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

I’ll Blow the Budget Tomorrow

English: A set of EBC performance disk brake pads

English: A set of EBC performance disk brake pads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought I’d talk about procrastination today, but I decided to wait until my next article . . . not! Instead of procrastinating, let’s talk this very minute about how procrastination can blow your budget.

Let’s consider your car as an example. A few weeks ago, it started making that strange noise. You know the one I’m talking about. Something is clearly wrong, but you just haven’t had the time to take it into the repair shop. The noise got louder and more obnoxious. You finally took it in. The mechanic informs you that your original problem was that your break pads needed replaced. That would have cost you $200. Because you waited, however, the problem grew worse. Now you’re looking at an $800 bill to replace the brake pads AND the rotors.

Here’s another common example. You don’t plan for a meal until 7:30pm. Looking in to the refrigerator, you discover it’s empty. You’re hungry, so instead of cooking a meal for your family at home for $5-$10, you spend $40 eating out.

It’s easy to blow a budget through procrastination. Fortunately, it’s a simple fix. Plan ahead and save big!

Not only do these items need to be high priorities on your to-do list, but you need to actually schedule time on your calendar for them. Be sure to reasonably estimate how much time each task will require, and add a little extra time to that amount. Don’t allow procrastination to blow your budget. Instead, focus on procrastination and prioritization management.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan D. 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 Auto, Budget, Family, Finance, Food, household budget, Personal Finance, Priorities, Procrastination, Relationships & Money

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

These People are Toxic!

When you make a mistake, these people are never far away. Lurking behind the corner, they are quick to criticize and slow to congratulate. It is almost as if they are only capable of seeing the negative in everything. Even if they unintentionally run across something good, they manage to twist it into a negative. They drain the joy out of everything.

Their negativity applies to your finances and life balance. Instead of encouraging, they tell you what you can’t do. You can never pay off your home. You can never send your kids to college. You can never eliminate your credit card debt. You will never have enough time. Your goals are too idealistic. They say these are facts of life we must all accept. They tell you that the glass is half empty, and it’s ugly.

Here’s the good news- they’re wrong! Since they’re wrong, you don’t have to listen to them. Avoid their negativity. Exposing yourself to it only undermines your ability to get out of debt and into the life you want. Don’t believe the lies. You can pay off your home. You can send your kids to college. You can reach all of these goals!

Also, don’t just avoid the toxic people. Replace them with positive people! These people can encourage you as you pursue your goals and strive to live debt free. Listen to people who encourage you. They will help you as you attain your goals, and they will be there to celebrate your victories with you.

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, Budget, Events, Finance, Goal Setting, Life Balance, Money, Personal Finance, Relationships & Money, Stress, Thoughts

Is This the Life YOU Want?

Is This the Life YOU Want?

Whose life are you living? Is it the life you want, or did someone else pick it out for you? Are you investing yourself in your goals and dreams, or are you sacrificing them for a lifestyle someone else has dictated for you?

It’s a simple idea, but it’s worth considering.

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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What about the Past?

Kids make mistakes. This is a commonly accepted fact of life. While learning to ride a bike, they fall and scrape a knee. Proudly displaying a flower picked from mom’s prize garden, they rush into the house. Naturally, the trail of mud leads straight across the new, white carpet.

When these things happen, what should parents do? Should they never forget the incident, telling their child to give up and never try again? Of course not! They should never allow their children to be locked into the past by mistakes. Instead, they should encourage them to learn from the mistake and move on.

As an adult, you are faced with a similar question. What will you do about your financial mistakes? Will you carry them with you, refusing to ever move on? Will you give up? Or will you learn to leave the past behind you so you can move on in your life? Remaining trapped in pain and failure accomplishes nothing; you must learn to let go of the past if you are to succeed in your finances in the future.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean you entirely forget your past. Instead, you acknowledge that it happened. It is over. It no longer controls you. Rather than being trapped by it, you are free to chase your dreams and goals.

You cannot improve your financial future without first accepting the past. Learn from it, and move on. The past is for teaching, not for stopping.

Brianna Cooper
Frugal College Student
Editor at My Financial Life Coach, LLC

http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

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Filed under Attitude, Budget, Change, Children, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, household budget, Inspiration, Personal Finance, Relationships & Money, Resolutions, Thoughts

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

You Get What You Focus On: Your Appreciation Journal

Coat of arms of Haiti

Coat of arms of Haiti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Caught up in the day to day issues of life, it’s easy to forget our blessings. What do you appreciate in your life? Your health? Home? Family?

When you’re learning to budget, don’t get so caught up in the money issues that you forget the more important things motivating you to get your finances in order. An appreciation journal is a great way to remember those motivators. Take some time to reflect on the positives in your life. Write them down and look at them when you grow discouraged. Remember why you’re making these changes and how they line up with your goals.

You get what you focus on. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, look to the positives. You’ll be surprised at how easily you’ll note the good in situations, giving you strength to continue pressing on even during the tougher days.

The first 4-6 weeks of budgeting is often very difficult. Things break, unexpected bills show up, and it is easy to grow frustrated and to start focusing on your problems. I tell the folks I coach that when (not if) this happens, I want them to find $35 dollars or something they can sell for $35 and give it to an organization that will help a child in a country such as Haiti.

Why? The $35 you just sent can feed an impoverished child for about a month. Most likely, the setback you are currently dealing with isn’t anywhere near as difficult the issues the child in Haiti is dealing with on a daily basis. As you reflect on your situation and the situation of that child, you will begin to understand the benefit of using an appreciation journal to track and reflect on what is really important in your life.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach LLC

“Helping You Get Your Financial House In Order”

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, Family, Finance, Health, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities

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

Time to say goodbye….

Dear John (or Mary),

I’ve been patient. I’ve put off writing this letter as long as possible, hoping things would change. I dreamed that this would finally be the year you follow through on your promises.

I can’t do this any longer. Every January, you tell me things will be different. You say this is the year you’ll pay off your car. This is the year you’ll follow a budget. This is the year you’ll let your goals control your finances.

John, don’t you understand how much this is hurting me? I want this for you, not for me. I have always wanted what’s best for you. I want you to take control of your finances so that money isn’t running your life. You have goals. I’ve heard your dreams. They’re wonderful. I want you to achieve those, but you never will until you get your finances under control.

I hope you defeat this monster you’ve created. I hope you reach your goals. But John, I can’t stand the disappointment. I have to leave you. You’ve given me no choice.

It’s not about the money. Financial success is about you achieving your goals, living out your dreams. It’s about living the life you’ve always wanted, for both you and your family. You’ve given up on me. We’ll never have a healthy relationship if you keep living like this

I wish things could have ended differently between us.
Best of luck,

Your Financial Success & Dreams

(Note from Coach Bryan – So what are you willing to do to make your finances or your work-life balance better in 2013? Need some daily motivation about saving money or saving time? Please stop over at https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach  and “Like” the page so you can start receiving daily tips. While you are at it, hit the “share” button on one of the articles and bring your friends along for the ride as well. You will find yourself more successful in saving money and saving time if you are doing it together with your friends. Bryan Cooper – My Financial Life Coach).

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

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January 7, 2013 · 8:30 pm

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

Create your spending plan– maximize your income

Less than half of adults (42%) keep close track of their spending.

                                          National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) – April 28, 2009

What happens when you go into the store hungry? That’s right . . . you buy more.  The same thing happens if you don’t have a spending plan. You buy more because nothing is spelled out. So what will a spending plan do for you? A written plan will help you to avoid overspending.

You have a lot of resources to manage.

Take your current yearly household net income (left column) and multiply by the number of years to determine your income during that time period. Below is an example of someone who had an annual income of $70,000. Note that this example does not figure in any type of pay increase over the next 30 years.

Example . . .

_70,000______  x  10 years  =  __700,000_______

_70,000______  x  20 years  =  __1,400,000______

_70,000______  x  30 years  =  __2,100,000______

Now, go ahead and calculate this for your income.

____________  x  10 years  =  ________________

____________  x  20 years  =  ________________

____________  x  30 years  =  ________________

Wow!!  You have a lot of money to manage.

Have you ever thought about this before? In the example above this individual will be managing $2,100,000. Let’s put that into perspective. If he was going to build a $210,000 house he would have to have a survey, building plans, permits, and many inspectors & inspections to manage this $210,000 project. If that much planning is needed for a $210,000 house, how much more planning should be done on a project (your financial life) that is ten times larger?

Take a few minutes and think about your finances. The last time you received your W-2 did you ask yourself “where did all of the money go?” It is time to start putting a plan together if you don’t have one. If you have one please take the time to review it. One more thing…a plan is worthless if no action is taken on it so get out there and take some action this week.

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 Budget, Children, Family, Finance, household budget, Money, Personal Finance, Saving Money

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

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   https://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?  https://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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Poor vs. Broke – How do you look at it?

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First let’s start out with a few bullet points for each and then a real world example.   

Poor   

  • Victim mentality
  • Someone else’s fault
  • Justify why they can’t get ahead
  • Complain
  • Do not take responsibility

Broke

  • No victim mentality. They realize it is temporary.
  • Not someone else’s fault. They take ownership.
  • Do not justify why they can’t get ahead
  • Do not complain (at least not for long)
  • Do take responsibility

Poor versus Broke. (from an earlier blog)

After a hurricane Katrina, my daughter and I traveled to the area affected by it to assist in the rebuilding. My job was to install plumbing in the new homes that were being built in one of the poorer areas.

Broke

While there, I had the pleasure of meeting a retired gentleman who lived across the street from where I was working. He was in his late 80’s, and he brought over some sodas for us to drink as we worked. He told us he appreciated the work we were doing in his neighborhood. He informed us that the water had been about 4 feet deep in his home and truck. He had cleaned up his place himself and was currently working on his truck so he could get it running again (his truck was worth about $200).

He said that he was living on a $600 per month income and that the storm had set him back a little financially, but he felt he had bounced back fairly quickly. He was broke, but not poor.

Poor

Beside him sat a house that still had all of the flood residue in the yard. On the porch sat three teenage boys who lived there, each listening to his MP3 player. They motioned for me to come over to where they were sitting, so I did.

When I got there, they asked if I knew when the work crew was coming to their house to clean their yard. I stood there in disbelief. Here were three able-bodied young men who had the physical ability to take care of their own situation but were waiting on volunteers- volunteers their own age who were paying to come from other states to help. It then occurred to me that these young men had been raised to believe that they were poor and that they could not do anything about it.

Which are You?

So as you look at your own finances, are you broke or poor? Broke is temporary . . . just a bump in the road. Or are you poor, thinking that you have no control over and no input into your situation? The two definitions I’m using have nothing to do with money; they have to do with people’s attitudes and perceptions of their situations.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours. – Bryan   My Financial Life Coach, LLC

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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The enemies of your financial goals

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a.       Discontentment

Nothing will blow your financial goals or budget faster than discontentment. Discontentment leads to purchases that are not in the budget. The neighbors redo their landscaping and so now you feel you need to update yours. You were fine with your landscaping until that happened. So now you go out and update your landscaping, which wasn’t in the budget this year.

b.      No financial training

I’ve talked about this before and this is a big issue. I never had a single class in school on budgeting, managing a checkbook, debt, etc. Unfortunately a lot of training comes from sales people, not teachers. Most of people learned about purchasing and paying for a car from a car dealer or car lot. We learn how to buying a home from a realtor and mortgage company. Many decisions are made based on input from folks who will profit from the sale of the item. They get paid if you buy, they don’t get paid if you don’t buy. It is hard to get unbiased advice in that situation no ma

c.       Impulse buying – using existing resources.

I call this the “I want it now; even if it means I can’t get what I really want later.” This is a trap a lot of folks fall into but they don’t see it as an issue because no debt is directly involved with these purchases. Basically they buy what they want and spend everything. The real issue is that because they are spending all of their money, they do not put money away for bigger ticket items like appliances, cars, and retirement. Because they are not saving for these items they will most likely go into debt at a later time for these items.

d.    Impulse buying – using future resources (BORROWING)

I call this the “I want it now. Therefore, I will borrow!” This is called spending more than you make. Anytime you borrow you are taking future income, that you do not know for sure that you will have, to pay for something you will begin using immediately. That involves risk. Another point to this is when you borrow money you pay interest. When you pay interest your money doesn’t go as far. It is like getting a decrease in your income.

e.     Not understanding the differences between needs, wants, and desires.

This is another area that will mess up your budget quickly. I like to use a drill as an example. For an individual uses a drill 2-10 times a year, their need can be met by a $30-50 drill. Nothing is gained by buying a more expensive drill since the users doesn’t use it much. Most likely the batteries will go bad before the drill wears out.

For the do-it-yourselfer who uses it almost every weekend, the $30-40 drill will not hold up so they will need to move to a $70-130 drill. They may be tempted to move to the professional grade drill but all that is accomplished is they spent more money for a drill when the $70-130 drill would have met their needs.

For the professional who uses a drill every day, they need a drill in the $130-300 range. None of the two previously mentioned categories of drills will meet their need.

I understand buying quality products. In example above it would make no sense for the individual who uses a drill 2-10 times a year to shell out $300 for a drill. The $300 drill in this case is totally a “desire” and not a “need.” Look around your house and look at the items that you have purchased where you bought “desire” instead of need or even a “want.”

Two other areas where we confuse needs, wants, and desires are with homes and vehicles.  Nothing wrong with getting into the “wants” and “desires” as long as it isn’t messing up your overall financial goals.

“Is your current lifestyle getting in the way of your goals?”  – Bryan Cooper

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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5 Reasons Your Goals May Have Failed in the Past

In my last blog article we discussed the need to re-evaluate your goals. Now I want you to look at why your goals may have failed in the past:

1. You didn’t have any goals or they were not written down.

If it isn’t written down, don’t plan on them happening.

2. You lacked POSITIVE SELF-TALK and/or you had a negative opinion of yourself.

If you keep telling yourself you can’t do something, it will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Will you hit every goal on time? Probably not but you have a greater chance of hitting goals if you keep trying, so stop the negative talk to yourself.

3. Your attitude toward failure.

Failure is an event, not a person. Don’t be afraid to fail or make a mistake. The person who has not failed has never really tried. It is the law of numbers. The more things you try to do for the first time the greater the chance is that you will fail. Expect it, learn from it.

Did you fall down the first time you tried to walk? I’ll bet you fell down a number of times. So how did you learn to walk? You kept trying. You got up again and again until you were walking. The same thing goes for following through with your goals.

4. You stopped trying.

5. You did not ask for directions.

No one knows everything. Sometimes we just need to find someone who can assist us with what we are not familiar with.

Conclusion

It is so important for your goals to be written down. It is so easy to forget about them when they are out of sight, out of mind. You want them where you can see them on a regular basis. Believe that you can obtain those goals, attitude is key!

If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, your right…you won’t be able to do it.  Stop listening to all of those negative influences around you. Turning off the TV is a great start..do you really need to hear all of the negative news?  Plug away on your goals. When you hit a wall, read a book on the topic or find someone who knows. You really can do this, believe in yourself and start working toward your goals.

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. Looking for motivation multiple times per day? Check out the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page.

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Re-evaluate Your Goals – 3 Questions to Ask Yourself

Goals

In an earlier blog you were asked to write down your goals, breaking them into…

< 1 year

1-5 years

> 5 years

Now that you have done that, it is time to re-evaluate each of your goals. I want you to look at each of your goals and ask yourself the following questions that I ask my clients.

1.   Why do you have each goal? Are they your goals or someone else’s?

I have to ask that because so many times I find folks working towards what is “expected” of them instead of what is important to them. Some examples:

  • The mom who has a desire to stay home and raise her family but feels pressure to work so they can have the larger home and new minivan
  • The son who doesn’t like sports but plays football because his father expects him to.
  • The young doctor working in a prestigious hospital instead of working in a third world country which is where his heart is.
  • A young man returns home from the military only to buy a home he can’t afford. Yes, that person I’m talking about is me.

2.     Are your goals in agreement with your values?

  • Working 70 hours a week climbing the corporate ladder may be in direct conflict with the time you want to spend with your family.
  • New car payments may be in direct conflict with your desire to give generously to your church or other non-profit organization.

3.     Are your goals still relevant to what is important to you?

  • Change your goals as your life changes. Re-evaluate every other month. If you are expecting triplets maybe the two-seater sports car is no longer a good idea.

Conclusion

It is so important for your goals to reflect you, to reflect your values, and to reflect what is important to you. Take time this week to either start writing down your goals or re-evaluating your existing goals. Post them where you see them every day. Stop listening to and taking advice from people who have no goals. Believe in yourself and start working toward your goals.

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, home, and economic news. We do make every attempt to avoid the topic of politics but we will bring up economic policies that need communicated. For more daily motivation to get moving on establishing your life and financial goals, visit us over at the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page. 

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Step 2 – Determine your goals. Think LONG-TERM

 “Your personal goals (vision) need to determine your spending, not your spending determine your goals.”    –  Bryan Cooper 

Dream

Dream a little . . . what would “Financial Freedom” look like to you? Close your eyes, can you see it? Can you taste it? Reflect on this for a few moments.

As I’ve coached over the years I have learned that you must spell out what financial freedom means to you and you must start establishing and prioritizing goals to get there. When I work with a client the first thing we do is spend 30 minutes in this area and we revisit it during the entire process. This is where you design life around family, events, etc.

Please understand that you don’t need to have every detail figured out before you start, you just need to start!     Brainstorm your goals. Your goals should include financial and non-financial goals. Establishing the right goals will help you with life balance.

Goals

Your goals need to include:

  1. Very short-term goals –  (under 1 year):
  2. Short term goals – (1-5 years):
  3. Long term goals – (over 5 years):

Your goals should become your compass. Everything you do will be measured against your list of goals. As every new opportunity comes before you, you will evaluate it to see if the opportunity helps you toward your goals, or away from them. If it helps, consider it. If the opportunity distracts or hurts your progress towards your goals, eliminate, say no to it because it will get you off course.

Remember, your goal list is a living document. You will make changes to it as priorities change or as other life events unfold in your life.

Take Action

So today why don’t you do the following two action items.

1. Take a pencil and paper and start writing out what Financial Freedom means to you.

2. Write out your goals, breaking them into < one year, 1-5 years, and > than 5 years.

It’s your life; why not make the most of it?

Remember, YOU have a choice, and the choice is YOURS.

 

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about life, food, 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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Three attitudes that really mess with your financial wellness

Attitude is Everything!

Attitude is everything in the game of personal finance. About 60% of the folks I meet with have the right attitude, the attitude that they can take action and correct their situation, no matter who caused it. For this post I want to talk t0 the other 40%.

1.   The government or my employer will take care of me.

It isn’t wise to allow others who have little or no vested interest in your well-being to have control over your future. I’m not making a political statement here. It is in your best interest to take an active role in your finances, your education, your employment, your health, and your retirement.  Being passive or not taking responsibility in these areas could result in a non-positive outcome. You need to take action and own the responsibility.

2.   I’ll do something about my situation tomorrow.

You need to DO IT TODAY! Stop procrastinating. Take action. The two main reasons I see procrastination with finances is a) lack of knowledge, or 2) the fear of failure so no action is taken, which results in failure anyway.

3.   I don’t need a written plan for my financial goals.

I’m sure you have heard the saying “What is measured gets managed.”  It is also true with budgets. Writing it down:  a) it keeps it in front of you b) it improves the communication because it is documented, and c) it makes it real because you can read it and touch.

Remember, YOU have a choice, and the choice is YOURS.

Ten years or twenty years from now, will you be saying “I wish I had gotten my finances in order”, or will you be saying, “I’m REALLY glad I DID get my finances in order!”    – Bryan Cooper

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about life, food, 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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Step 1- Know Your Financial Condition

Now that you spent time putting your budget together how are you feeling about it? Have you been looking for spare change in the car or couch?

I typically hear one of the following four responses

1. We are so stupid with our finances.

Now that the spending has been put down on paper it becomes real, very real. Most of us never had any personal finance training in school; instead we were busy learning things like the Periodic Chart (which most of us have never used), instead of learning personal finance that we all need/use every day.  Bottom-line, you had no training in personal finance so your issue may be that you lack knowledge, but it doesn’t mean you’re stupid.

2. I’ll bet you have never seen anyone in this bad of shape.

There is always someone worse off than you, both in your town and in another country. Be thankful for what you have, and if you are feeling sorry for yourself . . . STOP!! You are now aware of the situation and you have the resources to correct the situation. Read a book, read a blog, take an on-line training course, attend a class, or talk to someone who knows how to help you. You have options…but you MUST take action!!

3. I’m so embarrassed

Don’t be. None of us are experts in everything but it is your responsibility to get out there and learn what you need to learn so you can effectively manage your finances. This will be a continuous process, not a once and done. Like I just mentioned above, you have options to get this corrected. Get out there and find the resources that meet your needs; and ignore the advice from that broke brother-in-law of yours.

4. I’m (We’re) better off than we thought.

Good for you! You may be better off than you thought but are you where you need to be?

Whatever your reaction, whatever your situation, the key is to not ignore it. Get in there and get your situation turned around. Budgeting is not rocket science, you can do it.

Remember, YOU have a choice, and the choice is YOURS.

Bryan Cooper
My Financial Life Coach, LLC
Delaware, Ohio
www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net
www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about life, food, 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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Week in Review: February 13-17

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I’m trying something new. This blog entry will include everything in the week that I posted on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn; along with links to WordPress posts.

February 13

Proactive people take the initiative and responsibility to make things happen. They cause action rather than being victims of circumstance. -Chris MacAllister

By concentrating single-mindedly on your most important task, you can reduce the time required to complete it by 50% or more. –Brian Tracy

Blog – Paying the Bills

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Shared ArticleFear the FAFSA? Here are five mistakes to avoid when applying for college financial aid

Decide today to change your $ habits. Procrastination costs you $ and opportunity. – Bryan Cooper

February 14

Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Want more time? Stop worrying about your money and start managing it. Better money management equals better time management.–Bryan Cooper

Shared Article401(k) plans: Did yours grow? Most didn’t in 2011.

A wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.-Epictetus

February 15

Don’t make your life all about money, take your money and make it all about life. – Bryan Cooper

The #1 and probably most important, key to consistently doing what’s right is actually quite simple: think before you act.-Eric Harvey

Blog – Is Saving a Lost Art?

If you only need to use an item once or twice, consider borrowing or renting the item instead of purchasing it.

February 16

Optimism is a crucial choice we make in establishing expectations for ourselves and others as we begin to move forward through adversity. -Christopher Novak

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. -Michael Altshuler

Men are like bank accounts. Without a lot of money, they don’t generate much interest. – Unknown

Don’t like the idea of changing your spending habits? Don’t; but you’ll dislike being broke the rest of your life even more. –Bryan Cooper

February 17

When someone offers you a challenge, don’t think of all the reasons why you can’t do it. Instead say, “Yes!” Then figure out how to get it done. -Katherine Hudson

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. -Lily Tomlin

REWIND FRIDAYIdentity Theft

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Shared ArticleMore Americans say it’s OK to cheat on taxes

The number who advocated cheating ‘as much as possible’ doubled last year, to 8% of taxpayers. An additional 6% say it’s OK to cheat a little.

Don’t forget to stop by the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page and click like.

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Paying the Bills

Today we are going to look at another statistic and like last time we are going to evaluate them by flipping them.

The original statistic

Twenty-six percent, or more than 58 million adults, admit to not paying all of their bills on time.

           National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) – April 28, 2009

The flip

74% are paying their bills on time, or in other words, 3/4 of the folks are paying their bills on time. So let’s talk about ways to pay your bills on time.

4 steps to paying your bills on time

1. Participate in monthly budget programs that are offered by your utility companies.  This keeps your payment the same month after month which eliminates those up and down utility bill swings.

2.  Move to automated bill paying through your bank or credit union. This will prevent you from procrastinating in submitting the payment and may eliminate late fees. Just be sure you have the funds in the account.

3. Spend less. By spending less you will have more money to work with to pay your bills.

4. Stop spending in one or two categories (such as eating out of clothing) for a couple of months. This will help you to temporarily free up additional cash to pay your bills, get everything current, and possibly establish some much needed surplus / Emergency Fund.

Experience

Some of you may be saying Bryan, you just don’t understand what these poor people are going through. Yes, I do understand. I experienced it when I got out of the military and I purchased my first home. My housing costs for a very basic 900 square foot home were over 60% of my budget. Yes, buying that house was not a wise choice at the time but like you, I never had any financial training in school.

I was curious what those numbers would look like in today’s dollars so I went to Inflationdata.com and punched in the numbers. In today’s dollars the 900 square foot house would cost $101,000 and my primary, 40 hour per week job would now paying me a whopping $13 per hour. Oh, by the way did I mention that interest rates back then were 16.5%?

So yes, I do understand what it is like to experience tough financial times because of some bad choices, my bad choices. But fortunately for me I wasn’t one to watch the news, attend a rally, demand a bailout, or pay attention to the politicians.

            Get this…I didn’t realize I was poor!!

I wasn’t bummed, I wasn’t in despair, I didn’t blame others; I just took action. I  worked a couple of jobs  to make ends meet and I attended college at night so I could land a better paying job.

Lessons learned

That experience taught me to:

1. Count the real costs

2. Evaluate the situation before making decisions.

3. Take responsibility for my actions and decisions.

4. Do what it takes to pay my bills and to pay them on time.

Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing. That one poor choice gave me the opportunity to grow, to learn, and to share.

Remember, YOU have a choice, and the choice is YOURS.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

Delaware, Ohio 43015

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Friday Rewind

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

So Guys, How is Your Spare Tire?

No, I’m not talking about the one you start seeing as you approach your mid-thirties; I’m talking about the one in your car. I know this is a money blog, but allow me to explain.

I had the privilege of experiencing a flat tire at midnight on a dark, muddy country road, only to learn my spare tire was 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.

Time went by and the spare slowly lost its air. What “spares” do you currently have that are no longer doing the job? Below are a few things I suggest you look at this week:

  1. Is your life insurance still adequate? Life brings changes, we add mortgages, we have children, etc…

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Taking Control of Your Finances – Is the Economy Really that Bad?

The Situation

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Most people want to become financially independent, but only 5% of Americans ever attain that status.

Most Americans have no idea where their money goes each month, yet they can tell you about the latest Hollywood gossip or the latest sports statistics. What are your priorities? It is nearly impossible to change your situation without investing time in creating and following a plan (budget).  A budget is a very simple written plan that, used consistently, can help you attain your goal of becoming debt free.

You can decide to take charge of your life by getting on a budget, or you can continue to do what you have been doing. Are you getting the results you want and need? No? Then it is time for YOU to take ownership of your situation and take action.

I use the following steps in my seminars and my on-line coaching program. I will be discussing these steps in my blog over the coming months.

The Plan

Balance Up – Eight Steps to Maximize, Energize, and Organize Your Financial Life

Step 1 – Know your financial condition

Step 2 – Determine your goals.  Think LONG-TERM

Step 3 – Make the best financial decisions; calculate the REAL cost

Step 4 – Create your spending plan – maximize your income

Step 5 – Create and maintain life balance

      Step 5b – Six Areas of a Balanced Life

Step 6 – Establish your Emergency Fund (EF) of $1,500

Step 7 – Eliminate your debt (except the home)

Step 8 – Establish your Emergency Living Expense Fund (ELEF)

       Step 8b –  The Power of Savings – the sinking fund approach

Evaluate

Anytime you start something you need to evaluate the situation. If you are going to cook dinner, you need to make sure you have food to cook. You need to know what equipment you’re cooking with, and you need to know that there will be someone to eat it. If you miss one of these elements you will not have a successful dinner.

It is the same way with working with your finances. You need to understand your situation and the environment that you are working with. For that reason I start all of my seminars and sessions reviewing some economic statistics. It gives the participants a fresh look at the economic conditions. Here are the two I want to talk about today.

The Stats

1.   National unemployment rate for January 2012: 8.3%.

Bureau of Labor Statistics– February 3, 2012

2.      Nationally, 7.89% of mortgages (3Q 2011) are either 90 days or more past due, or are
in the process of foreclosure.

                                                                          Mortgage Bankers Association –November 17, 2011

So what is being said here is that 1 out of 12 adults are out of work and 1 out of 13 households are behind on their mortgage or being foreclosed on. Those are not good statistics if you are one of these folks but let’s look at these numbers from another direction.

Just the Facts Ma’am

11 out of 12 are working.

12 out of 13 are not being foreclosed on or are not 90 days or more behind on their payment.

When you look at the statistics from this view you can see that a lot of folks are employed and a lot of folks are making their mortgage payments and making them on time. I bring this up because I have had many conversations from folks who are employed, who are current on their mortgages, who were thinking about defaulting on their mortgage because things are “so bad.” Basically, many Americans have listened so much to the media (bad news sells) and the Politian’s (who only they can save you) that they had given up hope even though things were going well for them.

I’m not discounting nor ignoring those who are hurting. What we are reviewing here are not really statistics, but people who are out of work and/or who are behind on their mortgage. But it is important for us to look at these numbers and see the positive in these numbers.  When we start looking positively at our situation, we can help others to see the positive in their situation. It is time to look at the actual numbers without the commentary and without the hype that generally comes with statistics.

Is it time to switch off the News with all of its unnecessary negativity? No, I’m not saying go bury your head in the sand…I’m saying re-evaluate where you get your News. Are you getting the real news or are you getting the sensationalized version of it? If you are getting the sensationalized version of it it is time to say “You’re Fired!”

– Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.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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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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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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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.

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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.

Leave a comment

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

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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Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 11-12

Note: For the first couple of weeks of January I’m posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy!

Days 11 and 12

Day 11

Today we begin to work on our spending plan. I have done this in the past off and on, but never felt hugely successful. While I was able to make a plan and get from month to month, I didn’t ever feel like I was getting ahead.

Bryan’s spreadsheets are a little different than anything I had come up with in the past, and to be honest, it was kind of fun. I have to pause here a minute and let this soak in. I, never in my entire life, have, nor ever thought I would…say that figuring out my monthly budget was fun. Most of my bills are due around the 20th of the month and it is pretty common for me to start waking up in the middle of the night panicked about my money a few days prior. It doesn’t matter if I have the money in the bank to cover things or not. This post traumatic stress syndrome is so much a part of my monthly routine that when I wake with a start, my first thought is, “What’s the date?”

So…we’ll see how this process changes things. Bryan’s demo of this spreadsheet was fluid and easy to understand, and his tips were enouraging.

Bryan says:

1. At first you’ll forget things. Don’t sweat it.
2. It takes about 3 months to get your monthly budget down.
3. Be serious.
4. Make it your plan. (Otherwise it won’t work.)
5. Celebrate your victories. (My favorite part.)

Plug your paychecks into the spreadsheet and divvy it up amongst your expenses. When you assign some money to a bill, that amount is subtracted from your total. Once you get your spreadsheet filled in, take a look to see where you can cut costs and how you want to arrange your paycheck across your expenses. I was thrilled to see that I could be putting more money on my debt that I thought. I am pretty excited to start watching those balances tick away.

Ready to come on board? Leave a money tip, and go into the drawing for a free chance to go through Balance UP!

Day 12…recording the details

I…am a big picture person. I understand details. I respect details, and when possible, I defer details. I would truly rather be at the dentist than wade through number details. (No offense Dr. Tony.)

Given this, you can probably imagine how quickly my eyes glazed over when today’s video started talking about making a separate ledger for items like eating out and car stuff. My first thought was, “How can I get around this?”

I know. That was bad. We don’t eat out. It’s not a challenge to manage our once a month pizza, so that’s one less sheet for me. My focus is paying off debt and I am not buying a thing that isn’t a necessity. When I do, I take that off the extra I am putting onto the debt. Maybe I don’t need these. I wondered, “Can I get to where I want to go without doing this part?”

I haven’t yet.

Bryan says this will take some getting used to, and to play around with it for a while. OK. I printed out my ledgers, and I’ll give it a try. Cross your fingers for me!

– Sara

Let’s hear from the readers!  What part to tracking expenses do you find to be the hardest?

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 9-10

Note: For the first couple of weeks I’m posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy

Day 9 

Stop watching the Joneses

Those darned Joneses! They make us keep thinking we need more and more. When will they stop consuming?

In all seriousness, it’s not the Joneses, it’s our continuous materialist sweet tooth that is causing our debt obesity.

As we learned from Bryan, we need to think of our expenditures in terms of monthly payments, the hours we must work to pay for them, and what that money costs us over time. It’s not easy to manage these ideas at first, but as will any lifestyle change, the turtle wins the race.

Start slowly, but keep going. We discussed giving to others on Day 7. Today we are encouraged to pay ourselves, and to do it first. I know that is so very hard when you don’t have enough money to get to the end of the month. Even if it is $5 a month, set it aside for yourself. Do you best. You will just feel better.

Now, how can we impact our monthly expenses?

Do you have a mortgage? Bryan encourages us to consider a bi-monthly payment, or an extra payment over the course of a year. Either of these approaches will take years off your mortgage.

Can you decrease your electricity? Changing to fluorescent light bulbs can decrease your lighting costs by 75%, not to mention decreasing your lightbulb replacement costs. The price of these bulbs has decreased enormously over the years and it is no longer a burdensome purchase.

Turn off and unplug. You can save up to 8% in electrical costs by turning off lights, and uplugging and other electrical appliances such as TVs, computers, and chargers when not in use.

Change your showerhead. Switching to a low water showerhead, or even toilet if you are able, will decrease your water costs, and you won’t even notice the change. (I grew up with a well as our water supply, and the water bill is simply one I just hate to pay.)

Do you pay for voicemail? Even if the voicemail is only $1 month, over 20 years that will cost you $240, if the rate never goes up.

Bryan has even more tips for Day 9, and none are the least bit painful. Remember, every dollar you save per month on your regular bills, is money you can save, use to pay debt off, or buy some great shoes!

Bryan has offered to give away Balance UP to one visitor of Single Moms Ask Sara, and to a friend of that visitor. To enter, simply go to my Money Saving Tips and leave your favorite tips for my readers.

Day 10!

All caught up! Today is tip day! Bryan offers a series of money saving tips. Today I am going to give you a few of his, and a few of mine.

I have to confess that I am feeling much more relaxed and much more confident about money. It is a relief to know that I have been on the right track, it was a shock to look at my finances across the long term, and it is encouraging that Bryan thinks that no matter where you are in your financial life, you can get on track.

Tips
Bryan: Don’t grocery shop hungry, and shop from a list.
Sara: Make your list from a menu. For a downloadable menu and shopping list, check my Free Downloads page.

Bryan: Use coupons. Check Bryan’s site for great coupon websites. (scroll down tot he links section)
Sara: If the house brand is cheaper (and it often is) don’t spend the extra money to use the coupon on the name brand item. Be sure to sign up for your store’s discount program.

Bryan:Don’t waste food. Make larger servings to use for other meals or to take for lunch.
Sara:Incorporate leftovers into your menu. Today’s leftover roast is tomorrow’s beef and noodles or roast beef sandwiches.

Bryan: Save money on clothing by buying at the end of the season.
Sara: Shop with a plan. Put together your wardrobe in a logical way. Click here to see what Clinton and Stacy recommend for wardrobe basics.

Bryan: Go to www.gasbuddy.com to check gas prices in your area.
Sara: Make sure your change your oil regularly, and your tires are inflated to the proper amount. Both of these can affect your gas mileage.

These are just a few of the money saving tips available at Bryan’s site: MyFinancialLifeCoach.net.

– Sara

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

Let’s hear your comments…1) What are your 1 or 2 favorite money saving tips? 2) Have you stopped over at Sara’s website to post your money saving ideas? All money saving posts will be entered in a drawing to win a Balance Up program.

Related Articles – (Note from Bryan – Along with some of my articles below I also included some articles from folks who I read on a regular basis…enjoy!)

Phantom ElectricityMy Financial Life Coach

New Money-Saving Holiday Strategies- Smart MoneySmart Money

Are You Eating Your College Fund?My Financial Life Coach

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 Balance, Budget, Change, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Life, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Resolutions, Stress, Uncategorized

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 7-8

Note: For the first couple of weeks I’m posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy!

Days 7 and 8…Tracking the Bucks

Day 7

Only 42% of people track their spending.

This means, as Bryan points out, 58% of people do not track their spending. I do track my bucks. I might not track for a week or two, but I always balance up (no pun intended) when I sit down to pay my monthly bills. I was surprised to learn that so many people do not track their spending.

Bryan reminds us to think about how much money we actually have to spend over our lifetimes. Think about how much money you make a year (the net amount) and write down your number. Now multiply the number by 10. This is the amount of money (discounting raises) that you have to manage over a ten year period. Now multiply by 20 years, and then by 30 years. You likely have much more to manage than you ever realized.

Looking at that grand total, it is much easier to see how you can become debt free and use your money to fulfill your dreams.

Not feeling it? Still having that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach? Bryan says this is when you should pull together $10 or $20 and give it to someone else. Suze Orman echos this sentiment explaining that her clients who had the most money were the ones who gave away the most money, and Wayne Dyer tells us to give away the very thing we want to receive. Someone is always worse off than you. By giving, you shift your focus away from yourself and your issues, and you do something wonderful for someone else.

Day 8

Monthly payments rob you of your future wealth.

I hate those monthly payments. It’s one thing to be paying something off and knowing those payments will someday disappear…but the phone, the electric, the gas…I hate paying those every month…forever and ever.

But what about those payments you don’t think about. What about that $1 coffee everyday? That is $30 a month, or $13,000 over 20 years. What about that $25 or $50 mani-pedi payment? That every other month haircut? Etc.

By breaking your spending down to a per month basis it is much easier to track your spending. The process can cause a few butterflies, but ultimately, knowledge is power. You can’t manage it if you don’t about it.

Almost caught up! Ready for Day 9!

– Sara

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

Let’s hear your comments…1) Do you track your spending? 2) What are 1 or 2 items you can eliminate that will give you cash to apply to your debts?

 

Related Articles – (Note from Bryan – Along with some of my articles below I also included some articles from folks who I read on a regular basis…enjoy!)

Take Control of Your Life?My Financial Life Coach

Are You Fearful of Writing Your Goals?Motivation to Move

SomedayMy Financial Life Coach

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 Balance, Budget, Change, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Life, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Resolutions, Stress, Uncategorized

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 4-6

Note: For the first couple of weeks I’m posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy!

Money…Days 4, 5, and 6.

Spreadsheet free days! Yep, these are my kind of money lessons!

In days 4 and 5 we learn about what we think about our lives in relation to money…and what we should think. We all know,

Attitude is everything

But we don’t always realize those forces that are negatively impacting our attitudes. For example, do you feel like you are lacking? Do you feel that society is passing you by? Do the Joneses have a lot more than you do? Maybe you are just watching too many commercials. Something as simple as pitching the ad magazines and turning off the TV can make a major difference in your perceptions.

Bryan reminds us there is a difference between being broke, and being poor. I have long said that poverty is a mindset, and has little to do with your cash flow. Lesson 4 addresses the very reasons why.

In Lesson 5 Bryan addresses the emotional side of getting your finances in order, and reminds us that there is no shame in getting your dollars in line and making great plans for your life going forward. Here, Bryan echos the profound observation of Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad:

You were never taught to manage money

Think about it. You probably had English class (your native tongue) your entire school life, but never had a money management class, beyond figuring out what kind of career you needed to pay the monthly bills. How in the heck are you going to know how to plan your life and work your money to support that plan?

Ready for Day 6? Me too!

Day 6: Cost in Hours

“Change Your Thinking”

We all know how much our purchases cost. After all, everything has a big fat price tag on it. But is that price tag telling us the whole story? Bryan says “no”.

In just 7 minutes of video instruction Bryan brings our purchases into some quick perspective.

Bryan asks,

“How much is a $1000 couch?”  (Careful, it’s a trick question…)

Answer: $1532.95.

What?

Yes…the COST TO YOU is $1532.95.

Why?

With taxes, the actual sale price of the couch is $1070.00. But those are just sales taxes.

You also have all those lovely taxes that are taken out of your check. You know, FICA, State, Federal, Local, etc. So for you to have $1070.00 to spend you have to have earned $1532.95. Yikes.

If you earn $15/hr it will take you 102 hours, or 2 1/2 weeks to buy the couch…if you pay cash. You had better really like that couch!

That $30,000 minivan? Well…let’s just say it’s A LOT more hours. That $10 birthday gift for your child’s classmate? At $15/hr you worked just over a full hour to pay for that, and you probably don’t even know the kid!

I do think in these terms, and I get a bit frustrated when I think about the number of hours I spend working to pay for things. When you think about the hours you slave at a desk, a store, a construction site, etc., it makes you think twice about whether or not you really need the item you’re looking at!

-Sara

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

Let’s hear your comments…1) Where you ever taught about money? 2) What can change your mind about money? 3) What do you think about the concept of the $1000 couch?

 

Related Articles – (Note from Bryan – Along with some of my articles below I also included some articles from folks who I read on a regular basis…enjoy!)

Financial GrowthMorning Coach

Are You Truly Living the Life You Want?My Financial Life Coach

The Major Obsticle to Financial Success Brian Tracy

How to Stay MotivatedDenis Waitley

How Much Does a $1000 Couch cost?My Financial Life Coach

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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Happy New Year

Happy New Year and welcome to the first post of 2012!!

I will be doing things a little different this year. A majority of the folks start out the new year with some type of financial resolution, so for the first couple of weeks I will be posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy!

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up

Day 1

Here we go! Taking a deep breath I opened my first Budget Up! email and clicked on the link to the lesson.

Bryan reminded me:

“Today you made a choice to make a change in your finances and your life.” – Bryan Cooper

Again…big deep breath. Was I ready for this? I mean I have a pretty good handle on my dollars…in my head. Was I ready to put those dollars on paper?

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.”

Another reminder from Bryan. Yes…I do want a bit of a change, and it would be very nice to think about my finances without getting sweaty palms and chest pains.

I am ready to continue…prosperity, here I come!

Sara Sherman money

Money…Day 2–Official Start!

I am back! I have been traveling for work and am a tad behind in my financial classes. The great thing about this email day by day format is that I can catch up as I am able. Thank goodness!

I opened my “official start” email and followed the link. The first thing I noticed on the screen was a link to spreadsheets. “OK,” I thought. “I can do spreadsheets.”

I clicked the link. Yikes! There were a whole bunch of spreadsheets! As I tabbed through the spreadsheets of income, expenses, equity, balances, and paycheck assignments my heart hit my throat and I started throwing the numbers I could remember into the cells. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember everything, and I wasn’t sure what to do with some of the sheets. Now I would have to go upstairs and sort through files, and the stuff in the “to be filed” pile and figure out all this stuff. Not my favorite thing.

I took a deep breath and fired off a list of questions to Bryan. This was on a Sunday night. I got a prompt email response from Bryan who kindly and patiently answered my questions. Then he asked. “Did you watch the video tutorial?”

Did you watch the video tutorial?”

Video tutorial? Oops. In my panic and rush to plow through the spreadsheets I failed to notice the large square to the right telling me to watch the video tutorial.

So…I am going to go do that now, and I’ll let you know how I fare with those spreadsheets after I actually see the instructions.

Ahhhh…..the video

So…following Bryan’s reminder, I watched the video instruction for Day 1. Easy peasy!! Turns out, instead of flipping from spreadsheet to spreadsheet in a state of mass hysteria, I really only needed to work with 3 of the spreadsheets for Day 1. Much better!

These three spreadsheets are the foundational pieces of your personal budget. In essence, “What do you owe to whom?” and “How much are your monthly expenses?” Pretty basic stuff.

A few months ago I realized I had gotten some outright wrong, or at least misunderstood (I am going with the former) advice on the self-employment income I had last year. Finding out my federal, state, and local taxes were thousands of dollars that I did not have, gave me the opportunity to go through this process to determine what I could pay Mr. Tax Man each month. Given that, I had a pretty good idea of what was where.

For the few spreadsheet lines I wasn’t quite sure of, I popped in a number and watched what happened. Seeing the calculations the spreadsheet performed cleared up any confusion and I knew what to do.

I have a few pieces of advice for this part of the process:

1. Gather your bills to get a good idea of what you owe and what you pay.

2. If the process is stressful, or causes you anxiety, do it in little pieces at a time, and think of it as someone else’s money. For example, “My goodness, Davy Crockett has an $8,000 Master Card bill? Well we’ll just have to see what we can do to help Davy get that taken care of.”

3. Understand that none of this is in stone. Your financial picture moves and changes each day, at least a little bit. Yesterday’s cash on hand was $72, today’s is $65. Pick a spot to start, and just keep going.

Bryan gives his students the weekends off…Go Bryan! So I should get a good start on catching up from my work travels this weekend.

Happy Money!!

Money…days 2 and 3

The lessons for days 2 and 3 work hand in hand. In these days, Bryan challenges us to list our goals. Yep. Goals. But not just our money goals, our life goals.
money

“Your personal goals (vision) need to determine your spending, not your spending determine your goals” – Bryan Cooper

Ponder this quote from Bryan for a few minutes. Take a deep breath or two and let this idea roll around in your head. How does it feel to you?

I have two strong sensations when I do this. First, the idea that my life is actually running my money is very freeing to me, and my second sensation is…how in the heck am I going to get there?

I am good with the goals. I own Covey’s 7 Habits, nearly every Wayne Dyer book, 2 of Joel Osteen‘s, and a handful of other how-to’s by delightful writers. Sometimes I have those goals down on paper and I am trucking right along, and sometimes life is trucking right over me. When it takes everything you have to get from sun-up to sun-down each day, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. All of a sudden the years have passed and what you wanted for your life seems like a pipe dream.

And because Bryan is sooooo darn thorough, he talks about that a bit too. In this lesson we also review possible reasons why we have not moved forward with our goals. If we cannot identify our barriers, we cannot overcome them. Bryan reminds us that we don’t have to have to have all the answers, and we don’t have to already know how to get from A to B. After all he says, “Nobody knows everything.”

Because I want to be successful in this Balance Up program, I decided to sleep on the idea of goals for a few days. I am now ready to put them to paper and move on.

Yes, you will need to do a little spreadsheet work in this lesson, but it’s just a little and it won’t take you too long.

Onward and upward!! – Sara

Related Articles – (Note from Bryan – Along with some of my articles below I also included some articles from folks who I read on a regular basis…enjoy!)

Build the New Year of Your DreamsMorning Coach

Is This the Dream You Want?My Financial Life Coach

5 Reasons Why Most Don’t Become Wealthy Brian Tracy

Remove the Constraints and Live Your Dream LifeMotivation To Move

Take Control of Your Own LifeMy Financial Life Coach

What will your compass for 2012 be?– Johan Coetzer


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5 Things You Must Do Before the New Year

5 Things You Must Do Before the New Year

Here is a great post from Jonathan over at SimpleLifeHabits.com. Jonathan has some great easy to use ideas to simply (and improve) your life.

I do all of these suggestions every six months except for the “Reflect on the 10 most memorable moments.” What a great idea. I’m implementing it immediately.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio 43015

Other Related articles:

Identity TheftMy Financial Life Coach

Clean Slate  My Financial Life Coach

End of the Day Evaluation for Work & Home  My Financial Life Coach

Someday  My Financial Life Coach

Celebrate the Successes of Yesterday and Today  My Financial Life Coach

NEW: Check out our new online program called Balance Up. 32 mini lessons in 42 days.

MyFinancialLifeCoach.net is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training, and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits, Our website has over 300 money and time saving tips. Visit us at www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net




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Ae You a Ms. Later?

Are you a Ms. Later?

Great post from Sara at Single Mom’s Ask Sara about procrastination.

http://www.singlemomsasksara.com/Single-Mom-blog.html

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Filed under Balance, Change, Goals, Stress

Black Friday was an Interesting Day

I received two inquires on Black Friday which is unusual since I don’t typically receive emails on holidays. On holidays folks are thinking about relaxing, being with family, or going shopping. Wait…maybe the shopping was the trigger.

Both of these folks in their email told me about how they needed help and they needed it now. One of these folks did a debt consolidation a year earlier and now they had a negative cash-flow. The other person told me they got into debt management program and they too now had a cash flow issue. Both of them wanted help and they wanted help now.

Did you catch that? They wanted help now, immediate, a quick fix. Guess what? Quick fixes don’t work. Changing the behaviors that got you to this mess is what will work.

So today I’m reposting a blog from September called “I see it Everyday.”

I See it Everyday

A couple runs up thousands of dollars in credit card debt and can no longer make the payments. In an effort to solve the problem, they take that debt and roll it into their mortgage. They tell themselves that they are saving money . . . and sometimes they actually believe it. They take loans that they owed another 8 or 10 years on, rolling them into a new 30-year loan. They take the house that they owed 22, 23, or 24 years on, and now they owe on it for 30 years. Now they are paying an extra 6 or more years on their house!

Nothing Changed…Except Losing the House

The problem with this situation is that they never corrected the behavior that got them into the problem to begin with, so in a year or two they will run up thousands of dollars on credit cards again. This time they can’t roll it into their mortgage, and eventually they lose their home because they run up the debt to the point that they can no longer make their house payment.

Take Control

If this situation sounds like you, please take my advice. Stop the madness. Get out there and learn about personal finances. Read a book, take a class, or find someone with the experience who can help you.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper – Financial Life Coach

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Visit us at:

http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach

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Filed under Budget, Change, Dave Ramsey, fear, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, household budget, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Stress

Tuesday Time Tips

Work:

Misunderstandings result in wasted time and frustration, so avoid them. When communicating something to others, be clear and specific. When listening, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Priorities:

Most crises are preventable. Plan and work in advance so that manageable projects do not evolve in crises.

Organizing:

Never rely only on your memory. Write the information down and store it in an organized fashion.

Consider This:

On occasion, take a few minutes to evaluate your efficiency. Is your current method of time management working? If not, consider altering or replacing it.

Organizing:

Organize the files on your computer. Be sure that you can easily find things.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

Financial Life Coach

Dave Ramsey Certified

2280 W William St., Suite A

Delaware, OH 43015

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

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Filed under Balance, Dave Ramsey, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Life, Life Balance, Parenting, Stress, Time Management

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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Filed under Christmas, Dave Ramsey, Goals, Miscellaneous, Procrastination, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized, Work

11/14 – Money Management Monday

Don’t stop through drive-thru for your morning java, make it at home. Only spending $1 a day for that coffee? A buck a day equates to over $36,000 in 30 years if you save and invest. Are you buying the good stuff ($2.50 a cup)? $91,610. Take 5 minutes and make your coffee; the only thing you have to lose is $91,610.

Here is an article about Christmas shopping I read this morning that I wanted to share; but I want to make a couple of points first.

1. Be sure you stick to your Christmas budget.
2. Shop from a list to help you stick to your budget. Remember, it is YOUR household budget.
3. Don’t bring out the credit cards so you can “afford” Christmas. Do you really want to be thinking about Christmas 2011 in November 2012 as you continue making the credit card payment?
4. Evaluate what you are buying. Do they REALLY need what it is you are buying them?

New Money-Saving Holiday Strategies by KELLI B. GRANT

http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/deal-of-the-day/5-moneysaving-holiday-strategies-1320930952550/

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Filed under Budget, Credit, household budget, Money, Saving Money

Identity Theft

People often talk about identity theft, the kind where someone else steals your identity. We’ve all seen commercials where an identity thief steals someone’s credit card number to gain rights and privileges that belong to another person. Identity theft is becoming a major problem in our society.

While people often talk about that type of identity theft, it isn’t the only kind. Today, I want to talk about the other kind- the one no one talks about. This type of identity theft occurs when either your actions or your lack of actions steals your true identity. Because of how you’re living, you are unable to follow your goals, values, and dreams. They have been stolen from you through your own actions.

For example, being overloaded with debt steals your identity. The stress it creates prevents you from being the real you. Because you’re using most of your resources to repay your debt, you are prevented from doing what is most important to you. You are trapped by your debt, forced to live within its
confines.

Since this type of identity theft is created by you, you have the power to free yourself. Regain your identity. Learn how to make changes your life and your household budget by reading a book, taking a class, or finding someone who can help you.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper
My Financial Life Coach LLC
Financial Life Coach
Dave Ramsey Certified
“Helping You Get Your Financial House In Order”

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

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Filed under Balance, Budget, Change, Dave Ramsey, fear, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Life Balance

Clap Your Hands

I want you to take a minute to clap your hands. Do it at least five times. Hear the noise? Do you feel it? Now I want you to do it again but this time use only one hand and you cannot use your leg, table, or anything else….just one hand.  Do you hear it? Can you feel it? No? You can’t hear it because you are just swatting air.

Living life without goals, without a plan, and without a household budget is like trying to clap with one hand.  You’re spending energy, you’re spending effort, you’re moving, you’re getting tired, but the results for all of your effort just aren’t there.

Just like clapping needs two hands, your life needs that “second hand;” the goals, the plan, and the budget. So stop swatting air and get out there and make some changes in your life. Read a book, take a class, or talk to an expert that can help you with the “second hand.”

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

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

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

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Filed under Change, Dave Ramsey, Finance, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Priorities

Budgeting and Basketball

With Basketball you start with a plan. You go up against the unknown. The unexpected happens. You take shots; some you make and some you don’t. Sometimes you are behind and sometimes you are ahead. You take breaks, sometimes you call a time out and re-evaluate; and sometimes you receive instructions from a coach.

Kind of sounds like budgeting except people have this strange expectation about budgeting. They try to do it without a plan. They run into the unknowns and the unexpected and they act surprised. When they get a head they spend it and when they get behind they borrow. They don’t call a time out…they just keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. Rarely do they stop and get advice from a coach, yet they will get advice from their broke friend or neighbor.

Is it time for YOU to get SERIOUS about YOUR game?  Actually it isn’t a game, it’s your life.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

Financial Life Coach

Dave Ramsey Certified

2280 W William St., Suite A

Delaware, OH  43015

info@MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

(740) 815-3243

Visit us at http://www.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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Filed under Budget, Dave Ramsey, Finance, household budget, Life, Money, Personal Finance

Perfect or Great?

I wonder how many books on procrastination have had to be written because of one line in the book Good to Great… “good is the enemy of great.”

I believe in doing things well but sometimes we confuse the word great with the word perfection. Many things require things to be done great or well, but not perfect. If you are a surgeon, I want perfection. If you are my mechanic, great or well is sufficient. I want the parts installed correctly and I want the bolts torque to specification, but I don’t care if the slot in the screws all line up so they are visually pleasing. If you own a $100,000 collector car, you want things done to perfection, not done great or well.

When we feel we have to do things perfect, it slows us down. We take more time to make sure it is perfect. We may be so concerned about making it perfect that we keep finding reasons why we don’t start working on it. So, when you are feeling that something has to be perfect, re-evaluate. Does it need to be perfect, or is great or well sufficient?

Another thing to remember is if we working on something with total perfection, and there is no need for it to be perfect, we are being inefficient. Being inefficient means that something else is either not getting done, or you are working more hours than is truly required of you.

So if you are perfectionist, I want you to evaluate why you are a perfectionist. Is it because what you do requires it, or because you have made that self-imposed demand on yourself? How does your perfectionism impacting your life balance? How does it impact your budget? Yes, I said budget. Perfectionists usually have a hard time doing a household budget because the fear of not doing it perfect prevents them from starting!

So stop being perfect and start being great. Go make something great happen this week.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio  43015

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

Check out our new, totally online program, yours today for just $29.99.

Balance Up: 42 Days to Maximize, Energize, and Organize Your Life

Balance Up is different than most other programs because it combines Goal Setting, Financial Management, Prioritization Management, Time Management, and Life Balance into a single program. In the mid 90’s Bryan developed and delivered corporate training in the areas of Goal Setting, Action Planning, and Time Management, so he understands adult learners. Bryan has combined that experience with his experience in financial coaching to create Balance Up.

So what are you waiting for? Take action today and start working on your dream, goals, or finances.  Let Balance Up walk you through the process.

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Filed under Balance, Budget, fear, Goals, household budget, Life Balance, Priorities, Procrastination, Uncategorized

The Raise

Did you get a raise this year? If you did, what did you do with it? Have you noticed its impact on your finances? So many times, we don’t notice our raises because they are absorbed into our spending. As our salary goes up, our expenses tend to increase to match our new income. Sometimes they climb even higher than that, causing financial problems.

Here is my challenge to you today. Every year you get a raise, save a portion of it. Consider setting aside at least 1% for savings each year. In ten years you will be saving 10%. In fifteen years you will be saving 15%, and in twenty years . . . you get the idea. Use your raises to your advantage. Take control of them instead of absorbing them into your spending.

Looking back, where would you be today if you had applied this concept when you first started working? Some of you would have a lot of money saved right now. You can’t change your past, but you can change your future. Are YOU going to start saving YOUR raises?

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio  43015

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

Check out our new, totally online program, yours today for just $29.99.

Balance Up: 42 Days to Maximize, Energize, and Organize Your Life

Balance Up is different than most other programs because it combines Goal Setting, Financial Management, Prioritization Management, Time Management, and Life Balance into a single program. In the mid 90’s Bryan developed and delivered corporate training in the areas of Goal Setting, Action Planning, and Time Management, so he understands adult learners. Bryan has combined that experience with his experience in financial coaching to create Balance Up.

So what are you waiting for? Take action today and start working on your dream, goals, or finances.  Let Balance Up walk you through the process.

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Filed under Budget, Finance, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Saving Money, Stress

Fall – Turn on the Heat AND $ave Money

Programmable thermostats

In today’s economy, people often talk about how they can reduce their expenses and increase the return on their investments. There are many ways to do this, and some are more challenging than others.

As I work with clients to maximize their incomes and improve their finances, one thing we discuss is how to reduce their utility costs. One of the items that typically comes up in these conversations is the programmable thermostat. Most people either they don’t have one or they have one but do not use it.

According to the energystar.gov website, a programmable thermostat saves an average of $180 per year. So if you have one, start using it. If you don’t have one, get one. Spending $40 to $100 for a programmable thermostat now can save you approximately $1,800 over the next ten years. Now that is an EXCELLENT return on an investment. Talk about savings!

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio 43015

(740) 815-3243

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

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Filed under Budget, Finance, Financial, Money, Personal Finance, Saving Money

“Someone is sitting in the shade today b

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett

So what long term planning do you need to do? Write it down and have the discussion within the week with everyone who needs to be involved. Stop procrastinating and go make it happen. – Coach Bryan

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Did you get up this morning and say a) G

Did you get up this morning and say a) Great! It’s Monday…. or b) Darn! It’s Monday? Thought for the day….“The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.” – Oscar Wilde

Go make a it a great and productive week!!!!! – Coach Bryan

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Success is a matter of understanding and

Success is a matter of understanding and religiously practicing specific simple habits.
~ Robert J. Ringer

So what one or two items are you going to start practicing this weekend that will positively impact your life? – Coach Bryan

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Are you looking for options with Financi

Are you looking for options with Financial Education for you or your staff? http://ow.ly/hMO6Y

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