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January 2019

5 money mistakes to avoid

Our top goal for 2019 is to finally pay all our debt off and become debt-free. I usually take the attitude that dwelling on the past doesn’t help me make the next best decision for my future. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t lessons to be learned from our past mistakes.

Since I know so many of us are trying to get a handle on our finances as part of setting the new year up. And as I’ve been thinking about where we’re heading in the future, I wanted to share a few past money mistakes that I would avoid if I were faced with them again.

Credit Cards

Let’s just get this one out of the way. Credit cards are such a slippery slope for me. No matter how much my intentions were to pay them in full every month, that’s never worked out for me. We’ve wasted so much money on interest, and I will be so thankful when we’ve paid them off and closed for good.

Car Payments

I paid cash for my first car when I was 19 years old; it died about a year later, and my relationship with car payments. Not only does it not make sense to send money to the bank every month to drive a depreciating vehicle, but having a car note also dictated that I had to carry full coverage and my deductible for my car insurance.

Now, we pay ourselves a car payment each month; it goes straight into the savings account to be used for future repairs or replacement. Also, when we paid cash for the Mister’s last car, there was no drama around buying the car. We simply located a vehicle that was within budget and told the dealer what our price was; the paperwork was done within an hour. Easy peasy.

Signing a lease and utilities with a partner I wasn’t married to

To be fair, I was very young and very in love. And when things fell apart with the guy I dated all through college, not only did I have a broken heart, but I had to move and extricate our intertwined finances.

Not only did we lose our security deposit, but guess who got stuck with remaining balances on the power, internet and cell phone bills.

I recognize that whether you live with a boyfriend/girlfriend is an extremely personal decision. But for me, this just didn’t work out. When the Mister and I decided to move in together, we agreed upon a set amount of living expenses that I would pay him and didn’t put both our names on any accounts together until about 2 weeks before our wedding.

Cashing out a 401(k) when I left a job

Chalk another one up to youth and “urgency” of poor decisions. When I was about 23-24 years old, I determined that I needed then funds in my retirement account from a previous job more than I needed to be investing during a tanking economy.

After taxes and penalties, I maybe netted $2500. All I can say is that I’m glad I learned this lesson at the very beginning of my investing career before I could have lost myself serious money. But still, it’s tough to think that if I had rolled that money into an IRA, it probably would have doubled by now.

Taking out an SBA loan to purchase my business

This one is a tough one for me to figure out how I could have avoided it. When I first purchased my business, the previous owner self-financed the sale with the plan that I’d make a balloon payment to him after 24 months.

This plan worked quite well until we learned that I didn’t have sufficient personal assets for any bank to use as collateral to get a loan for this balloon payment.So, I found myself going through a loan process with SBA, which was cumbersome and expensive (think more than $4000 in closing costs).

In addition to the fact that SBA loans are tied to prime (so the payment has increased as our economy has improved), there’s also a requirement that I send them copies of my business and personal financial statements every year or they could choose to call the note…even though I’ve never missed a payment.

However, with every previous mistake, I can see where I had an alternate choice; with the SBA loan, I don’t see another way at that time. While having a significant payment auto-deducted each month has at times caused stress around cash flow, I’m happy to report before the end of 2019, the loan will be paid off.

Five money mistakes to avoid: financial mistakes that I've made and what they can teach us to make better financial decisions.

So, there are my financial skeletons: 5 money mistakes to avoid. If I were able to speak to 20-something-year-old Aubrey, I’d tell her to be patient, save more and avoid the “easy” money decisions. Luckily, I still have a say in future Aubrey’s financial wellbeing.

Are you ready to take control of your financial future? Here are a few books I recommend reading:

50 Books That Will Change Your Business

Last week, I shared my 2019 goals, and you may notice that there are a few financial goals included in the list. Part of achieving those goals means upgrading mindsets; I want to up-level my financial, leadership and business attitudes.

One of the best ways to do this is through education, and I’m a big fan of reading (or listening) to books that will get my thoughts moving in the right direction as well as give me action steps to put into practice. Over the last few years, I’ve accumulated a huge to-be-read list of personal development, leadership and business growth books that I want to share with you.

Here is my list of 50 books that will change your business:

  1. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
  2. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9 to-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
  3. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy
  4. Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition by Dennis Perkins
  5. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
  6. Takin’ Care of Business: The Big Idea for Small Business by Brian Buffini
  7. High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard
  8. Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends by Tim Sanders
  9. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
  10. Scale or Fail: How to Build Your Dream Team, Explode Your Growth, and Let Your Business Soar by Allison Maslan
  11. The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga
  12. Train Your Brain For Success: Read Smarter, Remember More, and Break Your Own Records by Roger Seip
  13. The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian Moran & Michael Lennington
  14. The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Beth Buelow
  15. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  16. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  17. EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey
  18. The Go-Giver, Expanded Edition: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg & John David Mann
  19. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  20. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  21. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
  22. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
  23. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey
  24. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John Maxwell
  25. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
  26. Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr
  27. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone
  28. She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur by Carrie Green
  29. The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness by Jan Jones
  30. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
  31. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin
  32. Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz
  33. Master Your Mind: Counterintuitive Strategies to Refocus and Re-Energize Your Runaway Brain by Roger Seip & Robb Zbierski
  34. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  35. The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
  36. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter
  37. The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks
  38. Start.: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff
  39. Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff
  40. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  41. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
  42. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brene Brown
  43. Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First-Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas
  44. 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever by Steve Chandler
  45. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
  46. Conflict without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading with Compassionate Accountability by Nate Regier
  47. Herding Tigers: Be the Leader That Creative People Need by Todd Henry
  48. The Ant and the Elephant – Leadership for the Self: A Parable and 5 Step Action Plan to Transform Performance by Vincent Poscente
  49. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
  50. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

Do you have any books to add to this list? Send me an email to let me know:

If you've set big business or income goals, upgrading your minds will help you achieve them. Here are 50 books that will change your business and finances.

2019 Word of the Year & Goals

Over the last few years, I have found that choosing a word of the year to help me focus on what I want to add to my life. Keeping that word in front of me can help me make decisions in line with my priorities, know when to say “no” to opportunities that don’t align with my vision, and motivate me to take action when it’s time to move.

Want to see what my previous words of the year have been, check them out:

  • 2018 Word of the Year was CLARIFY
  • 2017 Word of the Year was START
  • 2016 Word of the Year was ACHIEVE

As part of my 2018 year-end review yesterday, I discussed that in 2019 I want to get in the best physical, mental, spiritual and financial shape of my life.

Every goal that I’m setting is with this in mind. Several of them are goals that I have set in years past. So, what is the right word to give me the right amount of oomph to push me toward achieving these goals?

2019 Word of the Year: COURAGE

Courage also happens to be one of my core values. For me, the definition of courage is “taking action in difficult situations by choosing to follow my intuition and logic.”

In 2019, I want to use this word to keep me moving even when the pathway seems steep, in spite of imposter syndrome, and on those days where it seems easier to stay in my comfort zone.

Over the last few years, I have found that choosing a word of the year to help me focus as I set my annual goals. My 2019 word of the year is COURAGE.

Goals for the 2019

Pay off our debt snowball.

The Mister and I took Financial Peace University in 2015, which makes this the fourth calendar year that I’ve written this goal out. I wish we had knocked this goal out sooner, but I haven’t had the courage in year’s past to really cut back our lifestyle and stay committed to living on a written budget.

This is the last year that I’m declaring it, “2019 will be the year that we become debt-free.

Since I primarily handle the budget and bills, I need to have the courage to tell myself “no” my brain tries to sway me to immediate gratification rather than staying on plan. We CAN do this, and we will.

Increase my business income by 20 percent

This goal is a stretch goal for me, just typing the words gives me flutters in my stomach. It’s going to take courage to make the calls. It’s going to take courage to believe that sales will come. It’s going to take courage to push through the imposter syndrome.

I know that I didn’t hit my 2018 goal because I didn’t believe in myself enough to try. That HAS to change…because how do we get debt-free if I don’t grow my income? It’s not fair to rely on the Mister to do all the overtime.

Hit my goal weight of 135 lbs

And work toward this goal while still having the courage to love my current body and cherish its abilities. In the last 5 years, I’ve watched the number on the scale creep upward and upward, and I’ve come to realize that I’m not comfortable in my skin anymore.

I know what to eat that helps me feel my best energetically. I’ve just allowed convenience and comfort get in the way of living/eating that lifestyle. I know that weight is just one measure of a healthy body, but this is where I’m starting. This is the year that I change that I get back to loving the reflection in the mirror while fueling my body and mind well.

Pass my second-degree black belt exam.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been eligible to test for this rank since October, but I’ve held myself back. I need to learn only 25 more techniques than I needed for my first-degree exam, and the truth is that again I’ve let fear get in my way of learning them.

Just like with my business income goal, getting ready for my exam (and learning those last few techniques) involves the courage to believe that I can do this. I have to take ownership asking for the instruction and getting the practice to feel ready.

Live my faith more visibly

Of all my goals, this one is probably the most nebulous and hardest to measure. I have come to realize that I rarely discuss my faith among my friends — never mind share about it on this blog or via social media.

I want to have the courage to embrace my love for Jesus more publicly. So I’m giving myself two challenges this year:

  1. Get back to attending church on a weekly basis with my husband.
  2. Participate in reading the entire Bible this year with my husband.

In addition to strengthening my walk with God, completing these challenges are going to help my life in so many areas:

  • feeling more at peace with life’s challenges
  • relying more on God than myself and reducing worry
  • bringing me closer to the Mister and strengthening our marriage
  • preparing me to be a better parent for future children.

2019 is my year of courage.

I’m looking forward to the challenges in front of me. I can’t wait until December when I’ll be sharing with you how I’ve grown and what I’ve accomplished. Future Aubrey is going to be so proud of the daily acts of courage.

What goals are you setting for 2019? Do you use a word of the year to stay focused?