How Do I Make Money Now?

Sooner or later there comes a time on every journey, real or virtual when someone says, “Are we there yet?” Or in this case, “Learning more about what makes me tick and setting goals is all well and good, but how do I make money now?”

To answer that question, let’s take a side trip. While we are too far away from the end of the journey to get into real specifics, there are some things you can do now to make your journey smoother down the road. Since everybody on the journey is in a different place in their financial lives, let’s start with some basic strategies based on whether or not you have investments. In each case, gather the information then keep it handy for other stops along the journey.

If you have investments, make a list of all of your investments, what you paid for them, and their current value. Then determine:

1: If you are losing money, making money, or if the value is staying about the same? Making this determination will require you to open your statements and take a good look at them. If you are in the habit of just throwing those in a drawer or a cabinet, stop and really look at how your investments are doing. Contrary to popular belief, ignoring them will not make any issues go away.

2:  The type and category of each investment. The basic types include cash, stocks, and bonds. Some typical investment categories include CDs, money market accounts, municipal bonds, industry-based stocks, and mutual funds with various objectives. For example, identify the industry any stocks you have are in and the specific objective of each mutual fund such as international, small cap, or healthcare. The ultimate goal is to build a diversified portfolio that includes different types and categories of investments so that when one group is down there is the possibility that others might be up and the return on your portfolio can remain relatively stable. Believe or not, some people who are making money even in this down economy.

3: The goal that this investment is intended to fund, when the money will be needed, and if you are on track financially to meet the goal.

4: How you feel about each investment? Is it a keeper? If so, why? Do you want to sell it? If so, why? Do you need to do more information to make a decision? If so, what kind?

If you don’t have investments, complete the following statements:

– The main reason I don’t have any investments now is because…

– I fund vacations and other major purchases by…

– Others depend on my income (spouse, children, parents, etc) and …

– My level of interest in investing is …

– My overall job/income status is…

– I would purchase investments if…

(For more information on investment basics, click here to download Chapter 22 — Investing: Start With the Basics from the “27 Savvy Financial Strategies for Women.”)

While gathering this information may not lead to more money immediately, understanding your current situation and what might be holding you back from achieving financial security is VII (very important information).

Remember, the best way to predict the future is to take charge, take control, and then set out on the path to create it. And answering these questions provides you with a great starting point.

Patricia Stallworth, CFP® and CDFA, is the president of PS Worth, a financial education company, the author of Minding Your Money, and the host of the Minding Your Money Minute™. Learn more by visiting