Turning a Dream into a Reality (#raisingstandards)

My favorite quote that I like to share with others is:

“Do one thing each day that scares you” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

To me, these eight words are powerful enough to move you into action if you are ready for it.  How many of us have dreams that don’t become realities because of fear?  What is holding you back?  Is it time, money, support, education, fear of the unknown?

My friend, Jim Moore, had a dream that is now becoming an amazing reality.  Jim is a former collegiate and NFL athlete, who has a passion for coaching.  His ability to nurture others into being the best they can be, and use their strengths to enhance their teammates is something quite remarkable.  He is a father of three active boys, and has had the opportunity to take on first hand the spirit of teamwork, motivation and accountability that exists on and off the field.

A couple of years ago, Jim had a dream of opening up an indoor sports facility to enhance the baseball and softball training programs available in his community.  This was no easy feat.  In addition to working full time, and being a full time husband and father, he also coaches two of his sons in multiple sports, and volunteers with his church and community organizations.  After a lot of research, and the opportunity to form a partnership with others, Jim’s dream was on its way to fruition.

Over the last several months, Jim and his partners have put some considerable sweat equity into making this dream come true.  From cleaning out cob webs, scraping mud off of I-Beams to painting 20 foot walls, peeling up old flooring and laying astro turf, this project is a true labor of love.  My family and I had the pleasure of touring this space today, and WOW!  It looks and feels like a professional level facility that athletes young and old will enjoy immensely.

I am pleased to announce that Team Performance will open its doors on Saturday, January 4, 2014 in Lawrence, KS.

As you enter this new year, realize that you too can turn your dreams into a reality.  #raisingstandards

It’s About Time

The anticipation of waiting for a good thing can drive you a little nutty.  I get this way any time I plan a vacation – even more when the date is less than a month away.  I especially feel this way when no specific deadline is issued to me (like a recent comment from a sub-contractor who told me he’d have some estimates within the next week or so, and I still haven’t heard any news).

When the power of decision is out of your hands, what can you do?

You can take control and put your energy into something else.  Sir Issac Newton’s Third Law of Motion teaches us that “(f)or every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  When you will something to happen (without action), your result is most likely nothing.  Taking the time to put in some action (even in another area) can work for you to first of all get your mind off of that non-eventful goal.

The power of the mind to create opportunity is limitless, but the mind doesn’t work alone.  Take the lottery, for example.  Wouldn’t it be great to receive a windfall of an enormous amount of cash that would set you up for life (or even just a little bit)?  In order to be in the running for some lottery winnings, you have to buy a ticket.  If you are focused on financial soundness and comfort, then put in some work to get there.  Take the time to review your finances, get organized and establish a game plan to pay off debt.  There is some real power you can wrap your head around.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote down some financial goals for my family.  At the time, I had no idea how I was going to accomplish them, but I got to work on them regardless.  I wanted to have a clear understanding of how money enters and leaves our household (and bank account), and what we could consider assets.  It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that an opportunity to reposition some of our finances came to light, and although we could have taken advantage of this repositioning sooner, the timing was perfect.

Take the time to put in the work, and the synergy of your efforts will pay off.

Do You Have a Financial Disaster Plan? – Part 2

If I asked you to tell me right this second to list out everything that was in your wallet, could you do it without looking?  Many of us put a lot of our life into our wallets, purses and vehicles, and we don’t think twice about the need to access that information should it suddenly disappear.  Here are some tips to help you prevent a financial disaster if your wallet, purse or car was stolen:

 Take an Inventory

 Make it a habit of cleaning out your wallet, purse and car on a monthly basis.  Go through the receipts that are stuffed into those handy pockets and either file them away or shred them.  Decide what is necessary to have in those areas, and eliminate everything else – either by relocating it to another place (like inside your home) or get rid of it.  This goes for other items as well.  The goal is to create a clutter free area where you can easily find and recall the important elements.

 Minimize and Photocopy

 Pretend like you are leaving on a dream vacation to Europe.  Would you take every single thing that is currently in your wallet and/or purse?  My advice to you is to take as little as you can.  Tourists attract all kinds of attention, especially by pickpockets.  Consider utilizing travelers checks instead of cash, and only take one major credit card.  For everyday use (when not traveling) you don’t need to have your wallet stocked with every credit card you own.  Most store cards will allow you to look up your account number at the register if you need to make a purchase.  The same goes for checkbooks.  Most retailers take and prefer debit cards over checks, which are easier to carry, and can be tracked and payments stopped easier than checks.

 Once you’ve pared down your items, take a photocopy of everything and store it in a safe place (and not in your wallet or purse). I even store the toll free number to VISA in my phone for such emergencies.  By making a photocopy of your important items, you can more easily shut down credit cards, and get new identification issued.

 Have the Talk

 Many households have one person who handles all the finances.  This person may be you, your spouse / partner or roommate.  Whatever the case, have regular conversations about the “what ifs.”  This means sharing how to access bank accounts, pay bills, and where important documents are located (like insurance policies, Wills, etc.).  If you are single, consider creating a Power of Attorney where someone you trust can handle your finances should you become incapacitated.  In my former career as an insurance agent for a mortuary, I worked with families who had to dig through filing cabinets, basements, and more to try to find documents pertaining to the deceased’s estate.  Even if these documents were found, access to claim benefits was also a struggle if the deceased hadn’t made proper provisions.  My hardest conversations were with surviving family members whose hands were tied financially.

Do You Have a Financial Disaster Plan?

Springtime in the Midwest means tornado season.  We prepare for it by testing our emergency sirens, locating the safest place in our house to take cover, and what to bring with us in a hurry if a storm strikes.

Here is something to consider throughout the year: do your finances have a disaster plan?

Working in the financial industry, I encounter people on a daily basis that share with me their financial disasters (large and small).  Although we can’t always prevent the curveballs that life throws at us, we can be prepared to take action when they do.

Emergency Stash

Having an emergency fund is a great first step to creating your financial disaster plan.  A few hundred dollars can get you through a minor car repair, emergency room visit, or an unexpected expense.  I recommend utilizing payroll direct deposit (if your employer offers it) to direct a small amount of money from each paycheck into a separate emergency savings account.  Direct deposit options work well because you don’t have to think about it.  Over time, your emergency fund will grow to allow you to not only cover those minor “what ifs” but may provide you with some means to pay down debt, take a vacation, or tackle a project.

Having a Will and Advanced Directives

If you have children, you should have a Will.  My husband and I had this conversation before our oldest was born: If one of us was hit by a bus tomorrow, what would we want to happen?  An even scarier scenario is what if both of you were no longer here?  Who would you want to assume guardianship of your children?  If no Will exists, it is up to the State to determine this answer.  You can hire an attorney to draft a Will for you, or even do it yourself with some free online resources.

Secondly, have you talked to your loved ones about what they should do if you were unable to make decisions for yourself?  Power of Attorney and Living Wills are not just for senior citizens.  If you were in an accident and unconscious, would your spouse, parent, child, know what your wishes are both physically and financially?  Does someone else have the power to access your information to take care of your family?

Make Insurance Work for You

Visit with your Insurance Company on an annual basis to shop your premiums.  Sometimes, your rates may go up when your plan renews, and you may want to shop for a better plan.  Also take a look at what your insurance covers.  On your home, does your policy cover floods even if you are not in a flood zone?  What about wind damage?

Research your deductibles.  Talk with your insurance provider about how raising your deductible will impact your premiums.  It may be the case that if you can raise your auto insurance deductible from $250 to $500, the savings on your premium per year may be significant.  Besides, if you have created that emergency stash to cover your new deductible, you’re covered on all sides.

Life insurance is in a category by itself.  While not required to have (like home and auto insurance) life insurance can provide you and your family with a multitude of benefits.  There are term, whole life and investment policies that can work to pay you an income – there is no cookie cutter approach to this insurance benefit.  I do recommend that you work with a insurance agent you can trust that walks you through all of your options, and is willing to provide you with multiple comparisons for you to make the best choice.

Do You Have a Financial Disaster Plan to be continued…