Personal Finances 101

 One of the best places to begin when setting goals for your personal finances is the seven step program developed by Dave Ramsey. Dave is a radio talk show host, author and workshop presenter. I had a chance to participate in one of his Financial Peace University workshops and found his suggestions to be very helpful.First, here are some interesting facts about people's financial challenges. I mention these so that you don't have to feel that you are the only one with financial struggles.

  • 60% of working Americans experience moderate to high financial stress. One-fifth of those believe their financial stress has gotten worse in the last 18-24 months.
  • Only 32% of Americans would be able to cover a $5,000 emergency with cash without going into debt for it.
  • 53% of Americans have less than $25,000 in retirement savings. 43% of those are people over 55.
  • 43% of Americans spend more than they earn. Only 41% of Americans save money. The average savings is about 6% of their income.

Well, these are some of the facts. The truth is, you are probably not where you want to be financially. The other truth is that you have the capacity to change your financial position. There are two things you need to do to change that situation. The first is to plan your work. What is it that you want to accomplish? When do you want to achieve it? How are you going to get there? The second step is to work your plan. You can't change things by simply wishing things were better. You need to take action.

Here are seven steps suggested by Dave Ramsey that will help you to meet your financial goals. These goals should include getting out of debt, improving your lifestyle, achieving particular goals, saving for retirement and putting yourself in a financial position to help others.

Step 1. Develop an emergency fund of $1,000.

Step 2. Pay off all debt (accept your house). Start with the smallest debt first. Avoid adding additional debt.

Step 3. Develop a savings of three to six months expenses.

Step 4. Begin investing in your retirement plan.

Step 5. If applicable, begin a college fund for your children, grandchildren or others.

Step 6. Pay off your home early.

Step 7. Build wealth and give.

Well, there you have it. Go ahead and take action. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step! 


Life is not to be centered on money, But money is a key part of our everyday lives. That truth almost goes without saying. All of us have dreams, wishes, desires and goals regarding our personal finances. Some of these include getting out of debt, earning an additional income, improving our lifestyle and planning for retirement. You can achieve your financial goals with a little guidance and persistence.

Achieving your financial goals begins with acknowledging where you are right now. Progress is made as you think about where you want to be and set goals for your financial future. 

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