Category Archives: Personal Finance

Payments and Happiness

I bought my wife her first smartphone yesterday which she is totally digging.  I got it for $100 on ebay, it is a galaxy s4 mini.  When we went to the ATT store, the new S7 was $800 bucks, but since the payment plans seem so reasonable at around $20-30 a month depending on the term, you don’t think anything of it.  Which has lead me to this post…

Specifications-wise, unless you are a true tech junkie or NEED to take HD photos for your photography business or something, most “current” smartphones work just fine for the average user.  My s4 active is still going strong despite the diagonal crack in the screen.  I compared it to the S7 at the store and response time was very close, maybe the S7 would shave a second or two off of loading a page or whatever, have more pixels and a slightly better camera.

The point I am trying to make is the interesting human desire to have the latest and greatest things. ATT got smart with this new payment system. Once you feed yourself into the system, you are, in essence, making payments for life. It’s similar to people needing a big tv, and leasing a car, etc. Just keep making payments for life instead of owning things outright.

ATT got smart because nowadays, sadly, most people cannot just plop down $800 for a phone. But they can make payments. Even (bad) banks will look at how much people can pay, ignoring the true cost of owning a home.

Most people will not become rich because of this desire of having the latest and greatest, instead of being happy with what they have. This is a mindset issue, and a money issue secondarily.  Could I have bought an S7 for me and laura both and paid cash on the spot? Easily. But by not even having the desire for the latest and greatest, being happy with my cracked S4 phone, it helps me make better life decisions all around, whether financial or personal.

People have to learn to be happy with themselves and their current situation. They must completely realize it, accept it, and only then will they be in a position to get more.  The ironic thing is once they are in that position, they will find themselves not wanting it.

Even in MJ Demarco’s book, the Millionaire Fastlane, his goal was to buy a lambo, and he did. While the desire did help fuel his work ethic, eventually he sold it, when he realized he didn’t even want it anymore. To me this is a big leap in mindset, to be happy with what you have, letting go of your ego and the desire to show off, look cool, etc.

Most people go through these stages of life of an insecure teenager seeking approval, getting older and feeling the need to show off and be important, and finally, when they’re old, realizing none of that material shit matters and really focusing down on relationships and learning to be happy with themselves.  Ideally we would get to that point much earlier in life.

I am VERY fortunate to be relatively close to that point already in my early 30’s. I had to get over my anger issues, ego, addictions, and other issues holding me back. If only more people can experience this shift in mindset at younger and younger ages, will they be able to live happier lives, free from the ego, society/media BS, and trying to please people.

This is what I want to help people achieve. I’m still not sure how I am going to do it, but I am trying to come up with this worldview on how life works, the stages of life, and various insights to help people get on the right track at whatever stage in the process they may be.  This is kind of a discombobulated, random post, but I just felt the need to post my thoughts. Once I get more organized I will be able to express myself more clearly and better get my message through to people. I know I have a lot of work to do.

My wife FINALLY got a smart phone. On April 1, 2016. An older one. I still have my old ass phone that I am happy with. What things in your life that you are constantly “upgrading” can you take a step back and realize what you have is just fine? Once you start this shift in mindset, you will, ironically, find more abundance in your life that you won’t even desire.

How to Get an Immediate 50% Discount off of a House, Guaranteed!

No this is not one of those late night infomercial scams!

If you are a law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMT,  or teacher listen up!  You can get a guaranteed 50% off a home if you live in it as a primary residence for 36 months!  Guaranteed by the US government!  50 freaking percent!  You can’t own any other property, though, so we are unable to do it.

The ONLY drawbacks I see are limited selection of homes and being locked in living there for 36 months.  For the right person, this is the chance to get a HUGE discount on a home though.

Go here for more details: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/reo/goodn/gnndabot

Fund your Freedom

Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Read time: 90 seconds

What are you doing right now to fund your freedom? While some of you may be maxing out your 401k or IRA, a lot of people I know personally seem to not worry too much about the future. While traditional methods like I just mentioned are better than nothing, I would highly recommend that people take measures to fund their freedom now to get out of the rat race!

It is surprising to me how many people are willing to sacrifice an amazing future, just to get by in the present. Does watching American Idol truly make you happy? Why are you willing to blow your money on stupid shit you don’t need, while being a slave to the system and the 9 to 5? Do you want to be able to take as many vacations as you want, do the things you want, and truly be free? Why are you sacrificing an amazing life by giving in to “instant gratification” having an entitlement mindset, and thinking you deserve the good things in life now, but are not willing to put in the hard work?

Most people prostitute themselves Monday-Friday only for the freedom of a weekend. How many times do we hear TGIF? Or how Mondays suck so much? If you want to be free from the system, you have to start doing the hard work, now, to live the good life!

If I told you I made 50k a year would you consider me rich? What if I told you I don’t have to work at all? Does that put a new spin on things? I am currently trying to hit my goal of 50k a year through my real estate endeavors and now my ecommerce and online businesses. These endeavors will fund my freedom. I am also willing to sacrifice things like shopping, driving a nice car, and other things most people feel they “need” in order to achieve my personal freedom from “the man” and the system. Time is our most valuable resource.

TAN: You must start looking into the methods that will help you achieve your personal freedom. The key here is that you must learn something new and be able to apply the knowledge. You cannot expect to sit back and win the lottery. Learn a useful skill and offer your services, learn how to start a website and make money online, learn how to save money – all of these things will help you to fund your freedom. Basically, if you’re sitting around doing nothing in your free time, you are wasting precious time that could be used to create for yourself a better future and an amazing life. You must be able to create value in some way, then the money will take care of itself. Invest in yourself now; I guarantee it will pay off in terms of a better life! 🙂

Getting Started in Ecommerce

Since I have the next couple months free, I figured I would try and diversify my income streams by making money online.  I recently acquired a couple sites, one is an amazon affiliate store that I think will be a flop.  It is mostly just an experiment.  Another is an actual online store that has dropshippers or I could buy the products wholesale and ship them out myself and increase my margins.  I will definitely post more on the topic of online businesses and whatnot.  It’s kinda funny how my blog is taking a similar path to Kenric’s on livelearninvest.com.  He started in real estate like me and moved on to ecommerce.  We’ll see how it goes!

TAN: If I were someone looking to make more money, I would start learning at least basic HTML, SEO, and perhaps getting familiar with wordpress or other platforms.  You must start acquiring the knowledge now to make a better future for yourself.  If you don’t change your actions, your life won’t change for the better.  Unless you get extremely lucky like win the lottery or something, but I wouldn’t bet on that happening!  My experiences with learning html for random websites when I was a teenager and through college combined with posting on my blog here as well as other research has all culminated up to this point, which is why I believe I will succeed in this area.

Intro to Real Estate

Read time: 2 minutes

I wanted to take the time to write a little about my experiences with real estate. As you can see on the sidebar to the left, I own a few houses and have another in the works. I actually closed on my third house today. If you have read The Millionaire Fastlane, one of the paths to wealth is through intentional iteration, and more specifically, through real estate. Basically you build yourself a stream of income through the rents you will collect. You can refinance and pull out the equity you build in the houses in order to get more houses. Wash, rinse, repeat. You can also “flip” houses, but I am following the buy, hold, rent strategy for now.

While I eventually plan on getting into a business of some sort, I plan to buy enough houses to sustain myself without having to get a “job” per se. My goal is 10 houses by 2016, and I am well on my way thus far.

If you are thinking about getting into real estate, I highly recommend the book, The Weekend Millionaire’s Secrets to Investing in Real Estate by Mike Summey and Roger Dawson. The title sounds cheesy, but it has very good advice, and even an action plan so you get out there and do something. The NOI spreadsheet I use is basically identical to the one in the book.

Also, I had literally ZERO construction experience before purchasing my first house. You learn things pretty quickly and if you can even work alongside the people you hire, you will learn so much and become quite handy.

I hope to write many more articles on RE with tips, tricks, and advice in a simple format and get you to take action if you are serious about getting into it. One of the tips in The Weekend Millionaire that I haven’t been following is to hire a property manager. It emphasizes the fact that you should not be doing the little things like unclog a toilet because your time can be better spent elsewhere. I am using somewhat of a hybrid approach; I get the properties rented myself, but have a maintenance guy I can call to take care of all the little things. I like this approach so far as it still saves me a significant sum of money (10% of the gross rents!) while freeing me up so I don’t have to do every single little thing. Once I get many more houses, I may have to hire a property manager, but for now this system is working out since I am on a budget.