Focus: December 29, 2015

Random Tuesday thoughts. Yes. I am super excited about 2016, but today I am also excited about December 29, 2015. You say what’s so special about today? I say what’s so special about January 1, 2016.Yes I have an expectation of the things a New Year can bring. But I can’t forget about the blessings of today. Today may be the day all my dreams come true. So, today while many rush away the last few days of 2015, I will focus on the beauty, possibilities, and coincidences of today. December 29, 2015. I will focus on how many today are braving the freezing snow, but the sun decided to peak out at me through the cotton like clouds and warm my cheeks. Today I will focus on how beautiful those birds were in the morning sky, soaring scattered, yet in perfect harmony. Today, I will appreciate how easy it was to get downtown. I will focus on how I did not pass one accident during that morning commute. Today I will focus on how calm I am. I will focus on how God will speak to me thru a soft whisper while I trot about. He will let me know that time is my most precious commodity and I should cherish it. I am in a state of wonder about what will happen today and how it may be connected to my tomorrow. Today, with all I have to do, I will remain at peace. Today, I will focus on being the best version of myself. As they say each day is a gift, that’s why they call it the present. Remain present today and Happy December 29, 2015.

Girly Squeal Spotlight on Valerie Smith: Retired and “Sitting Pretty” #WWW #WWA

Valerie Smith, 60, Retired
Administrative Assistant
Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University

You may ask why in the world is she squealing about retirement?!?! She’s only 35! If we are going to maintain our wealth the first thing we need to learn is how to save. We think we will be youthful forever and have that steady paycheck until we get old and grey. We just buy, buy, buy and never think about the future. Or we say, I’ll save $100 a month and think we will be fine. Ummm, no! Before you know it you will be 35, 45, 55 and start wondering where has the time and money gone?

Take a look at your savings account. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Okay, now take your current savings….well I’ll be generous for this example. Let’s say you have $10,000.00 in savings and you save the same amount each year for 30 more years. That’s $300,000. You only have $300,000.00 on hand and no steady paycheck. You retire and live 20 more years. You have $15,000.00 to live on per year. Can you live off of that? I’m sure many do, but a large percent of us would not be able to maintain our current lifestyle. Probably not even close to it. What if you live more than those 20 years? Sure you can get another job, maybe. But then can you even enjoy what they like to call the golden years? If you’re not careful, before you know it, you are back to doing what you have to do, not what you want to do.

To get more insight on preparing for retired life, I spoke to recently retired administrative assistant, Valerie Smith. She is a 60 year old retiree that has worked for the same employer for 30 years. She explained how thankful she was to have an employer that offered a decent retirement plan similar to a 401K. She took advantage of her employers retirement plan by having a certain percentage of her paycheck automatically deposited into her retirement account. Her employer would then match the funds that she deposited. That’s free money ladies! In addition to her employer retirement plan and joint savings accounts she shares with her husband, she kept her own personal savings account. Valerie mentioned to me that she was glad to have a husband who has the ability to make money and know what to do with it. She praised him for making intelligent decisions regarding investing and saving. Valerie believes that if you are going to be married, you need someone that can help with finances not hinder. Valerie knew the importance of setting a savings goal in order to afford the lifestyle she wanted when she retired. Because of the sacrifices she made early on in life she is still sitting pretty during her golden years;collecting her coins, traveling, and loving on her grandchildren. And that’s exactly what she wanted to do.

BIRTHDAY BONUS (Valerie turned 60 today!)
Valerie’s Girly Squeal saving but still shopping secrets and tips:
If available, use direct deposit to make deposits into your savings/retirement accounts. If you don’t see the money, you don’t miss it. Valerie owns one credit card for reservations and emergencies. Credit cards are not for daily shopping.
And her all time favorite, hoard your birthday, holiday and miscellaneous gift money. It keeps you from going into your household money when you want to shop. “I can shop without ever worrying about dipping into my bill money”.

By the way, Valerie Smith is my mommy, the girly squeal originator. I need a moment to publicly love on her and thank her for helping make me financially responsible. Thanks mommy for teaching me how to start from the back of the store because that’s where the clearance racks were. Thanks for teaching me that pricey labels aren’t important, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. Thanks for letting me help you clip coupons on Sunday afternoon after church and comparing prices to get things almost free. Thank you for showing me that paying tithes and giving offerings wasn’t just something you do, but there was a purpose for it. I know I wasn’t a perfect steward over my money all the time and I still make mistakes, but the more I watch you the more I want to do better. You are the best mommy any girly could ever hope for. I’m glad you let me be an individual and not a cookie cutter little girl. You put me in ruffles but let me climb trees. I especially thank you (and daddy) for teaching me the importance of being able to stand on my own two feet. And to be kind and gentle yet strong and stern. You told me once that your prayer for me was that one day I would be able to take care of myself. Well what do you think?
Love you and Happy Birthday. *Girly Squeal Salute*

If any of you girly squealers want further information or need help finding information on retirement/ saving opportunities you can email me at girlysqueal@gmail.com. If I don’t know the answer to your financial question, I am committed to helping you find it. The Wealthy Women Alliance has your back.

Find me on Facebook: Kimberly Smith
Find me on Instagram: @girlysqueal

#WWW: Wealthy Women Wednesday begins!

The morning of November 1st I was lying in bed and an idea came back to me that I thought about a while ago. Funny how things keep coming around until you decide to proceed with them. I would often think some women, young and old are not able to do well financially, simply because they just don’t know any better. Maybe no one showed them. Maybe they need additional help. Maybe they need you, to give them an extra push to begin to care and pay attention to their finances. That’s when I noticed that I am surrounded by women handling their business; be it financial, following their dreams, taking care of their children and maybe husbands. These ladies are living life to the fullest and still maintaining a sensible lifestyle. I felt like the knowledge these women possess would be helpful if it were just given to the right person. We often see society reducing women to gold digging thots, dependent on someone else for financial security. Because of all the hate and “shade” we get as women, we need to assist each other and lift each other up. It’s enough money, men and Monolos out there for all of us! So, I started a list of chicks that I thought I could put a girly squeal spotlight on to help some of us who really want to see more, do more and have more out of life, but may not know where to start. If you have never seen $5,000, you don’t think its attainable. If you have never see anyone travel outside of their city, you may not think it’s worth doing. Wealth isn’t only about money to me. It’s a way of life. Wealth is usually quantified by how many “riches” you have. In what I like to call my Wealthy Women Alliance, we believe our riches lie in being financially independent/intelligent, good health, life balance and spirituality. WWA is a compilation of knowledge I obtain from women willing to share their struggles and successes in order to make women better as a whole. We can learn so much from each other if we are willing to listen. In the coming weeks I will be calling on family, friends and associates to share about your businesses, life experiences, money woes and victories! Please consider it an honor. Something in you has been a positive influence to me and so many others you don’t even know are watching you! Who will I be girly squealing about next????

A “Little” faith

If I never feel sadness I would probably take my happiness for granted.

Happiness can turn to sadness in an instant. In the same breath you could be laughing so hard there are tears, and with one sentence those tears are tears of sadness. The good thing is that another happy time will come, at some point. Once I had the faith to know that happiness will find its way back to me then and only then I could accept situations that made me sad. Although it sounds cliche’ I came to a point where I understood that I had to give thanks in all things because God makes no mistakes. I often have to tell myself this which has happened, this what has caused me so much pain, this which has left an imprint on my soul, this which has changed my life, this which has hurt me, this is for the best. No matter how much my heart hurts from a situation I told myself that it is imperative that I find something to be thankful for. Though it sometimes takes a while, well a long time, I had to in order to make sense of things.

Jonas, Little, Cuz, when I first found out that you went to be with the Father I felt a sudden sense of emptiness, hurt and worry not only for me, but for your family and for one of your best friend’s, my brother. As a young girl I watched you form a bond with my brother one that would span your lifetime. I watched the two of you hang out, wreak havoc, but not the kind that would land you in jail, the kind that young boys get into. You blended with my family and he with yours as if you two had the same mother and father. Friendship, true friendship is a beautiful thing. I feel honored to have witnessed a beautiful friendship. From walking around Pinnacle Place during the summer until nightfall, from waking me up on Saturday mornings when the whole crew was in my backyard. Two friends became brothers. I watched you two snap pics before you picked up your prom dates, while you stood “bowlegged” because you said when you are fly you have to stand a little bowlegged. From you saying “lil sis” you can’t go with the big boys right now and that I needed to stay at home. And asking me if I “had one for you”. I never met some one who smiled all the time. I mean all the time. You always had a funny story, a witty comeback and a comforting remark. I loved when you were at the house because I knew I would be laughing for the rest of the night. As we grew up, the bond between you and my brother flourished through high school, college to adult hood. I remember the cruise we took maybe 2 or 3 summers ago, when you could not stop laughing about how many pancakes Brian ate. That was fun. But now you are gone. I stared while you lay there so peaceful never thinking or preparing myself to see a childhood friend that way. I was plagued with happy thoughts and rampant sadness. I sat, simultaneously thanking God for you being at peace with Him and being angry with God for taking you away. When the casket was closing I felt as if an elephant was on my chest. My hands trembled my legs twitched. I breathed deeply and didn’t want to be hugged at the time because if I did I would have crumbled. When it was time to leave, I stepped in the isle and grabbed my brother’s hand. Not sure if I was comforting him or if I needed him to comfort me. I know that he to selfishly wishes that you were still here to come to his wedding, to see his first child born, which I am sure would have been your god daughter, to see him be the man you played a role in him becoming. The friend that you were to my brother makes my heart ache for him and smile at the same time. You meant so much to all of us. I know one day this pain will dwindle and he—we will be able to go on with our lives but never forgetting how you made us feel when you were on earth with us. We will feel happiness again. We must. They say heaven is paradise, I imagine it is, especially with a special person like you there. I love you my friend, my brother. Until we meet again…

She

She just wants to stay black and be happy,
not condemned if her hair is a little nappy,
and then if she straightens it, you still judge,
but off her pedestal she will not budge.

She doesn’t want to be looked at funny when she laughs so hard she has to snort,
Not shunned when you think her skirt is a little too short.

She has a round face, big thighs and a little tummy,
and pretty little lips just like her mommy.

Her soul is so sweet it drips nectar inside,
And no longer does she care to hide.

Regardless of what you say,
she thinks she’s cute and for that there are a few to blame.

One her mother, two her father, whom conceived her in love
and three the heavenly father who shined from above, to make,
the perfectly imperfect mix of DNA,
made a person so full of flaws but she makes them go MIA.
When you look at her you wouldn’t even know that shes a little insecure
and not so pure —– like you thought.

She walks gracefully and at 5 feet,
she stands tall as an evergreen tree.
She’s purposeful, kind, loving and smart.
The way God created her, mimics a piece of priceless art.
Yet she remains humble, caring and meek,
but watch out she can have a little mean streak! Only when it’s needed.
She will always try to be the best she can be.
She is me.

New York SOM

Sometimes I dream of packing up and moving to New York City,
to get lost in the hustle and bustle and see street art.
To play in the concrete jungle with the animals.
To stand in the city that never sleeps
silently,it’s too loud to even make a peep.

To be insignificant
But I can’t.
I’m afraid of what they may say.
Kinda like when you stay in the closet and won’t admit you’re gay,
For fear of repercussion
you never have the discussion.
You live a phoney life with your beard, excuse me, your wife
You have a nice house 2.1 kids and a dog, but still your head remains in a fog…

So anyway, back to me
So I sit and live a life where I constantly feel like I have already died inside,
If I don’t see New York soon I may cry,
Some wonder why,
Why can’t you just work pay your bills and die?
Because that’s not what I was made for!

So this score,

I must settle between what my mind says and what is happening in front of my eyes.
I’ve packed my bags and I am never looking back.
If you didn’t care when I was here you shouldn’t care when I am gone.
I’m leaving for New York tomorrow,
Like they say by the time you read this I’ll be gone.
What will they say? Who cares.