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The Best Way to Understand Personal Finance

When we are trying to understand Personal Finance, the best thing to do is to understand what Personal Finance is NOT.

Many people think that accounting and personal finance are the same, but Personal Finance is NOT Accounting.

On the surface they may seem the same; they both have something to do with money. However, the definitions will help us better understand the differences.

Merriam-Webster’s definition of accounting is “the system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions and analyzing, verifying, and reporting the results.”

Based on this definition, we see that accounting is the process of analysing and recording what you have already done with your money.

This is why having an accountant is usually not enough when it comes to your personal finances.

Accountants generally don’t concern themselves with personal finance (there are some exceptions to this rule). Unless your accountant is also a financial advisor or coach, he or she will likely just look at what you have done with your money at the end of the year and provide you with a report of their analysis.

This report is usually your tax return; what you owe the government or what the government owes you.

Very rarely does the accountant provide an individual with a Balance Sheet or Income Statement or a Net worth statement; all very helpful tools that are necessary to effectively manage your personal finances.

Personal Finance is looking at your finances from a more pro-active and goal oriented perspective. This is what provides the accountants with something to record, verify and analyze.

The Merriam-Webster’s (Concise Encyclopedia) definition of “Finance” is the “process of raising funds or capital for any kind of expenditure. Consumers, business firms, and governments often do not have the funds they need to make purchases or conduct their operations, while savers and investors have funds that could earn interest or dividends if put to productive use. Finance is the process of channeling funds from savers to users in the form of credit, loans, or invested capital through agencies including COMMERCIAL BANKS, SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATIONS, and such nonbank organizations as CREDIT UNIONS and investment companies. Finance can be divided into three broad areas: BUSINESS FINANCE, PERSONAL FINANCE, and public finance. All three involve generating budgets and managing funds for the optimum results”.

Personal Finance Simplified

By understanding the definition of “finance” we can break our “personal finance” down into 3 simple activities:-

1. The process of raising funds or capital for any kind of expenditure = Generating an Income.
A Business gets money through the sale of their products and services. This is labeled “revenue” or “income”. Some businesses will also invest a portion of their revenue to generate more income (interest income).

A Person gets money through a job, or a small business (self employment, sole proprietorship, network marketing or other small business venture). The money coming in can be a salary, hourly wage, or commission, and is also referred to as income.

A Government gets money through taxes that we pay. This is one of the main ways that the government generates an income that is then used to build infrastructure like roads, bridges, schools, hospitals etc for our cities.

2. Using our money to make purchases = Spending Money.
How much we spend relative to how much we make is what makes the difference between having optimum results in our personal finances. Making good spending decisions is critical to achieving financial wealth – regardless of how much you make.

3. Getting optimum results = Keeping as much of our money as possible
It’s not how much you MAKE that matters – its how much you KEEP that really matters when it comes to your personal finances.

This is the part of personal finance that virtually everyone finds the most challenging.

Often people who make large incomes (six figures or more) also tend to spend just as much (or more) which means they put themselves in debt and that debt starts to accrue interest. Before long that debt can start to grow exponentially and can destroy any hope they would have had to achieving wealth.

Personal Finance made simple

Personal Finance doesn’t need to be complicated if you keep this simple formula in mind:


For Optimal Results you simply have to make more than what you spend and spend less than what you make so you can keep more for you and your family!

If you are not actively working towards an optimal result you will by default get less than optimal results

It really is that simple!

Now that you understand personal finance and WHAT you need to do, the next step is learning HOW to do this!

The best way to start is by following these 3 simple steps:-

1. Know what you want to achieve – “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there” has become a very popular quote, probably because it is so true. One of the habits that Stephen Covey highlights in his book “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, is to always start with the end in mind. Knowing where you want to go will be a big help in ensuring you get there.

2. Have a plan – that you can follow that will get you to your goals. Knowing how you will achieve your goals in a step by step plan is invaluable. Sometimes this is easier with the help of an advisor or a financial coach.

3. Use tools and resources – that will help you to stick to your plan and not become distracted by the things in life that could limit our incomes and make us spend more than we should. Don’t try and work it all out in your head! You will end up with a massive headache and your finances will become one gigantic dark fog!

Finding Money You Never Knew

For most people getting out of debt is little more than a pipe dream. Creating a personal finance plan that includes a savings plan and a retirement plan are a venture that few are prepared to tackle. We all too often tell ourselves that we lack the funds necessary to achieve even a small part of what we want. We will look at the 4 steps necessary to achieve our financial dreams.

Creating money by reducing expenses

In most cases your current expense has done nothing but grow month to month. Every three months you should look at every expense that you have and find the waste. Things like upsizing every special value meal at McDonalds when you eat out. Sure it is a good buy but if you eat out every day that adds up to $32 per month on average. Electric bills can be reduced by $10-$15 per month just by small moves in the thermostat and turning out lights. A pack of cigarettes a day is costing you close to $4000 per year or $40,000 in 10 years. Not to say anything about the added expense to your healthcare.

Give your Personal Finances a reevaluation

Look at what your financial goals are. Most people set very modest goals and if they come up short they put themselves at risk. People take the advice of people who are just getting by themselves and guess what that advice will do for you. Yes, just get you by too. Look to people who are super successful. Why do you think super successful people turn to Warren Buffet for financial advice? Who does he turn to for advice, Bill Gates of course?

Build a plan that will give you everything that you want and more and if you come up just a little bit short, you will be living the life that the others are still dreaming about. Remember somebody has to live on that beach or live at the top of that mountain.

Free up Money sooner rather than latter

Have a plan to pay down debt. Remember just a few extra dollars a month on every bill will rapidly destroy the balances. Pick the low hanging fruit and pay them off first. Take the money that you have found by cutting expenses and apply it to the smallest balances first. There are a lot of ideas about how to do it but you must keep it simple to make it work. Learn to live without borrowing. When you borrow you are just building someone else’s future at your own expense.

Pay Yourself First

No matter what you do make sure that you pay yourself first. Remember this is your personal finances that you are trying to grow. If there is any way possible that you can have the money automatically taken out of your account that is the best way. Simply take the first 10% of the gross amount that you make and put it in a 401k or some other financial device that will grow rapidly and be harder to touch the money. This is your retirement plan for the future. You will need that money when you are living out your dreams.

To find out more great tips for your personal finances and great advice on how to prepare a retirement plan and a savings plan see the resource box below.

Gurus of Personal Finance

Some personal finance experts are popular all over the world because of their principles, concepts and ideas. They have shared their expertise on money management and saving techniques through their books and lectures. These authors have helped people live financially comfortable life by providing easy to follow techniques. We will have a glimpse of some personal finance gurus, who have been providing the right financial advice to their followers.

Dave Ramsey: Dave Ramsey, popularly known as “Debt Free Dollar Man”, is an expert in personal money management. He offers financial advice to people about how to get control of their money and lives. Noted for his preaches on ‘How to get out of debt and stay out of debt’, Ramsey often talks to his clients in a nationally syndicated radio talk show in U.S. He offers problems in personal finances and discusses topics and techniques on saving, investing, retirement planning, etc. Dave became popular for his #1 best-selling book, “The Total Money Makeover”, which furnishes excellent advice on financial fitness. The book demolishes popular myths on personal finance. His other book “Financial Peace Revisited” also gained huge popularity in 2002.

Robert Kiyosaki: Robert Kiyosaki is a well-known investor, educator and entrepreneur. He is noted for his best-selling book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. The author teaches mainly on how to create wealth by investing in the right channels instead of traditional advice on how to save money. His book is based on the story of two fathers of whom, one is rich and the other is poor. The whole story tells us about how the rich dad and poor dad educate their children. The author has been successful by selling over 26 million copies of his famous 15 books.

Suze Orman: Suze Orman is one of the top personal finance experts in the U.S. She has been called as “one-woman financial advice powerhouse” by USA today. She runs her own talk show “The Suze Orman Show” on Saturday nights on CNBC. Orman entered the New York Times best-sellers list with her book, “The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom”, which emphasizes the emotional way of achieving financial freedom. She became popular when three million copies of this book have been sold. The other two books that have the same success stories are “You’ve Earned It, Don’t Lose It” and “The Money Book for the Young Fabulous & Broke”.

Thomas Stanley: Author of six award winning books that have covered all the common connections of America’s wealthy people, Dr. Stanley has been studying the affluent market in America for over 30 years. He is known for his New York Times best-selling book “The Millionaire Next Door”, of which over two million copies have been sold. Later he published another book, “The Millionaire Mind”, based on America’s financial elite. This book has appeared #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. His latest book, “Stop Acting Rich” in 2009, is seventh among his books. Stanley is an expert in understanding ways of becoming wealthy.

David Bach: David L. Bach is a popular American personal finance author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He conducts television shows where he discusses money management techniques. David’s first book “Smart Women Finish Rich” gained popularity by appearing on the New York bestseller list for a decade. The author is best known for his “Finish Rich” book series and “Automatic Millionaire” book series. Of his 12 books, 11 books have been national bestsellers and 4 books – “Automatic Millionaire”, “Smart Women Finish Rich”, “Smart Couples Finish Rich”, and “The Finish Rich” have appeared at the same time on Wall Street Journal’s and Business Week’s best sellers list.

The advice provided by these experts is adopted from their real life experiences and has been tried and proved successful. Should you want to make the right changes in your personal finances, follow any one of these gurus to for healthy personal finance as well as reach to your financial goals.

Get Inspired and Think Big With Personal Finance

Have you ever assessed your personal finances and then set modest goals to pay off this tiny loan first or increase your income by just a little to start making progress? Did you ever wonder why this approach usually ends up being a financial failure? The importance of thinking big with your personal finance goals and getting inspired by them cannot be understated for your success and I will outline the benefits below.

From now on I want you to throw away your modest financial goals and start thinking big. I mean really big. You might have a goal to increase your income, for example, and find a way to earn an extra hundred dollars a month. That personal finance goal was the you of the past, I would like you to take your modest goals and multiply them by 1000! Increasing your income by $10,000 a month might sound inconceivable to you, might sound crazy, but it is one of the secrets to financial success.

Let us talk a little about why thinking big with your personal finance goals works. It begins with a belief that you are capable of anything, I believe in you and you should too. Your beliefs can limit you, like chains, or they can free you to soar the financial heights. When you are inspired you know you are capable of incredible accomplishments, and that includes the financial arena even if your past success has been less than admirable. What you needed was a huge goal, a goal that absolutely inspires and invigorates your efforts to unimagined heights.

By setting these inspired big personal finance goals you free up your personal resources to think big about money on a scale you had previously put little thought into. If I was creating a personal finance plan on a small scale, perhaps I would think and imagine ways on how I could sell a few hundred cookies to earn an extra hundred dollars each month. Now if we multiply our goal, our thinking dramatically changes, how can go about creating hundreds of thousands of cookies, efficiently, and to sell them to increase my income by $10,000 a month. The very nature of your planning changes, and in your thinking change lies the personal finance secret to wealth building.

You may not reach your big inspired personal finance goal on your first month, but your efforts will be reaching for the stars. The rewards are so great as to inspire herculean efforts of finance and business wizardry on your part. Plus, if you fall short, the results might surprise you, far exceeding your original meager personal finance goal of an additional $100 in income, you might find yourself growing and developing the beginnings of a vastly rewarding wealth building enterprise.

The Importance of Personal Finance

Finance is often made more complex than it needs to be, and proper personal finance budgeting to build wealth need not be stressful. Simply by following a few simple basic rules of personal finance your budgeting will not only get you back on financial track but begin the process of wealth creation that we all deserve.

The principles of a sound wealth building system all require the foundation built on personal finance budgeting. Solid and consistent budgeting is one of the laws of personal finance that you break at your own expense. The cost of not following your money, and knowing how your money flows in and out of your possession is dear, and a very common mistake. But, what are the principles of successful budgeting.

The first principle of personal finance budgeting that comes before any dreaded calculations or budget sheet assessment is to remove all the emotion from your finances. This is the hardest and most important of the personal finance budgeting secrets to be revealed. If you find yourself wracked with debt anxiety, overwhelmed by countless financial obligations, or just simply hate counting bills and income, you are not alone. But it is an essential and important to take effort to remove any emotion from this process. You are simply counting numbers,, to paint a map of where you are now, and to measure progress towards your wealth destination. Removing the emotion from your personal finance budgeting will be a work in progress, and you should always remain on guard for its returning.

The next step to when personal finance budgeting will be to compile a list of both your assets and your liabilities. With this step in the budgeting process we are trying to evaluate your net worth. You simply need to make a list of what you own, assign each item a number as to what it could be sold for, or its current worth, and subtract from this list what you owe. For example, if you own a boat that can be sold for $1500 and you still owe $750 you would be left with a value of $750 that could be considered a part of your net worth. By determining these numbers in personal finance budgeting we are able to a better idea in the broad sense of what you are worth financially.

Following the determination of your net worth, our next budgeting step is to determine what your dynamic finances are. This sounds more complicated than it is, I am only asking that you make a list of what your monthly income sources are and how much you bring in each month from these income streams. We then need to compile a list of your monthly expenses, what they are and how much the subtract from your monthly income. Proper budgeting your personal finances means leaving no expense or item off the list, no matter how small, account for everything. This budgeting task reveals to us the speed that you are travelling with your finances, either to financial ruin or towards your wealth building destination.

You have accomplished all there is to wise personal finance budgeting. You are now capable of assessing what your worth is, and have an idea of what your destination is (your wealth building goal), and you know at what speed you are travelling towards it monthly. Your budget provides you with a clear understanding of where your money is and how it is flowing. With this information you can now make wiser decisions and streamline your finances, all with the help of a little personal finance budgeting each month.

Personal Finance Advice For Life

The airwaves are filled with personal finance advice, advocating countless products, investments and disciplines for creating wealth and financial largesse in your life. With all the advice available regarding your finances it is easy to get lost and lose focus on the simple principles that if applied, have been tested to create wealth in your life.

Any sound personal finance advice plan should begin with the most important rule of money, and the one we often find so hard to find the discipline to keep. To create excess money in your life, one must first learn to spend less money than earned from month to month. This is an inviolable rule of personal finance, and I recommend you breaking it at your financial peril. Your credit, bank statements and retirement income will reflect directly how well you hold to this principle, so my advice is to without fail spend less money than you make.

Personal finance advice is filled with such maxims, but how do we follow this advice. If you do not already find yourself spending less money than you make, work towards this goal. Cut expenses and bills where you can, and seriously evaluate what spending habits you have that are need vs. want items. With a cold assessment of one’s finances, there never fails to be a series of costs that can be cut in the name of achieving this goal. Take my advice, do whatever it takes to spend less money than you make.

Successful money management has its rewards too, and is not all about just cutting the pleasures of life that can be purchased with ready capital and financial success. In following with this precept, the next piece of personal finance advice is to increase how much money you bring in from month to month. It sounds like basic financial advice, yet how many do you know in your own life that do not actively put focus and energy into increasing their monthly income.

These two essential pieces of personal finance advice should be applied at all times to your life. Always maintain a focus on finding ways to keep your spending below what you make, and a dedication to pursuing methods of adding more value to others in order to increase the money you are capable of bringing in each month.

The difference in savings and increase will surprise you. Do not get lost in the shuffle of personal finance advice, hold to these essential principles and build the common sense money habits that will create wealth in your life today.

Completely Free Personal Finance Online

If you want completely free personal finance online help, you are fortunate as organizing personal finances for wealth building has never been easier and there are a ton of online tools and articles that can help guide you to success. Let us cover a few of the best services online for managing your personal finances.

You might want to begin to turn around your personal finances for a number of reasons. You might have bad credit and are looking to improve your credit score for all the benefits good credit provides. You might be facing the more serious side effects of poorly managed personal finances such as bankruptcy, foreclosure, seizures, evictions or other painful hardships.

If you are suffering any of these financial difficulties, my heart goes out to you, I have been there, and it is a very difficult time, but the free personal finance online tools that are available to you now can ensure that you never find yourself back in such a difficult situation.

Here are a few of the completely free personal finance online services to consider:

  1. a completely free website to help with organizing personal finances, budgeting and expense tracking that includes a number of helpful tools and suggestions for reducing your expenses and tracking your spending. The service is my number one suggestion as it can be eye opening to see where your money is being spent once you are tracking it properly
  2. Google: harness Google and the wealth of information that is available online with articles from experts ranging on topics from investing in gold to bad credit repair. You name it and there is someone talking about it online and Google can help you find these resources for your research

I could go into a list of other smaller lesser known sites or search engines that track expenses help with budgeting or managing your money, but truly all you need are these two free tools.

What to Look for When Organizing Your Personal Finances

The best advice that can be utilized by one recovering from financial hardship is to make your personal finances and their successful management your #1 priority. Information is absolutely essential for successful management of your money, but I promise as you continue your research the principles will become second nature to you and you will find your credit improving and your income growing as a natural recourse of your hard work.

Finance Leads To Smart Business Finances

The financial world may be a mystery to us when we are children but we get a crash course in it as adults. When we venture out on our own, there is no one to help us create and maintain a budget or pay our bills. If we eventually tire of working for someone else and decide to start our own business, business-related finances supplement our personal finance dealings. Without some knowledge or guidance, the world can become very confusing.

One of the best ways to get a strong foundation regarding finances is to read. There are plenty of paper and eBooks dealing with business and personal finance. Entrepreneurs can also find prepackaged systems for starting an online business that includes tutorials regarding the financial aspect of a company. With this subject, it is much wiser to look before you leap, so read, read, read.

Whether they are offered online or at a local college, finance classes will also be helpful. Many cover the ins and outs of the global financial sector, while others have a personal or business focus. Learning how to manage personal finances will only help with managing those for the business. Many of the concepts are applicable to both areas of life so do not hesitate to take every class that can be found. When the courses are required for a new career, they are often deductable on income taxes, an added bonus.

Retaining a finance advisor is a smart move for anyone managing a substantial financial portfolio. The world of investing and money management is complex, so it helps to have professional assistance. This person may also be able to offer insight into business matters, providing twice the return on the investment. Some of the most well-known entrepreneurs credit their success to great advice regarding finances. Never hesitate to ask the advisor questions because that is the only way to learn.

A finance calculator is a tool used for financial matters in addition to basic mathematics. People use this device so they do not need to remember and perform complex calculations by hand. It saves them time and money when calculating present value, future value, payments, cash flows, and other terms for loans, mortgages, investments, and business endeavors. Business owners should keep one of these handy because it will be needed throughout the years.

Just as a financial advisor is a go-to resource regarding investments and other money matters, an entrepreneurial mentor can be invaluable for business matters. It helps to learn from the best, so business owners should seek out a successful entrepreneur with time to spare and learn everything there is to know about running a company.

Finance is as crucial an aspect in the business world as it is in our personal lives. By taking the time to educate ourselves, obtaining the proper tools, and consulting with the most knowledgeable people, we can successfully manage both work and personal finances. This will make our lives much easier, allowing us to focus on enhancing our quality of living.

Plan for Your Personal Finance Planning Success

Good personal finance planning will never happen as a result of managing your financial life by the urgency of the moment or by what is urgent instead of what is important. As you know, success at anything, especially in the effective management of money, requires you to be proactive consistently in your daily actions. In this article, we’ll be talking about how you can accomplish this starting right now by having a clearly written plan for your personal finance planning success.

Personal Finance Planning Made Simple

One of the primary differences between people who are successful with their personal finance planning and people who are not is that the successful people have a clear and written plan as to how they’re going to achieve their goals. Meanwhile, unsuccessful people assume that as long as the plan is in their head, that’s good enough. Many of us greatly underestimate how big of a difference it can make to simply write down your goals and a plan for accomplishing them.

If you’re reading this and assuming that something this simple can make a big difference, here’s what you owe it to yourself to start doing right now: sit down every night and write out a step-by-step plan for what you’re going to do the next day. Keep it simple, put things in order of priority and make sure that you take care of the things which require the most focus when you are the most focused, which is normally right after you get up in the morning.

Just do this for one week, and at the end of the week evaluate your progress and set out a goal for what you’re going to accomplish the next week. This will be more than enough time to convince you how much more focused and productive you can be by simply having a clearly written plan for how to manage your time and energy.

Staying Focused on the Big Picture by Being Focused in the Small Picture

After you’ve done this exercise for a week, sit down and map out a plan as to where you’re going to be financially in one year. Break this goal down into monthly, then weekly milestones, and finally into small actions which can be taken on a daily basis. This way, you can focus your energy on the small building blocks which will eventually make up your success over the period of the next year.

Too often, people don’t do and then find that at the end of the year, they are nowhere near where they want to be. You can set yourself apart from this majority by following the simple steps in this article and having a clear path towards achieving success in your personal finance planning.