Book Reviews: Janesville and Hand To Mouth

financial struggles

In an effort to understand financial struggles, I read two non-fiction works: Janesville: An American Story (Amy Goldstein) and Hand To Mouth (Linda Tirado).

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Janesville is an account of the economic adjustments that occurred subsequent to the closing of the local Janesville, Wisconsin, GM plant.  The book documents the shakeout of the newly-unemployed individuals that relied on their financial livelihood from the assembly plant.  To earn their living and raise their families, generations of workers banked on GM employment as a default.  When GM closed down the Janesville assembly plant, it disrupted the economic environment, leaving GM workers, and workers of supporting businesses, without employment.

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Making Financial Change

 

financial changeToday is as good as any day for making financial changes, but maybe today’s not the day.  Are you truly ready to change?  What’s stopping you?

Instead of thinking about all the reasons why not, take the pressure out of the equation and, well, try.

When I took my Dale Carnegie class, each session involved standing in the front of the room and speaking for approximately three minutes.  The most compelling presentations had a beginning, middle, and end.  What I didn’t know was that this started in the first session.  I thought we would have a warm-up session, not jump right in.  I felt sick to my stomach and barely managed to get through.  Continue reading “Making Financial Change”

Improve Your Financial Knowledge

financial control

When it comes to your financial knowledge, stop pretending that you don’t know what you’re doing.  There are more resources than ever.  If you’re a book lover, read a few on personal finance.  If you’re a net surfer, start Googling up on financial terms.

 

Answer the following questions and take a few minutes to research anything that you don’t know.  Don’t be afraid, we all have an area that we need to focus on.  These items are off the beaten path, and from what I’ve seen, points that cause confusion.  Some are Yes/No or True/False, while others are thought questions.

 

I’m all about sharing knowledge.  I learn something new every day and never stop reading.

 

Earning

True or False:  I have a progressive career plan that will increase my earnings within the next five years.

 

The last time I improved my work skills was ______________.

 

Related Post: Money Learning Checklist 1         Earning/Saving

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2018: What To Start Doing And What To Stop Doing

2018 leap

I’m revved up for the new year.  I like to think about the books I’ll read, the new projects I’ll work on, and my new financial goals.

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What I’ve accomplished during 2017 inspires me to keep it rolling.  I pulled off some difficult projects at work and earned a top evaluation rating and raise.  I finished an 18-credit certificate in Web Programming. I started this blog.  Learning WordPress on my own and customizing the blog page was a challenge, but the struggle stretched my skillset.  Blogging isn’t just about writing. It’s learning about social media, like Facebook, Pinterest, affiliate marketing, guest posting, and commenting on other blogs.  My professional development wasn’t ignored.  I conducted two financial planning workshops and presented at the IRS Practice and Procedures conference with the New York State Society of CPAs.

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Financial Independence Hokey-Pokey

 

financial freedomI didn’t focus on being financially independent until about three years ago.  I had an idea what my net worth was, but wasn’t fully clear on the exact number.   The lack of a plan made it a nebulous target.

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In my 20s at the start of my career, retirement seemed so far away.  I relied heavily on my accounting career to give me financial security.  After all, I chose the career knowing that I’d always have a job.  Consequently, every ounce of my energy went into working.  There were summers that I never saw the light of day. I never knew when I was getting home and I made many sacrifices.  Believe it or not, it was exciting and I enjoyed it.  I latched onto an upward trajectory of promotions and raises.  When I had full autonomy over my position, I liked being relied upon and the responsibilities that went with it.

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5 Things Small Business Owners Need To Know – Money Learning Checklist 6

 

business-management

If you’re a small business owner, congratulations.  You’re your own boss and no one tells you what to do, create, or produce.  That’s the upside.  The downside is that you’re in charge of everything, and that means everything.  Sometimes you get what you ask for.

In addition to your main talent, you need to be talented at these other activities as well.

Take some time out to focus your attention on these very important elements.  Get help if you can’t handle it.

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Keep good records

Get organized.  This is the key to any financial activity.  Maintaining good records for accounting and tax purposes is essential not only for tax purposes but also for banking purposes.  Being organized lends credibility to your activity.  Make sure you can identify the sources of your income, reasons for expenses, and documents related to purchases of business property.  Even if you’re not an accountant, you can keep separate folders for each type of expense.  Drop receipts right into the folder and organize them later.  That’s something that anyone can handle.

Prepare financial statements on a regular basis.  When you need to apply for a loan, the bank will ask for them.

self-employment Continue reading “5 Things Small Business Owners Need To Know – Money Learning Checklist 6”

5 Ways Your Life Is Impacted By An Interest Rate Increase

 interest rate

Interest rates do not make for the most exciting chat topic. You won’t find it in the conversation starter game that you unwrapped for Christmas.  It’s probably easier to clear a room by yelling ‘Interest Rates!’ than FIRE!  Watch your friends and family run from you as you broach the topic of how the Federal Open Market Committee voted to keep the Federal Funds Target Rate at 1.00% – 1.25%.  Fed Prime Rate Info

Still reading? Good.  Because interest rates impact your life. Continue reading “5 Ways Your Life Is Impacted By An Interest Rate Increase”

Build A Credit History, Not A Credit Mystery

credit

During my latest financial planning workshop, I had the pleasure of meeting a few millennials.  It was refreshing to see their hunger for financial knowledge.  As we talked, some problematic issues of their generation surfaced, one being how to build a credit history.  They conveyed that friends wanting to rent their own apartment were turned down because they didn’t have a credit history.  Here’s one of life’s ambiguities.  Like applying for jobs that require experience when you can’t get a job to gain experience, how do you build credit when you’re just starting on the path to financial adulthood?

Related Post:  Your Life Partner, Your Credit Score

 

To start building credit:

Start out with a store card or gas card.

Bank money in advance before making purchases.

Pay your bills on time.

Continue reading “Build A Credit History, Not A Credit Mystery”