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How To Get On Your Own Team to Maximize Success

We all have things we really want. You might have noticed that there are some things that you especially want but no matter how much you want them and dream about them, you just can’t bring yourself to take the steps needed to achieve them.

You are ready to save for something great but end up going shopping and feel terribly guilty. You are ready to feel good in your body but end up eating way too much dessert and hate yourself for it. You are ready to go out and get your dream job but end up watching Netflix for six hours and feel like a waste of life.

We’ve all been there. Have you ever noticed what you tell yourself in these types of situations? We can be so mean to ourselves! It’s as if we aren’t even on our own team.

It’s actually kind of funny when you think about it. We really want something, we rebel against ourselves and don’t do what we need to do to get it and then shame ourselves for being so stupid. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. This crazy cycle can leave you feeling hopeless, like a failure and completely frustrated. You beat yourself at your own game. Congrats!

The good news is, all you need is a very powerful mindset shift to nip this in the bud. It’s a shift from self shame and loathing to self love. You will take or have taken actions that take you further from your goals rather than closer. Guess what? It’s time to forgive yourself for that. When you love yourself, flaws and all, you cross back over the line onto your own team. You are in this together. You aren’t making good life choices despite half of you wanting your to fail. You become 100% committed to what you truly want and you take the necessary actions to get there because you love yourself and want you to have what you want most.

Next time you do something in complete opposition to what you truly want to be doing, stop. Take out a notebook or open up a document and start writing. What are you telling yourself? Are you laying on the shame and guilt? Next, understand where you were coming from and come up with some reasons why you might have done what you did. Write a statement forgiving yourself to get back on your own team. Repeat this practice for a few weeks and notice the shift!

How to Get On Your Own Team to Maximize Success

Photo by Matt Steeves Photograhy.

Frugal Joys – New Perspectives

While in Tanzania we had the incredible opportunity to visit a Maasai village. We were welcomed with dance and song and by the end of our visit we were all dancing together! They gave us tours of their homes and shared about their culture, traditions and lifestyle. They are a fascinating people. It was definitely a highlight of the trip!

As far as money goes, the Maasai measure wealth in terms of how many cattle and children you have. The implications… they are nomadic because life centers around their cattle and they also practice polygyny and polyandry. The more children and cattle the better!

Best part is…we ran into some of the young men from the tribe at a local night club in Zanzibar!

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Photo credit: Jeff Charlite. Thank you for all the amazing photos Jeff!

Photo credit: Jeff Charlite. Thank you for all the amazing photos Jeff!

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Photo credit: Morgan Hurley. Thank you!!!

The Beauty of Simple

I went to Blue Hill when my parents came into town and one very spectacular yet extremely simple dish stuck with me – vegetables on the fence. As you can tell from the photo from Gastronomy blog, the name was spot on. I’m not going to lie… I was kind of disappointed when it showed up at the table. “That’s it?!” I thought. We were all surprised! The vegetables were out of this world delicious. The dish was so simple yet so wonderfully well done that we still talk about it today.  We all loved it!

Photo credit: Gastronomy blog.

Photo credit: Gastronomy blog.

To this day, I think back to this dish and incorporate the beautifully simple into my and my clients’ everyday lives. Where can we cut down the noise and spend our time and money on what’s really quality and wonderful? How can we minimize the amount of extra work and attention needed to maintain our financial lives so that we can spend it in more meaningful ways?

Pick a day, any day and decide to spend some time reflecting. As you go through each of activity or ritual, notice where you could use some simplicity or clarity and try something new. Do you end up on the phone with your credit card company negotiating away fees because you have too many cards to keep track? Do you spend ten minutes a day looking for things you misplaced because you just have too much stuff?

I’d love to hear what you come up with! Just comment below or send me an email at ashley@knowingyourworth.com

Love & Money: Important Conversations

Justin and I had our first monthly family meeting last week and it was so incredible that I just have to share. It was just Justin and I (and sometimes Simi our puppy) talking about our goals and dreams as a family and what we are going to do to make them happen. Of course…I love talking about the money part. What are we going to save for first? Let’s take a look at our joint asset allocation… haha but it’s also a great time to talk about what you have planned in the coming months, anything you want to tweak and what you want to achieve. I highly recommend setting aside a couple of hours each month for a meeting with your family. The best part is… you can create whatever you want with that special time – it’s up to you! Who’s with me?!

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Justin & I signing the Ketubah (marriage contract) at our wedding.

Why Everyone Needs a Money Coach but So Few Actually Have One

When I meet new people, they often ask what I do. Without fail, when they find out I’m a money coach 95% of them say, “wow, I need you.” I’ve noticed this more and more. Why does everyone need a money coach but so few actually take the steps to hire one?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. There are many things that can hold us back from making the change we are seeking in our lives but here are a few of the biggest hurdles I’ve  found.

We want to do it ourselves.  

How often do you think, “help would be nice but I can really do this own my own?” Yes, I am a culprit too. I can insist on doing way too much myself and it takes precious resources – my time and energy! I’m a huge proponent of hiring professionals or experts in our lives to help us. Why suffer through figuring something out on your own that someone else could explain and get done in five minutes? It’s not defeat or losing to ask for help. It’s just smart!

Change is hard.

Yes! Hiring a coach or professional means that you are probably going to be making some changes. Yes, it will be hugely positive change but change is still scary and hard. Just knowing that the change is coming could keep you from making a move. One of the things I value most is growth. It makes me wildly happy to improve and learn. If you aren’t ready to make big changes in your life, try getting comfortable with small changes. What can you do each day that stretches you just a little bit?

We assume we can’t afford it. 

When you hear about services that sound awesome, you might automatically assume that you can’t afford them. You think… “I really need to pay off this debt or to start saving but why would I spend money to save money?” If you have been trying to save 10% of your paycheck or working to get out credit card debt and a money coach gets you there, does it really matter how much you paid? Wow.. when you think about it that way… not at all!

We put it off.

I’ll do it next month.” This is a big one. Next month turns into next month which turns into next year and next thing you know it’s 2018 and you haven’t done a thing. Everyone is busy and has a lot going on. To make change and get what we want, we have to actually carve out the time for ourselves or it will just fill up with anything else. How many people do you hear say “I don’t have time to work out” or “I don’t have time to eat healthy.” Ask the healthy eaters and worker-outers out there and they’ll tell you that they make time. They don’t finish up at work and notice they have a lovely two hour block open to get to the gym. They create that time. If you really want something, you have to create the time for it in your life. If you don’t, there will never be time for it! Something will always come up.

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Project ‘Spring Clean’ – Taking Your Home & Money from Good to Great in These 7 Steps: Part 3

We’ve done the hard work for Project ‘Spring Clean’ in part 1 and part 2, now it’s on to the most fun steps! By now, you probably smile when you walk from room to room of your home and you might have noticed that you don’t avoid checking in on your finances each month. Why?! Because you have completed everything that bugs you and it feels so good!  Now it’s time for the cherry on the sundae – the icing on the cake… Mmmm!

Step 6: Do some dreaming and planning.

You might not be in a place to invest in that nice piece of furniture you love or to start investing the way you’d like but this is where dreaming and planning come in. Don’t squander what you’d like to create, we’ll just have to do some dreaming and planning first to make it happen. If you’d like to invest $1,000 this year, what would you have to put aside each paycheck to reach that goal by December? If you have 20 more paychecks, that’s $50 a month.

I’ve been dreaming about the snow and ice melting away from our garden so we can start planting and decorating. How nice will it be to have a barbecue outside with friends when it gets warm?!  It’s happening!

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Step 7: Build good habits.

We’ve now set up our home and money lives in a way that makes us super happy – we want to keep it that way! If we build good habits, we can maintain this clean, beautiful and simple setup we’ve create for ourselves. I’m committing to putting things away as I use them. I currently leave a wake of messes wherever I go and a couple days go by, I get annoyed at the mess and FINALLY clean it up. I’d MUCH rather clean up after myself as I do things. The same goes for our finances. It doesn’t work to ignore your money and then do a spring cleaning once a year. Check in monthly with your statements to see if there are any fraudulent charges or incorrect fees. Deal with them at a set time each month so you don’t leave yourself a big mess to clean up after months of not looking.

Happy dreaming and planning!

Meet Michelle McKinnon – She’ll help you get $mart with your money!

I’m so excited that I was introduced to Michelle McKinnon because she is up to big things! Not only is she a financial adviser with Payne Capital Management but she also started the $mart Women podcast to help women get smart with their money and a $mart Women NYC meetup where she holds monthly events full of money wisdom. I had the wonderful opportunity to be on her radio show and to co-host an event with her last week and absolutely love her approach to investing and planning. I hope you enjoy our interview below and we’d love to have you join us for our ‘Finance Your Dream Life‘ workshop on April 13th!

What’s your #1 Frugal Joy?
A manicure once a month!

Do You have a ‘Money Motto?
Save for the future but live in the present. You have to find a balance between saving for your years after employment and enjoying your life now. That’s why I love your frugal joy concept, it’s so applicable for finding balance.

Best money advice you ever got?
Start early! The earlier you start saving the lower the savings amount can be. Start saving $100 a month and you’d be surprised what can happen over a 30-40 year period in the
market…compounding does wonders. Einstein said it was the 8th wonder of the world!

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?
Depends on the weekend. I really enjoy movie nights with my boyfriend but I also love to explore all the great restaurants in NYC. I am a huge Mexican food fan and there’s nothing better than a delicious margarita to kick off a Saturday night.

What are you most excited about right now?
The future! I am so excited for the opportunity to help women and to learn from the
amazing women I’ll meet along the way. I feel we learn so much more from our peers than we ever do from our own research.

How can people connect with you?
Through smartwomen.podbean.com or smartwomen@paynecm.com. Tune into our weekly podcast! It’s a show featuring financial support, tools, and inspiration with women who are getting smart with their money.

Meet Michelle McKinnon_Payne Capital_$mart Women_the Fiscal Femme_Knowing Your Worth_03.09.15

The Grand Finale: the Story of My Rehearsal Dinner Dress

I had to share a photo of my rehearsal dinner dress. The quest for my dream dress took some work and creativity but it came out even better than I could have ever hoped for. If you missed it, read the background story here – it’s a good one! Stay tuned for the launch of Amanda Perna’s House of Perna wedding line as well as a blog post from her about my dress! She’s truly a genius!

And yes… it was as fun as it looked to twirl in!

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Minimize Your Taxes in 2015

I love the quote – “You must pay taxes. But there’s no law that says you gotta leave a tip.” – Morgan Stanley Advertisement

It’s funny but true. The goal is to pay what you owe but no more than that. With the tax filing deadline approaching, here are some ways to minimize your tax bill.

Contribute to a flexible spending account

If your company offers a flexible spending or health savings account, maximize it. I recommend calculating out your expected medical expenses for the year and contributing that amount. You can use the funds for qualified medical expenses but any amount you don’t use, your company gets to keep. Money contributed to these types of accounts are not taxed so contributing will reduce your taxable income.

Contribute to a tax advantaged retirement account.

Pre-tax contributions to a tax advantaged retirement account such as a 401-K are not subject to income tax when you contribute and therefore will reduce your taxable income. After-tax contributions to a Roth 401-K don’t reduce your tax bill in the current year but do provide tremendous tax benefits in the future. With a Roth 401-K or IRA you will not be taxed on your distributions from the account. You might also be eligible for a tax credit for Roth IRA contributions depending on your income and status.

Donate to a charity. 

Donations and gifts to a charitable organization can lower your taxes if you itemize your deductions.

Maximize your credits and deductions.

Make sure to maximize your tax credits and deductions to minimize your tax bill. For an exhaustive list of credits and deductions available for individuals and business taxpayers, check out the credits and deductions page of the IRS website so that you can make sure to have the amounts and necessary documentation ready to file your taxes or to provide to your tax accountant.

Project ‘Spring Clean” – Taking Your Home & Money from Good to Great in these 7 Steps: Part 2

It looks like spring is FINALLY springing and as you know I’ve been spring cleaning our apartment and finances! In steps one, two and three of project ‘Spring Clean’ we came up with our strategy, took inventory, gave the excess away, made a list of in-completes and started checking them off one-by-one. Didn’t it feel amazing?! It freed up so much space in my head to get some of these things taken care of and to have it all on paper so I no longer have to keep a running list in my head. I’ve also found it’s been really helpful to put each of the items in my calendar so I know when and how I will put them into reality.

These week I’m tackling steps four and five!

Step 4: Give everything a beautiful place. 

Have you ever wasted time looking for something or actually not used something because you didn’t even remember you had it. Me too! It feels like such a waste. I love the idea of everything having a place – especially things you use on a regular basis. It frees up time and our minds to know where to find something when we need it or where to put something back when we are done. Where will you put extra change, your keys when you walk into the house or any mail that needs to be dealt with?

Just like with our home, every dollar we make also has a place. What will you actually do with your extra change? Where should you be transferring what you plan to save each paycheck? Which credit cards are best for which type of spending? Do you have a routine for checking in with each of your accounts to track your progress on your savings goals?

As a bonus, create a place for everything with things that you love. A best friend of mine gave me a beautiful pink owl piggy bank that I absolutely adore. I actually enjoy emptying my change into it because it reminds me of her and makes me happy. I put the piggy bank next to another beautiful Buddha a best friend brought back for me from one of her trips. Not only do I see it whenever I put change in my piggy bank but I can see both when I’m sitting at my desk. Incorporate things you love into your routine to bring even more joy to your life. In your money life, it might be as easy as remembering to spend travel dollars on a certain card to get triple the points, keeping important files in a beautiful file cabinet that makes you happy or lighting relaxing candles when you do your monthly finances. How can you implement these little joy bonuses into your daily, weekly or monthly routine?

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Step 5: Take good to great!

Last week we made our in-complete list and started checking them off one-by-one. Now you no longer get stressed by your overflowing junk drawer, that unframed painting perched up against the wall or that bank account with the monthly fees that you’ve been meaning to close. Once you are done with this list there will be nothing that actually bugs or upsets you in your living space or your money life. You are complete and it feels amazing! But why stop there? You don’t have to live with anything that’s “fine’ or “good.” You can be extraordinary!

In your money life, maybe there is a credit card out there that offers benefits more in line with what you love so you can maximize your rewards. Or maybe you’d love to automate your money life so funds flow automatically where you’d like them. From good to great! As far as my apartment, I had a plain black trash can in my office that was completely “fine.” I realized I could make it something special that I loved by doing something as easy as spray-painting it another color, which I did.

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As you can see, taking good to great will be an ongoing process. You can always improve your space and get more joy from it and the same goes for our money lives. That’s why it’s so important to enjoy this process! Enjoy your space and what you’ve created and continue building on it. I check in with my finances once a month and after I go through them I now ask, what can I do better? How can I make this more intentional, effective and efficient? You can do the same thing with your space!

Next week I’ll take you through the last two steps!