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

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
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The $60 Office

coffeeTo clarify if you don’t know me already, I am a millennial but I am not a minimalist. Having said that, how much do you pay for your office space? If you are an employee, how much do you think your boss pays for your office space? Do you think $60.00 is a realistic cost for quality office space?

Chances are, the last 3 sentence have confirmed your conclusion that I’m completely mad, but hang with me. This post is not really about office space or rent so focus up! As I type, I am sipping on a rather excellent cup of espresso from Seeds Coffee in Homewood, AL. Total Price including Tax: $2.75. I have high speed internet, calming music, access to food, a very clean bathroom and enough caffeine to get an entire week’s worth of work done in a few hours. For today it is my office.   For only $3, I can sit here for the next 8 hours and as long as my computer battery lasts and can get most all of my work done. Now I know this scenario doesn’t work for everyone. Some of you would get distracted, others need more privacy than is provided at a coffee shop, and some of you have to print things constantly. That’s fine. This article is more about the heart of this story than it is encouraging you to work out of a coffee shop.

Have you ever heard of “analysis paralysis”? To all my engineers and fact-finders out there, this happens to you frequently. Analysis paralysis is what happens when you get so caught up in getting all the details put together that you never actually start working on the project. You go into data gathering mode and 12 months later you know everything there is to know about the project but you have done little to nothing to complete the project. I think this happens a lot with our work.

We get in this rut where we convince ourselves that if we are not at the “office”, then we cannot get our work done. I catch some grief from my wife and my friends sometimes because I am rarely in the office for 8 hours on any day, but that’s not the only place I can get my work done. Emails from the coach at 5:45AM as I get settled in for my study of God’s Word, phone calls from the car on the way to office or a meeting, or late night preparation for a meeting the next day. I get lots of work done in varying settings because I choose to be flexible. Now wait, I hear you guys responding to me already, “Caleb why don’t you come tell my boss that she needs to let us all be so flexible!!” Well, I am working on that, but until I make it to all your companies, work on applying this principle to the other areas of your life. I can remember struggling with this scenario with a book I wanted to study. I had this great set up, note pad, lamp, highlighters, multicolored pens, the works! Only problem, I found it extremely hard to get to that place and actually sit still, so I never actually read the book! Ridiculous, huh? I finally realized that I had to be more flexible and be willing to carry the book with me just in case I found 10-15 minutes I could read a few pages.  Once, I changed strategy, the book got read. It took a while but the point is that it did get done.

The point is this, we get stuck a lot. We say, “There is no way I can finish the whole project today”, so we don’t do anything at all. I started working on this with my running. I would wake up a few minutes late and say well I don’t have time to run the full 3 miles so I guess I won’t go at all. WHY? 1 mile is better than no miles so I start running the one mile. I stopped waiting for the hour to really sit down and read and started taking advantage of the 15 minutes slots that I could find.

If we are going to leave an impact on this world we have to stop waiting for perfect scenarios. You will probably never find the perfect time, the perfect environment, the perfect circumstance to_________ {fill in the blank for yourself}. What I realized is that all those 15 minute breaks in my schedule allowed me to read that entire book, that 1 mile runs added up to 30 miles this month, that my flexible work efforts helped me land a new client, or get a new accreditation. The world has spent billions of dollars on how to fill ideal hands. Your time here is limited at any given time you have between 0-20,000 days left on this planet, between 0 and 480,000.00 hours, between 0-28,800,00 minutes left. You can’t buy more, you can’t earn more, you can’t save some for later. So my goal for post is leave you with this sound in your head, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick… next time you find yourself putting off one of your goals for whatever excuse you generated that day, hear it, Tick, Tick, Tick and the tell yourself.

Do Something! Do Anything! Stop waiting for perfect and JUST GET BUSY DOING!

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

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Peyton Manning and Super Bowl 50

pmPeyton Manning famously said, “It’s not wanting to win that makes you a winner, it’s refusing to fail that makes you a winner.”  Michael Jordan encouraged thousands with his monologue of humility when he claims to have missed over 9,000 shots; and when his team was depending on him to make the gaming winning shot, he missed 26 times. Yet he is still arguably revered as the greatest professional basketball player of all time. Tenacity is the word that comes to mind when I think of these athletes, but the truth is still – Failing Sucks!

Come on, you know me by now.   There is no political correctness here. Failing is not fun; it hurts; it’s infuriating; and while you certainly should get back on the horse if you fall off, it doesn’t mean that the pain from falling off is going to go away quickly.   Actually, far from it. You see the stink from failure can linger for days, weeks, years for some people and that pain, or rather the fear of that pain is often paralyzing. Don’t believe me.   Ask any teenage boy why he does not just walk up and talk to the girl he’s been staring at and ask her out.   Ask any entrepreneur that talks about her Shark Tank’s  ideas all the time but she is stuck in a dead end, do nothing job, because the fear of failure is enough to leave her catatonic.

So, now that we are all sufficiently depressed, let’s look for the light in this message.

I have 4 steps in this equation that will help you any situation where failure is a possibility.

 1.  Admission: Step one is to admit. Admit that there is no success without some level of risk and go ahead and acknowledge that failure is not only a possibility but a probability.

That’s a weird way to start a journey isn’t it? “Okay team I hope everyone is ready because we are going to change the world and oh by the way we are likely going to fail, perhaps miserably, but that’s not going to stop us!

2.  Action: Step two is the gut wrenching and utterly terrifying act of taking a step. You cannot improve results until you HAVE results!

If you are like me, this literally took me standing in front of the mirror looking at myself saying, “You might fail, if you do that’s okay, take good notes and try again.” Unless you are sky diving or riding a motorcycle over the Grand Canyon or walking a tight rope with no harness, then your failure will not kill you. So after you have accepted the fact that failure is likely, then you need to take a step!

3.  Reflection: Step three is to take time, at set intervals, to reflect on everything that just happened.

For me, I schedule these times as part of my goal setting, and they are flexible. i.e. If I fail before the allotted time period then I will reflect immediately. I hate when that happens. But if the project is moving along I try to make short term goals that I can evaluate regularly to identify my progression. Remember sometimes these phases move so fast that going to a coffee shop and sitting down with the music blaring in your headphones is not an option. Reflection should be intentional but does not have to be formal. Put down your phone, close your laptop and take 5-10 minutes to figure out where you are, what you have accomplished and where your next step is. Then BOOM! Right back at the grind!!!

4.  REDO: Step 4 and the last step is to redo it! If you failed don’t do it the same way, if you didn’t fail then redo it the same way or an even better way!!!!

Generally, in life, the goals and projects that we are working on will take persistence, simply meaning that we are not just doing them once. So, whether your goals are met or you failed so badly that it’s actually hard to tell what you were trying to do, do it again! Perfect it, push the boundaries, and keep going. If you get scared, see step one and start again!

The reason for this entire post is simple. I have 2 emotions – HAPPY and ASLEEP and when failure introduces sadness, frustration, anger, or anything except happiness or asleepidness (I know that’s not a word) it can mess with my head and sometimes I need reminding that I am bigger than that. I would imagine that many of you are the same and to you I say, failure is not an indicator of how good you are at something, it is only an indicator how good you were at something in that one single attempt. Don’t be afraid to fail, be more afraid of never doing anything that matters.

-Caleb

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

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Motivated for CHANGE

Welcome to my blog. I am Caleb Bagwell and if you know me at all or have been following my Motivated Monday series on Facebook, I’ll bet you can guess that I am a better speaker than I am a writer. I fully recognize the eloquence and poetry that accompanies written word though and I want to join the blog world so I can shutterstock_288646823add my “two cents worth”. I fully intend to focus on my strengths of speaking, but with the mission I have in my heart, I will not miss any opportunity to reach as many people as I can.

I think to begin it may be a good idea to introduce myself and give you a little of my background as it will give you some insight as to my passion and purpose moving forward. If I sit and think, I believe this current chapter of my life started in college when I finally figured out that I wanted to become a financial advisor. Shortly after that I met a girl that was very different from most girls and I promptly pursued her relentlessly for 6 months before she agreed to a first date! Six year later, we are happily married and she still challenges me every day to be better than I think I can be.   Over the past 4 years of our marriage I have watched her work tirelessly to complete medical school (with honors I might brag), and begin her life as a resident where 12-hour work days are her short days. My wife has taught me the true value of a “Purpose”. She knows hers and is willing to work tirelessly to achieve it.  A life purpose should be so defined and so uniquely yours that if it takes 12 years of constant pursuit, you will still not be deterred. To my wife I have to say, “Thanks Babe! You are the strongest person I know.”

As Sarah has worked through medical school, my purpose too has been developing. Through several divinely placed steps in our lives, I have been given the opportunity to meet with people from all of the world and help them with their finances. Trust me, I am aware that in the grand scheme of life on this planet, personal finance is a relatively unimportant aspect. In my opinion though, it is one of the biggest tools the adversary uses to keep us from reaching our full potential. My heart breaks every time I hear about a college grad that has been called to the mission field and literally can’t go because he has $100,000.00 of student loans. My heart aches when I meet with a couple that say they fight over money and my face turns red with anger when I hear someone accept that they have climbed as high as they can get in the world because they think no one believes in them.

My purpose is simple, my tools are unique, and my audience is clear. Help those that feel the call to be something more reach their full potential by setting them free from the burdens of money through proper stewardship. God has made me distinctly for this job. Motivated, Educated, Changed. He has made me aware that the fastest way to change the world is to convince everyone around me that they are meant to change the world too. I promise to challenge you, I promise to push you out of you comfort zone, and I promise to always believe in you. Let’s blog.

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