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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

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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

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Holiday Sales and Money

3x3holiday-sales-money

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