The state of our finances represents a key scorecard in life. At a high-level, it provides a measure of:
- The quality and quantity of service that we (as individuals) provide society
- How effective we are at managing that income as well as the outgo
This site provides numerous posts covering methods to continuously increase our service and income.
The purpose of this post is to cover the topic of “Minding the Finances”.
To get started, let’s reiterate: It is NOT how much we make. It is how much we keep (e.g., don’t spend, or lose) that matters! With that in mind, let’s cover the following topics:
- Watch it like a hawk
- Eradicate ALL debt
- Block the dirtbags
- Manage the income and outgo
- Use protection
Why do we want to do all of this? Because, the state of our finances can result in contentment, or stress. And, to achieve Mind Like Water, we want to eliminate all forms of stress. So, here we go…
Watch it like a Hawk
The first step is knowing EXACTLY where we stand with EVERY financial account we own – on a 24×7 basis.
The simplest method I have found for this is using the free service offered by Intuit (maker of Quicken): Mint.com. In a matter of minutes I was able to setup my profile and pull in information from ALL my financial accounts. And, each time I login (from my computer or iPhone) I have immediate access to the most current balances and transactions (again, for ALL my accounts).
There are many benefits to this, not the least of which includes…
Having up-to-the-minute status of all my accounts, in a single view, helps tremendously in spotting potentially fraudulent activities early, vs. the “old way” of waiting for a monthly account statement.
Finally, this puts an end to the tedious process of balancing a checking account. The reason: we ALWAYS have the most up-to-date balances available, including transactions that have cleared, are currently processing or are pending (e.g., a future-dated check).
I’ll start (with what some may consider a shocker) by reinforcing that “if” we have ANY debt think: my hair is on fire!
Why do I say that?
Because debt places some portion of our lives under the control of a creditor. Said another way, we become a slave to the debt.
While this may be appropriate for a “temporary” period of time, it need not be a dark cloud hanging overhead for our entire life.
By taking disciplined measures we can rid ourselves of ALL debt in a relatively short period of time.
In the spirit of brevity you are encouraged to read 2 prior posts covering the topics of:
The feeling of freedom, experienced after doing-so, is absolutely incredible!
Block the Dirtbags
In addition to managing our own financial habits we must make sure the dirtbags (and there are a few out there) don’t steal our money.
One of the worst things that can happen is someone taking out a loan in our good name that we are then expected to pay back. Ouch!
Yes, there are identity theft protection services for which we can pay a nice annual fee. However, they only alert us WHEN potentially fraudulent activity occurs and make an attempt to resolve the issue AFTER it occurs. Wouldn’t it be better to stop this activity dead in its tracks (BEFORE it occurs)?!?!?
We can. And, we can do this (almost) for free!
Realize, when we apply for financing (a credit card, auto-loan, etc.), the organization we wish to do business with checks our credit report which entails querying one or more of the 3 credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and/or TransUnion). Assuming our score is good we’ll get that financing, and the better the score the lower the interest rate.
The same happens when a dirtbag applies for credit in our good name. All they need is a few pieces of information most of which is available online (whether we like it, believe it, or not).
So, the objective is to instruct the credit reporting agencies to deny all credit checks against our good name.
How do we do this, while at the same time maintaining a good credit score and the ability to apply for credit if/when we need it?
Simple! Contact (online) the 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and follow their simple instructions to put a FREEZE on our credit report. To learn more, or get started, click on each of the 3 credit bureau names provided above.
Once setup, if anyone attempts to take out a line of credit in our good name it is immediately refused.
And, they each offer a simple method to quickly / temporarily “thaw” our credit report, if/when we are seeking to establish a new line of credit – for real.
At this point, I’ve written enough for this post 🙂
In closing, minding our finances is a key step in achieving Mind Like Water, with the goal of creating a life of effortless abundance. It is just a matter of doing it!
In subsequent posts we’ll cover the remaining topics on Mind the Finances.
All the best!