From my family to yours. Merry Christmas, and have a great day with your family.
From my family to yours. Merry Christmas, and have a great day with your family.
Photo: Sherwin Ulep
In this series we’ve covered how to set goals and why you should set them. Where do you go from here? How do you know what goals to set? How do you even know what you even want?
This is where we get to pretend we’re in Disney’s movie Aladdin, and we get to have Genie as our own personal scoffer. You’ve just gotten out of the Cave of Wonders, and Carpet lands in the desert. You get a minute to look around, and you glance over at at Genie, you get your thoughts together, and you tell Genie, “You know, I kind of know what I want, but I’m embarrassed to tell you what I really want. I’m afraid of what other people will think of me.”
Genie tells you, “Well kiddo, Do you want the best things in your life? You better let me know what you really want because that’s the only thing holding you back. What I want you to do is to write down all of the things you want and all of the things you want to do for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter what other people think because it’s your life, and it’s up to you to live it the way you wan to. I only have one rule. You have to write out all the things you might want in your life 3 minutes or less.”
He sets a timer and you start writing anything that comes to mind. As you begin to write Genie keeps telling you “Not enough, Still not enough! Think bigger!” Keep going until your time limit is up. (if this reference doesn’t make sense to you, go watch it on Netflix.)
Now go do it. Really, set a timer for 3 minutes and write down as many things as you want in life, the goals you want to achieve, the places you want to go, and even the things you wan to eat. After time is up you may have a long list or a small list. It doesn’t matter how long your list is, just as long as you have things on there that will excite you to get up out of bed to achieve. You won’t have to achieve everything the list and that’s alright. The exercise is for you to get out of your own way, and to let go of all of the thoughts that have been holding you back in your life.
A few of my goals
The goals follow the SMART criteria. Just as quick recap they are
I’ll go over breaking down your goals into specific categories and how to take action in the next post. See you then.
Working at my computer last night I found that I had added a duplicate bank account in the Quicken, and I didn’t know how to fix it. I spent about 45 minutes trying to fix the problem, and then I got frustrated. I had a bright idea , and I thought to myself “Quicken has a restore function, lets restore the system when I didn’t have this problem.”
Before I did the “Restore to a Previous Date” function, I decided to do a backup before any major changes. After the backup completed, I started to download all my bank information from their websites, and then I thought I was almost done.
I got to one of the accounts that I manually put into Quicken, and my heart dropped into my stomach. I thought I didn’t have the information. Luckily, I remembered that I just did a backup. It’s a good thing that I did because I forgot to download information for two accounts.
Two hours later, the restoration was complete and I learned three very important things.
1. Keep Good Records of Your Financial Information.
You never know when you’ll need fix a a problem with a computer program or when you’ll need to report records to your accountant. Having a good system to keep your financial information intact is a must.
Make sure you keep a lock box or an area designated in your home for your important financial records. You never know when you’ll need your social security information, life insurance policy, or passport.
For electronic records, properly have information saved where you can easily access it. Have a system of backing up the information once a month.
2. Money tells a Story
Your financial information tells a story of what you did in the past and what you spent your money on. Recently it reminded me of being able to take my father-in-law out for his birthday. It was fun and we had a great time trying new food.
It also tells you of the mistakes that you have made financially in the past like taking out student loans and not paying them back, or having invested in business deals that didn’t go well.
Your history is a learning tool. Learn from your mistakes and success and use that information to make better decisions in the future.
3. What You Spend Your Money on is what is Important to You
It took me a while to understand, but where and how you spend your money says a lot of where you spend your time. A great teacher said “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Rick Warren said “Here’s how you know what’s really important to people: Look at their calendar, and look at their bank statement. The way we spend our time and the way we spend our money says what’s really important to us.”
Kalalau Beach by @bozbut
A few quotes that challenge your ideas on money as the holiday season starts courtesy of the Quotations Page:
Annual Income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery. – Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Money was never a big motivations for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game. – Donald Trump “Trump: Art of the Deal
The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it. – Edit Wharton (1862 – 1937)
Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy. – Groucho Marx (1890 – 1977)
One of the greatest disservices you can do to a man is to lend him money that he can’t pay back. – Jesse H. Jones. The New York Times Magazine, July 2, 1939
Be rich to yourself and poor to you friends. – Juvenal (55 AD – 127 AD)
Never spend money before you have it. – Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)
Perhaps the most important use of money – it saves time. Life is so short, and there’s so much to do, one can’t afford to waste a minute; and just think how much you waste, for instance, in walking from place to place instead of going by bus and in going by bus instead of taxi. – W. Somerset Maughamm (1874 – 1965). The Razors Edge, 1943
Debt elimination strategies should always start with how you think about money and how you use it.
I feel that it is easy to blame ourselves for the debt situation that we are in. it is easy to be the victim and take no responsibility for what we have done to ourselves. Does take a bit more courage, and small tasks to step up and take real responsibility to pay off all of the debt we have accumulated.
At the same time, we have a chance to remember that we have more than 80% of the people in the world. It is better to focus on what is going right in our lives, and to appreciate what we already have what we have right now.
Marie Forleo has a great video about how to have a mental shift around money. I find it really helpful because the six steps she talks about are ways all of us should be reminded about how we can make small changes in mindset. It’s always the small things that can do on a daily basis to feel a little bit better about our situation.
Carol Dweck also has a great book called Mindset. Its main focus is to teach us about the growth mindset. This is where we look at the positive side of the situation, not in a sense where we pretend that the negative isn’t there, and seeing the situation or how it can make us be a better person.
It is a chance to grow from the struggle, and a chance to work through the problem to be a better person. Paying one small debt, choosing not to buy a cookie or a DVD, and finding ways to save money will help build new habits and get us one step closer to financial freedom.
Money is a powerful force that can destroy you if you let it. You have to learn to control your money instead of letting it control you. If you don’t, you will never get out of debt and will continue to dig a deeper hole.
Be honest with yourself, and and really examine the reasons why you are and that. Be aware of your desires and you wants.
“If you were to show me your current financial plan, would I get so excited by it that I would go across the country and lecture on it? If the answer is no, then here’s my question: ‘Why not?’ Why wouldn’t you have a superior financial plan that is taking you to the places you want to go?” — Jim Rohn
Many of us have never been taught how to develop a financial plan, and we walk through life guessing what is the next financial move that we should make. It’s possibly the main reason why people are live paycheck to paycheck.
It took me a year or two of research and testing to figure out what I wanted in my life. One thing I recommend is the worksheet from Missouri State University which is provided in the link. The worksheet is a good start point.
1. Determine your current financial situation
One of my mentors told me that your net worth is your adult report card. We lose sight of how we are doing financially, and one way is to measure how we are doing is by looking at your net worth. My financial plan started out with me being $66,500 in debt in 2007 and no savings. I started to track every purchase, and it helped me to clarify where I wanted to go in the future.
Begin with how much you have saved up (in savings accounts, Roth IRAs, and other investments), and then subtract your liabilities (all of your debt from credit cards and loans). Begin tracking your expenses and organize your financial records.
2. Develop your financial goals
I wanted to get out of it the fastest way possible and not lose any of the activities that made me happy. I asked the following questions. It helped me find out where I wanted to be in the future.
3. Identify alternative courses of action
Seeing that my purchasing behavior and spending got me into trouble, I knew that the behavior was the first thing to change. I thought to myself “there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes with money. Learn from the experience and move forward.”
Remind yourself that there is no reason to beat yourself up over the situation that you’re currently in. Your circumstances can change. It’s a learning process and it’s alright if you don’t know everything now.
4. Evaluate alternatives
Because the $66,500 price tag was looming over my head, there needed to be a major decision to be made. How much could I put toward paying down the debt. After running numbers in my budget, I decided to put $1,250 a month to the debt and that was the first thing to come out.
Of course I had to give up a few luxuries like being able to eat out often. As I learned and searched for alternatives, I gained respect for money, and relearning delayed gratification. The choices you make now get will get you closer to your goals in the future.
Weigh the costs of the choices that you make. For instance, Can I make steady payments of $650 to my debt per month? What better choices can I make with my money so I can get to the $650 goal
5. Create and implement your financial action plan
After I decided to take action, all the stress and emotion was taken out of the decision making process. It ended up becoming a game of how could I make better decisions to pay the debt down faster.
Once you have made a few decisions on what you want, and the direction you want to go, it’s time to make that plan work. This is the testing phase to see if you are able to work with your plan, and if it will work for you. The hardest part of gathering all the information and planning is complete.It will be hard at first, and the process will be worth it because you are beginning to change habits that you didn’t know you had before. You are on the road to becoming better with money.
6. Review and revise the financial plan
Your first plan isn’t going to be your last. As you move along in life, your financial situation is going to change. My financial situation changed many times over the years. Yours will too. Trust in the process, adjust when you have to, and restart from the beginning when you have to.
For more detail go to wikiHow to get deeper into the planning. Let me know if this helped you, or if you have any suggestions please let me know. See you again soon.
If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us. – Jim Rohn
Dave Ramsey posted a while ago 10 Things Americans Waste Their Money On, and they are:
I agree that some of these are wasteful, for instance #1 and #4. There shouldn’t be any reason why you should be paying fees on things you could get for free.
My personal experience with the top ten are
What do you think of the list above? How do you compare to what Dave Ramsey thinks people waste their money on.
Welcome to part two of my financial adventure. I’ve been wanting to heart a blog and put my thoughts out into the world so that people can learn from what I have been learning. I feel that people can learn from my mistakes and also from my victories along the journey.
I hope you get to share some thoughts with me along the way, and that we are able to learn from each other.
I’m excited to be able to go on this journey with you, and that we are able to be driven to grow your net worth, destroyed debt, be able to construct good habits around money, and change your mindset along the way to become prosperous during the journey.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for joining me