Frightful Finances?

Frightful FinancesAre you one of those people that really gets into the Halloween celebration?

You spend a lot of time deciding on your costume and you love to attend a Halloween party.

You might be one of those that fills the house with candy in preparation for all the trick or treat visitors.

On the other hand, you might be one of those people that looks forward to Halloween just so you can watch the all weekend horror movie marathons.

After all for you, watching Michael Myers, Jason, or good old Freddy Kruger never goes out of style.

Speaking about scary things, you might prefer to spend the night in a haunted house than 30 minutes looking at your budget for the next month or thinking about what will happen when you reach your retirement age.

And if you watch too much CNN or Fox News, you might conclude that winning with your finances is a terrifying and impossible proposition.

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But just like there is a way to deal with a werewolf or with a vampire, there is a way to deal with your frightful finances.

  • Afraid of not having enough money to cover your bills every month?
    • You need a plan for your money before you spend it.
    • Prepare a budget every month before the month begins.
    • You still have time for the month of November and it is easier than you think.
  • Afraid of all the consumer debt you have piled up?
    • Afraid of what new fees banks will create to take more of your money?
    • There is a way out of the bondage of debt.
    • You simply have to decide to live a different way.
  • Afraid of the next time the car breaks down or the furnace goes out?
    • You would not be afraid if you had 3 to 6 months of expenses saved away in an emergency fund.

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  • Afraid you wont’ have enough saved for retirement and that Social Security won’t be there?
    • There is a way for you take charge of your retirement.
    • You need to be saving 15% of your household income into retirement every month.
    • Of course, that’s a lot easier when you have a budget that works and your money is not constantly going to pay credit card bills or car loans.
  • Afraid you won’t be able to cover college expenses for your kids?
    • You can put a plan in place to save $2,000 per kid every year and have it grow tax free.
  • Afraid of the housing crisis and a foreclosure?
    • You can put a plan in place to pay off your house early.
    • Nothing will give you more peace than the security of a paid-for house.

To deal with your frightful finances you need two things: knowledge and the will to act.

I can help you with the first one and I can coach you through the second one. But it is really up to you.

You can choose to live in fear and worry or you can decide to take control and begin the journey towards financial peace and freedom.

“Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.
Proverbs 12:27 (ESV)

What’s Your Financial Compass?

Financial CompassMy wife Stacey and I just returned from a great 10 day vacation. It was our third straight year of going on a baseball tour road trip.

You see, we are huge baseball fans and we have a goal of attending a game in each of the 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums.

This year we hit numbers 14 (Chase Field, AZ) and 15 (Coors Field, CO).

I usually do all the driving and because I don’t have a great sense of direction, I leave all the navigation to my very bright wife.

All I need to do is follow her directions because she has planned the trip and is constantly looking at the map. She is my compass.

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Because I have a sense of peace and direction, I can focus on my driving which requires my full attention especially if I am going to places I have never been.

A compass will always tell you which direction you are headed, but most importantly what is the true north.

When it comes to your money, what’s your financial compass? How do you know you are headed in the right direction with your finances?

Your financial compass is defined by your view of money, who is influencing you on money, and your priorities and goals.

What’s Your View of Money?

This is a most fundamental question to answer. Do you see money as something good or something evil?

Do you see money as a tool to help you achieve your goals or do you see money as the goal to achieve?

Do you believe you can win with money are you convinced that the game is rigged and only the rich get richer?

Do you tend to be generous with money or are you more of a hoarder of money, the more you have, the more you want? In other words are you a river or a pond?

Your attitude, your philosophy about money will frame your financial compass and your actions.

Who is Influencing You on Money?

Your first influencers are your family of origin. What did your parents teach you about money? More importantly, what did they show you about money?

Were they spenders or savers? Did they rely on debt for anything and everything or were they patient and saved for what they wanted to buy?

Did they work together on money or fought about it constantly? Or did they simply not talk about money at all?

However your parents dealt with money, it will have an influence on what you do with money, so you need to understand that and adjust as needed.

And what about today? Your friends and immediately family are your influencers. They probably have their opinions on money and are not shy about expressing them.

Is that driving your decisions and views? More importantly, are they winning with money? Is their advice worth something?

And then you have what the world says about money. There are lots of people (including me!) offering advice and counsel on what do about money.

Are you going with the majority opinion on money matters?

Just let me say one thing: conventional wisdom is not the same as common sense.

Whose advice are you following?

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What are Your Priorities and Goals?

Do you know what you want to do with money? What is it that you want to achieve?

Is your end goal merely living for yourself and for the moment? Get what you want, when you want it, regardless of the cost. Just because you deserve it.

Or is one of your goals to love your family well and take care of them first? To leave a legacy of wise financial management for generations to come.

Do you want to work at that job forever just because you need it to pay bills? Or do you want to have options and do things on your own terms?

Is your goal simply to look inward and take care of you? Or do you want to extend your influence with generous, extravagant giving?

The answers to these questions put the final frame on your financial compass.

Your view of money, your influencers, and your priorities and goals will define your beliefs and will drive your actions.

Give yourself honest answers and you will know what your financial compass is and where you are headed with money.

Question: Is your financial compass pointing to the true north?