Hope for your financial life and beyond

Beyond the Retirement Plan: 3 Things to Do Before You Stop Working

Have you started thinking about your retirement plan? For most, the retirement plan consists of saving enough money to cover their life expenses after they stop working. More than likely, the retirement plan revolves around socking money away in investment accounts such as a 401(k), traditional or Roth IRA, a savings account, or real estate. Some may even horde cash in a savings account or CD.

retirement plan

In one sense, the retirement plan is about the money. But it’s not JUST about the money.

Other concerns abound besides having enough money to pay for housing, food, and other expenses. The money side is important but other issues can impact if have a fulfilling retirement. Addressing these ahead of time will make a big difference in how comfortable you feel and your family feels.

So before you start planning your retirement party, make sure you’ve addressed these important issues.

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6 Money Management Tips For Seniors

There may be no other group more valuable to our society than the elderly. They have so much wisdom and life experience to share with the younger generation. They need to be respected, honored and taken care of as best as possible. 

There is something else though that seniors have over the younger generations. Generally speaking, they have more money. Good old-fashioned saving, budgeting and spending discipline has led many of them to accumulating a sizeable nest egg. 

Despite this, many seniors lack knowledge regarding financial decisions, despite managing their spending habits for years. Retirement is the phase of life that requires careful planning so that one can remain self-sufficient and live independently. It’s not the time for debts to continue piling up or for wild, spur-of-the moment spending to begin happening. If those were to begin and continue, it may damage their ability to care for themselves financially. 

Additionally, health concerns are a major factor in retirement, including the loss of some cognitive abilities. It’s reasonable to conclude that this is why scammers so frequently target this demographic. That’s all the more reason to be vigilant with managing money as one grows older. 

Other vital factors tied with retirement can take up a lot of a senior’s time. Managing money may be tricky for some, especially when juggling it alongside other responsibilities. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few money management tips to help seniors.

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How to Get Out of Debt and Win in Five Simple Steps

Are you up to your eyeballs in debt? Don’t see anyway out? If so, take heart. You are not alone. Millions of Americans live with this burden. They either never think about how to get out of debt or they think that it is impossible for them to get out of debt. So they never deal with it.how to get out of debt

It would be unwise for you to ignore the mountain of debt that is piling up. You need to wake up and pay attention because excessive debt will cripple your wealth building process. It will mess up your savings, helping the kids with paying for college, and even your retirement investing.

And sadly, in many cases, it also ruins relationships.

Debt is a chain of bondage around your life. It’s an anchor weighing you down. You can’t go where you really want to go because it’s holding you back.

In order to break free, you’ll need to change your perspective, your behavior and your systems for purchasing things. But it’s all possible. It will be a journey you will never regret.

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How to Develop a Purposeful Plan for Giving Away Money

If you have found your way to this article, you most likely have a generous heart and enjoy giving away money to a favorite cause. But have you ever thought about how you give away money? Do you give purposefully or haphazardly as opportunities pass in front of you?

giving away moneyDeveloping a purposeful plan for giving away money might seem silly. You may want to give wherever and to whomever you like without feeling held back by a plan. There is great freedom in that philosophy. However, as I’ve found out over the years, there are also great dangers.

Putting together a purposeful plan for giving away money is a fundamental exercise you should go through. In short, it will help you have success with your finances.

Everyone who gets serious about their finances tries hard to make a monthly budget work. We make a plan to pay for the kid’s college. And we work tirelessly in order to support ourselves in retirement.

So why do we ignore this area of our finances where a lot of money could also pass through our fingers?

The fact is we shouldn’t ignore it. Here’s how to get purposeful with your giving.

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Giving for the Wrong Reasons this Christmas (Or anytime)

Christmas giving

In December, everyone’s focus is Christmas. There are so many activities to attend, so many destinations to travel to, and so much delicious food to consume. And there will be so much Christmas giving that takes place.

December is the month specifically devoted to giving. We regularly give in many ways throughout the year, but it all becomes focused during the December holiday season. Schools have students bring in clothing items for distribution to children in low-income families. Pastors preach sermons and urge their congregation to fill local food pantries. The Salvation Army kettles show up outside department stores. And of course, families celebrate the season by gathering around the tree on Christmas morning.

These are all good things designed to meet needs and bless people at a special time of the year.

However, if we are not careful, we can get hooked into Christmas giving for inappropriate reasons. This can have a negative impact on our budget, not to mention our emotional and psychological health. That’s why it’s important to analyze why we are giving in the first place.

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How to Resolve the What Career Should I Have Dilemma

Have you ever asked the question, What career should I have?  If so, you know the answer isn’t that obvious. Coming to a decision about what career bests fits you can be quite a dilemma, no matter if you are right out of high school or in your mid-30s looking for a career change.

what career should i haveIt sure was a challenge for me.

After I graduated high school, everyone wanted to know what I was going to study in college. I didn’t know. So I just told everyone I’d be taking my general education requirements first and decide on a degree track later. Seemed like the wise thing to do instead of getting into a major I didn’t like and then needing to make a change to something else.

In the end, I chose psychology and counseling as a course of study. I didn’t know where that would ultimately take me later in life. All I knew at the time was that it matched up with my personality, my ability to listen and my desire to help people.

My chosen field of study didn’t lead me to a counseling career per se. After grad school, I ended up in education, first as a teacher and then as a principal at a small private school. While I wasn’t counseling in the strictness definition of the word, my education did prepare me in a lot of ways for things you face when dealing with families and kids. But was it the right choice?

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Personal Finance Items You Must Evaluate Once a Year

When was the last time you took inventory of your personal finances? It’s so easy to get things set in place and then just ignore them. Who really wants to continually review all the facets of personal finance anyway? It takes so much time.

personal financeWell, here is the thing – the pace of life is fast. Because of that, it’s easy to let things slip by. When it comes to money, you may be missing out on opportunities to improve on the things you have in place and save money in the process.

And the more you save, the more you can invest and consequently, grow your wealth.

Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t take as much time as you think to do a thorough review. It will be worth it compared to the consequences that might come should you miss something important.

The idea of taking inventory of your financial life is not new. King Solomon in the Bible was the wisest man who ever lived.  In the book of Proverbs he wrote this:

“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.” (Prov. 27:23-24)

So, we cannot assume just because something was once a good deal, a smart investment or a solid financial goal that it will continue to be so. Our life circumstances change.  So we should be on the cutting edge of awareness about these matters.

With that being said, here are the five key areas of personal finance that my wife and I review at least once a year.

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Count the Cost: The Secret Step for Success at Anything (Luke 14:28)

count the costWould you like to have success at anything you do? Of course would. So would I. Nobody sets out with the intention to fail. However, many times we do fail and it’s often because we refused to count the cost ahead of time.

What do I mean by count the cost? Does that have something to do with money? Well, maybe but not necessarily.

Put simply, when you count the cost, you plan ahead. You take inventory of everything that needs to happen before you pursue a goal.

Now, you may not know every little detail that needs to be achieved in the process. But you can at least get a sense of all the big rocks that need to be accomplished in order for your endeavor to be successful.

This concept isn’t a new one. The term “count the cost” actually has its origins in the Bible. And Jesus used it with his disciples to prove a very important point about thinking and planning ahead.

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How to Make a Zero Based Budget in 3 Easy Steps

One task that may not be apparent to first time budgeters is to create a zero based budget. My wife and I had tried to make a monthly budget before but for one reason or another, our budgets never seemed to work. Putting this step in place helped us lesson those failures and moved us towards a place of continual success with our budgets.

zero based budgetThe process of putting a zero based budget together is not hard to understand. Like any other budget it does require some planning and attention throughout the month. You might have to tweak some numbers here and there as the month unfolds and life happens. In my opinion it’s the best type of budget to put together as it leaves no room for money to go unaccounted for.

It’s important to have records of where money goes. With records, you have built-in accountability that shows where you spent your money. You begin to see patterns of how you spent your money over time. Then, you can then make changes if those patterns reveal things you don’t like about your spending.

So, let’s walk through the process of how to put together a zero based budget.

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2020 Goals That Will Make This the Best Decade Ever 

Boom! Just like that, it’s over. In a few days we are set to close out a whole decade and begin a new one. By some accounts, we just experienced the best decade ever. Could bigger and better be yet to come? I believe so. But that bigger and better all starts by making some 2020 goals to help launch this next decade.

2020 goalsAre personal goals really worth it? Some people live and die by them. Others pass them off as cliche and not worth the effort. I mean, who really cares about setting goals when you know for sure you won’t keep or reach them?

It is true that people have varying degrees of success when it comes to completing their goals. But just because you may fail at them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them. For a variety of reasons, setting goals is simply too valuable an exercise.

Goals provide pacing to your life. They focus you on short and long-term tasks. They give you direction, purpose and clarity. Completing them gives you confidence and propels you on to do even more.

But maybe most importantly, goals allow you to dream.

“What would life look like if I could…?”

“How would my life change if I accomplished/gave up/worked on…?”

“Who would benefit if I…?”

It’s in the dreaming stage that goals are birthed. So as you dream about what the next decade of your life looks like, perhaps it would be good to set some 2020 goals that will serve to guide you through the next 10 years.

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How to Push Through the Scary Questions at the Start

ID-10083769Do you want to finish what you start this year? Maybe you have made a New Year’s resolution and aren’t confident you can do it. Or maybe there are simply so many unanswered questions and doubts in front of you it’s becoming overwhelming.

Finishing is huge for our psyche. It gives us so much confidence that we think anything is possible. It releases pressure and tension when we finally reach our goal. Finishing creates momentum and catapults us forward to even greater things.

Related Content: Winning is More Valuable Than Losing

Unfortunately, we don’t start at the finish and get those great rewards. We start our journey at a more logical place – the start.

The start of anything can be a very confusing place to be. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. And the start is always full of questions like…

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