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Should You and Your Spouse Have Separate Accounts?

games Disagreements about how to handle the family finances is often sited as a leading cause of divorce. There seems to be an increasing number who are separating their finances so they don’t separate! This would have been unheard of just a generation or two ago.

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Opposites attract

In many relationships, there is a spender and a saver. Or sometimes you have two spenders who spend differently – one who frequently buys little incidentals that may add up to a lot of money over the course of the year and another one who can’t resist the major purchases.

Is it wrong?

While some people are finding separate accounts the way to go, others think that it’s just wrong. They believe that it’s a bad sign if a couple doesn’t co-mingle their funds.

Does that stem from a time when you had one wage-earner in the home?
Is it a control issue?
Perhaps it has to do with religious beliefs?
Or maybe it’s a trust issue?

We don’t know the answer, but we do know that many couples are making this work.

Why it works

We think keeping separate finances works for a number of reasons. Among them:

  • The saver isn’t frustrated by money being spent on things they think is unwise.

  • The spender doesn’t have to defer gratification so long that they just can’t stand it anymore. 

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How it works

We’ve seen a number of ways to do this. Here are two examples:

The Allocators. These couples begin by allocating who pays for what. It’s a negotiation process. If you choose this system, determine your respective spending priorities. Then, whenever possible, let each spouse pay for those things they feel are most important. Divvy up the basics however you see fit.

Once you’ve figured out who will pay for what, each spouse then gets to spend, save or invest however they want.

The Allowancers
. Okay, we struggled with a name for this group. That’s the best we could do!

Allowancers may maintain a joint account to pay mutual bills like the mortgage or the utility bills. Then they divvy up the excess as allowances.

But don’t forget to take out the trash or you may lose your allowance!

With their allowance, each spouse can save or spend however they want. One spouse may even save to spend … on that next major purchase.

A final thought

You may have heard us say this before, but our thought on this issue is this:

If it works for you and your family, it works.

It doesn’t matter what other people think or even say. What does matter is that you find a system that helps you keep your finances in order. After all, they are a key component to living out your bigg dreams!

How do you and your partner handle your finances? 

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Success in a Can

can_of_success Today we want to talk about a miracle solution that we just discovered. You can use this magical elixir for any problem you may have.

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If we were to create an infomercial for this wonderful product, we’d want Billy Mays, the spokesperson of all spokespersons, to be our pitchman. We can hear him now …


Billy Mays here with a product that I’m excited to tell you about. Success in a Can. If
you have problems staring you in the face; it will make them disappear without a trace.

For a demonstration, he could offer real-life example after real-life example.

So are you interested in knowing where you can buy this incredible product?

Well, it’s not sold in stores as the saying goes. You won’t find it online either. You see, it’s very exclusive. We can hear you now … you really want this product, don’t you? But there’s something you should know …

No one can get it for you. No one can give it to you. You have to get it yourself. But people who have used this product say that it is priceless.

So, we can hear you asking again … only more impatiently now … where can you find Success in a Can and how much it will cost?

Here’s the secret – you have to mix this magical solution yourself. The good news is that you already have all the ingredients.

Ingredient #1 – Self-awareness

Do you believe in yourself? We mean really truly believe deep down. Listen carefully to your talk – both your conversations with others and those internal chats you have with yourself.

How often “can” you? How many times “can’t” you?

Can’t is a limiting word. If you think you can’t, you’re right. And that’s just wrong!

Now we don’t think you should eliminate the word “can’t”, but you should be aware of it. You should limit its use to situations that don’t limit you. Because it reinforces what you truly believe. 

Ingredient #2 – Self-assessment

Think about your strengths and your weaknesses. You may think that’s odd – why would you think about your weaknesses if you’re trying to limit the use of the word “can’t”?

That’s a good question. Let’s see if we can come up with a good answer …

It’s important to be realistic. Because Success in a Can doesn’t mean playing to your weaknesses. It means knowing what you’re best at. It also means working with other people doing what they’re best at because you know they can! There, how did we do?

Ingredient #3 – Focus

Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. Whenever you hear yourself saying that you “can’t” do something, quickly start thinking about what you “can” do about the situation. By focusing your thoughts on what you can do, you’ll feel more energy to work on the issue at hand.

Ingredient #4 – Reinforcement

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself you can do it. When you face a difficult challenge, tell yourself you can find a way. When you see an opportunity, remind yourself that you can make it happen.

If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. Success in a Can does come with a price … you have to change the way you think. But if you do, you’ll pop the top for bigg success. 

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Thank you for sharing your time with us today. You’re the reason we can! Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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Bad Examples of Multi-tasking

texting

Some things go hand-in-hand. Love and marriage. Peanut butter and jelly. Even peanut butter and chocolate.

In an effort to get things done and manage our time, we multi-task. And sometimes we take it to an extreme.

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georgeFor example, is it really necessary to take (or make) a call while going to the bathroom? Yet I’ve seen guys standing at the urinal while talking on their phones. If you make this a practice, do you flush?

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marylynnI was in a store a few days ago. The woman behind the counter was vacuuming while she talked on the phone. I just don’t know how you combine those two tasks effectively.

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Can you walk and text at the same time?

We’ve all heard about texting while driving. Well apparently, there’s been an outbreak in emergency rooms of people who were texting while walking. They’re missing the step off the curb and falling into cracks. And they end up needing medical treatment.

Maybe the old question, “can you walk and chew gum at the same time”, needs to be revised!

Cruise control isn’t automatic pilot!

Unfortunately, this next one is also a true story. A woman purchased a new Winnebago. On her first trip down the road, she set the cruise control in her new motor home. Then she left the driver’s seat and went to the back to make herself a sandwich. Needless to say the vehicle crashed. Winnebago now includes instructions in their owner’s manual to explicitly warn against this form of multi-tasking!

Tossing the salad

Our favorite example, though, is the Seinfeld episode where Kramer installed a garbage disposal in his shower. He loved to shower, but it took up too much time. So he started multi-tasking. Among other things, with the disposal installed, he found he could make dinner while he showered.

Once his dinner guests found out how their dinner had been prepared, they nearly tossed their salad!

What bad multi-tasking examples can you think of? 

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we say “blame, blame go away …” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00317-012709.mp3

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A Formula for the Blues

unhappy It’s Monday of the last full week of January. You know what that means? It’s Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year, according to Dr Cliff Arnall, a Cardiff University psychologist.

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He devised a formula to find out when people are unhappiest. It’s based on many factors – the weather this time of the year in many parts of the developed world, Christmas bills coming in as we try to figure out how to pay them, our New Year’s resolutions starting to fall by the wayside, and more.

It’s been reported that fewer people went into debt this Christmas compared to prior years. So maybe it won’t be so bad this year. On the other hand, we get blasted daily with reports of layoffs, store closings and other bad news. Many people are feeling like they’re not in control of their own lives. So this may be a particularly blue Blue Monday.

Rock bottom up!

We can see the glass as half empty or half full. We could just sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. Or we could look at it this way – if today really is the most depressing day of the year, then it can only be better for the rest of the year!

It reminds us of J.K. Rowling’s address to last year’s Harvard graduates. She said that, before her success with Harry Potter, she reached rock bottom. She found it very liberating because she knew she had nowhere to go but up.

Dreamin’ and schemin’

That’s what we call our formula for getting over the blues. It works for just about any situation that you’re unhappy about. So use this to get back on track with that New Year’s resolution, for financial problems, and just about anything else. Well, it won’t help with the weather!

Step 1: Allow yourself to mentally escape. For just a little bit, stop thinking about where you are. Instead think about where you want to be. Picture it as clearly as you can. Then write it down.

This has helped us innumerable times. By focusing on where we want to be for a short time, our motivation returns. We find we have new energy to return to the problem that got us down in the first place. Now we have the strength to return to the present and move to the next step.

Step 2: Schedule your steps. With your written description from your mental escape in Step 1 in front of you, think about your current situation. What will it take to get from where you are to where you want to be? Write down every step that you will need to take, focusing of course only on things you can control.

Step 3: Take the first step. This is really the most important step. Taking even the smallest step helps you lose that feeling of powerlessness. It gives you a reason to pat yourself on the back. It gets positive energy flowing to solve your problem instead of being frozen by it.

This is something that helps us get over the blues. What works for you?

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happy and it's FREE!

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Oh, and if you’re feeling down today, hang in there. Dr. Arnall has also calculated the happiest day of the year. That happens in June!

Thanks so much for reading our post today.

Tomorrow, we’re inaugurating a new President here in the United States. He’ll swear that he will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.” Join us next time when we ask, “Does your organization need a Constitution?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!  

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00311-011909.mp3

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(Image in today's post by aprilbell)

Marketing in Tough Times: Part 3

marketing3 We wrap up our conversation with John Jantsch on today’s Bigg Success Show. John is the author of the fantastic book, Duct Tape Marketing – The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide. So far, we’ve discussed:

Part I: getting closer to customers and building your business with strategic partnerships

Part II: how to add value to improve customer loyalty

Let’s continue …

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marylynnJohn, what if you’re a business that’s been around since … 1942. You’ve gained trust, you’ve been reliable, but you notice customers trying out your new competitor. What do you need to do?

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johnOne thing that’s happening, just like you described, is that the way in which people are finding companies and the way they are getting information has forever changed because of this little thing called the Internet. I have found that companies may be doing a great job, but they have not embraced the new ways in which people want to get information – the Internet, blogs, search engines, e-mail marketing, and mobile marketing. If you’re not at least trying to understand how your market is changing, you probably are going to get left behind. So when people ask me what they should be doing in 2009, I typically say to embrace the web and create web presence as opposed to thinking that the web site you put up five years ago is good enough.

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georgeIt’s interesting … I was talking with a business owner not long ago whose customer base is 45 and older, very well-to-do and educated. His perception is that his customers aren’t on the Internet because they’re older. But that’s no longer true.

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johnNo, and another misperception, of course, is that “I’m just selling stuff here in town. I don’t need to sell stuff on the World Wide Web.” I read a statistic out of Forrester the other day that said that 83 percent of adults are now going online to search locally for products and services. That’s shoes, legal services, and the plumber across town … as opposed to buying a sweater at some online store across the world.

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georgeIn times like these, advertisers are hungry for that revenue too. With your competition cutting back, isn’t this an opportunity to really stand out in a way you can’t in good times?

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johnWell, I think there are a couple of opportunities. One is that there are deals to be had in print and broadcast advertising. I’m not saying that we want to prey on bad times necessarily. But there are opportunities to buy some lower cost advertising right now, to the tune of ten cents on the dollar. But the thing that I would focus on, in addition to getting closer to your customer, is building a systematic approach to converting leads. In some cases, this doesn’t cost anything. But in most cases it pays the greatest dividend. One thing that happens in good times is that the phone is ringing a lot. You get a little bit lazy. Sometimes you say, “Hey, I could be there on Tuesday … maybe” or “Call me back again. We’re a little bit busy right now.” We get some bad selling habits, bad lead conversion habits. When the number of leads starts drying up, then it becomes really, really important – when you do get those opportunities – that you turn them into customers. I’ve found that, by creating a systematic approach that really focuses the entire brand on making every sales and marketing touch a positive one, it can dramatically impact the percentage of leads that you’re closing.

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marylynnAnd you have all sorts of systems that small business owners might be interested in – from how to get more referrals to creating a marketing system.

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johnYeah, in essence that’s what Duct Tape Marketing is. Duct Tape Marketing is a brand that is meant to represent very simple, effective and affordable marketing tips, tactics and tools. Essentially it is a system that says, “If you follow these principles and go from Point A to Point Z – then decide that you’re going to do it again next year, but you’ll do it bigger and better – small business owners start to realize that marketing is a system. It’s not an event or the idea of the week, which is how most people treat it. We also have a network of coaches that use our system and actually install our system into small businesses. With a foundation and a set of principles, marketing doesn’t have to be that creative or expensive. It just has to make sense. It has to work and you have to work the system consistently. Once small business owners understand that, then marketing doesn’t seem so hard.

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george
And marketing is everything … all the time. That’s what you’re saying.

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johnI tell people … it doesn’t matter what your business makes, ships or sells … that you are essentially in the marketing business.

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We thank John so much for sharing his time and wisdom with all of us. Learn more at his site, Duct Tape Marketing.

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And we thank you for spending time with us today. According to some people, Monday is the unhappiest day of the year. Join us next time when we discuss how to escape the Monday blues. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00310-011609.mp3

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