5 Ways To Be Financially Independent

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financial independence
A new study says if you have financial fears of the future, you are not alone.

3. Cultivate a personal support team of friends. Whether you're single, divorced, widowed or in a relationship (which could end at any moment in divorce or death, not to be morbid), you need good friends who will take you in if your finances ever disappear. (This team can prevent you from becoming dependent on family members, especially those you may not want to spend much time with.) At the same time, your friends should be reassured that you're also there for them if they ever need a home, a hug and a cup of hot chocolate at a moment's notice.

4. Maintain good credit. Even if you prefer not to use credit cards for basic purchases, if your credit is good, it's smart to earmark at least one major card with a $5-10k credit line and maintain it with a zero-balance so you can utilize it for unexpected emergencies. Then, you won't ever be in a position to need loans from friends or family, which can damage or at least strain your relationships with them.

5. Develop your financial skills and marketable talents. When you're single, you depend on yourself to pay the bills, so you save for the future. If you're in a marriage or long-term relationship, you're just as responsible as your spouse for your mutual financial security. One of the biggest financial mistakes you can make is to let your spouse handle all money matters. Get savvy about investing and check your bank statements regularly. This kind of money management can relieve stress and prevent financial infidelity. You're less likely inherit your spouse's debts in the event of his/her death or discover unhappy financial surprises if you get divorced. On top of that, having marketable skills (from carpentry to cooking) means you'll be able to find opportunities to support yourself in an emergency. It also produces an extra part-time income from what was just a fun hobby. 

Start now to create your own financial independence and make sure you'll never need to worry about winding up as a "bag lady."

Article contributed by
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Barbara Schiffman

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Barbara Schiffman, C.Ht., ARCT

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