The Solution to Achieving New Year’s Financial Resolutions!

According to Franklin Covey’s Annual New Year’s Resolution Survey, in which 15,031 Americans were polled, the number one New Year’s resolution for 2008 is “get out of debt or save money!” However, less than 15% of the people who made this resolution will succeed. About 35 percent will break it before the end of January.

How can you assure your success? You must develop financial discipline and a great way to do that is to become financially educated. Don’t just read business and finance books, learn to apply what you’ve read so you can truly understand the concepts.

What do you mean you don’t have time? Well, since time is money then you won’t have money either. Therefore, the time is now for you to begin investing in your greatest asset — your brain!

Henry Ford, (founder of Ford Motor Company) once said “you can take away everything I own, all my money and other assets, my house burnt to the ground and I will have it all back within 5 years or less because of what I know.”

If you lost your job, assets or your business could you make the same statement?

People are not millionaires simply because they have a net worth of a million dollars. No, they are millionaires because they know how to accumulate money efficiently and consistently. The hundreds of thousands of dollars they’ve “stacked” is just a result of their financial intelligence or simply applying what they know.

About 40% of the survey respondents said, “they had too many other things to do” and another 33% remarked that “lack of commitment” was the main reason they felt they would not keep their resolutions. For the people who said “they had too many other things to do,” their resolutions were simply not important enough to force them to even consider their goals. But for the people who stated “lack of commitment” as the reason, it’s obvious they knew why they would not keep their resolutions, but the burning question is why their lack of commitment?

Staying committed to anything can be tedious because it requires continuous action, thinking, energy, and effort. For some people, the reward for reaching their financial goals is not strong enough to support their continued commitment. They begin to make excuses, doubt and question themselves like the following statements: “Is it really worth setting up an IRA?” “Can I really afford to keep contributing to my 401(k)?” “Why should I hurry to payoff my credit card debt since my credit is already messed up?” “The economy is bad, so I’ll just wait until next year to start a business, by then I’ll have enough capital.”

When making your New Year’s Financial Resolutions, make certain that you feel passionate about them so that you almost force yourself to put your back against the wall and pursue success no matter what! You must also constantly remind yourself of your written goals on a daily basis, no matter how ridiculous it sounds, so you do not lose focus. You will soon realize that your financial focus will spark your financial spirit and then both will push you further along the path of financial success.

Another solution is to make challenging, but yet, realistic financial goals. Don’t stress yourself out by simply saying you will have your business up and running in four months, when you don’t even have a business plan, sources of start-up capital, etc. However, do create a checklist and weekly or monthly plans of action to make a smooth transition into your new start-up business. The point is to start developing habits of millionaires and entrepreneurs and it takes time to learn those habits, but once you do you will have developed what I call “entrepreneur endurance.”

Many people quit their jobs and put to much pressure on themselves too early in their entrepreneur careers, they fail miserably and then go back to being an employee. Instead, take baby steps by breaking down big financial goals into smaller goals and develop small plans of action to achieve them on a weekly or monthly basis. If you are still lacking commitment, it may be helpful to get a partner, mentor, or financial coach who will help hold you accountable to your plan of action.

Remember, there are two reasons why people are not financially successful. Either they do not have the proper financial education and knowledge to become wealthy, or they do have the knowledge, but have failed to apply the knowledge to their daily financial life.

Wishing you Health, Wealth and Happiness in 2008!

Create Wealth, Enjoy Life!

James “Bird” Guess

President & Founder


8 Tips to Improve Your Financial Communication

What makes a couple successful in their financial relationship? Ameriprise Financial surveyed over 1,500 couples (those married or living together for at least six months) to learn about their money conversations and how they make decisions. The results revealed eight ways you can improve the financial health of your relationship:

1. Understand your partner’s money mindset. It’s normal to have differing views and habits about money, but that doesn’t mean you can’t agree on your financial goals. Couples who report being on the same page financially work to understand their partner’s approach to money and keep the lines of communication open.

2. Make finances a priority and don’t give up. Couples who are willing to have the hard conversations and who work together to find financial harmony will reap the benefits over time. As you might expect, the study found that couples who had been together longer tend to have better communication and are on the same page when it comes to financial matters.

3. Agree on financial goals. It’s tough to pool your money with someone who overspends or who isn’t willing to save for the vacation you’ve always dreamed about. Sharing financial goals does bring you closer together-or at least it’s one less thing to argue about. To make it easier to save, challenge yourselves to add a timeframe to each goal so you know what you’re working toward first.

4. Assign and accept financial roles and responsibilities. Most couples split up tasks such as paying bills or monitoring investments. Clear responsibilities allow you to hold one another accountable without worrying if the cable bill was paid. However, be sure to work together on tasks such as retirement planning that requires close collaboration.

5. Invest in your future together. Make it a priority to set aside a portion of your earnings for short- and long-term goals, including retirement. Know how much you collectively have in retirement savings-a surprising 23 percent of couples are unsure of this number. If you have kids, talk about how much you’d like to contribute to their college expenses so you can save accordingly.

6. Set a spending limit. Spending habits were the leading cause of contention for couples. Consider setting a spending limit to ensure you’re on the same page as your partner regarding large expenditures. On average, couples said a purchase over $400 should trigger a discussion.

7. Understand that disagreeing is okay. According to the Ameriprise study, even couples who say they’re in financial harmony disagree on financial matters. What’s important isn’t that the partners don’t always agree, but that 82 percent resolve their issues and move on.

8. Enlist a professional to solidify your financial plan. When you need an objective opinion – or a deciding vote – meet with a financial advisor. Together the three of you can create a financial plan that meets your specific needs as a couple.

Ultimately, it feels good when you are in sync with your partner regarding financial decisions and can work together toward managing your finances. Couples who actively work on improving their financial relationship will likely be less frustrated over money matters and may even feel better about their relationship overall.