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TESS VIGELAND: This was the first full week of the new year. By now we’ve made our resolutions, and a good many of us have already broken them. Last week, we asked you to write in with your money goals for 2010.
Listener Maria Burgess of Washington, D.C., says it’s high time she gets her financial house in order.
Maria Burgess: So my financial resolutions — as silly as this may sound — is I don’t know my credit scores, so the first one is to find out my credit score. And then to everything I can to improve it, including making sure everything’s paid on time. And then making sure that by the end of the year my savings account has three months of living expenses in it.
I am always giving advice to my friends and you know, I read financial Web sites all the time. So I know what I should be doing, and I’m really good at telling them what they should do. This year, I’ve decided to actually take my own advice.
Today, before I came into the studio, I set up a savings account, so that way whatever I deposit into my checking, 5 percent is automatically funneled into my savings.
I’ve gotten into two different grad school programs and deferred them, because I’m just not comfortable taking on that amount of financial responsibility. And, so if I can stick to this for a year, I’ll feel comfortable taking on grad school.
VIGELAND: Tonya Brownlow of Minneapolis has vowed that this year she’ll teach her kids what goes into managing the family finances. Here’s her money goal for the new year.
Tonya Brownlow: My financial resolution for 2010 is to get my kids more involved in family financial decisions and get them to, hopefully, more understand how you stay out of debt and what it takes you to keep you out of debt.
I don’t want my kids to end up in the situation that I and my partner are in right now. It puts a lot of stress on our family and I just want to make sure that when they become adults, they don’t fall into the same pitfalls we fell into.
I want them to feel like they’re part of the decision making, and it’s just not always their parents telling them no. And also, so they understand that you have choices with your money. You just sometimes have to make hard choices and that’s an OK thing in life.
I think it’s possible for us to stick to our resolutions. I think the first couple months are going to be really difficult. And if we can get past that, it’s OK. But so far in the first week, we’re doing pretty well.
Vigeland:Tonya Brownlow in Minneapolis. Later on, a personal finance pledge to pay the family first.
VIGELAND: John Lucking of Montclair, N.J., has decided to put himself first when it comes to the long line of people trying to get their mitts on his money.
John Lucking: My financial resolution is pay ourselves first, through automatic withdrawal from our checking account to one of three funds: one fund would be an emergency fund, another one would be short-term savings fund and then another one would be, what we call, a “stuff happens” fund — so if the roof leaks or if we have a major car expense.
What we’re trying to do here is to take the amount out of our paycheck and assume what we have left is what we have for our budget. Our family, at times, had lived paycheck to paycheck, and we wanted to make savings for ourselves and for emergencies automatic. My wife and I’ve had this philosophy, it’s just a matter of taking action. New Year’s, of course, is always a good time to discuss things and put things into motion and stick to them.
Vigeland: Thanks to everyone who wrote in. And our resolution will be to check back in with today’s contestants in a year to see how they did.
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