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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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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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Vacation Travel Hacks

The Money Nerve travel hacks

Everyone deserves an escape from work now and then and you don’t need to break your piggy bank. Make the most of your vacation dollars by planning ahead, and using money-savvy travel hacks to create an oasis of fun and relaxation!

You know you need a break and want to find the best spot. Here are a couple of tips for you to find the best solutions for both traveling and sticking to your budget.

  • Book fixed-cost trips: Explore and select trips that fit the exact dollar amount in your budget. No extra fees & no surprises. Another method for destination selection is to pick a theme. Base your trip on some of your favorite activities. Love wine? Tour a few vineyards or participate in a cooking class seminar. History buffs can find numerous forts and museums across the country while nature lovers have incredible opportunities to hike and bike, enjoying a personal experience in stunning landscapes.
  • Plan Ahead: Find discount codes for your favorite destination and pre-purchase museum tickets, boat rides or city-saver coupon books ahead of time. You will be amazed at how much money you can save!
  • Road Trips: Today, gasoline is still very reasonable and driving is a cost efficient mode of travel. Allow time for side trips and enjoy several stops along the way. Check out some of the most popular USA road trips HERE.
  • Spectacular Landscape: Another fabulous way to see America: Visit nps.gov to find a national park within driving distance. For more road trip ideas, visit http://www.visittheusa.com.
  • Lower Hotel Costs: Travel with friends and family and rent a condo or house. One option is to find smaller independently owned hotels that are not part of a chain. Many times you will get more personal service and spend less. Tired of slow elevators and too many people? Investigate AirBNB or Vacation Homes By Owner for spacious digs at half the price of hotels.
  • Popular Destinations: Find the “hot-spot” and stay in the nearest town for bigger savings. For example, if you are going to Niagara Falls, stay outside of Buffalo, New York – it’s only a 20-minute drive across the border.
  • Flying: Be sure to check flight rates often, use the online travel services that compare prices and send you alerts; farecompare.com, farecast.com, yapta.com, travelocity.com.

Vacations are great stress relievers and bring a sense of renewal to the fast pace of everyday life.  Reward yourself! Be proactive and reap the benefits of your hard work without going into debt.  Be sure to follow @themoneynerve on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more travel hacks.

Have a great vacation this summer — You deserve it!

Bob

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THE VALUE OF TIME

 

3x3 Value of Time

How do you value your time?

What does time mean to you? Do you give your time a value?

I am not just speaking about an hourly wage; I am talking about all the hours in your life. Life is full of activities, challenges, distractions, and obstacles every day. Many people feel they could use a “double” to get everything done. 

A 2008 Forbes article looks at this dilemma, “Time is the most valuable commodity. We never seem to have enough of it. Everyone is time-strapped, time-poor, time-starved. Choose your cliché. Most of us don’t make the most of our time. We wish we did. A self-help industry has flourished on the hope that even if we can’t make more time–the 24 hours in a day remain immutable–we can at least make the most of what we have. Even the most ardent makers of “to-do” lists fritter time away.

Which raises this question to fill an idle moment: Why don’t we value time as we do any other good or service? We could then decide what we do with ours in the most cost-effective way: rationally maximizing our “return on time invested” (ROTI), if you will.”  {Tools for allocating assets}

Ben Franklin said, “Time is Money.” Substitute the word INVESTING for MONEY. Using the word investing as you delegate time may help you to place a higher value on people and experiences. Investing in yourself could be additional education, job training or saving for the future. Investing in relationships could mean scheduling time for valuable activities with family, friends or loved ones. By equating a value to time – it can alter the perspective of your intentions. Being young can give one the sense that everything will last forever, and family and friends will always be there. As people age, many develop a keen sense of time as friends move away or they experience the loss of a cousin, uncle or parent. In retrospect, the personal relationships take on a greater value.

An interesting way to value time is to compare it to a bank account where each person is given 86,400 seconds (dollars) to use each day. Time spent on long-term goals and life-building relations will count more in life. The time lost each night in your account is renewed with a current balance of seconds and minutes to be used again. Consequently, living each day with its sense of promise and possibilities, demands each hour to be lived to the fullest, being “in the present.”

Make space to truly cherish and live – at any particular moment – this week! Celebrate your family, your Mom and those people who you have chosen into your circle of family and loved ones. That is time well spent!

Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is mystery
Today is a gift
That is why it’s called the present!!

-Bob

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CHRISTMAS “TIME”

3x3 Gifts of timeChoosing to make conscious choices for your money and life may have implications in many aspects of your life. Set aside some quiet time this December and create a mental space to listen to your thoughts. Decide how to spend your holiday season, using your goals to give you focus.

What would your “perfect” holiday look like? Maybe it includes parties with friends, spending time with family, or taking time to express your gratitude. This 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 spend 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, instead of buying four gifts for each person, purchase one item and plan an experience to accompany the gift. Purchasing clothes? Plan a date night to enjoy the new outfit. Have a friend who loves to cook? Wrap up a new piece of cooking equipment and sign up for a cooking class together. Give a gift of time to complete the gift in a box! Many people find investing in 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.

~ Bob

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START TO QUESTION

3x3 Habits we learn from parents

You have probably heard this story before, but I wanted to share it again because it made such an impact on me.

It is easy to get caught up in the business of our lives and lose sight of what’s important and “WHY!”

A little boy started saving his allowance and any spare change he found, stashing it under his pillow.

One night, the little boy greeted his father at the door and asked, “How much money do you make?” The father was slightly offended and told his son it was none of his business.

Later, the father started feeling guilty and went back to his son and said, “Son, I make twenty dollars an hour.” The little boy’s face brightened and he asked his dad if he could borrow $12. Now his father blew up, “Why would I give you $12? You probably just want to spend it on junk toys and silly games!” He told his son to go to bed and angrily left the room.

As the father sat in the living room and his anger dissipated, he realized that his son very rarely asked for money. He had not given his child the opportunity to share why he needed the money. He went back to his son’s room and apologized, “I’m sorry I got angry. You rarely ask for money and I will give you the $12 you asked for. Why you are asking for extra money?”

With tears in his eyes, the young boy looked up and said, “I know you are very busy and have so much to do. I wanted to know how much you make so I could save enough money to buy an hour of your time. With the money you have given me, I have enough! Will you please come home earlier tomorrow night and have dinner with me?”

It has been said by many that no one regrets spending more time at the office as they look back over their life. Family and friends are valuable and your investment in relationships will always outweigh pure materialism. Do we need money? Yes! Do we need to manage our finances effectively? Yes! But remember there is more to life than just more.

As you walk through life, take a moment and breathe deeply enough to create a space; space that allows you to make choices objectively. Rather than simply reacting, have empathy with yourself and others. I hope you will honor yourself and others this week!

Bob

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Does Money Solve Everything?

yard work with grandpa

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

My grandparents gave my family so much! They provided TVs, stereos, a vehicle when we turned sixteen – and we loved being spoiled by them. When I was a young adult and my grandparents needed some help around the house, I spent a weekend 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 could not comprehend that I simply wanted to spend time with them because I loved them.

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 totally taken aback and saddened by that thought.

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.

All of these activities are 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. Is your money serving you well when you “buy” people? Investigate the emotions that trigger your automatic responses in relationships. Begin making conscious choices that will generate a genuine connection based on love and trust.

Bob

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The Benefits of Financial Freedom

We have all heard the phrase, “Time is money.” Many people equate that strictly with the idea of making more money. Let’s take another look at this simple phrase.

Think about balancing your time and money for the optimal benefits to you. Aim to achieve the goals that are the most valuable to you. Applying this integrated view may open up some new options you had not thought of before.

Grab a notepad and jot down your schedule for the next day or for the upcoming week. Think about the time you have and the finances you have and determine whether these two things are moving you forward the way you would like.

Think about some of the dreams you hold and start using your time and money to make the dreams a reality.

Where do you want to be in one year or five years? Would you like to be free of credit card debt? Do you want to travel the world? Would you like to have a set amount for retirement? How can you change some of your habits to move the resources you have to make these dreams part of your overall plan?

Can you make time to get a second job or to invest in yourself with additional education to stay valuable? Do you need to adjust your work schedule to make time for family activities and obligations of parenthood? Can you set aside money today for a better life tomorrow? Do you really need to pay a monthly fee for a storage unit as a “vacation home” for all your extra stuff?

This process is all about finding the balance and value that makes YOUR life meaningful. And the most powerful part of this exercise is that you choose and you implement – it is your choice!

As you decide what you really want, write it down. Project a time frame and you have a goal.

You have now set intentions for what you value most in your life. Quiet all the negative voices or thoughts in your head. Use this plan to start making change.

Will you get there instantly? Probably not.

Will you have to make changes or readjust your plan? Probably so – life happens!

Take 15 minutes right now and think about your goals.

Here’s a great quote from the Dalai Lama to get started: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so TODAY is the right time to love, believe and mostly live.”

Being intentional and being in the moment are beneficial tools for creating value and living an abundant life. Be present this week and live fully!

Bob