Create Your Own Personal Finance Strategy

Your Own Personal Finance Strategy

If you’re like me, when making a decision, you like to

research and compare different methods before deciding which way to go.  This has definitely been true for my wife and me as we’ve pursued our wealth journey. And once again, if you’re like me, what you’ve probably found is there are so many different perspectives on how to build wealth. It could be enough to drive you mad!

So who’s right? Believe it or not, I would go so far as to say that much of the financial information, strategies, etc. out there is good in it own way. Until discovering my own personal finance strategy,we tried a lot of different things before just narrowing it down to what has worked consistently for us. So I’m not one to say that there is one specific philosophy to follow. Heck, I even encourage you to contrast different “gurus” to see which one works best for you. Because you will find that you are able to pick and choose from different advisors and tailor it to your needs in order to reach financial freedom.

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From 6-Figure Debt to Financial Freedom: My 4-Step Plan

Guest post from Trea S. Branch of Trea's Two Cents

Trea and Tyrone - Chicago's Finest
Trea and Tyrone Planning for Financial Freedom

- We dream of being able to support family financially without being set back

- We dream of traveling at will, all over the world

- We dream of sending our kids to college, completely paid for

- We dream of quitting the 9-5 gig waaaaay before we’re 65

- We dream of not having to work for money

- My husband and I dream of financial freedom, and here’s how we plan to get there

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The Game is Rigged

The Game is Rigged

So, let’s play a game: you loan me a dollar. In about a year, I’ll give you $1.02 back. Not bad huh? You do practically nothing and get a return on your money. Pretty fun game huh?


Now let’s add a twist to the game:  I’ll loan you a dollar as well. But at the end of the year, you’ll owe me anywhere from $1.05 to $1.23, depending on how trustworthy I initially felt you were.

I forgot to mention that if you pay me late, you’ll owe me an additional one to three cents. Plus, I’m going to smear your name to others and tell them they shouldn’t loan you anything.

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Money Habits Affect More Than You Think

What directions will you go?

Over the years, I have learned the following: Make poor decisions with your money and you will become poor; make wealth enhancing decisions with your money and you will become wealthy.


So how is it that some individuals end up in the middle? They do some of both!

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with individuals at all walks of life. From high income to low income and everywhere in between. I have provided input to attain healthy financial goals with many of them.  I’ve also learned and experienced that not everyone will follow the coaching and/or instruction provided.  Let me share a story of one individual who comes to mind.

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Cut Your Costs and Spending by Creating an Expense Management Plan

A major step in achieving financial freedom is cutting costs and managing expenses. It’s important to understand how an expense differs from debt.


I define debt as money you already owe someone else. An expense, on the other hand, is money that you will pay someone else in the future. This is a crucial distinction to understand. To give you an example, let’s take paying for your monthly electricity bill. When you receive your bill, it usually comes before the due date. That makes your electricity bill an EXPENSE (for now) because you will pay it by the due date (let’s say the 15th). Now, if the 16th of the month comes and you haven’t paid that bill, it becomes DEBT because you now owe it to the electric company.

A good way to think of it is this:

  • Expenses get paid forward
  • Debt gets paid backward

Because of this, I don’t classify expenses as good or bad. Instead, I like to think of expenses as necessary or unnecessary.

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A Simple Formula on How to Attain Financial Freedom

After several years of research, reading all types of money making books, investing in all types of business opportunities, Gina and I realized a simple way that’s helped many people become financially free.

I won’t pretend that I have the magic formula that will: make you $100,000 in 3 minutes while you sit on the couch, or allow you to retire next week without ever leaving the house! I’m not saying that folks who sell those programs are lying because I haven’t done them all, but years ago, I tried a couple of them and let’s just say the only thing that happened while I sat on the couch was I made an imprint!

Let’s face it: If you truly want to get rich & achieve financial independence, it’s going to take some work! However, if I told you that you could become rich and increase your net worth (regardless of how much money you currently make) by using a tried and true formula that consists of 3 simple steps, would you believe me? Well you should, because it works!


How do I know? Because We Have Used This Formula to Continually Increase Our Net Worth Over the Past 14 years!

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What's the Plan?

So it’s getting close to time to replace the vehicle. What is the game plan?


Like many individuals, I don’t look forward to the time when it’s necessary to replace a vehicle. A recent trip to the mechanic came back with the diagnosis of the car as “needing some tender, loving care”.

We’re prepared to provide the care it needs for now while coming up with the plan to purchase another debt free vehicle. Therefore, it’s time to decide:

  • how aggressive the budget will need to be based on our timeline
  • what type and class of vehicle will satisfy us both
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Money and Marriage

You’ve said “I do “. Married the one of your dreams. Now let’s talk about OUR money.

Approximately 65% of married couples combine their incomes. About 35% do not.

Sometimes our mate has a money personality different from our own. This can cause unpleasantness surrounding a very important aspect of our marriage: Our Money!! So what do we do to get on the same page?

Free spirited individuals are authentic to themselves and the world around them. Oftentimes, the need to reel them in is mandatory. These individuals can spend, spend, spend and/or give, give, give.

Savers, on the other hand, still need to be reminded that life is a gift meant to be enjoyed. It’s OK to enjoy life.

Sometimes it’s about the experience of the day, not the premium price tag for the day! Example: I am fully aware of the premium cost of goodies when going out to the movies. However, we all enjoy having a good time so I won’t let it bug me.

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Auto Repair...An Emergency or Inconvenience?

Recently one of our vehicles was set to have some scheduled maintenance (which required the dealer to need the vehicle for the entire work day). The dealership provided a courtesy shuttle so I wouldn’t have to sit in a waiting room all day.

On my return to pick up the car, the shuttle driver and I had an opportunity to talk one on one. He was retired and provided transportation services part-time which allowed him to keep busy. He mentioned that for 25 years he was a car salesman, and informed me that he made much of his money providing a solution to a problem that began in the service department. I listened closely as my ears perked at this revelation!

He stated that when service representatives would inform a customer of a major repair item, most people’s head and shoulders would drop, in a state of despair. He would take note and eventually confirm that the customer had no way of funding the needed repair.

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Financial Stress and Depression

A recent report shows a link between financial stress and depression. 72% of the population indicates that they were stressed out about their money. 


Financial stress has a way of bringing about an array of emotions to the surface. They can range from worrying about paying your bills to feeling like you are a total failure.

Money has a way of touching nearly every aspect of our lives. The lack of it or worrying about money influences our mental health, emotional health as well as our physical well being. Taking control of the money we steward is vital. I know that money makes an excellent servant but a terrible master! Isn’t it time to master your money, rather than allowing it to master you? Let us show you how to never worry about money again!!!!  

Part of this post is excerpted from The Dark Link Between Financial Stress and Depression by Elizabeth Renter.  Read the full post at:

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Retail Therapy is Costly

I have a relative who admitted that when she is depressed or stressed, she makes it a priority to shop. This shopping trip is not to pick up an item or two on a short list of needs required by her wardrobe. It is a full blast budget breaking income wreaking disaster!


She indicates she feels much better while shopping. However once she returns to her stress-free self…... well let’s just say her net worth took a hit and she may need to return merchandise.


I notice this frequently with individuals who may have been told they have acquired expensive taste. You know who you are!  Vehicles that retail for the same as revenue generating income property.   Shoes that cost as much as a monthly mortgage payment. 

Not to mention a clothing allowance which, if invested properly, could make you a millionaire in record time.

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Greatest Financial Books of All Time!

As a financial coach, I am constantly looking to enhance my financial education through a variety of means (books, courses, audio, seminars, etc.). As an avid reader, my preferred choice of continual learning is through books.


I’ve read dozens of finance related books over the years. Some good, some bad. But today, I want to save you some time and effort, by listing 5 of the greatest financial books of all time.  

1.  Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki – this book is the one that got me serious about financial education.  I would read a financial book every now and then, but not really implement what I was learning. After reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I began to understand why I would take one step forward towards financial freedom but then two steps back. Making more money doesn’t do anything for you if you don’t know what to do with it and how to keep it.

Primary takeaway: Definition of an Asset vs. a Liability

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Financial Mistakes That Can Wreak Havoc in Your Married Life – Avert Them to Stay Safe

Couple arguing

It is nothing new that disagreements over financial matters is one of the primary reasons behind couples ending up in the divorce court.  Although financial advice for married couples is readily available, yet they prefer continuing their fight over petty fiscal issues. If you and your partner are like most other couples, chances are high that you fight about money.


While you might hear advices that tell you to talk about money with your partner, talking is not always the only trick that works. In fact according to a study by a famous magazine group, it has been found out that 75% of couples talk about money every week. Still where's the problem? The problem is that most of us don't know how to talk about money as most couples tend to be emotional and reactive about money rather than being strategic. When emotions take a grip on you, you tend to take wrong fiscal decisions and this leads to couples drowning in debt. If you want to follow a debt free life, educate yourself on the most common fiscal mistakes that can wreck your married life.

  • Combining your finances: One of the biggest issues that the newlyweds usually face is how to handle their finances.  Most couples are struggling with this as they wonder whether or not they should merge everything and have a joint single account or whether they should have individual personal accounts and a joint account only for household expenses. A survey shows that 65% couples put their money in joint accounts and the rest of them keep everything in separate accounts. For the newlyweds, the choice should be somewhere in the middle as you should have some autonomy money.  When one spouse enters into a hefty debt load, the other spouse can use his/her funds to help the other.
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Sneaky ATM Fees

Many banks are now allowing you to take cash out at an ATM even if you don't have enough in your account. This may sound generous of them until you realize they are doing this to make big overdraft fees from you.


Of course, it would be easy for the bank to program the ATM to alert you if you try to take more than you have in the account, so the intention is clear. They want those fees, even if getting them comes from a mistake on your part. To avoid this, check your balance before you make a withdrawal (so far there is no fee for this).

This article comes from Steve Gillman's Secret Information Newsletter.  I highly recommend signing up for it at:

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Having THINGS is OK

In a day and age where material excess has been the cause of financial disaster for lots of people, we find that many tend to misunderstand that having material possessions is NOT a bad thing.


The problem is that most don't know how to have balance; they instead are either at one extreme or the other.


What do I mean?

Well, they are either at one end of the spectrum where they are frivously spending money they don't have, maxing out credit cards, over leveraging themselves to purchase things.


Digging themselves deeper and deeper in debt, stressing themselves out to "keep up with Joneses". 


But I've heard it said several times over the past few years, "quit trying to keep up with the Joneses, because the Joneses are broke also!!"

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Are You Paying Too Much for Insurance? (Audio Blog)

Sometimes, it only takes a few moments to save several hundred dollars.  Reassess your insurance needs and see if you're paying too much.


Check Your Insurance
MP3 Audio File 146.0 KB

Membership Doesn’t Always Have Its Privileges

One of the best places to cut back on expenses is monthly memberships.  Most memberships people have are not being used enough to justify paying the monthly fee.


Businesses know this, and they realize if they can get you into an ongoing membership, it's a continuous stream of income for them.  In fact, they make it easy for you to forget all about it by getting your credit card number once and then conveniently billing you monthly so "you don't have to do anything!"

If you start paying close attention you'll find these continuity programs, as they're called, popping up everywhere. Salons/spas, auto clubs, professional associations, nutritional products and just about anything you might think of buying through an infomercial.


You must determine whether the benefits (i.e. discounts, savings, etc.) you get from the product or service justifies the monthly cost. Here's an example:

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