yourself 
        • Emergency Fund because things do happen and credit cards can cause you a possible bottomless abyss if used for this. This account is a key factor in helping you maintain your financial plans.
        • Vacation Fund: it is important to set realistic boundaries for your budget.
        • Entertainment Fund: it is important to set realistic boundaries for this account and view this as the reward of time and money for following your financial plan.
  1. Some thoughts on budgets. It is critical that your monthly budget leaves room for error and flexibility. A budget that is too restrictive will only bring defeat and discouragement. I have found that people, after a time, will react to a too restictive budget as if they were confined to a small room, and as they see it, with growing internal pressure to burst out into freedom.  However, they do not realize that the freedom they think they have gained may only bring self-imposed slavery from possible creditors. These creditors, over time, can bring complete control of all aspects of their life and destructive pressures to the relationships of their life. The freedom all seek is only had within the boundaries of  the budgetary walls.  The key to the budgetary walls is that it is a voluntary, agreed-upon guide that can give the proper space in life, and that it can bring safety by keeping controling creditors out. If you are single, you have only yourself to work with on this. If you are a couple, you must keep in mind that one of you may be a saver while the other is a spender. Hopefully each of you are not too far apart or this will cause you much disharmony and grief as you progress in life. If you build on the strengths of each other and are realistic with each other, it should bring a natural balance to the financial planning process and implementation that will be healthy for your relationship.  As you work with your financial plan, it is important to set realistic milestones and rewards. Keep your goals in mind with a balanced expectation of reaching them. Remember, success is not a destination but a journey, so the daily process is the most important aspect of the plan.

  1. It is now time to work together on your monthly budget and put a plan together that will meet your monthly obligations. If you are single, make a list of your monthly obligations; if you are a couple, work on the list together so that you are in agreement that all is properly included. Put the agreed savings amount for each saving account first, then your debt reduction account amounts, followed buy your other accounts. The extra at the bottom of your budget are the reward funds and can be placed as additional funds into the entertainment account to use there, or some can be left for retrieval during the months when you do not meet your budget. Here is a suggested review of what your plan should include: 

                         Home Budgetary Guide For A Successful Financial Plan

        •  Long Term                     __________
          • Child launch          __________
          • Retirement            __________
        • Short Term                     __________
          • Vehicle Purchase  __________
          • Home Purchase    __________
          • Education             __________
          • Capital Improvements ________
        • Emergency Fund             __________
        • Vacation Fund                 __________
        • Entertainment Fund          __________
      • Savings Account Total               __________
        • Home mortgage/Rent       __________
        • Vehicle payments             __________
        • Credit Card Debt             __________
        • Installment Debt               __________
        • School Loans: children's   __________
        • Other                               __________
      • Outstanding Debt Expenses Total__________   
        • Vehicle maintenance             __________
        • Vehicle insurance              __________
        • Vehicle Operations            __________
        • Public transportation         __________
      • Transportation Expenses             __________
        • Capital Improvements       __________
        • Upkeep/repairs                 __________
        • Home goods                     __________
        • Home Insurance                __________
        • Utilities                              __________
          • Land Phone             __________
          • Mobile Phone          __________
          • Electric                     __________
          • Gas                          __________
          • Cable                       __________
          • Internet Connection  __________
          • Trash                       __________
          • Water/Sewer           __________
      • Home Expenses  Total                 __________
        • Newspaper & Other periodicals _________
        • Laundry & dry cleaning      ___________
        • Dues, professional or other ___________
        • Personal Care                    ___________
        • Clothing                             ___________
        • Food                                 ___________
        • Medical/drugs                    ___________
        • Health Insurance                ___________
        • Disability Insurance            ___________
        • Life Insurance                    ___________
        • Personal Fun Funds           ___________
        • Recreation/entertainment    ___________
        • Misc/other                         ___________
      • Daily living expenses Total            ___________
      • Residual funds *                           ___________

* For your financial plan to work, there must be something for this account as mentioned above. This account provides the flexibility for your plan, and it will give you the freedom that you will come to appreciate in time.

  1. Finally it is important to review your plan progress monthly and yearly, noting any adjustments that should be made to assure the success of your plan. Every so often it is wise to review your plan with us, as most people find it difficult to be totally honest and objective with themselves. This can bring an added dimension of assurance for a successful plan. 

Closing remarks: I have found over time that financial matters are one of the greatest destructive forces that can harm us physically and emotionally and can also cause total destruction to relationships. On the other hand, a properly balanced financial plan can bring a euphoria feeling of freedom, which is a wonder that is hard to describe and which can assist with good health, creative thinking, healing to the emotions, and with healthy, caring, and giving relationships. Each person is given in life a certain level of energy; if most of it is spent on financial matters, it will leave little for the other important aspects of life. What is your driving force in life? Money is only a measure of time, or a medium of exchange where by we exchange some of our time on earth for money.  A dollar spent can not be reclaimed any more than a day spent can be reclaimed. My friend, how are you doing in life? Are you living life with freedom, or are you controlled by creditors? The choice is yours to make, and it can affect all aspects of your life if you are single. If you are a couple, men, this can provide an aspect of security that most women long for; it is not how much you make but what you do with what you make. Your investment, men, in a solid plan, will yield a great return for your relationship. Ladies, appreciate the efforts that the man in your life puts forth, and work with him; it will yield a great return for your investment and will encourage him to try harder and be stronger. You must work and walk together daily or you will walk apart in time.

Last updated on Thu, 07/29/2004 - 10:13.
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