The Importance of Planning Ahead (Take 2)

Is it always easy to make a plan? And to stick to it?

Are we so easily daunted by the responsibility that comes with planning, especially when it comes to our finances?

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Do we wait until we have to rush to get our affairs in order?

The answer is simple. Yes.

To prevent the frustration and at times the anguish that comes with planning, we have a solution.

Plan ahead.

Planning ahead makes us better prepared. The better prepared we are, the less stress we will experience.

To jump start your planning, we have listed scenarios to show you why planning ahead is important:

Jim’s Emergency

Jim is on his way home after a late night on the job. Suddenly, one of his tires burst. Things are a bit tight for him and his family, so he starts to worry, but he then remembers that he and his wife set up a savings account to handle surprises like these.

Sally’s Long-Term Plan

Sally is in her twenties and decides to start planning for retirement. Melanie is in her forties and has never thought of retirement. Since Sally is in her twenties, the amount required will be less than Melanie’s, since time is on Sally’s side. Since Melanie has approximately twenty plus years until retirement, her payments will be larger to accumulate required amount for retirement.

Elizabeth’s Pursuits

From the moment Elizabeth was born, her parents agreed to save for her university education. By the time she turned eighteen, she received a partial scholarship. If her parents had not planned for her education from the day she was born, it would have been a strain on them to support her in educational pursuits.

So, what are you waiting for?

Start planning today!

 

Melinda_02

 

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) Finance Inc., the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

She is also the author of My Money & Me. A book which takes a closer look at how your behaviour and mindsets affect the way you manage your money. (www.astrapefinance.com)

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

FOLLOW her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moneymatterswithmelinda/

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

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What You Didn’t Plan For (Take 2)

I am a huge fan of making plans. I love to organise my calendar and plan for the coming week ahead. I always like to know the plans that I have set in place, would indeed occur at that specific moment.

However, there are times when my plans do not always come to fruition.  I for one am not a huge fan of surprises, particularly those challenging surprises. However, what I planned to do would have to take the back seat, while what I didn’t plan for would have to take the front seat.

Isn’t it the same when it comes to our finances?

You budget for the month ahead, but then a surprise comes knocking at your door. Your four car tyres might burst. The car might break down.  Your child may need to go to the doctor for a fever. You may have to purchase medicine. Your tooth may need to be extracted. Your spouse may come home and tell you they lost their job today. These circumstances could sometimes cause a strain on your budget.

Take heart. Do not be discouraged, for there is a way you could effectively prepare for any unplanned circumstance.

There are two types of unforeseen circumstances every family should consider saving towards:

  1. An Emergency 
  2. Unemployment

Please ensure you save money toward the following examples of unplanned emergencies:

  • In the event of a sudden dental emergency
  • Vehicular repairs
  • Doctor visit for any family member who becomes sick
  • Battery and tyre replacements

Please note your savings should be used at the onset of an real emergency.

During these tough economic times, and even during the best of economic times, it is wise to set aside money for the unforeseen event of unemployment. This is where savings for Unemployment come in. Three months to six month’s worth of your most important expenses should be considered. Examples of these expenses include:

  • Rent or Mortgage
  • Electricity
  • Telephone
  • Commitments – Car Loan Payments etc.
  • Groceries
  • Gas – For the car and stove
  • Insurance – Health, Life, Pension etc.
  • Clothing

In the event money is withdrawn from your savings for these events in particular, make it a priority to top up your bank accounts. Remember, it will take time and discipline to save money toward these types of emergencies.

By having these in place, you are guaranteed to be at peace knowing your family will be cared for.

 

Melinda_02

 

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) Finance Inc., the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

She is also the author of My Money & Me. A book which takes a closer look at how your behaviour and mindsets affect the way you manage your money. (www.astrapefinance.com)

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

FOLLOW her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moneymatterswithmelinda/

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

Five Steps to Creating a Budget for Your Small Business (Take 2)

One aspect of running a successful business is the implementation of a comprehensive financial management system. As a business owner, you need to know how much you are making (sales) and how much money you are spending (expenses). With the implementation of this system, you will be able to ascertain whether you have made a profit or loss.

One of the most beneficial tools you could install into a business’ financial system is a budget. It is simply a tool which one uses to allocate money for various purposes.

An advantage of developing a budget is possessing the ability to track your business’ spending on a regular basis. This will prevent you, the business owner from overspending and losing sight of where your money is flowing.

I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking it sounds like an excellent tool to introduce into your company, but you may not know or have access to steps to creating one.

The following are Five Simple Steps you could use to create a budget for your company:

Step 1: Divide your budget into the following categories we suggest:

  • Donations
  • Investments
  • Insurance
  • Savings
  • Business Expenses

Step 2: Assign subcategories to the categories of your budget. List these subcategories below each category.

  • Donation – Charities, Schools
  • Investments – Term deposits, Stocks
  • Insurance – Life, Healthy, Pension
  • Savings –  Emergency Fund, Reserves
  • Business Expenses – Rent, Utilities, Loan Payments, Salaries, Office Supplies

Step 3: Create a column “Budgeted Amount” next to the subcategories you would have created and assign a monetary value to them. This would be the amount of money you plan to spend in a particular subcategory.

Step 4: Create a column “Actual Amount” next to the “Budgeted Amount” column. This would be the amount of money you spent in a particular subcategory.

Step 5: Create a column “Available Amount” next to the “Actual Amount” column. This would be the difference between the “Budgeted Amount” and “Actual Amount”; the remaining amount of money available for use.

You see, budgeting is a very simple process. It’s not rocket science at all! All it requires is the discipline to follow through with your spending plan.

Whether you are a start up or established business, it is always a wise practice to implement a budget to enable smooth operations within your company.

 

Melinda_02

 

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) Finance Inc., the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

She is also the author of My Money & Me. A book which takes a closer look at how your behaviour and mindsets affect the way you manage your money. (www.astrapefinance.com)

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

FOLLOW her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moneymatterswithmelinda/

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

Habits Which Help You Stick To Your Budget

Let’s face it, budgeting is hard work and in order for you to be successful with your budget you need to employ good habits.

Habits are essentially regular practices. Come to think of it, budgeting is indeed a necessary habit!

If you want to win with your budget, why not give a few of these habits a try:

Budgeting: First up, you will need a budget. If you are novice or in need a refresher to setting up your personal budget, please refer to Types of Budgets to discover which style of budgeting works for you.

Practicing deferred current consumption: Deferred current consumption is the practice of setting aside money for spending later.  While it is necessary to look at the short-term (spending money on immediate needs), it also important to look at your finances in the long-term. Think about it, one day you will look to retire. Someday, your children will be off to college. Think about it.

Practicing delayed gratification:  Delayed gratification is the ability to put off a purchase until a later date. You sleep on it and if you wake in the morning realising you don’t need it, well you didn’t need it in the first instance.

Switching from credit to debit:  Credit cards while they are convenient (money is made available based on the credit limit assigned to your card), for every purchase you make, you are charged interest.  If you want to stay #intheblack switch from using credit to using debit. I longer use or carry a credit card. I only spend what I do have. When I place money on my online debit card, I am able to make that purchase. If I don’t have money placed on my card, I will not be able to make that purchase.

Budgeting takes practice. It will take a combination of discipline and strong will in order to master the habit.

What habits help you stick to your budget?

 

Melinda_02

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

She is also the author of My Money & Me. A book which takes a closer look at how your behaviour affects the way you manage your money. (www.astrapefinance.com)

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

FOLLOW her on Instagram:

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

Be Your Own Financial Hero

Today, we celebrate National Hero’s Day in Barbados. This holiday lauds those who would have made tremendous contributions to our nation’s development.

Do you know any heroes of this day? Do you know of someone who possesses qualities you greatly admire? Do you know of someone who has accomplished outstanding achievements? A hero is defined as just that.

Heroes are the teachers who train the nation’s children. Heroes are the fathers and mothers who play a key role in their children’s development. Heroes are those who adopt the fatherless. Heroes are those who speak up and use their voice to initiate change.

Now, I want to introduce you to a hero you know very, very well. Take a look in the mirror. Who do you see?

What makes you a hero you might ask?

Think about the obstacles you have had to overcome. And if I may highlight your heroism from a financial perspective, think about the financial obstacles you have had to overcome as an individual and as a family unit.

So, what does it take to be your own financial hero?

  1. Recognise there is a financial hero in you: Being a financial hero has nothing to with the money you make or the amount of money you have in your bank account. It has to do with your ability to lead your money. Financial leadership is giving your money PURPOSE and DIRECTION. A financial hero recognises his/her current practices are not lining up to the vision he/she set for him/herself. It takes courage to take deliberate and consistent steps to lead your money more effectively.
  2. Forgive those who failed to be your financial hero: Sometimes we place high expectations on people and then they fail us. This isn’t to say there wouldn’t be people who would keep their word. There maybe some of you who may have been abandoned by a family member and they left you to struggle. You have to forgive them for what they didn’t do and what they did to you. You are not forgiving them for their sake, you are forgiving them for your sake. If you want to move forward, you need to stop looking back and start looking forward.
  3. Be brave enough to change for the better: The way you behave affects the way you manage your money. If you are seeking to be a “people pleaser”, you will spend your money to obtain the approval of others. If you don’t think you are worthy of any investment, what will you do? You won’t seek to use your money to improve your financial situation. Do yourself a favour and change the way you think about yourself. Your thoughts are translated into your behaviour, hence affecting the your potential to be better with your money.

Become your own financial hero today. Happy National Hero’s Day!

If you want to improve the way you behave with your money, please allow me to introduce to you Money Matters with Melinda,  a series bringing transformation to your money life through information and inspiration! We are set to release my second book My Money & Me, where we take a closer look at how your behaviour affects your past, your present and your future.

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To stay up to date about the release of my next book My Money & Me, please leave your information in the form below.

 

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Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay)
Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

LIKE her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/MoneyMatterswithMelinda

FOLLOW her on Instagram: moneymatterswithmelinda

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

 

Leaving A Legacy of Independence

I am so happy to see my country Barbados arrive at a major milestone, celebrating Fifty Years of Independence!

Though I have only lived to see thirty-three years of Barbados’ development, I have learnt and understood that in order to move this nation forward, you must have vision. This means the same for your personal development, that of your family and those who you lead.

Early in my twenties I lacked vision. In 2005, I signed my first employment contract which guaranteed me a salary at the end of the month. I was exhilarated of course, because I could now earn a living for myself. I thought I had finally achieved a level of financial independence; or so I thought. Those of you who have heard me speak, I often refer to the concept of financial leadership. I will explain how this revolutionised my finances.

You see, I was seriously bankrupt in my understanding of money. Yes, I got paid, but I lacked the maturity to manage it.  As I grew in my understanding, I realised that the money was not my issue. It was my behaviour. I thought I needed more, but I had to behave better with my money. Financial leadership is the ability to give your money PURPOSE and DIRECTION. It meant at the tender age, I had to kick against the grain and make decisions that could positively affect my future financially.

It meant I had to grow up on that day I opened my laptop and started budgeting my money. I didn’t like to be disciplined. It was absolutely not my favourite thing to do, but soon this painful habit became one that I cherished greatly.

Often times, it is easier to look at the present and not take a peek into the future, especially in financial planning.

Do you know, that if you don’t set aside money for spending later, you are stealing money from yourself in the future?

Let that sink in for a minute.

Could you confidently say you are actively planning for future generations to come?

This isn’t meant to condemn you, but to cause you to think very carefully about the financial decisions you make.

You might be saying, “I am knee deep in debt.”

You might be saying, “I have experienced a job loss.”

You might be saying, “I have made too many mistakes with my money. How could I possibly think about my financial future and that of future generations?”

You could start over with my thoughts on leaving a legacy of independence:

  1. Understand leaving a legacy is not only about leaving money: You can breathe now. You are not entirely responsible for your next generations’s financial future. Giving your next generation the tools and knowledge to creating a healthy, financial future is part of leaving a legacy.
  2. Embrace and encourage individuality: The truth is, everyone of us is wired differently. If you want proof, we all have unique fingerprints and will not walk the same financial path. Not everyone will earn money being a doctor or a lawyer (and I mean no disrespect to the profession), but we all were born with abilities which could earn ourselves a living.
  3. Refocus your goals: Is it the financial path of someone else you are walking on or desiring to walk on, or are you embarking on your unique financial journey? Unfair comparison kills our financial momentum I am afraid to say. If you are trying to build your life based on the perceived benefits from someone else’s path, you will be unhappy. Find out what you want to achieve for yourself and your family.
  4. Have the future in sharp focus: Transform your financial landscape by the way you think about and view money. See money as a tool. It is not a item you throw away haphazardly. Make wise use of it by investing in yourself for healthy returns. For example, your education, investments, businesses. Developing the habit of investing could transform your financial world, for the benefit of yourself and the generation that will come after you.

Happy Independence

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) DSC_0051Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

FOLLOW her on Instagram: moneymatterswithmelinda

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle