The Lottery Won’t Be Your Christmas Miracle

The Lottery Won't Be Your Christmas Miracle

Did you hear? The second largest jackpot in Nationwide Mega Millions history ($636M) will be drawn Tuesday night (Dec-17-2013). That’s about half of $1B. As it usually happens with the lottery, the bigger the prize, the more people get enticed to play.

This happens despite the enormous odds against winning. Recently the process has been altered to make it harder for anyone person to win. The odds have gone from 1 in 56 to 1 in 75.

This rush to play the lotto also happens in spite of the mostly terrible history of lottery winners. Winning a large amount of money can spell disaster for a person when they lack the wisdom to handle their finances in the right way.

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So, why do people still try the lottery? I think it’s because deep down, we all want a quick solution to our problems. We want to lose weight without the proper diet and exercise. We want a great relationship without putting in the time to get to know the other person.

In terms of money, we all want that Christmas miracle that will solve all of our financial problems. If we are honest, we all have thought about what we would do with $1M. Imagine having the opportunity of winning $636M.

Now, I don’t play the lottery because I think it’s a waste of money and time. If you are planning to buy a ticket, it’s your money. But I want you to think about something else while you wait for the drawing.

Instead of playing the almost impossible odds of the lottery, why don’t you decide what you could do to improve your financial situation?

  • If you want more income, what are you doing to make yourself more valuable at work? As someone has said, your salary increase will become effective when you become effective.
  • If you don’t like your job, what are you doing to have a different career track 1 year from now, 3 years from now, 5 years from now?
  • If you need more knowledge, what books are you reading right now?
  • What are your money goals for 2014?

In essence, you can play the lottery and hope you hit the jackpot. Given the odds, it would be indeed a Christmas miracle.

But achieving financial success is not a matter of miracles. It involves determination, hard work, and persistence.

Question: What will you today to improve your financial situation for tomorrow?

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10 Goals for Your Money in 2014

10 Goals For Your Money in 2014Well here we are. It’s the last month of 2013. I want to be one of the very first to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

And before we get too busy with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, let me ask you a question. How did you do with your money goals this year?

Yes, yes. I know I am meddling a little bit. By the way, I am asking myself that question as well. At the beginning of 2013 I set 4 specific goals for our finances this year. We are going to end up meeting 2 of them, getting close on a third one, and missing one completely.

I don’t want to be the Grinch who stole Christmas but this is a very busy season for all of us. Time will get away from you and me and in less than 30 days a New Year will start. I want you to have a plan and a set of objectives for your money.

Nothing ever gets done well without a plan and a target and that includes the management of your finances. Your money goals should be specific, measurable, realistic, and include a target date.

So, without any further delay here are 10 Goals for Your Money in 2014:

Budget

  1. Live on a monthly budget for 90 days (Jan-Mar 2014). If you have never lived on a budget before, it will take you about 3 months to master this new skill.
  2. Start using a cash envelope for one of your spending categories (e.g. groceries) in January. Using cash helps you control your spending. Cash is finite but when we use plastic, we tend to spend more.

 

Savings

  1. Finish your emergency fund by the end of March 2014. If you still have consumer debt, you should have $1,000 in a beginner’s emergency fund. If you are out of consumer debt, you need 3-6 months of expenses in your fully funded emergency fund.
  2. If you are out of consumer debt and have your fully funded emergency fund, ensure you are contributing 15% of your annual income into retirement by the end of 2014.

 

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Debt

  1. Try living without using a credit card for 90 days (Jan-Mar 2014). If you are on a budget, and living on less than you make, you don’t need a credit card.
  2. Pay off your 3 smallest debts in your debt snowball by the end of June 2014.
  3. Review your credit report by the end of January 2014. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus once a year.

 

Protecting the Household

  1. Complete an insurance needs assessment by the end of April 2014. There are 7 types of insurance that are required to protect your financial household. Make sure you have the right coverage to protect yourself and your family.
  2. Complete the preparation of a will by the end of February 2014. If you have a will, review it for any changes required due to any changes in your family situation.

 

Stewardship/Giving

  1. If you are a Christian, begin tithing to your local church this year. For a Christian, this is not a salvation issue, it’s an obedience issue. If you are already tithing, look for ways to increase your giving. If you are not a person of faith, you can still find someone who needs your help. Ensure giving it’s an element of your financial plan for 2014.

 

I have given you some ideas for goals that cover all areas of your financial plan. But remember: it’s your money and it’s your life. So it’s up to you.

Make adjustments to the items on this list and add to the list. But please, don’t begin 2014 without a plan for your money. Do it today!

Question: What other financial goals would you like to meet in 2014?

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