Millen's Blog



Category: Money Matters



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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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In Being Financially Free article, I invited you to pause and ask yourself 3 important questions:

1.   Where are you now, financially?

2.  Where do you want to be in X year, financially?

3.  What would need to happen during these X years for you to get to your financial goal?

 

I already covered the first couple of questions, “Where are you now, financially?and “Where do you want to be in X year, financially?Today, let’s have a frank conversation about what needs to happen during these X years for you to get to your financial goal.

 

You are a mature intelligent woman. You’ve done so much… You’ve gone so far… You work hard yet your income is barely sufficient to meet expenses…and your net worth is unsatisfactory… What can you do?

 

Should you give up your dream of becoming financially independent one day? Accept a future of increasingly meager existence? Grow bitter and curse the luck (and people) for putting you in this situation?

Or…choose to take responsibility for your finances and make changes?

 

That last question was rhetorical, of course. But sometimes, I wonder if people, especially women, really understand their options. There are things that happen in life that you can’t control. But you can control the way we respond to them…

 

I understand that when you’re almost halfway through your life and still feel uneasiness and uncontrolled contraction inside when you think about your financial future, it may seem like Greek to you when I talk about becoming financially independent. I get it… It may not be easy for you to see what’s possible in your life from a place where you are right now…

 

However, I am confident that if you have even modest intelligence and a positive attitude, you CAN become financially independent in 7 to 10 years (or less) if you’re willing to invest your time, effort and money to make it happen. It will just take a bit of time and patience. And it will require that you change some of the thoughts and feelings you have about wealth and your relationship with money.

 

So, what would need to take place during the X years for you to change your financial life?

Here are my suggestions for you to consider:

 

1. Accept the fact that you’re solely and completely responsible for your current financial situation.

Before you react defensively, read that sentence again. I didn’t say you are the cause of your situation. I said you are responsible for it.

By taking responsibility for your current condition, you also assume responsibility for your future. Nobody can change your fortune but you. And nobody else will. The sooner you accept that reality, the sooner you will begin to feel financially powerful.

I’m not giving you a pep talk. I’m telling you the truth. I’ve done it myself, and I’ve met dozens of other women who’ve done it too. There are simple adjustments to your thinking and behaving that you’ll need to make, but they are extremely powerful. They work instantaneously. Without them, you cannot move forward, even by an inch.

 

2. Set realistic expectations, take measured actions and focus on making progress.

Progress, not perfection. You need to have a way to manage your money that will allow you to become richer every week, every month, and certainly every year.

 

Yes, it’s great to think big and have big dreams… But it’s also very important to take small, attainable right now steps, which, cumulatively, will get you to your desired financial destination. I am sure you’ve heard of compound effect — reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices.

That’s why when I meet a woman who looks for some secret get-rich-quick technique like 6 or 7-figure overnight-business strategy, or incredible hot stock tips, I think to myself, “I don’t think she will become wealthy…”

 

I believe that the journey to millions of dollars is earned $100 at a time. Your financial life right now is like a car that needs an engine upgrade. You may want to be driving it at 100 miles per hour. I understand… However, it can’t go from zero to 100 miles per hour in no time! The law of inertia is against you. Start with where you are at the moment…10 miles/hour…then 20…and then 30. That’s how you accumulate lasting wealth – gradually at first, then at your preferred speed.

 

3. Develop a habit of paying yourself first in a form of savings! Savings are your wealth seeds, investing is the fertilizer for growing your wealth. 

With every paycheck you get, first, put some money toward saving (start with comfortable percent of your net income and keep increasing it), then cover your necessary expenses by funding your “lifestyle” aka spending account(s): bills, mortgage, play and donation money.

Once you fill your 3-6 month emergency fund, keep growing your savings in your ‘financial freedom’ accounts, which include your investment accounts. Only after you have “paid yourself” by saving should you add to your “spending” accounts.

 

4. Commit to adding to your income with a second income (or multiple streams of income).

I want you to realize that your net investable income (the amount of cash you have after spending and saving) is the single most important factor in determining how quickly you will become wealthy.

 

Be creative, always contemplate additional sources of income. Make an honest count of the number of hours each month you devote to non-productive activities (e.g. TV, social media, etc.). Devote them to wealth-building instead. Let go of a comfortable ‘victimhood’ thinking, educate yourself, get help and guidance. Become the master of your money – it’s not too late and you don’t have to do it alone!

 

It’s not fun to realize, in the midst of your life, that you haven’t acquired the wealth you want. But you are not in your 80s and still have plenty of time to increase your income and grow your wealth. You have a wonderful life ahead of you and your financial past doesn’t have to be your destiny…unless you allow it to be. NOW is the time to dare and change what’s not working in your life.

 

Yes, YOUR TIME IS NOW, not some day.

 

To your Health, Wealth and Freedom!

With Love and Gratitude,

2
Comments

In recent Being Financially Free article, I invited you to pause and ask yourself 3 important questions:

  1. Where are you now, financially? 
  2. Where do you want to be in X year, financially?
  3. What would need to happen during these x years for you to get to your financial goal?

 

Last time, we covered the first question, “Where are you now, financially?” Today, let’s talk about where you want to be in X years… As you know, it really helps to know what you want and believe that it’s possible for you!

 

First of all, I invite you to choose your short, medium and long term time-milestones.

 

Let’s say, your short term milestone is 1 year. Where do you see yourself in 1 year?

Where do you live? Do you rent or own your home? Are you paying of your mortgage, credit card debt, car loan or none of the above?

What do you do? Do you see yourself working, studying or taking sabbatical?

 

If you’re working, do you see yourself having a job or running your own business? It’s an important question to ask yourself…. First of all, not everybody wants to be self-employed… And  even if you are a business owner right now, if your business does not yet support your lifestyle, you may want to look for a ‘bridge work’ – an intermediate work – to give yourself some time to get your business off the ground and allow it to gain a momentum without adding extra stress to your life.

 

Do you see yourself commuting to work or working from home? Do you plan to buy a new car or new appliances for your home? Will you need to support your children (if they are not yet independent)? Parents? Do you live with a partner who contributes financially or you are a bread-winner?

 

Write down the description of the imaginary picture of your life in 1 year…. Clarity of your desires will steer your financial and personal choices and actions.

 

OK, let’s move on to the intermediate milestone – 5 years from now. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

 

Visualize your life… Imagine yourself getting dressed in the morning, having breakfast, preparing for your day…. Do you run a business or have a job? Do you have a team that support you or you’re a solopreneur? Does your business support your lifestyle, financially? Do you feel financially secure? How many days per week and hours per day do you see yourself working?

How often do you go on vacation?  How much saving do you have in the bank? How big and diversified is your investment portfolio? What have you invested in – other businesses, stock market, real estate, gold and silver, something else?

 

Visualize your life in 5 years (not from a place where you are now but from a place where you want to be in 5 years)…. Describe everything – your home, your work, your looks, what you do, who is with you – as clearly as you can and write down everything that you feel and see with your inner eye.

 

Now let’s leap forward in time by 10 or 15 years. Where do you see yourself 15 years from now?

 

Create a mental picture of your life, describe it in details. Where do you live? Who is there with you? Do you see yourself working or retired? If you work, what do you do? Do you have to work or you choose to work? Do you have at least 6 month of your living expenses in your emergency fund account? Do you have a pension and/or an investment portfolio that allows you to feel financially secure? How often do you go on vacation? Do you feel content, joyful, fulfilled and happy with where you are?

 

Once you feel that you are ready, write down the picture of your life you imagine in 10-15 years. Do you like what you envision? Is there anything you would like to change?

 

This is a great exercise to gage whether you’re on track to the life you want to create for yourself. Remember, with every thought, decision, and action – small or big – you are creating your life. And if something is not working for you – dare to change it!

 

You are allowed to change your mind and do what feels right to you ! It’s NEVER too late to course-correct the ship of your life!

 

To your Health, Wealth and Happiness!

  • ::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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