Often, when talking to people about the work I do, I tell them that I help people clear their credit card debt once and for all and never have to use a credit card again. For many that sounds like the definition of impossible! They have cleared their debt before, often many times, and know that it just goes back up again.
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Then, when I tell them about the process I use and explain that, if possible, I will get them to commit to not using their credit card at all until I see them next time, I see the horrified looks and panic setting in!

The reason for this is that, like so many people, their credit card is their security blanket! It’s what stands between them and financial disaster if the car breaks down, the child needs orthodontic work, the dog needs surgery, Christmas arrives, someone has a birthday, friends ask them out for dinner, they need a holiday etc etc! It is where they go for “money” when all else fails. I know this, I have done this, more times than I care to remember, but I also knows that it doesn’t work and only makes the situation worse.

I am not going to go into all the other reasons people use credit cards, like air points etc and the reasons why it is better and cheaper to use debit cards or better still cash! Today I am just talking about using them as your back up plan! I have been a bit facetious above with the “emergencies” people use their credit cards for, but I have either given them myself or heard them, and more, many times when people have told me that they only use them for emergencies.

Now, if you are reading this and thinking “but I do only use them for emergencies and then immediately pay them off in full” then fine. Whilst I do think that there is a better way, this message is not primarily for you, but read on because you might be interested in how you could do it differently.

I then go on to explain how I help them save their way out of debt, once and for all!  Doesn’t that sound good? Too good to be true? Not at all. If you follow the method which I teach you, which was developed by Karen McCall of the Financial Recovery Institute, that is exactly what you can do. I never ask people to cut up their credit cards, nor put them in a container of water in the freezer, I just ask them to trust the process, which has worked for thousands and thousands of people, and not use their credit cards until they see me again. As Karen says, “ if you want to get out of a hole, first you must stop digging”!

The other key steps are to pay the minimum on your credit card each month whilst building up a savings account, which we call a Periodic Savings account. Now I can hear all of you with financial backgrounds or those who pay off your credit cards in full every month, exclaiming that this will cost extra because of the interest. Yes, you are right but if you are someone who constantly uses your credit card and can never manage to always pay if off in full every month, then, trust me, this is a much cheaper way in the long run. Remember I teach you how to pay if off, in full, once and for all and to never have credit card debt ever again.

That’s because the Periodic Savings account becomes your security blanket; it’s where you go to get the money to pay the dentist, the vet, the restaurant, the holiday and Christmas! Using a formula I teach you, you can plan for all these and more, and know that you will always have the money available to cover all these events, without having to bring out the credit card. Once this is functioning well we also start another account which we call a “Safety Net” account and here you provide for coverage of all your expenses if you were to have an interruption in income.

So, if you would like to learn how to save your way out of debt, once and for all, use one of the methods below to contact me and we can have a coffee and discuss it further, to see if I can help you.

I’d love your comments about all of this and feel free to share it with your friends either by email or socially below.

Have a great week everyone and give it a try… Can you manage to not use your credit card for the next week?

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Abundance and Gratitude!

February 27, 2014

Last night when I was ironing I came up with a great (I thought) topic for this week’s Money Motivator. Did I write it down? Did I heck as like, as they say on Coronation St!! Do I remember it this morning? Of course not! I know that it was a slightly different angle  than usual but exactly what I don’t know! Since I had that significant birthday a week or so ago I get a bit anxious now when my memory fails me, I have to say.

Anyway, two of the “themes” that have been cropping up a lot this year for me have been gratitude and abundance. I guess it’s not unsurprising that they come up together so often, in that, in general, our lives are very abundant and therefore we have a lot to be grateful for. But let’s go back a bit and look particularly at abundance.

In the Oxford English dictionaries (online) there are several definitions but the one most closely linked to money (my topic after all) is this:

“plentifulness of the good things of life; prosperity”

Whilst this, it would seem, is indicative of material wealth, I prefer to look at it in terms of the really “good” things in life ie the things that money can’t buy. The things we should really be grateful for, the things that most of us have in abundance regardless of our financial situation. The things that can really make us happy even if we are not wealthy in the material sense.

For me some of those things are: Love and friendship, my health, the beauty that surrounds me, the relative affluence of the society we live in (although I truly believe that we must do something about child poverty) the availability of fresh food and clean water to drink, the clean air we breathe. In many ways the list is endless.

In turn this list contains the things in my life which I am most grateful for, and apart from food, they are mostly things that do not cost me anything.
I believe that it is really important to remember those things and be truly grateful for them.

They are what we forget about when we are buying more stuff,  or lusting over material things in our quest to be happy. I am not sure what kind of reception you would have received if you had tried to tell me this when I was at the peak of my shopping powers, but I still, more than ever, needed that lesson.

What are you grateful for? What do you have in abundance? Please let me know.

Underearning is no joke!

February 20, 2014

Women and underearniAunty Acid payslipng is a serious topic however, and one I feel strongly about. Pay equity is something that we all need to consider, not only for ourselves, but even more importantly for our daughters.

There is a lot written about both topics and there has also been a lot of research into pay equity, both here and elsewhere in the world. There is still a significant gap here between women and men in pay for jobs of “equal value”.

There are many reasons, excuses and justifications, but as Sheryl Sandford, COO of Facebook, wrote in her book we, as women, need to work to change it! Sheryl Sandberg leadership not bossy

So ask for a raise if you’re salaried, apply for positions that you will need to grow into ( guys do this all the time. They apply for positions which they are not necessarily qualified for, trusting in their ability to be able to do them successfully! Often as women we don’t do this.) and charge what you are worth if you are self employed. Many mentors or coaches actually suggest you charge what you think you are worth and then double it!! Too often we way undervalue ourselves. Most importantly teach our daughters to value themselves and that they can do and be whatever they put their mind to.

Please comment below and also please forward this to at least one friend. Someone you know would appreciate it.

As most of you know I counsel and mentor people, who are wanting to change their behaviours around money. I therefore talk to a lot of people about money, not just clients but also people who I am talking to about what I do. Almost everyone is interested in that, but there is a group who cannot get their heads around how I could make an income doing what I do. Sometimes it isn’t easy to make an income but I am very confident of the premise around my business model. There are people who are willing to pay to eliminate or at least reduce, the pain they are suffering from their money mess!

The people who cannot understand this are almost always very good at managing their finances, especially their spending. They seldom have credit card debt, in fact apart from their mortgage or some student debt, they rarely have debt at all. Their credit cards are paid off in full every month without fail. They consider all purchases they make very carefully, often conducting extensive  research before deciding to purchase. Impulsive decisions are rare, if not non existent. So their behaviour is very different from the majority of my clients, who often have significant debt and don’t always manage to pay their credit cards in full every month. They know the buzz they get from impulsive purchases.

So their behaviours around money are vastly different and the first group of people are the ones who are most likely to doubt anyones ability to create a business around helping the second group.They believe that all you need to do is teach people to do what they do. Simple and straightforward.

If only it was that easy. The majority of my clients know what they should do, but actually doing it is a very different beast!

Why is that? Well for one thing they don’t see money and spending as so black and white. Just as some people eat food as simple nutrition, others of us relish the emotions and feelings eating delicious food can evoke. The reason why just knowing what you SHOULD eat, is seldom enough to make dieting successful!

They also invest money and food with more powers than a simple commodity or the way to provide your body with the fuel it needs to perform it’s functions. We can use food or money to make us feel better emotionally, to celebrate with and to give us simple pleasure.
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The reasons for these differences in behaviour are so often emotional or even psychological that changing them can be a very complex issue and require the kind of commitment by them and me , as those trying to lose weight and those trying to help them!

So why the differences? Well, people have all had different life experiences and these affect the way they behave and respond to life’s stimuli. Is that all there is behind it? Not at all!!

Whilst the emotional experiences have significant impact on our reactions, of equal or greater influence I believe, are our inherent personalities. These determine our responses to life in general and our subsequent behaviour. From an early age we can detect differences in personalities and how children react to situations and people, differently.

Sorted, is a New Zealand website which gives vast amounts of excellent information about money behaviour and how to manage your money better. They have an amazing array of calculators which you can use to determine how much you would save over x amount of years if you saved y over time. They can really help improve your decision making ability. I encourage you to explore this site.

The one I am interested in today is the Money Personality assessment tool. Designed by a psychologist, it asks 25 questions and then places you into 1 of 16 money personalities. It is light hearted and fun but also gives good information for you on how your personality may influence the decisions you make around money. I recommend you try it. For  your interest I was hedonistic! I struggle with this type of assessment because I am never sure if I should answer how I have learned to behave or my natural inclination. I usually combine both and come out with pretty interesting but unhelpful results.

Let me know what your personality is and how accurate you think it is.

Getting to today! My story

February 4, 2014

Another of the most common questions I get asked is how did I get to be doing what I do! This up close and personal video tells most of the story.

 

Can you identify with my story?Let me know in the comments below or if you would like to do that in person click on this link and request a strategy session with me. It’s free and if you’re in Auckland I will meet you for coffee and I even buy the coffee! I can’t say fairer than that!!

 

Hugs

 

 

18665868_sIt’s confessions time. Whilst I don’t always know what I’m going to write on Monday morning I usually have at least some idea and sit down at 0630 do a bit of research and away I go!

Today, I was up at just before 6 as usual, but couldn’t move past watching the All Blacks eventually win against Ireland. What a nerve wracking experience that was!! Consequently it is now 8:30 and my mind is pretty blank! Tried to work in something about team efforts, team discipline, doing what needs to be done and team goals but let’s face it I don’t really send this to teams! But then I decided: what about if I changed it to all of those things for individuals!

So here goes!  Some key factors necessary to achieve any financial goals!

Goals! Yes first you need to set a goal or maybe several goals. What do you want to achieve, by when, how are you going to do it and what will have to happen for you to know that you have been successful? The clearer you can be on all of these points the easier it is to achieve them. They need to be so real that you can almost taste them. The All Blacks went into today’s game with the goal of beating Ireland so that they could achieve the record of going through the season, having won every game they played. It was going to be done today, achieved by playing better than Ireland and they knew they had achieved when, at the end of the game and the final whistle blew they had more points than Ireland! Yours need to be as clear as that.

Discipline. You need to be so focused on your goals that this is easy. You want what is at the end so badly that it is easy to keep yourself on track and not spend money on stuff that is outside the plan. If you do, then as soon as possible you straighten up and get back on track. A word of warning here:- Don’t make the plan so strict that you finally call quits and have a big splurge! Just as when you are on a food plan or the dreaded word, diet, it is important to not make it so strict that it is impossible to maintain for the time needed to lose the weight, so it is with a spending plan, or another dreaded word, budget.
Team work. Now this one is not always part of financial goals but it may be; sometimes more than you think! If you are in a relationship then it is important that you have goals that are inspirational for you both so that you are both motivated to stick to the plan. This goes for families too, especially if your children are old enough to understand what you are aiming for. They can then understand that not getting the latest X box is not such a hardship if it helps towards the bigger family goal of eg going to Disneyland! They are much less likely to be motivated by paying off the mortgage unless they can see the advantage to them!! The All Blacks are always very big on this…everyone is working towards what is best for the team.

Celebrate. When you have reached your goal be sure that you celebrate your success and make all the hard work worthwhile. Usually the achievement of the goal has a great deal of satisfaction inherent in it, but a celebration helps reinforce the positive side of striving for success. It reinforces the positive side of goal achievement and makes working toward the next one easier. Now I don’t mean blowing a hole in the credit card you have just paid off by going out and splurging on a dinner at the best restaurant in town accompanies by the best champagne and wines! Sort of defeats the purpose doesn’t it? It would be nice but something slightly more modest will still fit the bill! One would imagine that the All Blacks probably celebrated with a beer or two!

What goals are you focusing on at the moment? Are you well on your way to achieving them or are you having some struggles? I’d love to hear about your experiences and I’ll help where I can.

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I hope you all know that whilst I have the knowledge and expertise to help others sort out their money  woes, I’m not perfect and can still make silly mistakes and mess up myself occasionally!!

This has not been a great week. We have been having the building and windows cleaned and what was supposed to be for one day is now into it’s third! Windows and blinds closed for two days was bad enough but the water blaster nearly did me in! So far today, whilst I still know they’re here (I can hear them on the roof!) at least so far, and cross my fingers, we are being spared the water blaster!!

Then this morning, first at about 6:30 and then an hour later, we had fire alarms. Both seemed to be false alarms and we were quickly allowed back into the building but I still walked down 7 flights of stairs twice!

Then I noticed that $187.03 had come out of my account. Nothing was due, all AP‘s had gone out of my account so I was concerned and rang the bank. To my query on who, I got the answer “Ancestry.co.uk”. I had been trapped by this last year (read slow learner!) when, at the end of my free trial, it automatically renewed for a year! I clearly wasn’t paying as much attention then as I was today and by the time I contacted them it was too late to get a refund! I thought that I might use it, so didn’t cancel it then and of course it has never entered my head since! Not until it auto renewed again! This time I rang them in time at least, and will get the full refund thankfully!

Learnings:-

  1. When they say the  windows are going to be washed, this is not a quiet activity here, so make sure not to plan appointments nor schedule cold calling by phone! An out of office day is much more appropriate!
  2. When considering going into an apartment consider fire alarms. In public buildings they do make you evacuate!
  3. When considering going into an apartment consider fire alarms and remember that if you are on the 7th floor and there is an alarm you will have to walk down 7 flights of stairs! Even worse, if the lift breaks down you will need to go up 7 flights!!
  4. Make sure you read the small print. If a membership, or free trial, will autorenew either cancel it immediately or make sure you put an alarm in your diary/calendar/phone to cancel before the autorenewal date!

OK, I feel better now, so off to enjoy the rest of my week…