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by Shunte Jones

Financial stability can go a long way toward creating peace of mind. With the current economic state, achieving this can appear more daunting than ever. According to the United States Department of Labor the unemployment rate for October stood at 7.3%. The poor, young, and minorities face even greater challenges, having encountered the biggest drops in income. US Today states that in 2011 the median income for black households fell 3.2%.

With over ten years of experience in financial and business advising, and as a young professional myself, I’ve seen it all. Regardless of one’s economic situation, there are steps we can all take toward reaching that goal of financial stability and I am here to show you a few of those tips.

1. Create a Budget

Evaluate how much money comes in and how much needs to go out. Living within your means is one of the most important steps toward economic stability. Create a spending plan to help you stay on track and avoid impulse spending.

2. Cut Unnecessary Spending

Pack your lunch at home, fill your coffee thermos before leaving for work. Eating out often and those daily coffee runs to your favorite café can make a big dent in your finances.

Doing your own manicure and pedicure at home, rather than going to a salon, is another way to save a big chunk of money.

3. Invest in Your Future

You are young and might not be too concerned with your retirement yet. You are probably thinking you’ll get to it — eventually. Change that mentality! You are never too young to start setting aside a small amount toward your retirement fund. Down the road, you’ll be glad you did!

4. Eliminate and Avoid Debt

Pay off credit cards, school loans, and other types of debts. Not only will it reduce the amount of stress you face every month, it also cuts the quantity of money required to cover those killer interest rates.

To do this, make a list of your debts, arranging them from smallest to largest. Then focus on paying off those at the top of your list. Put as much as you can into it. Even $50 extra can make a difference. Once that debt is paid, take the total amount (for example $80 minimum plus $50 extra totals $130) and add it to the minimum of the next largest debt. Maintain this system until you have paid all of them off. The process can take a while, but it’s worth it.

5. Ask for Help

Find an experienced financial advisor. They can help you create a budget, invest wisely, plan for retirement, work toward your goals, save for college, etc. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Life and finances are stressful enough on their own. We don’t need to add more burdens to the mix. Smart choices can significantly improve one’s lifestyle. Remember, one is never too young to start creating good, strong spending and saving patterns.

About Shunte Jones

At the age of 23, Shunte Jones became a partner at Wealth Development Strategies, one of the region’s leading financial advising firms. Since then, she has gone on to advise top names in the sports, entertainment, and business industries, helping them amass millions in wealth and sustainable cash flow.

In addition, Jones was crowned the 2011-2012 Miss Black Houston. In 2013, she won the title of Ms. Black Texas, a milestone she’d dreamed of since her childhood days in the Northeast Texas pageant circuit.

Jones is available for interviews and contributor opportunities relating to: finances, investment trends, analyses and wisdom, business development, effective networking, leadership, and entrepreneurship.