Save yourself rich

This week in the UK as part of George Osborne’s Budget, a new ISA called a “Lifetime ISA” was launched. The new ISA would enable you to get a 25% bonus on everything you saved up to £4000 a year. So you can get an extra £1000 per year in your account plus interest, from next April until you are 50. There are of course a few bits of small print, the big bits of which being that you only get these bonuses if you use the money towards a house purchase or your retirement.

My wife went through the numbers and projections last night and if we changed the way we saved and kept to the plan she made, we would have a very nice nest egg for retirement through this scheme. The thing about this new ISA is that I can’t think of any other savings method that is completely risk free that would give you a thousand pounds plus interest for a £4000 contribution.

What you save not what you earn

I am a big believer that life isn’t about how much you earn it is about what you spend and what you save. The amount of money you earn only makes you rich if you use it wisely. My wife and I make a great team for many reasons but one of them is because I am good at getting good deals and finding things for very cheap prices and she is great at saving, planning and budgeting. The combination between spending and saving is so important; if you do both well, you will have a great financial future.

I think when looking at savings, the important thing to do is to not look at the amount you are saving this month and how much money you make on your savings this month. You need to look at what the numbers look like if you keep saving that amount per month for 10 years, 20 years and so on. It is the numbers you will see then that will give you the incentive to keep on investing your small amounts every month. It’s like looking at your monthly direct debits, if you manage to get a new phone contract that is say £10 less a month than your current one it may not seem much, but if you look it over the two years of the contract that’s £240!

Working for you

Always make your money work the hardest it can for you – I hate this terminology but it is very true. Look at what savings options are open to you and pick the best ones for your needs. We are always being encouraged to shop around for best deals on insurances, energy and so on but it is also important that you shop around to find the best savings avenue for you.

Before this week I thought saving for retirement was impossible and that we would have very little but now with this new ISA and a plan I know in later life we will live a nice comfortable life.

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Don’t you dare give up

Are you struggling to find a reason and purpose for you in life?

Do you think you’ve got nothing to look forward to and that your best days are behind you?

Can you not find happiness in life and have no plans?

Well I’m here today to tell you that victory in life isn’t just for one person, isn’t just for some people, victory is for everyone! Victory is for you! Today might not be a great day and tomorrow might be rubbish as well, but some day there will be a good day, a day of victory for you.

Victory

Victory can be different things to different people; to me one of the most important victories is finding a reason to smile. There are millions of reasons to smile in this world but sometimes it is all too easy to forget them all, the key is getting yourself in to that position where you feel able to and want to smile again.

Nobody or nothing should stop you from feeling like you have the right to victory, to success, to happiness. Never let yourself get in to that position where you don’t think it is right to be happy or that you are allowed to be happy.

Something for everyone

There is something out there for everyone, if you just look out for opportunities. The key is finding something you like doing and going and doing it. Just ask yourself – when do you feel the best and what do you do that makes you feel the best? There are things out there that can make you happy, there are things out there that you can have success doing, you just got to be prepared to look.

Today might just be about getting to the end of the day and that is fine, as sometimes just getting through today is a victory in itself but it is only a victory if one day you do something to go and get your victory. That day might not be for years and there maybe a long period of just getting through, but as long as you keep getting through you have a chance of victory.

You are precious

You are precious and your time on earth is precious. You have something to offer this world and you have been put here for a reason. Never forget the past but don’t let the past stop you from doing something with your future because if you are 1 or 90 you still have a future. You still have incredible potential that the world would love to see used.

So let me end by talking directly to you reader, you may have had a hard day, a hard year, a hard life but I am telling you, don’t you dare give up, don’t you dare let the world get the best of you, don’t you dare miss out on the good things that are out there for you. Life isn’t easy but some of the best things in life are easy to achieve if you want to achieve them bad enough.

The Weekend To Do List

One of the things that my wife and I do most weekends is write a ‘to do list’. I love ‘to do lists’. ‘To do lists’ help us plan, help us decide what is important and help us shape our weekend.

Whenever I can in life I want to spend my time intentionally. Time goes by so quickly in life and I want to make the most of it. I think it is so easy to lose time or to not do the most with the time we have and I don’t want to fall in to that trap. If I am going to do nothing, I want it to be because I think it is best for me and because I have made a conscious decision to do nothing. I’m not saying everything has to be planned and that you shouldn’t do anything spontaneously, I am just saying I want to do things because I want to do them, not because I’ve got nothing else better to do.

Importance of weekends

Weekends are important to me, as it is time for my wife and I. After working for 5 days I don’t want to ever waste the two days I get with my wife. I want to make the most of my weekends. Weekends go by so quickly and I want to go back to work on Mondays knowing that I had the best weekend, I possibly could have.

Doing a ‘to do list’ together with my wife on Fridays starts our weekend off in the right way. It gives us the opportunity to let each other know what we want to do this weekend and helps us work out when the best times are in the weekend to do them. This list helps us make the weekend what it is.

Adapting

We don’t always do or achieve everything we set out to with our weekend, but that isn’t the point of the list. The list is an ideal for the weekend but we don’t live or die by it. Sometimes we put too much on and sometimes things change due to weather, illness etc. If these things happen, we just choose what is most important and achievable, then leave the rest for another evening or weekend.

Putting everything down on a list makes sure nothing gets forgotten about and gives us the chance to see how achievable, what we want to achieve is. By writing it all down it is easy to see if you are going to get everything done or not. Writing things down and having a list also makes sure that I don’t make promises or commitments that are impossible to keep, to avoid me letting people down.

Taking the pressure off

The list takes the pressure off, as the final to do list is always achievable and I know it can always be adapted.

The most important thing to me to do, above any ‘to do list’ is spend quality time with my wife, which the list always ensures that I do every weekend.

Saving over Spending

You may remember I did a blog a little while ago on budgeting and the importance of budgeting brilliantly. Ever since I wrote that blog I have wanted to address the problem many people have of spending over saving.

Someone once told me – “life isn’t about what you earn it’s about what you save” and I think this statement is so true. If you earn a lot of money and just spend it all, you will be no richer than the person who made less money than you but knew how to save.

As the money you are making goes up your spending doesn’t have to go up with it! Sadly for many people when they get more money they decide to take on finance deals, sign big contracts or mortgages for property and buy brand new big ticket items without shopping round for the best deals.

Those of you that are in a fortunate place of earning good money, I implore you to plan for the future, as there is no guarantee that you will be making this money for the rest of your life. If your earnings do take a hit like if you lost your job or your company started seeing tough financial times, the companies that have given you credit are still going to want their money and you are still going to have to find a way to live.

I’m not saying don’t go and enjoy life and the rewards of your hard work, I’m just saying make sure you are prepared if life were to change in an instant. Have savings so you can live your retirement years as well as you lived your years in employment. Money can come and go but if you learn good money management skills they will never leave you and you will be able to deal with whatever comes your way.

Planning for When Success Isn’t Instant

As human beings I think we are all inspired by something we see or hear at some point in our lives. It can be anything from a preach at your local church to a film you saw at the cinema. The words and or pictures encourage you to chase your dream, give you a dream or put a cause on your heart that you want to stand up and fight for. You leave the place saying to yourself that you are going to do be the one that makes it happen.

The problem then comes when it gets a bit tricky to do what you want to do and you aren’t as successful right away as you thought you would be. Time goes on and distractions have entered your life which clog up the time you have in your day to chase your dreams. The memory of what you heard or saw that inspired you is starting to feel a bit faded and before you know it you have given up or forgotten about it.

I think the most important thing to do when you are inspired by something is make a plan, one that doesn’t involve instant success. To be successful you need to be passionate about something but sadly being passionate doesn’t always mean you will be successful, so this is why a plan is so important.

In the plan can you set aside an amount of time a day to pursue your dream? Just one thing to remember is to make it a realistic amount of time that you know you can quite easily give over to the pursuit. Can you surround yourself with people who are chasing the same dream as you or are as passionate about chasing their dream, as you are yours? Can you get a copy of that preach or film? So that you can remind yourself of why you are so passionate about it?

I think instant success is a myth and a myth that stops many people achieving what they could if they just stuck at it. Most of the truly successful people in life didn’t have overnight success, most had a plan and kept to it. You show up to work everyday, because you have to. You show up everyday for school, because you have to. You need to get in the mindset that you keep to your plan, because you have to. Plans maybe boring but success never is.

Change Your World

So how is 2015 treating you so far? Did you make any resolutions? If you did – Have you kept to them?

The start of the year is always a tricky time. It is a time where anything is possible to achieve for the year ahead. It’s a time of coming back to work or school after a rest for many so it can take a little while to get back to firing on all cylinders but already you are being forced to think about plans for the year.

I have been thinking about this first blog of the year over the Christmas break, originally I was thinking it would be “Change the World” but on reflection I think the mission for this year should be “Change Your World.”

Thinking about the possibilities for the year ahead can be overwhelming as there are just so many, like if you were to try and think of a way to change the world, it would be overwhelming. On the other hand I believe changing your world is very possible and if lots of people did it we could change the world together.

Your world is something you are very familiar with. Your world is the people you interact with, the issues that affect your daily life and the places in the world that you live in and that you go to. Your world is easily defined and should be something that you could find a way to influence positively.

The great thing about our worlds is that they all overlap with each other in some way. There are many people affected by the same things that you are, many people living in the same area as you and many people that are friends with or work with the same people that are in your world.

You can be a world changer by making your world a better place. By making your world a better place you can make it better for someone else too and you can make their world better at the same time. I am going to make it my mission this year to change my world for the better. I am going to look at my world, think of ways that I can make a difference then go out and do it. If you want to improve your life and the ones of those around you then you need to change your world.

I want 2015 to be the year where your world was changed for the better. So lets get to it people.