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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!

Follow me @themoneynerve on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ To receive our monthly newsletter with financial tips and tools, visit https://business.facebook.com/TheMoneyNerve/app/100265896690345/

 

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The Money Nerve College Scholarship Opportunity

The Money Nerve College Scholarship Opportunity

Money Nerve College Scholarship

Bob Wheeler, Author of The Money Nerve: Navigating the Emotions of Money, and founder of RWW CPA, is proud to offer a $500 Money Nerve College Scholarship opportunity to students majoring in Accounting. I am a proud alumni of Rhodes College, located in Memphis, TN. Although I cobbled together a variety of financial scholarships and financial aid, I loved my education experience, and have a successful career today, despite being very aware of money!

One of the core values of The Money Nerve and RWW CPA is that financial education and good money habits start at home. This Money Nerve College Scholarship opportunity is for students who are majoring in Accounting. Some of you may wish to serve your community in the future as a CPA.

Submissions will be accepted starting January 30th of each year with a winner announced August 1st.

The Money Nerve Scholarship

Being smart is no guarantee that you’ll reach your financial goals in life. In fact, many people with graduate degrees feel like they never received the financial education they needed. as a result, lots of people struggle with their money, often living “month-to-month,” because they weren’t taught to manage their money.

Good financial habits start at home, and I want to reward you and promote your family for making money management a priority. Your essay can assist you to pay for college classes or help with your expenses. As a result of your essay, you will teach Money Nerve readers and followers smarter ways to budget, invest, save and make money. I am happy to offer this Money Nerve college scholarship, and want to help with of the cost of completing college.

Check out the articles on The Money Nerve blog. Share your own financial story. My financial habits are influenced by my family, my emotional reactions to money decisions, and more than 25-years of listening to clients. As a matter of fact, many of my clients share common challenges with their money, no matter what their income is!

My passion for assisting others focuses on three concepts. First: exploring “why” people make the same financial decisions repeatedly. Second: examining “where” positive change can be made. Third: learning to set intentions – creating a “healthy relationship” with money.

This fresh perspective generates a life of proactive abundance. And anyone striving to be a CPA soon learns that the job is more than just numbers. It takes a mixture of savvy financial knowledge paired with compassion to provide assistance for people to manage their finances more efficiently.

How to Apply for The Money Nerve College Scholarship

Applicants must submit an essay (minimum 500 words- no more than 1,000 words). Share what your parents/family taught you about personal finance, and how that benefitted your life. Topics can include: budgeting, paying bills, balancing your bank statement, how to start investing, saving for big goals, making money or other financial skills that you learned. These practical tips will also help you to be a successful CPA.

• Essays must be original and not submitted to other websites.
• Applicants must be either currently enrolled in or actively applying to an undergraduate business program with a declared major in Accounting. Students at both community colleges and four-year institutions are encouraged to apply. One application per student.
• Essays can be submitted beginning January 29, 2018, and must be in my inbox by May 1st, 2018. (Word document format-not PDF)
• Mail applications to bob@themoneynerve.com, and include name, address and phone number. Please be sure to place “Scholarship” in the email subject line.
• Each applicant must state the school the student is attending or registered for, and current college level, (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student).

The Money Nerve College Scholarship Winner

Essays to be featured February – June 2018, on The Money Nerve blog. This is a great way highlight and teach financial education to young adults. The Money Nerve College scholarship winner will be selected on Friday, July 20th, and posted on Wednesday, August 1st. Winning is determined by which submitted essay receives the most social media “buzz” – generating the most social media shares.

Best of luck and I look forward to hearing what money lessons and tips have made a difference in your life!

~Bob Wheeler

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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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2018 It’s The New Year Again!

The Money Nerve
A New Year Again

It’s the new year again!

It’s a new year again! And, that’s a good thing. You have the opportunity to make a fresh start and make adjustments to create a better life.

January Resolutions

This January, the media will be overflowing with a barrage of top ten lists, resolutions and blogs to show you how to be wealthier, healthier and “be perfect” … and it’s only $19.99, (with a set of knives!) Resist the temptation to overthink your goals.

You can’t do everything – all at the same time. You may not check off all the boxes this year, but you can make a difference!

Decide What is Most Important to You

Whoa! Slow down and decide what is most important to you. Not what the TV pundits, the radio talk-show hosts or the Internet marketing pros tell you, but what YOU genuinely want to see in your life. Make it the best new year ever! You alone can take steps to change. New actions that will bring about new and fresh results. Once you determine personal goals, don’t be swayed by others. Don’t compare yourself or get dragged down because it appears that everyone is doing better than you. President Theodore Roosevelt stated, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Choose Your Reality

Commit to choose your reality with thoughtful intentions and proactive activities. Begin by creating a space of goodwill and generosity toward yourself. No blame – Just realize that shifting some of your priorities will take a different energy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a positive cash flow? Start looking for the destination you’d like to reach via your mental map.

It’s a New Year, Know Where You Are

The first step before beginning a journey is to know where you are. Take a notebook and jot down your schedule for the day or the whole week. Find time to set aside 15-30 minutes each day for personal time. Use this time to think, plan, and dream of where you want to be in 1 year, five years and even a decade from now. Once you know where you want to be as well as where you are beginning from, you can explore and build an action plan to get you there.

Support Your Intentions with Action

With an action plan, you can set intentions to hit your goal. As we all know, life has many bumps in the road, and things beyond our control can often cause detours or bring us to a complete stop. By having a plan for the new year, you can reroute and make changes to continue toward what’s meaningful with your life. Therefore your life doesn’t fall apart, and you create flexibility to expand your options. You are on the road to Proactive Abundance! Congrats.

If you would like for me to come speak and inspire others at your club, church or community outreach center, click HERE

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Build A Road To Financial Freedom

Road to Financial Freedom

Build A Road To Financial Freedom

Wish you were living on Easy Street, USA, with an incredible amount of money just earning interest? Here are some simple steps for you to build a road to financial freedom. Many of us long for enough money to pay the bills and then some! Unfortunately, a majority of us have more month than money and feel helpless when trying to manage our bills.

Embrace Your Story

To arrive at a new destination, you need to determine where you are today. No guilt, no accusations or remorse – just figure out where you are financially and use that as the basis for a new direction. Decide to make adjustments, making new or different choices that will empower you.

Set Simple Goals

Explore what things are most important to you. Use that information to begin building your road to financial success. Taking time to set priorities gives you the power to make smarter decisions with your money. If laziness, bad habits or emotional reactions currently drive your budget, you will be amazed how quickly proactive choices can boost your bank account!

Be Accountable

Write down your financial goals and give yourself a deadline. There are many paths to achieve your desires, and by mapping out a plan, you give yourself a higher percentage of hitting your target. When you know what bad habits or destructive emotions have sabotaged your efforts before – you can choose to try an alternate course of action. One of the benefits of having written goals is that they help you stay the course over time. This accountability is a key component for creating financial freedom.

Change Your Mindset

Using positive and powerful words to impact your actions. Stop telling yourself that you just can’t do it or that it’s too hard. Create new mental pathways with positive intentions such as, “I want to save money with each paycheck to purchase a home (car, vacation, etc.) and apply one action to that wish. You can set up an automatic deduction that routes $25 to your savings account.

Small Steps = Big Change

Making one little decision each day that leads you closer to one of your primary goals will reap enormous benefits over the course of one year! Saving $25 a week will earn you more than $1,000 within the year. And that will grow to $6,500 in just five years. One tiny step practiced consistently, can create lasting effects in your life. Check out the first chapter of The Money Nerve book ~ Make time to make a change TODAY!

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Does Money Buy True Love?

Money vs Time

Does Money Buy True Love?

My grandparents gave my family so much! We knew they loved us best! We were their only grandchildren. Their money bought TVs, stereos, a vehicle when we turned sixteen – and we loved being spoiled by them. But as children, we never thought to ask “does money buy true love?” When I was a young adult, and my grandparents needed some help around the house, I spent a few days in their yard fixing things up. At the end of the weekend, my grandfather tried to give me a hundred bucks, which I politely refused. My grandparents were very confused and hurt. They felt they needed to pay for everything, all the time. They could not comprehend that I simply wanted to spend time with them because I loved them.

Do you use money to “solve” problems or to make people like you more?

It wasn’t until recently that I realized what my grandparents were really saying with their overly generous attention: “We don’t feel worthy of your love, but if we give you lots of money, will you pretend to love us?” I was taken aback, hurt and saddened by that thought.

Using Money to Mask Insecurity

What I came to understand is that my grandparents grew up feeling insecure and unworthy of attention. The only way they thought they could convince people to love them was through bribery. My grandparents taught my mother the same lesson, which not surprisingly trickled down to my siblings and me. Buying expensive presents, always treating friends or family to meals or providing luxuries that they cannot afford, to make others love you more, isn’t a “real” relationship.  Even though the money was always used for positive experiences to create a loving environment, the cash did not create a bond; it was the act of connecting and caring that cemented the relationship.

Explore the Emotions that Propel You to Use Money in Relationships

Going out to eat, attending special events, and taking your family to Disneyland are all positive things that we do with friends and family because we care about them. However, if the underlying emotion is based on fear and need, it might be time to explore your actions. Are you afraid people won’t like you if you can’t splurge on expensive meals and events? Do you need people to admire you or feel awed and impressed with your generosity?  Is your money serving you well when you “buy” people?

Investigate the emotions that trigger your automatic financial response in relationships.  Check out ways to examine your actions – set aside quiet time to reflect on what’s most important to you or begin to journal. Start making conscious choices that will generate an authentic connection based on love and trust. By cultivating genuine relationships with family and friends, you will construct a lifestyle of proactive abundance, and that makes all the difference in the world!

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Power Up for Positive Change

positive changePower Up for Positive Change!

Training Your Brain for a Successful Mental Shift

Each day, we are given a gift of time. You know that you have 24 hours in a day, so let’s break that down into minutes. There are 1,440 minutes each day to work, play, make a difference in your life and be the person you secretly want to be. You have ample time to power up for positive change!

In fact, it takes about the same amount of time to make an excuse for why you aren’t living the life you desire – as it does to make small positive actions that will become live-changing.

One of the best ways to begin making a mental shift is to quit fighting the old you; those emotionally charged childhood memories, unhealthy habits or self-sabotaging actions don’t serve you well. Divert your attention toward building the newer version of you; Begin to focus on WHERE you want to be and how you WANT to behave. Start right this minute.

Action changes things! Many times people find a new action creates a ripple in a different direction or portion of their life. Ride the energy toward positive change. You can train your mind to be more fit with daily decisions that will directly impact the result you want to achieve. Your goals will define your actions. Write down one goal to get started on the new you.

Here are three tools for creating a healthy mindset and mental attitude:

1) Be Grateful

Look for reasons to be grateful. Take time on a daily or weekly basis to write down why these events, people or experiences fulfilled you and made you thankful. The physical process of writing down your thoughts creates a real change in your brain.

2) Be Mindful

In essence, being mindful is to find or maintain a non-judgmental sense of attention to the present moment. Instead of becoming angry, emulating other’s negative energy or turning inward and focusing on emotions that can consume you, stop! Observe, be “in the moment” and explore all the details around you without relapsing into old habits or reliving emotional drama. When you dredge up old memories, the situation now becomes “all about you.”
Stephen Covey shared a moving story about a dad and his rowdy children on an NYC subway in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It is a fabulous insight into the effects of being mindful – which often results in a paradigm shift.

3) Fake it until you Become It

You can embark on a new adventure or career choice before you have achieved your vision of ultimate perfection. Don’t wait to lose ten pounds to attend a class reunion or feel you must have $500 in the bank before you look for a new job. Began to act the way you dream of being. As you make those subtle changes and actions each day, over time, you can become the person that you were dreaming of being. Just as Popeye boosted his power with spinach to be strong, you can power up for positive change and achieve your vision with intentional choices. Think about this famous Winston Churchill quote, “Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.” Aim High! You might just make it!

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Intentional Words Create an Abundant Life

Intentional words create an abundant life!

Words are powerful

Listen to what you are saying to yourself and the world. Now, consciously use words to create a new paradigm. Think before you speak. If you want to change where your life is going, then it’s time to become aware of your internal priorities. It is feasible to live an abundant life regardless of your salary level.

People say, “I need a bigger TV,” or “I need to go to Hawaii.” But these are wants are not needs. They may want those things, yet they can live a full life without a bigger screen or vacation. People need oxygen; they don’t need the newest cell phone upgrade. By prioritizing need over want, many people find that they are more connected to what is valuable to them, and don’t want to waste time or money on the latest gadget advertised by the media.

Once you decide what is important, listen to your words, begin to give yourself more choices, and change your mental map. Your word is your magic wand and the words you speak create your destiny! If you constantly want more or feel overwhelmed by the “things” you have accumulated, you can redefine what “MORE” can be. You will want to expand your vocabulary and choose new words to use.

MORE isn’t always better

Adopt the mantra that MORE isn’t always better. More than enough food may make you heavier and less healthy. More than enough alcohol may consume your budget and your good judgment. More than enough clothes may cause you stress each day when you can’t decide what the “right look” is. And more than enough stuff takes over your life, clutters your house and mental state, and strains your budget when you have to pay to store all your extra stuff! Having less does not mean being poor or restricted. you can live an abundant life thru positive choices.

Create an abundant life where MORE is less

Here are some examples:
More time with friends, less time stressing about work or money.
More options to make life fulfilling, less fear of what others think.
Intentionally selecting actions to complete your life goals, build a more meaningful life and less blame, shame, and frustration.

Choose the Life You Wish to Lead

By choosing what positive choices and changes you want and then directing your energy on those, you spend less time fixating on the negative impulses, purchases, and decisions. Thus, you begin to live each day with the intention of creating an abundant and proactive life, personally and financially.

What words will you use?

Find powerful action words to support a sense of purpose like “I will”  “I can” “My next step is…” Give yourself permission to make conscious choices. Let go of old assumptions and give your life the value it deserves. Start by substituting the word “but” with the word “and.” It opens up your options! Try it, “I really want _____ and I can _____ to achieve that.” You only have one life ~ Live an abundant life and make the most of it!

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Finding Personal Success

Finding Personal Success

Finding Personal Success

Thirty years ago, success was defined as working at one company for a lifetime and being a loyal worker. Today, finding personal success can be found in many ways. Increase your personal viability by searching for opportunities that give you the power to grow. Build your success within an existing organization or seeking new ventures beyond a routine 9-5 job. Additionally, increasing  your skill level often results in an exciting job in an emerging field. Don’t sell yourself short.

As you review any negative inner dialogue, toss away outdated opinions or self defeating ideas that no longer work for you. This helps you redefine up your concept of success. Now it’s time to plan the next steps you need to fulfill your goals. Be positive in order to set yourself up as a winner.  Map out your strategic plan with small bite-sized goals that are fairly easy to achieve. The first thing to remember in your quest to find personal success is to be prepared – there will probably be bumps along the way, along with some frustrating moments. However, you can move past these challenges by being prepared, flexible and learning to maneuver more effectively.

Take a moment to assess your talents, time and budget.

If you are unsure, you can turn around feelings of insecurity:

• Evaluate your social circle
• Surround yourself with like-minded people who support you
• Budget truthfully to know your current financial position

An honest assessment regarding your current situation results in a more successful result.

Every past decision brought you exactly where you are today.

This is where you wanted to be! Every decision you have made led you to this place. Do you like where you are? Does it fulfill the “dream life” you envisioned? If this place in life shocks you, don’t despair, because today is the opportunity to make a change. As a matter of fact, now is the best time to formulate a fresh plan.

This is my favorite part of the equation because this is where you make some Money Magic appear. How do you make this happen? It is totally up to you. YOU control the numbers. YOU define how and where you want to spend your money. YOU set intentions and YOU take action. Therefore, don’t let the media, advertisers, family or friends tell you what YOU want. Take a stand and invest in YOU! I would like to point out that stating what is most important in your life results in a personal and financial roadmap that delivers a genuine outcome.

Reaffirm strategic goals

“I am passionate about ________ and my goal is to someday _________!”

As a result of stating what is meaningful, consistent actions every day result in completing many small goals. Finding your personal success is enhanced by achieving goals consistently. Winning begets winning, and this mental strength becomes a tool for you to build a meaningful, prosperous life – even when detours pop up along the way!

Charting Your Course

Now you are charting your own course with thoughtful intention. As you know, budgets ebb and flow, but continue to invest in your long-term plans. The benefit of planting seeds of intentional, conscious choice are evident when you finally purchase your first home or take that coveted “over the top” European vacation. Living an abundant life becomes a way of life, not just a one-time destination. In fact, now is the time to harvest the rewards!

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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.