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When we hear of rip off financial systems or bad investments they all have one thing in common; the promise of quick money. Most of us have very little patience and this is the hook in our mouth. We never hear the term, “get rich slow schemes” as this would allow time to think. In the children’s fable, The Tortoise and The Hare, we learn that the tortoise always wins. My brother once said, “I just wish my tortoise was faster.” Isn’t that the truth? We want to grab our turtle and strap a rocket to its back. This is the point at which I have made my worse financial decisions. These 5 steps help me to avoid my share of stupid tax.

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1. Breath. There are many studies that show deep breathing allows for better decision making. Give your brain full oxygen and lower your blood pressure. Breath down through your belly button then slowly exhale. Yes, using your brain helps to avoid bad decisions. It moves us from emotion back to logic.

2. Can you teach it? We must be able to explain the investment idea to others. If you can’t do this don’t put money into it. Only invest in things you fully understand. Know how it could make money as well as how it could lose money. Everything has an opportunity cost; know what it is. Fund managers and investment help is great, but don’t let that be an excuse for not paying attention and understanding what they are doing. As Dave Ramsey says, “They must have the heart of a teacher.”

3. Prayer. Pray about it. I have not invested in certain things because I didn’t feel comfortable about them after praying. The burden of proof is on the side of investing in something new. One instance of this was a company that got all of its assets frozen. I wanted to invest, but after praying I didn’t feel right so I didn’t do it. Glad I didn’t now, although at the time that was a tough decision. A lot of people I knew were making good money with little effort. I love the people who lost money in the company and my heart aches for them.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”~ James 1:5

4. Counsel. Always get counsel from those that do well financially. Get counsel from the ones that will challenge you, not the ones that will be “yes” men and women. Another chance to teach that person about your investment or purchase idea. They will open your eyes to things that you have not considered. You have to be open to being wrong. Don’t get argumentative and stay open to critique.

“Through presumption comes nothing but strife, But with those who receive counsel is wisdom.” Proverbs 13:10  

5. Long term vision. Some won’t like this but I don’t prescribe to market timing short-term single stock investments. It feels too much like the hare in the race. I’m going to hold for the long-term. This helps to avoid microwave thinking and sets my life up to be like a crock pot. No adrenaline rush but highly effective. Investment strategy should be boring.

So if you have made your share of oops financially, join the club. Knowing what to do and doing it are two separate things. Don’t look back except to learn. Look forward, learn your lesson and take your time making decisions. When all else fails ask more questions. With most things we come to decisions too quickly and don’t have enough information. So breath, ask, pray, and ask some more.

What are some things you do to make better financial decisions?

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Half awake driving into work mind numb going through the same motions as the day before. Is this not how most of us live? There is no passion rather a begrudging attitude about having to work to pay the bills. The excitement of the new job is gone and everything seems gray. Living for the weekend and evenings, the day is going to creep by. How do we get that passion back like when we first had the job? These 2 things will bring passion back into your work so you don’t feel like you’re on a train track doing the same thing day after day.

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1. Recognize the alternative. No job. That’s the alternative; all the weekends you want. Problem is no money, may go hungry, can’t pay the mortgage or keep the lights on. Scared, but lots of free time. Talk about stress! Anything I face at work is better than the lack of work and if it’s that bad, it’s time to find a new job.

“Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.”  ~Washington Irving

2. What are you here for? What did God put you on earth for? For me it is to restore people by giving them significance in their journey. So I view the world through this lens. If I focus on those parts of my job as a Figaro’s Pizza franchise, I love it. How can I play a role in restoration or significance there you may ask? Letting my employees know they are valued. Giving customers food with service. Hearing about their day. Sometimes praying with them. If I focus on what brings me joy and passion I have no more Mondays. If I focus on rolling dough, doing books, and making pizza my job gets stale.

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~Charles Swindoll

These are just two quick things that bring passion and drive back to my day. In the end if this doesn’t help, as an employer I would say please find a new job. This is meant as a coconut on the head as we all need that sometimes. Would you pay yourself the wage you are making for the job you are doing? Sometimes my answer is no. If your answer is no all the time you are not going to feel fulfilled, but rather feel like a leach. No one likes to creep by in life. Stand tall, take charge of your attitude and nothing can hold you back. Choose to have passion!