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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.

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Imagine Where I Would Like to Be!

The Money NerveProjecting Your Success: Where would I like to be!

First of all, ask yourself “where I would like to be in one year or five years. Maybe free of credit card debt is where I would like to be? Do I want to travel the world? If I had more money in my retirement account, would I be happier and less stressed? How can I change my spending habits so that I can reach my goal of $50,000 in savings?”

Once you know where you would like to be, state your goal: A year from now, I will decrease my use of credit cards. Two years from now, I will sign up for additional training.  In five years, I want to have a zero-balance on all credit cards. In ten years, I’d like to transition to another career or own my own company.

Quiet the censor in your mind and just let your imagination travel where it likes. After allowing yourself this quiet time every day, you may be surprised to see where your imagination takes you! Take advantage of planning ahead, and then, every three months or so, sit down to adjust your budget. You can still get to where you want to go, you are just allowing yourself to keep it real and update, as needed.

Will I ever quit worrying?

Finances will always be a part of your life—not something you can ever move past. Confront your financial fears and set aside an hour per week to update your records. If you use computer software, download your bank statement and expenses. Balance your checkbook. Keeping up with your money each week for a small amount of time helps you stay on track for your bigger goals. Having a plan to work from results in a more efficient use of time and less worry.

Make an effort to spend responsibly. Make a list of all bills you get each month, and check them off your list as you pay them. That way, if you didn’t receive a bill, you still realize it has to be paid. Spreadsheets are a great way to keep track of expenditures. Once a year, list your assets and debts to get a sense of your net worth. As a result,  you now have a true road map showing where you have been and how to move more efficiently toward your current financial destination!

 

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Keep Focused in a Cluttered World

Keep focused Keep Focused in a Cluttered World

You are intent on finishing the task at hand, and suddenly “something” comes up. You don’t realize the chunk of time distractions can steal from your day — you just change direction and give it attention. Keep focused!
In a world full of political strife, constant social media pop-ups, continuous alerts from emails landing in your inbox and worries about matters you cannot control, the ability to keep focused is a dynamic tool for keeping a positive mental attitude and a sense of purpose.

Over half of us get distracted after 15 minutes and — boom — you have no idea where you started or why you can’t get your mind and heart into your goal. You can’t stay focused at work anymore and are becoming less productive. Valuable time and effort go right down the tubes, and so does your momentum and energy.

One way to keep focused is breaking big projects into more manageable bites of time. Richard Branson shares that people should “take the stairs,” literally, to stay in shape with physical activity and also as a metaphor for big goals and life dreams. It’s a “gradual climb,” with “inevitable failures and setbacks along the way.” Very few people can take the elevator to instant success.

It’s almost impossible to shut out the world while you’re busy. It is your choice or decision to stay focused. Explore the right techniques for you, know your priorities, and stick to them. When you achieve this – You are in the zone!  Five minutes, ten minutes. Sometimes you may stick with a project for hours. When you look up, time has flown, and you have been incredibly productive.

Five Tips to Focus more Effectively:
1. Have a “to-do list” with the most important or longest tasks at the top.
2. Clear your mind from emotionally charged worry. Sift through the clutter. Learn to separate what you can make better and what might be out of your control.
3. Work offline: Try using paper and pen — perfect for brainstorming! Put your phone on silent and check email only occasionally (try once every hour). Set a timer to keep up with time and allow yourself to check mail.
4. Create Plan with Prioritized Goals and Tasks (daily, weekly, and long-term).
5. Organize your life, your office, and your desk. Studies have shown having a clean life-space declutters the mind.

Looking for tools to manage your day more proactively? Check out these resources.

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New Year, Fresh Start for 2017

3x3-new-year-fresh-start

New Year, Fresh Start for 2017! Where Will You Take It?
The party favors and New Year’s Eve champagne are gone. You have a New Year, full of hope and promise, ahead of you! Don’t overthink it or tally up an enormous list that is unachievable. Define a few areas in your life that you would like to improve. The year will be successful as you take the time to slow down, be grateful, and make the right choices.

A new year is not just the party, a boatload of resolutions, and anticipation. The year 2017 will take shape as you reach your goals through thousands of small moments; moments where conscious choice leads to richer, more fulfilling life.

Resolutions are merely thoughts you have written down to guide you to a higher level. You may have some money-motivated ideas, lifestyle goals or educational objectives. Write down a few significant possibilities to determine the small steps that would help you achieve personal success. Four best practices to sustain your resolutions.

What would make your life better? Take some time to think about the future. You can enrich your life with thoughtful intentions, making the most of the opportunities that come your way. Take pleasure from your successes and be flexible, try again when your dreams do not go as perfectly as you planned. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

People are the only living beings on this planet that can visualize a better life in the future. Take this moment to “see” yourself in a new place this coming year and start the journey!

Enjoy this motivational TED Talk from Gilbert Jones (below). He shares how to visualize and incorporate happiness into your life. I hope this will help you to design a prosperous 2017!

Wishing you a joyous, fruitful new year.

Bob

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Seven Spiritual Laws for 2017

3x3-place-in-this-worldToday I would like to share a post from http://www.chopra.com/. I invite you to explore these Seven Spiritual Laws as you formulate your plans and goals for the new year:

Many of us grew up with the belief that achieving success requires relentless hard work, grim determination, and intense ambition. As a result, we may have struggled for years and even reached some of our goals but wound up feeling exhausted, our lives out of balance.

As Deepak Chopra observes in his transformational work, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, such desperate striving isn’t necessary or even desirable. In the natural world, creation comes forth with ease. A seed doesn’t struggle to become a tree―it simply unfolds in grace.

The Seven Spiritual Laws are powerful principles you can use to fulfill your deepest desires with effortless joy. If you put them into practice, you’ll realize that you can manifest whatever you’ve been dreaming about.

Fortunately, the laws of success aren’t difficult or mysterious but are easy to understand and apply. There are also many ways for you to learn more about using The Seven Spiritual Laws to attract the life you truly want, and right here is a great place to begin:

Sunday: The Law of Pure Potentiality

Take time to be silent, to just BE. Meditate for 30 minutes twice a day. Silently witness the intelligence within every living thing. Practice non-judgment.

Learn more about The Law of Pure Potentiality 

Monday: The Law of Giving

Today, bring whomever you encounter a gift: a compliment or flower. Gratefully receive gifts. Keep wealth circulating by giving and receiving care, affection, appreciation and love.

Learn more about The Law of Giving

Tuesday: The Law of Karma

Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. Choosing actions that bring happiness and success to others ensures the flow of happiness and success to you.

Learn more about The Law of Karma

Wednesday: 
The Law of Least Effort

Accept people, situations, and events as they occur. Take responsibility for your situation and for all events seen as problems. Relinquish the need to defend your point of view.

Learn more about The Law of Least Effort

Thursday: 
The Law of Intention and Desire

Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment. Make a list of desires. Trust that when things don’t seem to go your way, there is a reason.

Learn more about The Law of Intention and Desire

Friday: The Law of Detachment

Allow yourself and others the freedom to be who they are. Do not force solutions—allow solutions to spontaneously emerge. Uncertainty is essential, and your path to freedom.

Learn more about The Law of Detachment

Saturday: The Law of Dharma

Seek your higher Self. Discover your unique talents. Ask yourself how you are best suited to serve humanity. Using your unique talents and serving others brings unlimited bliss and abundance.

 

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Give the Gift of Time

3x3-christmas-starsThis year, Give the Gift of Time!

Choosing to make conscious choices for your money and life may have implications for many aspects of your life. Consider giving the gift of time this year. Create a mental space to listen to your thoughts. Decide how to spend the last ten days of your holiday season, using your goals to give you focus.

Visualize your “perfect” holiday. Maybe it includes parties with friends, spending time with family, or taking the time to express your gratitude. December is such a hectic time of year. Many people feel overwhelmed by obligations presented by school, work, family, and friends. Invest your time in activities that bring you the most value.

Choose which activities you will spend your time on and know that you may miss some parties or invites. Setting boundaries for a successful holiday helps you maintain your sanity, increase your sense of gratefulness and keep your “spirits bright!”

Take that one step further and give the gift of time with those closest to you this month. Listen to your spouse, best friend or family members and notice what is important to them. Investing time with people who are special in your life strengthens your bond with them, creating more meaningful relationships.

When shopping, purchase one item and plan an experience to accompany the gift – instead of buying multiple gifts for everyone. Purchasing a new sweater? Plan a date night to enjoy the new outfit. Have a friend who loves to cook? Wrap up a kitchen gadget and sign up for a cooking class together. Give a gift of time to complete the gift in a box! Many people find that spending time with others reaps greater benefits in the journey of life.

Share some of the activities that your family or circle of friends love to do — and make the holidays extra special every year.

Happy Holiday!

Bob