Financial Confidence

Self-confidence is your own evaluation of your abilities to accomplish a given task. “Stepping outside of my comfort zone” is a phrase many of us use to describe how we feel in situations where we don’t know how well we will perform or how others will respond to us.

It is the level of your self-confidence that is likely to determine what goals you will set and what actions you will take.  Many individuals can be self-assured in other areas of their lives, but not feel confident when it comes to matters of money management and financial planning. (more…)

A New Perspective on Risk Tolerance

When you are making an investment decision, do you intentionally weigh the potential risks and rewards?  Is weighing that balance more of a rational or emotional process for you?  In other words, do you tend to rely more on facts or on feelings?

For investors, “risk” is defined as the chance to experience loss versus the chance to experience a gain.  At one end of the risk tolerance continuum are those individuals who are averse to risk.  They focus their thinking on the “loss” part of the equation.  For them, risk is anxiety producing and a factor to be avoided.  They want to stick with the known and predictable.  In addition, those who are risk averse value financial stability above all else.  Therefore, they are willing to sacrifice higher returns to achieve that sense of guarantee. (more…)

Kids Need Money Mentors

With the level of consumer debt skyrocketing and the cost of housing, education, and health care increasing at double digit rates, younger generations are facing unprecedented challenges to achieving economic security and financial independence.  Therefore, helping our youth to learn effective money management skills, and to adopt good financial habits and attitudes, is more important than ever.

So what can you do if you are worried about the financial future of your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews?  The place to start is by considering the positive influence you can have in shaping their financial well-being.  Next, think about and choose specific ways that you can be a proactive Money Mentor in their lives.  Here are suggestions and resources to get you started: (more…)

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life

Individuals in mid-life and beyond are increasingly viewing retirement not as a time to relax, but as a time to explore their potential.  It was Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, who gave us the term, “self actualization.”  He called it man’s desire for fulfillment, “to become everything that one is capable of becoming.”

For many, the path to self-actualization is through their “work”—which should be defined as the productive activities, paid or unpaid, that gives their lives meaning and a sense of purpose.  Helen Harkness wrote that linking work to the need for meaning has been a natural evolution: (more…)

A Shift in Priorities

A shift in prioritiesThe inaugural American Dream Study, conducted in 2007, revealed an insatiable hunger for more and better material possessions.  In addition, the bar was continually rising for what was considered “basic necessities.”  However, across all social strata, the economic crisis has been a loud wake up call.

Respondents to the 2009 version of the study reported that they are eating at home more often, shopping more at big box discount stores, spending less on movies, and moving away from brand-name products to generics (www.metlife.com).  And, unlike previous downturns, no one seems to be immune. (more…)