Are You Telling Your Friends and Family Too Much?

Are You Telling Your Friends and Family Too Much?

A friend of mine, Andrew (not his real name), is married with two kids.  A few years ago, his life was like many Americans – he carried consumer debt, had no savings, and was stressed out.  Life was not turning out the way he’d hoped.  Then he realized he was responsible for the mess he was in and set about to change things.

He worked hard to improve his financial position.  He eliminated all his consumer debt, leaving only his home mortgage which he has now paid off more than half.  He owns a single rental property which he recently paid off completely.  Due to his and his wife’s diligence in paying down their debt, his wife recently stopped working to stay home and care for their children full-time.

Andrew’s family lives in a nice home, but he and his wife drive older, paid-off cars.  They don’t take annual, expensive vacations.  They aren’t flashy.

Andrew listens to financial podcasts like The Money Peach, reads books like The Richest Man in Babylon, and is excited about his future.

Although some would like to think so, this isn’t easy for them.  Andrew works two jobs.  One is seasonal while the other is commissioned-based so there are good months and bad months, good years and not-so-good years.  This requires frugality and communication.  Sometimes the couple is on the same page about purchases and sometimes they are at odds (like all of us), but they are always focused on the same goal – staying debt free so they can live a life that most can’t achieve.

While I’m in the office, I touch base with Andrew about our financial journeys.  It’s one of our favorite topics to weigh-in on and we’re very open about how each of us is doing.

One morning recently, he was slightly bothered.  I asked him what was wrong, to which he replied, “I learned something disturbing this weekend.”

“What?” I asked.

“You can’t talk about how you’re doing to most people.  They’re either going to be jealous or expect you to start paying for everything.”

Read More

What are the Poor Four?  And are They Keeping You from Being Wealthy?

What are the Poor Four?  And are They Keeping You from Being Wealthy?

I read the most astounding paragraph in the June 19th, 2018 edition of USA Today.  In Wealth of Millionaires Surges 10.6% to top $70 Trillion for the First Time, David Carrig was reporting on the World Wealth Report 2018 recently released from global consulting firm Capgemini.  It was the third paragraph of the article that really caught my attention,

The number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) – which Capgemini defines as those having investable assets of $1 million or more excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables – grew almost 10 percent, or 1.6 million to 18.1 million in 2017.

After reading the title of the article, I wondered if this was supposed to be a shocking paragraph?  Was it something to get the readership wound up enough to raise their collective fist in anger and yell, “Life’s unfair?”

Read More

6 Real Ways to Build Long-Term Wealth

6 Real Ways to Build Long-Term Wealth

Becoming wealthy is not something that happens overnight. Sure, some people win the lottery or have a windfall of money from an unexpected inheritance, but you should not be holding your breath for something like that to happen to you.

Instead, to build real wealth, you need to think long-term. Rather than living lavishly, it’s important to adopt a lifestyle of disciplined saving and investing. These simple actions can help almost anybody grow a massive nest egg over time.

Here are six of my favorite ways to gradually grow real wealth.

Read More

A Cell Phone Is Everything It's Cracked up to Be

A Cell Phone Is Everything It's Cracked up to Be

I stood at the hotel room door, shortly after 5:30 a.m., with a hot coffee in my left hand and my cell phone and a banana in my right hand. 

This obviously wasn’t my normal routine and it had been further thrown off by the lack of coffee.  There should be coffee makers in every hotel room, but this was Las Vegas and if you stay in one of the casinos, they want to do everything they can to force you down onto the casino floor.  Hence, no coffee makers.

I’d arrived in Vegas the morning before after attending Rock on the Range, a three-day rock festival in Columbus, Ohio.  I was now in Sin City for the annual ICSC real estate convention that’s connected to my livelihood. 

Read More

Do the Wealthy Get Tattoos?

Do the Wealthy Get Tattoos?

I’m afforded a position where I work daily with a wealthy clientele.  Most of this group came to their affluence through hard work and creativity.  In other words, it wasn’t generational, gifted upon them by a relative after their passing.  These men and women had to get up every morning to earn their piece of the pie.  The majority of them are baby boomers and Gen Xers.  However, some of my clients are now millennials who have out-hustled others and created their wealth early in life.  I consider myself lucky to work with these clients because I’m able to learn by their example.

I have many customers who have tattoos, but they don’t fall into the wealthy category.  This group is often just starting out or have been working for years, still struggling to make it to the next level, often held back due to the decisions they made in their lives.

In paying attention to the two groups, it’s the wealthy clients and their lack of tattoos that recently caught my attention.

Read More

Why Viewing Pet Ownership as Only a Cost is Short-Sighted

Why Viewing Pet Ownership as Only a Cost is Short-Sighted

I want a dog.

Until recently I’ve had a dog, even a couple dogs at a time.  I’ve had them since I was a little boy.  They’ve been there to catch tennis balls and run through various neighborhoods.  Dogs have listened to my stories of success as well as tales of woe.  Moments of crazy happiness have been had with them as well as calm reflection.

Growing up, I would often say I liked dogs more than people and that probably still holds true today.  I look around the world and see it full of ding-dongs who are making the world a lot less friendly for the next generation.

I miss having a dog around as I haven’t had one with me for almost eight years now. 

Like, I said I want a dog, it’s just that I don’t need one and that’s where I’m struggling.

Read More

You Don't Buy Things With Money

You Don't Buy Things With Money

I was recently talking with a colleague who said he was close to retiring.  Gil (not his real name) is in his early fifties and slightly quirky.  He’s the type of guy who marches to the beat of his own drummer.  Although he works for a large, corporate-think company, he sports a long beard and tattoos.  He’ll freely talk about politics and other matters that most folks would shy away from.  With his wife, he lives in the country – far away from the hustle and bustle of society.

It had been a while since I talked with Gil so his mention of retirement was exciting.  I told him congratulations.  He said he was more than ten years ahead of what society had scheduled for his retirement, mostly because he’d been debt free, including his home, for many years.  He’s got a rental house which has some debt on it, but that payment is being covered by someone else.

I loved hearing he was free of consumer debt and asked him what led him to that point.  Almost everyone who is debt-free has a story about a moment of awakening to the soul crushing weight of financial liability.  Gil said he got himself into a position to retire, based upon some advice he was given when he was young.  Gil said once he fully grasped that concept, his life changed.

Being on a quest for knowledge that can help me grow, I immediately asked, “What was it?”

The advice, he said, was, “You don’t buy things with money, you buy them with time.”

Read More

How Much Stuff Do You Really Need?

How Much Stuff Do You Really Need?

USA Today and The New York Times (among many others) have published articles about the Baby Boomer generation starting to pass down treasured heirlooms to their GenX and Millennial children.  Unfortunately, those trinkets and other items are being looked upon with some disdain.

We don’t want them.

We don’t value these items the same way our parents did or their parent’s generation did.

Read More