I ran across an article on U.S. News & World Report’s website about having a seven-figure retirement portfolio (http://goo.gl/SDMQ7) and another about retiring oversees (http://goo.gl/gH315). Yes, these are both ambitious goals that many people dream of but never achieve. But you don’t have to be one of them.
Both of these things – and any other financial dream you may have – are entirely attainable. All it takes is Read More
I always love the end of the current year and the start of the new one because it signifies a new beginning. This is the time when you can reflect on your behaviors from the previous year; you can take the positive with you into the new year and leave the toxic, negative ones behind.
When choosing resolutions, a lot of you will gravitate towards fixing your money issues, improving your bodies or both. You want to put the financial turmoil of the previous year behind you, and find a pathway to financial abundance in the year to come. And it wouldn’t hurt if you could achieve that dream body you’ve always wanted, too. What you may not realize, though, is that pursuing your financial goals will do your body good as well.
Maybe it’s that both of those aspects of our lives require constant dedication. Western culture is so body conscious, and there are constant reminders of money everywhere. Every time we walk out the door, watch TV or go online, there are opportunities to spend. And every time we sit down for a meal, drive past a fast food restaurant or see healthy looking people, we are reminded of our bodies.
Since these principles of excess are ingrained in our beings, it may seem daunting to change both areas simultaneously. There are countless stories of people taking on both, going all in, and then burning out a few weeks into their massive life change. But, it doesn’t have to be this way for you.
Focusing on improving one area of your life usually has a spill-over effect. Good, positive effort and action breeds good, positive responses. For example, think about the last time you donated money or volunteered. You felt happy, fulfilled, and walked around with a positive energy. And you were more motivated to do positive things for others. You smiled at a stranger. You held the door for someone. You said ‘thank you’ for the simplest actions.
Instead of going into the new year thinking about everything you need to improve, focus on one thing. If financial fitness is your goal, sit down and make a plan for it. If you want more in savings, look at your current situation and figure out what you can reasonably put away each month.
Then, automate your deductions. Set date or two each month that a certain amount transfers from your regular checking over to your savings. Doing this gives you less to worry about: no trips to the bank, no reminders and no excuses.
The key is to take meaningful steps towards achieving your goal. Write down your financial plan and make the first ‘payment’ to yourself with your next check. Seeing what you’ve accomplished that quickly will inspire you to keep going. It will also motivate you to change other areas.
December 2010 marks the three-year anniversary of the Great Recession. We’ve spent the past three years hearing so many stories about what went wrong. People got laid off unexpectedly, couldn’t find another job, and ended up losing their homes. And others had to go from a typical middle-class income to unemployment literally overnight.
What we overlooked, however, are the positives that came out of this rough economic time. Here are five good things that came out of the Great Recession.
People learned how (and why) to save
With the threat of being laid off at any time looming, people stopped spending freely and started tracking where their money was going. Families started cooking more instead of eating out, and some even started growing food in their backyard to cut grocery costs. Another change brought on by the recession? People cut up their credit cards and worked on a cash-only policy. They also added more to their retirement savings and started itemizing their deductable tax expenses (http://goo.gl/6xH3D).
While consumers were forced to make cuts, companies had to think of more creative ways to market their products and services. Since sales are harder to get and budgets are slashed sometimes by 50% or more, workers had to get to their bottom-line more creatively than ever before. (http://goo.gl/ft9z5) And this went beyond the workplace. Slashed personal budgets meant keeping refurbishing older clothes, doing home renovations by hand and getting creative in the kitchen.
…As well as small businesses
Did you know that college students can rent textbooks now instead of buying them? Where was that when I was in school! Websites offering this are everywhere, and a lot of students are taking advantage of it. Other businesses are profiting from the recession as well. Pawn shops and thrift stores are “reporting higher volumes of business and even a broadening of their customer bases.” (http://goo.gl/TuaWb).
People began to pursue their true passions
A while back, I read an article about a man who got laid off from a management job. Instead of searching for another similar position, temping or getting part-time work, he decided to intern for a politician. At 42, he was the oldest intern in the building. I found this so inspiring. He turned his recession layoff into an exciting opportunity for himself. And there are thousands of others who took the same path that he did.
We started to value what’s truly important
And it’s not money or a bunch of stuff, either. Your health, your family, and your children – they’re all priceless. And the recession reminded us of that. Sure, less money meant more stress. But it also meant more time with your kids, and pursing that career you always wanted to but never got around to. This recession forced us to re-evaluate our relationship with money, and that newfound stability has set a great foundation for the future.
Tags: recession, great recession, the great recession, recession anniversary, Julie Murphy Casserly, unemployment, saving money, emotion behind the money, emotion and money