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Starting the New Year Without Guilt

By Emma Patch
From Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Scarlett Cochran, author of “It’s Not About the Money: A Proven Path to Building Wealth and Living the Rich Life You Deserve,” offers sage financial advice.

Question: If it’s not all about the money, then what’s it all about?

Answer: Money evolved as a tool to help us solve problems and make our lives easier. But somewhere along the way, that has been lost, causing some people to live for money and even hoard it. The premise of my book is to bring people back to the purpose of money.

Question: What advice do you have for people who want to get their finances in shape for the new year?

Answer: First, release any guilt or shame you feel about overspending. All it does is make the process of managing money unpleasant. You can both enjoy the memories and experiences you received as a result of your spending and decide to not make the same decision going forward.

At the beginning of the year, I always recommend that you create a one-year spending plan. This is a year-long budget that you can see on a single spreadsheet. First, decide what you’ll need to do to get your finances back on track. Will you need to pay off debt, beef up your savings accounts, or a little of both? And how long will it take you to do that? Second, decide right now how much you want to spend on the holidays in 2023. Divide that amount by 12 and save that amount in a special holiday savings account so the money will be waiting for you when the holidays come around again.

Question: Debt has become more expensive. Yet you have argued on your blog and YouTube channel that people shouldn’t be afraid of debt. What is good debt?

Answer: I suggest not looking at debt as either good or bad. Instead, think of it as a tool that you can use to create the life you want. Then the question becomes, as with any tool, is this the right tool for the job?

Debt is a way of trading time for money. You can get what you want now, but it will cost you more, and you’ll have less income available in the future. Are you willing to pay more to have the thing you want—whether it’s a house, college tuition, or a vacation—now? If, after looking at the impact debt will have on your future budget, you decide that those trade-offs aren’t worth it, say no to the debt.

(Emma Patch is a staff writer at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. For more on this and similar money topics, visit

©2022 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.

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