Tag Archives: Coastal Credit Union

Cashflow FI: More Flexibility with Your Money and Schedule

Want more flexibility with your budget and life? Learn how mastering your cash flow brings you closer to financial independence and freedom!

How to Have More Options with Cashflow FI

It can be a challenge to break out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle. One recent survey found that 64% of Americans are in that cycle; that's nine and half million more than 2021.

You might be thinking that it is because of income and for sure that’s a major issue, but your income is only part of the equation.

Fortune reported that over half of Americans earning $100,000 or more are living paycheck to paycheck.

Again there are various reason why people are struggling even with a healthy income and we’ll cover a few of them here in future episodes, but one big factor is they haven’t taken the time to prioritize their spending.

Whether you’re looking to pursue financial independence or something in the more traditional time frame, you have to master your cash flow.

When you have a gap between what you’re spending and earning while still enjoying life, you’re giving yourself more options and flexibility with your budget and schedule.

It’s not automatic though, it’s skill you have to learn.

That’s why I’m happy to have Cody Berman on today’s show.

He's the co-founder of the Financial Independence Show and the co-founder of Gold City Ventures.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • why financial independence is more than just leaving the rat race
  • diversifying your income in a way where you’re not trading your time for money
  • why Cody is focused on cash flow FI vs waiting to hit a more traditional FI number

We have a lot to go over, so let’s get started!

Resources to Hit Your FI Number Faster

Ready to knock out your debt? Check out these tools and resources to easily manage your family’s finances!

If you want to chat more about creating better money habits, questions, or share your own tips, please join us at Thriving Families on Facebook. We’d love to see you there!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! Come check out Coastal today if you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first and foremost including an annual loyalty bonus.

We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
  • Join our coffee group ☕: Get access to exclusive behind the scenes videos, chats, and more!
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on Apple or Stitcher.
  • Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in four weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!

How to Be Happy with Your Money and Enjoy Life

Do you have a huge financial goal you’re chasing, but you’re not sure how to fit it in with everything you have going on right now?

Learn how you can be happy with your money and your life!

Finding a Healthy Balance with Your Money and Your Life

One of the biggest challenges when working on family and financial goals is finding that balance.

It can be easy to go from one extreme to another without even realizing it.

Before we started knocking out our debts, I wouldn’t say I gave much attention to finances.

However, there’s another extreme where you’re completely focused on your financial goals. It can get to the point where you say, ‘We’re going to do this when we pay this debt off, or have this much invested, or XYZ‘, you get the idea.

This approach can rob you of joy of the journey and can add undue stress to your family.

Taking care of your family and financial goals can be enjoyable. It can also be more holistic, improving different areas of your life, including social, mental health, and more.

That’s why I’m thrilled Jason Vitug is on the show today. He’s the author of You Only Live Once, and his new one one, Happy Money Happy Life.

In this episode we’ll:

  • look at finances through a holistic lens
  • share how you can make sure that you're enjoying the journey
  • how to take care of yourself and your family

We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

Resources to Find More Balance with Your Health and Wealth

If you’re ready to jump into the year and knock out some of your health and wealth goals, here are a few of my favorite.

If you’d like to chat more your money system, please join us in our private and free Facebook group – Thriving Families.

We’re families looking to support and help one another out.

Hope to see you there!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! Come check out Coastal today if you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first and foremost including an annual loyalty bonus.

We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
  • Join our coffee group ☕: Get access to exclusive behind the scenes videos, chats, and more!
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on Apple or Stitcher.
  • Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in four weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!

Photos by Daniel Torobekov and Tatiana Syrikova

Fun and Affordable Bucket List Ideas for Your Family

How do you translate your wish list into an actual to do list? Learn how you can create an everyday bucket list and an incredible year!

Why Your Family Needs an Everyday Bucket List

One of my hopes for you and other families listening is show you how pursuing your financial goals doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold.

There is a certain amount of intensity you need in that initial phase to knock out things like high interest debt. That doesn’t mean you completely sacrifice fun in your schedule.

There are ways you can enjoy trips, achieve some personal goals, and just have fun while you’re working towards those financial goals.

It takes some creativity, but it’s not overly complicated.

Everyday Bucket List author Karen Cordaway is on the show to show us how. As a busy working parent, she spent years struggling to find free time for herself.

Karen figured out how to reclaim her schedule and infuse more exciting bucket list experiences into her family’s everyday life.

In this episode, we’ll get into:

  • how you can create your everyday bucket list
  • creative ways to travel more without breaking your budget
  • strategies to help you

Let’s get started!

Resources to Create and Knock Out Your Everyday Bucket List

If you’d like to chat more your money system, please join us in our private and free Facebook group – Thriving Families.

We’re families looking to support and help one another out.

Hope to see you there!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! Come check out Coastal today if you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first and foremost including an annual loyalty bonus.

We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Creating Your Family's Everyday Bucket List with Karen Cordaway

Elle Martinez: I love your book, the Everyday Bucket List. I feel like after the two and a half years, there's a lot of families that are just ready to enjoy the life again, whether it's travel, whether it's just hanging out with each other, but they're stuck. Right?

We've either or been stuck at home. We don't have any idea of what we wanna do. How do you come up with these ideas or we have a budget that we wanna keep?

I love how it helps you not just save bucket lists for like these big milestones or events, but put it into your everyday life.

What made you come up with this idea in particular? I mean, an everyday bucket list sounds awesome, but what was the genesis of that?

Karen Cordaway: Well, there's a few layers to it. The simple answer is I used to notice that my friends in New York or other big cities, they often wouldn't see those iconic things even though they live there for multiple years.

People in New York, you know, hadn't seen the Statue of Liberty. They didn't go to Ellis Island.

People in California not seeing Venice Beach or just other things that if anybody else went there, they'd try to soak all of this in. That struck me as, wow, they have that right there and they're not accessing it.

Another big life event is that I lost my mom and she was 60 and I just Oh, wow. Felt like, yeah, 60 to someone who's 30 might sound old, but when you think of people who live into their eighties and nineties, she really was young.

I go into depth in my book, the Everyday Bucket List book, but the short way to say it is life can be very short and we don't how long we have, so why not try to have fun and do the things we wanna do in everyday life or regularly?

Affordable Bucket List Ideas for Travel

Elle Martinez: I think, not that you wanna have a big life event motivate you, but the pandemic, when we were stuck at home, at least for a portion of time, made us reevaluate what was important.

We were trying to figure out. How can we make the most of this time that we are together? And we started for us traveling more.

But I love this idea of don't wait for those opportunities. Don't wait for, oh, when I'm, you know, this age or when I've paid off this debt, or I've accomplished this thing, I'm going to do this.

How can you even now have some extra fun, some extra joy, especially with families and still keep it affordable?

Karen Cordaway: Well, for myself, I live in New England. I'm lucky that the states are small so I can visit a bunch of states doing road trips. But if you're in a big state, I mean, sometimes you can go to another county or if you like road trips you could potentially drive to another state depending on how much time you have.

If you're willing to do that, I feel you can control your food. There's a lot of things you can stop, you can get out, you can go to the bathroom, things like that.

If you wanna fly domestically there are all different types of sites where you can try to find cheap deals. So here you're paying with time, with research and potentially, layovers might not be as fun.

I know when I would fly with my kids, I actually like the layover cuz it broke up the flight and we got to get off, go to the bathroom and not feel like you're squished in a little box. So much easier.

But you know, that's part of the sacrifice. If you can plan and research and maybe jot down when you can go away. There is a site you live in Raleigh.

I wanted to give you something that fit, if people are from your area, and I just found a simple, hop from Raleigh to Orlando, Florida. If you look on avelo.com and they will show there were flights that were starting at like $29.

Elle Martinez: Oh, nice.

How to Save on International Trips

Karen Cordaway: Yeah, so sometimes it's a one way, sometimes it's round trip or you have to play with the dates a little. I mean, you could leave on a Thursday and come back on a Monday. That's another way to keep it affordable if you keep it a little shorter. Right? We're not paying as much for accommodations and food and all of that.

If you wanna do like a nice little quick trip, that could be an option. You can look in your area and there's a site called secret flying.com.

What I like about this is it aggregates the different sites like Priceline and Sky Scanner. I like the way that you can search on this site because if you can be really flexible and leave out of a different airport, you can really land some deals on domestic flights and international.

I know you've been wanting to go to Spain and you're trying to see how you can make that work. There are flights. I know for me in my area outta New York, you can spend like 200 to 300 round trip, you know?

Flying out of Miami seems to save, so if you can fly out of a different airport that it's not so inconvenient and you could find a cheap flight, you're still saving a lot of money. Because when I look at the regular prices, you know, when it's like 600 per person, 800, 900, you know, two, $300 isn't gonna be a lot.

Maybe you tack on, like I say, another flight that could be affordable. That's, yeah, that's what you're gonna save. And it all comes back to your budget. What is your idea?

There's a woman called the traveling child on TikTok. Sometimes she just brings one child. She went to Paris with her daughter. They had this beautiful picnic lunch, near the Eiffel Tower.

And you have to think outside the box a little too. And I always tell people too, just go with your significant other, bring one kid. Or sometimes maybe you have to, you can't sit together on the plane or maybe, you take one kid, he takes another if you have to break it up or if somebody can't get off work.

It just depends on what your travel goals are and how flexible you are with certain situations. It's not like you always have to do that, but it can open things up so that you can really save a lot of money.

Elle Martinez: Yeah, that's, that sounds like a good idea. I totally enjoy what you're saying about, finding opportunities to be creative.

Taking Memorable and Meaningful Family Trips

For some families you have a big age gap so maybe doing a trip with your oldest might be easier for you and you have that one-on-one time, or going off season and taking some time off can get you a good deal, but you're still having those memorable experiences.

I love that because I don't think you should, I don't think it's an either or, right? Like you could still have a good time, find creative ways off season to kind of travel, but you know, still make it enjoyable. Still have it be memorable and meaningful.

Yeah. I love these tips. So you're one of those people I know that love to find deals and to explore new places. During the pandemic, were there any adventures, whether it was local or a little further off, that you really enjoyed and you're happy that you did?

Karen Cordaway: Absolutely. I absolutely loved Boston. It's one of my favorite cities. I have a whole Boston bucket list and I never stayed in the North End and my husband and I were checking like when we could go and we actually left on a Sunday. We just stayed one night. But I wanted to try a fancy hotel. It was like one of these unique places.

There was a deal because it was a Sunday and there weren't any like special events at the Garden in Boston where like the Celtics play and there's also like big concerts there. Mm-hmm. . So we hit it at a time where nothing was going on. Like I said, it was a Sunday to Monday, I believe it was indigenous People's Day.

We had that Monday off and it was just so much fun. Like I said, I'm close to Boston, so it's a little different.

The experience alone of the hotel and then there was like a celebrity chef restaurant right next door. There were so many things to do.

Something simple like that if you are just starting and venturing out, just practice staying at hotels that aren't that far away from you and you could have that total like spa experience or access to a pool that maybe people aren't there on that day.

I've done that during the winter. Sometimes I would just stay at hotels that were in a nice town in my own state and we're feeling like we have this warm vacation. We're in a pool, we're in our swimsuits and everybody else is like, you know, off on a snow day just doing whatever at home.

We got out the day before of the snowstorm and was like, Yeah, I wanna be chilling in luxury here. . .

Elle Martinez: Yeah. I did appreciate what I was reading your book, how there's certain things that if you go to a city or if you go to a place, you must see, but you're not stuck in just the tourist traps.

I saw that you had how to fill in your time for the free and the interesting and the low cost and the local things. I thought that was a fantastic way to approach it.

Then I also loved when you were going through the system with a bucket list. You talk about understand what you value. So I know for us, mentioned travel with this, but your bucket list book can be helpful for any kind of goal that a family has, right?

Karen Cordaway: Absolutely. I'm trying to learn another language. Mm-hmm and I'm also trying to figure out TikTok, which is really for everybody. It's not just young people dancing, even though that's super popular.

I've been looking at simple YouTube videos to learn the basics of the greetings and everything like that. But then I follow people who speak Italian. You can hit the C translation button and the words will be translated for you, so you hear the conversations in context. So instead of just repeating what somebody says on YouTube, whether you're saying, excuse me, or I'm sorry.

You can see how those are used differently in a language like Italian, it's very similar to Spanish. Like if you bump into somebody, you don't say, I'm sorry, you say, excuse me. And I just notice little things like that, that they will say, and I'm like, okay, I get how to use this now, or I see multiple examples of how this is used or how it's said with like a little emotion or a little punch to it.

So that's a great way. I think of it as a bucket list idea. I wanna learn Spanish and Italian, so. Mm-hmm. , like I said, going on TikTok, YouTube, that's easy, right? You could do that every day if you wanted and when you're planning your trip to go to one of these places, you already have like a foundation in the language.

Elle Martinez: Yeah, absolutely. So are you planning a trip soon to Italy?

Karen Cordaway: You know what, I'm really hoping to go for a 25th wedding anniversary. Nice. I'm currently researching If there's any way I could go sooner and I see a deal, I'm gonna, you know, go for it. I already I'm setting aside money for that.

So yes, I, I absolutely wanna do that. That's my goal. And I do feel motivated in kind of taking these little steps of trying to learn the language, trying to research and find areas that maybe I never heard of.

Like you're saying, I don't always wanna do the touristy things. I went there for my honeymoon, so that's why I wanna go back.

Elle Martinez: Oh, okay. Gotcha, gotcha. Yeah, but I think great. Because like you said, it would be nice for the milestone 25th. That would be incredible. But if you find a deal before, like, why wait.

I think it's important also to mention for those listening that yes, and Karen is too, like I, I do talk about, you know, paying off unnecessary debts, making sure you have your emergency fund, but just as important, I do think in your budget should be things where you spend their planned spending. Things that matter to you, experiences that bring you joy because it is a balance.

It's a balance of taking care of the now, planning for the future, but then enjoying what you have in front of you.

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
  • Join our coffee group ☕: Get access to exclusive behind the scenes videos, chats, and more!
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on Apple or Stitcher.
  • Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in four weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!

Enjoying a Rich Life: Prioritizing Your Health

Has the last few years been a much for you and it’s taken a toll on your health? See how you can enjoy a rich life by getting healthy and fit!

The Challenge: Fit at 40ish

These past three years have been quite the ride. The pandemic has definitely affected me.

Nothing dramatic, but when you put it together I can see how things have shifted. Good and bad.

I have family and friends who are vulnerable to COVID because of health issues they already had, so I’ve been more cautious and that’s translated to me worrying a bit more.

On the plus side, I knew that social isolation wouldn’t be good for me or my family we started meeting up with others outdoors. I believe that was real helpful with keeping in touch with our friends and getting that fresh air.

Same thing with eating. On the plus side we cooked and ate more at home, but looking at the meals we picked, comfort foods topped the list.

Again, nothing crazy, but you stack these together for a few years and it starts. I see it on the scale, with my energy levels, and more.

So I’m turning that around this year and I’m prioritizing my health. Because I think it’s a core component to that rich life we talked about last week.

I want to enjoy hanging with our kids, become more active, and maybe find a new activity or hobby.

Besides the obvious physical benefits of getting fit, there’s also a mental and an emotional boost when you’re taking care of yourself that spills over to other areas of your life.

Which is why I’m thrilled to have Rich Jones on the podcast. He’s the award-winning creator founder of Find More Balance and the Mental Wealth Show where he discusses holistic health for high achievers.

A few years ago, Rich had his own transformation. By focusing on his mental and physical, Rich had some incredible personal and professional wins.

In this episode we’ll get into:

  • Rich’s amazing journey of sobriety to becoming a national track champion
  • healthy habits you can adopt to have meaningful improvements to your health
  • how to take and make your health goals into reality

We have so much to cover, so let’s get started!

Resources to Get Healthy

If you’re ready to jump into the year and knock out some of your health and wealth goals, here are a few of my favorite resources and includes what we covered in the podcast.

If you’d like to chat more your money system, please join us in our private and free Facebook group – Thriving Families.

We’re families looking to support and help one another out.

Hope to see you there!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union!

If you live in the Triangle area of North Carolina and you’d like someone to work with you on your goals, you really want to check out Coastal’s Wealth Management team.

They’d love to help you start investing for retirement and more!

Focus on Systems, Not Just Healthy Habits

After my discussion with Rich, I was inspired. I hope you are too. It’s amazing how prioritizing his health snowballed into so many other opportunities.

But here’s the big challenge we face: actually following through. How do you do it?

To jumpstart things, I’ll share how I’m breaking down my goals into habits and then into system. You can hopefully work through your goals and setup yours.

Create SMART Goals for Your Health

something I took away from my chat with Rich is think beyond the numbers when it comes to health. I need to look at my health holistically.

So for this year here are three key goals I want to work towards:

  • Get to a healthy weight. (physical)
  • Find a sport/activity that I enjoy. (mental)
  • Schedule time to catch up with loved ones. (emotional)

Let’s turn these into SMART goals.

I’ve talked about this quite a few times, but I’m big fan of SMART goals. One reason is it’s an easy way to breakdown whatever goal you have into an action plan you can then use.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

Let's see how that break down for one my goals.

I’m scheduling an annual physical to confirm what a healthy weight is for me, but as a ballpark I’m planning on losing 30 lbs of fat.

Because I’m looking for something sustainable and not interested in a crash diet, the timeline I set is mid-December, around our next anniversary. That means I’m looking at around 2 1/2 lbs month, certainly achievable.

This goal is relevant to me because I want to improve my quality of life by enjoying more activities with my family and friends.

Polishing up, my SMART goal would look like this:

I want to lose 30lbs by December 15, 2023.

Keystone Habits for Healthy Living

Now that you have a goal you're working towards, let's look at which habits can help us achieve it.

For my goal, I need to focus on two area: exercising more and eating better.

For eating, one huge keystone habit is meal planning.

Building Systems to Get Fit

The last key ingredient is creating systems.

Don’t worry, these aren’t crazy productivity hacks. Think of systems as an easy on-ramp to developing better habits.

Instead of trying to change everything at once, I’ll only be focusing on one habits from each category each month. Why?

Because I want something that is sustainable. I want to develop a habit not just cross something on my list.

I truly hope this episode inspires you to prioritize your health.

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
  • Join our coffee group ☕: Get access to exclusive behind the scenes videos, chats, and more!
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on Apple or Stitcher.
  • Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in four weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!

Photo by Ella Olsson

Creating a Rich Life

Ready to rest and fresh your family and financial goals? This year we’re exploring how to have a rich life!

The Challenge: Make 2023 A Rich Life

Okay, that’s a pretty bold statement – have a rich life.

Let first back track on how I came up with this theme for the season and then we can talk about what a rich life looks like.

Even before we wrapped up this last season in November, something had been nagging me about the podcast.

Besides Simplify and Enjoy, I also write and run Couple Money which is focused on helping married couples get on the same page with their finances. I’ve really loved it.

As we were paying off debts, stashing and growing our financial cushion, and eventually becoming a CoastFI family, it’s been fantastic to hear from you and other families on the milestones you’re reaching.

Between the two, I’ve been writing and or podcasting about personal finance for over 12 years and it’s been incredible.

However as important as getting your finances squared away, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. So I took time off throughout last year including one in October where I just disconnected from the work. I allowed myself to explore and read other topics besides finances to see if I could add something to this podcast that would help you and other families have not just an amazing year with your finances, but really allow you to enjoy things.

The first think that clicked for me was a quote from Cal Newport. It served as a jumping-off point for me as I looked at 2023 and what I wanted to do.

Do less. Do better. Know why.

Instantly, I knew I wanted to dig into this. Initially, I thought about how it would in with podcast.

Do less. Families are stressed out because they’re doing so much. There’s always this list of a million things you need to do to get your money straight. Or here’s how you work, be a full-time parent, and have a side hustle.

It’s too much noise and nonsense.

I want to keep things simple and flexible so you can build and design your life as needed.

Do better. With time and energy freed up because we’re no doing a ton of things, how can we use that to create something special? Let’s put energy into building up our relationships, levelling up on skills with work, and taking on a projects and hobbies that are meaningful to us.

Know why. Productivity culture almost elevates being busy like it’s a virtue, but the real challenge is having and knowing your purpose for what you’re doing. This definition can then be used so you can gauge when you have enough.

Considering this quote, taking notes from some my initial conversations, and thinking about how my experience writing about personal finance for over a dozen years, I saw the pieces together and I knew what I wanted to discuss this season – living a rich life.

In this episode, we’ll dig into:

  • defining what living a rich life means
  • creating your goals along with a game plan to achieve them
  • making a challenge list so you can follow through and hit your goals for the year and beyond

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Resources

If you’re ready to jump into the year and knock out some goals, here are a few of my favorite resources and includes what we covered in the podcast.

If you’d like to chat more your money system, please join us in our private and free Facebook group – Thriving Families.

We’re families looking to support and help one another out.

Hope to see you there!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! Come check out Coastal today if you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first and foremost including an annual loyalty bonus.

We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Defining Rich Life: More Than Money

Rich life is such a loaded phrase, especially in the personal finance space.

Too many times the conversations veers and stays centered chasing a number. You have to pay off this debt in a year! You need this huge amount to retire! And the goal posts keep moving.

It’s exhausting and discouraging.

There's a reason why we set financial goals, it's not simply about hitting them; it's about what happens when we do and more so what we do along the way.Jason Vitug

So instead of spending this season simply focused on how to hit your financial goals faster we’re going to examine the big picture and that means looking at things from different angles.

With that in mind, this season we’re going to look at creating these goals, breaking them down into more manageable pieces whether that’s using SMART goals, habits or systems, and then finally keeping things interesting with personal and monthly challenges.

So let’s start with your goals.

Defining Your Goals

What would you like to accomplish it this year? (And no don’t just say pay off debt or something you’re supposed to do!)

Take time with this and brainstorm some ideas as a family and for yourself. What trips do you want to take? What hobbies or sports do you want to take up? Add those financial goals, but don’t let them dominate your list.

To keep things – you guessed it- simple, let’s divide things up into three buckets:

  • money
  • home
  • life

I think they are specific enough to cover the essentials while keeping it flexible so you can tailor it to you and your family.

Money covers your more straight forward, typical money goals like paying off credit card debt, investing for retirement, and building your financial cushion.

Home can be where you track home projects and also includes family centered goals.

Life is a bit broader but for me this where I’d keep my health and career goals, plus any hobbies I enjoy.

Making Your Goals SMART

As a quick review, SMART is an acronym on how you can effectively frame your goals.

A smart goal is specific, measurable, attainable, results, focus, and time base.

What do I mean by that?

  • Specific: You don’t want to save more. You want to set up your emergency fund or your travel fund.
  • Measurable: You want to have $5,000 in your savings account or you need three months of essential expenses.
  • Attainable: This is not a moon shot, but it’s something you can actually accomplished (provided you put the work in)
  • Results: What’s the result of you hitting your goal? What personal or family win will you have?
  • Time-Based: When do you want to accomplish this? This is handy because you can then work backward and set up how much you need to save or pay off each month.

The point of it is that you have a mini-game plan already set up for how you’re going to actually achieve that goal.

Another benefit to laying out SMART goals is that you get a sense of whether or not you're working on too many things. Very quickly, you’ll notice the numbers aren’t working out.

You can then decide to either push back a deadline for a goal or two.

Breaking Down Goals Into Habits and Systems

With your SMART goals down, it’s now time to start looking for ways to break these goals down into doable chunks. For some goals, that means defining key habits and/or systems you need to have in place to knock these out.

Again, I have a few episodes about building better habits, but some key things to consider:

  • look for keystone habits
  • consider ways to remove the friction
  • automate if possible

The idea is that you’re not just relying on motivation alone – which can come and go. You’re trying to develop a sustainable and relatively easy habit that will move you towards your goals.

Creating and Taking on Monthly Challenges

I think it’s crucial that we talk about this, but just as important is following through on them and one method I found successful is gamifying them into monthly challenges. I start the month off with clear idea of what I want to accomplish.

Having some wins can also motivate you through to keep going on. Personalize it on things you enjoy!

When we were at the beginning of our financial journey, we tried to do things like $20 date nights or finding the best free and low cost festivals and events around town.

Next month, we try something different. It kept things fresh.

You can also do this with your goals and depending on what they are, build up on them. Let’s say you’re trying to get fit in 2023.

Instead of changing every single thing with how you eat, sleep and exercise, you focus in on one of those key areas in a month, like sleeping better or only work on one small habit change in each of these like simply tracking your meals, workouts, and sleep using a fitness tracker or a spreadsheet.

These challenges are meant to be a fun way to build momentum.

Our 2023 Goals + 23 Challenge

I hope that this four part approach to creating and tackling your goals makes it easier for you to have some big wins this year.

Introducing My 2023 Challenge

Personally, I thought it would be fun to share some challenges I’m planning on tackling during this year with you.

Just like I mentioned before, after I brainstormed and chatted with rob, I had a whole list of ideas.

Narrowing it down based on my schedule and prioritizing them, I broke down the goals into those three buckets:

  • finances
  • home
  • life

You can see the entire list on Simplify and Enjoy, but here’s a few examples of what I’ve included.

  • On the financial side, we’re trying to plan an international trip and decide if real estate investing is something that would work for us
  • I have a ton of house projects that I’d like to do, including creating a family library space. I’d love for us to have a quiet and cozy space where we can read or work on solo projects.
  • On a personal note, I’m thrilled about getting fit and putting together my reading plan for the year.

With that in mind, this year on the podcast I’m sharing my progress. I’m interviewing people who have done some amazing things in those areas, resources that make it easier for busy families to hit their goals faster, and how I’m doing with them – the good and the bad.

And I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know how you’re doing with your goals.

There are several ways to join in. We have our free newsletter, our Facebook group Thriving Families, and of course you can tag me on social media. Let’s cheer each other on!

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
  • Join our coffee group ☕: Get access to exclusive behind the scenes videos, chats, and more!
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on Apple or Stitcher.
  • Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in four weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!

Photo and Music Credit

Music By: Marscott and other artists from Audiio

Listener Mailbag: Best Personal Finance Books, CoastFI, and More!

Is pursuing CoastFI a smart move for families? Looking for the best personal finance book for you? We dive into these questions and more in this mailbag episode!

Listener Q&A: CoastFI Questions and More

We’re wrapping up this season of the podcast by focusing on one of my favorite parts of Simplify and Enjoy: our community. 

While I’m happy to share our journey as a family, it’s fun and inspiring to hear your stories, ideas, and questions. 

I usually come away with something to explore and I hope you do too. 

In this episode, we’ll get into

  • Which personal finance books to read
  • Whether or not CoastFI is a good goal to pursue
  • Which numbers should you track

We have so much to cover, so let’s get started! 

Handy Tools to Start Your FI Journey

If you’re looking to get ahead with your finances as a family and look at pursuing financial independence, here are some resources to check out:

If you want to chat some more about creating better money habits, questions, or share your own tips please join us over at Thriving Families on Facebook.

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union!

If you live in the Triangle area of North Carolina and you’d like someone to work with you on your goals, you really want to check out Coastal’s Wealth Management team.

They’d love to help you start investing for retirement and more!

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast!

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on Spotify, or Apple.
  • Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in 4 weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!

Photo by nappy