July 20, 2016

http://www.wsj.com/articles/silicon-valley-looks-for-lessons-in-theranos-1468402201

Silicon Valley’s best-known venture investors have emerged largely unscathed from the rapid descent of Theranos Inc., but the decline offers a cautionary tale for a community that bets big on visionary founders touting revolutionary technology. If you’re not familiar with Theranos Inc., then feel free to do a web search on this company. It was founded by Elizabeth Holmes, who at the time was praised as a visionary for what her company was going to do in the health service industry. Now she’s been banned from the blood testing business for two years. This company was valued at $9 billion during a 2014 funding round. “For me, the Theranos saga is a wonderful reminder: While you want to invest in people who are visionary and are committed to their businesses, you want to partner with people who are truth-seeking,” said health-care investor Bryan Roberts, a partner at Venrock. “A lot of people [involved with Theranos] fell down on that in this.” Often what a person or business does in private will in time come to the light of day. This Scripture is a reminder of this quote, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10 NIV. Before Theranos’s problems came to light last October, at least some Silicon Valley investors cheered her apparent success. Marc Andreessen, whose firm isn’t a backer of Theranos, tweeted that Ms. Holmes would be the first female tech founder on his list of “revolutionary entrepreneurs.” One of the big red flags about Theranos was its unusual roster of investors and board members. The actual board members at that time weren’t medical experts, and the company didn’t publish its results in peer reviewed medical journals. Theranos replaced many of its directors last October and created a new medical-advisory board.
The Theranos spokeswoman said, “Theranos has boards composed of individuals of extraordinary experience and talent in many fields. Their contributions have been significant.” The article then goes on to give a few more examples of Silicon Valley startups that have run into issues. The importance of building a big business is not in how quickly it can reach a billion-dollar valuation but for how long it can last, how much good it will actually do, and how strong its fundamentals are. If the foundation isn’t strong then the cracks will appear and the truth will come to light. Theranos is a case study which will more than likely end up in a business college textbook. Financial literacy, and common sense are two keys to investing for positive cash flow.

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/14/20-tips-for-the-me-of-20-years-ago.html

This commentary is from Mainak Dhar, managing director at General Mills. After twenty years, ten bosses, five moves, four kilos, and a journey that has spanned experiences across many different businesses and countries, I am back where it all began — Mumbai. Did I ever imagine I’d be working in the corporate sector for twenty years? To be honest, perhaps not, but back then a time horizon of a couple of years was long term thinking. As I think back to that twenty-two-year-old me sitting in the reception, waiting to collect my visitor ID badge, if I had the chance, what would I say to myself? Here’s an attempt. In this article, Mr. Dhar gives 20 tips to the version of him of 20 years ago. I’ve picked a few to share and I encourage you to read this article. Perhaps much later than I should have, I realized that our identity does not come from the designation we have at our jobs but what inspires us, what makes us feel alive. It’ll all be a waste of time. If money is what you chase, the goalpost will keep shifting. I figured that one out pretty early- you may as well get started on day one of your career. You learn as much, if not more, from the “bad” bosses as the “good” ones. It’ll all be ok. You’ll screw up, you’ll be hurt, you’ll have bad days but you know what, nobody owes you a happy life. You need to find things and people that make you happy. His letter is an honest assessment of working in any career. Work not just for your paycheck, but also work to learn. What do you learn? You learn or rather reveal more of your own God given gifts, and uncover new abilities you didn’t know you had through collaboration. Your workplace’s responsibility is to pay you for your job. It’s your responsibility to use your paycheck to take of your own business. Your business is your life and the legacy you leave behind.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesasia/2016/07/06/risky-business-bangkoks-tallest-gamble-is-ready-to-open

Announce plans for Bangkok’s tallest building in the depths of a financial crisis. Persist through violent street protests and a military coup. Target wealthy foreigners who would pay millions for an apartment. People thought Sorapoj Techakraisri was crazy. That he was only in his 30s added to the skepticism. The 77 story MahaNakhon tower will have its first residents this September. By far the largest skyscraper on the skyline, MahaNakhon will contain 209 Ritz-Carlton Residences, ranging in price from $1.4 million to $10 million; a five-star Edition Hotel by Marriott International; and flashy boutiques and restaurants. Techakraisri
believes that Bangkok is close to having a metamorphosis and becoming an alternative to Singapore. Techakraisri’s company Pace Development’s market capitalization is just $315 million, and its profits are scarce. “It’s not yet a solid company in terms of earnings, though it should do fine,” says Avin Sony of Asia Plus Securities, the Thai firm that managed Pace’s initial public offering in 2013. He predicts that as buyers take possession of their units in MahaNakhon this year, Pace will post a small profit, followed by much bigger earnings in 2017. Even though Thailand has been struck with political turmoil, the super luxury segment of Bangkok’s property market seems to be experiencing a boom. Ultimately Techakraisri is investing for the long term and believes that the government will stabilize, and that expats will be looking to buy his condos as a second or third home. Once the doors open at MahaNakhon and prospective buyers can see the finished product, says Techakraisri, they can expect a higher price tag. “It becomes an emotional sale. When they see the view?-and the residence, the sky bar, the hotel–they will just want it.” This article highlights the vision of a man who didn’t stop believing that a luxury high rise was possible. In contrast, to the Theranos article earlier, it’ll be interesting to see how MahaNakhon tower will do. Our dollar for now is strong, and so I’d recommend looking for opportunities in other markets if you have the ability. If you have a budget, you will be able to focus on two important things: eliminate unnecessary debt and expenses, and build a savings and have money to invest in businesses. If you’re interested in my process go to the contact me section.

Also, below is a preview for the movie the Founder based on the life of Ray Kroc.

If you have a prayer need, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

July 13, 2016

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/031815/retire-philippines-200000-savings.asp

More and more people are choosing to retire abroad to enjoy a better climate, new experiences, access to affordable healthcare and a lower cost of living. One destination long popular with expats is the Philippines, a nation that spreads out over more than 7,000 islands. This country is located in Southeast Asia and is near Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysian Borneo. The author argues that it is possible to live better and make your money stretch further by living abroad. This article examines if it is truly possible to retire in the Philippines with $200,000 in savings. Each year, International Living’s Global Retirement Index ranks retirement destinations around the world, measuring factors such as climate, healthcare, benefits and discounts, and cost of living. For the 2015 Index, the Philippines scored 92 out of 100 for cost of living, placing it in the top 10 for cost of living, and matching Belize, Cambodia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Thailand. Only Nicaragua and Vietnam ranked higher for low cost of living, each earning a perfect score of 100. In the Philippines, the $200,000 would last roughly 21 years. If you add in Social Security, a retiree can cover most of your living expenses. The author recommends that when you do transition to live in the Philippines, you should eat and live like the locals live to begin spending at the “local rate.” As such, it is always recommended that you work with a qualified attorney and/or tax specialist when making plans for retiring abroad. Also the author adds as a foot note that you should really research before retiring to the Philippines because of the increased violence as of 2014.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-11/nintendo-adds-7-billion-as-pokemon-go-marks-surprise-hit-chart

A two-day rally for Nintendo has lifted the company’s market value by 718 billion yen, or $7.1 billion. The surge began Friday after the debut of a new mobile game app, Pokémon Go, and accelerated Monday with the shares rising by the daily limit of 25 percent in Tokyo. I encourage you to watch the video. It seems as though Pokémon Go will have an interesting effect on Nintendo’s share price but in people’s behavior as well. It’ll be interesting to watch as adults respond to their childhood activity suddenly taking on an adult life. This smartphone app has soared to the top of download charts. It’s a location based app in which users will try to find Pokémon characters overlaid on real life locations. Nintendo’s console sales have slowed, but if Nintendo can capitalize on its franchises then there is still enormous potential for profits and the company’s overall growth. Pokémon Go represents a success for augmented reality games, because it is overlaying digital images over the real world, and opens the possibility for truly mobile gaming. Also, it should be noted that Niantic, Inc. is the company behind the software that integrated the augmented reality into the Pokémon Go, and their first game was Ingress. Niantic may be a company to watch.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/09/not-saving-enough.asp

Here is a very basic plan for achieving financial independence: get a job, start to save, get raises, save as salary increases, take advantage of dollar-cost averaging (DCA), benefit from a bull market, hit magic number, and retire.
It sounds simple and straightforward on paper, but in reality, earning a high income does not automatically translate into a high net worth. The reason that there isn’t a higher net worth for most people is because there isn’t a discipline to save. Often times, when a person’s income increases, his expenses will increase also. This increase can take the form of a new home, and growing a family. Obviously with more people to take care of, the ability to save becomes more difficult. Another factor is lifestyle. People are more prone to want to enjoy life vs. setting aside money for the future. An additional factor to consider is geography. Depending on where you live, the cost of living can also be a drain on your ability to save. A final factor to consider is the eye of the beholder. What a person perceives as a lot of money may not actually be a lot, because having a better lifestyle means you end up with more to pay for. Sticking to the seemingly simple plan of earning more and saving more requires serious discipline and sacrifice. It means living below your means, regardless of the level of your means, and making savings a priority. In other words, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). The most important thing you can do to increase your net worth is to create simple disciplines. Buy assets that produce income. Save before you pay bills or spend money. Set measurable small goals and celebrate the victories. Remember, it’s not about how much you make, it’s about how much you keep. If you want to learn a trick to help you accelerate your savings, then feel free to click on the contact me section link below.

If you need agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

July 5, 2016

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/040915/how-much-cash-should i-keep-bank.asp

Everybody has an opinion on how much money you should tuck away in your bank account. The truth is, it depends on your financial situation. What you need to keep in the bank is the money for your regular bills, your discretionary spending and the portion of your savings that constitutes your emergency fund. Knowing how much you should keep in the bank depends on one crucial word: budget. The author outlines two techniques: the 50/30/20 rule and Dave Ramsey’s strategy. The 50/30/20 comprises 50% for fixed costs, 30% for discretionary money, and 20% for financial goals. 50% of your money should be for costs such as rent, water, electricity, car payment, internet etc. 30% of your money is for spending on wants vs needs. 30% can be spent on entertainment or food. 20% of your money should be for the future either as setting up an emergency fund or saving for an IRA, a 529 plan, or other investments. Dave Ramsey recommends this strategy based off of what you receive via paycheck: charitable giving – 10-15%, food 5-15%, savings 10-15%, clothing 2-7%, housing 25-35%, transportation 10-15%, utilities 5-10%, and medical/health 5-10%. Beyond your monthly living expenses and discretionary money, the major portion of the cash reserves in your bank account should consist of your emergency fund. Regardless of much you set aside, you want to make sure your money is instantly accessible so you can use it right away. Personally I have two savings account, one that is directly connected with my checking account, and the other is at a different bank earning a higher rate of interest. From time to time, I will transfer from the localized savings to earn the higher interest rate, however I make sure I have enough in case I need it. It is important to bring order to your finances as soon as possible so you can get into the habit of saving and building an emergency fund. If you are interested in learning the process I do then go to the contact me section. The most recent Federal Reserve data from the “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2015” surveyed Americans and mentioned that “[f]orty-six percent of adults say they either could not cover an emergency expense costing $400, or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money.”

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/wealth-management/040416/top-5-differences-between-business-and-first-class.asp

A cartoon reproduced on Firstclassflyer.com shows a pilot in the cockpit making his welcome-aboard announcement to the passengers: “The flight time today is five hours in first class and 12½ hours in coach.” Although that may not be literally true, ask passengers who sit “up front,” and you will often hear them remark on how fast the flight seemed to go and how comfortable they were. Here are five points comparing business and first class: the waiting game, boarding privileges, getting comfortable, food and drink and attention paid. Many airlines are boarding first and business class together, however on a few first class flights, the passenger will literally be escorted from the arriving terminal to the lounge, and from the lounge to the departing terminal. When you’re considering the getting comfortable option, it’s important to know the type of plane you are flying on and if the seat will turn into a bed. Depending on what airline you fly, it’s best to call ahead and ask about those kind of options especially if you’re flying overseas. Food and drink is where business and first class differs the most. On first class you often have food prepared under the auspices of a famous chef – Air France, rated No.1 for in-flight food by the Robb Report – offers menus designed by Michelin-starred chefs. For a year, starting in March 2016, select U.S. to Paris flights will feature entrées from Daniel Boulud. Finally, in attention paid, a passenger in first class will have service which is much more proactive instead of reactive. The major differences between first class and business class are the seats and the service but the actual differences greatly depend on airlines, routes and airplane models. Still, according to USA Today, first class always supersedes business class on international flights.

http://www.marketwatch.com/video/how-to-stop-the-robocall-uprising/F9BECBB2-9C05-4142-8ABA-80EF55ED76D0.html

Robocalls—those pre-recorded, unwanted phone calls—are at a record high. Over 10 billion calls have been made in the US at the time of this article. These robocalls can both be aggressive and friendly. These calls have been occurring even on our smart phones. These calls are happening as a result of technology having access to lists and lists of phone numbers that are placed into a computer program and are then sent through the Internet in literally seconds. The purpose of these calls is to allow identity thieves to gain access to your personal information. One way you can fight back is through the FTC’s do not call list – donotcall.gov. Another way to fight back is if you don’t know the number than simply hang up and don’t answer the phone. You can also use a call blocking app called Hiya which can add the number to a block list. The best service is called nomorobo. This service is available on LAN lines, and will soon be available for iPhone and Android phones. It sees when a lot of phone numbers are being sent out or spoofing and then it hangs them up or notifies the person to not pick up. We live in an age where criminals will use technology in order to gain access to your identity, and in response we should use technology to our advantage to fight back. However, If you don’t have identity theft protection, I recommend you get a plan in place just in case. You can find out more about an identity theft protection plan by reaching me at the contact me section. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1 NIV).

If you need agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

June 28, 2016

http://time.com/money/4368356/steps-saving-emergency-fund/

Building up your savings isn’t easy. After all, a whopping 62% of Americans have under $1,000 in savings, found a GoBankingRates survey. And, only 14% have $10,000 or more. The author of this article suggests having $10,000 set aside in savings for major life events such as home improvement, losing a job, and or if you get into an accident. Understandably this amount seems daunting. There are nine steps to follow to build this amount: assess your spending, set reasonable goals, make a budget, track everything and pay with cash, pay yourself like a bill, open an inconvenient but high yield savings account, put any unexpected money into savings, don’t pay off that credit card debt, and reward yourself. For the sake of convenience, I encourage you to take the time to read this article, and instead I’ll share with you what I do. I follow a four step process which mirrors these steps. I’ll be glad to share it with you when you contact me. It’s important to build a budget because it will help you assess how much you’re spending, and allow you to set reasonable goals. Keep your receipts, and track it even if you have to write it down. I personally use a spreadsheet I’ve built over 5 years that helps me easily forecast where I will be up to 13 months from now. There is a process I follow where I not only pay myself like a bill and take advantage of a high yield savings account, but I also multiply my savings by turning myself into a bank. I highly recommend that whatever extra money you have you don’t spend but set aside. I did find the eighth step of not paying off the credit card interesting. The author writes: But many financial experts say that the strictly logical approach of paying off the credit card debt before saving money might backfire and that you should shoot for doing both simultaneously. Another approach is to pay off the high-interest credit card debt first and then put that minimum payment money toward your savings, said Gallegos. “When you pay off a credit card with a $50 monthly payment, increase your savings by that $50,” he said. It’s like you gave yourself a raise. The final step of rewarding yourself is essential, because you’re changing your behavior and learning that spending is easy and savings is hard. That’s why getting a reward every once in a while is important to keep you going, said R. Joseph Ritter Jr., CFP and founder of Zacchaeus Financial Counseling, Inc. If everything is going as planned, you should reward yourself every six months or so, he said. It’s challenging going from an instant gratification lifestyle to a seed time and harvest lifestyle. You’re not in this process alone, there are a few out there like you who are delaying present pleasure for a future reward. You’re letting your old self die in order to take up a new life. When you make this choice, I believe you will be blessed to become a blessing to someone else. At the end of the blog, I’ve included a YouTube link to an episode of Disney’s DuckTales in which Scrooge McDuck tells the story of how he came to America.

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-you-should-have-multiple-streams-of-income-2016-6


What would you do if your boss fired you overnight? With no more paychecks coming in, how would you pay the bills, put a roof over your head, and feed your family? I know what I would do: nothing. Because I have several bosses, including myself. When you have multiple income streams, losing one is not that big a deal. Often people will say that they can’t do more because of their full time jobs and other personal commitments, however the author suggests trying to build at least one additional stream of income. Some examples are: dividends from stocks, interest from the bank (preferably at least 1% interest), rental income from an investment property, freelance income, income from a room you rent from Airbnb or from renting your car on Turo, marketing your skills, a business you start on the side, etc. The author argues when it comes to investing you don’t put all your eggs in one basket, therefore by relying solely on employment income, you take that same risk. You open yourself up to the risk of losing everything through a lack of income diversification. If you lose your job, how will you pay for your living expenses? Having several income streams makes you much stronger in case of a layoff. The author even gives examples from her own life: rent from three tenants, renting a guest house via Airbnb, cooking for guests, trading forex, dividends, owning three personal finance sites, freelance writing, translation jobs, renting out my car and motorcycle, bank interest, and P2P lending. The author suggests that a person build passive streams of income, however the author explains that building passive income takes a lot of work and time to accomplish. However, with multiple streams of income you can slowly build your retirement fund. The author suggests spending much less than you earn and that can be done in two ways: by decreasing your expenses or increasing your income. The author gives an example of how to decrease your expenses, and I suggest you contact me to learn about how to create a budget. Instead of looking at how to decrease expenses, I’m going to use her brief example of increasing your income: But if you can find one client, willing to pay you $50 per week for a two hour lesson (what worked for me was tutoring, French classes and piano lessons. You can teach anything you are good at) or a freelance project, you have made another $200 this month. Find a couple more clients, and you are now making $500 more every month. If you’re interested in starting your own side business, then also feel free to contact me for suggestions. “Committed and persistent work pays off; get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.” Proverbs
28:20 MSG‬‬‬‬

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/insights/062416/deep-web-vs-dark-web.asp

The Internet is like an ocean, and what we as regular users see or access is just the surface. But just like the ocean, underneath the surface is a world invisible from the top. Our daily Internet-related activities like shopping online, using e-mail or Facebook, searching things on Google comprises what can be termed as the “Visible Web” or “Surface Web.” This portion of the web is usually calculated using the estimates provided by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo based on the “number of pages indexed.” According to an estimate, “the indexed web contains at least 4.56 billion pages (as of May 30, 2016).” While this number may appear huge, remember that the life below the ocean’s surface is enormous and so is the Deep Web. With the advent of the Internet, there’s become a space of human creation where both good and evil exist. There is both a physical (surface) and a spiritual (deep) world. Life is more than what we can see, and faith is having trust in what can’t be seen. The deep web is the world underneath our surface internet, and it isn’t accessible by conventional search engines. The deep web itself contains an even greater amount of information than on the surface web. The dark web is often confused with the deep web. However, to be more accurate, the dark web is the deepest part of the deep web. The Dark Web is like a subset of the Deep Web, or perhaps the deepest layer of the web ocean and includes encrypted sites, as well as marketplaces for illicit activities and products including weapons, drugs and illegal trafficking. The Dark Web reflects the “darker” side of the society, and is accessible via special software’s or browsers lsuch TOR (The Onion Router) or I2P (Invisible Internet Project), which have “masked” IP addresses, making them untraceable. It is in this place where evil does exist, and identity thieves will more than likely trade your stolen identity as a form of currency. In this digital age it is important to ensure you have proper identity theft protection. I’m not talking about credit monitoring, rather a service that monitors your e-mail address, passport, medical id number, social security number, and at the same time has the ability to restore your identity back to before your identity was stolen. If you’re interested in having this type of identity theft protection. Feel free to contact me in the contact me section. While technology is a boon, examples like the Silk Road remind us of the darker side of technology. In nutshell, it cannot be concluded that the Deep Web is all Dark; the Dark Web is a small although ugly part of the Deep Web.

Below is the link to Scrooge McDuck’s idea of Work Smarter, Not Harder

https://youtu.be/8jEZraf0eDI

If you need agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

June 22, 2016

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/smartassetcom/build-wealth-in-your-50s_b_10380004.html

For many people, turning 50 signals a shift in the way they approach their finances. If you have kids, they’re probably preparing to leave the nest and you may just be hitting your stride in terms of your earning power. With retirement looming, now’s the time to amp up your efforts to save. Whether you’re a late bloomer or you’ve been socking money away steadily over the years, here’s what you can do to enjoy a rich retirement. The three steps are leverage all your savings options, be strategic about paying down debt, and manage risk carefully. Once you’ve maxed out your employer’s retirement account, you can supplement it with an IRA. Another option is a high deductible health insurance plan. You can save up to $3,350 in a health savings account (HSA) if you have an individual plan and $6,750 if you have a family plan. Once you turn 65, you can tap this money penalty-free, although you will pay taxes on any distributions that don’t go towards qualified medical expenses. Once you’re in your 50’s it’s best to have no debt or as few remaining debt obligations as possible. The author notes at this point before you begin paying your monthly debt payments, ensure that you’re still making the maximum amount of contributions to your retirement accounts. Why? Because you’re going to have to start drawing on this money when you reach the eligible withdrawal age. You want to have your money working as hard as it can for you. Even something as simple as taking advantage of balance transfer options on credit cards at lower to zero percent interest rates can help accelerate your debt repayment plan. It’s also important at this age to have a complete understanding of good debt vs. bad debt. An easy example of good debt is owning a rental property that has its mortgage being paid for by the rental income generated by renters. Again this example is a very simplified version of good debt, and just understand that personal debt which is greater than your personal income is dangerous in your 50s. The author advises managing risk carefully, and I agree. In your early 20-30s, you had your health and time on your hand, however in your 50s you should be considering a more conservative strategy. If you’re still investing heavily in stocks, now’s a good time to begin easing towards more conservative investments. You may see your returns reduced slightly but the trade-off is that you’ll be better insulated against market volatility. At this point in your life, you may not have the ability to recover your losses if you’re taking an aggressive style in the market. I also recommend not just being in one asset class but have a focused concentration in other asset classes. If you’ve followed my process for many years, you should have little personal debt, plenty of savings, and multiple types of assets that should create multiple streams of income. The important thing to do whether you’re 25 or 55 is to take action and build wealth.

http://www.inc.com/robin-camarote/1-productivity-killing-habit-you-need-to-stop-doing-now.html

I got up this morning at 5 a.m. and was pretty pleased with myself when I made it to my 9:30 a.m. coffee catch-up meeting only 7 minutes past the scheduled start. I’m chronically late–not typically when meeting with my clients, but certainly with my friends and family. They’re generally pretty accommodating, but I suspect that they’ve been more than irritated with this pattern over the years. So every year, I resolve to be more punctual, with little success until now. I’ve been curious to know why this is the case and found a clue when I came across this podcast with Richard Thaler, “Why Most Economists Might as Well Be Studying Unicorns.” The point of this chat with NPR’s Shankar Vedantam is not specifically about lateness or loss in productivity, but more about all of the mental tricks we play on ourselves to make sense of our world and rationalize our decisions. The author argues that improper mental accounting is the habit that a person needs to stop doing. Patterns of imprecise time estimating are what keep us in that perpetual state of feeling behind and overwhelmed.
In other words, estimating how long it takes to complete a task and not remaining focused is a dangerous habit not just in our personal life, but our business life as well. The danger in a person’s business life is that a person may put aside bigger projects when there is more free time, however procrastinating in this way can cause a person to avoid those bigger projects altogether. In order to improve your mental accounting, you need to time yourself on the important but not urgent tasks to put a real figure on how long it takes, and use a timer to get big projects started. On this second tip, set a specific time amount you will use to get to work on a project, and once the timer goes off, either keep going or stop based on your energy level. Personally, I’ve e-mailed my time schedule out to some of my friends to show them how essential it is to be able to organize your tasks in a day and tackle them. Having a time schedule will increase your efficiency and productivity. In a nutshell improper mental accounting can create a habit of being inconsistent. The key word to remember when operating a time schedule is consistent. Do I always hit my schedule 100% all the time? No. However, I always have a foundation I can go back to, and build upon when I am inconsistent. “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 NIV. I encourage you to take on the habit of thinking about a task, writing it out, and talking about it. At the end of this blog post, I’m going to include a YouTube link to the audiobook version of the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. This book in essence shares the concept of Seed, Time, and Harvest.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2016/06/15/8-reasons-to-buy-a-1000-square-foot-house/

When you think of a small space, you might think of the 500-square-foot tiny homes that have become a popular option for those looking to really downsize. But there are benefits to living in a smaller home — and you don’t have to take your square footage to extremes to enjoy them. Proof: Consider the 1,000-square-foot home. It’s smaller than the average house (according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, the average size of a newly built home is 2,657 square feet), but not so small that you need to subscribe to a movement (and buy a Murphy bed!) to live there. Personally, I’m a fan of a 1,000 to 1,500 square foot home. I don’t want to have to worry about keeping the house clean after a long day of work, and ideally I want to stay in my home the rest of my life if it’s in a good area. My fiancé probably feels otherwise, but as we age, I don’t want to have to worry about maintenance, cleaning, and other expenses that could drain our income. “Whether you’re an empty nester moving from a house into a condo, or a renter trading in a two-bedroom for a studio and a shorter work commute, many people now see downsizing their home as a step forward, not backward,” says New York, NY–based designer Heather Higgins, who frequently handles projects in the 1,000-square-foot area. “Requiring less time, energy, and money, smaller living spaces provide greater lifestyle flexibility.” Here are eight reasons to consider a smaller home: smaller tends to be more affordable, you save on utilities and other routine expenses, you can afford to be closer to the action, upkeep is a breeze, it’s easier to keep clean, you can get creative with upgrades, by thinking creatively you can still host large groups, and small homes feel cozier. These eight reasons highlight a simple idea of being content with what you have. For me having financial freedom and security is more important than having a big home that requires upkeep. For you there may be plenty of reasons for a large home, but ask yourself is the large home out of necessity or is it because you are trying to keep up with someone else? The problem with keeping up with the Joneses is that it’s exhausting! “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 NLT. There’s nothing wrong with being content with what you have, because this life is a gift to be treasured and shared.

Below is the link to the audiobook version of the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHquD5bRuL4

If you need agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG


June 14, 2016

http://www.inc.com/quora/7-financial-secrets-of-the-world-s-wealthiest-people.html

If you could buy a $100 bill for $80, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to do so? While value investing is a little more complex than that, it’s the general concept behind finding undervalued stocks for your portfolio. This sounds like a great idea in principle, but how do you find these amazing bargains? Here’s a list of five steps to take in order to find undervalued stocks of your own. The five steps are: understand why stocks become undervalued, only look at businesses you understand, know the metrics, go beyond the numbers, and the final rule. Understanding why stocks become undervalued involves a few potential reasons such as missed expectations, market crashes and corrections, bad news, and cyclical fluctuations. When you’re looking for an undervalued stock make sure you’re picking a business you understand or as I’d like to say a business that you love. If you enjoy drinking Coca-Cola, you’re more prone to research the company and look at its earnings vs. a company that sells steel. The author says. For example, I have a strong understanding of the banking industry, as well as real estate, energy, and consumer goods, so stocks in those industries make up the majority of my portfolio. On the other hand, I really don’t have a good grasp on the biotech industry so I simply won’t invest in it. Don’t get me wrong — I’m sure there are a lot of great companies in biotech, and many could indeed be undervalued right now, but it’s just not my area of expertise. When you’re looking for undervalued stocks use these metrics: P/E ratio, P/B ratio, ROE, Debt to Equity ratio, current ratio. As a word of caution, metrics are indicators and tell a story. It’s important to increase your financial literacy so you can begin to see what the company is doing on paper and look below the surface. Look for companies that have an obvious competitive advantage. The author states Wal-Mart as an example. The final rule is patience. At times the market will be expensive, and it’s important to know what price you are willing to buy at. You make money when you buy not when you sell. Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. Proverbs 14:29 NIV.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/06/07/why-the-8-hour-workday-doesnt-work

The eight-hour workday is an outdated and ineffective approach to work. If you want to be as productive as possible, you need to let go of this relic and find a new approach. The author states that the eight-hour work day was created during the Industrial Revolution to cut down on the number of hours of manual labor that workers endured in the factory. Back then it was a more humane approach, and prior to this point in time during the Agrarian age, farmers would spend even longer hours working fields. It only makes sense that there is an argument for a change in the work day schedule for the Information Age. A study recently conducted by the Draugiem Group used a computer application to track employees’ work habits. Specifically, the application measured how much time people spent on various tasks and compared this to their productivity levels. In the process of measuring people’s activity, they stumbled upon a fascinating finding: the length of the workday didn’t matter much; what mattered was how people structured their day. In particular, people who were religious about taking short breaks were far more productive than those who worked longer hours. The ideal work-to-break ratio is 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes of rest. the brain naturally functions in spurts of high energy (roughly an hour) followed by spurts of low energy (15–20 minutes). The best way to fight distractions and exhaustion is to not fight your way through it; rather take a break and go for a walk and allow your mind to clear. If your work environment permits it, I suggest you put this strategy to the test and feel free to let me know your results in the contact me section.

http://www.inc.com/quora/7-financial-secrets-of-the-world-s-wealthiest-people.html

What does the wealthy 10% understand that the other 90% are missing? originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. Here are 7 secrets: the big money is served in small increments, wages and income are what the job is worth, not the individual, personal debt is not a “tool,” it’s shackles—delayed gratification is more gratifying than instant gratification, the value of the dollar you have vs. unearned future dollars, math, the importance of life insurance, and lotteries are just another tax on the poor. Your return on investment whether it’s from investments, profits, or margins on products you’re selling, the small increments compounded over and over again is what helps a person and company retain and make money over and over again. Small steps compounded over time will create large ripples. Your job will pay you what the job is worth, however you as an individual are worth far more than $30,000 or even $300,000 per year. A good way to prove this point, if you were to go missing, your loved ones who truly love you will pay any price to find you. This point makes me think of the prodigal son who returns home to have his father restore him completely because he’s so happy to have him home. I encourage you to bring value wherever you go whether as a company or an individual. Another way of saying it is leave things better than you find them. If your heart and mind operates from this frame of being, you will see incredible results. You have to be wise about personal debt. When you carry debt, you’re in essence renting an asset from the bank and or credit card company. If you end up filing bankruptcy, you either surrender all your assets or surrender your way of living. Granted there are unforeseeable circumstances in which bankruptcy is unavoidable. However, if you can’t pay for it with cash or pay off your balance within 60 days on a credit card then you become shackled to that credit card. The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 KJV. I encourage you to pay yourself with interest and become the bank. Why not train yourself and make your savings account become like a line of credit. If you’re interested in learning more than contact me in the contact me section to learn more. Instead of buying goods that you know you will replace in a short amount of time, save up money and buy good quality products that will last longer so you save on spending future dollars that you can use to invest in income producing assets, or spend on other goods. To add to the author’s point, don’t just buy great quality products, but buy great quality products at a savings. Ask yourself: Is the sticker price the final offer? By nature, a business will build a great quality product out of great materials, but there will always be a margin so the company can make a profit. How can I cut that margin down enough for the company to still make a profit and yet save a few dollars in my pocket? That’s how you need to look at not just products you buy but investments also. Math is very important. It’s one of the core skills taught in public and private education. Math created a lot of the technology we use, but at its most essential level, it also shows the power of interest rates. In the example the author used, without an understanding of how loans work, a person can end up spending a lot of money. Use the power of compound interest for you and not against you. Life insurance, especially today, is even more affordable than it used to be. For small amounts of money, you can potentially leave a financial legacy to those after you less fortunate. The lottery even if you win it, you won’t receive the full amount. It’s understood we’d gladly pay half to receive $100 million, but remember that the odds of winning are small so don’t allow buying lottery tickets to become an addiction. The author concludes saying it’s important to live within your means. Successful people know it’s not about how much you make; it’s about how you spend it. I’d also like to add: It’s not about how much you make. It’s about how much you keep, and how hard what you keep works for you.

If you need agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG


June 7, 2016

http://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/how-playing-poker-can-make-you-better-ceo.html

It’s not hard to find similarities between running a startup and playing a high-stakes poker game on a green baize-covered table. Business and poker both require you to assess risk, analyze your competition, be aggressive, control your emotions, and–of course–know when to hold and when to fold. Geoff Woo, co-founder of Nootrobox, likes the game because he sees it as a great way to train your assessment and decision making with incomplete information. This article has many interesting points so I will be using more quotes than usual. Woo says he was too afraid to be aggressive in poker at first. But once he started to bluff, re-raise a player’s bet, and call out an opponent’s bluff, he started to perform better. He brought that aggressive confidence to his startup.
“In the business version [of bluffing], you’re believing in this crazy, weird idea and making a big bet–that’s what running a startup is all about,” Woo says. “When you do and you’re running the table, people respond.” Another CEO, Tom Popomaronis founder of OpiaTalk, gained valuable skills by playing poker such as becoming a better listener. “Poker forced me to listen to the opponent’s verbal and nonverbal cues–is his hand moving, is he looking at me, can you see his pulse beating in the side of his neck, is he sweating?” Popomaronis says. “Over time, you improve your read on people.”
At OpiaTalk, Popomaronis says he uses his poker skills to solve problems by being aware of minute details while speaking with employees, investors, and customers. The game has also taught him to harness and redirect emotion “so you can continue moving forward without jeopardizing yourself and/or your team,” he says. Finally, Suneera Madhani, the founder of FattMerchant, also learned an important lesson through poker. She learned that winning is less about the hand you have and more about sticking to your process–a calm, cool, and collected process that never wavers, Madhani says. “You have to understand who you’re competing against, analyze your competition, and know what decisions they’ll be making based on their position,” Madhani says. “Poker, like business, is a game of strategy. It’s a game to be won. If you follow that process, the odds will be in your favor.” The key lessons learned are: learn how to make decisions with incomplete information, learn how to listen to minute details to increase emotional intelligence, and find a process that works and never change from it. “If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs
28:26 MSG‬‬‬‬‬‬

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-01/make-your-memory-work-harder-for-you-four-easy-tricks

When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that the same brain that stores our favorite moments, the names and faces of our loved ones, and what our favorite foods taste like is also somehow expected to make room for cocktail chatter, PowerPoint presentations, and whatever your boss’s dog’s name is. We ask a ridiculous amount of our memories, and having yours work for you can be the difference between closing a deal and stumbling through a job interview or sales call. There are four techniques that will require your memory to work harder: drawing, yoga, going barefoot, and going outside. Drawing actually encourages the mind to visualize and draw out important things you want to remember. “What we think is happening is, you are bringing online a set of diverse networks or brain regions, which helps build a strong memory for that one item,” said Jeff Wammes. Yoga through the use of movements and breathing exercises can actually help with spatial memory. I encourage you to take 5 minutes at the beginning of your day and the end of your day to focus on your breathing for 21 days and see if there are any benefits. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10 NKJV). Studies have shown that running barefoot will actually improve working memory. “A lot of people say they run to shut down or tune out, which is actually not helping your working memory,” Alloway says. “Barefoot running forces you to pay attention or focus on something so you don’t hurt yourself. It’s like a mini brain workout. You can’t not pay attention.” Finally going outside is found to have restorative effects even when an individual simply looks at pictures of nature. This finding could make the argument that man feels at home in what was naturally created by the earth itself.

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/u/underground-economy.asp

The underground economy refers to illegal economic activity. Transactions in the underground economy are illegal either because the good or service being traded is itself illegal or because an otherwise licit transaction does not comply with government reporting requirements. The first category includes drugs and prostitution in most jurisdictions. The second includes untaxed labor and sales, as well as smuggling goods to avoid duties. The underground economy is also referred to as the shadow economy, black market (not gray market) and informal economy. When you hear this term, more than likely you will think of illegal activities being performed. However, an underground economy can be as simple as anyone who makes taxable income they do not then report to the tax authorities – even if it’s $50 for babysitting – is technically participating in the underground economy. I first heard of this terminology by watching an episode about bitcoin on the show Inside Man with Morgan Spurlock. It’s fascinating to see that the Internet we see is just the tip of the iceberg of the actual Internet. I encourage you to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s. There’s a right way to do things, and a wrong way. In the end, what is in the darkness will be brought to the light so why cut corners when you can do it right the first time. Don’t suffer the consequences of losing your assets, and or jail time. I’ve included a link previewing that particular episode which you can watch on Netflix or from CNN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHt98bfGJyc

If you need agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

May 31, 2016

www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/052616/how-do-you-invest-dao.asp

The Decentralized Autonomous Organization has captured the imagination of the cryptocurrency community and the investing world more generally. It’s promise to create people-less companies through the use of smart contracts has vaulted the blockchain-based currency ethereum to a market capitalization of $1 billion—second only to bitcoin’s—and made the project the largest crowdfunded venture in history This organization exists entirely on the blockchain. There are two forms of crypto currencies that you may be familiar with and they are bitcoin and ethereum. The Decentralized Autonomous Organization—and the organizations it will invest in—functions based on smart contracts, or protocols written into the blockchain that govern how they do business. The next question is how to invest in the DAO? First get some bitcoin, and the author used a service at Coinbase, convert it to ethereum, then you can use it to get a DAO token which will allow you to vote on proposals. This review is very brief and I recommend reading the article if you’re interested in learning more about investing in cryptocurrency. In my opinion, the introduction of this form of currency is one step closer to a one world currency. As technology becomes more advanced, I believe a person needs to stand firm in his beliefs. The culture will change but your internal principles should remain the same.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/etfs-mutual-funds/052716/should-investors-still-buy-index-mutual-funds-current-stock-market-prices.asp

As of May 4, 2016, the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 was up 1.9% year-to-date. An S&P 500 gain posted in 2016 means the eighth straight year of positive returns for the index. Naturally, many investors are wondering if the stock market is due for a pullback given that the market has continued rising for so long. Several factors go into determining the overall health of the economy and the stock market. Interest rates, unemployment, economic growth, productivity, the relative valuation of equities and investor sentiment all come into play. There are currently signs that China and Europe are slipping into a recession, and there are concerns that     this weakness may spread into the US. In times of uncertainty, investors often exhibit a “flight to quality,” the behavior characterized by selling riskier assets and investing in safer securities such as Treasury bills. Also keep in mind that lower interest rates will cause investors to look for securities that offer higher yields. Loans and other forms of borrowing become cheaper, encouraging economic growth through business expansion and increased spending. In theory, this activity should increase revenues and earnings, helping to push equity prices higher. A few ratios you should use when choosing a stock are: price to earnings ratio, price to sales ratio, price to book ratio, and enterprise value to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization ratio. Index funds are one of the best ways to achieve broad stock market diversification at minimal cost. They are generally meant to be held for several years or longer in order to ride out some of the market’s inevitable ups and downs. If your time frame of investing in paper assets is five years or longer then it would be good to have some index funds in your portfolio.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/275813

New startups should fully understand that running out of money is one of the primary reasons that businesses fold shortly after a launch. This scenario is a proven statistic, but startups can avoid joining the ranks of failed businesses by being smart about how they spend their startup capital. Here are ten tips that will help you manage your startup capital: know when you’ll break even, keep your eye on cash-flow management, always maintain a cash reserve, manage funds better, collect receivables immediately, offer discounts to collect payments earlier, extend payables when you can, spend only on essentials, be smart about hiring, and make the best use of technology. Knowing when you’ll break-even will force you to set milestones, and plan a budget accordingly. The best way to ensure you will break even is to take the habits you do in your personal life and apply them to your business and vice versa. If you don’t have a budget, and you’re not in the habit of sticking to a budget, how are you going to properly manage your cash flow? Who will hold you accountable, and will you do what they advise you to do? Keep an eye on your cash flow management, and make sure you’re not spending too much. “Every month isn’t enough,” says Derek Flanzraich of Greatist. “Nearly every week I’m checking both my personal and business finances.” Every business will experience shortfalls so it is essential to have a cash reserve to help cushion the lean times of business operation. In order to manage your funds better, a business owner should not be the one managing the money. I believe that the owner should have a basic financial literacy in order to understand the verbiage that a CFO or accountant will use. Also if his or her hands are off the money, then the person will be less likely to misuse the funds. Ideally you want to collect on your invoices immediately, and if not the author recommends no longer than 15 day terms. Obviously as you run a more commercial and industrial type business those receivable times will extend out longer. Keep in mind your working capital cycle and make sure it is always turning. Another way to collect payables faster is to offer discounts, but if you offer a discount then you must enforce the collection very strictly. On payables if possible you want to be able to extend it to 60 days or longer. The more time you have to pay your vendors, the more time you have to allocate funds and use funds in areas where it may be needed. I do have a word of caution. I do not recommend this type of behavior with any lender. Most banks will let you have a 10-day grace period, but if you are habitually 30 days late, then don’t be surprised if the bank is unwilling to lend more money or makes you amortize your debt if you have a working capital line of credit. Outside of the most essential purchases, you want to minimize spending and eliminate costs that aren’t essential to your operation until you’re profitable. “The secret to successful hiring is this,” says Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce. “Look for the people who want to change the world,” From personal experience, I’ve seen a business be really successful, because they know what type of clientele to serve and offer their products to, and they hired highly motivated and skilled employees. These employees have an established good reputation in their community and an existing book of business. This particular business model has helped this business have success in its competitive industry. Finally, with technology becoming more affordable, take advantage of cloud technology, or even back-up hard drives to store your essential financial and company data. If you’re uncomfortable with cash flow management, then I suggest letting me do a financial check-up in which I will take a financial pulse and examine your personal finances for any areas of weakness. “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20 NIV.

If you need agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

May 24, 2016

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/basics/06/assetperformance.asp

For stock investors, the balance sheet is an important consideration for investing in a company because it is a reflection of what the company owns and owes. There are three categories you want to look at on a balance sheet: working capital adequacy, asset performance, and capitalization structure. Within this article, the author examines cash conversion cycle (CCC), fixed asset turnover ratio, return on asset ratio, and the impact of intangible assets. The cash conversion cycle helps show the condition of a company’s working capital position. This cycle also helps show how well a company is managing its accounts receivable and inventory. Calculated in days, the CCC reflects the time required to collect on sales and the time it takes to turn over inventory. The shorter this cycle is, the better. Cash is king, and smart managers know that fast-moving working capital is more profitable than tying up unproductive working capital in assets. The CCC is also known as the operating cycle. Investors look at this cycle to determine a company’s stability and performance. Conversely, erratic collection times and/or an increase in inventory on hand are generally not positive investment-quality indicators. When you’re investing in a company, take the time to look over the balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows and you’ll see the heart of the company. The numbers don’t lie. Property, plant and equipment (PP&E), or fixed assets, is another of the “big” numbers in a company’s balance sheet. A lot of your manufacturing companies will have a higher concentration of fixed assets. The fixed asset turnover ratio is determined by dividing net sales by average fixed assets. The higher the number of times PP&E turns over, the better. Return on assets (ROA) is considered to be a profitability ratio – it shows how much a company is earning on its total assets. ROA is determined by dividing net income by average total assets. A higher percentage return is ideal to look for. To keep this review from being too long, intangible assets come in three categories: intellectual property, deferred charges, and purchased goodwill. A further analysis can be read in the article. Assets represent items of value that a company owns, has in its possession or is due. Of the various types of items a company owns; receivables, inventory, PP&E and intangibles are generally the four largest accounts in the asset side of a balance sheet. As a consequence, a strong balance sheet is built on the efficient management of these major asset types and a strong portfolio is built on knowing how to read and analyze financials statements. Financial literacy is essential in life to managing not just your personal finances but your investments also. I encourage you to constantly seek wisdom from those who know more than you. “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20 NIV

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-i-paid-off-65000-in-debt-in-just-15-months-2016-05-11

To an outsider, Durango, Colo., resident Matt Kelly, now 50, was the picture of success. He had a job in banking, a large condo (complete with a pool table in his son’s room) and frequent vacations (he traveled extensively to run marathons).

But inside, he was freaking out.

The Kelly’s faced a problem that many Americans face today and that’s consumer debt. Roughly two in three Americans have consumer debt (excluding a mortgage), with nearly half carrying credit card debt (the average household has $15,762, according to NerdWallet) and one in five having student loan debt ($48,172), according to a survey of more than 3,000 American adults released in February by Gallup. The problem was that they were just paying the minimum balance, and not standing to face the behavior. But when they decided to pay down their debt, they shared these steps: slash your monthly expenses, have a garage sale, sell big-ticket, earn extra money to pay down debt, and downsize. They slashed their monthly expenses by lowering their food costs, and reducing money spent on entertainment. They had a garage sale and found there were items that they personally didn’t have an attachment to, but they also sold items of higher value which yielded $3000. The Kellys put their tax refund and some other monies they earned —Cheri worked lots of extra hours as a speech therapist — towards paying down debt. One of the biggest steps they did was to downsize. They used the proceeds of their old condo as a down payment on a smaller condo, and used the rest toward their debt. The sale of the home allowed the Kellys to erase their $65,000 in credit card, student loan and medical debt in just 15 months; without that, it would have taken them significantly longer.

“I used to look for the next shiny thing that would make me happy,” Kelly says. Now, he says, he looks to bigger goals — like getting to travel with his family — for this happiness. “It’s been a transformation,” he says. There’s “a lightness, a freedom.”

A key point is the Kelly’s didn’t just cut their expenses, they also looked to increase their income also. If you cut your expenses too far back, it’s like sawing your arm until there’s nothing left. Don’t just cut back, expand your income also. There’s good debt and there’s bad debt. Consumer debt is bad debt, because in the end, it is going to take money from your pocket if you don’t pay the balances off. Sometimes you have to lay down your life in order to take up a new life, and because the Kelly’s sacrificed a life, they began to experience a more fulfilled life. “Committed and persistent work pays off; get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.” Proverbs28:20 MSG‬‬

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/05/14/17-dividend-investing-tips-that-could-earn-you-tho.aspx

The power of investing in dividend-paying companies is underappreciated by many people. That’s a shame, because it means that their portfolios may not be performing as well as they could, and they may end up amassing less wealth than they could. Here are 17 tips provided by the author: you can start with very little, only invest money you won’t need for 5 to 10 years, save aggressively and invest regularly to build wealth, look at the dividend yield, not the dividend amount, favor big yields over smaller ones –in general, be wary of huge yields, seek strong dividend growth, check the payout ratio, understand effective yields, remember there’s a real company behind each dividend, be sure you understand the companies you invest in, seek high quality companies, invest in companies when they’re attractively priced, know what tax hit to expect, invest for the long term, there’s no shame in just sticking with index funds, keep learning. You want to look for dividend reinvestment plans (Drips) or direct investing plans that are offered by many companies and allows you to buy shares and fractions of share of stocks at very small amounts such as $25 to $50. I personally use a tool called Sharebuilder that allows me to invest in multiple stocks and gain little pieces of the stock. Doing this action will get you started in building a portfolio. Don’t use money that you’re saving for major purchases such as a down payment on a home. Use money that you are willing to lose if the market takes a downward plunge. Set a number in mind you are willing to invest and consistently invest and that amount will compound if you position yourself in the proper fund or group of stocks. If one company has a quarterly dividend payment of $0.60 and another’s is $1.00, don’t make the mistake of thinking the $1.00 dividend is better. Focus on the dividend yield instead, which is the current annual dividend amount divided by the current stock price. The $0.60 dividend might be yielding 2.4%, vs. just 0.9% for the $1.00 dividend. It all depends on the stock price. (This math is also why dividend yields jump when a stock price falls, and vice versa.) It is important to focus on a company’s yield and payout, because this information will determine if it’s worth investing in. Most dividends you’ll receive from shares of stock will enjoy a relatively low tax rate. It’s currently 0% for low-income folks in the 10% or 15% tax brackets, and 15% for most of us. Those in the highest tax bracket will face a 20% rate. If you hold your dividend-paying stocks in a traditional IRA or 401(k), you’ll only be taxed when you withdraw funds from the account, but you’ll face ordinary income tax rates on that income, which could be 25% or 28% for many of us. Of course, if you hold your dividend payers in a Roth IRA, you will likely pay no taxes at all! The key thing is to create a portfolio that you can use to invest for the long term, build a portfolio with index funds, and always be learning. In my opinion, before you invest, you must have a budget. You must know how much is really coming in, how much is going out, and what your bottom line number is. There’s a four step process I consistently use over and over which has enabled me to invest. You can reach me at the contact me section to learn more.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/insights/051716/why-angry-birds-had-change-its-business-model-spe.asp

Audiences catapulted the first movie from the Angry Birds franchise to first place in 37 markets worldwide. According to reports, the movie grossed $43 million from 74 international markets. The markets together comprise 63% of total market for the movie. The top three markets for the movie were Russia, United Kingdom, and Germany, with revenues of $5.7 million, $3 million, and $2.9 million respectively. Currently Rovio Entertainment, the company that made Angry Birds, is hoping that the movie will be a success. Rovio has started a new strategy of diversifying its revenue base. Rovio has been experiencing declining revenues over the past few years and that’s due to its current mobile games revenue model. Nowadays, a majority of mobile games are free-to-play and game studios make money off in-app purchases made by players and an assortment of other sources such as advertising and licensing deals. When it was launched in 2009, Angry Birds was a pay-to-play game. Rovio is hoping that its various licensing and merchandising deals will help bring the studio back to profitability. For example, Disney (DIS) recorded $6 billion in Marvel retail merchandising sales. The studio’s revenue sources ranged from cars to Indian sandalwood incense sticks. Similarly, Spider man is recorded to have earned $1.3 billion in 2014. Rovio’s willingness to change its revenue model is a clear example of how quickly our world is changing. If you think about the telephone, it used to be a device for person to place, now with technology it is not just person to person, but it’s also a way to connect a person’s life to the whole world. Technology will continue to grow and change, and the people who see the abundance that this life has to offer will prosper with the proper attitude and perspective. Your job will take care of your living expenses, but your free time is yours to be a blessing to others. Information is the current currency of this age, so be willing to adapt to change. “If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs 28:26 MSG‬‬

If you need agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

May 17, 2016

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/275462

In this moment, my entrepreneurial mind is alive and flourishing. Moving, thinking and sparring, just like the fighters. Fighting is not a single-person sport, although it may appear to be to onlookers. And neither is being an entrepreneur. Fighters have coaches and teams they train with. Fighters go to gyms operated by gym owners. Fighters have family and friends’ support. There are judges, opponents, gamblers and crowds. The author argues that there are six components that make Muay Thai kickboxing similar to the soul of an entrepreneur: training, the crowd, a team, a coach, the fight, and the fighter.
Every waking moment is an opportunity to get better at what you do. Crowds can motivate and push fighters further. Crowds are similar to an entrepreneur’s audience, users or customers. Positive messages, comments, emails and calls can provide the same motivation from happy and inspired audiences and customers. An entrepreneur is only as good as the weakest person on his or her team. Recruit accordingly. Having the right mix of mentors can help an entrepreneur navigate pit falls and teach them how to improve their respective art. In my mind, the fight represents the daily struggle we face as entrepreneurs: the uncertainty and the volatility. Both successful fighters and entrepreneurs have huge visions, overcome extreme obstacles on the relentless pursuit to victory and risk it all on the gamble to chase their dreams. Neither would trade anything for it. Each of the author’s observations integrate pieces that make up an entrepreneur’s psyche. I look at it in this way: Don’t say can’t, ask how can I? When you get stuck on the how, then ask yourself why? Why are you doing this task? At Church of the Highlands, the church’s backbone is small groups, and the core idea of small groups is we’re better together. In order for an entrepreneur to truly get better, he or she must not be an island, but rather surround himself with people who will help him reach higher heights.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessamcgrady/2016/05/16/rachelfox/?linkId=24545640#43beb39d36c7

Rachel Fox was doing pretty well financially for an 8-year-old. She’d been making good money with a recurring role on Desperate Housewives as Kayla Huntington. She thought she was set for life and wouldn’t ever have to worry about money again. Then reality hit.

“As the years went by, I saw how as an actor work can fluctuate quite a bit. Some years you work a ton, some years you don’t work at all. I quickly realized this sense of security I had may not have been as secure as I thought,” she said.

Now at the age of 19, she’s been a successful day trader since 15 and has launched a blog that advocates financial literacy to teens: “Fox on Stocks.”

“There is a basic set of skills that everyone needs to understand as they become financially independent, like budgeting and understanding credit scores. They’re two topics that are very deeply connected, but unless you had basic financial knowledge, you wouldn’t know that,” she says. “The only thing that can give people real security is actually having a financial know-how, and an ability to be in control of your money.”

Her top tips for saving/budgeting for teens are: Build a budget and live within it, Savings is key, Get killer credit right out of high school, Contribute to a 401K or some kind of investment account in your early 20s. One of the financial mistakes she regretted was letting a credit card balance get too high, and having to pay down the balance on her own. If you’re an adult reading this post, then you can relate to how much interest and credit cards can eat into your normal standard of living. The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 NKJV This verse is an important truth to remember. Why be slave to a bank, or credit card company when you can charge yourself interest? Go to the contact me page if you’re interested in learning more. Rachel Fox closes the interview to the author saying: I don’t think people look at financial education as boring anymore, it’s becoming a necessity and we know that.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/optioninvestor/07/swaps.asp

A swap is an agreement between two parties to exchange sequences of cash flows for a set period of time. Usually, at the time the contract is initiated, at least one of these series of cash flows is determined by a random or uncertain variable, such as an interest rate, foreign exchange rate, equity price or commodity price. Conceptually, one may view a swap as either a portfolio of forward contracts, or as a long position in one bond coupled with a short position in another bond. This article will discuss the two most common and most basic types of swaps: the plain vanilla interest rate and currency swaps.

I was first introduced to swaps while conducting a financial analysis on a larger corporation. Being familiar with different types of tools that companies use to increase their cash flow will help you have more options to improve your business, but it will also increase your financial knowledge. If your financial advisor or the person who runs the finances of your business uses a word you don’t understand, ask them to explain it in a way you can understand and if you still don’t understand then use the internet, library, or other sources. The plain vanilla interest rate swap involves two companies that agree to pay a set rate of interest on a notional principal on specific dates for a period of time. The notional principal amount, in an interest rate swap, is the predetermined dollar amounts on which the exchanged interest payments are based. The notional principal never changes hands in the transaction, which is why it is considered notional, or theoretical. Neither party pays or receives the notional principal amount at any time; only interest rate payments change hands. In interest rate swaps companies will often use LIBOR (London Interbank Offer Rate). For the sake of keeping this section short, please refer to the article to see the example of a plain vanilla interest rate swap. In a plain vanilla foreign currency swap, two different currencies are used in place of interest rates allowing the companies to take advantage of the changes in currency value. The motivations for using swap contracts fall into two basic categories: commercial needs and comparative advantage. The four basic ways to exit a swap agreement are: buy out the counterparty, enter an offsetting swap, sell the swap to someone else, use a swaption. This tool is a way for a company to receive a level of financing that may not normally be possible, it helps create a comparative advantage, and it is a tool that needs deep research before being used.

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/how-to-increase-credit-limit.aspx

Nearly 8 in 10 U.S. credit card holders who have asked for a higher credit limit have been approved, the latest Bankrate Money Pulse survey found. But few people take advantage of this potentially easy way to raise their credit score.

Just 28% of cardholders have ever asked.

Believe it or not, you can actually increase your credit score by simply picking up your phone or going online and asking to increase your credit limit.
It might seem counterintuitive, but asking your credit card company to allow you to borrow more could actually make your future borrowing less expensive. If you increase the amount of available credit you have, but don’t add to any balance you carry, you’ll lower your credit utilization rate — how much debt you carry versus how much credit has been extended to you. This rate accounts for 30% of the popular FICO score. When you ask to increase your limit you may be required to provide updated annual income and expenses, and based off of your answer your limit will be increased. However, if you’re asked why you need the increase, be honest and say you’re hitting your credit limit and considering other credit companies as an option. Another helpful way to increase your limit is to simply continue to pay off your balance. The credit card company is monitoring your usage and if the company sees that you are responsible in your usage and paying off the balance then it could increase your limit to entice more spending and card usage. Here’s some key points:

  • Cardholders 30 and older were much more likely to be granted a higher limit (81%) than the youngest survey respondents age 18 to 29 (46%).
  • 84% of cardholders with an annual household income of at least $30,000 were approved for the higher limit versus 60% with an income below $30,000.
  • An increased limit can also hurt your credit, especially if you start using that extra credit and carry larger balances. But you could also suffer a temporary credit ding just by asking for an increased credit line if the card issuer checks your credit report

There are two questions that ultimately a credit card company will seek to answer: Can the person repay? Will the person repay? Credit scores are ways to monitor human behavior. For you as an individual I recommend a budget. A budget will help you monitor your day in and day out life. A credit card should be used as a means to bridge a time gap between when you get paid and when you pay your bills. A simple increase in limit and score is possible by asking. You have not, because you do not ask.

If you agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG