Friday, February 27, 2009

10 Important Money Skills for a Bad Economy

money These are a great set of tips to keep in mind, especially this challenging economic environment. These are skills we all can learn and adopt through practice. The purpose of this blog is to provide financial education; I believe this article from Zen Habits, done by J.D. Roth from Get Rich Slowly, has a lot of great material on it.

I will share with you some of my takes on the 10 skills that are stated in the article.


1. Set up a budget - Know what your fixed expenses are and know what are not. Set up how much you would like to spend on various things and stick to it.

2. Track your spending - I actually use and MS Money. They are both great applications and really allow you to see where your money is being spent. I also recently tried Quicken Online since it somehow integrates with Turbotax, which is what I use to file taxes. The point is not what you use, but that you actually start tracking where your money goes. Even a simple Excel sheet can work. Knowing where your money is going is the first step in understanding your finances and taking control of it. Just do it.

3. Check your credit report - Your credit score is very valuable and should be kept in order. In the long run, having great credit can be very beneficial and save you a lot of money from lower interest rates in mortgages to cheaper insurance. Take care of your credit and it will take care of you.

4. Stop Junk Mail - Stop them or throw them out. Don't even look at them. They are meant to tempt you into getting things you do not need.

5. Optimize your bank accounts - Be sure that your money is in high yield savings accounts. I recommend ING Direct. Great online high yield savings account.

6. Open an investment account - It is never too early to start investing. Utilize your employers 401k or 403b and also consider opening a Roth IRA. Read the article to see the benefits. I opened my Roth IRA through Sharebuilder, which is where I do my investments as well.

7. Call around for better deals - Check around for better insurance rates, better credit cards etc.

8. Educate yourself - Learn as much as you can about finances. See link below for great recommendations.

9. Set financial goals - Set some short-term financial goals and some long-term financial goals. For example, I intend to put $5000 in my Roth IRA account by the end of July and plan to increase my investment portfolio by $100,000 in 5 years.

10. Create a money file - Have a secure place to keep all your financial data; passwords, account numbers etc.

Click here to read this great article by Zen Habits>>>

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

10 Ways to Wealth by Warren Buffett

"Buy a business that's so good, any idiot can run it, because sooner or later, one will"

BuffettHeader These ideas came from Warren Buffett's true autobiography, written by Alice Schroeder, The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life. If you know me, you are aware that I have the highest level of respect for Warren Buffett; as a businessman, investor and a person. His values and integrity are unlike no other in the business world and I consider myself to be blessed to have lived in a time where I could be a witness to someone of this status and character living the way he does. He is truly an inspiration.

Let's take a look at the 10 ways that are stated in his book.

1. Reinvest your profits - most of the returns in the market comes from dividend reinvestment.
2. Be willing to be different - be your own person and do not follow the crowd.
3. Never suck your thumb - do not wait for a lower price when a great opportunity is staring at you. Do not try to predict the market.
4. Spell out the deal before you start - know exactly what your expectations are before making an investment; one should be able to summarize any good investment in one paragraph.
5. Watch small expenses - be careful of commissions and fees.
6. Limit what you borrow - do not borrow on margin.
7. Be persistent - continue to learn and have faith in your decisions.
8. Know when to quit - do not become attached to your stocks; stocks do not know that you own them. Sell if business fundamentals have changed.
9. Assess the risks - know your risk tolerance.
10. Know what success really means - success is not about making money; know what it means to you.

I highly recommend this book and it should be read by all young investors and businessmen out there.

Also, if you are interested in understanding Warren Buffett's investment philosophy more, check out my other blog, Buffettucation

"I know people who have a lot of money," he says, "and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you'll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That's the ultimate test of how you've lived your life."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

LifeLock | Protect your Identity

Lifelock In my usual Internet surfing, I came across this site that is #1 in Identity Theft Protection. I do not use it but I thought it was necessary to raise everyone's level of awareness when it comes to identity theft. It is a billion dollar industry today and the more the Internet becomes widespread and e-commerce increases, the greater a threat this would be. Check this site it, or recommend any other protection services that may be useful to the community.

I actually use Citi Identity Monitor and will be notified of anything that affects my credit. I recommend that everyone protect themselves with a service that works for them.

Read more about LifeLock>>>

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bankrate's 2009 Tax Guide

Bankrate is a great resource to find information on the best rates for the various products offered by banks throughout the country. This tax guide, I thought would be relevant of course, because we are in the tax season right now and I am sure many of you are focusing on getting that done right now. The link below provides a lot of healthy tips from Bankrate that will be useful for you now and in the future. Read it carefully, bookmark this page and implement some of the tips that are relevant to you. Of course, if you have some uncertainty about anything, please feel free to post a question in the forum and we will get that answered for you.

Special note: Some of the videos have very good information on how to save on taxes or how to lower taxes and tax relief information etc.

Bankrates 2009 tax guide>>>

Some of the tips that are included are listed below:

1. Tax calendar

2. Tips & tools

3. Filing & refunds

4. Forms & charts

5. Reality/capital gains

6. Family

7. Work

8. Investments

9. Education

10. Retirement

11. Philanthropy

12. Calculators

13. Videos

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tax Information

Tax Pix I found this great article that focuses on taxes and thought it would be great to share it with you all. I would like to learn more about taxes, as I know it is a very crucial part of financial management. This Ultimate Resource Guide from My Dollar Plan blog proves to be a very good resource and learning ground to get an understanding of the basics. There are many links that lead to other posts from the blog as well.

It provides information on tax software, tax credits, contribution limits, deductions, tax planning etc. This is a link worthy to bookmark.

Be sure to check it out.

Read more on Taxes here>>>

Understanding Retirement Investing

RetirementLane-main_Full If you have not already noticed, I have posted a lot of articles around retirement, IRAs and 401ks etc. Why? It is all part of my personal investment philosophy of preparing for the long term and having the right strategies. 360 Degree Wealth is meant to provide you with all the necessary information to assist you in making a well-informed decision. With the right information, and the right understanding, I believe most people will be able to become great financial planners. I think this article adds to that mission.

Retirement Investing is very important because it allows you to start thinking long term. The mind-set that is created when thinking long-term is valuable when it comes to investing. There are many wealthy people out there and a large majority have become wealthy because they are able to plan well; they are very responsible with their finances. An important part is retirement.

I encourage you to read this article below and get an understanding of the various options that are available to you; IRA, Roth IRA, Roth 401k, 401k, 403b etc. Understand the difference between them and know the contribution limits. Your decisions here can have a huge impact on the quality of your lifestyle closer to your retirement years.


Click here to read more >>>>

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ten Basic Personal Finance tips

You may have heard the three basic personal finance rules to achieve wealth; earn money, spend less than you earn, and invest. These are very important, however, applying what I am learning in my risk management and other finance courses, it is important to not only do those, but to manage risk as well. How do you do so, through great planning. Look at these 10 basic personal finance tips.

1. Make a will or estate plan. (not done yet)

2. Obtain sufficient insurance. (through my employer)

3. Set up a high yield savings account. (I have an ING Direct account)

4. Track your money. (I use both MS Money and See my review.

5. Build an emergency fund. (set up automatic savings through ING Direct)

6. Get out of debt. (I have zero debt)

7. Improve your credit score. (I own high reward credit cards that I pay in full every month; I use them merely to build and maintain excellent credit- they are important to get lower rates for mortgages and insurance etc.)

8. Start investing for retirement. (I have opened a Roth IRA, max out my 403(b) and invest through Sharebuilder)

9. Increase your income. (I work hard at my job and keep my options open)

10. Negotiate to save money. (I am a net saver, not a net consumer; however, I do look for deals like anyone else.)

Pay attention to all of these and carefully and strategically incorporate them into your lifestyle.

Read more about these tips from CashMoneyLife blog. >>>

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Reinvesting Dividends = High Returns

For all you young investors out there, I highly recommend reinvesting dividends to boost your overall return. This article I have included here discusses a research that was done by Jeremy Siegel. He determined that reinvested dividends accounted for 97% of the growth of the DOW since 1900. Interesting article that could lead you to other ideas about your investment strategies.

I have actually begun to pay a lot more attention to dividend paying companies such as Dividend Aristocrats. This way, you can look historically at how they have paid and increased payouts and also how they performed during turbulent market conditions.

Interesting article that is worth a read.

Creating Dividend Machine>>>>