What the Bulldogs’ Success Can Teach Us About Money Management

Elaine Bedel, president of Chamber member Bedel Financial Consulting in Indianapolis, authored an interesting column today for Inside INdiana Business explaining how you can apply Butler’s winning hoops formula to your finances:

Just as the Butler Bulldogs have a "game plan" for defeating each opponent, you need your own personal "game plan" to be financially successful. By developing your financial skills and being disciplined in implementing your plan, you can achieve your own financial victories.

Take time now to create your game plan and to develop an action list to accomplish your personal goals. Just like a good basketball player, you need to gain the skills that will allow you to take control of your financial life. If your understanding of financial concepts is lacking, take a course or read a book. Likewise, take the initiative to use the financial tools and calculators available on the Web to outline the steps necessary to achieve each goal. Then be disciplined in your approach. If you do, you will have a good chance of getting the result that you want.

Here are a few financial "tips" that can help you along the way.

1.Set Goals. It is important to write down your goals and keep them in a place where you are likely to read them at least once a week. Your electronic or paper calendar may be a good place. Reading your goals periodically will keep you focused throughout the year.

2.Control Spending. Maintain the lifestyle you can afford. Buy only what you need, not what you want. Do not create “lifestyle debt”. If you purchase “stuff” to keep up with the neighbors you will be threatening your future financial security.

3.Manage Credit Cards. Never carry a balance. Be smart and use your credit card wisely. Credit cards can be an effective and efficient financial tool. Smart people charge only the amount they can pay off each month.

4.Save Intentionally. Make your saving automatic. Direct a portion of your earned income from your paycheck to savings before the money gets to the checking account. For college education, have it automatically deposited to a 529 Plan. For retirement, have it deposited directly into your 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement plan. For other investments, have the funds directed from your paycheck to a brokerage account.

5.Check Your Progress. Establish a system of tracking that will allow you to easily review your saving and spending budget throughout the year. Consider software and/or on-line banking.

Use that Bulldog discipline to keep your financial life in check and on track.