A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Don’t Be Lazy! Get Up and Make Your Money Work

I’m starting a new series of posts today. I’m calling it the “ABCs of Personal Finance.” The word for the letter A is Action, because succeeding with money in your home requires action. Your financial situation isn’t going to get any better while you sit idly by and ignore it. So, it’s time to get moving and make some changes. Ready?

He sure looks comfortable, though. Poking him with a stick might be a bad idea. Like irritating my wife before her morning cup of coffee.

  • INCOME – GET TO WORK. Everything worth doing is going to be hard and take a lot of effort. If you want a career that gives you a sense of purpose and pays you well, you’re going to have to take action.
    • Truth: Any job that you can get with a 10 minute interview in a booth at a fast food restaurant is unlikely to pay a lot, and will never be a great career. If you want a bigger paycheck, you have to make yourself more appealing to better employers, and that takes work.
    • First Step: Start Reading. Read books written by the best in the business you want to be in. Read classic business books. Read books about how to get a better job.
  • BUDGET – MAKE A PLAN. Having any income is great, but paychecks have a nasty tendency of looking bigger than they actually are, and spending more than we make has become a national crisis. Planning is an essential part of winning. Even if this month’s budget fails, you learn and fix what failed next month. If you’re not budgeting, you’ve robbed yourself of that opportunity to improve. Take action and give every dollar you make a purpose.
  • GROW – SET GOALS. Once the income is coming in and the bills are all covered, it’s tempting to breathe easy and relax. That might work, if all you ever want to do is just cover the bills. If you have bigger dreams, if you ever want something more than what you have right now, you have to make conscious decisions about how to get there and set some goals. You have to take action.
  • FIGHT – DON’T GIVE UP. Remember, everything worth doing will be hard and take a lot of effort. It’s going to be tough, but as long as you’re breathing, there is always hope.
    • That job may be all you can get right now, but it’s not forever.
    • That budget may be so tight it scares you, but it’s a start.
    •  That goal may seem so out of reach, but you’re still growing.

What do you think? What parts of your finances could use a little less conversation and a little more action? Did I cover it all or miss something important? And what should be my word for X? Let me know in the comments below!

[image from publicdomainpictures.net]

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Work and Money | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Don’t Be Lazy! Get Up and Make Your Money Work

Debt Kills Dreams

Let’s look at some numbers for a minute:

The latest Census data has the median household income in the US at around $50,500.

If a household is carrying debt, then their average credit card debt is over $15,000.

The average mortgage is just under $150,000.

The average student loan debt is around $26,500.

The average car loan is tricky to calculate, but we know that the average new car price is over $25,000, and that the average car payment is over $450 with an average period of 72 months.

So, just working on the principle, that’s over four years worth of debt. Which is a lot. Of course, that doesn’t take into account the interest on all of that debt, which will just pile up more and more with each additional month it takes to pay it all off. That also doesn’t leave any room for other necessities, like utilities for that mortgaged home, or gas for that depreciating car, or food.

Even without the home mortgage, $40,000 to $50,000 worth of debt can take two or three years to pay off, if you’re really trying. And you should really be trying, because debt can be a killer.

See, when you take on a debt you have invited your creditor into your life. They now have a say over a part of your income. You’ve lost some of your freedom for the money that was lent to you. It always seems like an easy relationship to get into, but it has it’s price.

Giving other people a say over part of your family’s income means that they indirectly get a say over the other decisions you make about your life. Would you like to change jobs? Maybe you want to go back to school? That better not interrupt payments. Would you like to move to another city? You need to do something about your home, and that underwater mortgage. Any decision that you think about making that has the slightest effect on money in your life has to be filtered through the lens of ‘keeping current.’

That limits your opportunities. We all have dreams and hopes for the future, but if you can’t respond to an opportunity because of your obligations on your debt, then those dreams are now being held prisoner by your creditor. And missing those chances again and again wears down your hope and blurs your vision. After months and years, your dreams are dead and mostly forgotten, except for the barest hint of regret for what might have been.

Don’t let debt kill your dreams. Get out of the rut. Make this the year that you make a change and get back your freedom.

What would you do if you didn’t have any payments? What dream is being held back because you don’t have the money?

January 7, 2013 Posted by | Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , , | 4 Comments

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Life can be very hard. Right now, many of us can find valid reasons to complain about the world around us and its effect on our lives. The economy is weak. Unemployment is rampant. National leadership is easy to question. Conflicts abound abroad and at home. Fear and depression can easily be the emotions of the moment, moment after moment, day after day, on and on. There’s a problem with that, though. We were made to be better. We’re not supposed to spend our moments complaining out of fear and worry. We have the gifts of hope and vision, and we need to remind ourselves of them, especially when life is very hard.
  • Christmas is a great time of year, because almost everyone thinks just a little bit more about generosity and charity. Here are a couple of opportunities that you might want to take advantage of. First, Jon Acuff wants to help fight poverty by providing goats to the poor through Food for the Hungry. If you’re looking for something a bit more personal, though, I’ve got just the thing. GoFundMe.com is a crowdsourcing site for personal projects and life events. It’s like KickStarter, but for things like weddings, memorial funds, babies, pretty much everything. I’m not endorsing any of the projects on there, but I am encouraging you to go look around and see if you can’t find an opportunity to be generous to someone you don’t know.
  • I’ve been struggling with keeping a steady income with my current job, and developing a new career around financial coaching. I want the latter, but the former pays the bills really well. That’s why Seth Godin nailed me with this post. Whichever of those two is getting my best energy is the one that’s going to flourish. If I say I’m taking the new career seriously, then my time, energy, and focus need to reflect that.

Is there something valuable or important or cool or funny or weird or awesome out there I missed this week? I can’t hit it all, but you should let me know about it by dropping me a line or sharing it in the comments below! I’d appreciate the heads up.

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week