Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This Way or That?

The very nature of my blog highlights the point that there are often a multitude of ways to achieve one's financial goals. I wish I could say that the motivation for today's post is purely financial, but it's not. Nevertheless, there are many applications of the concept of achieving a task in a variety of ways. For example, you have read my many posts about paying down my car note. Initially, my goal was to eliminate my car note by June 2012 by making monthly principal only payments of $230.89. My boyfriend, who paid off his $30,000+ vehicle loan early, recommended that I see what areas of my budget I could make adjustments to in order to add more to this additional payment. After number crunching with loan amortization tables and a variety of savings projections, I settled on $1245/month to pay the car note (this amount includes the original $269.11 payment), this amount later became $1045/month as a I soon realized that twelve hundred bucks a month left me with no wiggle room.

I've also thought about the variety of advice/information promulgated about:

Investing: asset allocations based on age, how to pick a stock, what indicators to assess when selecting a fund, how much to save for retirement, tax diversification...

Saving and debt management: what debts to pay first, saving a set dollar amount or a percentage of income, what type of savings instrument to use, how much to set aside for emergencies....

Insurance: how much coverage, term or whole life, who to list as a beneficiary or beneficiaries...

The list goes on and on. I can only imagine that as my income increases and my options within financial planning expand that this list will grow even larger! However, I am comfortable knowing that - despite how overwhelming it may seem- I am constantly learning about and taking control of my finances. Regardless of the recommendations, I am ultimately responsible for the consequences of my decisions: to save one way or another, to pick a stock or bond fund because of a certain indicator, or whatever the case may be.

Have you ever received advice about the way you should handle your finances? Was it solicited or unsolicited? Was it more helpful or harmful?

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