Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What's the first thing you saved for?

Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money Video Series. My name's Stacey Powell, and if you're ready to not just know better, but do better, you've come to the right place.

And today I'm going to get a little real and tell a couple of stories about myself. Today we're gonna be talking about savings. It's the third chapter in the book, and it's not called savings, it's called, "Building Peace of Mind". Because I've come to believe that that is what savings does for people, and it's certainly what savings has done for me.

In the first part of the book, I ask you to think about the first thing that you ever saved for. I love hearing those stories from people. A lot of times it's saving in a piggy bank and some little thing that you bought when you were 5 years old. Or maybe as a teenager, your first car.

I'm quite sure that my parents at some point "taught" me how to save or told me that I should, I honestly don 't remember. And when I think about the first thing I ever saved for I can't think of a single thing as a kid, a child, a teenager that I saved for.

In telling the story of the first thing that I saved for, it's a little bit embarrassing actually because I was pretty old. I'd already graduated from college. I already had a really good professional career. And I had never really saved for something that I wanted to buy.

So I did, like I've mentioned before, something that I was told to do, that I kinda thought maybe was a little bit ridiculous.  I started setting small amounts of money aside for things. And one of the things that I started setting aside for was something that I'd always wanted and that was a really, really nice Native American flute.

Now we're not talking about anything worth a couple thousand dollars here, but we're it wasn't a cheap $50 flute either. It was in the low hundreds and at the time to me setting aside that money just felt irresponsible. I had a lot of other important obligations that I was trying to meet. So I took an amount of money. First it was $5 then it was $20. And I put it in this little envelope every single month, the cash, I got the cash, and I put it in this envelope until I had saved enough to buy it.

I could have bought it at any other point in time by just doing the machinations that I had been doing, really, my entire adult life. But it was, it was the action of saving for that and the gratitude of going out and searching for just the right flute that I wanted. It was that whole experience; I just hadn't done it before. You know, and I should have done it when I was 5. I should have done it when I was a teenager. I should have at least done it in my 20's. But that just wasn't my reality. I had never done it before. So when I was practicing, it felt kinda silly.

But we all have to learn to ride a bike somehow. If we don't learn to do it as a child, then we've got to learn to do it as an adult. So when you get to that question in the book or that question in the video, "What's the first thing you remember saving for?", if you can't remember saving for something, then I want you to do what I did. Because I learned something really important. It wasn't about the flute, because jump ahead years later, I have so many savings accounts. For prudent reserves, for vacations, for taxes, for all kinds of stuff, fun stuff.

I am now a savings master. And I think it's fun. And it all started with what felt like a silly little tiny itty bitty exercise. But in the end, it's what I needed to do. In some areas, I needed to just dial back and start again. And so for those of you that need to do that too, go do that.

Because the rest of the chapter we're going to talk about all kinds of savings. And it's kinda masters level savings that I'm going to be talking about, and I want you to be ready.

And as always I don't want you to do it alone. This stuff isn't necessarily meant to be done alone, head on over to Facebook and join our Team Do Better Group or sign up for our newsletter at or subscribe to our subscribe to our YouTube channel. And join us in learning how to build peace in our lives through savings. Thanks for watching.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Zero-Based Budgeting - Building a Budget from the Ground Up

Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with money. My name's Stacey Powell, and if you're ready to not just know better, but to do better with your money, then you've come to the right place.

The latest series of videos we've been doing is focusing on budgeting and today we're going to talk about zero based budget ideas.

I'm assuming a whole bunch of you that are watching these videos are probably having a little bit of a hard time shoving it all in to make it make sense.

I know that's where I was when I started out. Actually, it kinda still is where I am, it's just that the things I'm trying to shove in now are so much better than what I was trying to shove in years ago.

So zero-based budgeting ... have you ever heard of it before? We don't really talk about it with personal budgets, but in business zero-based budget, the concept is every year departments that roll up into a company-wide budget start fresh and look at what areas do they need to spend money on, how much do they need to have in office supplies, human resource expenses, what kind of marketing budget do they need. And it's really useful to just start fresh like that instead of just pull from last year and the year before and the year before that, (which is kind of how governments do it.)

Because what happens then is that you're spending money on things you think you have to spend money on. But if you start with a zero based concept, like what would your budget look like if none of the other things in your life, that were there last year had to roll into the next year?

And it's kind of a refreshing way of looking at it. Because it helps you think about, well, what if I lived in a different kind of house? What if I didn't have a car? What if I had a different kind of car? What if I decided I didn't need cable? There's a million what ifs.

So, if you turn to page 40 in the book, there's this the zero-based budget idea here that you can start to write down some things you might do to make your budget balance to 0 when you're done with it.

And I might have mentioned some crazy things like, what if you just stopped driving a car ... how much money would that save? When I encourage people to do "what ifs", it's not about jumping immediately and saying "oh my God, I could never do that, I could never sell my house, I could never not have a car, I could never, I could never, I could never. We all have a bunch of those. It's really about just throwing out a bunch of brainstorming ideas.

Look at the possibilities and see what you're  willing to have stick. If you're the person that absolutely has to have a car, well that's fine. But if your budget isn't balancing, somewhere you're going to have to make some kind of choices.

I always like to give an example of Waren Buffet. He can live anywhere he wanted. He can live in any house he wanted. Waren Buffet and his wife and family have lived in the same suburban ranch house for decades.

He values living in that house. He doesn't need to spend a ton of money on a really big home. We get so tied into the things we had to do. I had a client once who, she had such high credit card payments. She could not fathom when I asked, "What would happen if you just stopped paying those?". She just couldn't fathom it.

You know the truth is, she needed to stop paying them for awhile. And she went through a bunch of machinations of getting beyond that with her budget. To the point that she's flourishing now. She is back in integrity. But the truth was that her credit card payments were more than her mortgage. She couldn't do it. She had to let go of a whole lot of things to get to where she is now. Which is a pretty happy, healthy budget.

And she got there by taking a hard look at zero based budgeting. So I'd like you to look at this. I'd like you to just throw caution to the wind, write down a bunch of crazy ideas and pick a few that you think will really stick, that you're really willing to live with for awhile.

And as always I don't want you to have to do this alone. Over on Facebook, we have a private group called Team Do Better. There's a bunch of other people that are working on doing better with their money. Come join us. We also have a newsletter that comes out at least once a week at is where you can sign up. And over on YouTube. Head over there and subscribe to our channel. Have a great day and thanks for watching.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Cold Hard Facts of Budgeting Your Money

Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series. My name's Stacey Powell and if you're ready to not just know better about your money, but also do better then you've come to the right place.

And today we're going to be talking about the cold hard facts of budgeting.

If you've been following along in the series, hopefully, you first listened to a little bit more of the fun videos around budgeting; ways to kinda get around it a little easier, ways to be more inspired about it.

And today we're talking about rolling up your sleeves and just doing it. And if you've really never embraced budgeting before, I'm not going to lie to you, it's a little bit of work. But I promise you I've made as simple as possible, and I also promise you, you can do it.

So here's the thing, if you go to page 36 in the book, that's where you're going to find the action plan. And there some very obvious things in there like electricity, car insurance, all the obvious stuff. But what you're going to find around all that is almost 100 spending areas. And I worked really hard to make it as few as possible, but the reality is when you look at all of the things most of us spend money on in a given month, in a given year or over a given 5 year period, easily it's around 80 to 100. And so you really need to take a look at all of them.

There's a multitude of areas that we spend money in. And we all know the obvious ones right, like duh, we all have electricity and all that. But then there's the ones that we don't. Kinda the quiet areas that are a surprise, like root canals and car repairs and summer camps. You know, but the truth is if you have teeth you're eventually probably going to have a root canal or some kind of expensive dental expense. If you have a car, you're going to have a car repair. Sometimes it's $200; you can squeeze that in a month no problem. But sometimes it's $2000, that's a lot harder to squeeze. And if you have kids ... Well don't even get me started on the summer camps and everything else that comes along with having kids that we don't need to spend in a given month, but oh my gosh, stuff comes up. Am I right?

So here's the importance of budgeting ... If you don't set your financial flow up to be able to handle that $1000 root canal or that $2000 car expense then you're going to be stealing from your future. You can pull a credit card out when it happens, sure, but you're going to be spending money on interest. You're stealing from your future every time you do that.

You can also just kinda shove it into the month you know; that's what I did a lot. Well, I just won't go out to eat this month. I won't have any fun this month. I'll spend less money at the grocery store.

That's no big deal to do that in a given month. But if you do that to yourself over and over and over. It's a different kind of stealing from yourself. It's kinda stealing from your happiness. It's stealing from where it is that the flow of energy of money that really keeps us happy.

The other thing that I think we often do is, we don't put money in our savings, and that is really stealing from our future.

When we are trying to shove "emergency expenses" that we probably should have had set aside ready to roll. We are not doing the things that create for us a peaceful financial life ... having enough in reserves, having enough in retirement.

The end result, in my experience, in my own personal experience and in lots of people I've worked with is; disappointment, fatigue and just even the loss of faith in ourselves that we can have a peaceful financial life.

So I'd like you to attack this budgeting with a bit of fervor. I want you to set aside a couple of hours. Sit down with a glass of wine or a nice cup of coffee and really embrace doing this. I think in the end you're going to find out that this work is really worth it.

And as always I don't want you to do this alone. Join us over on our Facebook Group, Team Do Better. It's closed and private. I'd really like to see you there.  You can also sign up to our newsletter at Or subscribe to our YouTube video series. Good luck out there and thank's for watching.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Budgeting Should Start With Dreams and Goals

Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money Video Series. My name's Stacey Powell, and if you're ready to not just know better but do better with your money, you've come to the right place.

Today we're going to talk about budgeting, but probably not the kind of budgeting you've ever heard about before. We're going to talk about starting your budgeting with dreams and goals.

I love budgeting. As an accountant, I've done budgeting forever. With other people's money, with other business owners money, lots and lots with my own. It's kinda second nature for me. And it's fun and something I'm really good at.

But back when I was really, really, really struggling with my money and asking other people for help. I was told to do something with my budgeting that seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. I was told to put together an ideal budget. Which I thought was the most ridiculous idea in the whole world. I was just struggling to pay my electricity bill every month, haveing enough money for the absolute necessities. And they wanted me to put together an ideal budget? Like what good was that gonna do?

But if there's one thing I am, it's compliant, and when I'm being coached in an area, I will do what I'm told even if I think I'm smarter than the person coaching me.

So that's what I did. Sat down and put together an ideal budget. Which meant I was budgeting for stuff that I had never budgeted before ... vacations, reserves. I specifically remember getting into an argument about concerts. It's not that I don't like music, I do. But it seemed to me at the time really irresponsible for me to be setting aside money to go to concerts when I wasn't keeping up with my obligations that I already had.

But their point to me was, just do it. Put your ideal life down. Put down what it is you want to be living with. And so I did, you know, and they were right. I like going to concerts.

And there was a lot of other things that I wanted in there. Disneyland went in there. I hadn't taken my daughter to Disneyland for years. And you know, not that you can raise a kid, and it's going to be the end of the world if they don't get to go to Disneyland. But I live in California, it's kind of important, right? And why wouldn't I be, why wouldn't that be a part of my spending plan.

You know what I learned about that ideal plan. The epiphany that I had was that when we create these budgets around our actual expenses, our actual obligations, it's all about constriction and fitting in what we have to do and nothing about our future, our dreams, our goals. When I had this ideal budget sitting there, that was way out of what I was able to do at the time, a couple of different things happened to me...

1. It made me realize I was not living the life I wanted to live. And there was no amount of tightening my budget anymore. My problem was income. And so it really helped me focus on the fact that I didn't need to be looking at those expenses. What I needed to be looking at was growing my income, and so I started working on that.

The other thing it made me realize is that you're going to spend a lot more time focusing on your money if the things you're focusing on are things you're excited about. I was excited about vacations. I was excited about Disneyland. I was even excited about reserves. Not that so much, you get excited about reserves but, I was excited about the idea that next time something serious happened with my car, I was going to have money to pay for it without using a credit card or making a call to the bank of Mom and Dad or where ever I would call.

So that's the thing that happened for me, that was my big epiphany, and I promise you if you sit down and roll your sleeves up and do this ideal budget you're going to have an epiphany about your financial life as well. It'll be different than mine, I don't know what it will be, but I promise you if you do it before you do your actual budget you're going to learn something, and I think it will be something of value.

Now at the end of all of these videos I remind you to please not do it alone. This is kind of a big chunk of work. And so if you have somebody who is all about your future and your dreams, ask that person to sit down with you and do this ideal budget.

If you'd like to join the community where there's other people working on this right along side you there's a few places you can go.

1. Is over at Facebook. We've got Team Do Better Group. It's completely private the only people in there are people who are also working on their money.

You can also sign up for our newsletter at

Or you can subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Thanks for watching.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to Get Away with NOT Budgeting Your Money

Welcome to the Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series. My name is Stacey Powell, and I'm here to help you have a healthier, happier life with your money.

Today's video is kinda a fun one. It's called you don't have to budget, and it's the second one in a 2 part series. The last video I posted talks about who can get away without budgeting. And in today's video I'm going to teach you the things you can put in place so that you don't have to budget.

Because, here's the thing, if you pay yourself first, all the time, all of your important goals, then you don't need to budget. But you've got to get the structure in place to make sure that you're one of those people that don't need to do it. And what I'm going to teach you today is about impound accounts.

I'm sure a lot of you have heard about impound accounts and those of you that are homeowners you more than likely already have one. Every time you make your mortgage payment you probably paying a specific amount that is set aside for your property taxes and homeowners insurance. It's great! It becomes part of your monthly budget you don't ever have to think about it; you don't ever have to worry about it. It's just done and taken care of every single month.

Wouldn't it be great if all of your important goals were set up that way? I'm posting a blog this week with some specifics around it, but let me give you a couple of other examples.

Santa saver accounts? I know hardly anyone does those anymore, but I have clients that do them, and they love it because in November all of a sudden a bunch of money gets plopped into their checking account. They have extra money to go spend on whatever holiday related thing they want to spend the money on.

A couple of other examples, if you're a business owner, hopefully, you've got an impound account set up for your estimated quarterly taxes so once a quarter you just write a check right from the funds you've been setting aside.

Impound accounts around emergency reserves are great, Whatever it is. A lot of you probably have an “impound account”, even though it's not called that, with your 401k. You never notice that money. It gets taken right off the top and set aside into an impound account called retirement. You're not going to touch it for a very long time, but you don't ever have to think about it.

So when you look at all of your important goals, big vacations, college tuition upcoming, whatever it is important. If you set up an “impound accounts” for every single one of those things, then whatever you have leftover at the end of moving all that money around, that's your budget right there.

And if you want to go out to expensive dinners or buy really fancy shoes or purses or whatever, who cares? Because your more important goals are already happening, and that's all that matters.

So if you can do all that work and put that structure in place that in essence is creating yourself a “budget” without doing the mathematical work of it and tracking.

But if you do all that and then it becomes painfully obvious that you don't have any money to go out to eat, you maybe don't have any money to go to the grocery store. Well, that's some hard news for those of you, you do have to budget.

Because when it comes down to it, if something is that out of balance in your financial life that you're having to worry about those basic kinds of needs then you've got to roll up your sleeves and put numbers on paper. Add them up and speak your truth, every week, every month, every year for a little while. I swear you won't have to do it for the rest of your life. You probably won't have to do it for 10 years, but a year or 2 or 3. If you're looking for financial peace and things aren't balancing then this is the way to get it done.

And as always I don't want you to get it done alone. Come on over to our private Facebook group, Team Do Better. There's people there working on the same stuff you're working on. And I'm there to answer questions for you. You can also check out our finance boot camps at or subscribe to the videos. Now go get it done.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

You Don't HAVE to Budget Your Money!

Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money. I'm Stacey Powell, and I'm here to help you have a healthier life with your money.

And I'm kinda happy about today's video because I'm going to explain to you today, why you don't have to budget. You know of course a bunch of you will have to budget, but here's the thing... When I wrote this book, I thought long and hard about where to put the budgeting chapter. Part of me didn't want to put it right up front because it scares people off. And if your one of those people that it scares off then I want you to listen really carefully to today's video.

The other reason I didn't necessarily want to put it right up front is that budgeting isn't necessarily the most important thing in the whole book. Saving and earning in many ways is far more important.

The truth is, though; budgeting is really key for a lot of people. But if you're one of those people that absolutely hate it, and you're never going to make it to chapter 3 because you're going to stall out in the budgeting work in chapter 2 then I've got really great news for you … skip it. I want you to skip it.

I want you to turn the book to chapter 3. Leave the budgeting behind. And I want you to attack, with fervor, all of the other chapters in the book. And if I let you out of doing chapter 2 you have to promise that you do all those other chapters with fervor.

Because here's the thing, if you work on savings, getting out of debt, increasing your earnings, all the work in the other chapters, you might get to the end to the end of the book and discover that you don't really need a budget because your money is now good.

You also might discover that, alright, maybe you do really need to do the budgeting work. But the thing is by the time you get to it, by the time you circle back to it from doing all the other work you will have built some money muscles that you didn't have before. And so budgeting isn't going to be as hard as you thought it might be.

So if you're one of those people that aren't going to finish my book because you hate the idea of budgeting, then I want you to jump ahead to Chapter 3, Building Peace of Mind, which is arguably the most important chapter in the book.

And I also want you to watch the next video in the series because I teach an important component about how to get away without budgeting, how to build your finances so that budgeting becomes much more simple.

And as always I don't want you to do this alone, come on over to Facebook and join our private Facebook group, Team Do Better, or join one of our Finance Boot Camps at and sign up for the YouTube series, subscribe so that you know when the next video goes up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How to Manage Your Money Action Plan Part 5 - Intention

Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a better life with money video series. My name is Stacey Powell, and I am here to help you have a healthier life and a happier life with your money.

If you're watching the video series while you're doing the book I want to give you a big, huge congratulations. Because today's video is the very end of chapter 1. and so if you made it to the end of chapter 1 huge kudos to you for starting out on this journey and making it there.

And as a little treat, at the end of every chapter I do something, that when I was a kid I thought was incredibly fun. I loved Mad Libs when I was a kid, before I decided I could actually be a writer, it made it so simple to just fill the story in. So I included something like that at the end of every chapter, and that's what we're going to do today.

You're going to tell a little story about your path with money. Why are you reading this book? What'd you learn in the first chapter? And what are you hopes and your commitments as you move forward in the book?
So the first question is, It's my intention to have a better life with money. My hopes and dreams for that better life are …. You fill in the blank.

Alright, I'm going to sit here for a second. I want you to grab a pencil, and I want you to actually write that down.

Did you do it? No really like if you didn't do it go get a pencil and write it down. Hit the little pause button, I want you to write that down. I want you to be really clear with yourself about why you're taking a few minutes to watch this video. Why your taking time to read this book.

What are your hopes and dreams? Because if you're just doing this so you can learn something about your money, that's not motivation enough. Money is the thing that fuels our hopes and dreams. So if you're not clear about that, this is a great time to get clear.

So a couple of other things - you can turn to chapter 1 at the end and fill this out. But if you don't have the book, I'm going to let you know what a few of the other “fill in the blank” sentences are.

So when you were sketching out the big picture that was in the last few videos, I realized that the areas I most need to focus on are … fill in the blank.

And the other thing I realized was, Thank goodness I'm already a rock star at x. What are you a rock star at? We're all good in some area of money, some little area for some of us. But we're all really good at something with our money.

So what did you see? As you worked through parts of looking at the big picture.

And last, but not least, to get healthier I'm going to commit to working on my money. How many times a month? How many times a week? For the next, how long?

I want you to write that down too, and then I want you to tell someone. You can put it in the comments below on YouTube, that's fine. You can join our Team Do Better group and let us know. And I'll check in on you from time to time.

If you tell me how much you want to commit to working on. I promise I'll check in with you. God knows, I could not do this alone when I started doing this. And I want to help you get better with your money.

As always, no way you're alone, so come over to Facebook and join our Team Do Better Group. Or join one of our Finance boot camps. You can find those at or subscribe to our YouTube channel and keep watching these videos.  See you next time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How to Choose a Recordkeeping System - Part 4

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series. If you’re ready to not just know better but to do better with your money, you’ve come to the right place.

Today’s topic, one of my favorites, recordkeeping. It’s actually not really one of my favorites. I like recordkeeping. But given a choice on a Saturday, do I want to go hang out on a river, go for a bike ride or do recordkeeping? I think the choice is pretty obvious.

But what it came down to for me is, “Do I want a peaceful, healthy, successful financial life?” Well, that’s what I wanted and the conclusion I came to is I had to do more recordkeeping than I was doing.

For many of you, you’re probably going to have to too. Not for forever but definitely for a while. So I’m going to talk a little bit about recordkeeping today and I’m going to show you the super fun way of recordkeeping to just give you an example of what might work for you.

I get asked the question all the time. What’s the best recordkeeping system? What should I be using? Well, there’s no one answer. It’s just not that way.

So my answer is, “What recordkeeping system do you think is the most fun?” If your answer is none, “Well then, what recordkeeping system do you hate the least?” because the truth is you just have to pick something you’re going to use and whether that’s Quicken or Mint or Excel or a butcher paper or just writing it down the old-fashioned way in a ledger, I’ve seen so many people be successful in all of those modalities.

You really just have to pick which one is going to be – maybe not fun. But you know, why not try to make it fun? So this is the thing that Cassie did to make hers fun. She was a client of – in our finance boot camps and very creative and there was no way she was going to put everything of hers in Quicken.

So she said, “I don’t know. I’m going to put this butcher paper up on the wall,” where her kids could see it in the dining room and start keeping track of when money came in and when money went out so that she could get a feel for it.

So what I’m going to show you is extremely simplistic, $4000 something every single month. By the end of the year, it’s very easy to see she has brought in $48,000 and she was kind of writing down what she had spent money on but just the big swaths, nothing specific. Who cares if you spent $3 at Starbucks?

What’s really important is at the end of the month where you made $4200, did you spend $4600 or did you spend $3800? Those are really the most important questions. So she did the same thing with this blue line here as her spending and you can see like most Americans, she ends up kind of living paycheck to paycheck all month long or all year long.

Some months are different. Some months are better than others. Some months are worse. Then the same thing with tracking where your debt is. Take a look at the beginning of your year. So for her, she had $49,000 worth of debt and if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and not really putting a dent in it, which is what she was doing, she can end up with $49,000 of debt at the end of the year.

But if she can shave this blue line down and start tracking the reduction of her debt, you can draw it up here and see it. In a lot of ways, I think this is almost more valuable to do this where you can see it.

Last but not least, tracked her savings. So she didn’t have any savings at all. She was totally living paycheck to paycheck. But what she did have was retirement which is a form of savings. So $35,000 in her 401(k) and it was just inching up. By the end of the year, she’s at $38,000.

So there’s nothing rocket science about this. It doesn’t take that long. I pulled that together and drew that in less than five minutes. It will take you just a little bit longer but not all that much longer and here’s the thing. Just having that up there, isn’t that a lot better information than you had five minutes ago?

Are you going to get better information by using an Excel spreadsheet or a Quicken software? Absolutely. But is having that much greater detailed information going to impact the changes that you’re trying to make? Maybe. I think that remains to be seen as you kind of move through the work that we’re doing here together. For some of you, you’re going to have to drill into the details.

But for a lot of you, this big picture view is really all you need to do. So get your colored pens out, some butcher paper and have some fun. As always you don’t have to do this alone. In one of the chapters in the book Date Night with Your Money, I talk about the importance of grouping together with your community or an accountability partner.

Come be a part of our community. Subscribe to our YouTube videos or join us over on our Facebook private group, The Finance Gym Action Plan.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Managing Your Money with These 5 Numbers - Part 3

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series. If you’re ready to not just know better but to do better with your money, you’ve come to the right place.

Today we’re going to be talking about the big picture again. In our last video we talked about the big picture but we wrote about it in sentences. Today we’re going to get those pencils out and put some numbers down. But for those of you that are number-phobic, I promise today we’re just going to do five simple numbers.

If you’re following along in the book, turn to chapter 1, page 11 and for those of you that haven’t gotten the book yet, just get a piece of paper and a pencil out and write these five rows down. You just start with “earning” and then we’re going to subtract “spending” and then the third row is going to be “difference”. The fourth row will be “debt” and the fifth row is “savings”.

What I want all of you to do is to think about your last year, either your last 12 months or the last calendar year, whichever is easiest and I want you to estimate. We’re not looking for exact here. What did you earn in the last year? That’s earning everywhere, in your businesses, in your job, in your investments.

Then I want you to write down what you spent in the last year and then of course the difference. Whatever that difference is, whether it’s positive or negative, I want you to divvy that up. Did you increase your savings with anything that was left over or if you had a negative amount, did you grow your debt? Was there some mix happening with both? So some of you, you’re like writing those numbers down right now. You guys are great. You’re all good. Some others of you are like, “How in the world would I know those numbers?”

So for some of you, you might need to pause this video and when you do that, I want you to set a timer for 15 minutes and spend no more than 15 minutes going and gathering that information to write those five numbers down.

Now again, estimate it. If 15 minutes ends and you still don’t have those numbers, then just do it to like the nearest 50,000. All of us can do it to the nearest 50,000. Well, most of us. But those people aren’t watching this video. Just do as close as you can and take a look at those numbers.

So here’s the thing. How much time did it take you to pull those four numbers and do that simple little calculation down? How much energy did it take and how comfortable are you with your final answers?

There’s a trick to this exercise. When I have an introductory meeting with potential financial coaching clients, they always want to know what information they can pull together to bring to that first meeting and I always tell them I would really rather you didn’t prepare and then I asked the questions that I just asked you and how readily someone can answer those questions tells me a lot about where they need to begin on their path to making their money life better.

So if this was a challenging exercise for you and you wanted to pull your hair out, you might not like my answer. My answer is you’re going to have to watch that next video on recordkeeping and you’re going to have to make a little bit of commitment to change your recordkeeping format.

I promise you I’m going to make it as painless and easy as you can possibly do. But you’re probably going to have to do something a little different and if you’re one of those people where those numbers just roll off of your head or they were at your fingertips, whatever recordkeeping you’re doing, even if it’s simply just recordkeeping in your head, you’re good enough. You don’t need to do anymore unless you really want to because you already know what your numbers are. You have your answers.

So thanks for walking through the first time of delving in, writing numbers down. I swear we’re not going to do this every time and as always, I don’t want you to do this alone. If you would like support, please join our community by signing up on our list at or head on over to Facebook and join our Finance Gym Action Group or head on over to Facebook and join our Finance Gym Action Group, "Team Do Better". Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

4 Secrets to Financial Health - Finance Action Plan - Part 2

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series.

If you’re ready to not just know better but do better, you’ve come to the right place and today I’m going to share with you the secret to financial health.

The secret to financial health is earn more, spend less, save more, and don’t debt. That’s it. Simple. If you can do all four of those things consistently, you’re not going to have any money problems at all.

But you probably wouldn’t be watching this video if you do all four of those things consistently. So we’re going to delve just a little bit deeper today. If you’re following along in the book, I want you to turn to page seven, chapter one, and if you don’t have the book, that’s all right. Grab a pencil and a piece of paper and we’re going to write a few short paragraphs about a few questions.

So, one of my great beliefs is that we spend so much time looking at numbers when we try to fix our financial problems. We don’t really connect with our feelings and our thoughts and our beliefs around it. So I like to have people write down what they think about their saving, their earning, their debting or not debting.

So on each of the four pieces of secret of financial health, I want you to answer these questions. Thinking about the last year, how was your earning? And about the last year, how was your spending?

I also want you to write a short paragraph about your savings. Did you save? Did you use your savings or would your short paragraph be two words like mine would have been years ago. What savings?

And then of course debt. Write a short paragraph about how your debt was over the last year. Were you chopping it down? Were you growing it or you just don’t have debt? If you don’t, write a really great paragraph about that and pat yourself on the back.

Last but not least I want you to back up and look at the big picture and write the short paragraph just about your overall feelings about how you and your money are.

Hope you learned something by the power of putting pencil to paper today and remember, you don’t have to do this alone. In my Date Night with Your Money chapter, I talk about the power of tackling your next money to-dos as a part of the community.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to Save Money & Get Out of Debt - Action Plan - Part 1

Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money. If you’re ready to not just know better but do better with your money, you’ve come to the right place.

Today is the first video in the series and because it’s the first one, we’re going to talk about beginnings. My financial beginning and then I’m going to ask you about your financial beginning.

So I’m just going to start out by speaking the truth. My journey with money, my path of writing this book and doing these videos is that I was in a complete financial mess and could not pull myself out of it with all of my professional financial knowledge.

I had a dirty little secret that literally no one, not my best friend, no one in my family, no one knew. I filed bankruptcy. It was my secret. There’s a lot to the story I could go into but that’s the truth. I don’t think I need to say anymore.

My financial life was that messed up and it should have gotten better after that and it did a little bit but it didn’t get better like it should have and that almost made me more ashamed that I couldn’t pull it together after wiping away a portion of my debt. I had portions of my debt that I couldn’t wipe away with bankruptcy and every time I want to just get into the story, I remember, you know, we can’t live in our stories. My whole point of what I teach and what I did to make my money life better was to just do it, to just do better, to ask for help, find somebody. Pull up a chair with them and do it with them. If you can’t do it alone, do it with somebody else.

So my question to you is, “What’s your beginning? Why are you listening to this video? If you’ve bought the book and started reading the book, why did you buy the book? What do you want to accomplish? What are your dreams around money?”

You don’t have to do this alone. In one of the chapters in the book, Date Night with Your Money, I talk about the power of tackling your next money to-dos as part of a community. If you want to be a part of our community, subscribe to these YouTube videos or join our Facebook group. Have a great day.

- Stacey Powell

Finance Gym offers personal finance coaching in professionally facilitated peer-advisory groups.
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