In this episode a quick breakdown of Money vs. Finance as it relates to sex appeal. Which has more allure? Which is more exciting? How do we approach the idea of money in comparison to the way we approach the idea of finance? If you thought there were no differences, or if you’ve given it no though at all. this episode digs into the differences and tries to figure which of the two has more sex appeal.
In this week’s episode of MWPF, it’s the basics of identifying the assets vs liabilities and investments. Is that house, car and jewelry an investment or an asset? There’s usually a lot of discussion here and a large part is due to the sometimes changing status of things we buy or consider ourselves investing in, for example something that may start as a liability because of costs attached to maintain it, may turn out to become an asset at some time or another. Most controversial of all, are the intangibles such as relationships, knowledge, skill, education and even social status in regards to whether they are assets or even investments. Do you invest in your social status or intimate relationships? Are your relationships liabilities that cost you to maintain them and keep up appearances. On the landscape of Assets vs. Liabilities there’s much more than just your house.
The Fundamentals. Stay Focused. Be Prosperous. Make Money.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For 2015, Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday, it can’t get any better than that for date night folks. Many a beau are scrambling around to get things in line for that special lady in their life. Flowers, candy, card, dinner, maybe a prepared meal in bed for the live in folks, a night out, or the hotel lobby… yes, the hotel lobby will be full all weekend. Hotels have a good strong weekend, as does restaurants, and all sorts of shops that sell candies and cards. A sort of a “black” weekend for retailers of all stripe, if they play their cards right, because people will go to any extent to show their love for one another at any cost. Then there are the expensive gifts such as jewelry, pocketbooks and bags, garments, shoes and even tickets to see favorite performers. These things to express as loud as possible feelings of “I Love You” and “You’re Important to Me”. I am no exception to this rule, and make it a priority to take the nationally recognized day as I do any other opportunity. However, as of the most recent decade or so, I’ve kind of adjusted my focus more toward the object of my affection and more away from the profiting by retailers and restaurateur’s. No need in retailers getting a bonus because I’m in love, that just doesn’t make complete sense to me that every time I need to express my love, the see a profit. This can make things tricky, however, let the creative juices flow. You’re still going to need to buy gifts and such, just no need to get crazy with monies you don’t have or you may have but can be best employed differently. I don’t advocate being cheap at all, just mindful. For example, gold jewelry is and has been a bad purchase for the past several years since the recession. The price has gone up a few hundred times in the past 10 years! Paying outrageous prices for less than worthy gold jewelry isn’t a good move. As someone focused on value and prosperity you definitely should be looking elsewhere to get more value for your money. The other notoriously bad idea is dinner out, on Valentine’s Day restaurants are booked solid, many only offer a pre-fix abbreviated menu to select from and typically have slow, poor service with an up charge on top of all that. It can be roll of the dice, for most couples going out that night. Maybe a worthwhile roll I’ll admit, being together can sometimes overshadow some of the nonsense. Considering this blog if focused on prosperity and wealth, I think it only makes sense to keep that in mind and not lose sight of our individual goals just because it’s Valentine’s Day by going out and falling prey to all sorts of “give me your money to show you love” foolishness.
Being that it is Valentine’s Day and you do have someone special that you want to show you’re love for, here’s some really creative and interesting ideas on how to express just that.
Show your Love by making a statement and taking steps toward your financial future. Nothing says I love you more than actually taking concrete steps to build the foundation of your future with someone.
Open a joint savings bank account that the two of you can use to save money in for taking weekender trips or special nights out. Set up direct deposit for at least $25 – $100, or whatever you can afford per pay cycle to the account.
Open a joint brokerage account, select some stocks/ companies to invest in make bets with each other for the status of those stocks for the end of the year. Will your or hers be up or down? Maybe you like Nike who pays $1.11 in dividends quarterly and she likes “L Brands” which own Victoria’s Secret, they pay a dividend of $2.00 quarterly right now. Split the budget between the gift and joint asset purchase together or just go 100% for the joint asset purchase, have dinner in or out and continue living the next day like you have next days to be together. Check them and others out on http://finance.yahoo.com/
Choose a credit card or credit account or bill with high interest to make a payment on and schedule to pay it off completely.
If you must do dinner… It’s cool, just let it be a place that’s great so don’t settle. During dinner consider reviewing finances, things such as life insurance, credit status, beneficiaries, health checkups, children’s education savings and action plans for next day follow-up.
Buy U.S. Saving bonds in your names together. Go to www.treasurydirect.gov you can buy saving bonds together with both named listed or buy them under the children’s name if any.
I definitely am an advocate of the cards, flowers, candy and gifts- I like to just keep them in perspective. While some of you may be in relationships that aren’t that far along or you’re further along, any first steps or additional moves you make of togetherness is special for both people in the relationship. I know much of this is represents some very strong signals, but after all, when we spend a half of a paycheck or more that’s pretty strong signals too!
All of the overly priced gifts and meals won’t last very long, sure the memories will last a bit longer, however , recalling when you started to take a step toward building your future together will be unforgettable as it will continue on as your relationship lives on. Making moves to solidify your future together by building your finances together is a great way to say you’re the one for me. So when you say hey, let’s go to the bank and… or let’s go online and… or anything in that regard, it’s the “let’s” that is the important part.