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Mental Map for Living in Proactive Abundance

Mental Map-Proactive Abundance

Mental Map for Living in Proactive Abundance

Congratulations! You filed your taxes. But, for whatever reason, you are unhappy. Maybe you paid too much or didn’t get the refund you thought you deserved. Good news! Use this week to make a mental map for living in proactive abundance. You have almost a year to change your financial plans for 2017.

Embrace Your Story

Embrace your story; own your story. Be willing to accept that you might be partially responsible for your current state of affairs. Don’t judge yourself or wallow in self-pity. Pause and make the necessary adjustments to get where you want to be. Whether you want to have millions or invest thousands of dollars, own lots of property, want to save for a Jacuzzi, or stop bouncing checks, you need to acknowledge your goals. After you decide what is relevant for the next year or two, you must make the commitment to go for it.

There are Plenty of Fish in the Sea

When you have a mental map, it is wise to remember that many routes can lead to the same destination. As you confront challenges or obstacles when reaching for your goal, keep in mind that there are alternate means to achieve your result. The ability to remain flexible and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, benefits your long term vision of success. If your current environment is not generating what you need, it may be time to find a new solution, dream bigger, get a new job or look internally to see where you can make changes. Target that mental vision into a focused strategy and begin panning for gold!

Don’t Be Your Worst Enemy

Many people sabotage their best efforts and have no idea why they do that. Self-sabotage is a reactive emotional choice prompted by old habits. Defining your intentions results in defining the goal. With intentional effort, you now create a mental map for living in proactive abundance. If you look for good things in your life, it is safe to say; you will capitalize on each opportunity that pops up. Trust in yourself – be your best friend. Respect yourself, don’t talk down to yourself. When you honor who you are, you then create an internal dialogue that moves you forward. Taking positive steps on a daily basis will result in a series of “mini-successes” that lead to long-term satisfaction.

Mental Mapping Your Finances

Mental mapping your approach toward finances means rerouting the I-can’t-afford-it mentality. I like the word mapping because we are all on a path. No path leads the wrong way. Are you taking the scenic route to your financial destination? It might take you three times as long to get there, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a beautiful journey.

Creating a Mental Map for Living in Proactive Abundance

You can create a new mental map about money that will help you move toward your financial goals. Your current mental map might tell you that you can’t enjoy your present lifestyle without using credit cards. You don’t care what the interest rate is. In fact, you may have no clue what the interest is! You could be paying 20 or 30 percent on your credit card. If you curbed your expenses and made small budget changes each week — that credit card interest saved could buy you a new car or fund a trip to Italy. You may find you can have a better life when you stop using credit cards altogether.

 

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Intentional Words Create an Abundant Life

Intentional words create an abundant life!

Words are powerful

Listen to what you are saying to yourself and the world. Now, consciously use words to create a new paradigm. Think before you speak. If you want to change where your life is going, then it’s time to become aware of your internal priorities. It is feasible to live an abundant life regardless of your salary level.

People say, “I need a bigger TV,” or “I need to go to Hawaii.” But these are wants are not needs. They may want those things, yet they can live a full life without a bigger screen or vacation. People need oxygen; they don’t need the newest cell phone upgrade. By prioritizing need over want, many people find that they are more connected to what is valuable to them, and don’t want to waste time or money on the latest gadget advertised by the media.

Once you decide what is important, listen to your words, begin to give yourself more choices, and change your mental map. Your word is your magic wand and the words you speak create your destiny! If you constantly want more or feel overwhelmed by the “things” you have accumulated, you can redefine what “MORE” can be. You will want to expand your vocabulary and choose new words to use.

MORE isn’t always better

Adopt the mantra that MORE isn’t always better. More than enough food may make you heavier and less healthy. More than enough alcohol may consume your budget and your good judgment. More than enough clothes may cause you stress each day when you can’t decide what the “right look” is. And more than enough stuff takes over your life, clutters your house and mental state, and strains your budget when you have to pay to store all your extra stuff! Having less does not mean being poor or restricted. you can live an abundant life thru positive choices.

Create an abundant life where MORE is less

Here are some examples:
More time with friends, less time stressing about work or money.
More options to make life fulfilling, less fear of what others think.
Intentionally selecting actions to complete your life goals, build a more meaningful life and less blame, shame, and frustration.

Choose the Life You Wish to Lead

By choosing what positive choices and changes you want and then directing your energy on those, you spend less time fixating on the negative impulses, purchases, and decisions. Thus, you begin to live each day with the intention of creating an abundant and proactive life, personally and financially.

What words will you use?

Find powerful action words to support a sense of purpose like “I will”  “I can” “My next step is…” Give yourself permission to make conscious choices. Let go of old assumptions and give your life the value it deserves. Start by substituting the word “but” with the word “and.” It opens up your options! Try it, “I really want _____ and I can _____ to achieve that.” You only have one life ~ Live an abundant life and make the most of it!

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Finding Personal Success

Finding Personal Success

Finding Personal Success

Thirty years ago, success was defined as working at one company for a lifetime and being a loyal worker. Today, finding personal success can be found in many ways. Increase your personal viability by searching for opportunities that give you the power to grow. Build your success within an existing organization or seeking new ventures beyond a routine 9-5 job. Additionally, increasing  your skill level often results in an exciting job in an emerging field. Don’t sell yourself short.

As you review any negative inner dialogue, toss away outdated opinions or self defeating ideas that no longer work for you. This helps you redefine up your concept of success. Now it’s time to plan the next steps you need to fulfill your goals. Be positive in order to set yourself up as a winner.  Map out your strategic plan with small bite-sized goals that are fairly easy to achieve. The first thing to remember in your quest to find personal success is to be prepared – there will probably be bumps along the way, along with some frustrating moments. However, you can move past these challenges by being prepared, flexible and learning to maneuver more effectively.

Take a moment to assess your talents, time and budget.

If you are unsure, you can turn around feelings of insecurity:

• Evaluate your social circle
• Surround yourself with like-minded people who support you
• Budget truthfully to know your current financial position

An honest assessment regarding your current situation results in a more successful result.

Every past decision brought you exactly where you are today.

This is where you wanted to be! Every decision you have made led you to this place. Do you like where you are? Does it fulfill the “dream life” you envisioned? If this place in life shocks you, don’t despair, because today is the opportunity to make a change. As a matter of fact, now is the best time to formulate a fresh plan.

This is my favorite part of the equation because this is where you make some Money Magic appear. How do you make this happen? It is totally up to you. YOU control the numbers. YOU define how and where you want to spend your money. YOU set intentions and YOU take action. Therefore, don’t let the media, advertisers, family or friends tell you what YOU want. Take a stand and invest in YOU! I would like to point out that stating what is most important in your life results in a personal and financial roadmap that delivers a genuine outcome.

Reaffirm strategic goals

“I am passionate about ________ and my goal is to someday _________!”

As a result of stating what is meaningful, consistent actions every day result in completing many small goals. Finding your personal success is enhanced by achieving goals consistently. Winning begets winning, and this mental strength becomes a tool for you to build a meaningful, prosperous life – even when detours pop up along the way!

Charting Your Course

Now you are charting your own course with thoughtful intention. As you know, budgets ebb and flow, but continue to invest in your long-term plans. The benefit of planting seeds of intentional, conscious choice are evident when you finally purchase your first home or take that coveted “over the top” European vacation. Living an abundant life becomes a way of life, not just a one-time destination. In fact, now is the time to harvest the rewards!

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Tax Tips to Lower Your 2016 Tax Bill

Tax Tips to Lower Your 2016 Tax Bill

You still have time to cut your taxes — and make smart moves to lower next year’s as well. As a certified CPA myself, I am swimming through a pile of tax returns for my clients! I wanted you to have some good info on how to lower your 2016 tax bill, if you haven’t filed yet.  Here are some effective tips from SANDRA BLOCK, Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Most taxpayers approach the tax-filing deadline with a mixture of fear and loathing. But this year, there are reasons to be more sanguine. For one thing, because 2016 was an election year, Congress didn’t tinker much with the tax code. If your personal circumstances didn’t change last year, your tax bill probably won’t change much, either. And if you’re a do-it-yourself filer, you don’t have to get up to speed on a slew of new rules.

Because April 15 falls on a Saturday this year and April 17 is a holiday in Washington, D.C., you have until Tuesday, April 18, to file your federal tax return.

VIDEO: How to Prepare for Tax Season

Here are some ways you can still trim your 2016 tax bill, plus potential speed bumps.

Contribute to an IRA.

If you’re not enrolled in a 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan, you can deduct an IRA contribution of up to $5,500 ($6,500 if you’re 50 or older), no matter how high your income. You have until April 18 to make a 2016 contribution to your IRA.

Fund a health savings account.

You also have until April 18 to set up and fund a health savings account for 2016. To qualify, you must have had an HSA-eligible insurance policy at least since December 1.

Get credit for tuition payments.

The American Opportunity tax credit, worth up to $2,500 per eligible student for the first four years of college, is a valuable tax break for parents of college students.

Health care housekeeping.

President Trump has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but it was still in effect in 2016, so you’ll have to deal with it on your tax return. To avoid a “shared responsibility payment”—longhand for a penalty—you must prove that you had qualifying health insurance in 2016 or were eligible for an exemption.

Want to investigate these ideas  a little deeper? Additional details HERE

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Spring Cleaning Your Finances to Make Life Easier

The Money Nerve

There is something refreshing about the advent of spring; it’s officially time for reviewing and renewing! This week, we take a look at spring cleaning your finances.

Ask, “WHY,” before spring cleaning your finances

Why do you budget, save, spend, insure, invest and plan the way that you do? Are you happy with how your finances are working for you? Write down some clear and definitive ideas to sweep away old habits and create a more satisfying result.

Review your budget

Balance all your bank accounts and take a second look your past six months of credit card charges to see if all adds up correctly and that there are no billing errors.

What??? You don’t have a budget. Today is a good day to write down your income and your expenses. With that knowledge, you can now plan and direct your dollars into more focused streams!

Set a few primary, short-term goals

For example, you could set a goal for paying off the credit card with the lowest balance. Set yourself up to hit your new objectives. As you achieve success with your smaller financial projects, you gain confidence to complete larger intentions! And that is a win-win for you and your wallet!

Clear Out the Clutter

Take a serious look at everything you own. Give deep thought to want you want to be most important in your life. Set up actions steps to turn that visual intention into reality. Too much stuff? Distill it down. It’s easier to take care of less. And you keep what is most valuable to you. Too many accounts to manage? Pare down to three accounts, now you have more money at each institution and have created more “klout” for yourself. Utilize direct deposit and automate a small percentage to savings each week.

Streamlining your efforts help to clear your mind, and allow you to focus on creating a proactive life. You will find that spring cleaning your finances, and stating goals result in intentional living.

Find more #moneynerve tips – Enjoy this new vodcast: Funny Money Talks!

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Setting Your Financial Mindset, Five Ideas for Drastic Change

The Money nerve

Setting Your Financial Mindset

Money is a part of our lives, we all plan how to spend it, and we all plan to save it!

Today, we look at some fiscal challenges and offer tools for setting your financial mindset. Emotions and old habits can rule your decisions about money. Here are some challenges people have in managing their money and a few suggestions for shifting toward a new “money” mindset.

See if these issues sound familiar:

1. I Don’t Have Enough Money

2. I Will Never Get Ahead

3. I Don’t Plan; The World Will Bring Me Good Fortune

4. It’s Not My Fault; Nobody Taught Me

5. I Don’t Have Time to Budget

It is easy to drift on an endless journey when you have no plan, goal or destination. When you are ambiguous about the direction you want to go, cruising on autopilot will never result in the “real-life” successes you dream about.

Five ideas for making drastic change and setting your financial mindset:

Enough Money

Before you can determine whether or not you have enough money, you will need to know how much money you make. Many people will use their full salary to plan their expenses, but forget to consider taxes and social security deductions. Under-estimate the money coming in and over-estimate your spending.

Never Get Ahead

Focus on positive choices each month, and eliminate the resignation and depression that come from reacting to financial headaches. Choose how you want to delegate your dollars. Change the way you view money by thinking of money as a choice, not a dictator, in life. If you have $100, you have the power to delegate a third for saving, a third for eating lunch out 2 or 3 times and a third for bills.

The World Will Bring Me Good Fortune

Well, I am a firm believer in sending out positive vibes and seeing that energy coming back my way. However, I also know that when I have an action plan to support that attitude, I am more successful. It is no suprise that the people who plan their days and work the plan seem to luckier than everyone else! Set aside five minutes to write down the main focus for your day or your week, and set yourself up to your best advantage. No one can help you better than YOU CAN!

It’s Not My Fault

Take a good look in the mirror, you are the CEO of your life. Take a truthful look at your assets and your bad habits. Explore where you can make small changes that will move your life toward a more abundant mindset. Making intentional choices creates a feeling of independence and eliminates the need to blame others. Every choice you made in the last five years resulted in where you are today. If you are not happy with your life, snap out of the routine of non-decision-making. Begin making new choices that will give life to the dreams and goals you have.

Don’t Have Time to Budget

People are so busy, being busy, that they often mistake insignificant activity as being more valuable than a scheduled chunk of time for planning. It’s a bit of a paradox, but setting aside 30 minutes a month to review your finances and make a plan for the next month, can actually save you time and money. Just jotting down your monthly bills on an index card and slipping it your wallet, will help you stay on track. Dividing your spendable dollars into envelopes is another good idea for seeing where money flows.

We all have the opportunity to create the life we dream of, it takes a little faith, a plan and choices to make it happen. A goal is merely a dream with a deadline. Go for it!

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Convert a Lucky Break into Positive Change

Lucky break

A Lucky Break!

Imagine you landed a brand new job, won a $100,000, or just got the raise and promotion you have been wanting. You may tell others, “Whew, that was a lucky break!” The world often offers us a shot at a new opportunity, but we don’t always reach for the golden ring. An open mind can convert that moment of opportunity, that lucky break, into positive change.

Fear of Success

Some people are fearful when they succeed. They don’t believe in themselves. When good things happen in their life, they wait to see if others have discovered they are “fake.” People who feel they are not worthy think everyone else has life figured out. Any success they achieve is viewed as a fluke of nature, and will probably never happen again. By fearing the success they crave, any meaningful movement forward becomes an illusion. They are unable to flip a chance of a lifetime into a life of possibilities.

Living in the Past

Many of us still hear voices from the past. Maybe our parents said we failed or that we would never amount to anything. Tuning into old or negative thoughts keeps us captive by clouding our minds. If there is too much baggage rattling around in our brains, it becomes harder to hear the new possibilities. Let’s look at breaking that mindset.

Learn to Say YES!

As long as people deny new experiences, the door to opportunity will stay shut. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” When Lady Luck drops an unexpected gift in your lap, use the chance to create momentum and excitement for the future.

Learn to say yes by changing your mental perspective. If your answer to any question or request is always no, stop and think before you reply. Take a moment to think about the possible outcomes before committing to others. Give yourself the power to visualize different options.

Know Your Value

Examine your value. Explore how to capitalize on your lucky break and spread the abundance to build long term benefits. You got the new job, so now is the time to sign up for the company assisted 401K retirement plan and invest in you. Another important step, set up an automatic deposit to funnel 5% of your salary into a dedicated savings account.

Congratulations, you won $100,000! After you pay the taxes, maybe you invest 10% of the money, quit renting and purchase a new home. Now would a good time to begin a college fund for your children. All of these actions will “pay you back” in the long run.

Finally, you got the raise and the promotion you wanted. Celebrate, go out for dinner and drinks! Continue to live off your old salary. If you have credit card debt, use the overage to pay it off. Open a second savings account to save for travel and your next car – what a treat to pay for a big vacation or a new vehicle with cash!

Stepping Stones of Success

Luck comes to all of us in very small and huge chances. Are you prepared to take advantage of that? A chance to take on more responsibility at work can be your lucky break. Creating new protocols in your industry can boost your career. A side hustle fulfilling a childhood dream can propel a fabulous small business. Be open to the abundance that each of these moments has – you can convert a lucky break into positive change.

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Ease Your Money Nerve by Journaling

Ease Your Money Nerve

Ease Your Money Nerve by Journaling

Is your Money Nerve causing pain? Identify what causes your Money Nerve to flare up. Once you determine what financial choices cause you emotional stress, you can find new avenues for positive change.

One of the best ways to explore your thoughts and track your progress is to start a journal. Why? A journal gives you a good sense of where you are, review where you were a year ago, and assists you to investigate and plan goals for the future.

Breaking Down a Big Goal

Sometimes a big goal seems like one giant leap, but as you begin to tackle that goal, it is often made up of six, eight, or ten steps before you can complete it. Many small details are not always visible at first, creating a sense of being overwhelmed. Let’s make a comparison. Think of your current situation as a snapshot of “now.” We tend to make long-term judgments based on a quick glance at our life. It is easy to forget parts of the storyline, remembering only negatives or failing to see the full potential for our future.

You are so much more than your present situation! 

Begin Your Journal

To begin the journaling process, purchase something to write in, it doesn’t matter if it is a spiral notebook or an expensive leather-bound journal. Set aside a designated time to capture your thoughts. By investing a few moments of your time in the physical act of thinking and doing, you give yourself a powerful tool to initiate change. Journaling has been proven to create a more healthful lifestyle.

If your Money Nerve causes emotional stress because your finances are in disarray, don’t lose heart. Stop worrying that you will never attain anything better than the current snapshot. You are not limited to today’s state of your life. Explore your ambitions, dreams, luck, or love. Consequently, when you realize that you’re not comfortable with your life, you are ready to change.

Dream Big, Accept the Rewards

Use the journal to allow yourself to dream boldly! Start recording your thoughts. Write down challenges or roadblocks that have popped up. Document what successes (large or small) you achieve each week. Begin taking action steps, based on your journal notes. It is often easier to accomplish big visions with smaller, more manageable steps. As a result of more positive actions, the pain of your Money Nerve will begin to fade. Reward yourself for each small success. Acknowledging your small wins keeps you energized and focused on additional long-term goals.

Your journal becomes your roadmap for an abundant life!

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Unconscious Choices: Time To Stop

Unconscious Choices

Stop Making Unconscious Choices

Do you ever try to juggle payments on numerous credit cards to stay afloat? Is it an unconscious choice to constantly transfer money back and forth to pay bills?

Do you free up expenses on one credit card so you can charge more on another card? Do  you “need” a new pair of running shoes? Have you made a payment on a credit card, crossed your fingers, and hoped your paycheck would be deposited in time to cover the check?

If you have too many things going on financially, make time to stop. Take a deep breath. Your unconscious choices are wreaking havoc with your financial journey.  Become more aware of your actions and begin to focus on streamlining your life. You cannot keep all this mumbo-jumbo going on and ever expect to reach your dream destination!

Slow Down to Make Conscious Choices

Unconscious choices create an “auto-pilot mentality.” This happens when people fall back on old habits, and make choices without thinking.Determine where you are today, and where you want to go tomorrow. As a result, you can make better decisions moving forward. Set up a proactive plan and use conscious choices to reach fiscal goals.

One unusual tool to get out of this cycle is to freeze your credit cards. Once you have a place to live, enough money for food and access to transportation, most other “things” are “wants.” If most purchases are for entertainment, fine dining, clothes and extra things you could live without. Stop! Freeze Your Credit Cards!

Cool Down Your Emotional Impulses

Take all the credit cards you have maxed out, and put them in a container. Fill it with water and place in your freezer. Many people buy more impulsively when using credit cards, which results in purchasing tons of unnecessary items. Since your cards are in the “deep freeze,” you must thaw the cards out to use. As a result of waiting, the unconscious urge to splurge will pass.

Create A New Mental Map

 Maybe your current mental map tells you that life cannot be enjoyed without using credit cards. Do you even know what the interest rate is? If you don’t know, you could be paying 20 percent or more on your credit cards. Create a new mental map about money.  Shift your perspective to move toward your financial goals. As a benefit of curbing your expenses, money saved from interest charges could be a down payment on a new car or a romantic trip to Italy.
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Paying Off Student Debt

Paying Off Student Debt

According to the Wall Street Journal: Should repayment of student loans be a family affair? For those who answer “yes,” there are ways to give financial assistance, while still holding the young adult accountable. Listen to this informative podcast from WSJ. Dive into an in-depth discussion of student loans and best options for becoming debt-free.

Parents who want to help their children paying off student debt need to be sure they have taken care of their retirement plans first. To avoid reaching out to their adult children for money as they age, it is essential that parents take control of their personal finances. Don’t allow well-intended emotions to dictate personal financial security.

Some parents offer to pay the loan payments until their child’s salary exceeds the loan amount. Then both parties can create a plan to allow the student to finish paying off the remainder of their student debt. Some parents agree to match payments made by the student. It is often best to pay off private loans, with set terms. Let students deal with the government loans, which may have negotiable terms. Parents need to be aware of the gift tax when assisting a student unless they co-signed the loan. Any payments made by either party would not be affect taxes. Parents should all pay the bills directly rather than giving cash to the young adults.

Other Options

One popular method for paying off student debt is the “debt snowball” method. Pay off the smallest loan. As that loan is canceled out, apply the same payment to the next smallest loan. If you currently owe money and need help, this resource from nerdwallet.com (below) is very helpful.

If you have excellent credit: Student loan refinancing can save you money by lowering your % of interest. Earnest is one of several companies that refinance student loans. To make sure you are getting the lowest rate, get several estimates before choosing a lender.

To qualify for refinancing, you typically need a credit score at least in the mid-600s and enough income to afford all of your bills every month. Not sure what your score is? Find out with NerdWallet’s credit score tool.

***Important fact: If you owe money to the government, you will lose access to income-driven repayment and forgiveness if you refinance federal loans.

Budgeting Tools for Today’s Students

If you have a student beginning their journey into higher education, be sure to check out the online budgeting resource from the affordablecollegesonline.org. This company specializes in ranking the best online college offerings and assisting people to earn college credits while keeping costs down.