Category Archives: Time

Do You Live Like an Inbox?

What is your work style? Could you be an inbox type of person?

People who live like inboxes don’t prioritize. Instead of looking at their work and formulating a plan, they get straight to work at whatever is dumped on them. If you do this . . . STOP! Planning is a critical part of generating results. Your time is limited. Be selective in how you spend it. Decide what you will and will not do. You don’t have enough time to finish everything. Determine what your priorities are and start with those.

Managing your time is not someone else’s responsibility. It is yours. You are responsible for your own time management and prioritization management, so do not allow others to dictate your life and your schedule.

When someone gives you a new task, don’t automatically do it. Take the time to look at each item to decide whether or not it is a good investment of your time and talents. Ask 1) Is it important? 2) Am I the right person for the job? and 3) Should I say no?

Every day, evaluate how you will spend your time. Prioritize. How do these items align with your personal goals, priorities, and mission? Think before you work.

 

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, Balance, Goal Setting, Goals, Inspiration, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Priorities, Resolutions, Stress, Time, Time Management

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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My Financial Life Coach – Week in Review – March 10-16, 2012

This blog entry includes everything from this week that I posted on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn; along with links to WordPress posts.

March 10

Consumer Credit Increased 8.6% in January 2012 http://ow.ly/9yhpQ

The days of homebuyers going after the biggest, best house they can afford (and sometimes can’t afford) are over. http://ow.ly/9yBdO

March 11

Banks foreclosing on churches in record numbershttp://ow.ly/9yBFk

Thought for Tomorrow: When your life is busy and stressful, sleep. Just as relaxation and recreation are necessary to help you recover from a busy day, a good night’s sleep will help you to rejuvenate so that you can be ready to pursue your goals. So why not start the week out right by going to bed on time tonight?

March 12

Time Tip: While delegation is generally a means to efficiency, it can sometimes create frustration and poor results. Be careful to delegate tasks to the correct people, those who understand them and can complete them well. Also be clear as to who has which responsibilities. Accidentally assigning the task to multiple people is a huge time waster.

Money Tip: When you go out to eat, skip the drinks and dessert. For example, say a family of four purchased four drinks at $1.50 each and four desserts costing $2.50 each. If they were to eliminate those items, they could save $16 every time they go out to eat. If they only go out to eat an average of four times per month, they would still be saving $768 per year!

Thought for Tomorrow: There are people so poor, that the only thing they have is money. –Unknown.  How about you? Don’t go to work tomorrow just for the money. Go there to meet needs of your customer, and the result will be a paycheck to meet the needs of your family. -Bryan

March 13

Time Tip: While multitasking is often detrimental when doing two or more needed tasks, it can work when one task requires little or no thought. For instance, if you want to listen to music, do it while you clean the house. Call your mother during your evening walk.

Article: Government records highest-ever monthly deficit: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/08/government-records-highest-ever-monthly-deficit/

My Financial Life Coach Blog Article:  Enemies of Your Financial Goals   http://myfinanciallifecoach.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/the-enemies-of-your-financial-goals/

Money Tip: Wrap an insulating jacket or blanket around your hot water heater to help it be more efficient in retaining heat.  What ideas can you share?

Video: This three minute video puts the US deficit into perspective -   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li0no7O9zmE&sns=fb

Thought for Tomorrow: The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. Take responsibility of your situation & take action.

March 14

Time Tip: Work expands to fill your time frame. If you schedule a single project, it will likely take you all day. Instead, plan to accomplish several tasks.

My Financial Life Coach Blog Article: Poor vs. Broke – How do you look at it?  http://myfinanciallifecoach.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/poor-vs-broke-how-do-you-look-at-it/

Money Tip: Ask for your children’s input on your family’s financial decisions. You will be educating them, and they may even come up with some great ideas you hadn’t even considered.

Thought for Tomorrow:  Television viewing results in an upscaling of desire which in turn leads people to buy. Every additional hour of TV viewing per week boosts spending by roughly $200 a year. –Harvard Study

 March 15

Time Tip: Work on important tasks when you are more alert. Save more mundane pursuits for the times you are naturally less active.

Dave Say’shttp://ow.ly/9FznV

Money Tip: Heating and cooling costs generally comprise the majority of energy bills. To lower those costs, use appliances that require less energy. Some appliances may cost more initially but will save money over time. Before purchasing one, compare the operating costs over the expected life of the appliance to determine which model is the most cost effective.

And the Winner is… Single Mom’s Ask Sara http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUw0y1L1Wos&feature=youtu.be

Thought for Tomorrow: Want to feel rich? Count all the things you have that money cannot buy. So what you are thankful for tonight?

March 16

Time Tip: When you watch T.V., fold the laundry or clip the coupons. You can eliminate some work while watching your favorite show!

Money Tip: Avoid places where you make unnecessary purchases. For example, if you often buy clothing impulsively, don’t go to a clothing store unless you need and plan to purchase a particular item.

Thought for Tomorrow: You cannot live a positive life with a negative attitude. Are your finances negatively impacting your attitude? Take action this weekend.

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.

Bryan Cooper
My Financial Life Coach
2280 W William St., Suite A
Delaware, OH 43015

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Filed under Balance, Blog, Dave Ramsey, Events, Family, Finance, Goals, household budget, Life, Personal Finance, Saving Money, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 25-27

Day 25—-Get Smart

(Posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program)

Remember SMART? This is important, so we’re going to go over it one more time.

S–Specific
M–Measurable
A–Attainable
R–Relevant
T–Timebound

In order to reach the priorities you set, you need a logical (SMART) approach. So what if you find you can’t apply the SMART principles to your goals? No problem. Not being able to apply the SMART elements to your goals, is just a signal that you need to change the goal, or eliminate it in favor of one of the goals you initially removed from your list.

Today’s short lesson gives you time to go back and review some previous lessons. Because it takes a few months to get a feel for managing your money in a new way, reviewing the lessons on working with the paycheck allocation and the “envelopes” are a great idea.

Day 26–Do you have an emergency living expense fund?

Who doesn’t want one of these? Who has one? I have a little one. Because I am focused on eliminating debt, I don’t have a big emergency fund. Both Bryan, and my long term financial planning guy feel this is the next step after you demo the debt.

All I know is that I would love to feel covered in an emergency or a job loss. After having many job losses with no emergency fund, I can say on some pretty good authority that this does not feel good at all!

Bryan suggests you sock away 3 to 6 months of your living expenses, and if you live in a location with greater than 8% unemployment (that would pretty much be the USA these days) you should consider a nest egg of 5-8 months. Sound impossible? It sure did to me.

However, ever the financial ray of hope, Bryan explains that with the joys of compound interest you can truly make this happen.

Needing new tires doesn't need to cause a financial emergency.

Bryan then goes on to explain Sinking Fund Purchases or SFPs (my acronym). You create an SFP to put money away for things you will want or need in the future. Novel concept, huh?

Here’s one of Bryan’s examples. Say you know you will need tires for the car, and those tires cost $400. (I remember when you could get 4 tires for 100 bucks!)

If you need those tires in 6 months, you need to save $67/month.

If you need them in 12 months, that would be $37/month, and if you can wait 24 months, you only need to set aside $17/month.

However, if you buy them at the last minute and charge them, paying over that 24 months, you will pay an extra $111.88 (at 24.9% interest).

Of course it makes far more sense to save for the tires, but we don’t tend to do this. It may take a while to get your thinking and your finances turned around so that you are able to proactively put money away for these purchases, but that’s OK. If you think about it…if you can afford to make the payment after you buy the tires, you can likely make the smaller set aside payment before you buy the tires. Even if you don’t get to the full amount before you have to make your major purchase, in money, every little bit helps.

Day 27: Insurance!

Insurance. We hate to pay for it, we are so thankful to have it when we need it, and we really don’t quite understand it.

Today Bryan shares the ins, outs, and definitions of all those different insurances we need to know about. You will definitely want to print this handout and keep it with all your important paperwork!

So what kind of insurance are we talking about?

Here’s the list:

Property Insurance

Auto Insurance

Personal Umbrella

Life Insurance

Disability Insurance

Identity Theft*

Health Insurance*

Long-term Care*

Just like an emergency fund, insurance saves your behind in a crisis. The only difference is that while your emergency fund is there for day-to-day shortfalls, insurance covers the catastrophic events that could wipe you out financially for a long, long time.

Here are Bryan’s 7 General Principles of Insurance:

1. Understand the purpose of insurance.

2. Know your needs and your coverage.

3. Carry adequate insurance.

4. Understand the real cost of deductibles.

5. Watch your credit score.

6. Avoid filing too many claims.

7. Shop around.


With Bryan’s definitions, coverage details, and tips for decreasing your insurance premiums, you will most certainly have the protection you need should Mr. Mayhem come to visit you!

*Not included in today’s lesson. 

- Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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Filed under Budget, Finance, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, household budget, Insurance, Life Balance, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Time, Time Management

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 22-24

Day 22–Balancing Part 2

(Posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program).

Today Bryan takes us through the second half of our goal assessment, and he asks some pretty tough questions.

Bryan starts with “How do you feel each morning?” For so many of us, how we feel in the morning isn’t even something we want to think about!

I remember when I was working a lot of hours, getting kids to and frow, and in grad school. I was so exhausted my stomach hurt. Being nearly unable to move I reached for the coffee, which made me feel like a bomb had exploded in my stomach, but got me moving. I am very grateful that was a short period of time in my life, and for a good cause. For too many of us, it is the norm.

Bryan goes on to ask if we are eating correctly, exercising, taking vitamins as needed, and are we resting???

 Is my lack of energy keeping me from the life I want to live?

Ouch! While I know a lot of people who would say they can’t possibly make time to be healthy, I know everyone of them would stop dead (no pun intended) in their tracks if asked the above question. We tend to disassociate our crazy lives from the idea that by living them, we are missing our primary purpose, and our pleasure.

Bryan presses on. Are our relationships getting in the way of having balance in our lives, and/or do we have relationships that are getting in the way of our families? Are we in the career that satisfies our calling? Are we maximizing our income? Can we retire when it’s time?

These are all incredibly important questions. They say cemetaries are filled with ignored dreams. What are your dreams, and are you living in a way that allows you fulfill them? (I have a more information on this topic for those on my mailing list…so if you aren’t there yet, sign up!)

Your money should be used to support you as you move down the path toward your dreams. It should not be the primary cause of your stress and the very reason you CAN’T fulfill your dreams.

If you haven’t signed up yet, what’s holding you back? Balance UP! is clearly the simplest most straightforward method to getting your money and life together in a way that moves your money to a position of support for your life. I am great at squeezing the life out of a dollar, but where I was putting the juice from that dollar wasn’t giving me full benefit. I am excited to be learning a new approach.

Day 23–Prioritizing your goals

Today’s video was less than 2 minutes long, but the instructions will change your life!

Bryan supplies a Goal Brainstorming Worksheet. You complete the worksheet by goal topic area and list what you would like to achieve in each area. Sometimes people get hung up on defining their goals because life is messy and things happen. That’s OK. These are your goals today.

For example: Say you have the spiritual goal of attending church or temple each week. Things are trucking along just fine and then your appendix bursts (I hope this doesn’t happen to you!) and you aren’t going to be leaving the house for a while. Do you get an F in this goal? Of course not! You can table it until you are able to work on it again, or you can change it to watching a service on TV. These are your goals. You don’t have to share them, and you don’t get a grade. You just need to get started.

Once you have your goals established, prioritize them by category. Take your time and think about what you want to achieve in your life. We know that what we focus on, grows in our life. So if you write “I will be out of debt”, what are you focusing on? Debt! Bryan suggests something like, “I will pay an extra $430 on my bills each month.” The focus here is on having an extra $430 each month. Maybe you can make that $430 grow to an even bigger amount!

Have fun with this part. By setting goals, you are defining what you want to do to make your life better!

Day 24…Finalizing that prioritizing

Ok. So we have our goals down from our brainstorming session and we have taken the time to really think about what we’d like to achieve in all the areas of our life.

Today we are going to look at our list again, and we’re going to whittle it down so that we are only working on the 10 or so goals we really want to get started on. We are whittling because our little heads can’t wrap around a large stack of goals. We have to do a few, accomplish, celebrate, and repeat.

If you are working through Balance UP! as a couple, this is where the two of you finally come together. You will pool your goals and whittle them down together so that you know your goals aren’t in conflict with each other, and ideally the two of you are headed in the same direction.

Bryan reminds us to make sure our goals are SMART.

S–Specific
M–Measurable
A–Attainable
R–Relevant
T–Timebound

SMART goals help us to assure the greatest opportunities for success. Next, we go back to the Paycheck Distribution Tool…and let me say this is my very favorite thing about the entire Balance UP! program so far. It is so easy to play with where my money goes each month when I use this tool. I can play around with the scenarios until I land right where I want to be for each month.

Using this tool you can easily set aside funds for a vacation, Christmas, a new stove (that’s on my list), etc. Then…handy dandy Form 7 tracks each month’s set aside amount. Wa-la! How nice to see a Christmas, vacation, or stove fund growing each month!

- Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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Filed under Budget, Finance, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, household budget, Life Balance, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 19-21

Day 19…Debt Snowball

(Posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Upprogram

I have to confess that I have been eyeing this debt snowball thing with much trepidation. I am very familiar with the many ways debt can snowball, and I was not excited to see I had finally arrived at Debt Snowball Day.

However, Mr. Bryan is full of surprises. Debt Snowball Day is not about the ways debt can build into a snowball, it’s about the ways you can eliminate your debt–snowball style.

I have long been a student of Suze Orman. Suze says, when eliminating debt you should pay the minimum payment plus $10 on every bill, and throw all the money you can at the bill that has highest interest rate. Intellectually, this approach makes perfect sense to me. Unfortunately, my biggest interest rate bills also have the biggest balances. It was discouraging to follow this format and never feel like I was getting ahead. Not feeling like I was getting ahead, I abandoned the plan. I lost focus and started paying bills over here, then bills over there. Still no progress.

Bryan’s approach is so much more logical to me. Here’s the plan:

1. Make a list of all your bills, list them lowest balance to highest.

2. Make the minumum payment on all your bills but the one with the lowest balance.

3. Throw as much money as you can at the bill with the lowest balance.

The result? Wa-la! That low balance bill is paid off and you get a quick win! Yeah!

Now, take the money you were putting on that bill, and apply it to the new lowest balance bill + the minimum payment you had been making. Before you know it…debt be gone!

Bryan suggests that you make a game out building your debt snowball. How much money can you apply to your bill of choice each month? Can you pack your lunch and apply that money to your snowball? How about turning down the heat a bit, making your coffee at home, or renting some videos instead of going to the movies?

This lesson comes with a web link to a debt calculator that lets you see, based on your payment schedule, how quickly you can be debt free. Can you beat the calculator?

Don’t procrastinate! Sign up!

Day 20…Should you consolidate your debt?

I finally sat down to pay my bills. I should have done this about 5 days ago. However, my only late fee appears to be a few dollars on the water bill. With my travel schedule, work schedule, and the holidays, my need for minutes far exceeded my access to minutes. Add being sick as a result of burning the candle at both ends as well, and let’s just say I am happy to pay the late charge on the water bill.

I am getting the hang of the paycheck allocation spreadsheets. I am not > quite completely proactive at assigning money to bills, but I am mastering the backend of things and allotting money appropriately for my bills. It’s only my second month at this, so I am pleased with my progress.

I went to the site Bryan suggested on Day 19 and plugged in my debts. It took a little fiddling with the numbers, but I got the hang of the chart and was able to play with different scenarios. If you recall, Bryan suggests paying off your smallest bill first so you get that feeling of a win. I am modifying this approach just a bit, as I have that stupid IRS bill hanging over my head. It has a very high monthly payment, and well, I find it to be a little nerve-wracking. While it is 3rd from the bottom on my list of balances, I have a fire in my belly to get the darn thing off the books. By following Bryan’s formula of putting minimum payments on everything else but the bill I am working on, I was able to put an extra $200 on this bill, even with the last of my Christmas shopping. I am beyond excited! I have promised my girls dinner at Olive Garden when this bill is finished and I do love my tiramisu!

Now for Day 20!

Today’s Balance UP! is all about debt consolidation. Through his counseling, Bryan has encountered clients who want to take their debt and use a mortgage based loan to just pay it off. Initially this sounds good. You trade in your interest, Bryan uses an example of $18,000 in debt with an interest amount of $1,935, and you dump this debt into a mortgage loan where you can deduct the interest from your taxes. Sounds like a great financial win.

It’s not. If you consolidate that debt into a 30 year mortgage you will end up paying $11,716 interest. Yep. You just swapped about $2000 of interest for nearly $12,000. Why? Because a principal you were going to pay off in 2 years, you are now paying off in 30, and if you add anything to it such as a car, a new TV, home repairs, new appliances, etc., the number just gets bigger. Certainly something to think twice about! Balance UP! and you won’t have to even consider consolidation! You can do it!

 

Day 21–Balancing your life–halfway there!

I am now halfway through the Balance UP! program and I have learned a lot!! I am certainly looking forward to the second half of my lessons!

Today is all about balance and goal setting. Bryan’s worksheets are, as usual, very helpful. Did you know that only 3% of us even bother to set goals? That means 97% of us are drifting around, hanging out, working our tails off, or whatever we’re doing, and we have no particular plan in mind. That certainly explains a lot now doesn’t it?

I have goals all over my walls, but I have to say I still have been a little scattered. Bryan points out that if you work on your goals each week, and improve just 1%, in a year’s time you will have improved 70.12%! (Thanks to the benefits of compound improvement.) Now who does not want to be 70% down the road to reaching their goals by the end of 2012. I KNOW I DO!

Bryan breaks down the 6 areas of a Balanced Life for you:
1. Spiritual

2. Family

3. Health & Life

4. Relationships

5. Career

6. Financial

All you have to do is follow the worksheets and give some thought to what you’d like to achieve in each area. Once you have that down, you need to ask yourself the million dollar question:

What is distracting you from your goals?

The answers to this question may be a little painful, but you can’t get to your goals until find those answers. Once you do find the answers, you may want to change your goals. For example, you think you want to be a world champion sky diver, but the thing that is in your way is that you are busy being a parent. You may need to reroute your career goals so they support your parenting versus conflicting with it. In other words,

Sometimes you need to say “NO”.

It was this very process that led me to pull back from some of my own pursuits. I haven’t been to belly dancing class in a few years, because I can’t fit it in with my kids’ schedules and needs right now. I want to publish my book so I am not even considering dating. You know what? I don’t mind any of this because I know what my goals are, and I really like the goals I have chosen. Once these goals are reached, I will write some new ones.

What are your goals? Find out when you Balance UP!

- Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Budget, Finance, Goal Setting, household budget, Life Balance, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 16-18

Day 16 Are You a Ms. Later?

(Posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Upprogram.

My son’s favorite word was “later”. He did not feel he had a grand need to do very many things in a timely manner. If you have this problem, Bryan is here to help. Today’s Balance UP! is all about procrastination. Bryan does a great job of exploring all the reasons we procrastinate, and what we can do to improve. Take a moment here. Do you procrastinate? Of course you do. Why? When? Does procrastination come to visit often, or are visits circumstantial? Bryan gives us some reasons that we may be visited by Ms. Later:

1. Perfectionism. We want to wait until we can be perfect, so we do nothing.

2. Indecision. We don’t know which thing to do, so we do nothing.

3. We only want to do what is fun.

4. We don’t feel well. Isn’t it a stuggle to get your stuff done when you are too tired or sick to move?

5. We confuse activity with accomplishment. This is huge! How many times have you worked your tail off, but done nothing that really needed to be done?

How is procrastination negatively impacting your life? Pause here. What do you want to do with your life? How would you like your life to be? Think about how you would like day each to feel? So what is in the way?

Let us get back to money. How does your money feel? Money feels? You are probably thinking, Sara, that makes no sense. Humor me here. If you were the money in your life, how would you feel? Would you feel like “Hey, I am happy! I am doing great things, I am multiplying, I am paying Sara’s bills, I am empowering her to live her desired life. I am awesome!”

Or

Are you cowering in the corner afraid to come into the light? Do you think, “Oh my gosh! She is coming! She is reaching in to pull some of us out. I hope she doesn’t take all of us! But what if she has to take all of us, because we are not worth much? No one will be left!”
This analogy immediately cleared so much up for me. You have to address Ms. Later to empower your money work for you!

So what do you do? In Balance UP! Bryan offers many positive, doable solutions so you can banish Ms. Later forever!

Don’t procrastinate! Sign up!

Day 17–Are you living on the edge?

Having been unemployed a multitude of times, I have certainly had my fair share of edge-walking. Bryan reminds us that one unexpected event can cause a financial disaster. I can personally verify that this is true!

OK, so what do we do?

Bryan recommends that we have an emergency fund of $1500, and that we stop paying for emergencies with our credit cards. Now I have the emergency fund…but I am afraid to spend it, so I am more inclined to use the credit card. Hmmm…I guess that’s not right…

So when do you use the emergency fund? Bryan says that you should define what an emergency is before one arrives. Great advice! And if you are in a relationship, you both need to create this definition of emergency together. Now here’s the trick. You have to stick to your definition. Really, really wanting a pizza is not an emergency.

Short the $1500? Not a problem. Bryan has some great ideas to get your fund started.

~Sell some things you aren’t using.

~Eliminate one or 2 items that you have in your budget for a few months.

~Go on a clothing or restaurant fast for a few months.

~Spend less in general.

~Pick up some extra work…but only for a short time.

Where should you put your new cash? Consider a savings account, or a money market for a higher interest rate. Will your employer make automatic savings account deposits directly from your paycheck? Those deposits add up quickly.

Once you have some emergency cash you can breathe a little easier, and step back from the edge. It is a very good feeling!

Day 18…the four letter “D” word

No…it’s not “damn”, it’s “debt“. Quite frankly I’d rather hear damn 100 times over.

Today Bryan asks the million dollar question:

How would you feel if you didn’t have any debt?

Let that sink in a bit. If you had NO debt. I tell you what, I’d be working a few hours a week and focusing my time on my kids and my passions. Debt locks us into jobs we don’t like, limits our vacations, and keeps us up at night. Think about how much good you could do in the world with your money if you weren’t paying MasterCard or some other interest spouting monster. I am recommitting to being free of those ties!

OK. So how?

Bryan gives some great tips:

~Pay cash. We spend 12-18% less when we use cash than when we use credit.(Dun and Bradstreet)

~Don’t co-sign for anyone. Even if they are making payments this loan appears on your credit report. If they don’t pay, you’ll have to do it.

~Don’t use Pay Day Loans. I cannot stress this enough. I have seen people bury themselves fast with these.

~Don’t rent to own. I have had neighbors who have the same set of furniture in and out of their houses 10 times. Buy something used and save for the good stuff.

~Skip the 90 days same as cash. Seventy-five percent of these loans turn into monthly payments with interest.

The faster you want to get out of debt, the greater you will need to sacrifice.

Ugly, but oh so true!

- Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 13-15

Day 13–What if you can’t pay all your monthly expenses?

(Posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.)

Hello Balance UP! watchers. I am once again behind in my classes. I lost a dear friend, I took a mini-vacation, and I have been blessed with some over-time at the office. Fortunately, the Balance UP! program is so easy to follow that if life happens (and it does), you can jump back into the program at your first opportunity.

Last week was my bill paying week. By following Bryan’s directions, I was able to find the funds to pay cash for my that little vacation, and I was put an extra $100 down on that stupid IRS bill. I am actually looking forward to this month’s bill paying to see how much extra money I can find. Yes…you heard that right…

“I am actually looking forward to this month’s bill paying.”

I can’t believe I said that. If you recall…this is the time of the month that I generally wake up around 3am in a panic even if I have the money to pay the bills!

Not quite there yet? Then Day 13 is the day for you!

When we can’t pay those monthly expenses we feel ashamed. When we feel ashamed we pull back. We isolate ourselves. We are sure everyone knows. The reality is, no one knows, and there’s the rub.

“No man is an island.

Bryan reminds us to reach out. If you need something, ask. Maybe your washing machine died, or the tires are about ready to fall off the car. Someone, somewhere, has a washing machine in their garage, or some gently used tires looking for a home. If you don’t ask, these items can’t find you.

Bryan also offers some great tips to prioritize your bill paying when you don’t have enough money to go around, along with some very sound advice for interacting with creditors. You can use his sample letters to explain your situation, and you can send along his budget sheet to illustrate that you are honestly in a bit of a pickle. There is nothing worse than endless creditor phone calls when you are already over-stressed about your finances.

Balance Up! What are you waiting for?

Day 14…Managing your minutes

Does a lack of time management cost you money?

Do you pay late fees because you missed payment due dates? Do you sometimes eat out because you didn’t make it to the grocery store? Do you wait until your car breaks down to fix it because you didn’t have time to do regular maintenance?

Growing up, my dad paid the bills while my mom made dinner, cleaned, etc. Now, my mom pays the bills while my dad makes dinner, does the dishes, etc. When you are a single mom (or dad), you are paying the bills, making dinner, cleaning, helping with homework, driving kids around, etc. Time management under these conditions gets trickier, and when you factor in plain old exhaustion… well let’s just say I have paid my share of late payments because I ran out of minutes in my month.

With demands such as these on our time we find we are often…

“Doing what we’ve always done, and adding more to it.”

Who hasn’t been there? I know I can relate! I certainly don’t make a conscious decision to function this way, but when I look back, this certainly seems to be what has happened. I recognize my ADD does nothing to help the situation, but I would really like to get to stop running this hamster wheel, so I’m ready to do better!

Wanna do Balance UP! for free? Leave a money saving tip here, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to do just that! Balance UP!

Day 15…More time management

Who doesn’t long for more time? I know I find that I am often working from the time I get out of bed until I collapse back into bed at the end of the day. There is just so much to do!

For a Type A single mom with ADD, time management is a constant challenge. The reality is, there are more to-dos on my list than there are minutes in my day. It is a fact. I used to feel bad about it. I used think that I was failing at this time management thing and that I needed to work harder to get it down. Then a funny thing happened. I noticed that married people who help each other struggled to get everything done too. If the two of them can’t do…and often with fewer children than I have…was I expecting too much of myself?

The answer is simply “yes”. My first adjustment was to say to myself,

“Self, you are not going to accomplish everything, everyday that you want to accomplish.”

Once I made piece with that life got a little easier.

Bryan offers some great time management tips. I suggest you pick 2 to get yourself started. Once you have the incorporated these 2, you can add 2 more. Here are some of Bryan’s suggestions:

1. Get started. (Good idea!)

2. Handle a task once. Don’t move it from to-do list, to to-do list.

3. Schedule 6.5 hours of work for an 8 hour day. This gives you wiggle room but still lets you complete your list.

4. Get off all the email lists for the emails you just delete anyway.

5. Eat well and be well-rested. (Do your best)

6. Say “No”

Number 6 is my favorite. My next newsletter will have a link to order The Book of No. Saying no to everyone else’s demands is a powerful tool in maintaining your own sanity and living the life you’d like to live versus the life everyone else would like you to live. Namely, doing what makes them happy, without any regard to the toll it takes on your life, your health, your relationships, or your responsibilities.

Pick a few priorities for your day…things that have to be done, and work from there. Anything else you get done is a bonus. Above all, make sure you have time to talk to your kids, hug and squeeze them, and learn about their day. You don’t want to be on your deathbed thinking “I made it to every PTA meeting like all the adults at the school wanted, but I didn’t read books or play games like my kids wanted.” Or, “I wish I had gotten around to planning my financial future. I have nothing to leave my kids.”

You are sometimes going to go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes. There are more important things. Spend your time on those.

- Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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Filed under Budget, Finance, Goal Setting, household budget, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized

Time Tip Thursday

Home: When purchasing something which may be out of stock, call the store before leaving home to see if they have it.

Work: When scheduling, use a single calendar to ensure that business and family events do not conflict.

Work: When you are at work, be sure to work. Being more efficient while in the office will increase your productivity, enabling you to focus on other things when you are not at work, such as building relationships with your family and friends.

What are some of your favorite tips? Let’s hear about them. Post your comments here or on my Facebook page.

Just a reminder, between now and December 25, I’m donating $2 to Lifeline Christian Mission for every new “Like” on the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page.

 

Bryan Cooper

Financial Life Coach

Dave Ramsey Certified

2280 W William St., Suite A

Delaware, OH  43015

Info@MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

MyFinancialLifeCoach.net is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training, and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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