Facing the Mystique of Money and Feeling Confident With Your Funds

I leased my first car today. I bought my first car without the aid of an adept male guiding me to the MSRP. I love my car even though it's best to only love folks. This car I love because she, Goldilocks, is just right for me. I bought her, well actually leased her (does this count still?) on my own smarts and accord. I have come a long way, baby. I am 48 and three quarters years old and I have never had the confidence to purchase a car or insurance without help. This is namely due to the lack of money skills I have been programmed to believe. No one taught me about money, buying, saving and insurance, and I never bothered to ask. I finally felt the weight of my lack, my lack of information and understanding and interest in such matters as money and saving and buying and investing. And I felt utterly overwhelmed with shame and fear of my ignorance on all matters concerning money, after I severed the I do's. I Had to woman up and get some help when the divorce catapulted me into an independent orbit.

Elevators can cause irritation (when I am late for work or yoga) and fear (I spent some time between floors when the shaft decided to keep me and a neighbor man on 16 suspended for the afternoon) and future friendships (namely Kent). I met, Kent on the elevator. Kent agreed to an interview about facing our fears of finances. I wish to face my fears about money and share the incoming wisdom with you. I desire to a magical amazing passionate love affair with the almighty $.

Severing the I do's rocks your globe even if you wished it so. Divorce stinks even if you want out. To get from the shackles to freedom is quite an emotional and financial squelch. Who are you now and where do you plan to go? You need cash and savings and a new career sometimes and some basic knowledge about your financial plan. Hold on, please keep reading, you are going to be ok, this can actually be fun. You have less because you split everything. Less furniture, less time with the kids, less money. That's that. It's called a split for many reasons. And resources are split. This can be scary knowledge to have once you get past the ink dry on the documents that removed the we from your story.

I nearly stayed married because I didn't know a thing about money. I trusted my guy to do it all. Ignorance is not bliss, I promise you. We all wish for abundance though we're not always so sure how to tap into it. We can all create a healthy relationship with our funds. The most important fact is this: get support.

I invited Kent Rudisill, my elevator pal, a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley Wealth (I like this word very much) Management to Stumptown (best coffee spot in Portland) at the Ace Hotel to chat about money. The interview flowed. I have a lot of questions I want to finally ask. I need courage. This is scary to me. And a little bit boring, too. I want to know about money and the mystique of it all. I no longer want to reside in Ignorant Town. I am feeling freaked out that talking about money will cause anxiety and ignite my feelings of ineptness, once again. I go for it anyway. My hope is that this helps you too.

So Kent, When is the best time for me to understand my personal finances?

Money can be a complicated topic. There is no better time to start understanding your personal finances than the present. Breaking down a large task into smaller pieces can help get you started. Focus on one area at a time, for example, use the internet to find a household budget worksheet.

Hmm, I can do that. Less overwhelming. First step: Face it and Break it down. Basic download and fill out form.

So Kent, I am eager for more advice: What are some of the first steps that I need to do in order to get a handle on my personal finances?

Step One

Set time aside to think about your values and goals that are most important to you is the best place to start the planning process. The objective is to clearly articulate what you want and how you plan to attain it, just as you would in a to-do list for your day. One way to gain perspective is to step back and consider what you care about most. Once you have identified your individual priorities or have your mission statement in place it will serve as a useful framework, directing how you move forward.

I like that I get to be a part of this. No one is bossing me around on what I am allowed to spend my money on. Less should.

Step Two

Create a budget with the help of a template. Basically, a budget adds up your sources of monthly income and then subtracts your monthly expenses. A budget can have numerous line items such as mortgage or rent payments, utilities, transportation, food, medical, child expenses, entertainment, insurance, and tax related expenses. That may sound complex, but the more time you spend building your budget, the less likely you are to overlook monthly expenses or additional sources of income. Building a detailed budget will help you feel more in control of your finances and help meet your short- or long-term goals.

Me in control? I like this, too. I am beginning to really believe $ and I may have a future together, Kent.

Step Three

Managing your credit may be something new to you but it is a critical skill to develop. Check your credit report. A good credit report translates into financial flexibility. For example, insurance companies and prospective employers may request authorization to review your credit reports as a qualifier for employment or coverage. One easy and free way to start is to visit this website: www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp.

Kent, sometimes, it's hard for me to ask for help. I am not certain what to ask and I feel a bit ashamed of my lack of knowledge in this wild world of $. Is seeking advisory assistance necessary?

Understanding your personal finances can feel like a lonely process, which is all the more reason not to go it alone. An objective, experienced, eye can help you avoid common pitfalls and devise more effective strategies. Assembling a strong, experienced team of professional and personal advisors can provide critical guidance and support. You make more informed decisions while you approach the future with greater confidence.

After a few more coffee chats with Kent, I feel confident to venture out and find my money coach. Per Kent's advice, I am plan to interview three money guru specialists and see which one feels just Goldie Locks right for my new chapter. I want to feel heard and herded, that's my goal. It is never too late to start feeling confident with our money. This may possibly be an intimidating new path to venture upon. Yet, with the right map and guide, we can do this. Good Luck!

Kent Rudisill is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Portland, Oregon. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. Morgan Stanley and its Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Individuals should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax or legal advisor. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Member SIPC, or its affiliates.