It’s been a LONG time, but I’m finally back!
Did you all miss me 😉 ?
I have had many life changes over the past few years, which I will share with you in the weeks to come. Naturally, all of those changes impacted my personal finances in either a positive or negative way, and I’ve been taking my notes and figuring out a blueprint for how to handle money better. Whether you feel like you’re no good with money, or you feel like a money pro, I think the information I’ll be sharing will benefit you tremendously.
In addition, I’ve been watching the financial scene both up close and from a distance (through my work as an enrolled agent and my current position as a financial analyst). Please note that all of the information presented on this blog is my own and strictly opinion, though I’ll always offer source material and references whenever possible. These posts do not constitute a financial advisory relationship, though if you’re interested in my services, you can contact me and we can discuss whether we should work together.
Of course, if you have additional tips or ideas that can help make this blog even better, I’d love for you to share them with me and all of the other readers of this blog.
Welcome to 2021, and let’s make our money stories AMAZING! I’ll talk to you all soon!
I will be doing a soft relaunch of this website in February 2021. I’m so excited to be back in this space, and to update you all on the new stuff I’ve created in my absence!
Here’s a quick rundown of the most interesting tax and finance articles I’ve read this week:
Special taxes for soda? Well, Mexico implemented a 10% soda tax, which meant that any sugary, carbonated beverages costs consumers more than the price of a bottled water. According to the article posted by Wired, the US could learn something from how the Mexican soda tax was implemented. Berkeley, California already has a version of this tax, but, without nationwide uniformity, the effects of a soda tax are limited. The researchers remain hopeful about the US implementing something similar, but I remain a skeptic. I know how Americans, in general, feel about any tax. They also believe it is their right to guzzle toxic products, so long as said toxic product tastes good.
The takeaway? A soda tax is highly unlikely in the US, where personal freedom reigns over collective wellbeing.
Kids are benefiting from “drugs” (marijuana sales) in Colorado. The Cannabist reports that the 2015 excise taxes collected on marijuana sales totals $3.5 million so far, with numbers expected to increase over the upcoming months. The funds are being used for school construction. There is some additional proposed legislation that will help facilitate the continued use of the excise taxes for school, but it’s very likely that the proposition will pass.
The takeaway? Since marijuana purchases in Colorado mean school funding, purchasing cannabis is now a civic duty.
Do you find that, at the end of the month, you always end up with more month than money? Well, that seems to be a national epidemic, as the federal government managed to overspend its tax revenue by $313 billion dollars. According to CNS News, the feds collected nearly $2.5 trillion dollars in tax revenue over the past 9 months, and still managed to overspend. The largest tax collected came from individual income taxes, followed by payroll (Social Security and Medicare) taxes, then corporate taxes. Despite so many tax streams, the government still spends too much. Let’s hope that this fiscal mismanagement gets under control.
The takeaway? Bouncing checks is a national trait, and it’s detrimental on any level.
That’s all for this week. Look out for another post this week!
I’ve met a lot of people that had varying financial circumstances. One of the greatest perks of working as an International Tax Specialist was that I got to see how people around the world financed their lifestyles. With the experience I got working at IRS, I found that the biggest thing keeping people from their lifestyles is their own limiting belief systems. They honestly believe that they cannot afford the life that they desire because of cost. Remember, I saw people living abroad and doing very well, earning much less than many folks here in the US.
To be honest, MOST people can live extremely comfortable lifestyles for far less than they think. The main thing that you will need is a new mindset, or a new way to approach your finances. I will write a few posts about this, as I think that it’s important for everyone to understand my personal beliefs as it pertains to finance, and how I guide my clients’ financial plans. I’m not going to spout a bunch of feel-good theory, but I will share how I approach personal finance when speaking to clients.
First, if you want to live a more quality life, you have to really examine your wants and make them high priority. The key is:
**Redefine your Wants as Needs and You Will Increase the Likelihood of Attaining Those Things**
The problem with most people is that they place their strongest desires in the Wants category, which significantly decreases their importance. I propose that instead of classifying a non-immediate goal as a Want, try classifying it as a Need. When you change how you state your biggest goals, it will tell your subconscious mind that your goals are necessary to your survival and, as with anything needed for survival, your mind will work overtime to find a way to secure whatever survival goal you desire. Here are some examples of Wants redefined as Needs.
*I want a new career
*I need a career that will use my talents to the full and keep me inspired.
*I want financial security
*I need to generate enough passive and earned income so that, even during tough economic times, I may continue to live my fullest life.
*I want to travel internationally
*I need to explore the world, because this feeds my soul and keeps me intellectually stimulated.
When Wants are redefined as Needs, it forces your mind to devote more resources and energy to achieving that redefined goal. I think that any long-term desire can be redefined as a Need. When you make your goals a priority, you will see opportunities that may not have been obvious before; you will also find that you’re subconsciously arranging your life to work in harmony with your Needs.
Writing down your redefined Wants is extremely important. The process of writing takes an idea and makes it something more concrete, tangible, and realistic than when the thought resided in your head. I’d also suggest that every time you take an action toward a goal, make notes of things that worked and things that didn’t. You are apt to repeat a successful experience if you can replicate it.
Please check back in the upcoming weeks for more tips on finance, as well as some very special updates from me!
This post is a little different from the others, as this is related to an experience that I had a little over a week ago. I had the chance to attend a business conference that encouraged me to continue offering my clients the BEST. This conference clarified some information that I received while I was building my business, but the concept of “training” was only a small part of the value I received while at the conference.
Photo I took after I got back to my room. Each business card represents an amazing entrepreneur that I met while I was at the conference.
I got the invaluable experience of CONNECTING with many likeminded women, all on similar paths, all working on taking their talents to those that need them most. I found these women SO encouraging and inspirational! There were entrepreneurs from all different walks of life, and all of us were putting the WORK into creating the lifestyles of our dreams, by offering our highest gifts to others. Not only were these women likeminded, but they were all so nice and positive. Everyone was kind and genuinely wanted everyone else to succeed.
As a rule, I try to limit my exposure to “feel-good” rhetoric that is all emotion and little action. I was thrilled that the conference was NOT a bunch of endless chatter with no one actually DOING what they say that they want to do. Everyone in the room was committed to taking action, were already on their paths, and/or able to share how they have gotten tangible results from the actions that they have taken! Honestly, how many of us have walked away from an event and said, “Now THERE’S a group of folks taking action”? It’s a rarity, I assure you. I was delighted to see that this conference wasn’t a bunch of meaningless talk.
The conference ended with the hostess offering the audience the chance for intense, targeted coaching that would guarantee success. Knowing that I have many obligations this year, I declined the opportunity. If I was willing to forgo some of those obligations, then I would have committed to the program. But in any case, I’m honored to have been in the presence of so many amazing women, and I’m so happy that I took advantage of this conference. Being in the presence of so many likeminded women was so inspirational, and I’ll cherish this experience forever.
As a rule, I like to keep things simple. One of the principles I share with my clients is that there are 3 things- and ONLY 3 things- that need to be implemented in order to ensure financial success. These 3 pillars are the basis for every budget, long term retirement plan, and customized Prosperity Plan that I create. Would you like to know more? (I see you nodding!) Here is what you need to be financially successful:
This isn’t a discussion about good debt vs. bad debt. As far as I’m concerned, ALL debt should be eliminated as soon as you possibly can. Debt that isn’t tied to appreciable assets (like land, businesses, or even education credentials) is especially repulsive. Always aim to pay things off, pay on time, and avoid taking on debt unless it’s for something that retains its value.
So long as you are paying money to others, you will find it hard to have money for yourself and for the things that make your heart sing. Debt reduction is critical to financial success. Less debt is always the better choice.
There are lots of arguments made against earning more money. But, those arguments invariably come from people that complain about not having enough money. Not only do those underfunded folks bash those that earn more, but they justify their own scarcity so that they won’t have to make any changes or possibly TAKE ACTION to alleviate their monetary discomfort.
As a general rule, more income, whether it comes from wages, self employment income, or passive income streams, is a good thing. If you have enough money coming in, you automatically have access to more options. OPTIONS are all about freedom: if you have more money, then you are free to choose the things that YOU want, without fearing that you will go lacking in other areas of your life.
This is, oddly enough, the hardest part of financial success. Putting money aside and resisting the urge to spend it has to be one of the most challenging parts of becoming financially successful. It seems that whenever someone finally gets a nice little nest egg put away, sudden “emergencies” appear, which whittle down those savings to nothingness. It’s depressing and demotivating when those “emergencies” happen, which is why some people seem to always have no “rainy day” money. They are discouraged from saving again, lest those “emergencies” deplete that nest egg once more.
My best suggestion is to put the money in an account that requires an unusual amount of effort to do withdrawal. My federal job has the option for thrift savings accounts, and it takes quite a bit of paperwork in order to do a withdrawal. That, in my opinion, is enough of a deterrent to keep me from going in and recklessly spending my retirement savings.
Those are my top tips for achieving financial success. These are recommendations that I’ve personally implemented successfully. What are some of your favorite financial strategies/tips?
More of the amusing and interesting stories in the world of tax and finance that I’ve read this week…
If you think that your last speeding ticket was a doozy, just imagine paying $58k for wanting to get to your destination faster. Forbes reports that Finland assesses speeding fines based on a percentage of personal wealth, rather than the fixed rates that most countries impose. This fine was imposed for going just 14 miles over the speed limit. It may sound odd, but since fines and penalties are designed as a deterrent, it makes sense that these fees would be proportionate to income.
The takeaway? Drive at the speed limit.
Usually, being the first person to do something is a privilege. It’s a source of pride for years and gives you serious bragging rights. However, Plaxico Burress, NFL wide receiver and New Jersey resident, is finding out that being the first isn’t always a good thing. Burress has been indicted for “willful failure to pay state income tax”. The law went into effect September 2014 and Burress is now the first person to be charged for willful nonpayment. According to the NJ Prosecutor’s Office, Burress filed his state income taxes but experienced a failed Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). The state views failed EFT similarly to writing bad checks.
The takeaway? Make sure that your checks and EFTs are clearing properly, so you won’t be left with fees and (in the case of Burress) legal woes.
Is it possible to get hooked on doing GOOD for others? According to this Reuters article, microfinancing addictions are REAL and the urge to do more can quickly become consuming. The author mentions that the desire to help as many budding entrepreneurs around the globe can spiral out of control. He suggests that microlenders set a cap to their spending, be patient with issuing loans and receiving repayment. and consult others before going all in with your lending.
The takeaway? Pace your do-gooder inclinations so that you can do good for a longer time.
That’s all for this week. There will be more posts VERY soon!