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11.08.2012
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Life and Money

It has been a while since I posted.  Life got in the way.  I am sure most everyone can relate to that.

Tonight I am sitting in Taos New Mexico, where I work.  I live in Florida...who knew?  It is a beautiful autumn day and a winter storm is on the way.  Figuring out my own dreams and desires has taken me away from this project, temporarily.  It has never left my mind.

Finances are part of everyone's daily life.  I work with people for whom money is no object.  They own planes, real estate, and can buy anything they want and travel when they want.  I come from poverty.  Money is always an issue and in short supply.  That is my mindset.  Unfortunately, even when I have plenty of money I operate from the mindset of not enough. This is not good when you are trying to grow your finances.  You need to make room in your mind and life for boundless money.

And money can never buy peace of mind.  Peace of mind comes from within and is an endless quest.  Some never find it and don't even expect to.  Others find it easily.  Why is that?  This is unrelated to money.

But operating responsibly with your finances is the adult thing to do, regardless of your state of mind.  So that is what this site is intended to do - help you with that responsibility.  Put some parameters around your financial life.  It  shouldn't dictate your thoughts, but be a part of your life that is managed properly no matter what your circumstance.

This site currently has many excellent resources.  And shortly more will be added.  It will be renewed and refreshed.

Join us!

 

 

 

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11.09.2011
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Discover Card

The following story was related to me the other day by someone who is in a temporary financial hardship trying to make reasonable arrangements to pay off her Discover Card balance:

"We had moved to a different state about a year ago and were having difficulty getting jobs.  It seemed as if I had a job, my husband didn't, or if he had a job I didn't.  Both of us are highly skilled, and we need to make a certain amount of money just to keep our heads above water, but finding good paying jobs like we were used to is impossible.  Discover card had worked with me originally, putting me on a lower payment-lower interest plan for a year that allowed me to pay off over $1000 of the principal balance of what I owed at $100 per month for the year. 

"Unfortunately, that year was up and the payment went back to the normal amount of $209, with interest at 24%.  Of that $209, $193 was for interest.  Then my husband was laid off from his job...they had no more work.  So on the due date of that $209 payment, with $300 in my bank account, I called Discover to see if I could be put back on the $100 per month plan for another year.  I told them I could pay $100 right then, but could not in good conscious pay the $209 of which $193 would be to line Discover's pockets.  I needed to buy groceries and gas.

"Discover could not (or would not) do it.  The best they could offer me was to lower my interest rate to 12%, which would lower my payment over time as more of the payment would go to principal.  I told her I could not pay the $209 today, and that didn't help me.  She pointed out that I had a valid debt that I owed and needed to pay.  I pointed out to her that I wanted to pay my debts, but I wasn't able to under these terms.  My situation had changed since I incurred the debt, that I wanted to pay Discover what I owed and I was happy to pay some interest, but that they needed to work with me to make the arrangements more manageable under my current circumstances.  I also told her that I was being proactive, trying to work something out before I had to default on the payments, and that it was a shame that Discover wouldn't work with me unless I was in default.

"There was nothing she could do.  I did not make the payment.  The CEO of Discover Card made $8.5 million last year."

That is what's wrong with America.

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10.06.2011
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What’s Really Important?

Steve Jobs died yesterday.  He was 56. 

Steve Jobs had a brilliant, creative mind.  Those of us who grew up during the computing revolution watched the Apple/Microsoft story unfold in the media.  Apple initially lost that race, then came from behind to become the most valuable company in the world.  That was Steve Jobs' vision. 

But with all his vision, and his money, he could not change his health.  All the money in the world could not save his life from pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest of all cancers.  It took Patrick Swayze, another icon of our time. 

This demonstrates the obvious, that there are things far more important than money.  Your health, your family, your dreams, your passions. 

I am greatly saddened by the passing of Steve Jobs.  I am sure he wasn't through innovating.  But in his death let's learn this lesson - money serves life.  It does not determine or save it.  And remember, there are things money simply cannot buy.

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09.29.2011
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Inspiration

Tampa Bay Rays pulled off a miracle last night. 

You may or may not be into baseball, I am only because of my son - he plays Little League and High School ball and loves it.  He has the MLB channel on at home.  He knows facts and stats.  I have never been into sports, but we have become a baseball family.  And we live near Tampa, so naturally we are Rays' fans.

At the beginning of this year, the Rays were "raided" of most of their best players, who, after a great year last year, were wooed away with large salaries by bigger teams.  The Rays are a "rookie" team, having only been an MLB team for a few years.  They have a small payroll, relatively speaking.  And no one in Tampa, or elsewhere, expected much of the team that remained.  We all looked forward to a relatively uneventful year.

And it started out that way.  But, it did not end that way!

How does a group of young upstarts pull off a three-series win against the Yankees (who have the highest payroll in the MLB), to end with a spot in the playoffs?  And to boot, down in the 7th inning 7 to zero, score 6 runs in the 8th.  And at the bottom of the 9th, with two outs and two strikes, score a home run to tie the game?  And to win the game in the bottom of the 12th inning with a single homer by veteran Longoria? 

Determination, grit, teamwork, belief, a few veterans to lead the way (Longoria) and yes, a little luck (can you say Red Sox?).

This morning I have hope.  And this should give all of us hope and inspiration.  Miracles do happen.  If you have a vision and determination, tenacity, and a veteran (or mentor), the universe will add that extra ingredient to pull things together for you.  When your life falls into place as it should be, it will look like a miracle has occurred!

So, even if you are not a baseball fan, let the Rays amazing run to the playoffs uplift you and give you hope.  Hope that miracles can happen in your life. 

You provide the vision, determination and tenacity, let us be your mentors, and then let the miracles begin.  You are one step away from a path to a debt-free, asset-rich lifestyle.  Join the Zero Balance Revolution today!

Be inspired today.  I am!

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09.26.2011
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Six Steps You Can Take Now To Get Out Of Debt

In today's economy the buzzword is austerity. Gone are the days of living beyond our means using easy credit to do so. In order to simplify and decrease the stress in our lives, we need to reduce and eventually get out of debt.

If you have started a debt reduction plan - good for you. But, if you are having a difficult time getting started or developing a plan, this post will provide some much-needed guidance. And if you have had a drastic change in circumstance, such as the loss of a job or unexpected medical condition, you definitely need to follow this roadmap!

Here are the six steps:

1. Sit down, breathe, and take inventory of where you are and where you want to be. Since you probably know where you are, you need to define where you want to be in life. Money will only be a part of this picture. Write down a very detailed description of your "perfect" life, your deepest dreams and aspirations, financially and otherwise. Include as many details as possible.

2. Understand your cash flow as it is now. Make a list of all your income and all your expenses. Is the difference negative, or positive? Also, gain an understanding of your assets and liabilities, and the difference between the two (your net worth). Is that positive or negative?

3. Review your current cash flow CLOSELY. Look at areas that you can decrease expenses. Be non-judgmental, act as if you are an advisor consulting with a client. Find your "inner accountant" to assist with this process. Remember, your goal is to gain control of your finances and get out of debt!

4. Look at your true hourly wage. Figure out all the income you make from your job (including employer-paid benefits) and deduct all related expenses (commuting, daycare, etc.). Then, figure out the number of hours you devote to your job for the same period of time, including commuting, overtime, afterhours meetings, etc. Then divide your net earnings by your total hours, to get your true hourly wage. What does this tell you? Are you surprised? Using the information learned in Step 1, about your deepest dreams and aspirations, reassess your work situation. Would something else make more sense? For instance, maybe you will earn less hourly by working at home, but after considering commuting and other related expenses you will actually earn more, doing something you love? Turn a passion into income!

5. Look at your total expenses, reduced to the lowest possible monthly amount and including what you need to get out of debt as quickly as possible, to determine how much you need to make each month. If you are already making that much and more, then great - you know what you need to do. However, if you don't have a job, or are making less than you need to each month, time to get creative. Again, review your deepest dreams and desires to brainstorm ways to increase your income. Get creative and turn passions into cash. Everyone is an expert at something!

6. Develop a roadmap to get from where you are to where you want to be. Identify the steps needed to get you to your perfect life, and set deadlines to have each step completed.

Having a clear picture of where you want to be and the income it will take to get there will help you make appropriate decisions for your situation. You will feel empowered and energized because you have the information needed to better your situation and get out of debt, once and for all!

These are only six steps from the many exercises contained in the Life Money Handbook, which you can download free from this site! If you truly want to be debt free, you have to take the first step.

 

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09.22.2011
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Two Questions to Ask Yourself

I'm not sure where I encountered these two questions, but when I heard them I thought wow, two questions that once answered would provide a lot of insight into our money beliefs.  They are simple questions, yet profound.  Here they are:

What does money mean, to me?

What does being wealthy mean, to me?

Everyone will have different answers.  If there is any type of negative feeling towards these questions that says a lot of why you might be in a less than stellar financial position. 

So many of us were brought up with negative feelings towards wealthy people, or even jealousy.  Our subconscious thinks that "being wealthy must be bad".  As much as we all (think) we want piles of money, a negative feeling towards money will make it difficult to build those piles. 

We must embrace money as a good thing, a useful thing, a positive thing, but not the ONLY thing.  Many times our vision is skewed....I would be happy if only I had money.  Well, many people with LOTS of money will tell you that it does not make you happy.  That comes from inside. 

So take some time to reflect on these two questions and your initial reaction to them.  Now, adjust that reaction to something more appropriate.  Write down the more appropriate reaction and read it daily, until it becomes your new paradigm.  This will go a long way towards helping you find the financial peace you deserve.

 

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08.17.2011
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The Beauty of Life

As we go through our day to day routine, we often become numb to the beauty around us.  A dysfunctional relationship with money can take us into ourselves even more, so that we don't notice a beautiful sunset (or sunrise, if you are on your way to work)...we forget to hug our children or tell our spouse we love them.  We are so worried about paying our bills, about making enough money to get through the month that we lose site of the beauty in life.

I just finished watching a performance of Andrea Bocelli, accompanied by Lang Lang on the piano (no not live, but sometime in my life!).  What beauty, perfection.  Talent like that takes you to a greater place in existence, connects you with something far greater than paying that next bill.  It awakens that deep spirit within us, where our dreams and aspirations live. 

We all need to take the time to embrace the beauty in life, no matter what our financial situation.  I know people who appear very rich, but are living in a house of cards - and fear.  And I know people who have very little, but take time to enjoy life and all it has to offer.  A fantastic life isn't based on how much money you have, but how you embrace it and relate to it (life, and money).

I hope everyone has the ability to feel the beauty of a wonderful song, a perfect performance, nature and life, deep inside.  This is where life is lived.  And this is where change resides and will arise.

Join us.

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08.07.2011
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Relatively Speaking…

The US Government is in worse shape than most families in America:

"If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, spending $75,000 a year, and be in $327,000 of credit card debt.  They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year." (According to Dave Ramsey...)

Even those empowered to run our country for us cannot get out of debt.  And this commitment to debt, a large portion of which was to help the stalled economy, hasn't helped the United States get back it's MOJO!

So don't fret....we can affect our own personal economy.  Together, maybe we can help this country back to the great power it once was, one personal economy at a time....

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07.17.2011
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Money Worries

Everyone has them to one degree or another. Our goal is to give you a way to manage money thoughts so that your thoughts and emotions don't go in useless loops, depleting your energy and self esteem. 

Tough assignment. 

We have part of the solution; relaxed awareness, identifying what you can control and what is out of our control, focusing on what you can control and then making decisions based on clarity placed in the context of short, mid-term and long-term financial planning. 

Key thing is how we bring ourselves to a place of emotional clarity so we focus only on what we can change and control and let go of what we have absolutely no control over. This should, eventually, provide some relief and release though it won't take away the completely natural anxiety that arises when we have conflicting obligations. At least we will be able to say "Yes" to this and "No" to that without regret or remorse. We did what we could with what we had. We have to be at peace with that even if we are still not where we want to be financially.

Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be our friend and inspire us to find creative and unexpected solutions and force us out of our comfort zone to see a larger perspective. Here again the challenge is converting that energy into something positive rather than letting it eat us alive. 

That is our work and we will find a way.

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02.26.2011
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The Big Energy Drain – Worrying About Money

Do you know how much energy worrying about money takes?  

If you are constantly worried about money, whether you can pay the rent or your mortgage payment when due, or the car payment, or the insurance, you are not alone.  As the gap between the very rich and the rest of us grows bigger in this country, more and more people are worried. 

And this worry takes a tremendous amount of energy.  Energy you could be spending on activities with your family or that improve your situation.  Energy that could be used much more productively. 

Does it feel like you will always have to worry about money?  Or perhaps, you have just given up.  You don't even try to manage your money, you just make it from paycheck to paycheck (if you have one), from bill to bill, and tackle one at a time.  Borrow from friends or family.  Sell your things when you come up short.  Buy on-line course after on-line course promising the next "get-rich-quick" scheme.

It is often said that you get what your mind focuses on.  And when all you do is worry that you won't have enough money, you probably won't.  A common reaction is to put your head in the sand, like an ostrich.  Maybe it will go away.  But, you know deep down that it will be there when you come up for a breath, if you dare.

Take control of your worry by taking control of your finances.  Get a good grasp on where you are and where you want to be.  Figure out the difference and a way to close that gap.  By joining the Zero Balance Revolution Membership site, you will be on your way to pulling your head out of the sand and facing your situation head on.  Once you begin to take control of your finances, you will begin to feel better.  You will feel empowered. 

You can do this.  Come join us and let's do it together.  With our resources and your desire you CAN win the money game - once and for all!

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