YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CLIENTS THE GIFT OF ORGANIZATION.
Legal, financial, real estate and other professionals now have a great new gift that they can present to their most valued clients...the gift of organization. The LifeBook is a high quality bound portfolio that tells a client that yours is a special relationship.
Many professionals assist their clients in various types of life planning and as part of that service they are helping them to gather information, documents and important papers. Estate planning attorneys, CPAs, financial planners, funeral service providers, insurance agents and others can now give key clients a way to store and organize deeds, titles, wills, directives, passports and all documents important to their lives.
The FamilyLifeBook has eight tabbed sections, over 40 storage sleeves and complete instructions on how to safely organize legal and financial records. It has pages to list critical information, service contacts and special directives.
The FamilyLifeBook is an executive-level gift that is directly applicable to the service that you are providing. It instantly connects you and your clients in a way that ordinary incentive products cannot. The leatherette binder and your ability to personalize the first page with your client's name will send a message that you consider them a valued customer and want to present them with a high quality gift that they will treasure for a lifetime.
GIVE A GIFT.....NURTURE A RELATIONSHIP
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE (quantity discounts available):
photo courtesy of Ambro-FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Your LifeBook....Don't Flee A Disaster Without It.
Is this guy carrying his LifeBook? If he's going to be rebuilding his life or if he plans to apply to FEMA for relief, he just might need it.
Hurricane season begins here in Florida in just a couple of months and, along with purchasing bottled water and flashlight batteries, people begin thinking about the possibilities of having to evacuate. Disaster experts all agree that having a good plan is important to your safety and security. Making sure that you and your family are physically safe is the first priority and your local emergency management agency can provide you with tools for that kind of planning. The Florida Division of Emergency Management can provide information on all types of preparedness issues. Contact them at www.floridadisaster.org.
WHAT DO WE TAKE WITH US?
Along with cash and items for consumption (food and prescription medicine) and personal comfort, most people will be concerned about their important and irreplaceable documents....birth certificates, ID cards, passports, etc. But most of us don't know where all of these documents are located and couldn't gather them quickly in case of emergency or evacuation. The LifeBook will give you a convenient, organized way to store and locate those papers necessary to conduct your life affairs in times of crisis. Start by thinking of those things that you will need while you are away. Contact phone numbers, banking information, medical access cards and passwords for websites are just a few.
WHAT WILL WE FIND WHEN WE RETURN?
Some victims of hurricane Sandy returned to find that their homes had sustained very little damage. Others returned to find that their homes were not at the same address where they left them. Still others never found them at all. Recovering from such a calamity is tough, but made all the more difficult if important documents have been lost. Insurance information, proof of identity, proof of ownership and access to financial assets will all be necessary as you begin the process of rebuilding. If you are under-insured or have little in the way of financial resources you may have to turn to the government for help. But don't think that you're not going to need documents. In fact, you may need more.
DEALING WITH F.E.M.A.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is where many people will turn in the aftermath of a disaster. There is funding available for temporary housing and assistance with restoration of many other aspects of life. Requirements must be met to qualify and many of those programs require documentation. For example, you can get assistance for a damaged car (you'll need proof of ownership and insurance information). There is help for rebuilding your home, but as the FEMA website describes "Below are a few types of documents that may be provided to prove ownership: Deed or Official Record, Title number, Mortgage payment book, real property insurance and tax bill." Speaking of taxes, counties can provide property tax relief, but you'll need those records. For information on assistance available please contact the FEMA website at www.fema.gov The point is: you need to make sure that you can get your hands on important papers and that they are preserved and safeguarded. The LifeBook does exactly that.
The LifeBook has eight tabbed sections that allow you to organize important papers and store them for quick reference. You'll always know where to locate passports, insurance papers, marriage licenses, bank information and titles & deeds. With everything in one portable portfolio, you'll have the peace of mind that everything can be taken with you and that the process of rebuilding will be that much easier.
<p>Image courtesy of coward_lion / <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>
One of the worse financial fears we have is getting a call from a collection agency especially when we really owe the money. The second worse? To get a call from a collection agency when you know you have no debt or you know that you are not past due with any of your current creditors.
Somehow, that one little phone call can make you feel as if you have lost all control, especially after working long and hard to reach some semblance of financial freedom. That call from a collection agency can be just as frightening now as it was then and throw you off balance.
Questions flood your mind and you start to sweat. You wonder if there is some old debt haunting you. You mentally check your current creditors to make sure you have not missed a payment. Then, you wonder what the heck is going on and "who are you people trying to ruin my life!" That’s just the first five seconds!
But take a deep breath. It is recommended you get educated now because with identity theft running rampant and bogus collection agencies trying to collect whatever they can, you need to prepare yourself.
Collection Agency may be legit but the debt is not yours - Mistakes can be made. We are, after all, human. However, as scripture states, "...so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16.
- Don’t panic – they already have your number but the rest of their information may not be correct
- Don’t get mad. Let them say their peace so that you can find out what they have to say and then you can let them know the truth and share it with them
- Do be informed. Know that you as a consumer have rights. If this information is indeed incorrect and the creditor refuses to acknowledge that, let them know you will follow up with a complaint to the FTC and CFPB, as long as you are certain it really is not yours.
Collection Agency might not be legit or they are trying to collect on old (very old) debt. This is when you really need to protect yourself. This type of collection call is trying to get you to agree to pay the debt and maybe, get you on the hook to pay off debt that has passed the statute of limitations (link for Florida residents) or you may have even paid it off already.
- Don't say anything that indicates the debt is yours. Make them prove it.
- Do some research of your own. Pull a free credit report to determine if the debt has been reported to the credit bureaus. It is also a good time to check your report for errors if you done so already. Get a Credit Report Review Session with a Certified Credit Counselor to help you read your report and develop a plan of action to improve your credit report.
- Do force them to verify the debt. In most cases: "You should send the debt collector a written request for verification of the debt within 30 days after receiving the validation notice. The debt collector will then be required to provide verification of the debt to you before recommencing collection activity. You may also wish to contact your bank (if you believe you paid it already) for copies of old bank statements or contact the creditor to determine whether any payments were applied to the debt in question." (from Ask Doctor Debt).
The key point to remember in either situation is that you do have some power over the situation. You do not have to be bullied and you should have a civilized conversation with the collection agent. Get as informed as possible. If you'd like to review your credit report, follow up with Family Life Resources, Inc. to complete a review session with a Counselor. The session will help you review your goals and set up a plan of action to improve your credit report and take away some of the fear of dealing with a collection call.
SAYING "I LOVE YOU" ONE LAST TIME
The family is gathering as they struggle to comprehend the fact that you've gone. How could it be? Mom (or Dad) always took care of everything and now, in this hour of confusion and grief, we must make some tough decisions. Was there a will? Any pre-arrangement for a funeral? So many questions among so much hurt.
Wait! Didn't they mention that they had one of the LifeBooks? If we can find that, then maybe we can answer some of these questions and carry out their wishes.
It is hard for us to contemplate the day of our passing, but not too hard to envision the burden that we leave behind when our family must decide quickly about some very important matters. Your family will need to know some significant facts about how you planned for this day and they'll need to know them usually within the first six hours. Did you have a pre-planned funeral and with which funeral home? Is it already paid for? Burial or cremation wishes, what type of memorial service and what's to be said in the obituary are all things that can't wait until next week.
IN THIS TIME OF GRIEF, YOU CAN SAY "I LOVE YOU" ONE LAST TIME.
The LifeBook provides all of these answers and much more. It will give your loved ones a blueprint for managing your finances after you've gone and ease the stress of dealing with all of those issues so that they can concentrate on remembering you. It is your opportunity to say "I Love You" one final time.
The sheets found in the opening pages of the book provide a way for you to communicate critical information and cut the time that it will take to research answers to some very important questions. Your family can quickly contact those necessary to assist them and make the next few days so much easier.
The LifeBook will also help them in the months to come as they handle insurance issues, financial affairs and dealing with personal assets.
But, right now, as they look through your LifeBook, they are really only getting one message:
That you loved them enough to do all of this for them.
ORGANIZING AND PROTECTING YOUR MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Quick, where is an original copy of your car insurance policy? Could you lay your hands on your birth certificate or passport within the next half-hour? Where are the mortgage papers located? In case of an emergency, do you know where your most important documents are stored? Does your spouse have any idea of how to access your retirement funds or life insurance if you suddenly die?
These questions can come at the most inconvenient times and even in the midst of crisis. Most families know that these important papers are somewhere around the house, but usually not in one place. The Family Life Book can help you assemble, organize and store those documents so that you or your family can gain instant access to them.
Family Life Resources, Inc. has created THE FAMILY LIFE BOOK, A WAY TO PROTECT, PROVIDE AND GIVE A LEGACY TO YOUR FAMILY. This book gives you instructions in how to organize your papers and a place to store them. It is organized into 8 tabbed sections that cover the different aspects of your life that need to be documented for your family in times of emergency, death or incapacitation. It's also very handy for just finding your papers for everyday access.
The Family Life Book is beautifully bound in a leatherette folio with three-ring construction so that you can add and delete items to fit your personal situation.
Sections include: What You Should Know In The First Six Hours, Your Legacy, Insurance Policies, Bank/Investment Statements, Personal Family Information, Personal Financial Information, Loan Statements and Titles-Deeds-Home Inventory. There are 6 forms for recording critical information (also available electronically on our website). You'll find 8 pages of written instructions and over 30 storage sleeves for policy copies, statements, deeds, passports and other important documents.
The Family Life Book is offered now from Family Life Resources, Inc. at $149.95 plus shipping. (quantity discounts are available).
You can call 1-800-553-8621 or email Steve Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or simply click here to purchase now:
This is a great way to make sure that those papers most important to you and your family can be preserved and located at any time.
You've begun to realize your finances are not what they should be. Actually, you've known it for awhile but you were just too ashamed to admit it, even to yourself. And, you're certainly NOT going to tell anyone!
Living in financial shame means we believe we have made too many "stupid" mistakes with our money and have fallen short in managing our finances. We begin to believe we cannot climb out of the financial mess we have made for ourselves. We begin to believe this is our life. Worst of all, we believe we are alone.
Most of us are understanding when we hear of others having financial difficulty but we tend to be harder on ourselves. We recognize we are in a tough economy and people lose jobs. It is understandable that someone would have financial problems when there is sickness and death. However, when those things happen to us AND adversely affect our finances, we suddenly feel shame and want to hide our circumstances by trying to live as if everything is OK which, of course, only escalates our financial situation.
When bad things happen, it is not the time to go into hiding and pretend everything is ok. It is a time to get into your financial battle stance and begin fighting for yourself and your family. You need to alter your financial lifestyle and come up with financial solutions instead. So, here are some steps to eliminate financial shame; grab it by the ear and kick it out of your house forever!
GET ACTIVE - Shame can very easily turn into depression. The best way to overcome both is to get busy. Take the time to start asking questions about finances. How do you make a budget? What are my priorities in spending? Who do I or don’t I pay? Make yourself study! Get on the internet, go the library or meet with a specialist in finances to help you answer your questions.
TAKE IT STEP BY STEP - Every overwhelming situation demands we take a step back so that we can perhaps see our problems from a "birds eye view." When we are so close to a problem, it is hard to see what is going on or if there are even any solutions to resolve the problem. It is hard to deal with it especially if we are emotionally overwhelmed by it. So, take a step back, look at it from other angles and then, with some possible solutions in mind, follow through on them step by step.
OPEN UP - Share your situation with others you know you can trust. Whether it is your best friend, your pastor or a Certified Credit Counselor, just talking with someone will help you gain a better perspective of your situation. It may not be easy to open up at first but, you will definitely feel better and less alone if you do.
Debt takes time to alleviate. So does healing from some of the life situations that may have catapulted you into a financial crisis. Unfortunately, life usually doesn't slow down or clean up easily. Our lives are not TV shows that get better in 30 minutes to an hour. Most likely, no one will be dropping by with a check to pay your bills. And the lottery? Probably not a winner. Therefore, we have to take our financial healing as it comes which, is generally a slow progress from a high negative balance to less of a negative balance to (hopefully) a positive cash flow.
Financial crisis happens to almost everyone. Shame and self recrimination will not solve your problems. Taking control, setting goals and doing your best to meet those financial goals will. Get help! Contact Family Life Resources, Inc. for more information. They can help you develop a "plan of action" you can get behind...not hide behind!
Will the year 2013 be a better year for you than 2012? For many, personal finances will continue to be the "elephant" in the room. More people borrowed money from their retirement fund last year to make ends meet. For some they have been laid off and needed the extra money just to get by. For others, they fell behind on mortgages or needed the money for college tuition. What ever the reason, the cost of borrowing from your retirement is high and unless you have a way to replace the loan, you may find your lifestyle in your golden years less appealing then expected. Unfortunately, this trend is continuing in 2013.
Here are four reasons NOT to borrow money from your retirement fund:
1. Borrowing money to make ends meet while you still have income is avoiding reality.
If your income is not enough to meet monthly expenses then you need to look at your cost of living and make adjustments. Keeping up a lifestyle and hoping additional income will become available down the road cannot be sustained.
2. Those that encourage you to borrow from retirement may make money off your decision.
Be careful about advice you receive. Remember each family is different and what worked out well for others may not be in your best interest. Also understand there is a cost to borrow your own money. Your taxes may increase due to the increase in income, there may be a penalty for cashing out your retirement or you may need to pay someone a commission depending on the type of retirement plan you have.
3. There may be penalty or hidden costs to borrow from yourself.
When you make an investment into a retirement plan such as a IRA or 401(k), the money is not taxed until you withdraw it. When you add the 10% penalty for withdrawing the money early, you have not only lost some of the money you were hoping to have BUT have also lost out on the possible investment money you could have earned if you had left that money in the account. In some cases, you also have to pay the money back through a monthly payment plan. Can you add that expense to your budget without difficulty?
4. Making up is hard to do.
To make up the loss of investment income and replenish the account, you will need to increase your savings in the future. You are gambling that the future will be better then your past. In today's economy, that is a huge gamble.
Sometimes borrowing money from your retirement fund is necessary. So, what is the alternative if borrowing from yourself is not the answer? Start by identifying the reason you need to borrow.
Meeting with a professional certified credit counselor can help you determine the best action for your needs. We at Family Life Resources, Inc. can help you assess the issue and create a plan of action to determine your next steps. We encourage you to build a budget of your current lifestyle so you understand where you are at financially at this time.
FREE EDUCATIONAL COURSE ON BUDGETING!!!
CLICK HERE and fill out our form to download a free educational course on budgeting that will help answer your questions and provide a budget template for your use. This course is FREE....so take advantage of this information to help you have a better financial year in 2013.
1. NON-LENDERS USE YOUR CREDIT INFORMATION TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT YOU.
The information contained in the report can affect many areas of daily living that have little or nothing to do with the extension of credit. Car insurance companies, landlords, prospective employers and a host of other enterprises may use your credit history as a basis for setting rates, giving you a job or renting you an apartment.
2. MANY CREDIT REPORTS CONTAIN INACCURATE INFORMATION.
It is up to you to determine if there are errors on your credit reports. Any errors should be disputed in compliance with the credit reporting bureau. Negative errors on your report can have a huge impact on your ability to get credit.
3. A DETAILED CREDIT REPORT REVIEW MAY UNCOVER IDENTITY THEFT.
Unknown entries on your report may be the result of an honest mistake or it could be evidence that someone is trying, or has tried, to use your name or social security number to open credit lines or steal your identity. The FTC has a step by step process to follow to help report and repair the damage to your credit image.
4. CERTAIN ENTRIES MAY ALERT YOU TO LEGAL ACTIONS.
You could be facing tax liens, mechanics liens or other legal actions of which you were unaware. Public records filings (where you are named) are contained in a section of the credit report and lists those items when reported through the courts and other agencies.
Don't be caught unaware!!! Know your credit score and have the knowledge you need to make your financial plans for 2013.
When you use the services of a Certified Credit Counselor to conduct a Credit Report Review, you have the advantage of someone who can explain the layout of the report, the codes relating to each entry and actions that you may take to improve your credit file and ulitmately your finances. Click here to fill out the form and receive a free copy of the FTC's "Taking Charge", which will offer steps you can take if you have been a victim of identity theft.
Impulsive spending can play havoc with your budget and place you over your own personal "financial cliff." "Kicking the can down the road" doesn’t work well for the government and it will not work well for your personal finances either. Americans are bombarded daily by advertising that entice consumers to “indulge” themselves with the newest and hottest item. We are sold on the idea that owning this new item will make us happy and bring us contentment. Forget about having a budget! Forget about the real cost of the purchase! That is what plastic is for, to spread the cost over several months or years. Don’t balance your check book because niether you or the bank will make a mistake! And the newest trend? Don’t carry cash because using a debit card is so much easier.
All of the above thinking can easily lead to impulsive spending. This past Christmas season might be an excellent example for many people; no plan and therefore, no money left. Not only are we made to feel guilty about what we should be spending on friends and relatives, but we also get into impulsive spending on buying for ourselves. It is estimated that over 60 % of people spend at least $140.00 on “non-gift items” they will use for themselves. Look at the line of people waiting on Black Friday for those TV and laptop specials. Not many of those were going to be gifted to family and friends.
So we are faced with a challenge. We bought for others and we bought for ourselves. The impulse monster found our Achilles heel. Now what to do? Here are five tips to bring balance back to your financial life:
Don’t Panic! Now is not the time to feel guilty. Guilt rebounds back on you over time until you either reason the guilt away or just not care anymore. Guilt is not productive and will not help you move forward with your financial goals.
Set realistic financial goals. You may not be able to pay back all of the debt you accumulated this year but you can commit to not adding to the debt.
Look for ways to earn extra money to apply to your debt. Garage sales and trade listings by sites like Craig’s List, Ebay, Oodle and Adpage can help you sell unwanted items. I have a friend who finds items for other people. They pay him a 10% finders’ fee to pay for his time and talent. Commit to apply all extra money you earn towards the debt.
The number one behavior that contributes to impulse buying is not having a written budget. You need to know what your lifestyle is costing you in real money….each month. Once you have this knowledge than you can make informed decisions on future spending.
This last tip is a big one. Take responsibility for your finances. Only you can change the financial situation you are in for 2013. It isn’t because you are not being paid what you are worth. It isn’t because everything costs too much. It isn’t because life has not been unfair to you. It is because your past decisions have placed you where you are today. Don’t be a victim of yourself. Get knowledge, be prepared, and make sound financial decisions.
You can stop yourself from going over your own financial cliff. If you want some helpful financial knowledge, go to our website at FLRMinistry.com to find financial tools to help you set a budget and understand how to handle your finances. All of our educational tools are free.
Today, I prayed.
I was leaving Kmart (again), after using my gift cards (not credit!), and met a woman named Barbara. As she approached me, I felt the same "Oh no" feeling. So many thoughts and feelings go through me at the same time. Is this person safe? I know she has a story but, is it true? I want to run away because I don't want to face the fact that this person could just as easily be ME but for the grace of God.
Then I remembered. I need to pray for her regardless of what I was feeling. I needed to pray for her whether her story was true or not. I needed to pray for her because I needed to pray for her!
I literally watched myself stand up straighter, shoulders back and took a deep breath as Barbara approached me and told me her story. Apparently she had several surgeries, she is living in a hotel with her two teenage daughters and just needed some financial help. I still couldn't tell if what she said was true or not but, I do know my heart broke for her and it turns out it really didn't matter if her story was true or not. What mattered was that she needed prayer.
So, to battle my fears, I sorta of pretended I was at work (Family Life Resources, Inc.). One of our specialties is that we take the time to hear a person's story and then, if permitted, we can pray for them. So, after hearing her story and giving her some money, I asked her if I could pray for her. She said "Yes! I believe in God and what He can do!" So, feeling compelled by her story and mine, I prayed for her. And, I prayed hard! I was reaching for God not only for her but for myself. I had to believe she (and I) really did matter in our little world in the Kmart parking lot. I do not know where the words came from but they came. I did not know what she did while I prayed because I closed my eyes and presented the two of us to the Father because our lives depended on it. If others were watching, pointing, wandering, well, I did not see them and for a moment, I lost self-consciousness and did not care. I felt so...strong. I know, funny word to use but it is true. I just knew God was listening. I just knew He would do something with this women's life. She had no choice now and neither did I. God was going to move!
When I finished, I opened my eyes and she was crying. She thanked me. We hugged. We both knew something was different. We talked a few minutes longer then, I watched her wander off wiping her eyes. She walked towards someone else. I smiled. Although I would have loved to see a car pull up (maybe Oprah or Steve Harvey?) and offer her a job, medical coverage, a house, a car, something, I knew that this was her life right now. I understand that. She would still have a hard time but I have to continue to believe with her and for her that her life was now going to change. Not just because I prayed but because I know that when I (we) pray, God listens and He is so willing to move on the behalf of all of us. For Barbara, it will soon be an improved life whatever that means for her as that is between her and God. I know that for me, I was made a little stronger and a little bolder. I am a little more satisfied with life. I know too, that my relationship with God is still as adventurous as ever!
Follow up to - My Christmas Letter - Remember to Pray