July 5, 2017

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below


Contrary to popular belief, “Everyone has the same opportunity to acquire wealth,” says self-made millionaire Steve Siebold. But is wealth in the cards for you? To help you evaluate that, we’ve rounded up nine red flags to watch out for. While no one can predict the future, the following choices most likely won’t accelerate your path to riches. The 9 signs you’ll never be rich are: you put too much emphasis on saving – and not enough on earning, you haven’t started investing, you’re content with a steady paycheck, you buy things you can’t afford, you’re pursuing someone else’s dreams – not your own, you rarely step outside of your comfort zone, you don’t have goals for your money, you spend first and save what’s left over, and you believe getting rich is out of your reach. It’s important to save money to invest, however at some point you must take action and begin to focus on earning. “The masses are so focused on clipping coupons and living frugally they miss major opportunities,” Siebold writes. It’s important to not focus on losing money, but to focus on making it work hard for you. Some experts say that “it’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much you keep,” but this shouldn’t be an excuse to disregard earning completely. To keep money, you have to earn it in the first place. A common thread among millionaires is that they develop multiple streams of income and have smart savings habits. It’s important to start investing today. It’s true the earlier you invest, the more the power of compound interest can help you, but also keep in mind that taking action is one of the most important steps. Your average person is content with being paid for their time vs. a rich person will wait to be paid based on results. Another important factor is if you’re living above your means then the unnecessary luxury items could be hindering your ability to build wealth. “When you pursue someone else’s dreams or goals, you may eventually become unhappy with your chosen profession,” he writes in “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.” “Your performance and compensation will reflect it. You will eke out a living, struggling financially. You simply won’t have the passion that is necessary for success to happen.” You must be willing to step out of your comfort zone, and by doing this step, you’ll in time grow into a new level of personal success. Everything worthwhile in life is uphill. Rich people want to attain wealth and set attainable measurable goals. Put it down on paper and go after it. If you want to get rich, pay yourself first. “What most people do when they earn a dollar is pay everyone else first,” self-made millionaire David Bach writes in “The Automatic Millionaire.” “They pay the landlord, the credit card company, the telephone company, the government, and on and on.” Rather than spending and then saving whatever is leftover, save first. Set aside at least 10% of your gross income and make the process automatic, Bach emphasizes. That way, you’ll never even see the money and you’ll learn to live without it. Finally, what you personally think is critical. Your thoughts are words, and your words are powerful because they do become flesh. You live in an abundant world and you’re blessed with unique gifts, and perspective. Use your life to create massive value for those around you. Blessed are the problem solvers, so go find some problems to solve.


NBA great Charles Barkley has some sound advice for rookies: Don’t give your money away to family and friends. “The first thing you do is learn how to save your money ’cause your family and friends are the worst people to spend your money. It has been that way for a long time. Barkley estimates that 60% or 70% of professional athletes go broke, “and 90% of the time it is because of family and friends.” “You have to learn to say the magic word: no,” Barkley recommends. “I do not owe you anything. If I want to do something for family, I’ll do it — but I do not have to keep them on payroll and support them their entire life. I lost a lot of family and friends because of that, and it was money well spent getting rid of them.” It’s not easy to say no, however there are moments when you want to take inventory of the situation and then weigh the consequences of saying yes. If you don’t stand for something, then you’ll fall for everything. Personally, I measure my yes and no against my value system which is the Bible. I also will consult with my wife and closest friends on issues that could involve a no. If it’s a financial decision then I talk with my wife even if I know the answer will be yes out of mutual respect and trust. Sometimes you can’t trust your own judgement so seek wise counsel.

If you are interested in creating a budget, then contact me for a financial checkup in the contact me section. Also, learn more about the self-lending principle in the mustard seed section.

This week, I’ve included STOP WISHING , START DOING – Powerful Motivation from the Success Archive 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


August 10, 2016


A decades-long history of annual dividend increases is a good indicator of a high quality company. That kind of consistency often comes at premium: Many “dividend aristocrats” trade for lofty valuations. Some do stand out as great deals, though — and three of our Foolish contributors are happy to share a few of them with you. In this article, the contributors suggest three stocks for August: ExxonMobil, Target, and Illinois Tool Works. Exxon was showing a recovery since the lower oil prices over the past year, but when the price of oil went down in July again, it hurt the price of Exxon. The company is involved in all aspects of energy production, from drilling to retailing, and that diversification has allowed it to rack up an impressive dividend history despite the industry’s inevitable pops and drops. Over the past 33 years, the company has increased its dividend by an average of 6.4% annually. This company may be a good add to your portfolio simply because of its size and its ability to hunt for bargains. Analysts are expecting the company (Target) to produce earnings of $5.14 per share this year, and the stock price is now at about 14.7 times that number. That’s well below the P/E valuations given to many other dividend aristocrats. Target announced a 7.1% quarterly dividend increase back in June, marking the 45th consecutive year in which Target has raised its dividend. The stock carries a dividend yield of about 3.2%, based on the most recently announced payment, quite a bit higher than the 2.75% yield offered by fellow retailer and dividend aristocrat Wal-Mart. Target’s valuation is lower than most dividend aristocrats now for a good reason. The company’s revenue has been stagnating over the past few years, and its operating income has been essentially flat for the past decade. Per-share profits have increased mostly due to share buybacks, as both gross and operating margins have contracted. Even though Target has some factor’s against it, the author suggests watching Target due to its dividend increases. The final stock pick is Illinois Tool Works and the author points out two interesting facts: The company has raised its dividend for 52 straight years and its dividend has grown at an average compounded rate of 11% annually since 2012. So how does Illinois Tool Works afford a higher dividend year after year? By growing its cash flows even during difficult times, thanks largely to a diversified product portfolio that helps mitigate business risks. I recommend you read the article to form your own opinion. I share these articles as a way to stimulate your interest in finances, investing, and a business point of view. Personally I believe a person should constantly be learning more on the topic of money. Money is a tool that is neither good nor evil, but it can be used for good or evil. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10 NIV). To seek money in and of itself to satisfy your own desires to me is selfish, however if you take the money you have and build a legacy that impacts generations to a better quality of life then to me that is better. Get financially educated, so you can help others. If you want to know how to become rich, then do this simple step: buy assets, and
don’t buy liabilities that you think are assets.


When Kobe Bryant signed his first pro basketball contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996, it made him a millionaire virtually overnight: The three-year contract would pay $3.5 million. Bryant was 17 at the time, straight out of high school. He would go on to earn a record $680 million over the course of his career, according to Forbes, which gave the now-retired player a unique perspective on wealth. Growing up, I enjoyed watching and playing basketball. I even enjoyed watching Michael Jordan. After he retired, I looked for another player to follow his career. In 1997 as I was graduating high school, I started watching Kobe start his career. It’s amazing to see his accomplishments over the years, and the letter he wrote to his younger self is educational. In fact, in his letter he encouraged his younger self to invest and not just give to his family and friends. Bryant stresses that handing money and material goods to people is not necessarily the best way to show your love, since it can negatively affect their work ethic and may even suppress their ambition. If you come into a windfall, Bryant recommends helping the people around you by investing in their future rather than giving them handouts. The article makes a good point. Don’t just give money away, invest it. Invest it into an asset. Invest it into a future. If you catch a fish for a person, the person may one day go hungry, but if you teach the person how to fish, the person will never go hungry. “Put them through school,” he said. “Set them up with job interviews and help them become leaders in their own right. Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go.” “As time goes on,” Bryant continued, “you will see them grow independently and have their own ambitions and their own lives, and your relationship with all of them will be much better as a result.”


The longer I work with entrepreneurs, the more certain I am that the ability to succeed isn’t strictly dictated by skill, creativity, and intellect. Things like integrity and personal behavior are at least as important as education and experience. Here are five personal habits that you may want to kick to the curb for prosperity and success to be yours: You frequently use the words “I don’t have time right now.”, you let your mind drift while others are talking, you ignore advice and ideas without consideration, you believe that get something right you have to do it yourself, and you ignore the needs of your body. The author has suggestions to help break these five habits that may be hindering your success. Make a list of all the things you push aside and make time to complete one or two of those tasks a week. To keep your mind from drifting, make eye contact and be an active listener by nodding your head, offering feedback, and asking questions. Listen to everyone’s opinion regardless if it applies or not, and I suggest taking notes as needed. Then go back and review what the person has said against your own values. Delegate tasks that need to be done, properly instruct the employee or co-worker, and make sure the person takes notes. If the task is not completed properly don’t take over the project, but provide feedback quickly. Obviously this scenario can’t happen in time sensitive projects, however with proper time management, a project should still be completed without issue. Finally, pay attention to what your body is telling you, keep track of your eating and sleep habits, and notice how you feel as they fluctuate. If you fall back on the I-don’t-have-enough-time excuse, track your productivity levels as you improve your personal habits. I guarantee that time will be on your side. Your health and your wealth are connected to each other. Without good health you can’t build wealth, and without wealth you can’t maintain good health. Eliminating these five hindrances will increase your productivity and at the same time build the culture of your organization.

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

For this week, I’ve included an animated book review of Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki from the MinionNoMore Youtube channel.

“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

August 3, 2016


After last week’s brief reference to movies, I decided to include this article. It’s a good mix of movies that have some reference to Wall Street.

From classic Wall Street to the more recent The Big Short, these are the top movies that portray Wall Street, the markets and finance.

In order to have an objective ranking system, this quick study used a cumulative score from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. The scores from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic are audience scores. Since Rotten Tomatoes uses percentages (i.e., 90% of the audience liked this movie), that percentage score was changed to a 1-10 score with decimals when necessary. For example, if a movie has a Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 88%, then the score is 8.8. The movie with the highest cumulative score was ranked number one. (For more, see: 4 Movies Showing the Real Side of Finance.)

Top 10 Wall Street Movies

Keep in mind that these are broad-based ratings, not just ratings from people who work in finance. (For more, see: How Hollywood Portrays Wall Street.)


Rotten Tomatoes


Total Score

1. Inside Job





2. The Big Short





2. American Psycho





4. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room





5. Trading Places





6. Wall Street





7. The Wolf of Wall Street





8. The Family Man





9. Working Girl





10. Margin Call





Remember, these cumulative scores are based on a broad audience. If ratings were only taken from those who work in finance, the list would likely look a lot different. For example, Wall Street would likely rank higher.


Each of these movies are either a thriller, comedy, or even a documentary. I suggest watching one of these movies if not for the financial education, then simply for entertainment purpose. I don’t endorse any one move in particular, and some of the movies may contain adult language, adult content, and violence.


In 2012, Stanford-educated engineer Debbie Sterling founded toy company GoldieBlox to encourage young girls to start tinkering with toys and building machines.

The first-time entrepreneur is catering construction toys to young girls in an effort to raise the percentage of female engineers in the world, which currently stands at just 14%. Debbie attributes the success of GoldieBox to one lesson: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“I think the biggest mistake you can make as an entrepreneur is pretending that you know everything, or feeling you need to come across like you do,” Sterling said. Rather, the key is “admitting freely that I don’t know the answer to something or don’t know how to do something, so long as I seek somebody who does.”
I admit I have trouble asking for help. In my work environment, because of the demands and the different layers of tasks I’m asked to do, I feel like I can’t ask for help, or I’m concerned about the level of service that will be provided. If you’ve experienced these moments too, then I encourage you to begin to delegate more and trust your co-workers more. There’s only 24 hours in a day, and within that time only so many tasks can be completed. Prioritize the important ones and ask for help on the easy ones. It sounds simple, and it may seem like it conveys weakness, but if the people you work with know your heart then they know it’s a genuine need and not a sign of laziness. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22 NIV). No one is an island, and we’re better together. Seek and get help, because it will help you grow. Sterling said the lesson is especially valuable for girls, whose self-confidence is malleable at a young age. “I see a lot of young women who feel so much pressure to be perfect and have it all figured out that have too much pride or they’re too ashamed to admit if they don’t get something right away,” Sterling said. “If they’re too afraid, they’re just going to shy away from it, which is sort of a recipe for not fulfilling your potential.


It is a frustratingly common scenario: You fall asleep easily at bedtime but are wide awake at 2 or 3 in the morning. Only after a half-hour or more of staring at the ceiling can you finally fall back to sleep. This middle-of-the-night insomnia happens to everyone every once in a while. It is an appropriate, normal response to stress, doctors say. About 30% of American adults have symptoms of some sort of insomnia each year, according to scientific studies. Chronic insomnia is generally defined as having difficulty sleeping at least three times a week for three months or more. I started having trouble sleeping a little in my college years, but even more frequently in my mid-20s. I hope this article will be helpful if you’re having trouble staying asleep. Dr. Perlis suggests that the best way to keep an occasional bout of insomnia from becoming a disorder is to simply not try to compensate for the sleep you do miss. Your body will naturally re-adjust if you don’t nap, sleep in or go to bed early to try to recover the difference. Allow your body to balance itself. The article goes on to provide helpful hints such as not allowing bright lights such as computers or cell phones. Another helpful hint is to not snack in the middle of the night, because it could condition your body to keep waking up. The article concludes with various sleep medications, and in my opinion, the best way to get fight insomnia is to actively engage in your rest. Let your bedroom be for sleep. Tomorrow will be here before you know it.

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

For this week, I’ve included an animated book review of Start with Why by Simon Sinek

“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


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.


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


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


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