We all know how important being financially responsible is..you owe it to yourself, your family, and your kids. There is nothing like the feeling of being financially secure; knowing you are going to be OK if the SHTF (and it will!). That is why I have worked so hard to get all of my money working for me and all of my ducks in a row…for the time that “what if” might happen. That all being said, I thought I would assemble a list of what I thought were the most important steps for you to take starting right now so that you can be more financially secure:
Although this post is not directly related to personal finance issues, it does have something to do with it in terms of your financial security. For a long time now, I have had emergency kits in my car and in my home in case I suddenly had to vacate the house or got trapped away from home. After 9/11, the tsunami in Thailand, Hurricane Katrina, and the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, I figured that if it can happen to all of those people then it can happen to me. We all go through life figuring that the bad stuff always happens to other people, but someday the other people could be you and you better be prepared.
A friend of mine just had both his computer AND his external backup hard drive die on the same day. Rare? Yes…but not impossible. While I have never had anything so catastrophic happen to my computer setup, I have always backed everything up both here in my house and online each day. I use an external Western Digital Passport drive with Time Machine (the built-in Apple backup application) that backs up my data every hour, and I also use BackBlaze to do daily backups over the internet. That first online backup took a few days, but now it only takes a few minutes per day (at most) because it only backs up changed files. My friend luckily used Mozy for his own online backup, so within a few days they sent him all his data via mail for him to reinstall on his now fixed computer. Thank goodness for online backups, because if he hadn’t been doing his, everything on his computer and external drive would have been gone – music, family photos, important documents – everything. And since my entire life is now digital (all my music, videos, “paperwork”, etc) is on my computer, backups are incredibly important to keep me from losing all my stuff. The lesson learned here? Don’t just do external hard drive backups, but also start doing online backups as well. BackBlaze is $5 a month for backup, and it’s the best $5 I have spent lately. Backup your computer…or else.
Because I am once again looking to uproot my life in the near future, I just downloaded an app for my iPhone that shows available rentals listed online directly on a map. PadMapper is an apartment search tool that aims to make searching online for an apartment a little easier by letting you see where the apartments are on a big Google map and by using filters to eliminate listings that you’re not interested in. After I set the location I was interested in looking in (my old neighborhood) and my price range, I was presented with a map and all available apartments. Upon clicking on each one, I got a better description of the place, contact information, leasing terms, and some other things depending on what the property provided. I can imagine going to an area and then using this application to save me from driving around aimlessly, knocking on doors and wasting time calling on apartments I couldn’t afford. (It can also search near your location using GPS) Here is what the screen looked like after I put in the area and filters I wanted to contain my search within:
How many hours per week do you put in trying to feed your family and keep that roof over your head? Are you one of those people who spends every waking moment at work? Or are you more apt to put in only the bare minimum to get the job done? Americans, on average, work way more hours than people in other industrialized nations while taking much less vacation time. This hasn’t necessarily led to more productivity at all; in fact, it may be one of the reasons we also have one of the biggest populations of people taking daily antidepressants. A few years ago I decided that I no longer wanted to trade my time for a paycheck deemed “enough” by a corporation, so I went out on my own. And since then, I have been concentrating on doing more in less time, leaving more leisure time open for me in this incredibly short time we all have here on earth. While taken to the extreme, the idea of the 4 Hour Workweek is something I am striving towards – and I am slowly getting there. Of course, getting it down to 4 hours a week will never happen for me because I have more than 4 hours of actual work to do each week, but I have a goal of cutting my working hours down to about 15-20 per week MAX and using the rest of my time to actually live a life.