Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. —Helen Keller via @dailyqotdapp #dailyqotdapp


Retirement Planning Without a 401K

Retirement Blog

If you are like me and you own your own business, you probably do not have a 401K. At some point, we want to be able to retire so we need to plan for the future and find investments plans that helps us feel secure.

Fund an IRA: (Individual Retirement Account). In general, you can contribute up to $5,500 a year into an IRA and defer income tax payments. IRA’s allow you more investment options than a 401K and you can shop around for funds that charge lower fees.

Open a Roth IRA: Contributions are the same as a traditional IRA but the taxes are different. You contribute funds after taxes have been withdrawn so when you draw from your account, you’re not taxed on the funds.

Set up a Direct Deposit: One of the things that makes 401K convenient and successful is that they are automatically deducted from paychecks before you ever receive your pay. If you set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to an IRA account or even your savings, it will force you to save and plan for the future.

Start a hobby business: Some people have started small businesses that are a hobby but that make enough money to supplement the bills. These can be an Etsy shop, an EBay shop or mowing lawns, etc. Either way, if you are able to make a little extra money selling something you enjoy making as a hobby, or selling things you find a good deal on for a small profit you can get ahead if you save the funds and invest them.

Invest in Real Estate: Buy a condo or home or several if possible that you can rent out. Once the units are paid for, you can live off of the rental income.

There are lots of ways to plan for retirement that do not require a 401K. The key to success is to start as soon as possible. The earlier you start, the more you are able to accumulate.

Happy Planning,

The Zeigler & Barnes Team

Spring Into Smart Investing Habits

pexels-photo-298246.jpegways to invest blog

They say money doesn’t buy happiness but when there is a little extra, no one complains. The key whether you have a lot or a little is to make your money work for you. The way to do this is to find investments that work for you and your risk comfort level.

There are multiple ways to invest any extra funds you have. If you get your money working for you and building more funds, the extra will continue to add up.

Savings Account: Numerous studies have proven that it is extremely important to pay yourself, or in other words, save every month. The general suggestion is 10% of your paycheck. If this is too much, just put away as much as you can and you will be amazed at how fast it starts to grow. Once you have some money in savings that you can use for a rainy day, it is wise to start looking for an investments.

Real Estate: One of the safest investments is real estate. Purchasing your own place not only gives you a tax write off but generally allows you to gain equity. Equity is the increase in value of your purchased home versus what you paid for it. Once you have purchased your own place, you can look to purchase land, a home to fix up and sell for a profit, a condo or home to rent to others or even a commercial building to rent to businesses.

Stock Market, Bonds & Funds: Those who are more willing to take risks can invest in the stock market or a specific fund. Your money is tied to the ups and downs of the market but if you invest well in businesses that are growing or evolving with the demands of the world, you can make money. The key is to be able to weather the lows and the highs without panicking.

Business: You might get the chance to invest in a business or a new development through crowdfunding. Although there is a lot of risk, there can be big rewards.

The key is to be well informed and to do your homework. Get someone to help you if needed, read up on different options and find what works best for you. Turn your few extra dollars into something to live on.

“I LEFT A GOOD JOB IN THE CITY” Transitioning From Corporate America in Less Than 6 Months…

Maybe you’ve been thinking about the American dream of starting your own business and breaking away from the 9-5 corporate environment. This is exactly what I did in less than 6 months.

When I made the decision to start my own business I was working as an International Corporate Controller. I was spending more than 50 hours a week working for someone else company. Although I had a paycheck, I had nothing to show for the time or quality work I was producing. If I wanted to work from home to take care of personal things or have a more flexible schedule, it always seemed to be questioned. This might not be the case at every employer but it made me question why I wasn’t working for myself.

So, I started Zeigler & Barnes. Yes, I had doubts and fears that I would be able to replace my income or that I would have the time to do my own business while maintaining my current job. Almost overnight, after following the previous blog “Tips for Starting a Business” I had opened my business. Then came the tasks of designing a logo, getting a website together, renting a space, and advertising for clients. All of this was energizing because my dream was becoming a reality.

The more energy I focused on my business, the more it blossomed. Yes, I was working round the clock but it was for my gain, for a better work life balance, pursuing my interests and strengths. Working at my business no longer felt like work because I was doing what I loved.

Although it did not replace my income immediately, eventually I could see growth headed in the right direction and I made the leap of faith to resign from my corporate job. I couldn’t be happier with the choice and am left with the words from Tina Turner’s song Proud Mary…”I left a good job in the city, working for the man every night and day and I never lost one minute of sleeping worrying ’bout the way the things might’ve been…and were ROLLING!”

Love & Finances

money heart

As we celebrate Love and Valentine’s Day this month, I thought its only appropriate to discuss an area of strife in most marriages or relationships. Finances. This doesn’t have to be the case though so here are some helpful tips.

Many pitfalls most couples fall into with finances is a lack of respect and transparency.

Respect goes both ways. Each individual must respect the joint goals the couple has set for finances. This means no one is making unplanned purchases that would affect the end goal without consulting with their partner. This also means following the golden rule of treating your spouse or partner like you would like to be treated in regards to finances. This also means respecting and trusting that each individual is going the right thing and has equal access to finances. Too many relationships have been besought with strife and arguments because one spouse “controls” the money or spends unfairly leaving the other partner to scrimp or save. Know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work towards a goal. After all, you are on the same team. Trust each other to do their best.

Which leads to transparency. When dealing with finances as a couple there are several schools of thought as to how to approach it. Whether you decide to have joint accounts or separate accounts, the one thing you must have is transparency. Secrecy does not help anyone. It creates suspicion and resentment, two things that do not promote love and respect. All bills, a budget if one is used, savings, investments, debt, etc. should be out in the open between the couple. This will not only help in the case of an emergency but helps both team members see what tools and obstacles exist so they can work together to meet the end goal. Finances are stressful enough without adding extra problems to the table by not sharing or both couples not knowing what is available what needs to happen.

L = Lose the secrets

O = Open discussions

V = Verify purchases

E = Eyes on the prize “Goal”

love and finance rev


Traveling For Work



Seeing new things, cultures, places and even businesses help us to think outside of our box and comfort zone. That is why the opportunity to travel for business can be so beneficial. Traveling is generally expensive and it takes time. Sometimes, however, you get a rare chance to travel for work, whether domestically or internationally. The key is to make the most of it.

In 2017, I had the opportunity to travel to Tijuana, Mexico and to Belgium. Although it is a hassle to be away from home and family, it is also an opportunity to see a country, a city and even observe how other cultures conduct business or interact with each other. Although I traveled as part of my job and it was all for the same company, each country represented had a slightly different way of thinking and certainly communicating.

How do you make the most of traveling for work?


Brussels, Belgium “Atomium” Statue.

Most likely you will be working longer hours so make sure to make the most out of the experience.

  1. Meet as many people as you can. You never know when a great contact will be made.


belguim waffle

Belguim Waffle

2. Get more stamps in your passport and miles on your card.

3. Try out the different cuisine. You have to eat so you might as well try the local flair.

Belguim chocolate

Belguim Chocolate

4. Take some time to site see or try to schedule some time to actually see more of the country than just the airport and the office. It will make the trip more memorable and exciting.

belguim pic 3

belguim pic 2

belguim pic 1


5. Take care of your health. To beat the jet lag make sure you stay hydrated and get up and walk. Try to keep the same habits you have at home such as exercising or getting rest.

6. Gain great stories.

Memories last forever and often some of the best stories come from our unique experiences. Although it is hard to be away from family, seeing all of the similarities and differences our vast world has to offer is priceless. Happy and safe travels!