Welcome to the first (of many, hopefully) Wealth-Building Wednesdays, where I try to offer you suggestions on how to build wealth. This would seem to be a departure from the many other fine personal finance blogs that devote a lot of their time and space to teaching you how to save money, be more frugal, and live beneath your means.
I, and a few others like 7 Million in 7 Years, focus, instead, on earning beyond your living.
Of course, taken to extremes, both points of focus can get you in trouble. On the one hand, you will have a really unsatisfying life; on the other, you may tend to forget about controlling your expenses and find yourself no better off with a LOT more income, but also with tremendous debt and expenses and a lifestyle that you may not even want.
Nevertheless, we’ll concentrate here in this special feature on building wealth from the income side. After all, income potential is virtually unlimited while expense savings are finite.
Plus, it’s my site and I’ll approach this topic how I want!
To be successful at anything, the most important thing you have to master is your mindset. Simply put, attitude is everything. You can have all the talent in the world, tools at your ready disposable, adequate funds, and everything else, and yet, you still could fail.
That’s how life works.
Not only do you have to work smart, you have to work hard. Look at nearly anybody you deem “successful.” They all “got there” through working smart, employing experts when necessary, using appropriate tools and resources, but there’s another critical thing they mastered:
Perseverance. “Sticktoitiveness.” Dedication. Burning the candle at both ends. Hard work is an acquired skill that you learn by practice.
This hard work is your front-end payment to a potential big payoff months, years, even decades later.
Even “overnight sensations” worked tirelessly for years, in most cases, to “make it” overnight!
Now that we got that out of the way…in case you missed it, it’s not good enough to work smart or hard. You have to work smart and hard.
Here’s a link to a book that might change the way you look at things. It’s called MindMap to Riches. It’s all about what I’m talking about here; it’s just a lot more detailed and lengthy in its description. By no means can I cover the how to part of creating a positive mindset in this relatively short post.
Suffice it to say it’s passion, hard work, being smart, making a plan, acting on the plan, and making corrections all along the way. Leave a component out and you may not make much progress, but put them all together and you’ve got a winning combination.
Only YOU can determine what success is. We’ve limited our scope here to say that success, in this context, is increasing your wealth.
What is wealth? From a personal finance perspective, it’s pretty simple:
Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth
The key to increasing wealth is limiting your liabilities to a manageable level while increasing your income-producing assets. As long as you can do that, you’re well on your way to amassing great wealth.
The pillars of a wealth-building system that we’ve described here are usually hard assets like your house, cars, precious metals, plus paper such as cash, money in the bank, stocks, and bonds. A vital component is a wealth-preservation instrument like liability and life insurance in case life throws you a knuckleball.
But the most valuable asset in your portfolio is YOU. You should think of yourself as an income-producing asset, striving always to become more productive through continuing education and training of the mind, body, and soul.
You are the ONLY one you can truly count on. Gone are the days of working for a company for 30 years, collecting your going-away gold watch and a nice little pension. Especially in light of the current state of the economy, you can be sure those days are gone — if not forever — for a very long time indeed.
If you’ve been here before, you know that I am a firm believer in running your own business. It’s difficult, but the rewards are usually worth it. The greatest benefit to me, however, is the idea that I am not relying on anybody else for gainful employment.
If I want more money, I go out and get it
I am not limited by my boss or a 40-hour workweek.
However, I know jumping ship on your career, no matter how tenuous the concept is nowadays, is not feasible for most people. This is where the smart work comes in. Keep your “day job” and do all your “own” business after hours. Of course, staying up late at night eventually becomes hard work, but you have to devise a plan to manage your time and health.
There are too many opportunities to mention that have potential for solid earnings. Private Label Rights publishing, ecommerce sites, ringtones, affiiate marketing, credit counseling and/or debt management companies — all of these have HUGE potential. Probably always will.
We’ll tackle some of these methods later in the series. For now, just find out what you can about setting your mental ship afloat. Determine what you’re good at, what interests you, what you’re passionate about! Get your head on straight and set yourself up for success!
In case you hadn’t noticed, gas prices are rising again. (Is it the dreaded “Father’s Day weekend?”) In my neck of the woods, the price of regular-grade gasoline is hovering right around $3. Here are some miscellaneous ramblings about gas, oil, alternative energy, and what I believe the only answer to our long-term energy needs (find out what I think that is below).
When I was a kid, my grandparent, with whom my mom and I lived, owned a gas station. Back then, they were called “service stations.” For 27 cents a gallon, you got your windows washed, your tires checked and even filled, your oil checked, other under-the-hood fluids checked and topped off…
Service was emphasized then. Gasoline (with lead!) was almost an after thought. Oh, it was “full service” too. You didn’t even have to get out of your car. And when you were ready to pay? The service station attendant took your money, went into the office, got your change and a receipt, and returned to offer you a heart-felt “Good-bye.”
And get this: If you paid by credit card, the price was the same! And the attendant would bring out a little machine that would take an impression of your credit card, ask for your signature, tear out a copy for you, and then — you were done!
My, have things changed. But unlike a lot of things, my gut tells me that things have gotten worse. There is no such thing as “full service.” (Even in states like Oregon, where an employee of the gas station has to pump your gas.)
Did you catch my reference to the price of a gallon of gasoline? 27 cents! With a lot of labor behind it.
Today, you pump your own gas and pretty much carry out the entire transaction without any other humans intervening. You wash your windows. Maybe.
Check the oil? Huh? Dipstick? What?!
Then, 1973 happened. My grandparents sold the station and set off on a journey across the USA. They got to Arizona (they lived in Northern California). My grandmothers kidneys failed, they came back, and she spent the next 5 years of her life tied to a dialysis machine 3 days a week, 4 hours at a pop. With numerous trips to the hospital.
I grew up, literally, inside and around a hospital. My grandparents, who had amassed a good sum of money the “old-fashioned” way (by the sweat of their brow and VERY frugal spending habits born out of the Great Depression), blew through their entire life savings in less than a year.
Anyway, the oil embargo should have been a sign of things to come. OPEC was, and still is, too powerful and ought to be illegal. Cartels are illegal here, but we, as a country, allow it and even embrace it.
Anybody ever tell you that the US and you in particular don’t support terrorists…you’re in denial.
You, out of necessity, give money to entities that really don’t have your interests at heart. Know what I mean? But I digress.
Nearly 40 years ago, we should have come up with a game plan to untether ourselves from black gold (aka oil). But we didn’t. Oil and gas prices declined and we started buying big American cars again. The late 70s saw the same thing recur.
Then again in the 80s. Now, it’s not so much OPEC as it is overwhelming demand coupled with a supply that is ever-dwindling. By the way, mining in Alaska may help. By less than 1 percent. Do the math: Gas is $3. You’ll save 3 cents, max. At the expense of spoiling yet another pristine part of the world.
Rising demand + Declining supply = Rising prices forever (all other things being equal)
It’s this “all other things being equal” part that is intriguing. By the way, this is how economists take really complex marketplace issues and boil them down into neat, easily-digestible “models” that work on paper but almost never in practice.
We can must change the “all other things being equal” part. There are substitutes in the marketplace for fuel. They’re right before our eyes. (Solar, wind, water, natural gas)
In addition, we’re using 100-year-old technology in gasoline-powered automobiles. The underlying construction of the gasoline engine is exactly the same as when Henry Ford revolutionized the auto industry in the early 1900s. Nothing, really, has changed.
Electric cars are far more “fuel-efficient” than gasoline-powered cars. After all, to charge your electric car battery, you have to plug it in to the power grid (a true solar-powered car most-likely will never occur, due to basic principles of physics — I cannot explain it here, but pick up a copy of Physics for Future Presidents).
Here’s a graphic illustrating the point:
As oil prices rise, so, too, does the disparity.
Ultimately, of course, we get all of our energy from the sun, either directly or indirectly. But when somebody says, “solar,” what they mean is power right now from the sun. We immediately think of the solar panels that were put on rooftops in the 70s and 80s (mostly as tax write-offs — they never really worked).
Now, however, the technology exists to extract a greater percentage of the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity. The sticking points are always energy storage (aka batteries).
Battery technology and the complex electrical switching that must occur in order to make this uber-power a viable source has lagged behind the rest of the solar industry. But that’s changing.
Of course, there’s wind and water or hydro power that is available. If we could harness a small fraction of the earth’s wind power we could have all the electricity we ever needed. Or harness the incredible power of the — get this — lunar power!
That’s right. The moon, which makes the tides, could be the source of our power! If only we could put giant turbines in the oceans…and reverse the power flow on opposite sides of the tides (generate power on rising and falling tides)…
I think we’re almost there, from a “can we do it” perspective. The rest is all political. Unfortunately, “the rest” is probably 90 percent of the problem; it’s most likely insurmountable.
Same goes for nuclear. It’s a phenomenal technology, considerably safer than it was in the 70s and 80s. But nobody here is willing to put a reactor in his backyard (NIMBY, or Not in My Back Yard).
So, I’ve said all that to say all this:
We need a new perspective.
What worked decades ago may not. Things change. So should we.
With any revolution, change doesn’t come in waves; rather, it comes slowly. It’s like the “Overnight Sensation” that took 20 years of blood, sweat, and tears to make it “over night.”
Problem is, we should have started taking the “baby steps” we needed to take several decades ago. I’m not going to suggest that “it’s too late,” but it is certainly disconcerting how we seem to have shown up to a party that dismantled years ago. The guest of honor has died, the cake is rancid, and the presents are all broken and used up.
Sorry, my “glass half-empty” persona sneaked out.
We can make this happen. I think we will — collectively — succeed. Our very survival depends on it.
Think about that for a moment.
If energy becomes truly in short-supply, wars bigger than all the wars put together will ensue (there’s “glass half-empty” again).
I hope we’re smarter than that. The alternative (making better choices now about how and where we get energy) is certainly a better option than kill or be killed.
And let’s not forget about fusion. We’re closer than ever. This supplants use of the sun for making our own. Sounds a little far-fetched, but we really are smart enough as a species to figure this out.
Welcome to the June 15, 2009 edition of kids and money.
Cash Tree presents Baby Clothes – Why Organic Is Better For Your Baby posted at Organic Baby Wearhouse, saying, “”Many of us know of the ecological impact of producing non organic cotton baby clothes (where cotton crops account for 25% of the worlds pesticides and 10% of the worlds insecticides each year). The question we hear often is are there really any actual health benefits for buying organic baby clothes. And the answer is Yes, organic baby clothes are better for your baby!””
Daniel Drew presents My business is doing well, should I choose an SBA Loan? posted at My Business is doing well should I choose an SBA Loan?, saying, “The reasons for getting an SBA Loan and how to get one. Also visit http://www.unsecuredbizloan.com to pre-qualify for an SBA Loan!”
Darwin presents Start an Investment Club: How To, Rules and Reality Checks posted at Darwin’s Finance, saying, “With an investment club being a beginner’s way into investing, this comprehensive ‘how-to’ and reality check investment clubs is a must-read for young investors.”
Jack Schmidt presents Blog Carnival – Submit an Article to a Carnival posted at SectorMatic Money Journal, saying, “Personal Finance – Everything for the Big Spender on a Budget. Now you can live like a fat cat, even if you’re on a money diet. Laugh all the way to the bank with Jack Schmidt and SectorMatic. It’s for you!”
Jim DeSantis presents 3 Keys To Self-Control and Saving Money posted at On Line Tribune | Family Life, saying, “Lack of self-control when it comes to money is a common pitfall for most people. Often, when people come into an extra amount of money, they have this tendency to rush out and instantly satisfy the irresistible urge to splurge on anything they lay their eyes on. This is a very costly mistake from a number of aspects. Sometimes people fail to recognize the idea that the future has to be considered, too, whenever spending and saving enter the picture.”
costseg presents Cost Segregation Audit Techniques Guide | Society of Cost Segregation Audit Techniques Guide posted at Cost Segregation Audit Techniques Guide, saying, “How do Cost Segregation Audit Techniques Guides work in real-estate this days and how can you save tax money with them.”
Brad Chaffee presents Your Children Will Handle Money, The Way You Handle Money posted at Enemy of Debt, saying, “Thank You!”
Jack Schmidt presents Health Insurance Can Improve Your Love Life posted at SectorMatic Money Journal, saying, “Personal Finance – Everything for the Big Spender on a Budget. Now you can live like a fat cat, even if you’re on a money diet. Laugh all the way to the bank wiht Jack Schmidt and SectorMatic. It’s for you!”
marjorie presents BillMyParents: Your Kids Can Shop Online posted at Wealth Junkies, saying, “BillMyParents allows kids to shop online without having to use their parents’ credit card. When they find something they want, they can send a request through BillMyParents. Parents receive the requests and can decide from there whether to approve or deny the purchase.”
Verna Morris presents How to Build Your Own Ivy Endowment Portfolio Using ETFs posted at ETFdb.
Wealth-Ed presents Can American Banks Bounce Back posted at Wealth Education – Investment Ideas Personal Financial Advice.
jared presents General Growth Continues Restructuring Efforts posted at Wealth Education – Investment Ideas Personal Financial Advice.
Jack Schmidt presents What Does the Internet Mean to Your Wallet? posted at SectorMatic Money Journal, saying, “Personal Finance – Everything for the Big Spender on a Budget. Now you can live like a fat cat, even if you’re on a money diet. Laugh all the way to the bank with Jack Schmidt and SectorMatic. It’s for you!”
Jack Schmidt presents Diversity Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry posted at SectorMatic Money Journal, saying, “Personal Finance – Everything for the Big Spender on a Budget. Now you can live like a fat cat, even if you’re on a money diet. Laugh all the way to the bank with Jack Schmidt and SectorMatic. It’s for you!”
Dan presents Flushing Toys Down the Toilet – Punishment Time posted at My Dad Blog, saying, “This article highlights the joys of children flushing objects down toilets and how to administer the consequences of a costly plumbing bill.”
Chris McClelland presents Could painting your roof be the key to reversing climate change? posted at Lucrative Investing.
Chris McClelland presents Touch Not the Retirement Fund, Thus Sayeth the Experts posted at Lucrative Investing, saying, “Please email me if you need anything.”
NetBiz presents Student Loans Without A Cosigner: College Loans For People With Little, Good Or Bad Credit posted at Your Finish Rich Plan, saying, “Finding the right student loan can be tricky depending on your personal financial circumstances”
Silicon Valley Blogger presents How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt: A Success Story posted at The Digerati Life, saying, “I would share this story with my kids. It’s an important lesson on managing debt!”
Mike Pastore presents Teach Your Children Well – Financial Education Starts at Home posted at Mikes Millions.com.
Credit Shout presents Responsible Credit Card Use in College Students | CreditShout posted at CreditShout.
Raag Vamdatt presents Birth of a child – how should your financial planning change? :: RaagVamdatt.com :: Financial Planning demystified posted at RaagVamdatt.com.
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of kids and money using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
Yeah, sounds like Washington DC speak, right? “Budgetary shortfall…”
If you are taking in less money than you spend, you have a budgetary shortfall. A deficit. A hole. You may not yet be going into debt; you may be using available savings.
A short-term budget shortfall is sometimes necessary. Perhaps your car broke down and you needed a repair. Washing machine stopped working. Got laid off.
Nevertheless, a prolonged shortfall can wreak havoc on your household. What do you do?
There are two things you have to do in a lengthy budget shortfall. The first, and I think it’s obvious, is to “tighten the belt.” Cut out unnecessary spending. That cable bill? You don’t need it. Cell phone? Cut your minutes, get a new, cheaper plan (pre-paid is a viable option). Netflix? Can it.
But companies that sell you this sort of stuff have gotten smarter. They tie you into contracts with early termination fees. Cell phone companies are especially adept at this.
You can only cut your expenses so much.
So you have to tackle the other part of the equation:
Income – Expenses = Cash Flow
Obviously, you want a positive cash flow. Once you’ve gotten your expenses down, there’s only one thing you can do to make your cash flow rise: Increase your income.
Today, with unemployment higher than it’s been in my short memory, you are likely facing a layoff or salary cut. No increases are in sight for “Average Joes” so you best think of another alternative.
Do you have a hobby? Can you convert your passion into cash? (By the way, my hobbies are generally expensive, so I face a dilimma – cut it out or turn it into income?)
Do you have unique skills (you do, you just have to find them and monetize them)?
Can you hold down a second (or a third) job for enough time to even out the income and expenses?
I am convinced that the only sure thing nowadays is to own and operate your own online business. Become an “information marketer.” You know things other people don’t. If you have a penchant for writing, you can build a “small reports fortune” by writing short (5-15 pages) reports about your area of expertise. You can often sell these for $5-$27!
If your writing isn’t great (it’s way better than you think – just write like you talk; people like that), start up a private label rights business. Here, you acquire (often for free, sometimes for a fee) pre-written reports that you can call your own and sell them. Two other great sources are PLRWholesaler and PLRSO Club.
You can set up blogs and websites with AdSense ads (you get a few pennies every time somebody clicks on an ad). I have posts with AdSense ads on this blog. While I don’t make a ton of money with ads, the money they generate adds up.
Another way to build up an online income is become an affiliate and sell other people’s products. Commission Junction, LinkShare, Google, and many others offer affiliate programs. All you do is sign up, put some affiliate links in your blog posts or web pages, and wait for the commissions to come in. It’s not exactly that easy, but it is that simple. Of course, the more smart effort you put into it, the more money you’ll generate.
The best part about all of this? Once you set it up, it’s all pretty automatic! Of course, your web site, whether it’s a blog or a more traditional site, has to be full of content that people want. It’s not good enough to throw up some feeble content and then let the site go. Constantly update it; keep it fresh. Keep people coming back for more.
These are just a few examples of how you can create more income (out of virtual thin air). There are hundreds of ways to start a budding online business.
One of the best systems I’ve come across is the Internet Millions System. It’s a PLR product I bought, modified my way, and put together in a digital download. It shows you how to begin a Private Label Rights business – how to acquire product, promote it, get traffic to your web site, convert browsers into buyers, etc. Basically, everything is covered from start to finish.
If you are currently suffering a negative cash flow, I encourage you to act on the information you’ve read here. If you need any help, please contact me via the Comments.
Welcome to the May 20, 2009 edition of Kids and Money. Do me a favor, would you? Please link back to this post, Stumble it, share it on Facebook, twit it on twitter. Or just click the ShareThis button at the bottom of the post. I’d appreciate getting more exposure.
Plus, you gain more exposure, too! And that’s really why you’re here. To be heard (or read, as the case may be).
Christopher B Williams presents Getting the Bait on Good Home Loan Terms Despite Bad Credit Score posted at The Real Loan Solution.
Chris McClelland presents 10 Reasons Your Bank Never Wanted You to Read This posted at Lucrative Investing.
John Russell presents No-Fault Auto Insurance Basics posted at The Low Cost Auto Insurance Guru, saying, “If you live in a state with no-fault auto insurance, you need to understand what it does and doesn’t do.”
Dr. Alan Singer presents When Mom is on Your Daycare Payroll by Dr. Alan Singer posted at FamilyThinking.com, saying, “Imagine the effect of paying your Mom to be your live-in Nanny for your twin girls like Dave and Kelly did. There is a lesson for kids, in that it’s better care (for the same money) to have Nanna look after you both than to drop you at a Day Care center each day.”
I can totally relate to this one. We’re in the process of choosing (again!) another day care center. We want our children (almost 2 and almost 4) to get the socialization and structured (somewhat) learning that a “pre-K” school offers, but man o man, none of them are close to ideal.
Chris McClelland presents College graduation: A diploma in one hand and a mountain of debt ahead. posted at Lucrative Investing.
While an education is a great differentiator, it’s not worth going into debt. Financial aide, scholarships, and very low-interest loans (as a last resort) are all viable means of funding a college education. Consider community colleges for a couple of years and finishing off at a state college or university. Live and eat at home. Commute.
Dan at Everydayfinance presents New Discover Current Card – Like Spying on Your Kids? posted at Everyday Finance, saying, “A new card out there allows parents to track their kids’ every move. This has mixed implications to consider.”
Jack Schmidt presents How to Know When You Need A Vacation posted at SectorMatic Money Journal, saying, “Personal Finance – Everything for the Big Spender on a Budget. Now you can live like a fat cat, even if you’re on a money diet. Laugh all the way to the bank with Jack Schmidt and SectorMatic. It’s for you!”
Patrick @ Cash Money Life presents Baby Coupons, Free Samples, and Discounts posted at Cash Money Life, saying, “Discounts, freebies, and coupons for baby items – including magazine subscriptions, diaper coupons, and more!”
Silicon Valley Blogger presents TradeKing Review: How Does TradeKing Measure Up? posted at The Digerati Life, saying, “Where should you open a new investment account for your child? I would suggest this brokerage because it has a wealth of investment materials and free tools that you can use once you sign up. It provides an awesome resource for budding investors to learn from!”
I agree. TradeKing is simply awesome. Very low cost, good tools, great resources…
The Smarter Wallet presents Kids and Money: Answering Your Children’s Money Questions posted at The Smarter Wallet, saying, “Thanks!”
freesoftware presents List of Best Free Software for New Computer posted at I Love Free Software, saying, “Here is a nice way to save some money in this economy – get all the software for free. This is the list of the best free software that you can install on your new computer. We searched all over the web, and compiled this list of best free software. Each one of these is best in its class, and still totally free. You are going to love these!”
Brian McKay presents Teen Drivers Are Hitting The Road posted at MonitorBankRates.com, saying, “In this country, cars kill more teenagers than cancer, gang violence, suicide, or drugs and alcohol. Hard to believe?”
Nope, not hard to believe at all. No doubt you, like me, know quite a few families devastated by this fact. Drinking and driving too fast are most often the culprits.
costseg presents cost segregation form 3115 | Society of Cost Segregation Audit Techniques Guide posted at Cost Segregation Audit Techniques Guide, saying, “read about form 3115 that is used in filling out segregation audits that are lately more and more popular on real estate market”
No kidding! But you’re doing your part here. Let’s keep on passing along the “I wish I had known…” advice!
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Kids and Money using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.