Tag Archives: Goals

MY TWO CENTS 1/27/17-My Resisting Spouse

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QUESTION: I am the CFO of my family (I handle the household bills) and am very good at what I do. The problem is my husband. He never wants to talk about budgeting saying, “Budgeting is for poor people. We are not poor so we don’t need to do it.” I’ve asked what he thinks we should do however, he is extremely adamant about not talking about it, period. How do I get him to budget, or should I just do it without him?

MY TWO CENTS:

It’s always important that couples are on the same page financially. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of marriages fail because of financial reasons, not infidelity as many may think. I was once in a marriage where disagreements regarding finances was a major issue. That coupled with “other” stressors unfortunately led to its demise, but I dare not digress so allow me to make a couple of suggestions:

  1. POSITION: You are the CFO of the family. Hmm. Think about that for a second. Have you declared yourself Chief Financial Officer of the family to your spouse, to extended family members or friends? Some men have extremely fragile egos and regardless of your intent, you declaring yourself Chief Financial Officer of the family may indicate authority over your husband making him feel emasculated. This could result in subconscious resentment towards you. Usually one spouse handles the finances because either one is better at it than the other or one has more time to do so. As petty as it may sound, consider resigning from the position of CFO (or at least from making the reference aloud.)
  2. APPROACH: When are you bringing up the topic of budgeting? Here are a couple of examples of when NOT to approach your husband regarding budgeting: Immediately upon coming home from work and before, during or after a football/basketball/baseball/hockey game etc. Those times will result in immediate “shut down.” After a stressful day at work and/or a long commute home, talking about budgeting is the LAST thing your husband wants to do. Most prefer to decompress and relax. Asking questions on “game day” is definitely out. For many men, game day is their “me time” or “time with the guys” especially if their spouses/partners are not into sports. In this case, do the opposite of what Nike says…. “Just don’t do it.”
  3. INVOLVEMENT: Try breaking the ice by asking your husband what his top three money goals are. Ask him what his plans are for achieving those goals. LISTEN TO HIM. If the mood is positive, introduce how budgeting can help achieve those goals. The key is not to dictate what should be done. Work together. Feedback and communication are important. You are a team. Stress the importance of how a collective effort can produce fruitful results. GOOD LUCK!!!

Wishing you financial prosperity and success in your marriage,

~Andrea L. Coleman, The Financial Hack

 

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DON’T GIVE UP…JUST KEEP SWIMMING!!!


In light of the upcoming release of Pixar Film’s “Finding Dory,” I sat down this past weekend and re-watched “Finding Nemo” and began to think (because I do that sometimes)  about not giving up and pushing through. The gist of the movie was a father Marlin, a clown fish, who refused to give up looking for his son Nemo, captured by a scuba diver after disobeying him by swimming beyond the reef. Marlin’s quest led him all the way to Australia and along the way, he met some interesting characters one of which was Dory. Dory claimed to have seen the boat that carried Nemo away and she and Marlin gave chase. Marlin followed Dory in one direction, then another, and another, until she couldn’t remember why he was following her to begin with. Dory suffered from short-term memory loss. Can you imagine how frustrating it must have been for Marlin to follow someone who lacked direction? Although Dory wasn’t much help in terms of direction, she was ultimately there for support and encouragement. She kept Marlin on track. When he wanted to quit, turn around and go home, those famous words of hers still resonate with many: “When life gets you down you know what you’ve gotta do?”

🎶JUST KEEP SWIMMING. JUST KEEP SWIMMING.🎶

When you feel like quitting because the obstacles before you seem insurmountable, here are a few tips to keep you on track:

  1. FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER: Make sure your accountability partner is someone who encourages you, not someone who criticizes, judges or tears you down. Your accountability partner is stronger than you in the areas where you are weak. It can be a spouse/partner, a significant other, family member, co-worker, mentor or friend. When you feel like throwing in the towel, there’s nothing like a “Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah” from your accountability partner to get you back on track.
  2. TURN TO YOUR FAITH/MEDITATE: Whether you are deeply spiritual, deeply religious, deeply spiritual and religious or none of the above, turn to your faith. Turn to something. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, staying rooted in or strengthening your faith/what you believe in can help you press on. Deep meditation can also help regain focus and reinforce goals.
  3. EXERCISE: Remember exercising releases endorphins which can alter your mood. Exercising may not be your thing, but find an activity that elevates your heart rate. Cardio is key. A jog or a brisk stroll through your neighborhood can provide the boost you need to jumpstart your dwindling energy. You’d be amazed at how therapeutic opening the blinds, and letting a little sunshine inside your home or stepping outside to breathe in a bit of fresh air makes you feel better.
  4. SOCIALIZE/NETWORK: Your schedule may not always allow you to get out in the mix of others, and you may be a bit of an introvert, but social media can help.  I love the interaction I have with connections I’ve made on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my new favorite, LinkedIn. No, I’m far from an introvert. I love to read on social media about others reaching their goals/accomplishments, creating new ones or even reading just to escape for a laugh or two. Either way, virtual interaction can be a great motivator.

When I was fulfilling the education requirements for my AFC Certification, I wanted to quit… many times. Overwhelmed with a demanding class schedule, problems on the home front, trying to maintain the update of my social media outlets, and the general pressures of life had me leaning towards giving up. At one point I thought about shirking my way through the semester, barely passing my classes with just the minimum required grade. But in the back of my mind, doing so would have left me disappointed in myself because I knew I could have done better. Determination kept me going. Each time I entertained the idea of quitting, I thought of how far I had come and kept my ultimate goal in mind. Before I knew it,  I was half way through the semester. I kept pressing forward. I kept pressing forward until it was time for final exams and I pulled down A’s in both classes.

So the message here is quite simple. DON’T QUIT! Is it cliché? Of course it is! And as cliché as it is, the message is still effective today as it ever was.
DON’T QUIT!!! KEEP GOING!!!

Andrea Coleman (The Financial Hack) ©2016

 

THE FOUR MONEY BEARS.. DO YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE?

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THE FOUR MONEY BEARS by Mac Gardner, CFP®, CRPS®, CRPC® is a “must have” book to introduce young children to the concept of money and how to use it wisely. Simplistic yet succinct, I highly recommend it. This book would make a great addition to your local school/public libraries. I’ll be speaking with DeSoto School Board Trustees for book approval, even if I have to purchase them myself. Purchase this book for your little ones or anyone you believe can benefit from it. (Available on Amazon.)

~Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs)

Andrea L. Coleman (The Financial Hack) 2016
Helping Hand Financial Counseling Ministries

SO YOU’VE SAID “I DO”…NOW WHAT?

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Getting married is a happy joyous time. Whether you planned a large ceremony or a small, intimate gathering, embarking upon your new life can be very exciting.

Now before you jump into your chariot and ride off into the sunset with your knight in white shining armor, I hope you and Mr. Right have already had “the talk” long before your “big day.” You know what talk I’m referring to. The talk about finances. This is one of the most important conversations you will have with your soon to be spouse…. and it is NOT to be taken lightly. It is important that each of you know where the other stands on issues regarding finances.

  1. PUT ALL YOUR FINANCIAL CARDS ON THE TABLE: Never start out your relationship keeping secrets. Your spouse needs to know if you have $30K in credit card debt. Your soon to be spouse also needs to know you accrued $75K in student loans while you were in medical school. It’s important to disclose to the other if you like spending money shopping/traveling and if you don’t budget and/or save. No one wants to find out 30 days after saying “I Do,” they’ve inherited a walking talking credit disaster.
  2. DECIDE WHO WILL HANDLE THE FINANCES: THIS IS NOT ABOUT CONTROLLING THE CHECKBOOK. This is about who is the better organizer or who has the time to sit down and take care of financial obligations. Believe it or not, there are some people (myself included) who still write checks. Even in the age of automatic bill pay, in some instances I am much more at ease when I am in control by writing the check. Another reason why it may be more advantageous that one spouse is favored over the other is time. Suppose your new bride has a demanding work schedule or is heavily involved in community service or the hubster works a part-time job? Decide between the two of you who would be the best fit to take on that responsibility.
  3. BUDGET MONTHLY TOGETHER: I recall when taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University that a couple sitting down going over the monthly budget doesn’t have to be a weekend summit. It is important to establish clear financial goals (savings, investing, retirement, new car, vacation, upsizing as you plan on a family, college funds and the list goes on.) It is important that BOTH parties speak and are heard. This would be the time to voice any concerns. If the wife is going over budget because she’s spending too much on clothes, shoes and handbags, or the hubster is losing his mind at Best Buy, bring it to the table. Not in an accusatory fashion, but in a way where your concern(s) can be heard and received. Monthly budgeting should also be a time to decide how much “pocket change/play money” the other should have. Decide on a reasonable amount and stick to it. Concerning purchases over a certain dollar amount (birthdays, anniversaries and the like, not withstanding,) couples should discuss the purchase in question before it is made.
  4. AS A COUPLE, YOU SHOULD BE AGGRESSIVELY ATTACKING ANY FINANCIAL DEBT: This would include any credit cards, student loans, car loans and the like. There is no such thing as “HIS debt” and “HER debt.” You are ONE FLESH. Therefore, it is YOUR debt as a couple. Just think of how quickly you can annihilate debt when you devise a plan to eliminate it. You’re a team. Teamwork makes the DREAM work. Once all debt is eliminated, you can focus your attention towards your next financial goal.
  5. DECIDE HOW YOUR ACCOUNTS WILL BE DIVIDED: This is always a “slippery slope” for some couples. I remember my Uncle giving my cousin and her husband marriage advice on their wedding day. His advice, “Always have ONE MONEY… PERIOD.” I may get slaughtered for writing this, but I agree in many respects. I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to marriage. If I can’t trust you with “our” money, perhaps we should rethink getting married. I understand many couples marry out of convenience, many marry for companionship and others simply because they need help. Believe it or not, some couples do put their money together with the end result being a Joint Checking/Savings/MMA Account. In essence, everything is done together. What I’ve seen with couples today goes a little something like this: Joint Bank Account, Joint Savings/MMA, Her SEPARATE checking account, His SEPARATE checking account, and in other cases I’ve seen some “secret” accounts that the spouse knew nothing about. Are you really saving for a rainy day or is mistrust lurking in your subconscious? Secret accounts in my opinion indicate there is a lack of trust which can defeat the purpose of marriage to begin with, but I’ll get off my soapbox when it comes to that. Who am I to say how a couple should divvy up their finances? I will say when I was married, my Business Accounts remained my business accounts because I started my business PRIOR to being married however, there was complete transparency regarding them. If at any time my then husband wanted to look at the bank statements, I had no problem showing him. He never asked to see them however, because he trusted me.
  6. STAY GROUNDED IN YOUR FINANCIAL BELIEFS NO MATTER WHAT: The #1 cause of divorce as you know is not infidelity, it’s finances. Arguments can arise from one spouse’s negligent overspending, the loss of income due to a layoff or even an unexpected pregnancy. Whatever hardship may arise, keep a united front. Talk it out. Communicate. Pray about it. Remember. The family that prays together, stays together.  GOOD LUCK AND MUCH SUCCESS TO YOU!!!

~The Financial Hack ©2016

YOU MAY BE BROKE BECAUSE….

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Stressing over bills? Is your paycheck already spent before payday? Are you running out of money before the end of the month? Can’t make ends meet even if you had two magnets? Are you robbing Peter to pay Paul? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Debt can be particularly frustrating, especially if you’re drowning in it with no one to throw you a life preserver. Even if you are able to tread water, at some point you’re going to get tired. I know, because I’ve been there. Yep. Back then you could call me the “B” word… BROKE. My secret. No one knew. Broke can take on many meanings, so for all practical purposes, let’s assume “broke” means not having enough money to cover your monthly obligations.

Have you ever stopped to ponder the reason(s) WHY you’re “broke?” If this is you, stop and think about it for a minute. What can you do differently to change your current situation? While you do that, let me list a few behaviors/attitudes contributing to your “brokeness.” Yes, I am aware “brokeness” is not a word, but it should be.

  1. You Don’t Budget: I love it when I hear people say, “Oh I’ve got it all up here” while gently tapping the side of their head. Unless you’re a mathematical genius, how could you possibly have all those numbers and figures inside your head? Yes, you may have a general idea of what comes in and what goes out, but just imagine if you were to transfer “what’s in your mind” onto paper. This way you can see clearly what’s coming in and most importantly where it’s going. After writing it down and seeing it in black and white, you’re easily able to identify “blindspots” you didn’t know existed.
  2. Instant gratification is your “modus operandi:” We live in a society of heavy consumption. We want more more more, and WE WANT IT NOW. It’s too easy to whip out a credit card and purchase the latest iPhone, flat screen plasma television, that expensive pair of heels or those Jordans that just came out yesterday knowing you don’t or won’t have the money to pay the bill in full when the credit card bill comes due. This is where Jesus (and discipline) should take the wheel. You have to be disciplined enough to “walk away” no matter how loud those items are calling your name. I love shopping at discount retailers (Marshalls, TJMaxx, Home Goods, DSW etc.) and when I decided to check myself into “financial rehab,” I literally had to alter my driving route so I wouldn’t pass the strip mall that housed these stores. Out of sight out of mind.
  3. Keeping Up With The Jones: When I look back now over my days of “Keeping Up With The Jonses” it was quite silly because I eventually realized, the Jonses were just as broke as I was. I’m not ashamed to say I went through my phase of believing driving a Mercedes Benz, carrying Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags, having a closet full of  clothes and shoes and living in a big house complete with swimming pool when it was just me and my two dogs somehow made me feel “important.” At the time I felt having those “material things” somehow validated me. All it did was expose my weakness, and that weakness was a lack of self-esteem. Anyone who is secure within themselves doesn’t need materialistic things for validation. Let me be clear. I still have all of those things mentioned above (minus the Mercedes Benz,) but I realize those things do not define me. There’s nothing wrong with wanting nice things, it’s simply nonsensical going deep into debt in order to obtain them.
  4. Financial Literacy Wasn’t Taught In The Home: My father was always good at saving money. He worked hard and sacrificed for his family. He taught me how to write checks and balance a checkbook when I was 11 years old, and even after I got a job at 15 and was buying my own school clothes/paying for school activities and such, he never stressed to me the importance of saving, yet he was a HUGE saver. I’m still puzzled by that. I’d like to think he was proud because I was being responsible. Not every one my age had a job. I didn’t need a job, I just wanted financial independence. Asking for $10 to hang out at the mall with friends turned into a two hour lecture about how money didn’t grow on trees, but I digress.  I also remember my Dad telling me, “If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it.” To some extent, I do agree with him now that I’m older and wiser. He also advised me not to get caught up in credit cards when I went off to college, however, he didn’t explain to me why. I wished he had. It would have saved me a ton of angst and grief. If financial literacy isn’t taught at an early age, it’s easy to fall into the “debt trap.”
  5. You Refuse To Take Responsibility For The Actions Stated Above: This is the most important of all the habits/attitudes/behaviors listed above. If you don’t acknowledge that your spending is out of control, that you don’t budget, that you mismanage your money, or that you seek validation by obtaining material possessions, you will forever remain in a state of “broke.”
Perhaps one or two of these habits apply. Perhaps all of them apply. Either way, you are in control of your financial destiny. It’s never too late to make changes. It took me until age 39 (when I married) to understand how important it was to build a financial future. Living the single life for so long allowed me the freedom (or so I thought) to be reckless with my spending because I only had myself to hold accountable. However I changed my financial mindset, even after divorcing. I adjusted my spending habits. I budgeted my money and I am now able to truly enjoy what I’ve accumulated over the years. So you see, I no longer need that Mercedes Benz for validation. I look better driving this “PAID FOR” Honda Coupe anyway.
~The Financial Hack 2015

Hello My Name Is…. AND I’M A PROCRASTINATOR

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NOTE: This should have been posted as yesterday’s “Motivation Monday,” but because of my persistent procrastination, I’m posting it today. Read on to find out what the triggered my “call to action.”

It has taken me 15 minutes to get started writing this post. Let me tell you what I’ve done during that time.

  1. Sent a Tweet.
  2. Responded To a Tweet
  3. Sent a couple of Text Messages
  4. Put a clear coat of polish on my nails
  5. Searched Google images
  6. (You get the picture.)

I did everything I could do to avoid this posting. Procrastinating is something I have always done and had yet to master, to my detriment of course. I always work well under pressure, but is it necessary to put undue stress on myself as a result? Of course the answer is a resounding “No!”

Why do some people procrastinate? I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you why I do. I suffer from Type “A” personality. No, I’m not an A-hole, but when I complete tasks, I want them to be perfect. Flawless. Almost effortless. I’m one of those people who gets agitated because of a misspelled a word I catch AFTER posting on my website, posting a tweet, or sending a text message for that matter. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t make these kinds of simple mistakes. In MY world? Forget about it. The result, is wasted time, stress and anxiety. I’m used to it, so I should have adapted by now and should also be able to deal with it right? Yes and No.

Case in point….

As you know (if you don’t, I’m telling you now,) I’m taking classes to become an AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor.) Keep in mind. I received my last degree, an MBA, in 2002. That was 14 years ago this month. Distance/Online courses are NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING like they were over a decade ago. Back then email is what kept everyone connected. No FaceTime, Skype, Lynk, Google Plus or any other methods for face to face communication. Matter of fact, there were no smartphones back then either. Technology has come a mighty long way, but I digress. A couple of days after being registered for my classes, it was important to sign up with a school id and password. I’ll do it tomorrow became the next day and after about 4days (and an email from the Program Coordinator,) I set it up. Now that that “chore” is completed, it’s on to the syllabus for both classes right? Wrong. I’ve got time. I can look at it tomorrow. Oh wait, the weekend is here, I’ll get everything done Sunday. This is the self talk of a “Professed Procrastinator.” HUGE MISTAKE on my part.

Allowing an entire week to pass cost me TWO CONSECUTIVE NIGHTS OF STAYING UP PAST 3am. After reading through the syllabi, I discovered assignments/exams are due by 1pm in the afternoon, NOT the normal midnight that I was accustomed to. OH NO… What have I done? I’ll tell you. I screwed up by procrastinating. Here’s a glimpse of my initial reaction….


Once I saw the work required, I immediately got my ass in gear. One of the professors gave us a “crap ton” of assignments to complete. The practice assignments were even brutal. Word of advice… Never underestimate a professor who is teaching a class and also working on a Doctoral Degree at the same time.

From that moment on, I was OVER IT!!! Over procrastination. Over waiting until the last minute to complete my assignments, blog postings, anything that required time constraints be placed on them. My “struggle glasses” were past over it refusing to stay on my face, somehow punishing me for the sin of procrastination.


At the end of the day, I am pleased to say, I completed ALL the assignments including the extra credit for BOTH classes. It only cost me two nights of decent sleep. Having a Type “A” personality can come in handy especially when it motivates us to excel. And when it comes to exceling, it doesn’t take much for the “Type “A”

So how does procrastination tie in to personal finance? IT DOESN’T. Just felt like sharing. Well, I could tie in a lesson to it, but not on this posting. It’s random. What I will say is procrastination and poor planning IS NOT a habit successful people employ. Successful people create “To Do” Lists and STAY ON TASK. I too create “To Do” Lists. The problem is, the lists would be much shorter if I wasn’t constantly moving tasks I procrastinated doing from the previous day/days to the current day. You get what I’m saying.

Never again will I do this. I have created a schedule where I block off time during the week to complete important tasks whether it’s my class assignments, reading, writing blogs etc. It’s somewhat robotic, but for me it’s a necessity to keep me on task. This schedule allows me to balance school, community service, maintaining my website/social media, my social life, and just life in general. I can now remain consistent, stay on task, and most importantly, keep my weekends. I’ll work hard during the week… The weekend however belongs to me.

Have you found yourself in this situation? I hope this posting helped you understand procrastination and what you can do to avoid it. Does procrastination leave you feeling powerless, stressed and anxious? If so, how did you overcome it? Leave your feedback below. I’d love to hear from you.

~The Financial Hack ©2016

 

MASTERING MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME

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Creating multiple streams of income without wearing yourself out can be quite tricky, especially if obligations such as family, school or even your nine to five job take priority. The goal is to find what is easy and convenient… FOR YOU. Here are a few examples of Multiple Streams of Income that I recommend.

  1. Open an eBay Store: Unlike your classic brick and mortar places of business, your eBay store is a virtual brick and mortar store (minus the overhead.) Just think. There are no costs for leasing space. No utilities. No hassle of hiring employees or having  set operating hours. An eBay store allows you the luxury of making money on your own time and on your own terms. If you’re looking for inventory, start by shopping your closet. In my 13 years experience with eBay, I find that new/gently used shoes/handbags/accessories and perfumes are quite popular. Certain books and children’s clothing are popular as well. You can choose to auction your items or sell them outright at a set price (Buy It Now.) Here’s the catch: If you wish to be successful at your eBay store, you must keep inventory in stock at all times (even if it’s just a few items) and a variety of items is preferred. Be mindful of the pricing of your items. Your item is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
  2. Find something you enjoy doing, or are good at… AND FIND A WAY TO MAKE MONEY DOING IT: Are you bilingual? Offer private lessons, or consider teaching an ESL class. Good in Math? Consider becoming a Math Tutor. Are you a “techie?” You’d be surprised how many people would rather NOT install Windows on their computer or do the simplest of troubleshooting when it comes to their computers. That’s where you come in. Do you enjoy exercising, working out and eating healthy? Consider becoming a Personal Trainer. Can you play the guitar, piano or other instrument? Same applies. Do you love animals? Consider dog sitting or becoming a dog walker. Babysitting is very popular among teenaged/college females. Signing with an agency would guarantee you hours and if you’re good at it, word of mouth is the best referral.  Catch my drift? These are just a few examples of skills you can tap into to make extra money.
  3. Write a Book: Years ago before the age of the Kindle and e-books, self-publishing was the most cost efficient way to get your book to the masses. Now, all you need is the manuscript, a good editor (or editing software) and VOILA! Your book is available as a Kindle e-book for $5.99. That isn’t so bad if you’ve sold 2000 units and counting! NOTE: Freelance writing isn’t off limits either. It may take a while to find one, but there are some publications who will PAY for your article submissions so keep your writing skills sharp.
  4. Become a Substitute Teacher or a Realtor : If your schedule allows, become a substitute teacher. Subbing one day a week could generate an additional $200-$300 monthly depending on whether you hold a college degree or are certified by the state to teach. Also, with the housing market bouncing-back, real estate can be an effective income producer. I’m a licensed Real Estate Broker and it’s always good to have my license to fall back on if necessary.  NOW IF ALL ELSE FAILS…..
  5. Get a Part-Time Job: As much as I hated working part-time jobs in my life, I did it any way because I had to. In high school I worked for a popular fast food chain, in college I worked at a gas station (not as a mechanic lol,) I’ve worked for a grocery chain, I’ve worked making copies at night for a law firm (through a temp agency) you name it, I’ve probably done it. I can recall working a nine to five, driving home, grabbing a quick bite to eat, then heading to my six to ten (or six to later depending on where I was working.) Retail is ALWAYS available, video stores were once popular (until Redbox and Netflix dominated,) and let’s not forget fast food restaurants. For many, fast food is the absolute last resort, but if there were nothing else and you really needed the income, you’d take it. If you just can’t fathom working in fast food, consider Starbucks which offers its employees (even its part time employees) health insurance. There are many people working there just for the health benefits.
So as you can see, there are many ways to generate multiple streams of income. It all depends on your area of expertise as well as your flexibility. Don’t rely on just one stream of income, if possible, have SEVERAL STREAMS because they all have one common denominator; Getting you one step closer to reaching your financial goals. GOAL AFTER IT!!! They aren’t called “Multiple Streams of Income” for nothing.
~The Financial Hack (copyright 2015)

5 DAILY HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE

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Ever wanted to know how successful people spend their time? Here are a few of their habits:

 

1. WAKE EARLIER THAN MOST: Successful people get a head start on their day. 74 year old Earnestine Shepherd, Guinness Book of World Record’s oldest female body builder, wakes up every morning at 2:30am, eats 10 egg whites, drinks 16oz of water then proceeds on her morning 10mile jog. Research shows that the brain is at its sharpest 2 1/2 to 4 hours after waking. Rising as early as 4:30am, some may hit the gym, go for a run, engage in yoga/meditation or simply read the morning paper while enjoying a cup of coffee to jumpstart the day.

 

2. PLAN THEIR DAY: Successful people never attack their day without a plan. They write “to do” lists and prioritize them. Steve Jobs said in his commencement address at Stanford in 2005 that he spent 33 years asking the same question every morning; “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
There’s no need for busyness every second of every day in the grand scheme of things, however by prioritizing what is important, the result is a higher level of productivity. The most powerful man in the free world, President Barack Obama despite his schedule, makes time to sit down for dinner with his family as well orchestrate “date nights” with First Lady Michelle.
 
3. WORK HARD.. BUT PLAY HARDER: Successful people work hard and play harder. Traveling and/or pursuing hobbies is a way some reward themselves for their hard work. Saint Tropez, Anguilla, Bora Bora, Aspen, Maui, Lake Como, and Mallorca are vacation hot spots for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Richard Branson, Michael Jordan, Uma Thurman, Quincy Jones and Paul McCartney to name a few. Former President George W. Bush enjoys painting, Tom Cruise, Will Smith and David Beckham enjoy fencing as a hobby, while Rod Stewart enjoys his model trains and railroads, Susan Sarandon enjoys ping pong, and although strange to some, Angelina Jolie enjoys collecting daggers.
 
4. ARE DEVOTED TO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Successful people believe in continuous personal development. This could mean furthering education or knowledge base by pursuing advanced degrees, extensive reading, attending lecture events etc. To increase their net worth they must increase their personal worth. Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading.
 
5. GIVE BACK: Successful people “give back.” There’s no better feeling of celebrating success and wealth than by giving back to others. This could be through the giving of time and/or philanthropic endeavors. For example, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s College-Ready Education program aims to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college, and their Postsecondary Success program aims to dramatically increase the number of young people who obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate with labor-market value. I myself intend to award laptop computers this school year to TWO STUDENTS through the Black Former Student Network (BFSN) of my Alma Mater, Texas A&M University. It always FEELS GOOD to give. I give not for recognition and praise but because I have been blessed to do so. I find it unnecessary to list my every act of kindness, because it’s personal in many cases. Plus what I do to “give back” to others is between me and the God I serve. In his book “Wealthy Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals,” author Tom Corley discovered 73% of wealthy people volunteer to various organizations, charities and/or foundations five or more hours each month.

 

DO YOU posses any, some or ALL of these habits? If so, welcome to the “Successful Persons” club. Keep up the good work. We’re expecting great things from you.
~The Financial Hack (2015)

CONFESSIONS OF A GOALDigger Pt. 1

  
Circa 2013: My FIRST 1/2 Marathon Race Medal from the DRC Half (Nov 2013). This medal was 13 HALF marathons and one FULL marathon ago. It all ended in May 2015 after a visit from a sports doctor revealed I had CMP (Chondromalacia Patella) which simply means over my 20+ years of constant exercise and 18months of marathon running, I managed to wear down the cartilage in both knees (mostly my right knee) causing excruciating pain if overused. Anti-inflammatory medication is necessary and can takes weeks to heal. I retired my running shoes three days before my 44th birthday.

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I was depressed for a couple of months knowing that which I had grown to love, I could no longer do. The air in my lungs on those cold morning runs alone. My thoughts free floating and as light as my stride. Yep. Those days are gone, but the memories remain. I accomplished some tremendous goals while running although I didn’t accomplish them all. One goal I set was to run a half marathon in all 50 states. At the time of my retirement, I had only run in three (TX, OK, IL) however all three were in an 18 month period. Wow. I accumulated all those medals in a year and a half! One of my BIGGEST accomplishments as a runner was running a full marathon (26.2mi) within 6mos of beginning my running career. That was a goal I set for myself. I ran two 5K races four half marathon races and went straight for a full marathon. Some asked me how did I do it when some people train for months at a time. I just knew I could do it. The race itself took me 5 hours to complete, but making good time was not my goal. FINISHING was. Running pushed me to set and achieve goals I never thought I would or could do. This spoke volumes in my life then and now. I can do what I set my mind to… AND YOU CAN TOO! I may not be an active runner anymore, but running will always be in me and a part of me.

 ~The Financial Hack ©2015