Sunday, November 2, 2008Great Stuff
I am stilled awed by the Internet. Today I stopped by Mark Lurie's office at Prana where his wife, Julie, and he were facilitating the MSS 1--in Edmonton, Canada! Via Skype. Amazing. It is a pioneering class and it looks like this is a new era for PTS. They were able to see and hear me clearly, and I heard and saw the class of five very clearly.
In the same vein of wowness, I am amazed by how much great free stuff there is out there. If you have a Mac check out this post for 25 items of free software.
And get your pencil out and check out this sensible list of financial skills you should know. Really, make sure you know them, and if you don't find out how.
I think that's enough to keep you busy.
Saturday, November 1, 2008Maintaining the Positive
There is only one message from God, although there are many ways that itís said and many ways that itís expressed. That one message is that all things come from God. Everything has its existence because God is.
There is great security in knowing this. God is multi-dimensional; God is everywhere, in all things and in all levels of consciousness. So the things that appear to be negative are only learning devices, not punishments.
(From Timeless Wisdoms by John-Roger, DSS)
Fortunately, the readers of this blog have very positive outlooks. Here are a couple of lovely examples from today:
Reader 1) A friend came up with the idea of a "sentimentometer". There are times when she feels low and her sentimentometer is on the negative side. So she does some internal adjustment to swing back into the positive.
My understanding is that the financial markets tend to reflect sentiment. So what if more of us individually became accountable for our "sentiment" such as our sentimentometer was more on the positive side? Could this make any difference, I wonder?
In the bath this morning, I felt my energy go down and my mind tip into worrying mode. So I remembered to surrender to God, came into the present moment, to enjoying my bath and very easily felt just fine again.
Reader 2) I also feel that the economy has some sweet spots in it and there are zeitgeist areas that will yield great success. Those areas include environmental/sustainable services and products, health and wellness and self-improvement. Real estate will also right itself and the finance markets will stabilize.
I stay centered and inspired when I remind myself that the economic freefall (or any life challenge) will not be solved with the focus being on the problem. Good (God) is found wherever one looks for it.
If you are still vacillating on budgeting, this post may help get your tushie in gear.
Financial Quote of the Day (From David Fuller of Fuller Money):
It does China no harm to have a spare trillion dollars, to help prime the economy for any slowdown. Projections that the Chinese economy will slow more than forecast are gaining airtime as American and European economies move into recession. However, no one knows for sure how far it will slow. What we do know is that no other country is as well placed to weather this storm.
I happen to believe that China will be the U.S. of this century and will lead the world. It wonít happen overnight, but they are on their way.
Saturday, October 18, 2008Useful Bits and Pieces
1) I've been going on a bit about budgeting. This excellent guide and resource will tell you all you need.
2) The same site offers this sage advice on getting on top of your finances.
3) And for some simple and understandable financial advice go here.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008Preparation Mode - Day Two
1) Outer Lesson One: Live Within Your Means
Regarding tracking your finances, something we covered in an earlier post, not only does this useful New York Times article speak highly of Mint.com but it also has these clear concluding paragraphs:
The point is simply to do something. Start small. Tackle a troubled category or two. Make a bit of progress. Add more categories. Pretty soon, it may become addictive to watch every dollar. And then, well, weíre keeping what begins to look like an actual budget.
These are small steps. In the coming months, some of us may need to take a real hatchet to our spending, as the economic impact of the financial crisis becomes clear and unemployment rises or bonuses and commissions fall. And if that happens, those of us who know where our money is going and how easy it is to cut back just a little will be in a good position to react.
2) Financial Press Quote of the Day: (From: Strategic Forecasting)
The announcements have been decisive, but details are not nailed down and wonít be for several days at least. Even when they are in place, the management of the international dimension of the crisis remains unclear. We had wondered whether equity trading would be suspended for several days while these things are worked out, and that apparently isnít happening. So what we have is a global commitment to guarantee aspects of the financial system, at least temporarily, with a variety of modalities to be used. But there is no administrative structure in place, nor are many critical questions answered. One question has been answered: There will be international coordination, but not an integrated international solution.
The one thing that comes out of all this is that nationalism has trumped globalism.
3) Inner Preparation One: Maintain your sense of humor, no matter what
Two cannibals are eating a clown.
One says to the other: "Does this taste funny to you?"
"Doc, I can't stop singing 'The green, green grass of home'."
"That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome."
"Is it common?"
"It's not unusual."
Monday, September 22, 2008Did You Know #2?
Talking of budgeting (see yesterday's post), Leigh Briggin and I facilitated a three webclass series called the Spiritual Principles of Abundance and Prosperity, in which we covered budgeting and money management as well as tithing and seeding. Leigh is a Certified Financial Planner as well as a CPA and the clarity he brings to money matters is extraordinary--very clear, practical, and elucidating.
Go to "GOODIES" on the left of this website. A click will take you to "Multimedia." A further click will take you to a screen with Leigh and me. Click on "webclasses" and off you go.
The webclasses were done in 2005 but the information is timeless.
Sunday, September 21, 2008The Third Deadly Sin
In an earlier post I had mentioned the importance of the money magnet and how it helped end the struggle with money that Shelley and I had since we had been together. Another big factor in the ending of that struggle was the creation of a budget.
The thought occurred to me this week because Shelley had mentioned it was time to re-look at ours and update it. It really is an important tool for responsible money management. Recent events have shown big financial institutions, and the government for that matter, can basically get away with non-accountability and horrendous irresponsibility, and their executives, despite losing billions, walk away with millions of dollars in their pockets as a farewell present. However, those are not the rules readers of this blog are playing by (aka ďnot our karma.Ē)
So, we budget. Most of bad management is as simple as not being willing to look. Budgeting makes us look. And it is a very good thing. ĒDonít BudgetĒ is number three of www.bargaineering.comís Seven Deadly Sins of Personal Finance. Their piece on this, Failing to Budget, which I have reproduced below, is really excellent. I particularly love the third and fourth paragraphs. Weíll be looking at the other ďsinsĒ in future posts.
Failing To Budget
Failing to budget can be one of the most damaging things you can do to your personal finances. Without a clear picture of how much youíre spending and on what, youíre basically wandering the forest at night without a flashlight. You might know that you want to buy a house in five years, but without an accurate figure of how much youíre spending or saving, you really have no idea whether that goal is even feasible. If it is feasible, you have no idea how much you should saving towards that goal. A budget gives you that accurate snapshot and itís one of the reasons why an income statement, which lists expenses, is a crucial financial statement for a company.
You canít improve what you arenít tracking. You should always be trying to lower your expenses while maintaining the same standard of living. If you frequently shop at a particular store, itís smart to try to find coupons so you get the same for less. If you like a particular food or drink, it pays to test out cheaper alternatives to see if you can tell the difference. Where you save in one area, you can then splurge in another. With a budget, you can tell where you stand the greatest chance of improvement. You may discover patterns you didnít know beforehand.
You will automatically improve just by tracking. When I started working full-time, I had a budget where I tracked every expense to the penny. By virtue of doing that, my actions were affected by even recording the expense. I knew of times when I packed a lunch because my dining out expenses were nearing artificial milestones like $50 that month or $100. There was one time I thought about buying a new pair of jeans but stopped myself because I hadnít spent money on clothes that month. Since I was nearing the end of the month, I figured Iíd buy it next month (I never did until much later).
Budgets help you make informed decisions. With a budget and an accurate picture of your spending, you can make an informed decision. If you know you have slack in the budget, you can enjoy yourself more knowing that youíre safe. Friends planning a vacation next month? You can happily agree to go without guilt or concern if you know your budget can handle it. How long will it take for you to build up your emergency fund? With a budget, you now know.
After a few months of budgeting, itís okay to slack off and not track as diligently. Once you have an accurate picture, you simply need to adjust it to changes in your life. But every once and a while, track expenses for a week or two just to see that there havenít been any big changes.