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Money

Below are the articles in the Money category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.

Money

Are Your Attitudes about Money Sabotaging You?

These common attitudes about money can sink any well-appointed ship.

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Money—the lack of it, the fear of losing it, the dread of not having enough—tops the list of concerns of many people these days. That’s because the economy is in bad shape, you may say. But didn’t those fears predate today’s bad news? And even when the economy is flourishing, we are still a debt-ridden nation.

What’s going on?

The problem may be unspoken attitudes about money that are getting in the way of a sense of well-being and security in our lives. Here are a few of the more common ones:

I Don’t Care about Money; I Don’t Like Money

This attitude is held by people at all income levels. It can have its origin in religious or political beliefs or from guilt at inherited privilege. Pam is a child of the 60’s who says she doesn’t really like money. She never allows herself to have what she truly wants and always buys the cheapest version. She’s a landscape designer, but regularly underbills her clients. A classic underearner, she sometimes relies on credit cards for basic expenses such as rent.

Financial Worries: Don’t Let Them Get the Better of You

Anxiety in tough times is normal. But how can we find benefit in anxiety?

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Over the past six months, Sarah has watched her business decrease by 50 percent. She’s cut expenses, but feels trapped in a costly lease she can’t afford. Her anxiety, she says, is “through the roof.”

Frank and Marilyn have well-paid jobs, and she believes that they will weather the economic downturn. However, Frank is so afraid one of them will lose their job that he has stopped paying anything but basic bills and recently yelled at Marilyn for going to the dentist.

If you have had to tighten your belt, like Sarah, it’s normal to experience anxiety. And when you read every day about failing businesses and people losing their jobs, you can understand that Frank would fear losing his. Money is connected with security, a basic need. When our basic needs are threatened, we feel alarmed.

Although uncomfortable, anxiety isn’t all bad.

How Healthy Is Your Relationship with Money?

Are unspoken attitudes and ideas about money getting in the way of well-being and security? This quiz can help one see if that’s so.

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Money—the lack of it, the fear of losing it, the dread of not having enough—tops the list of concerns of many people these days. We’re more debt-ridden than any generation before. Some of us tie ourselves up with such notions as “Having money and leading a spiritual life are contradictions.” We let our feelings of scarcity color our decisions.

Take this Thriving quiz to learn more about your relationship with money.

1.I have no idea where my money goes every month. I just don’t think about money.

2.I act as if I have plenty of money, but inside, I’m always worried that I don’t have enough, even to meet my monthly bills.

3.I have no idea where I got my attitudes about money.

4.I feel ashamed about having more money than my friends (or less than); if they found out, I’m afraid they wouldn’t like me.

How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About Money

Money is often the breakdown of relationship. This articles shows ways to use money, or talking about it, as a tool to strengthen relationships.

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Anyone who has ever been in a relationship has had to deal with financial concerns, whether that relationship was with a spouse, partner, parent, roommate or friend. However, talking about money can bring up uncomfortable feelings, especially when we have assumptions about who “should” pay for what.

The number one key to discussing money concerns with loved ones is to create an ongoing, open and honest communication about it. However, many people choose not to talk about money at all, or they assume it’s already being taken care of, or they’ll talk about it only under dire circumstances, when it is already too late.

So how do we broach the subject without getting into confrontations or creating hard feelings?Here are some pointers that can help:

Be clear. From the beginning, determine who has financial responsibility for what. If you haven’t had a discussion about this yet, it’s time to broach the subject. You can start the process by trying to uncover any assumptions that each of you has made. That way you can truly understand what the other person feels and thinks.

How Well Do You Cope with Financial Uncertainty?

A quiz to help you consider how much it’s costing you to buy into financial uncertainty.

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These roiling times can tip anyone’s boat, yet we have to find ways to cope. Take this quiz to see how well you are managing financial uncertainty.

T/F 1. I do my best to focus on the financial stability that exists in my life. It does me no good to obsessively worry about financial hits I’ve taken that I can’t do anything about.

T/F2. It takes time to get used to diminished circumstances. I accept my feelings and give myself a break.

T/F3. Fear plays a role in the stock market, and overly contracting as a consumer harms the economy. I invest and spend funds based on facts, not fear.

Money Talks, But What’s It Really Saying?

Money—the lack of it, the fear of losing it, and the dread of not having enough—tops the list of concerns of the majority of people these days.

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The language of money is complex and subject to misinterpretation.

Often it is the early messages we received about money that influence our current beliefs. So, one of the first steps in dealing with money issues is to check out old ideas that continue to color behavior and attitudes.

Couples, or business partners, who may have grown up with different values about money, need to talk about their beliefs. Not who is right and who is wrong, but what the basic beliefs are. According to the Institute of Certified Financial Planners, by better understanding their attitudes and values toward money, individuals may be more able to gain control of money instead of it controlling them.

Money Talks...But People Don't

Giving a voice to our fear about money clears the way to action.

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Everybody, it seems, has money issues, but, sadly, hardly anybody talks about it. Money is our secret, both in private and in public. Sometimes we don’t even admit our worries to ourselves.

Like most secret fears, anxieties about money spread like the common cold until they’ve infected our attitude and behavior and smothered any sense of well-being. And, because we don’t talk about them or admit them, we are held back from doing anything about them.

Once the fear is given voice, however, some of its power is taken away and we can begin to take action.

Recovering from Debt Addiction

Tips for finding the roots of debt addictive behavior, to improve finances, and get in control.

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John has a well-paying job, but carries a debt load equal to half his salary. He spends compulsively, buying things he doesn’t really need. Because he also doesn’t keep track of his finances, he frequently bounces checks. John would like to get control of his spending, but hasn’t been able to rein himself in.

Sarah never spends money unless she has to and neglects self-care such as dental check-ups. She is self-employed but doesn’t make enough to cover her basic expenses and uses credit cards to pay bills when she falls short. Her debt load is a great worry to her, but she feels helpless to change the situation.

John is a compulsive debtor and Sarah an underearner, but their core problem is the same. According to Jerrold Mundis, author of How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously, repeated debt results from dysfunctional or distorted subconscious attitudes and perceptions about money and self.

Sharpening Your Profit Focus

Sharpen your profit focus and learn ways to enhance the profitability of your business.

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Improving profitability requires first that you focus on it. When you talk about your company do you describe it as a “$2 millions (sales)” company or a “$100,000 (profit)” company? When you talk about how you’re doing at the end of the day or week or month, is it in revenue or profit terms? Are your incentive schemes based on revenue or profit? Do you even know from month to month what your profit is?

Though the specific steps will depend on the nature of your enterprise, here are several suggestions for sharpening your profit focus and finding ways to enhance the profitability of your business.

Pay yourself first. This doesn’t mean you write yourself a check before you pay your employees, but that you account for yourself at the salary you deserve, rather than “what’s left over.” What do you think your time is worth? $100 an hour? $500 an hour? What would the profitability of your company look like if you paid yourself that? If you don’t like the answer, then dig into the underlying reasons.

Develop a “Profit Paradigm.” Let’s say your business is currently producing a 10% profit. The conventional approach to trying to raise that number it is to examine your overhead and/or cost of sales and look for another 1-2% at the margin. That approach will often produce some results, particularly if you build in a process of constant reevaluation. But another strategy is to target a 20% net profit and figure out how to restructure your business to achieve it. Impossible? Maybe, but don’t underestimate what you can come up with by taking a more radical approach.

Thinking Ahead: How to Reduce Your Taxes This Year

Several strategies to consider for reducing one’s next tax bill.

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Last year it was green tea and red wine. This year it’s dark chocolate and pomegranate juice. Each new year brings with it the latest discovery meant to postpone our own demise. What’s this got to do with taxes you may be wondering?

It was Ben Franklin who originally tied death and taxes together as the only two certainties in life. But there’s a third certainty: that we always do what we can to postpone both.

Though you can’t avoid paying your taxes, by employing some of these simple strategies you can ensure that your next tax bill will be a little less painful.

Maximize Your Deductions—It sounds obvious but is so often overlooked. A deduction is simply an expense that reduces your taxable income. The best way to maximize deductions is to find out what you’re eligible to deduct and make sure you follow through by keeping records and receipts. Some key deductions are: start-up costs, education, professional services (lawyer, accountant, etc.), vehicle, equipment, charitable donations and business travel.

Top 10 Tips for Managing Financial Anxiety

Anxiety can be the motivator of positive action, which, in turn, reduces anxiety.

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Although uncomfortable, anxiety can motivate positive action. And by taking that action, our anxiety lessens. Here are a few proactive strategies and other tips.

1. Acknowledge your role. If you made a questionable financial choice, face it, understand why you made the choice, and then let it go.

2. Take action. Confront your situation and take appropriate steps, whether that’s negotiating with creditors or seeking other sources of income.

Top 10 Ways to Clean Up Your Financial Act

These 10 tips can help keep finances in good order no matter what shape the economy is in.

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Almost everyone’s finances can use a little cleaning. So whether your finances just track a little dirt into the room or have you wading hip deep in muck, below are 10 practices that can clean you up.

1. Know your numbers. Your income and expenses, credit score, interest rates you pay and earn, etc. When it comes to money, knowledge truly is power.

2. Keep it separate. If you run a business, don’t mix personal and business finances.

3. Know your type. Knowing if you tend to be a spender, saver or avoider helps you steer clear of default behavior.

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