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Money Compass: How To Set Financial Priorities

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Your Compass To Financial Planning SuccessBeing conscious about your finances and setting goals for your money can help you achieve your dreams at any stage in life.

Here are some helpful tips to remember when you are making plans for your money and setting your financial priorities:

Identify Your Goals

Remember that you can do anything you want with your money, but you can’t do everything you want.

You will never have the unlimited resources to achieve all of your goals, so focus on which goals are most important to you and concentrate your efforts on those.

To accomplish these most important goals you will need to put some of the other less important ones towards the back burner.

What is Important to You?

When you are thinking about how you will manage your money, consider the things which are important in your life.

You will likely want to have an emergency fund to bail yourself out if the unexpected occurs. You also might want to free yourself of debt, or contribute to your child’s education fund.

Rank these goals in order of importance to decide which you should focus on primarily.

Talk to Your Family Members

When you are making a financial plan, it is important to involve all of your family members in the decisions.

The way that you manage your money will have an impact on everyone in the family unit including your spouse and your kids.

Make sure that you are involving everyone in the goal setting process and that they are getting their say.

Use Compound Interest To Take Advantage of Time

When you put your savings away in an interest earning account, the younger you are the better.

Over the years your nest egg will grow, thanks to the power of compound interest which will have you earning interest on your interest!

So no matter how old you are, start now because the earlier you start saving, the more money you will have!

Re-examine Your Financial Strategy

Your financial priorities will change throughout your life as you go through different stages, such as buying your first house, having a small child, sending your kids to school and moving towards retirement.

Every few years or so, it is important to sit down with your partner to make a new budget which will reflect your current stage in life.

With these planning tips, you will be able to budget your money and achieve your financial goals all throughout your life.

Finding Time to Accomplish Your Goals

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Time to Accomplish Your GoalsHave you ever thought that you would love to write a novel, learn to speak French, or perfect your drawing technique? Do you have other unfinished goals that you are thinking of right now?  

It is interesting how we all have passions and desires that we would like to accomplish in our lives; a legacy that we would like to leave that impacts others in a positive way.

If you are like a lot of people, every time you think about these goals you tell yourself that you just don’t have the time to accomplish them at this stage in your life.

Guess what? If you don’t make time to focus on these dreams, they will never happen.

There will never come a time when all of your other responsibilities disappear and you have endless free time to pursue your hobbies.

Work, family, friends, and other responsibilities will always get in the way, so instead you need to make the decision to make time for these goals.

Here are a few ways that you can carve out the time from your busy schedule to accomplish these goals:

  • Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. Rather than pushing the snooze button, you could start your day by practicing the guitar or writing a page of your novel every morning. The bonus is that doing something you love first thing in the morning will energize you for the rest of the day.
  • Along the same vein, go to bed 15-20 minutes later than you usually would and spend the last bit of your day working towards your goal.
  • Stop watching television. Did you know that the average American watches four hours of television per day? Usually we use the TV as a way to tune out after a busy day at work, but imagine how much more revitalized and inspired you would feel after spending a few hours working on your passion rather than watching countless reruns of ‘Friends’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’.
  • If your passion is portable, take it with you wherever you go and work on it when you are stuck in traffic, on a long bus ride, in a waiting room, or other times in the day when you are bored. For example, if you are working on a novel you can take a notebook with you and jot down ideas throughout the day.

These are just a few easy ways that you can find time in your busy schedule to focus on your own goals and work towards achieving your dreams. 

I’ve Gotta Get Outta Here! Will it Hurt Your Career to Go Traveling for a While?

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Perhaps you dream of renting a tiny cheap apartment in the Marais district of Paris and spending your days strolling along the Seine, sippingParis France Eiffel Tower coffee in quaint cafes, and reading poetry in the Jardin de Luxembourg?

Or maybe you have always wanted to go hiking in Peru, and watch the sunrise over the holy ancient ruins of Macchu Picu?

Do you fancy the idea of living for a season in a small beachside town on Australia’s Gold Coast, learning to surf and staying up to watch the stars? Or perhaps you want to trace the genealogy of your ancestors back to a tiny village in England?

However, whenever you think of taking a month or two or several to pursue one of these experiences, you ultimately freeze up with dread at the thought of quitting your job and having to find another one when you return.

Ultimately, many people will give up their dreams of traveling the earth and discovering its many wonders because they are afraid that taking six months or a year off from work will permanently damage their career prospects.

They fear that if they wander off the career path for too long, their goals will not be achievable when they return. They are terrified that the empty gap of unemployment or unrelated work abroad will stain their resume and banish them from future jobs forever.

The answer is: It won’t.

If you are good at what you do and have a good work ethic, you will always be able to find work in the career field you choose once you return from your worldly adventures. In fact, traveling will actually be an asset to your resume for many reasons!

Why Travelling Looks Great on a Resume

  • Going abroad requires planning, organization, and confidence, and the fact that you have been on an adventure of your own overseas will demonstrate this to a potential employer.
  • Doing something interesting with your travels, such as volunteering, working abroad, or visiting somewhere out of the ordinary, will make you stand out from the other applicants and provide an interesting conversation starter in an interview.
  • Experience interacting with other cultures can be a huge advantage in many jobs, especially when you are dealing with the public.
  • If you go on a working holiday or international internship, you can demonstrate that you have experience working in your field in another country, demonstrating adaptability.

The truth is that if traveling is your true dream and passion, it is absolutely worth it to go for it! You don’t need to worry about your career, because you can always pick up where you left off when you return, with a whole new set of skills and experiences from your travels to draw on that will make you better at what you do. Don’t let your job get in the way of following your dreams!

What about you?  Have you ever taken an extended trip?  How did it impact your career and your life?