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“Hold up your cup here is some positive tea that I want to pour out for you.”   We all have dreams, don’t we? Dreams of being the most successful person at work. Dreams of being a thriving entrepreneur. Dreams of writing that book that you always wanted to. But then something comes in between and those dreams are tucked away in the garage of our lives for that one day in the future.   Why do you have to wait for that one day? Why do we have to tuck our dreams away? Why have you settled 5-13 years on a job you're not happy at? Deep down, you know this is not what you want out of your life, even though it may be convenient financially. You know exactly what you want to do, you know how you want to live your life, but something is holding you back.   Is it the little voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough? Is it the negative judgment from concerned friends and family? Do you realize that these little voices can chip away at your self-confidence? Yes, they could fatally corrode your confidence. Well, today I want you to recapture your passion and confidence for your dreams. Do you know that your dream matters? Do you know that your dream will serve a purpose on earth?  Do you know that your dream will help someone in life?   Your dream should not be cast down or put on hold. If it is friends, families, and acquaintances that are advising you not to follow your dream and are unknowingly holding you back, then don’t share your thoughts with them. That simple. Yes, it is great to have feedback, but only if it is going to encourage and develop you, not demolish your confidence. If you really believe in your dream, ask the experts for directions and rational suggestions, not concerned friends and family members that don’t know all the facts.    Your dream is non-negotiable!! That's right say it with me, "NON-NEGOTIABLE!"  This means you refuse to negatively discuss your dream or even change it. Let me say it this way, "What you dreamt to do, no one or anything should be able to negatively discuss it or change it. It's Non-Negotiable!" -Lyoshi Esters   Here are some Non-Negotiable tips for you:   Eliminate Negative Self-Talk – This Is Non-Negotiable! Negative self-talk limits you, increases stress, and hurts your self-concept. Here’s a tip, as you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind, you can stop your thought mid-stream by saying to yourself “Stop.” Saying this aloud will be more powerful, and having to say it aloud will make you more aware of how many times you are stopping negative thoughts, and where. Replace it with positive affirmations like: I ENJOY THE VARIETY OF LIFE, I SEE AND VALUE MY UNIQUENESS, I AM EASY ON MYSELF, I GO FOR THAT WHICH MAKES [...]

2021-04-02T17:46:33-07:00By |

The 5 Main Factors That Establish Your Credit Score

To most people, explaining a credit score would be like explaining how our lungs work… We know the basic idea We know there are good and bad things that can affect it And that’s about it There are some experts out there that could explain all the ins-and-outs of each, but most of us couldn’t really explain them if we tried. Credit scores are an important part of our lives, but unless you work in Finance, you probably haven’t spent too much time learning the intricate details behind what affects your credit score. Since finances are difficult to discuss and conceptualize, we wanted to break down what a credit score is, how credit scores are calculated, and what factors into establishing your credit score. You don’t need to be an expert in finance to follow this article – this is information everyone needs to be aware of.   What is a Credit Score? A credit score is defined by as “a number between 300 – 850 that depicts a consumer’s creditworthiness.” Just like in most sports, a higher score is better, because the higher your score is, the better you look to potential lenders. Think about opening a credit card or trying to get a loan for a business or house – your credit score tells the company how likely you are to pay back the money you have borrowed in the past. Low credit scores tell companies that you are a risk for repaying the money you borrow, so they could either deny your loan or charge you a higher interest rate for paying it back. In general, a good credit score is between 670 – 739, and a score of 800 or above is considered as “Excellent.” Now that we’ve covered what a credit score is – let’s talk about what factors affect your credit score. Credit scores are sometimes referred to as FICO Scores because it is a tool and formula created by the data analytics company FICO. The factors are listed in the order of how much they impact your credit score (35% of your credit score depends on #1, and 10% of your credit score depends on #5).   Payment History Paying bills on time is one of the main factors in either increasing or decreasing your credit score. Making late payments on accounts shows lenders a potential pattern for not paying back the money you have borrowed.  This will make them hesitant in giving you a good deal (or even working with you at all).   How Much You Owe This factor is based on the amount you owe vs. how much credit you have available. For example, if I have a credit card with a $5,000 limit, and I owe $4,500 on it, then it looks unfavorable to lenders. If you are close to maxed out on the credit you have available, then lenders will think you cannot manage/pay off your credit effectively. The goal of how [...]

2020-12-18T10:47:04-08:00By |

6 Helpful Tips If You Are Struggling to Make a Mortgage Payment

Are you facing challenges right now? These financial challenges could be any kind – whether you are working on a reduced salary or you’ve completely lost your job. This pandemic has caused chaos in every area of life, but none more so than in our financial lives. What was once an area of general safety is now an area of stress, anxiety, and fear. These times have made us shift our priorities and how we approach our finances. But what if it isn’t enough? You may have already made sacrifices to save money. You may have cut unnecessary spending in all areas of your life. You may have started budgeting in an extremely strict way to help save money and you can.   You could have done everything possible to stay financially healthy, but it may be getting to be too much. Now, one of the biggest and most important expenses – your mortgage – is at risk. You are struggling to make payments every month. Some are easier than others, but every month is a challenge. Fortunately, you have options to help stay afloat in these challenging times. I want to share 6 tips for anyone who is in a difficult place financially and is struggling to make their mortgage payments every month.   Decide if you want to keep your home Before going through any program or process, you must evaluate your house situation – do you want to keep it, or sell it? If the amount you owe is less than what the home is currently worth, the best option for you may be to sell the house. This can be mentally and emotionally challenging for a lot of people, so it is important to have an honest discussion and decide the best thing for you. If you want to keep your house, then you have other options to help with your mortgage payments.   Consider Asking for “Forbearance” If you are struggling with your finances, you can ask your lender (whoever owns your mortgage, like a bank) for “forbearance.” “Forbearance” is when your lender might reduce your monthly mortgage amount or put a hold on it (where you would not have to pay anything). This solution is only temporary and does not mean you don’t have to pay anything back – it just means you can resume paying the normal amount once your financial situation improves. Another option like forbearance is a Loan Modification Plan. Loan Modifications change the terms of the loan you currently have to make it more manageable based on your current situation.   Consider a Debt Settlement A debt settlement is where the lender agrees to take less than the amount owed. While this may seem like a good option, debt settlements will lower your credit score and affect any future financial decisions made by companies you want to borrow money from. It’s a short-term fix with long-term effects.   Consider Filing for Unemployment If you have [...]

2020-12-18T10:39:13-08:00By |

Your Guide to Self-Improvement In 2021

Self-improvement comes in many forms; it can be outward or inward, superficial or deeply meaningful. You might decide this year to change your style, lose weight, resolve to keep in touch with family members. Whatever you choose to help you feel like you’re living your best life should be considered self-improvement, and that means doing a little planning. Many people associate self-improvement with physical changes, such as getting fit, and while that can be a worthy goal, it’s important to remember that improving yourself can also be about making better choices for your own mental health or making a decision to be a more involved parent. Personal growth doesn’t have to be something you can see; it can also be about the way you feel and the way you interact with the people you love. Making these changes may not be easy at first; anything worthwhile usually takes a little time and effort. However, if you have a good plan to start with and the motivation to see it through, changing your life for the better is attainable. AlrightNow offers a few tips on how to go about it.   Start with professional goals If 2020 turned your life upside down, you may find yourself rethinking everything from the city where you live to the job you currently hold. Perhaps you’ve realized that it’s time to change up your professional goals. Maybe you’re even ready to commit to launching your own business. Your first few months of entrepreneurship will be very busy, and it’s important to establish yourself as professional and reliable early on. To get started on the right foot, you’ll also need to register your business in your state. Incorporating as a California LLC is a smart choice because it grants you special tax deductions and limited liability. Filing through an online formation service is an inexpensive and convenient way to register.   Get a new wardrobe If you feel you’re in a slump with a career you love, it’s possible that all you need is a new wardrobe for a new attitude. While it may sound superficial, many people have found that buying new clothing in order to dress for the job they want rather than the job they have helps to boost their self-confidence. It might just give you the motivation you need to go for that promotion, or to ask for a raise.   Change something that makes you feel self-conscious Everyone has something that makes them feel self-conscious, whether it’s their smile or the way they interact with people socially. Feeling awkward and insecure isn’t just for teenagers, and it can really affect your self-esteem. If the issue is something physical, consider moving forward with a change that will help you feel better. For instance, you might decide to get dental implants to fix your smile. Or maybe you have a regrettable tattoo that you can now afford to erase through laser removal. If it makes you feel more [...]

2021-03-09T16:22:03-08:00By |

The 5 Best Ways to Deal with Debt Collectors

Almost 80% of Americans have some sort of debt. It could be from medical bills, personal loans, or payments for assets like a house or car. This large percentage shows that if you are dealing with debt, then you are not alone. Managing finances in ideal circumstances is challenging, and now we are going through times where economic hardship is affecting every person and every business. People everywhere are now either taking salary cuts, being furloughed, or are losing their jobs altogether. A sudden reduction or loss of income can cause people to fall behind in their bills and get into debt. Unfortunately, if you do not pay your debts on time, then you will have to deal with a debt collection agency. Debt collectors are third-party companies that are hired by the lenders (like a credit card company) to ensure that they will get their money. Debt collectors are typically hired if a debt has not been paid in over 90 days. Dealing with debt collectors can be a stressful experience – due to your situation, you may have not been able to pay anything towards your debt, and now you have someone calling you constantly to try and get money. Even though debt collectors have a job to do, there are ways that you can handle them so you can protect yourself and create a plan to get back on the right track.   Do Not Ignore Them If you have debt collectors calling you, you probably already feel shameful that it had to come to this. This feeling can lead you to want to ignore the situation. However, even though things may seem stressful, ignoring the situation will only make it worse. Not paying towards your debt at all (and ignoring them when they try to get the payment) will damage your credit score because it looks like you are trying to avoid paying anything that you owe. You may be stressed, but you need to face the situation.   Figure Out What’s Yours Before you can develop a plan on how to pay your debt, you need to know the exact amount owed and to whom it is owed. When a debt collector calls asking for payment, the first thing you can do is request a letter detailing everything about your debt. Getting this information in writing is part of your rights, and this will show if the debt collector is legitimate or not (legitimate collectors have no problem sending you the detailed information in writing). In addition to the detailed letter, ask the collector for information on how to dispute the claim. Many times, people have been asked to pay back a debt that is not theirs, so you need to know how to challenge any errors you see on the report.   Know What They Can or Can’t Do Debt collection is a job like any other – they have a goal, and they want to meet that goal. [...]

2020-12-18T10:05:08-08:00By |

6 Tips to Set Goals for a Successful Life

Pretend you are working on a project. It could be a project at work or at home. How will you know when you’re done? More importantly – how will you know if you were successful? The only way to know if you’ve achieved something is by setting goals. Goals give you a target to aim for and a way to see how you did. If my goal is to do 5 situps every day, then at the end of the day, I can tell if I’ve met the goal or not. But how do you set goals that will help you in anything you want to do? Instead of just focusing on family, or your job, or fitness – how can you create a strategic goal system that you can apply to all areas of your life? I want to share six techniques for setting strategic goals for a successful life. These techniques can be used for health goals, professional goals, or even personal goals like learning a new language.   Focus on Your “Why?” Once you set a goal, you need to understand why you want to achieve that goal. No matter what you are doing, it will take time and energy for you to reach your goal. You may experience setbacks that could discourage you, or you may just not be in the mood. Focusing on your “Why?” helps motivate you when nothing else will. If you want to be healthier and more fit, then your “Why?” could be that you want to play sports with your children, grandchildren, or friends. When you don’t have any motivation (which will happen at some point), then you can remember your “Why?” and it can push you to get moving.   Break Them Down If your goal is to learn guitar, then you’re already starting at a disadvantage. What does “learning guitar” mean? How will you know when you are done “learning guitar?” Starting with a vague and general goal is a quick way for you to lose interest. Break the overall goal down into small pieces. For the guitar example, you could say “For the next 10 days, I’m going to learn the A, D, and G Chords.” That’s it. Instead of this overwhelming goal of learning “all the guitar,” you made your life easier by focusing on something simple. Once you’re done with those chords, then learn three more, and so on. You can apply this to anything – learning a new language, remodeling a house – because every huge project is just a combination of lots of small steps.   Figure Out What You’re Going to Give Up After you set a goal to start something, you need to figure out how much time you will devote to that goal and what you’re going to give up to accomplish it.  If you’re going to spend an hour everyday learning guitar, then you need to know where you are going to take that hour [...]

2020-12-17T23:53:38-08:00By |

How to Become Your Own Boss with Little/No Money

How good would it feel to say you work for yourself? To tell people that you are your own boss? The idea of entrepreneurship is an exciting one – you get to run your own business, call all the shots, and your success is largely dependent on you. Ever since I graduated from college, I have been an entrepreneur. I was attracted to the idea of becoming my own boss, so I put all my efforts into starting my first business - a real estate sales office and mortgage company. I ended up selling that very first business for a substantial profit and since then, I’ve started multiple businesses in entertainment and in other arenas and have been able to turn my ideas into sustainable business models. Big ideas and grand visions are a great motivator towards becoming an entrepreneur, but the challenge is in the execution. In my first years of entrepreneurship, I had to learn how to financially survive personally and professionally. I was determined to become an entrepreneur but like all entrepreneurs, I made some mistakes along the way and learned from them. I want to share some tips with you on how to become your own boss with little or no money. It would have been great if I had tons of money stashed away for my first business venture, but that wasn’t the case. I wish I had known about these tips sooner because they would have made my life a lot easier.   Start Part-Time “Go Big or Go Home.” A mantra that is repeated by everyone as a simultaneous motivator and insult. If you’re passionate about your new business, you’re going to want to dive in. However, “go big or go home” is dangerous. If you don’t have the money to solely focus only on your new business, then it may be wise to continue your day job while you work on your customer leads and new business strategies in your off time (evenings, weekends, etc.). It may seem like a lot, but it’s the financially smart move – keep another job as a way to keep bringing in income while you work on building your new business, which leads to our next point.   Cut Costs Now If you’re going to start a business, you need to save every dollar you can. That means spending less on frivolous things like expensive coffee or expensive toys. You must save your money if you want to survive as a new entrepreneur. If you do it right, your saved time and money will pay off when you’ve learned how to refine your strategy and start getting more customers. There’s a reason why so many successful people started their business in their house/garage – it was free. These are the types of sacrifices you need to make if you want to thrive as an entrepreneur.   Keep ‘Em Separate It may be tempting to combine your personal and professional finances to [...]

2020-12-17T22:50:04-08:00By |

5 Great Tips on How to Ask for a Promotion

Do you know your worth as an employee? The quickest way to determine your worth as an employee is by your salary – how much you are getting paid each year. To the company, your salary is how much value you are bringing to them by working there. We’re not here to discuss or debate the “fairness” of what companies pay their employees – there are many factors that go into how salaries are calculated. Instead, our goal here is to understand how much value you bring to your company, and how to make sure you are being compensated for that value. Money is always a sensitive subject – you may not want to bring it up because you don’t want to be seen as “greedy”, or you may not know how to start the conversation. But if you know your worth and are ready for the next step in your career, here are tips on how you can ask for a promotion professionally.   Understand What You Are Trying to Achieve So, you’ve decided you want a promotion – but why? What is it about your current situation that makes you want a change? If you’re tired of your job, then promotion isn’t the only option – you could explore any potential transfer opportunities within your company. If you’re tired of your company’s politics, then getting a promotion won’t fix that (it actually may make it worse) Understanding what you want to achieve helps clarify the steps you need to take to get there. It may be a promotion, or it may be a different job in a different company. Before you start the process, you need to understand the goal.   Build Your Case Now that you’ve decided you want to ask for a promotion, the next step is creating your case of why they should give you a promotion. You need to prepare the information like a court case and prove to the jury (in this case, your manager) that, based on the “evidence” of all you have accomplished so far, that you deserve a promotion. Data like… Projects you’ve led Targets you’ve met/exceeded The money you’ve made or saved for the company Past Performance Reviews Research from websites like Look at your performance objectively (If I were the manager, does this convince me that they deserve a promotion?) This can be a reality check because, if you can’t find convincing data, then you won’t be successful when asking for a promotion. But hey, that’s ok. Now you have a head start and know what to focus on so you can start building your case when you are ready to ask for the promotion.   Bring It Up During Performance Reviews Timing is everything, and Performance Reviews are an ideal time to discuss your next steps with your manager. Performance Reviews are when companies start looking at their “bench strength” – who they have in the company that is either ready [...]

2020-12-17T18:34:55-08:00By |

4 Smart Money Moves You Need to Implement Now

Lockdowns. Job Loss. Disease. We are living in some of the most difficult times in recent memory. Whether you have children who can’t attend school in-person or you’re struggling with finances due to a job loss or reduced salary, things are stressful everywhere. That stress can be physical, mental, emotional, or even financial.  Saving money is a critical need for everyone right now. Uncertainty is the standard, for now, and we all need to prepare ourselves as best we can to get through this thing safely.   Your priority should always be your health because you won’t be able to do anything if you’re sick (and you don’t want to worry about paying large medical bills on top of everything else going on). Once you feel good about how to protect your health, next you need to focus on managing your money. We don’t know how long this will last, but we do know we need to be smarter about every financial decision we make. Here are 4  smart money moves to implement now to set yourself up for a better financial future.   Budget by Questioning Everything Before you start spending less money, you first need to know what you’re spending your money on now. Create a list of everything you spend your money on, starting with the two essentials – bills (like energy and rent) and food. You need a roof over your head and food to eat, but everything else should be up for debate. Whether it’s a streaming TV service or your daily run for expensive coffee, there may be things in your life that, at one time, you couldn’t imagine yourself living without. Now’s the time to re-evaluate how you live and how you can set yourself up for a better life in the future. Look at everything you either spend money on or want to spend money on (like toys, electronics, or anything else that may seem like a luxury to others). These things should be the first things to go – either don’t buy them, sell what you have, or both. The goal here is not to prevent yourself from buying anything fun ever again. You just need to be smarter about how you spend your money now to set yourself up for a better financial situation in the future.   Start or Add to Your Emergency Fund If you haven’t already – start an emergency fund. You can even take the money you were spending on unessential stuff (from the budgeting activity in #1) and start putting that into savings. You were spending it anyway, so you’re not going to miss it. But now, you’ll get to keep it. If you’re still working, in addition to manually saving money, start saving automatically by setting up an automatic deposit from your paycheck into a savings account. Put aside as much as you can, but even 5 – 10%, saved every time you get paid, can add up significantly. [...]

2020-12-17T17:47:21-08:00By |

The 4 Smartest Ways to Borrow Money When You Need Help

Have you ever had to ask someone to borrow money? Borrowing money is one of those topics that most people avoid talking about – we don’t know how to handle the situation and we don’t feel comfortable either asking for money or being asked for money. However, borrowing money is something that happens thousands of times today. Asking to borrow money makes us feel like a failure, where we cannot pay something for ourselves and we need to ask someone else for help. Asking to borrow money may make some people feel like they are a burden to others. It does not have to be this way. Even if you are in a situation where you cannot pay back money that you are owed, borrowing money can be simple when handled correctly. Here are 4 solid ways to borrow money to help you regain your financial health.   0% Purchase Credit Cards With the economy struggling in these challenging times, more options are available to people to help with finances. One of these options is the 0% purchase credit card. These are cards that offer a period anywhere from three months to two years, where any purchases made will not have any interest tied to them. Interest on purchases can make the amount owed increase substantially, so being able to purchase large items (furniture, holiday shopping, etc.) without interest is great. However, it is important to remember that the 0% interest period is not forever – if the amount you owe is not paid back in the timeframe, then interest will be applied to whatever is still owed. Credit cards are the most common way to borrow money, but this also makes them the most likely to be misused. It is easy to apply for a credit card, and it is also easy to forget about it and have your debt increase rapidly.   Bank Loans Another way to borrow money is through your bank. People feel comfortable dealing with their bank because there is already a relationship there – they have your financial history and have many options available to you based on your situation. Banks are a great resource to borrow money because they handle everything legally – they will not try and scam you or use illegal tactics. The only con with banks is the fees for their products – borrowing from a bank can result in high fees for applications and services. However, sometimes borrowing from a bank legitimately is better than borrowing from an illegitimate lender that could be handling things illegally.   Home Equity Loans A home equity loan is also known as a “second mortgage”, where you can get a lower interest rate and spread out the borrowed time over a longer period. Think of a home equity loan as a credit card – you get approved a certain amount (in this case – on your home’s value), and you can borrow up to that amount. Home Equity [...]

2020-12-17T17:24:47-08:00By |

4 Ways to Connect Your Passion with Your Career

The word “passion” is defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion.” Can you say that about the job you are currently in? The idea that you can barely contain your excitement and enjoyment from what you are doing every day? If you don’t have a passion for what you are doing, you will not feel fulfilled in your life. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of money – passion does not always equal “rich.” Finding a way to pursue your passion full-time, as a career, can mean the difference between living your life to the fullest vs. just living. But how do we connect the passion we have into a career? It starts inward and works its way outward. Here are 4 ways to connect your passion with your career.   Interview Yourself Before you create any plans on joining your passion and your career, the first thing you must ask yourself is “What am I passionate about?” This means the answer should not be… What other people think is cool What other people think you should do What other people are doing It starts with who you are. What are your values? What gets you excited? What makes you feel fulfilled like you achieved something worthwhile? These are the questions that dig into the core of who you are and how you approach the world. If you value helping others and get excited watching others achieve their goals – then teaching or coaching may be the field for you. Knowing who you are by questioning who you are provides important information and acts as a compass directing you towards a career you are passionate about.   Interview Others Now that you’ve got a foundation of information, the next thing is to compare your perspective with other people’s perspectives of you. The people you ask should be loved ones or close friends that you trust to give you honest answers. Ask them questions like… What do you feel I’m good at? What things do I get excited about? What do I like to talk about? The goal here is not to understand where you could improve. The goal is to understand how other people perceive you, which could spark an insight into your personality that you didn’t previously know about. These insights may cause you to think of a career or industry that you’ve never considered but maybe something you would thrive in.   Figure Out What You’re Trying to Do The information you get from the above two steps gives you a great foundation on what you could do. The next step is to understand what you *should* do based on what you now know. Do you want to help a certain group of people (kids, adults, athletes, etc.)? Do you want to try and solve a problem (“Why hasn’t anybody ever tried _______?”) Your interviews (with yourself and others) will guide you on what type of problem you can solve [...]

2020-12-17T14:58:42-08:00By |

4 Smart Ways to Manage Money After a Job Loss

Have you ever planned to lose your job? We’re not talking about where you resign or give a 2-weeks’ notice – we’re talking about being unexpectedly laid off or terminated. Losing your job suddenly and without warning can feel like a punch in the gut – you are caught completely off-guard and you don’t know what your next move is. This pain has never been more relevant than in today’s pandemic environment. One month, everything is doing fine, and businesses are running as usual. The next month, thousands of businesses are shut down, the workforce has been reduced dramatically, and for those who still have a job, their salary has been cut. When you lose your job unexpectedly, you feel pain in different ways – your pride, your confidence, and your self-image all take a hit. However, the most powerful pain you can feel is the anxiety related to your finances. You used to have a consistent income that you could rely on to pay your bills and buy groceries, and now that income has been taken away. You’re feeling lost, confused, and stressed about the future. Fortunately, even in these uncertain times, there are ways you can manage your money to keep yourself going. We want to share 4 ways to manage money after a job loss.   Apply for Unemployment Applying for unemployment has been looked at negatively with some people saying they’d never file for unemployment. In your situation, you must change your mindset. Unemployment was created specifically to help people who are not currently working so they can receive some sort of income until they get another job. Apply as soon as you can so you can feel secure that, regardless of how long it takes, you will receive some income in the meantime.   Budget Like Your Life Depends on It The next step in managing your money is understanding your budget for your essential expenses – anything that will help you survive (food and shelter). You must eliminate any unnecessary spending, and the first step is to start at zero and figure out how much your expenses are for your main bills – rent, bills (electricity, water, etc.), and groceries. “Groceries” here means food to eat – not unessential items like expensive coffee or sweet treats. You don’t know how long you’re going to be unemployed, so you need to make every penny count. This also includes using any savings (”emergency funds”) you have available. Note – there is a difference in savings and a 401k or retirement plan. Using a 401k or Retirement Plan before retirement age (59 ½) means you will pay penalties and therefore not get your full amount (which you earned). Stay away from the temptation to use anything from your 401k/retirement fund unless it is an absolute emergency.   Your Job Now is to Find a New Job Once you find yourself unemployed, you have a new job – getting yourself back into being [...]

2020-12-17T14:47:54-08:00By |