Friday, December 30, 2011

Set Your Sights on How to Get Rich -Make it a Resolution

The end of the year is quite often the time when a lot of people make resolutions on how to improve themselves in the coming year.

Some common resolutions are losing weight, taking a course, breaking a bad habit such as smoking or gambling, etc. What is your resolution this new year ?

Whatever yours may be, I have another suggestion to add to your list. Why don't you make it a resolution to be wealthier at the end of next year than you are today.

Let's look at some examples of how you could achieve this resolution.

If you currently have any consumer debt (debt in which you cannot deduct the interest payments) pay off your highest cost debt first. This could normally be a credit card debt or other high interest loan amount. Save the lowest cost debt for last. This would be the most efficient use of your funds. Paying off debt will always increase your wealth.

If you haven't yet started saving for your future, now is the time. Set a goal of how much to save during the year and just do it. Don't spend this amount. Invest it for your future. This will increase your wealth.

If you already have a savings plan in place, great. Your wealth is already on track to improve by the end of next year. However, you could make it a resolution to add more this year if funds permit. You would be fast tracking your plan to be rich.

Wherever you are coming from and to wherever you want to be, now is the time to make your plan for the coming year. Make it a resolution to become wealthier next year. Make it a goal to improve your life financially and reduce your stress.

All the best in the new year. To your future success.

Happy New Year !

As always I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How to Get Rich - Make it Automatic

One of the hardest things to learn about how to get rich is how to actually save the money needed to ensure that someday you will become rich.

As mentioned before, without savings, there can be no wealth. As anything, without input there can be no output.

Yes, you can earn lots of money, but you will still have to learn how to save some of it. Just look at the many celebrities over the years who have earned millions of dollars and have still managed to blow it all. Hard to believe isn't it. They simply never learned how to save.

Fortunately for the average person today, our banks have made it quite easy for us to set aside our savings. You can set up automatic pre-authorized payments into your savings account. What this means is that once a month or once every two weeks you can have your savings portion of your paycheck (hopefully 10% or more) automatically taken out of your checking account and deposited to your savings account.

Where this type of arrangement works the best is when you get the same net pay on every paycheck. I don't believe most banks will be able to transfer a set percentage of deposits per month, but it's worth checking into if you don't have the same amount on every pay.

If you don't have the same amount on each pay, I would still set up the automatic transfer. Make the transfer amount (10% or more) of your lowest net pay period. You can then do a manual transfer on the small portion of the difference on the larger pay later on. A little more cumbersome, but at least you will have most of your savings deposited if you happen to forget to make the manual transfer.

Whatever method you use, make it as automatic as possible. It will be much less painful if you never see the income in the first place. Out of sight out of mind so to speak.Also, you will have a much better chance of succeeding with your savings plan and much less chance of blowing it on something that came up. Something always comes up, doesn't it?

This is truly the only way to pay yourself first. Take it before you see it.

Please remember my previous advise as well. Do not give yourself bank card access or on line access to this savings account. If you do, you may find it leaks back to your checking account when something comes up, therefore defeating all the saving you have done. DON'T TOUCH THIS

Make your savings account very difficult to access. The only time you should take money out of this account is to purchase investments that will make you money.

The more automatic you can make the savings process, the less you will feel the effects of living on less. The more your savings grow, the more comfortable your future life will become. You will truly be learning how to get rich little by little, as your savings grow. Make it automatic.

As always I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Friday, December 23, 2011

How to Save Money and Still Have Fun - Memories over Things

Please read this, just for fun.

One misconception that many people have is that if you save money you won't be able to have any fun.

I suppose that all depends on what your definition of fun really is. Does it mean spending all of your income to go to the movies, the bars, sporting events, eating out, vacations, or what have you. Or maybe it means to spend all of your income on the latest gadgets, gizmos and clothes. Or maybe it's a combination of many or all of the above.

Whatever your definition of fun is, it will likely be different from anyone else. Everyone will have a different definition of what the word fun really means to them. Different strokes for different folks.

                                                               A Fun Exercise

Make a list of what activities and what things are fun for you. Now rank your fun based on what you remember the most to least over the past five years. This will be your fun scale.

If you are like most people, the fun things that you remember are actually memories. They are not generally the gadgets, gizmos and clothes. They are the activities that produced lasting memories, such as family vacations, a night out on the town with friends, etc.

Memories are something that you can take with you far into the future well into your old age. On the other hand, things come and things go, even quicker today than in the past. Short term fun over long term fun.

                                                            Memories Over Things


Saving money will likely mean that you will have to give up a few of the fun things you have listed above. Start with your least memorable fun thing and work your way up. This could very well mean that what you are giving up is the latest gadget, gizmo or clothes. Will you really miss these over the long term? Probably not.

By doing this fun exercise, you will be able to see what fun things you will have to give up today to start saving  for your future fun things of tomorrow. Yes, with more savings, you will some day be able to have more fun things in your future with more time to enjoy them.

After all, life is all about having fun. If you can't have fun, what's the point of living.

Never, ever, ever give up all of your fun things on your list to save more money. It will simply not be worth the misery you will create. None of us know how much time we have left, so enjoy today but plan for tomorrow.
You must learn to balance your fun things of today with your savings for the fun things of tomorrow. It's that simple and it's that hard.

One last point. Many have found that their best memories did not actually cost them that much at all.Time spent with friends and family are often high on one's list.

Now think about what you can do today to create your future memories and long term fun.Have fun today and start planning for your even funner (is that even a word) tomorrow.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How To Get Rich - Overcoming Obstacles

The vast majority of the population will never become rich. In fact, a large number of individuals will never achieve any of their life's goals, getting rich or otherwise. There are several factors that are common with one's how to get rich goals and other life goals.

First of all, not everyone wants to learn how to get rich. They want something to simply fall in their lap like winning a lottery. Just look at the number of tickets sold for the popular lotteries. The sad truth about lotteries is that the lotteries themselves are the ones getting rich. Extremely rich in fact.They play the numbers game always designed to make them the real winners. Their commercials try to make you think you actually have a chance to get rich.You do, but very,very,very slim. (probably not enough very's there) Their odds should have to be published in all ads. It's a crime really.

One of the biggest obstacles to getting rich is that most people are just plain lazy when it comes to making the changes needed to get rich. They simply can't be bothered. They are content (I guess, but maybe not really)
enough to do nothing. (except buying the lottery ticket) Carry on with the same old, same old.

Many people have even convinced themselves that no matter what they do, they will never be able to become rich. They will never learn how to be rich because they will never even try. It's too difficult, it's too out there, it's too pie in the sky. Wow. They are truly defeated individuals.

Some have tried to learn how to get rich only to be shot down by family and friends. Their family and friends don't want them to become rich. They want them to be exactly like them. To fit in, to know their place in life.
They try to convince them that they will turn into snobs and will not be so close to their family and friends.This can be one of the toughest obstacles for an ambitious person to overcome.

There are still others who learn the steps of how to get rich but never act on them. They gain a lot of the information necessary for getting rich but for whatever reason lose interest and go on to something else that is more fun perhaps. When it comes to learning how to get rich, knowledge without action gets you nowhere.

                                                                       What To Do  

How then can a person truly become rich ?

First of all, you must really want to. You must become very discontent with your current situation. You must stop buying the pie in the sky lottery tickets and put that money towards your goal of becoming rich. You must filter out the negative comments from your family and friends.You must start truly believing that someday you will become rich.

Finally, take action. Learn all that you can about how to be rich and then (as Nike says) just do it. Take the necessary action steps to start on your road to free yourself from the burdens of everyday life, to build your own financial future.

You can do it if you truly believe you can.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How to Deal with Financial Advisers - Know Their Priorities

As your wealth increases, you will likely find that you are approached more often by someone who wishes to help you with your investing or retirement plans. Even your banker will want to help you more as your wealth grows. These people are generally referred to as Financial Advisers.

Financial Advisers come in many shapes and forms (I don't mean just physically ).  They each have their own motivations and desires. They are all being paid by someone and that someone in the long run is generally you, their client.

Many advisers work for a financial organization who market products and services. Their future in the firm will depend largely on how many clients they can accumulate as well as the total investment dollars they can bring into the firm. They can be paid directly by the organization or as a combination of commission and/or bonuses and incentives.

One important factor to remember is that the more business they get from you the more it will benefit them. They are in business for themselves and must feed themselves and their families in order to survive. It is a very competitive and sometimes ruthless business.

                                                                     Warning
_______________________________________________________________________

Unfortunately, because of the nature of this business, it has forced a few unethical advisers to actually break the law and steal their client's investment dollars.However, these instances are generally few and far between.  Most advisers are good people who truly care about their clients and their investment dollars.You should just be aware that these instances have happened and likely will continue to happen in the future.It's human nature. Beware.
_______________________________________________________________________

There are other Financial Advisers who charge an hourly rate for their services. These are called fee for service advisers and are generally fewer in numbers and have more experience and/or qualifications. With these advisers you will know your costs before hiring them.

Finding a good Financial Adviser who is truly looking out for your best interests is sometimes a very difficult task.It is always good to ask around and get recommendations from friends, family and co workers. Like most things you buy, you should always initiate the process and be wary of the Financial Advisers  that are approaching you. They are likely just starting out or need to increase their business.

If considering working with a Financial Adviser, always ask for other client referrals and always follow through by contacting those referrals. Also, you should always ask how they are being paid and how much they will make from your future relationship with them. Your relationship with them should always be a win/win situation.

A general rule of thumb when dealing with Financial Advisers is to use their advise (and maybe even give them some business) but never give them complete control over your investment dollars.Always retain control over your own money and know exactly what you are investing in. It's your future that is at stake.

As always I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Increase Savings - Know Where your Money is Going

Have you ever woken up one day and wondered where all your money has gone ?

I think we have all experienced this at some point in our lives. No matter how much income you earn and bring home it just never seems to be enough.

First of all, remember that wealth is never measured by the size of your paycheck. Many high income earners are in debt up to their you know whats. Your income has less to do with building wealth than you may think. What matters most is how much you keep out of all that you bring home. Yes, savings. That's what builds wealth.

A higher income should mean more for savings. However, this is not always the case. Many times a higher income means more spending as a reward for getting the raise etc. Instant gratification as opposed to long term gratification. It's just human nature.

                                                             What To Do

As mentioned before, you should be saving  at least 10% of your take home income. If you're not, the first thing you need to do is find out where your money is going. Actually, even if you are saving 10%, you should still know where the rest of your money is going. You may be able to further accelerate your plans.

To know where your money is going means making a list of every purchase you make for a full month. Yes, every purchase. Every latte, every snack, everything. Be honest and don't cheat. You will only be cheating yourself in the long run.

You will likely be surprised at how much just slips through the cracks so to speak. All the little things can add up so quickly over time. It's amazing really.

Once you know where your money is going, it is much easier to plan. Yes, plan. You will have to plan what you intend to do to meet your targets for savings. What will you have to do to meet your savings goals?

                                                                    It's Too Hard


I never said that becoming wealthy was going to be easy. The easy road usually does not lead to your goals.
It usually leads to misery and debt.

You must decide what you can live without today to reach your goals of tomorrow. Nothing worthwhile ever comes without sacrifice of some sort.

I hate to use the B word, Budget that is. However, for some, it is the best way to control your spending habits  and to track exactly where your money is going each month. It works quite well actually as long as you follow the guidelines that you set up for yourself. Plan your work, then work your plan so to speak.I will speak more of this in a future post.

Whatever your situation, you should now be better prepared to increase your savings goals. If nothing else, at least you will know where the money has gone. Hopefully that is, as long as you didn't cheat yourself.

As always I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Start Saving - Block Consumerism

How are we to save money when there are so many things to buy ?

This is the time of year that many individuals go deeply into debt to buy the perfect gift for a loved one. They listen to the constant bombardment of ads from retailers. They are made to feel that unless they spend lots of money on gifts they are somehow less liked.

Wow ! Is society really that brainwashed into spending? I think the answer is yes. Does someone really care for you more because of the things that you buy for them. That shouldn't be.

There is something very wrong with the way retailers try to run our lives. It's almost like they are bullying us into buying their products.

                                                              How to Fight Back


The good news is "you can fight back" . Block Consumerism. Ignore the constant bombardment of ads. Push the mute on your remote during commercials. Don't let them get their message through. Filter them out.

Focus on your plan to improve your wealth. Remember why you are saving. Revision your goals. Brainwash yourself in a positive way to improve your life.

This does not mean that you should not buy gifts for your loved ones during the holiday season. It just means you should plan how much to spend and stick to your plan. The amount you spend should be affordable for you and not put you into debt. It should also not take away from the amount you have planned to save.

                                                                 Take Control


Yes. Take control over your spending. Don't let the retailers tell you what to do.

Do you really need the best gizmo and gadget that will be obsolete six months from now? Remember, there will always be a better, faster, new improved gadget just waiting to suck your wealth.

Consumerism is designed to suck your wealth and leave you wanting for more. The retailers do not want you to become rich. They want to become rich. They need to make profits for their owners. Period.

It can be tough to fight against the constant tide of consumerism. But remember, before you swipe your card or fork over your hard earned cash, you have control. The decision is yours. You can give in to consumerism or you can say no.  

An old saying that I seem to remember this time of year " The Best Gifts in Life are the Ones that are Free"
A good thing to ponder this time of year.

Happy holidays !

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to Start Building Wealth - Become Motivated

How do you get Rich ? Well, that depends on where you are starting from, but unless you have inherited millions of dollars or recently won the lottery, you will have to learn to save money.

A simple answer on paper, but far from a simple answer in real life. Saving money is the single biggest and the most simple tip you will ever learn about becoming rich. Then why is it that the simplest of things is never achieved by the majority of individuals. One reason is lack of motivation. They simply don't want to.

The fact that you are reading this means that you are somewhat motivated to getting rich. At least enough so to read these few words of wisdom. If you were hoping for a magic pill or magic wand to give you instant wealth. Sorry. The truth is you will have to learn how to save money.

Since you already want to learn how to get rich, then you have already crossed the first hurdle. You have the desire to improve yourself financially, otherwise you would have surfed elsewhere.

                                                                    What Next

Your next step is to transform this desire into a burning desire. Imagine yourself a wealthy person and feel the emotions of having everything that you desire. Feel it, don't just imagine it !  Feel It !

Motivation. Without it you will never be able to achieve your dreams. Without it you will never be able to continue saving when things get rough. With it you will achieve all that you desire. With it you will achieve wealth beyond your imagination.

Motivation is vital to your future success.


                                                          How to Become Motivated                 


First of all as the Nike commercial says, just do it. Just start saving 10% of your take home pay and follow "The Golden Rule" (previous post) . Start imagining now how it would feel to be rich. Simple.

The problem with motivation is that it has a tendency to die out over time. Your motivation may need to be revitalized from time to time. What worked for me was buying motivational books and reading, and rereading, and rereading them time and time again. The wonderful thing about motivational books is that the message never becomes outdated. What worked 30 years ago will still work today.

If you find yourself loosing focus from time to time, I would recommend buying yourself a motivational book or two. If you would like a specific recommendation, feel free to comment on this post or send me an email.

Motivation is something that must always be within you. You must feel what it is like to have achieved your goals and dreams. You must constantly build yourself up when the world is pushing you down. You must truly believe that you will reach your goals and realize your dreams.

It's that simple and it's that hard. The hard truth is you must keep motivated to achieve your goals. Without motivation there will be no savings. Without savings there will be no wealth.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment or make a suggestion for a future topic.

Friday, December 2, 2011

How to Buy Your Castle - Choosing Your Lifestyle

You do not have to be a king to live in a castle.

Many individuals have placed a lot of their focus on their home. Too much so, actually. Their "Dream Home"
has taken over their lives and become an obsession. There are many individuals that are what I call "Mortgage Poor". This meaning that they are living merely to support their chosen lifestyle. Their castle as it were.

What happens to these individuals when there is a drop in real estate values ? What happens to them when there is an increase in interest rates ?  You guessed it. Foreclosure ! A harsh reality for many Americans today.

Wherever you may live, it could happen to you as well. No one is safe from a falling Real Estate market and/or rising interest rates. Individually, we have absolutely no control over the markets. We are at their mercy unless we plan.

All markets go up and all markets go down. Cycles. Nothing goes up forever. Nothing goes down forever.
Real Estate is not immune to the above, it merely has longer cycles. Remember this, as most don't.

As in all markets, be careful not to buy at the top. Do not rely 100% on your Real Estate agent or your banker for advise when and where to buy. Remember, they earn their living by selling you something and they earn nothing if you don't buy now. Use their advise, yes, but don't rely on them exclusively. Do your own research about the markets and the areas that you wish to live. Take control of your decision.

Your purchase must also be something you can comfortably afford today. Do not buy if you are stretched financially today. Always leave yourself room for a future market downturn or a rise in future interest rates. They are coming, it's just we don't know when. Be prepared.

Owning your home is still one of the best investments one can make. However, be careful not to get caught up in the drama of the up, up up, crowd. Buy your home sensibly and stick to what you can easily afford today.You can always upgrade later if it looks right.

Always buy your home. Don't let someone sell it to you. Stay within your comfort zone and don't let someone push the envelope. You are the one that has to make the future payments, not them.

Whatever home you buy, it will be your castle. Do not become a slave in the dungeon. Be the king or the queen.living at the top.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Get Rich by using Credit Cards

Banks have learned how to get rich by offering credit cards a long time ago.

They basically offer easy credit to almost anyone who can fog a piece of glass. ( as long as they're breathing)
Then they charge a whopping 18% or more interest to those who don't pay off their balance each month.
(which is a large percentage of credit card holders ) Sounds like it should be criminal, doesn't it ?

Even in today's extremely low interest rate environment many cards interest rates remain at this outrageous level. As you can probably tell, I do not have too much good to say about most banks. Anyway, I'll get into that issue at a later time when I have more space.

Banks have been making a fortune on credit cards for years. Did you know that they even charge the merchants (stores, etc ) something like 6% of the purchases on credit cards. They make money no matter what from both ends of the sale. Do you still love your bank ?  Would you like to turn the tables on them ?
I thought you would !
 
                      
                                                      Turn the Tables on your Bank




Just so you know, by using the following advice your bank will still be making money, just not as much.

How would you like to get an interest free loan from your bank for 30 days or so. I hope you said yes !
That is basically what you will be doing if you follow the three steps below.

1- If you haven't already, apply for one good Credit Card, (VISA or Mastercard) and destroy all of your other store credit cards etc. When choosing a card, try to choose one that will give you some benefits such as purchase points or air miles. This way you get free stuff once in a while just for using your card.

2 - Now, when you purchase anything ( and I mean anything ) use your new card. This should apply to most purchases including groceries and everyday items. At first, you may have a small limit and that's ok. If you go over your limit, simply call the bank and ask to have your limit raised. I have never seen a bank refuse this request yet. They will sometimes even do it without asking.

3 - When you get your credit card statement every month, make sure you pay off the entire balance by the due date. No interest will be charged as long as you pay the entire balance on or before the due date. I would also recommend that you set up a preauthorized payment of the full balance each month. This way you won't accidentally forget the payment. Just make sure you have enough funds in your bank account when the payment is to come out.

That is it. Pretty simple really, but don't make any mistakes (especially in step 3 ) or the bank will win and charge you the whopper interest rate.

You make money in two ways from this. Firstly, up to 30 days free use of the bank's money which you can keep in your account earning you the interest up to the due date on your statement. Secondly, by using your card for everything, you can accumulate points or air miles etc. pretty quickly and get some good stuff for free.

I really do love getting back at the banks ! Maybe you can too !


                                                                    Warning

When making your purchases, don't go overboard. If you don't have the money in the bank or have enough income coming in to cover the costs, don't make the purchase. You should only be making purchases with the card that you could pay cash for. This is not the place to borrow money.


As always, I welcome your comments and requests for future topics.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What Is Life Insurance - Is It Really Needed

Life Insurance is a financial product that has been around for many years. It comes in many shapes and forms and has been sold under many names. How do you know if you need it ?

The purpose of Life Insurance is to pay your beneficiary a specified amount of money in the event of your death. It is needed if you have someone in your life that depends on your employment income to survive. This could be a child, a spouse or even parents in some cases.

If you have a family to support and you do not have a substantial amount of money invested, chances are you should have some life insurance. The amount and type will depend on many factors which should be reviewed by a competent life insurance broker prior to your purchase.

In the past, life insurance has been sold to many individuals who did not have a need for it. For example, new college or university grads were targeted by insurance agents as a new source of long term revenue for them. Do most new college or university grads have a family to support ? Not most of them. Most of them did not need life insurance.

Life insurance is normally something that is sold, not something that most consumers go out and buy. What this means is, insurance companies use various forms of direct marketing techniques to contact individuals and try to persuade them that they need life insurance. Many people do not need life insurance but are persuaded by clever sales techniques that they do. Be aware.

How To Buy Life Insurance if you Have a Need

As a consumer, what you should be doing is taking control of your insurance needs and starting the process of shopping around for the best deal. Do not wait for a sales person to make first contact. You need to look around and compare different products just as you would any other purchase.

Many insurance companies combine a savings element in their policies to use as a lever to make you feel better about buying the product. In most cases it would be better for you to develop your own savings plan, as you have more control over the use of it and what it is invested in.

When shopping around for life insurance, I would recommend in most cases to look at term life policies only. Stay away from any products that have a savings element involved. They generally pay a much higher commission rate for the agents and you know who will be paying that.

Term policies come in varying lengths of time. What this means is your monthly or annual payment (called a premium) will be fixed for the length of the term. Examples are 5 year, 10 year, 20 year etc. Generally the shorter the term, the lower the premium.

If you have a savings plan in place, the amount of insurance you need in the future may be less than what you need today. In this case you may be best to buy the shorter term insurance and review your needs again just prior to the end of the term.

Please use the information here as a guideline only. Find yourself a qualified insurance broker (sells products for more than one company) and have him/her work with you to determine your best life insurance plan.

The main point here is to take control of your own needs and find someone who will work with you and not try to sell you something you don't need.

As always, I welcome your comments and any suggestions for future topics.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to Protect your Wealth - Avoid Financial Fraud and Decepcion

We work hard to build our lives. We work hard to develop a savings and investment plan. We work hard to develop a good income and relationship with our employers.

Why is it then that some of us will fall prey to the underhanded and downright criminal acts of a few fraudsters?

Because we are impatient? Because we are trusting? Because we are unhappy with our current situation?

All of the above.

Society has conditioned us to expect to have everything NOW, therefore we are impatient.
We live in a society where people are generally good and understanding, therefore we are trusting.
Society and the media glorify lives of the wealthy, therefore we we are unhappy with our own lives.

The con artists and fraudsters of the world take advantage of all of these conditions we live in. They prey on our above weaknesses and quite often they are very successful.

How then do we protect ourselves from these attacks ?

First of all, if you are ever approached by a stranger with a good pitch, do not trust them until they have earned your trust. By stranger, I mean anyone you don't know personally. Always tell them you'll think about it and get their contact info. If they don't want to give it to you, you know why. Say goodbye.

Never, ever, ever give your credit card or bank account info over the phone unless you know the company or the person on the other end.. Also, never give out personal data such as your birth date etc. Identity theft is also big business.

Never pay an up front fee to get a prize or service of any kind.  Free vacations have been a big one in the past. They are usually a time share operator trying to peddle their units.

If you are ever in a situation where you feel pressured to buy NOW because the offer will expire, DON"T !
If it is a good deal it will always be there tomorrow. Always walk away and think it through.Quite often you will discover that it wasn't such a good deal after all. Shop around, compare, take control.

Control ! That is the key word. The con artist and fraudster always wants to take control of your money. Don't let them pressure you or persuade you to do anything. You as a consumer should always be initiating
the negotiations to buy anything.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we cannot trust every individual we encounter. You will find that as your wealth grows, so too will the potential attacks on your wealth. There will always be somebody out there looking for something for nothing. Don't be an easy target. Be careful.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to Increase Your Savings - 3 Top Money Saving Tips

As mentioned in a previous post about the Golden Rule - Pay Yourself First, it is vital to your financial health that you spend less than you bring home as income. This is by far the easiest and most controllable way to start increasing your wealth.

You are the one who has control over your spending habits. There are many ways that you may be able to reduce your spending without giving up anything. The following are easily the top three.

The first thing you should try to do is shop around before you buy anything. Yes, this includes everything especially consumables such as food etc. Most people could save twenty percent or more on their food budget if they just shopped around. Check the local papers etc for ads from local grocery stores. They generally compete for your business and quite often offer big discounts to get you in their stores. Get to know the prices on everything you consume. You should know if you're getting a good deal or not.

Another important thing to do is avoid impulse buying. Be organized and make a list of all that you need and stick to it. Know what you want to buy before entering the store. Do not let a pushy commissioned sales person add extras to your bill. Normally what they try to push is very profitable for them.

Whenever possible use coupons. Companies issue coupons to try and introduce new products as well as boost consumption of existing products. Take advantage of these situations whenever possible.

By utilizing just these three simple tips you could save a substantial amount of money every month. Remember, anything you can save without sacrificing anything is free money. This free money can be added to your savings without even feeling it.Give it a try and see how it feels.

There are other ways to save money of course, especially on the bigger ticket items such as cars and real estate etc. , however, even these three tips can be used for big ticket items as well ( well maybe not coupons for real estate ).

The biggest thing I want you to take from this posting is " Take Control of your Spending Habits"  Don't let advertising, convenience, or the pushy sales person tell you how to spend your money. Remember, you have 100% control of your money until you sign the check or swipe the card. Be careful or you could be in the "I owe, I owe, off to work I go", crowd.

As always, I welcome your comments and any suggestions for future topics.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Deal with Debt - The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Debt is something that we all must live with at some time in our lives. For big purchases, most of us will be required to get help to make it happen. Such things as real estate or even a new vehicle etc.are good examples.

Debt can be good, it can be bad or it can be extremely ugly. It all depends on how it is used. Let me explain the different uses for debt and whether they can help or hurt you in your future financial lives.

Let us start with the extremely ugly . High interest loans such as credit cards and loan sharks. Never borrow long term money from these two sources, it's a recipe for disaster. Credit cards are a convenience but can be a huge trap if not used properly. I will be writing about the proper use of credit cards in a future post.

You guessed it, next is the bad debt. Basically any debt that you take on just because you want something NOW and couldn't wait to save for it. In today's society we have been conditioned to believe that we need something right away or else our heads will fall off. Or more commonly because everybody else has one and their heads are still intact. Examples of this kind of debt are lines of credit, special zero percent loans, etc.
Remember when it comes to borrowing money Nothing is FREE No company that I know of is in business to lose money!

Now for the good stuff. Good Debt. Yes, there is such a thing. Borrowing to buy a home for instance is generally good debt. Besides, most of us could never save enough to pay cash for a home. A home, or more generally Real Estate, will tend to rise in value over a long period of time. Many in the US may not believe me on this one right now, but remember I said long term (generally 10,20, or more years). Unless the world falls apart, or your head falls off, I should be right on this one.

Another example of good debt is borrowing to invest in something that pays you an income or that will potentially rise in value over time. Also, with this type of debt, governments will generally allow you to deduct the cost of this debt from your income when calculating your income tax. Another advantage of borrowing money to invest.

Debt can be your friend or it can be your worst enemy. It all depends on how you use it. The secret is to take control of your debt use and don't be convinced by others, even banks, that their loan is the best for you. Remember banks and other businesses are in business for one reason. To Make money. I will be writing about banks more in future postings. Stay Tuned, or your head may fall off. (Where did this come from??)

As always, I welcome your comments and requests for future topics.








 



Friday, November 11, 2011

How to Protect Yourself - Multiply Your Income Streams

Having just one source of income today could be a recipe for DISASTER ! Do you think that most Wealthy people have just one source of income ? Not likely.

Most people today work at a job full time and have no time to work at a second job etc. However, this is not exactly what I am getting at. Each person has only so much time in a day, that is obvious. Generally, eight hours per day five days a week is considered full time employment. If a person is to take on a second job in their so called spare time, this can add a lot of stress to their life. Also it can make them too tired to function properly in their full time job. I would not recommend this situation to most individuals.

Would it not be much better to find ways to earn income without taking a lot of your time ?  Of course it would. This is called investing !  You simply trade some of your savings for an income. There are many forms of investing but not all of them pay you an income. In fact, some are very risky and you may even lose all of your savings. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

There are many good sources of investments that will pay you a monthly income, such as stocks, income trusts, reits, and individual rental real estate, to name a few. The trick is to find the ones that will pay you the most income with the least amount of investment dollars and risk.( risk meaning the potential of losing all of your investment dollars).

Each investment you make ( and earn a monthly income from ) is called an income stream. These investments will pay you a monthly income for as long as they keep earning that income from within their structures.The more of these income streams that you can add, the more your monthly income will be.In fact, some day these income streams could even bring in more income than your full time job.

Having these income streams means that your future is much more secure. If you should get laid off from your job, for instance, your income streams could help pay some of your expenses until you find another job.

How you choose these investments that create income streams is up to you. There are many, many choices, however, not all of them are suitable to each individual. Some are far too risky and should only be considered by the seasoned investor who understands the risks. The point here is to be careful, especially when starting out.

Multiple income streams, when chosen properly, will provide years of income and protection for your growing financial life.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions for future topics.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to Build an Emergency Reserve

What would you do if you suddenly lost your job? What would you do if you suddenly had a large car expense? How would you cope? Sad to say, but for most they would borrow, borrow, borrow and borrow! Maybe one too many borrows, but you get the point! The point is, most people are not properly prepared for a major financial setback.

What a lot of the the wealthy people do, is draw upon their Emergency Reserve. A much better solution as you won't have to depend on anyone else, including a bank, to help you out.

An Emergency Reserve is simply a sum of money that you set aside just in case of an emergency. This money should be kept in a place that you can access, however, not too easily. Preferably in a bank savings account at a different bank than you use for your everyday spending. And don't ever, ever ever have a bank card set up for this account. This account is for EMERGENCY USE ONLY!!!

If you make this fund too easy to access, you will be tempted to use it for non emergency items. These could include a vacation or a new whatever or what have you. But these items are certainly not emergencies are they?

The amount that you should have set aside in your Emergency Reserve is up to you and will depend on many factors. Factors such as your total net take home pay from work, your cost obligations that you have every month such as rent or mortgage payments and other household bills.etc. What you need to do is make a list of all your monthly obligations and tally them up.

Once you have an idea what your monthly expenses are, you must think of what possible emergencies you could face. If you operate a vehicle, you know that repair bills usually bite you when least expected. Your Emergency Reserve must allow for this. There are many other situations as well, but the single worst one is the loss of your main income source (your job) Be prepared, because it may happen and at any time even when least expected.

A general rule of thumb is to have an amount of between three and six months of your monthly expense obligations set aside as your emergency reserve. At first, this may seem like an awful lot to save, and it is. However, if you start saving now, whatever you have saved when the next emergency arises will be better than having nothing saved at all.

Once you have this fund up to a comfortable level, you will be able to start directing your savings towards your future wealth building goals as I will begin discussing in future posts. Just to clarify, the "pay yourself first" amounts from the previous posts is where the savings for your Emergency Fund will come from. There is no need to save more than that unless you have the extra funds of course.

Your Emergency Fund will become your safety valve so to speak to smooth out the bumps in your financial road ahead. Having this fund will allow you to concentrate your future efforts towards building your income and your wealth.

As always, I welcome your feedback and comments about this and/or other posts. If you have a specific question or concern or have a topic you would like me to cover, please let me know.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Golden Rule Part Three - Accumulation of Savings

By "Paying Yourself First" or setting aside a set percentage of your take home pay, you will be taking the first and most important step towards building your financial future. As simple as this may sound, it is often the most difficult step towards building future wealth.

As previously mentioned, you may have to give up some of the luxuries that you have become used to enjoying in the past. As the old workout saying goes NO PAIN, NO GAIN ! In today's society, everybody wants everything NOW and they will even go into debt to get it NOW instead of waiting until they can afford it.This step is all about discipline and developing a good savings habit.

Because of the many temptations and distractions of everyday life, it is also imperative that any money you save by "Paying Yourself First" be placed in a separate savings account and never touched. At least never touched until you put those funds to work for you. I will discuss ways to utilize these funds in later posts.

For now, accumulate the savings in a separate savings account, preferably at a separate bank from your daily spending accounts. Also never , ever ever get a bank card for this account ! Don't Touch This ! Leave it alone and let it Grow.

You will from time to time be tempted to use these funds. You will say to yourself "I have the money for this or that" but Don't Touch This  Pretend that it doesn't exist otherwise it won't. !

This concludes my series on The Golden Rule. I hope you enjoyed this topic and please share this advice with all your family and friends. The whole world could use this advise in today's turbulent times. Please send them to this site as there will be much more good stuff to come.

As always, I would appreciate your feedback and comments on any posts and welcome any requests for topics you would like me to cover in the future. Stay tuned for further posts as I intend to post new material every Tuesday and Friday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Golden Rule Part Two -Needs versus Wants

Further to the previous post, you may be wondering how you can possibly live on less than you do today. Well, the first step you must take is to make a list of all of your needed expenses.

This list could be lengthy given today's high expectation lifestyle. However, really think about what you need to survive. Food - we all need to eat to survive. Clothing - we all need to cover up and keep warm (besides most of us are not super models ) . Shelter - we all need a place to live and call home.

The above needs are traditionally the basics of life and survival. However, in today's global community, I would suggest that there is one more category that qualifies as a need. Communication - we all need to be connected to what is happening in the world in order to thrive financially. Whether this be through internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin,  or other means, communications is vital.

All other categories are considered wants and we can do without them and survive quite well. Of course, we all want to be entertained and pampered occasionally, but some restrictions in these areas would be your best starting point for finding the funds needed to pay yourself first.

For instance, eating out in restaurants is a want, not a need. We can eat at home for much less than dining out every day, etc. Designer clothing is also a want and not a need. Where you live can also be a want and not a need depending on your income level.

Whatever your situation, you should be able to free up 10% of your take home income and pay yourself first. Without this ability, it will be very difficult to get ahead financially and to some day become wealthy. This is where your future must start. Develop the good habit of paying yourself first no matter what happens.

Stay tuned for future posts on related topics. Please leave a comment if there is a particular topic you would like me to cover. I will do my best to include your requests in future posts.

 

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Golden Rule for Building Wealth

There are many important things you must do to ensure your financial future will blossom. However, without the following Golden Rule for Building Wealth, you will not be able to employ any of the other techniques.

The golden Rule is - you must learn to live on less than your current income!! What this means is that you must save a portion of everything that you earn. It's that simple.

Most people will probably find this to be a difficult discipline to follow because most people are currently spending more than they earn. A scary thought and not a good plan for their future.

The simplest way to achieve the Golden Rule is to pay yourself first. Set aside a percentage of your paycheck, say 10%, and learn to live on the rest. This will likely mean cutting down on some expenses, but most of us will find that we can live without some of our current so called needs.

I welcome your feedback to this concept and look forward to providing further wealth building tips in future posts.