Do You Possess Characteristics of Successful People?

My husband recently sent me an infographic that he thought I would be interested in (see link below). It made me take a close look at myself to see if I possessed more of the characteristics of successful people than of the unsuccessful people. I hoped for the best but had to seriously consider each characteristic. Below is a list of some of the characteristics that successful people exhibit:

Successful people:

  • Compliment
  • Forgive others
  • Accept responsibility for their failures
  • Keep a journal
  • Want others to succeed
  • Keep a “to be” list
  • Set goals and develop life plans
  • Continuously learn
  • Operate from a transformational perspective
  • Keep a “to do/project list”
  • Embrace change
  • Exude joy
  • Share information and data
  • Talk about ideas
  • Read everyday
  • Give other people credit for their victories
  • Have a sense of gratitude

I thought it would be a good idea to discuss several of the characteristics that made an impression on me when I saw the list. I had never really considered complimenting someone to be a characteristic of successful people. But the more I thought about the more I realized that it takes someone who is confident in their own abilities to compliment others.

Accepting responsibility for your own failures is something that is seemingly uncommon in our society today.   We tend to want to blame everyone else when something goes wrong but are quick to take the credit when things go right. We have to accept responsibility for our own actions then make adjustments when necessary.

Do we truly want other people to succeed? Take a deep look at yourself and make sure you are happy when others succeed even when you do not. It will take a great deal of character to truly be happy when things go well for others. Think about the difference we would see in society if everyone had this mentality.

The next characteristic, to continuously learn, is one that many of us could do without much additional effort. There are so many topics that I need to learn more about so I am trying to incorporate continuous learning into my everyday life. The Internet has many opportunities for free learning. Khan Academy is a great resource for free training. Just search for a topic you might be interested in and begin viewing the videos. My math skills needed a bit of refreshing so I am currently brushing up with Khan Academy. Another goal I have for the future is to learn to speak another language fluently. Well, this one might take a while, but I don’t mind. Once you quit learning you quit growing. I don’t want to become stagnant and I hope you don’t either.

How many of you, myself included, actually read everyday? I don’t always pick up a book but I read articles almost everyday. In my vocation, changes can occur daily so it is imperative that I stay current on the changes and trends in my industry. Remember that your industry or areas of interest might be affected by trends in other industries. There is so much information available that it would be a good idea to take advantage of it.

Successful people talk about ideas. Brainstorming with others can develop great ideas. Different perspectives should be considered as it sometimes only takes one simple idea to make something great happen. Businesses, clubs, organizations, etc., can benefit from this simple exercise. Discuss your ideas with others and be open to their suggestions.

Embracing change can be a tough pill to swallow as we often become comfortable with the way things are going. It takes too much effort to make changes and people sometimes tend to be resistant. I am usually only resistant when I feel the change is going to take us in the wrong direction. Imagine where technology would be today if change never took place and we just accepted the fact that nothing new could be invented.

We can all have a sense of gratitude or thankfulness. Without gratitude we can become bitter and life is too short to be bitter about everything. Find joy in your life and appreciate everyday!

Take a look at the characteristics you exhibit on a daily basis. Are any of the characteristics listed above?   Hopefully, you have many of the characteristics. If not, be aware of areas for improvement and make a decision today to work on building these characteristics in your life!

http://www.workingmomsonly.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/TheSuccessIndicator.jpg?inf_contact_key=0eefe7ee384be3361a1166dd9c638b26cb6df80e08181c1b450359de0d4da248

 

 

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7 Frugal Habits of Warren Buffett

I have always heard that you should find someone to serve as your mentor; that someone who has become what you hope to be or who exhibits those traits you would like to have.   Warren Buffett exhibits certain traits for being frugal and making good financial decisions so let’s look at a few of his habits to see if we can model those habits.

Frugal Habit #1: Choose an affordable and modest home. Mr. Buffett lives in the same home that he bought in 1958. I discussed this in an earlier blog. Don’t overextend yourself on mortgage payments! It’s just not worth the additional stress! We don’t have to keep up appearances to impress others.

Frugal Habit #2: Be smart with your investing. My best advice for this habit is to make sure you don’t borrow money to invest. It is just too risky! Investing should only be done with money you have already saved and set aside for investing. Mr. Buffett suggests investing in yourself to build skills and increase your talent.

Frugal Habit #3: Don’t buy expensive toys. We shouldn’t think that we have to keep up with everyone and buy expensive things we don’t need. Often we feel pressured to maintain a certain image when it really isn’t necessary at all. Instead of buying expensive items, you could take that money and save or invest it. The return can be much greater.

Frugal Habit #4: Pursue your passions. Have you ever known someone who worked in his/her passion? What I mean is that person truly enjoyed what he did to earn a living. Over the years I have met several people whose passion was evident. They didn’t really feel like they were working because they were making a living doing the things they really enjoyed doing. It was difficult for them to believe that someone was actually paying them to do what they loved. They never woke up and thought they didn’t want to go to work because they were in their element. If you can’t support your family with your passion, at least pursue it on the side if that brings you joy. You might be surprised to find out that you won’t have the need to pursue other expensive activities when you find that area of passion. It can make you more satisfied and less likely to look for other things to make you happy.

Frugal Habit #5: Don’t pay retail price. It can be quite tempting to purchase something you like at full price, but if you have the patience and fortitude you will probably have the opportunity to buy the item at a discounted price in the future. Watch for sales and look for discount codes that will help reduce the price. I rarely pay full price for any item and find it satisfying to have saved money on the purchase. Learn to delay your gratification.

Frugal Habit #6: Give, give, give. Find ways to give to others whether it would be money, volunteer time, used clothing, household items, knowledge, etc. Realize there are so many others who can benefit from your generosity. Even taking time from your busy schedule to reach out to someone who is hurting has great rewards and fulfillment.

Frugal Habit #7: Consider both sides of your decision. Take the time to consider the pros and cons of choices you face in order to make the best decision. While we are often under pressure to make quick decisions, sometimes it is best to take a breath and look at the possible outcomes. Don’t be hasty be smart.

By implementing some or all of these frugal habits you can head down the road to a positive and fulfilling financial future. Sometimes it’s the little things we do that can much a huge difference. Consider your decisions today and make the smart choice!

http://www.gobankingrates.com/personal-finance/7-ways-personal-finance-expert-warren-buffett-lives-frugally/

What’s the big deal with a FICO Score?

Whether you are just starting out with your finances or you have been on your own for a while, understanding your FICO score is a must. A FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score is used by approximately  90% of all lenders. It is a credit rating that shows the person’s credit and payment history and ability to obtain and repay credit. Your FICO score will affect the interest rate of a loan, how much a lender is willing to lend, etc. FICO scores range from 350 to 850.

How do you know which FICO scores are considered good? Whenever a lender receives a loan application, they need to know the risk they would be taking if they issue the loan.   The majority of lenders will run a credit report and will take the FICO score into consideration. The higher score the better it is for the lender and the borrowing. A higher score means you are credit worthy and at a lower risk for defaulting or not repaying the loan.

How are FICO scores calculated? FICO scores are calculated using specific credit and payment history that has been reported by credit reporting agencies. There are basically 5 areas considered for your credit score as found on www.myfico.com:

  • Payment History
  • Amounts Owed
  • Length of Credit History
  • Credit Mix
  • New Credit

Payment history is one of the first things a lender wants to know. Past payment history is a good indication of the future payment history for an individual.  Unforeseen circumstances may arise that affect a consumer’s ability to repay but generally the payment history is reflective of a consumer’s payment habits.

Amounts Owed will be a factor considered as the lender will want to know the financial burden the borrower already faces. Just because a lender owes a large amount of money does not mean the borrower will be a potential credit risk but this must be taken into consideration by the lender.

Length of Credit History will give a lender a better picture of your payment history. A short credit history does not reveal as much about the lender as a longer credit history.

Credit Mix is made up of the different types of credit you have. For example, a consumer might have 3 major credit cards, 2 mortgages, one department store credit card, an automobile loan, a boat loan, and 2 student loans. While an automobile loan will decrease with the passage of time, a credit card balance could continue to increase.

New credit reveals how much the consumer continues to borrow. Keep this in mind each time you are offered a credit card for a particular store. Remember that if you open a credit card at a particular store you are more likely to spend more at that store. This is one of the reasons the cashier asks you if you want to save “15%” on your purchase by opening a credit account with them.

Items that can negatively affect your FICO score are late payments, short credit history, reaching your credit limit, not paying the minimum payment, opening new credit accounts, etc. Items that can positively impact your FICO score include making payments on time, long credit history, paying off balances, paying more than the minimum payment, and refraining from opening new credit accounts.

Be an educated consumer. Know your FICO score and make improving it a priority.

Those who don’t Adapt will Become Extinct: The Benefits of Keeping your Skill Set Up to Date!

In today’s ever changing technological society, it is imperative that you stay current on today’s software programs as well as the socially accepted forms of communication. People in the workforce must make sure to stay updated and polished in order to at least keep up with the changing work environments. Students are now being trained for jobs that don’t yet exist. So how can you make sure you are ready for the many changes you will face over your career?

Know the trends in your industry: Read all you can about your specific industry and know which trends are affecting that area. Many industries have their own publications so stay abreast of new and emerging changes that may affect your job. By becoming more knowledgeable you will even learn to make better decisions. You will be able to recognize opportunities that are available and to notice threats to your organization when they appear.

Just recently I attended a business meeting in which we were discussing the skills and software programs students will need to learn in order to be competitive in the current job market. I quickly realized that changes were occurring and certain skills were no longer required for the job. Newer technology appears to be taking the place of older software so spending time learning the old software would be a futile effort.

Adapt or become extinct: It’s just a fact that those who don’t adapt are doomed to become extinct. Your skill set needs to be current so you should always work to stay updated on changes in software, certifications, procedures, and any others affecting your field. By updating your skill set you will make yourself more marketable and valuable to a company. Employers don’t want to spend the time and money to train their employees so take the initiative yourself to keep your skill set current.

There are many opportunities for free online webinars and training videos that will teach the skills you need so make time to learn something new. A great resource for training videos is Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational organization. For example, December 6th – 13th is The Hour of Code in which you can take a free course that teaches the basics of computer coding. The direct link to this course is: (https://www.khanacademy.org/hourofcode).

More job advancements opportunities: Maybe you are content and feel secure in your job, but in reality your skills may have become outdated. Not only can learning new skills benefit you on your job, they may motivate you to become even better at what you do which has its own rewards. Your employer may begin to notice your newly developed skills and may find opportunities for advancement in your career. In addition, you may find yourself better skilled for a new career if that is an option you are seeking. You might even find yourself in a position to start your own business if this is your goal.

Be a lifelong learner and become the best that you can possibly be. Make a decision today to read an article, watch a webinar, complete a learning module, take a class, or participate in The Hour of Code. Don’t make excuses! Make it a goal to always be ahead of the curve.

 

 

Get rid of student loan debt and get on with your life!

While a college education will give you a jumpstart on your career, student loan debt can hold you back financially. According to wsj.com, the average college graduate from the class of 2015 has over $35,000 to pay back for student loan debt!  Around 71% of undergraduate students have student loans. Only 29% of students are paying for their education without debt.

If you are part of the 71%, don’t be too alarmed. The good news is you can pay off those student loans sooner rather than later. By becoming serious about getting out of debt, you can wipe out the student loans but it will take patience and perseverance.

1) Get serious about paying off the debt – Make up your mind to pay the debt off quickly. Don’t wait until 6 months after you graduate to begin making payments. Start as soon as you can to help lower the amount of interest you will have to pay.

2) Make sacrifices now that will speed up the process – There are certainly items that just aren’t absolutely necessary so look for ways to cut costs in order to pay more on the student loan debt.  Delay gratification for a while until you can afford it.

3) Pay more than the minimum payment – Pay as much over the minimum payment as you can each month. It may not seem like much of an effort to pay an extra $20 or $25 per month but it will begin to make a difference quickly. By paying down the principal of the loan you will save interest. Use the calculator at the following website to see the affects of paying more your debt: http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/credit-cards/student-loan-debt-calculator.aspx

4) Don’t live beyond your means when you get a job – Avoid raising your standard of living right from the start. Get that student debt out of the way first. If you could survive before you graduated college you should still be able to survive a little longer while chiseling down that debt.

5) Look for discounts – Check with your financial institution to see if they offer discounts for early payment or for automatic deductions. You might save several dollars a month with these discounts and the amount saved could be used to speed up the payoff process.

6) Use an amortization schedule to track your payments – As a motivational tool, watch the balance of your loan decline after each payment. An amortization schedule can be used to show the progress in paying off your loan. A free loan amortization calculator that you can use is found at http://www.amortization-calc.com/.

7) Make a budget for getting out of debt – Create a doable budget that targets getting out of debt. Follow the budget and make adjustments as necessary to keep you on track for paying off your loans and building your wealth.

By staying on task and committed to paying that student debt off quickly you will save money that can be used to build a stronger financial future for yourself and your family. Make it a financial priority today to alleviate those dreaded student loans! You will be thankful you did.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/05/08/congratulations-class-of-2015-youre-the-most-indebted-ever-for-now/

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-pay-student-loans-faster-2014-5