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How to Set Financial Goals for 2016

by Patrice Washington
2015 wood number year change to 2016 year in white studio room, New year concept.

The first step is goal setting!

Look at the goals you set for your finances this year. On January 1st of this year what did you say you wanted to create?

I hear lots of people say:

I want to improve my credit OR save money OR get out of debt.

I know those seem like great goals, but I’d hate to tell you that they’re not. They’re empty words that just sound good, but they don’t help you actually make progress in your finances.

As you get ready for 2016, here’s how I want you to create your financial goals:

  1. Be specific.I consider undefined goals to be nothing more than dream killers which is why most people fail at New Years Resolutions. To achieve financial goals you must be deliberate about your intentions by using concrete numbers, dollar amounts, percentages, dates for accomplishment, etc.

So, Instead of saying I want to save more, make your goal to save $1000 by March 31, 2016.

  1. Next, Be deliberate. Once you have great specific goals, you have to get a plan in place to reach them. Divide big goals into smaller steps so you don’t become overwhelmed.

So, now your goal to save $1000 becomes, saving $333 per month or even $85 per week. Doing it this way allows you to look at your spending and see what you can cut down or cut out to make that happen. Even if you have to get radical and sell things to hit your goal, at least now you know what you’re aiming for.

  1. Last, I want you to be accountable. After you’ve got your big goals all worked out and even have action steps to keep you moving along, don’t make it OK to not hit your goal.

Get an accountability partner who can support and encourage you to achieve your goal. You need a friend or family member you trust who won’t let you off the hook.

Best of luck to you and yours! I’m hoping 2016 is truly your best year yet financially.

Am I Making Money A Priority Over My Faith?

by Patrice Washington
CollectionPlate

During a recent Steve Harvey Morning Show radio segment, a caller brought up the issue of reconciling her Christianity with her increasingly profitable business:

“You can’t serve two masters and I only want to serve God, but how can I grow my business with guilt-free financial comfort?”

So many people – believers and non-believers alike – struggle with guilt around earning and keeping money.

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How Do I Get My Finances On Track This Late in the Game?

by Patrice Washington
Close-up of female hands doing calculations

First off, it is never too late to get back on track with your finances. You’re here now, so don’t discourage yourself with any more excuses; start today! If you’ve spent years living paycheck to paycheck, or you haven’t taken the time to make a financial plan for your future, it can feel overwhelming wondering how or where to start. No matter where you are in life, these tips will help empower you to develop a sound financial plan whether you need to eliminate debt or save for the future.

  • Set Goals

The key to any good financial plan is to set clear, achievable goals. Simply saying that you want to save more money or have less debt won’t magically make it so. Follow these three strategies: Determine a specific goal with concrete numbers and dates of accomplishment; Break down your goals into manageable steps and action items; Share your goals with family and friends to keep you accountable for achieving them.

  • Create an Opportunity Fund

Based on your personal circumstances and goals, create an opportunity fund by reviewing your budget, income and expenses. I recommend basing your fund on several months’ income, but the important thing is that the amount you choose gives you a motivating vision for your future, like saving for a business venture or a down payment on a house, while also serving the dual purpose of providing you with a reserve of funds to cover any emergencies along the way.

  • Pay Off Debt

Once you’ve established an opportunity fund, you can start paying down high interest debts like credit cards or loans. Stop using credit cards, especially store cards, and use any extra money you have to pay down your accounts. Avoid costly late payment fees by making your payments on time, and pay more than the minimum when you can to pay off your debt quicker. The minimum payment recommended ensures that credit card companies continue to collect interest off your balance for as long as possible. Negotiate lower interest rates by calling your credit card companies; you’ll be surprised by how many are willing to work with you.

  • Contribute to Retirement

If you’re close to retirement, now is the time to make catch-up contributions to any 401K, 403B or IRA accounts you may have. The IRS allows individuals over age 50 to contribute more to their retirement plans so that you can get caught up before you’re ready to retire.

Remember, it is never too late to create wealthy habits. Maybe you have made excuses in the past about why you haven’t been able to plan for your future up to this point, but I’m telling you now that there will always be things coming up in your life and reasons you give yourself to delay, but if you don’t start making a plan now, you’ll find yourself asking this same question years down the road when you could have already been well on your way toward your goals.

Are You Creating the Life You Want?

by Admin
VisionBoard

I began doing vision boards and dream journals back in middle school when “The Secret” was truly still a secret. I didn’t know what to call them back then, but I knew that being able to see what I was working towards kept me excited, motivated and focused! I can’t tell you the laundry list of accomplishments I’ve acheived and continue to achieve, I believe, because I utilize these tools in my everyday life.

A vision board (also called a Dream Board or Creativity Collage) is typically a poster board on which you paste or collage images that represent what you truly want out of life. The idea behind this is that when you surround yourself with images of who you want to become, what you want to have, where you want to live, or even simply where you want to vacation, your life almost mysteriously changes to create or attract those images and desires.

So, what do you want out of life? Here’s your chance to be clear about what you want and begin creating it today!

To complete the exercise, you will need the following:

• Poster Board (Invest in a decent quality. You’ll want to keep it for awhile!)

• A Stack of Magazines (Use a wide mix. Don’t limit yourself. Your life is complex.)

• Glue. (Don’t use tape. It starts to look a little trashy pretty quickly.)

• An open heart and open mind recognizing that the world can be yours, if you truly believe.

The 5 Steps of Creating a Vision Board:

Step 1: Go through your magazines and tear images from them. No gluing yet! Just let yourself have lots of fun looking through magazines and pulling out pictures or words or headlines that strike your fancy. Have fun with it. Make a big pile of images, phrases and words.

Step 2: Go through the images and begin to lay your favorites on the board. Eliminate any images that no longer feel right. This step is where your intuition comes in. As you lay the pictures on the board, you’ll get a sense how the board should be laid out. For instance, you might assign a theme to each corner of the board like Health, Career, Spirituality, Relationships or Financial goals. Or, it may just be that you want the images to go all over the place. This is YOUR life’s story, so present your vision board any way you’d like.

Step 3: Glue everything onto the board. Add writing if you want. You can paint on it, or write words with markers, again its whatever fits your fancy!

Step 4: (optional, but powerful) Leave space in the very center of the vision board for a fantastic photo of yourself where you look radiant and happy because you are enjoying the benefits of the life you have created around you. When you find the perfect photo, paste yourself in the center.

Step 5: Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it often. Take a few moments to look over it daily. Be present with the emotions that come up for you. If you feel like smiling from ear to ear – do it! If you feel like dancing and swaying back and forth because it makes you feel that good, then do it! Everything you feel when you imagine your life that way will help you attract that life that much sooner.

Bonus: Now get to work! You may begin to attract these opportunities into your life, but if you’re not preparing yourself to receive them, they won’t last! Begin working on your goals daily, affirming, knowing and believing that the more you do your part, the more the Universe is aligning things on your behalf!

If you have Vision Board or Dream Journal success stories, don’t hesitate to share and inspire someone else!

Do You Have “Broke” Habits or Wealthy Habits?

by Patrice C. Washington
Cash

Most people understand the saying that we are “creatures of habit.”  The part they don’t get, however, is that habits come in two forms: doing and not doing. Many of us can think of the things we actively do each day as habits which may be either good or bad. 

But, when you don’t do the things you know you should be doing, then you are practicing the often unnoticed habit of simply not doing, which can be just as detrimental.  As I tell my clients often, “Stop telling me what you are trying to do.  You’re either doing or you’re not doing. There is no in between.”

So, if you aren’t practicing wealthy habits, then more than likely you are practicing un-wealthy, or dare I say, “broke” habits. Once you acknowledge that there is no in between and begin to take action, you can move onward and upward. The choice is ultimately yours.

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Do You Really Know What Personal Finance Is?

by Patrice C. Washington
PiggyCash

If you were embarrassed by that question, don’t be. More people should actually ask and more personal finance “gurus” should stop assuming that everybody knows!

Personal finance deals with your individual relationship with money. It serves as your financial outline; speaking to the way you obtain, budget, save, spend and manage monetary resources overall.  These behaviors are assessed at various stages throughout your lifetime, taking into account a mixture of financial risks, as well as major life events like getting your first job or getting married.

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Who Get’s To Be In Your Life?

by Patrice C. Washington
Friends Socializing

It’s that time again! Every year on December 31st, my good friend, Ashley, takes inventory of the core relationships in her life. She creates three categories: friends, acquaintances and sphere of influence, dropping names under each title as she sits and reflects on the preceding twelve months.

When analyzing the names, Ashley says, “My goal is to determine whether each one of these people are living up to my expectations for who gets to be in my life.” Notice she said “gets to be” in her life because she knows that her time, energy and presence is a gift to be cherished. Ashley reflects on whether they have been givers or takers in her life. She asks core questions, like whether she is energized or drained after each conversation. Are they depositing wisdom, sound advice, opportunities or encouragement into her life, or constantly making withdrawals? And, by the end of her exercise, Ashley has a better understanding of who gets to go into the New Year and who must be left behind.

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