Financial planning starts with knowing where your money comes from and how much you have to work with. A full-disclosure audit of your financial receipts can position you for everything from salary negotiations to additional education to business ventures to investment opportunities. But if you don’t know where you stand you’ll never know what to try next.
Before we get into the heart of this week’s Provision, I want to highlight the addition of Lonny Hogan to our staff and report on my experience last week at the Pittsburgh marathon • which will segue nicely into our discussion of planned receipts.
Lonny obtained an undergraduate degree in Speech Communication as well as specialized training in public speaking and information technology from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Lonny is based in the Chicago, Illinois area, where he splits his time as an entrepreneur in the real estate appraisal industry and in peak-performance coaching. His coach training comes through Franklin Covey Coaching and CoachVille. Lonny enjoys public speaking and has ten years of experience in working with personal-development and peak-performance training programs.
We brought Lonny onto the LifeTrek Coaching staff in order to help us expand our offerings in the marketplace through the generation of strategic partnerships and organizational alliances. Most of our current clients are private individuals who work 1-on-1 with a trained LifeTrek coach. Although we enjoy and will never abandon this work, we aim to develop more corporate and organizational contracts that will take advantage of our diverse interests, trainings, backgrounds, and abilities. To that end, we invite you to contact Lonny at (847) 489-5132 or by Email. To see Lonny’s picture and read a brief bio, along with the pictures and bios of the entire LifeTrek Coaching staff, you may visit us on the Web Click.
My experience at the Pittsburgh marathon was, judging from the calls and email replies to last week’s Provision, a matter of considerable interest. Inquiring minds want to know how things turned out. You may remember that I was running to support and pace a client who had trained to finish in about four hours. The last sixteen miles of this marathon included significant hills, which perhaps contributed to my client’s having to contend with a side stitch that came and went • to the point of forcing her more than once during the last ten miles to slow down and breathe deep.
Her affliction notwithstanding, my client held it together and did great all the way through to the end. I have paced people who totally lost their bearings, cadence, and rhythm in the second half of a marathon. That never happened here. Instead, we kept watching the miles fly by with appreciative delight through mile 22. After that, things slowed down a bit and we finished in four hours and three minutes • close enough to call it a keeper. We both had every reason to feel successful and fulfilled by a job well done.
The job, of course, had already been done by the time we met at the starting line. 18 weeks of training could not be taken away in four hours, on one particular day, regardless of the outcome. If one of us had had to pull out due to sickness or injury, there would have been disappointment but not failure.
Some people train to race. And if the race doesn’t work out, they are devastated. But throughout our training, we turned the tables on that competitive maxim. Instead of training to race, we raced to train. By having an event on the calendar, we created the reason and the context for 18 weeks of getting up early and experiencing the best life has to offer. By putting our bodies through the discipline of a rigorous training schedule, we grew in physical as well as mental and spiritual fitness. Our great finish time was simply icing on the cake.
One aspect of marathon training that many people fail to recognize is the input side of the equation. Where does all that energy come from, to run 26.2 miles or 42.16 kilometers? It’s not just about building up your endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility. It’s also about learning how to fuel your body for maximum energy and efficiency during long runs.
To this end, marathon training includes a disciplined schedule of eating and drinking before, during, and after every endurance exercise. There’s both science and luck to figuring out what works best for any particular runner. The science part comes from two kinds of research: laboratory research and self experimentation. Laboratory research is the stuff that sells magazines and books. We can read about the latest nutritional findings in our quest to find the perfect match between our body’s needs and our intake of foods, liquids, and supplements.
Self experimentation is the stuff that makes the lab research come alive, as we discover our own unique nutritional requirements. One person may require a slightly different mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins while another may require special supplementation to overcome deficiencies or optimize performance. There’s just no way to know until we get on with the business of figuring out and writing down what works best for us. And, of course, on occasion we get lucky • stumbling onto something that both tastes good and improves our endurance during long runs.
All this has direct relevance for those who would seek to develop optimal financial well-being or wealth. Just as people need to discover the nutritional receipts that contribute to optimal athletic performance, so do we need to discover the financial receipts that contribute to optimal life performance.
It’s not as simple as saying, “Give me all the money I can get.” Just as athletes can consume the wrong quantity and quality of nutrition, making things worse rather than better, so can we have money problems in much the same way. By not knowing and not caring about our receipts, it’s easy to run out of gas before the race is over.
Perhaps that’s why the average American household retires with more debt than savings. With an unknown or inadequate plan as to what’s coming in, it’s easy to spend more than we make and to save very little at all. Optimal financial well-being starts with active self experimentation on the receipt side of the equation.
Start by writing down the source and amount of what’s coming in now: paychecks, benefits, interest, dividends, revenues, gifts, and other financial receipts. This compares to keeping a journal of what and where you’re eating. Until we know that, there’s no way to design and conduct appropriate nutritional experiments. “More of this” and “less of that” are relative terms which assume we know what “this” and “that” currently look like.
So too when it comes to the receipt side of our financial plan. Until we know what comes in, from all sources, on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis, there’s no way to answer such basic questions as, “Am I making enough?”, “Is my compensation competitive?”, and “Can I do better?” Whether you’re a low-paid hourly employee or a high-paid self-employed professional, the answers to these and other questions begin with a full-disclosure audit of our financial receipts.
Recently, for example, I was talking with someone who wanted to negotiate a salary increase. I asked this person how much they were making, and they quickly came up with an annual figure. I was encouraged. Did that include benefits, bonuses, expense accounts, retirement plans, as well as any other tips, perks, and amenities? Well, not exactly. And did they know the total value of these extras? Well, not exactly. And did they know how their compensation compared to others in the field? Well, not exactly.
It quickly became apparent that this was no basis upon which to negotiate a salary increase. Or decrease. I know more than one person who was happy to exchange less money for more time. They stayed in the same position but went to four days a week in order to have more free time and to experiment with other sources of revenue. This was made possible, however, only after they had a good handle on the receipt side of their financial plan.
Knowing how your money comes in is the starting point to any financial plan. A diversified portfolio will often include receipts from all four of Kiyosaki’s quadrants: employee, self-employment, business owner, and investment income. It may also include receipts from insurance policies, trust funds, gifts, and other sources. Once you know where your money is coming from, and how much is coming from each source, it becomes possible to experiment adroitly with new strategies and ventures.
I have had several clients, for example, who decided to add a network marketing company into their receipt portfolio after discovering that they had no business owner income and after deciding that such ventures were relatively low-risk, high-return propositions. One of my running buddies is opening a retail franchise that costs between $80,000 and $120,000 to get started. Network marketing takes a much smaller initial investment, typically under $5,000, but offers much the same prospect of success for those who diligently work the system.
The point here is not to promote any one particular course of action. On the contrary, it’s to recognize that although many roads lead to optimal financial well-being, or wealth, they all start and get sustained by knowing and planning our financial receipts. As with marathon running, “lab research” reveals much about the road to wealth. But just as certainly, it’s important to conduct your own experiments in order to discover what works for you, what you enjoy, and what makes for your own authentic relationship to money.
Coaching Inquiries: Do you know where your money is coming from and how much you have to work with this year? How do you value your money, time, and energy? What experiments would you like to try to make things better?
LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.
I just wanted to say hello and thank you for continuing to be a very big motivating factor in my life. You are a wonderful influence, through your coaching and through LifeTrek Provisions. The “Follow a Plan” Provision was very interestingly (cosmically?) timed with respect to the ‘challenge’ I have recently/once again encountered. Thank you again and please keep up the awesome ‘work’!
As someone who once took her own trek to Africa, financial concerns and disbursements aside, I can’t recommend highly enough to anyone considering a trip, to go. And I am full of recommendations about what not to miss. Hearing that Megan may go there gave me goose bumps.
I’m new to LifeTrek and, thus, this comment may be ill-advised. I really enjoy the information in the email newsletter that is sent out. However, I often find it hard to get through. As a person who averages around 80-100 emails a day, 85% of which require responses, I really appreciate bullets and summaries. If at all possible, it would be GREAT! to get bulleted and/or summarized articles outlining all those helpful hints. Then, if I require explanation or desire more info. I can go to the article and get it. (Ed. Note: Our hope is that the Laser Provision and In This Issue table of contents provides some of this benefit. Will consider your request for more.)
I have been getting your newsletter for a few months I always enjoy it. I am a holistic health and nutritional counselor. I would love to have the ability to write an article or column about health and/or nutritional related topics. (Ed. Note: On rare occasion we do publish guest articles and we would welcome your submission for consideration.)
Do you have any coaching for athletes? (Ed. Note: Primarily running, weight loss, and wellness coaching.)
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
LifeTrek Coaching International
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