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Personal Finance Wisdom From the Year of the Rooster

When it comes to money and success, people born under the Chinese zodiac sign of the rooster can teach the rest of us a thing or two.

According to the Western calendar, Jan. 28 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year — also known as “Spring Festival” — the longest and most important celebration for Chinese families across the globe.

Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, meaning it is based on both lunar and solar cycles, it is celebrated on a different date each year. The lunar calendar also defines the 12-year repeating cycle of Chinese zodiac with each year named after an animal, and 2017 is the year of the fire rooster.

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The rooster is described by the Chinese zodiac system as observant, honest, talented and confident. People born under this animal’s sign — in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 or 2005 — are thought to be responsible workers with good time management, which bodes well in terms of being financially savvy. One negative aspect of the rooster is the desire to be in the spotlight.

Roosters can teach financial novices a thing or two about being money mavens.

Embrace discipline. In Chinese culture, it is important to be punctual. A good way to embrace your hidden rooster is to create a list of what you want to accomplish and set deadlines. Enough of "I'm too busy" or "I forgot." In financial speak, decide what financial goals you want to accomplish and when you expect to complete them. This approach makes you accountable for your actions and inactions.

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Another suggestion is to write in a journal or notebook and chart your progress. This allows you to determine what money-saving tactics worked or failed. Once you achieve a specific goal, tell a friend or relative about it. You will be in the spotlight for your achievement, and your wallet will thank you.

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Live by the motto honesty is the best policy. Honesty is a great virtue, and it will help in matters of the heart. In order to be in a better place financially, you need to be open and honest with the people in your life. In many households, one person takes charge of the bills. Let your partner know what is going on and if there are any storms brewing.

Talk with your parents about their wishes. Do they hope to move in with you once they retire, or would they prefer to live in a continuing-care retirement community? Be honest about the specific roles and responsibilities that you can assume.

You may have children who want to attend an expensive college or want the name-brand items such as clothing and electronics. Let them know what the financial situation is like. If you and your partner don't think you can pay for their college, encourage your child to explore grants and scholarships. This is also a great opportunity to discuss the value of working and saving money with your children.

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An honest approach can reduce the risk of unpleasant surprises in the future.

Use your talents. More and more people are not only working a full-time job, but doing side work to earn extra money. Roosters are considered talented, and they should use their skills to their advantage. What are your talents and interests? Do you have exceptional writing and communications skills? Do you enjoy baking or cooking? Do you enjoy teaching or coaching?

Do friends and family rave about your baked goods or your craft projects? Consider how you can create a side business where you can put your talents to work.

Here's to a new year and a new you!

Marguerita M. Cheng is the Chief Executive Officer at Blue Ocean Global Wealth. She is a CFP® professional, a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠, Retirement Income Certified Professional and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. She helps educate the public, policymakers and media about the benefits of competent, ethical financial planning.

About the Author

Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP®

CEO, Blue Ocean Global Wealth

Marguerita M. Cheng is the Chief Executive Officer at Blue Ocean Global Wealth. She is a CFP® professional, a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠, Retirement Income Certified Professional and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. She helps educate the public, policymakers and media about the benefits of competent, ethical financial planning.

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