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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 Stop making choices based on outdated information.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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CREATE INCREDIBLE CHANGE

incredible change

Intentions, coupled with thoughtful choices to support a new direction in life, can bring about incredible change.

One of my main reasons for writing a book, hosting seminars and webinars to educate people on finding a better formula for making money choices was the fact that many of my clients could not separate their emotions from their financial decisions. I realized that lots of people felt shame or despair when making reactive emotional choices. I firmly believe a person CAN reallocate their time and money to create more positive results, especially when setting clear intentions ahead of time.

Your best friend and your worst enemy are both in this room right now.
It’s not your neighbor right or left – and it’s not God or the devil; it’s you.
– Edwin Louis Cole

In the last #MoneyNerve post, I explored the concept of setting your financial GPS; knowing where you are to reach a new destination. Check out this info-graphic for creating incredible change. I wanted to share this visual for setting up an action plan and achieving your goals.

Achieving-Goals-Infographic

Joi, at Self Help Daily, shares this mental tidbit, “When it comes to goals, a lot of people have a tendency to call them by the wrong name: dreams, hopes, wishes… While there’s nothing wrong with any of these words (personally, I’m smitten with each one), when we use words like this we kind of take ourselves out of the equation. Dreams, hopes, and wishes – they more or less indicate that success will come at random – yet that is not always the case. While I’m all for positive thought and firmly believe that we can produce more positivity in our lives by first being positive, ourselves, good things do not just happen because we want them to.”

I hope you enjoy reviewing this simple info-graphic and use it to boost your strategy. Now’s the time to blaze a new trail toward healthier money decisions!

~Bob

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Setting Your Financial GPS

financial GPSSetting your financial GPS is a strategic plan for reaching a life goal or planning a future destination. First, you need to know where you are and where you want to go.

When people get in a car and activate their GPS, it is assumed the device knows where the car is and will arrive at the correct address. From experience, you cannot always rely on it to be accurate. The same concept of reaching a target in your life must include your starting point and what you want to achieve. To make good financial decisions, you need to break the autopilot mentality and start thinking for yourself. Being on autopilot when facing money decisions means you allow roadblocks and congested traffic existing in your head.

On an actual freeway, you can see hundreds of cars ahead of you on the road. The roadblocks you have set up in your mind tend to be less obvious. Nobody is setting out an orange cone with blinking lights telling you to merge your credit card debt.

Budgeting inertia and increased mental stress take place when you try to juggle payments on seven credit cards or transfer money from one bank account to another. Have you ever freed up expenses on one credit card so you can charge more on it while making a payment for another card? Do you wait for a paycheck to cover checks you just wrote? Time for a new roadmap!

A financial GPS can be a terrific tool for setting a destination from your start point to a future goal. Even when your financial advisor and your accountant set up external steps for you to follow, you are ultimately the driver of your “monetary” vehicle. I have several clients who, in the face of grave consequences, have driven right off a fiscal cliff – despite having been informed of its presence.

Collectively, many of us have become unconscious and drift through the “business” of our lives. As you become aware of what direction you want to go, you can work your way out of that dream state. Slow down and make conscious choices for the next three months. “I will not charge my credit card; I’ll just skip going out to dinner this week.” “Maybe I do not need three new outfits.” “I should balance my checkbook.” “Take a breath and focus.” (It is good to remind yourself to slow down.) Now you can actively manage your money rather than frantically reacting to fiscal surprises.

Makes life more enjoyable!
Bob

Follow @themoneynerve on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter

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TAKING STOCK – A FINANCIAL PICTURE

3x3 Credit ScoreJanuary is often a “holiday-hangover” month for many. February is a great time to take stock and move forward. This week, we will explore credit scores and reports and how they affect you.

What is a credit score and why is it important? Credit scores were initially set up as a way for large financial institutions to provide an algorithm for determining people’s credit worthiness. Most people have misconceptions about their credit and the credit scores. Credit scores are defined by a three digit number – although most Americans would prefer to see a grade: A, B, C, D and F for easier understanding.

• Excellent Credit: 750+
• Good Credit: 700-749
• Fair Credit: 650-699
• Poor Credit: 600-649
• Bad Credit: below 600

Will my credit go down if I keep checking it? How often should I check my credit reports or my score? No, checking your credit or applying to pre-approved offers will not impact your score. Multiple credit card inquiries or applying for a mortgage will show up as a “hard inquiry” and could lower your score a few points. You can check your credit every four months without repercussions, if you are monitoring to raise your numbers, but a good rule of thumb is to check it annually.

You can get your credit score free once a month at Credit.com.

Will my credit score affect getting a new job? No, when companies ask for permission to access your records, they are looking at your credit report to see your credit history.

How do I check my credit report?
You can review your full credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com, which provides you with a free credit report once a year from each of the three credit bureaus. You want to confirm that all the details are correct. If you find outstanding loans that do not belong to you or see that an account is listed as unpaid- when that account is in good standing; you can make corrections or stop any fraudulent activities. Another free website for checking your credit is Credit Karma.

How can I build my credit? Paying utility bills on time, open a savings account and take out a small, secured loan (using the amount you have in the bank). You repay that loan from your savings account. Be sure to set up automatic payments, so you are never late. You can also get a secured credit card that is tied to a set amount you have in savings.

Have a diverse financial path that includes paying bills on time, a car note and a credit card, on which you make weekly or monthly payments. Late payments will ruin your credit report and your score.

If you own three credit cards, only use 1 or 2 of them & keep the 3rd in reserve so that your % of debt stays low.

Being conscious of your “numbers” can provide you with the ability to see where you are NOW, helps you set your financial GPS to set new goals and to gives you the opportunity to make proactive decisions for an abundant life!

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YOUR FINANCIAL GPS

3x3 From A-ZWhen we get in a car and activate the GPS, we assume it knows where we are and will get us where we want to go. Yet from experience, we know we can’t always rely on it to be accurate. In order to make good decisions before going anywhere, we first need to know where we are and where we want to go. The same principle applies when making good financial decisions, we need to break the GPS mentality and start thinking for ourselves instead of staying on financial autopilot.

You may believe that your investment adviser and your accountant use some kind of financial GPS to get you where you want to go. And that is what you are paying them for. Even if they have mapped out a plan, YOU are ultimately the driver of your fiscal vehicle. I have several clients who, in the face of grave consequences, have driven right off a money cliff despite having been informed of its presence. Know where you are, be aware, and know what your destination is. Just as there may be road closures or challenging traffic on the interstate, you need to be flexible and make monetary changes when dealing with “financial roadblocks.” Recalculate your GPS and continue to move forward to achieve important long-term goals.

Have you have become unconscious? Open your eyes, examine new options and work your way out of that dream state. Make conscious choices in your
financial travels and stay aware of your surroundings. Begin today! Approach financial decisions with a proactive, intentional course of action, rather than letting emotional reactions drive your life! You will enjoy the journey so much more and reach your life goals!

~Bob

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Small Steps lead to Success

When you set your financial GPS, you choose your final destination. Next, you have to decide how to get there.

Just imagine… you are driving from California to Maryland with your spouse, your four kids, a poodle and a hamster… can you imagine taking that trip without any stops? While it would be possible, it’s highly probable that your family may lose some of its sanity along the way. You are going to need to break your trip into smaller steps.

You would probably check the map and figure out how many days you can drive for eight hours. You’d plan enough time for meals and extra stops, and you’d have a rough estimate of how long the trip will take and how much it may cost. These projections guide you directly to your target.

Fast forward to your financial goals: You want to save $20,000 for a down payment on a house or condo. Break that big sum into more manageable “mini-goals” and calculate what you can realistically put away each week or each month. Determine how long it will take to set aside that amount. By going from A to B and C to D, you will “go the distance” from A to Z with more assurance.

Each time you reach your weekly goal, the balance gets higher. I have had clients that got so excited; they devised ingenious ways to save more money once they saw the benefits of working their plan. It’s exciting to help others build upon each success and see them reach their goals.

Winning the small battles makes it easier to win the big ones. Winning is a habit that everyone can master. The dynamic nature of our mental strength flips a dream into a new reality. As you determine a new financial target, think about where you are right now. Here are a few exercises for you to explore your perceptions about money.

A) Listen to yourself speak about money this next week. Write down what you said. Is it true? Is it time to make some changes?
B) Identify where you are financially right now.
C) What are your core beliefs about money – and do those still work for you?

There’s no need to be perfect, and we all have to make adjustments along the way – that will always be part the journey. Let me know if any of this resonates with you. I would love to hear your story.

Hope that helps!

Bob

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Set A New Destination

Are you where you want to be financially? All the steps you have taken in the past have led you right to where you are today!

Now if that’s not where you thought you would be, it may be time for a change. If you are in pain dealing with money and your money nerve is throbbing, you are probably ready for a change. And being open to change, you will find the motivation to create a new path. Determine what motivates you to target a new goal or lifestyle; you can then point yourself in a different direction.

Visualizing the destination you want to reach is a powerful tool for making a mental shift. Before you start on any new journey, you have to know where you are, know where you want to end and decide how you are getting there. Once you have set a destination, it is easier to make adjustments, change the road you travel on or take more time to get there. You are still planning to reach your goal, but allow yourself to be flexible.

Having a visual image of your goal is also called “mental mapping.” Much like reading a road map or setting the GPS in your car, there are many routes that lead to the same destination.

In the same vein, by identifying your current financial position, you can now set your financial GPS to reach your new goal. By creating a path from A to Z, you have built a powerful tool for traveling in the right direction. You may make adjustments, take the scenic route, or even choose another road to get there – but you are always traveling to a specific location. And that makes the trip easier.

It’s possible that the journey may have some roadblocks or detours along the way, slowing you down at times. You may have to take some extra turns or allow more time to get there. Just like a physical roadblock, mental blocks or old habits can hamper your efforts to make financial change.

Are you still juggling numerous credit cards and making a big payment to one card and the bare minimum to all the other credit card companies? Do you only have one card with a balance low enough for you charge stuff? Do you consistently spend your money before your paycheck arrives? Do you make the same choices over and over, without really thinking about why?

Be aware of your surroundings! Whether you are driving on the freeway or you are managing your money, too many roadblocks (unsustainable financial habits) can raise your probability of having an accident. And I guarantee nobody wants that!

Ready for change? Let’s go!
Bob