New Cash, New You

The New Year brings notions of new beginnings. New Year Resolutions flood the timelines on social media and takes over conversations worldwide. The promise of a new era, a second chance or a “do over” excites the masses and often motivates people to tackle a certain goal or goals. According to a recent newscast on the most common New Year resolutions, “spending less money or saving more” is among the top 5 (www.abc7.com). It may be commonly said but how often is this goal reached? In fact, the same data showing the most common resolutions also shows the gross lack of follow-through. Why not make this year different? Proper preparation for achieving financial goals can almost assure success. Creating a strategy is the key to unlocking your financial dreams. A career in financial assistance has inspired me to design a simple plan for saving, called C.A.S.H. Calculating, applying, saving, then helping the next person is a roadmap for any financial goal.

Calculating

Don’t be afraid to calculate what money you need to save for your specific goal. It can be a very specific ambition such as saving $3000 for a vacation or as broad as saving $500k for retirement. It can be as aggressive as trying to invest or as simple as wanting to start an emergency fund account. The goal to simply start saving only requires one calculation, finding out the amount you should save each month. Look at your net salary or wages per pay period. Take the amount and multiply that by 10% and the total is what you can use to save each period. For example, John D sees that he takes home $1000 per check. He multiplies 1000 X 0.10 and that equals $100. John D will put $100 into savings each pay period. Financial analysts agree that individuals should save between ten and twenty percent of their net income. You can adjust the percentage to whichever amount you’re comfortable with.

Applying

After settling on the percentage amount, make mental and physical notes it. John D has figured he would stick to the 10% and writes down $100 in his checkbook. He also tells his spouse about his new goal; unofficially asking her to be his accountability partner. Once the amount has been solidified in writing, you should the decide on a time period to track your progress. After the time period lapses, check your savings and be amazed at the amount you accumulate in a short period of time. John and his wife decide that he should try this percentage for at least 90 days.

Saving

You have calculated how much to save and how long to save it for progress, now it’s time to put the plan to action. Next, you should decide on where to place the savings. You can open a savings account, put into a safe deposit box, or hide it away in a secret stash. As you get started, make sure you pay into your savings plan first. We often worry about paying other bills with the funds if the money isn’t stored away first. Treat your savings plan as if it were another utility bill and don’t forget to track your progress. John D gets paid bi-weekly which caused him to save $200 in 30 days and $600 in just 90 days! This motivates him to stay with the plan and solidifies his new quest to save.

Helping

Now that you have conquered the art of saving, it’s time to share the information with your friends and family. Share your successes and struggles (if you have any) with them. Matthew 5:16 states, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (KJV)
John D’s success energizes his spouse to start saving. They also implement a new family tradition and teach their children the C.A.S.H. plan when they get their first jobs. The plan can start with one person and actually strengthen the financial health of the entire family.

If “saving more money” has become a struggle; try something new this New Year. Adopt the C.A.S.H. plan and use it to enhance the new YOU!

Active Faith, Active Love, Active Success

Where it All Began

Lanny and Kirbi Smith are the CEO and COO of Active Faith Sports. Lanny and Kirbi met in high school in Houston, TX. They were both student athletes. Their relationship has stood the test of time and distance. Kirbi attended Spelman College located in Atlanta, GA and Lanny, formerly known as Clarence, attended college at the University of Houston located in Houston, TX. Kirbi went on to pursue a career in education in Georgia after completing her bachelor’s degree while Lanny went on to pursue a career in professional sports in the NBA.

Lanny’s professional career in sports came to an end after he experienced a serious knee injury in 2009 that he was unable to bounce back from despite the many attempts through treatment. Though discouraged, Lanny sought God for his new venture as his dreams of playing basketball on a professional level were no longer possible. Lanny was inspired to create athletic gear with Christian inspiration. He shared his dream with his longtime girlfriend, Kirbi. Once Kirbi heard what Lanny was setting out to do she felt compelled to be of as much assistance as possible. After seeking God on the matter, Kirbi made a faith move from Georgia back to her home town of Houston, TX to help make Lanny’s vision a reality.

The Launch

As some of you may personally be aware, businesses are not extremely simple to launch. There are many decisions and plans to be made along with research, research and more research. That’s exactly what Lanny and Kirbi did to launch Active Faith Sports. Kirbi received her MBA and was a substitute teacher to supplement income while the business was in launching stages. Lanny shared how they began running the company from his mother’s garage in 2010.

Their initial sells were of the infamous bracelets and t-shirts which simply displayed the tag line “In Jesus Name I Play.” The tag line was birthed from a mis-spoken closing to a team huddle prayer from his time as an athlete. Lanny was always asked to pray during team huddles prior to games and one day he closed intending to say, “In Jesus name I pray” only to say, “In Jesus name I play.” While at that moment it was a mistake, God brought that back to Lanny’s remembrance while planning to launch the company and it has taken off and remains the company’s main phrase. The funds from selling the initial products helped to get things trademarked and legally in order before they made a full launch as an incorporation of the company in 2012 as a sports apparel brand.

The Business

Lanny was able to get other Christian athletes on board for the vision of Active Faith Sports. One of those being a longtime friend, Anthony Tolliver. At the time, Anthony Tolliver was on the roster for the Golden State

Warriors in Oakland, CA. Mr. Tolliver mentioned this vision to a rookie on the team, Wardell Stephen Curry II, popularly known as Steph Curry. Mr. Curry and Mr. Tolliver joined in the vision along with other Christian athletes as shareholders. Between 2012 until now the brand has grown tremendously.

There have been many athletes who have been seen in action wearing the active faith bands from James Hardin to Ray Lewis. Not only are their professionals of all genres of sports wearing the brand but others from Cornelius and Heather Lindsey to John and Aventer Gray have posted selfies on social media wearing the brand. Active Faith has been sold in over 40 countries and the company recently made a deal with Family Christian bookstores to sell their brand in 400 stores across the United States. Lanny and Kirbi also shared that in 2017 as they plan to continue to push to accomplish their dreams that they have had schools reach out to inquire about creating items for their athletic teams. The dream is that one day, Active Faith Sports, will be seen in the Christian community just as Nike or Adidas.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Lanny appreciates the way that he and Kirbi balance each other out even when it comes to Active Faith Sports. Lanny admitted that he is the creative, while Kirbi is the organizer and planner. They are both aware that they have strengths and weaknesses and accept each other for all of it.

Working as the CEO and COO of a new company can be a challenge. Lanny and Kirbi are pretty much with each other 24 hours a day because they work together and live together. When it comes to being able to separate work from their love life, it takes effort.

With Lanny and Kirbi being entrepreneurs of the same company as well as being married (since 2013) they make it a priority to set aside time where they do things together as well as with friends that has nothing to do with work. Why? Because as Kirbi stated, “It’s important to set dates whether a date night or lunch date where work is not discussed.”

Kirbi went on to explain that with she and Lanny being together while working they try not to have the typical married couple conversation about their day. There isn’t a need to discuss the day because they have spent their work day together. The extra effort comes in being able to enjoy each other without discussing work at all.

Their advice to other married couples who may be thinking about becoming entrepreneurs is to consider the pro’s and con’s. If both spouses are involved in the company it can be easy to allow the business to take over and not have any personal time for each other, children, extended family, etc. Launching a company is hard work and takes up time outside of the normal responsibilities of day to day life.

DID YOU KNOW? -Teen Dating Violence Awareness

Happy New Year! We are so excited that God brought us to a new year. Of course, the new year brings new year’s resolutions… some last for just a few moments and others last a life time. For this issue,want to present a topic that if you or someone you know may be dealing with. Our prayer is that you will make the decision to escape it for a lifetime. So… In honor of February ‘s Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, let’s learn about it!

What is Dating Abuse/Violence?
It is a type of violence between two people in a close relationship that can include physical,emotional or sexual offenses. The location does not matter as it can take place in person, over the phone or on the internet.

• Physical abuse/violence- when a person is pushed, hit, kicked or pinched against their will.
• Emotional abuse/violence- when a person’s self-worth is harmed or when a partner speaks in ways that makes their counterpart feel uncomfortable. This can also be a verbal threat such as spreading rumors or a threat to physically harm an individual or their family.
• Sexual abuse/violence- is when a partner engages in sexual acts against their will or when they cannot give permission.

Get The Facts:
• 1 out of 5 females experience dating violence, while one 1 of 10 males experience dating violence in their lifetime.
• Many individuals who experience dating violence are afraid to tell their family and friends about what they are experiencing.
• Teens who experience dating violence have an increased chance of suffering from depression and anxiety. They are also more likely to try tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
• Those who are victims when they are young are likely to be victims when they are older.

Risks of Being a Victim or Abuser:
• Belief that dating violence is acceptable
• Drug and alcohol use
• Aggressive behavior towards objects, animals or people
• Witnessing or experiencing violence at home
• Early sexual activity and having multiple sexual partners
•Having depression or anxiety
• Previous trauma in life
• Having a fight or conflict with your partner

How to Stop Abuse/Violence Before it Starts?
• Try to develop healthy relationships that make you feel comfortable and happy
•If you see concerning signs from the information given in this article, don’t overlook them. This could very well end in a relationship that makes you uncomfortable
• Refrain from becoming emotionally involved and with someone while getting to know someone so it’s not difficult to escape a relationship if needed
• Pay attention to how an individual treats their parents, siblings and others around them to check for potential reassuring or alarming signs
• Set boundaries at the beginning of the relationship…Let your counterpart know what you will not tolerate
• If you see yourself as an abuser or think you may become one, get help

I’m in an Abusive Relationship…What Can I do?
• When your partner is not around, tell a close friend or family member
• File for a restraining order
• Change your phone number and stop all communication.
• Make sure your wishes are made clear and act accordingly.
• Stay at a shelter for a few nights if needed
• If you are given a phone number for a place to get help, memorize the number. Do not take the brochure or card with you so that your partner does not find it
• If you know someone who has successfully gotten out of an abusive relationship, talk to them to see what their strategy and resources were.

Who Can Help?
• National Dating Abuse Helpline and Love is Respect: 866-331-9474 or text the phrase “loveis” to 22522
• National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE
• National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE.

All in all, if you are dealing with dating violence, you should know that it is never okay. Dating violence can hinder your sense of self-worth and your physical and emotional health. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I AM WORTH MORE!” and get out quickly!

As always, feel free to contact me with questions at jaysloveyourlife@yahoo.com or speak to your health care provider.

~Dr. Jay