Tuesday
May012012

No video but some Financially Digital updates :) 

Happy Tuesday! 

The schedule I set up for myself to get videos out every Tuesday and Thursday has clearly not started yet. I wanted to let you all know this because I need some extra accountability. If you are longing for some extra video love I will be linking the latest episode of Uconomy - that myself and Thomas Fox host. All for your personal economy goodness. On to some updates! 

Financially Digital is Emeril Lagasse'ing it up - BAM! Well we are scaling our scope of services and resources up. Financially Digital has been helping people and businesses for years now and has cherished each and every relationship. It's just a natural progression and pivot - so while we will try to never turn anyone away looking for help we will be extending our services. You can see all about the changes in the About Me and Consulting

 

Monday
Apr302012

Focus on some fundamentals! 

Personal finance is such a murky topic. I don’t have to tell you that it’s not really one that people really like to talk about - or even really think about. What’s to fix if you are getting on from one day and week to the next, right?! Well just like anything else practice makes perfect. It might sound a little funny but getting good at personal finance can have some great benefits. First off you should know where your assets and resources are going. You worked for it (most of the time) so why wouldn’t you want to know that your hard earned dollars are working as efficiently as possible for you? And also because our brains are hardwired to be planners and predictors - even if you don’t consider yourself an active planner. The better the information available the better you will be able to plan for yourself - or at least wing it a little better.  
 
Getting better at personal finance also means getting to be a savvier consumer. It means understanding the contracts and plans you commit yourself to as well as how crafty marketers help us make our decisions. I have listed three tips - call them financial fitness workouts - to help you get a little better at personal finance every day. Who knows, you might even be able to help those that you are close to get a little better at personal finance.  
 
1. Constantly evaluate. It’s easy to spend with a credit card or a debit card because you don’t physically see the cash. Direct deposit, while amazing, removes you from actively engaging with your bank accounts. Even auto reminders from banks now keep us away from our accounts by just letting us know when we hit certain balance thresholds. Getting better at personal finance means having complete knowledge of how your resources are being allocated. So check often. When was the last time you netted your monthly earnings against your fixed and variable expenses. What percentage is left after all that, if any? The idea here is how can you possibly save for a future if your spending just gets you a zero sum monthly game.  
 
2. Start reading (or read more). Not just about what broader financial markets are doing - especially if that doesn’t directly apply to your current situation. I’m talking about financial blogs and personal finance parts of bigger sites. There are experts and professionals everywhere offering tricks and tips - something is bound to apply to you! The more acclimated you are with the vocabulary and the concepts of personal finance the better you will be able to apply it to your personal situation. Everyone is different and no budget or spending plan is right for everyone. Unless you know the types of resources and tools that are available you will not be able to make your assets work as efficiently as possible for you! 
 
3. Don’t forget about the fundamentals. Just like in almost any sport fundamentals are what win games. Same goes for personal finance. You don’t need a lot of money to plan and it doesn’t have to be through some complicated financial vehicle. Start small and automate. Weekly transfers to a savings account, using envelopes, or auto deductions from paychecks are all ways to start small. The idea is to periodically add a layer or increase a savings amount so that you are maximizing your efforts. It takes self control and a willingness to do better - but it also involves taking action. Everyone talks or has ideas, especially excuses, so be better than that and focus on the fundamentals. Start small and do it often. As it becomes more like second nature add those levels of complexity and feel good knowing that you are giving yourself a fighting chance to win a game that most people bench themselves through. 
 
Personal finance is murky. It’s uncomfortable sometimes and can even affect our personal relationships. It doesn’t have to be a topic that’s avoided though. Just takes some practice. So do your research a little bit each day, start with small easily repeated actions, and constantly have your finger on you the pulse of your finances. You might not be an overnight millionaire but you will start to see your quality of life improve over those around you. Why? Because you focused on the personal finance fundamentals. 

 

Thursday
Apr262012

Slacktivism...Yup it's a thing!

I was really impressed with this infographic so I had to share it. Thinking like an armchair economist means I like to try to understand why people act the way they do. What are the incentives that get people motivated? Also what kind of heuristics are people battling all the time to get to the feelings and actions they perceive are valuable. It's really interesting actually - and can even help you be a better consumer. So take a look at this really neat infographic from sortable.com and see if your views/lifestyle fits any of the slactivist stats - I was actually surprised personally. I think there is a ton of power in getting the internet to support a cause...I also think that sometimes it can get a little trendy/hipster. Now I know the word for it - a slacktivist. 

I would love to get your thoughts on this infographic. Even better are there any stories out there that involve mobilizing peoples from the interwebs to better a cause. I know of one organization that is constantly increasing the awesome in the world and they are collectivley known as the Nerdfighters. I'll leave you to check them out but a lot of good happens when they rally a cause.

Crowdfunding is also another great cause that can allow the slactivist to do some real good. There are a ton of great small businesses out there struggling to get off the ground that could use support. I know I've talked about a few places you can go to check out way s you can engage and help create new jobs. Click here for that post!

 

From http://www.sortable.com

 

Tuesday
Apr242012

Facebook Users Don't Drink Heavy Beer!

Welcome to another episode of FDtv! Santino and I are talking about the Top 8 things that Facebook users aren't consuming in our recovering US economy. There are links in the show notes under the video if you would like to check out the article yourself. 

Question for you: Is there anything that you aren't doing since the social media wave hit? Any services or products not being used because of the effeciency created? Do you think there is any extra effeciency at all? I would love to see your answers in the comments below :) Also don't forget to like, favorite and subscribe please!! 

Tuesday
Apr242012

Vacation Do's and Don'ts

If you have been visiting you might have noticed there hasn’t been anything new. It’s because I spent a few days away. Partly for reflection but mostly for strategy. I had to remove myself from my to-do lists and tasks to recharge. So with that - clearly I failed at making a vlog every day this April, sorry VEDA’ers. (I liked vlogging though so I'm going to keep doing it if that counts) It was refreshing though and I realized that I need to make a lot of changes. This post is not for that though. What I want to talk about today is all the ridiculous things I saw this last week and how not to be trapped by them - or get taken advantage of.
  
1. Spending for buyings sake! So I was travelling a bit and noticed something. An airport is the perfect money trap. They lock you in a gate, force you to be early and you just sit and wait. While you are waiting in some places it can look like a shopping mall. You might not be able to find a power outlet but you sure can find a full functioning retail Blackberry store. There were loads of other retailers and food vendors that would be more than happy to help you pass the time and separate you from your funds. This lesson is all about planning and being aware of your travel spending. Spending out of boredom can be dangerous. If you’re hungry then by all means eat because you won’t be bringing too much food into the gate but please be smart about making large consumer electronics or gadget purchases inside the gate. 
 
2. Greedy and self interested. I don’t know if it was because I was reading The Undercover Economist or listening to my Freakonomics podcasts but while I was away I became an avid observer of the human condition. More than likely I could find someone acting irrationally greedy. What I mean is that regardless of the environment, people, or possible outcomes - people were acting with only their self interest in mind. I felt like a kid again walking through a zoo, actually it was hilarious. The lesson here is that rudeness begets rudeness. If your sense of entitlement is so strong that it has an adverse affect on anyone around you...well be prepared. Travelling is already a high stress situation for some but acting on some self appointed caste system will really make for a bad day. So as you make your travel plans for the summer not only pack more time in but be extra patient and courteous - you’d be surprised how often you’ll be rewarded for just acting like a person in a sea of vagrants. Plus you’ll have more fun watching from the sideline.
   
3. Avoid mental math. I have definitely said this before but it’s important to repeat. Mental math and your personal finances don’t mix. It doesn’t matter how you keep track of your spending just keep track. It makes no sense to be put time and effort into creating a budget, a travel plan, or a spending plan and that do nothing to keep you honest about it. It’s easy to consume on the fly and forget all about what you’ve spent. Keep track can help you stay under budget and out of trouble. No one likes overdraft fees or overage fees on their credit cards. I’m not saying you should be keeping and filing every receipt but you should be keeping a running tally. With the number of smartphones, apps, and even pocket notebooks like Moleskine (my favorite!!) there’s no reason that you can’t avoid mental math. Plus when you avoid mental math you make it harder to rationalize expenses and it helps curve what we just talked about in the first tip.
  
4. Eat smarter and stay healthy while you’re away. Meal times were probably one of the funniest things to watch while I was away. It was like some people were eating for the first and last time. Not only is the thought of a self induced carb coma hilarious but if you are travelling to a more modern locale then odds are food at any price point will probably not be hard to come by. Ohhh those buffets though, they bring out some interesting colors. Like spending for spendings sake, eating can be another compulsive behavior that we use to battle stress.  Be smart about it - no sense in feeling unhealthy while you're travelling especially when eateries might be easier to come by than clean bathrooms. Remember we aren’t hunter gatherers anymore and if you are constantly eating to the point of exhaustion then be prepared for the consequences.
  
I hope you liked a few of my insights while I was away. If you are planning on doing any travelling try to keep these in mind - so that someone like me won’t be watching you from a distance giggling at how maladaptive you are. It will also make for better travel and more richer experiences - like I said you can make a lot of friends people watching.