Posted in Debt Free Me

Month End: October Snapshot

Honestly, I’m looking forward to this year being over with and starting my life with my soon to be wife. If you’re struggling with debt and you’re unable to have help emotionally, and financially, then depending on how big your debt level is I suggest three options. Those options are find a way to lower your expenses and increase income, close all open accounts and leave one card open and begin negotiating your debt with your creditors, and finally consider bankruptcy. The third option is an option of last resort, but bankruptcy is a way to start over. Don’t let your debt and finances take you to the place where you would harm yourself or others. If bankruptcy is the only option, then I suggest you contact multiple bankruptcy attorneys.

Fortunately, in my situation, I’ve openly discussed my finances with my fiancé and she’s openly discussed her finances too. We’re considering different debt consolidation options together, discussing a debt repayment strategy as well as how to grow our existing businesses. We openly discuss every topic with each other and being in our mid-thirties we’re comfortable enough to not need much. I encourage you to find someone to openly discuss your finances with. The first step to becoming debt free is in your thinking, and the next step is having a budget. My questions to you are how much do you make? Is that gross or net income? What is your bottom line number? Knowing your thoughts and knowing your numbers is critical to not just get out of debt but grabbing control of your financial future.

If you want to learn more about how I’m increasing my income, while reducing debt or if you want to have someone to discuss your debt reduction strategy with, or if you need a financial check-up, contact me.

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

I believe in your journey to….

A Debt Free Me

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

October 26, 2016

The franchise model has long been a way for companies to rapidly expand beyond what might be possible if they opened every location on their own. But rapid expansion can be just as much of a curse as it can be a blessing if a franchisor rushes into an unproven concept without the ability or the gumption to assist unhappy franchisees in hard times, according to serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis. Four common pitfalls to avoid are: don’t rush to expand an unproven concept, don’t ignore fanchisees, don’t under-equip franchisees, and don’t try to franchise something you’re not passionate about. When converting, a store into a franchise don’t do it until you have a proven model. Your business isn’t to just sell franchisees, it’s to have a model that you can first turn a profit and then build a system around. If you focus on expanding too quickly you could be left with a lot of debt that can’t be paid. When you have someone buy a franchise from you, you are obligated to be available to make sure they are successful. They are investing their money, time, and energy to buy your system, and they’re doing it to replace their current income or supplement income. Franchisees want to succeed. Ensure that you equip your franchisees with enough tools to succeed, and be willing to take in the franchisees input. A franchise is a business system and if that system isn’t working properly then the system will over time fail. Marcus makes a good point when it comes to any business you start, and especially one you want to franchise. “Why get into a business that you’re not excited about?” Lemonis asked. “You just want someone to feel passionate about what they’re doing. If you don’t have passion for it, it’s going to show to the customer,” and ultimately any potential franchisees.

Retailers looking to replicate the efficiency of bigger players like Apple would do well to focus their attention on one key measurement of success, according to entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis. Advising struggling New York-based Bowery Kitchen Supplies on the latest episode of CNBC’s “The Profit,” Lemonis reveals straightforward ways for any merchandiser to improve profits and evaluate its progress. Three simple techniques to increase sales are: develop a merchandising plan, lead with recognizable brands, and simplify the store’s layout. In the case of this business, the company experienced a loss due to having too much inventory that was spread throughout the store, and the products were acquired based off the desires of the owner vs. profitability of each department. A way to develop a merchandising plan is through analyzing sales data and from this data determine what departments are necessary and structure inventory around this data. After identifying the key departments customers appreciate most, Lemonis develops a strategy centered around “anchor tenants” — products meant to boost profits for a entire department by establishing the product offering’s legitimacy. By anchoring a department with well-known brands, you can then add brands that aren’t established with good margins. The final step is simplifying a store layout through clear signage and organization which will make the shopping experience easier for the customer. The more comfortable and visible the experience, the more likely you will generate sales.

If you need a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included Design Your Dream Life Through Passive Income from TEDx Talks YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

October 19, 2016

What makes Warren Buffett one of the riches people in the world? Unlike fellow billionaires Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos, he did not create a ground-breaking high-tech product. Instead, Buffett’s wealth began with a series of small, simple habits that anyone can follow and that are guaranteed to bring you greater wealth. The personal finance site GOBankingRates has identified some of the smartest habits that have put Buffett in every top-five list of wealthiest humans. Here are my favorites. You can read the full list here. The four habits are: think like an entrepreneur, invest even small amounts, borrow as little as you can, and live below your means. Being an entrepreneur does not mean you have to quit your job. Instead have an entrepreneur mindset, look for opportunities. Specifically look for ways to create assets that will generate cash flow; ideally assets that generate passive income. If you can’t afford it, then create it. It’s about looking at this abundant world and using your God given gifts to make it better. It may require sweat equity but it’s worth the effort. You don’t need a huge amount of money to become a successful investor. (In fact, here are some excellent investments you can make with $500 or less If you have your own business, either full-time or on the side, investing some of your earnings back into your business is one of the smartest things you can do. Buffett did just that when he and a friend bought a pinball machine for $25 and placed it in a local barber shop. When it earned money for them, rather than spend it, they bought additional pinball machines. In time, they had eight machines in different barber shops. When they sold that business, Buffett used the proceeds to start another business. It’s also important to carry as little debt as possible. Liabilities will create an expense which will reduce your income. I suggest if you must have debt, create your own debt and become a self-lender. My mustard seed app can show you how. You can learn more about it by contacting me. Finally, the hardest part is living below your means. The best way to do this type of living is to have a budget, and be content with what you do have.

Your debt-to-income ratio is a personal finance measure that compares the amount of money that you earn to the amount of money that you owe to your creditors. For most people, this number comes into play when they are trying to line up the financing to purchase a home, as it is used to determine mortgage affordability. (For more information, see Mortgages: How Much Can You Afford?) Debt to income is a common ratio you will see whenever you go to apply for a loan. Any lender will be looking at this ratio, and this ratio is a good measure to use in your own life. This article does adequately explain how to calculate the ratio so I’ll quote heavily from it. For example, if you earn $2,000 per month and have a mortgage expense of $400, taxes of $200 and insurance expenses of $150, your debt-to-income ratio is 37.5%. The more encompassing measure is to include the total amount of money that you spend each month servicing debt. This includes all recurring debt, such as mortgages, car loans, child support payments and credit card payments. Lending is always based on gross income, which is income before taxes. However, I will add that banks will factor in a standard living expense into their calculation as well factor in taxes. The article states that net income (take home pay) is income after taxes and deductions. I call net income the income after all your taxes, deductions and expenses are paid like a true business. In my financial small groups, I’m clear to make that distinction to avoid confusion. So, what is a good ratio? Traditional lenders generally prefer a 36% debt-to-income ratio, with no more than 28% of that debt dedicated toward servicing the mortgage on your house. A debt-to-income ratio of 37-40% is often viewed as an upper limit, although some lenders will permit ratios in that range or higher. However, although lenders may be willing to give you the loan, that doesn’t mean that you should take it. Another good ratio to keep in mind is your take home pay (gross profit) or what is deposited into your account divided by your fixed expenses. Fixed expenses are expenses you have to pay every month (mortgage/rent, insurance, cell phone, water, electricity, gas etc.) If your fixed expenses are greater than 50% of your take home pay, then you could be in trouble. These expenses don’t include living expenses such as food, or debt payments. The danger is if your ratio is this high you are likely to stay in debt, which over time could lead to financial ruin. Knowing your debt to income ratio and keeping it low is the key to having more income and less stress in your life. Have more contentment with less.

If you need a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included Business Advice from “the Profit”, Marcus Lemonis from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs 28:26 MSG


Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

October 12, 2016

Some companies are just better than others. It could be name recognition, innovation, market share or any number of other attributes that makes a good company stand out from the herd. The important thing for an investor is being able to spot the eventual winners before they become household names. So, what is it about one company that makes it a good company, and does that description equate to a good stock to invest in? The answer depends on whether you ask an accountant, an economist, a marketer or a human resources expert, but by pulling all of those disciplines together, you generally can define a good company by these three characteristics: competitive advantage, above-average management, and market leadership. Competitive advantage has two forms: differentiation advantage and cost advantage. Other ways to maintain competitive advantage is through having barriers to entry, name recognition, and price leadership. Above-average management is another key component because not only can experienced management lead a company through the boom and bust cycles, but the right management can also mentor the next generation to ensure the company’s sustainability or even potential increased share of the marketplace. Good management is more likely to stay with a company that has a strong vision. One of the most important characteristics in becoming a good company is market leadership. Leadership can come in many forms, but the reputation that comes along with this tag is priceless. The label of “industry standard” is one that every company strives for. Examples include leading the market in quality, innovation, customer service or even warranties If a company has these three traits then the company could be worth investing in. However, these intangibles do not excuse you from doing your financial due diligence. Know your investment strategy and make sure you follow it. I have two different portfolios, one I use for trading and the other I use to buy and hold. Having a budget allows me to take my disposable income and invest it in the market. When you put things into order there will be increase.

As of Sept. 20, 2016, the Identity Theft Resource Center had recorded 687 data breaches for the year, in which 28.8 million consumer records were compromised. That was before news of the Yahoo data breach surfaced. Add 500 million more records to that list. There are 6 bad habits you can avoid that can help protect your identity. “It’s definitely worth being worried about protecting yourself,” says Tim Erlin, director of IT security and risk strategy at Tripwire, a cyber-security firm. “As a consumer, you can’t be worried necessarily which company will be compromised next.” Your identity is a valuable currency on the black market. The 6 bad habits to avoid are: tossing sensitive documents into the trash, failing to check credit reports, banking on unsecured Wi-Fi, using the same password across
multiple accounts, failing to monitor accounts, and failing to freeze your credit after a breach. I encourage you to look at the statistics behind each bad habit, and what you’ll find is that Americans are vulnerable to having their identities compromised. Because we live in the Information Age our presence is out there for the world to see. Personally I check my credit at least once a year with the three credit bureaus and I’ll actually pay for the detailed version. If you have to pay for your annual physical, then why not have a detailed look at your credit also? I am in favor of identity monitoring, however for something that actually restores your identity then I recommend having ID Shield. With this product, if your identity is ever compromised, you will have access to your own licensed Kroll investigator who will restore your identity back to before it was compromised. If you want more information about ID Shield you can reach me in the contact me section.

Also, if you need a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included 3 Million Subscribers in 1 Year! – What’s Inside? YouTube Creator Dan Markham from Shark Tank Podcast YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs 28:26 MSG‬‬‬‬‬‬

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

October 5, 2016

Before you hire an outside party to distribute your product, think twice — they might be unnecessarily costing your business an arm and a leg. That’s the lesson Max Kater, CEO of Murchison-Hume, learned on this week’s episode of CNBC’s “The Profit.” Over the past few years, Kater had been using a convoluted process to get her fleet of upscale, nontoxic cleaning products — ranging from glass cleaners to dish soaps — from the factory floor to consumers’ hands. The business had been creating the product in Skokie, Illinois and then sending the product to a third-party logistics center in Dallas, Texas. This distance was costing the business an extra 50 cents per unit. Even though this amount seems insignificant; in the wholesale business it will add up. “Murchison-Hume, like any wholesaler, sells to retailers at twice its cost, meaning that the 50 cents turns into $1 by the time it gets to the retailer,” Lemonis explained. The retailer then marks up the product, so that $1 becomes $2 in the eyes of a customer. As a result, the price of Murchison-Hume’s product becomes $9. A price that will cause customers to pass on the product. To solve the problem, Lemonis suggested Kater work with a partner that manufactures, packages and distributes products all under one roof, streamlining the process and saving Kater an extra 50 cents on the cost of goods sold. This change creates a 22% savings to the customer which means a more affordable product. It’s important in business to not just price your product, but to properly price your product. It’s important to understand logistics and figure out how to improve processes. Ultimately it’s about how to properly manage working capital and more importantly manage human capital.

There’s a reason we are comfortable sacrificing it all to make our businesses a reality: We assume we’ll get a break tomorrow. To paraphrase Orphan Annie, tomorrow is always a day away–but meanwhile we could end up being useless to the very people we say we are sacrificing everything for. Consultant Alan Weiss calls this the Oxygen Mask Principle. If you’re in an emergency situation on an airplane, you are told to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting a less competent companion. He breaks it down in his podcast, The Way I See It:

You can’t help the client or your family, you can’t do pro bono work, you can’t help others in the profession, you can’t help anyone unless you yourself are comfortable. You need a healthy selfishness.

Rest is extremely important. If the human body was intended to work 24-7, then you wouldn’t see people with health issues or in some cases, die from exhaustion. Personally, I’ve taken on the habit of engaging in work 6 days a week, but I also take one day of rest. Rest for me may be going to church, sleeping, or doing some form of relaxing. I encourage you to make sure that you take the time to rest so that you can recharge and be more effective. Mr. Brown’s tactics to putting on his Oxygen Mask is to build in minimum viable days, create blank spaces in his schedule, and say “no” early and
often. Honoring the principle of rest will allow you to enjoy life more, and you’ll find that you’re still productive even with the rest.

If you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included The Profit Principles with Marcus Lemonis from CNBC Prime YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs