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Love and Marriage and Money

the-money-couple-bookcoverWe’re so happy today to visit with “The Money Couple”, Bethany and Scott Palmer. They are financial planners, speakers, and authors of First Comes Love, Then Comes Money.

Hear The Money Couple talk with George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Show podcast. Click the player to listen.

iPhone/iPad Podcast Player
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During our interview in this podcast segment:

  • Learn why it’s important to realize that couples are different in the way they look at money.
  • Discover what your financial relationship is with your spouse.
  • Which one are you…which one is your spouse? Find out what the 5 types of money personalities are.
  • Learn how couples can work through their money personality differences. (Find additional resources at TheMoneyCouple.com)
  • Find out why gender actually doesn’t play into your money personality.
  • Learn the 4 steps to fighting fair about money.
  • Find out why money control is the number one issue that drives couples apart, and what you can do about it.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00695-050211.mp3

Flipping Work Life Balance

work-life-flip.jpgBigg Success is life on your own terms. There are five elements of bigg success – money, time, growth, work and play. Today we want to focus on play, along with a heavy dose of time and work.

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Work – life (im)balance

We were talking about how we schedule ourselves. Work then play. If you’re like us, work – life balance means work and work and work and work. Life gets the remains.

We’ve told you before that this is one of the things we struggle with the most. We’re entrepreneurs; we love our work. Most of the time it feels like play. But it’s still important to live a full life.

We got to thinking – if bigg success is life on our own terms, maybe it’s counter-productive to schedule ourselves the way we do. Perhaps we could have a higher quality of life by doing things differently.

We realize that this won’t apply to everybody. However, it’s worth everyone’s time to think about what we’re about to say. We feel that it works particularly well for business owners and others who have more control of their time.

Flip work – life balance to life – work balance

So here’s our bigg idea …

Financial planners will tell you that, when it comes to managing your finances, you should “pay yourself first.” Our thought is that, when it comes to managing your work – life balance, you should “play yourself first!”

Instead of work – life balance, let’s make it life – work balance. Flip it 180 degrees.

Put life first. We call it flippin’ life. Go ahead … say it with some attitude. It’s fun!

Think about how you schedule your time. If you’re like us, we always put work appointments and tasks on our calendars. But we don’t always schedule our personal time.

So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to stop scheduling all of our work first and then fitting our personal lives around it. We’re going to schedule our play time first and then work around that! We’re flippin’ life!

We encourage you to join us. Let’s schedule our days, weeks and months so we put the right first things first.

Let’s flip it!

Let’s place health before wealth. Let’s focus on getting healthier. Making sure we eat properly. There are days when we get so caught up in our work that we forget to eat. It’s dinner time and we still haven’t had breakfast! No more!

We’ll also make sure we get that exercise we need. We’ll get plenty of sleep. We’ll nourish our minds and souls as well.

Flip it.

Let’s position people before profit. Let’s make relationship-building a priority. We’ll plan time with our family and friends. We’ll schedule time to meet new people. Sure this may help us at work as well, but that’s not our goal. We’re focused on the people, not the payoff.

Flip it.

Let’s put experiences before earnings. We want to have experiences, perhaps in synergy (the bigg idea behind bigg success) with improving our health and building relationships, which allow us to live a full life. Through these experiences, we’ll discover new things about ourselves and our world.

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Is this just a pipe dream?

We can hear you now. You think we’re flippin’ crazy!

We say, “Flippin’ no!”

Honestly, we don’t know if this will work. However, we’re going to give it our best shot because we have a suspicion …

By scheduling our play first, we’ll be more focused at work because we’ll have to be!

We’ll have to get just as much done, but we’ll have less time to do it. However, we think we’ll be even more productive. Why, you ask?

We think we will play more because we scheduled it first.

No flippin’ duh, you say. Okay, we understand your skepticisim, but here’s where it starts to get good …

We think, because we play more, we will have even more energy for our work when we work.

We also will know more people and have better relationships with the people we know. We’ll be more effective at finding the right people to work with when it’s in everybody’s best interest.

And because we will have more experiences to draw upon, we will find new solutions to old problems.

In short, it’s synergy! There’s that word again! The bigg idea behind bigg success!

If you want to get on board with us, here’s what we suggest …

Get out your Blackberry, your Planner or whatever you use for scheduling. Start making appointments for all those personal things you want to do. Then fit work into the remaining time instead of the other way around. You’re flippin’ life!

Putting life first. What a flippin’ concept! That’s definitely life on your own terms. That’s bigg success!

What do you think of this idea? Have you ever considered putting play first?

Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so flippin’ much for reading our flippin’ post today! There’s it out of our flippin’ (oops) system now.

If you’re a business owner, there’s one cost-cutting measure that really costs you. Please join us next time when we discuss it. 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/00410-060509.mp3

Related posts

Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Work

Mixing Work and Play

Taking Time Off to Get More Done

Ramp Up Your Savings

uptrend.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. One of the five elements of bigg success is money. We need to plan ahead so we have enough money to live our golden years on our own terms once we no longer work, another one of the five elements. Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine our golden years being golden.

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The silver lining

There’s at least one silver lining (boy, we’re hitting all the precious metals today) in the dark cloud we’ve been experiencing with the economy – we’re saving money again! It’s not easy to save money, but many of us have realized how important it is to have a reserve.

Financial planners say we should save at least ten percent of our income to put toward retirement. We’ve even heard some recommend twelve percent.

A lot of us face a bigg challenge in socking away that amount of money. Some people may get discouraged because they can’t come close to saving ten percent. So they just don’t save at all.

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georgeI can relate to that because I’m somewhat of an all or nothing guy. But as my dad used to say, “Fifty percent of something is better than a hundred percent of nothing!”

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marylynnAnd nothing is what we end up with if we don’t stash some away now! But there’s no need to get discouraged if you’re not saving all that financial planners recommend.

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Ramp up your savings pain-free

Let’s consider a hypothetical couple that has a household income of $100,000. They should save $10,000 according to the experts, but they’re only able to save $3,000.

However, they are determined to find a way to get to that ten percent. They decide that, one way or another, they will make an extra $2,000 every year, year after year, for the next five years. So they plan to make $102,000 next year, $104,000 the following year and so on. This may come from pay raises, bonuses, or a part-time job or business.

Let’s assume that they’re able to invest all of this extra money in a tax-deductible retirement account so they don’t have to pay any taxes on this income now. They also keep investing the $3,000 base they started from.

By the fifth year, our hypothetical couple is making $108,000 and saving $11,000. So they’re now actually saving a little more than financial planners recommend and they did it relatively pain-free!

Ramp up your savings pain-free

Let’s consider a hypothetical couple that has a household income of $100,000. They should save $10,000 according to the experts, but they’re only able to save $3,000.

However, they are determined to find a way to get to that ten percent. They decide that, one way or another, they will make an extra $2,000 every year, year after year, for the next five years. So they plan to make $102,000 next year, $104,000 the following year and so on. This may come from pay raises, bonuses, or a part-time job or business.

Let’s assume that they’re able to invest all of this extra money in a tax-deductible retirement account so they don’t have to pay any taxes on this income now. They also keep investing the $3,000 base they started from.

By the fifth year, our hypothetical couple is making $108,000 and saving $11,000. So they’re now actually saving a little more than financial planners recommend and they did it relatively pain-free!

  • not being discouraged at what they could save now
  • saving every bit they could now
  • improving it a little bit every year

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The underlying secret

In this simple example is a secret that can help you with all your goals, not just your financial ones. Bigg success is life on your own terms. If you think about “terms” as time frames, you can reach bigg success faster.

We’ve said that you are the entrepreneur of a very important enterprise – your life. You may or may not be an entrepreneur in the traditional sense of the word. That’s immaterial. What’s important is that we can learn a lesson from successful entrepreneurs, particularly those who work with outside financiers like venture capitalists.

Milestones

An entrepreneur and a venture capitalist come to terms and strike a deal. The venture capitalist will invest a large amount of money in an entrepreneur’s company. However, the entrepreneur only gets a certain amount of it upfront. He or she must complete some agreed upon action – for example, get a customer – by a certain time to insure the venture capitalist puts in more money. These agreed upon actions with a deadline are called milestones.

As the entrepreneurs of our own lives, we think it’s helpful to set milestones in all areas of our lives.

Think about your bigg goal.

Then carve it up into milestones – specific activities you will complete by a certain time.

By breaking your bigg goal into little actions with deadlines, you can achieve things that you would think were impossible otherwise.

You can measure your progress each step of the way. You can take corrective action if you’re off the mark. Or if you’re ahead of schedule, you can celebrate your bigg success!

Do you set milestones?

Tell us how you do it by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for reading our post today!

Please join us next time as we build on this subject of milestones. We’ll talk about creating a cumulative advantage.

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/00371-041309.mp3

Related posts

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Getting Aggressively Passive: Creating A Passive Income That Sets You Free

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6 Easy Steps To Financial Freedom

(Image in today's post by Duchessa)

My Employer is Eliminating 401(k) Matches

retirement Companies are responding aggressively to the bad economic news. Layoffs, hiring freezes, and salary freezes have been some of the most common actions so far.

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Now, more and more employers are looking at eliminating the matching of 401(k) contributions. According to a survey by Watson Wyatt, the global human resources and financial services firm, things are changing quickly. In October, 2% of firms said they had already cut back on these matches and 4% said they planned to. Two months later, in December, 3% had already made the cut and 7% said they intended to.

And these are large companies. Established brands that we all know. Motorola, FedEx, Kodak, and Starbucks just to name a few.

They’re usually using the word “suspend” rather than “eliminate” when they announce these cuts. But it raises a question:

If my employer stops matching my contribution to my
401(k), should I still keep making contributions myself?

It forces us to save

This is perhaps the biggest reason to keep making contributions. Financial planners have said for years that we should pay ourselves first. Investing it before we get it, as we do with our 401(k), is the best way to make sure that happens.

Most people report that they don’t really miss the money. It’s like the taxes that are deducted from our paychecks – the government knows most of us won’t miss the money if we don’t see it.

Of course, there are ways to set up an automatic deduction from our checking or savings account for investments outside of a 401(k). That’s really close to having it deducted from our paycheck, but it’s not quite the same. That little variation can make a bigg difference for some people. You have to judge that for yourself.

Higher limits

The next best option to a 401(k) for most people would be an IRA because contributions may also be deductible. You should check with your financial advisor about the specifics of your situation.

Because you invest before paying taxes, it’s as if the government is making part of the contribution for you. For example, if you made a $1,000 contribution to one of these retirement plans and you’re in the 25% tax bracket, you would pay $250 less in taxes. So, in essence, you’re only out of pocket $750.

With either plan, you don’t pay taxes on the money you earn on your investments until you pull it out. Deductible and deferred – that’s a pretty powerful combination.

Where the 401(k) gains favor is that it has higher maximum limits – your contributions to your 401(k) can total up to $16,500 in 2009 ($22,000 if you’re over 50). You can’t contribute more than $5,000 to an IRA in most cases.

If my employer cuts or eliminates my 401(k) match, are there
reasons to fund my retirement through another vehicle?

A lot of 401(k) plans offer fairly limited investment options and you may pay lower fees in a plan that’s not a 401(k). 

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The bigger issue

It’s not like we don’t already have a sense of it. But recent months have reinforced this paradigm. We can’t count on anyone or anything for any part of our financial future. We must take full control of our own finances. We have to build our own safety nets to make sure we are financially secure.

How much will you have at retirement?

It really boils down to three factors:

  • how much we invest
  • how much we earn on our investment (after all fees and taxes)
  • how long it is invested

From these three factors, we see that we have three options if we don’t want to retire on less money:

1st – We can try to earn more on the money we invest.
That involves taking more risk and we don’t have much appetite for that right now. So this probably isn’t going to fly with most of us.

2nd – We can postpone our retirement.
This buys us more time. People who are really close to retirement right now may not have much of a choice. They may have to do this. But if you still have some time on your side, there may be a better way.

3rd – We can increase our contributions.
Look at your budget and see if there is any way you can make up for the investment your company was making.

If your employer reinstates matching contributions, you can stop contributing at the increased rate and enjoy the extra money in your budget … or …

… you can keep making your higher contributions to give your retirement a kick!

To all our readers in Australia, happy Australia Day! And we hope our friends in India enjoy Republic Day!

And thank you so much for spending time with us today. Join us next time when we discuss extreme multi-tasking. 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/00316-012609.mp3

Related posts

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(Image in today's post by woodsy)

Deep in Debt? Take These Drastic Steps

pennies We’ve heard a lot of discussion about the toxic assets held by our financial institutions. Here’s what hasn’t been explicitly stated too often – in order for these financial institutions to have toxic assets, many of us must be carrying toxic debt.

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We’ve seen government at all levels, corporations, and yes, individuals borrow more and more money over the past few years. Many people now have this sinking feeling that they will never get out from under it all.

So today we want to talk about what to do if you have that feeling.

The King and Queen of Personal Finance

Cash is king again and credit score is queen. In the coming years, people with cash and a good credit score will have more options, be able to take advantage of more opportunities, and will experience less stress. Isn’t that a nice place to be?

A Timeless Principle Makes a Comeback

It requires discipline. It’s amazing how we can rationalize our purchasing decisions. If I can’t afford to buy it now without credit, why would I think that I can afford to pay for it later along with an exorbitant interest rate?

So we need to pay cash or don’t buy at all. Eliminate purchases on credit, even ones that promise “no interest, no payments” for some period of time. Of course, if you already have the money, and you’re just using their money, and you need the item … really need it … then go ahead and enjoy!

Two Important Financial Moves

Perhaps more so than at any time in our lives, we need to build up our emergency reserves. Financial planners have been saying it all along, for the most part. Many of us weren’t listening. Keep six to twelve months of living expenses in a readily-accessible reserve account just in case you need it.

Pay off almost all of your debt. You may not pay off your mortgage. You may even keep a car loan for a time. Get rid of all other debt; it’s robbing you of your future.

Then you’ll be ready to start looking for the tremendous opportunities that will be available to anyone with cash to invest.

Drastic Steps to Dispose of Toxic Debt

Drastic times call for drastic measures. These steps will not be easy. In fact, they will be uncomfortable at best. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of your debt, they are necessary.

Sit down and logically determine how quickly you could get out of debt, given the two exceptions we noted above. If it’s more than five years, even after considering the steps we’re about to outline, it’s probably best to seek professional help. Here are the steps:

Sell assets

Look around for anything that you don’t need, never needed, don’t use, or never used. Get rid of it and use the money to build up your cash reserves and/or pay off debt.

Get a second income

Get a part-time job or find a way to make some spare money. Even if it’s only $300, $400, or $500 a month, plowing this money into paying off high-interest debt will pay you bigg dividends in the future. This doesn’t have to be something to do forever, just do it until you get your financial situation shored up.

Cut back on contributions to your retirement plan

We always hesitate to suggest this because you’re robbing your future. Talk to your financial planner before you take this drastic step. But even with an employee match, it may be better to pay off high-cost debt. You may earn 30% by paying off a credit card, for example, and give yourself more room to maneuver through tough times and unexpected events.

Reduce housing costs

With the price of houses down in many markets and the continued lack of buyer demand, now probably isn’t the time to consider downsizing. However, analyze your specific situation because you might be surprised.

Another option might be to rent part of your home. Or find other ways to cut costs on your existing house. For example, property tax assessments will be going out in January. Check your assessment and the price of houses that have sold nearby to see if you can protest the value you’re being charged for.

Cut transportation costs

Could you get by with one less car? Could you take advantage of public transportation? Could you car pool? All of these ways put money in your pocket that can be used to build up cash and pay off debt. 

Stretch your dollars

We’ve covered the bigg ones, but it’s also important to look at all your other discretionary expenses. Many people have already cut back on dining out. Go even further – buy fewer prepared foods and cook meals yourself. Sure it will take more time, but it will save you money that can be used for stockpiling cash and knocking down debt.

Look for your recurring expenses – cable bills, cell phone bills, and everything else. Is there a way to make cuts?

Strive to stretch every penny you can out of every dollar you bring in so you get back on your feet and on track to being a bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Next time, we’ll discuss the “must-haves” for your productivity tool kit. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00246-102008.mp3

Related posts

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