Cryptocurrency Headed Up. Are You In?

Confession. I’m a tech guy and financial guy. I started my career as a manufacturing/mechanical engineer, then in 2001 switched careers to a internet-website-tech-business entrepreneurial role eventually becoming CIO then COO of a $100+ million business. Cryptocurrencies starting spinning up in 2009 with Bitcoin, and I missed it. Fortunately, it’s not quite done yet.

With every new industry innovation there is the cutting edge (bleeding edge as some call it), then come the early adopters, then come the late adopters, then come the laggards. So where are we with cryptocurrency? We’re moving from the cutting edge into the early adopters phase. How do I know that? Simple. More press. More adoption. More use cases. More money. For example:

  1. Banks have started testing. The banks are late to the game, but they will catch up fast. If they don’t, they will be obsolete, and they will be gone…or at least lose a huge chunk of business.
  2. Corporate CEOs are beginning to back it.
  3. Use cases are expanding

I could go on like this for pages and pages, but you need to look it up yourself. Crypto Coin News is a great source.

So back to ARE YOU IN? Yes, we missed the big money and opportunity during the cutting edge, but we also avoided the risk that any new industry innovation brings. I’m okay with that. Now however, we are in early adoption phase. Returns will probably be less, but still good. Risk is lower…the proof of concepts are done, the use cases are growing, and adoption is growing. A great opportunity, with less risk…but still risk.

The question you face now is will you be an early adopter and make money, or will you be a late adopter and laggard who just uses cryptocurrency to purchase things?

People Say Bad Things About Crypto

Smart people have been saying bad things about crypto since 2009. It’s going away. It’s going to fail. It’s a ponzi scheme. It’s not backed by anything. Let me answer these things for you in sequence.

  1. It’s going away. It’s going to fail. It’s a going away. It’s a bubble.
    People who don’t get it, say it. So far, many of the naysayers have changed their tunes. A few examples of people who have changed their tunes.

  2. It’s a ponzi scheme. It isn’t backed by anything.
    • This one makes me laugh a bit. Pull a dollar out of your pocket. Now look at it and ask yourself, what gives that value? You’re answer should be “you.” You believe that dollar has value so it does. Along with you billions of other people believe that dollar has value, which is what makes it valuable.
    • Let’s dive a little deeper into economics. In the 1970s, the United States abandoned the gold standard. That’s right, your dollar’s value is not tied to gold. While you can buy gold with your dollar, as long as someone will give it to you, you can’t get gold from the government.

      Also in 1970s, the United States struck a deal with the middle east to price oil in dollars. All oil in the world from 1970s until this year, 2018 was bought and sold in US dollars. This made the dollar the global currency. Countries bought and sold goods in US dollars because it was tied to gold. However, that is about to change.

      What most people don’t know is that China, Russia and a few other countries are tired of the Western elite bankers “BS” and strong arm economic tactics (i.e. sanctions). China, Russia and others have been accumulating gold with the intent of breaking the Petro-dollar. Beginning in 2018, China will open their own oil trading exchanges based on the Chinese Yuan. The Yuan will be tied to gold. Russia and China are the first two countries to begin international trade on this new financial system. Gone are the days of the US sanctioning Russia because Russia isn’t following the Western “agenda”. I think this is a good thing since the west has essentially been starting wars for its own economic benefit. I.e. Iraq war, Libyan war, Syrian war, and the recent Turkish coup attempt. Note that Russia stepped in to stop the Western agenda in Syria.

      Now that you know, China and Russia are valuing their countries money against gold. Why does this matter?

    • The United States and Western Central Banks (run by the central bankers, Rothchilds, etc.), have been printing money and the people and government of America have been accruing massive amounts of debt. As the new Yuan financial standard comes online, the western fiat monies (tied to nothing), will begin to fail. This is much sooner than you might think. Yes, a financial collapse is coming. When? Sooner than you think.
    • Our government is roughly $20 trillion in debt, depending on who you talk to. However, when the numbers get that large, can anyone truly be right? So I ask you again. People believe our money has value because it is backed by our government. However, our government is bankrupt. The pin just hasn’t popped the balloon yet. It’s coming. Once that happens, all perceived value of the US dollar will disappear. The system will be dead and then we will have to rebuild.
    • I said all of that for this purpose. What is the value of the dollar? Perception. What is the value of cryptocurrency? Perception? What is the value of gold and silver? Perception. We as a people ascribe value to things. We determine the value. When enough people perceive something has value, it becomes value. When enough people want something, it has value.

      Cryptocurrency is growing in value right now because people perceive it has value. In truth, cryptocurrency is as valuable as gold because the people believe it to have value. For example, 1 bitcoin is priced around $10,000. 1 ounce of gold is priced around $1,300. Essentially, 1 bitcoin is worth 8 ounces of gold.

In my opinion, it is we the people that give value to anything whether it be gold, silver, fiat currency like dollars, or cryptocurrency. However there is one very big difference between crypto currency and the dollar. Central Banks and the government control the value of the dollar. The people control the value of cryptocurrency. Personally, I’m much more comfortable with people controlling the value of their currency. However, Governments and the Central Bankers will not give up that power easily.

Volatility of cryptocurrency will eventually settle down as we move out of the early adopters phase and into mass adoption. Stay tuned. It’s guaranteed to be an interesting ride.

 

Cryptocurrency 101. Real Deal or Not.

I’ve been interested in personal finance and building wealth since I was 25. It’s now 2018, and I’m 47. My fascination with learning about money started when I realized I made $39,000 in 1995, but somehow ended up $16,000 in debt. WTH? For 22 years, I’ve been learning about money. How to make it. How to save it. How to multiply it.

Now, we have a new development in the financial world, and depending on who you talk to, the jury is still out on if cryptocurrency will be a total bust or the biggest thing to hit the financial world since gold. I’ve been studying cryptocurrency more lately. While some form of digital currency has been around in various forms for over 20 years, the latest iteration came into being with Bitcoin in 2008/2009.

As I’ve gotten deeper into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, I’ve realized that the resources are very scattered and it can be very difficult to make sense of it all. It shouldn’t have surprised since the industry is still so new. As with any new industry, it takes years, even decades for the industry and knowledge to mature. Cryptocurrency is still very much in its infancy and early stage development.

During my learning process, I came across a group of individuals who are launching a cryptocurrency hedge fund. As a financial guy and business entrepreneur/executive, I decided to help them pull some of the details together for their business, which should be launching in the next 90 days. As a result of my efforts, we’re putting together some resources to help explain and simplify cryptocurrency. We’ve coined this explanation and getting started steps “Cryptocurrency 101.”

Cryptocurrency 101

Cryptocurrency History and Foundation

The current iteration of cryptocurrency began in 2009 following the financial upheaval brought about by the banking industry and traditional monetary practices. While modern cryptocurrencies are a more recent innovation in the financial sector, it is important to recognize that historically, the digital and cryptocurrency concept began much earlier in the mid-1990s.

In the mid-1990s, DigiCash was founded by David Chaum. Since that time, multiple other iterations of digital currency models have had their run including egold, prepaid cash cards, and PayPal. All of these prior contributions helped in the development of digital payment systems and commerce finally bringing the latest innovation to market.

In 2008, the Bitcoin paper was released by Satoshi Nakamoto. With the release of the bitcoin, the idea of a decentralized currency was launched. While Bitcoin was the first in this generation hence the reason it is called a “1st generation cryptocurrency”, many others have followed it. They are referred to as “alt coins” or “alternative coins.” With bitcoin being the “1st generation coin”, these alt coins are classified as “2nd generation” and “3rd generation” cryptocurrencies. Currently, there are over 1,500 cryptocurrencies.

More on the foundation of crypto currencies…
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_bitcoin
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency
https://www.moneycrashers.com/cryptocurrency-history-bitcoin-alternatives/

The Market Problem and Innovation

Technologists and entrepreneurs have attempted to bring digital currency to market since the 1990s. The financial problems of 2009, pushed one individual, a.k.a. Satoshi Nakamoto, to publish the Bitcoin papers.

Problem #1 Centralized Banking

The centralized banking and currency system which governs the finances of most countries had nearly collapsed. Engineered inflation and debt by the financial powers in the global economy had nearly brought the world to a devastating financial impasse. In the end, it was the people’s tax money that bailed out the banking and financial sector from their failures.

Problem #2 Trust Based Slow Transactions

In addition to widespread financial mis-management by the banking sector, the financial industry had yet to undergo any of the major innovation that other industries had experienced from technology. This is best seen in the clearing process for transactions.

Payment processing for small transactions could take days to clear while larger business or international transactions could take weeks. It is time for innovation in the financial sector. Discrepancies among the transactions required manual processing to clear up, and a certain amount of loss is acceptable as part of the process. The result is a banking industry charges $1.7 Trillion per year in transaction fees just to move money around the world while collecting interest on the money during the hold and transition times.

Both of these market problems are addressed with the cryptocurrency innovation. First, a decentralized network of computers handles the management of the currency, who owns it and which transactions are taking place. This removes the need to use the banking industry as a “clearing house” to track ownership of funds. Peer to peer transactions without the need of a “middle man.”

Secondly depending on the currency, transactions take place in a matter of seconds rather than hours, days or weeks with the current banking system. Near instantaneous transactions is the goal. It should be recognized that the crypto currency technology is still in its infancy and developing. As more users and transaction load are applied to specific cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, the limitations of the technology are shown. Hence the need for more advanced “alt coins” technology. Bitcoin is a 1st generation cryptocurrency. Ethereum, Litecoin and others are second generation currencies, and as a result, address some of the design flaws of bitcoin including transaction speed.

Virtually every industry has seen innovation changes from the technology age.

Communications innovations like email, text, and video conferencing.
Retail with ecommerce and Amazon.
Marketing industry with the advent of search engines, Google and Facebook.
Music with Napster followed by Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes.
Entertainment and video with online streaming.
Travel industry with Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, etc.
Hotel and Vacation lodging with Hotels.com, AirBNB, VRBO, and Booking.com.
Transportation with Uber and Lyft.

Each of these industries underwent extreme innovation makeovers. It is now the banking and financial industries time to undergo the same type and level of innovation. While we have not seen the final developments in the cryptocurrency space, there is one thing that most experts agree on…cryptocurrency is here to stay.

The Cryptocurrency Market

As of late, Bitcoin has dominated the industry and news, but other coins are now rising up to fill their place in the cryptocurrency space. Since Bitcoin, over 1,500 crypto currencies have been created and are in different stages of maturity.

Bitcoin has seen substantial growth in value since it’s inception in 2009. The last several years have seen it increase in value causing many to classify it as a new asset class. With its increase in value and growing adoption as a medium of exchange, Bitcoin has paved the way for the new wave of alt coins and their growing valuations.

Bitcoin Annual Valuations per Coin
December 31, 2017 – $12,622
December 31, 2016 – $967
December 31, 2015 – $429
December 31, 2014 – $317

2017 was a monster year for crypto currency growth and valuations. Bitcoin’s value grew over 1,000%, while Ethereum experienced nearly 10,000% growth and Litecoin saw almost 5,000% growth. Other cryptocurrencies experienced significant growth as well.

Bitcoin has come to be called “digital gold” by many people as it has become the primary medium of value and exchange in the cryptocurrency space. Much like gold was a primary medium of exchange for transactions over the last 3,000 years. Ethereum has taken on the title of “digital silver” as it has been the second most valuable cryptocurrency for an extended period of time. Both of these currencies are considered “trusted” and as such are the primary methods for obtaining other cryptocurrencies for speculative investors.

Many investors are familiar with “IPOs” or “Initial Public Offerings.” However, investors are not as familiar with “ICOs” or “Initial Coin Offerings.” Initial Coin Offerings companies to raise funds for their projects without all the regulation of an IPO. It also allows investors to get in early on a new development project. The speed and fervor surrounding these ICOs is very reminiscent of the .com days from 1998 to 2002. This comparison has caused many financial minds to call Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency space a “bubble”, while other entrepreneurs disagree with the comparison instead saying that we are witnessing the birth of something new in the financial sector the potential of which we do not yet fully understand. In any case, there will continue to be development in the cryptocurrency space and its full effects on the financial and commerce markets are yet to be fully seen or understood.

Many exchanges have been created as the space has expanded including gemini.com, coinbase.com, gdax.com, bittrex.com, hitbtc.com, kraken.com, binance.com, and more.

For a list of exchanges, visit https://www.cryptocompare.com/exchanges/#/overview

Getting Started with Cryptocurrency

To get started with cryptocurrency you have to decide which type of user you are: 1) Investor, 2) Miner, or 3) User. Let’s review.

Investors – want to benefit from the newly developing cryptocurrency space by making money through investing in the projects. This can be done through the ICO, trading for coins on one of the exchanges or investing through a cryptocurrency fund and letting someone else do the investing for you. The investing types could be classified as “Do It Yourself” or “Someone Do It for You.”

Miners – many of the cryptocurrencies allow “mining.” Mining is when people use their computers to expand the cryptocurrencies network. The specific cryptocurrency mined rewards the miner with coins for helping the network expand to serve the users.

Users – As adoption continues to grow in the merchant community, users continue to shop and buy things at a greater rate with bitcoin. In fact, there are some things online now that you can only buy with bitcoin. ATMs are also being put in across the world. They are more common today in Europe than America. In 2018, we expect to see larger online merchants and communities being to work cryptocurrency into their systems.

Cryptocurrency Investment Funds

For the average investor, a cryptocurrency investment fund is the way to go. In a speculative and volatile investment like cryptocurrencies, it is important to lower your risk through a good investment strategy. A cryptocurrency investment fund allows you to benefit from a “diversification strategy” by investing in multiple cryptocurrencies.

The fund managers are responsible for staying ahead of the development and growth curve by staying on top of the latest developments in the cryptocurrency markets. With an investment team working full time to analyze the market for the best opportunities, the probabilities of achieving a positive return are increased. However, there are no guaranteed returns on cryptocurrency investing.

Cryptocurrency funds will charge you a “management and growth” fee for their services and responsibilities to grow your funds.

Solo Investing

As cryptocurrency is a newly developing industry, cryptocurrency fund investment options are limited. It has only been in the last 2 years that a more significant number of funds have been created. The majority of investing in cryptocurrency has been done through individual investing. Solo investing can carry more risk especially for the inexperienced investor. Even a seasoned stock market investor can have problems with the highly volatile cryptocurrency space.

To get started solo investing, you will enter the market by purchasing one of the top 2 crypto currencies, BitCoin or Ethereum, through coinbase.com or gemini.com. You will then need to transfer your Bitcoin or Ethereum to one of the exchanges. On the exchange you will trade your cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency of choice.

The transfer and trading process is a delicate and somewhat “dangerous” in that a typo can cause several irreversible problems.

During the transfer process you could lose your crypto currency if you mistype the deposit address. Cryptocurrency is a “digital asset.” If you lose it, it’s gone. Cryptocurrency is stored in “wallets” or “holding accounts.” As you move your currency to the exchange you are moving your funds from one wallet to another. A typo at this stage means that you sent your funds somewhere else. At that point, your funds will be irretrievable.

Once inside the exchange you will begin the trading process, trading your coins for other coins that you believe will generate growth and a return for you. During the trading process, it is possible to enter a purchase amount that exceeds the current value of the coin you are purchasing. It is like buying something at a premium; you could “overpay.” This possible error is not unique to cryptocurrency, but it is inherent issue with the currency trading systems in general. Be especially careful when doing your own currency trading.

Crypto Mining

Cryptocurrency mining is the backbone of many of the cryptocurrencies. It is viable way for the newly launched coin based businesses and projects to get access to the infrastructure they need to expand without spending their precious capital. It is also a great way for the community and supporters to get involved with the project.

Crypto mining began on a smaller scale with bitcoin and hobbyists, but has now grown to include major enterprise operations. “Mining Rigs” as they are called, range from relatively low cost home computers to computers design specifically for mining costing $2,500 to $15,000. Mining operations are generally located in homes, offices, basements, or warehouses filled with tens to thousands of these specifically designed computers. Miners are paid “rewards” for their mining services which are either Bitcoin payments or payment in the coin they are mining.

Solo mining vs. Pool Mining

As mining has grown it has been more difficult for entry level miners to keep up. In the earlier days of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other coins, solo mining was possible. As the difficulty of the mining as increased with the size of the network, pool mining surfaced. Pool mining allows an individual to join a group of miners where they can work as one group to continue solving the mining algorithms. Each new miner increase the power of the mining pool. Pooled miners share in the rewards by being issued “shares” of the mining reward. For the more difficult mining operations, this is the only way to get in.

For newer coins, it is still possible to do solo mining and obtain rewards in the coin you are mining. However, the risk is that the coin mined may not be successful long term which means it has little or no value during the time of the mining. However, if it does turn out to be successful, the miner would be able to sell his coins for a nice profit since he obtained a significant amount of them at a relatively low cost.

Cryptocurrency mining resources are available online.
https://www.cryptocompare.com/mining/guides/#/overview
http://www.minergate.com

Last Thoughts

Now back to the title of this post, “Cryptocurrency. Real Deal or Not.” Personally, I believe cryptocurrency is here to stay. In 10 years, cryptocurrency may not look like it does today, but we will likely look back in hindsight and say it was the biggest innovation in the financial world of the last 100 years (or longer).

Resources

Coin Market Cap – https://coinmarketcap.com/

Crypto Coin News – https://www.ccn.com

Chris Dunn – https://chrisdunn.com/

 

Earn Money. Spend Money. Save and Invest Money.

Money can be a complicated thing, but many times we just over complicate it. If you want to be successful with money, it’s really comes down to just 3 things. The three things are how much money you earn, how much money you spend, and how much money you save and invest.

If you pay attention to those three “money metrics”, you’ll do just fine. The problem is that most of us don’t pay attention to any of those metrics, and that’s why most of America is broke. It’s also why so many people end up relying on social security.

Even successful career people don’t pay attention to these metrics, and consequently, they end up squandering years of wealth building opportunity. What do I mean? Well, for most of us college graduates, we enjoy seeing our incomes grow substantially from the time we graduate college through the first 20 years of our careers. However, as our incomes grow, so do our spending habits. We raise our expenses to match our income, and there goes our wealth. Bye bye millionaire potential.

I was on that path when I got out of college. I made $39,000 on my first professional job out of college, but somehow I ended up $16,000 in debt. What?! How the hell did that happen? Fortunately, that was my wake up call, and I made some drastic changes. For starters, I got money smart. I learned everything I could about money because obviously I didn’t know jack. I read Kiplinger’s magazine. I read Smart Money magazine, and a host of other things I can’t recall. That was 20 years ago. It changed me. It transformed my financial future. After I got money smart, I decided I wanted to be a millionaire. I was 26 and decided to become a millionaire by the time I was 40. I made it.

The funny thing about goals and plans. They often don’t work out exactly as you plan, but many times you still hit your goal. I hit my goal, but my path was a little different than I planned. That’s okay. For anyone wanting to become a millionaire, the place where we start is often the same. Get money smart. Then pay attention to how much money you earn, how much money you spend, and how much money you save and invest.

These were all keys elements to my millionaire plan when I was 26, and they’re still part of what I teach today. For anyone who aspires to be a millionaire, they apply to you too.

  1. Pay attention to how much money you earn. Always work on ways to increase how much you earn. If you’re stuck in a job that limits how much you can make, you need to look for other ways to make money, and that may include finding a new job. Don’t let yourself get stuck at an income plateau. If you make $50,000 a year, set a goal and look for ways to boost that to $100,000 a year. If you make over a $100,000 a year, set a goal and look for ways to boost that to $200,000 a year. You can do it. Almost anyone can do it.Early in my career my goal was to make more, but work less. I started out working 60+ hours a week and making $39,000 a year. I was able to lower my hours down to 45 a week an raise my income to $47,500, but I was stuck at an income plateau. Shortly after that, I changed jobs and saw my income soar into six figures plus. I’m sure glad I made that change. It was a key piece of the puzzle on my millionaire journey.My world was rocked recently when I met a new friend. I was about 36 or 37 by the time I had earned $1 million as an adult. It took me about 10 years to earn my first million dollars. Then recently I met a new friend. He rocked my paradigm. He was 22 without a college education when he earned his first $1 million. Ouch. He beat me by at least 14 years.

    Are you “income stuck?” Change it. Get unstuck. Do it today.

  2. Pay attention to how much money you spend. Don’t let your spending habits kill your ability to build wealth. Big ticket items like buying new cars on debt can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in future wealth. But bad daily spending habits like eating out can cost you just as much if not more. Take a look at your spending habits and learn to make better decisions. Keep your lifestyle under control until you’ve built your wealth, then you can really enjoy a more relaxed and cushy lifestyle. It’s worth it.If you’re not doing a spending plan, do one. Spending plans and budgets are a pain, but the results are worth it. If you’re not the type of person to run a tight budget, then do a “spending audit” and make adjustments. I guarantee you’ll find money (and your future wealth) slipping through your fingers. Do an audit. Find the problems. Make a adjustments. Every wasted dollar you find can help you build future wealth and help you with your millionaire goal.
  3. Be aggressive with your saving and investing. Many of us are so busy living life that we make excuses for not saving and investing more. The reality is so many of us are afraid of what we don’t know that we just avoid it. Sadly, we’re just too lazy to learn more so that we can get comfortable with it.Many of the people I talk to are clueless about investing tools, the stock market, or real estate. Real estate and the stock market are two of the primary investing tools available to us for wealth building, but very few of us take the time to learn more about them. As a result, we fail to leverage them, and that’s a perfect recipe to stay broke.How much should you save and invest? Well that’s really up to you. If you want to be a millionaire, which is the lowest goal you should set for yourself, you need to account for your age and create your millionaire plan. For most people, $10,000 a year is a good number to hit the millionaire goal in a respectable time, but you still need to account for you age. However, if you want to be an over achiever, keep pushing yourself to do more. Whatever the case is, get started ASAP with whatever  you can do and keep pushing yourself to grow it. Can you do $100 a month this year? Set a goal to double that next year, and then double it again the next year. If you can double that $100/month investment each year for 5 years, you’ll be investing $1,600 a month in 5 years. That’s $19,200 per year! That will add up quickly, and make you a millionaire pretty quickly.

Once you get “money smart” you’ll be better equipped to develop your own Millionaire Plan and build wealth for you and your family. If you don’t have a financial coach, you should get one soon. It’s good to have someone smart to talk with about money and building wealth.

Once you have built your wealth, life gets even more fun. You’ll be better equipped to help other people in need, and it is so rewarding. You can be a millionaire.

Great books/resources to read:
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Good Financial Cents website by Jeff Rose

 

 

How You Use Your Time Affects Whether or Not You Will Be Wealthy

Have you heard that time is money? As I’ve grown older and a little bit wiser, I’ve realized just how true that statement really is.

Now in my 40s, I look back over what I did with my time in my 20s and 30s. While I’ve attained a moderate level of success moving up through the executive ranks, I can see how much time I wasted, and I’m left wondering how much untapped potential I left on the table. Now heading into my 50s, I’m determined to make the best use of my time possible. Minimize the distractions. Focus on what’s really important. Focus on what creates lasting value for you, your family, your friends, and the people you want to help. The people you care about. For me, that’s about helping orphans and people trapped in poverty mindset and cultures.

Perhaps one of the best books that helped me re-prioritize my time was Robert D. Smith’s 20,000 Days and Counting. Robert does a masterful job of explaining the importance of every single day and encouraging us to make the most of each one. By looking at historical figures and seeing what they accomplished with the time they were given, Robert helps us to take an introspective look at what we’re doing with our time. Are we using it wisely?

Now, if you desire to become wealthy and you’ve set your eyes on becoming a millionaire, what you do with your time will affect whether or not you reach either one of your goals. Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose. One of those choices is what you do with your time.

As I mentioned, I wasted a lot of time in my 20s and 30s. I spent a lot of time on video games and watching movies. A lot. How much exactly? A number that I would be embarrassed to share. Fortunately, somewhere in there I found time to squeeze in some personal growth and development time, and through that time was able to reach a moderate level of success. However, I’m still left watching great people like Tony Robbins, Grant Cardone and host of others who’ve done a much better job focusing and leveraging their time. I’m left wondering what else could I have accomplished if I’d been more focused. Well, I can’t do anything about the past, but I can be more purposeful with the future.

The reality is if you want to maximize your life’s accomplishments, you need to maximize your time. Time bandits as I like to call them, rob you of your time. They keep you from reaching your peak potential.

Time Bandits.
Time bandits rob you of your most important resource. Your time. Whether or not you realize it, time bandits are stealing your future. Minimize the time bandits and you’ll maximize your future.

  • Video games
  • Reality TV
  • TV and movies
  • Overdoing sports tv
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • What other time bandits are stealing your future potential away?

Life Multipliers.
Life multipliers help you maximize your “life output.” They boost your ability to accomplish really cool things during your lifetime, and ultimately how much you can help other people. By using your time wisely and boosting your performance with life multipliers, you’ll leave an impact in your own life, but also on the lives of those around you.

  • Reading a book (Top CEOs read 50+ books per year)
  • Listening to a growth podcast (marriage, money, parenting, career)
  • Hanging out and networking with awesome successful people
  • Picking up some side work to increase your income. Invest it.
  • Starting a small business for additional income.
  • Volunteering to help others in need
  • Learning something new

Resources to help you rethink and maximize your time for a more successful and purposeful life.

20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith (Amazon.com)

Halftime by Bob Buford (Amazon.com)

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey (Amazon.com)

Time Bandit vs. Life Multiplier Exercise

So try this…

  1. List out 3 Time Bandits in your life that you’re going to remove or reduce.
  2. List out 3 Life Multipliers that you are going to do now that you’ve squashed the time bandits.
  3. List out what results you hope to accomplish with this change. What will be different in your life in 12 months as a result of this change?

Always remember, your time is one of the most precious assets you have. Don’t waste it. Make every minute count no matter what you’re doing.

Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose.

Have you ever dreamed about what it would be like to be a millionaire? Well stop dreaming and start doing.

Today 8.5% of American households are millionaires. That’s up from 3.5% in 1996 according to “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. However according to bankrate.com, 76% of people are living paycheck to paycheck and many have virtually nothing in savings. Answer Two Questions: 1) Which group are you in? 2) Which group will you be in 10, 20, or 30 years from today? The millionaire group or the paycheck to paycheck group? If you can’t definitively answer “Yes” to question #2, then it’s time to make a financial change.

With the right knowledge, financial plan, hard work and discipline, you can become a millionaire. Yes. Believe it. You can be financially free. You can be wealthy.

There are two primary views of wealth in America today. 1) I will never be wealthy and 2) wealth is wrong, bad or even evil. Both of these views of wealth are wrong. While some wealthy people are not people any of us would want to be, most wealthy people work extremely hard to build their wealth, and most of them are extremely generous in sharing that wealth. After all, wealthy people can help more people in need than poor people.

In the end, it’s your choice on whether or not you become a millionaire and become wealthy. I’m just here to tell you you can do it, show you how, and inspire you along the way.

 

Retirement. Yuck. Wealth Building. Yay!

Over the years I’ve noticed that personal finance can be a very touchy subject for a lot of people. For whatever reason, I’ve just always enjoyed learning and talking about it. I’m probably way over into the realm of TMI as several of my close friends continually tell me. My filter is set pretty low.

Lately, I’ve been considering a widely used term in the personal finance world. Retirement. Yuck. Just saying it brings a bad taste to my mouth. I’m 46, and by traditional standards, I’m about 19 years away from retirement. However, I don’t like the word retirement, nor do I like the idea of waiting till I’m 65.

Retirement is a Dirty Word

To me, retirement is a dirty word. When you’re young, you don’t really care about it. When you’re old, you’re scared of it usually because you didn’t do a good job preparing for it. For example, my dad feels like he’s invincible. He’s 67 and works 50-60 hours a week. He plans to work until the day he drops. Is that realistic? No, especially since he’s been smoking since he was around 10 years old. However, he doesn’t have any other option. No retirement, and social security is a joke.

So, I prefer to dump the term “retirement”. It’s a dirty word. Instead, let’s use the words “wealth building”. Whether you are young or old, you can and should do wealth building. The more wealth building you do, the better off you’ll be when you need money. And who wants to retire in their 60s anyway. Try setting a date to quit working at 59 1/2 years old which is the earliest you can draw on your retirement without tax penalties. If you did enough wealth building earlier in your life, it’s totally doable.

I’m big on the 59 1/2 years old or sooner number because of my past life experiences. I’ve seen too many of my friends and family pass away in their 60s to wait. My mother passed away last year at age 67. My former boss passed away around 65. Every one of them would have had a good 5-10 years to enjoy more time with their family and living life however they wanted if they’d just focused more on their wealth building and broke free from the traditional “retirement mindset.”

Wealth building. 59 1/2 years old or sooner target. Do it.

Vanguard Retirement Wealth Planning Tools

Vanguard Retirement Wealth Calculator

Can $10,000 Make You a Millionaire?

Lots of people dream about becoming a millionaire and “living the dream”, but only a relative few do anything about it. Today roughly 8.5% of American households are millionaires. While that’s up significantly from the 3.5% in 1996, I personally would like it to be much much higher. That’s why I’m writing this blog. To help make more millionaires and help people enjoy more freedom in their life.

Quite a few people have a warped view of wealth. They either believe they will never have it, or they believe it is bad. Both of those views of wealth are broken. Attaining wealth is a good and worthy goal. And guess what, wealthy people can help more people than poor people can. So if you have a choice of being wealthy or not being wealthy, why not choose wealth?

Now, in talking with many of my friends, I’ve realized that quite a few are just stuck. The idea of being wealthy or being a millionaire is a bit unrealistic to them, as it was for me until I turned 26. At 26, the lights came on, and I set off to become a millionaire. Now, 20 years later after I made it, I’ve come to understand that sometimes all people need is a little prod, a little knowledge, and a plan.

Too many of us spend our income wasting it away on frivolous things. I’ve been as guilty as anyone, but fortunately, I put a ton of money back as well. I started investing at 26. $500 a month into mutual funds and dabbling in stocks like Intel, Dell, Nvidia, and others. I made some decent money for a young guy making $40,000 a year, but I should have and could have done better.

I’m a numbers nerd, so understanding how it all works comes pretty easy for me. Now I want to make it a bit easier for you. Let’s get started.

A Spending Plan (a.k.a. Budgeting)

If you want to build wealth, you have to get your spending under control. Planning your spending intimidates a lot of people. That’s why “budgeting” is such a dirty word for a lot of people.

Now you can do a complicated spending plan if you want to, but a simple one can help get you on track for building wealth. You can count the pennies and nickles later to fine tune your spending plan.

Break your money down into 4 categories.

  1. Living Money: Money that you need to support your basic lifestyle. This includes housing whether you are renting or buying a house, food, utilities, car, insurance, clothing, education, and medical.
  2. Play Money: This includes the things you do to make life enjoyable. Date nights, gym memberships, hobbies, vacations, a four wheeler, a boat, etc. Generally you could call this “the perks of life” category. You have to have some play money in your life of you’ll dry up and become miserable. However, you have to be balanced as well. Put too much money in this category and you’re wealth plans could be toast. Quite a few formerly rich people have put too much money in this category only to see all of their wealth go up in smoke. Don’t make that mistake as you are trying to build your wealth.
  3. Wealth Money: Now as you can guess, this is the most important category for someone wanting to become a millionaire. This is the category that is going to determine if you become a millionaire, and if so, how fast. The more money you can get into this category on your spending plan the better. We use this category in a couple of ways. If you’re in debt, you need to get out as quickly as possibly. Debt will rob you of your ability to build wealth. We use this category to accelerate paying off your house if you want to do that. Third, we use this category for investing. That’s what most of this post is about. Wealth Money.
  4. Other Money: This is anything that doesn’t fit cleanly in one of the other categories. It includes things like birthday gifts, church tithes if you attend a church, Christmas presents, and things like that. Generally things in this category aren’t required to do and the amounts may vary quite a bit. You have wiggle room to adjust things a lot in this category as long as you don’t leave off your mom or spouse’s birthday.

Now I’m not going to cover the spending plan in today’s post. I’m going to only focus on the wealth money part of your spending plan. If you want to be wealthy, you have to put as much money into this part of your spending plan as fast as you can. Wealth can be built really fast if you’re a .com startup like facebook, or it can be built over time. The most common way to build wealth is over time through good financial decisions and investments.

Wealth Money

Wealth Money. So many people miss building wealth because they are busy spending their money on lattes, cable and new cars when they could be building wealth. I like to keep things simple…well, that’s exactly not true. I like complicated things, but sometimes things can be simple. We just over complicate them. Building wealth doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it really isn’t complicated. What do I mean?

Take $10,000 for example. It’s a simple number. It intimidates a lot of people. Have you ever held $10,000 cash in your hand? Try it. It’s pretty cool. Once you hold it, $10,000 doesn’t seem like a big number anymore.

Now, if you take $10,000 as your base investment number, what happens is pretty interesting.

  • $10,000 over 20 years becomes $67,275
  • $10,000 over 30 years turns into $175,000
  • $10,000 over 40 years turns into $452,000
  • $10,000 over 50 years turns into $1,173,000
  • $10,000 over 60 years turns into $3,044,000
  • $10,000 over 70 years turns into $7,897,000

These numbers are all based on a 10% rate of return which is an acceptable and available rate of return in the mutual fund and stock market. With the right investment, you can beat 10% and build even more wealth. I like using the 10% number because its simple to calculate, understand and readily available. Let’s go with it.

Now, you may be saying “Where do I get $10,000?” or “Are you kidding? I’m 45. No way I’m going to be wealthy. You just proved it to me.” Scrap those thoughts. Wealthy people all have one thing in common. When they run into problems, they figure out a way to deal with them. So what if you don’t have $10,000 right now, figure out how to get it. So what if your 45, find a way to increase your income and make up for lost time. Heck. Colonel Sanders started KFC in his 60s. Most people are retiring in their 60s. He was just getting started! $10,000 isn’t that much money when you break it down. $10,000 spread out over 1 year is $833.33 a month. Now how can you find $833.33 a month? There are tons of ways. At $10 an hour, it’s only 80 more hours of work a month. 20 hours a week. Or if you work at Costco and make $15 per hour, it’s 56 hours. Find a way. Don’t stop looking until you find a way.

As part of your spending plan, put as much money as you can into that wealth money category. In fact, scale everything back that you can until you hit a really good wealthy money number. If you can’t get to $10,000 year, start with what you can, then work towards $10,000 year as fast as you can. Once you hit $10,000, see if you can multiply it. Can you get to $20,000? Always up your goal. The more wealth money you can sock away, the faster it will grow. The bigger it will grow. Your first stop on this journey is the millionaire milestone. Once you do that, you’ll dream even bigger. You can do it.

Now, your homework. Play with your own wealth money numbers. Take that $10,000 and multiply it. What if you did that every year for 30 years? Well, I’ve already done the work for you and I’m including it in this post. Dream big! The more wealth you create the more good things you can do in this world, and guess what, it’s a lot more fun too when you have some wealth. I love traveling and I’ve got a long bucket list of places I want to go.

20, 30, 40 Year $10,000 Investments @ 10% Charts PDF

20, 30, 40 Year $10,000 Investments @ 10% Excel Spreadsheet

You can play with your own investment planning with this investing calculator at Bankrate.com or this more colorful and simple investing calculator at SmartAsset.com .

You’ve Got Your $10,000 Investment Money

Congratulations. You’ve figured out how to get your hands on $10,000 to invest. Now what do you do with it? You invest it. Where you say? Great question.

You can invest in a multiple of ways, but if its your first $10,000, you should probably play it a little bit safer. Stay away from single stocks. Mutual Funds are a better investment for you. Your first investments should go into your 401k or a Roth investment usually through your workplace. Even inside of those investment tools, you want to make sure you pick the right investments. Again, you’re looking for investing returns of 10% or higher for over 10 years.

Outside of your workplace, you can invest through an financial advisor or you can go direct to some of the best mutual providers like Janus, Fidelity, Oppenheimer or Vanguard. They have research tools that help you select funds. Again, you want funds that return 10% or more over the long haul. That’s averaging 10% growth per year over 10 years or longer. You can also use Morningstar.com to help you with your research.

Find a solid growth stock mutual fund at 10% or more and there you go. You’re off to the races. Oh, and one more thing. Don’t freak out if the stock market and your mutual fund drops. You leave your money in. The people that freak out and pull their money out, lose. Only take money out at retirement (59 1/2 years old) and preferably only when the market is up.

Working. Making Money. Building Wealth.

Work. 95% of eligible Americans do it.

I started working for minimum wage at age 13. Before that, I worked for my Dad helping out on his job sites. Sweeping floors, carrying trash, but I always wanted to hammer or saw something too. Apparently power tools aren’t for kids under 10 years old. For my mom, it was working at the convenience stores she managed re-stocking shelves, and yes once again, taking out the trash. Oh, and re-stocking the cold drinks in the cooler. That should have been called torture! My hands got so cold!

Eventually, I graduated up from family jobs to a real job at the local grocery store sacking groceries. I still think that was one of the most fun jobs I’ve had. Sacking groceries, checkout lines, sweeping and mopping floors, restocking shelves, and helping people to their car with their groceries. Once again, it paid minimum wage or close to it.

After graduating from high school, it was time for college, and I was a bit more ambitious with what I wanted to earn in compensation. I moved up from minimum wage to $7 per hour while working for RPS (Roadway Package Systems), and then it happened. I landed a $15 per hour summer job with P.I.E. freight company! My world was rocked. I was making $600 a week! Along with that jump came a shift in my expectations and what was possible with my income. As a young man and college student, I had reached a break through!

So many of us go through a similar experience of working and making money. Thinking in terms of single dollar increment raises. A $1 per hour raise blows us away! After I got out of college and landed my first engineering job, that’s exactly the world I lived in. Once I knew I could earn $15 per hour, I knew one day I could do it again, and I did. But sadly, I couldn’t imagine anything much more than that. $15 per hour is roughly $30,000 on a 40 hour a week job. $20 per hour is $40,000 per year. $30 is $60,000 per year. Hourly Rate x 2000 hours of work.

So ask yourself this question, how much money do you want make for your 2000 hours of work per year? $40,000? $60,000? What about $100,000? What about $250,000? More?

The idea of making $250,000 per year may sound ridiculous to many people who read this article, but it is doable. Lots of people are doing it. Why not you?

We can all work to make money, but working doesn’t have to be the only way we make money. Many people make money by developing multiple income streams. They start with a typical job, and develop supplemental income streams

Making More Money

So you want to make more money? I applaud you. Don’t settle for the status quo, every day routine. Expand yourself.

  1. Grow yourself. If you want to make more money, you have to grow yourself. You have to make yourself more valuable by learning and increasing the value you offer.
  2. Look for opportunities at work. Can you contribute at work on a higher level? Sometimes opportunities are right around the corner. Don’t wait for opportunity to find you, go looking for it.
  3. Be excellent. Do the best work you possibly can. Sloppy work won’t get you very far, and it definitely won’t make a you a highly valuable and top paid employee. Be excellent. Do excellent work, and money will flow your way.
  4. Might be time for a job change. Many people get stuck in a lower paying job because they get comfortable. You work the same hours whether you get paid $30,000 or $120,000. Why stay with a company that can’t pay you or won’t pay you more for your work? Think about this. If you make, $60,000 a year, that’s like working 2 years for $30,000 a year! Land a $120,000 a year job and thats 4 years at $30,000 or 2 years at $60,000. Don’t get stuck in a low paying comfortable job.
  5. Develop income streams outside your typical JOB. Developing multiple income streams can let you keep your day job and make extra money to help build wealth faster. You can start with side work, a hobby, or even a small business on the side. Millions of people are doing what is called an MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) or Direct Sales. While MLM has a bad stigma in the United States, millions of people are successful in using to make money to supplement or even replace their entire income.
  6. Rental Properties. Rental properties and real estate are historically a great income stream. Whether you’re flipping properties or buying a few rentals, you can make money in real estate. Starting with a low cost townhome rental can get you going or even renting out a room in your house. AirBNB makes it easy to find short term renters or if you like stability and a little more security, look for a longer term renter.

If you want to build wealth, multiple income streams will help you do it. I waited a bit longer than I should have to create my own multiple income streams, but I’m working hard to put them in place now. We have purchased 2 rental properties over the last 2 years. Now I’m engaged with Wealth Generators , a good MLM based around investing and helping people build wealth. They’ve created some investing tools, financial training and money management tools to help everyday people succeed with money. It’s right up my personal finance and wealth building alley. For more information on Wealth Generators, drop me an email. tony @ tonybradshaw.com

If you want to go the MLM route, there are tons of good companies like Melaleuca, Advocare, Kyani and others. If you are interested in one of these programs, I’ll be glad to connect you to some very awesome people. Drop me an email. tony @ tonybradshaw.com

How much more do you want to make per year and put towards your wealth building? $6,000 per year? $10,000 per year? $100,000 or more perhaps? It’s all up to you and what you choose do. The more money you can sock away into your passive investments or building your income streams, the faster you will become a millionaire and the more people you will be able to help with the wealth you’ve built.

 

 

What’s Your Net Worth?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? What’s your net worth? If you haven’t, then you probably should. Your net worth is a good way to tell if you are winning with your finances or not, and it’s kinda fun to do.

What is “Net Worth”?

Have you ever played organized sports? Baseball? Football? Basketball? Soccer? Something else? No matter what game you’re playing, there’s usually a score involved. That’s how everyone knows who is winning and who is losing. And make no mistake, the goal is to win. However, so many of us don’t have a goal for our finances, and as a consequence, we end up losing the game of money. We don’t know what the score is, and we don’t know what the goal is. It’s sad. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Your net worth is a financial calculation you can and should do annually to keep score on your finances. It takes your current assets (things you own) and subtracts your liabilities to give you your “net worth score”. Your assets are the things you own like cash, investments, cars, homes, boats, jewelry, and if you’re in the southern United States, probably a collection of guns. Your liabilities are your debts and money you owe. Subtracting your liabilities from your assets gives you your balance or net worth. If you are in heavy debt, it is quite possible to have a “negative net worth” meaning your finances are worth less than “0” and so is your net worth. While that sounds absolutely horrible, it’s better to know what the score is than to not know. Otherwise, you won’t know if you’re losing the game and what you need to change to “change the score”.

It’s important to check your net worth. I recommend calculating it and tracking it at least annually. This can help to hold you accountable on how you are handling your finances. It’s way too easy to make a lot of money and end up with very little progress by comparison to your net worth.

Way too many people make huge amounts of money and live the rich lifestyle, but never accumulate any wealth. Why? One of the reasons is they didn’t keep watch on their net worth. It doesn’t mean anything if you make a lot of money, but fail to manage it well. It doesn’t make a difference if you make $500,000 a year of $500,000 a month, if you don’t grow your net worth. I know it sounds crazy, but you can make $500,000 month or more and still have a net worth of $0 if you spend all your money and go into debt.

Knowing your net worth can give you a goal to aim at. Do you want to be a millionaire? Do you want to be a multimillionaire? How do you know how close you are to your goal? How do you know how far you are away from your goal? Knowing your net worth can inspire you to stay on track with your financial goals.

I really like this tool from CalcXML for calculating your net worth to help calculate your net worth.

Growing Your Net Worth

As you track and grow your net worth, it’s important you do the right things with your money. Just stuffing it into a savings account isn’t going to cut it. You need to look for good investments that help you grow your net worth. Rental property investments, mutual funds, well selected stock investments, and even small business opportunities like franchises can all be good ways to increase your net worth outside of the traditional J-O-B.

So many of us get stuck in the single mindset J-O-B. I’ve been fortunate to have awesome employment for over 20 years, but I still wish I had spent more time looking into developing multiple income streams. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve begun developing multiple income streams. Traditional 401k investments have been in my toolbox for 17+ years. I began acquiring rental properties over the last 3 years. I wish I had started sooner. Now I’m looking at small business and other opportunities to grow my net worth.

$0 or Near $0 Net Worth

I have several family members that really don’t get finances and money. If fact, one of them has attended the same financial class 3 times over 15 years. That’s once every 5 years! Want to guess their net worth? -$50,000. Age 42. That’s a very bad situation to be in.

If you owe a ton of money on your house, it can take a huge chunk out of your net worth. Let’s say you have a $300,000 home, but you also owe $250,000. Your net worth is essentially $50,000. But wait, that’s not all. You owe $25,000 on a $30,000 car. You have $40,000 in student loans.

So now we have ($300,000 home + $30,000 car) minus ($250,000 house debt, $25,000 car debt, $40,000 student loan debt) for a net worth of $15,000. On the surface, this person could feel pretty good about their finances. They are living in a nice house, driving a nice car, and the student loan debts are under control. In reality, they’re very poor.

This is the reality for the average American.

Unless you have a number like net worth to keep score, it’s easy to think too broadly as “I’m poor”, “I’m doing okay”, or “I’m rich.” You can have a net worth of $30,000 or -$70,000, both are poor. It’s easy for someone who can pay all their monthly bills to think they are doing okay, but if their net worth is low, they’re really not doing okay. And some people even think they are rich because have a huge income and some nice toys, but their net worth could be $250,000. They’re not rich.

Net Worth Mindset

Developing a net worth mindset can help you keep your finances on track and headed in the right direction. It’s a simple way give you goal to help you cut out the waste. If you know you are shooting for a goal to become a millionaire that’s a net worth score of $1,000,000. It’s a lot easier to make good decisions with your finances. A good financial decision is one that gets your closer to your goal. A bad financial decision is one that keeps you from your goal.

Last night, our family went out to eat. I have 6 children. It’s expensive to eat out. It cost me $80 to eat cheeseburgers from Five Guys. On the way to Five Guys, my wife and I discussed that we can feed our family at home for $25. Eating at Five Guys did not help me build my net worth, but it sure was tasty.

Net Worth Target

I’m a believer that every American can become a millionaire, so your absolute minimum net worth goal is $1,000,000. I was a millionaire at age 40. Many people do it sooner than I did. I’ve met many people who become millionaires in their 20s and 30s.

As you get smarter and more confident in building your finances, your number should be higher. Since becoming a millionaire at 40, I now have aspirations of reaching the $10,000,000 mark and beyond.

Without being too scientific or getting caught up in the retirement planning game, set your net worth target between $1,000,000 and $10,000,000 to start. Sure some super aggressive types will want to set their goal higher. That’s okay, but the average everyday American can achieve a net worth target between $1,000,000 and $10,000,000 if they get serious about their finances now.

Make wise decisions with your money. Build your net worth. Build your wealth. Help others.

 

Learn About Money. Be Wealthy.

There’s a saying that there are no guarantees in life, but I’d say that there are some guarantees. You can pretty much guarantee that if you don’t take time to learn how to make money work for you, then you won’t be wealthy. That’s pretty guaranteed. People who are learn about money become smart about money. It’s just that simple.

Learning About Money

I was 26 when I started learning about money. Needless to say, before that, I was pretty clueless following in my parents financial footsteps. Spend more than you make. Don’t save. Don’t invest. Work you whole life and probably die with a relatively low amount of net worth. Thankfully that all changed when I was 26. You see, I got my first W2 form for my fully employed year of work after college. I worked as an engineer for a small family owned manufacturing company. My income that year was $39,000, and when I opened that W2 envelope, I was shocked. I had relatively little to show for that year of work and most of what I had to show for it was debt. A new car. A new computer. Some credit card debt for I don’t know what. That year, I knew something was wrong with my finances and how I handled money. It was time for a change, and change I did.

I spent the next several months going to the bookstore buying financial magazines, and learning about money. At the top of my list was Kiplinger’s investors magazine. That was what began my journey to build my financial knowledge and one day become a millionaire.

One of the first steps in becoming a millionaire is learning about money. How to make it, and how to use it to build wealth. You can’t build wealth unless you know how to make your money work for you. Otherwise, you’ll just go through life making money and spending money. That will never get you ahead.

While there are a ton of ways to put your money to work for you, I started with the stock market. At 26, I put $500 a month into an aggressive growth mutual fund. Back then, I chose Kaufmann funds, but I was a bit green. Today, a better bet would be Vanguard family of funds. While $500 seemed like a lot of money to me as a 26 year old single man, I should have been investing $1,500 a month. The more aggressive you are in making your money work for you, the better off you will be later on in life, and the more wealthy you’ll become. Eventually, you won’t even need to work for money. The income streams you create will work for you.

My second investment strategy was to put money into tech stocks, and I was able to make a bit of money as a young investor. I invested in Intel, Dell, Cyrix, Iomega, Nvidia and a few others. Holding each investment for 3-6 months, I was able to make 30-50% on each investment. Focusing on staying ahead of the new technology releases by the major vendors, I was able to make some money when the tech leaders saw their new products hit the market. It was a good start to changing my financial future.

At that time, I also made the decision to become debt free and live without debt. Being in debt doesn’t make you rich. It makes the banks rich. Avoid debt. Since I had already gotten into some debt, it took me 2 more years to pay off all of my debt. I paid the 5 year loan off on my car in 3 1/2 years. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have paid it off a bit sooner, but I was putting a bit of money into the stock market.

Being older and wiser now in my 40s. There are some things I would have changed along my financial journey, and one of those would have been how much I studied and learned about making money and putting it to work for me. I made the mistake of think I learned everything I needed to know about money when I learned about mutual funds and the stock market when the truth is, there is so much more to know and learn. While simple plans and investments do work, they leave so many more wealth building opportunities on the table.

I believe becoming wealthy is a noble goal. If you use your wealth properly, you should be helping others. The more wealthy you are, the more people you can help, and there are a lot of needy people in the world today. In fact, there are probably a lot of needy people in your neighborhood today. Wouldn’t you like to be able to help them?

Anyway, I encourage you to build your financial knowledge by committing time each month from this day forward to learn about money. Learning about money will help you build a better financial future for yourself, your family and your children for generations to come. By making this one small commitment, you will forever impact people’s lives.

Here are a few foundational books to get you started increasing your financial knowledge, but don’t stop here. Keep going.

If you build your financial knowledge and put it to work, you will build wealth for yourself and your family, and then you will be able to put that wealth to work helping others. It’s good. It’s noble. Do it.