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Give the Gift of Time

3x3-christmas-starsThis year, Give the Gift of Time!

Choosing to make conscious choices for your money and life may have implications for many aspects of your life. Consider giving the gift of time this year. Create a mental space to listen to your thoughts. Decide how to spend the last ten days of your holiday season, using your goals to give you focus.

Visualize your “perfect” holiday. Maybe it includes parties with friends, spending time with family, or taking the time to express your gratitude. December is such a hectic time of year. Many people feel overwhelmed by obligations presented by school, work, family, and friends. Invest your time in activities that bring you the most value.

Choose which activities you will spend your time on and know that you may miss some parties or invites. Setting boundaries for a successful holiday helps you maintain your sanity, increase your sense of gratefulness and keep your “spirits bright!”

Take that one step further and give the gift of time with those closest to you this month. Listen to your spouse, best friend or family members and notice what is important to them. Investing time with people who are special in your life strengthens your bond with them, creating more meaningful relationships.

When shopping, purchase one item and plan an experience to accompany the gift – instead of buying multiple gifts for everyone. Purchasing a new sweater? Plan a date night to enjoy the new outfit. Have a friend who loves to cook? Wrap up a kitchen gadget and sign up for a cooking class together. Give a gift of time to complete the gift in a box! Many people find that spending time with others reaps greater benefits in the journey of life.

Share some of the activities that your family or circle of friends love to do — and make the holidays extra special every year.

Happy Holiday!

Bob

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SELF-MOTIVATION: find it!

3x3-self-motivation

Self-Motivation? What is it? Embrace it.

The dictionary states:
Self-motivation (noun): Initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without another’s prodding or supervision.

What’s another word for initiative?  Ambition, Get-Up-and-Go, Enthusiasm, Resourcefulness, and Moxie!

Have you tried to make a change before and didn’t quite succeed? Every time you try again — you will get closer to your goal. Have you ever heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? It is a statement. No blame, no criticism – just a fact. Sometimes, big projects take more time than we think it will. There will be challenges. How can you stay self-motivated over time? Here are a few thoughts to help you find the best path.

Applying that same concept of “building” to yourself means no self-blame and no self-criticism when you begin a project and only make it 75% of the way. Each day presents the opportunity to start again with a fresh action or to use a more innovative way to hit your goals.

When faced with difficult or challenging decisions to make “things” better, most people freeze, become apathetic or just quit. The key to forging ahead is focusing on your key dreams, goals, and sense of what the future holds for you! Use “Baby Steps” to build your world.

When you don’t get what you want the first time; appeal to your inner self to try again.

Want to purchase a new home? Save for retirement? Plan an expensive vacation? What is your next step? Take time to think empowering, expansive thoughts, and make a list. Write it down. Use this personal checklist to knock out the smaller steps that lead to finishing what you started. Fake it until you become it and last: Make a deal with yourself and after you achieve 5 or 10 steps, reward yourself for sticking to it!

You can build that city of dreams into a reality – brick by brick with self-motivation.

My advice: Start Today!

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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

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INVESTING IN VALUE = Long Term Success

3x3 Invest in Value

When you have something of value: family, friends, possessions – you want to take care of them, and maintain your investment. Many people are financial quick-fixers with a duct tape mentality, and contrary to popular belief, duct tape doesn’t fix everything. They may get immediate results, but are not actually dealing with the cause of their problem. This can result in complicated or frustrating long-term results.

If you are overdrawn in your bank account, you might think you are doing right by using your credit card to bring your account back into balance. That is robbing Peter to pay Paul. The reality is that you are creating more debt for yourself and adding interest payments to what you owe already.

I joke that I wish I could “un-know” what I know. It is a lot more work when you start to take responsibility for your life. Imagine going to a seminar and hearing that there are eight steps you have to take in order to become a millionaire. Many people in the seminar will stop at four steps and say, “I’ve finished four steps, why don’t I have 500,000 dollars?”

We live in a volatile world. Instead of being a financial quick-fixer, take a longer view into the future, make value-based choices and begin to create a healthy and abundant lifestyle over time.

  • Figure out where you are: Take a look at your spending habits and write down every purchase in a month. Will you be happy with that choice in five years?
  • Identify your priorities: How can you reallocate funds to support your priorities and provide additional value in your life? What really matters to you?
  • Create a financial support system: Actively seek support utilizing professional advice, friends, financial tools, software and applications to set your self up for success.

Once you learn to work with your list of financial goals and stop operating out of fear regarding money, you will see your efforts transfer to other aspects of your life. You may feel more financially confident once you have a clear vision of where you are and where you want to be.

Empowering yourself financially allows you to toss out old reactions and habits. You choose your actions! As you tap into your own power, you no longer wait for luck to happen or hope that you win the lottery—you actively take charge of your life. I call this positive lifestyle where the riches of life are inherent in your soul—proactive abundance!

Have a great week,

Bob

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Focus on Your Future

the money nerve

Have you ever heard Aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and the ant?

The grasshopper loved hopping about and singing during the warm summer. One day he saw an ant working hard to move an ear of corn and cried out, “Why in the world are you collecting food on this bright and beautiful day? Stay and play with me!” The ant shook his head and said, “I am saving this for the cold winter, and you should do the same.” The grasshopper laughed and went off to play but perished during cold weather. The moral of the story: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

The story seems harsh, and many people wish for a fairy tale ending where others solve all of our financial dreams (i.e., winning the lottery, getting an inheritance, marrying a rich spouse). In 1934, Disney created the delightful film short “The Grasshopper and the Ants” where the Ant Queen and her colony felt pity for the grasshopper and took him in during the winter. Have you ever seen the video? Check it out below.

Sometimes a project or goal seems so far away that it is easy to procrastinate. There is so much time left and we get bogged down in our busy-ness, that daily decisions feel more urgent and important than long-term investments in life.

Reality check: It’s your life; it’s your money! How are your plans for retirement going? Do you have savings for a rainy day? Life happens – when you least expect it.

Saving and spending are part of living a life of abundance. Let’s change the words being used from short-term desires like “I need those shoes” to some long-term goals such as, “I am making better choices with my money, to maintain my lifestyle when I get older.” As you discover the best balance between living for today like the grasshopper and stashing some wealth like the ant, you will come to realize that both are investments in yourself.

Ignoring regular maintenance on your car because you don’t want to spend the money can result in major car expenses down the line. In the same way, poor spending or saving habits may also result in a later retirement and fewer choices down the road. What should you do?

Here are three easy ways to get started:
1. Take the quarterly plan you created last week and imagine retirement is a “big purchase” like a house.
2. Determine the price of this long-term goal (the amount of money needed) with this calculator.
3. Tweak your quarterly plan (budget) to begin investing toward your targeted “quality of life” in your later years. You will be glad you decided to invest in yourself!