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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

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Holiday Sales and Money

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Are you bedazzled by enticing Holiday Sales, signs promising 50% off, along with offers of both free shipping and free returns this holiday season? Are you spending too much money? Do you feel you have to give the “best” gifts in your family? Do your emotions push you into unrealistic purchases? Ready to break the cycle of over-spending and avoiding a Christmas shopping hangover?

Shoppers will likely spend 10 percent more this holiday season; an average of $935.58 each, states the National Retail Federation. Many people also buy a gift for themselves, adding another $100 to the total amount.

Consumers with annual household incomes less than $50,000 will likely increase their percentage spending levels even more than consumers overall. Many shoppers are expected to increase their digital shopping by 25 percent, and it has become much easier to buy on mobile devices.

Pet owners – almost half of all households nationwide – are projected to buy gifts for their animal companions, spending an average of $62.

Here’s how to take advantage of all the holiday sales and avoid financial headaches!

Don’t use credit cards when faced with holiday sales.
Plan ahead with a set amount of money.
Use debit cards or cash.

Give your budget some wiggle room: When you come up with a holiday budget, add at least 10%. That way, if you are at your limit, you can cut back to 90% of that budget. Some states have nearly 10% of taxes that can be added to the total. Leave yourself a buffer to allow flexibility if you can’t find a gift for the price you wanted.

Pay your everyday bills first, don’t get hit with late fees to purchase gifts.

Be practical: Do you really need to buy a $40 bottle of wine when a $12 bottle will do just fine?

Again: Stick to your budget!

Still seduced by the “deals?”
Freeze your credit cards in water until January 1 — Literally!

Once Christmas is over, review what you did well and what you didn’t. Explore new options for 2017. Here’s a secret from Santa, start saving for Christmas now!

Happy Holidays!

Bob

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Gratitude

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Where is your “Gratitude Meter” set? Do you find something to be thankful for each day or do you rush through life unaware and unhappy? The action of being thankful, appreciative or expressing gratitude can be a powerful tool for living a meaningful life. Studies show that we can deliberately pursue an appreciation for the goodness in our lives, the result is an increase in our well-being and happiness.

Focus on the goodness in your life, and you retrain your brain to look for abundance. Try this instead of dwelling on the lack of “things.” 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. 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.

Take a moment each day to express gratitude for the goodness in your life. This intentional action sets the tone for the rest of the day. Some people like to begin their day with a meditation or mantra of gratitude. Your thoughts direct your efforts, creating the best results, at work or home, as the day unfolds.

Others prefer towrite down their activities and review the goodness of the day each night. Being thankful for all the moments and people in our daily life can change our intentions. Learn to flip frustrations or challenges to create new opportunities for choosing what is important over time.

As the holiday season approaches, many people focus on gift-giving, thankfulness, and an abundant life. Remember to keep that sense of choosing happiness and caring when the fine china is put up. Keeping an attitude of gratitude throughout the year can relieve stress and generate a more optimistic view. A mindset of cultivating kindness can often have positive effects that we can’t even imagine. Like a small pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples of good will and thoughtful interactions can have a huge impact on many people, some of whom you may never meet!

In gratitude ~ Bob

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Destination: Celebrating a Successful Life!

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Being rich is not a destination. Fine-tune your success with targeted goals and conscious choices. Here is how to create and celebrate your life – the way you imagined it could be! 

SUCCESS consists of three things:
• Know what is available to you
• Know what you want
• Know what the next step is once you are successful

Being rich is not a destination. Each of us has our unique perspective and vision of what success means to us. What is your image of wealth and success? Can you visualize yourself in a prosperous place in life? Define what is most important to you for the next year. If you can “see” it, you stand a much better chance of creating it.

Some people value a good steady job as a sign of success; others may value more time with family, a big annual vacation, a new car for their spouse or saving to purchase a home. As you state what is important, you will be more aware of your daily activities and begin to focus your attention on actions that will make your goals materialize.

Pursuing a new path toward financial success can create unexpected reactions and results: you may get some pushback from friends, coworkers or family members. That is okay. You are not staying in the same comfortable path. You are evolving toward a new direction, and that can make others uneasy. Continue on your journey! Reap the benefits.

As you gain traction and reach your goals, be sure to stop and celebrate your life. Pause. Enjoy the moment. Don’t let negative emotions become roadblocks. Know that you can continue to move forward with intention and clarity. Cheers!

Here’s a quick video for you to reflect on. If you are looking for some new financial tools, be sure to check out these new online financial platforms and apps I have collected — as a resource for you.

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Being Honest

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It is challenging for many people to discuss feelings of financial fear without a sense of shame. Behind closed doors, people may open up about their feelings and embarrassment and be honest about their current financial situation. By voicing their fears or shame, many people feel as though a weight has been lifted and can then take stock of where they are; to formulate a plan to get financially fit.

Financial shame often comes from not living up to a particular ideal. It may be a false expectation or a false belief. The banker “tells” you that you can afford the monthly payment for a brand new home. The car dealership points out that you can purchase a new car and keep your payments the same. Ads on television “sell” us a dream: we deserve to have all the “things” we want now. You may believe you should own a big home, multiple cars and provide for all of your extended family, but perhaps you lost your job, and that is no longer possible. Many of us live with an illusion of the sort of person we should be (or what we should have) rather than being honest about our situation.

It is smart to have an accurate benchmark for what you consider to be a healthy financial goal or lifestyle. For example, you may want to have 500,000 dollars in your retirement savings account as your measure of being financially healthy. Not meeting that benchmark doesn’t mean you are a bad person. However, it may result in a different outcome. If you have 485,000 dollars in your savings account, don’t beat yourself up over the difference, but if you only have $45,000 saved for retirement when you turn 65, be prepared to live on a lot less than you are used to. You are delusional if you think you can postpone saving and live in better style than you do now.

Most people imagine that their retirement will be even better than their current situation and will live exactly as they do now — if not better! But the reality is that many of us have not saved enough money to make those dreams come true. Now is the time to keep feathering the nest. Make an appointment with your CPA or a financial coach who can help you assess your net worth and develop and a plan for staying financially fit. Creating an honest budget and reevaluating what is important long-term may change some of your choices today. Our current cultural and political mindset of deserving it all now and never stopping to say, “I can’t afford that,” isn’t doing you any favors. Set yourself apart, be honest with your money choices. You can do it. You can live abundantly for many years to come.

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FINDING YOUR FINANCIAL GPS

3x3 From A-ZReady to start a NEW PATH?

By setting a financial GPS, you can navigate more efficiently to reach your goals. Using this analogy of traveling through time to reach your next destination is an excellent way to approach your finances. As you journey through life, new opportunities arise, and you have the choice to make changes to hit that next target. Even as you move closer to some of your goals (or destinations) and “things” are on the right track, it is inevitable that roadblocks or challenges will pop up.

When you look at a map or plug a route into your GPS system, you will see numerous roads lead to the same destination. One choice may be the scenic route. Another faster option might be to take the highway, and if you plan several stops to run errands or take in more experiences, your choice might meander a bit – although you have packed more action into your trip. All three choices ultimately lead to the planned location. We must know where we are to make savvy decisions that lead us to the targeted destination

If your only goal is to be rich, your goal may not be specific enough. A financial GPS is no good unless you plug in a dream, a goal or a destination. How can your finances get on board if you do not know where you are going? A grandiose idea such as “being rich” is not a destination. Plugging in a smaller, more strategic financial goals provide you with a meaningful roadmap that brings positive results. You may choose to save $10 per week, freeze the credit cards for one month or save for a big vacation or a home.

Becoming aware of your Money Nerve and exploring what upsets you, helps to redefine your financial GPS. Blindly following the crowd, allowing emotions to rule your decision-making or ignoring money issues – these reactions keep you from attaining your desired financial goals.  Drop old habits that no longer work for your current situation. Stop making choices based on outdated information.

As you recognize your Money Nerve flaring up, take control and empower your financial life. Examine your current lifestyle without blame, make thoughtful changes, and choose proactive actions each day — expand your perspective! Create a life with purpose and a sense of abundance today.

Follow @TheMoneyNerve on Facebook.

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SELF-MOTIVATION: find it!

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Self-Motivation? What is it? Embrace it.

The dictionary states:
Self-motivation (noun): Initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without another’s prodding or supervision.

What’s another word for initiative?  Ambition, Get-Up-and-Go, Enthusiasm, Resourcefulness, and Moxie!

Have you tried to make a change before and didn’t quite succeed? Every time you try again — you will get closer to your goal. Have you ever heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? It is a statement. No blame, no criticism – just a fact. Sometimes, big projects take more time than we think it will. There will be challenges. How can you stay self-motivated over time? Here are a few thoughts to help you find the best path.

Applying that same concept of “building” to yourself means no self-blame and no self-criticism when you begin a project and only make it 75% of the way. Each day presents the opportunity to start again with a fresh action or to use a more innovative way to hit your goals.

When faced with difficult or challenging decisions to make “things” better, most people freeze, become apathetic or just quit. The key to forging ahead is focusing on your key dreams, goals, and sense of what the future holds for you! Use “Baby Steps” to build your world.

When you don’t get what you want the first time; appeal to your inner self to try again.

Want to purchase a new home? Save for retirement? Plan an expensive vacation? What is your next step? Take time to think empowering, expansive thoughts, and make a list. Write it down. Use this personal checklist to knock out the smaller steps that lead to finishing what you started. Fake it until you become it and last: Make a deal with yourself and after you achieve 5 or 10 steps, reward yourself for sticking to it!

You can build that city of dreams into a reality – brick by brick with self-motivation.

My advice: Start Today!

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A BETTER LIFE

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A Better Life- Since the beginning of mankind’s existence, people have searched for a way to build a better life. Even in today’s world, with all of our knowledge and a vast amount of wealth and resources, we all still yearn for the best life we can create. It is a universal sense of making our world a better place to be.

What is a better life? Some people say it is enough food, a roof over our heads, education, and the opportunity to better ourselves, and enjoy a balance of work and recreation. Become more proactive by living fully every day; it is imperative to think ahead and plan a rough outline of what is important to you and what you wish to achieve over time.

Many old sayings and fables allude to being organized and making intentional choices with money. Have you ever heard these sayings?

Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched ~ Aesop’s Fables. My modern day translation: Don’t put all your purchases on a credit card when you cannot even make the monthly payment.

A fool and his money are soon parted ~ Thomas Tusser. My modern translation: People who make stupid money decisions soon lose all of their money and become poor.

He who pays the piper calls the tune ~ Unknown. My modern day translation: A person who has the money to pay for services has the right to state how the money should be used and to receive exactly what he or she wants.

Money grows through sheer persistence ~ Japanese proverb. My modern day translation: Slow, steady steps toward improving your money decisions and enriching your live takes thoughtfulness.

A rich man is nothing more than a poor man with money ~ W.C. Fields. My modern day translation: You are who you are, no matter how many dollars are in your pocket

Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life ~ John Wooden. My modern day translation: Remember what is most important in life; family, friends, respecting and loving others.

A man in debt is so far a slave ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. My modern day translation: When you allow yourself to owe more money than you can repay, you have lost all control of your day-to-day decisions and can be manipulated by all. You have lost your freedom to live as you wish.

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver ~ Ayn Rand. My modern day translation: You have the power. You can create a better life. Your actions have a direct impact on the results.

If one of these sayings resonates with you; write down and tape it to your mirror. Say it aloud every morning and consciously make daily decisions that lead to a better life!

(photo via http://easyway1234.blogspot.com/2016/05/dont-count-your-chickens-before-they.html)

 

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TALKING ABOUT MONEY WITH YOUR PARTNER

3x3-talking-about-moneyPeople would rather talk about sex than their money. It is more important to talk about money with your partner. Starting an open communication about what each partner makes, what the responsibilities are, and choosing how to manage your money, is a powerful tool for building a successful relationship.

Arguments revolving around finances are the Number 1 reason for many divorces and break-ups. If you are serious about your partner, you need to start talking about money with your partner. One easy way to start this discussion is to share about how your family handled finances. Did your Mom pay all the bills? Did your Dad always plan the family trips? Were you and your siblings paid allowance for doing household chores or was your allowance given without any obligations? Once you and your partner hear how your families handled money and find common ground, it is easier to understand why your partner makes different financial decisions than you might. Having this knowledge can also help couples to formulate a blended plan, ensuring each person has a voice setting budgets and spending.

When one person makes more money, it is easy for the other to feel less valuable. Both people need to know that they are contributing to future goals and can share their opinion. Resentment can build when there is a feeling of iniquity or that one’s opinion is not valued. Another habit that can “kill” a relationship is hiding “secret” savings accounts or debt. Each person needs to build a healthy relationship with money, so both of you can work together to be accountable for personal needs and spending money and joint dreams and goals!

Listening and talking about money with your partner can help you find creative ways to solve financial challenges. Now you can make proactive choices for directing your money toward large purchases and investing in your future…together!

Check out some of the tools on this website. Many of these tools are free and offer a roadmap for smarter fiscal management. Browse some of these links and talk with your partner about which tools might be best for you!

(Photo via business.financialpost.com)

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IT’s YOUR MONEY

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It’s Your Money!

This is a long-term relationship that goes on for the rest of your life.
Honor it.
Respect it.
Take it seriously.

Your money relationship never ends, it only changes form. This is one
relationship you can’t get out of. It’s your unique relationship, so how
you choose to respond to finances depends on you.
Will you actively participate or shut down?
Will you plan ahead?
Will you make mistakes? And when you do, how will you get back on track?

You control this financial relationship. It’s Your Money
Own that. Take responsibility. This is your life.
Keep your financial reality in your consciousness.
Talk about money issues with others to help bring them to consciousness, to help them heal.
Set goals and make budgets.
Teach financial responsibility to children for future generations.

Forgive yourself for your wants, needs, mistakes, ambition, shame, and
guilt. It’s only money!

Heal your Money Nerve.
Embrace your financial relationship—
for what it was …
what it is …
and what it will be.

You deserve a healthy relationship with money, after all, it’s your money.
You have earned it—literally.
Are you ready to receive and manage abundance?
It’s your choice!