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Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCESS NewsletterFinancial Education Newsletter
Don't Focus on the Wall

Recently, I attended a women’s empowerment conference and one of the speakers used a profound analogy I found useful in many areas of life. She said one of the things race car drivers worry about most is going off course and hitting the wall. Race car trainers often tell drivers to focus on going straight, maintain speed and avoiding the wall is inevitable. The speaker said people who focus too much attention on “hitting the wall” often find themselves in the position they feared most. They spend too much time on the obstacle and forget to focus on the goal.

This is also true for people who are in debt. They keep telling themselves, “I don’t want to be poor; I don’t want to be poor.” And, unfortunately still end up with little or no money. Too much time is focused on the debt and not enough time spent on achieving wealth. Below are a few tips on how to create wealth.

Invest wisely. Many people find themselves in difficult financial distress because they have not properly prepared for emergencies or the future. If you don’t want to end up “broke” start putting things in place now to help you reach your financial goal/s.

  • Start contributing to a 401(k) account or some other retirement investment. A little put away now will bring huge results later.
  • Build an emergency savings fund. Prepare for the unexpected such as a job loss, home or car repairs, and even periodic expenses. That way you won’t have to rely on credit when these instances occur.

Hone your passion. Invest in a career that is rewarding and challenging. Don’t chase money. I firmly believe that if you work at something you’re truly interested in, the financial award will follow. Many people are living their dreams and making money at the same time.

Protect assets. Insurance may seem like wasting money, but it will come in handy when it’s needed and will save you a boatload of bills. Make sure all your valuables are protected including yourself. Purchase the right coverage and amount to avoid an unnecessary financial strain.

Pay off credit card debt. Carrying a credit card balance each month is not helping you. The money going toward payments could be put to good use in another area. Be careful not to charge more than you can afford to pay off the following month. If you cannot pay the balance off in full commit to a 90-day payout plan. Also, don’t use more than 30 percent of your credit limit.

The best “how to get wealth” advice out there is simple, but many fail to see it – live within your means. Spend less than you earn. Don’t buy a $60,000 car when you’re only earning $30,000. Develop some achievable financial goals and stay on course with those.

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When it Comes to Money, Mother Knows Best


Parents can make any moment a ‘teachable’ one, and from day one, many parents begin the process of transferring their wisdom and values to their children.

In fact, a recent study by MMI found that approximately 48 percent of consumers named parents as their primary teachers of financial habits—the basics of spending and saving are learned at home long before they’re taught at school.

As Mother’s Day approaches, apply some of mom’s conventional wisdom to your financial situation.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Think about how you spend your money, and don’t go beyond your means. Save any money left over at the end of the month—you never know when an unexpected expense may arise.

“Do as I say, not as I do.” If you were not taught good financial habits growing up, start now. Good habits you learn now can be passed down to your children, starting a new generation of financial responsibility.

“Do I look like I am made of money?” Studies show that over 70 percent of women consider themselves the primary spender in their household, but don’t let this be the only thing your children see you do. Make an effort to discuss saving, long-term goals and budgeting with children so they learn there’s more to money than bills and shopping.

“If I catch you doing that one more time…” We’re all guilty of using that “for emergencies only” credit card on a selfish splurge, but have we ever looked to see how much it adds up? Track spending for 30 days to see just how much the little stuff adds up in the end.

“If you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it?” Do not put off paying your bills. When you are late, you run the risk of extra service charges and higher interest rates on your credit card bills, not to mention a negative mark on your credit report.

“Don’t leave any crumbs on the counter.” Remember that every little bit counts. Place your spare change in a jar, along with any extra money that is above your regular monthly income, and deposit it into your savings account monthly.

“If everybody jumped off a cliff, would you?” You are in control of your money, and your budget should be unique to your personal needs and lifestyle. Stick with it, regardless of how others around you are spending.

As much as it hurts to admit it, your mother was right. Her common sense tips, when applied to your pocketbook, can lead to financial stability and success. After all, as Mother says, “You can do anything you set your mind to.”


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Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
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