Sunday, March 28, 2010

Start your saving discipline now.

Taking control of your future success includes taking control of your financial planning. Two of the most common concepts are “Pay yourself first” and “Live on 80% of your income”. These two are obviously connected.

Paying yourself first is easiest if your employer offers direct deposit. The funds are placed into a secondary account of your choosing so on pay day you do not even see the money. If your employer does not offer direct deposit then you need to become very, very disciplined and write a check to fund your secondary account at the same time you take your check to the bank to cash/deposit it.

I know, I know, you are saying to me right now that there is no possible way you could afford to live on less. You don’t get paid enough. When you make more you’ll start saving. There is a big problem with that line of thinking. If you do not start saving now, you ever will. You can always make the statement that you’ll start later. And you’ll always find that your spending equals your income level. For most people, the more they make, the more they spend. You do not want to be most people. You want to take control of your own life and become that successful person on the outside that is waiting on the inside.

How then do I live to less you ask? This is where the rubber meets the road. You have to look at everything you are spending you money on and get rid to the wasteful spending. You do not have any wasteful spending habits? We all do if we just look for them. Here a few off the top of my head:

Your morning coffee or breakfast sandwich stop.

Your mid-day vending machine stop.

Do you really need HBO, Showtime, etc., or would your life be just as
complete with just (dare I say it) basic cable.

What about your car. Do you need to drive the newest model or could you
still get from point A to point B in a used car.

What about your cell phone. Could you survive on a smaller (IE., less
expensive) plan.

Do you smoke. Think of what you could save be quitting. It’s not easy but
the dollars would add up faster than you think.

Do you really need to purchase another DVD movie or TV show season. With
all the shows that the networks re-run I am betting you will be able to
catch these movies/shows over and over again.

Eating at home is much less expensive than going out. Eliminate just a few
meals a month out (including fast food) and you’ll have more to save.

These are just a few that come easily to mind. If you really look at everything you spend money on, you’ll be surprised at how much money you spend on non-essentials. The important thing is to get started . Don’t get hung up on what to do with your secondary account and the funds that are accumulating. You need to establish the savings discipline first. Get started and maintain the habit for at least six months. You can determine your best options for your savings later.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Be a Lifetime Learner

When you were growing up you went to school to receive an education; pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school and possibly college. But once you left the formal education system you likely shifted gears from learning to living your life. The thing is though, part of living a successful life includes continuing to learn. You are responsible for your personal education; you need to keep learning throughout your life. If you stop learning you stop growing. If you stop growing you become stagnant, and there is nothing worse than wasting all the gifts you were born with. You were born to do great things, but you cannot possibly find or fulfill your destiny if you do not continue to fill your mind with new information and fresh ideas.

Knowledge gives you options. Knowledge provides a pathway to success. Let me share the following with you to help illustrate my point.

Several years ago I was reviewing the feedback forms I had collected from my store managers after conducting a training session. At this particular event I handed out a listing of books that I felt could help my folks to be more successful. One of the comments I received stated “The last book I read was in the 8th grade and I see no reason to read another” (Clearly my words had fallen on deaf ears).

Since the direct approach did not work I needed to adjust how I was working with this particular individual. Over time the walls came down and low & behold he borrowed some books from me. The book “Fish” struck a chord and the back room of the store became decorated with signs that read “Choose your Attitude”, “Play”, “Make their Day” and “Be Present” (Read the book to find out why). This same manager and his team recently broke the company record for the longest streak of days over their sales budget. The old record had stood for many years and no store had been able to even match it. Once he decided to be open to learning and trying something new he and his team found even more success.

Read, Ask, Listen and Learn every day. Become a lifetime learner and enjoy a richer and more fulfilling life.