Shut the Front Door!

Open front door.jpg

No seriously, “Shut the door! We aren’t trying to cool the whole neighborhood!” Does that sound familiar? If I had a dollar for every time Momma Bagwell yelled at me about leaving the door open, the lights on, or, by far the worst offense, standing there staring into the refrigerator with door open hoping something delicious would magically appear, I would be a very wealthy man! The point is, utilities can be expensive, yet somehow, we have decided that they are a necessity so we don’t worry about the cost. When is the last time you did a self-audit of your utility costs to see if you could save a few bucks here or there?

Chances are it has probably been awhile, but it can be a great exercise when you are trying to be a good steward of your money. Power, water, gas, cell phones, cable, internet, car and home insurance, credit cards (interest specifically) are all areas that you can review to fight for your money. Listen, it may seem trivial but finding an extra $50 per month that could be used for other goals could be huge. An extra $50 per month applied to principle on a $150,000, 30 year mortgage at 4% would allow you to pay off the house 42 months early and save $14,371.75 in interest!!! Or $50 per month put into a retirement account that averaged 8% rate of return for 30 years is over $74,000 extra for retirement!!

So audit your monthly expenses. Write down all your reoccurring expenses and what they cost you each month now. Then ask these three questions:

  • Is this expense a necessity or desire? (Note, I’m not saying they all must be necessities, I just want you to have a truth talk with yourself)
  • Is there a cheaper option of this expense that I could live with? (cough cough, cable)
  • Are there other vendors that I could get a price from that could be cheaper for the same service? (car insurance, cable/internet, credit cards)
  • Can I make an effort to keep cost low? (turn off lights, take shorter showers, adjust the thermostat)

After you have audited, reviewed, and answered these questions, write down your new totals (estimated or actual) and see how much you have won by fighting for your money.  Then make a plan for it. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let that money magically disappear in the next month’s expenses after you have done all this work to fight for it. Increase your retirement savings, college savings for kids, or increase your monthly payment on your mortgage, but do not be unintentional about your raise. Small changes can lead to big impacts on your financial situation and puts you in control of your money.  Let me know if I can help or just motivate you to get started.

Sources: Commonwealth Financial Network’s Mortgage Payoff Calculator
Commonwealth Financial Network’s Compound Savings Calculator

Money Habits

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Think about your habits. Okay, let’s narrow it down to only your good habits. Now think back to when those habits began. How did they get started? I would guess in most cases good habits, like brushing your teeth, making your bed, and exercising, started out of accountability. When you were a kid and you did not want to brush your teeth, someone made you and sooner or later you began to understand the benefit of brushing your teeth. Suddenly, no one had to force you to brush your teeth anymore. The level of understanding that led to a willingness to do something that is good for you came after a period of resistance. A new friend of mine explained it this way when talking about his weight loss journey. He said that accountability led to success which led to a lifestyle change.

Generally, habits that are good for you may not be easy or painless to create and generally, you will want to push back against them in the beginning. That is why having accountability and an accountability partner is necessary. Eventually, you will gain an understanding about the benefits that the good habit has for you and this will lead to a lifestyle change. However, to get to that point you may need stern voice to help you out.

Money habits are no different. Budgeting, saving, giving, planning, earning, etc. can all be essential to your success with money. Yet, building those habits is not easy and in most cases you are left with no accountability. Part of our comprehensive financial planning is to give you that accountability. You will not need me to review your budget with you forever, but just like having a personal trainer to slap pizza out of my hand when I want to lose weight, sometimes you need a pal to say, “I know you’re tired and making your lunch sucks and you might not get to sit at the cool table today, but you can laugh all the way to the bank knowing that you saved $15 on something that would have only satisfied you for about 4 hours.”

Habits lead to lifestyle changes and lifestyles can either lead you to success or away from it. By not intentionally choosing good money habits are you subconsciously choosing bad ones? You may not be going bankrupt but are you really succeeding? If you struggle creating good money habits, let’s talk. I promise not to slap anything out of your hand…at first.

Knowledge is Power

Teaching people about 401(k)s has taught me many things, but above all it has taught me that education/training at work has to change!

For decades now onsite training has drifted into a check box or a CYA, pardon my acronymial language.  We have shifted from being concerned about outcomes and are now more concerned about staying in compliance.  Here are some interesting tips on how to engage your employees and deliver more impactful training.

How to Make Mandatory Trainings Bearable Infographic

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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5 Signs That Your Employees Are Financially Stressed

emp fin stressDo you think your employee’s personal financial situation matters to your company? What if I said over 1/3 of your workforce spends on-the-clock hours dealing with their personal financial situation? The reality is that financially stressed employees are less productive and less engaged at work, and that affects your bottom line. Providing financial wellness programs that address a variety of issues from debt management, college cost, and budgeting can not only help your employees become more active at work, but it can also increase loyalty as it shows them you care about them as a person not just a worker.   Take a look at the following 5 warning signs that your workforce may be financially distracted.  Do you need to implement a financial wellness program?   Are you curious just how much you could increase productivity? Contact me to discuss.

Caleb BagwellCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

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Is Passion Enough?

shutterstock_214581778I think the appropriate follow-up question is, “For what?…Is passion enough for what…?” Guys I have to be honest with you, I struggled with this one a lot. The way I asked the question to myself was, “Is passion enough to change the world?” After internally wrestling this ideal for a long while, I am convinced the answer is undoubtedly NO. Passion alone is not enough for me to change the world.

That bothers me, it literally offended me at first because I’m an idealist. (I’m not sure that acknowledging that you are an idealist makes it better but I feel better about it so there.) I wanted desperately for the answer to my passion question to be yes. I wanted to be able to stand in front of a crowd and look them in the eyes and say, “ALL YOU NEED IS PASSION!!!” I could say that, heck I could probably write a book about it and sell a million copies if I got the right agent and hyped it up enough but it wouldn’t stick. The truth is passion is nothing more than an emotional catalyst. DO NOT misunderstand, if you intend to build something successful, something substantial and something with impactful, passion is 100% necessary but it not enough.

Guys hear me here, my heart literally hurts writing this because I meet people all the time that have the passion to change their lives, to change their career, to change their community. It breaks me to know their passion alone won’t get them there. It takes other character traits and while the recipe is not simple, I want to cover 4 that I think can turn your passion into change.

Tenacity, Courage, Discipline and Community

Tenacity: You see by definition tenacious means, “not easily stopped”. I think this is pretty clear. Impacting your world, by changing your health, changing your career, changing your community will never be easy. No impact worth making will ever be easy. You have to have tenacity, you have to be able to get hit again and again and again and keep going. You will receive setbacks from those close to you and from total strangers but you have to build rhino-thick skin! Andy Mineo, a Christian rapper has a song called, “You Can’t Stop Me” and I think it embodies the reaction you must develop to doubt and hurdles. You put a bolder in my path and I will not turn around; I will find a way to move it! James in my office mentioned the other day that no success story that you read today ever has a chapter about how they didn’t face any obstacles. PASSION + TENACITY

Courage: This may be a sub characteristic of tenacity but in order for your passion to become change you will have to have been courageous. One of my favorite quotes is, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to continue in the presence of fear.” When it comes to a journey of following your passion, it will be scary. It may require you to quit your job, or even totally change the way you live. It will undoubtedly cause you to have to “rock the boat”, but true courage requires you to harness your fear and keep going despite it. Embracing fear can save your life. Think about the gazelle running from a lion. Fear is the difference between the gazelle and the lion. The lion is running for lunch the gazelle is running for its life. Chasing passion is like that. You may very well have an entire world working against you and without courage your passion will become something’s lunch.   PASSION + TENACITY + COURAGE

Discipline: I thought about calling this section consistency or having a plan but I think discipline can include both of those. Rarely ever will impact come overnight, and since deep passion is extremely volatile, we should be aware that even the most passionate of people can vary in their degree of passion at different moments. This is where discipline comes in. You must have the discipline to keep following the plan, following the process, and approaching each day as if it matters. Discipline is what guides and drives your tenacity and courage into the direction your passion wants it to go. PASSION + TENACITY + COURAGE + DISCIPLINE

Community: You could also call this help or accountability. You will not start your passion journey with a community, most likely the first few chapters that your write will be solo, but as you go you will need to figure out how to build your community of support. This is totally dependent on your ability to communicate clearly the vision you have painted in your head to others. I do this terribly, a lot! I have had hours upon hours of thinking of my passion and the plan I have to succeed, then someone asks me about it and I word vomit for 3-5 minutes and they look at me like I have 3 eyes. John Maxwell says that, “Leadership is influence, nothing more nothing less.” Visioneering and influence will allow you to build your community to make your passion a reality. You have to have a clear vision and the ability to influence people along your path to join your cause and help you along the way. For more on this section read my post. from a few weeks ago: If you get me there, I will change the world . PASSION + TENACITY + COURAGE + DISCIPLINE + COMMUNITY = UNLIMITED POSSIBILTY

Becoming a person that leaves an impact in the world is certainly reserved for the passionate, but the success stories you hear have much more depth than what we see on the outside. My dream is to help people see their potential and chase their passion. Imagine with me what a world full of passionate, tenacious, courageous, and disciplined, accountable visioneers. The possibilities are endless.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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Financial Wellness for Your Employees

Employee Financial WellnessFinancial Wellness has come into focus recently as employers have been exposed to the negative side effect of fiscally unhealthy employees. We have seen health and wellness programs around for decades doing such things as giving out pedometers to employees to encourage them to take more steps, offering desks that you can stand at, and even offering discounted gym memberships. Those are all great strategies to improve physical wellness but the burden of financial stress on employees and what that does to their productivity has largely been overlooked.

shutterstock_129454907Financial Wellness is a term used to describe and answer to a cry for help. For many years, companies and financial advising firms have been focused on retirement readiness, but people were trying to tell us we cannot begin to prepare for retirement if we can’t keep our heads above water today! Unfortunately, for a long time those cries fell on deaf ears as the industry went through a period of “plan design tactics” where they would automatic enroll people in their 401(k) plan and even increase their contribution every year automatically. Both auto-enrollment and auto-escalating contribution are usually great ideas but this did not address the real problem or get to the heart of the participant’s pain today.

Financial Wellness programs, at least the good ones, should be focused on educating and encouraging employees to gain financial freedom through processes that are easily implemented and offer some form of personal accountability.   The benefits not only for the employee but also for their employer are staggering. When employers implement these sort of personal finance education, it sends a clear message to the employees:

“You are valuable, you deserve financial freedom, and
we care about your ability to retire successfully. “

For more information on employee education programs including personal financial wellness topics for your employees, contact me. 

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

Follow Caleb’s Blog