Personal and Professional Development: Life Lesson of 39 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Personal and Professional Development

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Headway

It seems like in today’s world, most individuals reach a point in their career and just…settle in. There’s nothing wrong with that; the world is changing, and so are many things in our daily lives. With so much to demand our attention, it’s easy for personal and professional development to take a back seat.

But no matter who you are or what you do for a living, it’s important to spend time each month—ideally throughout the year—exercising your mind, developing new skills, and keeping abreast of the industry trends and best practices. All of this will benefit you personally, and it will add value back to your business or your employer.

If you want to earn more money, you’ll need to learn new things.

And the best part is, working on your personal and professional development doesn’t have to become a financial burden. There are many free and low-cost ways to keep growing:

  • Read books
  • Take online courses
  • Read trade magazines
  • Subscribe to blogs and social media accounts of industry leaders
  • Talk with your competitors about their best practices

This last point is an often-overlooked but crucial step in your continuing personal and professional development. You can learn so much from other people—especially competitors—and talking shop with others in your industry is an important opportunity to see things from a different perspective.

Brown and ripe or green and growing—it’s your choice!

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Living Off Your Investments: The Transition to Mailbox Money: Life Lesson 28 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Living Off Your Investments: The Transition to Mailbox Money

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Thomas Ashlock

Transitioning to living off mailbox money (living off your investments for the rest of your life) is an attractive idea, but retiring is not as simple as having enough money saved up and walking away. People on the verge of retirement are often afraid of moving away from the comfort of a paycheck every two weeks and living entirely off a set income.

It sounds easy in theory—after all, if you’ve been doing your financial planning homework, you know exactly how much money you need to retire. But even so, living off your investments can be a scary proposition. When it comes time to make the leap, feeling overwhelmed and uncertain is an understandable reaction. It’s true: living on a fixed income has its challenges. What’s more, when you make that transition, there is usually no going back. You have to get it right the first time.
That said, even the scariest of situations can be made a lot less daunting if we’re ready for them.
Here are a few ways you can prepare for the transition to living off your mailbox money:

  • Have your home paid off. Living off your mailbox money is a lot less scary when you don’t have a mortgage.
  • Practice your retirement budget. Stick to a retirement-income budget plan for six to twelve months. Can you actually live on what you think you can?
  • Practice a modified work schedule. Try taking more time away from work to get used to the idea of not working five days a week.
  • Retire in stages. Work on decreasing your hours in the office and your income from work over a year.

If you put in the steps to prepare for the transition, you’ll have the confidence to make the leap and start living off your investments full time.

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Paying for college – Why do we think others should pay for it? Life Lesson 14 of 50.

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Paying for college – Why do we think others should pay for it?

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

It’s a real worry parents have today and not surprising because college can cost upwards of $100,000 or more. Paying for college has become very worrisome and we’ve created a system that encourages you to want others to help pay for some or all of your child’s education.

It’s a natural question to ask where a high school graduate is going to college? And if the response is anything but a four-year degree, it seems like we look down on them. Not every kid is college bound or right for a four-year program. And that is Ok.

There are so many high paying jobs were a technical school provides the skills necessary. From an auto mechanic, HVAC, LPN, RN, plumber, lineman, etc. I know because I hire many of these people because I have no idea how to perform these tasks myself.

College tuition has gotten out of control and I suspect will never change in our society. Here are a few ways to help you plan for paying for college.

1. Start setting money aside the day children are born
2. Start at two year program if needed and then transfer to a four year program.
3. Look at options at technical colleges.
4. Don’t go to college. My most financially successful clients do not have formal educations and instead pursued their passions and worked hard.
5. Find an employer who offers tuition reimbursement or on the job training.

Kids have more options than ever before. If your child’s education is a top priority, you might need to redirect your financial priorities to saving for their education.

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The real fear of starting a business? Life Lesson 3 of 50.

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

The real fear of starting a business?

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

For many of you, you made the leap of starting your own business and would never go back to work for someone else. Many might say you might be unemployable at this point. Others of you have an idea, passion, or seek to be fulfilled in another way, and you know becoming a business owners would do that. But yet, one major item holds most people from starting their own business and it simple…It’s the lack of a paycheck.

It’s hard for many to start their own business because of the that need, or desire, for a reliable paycheck. That’s the biggest roadblock for most people who want to be entrepreneur – money. Even with the best business plans and hard work, 50 percent of businesses don’t make it five years. The odds are not in your favor.

I’ve been self-employed for 18 years and it wasn’t always an easy road. Even today, it’s not easy, but the challenges can be easier to overcome. Maybe that’s because of experience, on the job training, my ability to handle stress or that my perspective on life and business have evolved.

If starting a business was easy, everyone one would do it. However, it requires a level of personal and professional commitment like nothing else. Sacrifices will happen including time with your family, friends and your money. If you are looking to start a business, let’s talk on creating a plan that allows you to fulfill your dreams, passions and hopefully make a living at.

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Enhancing Your Wealth One Step at a time

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Enhancing Your Wealth One Step at a time

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

It’s time to start enhancing your wealth one step at a time. But how do you accomplish this? Break it down and take it slowly. This doesn’t happen in one day.

Start with small decisions that build up over time to create a big impact. Take a step back and look at your life. How do you feel about money? Do you feel secure, confident, and covered? Feeling worried, get upset and feel insecure about money? Avoiding the topic altogether? Assessing your relationship with money is important before you start to take these steps.

Once you understand where you are coming from, it will be easier to begin to shift your thinking. Money is just a means to be able to do the things that you enjoy. If you aren’t enjoying your life, no amount of money is going to change that.

1. Determine your values. What is it that sets you on fire and gets you up in the morning? What do you look forward to at the end of the day or the end of the week? Things that truly bring you joy and happiness in this world? Maybe when you think about all of this you realize that the best things in life are free for you. In that case, wonderful. However, the fact of the matter is that life costs money. Even just spending time with those you love usually involves a meal, a destination, or some type of entertainment.

2. Cut out the unnecessary stuff. Do you have a junk drawer at home? The one with miscellaneous pens, rubber bands, and free giveaways? Why is it that we hang onto so much that has no value? We live in a culture that loves stuff. Somehow stuff became a sign that someone has ‘made it’ when they have a bigger house, more toys, and a flashier lifestyle. But what in your life could you do without? Most of it!

3. Reframe your thoughts. When you think about saving vs. spending, shift your mindset. Would you rather get an expensive coffee drink with a flavor shot and whipped cream on top every day of the week or retire to a house on the water where nobody knows your name? Life is full of trade-offs, and unless we begin to think of the future as something to consider in this moment, we will never have what we think we need down the road.

4. Finally, discuss with others. Yes, it’s taboo to talk about personal topics. But get a feel for what other people make, spend, and save. Determine whether you’d like to make your money go further for you now or in the future. Talk to trusted advisors, friends, and people who are willing to engage in conversation. Especially if you’re struggling financially, talk about it.

In short, I am simplifying your life and saving your time by taking care of this end of the deal. You can focus on your kids’ sporting events, family birthdays, and work deadlines while I worry about your money. Know that it is in good hands.

One common thread that you and I have is 24 hours in a day. If you don’t protect your calendar, before you know it, you are no longer in charge of your schedule. We need to protect one our most important resources – time.

I’ve become guarded of my schedule over the years, so I don’t feel overwhelmed with the day to day expectations of my family and clients. I know I live by a calendar, I have to in order to keep it all straight each day. It’s even typical for my wife and I to compare our schedules to meet the demands of our family. Yet, that’s usually while we are in bed, with computers in each of our laps. Do you have a favorite calendar resource you use to track and schedule your meetings? Do you make a checklist on there too?

The bottom line is that neither you nor I can meet with everyone. I wish I could, I truly enjoy hearing each person’s stories. However, we need to protect our time and our calendar to focus on the items that are most important to us in helping us reaching our goals – personally and professionally.

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10 + 1 =

Dream Board Session

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Dream Board Session

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Have you heard? We are hosting a dream board session on July 28! Learn more by going to this facebook event page. We decided to hold this event because dream boards have become very important in our own lives. We use this boards, which sit right next to our desks, as daily reminders of the ideas, goals, dreams, plans, and visions we have for ourselves and our futures. By having these within sight every single day, we become much more motivated to do something about those dreams. Another piece of it is that these dreams cannot be accomplished alone. There is power in community and in sharing with others. For these reasons, we have created this session that will allow you to do the same for yourself and even sign up if you’re interested in follow-up.

OR watch the video below

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