Welcome to the new AAMM!
“Doing right by you for over 50 years”
Another year has arrived and I would like to wish all my loyal readers a Happy New Year! For me, 2014 was filled with new beginnings and break-through events. I also encountered delays in completing some goals and learned valuable financial and business lessons from my experiences.
One of the highlights of 2014 was the interaction with my readers. This column has given me an outlet to meet many persons who share my interest in personal finance or need assistance with their money concerns. I look forward to engaging with many more of you as this year progresses.
The wonderful thing about a new year is that it gives us all the opportunity to erase the mistakes and disappointments of the past twelve months and set a more positive agenda for the coming period. The past is history; now is the time to chart your course for a more prosperous future.
Try to visualise 2015 as a new day just before the dawn breaks. As you gaze out into the horizon, what kind of financial 'weather' do you foresee that the upcoming period will have in store? Does your money forecast for the New Year feature dark, stormy clouds, or bright, sunny skies?
Rising early temperatures
When it comes to their finances, the heat is definitely on for many people. It's getting harder every day to pay their basic bills and there is an increasing demand for short-term loans and credit cards to make ends meet. Their dependence on debt is creating incredible pressure on their budgets.
A sweltering hot day can feel oppressive; similarly, a climbing debt position will give you little room to breathe. Many people are suffocating from the heat of multiple loans which have reduced their take-home pay to dangerously low figures. Unpaid sums have them sweating in small claims court.
As I have said before, you cannot relieve a budget shortfall by borrowing. The respite that you think a loan will bring will be short-lived; once the monthly payments start coming out of your salary, you will only be in a worse position. Resolve to cut your costs or look for ways to create more income.
Overcast mid-morning skies
Most Jamaicans are fair-weather people; the first sign of cloudy skies will cause them to cancel their outdoor plans. In the same way, before many persons venture into any income-generating idea, they want to be certain that there will be little chance of failure or else they will not proceed.
An aversion to rain when partaking in excursions is one thing, but being unwilling to try new ways to earn extra money is a very unprogressive approach for 2015. For most of us, there are few other options to cope with rising inflation or to finance our long-term savings and investment goals.
Don't be scared of getting your feet wet in the world of entrepreneurship. You may have buried talents which can allow you to earn, or there might be opportunities right in front of you to market an in-demand product or service. Pledge to step out and sell confidently despite the uncertainties.
Heavy afternoon downpours
If you have ever tried to traverse a Jamaican road in a deluge, then you have a good idea of what the going is like for many small business owners in this country. Imagine the frustrations of getting splashed by inconsiderate motorists or being trapped in traffic snarls, and you will understand.
While I encourage everyone to try to find simple avenues for making extra money, operating a business is not for the faint of heart. You have to be prepared to slog it out through the torrents of inadequate sources of credit and inconsistent supply of customers, if you want to make a decent living.
Despite the difficulties, owning a business can be a rewarding choice for those who wish to serve others with their products and services and create their own destiny. If you have the fortitude to weather the rain, then commit to learning and applying the skills you need to excel in business.
Gentle evening breezes
After a humid, tempestuous day, there's nothing more relaxing than soft, cooling winds to close out the evening. Most people hope that there will come a time when they can retire from working and finally enjoy what life has to offer without the stresses and strains of a nine-to-five job.
Unfortunately, many people never put any provisions in place to create an income stream that will take care of them when they wish to stop working. Therefore, they are destined to battle through unpleasant financial weather for the rest of their lives, finding no peace from the storms.
To ensure that your sunset years will be enjoyable, you need to make plans to save and invest in assets that can generate enough income when you retire. This is another good reason to focus on earning more right now, so that you can adequately fund your retirement nest egg.
Unlike the real weather forecast, over which you have no control, you have the ability to make smart financial decisions starting from today that can determine your money outlook for this year. So, will you be prosperous or poor in 2015? The choice is yours!
Are you contemplating purchasing a home? Do you want to buy a car, take a vacation, get a computer, or pay school fees? AAMM can help. We provide loans at very competitive rates, extremely manageable payment terms, and with very convenient repayment options to our members.