Getting Clear on Finances to Begin the New Year

credit cardsYesterday I did all the dreaded administrative stuff I save to do until I can’t put it off any later in the year.  I mean, it being December 30th and all.  I spent 2.5 hours filling out a 250+ questionnaire for my merchant provider to make sure I have a secure system. I called my computer genius Chuck to help me through the techie parts.  The rest were pretty simple since I’m just one person and not a big company with networked system computers and other personnel.  I passed – yay!

I wrote on Facebook that I was getting ready to open all my credit card notices that would tell me rates are changing unless I opted out. I have mostly debit cards, I didn’t know if I even had a credit card anymore. But if so, I’d find out if they were raising the rate and would opt out if I needed to.  Then I pulled out all my credit card files to remind myself which account number was for what card, and put the right notice with the right file.  I knew most were closed, paid off or inactive, but I wanted to have it all in front of me when I made the calls.

It took all afternoon, but I called everyone and got a pleasant surprise.  All accounts were already closed when I paid them off, except Advanta at 7.99% fixed and a small Chase balance I’ll pay off this year. I even activated a new MC card for emergencies, with no fee if I don’t use it. I feel good.  I’ve learned that for credit cards, I always pay at least twice the minimum plus the finance charge – that’s my formula.  I learned my credit card lesson years ago.

A friend wrote on Facebook:  Andrea, give us new entrepeneurs more good advice! My business is 1 year old now, but I haven’t done much with it yet. Spent the year getting my house in order. Next week I’ll be diving into my world of business! I do have everything set up with Fed and State. Now it’s time to DO!

I responded that my advice is:

(1) figure out what you like
(2) do it
(3) do it well
(4) don’t worry about “what does the public want to buy?” They’ll want to buy whatever you whole heartedly embrace and exude, if you’ve got good intent and a passion for what you do.

Oh, and (5) don’t run up debt or live beyond your means.  Go after your debt like a mama tiger paying your cub’s ransom.

And if you’re doing 1, 2 and 4, your internal guidance system will kick in like never before and lead you in the right direction.

For 2010, lots of friends are going back to school to learn new skills.
If you can’t keep up with your bills, it’s a smart thing to do.
Happy New year’s Eve
Begin again in 2010


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