Past, Present, Future

by | Jul 20, 2020 | Blog, Inspiration, Mindset, Tips | 0 comments

Deal with the past, live well in the present and prepare for your financial future.

In mid-2015, I was broke, had large amounts of debt and was under debt review for it, my business was struggling to get off the ground and I was at a total financial low point. Fast forward to today, my debts are all cleared and I now have multiple income streams I use for saving, investing, and to support my lifestyle. I wanted to share that story with you to show you that no matter how dire your situation may seem right now, you can turn it around.

When it comes to sorting out our finances, many of us are bamboozled as to where to even start! In this article, I share the 3 steps to achieving the financial freedom that you can take right now.

The following illustration shows the flow of money into and out of your life:

Clear the past Live well in the present Prepare for the future

When money flows into your life, you can direct it to flow to one or more of these three categories – past, present, and future.

Clearing the past: Deal with your Debt

Debt can wreck your relationships, affect your mental and physical health (stress!), and ultimately destroy your life. This does not have to be your story! It doesn’t matter what situation you find yourself in at this moment, there is a way out! Seek help if you need to – support goes a long way!

  • Make a list of your debt, the interest rates, and minimum payment amounts. Knowledge is power!
  • Start by paying extra towards your smallest debt (emotional wins). Once an account is paid up, add the amount you were used to paying, to the next creditor’s payment. This way you not only pay your debt off faster, but you will also save on interest. Bonus!
  • Stop making more debt! Cut up your credit cards, close your accounts. This one is particularly hard when you’re living off debt but closing accounts one by one and getting down to having just 1 credit card is fantastic progress.
  • Forgiveness is important when dealing with debt. The past is over. Mistakes have been made. Debt does not need to be a life sentence. It’s time to let the past go and take daily steps towards a brighter debt-free future!

Live well in the present: Spend less than you earn

How are you looking after the money that comes into your life? Are you spending every last penny and then some more? Are you perhaps drowning in debt with no savings to show?

It’s time to get clarity and take control of your monthly expenditure:

  • List all your fixed monthly bills (such as rent, insurances, utilities) and then your discretionary spending (e.g. food, entertainment, personal spend). Give your budget a spring clean. Perhaps it is cluttered with unnecessary expenses? Prioritize what is important to you. Eliminate waste and spend on things that no longer add value to your life.
  • Create a buffer – if you only apply one practical habit in your life after reading this, this should be it! This is your peace of mind fund – especially when paying off debt! Build a buffer of at least one month’s worth of living expenses. Put this buffer in a separate account. Whenever money comes into your life allocate an amount towards your buffer BEFORE spending it on anything else! Yes, save before you spend. The initial amount does not matter, what is important is that you create the habit of saving. You are creating your safety net by doing this. When unexpected events occur, you can be your bank and line of credit, and not resort to further debt! This money is only to be used for occasional events and not for everyday expenses. This is key in breaking the spiral of debt.
  • Don’t deprive yourself – Figure out what those things are that make you FEEL good (massages, hair care, eating out, holidays) and find ways to include them in your monthly expenditure. Find cheap deals, discount offers, 2 for 1 special, use shopping points, free experiences, etc but do those activities so you’re not left feeling like you’re not living your best life.

Prepare for the future: Start Saving

Are you preparing for the future? They say the best time to start saving for your financial freedom (when you no longer need to work for money) is the day you draw your first salary. The next best time to start saving is now. Today.
Understandably, if debt is still a major factor in your life, your savings and investments will be on a smaller scale. The key is to start, however small. Start with R10 a week if you have to. That will get your saving mindset activated. Educate yourself on different investment and retirement options and start putting a plan in place. As you eliminate debt from your life, you will be able to allocate more and more towards your future. This is where money thrives! And this is where the money that you’ve worked for, will start working for you instead!

A healthy financial freedom plan may include the following:

  • A cash-based buffer of 3 – 6 months worth of living expenses
  • Retirement funds (country dependant)
  • Tax-Free Investment funds (country dependant)
  • Unit trusts/stock market investments
  • Other passive income streams

Take the time to educate yourself on all the different options and start implementing your financial freedom plan, step by step. When money becomes a partner in your life instead of a slave driver, you will discover a harmony that you didn’t even know existed before!

When you implement something you have learned, you have a far better chance of success!

Think about your current money situation. 

Which area in your financial life needs the most urgent attention? Past, Present, or Future?
Which of the steps above can you start with immediately?
Can you commit to making a list of steps that you can take from the list above and taking just 1 step every week until you are done with the list?

Blog originally published by Marnita Opperman – Mindful Money Coach 

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Past, Present, Future

by | Jul 20, 2020 | Blog, Inspiration, Mindset, Tips | 0 comments

For many years now, the Millennial workforce has been consistently changing the way we work in more ways than one. As noted by NBC News, aside from raising awareness over various topics such as employee and workplace well-being, work-life balance, and flexibility, this new generation of professionals has also made it the norm for managers and company leaders to provide a steady flow of feedback.

  

This reality has eventually led to the emergence of hundreds of millions of resources on the different ways to give effective feedback. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about being on the other end: there just isn't enough information out there on how to receive feedback well. That being said, here are six tips that can help you get the most out of all the feedback you receive:

1. Handle your emotions offline 

We can't help it if certain comments make us feel certain ways -- we're only human after all. However, your emotional response is yours and yours alone to deal with. To ensure that you are capable of addressing every piece of the feedback with determination and an open mind, get negative emotional reactions out of your system through simple breathing exercises.
An article by Pain-Free Working explained how exercises like deep breathing, the 4-7-8 breathing technique, and the lion’s breath technique can help release tension in the head, promote relaxation and improve your mood in just a few minutes.

2. Identify good intentions 

Taking in criticism or feedback can be hard -- no matter how meaningful, constructive or true it may be. However, it is something you must overcome in order to become better at receiving feedback. Again, you have to remember that the person giving you an evaluation isn’t out to get you and intentionally hurt your feelings. They are there with the intention to help you see points of improvement.

3. Actively listen

Whether you are listening to a talk or participating in a class, the only foolproof way to learn as much as you can is by listening actively. This undeniable truth also applies when taking in feedback. When the other person is sharing his or her feedback with you, make sure to listen closely. Let the person share their complete evaluation, without interruption. Avoid analysing or questioning each and every comment, and instead, focus on trying to understand what the other person means and the perspective they are coming from. Once they are done, The Muse suggests repeating back the comment to ensure that you got everything right.

 4. ASK QUESTIONS

In addition to repeating the other person’s comments, it would also be in your best interest to ask questions if there are parts that you weren’t able to fully grasp. Asking questions will not only show how willing you are when it comes to understanding their assessment. This simple act can also help you have more clarity, get to the root of the issues raised and have access to some possible solutions for addressing said issues.

5. Learn from each feedback

Even if the feedback you’ve received is unfavourable, there is surely still something you can learn from it. Just like how you would try to ‘Overcome Failure’, ask yourself why you got such commentary. Then, use that knowledge to further improve your work and to ensure that the next feedback you’d get will be much better.

6. CIRCLE BACK

As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. With that in mind, after making sense of the feedback you've received, make sure to work on the items mentioned and issues raised. It would also be a good idea to circle back with them to see how things are going from their perspective. Doing so will not only strengthen your relationship with them, but also provide you with an opportunity to get more feedback.

Feedback can be thought of as two-way streets. Meaning to say, in order for it to be as effective as it can be, the giver should know how to offer meaningful comments while the receiver should know how to receive assessments well.

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