Budgeting


  • 5 Single Bloggers Who Paid off Massive Amounts of Debt

    When I was single I was convinced there was no way I could tackle my debt on my own. Heck, I didn’t even think I could do it when I got married. But my husband and I have since paid…

    The post 5 Single Bloggers Who Paid off Massive Amounts of Debt appeared first on Modern Frugality.

  • How to Make Professional Resolutions for 2021 that You'll Actually Keep

    New Year's resolutions. According to Inc. Magazine, 60% of us make them. But many of us know that when it comes to actually keeping New Year's resolutions, the odds aren't exactly in our favor. Research shows that, despite our best intentions, only 8% of us accomplish those annual goals we set for ourselves.

    If you're anything like me, 2020 has left you hungrier than ever for fresh starts and clean slates.

    What keeps us coming back every year? Well, as PsychCentral tells us, it’s partly tradition (we are creatures of habit!) and partly the allure of a fresh start, a clean slate. And let’s be honest, if you're anything like me, 2020 has left you hungrier than ever for fresh starts and clean slates.

    That fresh start can apply to your professional life just as easily as it applies to dropping a few pounds, quitting your Starbucks habit, or taking up hot yoga. So, let's talk about some strategies to help you set career resolutions and, most importantly, actually keep them.

    Goals versus resolutions

    Every year I hear people say “My New Year’s resolution is to lose 20 pounds.” But technically speaking, that’s not a resolution, it’s a goal. It’s an outcome that you either do or don’t achieve.

    A New Year's resolution is “a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year” according to the Cambridge English Dictionary.

    Two things I love most about resolutions are that I have a chance to win every day, and I have complete control over my success.

    A goal might be to achieve a revenue target, land an interview with someone you admire, or strike up a coveted partnership.

    A resolution defines the experience you want to have. It’s about the how not the what. When I think of resolutions, I think of habits that will bring out the best version of myself—something like a promise to plan my day the night before so I'm ready to jump in fresh first thing in the morning.

    The two things I love most about resolutions are that I have a chance to win every day, and I have complete control over my success.

    4 strategies to help you set (and keep!) professional resolutions

    1. Reflect on what you’d like to change

    Resolutions begin with an honest look at the year closing behind you. For me, 2020 has had some highs, but on balance, it wasn’t my cutest. There’s a lot I’d love to change next year. And my resolutions focus on a few key areas that live within my locus of control.

    There is no shame or blame here; there is only space for reflection.

    So where am I choosing to focus? For me, there are three distinct experiences I had this year that I plan not to repeat in the one upcoming.

    Overwhelm. That not-so-adorable feeling that the world is sitting on my shoulders—that my clients’ success and my kids’ education and my aging parents’ welfare are all relying on me. Can’t do it again next year.

    Reacting from a place of fear. Holding my breath, taking on more work than I know I should because what if the economy doesn’t bounce back? Will not repeat this one in ’21.

    Loneliness. Hi, I’m Rachel, and I’m an extrovert! (Here's where all you fellow extroverts respond with, "Hi, Rachel!") If travel and face-to-face meetings won’t be an option for a beat, then I’ve got to be intentional about finding ways to bring more connection into my life.

    These three experiences put a damper on my 2020. Note there is no shame or blame here; there is only space for reflection.

    Be thoughtful about what aspects of the year felt heavy for you and commit to changing your experience next year.

    Maybe your experience of 2020 was grounded in anxiety, or you’ve felt job-insecurity, or maybe just boredom. There are no wrong answers, so be thoughtful about what aspects of the year felt heavy for you and commit to changing your experience next year.

    2. Project what "better" would look and feel like

    Ask yourself: If these are the experiences I don’t want to have again, what would it feel like to be on the other side?

    Here’s what I came up with.

    Shedding overwhelm would mean having a clear plan of attack each day. Rather than scrambling and juggling, I’d have a set of daily priorities ensuring clients, kids, mental health, and all significant constituents have what they need from me. The most critical things get done each day, and if nothing else gets done, I’ve still won.

    Not feeling reactive and fearful? That will mean a shift in mindset from “What if the market doesn’t need what I offer?” to “How am I evolving my products and solutions to meet the changing needs of the market?”

    And finally (sigh …) the loneliness. I talked about this in a quick video on my Modern Mentor page on LinkedIn. I miss the energy I take, the creativity I see triggered by moments of collaboration and brainstorming. It’s that very sense of ideas building on ideas that I want to recreate in 2021.

    Now it’s your turn. What would your “better” look like in 2021?

    If you’re job-insecure, maybe "better" means adding skills or certifications to your resume. If it’s anxiety you're wrestling with, maybe your “better” includes more self-care and relaxation.

    The only wrong answers here are the ones that don’t resonate with you. You’re less likely to stick with a resolution that isn’t personally meaningful.

    3.  Define sustainable practices that will move you there

    The words “sustainable” and “practices” are key here.

    “Lose 20 pounds” doesn’t qualify as a resolution because it’s an outcome you can’t fully control. What you can control are the habits designed to get you there, like eating better or exercising. And if exercising every day feels unsustainable, then shoot for twice a week to start. Make it an easy win for yourself!

    I’ll take the three experiences I want to have and translate those into habits and practices I can control.

    So how does this translate into the professional realm? I’ll take the three experiences I want to have and translate those into habits and practices I can control. Here’s my working list.

    In 2021 I will:

    Choose my One Thing

    I'll begin each day by identifying the one thing I need to achieve in service of:

    • My kids (Example: Check my 6th grader’s math homework)
    • An existing client (Example: Develop slides for next week’s leadership workshop)
    • My health (Example: Yep, it's a workout!)
    • My business growth (Example: Pitch an article to a big publication)

    Once I get all that done, whatever else I do that day is gravy.

    Make weekly client connections

    I will schedule one call per week with a past or current client for the sole purpose of listening. I won't be there to sell or help, but just to hear what’s on their minds, and what needs they've anticipated for the near future. This will allow me to be more planful and proactive in designing my offerings.

    Set up virtual office hours

    I will host bi-weekly office hours. I’ll share a Zoom link with a dozen of my friends and colleagues and invite people to pop in … or not. No agenda, no one in charge, just an open space for sharing ideas, challenges, and even some occasional gossip.

    Pay attention to the fact that all of these resolutions are within my control. I’m not waiting for circumstances to change, and I’m not holding myself accountable to an outcome, I'm just committing to doing these things.

    4. Track and celebrate

    And finally, the fun part. Each resolution gets a page of its own in my Bullet Journal, which means lots of colorful checks and boxes! I keep track of how many days or weeks per month I stick with my resolutions. I set small goals for myself, and I give myself little rewards for hitting milestones. My reward might be an afternoon off, an extra hour of Netflix (do not tell the kids!), or an outdoor, socially distanced coffee with a friend. Celebration is so important. It motivates me to repeat the habit and have a better experience.

    So there you have my secrets to setting and keeping my resolutions. I would be so grateful if you’d share yours with me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. I’d be delighted to be your accountability buddy!

  • Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS)

    New financial advisors need something to help them stand out. Consequently, the AAMS does just that. Designed for newcomers to the financial advice business, the AAMS trains advisors to identify investment opportunities as well as help clients with other financial … Continue reading →

    The post Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

  • Under the Influence: 40% of Americans Have Purchased Something Seen on Social Media

    Social media has wormed its way into most aspects of our lives. It’s how many adults make friends, find dates, and even build career networks. It’s a virtual portfolio of our personal and public selves, and of course many of…

    Full Story

    The post Under the Influence: 40% of Americans Have Purchased Something Seen on Social Media appeared first on MintLife Blog.

  • What You Need to Know About Budgeting for Maternity Leave

    Follow these four steps to financially prepare for your maternity leave.

    The post What You Need to Know About Budgeting for Maternity Leave appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.

  • How to Make Better Financial Decisions

    Woman learning how to make better financial decisions

    A key financial decision people struggle to make is how to allocate savings for multiple financial goals. Do you save for several goals at the same time or fund them one-by-one in a series of steps? Basically, there are two ways to approach financial goal-setting:

    Concurrently: Saving for two or more financial goals at the same time.

    Sequentially: Saving for one financial goal at a time in a series of steps.

    Each method has its pros and cons. Here’s how to decide which method is best for you.

    Sequential goal-setting

    Pros

    You can focus intensely on one goal at a time and feel a sense of completion when each goal is achieved. It’s also simpler to set up and manage single-goal savings than plans for multiple goals. You only need to set up and manage one account.

    Cons

    Compound interest is not retroactive. If it takes up to a decade to get around to long-term savings goals (e.g., funding a retirement savings plan), that’s time that interest is not earned.

    Concurrent goal-setting

    Pros

    Compound interest is not delayed on savings for goals that come later in life. The earlier money is set aside, the longer it can grow. Based on the Rule of 72, you can double a sum of money in nine years with an 8 percent average return. The earliest years of savings toward long-term goals are the most powerful ones.

    Cons

    Funding multiple financial goals is more complex than single-tasking. Income needs to be earmarked separately for each goal and often placed in different accounts. In addition, it will probably take longer to complete any one goal because savings is being placed in multiple locations.

    Research findings

    Working with Wise Bread to recruit respondents, I conducted a study of financial goal-setting decisions with four colleagues that was recently published in the Journal of Personal Finance. The target audience was young adults with 69 percent of the sample under age 45. Four key financial decisions were explored: financial goals, homeownership, retirement planning, and student loans.

    Results indicated that many respondents were sequencing financial priorities, instead of funding them simultaneously, and delaying homeownership and retirement savings. Three-word phrases like “once I have…,", “after I [action],” and “as soon as…,” were noted frequently, indicating a hesitancy to fund certain financial goals until achieving others.

    The top three financial goals reported by 1,538 respondents were saving for something, buying something, and reducing debt. About a third (32 percent) of the sample had outstanding student loan balances at the time of data collection and student loan debt had a major impact on respondents’ financial decisions. About three-quarters of the sample said loan debt affected both housing choices and retirement savings.

    Actionable steps

    Based on the findings from the study mentioned above, here are five ways to make better financial decisions.

    1. Consider concurrent financial planning

    Rethink the practice of completing financial goals one at a time. Concurrent goal-setting will maximize the awesome power of compound interest and prevent the frequently-reported survey result of having the completion date for one goal determine the start date to save for others.

    2. Increase positive financial actions

    Do more of anything positive that you’re already doing to better your personal finances. For example, if you’re saving 3 percent of your income in a SEP-IRA (if self-employed) or 401(k) or 403(b) employer retirement savings plan, decide to increase savings to 4 percent or 5 percent.

    3. Decrease negative financial habits

    Decide to stop (or at least reduce) costly actions that are counterproductive to building financial security. Everyone has their own culprits. Key criteria for consideration are potential cost savings, health impacts, and personal enjoyment.

    4. Save something for retirement

    Almost 40 percent of the respondents were saving nothing for retirement, which is sobering. The actions that people take (or do not take) today affect their future selves. Any savings is better than no savings and even modest amounts like $100 a month add up over time.

    5. Run some financial calculations

    Use an online calculator to set financial goals and make plans to achieve them. Planning increases people’s sense of control over their finances and motivation to save. Useful tools are available from FINRA and Practical Money Skills.

    What’s the best way to save money for financial goals? It depends. In the end, the most important thing is that you’re taking positive action. Weigh the pros and cons of concurrent and sequential goal-setting strategies and personal preferences, and follow a regular savings strategy that works for you. Every small step matters!

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    Want to know how to allocate savings for your financial goals? We’ve got the tips on how to make financial decisions so you can be confident in your personal finance! | #moneymatters #personalfinance #moneytips


  • Is Being Debt Free Worth it?

    I had a great talk with Millennial Money Man yesterday and my favorite piece of advice he gave me was to “write what you’re passionate about.” It took me literally five seconds to think of the one thing I’m really passionate…

    The post Is Being Debt Free Worth it? appeared first on Modern Frugality.

  • Industry Expert's Top Career Advice

    1. How can people network effectively when everything is virtual (at the moment)?

    It is easier than ever BECAUSE it is virtual. Everybody is stuck in place with little to do. So if you ask the right way, it is easy to get quality time for Zoom & coffee or FaceTime & wine. Here are two good approaches: Start by getting together virtually with your mentor. Then ask your mentor to bring his or her mentor the next time. And then ask their mentor to bring their mentor the next time. It is amazing how quickly you can ratchet up a power mentoring circle. The other approach is to pick the companies where you want to work, then start adding its people on LinkedIn. Like and comment on their posts and shares for a few weeks, then send a note saying why you liked something they shared. Get a conversation going. THEN ask for a 15-minute Zoom and Coffee by saying, “I am really interested in your company and wonder if you might give me a little free advice to help me along.” Some people make excuses, but others will say yes. So keep trying until you get a yes.

    Stay in touch. Remember it is important to find personal things you have in common, like where you grew up or that you both like cycling or that you are both into dog rescue. Whatever. Keep the conversation going, but don’t be so clingy that you feel like an online stalker.

    2. How do you find the balance between authenticity and professionalism when interviewing and networking?

    Be comfortable with yourself and be who you are. That said, you always have to decide when you need to turn the volume up or down a little. If your authentic self cusses like a sailor, wait until your private time to let that loose. If you are quiet and reserved, display a little more personality. If your wardrobe is dated or boring, you have to up your game. Is it inauthentic for me to wear a really cool dress on a Zoom call if I was just in shorts and flip-flops right before and will be in shorts and flip-flops as soon as the call is over? No. I’m not selling out to project a false image. I’m making sure they hear me at full strength.

    3. How do you connect with coworkers who might be younger, but more experienced if you're coming back to the workforce after taking a few years off?

    You don’t want to come off as clueless, but show a genuine interest in what they are doing and ask about it. Instead of saying, “Duh, I don’t get this,” just say, “Hey, I’m watching you do that and wonder if you might show me how to do it.” Be quick to compliment others on what they are doing. I want to emphasize that because we all like to get compliments. It shows that you aren’t threatened or feeling overly competitive. Make sure you are seen as a team player. Don’t feel like you have to show off that you are faster and smarter. Always be positive and inclusive, never gossip or complain. That will likely set you apart, but in a good way where others enjoy being around you.

    4. How do you know if you're on the right career path? What's the first step toward getting on a new one?

    If you constantly dream about chucking it all to do something else, it may be time to just chuck it.

    I want to say, “If you are on the wrong career path, you’ll know it.” But I have seen people flounder at their jobs for years, wondering why they are having so many problems. Everyone but them sees that it is a bad fit. If it feels wrong, it  probably is. And if you are consistently criticized, getting bad reviews and being held back from promotions and other opportunities, and it doesn’t get better when you change companies, it is a sign that you are on the wrong path. If you hear yourself saying, “I hate my job,” you have to ask if it is the job, the company, or your profession. And if you constantly dream about chucking it all to do something else, it may be time to just chuck it.

    5. How much does LinkedIn matter in terms of a job search? Is there a "secret to success" for the perfect LinkedIn profile?

    LinkedIn is critical for job hunters. If you are being fixed up on a date, you’re going to check out that person’s Facebook or Instagram to figure out if you like how the person looks and thinks. That’s how business people use LinkedIn. They size who you are, what you’ve done, how you look and if you are someone that might belong in their sphere. It may seem superficial, but LinkedIn is a great place to advertise your value.

    It may seem superficial, but LinkedIn is a great place to advertise your value.

    Your LinkedIn profile is so much more than a list of what you have done. Show some personality and oomph in your headline and subhead. Have a magnificent photo that is well-lit, current and flattering. Get recommendations.

    6. What is the best piece of advice you've heard recently?

    The way someone treats you is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. I heard someone say that and BAM! That is the truth!