Monthly Archives: April 2012

Debt vs. Saving: HOW DO YOU SAVE FOR A RAINY DAY WHEN IT’S RAINING RIGHT NOW

Did you know that April is financial awareness month? And in light of this we are dedicating this blog post to a few very important questions. How do you save for a rainy day when it is raining right now? And is it more important to pay off debt or to build up savings?

There are any people who do not have this problem. These people make more money than they spend and they save what is left over. Those people are blessed because the majority of the world today is struggling and does not have enough left over at the end of the week or the month to pay all the bills much less save and pay down debt. They are trying to figure out how to save and invest for future needs while enjoying their lives today and paying down debt that they have accumulated over the years.

The answer to the first question is you just do it. You may not save thousands at first but you have to save something so create the habit now no matter how small. Even if you are only putting $100 a month in your savings do it to create the habit. I recommend having your savings account at a different bank than your checking account to make it difficult for you to get to it. Try using an online bank like Ally, INGdirect or HSBC. When you need to get money from these accounts it will take 2-3 days to transfer it into your account which will make it harder for you to spend it. Do not have a debit card connected to your savings account. Pretend as if the saving account does not exist until you hit your goal. PNC bank has a virtual wallet tool that helps you track your savings and helps you figure out when you will get there.

Once you hit your goal reward yourself. Not necessarily by spending a lot of money but by doing something that really makes you feel good. Building a savings account is a big deal and if you accomplish it you should be proud of yourself. The import thing to remember is it will take some sacrifice. Sometimes you will have to tell yourself, your children, your friends and your family “NO”. You may not go to the old school concert or out to eat every weekend but you will be prepared when you need new tires or when the hot water heater busts.

Answering the second question is a bit more complicated. The Financial Advisor in me wants to lean toward my left brain and say pay down the debt because the interest is eating away at your money and you will never get 28% interest on any saving or investment vehicle. However, if you do not save more you will always have credit card and loan debt. You have to find a balance between saving and paying off debt. Focus on one loan at a time. Pay just over the minimum on all your other debts. Double or triple the minimum on the loan you will focus on first and put the rest toward savings. This way you are paying down debt while saving. Set a goal for the savings account and once you reach it adjust your plan by getting more aggressive with the debt you have left but continue to add to your saving.

Once you pay off the first debt go to the next one and do the same thing. Also, as you pay debt off take that amount and put it toward the next loan. For example, if you were paying $100 a month to HSBC once you pay them off take that $100 and add it to payment of the next debt you will focus on paying off. Stop using your credit cards all together. You should not close the accounts but if you need discipline I suggest you cut the cards up.

When you think about a comprehensive financial plan there are still other things to consider like paying for children to go to college, starting your own business, purchasing a bigger home and retirement. Juggling all of your life desires is daunting. How many ways can you split a pay check right? When you understand that almost every decision is a financial decision you understand that you have to be thoughtful and practical about the decision you make on a daily bases so that you can live the life you desire. It may not happen today but it can happen if you take your time, live within your means, refrain from using credit and create the habit of saving.

Of course all this is easier said than done when you want the Presidential Lifestyle but you have to do it or you will never truly have the Presidential Lifestyle. Remember Presidential is not about spending all the money you earn, keeping up with the Joneses or impressing anyone. It’s about living a peaceful and enjoyable lifestyle in the most time and cost effective manner.

Creating financial solutions…Now That’s Presidential!

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BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER

This is straight out the bible and not something I made up. And, I have seen it happen many times. If you find that the company you keep is not just, honorable and trust-worthy you may find yourself trying to decide if you should join them or leave them. That is because “Bad company corrupts good character”.

What I mean is that if your friends cheat on their spouses you may eventually find a way to justify their actions and begin cheating on your spouse. If your friends steals money from their employer you may find a way to approve of their actions and justify why you should take the money you deserve however you can get it. If you surround yourself with corruption it will soon appear acceptable to you.

I am sure you have experienced something similar in your life time. You may have been the corruptor talking someone into something they believed they should not do or you may have been the corrupted. You may have tried to combat something unjust or wrong but after a while you found yourself accepting or even enjoying what you once considered a bad thing.

Yes sometimes good can prevail and the bad person will decide to conform or kowtow. However, more often bad company corrupts good character. If everyone at your office is complaining about a situation even though it didn’t bother you at first you now complain and break the rules like everyone else.

Evil is sweet at times and can often seem more appealing or exciting than good. Keep your distance from the negative crowd and build up your convictions and resist the temptation to follow them. Pray before you are tempted. Your heart will tell you the truth so just listen and know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, honor and contempt. Character is built when you overcome these things.

Sticking to your convictions…Now That’s Presidential!


MAKE HARD WORK LOOK EASY

It’s kind of like the saying never let them see you sweat with a bit more demand and clarity. Look in the mirror after a hard day’s work and just smile knowing you got it done. Be thankful that you are either doing your life’s work or working your way down the path to your life’s work. Every step you take counts toward your major goal.

When you are doing your life’s work and you feel a sense that “this is my purpose”, things become easier to you. You are more at peace and you don’t sweat the small stuff. A twelve hour day feels like a normal 8 hour day when you love your work and you understand your goals. The sun can’t come up fast enough for you to get back to work when you enjoy what you do and you are on course to enjoy it more.

Learn to delegate task and sing your theme song when things get hard and it will make you feel better. When you know what you want, why you want it, how to get it and you are working toward it, no amount of work will seem too hard or scare you away. You will keep moving and the strength to push through will pour out of you. You can make hard work look easy when you are happy, grateful and in line with the universe. When the crew is rowing together in unison the boat glides with ease. Find the rhythm and the wind, catch it and flow with it. When you do that you will make hard work look easy.

Smooth sailing…Now That’s Presidential!


Success is getting what you want; happiness is acknowledging what you have

In a perfect world our hearts desire is our reality. In the real world reality is what we have and may not always be what we desire. How we perceive this dilemma is eventually what will help us live peacefully. There are some things in your life that are just going to come to you naturally that you will have no control over. It may be your family members, the way your body is shaped, the texture of your hair, your boss’s personality or even the school that happens to be in the neighborhood you currently live in.

It may sound as if I am suggesting that you should just resolve to the idea that “this is as good as it gets” but if you evaluate a situation and it appears that this is truly as good as this situation is going to get…. Then we have to except it the way it is until we are able to change it.

Having a list of things you would like to acquire or accomplish is important and can make you feel successful. However, success alone does not always work to create happiness. You may find that you love your career but you hate the city or the area your corporate office is in. Your house, car and clothes are nice but you can never seem to get along with your parents.

Changing your expectations of yourself, the people around you and your conditions may change your perception of your world. If your office was in a business district you would have to pay for parking, drive 30 minutes in traffic and deal with crowds at lunch time. If you knew that your parents were doing their best with what they had, you might lighten up and get to know them. If you got your haircut in a style that fit your face and hair texture instead of copying someone else, you may have more confidence about your appearance.

Progress and go after what you desire while you realize the beauty in what you have right now. Gratitude can change your attitude toward your life. The situation may not be ideal and you may want more for your future but right now there is some good in what you currently have. Find the good as often as you can. Move forward while appreciating and acknowledging the happiness that surrounds you naturally.

Seeing the good…Now That’s Presidential!