Today 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”
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.
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 ______________.
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
Now’s the time to be anticipating money moves for next year. To avoid losing valuable compounding time or growth, you want to be able to pull the trigger on January 1st. Check into what your accounts and plans offer and ask questions in advance.
With year-end bonuses and raises coming up, certain accounts require tweaking. For example, with each year’s payroll increase, my retirement plan contribution percentages can be adjusted. I examine every payroll deduction and determine if I am gleaning the maximum benefit from each. See below where I will fund my 2018 Health Savings Account contribution using an IRA transfer. Because I won’t need a payroll deduction for that account, I can adjust my Flexible Spending Account contribution and reinstate my vision benefits. I don’t pay for vision benefits each year, only the years that I plan on buying glasses.
In the financial planning workshop I conducted over the past three weeks, someone posed a question as to how to manage changes in the economy and the tax code.
I see everything through a money lens. I realize most people don’t. The notion of excluding money from everyday thinking is unrealistic to me. Unless we live off the grid and grow our own food, then money may be considered trivial. In the real world, money is the medium through which we manage our standard of living. Ignoring the role it plays in life is downright naïve. We exchange money for everything: food, shelter, clothing, electricity, heat, transportation. Most people shun money topics, or think it’s too boring to talk about. Reality is, money is the undercurrent of life. People say they don’t care about money. They say they want to ski all day or go fishing but they still have to buy the skiing gear and fishing rods.
This post is about how money is intimately interlaced into every area of life and why it’s critical to pay attention to monetary affairs.