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Facing Financial Fears

The Money Nerve

83% of Americans have at least one financial fear that keeps them up at night. And not surprising, almost a third worry about retirement and healthcare costs. Most people would rather ignore their nagging concerns and continue suffering in a familiar pattern rather than facing their fear and making a change.

Where are you really?

You can’t get to your ultimate destination if you don’t know your starting point.

The first key to alleviating your fear is to be honest. The more accurate the assessment, the more secure you will be in your position. You might be frustrated, but you will be aware of your financial truth and knowing where the breakdown occurs allows you to fix some of those issues.

Turn your insecurity around:

• Evaluate your social circle.
• Surround yourself with supportive friends.
• Budget truthfully so you know your financial position.

Review your income and expenses, explore where you spend your time and track down hidden costs. When you do these things, it is crucial to be honest with yourself. What do you actually earn? What do you really spend? What do you pretend is not relevant to your budget?

Most people “round up” on their income and “round down” on their expenses. If you want to get ahead and be financially successful, always lower your income estimates and raise your expense estimates. This trick will help give you a cushion for the realities of your inflows and outflows of cash.

The best way to face your financial fears is to create a budget. Having guidelines can bring comfort and structure to your plan. Start small & build your financial muscle over time. Do you have a savings account? Try to put a small percentage or dollar amount with each paycheck. If you get a raise, continue to live on the former salary & put the increase in the bank. That is a painless and highly effective more to build your wealth.

Check some of the tools we have placed HERE to help you jumpstart smart financial choices.

Don’t be scared ~ Be proactive!

Bob

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Focus on Your Future

the money nerve

Have you ever heard Aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and the ant?

The grasshopper loved hopping about and singing during the warm summer. One day he saw an ant working hard to move an ear of corn and cried out, “Why in the world are you collecting food on this bright and beautiful day? Stay and play with me!” The ant shook his head and said, “I am saving this for the cold winter, and you should do the same.” The grasshopper laughed and went off to play but perished during cold weather. The moral of the story: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

The story seems harsh, and many people wish for a fairy tale ending where others solve all of our financial dreams (i.e., winning the lottery, getting an inheritance, marrying a rich spouse). In 1934, Disney created the delightful film short “The Grasshopper and the Ants” where the Ant Queen and her colony felt pity for the grasshopper and took him in during the winter. Have you ever seen the video? Check it out below.

Sometimes a project or goal seems so far away that it is easy to procrastinate. There is so much time left and we get bogged down in our busy-ness, that daily decisions feel more urgent and important than long-term investments in life.

Reality check: It’s your life; it’s your money! How are your plans for retirement going? Do you have savings for a rainy day? Life happens – when you least expect it.

Saving and spending are part of living a life of abundance. Let’s change the words being used from short-term desires like “I need those shoes” to some long-term goals such as, “I am making better choices with my money, to maintain my lifestyle when I get older.” As you discover the best balance between living for today like the grasshopper and stashing some wealth like the ant, you will come to realize that both are investments in yourself.

Ignoring regular maintenance on your car because you don’t want to spend the money can result in major car expenses down the line. In the same way, poor spending or saving habits may also result in a later retirement and fewer choices down the road. What should you do?

Here are three easy ways to get started:
1. Take the quarterly plan you created last week and imagine retirement is a “big purchase” like a house.
2. Determine the price of this long-term goal (the amount of money needed) with this calculator.
3. Tweak your quarterly plan (budget) to begin investing toward your targeted “quality of life” in your later years. You will be glad you decided to invest in yourself!

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CREATING A BLUEPRINT FOR LIFE

3x3 Blueprint for SuccessA builder doesn’t just go out and build a 10-story building. First the owner and the architect ask questions to define the finished structure: How tall will the building be? What will it be made of? How much will it cost? How many people will be needed and what resources will it take to build?

Let’s take that same approach with your financial plans.

If you are unhappy about your debt, make a plan to pay it down while curbing your current spending habits.

 

Begin by asking questions.

What is working for me?
Where am I having challenges?
How can I overcome my fears and move into a new direction?
What is my goal?
What would be my first step?

Facing your finances is the first step. There is no physical harm in facing your financial reality. No one has ever been stabbed by a bank account! You may feel a pang in your stomach – and you are still fine. Acknowledging your financial situation may feel painful emotionally and taking steps to confront your current situation is a good start.

The second step is finding a friend or financial coach to support you. Discuss best practices and prepare an outline for the next three months. A series of small steps or goals will lead the way to a more successful long-term goal. Often the mere presence of a plan can alleviate emotional turmoil.

It is your money and your life, so the third step is to implement the plan for the next 90 days.

Re-evaluate your finances to determine where you can update or tweak your quarterly plan. Be realistic and honest. Did you round up your income and round down your expenses? Did you forget to account for eating out? Sift through any unknowns that popped up and add that information to your next 3-month outline for a better outcome.

By implementing conscious choices and thoughtful actions, you are building a blueprint for your life. Setting short-term plans builds the foundation for long-term success, with a lifestyle you envisioned and crafted.

Begin today!

Bob

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BENEFITS OF JOURNALING

JournalingThe process of journaling is not a new concept; in fact scholars have found evidence of people writing down their thoughts in 10th century Japan. You may define a journal as a listing of activities or maybe jotting down your secret dreams and desires in a diary.

Or you may find sketches and free form phrases work better than writing your “life story” each day. There is no right or wrong way to journal. By experimenting, you can discover the best avenue for expressing your inner thoughts.

I like to define daily entries in a journal as a mental mapping exercise.

By knowing where I am, I can easily target where I want to go. Visualizing is a major component in moving forward. Each day, I like to create a mental space to formulate my schedule for the next day and then spend some quiet time to listen to my thoughts. Thirty minutes would be ideal, but if you are just beginning, find 5 minutes just for you – in your busy, hectic life. It will make a difference.

Don’t overthink this process. You may just write down one thought or vent about one bad experience in your life. Some people keep a notepad handy to write in as during a coffee break. Or you may prefer to recap the day right before going to bed. If you love your mobile device, there are apps for journaling!

When you first begin to carve out small moments of quiet time, echoes of what others say about you may distract you. Or you may dwell on preconceived notions handed down by parents, friends or colleagues. Push those jaded voices aside and pay attention to your thoughts, your dreams, your values and your goals. This focused contemplation will allow you to visualize a new dialogue with yourself, new possibilities and a fresh approach to old patterns.

Journaling or “mental mapping” gives you the power to visualize change and become the image you see in your mind. Flipping dreams into reality comes from a deep and secure awareness of who you are and, how you feel about life. That knowledge allows you to make choices based on clear and conscious intentions.

When you write down your feelings, you take them out of your heart and place them on paper. Once the words are in black and white, you can process and understand your feelings from a less biased perspective. Many people find balance in their lives by writing or sketching daily.

Hopefully, you will find (as many others have discovered) that spending a few minutes a day with yourself and documenting your thoughts can have a profound impact for good!

Have an intentional week!

Bob