Master the Fundamentals of Prosperity

Master the Fundamentals of Prosperity

The Fundamentals. Stay Focused. Be Prosperous. Make Money.

Master The Fundamentals.
Master The Fundamentals.

In a recent discussion with my son about becoming a better player at the sport of basketball, I explained that to become really good at basketball, other sports and pretty much anything else that the key is in mastering the basic fundamentals of the game. On the Fundamentals page of the blog I posted an ever growing list of fundamentals that are necessary in order to reach a personal level of success and prosperity, the basic profile of sorts. Whether you want to be the best cook or athlete, you are likely to take the same route of “mastering the fundamentals” and applying them with a disciplined approach. It’s what Emeril, LeBron James, Mike Tyson, Dale Earnhardt, Steve Jobs, John Malone, even Bernie Madoff and many others that reached the pinnacle of their game have in common. If you watch them perform that is what you will see, fundamental skills used at the level of mastery.  In his book, “Outliers” Malcom Gladwell discusses the 10,000 hour rule which details the amount of time many successful people typically spend in reaching a “basic” level of mastery.  Mastery of the fundamentals. While the 10,000 hour rule has been debated, it is clear that talented or not, the time spent mastering the fundamentals is directly correlated to higher levels success and greatness.

"The Basics" will take you to the top
“The Basics” will take you to the top

In the age of information it is easier than ever for those of use that want to further ourselves financially to build our wealth and prosperity.  No longer are some of the most basic keys of economic prosperity veiled in some cryptic mystery of “how”, “where” and “who”.  Today all of those questions are answered beginning with “You can” …this and that.  The power of information sits literally in our hands as we wait in the doctor’s office to be called.

Whatever your occupation or area you aspire to be successful in, business you want to be in, field of study or the current corporate ladder which you are trying to climb. It will eventually be the mastering of the fundamentals that will contribute greatly to your success. There tons of ways to give yourself a boost in building and mastering your fundamentals.

Health Physical
Physical checkup
  • As Always, #1 is Health.

Master the basics- Eat well, Eat natural, Exercise. Simple. Doesn’t mean not to enjoy burgers and chocolate cake from time to time, however, don’t let it creep up on you. Being busy all too often gets mistaken for being “active” and they are NOT synonymous! Understand how to manage your weight, your blood sugar and any heart healthy risks such as cholesterol. Everyone that’s a little overweight isn’t unhealthy or in bad shape, that’s another popular misconception. Beware of the sedentary lifestyle, if you’re sitting at a desk or driving all day, you’re at risk. Get ahead of these things if you can, the big ones are high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. These things creep up and let you live on with no issues until it’s too late and you need medication to control them. Regular check-ups will let you know if you’re coming too close to the edge. It will be super difficult to enjoy all of your prosperity if you have heart problems that limit your physical capabilities later in life. A simple commitment to drink a certain amount of water or take a brisk walk daily can be a good start. Find what works for you, broccoli or beans, a walk or a jog, whatever… then keep it up with an eye for tomorrow, today is already here and you’re trying to be healthy for tomorrow. It’s the same concept as saving your pennies -for tomorrow. Not to mention, all that money you save, it isn’t for medical bills and medications is it? Familiarize yourself with the warning signs and risks for your profile. Check out http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/ and http://www.diabetes.org/ and keep an eye on the risks for cancer at http://www.cancer.org/ . As long as you’re healthy, you’ve have a shot to do whatever you want. So get out there and bust a sweat, then you can still eat your chocolate cake.

 

Learn and Understand the Basics of Saving and Investments. Then Do It.
Learn and Understand the Basics of Saving and Investments. Then Do It.
  • Finance: Access to finance literacy and finance management tools are at your fingertips

www.investopedia.com is by far one of the most robust sources of information that will break down financial terms covering everything from basic investment instruments such as what is a 401k to advanced strategies such as the “Iron Butterfly” options strategy. Additionally, you can even start studying the basics for several financial certifications if your interest takes you there.

www.wealthfront.com is like many other brokerages such as Capital One’s www.sharebuilder.com and www.betterment.com which offer an ongoing low barrier to entry investment programs that years ago just didn’t exist for unsophisticated investors to jump into straight from home. These companies allow small investors to become investment savvy and jumpstart their financial futures.

When I was growing up neither I nor my parents knew nothing of 529 plans and savings vehicles designed for education savings. Most folks know about mortgaging their homes, Tap and Pell grants or taking loans. Now, you can sign on to www.upromise.com or www.newyorksaves.org among many other sites that allow parents, guardians, educators or anyone else who cares to set up a savings account, Education IRA for loved ones coming up in the world. Some place to throw those bonuses and eBay dollars. For a general state by state listing of 529 plans, check out http://milesweekly.com/529basics If nothing but nothing, most of us can log right into our bank account and set up a Education IRA right there. Right Now.

Keep the "Marketable Skills" fresh and up to date.
Keep the “Marketable Skills” fresh and up to date.
  • Professional/ Occupational Education and Credentials.

Regardless of where you stand on the employment spectrum, today there is room to invest further into yourself and grow. Further develop your marketable skills and build on your fundamentals. Those that are at the core of your ability to save, invest and build your economic future. No matter what you do for a living including your hustle, it’s contributing to your economic foundation and right now, today, you can step that up much easier than it has ever been. There’s greater access to long distance learning, low cost learning, greater convenience and even free learning. For building out your core fundamentals check out sites like www.lynda.com where you can learn a host of things to increase you level of mastery in areas that range from business to photography.

MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) offer free courses and lessons from a universities and colleges around the country that allow you to even take the course online along with the class. There are several MOOCS sites, check out www.udemy.com where they prompt you to just type in what you want to learn! Then there’s the MOOC courses offered by some of the top universities and colleges, all for free! Check out http://milesweekly.com/toptenmoocs to see what is offered in in your occupation or area of interest. So no matter what you do, if you’re a techie, a small business person or both, need to know the latest language or how to build an effective marketing plan you can step your game up at your own pace.

Whatever it is that contributes to the foundation of your prosperity, remember not to lose sight of the fundamentals. I would end the conversation with my son advising that after he gets the basic jump shot and dribbling, then he can focus on his cross over dribbling skills which he’s oh so fascinated with. There’s no need to master the cross over only to miss the shot, it’s the shot that puts the score on the board.

 

-Miles.

New Year, New You ?

New Year, New You ?

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU. REALLY?

It’s definitely a new year, will there also be a new you? As does every year, the new year brings with it lots of introspection and off the cuff commitments to be better and do better for the majority of people. So much so that it has almost become a thing of the past to even use the term “resolution”, it seems everyone is making an attempt to come up with something new as it relates to New Year’s resolutions. This year’s axiom that is the strongest contender is “New Year, New You” or “New Year, New Me” and it may be waning as quickly as it has become popular.  It also begs the question, what would be “new” to make the “New You”?

Here are the top 5 New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Stop Smoking. This may soon include vaping. Any smoke that enters the body reduces the amount of oxygen that goes to the lungs and subsequently the organs such as the brain, liver and pancreas. No wonder it’s the number one resolution every year. Alcohol consumption is so close as the number resolution I think it’s really number 1-a.
  2. Weight loss. Great goal, except that all too often our aspirations are exploited by retailers and manufacturers. They convince us we can live off of tasty seaweed smoothies with little bits of grains instead of eating real food. A good balanced diet and exercise is where it’s at, period.
  3. Spend Less/ Save More Money. This money related goal allows you to take a good hard look at your finances and make some necessary changes to help in becoming financially secure. However for most of us, saving money alone or just working your job won’t make you rich. Set a reachable goal and go for it.
  4. Get Fit/ Get in Shape. Which is very much like number 2, but for people that aren’t focused only on weight loss alone. Still, another great goal within reach given the allotted time. Whether going to the gym, buying new gear or working out at home this resolution can end up eating through your wallet and leaving you with expensive equipment to hang your clothes on. A good routine of body weight exercises may be the way to go at first.
  5. Enjoy, Embrace Life. Enjoying life and taking time to smell the roses through everything ranging from volunteering to self-improvement actions such as education in an area of interest to learning a new skill to reading. When it comes to being happy and prosperous this is how people generally define it, and it should probably be higher on the list. The key to this is finding something that moves you and not what’s being advertised to you.

So what’s the best way to go about this “New You”?  For any major commitment, a good foundation to support it may determine its success.

In the fundamentals section of this site, I go over some of the key things to build the profile necessary to get positioned in order to seize everyday opportunities near and far. The fundamentals that allow anyone to get themselves started with whatever aspirations, at whatever level of prosperity and wealth they desire to reach. At the top of the list is HEALTH. Although a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape may seem like the proxy for HEALTH, actually it’s not. First, a word on why losing weight and getting in shape isn’t the same thing.

The commitment to lose weight is driven first by how you look and honestly most people wouldn’t care as much about how much they weigh as long as they looked how they want. That 25, 50 or even 100 lbs. wouldn’t make a difference as long as you look good to yourself and everyone else. That being said, the motivating factor for weight loss is manifested by diets that range from the normal to the weird to the extreme. A good majority of which are unsustainable no matter how hard you try, you just simply can’t go on eating cabbage soup every day, taking super pills that claim they leave an oily discharge for the rest of your life, mixing strange looking seeds in all of your meals, maintain some super shake thing in place of a meals 1 -3 times daily or the ultimate in weight loss solution which includes a bariatric procedure of some kind. None of which are focused on your health, some even have a negative impact your health and most target how you look at any cost. Then there’s the fitness resolution, you know when this is in season by the commercials seen on TV from national gym chains, soon it’ll be a dollar a month, just join, please join. Fitness is obviously a great resolution, however, the problem here is a for many folks the sudden focus on fitness alone following a long time sedentary lifestyle as a couch potato with a poor diet.   The fitness idea is very good and is an integral part of maintaining health, however, all too many people don’t stick to it throughout the year coming straight from the couch.   So what is a good way to start the year focusing on health? How do you get started on and keep those resolutions that include working out, losing weight and kicking some unhealthy habits?

First, get a good physical assessment and an accurate updated picture of your health. Sure you can start the gym and have some flax seeds ground up in your smoothie while waiting for your doctor’s appointment. It’s understood your doctor’s appointment may not be until next month, in the meantime go ahead get started. When you see you doctor you should get a good insight to your individual level of fitness, weight, blood pressure, sugar levels, the usual blood tests and address anything, seriously anything that may be ailing you or of a concern. Any issues, regarding shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations, night sweats, vision, hearing, rashes and whatever else comes to mind. There are also things that will be relative to your individual profile for age, gender and family history. This can be scary for some of us, but if we are to even come close to reaching our New Year’s resolutions and goals relative to prosperity and wealth, we will need as accurate a picture of our health as possible to move forward. The greatest thing to come from an accurate health profile is awareness, the type of awareness that comes with professional advice and recommendations specific to you and not some marketing scheme aimed at the consumers in general. Whether it’s as simple as what’s your BMI, or that your vitamin D levels are low, awareness makes the difference and allows you to take positive action that will help support those New Year’s resolutions. Also, In keeping with making better financial decisions and saving money, (money ranks #3 of the top five resolutions) just know that before you go signing up for a gym or buying expensive shakes in the place of real food, that you’ve already paid for medical care and advice. An annual physical is included in most medical plans as preventative care, with no co-pay and even if there is a co-pay, it’s good money spent especially If you have FSA dollars set aside to cover such costs tax free. Most people pay through workplace group medical plans every pay period. For those that don’t, it is surprising how little a simple doctor visit may cost relative to missing an early warning sign for your health. Other than setting the right foundation, scheduling timely review periods to see how you’re doing and if you’re on scheduling is key to reaching any goal. Setting a date once per quarter, let’s say sometime in late March, June, September and November with some expected result will allow you to adjust accordingly and not fall by the wayside.

Get and keep yourself HEALTHY.

Good Luck with your New Year’s resolutions… the “New You” in the New Year.