Stress Reduction Blog

Estate Planning Stress!

Estate Planning Stress
by Lora Fickett

Finances are stressful for many and I love helping clients reduce that stress, but I just met a unique estate planner today that has managed to take the stress out of estate planning. Most people want to ignore the fact that our time on this earth is limited, however what happens when you ignore an issue…stress arises! So whether we get married, have kids, or live alone, we are trying to build our wealth and what we do with that when we leave this earth is something we need to consider.

Most estate planners focus on where our children should go if something happens to us and where our assets should go as well. But my meeting today not only focused on that, but also on creating a family legacy and before our grand plan for our children takes place where do they go in the interim. Every aspect has been accounted for, every issue dealt with and when every issue is carefully thought out the result is….no stress!!

So if you haven’t done any estate planning either because you feel like you don’t have a big enough “estate” or because you’ve been putting off this uncomfortable situation, I recommend you visit where you can download a complimentary report entitled “6 Major Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney – How to make the smart, loving choice for your family”. Address the issue, release the stress!

What is Financial Stress? Do you have it?

What is Financial Stress? Do you have it?
by Lora Fickett

Many people ask me as a Financial Stress Reduction® Coach, what is Financial Stress exactly and how do you reduce it? Stress in my opinion is anything that weighs on your mind. Once you address whatever the issue is, the stress dissolves. So how do you reduce financial stress when finances are a part of every day life? Well, financial stress is when you have issues: debt, not enough saving, thoughts of going broke or not having enough, etc. etc. and you don’t address them, either because you don’t want to, or you don’t have the right tools to address them. I give clients the right tools to address any financial concerns that approach them in life.

So, do you have financial stress? Yes, everyone does. That doesn’t mean you can’t reduce it to the point where it’s not that stressful or harmful to your health and relationships. Work on your thoughts about money, as they are so powerful. Seek help to tackle patterns that you want to break. When you have a flat tire, it’s stressful. When you get a new tire and replace the flat, the stress is gone. Start to reduce your financials stress today and you’ll be glad you did forever. If you can’t do it on your own…ask for help!

Hamster Wheel of Life

Hamster Wheel of Life

by Lora Fickett

Ever feel like you are on the hamster wheel of life?  You know what I’m talking about, you run around and run around, the track goes by, but you don’t seem to be getting anywhere.  It’s June 16th, we are almost half way through the year and so many people I have talked to lately have not made 1 single step toward the goals they set in January for this year.  Why?

Every day you have approximately 60,000 thoughts and 95% of them are the same ones you’ve had yesterday.  So if you think the same things every day, and you do the same things every day, where do you expect to be?  In the same place!

When your car get’s stuck in the mud, you usually need someone to help you out.  When your life get’s stuck in the mud, you usually need someone to help you out too.  Someone to help pull and foster new ideas, implement new tools and move towards the life you want to have.  There are many coaches in the world, I’m not the only one.  There are sports coaches, life coaches, career coaches, health coaches, etc.  If you’re stuck in any aspect of your life, find a coach to help you get unstuck.  You’ll gladly pay the rate they charge to help you progress further and jump of that hamster wheel!  You don’t have to figure it all out by yourself, take a short cut sometimes.

Do You Want a Pool?

Do you want a pool?

by Lora Fickett

Do you want a pool?  I did, and I say DID because I got one.  I could picture it sitting in my backyard with the warm, clear water.  Having friends and family over to laugh, eat and enjoy the summer while swimming.  My #1 priority in life are my family and friends, so this was going to allow me to spend more time with them.  I saw it all, like it was there… and then one day it was.  But really I couldn’t manifest it, I had to have a plan, so how did I get it?

Here are the steps I took to get a pool that was definitely not in our budget.

The cost:

  • I called the pool installer to come and look at the property to see if it was possible and what was the cost?
  • Next I invited the electrician over to see how much it would cost to wire it and hook up a heater (I live in Massachusetts, a heater is a must!)
  • We also needed to contact a concrete patio installer to see how much that would cost once the pool was in.
  • Then I estimated out a fence cost.

Now that I knew it could be done in the yard and how much it was going to cost, I had to figure out How to pay:

  • I researched which banks had the best rates for home equity loans.
  • I checked the amount of equity I had in my home and my credit score to see if I would qualify.
  • Next, I spoke with some friends about fence installation and traded some services to cut out that cost.
  • Lastly, applied for the loan

I ended up with a low rate home equity loan where the payments were $500 a month.  I was able to re-arrange my budget by decreasing 1 vacation a year to add that payment in and there you go, we have a pool and today it’s going to be 95 degrees!

That’s one way to get something big that you want, but what if you can’t get a home equity loan, how do you do it?  You contact me and I’ll help you find a way without breaking the bank.

Stay cool everyone, and enjoy the summer weather wherever you are!





3 Key Components to Get Started with a Budget

3 Key Components to Get Started with a Budget

by Lora Fickett

Yes, I said it BUDGET…do you have one?  Many people I talk to say no, and some say they try to budget but it just doesn’t work for them.  Most if not all individuals in accounting and finance will tell you that budgeting is the key to getting what you want.  Unfortunately the word budget has gotten a bad reputation.  Budgeting is a way to tell your money where to go, not wonder where it went!  It’s not meant to restrict you from having that coffee every day or deprive you of fun, at least not the way I coach my clients to do it!

Here are some key things to pull together to get started on a budget:

  1. Pull together your income amounts from all sources.  Weekly, monthly, or yearly.
  2. Find out what you spent last year.  We are creatures of habit and your spending in the previous year is a good starting point to determine your spending for the current year.
  3. What’s different from last year to this year for either income or expenses?

You now have the 3 key components to get started with the fun exercise of budgeting.  If your expenses are higher than your income, you may need to either cut expenses or increase your income.  If your income is higher than your expenses, congratulations!, you are “living within your means” and so what are you doing with that extra money?  It’s as simple as that!

If you want to get started budgeting, pull together these 3 components and contact me for a free consultation, I’ll help you put it all together and get started for FREE!

5 Ways to Have Low Cost Fun

5 Ways to Have Low Cost Fun

by Lora Fickett

People frequently ask me how to do this when it seems that everything is so expensive these days.  Everyone has a different idea of what is low cost and what is fun, so this is a difficult question to answer.  My immediate answer is to plan accordingly to reduce cost.  Here are some examples:

  1. Food and drink are always budget killers when going out, so plan accordingly to avoid these costs if you are trying to save.  You could eat dinner first, then go to the movie.  You could go to the show and head back to a friend’s house or your own place with friends to have snacks and drinks.  When you go away, cook the simple meals, like breakfast or lunch and you save time and money.  You will still get to enjoy eating out for dinner.
  2. Find creative activities instead of the same old ones that cost $$$.  Organize a hike with friends, or bike ride if that’s your thing.  Many outdoor activities can be low cost or free.  Outdoors not your thing, want to stay indoors?  A friend of ours just recently hosted a murder mystery night in their home, low cost fun!!!   Board game night, movie night in, join a book club, host a home party where the hostess gets things for free.  Think outside the box!
  3. Museum passes from a library are a great way to save and enjoy activities especially with kids.  My local museum actually has Friday nights for 4 hours free and so if I plan to go one of those nights it’s not even low cost – it’s free!!  Other museums give passes to the local library for free entry or reduced price.  Library cards are free and then you can take advantage of these savings.
  4. Water is fun for most people.  i know for me, just being by the water can be a stress reliever.  Want an inexpensive date night?  Hop in the car and drive to some water, whether you are sitting by a lake or on the beach, it can be romantic and most people can find water within an hour drive.  You bring the snacks, a blanket, perhaps some bug spray and all you have to pay for is gas (and a sitter if you need one).  When was the last time you laid back, relaxed and just gazed up at the stars?
  5. Split it.  A friend of mine and I decided a long time ago to go away on vacation together once a year.  We split the room, we split the rental car and it turns out to be a lower cost trip away.  Have a lot of friends?  Plan and organize a weekend away camping or rent a vacation home and split it 5, 6, 7 ways depending on your group.  When you spend a little time organizing things like this and splitting the cost, you can have a lot of FUN without depleting your FUNds!

Be creative, plan ahead, organize group activities and you can enjoy some low cost fun!!

The Sun is Always Shining, Visualize It!

The Sun is Always Shining, Visualize It!

by Lora Fickett

Visualization technique:

Is the sun is always shining?  Or sometimes does it rain, snow, sleet, hail?  The answer is yes to both!  How is that possible you say. I live in New England where most people feel the weather is unpredictable.  I prefer days when I can see the sun shining and I am able to bask in it’s warmth.  However, some days (especially this spring) it rains and I can’t see the sun shining.  Just because I can’t see the sun shining, doesn’t mean it isn’t shining each and every day.  In fact, the sun is always shining, it’s just sometimes my view of those fabulous rays are blocked by clouds.

On days when your view is blocked, close your eyes and picture the sun shining down on you, feel it’s warmth and light.  In your mind you can visualize a day when there are no clouds and nothing in the way.  Visualization is a powerful tool.  When you start to visualize the things you want in life they start to appear.  So let’s start practicing visualization and make sure the sun on is always shining for us.  Who knows, maybe in a future blog we’ll move on to visualizing something more…

Outlet shopping, or should I say outlet saving?

Outlet shopping, or should I say outlet saving?

by Lora Fickett

How do you go shopping and spend money, but still save?  My daughter is turning 16 and so I took her to the outlets yesterday to go shopping because everyone knows a 16 year old does not want her mother to pick out her clothes!  There were many shoppers there and although we were one of them, I consider myself a saver, even when I’m spending.  The first thing I do when I get there is do a positive affirmation to get a close parking spot and “poof” we got the second spot in the row.  The next thing we do is proceed to customer service to get our savings discount booklet filled with tons of deals for almost every store there.  Then we proceed to shop.

There are 2 ways I saved while shopping yesterday and here they are:

#1 – When we were in a store that we were making a purchase at, I stacked savings.  What does that mean?  There were great sales going on, but I still wanted more off the retail price.  So in addition to the % off sale, I added a coupon from the savings booklet and then browsed the internet or my emails to see if there was another deal to add.  So instead of just settling for the 30% off they were having in the store, I was able to get an additional $10 when I spent $50 and then add another 20% off on top of that as a final deduction.  Sounds confusing, but in the end you can purchase $75 dollars worth of stuff for $34 – that’s $41 off.  Trust me, this makes shopping a lot more fun and it really stretches the dollar!

#2 – I keep my goals in mind while shopping.  One store we walked into was a famous handbag designer store that was advertising 70% off.  There were so many people in there, that they were doing line control out front!  Everyone wanted a $300 bag for $90.  I was enticed, who wouldn’t be?  I’m sure you’ve all been in this situation.  So how did I walk out of that store empty handed?  Well I had $100 in my pocket that was given to me as a gift, I could afford the beautiful purchase that was calling my name, so that wasn’t stopping me.  What stopped me was taking a moment to think about my goals for this year.  If I purchased the handbag, I might have felt great yesterday and showed it off to a few people in the days to come and felt good, but in about a month, it would be just another handbag.  If I instead took the money and put it toward one of my goals, the feeling of accomplishment I would have would last forever. Achieving that goal would provide happiness for more than just a month.  So I said no to the bag, and yes to me, it’s hard to do, but practice makes perfect.  Today I don’t regret leaving the bag in the store, but if I had brought it home I might have regretting having it in my closet.  No regrets, I’d rather invest in me.

Sometimes I splurge and sometimes I save.  Hopefully these 2 tips help you next time you are out and you’d rather save while you spend.

Count your money – avoid the money black hole – start saving money

Count your money and start saving money now

by Lora Fickett

People always ask me how to start saving money.  Some financial coaches talking about cutting out your daily coffee and saving that money.  Well, what is that going to do for you?  Sure, if your coffee costs $3 a day, you’ll have an extra $1,000 at the end of 1 year.  Investing it at 6%, you’ll continue to add $3 a day to it plus interest every year and have approximately $15,000 after year 10, $46,000 after year 20, and over $91,000 after year 30, but you might be cranky for 30 years without your coffee!!!  Now I never drank coffee, so I should have at least $50,000 extra right?  Wrong.  The money went somewhere else?  But where?

Well in my earlier years I admittedly wasn’t as good about counting every penny like I am now and so although it didn’t go to coffee, it went into what I call “the money black hole”.  My money used to control me, but now I control it, I tell it where to go, every little bit of it.  I’m now able to form good habits about putting aside that extra money.  If you do that in a few different areas it really adds up!  So don’t let your money control you or end up in the money black hole, tell it where to go.

You don’t have to cut out your coffee, you can, but we all have payments that stop.  Maybe we were paying a credit card and it’s now paid off, or a gym membership we weren’t using that we canceled, or an athletic fee for our children that is now paid in full, you get the idea.  Take that payment you were making and start saving it instead of letting it go into the money black hole!

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