Millen's Blog



Category: Discipline



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You want to have a wonderful, enjoyable, worry-free and fun-full retirement, don’t you?  In my experience, people who manage their finances well and plan for their retirement or financial independence even prior to retirement age have a very satisfying experience of freedom in their lives – freedom of choice and time. Unfortunately, those who didn’t plan well or who didn’t save enough are finding retirement age difficult….

 

My passion and purpose is to help people like you as much as I can using my experience, expertise and systems to have a fabulous time once YOU decide to retire or just take a long sabbatical from your work.  Below is the outline of 5 essential aspects to REMEMBER so that you will make your pathway to financial independence (at or before the retirement age) not only probable but also feasible. Write them down and share them with your friends and family so they too will be able to avoid the retirement traps.

 

5 Reminders for Financially Successful Retirement:

 

  1. Save enough money. 

    Do NOT spend (or borrow) just because you can. You and your family CAN be happy without going deep into debt! It’s a wishful thinking that you can keep on borrowing and catch up later (e.g. when you get your big break in your business or at your job; when you finally finish paying for… whatever; or when kids will leave the house, etc.) It’s a psychological trap that so many people get themselves into.

The likely outcome of NOT doing it: you may experience panic or fear or both once you get into your 50s or 60s. You would likely have to work longer than you wanted. You may have to adjust your lifestyle… and, as it often happens, you may fall prey to persuasive salespeople who do not have your best interests at heart.

 

 

  1. Decide where you would like to live, be flexible with your lifestyle expectations and make smart financial decisions. 

    You may decide to stay in your current house or move to a smaller house or a condo. You may decide to relocate to a different state with a better climate and the less taxes (or no state tax like Florida). You could buy a rental property or a fixed index annuity to have an additional income. And above all, you need to establish an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses (e.g. medical emergencies not covered by your Medicare or other insurance).

The likely outcome of NOT doing it: You may become financially and emotionally vulnerable when unexpected happens (and it usually does) and again fall prey to enthusiastic and persuasive salespeople.

 

  1. Pay attention to inflation and taxes, they may ‘eat your lunch’ if you don’t. 

Inflation is gradual and may be deceiving. Do not assume that $1,000 you have today will buy roughly the same “basket of goods and services” in 2027 and 2037! Nobody knows what the future holds, agree? Be mindful of your investments – choose investments that grow with the increase of inflation. And remember that you’ll still need to pay taxes! Yeh, that…. If you plan to use distributions from your taxable retirement accounts (e.g. non-Roth IRA or 401(k) ), the full amount of those distributions is taxable. If you plan to own your home, you’ll need to pay property tax. So… It may worth your while to hire a qualified financial planner to help you develop a financial fortress plan. (make sure to use the list of questions I provided earlier when interview your financial professionals.)

The likely outcome of NOT doing it: You may suddenly realize that everything is costing a lot more than it “should,” and your fixed income is not enough to cover your lifestyle. And unexpected tax bills from your friendly accountant may send you into a “panic mode”.

 

  1. Ask for a second professional opinion if you’ve been persuaded to invest in a financial product.

It’s quite common to buy financial products while attending a free investment seminar(s) with an enthusiastic instructor aka salesperson. They often offer a private consult, promise high returns and decreased taxes, however, don’t give time to do your own due diligence or ask for a second professional opinion. They offer incentive to buy it now… Do not fall for these tactics with your money – always, always, ALWAYS give yourself time to do your homework before investing your money!

The likely outcome of NOT doing it: The least, you may get greatly disappointed and have many reasons to never trust an investment sales pitch again. The worse, you will have less money for your retirement….

 

  1. Diversify your investments – have a portion of your money in the fixed-income investments and a portion in the stock market and/or real estate.

We currently live in the unprecedented low interest environment yet many people still feel safe having only fixed-income investments (e.g. bonds, annuities, etc.) and are afraid to invest in the stock market because they are afraid to lose money. Yet diversifying your investments is the mindful way to protect yourself and your money from unexpected.

The likely outcome of NOT doing it: Your safe fixed income may not be enough to meet your increased needs and lifestyle, especially healthcare.

 

Was it helpful? Let me know – leave a comment!

 

To Your Wealth, Health and Freedom!

With Love,

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As you probably know, everything has a cause and effect in our physical world… everything! And you often get stuck if you focus only on the effect….

 

Just pause for a sec and see if it resonates with you…

 

I’ve met many women who feel angry, hurt or powerless after a bad relationship, or loss of business, or loss of money.  Although their life circumstances were different, what I noticed was that most of them saw their problems totally outside of themselves, outside of their control so they felt they had no choice….

 

And here is the tricky part in this. When you see the cause of your problem completely outside of your reach, you feel powerless and discouraged. Taking responsibility for anything that you experience – positive (that one is easy, right? LOL) AND challenging – is the beginning of EMPOWERMENT.
Would you agree?

 

When you face challenging situation, whether personal, health-related or financial, you have a choice to pretend that there is no problem; wait till the problem goes away/disappears; complain about it and feel sorry for your luck; or take full responsibility (without blaming yourself or feeling that it’s your ‘fault’) and pro-actively seek resolution of the problem.

 

Look, I am not speaking hypothetically here…. Just like you, I was faced with a few challenges in life (yes, the whole shebang: immigration, divorce, serious health issues, joblessness, loss of money, depression, powerlessness, money anxiety, etc.). There were times in my life when I pretended, hided or felt sorry for myself and my luck….

 

It didn’t work well for me.

 

The only thing that worked was taking full responsibility for my situation, taking small steps and making smarter decisions.

 

Here are some questions I like to ask myself that help get unstuck:

 

  • “How did I attract this?”
  • “How can I change that?”, or “What can I do about it?”
  • “What are positive learnings from this experience?”
  • “How does it empower me going forward?”

 

I’ve realized that taking responsibility means having choices. And knowing that I always have choices, helps get unstuck and move forward.

Does it resonate? Let me know!

 

To your Wealth, Health and Freedom!

 

 

P.S. I’ve noticed from speaking to many women during discovery calls that some would benefit from a short, laser coaching that would help get clarity about specific next steps and see choices that sometimes hard to see from where you are because it’s just too close… Soooo, I decided, to offer a private 75 minutes coaching session +15 min follow up call to help you move forward with clarity and confidence.

 

AND for the FIRST 4 people who apply BEFORE August 1st (the coaching session itself can be scheduled later, of course) I OFFER $200 “I Am Ready!” incentive!!!
You see, I want to see you WINNING, NOT Whining. So, if you are ready and committed to becoming financially powerful and at the moment need a little tweak/accountability/clarity/second opinion/anything else – let me know! Email me or schedule the Money Breakthrough coaching

 

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“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” ~ James W. Frick

 

“I want to start investing in the stock market. How do I know when is the right time to start?”

 

A young professional woman in her early forties asked me this question recently and it turned out to be a long conversation about her overall financial wellness. Although she enjoyed a nice income from her current job, she accumulated rather significant credit card debt, was paying high rent for her apartment and had car loan payments. Her efforts to keep up with managing her financial responsibilities were causing her stress and anxiety. Hearing how much other people make in the stock market made her feel that finding ways to invest in the stock market will help her make money and pay off her debt faster.

 

I realize that hearing financial gurus touting investments, talking about portfolio diversification and getting profits from investing in the stock market can make you think that you are missing out on doing the right thing if you are not invested. After all, investing in the stock market made so many people rich, right?

 

Well, the true answer is “it depends”. While you certainly can make money in the stock market, you can also lose money.  YES, you can lose a lot of money in the stock market, especially if you are not experienced and not careful!  I am not saying this to discourage you or to instill fear in you but rather to caution you so that you take the right steps  with your money management BEFORE you start investing.

 

The key to Financial Freedom is Effective Money Management.

 

Investment strategies are simply components of Effective Money Management (EMM). EMM starts with CLARITY about your financial goals, current income, spending habits and priorities so that you feel empowered to make savvy financial decisions. I believe that before you decide to make any investments, you must develop the discipline of effective money management.  I suggest that you set up bank accounts that will help you maintain this money-savvy attitude easily.

 

Create a system of linked bank accounts that will allow you to automate your money management and track your in-coming and out-coming flow of money with ease and confidence. Transparency of your financial transactions will help you grow awareness about your money habits and improve on them.

 

Here are a few suggestions for systematizing your bank accounts:

 

Create

 

  1. A centralized Income account: get all your incoming moneys deposited to this account. Your profit from business or paychecks from your job can be automatically deposited to this account. Any occasional sources of income should be deposited to the same account.

Purpose: Have a clear picture of your incoming money.

 

  1. A Lifestyle account: calculate your monthly spending rate, which includes your current debt payments (if any), rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation expense, education, donations, etc. Set up automatic monthly transfers from your income account to this account. Pay all your lifestyle expenses from this account (you may link it to your credit card and pay it in full).

Purpose: Keep track of your monthly spending, evaluate what can be adjusted, keep yourself accountable for your spending choices.

 

  1. An Emergency fund account: set up a monthly transfer from your Income account to your Emergency account. I recommend to deposit 10% of your current income to this account, but if at the moment it’s not feasible for you, start with less percentage but START with something! Accumulate at least 3-6 month of your Must-Have – MUST-Pay expenses, ideally for 12 months. Once you accumulate this amount, stop automatic transfers to this account.

Purpose: Develop financial discipline and build a safety buffer to remove financial anxiety.

 

  1. A Financial Freedom account: Once you save your desired amount in your Emergency fund account and stop the automatic transfer to it, open the Financial Freedom account and set up automatic monthly transfer from your income account to the Financial Freedom account. Start with 10% of your income and once your income increases, make sure to increase the percentage you transfer to this account. You can use this money to pay for occasional expenses like vacations, buying a car or paying a downpayment on a new house. Ultimately, this is the account you will use for your investments.

Purpose: Once you accumulate a significant amount of money in Financial Freedom account, you can start investing strategically to build your way to Financial Freedom in your life.

 

While this automated linked banks accounts system may, at the beginning, require you to stretch your way of thinking about managing your money, it will certainly allow you develop discipline around money management. If you truly commit to becoming financially free, I believe the suggested structure will ultimately help you remove the financial stress that often comes from ineffective money management and put you well on your way to Financial Freedom.

 

Do these suggestions make sense to you? How do YOU manage your money?

 

Remember: It is NEVER too late to become FREE!

 

 

Millen

  • ::Millen has a way of opening up conversations that not only make you feel safe to talk about money, but her questions have been so profound that they have made immediate shifts in my mindset and my circumstances have changed almost immediately too, including more money showing up, but more importantly, more and more opportunities.  I have found new and inspired direction, and am feeling a lot more peaceful and excited about life in general. Millen offers so much value and a solid advice! She is a big picture thinker and it is infectious! Thank you, Millen, from the bottom of my heart and the top of my soul.

    ~ Renee Commins, Coach, Renee Commins Coaching

  • ::Millen Livis is a gift to humanity. Millen is very generous with her time and energy, sharing her vast life experiences and strengths, empowering me to become a better human being. Millen has impacted my life spiritually, emotionally, physically and financially, by her encouragement and clarity. I have not said, “Thank you!” enough.

    ~ Heidi Stefan, B.A. Detox Support Counselor, Archstone Recovery Center of the Palm Beaches, Inc.

  • ::Millen brings together an interesting mix of feminine wisdom, clear logic, assertiveness and humility in all of her interactions. With her warmth, intelligence, diverse experience and passion for ‘Dare to be the best you could be’ message, she inspires other women to reach for the goals they set for themselves.

    ~ Sharon Keller, Golden Bear Realty, LLC

  • ::Using laser like energy, Millen gives her full attention to your issue and stays with it until a satisfactory resolution or conclusion is reached. Open minded, yet direct and honest, Millen balances objectivity with compassion. It is a joy to work with her!

    ~ Mary L. Holden, Freelance Editor and Writer

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