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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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BUDGET FOR YOUR FUTURE

Start a Savings AcctAre you saving? If you are in the hole one hundred dollars this month, and you continue down that path, how long will it be before you get so far behind that you will not be able to turn it around? You need to create a savings habit. Some financial advisors suggest eliminating all debt before saving. I believe you should pay off debt and save simultaneously.

Start putting twenty-five dollars into a savings account. Today. NOW!

Set up an automatic debit with the bank so that, when your direct deposit hits on the 5th of each month into your checking account, an electronic transfer goes into your savings account on the 6th. Start this habit at the same time you learn to pay down your debts. You want to establish a method for both. Yes, you’ll pay a little more interest than if you put the extra twenty-five dollars toward the credit card debt, but you’ll start to see your savings account grow. My experience is that, as people begin to save a little, they feel a sense of accomplishment and can’t wait to start putting more away.

Remind yourself to “pay yourself” first. That is what saving is about – paying yourself for your future. People say they want to pay themselves first, and they usually don’t follow through. I ask my clients, “Why aren’t you saving?” I often hear, “I am waiting to get this big check, and then I’m going to kick-start my savings plan.” Or they say, “I want to pay off all my debt before I start saving.”

My experience with many clients (and my previous self) is that we often promise ourselves to save, and we rarely do. There isn’t usually a big windfall or a money tree that lets us wipe away all our debts and obligations. Assume there’s no big lottery win in your future and just start putting away small amounts.

Get into the new habit of saving. You should start with twenty-five dollars. Start experiencing the gratification of seeing your savings grow while paying down your credit cards and other debts. Incorporate the habit of saving while honoring your prior financial obligations. You are now becoming debt-free while building your wealth and that equation will provide more freedom for future plans.

Each evening, I empty my pockets and drop the change into a jar. I have three or four jars. When one fills up, I add a second one… and then a third. I may have about eighty bucks of change at the end of the year. If you like to save your change like I do, you don’t even have to keep filling those jars. Take the coins down to the bank and throw them into your savings account where it will earn a little interest. It may be little change at first, but lots of small change turns into dollars. Going from being in the red to managing a positive flow of income is a great feeling!

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Let’s Make Tax Season Easier!

3x3 Easy tax TipsNeed a few financial tips to assist with your money and tax decisions? As a CPA, I get a lot of questions on how best to prepare for paying taxes, and preparing for tax season. Today, I would like to give you a few suggestions for this year and steps to be sure you will be ready next year!

A lot of people wait until the last minute to start adding up receipts. What I suggest is to purchase a money management tool, like Quicken or QuickBooks to track your money and expenses on a weekly or monthly basis, so that you are not playing “catch-up” at the end of the year.

OR: For those of you that don’t like to manage receipts digitally, I recommend purchasing several large manila envelopes and labeling them for the different expenses you will incur over the year. For example, you might have ten big yellow envelopes and one might be labeled automobile expenses, one might be repair and maintenance expenses, and one could be labeled cell phone and communications, etc. Each month you would just throw the receipts for that category into the envelope.

A lot of people make the mistake of filing or presenting their receipts by month: January, February, March, and so on. The government doesn’t care about monthly receipts, only what the sum of each category is – as related to your income and deductible expenses. So filing receipts by category is much more efficient. Another thing you might do is to save all receipts when making a charitable donation. Place these receipts in an envelope as well, to document your tax deductions.

Additionally, if you have several streams of revenue, be sure to save several of your pay stubs, in the event you don’t get a W-2 from that employer. At the least, save the final pay stub of the year to give yourself a “snapshot” for determining your annual salary from that employer or company.

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful. These simple steps will result in you being better organized, while making tax season less stressful and easier to deal with!

You CAN have a healthier relationship with your money!
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

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Facing Financial Fears

The Money Nerve

83% of Americans have at least one financial fear that keeps them up at night. And not surprising, almost a third worry about retirement and healthcare costs. Most people would rather ignore their nagging concerns and continue suffering in a familiar pattern rather than facing their fear and making a change.

Where are you really?

You can’t get to your ultimate destination if you don’t know your starting point.

The first key to alleviating your fear is to be honest. The more accurate the assessment, the more secure you will be in your position. You might be frustrated, but you will be aware of your financial truth and knowing where the breakdown occurs allows you to fix some of those issues.

Turn your insecurity around:

• Evaluate your social circle.
• Surround yourself with supportive friends.
• Budget truthfully so you know your financial position.

Review your income and expenses, explore where you spend your time and track down hidden costs. When you do these things, it is crucial to be honest with yourself. What do you actually earn? What do you really spend? What do you pretend is not relevant to your budget?

Most people “round up” on their income and “round down” on their expenses. If you want to get ahead and be financially successful, always lower your income estimates and raise your expense estimates. This trick will help give you a cushion for the realities of your inflows and outflows of cash.

The best way to face your financial fears is to create a budget. Having guidelines can bring comfort and structure to your plan. Start small & build your financial muscle over time. Do you have a savings account? Try to put a small percentage or dollar amount with each paycheck. If you get a raise, continue to live on the former salary & put the increase in the bank. That is a painless and highly effective more to build your wealth.

Check some of the tools we have placed HERE to help you jumpstart smart financial choices.

Don’t be scared ~ Be proactive!

Bob

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MONEY NERVE SHOW AIRS SUNDAY AUG 23

BOB-3303-Money-Nerve-bc_frontBWouldn’t it be nice to worry less about money and focus more on financial freedom? A healthy relationship with money is freedom. Tune into The Money Nerve Show Sunday, August 23,  and explore your personal decision-making process.

Learn what emotions are driving your relationship with money and create the new financial you! Define your “Money Nerve” and start making positive choices for effective financial decision-making in your life!

Mark your calendar for this Sunday, August 23, to listen to The Money Nerve Show. The topic for this show is an interesting concept,  “How to get Rich without winning the Lottery,” featuring my special guest Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS. Join us as we share tips on building wealth, learning new investment tips and living a life of financial freedom!

Barbara Friedberg is a veteran portfolio manager, expert investor, and former university finance instructor. Friedberg is editor of several books including Personal Finance; An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management, How to Get Rich Without Winning the Lottery, Invest and Beat the Pros-Create and Manage a Successful Investment Portfolio and publisher of BarbaraFriedbergPersonalFinance.com. You can also find her “Young & Oldish Money” podcast on iTunes.

The Money Nerve Show with Barbara Friedberg will be broadcast this Sunday, August 23, at 3 pm PT / 6 pm ET.

Dreamvisions 7 Radio: 1510am WMEX Boston
Re-Broadcasts Weekly Each Friday: Noon & Midnight PST / 3 pm & 3 am EST
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Please join us!
Bob