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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 Stop making choices based on outdated information.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 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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IS “MORE” ALWAYS BETTER?

Sweep Out ClutterIs “more” always better?
When does enough become too much?

We all want MORE! Are you working just to get by or do your work/life goals complement each other? The epitome of the American Dream is that people work hard, become more successful, earn thousands of dollars, and die with a plethora of material possessions that showcase their wealth.

But here’s a thought – Can your possessions consume you?

Do you look forward to going to work each day? Or do you dread your work environment? Maybe you would rather be doing something else. What is it and why not take steps to get there?

Making a proactive decision to get more out of life can include using what we have, being intentional when making new purchases, recycling our extras, and knowing that each material “thing” in our life has a purpose.

Look around and notice all the things you have around you. Do you need three identical vases? When was the last time you used any of that “important stuff” you have in your storage unit? Would you be significantly happier with more?

Having more material things brings additional responsibilities, cleaning, maintenance, insurance costs and clutter to daily living. Did you know that the average American home has 300,000 items in it? In fact, the Self Storage Association reports that Americans spend $24 billion each year to store their stuff in 2.3 billion square feet of these units.

Do you need ten credit cards? Maybe two would work, one card you pay off each month and another card with a low-interest rate, for when you need to carry a balance.

Does your stomach get in knots when the credit card bill lands on your kitchen counter? Using cash or paring down on your credit purchases could ease your money nerve.

Streamlining your life doesn’t mean scarcity. It is a lifestyle choice to de-clutter your life. Placing the emphasis on more meaningful work, family, flexibility of time, experiences and building relationships instead of material possessions can enhance the quality of each day. Make time in your life for people, not things and reap the benefits!

Keep a daily log of what you do each day. If television or electronic devices eat up a significant portion of your time, you may choose to reallocate TV time to go for a walk or spend time with your family.

Can less be more? Indeed, it can. Choose what is most vital to creating the life you desire. Write out your goals and a budget; a plan that tells your money where to go instead of you just wondering where it went. By examining what is essential, and using intentional goals, you can simplify your finances and your life.

Get more out of life!

Bob

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CREATE SPACE FOR NEW BELIEFS

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We have all unconsciously downloaded misinformation into our brains. We now have to consciously begin identifying our early money programming memories based on our family, early childhood and how we were raised. It will take some work to identify and change those beliefs.

By finding and following The Money Nerve, you have already started the process of self-discovery. The more I’ve learned about myself, the more I’ve understood the impact that even the most seemingly insignificant events have had on my life and that probably rings true for you as well.

Before you start any journey, you need to know where you want to go (your goal), what you have to work with (your beliefs), and what new things you will bring (your new perspective).

It’s important to bring your story to consciousness so that you begin to take responsibility for where you are. This, in turn, helps you make clearer choices that will take you where you WANT to go—and allows you to realize your own power.

Explore some of your old habits and see if those actions are still serving you. If they hold you back, it is time to clean out any financial and emotional “trash” and move forward. Once you are aware of where you sabotage yourself financially, you can begin to change your automatic responses. Be more present and listen carefully to the words you are using. As you start to consciously hear yourself creating roadblocks, choose to intentionally reroute your mind toward the fresh course of action that you have set for yourself.

Start by setting aside time to think, reflect and write down your thoughts, present and future. Spending time by yourself gives you the ability to hear your own voice and discover your dreams. Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

With a certain amount of quiet time, you start to listen with the ears behind your ears. You may hear voices saying, “Only special people do that,” “I don’t deserve it”— and the voices may not be your own. It will sound like you are saying it, but if you are like me, you might hear your parents telling you that you are not capable. Tell those voices to be quiet; you are busy. And then go back and pay attention to your own voice.

Are you ready to take action? If you hate your job, find your passion and work in that field. If you don’t have skills, take classes. If you hate being broke, start saving. If you are unhappy with your debt, make a plan to pay it down while curbing spending.

What is working for you and what isn’t? Are you ready to start creating your financial freedom even if the process is scary? Now you can begin to head in a new direction.

Invest in Value for Long Term Sustainability

The financial quick-fixers have 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.

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 and begin to make choices will 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.
  • Identify your priorities: How can you reallocate funds to support your priorities and provide additional value in your life?
  • Create a financial support system: Actively seek support utilizing professional advice, friends, financial tools, software and applications to set yourself 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!

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AFRAID OF THE IRS

IRS-Agent

It’s amazing how many people are terrified of the IRS. They view this government organization as the ultimate parent or authority figure. Even when they know they’ll get a refund, the process of getting their financial numbers together (and the fear of a possible audit) are enough to make some people avoid dealing with their taxes altogether.

Some even believe they’ll end up in prison if they have avoided filing taxes for years. Debtor prison ended a long time ago, but fines for filing taxes late are real. Ignoring tax responsibilities does not make them go away, it merely increases work later and often has a penalty attached.

When you fear authority and do not take responsibility for your finances, you essentially put the responsibility on others to make your decisions. If you’re not taking action out of rebellion, you’re saying, “I don’t like your ideas, so go ahead and do whatever you want.” If you’re relinquishing your financial responsibilities because of insecurity, you might say, “I’m afraid of doing it wrong, so I will do nothing.” Although the intentions are different, the result is the same.

Sam, one of my of my clients, came to me one day to talk about his taxes. He said, “Um, I don’t want anybody to know this, but I haven’t filed my taxes in ten years.” He was very embarrassed. I completed his returns, and it turned out he would have had tax refunds, but lost all the money due to him because the IRS deadline to collect the refunds had passed.

Once Sam became current with his filings, he was relieved and promised he would never let it happen again. The next year, I called him to remind him to send me his tax information … and the next year and the next. I finally stopped calling him. Caution! There is no time frame if you owe the IRS money. Sam was literally paying the IRS 5,000 dollars per year to not file! It is truly amazing how expensive inaction can be—and inaction is often triggered by fear.

One way to avoid fear is to be intentional as you journey through the year. Purchase an accordion folder this week & start stashing paperwork into categories. File them as soon as you pay the bills or get a paycheck. Breaking the entire fiscal year into a weekly routine of filing paperwork into your different categories will make that big April 15th chore much more manageable!

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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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Christmas Shopping Savvy

3x3 ChristmasYou are scrambling to get your last minute shopping done, or you may have received some gift cards and now you are in a mad dash to get it all done. The stores are offering huge discounts and it is easy to blow your budget! Remember to bring your friends, “a budget and a list.” Having a clear sense of what you want to purchase and sticking to your plan will keep you on track. Finding the perfect present for family and friends shouldn’t cause you emotional and financial pain in January.

Plan your purchases ahead of time and you will save yourself from extra bills and hidden costs. Prioritize your list and set an amount for each person. Be honest with yourself. What do you REALLY want or need to buy? What are you REALLY going to spend? Invest time to find coupons, comparison shop online and maybe add an app like Red Laser to your phone. You can then “price match” items in your hand by comparing prices at other retails outlets & most retailers will match the lowest price.

Bring a calculator and add up your items before you get to the cash register. You may be shocked at the total and can swap out a few items or select what is most important BEFORE you are standing at the register with a credit card in hand. Another trick is to take cash. When you hand over the money you took out of your wallet, there is a much more tangible feel to the purchase. Zipping the credit card along the side of the machine is like pushing a button on a slot machine; so quick and simple – no pain at all – until later, when you have no money left and have incurred some major debt.

Just because an item is on sale doesn’t mean it is the best value. Spending $3,000 on a new TV because it was such a deal doesn’t save you money. One way to take advantage of sales is to buy ahead for next year when everything is half-price. Buying disposable items out of season at half-price, knowing you will be wrapping presents next year makes great sense.

Remember to keep it simple and not get carried away with extravagant expectations. Keep it real and the true Christmas spirit will shine through.

Have an abundant week!

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