Starting your day with a bang

Step - Starting your day with a bang

Start your day with purpose and reap the benefits

According to a fun exercise i often start my training programmes with the following equals 3 key concepts behind being the best you can be, if you work off 1=A, 2=B, 3= C etc..:

–11-14-15-23-12-5-4-7-5

–8-1-18-4-23-15-18-11

–1-20-20-9-20-21-4-5

When you have worked out the words, you can then tally the total numbers together and you come to a rather eye opening conclusion of importance, if take 100% is taken to be the most important. I hope you have already worked it out now that I’m revealing it but if 100% is connected to Attitude there is nothing more key to controlling you have that right one than starting your day with a success mentality or starting it with a bang as i like to say.

Start your day with a success mentality.

There are many books written about this importance of starting your day well with the most impressive in providing practical ways to do it being, for me: Hal Elrod’s “Miracle Morning”. In it he argues the 6 “Life S.A.V.E.R.S” with S being Silence, A Affirmations, V Visualization, E Exercise, R Reading and finally S Scribe being a process each individual should go through to start their day on maximum effectiveness.

Act out the 6 “Life Savers”

The job of a manager is often stressful, it has many ups and downs and it is never easy. What is always important is to take control and commit to doing your very best each and every day. It is important when things have gone badly, be it your fault or not, that you know that tomorrow is another day and offers the possibility for new and different outcomes. Therefore if you start you day jumping out of bed, you start it focusing on creating positive change.

Start your day jumping out of bed

The simple act of proving you have the discipline of getting up earlier than you need to in pursuit of being ready to face challenges of day says to yourself that you can control your day, you can change the outcomes of the previous day. Also the act affirming what you can and will achieve at the very start of your day, reminds you of your purpose, your guiding logotherapy. Reading wise words of others and jotting down your thoughts makes your mind ready to be better than you ever been.

Start your day connecting with your inner purpose.

So from here on take control of your whole day by starting it with a bang, providing to yourself you commit to being the best you. Letting your mind start with freshness and a connection to being exceptional leader you can and will be.

Start your day with a bang.

Champion of positive change

Step 2- Champion of positive change

Great managers lead others in how they think

Great managers need not only to lead people in what they do, they also need to lead their team in how they think. It can be argued how positively, and how motivated your team’s mindset is will be one of the biggest influencing factors over whether or not the team reaches the objectives you are leading them to achieve. One of these key influencing mindsets is that of believing that positive change is possible, or even more dramatically put, inevitable if your team is pushing in the same direction.

You should create the mindset that positive change is inevitable

The mindset of positive change forms such an important link binding your team. If you have your team believing the following: things can change, change depends on us in the team and it is the interest of all to create positive change then the teamwork that comes from that is inspiring.  It can be the emotional trigger your team activates when things are tough or they feel stressed the trigger that makes them believe that around the corner will be change for the better.

Mindset of positive team binds your team.

Creating a team mindset of positive change, like all mentalities, is of course something that takes work and requires continuous “maintenance”.  First and foremost your team must sense that you are in for them and that goal alignment between what you are pushing to achieve and what they can get out it, in rewards, development or satisfaction. Then continuously you must push the belief that nothing is fixed, mistakes can be rectified and learned from, stress areas can be removed or be learnt how to deal with and most of all how people think and feel about what they do can be controlled to point towards positive thinking. With this investment and pointing towards change being possible, a mindset of positive change can be created.

Nothing is fixed. Everything can be changed for the better

So from here on be the team player that believes most that change is possible. Then when you have fine-tuned that adapt that into being the leader that inspires others to believe that truly positive awe-inspiring change will happen if each member on your team activates their positive change chip. When a team believes that all change can eventually be guided to be positive, the possibility for huge progress is mind-blowing. So for here on:

Be the champion of positive change

Step 100: Stick to Your Mission

Step 100 of the 100 Steps Mission to Financial Independence: Stick to your Mission
Step 100: Stick to your Mission

This is it, you’ve come to the end of the 100 steps mission, you’ve set important new goals, maybe already completed a few along the way, you’ve implemented new habits, have learned a wealth of information on finances (excuse the pun) and most importantly you have started your mission to financial independence, getting closer with each step that you take.

But despite getting to the end of these 100 steps, you aren’t there yet. Financial Independence is not achieved by reading about money, it is achieved by taking action daily and sticking to it. Remember the examples of people who give up smoking or start a new diet and how often they fail and give up their resolutions alltogether? You’ve come to the second most important point on your mission. The single most important one was when you embarked on this mission and decided to take action and change your situation. Your next most important moment is now and it is your determination to continue with your mission, stick to your habits, keep learning and persist progressing towards financial independence.

With all that you have learned til now and everything you’ve started, now is the time to make a new commitment to keep financial independence as one of your top priorities for tomorrow, next week, the next month, next year, the next 5 years and indeed the rest of your life. Don’t let all you’ve learned and done go to waste. Don’t allow for your hard work to have all been in vain. Keep tracking your monthly spending, making a new budget, noting down your networth, reviewing your investment strategy and tracking your progress towards your various financial goals whenever you can. Continue reading

Step 99: Protect your Money Online

Step 99 of the 100 Steps Mission to Financial Independence: Protect Your Money Online
Step 99: Protect Your Money Online

Having money is one thing, but making sure you keep it and don’t lose it on dodgy scams or to people getting access to your accounts is a whole different thing. Now that you can access your accounts via the internet pretty much 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world and from any device you have, it has also become significantly easier for those with bad intentions to gain access to this money if they want to. This steps looks at ways to protect your money online to minimize the risk of you money being taken away from you.

Keep money in accounts with verified or associated accounts access only

Many savings and investments accounts already offer this option, which essentially means that you can’t access your savings or investments directly and instead requires you to transfer money into a regular checking account first before being able to get access to your money. That regular account needs to be validated first when you set up your savings account and it means that others even if they gain access to your savings or investments account, can’t just divert the money into non-associated accounts, but to verified accounts only.

Choose difficult passwords and change them often

Most people have very weak passwords with their pet’s or children’s names, they don’t change their passwords very often and they tend to use the same passwords for several accounts, which makes it them easy target for fraudsters to try to hack. Make sure to choose difficult passwords and change them often. One way of doing this is by using a password manager that lets you store complicated passwords so there is no need to remember each one. Examples of password managers include LastPass, KeePass and OneSafe. When using these password managers you only need to remember one master password to get access to all your other ones. You can use a very difficult one by keeping a long string of random characters saved somewhere of which only you know which chunk(s) actually represent your real password. Continue reading

Step 98: Read Personal Finance Books

Step 98 of the 100 steps mission to financial independence: Read Personal Finance Books
Step 98: Read Personal Finance Books

The 100 steps mission to financial independence has hopefully propelled you into the world of money savviness and wisdom. Every step has taught you a new skill or raised your awareness on a specific personal finance concept and has thereby expanded your knowledge on money-related issues. I sincerely hope that you have been completing every single step along the way and that your efforts are paying off and that you see your debt decreasing, your income increasing, your net worth improving or your financial security in the form of insurance or pensions getting better. The plethora of topics that have been covered in the many steps has made you an insider on saving, investing, pensions, income and much more!

Although we’re getting to the end of this mission, it is certainly not the end of your own financial journey. In order to now stay on top of your finances and to keep putting your financial situation as one of the main focus areas of your life, it is of major importance to keep expanding your knowledge about money and personal finance. Reading books is a great way to do this and offers you all of the following:

  • Provides more (specific) information and teaches you new or more specific skills or habits to implement.
  • Allows you to keep up with the latest developments as new knowledge, information or practices emerge.
  • Keeps your motivation up – the more you know about a topic, the more enjoyable it becomes to put it into practice, the more likely you are to keep budgeting, saving and investing.

With this in mind, I believe reading personal finance books is a key part of achieving financial independence. To start you off, below is my own personal top-5 books on money: Continue reading

Step 97: Sequence of Return

Step 97 of the 100 Steps mission to financial independence: Sequence of Return
Step 97: Sequence of Return

Sequence of return – or sequence risk -can pose a serious threat to you portfolio and is a factor to be very aware of and take measures against when you are planning your retirement. Sequence of return can hamper a secure retirement, whether you plan to retire when you are 40, 65 or 80 and it can seriously increase your chances of outliving your portfolio, meaning you might be left with no income towards the end of your retirement.

So what is sequence of return?

Sequence of return is the risk of your portfolio being hit by bad market returns early on in retirement when you start making withdrawals from your portfolio. Like for anybody a bad market return affects the value of your portfolio, but whereas you have time to recover from a few bad years if you are still building up your portfolio, once you start withdrawing you no longer have this time to recover. The value of the portfolio can be affected (i.e. decreasing) by it so much that it threatens its own chances of survival. Not only does your portfolio reduce in value from your withdrawal but also from the market drop.

Let’s have a look at how devastating this effect can be by looking at the portfolio of a retiree who is hit by this phenomenon Let’s say they have $1,000,000 and that the market returns an average of 8% over the first 20 years. This retiree takes out $40,000 (4%) in their first year and then adjust for inflation by 3% each year. Below is the chart with how well they do.

market returns start portfolio take out Total left over
-10% $              1.000.000 $           40.000 $         864.000
-15% $                  864.000 $           41.200 $         699.380
-25% $                  699.380 $           42.436 $         492.708
5% $                  492.708 $           43.709 $         471.449
0% $                  471.449 $           45.020 $         426.429
-15% $                  426.429 $           46.371 $         323.049
5% $                  323.049 $           47.762 $         289.051
20% $                  289.051 $           49.195 $         287.827
10% $                  287.827 $           50.671 $         260.872
25% $                  260.872 $           52.191 $         260.852
30% $                  260.852 $           53.757 $         269.224
15% $                  269.224 $           55.369 $         245.932
-10% $                  245.932 $           57.030 $         170.012
15% $                  170.012 $           58.741 $         127.961
25% $                  127.961 $           60.504 $           84.322
30% $                    84.322 $           62.319 $           28.604
-15% $                    28.604 $            28.604 $                     0
15% $                              0 $                     0 $                     0
30% $                              0 $                     0 $                     0
25% $                              0 $                     0 $                     0

Despite the average 8% return, as you can see, this portfolio takes a big hit at the start of retirement with big negative returns and therefore a big decrease of value early on. Unfortunately after 16 years this person has run out of money and is no longer able to draw anything out of their portfolio. Of the $1,000,000 they started with, they were only able to take out just over $806,000. Continue reading

Step 96: Dollar Cost Averaging

Step 96 of the 100 steps mission to financial independence: Dollar Cost Averaging
Step 96: Dollar Cost Averaging

Oh go on, one more investment related step before we end the series on investing… Despite its very boring name, dollar cost averaging is a powerful investment strategy that actually makes market volatility work in your advantage.

This is achieved in two ways:

  • When the market is up you buy less shares, thereby avoiding investing a lot of money when shares are overpriced and when a crash might be just around the corner;
  • When the market is down, you benefit by buying more shares, thereby making the most of the shares being “on sale”.

Let’s look at how dollar cost averaging works.There are generally two ways to invest: investing a lump sum or investing a set monthly amount. As we know markets go up and downs all the time and although most markets go up over time, they still experience periods when prices drop.

Lump sum investing

Imagine you have a windfall of say $10,000 that you want to invest. If you invest it all in one go at a time when the market is climbing, this might be a very poor moment to invest this money. Wait a few months and the market might well experience a downturn:

  • Say the average price of shares at the moment is $100 then (costs excluding) you’d get 100 shares for your $10,000.
  • Imagine the prices drop to $80 on average in the next 6 months. If you had held off investing for 6 months, you would have been able to buy 125 shares, i.e. 25% more!
  • Now let’s say that another 6 months later the price of shares is back up to $100 a share again. If you entered the market today, you would have gained nor lost anything in a year’s time. Had you entered the market when shares were only $80 a piece, your portfolio would be worth $12,500 in a year’s time.

Continue reading