5 Ways to Declare Your Financial Independence This Summer

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First of all, it's hot. And I like the heat. But summer also means baseball, lots of golf, vacations and the granddaddy of all birthday parties, Independence Day.

Here, I'll channel our forefathers and talk about five ways to declare your independence from debt, plus financial steps to improve your life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

1. Free Yourself from Oppressive Debt.

Do you have a tyrannical ruler in your life? For many, that dictator is money -- or, more accurately, debt. Credit-card bills, student loans or medical expenses can make you feel like you don't control your destiny.

Take charge of your finances and provide guards to your future security. How? Create a budget. Use prudence to limit your spending and "find" money to pay off debt by cutting back or cutting out. Let everyone in your household have a voice about your financial goals and convene regularly for money talks.

2. Use Revolutionary Tools and Apps.

Mobile devices put an unbelievable amount of financial information in the palm of your hand. Whether you're budgeting, receiving reminders to stay on track, reviewing your portfolio, calculating where you stand with your goals or researching your insurance needs, take advantage of the information, tools, calculators and reviews at hand.

3. All Investments Are Not Created Equal.

Saving and investing are not the same, but both should be part of your plan. When you're only putting money away for long-term goals in savings vehicles, you risk losing ground to inflation. That's a risk that's been highlighted over the past couple of years. Ensure your investments are selected in a way that aligns with your long-term goals.

4. One Truth That's Self-Evident: A PCS Is Hard.

Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams -- they knew starting over would not be easy. But they took the opportunity to reinvent the country and ran with it. It was a chance to set things right.

A PCS gives you that same opportunity. But like establishing a new nation, it requires a well-thought-out plan and some discipline. Use it as a reset button for your finances and start making choices with an eye on long-term financial freedom.

5. Capitalize on the Resources at Home.

The government of this great United States of America offers you free access to one-on-one financial counseling and classes through your installation's military and family support center. Accept this providence and use it to your benefit. Military OneSource offers the same, and having access to help is definitely something that will let you pursue more happiness.

Make your move toward financial independence today.

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