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BUDGET: What does this mean to you?

financial freedom with budgets
The Money Nerve Budget

BUDGET: What does this mean

to you?

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

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

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

Be Honest and Accurate

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

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

Inflow and Outflow

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

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

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

Finding Balance

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

Financial Freedom

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

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Identify Your Priorities

Identify Your Priorities
Identify Your Priorities

Identify Your Priorities

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

Making Conscious Choices

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

Setting a Clear Picture

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

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

Direct Your Choices Intentionally

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

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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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MONEY and RELATIONSHIPS

3x3 Money & Relationships copy

Money and Relationships: two areas of life we all long for, have issues with and want the best of — all of the time!

The people in your life who have the greatest effect on your emotions and your personal finances could be business partners, spouses, significant others, or family members you have included in a business relationship. I call these people financial partners. What most of us neglect to do is engage our financial partners so that we are on the same page. The most frequent choice people make is to avoid confrontation when dealing with money and relationships. Financial habits cause the same problems over and over again. Ignoring fiscal issues will come back to haunt you. Stop the cycle by initiating conversation.

As you become more aware of your emotions and what triggers your Money Nerve, you will be more understanding of your partner’s Money Nerve. Now with your improved perspective of your “significant other”, your conversation can be more productive. You may still be annoyed and even upset by the reactions of others—and you creating tools to strengthen your relationship. I met with several engaged couples who realized the importance of discussing finances before getting married. One young man was not sure how to address the issue with his fiancé without hurting her feelings. He made a proactive choice saying; “I have arranged a meeting with my accountant so we can discuss how things change when we are married.” Exploring new options ahead of time, allowed the couple to investigate their goals and begin thinking as a team.

Some couples never communicate about their finances. Connie told James she had sent checks for the previous year’s estimated tax payments. Imagine James’s surprise when the government filed a lien against him. It was a shock for James to discover Connie was unable to deal with taxes. Instead of responding with anger, he decided to handle their taxes in the future.

Does this lack of communication affect your finances? Does your spouse spend beyond his or her means? Do you still refuse to confront the issue? Do you have hidden money problems in your relationship? Have you ever hidden a foolish purchase from your partner? Almost every day, I hear about relationships that have problems revolving around money. Bring those issues into the light and find a win-win solution for achieving your shared goals.

Check out this money quiz for you and your partner to take together and build a more cohesive approach:

Here are a few tips to jump-start your shared financial journey:
Setting primary goals
Select the most important common goals
Set a budget for spending and saving
Define small steps to make it easier

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Create New Habits Today

3x3-TMN-Break Chain of DebtAre you still living with an old story you tell yourself – or is it time to create new habits? Start today to intentionally listen, analyze and make changes in your vocabulary.

You may say, “I’m broke; I never seem to get ahead.” Maybe you can explore a new way of thinking and say, “I’m broke; I wonder why I always feel that way.” Take back your power to choose. Envision what you want to spend your money on and state how you might make some changes.

Without blaming yourself, you can create new habits by stating what is actually happening in your daily decisions. For example: “I’m broke because I chose not to save any money this week.”

This gives you the opportunity to be curious, be aware of current actions and think about other choices you’d prefer to make. Hmm…. “It’s interesting to see how and where I’m spending my money. I’d like to find ways to shift some of my dollars this week toward my dreams.”

So instead of repeating, “I’m broke”… Try these: “I am going to make positive choices with my money. I want to consciously choose where I want my income to go, instead of drifting with old habits and being unhappy at the end of the month.” For example, if you like having nice clothes and the trendiest shoes, but have no money in the bank and are ready to make a change – you can begin to choose a new way of talking to yourself.

Try this on for size: “I want nice clothes and I want money in the bank. I will choose to wait and buy the shoes when they go on sale and will put the difference in price in the bank.” Or maybe you decide, “I like nice clothes and I have trouble telling myself no, so I will put $25 in the bank each week before I go to the mall!” Now you are choosing to say “yes!”

Yes to change.

        Yes to new possibilities

                 Yes to conscious choices! That’s a great way to be “stepping-out!”

~Bob

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Build Your Dream Team

3x3 Being Financial PartnersMaking a plan for a rainy day is always prudent. Some examples might be stashing some money in a savings account, looking toward your retirement or setting aside a three-month supply of food so that you are covered in case of an emergency. Just don’t go overboard, and sacrifice living to the fullest in your present life for an unforeseeable future.

I think of my friend’s grandmother finding an envelope labeled Hawaii trip in her husband’s safe deposit box after he died. They never left mainland soil in his lifetime. He had plenty of money in the envelope; they had the time; he just waited too long to take action. His financial fears kept both of them from sharing unique and fulfilling experiences together.

Have you shared your dreams, your goals or even your credit score with your partner? Maybe it is time to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation about what is important to both of you. Make the time to explore how to make those dreams happen. You want to know what triggers stress in each other and be aware of emotions can trigger extreme reactions.

As you become more aware of your emotions and what triggers your Money Nerve, you will be able to be more understanding of your partner’s Money Nerve. You want to have a conversation with the goal of improving financial communication and a better understanding of the person you love. You may still get annoyed and even upset by the reactions of others— but know you have each other’s back to deal with your situation.

Many times, sharing your financial journey and goals with others can help keep you on track. Keeping a budget together with a common focus becomes fun with a partner because you can “team up” with one another to track receipts, and build a stronger portfolio. When you join forces, you can now plan on how and where to spend your cash, set goals for fulfilling each other’s dreams and laying the groundwork for a better future.

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2016 MONEYCHALLENGE

3x3 TMN Challenge copyTake the #2016MONEYCHALLENGE with The Money Nerve TODAY!

For the entire month of January, @themoneynerve will be offering a daily tip to challenge YOU to be smarter with your money. Like & follow the #MoneyNerve on Facebook, Twitter Google+ and Instagram.

Check out the daily #2016MONEYCHALLENGE tips. Invite your friends to participate!

It’s easy, fun and you might even create one or two new financial habits to make this year even better!

On Facebook, be sure “like” the daily challenge & tag @themoneynerve in your comment, ADD a photo of your own, or SHARE the post with your friends.
On Twitter, please RETWEET
On Instagram, please like, repost or reply with a photo that inspires you to build better money habits
On Google+ please like & add a comment or photo that demonstrates your 2016 money challenge

I am so excited to share my #2016MoneyChallenge – What a proactive way to jumpstart your new year, and begin your new path to financial success! Start new habits, add cash to your wallet & have a healthy relationship with money

Follow @themoneynerve on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+ each day in January! Weekly winners will receive a #MoneyNerve prize, including:
· Autographed copy of “The Money Nerve: Navigating the Emotions of Money book.
· Starbucks card
· Money Nerve wristbands
· Complimentary one-hour financial consultation with CPA Bob Wheeler (in person, via    phone or thru Skype)
· Rodney Gee Yoga CD
· A Money Nerve mug

Each Monday, @theMoneyNerve will announce all randomly select weekly winners on Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

For example:
1. Repost or share this image or tag a few friends to join you
2. Check the #2016MONEYCHALLENGE EVERYDAY
3. Use the hashtag #2016MONEYCHALLENGE and tag @themoneynerve in your posts!
4. Encourage others by liking and commenting on people’s posts

Check it out!

Thanks for participating – your wallet will love your positive cash flow!

Bob

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PASSING THE TORCH with ABUNDANT GIVING

Abundance is more than enoughChanging your “mental map” or mindset can create wealth in your life.

Living an abundant life is a proactive attitude to seek out what is important to you and strive to create a purposeful life. There is more to life than sitting at the computer every day and then sitting on the couch passively watching other people’s lives. You shape your world by how you choose to take action on the circumstances thrown your way. Decide if you want to allow others’ actions to ignite your anger or feelingsor if you would like to make intentional choices for a more positive outcome.

Give to others with a generous spirit: When you give time or money to others, you are implying that goodness is there for all. The positive energy from an intentional gift “without strings” will open your heart and mind to the abundance of your life. Intentionally put $2 in your pocket to have on hand to help others, or use the next few weeks to “pay it forward” for someone else, just because you can.

Find the goodness in people and enjoy the richness of life. With all the tragedy we have witnessed in the past few months, it seems like covering our ears, bolting our doors and making our world smaller is the best course of action – but that action could be counter-intuitive. Look for the goodness in others, have empathy for those in need, and find a way to forgive those around you for past hurts. Forgiving is another way to pay it forward.

As we move into the holidays, find time to share your vision of happiness, peace and thankfulness. More money and material possessions will not make you happy. Peace and happiness come from within. When you share your peace and love with others, you add worth to others, honor their spirit and that action makes the world a better place for all.

Have a great week

Bob

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Time to Change

3x3 Caught in the cycle
You may have heard of Napoleon Hill’s book Think & Grow Rich. This book, published in 1937, is one of the most popular success books ever written. Hill’s story is a rollercoaster ride of great success and numerous failures – each faced with persistence and a positive mind-set. Hill’s words have inspired millions to find themselves, believe in themselves and live the lives they never thought possible.

Hill’s top three lessons for a successful life:

Lesson 1: Definiteness of Purpose
Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. Without a purpose and a plan, people drift aimlessly through life. Today we call that mental mapping and setting our GPS for life goals and a financial destination.

Lesson 2: Mastermind Alliance
The Mastermind principle consists of an alliance of two or more minds working in perfect harmony for the attainment of a common definite objective. Success does not come without the cooperation of others. Finding others who are striving to live a positive lifestyle can help you reach a more successful outcome.

Lesson 3: Applied Faith
Faith is a state of mind through which your aims, desires, plans and purposes may be translated into their physical or financial equivalent. Setting positive intentions for what is most important in life creates the opportunity to seize the abundance of life – when you are open and receptive to opportunity.

The phrase, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” takes on a deeper meaning when you use each new day to initiate action for personal growth. Changing your attitude, your beliefs in yourself and focusing on life goals can truly transform your life!

Start today by changing one small habit that would make your life better. Commit to this one new change for 30 days. Maybe you’ll decide to take your lunch to work one day a week and set that day’s lunch money aside for a weekend vacation or a savings account. Little steps can lead to a defined goal. Be accountable to yourself and use notes or your phone to track your efforts. Being successful with a few smaller goals may inspire you to tackle some larger goals and deadlines.

Here’s Napoleon Hill sharing the “master keys” of his life-changing concept . . . if you are ready!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvK4RiiJV3w

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LIVE AN ABUNDANT LIFE

Living an abundant life is about making thoughtful choices to increase the inner wealth of everyday living. It is a life based on a positive attitude, being aware of the abundance in the world and making decisions based on the best long-term outcomes.

To begin the journey toward financial freedom, set your goals with a strong focus on empowering your life.

Keeping your focus on these life-goals will assist you in creating a healthy relationship with your money. Being rich is not a destination!

One of the ways to see the abundance in your life is to be present and mindful of what is going on around you. Studies have shown that you can change your life for the better with one simple new habit: begin a daily journal to write down what you notice, what makes you happy, what you are grateful for, and where you see yourself tomorrow.

In fact, a research study at Duke University studied whether the power of writing – and then rewriting – your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.

The concept is based on the idea that we all have a personal narrative that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. But sometimes our inner voice doesn’t get it completely right. Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health. ~ New York Times: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/writing-your-way-to-happiness/?_r=0

Your life journey may be comprised of six, eight, or ten stages, with many steps in between – and the possibilities are not always visible. People sometimes make judgments based on a snapshot of life (their own or someone else’s) without taking into consideration past history or potential for the future.

Finances and money decisions will always be a part of your life. It is part of the journey, with multiple paths and a constantly evolving landscape. It is not realistic to think you can learn a new financial skill one time and then be done with those pesky decisions. Rehashing old mistakes, letting emotional baggage dictate your actions or feeling financially lost are all the symptoms of a pinched money nerve.

Visualize the things that truly matter. This will be the basis for your financial decisions. Your goals will now predetermine how YOU will manage your money, creating financial freedom!

Begin your walk toward proactive abundance today. – Bob