Posted in Debt Free Me

Month End: January Snapshot

This month, I said I do and till death do us part to my best friend and my love. I’ll be honest! The wedding process is stressful. If you plan on doing an actual wedding that involves a venue and family, then you will spend money and you will at some point get frustrated. My wife and I are very low maintenance and low-key people, but even we found ourselves exhausted both emotionally and mentally when all was said and done. I’ve moved out of my parents’ home and into an apartment. I’ve had plenty of guy roommates, but now is the first time I’ve ever lived with a female. We’re growing used to living together, and as she gets accustomed to my quirks, and tendencies, every day I’m more and more thankful to God that she is in my life. She said yes to this mess.

At month end, she’s currently not working, and we’re living primarily off her medical retirement and a portion of my income, but thankfully we are both open about our finances and operate our business together. I’ve helped her sign on a new associate for her business, and I’m truly looking forward to what this new year will bring. Due to our honeymoon, I paid a little less than normal on my debt, but the important thing to remember is: if you are in debt, do not miss your payments, and do not let them go 30 days past due. Find a way to make money to pay your debt obligations. If you got yourself in this mess in the first place, it’s your responsibility to get out of it.

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

Here’s this month’s video

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

January 25, 2017

Having a million-dollar portfolio is a retirement dream for many people. Making that dream come true requires some serious effort. While success is never a sure thing, the 10 steps outlined below will go a long way toward helping you achieve your objective. The steps are: set the goal, start saving, get aggressive, prepare for rainy days, save more, watch your spending, monitor your portfolio, max out your options, catch-up contributions, and have patience. Briefly I’ll highlight some points that author made. Savings can be started by taking advantage of your company’s 401k plan, or even something as simple as an Acorns account. Be sure to save if you want to build your way to being a millionaire. If you are constantly spending as much as you make, then you won’t have anything to set aside for when you stop working. It’s also important to have a strategy when it comes to asset-allocation. As time passes you want to set aside more to save. Take advantage of tax deferred savings plans to set aside income that won’t be taxed. An important thing to remember is to monitor and re-balance your portfolio. Finally, the power of compounding takes time so be patient and consistent. If you’re interested in having your own account that will build your wealth for you, then click on the following link:

Retirement might seem far away, but when it arrives nobody ever complains about having too much money. Some people even question whether a million dollars is enough. That said, with lots of planning and discipline, you can reach your retirement goals and live a comfortable life after work.

Friends and family often ask me how much savings they need in order to retire. While I am more than happy to talk in generalities, I try to steer away from giving any specifics when I don’t have all the facts. Without a complete view of their financial picture, it would not only be impossible but also irresponsible of me to answer their questions. Unfortunately, more often than not, before I have a chance to respond, they hastily begin shouting out numbers. “Do I need half a million? One million?” Typically this leads to me awkwardly trying to explain that the solution isn’t that simple and ethically I really shouldn’t answer their question. This response is usually met with a bewildered look and the inevitable “So you’re saying that’s not enough?” (Heavy sigh) At this point, I coyly suggest that if they really want to know the answer they should become a client. (For related reading, see: 10 Habits of the Healthy, Wealthy & Wise.) In an effort to provide friends and family with some guidance (and to quell the family banter), I have devised a quick back of the envelope calculation to give a ballpark estimate of how much savings one needs to retire. The calculation is rather easy to complete but does require some preliminary information before you can get started. I have included a list of the necessary data as well as a simple worksheet that will walk you through this approach. Please bear in mind that this is a rudimentary calculation that won’t give you an exact figure, but it can be used as a reality check to see if you are on target to retire comfortably.

Here’s the information that the author recommends that you’ll need:

A pay statement, federal and state tax returns, social security statement, pension statement, and estimate of any other income you may receive in retirement. The author presents a scenario for analysis. In this scenario, the author examines ten line descriptions: net pay, number of pay periods, basic annual income needs, taxes, medical expenses, total annual income needed, retirement income (social security, pension, etc.), annual income needed from savings, multiplier, and savings required. Understand that this scenario is a static model, and doesn’t consider the fluctuations of life. Also, keep in mind that this model doesn’t replace income producing assets. If your passive income is greater than your expenses, then you are wealthy.

If you need are interested in creating a budget, then contact me for a financial checkup in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, But It Is… – Motivational Video from the Endless Motivation 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

January 18, 2017

It’s difficult to turn on the television these days without seeing a slew of commercials for reverse mortgages. They feature past-their-prime celebrities such as Henry Winkler and Fred Thompson, extolling the benefits of “guaranteed tax-free income” for those 62-years-old and over. What they don’t tell you is that reverse mortgages can be dangerous and can put your biggest asset—your home—at risk. A reverse mortgage is simply a regular mortgage where the proceeds are paid out over a series of installment payments instead of all at once. This plan will use the existing equity of your home, and doesn’t need to be repaid until you sell the home or die. This type of loan can be beneficial under a scenario of a senior citizen using the proceeds to stay in his home while using the proceeds for medical expenses vs. selling his home. There are six dangers to keep in mind: complexity, pressure, future health, eligibility for government programs, high fees, and spousal eviction. The article goes into detail on these dangers. Reverse mortgages can be an important source of emergency funds for some seniors who would otherwise have to sell their homes to access their equity. There are several dangers to these plans. However, that can put your home at risk and sap your asset base. In all honesty, this article is presented to bring awareness that this type of product exists, and I personally am not advocating it. I do encourage the reader to pay attention to the fact that the writer of the article used the term asset base. Remember to grow your income-producing asset column to prevent forced into this type of a scenario.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros lost approximately a billion dollars following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory last November. Soros, who donated generously to the Clinton campaign, had bet that a Trump victory would lead to a sustained depression in market performance. However, the markets have responded with enthusiasm to Trump’s election in hopes that he would cut taxes and red tape. Soros also has investments in major technology companies, such as Inc. (AMZN) and Netflix Inc. (NFLX), whose stock prices fell following the President-elect’s shock victory. (For more, see also: How Did George Soros Get Rich?)

In contrast, Stanley Druckenmiller, a one-time Soros protegé, seems to have moved ahead of his old boss. The Wall Street Journal report states that Duquesne Family Office LLC, Druckenmiller’s firm, saw “gains of 10% in 2016.” This is because Druckenmiller, who has voted for Republican candidates in the past, predicted that the markets would swoon initially but rally later on a Trump victory.

Druckenmiller’s bearish stance on bonds and his bullish take on the dollar vs euro did help his profits. Gold prices, which were expected to rise after a Trump win, dropped sharply after the elections. Liberty Broadband Corporation (LBRDA), which was one of Soros’s big buys has rallied 12.5% since election night at the time this article was written.

If you need are interested in creating a budget, then contact me for a financial checkup in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included Learning From Your Mistakes – Motivational Video from the Endless Motivation 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

January 11, 2017

Along with changing your oil every 3,000 miles and checking your child’s trick-or-treat bag for weaponized apples, the common advice to create an emergency fund is overly prudent. All you need is an objective understanding of risk to realize that there are far better places to put your money than an inert account that can’t enrich you. The most recognizable personal finance mavens are almost unanimous in their advocacy of the emergency fund as a vital part of any common-sense financial plan. (See Why You Absolutely Need an Emergency Fund.) Their recommendations differ only on size – three months’, six months’, perhaps eight months’ worth of living expenses are enough to accommodate whatever misfortune might befall you. But to what end? And do people really listen, or are these just empty dicta written to take up space? The conservative recommendation would be set aside eight months’ worth of living expenses, and assuming an effective tax rate of 20%, and this amount is roughly $30,000. Even at three months’ worth of living expenses the total is $11,000. The author advocates clearing debt away before you begin focusing heavily on creating an emergency fund, because the interest you currently play on your debts could quickly fill your emergency fund. Well, what if you do? There’s this thing called unemployment insurance. Your employers pay into it and it’s for your benefit. We also have a workforce in which (overall, if not in every individual case) 95% of those who want jobs have them. Chronic unemployment, or underemployment, is not the province of that class of people who have the wherewithal to defer spending long enough to save up several months’ of living expenses. An emergency fund is meant to help you handle life, so it’s important to take the time to build it. If you’re interested in my process, then I will be glad to share it with you.

Warren Buffett has always done pretty well as an investor. But even for him, 2016 was an exceptional year. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway went up about 20 percent in value, increasing Buffett’s personal fortune by about $12 billion, according to personal finance site GOBankingRates. He earned more last year than any other American, easily beating out fracking king Harold Hamm, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Buffett’s net worth is now just over $75 billion. Most of Buffet’s gains came right after the presidential election. Buffet earned most of his gains in four areas: Banking/Financial Services, Airlines, Cable, and Food. Buffet is a long-time investor in American Express and the financial sector itself. Buffet invested heavily in Delta, United Continental, American, and Southwest Airlines. Back in 2014, Buffet invested heavily in Charter Communications. Buffett finally invests in food. Even though Buffet saw a loss in Coca-Cola, he also is a big investor in Kraft Heinz, and that stock is up 21 percent.

If you need are interested in creating a budget, then contact me for a financial checkup in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included THOUGHTS – Motivational Video from Be Inspired 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

January 4, 2017

Do you have your sights set on retiring in Asia? Not long ago, Investopedia profiled the 10 Best Countries to Retire to in 2016. Now we’ve narrowed our focus to Asia and have asked the expert editors, writers and on-the-ground reporters at Live and Invest Overseas to tell us what they consider the four best destinations for retirement in Asia. Two of their choices, Malaysia and Thailand, made their list of the top 12 places to retire in 2016, and the other two, Vietnam and the Philippines, are countries they consider “up and comers” that may hit the charts next year. The city of George Town, Malaysia is a top pick for retirees. George Town has plenty of museums, jungle parks with secluded beaches, first rate healthcare, and good public transportation. Plus, the cost of living is low. No need to feel like a “walking wallet” in George Town or the rest of Malaysia; foreigners pay the same prices as locals for goods and services. A 900-square-foot apartment in an “expensive” part of George Town will cost about $480 per month; to hire someone to help keep the apartment clean, under $4 an hour.  Thailand is known for its beautiful beaches, laid back culture, and low cost of living. The author recommends Chiang Mai as a city to visit. Thailand requires a visa for long-term residents (see Getting a Retirement Visa in Thailand), but that’s no problem since the government recently rewrote the rules to provide several attractive residency options. Vietnam also offers a low affordable cost of living and is also one of the best places to retire. However, healthcare in Hanoi is excellent, but in certain areas it’s not as easily accessible. The cost of living in the Philippines is one of the lowest in the world. The tropical island of Cebu is another choice for retirees, and Makati, a safe part of Manila, has access to everything a retiree would want – good shopping, excellent healthcare, proximity to beaches and outdoor activities plus the expected big-city cultural features. Makati is also considered an excellent market for real estate investment. Even if you do retire in one of these countries, be sure to have an emergency fund that will cover trips back to the United States, and for true emergencies. The best way to create an emergency fund is by creating a budget, and the self-lending principle. To start your new year differently, feel free to go to the contact me section

I analyzed the birth dates of the most important investors of all time. Ten observations were made. This is an incomplete list. It does not include any early financiers like J.P. Morgan, no chief strategists like Abby Joseph Cohen, and no Fed chairman like Alan Greenspan. What it does include is traders, investors, hedge fund managers, Nobel laureates, economists, and early pioneers of portfolio management. Some of these people never managed money, but had a huge influence on how we think about investing, like Daniel Kahneman or Robert Shiller, for example. The author provides a chart and here are a few noticeable highlights. Baby boomers dominate this list, every person on this list is extremely smart, and there’s not a lot of diversity in this group. The article includes the names of the 67 most important investors, and they’re worth doing a little more research on.

If you need are interested in creating a budget, then contact me for a financial checkup in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included The Key to Wealth: Pay Yourself First from Jack Canfield 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