I had a surreal experience the other day that gave me a jolt. In listing a set of barstools for sale on Craigslist, I couldn't remember when I got them. I was thinking they might be 7 or 8 years old.
I dug out the original paperwork and nearly fainted when I saw the date of purchase: 1995.
No way! These stools are 17 years old? I couldn't help but think how quickly time passes and how easy it is to put things off.
Every day I hear from people who are spinning their wheels, planning to get out of debt as soon as they get another job, or as soon as the kids finish school or as soon as they move into a bigger house -- and on and on it goes.
If you keep putting off reaching for your goals, you're going to wake up one morning and realize 17 or 25 or 35 years have passed, and you've done nothing but tread water and get old.
Why not get started today? Here's how:
1. Identify something you want and write it down where you will see it often. It can be anything, from what you want to eat for dinner tonight to adding $5,000 to your savings account. Anything. Just make sure it's something you really want.
2. Make yourself think about it almost all of the time, and I don't mean casually. I'm talking laser-beam intensity. Concentrate. Visualize. Hold it in the front of your mind.
That's it. That's all you have to do, because at that point, human nature will kick in. You will move toward whatever you focus on most of the time. You can't help it. That's how the
There is one more thing. It's called power, and you know where that comes from: knowledge. As you move to reach your goal to get out of debt, live below your means, build your contingency fund and invest for the future, you need good, solid, reliable information. A healthy dose of daily motivation won't hurt, either.
Stay focused, and let me know how things are going.
Dear Mary: Recently I sold a piece of property, and I need advice on what to do with the proceeds. I am 78 and don't know whether to pay off the mortgage on my residence or keep making my mortgage payments and invest the proceeds.
-- Janet, email
Dear Janet: You need sound advice from an expert who can sit down with you and assess your entire financial picture. That's not something I can do in this column.
I suggest you contact the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), the country's leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors. These are highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve. It will cost you a couple of hundred dollars, but it will be well worth the investment.
To find a NAPFA professional in your area, call 847-483-5400 during regular business hours, Eastern time, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on NAPFA or fee-based financial planners, visit their website at NAPFA.org.
Send questions to mary@every daycheapskate.com or Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.