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Planning & Learning

Having control over your finances is one of the greatest satisfactions you can have in life. On the other hand, worrying about digging your way out of debt, or where to find the money to cope with emergencies or even major anticipated expenses such as college tuition, can add a tremendous level of stress to everyday life.

Controlling your financial situation requires careful planning, realistic budgeting and use of money management techniques that anyone can learn. Knowing how to handle money properly and developing the discipline you need to do it well, can benefit you and your family tremendously.

Budgeting is a money management tool that shows you what money you need to make ends meet, live comfortably, and increase your wealth. In tracking your money, you will find out what you have now and what you can reasonably expect to earn. In tracking your spending, you will find out what your typical pattern of spending is. This information is critical to developing a practical personal budget.

  • Failure to prioritize expenses. Top priorities on any expense list are food and shelter. Shelter includes your rent or mortgage payment, real estate taxes, and any home association or other housing expenses that may lead to the loss of your home.
  • Failure to budget practically for normal out-of-pocket expenses like groceries and gas.
  • Failure to plan for the unexpected.
  • Failure to include quarterly or annual expenses.
  • Spending more money than you pocket.


Identify Your Goals
Before you establish a budget, you should examine your financial goals. Start by making a list of your short-term goals (e.g. new car, vacation) and your long-term goals (e.g. your child's college education, retirement). Next, ask yourself: How important is it for me to achieve this goal? How much will I need to save? Armed with a clear picture of your goals, you can work toward establishing a budget that can help you reach them.

Identify your current monthly income and expenses
Start by adding up all of your income. In addition to your regular salary and wages, be sure to include other types of income, such as dividends, interest, and child support. Next, add up all of your expenses. To see where you have a choice in your spending, it helps to divide them into two categories: fixed expenses (e.g., housing, food, clothing, transportation) and discretionary expenses (e.g., entertainment, vacations, hobbies). You'll also want to make sure that you have identified any out-of-pattern expenses, such as holiday gifts, car maintenance, home repair, and so on. To make sure that you're not forgetting anything, it may help to look through cancelled cheques, credit card bills, and other receipts from the past year. Finally, as you list your expenses, it is important to remember your financial goals. Whenever possible, treat your goals as expenses and contribute toward them regularly.

Track your income
Really track your income! If you have at least a month's worth of old cheque stubs, add them up and divide them to see what your average income is. Better yet, if you can add them for a quarter year and divide by 13 (number of weeks in a quarter) you'll get a more accurate view of your earning power. If you haven't saved cheque stubs, do it for at least four weeks.

Track your spending
Once you know what money you have now and what income you can expect to get, it's time to find out where your money goes. Take a month and track your spending down to the penny.

Setting a realistic goal, knowing what you have, what you expect to earn, and tracking your spending are the basics of money management that enable you to control your money and make wise budgeting choices in the future.

First Global Bank
First Global Bank Limited (FGB) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of GraceKennedy. The bank started in 1970 as The First National Bank of Chicago (Jamaica) Limited and was in 2002. FGB operates one of Jamaica’s best online and mobile banking platforms called Global Access, 8 main branches located in the urban areas of New Kingston, Downtown, Manor Park, Liguanea, Portmore, Mandeville, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, and is expanding its reach into smaller communities island-wide with mini-branches and banking agents called First Global MoneyLink. 
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