Personal finance has always been relevant to families and individuals. The family budget, similar to local community budgeting and municipalities, is simply about living within your budget, knowing what is crucial rather than frivolous, and can reflect the values of your local community. Attention on money, investing, and finances predominate even within families and communities for the purpose of personal lifestyle and a social life. Attention on finances has grown, with financial products that proliferate, at the same time the economic health of the average family does mirror this financial noise.
Perhaps we have abandoned principles about finances that may have been less structured by outside forces. As they say, it’s not how much you earn, it’s how much you save. Modern technology has supported catchy types of progress, which insinuates notions about the fundamental use and value of money.
Traditional principles exist due to their integrity. Those phrases such as “a penny saved is a penny earned” and “a stitch in time saves nine” have been said so often, we often don’t hear the substance, to our economic harm.
A preliminary step is to access information sufficiently so one’s innate ability to analyze economic products and institutions, can be used to compare such products and consumer-targeting claims; and to have the ability to assess the true needs of one’s family and self. Proliferation of services and products can be overwhelming. But when one bases decisions on personal requirements, choices become much easier and more sound. A reason for the confusion on the topic of finances by the typical family could be the reliance on advice that doesn’t relate to family budgeting. Centralization has moved institutions, counseling resources, and financial advisers farther from local-community consumers. Concurrently the reports on financially viable actions for consumers may tend more toward promoting interests that may not align with that consumer.
The economic needs of local communities, individuals, and families fundamentally haven’t changed. We each wish to be as secure as is reasonable in a turbulent world. A mistake many people make, is to listen to the hype, and chase after the most glittery product, regardless of whether this is suitable for one’s sincere goal. One must recognize the current family position pertaining to finances, consider where one would prefer to be in a short time frame of perhaps one year, and set up a weekly budget that relates to income. A great idea is to keep a journal of expenses and income, and a dedicated record of progress each week. This responsible approach will put one on the path of economic integrity. Without economic integrity one simply will never achieve one’s goals.
But to suggest financial failure is completely the fault of the consumer ignores the centralization that may divert ability of the individual to assess products rationally. Most communities no longer enjoy a depositor-own bank, which was called a mutual savings bank. The late 1970’s and 1980’s deregulation of the industry turned most mutual banks into stockholder-owned banks. If you are fortunate enough to have a depositor-owned bank in your region, consider if this works for you. The profits would be shared by the depositors, who are usually local residents. This means profits are not spirited away to a centralized location away from the source of the profit. In the end this is healthy for local community members. The savings you deposit are loaned out to local individuals and businesses, which further strengthens the position of local residents and promotes local jobs. The modern type of this institution is the credit union, which is generally local and often provides the best products for their depositors.
After consciously considering the institution that best fits your needs, begin a savings put-and-take account. This is crucial that you dedicate the amount of savings you can, to stave off future financial surprises that will occur. If you have such a put-and-take account, overburdening a credit card may be avoided. Credit card interest rates are typically high. This is the perfect time to mention that money expended that does not further your goals, is to be strictly avoided. Careful use of credit can be advisable, but remember the interest the consumer pays is money that is irretrievable. The reason to use your credit card or other credit, considering the empty expense of the interest you pay, will be justified if it brings you closer to your economic goals. Use of credit cards that don’t further this end must be seriously considered before taking on the empty expense of interest payments for a purchase that brings you no closer to your financial goal.
Paying for services is an illusory expenditure. Sometime paying for a service is crucial, but in other situations it can be one of our silliest indulgences. Again, avoid throwing money out the window with no complementary benefit to your economic goal. We are talking finances here, not celebrity or titillation.
On the topic of economic security and the value of local community integrity, can be combined the notion of services. When expenses are kept in check to a level where one’s finances don’t cause panic, one can more pleasantly enjoy one’s actual life. One won’t be at the disposal of predatory structures devoid of concern for local communities. This gives individuals and families the energy and space to grow relationship within community. This sensible lifestyle can provide local community members with the added benefit of service sharing, which can be exceedingly supportive of economic stability. Paying for service locally, if service sharing isn’t possible, strengthens the local economy while ensuring the service is done to your approval because each party is in the same vicinity. This provides for good communication.
Another old notion that many modern families are remembering, is the family as a functioning economic unit. For example, by considering a small family business, beginning with one or two members employed outside the home for stability, the family can build an enterprise that can capture additional income while including children in responsible and suitable roles. This will introduce the concept of reciprocity and unity of intention, while propelling maturing youngsters toward the possibility of independence and self-reliance.
While competition is held out to be the model for modern life, what if the true model is cooperation? Perhaps the centralization that has been accepted by local community members can be replaced by a soundness of lifestyle that promotes local-community economic viability that mirrors individual economy and financial stability.