078 My Business/Life Sucks. How Can I Make It Better?

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Topics and your questions answered on the show

  • April asks for tips on managing a budget together
  • Melissa (Albany, CA) asks how to manage finances for a family of five
  • Please read this email.
  • Dawning (Tualatin, OR) asks how to get advice from people in her field.
  • Rich wants to know about financial advisors vs. financial planners.
  • Wake up call for Jusme.

Links mentioned in the show

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My Business/Life Sucks. How Can I Make It Better?

Scott A. T.: Yeah. Broadcasting from One Dallas Tower, welcome to the Financial Rock Star Show. I’m your host Scott Alan Turner, ready to help you get out of debt, save more money and retire early. In the studio with me is Producer Katie, who saw a monkey in Costa Rica, and I didn’t. On the show today what to do if your business or life sucks and I’ll be answering your questions about money, business, and life. You have a question you’d like answered on the show, visit GoAskScott.com. You can leave me a voice mail. There’s a button on the side of the screen now. You can click it to record your question. It’s called Your Questions Coming Straight from Your Mouth, and they get included on the show.

I want to do a quick to episode 61 where we talked about cars and their reliability. I talked about the consumer report studies showing older cars perform reliably just fine contrary to popular perception. You know that millions or tens of thousands of survey respondents to get that real world data. I don’t remember the exact number. What I forgot to include in that episode is my own experience from the cars that I’ve had.

The first car I had lasted 10 years until I traded that in, lost 1 alternator during that time. That wasn’t that expensive to fix. The truck that I owned, that was a 10-year-old car when we got rid of that and traded it in for a super safe scooter. Yeah. During that time, replaced 2 batteries and 1 alternator, and you’re always going to have to replace a battery on a vehicle every 3 to 5 years. That’s just common maintenance. That’s not a breakdown of the vehicle, and then the third, which I’m driving right now, that is coming up on 9 years, 2 batteries, no issues. For my own life, 3 vehicles which have been 9 to 10 years, and the only issues with them have been the alternators. That’s been my own, personal experience. You may have different experiences, but again, going back to the consumer reports, on average, older vehicles are going to be just fine. On to today’s topic.

Many, many years ago, a time in my life, my dad had prostate cancer he was diagnosed with. He got that treated. He came out of that fine. Within a week span of that, my girlfriend at the time of many years, she gave me the boot, she said we’re done, and I didn’t like the place that I was in working-wise, working in a day job and then my side gig, pulling 80 hours a week, which I have been doing for many years, one of the reasons for the breakup. Generally not a good time or place in my life, so what did I do about it? What did I do?

I decided I was going to pull weeds, but not just any weeds. I was going to pull weeds for 3 to 4 hours a week. I pulled weeds. I decided I’m going to turn my life around. I’m going to make some changes. I went and volunteered at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and I helped the gardens out there in Friday mornings generally pulling weeds. As if I didn’t have enough weeds in my own yard, I had to drive 45 minutes, pull weeds for 3 to 4 hours as a volunteer, and then come back home, go to work, and I did this for a period of time. When I was getting married and moving, I told the Botanical Gardens, “Hey, I’m getting married. I’m moving. I’m super busy right now. I’ve pulled my last week,” and then I moved on from there. Then once I get settled in after marriage, I started volunteering at a hospital once a week, helping them out with their IT stuff.

One sure fire way to fix your situation if you feel that your business sucks or your life sucks or you’re just not in a place where you want to be is to help someone else fix their situation. The challenge is to make one person’s life better. If you’re a business owner, find a customer and make their life better. If you’re an employee, make a coworker’s life better. Give them a card, say, “Hey, can I buy you lunch?” Whatever. Someone around you is struggling more than you are. You don’t know it though.

Every one of us puts up a good front, especially on Facebook. Everything is awesome on Facebook. I got my new car. I got my new clothes, on vacation, picture with the kids, everybody’s happy. That’s the front, but you don’t know who on Facebook or who amongst your friends or family are in that bad spot. If you don’t believe me, how do you answer this question right now? How are you? How was your weekend? What would you say? Well, 99.999999 chance you’re going to say, “Good. It was good.” One of my favorite annoying response, “I was busy. It was busy.” Yeah. We’re all busy. Yes. We’re all busy. We’re all good.

You can have a knock down drag out fight with your spouse or family member over the weekend and your response is still going to be, “Oh, it was good, got together with the family.” Unless you have a cast on your arm or your leg that shows you’re injured when you slipped on the front step and broke a bone, your response is going to be, “It was good,” and so is everybody else’s. We’re not all good. We’re not all good all the time. Somebody wants your help. If your life sucks, turn the focus outwards and away from you, and when you help someone else, you are the one that will feel better. On to your questions.

April wants some budgeting tips on how to stay consistent tracking expenses.

April: “How do you manage a budget with both the husband and wife doing it together? Any tips would help us at this point.” In our house, I update the budget each week. Then I grab my wife and tell her what’s going on. Usually, not so much, because we’ve been doing it for a long time, and we’re so awesome of staying within the budget. No, there’s usually not much to discuss. Sometimes I can pass her in the hall and say, “hey, what’s up? Budget is good.” Sometimes it’s, “We’re cooking what’s in the freezer next week. The grocery budget is kind of dwindling down.”

Scott A. T.: It’s okay to have one person doing all the budgeting. That one person will have to be a workhorse though and not complain about it, because depending on your software you’re using, it might be an hour a week that you spend updating your budget. You can flip-flop each week and share the responsibility. You just have to communicate so that you don’t miss a week. A key thing, put it on the calendar just like doctor’s appointment, or on the fridge, “Wednesday at 9, update the budget.” It’s like developing any other habit. It takes discipline and time, but the more you do it, the less disciplined you have to be, because it just becomes part of your weekly schedule like taking a shower once a week. Thanks for the question April.

Melissa says,

Melissa: “We don’t have a quick and easy way to manage the finances for a family of 5, which includes toddler twins. We need to plan, but what steps to take such as making a grocery list, limit spending, et cetera, about how to implement those steps in a realistic time frame? What do you tackle first? How can you break up that goal so it can become accomplished over time if necessary, those kinds of things? We want to make positive financial changes, but we are not yet out of the survive 3 small children and 2 jobs phase.”

Scott A. T.: If I’m starting from ground zero and I don’t want to be overwhelmed or frustrated by adding more weight to already my weighty life, which is sometimes what this feels like, then I’m going to sign up for a free Mint.com account and just track where my money goes. I’m not even going to do a budget. I just want to categorize stuff for a while, 45 bucks at Wal-Mart for groceries, $10 at CVS for medicine, $90 for the car insurance this month. Mint is free which is good for you and is a smartphone app. You and your husband could share the account. When you have a few minutes each day, just go to Mint, make sure the transaction is in the right categories, easy.

We’re just gathering information. You’re not even doing anything with it at this point, but you want to take it slow. You want to take it easy. I can appreciate that. This is slow and easy. You don’t want to be overwhelmed. I get that. Just do a grocery list as well along with that, so just 2 things. Look at your last receipt, your pantry, your fridge, write down what you need or what you plan on cooking before you go to the store. Don’t shop hungry. Don’t shop hungry. The best time to shop if you have a big family, 8:30 at night, when the kids are in bed, stores are empty, quite. Get some me time. Listen to a podcast then shop. You’re not under the gun to finish with screaming kids in the checkout line. They’re not, “Ma, give me some candy.” You know that? Going crazy in the cart, and there’s no checkout lines. That’s your first 30 days.

Second month, I’m in Mint. I can see there are some nice reports and pie charts that I can use to see where my money is going, just looking. I can say, “All right, here is what percentage of our income we spent on groceries this month. Here is what percent we spent on entertainment,” and the first thing that’s going to happen is I’m going to get sad. I’m going to get very, very sad. That’s what you want. You want some emotion, because that’s when you’re going to switch gears. From there, you’ll start figuring out your spending plan using Mint. You plan where to spend the money first before it comes in once you get an idea of where it’s going, and then you can start working on a budget within Mint itself and deciding how much you want to spend in each of those categories.

Month number 3 or the following the budget, and then we’re going to agree to work it for 90 days. This is going to take about 90 days to get synced up and get working well. It’s going to be hit or miss during that time. It’s not going to be perfect, and then you start thinking about your short-term and your long-term goals, but that spending plan is what is going to get you there. That’s the slow, easy process to get there where you’re not trying to cram everything in in a single weekend and reorganize every aspect of your time, just one small goal each month that are working to your larger long-term goal. That is how it will start out. Good luck Melissa and thank you for the question.

Shout out to Cory in Indianapolis, Indiana. Thanks for listening. Curt G. thank you for listening, and Jeff K. in Lansing, Michigan. Thank you guys so much for listening. If you want a shout out on the show, all you gotta do is take a screenshot on your phone or your computer showing you’re a subscriber. Send it to me so I can say hello to you and thank you, appreciate you, saying you’re awesome and you rock.

Special bumper music today provided by Sam Riggs and The Night People, they’re a country band. They’ve got some rocking tunes. The link will be show notes for their site.

You, nation, might be missing out on some bad bee honey, or maybe a sticker, or potentially someday a t-shirt, that is if you don’t listen carefully or read your email. I’ve had guests on the show in the past, none recently, but after everyone is on the show, after their episode airs, I send them a thank you note. I write them a thank you note, put it in the mail, and I send them a little container of honey along with it. It’s some bad bee honey, but to send someone something, what do you need? You’re going to have their address to know where to ship it to, which I don’t ask for until after their episode has aired. I don’t do it when I do the interview.

Well, I’ve got 2 unclaimed packages that are sitting on my shelf, because a couple of guests, they didn’t read their email carefully. I’m not going to name names, but they didn’t see in the email where I asked them, “Hey, reply back with your mailing address. I’ve got something to send you.” I get it. You’re too busy to read, but their loss is your gain because there’s 2 more jars to give away to the nation. A couple of takeaways, number 1, it is important to read your emails, and I know we’re daily with messages, but you might miss out on a deal or an opportunity. I am certainly guilty of this. I scan a lot of emails as I get 50 to 100 a day. It’s hard to catch everything. I have missed out on invents. I have missed out on deals. I have missed out on opportunities.

Secondly, occasionally, I will be reading your iTunes reviews on the show, and I appreciate all your feedback. Reviews are important to the show. I’ll read them all. They help us find new listeners. They help with the rankings of the show on iTunes. I can’t read every review on every show, just because I like to keep up the variety with the different things going on, but if I read your review, email me your mailing address and I’ll send you something, maybe, and sometimes random people will get a small container of that bad bee honey. It is a limited supply. I can’t give it out to everybody. I’m sorry international listeners. I don’t have an export license for food. You’re out of luck.

Now, back to you questions. Okay, follow-up question from Dawning from Tualatin, Oregon about growing your business. One of the tips was to find the successful people in her field or in similar fields and ask them how they did it. That was my suggestion to her, and she replied back,

Dawning: “I have always been so nervous about asking someone in my field for help for some reason. What is funny, people often ask me for help and I’ll do absolutely everything I can,” which is true of most of us. “The hard part may be to find the right person to ask,” she continues, “I have reached out to 2 people but haven’t gotten much out of our interactions. Maybe they were the wrong people or possibly I asked the wrong questions. What do I say? Hey, how did you get recognized for your art? I have asked that question and the reply seems to be universal. It takes dedication.”

Scott A. T.: There’s an old joke. A person on the street is lost and they waved down a passerby and they asked, “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” The famous place where musicians and such play, and the reply is, “Practice. Practice.” If you ask a professional guitarist or a musician how they got to where they are, they all give you the same worthless answer, practice, practice, practice, answer is as useless as a $3 bill. Here’s a question I got recently from my brother. We were talking about finances. He said, “Based on your learnings and experiences with your financial planner, share 3 significant tips, tips could be about wealth accumulation, financial planning, estate planning, or other.

Now the tips for me owning a business and employer are different for tips for someone who is an employee, so I had to think on it. I had to think on it. This is a challenging question. A couple of things Dawning, if you ask better questions, you will get better answers, you’ve got to be very specific. Examples, can you give me 3 tips you did in your first year of getting out of school that helped you in your career? What are 3 mistakes you made that made it take longer to achieve your success? These questions apply to anybody in any field. What are 3 things you do every day or every week to grow your business?

Those are mind-bender. They are mind-bending questions if you’ve never been asked something like that before, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while for you to get an answer, because those things require somebody to think, like my brother’s question did of me. Dawning you have a blog. Here is how you can get the answers you want. You find successful people in the art field, and you’ll probably find the names in magazines, newspaper, big galleries, books, the same places you’re going to find the names of people in any industry. Reach out says, “Hey, I’m an artist. I’m writer. I love your work.” Butter them up. Be honest though, everyone loves a compliment. Start every email, every interaction for first time with them with, “Hey, I’m a fan. I like what you do.” Why? Be specific.

You continue, “I’m doing an article on successful people in the industry and I would love to include you in my piece. If you’re interested, let me know.” You’ll leave it at that. You don’t give them any ideas, sells short, sweet. That’s it. Wait and see if you hear back. If you do, then you send them an email with your 3 questions. Don’t ask a dozen, just a few, or set up a time where you can call them, if you’re a phone person. You’re in the artist world, and you guys don’t work. They probably have all the time in the world to talk with you, right? No. I’m teasing. We all know anyone that works from home, people like me, they don’t really work. We’re just a bunch of bums that goof off all day. Somehow money falls from the sky to pay the bills.

There is your business idea. Profile other artists, and when you publish your article on your blog about them and say, “Hey, it’s ready,” what do you think the response is going to be? They are going to go share it with their friends and say, “Look, this article was written about me,” or they’re going to share it on social media, which does what? Drives traffic to your website, which is what you want. Ask better questions, and you’ll get better answers. Thanks for the question.

Back after some wacky commercial. You’re listening to Scott Alan Turner.

Hey nation, Scott Alan Turner here. Now, for those of you that are my long time listeners, you know I’m not one of those guys on the radio who promotes every product that shows up on their desk. You’re never going to hear me trying to get you to buy wine from Texas or recommending to buy air conditioning service from some company in a city I’ve never lived in.

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Rich wants to know about financial advisors versus financial planners, says,

Rich: “I’m starting to pursue my passion for financial planning. I would love to hear about this subject of financial planners and financial advisors. As far as I can see, licensing for advisors are just a license to sell. There’s no license needed to give advice. Even the CFP Certification which I may pursue is independent. So many people need and guidance.”

Scott A. T.: Good for you Rich for wanting to help people. When I started down to this path, I always talk to my advisor and my certified financial planner and I laid out my plans and says, “Here’s what I’m thinking of doing,” and his response was, “This is so needed.” I was on the phone with him, I kind of shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself, really? Because a lot of people are doing this, despite it being an industry with a lot of people in it, there is still a need, and there’s going to be an even greater need with the aging population.

Let me explain the difference like this. Let’s say I want to go on a vacation and I want to go someplace warm. I’ve got a couple of choices that I can do in order to figure out what I want to do. I can hop on TripAdvisor and start picking through different parts of the world, and maybe I narrow it down to, alright, I want to go to the Grand Caymans and see what’s going on there, so I’m going to type in Grand Cayman, and then I’m going to click on the hotels. TripAdvisor’s going to give me a big old list of hotels rated from the best down to the not so best, I can organize them by prize, whatever, and then I go through and pick a hotel.

Then maybe I want to pick some excursions or activities I want to do. I’m still on TripAdvisor and I can click on the excursions, see what’s going on in Grand Cayman, see where the beaches are, if I want to see some stingrays and I book those myself. Then I got to get to Grand Cayman, so I need to hop on Orbitz maybe or my preferred airline based on what hub comes out of the place I live on. Here in Dallas, it’s going to be American. If you’re in Atlanta, for example, that would be Delta. Different airlines for different parts of the world, and I’ve got to book my airline as well. It’s all do it yourself, and I’m going to different places to do different things, but TripAdvisor is the place I’m going to go to narrow down, here’s the hotels, here’s what I’m going to do, but I’m doing it all myself.

Now, let’s compare that to a travel agent or what I’m going to call them is a travel planner. I’m going to call up somebody and I say, “I want to go to someplace warm,” and they’re going to say, “Okay. Did you already think about Hawaii? You thinking about Key West? Maybe down in the Caribbean where Grand Cayman is? All right, I’ve got these different resorts. These resorts got this. This one is all inclusive. This one is family friendly. This is a smaller resort. This is a barely bigger resort. Here is the different restaurant. Where would you like to fly out of? When do you want to fly?” This planner is going to do it all for me. I’m just picking up the phone and they’re going to do all the research. They’re going to send me some emails with some links to some websites that I can go look at, but they’re taking a look at the whole trip.

That’s like the difference between a financial advisor and a financial planner. The financial advisor is a broad term for somebody who helps you manage your money. It’s like TripAdvisor. It’s a bit piecemeal. TripAdvisor gives you little bits pieces of your trip not the whole things. If that is what someone is looking for, that’s great. Now, most financial advisors, they are commissioned agents, so they’re going to sell you something and they’re going to get a cut of whatever they’re selling you. If the advisor is working with the public, they have to hold a Series 65 license. That’s a security license. It’s required by most States. If you’re going to sell securities, you need on of those. It’s a test you’re going to take.

The planner, they are like an advisor but they look at your entire life situation and they help you plan out your life, like the travel agent who helps you plan out your entire your trip from the moment you leave your house to when you get back home. Financial planner is going to consider your insurance, your taxes, your business opportunities if you’re a small business owner, some of them are marriage counselors as well if you’re in a relationship, estate planning, goal setting. It’s not just investing. Every financial planner is also a type of a financial advisor because they deal with your money. However, every financial advisor isn’t necessarily a financial planner. They might not help you with your life goals or your estate planning or your taxes or your insurance.

According to the National Association of Personal Finance Advisors, they claim that there are more than 100 different certifications that a financial advisor could get. Likewise with financial planners, it’s like the Wild West. According to the Financial Industry Regulation Authority, FINRA, almost anybody can themselves a financial planner. Your background might be a CPA, or an insurance agent, a broker who makes you broker, and investment advisor, someone with the heart of a teacher but has no financial background at all, and then you get somebody like me. What about me? Well, I’m just practicing free speech. I’m not managing anyone’s money. I have no clients. I’m dispensing information to help people gain knowledge and do it themselves and make more informed decisions.

Looking at it another way, if you’re building the house, I’m not your general contractor. I’m going to tell you, “Well, if you use 16 inch studs on center or 24 inch studs on center, there are pros of doing it this way and there are cons of this way.” Don’t worry about that. It’s a framing technique for homes. I could tell you, “You could use the spray foam insulation which is going to cost you a little bit more and save energy, or you can us the recycled newspaper insulation. There’s pros of doing it this way, and there’s cons of doing it this way.” Give you the information. You make your own informed decision. I’m going to explain to you, “Here’s how you avoid getting ripped off when you’re buying granite countertops,” but I’m not the electrician who’s required to hold a license. I’m not pounding the nails in your walls and I’m not hiring subcontractors for your house. I’m just telling you, “Here is how to build a better house.”

The CFP, certified financial planner, that is a registered trademark, you only get that by going through a rigorous course study, taking exams, getting continuing education, and there’s a 3-year internship/probation period that you go through before you can call yourself a CFP. I consider it the cream of the crop. They are held to a fiduciary standard, and the fee-only certified financial planners, they’re the top dogs in my opinion. Those are the only people that I recommend, so if you’re looking for advice from me, that’s the one that I would aim for. Thanks Rich for the question.

Jusme and over on the YouTube channel left a very appreciative comment. I’ll read it to you. He says,

Jusme: “Scott, not even Tony Robbins can top this wake-up call. Wow! You don’t even know me. Thank you so much.”

Scott A. T.: He was referring to a video on investing, a short video, 10 minutes. 10 minutes for you to call yourself an investor. Why? Because you have to take care of you, nobody else can do it better or with greater concern. If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. That’s from Jim Rohn. Those are the words.

That’s it for this episode. I’m your host Scott Alan Turner. Rock star Katie is my producer. All the links I mentioned in the show are available in the show notes on ScottAlanTurner.com. If you have a question you like answered by me, visit GoAskScott.com and you can also leave me a voice mail. Thanks for listening.

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