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man getting startedWelcome!

My name is Jon Dulin and I am the founder of MoneySmartGuides, a personal finance blog that began in 2010.

First, a little background about who I am and what I am about.

I am in my late 30’s and reside outside of Philadelphia, PA and have an amazing family. I have my master’s degree in finance and before I started this site, and for a few years at the beginning of this site, I worked in the financial services industry. All told, I have over 15 years experience in the finance industry.

For the full story about me, be sure to check out my about me page.

Now a little about this website.

What Is Money Smart Guides?

MoneySmartGuides is about you reaching your financial dreams. My goal is to help you along your entire journey, from getting out of debt and building wealth, to starting to invest and achieving your dreams and retiring well.

As such, I have divided this site into 5 categories:

Where you begin on this site depends on what financial stage you are in.

Which of the below sentences best describes you? You can click on the one that best describes you to be taken to that section to learn more.

I’m in debt and need help to get out of debt once and for all
I’m just starting out and need a little hand-holding with regards to budgeting and understanding money.
I am looking for help with making more money.
I have some money to invest and need some actionable tips to help me keep my money safe and grow it.
I want to be successful and need some motivation along the way.
I’m looking to retire and want to make sure I will have enough to live the life I envision for myself.

Get Out Of Debt

Never Give Up!

Debt can be overwhelming. I know because I was in over $10,000 of credit card debt as well as $25,000 of student loan debt after college. I even failed many times at trying to get out of debt.

See if this looks familiar:

debt cycle

Unfortunately, most of you are struggling with this same thing. The good news is that you can get out of debt.

Your first step is to understand why you are in debt in the first place. Here is a hint: chances are it’s not a spending problem. My post about getting out of debt forever will help you to finally realize why you are in debt and the steps needed to get out forever.

Once you know why you are in debt, your next step is to create a plan to get out of debt. I have a great post that will show you exactly how to set up your own plan. It even includes a free spreadsheet for you to download and use.

Alternatively, you can use an awesome app to set up a plan for you and motivate you along the way.

If the debt you want to rid yourself of is your mortgage, I have you covered here too. My post of 10 ways to quickly pay off your mortgage early is a huge hit. In it you will find a free spreadsheet to download to help you track your progress.

Build Wealth

It all starts with taking the first step!

If you are looking at getting your finances in order or making more money, this is the place for you.

I’m going to start with some basics here because you can’t reach your financial dreams if you don’t have a solid financial foundation. So we have to start at the beginning.

And this means budgeting. Unfortunately budgeting gets a bad rap. When most people think of budgeting, they think about sacrificing today for a better tomorrow. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can live on a budget today and still enjoy life to the fullest.

The key is to make sure you understand what you value. This will eliminate needless spending. To get a better idea here, check out this post about living a life of wealth.

From there, it is on to budgeting. I wrote a post that has 10 free excel budget spreadsheet templates for you to download.

If you aren’t an excel person, have no fear. You can still budget with automated options like Tiller, Personal Capital or even Power Wallet.

Once you have the budgeting thing down, it is time to grow your wealth. You can do this a variety of ways.

First, you should make sure you are making as much as you can from your career. This will ensure you get ahead financially.

Next, you might want to consider supplementing your income with a side hustle. Here is an amazing post that highlights over 50 easy ways to make more money.

Start Investing

Now is the time!

I hear many people tell me how confusing and complicated investing is. The reality is, investing is actually relatively simple and rather boring. That is if you are investing the right way.

Your first step when it comes to investing is to create a detailed plan. This plan will serve you well in making smart decisions not only as your wealth grows but also when volatility hits. To learn how to create your own plan, check out my post on becoming a stock market millionaire.

An important part of building your plan is to make sure you get your risk tolerance right. When you do this, you can sleep at night, not fearing about losing money. For help with getting your risk tolerance correct, check out this post.

Of course, not everyone is cut out to invest themselves. Many people need the help of a good professional to keep them invested over the long term. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to look over my post, what to look for in a financial advisor, for tips to chose the best one.

If on the other hand you want to invest yourself, check out my online broker comparison chart to find the best broker for your needs. My personal favorites are Betterment, Schwab, and Ally Investing.

Finally, if you do decide to go your own, I encourage you to read my book, 7 Investing Steps That Will Make You Wealthy. It’s a quick read and will set you up for long-term success.

Achieve Your Dreams

Success Is A Decision!

I want to be the best I can possibly be. Every day, I try to find ways to improve myself. These things are not monumental changes each day. Many times they are something small that over time makes a big difference.

For example, before bed I regularly read for 30 minutes. It calms me down and helps me to fall asleep quickly. It also helps me to learn too. I am always learning new things or ways to do things thanks to the books I read. You can see some of my favorite books in my resources section.

If you want to be your best, then I have some great resources for you to check out.

For starters, be sure to read by post on the 16 habits of successful people. Many of them are eye opening.

Next, check out my post on 20 self-improvement tips. These are simple tips you can start using that over time will have a big impact on your life.

After that, be sure you come to acceptance with failing. Failing is a good thing, as long as you learn from your mistakes.

Finally, a big key to success is to visualize your goals. This post will show you how to become a master at visualizing the life you want.

Retire Well

Anything is possible!

Planning for your future is a key to long term success and happiness. Don’t make the mistake of many and not have a plan or wait too long to develop one. The sooner you create a plan, the sooner you can achieve it.

Hands down, the best tool for this is the free retirement planner from Personal Capital. I use it myself and love it. In fact, it is very similar to the tool we used at the investment firm I worked at. My wife, who is not into finances, loves it too because it helps her to see our retirement goals are quickly becoming a reality.

You can read more about this free tool here.

Another great resource for you to check out is my post on early retirement. While written for those who want to retire as soon as possible, it contains valuable information for everyone planning their retirement.

Part of retirement planning is about knowing where your money is invested. If you changed jobs, you probably have old 401k plans. If so, you should read this detailed post on how to roll over your retirement plans so you can keep track of them all and to make sure they are set up the correct way.

Finally, don’t overlook the power of a health savings account (HSA). It can be used as a retirement account to help you maximize your retirement savings.

Last Word

The last area of the website you should spend some time on is my resources section. This area has a list of all of the products and services I use to help grow my wealth. While not all are a fit for everyone, you might be introduced to something you had been looking for.

I also encourage you to sign up for updates from me. I send out an email once a week with my latest post. You can sign up below.

Finally, I just want to finish off by saying that I’m here for you, not only as a guide while you begin or continue your journey of reaching your financial dreams, but also as a friend. I do my best to respond to every email I receive.

I may not respond that day, but rest assured I will reply.

Thank you so much for your support. If you’ve made it this far, I’d love for you to come say hi to me on my Facebook Page.

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