Monday, December 26, 2016

New Year Resolution... again?

This is the last time we talk in 2016, so I will keep it nice and short. And I first want to wish you a VERY HAPPY 2017!

As we are getting closer and closer to the end of the year, it is perhaps the best time to reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly for 2016. It is a time to make plans for the New Year – what most people call RESOLUTIONS. Well, this is also your chance to make a choice: the choice that this time you WILL do those things you have been promising yourself you will do.

Do you know how many people decide there are going to lose weight or get out of debt in the New Year? Though I don’t know the exact number, I just found a statistic that shows the top 10 resolutions for 2016, and “Spend less, save more” is number 3, behind only “Lose weight” and “Getting organized”. Wow, by comparison, “Falling in love” and “Spend more time with the family” are the bottom 2 in this top. Does this surprise you? For me the surprise is that I was right. I thought that the HARD WORK type of resolutions top the list.

The other scary statistic is that only 45% of Americans even set a New Year’s Resolution, while about the same number (39%) say they never do it. And what is even more scary is the fact that from those 45%, after 6 months, almost half (46%) even keep track or work towards achieving those resolutions.

All things considered, my wish for you is to make your MONEY RESOLUTION for 2017 your last attempt at achieving it. I want to talk to you in 2018 and beyond about how you are maintaining the great systems you set up, and not how you are starting to save.  And in order for this to happen, I would like you to start working on your financial goal NOW. Remember, the Chinese said “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is now”. 

What is your goal for 2017? Please share, and I promise to hold you accountable for it to be the last time you set that exact goal - because it will be accomplished.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving dinner conversation

If you just spent your holidays with your aging parents, you probably worried (or maybe even talked about) the set up for their final arrangements. Maybe you are already in charge of their affairs because they cannot take care of certain things by themselves anymore…

If you are one of the few lucky ones to know what is going on with your parents’ estate planning, and where their documents are located, I would like to congratulate your parents! Most of the people I have spoken to were not that fortunate when something happened with their loved one. This is a topic that we don’t usually talk about. However it is very necessary, since death is the only certainty we have in life. And whether we talk about it or not, someone still has to deal with it -  either us while we are still of sound mind and body, or a loved one, when we are not around anymore.

So, let me ask you: when was the last time you talked to your family about your estate or your wishes (should you not be able to express them)? And if you told them what you wanted in case you become incapacitated, did you put that in writing? And, most importantly, do they know where the paperwork is (if you have it)?

Most Americans don’t have their wishes written down. And, unfortunately for the families left behind, of those who have it in writing, many don’t tell their family where the paper are.
If you are a grown child of an aging parent who mentioned a long time ago that they want to be cremated, or that they don’t want to be kept on life support… maybe you can ask them if they still feel that way now. And maybe the next time you see them, you ask them to put it in writing. Also, make sure to ask where the papers are located.

When adult children move out, the parents move things around the house, and some of the things that get moved, are the important papers. Once you move out, you may not know where your parents keep their paperwork. It is always a good idea to check with your parents where their papers are now located.

If you are participating in the gratitude challenge from earlier this month, maybe something to be grateful for is the fact that you are still capable to take care of all your important documents and don’t have to leave your family to deal with everything in their time of grief. And then get it taken care of NOW.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What are you grateful for TODAY?

This is the month of Thanksgiving – the month of Gratitude. Not that we should not be grateful all year long… But in case you kind of forgot this year… let’s talk GRATITUDE today. It is not too late to start now. And if you read this post, I hope you take me up on the challenge I will issue at the end of it.
For now, let’s get started on what is the connection between money and gratitude. And how can your gratitude and appreciation for the things you have and the things you are able to do in life can translate in more money for you.

Tony Robbins often says “Where your energy goes, that grows.” That is true. We are beings made of energy and can influence the energy of our surroundings. Therefore, if you focus on plenty you will have plenty, and if you focus on scarcity, you will have scarcity. I know that I always say that my focus on sharing my thoughts is more on the practical side of money and I will get to that in a second. Though I need to make clear the fact that if you believe you have enough, that there is enough out there for you, then you will have it. Sometimes it may not seem like it, and that is the toughest time to believe. However, that is necessary for you to achieve.

When you believe it, then you can achieve it – may IT be money, a career or any personal goal. So that is why it is important to not just do the mechanics, but also get our brains and our feelings involved. When we start the day off with a good thought and happiness for the things that will come our way, we get more things that can make us happy. When we are grateful for what we currently have in our life – and we all can find at least one thing that we like and we appreciate – we will attract more things that we like and appreciate.

Zig Ziglar always said that if you want to lose weight, you cannot think like a fat person. Your brain does not understand the word NO, so it will bring into your life more of the things you are thinking about. So you cannot think like a poor person, and I believe we are all rich in our lives. You may say that is not the case with you but I know that money is not the only thing that measures the riches. And I will be the last person to tell you that you should not focus on money – after all, this is a blog about MONEY. All I’m saying is that you need to start somewhere.

Think about the things you have in your life that you are grateful for, and not the debt or the bills or the worries. Think of the good you will do with the money coming into your life, and be grateful you are here today to have a chance to work towards that good. And more good will come your way.

So my November challenge for you is to write down 3 things you are grateful for. And not just one time but every morning before starting your day, for the rest of the month; or the rest of the year if you are even more courageous. And then, come back and leave a comment with the 3 things that are on your list that day, or the most frequent ones. I would like to know and be your cheerleader.    

Monday, November 7, 2016

Money Mondays Episode 6

Check out the new episode to learn more about a topic you might find scary... Budgeting. We are helping you make friends with your budget, so you can achieve your goals and take confident steps toward your financial serenity. Emerald Sparks shares her money story, and you can learn how a young woman was able to buy her first car while in college, without having to take on a car payment. Can you learn anything from her story?

Monday, October 31, 2016

SMART Goals for Financial Freedom

There are 2 ways to work towards your financial freedom:
1.    Figure out how much money you need annually to live comfortably, to at least maintain your current standard of living. Then, take that number and divide it by 0.4% to find out the total amount of money you need to have set aside. When you invest this money (once your reached your number) and generate at least 4% interest, it will generate the income you need.
2.    Figure out how much money you need annually to live comfortably, to at least maintain your current standard of living. Then, work on building assets that generate enough money annually to provide that amount without you holding a job. These assets can be: real estate investments, businesses, investments.

Visualization of your goals is important, and so is planning. You either plan your work, and then work your plan; or you fail to plan, and then you plan to fail. The reason why planning your finances is probably your most important plan, is that all your dreams and goals will be in some way connected to money.

Writing down your goals and having a vision board will help you find ways to achieve your goals; your brain will come up with ways to lead you to what you most desire. Which also means you must be very certain that your really desire those things you claim to want. Part of the planning and mapping of your goals will include coming up with the money to achieve some of your goals. Of course some goals like happiness and health don’t have a price tag. Others like a trip, college education or a new house or car, come with a price tag that must be known.

It may seem simplistic to say that if you know how much something costs you can start working on achieving that. However, even though it is simple, that is how it is done. I’m not saying it is easy – otherwise everyone would achieve their goals. But it is simple – in 3 steps: see it, map it and plan it. All that is left is the hardest part: doing it.

When setting your goals, keep in mind that they must be SMART in order for you to reach them: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. In order for you to achieve your goals, they have to fit in this SMART description. So if your goals are vague - ie. I want more clients, I want to make lots of money - you need to redefine those goals. It is not good enough to want more money; your brain does not work on anything so vague. So think instead: How much money? ("a lot" is not a number - therefore it is neither Specific, nor Measurable) When do you want to have the money by? (give yourself a deadline) And, perhaps most importantly, make sure your goals are Relevant: do you really want it? Is it Relevant to you?

If you are a successful business woman, whether you own the business or lead a corporation, you probably rely on a board of advisers. You may call them mentors, business partners or directors. They are your sounding board when it comes to ideas regarding business growth and what is the best way to implement new ideas to achieve the objectives. But how about your financial life? Do you have a board of directors to run your ideas by? Do you have an accountant who knows your like and your story to help you lower your taxes? Do you have an investment adviser who looks out for your best interest in a fiduciary capacity?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Money Mondays episode 5

We talked about different types of insurance, and which ones are necessary to have and which are nice to have. And if you listen to Regina's story, you can learn how all the best laid plans can go awry and sometimes you have to pick yourself back up and keep going.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Money and dieting?... Well, they have something in common!

Have you ever thought about your dreams coming true? If money were no object, where would you be now? What would you do? What are you passionate about? And would you do that for free?

If you want to honor your passion, think about it every day, imagine yourself living your passion and let your brain live it as if it were true. And then, while your subconscious mind works on a plan to bring your passion to life, start looking at your finances and make a plan.

If you think your situation is hopeless, you are not the only one. If you have debt you can’t even see yourself paying off, you are not alone. I understand it is not pretty, or sexy, to be thinking about the debt; but I can promise that ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.

If you were ill, you would go see a doctor and follow her instructions to get well, right?! Well, if your financial self is ill, you also need to follow someone advice on how to get well – only this person is a money doctor, and not a people doctor.

Finding a financial coach, a prosperity mentor, a financial adviser is the first step in working on a solution for any and all your money problems, challenges and frustrations. And just like a personal trainer, this coach’s job is to help you get on a workout schedule, also known as budget. And not just to show you what your budget should be, but also to hold you accountable to stick with it in the long run.

If you ever wanted to look like a supermodel, then you should know that takes a lot of dieting. Well, in finances, that is the equivalent of budgeting. And just as a supermodel makes a lot of money at the end of years of dieting, you will have a lot of money at the end of years of budgeting.

Now, I’m not suggesting a long and depressing fast. I’m merely talking about some smart planning, and sticking to the plan. And the first step in that plan is having a SMART goal written down. 

(in 2 weeks we will go over what a SMART goal is - stay tuned)