Week 6 – Social Security Benefits

The debates about Social Security run loud and long.

The first is whether or not it will even be available to you when you retire – no doubt you’ve seen the headlines that say it will bankrupt in 2030 or before. My suggestion is to ignore those and continue to save money in your 401(k) plans and IRAs. We have no control over social security, and it is subject to the whim of our political leaders. Since that can change at any moment, all we can work with is what we know now.

The second debate is When should I start taking Social Security? And like most answers about the timing of anything, the answer is – it depends. Every situation is unique, I’ll give you the tools, but you still must decide for yourself.

Let’s start with the basics.

Social Security is a system that is paid for by all workers. Whether self-employed or an employee, you contribute to the system. It is federally mandated, and the feds take employment taxes very seriously.

If you are an employer, you already withhold taxes from your employees’ checks; those are held in trust by you until you pay them to the IRS. If you are ever going to get behind on paying your taxes, do NOT let these get behind. To the government, this was never your money; you just have a fiduciary responsibility to hold them and pass them on. The penalties are severe for failing to do that.  

If you are an employee, your checks are 7.65% less than your gross – 6.2% is social security; 1.45% is withheld for Medicare. In addition, your employer matches those amounts as a contribution. This amount is withheld on your first $142,800 of pay currently. The maximum number changes annually.

If you are self-employed, you are responsible for the combined amounts of 12.4% or a total of 15.3% when adding Medicare as your self-employment taxes reported with your annual Form 1040.

The monies paid by you and your employer are pooled to pay the approximately 64 million people currently being paid from the Social Security fund.

Minimum to be eligible for social security payments

You must have earned a minimum of 40 credits to be eligible for social security at retirement. You can only earn four credits per year, so the simple math says you must work ten years to be eligible. In each of those ten years, you must earn a minimum of $5,880 to gain your four credits. You can earn more, but that doesn’t change your credits, although it may change your potential payments.

Once your credits are earned, you will be eligible to receive Social Security benefits at retirement age. The first age you can apply for benefits is age 62. Your full retirement age is somewhere between age 66 and 67, depending on your date of birth. If you were born before 1954, it is 66; after 1960 it is 67. Born between ’54 and ’60 puts the age between 66 and 67. 

And, let’s not forget that although you can take reduced benefits at age 62, full benefits at 67, you will get delayed retirement credits if you wait to age 70. It’s why the decision is so difficult.

At 62, your benefit is reduced by 25% to 30% of your Full Retirement Benefit. If you delay taking benefits after Full Retirement Age, your benefits will increase by 2/3 of 1% each month to age 70. That’s 8% a year for three years.

Here’s an example: 

Full Retirement Benefit = $1500/month – take at 62 and you will receive $1050/month – take at age 70, that increases to $1860/month.

That’s a big swing and why the decision is so important. Here are some factors to consider.

  • What is your life expectancy?
    • Does your family have a longevity streak – maybe it makes sense to wait to collect benefits?
  • What is your health?
  • Are you still working?
  • Do you have other sources of income you can use while you delay?
  • How does your benefit compare to your spouses?
    • Perhaps you would be better off taking a spousal benefit because they had higher earnings? If so, delay on your own if possible to maximize that benefit – any reduction you take on yours automatically applies to the spousal benefit.

Did I mention it’s complicated…and personal? Everyone is unique to their earnings record, employment history, marital status, and retirement years.

The number one thing to do right now is to be more informed. You can start to learn your status by signing up for MySocialSecurity. This will help you estimate and plan; the record is online and personal to you. It shows your earnings record, your estimated benefit, your spousal benefits, and potential disability benefits. You can sign up here: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

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Week 5 – The IRA and its place in Retirement

The IRA and its Place in Retirement

Once you’ve maxed out your employer 401(k) Plan – it’s time to move on to IRAs. There are two kinds – the traditional IRA that has been around for decades, and the ROTH IRA, which has been available since 1998.

The two have a few fundamental differences.

The Traditional IRA is funded with BEFORE-tax dollars and taxed when withdrawn; it is subject to Required Minimum Distributions by age 72 (see the new tax law.)

The ROTH IRA is funded with AFTER-tax dollars and untaxed when withdrawn, no RMD’s required but must have a life of at least five years prior to withdrawal.

Assuming you are eligible for both, which do you pick?

Conventional wisdom says your tax rates are likely higher while you are working, so you want to reduce those taxes now and not in retirement. It also stands to reason that before tax dollars leave more available because if you have already paid the taxes – your amount available to invest has been lessened.
The amount allowed to be invested is the same for both, $6,000 in 2021; $7,000 if you are age 50 or older. The amount also cannot be more than your earnings.

A traditional IRA allows you to contribute more, but not all of it provides a tax break. If you plan to save more, be prepared for some serious number crunching when you are ready to withdraw those funds. The amount of deduction allowed depends on whether you are covered by an employer 401(k) plan and your Modified Adjusted Gross Income. You’ll want to be sure to check the rules on this one – it is dependent on your filing status and taxable income.
Withdrawing money from a traditional IRA before you are eligible also carries a 10% penalty if you have not reached age 59 ½. Withdrawals from a ROTH can be made tax-free up to your contribution level at any time – since you haven’t received a tax benefit yet.

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Week 4 – Saving for Retirement

Employer-based Retirement Savings

Depending on the era you were born, retirement savings has evolved. It’s likely your parents had a pension to rely on. All of mine do, and I’m so thankful for that. A pension combined with Social Security and you can practically guarantee a level of comfort.

The world shifted in 1978 when the 401(k) was established. The number 401(k) refers to the tax code added to allow individuals to start saving money before tax for their retirement. The onus shifted from an employer saving for an employee’s future to the employee saving for their own future. Pensions started to dwindle as employers shifted the burden. It made sense, jobs were becoming more fluid, and most people were not staying at one company for their whole career. It was becoming more difficult for employees to vest in a pension plan.

The 401(k) plan is typically the number one retirement savings vessel for employees. If you work for a company of any size, this plan is likely available to you. I’m a big fan. Conventional wisdom says save enough to ensure you get the employer match. I say – the match is awesome; it’s like free money, but save the maximum amount you can afford.

Most plans have a limit on the percentage you can contribute to a 401(k) – this is plan specific, so find out what that is for your plan. From the tax code perspective – it can’t be more than 100% of your pay or $19,500. The maximum amount changes each year. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $6,500 in 2021. This is referred to as a catch-up contribution.

An example – you are single and earn $100,000. Your employer matches 50% of your contributions up to 6%. The plan limit is 15%.

$100,000 x 15% = $15,000 contributed by you – Net Gross Income is now $85,000. Your income tax bill just shrunk.

$100,000 x 6% = $6,000 x 50% = $3,000 employer contribution.

Total contributed to 401(k) = $18,000 Total saved in federal taxes = $3,302

That’s an over $20,000 improvement in your financial situation in a single year. Yep, I’m a big fan of 401(k) plans.

Best advice: Contribute as much as you are allowed to a 401(k) plan. It reduces your taxes, grows tax-deferred, and will likely be your highest source of savings. If you can’t afford the maximum percentage allowed, pick a reasonable percentage but no less than your employer’s match and then increase the rate each time you get a raise until you reach the maximum.

What if you don’t have an employer?

A 401(k) is still available to you if you are self-employed. There are more factors to consider, but I recommend implementing a 401(k) plan for your company. It is a great perk for employees, and the employer contribution is always discretionary. If you don’t have employees except for your spouse, you can open a Solo 401(k) Plan. I use Safeguard Advisors for my 401(k) plan, there is an initial set-up fee and an annual fee to the legal team to keep your plan in compliance, but I have found this to be a great investment vehicle.

As a solo 401(k) plan, you have higher contribution limits than a traditional plan based on the earnings in your company. This is impacted by the type of entity you hold your company as – sole proprietor, LLC, S Corp, or C Corp. Check out www.ira123.com for more information. If you’d like a referral, email me at shelley@shelleykrehbiel.com

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Week 3 – Balance Sheet Accounting to Track Success

Week 3 – Balance Sheet Accounting to Track Success

Balance Sheets don’t sound very sexy until you see the bottom line. That’s where the appeal comes in.
Knowing your net worth is motivating.
You may not be a millionaire yet, but the best way to find out is to have a balance sheet.  You may be surprised at the result.
I’ve always been a balance sheet accountant. In my long-ago corporate job, I focused more closely on the accuracy of the balance sheet than on the income statement.  I knew that since we used proper accounting rules, the income statement’s bottom line would be accurate if the balance sheet was accurate. Maybe we got an expense in the wrong category on occasion, but at least it was there.
Each year, in closing the books, I focused on each line item of the balance sheet to ensure its accuracy. That’s a time-consuming task in a lot of cases but not insurmountable.
Businesses use historical value on their balance sheets. That’s the Generally Accepted Accounting Principle; everything is shown at cost.
As an individual, you can create a historical value balance sheet – it has value in recording things like the price you purchased property for. This provides an easy source to find that basis for tax purposes, but the better numbers are in the Fair Market Value of your assets.  In other words, this is what I own, and this is what it’s worth today. That’s Fair Market Value.

What is a Balance Sheet?

So what is in a balance sheet?  All your assets and all your liabilities – the difference between the two is your net worth.
Here’s what it might look like (accounts and numbers are fictional):
You can and should create this document for yourself. I have one that dates back to 12/31/2010 and has been updated each quarter since.  Some of the amounts are dead-on accurate – anything that has a third-party source telling me the balance is recorded at that balance – bank accounts, brokerage accounts, loans, credit card statements, retirement accounts. If someone else services it, it is easy to find the balance on any given day. Other amounts are estimated, but always very conservatively – real estate values, value of vehicles, tools, other fixed assets that may be sold in various ways.
Still, other assets are valued at historical costs, including any businesses that are impossible to establish value until you are ready to sell and have a buyer.  In this day and age, it’s tough to know whether you could sell your business. Here’s a caveat for you though, if you have a business, especially one that holds inventory, you should have a complete set of books that includes a historical cost balance sheet, then you could adjust your personal balance sheet to reflect the basis of that business. At least the business will be reflected on the balance sheet that way. If you have a personal services business, where you are the sole person doing the work, and you don’t hold any assets in that business. There probably isn’t much to list since it would disappear if you stopped doing the work. That doesn’t mean it has no value, just that the value is impossible to record.
The advantage of having a balance sheet is two-fold. One, you can track your progress each year as you build your net worth. The balance sheet lets you know exactly where you stand. The second is when you die, this gives your heirs a place to start looking for assets. It may sound morbid, but it seems impossible to keep your lists up-to-date.  A balance sheet, updated quarterly, is easier to maintain because it helps you reflect on your financial life regularly. It’s easier to remember that you recently opened a bank account if you’re trying to keep everything accurate.
Here’s how you start.
Identify all your assets:
  • Cash
  • Checking and Savings Accounts – list each separately
  • Investment/Brokerage Accounts/Stocks held (if not inside a brokerage account)
  • Property held – include
    • real estate (by address)
    • Personal assets (furnishings, tools, etc.)
      • List personal as a whole unless you have something specific of significant value
        • antiques
        • Jewelry
        • art
        • firearms, etc.
    • Vehicles owned
  • Retirement accounts
  • Businesses
  • Debts owed to you by someone else
  • LLC/Partnerships
  • Other Receivables
  • Trusts
You may have something else, but these are the most common assets owned.  Be sure to total the value of these assets.
Next up is to list your liabilities:
  • Credit cards
  • Mortgages
  • Personal lines of credit
  • Auto loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Revolving loans
  • Property taxes
  • Income taxes
If you owe someone, whether an institution, a business or a person, put it on the list. I recommend including the balance of any loan you have co-signed for as well, even if it hasn’t defaulted to you. This keeps you from being surprised.  If you pay a bill monthly, like rent or utilities, that should not go on the list unless you have some past due amounts.  Past due amounts should be included.
Total your liabilities.
The difference between your assets and your liabilities is your Financial Net Worth.
Remember, Balance Sheets are valued at a specific date. It can be any date, but typically it is at the end of the year, or quarter, or month. It’s not the value of bank account A last week and bank account B next Thursday. Pick a date and use only that date.
I’m a big fan of Balance Sheets. I keep mine in a spreadsheet and add one more calculation – the difference between my Net Worth last year on the same date and this year. I want that to grow. It helps me make decisions on whether I invest in something permanent or temporary.
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Week 2A – Paying Down Debt

We’re calling this 2A because everyone doesn’t need this lesson.  This is specifically for people who have too much debt that you’d like to pay down.  Having debt is not inherently bad; having a high percentage of debt can be.  It affects your credit scores; it affects your ability to obtain good debt, it can affect your health.  So let’s talk about getting rid of it in a timely fashion.

**Please note, these are not methods I’ve invented, but I know they work**

The Envelope System

  • The Envelope System – if having enough money to pay your bills is a problem for you, it’s time to remove all other spending. That’s right, no entertainment, no dinners out, no extras, until you know what is happening with your money. Not paying bills timely has bigger ramifications than not buying coffee this week.
  • The basics.
    • Take your paycheck in cash. If you have direct deposit, go withdraw your entire paycheck in cash. I know, this sounds counterintuitive, but stick with me and see where this goes.
    • At home, prepare envelopes for EVERY one of your bills: the mortgage, the phone bill, the power bill. Whatever you pay monthly, give it an envelope. Use the worksheet HERE to help you remember what those are.
    • On the front of the envelope, write the date due and the amount. e 25th $200
    • Now, put the cash in each envelope. Start with your most important bills first. You know, keeping a roof over your head and the lights on. Netflix is not in this group.
    • When you’re done, what’s left – more envelopes or more cash?
  • If you have more envelopes, do you have another paycheck this month? Will you be able to fill the envelopes from that? If not, it’s time to re-think your employment or your spending.
  • If you have more cash than envelopes, congratulations, but you’re not done yet.
    • Think about food/snacks/meals until you get your next paycheck. How much will you need for that – create an envelope for it.
    • Still have cash left over? Take 10% and put it in a savings envelope.  Take the other 90% and put it towards a past due bill if you have one, or to a credit card bill.  You’ll see which one to pick in the next section.
  • Keep using the envelope system until you have all your bills current and a handle on your money. If that’s three months, great. If that takes a year, just imagine how much better off you’re going to be.
  • How do you actually pay those bills? Go back to the bank and deposit the money only when you are ready to write the check.  It may seem like more work, but the more often you are touching your money, the more mindful you will be.
  • If you have an entertainment/food envelope – when it’s empty, you’re done. No going out with friends, you’ve spent your wad until the next time you get paid. Self-sabotage is super easy with restrictive things – do yourself a favor and stick to the plan.


The Snowball Method

  • Great for use if you have lots of debt to different people/companies. This is the Dave Ramsay method.
  • The basics.
    • List all your debt on a spreadsheet. Include total amount owed and minimum payment. Re-sort so the smallest debt is shown first.
    • Make minimum payments on all debts. If you have extra cash, apply it to the smallest debt balance first. The goal is to pay-off the smallest one.
    • When the smallest debt has been paid off, take the amount you were paying on that one and apply it with the amount you have been paying to the next smallest debt.
    • When that debt is paid off, take the whole amount you were paying on the smallest and next smallest debt, together with the minimum payment you were paying on #3, and apply it to that debt.
    • You are snowballing the effect of your payments by continually increasing the amount paid to a specific debt.
    • Eventually, all debt is paid, and the amount previously paid to debt is available for savings/investments.
    • Good for you if you want to see progress quickly.

The Interest Rate Target System

  • Great for use if you have lots of debt to different people/companies.
  • The basics:
    • List all your debt on a spreadsheet. Include total amount owed, minimum payment, and interest rate charged.  Re-sort so the highest interest rate is shown first.  This is your target.
    • Make minimum payments on all debts except for the one with the highest interest rate. Extra cash is applied here first. The goal is to pay-off this one first.
    • When the highest target debt has been paid off, take the amount you were paying on that one and apply it to the next highest interest rate target.
    • When that debt is paid off, take the whole amount you were paying on the prior two targets and add it to your minimum payment for the next target.
    • You are saving money by reducing the total amount owed. If you don’t need to see progress fast but are committed to spending the least amount of money. This one is for you.
    • Eventually, all debt is paid, and the amount previously paid to debt is available for savings/investments.

In our examples, the debt is paid off at approximately the same time (remember we didn’t calculate interest) but the total amount paid will be less in the Interest Rate Target than in the Snowball System.

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Week 2: Budgeting my Life

Part 2: Budgeting My Life

Keeping track of your money is one of the hardest things we do as adults. It can slip through our fingertips so easily, and that seems ok if you have enough of it – but it’s really not. 

Spending without intention doesn’t build wealth.  

Intention is the next step on our Money Mindset path. No one has the right to tell you how to save or how to spend – me included. But, if you want help, I can help you set some goals and see how you can achieve them. Just know this, you can’t save your way to prosperity. Prosperity takes risks and work. You decide how big you want that risk to be and how hard you want to work.

We’ll come back to that in a future lesson. Just hold on to the thought; for now, let it ruminate. For now, let’s keep track of your money.

But I don’t want to be on a Budget!

Budgeting has a negative connotation; it’s like dieting. No one wants to diet. No one wants to be on a budget. Remember, for our purposes, budget doesn’t mean restriction; it means information.

In business, the three specific information reports produced regularly are the Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Statement of Cash Flows. For individuals, your budget is the Statement of Cash Flows. Your tax return functions as an Income Statement and your Balance Sheet is a necessary part of your toolbox – it keeps track of your assets. We’ll attack the Balance Sheet in Week 3.  

Today, we’re talking Statement of Cash Flows. It’s all about where your money goes.

There is no judgment here, just information that you can use to improve your financial life. Without establishing the baseline first, you’ll never have a chance to pay off debt, save for a down payment, or establish an investment portfolio. We need knowledge before growth.

Regardless of whether you use cash, check, Venmo, PayPal, debit or credit; if you are spending, you need to know what you are spending on. Tracking your spending for a week will give you a snapshot; to fully develop the big picture would take tracking for a month or even a year.

Exercise #1

What expenses do you have that are annual? Think about items that catch you by surprise.

Property taxes and Homeowner’s insurance (if not included in your mortgage)
Income Taxes due with your return
Car Registration, annual inspection
Other Insurances (Car, Life, Accident, Renter’s, etc.)
Dues (AAA, Costco, AARP, Good Sam, Union, etc.)
Eyeglasses or Contact lenses
Medical co-pays
Pet licenses, vaccinations, etc.
Holiday gifts
Back-to-school spending
School pictures, yearbooks, lunches, etc.

Do you have Quarterly Expenses?

Estimated Tax Payments
Car Maintenance
Charitable contributions
Home maintenance projects
Sports dues, uniforms

Monthly expenses are usually a little easier to remember because paying them is an ingrained habit.

Utilities (power, water, heat, garbage, sewer)
Subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon, etc.)
Health insurance (health, dental, vision, etc.)
Debt servicing

Before we close this part, go back through your last few months’ bank statements and review for automatic payments for subscriptions you might not have thought of – things like software tools, entertainment, memberships, subscription boxes. Businesses want you on a recurring membership; make sure you have identified all of those. Personally, I’m sometimes surprised.

And then there are daily expenses – this is often the source of our most significant expenditures because it is rarely accounted for accurately.

Food and entertainment

Exercise #2

A simple notebook or your phone is enough to capture your expenses. I’ve prepared a worksheet for you HERE if you’d like a tool to use.

This isn’t an exercise for everyone; consider it if:

  • your money regularly runs out before your next paycheck comes in
  • you sometimes struggle to pay your monthly bills
  • a car repair is enough to knock you out of whack
  • you aren’t overspending but want a better idea of where your money goes

Take the time to identify the source of your spending. There may not be anything you can change, but you won’t know that if you don’t identify it.

For the next week, write down every time you spend money, even if it’s a small amount. 

  • Stop at the coffee shop, write it down. 
  • Grab a drink at the convenience store, write it down.
  • Pick up dry-cleaning, write it down. 

Don’t worry about getting it into a spreadsheet at home; just get it written down in broad categories. Before you begin, estimate what you think goes into each category.

Personal (think hair, nails, etc.)

At the end of the week, total your categories. If any of those numbers seem bigger than you expected or are over your estimate. Do it again in the next week. Remember, it doesn’t matter what tool you use to spend; if you are buying, include it.

Now that all of your expenses have been established, it’s time to develop your Statement of Cash Flows. Not everyone is a spreadsheet guru, and spreadsheets aren’t the only tool in your arsenal. If the thought of using Excel or Google Sheets gives you hives, let’s talk paper first.

I’ve prepared a simple monthly budgeting worksheet. With that and a calculator, you can get started.

The expense side is where we’ve been concentrating, write it all in. If you have something I haven’t mentioned yet, be sure you get it on the form – we’re all different. We are working on household budgets here, while the same exercise might be useful in your business, don’t include your business expenses here – even if it’s from a side hustle, we’ll address those later. However, if you find yourself spending for your side hustle, go ahead and carry two sheets with you and put those expenses on a second page.

Our Statement of Cash Flows is shaping up. There’s more work to be done here; we’ll have a second workshop this week covering different kinds of budget tools and recommendations. We’ll be adding a GoogleSheets file to capture all those miscellaneous expenses then.

Tools Used:  Daily Spending Worksheet   Statement of Cash Flows


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Week 1 – Introduction to Money Mindset

Part 1 – Introduction to Money Mindset


**This is a BETA Course** 

That means it isn’t perfect; I’m still learning and polishing as I go.
Your Feedback is important – both from where I go wrong to where I get it right.
Please share, criticism is part of the process, and I am open to it.

Money is a tool, just like a hammer. If you use it wrong, it will bite you.

So many of us have a complicated relationship with money. A lot depends on the conversations our parents had about money and how they felt about it. Maybe these statements were common in your household:

“We can’t afford it.”

“Put it on the credit card.”

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

“Let’s go shopping.”

Like most of our behaviors, we learn without even trying. If Retail Therapy was the solution to a bad day, we might do the same thing. If money was free-flowing, we might have learned to spend, whether we had money or not. If we constantly heard we couldn’t afford it – we might have veered the other way and are in a constant state of worry. It messes with our heads, and until you unpack it, it might still be doing that.

Growing up, my household was middle class, we could afford to live comfortably, but spending was controlled. My mother was the controller. She carefully wrote each check, balanced her checking account, and did the banking. I remember my dad having cash in his wallet, but I don’t recall him being in charge. I wasn’t told we couldn’t afford things, but I was also encouraged to earn my own money to buy things that weren’t on the household budget.

 My school clothes budget was limited to what mom was willing to buy. If I wanted different clothes, I had to buy them myself. Beginning at age 15, I did.

 By 18, I had saved enough in tips to furnish a small house.

 By 20, I was broke-food broke, dropping by my parents for meals unannounced.

 At 22, I had my first real job; in my exuberance, I overspent, money was flowing.

 By 28, I had turned a house back to the bank.

 By 31, my bills were finally all paid each month.

 By 36, I had let my boss go four years without giving me a raise.

 By 38, I was finally paid what I was worth.

 By 47, I retired from the money job to pursue my passions.

 I have made mistakes aplenty as I came to terms with my money mindset.

Poverty vs. Abundance Mindset

For years I held a Poverty Mindset. Always looking for the next thing to break, the next thing to go wrong. The next thing needing an influx of cash that I didn’t have. I did a few things right along the way, simply because I am nothing if not consistent. So I always saved for retirement. I usually made good investments. I didn’t have to keep up with the Joneses. I was never house poor.

Somewhere along the way, I made the switch to an Abundance Mindset; I wish I could tell you what triggered it. I learned that, for me, the Universe was generous and would provide what I needed. That didn’t keep me from wanting more, but it almost always knocked me back a peg when I started to be stingy with the Universe.

I found that the more generous I was with people. The more money flowed to me. The more I thought about what someone needed, the more I was rewarded.

If you think Abundance happens without working for it, you are mistaken.

But, Abundance is a mindset.

Have you ever known someone that can’t seem to catch a break. Just when they get into a house, their truck breaks down. Just when they get a new car, they lose their job. I’ve known plenty. The Hard-luck Charlies of the world. The kind that say, “if I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” That is a mindset, and the Universe delivers.

There are others who always seem to be smiling, going about their business, and everything is coming up roses. That, too, is a mindset. The same mindsets that apply to money – Poverty vs. Abundance,

Baseline Quiz

Let’s unpack where you are with your Money Mindset. This first exercise is to establish a baseline to decide if more work needs to be done. Money is relationship-based, just like food, just like people. Only you can decide where you stand; only you can decide if you want to change your relationship. I will provide you with tools to use, but the tools are far more effective if you can embrace money as a tool. Let’s put money back in its place. It is not the harbinger of success nor the cause of destruction. It is a tool; we choose what we do with it.


Money Mindset Worksheet:


When you have answered these for yourself, please go HERE and answer them for me.

Because this is a BETA workshop, I want to be sure I’m delivering what you need. The survey is anonymous. It will record your answers but no identifying information.

Be sure to complete the Worksheet before reading the answers!

Take a look at your answers to Questions 1-4


Did you consistently answer A?

You might think that money buys happiness. It doesn’t matter if you have enough money to do all the things you want to do; it matters that you are emotionally attached to the outcome. You spend money to bring joy to yourself and others, but without much consideration as to whether they appreciate the thought. You may not feel worthy if you can’t spend freely.

It’s time to apply that generosity where it counts. If you can truly afford what you are spending, that’s great. That also doesn’t change the fact that you are trying to buy happiness. Instead of going all-out every time, let others pay their way, be generous to those in need. Think thoughtful gifts instead of lavish. Next time you are feeling sad or deflated, find an alternative to spending. Exercise, read, call a friend, just don’t spend to compensate.


Did you consistently answer B?

You might have some of the same desires as those in A above, but you’re not buying things, you’re buying fun. You want to be seen as the life of the party; you celebrate moments rather than stuff but don’t give enough thought as to where the money comes from to have that fun.

When the day is done, you have created some memories, but the hole in your bank account still exists. Planning for your future might be a bit stressful. Consider setting a budget for nights out and getting a handle on that budget. If I were guessing, I’d bet you indulge a bit too – food, drink, etc. There was never enough money for fun when you were a kid; dinner out was a special occasion only. You are trying to make up for lost moments.


Did you consistently answer C?

 Money was tight when you were a kid. You resolved never to have to say, “we can’t afford it,” to your kids. So now, you bypass some of the fun. Your kids don’t go without, but you do. Instead of living in the moment, you are always planning for the future; just so the money doesn’t run out. You’ll retire with more than enough but likely won’t want to spend it then either. You live with a Poverty mindset, giving is planned and never spontaneous.


Did you consistently answer D?

You’ve mastered your relationship with money; now it’s time to master the tools.


What do you think? Did the description fit you? How are you feeling about that? Sometimes unpacking things from our childhood has negative effects. That’s psychology in action. I’m not a therapist, if you need one, maybe that’s the next call.  Sit with the answer for a bit. Try not to just brush past it, you have been hauling this around for years – it has an impact.

The easiest way to make a change though is to know what you’re changing from.  Hold that space open, it may make using the tools that much simpler.



We often only think about getting better with money when we are already in over our heads. The Money Tools Workshop has participants from ages 23-83, so everyone is at a different place in their lives with money. Some of the sections won’t apply to you – that’s ok. Skip them for that week.


Each Monday, until we’re done (remember this is a BETA, so I’m not sure when that is), I will release the next lesson. They can all be found HERE.


Each lesson will have a Call to Action, a Quiz or Questionnaire, or a Survey. Complete at your own pace.


Remember to send Feedback to shelley@shelleykrehbiel.com


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Money Tools Workshop

The Money Tools Workshop will be dripped out each week – you can find new content here:


       Week 1 – Introduction to Money Mindset – Published 5/3/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 2 – Budgeting my Life – Published 5/10/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 2a – Paying Down Debt – Published 5/13/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 3 – Balance Sheet Accounting to track Success – Published 5/17/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 4 – Employer-based Saving for Retirement – Published 5/24/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 5 – The IRA  and its Place in Retirement – Published 5/31/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 6 – Everything you want to know about Social Security – Published 6/7/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 7 – Calculating expenses in Retirement – Published 6/14/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 8 – Estate Planning – Published 6/21/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 9 – Investments – published 6/28/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 10 – Cryptocurrency – published 7/5/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 11 – Real Estate Investing – Published 7/12/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 12 – Charitable Giving – published 7/19/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 13 – Bookkeeping and Preparing for Income taxes – published 7/26//21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 14 – Insurances – published 8/2/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 15 – Credit Scores – Published 8/9/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

       Week 16 – Talking with our partner about money – Published 8/16/21 9:30 a.m. Pacific

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What do you need right now?

Maslow’s hierarchy says we start with our Basic Needs – we need food in our bellies and a roof over our heads. If we add safety and security on top of that, we’ve met our basic needs. Think of it as the minimum requirements for a good life. Without those, we don’t even get off the starting block.

If you are still struggling with those needs, give yourself a break – on relationships, on job satisfaction, on reaching your potential. Focus instead on getting those needs met – one foot in front of the other with your head down and focused.

When you’ve mastered the Basics, then you can focus on the next set – satisfying relationships with your partner, friends, and family; feelings of accomplishment, ability to help others. These are our psychological needs.

The final mission, should we choose to accept it, is Self-actualization: achieving one’s Full Potential. It’s somewhere between levels two and three that most of us lie.

It’s where we are most vulnerable to hustlers, to promises – whether in person or online.

I spend way too much time in the online space, everyone trying to sell me. Throwing up evidence of their latest million-dollar launch:

–         Everything done for you! Just buy my course for $1997 – I’ll teach you how to do it too!

–         Sell t-shirts in your online store!

–         Dropship!

–         Sell your Art!

–         Set up your funnel!

–         Grow your Followers!

–         Be an InFlUeNcER!

You’ve seen it too! I know you have, and it’s in those moments when we don’t know what our dream is that we feel tempted. Could I buy that course and have wild success?  The answer is NO!

Our vulnerability, our need for more, is what tempts us. But what if instead of looking outward, we looked inward at what we really want?

I don’t want a Ferrari and a big new house. I don’t want a Rolex. I don’t want stuff – if I have stuff, I have to worry about it.

There’s a reason Grandma put a covering on her favorite sofa – she had spent far too much on it and didn’t want to ruin it. She worried about her stuff.

So, if I don’t want stuff, what else is there?

How about

–         going out to dinner with friends when I want?

–         not worrying about paying bills when they come up?

–         spending time with people I care about?

–         helping others get what they want?

–         freedom to choose how I spend my day?

That’s my list – I would expect yours is different.

That’s my self-actualization. I may never reach my “full potential,” but that doesn’t mean I can’t strive for it daily. It also doesn’t mean that more money brings me closer.

Make your list of needs. When confronted with the hustlers, the online ads, apply it to your essentials list; if it doesn’t bring you closer, make it a hard pass.

Airbnb adds Experiences

The Gig Economy

Airbnb has become a household word used to describe travel, the gig economy, and a room shared.

Some have not experienced Airbnb, mainly because they aren’t sure what it is. We started using Airbnb a few years ago when we became hosts; our boutique hotel fit the model well. We use Airbnb as another platform to reach potential guests. As with any new platform, it took a bit to figure out the best thing for us, but it has worked out; we currently run over 20% of our bookings through Airbnb.

After we started using them as a host, we started using them to book travel as well. Because we live in our RV, we don’t often use hotel rooms, but there are occasions where I want more space. You’ll find me in one of three scenarios – the adventure trailer (our roof-top tent), a Hampton Inn, or a house.
We go to Airbnb for houses. (We use Hipcamp for the adventure trailer – but I’ll come back to that.) We’ve always chosen exclusive use spaces where we rarely meet the host; I prefer the anonymity. But shared spaces are how Airbnb got its start.

Airbnb adds Experiences

Now Airbnb has added Experiences to their listings. It started as a place to add user experiences as people were traveling—an added benefit to coming to town, small experiences instead of the larger tours. There are Jeep adventures, hikes, yoga, cooking, etc. Just about anything you’d be interested in learning. With the added challenge of social distancing and the change in traveling, Airbnb added online experiences recently. I took my first in January. A paper artist I follow hosted a book-making class through Airbnb.

Can I tell you? The sky is the limit. With the addition of Airbnb adding experiences, they have now become a great resource for anyone who wants to teach.

Right now, online teaching is super easy; reaching your target market is hard. You can teach on any number of platforms – Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi, Ruzuku, Podia – among others. You can list on Udemy, Coursera, eLearners. There are Zoom links and Facebook lives, you can have your own app, creating is easy – although potentially expensive. Again, creation is not the problem. Marketing is, that’s where Airbnb can help.

It’s the reason we list our rooms on Airbnb, we already have a website and a reservation agent, but we reach a different market on the Airbnb site. The same is true of your courses. Airbnb gives you new eyes worldwide that can take your class from anywhere. I find that really exciting. My instructor for the paper class was based near Seattle; there were 10 participants from England, Scotland, Maine, Vermont, Texas, California, and more joining. We get to share; the instructor gets to introduce us to her other work and her website, Airbnb monitors that we all have a great experience. Never doubt that.


Airbnb is very review-driven, like extremely. As a host of rooms, I know that I need to strive for 5-star reviews on their platform. They have a Superhost program that brings value and benefits but comes with obligations and responsibilities as well.

We’re proud to say we’ve been Superhosts since our first review period on Airbnb. But like all good things, that feels tenuous. A single host cancellation can throw the Superhost designation out the window, which can adversely affect your reservations. So far, so good.

I recently got promoted to Airbnb Ambassador – if you or someone you know is ready to get started, let me help you. The Ambassador program gives me access to resources they don’t offer anywhere else. I get to use my copywriting skills to improve your listing at no cost to you. Airbnb pays me to help you and adds $67 after you complete your first booking. It’s a good deal for both of us.

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