Santa B

The Magic of Financial Creativity

Posted on Posted in Money

After three months of learning, scheming and connecting to my area of expertise as a coach, it’s time to take a break and connect back to where my initial inspiration to follow this path came from, California.  Today I’m headed to Santa Barbara to walk by the ocean for a few days, collect my thoughts and then head to Pismo Beach for a Life Coaching Meet and Greet.

I was 24 when I decided a wanted to be a life coach.  I had no idea how I was going to achieve that goal or what the formula to success was.  Given that I didn’t have a proven business model and felt too young to put myself into that role, I took another path to become a human resource manager, with an intent to build life coaching skills along the way in and outside of work.

Unknown to me at the time I would inevitably follow that path in a way I never envisioned.

The path included a lot of discipline as well as divine intervention (future blog article on this) along the way.

The discipline piece leads me to why I am on this airplane, feeling carefree and building a dream.  Discipline led me to develop a strong savings plan and use whatever resources I had to still make dreams happen along the way.  The resource that got me on this plane today, was credit card churning.  I have churned through more credit card reward programs than I care to count.  The specific one sponsoring this trip is the Delta Mileage award card.

Santa Barbara is Gorgeous!
Santa Barbara is Gorgeous!

Coincidentally an hour before I left on this trip, UPS delivered a Starwood Preferred Guest card to my door step, which will require that I spend $3000 in 3 months for a ticket to anywhere in the US or Caribbean.  It will take some tracking and persistence to manage that spending—early utility payments, amazon gift cards etc. but it can be done without incremental spending that would negate the positive impact of a free ticket.

Revolving credit cards was a small part of the financial equation that allowed me to follow a dream.  There were so many different tools along the way that got me to where I am today.

In light of connecting to my true purpose as a coach—finance coaching for aspiring dream jumpers:) I wanted to use this blog entry to share a few ideas for building a nest egg in service to your goals, to help you establish the foundation you need to make a jump.

First, let me step back for a moment and state why a nest egg is so magical.  It enables you to be in a place of creativity rather than desperation, a place of curiosity rather than constant hustle and finally, most importantly—a place of potential creation instead of fear about paying monthly bills.

Nest Egg's are important!
Nest Egg’s are important!

My first journey in personal finance included building a portfolio on tradeking.com, with a variety of stocks that I picked with the help of Motley Fool.com’s monthly newsletter tips and wherever my personal interests led me.  It was a really exciting process and I enjoyed watching the companies I invested in release new products, patents and press releases.  I invested a lot of time looking at financial statements, prospectuses and Yahoo Finance.

This was fun for a while, but became a bit of a drag as I wanted to follow other hobbies and have a life outside of work and stock investing.  During that time period, I read the book The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham, where I learned that unless you are willing to invest as much, if not more time than the professional stock pickers—you are most likely better off going with mutual or market based funds.

At the time, my portfolio was returning roughly 9-10% return for the year, the market was at 7-8%.  Was my time really worth 1-2% greater returns?  Nope, there were a lot of other things I wanted to do with my time.  Slowly but surely I sold all the stock, minus one (I will always love Apple too much to sell).

I landed on an amazing company to invest with—Vanguard!  After I found Vanguard, I clarified how much I wanted to invest in the short term v. the long term and choose the appropriate risk managed mutual funds for those goals (more to come on this in a future blog post).

We all have the power to have high impact decisions about our finances to create the life we want to live.  What I intend to do in future blog posts is to share more of how my financial journey helped me to achieve a position of strength before I followed a life goal.

Do you have a big financial goal you are working toward?  Is there anything specific you would like to learn more about  as you save for your dreams?  If so, contact me and I will add it in future blog posts.