If a close relative left you $1,800,000 you’d spend a lot of time and pay a great deal of attention to the care and management of the inheritance, wouldn’t you?

Well, this is what you can expect to earn during your working years if you average around $500 a week take-home pay for the first 20 years and about $980 a week take-home pay for the last 25 years until retiring at age 65.

You wouldn’t handle a $1,800,000 inheritance haphazardly, with little or no thought. Why treat the earned income any differently?

Related: Choose Your Retirement Date

It’s easy to pay less attention to one’s earned income because it comes in small amounts at frequent intervals, but add it up over a lifetime of earnings and you come up with a substantial sum.

A Lifetime Job

The job of managing your income will be with you all your life. Some do it well and live smoothly and pleasantly, free from money cares and worries. They enjoy the pleasures and satisfactions of a full life.

Others fumble and stumble from one financial mess to the next. They never seem to solve their personal financial problems. Some families can live comfortable and save on an income of $40,000 a year. Others with incomes of $200,000 can’t make ends meet.

Successful Money Management

If there is one thing people are interested in, it’s the subject of handling money successfully – getting the most value out of each dollar and building family financial security.

Obviously it’s not easy to always do the right thing. Using money effectively is one of the biggest problems in the lifetime experience of any family. In fact, various surveys indicate that the major cause of personal financial problems is bad management of personal finances. Other surveys show that money is the greatest single cause of trouble between spouses.

Related: Treating Your Marriage Like A Business (Financially)

Money Management is a Skill

Personal money management is a skill that can be learned, developed with practice and enjoyed like other skills. Most of us work hard for our money. Surely we will want to take the additional effort to see that it is managed and used wisely.

Learning sound approaches to successful money management will help you and your family achieve financial competence and the kind of financial independence that will contribute to better living.

Include the Whole Family

Make it a family effort. By showing each member of the family just what the financial picture is (in an age appropriate way), everyone will know what’s involved and can pitch-in to help. When children participate they learn some important lessons in planning with money.

Related: Kids and Money

Get Value for your Money

Whether you are single and enjoying your first full-time job, an established wage earner or facing retirement, our lifestyles and goals differ. But all of us share the hope that our hard work will pay off. We can’t foresee what will happen in 10 or 20 years from now. Realistic financial planning and getting top value for every dollar can let you achieve the lifestyle you want, now and in the future.

Why don’t you take a few moments to figure out your approximate lifetime earnings? You’ll be surprised.

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