Travel and Lifestyle

Money Talks- Emergency Fund


An Emergency Fund is money set aside in times of crisis-job loss, unexpected illness, major home or car repair, etc. Due to the instability of current market its imperative that you have money set aside in case of an emergency. There is no way to predict when an emergency will occur but you can be prepared if something happens. Emergency funds give you the financial freedom and time needed until your condition improves. Over 80,000 jobs were lost this year, and in January, over 250,000 homes were lost due to foreclosures. So the real question isn't whether, or even when, they will happen, but how it will be resolved.

How Much?
A general rule of thumb is to save at least 3-6 months of living expenses. Determine how much you need to save by tracking your monthly expenses both fixed and variable? Examples of fixed would be your rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance premiums. Examples of variables food, gas, clothing, utilities. Check out sites like Mint, My Spending Plan , or Duck Software, that offer free online tools to help create, track, and understand your monthly expenses. Start saving something today. It doesn't have to be a large amount; start small and gradual increase until goal amount is reached.

How to save on tight budget?
Once you create a budget you will be able to have a graphical view of how you spend your money. You will be surprised to find out that your spending $100 a month on take out, or $85 bucks on lattes and morning Joe! Evaluate your budget and find create ways to shift money to more constructive spending, ie emergency fund. Treat the fund like a bill and even consider having set amount automatically transferred from your checking account or pay check.

Where to Keep it?
I often considered putting my money in a coffee can and bury it in the back yard (probably safer than the current stock market), but that is a bit archaic! The market will eventually improve and confidence will be restored. According to A Women's Guide to Investing, you want to keep your money in an account that are fairly liquid and will not risk losing your money-such as high yielding Savings Account , or Money Market Account (not your checking account), or short-term investments like Certificate of Deposit (CD) or US Treasury Bonds. Wherever you decide to keep your money, the key is accessibility in times of emergency.

When to Save?
NOW
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Time For Success

The average life span is 70 years- 25,568 days, 613,620 hours, 36,817,200 minutes, 2,209,032,000 seconds. How you spend every second, minute, hour, day, of your life is critical to your emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual development. As I watch the 2008 summer Olympics, I’m amazed at the level of skill, precision, dedication, athleticism of the athletes. In the Olympics the best of the best compete for the coveted gold medal. I wonder what did it take and how much time was spent on becoming the best at their sport.

Michael Phelps, World Breaking Olympic Gold Medallists Swimmer, trains for six hours a day, six days a week, without fail. Even if Christmas day falls on a training day, he does a full day of training. Total dedication to his training program has made him a world champion. He swims approximately 50 miles (80km) each week, which is over 8 miles per training day. He has two massages everyday and also takes ice baths to help his body to recover.



Usain Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter, at the 2008 Summer Olympics became the first man to win all three events at a single Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984, and the first man in history to set world records in all three at a single Olympics. He trains 5 times per week on track, 3 times in the gym for average sessions that lasts 2.5 hours.



Shawn Johnson, Olympic Gold American gymnast, has disciplined herself to practice four hours a day, five days a week.



What do you want to accomplish? What do you do with your time? What sacrifices are you willing to make? How you spend your time demonstrates your willingness to be successful at the goals you set. Everyone has the ability to be great! But are you taking the time to develop your talent and work diligently toward it. Do you spend a lot of time watching television, surfing the net, talking or text on the phone. What value do they add to your personal achievements? If your constantly eating unhealthy foods and not active you will gain weight and be at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. Want to advance in your career, but are you taking time to take classes or get higher education to achieve that goal? Saving for a new car or new home, you don’t want to spend your paycheck every time there is a sale at the mall. Spending time with your family is necessary in developing strong, lasting bonds. You become what you develop! I’ve found the best way to manage my time is to create a to-do list for the week. This keeps me focus on my goals and eliminates temptations to deviate from my intended task. Sometimes life’s daily activities can distract us from our intended goals and we lose sight of our dreams. Maybe you don't have time for yourself because you've acquired baggage that makes it very difficult to carry out your dreams. Try the following to get back on track:


Eliminate activities that are not getting you where you want to go, or helping you achieve your goals.

Evaluate relationships that do not contribute to your overall success. Eliminate or reduce the amount of time spent on relationships that aren’t going anywhere or taking you in opposite direction of where you’re going.

Avoid Spending money on items not used or does not add value or have lasting benefits.

Eliminate time spent that is not contributing to your overall well-being or mission in life.
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The Worth of a Mom

A study recently conducted by Edelman Financial Services tried to identify the many occupations that a typical mother might be said to hold over the course of a year. The researcher also examined salary data supplied by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, trade groups, and human resource and staffing firms. Putting all the information together, Edelman estimated that a mother's worth is approximately $507,000 per year! Here is a breakdown of the various tasks typically performed by a mother and the corresponding median salaries:

Animal Caretaker....$17,500
Executive Chef....$40,000
Computer Systems Analyst....$44,000
Financial Manager....$39,000
Food/Beverage Service Worker....$20,000
General Office Clerk....$19,000
Registered Nurse....35,000
Management Analyst....$41,000
Childcare Worker....$13,000
Housekeeper....$9,000
Psychologist....$29,000
Bus Driver....$32,400
Elementary School Principal....$58,600
Dietitian/Nutritionist....$41,600
Property Manager....$22,600
Social Worker....$30,000
Recreation Worker....$15,500
Baking warm cookies for an after-school snack.....Priceless
Giving a hug, a smile, a word of encouragement....Priceless

There are some things money just can't buy! While Edelman's research may have been on the right track, the truth is that a mother's worth is incalculable.
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Talk Money Tuesday- Setting Goals

Be careful what you wish for and how you plan to get it, or you won't. You can succeed in reaching your goals for building wealth for your lifetime use and passing it along to your heirs. But, in order to do it, you'll need to do things a bit differently from most people. Don't sit and wait for opportunity to come knocking, go look for Mr.Opportunity or create your own. If you ask wealthy people how they got that way, "They were determined to meet their financial goals". In order to direct your determination where it will help you the most, you must first identify what you have now. Assuming you've done that, the next step is to set your goals for the future.

Visualizing the Goal
What's the best way to set goals that will help motivate you to achieve your personal financial wants and needs? A purely monetary goal may not be a very powerful motivator: Most of us need to focus on tangible items or tangible benefits. One of thee first steps in goal setting is finding a concrete goal or goals that motivate us emotionally. How about that classic black Mercedes Benz, a brand new home, Cruise around the world. Spend a day or two making up a list of the things you've always wanted, and prioritize them. You'll probably find that you have some short-terms goals and some long-term goals. An example of a short-term goal might be creating a vacation fund to support your vacation plans for the next year. Example of long-term goals would include retirement planning objectives. Whatever it is, make sure these are your goals, not someone else. Once you have come up with the goals, do enough research on your goal so that you know it "inside and out". Imagine at least once a day how it would be to have your goal, and how your life would be improved by having it. If the goal can be represented by a picture, keep one or more pictures where you're bound to notice them.

Measuring the Goal
How to make your goal measurable, you need resources. How close you are to having the money to pay this price is a convenient way to measure your progress toward reaching your actual goal. In order to make your goals measurable, we suggest two steps: reducing your goals to a monetary amount and setting a deadline to reach the goal. Put it in writing. Be sure to keep your written goal somewhere where your are sure to see it. What will it take to reach your savings goal? Clink the link below and use the Savings Goal Calculator to help you find out. Enter in your savings plan and view graphically your financial results.

http://www.finance.cch.com/sohoApplets/Savings.asp
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Talk Money Tuesday-"Your Starting Point"

In order to be successful, you must have resources. To buy that dream home, purchase that new car, save for retirement, start a new business, college fund, requires money. Before I start talking about, 401K, mortgage loans, IRA, Stocks and Bonds, 529 college plans, lets first deal with the basis of financial freedom-saving! Here's 4 tips for your journey toward Financial Freedom:

1.Be honest! "A Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, but you must know what direction your going in." You may not want to think about the money you've spent and the money you did not save, but acknowledging where you are can help in making wise decision in the future. Know the facts about your credit, spending habits, & debt. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free credit report. Take inventory of your assets and liability. You can print a downloadable personal financial statement to help inventory your finances at http://www.finance.cch.com/tools/downloads/perfinanstatement.rtf

2. Commit to saving! I live by the 80/10/10 rule; 80% income goes to basic living expenses, 10%tithe, 10% saving. I have money automatically withdrawn from my bank account so I don't even miss it. Online banks like, ING offers free savings account with no fees, no minimum balance, 4% return-www.ingdirect.com. You may not be able to save 10%, but commit today to save at least $30.00 month, $1.00 a day and then gradually increase as you see fit.

3.Build a budget. Sit down and record your income and expenses and manage money accordingly. I recommend www.mint.com which offers a free money management tools to build budget.

4. Cut Frivolous Spending. Make a list of needs vs. wants. Cut back on entertainment, eating out and other extras. Give yourself a weekly allowance.
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