Fiscal Literacy Friday – Financial Literacy Lessons Principle of the Piggy Bank

Posted November 12, 2010 by Fiscal Literacy
Categories: Budget, Financial Literacy, Fiscal Literacy, Goals, Inspiration, life, Money, Personal Finances, Success, Uncategorized

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 How many of you had a piggy bank when you were growing up?  I had one of the classic ceramic piggy banks that you had to break at some point to get out the money.  I always remember how excited I got every time I dropped coins into  the piggy bank through the small slot of top of the piggy bank.   I would pick up the piggy bank to feel the weight of all of the coins and shake it to hear all of my money in the bank.  It was an incredible day when I got to break open my piggy bank and see all  the coins spill out on the table.  My eyes lit up with amazement at all of the money that had accumulated.  I could not wait to take my hard earned money that I had saved and spend it.   It was an incredible feeling to walk into the store with all of my money and pay cash to buy that cool toy I had been dreaming about for months. 

 Now that I am an adult, I have had a change jar for years where I deposit my loose change at the end of every day.   I am still amazed at how fast and how much money accumulates in my modern day piggy bank.   In today’s high tech world, I take my change to the coin counter at the grocery store.   I pour in the coins and watch the total build up until all of my coins are counted.  I am sure you have a change jar or spot where you deposit your change every day.  

 These memories from my childhood got me thinking about The Principles of the Piggy Bank.   What can we learn from our childhood lessons on money that we can apply to our financial lives today?   Here are some key points that can dramatically impact your personal finances.

 Set-up a Piggy Bank Account – The piggy bank works for kids because it is lockable. It cannot be easily accessed.  Therefore, the money is saved and not spent.   It is essential that you set up a savings account that is separate from your normal bank account.   Do not get a debit card / ATM card or any other way to easily access your piggy bank account.  

 How bad do you want it? – Do you remember how obsessed you were over the latest toy as a kid?  That obsession was your motivation to put as many coins as possible into your piggy bank so you could save up the money you needed as fast as possible.  You need to rekindle that same motivation today for saving money, reducing expenses, paying off debt and achieving your financial goals.  Crystal clear goals will inspire you to take action and remain committed to achieving your goals. 

Change (Coins) Happens. –  Everyday we accumulate change from all of our cash purchases.    We typically never think about spending our change because it is too small to spend.  Once we set our change aside we never think about spending it.  We need to apply this principle to our monthly income.  We need to set aside a portion of our monthly income every month in our piggy bank account.  We need to look for ways to save money each and every day so we can take the dollars we save each day and deposit them into our piggy bank account.    The power of small financial changes can dramatically impact our personal finances.

  Time – As kids we did not fill our piggy bank over night.   We worked hard, saved a portion of our allowance, etc. to fill our piggy banks as fast as possible.  We need to understand that it is going to take some time to fill our piggy bank accounts.   The key to remaining committed is the same today as it was when we were kids.   We need to stay focused on the prize or the goal we set for ourselves just like we remained committed and focused on filling our piggy banks as kids.      

 Compound Interest A Grown-Ups Secret Weapon – As kids we saved our coins in a piggy bank.  We never earned one penny of interest.  We had to save every penny.  However, as grown-ups we can set up our piggy bank account using a variety of savings and investment accounts that earn interest.  It is the power compound interest than can dramatically multiply the results of our piggy bank account over time.  I will devote a separate post to explaining and illustrating the compound interest.  It is a simple financial concept that can have a dramatic impact in our lives.   There is a money quote that states “Those who understand interest earn it, and those who don’t understand interest pay it. 

Cash is King –  One of the most important lessons to be learned from the Principle of the Piggy Bank is the discipline of saving and paying cash as opposed to using a credit card or getting a loan.  This single point has the ability to transform your life and your finances if you are willing to commit to only paying cash and living debt free.   Millions of Americans have consumed their futures as a result of their spending habits.  However, it is never too late to take control of our personal finances.  It may be as simple as implementing our childhood lessons we learned from our piggy bank into our adult lives.  It may also be an excellent opportunity to use a piggy bank to teach our children the principles of the piggy bank. Simple lessons that can have a profound impact on our lives.

I hope you have benefited from this post on Financial Literacy.  If so, leave a comment.  In addition, please forward this to anyone you think might benefit from this short financial literacy lesson. 

You can follow Fiscal Literacy on Twitter and Facebook. 

 

Fiscal Literacy Friday – Financial Literacy Lessons 10 Keys to Financial Freedom

Posted October 15, 2010 by Fiscal Literacy
Categories: Assets, Budget, Financial Literacy, Fiscal Literacy, Goals, Inspiration, Interest, Liabilities, life, Money, Personal Finances, Success, Uncategorized

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The financial crisis has impacted the lives of millions of people. Therefore, there has never been a more important time than now to educate and empower yourself to take control of your own personal finances.   Here are some ideas and proven financial concepts that can dramatically impact your personal life and finances.   I hope you will take the time to read through them.   More importantly, I hope you will take the time to implement some of these ideas into your own personal finances.  

 

1.  Our Choices, Have Consequences – We must accept full responsibility for our own financial futures.  We must understand that our financial decisions and choices today will impact our lives tomorrow.  Therefore, we must evaluate all of our financial choices, expenses, purchases within the context of our overall long term financial goals and objectives.      

2.  Stop Consuming Your Future – Control Your Spending   When was the last time you reconciled every dollar you spent for the last 30 days?   When was the last time you looked at every charge on your credit card statement?   I challenge you to track every expense for a minimum of 30 days to see where all the money goes every month.   Use this exercise to look for ways to reduce unnecessary expenses, save money, etc.  We live in a consumer driven world.  Our spending habits are consuming our future.  We must take control of our spending habits to start moving towards achieving financial freedom.  

 3.  Create & Live Within A Budget    A budget is absolutely critical for anyone that is committed to achieving financial freedom in their lives.  A budget provides us the input we need to manage our income and our expenses.  A budget provides us accountability. A budget provides us a tool to work on achieving our financial goals.  A budget will dramatically impact your personal finances.   It will provide you the roadmap to achieve your financial goals. 

4.  Pay Yourself First – This is not a suggestion, but a key fundamental rule for anyone that has achieved financial freedom.   Have you ever stopped to ask consider how hard you work for your money?  Who are you really working for the bank, the mortgage company, the credit card company?  Stop making someone else rich!  You must always pay yourself first.   Start saving today and learn how to put your money to work for you. 

 5.  Become Debt Free – Debt is consuming the lives of millions of people.   Debt is what keeps us from pursuing our hopes, goals and dreams for our lives.  Debt robs us of our future.  The only way we can take control of our financial lives and our future is by becoming debt free and never going back into debt.  Debt free living must become your passion and your unrelenting goal.  Debt free living can be a reality for anyone that is willing to commit to the goal.  What if you were debt free?  How would it change your life?  What could you do or pursue if you were debt free?

 6.  Establish Cash Cushion   A cash cushion is an emergency fund that is created to cover your living expenses for 3-6 months.  It is also used to cover unforeseen expenses, repairs, etc. that come up in everyday life.  The purpose of a cash cushion is to keep you from incurring expenses on your credit card when emergencies arise.  A cash cushion will also provide you peace of mind that you have 3-6 months living expenses in the bank at any time.   I encourage you today to set up a separate bank account and start funding your cash cushion account.      

 7.  Commit Time Everyday to Improving Your Financial Literacy.  How much time will you spend on the internet and watching TV today, this week or this year?  How much time have you invested today, this week or this year improving your financial literacy?   What is more important?   There are countless free resources available on the subject of Financial Literacy.   Remember, we must take full responsibility for our own financial lives.  Simplify this task by working on one subject at a time.  Pick something basic like home budgets, etc. and get started today. Work on this with your spouse, family, friends etc.  Together you will learn more and encourage one another. 

 8.  Create Clear, Concise Financial Goals – This is one of the most important steps in achieving financial freedom.  It is our clearly stated goals that we have committed to writing that will compel us to take action to achieve financial freedom.  Without clearly stated goals we will abandon our financial commitments for the future and only think of our immediate wants and needs.  We cannot afford to waste our precious time, money and resources consuming our future by our lifestyle choices today.  Therefore, it is absolutely essential that you take some time and write out your vision and goals for your finances and life.   You want goals that will inspire you.  Goals that motivate you to achieve financial freedom and live the life you have always imagined living.  For more information on this subject see my previous post.  

 9.   Simplify Your Life – Our worlds are becoming more complex with every passing day.  What is consuming your life, your money and your attention and distracting you from the real things in life that are truly important in your life?  What can you eliminate or give away that will cut your expenses, free up your mind and simplify your life?    

 10.   Practice Generosity – Our lives will not be remembered for how much we earned or how hard we worked.  Our lives will be remembered for how we touched and impacted the lives of others.  Therefore, we should look for more meaningful ways to use our money, time and talents to impact others less fortunate than us.  Generosity creates wealth when we take the focus off our own selfish desires.  It provides us a bigger meaning for our money.  It provides us a purpose that empowers us to take action.   We don’t have to wait to become millionaires to start practicing the concept of generosity.  We can start today. There is always someone less fortunate that us and we can impact their lives.

I hope you have benefited from this post on Financial Literacy.  If so, leave a comment.  In addition, please forward this to anyone you think might benefit from this short lesson on the 10 Keys to Financial Freedom.  

You can follow Fiscal Literacy on Twitter and Facebook.

Financial Literacy begins with – The Power of a Vision to Transform Your Life and Your Finances

Posted July 19, 2010 by Fiscal Literacy
Categories: Budget, Financial Literacy, Goals, Home Ownership, Inspiration, life, Money, Personal Finances, Success

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What is the purpose of Fiscal Literacy?  It is a commitment to help improve the financial literacy of Americans by providing clear concise information, facts & expert advice to educate people on a variety of topics i.e., money, finances, debts, mortgages, real estate, budgets, etc. 

It is a commitment to help educate and empower people to make informed choices regarding their personal finances that dramatically impact their personal and financial lives.  

People become empowered to take action to transform their lives when they learn that they have the ability to impact their lives, to achieve their goals and make their dreams become a reality.   This realization or breakthrough creates hope for the future.   It is this hope for the future that will compel people to take action, to stay the course, to overcome setbacks and to make conscious choices on a daily basis to move closer to their goals. 

 History is full of compelling stories of individuals who overcame adversity, lack of education, physical limitations, lack of financial resources, etc. to accomplish great things in their lifetimes.  They were able to accomplish these great feats because they had a crystal clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish in their lives.  They were unwilling to accept failure or be deterred from achieving their vision for their life.

Therefore, it is essential that we work on developing a crystal clear vision for our lives.   This is the first step in our pursuing Financial Literacy for our lives.  Financial Literacy is not just about the money.  It is  all about understanding the power of money, the impact of our financial choices, and how we can use our financial resources to accomplish our goals for our lives.  

Everyone wants to achieve financial independence but few people actually achieve it.  Why?  Most people end up consuming their future by the financial choices they make every day.  They never stop to consider the how their financial decisions today will impact their future.  Unfortunately, many people never received any formal education in school regarding financial principles on money, budgeting, investing, etc.   Therefore, they were at a disadvantage from an early age.  For many people their only source of input on money came from their parents.  Well intentioned parents may have never received any formal education on money during their lifetimes as well.  Therefore, they may not have been the  best source of information or set the best example with their personal finances for their families. 

However, there is a group of people who achieve financial independence. There was a great book written that examined the lives, lifestyles and financial habits of self-made millionaires.  There are no get rich quick stories.  It is about average people who achieved above average results in their lives.  The common denominator is revealed as you see the similarities in their lives.   The book will provide you encouragement and insights into achieving the same goals for your life. 

The book is “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D. and William D. Danko Ph.D.  Here is a link to Google Books for a preview and review of the book.   http://bit.ly/asJ15s

 It is interesting to note that approximately 80% of the people who achieved financial independence did so on their own, they did not inherit their money.  They worked hard, lived conservatively, learned sound financial principles and became financially independent.   These statistics should provide hope and encouragement for any person who wants to take control of their finances and move closer to financial independence.   It all starts with a vision of what can be possible for our lives when we see that it became a reality in other people’s lives.

Therefore, It is critical that you stop and take some time to reflect on what you want, why you want it, what will it give you.  This will help you create a vision for your life.  Here are some questions to help you start working on creating a clear and concise vision for your life.  A vision that you are passionate about achieving in your life.  The list is not all-inclusive, but is only meant to serve as a reference to help get you started.  It is your life and your future. Think Big and don’t limit yourself! 

Questions to help you create a compelling vision and goals for your life

What are your hopes and dreams for someday?

What’s missing in my life? 

What are you passionate about?

What things do you value most in life?

What gives you meaning and purpose in your life?

What is your idea of the perfect life?

What would it look it? 

Where would you live? 

How would you spend your time? 

How would you touch and impact others lives?

What your natural gifts and talents?  Are you using them to your benefit?

Are you living a balanced life?

What things do you value most in life?

What are you committed to personally that would be bring balance to your life?

How much money do you want to make?

What would you do with the money?

Why is being successful important to you?

How would you use your success to help others?

Vision Planning – This is the first step to creating a compelling vision for your life.  You need to take your answers and insights from your planning questions and clearly articulate the vision for your life.  This needs to be written as if it has already occurred in your life.  I suggest writing from the perspective of a journal entry reflecting back on your awesome life at a given point in time in the future that you select.  For example, a key birthday, a specific date like 12/31/2020.  This vision for your life must be written be so clear that you can see it, feel it, touch it and experience it as if it has already occurred in your life.   

Convert your vision into specific goals and commitments.   Once you have clarified your vision for your life and committed your vision to writing, it will be much easier to establish meaningful goals.  You want goals that will inspire you to take action.  Goals that keep you committed to achieving your goals and ultimately the vision for your life.  Why?  Because your vision for the future will compel you take action today.

What actions MUST you take to achieve your goals? Break them down yearly, monthly, weekly daily.   Nothing meaningful ever happens with our hopes, dreams or goals for our lives until we commit to a “specific date” that we will achieve our goals.  Therefore, once you  have committed to these dates, you are on a path to achieve your goals.  Next you can start creating an action plan to achieve the goals you set for yourself.  Therefore, you must take your goals and break them down into measurable tasks, activities and results that you can measure.  This provides you a basis for tracking your progress and celebrating the achievement of your short-term goals and successes on the way to celebrating the achievement of your ultimate vision for your life.

What are your personal commitments to achieving your goals?  You can create an awesome vision for your life, set specific goals and create action plans to help you achieve your vision for your life.  However, without an unwavering personal commitment to changing your habits, actions and thoughts you will never achieve them.  You need to realize that there will be setbacks, road blocks, break downs along the way to achieving the ultimate vision for your personal life and finances.

However, just like with every other person who has achieved something meaningful in their lives, they remained committed to their goals, hopes and dreams for their lives.  They were unwilling to accept failure or be deterred from achieving their vision for their lives.     Therefore, I suggest you read and reaffirm your vision for your life on a daily basis.  Think about it, dwell on it and act on it every day until it becomes a reality in your life.   You can achieve your dreams…..

I hope this blog post has added value to your life.  I hope it has inspired you to take action.   If so, I hope you will forward this post to someone else who might benefit and become inspired in their lives.  You can follow my posts on Twitter as well.  

The focus of this blog will be Financial Literacy.  The goal of Financial Literacy is to help educate and empower people transform their lives in a way that not only touches and impacts their lives but also gives them the resources to touch and impact others lives.  That is why I have created Fiscal Literacy.

I wanted to leave you with a compilation of famous quotes on the subject of vision, goals, etc.  I hope they inspire you to take action in your life today, not someday….

Inspirational Quotes

“People never plan to be failures; they simply fail to plan to be successful”  William Ward

“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible”  Jonathon Swift

“Goals are not only absolutely necessary to motivate us.  They are essential to really keep us alive”  Robert Schuller

“Goals determine your thoughts – thoughts determine your life”  Anonymous

“The greatest thing limiting ourselves, is our conversation with ourselves”  Scott Cummings

“Your life is an expression of all of your thoughts”  Marcus Aurelius

“What the human mind can conceive and believe, it can accomplish”   David Sarnoff

“Some men succeed because they are destined to, but most men because they are determined to succeed”  Anonymous

 “Success if it is to be, it is up to me”  Anonymous

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”  Robert F. Kennedy

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”  Henry David Thoreau  

 

 

 

The Power of Today

Posted January 8, 2010 by Fiscal Literacy
Categories: Financial Literacy, Goals, Inspiration, Success

Tags: , , , ,

The Power of Today – Change Your Life Today, not Someday!!

We are all waiting and hoping for someday in the future when our lives will be different or we will have the time and resources to pursue our hopes, goals and dreams for our lives. However, for most of us someday never comes. We just keep postponing our lives waiting for that perfect time in our lives.

As a result, we miss out on the most important day of our lives, TODAY! We are so consumed with the worries of tomorrow, the regrets of yesterday and the busyness of today that we miss out on using the only day we have to change our lives and that is Today.

Therefore, I urge you to review these points I have listed below and use them as a catalyst to start living differently today. Take control of your life, your future, your hopes, goals and dreams for your life, Today.

More importantly, I urge you to live today in way that touches and inspires you and others around you. Live today with no regrets. Live today fully self expressed, laughing and loving every moment of your life.

“Thoughts on Today”

Today is “The Day”

Today is the day to sit down and commit your goals and dreams to writing with a date when you will achieve your goals

Today is the day you preplan your day to ensure you love every moment of it.

Today is the day to take action to accomplish our goals

Today is the day to spend some quality time with the people closest to you in your life

Today is the day to perform a random act of kindness without expecting anything in return

Today is the day to be generous with your time and money

Today is the day to use your unique gifts and abilities to touch and impact the lives of those less fortunate than you

Today is the day to invest your time and money in something bigger than your personal needs

Today is the day to say “I Love You”

Today is the day you write a hand written personal note or card to someone special

Today is the day to tell someone “I appreciate you more than you will ever know”

Today is the day to call someone and say “I’m sorry, do you forgive me”

Today is the day you forgive yourself and let go and start living and loving life

Today is the day to take control of your health and fitness

Today is the day you make choices in every area of your life that are congruent with your hopes, goals and dreams for your life

Today is the day to “design your perfect day” and live it to the fullest

Today is the day you live with no regrets

Today is the day you do not waste your time, energy or resources on senseless or needless off purpose activities

Today is the day you take control of your personal finances and your future

Today is the day you spend some time growing spiritually

Today is the day that you find humor and laughter in every moment like a child

Today is the day you stop and count your blessings

Today it is my hope that your life will be changed forever. Today is the day I hope you will look back on your life and say “That was the day.” That was the day my life changed forever. That was the day I started living differently. That was day I started living my life to the fullest every day and moment of my life.

by:  Fiscal Literacy