Grow Your Financial Garden

1) You must first plant seeds in good soil in order to “Grow Your Garden.” Seeds won’t grow in debt. Re-evaluate where you are planting your seeds. In other words, where is your money going or growing? What is your spending plan? Calculate your Garden’s Net Worth. Do you have more weeds (liabilities) than seeds (assets)?

2) Organize your Garden by writing down where your seeds are going on a daily basis. Where do we spend our money? Write down what you spend. Don’t let your Garden get out of control.

3) Clean out your weeds. What is choking your Garden (money)? High interest rates, late fees, overspending on unnecessary expenses.

4) Stop watering your weeds. Cut your spending, by making layoffs in your budget. Layoff some of your cable channels, bundle you insurance (life, auto, etc.) shop and compare. I.E. Bring lunch to work: $60 per month savings, $720 per year. Compare prices: www.froogle.com. Free internet: www.netzero.com

5) Be prepared for bad weather. Bad weather can hurt your Garden, but we must have a rainy day fund. Six months of after-tax dollars in a money market fund. Always remember rain brings growth and a stronger Garden.

6) Grow your Garden with tax deferred. Pre-tax seeds are the best when invested in your 401(k) or retirement plan at work. Your employer might add more seeds to your Garden. You can even catch up on your retirement plan by adding more seeds if you are over 50. You can also plant an IRA or Roth IRA. You can never have too much for retirement. I want my flowers in retirement!

7) Hire a Financial Gardner to maintain your growth. You need an accountant to count your seeds. Insurance agent to protect your seeds. Financial Advisor to water your seeds. Attorney to make sure your seeds leave a legacy.

8) Have more than one source of seed money for your Garden. Real estate, starting a business, investments, consulting, mystery shopping, and join focus groups that pay for numerous projects.

9) Diversify your Garden, and don’t put all of your seeds in one type of soil. Diversification is safety when it comes to investing. Plant seeds in researched soil. Make sure you research stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and annuities before investing. A great website to purchase stock is: www.sharebuilder.com. Be patient, invest wisely, take out the weeds (bad investments). “Don’t ever love anything that can’t love you back!” Prune your Garden, and balance and re-balance according to your age.

10) Pass on your Garden. When we cut a plant, put it in water, and give it to a friend, it is a great feeling. We must give in order to receive. We must plant tulips for short-term investments, trees for long-term, but educating our children on investing is a lifetime investment. We must plant Garden that keeps growing. Education is the best investment.

Source: Gail Perry Mason

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