Jun 30, 2004

One of my goals for the past couple of months is to work on paying off my debt. I've been battling this for awhile and it's not like I'm in over my head but I want it to be over and done with. Julie told me about a man she saw on Oprah this week talking about MONEY. I immediately went to Oprah and read up on some tips and thought I'd share them with you.

From the show Automatic Millionaire: How to Become One

Secret One: Pay Yourself First

Most people live paycheck to paycheck. The average American family has $10,000 debt. Financial expert David Bach says the secret to being rich is paying yourself first. Right now, when you earn a dollar, before it even makes it to your paycheck, you pay the federal government income taxes. You also may be paying state income tax. And on top of that, there are Social Security taxes, Medicaid and unemployment. Don't pay Uncle Sam before you pay yourself, David says. Start paying yourself first—take at the very least the first hour of income that you earn during the day for yourself. You can legally pay yourself first -before the government- by putting that money into a pre-tax retirement account.

How Much Should You Pay Yourself?

David tells you where you'll be according to what you save.

Dead Broke: Don't pay yourself first. Spend more than you earn.
Poor: Spend everything you make and save nothing.
Middle Class: Pay yourself first five to 10 percent of your income.
Upper Class: Pay yourself first 10 to 20 percent of your income.
Super Rich: Pay yourself first at least 20 percent of your income.

Secret Two: Make it Automatic

In order to make paying yourself first effective, the process has to be automatic, David Bach says. You must have a system that will pull that money out of your paycheck directly and automatically—the way the federal government does. Go to your employer and say, "I want you to take money directly out of my paycheck, and I want you to put it automatically into my retirement account." Don't trust yourself to pull that money out, David says. It's not that people are lazy, it's that they're busy. No matter how disciplined they may be, they don't have time to manually write checks and deposit them into an account every pay day.
No retirement account? Some people may not have a retirement account, or their employers don't offer a retirement plan. Don't use that as an excuse—open your own individual retirement account. An IRA is a personal retirement plan that anyone who earns income can set up at a bank, brokerage firm, or online.
David says opening an IRA and making it automatic can be done in 15 minutes. David suggests starting with the following investment companies, brokerage firms and banks.

Secret Three: Buy Your Home and Pay It Off Early

You'll never get rich if you don't own your own home, according to David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire. When you rent, you are essentially throwing away the money you could be putting towards owning your own home. Most people are afraid to buy a home because they don't have money for a down payment. Through programs sponsored by lenders, developers and the government, David says first-time homebuyers can finance a house for little or no money down.

How Much Can You Afford?According to the Federal Housing Administration, most people can afford to spend between 29–40% of their gross monthly income on housing.

Pay Off Your Mortgage Early
Wouldn't you like to own your home and be debt-free sooner? Set up a bi-weekly mortgage plan. Here's how it works. Let's say your mortgage payment is $1000. Instead of paying it every month, split it in half and pay it automatically every two weeks on the day that you get paid. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, you'll make 26 half-payments, or 13 full payments—the equivalent of an extra month's payment! Over time, this will reduce your 30-year mortgage by 5-10 years and shave tens of thousands of dollars off your interest payments.

These 3 things really got me thinking in a more positive way.

It's always one thing to hear or read about something but it's the actual DOING that's going to make all the difference. I'm going to try this out, starting TODAY!

Thanks for the tip Becky! I signed up for Upromise. I already know a few people who are seeing the dollars add up (like Julie)! Julie became a member long before she was even pregnant- It's always a good thing to plan ahead. Pass it on.