We are living in the gig economy. Many of us work part time or on projects, provide a service or own a small business. Each of these is temporary, but they shape who we are. Writing Money Savvy has transformed me.
It has been one of my gigs since November 2009. After more than 100 columns, today is the final one that will run in The Durango Herald. I am deeply grateful to the staff, management and owners of the Herald for the opportunity and support.
And I appreciate you. Each reader who has shared their story with me, posted a column on their refrigerator or passed one along to someone they care about has given me confidence.
Being dyslexic, I grew up believing that I was stupid. This chipped away at my confidence. Since my 20s, I’d said, “I want to be a writer.” But I didn’t believe in myself enough to write. When I discovered my passion for helping people take control of their money so they can live the life of their dreams, I wanted to share what I was learning with as many people as possible.
Money Savvy was born out of my passion for helping. I’d never even written for a school newspaper, but I proposed the idea of a regular personal finance column to the Herald.
Now, I dare to call myself a writer. Thank you for reading.
I’ll leave you with this list of the 10 things to take control of your money and live the life of your dreams:
Budget monthly for:Basic necessities.Debts and obligations.Less-than-monthly expenses.Nice-to-have items and small luxuries.Build an emergency fundStart with $1,000.When all non-mortgage debts are paid off, grow it to equal three to six months of living expenses.List all of your debts and pay them off ASAP by:Focusing all of your payoff effort on the smallest debt.Paying the minimum required payments on all other debts.Setting a goal of paying off all non-mortgage debt within 18 months.Limit your housing costs Set a target of not more than 25 percent of your income.When borrowing, use a 15-year mortgage.Control your lifestyle When you get a raise, add just 25 percent of it to your spending. Invest the rest for financial security. Invest for 25 years Automatically invest 25 percent of your income.Use low-cost, diversified mutual funds.Dream! Live your bucket list regularly:Pick a dream from your list.Create a budget for your goal.Decide by when you want to achieve it.Divide the money budgeted by the number of months until you need the money.Decide where the money will come from to save for your dream. If it seems like too much money for you to save each month, reduce your budget and/or lengthen the amount of time to save.Give your time and talents to living a fulfilled lifeBe part of a mutually supportive community that will: Challenge you to grow.Confront your self-imposed limits.Be an active member of a circle of support to:Be accountable.Overcome obstacles to your goalsCelebrate what’s working in your life and examine what’s not.It is said, “What we seek to give to others is what we need most.” Thank you for playing a part in helping me to live the life of my dreams. You can continue to find my writing at www.personalfinancecoaching.com and sign up for my email newsletter there, too.
Former Durango resident and personal finance coach Matt Kelly owns Momentum: Personal Finance. www.personalfinancecoaching.com.