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BUDGET: What does this mean to you?

financial freedom with budgets
The Money Nerve Budget

BUDGET: What does this mean

to you?

Budget: an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time. Or “keeping within the household budget.” Many people cringe when they hear the word budget, and instantly assume it is a gloomy, painful process of giving up all the joy in their lives!

Since the word budget has such a bad rap, let’s make a change and call it “proactive money management” or a forecast. A forecast is a general vision of what’s to come; it allows us to make decisions for the next few days. We all know that the weatherman isn’t always exactly right, often changing the outlook as the clouds roll in faster or the sun bumps up the temperature.

When you forecast how you want to spend and save your money, you are pushing out your projection for the next week, month, 1-year plan and beyond. Just like a weather forecaster evaluates new information to share with viewers, you may have to adjust your financial timetable as “life” happens.

Be Honest and Accurate

To accurately predict the weather, you must set the destination. Knowing the temperature in Seattle has no meaning if you live in Miami. With your finances, you need to know where you are; how much you bring home and what your monthly expenses are. Creating an estimate of how you want to direct or point your extra money into different funnels establishes a roadmap for the plans or goals you set for the future.

If you are like 90% of Americans, you tend to inflate your salary and round down your bills. Try to flip that assessment around. By underestimating your take-home pay and then basing your monthly bills at the highest projected amount, you have now given yourself a cushion of cash reserves. That’s refreshing!

Inflow and Outflow

A budget doesn’t always mean cutting costs; it is merely a plan for how your money will flow into your life and then dispersed to others for the benefits you want. Most people apply their money to three main priorities: food, housing, and transportation. These are essential components for a higher quality of life, and once you have these taken care of, you can begin to set aside money for other important goals or dreams.

Write down every expense, good or bad. Don’t pretend that you always spend money wisely. We all have habits and plenty of opportunities to be wasteful with our dollars.

One of my colleagues Kelli, (aka the Freebie Finding Mom) has developed a handy budget sheet to track your cash easily. Take a moment to download this helpful resource HERE.

Finding Balance

If you discover there is not enough money for the three essentials of housing, food and transportation, then you must explore your options to find a reasonable balance. You could cut down on one of these components, (smaller apartment or using coupons for groceries) or you could ask for a raise, look for another job or add a second job on the weekends. Creating a forecast (or budget) of what bills need to be paid each month, along with one time expenses that come up each year –– gives you a good guesstimate of where your cash flows in and out. A lot of people arrange to get monthly insurance bills instead of one massive bill annually, and this makes it easier to stay on track and “In-Budget.”

Financial Freedom

Work your desires into your budget. Save for special events and big purchases. Once you have identified where your money comes in and how you want to spend it, you have the power to change your plans. You have opened a new door of opportunity with intentional, proactive choices. The benefits of forecasting your money flow include less financial stress, a new sense of understanding of what’s important and the freedom to choose how you spend your money!

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Six Best Financial Goals to be Financially Smart 

The Money Nerve blog
Guest-blogger Patricia Sanders

Six Best Financial Goals

to be Financially Smart

2018 has already arrived. Now is the time for you to set some serious financial goals and chalk out the strategies for achieving your success.

Didn’t get any time to make a list of new financial goals for the year 2018?

Don’t worry. We have compiled a list of six best financial goals to be financially smart – that will help you to improve your wallet and your life in 2018!

1. Pay off your debts

Decide how much debt you wish to get rid of in 2018. The best option is to get out of debt completely. But it may not be possible depending on your income and debt amount. So set an amount you can pay off in 2018 with strategic planning. Figure out how much extra you want to put towards your debt every month and then try to reach it. You can follow a debt repayment plan to speed up your repayments. Smart investments help to accelerate your savings. Likewise, unpaid debts eat up your savings. Late fees, compounding interests, fines, finance charges, penalties, etc. increase your outstanding balance, and you end up paying more in the long run. So, make it your goal to get rid of debt in 2018.

2. Review your investment plans

Investments should be made with particular goals in mind. They should help you attain your financial goals in 2018. Have a look at where your investments are now and evaluate your progress.

Here are a few tips to review your investment plans:
(i) Calculate your actual return to know if you’re on the right financial track. Once you get the number, compare it to your expected return. Find out if you have made any financial progress in the last few years.
(ii) Compare each individual holding to a benchmark. This comparison would help you discover portions of your portfolio that need adjustment. Monitor those parts of your portfolio every month.
(iii) Analyze your overall asset allocation to identify the areas where you need to make changes. For instance, sell those investments that are not meeting your expectations. If you don’t have proper information or tools to review your investment mix, then it’s best to consult a qualified and experienced CPA financial adviser. He can make an in-depth analysis of your portfolio and help you make the required changes.

3. Stick to your budget every month

Budgeting is vital for proper allocation of funds and resources. It helps you know the amount designated for each expenditure line. A budget also assists you to determine the maximum amount to be spent on a particular item. If your goal is to invest in the stock market in 2018, then budgeting can help you a lot. Your budget gives you a better idea of how much you can invest or save in a particular month. Remember, if you can stick to your budget, then you’re financial goals will be reached more effectively.

4. Invest more in your retirement plans

Do you have a 401(k) plan? If not, open an account today. How much are you contributing to your 401(k) plan every month? Is it enough? Are you getting the maximum employer match? If not, then find out if there is a “catch up” opportunity this year. Increase your IRA contribution if you haven’t reached the maximum limit for the current financial year. Take full advantage of the new year’s opportunity for building your nest-egg.

5. Choose the right 529 plan

The right 529 plan can help to accelerate college savings. Research and choose the right 529 plan in 2018 by the following factors:

(i) State tax benefits
(ii) Investment choice
(iii) Fees and costs
(iv) How much you have to invest initially

A good way to kick-start your college savings is to invest a set amount each year. Consider the daily expenses you need to take care of and select a plan that has a minimum investment.

6. Create a long-term financial plan

Where do you see yourself after five years? Do you see yourself
living with your children in a nice house? Do you see yourself leading a peaceful life? The answers to these questions help you create a long-term financial plan.

Outline your timetable:
● When you’re planning to buy a new apartment
● When you’re planning to switch job
● When you’re planning for retirement
● How you’re planning to build wealth
● What type of investments you’re interested in
● How you’re planning to invest your money
● When your kids will go to college

A long-term financial plan can help you make the right financial decision not only in 2018 but also in the next few years. Try implementing these six best financial goals into your life. Note: Don’t compare your long-term financial plan with others since it won’t be beneficial for you. Your long-term financial plan will be different from your best friend’s, especially if he is married and you’re single. I hope you understand my point.

Summing It Up

Remember, you have to work hard and make plans to achieve your financial goals. Believe in yourself, set a strategic course of action, and start making positive changes using these six best financial goals to get your money matters organized. Best of luck! Patricia

About our Guest Blogger: Patricia Sanders is a financial writer and a blogger as well. She has been associated with DebtConsolidationCare for a long time. She writes regularly for wiki.debtcc.com on a variety of topics and also contributes valuable posts to different financial communities, blogs, and websites. Connect with Patricia on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Money Nerve College Scholarship Opportunity

The Money Nerve College Scholarship Opportunity

Money Nerve College Scholarship

Bob Wheeler, Author of The Money Nerve: Navigating the Emotions of Money, and founder of RWW CPA, is proud to offer a $500 Money Nerve College Scholarship opportunity to students majoring in Accounting. I am a proud alumni of Rhodes College, located in Memphis, TN. Although I cobbled together a variety of financial scholarships and financial aid, I loved my education experience, and have a successful career today, despite being very aware of money!

One of the core values of The Money Nerve and RWW CPA is that financial education and good money habits start at home. This Money Nerve College Scholarship opportunity is for students who are majoring in Accounting. Some of you may wish to serve your community in the future as a CPA.

Submissions will be accepted starting January 30th of each year with a winner announced August 1st.

The Money Nerve Scholarship

Being smart is no guarantee that you’ll reach your financial goals in life. In fact, many people with graduate degrees feel like they never received the financial education they needed. as a result, lots of people struggle with their money, often living “month-to-month,” because they weren’t taught to manage their money.

Good financial habits start at home, and I want to reward you and promote your family for making money management a priority. Your essay can assist you to pay for college classes or help with your expenses. As a result of your essay, you will teach Money Nerve readers and followers smarter ways to budget, invest, save and make money. I am happy to offer this Money Nerve college scholarship, and want to help with of the cost of completing college.

Check out the articles on The Money Nerve blog. Share your own financial story. My financial habits are influenced by my family, my emotional reactions to money decisions, and more than 25-years of listening to clients. As a matter of fact, many of my clients share common challenges with their money, no matter what their income is!

My passion for assisting others focuses on three concepts. First: exploring “why” people make the same financial decisions repeatedly. Second: examining “where” positive change can be made. Third: learning to set intentions – creating a “healthy relationship” with money.

This fresh perspective generates a life of proactive abundance. And anyone striving to be a CPA soon learns that the job is more than just numbers. It takes a mixture of savvy financial knowledge paired with compassion to provide assistance for people to manage their finances more efficiently.

How to Apply for The Money Nerve College Scholarship

Applicants must submit an essay (minimum 500 words- no more than 1,000 words). Share what your parents/family taught you about personal finance, and how that benefitted your life. Topics can include: budgeting, paying bills, balancing your bank statement, how to start investing, saving for big goals, making money or other financial skills that you learned. These practical tips will also help you to be a successful CPA.

• Essays must be original and not submitted to other websites.
• Applicants must be either currently enrolled in or actively applying to an undergraduate business program with a declared major in Accounting. Students at both community colleges and four-year institutions are encouraged to apply. One application per student.
• Essays can be submitted beginning January 29, 2018, and must be in my inbox by May 1st, 2018. (Word document format-not PDF)
• Mail applications to bob@themoneynerve.com, and include name, address and phone number. Please be sure to place “Scholarship” in the email subject line.
• Each applicant must state the school the student is attending or registered for, and current college level, (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student).

The Money Nerve College Scholarship Winner

Essays to be featured February – June 2018, on The Money Nerve blog. This is a great way highlight and teach financial education to young adults. The Money Nerve College scholarship winner will be selected on Friday, July 20th, and posted on Wednesday, August 1st. Winning is determined by which submitted essay receives the most social media “buzz” – generating the most social media shares.

Best of luck and I look forward to hearing what money lessons and tips have made a difference in your life!

~Bob Wheeler

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Identify Your Priorities

Identify Your Priorities
Identify Your Priorities

Identify Your Priorities

Priorities are not just limited to material things. A priority could be that you want to spend more time with your kids. You may wish to volunteer for those less fortunate than you. Or you may want to take classes to boost your skills. Now is the time to identify your priorities. It does not always have to be something that involves money—it’s about finding the right value for you.

Making Conscious Choices

When I first started working, money was tight. As a result, I had to be creative with my budget. I decided I needed some help and hired a maid. While that circumstance sounds like a contradiction, it was more important to me to have fresh sheets every week and a clean house than to spend my money on expensive groceries. Consequently, I made a conscious choice to eat lots of rice and soup, and honestly, I felt like a pampered king coming home to my spotless house and pressed linens!

Setting a Clear Picture

At my office, I once knew someone who worked for UPS. He was a smart guy, and I often wondered whether his job was fulfilling enough for him. One day, this deliveryman announced he was retiring! I was quite surprised as he looked too young; only about thirty-five years old. Why would he want to retire?

He started to work at UPS when he was eighteen, then worked for twenty years to earn a good pension. He had a couple of kids at a young age and set a priority to spend his time with his kids each afternoon. This UPS deliveryman chose to leave for work at four o’clock a.m. so he could return home around three p.m. – when the children got home from school. Being there for his family was a direct result of having a clear picture of his priorities.

Direct Your Choices Intentionally

My wants and needs are different than yours. Some of us have a strong desire to save for the future. Others want to live in the moment. Everyone has varying degrees of emotional tolerance toward our current financial situation. If your money nerve is pinched, one of the best vehicles for change is defining what is most important to you. Set three top priorities in your life to point YOU toward your strategic goals. By knowing your direction, it is easier to create a daily action plan to achieve your goals.

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2018 It’s The New Year Again!

The Money Nerve
A New Year Again

It’s the new year again!

It’s a new year again! And, that’s a good thing. You have the opportunity to make a fresh start and make adjustments to create a better life.

January Resolutions

This January, the media will be overflowing with a barrage of top ten lists, resolutions and blogs to show you how to be wealthier, healthier and “be perfect” … and it’s only $19.99, (with a set of knives!) Resist the temptation to overthink your goals.

You can’t do everything – all at the same time. You may not check off all the boxes this year, but you can make a difference!

Decide What is Most Important to You

Whoa! Slow down and decide what is most important to you. Not what the TV pundits, the radio talk-show hosts or the Internet marketing pros tell you, but what YOU genuinely want to see in your life. Make it the best new year ever! You alone can take steps to change. New actions that will bring about new and fresh results. Once you determine personal goals, don’t be swayed by others. Don’t compare yourself or get dragged down because it appears that everyone is doing better than you. President Theodore Roosevelt stated, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Choose Your Reality

Commit to choose your reality with thoughtful intentions and proactive activities. Begin by creating a space of goodwill and generosity toward yourself. No blame – Just realize that shifting some of your priorities will take a different energy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a positive cash flow? Start looking for the destination you’d like to reach via your mental map.

It’s a New Year, Know Where You Are

The first step before beginning a journey is to know where you are. Take a notebook and jot down your schedule for the day or the whole week. Find time to set aside 15-30 minutes each day for personal time. Use this time to think, plan, and dream of where you want to be in 1 year, five years and even a decade from now. Once you know where you want to be as well as where you are beginning from, you can explore and build an action plan to get you there.

Support Your Intentions with Action

With an action plan, you can set intentions to hit your goal. As we all know, life has many bumps in the road, and things beyond our control can often cause detours or bring us to a complete stop. By having a plan for the new year, you can reroute and make changes to continue toward what’s meaningful with your life. Therefore your life doesn’t fall apart, and you create flexibility to expand your options. You are on the road to Proactive Abundance! Congrats.

If you would like for me to come speak and inspire others at your club, church or community outreach center, click HERE