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Budgeting Epiphany: Dave Ramsey Says To Budget Monthly

February 8th, 2019

My wife and I have created various budgets over the 20+ years of our marriage… but we haven’t done much more than just create them. Usually they were created in a time of financial frustration.

This last weekend we packed our bags and holed up in a hotel to talk about finances with no distractions. I want to share one epiphany that I had this weekend.  I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say you should create a new budget every single month. We never did. We just created a big annual budget, based on past spending, and then kind of divided each line item by 12.

For example, we have seven people in our immediate family. We spend about $100 on a birthday. With this annual-budget-logic, we’d take that $700 budgeted, divide by 12, and put $58 in each month on the “birthday” line.

The problem with this is that in February we have two birthdays. In March we have none. So the reality of what we should budget in February is $200, not $58. And in March, it should be $0, not $58.

Looking at the year, it kind of makes sense. Looking at the month, it’s all kinds of messed up.

So, we put together a February budget (based on our annual budget, but changing things we knew needed changing for just this month).

Folks, money is a big deal. In a marriage, money is one of the top five issues. Another top five is communication. This year’s JibberJobber theme is income streams… what you spend is a negative income stream. Let’s get serious about it.

I’m reminded of a guy I met who was unemployed… and had been for a while. He had a nice car and a nice house and what looked like a nice life…. and told me that his past financial decisions, and how he spent his money, and how he managed his debt, made his transition much less stressful than the average job seeker. It was a beautiful thing to witness.

How much fun would your job search be right now if you didn’t have the stress that living paycheck to paycheck, and being backwards on your money?

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How much does it cost to buy something for $100?

January 22nd, 2019

Continuing the annual theme of income streams… today let’s talk about spending money.

Let’s say you want to buy something for $100. How much money do you have to earn in order to buy it?

$100?

Assuming you have taxes, you would have to earn more than $100 to be able to buy something for $100. You’d have to earn 100 * 1.(your tax rate)

If your tax rate is 20%, you would have to earn 100 * 1.20, or $120.

Your $100 purchase cost you $120.

This is simplified, of course. You could pay more in taxes, and you could add on variable expenditures based on your income (for example, tithing). You might be contributing a percentage of your income to a 401k (so, you don’t see that money until you are old enough). Perhaps you need to make $130+ in order to buy a $100 thing.

How much would a $50 dinner cost you? Based on these numbers, it would cost you (or, you would have to earn) $60 to $65.

Look, I’m not trying to be a killjoy. But I want us to change our relationship with money. I want it to be a healthy relationship. Earning money, and increasing revenue streams, is great. But we need to understand what we are really spending. We should know, to the penny, what we are spending. Dave Ramsey’s cash flow system is called “every dollar” because he wants you to track every single dollar.

An analogy: my wife and I recently started the keto diet. The way we are doing it requires that we measure what we eat… either weigh food, or use measuring cups. We’ve found that if we just “eyeball” it, and guess how much we are eating, we are wrong… every time. Our eyeballing is inaccurate.

I bet this is what we are doing with our spending. Just a little here, at this restaurant, and just a little there, at that splurge, is okay, right?

Wrong.

We really should track and measure what we are spending, and compare that to what we are earning.

And part of understanding our expenses is to understand how much we have to earn in order to spend that much.

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2019 Theme of the Year: Income Streams

January 1st, 2019

If you’ve followed my blog for the last few weeks you know I recently lost my dream job.

You also know that when I was told “your last day will be November 30th,” I was sad… really sad. But I was also thinking about my other income streams.

13 years ago, when I got laid off and catapulted towards a new career direction, I had no other income streams. A small committee at the company I worked at voted to lay me off. No big deal, just a business decision. But they took away 100% of my income. I vowed to not allow any one person to take away 100% of my income ever again.

My plan became to create JibberJobber, and hope to earn $100 a month. That’s not much money, but at least “they” wouldn’t be able to take away 100%, right?

And so there I was, sitting across the table from my boss, getting laid off. Weeks before Thanksgiving. Shortly before Christmas. Happy holidays to me!  But, I had accomplished what I had set out to do. This person, who left that meeting with her title and salary and benefits and ownership intact, could not, did not, take 100% of my income away. And for that I was deeply grateful that all the work I’d put in these almost-thirteen years paid off.

What I’ve been thinking about all weekend is that I want YOU to be as empowered as I was. I want YOU to be as prepared as I was. I want YOU to have multiple income streams. I don’t know what is right for YOU, and I warn you that it might take thirteen (or more) years for YOU to create even one decent income stream (which might come after a number of failed attempts).

Maybe you’ve heard this one: Q: “When is the best time to plant a tree in my yard?” A: “20 years ago. The second best time is NOW.”

Let’s shift that to income streams: Q:  “When is the best time to create another income stream?” A: “20 years ago. The second best time is NOW.”

How does a job fit into this?

I want you to get to the point where, instead of saying “I got a new job!” you say “I got a new income stream!

Yes, jobs are (can be) great. Yes, most everyone should have a job. But I want you to get to a point in your career where you see your job as an income stream.

Income streams are power. I want you to have that power. And that is why “income streams” is 2019’s theme of the year.

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Previous JibberJobber Themes of the Year (Recap)

December 31st, 2018

Tomorrow I announce the JibberJobber theme for 2019. Here are previous annual themes:

2017: Healing

2015: You Have the Cookie

2013: Consistency

2012: Communication

2011: The Rabbit Hole

Get ready for the theme announcement tomorrow!

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The Negative Income Streams

January 2nd, 2018

Yesterday I announced the 2019 theme to be “income streams.” I’ve talked about your job being one income stream, and I encourage you to create other income streams.

What we haven’t talked about is the important topic negative income streams. This feels harder for me than thinking about creating a new income stream!

I’m talking about what you are spending. Where does your money go. How much money goes to fast food. How much money goes to things that are frivolous. How much money goes to things you don’t even know about, like subscriptions that you don’t use. What can you do to decrease your negative streams?

I want to plant this seed in your mind, as you think about income streams, because decreasing negative income streams decreases your need to add more income.

I like Dave Ramsey…. you might like someone else. Think about this topic, though, and plan for it. I want you to become financially independent, and decrease the power that someone who can terminate your job has over you. Understanding how and where you spend money, and taking charge of it, can help.

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2017 Theme: Healing

March 6th, 2017

I know, I know, the timing, right?

If you’ve followed my blog these last couple of months, you know that two months and one day ago I kicked a kickbag (aka, heavy bag, aka cinder block wall) the wrong way and broke a bone in my ankle.  I didn’t know that you could kick a kickbag wrong. I certainly didn’t know that you could do it wrong enough to break a bone.

Alas, I did (kick it wrong) and it is (broken).  Today, two months later, I can “bear weight,” which means put some pressure on it. It’s still in a splint (which is smaller and lighter than a boot). I still walk with a walker (the kind you don’t think you’ll use until you are 90… but so much better than crutches).  I’ve been enduring a very long healing process, and know that I have months to go before I can walk normal.  All because of a little bone fracture.

Frankly, I’m an impatient person. In my mind I was supposed to be walking mid-January.

This is like, in my job search, I was sure that I would be employed in four to six weeks.

In some of my close relationships, where healing needed to be done, sometimes the healing has been going on for years.

In each of these cases, healing did not happen fast.  And, in every case, there was pain.

What I want to focus on this year is allowing the healing to happen.  Imagine you have a nasty, deep gash on your arm, and it is bandaged.  You can’t take the bandage off every few hours to see if it’s done healing, or if it’s made a lot of progress since last time.  That can be harmful, and demoralizing (aka, depressing).

If you are in a job search there’s a good chance that you need to heal. I certainly did. I had strong emotions of anger and bitterness, and during my job search I struggled with feelings of inadequacy and depression.  Those were just a few of the things I had to heal from.

So here’s to 2017, a year we focus on healing ourselves.  That will mean different things to different people, but let’s heal.

 

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JibberJobber Theme for 2017 (Pre-announcement)

March 3rd, 2017

I like to do this in early January, so this is a little late. But in early January I was nursing a broken ankle (didn’t know it at the time) and was otherwise preoccupied. Even though we are in March, this theme is still relevant. Maybe it’s even more relevant now.

Monday I’ll announce this the JibberJobber Theme for 2017. I haven’t been perfect at defining an annual theme, but here are some of the past themes (click each title to read the theme):

2012 THEME: Job Search is 99% Communication

I’m convinced that we, as human beings, have a lot of potential to communicate better… more effectively.  We, as people who care about our career (aka, career managers), should be keenly focused on communicating more effectively, verbally, written, body language, etc.

2011 THEME: The Job Search Rabbit Hole

This theme comes from the concept that perhaps we are working really, really hard, and are very, very focused, on the wrong things. It is about rethinking what our focus is, and making sure we are focused on the right things.

2013 THEME: Consistency Wins

This theme is inspired by Mark LeBlanc, who right now is in Spain walking El Camino (again). He says “consistency trumps commitment.” I’m completely convinced that for anything that is a long-game, like a job search, and career management (and owning a business), that is 1,000% true.  Let’s focus on moving closer and closer to our goal, with consistency, every single day, and not do any flash-in-the-pan efforts and then burn out.

2015 THEME: The Year of the Cookie

The idea of the cookie is usually communicated in a phrase like “you have the cookie,” or “I have the cookie!”  It is all about who has the power.  When someone else has the power/cookie (like, in an interview), the control everything. But when you have the power/cookie (perhaps because you are, hands down, the best person for the job). This theme was about recognizing power, and working to ensure you had the power you need.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this year’s theme, and I’ve struggled with it because it’s not as optimistic or positive when you first hear the word (it’s kind of painful), but it’s crucial.

Watch for it on Monday.

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What Will 2015 Hold For You? 2015 Theme: The Year of the Cookie

January 2nd, 2015

December was really interesting – we had a lot more signups and upgrades than what we normally saw in the last few Decembers.  I can tell that people are getting more serious about their personal career management.

I invite you to make 2015 a very purposeful year for personal and professional satisfaction.  This means that instead of letting things just happen to and around you, you empower yourself.

In a recent post on this blog, and an article on LinkedIn, I said that if you are working with a boss who drives you crazy (or, is an idiot), you could:

“Be Prepared.  The old Boy Scout motto is splendid.  Let’s say that you are unprepared to get laid off today.  If so, you are probably afraid of getting laid off, losing the paycheck, etc.  Where would you go??  However, let’s say you are prepared… and you get laid off.  You might be thankful that you got laid off!  Sure, you lost your job, but you are prepared (strong network, established brand, etc.).  If you want to change how you feel about being in a crummy situation, work on career management, which can give you a glimmer of hope, and help you feel less trapped.”

On LinkedIn, Pamela left this comment (see her comment on this page):

Yes! That’s what I did recently and have done several times over the long years of my career. When in a dysfunctional relationship/organization, one can become very demoralized. It’s important to review one’s achievements, goals, skills and desires. When I remind myself of what I have to offer, it makes it easier for me to do the work of finding other opportunities. The more I explore, the more empowered I become. Leaving is always hard, but when I am moving towards my goals, I am re-invigorated.

Pamela is doing on-purpose career management!

When you do on-purpose career management, the power shifts.  If you are at the will and mercy of your company (which can happen if they pay you enough, or have excellent benefits, or have somehow scared you into not leaving), they have the power.

When you do career-management things, you shift the power from the company to yourself.  A popular term I like to think of to make this more visual is “who has the cookie?”  When your employer has the power, or the cookie, you are subject to them.

Let’s make 2015 the year when we take the cookie back.

This is the year when we develop more, and deeper relationships.

This is the year when we really work on our personal brand.  Maybe we start a blog, or write a post on LinkedIn, or leave a comment on a discussion in a group you are in.

This is the year you really get into JibberJobber to manage and nurture relationships.  More than just gathering names, numbers and email addresses, let’s really focus on the relationships.

This is the year that we take the cookie back!

 

 

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Friction and Communication in the Job Search

January 7th, 2014

I’ve been working with a young graphics artist to clean up JibberJobber.  We’ve been working on “cleaning up” JibberJobber for the last almost-eight years, since we went live.

The problem we have at JibberJobber is the same problem I see on LinkedIn profiles, and company websites.  It’s what I call distraction, or noise.  I have said that every single word, even every character, either adds to or takes away from the message.

Can you imagine if Nike made a mistake and spelled their name Nikee on a few pieces of marketing material?

That would be a huge distraction.  Of course, Nike is well-branded and we are going to forgive them.  We already know who they are, and we trust them (to make shoes that are pretty good). They’ll probably get some awesome PR (like they really need it… not).

You, my friend, are probably NOT well-enough branded to get the same goodness that a spelling error like that gives to a company like that.  I’m not well-enough branded, and neither is JibberJobber.  Distractions and noise for regular people and small companies cause what I call friction.

Marketing friction causes discomfort, confusion and pain right away. The trust level plummets.  The thought is “if they can’t spell a word right, can I trust them with my information, especially my credit card?”  One little typo, or a grammar mistake, can cause this friction.

You’ve heard that your resume should have no spelling errors, right?  Any little spelling error can make an OCD reviewer gag and want to switch careers.  They can’t fathom anyone being so classless as to have an error on their resume. They take that one little error and disqualify you. The more OCD reviewers might disqualify you for life :p.  Regular, kind and even forgiving people might not disqualify you right away.  They might be able to read past a typo or two and understand what your career has been, and what they might get from you if they hire you.

I wouldn’t gamble my future on which type of reviewer is going to see my resume.

The resume error is one example of creating friction in our communication.  Friction also comes from the way we look, the way we dress, our accent, our punctuality, our body language, the grammar or words we choose, etc.  Friction can also come from anything the person we’re talking to might use to discriminate – race, age, religion, etc.

I’m not saying you have to become a vanilla, boring, mainstream person.  What I’m saying is that mistakes in communication can be “the problem.”

I used to work with a software developer who is brilliant.  He was the go-to guy that all of the other developers would get help from when they were stuck.  He understood computer stuff, whether it was hardware, software, networking, PCs, servers, etc. like no one else I have known.  But the guy couldn’t spell very well.  If he didn’t have someone proof his resume I’m sure it would have ended up in the trash bin, because there would be multiple spelling errors.

Isn’t it sad that people can’t get past certain criteria to see the brilliance of who we are? It’s the world we live in.

Here is the take-away from this post: What can YOU do to decrease the friction you may be introducing in your communication with others?

 

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Communication: What I want you to learn from yesterday’s post

April 3rd, 2013

Yesterday I announced that we simplified JibberJobber.

Yes, it is ironic that the blog post to announce it was one of the more complex posts I’ve written.

But something I want you, as a job seeker, to get out of yesterday’s message is SIMPLIFICATION.

You might have heard me use the word “concise,” when talking about your communication, written or verbal.

To me, concise means short and to the point.

In yesteday’s post I explained that we are simplifying some things in JibberJobber.  My hope is that it’s easier to understand things.

Are your messages too complex?

Let me give you an example of a too-complex message.  Yesterday I wrote an email to someone asking them if we could get on a phone call. My original message looked something like this:

Can we get on a phone call?  And if not, you can jump on my user webinar anytime: www.JibberJobber.com/webinar.

Do you see a problem?

I gave the person an OUT.

I distracted them from my original message/question.

That second sentence can be short and to the point, but it can be distracting.  It wiped out the first sentence.

When I talk about simplifying I’m not saying you have to have LESS (although you will have less).  I’m saying to not distract your message by throwing stuff in that shouldn’t be there.

Before I sent the message I took out the second sentence so it simply read:

Can we get on a phone call?

Now you don’t have an OUT.  You respond with yes or no, but you don’t think “maybe I’ll just get on a webinar… ”

Here’s a similar example:

Can we get on a phone call?  Or you can just look at my LinkedIn Profile and tell me what you think.

WHAT???  Talk about giving an OUT!

I see this type of message TOO OFTEN.

Folks, read through your emails you send and look for those OUTs.  There’s an awesome little key on your keyboard that takes care of OUTs:

Delete the distractions.  Stay on topic, and keep the messages to a minimum (that means, don’t try and say ten things in an email where you really need to say just one thing).

Go back and read yesterday’s post. Hopefully you’ll see that’s exactly what we are doing.  And you should, too.

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