Monthly Archives: February 2015

Achieve your dreams by setting goals

goalsIf your goal is to be financially successful, you need to focus on increasing your revenue, reducing your expenses and finding a good return for your investment.

No matter what your position in life, if you want to increase your revenue, you will have to ask yourself, what skills you need and then start learning those skills.

I always prioritize increasing revenues over reducing expenses. The reason is that I  can only reduce expenses. However, there is no limit on how much I can increase my revenue.

For example, my stock market investment has the potential to grow 8%/year perpetually. While I can never reduce my expenses at the same rate. Focusing on increasing revenue takes more effort, more risk, more strategic thinking and long term planning. But it is more satisfying and the reward is bigger.

My goal for this year 2015 is to increase my net worth by $10,000.

This is how I am doing it.

  1. I have created a goal
  2. I have set a due date for my goal
  3. I have written my goal in a place where I see it every day
  4. I record the activities which I am doing to get me closer to my goal
  5. I visualize my goal becoming a reality
  6. I am asking you, my readers, to hold me accountable

How you can achieve your goals

The first thing is to have a goal. For some people, this is easy, they know what they want and how they will achieve it. For some people it’s more difficult. The meditation process to find a goal could take days, months or even years. Once you find that goal, the vision of what you want has to be clear and precise. The more clear your vision is, the higher the probability that you will accomplish your goal.

Write down your goal

Once you have determined what your goal is, write it down. The physical action of writing the goal down is the first step to accomplishing your goal. My goal is written on a piece of paper posted on the the wall of my kitchen and every month I write my progress on that piece of paper.

With my clients, the first step we take is to determine where they are financially. We do that by calculating their present net worth, and creating a revenue and expense statement. After we find out where they are, we determine where they would like to be.

Examples of financial goals could be: 1. reduce debt, 2. increase revenue, 3. save more, 4, reduce taxes, 5. plan for retirement, 6. plan for children’s education, 7. transfer of wealth to family members, etc.

Set a due date for your goal

When I do money coaching, I set goals for my clients and give them deadlines to accomplish them, such as, paying “x” amount of the credit card debt before the next meeting.

The due date for my personal goal of increasing my net worth by $10,000 is December 31st.

Make a list of all the tasks necessary to accomplish your goal

For my clients, these task could be to review and negotiate any subscriptions they have. If they have cable, do they need the cable package which cost them the mosts? If they have a cellular plan, are they with the plan which best fits their needs? If they have credit cards or bank accounts, can they have the same services and not pay any fees?

Take action

Of course all the goal setting, visualization, organization and positive thinking means nothing if you are not taking action. I hesitated for years before deciding to become a money coach and before I started setting up appointments. I was procrastinating. One day, I ran out of excuses and a friend told me: “you have to start knocking on doors to offer your services.” And I started offering my services. Up to this point, I am still shy to offer my service, but the fear to offer my service is disappearing little by little.

Whatever your goal is, start taking little steps. The more steps you take, the more momentum you create and the closer you will be to achieving your goal.

Review your goals regularly

In order to stay on track, you have to review your goals regularly. I review my goals at the end of each month and I publish my progress under the category “Net Worth” of my website.

As for my clients, I meet with them every 90 days to evaluate their progress.

I suggest that you review your goals at least once per month.

Ask someone to hold you accountable

I find inspiration by publishing my results on my website and I feel that I am accountable to all my readers. My clients are accountable to me and we evaluate their progress.

I suggest that you communicate your goals to a friend and ask that friend to hold you accountable. When this happens, all of the sudden you are not alone, you have some support and your friend could be that extra motivation  you need to accomplish your goal.

 

Financial Planning for college students


collegeWhen you are in college, you learn about Algebra, Political Science, Philosophy etc. but when it comes to Financial Planning, something you will be using for the rest of your life, no sir, you don’t learn any of that. You have to learn about personal finance on your own, by trial and error and making mistakes.

But the best time to learn about personal finance is when you are young, when you are going to college, when you still have time to avoid many mistakes. This is the time when you should learn about career choices, investments, debts, etc.

Here are three tips which could improve your financial life.

  • Stay out of debt.

When I was going to college, I did everything within my power to stay out of debt. To be honest, it was not because I was smart, it was mostly because, as a freshly landed immigrant, I didn’t have access to credit. So I worked as a janitor, as a supermarket clerk, as a server. Then I had a series of side hustles; I was a Spanish tutor, I did people’s income taxes and I taught salsa classes. I finished school debt free.

I have some friends who had students loans. When those loans were not enough to cover their expenses, they made up the difference with credit card debt. 10 years later, some of those friends are still paying back the loans and the credit card debt, and their net worth is negative.

  1. Start saving early.

The average Canadian has $169,000 in their bank account when they retire. This is not enough. The life expectancy of an average Canadian is about 85 years. If a person retires at age 65 they need to have enough money to last at least 20 years. Canadians who don’t have enough savings will struggle during their golden years to make ends meet.

If you were to start saving early, even small amounts such as $25/month and increase that amount as your income increases, then you could arrive at retirement with a substantial amount of money.

  1. Be aware of financial consequences of your career choices.  

Many people will choose a career which will be meaningful to them but which will not be well rewarded by the job market. Other people will choose careers which are well paid, but which will not be rewarding to them. Be aware that you career choice will have important consequences in your financial life and your self actualization.

In conclusion, I urge you to take an interest in personal finance. It could mean the difference between having a life full of financial struggles or a life in which all your financial needs are met. Stay out of debt, start investing early and find a career which will fulfill you and will pay you well.

My services:

I offer money coaching services in person for people living in Montreal or via Skype if you live in the rest of Canada or the United States. The price is only $20/hour. To book a session, send me an email at guillot.alai@gmail.com.