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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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SELF-MOTIVATION: find it!

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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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A BETTER LIFE

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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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MONEY and RELATIONSHIPS

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Money and Relationships: two areas of life we all long for, have issues with and want the best of — all of the time!

The people in your life who have the greatest effect on your emotions and your personal finances could be business partners, spouses, significant others, or family members you have included in a business relationship. I call these people financial partners. What most of us neglect to do is engage our financial partners so that we are on the same page. The most frequent choice people make is to avoid confrontation when dealing with money and relationships. Financial habits cause the same problems over and over again. Ignoring fiscal issues will come back to haunt you. Stop the cycle by initiating conversation.

As you become more aware of your emotions and what triggers your Money Nerve, you will be more understanding of your partner’s Money Nerve. Now with your improved perspective of your “significant other”, your conversation can be more productive. You may still be annoyed and even upset by the reactions of others—and you creating tools to strengthen your relationship. I met with several engaged couples who realized the importance of discussing finances before getting married. One young man was not sure how to address the issue with his fiancé without hurting her feelings. He made a proactive choice saying; “I have arranged a meeting with my accountant so we can discuss how things change when we are married.” Exploring new options ahead of time, allowed the couple to investigate their goals and begin thinking as a team.

Some couples never communicate about their finances. Connie told James she had sent checks for the previous year’s estimated tax payments. Imagine James’s surprise when the government filed a lien against him. It was a shock for James to discover Connie was unable to deal with taxes. Instead of responding with anger, he decided to handle their taxes in the future.

Does this lack of communication affect your finances? Does your spouse spend beyond his or her means? Do you still refuse to confront the issue? Do you have hidden money problems in your relationship? Have you ever hidden a foolish purchase from your partner? Almost every day, I hear about relationships that have problems revolving around money. Bring those issues into the light and find a win-win solution for achieving your shared goals.

Check out this money quiz for you and your partner to take together and build a more cohesive approach:

Here are a few tips to jump-start your shared financial journey:
Setting primary goals
Select the most important common goals
Set a budget for spending and saving
Define small steps to make it easier

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SMALL STEPS TO SUCCESS

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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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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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Setting Your Priorities

Shift in Perspective

Re-evaluating what is most important can be life changing. Studies have proven that effective goal setting can bring about significant change in a person’s thought actions and lifestyle.

Sometimes people procrastinate because the task seems to big to handle. Some folks concentrate on tiny meaningless decisions that don’t make an impact on critical choices. Some people think there just isn’t enough time, but in creating a slight mental shift, time and desire can redirect your time, efforts and concentration to become more productive in your choices.

One of the benefits you may have as you make progress in one or two areas — you may find that your renewed focus and energy manifest positive changes in other aspects of your life as well. Setting goals is an excellent way to discover your true internal beliefs and take actions that are true to the “real” you. You can learn to create balance and success in both your personal and professional live.

While it may feel overwhelming, stating intentions and setting goals can be broken down into a few easy steps.

  • Step 1: Write down all of your goals for the next 2-5 years. Rank them by what you desire most and then make a side note determining if the goals are easy or difficult. Breaking the bigger, more challenging goals into smaller “chapters” gives you the ability to work out a solution over time.
  • Step 2: Realize you can’t make massive changes in every area of your life at the same time. Pick three main goals to begin with and stay focused on those first.
  • Step 3: Write down your goals and start a journal to review your thoughts, write yourself notes or log inspirational quotes or ideas to keep you going. You may find the goal evolves with time, producing better results.
  • Step 4: Reward yourself for success. Many “pint-sized” steps can culminate in achieving substantial results. Take time to recognize small victories and “treat” yourself with a little reward.

Life is a series of snapshots and moments that create the wholeness and beauty of our lives – rejoice in it!

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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