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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....

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22 December 2009

Happy Holdiays

From our home to yours we wish you a healthy, happy and safe Holiday Season.

19 December 2009

Top 10 - End the Year on Top




Top 10 Things to Do Before January 1

1. Go through closets, drawers and boxes - donate and help others. (get a receipt for a tax deduction)

2. Create a Will. Every person needs one. It is a gift to your loved ones. You can set one up at Legal zoom or contact an attorney.

3. Review the past year and set goals for the new year.

4. Set up a designated driver for any holiday outings.

5. Make any doctor appointments before your deductible renews.

6. Review expenses, spending, savings and debt. Make a plan to be debt free in 2010. Spend less than you earn and remember to pay yourself first.

7. Live your passion. Break the cycle of debt and spending so you can do the things you love.

8. Get a new skill, certification or degree. In the ever changing world, chances are you will have more than one career. Prepare ahead of the layoff or boredom.

9. Volunteer. There is nothing better than helping others. You will get more out of the experience than you give.

10. Change your thinking and attitudes about money and instant gratification. A few changes can change your life, future and relationships.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy Holiday Season.
Stephenie, Mary and Stefan




15 December 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Because the shopping season in upon us there are some things we should always be watching for. These tips will hopefully save you some money this year.

1) Look to see if anything you've purchased is on sale. If it is then take it back to the store for a price adjustment. If it's on sale at another store take it back to your store and see if they'll price match. If they won't then try returning it and buying it cheaper at the other store. I've found that a few gifts I've purchased are now on sale and I've either had the price adjusted or matched on those items. It's saved me around $40 and only cost me half an hour of my time.

2) Don't spend if you don't have. Simply put, if you don't have the money in your account to cover a purchase, you don't need to be making the purchase. This time of year is when most people rack up credit card debt, and that needs to be avoided. Your friends and family should understand that you weren't able to spend a ton because you didn't want to end up with bad debt. Just be careful with those cards because it's easy to get caught with a bill you can't pay off.

But remember most of all to ENJOY the holiday's! Whatever you celebrate make sure it's with people you care about.

I'm on another 168 hour break, so until then Stay Tuned...

09 December 2009

Thank you Southern Connecticut State University

Thank you Southern Connecticut State University for a great evening Monday December 7, 2009. I enjoyed meeting and presenting to your student body.

Where do I invest my small amounts of money I am saving?

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. 2009 limit $5000, if over age 50 $6000
3. Can not contribute more that you earn
4. Roth IRA is normally the best choice for young investors
5. 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. 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 Investing...

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

01 December 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Good morning future (or current) millionaires. Today's tips are a review of some basic GenM ideals.

1) Pay yourself first. Don't be afraid to save. Some people will tell you that there is no need to save more than 5% in your 401K or retirement fund. Try to tune them out. Put away around 15% if you can. If you start out putting that much away, and learn to live off of the rest of what you earn, then you will be much more comfortable when you retire. If you think that's way too much then pull out a growth calculator and crunch the numbers. Look at the difference between putting away $1,500 every year and $4,500 every year over the course of 40 years at 8% interest. The difference between the totals is astounding. Believe me if you save today you'll be able to live financially free in the future.

2) Keep credit cards under control. Never carry over a credit card balance. If you don't have the money to pay for something and your solution is to use a credit card then don't do it. Obviously emergencies come up every now and then, but if you can't pay for the new clothes you want then don't buy them. Keeping credit card balances and paying the minimums on them is the fast track to big debt. Once you get in it's really hard to get out. Plus keep in mind that prospective employers, banks, and other people look at credit history before making decisions and bad credit can and will hurt your chances of getting that job or loan. So don't have tons of lines of credit and keep the balances paid off. You'll be happier this way.

Well I'm off to spread the financial good news to others, so I'm on a 168 hour break.

Until then, Stay Tuned...

29 November 2009

FICO Credit scores revealed

Your actions make a huge difference in your credit score and the cost of doing business.

FICO Reveals How Common Credit Mistakes Affect Scores
by Jeremy M. SimonSunday, November 29, 2009


Did you max out your credit card? Expect a credit score drop of 10 to 45 points. Declare bankruptcy? Your score will plummet by up to 240 points, and your odds of getting credit will nosedive with it.

The "damage points" data, unveiled recently by FICO, are part of the most revealing glimpse into the firm's once-secret -- and still mysterious -- credit scoring model. The new information discloses how many points borrowers' scores will drop when they make the most-common mistakes.

'Help People Understand' Scores
"I hope this information will help people to better understand FICO scores and the value for them of avoiding credit missteps. It illustrates key points such as the higher your score, the farther it can fall if you stumble," says FICO spokesman Craig Watts. "Getting and maintaining a good score isn't complicated. We all just need to pay our bills on time, keep credit card balances low and take on new debt sparingly. "


The greater transparency about FICO scores is important because American consumers' ability to get credit rises and falls with the number. FICO, the company that pioneered credit scoring, assigns consumers a three-digit number from 300 to 850, depending on how well they handle credit. Other companies also offer scores, but FICO's version is the most widely used by lenders in determining whether a consumer can borrow, and at what rate.
FICO's credit score has been around for decades, but only within the past decade have consumers gradually gained access to theirs. Though the raw numbers can be purchased, how they're figured remains a FICO secret, as closely guarded as the formula for Coca-Cola. Until Thursday, FICO revealed only broad categories of factors influencing the score, but not the number of points at stake for consumers who fail to pay as agreed. The "damage points" information, revealed in a report by personal finance writer Liz Pulliam Weston, will be made available through its myFICO.com Web site starting this weekend.


FICO's information shows that bankruptcy does the most serious damage to a credit score (up to 240 points), followed by foreclosure (up to 160 points) while maxing out a credit card has the least numerical impact (as few as 10 points).
Those with good or excellent credit -- so-called prime borrowers -- put more points at risk with each mistake. For example, someone with an average credit score of 680 who pays a bill 30 days late will see a drop of 60 to 80 points. But for someone with an excellent credit score -- 780 -- that same delinquency can send a FICO score tumbling by 90 to 100 points.


The Cost in Dollars
In order to show just how badly a drop in your FICO score can hurt your wallet, we spoke with members of the home mortgage, auto and credit card lending industries. We presented hypothetical scenarios of a consumer who decided to apply for a $200,000, 30-year mortgage; a $20,000, five-year auto loan and a credit card. While all the industry insiders stressed that a FICO score isn't the only factor in determining who gets credit and at what cost (other factors they cited include the borrower's debt-to-income ratio and whether they have already established a relationship with the lender), they were able to provide an idea of what a borrower who had the following credit scores could expect.

For a Consumer Who Started With a FICO Score of 780:
Following a 30-day late payment, the consumer's car loan rate would jump nearly 3 percent, costing the borrower $26 more each month.


Following a debt settlement, the consumer would pay as much as $109 more each month on a home mortgage.

For a Consumer Who Started With a FICO Score of 680:
Following a 30-day late payment, the consumer would pay $41 more each month for a car loan.


Following a 30-day late payment, the consumer would pay as much as $95 more each month on a home mortgage.
Following a debt settlement, the consumer would no longer qualify for a credit card.


Some Surprised By the Details
Consumer advocates say it's important for borrowers to know what can damage their FICO scores. "If they know it in advance, they won't go out and step in a pile of doo-doo. They won't go out and do some of these things," says Linda Sherry, director of national priorities with advocacy group Consumer Action. Even experts found some surprises in today's news. "FICO imposes bigger hits than I would have thought for being maxed out or 30-days late just once, reinforcing my view that it is a cruder, blunter instrument than they like to claim. Nevertheless, it is a powerful, widely used crude blunt instrument," says Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the U.S. PIRG consumer advocacy group.


Of course, knowing the impact on a FICO score and actually avoiding these mistakes are two separate things: Amid rising unemployment and other daily financial struggles, paying bills and staying on-track financially becomes a much bigger challenge for many borrowers.

"Some of these things are out of their control," Sherry says of consumers.
Additionally, as Weston points out, consumers with identical FICO scores can have different credit histories. That means the same slip-up -- such as maxing out a credit card -- could have different impacts on consumers who have the same FICO score. In the examples they provided, FICO assumed each borrower had several active major credit cards, a mortgage, car loan and student loans.
Sherry acknowledges the benefit of putting a number to a financial blunder. "I don't think we necessarily knew the numbers that a bankruptcy could apply to a credit score," Sherry says.


Helping You Make Better Decisions
While knowing the numbers may not keep you filing for bankruptcy if given no other choice, the information may help you make the best decision when faced with a bad situation.


FICO scores -- and the access to credit they provide -- are a valuable asset to consumers and supply a safety net when incomes are stretched. It's an asset that needs to be protected, Sherry says, even if job loss or catastrophic illness makes bill paying problematic.

"In that period of time, paying down debt is the last thing on your mind. Paying the minimum payment may also be the last thing on your mind, but you'll be doing yourself a big favor if you do," Sherry says.

Stay tuned....

24 November 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Hey everyone! Time for another post based on real situations from my life. This week my situation is a bit depressing, but because of preparedness everything is going to be just fine.

1) Have at least 3-6 months of living expenses saved. Put this money in a fund that you never use. It's best to start by figuring out absolute necessities that need to be paid. Mortgage/rent, loans, medication, and utilities. Also add in another hundred or two for food and/or other necessities. If you have credit card debt, which I recommend avoiding, figure out the minimum payment. Start an account that will give you instant access to the money if needed, and then forget you have it. I have money deducted from each paycheck and automatically deposited into my account. That way I don't have to worry about spending what I'm trying to save. I also put part of any bonus money or tax return money into the account so I don't blow it all.

2) This money will be useful for any big event. This event could be anything: a large medical bill, job loss, or car crash. It could be any number of other things, but this money should be for emergencies. If you rack up lots of credit card debt and use your savings then there might be bigger problems that you need to address. This needs to be emergency only money. In my case my girlfriend lost her job recently. However we both have savings for just such an occasion. We won't need to worry about making rent or utility payments because we have our extra savings that we never spend.

So just remember to be prepared for any occasion that could arise. You'd be surprised that you'll save up a pretty large sum if you really want to. And should something come up that will cost a large sum, you'll have your emergency stash ready to go.

I'm on a 168 hour break so until then Stay Tuned...

18 November 2009

Life Partner Choices Can Affect Your Credit

One of the biggest reasons for a marriage to break up is MONEY! Make sure you talk about your views, spending habits, values, and current financial situation. Know what you are signing up for as your partners credit history can affect you.



Also while we are in love our significant other's habits seem cute - but change to a major irritation once you are committed to each other. You are trying to save for a house and they are out buying shoes or buying sporting equipment.



When I think through conversations with my friends and family - their biggest grip is how their significant other views and spends money. To the point of keeping things from them to avoid fights. Do you really want to go there?



Make sure you have conversations and agree on your goals prior to making a commitment.




Marriage doesn't wipe out credit history
BY don taylor, ph.d., cfa, cfp,
Bankrate
© Copyright 2009 Bankrate, Inc. All rights reserved.
Bankrate — 11/10/09



Dear Dr. Don,
I am worried that when my fiance and I get married anything negative on either credit report will affect us. Will it affect us if it is not a joint account together and it happened before we got married? Please help me ease my mind so I can get back to planning my wedding.
— Melissa Matrimony



Dear Melissa,
You both bring your credit histories with you into the marriage. When you jointly apply for credit, the lender will review both credit reports. In a community property state, the lender may consider both credit reports in all cases. That's because in such states, debt taken on during the marriage is a joint obligation even if only one spouse applied for credit.



The community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin. Alaska allows couples to elect community property treatment. Contact your state's attorney general if you live in a community property state and want more information about community property statutes in general or as it relates to consumer lending. The National Association of Attorneys General Web site provides the contact information for your state.


I think it's better to be proactive and review your credit reports and credit scores to see if one or both of you need to work on improving your credit history. The feature "How to get your free credit report" explains how to get your credit report for free, but you have to pay to get your credit scores.


Correcting mistakes on a credit report through the dispute process can clean up a credit report. Because the information in your credit report determines your credit score, the score will improve. The feature "Fixing mistakes on your credit report" explains the dispute process. Even if everything on the report is accurate, most negative information will drop off a credit report after seven years.



Figure out if there's a problem. If there is, figure out how you're going to handle it as a couple. Then, you can go back to planning your big day.

© Copyright 2009 Bankrate, Inc. All rights reserved.

17 November 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Good afternoon millionaires. I am writing today about a bunch of random thoughts that popped into my head while I was sitting at work today.

1) Check for coupons and sales on your favorite items. This can work very well if your favorite food or items are non perishable. Say you just love Cheese-Its, but you can't afford them every week. Well if you watch for a sale and for coupons you can combine the two into a great savings and get more boxes at once. Then you just stock your pantry and you don't have to worry about spending tons on them, or buying them for a while. I recently did this with corned beef (I LOVE Reuben's) and purchased a bunch when it was half off at the deli. I even purchased enough to make a Reuben pizza (totally delicious) so that's a huge win in my book. The savings are so yummy.

2) Donate something. The holiday season is upon us, and it truly is time to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. But those things we have, and might take for granted, other people can only dream of. Donate some time, money, a gift, etc. this season to help others. It is very easy to get caught up in our own lives and troubles that we forget to reflect and help those around us. The active chapter of my fraternity are holding a toy drive, for the Shriner's Hospital, at a local Wal-Mart this year, so I'm going to buy a toy to donate, and then help them run the booth outside. I encourage everyone else to find something that they are passionate about, and then find a way to donate in some facet, to that cause.

3) Celebrate the season! I am one of those people who typically gets annoyed that people are putting up Christmas displays in October, in spite of the fact that Halloween and Thanksgiving haven't happened yet. The commercialization is nauseating to me. That said, I realized that I was grumbling about it every time I went to the store, and that's not who I want to be. So I changed my tune and I just smile when I see the decorations and hear the music. I spent way too much time being negative about the decorations, and now I just go with it. It may not be the best solution, but I am a lot happier when I go out because I decided to go along with the celebration. So everyone celebrate, and spread the good cheer.

I've got to get back to work, but it'll just be another 168 hours and then I'm back.

Until then Stay Tuned...

10 November 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Hello again everyone! It's time for another edition of Tuesday's Tips. Being that I just went to the grocery store tonight I decided to give my tips on smart shopping.

1) Make a list. This is probably the most important thing, in my opinion, to smart grocery shopping. If you go into the store knowing exactly what you need to buy, and you stick to it, you can avoid impulse purchases that rack up a hefty bill. As a side note, I have been shopping with a list for over a year now and it gets easier every time to stick to it.

2) Allow for one "special" item on your trip. I know it can be hard to stick to a list, and sometimes you need to mix it up so shopping doesn't become mundane. That's why my girlfriend and I decided to implement the special item rule. When we go shopping we allow ourselves to purchase any item ($5 or less) that isn't on the list. So if we have a craving for cookies we can get those. This makes the shopping trip a bit more fun because you can feel good about sticking to the list and get a little reward without breaking the bank.

3) Don't shop when you're hungry. This makes list shopping even more difficult because everything you walk by looks delicious. Even if you have a small snack before heading to the store it will make the trip up and down each aisle less tempting.

4) Check for coupons in the paper and online. This doesn't mean you have to buy only items for which there is a coupon. It simply means there are coupons available for so many items and you're likely buying one of them on any given trip. So take 10 minutes and do some searching because those $0.40 coupons add up (especially if your store doubles or triples coupons).

These tips ought to help some of you out there shave a bit off your food budget. My girlfriend and I spend about $80-$90 each time we go to the store, which means we're eating for around $6/day. But that doesn't mean we're eating canned ham - our meals include salmon, steak, pork chops, fruits and vegetables.

So do yourself a favor and analyze your grocery store habits and see where you could make some small changes and possibly save big time!

I'm on a 168 hour break, so until then Stay Tuned...

06 November 2009

Plan for the Unexpected......

Joseph Henry Smith
June 1, 1974 - June 22, 2008


Today's subject may seem off topic or something you shouldn't have to think about for many years .... but I am going to tell you a true story and the nightmare that has followed.

A year and half ago my 34 year old cousin was killed in an instant in a
motorcycle/automobile accident. This was not his fault, he was wearing a helmet, leather jacket and jeans on a hot June day. The driver of the car a 79 year old women turned right in front of him. If this wasn't tragic enough - He did not have a will or life insurance. Since he did not have a will his estate has to go through probate.

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's asset's.

If he had a will - he could have had his asset's distributed to the people or organization's that he choose. Not having a will - the decision goes to the courts.

Here is the tragic part of this story. Joe had not been in contact with his biological father for over 15 years. His father was extremely abusive and he had cut all ties.

Being that he died without a will - his mother and father equally are entitled to what is left in his estate. Something that Joe would NEVER have wanted.

Had he had a will this could have been wrapped up in a few months - distributed the way he would have wanted and not had the courts, lawyers and every detail of his life examined by the courts. 18 months have gone by and it is still not resolved. His mother, who Joe was very close with has had to deal with the fact that her only child has passed away and is left dealing with an unreasonable ex husband. The loss of her son was more than she could handle but the fact that she has to continually relive his accident and fight to get this finished - is unbearable.

The one simple act you can do right now is - get a will. You can get one done on line with
Legalzoom for under $100. If your family has an attorney - that is another option although it might be a bit more expensive. The main point is to have a legal document that will state your intentions if something should happen to you. If you have children - stop reading right now and go get a will. Are you really willing to leave it up to the courts - what happens to your children?

Secondly, he should have had
life insurance. As a young person it is very very inexpensive to get about $100,000 in insurance. That will cover your funeral expenses and cover your debts. If your parents have co-signed student loans for you - they will be responsible for the debt. Life insurance can alleviate that additional burden. If you have children - you should have more insurance as you need to leave money to have them taken care of. If your spouse is left without your income and now has additional expenses, as well as, being devastated by a sudden loss - life insurance will give a cushion to get them through the changes that will need to take place. It may be used to set up college funds, or just keep a roof over their heads. If you are a single parent - it is imperative that you have life insurance as the guardian of your children will have many changes to incorporate them into their lives.

We never want to think about our mortality but it is a reality. As part of Generation Millionaire - these are responsible actions to take and we can be assured that our wishes our followed and we don't leave loved ones in additional turmoil.

We miss Joe everyday and cherish the memories. Godspeed Joe

Stay tuned......

04 November 2009

College Programming - Student Activity

We have just arrived home after visiting Maui Community College and then going to two College Programming Conferences. We have talked with many many students and advisers about the importance of our presentation. We understand the need for fun and stress relieving programs i.e. bands, magicians, poets, and comedians. We are just asking that the schools commit at least one program to educating their students on becoming financially independent in their lives.
The conferences are all about information and fun. The students learn how to pick amongst many very talented people who is best for their school and it's mission. There is networking, educational sessions, numerous show cases acts to see the artists at their best. Long days, little sleep and alot of smiles.



They have budgets and are responsible for bringing programs to their schools that will benefit their student body. Whether a night of fun and stress release or an entertaining yet powerful message about personal growth.

The students go home with bags full of novelty items and memories. Once they get back to school - the tough part begins - who do you bring to your campus? There are many talented individuals and so many different options.




They walk away from the conference with new skills, they learn about bringing in big programs to their schools, budgets, scheduling, negotiating, and balancing the schedule for the campus to ensure variety.

In the end many memories are made, relationships formed and we all want this generation to be successful and live a balanced passion filled life. Thanks to all the students who came to our showcase, stopped by our booth and smiled at us as they passed us in the hallways!
We hope to see you at your college soon!
Stay tuned........

28 October 2009

Hawaii

If you have to travel for work - I highly recommend Hawaii! We spent 11 days on Maui and each day was better than the one before. The island of Maui is only 48 miles long and 26 miles wide but it has a very diverse climate. We were amazed that you could be in an area that is like a desert and 5 miles down the road you were in a lush rain forest. These pictures are on the Road to Hana. It takes 3 hours to go 26 miles. The road is filled with switchbacks and the beauty of the island unfolds as you make the journey. It took us 7 hours to get to Hana due to the fact that we stopped numerous times to hike or take in the beauty. Travel tip - buy a self directed CD from the Shell station for under $10, and drive it yourself vs a tour. Leave at sunrise to give yourself more time to enjoy the adventure. Even taking 7 hours to arrive in Hana - we felt rushed due to the impending sunset.


Check out the rainbow - this was at IAO Needle - waterfalls, amazing plants and flowers, rushing river in the background, and the sound of birds you couldn't see amongst the fullness of the rain forest.
IAO Needle - State Park and free parking. Amazingly beautiful. Take an umbrella - this is the only place we experienced rain the entire time we were in Maui.

Happy hour at the Shops at Wailea. From 3 -6 pm everyday you can enjoy reduced prices on food. If you don't drink alcohol two people can eat for under $15.00 and be very full. The price of food was higher than the mainland. At the grocery store we found everything is about $1.00 higher. Travel tip - bring your favorite snacks with you. We could have easily saved about $30 had we brought our own wheat thins, pretzels, crystal light packs, peanut butter, Advil, and suntan lotion.

We stayed at the Marriott in Wailea and loved it. Great beach for snorkeling and plenty of swimming pools to relax and read. This was our favorite we could feel the ocean breeze and see the beauty while keeping cool. Major travel tip - the cheapest online price for a room was $260 a night. I used priceline and got the same room for $95 a night. They charges a resort fee of $25.00 a night but that provided free parking some other extras so the total per night was $120.00, We saved over $1400 for the exact same accommodations and service.
The website bidding for travel can provide you with rates fellow travelers have received. It is broken down by state and then region. Very helpful so you don't over pay. We also used priceline for our car rental. We saved over $60 on that as well. We used frequent flyer miles for our airline tickets.
Next post will be our visit to Maui's Community College and our sailing/snorkeling trip.
Stay tuned......

22 October 2009

Business & Pleasure

Hey GenMer's! Just wanted to let you know that GenM is doing a presentation in Maui this week, so we won't be posting regularly until next week. Tune in next Tuesday when Stefan will post another edition of Tuesday's Tips!

Keep livin' the dream and Stay Tuned...

15 October 2009

Keeping Your Options Open

It is very interesting...... the way money can control every move we make in our lives. It is important to have balance. In a perfect world you would have an emergency fund, savings, no debt and a life style that fits your income.
Our youngest son Bradley started Pharmacy Graduate School at Ohio State University this fall. He had an intensive 3 year undergraduate program and was ending that fairly stressed out. While in the midst of that pressure - he decided he wanted to learn Spanish fluently. He picked up the first two classes - and then opted to go to Ecuador for the summer to be part of an intensive language program.

This was a very expensive choice. He said to me I will get plenty of experience in a Pharmacy in time - this option will not affect my "career path". In fact, it will open doors in most parts of the world.




So he applied for more loans and headed to Ecuador for the summer. It ended up being a life changing event. First, he learned Latin Spanish, he can read, text and speak fairly well. He bonded with the family he lived with and will have friends for a lifetime, he traveled all over the country and after spending time with the indigenous people and the shamans - realized he has a passion for Natural Pharmacy Options as well as Western methods.





Upon coming home he applied for a mission trip with the nursing and medical school at OSU and will be going to Honduras in December to help with dispensing the medications and explaining - yes in Spanish - how to properly use the medications prescribed.

He has also connected with Amy Greeson of the
Healing Seekers and hopes to work with her in the future.

Had we only looked at the money Brad would have missed a very important lesson in his life. He found passion, a new culture, learned a new language, made friends and had a life changing summer that has already opened two new doors for him.

Make sure you are always looking at all angles of the choices you are making. Part of Generation Millionaire is living your passion while making responsible decisions.
Stay tuned........

13 October 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Hey everyone! I'm back from my vacation with an update about how well my girlfriend did on sticking to our budget. Fortunately we did well, but unfortunately it was still an expensive trip.

Our overall budget allowed for two nights at a hotel in Hilton Head, a nice dinner out in both Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head, an evening at Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach, groceries for the week, and miscellaneous spending for entertainment and souvenirs. And even though we were staying at a condo in Myrtle Beach for free, we knew there would be gas costs and other things like toll booths that would drive our spending up. We budgeted for $900, but hoped we didn't spend nearly that much.

It turned out that our nice dinners ended up being pretty affordable for us. We went to Landry's in Myrtle Beach and our 2 dinners and an appetizer totaled $71. The appetizer was amazing and our dinners were big enough to take home for lunch the next day. We went to Kingfisher in Hilton Head, at the bride and groom's request, and that was even cheaper. We ordered a pound of crab legs and boy were they awesome. We also got drinks and our total was only $50. The only downside was that there were no leftovers.

Medieval Times was sooooo much fun. I highly recommend it for families or couples or anyone wanting a fun night out. We got to eat with our hands and the food was delicious. We got drinks again, and even got to keep the cups! Plus we got a show along with the dinner because the actors were riding around on horses and jousting. I can't even describe how much fun the night was. The night was expensive though, but because we budgeted it wasn't so bad. Total night cost was $130.

The groceries were only $55 but the food lasted for the entire week plus some. I just finished eating the last of the clementines we bought for the week. In hindsight we didn't realize how many clementines came in the crate. Plus we were still able to eat healthy for the week and spend less on food.

Among the miscellaneous entertainment and spending was the Aquarium in Myrtle Beach which was $40 for a few hours of petting sting rays and watching penguins hatch. There was more than just that, but I can't write all day about an aquarium. We also purchased a Karmel Rockaccino at the KISS Coffeehouse, which was so funny. KISS really does endorse everything and anything, but they also make a good frozen coffee drink.

All in all our vacation was a huge success in both the fun department and the spending department. We spent around $850, and over half of that was the Medieval Times evening, the 2 nights out, and the hotel cost. If we could do it all over again we wouldn't have changed a thing.
Well I'm still in vacation mind mode, so I'm going on a 168 hour break. So until then Stay Tuned...

10 October 2009

$ Matters with Mary

Cleveland, OH Our last day!

After a trip down memory lane at the Lorain International Festival, we were well fed and ready for more Baseball. We had family waiting for us with the tickets for our 4th and last game. The Cleveland Indians vs. the Cincinnati Reds.

Gary’s nephew Chris, Chris’ beautiful wife Tara and 2 sons Christopher and Kyle were outside looking for us when we arrived. They had a fun evening planned and wanted to get started. Dinner was first on the list. They know us well.

There is nothing like going out to eat with locals. They took us to the Moosehead Hook and Ladder #3 in Olmsted Falls. What a great choice! The restaurant is located inside the historic Olmsted Firehouse. The food prices were affordable and the portions generous. The d├ęcor and costumed wait staff added to our enjoyment.

Travel Tip: Go off the beaten path and explore local establishments. It will make your trip unique and give you street cred with the natives.
From the restaurant we followed Chris to Progressive Field.

As we pulled into the parking lot the attendant was waving us through. Gary stopped and asked what we owed. We were told, “Nothing. The gentleman ahead of you paid for your parking.”

Impress Your Family and Friends Tip: If the opportunity ever arises - pay the toll, parking fee, etc for the guy behind you. It’s a real class act and one they won’t forget.

At the ballpark, Christopher age 11 and Kyle age 8 were a blast. Big enough to follow the game and young enough to be genuinely excited. And they could leave their parents to walk around the stadium with the “big” cousins.

It’s been a painful year for Indians fans. Tonight was no exception. The Indians lost to the Reds but nothing could take away from the experience of being with family and watching the hometown team play. Tickets were only $9 making it a fun and inexpensive night out.


This wraps up our 11 day, 7 state, “Tour of Stadiums” vacation. I hope you found a few tips to use on how to save $, find balance in your life, and have a great time. If you have any questions or comments please send them to:
GenerationMillionaire@gmail.com. Put $ Matters by Mary in the subject line. Or Twitter me at www.twitter.com/genmillionaire.

Godspeed,
Mary

01 October 2009

$ Matters with Mary

Lorain, OH International Fun, Food, and a Lighthouse

We left Cedar Point on a beautiful Saturday morning. We were on our way to Progressive Field to see our 4th and last baseball game of the trip – The Cleveland Indians vs their cross state rivals The Cincinnati Reds.

In between Sandusky and Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie is my hometown – Lorain. When you grow up in one place (my parents lived in the same house for over 40 years) you don’t realize the things that make your town unique. And the things you will miss when you move 500 miles away.

Like always knowing which way is North because all you had to do was point to “The Lake.” Make fun of Lake Erie all you want – it was one of the best places to spend your summer. Plus for a medium size city, Lorain has more ethnic diversity than most big cities. Who knew that meant great food, great fun, and great celebrations?

If you ever attend the Lorain International Festival you will discover more international food, dances, music, and customs than you knew existed.

Budget Tip: Check out the events in your town. You may be surprised at what you find. Admission to the Lorain International Festival is $1.00 and parking is FREE. Unbelievable.
The first thing we did at the festival was head over to the boat ride to the Lorain Lighthouse. It was amazing that this ride was even taking place. For in 1965 the Lighthouse was slated for demolition. Fortunately a group of concerned citizens saved the symbol of Lorain. We were treated to a fun boat ride and wonderful tour – inside and out – of the lighthouse.

Life Tip: Learn about the history of your hometown. Take the tours of the historical buildings and landmarks when they are offered. Doing interesting things will make you a more interesting person.
After the boat ride we were ready to eat. We were overcome with indecision! So many choices, so many foods that we cannot get in North Carolina, everything looked and smelled fabulous. We bought a variety of food and had a feast while people of different nationalities performed their native music and dances.

We would have loved to spend more time in Lorain but we had family waiting for us and a baseball game to attend. So we packed up and headed to Cleveland.




Next week – Indians vs Reds

Until then – I’m looking for fun and food in your city………………………….

29 September 2009

Great Investment Question -

Stefan is off enjoying his vacation so I am filling in. He will be back next Tuesday.

I receive emails from many of the students with questions regarding options for saving money. As always, I refer you back to a financial advisor to ensure that you are making the best choices for your situation.

Below is an example of a question.


Hi I'm 22 years old and i work for a company that does not offer retirement benefits. How do i start saving for retirement and where is the best place to start a retirement plan?

Great question as this is more and more common. You may be eligible for an IRA. As a young person normally the best option is a ROTH IRA. This type of IRA offers the best long term tax benefits.

All you have to do is ACT! 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.

If this is your only vehicle for saving for retirement - you may want to try to save a minimum of 15% of your gross income and if possible max out your contributions.

Basic Rules for Investing in an IRA
1 Need earned income
2. 2009 limit $5000, if over age 50 $6000
3. Can not contribute more that you earn
4. Roth IRA is normally the best choice for young investors
5. Investment Ideas - research all in one funds/target retirement date

T. Rowe Price gives an excellent data sheet on the differences and eligibility for IRA investing.

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. Happy Investing...

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

27 September 2009

$ Matters with Mary

Cedar Point – The Roller Coast Capital of the World
We made it! Out of the calm of Notre Dame we arrived at the action packed atmosphere of Cedar Point.
Since childhood, Gary’s dream was to stay at the Breakers Hotel.
The lure of staying at the Breakers Hotel is that it is part of Cedar Point. You walk to the park from the hotel – which is wonderful if you want to take a break during the day or drop off souvenirs. You also get to enter the park one hour earlier than the general public. No long lines!

Travel Tip: Know what you are getting for your money. There is nothing inexpensive about staying at the Breakers, but there are a variety of room rates to choose from. The least expensive room (summer time) we found was $169.00. However this was in the older section of the hotel. That is code for window air conditioners and no elevator. Window air conditioners are fine, but keep in mind that the lobby and halls are NOT air conditioned.

Knowing that Ohio can be hot and humid in the summer, we planned ahead and budgeted to stay in the newer section. The hotel offered package discounts as well as discounts on admission to the park.

Budget Tip: Check out the package deals and other discounts. You may spend more on lodging but save on other areas. It may not balance out exactly but you may be able to afford something nicer than you expected. Also if your schedule permits – traveling off season is WAY cheaper.

Cedar Point is unlike any other amusement park. It is all about the rides especially the roller coaster. The park boasts a world record 17 roller coasters of which 3 are rated in the top 10. It is a coaster lover's dream come true. Not a coaster fan? No worries! Cedar Point has Everything – carousels, thrill, spinning, tranquil, and children’s rides and a water park. For a separate fee there are go-karts, miniature golf, parasailing and jet skis.

Whether your “fun” budget is for a day or a week, if you plan right there is no reason not to have the ride of your life.



Next week – Lorain OH - International Festival and the Lighthouse

Until then – I’m looking for fun and food in your city………………………….

25 September 2009

Stay Tuned

$ Matters with Mary and regular Gen-M posting will resume next week.

Right now we're all hanging 10 at the beach down in sunny Florida.

22 September 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Goooooooooood morning millionaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaires! I hope you're all feeling as great as I am this morning. And just why am I feeling so great? Well, I'm going on a 10 day beach vacation starting this upcoming Saturday and I am pumped up about it. I haven't taken a vacation in a while, so it'll be time for some well deserved R&R. Because of said trip I'm going to give some tips on vacationing that I've picked up over the years.

1) Get a list together for any and all needs. This includes everything from clothing and toiletries to snacks and bug spray. Write it all out on paper a week or two in advance, or even a month if you're motivated, and go through it item by item. If you do this it will eliminate the possibility of forgetting things (provided that you've packed them all). This is especially crucial when camping or even going to another country. Since I'm going to the beach I know there will be a grocery store nearby, but if I was going to Mexico I might not be so sure. Go through and check things off as you purchase them, and then cross them off once they're packed. It's a simple system and by doing so you can ensure not forgetting major items (like shoes or money).

2) Pack snacks. It's a short rhyming phrase so it should be easy to remember. My family always packed some fruit or granola bars, cheese and crackers, and maybe even some gummy snacks. Doing this will eliminate needing to stop for food throughout the day. This is crucial when you're sightseeing or at museums all day. I'd hate to cut short a trip to the Louvre because I was really hungry. Throw some snacks in a backpack and have one in between meals. It'll give you a boost in energy and hold you over until the next meal.

3) Set a budget. I know this can be difficult, especially because vacationing can be a time to let loose and live a little (like that alliteration?), but try anyway. Write out on paper how much you want to spend on food, entertainment, and souvenirs. If you already have certain activities planned include that amount in the budgeting. If you decide to have one nice evening out for dinner include that. Stick to the budget, even if you have to get travelers checks and use only those. If you decide to spend a little more on a dinner maybe you sacrifice the t-shirt you were planning on buying. Get creative and try to find some low budget or free activities that will allow you to stretch the budget. In the words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work."

Next week I will be on vacation, so I'll have someone fill in for me. My next post will be on how well my girlfriend and I did sticking to today's tips. And as always post a comment with some tips you have for vacations and trips. The more we share the more we know.

I'm on a 336 hour break, so until then Stay Tuned...

20 September 2009

$ Matters with Mary


Sandusky, OH Going to Cedar Point through Notre Dame

Though sad to leave Milwaukee we were thrilled to be going to one of Gary’s and mine treasured childhood places – Cedar Point! The greatest roller coaster park in the world – beautifully located on the shores of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio.

Our favorite sports fan, Bob noticed that half way through our 6 ½ hour drive we would be passing through South Bend, IN. This would be a great time to take a break and get something to eat. How convenient that this happened to be minutes away from the home of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame University. Too cool.

(I feel obligated to mention that we would also pass through Gary, IN which is the hometown of Michael Jackson. However, since he did not play sports it would not be one of our stops.)
We have friends who have attended the University, watched their football games on TV, went to see them play at the Gator Bowl, but have never been to the campus. We were excited to walk around the grounds and just Be There.

Travel Tip: Look at a map of your entire route. Take 10 minutes to do a little research. Will you be passing through or near a location that looks fun or holds meaning to you – the town where your favorite movie was shot; your favorite singer grew up; a historical event took place; an annual festival is held? You can have an enjoyable time just walking around. I guarantee that you will uncover something interesting to do or see that you could not have imagined. We have stumbled upon free plays and concerts, free food, free tours – all because we were There.



The aura of the University of Notre Dame environment took us by surprised. We’ve been to religious colleges and famous universities – even been to the “real” Notre Dame in Paris. But the feeling we experienced Being There was different. One reason was the
Grotto. According to the university website the Grotto is a cave of stones tucked between St. Mary’s and St. Joseph's lakes. A one–seventh replica of the famed French shrine at Lourdes where the Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Bernadette.


Whether you are Catholic, religious, or not, it is awe inspiring. We were mesmerized and could have spent the afternoon soaking in the calm and peace. However we had places to be, a football stadium to see and we were hungry. As is our custom, we were on a mission for food. We hit the jackpot with Legends - a restaurant, ale-house pub and state-of-the-art nightclub located on the south side of the stadium. They had reasonably priced lunch entrees, fun memorabilia everywhere, quotes stenciled on the walls, and for a free souvenir the waitress gave us extra napkins with their logo on it!


Life Tip learned at Notre Dame: Sometimes it is good to stop and reflect on all the wonderful things in the world.

Next week – Cedar Point!
PS. For those of you - who may be wondering about the Fishnet comment in my last post - In Milwaukee check out - Fishnet Fridays - Half Price Martinis at the Pfister Hotels.

Until then – I’m looking for fun and food in your city………………………….

15 September 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Hello again everyone! It's time for another edition of Tuesday's Tips. Being that my brother is starting grad school in a week I thought it would be a good time to review smart grocery shopping trips. It'll help you avoid spending a lot, and you'll probably eat healthier too because you won't be buying fast food very often.

1) Make a list. This is probably the most important thing, in my opinion, to smart grocery shopping. If you go into the store knowing exactly what you need to buy, and you stick to it, you can avoid impulse purchases that rack up a hefty bill. As a side note, I have been shopping with a list for over a year now and it gets easier every time to stick to it.

2) Allow for one "special" item on your trip. I know it can be hard to stick to a list, and sometimes you need to mix it up so shopping doesn't become mundane. That's why my girlfriend and I decided to implement the special item rule. When we go shopping we allow ourselves to purchase any item ($5 or less) that isn't on the list. So if we have a craving for cookies we can get those. This makes the shopping trip a bit more fun because you can feel good about sticking to the list and get a little reward without breaking the bank.

3) Don't shop when you're hungry. This makes list shopping even more difficult because everything you walk by looks delicious. Even if you have a small snack before heading to the store it will make the trip up and down each aisle less tempting.

4) Check for coupons in the paper and online. This doesn't mean you have to buy only items for which there is a coupon. It simply means there are coupons available for so many items and you're likely buying one of them on any given trip. So take 10 minutes and do some searching because those $0.40 coupons add up (especially if your store doubles or triples coupons).

These tips ought to help some of you out there shave a bit off your food budget. My girlfriend and I spend about $50-$60 each time we go to the store, which means we're eating for around $4/day. But that doesn't mean we're eating canned ham - our meals include salmon, steak, pork chops, fruits and vegetables.So do yourself a favor and analyze your grocery store habits and see where you could make some small changes and possibly save big time!

I'm on a 168 hour break, so until then Stay Tuned...

10 September 2009

$ Matters with Mary

Milwaukee - Ghosts, Baseball, and Romance all in one location
Every city has its ghost stories and Milwaukee is no exception. But it was a surprise to us that the historic Pfister Hotel with its luxurious accommodations has spooked many Major League Baseball players.

According to the Associated Press Minnesota Twins outfielder, Carlos Gomez heard voices when he stayed there. Then his iPod went haywire after he got out of the shower, sending him scrambling for the lobby without his pants and shoes. “Everything’s scary,” Gomez said. “Everything in the hotel, the paintings and pictures, it’s a lot of old, crazy stuff. No good, man. No good.” San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval and several Florida Marlins all say they’ve had odd experiences. One rookie ballplayer was so rattled by the mysterious opening of his blinds and window that he slept in the lobby the next night.
Allison Jornlin, who leads the haunted history tours for the Milwaukee Ghosts organization, said guests have reported seeing a “portly, smiling gentleman” roaming the halls and riding the elevator.

Inexpensive Date Tip - Whether you believe in ghosts or not for only $10 you can have a fun and unique evening on the Milwaukee Ghosts tours one and half hour tour.
Plus you will have new stories for the campfire.

Ghosts aside, for a more upscale end to the evening (and affordable) take the time to check out the Pfister Hotel. It is worth visiting for the architecture, art, and romance. Built in 1893 it was the most lavish hotel of its time. But you don’t have to pony up the $169 (and up) per night to enjoy all it has to offer. The Blu Bar on the 23rd floor is known as the gem in the sky. It was voted Milwaukee’s most romantic bar in 2007 and lives up to the hype. The smooth jazz and swanky club feel create a warm ambiance. For the price of a drink you and your date can relax and enjoy the best panoramic view of the city and Lake Michigan. Who knows maybe you can talk your date into wearing fishnets…....

Next week – On to Notre Dame

Until then – I’m looking for fun and food in your city………………………….

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