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Ready To Invest: Start Today

Ready to Invest- The Money Nerve

Ready to Invest: Start Today

Before you start diving into investments,

let’s look a few ways to be smart with your money.

What is investing? Investing is actually pretty simple; you are essentially putting your money to work for you so that you don’t have to take a second job or work overtime hours to increase your earning potential. There are many different ways to make an investment, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds or real estate, and they don’t always require a large sum of money to start.

Learn the terminology of investing

Many of the larger investment companies provide a wealth of content to teach beginners the language of investing and share information about the multiple businesses you can invest in, and the various methods to build your nest egg. TIME=MONEY Therefore, the earlier you begin saving and investing, the higher returns you will see compared investing the same amount of money 20 years later. Money creates money and your lump sum will increase exponentially – if you nurture it and let it grow over time. It is tempting to skim the profit off the initial investment, but you will significantly reduce your total gains with that choice.

I was given some sound advice when I was younger, “Don’t invest money that you can’t afford to lose.” Anytime you put your money where outside influences can create an environment where massive gains can be made; you must also be aware that it can result in substantial losses. More volatility can create huge wins, and that “lucky break syndrome” is addictive to many of us. Hence the warning: this is “extra money” that you want to grow without putting your current lifestyle in jeopardy. If a stock loss means you can’t pay your bills, you need to adjust your investment strategy!

Be smart, do some homework. I like to advise people ready to invest in the stock market to select high-value blue-chip companies that pay dividends. Invest in value and don’t treat it as a quick sale. It is a stable place to park your money, and over time the value will continue to grow, building your wealth.

Many Paths to Reach Your Goal

Another option for entering the stock market is to purchase Exchange Traded Funds, also called EFTs. Investing in EFTs is similar to buying stocks, but you are placing your money into funds that track indexes like the NASDAQ-100 Index, S&P 500, Dow Jones, etc. By purchasing a fund that has many stocks in a particular index, you are not trying to “beat the market” you are taking advantage of being “in the market” with a broader range of stocks being traded for a more consistent result. One of the benefits of ETFs is having the broad array of a diversified portfolio with the ease of buying and selling a single stock. You don’t have to wait for the market to close to make changes. As you get more savvy in following the market or electing to make bolder choices, you can purchase ETF shares on margin, short sell shares, or hold for the long term. You can make trades in the stock market as an individual or you can use a stockbroker; each has advantages and disadvantages; just explore your options.

If the stock market is too much of a gamble or too virtual for your budget, then real estate is another option for investing. It is a fact that the world’s population continues to increase, but there will never be more land. You can begin by investing in land or property. If you live in an area that is having significant growth, look for some land nearby that will grow in value as the area expands.

Building Your Tangible Assets

A rental house might be a solid choice; many people do not have the money to buy a home and need to rent. For this reason, owning property can be another option for investing in a tangible asset. If you have saved a substantial amount of money, pay cash for the house, and the monthly rent will pay for the real estate over time. Or when you are ready to invest, place a down payment on a small home and collect a rent that is higher than the mortgage.

Owning smaller property builds your equity without sizable risk because you own the property, make a small amount of profit each month, and can sell this asset if needed. Be sure to open a savings account to cover any expenses such as new appliances or repairs. It is best to keep the cash flow from real estate separate from your personal cash flow. Separate accounts make it easier to track the money flow and calculate the real return (ROI) on your money. As the the property is paid off, you can continue to receive residual income or purchase another piece of property.

Begin With A Simple Plan

There are so many options to build your wealth and these are just a few choices to ponder, once you decide you are ready to invest. Think about your ultimate goal, what you want the money to provide for you and when you might need to use your money, as you grow older. Seek out the good advice of successful financiers. One of my favorites, a brilliant investor is Warren Buffet, and he famously shares his motto, “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.”

Explore. Experience. Achieve.

*This post was also published on http://www.mystrategicdollar.com/. It is always a pleasure to work with people who want to help others gain more traction in their journey to create financial freedom. If you are looking for ways to manage your money more effectively, check out my “tools” page and be sure to read Lance’s blogposts at the link above.

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Mental Map for Living in Proactive Abundance

Mental Map-Proactive Abundance

Mental Map for Living in Proactive Abundance

Congratulations! You filed your taxes. But, for whatever reason, you are unhappy. Maybe you paid too much or didn’t get the refund you thought you deserved. Good news! Use this week to make a mental map for living in proactive abundance. You have almost a year to change your financial plans for 2017.

Embrace Your Story

Embrace your story; own your story. Be willing to accept that you might be partially responsible for your current state of affairs. Don’t judge yourself or wallow in self-pity. Pause and make the necessary adjustments to get where you want to be. Whether you want to have millions or invest thousands of dollars, own lots of property, want to save for a Jacuzzi, or stop bouncing checks, you need to acknowledge your goals. After you decide what is relevant for the next year or two, you must make the commitment to go for it.

There are Plenty of Fish in the Sea

When you have a mental map, it is wise to remember that many routes can lead to the same destination. As you confront challenges or obstacles when reaching for your goal, keep in mind that there are alternate means to achieve your result. The ability to remain flexible and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, benefits your long term vision of success. If your current environment is not generating what you need, it may be time to find a new solution, dream bigger, get a new job or look internally to see where you can make changes. Target that mental vision into a focused strategy and begin panning for gold!

Don’t Be Your Worst Enemy

Many people sabotage their best efforts and have no idea why they do that. Self-sabotage is a reactive emotional choice prompted by old habits. Defining your intentions results in defining the goal. With intentional effort, you now create a mental map for living in proactive abundance. If you look for good things in your life, it is safe to say; you will capitalize on each opportunity that pops up. Trust in yourself – be your best friend. Respect yourself, don’t talk down to yourself. When you honor who you are, you then create an internal dialogue that moves you forward. Taking positive steps on a daily basis will result in a series of “mini-successes” that lead to long-term satisfaction.

Mental Mapping Your Finances

Mental mapping your approach toward finances means rerouting the I-can’t-afford-it mentality. I like the word mapping because we are all on a path. No path leads the wrong way. Are you taking the scenic route to your financial destination? It might take you three times as long to get there, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a beautiful journey.

Creating a Mental Map for Living in Proactive Abundance

You can create a new mental map about money that will help you move toward your financial goals. Your current mental map might tell you that you can’t enjoy your present lifestyle without using credit cards. You don’t care what the interest rate is. In fact, you may have no clue what the interest is! You could be paying 20 or 30 percent on your credit card. If you curbed your expenses and made small budget changes each week — that credit card interest saved could buy you a new car or fund a trip to Italy. You may find you can have a better life when you stop using credit cards altogether.

 

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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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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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A BETTER LIFE

3x3-a-better-life

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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SMALL STEPS TO SUCCESS

3x3 Baby Steps to Success

Small Steps to Success: Large dreams are often extinguished by the sheer size of the goal along with a lot of self-doubts, but using small steps to success each day, will ensure you of getting closer to your dreams day by day.

Two simple tools for moving forward are:
1. Setting intentions with a strategic plan
2. Making small consistent actions each day that will move you to the goal

Sometimes big goals or life destinations can be a bit overwhelming. Know where you are right now! Determine where you want to be and breakdown that monstrous goal into smaller chunks. Breaking the bigger picture into small steps to success allows you to create small “wins” each week and will increase your confidence to tackle the next step in your journey.

There are so many possibilities for reaching your goal that sometimes people can’t even begin. When faced with this decision-making paralysis, many people quit before they start. Small, easy steps each day will have more impact than a few “big leaps.” So you want to save $20,000 for a down payment on a house.

Here are a few scenarios to achieve this:
Step1: Put all your pocket change in a jar to start your savings account. Once you have $100, you open an account at the bank.
Step 2: Set up an auto draft within your checking account to take $10 per paycheck or $5 per week from checking into your new savings account. You have now created a new positive habit without a colossal amount of pain.
Step 3: If you get a bonus check, deposit that into your savings. If you get a tax refund, deposit that into your savings. If you are still saving the change, start adding all the $1 bills left in your wallet into the jar each night – deposit when the jar is full.
Step 4: After six months, increase your auto draft to $15 per paycheck; you have gotten more comfortable with the fact that you are not punishing yourself by saving — you are reallocating your money in a new direction.

Small steps to success with a proactive plan will put you into a new home before you know it. Now plug in your big goal and develop your step-by-step plan today!

Bob

Ready to learn more proactive tips? Let me know what questions or comments you have:

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WHY WORRY ABOUT MY CREDIT SCORE?

A Snapshot of Your MoneyWhy Worry About My Credit Score?

Why should anyone worry about a credit score? I know many people who think that worrying about raising a credit score is so “Old School.” Many people think if they have a cell phone, pay their rent and lease a car, they must have “good” credit, but there is much more to this story!
Almost 49% of people polled don’t realize that a credit score measures credit risk. Do you know how a score affects your life? Do you know how to read a credit report? Why worry about my credit score? One reason: It is your responsibility to manage your credit, understand your credit score and know what’s being documented by businesses and institutions.

Your credit score is unique, much like your fingerprint. It identifies your risk & financial health and follows you everywhere. In fact, your credit score can fluctuate daily without you doing anything. Creditors report their data about you at different times during the month and depending on the data added to your report; your score will go up or down.  It is not an exact science, and each credit company has its own scoring models that can differ from each one. So you could have a different score on Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. You can check your credit score here: https://www.creditkarma.com/

Thus, it is critical to worry about your credit score and check the pulse of your credit situation every six months or at least annually. You need to have good credit to function in the world. Contrary to many “quick-fixes” you may read about, the best way of increasing your credit score is good payment behavior over time and a healthy mix of credit types.

Here are a few things that your credit score determines:
•    What kind of insurance rates you can receive
•    If you can qualify for a home mortgage and at what rate
•    Whether or not particular companies will hire you
•    If you are eligible for an auto loan and at what rate
•    What credit cards you can qualify for and if you will receive special rates or travel perks

Makes sense to schedule a summer check-up of your credit health today! Why worry about your credit score? It could save you tens of thousand of dollars when purchasing a home and getting the best credit cards with the most generous benefits!

Stay green, my friends!

~Bob

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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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Burden of College Loan Debt

3x3 TMN CollegeLoanDebtToday’s millennial generation is striving to live the same American dream their parents achieved, but many graduates are drowning under the burden of college loan debt, saddled with a variety of loans that will take decades to pay off. Everyone agrees that higher education translates into better jobs and workforce, but at what price? Not all college graduates are reaping the perceived payoff.

What can be done to assist this emerging workforce with navigating the massive burden of debt successfully? What are some ideas for helping this generation grow their careers while building wealth instead of suffocating from enormous college loan debt?

A few companies like the El Paso-based JAR Construction, are investigating loan assistance as one of the perks of employment. The companies feel this benefit aids in decreasing stress, gives their new employees options to pay down the debt and may also assist in employee retention.

http://www.elpasoinc.com/news/local_news/article_1f4ff13e-4782-11e6-9279-3fece6cbb319.html

There are now several credit cards that allow its users to transfer reward points and cash-back dollars to be used for payment toward student loans. Gradifi, a Boston-based startup that helps people pay down student loans, announced its partnership with a small bank to offer the card, backed by a checking account insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Cardholders will earn 1% rewards with the Gradifi MasterCard debit card on all signature-based purchases.
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/rewards-program-to-pay-off-student-loan.aspx#ixzz4E8KtreNn

Even if you are not a student and have multiple credit cards or have racked up more debt than you can handle, remember that small steps will win the bigger battle against debt. A good rule of thumb is to pay all minimum amounts due and concentrate on the lowest balance owed. Get that one account paid off, close out the account and then aim for the next one. A small success can give you the power to tackle more!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lule-demmissie/think-small-a-new-strateg_b_10772704.html

If you are looking for a way to destroy debt and find financial freedom in your life, be sure to explore “The Money Boom” workshop. My colleagues, David Auten and John Schneider (aka the DebtFreeGuys) and I will be hosting this one-day seminar on Saturday, August 6, in Denver, CO. You will be given proven techniques and tools to lay the foundation for living a life of abundance and security. Let us help you drop your debt!

Learn More Here:

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YOUR MONEY: Real or an Illusion?

Your MoneyYour Money: Real or an Illusion?
Financial assumptions often lead to a “make-believe” sense of money, creating unexpected results. Take a quick self-examination of your income and expenditures at the halfway point of the year. This quick peek can lead to a leaner, more organized plan for all those pesky dollars bills lined up and ready to skydive out of your wallet!

Pencil in thirty minutes to review your 2016 plans. Compare your projected results with reality. The key to success is setting expectations, reviewing the results and being flexible enough to make adjustments. You may not be exactly where you projected yourself. Now you have the opportunity to make targeted changes with your money. Realign your initial plan to keep the focus on your primary goals.

Another strategy to get ahead financially and help you maintain your course: always lower your income numbers and raise your estimate of expenses. This “money-method” gives you a cushion for the realities of your incoming and outgoing cash.

Most people make the assumption that reviewing a budget means cutting away all of the fun stuff in their life. Not necessarily! It is just as important to come up with additional streams of revenue or find a way to increase your current paycheck. Be open to the possibility that you can create new pathways for increasing the money you bring in! You will be surprised at how much these smaller dollar streams can add up over time!

That said, July is the perfect month to review your budget, create an IRA for your future or increase your contributions into your retirement fund. An IRA can be a tax-deferred account where the money goes directly into the IRA before taxes; resulting in a lower income reported and lowering your taxes. Another option is the Roth IRA where the money is deposited after paying taxes on it, making this a tax-free resource in later years. By setting up either one of these accounts, you are now saving with every paycheck you receive. If you employer has a matching funds program; take advantage of it!

Here are a few links to begin Investing in You!

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/best-ira-accounts/

Best Roth IRA Accounts: 2016 Top Picks

https://www.fidelity.com/retirement-ira/rollover-faq

IRA terms & details: http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=757631