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.


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 at the top.

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