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How Your Money Mindset May Be Holding You Back In 2018

 

 

I’ve decided that “Be brave with money” is one of my major goals for 2018.

This goal was inspired by the realization that while I’ve consistently spent less money than I’ve made, I’ve never felt like I had a handle on long-term saving, investing, or budgeting. Frankly, I’ve felt scared of money.

As I reflected about my frustrations and challenges with managing my finances, I was reminded of Denise Duffield-Thomas’ work. She’s a money mindset mentor whose goal is to normalize wealth for women. I had the pleasure of seeing Duffield-Thomas speak in Dallas last fall, and much of what she said resonated deeply with me.

According to Duffield-Thomas, one of the challenges women face when it comes to attaining wealth is that we haven’t seen it modeled.

My mother has been a school teacher for over 40 years. While she has done very well for herself, it’s safe to say that she didn’t become a teacher for the money. She’s motivated by her love of teaching and her commitment to educate the next generation rather than raking it in on her teacher’s salary. Her mother, in turn, wanted to work, but my grandfather discouraged it, so my grandmother volunteered as a docent for the local art museum.

Becoming more aware of this context helped me understand my relationship with money and the guilt I feel about wanting more of it. If two of the women I respect most haven’t focused on making money, what does it say about me and my commitment to the causes I care about if making money is a priority?

My mother is vehemently supportive of my business and a constant source of encouragement in pursuing professional and financial success. Still, I find myself feeling guilty or embarrassed for my desire to make money, which, as you might imagine, isn’t exactly conducive to entrepreneurship.

Duffield-Thomas encourages us to be role models for the next generation. She says, “Our job is to normalize wealth for women – to make it ok for other women, too.” That framework allows me to push beyond the message that it’s selfish to care about money and that I should be doing my work for purely altruistic reasons.

Instead, I want to be brave about money. I want to model a healthy money mindset for my niece and all the little girls who look up to me – to let them know that it’s not just ok to make money, but to show that wealth allows us to have a greater impact on the world around us. Thinking about money in that context, I’m starting to become excited about it.

As Duffield-Thomas says, “Women with big hearts who want to help people and make money will save the world.” Personally, more money would allow me to stress less about month-to-month finances and focus on passionately pursuing both the volunteer and paid work that meaningfully affect change.

It would allow me to invest more resources as a philanthropist on the issues that matter most to me. Just look at what’s happened with the creation of TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. It’s a 15.5 million dollar fund (and counting) started by women in entertainment to subsidize legal support for lower-income people who have experienced sexual misconduct in the workplace. That fund couldn’t have happened if the women who started it hadn’t amassed wealth in their own careers.

While it’s less comfortable, my desire to make money doesn’t have to be altruistic. Getting comfortable with increasing my income would also allow me to travel, buy myself silly treasures, and spend time with people I love. Part of a healthy money mindset means I don’t need to feel guilty for that.

I do still feel guilty on occasion, but I’m working on it. In 2018, I’ll begin my newfound lifelong goal to be brave with money. I will:

  • Set and work toward a specific financial goal for the year.
  • Track money more closely.
  • Open a new investment account and increase savings.
  • Have difficult conversations about money.
  • Maintain an abundance mindset without being frivolous.

One week into the new year, I’m genuinely excited about my goal. We’ll see how I feel this time next year, but I’m cautiously optimistic the bravery will continue.

Lelia Gowland helps women negotiate and navigate their careers. She’s a sought after speaker and writer on workplace dynamics for women. Learn more at gowlandllc.com.

 

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Get Your Mind Right: The Budgetnista Talks Tips For Increasing Your Net Worth

 

 

Ready to increase your net worth this year? Believe it or not, improving your finances and building wealth is more about mastering your mindset than anything else. To help you get your mind right, we tapped Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, the award-winning founder of the Live Richer Challenge and leader of Dream Catchers, a massive group of people who are collectively working toward a better financial life together. In 2014, she initially launched the Live Richer Challenge with a focus on savings. Since then, the challenge has progressed from savings to credit and currently, the 2018 edition focuses on net worth. Below she details a few money mindset tips to boost your income as well as your wealth.

 

What are three mindset shifts people need to make when it comes to increasing their savings, improving their credit, and increasing their net worth?

  • The mindset shift for saving – Many people think of savings as missing out. But to save effectively, you have to switch that mindset from saving is depriving yourself to saving is a reward. Meaning, if you save, you can have more of the things you want.

 

  • The mindset for credit – You have to shift to one of empowerment. People think credit is something that you don’t have control over or once you make a mistake, that’s it, and that is not true. Credit is simply a series of rules; and if you know the rules, you can abide by them, and you can even tweak them to your benefit. Credit is actually one of the easiest things to fix. Make the shift to learning the rules so you can play a different game. Shift your mindset to empowerment and knowledge when it comes to credit.

 

  • The mindset for net worth – Shift away from this idea that more is more. True wealth is not just about income because your net worth is how much you own minus how much owe. So let’s just say you own a million dollars’ worth of things (woohoo you’re rich!): NO. If you owe $2 million, you have a net worth of $1 million minus $2 million, which is negative $1 million.

 

Make a shift that more is not more and that your net worth is truly about balance. Yes, we all want to earn more, but we also have to take care of what you have because it is earn versus owing.

 

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How To Change Your Mindset For a Richer New Year

 

 

Every time a new year rolls round, many of us resolve to be better with money.

To save more, to keep out of our overdrafts, to budget better or simply to make our fortunes.

But the trouble is, most of us actually have no clue how to go about that.

According to hypnotist, behavioural scientist and author of self-help books, Paul McKenna, however, there are simple things you can do to ensure you have a richer 2018.

It’s important to remember that being rich isn’t just about money: “Being rich is living your life on your own terms – according to your possibilities, not your limitations,” McKenna wrote for the Mail Online.

From his experience, “rich thinkers” are the people who have a certain view of money that’s different to most of us.

A study recently found that it’s all about having a “proactive personality,” which is where you can spot opportunities and work on them in the right way.

These people tend to get promoted more often and are also happier at work.

“In other words, we create our own luck by the way we think, feel and act in the world,” McKenna explains.

One way to try and achieve this mindset is to attach meaning to the physical money you have, so equate a £5 note with lunch, for example.

For many people, what’s holding them back is financial self-sabotage. They think they don’t deserve wealth or there isn’t enough money to go round.

And – as with most things – it often comes down to our parents.

If you were brought up being told you’d never be successful or amount to anything, this can affect your views on money and success as an adult.

You have to try and get rid of any negative subconscious thoughts you have about wealth that you’ve been holding since childhood.

Another issue for some people is not liking the idea of having less money than others. But, McKenna says, “The more comfortable you become with the wealth of others, the faster your own wealth will grow.”

Your mindset affects the energy you give off which controls the energy you receive, according to McKenna.

If you’d just like to spend less, McKenna suggests simply starting a spending diary, where you note down every penny that leaves your bank account or wallet – much like with a food diary, it can help make you much more aware of where your money is going.

Another tip is to ask yourself “wealth creating questions,” such as “What unique product or service would I like to provide which will be of massive value to the world?” This is a trait many millionaires and billionaires share.

You need to ask what you can offer which would add value to other people’s lives while also making you money.

Even if you can’t answer questions such as these straight away, it’s important to keep asking yourself because it will put your mind in a more resourceful state.

“You get more of what you focus on in life,” says McKenna

Here’s my question for you today: What’s your main financial focus for this year?

Leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

To your success,

Robert

 

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4 Ways To Shift Your Money Mindset From Scarcity To Abundance

 

 

If you find yourself living “paycheck to paycheck” then it’s possible that you’ve cultivated a scarcity mindset in relationship to money.  At some point in your life you may have experienced an event which now dictates your mindset concerning your finances.  Consequentially, you now operate from that mental space leaving you with less than desirable results.

You may find yourself afraid to spend money or spending most of your money the minute it hits your checking account.  While there are certainly emotional components associated with this, most important of all is the mindset you maintain around how you make and spend money.

With a scarcity mindset, you’ll find yourself always focusing on never having enough.

How then do we shift from scarcity to abundance?

First, let’s discuss what an abundance mindset looks like.  As you may have guessed, an abundance mindset is very much the opposite of a scarcity mindset.  An abundance mindset keeps in mind every possible favorable outcome for your financial situation while allowing you to be open to each one.

If you start a new business, then you work with the certainty that you will have more than enough customers to support your financial goals.  The fear of spending money or never making enough of it doesn’t exist for you because it is not an option not is it something you ruminate about endlessly.

This is because an abundance mindset asserts that regardless of your financial pursuits, you will always have more than you need to meet your goals.  Once you start embodying this mindset, then your financial life flows towards the energy you give it.  If you focus on making and having more than enough money then that will be your outcome.

However, if you focus on lack and scarcity then that it be your sole experience as it relates to money.

Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can start shifting your mindset from scarcity to abundance.

Money needs direction

Most people know this as having a budget or a financial plan.  From a practical standpoint, this makes complete sense.  If you don’t have a plan for your money then you’ll never really shift your financial situation.  However, the structure of this plan stems from the mindset that your money needs direction and a plan in order to meet your financial goals.

Cut emotional spending

Emotional spending is a huge issue for many people because we are often driven by our emotions depending on what’s happening in our lives.  If life isn’t moving according to our plan then we can feel powerless amidst chaos and turn to money in order to make things right.  Money represents power, so it’s no surprise that many use it to ease their pain and regain a sense of control when life throws a few curveballs.

Money is personal not relative  

It’s easy to compare your financial situation to those in your family, friends or coworkers.  This can create feelings of lack, envy and despair concerning the state of your finances.  Consider your personal financial goals for yourself, not as they should be in relationship to what you see in others.

You may see someone driving the latest car and feel jealousy, however, you may not see they are just barely scraping together the money to make the payments every month.  Yet, as you compare your situation, it shifts your mindset from being appreciative for what you have to now being insecure about what you don’t have.

Money is personal and best kept that way to avoid a negative shift that will inevitably affect your financial situation.

Change your money script  

If you’ve ever said to yourself “I’ll never be able to afford that!” or maintain the perspective that you will never be as successful as your wealthy friends then you’ve encountered a negative money script.  Money scripts shape the mental tape we have about money.

They are commonly referred to as money blocks. Negative money scripts can have disastrous effects on your financial situation because what you think affects how you feel which then shapes the actions you take and eventually, the results you get.  You can see why it’s important to identify any negative money scripts so that you can shift them into positive scripts that will eventually shape your financial life in a positive way.

 EFT (Tapping) is a great way to start identifying and shifting your scarcity mindset into abundance.  It is deceptively simple to get started, however the results are life changing.  Tapping is a component of bilateral stimulation which works to break up mindset blocks we may be carrying concerning money.

As you consider changes to your finances, start with examining your mindset to see how you may be sabotaging yourself even while planning fervently for your financial future.

Write down how you really feel about money, and what your thoughts tell you when it comes to finances.

To your success,

Robert

 

 

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Create a positive financial mindset for 2018

 

 

The year is not yet over, but many of us are looking forward to January 2018. Starting a new year is always exciting, offering opportunities for making healthy changes. But often, our best intentions have faded within a few weeks, and we fall back into our old routines.

Let’s focus on our mindset to improve our finances in the new year. Maybe your mindset is that you cannot improve your finances because you’ve never been good with money.

We have all fallen short on goals for many reasons. Maybe the goals were unrealistic or we didn’t prepare properly. Sometimes life gets in the way. Brian Grasso, author of the book “Mindset Matters Most,” says, “Changing your mindset is about consistency plus simplicity.”

Today we will look at four ways of changing your mindset involving your finances.

Start a retirement fund

If you struggle to get to the end of the month, and there is never any money left over to save, cut yourself some slack. Chances are, you never had role models (parents or grandparents) when you were a child who taught you how to save. So, you need to learn now.

Ask whether your employer has a retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or a 403(b). If it does, fill out the necessary paperwork and start contributing to it – at least as much as your employer will match. Many employers will annually contribute 3 percent times the amount of your salary if you contribute 6 percent of your salary. Never pass up the match that an employer will contribute.

If your employer offers a Roth 401(k) or a Roth 403(b), choose that option, rather than the traditional retirement plan. You will not receive a tax break in the years you contribute, but the account will be tax-free for future years, including when you decide to withdraw the money.

Retirement plans such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, Roth 401(k)s and Roth 403(b)s do not have income limitations, but they have contribution maximums. For 2018, a person can contribute up to $18,500 if under age 50 and up to $24,500 if age 50 or over.

Create an emergency fund

Do you have an emergency fund that would cover six months of living expenses in case of an emergency? If you do not, start building your emergency fund.

Open a savings account at a bank or credit union, and make sure you are not paying any fees. If you already have a checking account, open the savings account at the same firm.

Ask the bank or credit union to start transferring money automatically into the new savings account on the day you choose (immediately after you receive your paycheck is usually the wisest choice). Select an amount that is realistic for you. It does not have to be large.

Open a Roth IRA

If you fund your retirement plan at work and you have an emergency fund, congratulations! Next, I recommend you open a Roth IRA. You must have earned income (such as a salary) to fund a Roth IRA. For 2018, you can contribute up to $5,500 if you are under age 50 and up to $6,500 if you are 50 or over. There are income limitations (based on modified adjusted gross income) for funding Roth IRAs to the maximum amount, and for 2018 these are $120,000 if you are single and $189,000 for married couples. See the www.irs.gov website for information.

Roth IRAs do not provide any tax benefit in the year of the contribution. However, going forward, the account is tax-free as it is growing and is also tax-free when withdrawals are taken. (Traditional IRAs offer a tax benefit in the year of the contribution but withdrawals are taxed as income in the year of the withdrawal. Therefore, Roth IRAs are considered tax-free while traditional IRAs are tax-deferred).

Someone can fund a Roth IRA in addition to a Roth 401(k) through their employer. Roth IRAs are a very attractive way to save for retirement, but they are also attractive for young people because the contributions can be withdrawn at any time (just not the earnings). Roth IRAs have many benefits. For information, read Wise Tax Strategies on my website, joyoffinancialsecurity.com. Click on the “Resources” tab, then on “Free Reports.”

Boost your investment knowledge

If you contribute to your employer’s retirement plan, have an emergency fund that will cover six months of expenses, and fund a Roth IRA each year, your next step should be to increase your knowledge about investments. Perhaps you have investment accounts, but you do not understand why you own certain investments or how they perform. Early 2018 is your chance to meet with your broker or financial adviser and ask lots of questions.

Raise your level of knowledge regarding your investments. The stock market has been extremely kind to investors in recent years, but I am always concerned that many investors are not prepared for the inevitable downturn. Make certain your investments do not have too much risk for your situation, and ask for a listing of the fees you are paying. Learn how to analyze your investments. Your broker or financial adviser should serve as a partner to you.

We have all set unrealistic goals before, and we are frustrated when we do not follow through. Mindset is important. Be kind to yourself if you slip back into the old habits, and begin again.

The researchers who study how change occurs emphasize that the process is not linear. We may move from one step to the next and then take several steps back before getting on track again. If we see setbacks as a part of the process, we’ll be more likely to accept them and return to the positive changes we are making.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

To your success,

Robert

 

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4 Quotes From the World’s Best Investors to Help You Achieve Financial Independence

 

 

With the proper mindset and a willingness to listen to the advice of those who have already made their fortunes, most of us can greatly improve our chances of becoming financially secure. Let’s look at some examples of the latter.

“Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this” – Dave Ramsey

US businessman and author, Dave Ramsey has an estimated net worth of $55m. Most readers in the UK won’t have heard of him. Nevertheless, the quote above neatly encapsulates the need to avoid spending unnecessarily if you’re to become financially free.

Taking on board Ramsey’s advice doesn’t mean consigning yourself to an ascetic lifestyle or refraining from having any fun whatsoever. It does, however, involve undertaking a sober evaluation of what you can and can’t live without (iPhone X and all). And if your outgoings are larger than your income, you’re doing it wrong. Turn this around and put any remaining cash to better use in the stock market.

“Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas” – Paul Samuelson

It’s tempting to believe that all those who have become financially independent did so by betting big on a single company or asset. Certainly, there will be a few people who have managed to do this, most recently with Bitcoin. What you don’t hear about, however, are the many investors who have taken extraordinarily high risks over the years and lost everything. It’s called survivorship bias — don’t be a victim to it.

Rather than gamble with your hard-earned capital, you’re far better off investing in a basket of quality stocks, reinvesting any dividends and watching your wealth grow. Financial independence is perfectly possible but very rarely does it happen instantly.

“You get recessions, you have stock market declines. If you don’t understand that’s going to happen, then you’re not ready, you won’t do well in the markets” – Peter Lynch

Lynch believes that trying to predict what the market will do over the next year or so is a fruitless endeavour; far better to accept that markets will regularly correct, occasionally crash and eventually recover.

The pursuit of financial independence involves accepting that there will be setbacks along the way and that trying to put a date on when you will be completely secure is probably unrealistic. What’s more important is responding appropriately to market wobbles when they occur.

Which brings us to our final quote…

“We don’t have to be smarter than the rest. We have to be more disciplined than the rest” – Warren Buffett

Being successful in the markets isn’t correlated with intelligence and most of the wealthiest investors don’t possess PhDs. What often separates these people from everyone else is their commitment to what they are doing.

Buffett is, of course, the 87-year-old poster boy of value investing. Perhaps more than any other, this strategy requires patience, conviction and a willingness to zig while others zag. The only way of doing this consistently is to have discipline and buy the stocks everyone else is jettisoning from their portfolios. Being wholeheartedly greedy when others are fearful can be truly life-changing.

What is your favourite financial quote? Leave a comment below and let us know why you like it.

 

To your success,

Robert

 

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The Road to Financial Independence…Focus on What You Can Control

 

Anyone can reach financial independence. With the right mindset. And, of course, an action plan.

Richus Nel

The perilous state of the economy is well-known and the festive season started with a significant increase in the petrol price that will affect holiday budgets. There is already speculation about tax increases to be announced in the 2018 budget. All round, personal finances are facing threats. But it does not have to derail financial goals. It requires taking charge.

  1. See it

Find out where you are financially. Nothing can be managed without having all the facts. Take a long hard look at your current financial reality. Once you know where you are, decide where you want to go and decide how badly you want to go there.  Simulate and project your current reality and determine if you are happy with the outcome over a 10 / 20 / 30 / 50-year time span.  If this is not the reality you want to be confronted with at age 70-80, change course now. Any small change made today can make a huge difference later.

  1. Be it

Budget for a meaningful but frugal living standard. Realise that achieving your financial goals are entirely within your own hands.  Not the government, your employer or anyone else can influence your financial position over the long-term.  You will have to take control and decide on what you will spend your money, how much and how often.  Unexpected expenditure normally wipes out any intention of saving, therefore save a realistic and sustainable amount through the first monthly debit order.  Let this savings amount automatically escalate by an inflation multiple annually (once, twice, even 3-4 times inflation, if you have waited too long).  This could correct a savings “backlog” dramatically over the medium to long-term.  The goal is to accumulate income producing assets (passive or semi-passive), that surpasses your monthly income in a sustainable manner.

  1. The dream

Financial independence buys many career options and at least translates into an option for a second career of choice. All over the world people are living longer and many people want to leave a useful legacy behind (self-actualisation). Take a sabbatical (self-development), take a GAP year or two.  Do what you always wanted to do, something that adds meaning to your life (touring the world by sailing / hiking / cycling).  Legacies are not all about money but also time, energy and ideas that can be contributed to make the world a better place.  Once you have accomplished financial independence, take a breather as long as you want.

  1. Smart conversion (now)

Multiple income streams lower financial risk.  Most individuals closer to retirement, have some resources or assets that can generate income on conversion.  This could be in the form of a holiday home, additional vehicles, boats, trailers, caravans or even just a spare room in your home.  With minimal conversion cost, some of these items can potentially be converted to generate additional income.

  1. Risk vs. return

The rate of return is going to be one of the biggest decisive factors of how soon you will reach financial independence.  There is a massive difference between compounded returns of “inflation +3%” vs. “inflation +5%”.  On R1m for 10 years the difference is R2,367m vs. R2,839m and for 20 years R5,604m vs. R8,062m respectively.  Employ a financial advisor that could accompany you outside your risk comfort zone.  A disciplined and process-driven financial advisor is familiar with typical long-term market behaviour.

  1. Drawdown rates

By reducing income drawing from 7.5% to 5% p.a. stretches the investment lifespan for 20 years (ASISA table on living annuities at assumed 10% investment returns).  The results of any chosen drawdown rate firmly rest on how market behaves over the first three years straight after investment.

According to the latest result from FinaMetrica research (international psychometric risk assessment tool), the following portfolios have (over the last 30years) behaved accordingly.

  • 100% General local equity investment – worst loss 38.5% [May 2008 (recovered within 22 months) – Best annual rise 34.5%
  • A “Regulation 28” High Equity Balanced fund (60-70% equity) – worst loss 21-25% [Sep 1987 – (recovered within 10-11 months)] – Best annual rise 30%
  • A low equity fund (max 40% equity) – at worst loss 14% [Sep 1987 (recover within 7months) – Best annual rise 30%

Sequence risk clearly have a huge impact on the value of a post-retirement investment (with drawdown).  When markets rise and when they drop, we have no control over and also not in which order. Post retirement draw down management, requires a draw of less than 4%-5% of the investment value per annum. Escalate the income amount with inflation annually, not the percentage.

  1. Health choices relates to real wealth

Make good decisions regarding your health, throughout life. This will determine the quality of your life later, regardless how much wealth you have accumulated.

  1. Tax / Costs

Excessive tax and investment costs are the penalties of being unassisted in financial decisions. Taxes are a fact of life, but can be managed to achieve tax efficiency. The guidance of a tax expert or advisor can make a big difference.

Financial outcomes are mostly driven by active decisions made (or not made) in the past. Actions follow thoughts. Start small and gain momentum incrementally towards financial independence and make the journey a lot shorter by taking an experienced financial, legal, tax and medical advisor along.

 

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How to Save Money: Six Tips to Help Stash Your Cash

 

 

Who doesn’t want to save money? Almost no one, but sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that “saving” is the same as spending, only in smaller increments. Or we think of saving as a punishment without considering what the reward will be down the road.

Of course, we all know the basics of saving: live below your income, create and follow a budget, stash cash away for an emergency fund and your retirement, and make tweaks to your lifestyle to cut costs whenever possible.

“Saving money begins with your mindset,” according to Nerdwallet, the personal finance site. “Saving money doesn’t mean you have to quit spending altogether. It just means you have to prioritize some financial goals over others.”

Here are some easy money-savings tips to consider.

1. Set your mindset. How do you think about money? The personal finance site Mint.com suggests tracking your thoughts whenever you make a financial decision. Does it feel good to spend money if it’s “shopping therapy”? Does it hurt to pay for something that you feel you might not need or is overpriced? According to a recent TD Ameritrade Millennials and Money Survey, 80% of millennials said that saving, as opposed to spending, made them feel secure, and, as a result, happy.

2. Set financial goals. This is where the cause-and-effect piece kicks in. Do you want to buy a new car? A house? Fund a kid’s college education? Be financially comfortable in retirement? Barring a mega lottery win, you need to save now to do those things down the road. Remember the magic of compound interest—your savings nut keeps growing with interest accumulating annually on the principal.

3. Budget, budget, budget. This can’t be said enough: Put together a budget. It’s not necessarily an exhilarating experience, but it’s certainly an indispensable one. You will know where your money goes, where you want it to go, and where it isn’t going. Start with charting each and every monthly expense, from food and shelter to transportation, insurance and health costs, taxes, entertainment, exercise and beauty routines, and gifting. You’ll see how quickly that biweekly mani-pedi and daily $4 latte add up. It’ll also help you balance your real needs against your discretionary wants.

4. Set up an emergency fund and retirement fund. For emergency fund savings, conventional wisdom has long recommended you have enough put aside to cover three to six months of expenses for an unexpected financial crisis or should your income disappear. Some financial professionals are now pushing that to longer periods, anywhere from six months to a full year. If it’s doable, 12 months could be a really smart move. But it’s tough, especially if you’re putting money aside for retirement and paying off big-ticket debts like school loans or a mortgage. Remember that having an emergency fund is a short-term priority and a retirement fund is a long-term priority. The key word here is priority, as in important, significant, meaningful, and consequential.

5. Make saving money habitual. Set time aside—preferably every week, but at the least, every month—to review your financial status. According to Entrepreneur magazine, millionaires spend an average of 8.4 hours a month—or more than two hours per week—managing their money. That underscores the importance of knowing where money is going and how you can allocate more to the future “you” you want to enjoy.

6. Recognize real and easy ways to save money. Buying something half off that costs $100 isn’t “saving” $50. It’s still spending $50. Think about lost opportunity costs—what you’re not going to get because you spent that $50 on a sale item. Do the math, too, to see how simple it can be to save on things like dining out, cutting the cable cord, making coffee at home, turning to the public library for reading materials, and working out at the local park district or community gym.

How are you dealing with saving money? Share your thoughts, actions and ideas below, so others can get inspired as well.

 

To you success,

Robert

 

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These 5 money-smart steps can bring you financial freedom now

 

 

here are three weeks left in 2017 and it’s all too easy to get swept away with plans, tasks, projects, events, shopping and the holiday buzz. It takes something to slow down, practice self-care, and connect with what’s actually important. Here are some practical steps for achieving financial freedom, during the holidays or anytime:

1. Try debit-only spending: Research shows that people tend to overspend by up to 23% simply by using a credit card. Spending money borrowed from your future is a slippery slope, and credit card induced magical thinking can lead to financial hangovers. True financial freedom comes being in the present moment, being realistic about how much you can afford and practicing conscious guilt-free spending.

2. Practice a no-spend day: The best antidote to overspending during the holidays is to go on a “fast,” meaning pledging not to spend any money on a particular day. Invite a friend or family member to try it with you. Use the down time for relaxing, creative projects, reading, exercise, decorating, calling an old friend, or you could even create a proactive holiday spending plan. Pick one day between now and January 1st to enjoy not spending.

3. Focus on the simple things: Deep breaths are quick, grounding and powerful. The hard part is remembering to use this tool. There is so much to see and feel right here: sunlight coming through the window, our family members and friends without assumptions or expectations, and the beauty in nature during winter. Gifts are wonderful and may even be your primary “love language”; still, there are many meaningful ways to spend little or no money during the holidays. Try giving your full presence in lieu of overdoing presents this year. Words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and homemade gifts are often more memorable than big-ticket items.

4. Be honest: Think about how you want 2018 to be different financially, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Do a year-end review of how much you earned, how much you spent, and how much you saved or invested. Make a plan for your health and self-care. Set up accountability with a group, a friend, or even with the help of an app. Have a conversation with a loved one you’ve been putting off. But mostly, identify something nourishing that really lights you up and then create space in your schedule for more of that.

5. Be intentional: Practice this growth mindset by aligning the vision you have for your life with your behavior. Has it been more than two years since you received or gave yourself a raise? It’s time. What support do you need to feel more confident and experience true peace of mind about money? You may need a new accountant, financial planner, personal assistant, investment adviser, bookkeeper, or money coach.  Draft a financial action plan. This list should include everything and anything that will increase income, stop leaks in spending, reduce expenses, and expand your savings.

“To thine own self be true,” Shakespeare wrote in “Hamlet.” I used to think that swiping the credit card meant financial freedom. I was in the thick of money fog and denial. Coming to reality involved a tough journey of self-reflection, truth telling, making amends to myself and others, and following through on needed changes. Once I created a healthy and sustainable relationship with money, everything in my life changed for the better. One of the many lessons I learned is that true financial freedom comes from having integrity around money and living within your means — especially during the holidays.

How do you feel or think about these septs to financial freedom? Do you have any experience with them, are you willing to try some out, or do you see no benefit in them?

Leave your comment below, and I’ll be sure to follow up with you.

 

Robert

 

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How a growth mindset can revolutionize your finances

 

 

I am never going to get out of debt. My credit cards will always be maxed out. I will never make enough money to invest in a retirement account. I’m stuck.

If any of those thoughts sound familiar, then you may be looking at your finances with a fixed mindset. Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist who is considered the expert on mindset and human behaviors, says there are two core mindsets: a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

A growth mindset is the belief that our skills and qualities can be cultivated through effort and perseverance: Our abilities are due to our actions. And a fixed mindset is the belief that our abilities and basic qualities are simply fixed traits. In other words, you either are or aren’t good at something, based on your inherent nature — because that’s just who you are.

But what does all of this have to do with money? Let me explain.

Can our mindset really affect our finances?

When you begin to look at the difference between a growth and fixed mindset, you start to think differently about how you talk to yourself and others about financial success. This leads to a focus on what is coming in, rather than what is going out. Think about it: If your focus is solely on paying off debt, you limit the ability to save and grow your finances; you’re not focusing on what is coming in. Therefore, teaching a growth mindset in the world of business and personal finance creates motivation and productivity and changes how we view money.

How do you challenge a fixed money mindset?

Before you dig into how a growth mindset can help revolutionize your finances, you have to address the “why” of where you’re at. When it comes to revolutionizing your finances, it’s a fixed mindset that keeps you from breaking the habits that get in the way of your money goals. This mindset also prevents you from taking a risk and moving out of your comfort zone because you’re afraid to fail.

A lot of these deep-rooted thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about money can be traced back to our childhood. The conversations that took place about money, the beliefs that were passed down from our parents, and how money was saved (and spent) all make up our personal philosophy about finances. To adopt a growth mindset about money, you must first identify and challenge those early beliefs.

For many of us, part of what perpetuates these continual beliefs is something called “scarcity mindset,” or the belief that there is a limited amount of resources. This approach to finances comes from a place of guilt and fear and often keeps people stuck in a cycle of thinking they will never have enough. People who spend their lives in a scarcity mindset believe their situations are permanent.

How can a growth mindset help?

“Deciding to” rather than “wanting to” change your finances is one of the first steps in shifting your mindset. A growth mindset means that you think with abundance and not with scarcity. “When you’re in a mindset of scarcity, you believe that resources are finite and that you cannot create more,” says Evan Tarver, investment analyst with FitSmallBusiness.com.

“With a growth mindset, however, you know that not all resources are finite and that if you invest your money wisely, you’ll be able to achieve higher returns than if you thought in scarcity,” Tarver adds. For example, people who focus on prosperity rather than debt tend to look at their finances as an opportunity for growth — they focus on the money coming in, not on the money going out. But, in order to achieve this growth, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Having a growth mindset with your finances empowers you to ask a lot of questions about money; it helps you think like an investor.

Tarver explains that a growth mindset is especially important with personal finances because it lets you accurately assess risk. “A growth mindset knows that there’s always more to be made,” he says. However, Tarver does make a point of reminding people that a growth mindset is not reckless. Rather, it’s a prudent approach to personal budgeting as well as personal investing.

So, when you make a plan for your money, a fixed money mindset does not allow you to be open to profitable opportunities. When it comes to looking at your finances with a growth mindset, first, you need to establish your money end-game. How much do you want to have? In what sectors? On what timeline? Once you have a goal and start working toward it, remember to check your accounts regularly. When you see the positive trajectory in your accounts thanks to all your hard work, you will be inspired to keep it up.

 

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