Managing Stress Through Tough Financial Times

The burden of financial debt can result in stressful and overwhelming emotions. When you’re living in that ecosphere it can be difficult to see the impact it is having on your life or conceive the right thoughts and plans on how to manage through some tough financial times. It often affect more than your finances, it can affect your relationships and your health.

But there is hope, no need to despair! There are a few things you can do to cope with this season. I like to say season, because it cannot last forever IF you take action, and seasons stormdo change. Imagine that if you are driving through a rain storm, you may pull over temporary depending how bad the storm is or you may drive through the storm until it’s behind you, (I’ve done that a few times). You never stop in the middle of the storm and just sit there.

Take stock of your particular financial situation and what is causing you to stress… WRITE IT DOWN. After you’ve made a list of everything, make a second list prioritizing; rent/mortgage should be at the top of your list, food and utilitiesbudgeting1

Consider where you can reduce expenses, cable, dry cleaning, interest rate on a credit card, eating out. The planning process may cause you to feel anxious, but that is only short-term. Putting it down on paper will reduce your stress level and you will feel so much better after you’ve done it.

If you are not making a decision to create a plan it will only prolong your stress.  This can lead to unhealthy choices like smoking, drinking and emotional eating. Instead, increase positive activities like meditating, walking or running to help you to feel better. Never be afraid to reach out for professional help, consider reaching out to a mental health counselor, financial counselor or a friend that you know you can trust.

  • Reach out to your credit card companies, mortgage company and/or bank for payment plans, reduce payments or request deferments.
  • Have dinner at home with your family more often, make it fun, it will surely bring you closer together.
  • Consider what skills you already have that you can use to create income. Take a course through your employer or your local community learning center that can lead to a better job.
  • Think outside the box and try new ways of managing your life that is not costly. Sometimes you may have to make a small investment that will enable you to earn additional income long term.
  • Then commit to a specific plan and review it regularly. Make a conscious decision to change your spending habits and take responsibility for your financial future. Always remember that tough times can create opportunities for you to learn and grow.

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Keep Calm and Give Yourself a Financial Checkup

Quick Review of Your Finances

  • Put yourself and your finances at the top of your holiday gift list. Before you start shopping, give your finances a quick review, make a list and check it twice…remember Santa does not buy gifts for everyone on the list…check who’s been naughty or nice.

Be Realistic About Your Budget budgeting1

  • If you’ve never made a budget before, you need to start by making a list of how much money is coming in every month and how much your expenses are. The more realistic and honest you are about each of these numbers, the more successful you be with your budget. Even if you are in the red, you will have an idea of how much more income you will need to meet your budget.

Differentiate Between “Needs” And “Wants”

  • Especially if you are financially challenged right now, differentiating between “needs” and “wants” can help you stay within budget. Needs come first, and if there is money left over, you can spend on wants. Food, clothing, shelter…

Have a Budget “Date” Night

  • If you are married or single with teenage children, set aside one night monthly or bi-monthly to discuss the family budget, needs, extra curriculum activities, etc. Be realistic with your teenagers, they are smarter than we could ever image; beside it is a good lesson for them to learn money management. Even if you are single, you should set a date to review and plan your budget monthly. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Stuff Happens

  • Sometimes it doesn’t matter how disciplined you are, you may fall off the wagon now and again. Forgive yourself and get right back on track, as soon as possible.

Budget Pic 2

Student Loan Repayment Program

I thought I would share this information for anyone who is considering working for the federal government, here is a great benefit. There are also other employer sponsored programs offered by some hospitals for medical professionals.

Section 5379 of title 5, United States Codstudent loane, authorizes agencies to establish a program under which they may repay certain types of Federally-made, insured, or guaranteed student loans as an incentive to recruit or retain highly qualified personnel. Agencies may make payments to a loan holder of up to $10,000 for an employee in a calendar year, up to an aggregate maximum of $60,000 for any one employee. In return, the employee must sign an agreement to remain in the service of the paying agency for at least 3 years. If the employee separates voluntarily or is separated involuntarily for misconduct, unacceptable performance, or a negative suitability determination under 5 CFR part 731 before fulfilling the service agreement, he or she must reimburse the paying agency for all student loan repayment benefits received. Section 5379(h) of title 5, United States Code, requires agencies to report annually to OPM on their use of student loan repayments. The law also directs OPM to prepare and submit annually to Congress a report containing the following information: (1) number of Federal employees selected to receive student loan repayment benefits; (2) job classifications of the recipients; and (3) cost to the Federal Government of providing the student loan repayment benefits.

The Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Program pays medical education student loan debt for physicians who agree to practice medicine full time in a rural county. Primary care providers working in designated health professional shortage areas can receive funding to repay qualifying educational loans. Participants must see underserved patients at an approved clinical site for the entire service obligation. Massachusetts offers loan repayment programs for primary health care professionals in a variety of disciplines including dental, medical, and mental health professionals.

Check the links below for more information.

Awaken the Entrepreneur Within You

As I moved through this journey call life I have come across people from all walks of life seeking to improve themselves, others uncertain about the next move, and those who are going through the motion, engrossed by fear.

I decided to address some of the things that hinders us from creating wealth and improving our financial state. One route that I believe can change or improve one’s lifestyle is going the entrepreneurship route, aka, the road less travelled. This is not for everyone, definitely not for the faint at heart. But many of you will find that there is an undeveloped skill or talent within you that can enable you to make extra income and change your life, even if you are working a full-time job. Or you may be introduced to a multi-level marketing business that offers training and development that is right for you. There are many opportunities within you and around you.   Will it be the photographer in you, the designer, or the baker?


The Designer


The Photographer

woman and bread

The Baker

Here are some tips that can help develop the entrepreneur in you and improve your lifestyle.

Fear of success – “One of my biggest challenges as a business owner has been letting the fear of success keep me from taking the next step. As my experience and business grow, I have come to learn that there are new devils that come with every level of success. Instead of waiting to get over my fears, I have figured out how to recognize them, manage them and grow from those experiences. Treat yourself as a business owner so others treat you the same way. Stop waiting for permission or recognition from others in order to feel entitled to your success. Only you can award yourself the right to earn success for your career or business.” – Jennifer Kent, founder of The Guava Project.

Time management – “It can be overwhelming to manage your time, communicate effectively and stay organized while developing your business skills. No one hands you a resource book — you have to be self-disciplined. As an entrepreneur, you love what you do, so taking a break is challenging. But you need to work on your business, not in it. Delegate relentlessly, and inspire people to want to do a job for you.” – Michelle Touchstone, founder of Pixie Dust Naturals.

Being decisive – “A prerequisite to being an entrepreneur is to finely tune your decision-making abilities. In my time as CEO, I have learned to be comfortable making decisions with less than perfect information, while being mindful of the various viewpoints. Avoiding ‘paralysis by analysis’ is a major obstacle, but it is also not an excuse to overlook contrasting viewpoints.” – Amy Kothari, president and CEO of Alarm Capital Alliance.



  • Put yourself first – love yourself, take care of yourself, be happy with yourself first.
  • Sometimes it’s necessary to put blunders on to avoid being distracted, it’s okay.
  • Stop trying to explain yourself to others or seeking approval from others.
  • Stop taking on unnecessary responsibility for other adults and require them to deal with their own actions. Only then can they learn from their mistakes, and be motivated to avoid making them again. Just say NO and live with your decision. Stop being a people pleaser.
  • Believe in yourself, your goals and your ability…it’s your business, your dream, your goals.
  • Have Faith and believe in the possibilities.
  • F-E-A-R = False Evidence Appearing Real…Be fearless!
  • Just Do-It.

Pat Browne, Entrepreneur/Budget Coach

Six Secrets to Success at Work

woman at work 2How many people do you know who are truly happy at work? Are you one of them?  We recently surveyed American professionals throughout the nation and learned that nearly a third feel trapped in their careers and passed over for promotions.

Don’t count yourself among them. If you’re feeling stuck, here are six operating principles that can put you on the path to a stronger career trajectory  and, we hope, to the kind of success known as happiness.

1. Find Where Your Passion and Skills Intersect

We have a concept called Area of Destiny, which is the very rich territory at the intersection of what you are uniquely good at and what you love to do. That’s where you should be building your profession.

2. Make Your Boss Smarterwoman at work

No matter where you are in your career, one thing never changes. Every day, it’s your flat-out responsibility to make your boss look good. You have to make him or her smarter — about your industry, your customers, your competitors, your products, and technology — all the time.

3. Know When to Leave a Bad Boss

Great bosses are generous bosses. If you feel your boss doesn’t in some way have your best interest in mind and want you to grow, you’ve got to have the confidence to move out.

4. Give Yourself a Deadline

Don’t let work feel like a grind. If you’re unhappy — or you just aren’t all-in — you have to put a time-frame on how much you are going to put up with before making a change.

5. Don’t Fear Failure

The thing about failing — because you will fail if you take risks — is that you realize you don’t die. You just pick yourself up and keep going — and how fast you get back on the horse says a lot about you.

6. Never Stop Reinventing Yourself

Who wants to just “retire”? Banish that word from your vocabulary. You’ve got to constantly reinvent and take a chance on something you’ve always wanted to do — it’s what keeps you alive. You’re never done.

Jack and Suzy Welch are co-authors of the new, #1 best-selling book, The Real-Life MBA — Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career.

Jack Welch began his career with the General Electric Company in 1960, became its eighth Chairman and CEO in 1981, and was named “Manager of the Century” by Fortune magazine in 2000. Upon retiring from GE in 2001, Mr. Welch published his autobiography Jack: Straight from the Gut, an international bestseller; his second international bestseller, Winning, was published in 2005 and written with his wife Suzy Welch. For the past decade, Mr. Welch has been active as a special partner with the private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice, an advisor to IAC/InteractiveCorp, and a popular public speaker addressing audiences around the world. In 2010, he founded the Jack Welch Management Institute, a fully accredited online MBA program with 900 students.

Suzy Welch is a best-selling author, television commentator, and noted business journalist. Her last book, the New York Times bestseller 10-10-10, presents a decision-making strategy for success at work and in parenting, love, and friendship. She is the former editor of the Harvard Business Review, and she spent several years at Bain & Company, the management consulting firm. Mrs. Welch is on the advisory board of the Jack Welch Management Institute, and actively engaged with several non-profit organizations promoting animal rights.

Ten secrets to success for aspiring female millionaires

Dr Jude Miller Burker, author of The Millionaire Mystique: How Working Women Become Wealthy and How You Can, Too!, has revealed her top ten tips for success.

From how to balance your responsibilities at both work and home, to learning how to ‘choose what to get stressed about’, and most importantly, how to lose your fear of failure, the psychologist breaks down how working women can become wealthy for MailOnline. 

From how to balance your responsibilities at both work and home, to learning how to 'choose what to get stressed about', Dr Jude Miller Burker reveals her top ten tips for success

1. Create and manage your wealth

Determine your goals, proactively manage your money, save heavily, and live beneath your means. If you decide to create your own business, make a well-informed business plan, and if you fail to meet your goals, revise your strategy and consider new options. Become knowledgeable about investing and finances – invest conservatively. (my personal fav.)

2. Don’t be surprised by prejudice and discrimination

Today, they might be less obvious, but still very common. Make sure that you aren’t reinforcing stereotypes by acting in ways that diminish yourself, such as sitting at the back of the room. Work hard, earn respect, and outperform others to succeed. Become an expert in your field and industry. Use interpersonal skills to demonstrate your intelligence, competence, and leadership.

3. Interaction of work and family

Choose a partner or spouse who actively shares in the household and childcare responsibilities. Know your own values and personal preferences to define what balance means to you. Prepare to creatively outsource domestic responsibilities and put the children’s needs first.

Work for a company with flexible schedules and family policies. Be disciplined with your schedule to allow for you to schedule in activities that recharge you, such as watching the kids’ soccer games, your own exercise, seeing friends, and meditation.

4. Become an authentic leader

Know yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses. Self-knowledge gives you confidence to lead and show compassion for others. A transformational leadership style is most successful with employees. Use ‘compassionate accountability’ to manage problems and demonstrate your leadership during times of transition. 

Dr Jude Miller Burker (pictured) author of The Millionaire Mystique: How Working Women Become Wealthy and How You Can, Too!, breaks down how working women can become wealthy for MailOnline

Dr Jude Miller Burker (pictured) author of The Millionaire Mystique: How Working Women Become Wealthy and How You Can, Too!, breaks down how working women can become wealthy for MailOnline

5. Become more resilient

Take control about what you choose to be stressed about and don’t get bogged down in the small stuff. Learn to say no without guilt and appropriately express your needs and feelings. 

This allows you to stick to your life plan and surround yourself with a caring network of people that support you in your chosen field. Get rid of ‘toxic’ relationships that erode your self-esteem. 70per cent of the millionaires in my study had serious detours and another 50per cent had outright failures.

6. Build a network

Connect with men and women whom you truly enjoy and help them in their endeavors.These natural friendships, based on honesty and loyalty, will also provide you with opportunities. Both sexes have a lot to offer in increasing your social capital and your subsequent success.

7. Find a mentor(s)

There is great benefit in learning from others who have more experience in your field. A mentoring relationship usually works better if you feel a ‘natural connection’ with someone. A mentor may be found within your company, but also may be a friend in a professional organization or someone in your family or community.

8. Develop great communication skills

 Business success requires the ability to persuade people to say yes to you much more often than they say no. Focus not just on what your needs are, but also on what the needs are of the people you are talking with.

Focus intently on who you are talking to and try to speak in a manner that not only is authentic to you, but a style that others will understand.

9. Develop a ‘millionaire’ work style

Choosing a field that you are passionate about encourages a high level of on-going work engagement. Self-made millionaires are passionate, articulate, focused, tenacious, organized, and get along well with others. Gaining operational and management experience. Knowing how ‘it’ is made or the services are delivered makes you more of an expert.

10. Refine your personality

Be yourself, but enhance those traits that increase the chance for success including 1) conscientiousness, 2) agreeableness, 3) extraversion, and 4) openness.

Minimize neuroticism and leave your worries at the door. Enhance your self-confidence by silencing your inner negative chatterbox and find ways to ‘mindfully’ interact with others at work. Meditation, exercise, prayer, walks in nature all help reduce stress and encourage a natural optimism which attracts others.

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“Shark Tank” Barbara Corcoran’s Advice on Mortgage

Great article from the real estate queen.

“Shark Tank” Barbara Corcoran’s Advice on Mortgage

Stop giving away your hard-earned money…

At least that’s what Barbara Corcoran, millionaire and star of ABC TV show “Shark Tank” thinks you’re doing by sitting on your current mortgage rate. According to the expert, she thinks “not shopping the market…is like giving money away” when mortgage rates are low. Known as “New York’s queen of real estate” who famously turned $1,000 into a multibillion dollar real estate business, you should listen to her.

With today’s mortgage rates at near rock-bottom lows, millions of homeowners are spending tens and thousands of dollars more than they need to. By refinancing their homes to today’s low rates, homeowners saved on average of $250 a month on their mortgage payments. This translates into $3,000 a year, which you could use to pay off debt, go on your dream vacation, or even pay your children’s college education.

If homeowners could save thousands of dollars a year (and potentially even be mortgage-free by the time they retire), why are they not actively jumping on this opportunity?

What the Banks May Be Hiding from You

Do you think that banks want you paying a lower interest rate, which means less money for them? You can bet that they do not. They would rather keep you at the rate you financed years ago so you can continue giving your money away to them. They also know that you could start shopping around for the lowest rates, which means they could lose your business to another lender. Homeowners may be shocked at the extremely low rates available to them, especially when multiple lenders are fighting and competing for your business.

The Home Refinance Plan That Has Banks “On Edge”

There is also a little-known government program that was not widely publicized by the banks called the Home Affordable Refinance Plan (HARP). During the economic downturn in 2009, the US government designed HARP to help middle-class Americans reduce their mortgage payments and put more money in their pockets. But again, many banks kept this from homeowners because they want to take your money.

Through HARP, the government relaxed refinance guidelines and “it doesn’t appraise your house which allows so many more people to actually refinance the high interest they have on their loan,” Barbara says. If you owe less than $625,000 on your mortgage, you may be able to qualify for this terrfic HARP program.

However, time is running out for homeowners to save money through this program. Set to expire this year, it is vital you act now. The good news though is once you’re approved, you’re locked into the lower rate.

With average savings of $250 per month, you could use the extra $3,000 a year for expenses, pay off your credit card debt, and even begin your road to a mortgage-free retirement. But it is important you act now before this opportunity passes.

Where Do I Start?

With hundreds of mortgage lenders and brokers available, it can take consumers hours to simply contact each one separately and request a quote.

To cut through the clutter, Barbara Corcoran suggests that a great place to start is online. There are services that could help you save time and money by comparing multiple lenders at once. Services such as The Easy Loan Site has one of the biggest lender network in the nation.

There’s no obligation to homeowners, and The Easy Loan Site offers easy and fast comparisons. It takes about five minutes, and the service is 100% free. You have nothing to lose, except for your money problems!