Building Your Finance “Dream Team”

Now that you have your “Ultimate Financial Organizer“, you may be wondering how to fill it in. (What do you say? You don’t have yours yet? Well then, click HERE to get it!) Each of the sections are designed to be useful to you as you organize your finances. This post will discuss your finance team and the roles of each person involved.

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Accountant

The purpose of your accountant is to review your finances, prepare tax returns, and help reconcile your financial records at your request. Your accountant’s role may or may not overlap with the roles of the financial advisor. Most accountants work within the “past”, as far as preparing reports to reconcile previous financial actions, while the financial advisor works on future goals/ventures and attempt to project which future actions would result in financial gain.

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Attorney

Attorneys are great for discussing a wide variety of legal issues. Attorneys can help you write wills, set up estates and trusts, draft contracts, and represent your interests in court. Attorneys generally don’t work with your financial figures (that’s up to the accountant, banker, and financial advisor) but they understand the legal repercussions involved with certain courses of action. Everyone will either need or work with a lawyer at some point in life. It’s best to shop around in advance and find one that can assist you so that, if you need one, you won’t have to do a mad dash to find someone reputable. Your attorney should know all of the other members of your team, since the legal advice provided may very well affect the services provided by the other team members.

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Banker

Regardless of where you bank, having a good relationship with one of the bank/credit union representatives is crucial. The biggest flaw I see when people discuss their banks or credit unions is that they UNDERUTILIZE the resources provided. They allow these institutions to hold their money, but they don’t ever see what benefits and services are provided, other than savings and checking accounts and loans. Either drop in or schedule a time to meet with one of your financial institution’s advisors. Let them know that you want to learn about all of the services that the bank/credit union offers. A good representative will be too thrilled to go over the details with you. As soon as you find a rep that you feel comfortable with, consider him/her part of your Finance “Dream Team”.

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Financial Advisor

This person could be your accountant or your banker. You can always hire ME as well (wink wink). In any case, the financial advisor partners with you, in creating a wealth plan that mirrors your values and is aligned with your goals. The right financial advisor is a visionary, that helps make your financial dreams a reality. Just like the rest of your finance team, your financial advisor should be someone that makes you feel comfortable, that listens to you and is honest, creative, and a good communicator. Along with your attorney, the financial advisor should know about all of the other individuals on the team and have some sort of relationship with them. The advice provided by the financial advisor directly influences the services and programs you explore with the other team members.

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Insurance Advisor

No one wants to leave their assets vulnerable. Insurance is a must, and can very well mean the difference between years of comfortable lifestyle and a destitute existence. Many people have NO IDEA what kind of insurance they need, other than what is required by law (auto insurance for car owners, renters insurance for tenants, etc.). The key to having an excellent insurance advisor is finding one that doesn’t try to sell you EVERYTHING that the company offers. When you find an insurance advisor that focuses on creating the best insurance package for YOU, as an individual, you’ve found a winner. Always consult with your financial advisor and attorney to make sure that you have adequate insurance, and to verify that the insurance advisor has done a good job with creating a package for you.

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Religious Advisor

This seems like an unlikely choice for a member of your Finance “Dream Team”. However, if you do have a religious affiliation, it’s very important that the advisor of your choice is aware of any financial plans that you have that involve your religion. For instance, if, upon your death, you plan on leaving a charitable donation to your religious group, then your advisor needs to know that. Likewise, if you have some religious justification for how you will fund certain goals (certain faiths discourage members from acquiring loans that charge interest), it may be helpful to have the guidance of your religious advisor.

Get Your FREE Gift!

This is just a way for me to thank you for being such awesome readers! I promised you more posts, tweets, and some goodies this month, and I hope I delivered! As the end of May draws near, I would like to share my labor of love, “The Ultimate Financial Organizer“.

I took care to make sure that this guide covered some of the major areas of personal finance, and it is a convenient way to keep your personal information in a central location. Just click here to get your guide!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope I can continue to serve you and help you put your money where your dreams are!

Crafting a Prosperity Plan

Last week, I proposed that we take a new approach to our finances. With a clear view of what really matters to you, it’s time to create a plan.

The overall intent is for whatever you desire to progress into recognizable benefits for you. The progression from innermost desire to outward manifestation is something like this:

Idea–>Plan–>Action–>Result

The acronym PAR (plan, action, result) is nothing new, but I want you to remember the acronym IPAR-it keeps your dreams, your desires, your IDEAS, at the forefront. Without your desires at the helm, your motivation will fade.

There are a lot of great books and websites that can tell you how to create great plans. In fact, I create Prosperity Plans for my clients, who need a little help reaching certain goals. But for the DIYers, I’m going to give you my quick and dirty method for taking an idea and crafting a plan around it.

Crafting Your Prosperity Plan

1. Choose one of your Needs as you listed in your notebook.
2. Answer the Ws (who, what, when, where, why) that apply to this Need.
3. Think of monthly, weekly, and daily tasks to achieve this Need.
4. Start on one of the tasks IMMEDIATELY.
5. Every week, spend about 15-30 minutes writing down your progress

For an example, I’m going to use a pretty common Want and show you how to create a prosperity plan for it (I’ll leave out only a few details, since this particular Want/Need is a future post-in-the-making.)

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WANT: I want to be rich.

First step: Redefine it as a Need (and make it specific)

NEED: I need to generate enough supplemental income so that I can quit my job and still provide for my family.

Then use the rest of the Recipe for Success:
5 Ws
Who: Me
What: generate supplemental income to exceed my current income
When: complete by Summer 2016
Where: Wherever I want to live
Why: So that I may quit my job and focus on my other passions

Here are some monthly, weekly, and daily goals that will get you on the right path:

Monthly Goals
-Create (and stick to) a reasonable budget
-Save money in a rainy-day fund
-Explore alternate ways to earn income

Weekly Goals
-Move my savings to accounts that have have higher interest rates
-Review checking, savings, and credit card accounts to monitor spending habits
-Read one book (as much as your time allows) that teaches money management principles

Daily Goals
-Brown bag your lunch instead of eating out
-Read the finance section of the newspaper (or go to the finance section of your AOL, MSN, Yahoo, etc.,.)
-Use coupons as often as possible, and only purchase items that you absolutely need

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Your daily goals feed into your weekly goals, which help you realize your monthly goals. Easy, right? Anything can be taken through this formula, in order to create a plan that get you where you want to be.

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The month isn’t over yet! Please stay tuned for MORE great offers and informative posts over the next couple of weeks!

Special Offer- FREE 30 Minute Consultations!

I promised you all that this month, you’d see more posts, more tweets, and some special offers.

Today, I’m offering something REALLY special. Normally, my consultations are 15 minutes long, and longer consultations are only part of purchased programs. However, if you request a free consultation any time through May 21, 2015, I will DOUBLE the consultation time! That’s 30 minutes of FREE advice/answers from me! By the way, this offer will apply to any consultations scheduled, as long as you submit your request by May 21st. The appointment period will run from today to August 31, 2015.

In the contact form below, make sure you put your name, email address, and any finance/tax questions you have. I will do my best to answer them as completely as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you!

A New Way to Approach Your Finances

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
versus
*I need a career that will use my talents to the full and keep me inspired.

*I want financial security
versus
*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
versus
*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.

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Please check back in the upcoming weeks for more tips on finance, as well as some very special updates from me!

On Connecting With Likeminded Individuals

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

If you are interested in learning more about the conference, please visit the Happy Black Woman website and Facebook page for more information. I think you’ll find it very useful!

The 3 Pillars of Financial Success

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:

Reduce Debt

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.

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Earn More

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.

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Save More

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.

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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?