Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It’s the one-twelfth of the way through the year check-in

Do you remember back to the beginning of this year, a little less than a month ago? It was a fresh new year, and you made some goals, resolutions, or commitments. Or at the very least, you took a big breath and thought to yourself, “ok, this year is the year I’m going to XXXXX.”

Well, you know what? We’re in the last week of January already! We are 1/12 of the way through this fresh new year! Have you started on XXXXX? Are you 1/12 of the way toward that thing you said you’d accomplish this year?

If you’ve already slipped on that commitment that you whispered to yourself, then it’s time to anchor yourself again. We’ve been sending videos out one by one, and maybe you’ve noticed, they’re walking you through The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money. If you want to get yourself back on track, set aside some time today and rewatch some of the videos. Or if you’re really off track, get a cup of coffee, find a quiet place, and listen to them all. It just might be the best investment you could make for your money today.

And if you ARE tracking on your goals on this 1/12th of the way through the year point, congratulations! You must be proud of yourself. You might want to re-watch a few of the videos too. If you’ve really been working on your money, your context for watching the videos will already be different, so different points will jump out at you. You'll get a deeper, richer understanding of the concepts and practices in the videos. You'll see something completely different this time through because you're different.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

3 Tricks for Not Touching Your Savings

Hi! Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money Video Series. My name's Stacey Powell, and I'm here to help you and your money get stronger.

Today I'm going to be teaching you how to leave your savings alone.

In the last video, I talked about how many months it would take you to build up to 3 to 6 months of reserves. 3 to 6 months of reserves is kind of the amount that financial professionals recommend that we have set aside for real emergencies, things like job losses.

Well, you build 3 months to 6 months of reserves. In the last video, I was showing how I like to think about it as climbing up a mountain. But the thing happens is that emergencies happen and you kind of slide back down that mountain when you have to dip into them.

And so what I want to teach you is how to dip into your reserves less frequently. For me, oh my gosh, what would be this constant cycle was getting money set aside and then having an emergency. My emergencies were things like a $200 vet bill or a $400 car expense.

I'm actually filming these videos with my daughter in the room who's 21, and she says "Those always seem like emergencies to me." You know what's an emergency is relative, right? Like for me, a $1,000 car repair, that shouldn't be an emergency. I have a car it's going to need repairs. I should have that money set aside and ready to roll. But if I had a $5,000 car repair, well that is an emergency.  That's a lot of money and not standard.

Those are kind of the ranges for somebody at my income level. For somebody at her income level, it's the difference between a $100 car repair and a $500 one. I would absolutely let her dip into her $500, into her reserves for a $500 repair. Cause I'm her accountability partner.

And that's the next thing that I'm going to talk about is some tools that I was taught that I teach other people to use to not get into your reserves except for true emergencies.

Tool #1 - Write out 6 other options that you have to deal with your "emergency" other than getting into your reserves.

Tool #2 - Wait a week. Let yourself sleep on it. Let yourself and your mind kind of work through deciding whether it's really an emergency or not.

Tool #3 - Call your accountability partner. Here's the way this went with me when I was going through this. I had friends I had called and whined and complained and commiserated with; it really wasn't very helpful. I did it to myself. When I started finding friends who I could call and all they would help me talk about was what the solution to the problem was, in a positive way and keep me out of that victim mode, that really changed for me, how many times I would go touch my reserves. And how hard I would try to think of other ways to solve my "emergencies".

So what I challenge you to do is create a rule of 3 for yourself. Find yourself an accountability partner who's going to support you and let them know what your rules around touching your emergency reserves are.

If you'd like support from our community, come join us over at the Facebook group, Team Do Better. And don't forget you can subscribe to these YouTube videos so you'll be sure to catch them when they come out. And you can also join our mailing list over at

Now go out there and SAVE!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Climbing Your Emergency Reserves Mountain

Hi! Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money Video Series. My name's Stacey Powell, and I'm here to help you and your money get stronger.

And today we're going to be talking about climbing the emergency reserves mountain. The emergency reserves mountain is one of my favorite; it's not one of my favorites, my favorite picture in the entire book. I love this thing, and I'm going to tell you why I love this picture.

First, reason is because it shows that no matter who you are, whether you are able to climb a rope to the top of a mountain, or slowly walk up a winding path, even if you can't walk, you can make it up bit by bit by bit, to the top of 6 months reserves. And that's why I really like this picture, that if you just go step by step, you can get there.

The other reason that I like this illustration is that it also shows the reality of how long it takes. You can be the most in shape, financially fit person climbing at a 20% grade, putting 20% of your income away every month. And to get to the 6 months reserve that is recommended you have, it's going to take you 2 1/2 years. That's a long time and a big chunk of your income. But you'll get there.

If you're walking, oh my gosh, it's going to take a lot longer. This is a 5% grade here; this person is putting away 5% of their income every month. That's still really a decent chunk. You'll feel it if you're putting 5% away. It's going to take you 10 years to get to 6 months.

I think that's why a lot of people just go "pfft, what's the point? It's going to take me forever." I think maybe that's what I felt like when I kept trying. Like why would I even bother putting $25 away? What good is that going to do?

But I started doing it and bit by bit by bit, I was no 5% grade I think I was kinda crawling up this mountain. But I crawled up the mountain. I'm not at the top, by any means. I'm not. But I'm somewhere that has brought me peace. Which is what I want for you.

And that's the final thing that I just love about this whole illustration.  That if I can get you to just start on this path of walking just a little, I really believe that what happened for me, and a whole lot of clients that I've worked with, will happen with you.

It could change the entire rest of your life. Just stop and think what it would feel like to move through the rest of your life with 6 months of reserves, set aside for whatever emergency hits you.

That is a feeling of peace and wellbeing that you might not have ever experienced. So go out there and start climbing.

And you really don't want to do this one alone. So what I'd like you to do is come over to our Facebook group, Team Do Better where you can get support from others just like you and by me. You can join our mailing list at, or you can subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can be sure and catch every single one of these. Please come join us.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Why You Should Have 6 Savings Accounts (Not Just 1)

Hi, welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a better life with money video series. My name's Stacey Powell and I'm here to help you and your money get stronger.

And today we're here to talk about savings. But not just the singular savings, we're here to talk about the 6 different kinds of savings. One of the things that I certainly had a hard time with and I think many people also do is that we think of savings as a singular thing.

We keep it in 1 place and often that's in the "savings" account at our bank. Which is, of course, tied to our overdraft protection. Well, that's not really very useful when you're trying to keep savings as savings and not spend it on a monthly basis.

One of the other things is, we don't really have a structure around our savings. If it's all in one big pot, we don't have things that it is assigned to be for.

And so, one of the things that really shifted for me and I've seen shift incredibly for others is thinking about savings, not as one thing but as 6 different kinds.

The first kind, of course, most important emergency reserves. The second one is short term things that are not consistent, but predictable. Things like when your car breaks down or your cat has to go to the vet. Then there's long term things like putting a new roof on your house or saving for a car.

And then 4, 5 and 6 are separate long term savings that I've identified as 4, 5 and 6 because I think they're so important. And that is saving for a home, saving for your kids college education and then the third one is the big one, saving for retirement.

If you flip to page 47 in the book, and if you go to my website if you haven't bought the book I'm going to have up there for you page 47 so you can just take a look at it. You'll see all 6 of these areas with a list of what are these things and what's the purpose behind each one of them. How do you decide how much you should put in each one of these 6 accounts? And some suggestions about where you might keep it.

I want to give this roof as an example to show you how I work with people and how I think through where to put my savings. If I know I have to put a roof on my house sometime in the next 3 to 5 years and that roof is going to cost $15,000. Well, I need to be putting away between $300 to $500 a month, every single month to make that goal. And it better not be in an account tied to my checking.

I like to keep my reserves at Capital One 360. And this is not a sales pitch, this is really where I keep them. And here's why, Capital One lets you name every single savings account its own name. So for my roof account, I can name it something like "roof, dry roof, don't touch". Something funny to remind me when I get tempted to use all that roof money when it starts to grow, that what I really want is a dry roof. Separating out all of your savings like this, I know sounds a little bit overwhelming especially for those of you that are still struggling to put $25 aside.

And I assure you that if you go listen to my last video you'll know that I was once there. That I just couldn't put $25 a month aside. You can do it when you start practicing bit by bit. I promise. And the biggest thing you will get out of it is peace of mind for yourself and your money.

As always I don't want you to do this alone. You can join us over on our Facebook group Team Do Better. Come on in the water is warm. You can also go follow us at and join our mailing list or go like us over on Facebook and, of course, subscribe to these YouTube videos. Have a great day!

Free download of page 47 - Making Your Savings Rules