If you pull up the personal finance page of USA Today, CNN, or any other major news group the focus is primarily on the stock market. A large chart may indicate the progress of the market through that particular day. It may even show the progress of the stock market through the past week or month. Maybe even over the past year.
Stock market information is useful, but is it the most important part of your financial plan? I would beg you to search further.
I believe that the stock market (and the potential progress of an investment) is a result of good personal financial management. While I believe it is absolutely imperative that one have a good method of measuring the progress of their investments, it is more important to have a solid foundation for your personal finances.
Here is what I believe is necessary to have a solid foundation for your personal finances:
- Husband and Wife both on board
- Willingness to change as personal financial condition necessitates
- A working monthly budget that is zero-based and is completed BEFORE the month begins EVERY month
- A commitment to never do debt again – including cutting up your credit cards!
- Freedom from life-controlling issues (drug addiction; compulsive gambling; etc.)
- A written goal sheet detailing your short and long-term goals with dates you plan to achieve them. This is developed with your spouse
If you have these items in place, you have what it takes to win. I have had many people enthusiastically try to change their financial future to no avail because of a failure to have this solid foundation in place.
Are you just looking at the stock market without having a sound financial plan? Focus on putting these parts of your financial foundation in place for the next 90 days. You will realize an improved marriage as a bonus!