Month: January 2020

Rules to live by…. Set Goals

It’s a new year and many people start out with new year’s resolutions which are often broken by mid-January.  I would rather think in terms of goals.   I love January, because it feels like a new start every year.   A new beginning, a new opportunity to start something fresh.  It may be something you have done many times before, but January is a time to press reset and start again.  

If you are here, one of your goals may be to start looking closer at your money.    As much as I love my spreadsheets, planning and organizing around money, I still have at least one or two financial goals every year.   I like to look at what I have done the past year or past few years and think:  How can I do it better this year?     Maybe it is setting a savings goal, or planning to pay off a credit card, or planning for a new vacation or simply starting to track my money closer.   What are the steps I need to take to make it a reality? 

Choose your goals for the year and put them

on paper.    The simple act of writing a goal down

helps you take the next steps to achieve your goal.    

You need to keep your goals visible, front and center.   Post them on the refrigerator, or on your phone or in your planner.   Writing them down helps to make it a firm commitment.   I think broad and create goals in six areas of my life:   Personal, Professional, Family, Financial, Spiritual & Social.  Each of these areas has one or two or three goals that I want to work towards during the year.   Some are simple and some are more involved.    Here is an example:

Sample Goal Setting sheet

  1. Personal (include personal goals and health areas)
    1. Prepare more healthy meals
    2. Start a blog, learn a new language
  2. Professional
    1. Join a professional organization/take a class
    2. Learn a new software program/learn a new skill
  3. Family (include home and travel goals)
    1. Plan a Summer vacation to the beach
    2. Home projects:   paint the living room & organize the basement
    3. Schedule family dinner nights with extended family monthly
  4. Financial
    1. Review and update all insurance policies
    2. Organize and complete an emergency binder
    3. Track monthly expenses on spreadsheet
  5. Spiritual 
    1. Keep a gratitude journal throughout the year
    2. Adopt a family bible verse for the year
  6. Social
    1. Monthly date nights with hubby
    2. One extra-curricular per child each month/quarter
    3. Coffee with a girlfriend each month

I’ve created a printable for you “Jump Rope finances goal setting sheet” to create your goals.

Give some thought to goal planning this year!    

January 401k Tip

January Behind the Scenes: 

Over the last decade or so, more and more people have become what is called 401K millionaires.    They have socked money away in their retirement accounts and watched it explode thanks to the incredible stock market returns.   Imagine what your retirement years could look like with one million dollars!   Travel, time for hobbies, volunteer work, spending time with family and friends and most of all not having to worry about money.  

I know it seems like a long time away, and you may be asking yourself, why think about this now?   

  • Because on the flip side, most employers have done away with pensions or retirement accounts, so without a 401K your only other options are to continue working or rely on Social Security.   Do you want to be working at age 75 to cover your basic needs?   What about Social Security?    The average social security check is about $1,400 or well under $20,000 per year… for most that is not enough to live your best life. 
  • Because if you start small and increase every year, you won’t miss the extra dollars in your paycheck.
  • Because it feels good to plan for the future and know you have a plan. 
  • Because you don’t want to penny pinch when you retire or have to rely on your kids or family.
  • Because you want to retire early.
  • Because you have time on your side and money grows over long periods of time with steady contributions. 

Just start today… you will never regret socking away a few dollars now that will grow to a huge nest egg over your lifetime.    

Start simply, but simply start!

Want more details?


Jump Rope Finances: Origin

Cinderella, dressed in Yellow

Went downstairs to kiss her Fellow

Made a mistake and kissed a snake

How many Doctors did it take?

One. Two. Three.  Four……..

I learned this jump rope song when I visited my nieces about 20 years ago.    They were, and still are, one of the greatest joys of my life!     Today, the original seven are all young women and I’ve added many more nieces and nephews along with a few kids of my own to the mix.     One of my nephews was recently engaged, and when I saw an article about marriage and finance, I sent it to him telling him of my love of all things personal finance and offering any help or words of wisdom as needed.     Fast forward six months, and I thought I could share this same love of finances with a few of my southern 20 to 30 something nieces via monthly text of financial tips.   Just one more way to stay connected to them and to share what I love.    So, I sent them a tip and they seemed to really like my once a month financial tip idea.    The tip generated some great questions back, but the answers were too lengthy to answer in a text.    As I started thinking it through, I mentioned my monthly tips to another young woman who immediately asked to be added to my text list and I thought… maybe I’m on to something here.   Maybe I should write a blog and Jump Rope Finances was born. 

The story of Cinderella is a story of rags to riches, much like how your finances might play out.   Perhaps now you are struggling with debt, no savings and no retirement and have no idea where to start.    Like the jump rope song, you might have come here to get some answers, but have made mistakes along the way and will probably make a few more.    Personal finance is one of those things that you must work at again and again.    But if you keep at it, you just might turn into a Prince or Princess yourself.    Just like jumping rope, the more you do it, the better your become.   So I hope you’ll check back monthly for some quick and easy tips to get you headed in the direction of living happily ever.