FINANCIAL FOCUS – Declare Your Financial Independence Day

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We’re getting close to the Fourth of July, when we celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in this country. The U.S. constitution grants us many of these liberties, but we have to earn others – such as our financial freedom. What steps can you take to achieve the financial independence you need to reach your long-term goals?

For starters, always work to build your resources. Contribute as much as you can afford to your IRA and your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. At a minimum, put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered.  If you don’t take advantage of this match, you are essentially leaving money on the table.

While how much you invest is an essential factor in gaining your financial freedom, how you invest your money is equally important. So make sure you have sufficient growth potential in all your accounts. While growth-oriented investments, such as stocks and stock-based vehicles, carry investment risk, you can help moderate this risk by also including other investments, such as bonds.

Another way to gain your financial independence is to liberate yourself from the shackles of debt. This isn’t always easy, of course – most of us have experienced times when our cash flow simply wasn’t sufficient to meet our expenses, so we had to take on some type of debt, either through a credit card or a loan. But the more you can control your debts, the more money you’ll have to save and invest for your future.

One way to manage your debt load is to build an emergency fund, containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses, which you can use to pay unexpected costs such as a major car repair or a large medical bill. Ideally, you should keep this money in a liquid, low-risk account, so you can access the funds quickly and without penalty. Aside from possibly helping you control your debts, an emergency fund also may enable you to avoid dipping into your long-term investments to pay for short-term needs.

Thus far, we’ve only discussed achieving your financial freedom through methods of saving and investing. But you also need to consider your protection needs, too. If you were to become ill or suffer a serious injury, and you could not work for a while, your financial security could be jeopardized. Your employer might offer you disability insurance as an employee benefit, but it may not be enough for your needs, so you might need to purchase some additional coverage on your own. And to help ensure your family’s financial security, you’ll also need sufficient life insurance.

You also might want to protect yourself from the catastrophic costs of long-term care, such as an extended nursing home stay. The average annual cost for a private room in a nursing home is more than $92,000, according to the 2016 Cost of Care Study issued by the insurance company Genworth. And Medicare generally covers only a small percentage of these expenses. You may want to consult with a financial professional to learn about ways you can protect yourself from the long-term care burden.

By following these suggestions, you can go a long way toward declaring your own financial independence. Consider taking action soon.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Marques Young
Edward Jones Investments
8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 112
Cordova, TN 38018
Office: (901) 751-0634
Email: marques.young@edwardjones.com
Member SIPC

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Why Amazon is REALLY buying Whole Foods

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Over the last 5 days (or so), I’ve been thinking a lot about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods… and the business decisions that led Amazon to be able to make that offer.

My team and I are committed to rapid growth for LinkedSelling, so anytime I can study how the best in the world do it… I pay attention. That said, there’s a lot to learn here.

To illustrate this I want you to consider two dates:

July 5th, 1994

– Amazon was founded as “Cadabra”
– Whole foods was valued at $220M

June 16, 2017

– Amazon offer’s Whole Foods $13.7 Billion to acquire the grocery chain

So what happened here? How was Amazon able to make up ground so quickly on a company that had a $220M head start?

They went all in on digital media.

They understood that the best way to grow a company was to innovate… and take advantage of the tools that were available to them.

While neither you nor I have a company that is even remotely comparable to where Amazon (or Whole Foods) are for that matter, there are still lessons that small to medium sized business owners can, and should, take from this.

This lesson can be summed up in a not-so-eloquently-put quote that I heard from Gary Vaynerchuk recently…

“The New World Is Going to Eat the Old World”

By this, he means that businesses who are not willing (everyone is able) to adapt their business growth techniques to the current digital landscape are going to continue to see their revenue decline.

Josh Turner
www.linkedselling.com
Josh

6 ways to stop blocking your own success

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Even the most excellent leaders sometimes find that one day, suddenly, what once worked so well to propel their rise stops working. And the very same traits that had worked for them actually start working against them. Another stellar career comes to an abrupt end.

This is the moment when leaders confront a critical and very uncomfortable question: What if there’s a gap in what I think I know?

One of the seven leadership archetypes that I outline in my book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness, is the Truth-Teller, who above all else, values candor. But in the face of uncertainty, someone who relies on telling the truth can bring about their own demise.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

5 ways to be more impressive in meetings

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It can be difficult to communicate clearly with team members in the office when you’re having a particularly rough morning, or if you work in an environment where you don’t feel supported. Here are five things getting in the way of your open dialogue and how to fix them.

Seek psychological safety

Stress from an old job can follow you, and if you don’t clear those old patterns, you’ll bring fear to every interaction.

Nat Dudley had to fight baggage from a toxic workplace that followed her once she was in a job she loved. In a recent Medium post, Dudley talked about her post-traumatic stress disorder from the experience, saying that “not everyone will be affected to that level,” but urges readers who think they might have it to seek medical help.

“Fast-forward a year, and there’ve been many more things that have surprised me about the lingering impacts of toxic workplaces. Like emerging from an abusive relationship, I discovered that I’d internalized many lessons on interacting and communicating that don’t apply in a healthy environment. Most of these were driven by fear: fear of being yelled at, fear of argument culture, fear of punishment if you’ve misunderstood or didn’t perfectly follow instructions, fear of social ostracism, fear of judgment for not knowing all the answers,” Dudley wrote.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

10 mistakes smart people never make twice

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Everybody makes mistakes — that’s a given — but we don’t always learn from them. Sometimes we make the same mistakes over and over again, fail to make any real progress, and can’t figure out why.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” — Bruce Lee

When we make mistakes, it can be hard to admit them because doing so feels like an attack on our self-worth. This tendency poses a huge problem because new research proves something that common sense has told us for a very long time: fully acknowledging and embracing errors is the only way to avoid repeating them.

Yet many of us still struggle with this.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

8 Founders on the Turning Points That Changed Their Businesses

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Hard work can pay off — if you know how to seize the right moments.

Every entrepreneur has the moment — that time when hard work finally pays off, when a long-desired opportunity presents itself and the entrepreneur has to decide how to react.

The moment can be stressful, and for good reason. It can be a turning point for any business, but only if it’s seized properly. And as the eight founders here can attest, it isn’t always clear what the right move is. Success takes guts. It takes sweat. It takes a lot of hard work — first to have reached the moment, and then to prepare for what happens next.

Will you grab the opportunity when it hits?

To read the rest of the article, click here.

20 Free Tools Your Small Business Should Be Using Today

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Although your small business needs a healthy amount of software to conduct operations, it’s not necessary for you to spend a fortune on web-based products. In our comprehensive testing of business and consumer software, we’ve come across dozens of incredible and free solutions that can help you get the job done. We’ve tested free tools in almost all facets of business — from email marketing to endpoint protection to project management.

To find out what these 20 free tools are, click here.

5 Low-Cost Franchises You Can Start for as Little as $4,000

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As an entrepreneur, you are done working for other people. You want to follow your dreams, set your own goals and dive into projects you are passionate about.

But starting a business can expensive, risky and at times lonely. To mitigate those problems, we did a deep dive into 2017’s Franchise 500 List to find opportunities that are affordable, have proven growth potential and provide tremendous support.

Check out this list of five franchises you can start in your area for less than $4,000.

For the rest of the full list of amazing franchises click here.

Why Food Truck Businesses Are Revving Up

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Spring is finally here, and that means more and more people will be out and about. That means it’s a great time for people in the food industry — specifically the food truck business.

Today, food trucks are the fastest-growing channels in the food service industry. In 2012, food truck revenue was $650 million, however that number has since skyrocketed. Today, food truck revenue has reached a whopping $2.7 billion.

So why are food trucks so popular? If you’re a first-time entrepreneur, a food truck can be a much more affordable option than an actual restaurant. And for less than $100,000, someone can launch a food truck business that can make anywhere between $250,000 to $500,000.

Flexibility, diversity and communication also make food trucks an attractive entrepreneurial venture. Food truck purveyors have the ability to quickly and easily test new concepts, menu items and recipes. They can also cater to various tastes in different locations.

To learn why food truck businesses are revving up, check out Food Truck Operator’s infographic by clicking here.

For more great articles like this one check out our source entrepreneur.com

Investment Guides for Experts of All Levels

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As small to medium size business owners many times we are only thinking about investing in our businesses, our family and our fun, however, we truly need to diversify our income. When we are ready to slow down the pace during our best years we need to create ways to bring in various streams of income. Some of the ways we can do this is through real estate (rental properties), investments, affiliates, and other businesses you may invest in where you are the silent partner and others are responsible for making the business grow.

Here is a great guide for experts of all levels by Clark Howard.

Jacqueline H. Waller
Jacqueline

Jacqueline Waller, the ATL Connector is the Founder/President of Connecting Atlanta. Ms. Waller, a sales and marketing professional with nearly 20 years of experience, has assisted numerous businesses in meeting goals and objectives for their revenue, market share and profits. She also believes in the power of your ‘network is your net worth’, being a social butterfly, she has connected with hundreds of people whom she has brought into Connecting Atlanta where they have launched their businesses, moved from struggling into sustainability and provided opportunities for others to connect to build! Her background extends from collections, finance, underwriting, and information technology.