Monday, May 20, 2013

Fear

Fear is an amazing emotion.  It has the ability to render us motionless with no physical restraints.  The control fear has on people is amazing.  We have tons of admiration for those that overcome their fears and accomplish things great and small.

Why does fear have so much control?

A common acronym for FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.  I think that is a major reason fear has so much control.  We conjure up false evidence in our imagination trying to find the worst possible outcome.  Why do we do that?  Yes, sometimes the bad thing we fear does happen.  How often does it happen?  Listening to a podcast the other day I heard someone quote something like 90% of what we fear never happens.  Considering how much most of us fear that’s probably a fairly low estimate.

I struggle with fear too.  I think it most likely enters my mind when things are out of control or at least appear that way.  What’s the best way to deal with that?  Get things back under control.  That’s where good goal setting and planning come into place.

I had a situation like that just this week.  I was getting myself worked up about everything I needed to get done.  I had a lot of stuff on my short term plate and a buffet of things to work on long-term.  I was feeling very stressed about it all.  After a good conversation with my wife I knew what I needed to do.  Sit down and map it out.  Sure enough, the stress and fear subsided as the plan came into place.

Do you want to stop stressing over your personal finances?  Develop a plan.  Once you have a plan your world is going to look a lot better!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Invest or Pay-off Debt?


A lot of folks struggle with the idea of stopping their saving and investing until they pay off their debt.  It can be an even bigger battle to convince someone to use their saving and investments to pay-off their debt.  I completely understand this mindset.  I struggled with the decision to take large chunks of money from savings to put on our mortgage.  I completely understand where you are coming from with this concern. 

When it comes to paying off consumer debt, it’s just one of those situations where your head needs to take charge over your gut.  Here is the mathematical analysis.  Most consumer debt has an interest rate anywhere from 8% to 40+%, and that’s without getting into payday loans.  One thing I ask people to do is calculate their Weighted Average Rate (WAR).  It’s a fairly simple calculation.  Take the amount of each debt and multiply it by its interest rate and add up all those number; then divide that amount by the total of the debt.  Here is an example:

Liability
Amount
Rate
Amount * Rate
Car Loan
30,000
8.50%
          255,000
Car Loan
20,000
9.00%
          180,000
Credit Card
15,000
22.00%
          330,000
Credit Card
8,000
27.00%
          216,000
Totals
73,000

          981,000

Now if we take the 981,000 and divide it by 73,000 we get 13.44% as our WAR.

Folks it’s very hard to earn 13.44% returns on your money.  Matter of fact, it’s very unlikely you can earn that kind of return over a long period of time.  There is still one more fact to consider, and that is the risk cost of borrowed money.  We’d have to get into some calculus to show you the risk cost analysis.  I hope you appreciate me sparing you that calculation.  Essentially, your risk cost is about one half the borrowing rate.  This cost is heavily discounted by most people, but it’s still there and affecting your long term results.  In our example the risk cost are almost 6.72%.  So your returns really need to be more that 20% annualized over a very long period of time just to break even!

Warren Buffet has a hard time earning those kinds of returns.

Here is another fact.  Most wise long term investors would jump at a long term guaranteed annualize return of 13.44%.  If you pay-off this debt it’s the same effective result. 

Here is another fact.  If after paying your bills and minimum payments you only have a few hundred dollars to live and pay down debt you’re not going anywhere.  Matter of fact, factor in life events and we can be pretty sure those credit card balances are going to grow.

This is why we strongly suggest you sell the cars and replace them with paid for reliable transportation.  Cut your lifestyle to the bone and get the rest of the debt clean up ASAP.  It’s the only way to get out of your financial mess and build wealth!

Of course this is up to you, but if you keep doing what you have been doing you’re going to keep reaping the same results.

We're here to help when you are ready.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Golf Lessons

What do golf lessons have to do with personal finances?  What does anything have to do with personal finances?  EVERYTHING!!!

The other day I was practicing at the driving range when I overheard a conversation between a father and son.  Basically, the father said he was going to sign his son up for golf lessons and the son was protesting.  The fathers point was that if you going to play golf you need to play well.  I couldn’t help to wonder what the family’s financial condition was.  It’s part of my nature now.   I wanted to ask the father about their financial condition.  Knowing they were probably normal I wanted to ask why aren’t you taking financial lessons?  After all, if you’re going to play the game shouldn’t you play it well?

Why don’t people apply that logic to their finances?  How many of us are paying professionals to do our hair, our medical care, our yard work, teach our children, entertain us, coach our children, and the list goes on and on…  But we are not putting one bit of effort or resources into the most important and powerful force in our Earthly/Worldly lives***.

I know most people are buried in debt and struggling financially.  I’m always looking around and noticing how people are spending their money.  It really tears me up knowing families are pouring thousands of dollars into kid activities, restaurants, toys and lifestyle every year when they are broke and heading for a very painful financial future.

Building wealth should be your number one priority.  I am saying you should be consumed with accumulating money.  I’m saying you should be in complete control of your money, so that money doesn’t control you!

Show me your checking account and I’ll tell you where your priorities are.  If you money is flowing into savings, investments, knowledge, health, giving and a quality family life then you are heading in the right direction.  If your money is flowing into toys, entertainment, restaurants and lifestyle then you are going to have a very sad future.

If you are not heading in the right direction, we’d love to help you get turned around!

*** Yes God is the most powerful force, but I’m talking about what we have control over.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Time

We all get the same 24 hours.  It’s what we do with it that counts.  I’ve heard this saying over and over my whole life.  It’s very true.  Time is a very valuable resource.  It’s extremely important that we don’t waist it.
One of the many reasons to build wealth is so you can better use and leverage your time.  There is nothing wrong with hard work, but if after many years of hard work you have nothing to show for your efforts then that is a waist.  Insure your work is worth the effort by saving a portion of your earning for you future.  The more money you build the more you can invest.  The more you invest the greater your return.  The greater your return the less you need to produce to cover your expenses.  When your investments are returning enough to pay all your expenses and still continue to grow faster than inflation you are wealthy.

When it comes to “leveraging”, most people are talking about borrowing “other people’s money” and putting it to work for you.  The problem with this “leveraging” is most people fail at it.  The best way to leverage money to work for you is build up some of your own and invest.  Invest in real assets that are going up in value or producing a positive cash flow.  This is not the fast way to wealth.  It’s also not the fast way to hardship and serious pain.

There is another form of leveraging and that is leveraging other people’s time.  This is entrepreneurship.  Building a business is a great way to leverage time and grow wealth rapidly.  Just make sure you build it slow and amplify your mistakes with debt.  In many cases people go out and borrow a ton of money to get something to market very quickly.  They’re just sure there idea is the next big thing.  Usually they are wrong and if they borrowed money to do it, now their broke too.
Yes, most businesses fail.  Almost all businesses fail because of cash flow.  The income of the business can’t meet its expenses and it crumbles under the weight.  Payroll is often a business’s greatest expense, but servicing debt is often a huge expense.  If a business can’t make enough money to pay the people working in the business then there is something fundamentally wrong.  However, there are a lot of businesses that would likely succeed under normal payroll and operating expenses, but what ultimately got them was paying on their debt. 

I witnessed a close friend go through this.  He had a great business plan.  He had a great product.  His sales and production were constantly growing.  What killed his business was debt.  He bought a bunch of equipment and spent a lot of money trying to “explode” his business from the very start.  Build it and they will come.  Problem was he didn’t have any money to get it off the ground over overnight.  He borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The worst part of watching this business fail was watch most of that money go into efforts that had nothing to do with actually getting the business started.  One example was my friend bought a large delivery truck to deliver his product before anything rolled out of manufacturing.   That huge expensive truck never made one delivery in two years.  Because of the nature of his business he just used small vans to make lots of small deliveries.  That huge truck cost tens of thousands of dollars and never left the back lot of his facility.  There were many, many other examples like this.  If my friend had started slow and only added equipment and people as he need them he would have cash flowed is way to success and never needed to borrow a dime.

What does all this have to do with time?  Invest your time well and develop a good income.  Develop a good income and save much of it.  Invest that savings in good appreciating assets and build wealth.  Enjoy the entire time!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Opportunities

Are your finances keeping you from great opportunities?  Financially strapped people will often attempt to take advantage of great opportunities, but they usually go further into debt to make it happen.  How many great investments have gone sour because of poor finances?  How many great career opportunities have you passed on because you couldn't afford the change?  What have you and your family missed out on because you couldn't afford "it".  Or did you just finance "it" only to regret it later?

Middle-class Americans use their credit and debt to get what they want.  But when what you wanted turns into a heaping pile of painful mess that great opportunity isn't so great anymore.

Great deals and opportunities are for people that can truly afford them.  That means paying cash and it not affecting your financial world.  If you are in debt it's a great big clue that you can't afford that next great opportunity.

I know people don't want to read this.  People want to hear how they can have everything they want with no consequences.  The bank might say yes, but if you need to ask the banks permission your answer should be NO!

Folks, if you want to build wealth you need to build discipline.  One of the core competencies of discipline is delayed gratification.

Set your goals.  Develop your plans and stay on track to achieve those goals.  Don't let "opportunities" drive you back into debt.

Focus and win!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Stress

There are all forms of stress.  Some forms of stress are really good for you.  Physical exercise is a great from of stress.  Stress can even be part of our entertainment.  How about roller-coasters, a long putt for par against your golf buddies or an intense movie?  And of course there are the bad forms of stress, usually created around worry of a negative situation.

About a year ago we had a cancer scare in our home.  It was a Breast Cancer scare with my wife.  All is well now, but our stress levels were very high for several month as we went from the initial diagnosis through treatment.  The worst part about that situation is there really wasn't much we could do but follow the doctors advice.  Everything was moving so fast we couldn't even think.  I don't know if it helped or hurt our mindset, but we were already living a very healthy lifestyle.  We exercised regularly and ate an organic vegetarian diet.  There was very little cancer in my wife's blood line.  Yet here we were dealing with this highly stressful medical problem.

As bad as that situation was for us, I know many more people that are dealing with much more stress around a problem that there is a lot they can do about.  No surprise, I'm talking about personal finances!

If your finances are causing you stress there is something you can do about that!  You can get out of debt.  You can build a huge financial safety net.  You can build wealth!  To accomplish these task you just need solid goals, a good plan and then EXECUTE that plan!

I know setting these goals, plans and the execution is easier said then done.  That's why I coach people through the process.  You can do this.  You can do this on your own, but you are very unlikely to be successful on your own.  For every client I gain, there are at least 10-20 that express interest, but decide to go it on their own.  I have yet to reconnect with someone that decided against coaching that is in any better shape months or even years later.  I'm not saying these people are failures.  I'm saying that they recognized they weren't where the wanted to be, and yet years later they are no better off then when we last spoke.

If you are not wealthy or on a path to building wealth today, why not? 

There is an old riddle...  Five frogs are sitting on a log.  One frog decides to jump off.  How many frogs are on the log? ... The answer is five!  Deciding to jump and jumping are complete different things.

That's what coaching is all about.  It's about the doing.  It's about engaging you to take action and getting things done.

Are you ready to remove financial stress from your life?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I admire bloggers!

I'm not a blogger.  That should be obvious due to my start/stop posting method.  It doesn't work!

I really admire those bloggers that post regularly and keep it up for years.  It's a discipline I wish I could develop.  I'm great at many things, but keeping up with blogging is not one of them.  Part of the issue is I'm not a writer.  It's not that I don't want to share my ideas and what I've learned.  I just prefer speaking to writing. 

As I've done several times before, I'm going to restart posting.  I hope it last more than a few post this time.

Thank you to those folks that have stopped by!