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3 Ways Doing Nothing is Costing You

September 4, 2016

When I was supervising a large office, I often felt I was fighting fires instead of proactively running the business. It’s not easy to turn around the flow and sense of urgency. My business partner and I made a commitment to each other to return our position to preemptive management. It took planning, setting and sharing goals, and commitment to making positive changes. With these changes we turned our department into a leading customer focused operation. Our office ran on less staff time, created highly satisfied customers, and grew our business, setting new records.

How are your business or personal finances suffering from your inaction? Here are some ways you may be inadvertently losing time and money:

1. Precious time lost. If you don’t have a daily, weekly, and monthly plan that consistently works, stuff happens to you at an alarming rate. At home, I’d check my bills every day, and pay as I received them. It took time every day, instead of only twice a month as I do now. At work, I didn’t plan the job assignments and share the goals clearly to our employees so they could be focused on their responsibilities. I did not break down my varied accountability to a planned day on my calendar so I could focus on each one at a time.

2. Loss of Capacity. How much time, energy and resources could you save with strategic planning? How much more revenue could you create if your finances were streamlined? How much easier would it be to focus on the planned task if nagging distractions would vanish?

3. Not pursuing your passion. What dreams have you left behind? Is where you are in your current situation not exactly where you expected you’d be by this time? Do you feel resentment because others are thriving? Does it just seem easier for some people to be successful?

Stop the chaos and get out of the firefighting business. Make a commitment to turn your personal or business activities around. Write down what you’d like to achieve in the next month. List measurable action steps that you can start today. We can’t do it all by ourselves. Ask for help from your family and business partners.

Hire a Personal Money Coach to help you identify the best strategic path. {tweet this} 

Share your goals to have more accountability to results. If you don’t change soon, how are you going to improve your position?

The overall goal is to help you take control of your money, reduce stress, and start THRIVING. Enjoy the good life, knowing you have reduced your financial risk, and have taken well-planned steps to ensure a thriving future.Give it try with a complimentary 60 minute strategic session. Get motivation from my posts on Facebook. Call 916.217.1967 or email me to set a time to discuss your action plan.

8 Ways Being Money Mindful Can Improve Your Finances

July 10, 2016

One of the first things I do with new clients is ask them some questions to identify how aware they are of their money and spending habits.  Here are eight ways to measure your money mindfulness.

Take a moment and notice your spending impact on your partner/family:  I agree that everyone should have a little bit of discretionary money to spend without having to share the details with everyone else.  When it’s “our” money, and I decide to spend it on “me”, and it isn’t planned, how will your partner feel?  Will you sneak your online purchases into the house when no one is there?  What if they found out?  How would you feel if they slipped some new tools into the garage when you weren’t there?  I’ve seen couples “get even” when the other slips up, and spend even more.

Be present for happy, fun moments that don’t cost money:  We love to walk through our neighborhood, and we often take pictures of what we see.  It’s fun, and even healthy.  Beneficial activities are first on the list, and also include picnics and front porch dinners with the torches lit.

Be aware of needs vs. wants: I need soap to take a shower; I want fancy smell-good shower gels.  I need a clean home; I want a housekeeper.  I need a refrigerator, I want the stainless steel one with all the latest improvements.  It all adds up – big and small purchases

Notice when you are avoiding a money decision:   You left your job for a new one, and haven’t rolled the 401K account yet because you’re not sure where to put it.  You know you should compare insurance rates, but you have to find your current policy, look at the coverage, find competitors, call or chat with the sales rep, on and on and on.  Income taxes – how many ways are there to procrastinate?

Be cognizant of rationalizations when making decisions:  I worked extra hard this week, so I deserve to have a nice dinner out this weekend.  These clothes are out of style, our son should join both sports, all my nieces and nephews need gifts on birthdays and holidays to show we care.

Be discerning when shopping:  I bought a pair of pants on clearance that needed to be dry cleaned.  One dry cleaning trip cost more than the slacks.  Just because it’s at the warehouse store doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you to buy it.

When receiving knowledgeable financial advice, be conscious of your hesitations, ask questions, and share all pertinent information:  When you are meeting with a financial advisor, make sure you understand the investment products.  If you don’t understand what it is, ask.  If they ask you if you have any other investments, give them an honest answer.  You don’t want to invest your money in the same product and be more at-risk.  If something just doesn’t sound right, ask more questions.  I once had three appointments with a financial advisor about a new product.  At the third meeting, I still didn’t understand, and did not invest in the product.  Don’t feel guilty about wasting their time and feeling like you have to invest in their product.

Read all your bills and statements as a concerned consumer: For one full month, read every single bill and statement you receive.  That means mail and email.  Look at your balance, the due date, and the itemization of the invoice, the fees incurred, the interest rate, the investments held, including all the transactions on your bank statement.  You may find a few items that you can question, and perhaps stop fees that you have been paying without knowing.

The overall goal is to help you take control of your money, reduce stress, and start THRIVING.  Enjoy the good life, knowing you have reduced your financial risk, and have taken well-planned steps to ensure a thriving future. Get motivation from my posts on Facebook. Are you ready for a complimentary 60 minute strategy session? Call 916.217.1967 or email me to set a time to discuss your mindfulness.

Happy Graduation

May 10, 2016

As spring turns the corner into summer, graduations are celebrated everywhere.  You may have invitations to attend a few, and gifts are always appreciated.  What can you give to a college graduate who isn’t sure what their future holds for them?  I have a solution:  A Custom Graduation Money Coach Summer Session.

Students absorb so much information over the four years of classes, and I know my brain was ready for a break after the last set of finals and term papers were completed.  This is a time to relax, sleep in, and enjoy perhaps your last summer of true freedom.  Summer is also a time to reflect on your school experiences, and make some plans for the future.  I help graduates learn some basic money and risk management skills, networking expertise, saving strategies, and completing a written plan to use as a guideline for decision making.

Grandparents, Parents, Godparents, Aunts/Uncles all want the best for the future generation of employees and business owners.  Providing a Money Coach Summer Session will give your loved one stronger footing when stepping out into the big world out there.  Those learning some new skills, having some guidelines to use when making decisions, and actually writing down goals are 42% more likely to achieve their objectives.

Helping college graduates is important to me, because I’ve been there, and appreciated the wonderful advice I received, and also had to learn a lot of lessons myself that were expensive in terms of money lost, increased stress level, and wasted time.  The pricing for the Money Coach Summer Session is $1,000 if paid in full by June 30, 2016.  As of July 1st, the price increases to $1,250.  These sessions will only be available for purchase through August 30th.

Reflect on the excitement and apprehension you experienced during your first summer after college, and provide some extra tools and resources to your graduate to make the journey a bit more enjoyable in this complicated world.  Visit my website at http://moneywiseadvisors.com to learn more about me and the services I provide to help clients take control of their money.

My goal is to help you take control of your money, reduce stress, and start THRIVING.  Enjoy the good life, knowing you have reduced your financial risk, and have taken well-planned steps to ensure a thriving future. Get motivation from my posts on Facebook. Are you ready for a complimentary 30 minute consultation? Call 916.217.1967 or email me to set a time to discuss your action plan.

Simple Steps to Save Successfully During America Saves Week 2016

March 19, 2016

Simple Steps to Save Successfully During America Saves Week 2016
By Tammy Greynolds, America Saves Communications Coordinator

America Saves Week (February 22 – 27, 2016) is an annual opportunity for individuals to assess their savings and take financial action. The theme for this year’s America Saves Week is simple: Save Automatically.

Try these five simple steps during America Saves Week to help yourself save automatically – and successfully:

1. Assess Your Savings.
Like your health, you should assess your savings annually to make sure your savings priorities are on the right track. Complete this simple 12-question assessment to find out your current standing and help you plan for the future.

2. Evaluate your Savings Preparedness.
Check off your savings accomplishments on the Saver Checklist to further evaluate where your savings habits need strengthening for your future goals.

3. Take the America Saves Pledge.
Those with a savings plan are two times as likely to save for emergencies and retirement than those without one. Join more than 450,000 American Savers who have already committed to save. When you take the pledge, you can choose to receive text message tips and reminders to help you save towards your goals.

4. Share Your Savings Goal.
Take part in the 2016 #imsavingfor Photo Contest. Share a selfie that shows what you’re saving for on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and enter the contest at http://americasavesweek.org/imsavingfor for a chance to win $500. Savings never looked so good.

5. Make Your Savings Social.
Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Join America Saves in encouraging your friends, family, and colleagues to save this week. Better yet, join one of the many Twitter chats that America Saves will be a part of this week to get real-time savings tips and advice.

America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.

Start Your Emergency Fund

November 8, 2015

So, what happens when you find yourself in a money crisis? The car breaks down, or the dog has to go to the vet, or you forgot your boss’s birthday. First response – stress. How are you going to pay for it? I know the battery grim reaper has been knocking at my door with slow car starts, so it really did not have to be an emergency. When I’m in a spot where I don’t have the money, I’ll ignore the problem. Often, the problem only worsens. The battery dies on the way to work and I miss a few hours’ pay to get it fixed. Now my paycheck is smaller. Bad news seems to attract more bad luck.

What would happen if you had an emergency cash fund? Start setting one up now until you have $500 to $1,000 set aside in a mattress savings account. Many credit unions or internet banks will open an account with as little as one dollar or maybe $25 at others. Check your home and car insurance deductibles to make sure your emergency fund could cover a car accident or house fire. This ensures that you have enough set aside for most of the money surprises that could throw you off track. Again.

Put money aside for emergencies

Now is the time to use all those money saving tricks you’ve seen to actually save money and put it in the bank right away. Coupons at the grocery store, eat breakfast at home, and walking to the library instead of driving to the book store. Every time you save, or find, extra money stash it in the emergency savings. You’ll feel stronger and more resilient as it grows.

Now you are in control. You have more flexibility. You can avoid credit card debt. There are more choices when you have money saved. Use the emergency funds ONLY for real emergencies, not great sales or vacations. As soon as you deplete the account for an emergency, start building it back up.

A fully funded emergency cash fund will change your outlook on money. Don’t live in fear of it, you need it to live every day. Start controlling your money and your circumstances will change for the positive. If you don’t have an emergency cash fund, find some money today and open that account. You are getting stronger.

8 Steps For Holiday Money Smiles

October 22, 2015

Every year we plan to enjoy the holidays with less frantic shopping, more memorable time spent with family and friends, and staying on budget. Once we hit the day after Thanksgiving, all plans are off. How can this year be different?

Plans are great, and written plans are the ones that are more likely to succeed. Here are some suggestions to consider. Start writing your plan now:

Write out a budget of what you plan to spend, including decorations (avg $40) and food (avg $85).
If the money isn’t already set aside, there’s still time. The average planned holiday amount is $689. O.K., so you started a bit late this year. Set aside $75 a week for the next 6 weeks, you’ll have $450 by Black Friday.
Use cash (not debit cards). You’ll spend an average of $180 more if you use plastic. Hide credit cards until 2013.
Don’t fall for the impulse purchases – keep a printed list or put a list on your smart phone and stick with it.
Stores offer credit cards with discounts because they sell more to you – don’t do it!

Focus on happiness – discuss your plans with friends and family. Have a potluck or cookie party and recipe exchange. Encourage smaller exchanges for our kids who already have too many toys.

Be creative – yeah crafts, cooking, baking are always appreciated. Creativity extends to funding gifts, too. Use reward points, re-gift unused gift cards, or use them to shop for gifts.

After-holiday sales are great if you need it and include it in your spending plan. Return gifts promptly for refunds, use money and gift cards to make purchases. Still keep those credit cards out of reach.

Remember, right down your spending plan right now. Keep it handy and get through the season smoothly and with happy recollections of 2016.

Plan For Your ‘Someday’ With These 3 Easy Ways To Save

July 17, 2015

Working hard, paying bills, and putting money aside for your needs and wants in the “now” are so often automatic in our day-to-day lives – so why aren’t we thinking about or planning for the future? According to the 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, nearly one-third of workers have almost no retirement savings or investments (< $1,000), and a staggering 57% are underprepared with less than $25,000 for retirement.

It’s clear that anyone not using the present to plan for retirement will likely be setting themselves up for a less than golden future. But it’s never too early or too late to save for retirement. Try one – or more! – of these three ways to take advantage of retirement savings opportunities right now to build yourself a more secure future:

1. Open Up a my Social Security Account

Social Security benefits play an important part of planning for retirement. Don’t forget about your my Social Security account! This free account can help you determine what your benefits will be and when will be best for you to start receiving them.

2. Save Early and Save Often, No Matter How Much You Earn

Starting retirement savings early is the best way to take advantage of compound interest and establish good savings habits. Take advantage of any workplace opportunities, like a 401(k) or 403(b), and never turn down “free money” that comes in the form of employer contributions or matches. Individual Retirement Accounts or IRAs are also a great way to save, with some tax benefits in the process. If you get paid by direct deposit from your employer, you may also be eligible to participate in the new myRA program. myRA is a simple, safe, and affordable retirement account created by the United States Department of the Treasury for the millions of Americans who face barriers to saving for retirement.

Need help finding ways to save? Turning off your phone or cable could save you $5 a month. Find a penny, pick it up; by saving $.50 in change a day, you will save $15 a month. For more ideas like these, visit America Saves online.

Starting early isn’t possible for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play catch-up. Calculate what you will need to save in order to live comfortably in retirement. Once you have turned 50, you can make “catch-up contributions” – an extra amount beyond the normal limits that you can contribute to tax-deferred retirement plans.

3. Take the America Saves Pledge

Those who make a commitment to themselves and their family to save usually save more than those who don’t. Make your commitment to retirement savings today and receive regular advice and support via email and/or texts while you save money. America Saves will provide you with the motivation and advice you need to reach your savings goal.

Tammy Greynolds works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org. America Saves is proud to be part of the “Campaign for a Secure Retirement: Helping Millions of Americans Plan and Save for Retirement” joint, national educational retirement campaign to encourage retirement planning and saving and to promote the online Social Security Statement, available through mySocial Security, as an important retirement planning tool.

What to Tell the Children

June 24, 2015

Often, one of the hardest decisions people make in the estate planning process is how much (and when) to tell their children or other heirs about their plans. Many people are very hesitant to reveal the details of their family’s expected inheritances. Many parents say they fear that if their children find out they can expect a substantial legacy in the future, they’ll be less likely to work hard and save in the present.

Another worry is that revealing an estate plan could lead to family squabbling and resentment. This is especially true if you plan to leave unequal inheritances to family members. Many families will simply avoid talking about the subject in order to keep peace. If there’s a blended family with children from a prior marriage, things can get even more complicated.

But while it can be difficult, there are also some very good reasons for having a detailed talk with your family about your estate plan. For one thing, if there’s a chance of family squabbling and bitterness, it can be better to tell everyone what to expect now, while you are still alive and have a chance to explain your motives and smooth things over. You could explain, for instance, why you’re leaving more assets to a child with a large family than to a child who is single, or why you’re leaving money to a charity that has always been important to you.

Another thing to consider is that, if someone dies suddenly, the family is often left very confused about finances. They don’t know what assets there are, or where they’re located, and searching for them can be extra stressful when the family is already suffering the grief of losing a loved one. If you discuss your assets and your plan now, so that everyone knows what to expect, it can make things much easier after you pass away.

Many parents who talk about their plans with their children are surprised to discover that their children sometimes have good ideas. If a family owns a vacation home, for instance, the parents might have one thought about what to do with it, but the children might come up with a plan that better protects the home and better suits their future needs.

Talking with your children also allows you to coordinate your estate plan with your children’s own estate plans. You might discover, for instance, that the whole family can save taxes if you give more assets directly to your grandchildren, or create trusts for your children instead of leaving assets to them outright.

If you are concerned about these issues, it’s a good idea to discuss them with your attorney.

A Personal Money Blog

June 9, 2015

I finally decided to jump into the blogosphere. I’ve had my share of money related experiences, and helped a lot of friends, family and co-workers with their financial situations. I created Money Wise Advisors http://www.moneywiseadvisors.com/ as an answer for the people who wanted a more intense money coaching experience. This has been rewarding to start my own business and help people make positive changes in their lives.

I’ll start with a little of my background. My mom was a stay-at-home mom who showed me how to balance a checkbook, helped me get my first credit card and shared stories of success and lessons learned. Both my mom and dad always shared with me that the most important thing you can do to get ahead is to spend less than you make. I was brought up in a very frugal, sensible household where we ate casseroles, sewed our own clothes, and spent time with friends and family more than going out to restaurants or other entertainment venues.

Along with being frugal, there was a time to spend for the right reasons. My parents, thank goodness, enjoyed to travel. We took Sunday drives to nearby towns, camped in our truck with a camper shell, or later in our small trailer. We visited family out of town on weekends. Even better, we flew to British Columbia and Hawaii. We enjoyed our family vacations, learned a lot about the places we visited, and shared memories through photos and stories.

Sure, it was a simpler life just a few years ago. My goal is to break down our current circumstances into easier controlled decisions on how to live well and save and invest for the future. Are you telling your money what to do each month? I’m a money coach, and I’ll say the first step is to pay attention to where your money currently goes.

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