Boost Your Happiness By Clarifying Your Lifestyle Costs

Your business exists to support you; to fulfill your needs. If you don’t have a clear picture of what those needs are, it can be difficult for your business to fill them.

That’s why it’s so important to have a clear idea of your lifestyle costs. This gives you a foundation for your income goals. Here, you can clearly see the relationship between your personal and business finances. Below, let’s talk about a couple reasons why getting clear on your lifestyle costs is key.

Set Clear Goals

When you are clear on your lifestyle costs, you’re able to set income goals in your business that reflect how much money you actually need to live a satisfying life. You can make decisions about how much of your lifestyle costs you want/need your business to cover. As your business grows to support you, you gain a sense of fulfillment from running your business, and living an abundant life.

“Fulfillment” is a great destination – figuring out what income number feels like enough to take you there is the important part. Your income goals provide you with a roadmap for your business, so making sure they’re based on covering your needs and wants is paramount.

Create a Solopreneur Paycheck

Your solopreneur paycheck, or owner’s pay, is the result of a finely-tuned money system that connects your business and personal finances. You can create a regular monthly paycheck for yourself, even if you don’t have a regular income. This can be especially helpful for people who go through feast-or-famine cycles in their finances, like performers or realtors.

Money-mapping is a great visualization tool that can help you build a solopreneur paycheck. Understanding your lifestyle costs and how much you want your business to support you will help you start to fill in the blanks.

How Do I Figure Out My Lifestyle Costs?

Ok, you’re sold. You’re ready to figure out how much your lifestyle costs, so you can start incorporating this figure into your business goals. So, how do you figure them out?

I have a couple resources for you! First off, the process of doing this is outlined in How to Tailor Your Income Goals to Your Lifestyle. This process mostly discusses things from a manual, paper-tracking point of view, but I also recommend using money-tracking software if you’re looking for a digital solution. Lastly, if you’re more of an audio/visual learner, you might like to hear what I had to say about how to define your lifestyle costs in last week’s episode of Financial Self Care Friday.

If you enjoyed reading this, you’d probably enjoy my free eBook, 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care. This 12-page e-Book will give you nine different steps to take towards creating a solid financial self care routine.

☮

Angela

Image: Eye for Ebony 

Book Review: 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal by Elizabeth White

Elizabeth White might know impostor syndrome better than many of us. In her book, 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal, she discusses the financial insecurity that has become a reality for many older people, women, and marginalized groups in the workforce. This book is emotionally uplifting and full of resources. Here are a couple of my favorite points from the book:

Unshaming Underemployment

What’s so interesting about this book is the way it’s starting a conversation  that seems to be sorely needed. Case in point: Elizabeth White originally began this book project after first penning an essay on the same topic online. It got a huge response, because so many people are in a situation where they are experiencing the same level of financial insecurity and ageism.

Not only does this book bring this topic out into the light, but the author also does a wonderful job of absolving older and vulnerable people of the shame they may be feeling around their finances. She discusses many different contributing factors, including our changing retirement system, healthcare system, ageism in the workplace, women and minorities earning less, and women living longer. She points out skillfully that these are not things individuals can control. 

Seeking Support

Along with this robust discussion of societal factors, the author also brings in a guide to creating support groups. She terms these “Resilience Groups.” She describes these groups as small groups of people coming together to discuss their financial circumstances openly with one another. They can be a hub for information- and resource-sharing, and group problem-solving.

If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you’ll know that having open and honest conversations about money with other people in your life is something I advocate for consistently. Creating space in multiple relationships in your life to talk about money is very important. It’s one of the best ways to release the shame of whatever financial situation you may be dealing with. As Elizabeth White points out, it’s also a great way to access resources and new perspectives on your situation. For more reading on these ideas, check out my articles on money buddies, building a money team, and finding a mentor.

Busting Through Denial

“The cavalry is not coming.” The author is adamant that one important facet of managing financial insecurity and instability is accepting your circumstances. She discusses the importance of letting go of magical thinking, and introduces the concept of “smalling up.” This concept encourages us to think about what we really need to be content, and prioritize that. Going beyond a call for us to live within our means, she asks us to think about what it would mean to “live a life not defined by things.”

This point resonate deeply for me, as something I often work on with my clients is helping them uncover their values and shape their finances to better reflect what’s important to them.

You can learn more about this book on Elizabeth’s website. The book is both an important wakeup call and a helpful resource. I highly recommend reading it! I hope you enjoyed this review. If you’d like to get connected with more of my content, sign up for my newsletter! Blog posts are delivered to your inbox every week, along with a monthly tailored note to you from yours truly.

☮

Angela

Image: Elizabeth White

How to Develop Good Money Tools So You Can Be As Generous As You Want

I know many kind and generous people who wish to give money to organizations or causes they support, or simply other people in the community who are in need. However, sometimes being clear on how much you can afford to donate is difficult.

To clear this up, you need to develop a solid financial base for yourself. I’m talking about using a spending plan, a savings plan, and money mapping to get clear on where your money is going. Let’s look at how each of these three tools can help you give more easily:

Spending Plan

First, you need to know how much you’re spending and where it’s going. Take a walk through your income and expenses and figure out how much you’re saving, if you are saving. The point of developing a spending plan (also known by the less-fun-sounding-term “budget”) is to get clear on what your spending is like right now, and how it compares to your income. When you look at this, you can see what your spending priorities currently are, and you can start to think about that critically. Do you really want to eat takeout food every week, or would you rather be able to donate that $35 to a conservation campaign like Protect Juristac? Looking at your spending and weighing your priorities can make room for the giving you want to do. To develop a good spending plan, check out my article with ideas and strategies here.

Savings Plan

Saving money gives you serious options, whether you’re saving for an emergency fund or a big purchase. You can also decide to dedicate a portion of your savings directly to giving. Maybe, you decide to save 5% of your income every month and donate it to the COVID-19 Hopi Relief Fund at the end of the year. Whether the giving comes out of your savings or your spending plan, having both gives you a fuller picture of how you can spend, give, and save for your goals. You can read more about creating a savings plan for yourself here.

Money Mapping

Once you’ve got the spending and the saving figured out, you can put it all together into a money map! Money mapping is a visual tool for organizing your own money system. It’s super helpful for both your business and personal finances. I’ve talked about the how-to of money mapping quite a bit on this blog, so I won’t go into detail. I recommend reading my full series on money mapping, and especially How to Use Money Mapping to Give Back.  The big pro of money mapping is that you can visually parse out how you will allocate for giving money. Whether it’s coming out of your business finances, your monthly living expenses, or you’re saving a big sum, creating a money map helps you see that and stick to it.

Want to Give? Get Organized!

The bottom line here is that donating money from a solid financial base requires getting organized. You need to go over your financial priorities and see what kind of money you have to work with. From there, you can make an informed and generous decision about where to put your money, without putting yourself in dire financial straits. I hope you found this article helpful. Currently, I have a few openings in my practice for some personal finance coaching clients, so if you’d like to work closely on your personal finances and develop a giving plan with support, reach out to schedule a free consultation!

 

 

Happy giving!

☮

Angela


This blog post is a re-publishing of the original article, “How to Make Donating Way Easier on Your Finances,” published in November 2020. For more articles on this topic, check out the “giving” tag. 

How to Make Donating Money Way Easier On Your Finances

This time of year, many of us are thinking about giving. Traditionally, we come together to be thankful for our blessings and share generosity. While many aspects of the holiday season will look different this year, your giving doesn’t have to! I know many kind and generous people who wish to give money to organizations or causes they support, or simply other people in the community who are in need. However, sometimes being clear on how much you can really afford to donate is difficult.

To really clear this up, you need to develop a solid financial base for yourself. I’m talking about using a spending plan, a savings plan, and money mapping to really get clear on where your money is going. Let’s look at how each of these three tools can help you give way more easily:

Spending Plan

First, you need to know how much you’re spending and where it’s going. Take a walk through your income and expenses and figure out how much you’re saving, if you are saving. The point of developing a spending plan (also known by the less-fun-sounding-term “budget”) is to get clear on what your spending is like right now, and how it compares to your income. When you look at this, you can see what your spending priorities currently are, and you can start to think about that critically. Do you really want to eat takeout food every week, or would you rather be able to donate that $35 to a conservation campaign like Protect Juristac? Looking at your spending and weighing your priorities can make room for the giving you want to do. To develop a good spending plan, check out my article with ideas and strategies here.

Savings Plan

Saving money gives you serious options, whether you’re saving for an emergency fund or a big purchase. You can also decide to dedicate a portion of your savings directly to giving. Maybe, you decide to save 5% of your income every month and donate it to the COVID-19 Hopi Relief Fund at the end of the year. Whether the giving comes out of your savings or your spending plan, having both gives you a fuller picture of how you can spend, give, and save for your goals. You can read more about creating a savings plan for yourself here.

Money Mapping

Once you’ve got the spending and the saving figured out, you can put it all together into a money map! Money mapping is a visual tool for organizing your own money system. It’s super helpful for both your business and personal finances. I’ve talked about the how-to of money mapping quite a bit on this blog, so I won’t go into detail. I recommend reading my full series on money mapping, and especially How to Use Money Mapping to Give Back.  The big pro of money mapping is that you can visually parse out how you will allocate for giving money. Whether it’s coming out of your business finances, your monthly living expenses, or you’re saving a big sum, creating a money map helps you see that and stick to it.

Want to Give? Get Organized!

The bottom line here is that donating money from a solid financial base requires getting organized. You need to go over your financial priorities and see what kind of money you have to work with. From there, you can make an informed and generous decision about where to put your money, without putting yourself in dire financial straits. I hope you found this article helpful. Currently, I have a few openings in my practice for some personal finance coaching clients, so if you’d like to work closely on your personal finances and develop a giving plan with support, reach out to schedule a free consultation!

 

 

Happy giving!

☮

Angela

 

Roundup: At Peace With Money’s Best Educational Posts to Level Up Your Financial Learning

This week, please enjoy a roundup of some of my best educational posts yet. I’m getting close to my two-year blogging anniversary! In that time I’ve written up quite a few how-to’s, exercises, and perspective pieces on handling money. Below, I’ve pulled out some of my favorites, in the categories of business finance and personal finance.  I’m recommending these articles in particular because they contain foundational info that informs my practice as a profitability coach. The tips and perspectives that I blog about here are tried and true. I share them because they make a huge difference to my clients, just as I hope they’ll make a difference for you! If you’re looking to kick your financial learning into high-gear, let these resources be your guides:

Personal Finance Articles

Business Finance Articles

Suggested Readings – My Favorite Financial Books

I hope these posts are helpful for you! I find that the practice of writing a blog has been a great practice in building up an archive of knowledge – one that I hope is just as helpful for you as it is for my clients.

☮

Angela

The One Indispensable Spending Guideline: Needs Vs. Wants

One spending guideline that is indispensable is identifying your needs versus your wants. Difficulty understanding this can result in either over-spending or over-saving. Ultimately, it can reflect a lack of clarity around our values around money. If you feel stumped by this concept, or aren’t sure how your spending behavior measures up, don’t worry! We’re going to parse out the details right here:

Needs vs. Wants

Many of us are familiar with differentiating between needs and wants. It’s a skill we cultivate throughout our lifetimes. Although we sometimes run into pitfalls, we are ultimately making thousands of decisions a day – it’s important to have a little compassion for ourselves when we’re thinking about our financial decision making.

So, what makes a need, a need and a want, a want? Basic necessities you need to take care of yourself and live with a certain degree of comfort are needs. Nutritious food, sound housing, quality clothes and shoes, and things like electricity, car insurance, etc. definitely fall into the need category. We also have needs related to caring for ourselves. This is where things can get tricky – many people have difficulty differentiating between needs and wants here. When considering a purchase, it can be helpful to try and identify the underlying need. For example, if you want to spend money on a day-long spa retreat, but what you really want is some quiet time to yourself, there are likely other ways you could meet that need. Especially if it’s a matter of staying in your budget or not, sussing out the need underlying the want can be very helpful.

Over-spender, or Over-saver?

You may have some idea of whether you fit into either category. If you’re not sure what over-saving is, I recommend reading my article about it – it could be enlightening. When it comes to identifying needs vs. wants, over-spenders and over-savers tend to behave differently. Over-spenders frequently feel every purchase is filling a need, while over-savers tend to see every potential purchase as a want. In both cases, these spending habits can cause problems. Over-spenders can find themselves without important savings accounts or in debt, while over-savers can hold off on essential purchases like medical expenses. Both behaviors result in a deficit of self-care. To really take care of ourselves financially, we need to find a midpoint, where we have our needs met, and a few of our wants too. Someone who has really good thinking about this is Vicki Robin, who speaks poetically about finding your “enough” in Your Money or Your Life. You can read my book review here.

I hope these thoughts will help you examine your own spending behaviors. If you’re interested in a little more self care, check out my Facebook page for Financial Self Care Fridays, all month at 8am PST via FB Live. I’m providing prompts and accountability to help you develop a financial self care habit. I hope you’ll join me!

☮

Angela

Image by: Artem Beliaikin

Why Your Business And Personal Finances Are Definitely Interrelated

Perhaps it seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important for business owners to keep in mind: Business and personal finances are intimately related. All of us have personal financial lives, and they dictate what we’re able to do in our business. In the same way, how our business is doing financially vastly informs what we’re doing in our personal financial lives. Today, I’m talking about how the two effect each other and why it’s important to be aware of that.

Where Business and Personal Meet

In the past, I’ve written about the importance of separating the two by opening different accounts. Keeping things separate means more clarity about what’s going on in both financial realms. However, just because you want to look at them separately, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t inform one another. I’m also in support of checking in with your lifestyle costs and making sure your target revenue aligns with those. I’m a firm believer in making sure your lifestyle costs and your life’s goals are the things that inform how much revenue you want your business to take in. 

Many finance and business coaches like to throw out round numbers: “Increase your revenue by $5,000!” “Have your first $100K year!” However, these are more helpful in their marketing schemes, rather than your real life. Personally, I find that when your income goals are directly linked to your lifestyle costs and your long term goals, they have much more meaning to you. Doing the work of figuring out what your costs and goals are also keeps you checked in with where your money is going, and where you are going in your life. The way we spend our money and what we do with it directly correlates with how we treat ourselves. In my mind, a revenue target should be an invitation to self care and personal fulfillment.

Working Backwards

If you’re struggling to picture how your business income goals can be informed by your lifestyle costs, I invite you to try a little exercise. In my money-mapping series, I go in-depth on how to create a money map that encompasses your business earnings and your personal accounts. You can sketch one up for yourself, and then start from the personal end on the right. Total up the amount of money you need for financial goals and living expenses, and then move toward the business end and see whether your business is producing that amount of revenue. A big part of this exercise is actually understanding what your lifestyle costs you – and that’s important to your business finances too!

The Whole Pie

The bottom line here is that it’s important to look at both your personal and your business finances separately, and as they relate to each other. We have to look at the whole pie, so to speak. Many business owners might have one field or the other down pat, but having confidence in both areas takes a bigger understanding of how they work together. If you feel you have a lot of clarity in your business but struggle to pay personal bills, or vice versa, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate. The two inform each other.

If you appreciated this post and found the opportunity to think about personal and business finances helpful, you’re in for a treat! I am beginning to add personal financial coaching into my practice, and this month I’m looking for three small business owners to get started working with at a special low introductory fee. If that’s something that interests you, click here to set up a free 30-minute consultation, where we can see if we’d work well together.

☮

Angela

My Current Financial Goals!

So frequently, I talk about goals and planning and money systems here. But rarely do I share with you what’s going on behind the scenes for me. Today I want to give you all a look into my financial goals, and how systems work in my business.

System at Work

In my own business, I use a money mapping system that helps me allocate funds from my business for different purposes. If you haven’t read my full series on money mapping, I recommend doing so by clicking on the links above. My money mapping system helps me to allocate a portion of the income I make for saving up for my financial goals. I have a habit of over-saving, so it’s important for me to have a system in place that helps me navigate how much to spend and how much to save. If this sounds familiar to you too, check out my article on over-saving, and how overcoming it can help you! Making this discovery has definitely been helpful for me.

Goals: Big and Small

The goals that I’m currently leveraging my money system to save up for range from small things to big life events. Last November, I bought a 2016 Rav-4, so one of the goals I’m working on is paying off my car loan. I am also saving up to do a motorcycle tour of New Zealand! Originally I had a target date for this goal, but now things depend on when COVID-19 is no longer an issue, so things are a bit more flexible. You can read more about my motorcycling journey (and how being a small business owner helped me with that!) here. My last goal has less to do with saving and more with just practicing good financial hygiene. My husband is hoping to retire soon, so we’re keeping an eye on our spending to make sure we can live within our means when that happens!

Hopefully this post has given you a flavor for my goals, and helped you think about what yours might be too! For more help here, check out my article “Know Your Money Why.”

☮
Angela

 

The In-Depth Guide to Mapping Your Money, and How It Can Fortify Your Business, Part III

In the last two parts of this in-depth guide to money mapping, we’ve talked about why it’s helpful and how to get started. We’ve also touched on creating a system of accounts to set up a regular paycheck for yourself and an assurance of profit. Creating your own money map based on these ideas takes a lot of evaluation of your finances. You need to assess your operating and tax expenses and analyze your living expenses and savings goals. Once you’ve assessed these amounts, they translate into the percentages you put into each account.

What’s Your Percentage?

I help clients figure out what their percentages could be. We assess the needs of their business, and we figure out how much they actually need to live on. We discuss their life goals, and how those relate to money. There are good benchmarks for each percentage, which are suggested by Profit First. For your reference, the suggested percentages are: 5% profit, 50% owner’s pay, 15% taxes, 30% for operating expenses. This breakdown applies to most solopreneurs (anyone under $250,000 in annual revenue).If this doesn’t feel doable for you right now, don’t sweat it. It takes a lot of work, evaluation, and good financial habits to create a sustainable money system.

Applying the Model

Let’s look at an example of all of this mapped out. In this example business, the owner is using the ideal benchmarks and keeping a cushion in their Owner’s Pay account. What they do take out is then subdivided, with 20% of their pay taken off the top for three savings goals (I like to call this “paying yourself first.”). The remainder of this money goes to living expenses. While this model might be unrealistic from where you stand, keep in mind that this is something my clients work towards. I’ve included it here so you can start to picture what your own money system looks like.

If you enjoyed this guide, I recommend also checking out Part I, and Part II. And, try going to the Tools page, where you can play with an allocations calculator. Plug in your revenue and your preferred percentages to see what your amounts are! Then you can start filling in your money map.

Money mapping is an important tool, and one that I enjoy walking clients through. If you’re interested in working with me, check out my services page to check out my packages, and schedule a call.

☮

Angela

 

Image by:

Estée Janssens

Go to Top