priorities http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8003/all en-US Ask the Readers: What is Your Top Financial Priority Right Now? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-top-financial-priority-right-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-top-financial-priority-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_saving_money_education_000048253200.jpg" alt="Woman saving money for her top financial priority" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-top-financial-priority-right-now#comment-780062">Harley</a>, Paul, and Steve for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Most of us want to save money for a lot of things, but if we try to save for everything at once, odds are we'll never have enough for any of them. That's why it can be useful to focus on one or two savings goal at a time. But because life (and finances!) changes all the time, your priorities will likely along with it.</p> <p><strong>What is your top financial priority right now?</strong> Why is it at the top of your list? What are your other priorities?</p> <p>Tell us about your financial priorities and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rcwidget_n1gdcxit" data-template="" data-theme="classic" data-raflid="79857dfa201" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa201/" class="rcptr">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, August 17th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after August 17th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your financial priorities and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-top-financial-priority-right-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores">Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-look-forward-to-tax-time-your-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Do You Look Forward to Tax Time? (Your Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-whats-in-your-wallet">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s In Your Wallet?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-volunteer-experience-had-the-deepest-impact-on-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Volunteer Experience Had the Deepest Impact on You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers priorities Tue, 11 Aug 2015 15:00:17 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1518927 at http://www.wisebread.com Forget Your Weaknesses and Build on Your Strengths to Find Success http://www.wisebread.com/forget-your-weaknesses-and-build-on-your-strengths-to-find-success <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/forget-your-weaknesses-and-build-on-your-strengths-to-find-success" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/success-158951998.jpg" alt="success" title="success" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Best-selling author Robert Greene writes, &quot;To rise to the level of mastery requires many hours of dedicated focus and practice. You cannot get there if your work brings you no joy and you are constantly struggling to overcome your own weaknesses.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-a-joyful-life?ref=seealso">Secrets to a Joyful Life</a>)</p> <p>Our society has always valued that struggle, believing that the only way to be the best you can be is to work on the areas you find most challenging.</p> <p>But what if we have it wrong?&nbsp;What if the way to bliss and lasting success wasn't about the stuff you were bad at? What if, instead, you could get there by doing the things you loved the most?</p> <p>You'd certainly be more productive. And when you're productive, you have a better chance of seeing a bigger reward for your efforts.&nbsp;You'd also be more optimistic, because who doesn't get excited about doing things they love to do?</p> <p>Focusing on your strengths would allow you to hone your talents, becoming even more of an expert in your chosen field. And immersed in all this specialized productivity and optimistic outlook, it stands to reason that your self-image would improve as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-habits-you-must-break-to-become-more-self-confident?ref=seealso">Break These Habits to Be More Confident</a>)</p> <p>In fact, when you imagine spending your days feeling brilliant and skilled at everything you do, it's not a far leap to suggest that the benefits could be life-changing.</p> <p>Clearly, this concept has merit. So, here's how to do it.</p> <h2>Things You're Good at Versus Things You Love</h2> <p>When we talk about strengths, we typically start looking at the areas in which we excel. But being good at something isn't the only qualifier you should be focused on. In fact, if you take a <a href="http://www.assessment.com/CareerCenter/YourStrengths.asp">MAPP Career test</a>, you'll find that it's built around something called &quot;motivated talents,&quot; that is, things that you're good at <em>and </em>that you actually enjoy doing.</p> <p>I'm very good at writing resumes, for example, and I know plenty of writers who make their living doing nothing else. In a pinch, I don't mind doing a few to generate some extra cash, but it's definitely not something that makes me get out of bed in the morning.</p> <p>Could I build a business around this talent? Sure, but I'd be bored to tears and, eventually, the business would fail.</p> <p>At the other end of this spectrum, I love playing guitar, and I secretly dream of one day being able to play every song on the &quot;Rock of Ages&quot; soundtrack with marked precision. But I'm not there yet. Quite honestly, I'm not even close. As much as I love the idea of doing music professionally one day, the reality is that I'm not ready to quit my day job just yet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-learning-the-guitar-is-the-best-investment-you-can-ever-make?ref=seealso">Best Investment Ever? Learning the Guitar.</a>)</p> <p>The key then is to look for those things you do well&hellip; and then decide if you love doing them.</p> <p>Focusing on this combination of skill and passion will enable you to find career paths and hobbies that not only bring you joy, but also tap into your natural talents, bringing you that much closer to your definition of success. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-dream-career-a-reality-for-less-than-100?ref=seealso">Make Your Dream Career a Reality for Under $100</a>)</p> <h2>Broaden Your Horizons</h2> <p>I've written before about the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone, and if you want to take advantage of all your strengths, there's simply no better way.</p> <p>After all, just because you're not the best at something now doesn't mean you couldn't be down the road. And in the process of trying new things and testing your limits, you may even discover some new talents you didn't know you had.</p> <p>Follow your bliss, and you'll find a world full of opportunities &mdash; opportunities that allow you to grow and evolve on both a personal and professional level. I may not be ready to take my guitar on the road, but as long as I enjoy practicing, my playing will continue to improve. And if it doesn't? Well, at least I'm having a good time and that's so much better than devoting my efforts on things I don't really like.</p> <h2>Delegate the Rest</h2> <p>So, what about all those things that don't make the cut?</p> <p>The Pareto 80/20 Efficiency Rule says that 80% of the outcome is the result of 20% of the effort&hellip; meaning that all that extra time you spend struggling with things you're not good at isn't producing much in the way of results. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/use-the-8020-rule-to-maximize-your-financial-opportunities?ref=seealso">The 80/20 Rule and Financial Decisions</a>)</p> <p>What's more, you're probably not very happy while you're doing it. So find a better way to spend your time.</p> <p>Delegate what you can, and then minimize the time you have to spend on the rest. I might still write a few resumes from time to time, just as I still have to do <em>some</em> organizing and filing, despite my natural aversion to both. But I limit the time I spend on these tasks as much as possible, so that I can focus on the things I do enjoy, and the result is that I'm both happier and more productive.</p> <p>And in the end, isn't that the real definition of success?</p> <p><em>Are you fortunate enough to have found a career or avocation that that engages both your bliss and your unique talents? How did you get there?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/forget-your-weaknesses-and-build-on-your-strengths-to-find-success">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-16"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-generosity-is-key-to-everything-including-your-career">Why Generosity Is Key to Everything — Including Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/execution-not-ideas-is-key-duh">Execution, Not Ideas, is Key. Duh!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career">11 Ways a Second Language Can Boost Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-get-people-to-respond-to-your-email">15 Ways to Get People to Respond to Your Email</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Personal Development priorities productivity success Fri, 21 Feb 2014 11:36:26 +0000 Kate Luther 1126821 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: What Is Your Top Financial Priority? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-top-financial-priority <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-top-financial-priority" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/todo-5319528-small.jpg" alt="to do list" title="to do list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-top-financial-priority#comment-700757">Melissa</a>, Mary, and Lori for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Most of us have several different financial goals, and the way we handle our money will vary depending on which goal we think is most important. For some people, it could be paying off student loans, credit card debt, a mortgage, or paying rent. Others might focus on saving up for retirement or a child's college fund.</p> <p><strong>What is your top financial priority?</strong> Why? How do you manage your money to reflect your financial priorities?</p> <p>Tell us about your top financial priority and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> <p> <a id="rc-79857d52" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857d52/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a></p> <script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script><p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, September 30th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after September 30th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your top financial priority and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-top-financial-priority">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores">Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-look-forward-to-tax-time-your-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Do You Look Forward to Tax Time? (Your Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-whats-in-your-wallet">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s In Your Wallet?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-volunteer-experience-had-the-deepest-impact-on-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Volunteer Experience Had the Deepest Impact on You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers priorities Tue, 24 Sep 2013 10:36:06 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 988430 at http://www.wisebread.com Becoming Financially Secure: What to Do First http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-financially-secure-what-to-do-first <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/becoming-financially-secure-what-to-do-first" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/forest-steps-5.jpg" alt="Forest Steps" title="Forest Steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Standard financial advice is full of things to do first &mdash; emergency fund, 401(k), pay off debts, start investing, stockpile emergency supplies. What really comes first? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/be-in-charge-of-your-finances">Be In Charge of Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>Because everybody's circumstances are different, there's no one true answer that applies to everyone. Instead, the right way to approach this problem is with a <em>mental model</em> &mdash; a way to think about these issues that can guide you to coming up with the right answer for your particular circumstances.</p> <p>Here's my stab at one.</p> <h2>First, Stop the Penalties</h2> <p>Probably the most expensive mistake you can make with your finances is to find yourself paying penalties for screwups. I'm talking about things like:</p> <ul> <li>Late fees</li> <li>Overdraft fees</li> <li>Disconnect/reconnect fees for utilities</li> <li>Penalty interest rates</li> </ul> <p>If you have any accounts that are racking up penalties, that's the first thing to take care of. All your spare money should go there. Engage in some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">emergency belt tightening</a>, if necessary, to free up some cash. In this one case, it might even be worth going further into debt to cure this sort of problem. (It depends on the interest rates you have to pay. For example, interest rates on a payday loans are often so high that you're better off just paying the penalty rate on your credit card.)</p> <h2>Second, Make Things Safe</h2> <p>You can prevent most of those most horrible problems with a very small emergency fund, one just big enough to smooth over glitches.</p> <p>My suggestion for a minimal emergency fund is roughly the size of your biggest single bill &mdash; maybe your rent payment or mortgage payment.</p> <p>Of course a small emergency fund like this doesn't provide much protection if there's a real emergency &mdash; you lose your job or have a large expense not covered by insurance. Where it helps is when something goes very briefly awry.</p> <p>Suppose your payment to your insurance company goes astray and you need to write a new check today or else your insurance will be canceled. The problem will be sorted out soon enough &mdash; either the check will be permanently missing and you can just stop payment, or else it will turn up and the insurance company will refund you the overpayment. But right now you need a little cash to keep your insurance from being canceled.</p> <p>A small pool of available cash like that is almost immediately self-funding, covered by the late/overdraft fees avoided.</p> <p>A very similar move is to stockpile some staples in your pantry. When I was younger and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/too-broke-to-be-frugal">my finances were out of control</a>, I'd sometimes find myself buying an expensive meal at a nice restaurant because I was out of money. (In those days, grocery stores and cheap restaurants didn't take credit cards, but expensive restaurants did.) Have enough food on hand that you can always prepare a meal.</p> <p>Similarly, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carry-some-cash">keep some cash on hand</a>. Now that everyone takes debit cards, currency is starting to seem like an anachronism. But even today there are some problems best solved with actual paper money.</p> <h2>Third, Pick Up Free Money</h2> <p>Once you've got your finances free of ongoing penalties and safe from constant danger of new penalties, the next step is to pick up as much free money as possible.</p> <p>Probably the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-not-to-put-money-in-your-401-k">biggest single source of free money</a> for most people is an employer match for your 401(k). (A lot of employers stopped matching 401(k) contributions during the financial crisis, but many have now resumed the practice.) A match of 50% or 100% on the dollar is <em>so much money</em>, it completely dominates any investment return; you probably don't want to make any other sort of investment until you're picking up the full match on your 401(k).</p> <p>Another source of free money is what you can pick up when all the aspects of your household are running smoothly.</p> <ul> <li>When you've got an emergency fund that's larger than the bare minimum, you can afford to stock up when there's a good bargain at the grocery store: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/huge-tax-free-investment-returns">free money</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When your pantry has all the staples, you can pick up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">whatever's fresh and cheap</a> at the grocery store and know that you'll be able to turn it into a meal: free money.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When you've got a bit of daylight between what you earn and what you spend, you can start paying down debt &mdash; and stop paying so much interest: free money.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When your debts are paid off and you're maxing out your 401(k), you can start <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-asset-allocation-for-your-portfolio">investing more aggressively</a>, and hopefully earn some higher returns: free money.</li> </ul> <h2>Fourth, Everything Else</h2> <p>Up to here, the priorities for everyone are about the same. At this point, personal factors begin to make a bigger difference.</p> <p>Is your job very secure? Then maybe you can start investing even while you're getting your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">emergency fund fully funded</a>.</p> <p>Do you have any debts at high interest rates? Getting those paid off early is a priority, while long-term, fixed-rate debt (like some mortgages or student loans) can be more comfortably paid off over time.</p> <p>Do you live in a disaster-prone area? Then expanding your pantry from the bare minimum to something that will see you through a blizzard or flood or a truckers strike might want to come early.</p> <p>Your personal situation determines what's best for you. But now you have a mental model for figuring out what to do first: Stop the penalties, make things safe, and pick up free money.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-financially-secure-what-to-do-first">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off">9 Money Moves to Make the Moment Your Credit Cards Are Paid Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/contingency-plans">Contingency Plans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-emergency-fund-costing-you-money">Is Your Emergency Fund Costing You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance emergency fund financial priorities financial security priorities Mon, 25 Feb 2013 11:24:33 +0000 Philip Brewer 967918 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Do You Prioritize Your Savings Goals? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-prioritize-your-savings-goals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-prioritize-your-savings-goals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/8226454024_cf79a3f53c_z.jpg" alt="How Do You Prioritize Your Savings Goals?" title="How Do You Prioritize Your Savings Goals?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-prioritize-your-savings-goals#comment-584402"><em>Guest</em></a><em>, Kathryn, and Mary for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Everyone is always trying to save money for at least a couple goals. Whether it's an emergency fund, retirement, a car, a house, your kid's college fund, or that dream vacation you want to take, chances are you have savings goals of your own. Trying to decide how to prioritize your goals when it comes to savings can be tough especially if you only have a set amount of income you can set aside for savings each month!</p> <p><b>How do you prioritize your savings goals? </b>Do you focus on one goal at a time? Divvy up what you are able to save amongst all your goals?</p> <p>Tell us how you prioritize your savings goals and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> <a id="rc-79857d14" class="rafl" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857d14/">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> <script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, January 21st at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after January 21st on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how you prioritize your savings goals and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-prioritize-your-savings-goals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-to-clip-or-not-to-clip-a-chance-to-win-10">Ask The Readers: To Clip or Not to Clip? (A Chance to Win $10!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores">Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-volunteer-experience-had-the-deepest-impact-on-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Volunteer Experience Had the Deepest Impact on You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-look-forward-to-tax-time-your-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Do You Look Forward to Tax Time? (Your Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers goals priorities savings Tue, 15 Jan 2013 11:36:33 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 965679 at http://www.wisebread.com And did you do it with respect? http://www.wisebread.com/and-did-you-do-it-with-respect <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/and-did-you-do-it-with-respect" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wall-at-helsingor.jpg" alt="Stone wall outside the castle at Helsingor" title="Wall at Helsingor castle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few years back, I read a profile of a holistic fitness guru.&nbsp; There was a sidebar with a little quiz the author had talked the guru into creating, to find out how comprehensively fit you were.&nbsp; The author had clearly expected a some serious fitness tests--how far you could run, how much could you lift?&nbsp; The guru, though, had a rather playful idea of what was involved in being really fit.&nbsp; I've forgotten most of the questions, but one has stuck with me:&nbsp; (for two points) Did you prepare a meal today, and if so, did you do it with respect?</p> <p>For me, this question has replaced two classic rules of thumb, which I've always found to be unhelpful.&nbsp; Both address a question I'm keenly interested in:&nbsp; How do I decide how much time and effort to allocate to my various tasks each day?</p> <h2>Always do your best</h2> <p>I find &quot;Always do your best&quot; to be worthless advice, because it's impossible to follow:&nbsp; There's almost nothing I do that I couldn't do better if I spent a few hours practicing, or if I spent a day or two studying it, or if I simply put aside all the other things I need to do and focused on that one thing.&nbsp; If I did that, though, I wouldn't be able to do anything else.</p> <p>Over the years, I've mentioned the problem I have with this aphorism to various people.&nbsp; Some people have said, &quot;Well, obviously it doesn't mean that!&quot;&nbsp; But they've never been able tell me what it does mean, at least not in any way that lets me answer practical questions like how much time I ought to spend scrubbing the toilet.</p> <h2>Anything worth doing is worth doing well</h2> <p>The problem with &quot;Anything worth doing is worth doing well&quot; is that it's clearly false:&nbsp; There are <strong>plenty</strong> of things that are worth doing, even if you can only do them middling well, or even poorly.</p> <p>All kinds of athletic and artistic endeavors are worth doing poorly&mdash;running is not just for world-class athletes and drawing is not just for skilled artists.&nbsp; Things like chatting with friends, reading, listening to good music, and making love are all worth doing, no matter whether you do them well or poorly.</p> <p>Now, even someone as literal-minded as I sometimes am can see that this aphorism is not intended to mean &quot;Don't do anything unless you're skilled at it.&quot;&nbsp; To the extent that it means &quot;If you're going to be doing something regularly, go ahead and take the time to get good at it,&quot; it's not bad advice, but there are exceptions even to that.&nbsp; (Does singing hymns every week at church mean that you ought to take voice lessons?&nbsp; How much study should go into developing your lawn-mowing expertise?)</p> <p>So, once again, I find that this aphorism doesn't guide me in answering the question that I think it should answer:&nbsp; How do I decide how to divide my time and effort among the various things I think are worth doing? It would seem to suggest that I should rank my activities by how well I can do them and then draw a line below the last one I can do well. But that's a dumb way to decide what makes the cut and what doesn't. What about things that need to get done? What about things I could do well with a bit more practice? For that matter, what about the things I could do well, but only after years of study and concentrated effort?</p> <p>I'd be willing to admit that perhaps I'm asking too much from a rule of thumb, except that I've found one that works for me.</p> <h2>And did you do it with respect?</h2> <p>When I read that question in the magazine quiz, it seemed to me here was some real guidance. Anything worth doing is worth doing with respect. Whether you were teaching a child, singing, or cleaning a toilet, the question to ask is not &quot;Did I do the best I could?&quot; Instead, ask &quot;Did I do it with respect?&quot;</p> <p>If it isn't worth doing with respect, it's probably not worth doing (which frees up some time in your schedule).&nbsp; And part of respecting the task is to give some thought as to whether or not it would be worth the effort to improve your skill in doing it--and, if the answer is yes, to do so.</p> <p>When I can look back on the day's activities and feel that most things I did, I did with respect, I have a strong sense that the day was well spent.</p> <p>And, when there are things I don't think are worth doing, but that I have to do anyway (because otherwise I'd lose my job, or make my spouse unhappy, or get sent to prison), I try to do them with respect anyway.&nbsp; Occasionally, I find that particular task (or a small piece of it) actually is worth doing.&nbsp; Further, when I do a task with respect, I'm in a much better position to make the case later that it doesn't need doing.&nbsp; The main reason, though, is that doing work you don't respect is a soul-destroying activity.</p> <p>Look back at each thing you do and ask yourself, &quot;And did I do it with respect?&quot; It's the most powerful tool I know for allocating your time and effort where they belong.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/and-did-you-do-it-with-respect">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shhhhh-how-to-block-out-noise">Shhhhh: How to Block Out Noise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/that-what-if-you-knew-you-were-going-to-die-question">That &quot;What if you knew you were going to die&quot; question</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-your-projects-always-take-longer-than-you-expect">This Is Why Your Projects Always Take Longer Than You Expect</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-must-do-mid-year-resolutions-to-get-you-back-on-track">10 Must-Do Mid-Year Resolutions to Get You Back on Track</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine">Change Your Life by Changing Your Bedtime Routine</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Productivity priorities respect Fri, 04 Jan 2008 21:22:54 +0000 Philip Brewer 1586 at http://www.wisebread.com When Priorities Collide: How to Keep Your Head http://www.wisebread.com/when-priorities-collide-how-to-keep-your-head <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-priorities-collide-how-to-keep-your-head" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/272539693_440cd937fa_m.jpg" alt="Hubble Galaxies Merge" title="Hubble Galaxies Merge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="238" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My guess is that many of you Wisebread readers know your financial priorities and have some idea of how you want to achieve these, though you may not have all the details ironed out (if you did, why would you read us?). However, what happens when those come into conflict, when your priorities collide and you don&#39;t know what to do next? Consider the following situations:</p> <p>1. A woman and her partner decide that she should return to work full-time after she gives birth to their baby and exhausts her maternity leave. This will allow them to pay off their educational debt in two years, at which point she will be free to stay home with the child, which is ultimately important to both of them. Three weeks after the birth, the child is diagnosed with a serious illness which makes daycare much more expensive, if it is available at all. What do they do?</p> <p>2. A husband and wife have worked hard to provide college funds for each of their children. While they can&#39;t pay for everything, they have enough to help each child in a significant way. A year before any of the children is set to leave home, the wife sufferes a crippling accident. While she will recover eventually, the cost of her care devastates the family financially. They find that, even though they planned wisely, they must choose between spending their childrens&#39; college money on her care or taking on a level of debt they may not live long enough to repay.</p> <p>3. A person who loves video games finds the best deal ever on Halo 3. On his way to buy it, his car develops a problem that ends up being minor but must be fixed. He fixes it, but then dosn&#39;t have the money for his game. He can put the game on his credit card, which is aginst his financial principles, or he can wait until he has saved the money again. He&#39;s not sure he&#39;ll be able to pay off the credit card bill at the end of the month as it is, and this would only add to that.</p> <p>4. A woman has a great idea for an entrepreneurial endeavor, but does not have the time to start it up because she is working full-time, partially supporting her husband who is finishing up a graduate degree as fast as he can. She knows that the marked for her idea is now, and may not still exist later, and that pursuing her idea could lead to more money for her famiy in the long run. However, if she quits her job to pursue it, her husband will have to quit school until her idea is successful, which lowers his earning potential. How do they decide what to do? </p> <p>Whether you can empahtize with all these stories or not, they do illustrate the fact that collisions between priorities are like collisions between cars--they can happen out of the blue. One minute you think you know where you&#39;re headed and what it looks like to get there, and the next minute the world is a very different place. You&#39;re not sure what to do or how to make the decisions that need to be made. </p> <p>When this happens, it&#39;s easy to start making decsions without thinking seriously about the facts or the long-term situation. It&#39;s easy to decide simply because a decision must be made, instead of deciding based on what is right or more important to you in the circumstances. Instead of doing those, try the following process the next time this happens to you.</p> <p><strong>1. Stay calm.</strong></p> <p><strong>2. Step away from the situation, whether it&#39;s for a few minutes or a few days.</strong></p> <p><strong>3. Separately from any others whose opinions matter in this, decide which priority is more important to you. If others are involved, have them do the same.<br /></strong> </p> <p><strong>4. List reasons why that priority is most important.</strong></p> <p><strong>5. Make your decision based on what you have decided.</strong> </p> <p>if your decision involves more opinions than just your own, replace step 5 above with the following:</p> <p><strong>5. Come back together and share your important priorities and the reasons behind them</strong></p> <p><strong>6. Civilly discuss any areas of disagreement. Be open to hearing something you didn&#39;t expect. </strong></p> <p><strong>7. Step away from the situation again. Try to do something else during this time, but be open to any new ideas that might pop into your head. </strong></p> <p><strong>8. Come back together and make a decision. Entertain offers of and ideas for compromise.</strong></p> <p><strong>9. Live out your decision.</strong></p> <p>May your decisions be well thought out and well-executed!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PS I&#39;d love to know what you would do in the situations above. Leave a comment if you have any ideas. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-priorities-collide-how-to-keep-your-head">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-financially-secure-what-to-do-first">Becoming Financially Secure: What to Do First</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">17 Things Car Salesmen Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meet-meg-favreau-our-senior-editor">Meet Meg Favreau, Our Senior Editor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks financial priorities priorities Wed, 17 Oct 2007 23:03:41 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1297 at http://www.wisebread.com