Thursday, January 17, 2008

Everyone is a financial guru...

Tire of being broke? Feel inadequate because you are not a millionaire? Wish you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Well stop these feelings today! With my simple 942 step program I will guide you step by step on how to make me a million dollars and also send you to the poor house! Oh wait did I really say that out loud?

How many times a day do we hear this same type of advertisement on the radio/tv/internet? These self proclaimed profiteers claim that they have the next successful program that will provide you with financial security and they claim to do it faster than anyone else. I am not saying I know more than these people or that I have more financial wealth or assets, but I do have my opinions. Here is a short list of how you should view your money and financial security.

1. Make every dollar your employee - This easier said than done especially if those advertisers out there have anything to do with it. This really means putting your money to work for you. For example, if you make $50,000 a year after taxes and you spend half of that on essential living expenses the other $25,000 should be making money for you. How is the answer you need to come with on your own. Some people invest. Some people start their own loan portfolio. Some buy real estate. You need to find what works for you.

2. Stop paying interest on a depreciating assets - What this means is stop buying boats, cars and TVs on credit. This is easier said than done because of the emotions that go into buying products like a car or a boat. Also there is a sense of pride, I am too good to drive/captain/pilot that. The truth is that on a $20,000 loan at 10% APR over five years you pay back and extra $5,500 or 28% of the original loan value. This doesn't include any late payment interest or penalties. Pay cash or don't buy it.

3. Create a budget and stick to it - Why are multinational businesses successful? They budget. You should too. If you budget yourself to $200 bucks a month in entertainment expenses then stick to it. Budget for the unexpected and for vacations. NEVER take a vacation on credit.

4. Treat your financial security as a marathon not a sprint - This means don't try to get rich quick and expect to stay rich. A professor in college told me once that the he would retire a millionaire in two years. This was in 2000. He has retired from teaching but still operates his financial advising firm. His point was day traders can lose all of their money quickly and then like gambling they will borrow more to try and make up the difference. But it is the long haul investors such as myself that will retire rich, as long as they invest wisely, which brings me to my next point.

5. Invest with confidence - What I mean by invest with confidence is learn all you can about what you are investing in BEFORE a single dollar changes hands. If you are buying a strip mall and you want to attract businesses, if you don't know the history of the property it will be very hard for you to negotiate a fair lease price for both parties. If you are investing in a stock then know the history, know what they do and read the company's annual report. Warren Buffett is arguably the greatest investor of all time. He only invest in industries that he understands.

6. Learn how to effectively negotiate - Americans hate to negotiate. Compared to other cultures Americans are virtual infants. Being that America has only been around for 300 or 400 years our culture has developed a take it or leave it attitude in negotiations. In countries like Japan before negotiations even begin they will get to know you for a couple of days and then leave one day to negotiate the terms. Russians tend to leave lots of room for negotiating. For instance if you list your house for $300,000 their negotiations would start at $150,000. Americans would be insulted. Russians realize that by leaving more room to negotiate you tend to leave less money on the table.

7. Surround yourself with capable and reliable people - Some people are bargain shoppers. They are always trying to cut cost and they only worry about the bottom line. Many times they are doing more to hurt themselves then help. Automotive repair is an industry that it pays to develop a relationship with your mechanic. Over time the mechanic will get used to your car's quirks and be able to resolve a problem faster and with less effort and probably less money. Your accountant is another example. Having a capable tax accountant who knows your financial picture from year to year will fight to get you every penny possible, where a tax shack is only interested in herding the masses. Developing relationships with people is crucial from your lawyer all the way to your landscaper.

8. Go local - This goes along with the previous statement but in a different aspect. Go local means go with local banks and try to avoid the multinational companies. The local banks may charge you higher fees and rates but after years of seeing your deposits they will compete for your business and offer you better rates on loans and investments. They will also have a vested interest in making you more money. Offer you not only a good investment opportunities but offer you helpful advice. Consider this when you shop also.

9. Buy real estate - I know the mortgage industry is crashing down around our feet and people are being foreclosed upon left and right. Why in the world would you EVER want to buy real estate right now? Because buying the properties at a discounted price and then renting the house out to the very people that are being foreclosed on creates a line of revenue for you. Then when the market rebounds you sell it for a profit or continue to rent the property.

10. Create lines of revenue - You have probably heard this many times but has anyone told you what it means? Well this is how it works. You buy a business and you hire someone to run it and monthly the business pays you a salary. At the end of the year you reinvest the profit back into the business. So lets say you own a 10 unit apartment complex and the monthly payment on that is $10,000 dollars for your mortgage and the other expenses including your salary are $5,000 well you would need to find 10 lessees to rent the apartments at and average of $1,500 bucks or more a month. After you acquire more and more lines of revenue you can eventually quit your job and live of the salaries that each company pays you.

By doing these 10 things I guarantee you..... nothing, but I will say that it works for the wealthy and with a good game plan you can do it too. Motivating yourself is the hard part. If you want to add something please feel free to comment.

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