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DENVER - They say money can't buy you happiness, but it can certainly bring you stress and worry.

Whether you live extravagantly, spend more than you save, or misuse your credit cards, these habits will eventually catch up with you, and can affect your relationships and prevent you from achieving financial independence. Being financially independent looks different for everyone, but ultimately, it means having enough money to meet your needs and being free to do the things you enjoy without worrying so much about going into the red.

To help you establish long-term financial goals and better money management habits, the financial experts at mpowered and Bellco are sharing ways you can get started on your own path to financial independence as part of their year-long public awareness campaign, "Keeping Up with the Joneses – An honest look inside the American family."

  • Clarify your values and goals. What does financial independence look like to you? Use this resource guide for setting goals and mapping out where you want to be in the future.
  • Find common ground. Talk to your partner and family about what they value, and what independence would mean to them. Even though you may not agree on everything, try to discover some shared goals.
  • Take action. The debt has got to go! Get serious about defining your savings goals and debt reduction goals, and then evaluate your options based on the type of debt.
  • Examine your relationships. Are you just "keeping up with the Joneses?" Are the Joneses headed for financial freedom, or the opposite?
  • Look for a role model. Study people who have clarified their values and changed their lifestyles to make their money serve them, instead of the other way around.
  • Evaluate the cost. Calculate the life hours you spend working, paying unnecessary bills, or servicing debt. Is all that time worth it? What can you change?

Don't wait until it's too late to make the financial changes necessary for a future free of worry. It takes patience and discipline to achieve a lifetime of financial independence, but in the end, it's worth it. To learn more about achieving your personal definition of financial independence, visit KeepingUpCO.com

Article provided by mpowered.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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