Tag Archives: credit union

JACKPOT!

Anyone got Ideas about what they would do if they won £million in 2014?

thesubtlelessons

jackpot

What would you do if you won a MILLION dollars today?

Would the money still be around tomorrow, a week from now, a year from now, or even 5 years on? Most (A Google search suggests 50-70%) lottery winners remain broke or become worse off.

The FINANCIAL education of a person plays a BIG role here. Knowing how to EARN money is just a small portion of the education, learning to PRESERVE and EXPAND your wealth is the KEY.

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Video

Adventist minister uses ‘that swear word’…

(Video of an informal dialogue with Seventh-day Adventist pastor and British Union Conference President, Pastor Ian Sweeney, who kindly shared views of money management)

But he uses what we call ‘that swear word’…!

Here is our transcript of the “SMARTER Finances” panel session for the Pi Tau Omicron (ΠΤΟ) Sorority Year End Celebration.

Hosted in London (December 2013), the Panel explains why we think of it as ‘that swear word’ -the word  “BUDGET”….

Panel Chair: What a practical video!  Pastor Sweeney’s comments were made last year in 2012,  but his views are just as valid today. Panel, what do you think?

Delegate 1: You know, in the presentations I have done with community groups or church members during Stewardship Days, I always find it fascinating the negative emotions that go along with the word ‘budget’.

Delegate 3: That is so interesting, I find the same thing with the sessions we provide back home in the States!

Delegate 2: It’s not a surprise when you look at its earliest definitions, (I’ve just looked it up on Dictonary.com)… This shows that word originally derived between 1400–1450; from the late Middle English word ‘bowgett’  or the Middle French word ‘bougette’  (bouge = bag), or  the Latin word ‘bulga’ + -ette.

Delegate 1: Oh yes, it describes the small pouch or bag of money, often worn at the waist or hidden in your garments to protect against pickpockets and other theives.

Delegate 4: ….and this bag was usually under the sole control and decision-making of the man of the house….

Panel Chair: …and that’s a topic I’m sure could be used to start a whole other panel discussion!

(Laughter from conference delegates and Panel members)

Delegate 3: Well, I’m happy to stay on this subject – I want to hear all about this ancient bag of money, we don’t have this kind of old stuff in the States with all your 1066 history…!

(Laughter from conference delegates and Panel members)

Delegate 2: It had a tightly secured, small opening – so you could put your coins in – but was quite difficult to dip into and get money out of.

Panel Chair: So that’s why ideas of a calorie-controlled diet comes to mind when people use the word “budget”…?

Delegate 2: Yep! So, the definitions in Dictonary.com are no surprise – the noun ‘budget’ is defined as:

  1. an estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expense for a given period in the future.
  2. a plan of operations based on such an estimate.
  3. an itemized allotment of funds, time, etc., for a given period.
  4. the total sum of money set aside or needed for a purpose
  5. a limited stock or supply of something

and the words ‘budgeted’, and ‘budgeting’ often relate to subsistence living; when you ‘live within a budget’.

Delegate 5: … Urgh! No wonder the very word makes me shudder!  A ‘budget’ is often synonymous with feelings of being on a diet, a restriction  – the feeling you have  little or no control … I don’t like owing money but it feels like you are always racing to pay off your bills, of feeling chased down by creditors, burdened by down if like me you have student loans still to sort out.  It just feels like ‘calorie-controlled’ spending with very little room for the fun stuff.  And, like being a diet, it is so easy to lose heart and fail …So you often hear about people ‘blowing their budget’!

Delegate 4: Exactly.  So I actually avoid the word “budget”. Treat it like a swear word, not used in good company and avoid it.  I prefer to think about having a ‘Spending Plan’ instead.

Delegate 2: Give me a Spending Plan anyday… it’s a flexible way to decide how to use your income in that month/ week to meet all of your expenses, contribute to your savings goals and allocate money for the fun things.  And its such a flexible approach … more feeling that you have a coffer or chest of money that you manage rather than a tight-mouthed, tiny purse you force money into or try to prise money out of….

Panel Chair: So now we should pretend we have a treasure chest full of cash?

Delegate 2: OK, yes, in these times it may often feel like we’re all working with a very small sweetie tin rather than a massive chest full of notes and coins, but work with me here!

(Laughter from conference delegates and Panel members)

Delegate 3: I prefer to use the phrase ‘Spending Plan’ when I talk about my regular income and outgoings management.   First I do the ‘audit’ so I know for sure what is coming in this month down to the dollar.  And only then do I decide how my money is used to ‘handle my business’ like the list of expenses you show here (points to the presentation on screen).  So, yeah, I can choose this month not to pay my utilities or my cell phone costs … as long as I am prepared to live with the consequences…

(Laughter from conference delegates and Panel members)

Delegate 1: I agree. With the Spending Plan mentality, I decide the how and when for my money, making sure I make informed choices, taken on a timely basis and based on the information and opportunities that I have in that period.

Panel Chair: So, whether it’s dollars like my friend here, or Euros or Pounds for us in Europe, sometimes the Plan stays the say as circumstances remain steady, other times it may need to change? And a Spending Plan means you can be flexible to take account of these changes when they occur?

Delegate 2: Absolutely!.  You know, it may seem like this approach is more of a state of mind rather than a different activity but that’s just it.  Both are spending.

Delegate 4: You know panel, it all about how you think and behave with your money that makes the difference to whether you’re a success or failure in meeting your financial goals – in the short or long term!

Panel Chair: Panel, thank you for such a lively start to this discussion.  Let’s go to the Q&A and take some questions from our other Sorority delegates.  Over to you ladies!

What’s your view?

Add your comment to the discussion!

Want a really easy way to save at least £1,000 this year? The 52 week challenge

I’m taking the 52-Week Money Challenge, which gets a lot of interest online at this time of year.

This can be one of your New Year’s Resolutions!

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It’s very straightforward. You simply start by saving £5 in the first seven days in January (so, five days to go!) and you build up the savings by saving a larger or smaller amounts each seven days over the 52 weeks.  You can start with £52 the first week and then work down to £1 by December, when the festive season means money is a lot tighter.  I find the summer and autumn are best to do the bigger saving amounts.  The most you would have to put away in any week is £40, everything is less than that.

The variety in the saving pattern means that you can build up in a way that suits you!

To make it something everyone can take part in, why not make it a joint family goal.  Would be great to get comments on the tips for saving the amounts each week

… I’ve opened a ‘jam jar’ account with my local church Money Club…for my shoes and handbag fund … ssh, don’t tell hubby!

Here’s one way to do this weekly saving that makes it all a bit easier:

 

Week Number Dates         Weekly Amount Monthly Amount Saved So Far
1 1-7 Jan £5
2 8-14 Jan £4
3 15 – 21 Jan £3
4 22 – 28 Jan £2 £14
5 29Jan -4Feb £1 £15
6 5 – 11 Feb £10
7 12 – 18 Feb £9
8 19 – 25 Feb £8 £28
9 26Feb-4Mar £7 £49
10 5 – 11 Mar £6
11 12 – 18 Mar £20
12 19 – 25 Mar £19 £52
13 26Mar-1Apr £18 £112
14 2 – 8 Apr £17
15 9 – 15 Apr £16
16 16 – 22 Apr £15 £66
17 23 – 29 Apr £14 £174
18 30Apr-6May £13
19 7 – 13 May £12
20 14-20May £11 £50
21 21 – 27 May £30
22 28May-3Jun £29 £269
23 4 – 10 Jun £27
24 11 – 17 Jun £28 £114
25 18 – 24 Jun £26
26 25Jun – 1Jul £25 £375
27 2 – 8 Jul £24
28 9 – 15 Jul £23 £98
29 16 – 22 Jul £22
30 23 – 29 Jul £21
31 30Jul- 5Aug £35 £500
32 6 – 12 Aug £25 £103
33 13 – 19 Aug £25
34 20 – 26 Aug £25
35 27Aug-2Sep £25 £600
36 3 – 9 Sep £25 £100
37 10 – 16 Sep £25
38 17 – 23 Sep £25
39 24 – 30 Sep £25 £700
40 1 – 7 Oct £25 £100
41 8 – 14 Oct £40
42 15 – 21 Oct £39
43 22 – 28 Oct £38
44 29Oct-4Nov £37 £154 £879
45 5 – 11 Nov £36
46 12 – 18 Nov £35
47 19 – 25 Nov £20
48 26Nov-2Dec £10 £101 £980
49 3 – 9 Dec £10
50 10 – 16 Dec £5
51 17 – 23 Dec £5
52 24 – 31 Dec £5 £25 £1,005!

If you get your money once a month, the monthly saving target is also given to make it easier for you to keep a check on how you are progressing!

TOTAL: however frequently you save, it’s over £1,000 – simples!!

Try it out and let us know how you get on! Join me and let’s see how much we can all save in 2014…

Onwards and Upwards!

5 reasons why you don’t raise the alarm

You’ve seen him or her.  You know them well.  That colleague or friend from work or church or your local neighbourhood.  They live from hand to mouth, bills up to the gills and yet always goes out every weekend or spends on expensive clothes, bags or electronic gadgets, getting deeper and deeper into debt.

You know it won’t last, they know it won’t last, you really care for them as your friend or relative, so why don’t you say anything to them about their spending habits? They seem to be crying out for someone to help, so why not you?

Research from Georgetown University noted there are five reasons that can  stop people speaking up or acting on their concerns:

1. You don’t notice that something is wrong: Every one has 20-20 vision in hindsight.  Often we get angry or bemused when we hear about apparently obvious self-destructive financial behaviour. During the years before the recession, many people “normalised” the view that spending on credit without thinking about repayments or the future was the usual thing to do.  If everyone is doing it and this information conflicts with our preferred version of reality,  we often tell ourselves that there is a  reasonable explanation for this financial spending, and that everything is fine. Or, we adjust our version of reality.

2. ‘It’s not my problem…’ – The bystander effect: The research found that the more people there are that see something wrong, the less likely it is that someone will say something. This sounds a bit back to front, but the argument is that there is a lower feeling of responsibility if many people can se what is going on, and can make you feel uncertainty about taking action.

3. The person reacts badly/ doesn’t like to hear unpleasant messages

Maybe your friend has a hot temper, or is quite insecure or you have heard  stories when other people have tried to speak with him/ her – your friend just shoots the messenger.

4. You think nothing will happen if you raise concerns

As a result you may think that even if you are able to successfully tell your friend how concerned you are, little will be done about it.

5. You think the result will be more negative than positive 

Or worse, you may be less inclined to talk through your concerns if  they also have quite high status in your group of friends.  They may have the power to retaliate and turn others against your.

You have to believe that your action can really improve and help the situation of your friend, make a reasonable assessment of what is the core problem.

A good colleague is prepared to call your friend to account, help them see how their behaviour is damaging their present, and their future. and support them to work to a more healthy relationship with their money.

More about this and the cycle of the New Year Resolutions next time.

Until then…

Have a lovely New Year and let us know what issues you would like us to cover in 2014!

Onwards and Upwards!

3 signs you’re heading for a financial meltdown (and how to avoid it): Part 2

In Part 1, posted earlier, we noted that everybody, especially women, has an important role to play in creating a foundation of good money management through using the simple skills and practical tips from life –  this is as much a  priority in your business or at your work.

This can sometimes means taking a hard look at the relationships that hold you back and cost you in terms of time and effort as well as money… and then tackling them. Thinking about who you usually interact with and share your plans with, here are 3 more signs that you are heading for a financial meltdown

1. You continue to keep company with the same people who make you lose focus and stifle your energy: Most people know someone who seems to pour cold water on every plan and financial goal you have; being around them makes the environment toxic and impossible.

2. You try to get them to see why achieving your financial goals is important to you, but it is impossible to get them to understand Pointing out that these people are detracting from your progress won’t get you anywhere,  — odds are, they don’t even see a problem and actually think they are experts at helping you.

3.No matter what you suggest, they know better and tell you that you are foolish not to follow their advice: They may either suggest lots of ideas or actively discourage your saving or spending plans, egging you on towards your financial meltdown.  Then when you fail to achieve your goal, they quickly turn round and say smugly “Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t reach your goal?!”

Let’s look at how to handle detractors and impossible people in the final part of this blog. How you choose to react to these people will determine your success in achieving your financial goals.

Here are 5 tips to help  navigate and overcome interactions with  these sorts of friends, co-workers or relatives so that you keep focussed on your financial goals.

1. Acknowledge that these people exist, and accept that dealing with them will be difficult. When detractors come into your life, their first step is to try to control your choices.  So your first step is to face reality: if you think you might be dealing with an impossible person who detracts from your financial dreams, you’re probably right.

Acknowledging this will make sure you have the best approach to handling the negativity that they will throw in your direction.

2. Do not feel you need to defend your financial plans:  You have shown them your ideas and financial plans but they think you should do something different and then get angry when you do not change your plans to match their ideas.

In their minds, you are doing it all wrong and nothing you can say is going to make them understand that you actually know what financial goals will work best for you. Relax, and don’t feel that you need to justify or defend your savings and spending plans.  Keep on top of your Spending Plan Journal and ignore the negative comments.

3. Do not let them convince you to allow your short term financial goals to slip: Detractors will often badger you or say things like “you should take things easy… don’t plan too far ahead, you never know what will happen” and will go on and on until they get on your very last nerve.

Keep focussed and calm, especially if you are in a relationship with this person.  Your financial goals may be challenging some of the short term fun and spending they usually enjoy and they will want to do anything they can to return things to the way they were.  Keep focus and achieve your daily, weekly and monthly activities towards your financial goal.

4. Do not get emotional, keep a positive attitude to help maintain your self-esteem. If you have regular dealings with someone who always pours cold water on your financial goals and is dismissive of your plans to be financial free when you share them with friends or family, always be proactive and keep positive thoughts in mind to maintain positive self esteem.

Remind yourself that this person’s opinion is not necessarily right or accurate. and dismiss them. It is not their opinions that count towards your success, it is your constant regular actions towards your goals that will confirm and prove the truth of your financial plans.

5. Consider ‘parting ways’ with friends or family that are negative towards you achieving your financial goals:. At some point you may need to put either some physical space or some ‘head’ space between you and negative people. Whether they are a friend, a family member, a parent, the time to make that break will eventually manifest.

Maintaining your goals whilst battling in a relationship where an impossible person is doing everything to thwart your success is and uphill battle.  Keeping focus on achieving your success is hard enough without running a gauntlet of negativity.  Move away, and stay away from these so called ‘friends’ and ‘well wishers’.

Do you have a story about how you have dealt with someone who was negative about your financial goals?  Please share by writing adding your comments or sharing the thoughts that struck you as you read this blog – comments are always most welcomed and thanks for following!

Onwards and upwards!

Beyond Black Friday: 5 tips for staying in the black…

“Definitions of Black Friday

1. On 24 September 1869, US financial markets crashed following a failed attempt by traders to corner the gold market. This led to a depression.

2. In a more general sense, is used to represent a Friday in which a public disaster or calamity occurs.

3. More recently, the term Black Friday has been used by retailers in the United States (and is growing in usage by retailers in the UK as well) as a positive. It represents the starting day for End of Year and Christmas shopping. This is usually after the Thanksgiving Holiday season in the United States in which retailers make enough sales to forecast that their annual results and profits are positive ie in “the black.”

Corporate Finance Consultant, DHUA Ltd

Planning and shopping for festive season does not mean you need to go into the red..

Planning and shopping for festive season does not mean you need to go into the red..

Isn’t it interesting to see how the term Black Friday has been turned from a negative to a positive?

In the United States it has long been used as encouragement for retailers who see their huge sales as customers stock up on gifts, food and other entertainment ahead of the End of Year and Christmas holiday season.

We tend to ask: ‘Well, if the retailers are ‘in the black’ then customers help them get there by running around getting more at risk of going ‘into the red’ by over spending, maxing out the credit cards or buying masses of stuff on Storecards?

Remember, the turkey is just for Christmas, that store/credit card bill and loans will all last a lot longer and cost a lot more.

Some tips for enjoying the festive season without giving your financial spending plans indigestion:

  1. Why not wait until after the festive season to pick up bargains in the New Year Sales
  2. Only buy what you need, not what you want (or everything you see), for the festivities
  3. More and more people are trying their hands at hand-crafted gifts.  If you have a talent and passion for this, why not start now and create unique gifts instead of mass produced, shop-bought items?
  4. Bulk purchase retailers can offer bargains – buying in bulk with other shoppers in your family/ friendship circles can really cut down the cost of individual items
  5. Discount stores offer great purchases at great prices and are always worth a look

Whatever you choose to do keep your head around all this Black Friday buzz and plan for a wonderful festive season!

Onwards and upwards

3 signs you’re heading for a financial meltdown: Part 1

Thank you again for following this blog. We post every week (usually on a Tuesday) and .. if you haven’t subscribed yet, please do!

As we come to the close of another year, and the world gets into the swing of end of year celebrations, it’s time to reflect on what’s facing your finances as we head towards 2014.

It’s clear that we will need to continue to need to balance the challenge of efficiently managing your day to day finances with the same or better effectiveness and also have an external focus on helping to create the wealth and savings you and your loved ones need to prosper.

If you were born in the 60’s or 70’s a recent study indicates that, unless you are due to get an inheritance, you will probably be ‘poorer’ than your parent’s generation because the cost of living is going up faster than salaries and other income.

Affordable and sensible finance plans must therefore be your new reality. If you are going to have any chance of re-balancing your books, plans to adjust by becoming more proactive with your financial plans and ‘doing more with less’ (or ‘doing less for less’) – is the only way to get fit for the financial future.  It will also mean you start to focus on how to achieve what you need and start to get what you want along your wealth cycle journey.

At the latest P31 Sorority meeting, members discussed and shared  the three main issues women (and men) often fail to deal with to make sure they can avoid the road to financial meltdown:

  • You don’t Set a Priority – insufficient attention is often paid to deciding in an objective and critical way what you really should be in the business of doing – your purpose.  When you fail to do this, you risk gathering a legacy of activities that are not relevant to your current needs or where you want to go in life.
  • You don’t measure and celebrate your Progress – unlike in  work or diets, often we do not set out progress measures in a well developed way.  This leads to focussing on vey high level outcomes than can often look daunting and unachievable. Rather, pick a few specific areas that show an understanding of what financial activity or objectives you are trying to achieve, and that will function as your programme of how you will do it.  Commit to regular and objective review of your progress and ask for help if needed.  Joining a group of likeminded people like the P31 Sorority can boost your success rate.
  • You don’t align your financial goals to the rest of your life goals  – regardless of your financial status at the moment, your  capacity to connect your financial strategy and execute it is often limited if it is not matched to the other goals you have in life.  This mis-match creates a a confused approach to your money, or worse,  you tend to have high aversion to risk,  a reluctance to drive forward any wide-ranging changes you may need in your life, and risk a life of unmet expectations in your  financial and personal relationships as well as in service to your local community.

As noted in earlier blogs, everyone, but women in particular, have an important role to play in creating a foundation of good money management through using the simple skills and practical tips from life –  this is as much a  priority for your business or employed life as it is for your personal goals and relationships.

All of this also needs to be achieved while improving your quality of life and living standards.

This can sometimes means taking a hard look at the relationships that hold you back and cost you in terms of time and effort as well as money… and then tackling them.

We’ll look at how to handle these impossible people in the final part of this blog later this month.  But whilst you are waiting why not add a comment or thought that has struck you when you read this blog – comments are always most welcomed and thanks for following this blog

Until later then, onwards and upwards!

Handling Your Money: Are You Really Walking the Talk?

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Over the last few months we’ve offered an independent survey for church members to volunteer and respond to five simple questions.  These questions ask how aware you are about your current financial status and circumstances.

The results (above) make for interesting reading…..

Over half of the people who took part in the survey so far say then have a pretty good handle on their finances.  That’s great!

However, in the sessions and discussions that followed, many admitted to struggling with making the next step ie to ‘access the power’ through effective planning so that they can achieve their financial goals.  That’s the real challenge…

Attend one of the FREE Access the Power (ATP)  “SMARTER Finance” Seminars – These lay-member led, bible-based seminars are held in local churches as part of the Financial Stewardship for members. These seminars  support church groups and have been annually since 2004.  Most seminars are run from April – December.  The first quarter of the year is used for workshops and practical support sessions for members new to the programmes.

If your church has never participated or held one of these sessions, show this blog to your Stewardship Co-ordinator and ask him/ her to arrange a session for your church group within your Stewardship Day programme this year.

“SMARTER Finance”  sessions are open to all participating church members in any Seventh-day Adventist church group in the UK.  A number of local church groups in England already this session for basic financial literacy as a Stewardship Day whilst others use the weekend workshops or one-day seminar services for both the church and local community outreach.

For more information or to arrange a programme at your local church click here – (this will take you to the feedback form on this blog)

KNOWLEDGE IS NOTHING WITHOUT WISDOM…

The book of Proverbs is a fantastic way for you to start gaining some of the basic understanding of how successful people approach managing credit, business, wealth and finances. One chapter a day and you have covered the whole book in a month!  It’s never too late to start now.

For ladies in the UK, see our blogs on Proverbs 31 for secrets on successful living , business and financial success.  And see the Sorority created just for you, by women just like you PI TAU OMICRON (Π Τ Ο).

For ΠΤΟ sisterhood eligibility criteria click here.

We’ll continue to update and share the overall survey results right here in this blog.

In the meantime, why not share your own tips on your experiences in moving your financial goals forward.

Onwards and upwards!

Want to know the five most powerful words….?

Well done if you’ve make the commitment to start on your journey of financial literacy journey towards financial freedom.

One of the first things you have to do is your self-audit – to check where you are now, financially.  This will help you plan where you want to get to and how you intend to get there.

If you recently attended one of the nationwide “Access the Power…for your Finances” sessions then you will have been told the five most powerful words you will need to use as you start to collate your spending habits….

‘Yes, I  want the receipt!’

As you hurry through the day, rushing to get that morning paper or mid-morning  snack, or quickly pop out to get the lunchtime sandwich or meal, or the take-away dinner as the faithful replacement for a home meal (it’s been one of those days!) money slips through our fingers almost without noticing.

If you aren’t keeping the Spending Plan Journal then keeping your receipts for each day is one of the ways you can quickly add up and categorise your incidental spending for that day.  Once that is done, unless the receipt is for a big ticket item or part of the warranty information its fine to discard it.

The successful and financial free have a good command of their spending and the sources for their regular income.  We usually have a handle on the latter, this is a quick and simple way to get to grips with the former!

Onwards and upwards, people… and remember ‘yes, I will have the receipt!’

Below are other articles you may find helpful…. and remember we don’t say ‘budget’ we say ‘My Spending Plan!’

The secrets in Proverbs 31 for women

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Ever wondered if there were some tips and hints for women on the four major areas of life?

Well, Proverbs 31 shares these secrets with anyone who wants to know!

In a simple straightforward way, it outlines how women can make their impact in their personal life, with relationships and family, in business and in giving back to the community.

The Access the Power…P31Women series helps women in local churches understand and then use this secret roadmap to gain mastery over all areas of their life.