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LIFE CYCLE PLANNING

Financial planning means something different to everyone. For some, it's about getting by on their paycheck, for others it's about watching the stock market each day. Unfortunately, very few of us feel prepared to meet our ongoing financial obligations and objectives. Worries about money have become one of the greatest anxieties of our day. Because our lives and goals are so different, there is no turn-key solution for managing ones finances and meeting financial goals. We can, however, identify several steps successful people take in planning for and meeting their financial goals. We call these steps "Life Cycle Planning" because each step can be tied to the attainment of certain life defining events that almost everyone goes through. DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN CAPITAL Human Capital is a person's ability to turn their skills and abilities into a livelihood. The development of these skills and abilities helps us maximize our income potential in a competitive marketplace. In our early years, usually between age 19 and 25, we set ourselves on a course that largely defines our Human Capital potential. Each of us makes an investment in Human Capital, whether we realize it or not. For some this is an investment of time, gaining experience and skills on the job. For others it is an investment in trade school or college. It should also be noted that although our greatest focus on Human Capital development is in our early years, this is an investment we should continue to make and assess throughout our working careers. MANAGEMENT OF EXPENSES, BUDGETING Once our "Human Capital" investment begins to pay dividends in the way of earnings, we must begin to develop and apply management skills to our newfound earnings. Without managing our expenses, our wants and needs will invariably outpace our ability to earn. By implementing some form of budgeting, we can begin to set our sights on saving and meeting our longer term financial objectives. A beginning budget can be as simple as setting aside a predetermined percentage of our earnings each month for saving, spending what is left until it is gone, then spending nothing more until next month. ADEQUATE LIQUIDITY As our budget begins to pay off in a healthy savings account, we begin to wonder how best to apply our limited savings to our unlimited needs and wants. Without exception, the first financial need we should meet is to have an emergency fund. An emergency fund allows us to cover unexpected short term needs using cash instead of leveraging our future earnings through costly loans. As a general rule of thumb, your emergency fund should be adequate to maintain your standard of living for three to six months. ADEQUATE INSURANCE PROTECTION A major disability, the loss of a family breadwinner, a fire in your home, a major medical problem for a family member... the most dramatic emergencies can seldom be planned for through personal saving. Although such tragedies can create devastating individual financial hardship, the financial risk [...]

2019-04-12T19:47:12+00:00 By |

Strategies for Paying Down Student Loans

College was fun. But now the bill has come due. American students have over $1 trillion in student debts. The debt burden college graduates have is a substantial obstacle to personal financial progress, but you likely already know that. There are strategies you may want to consider in lightening the weight. LOOK INTO PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS For people working in government, non-profit and other public service jobs, certain federal loans may be forgiven after 10 years of qualifying payments. Many individuals are not even aware that they qualify for the program. VOLUNTEER There are a number of programs, e.g., AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and Military service, whereby such service will accrue a benefit that reduces an outstanding loan balance in an amount that varies with each program INCOME-BASED REPAYMENT PLAN Your payments on eligible federal loans can be capped at a percentage of your income, if you have a partial financial hardship, which is defined as monthly repayment amounts in excess of the level calculated under a 10-year standard repayment plan. If you make such payments and meet other requirements, any remaining balance will be forgiven after 25 years of qualifying repayment. PRE-PAY PRINCIPAL Pre-payment of principal will help lower the lifetime interest costs of a loan. Of course, the challenge for many young workers is that they may not have the cash flow to make pre-payments. Consider ways to raise cash specifically for such pre-payments. Do you still receive birthday and holiday presents? Ask for cash instead. Did you receive a raise, bonus or overtime pay? Direct unexpected cash flow to pre-payments. Student debt can be overwhelming. It may seem, at times, like you’ll never get past it. Don’t despair. Remember, time is in your favor. As you gain work experience, the economy improves and Baby Boomers retire, opportunities for economic advancement will emerge and help you move ahead.   Jerry Maldonado Jerry specializes in retirement, insurance and tax off-set strategies for professionals and small business owners. His focus is to help clients identify their definitions of legacy and financial security while simultaneously implementing innovative strategies to help make those financial goals a reality. For more information on his services, he can be reached at: JGM Consulting LLC [email protected] (951)858-0798 Lic#0H33733 www.jgmconsultingllc.com

2019-03-01T15:48:28+00:00 By |

5 Hidden Blessings in Failure

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~ Dalai Lama   Recently I received some “bad” news; after years of studying and a nerve-wracking exams’ procedure, I didn’t make it to the list of the lucky few selected for the upper level public administration job posts. Having always tried to keep up with a job that made good use of my law degree, while at the same time pursuing my career as a writer, there were times when I questioned whether a law-related job was actually my true calling. At the time, trying for the public administration exams had seemed like a “best of both worlds” scenario. So, having finally made the difficult decision to take a leap of faith and change my career path, the outcome was certainly not what I had hoped for. Thus, I was faced with two options: either shrivel up in a corner by the heater, bawling my eyes out for one more shattered dream, or finally establish these new neural pathways I’ve been striving to build this past year of awakening and see the situation for what it really was. The expected, rather self-pitying reaction was looking at me with tearful puppy eyes, begging me to indulge in it. But this time I chose the new way. After the initial disappointment, I took a deep breath and tried to focus on the truth of things—that I had done my best for this job opening, and the outcome I was about to fret over was out of my control. I recognized then that I could not change what had happened and I had to accept it. Not surrender, but accept. As I’ve navigated my recent setback, I’ve pinpointed five ways failure can actually be beneficial. 1. You come to terms with what you can control and what you cannot. In short, you get to have a first-class, one-on-one encounter with your ego. Because it is your ego, not your true self, that demands to control every single outcome of every single plan and effort you make. According to Jungian psychology, the ego is made of our own beliefs and ideas about ourselves, whether true or false. That’s why the ego’s very existence depends upon keeping these beliefs intact; it cannot allow them to come crumbling down. For example, you might think of yourself as the best at your job; so when you end up fretting for days over a mistake you might have made at work, this is your ego trying to control something that is out of its power. In my recent exams’ case, I too could have barricaded myself behind my belief that I normally perform well at academics, and allowed my ego to keep nagging me about my not attaining my goal—but this time I chose perspective, not ego. Preparing for a job interview or exam? You can minimize your potential errors by studying thoroughly and keeping yourself in good [...]

2018-11-19T15:21:46+00:00 By |

Learn, Earn and Retire at Any Age

Millennials are do-it-alls and have-it-alls — in a good way. Research shows they far outpace other generations in focusing on these life priorities:1 Traveling Having a rewarding career Being recognized for accomplishments Enriching their intellectual horizons Looking great In other words, millennials expect to have fulfilling jobs that earn them kudos, but to never rest on their laurels and to always keep learning. Plus, they intend to travel the world while looking fabulous. (Sleep, apparently, is not a priority.) Kidding aside, millennials are rewriting the “life stage” playbook. Rather than compartmentalizing their journey into pre-, mid- and post-career periods, they are blending learning, earning and enjoying life in a continuum. What can the rest of us learn from millennials’ desire to embrace all of life in the moment? FEED YOUR BRAIN We know that learning ties to financial empowerment. College graduates earn approximately $1 million more over their lifetimes than high school graduates — and the gap increases with more education.2 But did you know that being a lifelong learner, as millennials so far tend to be, can also help reduce stress, delay cognitive decline and increase lifespan?3 Take educational tours, listen to TED talks, master a hobby, monitor online courses, read more. Enriching your brain will expand your horizons at any age. WORK TO LIVE Many millennials are opting for “portfolio careers,” amassing skills and experiences to build their value in the employment market or to start their own businesses. It’s a good model to follow. (And here are some ways to build your own career stock, while we’re at it.) The other takeaway is that many millennials say they don’t plan to retire. That philosophy squares with the research:  being engaged with meaningful work as we age is linked to better emotional and physical health.4 When tailoring your own retirement plan, consider ways you can continue to contribute your skills to others. CHILL AND FULFILL The most financially and emotionally confident Americans balance work-life responsibilities.5 Millennials take it even further. They’re not waiting for retirement to live their best lives. Harnessing digital technology, they’re blending the professional and personal in a holistic way to gain greater flexibility over how, where and when they work and play. This sense of control helps them avoid burnout even in demanding roles and drives high fulfillment, with 74 percent of millennials reporting they are satisfied with their lives. No matter where we are on life’s journey, the moment that matters most is right now, and maybe there is an opportunity to learn from the millennial mindset to add greater satisfaction, control and fulfillment to your life.   Jerry Maldonado Jerry specializes in retirement, insurance and tax off-set strategies for professionals and small business owners.  His focus is to help clients identify their definitions of legacy and financial security while simultaneously implementing innovative strategies to help make those financial goals a reality. For more information on his services, he can be reached at [email protected] JGM Consulting LLC [email protected] (951)858-0798 Lic#0H33733

2019-03-01T15:53:45+00:00 By |

My Life Is Boring

“Hold up your cup here is some positive tea that I want to pour out for you”.   Are you bored? Or more specifically, is your life boring? Do you feel stuck in your life? Is it hard for you to actually have fun? Don’t worry because I know how you feel. It seems we do the same things every day. So, for most of us, life is busy. However, we’re certain that there are times when we’re stuck at home, bored. We’ve all been there, when all our work is finished, or maybe everyone’s away and you’re home alone and bored. Today, let’s do something new and different. I would like to share with you 10 things to do when life gets bored.   Go on a walk/run. Challenge yourself to leave your cell phone in your purse or pocket. Admire the view. Create a Vision Board. (Write down 5 things that you want to accomplish by next month.) Strengthen your brain (Read/Listen to books.) Become a member of a fitness gym. Provide service to others. (Help someone in your community.) Host a game night. (Invite your friends over for a fun night of board games.) Clean out your closet. (Make a trash pile, a donate pile, and a keep pile.) Challenge yourself. (Set some goals for yourself that you never really thought of achieving and set out to accomplish them.) Get out of the house and meet new people. (One of the absolute best ways to rid yourself of boredom is through stimulating conversation.) Cook for fun. (If you don't really consider yourself a baker, look online for some beginner recipes and you will surely find something easy and delicious.)   “Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours."  – Dale Carnegie   The world and life – both are small. Go and enjoy every bit of it. Don’t miss the good things in life, worrying about the undesired. Stop being bored, and start being creative.   When life is boring, I hope you'll use these ideas to help you get out of any slump.   #AlrightNow #BreakOut

2019-02-15T13:28:16+00:00 By |

Making Your Passion Your Career (Despite the Naysayers)

“Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.” ~Chris Hadfield, astronaut   As a kid, you put zero thought into doing what you loved. You simply played, not knowing that your future self wouldn’t play that much at all. Work was serious business. When I was in kindergarten, our classroom had a block center, a board game shelf, a home center with dolls and a play stove, a drawing center, and a sand table. We naturally gravitated to the area that was most fun, with no thought about what would look good on our future resumes or college applications. As far back as I can remember, making up stories, writing them down, and telling them to anyone that would listen were my favorite activities. Fast forward to high school, then college. It’s Time to be an Adult Others told me that writing and art were lovely little hobbies, but I needed to choose a real career, something that would make money. I looked around to see what the other kids would do, trying to spark an idea. If it wasn’t writing, I was clueless. I never thought of asking, “Why not?” Why couldn’t writing be a career? I just accepted that a job or career had to be something you made a realistic, intellectual choice about, and not one that came from your heart. And I wasn’t the only one who received messages like this. I heard Oprah say that as a child she was asked what she thought she would do as a career. She said, “Well, I like talking to people.” The person responded, “Well, you can’t make money doing that.” 7 Failed Careers Later Years later, after I was told I couldn’t make a career out of writing, I ended up with a resume that was four pages long and days that were like a yearlong run-on sentence. I plowed through job after job, staring out the windows and riding the trains I hated to jobs I hated even more. I did a good job at most of them and earned a nice income. I was a school secretary, lifeguard, pre-school assistant, mortgage processor, office manager, dance teacher, and a few others I can’t remember. I taught sewing classes and even started two businesses thinking that being my own boss would solve my empty feelings. It didn’t. A Return to Love Then I reached a turning point and realized I needed to go back to doing what I loved and make it work somehow. I had a week off work and found myself writing from morning to night. I felt my headaches lifting and a sense of peacefulness developing. I submitted an essay to a local newspaper. The publication didn’t accept it, but I didn’t care. I knew it was time to make my passion my day job, and here is what I did. The next time I was asked what type of work I did, for the first time in my life, [...]

2018-10-26T12:01:37+00:00 By |

How a Hobby Can Boost Your Motivation and Change Your Life

“If you want to be happy, be.” ~Leo Tolstoy   We’ve all hit a low motivational point in our lives at one time or another. I am completely aware of that feeling of having nothing to fight for. In those reoccurring periods of despondency, I couldn’t find a reason to get myself out of bed. It’s funny that I got the life-changing question at a job interview. It was a stressful situation, and the hiring manager made it even more overwhelming when he looked at me straight in the eyes and asked: “What motivates you in life?” I can’t remember what I answered, but I do remember the devastation I felt from the true answer I found in me: “Nothing, nothing motivates me.” That was the turning point. Lots and lots of meditations later, I realized where all that frustration was coming from: I didn’t have a single thing that made me happy. Why was I so incomplete? I couldn’t get a job that made me feel useful, and all my friendships were superficial. I’ll spare you from the details of my reasoning process. I didn’t read, I didn’t write, I wasn’t trying to learn anything, I didn’t have a special someone in my life, and I didn’t have a hobby. A HOBBY! The sole thought of it made me burst in laughter. I’d never had a hobby. I basically had nothing to lose, so I decided I would give this idea a try. Picking a hobby was all I needed to do, and that’s how I ended up making endless reading lists. I found different reasons why I needed a hobby: It helps people express their creativity. I had an office job at the moment, and I was a total slave of routine. I needed that ‘escape’ activity that left me alone with my thoughts. I was already meditating every day, but I couldn’t call that a hobby… it was more like a responsibility for me. And, to be honest, it was making me even more miserable: I knew I needed a and I knew I didn’t have the courage to leave my job. A hobby like gardening, jewelry making, painting, knitting, or anything else related to creating would allow me to keep touch with the inner artist. That special activity clarifies the mind. It doesn’t matter what hobby I would pick. My options included reading, yoga, piano playing, running, or walking—all these activities have a meditative effect on the thoughts. The entire awareness is focused on the thing we are doing, and we can shut out every negative thought that was present before. In a way, when the hobby merges action and awareness, it becomes meditation in motion. Most hobbies have a social aspect. They give us the opportunity to interact with people who share our interests, so we develop connections that are not shallow at all. Let me tell you a secret: I have great communication with the people I met through [...]

2018-10-25T19:06:46+00:00 By |

8 Monday Morning Habits of Successful People You Should Adopt

Turn Your Dreary Monday into a Productive Day!   Monday: it’s a day many people dread because it signals the beginning of the work week for most. Going into a Monday with that attitude, though, is likely to put you in a negative mood for the entire day. Instead, why not view Mondays as a new beginning? It’s a chance to get back out there and succeed. While you may not necessarily want your weekend to end, it will, so you might as well embrace Monday. Many successful people have. They start their work week out with a number of habits that put them in the right frame of mind to get ahead. Here are eight of these habits that you should consider adopting. They Start the Day Early These successful people don’t hit the snooze button multiple times or have an alarm set for the last possible minute. Instead, they’re up early so they have plenty of time to get ready for the day, eat breakfast, take care of any chores they need to do, and still have plenty of time to make it to work. They ignore that little voice that says sleeping for a few more minutes isn’t a problem. Being up early gives them time to really wake up. They also don’t have to rush, don’t stress if traffic is backed up, and have some peaceful time to themselves before the Monday rush starts. They Eat Breakfast You’ve probably heard multiple times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how many people take the time to really eat a healthy breakfast? Many grab an energy bar or something similar, but those meals on the go are often not very healthy at all. If you get up early, you should have plenty of time to make yourself a healthy breakfast that includes a serving of fruit and a source of protein. They Get Motivated Instead of dreading Monday, these successful people take a little bit of time to motivate themselves. They get pumped up for the week, so they feel like they can take on anything. Some people spent a little time reading a motivational book, while others listen to motivational speakers on their way to work. Taking this time to get motivated will change your entire perspective on Monday and on the work week in general. They Exercise You don’t have to go to the gym the first thing Monday morning to start your week off right, but you should get up and move around. Successful people have more energy, think clearer, and feel happier on Mondays because they exercise before work. All you need to do is spend about 20 minutes doing a physical activity. You can go jogging around the block, lift weights, do pushups, or any combination of different exercises. What’s important is that you get those endorphins flowing. They Don’t Get Lost in a Sea of Emails Dealing with your email inbox may [...]

2018-10-09T17:28:40+00:00 By |

What’s Your Risk-Taking IQ? Research Suggests How Much Risk We’re Willing to Take is Pre-Wired

Tips on How to Be a Bolder You!   Have you ever wondered what drives people to take certain risks, such as going bungee jumping or risking a financial gamble? While a person’s tendency to take risks will often vary, a new study has proven that over time a stable general factor affects general risk preference. Swiss and German researchers have recently finished a study that looked into this general factor of individual risk preference, “which remains stable over time” and is similar to the general Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The study, which was published in two journals (Science Advances and Nature Human Behaviour) was based on findings that involved 1,500 participants. (Related: Preventable Lifestyle Risks Kill More Than One Million Americans Yearly.) Individuals often make life-changing decisions based on various factors, but we don’t really know the nature of the risk preference that significantly affects risk-related decisions. Does a person’s risk preference have anything to do with the context or is it mostly the same even in different scenarios? It looks like the answer to both questions is “yes,” and findings from a large-scale study done by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the University of Basel, which was accomplished with funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation, has the data to prove this. The Swiss and German researchers used three unique approaches to evaluate the risk preferences of 1,507 adults aged 20 to 36 years old: “self-reports on hypothetical risk scenarios,” “experimental behavioral tests involving financial incentives,” and “information on actual risky activities in everyday life.” Overall, the participants finished 39 tests in one day. The researchers then asked the 109 participants to retake the tests after six months to analyze the stability of the risk preference over time. Past studies on risk preference often relied on only one or only a handful of measurement instruments. Dr. Renato Frey from the University of Basel and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development shared, “Our findings indicate that risk-taking propensity has a psychometric structure similar to that of psychological personality characteristics. Like the general factor of intelligence, there is also a general factor of risk preference.” He added, “In other words, your willingness to take risks may vary across different areas of your life, but it will always be affected by the underlying general factor of risk preference.” To support this theory, the study’s results revealed that a person’s general factor of risk preference stays stable over time. The study also found that both the hypothetical scenarios and the reports on actual risk-taking behavior helped determine a similar analysis of a person’s unique risk preference. Meanwhile, a new picture resulted from the experimental behavior tests. Based on a comprehensive study of the differences, the researchers confirmed that for the different behavior test, participants used unique decision-making strategies. These strategies varied according to the type of behavioral task, like when risk was presented in the context of a game, or via a [...]

2018-10-09T18:52:11+00:00 By |