Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Wrap Up


Wow, What a YEAR!!

I find myself wanting to wrap up 12 eventful months here and you may enjoy or understand more about me and my services by reading it!

January 2010 - Started off with terrible news that Uncle Steve in Florida was sick with Cancer. Another family tragedy was on the horizon. A couple days later, I paid off the last $4,000 of my Home Loan. It was a bittersweet time in life.

February 2010 - We drove to Ohio to pick up Cousin Tera!! She Moved to Princeton, YAY! This was a family milestone and with the tragedy of losing her sister, we all wanted to be near her and show her a bunch of Kansas family Love! We also planned a visit to Florida. I was starting to live life completely debt-free. Had my first month with NO house payment.

March 2010 - Signed up for Dave Ramsey's Counselor Training using my Tax Return money and extra dollars that were piling up everywhere from not having any payments. My Sisters and Brother-In-Law and I visited Uncle Steve and enjoyed our time with him and Nancy at his home in Florida. That was my first drive to the East Coast and our Road-Trip itself was pretty fun! 2800 miles on the Trooper!

April 2010 - We lost Stephen R. Nichols. The Memorial Service and family togetherness started feelings brewing inside of me. Steve was a great adventurer who'd accomplished so much. I started to question my own drive to succeed... Then I attended Dave Ramsey's Counselor Training Program in Nashville. I had a blast and was Inspired to help others with my newly gained knowledge!

May 2010 - I had emotions boiling inside me. The combination of being debt-free, wanting to help others and feeling that I was spinning my wheels had me at a cross-roads. I began to wonder if a career change and complete fresh start was in order... I was also working with several families and individuals to tighten up leaky finances and solidify their foundation for a fantastic financial future, those moments felt GREAT!

June 2010 - An epiphany came. One day I remembered that long ago I had dreamed of a cross-country road trip... Now was the time and place to make that dream happen! I consulted with lots of wise people I trusted. With the support and well wishes of my boss of 10 years, I felt confident moving forward into the unknown! I quit my job as a Head of the Art Dept at Hasty Awards. I started preparing for two things. The Road Trip of a lifetime and starting my own small business! Also found out that my sister Jessica is expecting!!

July 2010 - I embarked from Princeton Kansas on a journey West with my Dog Roxy in my Isuzu Trooper. I had only a couple concrete points I wanted to hit. You can read all the posts I made on my 3-week 6000 mile trip here at http://www.ashellandastone.blogspot.com/ It was a fantastically blessed epic journey. I shared great moments with friends and family and saw wonderful sights of the American West, the Pacific Coast and everywhere in between!

August 2010 - I began putting together True North Financial Fitness Coaching http://www.truenorthffc.com/ and starting learning that business does not just take off all by itself. We also fit in another trip to Aspen, Co for Uncle Steve. This was the time of finding a new groove of self-employment and the beginning of a serious education in entrepreneurship!

September 2010 - On Labor Day weekend,while camping at the lake, we found out that sis Amanda is also going to have a baby - YAY Hooray, I'll be a double-uncle in a few months!! With True North FFC I was still looking for clients to work with and I started to transform. The old days of thinking that planning a great strategy and implementing steps to gain success were all over... The truth is this. Get Started! Make something happen. Learn from the mistakes of Doing. Do it again, but Better this Time. Keep repeating this process with DETERMINATION!

October 2010 - Staying Focused, I use my days to gain knowledge from others in the business. I start to learn that there is a whole community out there who is just like me. People running their own businesses, helping others and doing much of their marketing and idea sharing online. A redesign of my website happened in here and The Ready for Better Blog http://www.readyforbetter.blogspot.com/ now has an important new purpose :)

November 2010 - I felt the momentum starting to slow down and had wondered if I was making the right choices. I had become a regular at Westminster Presbyterian Church and we finalized plans to host a Financial Peace University Class in January. I feel great that I am growing spiritually throughout this process. Also I begin to work with local clients on thier Website, Branding, Social Media and Promotional Marketing. Using my graphics skills is a nice addition to my small business offerings.

December 2010 - This month I really ramped up my dedication to learning, I began reading again and studying lots of material on building small business. I feel that the focus on personal finances will happen again in January. For this Holiday Season I enjoyed the extra time that being self-employed offers. We had several fun family and friend events!

This is a quick wrap up and I'm sure I've left out several big things :) I hope your 2010 was a good one. Now on to 2011!! Let's look to make this a FANTASTIC year of growth, change and inspiration for a wonderful future!

Thanks!

Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6134

Got a leaky Wallet? Bulging budget or none at all? Delapidated Debt that you're sick of living with?  You are losing hard earned dollars every month! Let me show you how to spackle the cracks and firm up your financial foundation. DIY or using my professional services, either way, the best time to fix your finances is Now!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Greats know how to Give!


Happy Holidays!

Giving is in the air! We all love the bright eyes and smiles of children and loved ones as they open up gifts that we put our love and thought and money into. I am taking this opportunity to expand on this idea and maybe shed some light on the history and importance of giving as part of a healthy financial plan.

Here are some quotes from the wise:

“I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
Luke 18:12

"The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own."Lao Tzu (from the Tao Te Ching)

"The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving."
Albert Einstein

"To do more for the world than the world does for you - that is success."
Henry Ford

"The more I help others to succeed, the more I succeed."
Ray Kroc

"No one has ever become poor by giving."
Anne Frank

"For it is in giving that we receive.
"
Francis of Assisi

I could post hundreds of quotes that all restate the same concept. Giving is and always has been a foundation of happiness, love and yes, success!


In my own Total Money Makeover, on my personal journey to complete debt-freedom, I had a revelation. After following some of the concepts in Dave Ramsey's baby steps, I was finding a gradual move toward financial happiness. This speed however did not match up with the results I was looking for. According to the book and lots of Dave's callers on the radio show, I should have been feeling much more momentum in my race to debt-freedom...

When I re-looked at the steps and found that I had left out the Giving part of my budget, I took a deep look inside and decided to give it a try... When learning to live on a budget and really adjusting my buying behavior, I had found much guilt in the things and ways I was spending my money. When the instructions in the Total Money Makeover showed to budget 10% of my pay for giving, it was So Liberating! I could blow that giving money in any way I wanted as long as I was giving to a charitable cause! At that time I chose to anonymously give to local causes and individuals. Now, I tithe to my church and look forward to a financial future of being able to change someone's life with the stroke of a pen. I love that idea!

The supernatural things that started to happen once I began giving are hard to put into words. Money and opportunities began to arrive around every corner. My goals were put into warp speed, once I had a plan and place for the extra money that would find it's way to me. I had my house paid off 4 months earlier than expected because of dollars that simply showed up in my life.

Giving as a planned part of your monthly spending will revolutionize your life too. All the great texts and successfull individuals understand this concept. The simplest way to incorporate this into your thinking is to understand that when you earn a dollar, you get 90¢ to spend and save for yourself. I promise you, by starting this year-round, monthly practice, your potential will explode exponentially! I see great things in your giving future. This is one step toward a life that you may be unable to imagine right now.

Stay tuned to my web-site and blog. The next few weeks I'll be bringing you videos and downloadable documents outlining ways start out 2011 as your year to Win with your Money!!

Thanks and Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,





Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6143

Free 30 Min Financial Anaylsis - No Obligation - Completely Confidential

Friday, December 17, 2010

Video Interview with Sara - Part #1


Here is a quick interview - really Quick!  With Sara - a single Mom who now has her budget and finances much more on track than ever before. Check it out!

video

Thanks for Watching! Check back soon for more!

Sincerely

Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6134

Free 30 Minute Financial Analysis - No Obligation - Completely Confidential

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Video Blog#1 - Introducing My Story


My First Video Blog Update - Thanks for checking it out!

Really interested in your feedback! Hope your Day is GREAT!

video


Thanks for checking this out, and please leave comments below or pass it on either way :)



Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reading is like Cheating... At Life!


Happy Thursday and I hope your day is going GREAT!!

Question: Do you Read? If so, what kind of books or magazines do you read? If not, why not? I could post some statistics here on the percentage of Americans reading today and all that jazz, but mostly I care about the population that is reading this blog.

I know the reasons why I don't read often enough: not prioritizing it high enough, not sticking with a book all the way through or basically doing other things with my time... BUT, I have, in the last several years found that the things that made the biggest impact in my daily life are the great books I have read, and certainly not any TV program or movie I've watched.

Motivational speaker and humorist Charles “Tremendous” Jones has a famous quote that goes like this:

"You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and books you read."

There are so many great resources out there for people wanting to know more about any topic in life. Being able to sit down and ingest pages of information that took someone else years of research, study and hard-knocks to figure out, is almost like cheating! Why would we think that figuring out every aspect of our journey on our own is the best way?

I am as independent and adventurous as anybody, but still love to have my mind blown by ideas expressed by experts in their own fields. Recently it has been Seth Godin's words about entrepreneurship and how to market in today's world. Everyone knows that Dave Ramsey's book completely changed my life two years ago. Also about one year ago, I read Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus... Seriously, life-altering words on a page! What a fantastic gift we can give to ourselves is knowledge that someone else has gained over years of hard work and trial and error.

I am publicly making my own goals known. I want to read 1 non-fiction book per month. I have fallen behind in the last couple months for sure, but for Christmas I'm giving myself a gift of time and focus on finishing 12 books for 2011... I currently have bought titles in the realm of small business, marketing, human relations, motivation & success in general.

What genres are you interested in or already reading? I would love to hear feedback and suggestions on your favorite books!

"Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers."  - Harry S. Truman

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching
http://www.truenorthffc.com/
785-218-6134

Free 30 Minute Financial Analysis - No Obligation - Completely Confidential

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rat-In-A-Wheel or R-A-D-I-C-A-L!!!


Hello Thursday!! Just a little insight, Thursdays have always been my favorite day of the week :) Almost into the weekend and still time to get things done!

Okay, so the title of this post was meant to get your attention. Did it work?? I am throwing a radical idea out today.

Right smack dab in the middle of the consumer culture of christmas, I want to speak a minute about where we're getting to with our financial goals. Do you ever feel that you work hard all day and when that paycheck comes in you sit down to send it all back out? A rat in a wheel spins that baby all day long and is tired from the exercise but really didn't go anywhere. I've been there, done that. I've felt the stress of juggling due dates of bills vs. when the paycheck comes in. I've longed for the purchase of some item I just had to have, and it seems the only way to buy it is on a monthly payment. Where was I getting to with this lifestyle?

Enter the world of the radical for a minute. This is when it's time to get control of your money instead of it controlling you. How about the first moment of clipping your credit cards and never again using their Capital to Chase your future into the American Distress? How would you like open and honest communication and assistance from your spouse on handling the finances as a team? What about the power of walking into the store buying exactly what you want and not having to do any mental math on how it affects your checking account? What if your mailbox seems to be emptier every time you check it from paying off those little nagging medical or store credit debts? 

Go in your mind to the drivers seat of your paid for car. I guarantee it will drive better. Then remember that you've freed up another $300 or $400 dollars per month. Where did that go? Now it's time to see a balance of savings piling up in your emergency fund. How about the moment that your car's tranny goes out and you get to decide to put in a new one with cash or just pay cash for a whole car instead? What about the understanding that your retirement will be well funded because you made strides today that your 65 year old self will love you for?

Finally, (and I love this one :) What about pulling into the drive of your paid-for home, having been living debt-free for several years, and this is the night that you decide to write a 5-figure check to anonymously help a family in need. You can relate to the stress this family is under. This money is extra, above and beyond what you need for yourself. Then you have the power to drop a money-bomb on them and change their futures forever... Radical? Yes. Possible? Absolutely!

In the world of the radical there are some sacrifices and things to be cut back on. You will and should feel weird about some of the changes you'll make. There are huge gains to be enjoyed from stepping off of the revolving hamster wheel and starting to use your energy to propel yourself truly forward. I hope this little journey has been fun. The real thing REALLY is fun. I can attest to that.

I hope your holidays are going great. I am offering discounts and lots of free material on my website for you to utilize, please take advantage of them as you step toward a Radical new lifestyle!

"True Nobility is not about being better than someone else. It's about being better than you used to be." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols






True North Financial Fitness Coaching
aaron@truenorthffc.com
http://www.truenorthffc.com/
785-218-6134

Free 30 Minute Financial Analysis - No Obligation - Completely Confidential

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks & Giving


Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

Today I'll take a break from the debt-free drive and just give thanks.

When it really comes down to it, Family is what is most important. I am a Blessed Man in this area.

Thanks to all my friends and family who support me and remind me why this journey of life is so full. I am surrounded in abundant human blessings. I am thankful for the favor and second chances and too many good times to count. Thank You all. I love and appreciate you every day.

Thanks to You for reading these words, I wish you a Wonderful Turkey Day!

Also thanks to God who makes all things possible :)

Until next Thursday... Thank You and Make It a Great Week!

Sincerely,



Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitnesss Coaching
785-218-6134

Free 30 min Financial Analysis - No Obligation - Completely Confidential

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Windshield or Rearview??


Happy Thursday as the sun shines and cool weather has set in.

Today's question seems simple enough... "When driving to work this morning did you happen to look out of windshield of your car or did you only use the rearview mirror?"

Silly question right? It would be terrible if everyone decided to use their rearview mirror to drive all over town. I think my friend Kevin would have a lot more work in his industry as an auto insurance adjuster!

Financially how are you driving? Do you know how much you've spent every month, feel comfortable about that and use the past month's expenses to know exactly the amount it took to make it to the end? This would technically be the same as driving using your rearview mirror. Some people even write out their "budget" and have expenses marked down on a nice spreadsheet and track them very clearly. This is a step in the right direction, although we are still focusing on where we've been and not where we're going.

Just like our cars, the best way to navigate financially is to look forward, see what's ahead and plan to steer around the curves and stop when we come to an intersection. A Pre-Planned Zero Balance Budget is the best way to plan your month's money. We start by looking forward into the upcoming month, writing down our income that we expect to bring in, and then working down the list of expenses until every dollar has been spent. Also this should be done at the beginning of each month because expenses change as the months change. We can plan our lives a month at a time and make adjustments along the way knowing that we are staying on the road we've planned out the entire time.

Some folks have irregular income amounts and may feel it's impossible to plan things out this way. On the contrary, it is even more important to get a written plan ahead of time to know where to put money as it comes in. With the same form that you can download in the link below, write out all your expenses for the upcoming month. Then in the left column put a priority number on each expense. #1 would be food, then utilities, then house payment, then car gas, payment & insurance... Food, Shelter, Clothing & Transportation are the 4-walls it takes for all of us to live.  Make sure and spend out categories up to the amount you expect to bring in and beyond. Then as the money comes in, pay yourself into each category by the numbered order on the list. Do not spend money on a credit card bill or to eat out until the house payment is paid. This will make sure your basics are taken care of and you have a plan for each dollar as it arrives.

Click Here for Aaron's Zero Balance Budget Tool -on the Resources page at TrueNorthFFC.com where I've uploaded my Zero Balance Budget Tool and some other great documents to help you get your financial ferrari on the autobahn!

Now we have to be honest here... Not everyone is looking out the windshield or the rearview... some are wearing a blindfold and mashing the gas! The results of this plan of driving are obvious. The car gets beatup, rides really rough and sometimes causes fender-benders with others out there on the road. By downloading my budget form and filling it out, we take off the blindfold and know where we are at. Seeing on paper how much we have coming in and going out helps us to know if we should slow down some spending or plan to pull into a service station!

All of us are really driving ourselves somewhere financially every day. I hope we are headed where we want to go! I would love some feedback on the budget files I've posted for download. Remember that you can get yourself going in the right direction, but if you need navigational help, a tune-up or overhaul, I'll be at your service.

Money flows from those who don't manage it to those who do. ~Dave Ramsey

Sincerely,





Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6134

Free 30 Min Financial Analysis - No Obligation - Completely Confidential

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shop More, Save More & A Toilet Seat









Good Morning, Happy Thursday & Thanks to all the Veterans and those who're serving and their families today!

Even with only an antennea to bring TV into the house, I've noticed that the Christmas ads are starting to pop up quickly. The Retailers are hitting those emotional buttons and we're probably starting to feel excited and nostalgic about the holidays to come... This reminds me so much of a story of a Toilet Seat, told by Russ Carroll, the man who was with Dave Ramsey from the beginning. I heard this first hand while attending Counselor Training at Dave's home offices in Nashville, TN.

Anyway, the Toilet Seat Story goes something like this: At Russ' house (which I'm positive is VERY nice) they needed to replace a broken seat on the throne in a guest bathroom. He checked around the local ads and knew that Home Depot usually had revolving sales on things. He wanted to save money. Yes, many rich people are rich because they know how to do this! Read The Millionaire Next Door by Tom Stanley. When he went to Home Depot and asked the clerk if toilet seats ever go on sale. The clerk replies, "Nope. A toilet seat is a Need. We don't advertise and discount Needs."

Wow. Come to think about it, do we Ever see something that is truly a Neeeed shown on one of these fancy holiday only ads. How about the Target or Wal-Mart Black Friday Flyers? Do we sometimes see those ads and convince ourselves that a Want has now become a Need? This is exactly the intention of those retailers, and they are absolutley Awesome at transforming our emotions! If we Needed it, they wouldn't be advertising it and it wouldn't go on sale because those items are carried in every store and the price is already competitive, like when you buy a toilet seat.

Okay, so Christmas should be fun and meaningful and we should buy some Wants and put smiles on little kids' faces and enjoy seeing them play and be happy. If you really want to create blessings with your gifts, they cannot be burdens to your financial status. Paying all year for last year's gifts with credit card bills just plain takes the fun out of Christmas. Families who practice "buy now, pay later" for gifts have very little chance of having extra income to save and invest for emergencies and their future.

Here's some bullet points to incorporate in your holiday shopping.



  • Decide AHEAD of time how much money you Have available to spend for gifts.


  • Decide the max price you have for each person/gift you are going to buy.


  • Then decide on the gift type.


  • Do LOTS of online shopping and ad scouring for the lowest price on the item you already decided you wanted to buy.


  • Don't let the ad tell you what you want to buy.


  • Use CASH


Then, Enjoy Christmas to the fullest knowing that it is all paid for and you don't need to have the New Year's Resolution to "Get my credit cards paid off ASAP"!!

Thanks for reading this post. I appreciate every person out there and love sharing these thoughts with you. Remember, these ideas are coming from a Debt Free Dude, so I also live what I'm writing. Thanks!

Sincerely,








Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6134
aaron@truenorthffc.com
http://www.truenorthffc.com/

Free 30 min Financial Analysis - No Obligation - Completely Confidential

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Swap a Swipe








Happy Thursday and THANK YOU for checking back in with my blog!

Today's update is gonna be Quick and Dirty! No fancy pics or flowery descriptions. I want to switch up the focus for this one.

Usually I'm expressing the "Why's" of the journey to debt freedom. Usually we'll have examples of the reasons to, and feelings obtained by bringing your finances under your control, instead of being under theirs.

Today, I've got a quickie challenge for you. This is one small step in the right direction. I'm sure that anyone reading this, can incorporate this one little adjustment into their habits.

Swap A Swipe! There are purchases you're making on a daily or weekly basis that are just part of the routine. Is it coffee and a donut on the way to work? Or maybe grabbing lunch out with friends on a Friday? How about Happy Hour Drink at a certain Drive-In? Probably the biggest weekly purchase for most families would be groceries. Do you use plastic to make these purchases? If it is debit or credit, studies have shown that we have a different emotional response when we swipe a piece of plastic vs. handing over cold hard cash!

So, the challenge is this. Think about your "normal" expenditure for one of these weekly purchases. Take out that same amount in cash and put it in an envelope in your car, purse or wallet and label it coffee, lunch, Sonic, groceries, you get the point.

Then, leave your plastic in the car or at home when it is time to make that purchase. Whip out your envelope. Hand those green bills over. See if it feels any different.

My guarantee is this. If you create this envelope, promise yourself you'll only spend what is in it for that purchase, and follow through, it will be impossible to overspend. Now, we didn't change anything about your buying habit, except the method of payment. I know that this one small step is something we can all incorporate into our day-to-day life.

I use envelopes all the time and love it. My clients begin to use them and feel power over their money instead of it having power over them. Give it a shot, what have you got to lose??

Post your ideas here on the comments page or on the True North FFC Facebook Page. I would love to hear what you decide to use cash to buy instead of the card.

"Children do what feels good. Adults devise a plan and stick to it!" - Dave Ramsey

Sincerely,







Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6134
aaron@truenorthffc.com
www.truenorthffc.com

Free 30 Minute Financial Analysis - No Obligaton - Completely Confidential

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Out of Order and Backwards








Happy Thursday and welcome back to Ready for Better. Thanks for being here!

"I Owe, I Owe, So Off to Work I Go!"

Anyone relate to this quote?? I've put together some of my roadtrip pictures to help illustrate our Out of Order and Backwards way that most of us are using to handle our finances... I have lived this way for many years, so please know I am speaking first hand!


























Ahh, Oregon, Beautiful Trees and Driving...


























Oh the doowdeR's - How majestic!





















The odaroloC and hatU border, one of my favorite stops :)




















Facing South down the coast... Wait a min, shouldn't the Ocean be on my right??





















Okay, Okay, these photos have been mirrored and are all out of order!

Like the pictures above, we sometimes like the overall colors of our financial situation. It is nice and even pretty because it is ours and we created it, even in it's backward-ness.

When we choose to buy-now and pay-later, or purchase on credit, we have flipped backwards the natural order.

Have you ever heard this? "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." Proverbs 22:7 - Really think about that SLAVE word.

When we head off to work in the morning, what are we usually doing... Earning an income to pay for our basic needs of course, but those are only part of that reason. What about consumer debt in the form of credit card bills, student loans, car loans, or maybe a HELOC (Like I once used to buy a 4-wheeler!!)? These all represent moments where we were backwards in our purchasing process.

Working because we owe a lender their monthly payment for something we bought weeks, months or years ago is exhausting. There is no way to get ahead in this system.

The thunderstorm of commercials and marketing we have dumped on us every day, convince us we are smart to choose the backward system of credit. Zero percent interest, 90 days same as cash, and double airline miles are all efforts to seduce you by companies who know how to really make money. Who is getting the best deal when we choose to buy now and pay later?? They do of course, they understand the "Borrower is Slave to the Lender"...

If we first work, then save, then purchase an item, we have returned to the natural order. At that point we are slave to no one and can choose to live our days as we would most like to. Planning forward with savings and then truly owning the stuff in our life, opens up the doors to financial peace and a wealthy future.

Are you Ready for a Better life than debt has brought you so far? Does this message stir any emotion? If so, that is good, because it means that there is hope for you to find freedom and release the chains of consumer debt.

You are special. You work too hard to not be getting ahead. You are worth it! It requires sacrifice to climb out of debt, and when we sacrifice, we are blessed with fantastic results!

"Debt gives you the ability to look like you're winning, when you're not." - Dave Ramsey

Sincerely,






Aaron Nichols

True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6134

Free 30 Minute Financial Analysis - No Obligation - Completely Confidential

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Your Vision








Good Morning, I hope your week has been Fantastic!! Here is the latest Blog update and one that I will expand and build on in future posts. This subject has impacted all areas of my life, including finances. Let's talk about Vision...

I have been a "rider" for most of my life. As a kid I had a bicycle like most. Then four-wheelers and motorcycles were a big part of my recreation as a teen and adult. I've also enjoyed many miles of adult bicycling as well. I've never been the smoothest rider, the craziest, or the most confident. I enjoyed it and thought I was okay, but actually had tons of room to improve!





















A few years ago, I was reading a web article on bicycling and found a sentence that changed the way I looked at the world from that point forward.





















Okay, so the sentence (that I read) that changed everything about the way I ride and live, goes something like this... "The bike goes where you look!"


























Simple Right?? I immediately tested the theory and found out it is So True! The bike does go where you look. Put your eye on a spot in the road, focus there, and the bike ends up tracking exactly on top of that spot. No extra thinking or steering is required.

Let's go further... If the Bike is us, and the Road is life, and Time is the engine pushing us forward... Do we understand that We are going where We are Looking??

Most of the time, if a curve is ahead, and we see a patch of gravel, or a huge pothole, (A Big Problem!) then our eyes stick on it, and we drive right to it!! The whole time thinking, "I hope I don't hit that, I hope I don't hit that!"




















As it relates to our finances, are we looking to the place in the road we want to be? Or do we focus on the patches of gravel (bills piling up) and potholes (a mountain of debt). Worse yet, are we turned around and looking behind us at our previous money mistakes and opportunities we've past? Where do you think we're headed in that situation?





















We must begin to change our focus and where our vision is pointed. If we put our eyes on a new future, look beyond the debt, see ourselves as wisely controlling our finances, then us and our bike will begin to point that way. Can you see yourself in a Life After Debt? Can you see the money you would be able to spend, save and give if you had no credit card bills, student loans, medical bills, car payments or even a house payment? I like that vision, and live that vision. I know you can accomplish that too!





















The exhilleration and feeling of flight you are able to enjoy when Debt-Free is worth the effort to get there. Use your mind and your vision to imagine that life for you and your family. You do deserve to rid yourself of the potholes that debt cause in your life. The road does not have to be as bumpy in your future financial world.

If you are Ready for a Better Road, together we can make a plan to fill those holes of consumer-debt. If you're Ready for a Better Bike we'll install cushy shock-absorbers called emergency funds to soften the ride. Then I'll bring out the atlas, to show you the places you can reach, if you take the investing route to get there. You'll have one saddle-bag stuffed full of cash for your future fun purposes and purchases. The other one will be over-flowing so you can stop along the way to help fellow travelers with your abundance.

Thanks for reading today's post. I hope you'll ask yourself, "What is My Vision?" and I hope it is a good one :)

"One thing I do is forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead" Philippians 3:13

Sincerely,






Aaron Nichols

True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6134

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* Special Thanks to Sterling for a sweet Saturday Ride, and to sweet Liz for taking the pics!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Fall








Welcome back to Ready For Better, I'm glad to have you here!

The air is cooler. Daytime is shrinking. A change is happening. The leaves are showing a slight breeze from the North today. Their hues hint at what is coming. Nature is aware of the future, and is preparing now.

How does our personal financial life relate to this time of the year? Can we see and admire the ways of our environment? Let's walk through the Eastern Kansas landscape just a bit...





















Saving money for our future is something that most of us are aware we should be doing. A farmer needs to feed his cattle when there is no green grass in February... his Hay-Savings Account, The Big Round Bale, will pay off on a cold and snowy day.


























Some trees sensed the trend early, and cut away all their leaves. They know how to be patient. Full of all the energy they gained since spring, there's plenty in reserve to wait until it's return.

When we've stored our money, the way they store their energy, we are able to withstand a harsh winter's blast like an emergency car repair, unforeseen medical event or even the loss of a job.





















The life of these leaves is nearing it's end. They were twitterpated buds in the spring. They basked in the summer's sun. They nourished the plant who gave them life and enjoyed the community of their friends and family around them. Now, when it's almost over, they show new color in their final hurrah!

When we're in the fall season of our lives, let's plan to color-up the world around us with a financially vibrant retirement! It is possible for us to live out our dreams and enjoy those years while giving generously as well. Planning starts today. Our current lifestyle has great impacts on the lifestyle we'll have in the future. Is our vision as forward-thinking as these plants??


























Even in these short days, we see the blooms and bursts of colorful flowers. Fall is not all about the end. While we're saving, while we're planning for the upcoming, let's also remember to smile and be thrilled with our own true colors. Budgeting and controlling our money has nothing to do with keeping us dull and brown and blah. We can and should be enjoying the richness and fullness of life along the way!



















When we back up and take in the big picture view, we see the bounty of life and appreciate it. Hopefully we'll appreciate our own bounty, our own potential to create a future for ourselves that is colorful and wisely planned for.

Truly enjoying today to the fullest is easiest when we have little fear of tomorrow. Saving for emergencies, big purchases and our future is a great way to do that. Having a spending plan for now that includes savings, allows us to have a vividly living and giving plan later.

When You're Ready for a Better Later, Call Me Now. Your future-self will thank you!


Sincerely,







Aaron Nichols

True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6134
aaron@truenorthffc.com
http://www.truenorthffc.com/

FREE 30 Minute Consultation - No obligation - Completely Confidential

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dog Tales








Welcome to the first Ready for Better blog post. I am glad to have you here!
If you've read my previous blog http://www.ashellandastone.blogspot.com/ this one will be very similiar in style. Let's open up financial discussion and thoughts on life and money. I'll bring insight, comedy and plenty of pictures... Now, on to Dog Tales!





















Good Morning from the Rails-To-Trails Walk/Bike Path just north of Princeton, KS! This is a great place to spend time in the morning with my Two excited girls, Bella (left) & Roxy (right). You may have remembered Roxy from the roadtrip, as she's been a blog-star before. Now she has a new sweet sister, Bella. This girl is really fitting in well around here and she has inspired the first story for Ready for Better....


























These fall Kansas mornings are beautiful and as the bright golds, dusty browns and deep greens start to interplay, we know that summer is now behind us.





















The morning walk is an exciting time for both dogs and me. Here we are starting to learn about the personality of these two girls, and really about how some of us choose live our lives. This also will relate to how we look at our finances. As you can see, the path is nicely pebbled and clear, although there is lots of nature around.

Roxy is a confident and intentional girl. As soon as we reach the path, immediately she crashes through the brush and weeds along the trail, pads down into the shade and moves fluidly among the woods and bushes. One can only imagine the jackpot of doggy surprises down there. Tons of smells, obstacles and visual stimuli. Logs to bound over, branches to slide under, things to stop to sniff and sometimes critters to chase! She's living her dreams without worry, just like Debt-Freedom!

However her opposite, Bella, is up on the pea gravel with me. She's having fun and is excited as well. Many times, she finds herself alone.


























Interestingly, her comfort in the main trail seems strained. It's like she knows there is more out there, but is afraid to try.


























Sometimes she pokes her nose off the edge of the trail, tries to push into the weeds and usually backs off. There is always a stubborn sapling, or stiff stick right in her way. Most of the time it's just a dead grass blade that stops her in her tracks. There are no mowed openings down into the woods...




















What does this teach us about ourselves? How often do we consider a change or to try something new, only to have the "why nots" immediately smacking us in the face.

In the world of personal finance, we find that most of us Americans are sticking to the main path. Let's play it safe and stay on what has been laid down as the "Normal" way to go. Consumer-debt and the highly-effective marketing of credit is the man-made pea gravel path. And unfortunately, this "Normal" way, is pay-check to pay-check, really meaning broke. God created so much more life for us to enjoy than this.

Although it may be tough at first to break away, our friend Roxy knows the joys that make it worth the effort. Getting on a budget, building power over purchase, and breaking habits of always needing a car loan to buy a car, these are the uncomfortable twigs that shouldn't have the power to stop us from reaching our dreams that we deserve.

So when we're debt-free, when we've taken on challenges, and maybe had to feel a little sticker bush scratch to get there, we understand the truth. There is a much richer path already waiting for us in the shade of the trees. A creek-bed travels parallel to the Rail-Trail. Down there we have water for refreshment, and it is loosely vegetated with plenty of running room. Will we be brave enough to find this out first hand?


























Good news for us and for Bella. Little by little we see progress. We get bolder and stronger. We get tired of the same 'ol same 'ol. This morning I saw her stepping further into the grass and even beyond the first clumps of brush, she was following Rox... It won't be long and she'll be going whole-hog straight into doggy-heaven-on-earth!

I personally know and feel the freedom that the journey out of debt can bring. Life after debt is possible and absolutely rewarding. There is a better way than Normal... When you're Ready for Better, give me a call, I'll be thrilled to show you the way!


Sincerely,





Aaron Nichols

True North Financial Fitness Coaching
785-218-6134