Tuesday, August 18, 2009

8 Keys to Financial Success

1. You need to have great role models that influence your life.

There are many people that have had a positive influence on my life; I consider them all role models. However, the main individuals that have impacted my life today are my parents, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. David Hawkins and Warren Buffett. My parents taught me the benefits of hard work and education, Dr. Dyer and Dr. Hawkins both taught me that the most important part of life is one’s spiritual development and that we must be kind and loving to all of life, and Warren Buffett taught me the value of investing in businesses for the long term and philanthropy. I have chosen these individuals because their philosophies resonate on a very deep level with me and I think they are great at what they do, operating with the highest of integrity.


2. Learn as much as you can.

Education is very important and learning must never stop. Most successful people will tell you that they learn something new each and every day. This is why it is important to do what you love doing, otherwise, you would not care about learning more about it. Strive to become better at what you do and you are guaranteed success.


3. Marry the right person.

This is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions in your life. Be sure that you are marrying for the right reasons and that you understand the person and yourself. Marry someone that you are aligned with otherwise you may end up in a divorce which brings stress, financial despair and unhappiness. It is not easy to tell if it is the right person, but once you fully internalize it, you will not regret the experience no matter how things go.


4.  Be the best employee you can be.

Your primary job is where you generate the majority of your income, therefore it is crucial to be the best at this by improving your job skills. Your value will increase in your company along with your potential for future growth. When layoffs occur, you will not be one of the unfortunate ones to lose their jobs.


5. Start saving now.

As soon as you receive your first paycheck, start a savings plan and stick to it. Over time, the combination of the magic of compounding and your financial discipline will increase your net worth drastically. You should contribute to your 401k or 403b retirement plans and consider Roth IRAs and other investment vehicles as well. Pay yourself first…


6. Live frugally.

Live within your means. This is a fundamental principle to follow to achieve financial success.


7. Increase your knowledge of personal finance and investing.

In order to manage your finance, it is to learn as much as you can about investing and personal finance. Read as much books or blogs as you can; every bit of knowledge helps. You will realize how much more confidence you will gain as your knowledge increases.


8. Start a business

Most of the wealthy individuals in the United States today own their businesses. Not many inherited wealth as many of us may think. Consider starting a business based on something you are great at and passionate about. The rewards will follow.


If you have any other keys you would like to share, leave a comment. Can’t wait to hear them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Life lessons in a forwarded email

I normally skim through, delete and never forward these emails, but I thought this one was very useful. I know hundreds of people that may read this will ultimately be impacted by if not one, a few of these life lessons. Below is the entire email as forwarded to me.



This is something we should all read at least once a week. Very meaningful.

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio
"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me...It is the most-requested column I've ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.....
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with your God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful,beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words'-In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything..

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. Your God loves you because of who that God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Which ones appeal to you most during your first read?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

5 Habits of Millionaires Worthy of Emulating

These are five (5) common traits of millionaires that allow them to be successful:

1. They focus on saving and investing.
They don’t have the desire to spend money as soon as it is earned. Instead, they have an innate ability to delay immediate gratification for future gain. This has a huge benefit in that you focus on saving and investing money for the future, allowing your money to grow significantly over time. The magic of compounding then kicks in, and wealth is the natural condition that prevails. Many wealthy individuals live quite simply choosing financial independence over material ownership.

2. They are able to focus their efforts on a project and make it successful.
They have the ability to set their minds to a task and pursue it with an undeniable focus. It is recommended that goals are clearly defined, which makes it easier for one to focus. “Winners focus, losers spray.”

3. They are willing to sacrifice to make ideas successful.
They are willing to do whatever it takes to make their ideas successful, even if it involves a degree of sacrifice. People who earn millions are able to focus and persevere in the pursuit of their goals. It may require endless hours of reading, learning new things, working extra hours, starting a new business etc.

4. They take calculated risks.
They take risks that are more likely to pay off in the future. Strategic risks are needed to earn and grow money. The younger you are, the more risks you are able to take, since you have more than enough time to recover.

5. They are generous.
They understand that they are blessed to have a wealthy status and share what they have earned with society. Read this previous post on Wealth and Charitable Donations.

Warren Buffett once said that if you want to be a certain way, you should exhibit the qualities that you admire in other people. Therefore, if you want to attain wealth, you should exhibit qualities that are common in many of today’s successful millionaires. These characteristics are not a bad place to start.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

10 Ways to Becoming a Millionaire

1. Reduce consumption and increase investments. This is the most fundamental equation in increasing net worth.

2. Create a budget and stick to it. It is important to know where you spend your money.

3. Increase your financial knowledge. Read as much as you can about personal finance. It will soon become habitual and you will automatically act in ways that are beneficial to your financial success.

4. Make contributions to your investment vehicles on a consistent basis. Keep focused and continuously put money into your investments. Dollar cost average + time can increase returns significantly.

5. Start a part-time business to increase income and take advantage of tax write-offs. Starting a business is a great way to achieve financial independence. Being frugal is great, but ultimately you have to increase your income to be wealthy; starting a business is a great way to do so.

6. Surround yourself with like-minded people who believe and support your goals. One of the best ways to achieve a particular goal is to put yourself around people who have already achieved it, or people who have similar goals. It helps keep the focus and the experienced may provide priceless advice when it comes to financial decisions they have made when they were at your level.

7. Find great CPAs and other trusted advisors. There comes a point where it is wise to seek financial advice. If you have a friend or mentor that has these qualifications, seek advisement from time to time. Make ample use of your network.

8. Set short and long term goals. Setting short term goals helps you see more readily attainable tangible results and keeps you on track to your long term goals.

9. Make a commitment to become a millionaire. There is nothing more important than the declaration of becoming a millionaire. Clearly stating that you want to become a millionaire actually increases the possibility of that actually occurring; all part of the Heisenberg Principle.

10. Start now. Time is your friend when it comes to investing. The earlier you start, the faster you can reach your goals. The power of compounding begins to work its magic.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

8 Guidelines for Managing Your Money


1. Spend less than you earn.
Keep track of every penny you spend. Do not borrow money, unless absolutely necessary. It is preferable, of course, to avoid debt.

2. Pay yourself first.
Before you spend money, consider setting aside a certain percentage to save.

3. The perfect is the enemy of the good.
Don’t worry too much about getting this perfect the first time. If you want to begin investing, just do it.

4. Do what works for you.
There is no panacea for financial success. Different strategies work for different people.

5. Take it slow.
Success is not achieved overnight. My philosophy on this blog is one of a long-term and patient nature. Therefore, the content will be primarily aligned to that.

6. Failure is okay.
We learn a lot from failure. Check this video out. Famous Failures 

7. Money is more about mind than it is about math.
How you think about money will determine how successful you are.

8. It’s more important to be happy than it is to be rich.
Money gives you more options in life, but there is no correlation between happiness and money. Think about that.


Compliments of Get Rich Slowly. See here for full guide.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Personal Finance in One Page – Part 5


Control Your Own Destiny

The greatest part about this entire Personal Finance in One Page series is the end goal. As Trent says, it is not about being rich, it is about creating your own destiny. Wealth is the natural consequence of good personal finance habits, but the greatest part is financial freedom. Financial freedom allows you to do what you want to do, whatever it may be. Therefore, are you willing to forego immediate gratification for a life of financial freedom? That is a decision that you will have to make. Think about it and just have fun doing it. Save this blog to your favorites and continuously read over the tips as a reminder of what habits you need to develop. Soon enough you will achieve all that you planned.


Thank you for Trent of the Simple Dollar for allowing the free distribution of this e-book. For the entire e-book, click on link below. 

Everything you ever really needed to know about personal finance in one page, by Trent Hamm.



Personal Finance in One Page: Part 1
Personal Finance in One Page: Part 2
Personal Finance in One Page: Part 3
Personal Finance in One Page: Part 4
Personal Finance in One Page: Part 5

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Personal Finance in One Page – Part 4


Manage Your Money

When you increase your income or decrease your spending, you’ll find yourself with more cash at the end of the month. That cash is your ticket to financial freedom, and the more you can get each month, the better off you are. The trick though, is not to spend it, but to do things that will build a stable future for you.

1. Pay Off All High Interest Debt
Anything with an interest rate over 9% needs to go as soon as possible. The extra money should be used to make double or triple payments on these debts, focusing first on the one with the highest interest rate.

These steps can help you take care of your debt:
i. Make the first list – 4 columns, Name of debt you owe, the amount you still owe on that debt, the monthly payment for that debt, and most importantly, the current interest rate on debt.

ii. Order all of the debts by their current interest rate. The one with the highest interest rate, not biggest balance, should be paid off first.

iii. Look for ways to reduce the rates, focusing most strongly on the highest current one. Readjust the priority of the list to reflect to new rates.

iv. Direct all of your extra payments towards the top debt on the list. Each month, make minimum payments on all of the debts on the list except for the top one. With that top debt, throw everything you can at it. Make a double payment or a triple payment or more.

v. When a debt vanishes, cross it off the list and feel good about it.

vi. Update the list when you acquire a new debt.

vii. Update the list when one of your debts adjusts to a new rate.

2. Build an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is an amount of money you keep in a savings account that’s intended to be used in the event of a major crisis, such as a job loss, a medical emergency, major car damage, and so on. It’s a good idea to measure your emergency fund in terms of months’ worth of living expenses – you should have a month and a half worth of living expenses for each person you claim as a dependent.

A good rule of thumb is to have 6 – 8 months worth of living expenses in your emergency fund. If this seems like a lot, set it as a long-term goal and begin putting aside a small amount each week. Right now, I have an automatic monthly deduction from my checking account to a high yield savings account at ING. Don’t wait, begin right now with as much as you can afford.


3. Max out Retirement
Go to one of those retirement meetings at work, ask exactly how much you should be putting away to ensure that your living expenses are well-covered in retirement, and put that much away. This varies a lot depending on how much you have in right now, how much your employer matches, and so on, so you should talk to your retirement planner at work about the specifics. It is never too early to start investing for retirement!

Save 10% of your income at the bare minimum. You should not have more than 5% of your retirement in the stock of any one company. If your company doesn’t have a retirement plan, open a Roth IRA on your own with a reputable company like Vanguard. If your company offers any matching on your retirement, contribute enough so that you can get all of it. If you don’t know what you are doing, put your money in a “target retirement” fund so that it gradually becomes less risky as you approach retirement.


4. College Savings
Establish a 529 college savings plan for them and start automatically putting a certain amount into this account each month. There are many different plans, just pick a good one and start investing now. I use the New York 529 Savings Plan managed by Vanguard for my lovely niece.


5. Pay Off All Debts
If all of these are covered and you still have cash left over, the next step is to pay off all of your debts. Get rid of car loans, student loans, and your mortgage using the debt reduction plan discussed in the previous section.

6. Invest
Now, this is a good time to start investing. Trent Hamm recommends buying low-cost broad-based index funds because they don’t have many fees and grow very nicely over long periods of time. Don’t invest in individual stocks unless you’re quite content to lose the money or want to invest many, many hours in research. Trent Hamm invest with Vanguard directly through vanguard.com – their fees are miniscule, they offer a huge array of index funds, and their customer service is stellar.


Thank you for Trent of the Simple Dollar for allowing the free distribution of this e-book. For the entire e-book, click on link below. 

Everything you ever really needed to know about personal finance in one page, by Trent Hamm.



Personal Finance in One Page: Part 1
Personal Finance in One Page: Part 2
Personal Finance in One Page: Part 3
Personal Finance in One Page: Part 4
Personal Finance in One Page: Part 5