How to Have Better Time Management Skills

How to Have Better Time Management Skills
I hear this from women all the time, they are sick of being behind, being late, running out of time, not getting much done at home and at work.

They want to start a business, write a blog, create a product or change people's lives in some other way but feel like they don't have time. 

When it comes down to it, time management is one part of life that totally trips women up. We feel like we have to be in control of every single part of our life and I don’t know about you but for a while I believed if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done correctly.

What you think is that you suck at time management, but what’s actually happening is you’re prioritizing too much and then thinking that you’ve failed because you couldn’t get it all done. And then every day feels like groundhog day, never getting ahead, never getting to those things you really want to do.

Let’s break down time management into super simple steps anyone can do to create more time for the things they want to do.

1. Make a list of the things you absolutely need to do, and another list that you can ask for help with. You MUST ask for help. You are not super woman and yes, while you and your spouse might make lunches differently, or clean differently, they both still get done. Allow other people to help you. Think carpooling, think meal planning, think cleaning and laundry and all the little things that take up extra space and time in your life that absolutely do not NEED to be done by you.

2. Make a list of your values and make sure what you’re doing daily reflects them. If you value time with your family, make sure you are prioritizing time with your family. If you value starting a side business, make sure you are prioritizing time to work on your business. If you're passionate about something, you must make time to do it.

3. Declutter your life. That means the space you work, the clothes you wear, the things you own. You will have less responsibilities keeping you from doing the things you truly want to once you get rid of things taking up that space. You are physically creating more space.

4. If your weeks are busy, figure out how you can take action to set yourself up for success. Can you meal plan on Sundays? Can you set out clothes for the week? What can you do to make the busier days less busy, freeing up your mind to work on things you love?

5. Oh and this goes without saying (or does it) but it's the things that most commonly get left behind - get good sleep, hydrate and treat your body well. You’ll have more energy to do the things you love!

You won’t ever get time back, it’s so important to do the things you love in your life because that will light you up. It will lead to a healthier happier you, healthier relationships, more fun and a life that can be enjoyed. Your dreams are important and no one else can or will live them like you can. It’s time to start making them come true.
 
xoxo,
Gwen

What investments are best for beginners?

What investments are best for beginners?
Raise your hand if you’ve experienced analysis paralysis when it comes to investing? Definitely been there, done that.....for years!

Open an account? Sure, easy peasy.

Transfer money from bank account? Done.

Choose investments? BAIL, BAIL, BAIL! hahah Just Kidding.

I get it, the actual act of selecting what to put your money in can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be!

Since I’m not a financial advisor and I don’t know your specific situation, I can’t tell you what you should invest in but here’s what you can look for when beginning:

1. Low cost index funds will save you money and allow you to diversify your funds all in one spot. They are an easy, hands-off way to invest in the stock market. This is what took the scary out of investing for me.

Index funds track various indexes and are made up of stocks that mirror the companies performance - like the S&P500. 

Low cost index funds are inexpensive because they are automated and designed to follow the shifts in value of an index.  Because these funds are not actively managed by a well paid team of analysts, they don't cost the investor as much. Winning!

For example, the average annual expense ratio for stock index funds in 2016 was .09% while the average annual expense ratio for actively managed stock funds was .86%. Now you might be thinking "that's not a huge difference", but over time this adds up and will take away from what you're able to earn on your investments.

The S&P although wildly popular, isn't the only index fund in town. You can select various index funds based on the categories of stocks the house. There are index funds based on size of companies, funds based on geographical area, the type of businesses they include, domestic versus foreign, and even by market opportunity.

Remember, not every index fund is low cost.

2. Look for funds that have low investment minimums or zero minimums. Sometimes the minimum required to invest can be a few thousand dollars to start.

3. Don’t pay someone to do this for you just because you’re a newbie. You can totally learn how to invest! And the great thing is, you can learn as you go and adjust accordingly.

4. Average return rates over time. For example, the VTSAX has returned an average of 8% since it’s inception. The VFIAX, 7.93%. But these are just examples and you can easily pull these statistics up on any investing platform or even by throwing it into a Google search. 

5. Consider how much time you have. The younger you are, the more risk you can potentially take (but don’t have to). With that being said, this is even more of a reason just to start now. The earlier the better and the more time your investments have to grow, the more compounding interest works for you.

And remember, investing is a long game. There may be dips over time but historically you can track funds to see their overall growth. Don't get scared if you see a decrease in earnings, as long as you're not very close to retirement, you have time to ride it out. It will come back up.

Most importantly, pick one and start! You can learn more as you go and adjust as needed. You’ve got this and I believe in you.

For more details, grab my free guide 
“Investing for Beginners” 

xoxo,
Gwen

Should You Use Your Savings To Pay Down Debt?

Should You Use Your Savings To Pay Down Debt?
I don't know about you, but that money in my savings account feels pretty precious. Especially if you've ever worried about being able to pay the bills or if you've been stressed about money before, that savings account feels like bumpers at the bowling alley.

It's hard to part with that money!

But, if you've accumulated some debt, your money in your savings could be working for you.

Here's a few questions to ask yourself before you tap into your hard earned savings account:

1. How much money is in your savings account?
It used to be that $1000 would be a good solid base for an emergency savings. I'm not sure if you've had an "emergency" lately, but $1000 isn't going to cut it. 

We had to replace the tires on my car and it came in close to that! 

Now I recommend $3000 to my clients as a good base and there are a few reasons.

Number 1: $3000 will cover most typical emergencies. Not ALL, but you can't possibly plan for ALL emergencies. 

Number 2: a savings account is not the only place you should have money to pull from.

First and foremost - if you haven't put your emergency savings money in a High Yield Savings account, do that now! You're missing out on extra moula. It's not much these days (returns of about 0.5%) but it's better than a typical savings account at 0.04% wouldn't you say?

 2. How much debt do you have?
If you have a small amount of debt, it's usually much easier to part with some savings knowing that you can probably replenish your account quickly. The faster you can make that debt go away, the more your money can work for you!

But if you have a mountain of debt - the kind of debt that just weighs on you and makes you feel like you can't get out from under it, there's a strategy for tapping into your savings.

I believe it's always worth putting some money towards your debt so that the interest doesn't keep growing. Have you ever looked at your mortgage or student loans? The amount you took out is never the amount you will have paid in full by the end of the term. Interest accrues quickly.

What worked for me and what has worked for my clients is a split of 45/45/10. After you have a $3000 base, take the rest and split it up. Forty-five percent can go towards paying a debt, forty-five percent to investments and ten percent to fun. 

Because trust me, if you aren't allowed to have any fun while you're paying down debt, you won't stick with it!
Doing it this way, consistently every month creates new habits and quick wins so you'll want to keep going.

Now of course, everyone's situation is different - if your job is on the out or you know you're about to lose your health insurance, you have to evaluate what kind of cash you need access to in the next few months.

So before you go allocating those funds to debt, take a look at what you might be up against.

3. Don't wait to invest!
Most people I talk to believe they have to wait until they've paid down their debt to invest. But here's why investing while you pay down debt is important:

You can still access some of your investment contributions if you need extra money in an emergency.

Investment service M1 Financing actually allows you to borrow against any contributions you've made to your investments. They loan that money to you at 2% interest and BAM look at that extra money you have to pull from if you need more than $3000 for an emergency.

Now of course that 2% is costing you more than if you had say $15,000 sitting in a high yield savings account, but it's an emergency right? Something that doesn't typically happen, and in this case, you have access to money if you need it. Then you're really just paying yourself back with a little bit of interest.

You may also be able to borrow your contributions you've made to your taxable brokerage (read, not your retirement account) without penalty so this can serve as a type of emergency fund as well if you've been investing at all. *Pay attention to capital gain rules in your state and per your specific account type.

So you might as well put your money to work!

Have you caught my drift yet? No matter where you are, if you haven't started investing, START! It's the best thing you'll ever do.

At the end of the day, what I want for you is for you to feel like you know exactly what's going on with your finances. This is about decreasing your stress and empowering you to take the reigns on your money because no one else is going to care as much as you do about your finances. No matter where you are now, you have the opportunity to change that and for your finances to look completely different in the next 365 days.

If you're not sure where to start, grab my free Beginner's Guide to Investing download and join our free community where women are slaying debt, making finances fun & sexy and designing a life they truly love.

xoxo,
Gwen

How To Fix Your Attitude Towards Money

How To Fix Your Attitude Towards Money

It is easy for people to get defensive or feel ashamed when they are struggling with their finances. But here's the thing, where you are is just where you are, not WHO you are. Starting with this mindset will set you up for success!

The first step to creating healthy finances is to get clear on what your financial goals are. Start by writing down where you want to be in 1, 5 and 10 years time. Having clear goals will help you create even clearer action steps.

Most people don't like this next step, but in order to go where you want to go, you have to know where you've been. Take a look at your monthly spending: how much money do you have leftover each month after expenses? Is there leftover? Make it a game to see how much you can increase that leftover by removing any unnecessary spending, canceling subscriptions, and cutting out useless expenses.

Here's the best part - you get to give that money a plan! Tell your money where to go. The 3 areas your leftover money will go towards are: debt, investments and fun. Using the snowball effect, start by paying down your smallest debts. Once you've paid off a debt, take that money and add it onto the minimum payment of the next debt.

The key here is consistency. Make it fun, celebrate your progress and create your new belief about money.

If you aren't sure exactly where to start, let's set up a time to chat! e-mail me Guinevere@roilhighness.com with subject line CHAT ME and let's see how we can help you change your money mindset today.

xoxo,
Gwen

What they're not telling you about student loans....

What they're not telling you about student loans....
Raise your hand if you have student loans! Raise both hands if they're killing you LOL.

Last month I was able to reduce my student loans from $675 a month to $5 a month. Yes you read that right, $5 a month. 

How? I sat through a presentation from one of the leading experts on student loans and learned SO much.

You already know how passionate I am about getting out of debt and helping other's do the same. It's the reason I wrote the Ditch Your Debt in 30 Days course!

Here's the thing, any kind of debt sucks but student loans suck a heck of a lot more.

I'm a part of many debt payoff focused groups as well as financial independence groups and I've seen so many arguments around student loans.

There's the argument that states we should have known the costs when we took out the loans so we're not allowed to complain about what they're costing us now.

Let's talk about that one for a minute. I don't know about you but at 18 years old I didn't even know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  I had never taken out a loan before then.

Checking account - yup.
Savings account - yup.
Loans - nope.

Deciding on a major, a school and taking out loans feels like a whirlwind. I actually don't remember much of that process at all!

The lack of education in our schools around real life finances is a disgrace. But that's a conversation for another day. I honestly believe that student loan companies know what they're doing when it comes to "helping" students take out their first loans for school.

If they were really concerned with us knowing everything about the student loan process, they would make it easily accessible. And of course, we could have asked the questions, but I'm willing to bet most of us didn't even know the questions TO ask. At least I didn't.

So anyway, yes I take full responsibility for the amount of loans that I took out, but also student loans is a business and businesses make money when students take loans out. The longer the loans and the more money is taken out, the more money the student loan companies make.

So, do I believe these companies have our best interests at heart? Absolutely not. I've learned a lot since then.

Let's look at some facts (that blew my mind!):

1. 1.7 trillion dollars are owed in student loans by about 45 million Americans. That's about 1 in 4 working adults between 25 and 65 years old. And this number is set to double by the year 2028.

2. Student loan debt is the second biggest debt to mortgage loan debt. And the #1 reasons people are denied mortgages is directly related to student loan debt.

3. Tuition is growing about 8% every year while wages have remained pretty stagnant since the early 2000's

4. For every $1 you owe in student loans, thats a loss of $10 in retirement assets or savings. With the average student loan debt around $40,000, that's a loss of $400,000 in retirement.

People are afraid to start families, they're waiting longer to purchase homes, they're losing sleep over their monthly payments and feel that there's no way out. 

That's why I'm here, to help you reduce your monthly payment and work with you to save a ton of money on your loans so you can put it towards retirement and assets.

Trust me, I thought I had explored all avenues when it came to lowering my payments. I was happily surprised to learn that I had missed this one. I'd be happy to hop on a call and see if we can save you some money with your student loans as well. Click through to schedule a 15 minute Zoom call and answer a few questions with me.

xoxo,
Gwen


 
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