Monthly Archives: September 2011

Let Go of the Past

Letting go

Nothing will defeat you faster than not letting go of the past. I encourage all of my clients to draw a line in the sand and not look back. I also warn them that typically around week 4 or 5 of digging out they may become discouraged and when they become discouraged they will start thinking “I wish I would have or I wish I wouldn’t have…” Whatever happened has happened. You cannot go back and change it so don’t focus on it. If you focus on negative thoughts…you get negative results.

Can you ever look back?

Is there every an exception to the “don’t look back rule”.  I hesitantly say yes.  I tell them it is okay to look back only if they take a lesson from their experience and to share the experience with others. But they are to only share the story so others can benefit from the experience, not so they can wallow in self-pity; what I don’t want them to do is to dwell on the past mistakes. They are already dealing with the consequences of the issue so why make things worse by focusing on the cause as well? So if you are going to share the experience, share it quickly and move on.

Refocus and move forward

Draw the line in the sand and don’t look. What would happen if you looked in the rear-view mirror for a minute or two while driving? You would veer off course and maybe crash, right? Guess what happens when you look back while trying to move forward with your goals? The same thing, you get off course and you just may crash.

So remember, look forward, not back. Your future depends on it.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio  43015

http://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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2 Comments

Filed under Balance, Budget, Change, Events, Family, Goal Setting, Life Balance, Personal Finance, Relationships & Money

Is This the Dream You Want?

Are you having fun?

Are you living the life you’ve always dreamed of? Have you reached your goals? Or are you worn out, driving to the job you hate while wearing the “nice clothes” and driving the “cool car?” Are you miserable even though you have what you are supposed to dream of? How do you feel about your life and your priorities?

I see this every day

Prospective clients living the “dream.” You know the dream, the dream where you must have the best of everything- the best clothes, cars, vacations, houses, and electronics. It even affects your children. Part of this so-called dream includes having your kids involved in so many activities that they don’t have time to be kids.

Evaluate

Step back and take a look at your life. Is this really the life you dreamed of? Or are you too busy to do what is really important to you? Make sure you’re living in the right dream. If you aren’t, invest some time in the areas of goal setting and prioritization management so that you can pursue the dream that you really want.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio  43015

http://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.

5 Comments

Filed under Balance, Change, Children, Family, Goals, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities

Contentment

Not Settling For Less

Contrary to popular belief, contentment doesn’t mean settling for less. It does not mean that you ignore what you really want, insisting that what you have now is enough. In reality, contentment may actually mean settling for more. It is settling for more of what is important to you- settling for more time with your family and more time pursuing your goals and dreams.

Spend Less Time on the Unimportant

It may mean settling for less time spent on the unimportant- less time chasing material items that will mean nothing to you and have no value years from now.  Remember the saying, “The one with the most toys at the end of life wins?” Sounds like that person should have settled for spending more time and energy on the important rather than on accumulation.

At the end of your life, what will people say you settled for?

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

Financial Life Coach @ My Financial Life Coach

Visit us at:

http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach

Keywords: Budget, Change, Economics, Economy, Family, Goals, Goal Setting, Life, Life Balance, Money, Miscellaneous, Personal, Personal Finance, Relationships, Relationships & Money, Saving, Uncategorized

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Filed under Budget, Change, Dave Ramsey, Economy, Family, Goals, Health, Inspiration, Life, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Relationships & Money, Thoughts

The $93,000 Astro Van

In America we love our cars

We buy them, we customize them, and we turn them into music halls. If you read yesterday’s article you will recall I gave an example where someone would work 77 weeks just so they could buy their vehicle.

Yesterday’s vehicle example was $46,000.

Today’s vehicle example is a $93,000 van that was driven by my frugal wife. How can a frugal person have a $93,000 minivan? Well actually, the van did not cost $93,000; it SAVED us $93,000.

Normal in America is to finance a vehicle for five or six years.  Typical payments are in the $4-500 dollar range. When it is paid for the owner typically makes a trip to the dealer to start the process all over again. The result is a $400 or higher payment for most of their driving years. (Note: Edmunds.com “suggests” using up to 20% of net income for car payments. Edmonds is normally a good source of information but this recommendation is just really bad advice).

Back to our story

We bought the van when it was two years old. The original owner lost 40% in depreciation in two years or an average of 20% per year. We lost the remaining depreciation (60%) in 15 years or about 4% a year.  So we paid less (used) and we didn’t have a van payment for 15 years. It gets better.

Let’s use $400 as the “monthly amount” for this discussion. If you make a $400 payment for 15 years – you will pay $72,000. Remember the $1000 couch discussion? The factor we used for that discussion was 1.53 for non-tithing and 1.7 for tithing. So you multiply $72,000 by the appropriate factor.  In our situation it came to $122,400. We would have had to earn $122,400, before paying taxes, to bring home $72,000 so we could make van payments at $400 a month for 15 years.

How much DID the van really cost us?

Purchase price minus what we sold it for = $12,900. Repairs = 4,100.

$12,900 + 4,100 = $17,000, x 1.70 factor = $28,900. This is the real cost of the van.

$122,400 – What we would have needed to earn to maintain payments for 15 years.

(- 28,900)  -Subtract what we did earn to pay for the van and its repairs

=$93,500 – True savings of what we did not have to earn during this 15 year time period.

No payment for 15 years

In our situation, we saved around $93,500 by not having a van payment over that 15 year period. Let me clarify. By driving and repairing this vehicle for 15 years instead of buying new cars and having continuous payments, I did not have to go out and earn $93,500 (gross) to be able to make those car payments. By the way, this van did break down twice, needed some repairs, and it began to fade.  You can pay me $93,500 anytime for putting up with fading paint, a couple of breakdowns, and some repairs. We actually sold it to a friend who got another 7-9 months of use out of it.

In a future article I will go through the steps of how to get the most value out of your vehicle.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, OH 43015

Visit us at:

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Auto, Change, Debt Elimination, Money, Personal Finance, Taxes

How Much Does a $1,000 Couch Cost?

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.

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.

Don’t forget the value of you time

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.

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 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).

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.

(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).

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper
My Financial Life Coach, LLC
2280 W William St., Suite A
Delaware, OH 43015
Visit us at:
www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net
www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach

3 Comments

Filed under Budget, coach dave, Dave Ramsey, Finance, Money, Personal Finance, Saving Money, Taxes, Uncategorized

Are You Eating your College Fund?

So how much do you spend eating out?

Maybe you spend $50, $100, or even $200. So what is the big deal? When I coach folks, I typically see the eating out in the $175 to $300 range. What I typically hear is “I didn’t realize how much we were spending until you made us put it on paper.”

For the record, I’m not against eating out; I’m actually okay with people eating out as long as they understand the overall potential impact to their budget and their personal goals.

How does eating out and other spending impact your long term goals?

Take a look at the chart. The chart is based on 9% return. I know, you are saying you can’t get 9%. You are correct, you cannot get that today…but I look long term. I’ve seen interest rates at 18%. Thinking short-term will get you into trouble but that is a topic for another day. So for the next few moments, think long term with me and let’s take a look at the chart.

If I’m spending $200 a month eating out, that means over the next twenty years I may have had the potential to accumulate $133,680. Have you ever said you can’t save for college? Maybe you are eating your college fund. This is why it is so important to establish your life goals and then build your budget around those goals.

So, how do you reduce your eating out expenses?

Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Drink water instead of a beverage.  A family of four ($1.75 each x 4 people x 4 meals) = $28.00 monthly savings.

2. Better planning. Instead of hitting the restaurant after the game, have a crock pot or casserole cooking in the oven so it is ready to eat when your get home. A family of four ($30 per family x 4 meals) = $120 monthly savings.

3. Go out for lunch instead of dinner. Many times a $10.00 dinner meal is around $6.00 at lunch time. Family of four ($4.00 each x 4 people x 1 meal) = $16 monthly savings.

So you reduce your eating out expense by $164. Take $64 of this and move it to your grocery bill (since you are eating at home more) for a true savings of about $100 a month. Go back to the chart, what is the potential of saving $100 a month for 15 years? $37,870.  How painful is the above? The bottom line is 1) you drink water, 2) you eat out one less time per week (eating at home), and 3) you eat lunch out instead of dinner once per month.

What if you double it? 

If you double what we talked about above, you are looking at a potential savings of $75,740 over 15 years. That looks a lot like a college fund to me. Let me put it another way. For most families, the $75,740 is more money than they will bring home after taxes for an entire year. That is a lot of money, and we only addressed one category within the budget!

Modify and Reduce 

We didn’t eliminate eating out. We modified it and we reduced it. The goal of a good spending plan is not to stop spending; it is to maximize your income by spending the right amount, on the right things, so you get to do what is important to you. You must set your life priorities and then build your budget around those priorities.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, OH  43015

Visit us at:

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach

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.

5 Comments

Filed under Balance, Budget, Change, coach dave, Dave Ramsey, Finance, Food, Goal Setting, Goals, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Saving Money, Uncategorized

Poor versus Broke.

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...

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Poor versus Broke.

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 gentlemen 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 Cooper
Financial Life Coach

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

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

https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach

Keywords: Budget, Budgeting, Culture, Economics, Economy, Events, Finances, Home, Inspiration, Miscellaneous, Thoughts, Uncategorized

5 Comments

Filed under Budget, Change, coach dave, Credit, Dave Ramsey, Debt Elimination, Economy, Education, Emergency Fund, Events, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, Goals, Home, Inspiration, Life, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Relationships & Money, Retirement, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work