HWH006: Wealth: Finding Your Why

If you want to be a wealth builder you need to have a good “why” if you want to be able to sustain the path to building wealth. Your “why” is the reason that you want to build wealth. It answers the simple question: “Why do you want to build wealth?” You can have several whys or as little as just one. Your “why” is derived from your dreams so its important that you take a long look at your dreams and come up with reasons why you want to build wealth. Your dream could be anything: maybe to achieve financial independence, to save up for that new car, or to be able to travel the world someday without the worry of having income. Here are some additional examples of whys that’ll help you get an idea of what they can be. One why might be that you recently became a parent and now that you have a person to take care of you want more financial stability. Another might be that you want to save up and invest for a comfortable retirement. Or a “why” might be that a person wants to save up so they can buy his or her dream home. There are what seems like an endless amount of things that we can buy with our money and therefore there are also an endless amount of “whys” that we can have.

So why is having a “why” important and what does it do for you? Your “why” answers the question on why your willing to save and invest now rather than spend your money on something else. Your “why” gives you the justification to say “No, I’m not spending this money now, because I have a greater purpose for this money in the future”. Your “why” gives your wealth building a purpose and gives you a reason for delayed gratification. Most people do not become wealthy because they can’t embrace delayed gratification. People want things now. That’s why so many people have gotten themselves in such terrible financial situations with consumer debt. In stead of saving up for a purchase and making sure priorities like retirement funds are coming first, they just go out and buy whatever they want whenever they want it. That’s great for retailers but it’s bad for a person’s financial health. When people go out and make too many reckless purchases they eventually start to buy things that they can’t afford. That’s when credit cards come into pay. I’m not saying that buying “stuff” is always bad. I buy “stuff” too. However, if you want to be a wealth builder you need to create a budget, make sure you’re contributing funds to your goals like retirement, and then once all of your priorities are taken care of, then you can buy the “stuff”.

Your “why” is your also a source of hope. It’s incredibly important to have hope when you’re trying to achieve any goal. Weather it’s a health, wealth, or happiness goal your “why” identifies your hope that will keep you motivated to keep on the wealth builder’s path. This helps to keep you from buying those things that you don’t really need.

Your “why” will also help you to determine how much wealth you need to amass. This is because your dreams, your goals, and your “whys” are all interrelated. We know that creating an intentional life starts with determining our dreams so that we can create goals and then a plan to reach those goals. The “why” is the fuel that we use to help us attain our dreams and work towards our goals using our plan. For example, if your “why” is that you want a new car then determining the price of the car will tell you how much you need to put away.

My friends, I would like to encourage you if you haven’t done so already, take some time to reflect on your dreams. Turn these dream into your own personal “whys” and use these “whys” to keep you on track to reach your goals. Think of all the people that your “whys” could benefit: your family, your friends, your community, and your church. Involve these people in your “whys” to make your “whys” that much more powerful.

HWH005: Health: Tips For Running

A lot of us enjoy running, I know that I certainly do, and I’ve done my fair share of it. I don’t do as much as I use to but I still love to get out and burn those calories and get the heart pumping. If you’ve been running for a while now or you’ve been thinking about trying running to get fit you might take into consideration these tips for avoid injuries and get the most out of running.

The first tip is to have a good pair of shoes. If you’ve been running for a while in the shoes that you have and they’re starting to lose the cushion it’s time to get a new pair. If you’re someone who is considering getting into running I highly recommend getting a good pair of running shoes instead of using the old sneakers that you have already laying around. Having good shoes is important for several reasons. First, your shoes absorb a lot of the shock from your foot striking the ground during each stride that you take. Your joints that would normally absorb this shock are your ankles, knees, hip, and back. To save yourself from discomfort later in life with these body parts pickup a good pair of shoes that will take some of the shock out of each step. From my point of view it’s a much less expensive to buy a good pair of shoes now and then it is to pay for medical costs to address the injuries you’ve obtained later from running. If you can afford it you might even consider buying two pairs of running shoes and rotating them. I’ve heard that when you run in a pair of shoes it can temporarily squish the padding down. Think of a wet sponge that you swish down and it slowly regains its shape. Running a long distance in a pair of shoes can swish down the padding and by rotating your shoes it can allow more time for your shoes to regain the full cushion. I haven’t scientifically tested this theory but it makes sense to me. For my running shoes I have a pair of trail running shoes and a regular pair of running shoes and I try to rotate the when I work out.

The second tip is to make sure to ease into running. If you’re new to running or if you’ve been thinking about getting back into running make sure to start slow and build up the mileage and difficulty levels over time. There have been a few times in my life where I was running on a regular basis and I felt really confident in my running abilities. It was easy during these times to go out and do pretty challenging running workouts. Having this capability gave me a confidence that can be a little dangerous. This is because, on the other hand, there have also been many times that I had not been running very much and my body was not in as good of shape. Whenever I get back into running, like when I decide to start training for an upcoming event, I have to remember to start back into it slowly in order to avoid injuries like pulling a muscle. If I try to try to jump back into doing the interval workouts that I was doing when I was in excellent shape after not running for a long period of time, I will expose myself to a higher level of possible injury. Doing too much running at a high difficult level too fast will get you injured. Ease into it and build up over time.

Another tip for avoiding injuries is to cross train. If you’re someone who is training to do a 5k or 10k or something even longer and you are just getting back into running or haven’t ever really been a runner before then cross training can help you to develop the repertory system and endurance without as much pounding that running alone inflicts on your joints. A couple of things that you can do to cross training are swimming and bike riding. A “brick” workout is where you combine a run and a bike ride. Doing this type of workout can help build your endurance but introduces more low impact exercising into your workout from the bike riding portion of the exercise. In the winter time I enjoy doing more of the stationary biking indoors. This way I can avoid cold temperatures but also avoid the icy roads and sidewalks that can present slipping hazards. Obviously different exercises use different muscles so the muscles that you use for running will not be as exercised as much when you do something like ride a bike, for example, however, I believe that the rest that you give your joints from cross training can help you to avoid injuries. You can also try the machines like the Elliptical, the stair stepper or the Versaclimber if you’re looking for a great exercise that avoids excessive impact to your joints.

The fourth tip involves the things that you eat and consume. Something else that you might try if you plan on getting into running is taking supplements. There are tons of supplements like multivitamins, fish oil, probiotics, and glucosamine based products that are available that can help you in different ways. From the research that I’ve seen there isn’t always documented proof that some of these supplements do what they are sold to do however if you can find room in your budget for some of these supplements I figure it can’t hurt. I’ve always been a firm believer in making sure that my body is getting the nutrients that it needs to perform and in my opinion it will get there when I give it quality supplements. In addition to supplements, eating clean will help you to give your body good fuel. When I eat junk food I tend to feel sluggish and the energy that I get doesn’t seem to be as lasting as when I eat healthy. Eating junk food seems to give me a short-term burst of energy but then I crash. I want something that’s going to help me to have an even amount of energy throughout the day. If you want an even level of energy throughout the day you might try moving to 5 medium meals per day in lieu of 3 large meals per day. While we’re on the subject of consumption make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day as well. For me, if I don’t drink enough water, and I become start to become dehydrated, I feel sluggish and my mind just doesn’t work as well as it usually does. If I’m feeling sluggish, then I’m not going to be motivated to go running and workout.

Doing a warm up run followed with some stretching before your actual running workout can help loosen up your muscles. I’ve been in the habit of doing this ever since I started putting on the miles. My cross-country coach, Mr. Mattson had us warm up and stretch before every practice and I believe it helped the team avoid injuries. When I go running I’ll typically run about 800 meters at a nice-and-easy pace and then stretch. After I stretch I’ll start my actual running workout.

To recap: the first tip was to get a good pair of running shoes. The second tip is to ease into running, don’t jump into difficult running workout too fast. The third tip is to cross train when you can. Go for a bike ride or hit up a cardio machine at the gym. For the fourth tip take a look at the supplements available. Do you think any of these can help you? Also, try to eat clean. I know this is a tough one for me but it is really important if we want to feel good and perform at our highest level possible. And lastly, do a warm up run and some stretching before hitting your actual running workout.

HWH004: Trifecta: Discipline – Success in Health, Wealth & Happiness

Hey guys! This week I’m going to talk about a characteristic that people can have that will help them in health, wealth, and happiness. This is somewhat of a special post that I call Trifecta. What is a trifecta? One definition of trifecta from Dictionary.com says “Any achievement involving three successful outcomes”. In most of my blog posts and podcast episodes I focus on just one of the subjects, health, wealth, or happiness, but in the Trifecta posts and episodes I’m going to talk about what it takes to be successful in all three subjects.

This week’s trifecta characteristic is discipline, a.k.a. self-discipline. This is something that you need if you want to be successful at anything in your life. Yourdictionary.com defines self-discipline as “The ability you have to control and motivate yourself, stay on track and do what is right.” The key word that I like in this definition is “control”. You must have control over your life if you want to reach your goals. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Of course I have control over myself. I’m the one who controls my own life and no one else.” And you would be right, we do have control over ourselves. But far too often we allow ourselves to get off track. For example, if I set a goal for hitting the gym at least three times a week and then after going only two times I decide that I rather go eat a cheeseburger and a milkshake in stead of working out that is a loss of self control and a lack of discipline. If you want to reach your goals you must learn to have a high level of discipline. This means that you do what you say you’re going to do even when there are other things out there tempting you.

So what does discipline look like when it’s applied to health? This would be staying true to your health and fitness goals. Like my prior example maybe you’ve set a goal for going to the gym on a regular basis or maybe you’ve set a goal to eat healthier. You need to make sure that you go to the gym as you planned or that you don’t eat a bunch of junk food so that you reach your “eating healthy” goal.

Ok, what does discipline look like when it’s applied to wealth? This could mean that you keep a budget of you monthly expenses and every other week or so you go back to that budget to review your progress and update different costs or amounts. Staying true to your wealth goals means not going out and making spontaneous purchases that are not in your budget. If you want to buy something that ok just fit it into your budget so that you can still reach your financial goals while also buying the things that you want. For example, there are always new things that I want to buy but I don’t just go out and buy them. First, when I find something that I absolutely want, I look at my budget first and see if I will have enough room in my budget to buy the item that I want. I make sure that I will have enough to cover all of my expenses, fund my retirement, and pay a tithe to my church, before I use my money to buy a “want”. Creating a budget is a must if you want to be intentional about building wealth and self-discipline is what you need to have if you want to stay on budget and reach your financial goals.

Finally, how does self-discipline relate to my happiness? At first glance you might say that self-discipline isn’t really related to happiness but when you take a closer look, you’ll realize that it is very related. I believe that if we want to be successful in any area of our life then we must be intentional about personal growth in that area. When we apply self-discipline to happiness we are intentional about creating happiness into the lives of others and our self. This means that we do not talk bad about someone unless it is to give someone constructive feedback that they can grow and learn from. It means that we’re intentional about complementing others in a genuine way. It means finding forgiveness when others have crossed us, even when they don’t deserve it. When we have self-discipline in the area of happiness we do these things and these things are going to be what brings more happiness into our life.

The thing that I want you to take away is that self-discipline is incredibly important if you want to be successful in the areas of health, wealth, and happiness. You can apply self-discipline to different areas of your life in order to be intentional about reaching your goals. In general, one of the key benefits of self-discipline is that it helps to keep us on track and doesn’t allow us to wander off the road that takes us to reaching our hopes and dreams.

Takeaway points:

  1. In what areas of your life do you need more self-discipline?
  2. In the area of health, do you need to cut back on eating that junk food so you can reach your health goals?
  3. For the area of wealth, maybe you need to create a budget or review the budget that you’ve already made in order to get on track to reach your financial goals.
  4. Maybe for happiness you need a little more self-discipline when it comes to creating more happiness in the lives of others which will create more happiness in your own life.

HWH003: Happiness: 5 Tips To Become Happier Today

Happiness is an area of our life that we don’t often spend much time being intentional about growing in but yet it’s one of the most important areas. It’s easy in life to get into a routine and before we know it another year has gone by. It’s almost like we become a robot just going through the motions of our day to day tasks and responsibilities. Life seems to be flashing by and we become complacent when it comes to being intentional about living a life filled full of happiness. When we’re not being intentional about growing in happiness we’re letting opportunities to live a happier, more fulfilling life just slip through our fingers. If we’re going to live a richer life, we need to seize the opportunities to create more happiness for those around us and ourselves. Often times we get caught up in the flow of life, where we wake up go to work, come home, spend a little time with the family, watch some Netflix then go to bed only to do it all over again. It’s like we’re on autopilot and we become numb to the real joys of life because we’re so focused on the next thing that we need to do. So, to help us be more intentional about growing in happiness I’ve created a list of a few happiness tips that will bring more happiness into your life and to the lives of those around you.

  1. The first happiness tip is to remember to stop and smell the roses. I totally understand, sometimes in life we get really busy and we’re just trying to get everything done. But sometimes all we need to do is slow down and just take in a moment and enjoy life. Maybe this moment means sitting close to your spouse, or taking a minute to call your friend that you haven’t talked to in a while, or taking a moment to enjoy a beautiful view of a sunset. These special little moments can be a lot of different things. So, next time one of these moments presents itself take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy it.
  1. The second happiness tip is to complement someone in a genuine way. I like getting complements and I also like giving complements. I bet that you’re the same way. So if we like giving and receiving complements then why is it that we don’t do more of it? Giving complements is a win-win activity. When you complement someone, you win because it makes you feel good that you made someone else feel good and it’s also a win for the other person because the complement makes them feel good too. Both people end up happier. Let’s do more of this!
  1. The third thing is to build someone up. Sometimes I call this talking someone up or lifting someone up. This is similar to a complement but it’s a little different in that its focus is to make the other person feel more capable and confident. In this case you tell someone that they’re good at something, you point out how they’re helping with the rest of the team, and/or you tell them how good of a job they’re doing. You can find lots of opportunities to do this at work. Don’t tell people they’re good at something unless they really are, otherwise you’ll start to lose credibility. The nice thing about this tip is that everyone is good at something so you should be able to find at least one point to make in order to build someone up. This one is a big one especially if you’re in some sort of leadership role such as a manager at your work, or if you’re the owner of a business, or you’re a parent. Any kind of leadership role requires that the leader instills confidence into their team. You need to have a team that is confident in their abilities if you, as the leader, want your team performing at the highest level possible.
  1. The fourth happiness tip is to forgive those who have done you wrong. This is probably the hardest for me because I tend to hold on to grudges. I have a friend who I really admire who is really good at letting go of grudges and forgiving those who have crossed him. When people have crossed him in the past he was mad about the situation in the moment, but he was able to quickly forgive. He has been someone who has been quick to let go of grudges and quick to forgive those who have done him wrong. This is how we need to live our lives. Holding on to grudges and stewing over past events only brings frustration and anger into our lives. That’s not what we want. That’s not how we live a rich life. Let go of the grudges, let go of the anger, and focus on forgiving.
  1. The next happiness tip is to make the most out of bad situations. When you’re given lemons make lemonade. I know, this is sometimes easier said than done. This requires creativity and a “can-do” attitude. Very few things seem to go exactly as planned so be ready to be proactive and resourceful. Be prepared to turn a bad situation into a good situation. Look for the silver lining in the situation and think of ways that you can benefit others or yourself with the given circumstances.
  1. Bonus tip: Count your blessings. We all have been blessed in one way or another and it’s important that when we’re striving to do more that we stop and be grateful for what we have and who we get to share it with. To help me with this I’ve actually taken the time to write down many of the things that I’m grateful for. I highly recommend this exercise because it forces you to count the things that make your life a little bit better. I like the idea of having blessing list or a blessing journal because it reinvigorates that feeling of gratitude which I believe creates more happiness in our lives.

Being intentional about happiness will bring more joy to yourself and those around you. I’ve often seen in life that when we bring happiness to others we bring happiness to ourselves at the same time. There’s just something that feels good about helping others feel good. I believe that we as humans are reciprocators. What I mean by this is when we’re nice to someone, most times, they’re nice back. When we bring happiness into the lives of others, most times, others will bring happiness into our life. Life is too short to not be happy. There are so many opportunities to bring happiness to others and ourselves we just need to be intentional about seizing those opportunities. So, go get some happy!

Takeaway points:

  1. Are you bringing happiness into the lives of those around you? If not, what do you need to start doing so that you are?
  2. Have you taken a moment lately to just enjoy the presence of those you love?
  3. Have you complemented someone or talked someone up lately? Get into the habit of doing this.
  4. Are you holding on to grudges that you need to let go of? Take a minute to focus on letting go of that frustration and tell yourself that you’re done being mad about that and you wont let it bother you anymore.
  5. Do your best to make the most out of bad situations.
  6. Finally, count your blessings!

HWH002: Wealth: What does wealth mean to you?

Hi friends. I’d like to start this post by asking you the question: what does wealth mean to you? I think wealth can mean different things to different people. For example, a person might look at being wealthy as having a well funded retirement plan. Another person might think of wealthy as less about money and more about having a rich life filled with friends and family. In any of these cases a person could be considered wealthy depending on what his or her definition of wealth looks like. According to dictionary.com one definition listed says that wealthy is “rich in character, quality, or amount”. So, what’s your definition of wealth and how are you going to get there? I believe building wealth is about making smart choices with your money. Becoming wealthy might be a far off thought to you but I’d like you to realize that it’s closer to reality for you than you might think. My definition of wealth means being financially independent and this is what I would like to focus on in this post.

So, what is financial independence? To me, this is the point that your investments are making you more money than your expenses and can sustain your financial needs for life. Let’s dig into this a little deeper. My definition of financial independence has two components. The first component is that on some sort of time basis your income from your investments are making you more than the expenses that you accrued on that same time basis. For example, let’s say that your expenses on a monthly basis amount to $3000. This means that your investments would need to make at least $3000 per month to essentially break even. If you were getting an average of 8% annual return on an investment this would mean that you would need an investment worth at least $450,000. The second component has to do with sustainability. This means that your investment have the ability to continue to pay for your expenses indefinitely. Ok, this is where my definition of financial independence gets a little more complicated. Your investment must not only cover your expenses on a time bases in the present time but must also have the ability to cover your expenses in the future as well. This means that you are taking into consideration growing expenses due to inflation or other reasons for increase in costs. In order for your investment to compensate for inflation and these other growing costs it must be growing as well. Let’s say that you have that $3000 per month expense and as we pointed out you would need $450,000 growing at 8% to cover that. Well, what if inflation is at 2% per year? This means that you need your investments to also grow at 2% in order to be able to cover that future increase in expense. In this case you either need to seek an investment that gets 10% annual return or you need to save up more in your investment so that your investment return is not only covering your current expenses but is also causing your investment balance to grow over time so that it covers your increased future expenses as well.

This all sounds great but saving up a bunch of money sound hard. The amount that I would need invested is a huge number and how do I even get that much? I agree, building an investment portfolio that creates enough return to cover your monthly expense is a sizable feat but if you want to become financially independent you must build a large investment. So, how do we start to build an investment that will allow us to become financially independent? In short, the answer is to put away as much money each month as you can. This answer, however, does not give us an estimate on how much we need to put away or how much we’ll have considering given conditions. There’s a lot of different ways to calculate how much wealth you’ll need to amass in order to hit your financial goals so let’s take a look at the basic steps of this calculation. The first step is to estimate how much your expenses are now and how much they will be in the future. To do this create a budget. I have used Microsoft’s Excel to create my budget and to help me with my financial independence calculations. If you haven’t created a budget yet I highly recommend using Excel. The next step is to estimate how much of an investment you’ll need at a given rate of return to cover your expenses. Next, estimate how much you’ll need to cover the growing amount of expense in the future. These calculations can be done using different techniques. If you’re not comfortable doing these calculations ask your financial adviser for assistance. There are also numerous online calculators and YouTube videos that can help you with this as well. Once you have an investment amount that you will need in order to achieve financial independence you can calculate how long it will take you to save that much money by using your budget.

Call to action:

  1. I’d like to encourage you to look at what being financially independent looks like in your life. Do this by calculating how much you would need to invest in order for that investment to cover your current monthly expenses.
  2. Now create a budget that will show you how much you can put away each month to get you to reaching the investment amount to be financially independent.
  3. Work like crazy to build up that investment portfolio!
  4. Enjoy being financially independent 🙂

HWH001: Health: Why your health and fitness goals need to be SMART goals.

When it comes to creating health and fitness goals too often we just say, “I need to get in shape” or “I need to lose some weight” but we don’t really identify in how good of shape or how much weight we need to lose. By applying the SMART goal criteria to our health and fitness goals we can give ourselves a tangible goal to hit and when we do this we will be more likely to see our goals accomplished.

Why Your Health And Fitness Goals Need To Be SMART Goals

Ok, so we’ve all been guilty of this, we say to those around us that, “we’re going to lose weight” or that “we’re going to get into shape”, but we don’t make a specific goal other than this general statement. We use this statement because maybe we’ve been slacking on going to the gym lately or we’ve been eating junk food and we can feel ourselves falling further away from where we want to be in health and fitness. So, why is this general statement bad? Well, it’s not necessarily bad, I mean, it’s actually good that we can identify that we need to improve our health and fitness levels. The part that’s wrong with this statement though is that it is not specific, which means that we can’t measure it, which also means we don’t even know if it’s attainable or if our goals are even going to be relevant to what we’re wanting to accomplish and we don’t have a time component to the goal so we don’t really have a way to estimate how close we are to reaching our goal. This is why our goals, including our health and fitness goals, need to be SMART goals. SMART goals are far superior than the generic blanketed statement goals like, “I’m going to lose weight” because they don’t have a quantifiable aspect to them and if you don’t have something to measure how do you know if you’re making progress or how do you even know if its attainable?

SMART is an acronym used for goal setting and I’ve seen the acronym stand for different words. There are different variations of the SMART acronym but in our health and fitness matters let’s use the following words for the SMART acronym. The S is going to stand for specific. This means that our goals need to be specific and cant just be a generic statement. The M stands for measurable. This means that your goal must be able to be measured somehow. For example, I’m going to lose 15 lbs as opposed to “I’m going to lose weight”. The A stands for attainable. This is where you need to ask yourself, “Will I be able to accomplish my goal with the level of time and resources that I’m willing to put towards it?” This can be a tough question because it involves a little mental estimating. The R stands for relevant. Now, this gets more into the strategy of reaching your goal. For the R you need to ask yourself, “Are the things I’m doing helping me reach my goal?” In other words, are they relevant to helping you accomplish what you set out to accomplish? Finally, we come to the T. The T is going to stand for time. Our goals need to have a time component. For example, I’m going to lose 15lbs over the next 5 months.

When you’re creating your health and fitness SMART goals I recommend talking to a personal trainer or someone that can help you get a specific training program that will help give you direction on how to reach your health and fitness goals. You personal trainer might even be able to refer you to someone that can put a meal plan together or they might have the knowledge to help you themselves. I’m a complete believer that if you have goals that you’re serious about you need to consult with the pros. They can help you nail down your smart goals and can help create a road map on how to achieve your SMART goals. Surrounding yourself with a good team is important for all of your health, wealth, and happiness goals. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for advice and information.

Take the time to write down your SMART goals on paper and hang it up by your computer or somewhere that you’ll see it regularly. Also, you can use apps such as OneNote on your phone to list your SMART goals. This way they are easy to review and to measure your progress. As you start on your path towards your goals, remember one of my favorite quotes by Lau Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Start small and remember to keep pushing forward. If you get a little off track put your mess-up behind you, don’t let it get you down, and keep stepping forward. When it comes to goals it’s not always a straight line from where we start to the point we’re trying to get to, there’s ups and downs. You can do it! Your potential is greater than you know!