Category Archives: Life

Personal Improvement: Interest Isn’t the Only Thing that Compounds!

What do you say when you get a 1.25% annual return on your savings account? You’re excited, of course! But have you ever thought about the idea of compounding personal improvement?

Look at it this way. Say that you improve yourself 1% each week for a year. Over the course of a year, that’s 52% just by adding the weekly “interest.”

But wait- there’s more! Do you remember the magic of compounding interest? It’s more than 52%! Not only do you gain the 1% each week, but you also gain improvements on those improvements as time goes on. It’s easy to improve yourself 1% each week. Do you watch TV? How do you use the commercial time? Instead of watching them, find something productive to do during that time. Clip some coupons. Fold the laundry. You get the idea.

Speaking of TV, have you ever considered taking that idea further? What if you reduced it? What could you accomplish during that saved time? What about your commute to work? Instead of listening to a talk show about celebrity gossip, is there something else you could be listening to? Try an educational CD or MP3 download to attend what the late Zig Ziglar called Automobile University. Now that’s a great way to improve your time management! You can add hours of learning to your life without an additional time commitment since you’re replacing rather than adding an activity.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper
My Financial Life Coach LLC
“Helping You Get Your Financial House In Order”
2280 W William St., Suite A
Delaware, OH 43015
http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net
https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bryan-cooper/26/199/722

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Filed under Attitude, Change, Events, Goal Setting, Goals, Inspiration, Life, Life Balance, Personal, Priorities, Relationships & Money, Thoughts, Time Management

Neon Piano

Cover of "Now, Discover Your Strengths"

Cover of Now, Discover Your Strengths

Today, let’s play a little game. I want you to picture something. Visualize it in your mind. Think of anything besides a neon piano. Picture it. Picture anything except a neon piano. Don’t think about a neon piano. Think of something else.

So what picture is in your mind right now? My guess is a neon piano.

People often do this unintentionally with their finances. They think negatively rather than positively. They think about what they cannot fix or afford rather than about what they can fix or can afford. Negative thinking leads to a defeated attitude. The defeated attitude in turn lowers performance.

The same thing often happens with job performance reviews. Your boss congratulates you on an excellent job with 90% of your work. But then most of the discussion is on how you should improve that 10%. It’s impossible to do well in every area. Sometimes, there are going to be things you just aren’t good at. Does it make more sense to focus on the 90% you excel at or the 10% you don’t do so well in?

Focusing only on your weaknesses will lead you to only address 10% of your work. Plus, you’ll be forgetting the 90% you excel at. Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. Put the majority of your effort into the 90%, and don’t allow the 10% to overshadow your success.

Apply prioritization management to what you focus on at work. Think positively rather than negatively. Keep thinking can, can, can!

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Special note: I highly recommend you read the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham.

Bryan Cooper
My Financial Life Coach LLC
“Helping You Get Your Financial House In Order”
2280 W William St., Suite A
Delaware, OH 43015
 
http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net
https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bryan-cooper/26/199/722

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Filed under Attitude, Budget, Change, Goal Setting, Inspiration, Life, Life Balance

How Is Your Spare Tire?

A flat tire on a Mercury Villager van.

A flat tire on a Mercury Villager van. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we carry around a spare tire in the back of the car, we’re covered in case of a flat, right? Not always.

A few years back, I had the privilege of experiencing a flat tire at midnight on a dark, muddy country road. I thought, “No problem, I’ll just pull out the spare.” It was also flat. The spare tire was placed in that vehicle when it was new and had never been used. The assumption was that it would do the job when needed. But what changed? Time.

As time went by, the spare had slowly lost its air. What “spares” do you currently have that are no longer doing the job? Spares don’t last forever. They need to be maintained. Below are a few things I suggest you look at this week:

  1. Life Insurance: Does it still match your needs? Have you added a mortgage or had children since you first obtained that plan? Are the correct beneficiaries listed?
  2. Homeowner Insurance: Do you have the proper coverage?
  3. Your Will: Again, is it up to date? If something happens to you, what will happen to your kids?
  4. Emergency Fund: Do you have one? If you don’t, will you pull out the credit card and incur additional debt if something happens? Are you prepared for an emergency?

I recommend that you do one more thing- go out to your car and check your spare tire to make sure you are prepared should you have a flat. Don’t procrastinate!!

You never know when you might end up with a flat tire at midnight on a dark, muddy country road.

Until next time . . .

Bryan Cooper
My Financial Life Coach LLC
Financial Life Coach
“Helping You Get Your Financial House In Order”
Delaware, OH 43015

Visit us at http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

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Filed under Auto, Emergency Fund, Family, Insurance, Life, Money, Personal Finance, Uncategorized

If you can’t leave the freshly baked cookies alone, stay out of the kitchen

Half a dozen home-made cookies. Ingredients: b...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The kitchen

You’ve heard the saying “If you can’t take the heat, stay out of kitchen.” In my case it should be “If you can’t leave the freshly baked cookies alone, stay out of the kitchen.”

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog, you know that I’m on a mission to shed 20 lbs in 56 days. Today is day 29 or 56. This weekend I made some progress and I fell off the wagon at the same time. My progress was that I ran over a mile this weekend. That is a really big milestone for me.

The cookies

The bad this weekend? …my wife’s home-made cookies. I’m very disciplined except for about five food items and her cookies are one of those items. When she bakes I try to be very helpful…I am a self-appointed cookie tester and it is my duty to test EVERY batch, without my wife catching me of course. (Full disclosure-I may have had two cookies for every batch but let’s keep that between us).  Then I justified having a soda because I was off my diet anyway. Because of this lack of discipline (and logic) I get to work on lb #12 again.

Not following my own advice

I advise my clients that if they have an issue spending money on things not in the budget that they should avoid the stores so they do not have this temptation. Had I followed my own advice this weekend I would have stayed out of the kitchen and I would be working on lb #13 instead of a do over with lb #12. So the lesson is stick with your budget (or diet), if you don’t, you will be extending how long you are paying on debt (or extending how long until you hit your ideal weight goal).

Knowledge or Behavior?

One more point, it isn’t always about knowledge, sometimes it is about behavior. I know that cookies and soda are counterproductive to my weight goal but I did it anyway. But like learning to ride a bike I’ll get back up and start riding again this week.

What goal are you struggling with this week?

Let’s hear about your goal or your struggle for this week.

Remember, you have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper – www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about money, goals, family, life events, spending, and economic news. We do make every attempt to avoid the topic of politics but we will bring up economic policies that need communicated.

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Filed under Budget, Change, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, household budget, Life, Personal Finance

The Value of Your Time; Your Life.

Trading your life for stuffSpending your time equals spending your life.

(This blog is a continuation of yesterday’s blog)

There is one more piece to this process I want you thinking about. I want you thinking about what things cost you in hours worked. When you go to work you are exchanging your life (time) for money. Here are some examples.

Let’s assume you make $25 per hour.

1. You will have to work 61.32 hours to bring home enough money to buy the $1,000 couch. That means working just shy of 8 full work days.

2. You will have to work 4.6 hours to bring home enough money to pay for a $75 night on the town.

3. You will have to work 1,840 hours to bring home enough money to buy the $30,000 vehicle. That means working 46 weeks. That’s right…almost a FULL YEAR!!

Let’s assume you make $15 per hour.

1. You will have to work 102.2 hours to bring home enough money to buy the $1,000 couch. That means working just shy of 13 full work days.

2. You will have to work 7.65 hours (a whole day!!) to bring home enough money to pay for a $75 night on the town.

3. You will have to work 3,066 hours to bring home enough money to buy the $30,000 vehicle. That means working just shy of 77 weeks or about 1.5 years. (This vehicle will go down in value too but that is a topic for another day).

Is it worth it?

I’m not against buying couches, nights out, vehicles, or other items. My goal with this article is for you to understand and calculate the real cost of every item you purchase.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours. – Coach Bryan

(Note: a. For those of you who participate in biblical tithing (10%), your factor is 170% instead of the 153% so you would need to earn around $1,700 to have enough to buy the $1,000 couch. b. Tax percentages may be different for your situation).

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about money, goals, family, life events, spending, and economic news. We do make every attempt to avoid the topic of politics but we will bring up economic policies that need communicated. Our job is to educate and motivate you to the debt-free life style.

Don’t forget to checkout our website, www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net  for 100’s of resources including tips, articles, spreadsheets, web-based training, and more.  Why not tell a friend? Looking for daily motivation on your financial walk? Checkout the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page.


 

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Filed under Balance, Blog, Family, Finance, Financial, Goals, Home, Life, Life Balance, Money, Personal Finance, Time, Uncategorized, Work

Calculating the REAL cost of every purchase you make.

How much?

One thing I have found to be consistent over the past 20 years when working with folks is that they do not understand the real cost of the purchases they make. I always ask the question “How much does a $1,000 couch cost?” When I ask this I normally hear “Am I paying cash or am I charging it?” For the following example the assumption is cash.

Only a $1,000, Right?

You are looking to buy a $1000 couch, and you say, “It is only $1,000.” Right? Wrong. Let’s look at what it really costs to make that purchase.

Taxes and More Taxes…

First, let’s assume you need to pay sales tax of 7%. So now you need to come up with $1070. But you actually need to earn more money because where I come from there are taxes to pay such as federal tax, city tax, state tax, and FICA. Let’s assume you are in a 15% federal tax bracket, 6% state, 2% city, and your portion of FICA. That means you will need to earn at least $1,533.00 before taxes to make that $1000 purchase.

In other words, the $1000 couch will cost you $1533 or 153% of the sale price. So when considering a purchase, make sure you evaluate the real cost.

So another way of saying this is…

  • You need to earn $1533 to buy a $1000 item
  • You need to earn $15.3 to buy a $10.00 item
  • You need to earn $1.53 to buy a $1.00 item

It impacts other areas…

Let’s shift from couches to vehicles. You know that vehicle sitting in the driveway that you paid $30,000 for? You had to earn $46,000, pay the taxes, in order to bring home enough money to buy it. OUCH!

Can’t seem to get ahead?

Have you ever wondered why it feels that your money doesn’t go very far? Here is why. If I ask you how much you make, what will you tell me? 9 out of 10 times you will tell me the gross amount that you make because we normally think in gross. So if your gross income is $70,000, you are walking around thinking you make $70,000 a year, and you are beating yourself up because you are wondering why you can’t make it on $70,000 a year. The reality is if you are grossing $70,000, you are bringing home (net) somewhere in the $46,000 range. That is a long way from $70,000. Once you start thinking in net, you will find yourself less frustrated and more understanding as to why you don’t have the purchasing power you thought you had.

Tomorrow we will talk about the value of your time.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours. – Coach Bryan

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about money, goals, family, life events, spending, and economic news. We do make every attempt to avoid the topic of politics but we will bring up economic policies that need communicated. Our job is to educate and motivate you to the debt-free life style.

Don’t forget to checkout our website, www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net  for 100’s of resources including tips, articles, spreadsheets, web-based training, and more.  Why not tell a friend? Looking for daily motivation on your financial walk? Checkout the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page.

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Filed under Balance, Blog, Education, Finance, Financial, Goals, household budget, Life, Money, Personal Finance, Time, Uncategorized

Confession – My Financial Life Coach Lacks Discipline

I lack discipline

That’s right, I lack discipline. Did I go out and borrow money for a car? No, I have pretty good discipline with money; my challenge is with eating and exercise. I like to eat and I don’t like to exercise.

False advertisement?

The 20 ounce soda says it contains 2.5 servings. I find it only has one serving. The peanut butter flavored cereal says 12 servings; a new box is half gone when I finally push myself away from the table…so it only contains two servings for me.

No it isn’t false advertising, it is MY lack of discipline, MY inability to control the amount of consumption, and MY frequency of consumption. Bottom-line, MY eating habits and MY lack of exercise habits are similar to the money management habits of my clients.

Reflecting back

I was in great physical condition when I was in the military. That was 32 pounds ago or about a pound a year. I have rationalized that this rate of gain is acceptable until I realized last week I could live as long as my grandfather who lived to be 100 years old. If I live that long and keep up this current pace, I will have gained about 80 pounds. Totally unacceptable – I want to have good health and energy to do what I want to do.

Changes start today

It is time put my money discipline skills to work in the area of my health. Focus and discipline. That starts today. For those of you who have worked with me as a coach or have gone through the Balance Up program you know that is important to  1) Set goals; make them visible, 2) Put a plan together to achieve the goals, and 3) Hold yourself accountable to others. When clients do this they typically see significant progress in about 6 weeks.

I really like the 6 week time frame. 6 weeks is 42 days. It takes 21 days to form new habits so 42 days gives you twice as much time as you need to form new habits.

Next Steps

My goal – Shed 15 pounds in the next 6 weeks through exercise and eating discipline. How will I keep this goal visible?  I’m going back to the military haircut, the haircut of my prime. I will be reminded of my goal, my plan, every time I look in the mirror.

My plan – Eliminate the ice cream, soda, and PB cereal over the next 6 weeks. Drink more water and less coffee (ugh). Exercise no less than 4 times a week.

My accountability – I know that the My Financial Life Coach audience will hold me accountable and will cheer me on. I will update my situation twice a week on my blog and on Facebook.

Current Facts

Today’s weigh in – 180 lbs.

It’s not all about me.

Now a challenge for you. What are you going to do to in the next 42 days to improve your health or your financial health?  Feel free to join in the challenge by commenting on either the blog or on the Facebook page.

You know that I always end my post with the following quote…

“You have a choice, and the choice is yours.” – Bryan Cooper, Financial Coach

I think it is appropriate to change it for today…

“I have a choice, and the choice is mine.” – Bryan Cooper, a middle aged out-of-shape guy who needs discipline to get back into good physical shape.

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about money, goals, family, life events, spending, and economic news. We do make every attempt to avoid the topic of politics but we will bring up economic policies that need communicated. Our job is to educate and motivate you to the debt-free life style.

Don’t forget to checkout our website (www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net)  for 100’s of resources including tips, articles, spreadsheets, web-based training, and more.  Why not tell a friend? Looking for daily motivation? Checkout the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page too.


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April 2, 2012 · 10:45 am