- AARP - http://blog.aarp.org -

Tips & Tough Love for Tough Times from the Money Coach

Posted By Deb Silverberg On September 22, 2011 @ 7:54 pm In Money Talk | Comments Disabled

[1]Personal finance expert Lynette Khalfani-Cox, a.k.a. The Money Coach [2], says living within your means is the best thing you can do [3] to be financially secure. But if it’s so simple, why is it so hard?

For one thing, the economy isn’t helping. Downsizing-the first of what Khalfani-Cox calls names as the 5 Ds-is all too common these days…especially if you’re over 50. Divorce, Disease, Disability and Death of a breadwinner also can be devastating.

Some things are out of our control, acknowledged Khalfani-Cox during her talk at AARP’s Life@50+ National Event & Expo [4]. She says it’s best to focus on things within our control. By taking just one step in the right direction we can begin to build a better financial future.

Are you ready to make today the first day of the rest of your financial life? These tips could help.

  • In debt? Make a list of your creditors [5], and pick up the phone. Explain your circumstances and ask for a lower interest rate. The Money Coach says you have nothing to lose; 74% percent of the time, according to one survey, they’ll say yes. While you’re at it, ask for a different payment date if that would help. You won’t know until you ask.
  • Currently employed? First, count your blessings. If you got a tax refund last year, give yourself an instant raise by adjusting your tax withholdings [6] so you get more in each paycheck.
  • Have your affairs in order? Have an updated will [7], adequate insurance [8], and an advanced medical directive [9]? “If you have time to watch Dancing with the Stars, you have time to do something about these things,” says Khalfani-Cox.
  • Ready to get serious about ‘what if?’ Do you have enough in savings for a $1,000 or so expense like a leaky roof? How about three months worth of living expenses? If not, put a percentage of your money into savings [10] for a rainy day fund, and then begin an emergency fund.

Clearly, times are tough and people are hurting financially. Khalfani-Cox says that’s even more reason to get our finances in order. While we’re at it, she says we also need to have a little fun. (Whew…fun!) Her advice: develop a budget you can live with and set aside a little something so you can do what you enjoy. “A budget shouldn’t feel like a straitjacket,” she says.

For specific tips and tools to reduce debt and increase savings, check out the resources at www.aarp.org/money [11]. Follow @AARPMoney [12] on Twitter for more money and work session highlights from Life@50+. 

Photo by Cat Eden [13] via Flickr Creative Commons

Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2011/09/22/tips-tough-love-for-tough-times-from-the-money-coach/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://aarpblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/dog-with-visa-card-by-cat-edens.jpg

[2] The Money Coach: http://www.aarp.org/money/experts/lynnette_khalfani_cox/

[3] best thing you can do: http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-11-2010/khalfani_cox_dont_spend_what_you_dont_have.html

[4] Life@50+ National Event & Expo: http://www.aarp.org/about-aarp/events/national_event/

[5] creditors: http://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/info-07-2011/secrets-credit-card-companies.html

[6] tax withholdings: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html

[7] will: http://www.aarp.org/money/estate-planning/info-03-2011/cost-effective-wills.html

[8] insurance: http://www.aarp.org/money/insurance/info-10-2010/khalfani_cox_life_insurance_after_age_50.html

[9] advanced medical directive: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/grief-loss/info-06-2009/never_young_advanced_directive.html

[10] percentage of your money into savings: http://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/info-08-2011/rainyday-fund-emergency-fund.html

[11] www.aarp.org/money: http://www.aarp.org/money

[12] @AARPMoney: https://twitter.com/#!/AARPMoney

[13] Cat Eden: http://www.flickr.com/photos/catheroo/

Copyright © 2013 AARP. All rights reserved.