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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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

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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.

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Financial Planning Workshop Is A Success

financial planning

I’m conducting a personal financial planning workshop at a local bookstore.  In three sessions, I plan to provide an overview of the following aspects of financial planning: saving, spending, investing, retirement, and insurance.

The first session, this past Thursday, was a success.  A small group showed up representing all age groups.  I started with my usual introduction, explaining how each person’s mentality towards money drives their money habits.  With the following visual, I outlined the topics that, when combined, result in balanced financial management.

financial planning

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Financial Management Questions to Ask Yourself

money-management

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“I’m wealthy enough and I have enough money, I don’t need anymore” – said no one ever

If you read many financial planning blogs on how people are retiring early, traveling on a whim, and writing their own rules, you may be taking their straight advice to reach the same result.  Save, save, save, budget, cut expenses out of your life forever.  If it leaves you wondering, What’s the secret recipe?, you’re not alone.

While it’s always good to read reference material or find the most important tips, have you stopped to ask yourself questions?

Questions require self-reflection and elicit a deeper response.  Questions provoke brain-simmering.  When you let questions float through your mind, you stir up your cognitive ability, reaching into your deepest feelings.  The edges of your mind will connect to concoct a spark of clarity that will throw the mental shades back.  You will be surprised at the ideas and awareness that will surface.  Flashes of creativity will pop to the forefront of your mind when you least expect it.  Like, when putting dishwasher detergent in the little slot, you may think of the easiest change you can make to improve your financial status, then think, “Where did that come from? And why didn’t I think of that before?”

It may be as simple as asking someone for advice, looking up a book title in the library, or going all in on opening up a new investment account.  Maybe you’ll figure out how to defer medical expenses when you re-instate your flexible spending plan.  Maybe you’ll boost your savings by making a bi-weekly habit of transferring money from your checking to your savings account before you can spend it (a proven successful habit).  Maybe you’ll pull all your credit card statements together and put them in order of payoff priority.

Challenge yourself to answer the following questions and see if you can create some new money habits or tweak your current methods.

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Money Learning Checklist 3 – Credit

money management

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS.  SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE FOR DETAILS.

Everyone knows what credit is, right?  It’s a happy word.  Credit, in its contextual sense, has a positive connotation.  Credit connotes having credibility, right?  That’s right, I’m credible – just ask me.  Everyone is credible in their own mind.

Americans love credit and credit cards.  I think some people believe that a credit card is a magic bridge to avarice.  Isn’t it fun to go into a store and not have to look at prices, fill up your cart, and walk out with all that stuff?  Everyone wants to look great and be surrounded with nice things.  But, the big façade associated with credit cards is that once that card is swiped, you have traded your soul.  Your soul is traded for the debt that you just created.

To me, debt is a four-letter word.  Oh, wait it is a four-letter word, but I mean the bad kind.  As I took a break from writing this piece, I saw a political cartoon in the newspaper that expressed my sentiments about credit.  It’s a large image of It, staring down at a person with a caption of “A national horror: DEBT”.  “It” is the star of that gruesome clown movie that continues to break ticket sale records.  I burst into laughter when I saw the trailer.  This is what constitutes entertainment?

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Money Learning Checklist 2 – Spending

money management

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS.  SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE FOR DETAILS.

What a time to be writing about spending.  As I watched Hurricane Irma wind its way toward Florida, I can’t wrap my mind around the amount of emotional and financial devastation.  This would be a good time to think about an emergency fund that is funded slightly or not at all.  Yes, I know insurance covers some costs and FEMA comes through, I lived through Hurricane Sandy.  But I saw a Facebook post the other day from a Florida resident explaining that she wasn’t evacuating because she had no funds to leave.  I remember the same from New Orleans residents when Hurricane Katrina blew through Louisiana.  I can’t imagine not having an emergency fund to escape a dire situation, but, according to the stats, it’s a common position.

Let’s get this straight: Less spending = more emergency fund.

I request your fixation on the next two suggestions.

Entertain the “Enough” mentality in your life

If you reach the Enough mentality, mark the day on the calendar.  It’s a worthy milestone of your financial maturity.  Too many people don’t know what ‘enough’ means.  Marketers love these people and are happy to indulge your lack of ‘enough’.  ‘Enough’ means that you have reached a saturation point with your personal merchandise, take-out dependence, or whatever it is your bank account is hemorrhaging from.  It means that you’re happy with what you have and don’t need to cure boredom by spending endlessly.  Start feeling OK with what you have.  You don’t need any more clothes, furniture, shoes, wall hangings, candles, tablets, monthly subscriptions, sunglasses, makeup, cologne, curtains, or car accessories.  Live with what you have and realize that you can live without, too.

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