Practical Tools and Tips

TRACKING: A VISUAL TRUTH TELLING TOOL

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trackI am asking for a virtual hand raise right now. Raise your hand if you know how much you weigh. Keep your hand raised if you know your shoe size. Keep that hand up strong if you know the size of your jeans. OK, keep that hand up if you know your cholesterol number. And, wave those hands all over the place if you know the money available to you in your checking account. Wave hands like crazy if you know the number of money you need to earn each month to make your life work! I often do this exercise in groups where I am a guest speaker and hands start to go down around the cholesterol number and hardly any hands are left waving when I ask about the available balances in bank accounts.

An area of opportunity for all of us, especially women, is to know our numbers in all areas of our lives. Why? Because knowing our numbers empowers us. Our “knowing” allows us to make better decisions for ourselves and our family, whether those decisions are about what foods are best for our bodies or how much money we need to make our lives work. When we stand in our place of “knowing,” we have the power to change our lives and those numbers. Through changing some of our money behaviors, we can make the numbers go up, down, or stay the same, customizing our lifestyle choices with our unique money number to make life work.

A beginning way to get to know how much money will make our lives work, is to begin tracking the flow of money that moves through our lives daily. This means tracking all of our expenses and our income.  Tracking can become a ritual that helps us to step into clarity about our cash flow as well help us examine what values we are funding through our cash flow.

Since 1992, I’ve been tracking my expenses and income and I can’t tell you how valuable this has been to me. This level of detail has helped me to look at expenses in very refined ways, bringing reflection to my spending behaviors…allowing me to dig deep into what tracking tells me that my eyes and brain would rather NOT look at. Tracking is a way of visual truth telling.

Not only is tracking a way of visual truth telling, our nervous system feels more relaxed and grounded when we track. Why? We feel more in control, regardless of our financial situation. There is something wonderful about looking at “what is,” as a first step in launching ourselves into a new money vision.

 

TOP TEN REASONS TO TRACK YOUR CASH FLOW:

1. Connection to your flow

2. Visual truth telling

3. A feeling of grounded-ness and sense of control

4. You will reach your financial goals faster

5. You will spend less b/c your brain can no longer trick your eyes about what they are seeing

6. Easily see where you leak money

7. Evaluate if the expense is worth the time it took to earn the money to purchase it

8. Analyze spending triggers

9. Can make you creatively and legally think about ways to earn more money

10. You owe it to yourself to be empowered and be in charge of your money life…knowing helps you step into your birthright of abundance!

 

NOW GO TRACK! XXXX

P.S. When I track…because the act of tracking can be boring at times…bring sensory delight to this activity. Light a candle, play your favorite music, have refreshing lemon water at your side, give yourself a non-monetary reward after you track your numbers!

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MONEY MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

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MM: How would you respond to our reader who asks, “How do I get a loan back from my sister who bought a pedigree dog after I lent her $800?

DH: I’d like to back up a bit. Before any money changes hands, it is the responsibility of the lending sibling to set the payback parameters of the loan amount (just like the bank does). This includes “what the money will be used for,” if that is important.

So, if no boundaries were set up front, no clear communication, this is a set up for “silent expectations,” which can be disastrous when it comes to money and family relationships. Silent expectations pave the path to broken agreements, eroded trust and relationship resentment.

This can be a learning experience for both siblings. They need to talk it out, share how they feel, move forward, and do it differently in the future.

Done right, family loans don’t have to hurt finances or relationships. When boundaries are set and agreements are honored, what can unfold is a “clean” transaction both financially and emotionally!

 

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FINANCIAL TOOLS

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Money Minder Express

The Money Minder Express is the electronic  tool I currently use to bring my clients into crystal clarity with money. The beauty of this tool is that it allows you to view your money picture at any time from a macro to a wide angle view. This tool allows you to PLAN, TRACK and ANALYZE your cash flow. Data entry is currently manual.

(P.S. Many people get confused between accounting tools and budgeting tools. Accounting tools give you a rear-view mirror view. You look backwards at cash flow. Budgeting tools offer you a view through the windshield so to speak. If you are working on personal cash flow management, a budgeting tool is more effective than an accounting tool)

Priority Calculator

CNN Money has created this very user friendly great priority calculator. I sometimes have many things I want to do swirling around in my head that cost money. This tool helps you to figure out your priorities so you can then determine which ones to fund over a certain period of time.

This calculator is also helpful in defining what your top values are.

Consumer Guide to Understanding Credit Cards

As a consumer, it pays to be smart when choosing and using a credit card. This site–maintained by the Federal Reserve Board, whose goal is to protect the credit rights of consumers–provides a basic guide to navigating the credit card process.

A Place to Explore Best Loan Rates and Best Credit Cards

This is a great site to help you find competitive loan rates and the best credit card rates for you. This is the site I send my clients to when strategizing on debt consolidation. Sometimes it pays to do a balance transfer of one credit card to another.

Debt Management Program

Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit (501) (c)(3) organization, offering confidential consumer credit counseling services, debt management and financial education to consumers nationwide. Founded in 1991, ACCC is a leader in the credit counseling industry and has more than twenty years of national credit counseling experience.

As a non-profit credit counseling organization, ACCC is mandated to comply with all state and federal laws. Although compliance is a legal requirement, it also serves to demonstrate to consumers, creditors, and regulators that ACCC is a reputable organization that provides quality service for minimal fees to the consumer. Further, state licensing allows the consumers to be assured that ACCC utilizes best practices in handling the consumer’s monthly payments.

I recommend this service over others because this service is federally regulated, many of the ones you see on television are not. When an agency isn’t regulated, you have minimal protection if you are harmed by their actions on your behalf.

Experian Credit Report and Score

Each credit reporting agency (there are three total) carries a credit report on you with a numerical score. The higher your score, the more “credit worthy” you are. The national average score is 693. I recommend obtaining reports and scores from all three credit agencies for comparison and to make sure your records match theirs.

Trans-union Credit Report and Score

Consider just obtaining your score and report. You can do your own credit monitoring instead of paying the monthly monitoring fee.

Equafax Credit Report and Score

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