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Below is a list of Archived Newsletter Items written prior to the launch of this new site.  Enjoy: - The Finance Coach

How To Beat the Excuses and Win with a “Cash Flow Plan”

We all have heard how important it is to be on a budget – to know where every penny goes, but we still never seem to get around to making one. Most people have a reason (ahem…excuse) why they can’t seem to follow a budget. Here are some “excuses” that may be preventing you from following a budget like you should

“We never have an “average” month.”

When we do a budget, we try to make it too complicated or we want to use averages and we never have the “average month” so we get frustrated or give up. Every month is unique, so just concentrate on the next month – not an “average” month.

“We don’t have enough money because we are between jobs.”

The reality is, it doesn’t matter how much money you make. Whether you make a bunch of money, are middle class or are living on unemployment, you need a cash flow plan. A cash flow plan will help you prioritize your spending to maximize the dollars you earn.

“We are different and with our family, a budget won’t work.”

Every family is different. That’s why it is important to create a budget specifically for you and your family. Make it work with your income, expenses, and lifestyle – just make a commitment and stick to it!

“I don’t even know where to begin.”

If you are just starting out, don’t over complicate it. Keep it simple so you will stick with it. Start small get a pad of paper and write down your monthly income at the top. Then list your monthly bills. The next step is to list the categories that don’t have an amount due – categories such as groceries, gas for the car, entertainment, clothing, car repairs. Now list the items that may not be paid on a monthly basis such as: trash removal, insurance, car registration, gifts. Keep in mind, these amounts will change.

Now make a couple of commitments. First, make a commitment to stick to this for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, make a commitment for the next 30 days and so on. This will allow you to focus on smaller goals and not overwhelm yourself. Secondly, if you are married, sit down with your spouse and go over the plan for the upcoming month. If you are single, find an accountability partner that will be honest with you.

If something comes up unexpectedly, look to your cash flow plan and see if the unexpected expense is a big enough priority to replace another expense in your budget. Remember, just because we have a new expense, doesn’t mean we have more income to pay the new expense. If the new expense isn’t a high enough priority we wait to pay when we can work it into a future cash flow plan.

My challenge for you is to give a monthly cash flow plan a shot over the next couple of months. John Maxwell said, “A cash flow plan is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” If you need a little coaching to get it worked out, or if you’re just overwhelmed by the whole process, contact me at jeff@thefinancecoach.net or 317.858.7270.

Jeff Dalverny
Lead Finance Coach

New Beginnings | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

Spring is my favorite season.  Winter, my least favorite season, has ended.  The air is fresh and warm. Color is starting to return to the landscape.  And baseball season is here.  What could possibly spoil spring? Tax day, April 15, is our annual reminder of the in-efficiency which our government operates.

Although I hate taxes, file your taxes on time.  If you cannot file on time, file an extension.  If you struggle to complete your taxes, either because of the difficulty or you procrastinate, hire a professional. There are several excellent CPA’s and tax services in the area.

On a brighter note, many of you will receive a refund.  What is the best use of this money?

1.      Develop a budget.  Your money will disappear quicker without a budget.

2.      Get “current” with your debts.

3.      Develop an Emergency Fund (of at least $1000).

4.      Pay off or pay down some of your debts.

5.      Use some of your refund for enjoyment.  But be sensible, if you have debts, don’t blow the entire amount on a trip to Disney World.

6.      If you typically receive a large refund, and you are using a budget, look at decreasing your withholdings.  This will give you more money in your regular paycheck.

Let this refund be a new beginning for your financial future.  If you need help developing a game plan, give us a call.  858-7270.

Coach


Cash Flow Plan | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

“A cash flow plan is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.”  John Maxwell

Championship teams have the ability to focus on and execute the fundamentals.    The same is true with your personal finances.

The basic fundamental is using a budget that works for your family.  Many people feel sick at the mention of the word “budget”.  This shouldn’t be the case.  A budget doesn’t mean that you can’t spend any money or that your shopping days are over.  It means taking control of your finances and determining, ahead of time, how you will utilize your money.  Now, when you budget money for clothes or eating out, you can enjoy the experience, instead of feeling guilty.

If you are struggling with developing a budget, or just lack the discipline to stick to your budget, give me a call at 858-7270, I can help.

Coach

Training tip: The Dave Ramsey Show, M-F, noon-3 pm, on 95.9 FM.


Family Traditions | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

In November many of us will once again take part in long time traditions.  The traditions that I am referring to are guilt-free eating and guilt-free shopping.

I enjoy the first tradition.  This non-stop snack feast begins with Thanksgiving and goes right on through the college bowl games.  The net effect is usually an additional 10 lbs.

Many others enjoy the 2nd tradition.  Some marketing genius has convinced people to get out of bed at 4:00 AM the day after Thanksgiving.  Battle traffic in the streets, crowds in the store, and long lines at the cash register. Ultimately, this environment encourages spending as if the first to max out their credit cards wins. The net effect is an overwhelming amount of debt.

This year let’s start new traditions.  I’ll eat healthier with no new pounds and you shoppers can set reasonable spending limits on Christmas with no new debt.

If your family needs help setting those limits or getting out of debt, give me a call at 858-7270.

Coach

Training tip:  read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey


Holiday Stress | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

December is here and with it comes the most beautiful time of the year.   This is the time of Christmas decorations, beautiful music, presents and shopping for loved ones.  But for many it also means a tremendous amount of stress.

This stress might be caused by low funds, loss of a job, increased expenses or an overwhelming amount of debt and maxed out credit cards. What can we do to lessen the financial stress that we will be facing this month?

  1. Develop a budget that works for your family.
  2. Set realistic limits for gifts.
  3. Trim your gift giving list.
  4. Be creative.  Sometimes a foot massage (gag) is the perfect gift.
  5. Give a gift such as playing cards, board games or puzzles. These gifts involve the giving your time also.  This time will be treasured much more and much longer than the latest video game.
  6. Most importantly, FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN GIVE, NOT ON WHAT YOU CAN’T

Coach

Training tip:  read The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry


New Year’s Resolutions | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

January is the when many of us make resolutions for the New Year.  It is a new beginning, a time to lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, read that stack of magazines, and for many of us it is time to face our growing debt.

The process to accomplish any one of these goals can be overwhelming.  But each of them can be accomplished.  Most of us have the intelligence to accomplish these goals but we don’t have the proper know how.  We need to:

  1. Implement a game plan to attack the problem.
  2. Develop the discipline to change our behaviors.
  3. Find someone that will hold us accountable.

If you need help with your game plan, discipline and accountability give me a call at 858-7270 I’ll be glad to help.

Coach

Training tip:  read The Go-Getter by Peter Kyne.


Home Is Where The Heart Is | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

“Home is where the heart is.”  Just the sound of that brings visions of love, warmth, and security.  But too often in these tough economic times, our thoughts of home and loved-ones center on late or missed mortgage payments, collection calls, property taxes and fighting with our spouse about finances.

Give love a chance in your home.  Relieve the financial stresses.  Work together with your spouse instead of placing blame.

Prioritize what is important.  Develop and implement a budget.  Commit to your budget.

This month, really show your family how much you love them.  Learn to say “NO” to unnecessary spending and instant gratification.  Give your family a secure, debt-free future.

If you need help with your game plan, give me a call at 858-7270 I’ll be glad to help.

Coach

Training tip: signup for Financial Peace University @ daveramsey.com


A Month For Me | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

This month’s theme is “A Month For Me”. This brings visions of pampering and rewards. However, let’s look at how we can really do ourselves the most good. With a proper perspective, we can turn “A Month ForMe” into “A Great Life For Me” and a legacy for my family, as well.

Most of us never learned about delayed gratification.  We were taught, get it now and pay for it later. But we keep paying month after month for the things that we purchased long ago.  In fact, many people are making payments on previous vacations, Christmas gifts, and may even be making payments on restaurant meals from over a year ago.

We may justify our actions and say it is for the “family” or rationalize that the items we want are items that we need (new clothes, a new car, a bigger TV, a faster computer, new furniture, and a bigger house). We may even convince ourselves that we deserve these things because we work so hard and are so busy. But do we really need and deserve these items?

This month, make it a real “Month for Me”.  Learn to say yes to the “Me” of the future and no to the wants that are holding you back.  You may find that you will end up living like no other “Me” you know today.  And that will be a reward you have earned.

Coach


For Mom | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

In football the goal of everyone on the offense is to score a touchdown.  But what happens if the quarterback expects his receiver to cut across the middle of the field and the receiver instead cuts to the corner?  The result is usually an incomplete pass or an interception and may even result in points for the other team.  Why does this happen?

This generally happens because of miscommunication, thus, players are running different plays.

This same phenomenon happens with our family finances.  The stated or implied goal is that we would all like to be debt-free.  But, if we do not work together and have a common plan of action, we will not reach the desired goal.

For example:  You want to get out of debt so you pick up a part-time job.  While this brings in extra income, it also keeps you away from the family many evenings a week.  This may put extra stress on your spouse who is running the kids to various activities.  With all of the extra running around she doesn’t feel that she has the time or energy to cook a meal.  This can quickly become a habit and repeat several times during the week.  The net result is you have picked up an extra job to pay for the convenience of eating out for your family.  This could have been avoided if you had both sat down and developed a plan of action.  You would have agreed on why you were working this job, how this job would affect your family and how this new income would be used by your family. With a plan in place that is designed specifically for your family it is easier to say no to convenience and stay focused on the ultimate goal.

This Mother’s Day give your wife a gift she will truly cherish; communication with you.  Sit down and develop a budget together.  Talk about your finances.  Talk about your goals and yes talk about your fears.  This will help you bond together as a “Team” and will result in you accomplishing your goals together.

If you need help developing a game plan, give us a call.  858-7270.

Coach


Stay-cation | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

The economy, downsizing, layoffs, bankruptcies, foreclosures, wage cuts, furloughs, business closings, unemployment rates…With news like this hitting us in the face every day, how can one feel comfortable planning a vacation.  That money may be needed soon just to get by.  So, in times like these, should we spend money on a vacation?

A vacation is meant as a time to get away from the everyday stress and routine of work and life to recharge our battery.  It is quality time with our family.

Can this only be accomplished by going to Disney World or Myrtle Beach?  Does the amount of money we spend equate to the quality of time and the memories we’ll have with our kids?  Instead of canceling your vacation plans, consider altering your vacation plans.

Instead of a week long vacation, try taking several short adventures instead.  This will allow many opportunities to have quality time with your family.

Here are some budget-saving suggestions:

* Turkey Run or Eagle Creek Park:  Take a picnic, toss the Frisbee or Nerf football, & go for a hike.

* Indiana Dunes:  Experience the beach on Lake Michigan.

* Bike riding on the Monon Trail.

* Fishing at a friend’s pond

* Indianapolis Indians baseball (my favorite).  Experience a great stadium at affordable prices.  You can even sit in the outfield lawn and take in your own picnic.

* Camping:  Imagine sleeping outdoors in a tent, roasting hotdogs on a campfire, making s’mores, playing cards & telling ghost stories.  There are several inexpensive campgrounds nearby or getaway in your own backyard (and have toilets, refrigeration, a/c and a roof nearby, just in case).

So stop moping around if Disney World isn’t in your budget.  Try one of these other alternatives and really concentrate on enjoying time together as a family.  Make it a summer of adventures and memories.

If you need help developing a game plan, give me a call.  858-7270.

Coach


Organization  | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

Has anyone else ever sat down on payday, with plans to finally get all off the bills paid, only to find out that the money ran out prior to even making a dent in the stack of bills.  I know I’ve experienced that and the overwhelming sense of despair that envelopes you can be almost suffocating.

A client once told me that their house had one rule and that rule was that his wife couldn’t tell them they were out of money on payday.  She had to at least wait until the next day.  He said that he wanted to believe, at least for one day, that things would get better.  This sounds funny, but the reality of this rule probably hits home with many of us.  How often has your paycheck been spent by the time it has hit your bank account.  This has put many of us in the paycheck to paycheck mentality.

How do we break this cycle?  We need to develop a financial game plan.  This plan needs to start with a budget.  Ok, I realize many of you want to stop reading.  You don’t want to read about budgeting.  You want to enjoy your money.  But give me a moment.  Notice budget is not a four letter word.  It is not a word to fear.  A budget does not mean your life is over and that you can never spend money again.  A budget is just deciding what YOU want to do with your money.  It lets you decide what is important in your life.  And it helps you to organize your finances.  It will help you see the progress you are making.  And it will put joy back in your payday.

If you think your family needs a financial game plan, but you are not sure where to start, give me a call.  I offer a free, 45-minute initial consultation.

Coach


How Large Is Your Opponent  | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

My son, Jack, will be going into the 3rd grade this year.  He enjoys playing basketball and has really enjoyed the chance to play with some 4th, 5th and 6th graders at Open Gym held at the High School.  Recently, we were told that East Middle School also had Open Gym for elementary and middle school players.

When we walked into the middle school gym, there was only one other elementary age/size boy.  The rest of the players were all 6th – 8th graders.   I quickly analyzed the situation, Jack was: 3 to 5 grades younger, 1 to 2 feet shorter, 50 to 150 pounds lighter than the other players.  Plus, his career has encompassed 1 year on a 2ndgrade team.

Many thoughts were going through my head:  overwhelming, intimidating, inexperience, dangerous, and embarrassing.  In my mind, these players were looking more and more like the Indiana Pacers and Jack had no chance to play with these guys.

Coach James included Jack in the shooting drills. But, when it was time for the players to go full court and play a game, he came over and said he would have Jack sit out this part.  I quickly agreed with this decision.

My 9 year old son then taught me a major, life lesson.  He said, “I know why Coach doesn’t want me in there, I don’t know any of their names.”

Our perspectives were totally different.  Mine was that I was happy he was on the sidelines.  He was safe.  He wasn’t being embarrassed or facing such and insurmountable opponent.  Jack’s perspective was that he wanted to get into the game, he was a ball player and he wanted the opportunity to play with the big guys.  He wanted the opportunity to score and the opportunity to win.

I say this is a life lesson, because we all face opponents in life.  Maybe your opponent is your job or lack of a job.  Maybe it is your finances, your marriage or a spiritual issue. Does your opponent look too large, too intimidating, too experienced or too overwhelming for you?  Do you just want to play it safe and sit on the sidelines and hope your opponent goes away?

Maybe you need to change your perspective.  Maybe you need to look at your situation with the eyes of a 9 year old and look for the opportunity to get into the game and win.

Coach


Home Makeover  | A NOTE FROM THE COACH

One of my favorite shows to watch is This Old House.  That statement alone is actually funny, since I lack the patience and skill to do any handyman projects at MY old house.   I think I like the show because it helps me to dream and to think of the possibilities.  But one thought always nags at me when I watch the show, how much did these people plan to spend when they started this project?

Sometimes it seems that the projects keep expanding minute by minute.  Oh look here, we have dry rot, sagging floor…Some of these projects grow and grow until the only remaining piece of the old house is the oak tree in the front yard.   Oh wait its diseased it will have to come down.  My point here is that home projects tend to get away from us.  We start with one thing in mind, but a little change here, a little change there, add a little…soon we are taking out a home equity loan, whipping out the credit cards and creating larger monthly payments. This leaves you wondering how this spun out of control.

The problem is you didn’t have a game plan.  Develop a plan by following these simple steps:

  1. Develop a budget for the project.  Leave some wiggle room.  What can you afford to pay?  Notice, I did not say what monthly payment can you afford to pay?

2.   Don’t start until you can pay for the project.  If you don’t have enough money, scale your project or start saving your money.

3.   Get referrals and get several quotes.

4.   If you get the quotes and don’t like what you can afford, then continue to save.

5.   Get an accountability partner other than your spouse.  Pick someone you can bounce ideas off, but they must also be willing to tell you what you may not want to hear (No!).

6.   Stick to your plan and enjoy your paid for home makeover.

Coach



Scott Doehrman – The Finance Coach
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