Posts Tagged ‘Insurance’

How to Finish the Year With a Flourish

In the final weeks of December, it’s important to take one last look back at the year. How’s your plan coming? If it’s like mine, there are still some items on the “to do” list that you’ve yet to mark off. We’re down to only a few weeks to finish up our goals for 2015.2015 to 2016

I was listening to a podcast recently with Hal Elrod (of Miracle Morning fame). He was sharing with the host that he sleeps very few hours most nights, but that it doesn’t seem to affect his day. He noticed that on short rest, everything hinged on his attitude. If he woke up and said, “Man, I’m tired. Today’s going to be awful,” the day stunk. If he said, “Alright! I’ve got a huge day today, no more time to sleep!” he became a powerful force in the universe.

I’m certainly not advocating that we give up sleep. More sleep AND a good attitude are probably the optimal one-two punch. However, if you’re in a situation where less sleep is the reality, attitude can change the game.

It’s the same with our money, isn’t it? Our attitude changes everything.

  • If I believe my debt’s killing me, it is.
  • If I think saving money is difficult, it is.
  • If I decide that I’m stuck in a rotten financial place, I am.

As creatives, we know from literature, film, plays, and even poetry, that the hero largely decides her fate. In the beginning of a three-act play, the character faces a problem. By the end of the work, the character has formed a plan, and for better or worse, they’re working through their plan to find a resolution. (more…)

The #1 Hack to Help You Spend Less Money

I’ll admit it…as someone who tries to be creative, I often find myself looking for the most extravagant way to handle any money management issue. Then I can hear the voice of my mother in my ear:

The simplest solutions are often the most effective.

Isn’t that true? I can’t believe that the secrets to managing money are often the ones right in front of me… while I’m busy creating chaos and complexity.

I’ll share my hack for spending less money in a moment, but overall, it’s amazing just how many areas of our financial lives are managed by the very simple solutions that are right in front of us.

MoneyinWalletBudget

A good friend who’s a financial writer pointed this out to me at a networking meeting last week. She said, “Miata, I spend all this time writing about budgets and how to cut expenses… but it all boils down to one equation.” I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about until she told me:

The simple solution: Spend less than you make.

While that may seem TOO simple at first, it really is the heart of everything we do, isn’t it? Take out a pen and paper. Figure out how much is coming in. Cut expenses until they’re lower. Save the difference. Try to increase income more and spend less so your savings becomes bigger.

She’s right on: Budgets are a simple device that can be really, really powerful. (more…)

Deadlines and Penalties – What You Need To Know About Health Insurance

The world of health insurance has changed significantly over the last two years… especially for those of us who are fortunate enough to spend our days working in the craft we love. Whether you’re full time self-employed or contemplating it, one big area to understand is health insurance.

How you buy insurance depends on where you live. If you live in the USA, you’ll need to be aware of some important dates and the penalties for missing them.

Affordable Care Act

HealthInsurance

The Affordable Care Act was passed to ensure that all Americans have health insurance coverage. While some may want to focus on the politics of the Act, we’ll focus on complying with it. Effective financial planning means looking at the law right now and not what might or might not happen in Washington!

Unfortunately, if you’re reading this and don’t have health insurance now, you already paid a tax penalty. If your penalty didn’t hurt your pocketbook (the minimum penalty is at least $95… if you earned $50k or more it’s at least a $400 bite… so it should have!), you’ll see a much larger penalty next year. That’s why you want to get health insurance today if you live in the United States.

And while it is important to avoid penalties, lets also look at this from a different angle: you really need health insurance. Most bankruptcies are health related. Beyond the expensive costs of treatments and doctor visits you’ll have to shoulder without a minimum level of coverage, you’ll also find yourself avoiding medical care because you can’t afford it… and that road leads nowhere good. (more…)

It Isn’t Enough to Care (a Guide to REALLY Perfecting Your Craft)

BrainFullA friend emailed me asking for help.

“I care so much about (my craft). Why does it always end up coming last?”

There’s a short answer to this question.

It isn’t enough to care.

I’d submit it isn’t even just about hard work.

It’s about systems.

Setting up systems to win is the key to your success. Financially, having systems for the right tasks is equally important.

The Sherlock Holmes Story

In one of the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, someone asks Sherlock about a piece of current events. Holmes replies that he has no idea what the person is talking about. The questioner is shocked. The great Sherlock Holmes doesn’t know something? Holmes replies that the mind is only so large. If you fill it with trivia, there won’t be room for the information you really need to be successful.

Practice The Sherlock Holmes Method of Systems

Your goal should be to fill your brain with your craft and the things that really matter to you. Therefore, everything that isn’t important shouldn’t take up very much space. (more…)

Setting Goals That Stick in 2013

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the strange place I found inspiration for my 2013 goals. This week, I’d like to address New Year’s Resolutions head-on. Every year millions of people write out a fresh list of goals in the hopes of making the next twelve months better than the previous dozen. We creative people are no exception: in our world, it’s often the well-disciplined artist who ends up on the road to loftier goals, while the dreamer without clear, concise milestones spends another year chasing the same first-tier plans (and never can figure out why he doesn’t achieve anything….). You know the ones; they’re the artists with grand ideas, fantastic plans, and nothing to show for it except a series of excuses.

One mistake that even big businesspeople make, is that they set professional goals, but forget about the fuel to get them there. It might not be the most glamorous activity, but remember your financial goals; don’t just focus on your art. By making sure that your financial picture is healthy, you’re bound to have the fuel ready to have a wonderful 2013 in your craft. By placing well-executed goals, you’ll get where you want to go faster, and with less bumps along the road.

 

 

Some Financial Goals to Act On

Emergency Fund – If you don’t have a cash reserve, now’s the time to start one. Anything can happen…and probably will….in 2013, so you’ll want the protection to know that when bad news occurs, you’ve got the money in the bank to easily get through it.

What’s a good reserve? Generally, I recommend having at least three months expenses in a safe place away from market fluctuation (like a bank account). (more…)

4 Year End Financial Moves To End 2012 With a Bang!

4 Year End Financial Moves To End 2012 With a Bang!

I can’t believe it’s almost that time of year again! We’re saying goodbye to 2012….and it seems like we just said goodbye to 2011. This can be a crazy time for creatives. We’re busy building, sculpting, performing. But don’t forget that the end of the year is also a time to close the books on your financial life so you can begin 2013 fresh. Here are some of my favorite year end moves:

 

Paperwork & Technology Moves

This is a great time to shred unnecessary papers from the year and delete unnecessary emails. Set up your systems to ensure you roll easily into 2013.

–  If you haven’t yet, create a series of email folders to funnel important financial documents. I also like the free financial tool Dropbox to store important papers in “the cloud” so they’re available from any computer.

–  Adjust your budget. Automate budget tracking if you have a smart phone or computer using programs such as Mint. Last week I went over my grocery budget and before I’d unloaded the groceries into my car, Mint had already emailed me a warning.

–  Create times to plan. Take out your 2013 calendar (or purchase one!) and lay out non-negotiable times to review your overall financial picture. You might want a quick once-a-week to review your budget, pay bills and review any new investment correspondence. More important is a twice-yearly “where am I” session. (more…)

5 Tales of Financial Horror

I know Halloween was last week, but let’s keep the fun alive with some financial horror stories. Didn’t you love horror stories as a kid? I liked them…until I tried to sleep. Then, more often then not, I spent the night staring at the ceiling, sure that at any minute some disconfigured arm would grab me from under the bed.

 

The bad news is that we all have friends who have real life financial horror stories. Their money problems make it difficult to sleep. Maybe you have those issues. There’s good news: many of these horrible stories we can fix simply by turning on the lights: if we know they’re out there, we can avoid them or find ways for them to vanish:

Horrible Story #1) There once was a man who paid an annual fee on his credit card! There’s no reason to pay annual fees for cards unless you’re a high-powered user. Too many cards are available with no fees that still give you a low interest rate and reward points. Only pay fees if you find a card which you are certain will be justified by the rewards that are unavailable from a non-fee card.

Tip: Use online comparison sites to determine which card best meets your needs without paying a fee. (more…)

Insurances – Buy or Ignore?

For most creatives, we’re comfortable working without a net. Many of us have gone months or maybe even years without a stable income. Some are amazingly agile at finding just the right resource at the perfect time. Like a trapeze artist on the high wire, we find a way to make it work.

That’s why the concept of insurance is so foreign to most of us. When you’re a high wire artist, your first thought probably is, “Why waste the money?”

Unfortunately, just because you’re comfortable on the high-financial-wire, those around you may not be. Today’s column is too short to go over ALL of the things you need to know about insurance, but we can cover the basics that most people should know:

Car Insurance: You must have it if you’re driving. If rates are a problem, look online. Many times companies such as Amica, Geico or Progressive will beat traditional insurance firms while keeping the quality of your coverage high.

Tip: Ask for a full list of available discounts. You may qualify for multi-policy, association and safe driver discounts, among others. A friend’s child has good grades in school, so Progressive awarded him a discount when he began driving. (more…)

Life Insurance: Understanding the Basics

We promised more basics on insurance…so here it is!

There is so much written about life insurance these days: policies are bad, policies are good, “you should never” this and “you should always” that.

For most of us we end an insurance discussion with this thought: I don’t like it and I’m not going to think about it.

That’s exactly the wrong answer.

There are some truths about life insurance you should know before dismissing it:

  • If you have a family, insurance will help them with your final expenses (burial or cremation, cost of a rock & roll band, etc.)
  • If you have a home, insurance can pay the mortgage so your family can take their time waiting for the right buyer instead settling for a quick one who’s trying to underpay.
  • If you are interested in making sure your family, artistic or charitable institutions receive a legacy from you (and you don’t yet have money to provide it), insurance can be a cost-effective way of leaving money to others.

Because of these three scenarios, it’s better to understand how insurance works first before dismissing it. (more…)

Overwhelmed With Financial Planning? Here’s Where to Start

A friend recently said, “I don’t know how you keep all of this straight…what the Dow Jones is doing, what’s a good rate on a credit card, how a will works, the right type of life insurance. Ouch! It makes my head hurt.”

You may feel the same way about your financial picture. Between your craft, family, friends and obligations, it seems like a huge hassle to remember everything you need to know.

But there’s good news: it’s not that difficult.

I imagine you might be thinking, “Ha! Easy for you to say. You do this every day.”

I understand that it’s a whole new world for many of our readers, but I’m serious: it’s not that difficult.

Sure, you might not understand every point about finalizing a mortgage or how to tell a good mutual fund from a bad one, but like any task, if you organize it correctly, it’s easy to see what you really need to know now and what can wait for later. (more…)