Get Control Of Your Personal Finance With A Budget

It is fairly common knowledge that money matters can be simplified and controlled with a budget. One of the keys to personal finance management is creating and using a household budget. It is not a really hard task, but one that many people avoid. The reason is that it can often be hard to avoid overspending and having a budget really puts spending problems out there.

A budget is basically a list of expenses and income. It should include all expenses, even the seemingly little expenses like a morning coffee purchase. The budget can be made out weekly or monthly, whatever way is best for the household. For someone who gets paid once a week, a weekly budget may be best. For someone who gets paid once a month, a monthly budget would work nicely. Although, it is really a matter of personal choice as to how the budget is made out.

The income section of a budget is usually fairly simple. Most people can easily track their income. Some people choose to list their income after taxes, while others list the income before taxes and include taxes as a expense. That is strictly a matter of choice.

The expenses section is where most people have trouble. It can be hard to see our spending habits in black and white. It is really important, though, to be honest and list everything. You may find it is helpful to keep a spending log for a week. Your spending log is where you will write down every purchase you make. This can be a good way of tracking all the little expenses you incur throughout a week.

Your expenses section of your budget should also include utilities and housing expenses. If you have a car payment, include here as well. You need to include money spent on gasoline, bathroom items, food and any other thing you spend money on. You do not have to include large, one time purchases, though, as they are not a routine part of your expenses.

Once you have your income and expenses listed you need to add each up. The total of your expenses should not exceed the total of your income. If it does then you need to cut back on your expenses. You may have to stop some spending or try to find creative ways of reducing your spending.

The whole idea of a budget is to ensure that you are not spending more then you are earning. Your budget is a blueprint for how you should be spending your money. Once you have your budget made out and it is balanced you need to stick to it. Only spend as much as you have allotted in your expenses and you should find your personal finance situation becomes much easier to deal with.

Gambling And The 20th Century Rulers Part4

Robert Mugabe
(1924)
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on the 21st of February, 1924 in the town of Kutama on the territory of current Zimbabwe. Before coming to power in 1987 he had spent 11 years in prison for participation in the national liberation movement. Robert Mugabe is famous, firstly, for his anti-American claims, as well as for the fact that in 2005 he the inflation reached the record 502% in the new 21st century.

Interestingly, but at the peak of inflation growth speaking in front of the journalists the president of Zimbabwe declared that the population of his country was very happy”. What it meant to be very happy” the president knew not through hearsay. A few years ago Mugabe won the state lottery’s main prize in the amount of 2 639 dollars. Curiously, but only those citizens took part in this lottery who had accounts in the National Bank of Zimbabwe, at this for every 135 dollars there was only one lottery ticket. Naturally, under the name of the current president there was registered the record number of tickets, that is why the prize did not keep him waiting for a long time. They say, the results of the lottery upset the citizens of Zimbabwe very much.
Robert Mugabe is a very temperamental person and a typical gambler by nature. A lot of his statements are made in a burst of passion and excitement. By the way, the attitude of the president towards gambling industry is not in the least bad: there are several casinos opened in the country, as well as race tracks with the totalizator, left to the Zimbabwean from English colonizers.

Augusto Pinochet
(1915)
Augusto Pinochet was born on the 25th of November, 1915, in a Chile resort town of Valparaiso. In September 1973 he organized a putsch against the president of Chile Allende and after his murder took the post of the head of the state. Like many other heroes” of the 20th century, he was distinguished by mass terror in relation to the otherwise-minded”.

General Pinochet was quite a cruel and ruthless person, but under his rule hyperinflation was stopped and economic growth began.

The Chilean dictator had a negative attitude towards gambling industry, and there were no gambling-houses in the country during his rule. However, he had rather a loyal attitude to holding a state lottery. Maybe it was because the control over profits from lotteries was entrusted to his daughter Lucia Pinochet Hiriart?

Only after a few years upon retirement of Pinochet under the president Eduardo Free a new casino was opened in the country in 1997.
At present Augusto Pinochet is in Chile under house arrest and is awaiting the trial for evasion from tax payment. The trial, by the way, perhaps, will not even take place because of his age and extremely bad heath.

We can continue mentioning great dictators and rulers of the 20th century and argue about their attitude to gambling industry. Iosip Broz Tito, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Idi Amin, Joseph Desire Mobutu, Muammar Gaddafi, Suharto, Thieu, Somoza, Marcos, Pol Pot, Ceausescu, Bokassa, Hissene Habre, Chombe, Franco, Duvalier, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Batista, Salazar and many others had different attitude to gambling. Some, like Marcos and Batista, liked it a lot, while others, like Gaddafi and Ceausescu, didn’t give it even a chance for existence.
While in Spain all power was in the hands of the general Franco Bahamonde Francisco, people were even afraid of talking about gambling-houses, but as soon as he died and the royal throne was occupied by Juan Carlos I, there were at once opened a number of casinos in the country. While Batista favoured gambling games, Fidel Castro, who substituted him, banned them at once. And it is clear. Batista was an American protg, and Fidel was the one who fought against American imperialism. That is why casinos simply lost favour.

A lot of rulers of the 20th century were quite venturesome personalities having revealed their excitable skills in politics, and not on the cloth of the gambling table in the gambling-house. Who knows, if their passion had been connected with visiting of gambling establishments, perhaps, our planet would be quieter.
Total struggle against gambling in the 20th century was under way only in one, at this the most democratic” country the USA. And after repressions, which failed, gambling industry there not only continued to exist, but started to flourish. The ideas of Marxism-Leninism did not give the right of existence of gambling establishments in the countries that chose the way of rise to radiant future in the form of communism, since the norms of the given ideology prescribed earning money by way of labour, and not in the hours of entertaining pastime. Countries practising traditional Islam do not allow gambling industry on their territory in accordance with their religious dogma. Despite this, Muslim Egypt, Tunis, Morocco and Lebanon have opened gambling-houses. The same was done by the Korean Republic, having demonstrated that ideology is ideology but if the country needs to earn money for the budget, gambling industry won’t hinder it.

Totalitarianism and gambling are not connected with each other in the least. The basis of struggle against gambling industry in 99 cases out of 100 is not the desire to protect the rights and interests of the citizens and the society, but the most trivial desire to win votes of people which any party, striving to come to power, pursues. Politics is rather a subtle thing.

Home Improvement Tips To Help Sell Your Home

If you are a total layperson as far as home improvement is concerned, then you should hire help or enlist friends if you’re tackling areas where it does make a difference how you get the job done. Simple home improvement projects like painting can be attempted by everyone as the worst you can do is a patchy job that can be painted over.

Have Realistic Time, Money and Expertise Expectations – If you want to replicate a room that you have seen on Trading Spaces or Design on a Dime, get the inspiration but keep your expectations in check.

The people behind the work in such shows are experts; professionals in their field with years of experience. They can do things faster and better than an average person and if things go wrong, they also know how to make them right. When planning home improvement projects, keep your expectations real as far as budget and time considerations go as well.

The designers on the show often get great discounts from others in the business as they need the promotion on popular television shows. Plus, they often accessorize rooms with flea market finds and things picked up at garage sales. You could strike gold too, but it doesn’t happen very often.

Home improvement shows boast of the latest faux paint techniques and the hottest colors for the season. However, the green you like for your master bedroom may not appeal to prospective homeowners. If you do have hot pink bedroom walls for your daughter, tone them down or make them neutral as well. This is because new owners may not have a daughter who will use that room and they may want to move in to something that requires minimum effort.

The designers on the show are experts themselves plus they have a lot of help from back up crew and the like so they can delegate tasks and get more done in less time.

What You Can Do On Your Own – There are things shown on home improvement shows that you can easily replicate like rearranging your furniture, de-cluttering and even painting so don’t give up a home improvement project just because you can’t compete with the pros. However, assess your strengths and keep a plan B in mind. For instance, while you are redoing your kitchen, factor in the cost of eating out for all the days that the floor is ripped out and the appliances unusable.

Go through the entire home and toss, donate or store anything you do not need immediately. This will free up walking space, wall space, counter space and the like and prospective owners will feel they are getting more footage for their dollar. If there are pieces you can not part with, hold them in a separate storage area not your garage or basement. Then if you still feel they are important, bring them back in your new home.

Video Games Becoming Addictive To Children

Parents, teachers, and adults are beginning to wonder with all the research being done on video games if children are not becoming obsessive even addictive to video games. Most of the research that has been complete have focused on video games that have more of a violent theme due to the behavior now appearing in children.

Researchers do feel that there is a connection between violent video games and violent behavior in children. It is felt that when these violent video games are played repeatedly then the children will have aggressive thoughts and become less helpful to others and less sociable as well. In video games where the goal is to kill as many characters as you possible can, then the objective turns into the violent the kills are the more points that they will collect. While a child is playing such a game ninety-nine percent of the time their heart rate will increase dramatically due to the affect the game is having on them.

A study was done by three teenagers and was put on observation at an International Science and Engineering Fair in Cleveland, Ohio that showed how video games affected children who played them. The study showed that people, not only children, or all ages had a rise in blood pressure and heart rate after they played a super violent video game. However, when the same person played a nonviolent video game did not have the the same effect as the violent video game.

Children all over the world play these violent video games every day and some play for more than three or four hours a day. There will always be a debate as to whether violent video games can actually make an individual have behavior that is of an aggressive and violent nature, but the fact is that these video games are addictive to children. It is true that playing video games can help children develop their visual skills while learning about computers, which may help them in school. In fact, studies are now showing that video games can be helpful for children.

The fact is that video games are proving to help children that labeled ADD or ADHD learn how to focus their attention. Video games are often innocent bystanders to the problems in society. Video games have the potential to inspire children to learn if it is presented in the right manner to children. Video games have already proven to have the capability of improving the coordination and visual skills of children that play them.

Children tend to choose video games that have the combination of being challenging, entertaining, and complicated. Many of these video games can take up to one hundred hours of play to complete and most children will have their concentration focused on the video game the entire time. Children that are labeled with ADD and ADHD by teachers are those children that can not sit still in school, but this might just be because they find the school work boring, because the majority of these children can spend hours trying to make it to the next level of a video game.

These same children, who professionals feel can not pay attention, can play a video game for ten straight hours if given the opportunity simply because the game focuses their attention in a way school is unable to try, which is interactive. These children are not simply sitting and watching, but are participating in what is going on and solving problems.

Chicago’s Magnificent Miracle Mile The Hottest Commercial Real Estate In The Midwest

Can you afford commercial real estate on the Chicago Magnificent Mile? If you can, your business will be in good company, and you can make a lot of money!

A festival of restaurant dining, theater and jazz experiences, shopping, hotels and entertainment, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is abuzz with activity from Spring through Fall, and those merchants and commercial vendors who are lucky and wealthy enough to rent space in Chicago’s most productive real estate market, are the fortunate recipients of some pretty hefty income.

The Magnificent Mile stretches from Randolph Street to North Avenue and from Lake Michigan to the North Branch Canal, and it is Chicago’s most expensive commercial real estate.

The landscape is flush with fancy hotels including the Inter-Continental, the Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, Omni, Le Meridian, Hyatt, Wyndham, the Westin, the famous Whitehall and many other world-renowned hotels share this prestigious real estate, and the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association manages the business district.

Within this precious Chicago real estate, street festivals, garden shows, food festivals and other events are planned, all to bring local residents and tourists to spend their entertainment dollars.

Along this stretch of expensive real estate you can also find posh, formal restaurants like Les Nomades, and NoMi intriguing international restaurants where you can find Brazilian, East Indian, French, Italian and cuisines from many countries around the world.

The Chicago Shakespeare Company is also in residence in the Magnificent Mile of Chicago Real Estate, as are a number of jazz clubs and galleries like Kenneth Probst, Peter Bartlow and R.S. Johnson, selling fine art, antiquities and much more.

Water Tower Place, the Shops at North Bridge, Chicago Place and the North Michigan Shops also offer commercial real estate opportunities in well-advertised storefronts, malls and real estate centers.

If you are looking for commercial real estate in this area of Chicago, be sure you employ a reputable broker. Rents are high and real estate is precious. Options to extend commercial leases and expansion options to take on more space will come at a premium in this real estate market.

Upscale brokers like Gordon McAdam, Property Management companies like Zeller, and Executive Suite brokers like AMATA deal in finding and leasing commercial real estate and space to businesses in this area.

If you are looking for Chicago real estate on the Magnificent Mile, be sure you find a company that will work with you to assess your square footage requirements, and do an office or building search that will take into consideration the ideal location for your type of business.

These companies can also help you analyze the commercial lease you will be asked to sign and negotiate more favorable terms. Some have partners that offer architectural and build-out services for your real estate needs, and even move-in and utility hook-up services.

If you DO rent commercial real estate along the prestigious Magnificent Mile in Chicago, make the most of your network by joining the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association. Membership in this business and real estate district association provides you the opportunity to participate in business-to-business marketing activities and to have your logo and business identify advertised and promoted in the Magnificent Mile events and activities.

The Board of Director’s for this Chicago real estate business district and association always includes prestigious hotel managers and business managers for large commercial vendors like Neiman-Marcus, as well as business district and service vendors who provide the local transportation. These are good people to know if you want to promote your business.

Get to know the individuals who share this small square of real estate with you and leverage their connections to help you make more money and pay that steep rent bill every month.

Per square mile, this patch of Chicago real estate will produce more income for your business, but it will cost you a pretty penny to house your business here.

If you want to consider Chicago real estate with a slightly less onerous price tag, you can consider real estate in the Riverfront area, which is very near the Magnificent Mile and attracts lots of tourists. There are lots of events there and the overflow of shoppers and tourists from the Magnificent Mile is a definite advantage to renting commercial real estate in the area.

Easy Card Games To Entertain

My own experience makes me feel that every child will benefit from playing card games.

It is a healthy experience for a child to play with grownups as an equal; and to play with other children without noticing difference in age.

It is good for the child’s character to get practice in losing without squawking and in winning without crowing. (Many adults could use some of this practice too!)

A young child can learn about numbers and easy arithmetic from a simple card game. A child of any age can exercise his brain by the logical thinking that is needed in the more advanced games.

Moreover, card games are fun. And this is the best of all reasons for teaching them to children.

These games are for children who are too young to think… and for grownups who would rather not think! Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the children or the grownups laugh harder!

PIG

This is a very hilarious game for children or for adults to play with children. Anybody can learn the game in two or three minutes, and one extra minute makes you an expert!

Number of Players: 3 to 13. Five or 6 make the best game.

Cards: Four of a kind for each player in the game. For example, 5 players would use 20 cards: 4 Aces, 4 Kings, 4 Queens, 4 Jacks, and 4 10′s. For 6 players you would add the four 9′s.

The Deal: Any player shuffles and deals 4 cards to each player.

Object: To get 4 of a kind in your own hand, or to be quick to notice it when somebody else gets 4 of a kind.

The Play: Each player looks at his hand to see if he was dealt 4 of a kind. If nobody has 4 of a kind, each player puts some unwanted card face down on the table and passes it to the player at his left, receiving a card at the same time from the player at his right.

Each player looks at his hand as it appears with the newly-received card. If, still, nobody has 4 of a kind, each player once again passes a card to the left and gets a new card from the right.

The play is continued in this way until some player has 4 of a kind in his hand. That player stops passing or receiving cards since he is satisfied with his hand as it is. Instead of playing on, he puts his finger to his nose.

The other players must be quick to notice this, and each of them must stop passing in order to put a finger to his nose. The last player to put a finger to his nose is the Pig.

DONKEY

This is the same game as Pig, except that when a player gets 4 of a kind he puts his hand face down on the table quietly instead of putting his finger to his nose. He still gets a card from his right and just passes that along to the left, leaving his 4 of a kind untouched on the table.

As each player sees what has happened, he likewise puts his hand down quietly. The idea is to keep up the passing and the conversation while some player plays on without realizing that the hand has really ended.

The last player to put his cards down loses the hand. This makes him a D. The next time he loses, he becomes a D-O. The third time, he becomes a D-O-N. This keeps on, until finally some player becomes a D-O-N-K-E-Y.

Online Games Is Coming In Like A Tidal Wave!

Online games are growing in popularity at an alarming rate. Many online games imitate real life with virtual scenarios. Online games are now accessable to most of the world’s population. As many as hundreds of online games players can often be found exploring and interacting in virtual environments.

Many free online games are becoming hugely popular due to the ease of access. Furthermore, online games are growing on a global scale and attracting a broader range of demographics than the traditional video game industry. In fact, online games are being perceived as the future of the interactive entertainment industry.

Many free online games are flash or java games that require plugins and other downloads in order to play. On the upside, all these free online games are available for your immediate game-play, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although many online games are free some sites require that you pay to play better quality games.

For many people these free online games are addictive. What makes these online games so addictive? There are 2 top reasons why free online games are addictive: 1) they are fun 2) the thrill of winning. Most free online games allow instant play access to any player who is online. Instant play adds to the addictiveness of playing online games because of it’s instant gratification.

Some people may not understand why online games are so addictive. For those of you that don’t know, online games are not like your old school Nintendo or Play Station games. Profits to big games companies are soaring from online games that are very popular and addictive. The most profitable online games are the pay for play games which have also been steadily growing in popularity. What makes online games most addictive besides the fun of winning is their interactive nature. People are drawn towards fun and entertaining ways of connecting with other people.

2 main categories of online games which are available to the public are: 1) Interactive games where people play with and communicate to other people; 2) Single player games such as solitaire. A growing trend in online games is skill based games for money where players are able to win prizes and cash. A chess tournament is one online game where every entrant buys their chance to win whatever the cash prize happens to be.

Which online games are attracting the largest gathering of people these days? There are online games resources on the Internet which offer the largest selection of online games. Some online games are “massively multiplayer” games, which means that a large number of players participate simultaneously. These online games are high-quality and challenging. As many as 100,000 people can be found at any given time in some of the more popular ‘virtual worlds’ type of games.

Also known as browser games, online games are often social, with online chat rooms or forums to help connect players. On our site online games are divided into different categories, online racing games, online shooting games, online sports games and other games. Our free online games are in the most popular categories: online action games, online arcade games, online card games, online puzzle games and online sports games.

Ectopic Pregnancy – Defination, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which a fertilized egg settles and grows in any location other than the inner lining of the uterus . About 1% of pregnancies are in an ectopic location with implantation not occurring inside of the womb, and of these 98% occur in the Fallopian tubes. In a typical ectopic pregnancy, the embryo does not reach the uterus, but instead adheres to the lining of the Fallopian tube. The implanted embryo burrows actively into the tubal lining. Most commonly this invades vessels and will cause bleeding. This bleeding expels the implantation out of the tubal end as a tubal abortion. Some women thinking they are having a miscarriage are actually having a tubal abortion. There is no inflammation of the tube in ectopic pregnancy. The pain is caused by prostaglandins released at the implantation site, and by free blood in the peritoneal cavity, which is locally irritant. Sometimes the bleeding might be heavy enough to threaten the health or life of the woman. Usually this degree of bleeding is due to delay in diagnosis, but sometimes, especially if the implantation is in the proximal tube it may invade into Sampson artery , causing heavy bleeding earlier than usual. An ectopic pregnancy can’t proceed normally. The developing embryo can’t survive, and the growing placental tissue may destroy important maternal structures. Without treatment, life-threatening blood loss is possible. About one in every 40 to 100 pregnancies is ectopic. Thanks to earlier diagnosis and treatment, the chance for future healthy pregnancies is better than ever before.

Ectopic means “out of place.” An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy where the fetus is not growing in the usual location (the uterine cavity or the womb). Ectopic pregnancies can occur in a number of unusual locations, each with different characteristic growth patterns. Almost all ectopic pregnancies occur in fallopian tubes (tubes from uterus), so this is also known as “Tubal Pregnancy”. Since the fallopian tubes are not large enough to accommodate a growing embryo, the pregnancy cannot continue normally. If identified early, the embryo is removed. In some cases, the embryo grows until the fallopian tube is stretched so much that the tube ruptures. Rupture of the tube is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention because it can result in severe hemorrhaging. An ectopic pregnancy is a potentially life-threatening condition.

Causes of Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is caused by a disruption in a woman’s reproductive anatomy or the timing of specific reproductive events. Ectopic pregnancy is common in women age 20 to 29, but the cause is not always known. However, previous damage to one of the two fallopian tubes may obstruct the passage of the fertilized egg along the tube to the uterus. The egg then implants in the wall of the tube instead of in the uterus. This prior damage may have been caused by an unsuccessful or a reversed sterilization procedure or a fallopian tube infection. Ectopic pregnancies are more common in women using an intrauterine contraceptive device, partly because these devices increase the risk of a pelvic infection in women who exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.

Symptoms of Ectopic pregnancy

1. Nausea, vomiting.

2. Dizziness.

3. Low blood pressure.

4. Breast tenderness.

5. Frequent urination.

Treatment of Ectopic pregnancy

Medicine, surgery, or a combination of the two are usually used to end an ectopic pregnancy before it endangers the mother. In a few cases, very early ectopic pregnancies can be watched closely to see whether the pregnancy will miscarry on its own. Emergency medical help is needed if the area of the ectopic pregnancy ruptured. (Shock is an emergency condition.) Treatment for shock may include keeping the woman warm, raising her legs, and giving oxygen. Fluids by IV and a blood transfusion may be needed. Surgery (laparotomy) is done to stop blood loss (in the event of a rupture). This surgery is also done to confirm the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy, remove the abnormal pregnancy, and repair any tissue damage. In some cases, removal of the fallopian tube may be necessary. A mini-laparotomy and laparoscopy are the most common surgical treatments for an ectopic pregnancy that has not ruptured.

Evaluate The Video Games You Are Playing

There are hundreds of video games on the market today and more are being released onto the market every day. The only problem with these video games is figuring out what games should be played by your children.

Young people are not as concerned with the contents of the video games they are playing as much as adults. That is why adults have such a strong desire to evaluate the video games their youngsters are playing. Many parents try their best to find decent video games for their youngsters to play but there are still questions that unfold in the minds of these parents when their youngsters are playing new games. Parents and adults alike are concerned with how video games that involve killing people or destroying things will effect their children in the future. They are also concerned with video games that have immoral content, illegal content, or contain occult activity. Parents have to protect their children any way they can, especially since there are so many negative influences out there for them already.

There are video games that parents will have no problem with their children playing on their video game system, which would include almost any type of sports video game such as skateboarding, baseball, or football. Video games are actually a way for children, even some adults, to take a step away from reality, but the video games should still install some type of moral values in the children.

As long as the children are not placing the playing of these video games ahead of their other responsibilities, such as school, and if they know the difference between right and wrong, then that is a different matter. The major problem is that few parents are willing to take the time to show their children what is right and what is wrong within some of the video games that they play. Instead, these parents just allow their children to sit in front of their televisions playing what ever video games they choose without any adult supervision what ever.

These video games are highly addicted to children and adults simply because in the game the player is given the ability to control every situation. Many times in the life of an individual they may feel as if their life is simply out of control and the video games allow them to feel as if they are once again in control. This is why so many adults also become addicted to these video games as well as children and another reason why they are so incredibly popular.

In real life, many children and adults find it hard to find respect or to get others to listen to them and they often become overwhelmed with life. However, these video games give them the opportunity to be respected, strong, popular, cool, and even sexy, which they strongly desire to be in real life. This is the result behind so many of these video games becoming so popular with gamers in a variety of age groups. These video games gives gamers the perception of them actually being involved in the game as being a part of the game.

It does seem a shame that these games are being developed and parents feel the need to evaluate them prior to the children participating in them due to so many of them having obscene and immoral content. It seems that the manufactures of video games could produce games that were considered to be more along the lines of family games. These video games would be worth while and would not have such a diverse effect upon children as some of the games being produced now.

The 7 Steps Of Do-it-yourself Financial Planning

You are in control

You are already your own financial planner. Regardless of the extent of help you receive from professionals, you ultimately are the decision maker and you are responsible for your own finances. Although the financial world has become increasingly complex, it is becoming easier today to do a lot of your own planning. The variety of resources has expanded such as software for money management and planning; online tools for banking, financial planning and investing, and resources, and books and blogs that are easy to understand. These resources may be good news for you if the cost of professional fee only financial planners is out-of-reach to you. Besides the cost of fees, others may avoid planners because they have heard stories of advisors trying to sell a product that didn’t fit their situation. Cost savings and avoiding product pitches are excellent benefits of being your own planner.

Everyone should take a more active role in their financial affairs. Not only does it help with educated decision making and fraud avoidance it also helps you better communicate with your other professional advisors such as your accountant and attorney. You will also find yourself spotting opportunities when they cross your path.

Becoming a better manager of your family’s finances will also help you ‘dig out’ if you are struggling financially. When you consider the low savings rates and the high household debt, many more people find themselves in this category today.

The following are 7 steps to do-it-yourself financial planning:

Step 1: Commit

The first step to financial planning always begins with commitment. Whether you are having financial difficulty, or have just avoided setting goals and mapping out a plan – commitment is the first step. Commitment provides the discipline and focus needed to help sustain you on the path towards your goals.

Step 2: Set Goals

Without specific goals and a plan to achieve them financial success stays a foggy dream. Therefore the second step is to list the dreams that will motivate you. Write down all of the goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. This will serve as the driver, or the fire in the engine giving you the motivation to move forward. Everyone has dreams, but without constant watering and attention dreams will go dormant. Leave your past mistakes and inaction behind you, light a new fire and chart a course forward. You have an enormous amount of potential and talent, and if you have made mistakes you now have more experience and wisdom. Dare to imagine what you could achieve because your best years are ahead of you.

Step 3: Assemble and Organize Information

Get your stuff together. Planning is easier if you assemble everything in one central location. Make an organized filing system either in a cabinet, accordion file, a box, any way that works for you. Now locate and file all of your tax returns, receipts, insurance policies, contracts, wills, mortgages, deeds, titles, pay stubs, employee benefit statements, banking (loan, savings and checking), bills, investment and retirement plan statements and any other important papers.

Step 4: Manage Cash Flow

Your household is a business. You need to know how much you are earning and spending each month. Balance your checkbook and establish a budget. There are dozens of books and software to help with this, and your bank’s website may provide this as well. This will help you know when and where you are overspending.

Step 5: Self Educate

Establish a sound foundational knowledge base about financial matters. Start with books about budgeting and money savings tips, debt, basic insurance and investing. Be sure to include reading about mutual funds and financial planning. Avoid get-rich-quick, real estate, gold or innovative ‘secrets’ books. Stick to the fundamentals. I find the “For Dummies, ‘For Idiots’ and ‘D-Mystified’ book series to be very helpful for many people. Lastly, stay informed about current financial topics by reading financial magazines, newspapers, the business section of papers, and blogs.

Step 6: Create a Written Plan

A written plan serves as a road map towards your financial destination. It helps you understand where you are presently and the steps that you need to take to move forward. A financial plan is a process. Your life will change, therefore you should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. You should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. If you write your own financial plan, you will have to obtain financial planning software. Your other options are to pay to have a written financial plan completed by a fee financial planner or by an institution or professional that provides products. Be sure to find out about how the planner is compensated and what your fees will be.

Step 7: Engage Professionals

Most people can’t entirely do all of their financial planning by themselves. Assemble a team of trusted professional advisors that you can rely on to help you implement different aspects of your plan, answer your questions and be on the lookout for you. The professionals that can be the most advantageous are a proactive tax accountant and financial advisor with extensive planning, investment and insurance knowledge, an attorney qualified in estate planning, and a banker that can help with credit ratings and debt management. Before committing to anyone, get referrals for trusted professionals from people whose opinion you respect and don’t be afraid to ask challenging questions.