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Category Archives: Wealth Considerations

Get out of Debt….and Stay Out! Part 1

Practical Tips, Tricks, Techniques

During Q2 of 2015 we are examining not only the importance of but also the power of budgeting. Over the years I have learned that less than 5% of the population has a budget and less than ½ of these folks actually track their actuals against their projections. While there are a few reasons why this foundational practice is not followed by so many, one major barrier to folks tracking their inflows and outflows is debt. As such, how do you get out of debt?

The biggest reason people find themselves mired in debt is often due to one of the three D’s: divorce, disability or disaster. I EF_Expect Inspectunderstand “life happens” as it has happened to me. However, the behaviors and dispositions I had in place prior to the “Bid D” that struck my life are what allowed me to rise out the valley of debt (and despair) a lot faster than those without these behaviors already in place. 

As such, what DO those who have money, who are not in debt, who have “wealth” actually DO differently that allows them to not only overcome a major setback but to have even more?

Those who not only survive but THRIVE understand the following:

  1. Respect the finite nature of money: If you only have a $100, you cannot spend $200. Period. In fact, you cannot spend $101. You cannot spend what you do not have, Period.
  2. Save!: Embrace the truth that NOONE will save for your future. As such, you MUST save a portion of every dollar you make. Many will advocate 10% but the wealthy save 20% or more of every dollar they make. The amount you save is the difference between surviving and thriving!
  3. Wants vs. Needs: Live the capital “T” Truth that life is mostly a series of “wants” and not “needs.” As such, do not allow yourself to use language such as, “I need to send my child to private school,” when you have no money set aside for your own retirement. Or, “I need to get my nails done” which takes at least $50 every month. You must learn the Truth that every time you cave in to a “want” you actually take away from a legitimate “need.”
  4. Budget: You MUST have a budget that you actively manage. As such, you MUST track your inflows and outflows. You cannot expect, what you do not inspect.  You cannot expect wealth and financial freedom if you do not inspect where the money is going. 

The reality is, each of the four points listed can consume a few pages each if we were to truly dive into each of them. However, because we have only touched the surface and because there are four more tips, I encourage you to mediate on what has been stated so far and tell me what you think. 

Don’t forget to return for the next post to learn about the four remaining tips to get out of debt and stay out!

If you are someone who wants MORE and you are ready to not just gain the knowledge but to understand the application, the wisdom, the HOW TO, please reach out and let’s walk through the First Step of my “Four Steps to Financial Freedom” process. The “fee” is an hour of your time and I will even buy the coffee! (Unless we meet virtually in which case I will send you a Starbucks card ☺) 

Epiphany Financial is a wealth education company established to ensure individuals, families and businesses get the most efficient use of their money so that you can focus on that which really matters: faith, family and community

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You Know, I’m All About the Budget

Some people make it a habit to read a chapter of Proverbs at the start of every day.

In “the Message” Bible, it states that the purpose of Proverbs is “to teach people the ropes,” so that we may attain wisdom and discipline and to understand what life means and how to do what is right, just and fair.Epiphany Financial

Proverbs 1:7 is a key verse that encapsulates the book’s overall purpose: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

I personally like the even more direct approach of Proverbs 12:1, which states: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

Because I am an educator, Proverbs speaks a language that I value and wish more would embrace. Unfortunately, far too many detest discipline and, thus, shun the wisdom that could lead to their freedom.

When you consider what I do for a living – I help people make the “right” decisions about their money. And, the first “right” decision is to have a budget, yet the vast majority do not take the time and exercise the discipline to do so.

I work with 22 year olds to 72 year olds. I work with people who can save $100 a month to folks who save over $1,000,000 a year, and of the hundreds of clients and families with whom I work, there are less than 10% who came to me with a clearly defined budget of inflows and outflows, and even fewer who updated this document monthly.

Folks, YOU CANNOT EXPECT WHAT YOU DO NOT INSPECT.

And yet everyone wants financial freedom. Everyone articulates a desire to have “more.” Everyone talks about a desire for financial security. But, again, how can you EXPECT to have any of these realities if you do not INSPECT what is real?

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. (Proverbs 28:19)

Which leads me to some truths about how money really works in the lives of hard working US citizens: the vast majority do not know how to “think” about a budget, how to actually map it out and keep it current. Furthermore, money is THE hardest topic to discuss which is why it is the #1 stressor. As such, when you combine the challenge of knowing “how” to create and manage a budget with the emotions that surround money, it makes sense that so many people do not have a budget. And even for those folks who tell me they don’t need a budget because they don’t spend more than they make, my experience has been that because they do not truly know what is coming in and going out, they are throwing away money, literally.  

Whatever your situation, working with a professional who is focused on the behaviors and strategies that lead to wealth and security can be the difference between surviving and thriving! Look for someone who understands process over products first! (And, if you want a head start, you can access some budget worksheets on my website by clicking here.)

If you are a person of discipline when it comes to your personal economy; if you seek knowledge and wisdom when it comes to the macro-economic impact of micro-economic movements within your family economic system, contact us so we can help ensure you have the optimum return on EVERY dollar in your system.

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  469.682.8280  www.financialepiphany.com

 

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I Don’t Like People

Do you ever feel that way? 

Full authenticity, I really do not LIKE what most people DO but because I have a downright “unnatural” LOVE for my human kind, my heart breaks to watch people sabotage their own success and joy. 

While I LOVE people, I do not LIKE their behaviors that are counter to what they say they believe and want for themselves. 

People are INCONSISTENT. 

After 45+ years of observation, I am convinced that people are not so much “hypocritical” as they are INCONSISITENT. They do not live up to the desires theyEF-People_FB have for themselves such that what they say and do does not match what is actually occurring…and they are ignorant of this truth. They are not aware that what they say and do does not lead to the results they want. 

I KNOW this to be a fact because I work with peoples’ money. I don’t just sell people financial products. I dig into how people manage their budgets; how money flows. 

The #1 inconsistency I see in people is that they say they want more financial security, they say they want more opportunity; they say they want more money and yet they have no clear plan to manage the money they have. They have no idea exactly what happens to all the buckets of money they have already accumulated or even why they chose said bucket in the first place. They have no day-to-day game plan that they can clearly articulate as a means to get to their expected outcomes for their future. 

People flat out have no idea where they are going, so they just “hope” it is better than what they are actually doing.

 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies [“hope”] will have their fill of poverty. (Proverbs 28:19)

Because most people really have no clear vision of where they are going, of course they are not clear as to the action steps, behaviors, attitudes that will get them there. And HOPE, while critical in a spiritual sense, has nothing to do with doing your part to create the life that is very possible to have.

So, if you truly want to get to a better place, ya gotta have a plan

The plans of the diligent lead to profit (Proverbs 21:5)

If you want success, freedom, opportunities, options in any area of life, you have to map out of plan that you can stick with and evaluate.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 

As such, make a plan. Set some goals. Use the SMART method to refine the list. Share it with another. Check in at regular intervals to make sure you are making strides towards said goal. And do it again the next day.

While my “Goals Wheel” can help you start the process for every area of your life, when it comes to your money, an understanding of how money REALLY works and what is possible might motivate you to get busy defining a budget and setting monetary and financial goals. To that end, join us on ONE of 4 seminars being offered live or via webinar this month.

The traditional financial planning model no longer exists. Join us in person or via webinar for one of FOUR dates and times to learn how we can combine what you are already doing with the latest economic analysis and strategies to produce more funds for your retirement.

Click the link to register

Write Down Goals = Achieve More!

If you have been in the professional world for any amount of time, you have probably heard statistics of how one achieves success – s/he has written goals. Research reveals,

“…those with written goals were earning 10 times what the others who had no written goals were earning.” Another study concludes, “Those with written goals have 80% more earnings over a lifetime than those without.” 

*When you have written goals, you achieve more than those who do not. 

** When you share these written goals with another, you achieve at an even higher level. EF_Goals_Blog

*** When you periodically update another on your progress towards your goals, you have the highest level of achievement possible.

Written Goals Matter!

As such, if you say you want more wealth and more financial security, start by defining goals in all areas of your life. After all, what is money if not a tool to achieve that what you want in all areas of your life?! 

Money is a means to an end. Therefore, write down what you want to achieve, put a timeframe around it and identify any resources that you may need to get there. Don’t overthink it and don’t ignore the exercise. Write down a goal for the 8 key areas of your life using the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound

  1. Faith / Spiritual
  2. Family / Communal
  3. Career / Vocational
  4. Education / Intellectual
  5. Health / Physical
  6. Wealth / Financial
  7. Friends / Social
  8. Fun / Recreational

…..Now share those goals with another who you trust to encourage you along the journey! Finally, set a date a month or two later when you will update the person as to the progress you have made towards your goals……and then set another date a month or two after that meeting and so on…… 

Of course, if getting a handle on your finances or building a working budget or streamlining your multiple savings and investments accounts is anywhere on your list of goals for 2015, I look forward to receiving your call so I can encourage you along the way! 

This month’s wealth tool, Goals Wheel, came to you via my Money Matters e-newsletter.  If you didn’t receive it, click here to register!  In the meantime, be watching social media in the coming weeks for the wealth tool post.  This is a great guide to help you get your goals on paper!

If you are someone who wants MORE and you are ready to not just gain the knowledge but to understand the application, the wisdom, the HOW TO, please reach out and let’s walk through the First Step of my “Four Steps to Financial Freedom” process. The “fee” is an hour of your time and I will even buy the coffee!

Sincerely,

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 469.682.8280  www.financialepiphany.com

From Life Insurance to Investments, LEARN how money REALLY works!

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A Moment of Gratitude

Gratitude. Thankfulness. Joy.

This is what I feel when I think about the gift of serving you! You don’t have to read this message; you choose to, and, forEF-Gratitude_FB that, you are a BLESSING!

When you take note of my message, you receive not just my words, but my thoughts, my heart. And, truthfully, what else is there if you can not give of yourself to others?

I believe, I KNOW, Iwill not be deterred from my core Truth that I was not created for my own pleasure but rather so that I may be of use, of value, of service to another. 

As such, THANK YOU for allowing me to serve you in 2014!

The fact that you have read my e-newsletters, “liked” my Facebook posts, visited my website, allowed me to work with you and those you love, has helped me fulfill my purpose. YOU give me purpose and I am humbled to the point of tears. THANK YOU!

May God richly bless you in 2015! May you feel the Omnipotent and Omnipresent in your life today and each day of 2015 regardless of the circumstances of the moment.

I look forward to serving you for many years to come!

Sincerely,

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469.682.8280  www.financialepiphany.com

From Life Insurance to Investments, LEARN how money REALLY works!

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The Drunk and His Lamppost

In the words of sportscaster Vin Scully,

“Statistics get used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.”

Or as my pastor Pete Briscoe reminds us as we seek to understand the heart and mind of God by reading  His Word, TheEF-drunk-lamppost Bible, “Words taken out of context are a pretext for a prooftext.” Meaning, if you don’t understand the cultural and environmental context and reality in which the words were delivered, you will focus on the narrow definition of the words themselves and miss the Truth and wisdom God intends.

Whether it is statistics in sports or words from the Bible, all the  data, facts, stats, words, definitions, knowledge that is now instantly accessible to everyone via the power of internet can be very misleading if one does not recognize that the internet is mostly a fancy and more widespread version of the Encyclopedia Britannica. If you do not seek to gain wisdom, insight, the Truth of the data, then you are simply a drunk leaning against a pole.

As such, when I state that “Money is not Math. Money is human behavior,” it is to remind people that you can have all knowledge but no wisdom. You can win a game a Trivial Pursuit but implicit in the name is the true result of using facts and data without a context for understanding their use, their application, their “why,”= it is “trivial” and amounts to no tangible gain. 

And isn’t that what we really want? Don’t we want data and stats and facts and knowledge that moves us forward? Don’t we want information that helps us improve and increase our happiness, our health, our wealth our overall sense of purpose and joy? 

If you are someone who wants MORE and you are ready to not just gain the knowledge but to understand the application, the wisdom, the HOW TO, please reach out and let’s walk through the First Step of my “Four Steps to Financial Freedom” process. The “fee” is an hour of your time and I will even buy the coffee! 

Contact me today!

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469.682.8280  www.financialepiphany.com

From Life Insurance to Managed Money, LEARN how money REALLY works!
 
Photo Credit: http://nicholasnigro.blogspot.com

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Epiphany Financial is Hiring!

EF - NOW HIRINGThis is a great opportunity for someone who is new in their career or returning to the workforce or someone who wants to have more control of their time and income.

Ideally one person will posses the talents and skills to fulfull both the administrative side as well as the business development side of this role. However this full time position may be able to be broken into two part time positions.

Please send resume to kvitacca@pegplanning.com

 

Client Relations Manager / Sales Assistant

  • Requires professionalism and comfort with phone conversations with a seasoned customer service attitude
  • Requires proficiency and comfort with computer applications, specifically Excel, Word and Outlook software and willingness and ability to learn ConstantContact and SendOutCards online systems.
  • Must be proactive in follow ups and follow through
  • Must be detail-oriented!
  • Must take initiative and respectfully ask for  the information needed from a busy business owner who talks fast, changes her mind frequently, and does not  always communicate progress on her end. “Mind-reading” is a plus. J
  • Must exude confidence with a professional appearance
  • Would prefer a professional willing to prospect
  • Must have or acquire Group 1 Insurance License within first 90 days of hire
  • Full time; Base + Commission; Flexible hours
  • Opportunity to earn more!

Main Duties Required include but not limited to:

  • Set appointments for very busy entrepreneur in the financial services industry
  • Conduct the majority of meeting confirmations and follow up via email and phone. Requires setting up meetings through Outlook, confirming, making changes, etc., therefore a lot of back and forth with clients and prospects.
  • Manage the application process from taking the information via phone or in person if necessary and following  through to final approval which is about a four week process
  • Constant communication with administrative office personnel throughout the county for various problematic application and underwriting issues to ensure everyone has the same information and such the client is the least impacted by a fairly extensive process
  • Maintain tracking list of all prospective and current clients-in database with information that can change daily
  • Maintain and update all prospect and client information in business owner’s contact database
  • Maintain marketing programs specifically related to use of card mailing software to online email marketing systems, website and social media
  • Manage events from invitation, through attendance at event to support Epiphany Financial Owner, to after event follow-up
  • Attend local networking meetings and represent Epiphany Financial services in order to prospect for new clients and opportunities
  • Help build and manage educational seminar division 

Base annual salary paid monthly on 1st and 15th

Commissions based on prospects developed

Computer provided

Expenses covered for license acquisition and networking fees

Please send resume to kvitacca@pegplanning.com. 

Client Spotlight: Kathleen Turton

Kathleen Turton, Family Law Attorney, Ward & Turton PLLC

102713 KathleenTurton
www.ward-turton.com / kathleen@ward-turton.com / 214.739.8900

Divorce. Child Custody. Conflict…..The Unknown. Uncertainty. Fear……If you have ever gone through a divorce or you are contemplating this possibility, you may have just had a visceral response to those words. Your stomach may have turned or your throat tightened or your heart started racing. The end of so many hopes and dreams is NOT what any ofus signed up for in life but, alas, it is now the new “normal” of what the vast majority of us experience.

As such, who do you turn to for help when the legal process begins?  In 2011 I was “passed on” to Kathleen to represent me as I needed to modify my child custody agreement due to the fact that so much had changed for both my ex-husband and myself over the course of our then 10+ year divorce and, specifically, my now pre-teen son began to express dissatisfaction with how his father and I had negotiated the custody. While I had not directly sought the help of Kathleen Tinney Turton, a Higher Power certainly intervened to ensure I had not only quality legal counsel but, even more importantly, integrity infused wisdom and care.

Kathleen Tinney Turton helps people chart the choppy waters of reorganizing  their personal life. Whether it’s a divorce, child custody, modifications on past contracts, adoptions, or powers of attorney, Kathleen spends the majority of her work life helping families work through conflict. She also represents children in CPS and private custody–court appointed cases.

Kathleen has also gone through special training in “collaborative law.” “People do not want to use the traditional court-room routes to solve their issues. They want to sit at the table. The want team work where everyone is committed to making it work out in everyone’s best interests and, specifically, the children.” To this end of helping people stay focused on the reality, Kathleen has done a lot of teaching over the past 10 years especially when she was the Interim Director for the Child Advocacy Clinic at SMU.

“People come to me because they want a resolution. It’s not that your opinion or position doesn’t matter to me, but what I stay focused on for my client is- what is possible within the letter of the law? I am not the type of attorney who is going to do and say what you want to hear as if I am your best friend who will listen to you bemoan the ills of your ex as you plot revenge because, ultimately, this just runs up the tab and pads my pockets when I know what the legal system will and won’t allow. Unfortunately, sometimes people are not ready to end the process but I will continue to focus on a resolution.” - Kathleen

Kathleen went on to explain that on the surface someone may articulate a desired outcome but as she probes and asks questions about the “why” behind the expressed goal, it is clear that other options exist for a more amiable and sustainable resolution…and often times the solution has nothing to do with the law. In fact, very frequently, clients have competing goals. Kathleen went on to explain that people in conflict want to use the legal system to get their soon-to-be-ex to behave in a certain manner. She states, “There are no personality transplants at the courthouse. If you were not able to make this person behave in a certain manner when you were married to them, neither can the court.”

Kathleen is clear in her role and ability to help others, “I will fight and advocate for what you want but only after we are clear what the goals are that will get you the resolution you want. The Internet is not the answer. It is not wisdom and discernment.” As such, while Kathleen will advocate for her clients, her title is first and foremost “Counselor at Law.”

If you don’t know where to start, do not be afraid to reach out and get advice even if you are not ready to make any decisions. It helps to at least have a conversation. And, of course, you can always contact me first and I will share my experience, strength and hope.

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Murphy’s Law and Your Wealth Strategy

EF_Murphys Law

Murphy’s Law is a series of epigrams of which the most famous is “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Besides this most famous saying, there are many other witty and pointed statements, often with a clever twist in thought, that are worth considering when one analyzes how he approaches his personal finances. For example,

  • A shortcut is the longest distance between two points.
  • Everyone has a scheme for getting rich that will not work.
  • In order to get a loan, you must first prove you don’t need it 

Because I help people have financial freedom, by implementing the “Private Reserve Strategy” as the foundation of all other economic movements, I often hear, “This seems too good to be true.” According to Murphy’s Law, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

However, when you think about what I do, it is only “good” because I teach an individual how to have control. Until they met me, most folks have no idea how much financial power they have.  

What I teach clients about and the strategies and systems we employ, actually takes a lot of effort. Because I teach economic principles and truths that work regardless of what life may bring, it is indeed, “good” and it is, indeed, “true.”

So think about what the majority of financial planners offer, “If you trust me, give me your money and I will put it in a EF-Murphys Law_FBbox and you don’t have to do anything but this box will grow huge for you to access many years later.” How much more complicated is the message? How involved did you get, really? And what about all the other dollars in your system – the dollars you spend to finance cars, pay for taxes, send your kids to private schools, take a family vacation – do you have a plan to recapture these dollars or is the box your financial advisor growing for you going to be big enough to cover everything today AND tomorrow?

Now tell me, what system is too good to be true?

So, let’s examine these Murphy’s Law epigrams when you consider what most US citizens have as their wealth “strategy” which is, “I have an investment guy and he manages my money,” money which accounts for maybe 5% to 10% of one’s overall family income and is all tied up in securities products:

  • Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
  • Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will use it.

When you are ready to take control of your finances, your purchases, your investments, your taxes, your growth, and when you are ready to start a system that is sustainable and flexible and that you understand how to work within, when you are ready for more, contact me and let’s start learning some macro-economic principles which can dramatically alter the course of the rest of your life and that of your loved ones.

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Death is Cruel Without Life Insurance or a Will!

Man carrying a sad small child

I write this on the day I will attend the funeral of my 52 year old cousin-n-law. The specific facts are still not known but he crashed his motorcycle and left behind a wife without life insurance or a will.

Because Samuel’s wife, my cousin Kate, needs assistance to care for herself, Hillary, her 20 year old daughter, must now contemplate life on a $10/hour wage with an adult dependent.

The details of the story actually get worse but suffice it to say, the suddenness of death is real and it has come to my family in a very real way.

As a mid-40’s adult, I have dealt with quite a few family deaths and a lot more when you consider friends and colleagues. However, I now work in a business in which the foundational asset we teach clients to use is a very specifically designed“life insurance” contract and, (with shame I admit), I never sold it for “death benefit.”

When I purchased my first whole life insurance contract in 2008, I was motivated by the power of the “Private Reserve System” which allows me to realize growth on money I plan to spend anyway (anything from taxes to charities to everything in between). What is even more exciting is this same asset will ensure I have 30-50% more spendable income – guaranteed – when I retire. Point being, “death benefit” was more of an afterthought on my quest to build secure assets and like most people, it did not resonate with much credence (or even “need”) until now.

FOLKS, IF YOU EXPRESS LOVE FOR A SPOUSE AND/OR A CHILD, YOU NEED DEATH BENEFIT!

FOLKS, IF YOU SAY YOU LOVE SOMEONE AND YOU WANT THE BEST FOR THEM,

PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS AND ESTABLISH A WILL!

In the spirit of full disclosure, before I understood the economic power of owning life insurance, I not only did not have life insurance, I did not have a will…..and I was a single mother who would cry with joy knowing I had been blessed with such a lovely creation as my son. Point being, I expressed heartfelt and real love for my child, but I had nothing in place to legally and financially protect him.

Folks, I was ignorant. I did not say that I am incapable of thinking at a high level, but I was once IGNORANT – UNKNOWING – MISSING THE FACTS – INEXPERIENCED – UNAWARE.

While I never want to be a product salesperson, please allow me to at least help you establish a term policy to protect those you love. If you are willing to take some time to learn, I can teach you how to use life insurance as an ASSET in a truly diversified wealth strategy. However, at least, for the sake of those you love, buy life insurance!

Of course, if you live in Texas I can introduce you to my wills & trust lawyer or help you find one in the state in which you live. Either way, please, set as your #1 priority that you will get life insurance and establish a will before the end of this quarter.