Nice for What | GreekNik 2018

 

By now it’s no secret that a large group of young black professionals have literally BROKE the internet with elegant professional photos capturing the experience of mainland Greece and the isles of Santorini and Mykonos. Via the Instagram hashtag #GreekNik2018 they have created a window into a inexplicable experience where  this travel group visited Ancient Greece in mid may.

One of the most amazing realities is the sheer number of individuals that assembled together with the number around 130-140 at any given moment! Professionals in their 20’s and 30’s from all over the United States, and even some that lived abroad. Just like the popular Dubai Flight glitch a few years ago, this likewise started with a flight deal that offered a majority of people a round-trip flight from Newark to Athens for less than $400.  Thanks to the Travel Crew: “We Stay Traveling” (@westaytraveling) they quickly put a ‘Group Me’ room together, and coordinated all facets of the trip in a matter of months.

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Lesson 1:   Book First, ask questions later.

I had missed a few other international trips before. Why you ask?  Because I spent too much time trying to analyze every single minute detail instead of booking first and asking questions later. This time I refused to miss out. Thankfully we caught the deal. Shortly after began working out housing, transportation, and things to do over time. Worked out perfectly. So let that be the first piece of advice…Stay ready, then you won’t have to get ready.

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Lesson 2: Keep that Same Energy

This trip along with the others are not for the faint at heart. There is a level of energy and consistent good vibes that were unanimously agreed upon to maintain throughout the entire time we were abroad. KEEP THAT SAME ENERGY! Being exclaimed all throughout the days and nights as we progressed. But it was more than just sleeping less, and taking more shots, but it an ode to life beyond our vacation. The momentum of good energy was being passed to and through each person to heighten the overall experience. If you are not a believer in energy, this type of experience will certainly change that.

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Lesson 3: Balance is Key

“Find you somebody that can do both”. What does that mean you ask?  Well, when you take a deeper look into the magnificent melanated moguls behind those pictures you’ll find a cavalry of extremely successful individuals in careers that span a wide range.  See the locals may have thought we were just a bunch of kids visiting Greece, but behind the rap lyric quotin’, tenacious twerking, and Iphone portrait mode selfie taking group was a physical manifestation of Dubois’  Talented tenth.  But with a cultural twist… We exuded the made-popular term ‘sophista-ratchet’. Now you may not be familiar with this urban vernacular, so let me try and give you some examples:

It’s the pulling out your devotional first thing in the morning, and still being the life of the party, or maybe it’s a quick shady interchange between a dentist spraying a bottle of Moet and a lawyer getting blown up by clients on a yacht ; or maybe it’s a young black physician that just finished his Orals for Board certification, and buying bottles of Johnny Walker on the beach,  or maybe it’s a restaurant owner that astounds us all buy packing for 10 days with a carry on, or personal trainers that also serve as Instagram models, and just possibly it’s project managers that aren’t afraid to climb on a bar and dance the night away, or possibly an engineer that’s a bounce music hype man, or a pharmacist with a gwara gwara that’s video vixen worthy, or debates about religion and Cardi B lyrics while on a tour of a Mykonos vineyard.  The energy and vibes reverberating from these magnificent melanated moguls was about leaving behind their professional lives to let it all out.  Everybody fed off the energy of the next and leveled up as the days went by. These are no ordinary people: stock brokers, sales reps, trainers, motivational speakers, entrepreneurs, project managers, trainers, nurses, engineers, educators, consultants, actuaries, doctors, brand reps, lawyers, dentists, executive chefs you name it!

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New connections. New relationships. Everlasting memories. No regrets. I hope this story inspires you to do what you’ve always wanted to do no matter your current circumstances. If you love to travel, do it. If you love to write, do it. If you love to speak, do it.  If you love to create art, do it. If you love to cook, do it.  If you love to serve, do it.  Nice for what?  Don’t ALLOW meaningless small barriers drop false fear into your life and have you putting off what you were called to do now.

In closing, the world is waiting on you to let it out. To stop holding back; break out of that shell and live your best life!!!

Follow @westaytraveling and check out the hashtag for some of the awe inspiring views of the Greek isles and the beautiful people who conquered it. Not to mention the next flight deal!

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And remember:  Protect your peace. Live your life. Eat your vegetables. Drink your water. Love hard. Laugh often. Use your Shea butter. Properly moisturize. Get your rest. Meet new people. But most importantly:   Travel the world.

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Live ACEO 

 

. With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

Trent J ACEO

 

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I Love My HBCU MONTH!!!

I was contacted earlier in the year by my Alma Mater, Prairie View A&M University, requesting that they spotlight me as a noted Alum and express why I Loved my HBCU! How could I turn that down! DONATE TO PVAMU 

“PVAMU was the place where the plans God had for me(Jeremiah 29:11), were revealed. Not only did I receive a ‘First Class‘ education, but furthermore an unparalleled life-changing experience. In my tenure at MY HBCU, I both was humbled and stretched, educated and refined, challenged and most importantly empowered. This is Why I LOVE My HBCU.”

NOW, I’m asking that YOU JOIN ME in donating $18.76 in commemoration of the establishment of PVAMU to a designation of your choice! That’s less than $20!!!!

DONATE HERE

|#ShowSomeLovePV|

Trent Johnson ’11
Senior Consultant, Accenture

“PVAMU was the place where the plans God had for me,…

Posted by Prairie View A&M University on Friday, March 17, 2017

SEE FULL POST BELOW!!!!

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When Reality Sets In…

In starting off the New Year, and approaching my 27th birthday, I began reflecting on the day I began my first “real” job as I call it here at a Consultant. I was pretty convinced that I had figured life out.  For the last 18 months of college, I stayed alone and was very familiar with what it took to handle “responsibilities” and balance a difficult “work” load.

However, as those years have swiftly passed I’ve come to realize a few things that I THOUGHT I knew, and really didn’t know until Life happened.

So yea, reality sets in very quickly.  Below I captured a few lessons that I’ve become aware of either voluntarily, or involuntarily.  Enjoy!

 

$1,000 is NOT a lot of money:

You know growing up seeing a $100 bill was foreign to me, we’d be happy to have a 20. Even though I was exposed to some ‘pricey’ situations with tuition and board, I never really experienced how much money was truly in circulation. When I received my first bonus, which was just short of the $1000, and was hit with a tax that nearly cut it in half, I quickly learned:  This is really not a lot of money. Thus, it was time for me to set my aspirations and financial goals to a higher standard.

$700 a month for all bills paid full furnished apartment wasn’t really that bad:

My, in college I consistently complained about housing prices sky-rocketing each and every year. Upon graduating I was paying about $750/mo for a 2 story townhome which included cable and internet. I was complaining until I began looking for apartments in Houston, and to be close to my job was paying nearly $900 a month. Not to mention, that only included the roof.

Your Credit Score is EVERYTHING:

One fundamental to financial management that isn’t really taught in many households, and most definitely not in school. “Credit is KING”, as my father put it. Protect your credit, like you would your own life. I was blessed upon graduation not to have any loans, so my debt was pretty low. However, I was always a believer in paying my credit cards off EVERY month. If I was going to be stupid, and charge up a lot of merchandise, or go shopping; I made myself sacrifice with a dusty dessert checking account. Though it caused some painful times, it works. Never charging more than I have has kept my credit usage down and helped to bump my credit score.

It’s so many people making 6 figures, and have a terribly lonely and depressing life.

I.Could.Stay.Here.All.Day : In my line of work of consulting I’m exposed to many different types of people, at various stages in their careers. From Partners, to entry level, I’ve seen how as the pay increases more of your time is demanded. And for many (not all), this results in a work-centered lifestyle with a lot of money, but no time to disconnect and focus on what’s really important to you.

I can’t believe that 4 years for me has come and gone, and some of the depression that I’ve watched others go through was enough for me to say… “its not worth it.” Now, am I telling you not to aspire to great wealth? Absolutely not. “Get Yo Money.”  However, never get to busy making a living that you

 

forget to live your life.  Find out what’s important to you, pick up new hobbies, create and strengthen relationships, rest, and most importantly have fun!

You have to do things that scare you every day. (Overcoming the Fear of Failure)

In 2012, my theme for the year was “living uncomfortable.”  All throughout the year, I adopted my “why not” attitude to living. Why not travel, why not try new foods, why not , why not, why not! I realized for the first time in my life, I was working full time, living alone, and able to do so many things that my time or resources wouldn’t allow.  Now this doesn’t mean go spend money you don’t have for “experiences,” but definitely don’t be afraid to try new things, meet new people, and get some “substance” to your well-being. In that year alone, I came to find out that what differs most people is not their financial status, race, or college affiliation, but simply the opportunities to be exposed to people, places, and things outside of our personal social norm.

 

Travel the World, not just Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Don’t get me wrong, Las Vegas and Atlanta are great places. And I rarely visit either and have a bad time. As someone that has traveled to over 60% of US states, I’ve come to learn that it’s the international travel that will really help to put things into perspective. Find you some friends willing and ready to travel, search for deals and GO.

Start the business now, follow your dream NOW, start the book NOW, transform the world NOW.

This can be rephrased as “It’ll never be the right/perfect time.”   For those of us that allow our minds to dream and imagine greater things in store for ourselves, we sometimes become our worse critics. Most businesses that are started fail, but ALL of ideas never acted upon fail. It satisfies us to know it’s still a dream, and that we didn’t try it and fail.  It’ll never be the right time. Pray about it, plan it out, and go try it out. You might completely succeed, you might completely fail. However, either way you will learn and readjust as you go along!

 

Taxes can really skew how you look at a Salary pay.

I’ve come to learn more about taxes as I looked at my first pay stub for work. Of course I paid taxes with odd jobs growing up, but now that I had a full salary things looked a bit different on that earnings statement.  Though I was making a certain amount of money as per my offer, I wasn’t going to see all of that money because of Uncle Sam. Moreover, learning how to work with and around taxes is the game that the wealthiest of the world have become masters of.  Saving is not how they become rich,  multiple income streams and properly placing their profits in tax deferred or tax free vehicles is what sets the 1% apart. (This will be another blog.)

With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

 

Trent J ACEO

Incremental Wealth I

Incremental Wealth  Part I

This past week, my memory verse was one that reassured me that one does not have to be ‘poor’ or go without in order to live a righteous life. The verse is: But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. – Deuteronomy 8:18

 

As I reflected over the scripture itself, I found myself being encouraged to use the talents in which God has gifted me to better myself, my family, and my community.  In the ACEO Success Acquisition model there are 4 pillars that serve as the principles for this aforementioned acquisition: Worship, Wisdom, Wellness, and Wealth respectively.  I’ve noticed I haven’t offered you all enough tips on how to avoid debt, become financially literate, and becoming financially independent. So I want to start off by providing some tips that have worked for me to get us started on this journey.

 

 

 

  • Save 10% of What You Earn.

As a Christian, I’ve always been taught to tithe. Though I can’t convince all of my readers to give their first 10% of their paycheck to a church, I do encourage this recommendation. By committing to putting away 10% each month, you begin to build a reserve. I started this around the time I was 13, and it’s amazing how creating this habit of ‘paying it forward’ first has improved not only my financial situation, but spiritual as well.

  • Don’t Charge an Amount NOT in your Bank Account.

I must admit, this is a principle that I’ve applied to my personal finances, and it’s served me quite well. I figure as long as you’re not purchasing a car, or a home, there’s really no reason to charge up a credit card to a balance that you can’t pay off immediately. By dragging payments out over months and months, you end up spending more money that you would paying with cash, or paying it off in the first month. Thus, when you are trying to decide whether to go out, or how much to spend, check your bank account first. If you don’t have it, don’t charge it.

  • Avoid Get Rich Schemes

If it’s too good to be true, it is. Simple!  There are hundreds, and thousands of “opportunities” if you will promising you great wealth, with minimal effort, and minimal initial investment. Learn how to discern between reasonable opportunities to increase your income, and those just meant to promise you quick wealth. Wealth is the knowledge by which to acquire abundant goods and services, not the amount of said goods and services that one possesses. That knowledge can only be obtained over time, and the wealth that comes with it can only be maintained with that knowledge.

  • If You Need to Borrow for a WANT, Go without It.

It gets under my skin when people borrow money for things they absolutely do not need. If it’s not relative to a roof over your head, bills being paid, or food then chances are you don’t need it. Learn how to control your variable expenses by kicking useless habits, and by spending money on wants when your needs are lacking. If you’re going to impose this debt on yourself, also impose a deadline between you are the borrower on when you will pay it back. Stick to it.

  • Don’t Spend a Check You Haven’t Received.

Bonuses, tax-returns, inheritances, expected lotteries. All examples of “boost income” scenarios in which people come-up quickly on an amount of income outside of their regular expected pay. These end up being those that can make or break the level of incremental wealth that you obtain in life. For these ‘unexpected’ or ‘boost incomes’ DO NOT spend every dime of it, before you even receive it. Use these as opportunities to quickly upgrade your financial situation. Invest 75% – 100% of these boosts. If the truth be told, you weren’t expecting what you’re receiving so by investing it, your day to day won’t change, however your long-term financial goal will be one step closer.

  • Decrease Variable Expenses.

This can be a tricky one. On my budget sheet that I use I have a section called variable expenses. This group of expenses includes but is not limited to: gas, groceries, and utilities. From month to month these will slightly vary based off of time at home, visiting friends, traveling, and the seasons. Train yourself to be able to live off less. You can’t do much about your rent month to month, but you can control how much of your utilities you use, the amount of grocery store trips you make, and being aware of how much gas you’re burning. Try to find ways to cut $5 – $10 off per bill cycle. It definitely adds up!

  • Take Advantage of Rewards Programs, & Coupons

My name is Trent J, and I am a couponer. I use apps, clipped coupons, Groupon, living social, Google offers, and have an Amazon Credit card that I receive great reward points on for my every day purchases. One thing that has shifted my perspective on my financial situation is learning how to invest in everything and spend on nothing. Every time money exchanges hands, I expect to be receiving something in return whether its reward points, money off another item, or buy in to other saving opportunities. Yes it is somewhat time consuming but a few minutes here and there, add up to incremental savings over time.

 

 

I hope these tips are helpful to you and your financial situation. As you know the principles of ACEO Global are Worship, Wisdom, Wellness, and Wealth.  Wealth is an essential part of balancing our your success and happiness balance. Enjoy and share with others!

 

 

With Passion, Purpose, & Pride

 

Trent J ACEO

@TrentJACEO

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rules – Minority Success in Corporate America

The Rules – Minority Success in Corporate America (Part 1 & 2 Combined)

The Rules Pt. 1 – April 2012

THE RULES: PART 1

 

If you didn’t know by now the corporate world can be juxtaposed to a strategic or skilled game. I personally like to compare it to a game like chess.  Every piece has limitations, every piece has a role, and in order to be successful you must stay steps ahead of the competition. Just like Accenture, we all have limitations based on skills sets, in addition to aligning yourself to win the ‘game.’

 

I hope you enjoy!:

 

RULE 1:  ‘This is a game…and there are rules”

–          Know the language of the game, and be willing to take some risks to win.

You should most definitely learn how to speak the corporate jargon. Understanding the ACN business, in addition to learning the business jargon of the individual projects that you have been staffed on. For example you may hear someone mention “bottom line” or their margin between expenses and profit; business need and vision. In addition do not be afraid to take on the challenges on projects.  Those are normally the tasks that get you noticed whether you do well on them or not.   Here’s a quote: “If you do something you know you can do, it’s not a challenge” – Trent J

RULE 2:  Understand How the Company Makes Money

–          Become well versed in the company business model (ADM) and know what constitutes success.

Honestly, other than the networking, I think the time we spent on the ADM was the most interesting part of the Saint Charles training. We were able to really look over how the board oversees this extremely large firm, and how they estimate deliverables in addition to making their money. As an employee you must understand this, and make sure your actions and ambitions line up with the vision of the leadership. No one will rank you highly or recommend you for higher promotions if you are costing them money. Moreover if you do not understand how to apply the business model as is.

 

RULE 3: Deliver Results

–          “People will be sympathetic with your excuses, but impressed only by your results.”  Don’t be followed by ‘Don’t worry we’ll figure out a way to deal with it. The ‘we’ may not include you.  Outcomes are what ultimately matter to the company. So that’s what better matter to you. What can you do? Have you done it? How well did you do it? How long did it take? How much money did it cost? If I had to explain this rule in my own words, I would probably add: “It’s just business.” Learn how to do your job, and do it well.  In engineering courses you learn about the definition of efficiency:  = Input/Output.    Ideally you want the least amount of input to produce the maximum amount of output. Do the most you can using us the least amount of resources.

 

RULE 4:  Aspire to greatness… in whatever you do.

–          Don’t settle for ‘middle of the road’; mediocrity doesn’t get much attention until it’s ‘unwanted’; We’ll always keep good soldiers around as long as the work is there. Most people aren’t very good at sending touch messages, so the fact that you aren’t hearing them doesn’t mean that things are going great. In short: Be great and nothing less.

 

RULE 5:  Don’t get outworked.

–          ‘If you job seems easy, you’re not working hard enough.”; If you don’t know as much as the most knowledgeable people… then there’s obviously more work to be done. As I mentioned earlier, you must challenge yourself. Although from time to time an easier project or task may fit better for your current life situation, when it comes to advancement and building a skillset: YOU MUST CHALLENGE YOURSELF.

 

THE RULES: PART 2

RULE 6 – There are no “worthless assignments”

 

By far one of the toughest rules to try and absorb. We all know there are some tasks that have come across our desk that seem pretty worthless. The value may not come from the deliverable, but it comes from the person that assigned it to you. This is an opportunity to build a relationship with a cons, manager, senior mang, etc and identify a work ethic with your ‘brand’.  Regardless of the task if you perform it well and deliver on time and of high quality you will be remembered for that.  These types of instances allow ‘higher-ups’ to gain a sense of accountability for your success. Thus they trust you, and will vouch for you when it comes time for promotions, raises, and being staffed.

 

RULE 7 – “Master the context, not just the content”

 

Personally, this was probably one of my greatest challenges in college. Taking a course that you cared nothing about, but you needed to graduate. There may come some tasks like this across your desk. Although you may not be fond of them, it is your responsibility to take the task and master it’s content. It’s tough to know ‘how’ if you don’t know the ‘what and why.’

 

RULE 8 –  “Sweat the Details”

 

Think about this one in the example of studying for an exam.  You try and pick out the topics that the professor will more than likely test you over. The things they covered heavily in class; because of the lack of time you decide to skip the foot notes and optional readings they suggested at the beginning of the course. Then when you arrive to the test, you find out 80% of the test came from the optional text. To prevent a mishap like this, pay attention to details. Put yourself in the shoes of the client or even your supervisor to see how they might question your deliverable so you can  make good judgment to whether it is sufficient.

 

RULE 9 – “Never forget that a certain level of professionalism is expected at all times”

 

It is not ok to have a blue jean Friday attitude Monday morning. Remember this is your job/career you are here to make sure the company’s bottom line is met, and maximum value is created for our clients. Moreoever, you are expected to do so with an expected level of professionalism. Checking voicemails, e-mails, taking copious notes during meetings/discussions, and keeping your appearance neat and clean. You do not want to ruin the quality of your work, with a bad impression of your professionalism.

 

RULE 10 –  “Understanding the difference between Leadership, Management, and Execution”

 

Everyone wants to be a leader, even more want to manage (or micro-manage for that matter), but only few can effectively execute.

  1. a)      Executionis exactly that getting the work done. How much can you output, with minimal input at a high level in a short amount of time.
  2. b)      Management being able to understand planning, variables, cost, TIME, quality and resources.
  3. c)      Leadership This does not necessarily need to be a title or position. Ask yourself would anyone want to follow me? Can you motivate people with a clear vision of what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and most importantly how you plan to do it.

 

With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

Trent J ACEO

Incremental Wealth Part I

Incremental Wealth – July 2013

This past week, my memory verse was one that reassured me that one does not have to be ‘poor’ or go without in order to live a righteous life. The verse is: But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. – Deuteronomy 8:18

 

As I reflected over the scripture itself, I found myself being encouraged to use the talents in which God has gifted me to better myself, my family, and my community.  In the ACEO Success Acquisition model there are 4 pillars that serve as the principles for this aforementioned acquisition: Worship, Wisdom, Wellness, and Wealth respectively.  I’ve noticed I haven’t offered you all enough tips on how to avoid debt, become financially literate, and becoming financially independent. So I want to start off by providing some tips that have worked for me to get us started on this journey.

 

 

 

  • Save 10% of What You Earn.

As a Christian, I’ve always been taught to tithe. Though I can’t convince all of my readers to give their first 10% of their paycheck to a church, I do encourage this recommendation. By committing to putting away 10% each month, you begin to build a reserve. I started this around the time I was 13, and it’s amazing how creating this habit of ‘paying it forward’ first has improved not only my financial situation, but spiritual as well.

  • Don’t Charge an Amount NOT in your Bank Account.

I must admit, this is a principle that I’ve applied to my personal finances, and it’s served me quite well. I figure as long as you’re not purchasing a car, or a home, there’s really no reason to charge up a credit card to a balance that you can’t pay off immediately. By dragging payments out over months and months, you end up spending more money that you would paying with cash, or paying it off in the first month. Thus, when you are trying to decide whether to go out, or how much to spend, check your bank account first. If you don’t have it, don’t charge it.

  • Avoid Get Rich Schemes

If it’s too good to be true, it is. Simple!  There are hundreds, and thousands of “opportunities” if you will promising you great wealth, with minimal effort, and minimal initial investment. Learn how to discern between reasonable opportunities to increase your income, and those just meant to promise you quick wealth. Wealth is the knowledge by which to acquire abundant goods and services, not the amount of said goods and services that one possesses. That knowledge can only be obtained over time, and the wealth that comes with it can only be maintained with that knowledge.

  • If You Need to Borrow for a WANT, Go without It.

It gets under my skin when people borrow money for things they absolutely do not need. If it’s not relative to a roof over your head, bills being paid, or food then chances are you don’t need it. Learn how to control your variable expenses by kicking useless habits, and by spending money on wants when your needs are lacking. If you’re going to impose this debt on yourself, also impose a deadline between you are the borrower on when you will pay it back. Stick to it.

  • Don’t Spend a Check You Haven’t Received.

Bonuses, tax-returns, inheritances, expected lotteries. All examples of “boost income” scenarios in which people come-up quickly on an amount of income outside of their regular expected pay. These end up being those that can make or break the level of incremental wealth that you obtain in life. For these ‘unexpected’ or ‘boost incomes’ DO NOT spend every dime of it, before you even receive it. Use these as opportunities to quickly upgrade your financial situation. Invest 75% – 100% of these boosts. If the truth be told, you weren’t expecting what you’re receiving so by investing it, your day to day won’t change, however your long-term financial goal will be one step closer.

  • Decrease Variable Expenses.

This can be a tricky one. On my budget sheet that I use I have a section called variable expenses. This group of expenses includes but is not limited to: gas, groceries, and utilities. From month to month these will slightly vary based off of time at home, visiting friends, traveling, and the seasons. Train yourself to be able to live off less. You can’t do much about your rent month to month, but you can control how much of your utilities you use, the amount of grocery store trips you make, and being aware of how much gas you’re burning. Try to find ways to cut $5 – $10 off per bill cycle. It definitely adds up!

  • Take Advantage of Rewards Programs, & Coupons

My name is Trent J, and I am a couponer. I use apps, clipped coupons, Groupon, living social, Google offers, and have an Amazon Credit card that I receive great reward points on for my every day purchases. One thing that has shifted my perspective on my financial situation is learning how to invest in everything and spend on nothing. Every time money exchanges hands, I expect to be receiving something in return whether its reward points, money off another item, or buy in to other saving opportunities. Yes it is somewhat time consuming but a few minutes here and there, add up to incremental savings over time.

 

 

I hope these tips are helpful to you and your financial situation. As you know the principles of ACEO Global are Worship, Wisdom, Wellness, and Wealth.  Wealth is an essential part of balancing our your success and happiness balance. Enjoy and share with others!

 

 

With Passion, Purpose, & Pride

 

Trent J ACEO

@TrentJACEO