“For Auld Lang Syne”…NO WAIT, WAIT!!!

Whether we like it or not, nine months of 2017 are all but over….Did you hear that? “ALL BUT OVER!There are just over 90 days left and it is… c’est la vie to 2017.

Be open and honest with yourself…“Is it a Priority” to make a plan to have control over you and your family’s financial future? Or not?

Are you a saver or a spender? Frugal or Frivolous? $10 on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime or do you go for the $100+ Cable bill?  Eating out often or cooking at Home?

By no means am I suggesting never spending again at a restaurant or on carryout.  However, for me, I had to teach myself how to be more Fluid, Flexible & Focused on my future.

Absolutely celebrate those special occasions with a night on the town.  Nevertheless, if you cannot live without “going out” take in those happy hour deals and enjoy their superb discounts!

Plan – Learn to budget for things, Birthday’s, Anniversaries, Holiday’s and special occasions.  This way, you will not interrupt your own goals and no one is disappointed

The top three things you can and should do right now to get in alignment before the year is out…Look at your Past Money, Present Money, Future Money

  1. (Past Money) – Set up an aggressive plan for PAYING OFF DEBT!  – Side Hustle/PT Job/Weekend Gig?  Every little extra dime should go here first! Especially if it’s anything that is accruing crazy interest.
  2. (Present Money) – Understand your cash flow – Nothing affects you and your family’s financial future more than the inability to understand your cash flow. If you want more for the future, you have to have a grip on your current spending patterns and habits. Are there areas that can be cut back, that do not leave you uncomfortable? Think Cable, changing cell phone providers, cancelling subscription services?  Through the end of the year, check in on your spending weekly; it takes far less time than you think and it’s easier to catch places were you overspend than if you’ve been overspending ALL MONTH!
  3. (Future Money) – Automate savings for your future goals –  If you are paid by direct deposit, then direct funds into multiple accounts. Savings, Emergency Fund, Retirement, Family Vacation.  This does a couple of things.  It allows you to “see” the progress you are making toward those specific goals…and more importantly, the money is going to those places automatically…BEFORE IT EVEN HITS YOUR PRIMARY ACCOUNT.

So what are you going to do with your final 90 days of 2017?

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Say What?…

Today, I am going to be a little off my typical topic train, so please indulge me.

Recently I encountered a situation that I feel compelled to share, i.e. “vent” about to all of you….You can thank me later…lol!

Unless you live under a rock, it is no secret that we live in the up-to-the-minute age of global information.  A world where data is promptly available at our finger tips.  It readily swarms around us in snippets, sound bites, tweets and posts all day, every day.

Recently I was introduced to a business counterpart whom after sharing some very intellectual dialogue on an altogether different subject matter began a conversation about a specific “media” related event.

During the aforementioned conversation, I expressed to my counterpart, that in my humble opinion the greater propensity of what we are currently dealing with, is sometimes not necessarily simply what the “media” is putting out there; but that a large part of society has become a crowded pool of Lemmings that are just blindly following along…right over the cliff.

Cheese-n-Rice! I thought…”Have you read A book in your adult life?” (Not including anything, you HAD TO read for school or coursework). “Have you researched or vetted any of that nonsense you just spewed?” Give me a break!

Far too many people in the public at large appear to have become insulated, isolated and resolute in accepting that ANY information that comes by way of FB, Twitter, or Instagram is actually FACTUAL, without even so much as a minimal search using the Internet’s know all be all…“Google”…and  Yes, there are still Encyclopedia’s on-line!

For those of you who are voracious readers and continuously strive to absorb and put out life’s vital and accurate information…Thank you!

For those who can only absorb information in little tiny bite sized pieces from a tweet or a post…Do us all a favor…READ A BOOK!

…End of Rant…

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Where There’s Smoke…

Are we wasting precious time?  Having and making enough time is hardly simple, but it CAN be done.

Take a long hard look at your time “zappers”.  Giving up 15 minutes (or more) of the idiot box a.k.a television.  Give up the extra 15 minutes (or more) of hitting the snooze button and lying in bed just procrastinating, not getting up and starting the day.  Give up the 30(or more) un-constructive minutes  on the Internet – unless it is something useful.

Strategically giving up those little time thieves can give you back an hour or more each day, which you can instead devote to managing your “IT” goals.

How often have you challenged yourself to “DO” something, or more of something?  Not simply something that you know you should do.  Moreover, something that you truly NEED to do.

Have you genuinely critically thought about where you are? What you are doing? Where you would like to be?  Ultimately asking yourself, what do I need to be doing to get there?

Maybe your “IT” is another stream of income, Entrepreneurship, learn or increase a skill, maybe it’s to Save, Invest, Retire, buy a house, manage tuition, become healthier, eat better/exercise, release bad habits, go on an actual vacation or just getting organized.  Whatever “IT” is… We have to force ourselves to carve out small but meaningful pieces of time every day and devote it to our “IT”.

Maybe today you genuinely only have fifteen minutes; well use those fifteen minutes to do  something meaningful toward “IT”.

Challenge yourself into intentionally focusing on achieving any one of your “IT” goals.  Pick a measurable point in time…a week, a month, 60 days, 6 months and really Lean In and make significant quantitative progress toward your “IT” goals.

Here is what I think.  All of us in all likelihood would enthusiastically make time to do any number of the items on our “IT” lists… If we were being paid to do them!

If your “IT” is not already a priority, then treat it as if it is a fire! Relinquish the reluctant attitude and make the time an INVESTMENT in you and your family’s future. Assuredly, it should make carving out those bite size amounts of time significantly more valuable and important.

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Hmm… Uhhh… I Umm…

Not making a decision “IS” in-fact a decision.  Yes, that is exactly what I mean… Deciding NOT to decide is a decision in itself.

How many times have you made the unconscious/default choice to decide NOT to decide, and let the cards fall where they may?  How did it leave you? Better Off? Worse Off? Or P!$$ed Off?

In the many times that I chose the “Not to decide” route, it has most often left me in a conundrum that then limited my options.

You already know what “IT” is that you want and need to do.  However; for some reason we cannot put our finger on; we decide NOT to go for “IT”.

Well the decision NOT to decide is not as much of an unconscious knee jerk response as we try to make it.

Think about it.  The only thing that actually stands between you and you taking action is some form of FEAR.  Whether it is fear of failure, fear of finances, fear of The Unknown or just plain old fear of making the decision to go for “IT”!

There was a time when I had let the FEAR of failure and the Fear of how I would be perceived from the outside and from the people around me, direct my future.

Who matters to you most?  Those are the people who will stand by your side whether you succeed or fail. Those are the people who will remind you to try again!

If you think about your life as a WHOLE, you quickly come to realize that the person you are today is as temporary as all the people you have ever been, all the things you have ever done, and all the roles you have ever had to play.  That should make it easier to imagine the person and position you will be in, in the future.

Most people do not reach their full potential because of FEAR.  All the other “Reasons” we have convinced ourselves as to why we have not done X, Y, or Z, are simply excuses.

Write down who and what matters most to you. Then the things you want and need to do. Then Approach “IT”, Research “IT”, Start “IT”, Work at “IT”, Nurture “IT”, Grow “IT”.  Whatever is appropriate for your “IT”!

Just go…DO “IT”!  Because sitting there doing nothing about “IT”; that’s a decision too…a BAD one!

 

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In the Blink of an Eye…Time Passes

“Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must first be overcome” ~Author unknown.

Anymore, when faced with the choice of doing nothing or doing something, I have begun to choose to execute.  To take hold of the moment and to Do “IT”…Now!

Certainly, that has not always been my mode of operation.   In the past, I could have been accused of being a calculated procrastinator.

Now if you’re anything like me, time seems to pass much more quickly these days than it did when you were in your 20’s & 30’s.

It has only been in the last several years that I have truly given much thought to just how quickly those years have gone by.  Those years were truly a “blink of an eye”.  Moreover, while we may have several more in front of us…Oh my how time has flown!

The fact of the matter is… Later is sooner than we think!  The possibility that the number of “Next Times” will become more limited and far fewer and the opportunity and availability for “Second Chances” and “Do-Overs” will begin to decline. With “Time”, it really is now or NEVER.  The days will eventually come when we will wake up and there will not be “enough” time to get to or accomplish the meaningful things we’ve always wanted and certainly needed to do in our lives…So don’t wait until tomorrow, tomorrow always becomes the busiest day of the week… DO “IT” NOW!

One of the saddest summaries of a life contains four descriptions: could have, would have, might have and should have.

Set yourself and your family up to be able to look back and be joyful about the wheels you put in motion, in order to wind up in the best place you could possibly be on all fronts: (Mentally, Physically, Financially and Spiritually).  Simply because you decided to Do “IT”!

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An Inconvenient Truth

When I don’t want, feel like or make time to cook, what happens?  I order in, grab carry out or stop someplace for a bite.  Maybe you don’t have time to get to the grocery, there’s actually an app for that too.  Or maybe you’re one of those locked into your daily Grande’, Latte’, Iced Frappa yahda yahda yahda. Well listen up; you’re out about $1300 a year!  And don’t get me going on Cigarettes, that’s a Money and Health rabbit hole you should get out of IMMEDIATELY!

There are an enormity of services and vices out there to make the details of our lives convenient and comfortable. But while convenience is, well; convenient, it is an absolute savings/emergency fund/retirement/investment, killer.  And the kicker?  We don’t even notice or miss the money, because it’s not leaving our hands in “huge” chunks of cash…it’s little drips of it… over a month, 6 months, a year; until we hardly notice we’ve spent/given away or wasted it.

Often times, the best lessons we learn in life come from being inconvenienced. There are scientific studies  that prove it.  We are living in a society where convenience and comfort are being placed above all else, and the opportunity for developing the spirit of perseverance has become less frequent. Yep…I’m poking at the Millennials here.

I’m not suggesting that giving up your morning coffee will allow you to let’s say, “Buy A House”.  But those little splurges and conveniences that often seem minor in the moment end up having an indelible impact.

Take the time to consider the daily decisions that are hindering your long-term financial goals. Is it dining out too frequently? Monthly services you don’t need? Late Fee’s? Not doing your homework before making a purchase? And heaven forbid; don’t blow your opportunity for reaching your goals, trying to keep up with the Joneses!

There are at least a half dozen things that that money will go a lot farther in doing…refer back to (Emergency Fund, Savings, Legacy Investments, New Home, Retirement Fund).

One of my favorite quotes from an unknown author: “Wealthy people invest in their future FIRST then they spend what’s left.  Broke people SPEND first, then try to invest in their future with what’s LEFT!”

Take stock of where you’re spending out of convenience.  Is it truly making your life better, or should those expenses be reallocated for you and your family’s future?

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Off The List

 

Almost every Saturday starts off with my browsing through a long list of “Around-To-Its”.

I’m referring to that seemingly ever growing list of tasks, heavy chores, appraisals, decisions and projects that I plan to do as soon as I get…“Around To It”.

So…how, when and where do you start checking off boxes on your “Around-To-It” list?

My list had become so long that I knew that if another week, month or year passed by, it would be a greater disappointed to me that I’d not started on “IT”, worked on “IT”, or had accomplished  ANY of “IT”!  So I had to come up with some kind of plan.

It was mostly a rough draft, but I arranged my “Around-To-It” list into sections. Section 1: Things that I could immediately address (organizing the kitchen junk drawer). Section 2: Things that required more time (painting all the rooms in the house) Section 3: Things that required both time and “heavy lifting”(clearing out the garage/basement remodel); and Section 4: The things that required research (legacy investing, saving,  passive income, retirement).

As rudimentary a list as it is, it has become an enormous help in keeping me laser focused on getting things done.  Every week I evaluate what I’ve established and/or executed the past week; adjust any hiccups and REPEAT! Now it’s almost a game to me to cross items off the list ; and of course add more on!

Certainly your “Around-To-It” list probably doesn’t look like mine, but if you don’t have one, start one; and if you have one use it!

Nothing Changes, if Nothing Changes… Meaningful accomplishment comes in sips, not gulps…because EVERY little thing, makes BIG things happen.

#GetFocused

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Out of Time?

How often do you find that there is never a GOOD time to do “IT”; or ENOUGH  time to do “IT”?

When was the last time you said to yourself “I just don’t have time!”  If you’re like me; it was just this morning!  Certainly we are busy, but let’s face it…we’re not always busy.

We already know the first step to getting anywhere or doing anything is deciding that you’re not going to stay where you are.  As the saying goes…”If you want something you’ve never had you have to start DOING things you’ve never done.

Easy?…of course not! You have to be more fluid and move if you want to IMPROVE.

Try this out whenever you think you don’t have the time to invest into doing something. Use these words instead  “That’s Not A Priority”

Here are some examples: “I don’t have time to update my resume”.  ACTUALLY “It’s not a PRIORITY to update my resume”.

“I don’t have time for bettering my health, exercise or eating right”.  ACTUALLY “It’s not a PRIORITY  to better my health exercise or eat right”.

“I don’t have time to improve me and my family’s position”(Side Gig, Emergency Fund, Investment) ACTUALLY “It’s not a PRIORITY to do something that improves me and my family’s position”.

You see what I did there?  How do those examples sit with you?  The first few times I did this, it made me a bit uncomfortable.

Sometimes just being “Too Busy” and “Not Having Time” is an unconcious reflex to avoid taking action on the time consuming, difficult, and less comfortable thing(s) that REALLY need to be accomplished. If “IT” was easy, everyone would be doing it!

Instead of claiming time as the thief, we should use the words NOT A PRIORITY and the whole dynamic of not having time changes…Give it shot, you’ll be glad you did..

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Accidentally on Purpose

At the beginning of sharing this self-healing journey, I wasn’t really cognizant of; nor did I have any intention of making any specific accomplishments from my daily muses. The only “goal” if you will, was to have a positive outlet to work through my grief and feel better…period.

With that being said, the unintended plus of those daily evaluations and reflections allowed me to step back, and take a look at my personal challenges. Which in turn is helping me to better my strengths by being more intentional.

That is, each time I recognize that some “thing” is a step that plays to or magnifies one of my personal challenges/weaknesses or poor habits, I’ve started choosing to do the opposite of said “thing”.

For example; if you’re like me and challenged with Procrastinating…then don’t!  Do whatever “IT” is right then when you think about “IT”.

If you need to Save, then open another bank account that you can’t touch, start that side gig, skip the car wash and go for the garden hose, manicure; get out the polish, morning Coffee; brew it at home, and Cigarettes…JUST QUIT!

If you need to get poor eating/health habits in check; skip the Fried, and make or order something different. Go to the gym…TODAY! Walk around the block…TODAY!  Take the stairs…TODAY! Park at the end of the lot…TODAY!

I know these are juvenile examples of working through personal challenges/weaknesses & habits, but really..”It’s Just That Simple!”

Taking Immediate, Consistent and Constant action EVERY TIME will move us FORWARD to whatever our “IT” is.

For just a few days, start something new by being intentional and not blindly giving in to your challenges/weaknesses & habits.

You’ll soon see those old challenges/weaknesses & habits now empower you to CONSCIOUSLY think about your choices and to ultimately take a more productive, purposeful and driven route.

 

Get Your Shift Together

We all know that growth can sometimes be painful, and change can certainly be scary.  But fewer things are as painful or scary as “feeling” stuck where you KNOW you shouldn’t be.

The reality is sometimes we’re frustrated or unsure of “how to” or afraid of not having all the answers, or some financial constraints may exists…But in fact, we are never really “STUCK”.

Saying that we’re “stuck” is often times how we justify and convince ourselves into feeling better about not making a GENUINE effort at doing ANYTHING to help our circumstance.  Namely because we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s too hard, too difficult, too time consuming,  or in some way, out of reach…whatever “IT” may be.

In most situations, every new day gives us the opportunity to decide what we will do no matter how small; about our “IT”.  Will we continue to Dream about “IT”, Think about “IT”, Talk about “IT”, Complain/Whine about “IT”; or actually DO SOMETHING about “IT”!

We have the CHOICE to shift out of neutral and actually put the gear in DRIVE!  Do we have to have it all totally figured out? No!  But we aren’t trees, we don’t have to stay rooted/stuck where we are…we just have to make a MOVE!……… #Getunstuck

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