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Let's get the kids back to school
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 15:29

 

Of course, all of you know that my primary passion is educating people, especially young adults on financial literacy.  Right now though, the situation in B.C. is more dire than that.  We need to get the kids back to school in September.

September is just around the corner and as absurd as it seems, it is likely that B.C. students will not have a school to go to. Teachers and support workers will be missing mortgage payments and trying to make ends meet. Parents will be scrambling to figure out child care options or re-arranging work schedules. The omnipotent B.C. government has been enjoying their summer vacation but did manage to figure out a “solution” to pay families to NOT educate their kids.

If it wasn’t so absurd, it would be laughable. The whole situation reminds me of kids fighting in the sandbox at recess. The teachers union and the government are apparently so far apart that even mediators are not willing to take on the job.

Full disclosure: I am anti-union for the most part. However, I believe that to maintain a strong public school system (as well as a public health system), they are a necessary evil – which keeps everyone honest and transparent. The good news is that the two parties are only 1% apart on wages. The real issues to be fought out include benefits and class sizes. Unlike non-reunion workers who appeal to their boss for a raise or increase in benefits/holidays in private, the teachers union has to negotiate for a raise, benefits and class size in the public eye.

One of the other reasons I’m not partial to unions is the acrimonious system that is perpetrates. Each side must go in to negotiations with ridiculous demands such as $3,000 worth of massages per year for teachers, and no reduction at all in class sizes on the part of government. This is just a game that gets played out at the expense of students, parents and teachers. The government and the BCTF union management still receive their pay cheques. To make matters worse, the media grabs on to the most contentious issues and the general public simply roll their eyes and say “teachers are so greedy – must be nice to only work 10 months of the year – wouldn’t I love to get $3,000 worth of massages every year”.

Because we are all so busy, many of us don’t have the time or the inclination to learn the actual facts. How many of us know that it was the government who locked out the teachers in the first place? Do we realize that the issue in no longer about wages? Do we not recognize if the teachers were really just greedy they would be working for the government? Don’t even get me started on that. I don’t claim to know all the facts – how could I when the whole subject is confused with rhetoric?

The real issue that has sparked my outrage is the bribe that the government is now offering B.C. families. They will be paying $40 per day for every child under 13. Is this to encourage a move to private school? This would ultimately save the B.C. government a ton of money. We could have all the haves move to private school and only the have-nots would remain in public school. This would be a sad day for Canada.

How much money will it cost to set up such a payment system (think GST/HST)? The taxpayers will be funding this administration as well as the pay outs. Will teachers get paid to keep their kids from being educated, while they are not being paid to educate kids? Will parents pay tax on this money that they are being paid from their own tax dollars? How do you spell irony?

Why is the cut off age 13? Does that mean that anyone over 13 doesn’t need any kind of supervision with schools closed and nothing to do but hang out together? What about kids with special needs?

The reason given for this bribe is to pay for daycare. What day-care??? Where are the imaginary thousands of spaces going to magically appear from? How are parents going to organize this when everything is so up in the air and we all have this false sense of security that everything will be sorted out before school starts?

What about the parents that are not as resourceful as others? What about the new Canadians that may not have an extended family support system? How will they source out care for their kids?

I don’t know what the answer is but I do know that education is an essential service. This may be a naive solution, but is it not possible to legislate the teachers back to work and then continue to negotiate the contract in good faith on both sides? The government claims they want to break the cycle of legislating teachers back – but at whose expense? How can we support our government in trying to starve out the teachers and support workers while denying kids their education?

Right now the kids are losing out big-time. Don’t we owe them the opportunity to be educated? The parents are counting on school and have planned their life/work/day care around this. The teachers and support workers are losing out on their paycheque to protect the integrity of class sizes and get help for those who need it. Canada is a first world country that respects and honors every child’s right to an education regardless of race, financial ability, or physical/mental ability. Are we willing to give this up?

In an ideal world, this dispute could be worked out prior to the school system starting in a few short weeks. My hope is that every family will speak up, refuse the bribe and insist on a settlement. If all else fails and this cannot be accomplished by the start of school, legislate the teachers back to work (so they can pay their bills) and then work out a contract with a mediator. Let’s put the pressure on the government to “Canada Up” and get the schools open on time, one way or the other.

 

 
Help - I don’t have the time to manage my finances
Monday, 30 September 2013 18:25

Do you find yourself full of good intentions to manage your finances, but have nothing to show for them at the end of the day? Unfortunately, this is all too common. You may have heard that most people spend more time planning their annual vacation than they devote to their personal finances.

This was one of the reasons I wrote the book Financial Fitness for Beginners (www.financialfitnessbooks.com) because it explains that money management is not difficult, nor is it time-consuming. The ultimate goal is to have your money management on auto-pilot so once you have your finances under control, you needn’t spend more than an hour each month to monitor your situation and make any changes that may be necessary.

The book is divided in to 12 weeks, with only a half an hour a day required for the duration of the program. My recommendation is that you read through the entire book to get the overview. Then go back and do one chapter and the exercises each week. If you need to take two weeks for each chapter that is okay too. Just gets the momentum going.

The important thing is to just take the first step and get started on your journey towards financial peace of mind. Once you get started commit to doing ONE thing per day. (This may be walking by your morning coffee shop, not buying that outfit even though it is 50% off, eating dinner at home rather than a fast food outlet, etc.) At the very least, keep track of all of your spending on a daily basis and record it. This one action is the basis of learning good money management.

The whole program is about going forward….so don’t put off doing the program because of being in debt, or being too busy (we all have the same 24 hours in a day), or because you are afraid to face your financial situation. If you can't seem to squeeze out even this meager half an hour - then get up a half an hour earlier.  You can either have results, or excuses, as my mentor Harv Ekkers always says.

Today is a new day and you can take control of your finances.

 

It’s all about taking a step, then just putting one foot in front of the other. You can do this! Please drop me an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you need some help or if you just need a kick in the butt!

I welcome your feedback and suggestions for topics for future blogs.

Diana Young #1 Amazon best-selling author www.financialfitnessbooks.com

 


 

 
How do I record my small business in my net worth?
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 17:50

Hello Diana

I have been reading Financial Fitness for Beginners, and wondered if you have any material specifically helpful for running a home-based business. For instance, for a "very-small", home-based business (not incorporated); do we need to integrate all BUSINESS expenses and income into our tracking? Would our monthly net-worth calculations have to include the changing business inventory? (That would sure complicate things!) What about business line-of-credit use?? Thanks! Jane H.

Thanks Jane for your thoughtful questions. Congratulations on taking seriously the issue of your finances for both business and personal use.

There are lots of great resources for running small businesses, so I haven’t created anything specific to share with you on that subject. Go to your local library to check out books that appeal to you, as well as contacting the Chamber of Commerce which offers great business related material. If you don’t already belong to your local chamber or business club, I would strongly recommend you join as it provides great networking opportunities to grow your business, and also provides lots of mentors to give proven advice regarding good small business practices. It also makes running your own business a lot less lonely.

As to your question regarding your net worth, it is important that you do not “mix” your business with your personal finances. Operate your business as a separate entity and keep those books with all your revenue, expenses, inventory, write-offs etc. For the purpose of your net worth, just assign a fair market value to the business if you were to sell it.

What you include in your personal net worth is the asset value you have assigned your business and not your income from the business. In the early stages a small business may have a negative value, as you often have to either borrow money to jump start it, or invest more money than you can get an immediate return on in the beginning stages. If you are just getting started, you could assign it a value of zero (or even a negative net worth if you have borrowed money for the company). As it grows and your start up loan gets repaid, you can change the value on your net worth. Keep in mind this value you assign to it for the purpose of your net worth is simply a good estimate. Remember your business is an asset, just like a home and you want to record the “accurate” value to it. A net worth statement is simply a “snapshot” of what you currently own (your assets) minus your debts (liabilities). The bottom line will either be a positive net worth (i.e. you own more than you owe) or a negative net worth (you owe more than you own).

With a small business, especially a growing one, you may choose not to take out much in the way of income. This means that you are keeping the money in the business to help it succeed. This increases your net worth as the business is worth more. On the flip side, if you take out a significant income, then you may be leaving the business vulnerable with a lesser value.

The key for operating a small business is to keep it separate from your personal finances. At the end of the month, if there is a profit, you can take out a percentage of this profit as your income which you record as income on your Weekly Tracking Report. When you run a small business with variable revenues, then it is even more critical that you keep track of your weekly statement of income and expenses, in order to make sure you are not spending money that you have not already earned. If you do find that the income isn’t sufficient, this is when you would need to supplement your income from another source, or decrease your expenditures. See the appropriate chapters in Financial Fitness for Beginners for suggestions on how you can earn more, spend less or combine both for maximum benefit.

The number one reason for small business failure is that too many operators take out more money than the business can manage. They treat their business as an ATM machine. You always need to leave excess funds in the business to cover unexpected expenses or to be a in a position to take advantage of opportunities. .

To answer your final question - A business line of credit is very useful especially if you are in a product business, i.e. you have to purchase product upfront before selling it. The trouble with lines of credit is that most people don’t really treat them like a loan. Rather they consider it their “money” and tend to spend it accordingly. If you do use a line of credit to pre-pay for product be sure that once it is sold, that portion of the line of credit is paid off. If you are using the line of credit as operating capital, then it is a good suggestion to be sure that you are allocating a set amount to repay each month, otherwise your line of credit will never be paid off and you are limiting your access to credit when you could really use it. Depending on your own habits regarding debt, you may prefer to get a fixed loan that you repay rather than an open line of credit.

Thanks again for your inquiry. The good news is that you will be able to keep things simple. In summary, for your monthly net worth, simply include the “value” that you have assigned to the business each month. In your Weekly Tracking sheet for your personal finances, you include the actual income you take out from your business, as well as any other sources of income. With a small business you have to be relentless about keeping the business books up to date and you also have to be dedicated to recording your personal income and expenses on a weekly basis.

The fact that you are asking these questions and reading books to gain knowledge bodes very well for your success. Please keep in touch. Wishing you abundance in all things……Diana Young #1 – Amazon best-selling author www.financialfitnessbooks.com

 

 

 
Give yourself a shot of positive energy
Monday, 09 September 2013 17:32

It's your life....make your own path

It seems every day we are bombarded with reasons why we can't do what we hope to, plan to, work hard to do, etc.  Many experts recommend that a sure way to keep you accountable is to share your goals and dreams with friends and family.  I tend to disagree with this philosophy, mainly because often the natural reaction of your "loved ones" is for them to point out why your goals and dreams won't work.  Mostly this in done with love to protect you from disappointment and failure.  I'm sure you've had this situation occur for you.  The exception to my suggestion is if you use a personal coach or a mentor outside of your family and friends, then they are ideal people to keep you accountable, if you want to go this route.

My preference is for you to keep your goals and dreams to yourself, until you get some serious momentum happening with them.  It is hard though, to keep your focus and keep getting back on the horse, with the inevitable tumbles that you will encounter on your journey to worthwhile goals and dreams.  I find what really helps me is to tune in to webcasts and/or tele-seminars from successful, enthusiastic people.  In this way, I get a jolt of positive energy and I'm motivated to take the next step...whatever that may be.

I know many of you are using the ending of the lazy, hazy days of summer and revving up your plans for the Fall.  Many of you have committed to doing my 12-week program (from my book www.financialfitnessbooks.com  -Thanks for the vote of confidence and your willingness to make some financial changes.  Some weeks may be harder to focus on than others, so I’m really excited to tell you about an amazing (and free) tele-course, entitled Breaking Limitations, that is being hosted by my friend and colleague, Eldon Taylor. Eldon is a NY Times best-selling author who is considered to be one of the world’s experts on pre-conscious processing. In fact, he is often referred to as The Mind Master!  I have worked with Eldon before, and can’t recommend him highly enough.

 

Details:

Eldon has an amazing line up of guests on the schedule, including Marci Shimoff, Joan Borysenko, Bruce Lipton, Gary Renard, Lynne McTaggart and many more. You can see the full line-up of guests here:

http://www.progressiveawarenesspromotions.com/it/13i/index/A.php

Eldon is also the host of Provocative Enlightenment radio and has interviewed an array of fascinating personalities including George Noory, James Van Praagh, Giorgio Tsoukalos, Linda Evans, Lindsay Wagner, and Congressman Tim Ryan. His interviews are always very insightful, compelling and fascinating.

Love the way you get straight to the point and thoroughly

explore the topic at hand, refusing to put on

blinders and make nice!

R.K., Canada

Please note: this is not just another tele-seminar series, with a host of random interviews all strung together in some kind of intensive that leaves you feeling inspired but with very few real tools to put into practice. No—in Breaking Limitations, Eldon is focusing solely on the question of “How did I get here and how do I get where I want to be?” For most of us, the reality of where we are rarely ever lives up to the dreams we once had. Eldon will be asking all of his guests for their insights and unique perspectives on this question. So whether you are interested in business success, personal relationships, health and wellness or just being happier, this course will show you both the problems and the solutions! In fact, in every interview you will receive specific tips to put into practice right away—tips that will put you firmly back into the driver’s seat of your life. 

Register for the f ree tele-course here:

http://www.progressiveawarenesspromotions.com/it/13i/index/A.php

Eldon’s integrity, wit, openness and honesty

have made him a favorite in my book.

K.G., Virginia.

Breaking Limitations begins on September 23rd and will air on Mondays and Thursdays from 11am to 1pm pst (2 to 4pm est) and, as I said, this tele-course is totally  free  of charge. You can listen online and can even hear the replays for a limited time. To find out more and to register for the Breaking Limitations tele-course, please click here:

http://www.progressiveawarenesspromotions.com/it/13i/index/A.php

Good luck with all your Fall goal setting and action plans.  I know you can do it....just one small and steady step at a time.

Cheers....Diana

P.S.  Please feel free to email me personally at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you need a jolt of positive energy or you have any financial management questions or concerns. Just a reminder, I am not qualified to give investment advice - my area of specialty is helping people to manage the money that they have, so that they can enjoy financial peace of mind.

 

 

 

 
Your credit rating could be wrong!
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:56

In my most recent blog post, we discussed the importance of knowing where you stand financially. Although this is sometimes hard to face head on, it is critical for you to know so that you can move forward and take action.

Your credit report (also known as credit score) is your report card of how well you are handling your finances and debt obligations. This is not only calculated based on your behaviour with loans and mortgages, but also for all services you pay for AFTER you’ve used them, such as hydro, cell phones, cable, etc.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to know your own credit rating. Not knowing, would be like going to a doctor and saying “fix me” even if you have no idea how your health is, or what ails you. If you go to a bank, or apply for any service, without knowing your credit score you are at a distinct disadvantage. You may even be turned down for renting an apartment, or for insurance and you wouldn’t even know why.

There are many things that impact your credit score and you can learn more about this with my free report “Ten Tips To Instantly Improve Your Credit Rating”. Just sign up for my “mostly monthly” newsletter and you will be sent this free report right away. goo.gl/LPYJv

One of my readers (R. Brown, Calgary) sent me this comment after following one step on the report, which was to get a copy of your credit score. Thanks R. Brown for allowing me to share your feedback in this blog.

Thanks to your suggestion to get a copy of my credit score, I discovered that the Equifax report showed I still owed RBC $17,787 in student loans which I had paid off 12 years ago. Crazy.

The good news is that the Transunion report was correct. I followed your “action point” and called Equifax and they have assured me that the mistake will be corrected in 2 weeks.

Also, I've put your suggestion of checking my credit report quarterly into my online automated task list.”

The take-home message from R. Brown is:

-get your credit report (from both companies – this can be done instantly

online for less than the cost of a movie and popcorn). Do it now!

- check thoroughly for accuracy

- act on any inaccuracies in the credit report

R. Brown then got my book Financial Fitness for Beginners and discovered some new insights that helped him.

“Thank-you Diana. The tips are excellent. There are a lot of things I didn't know until reading your book - one is the 50% balance on credit cards. With business, I often have to purchase legitimate items that I invoice back to clients which may push my credit card to 80% of its limit, even though I pay it off in full on the due date. I didn't know this was hurting my score.

In the past I had always thought of credit as bad (even though I don't have a spending problem) - from now on, if the banks offer me a credit increase I'll take it - just not use it. In the past when the banks offered me increases, I would decline them - which now hurts my score because my legitimate business purchases are consuming too much of my available credit.”

The take-home message from R. Brown is clearly that the more you learn about personal finances, the better you are able to manage them. For him, he is quite correct about the benefits of accepting more credit on his card. However, it is critically important to understand that he does not have a spending problem, and he pays his card off in full each month.

If you do have a spending problem (i.e. you spend more than you make) and you do not pay off your credit cards fully, I would highly recommend you limit and even reduce your access to credit, to avoid temptation. The point is that we are all different in how we handle our money and we need to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses.

I would suggest you learn as much as you can about money management, handling of credit, savings, etc. There are lots of books that you can borrow at the library, borrow from friends or purchase to keep handy on your bookshelf.

Don’t forget the most critical step in your education process….once you learn something relevant to your situation - take action!

P.S. You can order your copy of Financial Fitness for Beginners through www.financialfitnessbooks.com or through Amazon (print and Kindle version). I look forward to getting your feedback, so that we can share (anonymously) financial lessons for the benefit of all my subscribers.

 

 
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