Archive - Finance RSS Feed

5 Basic Steps to Investing – Step 5

Investing! This is consistently given as one of the most confusing topics individuals face. In this series, I wanted to share some basic investing fundamentals. My goal is to help you understand this topic better and walk away with practical steps.

STEP ONE  Evaluate & Diversify 

STEP TWO  Automate Your Investments 

STEP THREE  Get the Free Money

STEP FOUR  Unleash the Power of Compound Interest

STEP FIVE  Continue to Learn about Practical Investing Opportunities
There are so many different types of investment opportunities, so I’ve broken down a few of them.

Stocks – When you own stock in a company, you technically become a part owner of that company. You have some claim to the assets and earnings of the company. Stocks are foundational to most investment portfolios. They are known to be very volatile in the short term but have historically outperformed other investments in the long run. 

Mark Twain has famously said this about investing in stocks: “October: This is one of the particularly dangerous months to invest in stocks. Other dangerous months are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.”

There are two major types of stocks:

  • Common Stock: Common stock allows the holder to vote in the shareholder meetings (depending on the amount of stock owned) and provides access to dividends or profit sharing produced by the company.
  • Preferred Stock: Preferred stock holders have priority over common stock holders. This applies in many areas including when dividends are being paid to shareholders.

Bonds – A bond is a large debt owed by a company, government, or even a school, where the borrowing institution has agreed to repay an established amount of interest payments for a set period of time. When this time expires, the borrower then returns all of the principal back to the lender(s). Bonds can vary in maturity times anywhere from 1 year to 30 years. I like to think of my personal residence as a bond investment. A bond is generally less risky.

Mutual Funds & Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) - Mutual funds and ETFs let you accumulate a wide variety of investments that couldn’t normally obtain without consuming large amounts of time and money. Mutual funds and ETFs are funded “mutually” by you, me and millions of our closest friends. Our money is pooled together and then used by the “mutual fund managers” to invest in hundreds of other company stocks, bonds, and other sorts of investments. Usually, mutual funds and ETFs have specific charters that direct their investments. Our mutual fund might only focus on established companies in the USA while another could focus on investing in up-and-coming companies in third world countries.

Other Investing Opportunities - People so often hold themselves to these common types of investing and never branch out. Investing opportunities are all around you! You can invest in a small home and rent it out. You could invest in small businesses in your community. When you are investing, you can think outside the box. Some of the greatest returns can be found when investing in unorthodox ventures.

Next Steps
– Review your investments and know what you are invested in
– Start to think OUTSIDE of the stock market when you’re investing
– Start investing!
– Recommended Resource ==> OXEN: The Key to an Abundant Harvest – Learn how to maximize your money through investing

5 Basic Steps to Investing – Step 4

Investing! This is consistently given as one of the most confusing topics individuals face. In this series, I wanted to share some basic investing fundamentals. My goal is to help you understand this topic better and walk away with practical steps.

STEP ONE  Evaluate & Diversify 

STEP TWO  Automate Your Investments 

STEP THREE  Get the Free Money

STEP FOUR  Unleash the Power of Compound Interest  
Have you ever heard the say, “my money is working for me”? This is exactly what compound interest does for you! When you utilize the power of compound interest, you’re allowing the interest you’re making to also earn interest.

For example, let’s say we have $100 in an investment account that grew to $105 in one year. This is the equivalent of 5% interest. Now suppose the $105 is left alone for another year and continues to grow at a rate of 5%. Will it be paid another $5 interest when the second year is up? No! It will be paid $5.25 because interest was received on $105 – not just $100. Interest earning interest!

Take a look at the below example of a $100/month investment growing at an annual compound rate of 12%.

Compound Interest Table

 

 

Remember,  you are only investing $100 each month! After 40 years, you’ve only invested $48,000 BUT your account balance is $1,176,477! This means that $1,128,477 is the interest you have gained!

Now do you see the POWER of compound interest?

Where do you find investments that offer 12% return? I have found no investments that constantly return 12% every single year, but I have found several mutual funds that average over 12% return over the past 50 years. Some years could lose 15% while others gain 30%. You can see a list of my current investments HERE.

How to maximize your investment growth:

  1. Invest enough to receive the entire company match: By investing in an employer-sponsored retirement plan that matches a portion of your contributions, you could even receive a 50% or 100% return!
  2. Monitor your investments at least every six months: I track my investments at the end of every single month. This helps me understand how each one is performing and allows me to make necessary adjustments.
  3. Consider investments beyond the stock market: The stock market is just one place to invest. Consider investing in a small businesses, real estate, and intellectual property – like patents and licensing rights. Remember, a higher interest rate almost always means a higher risk.

Next Steps
– Establish a consistent investing habit. Invest into your retirement account every paycheck for the rest of your working life. Even if you can only invest a small amount, it will add up to more than you can imagine!
– Recommended Resource ==> OXEN: The Key to an Abundant Harvest – Learn how to maximize your money through investing

5 Basic Steps to Investing – Step 3

Investing! This is consistently given as one of the most confusing topics individuals face. In this series, I wanted to share some basic investing fundamentals. My goal is to help you understand this topic better and walk away with practical steps.

STEP ONE  Evaluate & Diversify 

STEP TWO  Automate Your Investments 

STEP THREE  Get the Free Money 
Yes, I said FREE money. Many employers will match a portion of your contributions into a self-directed retirement plan! I encourage you to go to your human resource department and sign up for the retirement plan. Start investing money into it immediately! Contribute enough money to obtain the entire employer match. Remember, this is really just FREE money!

Each company is different, but most companies will usually match up to a certain percent of your pay. I worked for an employer that matched me dollar-for-dollar up to 8% of my pay (100% automatic rate of return!!). Another matched dollar-for-dollar up to 6% of my pay. Still another matched dollar-for-dollar up to 3% of my pay. Whatever your employer is willing to give you is FREE MONEY!

It is baffling that many people don’t take advantage of this opportunity. I have heard several excuses about why people choose not to, excuses like:

  • “I can’t afford to contribute.”
  • “I’m living paycheck-to-paycheck already.”

These people are basically saying they can’t afford to be given free money. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. This is an opportunity to receive 100% return on your investment! DO NOT WASTE THIS CHANCE!

Next Steps:
– Talk to your employer TODAY and sign up for your company’s retirement plan. Start contributing something – at least enough to get the full match.
– As quickly as possible, increase your investing contribution to at least 10% of your gross income. I know this is a lot of money, but you will NEVER regret this decision.
– Recommended Resource ==> OXEN: The Key to an Abundant Harvest – Learn how to maximize your money through investing

5 Basic Steps to Investing – Step 2

Investing! This is consistently given as one of the most confusing topics individuals face. In this series, I wanted to share some basic investing fundamentals. My goal is to help you understand this topic better and walk away with practical steps.

STEP ONE  Evaluate & Diversify 

STEP TWO  Automate Your Investments 
Make your investments automatic! Your bank account can be set up to auto draft money into different investment plans (401k or a child’s 529 college-savings plan).

When your investments are automated, it prevents you from forgetting to transfer money each month. It also eliminates the possibility of using that money for splurge purchases. This is awesome for those of us who are highly susceptible to spend any and all extra money! You’ll also see your net worth increase every single month.

One thing to note, if you have to ever switch banks, you’ll need to set up the auto-drafting again at your new bank. I would try to do this ASAP! I know from firsthand experience how hard it can be to write a check to your savings account or 529 college-savings plan when the auto-drafting isn’t set up. There are moments where you will think, “Wow! I could really use this money elsewhere!”

If I had to write a check every month to my investments accounts, there is a good chance that my investing plan would be seriously off-track. Make it automatic!!

Next Steps
- Set up auto-drafting with your bank (via phone or online) and start automating your investment account(s) , such as a 401k, retirement account, or 529 college-savings plan.
– Recommended Resource ==> OXEN: The Key to an Abundant Harvest – Learn how to maximize your money through investing

5 Basic Steps to Investing – Steps 1

Investing! This is consistently given as one of the most confusing topics individuals face. In this series, I wanted to share some basic investing fundamentals. My goal is to help you understand this topic better and walk away with practical steps.

STEP ONE  Evaluate & Diversify 
Before we begin, you need to assess what investments you currently have. You might be saying, “Joe, I don’t have any investments.” My question to you would be: do you contribute to some type of retirement plan at work, own a home, or own a business? Investing is much more than owning stocks. To start, let’s make a list of all your investments. (A great place to list these investments is on the asset side of the Net Worth Calculator.) Now that you have all your investments listed, lets evaluate to make sure they are diversified.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. This directly relates to investing! A key step when investing is to diversify your investments. For example, you should not put all your money into one company’s stock, instead spread your investments out. By spreading out your investments you greatly lower the risk of your investment.

You can research countless times where people have put a large portion of their money into one company, only to have that company fail. Several people lost large sums of money when they invested solely in Enron during the early 2000’s and the company went under. If these people would have diversified their investments, they could have softened the blow.

An easy way for you to diversify is to invest in mutual funds. A mutual fund allows you to purchase a portion of many stocks and bonds with a single share purchase. This purchase automatically diversifies your investments, even though you’ve only bought one share! Also, don’t just think stocks. Invest in a new business or a home that can be rented out. Investing is much more then the stock market. You have a world of things to invest in – real estate, land, new businesses, or even your own business!

Next Steps:
– Review your current investments. Are they diverse?
– Are you only investing in one type of company? If yes, take steps to address right away!
– What other investments could you make outside of the stock market?
– Recommended Resource ==> OXEN: The Key to an Abundant Harvest – Learn how to maximize your money through investing

Monday Money Tip: Compound Interest – Friend or Enemy?

Happy Monday! Welcome to another addition of Monday Money Tip! In this video, I’m sharing all about compound interest. How does it work? Is it your greatest friend or worst enemy?

Want to automatically receive a helpful and practical money tip every Monday? Just sign up HERE (It’s FREE)!

Common Question About 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Many people look at 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card offers and wonder, “what’s the catch?” So let’s dive into this question.

QUESTION: Is the interest rate really 0%? 
The answer is, “YES!” Many of these offers do, however, have a small transfer fee – usually around 3%. 

Let’s use an example to see how this works.

Suppose you transfer a balance of $5,000 from a card that has a 21.99% interest rate. You apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card. This offer comes with a 3% balance transfer fee, but it also provides 0% for 18 months.

Upon acceptance of your application, the 3% balance transfer fee ($150) will be applied to your balance on the new credit account making your total balance owed equal $5,150 ($5,000 balance that was transferred PLUS the $150 balance transfer fee).

Now comes the good part! You now owe 0% interest for the 18 month period – as long as you make all of your payments on time, of course. Let’s see how this plays out while making $200/month payments – 21.99% credit card vs 0% balance credit card.

Just by making one decision that takes less than 15 minutes, you can make a HUGE difference with your finances!

How to Make Credit Debt Disappear Quicker

It’s no surprise that I’m not a huge fan of credit cards. This is mainly because, in the past, I ran up huge balances on them three separate times. As a financial teacher, I have seen a large amount of people entangled in credit card debt and paying huge interest charges. While this is not an ideal situation to be in, there is always HOPE and a way out! So how do you make credit debt disappear quicker? One way is 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards!

Here’s an example – I recently met a family that had several credit cards. They were paying 7.99% interest all the way up to 22.99% interest. We used the Actual Cost of Debt Calculator to calculate the amount of interest that was being paid each month. It was a ridiculously large number! So I encouraged them to apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card. This type of credit card would ensure that 100% of their payment would go towards reducing the principal. Guess what? They tried it and were approved and the balance was transferred to 0% for 12 months. In just fifteen minutes, they had reduced their interest fees by over $100/month. Over $100/month for fifteen minutes worth of effort is a pretty good paying job! That’s a savings of OVER $1,200 PER YEAR! Now they are working their way to 100% debt freedom even quicker!

Are you paying high interest on a credit card balance? If you are, why not roll over that debt to a 0% interest card so that 100% of your payments will go towards the balance owed? Having trouble finding a 0% balance transfer card? Just click HERE.

If you’ve already switched to a 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card, how much is it saving you every month?

Monday Money Tip: 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card

It’s Monday and I’m sharing another Monday Money Tip. Do you have a credit card that carries a balance every month? If yes, this money tip can literally help you save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year!

You can access the current listing of 0% interest card card balance transfer offers HERE.

**NOTE – Discover It™ Card recently changed their promotional offer from 0% APR for 18 months to 14 months.**

Register HERE (it’s free) to receive this weekly tip in your email bright and early on Monday mornings!

 

What 5 Questions Should You Be Asking? Part 3

When it comes to spending money, we all need a little guidance sometimes so I’ve put together 5 questions to ask before spending! It’s my hope that this series will provide you with practical questions to ask when preparing to spend a substantial amount of money (or any amount of money). Hopefully, these practical questions will help you truly understand the enormity of the decision and help you make the decision that is best for you and your family.

Let’s review questions 1 – 4:

QUESTION 1:  Is this a want or a need purchase?

QUESTION 2:  Will this item INCREASE or DECREASE in value?

QUESTION 3:  Do I have the money to pay CASH for this item?

QUESTION 4:  Will this purchase generate or take away income?

 

QUESTION 5: Will this help me achieve my future plans, hopes, and dreams? 
I believe the number one reason that people fail with their financial plan is a lack of organization and lack of a plan. Without a long-term perspective, it becomes extremely easy to fall into the trap of living for the minute and immediately spending everything we earn. As one develops a long-term perspective, it really helps us recognize that spending all of our money right away will rip our future dreams away from us!

When my family first started improving our financial future (December 2002), I noticed that we started looking ahead a few months. Now, twelve years later, my entire perspective has shifted. You see, I want to leave a legacy for my children and community. I want to start a university. I want to leave a huge inheritance to my family, church, and others. My wife and I want to give our children a paid-for-college education. We desire to teach them to manage their finances, recognizing that it’s not just for them but it’s FOR THEM TO HELP OTHERS!

Statistics say that I’m already halfway through my life. Time is short. Too short to spend all of our resources on stuff that does not support our plans, hopes, and dreams.

What are your future plans, hopes and dreams? What purchases will help you achieve these?

What 5 Questions Should You Be Asking? Part 2

When it comes to spending money, we all need a little guidance sometimes so I’ve put together 5 questions to ask before spending! It’s my hope that this series will provide you with practical questions to ask when preparing to spend a substantial amount of money (or any amount of money). Hopefully, these practical questions will help you truly understand the enormity of the decision and help you make the decision that is best for you and your family.

Let’s review questions 1 & 2:

QUESTION 1:  Is this a want or a need purchase?

QUESTION 2:  Will this item INCREASE or DECREASE in value?

 

QUESTION 3:  Do I have the money to pay CASH for this item?
It’s a great feeling when you can pay cash for an item and not have the weight of debt, financing or interest looming over your head. 

I wrote the “I Was Broke” part of my book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. (you can check out all the details HERE), by always financing things. My car, truck, next truck, engagement ring, wedding ring, honeymoon, credit cards, college student loans, furniture, and many other things were all financed because I didn’t stop and ask myself this question. The day I started asking myself this question, my family moved one step closer to winning with money.

If I do not have the cash to pay for it, I’m not buying it UNLESS it’s a house or an asset that will increase in value (like a business, rental house, etc). Even then, the answer is still usually “NO!” unless I have all of the money available to pay cash.

QUESTION 4:  Will this purchase generate or take away income?
What an incredible question to ask – and what a difference it will make in the way you think about money! I used to earn money and then immediately begin pondering which fun item I was going to buy. I rarely (if ever) thought about the fact that I could use the money to buy in to a small business, purchase stocks and mutual funds, start a small business or purchase a rental home.

Even more, I didn’t truly realize the ACTUAL cost of many of the items I had purchased. I had purchased a new car (a smokin’ hot Chevy Cavlier) and I only thought of the bank loan as my “cost” to purchase. In actuality, I also added the costs of insurance, property taxes, license tags, maintenance, repairs, and additional gasoline consumption.

Before spending money, just stop and ponder the options available to use those resources to generate more income for you in the future.

Questions 5…TOMORROW!

What 5 Questions Should You Be Asking? Part 1

When it comes to spending money, we all need a little guidance sometimes so I’ve put together 5 questions to ask before spending! It’s my hope that this series will provide you with practical questions to ask when preparing to spend a substantial amount of money (or any amount of money). Hopefully, these practical questions will help you truly understand the enormity of the decision and help you make the decision that is best for you and your family.

QUESTION 1:  Is this a want or a need purchase?
This might seem like a basic question but do you really need this item? As a “spender” I can get caught up in the “I WANT THIS!” mentality and never stop to ask, “Is this a want or a need?”

My garage is full of “I want this” items that we never use. EVER! This includes a RC Airplane (it’s cool – but I don’t use it), bike (never ride it), tennis rackets (once every 3 or 4 years), and many other items.

Pausing to ask “Is this a want or a need purchase?” can prevent a lot of poor spending decisions. I’m not saying that I never purchase things that are pure “wants”. I am saying that when I ask this key question, I make much smarter overall decisions.

QUESTION 2:  Will this item INCREASE or DECREASE in value?
Asking this simple question can also help prevent a lot of poor spending decisions! 

Chewing gum goes down in value. So do cars, 4-wheelers, refrigerators, swimming pools, and clothes. Business can go up in value. So can houses, land, antiques, mutual funds, company stocks, bonds, and intellectual property (patents, licenses, etc).

Here’s what I know: Not all of your purchases can be for items that increase in value, but if ALL of your purchases go down in value – something isn’t right!

Join me tomorrow for questions 3 and 4!

Mint.com Expert Interview

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of being interviewed by Mint.com. I’m a huge fan of Mint for several reasons! First, I’ve been using it for years and it’s an incredible tool that can be used on any smartphone or computer. Second, it’s a great way to manage your money because it provides a consolidated view of your entire financial life. I like to look at it as “a financial snapshot”. Mint provides this snapshot by connecting all of your bank accounts, investment accounts and debt accounts all in one place. Check out this app by searching Mint in the app store.

You can read my entire interview with Mint HERE!

Thank you to the entire Mint team for proving me an opportunity to share my story!

intuit_mint_logo_detail

 

Monday Money Tip: Opportunity Cost

Happy Monday! I love it when my week starts off right! The Monday Money Tip was created as a weekly service to provide people just like you with a practical and simple money tip – right at the start of the week so that you can take action with it!

 

Maximizing Your Tax Refund – Step 3

How should you maximize your tax refund?

STEP 1  Before You Spend It, Plan It
Planned money accomplishes far more than unplanned money! BEFORE you ever receive the money, you should have a plan.

STEP 2  Build the Wall
When you receive your tax refund, there are three different ways you can spend the money: save it, spend it (reduce debt), or invest it.

STEP 3  Fulfill Some of Your Dreams!
Since the word FUN is in the middle of refund, make sure to have a little fun and fulfill some of your dreams!

Your tax refund could allow you to be generous and bless others, have a fun day with your family, or contribute to funding a dream.

What dreams do you have? What will it take to accomplish them?

Here are some good questions to ask yourself to fire up your dreams again:

  1. What opportunities do you want to provide to my children?
  2. What trips do I want to take?
  3. Who do I want to bless? What do I want to bless them with?
  4. What type of house do I want to live in?
  5. Where do I want to live?
  6. What career(s) do I want to pursue?
  7. When do I want to retire?

 

Page 1 of 4412345»102030...Last »