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SPRING CLEANING YOUR FINANCES

Spring Clean 4x4 300 dpiWhat are you waiting for? It’s Time to Spring Clean your Finances! For most people, the idea of climbing Mount Everest is scary. The thought of walking along a narrow trail with a three-thousand-foot cliff at its edge may leave you frozen in your tracks. In a similar scenario, some people are terrified of facing their budgets, their level of spending and how they will live once they have retired.

Most people spend their lives confronting financial fear by ignoring it.

Join me for a quick and easy “Spring Cleaning your Finances challenge! For the next two weeks, I will be sharing easy tips for you to clean out what you don’t need and give you some tools to make the most of the income you have! Clear out the dust, drop that debt and take advantage of #TheMoneyNerve tips to “Spring Clean Your Finances!”

Please like and share the Money Nerve posts and feel free to share some of your favorite tips for saving money. Tag @themoneynerve and use the hashtags #SpringClean #TheMoneyNerve when sharing or posting. On Monday, May 2, one winner will be randomly selected from these social media posts to win a complimentary 30-minute financial session with me via Skype.

Financial fear can make you stop in your tracks. Not taking a look at your account balances, not making any decisions, ignoring your family, and not knowing when to take good advice are a few examples of how people start to freeze up. Now that tax time has ended, it is the perfect opportunity to review, refine and move forward financially. It is smart to re-organize your life: the house, the garage, the medicine cabinet, and your finances on an annual basis. Fine-tuning your goals will help to make the next year easier and more prosperous!

Let’s go!

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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2016 MONEYCHALLENGE

3x3 TMN Challenge copyTake the #2016MONEYCHALLENGE with The Money Nerve TODAY!

For the entire month of January, @themoneynerve will be offering a daily tip to challenge YOU to be smarter with your money. Like & follow the #MoneyNerve on Facebook, Twitter Google+ and Instagram.

Check out the daily #2016MONEYCHALLENGE tips. Invite your friends to participate!

It’s easy, fun and you might even create one or two new financial habits to make this year even better!

On Facebook, be sure “like” the daily challenge & tag @themoneynerve in your comment, ADD a photo of your own, or SHARE the post with your friends.
On Twitter, please RETWEET
On Instagram, please like, repost or reply with a photo that inspires you to build better money habits
On Google+ please like & add a comment or photo that demonstrates your 2016 money challenge

I am so excited to share my #2016MoneyChallenge – What a proactive way to jumpstart your new year, and begin your new path to financial success! Start new habits, add cash to your wallet & have a healthy relationship with money

Follow @themoneynerve on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+ each day in January! Weekly winners will receive a #MoneyNerve prize, including:
· Autographed copy of “The Money Nerve: Navigating the Emotions of Money book.
· Starbucks card
· Money Nerve wristbands
· Complimentary one-hour financial consultation with CPA Bob Wheeler (in person, via    phone or thru Skype)
· Rodney Gee Yoga CD
· A Money Nerve mug

Each Monday, @theMoneyNerve will announce all randomly select weekly winners on Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

For example:
1. Repost or share this image or tag a few friends to join you
2. Check the #2016MONEYCHALLENGE EVERYDAY
3. Use the hashtag #2016MONEYCHALLENGE and tag @themoneynerve in your posts!
4. Encourage others by liking and commenting on people’s posts

Check it out!

Thanks for participating – your wallet will love your positive cash flow!

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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CREATING A BLUEPRINT FOR LIFE

3x3 Blueprint for SuccessA builder doesn’t just go out and build a 10-story building. First the owner and the architect ask questions to define the finished structure: How tall will the building be? What will it be made of? How much will it cost? How many people will be needed and what resources will it take to build?

Let’s take that same approach with your financial plans.

If you are unhappy about your debt, make a plan to pay it down while curbing your current spending habits.

 

Begin by asking questions.

What is working for me?
Where am I having challenges?
How can I overcome my fears and move into a new direction?
What is my goal?
What would be my first step?

Facing your finances is the first step. There is no physical harm in facing your financial reality. No one has ever been stabbed by a bank account! You may feel a pang in your stomach – and you are still fine. Acknowledging your financial situation may feel painful emotionally and taking steps to confront your current situation is a good start.

The second step is finding a friend or financial coach to support you. Discuss best practices and prepare an outline for the next three months. A series of small steps or goals will lead the way to a more successful long-term goal. Often the mere presence of a plan can alleviate emotional turmoil.

It is your money and your life, so the third step is to implement the plan for the next 90 days.

Re-evaluate your finances to determine where you can update or tweak your quarterly plan. Be realistic and honest. Did you round up your income and round down your expenses? Did you forget to account for eating out? Sift through any unknowns that popped up and add that information to your next 3-month outline for a better outcome.

By implementing conscious choices and thoughtful actions, you are building a blueprint for your life. Setting short-term plans builds the foundation for long-term success, with a lifestyle you envisioned and crafted.

Begin today!

Bob

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BEING MINDFUL

3x3 Acceptance for what comes to us

You are exactly where you want to be in your life. You may say, “No that’s not right, I wanted to be successful and rich.” Based on your actions, here you are. Well – guess what, you are not alone!

We all have goals and dreams for our life. A large percentage of people feel they somehow “missed the boat” or that “other people’s negative opinions” caused them to be less successful. If you are ashamed of how you spend your money, the good news is that you have the power to change that.

If you are not happy with your life, it may be time to re-evaluate and make some conscious changes. Mindful changes. Being mindful is not some abstract expression that means you chant and sing to empty your mind and then magically life is good. Being mindful is a strong focus on the now – noticing small details, determining why you are acting the way you are and using that information to refine your actions for better results.

Setting a financial intention is a wonderful tool for determining how and when you spend or save money. Being mindful will build your financial muscle as you decide whether the fashionable sunglasses you want right now or the additional education you need to move ahead will create value for you long-term. Pop-up ads and television shows lure us with the promise that more is better. If we allow our emotions to make mindless decisions, then we miss out on the most important items we crave to have in our life.

One aspect of living in a cashless society is that the tangible feeling of money has been lost. It is easy to run a plastic debit or credit card through a machine for instant gratification. There is no real sense of parting with your money because you never felt its weight in your wallet. You did not handle it and give it way. In today’s world you feel financial pain when your credit card is declined or the bank takes all of your cash to cover your bounced checks.

Make a “top ten” list of what is most important for your life. Make a conscious decision to change the way you handle money. This area of focus will help you learn to be aware of the emotional triggers that control impulsive decisions. Once you know why you continue to make the same choices, you can choose a different response. Make a plan and keep your long-term goals in front of you to create a healthy relationship with money.

As you make intentional financial trade-offs, you will learn that choices regarding your money don’t have to be painful. By thoughtfully choosing to invest in yourself, you can jump off the merry-go-round of money madness as your new budget creates financial freedom!

I will leave you with this thought, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

Have a proactive week! Bob

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Time to Change

3x3 Caught in the cycle
You may have heard of Napoleon Hill’s book Think & Grow Rich. This book, published in 1937, is one of the most popular success books ever written. Hill’s story is a rollercoaster ride of great success and numerous failures – each faced with persistence and a positive mind-set. Hill’s words have inspired millions to find themselves, believe in themselves and live the lives they never thought possible.

Hill’s top three lessons for a successful life:

Lesson 1: Definiteness of Purpose
Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. Without a purpose and a plan, people drift aimlessly through life. Today we call that mental mapping and setting our GPS for life goals and a financial destination.

Lesson 2: Mastermind Alliance
The Mastermind principle consists of an alliance of two or more minds working in perfect harmony for the attainment of a common definite objective. Success does not come without the cooperation of others. Finding others who are striving to live a positive lifestyle can help you reach a more successful outcome.

Lesson 3: Applied Faith
Faith is a state of mind through which your aims, desires, plans and purposes may be translated into their physical or financial equivalent. Setting positive intentions for what is most important in life creates the opportunity to seize the abundance of life – when you are open and receptive to opportunity.

The phrase, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” takes on a deeper meaning when you use each new day to initiate action for personal growth. Changing your attitude, your beliefs in yourself and focusing on life goals can truly transform your life!

Start today by changing one small habit that would make your life better. Commit to this one new change for 30 days. Maybe you’ll decide to take your lunch to work one day a week and set that day’s lunch money aside for a weekend vacation or a savings account. Little steps can lead to a defined goal. Be accountable to yourself and use notes or your phone to track your efforts. Being successful with a few smaller goals may inspire you to tackle some larger goals and deadlines.

Here’s Napoleon Hill sharing the “master keys” of his life-changing concept . . . if you are ready!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvK4RiiJV3w

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Begin With the End in Mind

3x3 Begin with the End in Mind

Beginning with the end in mind means getting in touch with your deepest core values and clearly visualizing what you want.

Let’s apply visualization to our financial life: Are you where you want to be financially? To make a financial shift, you will need to open your mind to change and new possibilities. Once you determine what goals you would like to achieve, planning the next steps is key to success.

I believe that one of the most important ways to bring about change is through visualization. This technique involves envisioning your future with a new perspective (rather than as an extension of your current reality). You may see yourself with an abundance of money or paid up on all your credit card debt or driving a new car. If you can’t visualize how your future could be, it is difficult to believe you can take the necessary steps to get there.

Many people say that you only need to believe in something to make it come true. Here is something that should come as no secret to most of you: success requires consistent effort.

Yes, I believe that it is important to visualize your future in order to make changes. However, if your reality keeps reflecting something different than what you envision, you may need to put in a few more hours or revise your strategy.

Envision what you want, tell yourself it can happen and draft a plan. Here’s a great example:

Sam, a client of mine, had always wanted to own his own business. He didn’t have specific details; he just knew he had a dream. Sam worked in a business park and there was no convenient place for a quick lunch. Each day, he’d come to work and think, “This place needs a sandwich shop.” He realized there might be an opportunity to open his own business and began to envision the details of his dream.

He made some plans and worked out all of the financial details for his own sandwich shop. He would offer a limited variety of Panini sandwiches (two types of cheese, two types of meat), canned soda or bottled water, and two types of chips. He determined that meal prices at ten dollars or less would attract lunch customers. He decided to lease four Panini machines for the first six months (rather than purchase them) in case the restaurant didn’t work out.

He needed a certain amount saved up before launching his plan. If the business took off in six months, he would continue building his sandwich shop business. If not, he would be able to get out without long-term debt. His exit strategy was in place. He saw a need and envisioned himself filling it. To his credit, Sam now owns a thriving sandwich shop.

What are your goals for this summer season? Setting your end result first will pave the way for change!
Bob

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Know Your Value

I am valuable

What value do you place on financial freedom? If you place a high value on being debt-free and are consciously choosing how to manage your finances, you can start to mentally “pay yourself.”

Reward yourself for taking the time to map out your plan.

By questioning and evaluating your process of handling money, you can turn off the autopilot mode you were in and begin to explore new options. Navigating this new course may feel strange and uncomfortable at first. Stick with this action plan; you’ll develop new habits to support your dreams, and very quickly, this new lifestyle will become second nature to you.

Find the value in yourself, your relationships and your financial future. If you track your progress, you will see a series of small successful steps – all pointing toward your goals. If you find there are areas where you need help, enlist the guidance of a friend, colleague or family member who can be a champion. For example, if you are not sure how to start saving for retirement or need help setting markers for that big goal, a champion or a mentor can be valuable helping you navigate new territory and get you on the right track.

Explore your value in the workplace as well. Ask yourself, “Do I do everything possible in my position to demonstrate my value?” Determine what level of compensation others in your industry and at your level receive. Is there an industry standard of pay and is there a documented skill level or list of job descriptions you can use to compare with your current position?

You may find that you are under-valued at work and need to share what you contribute each day with your upper management. Do you have advanced skills? Have you taken extra training classes? Worked on special projects? Make a list of what makes you a more valuable employee and ask to be compensated. There are many people who wait for someone to recognize them or offer them a raise. If you ask for higher compensation, you have a better chance of boosting your wages. Ask and you may get it! You really have nothing to lose.

After making industry comparisons, you may also find that you need to update skills or invest in yourself. Take the initiative to make yourself more valuable. Conversely, you may find that it is time to move on.

Exploring, calculating and defining your value gives you the power to control your options. Whether you stay, change jobs, get more education or work harder to be the best at your current position, you have empowered yourself by knowing your value. Now you are better able to choose the best life for you and your family.

Here’s to a life of value!

Bob