Category Archives for "Finances & Careers"

Top 5 Ways Newlyweds Can Combine Their Resources

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

Now that the wedding bells have rung, the preacher has pronounced you man and wife, and the honeymoon is over, it’s time to settle down in the real world.

For most newlyweds, that means everything from buying new furniture to combining their lifestyles, from clearing out the clutter to combining their resources.

Combining finances can be a struggle because, as newlyweds, one of the biggest points of contention seem to be money issues and keeping their independence.

However, there are a few ways that you can combine your resources and still keep your independence.

Shop Together

Nine times out of ten, when it comes time to move in together, you are going to need new furniture, especially a bigger bed.

In most marriages, it’s out with the old and in with the new, if you can afford it.

One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t fight over the money you spend on a bigger bed is by going shopping together. Instead of heading out to shop for a bigger bed alone, make the time to go shopping together.

Stores like Bedding Mart carry a large variety of everything from mattresses to bed frames so that you can get what you need in one fell swoop. In this way, you know exactly what your budget is and what you both agree is affordable to spend, which will avoid arguments later on down the line.

Decide on Bank Account Options

Another big fight that newlyweds have is deciding on bank account options.

Is it better to keep your accounts separate or combine the two accounts into a joint bank account instead?

Many couples, women especially, feel that giving up their bank account is giving up their independence. They like to keep their own money so that they know if things get tough they have it to fall back on.

If you want an open and honest marriage, however, studies show that a joint bank account is the best way to go. There are no secrets, and the money is right there on the table for both of you to see.

The choice, of course, is up to the couple and every marriage is different.

Always be Honest and Open

One of the easiest ways to destroy a marriage is by keeping secrets.

Sit down together and be honest and open about your finances.

While it can be a little embarrassing to sit down and talk about debt that you incurred before you got married, trust is very important early on in a marriage, so it’s best to put it all on the table, so you both know what you are dealing with.

Create a Plan Together

Debt has been a marriage killer since the beginning of time.

Sitting down together and coming up with a plan to get out of your combined debt is your best option.

There is no his and hers once you are married. All debts become one, and you have got to have a plan and the motivation to get out of debt so that you can move on to a secure future together.

Start Planning for Retirement Now

You may be a young newlywed now, but in a blink of an eye, you will be reaching retirement age and need a nest egg.

If you don’t want to have to struggle in your golden years together, it’s best to start a retirement fund now.

Sit down together, once again, and decide how you want to plan for your retirement and how much of your budget each month is going to be devoted to the future. You will be glad that you did when the time comes.

These are just a few of the ways that you can ensure combining your resources goes well once you are married.

From shopping for a new bed together to saving for retirement in your golden age, marriages take work, and the best ones are built on trust, that starts with getting out of debt and working to secure your future together.

3 Key Changes I Made to Be a Better Husband, Dad & Businessman in 2016…and Why I’m Starting Over

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

3 Key Changes I Made to Be a Better Husband, Dad & BusinessmanStressed. Overwhelmed. Disconnected.

Those are a few of the feelings that described me towards the end of last year.

For a guy who prides himself as “having it all together” and helping others to be more effective leaders, this was really troubling.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything fully, and I felt like I could never catch up with my engineering work, Engaged Marriage, my fitness and (worst of all) my home life.

Can you relate to feeling SO busy that you struggle to enjoy the people and projects that you care the most about?

It was pretty terrible, and I knew that something had to change.

Looking Back (Not Fun)

I took off a few days around Christmas with the hopes that I’d be able to clear my head.

No dice.

As I reflected back on 2015, there were definitely lots of successes and things to be proud about.

But I knew I fell short in many ways, too.  Not just in business but in my connection to Bethany and our three kids.

Plus, the extra 20 pounds around my waist was feeling especially heavy.

I pulled out my trusty Moleskine journal and took a look at the Big Plans I had for 2015, and the SMART goals I had set early in the year.

I had about a 20% success rate, and I realized that even the best of intentions don’t mean much when you fail to follow-through.

#FAIL

The Turning Point

I remember it clearly…while mindlessly scrolling my Facebook feed while waiting for a haircut, an ad caught my eye.

It said something along the lines of “You’re Wasting 80% of Your Potential” – and based on my annual review, that raised an eyebrow.

When I clicked over, I realized I had heard this guy on a podcast with Amy Porterfield recently.  He was all about high performance and breaking free of overwhelm by using smart systems.

My kind of guy.

His name is Todd Herman, and he’s become a mentor to me in 2016 (even though we’ve never met or even personally conversed).

My Mentor Todd HermanYou can learn more about him as part of his free training series, but here’s a quick summary:

Todd’s spent almost 20 years serving as one of the world’s most sought after peak performance coaches… working in the trenches to help over 10,000 Olympic athletes, 9 Fortune 100 Companies, billionaires, and even royal families achieve the epitome of success in their fields.

Todd is also a devoted husband and Dad to two little girls – again, my kind of guy!

I started following Todd and not just learning but APPLYING his advice, and it was a real game changer for me.

There’s a lot I could share, but these three simple things made the biggest difference for me…and our family.

These 3 Things Changed My Life Big Time

1. I Broke Free of “Old-School” Goal Setting

I’m a big fan of goal setting, and I’ve done it all of my adult life (and even as a kid).  But I found that as life got busier and more complicated, my success rate in actually meeting my goals was pretty dismal.

I got away from thinking in terms of “right now” or “this year” and I quit allowing my brain to be fooled into thinking that setting a goal was an achievement in itself.  Instead, I adopted Todd’s achievement system, switched to 90-day goal horizons with 2-week “sprints” and my success soared.

RESULT: I created, launched and delivered our new flagship program at Engaged Marriage in less than two months (total). And it happened while working full-time, expanding the EM team and spending more quality time with my family.

It’s called Total Marriage Makeover and it’s by far the best thing we’ve ever done to help busy couples enjoy the marriage of their dreams.

2. I Quit “Context Switching” ALL the Time

I didn’t have a name for it until Todd gave me one, but Context Switching was an absolute productivity killer for me, and I bet it is for you, too.

Our culture’s love affair with multi-tasking is a complete farce, and I guarantee you will benefit from changing how you work.  I thought I was a productive guy, but giving my to-do list a makeover and knocking out big items using Todd’s “block and tackle” approach was a game changer.

RESULT: Once I switched HOW I work, I found I needed to work less to get more done.  That’s a sweet change, and in my case it allowed me to spend more quality time with Bethany and our kids.

An important distinction – it’s not just about quantity of time either.  Because I felt accomplished in my work, I was far less distracted and could really, truly focus on my family.

3. I Started Focusing on Performance…Not Potential

This is really the overarching change that’s occurred in my approach to business and life.  It’s a mindset issue, but actually putting it into action is much less abstract.

It takes some effort to break old habits, but I found that Todd’s approach was practical and systematic.  So even when I wasn’t sure about the outcome, I learned to trust the steps and the payoff was immense.

RESULT: I’m achieving success like never before.  I literally did more in our business in the first quarter of 2016 than we accomplished in all of 2015 (or any other year).

Then I kept applying what I learned each 90 days, and it’s truly been an amazing year as we’ve launched a membership community, several new programs and created a very successful digital marketing consulting company…all without feeling crazy overwhelmed despite our full schedules…because we just follow the system.

And again, this goes way beyond entrepreneurship.

Family, faith life and friendships have been enhanced so much.

So, life’s easy now, right?

Of course not.  The reality I’ve learned is that each 90 days requires a reset and a fresh plan, but it’s fun and exciting now.

I’m ready to plan for an even better 2017, and I’d LOVE to have you join me.

Check Out Todd’s Free Training While It’s Available

Todd just released a powerful, free training series that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Click here to watch Todd’s first training video

Todd Herman 90-Day Year

And be sure to download this FREE Blueprint that shows you the success system that I’ve been following:

Free Success System Download

I believe this free training is available until Thursday, December 8th.

After that, Todd will open up the FULL 90-Day Year program.  This is the same program I followed to get such great results, and it only opens for enrollment every six months.

Join the 90-Day Year & Get My $850+ Bonus Package for FREE!

The 90-Day Year will be open for enrollment between December 8th and 15th 2016.  If you miss that one-week window, you’ll have to wait until mid-2017 to join…please don’t  do that!

To encourage you to take action and to ensure you get the best results possible, I’ve put together a 90-Day Year Bonus package to supplement Todd’s training.

And you can get it for no additional cost!  Just click the link below to get all of the details:

Click here to check out my FREE $850+ 90-Day Year Bonus Package

I’m excited to hear about your results with the 90-Day Year so you can enjoy a better, more engaged life!

What’s Love Got To Do With It: 4 Reasons Why You Need To Have The Money Talk

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-4-reasons-why-you-need-to-have-the-money-talkMoney…finances…not something that most couples really want to talk about.

Some avoid it until there’s a problem. Others never talk about it.

Why is that?

Well, because money talk isn’t romantic.

It isn’t sexy. It isn’t glamorous and it surely isn’t fun…well unless you won the lottery maybe.

If you’re like most couples, you cruise along, blissfully focusing more on the “important” things – communication, quality time, building a life.

As intoxicating as all that is, the fact is, the life you want costs money.

You’ve probably talked about where to live, whether to have kids, how you’ll parent your kids, career plans and so on.

But have you talked about how to pay for all those dreams?

As unromantic as it sounds, including money in the discussion can be one of the best ways to armor up your marriage for those times when things get tough.

So what does your love have to do with money? Everything.

The Balance of 50/50

There’s a notion that relationships should always be equal…50/50. Each person wants to feel as if they are contributing and that their partner is doing the same.

But what does equal – 50/50 – mean in your relationship in terms of financial issues?

Partners rarely bring exactly the same financial resources to the relationship.

What is “equal” when one makes more than the other or contributes non-monetarily is very subjective. How does 50/50 work then?

Your idea of 50/50 may be completely different from what your spouse sees as equal. Having this discussion early on can head off a lot of future skirmishes.

Yours, Mine and Ours

When you’re talking about managing money in a relationship, you’re talking about trust…financial intimacy.

It’s more than discussing how much is in the checking account this week. It’s an ongoing conversation about wants and needs and how to fund those things.

Simple right? Well, no.

What complicates it is that each of you has your own wants and needs and dreams that you have to weave into the fabric of your relationship.

Money carries all kinds of meaning for people – security, safety, independence, freedom or control for example.

You need understand what money means to each of you and prepare for how the finances will be handled. You want to make sure that you are compatible in the way you view spending and saving.

There is no right or wrong answer. The only answer is the one that works for the two of you.

What’s The Plan?

Part of a stable, loving marriage is planning your future together. That life costs money.

Your money and how you manage it will play a huge role in how your future plans unfold.

Discuss the plan early in the relationship. It’s never too soon to plan.

You want to plan for the good and the unexpected.

You’ll learn an awful lot about how the two of you communicate and negotiate money matters.

When you’re part of the plan, you’re invested in the plan.

Discuss the plan often. Over time, priorities change as the relationship grows. Kids come along. You buy that dream house. One of you loses your job.

You may need to make some adjustments for those unexpected things that come along. If you’ve laid a good foundation, you’re more likely to weather the storm when the unexpected happens.

Keep It Simple

Money problems can make or break even the strongest loves. Money issues are consistently one of the top reasons cited for marital discord and for divorce.

Money is something you and your spouse use every day.

It shapes the life you live. It makes sense to talk about it. Left to linger, money issues will continue to pop up and become the source of many an argument. Over time, they can destroy an otherwise happy marriage.

How you approach the topic isn’t as important as your attitude going in.

Remember, your spouse is your partner, not the enemy. Give each other permission to bring up money questions or concerns.

Trust that you have each other’s back. When you know you’re a team, defenses come down and you’re more likely to get to the heart of the matter.

Want a simple step-by-step plan to gain financial security for your family?

Visit http://www.engagedmarriage.com/money-plan/ to learn more about an exciting program designed to bring you greater financial security and more time to spend with your family.

how-to-get-control-of-your-money-and-create-the-future-you-desiretogether-1

Money and how you manage it will shape the life you build together. Make sure you’re tending your marital money relationship with tender loving care.

Common Budgeting Mistakes Newlyweds Make

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

They say love is blind, but it shouldn’t block you from being aware of practical aspects of your marriage – particularly, your finances.

Money is one of the biggest reasons for divorce today and in many cases, it could have been avoided.

To ensure that you start your marriage off in good financial health (or at least on the same page), avoid these common budgeting mistakes at all costs.

Not Creating a Budget

The worst thing you could do for your finances as a couple is to avoid creating a budget.

Since the two of you will be paying bills jointly, it is ideal that you are both aware of the income coming into the house and the money that’s going out. This will help you to avoid overspending or falling into debt.

If you do not have a budget that both parties are aware of, this could lead to poor money management down the road.

Online resources like BankingSense.com make it easy for couples to learn about the basics of budgeting and tips for sticking to it.

Keeping Money Secrets

As husband and wife, keeping secrets is obviously not the best practice for your marriage, but keeping secrets about money can make matters even worse.

Whether you have old debt from before the relationship, or you have new debt that needs to be taken care of it is important to share this information with your partner so that it can be added to the budget.

Sneaking to pay it with money that is accounted for can lead to you falling behind on other bills.

Trying to Tackle Debt Separately

No matter how much debt you’re bringing to the table it is important that this information is shared so it can be budgeted into your account.

Together, you should sit down and review the amount of debt you have. Determine which debts you will pay off first based on the severity of each debt.

Paying off collections or past due accounts first to improve your credit and work your way towards fulfilling your current accounts is the best way to clear things up quickly.

Not Having an Emergency Savings

You never know when something could go wrong.

An unexpected bill like a car repair, home repair, or extremely high utility bill could ruin your budget if you don’t have a financial backup plan to cover the expense.

An emergency savings fund will ensure that you can cover those unexpected expenses without needing to use credit, take out a loan, or go into debt.

According to Forbes, having a minimum of three to six months of income in a savings account is ideal for covering unexpected emergencies.

Maintaining a budget is not only beneficial to your finances, but will improve the quality of your marriage.

A couple who carefully manages their finances and is open and honest with one another has fewer fights, conflicts, and unexpected expenses that put a strain on their relationship. If you’ve never created a budget, remember to use reputable sources to learn budgeting basics to get started.

3 Simple No-Cost Side Income Ideas We Used to Earn an Extra $54,448 in Less than 3 Years

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

3 Simple Side Income Ideas

It seems pretty obvious now…

…but it took some really dumb decisions and a lot of hard knocks for us to finally figure it out.
I’m just grateful that we’re able to share it with you now so that you and your family can benefit.
Based on what’s happened in our own marriage…
…as well as the experience we’ve gained by interacting with thousands of Engaged Marriage readers, we’ve come to a conclusion.

Every Couple Needs A Side Income

You may be wondering why the name of this post is so specific.

Well, $54,448 is a very memorable number for our family.  That’s the amount of (non-mortgage) debt we owed when we “woke up” several years ago pregnant with our son.

This was no doubt a scary time in our marriage, but it was also a very powerful turning point for us and our views on money.

We decided at that point that enough was enough, and we paid off all of our debts in less than 3 years in large part because we developed some really effective side income streams.

Extra Income Means Greater Freedom

This is still an important part of our marriage and our mission in helping other families.

Because we’ve built multiple side incomes (and full fledged businesses in some cases), Bethany is able to be a stay-at-home Mom to our three small kids, and we have a lot of financial freedom.

Your goals are probably different, but I bet you could find good use for $500 – $1,000 in extra income each month (and build it up from there)…in a way that doesn’t take up all of your spare time.

If you need a little more motivation for taking action, be sure to check out our article on the 7 Reasons Every Smart Couple Needs a Side Income.

I hope you agree that developing a side income is an awesome goal.  Now, let me share some ideas for making it happen with you that I think you’ll enjoy.

What’s The Best Way For You To Get Started Earning Some Extra Money On The Side?

Over the last several years, we’ve created at least 10 different side income sources.  But I want to focus on three main types to show you how simple this can be for you.

As you’re reading about our experiences with these side businesses, think through some similar ideas that could work for you.  I recommend you think in the context of our “Three Keys to Quick Side Income Success” for busy couples:

  • Start With What You Know
  • Go Low-Cost & Low-Time
  • Get Your Spouse & Family Involved

Let’s take a look at three types of side income opportunities and how we’ve applied them in our own marriage.

Big Idea #1: Buy/Sell Stuff (Arbitrage)

This is about as simple as it gets.  While the fancy term is “arbitrage” what we’re really talking about here is buying something for a lower price in a constrained market and then selling for a profit in a larger market.

This could be as simple as buying collectables at a garage sale and then selling them at a higher price at a flea market.

But we don’t want to forget our Three Keys to success, so we need to do this in a way that doesn’t bore us to death and scales to generate more income without taking a lot of time.

You’ll Scale Quickly With The Right Idea

For us, our biggest success came from our golf club reselling business.  I love golf and was buying different clubs on eBay to try out.

I realized that I could break even and sometimes make a little money by reselling the clubs I didn’t want to keep back on eBay.

The business really took off when I started buying clubs locally (mostly through craigslist), cleaned them up, and sold them nationally (sometimes internationally) through eBay.

I learned the typical sales price for popular clubs and could spot a deal easily, plus I became skilled in creating eBay listings that maximized my sales price.

This business generated net profits of over $1,000 per month quickly and peaked out at over $2,000 per month.  Here’s a screenshot of a few of my eBay orders:

This was a classic case of buying low in a local market and selling higher to a broader audience who will pay true market value.

You could replicate it easily, especially with the more efficient online markets (like Amazon’s Fulfilled By Amazon service) available today.

I only quit doing this because it was too time consuming for me to travel around the region buying the clubs.

While I could have hired someone else to do this for me, my interests turned to more passive online strategies like those below.

Big Idea #2: Solve a Simple, Recurring Problem

How many times each week do you encounter a problem and search for a solution?

I bet it’s a lot more often than you think, and there are thousands (probably millions) of people out there with the same issues.

When you develop the right mindset, you will see your problems as opportunities to help others…and make some income in the process.

The beauty of this approach is that it’s a matter of creating a solution one time and then selling it over and over again.

Recurring Income Rocks

I have two quick examples that I’d like to share from our own experiences.

The first was a problem I encountered when training for my first half marathon. I developed shin splints, and if you’ve ever had them you know what a painful and frustrating experience it is.

Well, I searched and tried many different treatments to make the pain go away.

Once I finally found a process of foam rolling, stretching, strengthening and icing that worked really well, I realized that there was nowhere to buy the different pieces of equipment as a kit.

Well, now there is!

I packaged up the foam roller, ice packs, foot massager (golf ball) and resistance band along with a brief instruction manual and now sell it as a Shin Splints Treatment Kit both on my own simple site AND on Amazon!

I created a single video on YouTube (for free) showing how to use the equipment and telling people where to find the kit.

I get several sales every week, and oftentimes multiple orders a day, for this little kit with no marketing:

The best part is my kids help me pack the boxes and Bethany fulfills the shipping, so it’s truly a family affair.

You may not know that anyone can list a product on Amazon and let them sell it for you.  They take a fee on each sale, but there’s no upfront cost.

The other example I’ll share here came from my trouble getting started when it came to writing a love letter to Bethany.

Help Others While You Help Your Family Thrive

I try to be romantic (I run Engaged Marriage after all!), but I kept falling into the trap of thinking “someday” I should write her a romantic letter.

After I finally wrote the letter and thought through the process, I realized there was a method to the madness.

I documented it and created templates to help you write the perfect love letter to your spouse.  Bethany and I recorded a session discussing the why and how-to of writing a great letter and packaged it with the templates.

The result was the Romance the Write Way love letter program.

This has become the best-selling product from Engaged Marriage.  It sells every single day, and we only created it one time.

That’s the beauty of passive income!

Big Idea #3: Teach (But Probably Not In School)

The last area I want to share with you is the absolute easiest to get started.

With a post on your Facebook profile or a quick free ad on craigslist, you can start earning some extra money right away.

It’s as simple as teaching others something valuable.

You may not consider yourself an expert at anything in particular, but you don’t need to be!

You’re An Expert To Many

If you are just one step ahead of someone when it comes to a specific skill, you are an expert TO THEM and you can add incredible value to their life.

Teaching in various forms is the main source of side income for our family nowadays. 

The simplest form of this for us is tutoring.  I have tutored high school students in math (children of neighbors), and Bethany has tutored several students in a variety of areas.

It’s not very passive (you trade time for dollars), but it’s something you can do right away.

What Can You Teach Others?

Piano lessons, Excel, public speaking, childcare, reading, art, sports…the possibilities are literally endless.

Did you know that you can be an author featured on Amazon?

It’s true, and the easiest way to get started is to write a short how-to book for the Kindle platform.

This IS passive income, and I currently have three books in the Amazon Kindle store that sell consistently with no marketing effort on my part.

You can see two of the books in the image below.  And the third?  Well, it’s a written version of my how-to process for fixing shin splint pain!

You can also create a course and sell it for free on the super-popular Udemy site.  I have a time management course that sells there very passively.

And of course for us, the biggest side income of all comes from our passion project – Engaged Marriage.  This will soon become our primary source of income, but for now it remains a “side gig” that we love dearly.

With The Right Approach You Don’t Need Much Time

I didn’t mention that all of our efforts so far have happened while I work a demanding “day job” as an engineering consultant.

With that and all the hustle that comes from having three kids under the age of ten, I hope you see that while our time is very limited we have found great success in building multiple streams of side income.

And I know that you can do the same!

Are You Ready To Get Started Creating Your OWN Side Income?

So, at this point you probably have some initial ideas for potential side income streams…or at least you can see it’s possible if you had a little help getting started.

Well, your timing is excellent!

This week we are launching the new and improved Side Income Success Club, which will guide you step-by-step to success.

And when you enroll before Saturday at midnight, you can get literally get started for 30 cents a day.

Click the button below to get all the details and get started today!

Click Here for Side Income Success!

http://www.engagedmarriage.com/side-income-club

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