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Intentional Gratitude Will Change Your Life

Intentional Gratitude

Intentional Gratitude Will

Change Your Life

Look for Opportunities to be Thankful

Intentional gratitude is searching and acknowledging a positive person, life experience or kind gesture each day. Do you look for opportunities to be thankful? Or do you rush through life unaware, pressured and unhappy? The action of being grateful, expressing your thanks can be a powerful tool for living a meaningful life. Studies show that we deliberately pursue an appreciation for the goodness in our lives, the result is an increase in our well-being and happiness. That my friend – is called intentional gratitude.

Science Supports the Happiness Factor

Scientific studies demonstrate that fear and negativity increase cortisol. This “fight or flight” hormone narrows your perspective because you perceive danger in your life. Developing a positive mindset increases the mood neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine), in your body.

Instead of dwelling on the lack of “things or other people’s successes,” focus on the goodness of your life, and you physically retrain your brain to look for abundance! Be aware. Open your mind to the possibilities in front of you. A positive mindset also encourages people to “broaden and build” life skills. Begin to actively seek new opportunities and utilize your small successes to achieve a more abundant and meaningful life.

Intentional gratitude can set the tone for the rest of the day. Some people like to begin their day with meditation or by murmuring words of gratefulness. Your thoughts direct your efforts, and a positive mental attitude often results in more beneficial outcomes for people at work or home, as the day unfolds.

Setting Intentions

You may prefer to reflect the best moments of your day in the evening. Write down your thoughts. Being thankful for all the people in our daily life helps us to set intentions in the future. Learn to flip frustrations or challenges to create new opportunities for choosing what matters in the long run.

Maintain Your Positive Vibes

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, many people focus on gift-giving, thankfulness, and an abundant life during this time. Try to keep that sense of choosing happiness and caring when the fine china is put up and the days grow long during the winter. Maintain an attitude of gratitude throughout the year, and you can relieve stress while generating a more optimistic view. Like a small pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples of goodwill you send out to others have a significant impact on many people, some of whom you may never meet!

Try it!

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Training Your Financial Garden to Bloom

The Money Nerve
Investing in a Bull Market

Training Your Financial Garden to Bloom

We often speak about putting your dollars to work or controlling your money to avoid bad fiscal habits controlling your actions or pinching your Money Nerve, but today I would like to discuss training your financial garden to bloom. When you plant a garden, you want to nourish the seeds, water the plants, pull out the weeds and give it some of your attention every day. Let’s apply that same concept to your garden of dollars to enrich what you have by growing your finances with a definite plan, proactive actions, and being mindful about money every day.

 

Bull Market Jitters

With the stock market at an all-time high, during this nine-year run of the Bull Market, many people are now wondering and worrying about the best time to harvest their returns. Do you cash out of the stock market now and funnel the cash into tangible assets like real estate or gold (up 2% in the last two weeks)? Or do you ride the Wall Street Wave for as long as you can and hope your losses will be offset by the past five years of high returns. Don’t let emotions rule your decisions. We all know that day of reckoning is coming, but we just don’t know when it will happen. Continue to grow and train your financial garden, keeping up with the positive trends and weeding out the bad investments.

Rebalancing Stocks

Rebalancing is essential any time you invest but even more so when the market is peaking. You should be reviewing your assets on a regular basis and tweaking as the need to reduce risk or increase it changes over time. The habit of rebalancing also helps to keep any emotional, knee-jerk reactions to the market’s volatility under control. Be sure to ask yourself what comparative advantages/products/services made you buy a stock in the first place, and decide if that same mindset holds true today. Additionally, having 30-40% of your assets in cash can help insulate your portfolio from stock price declines. Although you won’t generate the higher returns, you have given yourself liquidity and a degree of safety.

Five Investment Strategies for a Bull Market 

(Via USA Today, photo credit: Getty Images)

1. Reassess your investment thesis for each holding

Dividend stocks come with some key advantages.  The main reason many people like dividend stocks is that dividends paid are a beacon for income-seeking investors looking for time-tested business models. In other words, a company isn’t going to pay a regular dividend if its management team doesn’t expect profits to continue.

2. Add dividend stocks to hedge against inevitable stock market corrections

In an environment where the Fed is walking on eggshells and only incrementally increasing rates, growth stocks should continue to have access to relatively cheap capital that they can use to expand and hire.

3. Consider focusing on growth stocks in a low-interest environment

Buying into high-quality stocks on a regular basis helps to remove emotions from the equation, and it eliminates trying to “time the market.”

4. Regularly buy into stocks to lower your cost basis

Another great idea, now that the stock market at an all-time high, is to buy into new and existing stocks on a regular basis. Whether that’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, buy into companies that you believe in regardless of where the three major U.S. indexes are valued.

5. Trust the process (and the data)

Last, but not least, trust the process and the long-term data. As noted, the stock market has returned an average of 7% annually, inclusive of dividend reinvestment. This percentage would work out to a doubling an average of once a decade.

Spending time thinking and planning to train your financial garden to grow in a bull market will reap benefits when market corrects itself.

 

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It’s Your Dream, Ask For It

Intentional Life with The Money Nerve

IT’S YOUR DREAM, ASK FOR IT

Adding a Deadline to a Dream Creates Goals

Remember as you dream that it’s your life and your goals. Dreams have the power to become goals, and effectively change a vision into reality. Remember your vision is not your mother’s list, society’s list or your child’s list. If buying something for others or driving an expensive car is at the top of your list, try to examine why. Are you making choices based on guilt or insecurity? Or is this goal motivated byaa deeply ingrained dream that you want to accomplish? If you’re not sure, ask yourself if this choice is a result of your emotionally reactive Money Nerve and explore your intentions.

Prioritizing Your Needs

Think of what’s most important to you. What do you want and why do you want it? Once you move away from the negative emotions that pinch your Money Nerve and head toward a more giving and empowering motivation, you may find that money will become a means to an end. I am not sure whether I have ever been passionate about crunching numbers; however, I am passionate about helping other people. I assist people to manage their money effectively by being the best accountant I can be, which is also financially rewarding.

Follow Your Heart

Pursuing your passion and following your dream often results in financial rewards, especially when you set thoughtful goals. When people can achieve financial stability, I love to celebrate their success. Are you ready to celebrate your success?

ASK FOR IT

You should ask for the things you want every day. Asking for help puts you in a state of mind that helps you recognize you are not alone and there is something greater than you at work. It also lets others know what is important to you. Putting yourself in that mental state allows you to be humble enough to become aware of a larger reality, and to accept help with an open heart.

Creating Small Daily Habits

Whether you get to that state by praying daily or by being inspired by Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich, you unleash the power of your mind. One habit – opening yourself up to reflection or meditation, allows you to create quiet space every day. This practice results in a better alignment of your thoughts and your actions

Positive Energy

You never know how you’re affecting people with the choices you make. Money is no different. You may not be able to control when or how your money decisions are perceived, used or squandered or even paid back, but you can control what you do! Somewhere in the universe, there is a karmic piggy bank with your name on it.

MAKE A PLAN

Now that you know more about yourself and can identify your Money Nerve, it’s time to create clear monetary objectives.  For more positive results when planning a lifestyle change, be sure to include short-term, mid-range, and long-term financial goals. Success with smaller steps or achieving a short-range goal will boost your confidence and make the bigger steps easier to accomplish. Keep your dreams in mind as you move forward with purpose.

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Facing Your Financial Fears

The Money Nerve
Facing Your Financial Fears

Facing Your Financial Fears

We all have money habits ingrained in our lives, yet many of us are afraid of facing financial fears. Financial fear is often caused by emotional response that we unconsciously carry with us, and facing your financial fear is the first step to eliminating stress and worry.

There are dozens of emotions that surface when it comes to money. When I was thinking back on the emotions I have dealt with in client meetings over the years, I came up with an extensive list. But one emotion seems to crop up more often than others. It’s exhaustion. Looking at the root cause of our financial actions can be exhausting. Being broke can be exhausting. Budgeting can be exhausting.

Exhaustion

Many people have a message in their mind stuck on replay, and it says, “I don’t want to look at my financial reality. I just don’t want to look at how messed up I actually am.” It seems less exhausting to live in a make-believe world! The problem with that assumption is that it’s a fantasy. As soon as you get an overdraft fee – BAM! Welcome to the real world. Dealing with reality out of fear makes you may feel even more de- energized and defeated.

Turn your exhaustion around:

• Analyze your true situation. Don’t spend money before you receive it.
• Have a contingency plan
• Create a strategy to move in a new direction.
• Investigate smarter personal finance tips and tools

Determine where your “MONEY NERVE” is by facing Your Financial Fears

1. Write down a recent, uncomfortable Money Nerve moment and analyze how you might have mitigated the emotions behind it and improved the situation.
2. Start a journal to track your money habits and emotions
3. Make a list of people in your inner circle of family and friends with whom you could discuss finances.
4. Make a list of professionals who could provide financial advice, maybe a CPA or a financial advisor.
5. Pick the three strongest emotions that trigger your Money Nerve. Mentally trace them back to what you believe to be the root cause. For example, “My father got angry whenever we wanted to eat out.”
A.
B.
C.
6. Write down a recent, uncomfortable Money Nerve moment and analyze how you might have mitigated the emotions behind it and improved the situation.
7. Review your journal entries to identify other emotions that trigger your Money Nerve.

Becoming more aware of the emotions that trigger your Money Nerve will create new options for making positive change in your life!

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Low and No Payment Mortgages

mortgages

Low and No Down Payment Mortgages

Low and No Down Payment Mortgages

~ written by Clever Dude

Hi Money Nerve readers! Thought this “Clever Dude” article about mortgages was very informative. Check out the details.

Many years ago, mortgages required a good credit score and a large down payment of at least 20%. That’s no longer the case since the Federal Government created several home loan programs making it easier for borrowers to attain a mortgage loan.

Here are some loan programs that allow for a low, or no down payment.

FHA Loans
The Federal Housing Administration was introduced to help encourage home ownership in the U.S.You may qualify for an FHA loan with just a 580 credit score and a low down payment of just 3.5%. That’s a much lower down payment than conventional loans which require between 10% – 20% down.

One of the great things about FHA loans is that the down payment can be a gift from a friend or family member. Up to 100% of the down payment amount can be gifted to the borrower allowing for 100% financing to those who are receiving a gifted down payment.

The FHA also allows for higher debt-to-income ratios than other types of home loans. In some cases, lenders can allow for DTI ratios up to 50%. With this calculator, you can figure out how much house you can afford factoring in PMI and property taxes.

Pros and Cons of FHA Loans

Pros

Low down payment
Low 580 credit requirement
Lower interest rates
Higher debt-to-income ratios allowed
Up to 6% of closing cost can be paid by the seller
Non-occupying co-borrowers allowed
Many FHA approved lenders nationwide
Higher allowed debt-to-income ratios

Cons

Low loan limits
Fixer-upper homes can’t be financed
Mortgage insurance premium required
High MIP costs, up to 1% of loan amount
Up-front MIP required

VA Loans
If you’re a Veteran you may qualify for a VA mortgage. VA loans are the cheapest type of mortgage loan available. They require no down payment and no mortgage insurance is required. In order to qualify, you must be an active, or retired Veteran or a Veteran spouse.

Like FHA loans, VA loans come with lower mortgage rates than most conventional loans do. They do require a higher credit score than FHA, most lenders require a minimum 620 credit score to receive 100% financing.

USDA Loans
The U.S. Department of Agriculture created the USDA rural housing program to help loan to median-income borrowers become homeowners in rural parts of the country. USDA loans do not require a down payment.

Because they are 100 % financing lenders have higher credit score requirements. Typically you will need a minimum 640 FICO score to qualify for a USDA mortgage. When you think of the term “rural” you generally think of farms and ranches. However, about 97% of the country is in an eligible USDA location. Most areas that are 30 miles outside of major cities are USDA eligible.

Conventional 97 Loans
Fannie Mae is one of the largest buyers of mortgage in the U.S. Fannie Mae has started the 97% LTV conventional mortgage loan which requires just a 3% down payment. That’s even lower than FHA. To qualify for this loan program you must have at least a 620 credit score.

Some of the benefits of conventional loans are the higher loan limits than Government backed mortgages. In low-cost areas of the country, the loan limit is $424,100 which is over $150,000 higher than the FHA limits. Like FHA loans, conventional 97 loans also allow 100% of the down payment to come from gift funds.

The Bottom Line…
There are many mortgage programs besides just FHA that offer low or no down payment loans. USDA and VA are the only two mortgages that offer 100% financing. If you’re not eligible for either you may qualify for FHA or a conventional 97 loan with low down payment requires, much lower than traditional financing.

Knowing your options is an important part of the process especially before speaking to a loan officer. Not all lenders offer all types of loans, knowing the different types of loan programs can help you save a bundle on your home.

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Powerful Change: Fake It Until You Become It!

Mind Over Matter

Powerful Change: Fake It Until You Become It!

Do you always accept circumstances as they appear to be?  When you resign yourself and take everything at face value, you leave many doors with better or different options shut. By opening your mind, investigating new ideas, finding new ways to tackle a challenge and visualizing a different perspective, you can make intentional changes. You can fake it until you become it!

Here are some thoughtful solutions for beginning a new journey of personal assessment and growth. Baby steps can create massive change.

Begin exploring personal and financial growth

· What are your strengths?
· Is your internal view of yourself realistic?
· Do your values align with your goals?
· Are there mental/ emotional barriers that need overcoming to be successful?
· What do you need to take the next step?

Examine your story and ask questions. Does this story (well worn and comfortable) still fit your life? If not, how do you take stock of the past and re-frame that internal vision of yourself?

Reflect on these questions below to determine where you are:

Who are you?
What are your values?
What are you passions?
What is your purpose?

Have you ever browsed through old photos and marveled how people and places have changed so dramatically? Notice the changes in you over time. Begin to investigate ways to realign your passion and purpose to reach your goals. Life is about change;  knowing who and where you are in life will assist you to move in a new direction.

You have the power to change

If you allow other people’s stories to define who you are, it is time to take responsibility for who you are. Embrace who you are, own your choices and begin to make proactive decisions and adjustments to reach your goals.

We all have different wants and needs. Some people have a strong desire to invest in their future. Others want to live exuberantly at the moment. We all have unique emotional reactions regarding our present situation. When we feel pain or guilt, are scared and ashamed of our actions, it is a sign to do somethingdifferent. Use this pent-up power to make a mental change; drawing from this mindset results in astounding physical changes.

Fake it until you become it!

I want to share this video of Amy Cuddy speaking about powerful change, on both an emotional and physical level. If you have ever felt inadequate or that you are a “fake” – and it’s just a matter of time before “everyone” finds out, watch this clip! It is life changing! In addition to focusing on a new shift in perspective, Amy shares scientific evidence that simple changes in your body language can effect other people’s opinions about you and enhance your success! It certainly affected me, and I hope you will also find it valuable.

Video: Don’t Fake it ‘till you make it; Fake it until You Become it!

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Teaching Yourself to Say NO to Debt

Today’s Guest Blogger is Matthew Woodley, creditexpertrepair.com.

Be sure to implement some of his insightful tips for dropping debt!

Teaching Yourself to Say No to Debt

If you are struggling with debt then you have to make a commitment to change the way you spend your money. There are many places you can turn for help, such as financial advisors, and there are many ways to help turn your finances around with programs involving debt management, refinancing, or even debt consolidation. Tapping into professional assistance and teaching yourself to say no to debt can pave a new path to financial freedom.

With that said, no matter what options you choose you need to commit to saying no to any more debt. No matter how tempting it may be to spend, if you want to get out debt you have to stop adding to it.

It is true that it can be hard not to take on new debt, especially if you are used to using your credit cards and are living pay-check to pay-check. To get started here are a few suggestions for teaching yourself to say NO to debt and changing your habits.

Avoid New Loans

When you are having trouble paying bills, it can be very tempting to seek out a new loan in order to cushion yourself and have a sense of security. However, you are much better off reducing your expenses in other ways and creating a monthly budget. This can show you how easy it can be to save money and allow you to learn how to live within your means.

Begin teaching yourself to say no to debt by using cash for all of your expenses. You will begin to realize just how much of a crutch your credit card and loans have been. If you have a lot of debt and cannot afford to buy something in full using cash, then you should not be allowing yourself to buy it.

Breaking Bad Habits

It is very important to allow yourself to put paying off debt before anything else. By avoiding loans and only spending the money that you have in your account you will be able to break away from your spending habits and stand up to your finances.

Another great way to learn new habits is to start paying yourself before you turn to other expenses. You can do this by setting up a deposit into your savings account on the first of the month. When you start to see this money disappearing each month you will begin to treat it like any other payment, and even forget that you are actually saving money. This is one of the best habits to get into and is a great way to save for an emergency or start to build up a nest egg.

Even if you set up a withdrawal that puts $50 a month into your savings – you will have at least $600 in an emergency fund at the end of the year. While that may not seem worth it right now, it can be the difference between bankruptcy and making it through any difficult times. Something as simple as avoiding buying a cup of coffee each day can allow you to pay yourself first, and is more than worth it in the long run.

Reducing Toxic Debt

Aside from putting away a bit of money, you should always do your best to target toxic debt with any extra money you have from your budget. Toxic debt refers to the high interest payments that you have in terms of credit card balances or pay advance loans. You should always being focusing on paying off this kind of debt first before upping your payments on things such as student loans or car payments. Tackle the worst debts first and then you will be in better shape to slowly pay off other debt such as your mortgage.

The fact is that most of us have more money than we think we do, we are just guilty of impulse buys and not having our priorities straight. By teaching yourself to spend in cash, avoid loans, pay yourself first, and attacking toxic debt, you can form all new habits and in many instances find out just how much extra cash you will eventually have lying around at the end of each month.

Be smart, stick to your guns, and that dream retirement or debt-free future could be closer than you think.

Matthew Woodley is the founder of CreditRepairExpert.org which provides users with free and unbiased information on how to repair and improve their credit score. Make sure to follow him on Twitter for the latest on credit repair and debt management.

For more info, please visit CreditRepairExpert.org

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Radical Abundance Workshops

Radical Abundance Workshops are happening this September in Montreal and Toronto!

Radical Abundance Workshops in Montreal and Toronto
Find Radical Abundance with The Money Nerve

Join us in Montreal September 15-17, and in Toronto September 22-24!

Do you have limiting money beliefs? Are you ready for a path to create financial freedom? Want to heal your relationship with money in a creative, collaborative and supportive way?

FINANCIALLY TAPPED, EMOTIONALLY TRAPPED?
You CAN create a new path for financial freedom. If you feel the heat rising when you pay those monthly bills, that could be your money nerve alerting you that it’s time to make a change. The Money Nerve concept will inspire you to make a real change in your perspective about money. I love working with groups and leading workshops – to help each of you navigate your emotional response to money, create a healthy budget and chart a new course!

Our Radical Abundance Workshops have been engineered to create a transformation of your limiting financial mindset and help you to uncover new pathways for creative solution and a richer life experience.

Join us…

Join me  and colleague CORE Energetics professional Josee Martel, for an incredible mind-opening experience that will change your life! You will be given tools and techniques for personal and professional success, while learning to live a life of proactive abundance!

Be a part of this weekend workshop in either Montreal or Toronto

Take advantage of this opportunity to evolve your capacity to play big in life and relationships. We’d LOVE to have you at our Radical Abundance Workshops!

Select Your Location

Montreal911 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montréal, QC H2R 1V5, Canada

Montreal Facebook Event Info HERE

Toronto: Colt Paper Building, 151 Sterling Rd, Toronto, ON M6R 2B2, Canada

Toronto Facebook Info HERE

Schedule both weekends:

Friday: 7-9:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9:30 am – 5 pm

Radical Abundance Workshops
Bob Wheeler & Josee Martel

 

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Lending Money to Family Members: Yes or No!

Lending Money to Family Members

Should You Lend Money to Family?

A loan is an investment, and you need to be sure that lending your hard earned cash to others doesn’t put your finances at risk. Dave Ramsey says, “don’t do it! People who let family members borrow money have their hearts–not–heads in the right place.

When we love people, we want to see them succeed, and we want to lend a helping hand. Strong emotions can quickly derail the best of intentions when dealing with family or close friends.  As a result, when family members come to us for a loan, we empathize; thinking about how we would feel having to ask for cash. And, if life got tough for us, we would expect others would have our back and help us! But that is not always the case.

Is It Safe?

It’s best to use caution when lending money to family. And it is wise to determine if the money is a gift or a loan. A loan should have requirements or agreements regarding the dollar amount and the payback schedule. The IRS allows $14,000 as a gift among family members so that a couple could give a family member $24,000 ($14,000 apiece). And theoretically, you do not pay a gift tax unless more than $5.23M is handed out over the course of your life. If you elect to loan the money, it’s best to set the interest rate, along with a payment plan for tax purposes.

Is it always the same person who needs help? Or do you have multiple requests from both sides of the family? If you are “the bank of choice,” you may need to re-think how you help relatives. In today’s turbulent economy, many older Americans are loaning money to their children. But is that the right call? Essentially, anytime someone asks you for money, it is fair to ask, “why do you need the money?”

Does the Loan Empower or Enable?

When an adult child relies on Mom and Dad to come in and save them from the latest crisis, but the root of the problem is overspending, or under earning, the parent becomes an enabler. This habitual pattern of letting other people take care of one’s careless financial choices, will never stop. It is important for all parties to learn a new set of habits. By clarifying the request for money without emotional turmoil, parents maintain enough money to retire and adult children will become more independent and began making more intentional choices.

On the other hand, a valid need such needing help with tuition can boost the earning power of a graduating student. Or lending money for a substantial down payment to purchase a house can provide a safe opportunity to invest the future. Providing the funds for a loved one to create a better life can be empowering!

Shall We Shake on It?

Take time to talk about the obligation and requirements of borrowing money. Prepare a formal agreement defining the amount loaned and details for repayment. Putting the financial commitment on paper gives the transaction more weight – often resulting in a positive outcome. The majority of people that sign a written contract are much more inclined to fulfill that agreement. For more personal finance info: Follow the Money Nerve 

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Put the Cold Freeze On Shopaholic Spending

 

Put the cold freeze on shopaholic spending!

This is a challenge for all of us who battle overspending on the latest trends:

You May Say

I really want to own a home, not just an ordinary home – but a gorgeous one that I LOVE! But with a credit card in your wallet that has a growing balance, it won’t happen. Making small changes to your spending habits will free up more cash to invest in your bigger life goals. Owning a home is more important than having every color of the newest designer shoe or “tricking out” your 1969 Dodge Charger.

Fear Can Hold You Captive

If the only thing keeping you from cutting up your credit cards is fear that you might desperately need them in an emergency, this tip is for you. Using credit cards to manage your daily budget can quickly lead to high monthly bills – with little cash in the bank. Making minimum payments maintains your credit standing, but will never make a dent in the outstanding balance. This habit is one of the universal recipes for long-term debt.

Deep Freeze Technique

Here’s a simple solution! Fill a large container half full with water, and put it in the freezer. Wait twenty-four hours, put your credit cards in there, fill it up with water, and place it back in. The result? A giant ice cube with credit cards stuck in the middle. The benefit? You have set yourself up to be more intentional with your financial choices. And, you still have your cards in the event of an emergency. You have put the cold freeze on shopaholic spending!

Plastic vs. Cash

Many Americans are spending far too much of their “perceived money” with credit cards. When you use the cards for unnecessary purchases, your shopaholic spending habit places more value on “wants” rather than long term needs. Put your money to work for value-based decisions. You need to add a saving habit, and lower card balances to ensure that you can handle costly emergencies. That’s why this easy concept works. Instead of cutting up our “plastic,” you put the cold freeze on those cards.

By freezing credit cards, you still have a line of credit, but it’s harder to use.
The best part: It’s an ingenious and effective psychological trick to get yourself out of the plastic mentality.

Now, emotions aren’t driving your spending habits. You are making a conscious choice to manage your money.

Instant Willpower

Freezing several lines of credit gives you instant willpower, even when you are blindsided by emotional impulses. Now, if you feel the urge to use credit, you have to wait until the ice melts. Hopefully, during that time you may come to your senses and realize you don’t need one more “widget.”

Try it! Let me know how it goes.