Teaching you to embrace today while making yourself a millionaire!

I wish I would have understood how easy it is to become a millionaire by starting to save small amounts of money when I was younger...

I feel compelled to share the simple concepts you can apply today....


31 December 2008

End of Year Thoughts........

As I look back on 2008 - it has been a year of extreme highs and extreme lows. The common theme has been growth through my experiences.

My year started by pulling my back and waking up on January 1st - in sister had a major relationship break up and was pretty distraught - and my cube mate was in a funk because all her friends were getting married and talking about kids - (not her goal for now). We all needed a change so -- my brilliant idea -- start the new year over in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year in February. We found a very inexpensive package and the three of us flew half way around the world for 5 days to bring in the New Year again!

This was a pinnacle point for all of us. For me it cleared my mind and was the beginning of Generation Millionaire and making major life changes and taking risks. For my sister - it was a moment of taking control of her life and moving forward instead of dwelling on what she missed - by walking away from the situation - it provided space for both of them. It gave her strength and it gave him the space to miss her. Long story short they are now living in Virginia and very happy, for my cube mate - it opened up a whole new world for her. It was her first international trip and she is a changed person. The experience opened her eyes and mind. She has found a new group of friends that are more in line with her goals and is dating a guy who lives in Germany! They skype every week and meet in exciting new places.

By not getting stuck and being open to starting our new year over - we created fun out of a low energy situation and turned it into opportunity for all three of us. Turn the stories off in your head and do something for yourself.

My cousin (who is more like a sister to me) had a very difficult year - her husband (age 52) died in March and her only son was killed in an automobile/motorcycle accident in June. The enormity of this crisis can never be explained - but her will to go on is inspiring. She is very sad but keeps finding projects that help others - it will be a long road for her and us, but I can see significant changes in her choices and what is important (not sweating the small stuff) and think down the road she will be taking that grief and sharing with others- maybe speaking at High Schools or writing a book.

This experience was a turning point for me. I reevaluated many choices in my life and realized I needed to realign where my time and energy was going. I was in a job that had wonderful benefits and paid well but was not fulfilling - it was draining me - I would come home and watch TV, not participate much in outside activities and was kinda edgy with my husband and parents. I kept staying in the job because it provided financial security but I realized that was all. In the mean time, I saw Marcus Buckingham on Oprah and he was talking about finding your passion - and at the same time I was in a book group reading "A New Earth" from Eckhart Tolle. The country went into financial crisis and my son called and requested I speak at his Fraternity. They wanted to understand the basics of money and what to do. At this point it was decided that my new path was going to be public speaking to any young person that would listen. So spread the word -

Life is made up of choices - are you happy with yours???

Stay tuned............

28 December 2008

2009 Year of Awareness

Well, it is that time of the year - winding down from the holidays, reviewing the past year - and planning for the new year. Are you happy with your life, health, job, relationships, growth, education, finances - and if not what are you going to do about it in 2009?

If you segment your life you will have a harder time achieving your goals. That is why diets rarely work - people are focused on a number verses their overall health and taking care of their body. It is always easier if you look at all areas of your life as a whole. How does this work with money?? We look at money as an instant way to get what we think we want. We are very impulse driven from the marketing we are surrounded by - and it has not been our culture to discuss planning and discipline.

When setting up a budget - it is not just about the money - think about lifestyle, what do you enjoy doing, short term savings, mid term and retirement- so when you are about to have an impulse buy - you can stop and see how it will affect your total picture.

By not following my plan - this purchase may affect my health - I will have additional stress down the road by not having the money I will need for ........, or bill collectors will be calling........., I will have to work additional years to have enough money to retire........., the $50 dollars I am spending today would be worth $5000 dollars in retirement...... etc. This is what the marketers are fearing - that you will take control of your mind and live a balanced life.

What is the main reason people do things they don't want to do?

The Law of Dissonance states that people will naturally act in a manner that is consistent with their 'cognitions,' meaning their beliefs, attitudes, and values," says Mortensen. "When people behave in a manner that is inconsistent with these cognitions, they find themselves in a state of discomfort, or dissonance."In other words, they feel awkward, uncomfortable, unsettled, disturbed, upset, nervous, or confused. "We will do everything possible to get rid of that tension, even if it means doing something we don't want to do," Mortensen says. An example: If you've ever contributed to a cause you didn't really care about because someone made you feel stingy, heartless, or both about not giving, you've experienced the Law of Dissonance in action. Likewise, if you've ever backed a boss's or coworker's half-baked proposal because he or she made you feel guilty (disloyal, uncooperative, stubborn) if you didn't - there's the Law of Dissonance again.

When making a buying decision, what percent takes place in a person's subconscious mind?
"Ninety-five percent of persuasion and influence involves a subconscious trigger. Thoughts like 'It just feels right,' 'I trust this person,' or 'I don't like this person' are all based on subconscious emotional reactions," says Mortensen. "Great persuaders know and understand the power of subconscious triggers."

2009 will be the year of awareness. Everything is connected - work on a life plan vs a To Do list. Come from a positive perspective and not what you did poorly last year. I believe you will be surprised at how much easier it is to accomplish your goals when you come from this perspective vs a laundry list of unrelated issues.

Stay tuned........

23 December 2008

Pets - Can You Afford One?

Pets - adorable, cuddly, cute, slithery, skittish, and lovable. During the holidays many of you will receive a pet as a gift or decide it is time to add a new member to your homes. I am a huge animal lover and we have had numerous pets through the years. If you decide to add a pet to your family - realize it is a financial commitment and you need to be able to afford to take care of all the animals needs, it is also a lifestyle decision and changes will have to be made in your life to take care of them. Whatever pet you pick - enjoy and have fun.

My tips as you pick a pet...

1. Think of your lifestyle - Dogs as wonderful as they are they take alot of commitment. You have to make sure you schedule your life around taking care of them. They need to be let out and exercised on a regular basis. Depending on the size they can be quite expensive to feed, need training and remember to consider cost of vet bills. If treated well and trained - can be a life long friend.

2. Cats have a bad rap as being independent and not very social. This has not been our experience. Our cats are very cuddly and want to be a part of EVERYTHING we do! Before deciding on a cat - again you need to consider your lifestyle. They are less work on a daily basis than a dog as they have litter boxes and you can leave food/water for them for a few days if necessary. The cost of food and vet bills need to be considered. Cats will play and lay in your lap and love to be petted. They become very attached to their owners.

3. Hermit crabs, snakes, spiders, lizards etc are interesting pets. Make sure you understand the environment they need to live in and what to feed them.

4. Hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs are pretty low maintenance - however if you don't keep the cages clean - it will smell and obviously is not good for the animal. Their life expectancy is shorter than dogs and cats - so consider that as well. Hamsters and gerbils live to escape - love running on a wheel and are skittish. Guinea pigs love to be held and snuggle and are less active.

If you have more than one pet make sure they are compatible. Also, please be responsible get the appropriate shots and have your animals spayed and neutered - there are millions of animals without homes and we do not need to add to that problem. Most shelters will assist with the cost.

Pets can add such joy and happiness to your life - enjoy!

Stay tuned.......

21 December 2008

Holiday Travel and Thoughts.........

As many of you know I have been spending most of time in Cleveland with family members due to a tragic loss of my cousin's husband and son. Talk about a wake up call to live your life and appreciate people everyday! In a split second your entire life can change.

So while traveling home this weekend I was delayed in the airport for an additional 5 hours. While waiting for my plane to arrive I visited with many people as they waited as well.
It was very interesting that not one person talked about gifts, what they wanted or how much they had. All the conversations revolved around family, memories, being together and wanting to arrive safely.

One grandmother talked about her three grandchildren sleeping in the same room with her when she visited. Two in sleeping bags on the floor and one in the bed with her - she couldn't wait to get to her daughters house for a giant hug.

A solider returning from boot camp couldn't wait to sleep in his own bed and be with family. He was disappointed he wouldn't see his father but thrilled to see his mom.

A guy had been trying to get to Philadelphia for 2 days and was excited when his plane arrived - he was going to see his brother for the holiday.

One girl was heading home from college - she couldn't wait to get home for her mom's home cooking and play games with her family.

Story after story - all people wanted was to go home, feel safe, be with people they loved and cherish the feeling of the holidays. The gifts will be nice but I guarantee you if I run into them in an airport next year - it is not what we will be talking about!

Stay tuned.......

20 December 2008

The Power of Less.....

I love the title of this book and am looking forward to the release on Dec 30th. Leo Babauta's new webpage will have a 30 day challenge starting Jan 1st - each challenge will take less than 10 minutes and can help transform many areas of your life.

For the past 5 years my family and I start the New Year by reflecting on our lives and what areas we would like growth in the upcoming year. I break my thoughts down into 5 categories: Spiritual, Relationships, My Health, Financial and Personal Growth.

Spiritual can be anything from noticing the sunrise on my way to work, regular meditation, attending formalized religious services, being in the moment vs worrying about past or future.

Relationships - how am I treating the people I love the most, who do I want to spend more time with and reprioritize my choices, review friendships, and most importantly how am I treating myself.

My Health - goals for this year - exercise on a regular basis, lose 10 pounds, floss on a regular basis, cut back on sugar and eliminate caffeine - schedule all routine exams. How often am I laughing or am I getting to serious --

Financial - review big picture. Any large purchases needed i.e. roofs, cars etc, Make adjustments in budget for income changes from previous year, Continue to pay ourselves first in 401k and IRA, Extra payments on house or start new business etc. Donations who are we going to support this year and how much.

Personal Growth can be from reading an additional book a month, to practicing for a marathon, volunteering, travel, uncommitting yourself if you are over committed, learning a new skill, taking a class, jumping out of an airplane ---- something new - something that will stretch you and make you a little uncomfortable.

For me this all ties together they are not separate categories I am always trying to look at all areas of my life as a spiritual practice - so taking care of my physical health is not something I have on a list - it is an activity I do and gain insight into my health, my mental endurance, my ability to be in the moment etc. It is amazing how I have transformed my life being more aware of my choices and actions. I look back over the past 5 years of New Years thoughts and goals and by consciously making little changes over time I have learned to embrace life everyday.

Stay tuned........

16 December 2008

If I Haven't Convinced You Yet.....

I have posted many times on the merits of long term savings and how time is your greatest asset. Here is another perspective of Time and Investing.....

•Save $3000 a year from age 30 to 70 = $800,000
•Save $3000 a year from age 20 to 30 = $1,000,000
•Figuring an 8% return in a well allocated portfolio

The person who starts at age 20 and saves for only 10 years and never adds another dollar will have more money than the person who starts saving at age 30 and continues to save for 40 years. Time is your biggest asset because of the compounding effects over time.

In a previous post I talked about T Rowe Price having an IRA account you can start for only $50 dollars a month on an automatic account builder. Something is always better than nothing in savings. Make a commitment today to use this time wisely.

Trust me if all the baby boomers could click their heels and do something different in their lives this would be in the top choices.

Stay tuned..........

14 December 2008

Financial - Plugging the Leaks....

Many college students and recent graduates are renting homes and most of the homes are older, not well insulated and are costing you extra money. I was just talking with a a recent graduate who is renting a home in the suburbs with three other young professionals. Things were going very smoothly until their first gas bill arrived. It was much higher than expected - so we started talking about ways to reduce costs. I found a great article on consumer reports with tips for cutting energy costs.

The energy leaks are very apparent to us when we receive a bill but do you realize money is leaking from your wallet everyday. Not using coupons when shopping, not looking for sales on products you use regularly, gas prices varying from corner to corner, cell phone packages using more or less minutes, paying interest on credit cards, and fees on checking/savings accounts to name a few. Yahoo Fiance listed six sites for managing your money. There are many tools available the trick is to find the one that fits your style and stick with it.
I also love the web page - it is a free subscription and you can watch TV shows and movies. Another cost saving idea and you don't have to leave home to pick it up.

Stay tuned.......

12 December 2008

Financial Friday - Auto Bailout

Wow, As disgusted as I am with the American Automakers - the reality of the bailout bill not passing again is frightening. Is it time to let them fail and see what and who comes up with new ideas and new industries? (see previous post).

I was a new driver during the last energy crisis in the 70's and remember all the talk of creating more fuel efficient cars, looking at alternative ways to design cars - well 30 years and a few bailouts later the automakers are in the same place. While foreign automakers have created a better product, better efficiency, leading in the hybrid market and not having to pull on the heart strings of buy American to sell their products. When in reality most foreign cars are made on American soil with American workers. So what do we do?
Through my adult years many industries have faded and or revamped their business to keep up with technology and or changes in lifestyle. A few that come to mind..... typewriters, 10 key cash registers, slide rules (for those of you who haven't heard of this - it is what we used before calculators), hair dryers, wall telephones, long distance, phone cards, cell phones, cooking appliances and how we prepare food, remote controls, cassette tapes, 8 tracks, cds, dvds, energy efficient appliances and windows, music systems, hand written letters, email, instant messaging, twitter, Internet shopping. Seth Godin is an agent of change his book Tribes gives great direction on thinking outside the box and creating change with passion.

This list is just in the last 30 years and I literally thought for less than 3 minutes. Where have the brilliant minds of the Auto Industry been while all this was going on? My concern is all the millions of individuals who once again went to work and did their job only to be the ones hurt by the greed and short sightedness of their leaders

Stay tuned.........

11 December 2008

What Idea Do You Have?

I just read a great article on Inc. Com - The Entrepreneurial Generation The Gen Y Spin on Start ups.

The article talks about creative solutions to some age old issues. This generation is looking at existing products and services and revamping them to a much more user friendly format. Without all the baggage of a corporation they think through what services they are really want. A great example is Aaron Patzer found Quicken and Microsoft Money boring and not meeting his financial needs. He found them to be tedious and complicated to set up - then after all that still did not track his spending accurately. So he designed a product that tracks his money accurately, tells him when his bank account is low, when his credit card is due to name a few of the features.

The article lists other very inventive ideas - read through it and think about your life. What things do you and your friends complain about - can you improve, simplify or redesign the concept?? There are many frustrated consumers looking for the next big idea....

Stay tuned.......

10 December 2008

Your Financial Future Can Be in the Black!!

Fortune spoke 8 of the sharpest financial minds and they say the future is grim. My hope is that the only debt you have is student loans and using the money wisely.

If you have credit card debt - please get a plan to pay it off. The first step is to stop using the card. Get on a cash only system. I actually heard about people that put their credit cards in a zip lock baggie filled it with water and put it in the freezer. The ultimate credit freeze!

If you can pick up a few extra hours at work. ask for cash for the holiday, what have you purchased recently can it be returned - did you really need it? The book Million bucks by 30 Alan Corey talks about some extreme ways he saved money. Add a roommate for rent and to split the utilities, play games at home vs going out to a movie, well he didn't buy or do much - however, he did reach his goal and this set him up for options. Mental and Financial freedom by exercising discipline for a few years. Zen Habits -The 12 step Get out of Debt Program provides a guide to get started.

If you make good financial choices now - your future will be much more secure. Learn from the mistakes of others and unfortunately they are everywhere. Drive down any street and see all the houses in foreclosure, business closings, look at the headlines - banks in distress, automakers need a bailout - the government is trillions of dollars in debt. Don't make these mistakes - live within your means - actually under them and save for your future. Save for things you really want so when you can actually pay for it - it is exciting.

Your financial life will never be simpler than as a college student. If you create good habits now and priorities - you can avoid the pitfalls of debt, stress and over indulgence.

Grab a pad of paper and write down every time you spend money - you will be amazed at the hundreds of dollars that slip through your fingers without a thought. Being aware is the first step to making a change.

Stay tuned............

07 December 2008

Holiday Gift Idea For You!

This year for the Holidays ask everyone for cash to start an IRA.

For young adults this couldn't be a better time. The market is low and you have time. All you have to do is ACT! What are you waiting for?

T Rowe Price has an account you can start for $50 a month or $1000. If you go with the automatic account builder it will help you make small changes so you can continue to contribute every month. We are talking $12.50 a week. One less fast food meal and speciality coffee a week - will start to build you wealth and security.

Basic Rules for Investing in an IRA.

1 Need earned income

2. 2008 limit $5000, if over age 50 $6000

3. Can not contribute more that you earn

4. 2008 contribution deadline is April 15, 2009

5. Roth IRA is normally the best choice for young investors

6. Investment - research all in one funds/target retirement date

T. Rowe Price gives an excellent data sheet on the differences and eligibility for IRA investing. If you have concerns feel free to comment on the blog and I will be happy to answer your questions.

After much research T Rowe Price had the lowest minimum to get a new investor started. Other discount firms such as Fidelity Investments had a minimum of $200 amount on an automatic account builder and Vanguard had a $3000 minimum. As always check with a financial professional before making an investment decisions. All the above companies have licensed representatives available to answer your questions and assist you. They are all salaried and not on commission. This keeps fees low and the representative from pressuring you into a product you don't need.

As always check with a financial professional prior to making any investment decisions.

Happy Holidays

Stay tuned................

06 December 2008

More Books and Blogs... Winter or Vacation Reading

There are alot of creative individuals and many ways to spend your time and money. I have a friend that swears she will never pay for shampoo again and will never pay more than 25 cents for a tube of name brand tooth paste. She has coupons down to a science - and actually donates many of the items she gets for free.

I know people that recycle everything from bread bags to sour cream containers. I don't mean recycle in the terms we think of today - I mean reuse until it falls apart. Clorox wipes for them is a bucket of water with Lysol and a rag they can wash and reuse. Streak free window washer -not needed - use a newspaper to wash the windows. Messy for you but you get spotless glass.
Now me I have to admit I have gotten soft over the years. Working full time, raising kids, traveling to check on parents and grandparents - it is easy to become part of the disposable society. Well being committed to your generation I will have to make many many changes as I an quitting my full time job to spend all my time trying to educate you. So it will be back to cooking at home the majority of time, clipping coupons, backgammon tournaments at home vs going out to a movie, putting away all credit cards and going to cash only system, using the library all the time, dropping blockbuster mail movies - okay you get the point.

Many people think I am insane giving up a good paying secure job to speak at colleges and universities but I believe knowledge is power and if you have the information - you will make good choices. So in the spirit of my need for change I have a few books and blogs to suggest.
It is amazing how creative people can be - it just takes discipline.

Mary Hunt is a newspaper columnist with a web page/blog - Debt-Proof Living. If you are interested she will send an email everyday with a tip for cheapskate living.

Humorous and fun book by Jeff Yeager. The Ultimate Cheapskate.

A really committed family to living frugal while maintaining a good quality of life turned to NY Times best selling book. America's Cheapest Family.

Freakonomics - A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything. Chapter 1- Discovering cheating as applied to teachers and sumo wrestlers.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is a book about change. Read the Q & A with the author. Society and behavior is always a source of interest.
Lastly, Fire Finance is a blog that lists numerous freebies. It saves you time and if it is a product you could use or donate - it is fun. They also had an interesting blog on a rentometer to see if your paying a reasonable amount for your area. Pretty cool stuff.

I will get back to the different investment options and explain the types of retirement savings options that are available. Time is on your side and with the market down - it is the time to start saving for your future.

Stay tuned.........

05 December 2008

Financial Friday

Once again more of the same, volatile markets, bad economic news, more layoffs and concerns about consumer spending. So rather than dwell on the negative I thought I would give a few links to charities that could use your help this year.

Throughout the years our family has given back to our community in numerous ways, from volunteering at a soup kitchen, walking dogs at a local homeless shelter that housed them, made bags with hats, scarfs, gloves and food for homeless individuals in our area, went to local nursing homes and spent time with the residents that didn't receive many visitors, and went to an orphanage and donated toys. We have also worked with Habitat for Humanity, Cardiostart International and many other groups that reach out to assist others in need. We are very grateful for our health, education, family and friends and believe everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.

Do you have a coat you aren't using? There are many people who could use one.
One Warm Coat will give coats to a person in need free of charge. Click on the link to find a donation drop in your area.

Vietnam Veterans of America will pick up your used clothing, furniture, baby items, shoes, toys and much more. Click on the link and set up a pick up for your non needed items that could change another persons life.

While most of us are thinking about what we want that would make our lives more enriched - there are kids fighting for their lives. St. Judes Children's Research Hospital offers products many are designed by the children and the proceeds go back to St. Judes for research.

One in eight Americans is fighting hunger. Feeding America serves many communities. You can click on the link and at the top of the page click on Find a food bank. If there is one near you they will list food drives and what you can do for your local community.

The Giving Spree is offering the book Santa goes Green for 20% off the list price while donating a portion of the proceeds to Polar Bears International and Habitat for Humanity.

Another idea is watch your local news station throughout the holiday season. They will normally give locations of reputable charities in your area. Be care not to give your credit card number over the telephone as there are many scam artists out at this time of the year.

If you or your family is in need - please accept the help that is available and if you are able to give back - please do. It can be by donating time, talents, recycled items or cash donations.

Stay tuned...........

02 December 2008

I just read a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a very easy read and I felt like I knew the author from his style of writing. I laughed out loud and was amazed at his determination to be a millionaire by 30. His methods may be more extreme than what you are willing to do - however he was so creative in his methods. I love thinking outside the box.

I do suggest going to the library to borrow it and see if it triggers any creative ideas you can incorporate into your life. It is always fun to be challenged and have a moment of inspiration. It is those who are willing to be different that normally achieve their passions.

It is a perfect book for a cold winter day. Hopefully, it will inspire you to make a few more simple changes and continue to reach for your goals.

The book is "A Million Bucks by 30" by Alan Corey.

I would love your thoughts on the book and any recommendations you may have.
Stay tuned.......

01 December 2008

Great Question!

I received a comment asking about IRAs. There are a few good sites that offer education and the opportunity for low cost investing.

Fidelity Investments and T Rowe Price both offer good information on their web pages. They go over eligibility and benefits of both Roth and Traditional IRA.

If you are young and are eligible for the Roth IRA it is a great option. The money will go in after tax (out of your checking account) and will grow tax deferred. As long as you don't withdraw your money prior to 59 .5 years old - all the earnings will be tax free. So if you invest $5000 and it grows to $50,000 then the $45,000 (the earnings) would be tax free.

There are some easy ways to invest that are low cost. Fidelity and T. Rowe Price offer Time Based Funds. The concept is an all in one fund. The fund manager looks at your time frame and will invest the fund in the appropriate amount of stocks vs bonds for your time frame. They will slowly make the fund more conservative as you get closer to your goal. There is no sales charge to get into the fund (if you go directly to the company - not through a broker) - so if you invest $3000 the entire amount will be invested.

For more information on how mutual funds work go to CNN Money - they have a great area on all areas of investing. The Mutual Fund section will explain the different expenses in funds.

Be sure to check with an investment specialist prior to investing. If you call directly to Fidelity Investments, Vanguard or T. Rowe Price they all have licensed Representatives that should be able to answer your questions. To the best of my knowledge they are salaried - not working on commission.

Please keep the questions and comments coming. In the next blog I will go into more detail on retirement savings options.

Stay tuned.......

30 November 2008

How Do I Become A Millionaire?

It has been a while since I talked about the original mission of Generation Millionaire. To teach and encourage you to use the time you have to make your retirement more secure.

So what is one of the pieces of the puzzle? "Time + Regular Investing" into a diversified portfolio = Long term success

The sooner you start investing in a 401k or IRA the more $$ you have for retirement.
If you invest $60 a week starting at age 18 for 50 years with an 8% return = $1.9 Million
If you invest $60 a week starting at age 25 for 42 years with an 8% return = $1 Million
By waiting 7 years to invest a mere $60 a week - you give up almost one million dollars.

Where am I going to get $60 a week or $8.50 a day ?? It is so easy with simple changes you won"t notice in the long run.....
Pack your lunch instead of eating out -
Go to the library for movies, cds, books and games -
Plan your route to avoid extra driving -
Go to a matinee
Drink water vs ordering soda, coffee, tea etc.
Buy used books for classes
Don't use your charge card

Little changes that will not affect your quality of life TODAY will pay off big TOMORROW.
This information can change your entire generation - WILL YOU BE A MILLIONAIRE?

Save any amount you can - less is better than none. I challenge you to write down every time you spend a penny - you will be amazed at the way money trickles out of our wallets.

Always check with a financial expert prior to making any investment decisions. Play with the financial calculator under the calculator link tab at the top of the page.

Stay tuned.......

28 November 2008

Financial Friday - What Happened?

What should have been a fun filled shopping spree for some turned to disaster at 2 stores and I am sure there were many scraps at others. My questions to all of you is......Are things that important to you? If you were the first one at a store waiting to get in for a great deal and people started to push or try to get in front of you - what would you do? It is the same question as when someone takes a parking spot you were waiting for. How do you react?
Who do you want to be?

I have been up half the night thinking about the 34 year old WalMart Worker who was trampled to death by an over zealous crowd - drugged by the idea of a good deal. First off my sympathy to the family. My heart goes out to your family and I am sorry for our society and what we have become.

So who's fault is it?

The media for over hyping the deals on Friday and ignoring Thanksgiving and all the reasons for the holidays in December. As well as continuing to encourage the culture of things.

The stores for only having a few of the special priced items to lure thousands of consumers to their stores in the middle of the night and creating a sense of panic to get to the few cherished prizes on sale. Not having a system to organize the mass crowds waiting to get for the handful of bargains.

The shoppers for letting their emotions take over any sense of reason. To literally put themselves and others at risk to save a few dollars on something they could live without.

I have told my kids their entire lives it only takes a second to change your life and that of others. Stay alert or leave when a situation could easily turn out badly. I called it the Princess Diana moment. Had she just walked upstairs to a suite in the hotel she was at - she may still be alive. She seemed to have gotten caught in the energy of all the people around trying to "protect" her and ended up in a horrible situation. Stay aware of your energy - and decisions.

I just ask that all of you decide what type of society you want to live in and be the role models that we so desperately need. Constantly review your actions and ask yourself is this what I value?

Enjoy shopping for your holiday gifts, make it a family event and put thought into what others would really enjoy or need. It should be a wonderful heart felt time of the year. Please stay safe and embrace those you care about.

Stay tuned......

27 November 2008

Time for Gratitude!

I love Thanksgiving - it is probably my favorite holiday. No big hype, kinda gets lots between Halloween and all the December holidays. It is not about what football game is on or if the turkey is dry.

For me, it is a time to remember and be thankful. We take for granted all our rights, freedoms, and choices. We forget not everyone in the world has access to good medical care, food, water, and the basic necessities. I volunteer for a group called Cardiostart - they go around the world and teach very basic open heart surgery to third world countries. I have a connection to this group for 2 reasons -

1. If i didn't live in this country I would have died 35 years ago.
2. I am trained as a ECG/Monitor Tech from when I was much younger

When I realized kids and adults were dying from a medical procedure we have been doing for 50 years - I was disheartened, outraged and sad. And decided to use my time and energy to assist them. My point in telling you all this - is we very fortunate to live in the United States. When you have everything at your finger tips it is easy to realize not everyone has the same options.
I love Thanksgiving - for me it is a day to reflect and think about what I will do in the upcoming year to help others that are less fortunate.

We wish you and your family a very healthy, safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Stay tuned.........

26 November 2008

Beware of Black Friday!!

Wow, I thought after the election the onslaught of targeted commercials would come to end. I was mistaken. The marketers are in an all out battle for your business. It will be survival of the most creative marketers. My thoughts to you.........

There will be amazing deals this year. Yahoo has what they feel are the 10 ten best deals. However, most people believe that the deals will get better closer to Christmas. Friday stores will have door busters to try and get you into the store in hopes you will buy other things.
Make a list of who you are buying for and how much you are going to spend. (hopefully, in cash). When you buy for that person - stop and move on to the next. No adding another gift because it is a great deal.

Spend more on one gift than another person gets a less expensive gift. Stay on your budget.

No impulse buys - that is the marketers whole goal in life.

I received one of those emails that friends and family fill in things about themselves. One of the questions was - Favorite Christmas or Holiday gift. Ready - most people do not remember!! Next question what do you want for the holidays this year? 100% said - family to be healthy or spend more time with friends and family. It has nothing to do with things.

Depending on the person's financial situation - you may want to get practical gifts - money is tight everywhere. Items they may need through the winter, stamps to pay bills, gift card for groceries may relieve some stress.

If getting gift cards check to be sure the store isn't closing. There are 100's of stores closing - you do not want your gift to be useless. So buyer beware.
Lastly, if you go battle the crowds in search of amazing deals - have fun.
Picture from Etsy.
Stay tuned............

24 November 2008

Some more credit facts

I have been thinking alot about when I was in college and how life worked in the 80's. I went to school about 4 hours from my childhood home. There were no cell phones, email, instant messaging, or other forms of instant communication. My mom would write me a letter and tell me when she was going to call so I would be home to answer the phone. Long distance was expensive and we always made the calls quick and not during peak hours.

I had a checking account - no debit or credit cards. I ate in the school cafeteria no other options existed on a meal plan. I would grab extra fruit or bagels to have food in my room. I waited for boxes to arrive from home or family members for home cooked treats and hopefully a few dollars.

Every time I spent money it was literally a very conscience decision. From splitting a pizza with my roommate, going to a dance club, what personal items I purchased, to how I bought my books for my classes. I can still remember what it felt like to ponder these purchases - because to have 1 item meant I didn't have another. It was not a bad feeling it was one of being responsibly and respecting my limits. It also help me really prioritize what was important to me. I still make my financial decisions with the same awareness. I live under my financial means and really enjoy everything I choose to spend my money on.

Here are some financial tips for high school and college students... from the Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program.

1. Create a realistic budget.

2. Open a savings account.

3. Look for ways to save money. We have discussed this time and time again.

4. Use cash, debit card or checking out instead of credit.

5. Avoid credit card debt.

6. Pay your bills on time.

7. Pay debt off as quickly as possible.

8. Minimize student loan debt.

9. Avoid - impulse shopping, expensive behaviors like gambling and drugs, opening multiple charge accounts, pawn shops, car loans longer than three years, rent to own and payday establishments. Do not open credit cards to get free stuff. Those cards HURT your credit.

10. Remember the consequences of abusing credit cards and other consumer debt. Don't lose out on a job, student loans, admission to graduate school, apartment or car loans because of too much credit card or other consumer debt. Today everyone is pulling credit reports and suing them to make decisions about your future.

I don't know when this changed but when I was in college my parents weren't concerned that I worked third shift in a hospital on weekends and part time at the Medical bookstore while going to school and having a social life. I was able to manage all that and keep my student loans to a manageable amount. I am not suggesting everyone should work 2 jobs but I am asking why is not possible to work at least 1 part time job to cover your extra expenses or keep your loans to a minimum. This parent attitude (in my thinking) does not help you learn to manage your time, finances and choices. My kids are very active in college activities, work part time, take student loans, and perform well in their classes. They are accountable for their life and choices. As parents we assist with expenses (our choice) and support their choices. Isn't that what college is all about - learning to make responsible decisions and learn to live on your own?

Stay tuned............

23 November 2008

RSS Feed

I know have a RSS feed on the blog. If you go to the bottom of the blog under Subscribe To:
Click on Posts - you can then receive notification when I add to the blog. I use igoogle and when I pull up my home page it lists the most recent posts.

It is an easy way to stay current on what we are doing at Generation Millionaire. We have more and more presentations and ideas for you in 2009. We will also have some guest writers soon. As always, look forward to your comments and emails. Continue to invite your friends to view the blog and sign up for the RSS feed.

Thanks and have a safe and fun weekend.

Stay tuned.......

21 November 2008

Financial Friday - Ramblings

Today I am going to hit numerous and varied topics - so go with my ramblings so I can clear my mind and get back to the post on credit! Regarding the current economic situation I am going to link to some articles - from Marketplace and CNN Money.

First, the financial picture this week is more of the same. Volatility, uncertainty, low consumer confidence, layoffs, more store closings, pension concerns are a few of the issues facing us.

The basic principles still apply - start saving now (especially with the market so low), Time is on your side. Make wise decisions with your money - give up the impulse buys and don't be drawn in by the marketing, the best things in life are free - stop think what is your favorite childhood memory? I will wager it isn't something you received but something you did with someone. Remember that when you start to pull out your wallet.

Next, I found a comment on the blog that I want to respond do. Here is the question:
Josh said...
My girlfriend is in pharmacy school and is receiving student loans. Her loan covers her tuition and gives her about $1,200.00 every quarter. What could she do with her money that would benefit her after pharmacy school?

Josh, thanks for the question. There are a few factors to consider. Is there any chance she will need any of the money sooner? If so, put that portion in a savings account hopefully returning some interest - so she can get to it in an emergency. Next, depending on how many years she has until she graduates - I would think about keeping it safe - she could put it in a CD that may secure a higher interest rate than the savings account - but not take on any additional risk. If she is not going to need the money for 5 years or longer she could look into a conservative mutual fund - something that has a mix of stocks and bonds. Many firms offer asset allocation funds that go from lower risk to higher risk. The more stock in the fund the more risk you assume. So she could look at a fund that has 20 -40% stock and the rest in bonds - if she wants to assume more risk and have the opportunity for a higher return. As always, check with a financial professional prior to making any decisions. Smart about Money is a good unbiased educational resource.

Lastly, I can not encourage you enough to really look at your values and where you place your time and money. Our family had a tragic loss 5 months ago - my cousin Joe was 34 years old and killed in an automobile/motorcycle accident. He had his helmet on, had the right of way and the person turned right in front of him. The driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter yesterday. This whole situation is tragic. You don't know what is going to happen from one second to the next - so spend time with the people you love, be kind, give back, laugh, learn, have fun, embrace the world around you and realize that money and things can never replace the time and energy you give to others. Have a safe and awe inspiring day!

Stay tuned........

20 November 2008

Are You Kidding Me - Make A Wish Come True......

I saw a commercial from Sears right before I went to bed last night that really bothered me. Apparently, it haunted me because I am back up and writing a post on it at 3:40 am.

The ad basically states "Make a wish come true" for the holidays. Purchase a gift you can not afford to make someone else "really happy" now. Credit terms 12 months same as cash.

Here is what you need to understand - if you can not afford it now - Don't buy it.

The way 12 months same as cash works is - if you pay the entire amount back prior to the 12 month window - you pay no interest, however if you can not pay it ALL back - all the interest over the past 12 months is added to your amount due. It is normally at a very high interest rate. The wish becomes your nightmare.

Please be careful over the holidays. Do not go into debt for a gift or an impulse purchase for yourself. We just had a contest on creative low cost gifts. Go back through the posts get some ideas. Things will not bring you happiness no matter how much the marketers what you to believe that.

Stay tuned...........

19 November 2008

Ways to Ruin Your Credit......

What is all the talk about credit? It seems to be all the buzz. So what can you do to protect yourself from making some common mistakes that could take you years to undo.

Top 10 Mistakes

1. Accept all the preapproved credit card offers you receive and open in store credit cards to save 10% on a purchase.

2. Buy everything you want on credit- spend more than you make or can pay each month.

3. Pay your bills late or miss a payment if money is tight.

4. Let your accounts go to collection. Ignore creditors.

5. Close credit cards account soon after opening them.

6. Max out your credit cards - use every bit of credit given to you.

7. Co-sign for other people to get credit or let others use your cards.

8. Mismanaging student loan money.

9. Not having a budget.

10. Not getting and reviewing your free credit report every year.

In the next few posts I will discuss what a credit score is , what is credit and ways to establish and maintain good credit. By being responsible with your credit - it can lower interest rates on loans, give you opportunity for home or car ownership, obtain employment, and on a personal note it makes you a more desirable partner, less stressed out when the phone rings or the mail arrives, and a feeling of self respect.

Stay tuned......

18 November 2008

University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University Presentations

Exciting news.... I will be presenting at the University of Cincinnati on January 27, 2009 for the Business School and at The Ohio State University on February 9th, 2009.

Generation Millionaire is spreading. We have young adults all over the country and quite a few countries around the world reading and responding to the blog. Please continue to share the blog with your friends. Knowledge is power and creates financial and mental freedom - which ultimately creates options!
I want to thank both schools for offering this opportunity to their students. The information can change their lives by understanding the basic principles of time over money, paying oneself first, debt is a trap, living under ones financial means instead of above, asset allocation, compounding and the rule of 72, and the biggest investment mistakes.
I have quite a few pending presentations I will continue to share the schools and organizations as they become definite.
I have not forgotten we will discuss credit mistakes.........
Stay tuned....................

17 November 2008

The Winners Are....................

First Place: Zac_Attack for his creative idea on saving money while creating a lasting memory. Taking the time to hand make holiday cards for his girlfriend. He said the cost is from 0 -$5 if you are elaborate. But taking the time and personalizing the card makes it very meaningful. $15 Chipotle gift card

Second Place: Noelle for her memory gift box. She sat and reflected on the many good times she had with her grandparents throughout her life. She hand wrote all the memories on separate strips of paper, then decorated a gift box and put them all inside, wrote a note telling them how much they meant to her. She said her grandparents loved the gift and throughout the year they can pull a memory out and realize how little gestures can make a big difference in a person's life. $10 Chipotle card

I want to thank everyone who submitted thoughts via the blog and email. All the ideas were creative and had a personal touch to them. It goes back to what we have been talking about the past 6 months. Time, not money, is what people remember when they reflect on their lives.

It is the memories of driving around in a car all day getting free ice cream, the box of memories, the card you can look back at down the years and remember the love it was made with, the pressed flower picked while on a picnic, making a special coupon to be redeem at a later date and the low cost idea of buying a chocolate bar and attaching a lottery ticket - (if you win big you will never forget that day).

Zac and Noelle if you can email your information I will put the cards in the mail.

We will have more contests next year - so keep thinking about ways to be efficient with your money. Next blog will be on Credit.

Stay tuned..............

14 November 2008

Financial Friday

I thought a little humor would be good today. Given the markets have been insanely volatile, the economic report for many stores is grim - except for Walmart - who had a profit in Q3.

CNN had an article from Steve Almond on not spending money for seven days. It is very humorous but gives a good perspective on not being cheap -- but realizing how much money we spend a week unconsciously.

As the holiday season fast approaches us - it would be a good time to set a specific amount of money you will spend. Then break it down by person. Write down each purchase and if you go over on one person than another person gets less. This is no time to create debt.

Marketplace has a story about buyer's remorse and the insurgence of people returning recent purchases. It is a backwards way to the same result of Generation Millionaire. They make an impulse purchase get home and realize they don't really need it and return it. Do that a couple times and your habits start to change!

There have been some wonderful low cost ideas on the comments from the contest. Go back and read through those and get creative. I think the lesson from the contest is the best memories are free - they require time and attention to detail.

Have a safe weekend.

Stay tuned......

13 November 2008

Another Piece of the Puzzle - Credit

A brief summary of previous blogs - go to the archives to review.
We have discussed responsible choices in your purchases - do you NEED it or WANT it for instant gratification.... Values - what are yours ... do you have a list of goals, did you do a top 20 list (things you would like to do before you die, who you will do it with, cost, time frame). This exercise really helps you live a more conscience life, as well as, more meaningful.

Then we went into budget - living within your means and actually under them. Take some money and save for an emergency and for retirement. Give up a few of the fast food meals, video games or as simply as getting water instead of pop while eating out will save you money. These small changes will NOT affect the quality of your life today but will definitely change it LATER.

Student Loans - this is a big concern for most of you. How much to take and repayment. As I always state I am not a fan of debt however if you are getting student loans and maximizing your opportunity at school - you will never make a better investment than in yourself. If you use the above steps - you can limit how much you will need to borrow.

The next very important piece to consider is your CREDIT. You can go to and get a free credit report every year. There are three credible firms you can get your report from: Experian, Equifax and Transunion. Do not use other free credit sites such as Free credit report - they ultimately aren't free and may not be secure.

Having bad credit will create you many many problems. You do not want to go there. You will have problems trying to rent an apartment or buy a home, purchsing a car, getting into graduate school or obtaining a job, you may have to pay higher interest rates if someone is willing to give you credit (which just continues the problem) and on a personal note may affect your relationships... Do you want to be with someone who isn't responsible and already has a ton of problems?

A great site for information is Credit Abuse Resistance Education to learn additional ways to avoid the pitfalls of bad credit and actionable steps you can utilize everyday to create good financial habits. It takes a second to create bad credit and years to undo.
The next post will discuss what creates bad credit..... You may not even realize you are setting yourself up for a problem.

Stay tuned......

11 November 2008

Contest Deadline on the Horizon - Nov 16th, 2008

I want to thank everyone for all the submissions thus far on the blog and via email. I will announce on Monday Nov 17th the 2 winners and request your info so I can mail them to you.

With all the thinking about saving money, meaningful gifts and the holidays. It brought back one of my most memorable experiences. It was with my younger sister who is 13 years than me - we lived in the same town and spent alot of time together. She really didn't need anything so on her birthday. I used one of my vacation days (which is a huge deal in my world) and surprised her and we drove to all the Graeter's Ice Cream shops in our area for a free ice cream cone. We spent the entire day driving around the city trying different flavors.

It is a little pricey so we never try any new flavors because we love it and always have a taste for the Black Raspberry Chip. But by having a day of free ice cream we went crazy trying different flavors all over the city. It was so much fun and all it cost me was time and gasoline.

Another great memory on the same lines was with my son Bradley - it was when McDonald's had the tiny beanie babies. There was one he still needed - we spent an entire day driving from McDonald's to McDonald's until we achieved our goal of finding the missing animal. That was 15 years ago and it is still one of our favorite memories. Again, it cost $3.00 for the happy meal, time and gas. The time with my sister and son are priceless.

I wish you all such experiences in your life...... Money can not buy those type of memories.

Please continue to submit your comments until Nov 16th. I know you all have meaningful stories and ideas. We would love to hear them.

Stay tuned..........

10 November 2008

Real Life Decisions -

So we talked about budgeting and making good choices to not over spend. But what about when you have a big purchase to make. Like buying a car. That is not only exciting it is very intimidating. It is one of the most exhausting and tiring experiences you can have.

What can you do to make it a more enjoyable experience as well as not feel like you are being taken advantage of in the process.

Yahoo just had an article on the 5 dumbest things you can do while buying a car.

A few other tips from my own experience.

1. Figure out exactly what you want to spend prior shopping. Do not extend the payments longer to afford a nicer car - that is their biggest trick - "how much do you want to spend a month" the question should be "what is the total amount you want to spend". The reason it is bad to add months to your loan - the amount of interest you will pay continues to add up, as soon as you drive the car off the lot - it losses about 20% of it's value and the longer the loan the less freedom you have. A car is to get you from point A to point B safely. Not for a status symbol.

2. Ask the sales person the bottom line price on the car. Tell them you are not spending your day in the dealership. If they can't give you a price that is reasonable go down the street. They all want to sell you a car. The one who keeps you in the dealership the longest waiting while they run back and forth pretending to talk to their manager wins. They will wear you down!!!
Keep control of the situation. You can always go back another day - trust me the cars will still be there. Do not buy under pressure.

3. If buying from a private owner - remember to negotiate. They may come down alittle on the price. Also, make sure you take the car to a mechanic to look it over prior to buying. I personally usually buy used cars because they are a better value. Remember, you lose 20% immediately when buying a new car.

4. Check out Consumer Reports to see if the model you are looking at has any known issues that will potentially cause you problems down the road.

5. Once you make a decision - enjoy the car, have fun and be safe.

Stay tuned.........

09 November 2008

GenM You Can Avoid Bankrupcy - Part 2

Okay quick reminder - we are reviewing Hon John C Ninfo II tips on creating a budget in college. His organization Credit Abuse Resistance Education - CARE Program is working hard to teach financial responsibility.

This is geared toward someone who is just leaving for college - HOWEVER, these tips can be applied to people already at school. It will give you some basic concepts on getting control of your money so you can start to save TODAY - for your future.

For the first 5 tips read the post from Nov 8, 08.

6. Make sure you have researched the direct expense at your particular college and the costs of things in the surrounding area. Check out all the activity fees at the school and what the cost of living is in the area. (Washington D. C. vs. Harrisburg PA) so you know what things like gas prices are.

7. Know exactly what your parents will contribute. Remember, although your parents may agree to pay for things at school like clothing, it may be because they think you will only be buying a few things a month. If you go to the mall every weekend and come back with an armful of clothes, your parents may change their mind and not pay for them at all.

8. Do a first draft of your budget with realistic expenses. Does it balance? Are you in the BLACK because you have some extra funds or in the RED because your expenses are higher than your available funds?

9. Start making adjustments (I will work more hours at my school job) or reducing expenses (I need to get a coffee maker for my room) if you are in the RED. If in the BLACK - increase your savings in your emergency fund.

10. When you get to school, try to stick to your budget faithfully in the first month so that you can see how it is working. Then, if the budget needs adjustments because you over looked or miscalculated something, discuss it with your parents and decide what you can do to make it balance. Be flexible. Creating a budget and then sticking to it is a life long process.

Remember Generation Millionaire - the goal is Freedom - Financial and Mental.

WISDOM BEYOND YOUR YEARS. You will reverse the current trend of overspending and thoughtless financial decisions.

Stay tuned..........

08 November 2008

Chipotle Gift Card - Contest Deadline Nov 16th, 2008

Remember to post your comments to possible win a free food card! Looking for cost effective xmas gifts - creative ideas.

and what changes have you made since starting to think about being a part of Generation Millionaire!

Stay tuned.......

GenM you can avoid Bankruptcy!

All we seem to hear about is the financial crisis. Globally, National, Corporate, Small Business, Charities, and Personal. It doesn't seem like anyone is a good role model for fiscal responsibility. I believe your generation with education and action can change the headlines all over the world. It will be a slow and gradual shift. No one will really notice until the credit card companies start to panic while you are traveling and enjoying your freedom - debt free.

Let me paint a picture of what you can avoid. I went to a presentation last week from a wonderful organization. Credit Abuse Resistance Education. - The CARE Program.

The Hon. John C. Ninfo II started this program and has created chapters in all 50 states by recruiting volunteer bankruptcy lawyers to run the educational program. They go to schools, organizations and anywhere people will listen to teach them to avoid bad financial choices.

If they are successful they will put themselves out of business. Noble cause to say the least.

They discuss creating a realistic budget for college students, top 20 mistakes made by people who file bankruptcy, top 10 financial tips for high school and college students, using credit cards and predatory lending traps.

I am going to start with "Creating a realistic budget that you can stick to" by Hon. John C. Ninfo II. He lists 10 steps. I will list 5 today and 5 tomorrow. This will give you an opportunity to figure out how you are going to track your spending and implement the steps into your life.

Budget - a comparison of all your expenses to the funds you have available to pay for these expenses. If your expenses exceed your available and you want to stay out of debt, your only choice is to balance your budget by either increasing your available funds or decreasing your expenses.

How to create a balanced budget...........

1. Start now to carefully observe and record your spending. Keep a journal and write down EVERYTHING you are actually spending your money on. You may be surprised. I was recently in a clothing store and overheard a conversation between a mother and her high school daughter who didn't have enough money left to buy some things she had seen in the store the week before. They were trying to figure out where all the girl's money had gone. Finally, the daughter acknowledged she had been buying specialty coffees two or three times a day.

2. Take a realistic look at your habits, interests, lifestyles, and activities. Determine whether while at college will you be continuing, discontinuing or adding some things that you regularly do. That way you can plan and budget for them. Do you have an expensive hobby like skiing that you may want to participate in on a regular basis if you go to school in Vermont, but will only do if you go to school in Florida? If you are an avid golfer at a club where your family has a membership, how many times will you be able to afford the greens fees to play golf at school? Do you have enough cloths so that you won't have to do laundry that often? Are you likely to be involved in extra curricular activities at college that can be more costly, or will you spend most of your time studying and hanging out with friends? Are you going from an area that does not have professional sports to a school in a city where there are professional sports teams that you will want to see? Do you have some health issues that may make your expenses for prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines higher?

3. Ask yourself, what are you doing now that you don't have to spend money on because your family is paying for it, but that you or your family will have to pay for separately for when you are at school. For example, now when you have a headache you just go to the medicine cabinet and take an aspirin, your favorite snacks are always in the kitchen and laundry soap is always in the utility room and you don't need quarters to use the washer and dryer.

4. Be honest with yourself so you can determine whether some of your actual or projected expenses are wants or needs, and if you have to, how you might be able to reduce some of the expenses that are not truly needs. Almost every one of the expenses on the budget template can vary. For example, you can buy a brand new lamp for your dorm room or a really cool one at a garage sale; you can buy designer clothing or find interesting things at a discount stores, second hand shops, or retro clothing stores; you can buy your friends and family expensive gifts, or make them relatively inexpensive gifts or take them for an inexpensive breakfast or lunch instead of buying a gift; you can buy store brand over-the-counter medicine that is just as effective as the name brand medicines; you can fly home with a discount fare if you purchase your tickets in advance or pay full price if you wait to long; or you can buy your school supplies at the campus bookstore or at one of the discount office supply stores.

5. In addition to keeping any particular expense down by looking for the best buy, you can and should set a limit on how much per week you will spend on certain items like eating out or ordering in, buying beverages, going on road trips to see your friends, attending concerts or sporting events and shopping at the mall.
I will have the last five steps in tomorrows post.
Your next steps - review your attitudes, actions and decisions starting today. You have the power to do it differently. Have financial and mental freedom which creates options everyday of your life.
Stay tuned.........

06 November 2008

The World is Watching......

The election is over and the American people have overwhelming voted for CHANGE. Let's hope the politicians here our voices and start to work together and fix some of the issues we are all facing. With change comes - discipline, open mindedness, and cooperation.

The challenge to our politicians is the same one Generation Millionaire asks of you. To really make a change - it starts with putting your ego aside and making a conscious choice everyday.

Do I need or just want what I am spending my money on?
Does my purchase fit into my value system or get me closer to my goals?Is this instant gratification which will not make an impact on my life? or actually may hurt my financial future?

Generation Millionaire - Wisdom beyond your years... Be the role model the world needs.

Start saving now - it is NEVER to early.

Pay yourself first always........ life on 10 -15% less than you actually gross and contribute to your employer plan, an IRA or savings account until you are eligible.

Debt is a trap - pay cash for your purchases. Once you start the credit card trap - and carry a balance it is an endless cycle of paying interest and being burdened by stress for things you probably really didn't need. A recent study showed that Americans spend $1.22 for every $1.00 they earn. This is a problem and one you want to avoid.

I went to a presentation on bankruptcy on Monday night and will do a blog on their organization. This group is made of bankruptcy attorneys and they are trying to help young adults avoid the debt trap with education. Care Program

Start with these simple changes and as your savings grow talk with a financial advisor and get it invested into a well allocated portfolio that matches your risk tolerance and time frame.

You can always send me a comment or email and I am happy to address any concerns or celebrate your success.

Remember to go to the contest post and submit your ideas! The deadline is Nov 16th You can win a free Chipotle card.

Stay tuned........

04 November 2008

Election Day - Student Loans and Debt Management

First and foremost - today is election day! Hopefully, you all went out and voted! It is a historic election and it is your future at stake. So just like everything else with Generation Millionaire - take a good look at your values and your beliefs and use your power and vote!

Plus on a funny note -You have to love this country - that we can have comics make fun of everything! I watched the Saturday Night Live Prime Time Special last night and haven't laughed that hard in years!! Freedom nothing like it - whether in free speech or personal finance!

Okay, so more on student loans. I am going to talk about repayment schedules. In previous blogs we discussed lifestyle options and ways to increase your payback methods, reduce the amount you borrow and choices on how you spend your money. So let's put some numbers out there.

The average undergraduate student loan amount is $20,000. We will assume a 7% interest rate. Private loans in the past 5 years have been as low as 4% and as high as 9%, they fluctuate with prime interest rates. The distressing issue is they are not fixed rates and just like with housing - the amount you pay in interest will vary depending on the current rates.

My opinion is 20 years to repay a loan is way to long..... Again, do you want to finish paying off your loans as your kids are starting college???? So now is the time to make decisions. I used the calculator at Finaid

5 year repayment - $396.02 a month. Interest on loan - $3761.49 = $23,761.49

10 year repayment - $232.22 a month. Interest on loan - $7865.87 = $27,865.87

15 year repayment - $179.77 a month. Interest on loan - $12,357.22 = $32,357.22

20 year repayment - $155.06 a month. Interest on loan - $17214.29 = $37,214.29

By extending the payments you are looking at paying an additional $13452.80 and will be strapped an additional 15 years!!!!

Your budge will never be simpler than as a college student. Once you graduate if you continue to live simply for a few years - you can free yourself and have additional money as you make other life changes. Buying a home, getting married, kids, travel etc. Read through some of the earlier blogs on choices that recent graduates made to get a jump on paying back their loans.

If you have other concerns please post a comment or send me an email. The next blog will be on the basic concepts of Generation Millionaire - then I will discuss credit card debt.

Stay tuned.......and enjoy your freedom and vote........

03 November 2008

Contest - Chipotle gift cards ---- Deadine for submission Nov 16th, 08

Okay, let's start with some fun. I have 2 Chipotle gift cards to give out this month. I am looking for the most creative answers to these two thoughts. With the holidays coming up and debt being such a huge issue - let's see what we can do for holiday gift giving on a shoestring budget.

1. Tell me about a free or low cost idea for gifts this holiday season.........

2. What financial or lifestyle changes have you made since learning about saving now!

I would love to hear all things you are doing - but if someone has come up with outside the box ideas -- that would be awesome. The best way to respond is on the comment link on the blog. But if you prefer you can also email me your thoughts.

Tomorrow i will have more information on student loans, repayment and options for people thinking about college options.

30 October 2008

Happy Halloween.......Financial Friday!!

Generation Millionaire - Wisdom beyond your years!!!
Will announce contest Monday --- Win a Chipolte gift card........

Boo - Don't want to be white as a ghost every time you look at your checking account........
Want to avoid skeletons in your closet - (for some job applications and on almost all credit applications - you have to list bankruptcy)
Don't be batty every time the mail comes ..........

Okay, enough of my Halloween humor......

I have been thinking of the basic principles of investing and setting yourself for a well rounded financial future.....

I found a great article's on Investopedia that reviews 8 financial tips for young adults. Amy Fontinelle looks at your whole life - from finances, taxes, health costs and insurance. She reinforces the concepts of Generation Millionaire. She also has some good links from her site.

This is what you are trying to avoid - Cnn

Stay safe and have a happy halloween....

Stay tuned.........

28 October 2008

More Thoughts on Student Loans.......

In the last blog I discussed ways to reduce the amount of money you may need to borrow for school and ways to repay more quickly once you graduate. We also received some great comments that are real world examples from people who shared their experiences and thoughts.

Stefan's idea of looking into Internships is excellent! He landed an internship that he worked at until graduation. So it wasn't for one term - it lasted 18 months. He was able to gain experience and his employers were flexible with his hours due to his school schedule. He also received pay increases as he took on more responsibility. This internship experience helped him gain his full time job after graduation.

M - brings up a great point - that most schools will offer job fairs. The fact that he found out he was really good working with computers and changed his career direction is very exciting. Being willing to try something that is new can be a real life changer!

J- is one of the really fortunate individuals who didn't have the additional stress of worrying about loans. However, her idea of working to save an emergency fund is an excellent thought. Once you graduate there are many costs - needing clothes to interview and work in, possible relocation, car expenses and commuting costs, housing, repayment of student loans just to name a few. Having a bag of money saved makes all this much easier. The last thing you want to do is start charging everything and creating debt. That is a trap that takes years to get out of.

Again, the goal is to borrow the least amount needed while you figure out ways to increase your ability to make a few bucks and reduce your costs. The principles are the same ideas we discuss regarding retirement savings. Determine what you really value and spend your time and money on those things. Find those free activities on campus, free food, have a pick up game of touch football, grab a Frisbee and some friends, cards anyone, get involved in student groups - support your passion.

In the next blog I will go through repayment of loans using different time frames. Again, more than anything you don't want to be finishing paying off your student loans as your kids are starting college.

Keep the thoughts, comments and questions coming........

Stay tuned................

27 October 2008

Repayment of Student Loans big concern

I want to thank the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at Ohio State University once again for a great night discussing your current and future concerns.

I just compiled all the surveys and it seems the most prevalent current financial concern is repayment of student loans. I have a few thoughts on this topic - some from my own experience, my experience with my children and lastly from all my years of working with people who are trying to make ends meet while paying back loans and saving for retirement.

National average for undergraduate loans is about $20,000. I have attached a repayment calculator that you can run some numbers for varying repayment options. As always, the sooner you can pay off the loans the better. You really don't want to finish paying off your student loans as your kids are entering college.

During the presentation I discussed some recent college graduates that I have been working with to help set themselves up for financial success. There are 4 people that are making between $32,000 to $55,000 a year. They opted to rent a 4 bedroom house in a nice suburb that was affordable. They were able to upgrade their college lifestyle to a nice house in a safe neighborhood. They furnished most of the house with donations from family members. They coordinated with each other so not to spend a bunch of money needlessly. They split utilities and share the 2 car garage. It took flexibility but they believe the long term pay off is worth going this route.

By choosing to take this step they are able to save 15% of their salary in their 401K's and make additional principle payments on their student loans. They are hoping to have the loans paid off in 5 to 7 years. One of the graduates had no student loans however needed a car - this afforded her the opportunity to get a new Honda Accord. They are also saving an emergency fund. It is always good to have 3 -6 months of living expenses readily available. They are able to still eat out and travel while moving forward in their lives.

The other options were to not save and spend more on living expenses or move home and save. This has been a great comprise. Affordable independence while being a responsible adult. I went by their home the other day and it is decked out for Halloween, they hired a neighborhood kid to cut their grass (trying to teach him financial independence) and they were enjoying sitting on the front porch and relaxing.

I am also working with students who are trying to keep the loan amount to a minimum. A few suggestions: figure out your expenses for tuition, housing, food and books. Do not borrow more than you need. If you can work in the summer to cover some of the costs - DO IT!, if you can work part time during the school year to cover the costs of extras - DO IT!, using loan money to eat out or party with your friends is insane. $7.oo lunch over the time of your loan is about $15.00.

If you do this on a regular basis you are spending thousands of dollars that is going to take you years to pay back.

The trick is to really place a value on what you are going to spend your money on. Is it going to get you closer to your goals. Is it a short term pleasure that will have no lasting effect on your life. The football games, fraternity or sorority dances, home coming are part of the college experience you may not want to miss so plan for them.

Some programs have co-op opportunities where you can work every other term. That is a wonderful way to gain experience while making decent wages to pay for school. Scholarships are out there. Normally, not easy to figure out but if you are willing to put the time into researching and applying for them -it can help reduce your costs.

I would love to hear some of your tips on cost saving and ways to earn money for school to keep your loans to a minimum.

It comes back to choice and values. I am not a big advocate of loans and debt but if you are getting loans for school to invest in yourself, as long as you put forth 100% effort and get that degree - you will never borrow money for a better reason.

Stay tuned......

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