Running a household – and going to school – can be a staggeringly complex proposition. How do you balance your life, let alone your financial life?

Well, there are lots of people out there who want to help. One of them is Tami Peter, a financial guru of sorts. She has the resume, which includes stints at Moody’s Analytics, SG Americas Securities and as treasurer on the board of Bottomless Closet, a New York City non-profit that helps women get back on their feet and get a job.

Tami has volunteered her time to Bottomless Closet since 2001, creating and teaching a monthly Personal Finance Series, which has grown to a 16-part program. Her goal, she said, is to make every woman in the series empowered to accomplish her financial goals, and through knowledge, action, and self-confidence ultimately achieve financial independence. Tami also created a Financial Mentoring program and Debt-Free Bootcamp for those challenged with heavy debt, which resulted in a decline in the attendees’ overall debt by 50 percent in six months.

Here is what Tami suggests for your financial New Year’s Resolutions:

  • First of all, it is not out of the ordinary to feel overwhelmed when considering the necessary steps and the environment of the recession when thinking of our finances. Breathe, take a step back, and reevaluate a way to coordinate your finances.
  • Create a Personal Net Worth statement. Make a list of the things you own: cars, accounts, investments and subtract the things you owe such as credit card debt, mortgage, etc. This number is your Personal Net Worth.
  • Create a separate savings account you do not allow yourself to touch, except for in emergency situations. Set up direct deposit so that a portion is transferred over each pay period.
  • Print your monthly checking account statement. Seeing all that we spend is a true eye-opener.  Categorize your spending. When doing this it is easy to see the money spent on frivolous items, things we don’t use, or how often we eat out, etc.
  • From the previous step, create a realistic written budget.
  • Create a list of everything you owe. Prioritize this list beginning with plans to pay off bills with the biggest balance and highest interest rates.
  • Visit annualcreditreport.com to check that information is accurate and your finances are in order.
  • Your employer offers retirement benefits for a reason, use them.
  • If you can, avoid using your credit card. Consumers often forget they must pay back these debts in the future, then with interest rates and other expenses, our debt adds up.
  • Sometimes it is necessary to get help, as spending money can become a psychological issue. It becomes a habit we get so used to and is often difficult to kick.
  • Create an emergency fund. Most financial planners recommend a stock pile of six to eight months worth of income to cover a job loss or other emergency.

Once your finances are in order, much of the stress in our lives can more easily dissipate, Tami says.

Sound good to me! What’s your take?

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