Are you working for your career ?

Whenever we engage new clients at Money Metrics with a financial planning strategy, one issue that always comes to the forefront of our discussions is the tenuous relationship between career aspirations and lifestyle preference. Many clients are looking to, at some point in their lifetime, begin to work AT their careers rather than FOR their careers. What’s the difference?

Working for your career means that you are not working towards your highest purpose or passion. A person who is constantly working for their career finds that he/she does not have as much time as they would like to accomplish or participate in the lifestyle that they long to live in. While those who work at their career may be materially and financially well off, they are sacrificing personal happiness and freedom outside of their careers, often leaving family, hobbies, etc. at the wayside. A good financial plan will allow you to escape this and move towards a state of working at your career.

Working at your career means working towards a goal or cause that you are passionate about. This type of career relationship is defined by ones ability to successfully prioritize work schedules and projects to support the lifestyle that they are seeking to live out beyond their career. Whether your passion is your family, hobbies, or travel, everything that you do while working at your career is geared around your desired lifestyle. You are able to achieve a well-rounded lifestyle while working at your highest purpose or passion.

 

Can You Buy Happiness?

Can you really buy happiness? Benjamin Watson doesn’t think so.

Watson tried, tested, and disproved many of the most luxury products and destinations in the world for his keynotes address at the Technology Entertainment Design (TED) Conference in California. When you’re watching this video, keep in mind the notion being presented is that an item or object is only as valuable as one perceives it to be. I found this to be incredibly relevant for our small business themed blog because it supports the thinking that beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and, while money may be able to buy security and comfort, it doesn’t necessarily buy happiness.

 

PS.  If you haven’t already logged on and check out the many interesting topics that are covered at the Technology Entertainment Design (TED) Conferences, take a minute to indulge yourself here. TED is a non-profit organization with a mandate devoted to ideas worth spreading. TED holds conferences each year that welcomes some of the worlds most innovative, creative thinkers to do the best presentation of their lives in 18 minutes or less.

 

My Newest Sales Tool

When I first got it, everyone stared at me when I used it. But I didn’t care; I brought it everywhere I possibly could. Coffee shops, the office, I’d even bring it to the bathroom with me. Some people would tease me. Others were jealous. None of this mattered. The fact is, I was (and still am) in love with my IPad.

The IPad isn’t just the latest and greatest tech toy. It’s a wonderful sales tool for small businesses owners and agents that are looking to make a distinct impact with a potential or current client. Here are some practical uses I have found for the IPad:

1)   Presentation:  The impact behind showing a visual presentation on an IPad as opposed to…well…anything else is uncanny. This is especially true when using the Keynote software in the IWorks package, which provides a new, flavorful look to the traditional Microsoft PowerPoint.

2)   Travel: Goodbye notebook! Travelling with a notebook computer is borderline painful. Its heavy, its big, and its burdensome. The IPad means that business owners who are always on the run can stay lean with this practical device.

3)   Anywhere, Anytime: The 3G feature on the IPad means that the days of searching for a wireless connection are gone. So, rather than storing your portfolios, presentations, etc on your tablet, you can use cloud computing features to keep your computer from bogging down on you.

 

Your Business in the NEXT GENERATION

“Man…my kid is gonna kill my business.”

How do I respond to that? I don’t have any idea of who your kid is, his character, or his drive to succeed. Is he a hard-worker or a lazy ass? Doesn’t matter. The reality is that he just might be the one running your business someday and you better have a plan in place to help aid the transition. So what are some things that you should keep in mind with your business succession plan?

1)   Honor Thy Values – If your business is family owned, your succession plan should reflect your family values. In the same manner that you carefully plan the management or financial structure of your business, the values structure must also be outlined with a clear, focused direction.

2)   Know Thy Successor – Don’t hand pick him at the last second. Whether it’s your son or your best employee, the successor needs to be fluent in everything that is YOUR business. In other words, he needs to speak the same language as you, walk the same walk as you, and talk the same talk as you. And I think you’d be the first to say that it took YEARS to develop that pop in your step, so don’t expect him to learn it over night.

3)   Build in Advance- You never want to be forced into succession planning based on a sudden death. A well-organized succession plan could be the safety net that your business falls into when something unfortunate happens. Worse case scenario, it’s the calm voice of reason that seamlessly transitions your business to a new era…while you’re sitting on a beach in retirement paradise.

 

Rumors of Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Rumors of the demise of the Auto Industry seem to have been greatly exaggerated. While the auto industry has recently had its ups (the Detroit News reports 2500 jobs will be added at the Detroit-Hamtrack plant) and downs (well….pick one), the industry may finally be on the way back up. Soshable, one of my own personal favorite blogs to read, posted this graphic on their blog today….Enjoy!


 

Keeping an Eye on Buffet

Here is a man that I am always paying close attention to. Warren Buffet is the proverbial icon of investments. As you’ll see when you watch this video, titled Warren Buffet’s Financial Rules to Live By,  investing $1,000 with Warren Buffet in 1959 would have given you a return on investment of $25 million! Buffet mentions these key rules the average personal investor should abide by:

Buffet Golden Rule #1: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Buffet Golden Rule #2: Always look at how much the other guy is making

Buffet Golden Rule #3: Stay away from leveraging

 

Some other key things to note:

–       He says that the problems that you solved in the past are key in helping to solving the problems that you have today. This type of rhetoric can be applied beyond finance and into your daily lifestyle. While you may never experience the same problem twice, the method used to achieve success can often be repeated

–       On whether or not college education is important, Buffet asserts that any means in which you can improve yourself is a worthwhile investment

Let us know what you think in our comments section!

 

Start Where You’re At & Don’t Despise the Small Beginnings

This morning I sat down with a friend I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years. So, naturally, it was almost nostalgic when I first walked into Starbucks to see this friend, we’ll call him Jim, sitting at the table waiting for me to sit down and join him. We had one hour to catch up on 20 years. He told me about his two boys who are all grown up now, his wife and their fairly successful small business, and even his two-month old puppy that chewed the corner off of his brand new leather sofa last month. Better him than me. But as the conversation got a bit deeper, he proceeded to tell me about a few investment choices that ended up hurting him financially. I couldn’t help but think ‘I’ve heard this story before.’

The truth is, a lot of people who have lost money in their investments, whether it be real estate, stocks, etc, are reluctant to begin investing again. However, it’s important to remember that, like all lofty events or cycles, there is a recovery side to this. So if you say you’re done with investing, I ask: why? There has never been a better time to acquire hard assets (homes, investment properties, commercial income properties, etc). And, I’m sure this isn’t news to you. Now, there will be those who say that they aren’t in a cash flow position to do much about this. But, that doesn’t matter! Start where you’re at and don’t despise the small beginnings. Selling a boat, RV, and/or your golf membership may provide enough cash release to buy a Real Estate Owned Property. Some of these properties are going for as little as $20,000-$30,000 in parts of the country and can generate a rental income of $700-$800 per month if handled properly. And $10,000 yearly income for $25,000 invested is a 40% ROI! Compare that to your boat, whose fuel usage is measured using a stop-watch, not a gauge, and you might be on to something.

Money Can Truly Make Fools Of Us All

While doing some spring-cleaning around the office today, I stumbled across this newspaper article that I had saved from about five years ago. The article, titled  Money Truly Can Make Fools Of Us All, explores the relationship that several Nobel Prize winners have with their financial situation.

Spoiler Alert: It’s not good.

 

Four Stages of Money Consciousness

What would you do if you were given $10,000 right now?  … Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute to think about it….

Would you invest in that venture capital project you’ve been keeping your eye on? Spend it on a tropical vacation or cruise? Donate it to your favorite charity?

Based on the varying nature of responses that I would certainly get when I ask this question, I think it’s safe to say most of us have a very distinct relationship with our money and how we spend it. While one might assume this relationship is characterized by exactly how much money he/she has at a given time, a more important aspect to focus on is ones money personality.

You may have heard the term ‘money personality’ before. While bloggers have centered the majority of the money personality discussion on identifying money personalities (see Lisa Smith at Investopedia), we’d like to explore the stages of the Money Consciousness:

1)   Unconscious-Incompetent: This is the most dangerous stage of Money Consciousness. The Unconscious-Incompetent is not sufficient at managing his/her own personal finances. More importantly, the Unconscious-Incompetent is unaware of their inability to manage their own finances. Most often, those who have experienced a reduction in their regular income will fall into this category, as they are unable and/or unwilling to compensate for the decline in regular income. The Unconscious-Incompetent will often burn through savings, skip bill payments, and run up high credit card bills to maintain a level of spending not reflective of their income.  Those who fall into this category must seek the advice of a financial professional immediately.

2)   Conscious-Incompetent:  Don’t let the word ‘incompetent’ blind you. The Conscious-Incompetent may not possess the necessary tools to manage his/her own finances, but they possess something much more important: awareness. The Conscious-Incompetent is aware that he/she cannot manage their finances on their own. As such, they seek help from financial advisors, they purchase budgeting software, and they keep themselves well read on everything financial so that they can put themselves in the best position to succeed. Funny enough, the Conscious-Incompetent is actually pretty darn competent!

3)   Unconscious-Competent: Simply put, the Unconscious-Competent is a natural when it comes to personal finance. The unconscious-competent is often the unsure, analytic type. He/She seeks advice from a financial advisor, even when they do not necessarily need it, and tends to be quite conservative when investing.  The Unconscious-Competent has efficient, effective spending tactics…they just don’t know it.

4)   Conscious-Competent: They may not have the magic wand or the funny looking hat, but the Conscious-Competent is a Financial Wizard. The entire premise of finance comes naturally to the Conscious-Competent. He/She is well read and well informed in the area of finance. The Conscious-Competent is active in seeking out innovative investment strategies and, as such, has aligned him/herself with a strong, trusted financial advisor to help fully understand the intricacies of the finance world.

 

Where do you fit in on the Money Consciousness Scale? Let us know in our comments section below.