The STAFF Financial Network

network

Storing Treasures and Steven Julian (financial advisor with Cornerstone Private Client Group) have partnered together to create a unique networking opportunity. Steven and his networking team are using the STAFF financial education program to support business owners, employees and families after they complete a basic financial course. It is the first networking group tied to a financial education platform (STAFF- Storing Treasures Automated Financial Foundation) and allows the group to create their own unique program that is configurable to their clients and prospects. It also allows the participant to receive the support they need to move their financial plan to the next level.

“The STAFF program is the only financial education platform that provides specific guidance based on an individual’s financial personality”, explains Mike Haswell, President of Storing Treasures. “When this eight session program is complete, the people who complete the program receive a 20 page report that shows where to focus their time to move forward with their goals. We find there is a significant interest in families needing professionals in the community to help them move to the next level.”

“The issue with traditional networking is that success is tied completely to each member of the group passing leads to each other as the primary form of connection. I have found there is not a strong connection between network participants due to the lack of a common platform in which to cooperate”, explains Steven Julian, financial advisor. “With the STAFF program, the networking group is able to configure their own financial education program for ongoing support with professional needs.”

Network participants can ask questions, set up quizzes, add their own biographies, and receive reports that demonstrate the needs of those going through the course. Network participants then work together to share with others in the network for their own clients to receive support.

The network works best with a financial advisor, estate planner, insurance professional (auto, home, health, life and disability), personal and/or business banker, mortgage lender, CPA, as well as other professionals.  There is definitely room for creativity with network group members that could use the STAFF program to add value to their business relationships and receive referrals from other professionals.

 

Winning the Personal Finance Battle

I was at my daughter’s volleyball game the other day and saw a familiar quote from a famous Chinese strategist. “Every battle is won before it is ever fought.” It basically illustrates the point that while playing the game is key, it is planning and the better prepared that will ultimately be victorious. A well-planned strategy is the most important predictor of success.

In my years of financial coaching, I have noticed something that may surprise you. Many of us are under the impression that most families are not actively working on and in their finances. I have found that not to be true.

Frankly, most of the families I counsel are working to understand where their money is going and are staying involved in all the areas that are demanding of their resources. They feel the stress of trying to keep all the balls in the air and are actively working to make this part of their life better. They can likely tell you where their majority of their money was spent each month. So, they are in the battle and fighting hard.

However, the main difference between those that are successful and those that are not tends to come down to one simple truth. Those that are successful can tell you where their money is going each month and not just where it has gone. Do you see that subtle but important difference? Families that plan are invariably better off than those that are just reacting each month.

For example, I worked with one couple that had an elaborate system for how they spent their money but were just overwhelmed month to month. I suggested they use that creative energy to predict, plan and make changes before they actually got in the middle of it. The blank stares just demonstrated the irony and begged the question, “Why plan for something that is just going to happen to us anyway?” Breaking the cycle, many times, means doing the exact opposite of what we are doing today.

Monthly planning reduces stress, allows you to prepare and make better decisions, and help lead you to a better future. “Every battle is won before it is ever fought.”

So, how can you prepare?

1. Complete a spending plan for the next month. Sit down, map our your expenses, make any adjustments and then track it over the month. Plan where your money is going to be spent vs. just reacting. Knowledge is power.

2. Take a financial education course- Learn how to make changes that will benefit you and your family long term. One option is the STAFF program at www.storingtreasures.com-what-is-staff. If you are a church, employer or a non-profit organization, consider offering this program to those you support. Whichever option you choose, resolve to take that first step this week.

3. Connect with other financial professionals that can help you plan for your specific situation. We will advise you of several financial education relationships Storing Treasures has with others over the coming months that will help you plan for your financial future.

Every smart military commander knows about the importance of preparation and planning. It is time for each of us to put on our best military uniform and map out our next move.

Mike Haswell

President

Storing Treasures

mike@storingtreasures.com

www.storingtreasures.com

Storing Treasures Hierarchy of Financial Progress

Recently, four employer and church groups completed the STAFF web-based financial coaching program. At the end of each session, we check in and see what the participants had to say about the benefits they received from going through the course.

Many of you have heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This idea suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs. We created a Hierarchy of Financial Needs based on the feedback we received.

Assuming we have our basic needs met, there are three major areas that define our financial lives based on those that have graduated from the STAFF course. These areas build on each other and we call them the three “M’s

Storing Treasures Hierarchy

1. Makeup- this is your identity. It is important that we understand ourselves better and those around us. If communication and relationships are strained, it is very difficult to move up the pyramid.

Graduates of the STAFF program indicated understanding their financial personality helped them identify spending, debt, savings habits and how to make important changes. It also helped with communication with their spouse (if married) and kids. Those that completed the course recognized their unique strengths and how to be confident when making financial decisions or communicating with others.

Do you ask yourself these questions?
- Why do I keep doing ____________ financially?
- Why does my spouse keep doing ___________ financially?

 

“Know thyself” is a phrase first penned by Socrates. He believed that self-knowledge was important in order to find peace and direction. Romans talks about the importance of understanding our God-given gifts and that each gift (each of us) has a unique function. Understanding these gifts and our financial personality is key and our first step to moving forward financially. Humans are naturally curious. Once we understand the “why”, we can start to focus on the “what”.

2. Management- this is the regular handling, direction, and focus on our financial decisions. This is the time that we can make real strides in our money management from month to month.

STAFF graduates stated they were able to learn how to reduce their debt, set up an emergency savings plan and complete a monthly spending plan. Management is moving away from the paycheck to paycheck mentality and becoming proactive rather than reactive.

Monetary decisions are inter-related. Ever notice how one decision begins to impact other areas of your financial life. I worked with one couple recently that focused on setting up an emergency savings account. This caused them to be more intentional in their giving to others, more mindful of debt and the negative consequences, and more in charge of their spending from month to month.

3. Mission- Now this is the fun part…this has to do with who you are and where you want to go. This is your purpose fueled by a strong conviction.

STAFF graduates listed goal setting as a key part of their financial plan as it helped quantify their mission for the short, medium, and long term. Most of us have a vague idea of our goals but have never really sat down and mapped those out. According to a study by Dr. Gail Matthews, we are all 42% more likely to achieve our goals just by writing them down.

Secondly, other STAFF graduates discussed the course providing a foundation for additional education and setting the groundwork to starting a new business. Understanding ourselves and managing our money proactively allows us added opportunities to pursue our mission.

The Storing Treasures Mission is simple- “Discovering your Financial Personality inspires progress”. Financially, progress begins with just one small step.

Mike Haswell
Storing Treasures
President

Plant Your Tree Today

Take the narrow road- Be wise!
By
Mike Haswell, founder Storing Treasures

“The wise man saves for the future but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” Proverbs 21:20

I recently counseled with a couple that recently graduated from college and were getting married. It was a real blessing to be able to talk to a couple that had a blank slate when it came to their finances. We had an opportunity to discuss how decisions they make today will impact, positively or negatively, their impact on themselves and their world tomorrow. One of the main areas in which this is so true is the importance of saving for their future.

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46% of all Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement and 33% of all households end up completely dependent on Social Security.

The good news is we don’t have to become those statistics. Let’s consider three key principles that are taught and how it affects us in our financial planning:

1. Steady plodding. Being diligent with your finances means to allow it to grow over time. A systematic savings plan allows compounding to grow your savings and time is the key ingredient for success. Consider these statistics: Person #1- One 21 year old person invests $1,000 for eight years and stops at the age of 28. The investment: $8,000. Person #2 begins investing at the age of 28 and invests for 37 years until the age of 65. The investment- $37,000. When they both turn 65, who has the most money in the bank? Incredibly, person #1 has $50,000 (assuming an 8% return) more than person #2. Start saving now- it is never too late!

2. Diversification- Ensuring that you do not have all of your eggs in one basket is crucial. First, do not have all of your funds in either short, medium, or long range investments. You should have each of these types of funds in your financial plan. Secondly, do not have much of your assets tied up in your company stock… not only would your investment plan be tied up in one set of investments but a downturn in that sector could cost you your job as well. Finally, get involved in different sectors in the economy to diversity your portfolio.

3. Avoid risky investments- A good financial planner clearly points out the danger of speculation while investing. Marriages and families have been destroyed over the violation of this principle. There are two clear guidelines. First, if you do not understand the investment, do not participate in it. Secondly, if you must do it quickly, run away from it. You can make many more mistakes by acting quickly than as a prudent saver or investor.

Small amounts can grow significantly over time and we can sleep easier at night knowing we are following a basic tenet of good stewardship and preparing for our family’s future!

For more information on how to analyze your expenses and financial principles, contact us at: www.storingtreasures.com

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Taking the Plunge

There was an interesting article recently from Steven Pressfield called “Poof Goes the Middle Class”, an interesting excerpt. “People are becoming entrepreneurs”, the mind-set of the employee is vanishing like the factory where it was born. It has to. We’ll all die if we wait for some force outside ourselves- business or government- to bring us jobs or teach us who we are or how we ought to live. We have to invent our own ways, and that’s just what we are doing.”

That really got me thinking. I’ve counseled many people on taking the plunge as we review their financial situation. Not all of us are looking to leave our steady paycheck but it always pays to keep our options open. As we enter the holidays and review where we are and where we want to go, here are some practical steps to exploring going out on your own.

WHAT is your passion? That is really the driver. Get a book entitled, “What color is your parachute” by Richard Bolles and begin investigating your strengths, skills, and abilities. Don’t make assumptions that you have nothing to offer. Read about what you love… is anyone else doing it? How can you bring a unique perspective to it?

ASK- Go to potential customers first and make sure that there is a need to fill. Take it from my early mistake- creating something that you just hope will fill a need is a recipe for disaster. Go to ten potential clients/customers and see if your idea both fills a need AND is unique. If you get a positive response, you are on the right track.

START on the side- Don’t quit your day job. Go to Score.org on putting some meat behind your plans. Build contacts and test drive your new idea. Don’t be in conflict with your current job… your current employer deserves better than that. But, taking your free time to create this on your own is a great way to get started.

BUILD up some savings. You will need a runway. Planning is key. Luke 14:28 says it best.”Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” Set up a business plan, reduce expenses, and set goals for yourself, ie; “In one year, I want my side business to be making at least 50% of my expenses and have 6 months of business and personal expenses in the bank before taking the plunge.” Remember- if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

BUILD family support- If you have a family, make sure your spouse and kids are on board with you. This is an important step and requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice… especially if you are doing it as a side business and testing the waters.

BUILD a very solid contact base- this is where your business will come from at the onset. Build credibility, a good reputation and fill a need.

If you are looking at considering going out on your own, I’d enjoy hearing from you about some of your own personal excitement and challenges.

Mike Haswell
President
Storing Treasures
mike@storingtreasures.com