Budget. When we hear it, we may often cringe, thinking of all of the things we can’t do, or the common excuse managers give when they tell us no to our request for additional help. We’ve all likely experienced a no or two in life based on someone else’s budget.
Budgeting, however, is a personal skill we need to develop to have the character to succeed as individuals. Why? Because, to get right to the point, we live amongst all of the richest this world has to offer, and the richer our world gets, the more critical it is for us to budget our way to success.
Let me explain. Most of us don’t start off in Bill Gates’ current shoes with billions of dollars at our fingertips. We start with a few hundred dollars. When we have that few hundred extra dollars, what do we do? Most of us fall prey to the riches around us, and purchase one or two of the riches the world has to offer. Maybe we spend the money on eating out that month, maybe we buy a new tablet, phone, or speaker, or maybe we spend it on 20 new ebooks on how to be successful.
Besides money, we all have time allotted to us as well. When we have an hour of free time, how do we spend it? Do we quickly get sucked into the realm of social media, Netflix, or cute puppy videos on YouTube with the hour passing away unnoticed?
To be successful, we have to be willing to build our lives, character, skills, and assets. Not all of us will own billion-dollar corporations. All of us, however, can significantly improve our lives from where we are at right now.
It takes budgeting though. We have to have the ability to cut through the demands on our money and time to choose to invest our time and money in something that will lead to an improved, successful life. If we start out each week or month with a fixed budget that we live by, we will gain the capacity to forego wasting time and money on the things that don’t matter and don’t contribute to our success.
Budgeting lets us develop the strength to say no to things that keep us from success. When we’re surrounded by millions of items to purchase on Amazon and billions of web pages to visit on the Internet, we will give in, time and time again, until we create and stick to a personal budget. When we allow it, the riches of the world creep in, like ants, and rob us of our time and resources, one dollar and hour at a time.
Consider the individuals who set a weekly food and time budget. When making food selections in any given week, the individuals will forego tasty options that arise to stick to the set food budget. These individuals will gain the self-control necessary to say no to tasty food, meaning they will be more in control of their desires, appetites, and physical passions. If these same individuals budgeted one hour of time on social media that week and stuck to it, these individuals would be more in control and selective about what they view and see, giving them more control over their mind, desires, and self.
By gaining the ability to say no, these individuals gain the ability to put their resources, whether it be time, money, or something else, into the most productive area of their lives. They can rise above the allure and pull of all capitalism offers and all of its ways to waste a dollar or hour, to invest in themselves, the most important asset of all.
Of course, to be truly successful with budgeting, you must set goals of something else you want to accomplish. If you budget your time on social media and Netflix, but then find yourself sitting at home with nothing to do, the budget won’t be too successful for you. When you start budgeting, pick something important to you and pursue it. Learn to play the piano. Write a book. Have someone over for dinner. Build a treehouse. Remodel your bathroom. Read that ebook you purchased years ago. Just start with a goal and do it.
As you gain the capacity to say no to other things to pursue your set goal, you will quickly develop the character to accomplish things, good things, and your ability to pursue bigger and more meaningful goals will develop, one ‘no’ at a time. You will, before too long, find yourself with increased skills, increased confidence, and increased ability to be more successful.
When I was eighteen, I made a decision that has greatly impacted my life. I made the decision to always have something better to do with my time than watch TV. Since then, TV has fallen completely out of my life. I don’t even own one. Because of that decision, I’ve always had to have something else to work on when I felt like watching TV. As I’ve pursued various goals, my skills and abilities have improved, and I’ve been much happier seeing the things I’ve created. I don’t miss TV at all.
My investment in budgeting time has lead me to marrying my great wife and becoming a father to six beautiful children. It has lead me to opening my own law firm, to writing a book, to developing meaningful relationships with neighbors and associates. My law firm isn’t known on Wall Street, my book isn’t among the bestsellers of the world, and my children aren’t child prodigies. However, my life is good, and I find happiness in working and creating.
You will too. Happiness doesn’t come through what we possess but through creating good things, developing meaningful relationships, and investing in our individual progression. We all have the power to create and contribute, but we only have the resources to create something if we first learn to say no to spending our money and time on things we don’t need.
Budgeting, with good goals, is how we achieve personal success. Value a budget as our way to review and recognize the things we need, versus the things we waste. By learning to cut out the waste, we will progress and achieve our potential and have success in our personal lives.
Start today. The budgeting journey will take you to places you have always wanted to be.
You’re thinking about starting a business with a friend. You’re engaged. You’re considering loaning money to a family member who really needs help right now. Or, you’re in another situation where the thought of a contract has crossed your mind. But, you don’t need a contract because you trust them, and asking for a contract shows a lack of trust, right?
Sometimes, people get offended when we ask to put things in writing. They may wonder why you don’t trust them. They may think you doubt their ability to do what they promised. They may worry about your intentions later. All of these responses are normal, and often prevent people from writing their agreement down.
Yet, many lawyers live a lucrative life dealing with all of the situations that could have been significantly helped by a contract. The story to these lawyers is often the same – “I thought I could trust him.” Countless relationships have been destroyed over unmet expectations, loans not repaid, or strained business relationships.
In my experience, a good contract solidifies relationships and helps to keep friends and family together later. Good contracts help each side talk openly and honestly about the situation before them.
Consider these examples. Will lost his job and needs a little extra money to get by. “Jake is a nice brother” he thinks to himself, “has plenty of money and probably could help me out a little. I’m sure he would understand if it took me a little while to repay him while I get back on my feet.” When Jake is asked about loaning Will some money, Jake thinks “I needed this money to pay off some of my bad business decisions, but no one knows about that yet. If I don’t give it to him everyone will think I’m a miser. I’ll have to give it to him to keep relationships good in the family, but I’m going to tell him I need it repaid within 6 months at the latest.” Jake agreed to loan the money, and told Will he thought 6 months was an appropriate amount of time to be repaid.
Unfortunately for Jake and Will, they kept the remainder of their thoughts to themselves, and neither knew what the other was really thinking. When the 6 months passed and Will hadn’t repaid the debt, Jake grew frustrated as his debts were also coming due. A rift formed, and things went bad for them. Jake couldn’t believe that Will hadn’t followed through with the 6 month promise, while Will couldn’t believe that Jake was getting so frustrated over Will taking a little extra time to repay the debt. Things were still tough, and it was ridiculous for Jake to expect repayment at this time.
Another example. Rachel and Mary were going in to business together. They were great friends and did everything together. They agreed to split everything 50/50. The business grew slower than expected, forcing Mary to take a second job to help make ends meet. Rachel became frustrated that Mary wouldn’t sell her expensive house and was working a second job instead. Rachel started to grow upset at carrying the bulk of the business. Rachel felt Mary was dishonest and not living up to her agreement to contribute 50/50, while Mary felt betrayed that Rachel would expect her to sell the home she had worked for years to be able to build. Their relationship soured, and the business did not succeed. Both blamed the other for being too selfish and not understanding enough of the other’s situation.
While these are just examples, they reflect a story common to almost every business or relationship. Both sides in a relationship have expectations, and when those expectations aren’t met, the relationship begins to break down.
A good contract is a contract where both sides discuss their expectations, needs, and desires with each other. Including a good lawyer in the process helps in identifying issues that the people involved may not have thought about. The lawyer can look objectively at the situation, and help point out areas to think about and discuss with each other, especially when the lawyer has seen the types of things that make relationships go bad.
Ultimately, a good contract is one where you have a plan ‘A’, but where you also include a plan ‘B’. What if things don’t go as expected? What then? What is fair at that point? If the loan isn’t repaid in six months, what is the fair thing to happen? If the business doesn’t grow as anticipated, what then? If a partner leaves for a different opportunity, how is that situation handled?
Anticipating a secondary plan, and possibly another backup plan to that, enables friends to stay friends, and family to stay family. Life happens. It always will. Today’s expectations aren’t always tomorrow’s reality. Being honest about this fact and discussing expectations and what happens when those expectations aren’t met helps to resolve many a conflict before it starts.
Additionally, contracts help both sides remember the full agreement. No matter how smart someone is, they will forget details of an agreement. Memories change or fade over time, and even the most honest people can end up with different memories of the original agreement. Having a contract to review helps both sides keep their memories together, and serves as the record of the actual agreement reached earlier.
Finally, contracts can also be amended and changed as circumstances change, provided that both sides are still willing to work together. So, if you don’t know how things will go in the future, you can make your best plans, and then continue amending and updating as events unfold.
With the fast pace of life, the quickness with which memories fade, and the fact that all of us have expectations that we often don’t communicate unless required to, good contracts can help to maintain a good relationship with friends and family. These contracts help you plan for what’s fair if everything goes well, and what’s fair if it doesn’t go as expected.
Good contracts put both parties and their expectations on the same page (pun intended). If you worry about how to approach your friend, family member, or other associate about signing a contract, just say that you want to be fair, that you worry about your ability to remember everything, and that you value them enough to memorialize your commitment to them in writing. Most are respectful of your feelings when you express them as a way to help you stay fair in the relationship, as opposed to requesting that a contract be written up to ensure that they are going to do what they promised.
There’s an old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true in any situation dealing with agreements and relationships. Taking a little time today to talk through things and write up an agreement will help prevent and solve many issues that could arise later, and that could cost you a valued relationship.
Contact Hepworth Law for assistance in drafting up a custom contract suited for your situation and relationship. Hepworth Law drafts business, loan, real estate, prenuptial, licensing, construction, partnership, and many other types of agreements, and will always focus on creating a style and feel that works best for your relationship.
Good contracts make good friends, and every friendship is worth the small cost of communicating expectations, discussing potential scenarios, and memorializing an agreement of how to deal with the good and bad that comes with life. When friendships and relationships are founded on something solid, they last longer, grow stronger, and can remain lasting through the years. Getting an agreement while you’re still friends may be the best thing you do to help keep the relationship healthy, vibrant and strong through the years.
This article is not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is created by this posting. This information is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation. You should contact an attorney and discuss your specific situation and needs, as the above information may not provide the legal results you need in your situation. This is an advertisement for legal services provided by Hepworth Law, LLC in Utah.
Caring for children is often a significant undertaking, one requiring lots of patience, work, and love. Very few people will ever love your children the same as you do, making you the best candidate to raise them.
However, what happens to your children in the event you pass away unexpectedly? While it is not common for both parents to pass away, it does happen, including in situations such as car accidents. You can have peace of mind though that you have taken care of things for your children in the event of any such unforeseen circumstances by creating a Guardianship Will for your children.
A Guardianship Will can establish your preferences for who will be the guardians for your minor children. Without a guardianship designation in place, a judge will end up deciding where to send your children. While you love your brothers, sisters, or parents, you also know that not all of them would be the best suited for taking and caring for your children.
A Guardianship Will can also direct that a trust be established to hold all of the funds from your assets, so that the money there is used to pay for your children's care. If there are funds left by the time they reach adulthood, you can direct that such funds be dispersed for marriage, college, or other events, or dispersed to them directly at a given age.
The main drawback to a will, of course, is that wills have to be probated, meaning that they have to be filed in court and taken before a probate judge. This will likely incur some costs, but probate in Utah is a fairly straightforward and efficient process.
While trusts are a common tool to avoid probate, a trust cannot pass guardianship of a minor child. In other words, if you have a trust and pass away with minor children, you will still have to file in court for their guardianship to be properly established. Since probate will have to happen anyways, the Guardianship Will simply directs that a trust be established for the children while the probate is open.
The Guardianship Will allows you, in effect, to place some legal "insurance" in place for your children. The Guardianship Will is simple to establish and set up, and is a low cost legal service, cheaper even than a new smart phone. You do not have to know every detail of how all of your property will pass, and can save the trust formation and more formal estate planning for a later time when your children are grown and you have more of an idea of what your estate planning needs will be.
The Guardianship Will is a great solution for estate planning during the time that you have minor children at home. While the goal is a long and prosperous life, having a backup plan in place will bring peace of mind and stability to you and your children.
Contact Hepworth Law today at (801) 550-7620 to discuss creating a Guardianship Will for your minor children.
This article is not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is created by this posting. This information is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation. You should contact an attorney and discuss your specific situation and needs, as the above information may not provide the legal results you need in your situation. This is an advertisement for legal services provided by Hepworth Law, LLC, and is only general information about situations in the State of Utah.