Money Attitudes

Redesign Your Celebration: Save Time, Energy & Moolah on Mother’s Day” (Repost)

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Well it's about that time of year again...Mother’s Day!

Here's a wealth building tip (that I’m reposting from last year) to help you—and your mom—have a much more AUTHENTIC and joyful celebration!

I share a helpful and different way to approach your Mother’s Day celebration.

One that proves to be far less stressful, MUCH happier, and definitely less expensive.

Hopefully it inspires you, your loved ones—and of course, your mom—to create your own unique family tradition, rather than feeling like you have to do what everyone else does.

I wish you an AMAZING Mother's Day, moms. Enjoy! 💜

Click here to read how to Redesign Your Celebration: Save Time, Energy & Moolah on Mother’s Day

Schedule Your Own "Health Day"

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Wealth Building Tip of the Day:

So last week I spent a whole day on my health. No, I didn’t work out for 8 hours straight (although getting in those workouts is VITAL for maximum physical health).

I scheduled some time off and spent an entire day shoring up my health: physically and financially.

As a professional sista, I know that you have a very busy life, just like me. And it’s SO easy to let things fall through the cracks, isn’t it?

Like scheduling those very important annual and follow-up medical appointments.

Or like calling or contacting companies to straighten out or update financial accounts and policies.

Do you ever notice how the longer you put something off, the harder it feels to actually do it?

But when you finally resolve to just get it done and gather everything up, it becomes much easier. Notice, I didn’t say “easy “– I said easier.

I am determined to live a life of abundance and wealth – physically and financially. So that requires devoting time to make sure that both are straight.

I got my appointments scheduled and resolved, and/or got clarity on the next step needed to resolve each issue.

This type of closure diminished my feelings of chaos and being spread too thin. It also eliminated that uneasiness in the back of my mind that something is going to go terribly wrong – in my body or wallet.      

I know you know what I’m talking about. You’ve felt this way before – or are feeling it right now.

Today, schedule that next possible day off for yourself. As a matter of fact, make it TWO days. That way, you can use one as a Health Day. And the second one you make a Fun Day (no explanation needed here, right? 😊).

Schedule your time off on non-holiday weekdays, so that you have the house all to yourself (while everyone is at work or school) and you won’t be distracted from caring for you by your loved ones.

Your Health (in every area) is the most important asset you have. No one can lend or lease you better Health once you neglect yours. Make sure you keep it in tip top shape!

Let yourself dream - again....

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It’s scary to let yourself REALLY dream.   

To dream your biggest dreams – with no filter or limiters.

A while ago, you shut yourself down.

I know what’s it like.

I did that to myself for over 20 years.

You’ve had so many obstacles and challenges to your dreams.

Plus, your BIGGEST dreams stretch you – to the core.

They stretch you SO much, you have no idea about how to even make them real.

 But that’s o.k.

The first step to achieving your truest dreams is to admit – to yourself – that you even have them in the first place.

Otherwise, the alternative is to settle…

To settle for the slow death of your dreams.

And your soul.

In 2008, I got tired of slowly dying inside.

 I decided to take a chance and take a step towards my dreams.

 And I’ve been doing it ever since.

It’s been an amazing and fulfilling journey.

And yes, I’m STILL scared.

But now I have a HOPEFULNESS and HAPPINESS I never used to have.

Instead of the never-ending gnawing hopelessness I used to live with each day.

I know it’s not easy to trust the truth: that the Universe truly wants you to have everything that YOU want.

 And to let yourself dream your biggest dreams again – with no filter or limiters.

You can really have them.

 With the right actions and support.

 Let yourself dream – again.

 Life really DOES want you to have the desires of your heart.

You Don’t Have to Spend Lots to Live Abundantly

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Wealth Building Tip of the Day:

I have a several hobbies that I enjoy. I’m sure you do too, right?

Hobbies make life feel so much richer and more abundant.

And while some of my hobbies can be a bit costly (going to concerts, for example), others are pretty inexpensive and quite fun!

I enjoy collecting unusual food/drink bottles.

So many bottles today are made of plastic, so I LOVE collecting bottles that are different.

Like these miniatures, glass and collector edition drink bottles.

I picked most of these up while traveling.

What about you - what are some of your favorite hobbies?

Why Using Your Savings for Bitcoin (or other High-Risk Investments) Isn’t Smart

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Wealth Building Tip of the Day:              

Recently, I stumbled upon this article: “After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors.”

Remember the Bitcoin/cryptocurrency explosion a few months ago? Back then, just about everyone began asking financial experts if they should invest in it. At the time, some well-known experts were saying what a great investment it was. And now...silence.

Let me be clear. I myself am not an investment expert. But I do know that it is absolutely necessary to invest to create long lasting wealth. I invest. Investing creates wealth in a way that regular savings accounts do not. But as with all your wealth building practices, you need to proceed in an INFORMED and wise manner.

The article talks about several people who used their savings to invest in Bitcoin. One woman (and mom) used her savings, an insurance policy and took out a loan to invest in cryptocurrencies. At the time the article was written, she saw her investments drop 90%. One man took $100,000 out of his savings to buy Bitcoin and saw its value drastically drop. They – and other individuals – lost tens of thousands of dollars. It is NOT a wise strategy to take money from your savings to invest in high risk funds.

When it comes to your savings, you should always have a few different types of savings accounts. You should have set purposes for each. Then you’ll be clear on what you are saving for and why. And what money you want to invest. Once you decide what you want to – and can actually – invest, you should invest using your disposable income/extra money left over. NOT your savings.

The way to succeed in investing is not to jump on what’s “hot” at the moment, but to become knowledgeable about how to invest. In most cases, you will need to invest FIRST in working with a financial expert to help you learn.

But THAT is an investment well worth making to create long lasting and true wealth, which won’t quickly lose its value.

No, You Can’t Spot the Wealthy Just by Looking at ‘Em

No, You Can't Spot the Wealthy Just by Looking at 'Em

Many people look wealthy and aren’t. They have, eat and wear only the “best.” Their clothing and belongings are always designer or brand names. They have the “coolest” and latest models of everything. And they tend to spend their money quite freely and extravagantly.

Then there are those who adorn themselves in the simplest clothing and invest in essential items. They practice modest behaviors overall and choose when and where to spend freely and extravagantly.  Yet, they actually DO have substantial wealth.

Often you wouldn’t know that many of the people you see are wealthy, because they don’t “show” it.

One of the clearest examples of this is former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. He’s a billionaire.

But while he was mayor, he was often seen eating hot dogs. As a billionaire, we “expect” him to eat only the “best” foods. But he loved hot dogs and didn’t care what anyone thought of him.

If we hadn’t known who he was, we would never have known a billionaire was buying hot dogs for lunch!

We’re used to a society that revels in “proving” we have money when we possess it. In fact, if wealthy people DON’T dress fancy or flashy, many of us label them “cheap” or other unflattering names. You KNOW I’m right!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to live like a pauper and buy, wear and use boring and plain things all the time.

What I AM saying is that trying to “look wealthy” isn’t the way to go. Look at MC Hammer and Johnny Depp.

The behaviors typically associated with trying to look wealthy actually DEPLETE wealth.

Don’t let the opinions of others tell you how to conduct your life.

Whatever way you choose to show up in the world IS YOUR CHOICE (obviously, it goes without saying that this should still include showing up clean and smelling pleasant - not being sloppy, unkempt and/or smelly).

“Dressing (and living) to impress” others is the surest way to run yourself into debt.

And it is the surest way to waste money by being “extra,” when you could be USING that extra money you’re spending to build up your net worth and your bank account.

Dress - and live - to impress YOU first and the rest will naturally follow.

Define what wealth is for you. And what it isn’t. Then do that. Live that.

Like the quote says, “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom teaches professional Black women how to confidently master their money, so they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is a financial educator, coach and CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting. She speaks and writes about personal finance and personal development. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

Ultimately (after a certain point), it really ISN’T about what’s In your wallet…

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Financial Tip of the Day:

Does it ever feel like no matter how much you make, you still don’t have ENOUGH money to do everything you want to do?

Now I’m not referring to those in jobs paying minimum wage, or for those just starting out in their career/jobs. Both situations used to be true for me. And in those cases, you usually DON'T have enough money - working your way up is going to be  absolutely necessary to get there. 

I’m talking about when you’ve been in your career or business for a bit…once you start making 30, 40, 50k and up...

Have you noticed that you just can’t seem to hit those big financial goals or dreams that you thought - and hoped - you would?

Do you every wonder WHY?

While you’re thinking about that, let me digress for a moment… you know those Capital One commercials with Samuel L. Jackson, where he asks, “what’s in your wallet?”

Well to use that example, ultimately, it’s not REALLY about what’s in your wallet.

It’s about what you’re DOING. And what you’re thinking.

When it comes to our money, we create and practice habits that we do automatically. Often, we do them so automatically, that we don’t even notice them anymore.

When they’re great habits, that’s when our money flourishes. But when they’re BAD habits, that’s when we get those sinking feelings of never being able to achieve our dreams.

In order to create the wealthy, abundant lives we want so much – and truly deserve – we have to become aware of our bad money habits and change them, pronto.

The very first step is to become aware of and NOTICE what we’re doing.

But sometimes after years of doing the same thing, and being too close up on our own situation, we become blind to what we’re doing. And to why it’s not working.

If you feel that might be the case with you, then reach out to a financially savvy friend or an experienced financial professional to help you get the perspective you need for your success.

Then you’ll begin to finally see how ultimately, it really ISN’T about what’s in your wallet after all.

Our Hair, Our Money, Our Value & Our Stylists: That Special Relationship

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So I got my locs retwisted the other day by my excellent stylist Oumou Sy. There's NOTHING like that feeling of freshly done hair, is there ladies? And when your hairdresser is punctual, pleasant, courteous AND great at doing hair, that's even better! Oumou and Harlem Natural Hair Salon are the best hairdresser/salon I’ve ever been to.

Actually, this isn't my first time locing my hair. I've had locs for over 15 years. They grew so long that they were down my back. But I started doing them myself to 1) save money and to 2) avoid visiting my very skilled but unpleasant hairdresser.

 Over the years, I had the money to get my hair done regularly but the idea of visiting my gossipy and sarcastic hairdresser kept me away unless I had a special event (like my wedding, college graduation, a singing event, etc.).

Long story short: refusing to visit the hairdresser cost me a lot. My hair grew weak and broke off from over washing and over twisting. So last year I decided to accept the inevitable, and cut off my locs to start over.

This time around, I decided I was going to find a skilled hairdresser with positive energy. My sense of value and belief that I deserved great customer service had increased over the years. I was determined to work ONLY with a truly good-hearted and friendly stylist. This time I intended to take much better care of my hair and I was NOT going to spend years dealing with a snippy or late stylist. I was going to spend my money with someone that valued me and my business.

It wasn’t easy. I spent over six months looking: I visited 3 different salons and dealt with four different hairdressers. From ones arriving over an hour late for our appointment (with no apology). To ones who refused to get on the phone with me to clear up questions they hadn’t answered clearly enough by text (even AFTER I had already become a paying customer). To ones who just didn’t seem to like me, for who knows why (shrug).

But I refused to pay to be treated poorly and so I persisted in my search. I called  a lot of salons and talked to many unprofessional stylists. I was amazed at the overall poor customer service and wondered why they operated this way.  

I came to the conclusion that hairdresser seem to have such poor attitudes and behavior towards potential clients because they KNOW how important, personal and special our hair is to us as Black women, and how deeply emotional we get about it. So they act like we need THEM rather than that it is an equally dependent relationship.

Then one day I was searching the web, and viola! I stumbled upon this new website for Harlem Natural Hair Salon. The website was very basic, but professional. So I sent them an email asking about their services. Not long after, I got a response from the owner, Paula. And that was the start of a wonderful relationship!

I’ve been going there for almost a year now and enjoying punctual (you can tell that’s a really big deal to me, can’t you?), friendly, well-organized and excellent service. Their website is top notch now, just like their place of business. My locs are growing strong and healthy and I am happy. I’m glad I didn’t give up looking!

What about you ladies? Have you had similar experiences? Have you found that hairdresser match made in heaven yet (that you so deserve)? Let me know.

Make R&R A Priority In Wealth Building

Traveling on Vacation 7-6-18

Financial Tip of the Day

So, I’m back from my vacation this week. And I had a lovely time!

Although I must admit, there were times when I started thinking about my business and new ideas for my business and so on and so on. But then I’d stop myself to refocus on being in the moment, enjoying the company of my husband and loved ones and the excitement of being in a totally different environment.

I allowed myself to “waste time” on social media, read “stupid” online articles and watch TV, in between enjoying tasty meals, purposeless shopping, and sleeping in. It was fantastic!

I refused to do any work during my time off. And I strongly encourage you to do the same during your breaks.

The work habits of far too many of us lead to burnout and being drained. Contrary to popular opinion, being “on our grind” 24/7 does NOT lead to financial success (or happiness).

Recently, I read somewhere about some financially successful individuals who said that they more time they took off during the year, the MORE successful their businesses were. Let me tell you, that’s ALL I had to hear to decide to make time off a priority in my life. This concept flies in the face of overworked Americans, constantly working overtime to make money.

If you don’t believe this works, check out this article to see how important “unplugging” and rest and relaxation is for some of the most financially successful people we know:  7 Things Rich, Successful People Do Before Bed that You Can Do.

I’m all rested up and ready to return to doing the work I love. Full of new ideas and rejuvenated energy, I’m ready to dive into the projects I was working on before I left for vacation.

Until my next recharging break - which will be pretty soon :)

Focus on the TRUE Purpose of Saving Money…

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So, as someone who is a “natural saver,” just seeing the money in my savings accounts grow is enough to give me a warm and fuzzy feeling of satisfaction. It’s because deep down, savings signal to me that I have options. Ultimately, acquiring savings provides me with feelings of freedom and security concerning any “unexpecteds” that may arise.

However, as a financial educator/coach, I fully realize that many people are not motivated by this type of thing when it comes to saving. Quite a few of us are more motivated by the promise of what our money can give us NOW, rather than later. So, stashing it away and doing with less money now feels like a huge drag with no apparent rewards. The truth is, some of us are more “today centered” and some of are more “tomorrow centered.” And there is NOTHING WRONG with either approach - when they’re not used in the extreme.

The goal is to achieve a balance. Admittedly, this can be very tricky. In fact, overall, this balance is not being achieved. This recent piece shows that 65% of Americans have ZERO to very little money saved at all: 65% of Americans save little or nothing—and half could end up struggling in retirement

To me, this indicates that a big part of the problem is the perception of saving. Far too often, we focus on the “pain” of saving and “doing without” in the moment. The focus is on what we're NOT getting as opposed to what we ARE getting. In order to be motivated to CONSISTENTLY cut back in our everyday lives, we must have something to look forward to - both NOW and in the future - that makes it feel worthwhile. This is the only way we can tackle any goal that feels hard or unpleasant.

Even for me, the promise of saving for future reward alone is not enough. I too, want immediate pleasure out of my well saved money. For instance, after my trip last month to a business summit, I noticed that my luggage bag was fraying and some of the foam was coming out. My bag had accompanied me on many pleasant trips over the last few years. But it was time to go. So rather than trying to squeeze more trips out of it, I disposed of it when I got home.

Since I had another trip coming up, I needed to get a new one quickly. And let me tell you, when it comes to shopping, just call me the “Savings Queen.” Whenever I buy something, I always try to get the best deal (price-wise) possible. As a “frugal minded” spender, this is usually my top criteria (all my “frugal minded” people KNOW what I’m talkin’ bout).

But this time around, I decided that price would not be the top deciding factor. The longer I continue my life’s journey of living abundantly, the more I have come to focus on what makes me HAPPIEST as opposed to what costs me less.

Now I just want to make this totally clear: that DOES NOT mean I just throw price out the window. It simply means that figuring how much money I can keep in my wallet, when comparing buying one thing over another, is not my guiding principle anymore.   

Focus on thte TRUE Purpose of Saving Money....

I finally settled on this beautiful purple (my favorite color) two-piece luggage set (above). I LOVE it and I cannot wait to use on my next trip. I was comparing this set to a three-piece Black luggage set that cost almost $20 less. My last luggage bag was also Black. But every time I looked at the purple set, I felt so ‘“up” just looking at it. So that’s what I bought. Economically the Black set was a “better” value and would have put some savings into my pocket. But I have come to appreciate more and more that sometimes buying what you LOVE and paying a bit more for it - rather than paying less for something that you only LIKE - is the way to go.

The invaluable discipline of saving money is about learning how to cut back on the things right now that really don't matter that much, so that we can invest instead in the things that REALLY DO.

So, for me, buying “no-name” paper towels, foregoing brand name clothing (most of the time), and learning how to get by with a little less income right now in order to make mandatory contributions to my retirement account, are some of the things I am willing to cut back on in the present. This then frees up the money for me to buy the slightly more expensive luggage that makes me feel energized and stylish and brightens up my day – in the here and now.

The TRUE purpose of saving money in the present is to invest that money in what really matters. It's NOT to deny our current selves happiness and pleasure. The true purpose of saving money now is to make possible the present AND future things that give us the MOST happiness.  And isn’t that what saving money is REALLY all about?

What about you? Have you ever cut back on something that didn't mean very much to you so that you could save for/invest in something else that really did matter to you? I'd love to hear about it! 

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom teaches professional Black women how to confidently master their money, so they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is a financial educator, coach and CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting. She speaks and writes about personal finance and personal development. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

I Bet You'll Never Guess What MC Lyte Prayed for: What We Can Learn from Her...

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Last week, I attended the Black Enterprise 2018 Entrepreneurs Summit. And my absolute favorite session of all was the one I attended where MC Lyte spoke. 

I’ve always admired MC Lyte for her authenticity and for uncompromisingly representing herself with ultimate strength and class. So, I was eager to hear what she had to say.

To be honest, I was not prepared for what she shared with us during the session. What she shared was very surprising - and extremely hopeful at the same time.

Lyte explained that there was a point when she felt so lost and needed help so desperately in one area of her life that she prayed and asked God to send her someone.

And no. It was not a man.

She asked God to send her someone…to help her get her finances right.

She realized that she wasn’t able to figure out how to get to where she wanted to be financially. So she sought help.

This legendary, super successful, intelligent and self-evolving lady realized that she needed help with her money. She needed help reaching her big money goals.

And guess what? The help she sincerely asked for and desired showed up.

During that session we met Lyte and the financial expert who helped her transform her money and life in ways she had never imagined.

I was so excited to hear this because this is exactly what I help my clients do. I help them transform their lives and money journey.

Hearing MC Lyte’s story was so hopeful to me because it confirmed for me that there are more and more Black professional women just like Lyte who are willing to take action on their dreams.

She asked for help, and when it appeared, she participated by taking action towards her dreams of financial abundance and success. And Lyte listened to her financial coach.  

Lyte said that she could never give her coach enough credit for helping her turn her finances around and credited her coach’s guidance with creating her money and business transformations.

We can learn a lot from MC Lyte:

What about you? Are you doing everything you can to invest in your financial future?

The longer you wait to take action, the longer you will stay where you are and keep doing what you’re doing.

Or worse yet - you will fall even farther behind on your dreams.

Are you making excuses about money and time to avoid getting the coaching and support that you need?

The thing is, we always seem to find the money for that new pair of shoes, that new handbag, that new hairdo, etc., right? It really all boils down to a matter of priorities, doesn't it?

Each day that you make an excuse is another day that leaves you feeling increasingly more hopeless about ever achieving your big financial dreams.

Instead of making excuses, you could be taking actions towards – and living – your big dreams. Just like MC Lyte (and me).

It really is true: “Time waits for no one.”

Redesign Your Celebration: Save Time, Energy & Moolah on Mother’s Day

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Yesterday as I shopped for a Mother's Day card for my mom, I thought about how special this day is each year for my mom and family. Honoring my mom is something that I am always eager to do because she has been - and still is - such an amazing mother, influencer, shaper and loving supporter my entire life. And I know many of us feel the same way about our moms.

So as I was browsing for a card, I recalled a Mother’s Day celebration a few years ago. One Mother’s Day we all got dressed up to take my mom out to dinner at her top choice restaurant (as we had done every other year). We arrived at the restaurant looking forward to a delicious meal, only to be told that they were booked full. And that the waiting list was for several hours.

Disappointed, we decided to try her next favorite restaurant. Calling ahead, we were told the same thing by that one too, as well as some other restaurants. The crazy thing is that this happened in Manhattan - of all places!!!

This experience made us re-evaluate how and when we celebrated the holiday. My mom is not a friend of crowds - nor am I - however, we had chosen to celebrate her on the traditional days for years up until that point. Even despite the crowds and inflated prices. But now the inability to even get into a restaurant for dinner inspired us to finally try a new approach.

We agreed to try celebrating Mother’s Day on an “off” day, rather than on the actual day itself. And you know what? Celebrating it on a different day has turned out to be a wonderful tradition that we now really enjoy every year.

Actually, we enjoy it just as much - if not more - than before. What matters most to my mom and us is that we celebrate her, regardless of what day we do it on. We select a day when we can all be there. And now we don’t have to fight with crowds or pay jacked-up prices on the “official” day.

If you’ve found the crowds, wait and prices to be a happiness buster, this may be an excellent solution. If your mom is flexible and open to this idea, celebrating Mother's Day on a mutually agreed upon alternative day can be a wonderful way to have a more relaxed, cozier, quieter and cost-saving celebration.

By the way, you can do this on other holidays too! My family and I have experimented with celebrating other holidays on different days and have found them to be equally enjoyable. You can save a great deal of time, energy and money on travel, gifts, food and waiting in line when you celebrate on “off-peak” days.

And you still get to lovingly celebrate one another. Isn’t that what it’s ALL really about anyway?

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom is a financial educator, speaker, coach and workshop trainer who teaches people how to confidently master their money so that they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is the CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and speaks on topics of personal finance, personal development and Black issues. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

 

Put Those Fees Back into Your Pocket (Where They Belong)

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Financial Tip of the Day   

One area where we can end up spending a nice chunk of change each month is with banking. More specifically, bank fees. Most of us have accounts where fees can be (and are) assessed each month that we don't maintain certain minimums or other requirements.

For instance, I have more than one checking account. I use one of them for smaller bills, and another for larger ones (like rent). Each account has fees that are assessed each month if I don't meet certain criteria. However, the criteria are different for each account.

One account requires that I maintain a minimum balance, or a fee is charged. A way for me to avoid the fee is by setting up monthly direct deposits of a certain amount or higher. Another account charges a fee unless I perform a certain number of debit transactions, or transfer a certain amount of money into the account each month.

The trick is, you want to look at your bank statement to see how you can AVOID the fee. With a little pre-planning and by taking a couple of steps, you can avoid being charged the fee altogether.

Just think about it. Those fees may seem small, but they're taking a sizeable amount of money from you over time.  Multiply your bank fee by 12 months, and you have a nice sum of money that you could be spending, saving or investing elsewhere.

So, if you’ve been getting charged a bank fee each month, set aside a couple of minutes to review your statement (which is a money habit you want to practice anyway to make sure all activity looks right) and find out what steps you need to take immediately to keep from being charged the monthly fee.

It will be probably one of the quickest and simplest things you do all month to put some savings back into your pocket. The banks are doing fine. YOU need your money in your pocket. And isn’t that where you’d prefer it to be anyway? I know I do.

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The Heavy Burden of Financial Stress & Hope for Relief

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Financial Tip of the Day

Financial stress is a very real and big part of life for most of us. I’ve often commented to others that I think the top 2 things that compete for our focus and concentration each day are love and money. But I believe that it is even more safe to say that for the huge majority of us, money is the number # 1 thing on our minds most of the time. Would you agree?

It seems that the further away we are from where we want to be financially, the greater our stress level tends to be. As this article explains, 1 In 4 Americans Have PTSD-Like Symptoms From Financial Stress, some of us struggling so much with our finances that we are exhibiting symptoms similar to those with PTSD.

This is very heartbreaking to me. However, I agree with the author’s statement that it’s surprising that the number of those identified as suffering from this type of stress isn’t higher. I’ve seen firsthand the bone crushing stress that debt and ongoing financial problems has had upon clients.

What I find hopeful about the article is that it illuminates the problem, providing an opportunity to seek a solution. Shame over money is one of the biggest things that causes us to hide from others and ourselves. But it doesn’t work. And it’s not necessary.

There are MANY resources, tools and types of help available for dealing with financial stress. Therapy, counseling and coaching are valuable options. There is no formula that will work for each person, so figuring out your best combination of helpful resources will be a very personal, yet worthwhile, journey.

Even if you’re not feeling stress at the level described in this piece, financial stress of ANY type steals happiness and kills dreams. Be sure to take care of you.

Take the steps you need to get the emotional, spiritual and financial help you need and deserve. You and your dreams are so worth it. 💜

Still Haven’t Saved a Dime This Year? Try “Tricking” Yourself into Saving

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As we move through the fourth month of the year, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate how we’re doing with our money goals so far. Saving up money is a goal that most of us have. (And if we don’t, we should). But putting aside money for savings is a real challenge for the majority of us. Either we have too little saved or not at all. Am I right?

Truth be told, we often treat saving as optional, negotiable or non-essential. Don’t we? But we know that is not the case. Having a savings cushion really IS a necessity. Living without savings is a sure recipe for falling into debt.

The great news is, saving is a habit that can be DEVELOPED through practice.

The way to ensure that you save money every pay period, is to add in your savings goal to your budget. When we do our budgets, we typically include expenses that we must pay to someone else. But we don’t include what we must pay to OURSELVES. Savings are what we pay to ourselves.

The bottom line is that there is no lasting financial success without the use of a budget. Visually seeing what you spend and earn shows you the reality of your actual situation. Budgets help to clarify our expenses. In other words, they detail the absolute necessities that MUST be paid to avoid losing things we consider vital to our happiness, health, and comfort (like shelter, water, heat, electricity, etc.)

A trick that I use to help me save is to include savings in my budget as an EXPENSE. I treat it like a necessity. Just like all my other major bills. I also set up my savings to be automatically deducted and transferred into my savings account, so I don’t have a chance to spend it on something else (like all the music, movies and other things on my huge Amazon Wish List).

When you add your savings amount goal into your budget, make sure you add it in as a SEPARATE additional item in your budget. That is what I do. This method has helped me save thousands for my retirement and emergency fund at the SAME time.

Initially, you’ll feel the drop in your available spending cash. So just adjust other areas of your budget to account for this. In no time at all, you will get used to working with this new cash flow and will create new spending habits.

Begin treating your savings like a NECESSITY. When you start doing thing, saving will become a habit, and you won’t even think about it anymore. It will become as automatic as the deductions you’ve set up to fund your savings account (make sure you don’t forget this step!).

Then you can watch your savings grow. And grow. And grow. There’s just no feeling like it. That feeling of increased security and accomplishment, as you see yourself steadily moving closer and closer to your dreams…

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom is a financial educator, speaker, coach and workshop trainer who teaches people how to confidently master their money so that they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is the CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and speaks on topics of personal finance, personal development and Black issues. You can book her to speak at your next event about this topic or her other speaking topics by visiting Yolanda Ransom Speaking

What Kind of Week Will You Have?

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As we start off another week, fortifying and maintaining the “right” mindset is vital. I’ve observed that one of the hardest things for us to do (myself included) is control our mindsets. Have you noticed this too?

It’s very easy to get caught up in the “here and now” and focus only on what we see right in front of us. For most, working and living from a place of keeping in sight our personal and financial visions for our lives does not come automatically.

I frequently read books on success and principles for achieving success. Over and over, the authors make clear how challenging - and equally important - it is to control our thoughts. And that this itself IS the hardest work there is:

“Sometimes it's best if a man just spends a moment or two thinking. It is one of the toughest things he’ll ever do, and that’s probably why so few bother to do it.”  - Alonzo Herndon

Why is that when faced with the EXACT same circumstances, one person can fail, while the other succeeds at the very same thing?

It really does all come down to mindset.

“Your thoughts are the only things you control. Either you control them or you relinquish your greatest gift to others. Without control, the mind loses its effectiveness. With control and direction, it gains power…Use your mind to shape your destiny to fulfill whatever purposes in life you choose…”  -  Dennis Kimbro

So this week as you encounter the usual challenges, look for the opportunities as well. Begin (if you haven’t already) to observe your mindset. And make adjustments as needed. That’s what I do.

Guarding our dreams and hopes begins with guarding our minds. This is a habit which requires daily practice. But the good news is that “practice (does indeed) make perfect.” And this will bring us that much CLOSER to our dream lives.

*If you found this helpful, sign up to get more tips delivered straight to your inbox each week, here.

Taking the Long Route to Our Financial Dreams...

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Financial Tip of the Day

It’s Monday, and the start of the week can be a very PAINFUL time. Especially if we’re doing work that we hate or KNOW is not our true purpose. That was true for me for MANY years. But the truth is, sometimes we need to continue where we are so that we can build up the money, experience and/or skills to pursue what we REALLY want. And there’s NO shame in that.

No matter what kind of work we do, if we see it as an opportunity to move us closer to our life’s vision, it can make it possible to actually appreciate that job. I do admit this is easier SAID than done. But focusing on our vision can help us rise above our present situation. And it can also motivate us to do our best until we get to where we truly want to be. That is what I did in many of my jobs. Now I’m thankfully working at my own business doing what I love and what I believe I was MADE to do.  

So, as Tupac said, “Keep ya head up,” and remember the financial dreams that you’re building for yourself and your loved ones. We WILL get there – if we stay focused and work hard, no matter the job. Sometimes we just have to take the long route.

Are You Choosing Progress or Settling for Failure?

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Financial Tip of the Day

Well, we’re in the beginning of a new month – and the second quarter of the year. This is a very important time of year because it holds so much opportunity. Typically, by this point, many people have started petering out on their New Year’s resolutions or goals.

On that note, I’d like to ask how’s it going for you: if you continue what you’re currently doing, where will you be financially by the end of 2018?

If your actions are resulting in steady progress towards your goals, good for you. Keep it up!

But if your actions are resulting in more credit card debt, no savings, or poor finances in general, it’s time to seek out help. Isn’t it?

I’ll be the first to admit that change is NOT easy. And the longer a bad habit has existed, the more challenging it can be to change it.

Especially when it comes to money, we may have “inherited” poor habits and beliefs from our families. But the good news is that no matter WHERE or what we have come from, we can reclaim ownership of our money and financial futures.

I want to encourage and remind you to seek out the help you need to make the changes you desire.

Seeking help DOES NOT make you weak. It actually shows you strong you REALLY are. It shows strength to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers. And to be open to receiving help from others with more experience and/or new ideas.

So, if you’re struggling to keep your 2018 goals – or have stopped trying altogether – there is STILL plenty of time to make 2018 YOUR year of progress. Find a trusted financial resource or professional and seek out all the help you can.

I get coaching help myself, and it’s made all the difference for me on my own journey. Help is there. Have the determination and willingness to seek it out.

*Ladies, by the way - because I want to offer you ALL the support that I can, I’m delighted to say that I will be opening up individual and group coaching again soon! I’m creating some exciting programs aimed at helping you ladies uniquely master your money. Email me at yolanda@yolandaransom.com if you’d like to be personally notified when I open up my schedule for coaching.

Lasting Financial Success Depends on THIS…

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Financial Tip of the Day:

I talk a lot about financial success. It is very important. It also means very different things for each of us. But there is one thing I’ve observed with anyone who has been continually successful in earning money: personal development ALWAYS precedes earned wealth. Financial wealth is not created in a vacuum. Since money is usually earned based on the service we provide, the more we develop our unique skills and talents to serve others, the more likely the money often follows.

Personal development is always something I’ve worked at, and I’d like to EAGERLY recommend a book I’m that reading right now for all the striving ladies: “Successful Women Think Differently: 9 Habits to Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Resilient” by Valorie Burton.

I only read a couple of chapters so far and I’m ALREADY having "light bulb" moments and am learning SO much more about myself. Most of all, I’m learning how to think differently so I can experience greater success. I’m reading it for the next 2 weeks. Leave a comment and let me know if you’ll join me in doing so (or if you’ve already read it). We can share our life revelations together 😊.