Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Importance of Teaching Kids Financial Literacy as Early as Possible

There are some alarming trends happening in America today:

According to Bankrate.com, one in four Americans has more credit card debt than emergency savings and that number is going up. And according to Time.com, more than half of Americans have no emergency savings at all.
Sadly, it seems like more and more people are using their credit cards as their emergency savings.

The average age to get a first credit card is now only 20.8 years and steadily dropping. Isn't this trend teaching our youth to expect instant gratification and to buy things right away even when they don't have the money? I feel that it also teaches procrastination and the "Don't worry I can pay for it later" type of mentality.

According to CNNMoney.com, the average American household with at least one credit card has nearly $15,950 in credit card debt! Do you think that number is going up or going down?

Conventional wisdom used to be that it was necessary to put at least 10% of your money away for retirement. Just a couple of years ago I heard that it needed to be closer to 15%, if you really wanted to retire, much less, be living well in retirement. However, I just read an article that suggests that after taking into account increasing lifespans, decreasing employment benefit plans (pensions and employer matching programs) as well as the potential for changes in social security, that elusive rate actually needs to be even higher - try 20%! It seems that as the years go on, that number is only going to get higher and higher. As a matter of fact some experts are even saying that in theory, you really need to start saving for retirement when you are 10 years old! Good luck trying to get a 10 year old to start saving for retirement.

So, in a nutshell debt is going up while savings is going down, and it looks like it is only getting worse.

How can we reverse this trend for our children?

There is no easy solution, but in order for us to reverse these trends it is imperative for us as responsible adults to
  1. Learn as much as we can about how money works and to start the process of getting our own finances under control.
  2. Become good financial stewards and good examples to our kids. Remember kids do not do what we say, they do what we do.
  3. Pass this knowledge on to our kids through the many daily "teaching moments" and by reinforcing any good financial habits. Repetition is key!
April is Financial Literacy Month and along with reading my weekly posts, I'd like to recommend to you an additional resource that has been very instrumental in helping me to reverse some of the bad financial trends that were happening in my own family.

Nancy Phillips is the creator of Zela Wela Kids and has a mission to help increase the financial and life success skills of our youth globally. Nancy's Zela Wela Kids series of childrens books teach kids many very important financial as well as life lessons in the form of stories. For instance, one story teaches the importance of dividing money into different meaningful categories like Giving, Investing, Saving and Spending, so that all of it does not get spent at once - an important habit to take to adulthood. Another story teaches the difference between needs and wants and how a wish list for a child can translate into a dreams and goals list as they grow older. And, yet another story teaches kids how becoming more entrepreneurial can be fun. How important is that in this economy? Nancy also has an audio series that helps adults teach kids about critical financial skills from as young as two all the way up to their teen years in an age-appropriate manner.

Also, when you visit Zela Wela Kids - Financial Life Skills Resources for Kids and Parents and enter the Coupon Code "FinancialConfidence", you wil get 15% off your order.

So, let's take the first steps towards teaching our kids good financial habits as early in their life as possible. Together we can start reversing these negative trends and help guide our kids towards a much better financial future!

I'm so excited to share this information with you. If you have enjoyed the information or feel that it would benefit someone else, please share it. If you have any comments, please post them below, otherwise, feel free to contact me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Overcoming Fear in All Its Disguises
Written by Jack Canfield

Fear is one of most common reasons people procrastinate on taking action toward their goals. In an effort to avoid failure, rejection, being embarrassed, disappointing or angering other people, getting hurt and a plethora of other things, we play it safe and avoid trying new things.

Fear is natural. But it’s important to remember that, as humans, we’ve evolved to the stage where almost all of our fears are now self-created. We scare ourselves by imagining negative outcomes to any activities we pursue or experience. In fact, psychologists like to say that fear means Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real.

Identify Unfounded Fears

To identify the unfounded fears in your life, do this simple exercise. First, make a list of the things you are afraid to do. These are not things you are afraid of, such as spiders, but instead the things you are afraid do to, such as skydiving.

Next, restate each fear in the following format:

I want to_______________, and I scare myself by imagining ____________________.

For example, I want to start my own business, and I scare myself by imagining that I would go bankrupt and lose my house.

By completing this statement for all of the things we are afraid to do, it’s easy to see how we create our own fear by imagining negative outcomes in the future.

3 Ways to Overcome Fear

Here are three easy techniques for moving past your fears:

1. Disappear fear by choosing a positive mental image. When we’re afraid, our minds are full of negative thoughts and images. When you are feeling afraid, tune into the images in your head. Then choose to replace them with a positive image of your desired outcome. For example, if you’re afraid that starting your own business will end in bankruptcy and losing your house, instead picture your new business becoming wildly successful and buying a second vacation home with all of the added income you’ll be earning in your new company.

2. Focus on the physical sensations. You may feel fear in your body as a sinking feeling in your stomach, a tightening in your shoulders and chest, or an elevated heart rate. Next, focus on the feelings you’d rather be experiencing instead, such as peace and joy. Fix these two different impressions in your mind’s eye, then move back and forth between the two, spending 15 seconds or so in each. After a minute or two, you’ll find yourself feeling neutral and centered.

3. Recall your successes. You’ve overcome countless fears to become the person you are today, whether it was learning to ride a bike, driving a car for the first time, or kissing someone for the first time. New experiences always feel a little scary. But when you face your fears and do them anyway, you build up confidence in your abilities. The situation you’re facing now and how your fear is manifesting may be different than what you’ve experienced in the past, but you know how to overcome your fears. You’ve spent a lifetime doing so successfully.

Feel Your Fear and Do It Anyway

Every successful person I know has been willing to take a leap of faith even though they were afraid. They knew that if they didn’t act, opportunity would pass them by.

Recognize fear for what it is: a mental trick that your ego uses in attempt to protect you from the negative outcomes it imagines. You create your fear and you have the power to dissolve it as well. Use the techniques outlined in this article to overcome this powerful roadblock … so you can turn your dreams into reality and live the life you deserve. Remember, no one achieves greatness by playing it safe.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul©Inspirational Books)© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com/.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Don't Be a Complainer
Written by Jim Rohn

Complaining. There's room for legitimate complaining, but if you let this deadly disease of attitude - complaining – loose, it will conquer you. Complaining can take over your life, destroy you and leave you without anything. Nobody wants to take along a complainer. Nobody wants to promote a complainer.
Nobody wants to live with one. Nobody wants to be a partner of one. Nobody wants to have one around. Complaining leaves you out of more opportunities than you can possibly imagine if you let it take over and grab you by the throat. If you don't think complaining is bad ask the children of Israel of Old Testament fame. Now let me say something right here, they are typical of us all (if we had ourselves in a similar position); their story just happened to get in the Book.

The story says that the children of Israel are slaves in Egypt. God performed a series of dazzling miracles and gets them out. Now they have their freedom and are heading for the Promised Land. But... the tragedy of the story - they never got there. Reason - from day one they started to complain.

They griped about the food - they had just been delivered from slavery and they are complaining about the food?! They complained and cried and griped about the water. In the desert they HAD water to drink, but... it didn't taste that good?! They complained about the leadership... that had just delivered them from slavery?! They complained that it was too hot, too cold, too far, too difficult, and too rocky. They cried for years - forty to be exact. Finally, God said I've had it – trip cancelled!

The story says that they died in the desert and never reached the Promised Land - after all that trouble! I believe this story teaches two things:

1) Indulge in complaining long enough and you will get your future cancelled - future promotions, future opportunities.

2) Even God himself can only take so much complaining.

I think you get my point. Complaining is not for the winners in life. You must focus on what you can do, not what you cannot. And you must focus on the opportunities not the difficulties. When you do this you will not only inspire yourself but you will be an example for others to follow as well.

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2013. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

How to Properly Construct Your Financial House

When building a house, you wouldn't go to your architect and say, "I know the foundation is important, but I really like kitchens, so can you build my kitchen first? After my kitchen is done then you can work on the foundation." No one in their right mind would suggest such a thing because everyone knows that when
building a house you need to start with the foundation first and build it from the ground up.

Well, the same is true with your financial house. You must first start with a sturdy foundation for which to build everything else on. In the following video, I will demonstrate the proper way to construct your financial house in such a way where it will protect you and not come crashing down.

I hope you enjoy and please leave me your comments below!



If you cannot view the video please click on this link

I'm so excited to share this information with you. If you have enjoyed the information or feel that it would benefit someone else, please share it. If you have any comments, please post them below, otherwise, feel free to contact me.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Personal Development - The Plan
Written by Jim Rohn

Now, here is my definition of success: A few simple Disciplines practiced every day. Do you see the distinction? A few disciplines... Here's a little phrase we've all heard, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." And my question to you is, "What if that's true?" How simple and easy is that plan?

The fact is, when you look at successful people, you will almost always discover a plan behind their success. They know what they want, they work out a plan that will get them where they want to go, and they work their plan. It is the foundation for success. We as humans have the unique ability to affect change in our lives; it is through our own conscious choice when we engage in the miracle process of personal development that we are able to transform our nature and our lives.

It is the combination of the materials and your open attitude towards learning, driven by the diligent following of a plan that is right for you, that will make this year the kind of success you want it to be. So let me challenge you to be no less sincere, be no less committed to the advancement of your philosophy, the set of your sail, your plan.

So, what are some good ideas on developing a plan that will work well and take you to the finish line powerfully and in style? Here are some major points to keep in mind:

Develop the Plan for You. Some people are very detail oriented and they will be able to follow an intricate plan closely. Others are a little more "free-wheeling" and not really "detail" people. That is okay too. In all the years of my speaking to audiences worldwide, people have asked the question, "What plan is the right plan?" And my answer, the plan that fits you. Your plan, the one you develop that is unique to you and for you. You see, each of us is unique and motivated by different factors and you've got to develop one that is right for you and fits you. Some plans will not be as intricate as others but we all must have a plan, along with goals in that plan, to move us along the program. If you are a free spirit type, don't tell yourself you are going to spend 2 hours a day with a book and tapes and journal. It probably won't happen and you will get discouraged! Whatever your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses, develop the plan around them! This is not a one-plan-fits-all proposition.

Establish Times to Spend Working on the Material. It may be every Sunday night. It may be 20 minutes each morning. It may be in the car listening to the CD's every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Whatever it is, set the times and do it. In your step-by-step plan, put down points that you can accomplish every week. They should be specific and achievable. Develop the discipline and take those steps every day, which will move you closer to your goals and where you want to be.

Keep a Journal. Take notes. It may be on paper, it may be on a micro-recorder. Mr. Schoaff taught me not to trust my memory, but to write it down, to find one place to gather the information that affects change. And that advice has served me well all these years. Record the ideas and inspiration that will carry you from where you are to where you want to be. Take notes on the ideas that impact you most. Put down your thoughts and ideas. Brainstorm with yourself on where you are going and what you want to do. Record your dreams and ambitions. Your journals are a gathering place for all the valuable information that you will find. If you are serious about becoming wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, unique, if you come across something important write it down. Two people will listen to the same material and different ideas will come to each one. Use the information you gather and record it for further reflection, for future debate and for weighing the value that it is to you.

Reflect. Create time for reflection -- a time to go back over, to study again the things you've learned and the things you've done each day. I call it "running the tapes again" so that the day locks firmly in your memory so that it serves as a tool. As you go through the material in this plan, you will want to spend time reflecting on its significance for you. Regularly set aside time - here are some good guidelines for times to reflect: At the end of the day. Take a few minutes at the end of each day and go back over the day - who'd you talk to, who'd you see, what did they say, what happened and how'd you feel, what went on. A day is the piece of the mosaic of your life. Next, take a few hours at the end of the week to reflect on the week's activities - I would suggest at least one half-hour. Also during that weekly time, take a few minutes to reflect on how this material should be applied to your life and circumstances. Take a half day at the end of the month and a weekend at the end of the year so that you've got it so that it never disappears, to ensure that the past is even more valuable and will serve your future well.

Set Goals. While we are going to cover this soon enough in upcoming weeks, let's just remember that your plan is the roadmap for how you are going to get to your goals, so you have to have them. Of all the things that changed my life for the better (and most quickly), it was learning how to set goals. Mastering this unique process can have a powerful effect on your life too. I remember shortly after I met Mr. Shoaff, he asked me if I had a list of my goals, and of course I didn't. He suggested to me that because I lacked a set of clearly defined goals that he could guess my bank balance within a few hundred dollars... and he did! Well, Mr. Shoaff immediately began helping me define my view of the future, my dreams. He taught me to set goals because it is the greatest influence on a person's future and the greatest force that will pull a person in the direction that they want to go. But the future must be planned, well designed to exert a force that pulls you towards the promise of what can be.

Act. Act on your plan. What separates the successful from the unsuccessful so many times is that the successful simply do it. They take action, they aren't necessarily smarter than others; they just work the plan. And the time to act is when the emotion is strong. Because if you don't, here's what happens - it's called the law of diminishing intent. We intend to act when the idea strikes us, when the emotion is high, but if we delay and we don't translate that into action fairly soon, the intention starts to diminish, diminish and a month from now it’s cold and a year from now it can't be found. So set up the discipline when the idea is strong, clear and powerful - that's the time to work the plan. Otherwise the emotion is wasted unless you capture the emotion and put it into disciplined activities and translate it into equity. And here's what is interesting: all disciplines affect each other; everything affects everything. That's why the smallest action is important -- because the value and benefits that you receive from that one little action will inspire you to do the next one and the next one... So step out and take action on your plan because if the plan is good, then the results can be miraculous.

We are at the beginning of a fantastic journey that is going to help us become all that we want to - so let's get going!

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2013. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.