December 26, 2014

Resolutions and checklists. Starting a new path to financial freedom doesn't need to just be a New Year's thing

Paula Pant wrote this great article recently. I think it follows up on some of the ideas I've laid out on my site and goes into detail about things I don't focus on. It is worth taking a look and making sure to bookmark to check up each decade.


Below is a short excerpt of the bullet points I found most helpful. Credit Paula Pant
In Your 20s
  • Build your savings. This includes an emergency fund and funds for any special savings goals like vacations, holiday gifts, etc.
  • Start saving for retirement. The earlier you start, the more time your money has to grow. Start off by opening a 401(k) or Roth IRA and see if your employer offers matching contributions. 
  • Avoid consumer debt like the plague. Nothing you're thinking of purchasing is worth spending the next few decades of your life repaying. Find a way to pay for your purchases in cash, and avoid the "everyone has debt" mentality.
  • Get insured. Even though you're fairly carefree right now, you should absolutely have renter's insurance, health insurance, car insurance and life insurance. Don't cut corners; skipping insurance is penny-wise and pound-foolish. If you think owning insurance is not cost-effective, please educate yourself on insurance more. Owning it actually increases your wealth through leveraging.
  • Live within your means. This is interpreted as "Buy what you earn."
In Your 30s
  • Up your savings game. Your savings goals are bigger now –- paying for a wedding, putting a down payment on a house, having a baby. 
  • Continue your retirement contributions. Aim to put aside 10 to 15 percent of your income.
  • Invest. You don't need to be a stock market whiz. 
  • Start estate planning. Create a power of attorney, healthcare proxy (also known as a living will) and a will that outlines who will get your assets should you pass away.
  • Avoid lifestyle inflation. As your salary increases, channel those funds towards goals like savings and retirement, remember?
In Your 40s
  • Save for your children's education. If you haven't already done so, it's time to start, pronto. Open a tax-advantaged account like a 529 College Savings Plan.
  • Check your retirement goal progress. You should be able to replace 70 percent to 85 percent of your current income when you retire. Are you on track? Use an online tool to see how close (or far) you are from your retirement goals.
  • Maximize your tax savings. You're likely paying the highest taxes of your life, but you may also qualify for some great deductions. Meet with a CPA to make sure you're claiming everything you can.
In Your 50s
  • Gather an advisory board. As you near retirement, you want to make sure all your ducks are in a row and your retirement and investment strategies are ready to take you through the financial stretch. Research and meet with fee-only financial advisers and CPAs for professional advice. Make sure your financial adviser is bound by a fiduciary obligation"to you, meaning that they legally must give you advice that's in your best interest, not theirs.
  • Evaluate your portfolio. Review your asset allocation-are you being too conservative (or taking more chances than you're comfortable with).
In Your 60s+
  • Review your estate plan. Does anything need to be changed with your will, health-care proxy or power of attorney?
  • Create a retirement budget. You'll lose some expenses, like that mortgage you'll have paid off, but you'll gain others, like additional medical expenses or the need for someone to help you with the yard work. Work out a budget to make the most of your retirement funds in this stage of your life.
  • Plan out your withdrawals. How will you make use of your retirement assets? In what order will you withdraw your funds, and how much will you withdraw at a time? Sit down with your financial advisors to discuss what makes the most sense for tax purposes.
  • Downsize. Stretch your funds further by moving to a smaller home or apartment. You'll save on maintenance, property taxes, utilities and more.

While it may seem daunting to stay on track and working with all the obstacles life throws at us, this is an excellent guideline from Paula to help you stay on track! Check out her blog, Afford Anything






Learned a lot about changing your financial habits, but having trouble becoming a personal finance guru?

Recently I started seeing someone and she has become interested in educating herself on finances. Admittedly, this is because I probably asked her what she will do after she graduates and doesn't have her parents credit card. It scared me to see that someone I was thinking of committing to committing one of the biggest mistakes we know doesn't help build a financial foundation.

I was very elated when my partner asked for some good reads regarding personal finance. Of course I had a title called Get a Financial Life that I haven't made it through (since most of is just review for me!!) and I was going to get her a copy of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace.



Check out some of the books here to get a good idea of where to start when someone in your life reaches out or you want to imply help.

November 22, 2014

How your lifestyle eating habits can affect your finances.



       One of the things that helped me reach healthiness and happiness was my choice to decrease my food intake. This involved several variables, including diet changes, eating habits, and shopping decisions.

       Let me preface by saying that I'm a big proponent of Intermittent Fasting which I learned from Martin Berkham. As soon as I implemented Intermittent Fasting into my lifestyle several things changed for the better... I lost weight and starting reaching my physical goals then I noticed that Since I was eating less, I was saving more money to invest in my Roth Ira and Mutual Funds. So not only am I living healthier by reaching and then maintaining a healthy body weight, thus saving money on future health care costs, I was also help invest in my own personal retirement as well as looking forward to creating a college fund for my unborn children.

      After a while of eating less through Intermittent Fasting I started reading experts such as Gary Taubes and Mark Sisson. A Paleo diet is something of another discussion, but after implementing major clauses in what constitutes a Paleo Diet into my Lifestyle Routine, I noticed exponentially significant changes.

      Similar to statistically significant, "exponentially significant" refers to small, impactful changes relative to time observed.

      By Eat. Stop. Eat. (Brad Pilon) principles, as well as, key principles in Paleo Dieting I have maximized my Fitness and Diet regime and also my Financial Regime.

     Previously, I touched on this same subject.

November 16, 2014

The incentive to blog

Having a degree in Finance and Economics gives me an advantage of seeing the world in charts and graphs. There is some incentive to blog. Actually, too many ways to name all of them!

I'd say that blogging is a form of a diary. I still keep a hand written diary, but being able to express my thoughts and views with my understanding is a better way of expressing myself and I try to make it helpful by giving myself to you (my reader).


Blogging can be a side hustle, it can generate income, and it can be a great form of expression. It's not just work, it's art. I am crafting something here, but expecting a return on my time investment. It is born from passion. The currency comes as a means from that passion.


Information age.

We're in the age of information. People now have access to the entirety of human knowledge in the palm of their hands. This collective knowledge database, the internet, is a source for almost everything, especially cat pictures.

The importance in this is that now a villager in Indonesia or Timbuktu with even a 10 year old Personal Computer and an ethernet connection can share with you, me, and schoolchildren who will never visit these places, his experiences, culture, and local habitat.


 Blogging vs. Publishing vs. Authorship








What constitutes a "rich" life?


There is no incentive to blog :)

The Future of Jobs: Perspectives of a Young Adult




""If my bathroom scale tells my smartphone how much I weigh, that is handy, but hardly life-changing. There are tremendous upsides of networked devices for special-purpose roles, but in my humble opinion, not for benefiting everyday life in a revolutionary way," Karl Fogel, partner at Open Tech Strategies and president at QuestionCopyright.org, said"

"The Internet of Things will demand -- and we will give willingly -- our souls," Peter R. Jacoby, a college professor, wrote."


Per the definition of an economic bubble, bubbles are often created as a result of a universally held belief about an asset's value. This Relates directly to the IoT (Internet of Things)

    I think that both of the above ideas provide a distinct opposition of views. The question is begged, and should be discussed, as to what processes and expectations, goals even, should be debated openly.

   To draw and define extremes will help color in the gray area. I can imagine one camp, the optimists, seeing this as a chance to invest because they see the IoT as a catalyst for technological change. The pessimists imagine a world run by slave-driving AI.

    I ultimately believe in the symbiosis of genetic vs organic. Of course there will always be extreme camps; however, working together to acquire resources and creatively adapt.

    When you have Robots are replacing Security Guards, and machines replacing McDonalds' there is case to worry about the working class.



The Education Bubble: Perspectives of a Recent Grad




Education Bubble vs. Importance of Education

          "From 1976 to 2010, the prices of all commodities 

      rose 280%. The price of homes rose 400%

      Private education? A whopping 1,000%."




Introduction

             What is Money?  What is currency, what is trade?


[After defining currency] Tie in that because of future due to the high cost of education and the diminishing capabilities to get loans at reasonable interest rates Colleges and Universities are reaching further and wider to gain students. This is the basis of their revenue. Without new applicants or a marketable reason for someone in New York to attend school in California; or, someone in crowded London attend school in Rural Tennessee.

Concerning facts are China's one child law. Why? Chinese students are the highest percentage of Foreign Students "studying abroad" in the U.S. Thus, this is a revenue source that will dwindle and will hurt the Economy and is unlikely to aid if enrollment is down significantly. 

Next in line to take over the chain of command would be India.







http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-b-fishbein/9-striking-similarities-b_b_5062840.html

Life is a Marshmallow test



                This post has been on my drafts list for awhile, because when I had the idea I knew I had to test it personally...
                 The Marshmallow test is something I learned from Martin Berkham at his website www.leangains.com and ever since seeing it is a true psychological study and redone over and over, I implemented in my own life, my own daily practices...


                                       and guess what?
IT'S TRUE

                                                      So true that I'm here today to decry it's truthful honesty.
                            The marshmallow test is a metaphor for most everything in life, some sort of sick cosmic karma where the longer you wait for pleasure, the better it is when it presents.


                            So here's to marshmallows, losing weight, financial freedom, hell even threesomes!

          Pertinently, live the dream. Day in and out, keep livin' the dream. Investing and being patient. Keep imagining receiving two marshmallows instead of one. Don't play the lottery, live every day like you WON the lottery!
                                    

How to make a Million from Nothing: Part III



             Readers, I apologize for the hiatus. I have been busy with recovery, travel, working, and note-taking. Pondering, Self reflection, wasted time, and continuing studies...


            That brings me to my third, likely not final post as I help guide you to Financial Freedom.


            There is no Formula, There are no experts, There is only advice from those who have done it before and those that are finding new ways to do it.


Patience

              Religions teach it as a virtue, elderly praise it as the trait direly needed. I believe the sooner one learns to be patient, all aspects of life will drastically improve; namely, relationships with others and yourself, ultimately the pursuit of happyness.

              In the effort of achieving something, from nothing and our goal of starting out with whatever can be dug up out of the streets, sought for on the ground and then transformed into ownership, value, "money," etc... Patience is one (learned) trait that will help guide you to success.

             Skipping the long, educated introduction that you can now just search on the internet, I will define a specific form of patience. Our goal is focusing on 50 years instead of 50 days. If you followed my advice and do I say, not as I do then instead of worrying what your mutual fund, IRA, or stock fund is returning, worry about whether or not you should have worn that shirt today. After you build a stable foundation and your Side Hustle is generating decent returns, stress less, Be Patient. Keep following your Financial Regime.


             Remember in my post about defining Frugality I stated, "Behavioral studies show that people who are Frugal have the tendency to acquire economic goods or services in a patient manner in order to achieve a long term goal."
             Are you reinvesting your dividends? Are you using your Side Hustle earnings to reinvest in said Side Hustle to earn more profits?


Perseverance

            There is no Formula, There are no experts, There is only advice from those who have done it before and those that are finding new ways to do it. It must be repeated. Perseverance is one of those attributes that I think is taught through Discipline. Perseverance is tantamount to achieving your goals. Follow your own advice, stay the course.