Category Archives: Education

Financial Education, Financial Literacy, Money Skills, Money Management, Financial Fitness, Financial Freedom, College, School

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,  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

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

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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Filed under Education, Family, Finance, household budget, Money, Personal Finance, Stress

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


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


Filed under Change, Economy, Education, Finance, Food, household budget, Money, Personal Finance, Relationships & Money

The Gift That is Sure to Please!

I think I have seen this comment on about every Christmas ad. It’s on TV, its in print. Everyone telling you that they have just that special gift. The advertisements are selling the gifts of jewelry, clothing, entertainment, or even exercise.

There is nothing wrong with these gifts and there is nothing wrong with gift giving. But I do have to ask a couple of questions…

Do you REALLY need to upgrade from the 42″ TV to the 60″ plus TV?

Does your Dad really need another tie to add to his collection of 70 ties?

This year I want to challenge you to include a gift to charity.


$15 will but a food basket for Haiti. Does Dad really need that tie?

$120 will buy a desk for 3 Haitian students. Does Mom need that 18th necklace?

$4,000 will buy a home for a Haitian family. Can you and 19 friends come up with $200? Can you imagine the joy you can bring to a family who doesn’t have a home for their family?

Interested? Below are two ideas for you to help those in Haiti.

#1. Check out a number of great gift giving opportunities at Lifeline Christian Mission. This is a great organization. We have sponsored children for years and my teenagers have traveled to Haiti on mission trips. An excellent and well run mission!

#2. From now until December 25, I will donate $2 to Lifeline for every new “Like” on the “My Financial Life Coach” Facebook page (18 and older please). I’m currently at 157 likes so I need your help…tell your friends and have them stop over and like this page. Be sure to “Like” the page, not just the posting.

100 NEW LIKES EQUALS $200. PLEASE help me make this happen!!

As I always say, 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

(740) 815-3243


Visit us at for hundreds of money saving tips, articles, and other resources.

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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.


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.


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:

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


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

Rewind Wednesday – Identity Theft

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.

Two Kinds of Identity Theft

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.

Only You Can Get Your Identity Back

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 by reading a book, taking a class, or finding someone who can help you.

Are you going to continue allowing YOUR choices to steal your TRUE identity?

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”

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Slow Down, to Go Faster

Slow down so you can go faster. So many times, we go ninety miles an hour all day long only to find we either didn’t really get anything done or we worked on the wrong things.  Slow down, get rested, and prioritize what you need to do. An important part of prioritization is removing things from your list. Learn to say no. You may have items on your list that are unimportant, put there by someone else, or will take you in a completely different direction then you want to go.

So how do you change this?

Step One

Stop. Take a look at what all you have going on.

Step Two

Determine what is important to you.

Step Three

Get rested. You will not be efficient or effective if you are worn out.

Step Four

Prioritize. Take what you determined is important to you and make it a priority.

Step Five

Eliminate. Take another look at everything you are doing. Eliminate anything that is unimportant or distracting.

Now you can start back up and take action on the most important items that will lead you in the direction you want to go.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

Financial Life Coach

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Visit us at:

Keywords: Balance, Change, Culture, Education, Family, Goals, Goal Setting, Health, Home, Inspiration, Life, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Personal, Priorities, Stress, Thoughts, Time, Time Management, Work, Uncategorized

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