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The focus of busy

July 8, 2011 1 comment

What is busy?  Each of us have our own personal definition.  It could be getting up and rushing out the door to your job in the morning feels “busy”.  Or it could be the stay at home mother (or father) with a couple of children who has to juggle appointments, nap time, lunch, play dates and a myriad of other daily ventures is equally busy.  Whatever your flavor of busy might be, you’re busy because you’re doing something.  Try to be busy with something you love though.

Focused and busy

When I was deployed to Iraq, I was fairly busy.  I would wake up, run 3 to 6 miles, get cleaned up, eat and then walk around and visit a bunch of Soldiers or prep for a convoy mission.  I was always checking out something.  In the heat of the day after lunch I could probably relax for a little bit, to read a book or catch a nap.  Then I would check out the command center in the afternoon and evening, have a meeting or two, eat, catch a movie and then do it all over again for about 400+ straight days.  Those were long days, some longer than others.  The busyness of those days has taught me that I can handle “busy” and nothing is busier than a houseful of children I’ve come to find out.  Not even a wartime deployment could adequately prepare me for the energy of mutiple children under the age of five.  And that’s okay.

Being busy has the ability to focus you on what is important.  You have no choice but to utilize your limited amount of time and resources in a manner that not only supports the task at hand but your entire life.  Being busy is a good thing.  It gives you focus.  If your busyness is focused on a task that you love to do, you’ll probably feel time just melt away as you conduct your business.  Focus your energy and time on the things and people who you love and you won’t have to toil a day in your life.

To the class of 2011, Three helpful tips Part One

June 7, 2011 1 comment

To the class of 2011,

Congratulations! You just graduated from high school. Just a few weeks ago you were the King/Queen of the castle. You were at the top of your game and today amid all of the fanfare and pageantry you’ve flipped your tassel and guess what, now you’re one of us.

Welcome to adulthood. More or less…

Most of you will fit into two very general scenarios.

You can't afford premium coffee anymore

Scenario A; Go away to College

Scenario B; Don’t go away to college and/or work a skill or trade

I’m not here debate the merits of either path. I’m here to offer some advice on how to go down your own path as safely as possible.

You need to learn about money, quick. You spent twelve years in school and probably never really learned how to balance your check book or write a personal budget. Go the library, get on the internet or ask someone you trust to show you how. It’s better to learn this lesson before you start dealing with real money otherwise life is going to give you a big fat F in personal finance. Here are a few tips in no particular order.

  1. Pay with cash. That means if you don’t have the cash you can’t afford it. If you put it on a credit card you get an automatic F for this lesson. It might feel good to be able to buy something but the interest will kill you in the long run with this sort of thinking. Repeat credit card use over the years will not lead to wealth.
  1. Start saving and start saving now because life isn’t fair. Gas was about $1 a gallon when I graduated from high school. It was $4.04 this morning. Life isn’t fair. Life also doesn’t care if you drive over a nail and get a flat tire. Get the term “fair” right out of your head. Nothing is fair. It’s just life.
  1. Have a plan. Plan for what you say? A plan for your life. If you don’t have one life will just happen to you. Need a car? Have a plan to pay cash. Need an apartment? Have a plan to pay for it and utilities. Need an oil change? Have a plan. Need to pay for next semester plus books? Have a plan that doesn’t include a loan.

I have a crystal ball. I really do. Here’s the difference between a well thought out life and one where life just happens when you make the second largest purchase of your life at the age of 18. That purchase being; a four/five year college degree. The costs are massive.

Tomorrow I’ll use my crystal ball to tell you what happens in Scenario A and B.

Who or what controls your time?

It's slipping away

One thousand four hundred and forty minutes.  That’s all you get today and that’s all you get tomorrow.  That’s your day. In that time you need to do a lot.  Here are some of the basics that most of us do; sleep, eat, hygiene, travel, work, interact with friends/family. 

  Read more…

A tale of two neighbors

Both neighbors were at the age where high school was almost over.  Both were very good students and active in several school and community groups.  Both were eager to move on to college and explore new horizons. 

But before they left for school they had a choice to make.  The choice wasn’t really about where they would attend but by what means they would they pay for it?  This is a critical life choice that has implications far beyond the choice of dorm or meal plans.  It has to do with limiting your future self to a smaller and smaller set of future options. 

Choose your path

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Share, congratulate, thank, repeat

February 25, 2011 7 comments

I need you to do some homework this weekend.

First, I want you to think about YOU.  I want you to remember what your New Year’s Resolution was for 2011.  Did you write it down?  What milestones have you met along the way?  Are you closer to achieving those goals?  You’ve had two months to work towards it, what do you have to show for it?

You can help too.

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How do you view opportunities?

February 24, 2011 5 comments

We are buried in snow here in Michigan.  The initial prediction was that we were going to get up to six inches of snow.  I have ten inches in my driveway.  It is heavy and hard to shovel.  If only I had a snow blower, I think I could have made a few quick bucks.  Which got me to thinking about my kids…

Millionaire at work

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Just the average Joe.

January 13, 2011 11 comments

Being the average Joe (or Jane) isn’t too bad.  I’m sure Joe goes to work every day, maybe he’s married and has a few friends.  Joe might have a year or two of college under his belt and holds a decent job with okay benefits.  Joe might also have a couple grand in credit card debt and maybe a personal loan or college loan from his younger days. 

Your piggy bank could look a little better.

 

You know, Joe is average.  And Joe’s in trouble for being average.

You see, Joe has fallen into the trap that so many of us do.  Joe believes that it’s okay to do what he “thinks” everyone else is doing.  What Joe doesn’t know is everyone else is broke, or they living paycheck to paycheck.  That’s average.

I understand, not everyone can be the top of the pile or the king of the hill.  For every successful person several more have failed along the very same path.  The difference is those that lost, or failed, didn’t try again.  They settled.  They settled into a comfortable routine that put them on the path to average or worse.  Spending more than you make will lead to more and more problems.

Joe needs a wake up call. 

It doesn’t take a financial planner or relationship expert to tell you that if you are being overwhelmed at home with bills that your work is going to suffer eventually.  It is directly correlated.  You’ll feel better once you get handle on your finances.  

Take a step back and schedule an afternoon and review your bank statements.  Add up how much money is going out.  That number may be shocking.  If it’s more than what you make, you’ve got a problem. 

The solution isn’t to make more money.  It’s to change the habit of over spending.  Do your review and I’m sure some of the stress you feel about picking up the mail or phone because of creditors calling will be eased after you put a plan in place to get rid of the bills.  Take a deep breath and begin your journey.  You’ll feel better, I promise.

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