Greeley couple moves all their worldly possessions and two dogs into a 100 …

As she ambled around the junkyard on a September afternoon, Blair Belt pointed out vintage vans and broken trailers.

That one could work, she told her boyfriend, Jason Clark. Or that one. But Belt had her heart set on the 1954 bus she saw at the beginning, despite the fact it was filled with broken seats and tumbleweeds.

“We kept coming back to the bus,” Belt said. “It’s 20 acres around the junkyard and we thought, ‘Yeah, that’s our number one. That’s the one we want.’ ”

That’s the one, they thought. That could be their new home.

They knew what they were planning sounded crazy, but they wanted an adventure.

Originally, Clark and Belt thought they were going to buy a trailer and build a tiny home on top of it. At one point they thought maybe they could combine some vintage vehicles to create a hodgepodge home on wheels, like the Weasley’s Burrow in Harry Potter. As an avid Harry Potter fan, Belt liked that idea.

When they found the filthy bus sitting at Martin’s Salvage Yard, however, Belt said she just knew it was going to be their home.

Clark, 28, and Belt, 23, had plans to build a tiny home and take a nine-month trip around the US They would probably live in it for a few years after they arrived to their final destination in Vermont, where Belt plans to attend circus school.

After a failed bartering session — Belt got too excited and offered the full $1,000 they had budgeted up front — they purchased the bus that September day and picked it up a month later.

On Dec. 31, the couple plans to pull out of the driveway of their 2,100-square-foot loft in downtown Greeley to start a new life with a few possessions and their two dogs in the bus and its 100-square-feet of space.

The pair decided to try living tiny after they stayed for three days on a converted bus in Vermont. They were visiting the New England Center for Circus Arts.

Blair will be starting circus school in the fall to learn about aerial silk, like in Cirque du Soleil. Cirque du Soleil is Belt’s big dream, and the bus will be the catalyst to getting her there.

In the loft, they’re constantly stepping over boxes labeled for Goodwill. And on the bus, it feels like a circus act, like the clowns in the car, trying to get everything they need to fit.

There were many challenges and times when their parents encouraged them to cut their losses and sell it. But they persevered. They both finished their jobs this past week. Their new life begins with the New Year.

Belt and Clark admit they’re a little nervous but mostly excited for what they call the adventure of a lifetime.

“These will be the crazy stories we tell our kids someday,” Clark said.

REMODEL

Belt and Clark believe when they leave behind their huge apartment in Greeley for the comforts of the 100-square-foot school bus, they’ll miss their long, hot showers most.

There’s no plumbing on the bus, so soon their showers will be spent hovering over a portable toilet — yes, you read that right — with water fed through the window from buckets outside.

At least it will be heated.

They bought the $1,000 bus shell in September and Trailermade Custom Trailers welded it to the trailer for $3,400. They got it back mid-November and have been working on it every day since.

That was about half of the cost of the whole project — so far, at least. The rest has been smaller expenses. So far they have about $7,500 into the whole process, Clark said, and the goal is to keep it below $10,000.

The bus itself won’t be drivable because of how it’s mounted on the trailer. They will pull it behind Clark’s truck.

They will have a bedroom, a living/dining room, (all of which will be the same space) a kitchen, a bathroom and storage space tucked in wherever it fits, such as under the couches, under the back deck and in shelves above the kitchen. They’ll even have a small closet beside the bathroom.

They plan to power the bus with solar panels the two are putting together themselves. They will also have a backup generator and a battery pack tucked in where the drivers feet would go if they’d kept the driver’s seat.

Over the past month, the loft has been a revolving door for friends who came to help.

Clark said it’s been a lot of guesswork and taking help when and where they can get it.

The curves in the bus made it hard to measure things in a definitive way, so there was a lot of cutting, placing and trimming. Clark said it’s been a long, hard project, but it’s theirs and they’re happy.

In their apartment, they’ve been tripping over boxes for weeks. Some are labeled for Goodwill, some are to be given away and others were filled with stuff that might — or might not — make the cut for the bus.

Belt and Clark teased each other about how each of them can only take two pairs of shoes and a pair of jeans because they won’t have the space for much more.

Getting rid of stuff was the goal, but there were still some painful sacrifices.

Clark said the hardest thing to give up was his collection of LEGOs.

“Those were like my nostalgic little vice,” he said. “When I needed to turn my brain off after building sets all day, I’d tinker with my LEGOs.”

Out of seven big totes, he kept only enough to build a scaled-down Hogwarts — a promise he made to the lady of the tiny house.

Belt said she had a hard time giving up clothes and shoes, but what has been the hardest for her is the nostalgic stuff. She said she might cheat on tiny living just a little and gather a trunk of pictures and old cards from her family to leave at her mom’s house.

Every time they had to give something up, they would remember it’s for the bus. That made it easier, Clark said.

“In order for us to have a more adventurous life, we have to let go of the things that are holding us down,” Belt said.

TINY MOVEMENT

Belt and Clark are part of a growing movement to live in tiny places. HGTV even has several TV shows devoted to the idea.

For many tiny livers, it’s a financial statement.

Thetinylife.com said 78 percent of tiny house dwellers own their home, compared to only 65 percent of homeowners in traditional houses.

Additionally, about 55 percent of tiny house livers have more savings than the average American with a median of $10,972 in the bank.

That was a huge motivator for Clark and Belt.

Sure, Belt and Clark could continue renting apartments in Vermont, but Belt said they want the financial freedom a tiny house will give them. They spent $12,000 on rent this past year and had nothing to show for it. That money, Belt said, could have paid for trips to the mountains.

They think the tiny house will help them live within their means.

“We’re children of the ’90s, so we saw our parents in this absolute consumer phase of ‘the economy is doing well, we’ve got credit, let’s spend it,'” Clark said. “Then the economy crashed and through that I think people have come back to more living off of what (they) have.”

He said he thinks that upbringing has helped shape the tiny house movement. “I think that has made our generation much more thrifty in that we all understand a little bit more the meaning of a dollar, and we’re tired of throwing away our rent to something we don’t even own,” Clark said. “I thought, ‘Let’s take that money and invest it in something that is ours, something that is unique.'”

FRIENDS/PUBLIC INTEREST

Belt said the positive response when she tells someone what she’s doing with the bus is sometimes overwhelming and really encouraging.

Most people are a little jealous, saying they wish they had done something like it when they were younger.

Many even offer to help out.

Staff at Uncle Benny’s Building Supplies in Loveland offered to help them hang the door if they bought it at the store.

They spent the first month of the build in a workshop space donated by Victoria Allison, the owner of Modern Spaces, a small spaces remodel company based in west Greeley. They were both able to stay out of the Colorado weather and use some of Allison’s expertise.

The couple also had friends come from all over Colorado to help with the nuts and bolts.

They had help or input on everything from building the custom-made furniture to cleaning the dirty shell to building the caboose porch.

“As much as this is our project, we would not be anywhere close to where we are without our friends,” and others who helped, Clark said. “It takes a village to build a bus.”

For anything they didn’t know how to do, they’ve relied on the “skoolie” community. Skoolies are people who have converted school buses into homes. They come armed with knowledge, suggestions and advice, without which Belt said they’d be lost.

YouTube and videos have also been a huge help in the project.

“The power of YouTube has been amazing,” Clark said, “and the blind ignorance of not realizing what we’re doing is foolish.”

Clark loves the idea of the freedoms tiny living will offer.

“We could wake up looking at the Grand Canyon or the Teton Mountains, and the next week be on the Appalachian Trail,” Clark said.

Belt said she can’t wait to get on the road. They have a plan to hit 11 states, traveling a little less than 5,000 miles, but it changes every time Belt or Clark find a new destination they want to see.

“Everything we’re going to get to see,” Belt said with a huge smile. “We’re just going to live free for a minute.”

Wealthy Woman Tip: How to Remove Financial Stress from Your Life

Did you know that 90% of Americans live under chronic stress? And, guess what the number one cause of stress is for most people… money! Have you ever had money worries, trouble communicating about money, or a complete lack of confidence around practical application (how to save, invest, protect) your money?

I think its safe to say that most people can answer yes to the above. Stress wreaks havoc on the body, mind, spirit, our relationships, our business, and our life. When it gets out of control, it can actually lead to a host of health issues – from diabetes to obesity to heart disease and more. This creates a challenge in our financial life because one of the leading causes (that I saw as a Financial Advisor) why people did not qualify to protect their income with disability insurance is because of the long list of anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications that they were prescribed.

Imagine that. Stress can actually prevent you from protecting your greatest asset: the ability to earn an income and maintain your strong brand image.

Stress comes from not living in alignment with your values. The key to reducing financial stress is to look at your financial mindset and financial strategies compared to your values. Is saving for the future important for you? Do you want to afford to send the kids to college or enjoy retirement? Then, earning a high six or seven figure income definitely helps, and so does creating a creating a financial plan. The more income that you create as an entrepreneur, the more income that you can save – but you might as well get your strategies right the first time so that you can love money, not stress over it.

What are your financial values?

Living in alignment with your values reduces stress. Where values are defined as being like your life compass, then your financial values are like your money compass. So, how you spend your dollars speaks volumes about how you value money – and yourself.

For me, I value security. I am very deliberate and strategic about how I take on financial risk. So, the vast majority of my assets are in tax free, guaranteed products and my income is fully protected. I consider investing in myself as an entrepreneur to be the risk. And while this is the risky part of my portfolio, it aligns with another one of my financial beliefs: as entrepreneurs, we are our greatest asset. (I will always bet on my own ability to succeed).

You have to believe in your own ability to generate wealth and be successful at growing your business. Investing in yourself is the best way to get started and the sooner that you do so, the better. Just like the sooner that you start investing in a 401(k), or savings account – the sooner that you invest in yourself, the greater chance you have to compound your growth. If you are not willing to invest in yourself, then why should your ideal clients do so?

Create a plan to remove stress.

As an entrepreneur, you should consider your financial values and if they are in alignment with you, your business model and your goals. When you are out of alignment, thats when you become stressed, overwhelmed, and lost. So, create a plan that fits YOU, and remove stress from the equation.

If youre not sure how, then seek out help. If you want to transform your relationship with money then check out The Love Money Course. http://meganmcavoy.com/Courses.aspx Before you can attract ideal, high-paying clients, you must understand your relationship with money. You can transform your money relationship to communicate more authentically, build wealth in line with your values, and create financial freedom while having more time to enjoy life. But, you have to believe that you are worth the investment.

Confidence starts with you. If youre ready for a healthy, wealthy 2016 then lets get started. Catch me on Instagram for more tips on loving money and reducing stress. @megmcavoy

Say Goodbye to Being Broke: 5 Steps to Break the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle

You graduated. (Check.)

You landed your first “real” job. (Check.)

You’re on the path to your dream career. (Check.)

And yet you may have discovered that even with a steady paycheck, you still feel like a struggling college student – running out of money a few days before pay day, barely able to make bill payments and never close to saving anything month over month. (Check, check, check.)

Breathe. You’re not alone. About 40 percent of people live paycheck to paycheck, according to a Nielsen study earlier this year of 1,655 adults. It’s a cycle that can be hard to break, especially for those just starting their careers. Essentially, paycheck-to-paycheck living happens when you have to wait for your next paycheck before making basic financial moves, such as paying bills, buying food or doing something fun. It can feel never-ending.

While it may seem impossible to break free of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, there are steps you can take to reach financial freedom.

1. Take stock of what you have. It starts with understanding your current spending habits and examining your finances. First, identify all your fixed costs such as rent, groceries and student loan payments. These are the nonnegotiable expenses. Then, look at what you spend on nonessential items like dining out and entertainment. Budgeting tools can categorize your spending and help you manage cash flow. They can also help you differentiate between wants and needs. You will learn to spend with purpose. Remember, this is not about sacrifice; it’s about making smart financial choices. Trimming the “wants” may leave you with more money to put toward paying down debt or building an emergency fund.

2. Trim the fat.Reduce monthly expenses by eliminating or negotiating your monthly bills. For instance, cancel the gym membership you don’t use or look for free, alternative ways to exercise. Review your cable, phone and credit card bills for hidden fees, or simply reach out to your service providers and negotiate a better deal. Consolidate your student loans and lock in a fixed rate. Take public transportation or join a carpool. Take advantage of 0 percent APR balance transfers on any credit cards you have. Commit to cooking meals at home instead of dining out. You’ll start to see more green, and the pressure on your wallet will start to fade.

3. Downsize.No one ever said it was going to be easy to break this cycle, but temporary sacrifices will pay off. Consider moving to a cheaper house or apartment for a year, or downsize your car to a more affordable or eco-friendly vehicle. Even smaller sacrifices, such as selling books, clothes and household items on Craigslist or Poshmark, can boost your income. These short-term changes can make a big difference in the long run.

4. Divide and conquer.You might not know it, but many companies offer the option to split your paycheck and deposit fixed amounts into different accounts. Jump-start your savings account by taking a small piece of your paycheck (start with $25 or $50 per paycheck – you’ll hardly notice), and have it deposited into a savings account. Once you get a buffer, and if you’re feeling adventurous, increase the amount every few months and watch your saving grow.

5. Don’t make money taboo.More people than you think are in your same financial situation, and it’s OK to talk about it. Find a “money buddy” you can confide in to swap money tips, stresses and successes. This buddy can hold you accountable for your financial choices and celebrate when you reach your goals. If talking about money with friends and family is a little TMI, turn to social media and personal finance blogs for the latest in money-saving trends and advice.

Finding financial stability takes time, and, in many instances, is out of your control. However, there are steps you can take both big and small to make a change for the better with your money. Don’t get frustrated, and keep with it. After a few months, you’ll start to see a difference.

NSE Advises Youths on Early Investment and Financial Planning

Nigerian Stock Exchange

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last Friday urged the youths to start early to secure themselves financially.

Speaking at the fourth quarterly Investors Clinic, targeted at the youths, the Head of Corporate Services Division, NSE, Mr. Bola Adeeko said the exchange is committed to building a financially literate generation and will continue to commit resources to implement a variety of programmes that will enable young people imbue the requisite skills and knowledge that will help them navigate the future through smart investing.

He told the youths that personal financial planning is no longer a concept that applies solely to members of the labour force, adults in our society or the upper social class.

According to him, aside from understanding capital market products as individual investors, the programme is intended to aid the appreciation of basic investment principles, deepen your understanding of personal financial management, promote financial literacy and gradually help in restoring confidence in the Nigerian capital market across the youth demography, through dissemination of information about investment principles which can be used to leverage the capital market to grow and preserve wealth.

Contemporary society requires everyone to understand the principles of money and develop personal financial management skills that will enable them manage their finances effectively and achieve financial freedom.

Financial freedom is much more than having money. It is the freedom to do what you want to do without your current financial position being a constraint. Enjoying the rewards of financial freedom is simply a matter of increasing your financial education, determining where you are now financially and where you want to be. This is the decision we encourage everyone to take, and each participant present today has an opportunity to make that decision early in life, he said.

He noted that the NSE provides a platform for investors to grow and preserve their wealth.

Over the past four years, the NSE has embarked on several transformation projects that has positioned the exchange as a key player in both local and global financial landscapes. As an organisation and regulator of the capital market, we recognise the importance of engaging all our stakeholders to accommodate their needs, and manage their expectations from the market, Adeeko said.

Baseball’s dying? Not according to StubHub’s 2015 ticket sales

Baseballspopularity is dying and no one watches anymore, so goes acommon saying.

Yeah? Well this year Major League Baseballs annual revenues are near $10 billion–on par withthe National Football League–and it seems every other day this offseason a new record contract is signed.

And theres more proof the National Pastime is not on the decline.

StubHub, the countrysmost popular online ticket-buying site for sporting events (and other things), disclosed toNJ Advance Mediathatfive of its top-10 highest-selling events in 2015 were the five World Series games between the Metsand Kansas City Royals.

Three of the games, in fact, were in the top five. (KC won the series in five games, the final three of which were played at Citi Field in Queens.)

Here are StubHubstop-10 selling events from 2015:

  • 1. Super Bowl
  • 2.World Series Game 3
  • 3.World Series Game 4
  • 4.World Series Game 5
  • 5. Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight
  • 6. College FootballNational Championship
  • 7.World Series Game 2
  • 8. Stanley Cup Finals Game 6
  • 9. New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys
  • 10.World Series Game 1

The Super Bowl at No. 1 will surprise no one–its the most-watched event on the planet. But the above figures, which arecalculated by total dollars generated per event, helps support the idea that interest in baseball is not waning.

The Mets play in the countrys largest market, which therefore drivesupticket prices, but still, no other sport has more than two events in the top 10.

Yankees have a path to (financial) freedom

StubHub said that theYankees lone playoff game against the Houston Astros in the AL Wild Cardwas not in the companystop 20 this year.

Won’t make tall promises: CM

Furfura Sharif: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said if there was any gap between promise made by her government and its performance, it was due to the financial debts she inherited from the previous government.

Speaking at Furfura Sharif, the countrys third biggest Muslim pilgrimage center, Mamata said that by voting her to power in 2011, people had ensured political freedom, but not financial freedom. The CM said she wouldnt make any tall promises but will continue to work if she was reelected.

She also indicated that the dates for the 2016 assembly elections could be declared in the next two to three months.

Mamata shared the dais with an eclectic mix of Muslim religious leaders and clerics, some of whom had sporadically trained the guns on her four-and-a-half-year-old government for doing little for minorities.

Toha Siddiqui, the Furfura Sharif peerzada, set the tone of the meeting. We are not lackeys of either Trinamool Congress or CPM. We can decide the outcome of 48 assembly seats in Bengal. We will hold another meeting (in Kolkata) where we will firm up our road-map, he said.

Mamata said, I dont claim that I have done everything I said. I dont mislead.What you must know is that we have inherited a govern ment reeling under financial bondage.

CFPB financial well-being tool

On December 11, the CFPBreleaseda tool designed to help measure a persons financial well-being, defined in the agencysJanuary reportas a state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future, and is able to make choices that allow them to enjoy life. The tool consists of aset of questionsand ascoring worksheet, as well asabbreviatedversions ofboth. Financial educators are encouraged to use the tool to quantify a consumers financial well-being on a scale that considers the persons present and future financial security and financial freedom of choice. The scale is designed to help financial educators (i) assess a persons financial well-being at the beginning of the consultation; (ii) track a persons financial progress over time; (ii) gauge how effective a program is in improving consumers financial well-being; and (iv) analyze the relationship between financial well-being and other factors in financial survey research.

Financial Freedom Defined: How I’ve Maintained it for 9 Years

How to have businesses work for you, not you for them.

Just over 9 years ago, a brash 23 year old version of me proved his parents wrong.

They told me at 18 I needed to go to university to become anything more in life than an electronics salesman.

Challenge Accepted. I told them that by 24 Id become financially free. I had no idea what that was, but in the end I defined it as: Earning over $120,000 AUD per year, and only having to work less than 30 minutes per week.

After achieving that goal with a couple of phone stores, I played the video game “Battlefield 2” for six months straight becoming only around average skill at the game.

So I chose to combine my interests by creating a video game company.

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Today I define financial freedom as: Passively earning enough money to cover all of my needs and many non-extravagant wants.

Every time I create a business I have a specific intention work smart and hard for six months, then replace myself with a key person, such as a manager and/or minor owner, whom I have been training along the way.

Having done this several times now within various industries, here are my main takeaways.

1) Experience all parts of the business.

There are three basic roles within every business, and each employee can have  all three within their responsibilities.

Technician: The role of doing the highly specialized jobs within that industry, ie Salesperson, Computer Technician, Massage Therapist.

Manager: The role of coordinating and inspiring staff, problem solving major issues and expanding the business.

Owner: The role of strategic planning, monthly board meetings and signing oh so many documents such as leases, bank loans, and contracts.

When first starting a business, it greatly helps to experience many technician jobs yourself, at least on a fundamental level, so you can then accurately manage the people you hire. From managing and understanding the pressures the replacing manager will experience, you can then work on the more macro aspects of the business primarily as the owner.

2) Incentivize ownership for the key person.

Discover your key persons hot buttons whether fame, fortune, freedom or a combination of these. Be prepared to give part of your business away risk-free to them for the trade of being completely free from the daily stresses of the business. A massive mistake I made years ago came about by gradually giving ownership based off revenue increases instead of bottom line profit increases. Nonetheless, this prevents having to give regular pay raises from money you don’t have, as their success is directly tied to the businesss success.

3) Leverage yourself out of the business.

Begin to give more and more responsibility to your key person, who will then delegate it on or do it themselves. Here is a modified version of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix that I use as my order of priority when leveraging myself out of each business.

Not important, not urgent: Leave it and allow whoever wants it done to follow you up.

Urgent amp; very important: Do it immediately.

Urgent, not very important: Delegate to your key person with deadline.

Very important, not urgent: Schedule into your calendar with deadline.

Important, not urgent: Add to your to-do list or your key persons list with no deadline.

The level of importance of what the key person can take on will increase over time, as they get used to being the main man or woman.

4) Keep 2 fingers on the pulse.

Have regular checks and balances you can review each month in a board meeting covering strategic forwarding, finances and morale. Through making it my business to know what the probable, almost certain future of my businesses were, I was able to ride the good times for longer and deal powerfully with the hard times, taking affirmative action when required to shift the course of the business from disaster.

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Im incredibly grateful to every soul whos worked towards enabling my daily life to be what it is, and look forward to what bigger positive impacts I can create in the world now, as a result of having so much time to learn, create and enjoy life.

Theres much more about this in an upcoming book by myself and Jason Chen, titled The Financial Freedom Formula: A Formula to Create or Transform Any Business Into Your Passive-Income Machine. Private message me for an exclusive preview.

What are your best practices for freeing your time to invest it more into what you love?

Photo credit: Flickr/deYiMW

The economy’s strong, but how’s your economic health?

If I were diagnosing the state of Americas economic health, here are a few things Id look at. The US Current Activity Indicator (CAI) — a real-time measure of GDP growth — stands at 3 percent. The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows employers added 280,000 jobs in May and that year-over-year earnings rose 2.3 percent, both higher than projected. Last week we learned that job openings rose to 5.4 million at the end of April, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), and that core retail sales growth in May outpaced expectations at a seasonally adjusted 1 percent. Taken together, its my professional opinion that after a less-than-hearty Q1 start, our economy is showing unmistakable signs of improvement.

Thats the US bill of economic health — but what about your own? Whats the state of your personal economy? Find out by asking yourself these five questions:

Is your budget in good shape? At each months end, does your income cover all expenses? If not, review the percentages allocated to each spending bucket (rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, retirement, birthdays, holidays, a new refrigerator, etc.). Look for ways to curb overspending. The point of budgeting is to better manage your money on your terms, not the creation of the ideal budget thats impossible to follow. Be honest with yourself about what you really need (typically the boring stuff) and what you can really do without (usually the fun stuff), but dont be intimidated, either. Keep your chin up and keep trying. Look at it as a work in progress and ultimately the key to financial freedom: freedom from debt and stress today and freedom from worry about tomorrow because youre saving for emergencies and retirement.

Are you contributing to a retirement plan? Are you contributing enough? The type of plan you participate in determines how much you can contribute each year. If your employer offers to match a portion of your contributions, are you contributing enough to get all of those free dollars? If you are 50 or over, are you taking advantage of the catch-up provisions of the tax code? Consistently contributing to your retirement plan will pay off greatly later, and most of us can achieve this through payroll deduction, making it one of the simplest ways to save for our future.

Have you checked your credit report this year? If you havent, go to www.annualcreditreport.com to request a free copy from each of the three credit reporting companies. Carefully check to make sure that all of the information is correct and up to date on each report. Credit reports can affect your mortgage rate, credit card approvals, insurance applications and even job applications. Suspicious activity or accounts you dont recognize can be signs of identity theft. Review your credit reports and catch problems early.

How is your emergency fund doing after the first six months of this year? Did you have any unexpected expenses that required dipping into your cash reserve? If so, start working on restoring that balance. Most of us should have three to six months of living expenses in some type of savings account that serves as our emergency fund to protect against an unforeseen financial blow.

Has anything about your life changed this year? A change in your marital status, health, employment or benefits? A new child, grandchild or home? Have you received an inheritance or established a college savings plan for your children? An event like any of these can necessitate adjustments to your will, insurance coverage, retirement planning, tax status, investments and more. And if you have experienced a significant change in your lifestyle, have you told your financial adviser? Each time you meet with your financial adviser, he or she should inquire about these changes — but dont wait for them to ask. Schedule the appointment and find out what, if any, adjustments and fine-tunings should be made to your financial life.

Heres to the US economy and your own getting even better! For help improving your financial well-being, talk to a professional: a financial adviser.

Phoebe Venable, chartered financial analyst, is president and COO of CapWealth Advisors LLC. Her column on women, families and building wealth appears each Saturday in The Tennessean.

Miami Heat Rumors: Goran Dragic Contract Forces Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng …

According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Heat will offer Dragic a five-year, $80 million contract which is the best deal the point guard can be offered as any other team can only give him a four-year contract. The Heat originally acquired Dragic in a trade with the Phoenix Suns during the middle of the season and he proved to be worth the price after taking over as the starter. The Heat need to retain him considering they would be left with very few options if Dragic were to leave.

The issue with the Dragic contract is the repercussions it could have on the remainder of the team. According to the Miami Herald, Wade wants a big raise to the tune of $20 million. Sources are reporting the veteran plans on opting out of his $16.1 million player option for next season with the intent of signing a deal that better secures his future. Instead, the Heat want to offer Wade a deal of $10 million per season if he were to opt out which would be the third pay cut the veteran has taken in his career with the team. If Dragic is getting a max deal, the Heat cannot afford Wade at $20 million per season.

The contract can also factor into the future of Luol Deng. The forward was signed as the replacement to LeBron James and he has a $10.2 million option in his contract. There have been no hints regarding what Deng plans on doing, but in order to re-sign Wade, the forward might be the odd man out in 2015.

The Miami Herald is reporting that Heat would like to re-sign Dragic, have Wade opt in and then have the financial freedom to re-sign Hassan Whiteside and then chase a big name like Kevin Durant. That is a lofty wishlist, but the biggest x-factor of it is Wade opting in.

Dragic has interest from other teams. The point guard has stated that he favors the Heat and the relationships he made with teammates there, but if Wade and Deng opt out, will Dragic head elsewhere? Any other team can only offer a four-year contract as high as $85 million. The Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers remain options.