The Habits To Follow of Extremely Successful People!

Most successful people that you talk to will have certain habits they follow like clockwork. Wouldn’t it be great to practice a few of those habits yourself? I am always looking for habits that will help make me a well-rounded person and that will help alleviate some of the stress in my life. Listed below are a few habits of the highly successful people that were interviewed by Joel Brown founder of Addicted2Success.com (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244458):

Habit #1: Write a to-do list the night before – Highly successful people have been found to make their to-do list ahead of time such as the night before and to prioritize the activities. Most of us will know in advance what we need to accomplish. It is imperative to complete the most important tasks first then complete as many other tasks from our lists as possible. Often successful people make their list and number their activities in order of importance. In other words, if you could only complete 4 of 6 tasks tomorrow, which ones would you want to accomplish the most?

Habit #2: Focus on your mind, body, and soul – Take time each day to exercise, feed your soul, and mind. Don’t become so busy that you forget to give time to yourself each day.

Habit #3: Goal-setting – Commit those goals to paper and determine how you will accomplish those goals. What would your life be like if you accomplished those goals? Once you commit them to writing, take the steps necessary to move you toward reaching those goals. At the end of each day, assess how well you are doing will help support you in reaching your goals. It always helps to have a support system in place that will encourage you along the way.

Habit #4: Be thankful and keep yourself positive – So many times I have met people who aren’t thankful and are completely negative. I steer clear of those types of people. There is enough negativity in the world as it is. Wake up each day with a thankful and grateful heart. Keep a positive attitude even when everything seems to be going wrong. It might not be easy, but you will be amazed at how changing a negative attitude to a positive attitude will change your entire outlook on life.

Habit #5: Self-development – I have mentioned this before and I will mention it many times again. Continue to develop your knowledge and skills. Read, watch podcasts, listen to audio books, etc. Don’t let your skills become stagnant. We need to always learn and adapt.

Habit #6: Network, Network, Network – Meet new people, build networks, collaborate, attend events, volunteer, etc. These are all great ways to build your network. I make it a habit to meet new people and give them my business card or email. As soon as I get back to my computer, I will send a brief email. It is a great way to network with others.

Habit #7: Meetings – Have a mentor or an accountability partner to help you on this journey. Share achievements, problems, goals, things you have learned. It is always great to have someone with similar interests and goals to help you stick to the goals you have set for yourself.

Try to implement these habits into your life and measure the results of your efforts. You may be surprised at just how much of an impact adopting these seven habits will have in your life!

Money Regrets Not Worth Repeating

I have always heard the definition of insanity is repeating the same action but expecting different results. While this can apply to many areas of our lives, if we don’t learn from bad experiences then what was the point? Today’s blog will discuss money regrets people have that should never be repeated.

Money Regret #1: Not saving enough money! One of most people’s biggest money regrets is not saving money. Just imagine how much you could have saved and how much interest you could have earned if you saved only $50 per month since the age of 15! For illustrative purposes, we will assume you have invested $50 per month for 30 years. How much do you think the balance in your savings account would be at the end of year 30 with only a 3% average interest rate? Based on calculations from the Bankrate.com simple interest calculator, your $50 per month investment for 30 years would have grown to $29,139.30 with a 3% interest rate compounded monthly! The total of your monthly contributions were only $18,000. The additional $11,139.30 is the interest you would have earned. Compounding interest would have played a key role in building your savings over the years.

Money Regret #2: Not staying out of debt! Another financial regret for many people is not avoiding debt. We live in the world of instant gratification and we want what we want now, not later. This type of mentality is what keeps us deeply in debt. We have to come to the realization that it takes time to build wealth and to be able to afford certain things, so patience needs to be part of our overall attitude. It is not necessary for you to have a new car every two years or so. It also isn’t necessary to have the latest and greatest expensive toys on the market especially if you cannot afford to pay cash for them. Remember, you aren’t what you own. You are separate from the things you have. It would be great if we could all come to grips with the fact that everything we own could be gone in a matter of seconds. Would we then want to be known for what we own? I know I wouldn’t. I want to be known for who I am, not for what I possess. Avoid judging people by what you think they have. Most people owe for what they have anyway so simply missing one paycheck could cause them to lose what they have.

Money Regret #3: Not contributing enough to a retirement account! It would be a frightening thing to wake up the day before retirement and realize you hadn’t contributed enough to cover your minimum expenses much less enough to live comfortably. To me, this is one of the regrets I hope I never have. It would be quite devastating to realize all the hard work you had put in over the years wasn’t enough because you didn’t contribute enough to your retirement account. I find it so sad to see retired people living meagerly and not even being able to afford basic medical expenses. It is important to factor in the cost of inflation when planning for retirement. Also realize that medical expenses can add up quickly as we age.

I hope you avoid these money regrets and don’t have any of your own to add to the list. We cannot go back and change the past but we can certainly change the future. It is not too late to begin avoiding financial actions that can cause regrets. Set aside an hour or so today to go over your financial situation and make changes that keep you on track for financial independence!

Advice for the Recent College Graduate

My oldest child will be graduating from college in a few months and I was wondering what is the best financial advice I could give him as he is starting out in life. I came across an interesting article on www.forbes.com that discusses things a college graduate should do within the first 5 years after graduating college. There are so many changes that take place after graduation and I will discuss a few ways to minimize the financial pressures new college graduates may face.

My family’s situation might be different from others but I am thankful to say that my son will come out of college with no student loan debt. My husband and I tried to plan ahead for college so that my son wouldn’t be burdened with student loans once he completed his college degree. Thankfully, it paid off for us. If your situation is different, don’t give up yet. There is certainly hope just around the corner. I listened to a Dave Ramsay radio show the other afternoon and a couple had paid off all of their student loan debts within a few years after graduation

Here are a few pieces of advice I would like for my son and other recent college graduates to follow that was listed in the Forbes article:

1) Create a cash reserve – We all know and have probably experienced Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Just when it seems like everything is going fine, something happens that almost derails our finances. One way to minimize the effect is to have a cash reserve built up. I would venture to say that many people now have cash cushions that were not prepared for the impact of the 2008 Subprime mortgage crisis when housing prices fell and other effects caused the stock market to drop and the economy to go into a recession. My husband and I were fortunate enough to keep our jobs but the thought of one of us losing our jobs was a bit frightening. We now try to keep a solid cash cushion. New college graduates need to begin building that cash reserve. Most experts agree that 3 to 6 months worth of living expenses should be set aside as a cash reserve.

2) Check on health insurance – If a student has been on his parents’ insurance plan it would be wise to check on how long the coverage will continue under the parents’ plan. Some plans will now cover longer periods than were previously covered so contact your insurance company to get the details. It would only take one major medical event to cause a catastrophe with your finances.

3) Consider opening a retirement account – It is never too early to begin saving for retirement once you have completed college. Time is definitely on your side so take advantage of the growth you will receive from investing early! By simply contributing a few dollars each week, your contributions can grow enough to let you live an extremely comfortable retirement. I don’t want to have worked for 30 or more years to find out that I will not have enough to cover my expenses in retirement.  I want to be able to travel and help others in retirement so planning is key

4) Set a goal for paying off student loan debt – Don’t just accept the fact that you will always have student loan debt. Make a plan to pay it off quickly and stick to the plan If you don’t have a goal, you will probably not pay it off as quickly as you could. With the interest rate on student loan debt at around 6%, you will be doing yourself a favor by paying it off early and saving interest.

While there are certainly more financial areas that new college graduates need to consider, these are a few that I consider to be most important.  To the recent college graduate, I say to make a sound financial plan for your future.  If you don’t feel equipped to make all the decisions on your own, find a financial planner in your area to help you.  It will be worth the time and effort!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2016/05/09/11-things-to-do-with-your-money-in-the-first-five-years-after-college-graduation/#46426c535076

Small Changes, Big Savings!

If I told you that you could save an additional $3,200 this year with a few simple changes, would you make the changes? Often the small daily expenses add up to large sums over time. You won’t even feel most of these changes.

A few changes you can make during the workweek to help boost your savings are:

  • Making coffee at home versus purchasing coffee:

Average cost of a cup of coffee purchased         $1.56

Average cost of a cup of coffee made at home   $.17

               Savings = $ 1.39 per day x 5 day workweek = $6.95/week

               or $340.55 a year (49 weeks, 3 weeks for holidays and vacation days)

 

  • Buying a newspaper versus reading the news online:

Average daily newspaper       $1.50

Average cost reading online    $ 0

Savings = $1.50 per day x 5 day workweek = $7.50/week

               or $367.50 a year (49 weeks)

 

  • Buying lunch versus bringing lunch:

Average daily cost of lunch           $8.00

Average cost of bringing lunch    $2.84

Savings = $5.16 per day x 5 day workweek = $25.80/week

               or $1,264.20 a year (49 weeks)

 

  • Buying snacks versus bringing snacks:

Average daily cost of buying snacks       $1.75

Average cost of bringing snacks               $ .15

Savings = $1.60 per day x 5 day workweek = $8.00/week

               or $392.00 a year (49 weeks)

 

  • Running at the gym versus running outdoors:

Average daily cost of running at the gym     $1.83

Average cost of running outdoors                       $ 0

Savings = $1.83 per day x 5 day workweek = $9.15/week

               or $448.35 a year (49 weeks)

 

  • Lowering your thermostat 3 degrees:

You can save around 3% per each degree you lower your heat or raise your air conditioner thermostat. (If your annual heating and air conditioning costs are $3,000 per year, that equates to a savings of $270 per year.

  •  Slowing down when driving:

Just driving 10 miles per hour slower can save you between 7 and 23% on fuel and that could equate to a savings of $.21 to $.71 per gallon. Annual savings on the low end if you drive 12,000 miles per and you average 20 miles per gallon = $126 per year. On the high end you could save $426 per year.

These simple changes can add to $3,208.60 on the low end and up to $3,508.60 on the high end! You can benefit now by giving up just a little bit each day. It won’t be long before you don’t even realize you have made the changes, but you will see the changes in your bank account.

 

https://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/manage/money-saving-tips-infographic.go

http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/tip-2-turn-your-thermostat-down-3-degrees/?utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dhow%2520much%2520can%2520you%2520save%2520by%2520lowering%2520your%2520thermostat%26pc%3Dcosp%26ptag%3DC1N0007D011015A316A5D3C6E%26form%3DCONBDF%26conlogo%3DCT3210127

http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/consumer_tips/speeding_and_mpg.html

 

Park your money where it earns the most

Many of us are on the journey to a debt-free and financially independent life.  It is important to make wise financial decisions in order to obtain that goal. Some of my past blog posts discussed the steps for getting out of debt and saving for the emergency fund. Today I would like to give you some information on how to make the money in the emergency fund grow by discussing banks and credit unions with the highest interest bearing checking and savings accounts.

The emergency fund should be set aside to use in case of emergencies and I suggest putting it in a separate account. It just makes sense to park the money in the highest yield that you can. There is really no need to let your money sit idly by without working for you. You will never get anywhere if you just sit still and it is the same with your money.

I suggest you research banks and credit unions in your area and I have found a few that you might want to research, as well. Some of the banks accounts are available for anyone while others are restricted to local residents. Most of them have restrictions and requirements so make sure to read all the fine print before making the final decision. The information I found is from the Bankrate website. The link is listed below. I will only review a few of the financial institutions listed for the sake of brevity, but feel free to take a look at the list in its entirety. Please note it is important that you check all requirements yourself before choosing to open an account with any bank as requirements may have changed.

Bank #1: Main Street Bank, Bingham Farms, Michigan – Main Street Bank offersthe Kasasa checking account. The annual yield (APY) is 2.25% with a default APY of .5%. The requirements include:

  • 12 monthly debit card transactions
  • 1 direct deposit or automatic withdrawal per month
  • E-statements

The maximum balance allowed for the 2.25% interest rate is $25,000.

Bank #2: Northpointe Bank, Grand Rapids, Michigan – Northpointe Bank offers the Ultimate Account with a current APY of 5% and a default APY of .05%. The requirements include:

  • 15 monthly debit card transactions
  • Direct deposit or automatic payment of $100 or more per month
  • E-statements

The maximum balance allowed for the 5% interest rate is $5,000.

Credit Union #1: Consumers Credit Union, Waukegan, Illinois – Consumers Credit Union offers the Free Rewards Checking with a current APY of 3.09% and a default APY of .01%. The requirements include:

  • 12 monthly debit card transactions (must be signature based, not PIN based)
  • One direct deposit, automatic debit or bill pay is required
  • Must access online banking once a month and enroll in e-statements

This account also offers other tier levels with additional requirements. The maximum balance allowed for the 3.09% interest rate is $10,000.

Credit Union #2: Lake Michigan Credit Union, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lake Michigan CU offers a 3% APY on its Max Checking, but provides 0% if balance qualifications are not met. The requirements include:

  • 10 monthly debit transactions
  • 4 online banking logins per month
  • E-statements
  • $5 donation to charity required if out of credit union area

The maximum balance allowed is $14,999 and 0% above $15,000.

These are just a few of the options listed in the article. For the full article, go to http://www.bankrate.com/finance/checking/high-yield-checking-survey.aspx.

I would rather be earning something on my money than nothing at all. It might be advantageous for you to consider moving a portion of your savings over to one of these accounts. You can always deposit your actual emergency money and run a few of your other monthly expenses through the account to earn interest. I will caution you, though, to make sure you do not use your savings money for the purchases. You can easily deposit enough each month to cover the costs of the required monthly transactions. Be wise with your money today and you will reach your financial goals!