Archives For Education

For The Record!!! I haven’t lost my mind but I have lost my car; on purpose! It’s no secret that my Jackie and I have made a semi-radical shift by moving into Midtown Atlanta from the suburbs of Johns Creek. Some of the unintended consequences of a downsized super urban lifestyle may surprise you.

For example, the subject of this article, ditching my vehicle. An audacious move by most native Atlantan standards….. well at least for my suburban Atlantan friends. Atlanta is quite a car town; frankly a status symbol by which most cast some level of judgment upon you and your status in society.

 

Uber for productivity no name

 

For in-towners or as we say ITP (for Non-Atlantans, that means “Inside The Perimeter” which encompasses the city) not having a vehicle to maintain and pay to park is quite normal. This new Midtown lifestyle has made me want to follow suit. So, after a few weeks of experimenting I have completely made the shift to being “car-less”. Below are some of the details about my move into this new era of a Mass-Transit/Uber combination and increased productivity.

Utilizing Mass Transit in Atlanta means using MARTA , our light rail system that operates within the Metro Area only. A train station conveniently located just behind our building means being able to hop on a train and avoid traffic all the way to the perimeter of the city or slightly beyond. From there, I simply request an Uber or Lyft service to carry me through the remainder of my journeys. Have you tried Uber? Give it a try for Free by using my Invite Code: n9sns

This combination allows someone else to do the driving and navigating while I safely return calls, e-mails, texts, social media messages and more. Not to mention the absolutely freeing feeling of being unencumbered.

 

Allowing someone else to drive has literally doubled my productivity!

Time

Utilizing the travel time to enhance the service to our Drive Planning Members or Team Members is extremely valuable. Likely an hour or more is gained each day on the days that I travel to our offices located in Sandy Springs or Johns Creek; both in the northern parts of Atlanta. These tasks being completed during travel time allows me new freedom at the end of each day in not having to do them once I’ve arrived at home.

Cost

Living in town has presented itself with some additional expenses that OTP (Outside The Perimeter) friends do not have to endure. One small cost is simply Parking your vehicle. In my case, that meant $50 per month at home plus each time you go somewhere.

In addition, there is the actual cost of ownership of a vehicle. Fortunately, I did not have a car note, but there are still gasoline, maintenance and insurance costs that are always present. For me…. Not anymore.

Stress

Road Rage or any kind of rage quite frankly has never been my thing. I tend to operate at a pretty stress free level. I know who my creator is and that he loves me, I have a great wife and family; generally feeling grateful for most things. Therefore, I wasn’t a stressful driver. Moving into Midtown and opening an office here meant that I didn’t drive near as much anymore (only a couple days per week) but when I did it was usually a time where I still wanted to be productive. You can read about my drive time in a recent article, Making the Most of Traffic. Even with a stress free nature and making the most of the time it has felt good to turn the driving over to someone else.
I will conclude by saying, I will miss the occasional rush of accelerating through an open winding road, the great suspension and handling of my Infiniti G35x! The lifestyle of walking to my new Drive Planning – Midtown office, increased pace and productivity has improved me as a person. So, for now I’ll stick with this new “car-less” commuter role until it’s time for another change. Thankfully, I’ve learned that change almost always means growth and that we certainly always need growth.

 

What are your thoughts? Could you go “car-less”? Connect with me for a conversation on Facebook, twitter or LinkedIn.

 

Stay Tuned for more information on my upcoming book for Financial Professionals. Advisor’s Edge: The Sharp Edge of The Skilled Advisor – How to create the financial practice you’ve always desired.

Avoid these 2 common financial mistakes to live a more stress free life.

 

These two common financial mistakes lead to a greater sense of uncertainty and a more stressful life. The Life You Can Afford to Live is designed to provide you with tools to lead the best life possible. So, naturally we wouldn’t want you to miss two of the most common mistakes that we see people make in their financial life.

 

2 Financial Mistakes

 

Most often when someone speaks with authority on a subject its because they’ve had personal experience within the subject matter. Certainly true in this instance. I am bringing you this message from a point of I’ve been there and didn’t enjoy it and didn’t even get a t-shirt. Fortunately, my experience with this was early in my business life therefore the results weren’t catastrophic. However, the stress and tension that resulted taught me valuable lessons.

 

My goal is to provide you with enough information for you to know when to ask for help. We certainly can’t get to specific in this format but you should be able to glean enough that you know whether to raise your hand or not. Our team stresses these points throughout our process so we are well equipped to answer any questions that may surface.

 

The 2 Common Financial Mistakes to Avoid

 

1. Not Creating Contractual Wealth

Contractual Wealth is when someone else has a legal obligation to you. Contractual wealth also means that you have recourse if they do not fulfill their contractual obligation. This type of wealth provides you with a higher level of certainty and predictability. Certainty and predictability provide you with a more stress-free financial life.

Before sharing examples of Contractual Wealth building tools lets look at its counterpart, Statement Wealth. Statement Wealth is the most common form of saving and investing. Likely due to ease or someone lacking in knowledge of alternate investment options. The premise of Statement Wealth is that you save or invest into vehicles in which you have little control over the outcome as well as any recourse should it not have your desired result. Common examples are 401(k)/IRA Plans, Stock Portfolios, Mutual Funds, ETF Investments and Savings Accounts.

Some examples of Contractual Wealth include:

Secured Bonds – Mortgages – Rental Real Estate – Commercial Real Estate – Annuities – Life Insurance – Reverse Mortgages – Private Lending with Collateral – Asset Care Plans – Business Ownership – Grantor Retained Annuities

 

Click here for a quick 2 minute video explanation of Statement Wealth vs Contractual Wealth

 

2.  Not Creating Tax Free Income

Mark Twain once said, “the only certain things in life are death and taxes”. So true, but one thing Twain failed to mention is that Tax Rates are always changing. You certainly can’t ever count on paying the same tax rate. In an effort to reduce or even eliminate the risk of Higher Tax Rates we want everyone to take a more intentional approach towards creating Tax Free Buckets of money. The ease and allure of Tax deferral is great and we want you to have some funds in that environment, but not solely.

 

Particularly Tax Free money helps you to manage how and where you withdraw money from during retirement. Thus, creating the aforementioned predictability and certainty that reduces stress in the Golden Years.

Some examples of Tax Free Investments include:

Real Estate – Municipal Bonds – Life Insurance – Roth IRA – Roth 401(k) – SLIRPS – Some Captive Strategies

 

Hopefully, this will give you the ability to AVOID these two common financial mistakes. I’ll close with a couple of questions.

Have you addressed these two financial mistakes in your own plans?

Would you like help in avoiding these pitfalls?

 

If you have found this article helpful please subscribe to The Life You Can Afford to Live and follow us Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn so that you do not miss any future posts.

Automation Header

 

A key element to living a successful life is reducing the stress that you experience. If you have been a Drive Planning Member for long you will recognize the theme of automation. This continues to weigh on my mind as something that we need to continually emphasize.

 

automation

[aw-tuhmey-shuh n]

noun

  1. the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.
  2. a mechanical device, operated electronically, that functions automatically, without continuous input from an operator.
  3. act or process of automating.
  4. the state of being automated.

 

In other words, we want to remove our own ability to sabotage ourselves from the things that we most want in life. As part of living intentionally; we can pre-determine our outcomes simply by establishing systems around the actions which we know are best for us. I have discussed this topic at The Life You Can Afford to Live in a previous post Scheduling Your Success.

Most often our own ability to sabotage our success is through poor planning. Our own laziness or simply a lack of preparedness undermines us achieving what we really desire. So, with that in mind, I want to encourage you to automate as many facets of your life as possible. This post will explore a few ideas; there are certainly others. Let us know about some of your own suggestions or personal wins in this area on our social media channels; Facebook and twitter.

Below are some of the ways that I recommend automating your life so that you do more, waste less and live a more meaningful life.

Giving

Giving is a very personal decision. One that sometimes requires us to be prayerful or at minimum thoughtful. It’s for that reason that for years I have spoken negatively of automated giving. Today’s busyness has made me change my tune regarding this matter. Deciding to give isn’t less spiritual or obedient if its planned in advance. So, I say go ahead and establish automated drafts towards the church or charity of your choosing. This will ensure that a ballgame or any unexpected event doesn’t de-rail your plan for giving.

 

Saving

Most of our members do a great job in this area. We have consistently taught to establish a Wealth Coordination Account (WCA) as the initial recipient for all savings. If this isn’t something that you have completed; Let’s make it happen!

 Click to Tweet This:  Money without a purpose will never find its intended destination.

The WCA is the first place to direct a minimum of 15% of your income. This simple automation sets you up for years of success. It ensures that your own fleeting desires do not inadvertently interfere with your Hopes and Dreams.

We will now be encouraging you to create a more detailed savings plan to include future expenses;

Including:

  • Vacations
  • Classes
  • Personal Growth Areas
  • Holidays
  • Date Nights

This is all designed around creating a plan for spending. Living the life that you desire, not a reactionary life.

If you need direction in this area, please contact your Drive Planning Consultant to provide you step by step guidance.

 

Living

Most of our members are well established in the first two areas of Giving and Saving. This is where I believe that we can really transform our time and overall quality of life. Jackie and I have spent a lot of time and consideration in this area; automating our daily life. As two very career minded professionals involved in numerous charitable organizations, time is of the essence. I want to share with you a few things that…. Well, mostly she has taught me!

Health

Create automation around your health products, doctor visits and even how you schedule prevention techniques. Here are a few to consider:

Utilize Amazon Prime, Instacart or any delivery service to routinely deliver your vitamins, personal toiletries, air filters or the food necessary to be healthy (more to come about that). Place these things on your calendar as to do’s and automate them to arrive without wasted time at the store. Ex:  Look ahead and determine when you will be traveling for business or pleasure and schedule taking Airborne 5 days in advance of your trip. This simple planned technique will virtually ensure that you do not get sick while traveling and ultimately diminish your impact or lifestyle. Ex: Schedule air filters to arrive every three months (the suggested time to change them). Ex: Schedule toilet paper to arrive periodically (Something you should never run out of) Ex: Have Dollar Shave Club deliver razors at the predetermined time.

 

Food

Every parent knows the dread of the 5:30pm or 6pm hour. That dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” We have found that Blue Apron is our preferred way of automating this area of our life. Each week or at the frequency of your choosing you can have every meal (every ingredient to prepare such meal) delivered to your doorstep. It costs slightly less than $10 per meal and there is no wasted time or ingredients. Most importantly the meals are brilliant! Dishes we wouldn’t ordinarily create on our own. Here are a few examples: Cumin-Crusted Pork, Tangelo & Honey Glazed Salmon, Chipotle Glazed Meatloaf and even the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten. This level of automation means you are always prepared for that dreaded question and you avoid costly and unhealthy restaurant meals.

 

Fitness

This may be a stretch because it isn’t true automation. However, I’d say that any effort towards pre=planning is a step in the right direction.

Plan your events for the year. Go ahead and pre-pay, pre-register for fitness classes, races etc for the entire year. Having already committed to them and paid will reduce/eliminate the wiggling out of them that often happens. Having them planned will also motivate you between events to keep training as you approach event time. Most events will also send you a recommended training schedule to be fully prepared. It’s like having a personal trainer!

 

Personal Time

Schedule and begin establishing a plan for paying for these nights out, vacations etc. in advance. Easily accomplished when put into the personal spending plan. One where the money is systematically/automatically transferred months in advance of the intended time. Beyond paying for these ahead of time and avoiding debt you will also find that the quality of your overall experiences will improve. Most of the improvement is due to the advanced planning/intentionality allowing you time to focus on your spouse or significant others Love Language.

 

These are just a few ideas that we have implemented to create an automated approach towards our life. We have found that typically this keeps us focused on the BIG Picture and less bogged down in the details. Allow me to encourage you to look for additional ways to automate areas of your life that will help you to lead the life you desire and do it with less stress. Maybe you won’t establish all of these at once but over time with an intentional approach towards automation you will begin to see that you are doing more, wasting less and creating a more meaningful life.

As you uncover ideas that work well, share them with us on Facebook or twitter.