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Time Is More Than Money – Happy Hour

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martinis and your money

Time is More Than Money – Happy Hour

Today is the last Friday of the month and in case you are new to this blog or my podcast, on the last Friday of the month, I host a happy hour on my podcast where the happy hour ladies and I talk about various money topics while drinking cheap drinks! Today, we’re talking about the most precious commodity we all have: time. The ladies joined me for some drinks to share their thoughts on time and how they manage it best. Listen and enjoy! Cheers!

As a side note: the first week in March, I will be recording a ­special listeners’ only Happy Hour with three lucky listeners! If you’d like to be selected, you must:

  1. Enjoy a good Happy Hour
  2. Be a member of the Martinis and Your Money Facebook group
  3. Today – February 24th – you need to post in the Facebook group something you’ve learned or thought about differently since listening to this show.

I will pick the top three responses and schedule a Happy Hour call to record the podcast! The winners will be notified next week!

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Vodka martini

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Chardonnay

Mrs. Frugalwoods from Frugalwoods.com — Boxed white wine

Shannon — Beringer Cabernet

Podcast Notes

  • The most important asset we all have is time.
  • The better we manage time, the better we manage everything else.
  • Melanie is a freelancer and she uses:
    • Asana to keep track of her projects
    • RescueTime to track her time online – she says it’s like Mint.com but for your time.
    • SelfControl (a Mac-specific app) to manage her social media distractions
  • Melanie says managing time and managing energy go hand-in-hand.
  • She knows she is night owl and she tries to avoid early meetings and scheduling things early in the morning.
  • One change she has made in the mornings is giving herself one hour in the morning and at night to not look at her phone.
  • A quote that really resonated with Melanie was “do you want to be a consumer or a creator?”
  • As a working mom, Mrs. Frugalwoods manages her time by following her daughter’s schedule.
  • When Babywoods goes down for a nap, Mrs. Frugalwoods is writing.
  • She is very slow to reply to emails and text messages because she is laser-focused when she sits down to write.
  • Following her daughter’s schedule has made her a very fast writer.
  • She says a routine schedule helps her the most with managing time.
  • Tonya says she is a combination of a free spirit and Mrs. Frugalwoods.
  • The key for her is saying no to doing a lot of things.
  • She has a routine for some parts of the day like when she wakes up (5:30am!) and the rituals she does in the morning.
  • She enjoys a slow morning and easing into her day.
  • On the weekends she sleeps in until 6:00am – 6:30am and then tries to workout around 9:00am.
  • She says she needs to be more efficient about finishing her tasks.
  • She read Essentialism by Greg McKeown and highly recommends it.
  • Her biggest takeaway from it was if you’re not prioritizing your own life, someone will prioritize it for you!
  • Shannon says the ultimate thing about managing time is knowing yourself.
  • Allowing downtime is very important to keep her from getting burned out.
  • Understanding how you function during certain periods of time is extremely important!
  • Shannon doesn’t use a lot of apps but she is obsessed with using her Google Calendar.
  • It is really important for her to put her son Will on the bus to school every morning because her evening schedules are always so hectic.
  • Tonya went from freelancing back to a 9 to 5 and she hasn’t found many challenges besides not being able to workout in the mornings at her optimal time like she used to.
  • Frugalwoods doesn’t think she could ever go back to a 9 to 5 job.
  • Tonya says napping for 20 minutes really helps her during the day.
  • Shannon says napping destroys the rest of her days.
  • The ladies all agree that multi-tasking decreases productivity.
  • Find what works best for you – whether it is an app or a schedule – and manage your time so it aligns with your priorities!
  • TAKEAWAY: Think about time as you think about your money. It’s precious and we need to manage it accordingly because it’s not infinite.

Are you good at managing your time? What helps you do it best?

This Teen’s Got Cents!

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martinis and your money

This Teen’s Got Cents

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m enjoying a mocktail with 20-year-old entrepreneur and creator of the blog site Teens Got Cents, Eva Baker. She started the site while she was in high school, and it has now grown into a business. Her goal for the site is to inspire other teens to reach for and accomplish more in their lives, and she has done just that. It is unbelievable and inspiring to see what Eva has done before she can even legally drink! Listen and enjoy – cheers!

As a side note: the first week in March, I will be recording a ­special listeners’ only Happy Hour with three lucky listeners! If you’d like to be selected, you must:

  1. Enjoy a good Happy Hour
  2. Be a member of the Martinis and Your Money Facebookgroup
  3. Between now and February 24, you need to post in the Facebook group something you’ve learned or thought about differently since listening to this show.

I will pick the top three responses and schedule a Happy Hour call to record the podcast!

What are we drinking?

Eva — Virgin Paloma

Shannon — Virgin Paloma

Podcast Notes

  • Eva started her site, Teens Got Cents, when she was just 16 thanks to her mom and a high school project.
  • She says she was very fortunate while growing up because her parents were very open about money with her and her brothers.
  • After listening to the audio version of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, she realized most people grow up never learning anything about money at all and accumulate massive amounts of debt!
  • She started doing research online and found lots of great resources about how to get out of debt but couldn’t find anything about how to not get into debt in the first place.
  • 4 years later and she’s still blogging at Teens Got Cents and just had her first teen conference, The Teenpreneur Conference!
  • She modeled it after her experience at FinCon because she wanted the same type of comradery with other entrepreneurs her own age.
  • Eva advises parents of teens to realize if they want to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset in them, it’s going to cost them money or time.
  • Shannon says parents have to do a lot of work as parents anyway, so why not spend that time and energy helping and inspiring their entrepreneur spirit!
  • Finding that balance between helping your child with their business and not taking over is extremely important.
  • Learning from mistakes and ultimately failure is what helps teens grow the most!
  • One business Eva is very impressed with is a maple syrup company owned by a teen from New York who started his business when he was 12!
  • Shannon and Eva agree the internet helps teens come up with business ideas.
  • Eva believes the value of what you learn from owning your own business is more valuable than a college education.
  • TAKEAWAY: Don’t let age determine your goals in life. Young or old, we’re all on unique journeys. When inspiration hits us, we need to pursue it with passion no matter what stage of life we’re in!

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your biggest regret or failure as you’ve been building your business?
  2. What is a show that you like to binge-watch?
  3. What do you do with your downtime?

Connect with Eva:

Website

The Teenpreneur Conference

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

What was your biggest accomplishment by the time you were 20?

Paying Off $109,000 of Credit Card Debt

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martinis and your money

Paying off $109,000 of Credit Card Debt

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I am talking to Brian Brandow from Debt Discipline about his experience with credit card debt. He thought making the minimum payments on their credit cards was doing good with money. Then he woke up when they couldn’t go on summer vacation because all the cards were maxed out. After 4 years, they paid it off – all of it! They celebrated by taking that vacation – but with cash! Now he works with their local Board of Education committees on financial literacy for students. Listen and enjoy!

As a side note: the first week in March, I will be recording a ­special listeners’ only Happy Hour with three lucky listeners! If you’d like to be selected, you must:

  1. Enjoy a good Happy Hour
  2. Be a member of the Martinis and Your Money Facebook group
  3. Between now and February 24, you need to post in the Facebook group something you’ve learned or thought about differently since listening to this show.

I will pick the top three responses and schedule a Happy Hour call to record the podcast!

What are we drinking?

Brian — English Breakfast Tea

Shannon — Coffee

Podcast Notes

  • Brian and his wife started their debt repayment journey in 2010 after ten years of accumulating debt.
  • He attempted to raise his credit limits on his maxed out cards to finance his family’s summer vacation.
  • When he was denied, he realized they needed to change something.
  • Brian found Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and used it as a resource.
  • It took them 4 years to pay down their $109,000 debt.
  • He says the first couple of months were really tough as they were breaking bad habits and adjusting their routines.
  • After 3-4 months, things started to smooth out and become easier.
  • Once they didn’t have their debt payments, they began to build an emergency fund and save for their children’s college.
  • Thankfully they did because after 21 years at his job, he was let go.
  • Shannon says if you are financially healthy, you are able to handle those types of situations.
  • Brian and his wife have been very open with their children about their debt repayment journey and money in general.
  • Two of their children will be attending college this Fall, and they want them to graduate college debt-free.
  • Brian says his views now on credit cards are positive.
  • They utilize credit card rewards and payoff their balances in full every month!
  • Now Brian works with local Board of Education committees about the financial aspects of college education.
  • TAKEAWAY: Remember the importance of making a plan and sticking to it!

Random Three Questions

  1. What was your best debt-free purchase you made?
  2. What is a show you like to binge-watch?
  3. If you were to win a free vacation anywhere, where would you go and why?

Connect with Brian:

Debt Discipline

Twitter

 Have you struggled with paying down debt?

Get Financially Fit with a New Money Challenge

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martinis and your money

Get Financially Fit with a New Money Challenge

Today is the last Friday of the month and in case you are new to this blog or my podcast, on the last Friday of the month, I host a happy hour on my podcast where the happy hour ladies and I talk about various money topics while drinking cheap drinks!

Today, we are talking about creating challenges to help you stay on track and achieve the goals you set for this year. Many of you who set goals or resolutions for 2017 are probably struggling with them right now, so the ladies and I share some of our favorite money challenges to help motivate you and make the process more fun!

Don’t forget to check out The Financial Gym and its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life!

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Ginger Turmeric Tea à check out her post about using turmeric for teeth whitening!

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Charles Shaw “Two-Buck-Chuck” Cabernet

Mrs. Frugalwoods from Frugalwoods.com — Oak Leaf Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

Shannon — Cavit Pinot Grigio

Podcast Notes

  • Frugalwoods is hosting an ongoing Uber Frugal Month Challenge with over 9,900 participants that began January 1, 2017, but you can start it on your own whenever you’d like!
  • The Uber Frugal Month Challenge is meant to help you save money and to restructure your consumer mindset.
  • Check out the Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Month: The Ultimate Guide to Saving More Money Than You Ever Thought Possible.
  • Shannon says you need to focus on your mindset more than anything else if you want to make a serious change.
  • No matter what stage you are in, everyone’s money journey could ALWAYS stand refreshing or improvements and enhancing.
  • Frugalwoods admits she still struggles with impulse spending and believes the Uber Frugal Month Challenge gives you the tools needed to combat that.
  • One of Melanie’s favorite money challenges is having a no-spend day.
  • Shannon says she gives the no-spend day challenge as homework to several of her clients.
  • Frugalwoods found a fantastic compounding interest calculator online that has you input an expense you have (like cable) and then calculates how much you would have in 30 years if you invested the cost of that expense instead.
  • The ladies agree that sometimes it takes more time than you expect to reach your goal but keep working towards it and it will happen!
  • Tonya says she is not good at challenges in general and relies on self-discipline to achieve her goals.
  • She took a quiz created by author Gretchen Rubin that helped her understand her personality and why she responds to expectations the way she does.
  • She advises other rebels/anti-challengers to figure out your personality and experiment with different things to find what works best for you.
  • Shannon says one of the number one ways to save money is to decrease your variable expenses like food.
  • One challenge she suggests is the “clear the pantry” challenge where you have to use whatever is in your fridge and freezer to create meals.
  • If food is very important to you, find other areas in your life you are willing to sacrifice and attempt challenges meant for those areas.
  • Another challenge Shannon likes is the cash-only challenge.
  • You can attempt the cash-only challenge for just one day, one week, one month, or even for an entire year!
  • Frugalwoods and Tonya agree that the cash-only challenge doesn’t work for them.
  • All the ladies agree that if you estimate your spending, you always end up underestimating it.
  • Another challenge you can try is automating your savings.
  • There are so many different types of challenges to help you improve your finances – you just need to find what works for you and follow through!
  • TAKEAWAY: Find new ways to challenge yourself to do and achieve more financially!

Resources

Uber Frugal Month Signup

Uber Frugal Month Guide

Response to Expectations Quiz

What money challenges do you like?

Zero Down Your Debt

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martinis and your money

Zero Down Your Debt

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Holly and Greg Johnson, founds of the popular blog site Club Thrifty and authors of the latest book Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love. They share their story of how they paid off their debts and how budgeting helped them to do it. They discuss how the zero-sum budget helped them achieve their dreams and how it can work for you!

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Holly — Beer

Greg — Scotch with one ice cube

Shannon — Deep Eddy’s cranberry vodka & club soda

Podcast Notes

  • Holly and Greg met in an AOL chatroom in 1999 – Shannon deems them the “grandparents” of online dating.
  • They discuss their time working together in the funeral business for 6½ years.
  • Holly quit her job at the funeral home to pursue her freelance writing career.
  • Two years ago Greg quit to join Holly and run their blog.
  • When Greg decided to work at home, Holly was earning six figures through her writing and blog.
  • They decided to write Zero Down Your Debt because they love zero-sum budgeting – they still use it today!
  • Zero-sum budgeting is planning where ALL of your money goes each and every month.
  • Holly says this type of budgeting made them think of their income and bills in terms of the month.
  • Shannon talks about how most people have a “wing and a prayer” mentality when it comes to budgeting their monthly income.
  • Zero-sum budgeting makes you face your problems, which a lot of people don’t want to do.
  • They discuss how paying off debt is a slow, winnable process and also very rewarding.
  • Zero-sum budgeting involves some estimating of bills and becomes easier the more you do it.
  • Now Holly and Greg are traveling and living the life they love!
  • Shannon says its important to try different types of budgets because you never know what will work best for you.
  • TAKEAWAY: If you have found that budgeting doesn’t work for you in the past, keep trying other budgets until you find the right one for you!

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your favorite location you’ve traveled to?
  2. What is a pet peeve that each of you has for the other person?
  3. What is your favorite movie?

Connect with Holly & Greg:

Club Thrifty

Zero Down Your Debt

Twitter: @ClubThrifty

Facebook

Pinterest

 Does Budgeting work for you? If so, what kind of budget do you use?

How Bad Behaviors Yield Bad Returns

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martinis and your money

How Bad Behaviors Yield Bad Returns

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Daniel Crosby, to discuss the problems we have as human beings leaving our investments alone!

Investor behavior is the #1 reason portfolios don’t grow – and that’s because we let our emotions drive our decisions rather than tried-and-true financial planning principles.

Dr. Daniel Crosby has been studying investor behavior for years and offers sound solutions to help us follow the laws of wealth based on the 10 Commandments of Investor Behavior written in his book, The Laws of Wealth: Psychology and the secret to investing success.

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Daniel — Coke Zero (he has never had an alcoholic drink in his life)

Shannon — Vodka & fresh grapefruit juice

Podcast Notes

  • Daniel is the son of a financial advisor and grew up in a house where money was heavily discussed.
  • He went to school to be an investment advisor and left after his freshman year to be a missionary for his church.
  • After a couple of years, he went back to school and switched his major to psychology.
  • While in school for his PhD in clinical psychology, he switched to a non-medical and non-clinical application of psychology.
  • Daniel now has an asset management firm, Nocturne Capital, and also speaks at events throughout the year helping train financial advisors.
  • Shannon says behavior and emotion are what complicate weight loss and finance – especially investing.
  • Dan says you need a financial advisor, but not for the reason you think.
    • Research shows that people who work with an advisor outperform dramatically, but mostly because advisors manage their bad behaviors and keep them from making bad decisions.
    • 90% of performance returns are based on asset allocation and only 10% are based on actual assets you pick (individual stocks vs. ETFs vs. mutual funds, etc).
  • Daniel discusses the two different parts of his book, The Laws of Wealth.
    • Part 1 is 10 commandments of investor behavior
    • Part 2 is about how to apply social science to the actual construction of portfolios and selection of securities.
  • The 10 commandments are widely applicable and great for everyone.
  • Commandment #1 – You control what matters most.
    • People tend to think external factors are the biggest driver of whether or not they will reach their financial goals, but that is not the case.
    • Shannon says she is more concerned about her clients having the money to invest than actually investing – it is your day-to-day activities that are going to get you where you want to go.
    • Daniel says fund managers are prone to all the same biases we are unless they automate their systems to take human behavior out of the equation.
  • Commandment #2 – You can’t do this alone.
  • Commandment #8 – Excess is never permanent.
    • In his book Daniel discusses how corrections in the market happen with greater regularity than Christmas.
  • His solutions for people who invest and are concerned that their emotions will impact their returns are:
    • Enlist outside help (Commandment #2)
    • Follow a rules-based approach
  • Shannon’s solution for people who invest and are concerned that their emotions will impact their returns are:
    • Align your asset allocation with your goals in life and stick to that
  • Commandment #9 – Diversification means always having to say you’re sorry.
    • Shannon says she loves the bond market because it is very formulaic and has a lot less emotion to it.
    • Everyone wants to benchmark to stocks when times are good, but then everyone suddenly loves fixed income when things are bad.
    • You’re never going to have the most high-flying results with a diversified portfolio – something is always going to be down, but something is always going to be up too.
    • That is why diversification is a very sensible approach.
  • Even though it seems counterintuitive, you need to be process-based and not outcome-based because the outcomes are so uncertain in financial markets.
  • TAKEAWAY: Your financial choices are heavily driven by emotion and the more that you can create a system to protect yourself from those emotional times, the greater the financial returns you can expect!

Random Three Questions

  1. If you won a free trip anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
  2. What is a book that has influenced your life?
  3. What do you like to do on your down time?

Connect with Daniel:

Website

Twitter: @danielcrosby

Do you get emotional with investing?

Free Tax Prep vs. Paying a Professional

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martinis and your money

Free Tax Prep vs Paying a Professional

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Eric Nisall, an accountant, entrepreneur, and founder of the company AccountLancer, about taxes. If you are like me, you would pay anything to not have to do them yourself. However, that might not be the best idea from a budget and tax-planning perspective. Eric is going to answer some common tax questions and help you prepare for the certainty of tax time. Cheers!

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Eric — Jack & Coke

Shannon — Vodka & fresh grapefruit juice

Podcast Notes

  • After two decades or so in the public accounting sector, Eric chose to start his own business and focus on the accounting areas he preferred.
  • Eric says hiring an accountant is based on need and affordability.
  • There are times when it doesn’t make sense to outsource something like that:
    • If you aren’t making enough money
    • If you don’t have the volume of transactions that makes it worth spending the money
    • If you have very, very low overhead costs
  • The same goes for hiring a professional to do your taxes.
  • If you just have a W-2 and maybe some interests and dividends, you are perfectly fine using TurboTax or whatever else.
  • Eric explains some possible errors that can occur when doing your taxes on your own.
  • EVERYTHING you do impacts your taxes!
  • Some examples of things that impact your taxes are:
    • Moving from one state to another
    • Having a baby
    • Earning over a certain amount of money
  • Estimating taxes is a tricky situation for freelancers and the self-employed.
  • Eric suggests estimating year to date at the end of each quarter to give yourself flexibility to adjust if you are doing better or worse than before.
  • Accessibility is something to look for if you choose to hire an accountant.
  • You should not have the fear of change when it comes to switching accountants; you want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth!
  • Some red flags to be aware of if you plan to hire an accountant or pay for a service to help you prepare your taxes:
    • Overpayment for services rendered
    • Hired person doesn’t sign their name as a paid preparer
    • You don’t know who is doing the actual work for you
    • Pricing structure of the company you choose to hire
  • Take the time to research who you may hire and the services you will be paying for.
  • TAKEAWAY: You don’t always have to pay for a service when you can do it yourself. If you do pay for a service, make sure you are getting your money’s worth – especially where your taxes are concerned.

Random Three Questions

  1. What is a show that you love to binge-watch?
  2. New Year’s resolutions: yay or nay?
  3. If you could go anywhere on any kind of vacation, where would you go and why?

Connect with Eric:

AccountLancer

Personal Website

Do you do your own taxes or pay a professional?

2016 Year End Happy Hour

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martinis and your money

2016 Year End Happy Hour

Today is the last Friday of the month and in case you are new to this blog or my podcast, on the last Friday of the month, I host a happy hour on my podcast where the happy hour ladies and I talk about various money topics while drinking cheap drinks!

Today’s Happy Hour is our last happy hour of 2016! As we did last year, the ladies and I are taking a look back at our 2016 to share our highlights and our lowlights, and then we are setting some big goals for ourselves in 2017. As always we had a great time, and I hope you enjoy this episode! Cheers!

Don’t forget to check out The Financial Gym and its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life!

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Menage a Trois Prosecco

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Cook’s Extra Dry Champagne

Mrs. Frugalwoods from Frugalwoods.com — cheap champagne

Shannon — Roederer Estate Sparkling Wine

Podcast Notes

  • Tonya says 2016 was her best financial year ever.
    • Her net worth increased by $46,000!
    • Having readily available cash eliminated a lot of her worry when she needed to visit the ER and when her cat needed health care.
  • Melanie says this year has had the highest highs and lowest lows.
    • She reached her income goal that she set last year.
    • She published a book this year – Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up With Debt
    • She moved back to Los Angeles and is now near her family and friends.
    • The move turned out to be more expensive than she thought.
    • She didn’t realize she entered a new tax bracket and didn’t save accordingly.
    • A year ago her net worth was practically $0 and now it is close to $20,000!
  • Frugalwoods’s main goal for 2016 was to keep Babywoods and Frugalhound alive.
    • She achieved this goal – Babywoods is doing incredibly well J
    • The Frugalwoods closed on their homestead in May 2016 and moved to Vermont.
    • Frugalwoods quit her “W-2” job and started freelancing.
  • The highest high of Shannon’s year was opening the first physical location of the Financial Gym.
    • It has been a 3-year process!
  • The Martinis and Your Money Podcast had 1,000 downloads in December 2014 (the first year launched), 6,700 downloads in December 2015, and will have over 20,000 downloads in December 2016!
  • The ladies share their goals for 2017.
    • Shannon plans to have 10 gyms open by the end of 2017.
    • Tonya wants to increase her net worth by at least the same amount that she increased it in 2016, and she wants to travel.
      • She says she is at a crossroads about what she wants to do next personally and that 2017 will be an exploring year.
    • Melanie wants to change her income this year and make a lot more money from speaking, coaching, and events – not 99% from writing because she does not want to feel pressured to write anymore.
    • Frugalwoods wants to keep Babywoods and Frugalhound alive for another year and keep on top of managing the homestead.
      • She is also very excited to focus on strategic charitable giving in 2017!
    • Focus on the good stuff – there is always bad stuff, but life should be about the good stuff!
    • Look back on 2016 and appreciate how far you’ve come.

Thank you to my readers and listeners for making 2016 an incredible year for me. You made my highs even higher and made my lows more bearable. I love and appreciate all of you, and I thank you for coming on and staying on this journey with me! I hope you have a safe and happy New Year, and that 2017 is filled with big and exciting things for you and your families!

What are your highlights and lowlights of 2016? What are your big goals for 2017?