Redefining S.M.A.R.T. Goals

chalkboard-smart-goalsMany of us have been taught about setting goals through the use of the SMART acronym. The theory is that in order to be successful in our pursuits, our goals must be:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Tangible (more…)

The Art and Science of “Smarter” Spending

Although a number of studies have focused on the effect of income on happiness, Elizabeth Dunn, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, also wanted to understand the effect of spending choices on happiness.

For example, previous research clearly demonstrated that income has a predictably positive effect on level of happiness, but these levels remain flat over time even as income increases. This finding puzzled Dunn and she wanted to find out why happiness did not increase along with income. (more…)

Mastering Cash Flow: Your Key to Financial Success

Budgeting. Just the thought of that word can elicit groans and shudders. Yes, there are those out there who love typing every expenditure into their spreadsheets or personal finance software programs, who gleefully save every receipt from every purchase, and who enjoy doing this every day. But for some, the idea of taking the time to create and maintain a full-blown budget can be intimidating. ~ Anna Prior, Wall Street Journal

The key to financial success is adopting a cash flow plan that will guide your financial decisions on a day to day basis. In addition, understanding and controlling how money flows in and out of your life will free you from financial stress and empower you to achieve your most important life goals. (more…)

Holistic Planning for Later In Life

We often equate preparing for old age with achieving the financial security needed to sustain us throughout life. However, a truly successful and fulfilling aging experience requires planning and preparation in all areas of life.

Financial planning is indeed important, but money alone cannot “buy” happiness, good health, meaningful relationships, and purposeful activities. In The Late-Start Investor, John Wasik wrote:

“Instead of absorbing an obsolete view of retirement, you should consider what I call your New Prosperity. This includes a flexible life plan that provides for your financial, vocational, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Unless you look at your future holistically, merely saving up a pile of money will be a meaningless act.” (more…)

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…)

Money Myths and Messages

It is important to keep in mind that cultural messages have a profound influence on our money beliefs.  Intellectually we can disagree, but subconsciously these messages can affect how we feel about money.  Therefore, true financial freedom is more than having a lot of money; it is being free of money myths and notions that influence our money attitudes and behaviors.

For example, there is a lot of truth to the old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.” However, what money can “buy” is options—more alternatives to choose from as you design the life you want to live—now and in the future. (more…)