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Preparing for Growth

The Gant Family reminisces on their most important financial lessons, and how preparation is the key to growth in their financial journey.

“…As with any process, it takes time to set things in motion & the same goes for preparation.”

A family of three pose for a photo

This has been a pretty interesting journey. It has been full of ups and downs when it comes to this financial roller-coaster ride that my family and I have jumped on. I have learned so much from this program and I am sad to see it end. I am a whole lot better off now than where I was when I started almost 6 months ago. I am excited to say that I have paid off all of my negative items on my credit report. I have made additional payments to my car note. My credit score has jumped to a level that has placed me substantially closer to my ultimate goal of owning my own home. I am not there yet but by the grace of God, I am nowhere near the place I started. My saving accounts are growing monthly, my credit cards are carrying over a balance of zero and are on time, even with monthly utilization. DTI (debt to income ratio) has made a major change in the positive direction. The only thing that I currently owe is my student loans and my car note, both of which are in good standing.

At church on Sunday, Apostle Gooden, Jr. talked about filling your storehouse before times get rough. He talked about how we should not wait until things like Hurricane Sally and pandemics, etc. happen to start saving and preparing. He said that we should start the preparation process before. Hence the name preparation process. Because as with any process it takes time to set things in motion and the same goes for preparation.

Why am I talking about this? Well, this is why I believe that the NOW program was helpful… because this program has not only given me the tools and the instruction on how to start the process of preparing for my future, it also gave me the extra motivation that I needed to kickstart my savings and decreasing my DTI ratio.

When the threat of the second Hurricane came, I had prepared in advance thanks to Sally and I was not stressing over whether or not I would have enough items needed to be able to hold up if it where to hit us and cause any discomfort.

How did I go about preparing myself? Well, for starters, every time I was blessed with an additional income (as we like to refer to as an unexpected income), instead of spending it frivolously, I decided to save it. I explained to my children that we are going to save this one because we do not have to buy something or go out to eat every time we get money. I showed them that by saving a set, reoccurring amount today, we can accrue enough savings emergency funds, and/or for “big ticket” items or events for later. And during the process of waiting until we reach our goal amounts, our money can sit here in a high-yield interest account and grow.

By doing this, we have been able to increase our savings that at the beginning of this program was non-existent. I do not have a whole lot of income but I have learned that If I put my money where it is supposed to go and save each time, then I can accomplish big things. This is what happens when you tell your money where it will go instead of waiting for someone or something to tell what to do with it – the premise of a budget in a nutshell.

The online Balance courses have taught me so much. I revisit certain lessons from time to time to make sure that I am on the right path. The worksheets and approximation calculators that are available through the courses are an essential tool for anyone traveling the road to financial freedom, homeownership, car ownership, etc.…

My most favorite tool, however, is the Money Management tool located in PenAir online banking. For me, filling out all the paperwork, worksheets, and charts in the world didn’t quite put everything into perspective like the visualization that is offered from this tool.

I am very happy with where I have come from and I plan to continue utilizing the lessons and skills that I have learned from this leg of my journey to steadily grow and increase my financial future in a positive manner.

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