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Discover What Matters Most in Your Life

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Discover What Matters Most in Your Life

Most often when you read an article from me it is one that gives you practical business strategies that can be put into place the very next day or personal growth concepts that can be applied tomorrow when your feet hit the floor. However, the focus of this article is very different. It is one that I hope will make you stop and consider, “Are you ready.” “Ready for what,” you ask? Ready for something negative to hit your business, life or your family.

Before you stop reading thinking that this will be an article full of negative comments and statements, please don’t. You might get some news like I did this past week from my doctor. The words that came out of his mouth so easily, as if he was commenting on the color of my shirt, were, “That little sore on your nose is cancer.” There had been no test done, no biopsies, no nothing, but those words froze in my mind and my heart, and caused me to begin thinking down a pathway of what would happen if it was true?

The following are several steps that I challenge you to consider before life turns up the heat on your life.

Contingency plan in your business. It’s A Wonderful Life is one of my favorite holiday movies; I can watch it over and over again. The story in the movie is about a man that decides the world would be better off without him. With an odd turn of events he gets his wish, but has to watch and see what the world would be like without him. He soon realizes that he is very important and does have a reason and a purpose for living.

What would happen if you suddenly disappeared? Perhaps if you were in a terrible automobile accident and spent many weeks in the hospital and then many more in a rehab center or if you had a heart attack that put you on the sidelines for months – would your business miss you? Or better yet, would it do more than just survive but continue to strive to be a leader in its industry?

I have spent the last twenty years coaching and consulting with organizations that have not been prepared for such events and when it happens the business suffers and the staff begin looking for their golden parachutes. However, it does not have to be that way. With a little consideration and planning your business can leave a legacy for many generations to come. A few thoughts for you on this:

  1. Realize that you are not going to live forever. It has been said that we should live every day like it is going to be our last.
  2. Meet with your top employees and begin developing a plan to be put in place if the unthinkable does happen to you.
  3. Begin training your top employees to be able to take over your job at any time.
  4. Get your personal finances in order – a will and living trust should be written. Debt should be lowered or eliminated, and your spouse shown where all the important papers and documents are.

Emergency fund set up in your family and business. I am of the opinion that you need to have plans in place to take care of your family even before you take care of your business. If you are the main money earner in your family, and the guiding force in your business, then it is imperative that you have funds set aside for emergencies. Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes, and usually when we don’t expect them. Most personal finance experts suggest you set aside enough liquid money to be able to pay living or operating expenses for at least three to five months. This is just as important in your business as it is in your personal life.

Adequate health and life insurance. There are too many variations and options of health and life insurance to go into detail here, however you need to have adequate coverage in both areas. Don’t let yourself be tricked into thinking that you will get to it one of these days. One of these days might come too early. I challenge you to set up an appointment this week with a qualified and educated insurance agent that can explain every option and policy to you. Choose an agent that has your best interest at heart and one that can explain the coverage without trying to sell you after every sentence.

Eliminate debt. In most people’s lifetime two of the largest family expenses (other than taxes) are interest paid on mortgages, care loans, and credit cards, and depreciation on practically everything you paid all that interest on. The average family spends over $1.20 for every dollar that they bring into their home. Therefore, if your family earns $75,000 per year, then statistics say you are spending $90,000!

Families are not like the federal government, we can’t just “print” more money. We have to live by a spending plan, a plan that is designed to pay all the bills, save for future emergencies and retirement, and save for purchases such as that new big screen television or that new shiny, candy apple red sports car (without financing a penny). If you are struggling to pay the minimums on your credit cards then you know what you need to do – develop a spending plan and be determined to eliminate your debt regardless of what you have to give up.

I help many families work through these type issues, and one recently sent me this note – a true success story in the making.

My husband and I have had difficulty handling finances for many years, particularly because of lack of communication. Without sounding too dramatic, we were close to giving up on ever being debt-free or being able to “get on the same page”. I actually remember, in our first couple of sessions, Jeff asking me if I saw any light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sure I said “no” because I really thought we were a hopeless case. After six months, I am relieved to say, I definitely see light at the end of the tunnel and we’re learning how to communicate and get “on the same page.” We’re finally learning how to plan ahead and have been able to establish a savings account even with a lot of unexpected expenses. We still have some unresolved issues, but are trusting God to help us work through them together. I think we’re going to make it after all!

Adequate income streams.

If something drastic happens to you how will your family meet its obligations? Yes, having a nice amount in savings is a great first step, but if going to work is required to be able to provide for your family then you need to rethink things. Many people have the following definition of being financially free, “Having enough passive income to pay all my monthly bills.” One of the easiest ways to do this is to have several streams of income. From investing in real estate, to stock options, to having business ventures in your line of work and perhaps a network marketing company or two. This will help assure you that your family will have enough income if something were to happen to you.

The story is not finished in my journey. I prayerfully believe that the little sore on my nose is not anything to worry about – but it has caused me to look into the mirror and answer some very important questions regarding my family and my business. I hope you will look into that same mirror with me.

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