3 Reflections After Being in the Boonies of PA

It’s Monday and July is in full swing ---oh my! I missed you last week on July 4th as I was in the countryside of Pennsylvania on a much-needed vacay.  I was in the Boonies!!! One of my cousins got married, and I cherished the time with family, especially ahead of the harsh week we had as a country.  I am out of words.

Perhaps you were on vacation too? If not, then you better get yours soon. It’s amazing what a recharge does for the mind and body. It gave me the opportunity to take a step back and reflect.

And, here’s a few reflections to help get your money and investments right for the next few months.

3 Reflections After Being in the Boonies of PA:

  1. The markets have come roaring back. After the Brexit debacle, the stock market has returned to previous Brexit levels. I added to my ETF positions when the market was down. I didn’t time it perfectly, but I got it in. Share any actions (or inactions) you took over the past week in the comment box below. Have you caught what’s also happening in the bond market? Well, bond yields are at their lowest level ever. You might be saying ---- who cares? I do and I’ll show you why you should too. Stay tuned for next week’s newsletter and I’ll explain why.
  1. Save for the vacation before you go. One strategy to employ is to accumulate your vacation money before you actually take the vacation. My husband and I saved the money for the hotel, food, rental car, and wedding gifts before we left, and so we could spend the money guilt-free. 
  1. Everyone needs a check-in. Staying on top of your money situation is tough, even for the most meticulous person or couple. It’s the mid-year mark and it’s important that you reassess where you are with your 2016 badass money goals. I sure did this past week. Go on’, take a look.  Ask yourself these 3 questions:
    1. Do you need to readjust your investing and savings strategy?
    2. What’s changed in your circumstance that might also affect your money situation?
    3. What tools can you use to help keep you on track?

Be Great

Serena Williams, the best tennis player to ever grace the court, won her 22nd grand slam singles title and her 14th grand slam doubles title (with my girl Venus Williams) on Saturday! Serena performed at an exceptionally high level and I want to challenge you to tune-in to your inner Serena when it comes to your finances – “Com ‘ON” – you have little choice BUT to be great.

Enjoy the week,

Charisse

P.S. – Know someone who needs a “Boonies effect”? Share this newsletter with them so they can get their A-game on when it comes to their money! 

Want a Magic Pill?

I hope you embraced this Mother’s Day weekend, albeit living as a mother yourself, celebrating a mother in your life, or remembering one that has made an impact on you. I have always thought that my Mom had some kind of magic pill that gave her energy, always made her smile, and provided multi-tasking skills. In my mind, this pink magic pill allowed her to work a long day, take care of my brother and me growing up, and still keep her other relationships – as a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend.

I eventually came to realize that there was no pill. Yup, to my dismay, no magic pill existed. Instead, it was her hard work, sacrifice, and definitely some prayers!

When it comes to our money and investing, it is easy to assume that others have gained their wealth by some magic pill. To no surprise, many people feel that you can take a magic pill for dieting too. (Side note – I read this weekend’s New York Times piece on “Why You Can’t Lose Weight on a Diet,” and mindful eating is suggested.)

Removing those who inherit large sums of wealth, most people who invest make hard choices, short-term sacrifices for long-term gain, and stay disciplined.  Let’s not kid ourselves - Having a certain level of income does help too. And, while luck and blessings sometime pay a part in reaping financial success, I want you to know that it takes work too! And, you are capable of hitting your financial goals.

Just look at one of your fellow readers, who hit a BIG goal this week:

Nicki Carr paid off $7,000 in credit card debt over the last twelve months. Nicki told me that she is now going to allocate the money she would have used to pay off her credit card to investing, and specifically in ETFs. 

Nicki asked me to share that she makes less than $75k, so if she can do it, you can too in your year of action. If you need a refresher on ETFs, check out my video!

Pay Off Debt or Invest? 

I know what you’re thinking – well, Charisse, Nicki may not have other outlays of cash that you have. You’re right – you do not know and nor do I. What I do know is that Nicki made it a top priority to pay off high-interest rate credit card debt (in her case, 22%) before investing. I agree that she made the right financial choice because the stock market has only returned 7% historically, which is a lower return than 22% on a credit card. Check out this article that goes through the math of making a decision between debt and investing.

You too can make great financial decisions!

What are you saving it for?

I felt really fortunate this weekend because I got the chance to spend lots of QT with my goddaughter. She’s cute, cuddly, and always coaxing me to play a game or turn myself into some animal that she can ride. It’s hard to believe that she’s already 2-years-old. Whether you have your own children, godchildren, nieces, nephews, and/or other kids that play a significant part in your life, I know you shell out money left and right for them. Kids are expensive! For most of us, they are a worthy investment (unless you got some bad ones – just joking).

But, are you making the smartest choice when you put away savings for a child? Well, I recently read a study, “Saving For A Purpose: The Financial Consequences of Protecting Savings.” I’ll spare you the academic jargon and simply highlight 3 findings for people with kids in their lives:

  1. People are less likely to raid savings funds set aside for children;
  2. In making savings sacred through earmarking (e.g. for a child’s education), people are willing to incur high credit card debt instead of using their savings; and,
  3. People are motivated to do so because drawing down the savings would make them feel financially irresponsible.

Interesting, right? It’s good to know research like this because we then become aware of our own biases and behaviors. Leave a comment below sharing what mechanism you’re using to save for your kid’s (or other children’s) future.

The Promised Tip: Last week, I promised to share a tip on hitting your investment goal for 2016: Set up an automated direct deposit (or transfer) to the account that you want to build the investment dollars. Then divide your number by the frequency of the transfer, and then begin putting money into the account.

There’s Still Time I will be speaking at a Business Leadership Summit dinner this Wednesday, February 24th at 6pm, hosted by Willow Creek Church in Chicago. You are welcome. You can sign-up here.

Best,

Charisse