Unless you were away from all forms of media yesterday, you’re probably aware that the market took a beating. It’s not a good day on Wall Street when the DOW is down 3.3%, the S&P 500 down 3.5%, and the NASDAQ down 3.9%.
However, if you are dollar cost averaging into the stock market through mutual funds and have your transactions setup to buy shares on the first or last day of the month then yesterday’s market correction was, in a way, well timed.
I can’t count the number of times there’s been a small down-turn in the Vanguard 500 Index (VFINX) a day or two after money from our paychecks is used to buy into the market. Although I can’t see into the future, it appears that when our investments are made this week, they’ll be at a discount.
Of course, any gains we’ve made in VFINX since the beginning of December 2006 have been given back but if the market was going to drop I’m glad it didn’t wait a few more days.
There is hope for Generation X! Jeremy, who currently runs the personal finance blog Generation X Finance is the first entrepreneur to share his insights with us this week. Here’s a little background to help understand where he’s coming from.
“I currently act as a retirement plan specialist serving an employer with a large client base. It is my job to help employees learn about, understand and enroll in their retirement plan and make appropriate investment decisions within the plan. Prior to specializing in retirement I spent some time at a few firms as a financial planner/advisor.”
“Prior to entering the financial world I spent quite a few years as an entrepreneur and started and ran multiple businesses since 1998. Some ventures became very successful and others failed miserably so I have encountered it all. I have run home-based internet businesses, brick and mortar retail and even a nationwide franchise. Even though I did not attend college for business specifically, I have always had a great interest in it.”
Jeremy did what I wished I had back in college, started his own business. He started getting his hands dirty and learning from his mistakes. I’m just now heading down that path and hope to learn a few things from him. In addition, his commitment to helping others in his generation be financially savvy is another reason I thought of Jeremy right away when I decided to hold these interviews. Read on to hear about his experiences in running a business, personal finance, and blogging. If you learn something from Jeremy’s answers be sure to subscribe to his feed for financial tips for Generation X.
Do you have a business idea you’ve always thought would be successful but never got around to working on it? It’s easy to come up with reasons why you haven’t done it. Well I’m going to give you ten reasons why you should get started on your big idea today.
The only way to improve your product, service, or performance is to continuously improve on what you know and how you do things. You’ll grow as a person, both street smarts and book smarts, because you’ll always be learning something new.
On your quest for improvement, you’ll come across other people that’ve been there before or are going through the same thing you are. As you ask advice, share tips, and partner together, your network of friends and relations will grow.
Learning to Value Money
For some reason, I value the $20 I make from an online sale more than the $100 I might earn in daily salary from my employer. Maybe it’s because my paycheck comes only twice a month as direct deposit and I don’t really ever see the money. Maybe it’s because my employer pays me every two weeks regardless of my performance, whereas when I make money on my own, if I don’t perform, I don’t make squat. For whatever reason earning money directly for yourself vs. getting a paycheck from an employer makes you appreciate the value of a dollar even more.
Creating Something of Value
As an entrepreneur you’re taking a personal stake in building a product or service that you can call your own and will become part of your legacy.
Earning Extra Money
Whether you need it or not right now, you probably will someday. I’d argue that the money you earn itself isn’t the most important thing but rather the ability to be able to make money on your own. Knowing you can go out and earn your keep gives you a feeling of security and freedom that doesn’t always come when working for someone else.
Filling a Need
Your product or service is providing something that people need. If you’ve found your niche, maybe you’re the only one that is meeting these needs. Knowing that what you create or provide is touching other’s lives feels good at the end of hard day’s work.
As you’ll read in the interviews of entrepreneurs this week, there is a lot that goes into running your own business. You’ll have to learn how to manage your time effectively to be successful in your business. This is a skill that will help you in all areas of your life.
Building a Voice
As you interact with others and create a network of peers, you’ll establish credibility over time. This authority and these relationships will give you a voice to help make yourself heard when you have something worth saying. For example, before I started selling and writing on the web, my sphere of influence was limited to my immediate friends and family. Now when I have something important to say I can reach hundreds and thousands of people.
As you have success, people will begin to ask you questions and come to you for advice. Being able to help someone else get started or offer suggestions for improvement is a great feeling. Knowing that you have the knowledge or expertise to help or even inspire others can provide great satisfaction.
Being able to differentiate yourself from your competition is important in the world of business. Often times, you need creativity to help make yourself stand out. Even if you’re not the most creative person in the world, the need to be different to succeed will help get those creative juices flowing.
What are some other reasons you can think of why being an entrepreneur is a fulfilling and enjoyable experience? Tomorrow, I’ll take a different look at running your own business and give ten reasons why it sucks to be an entrepreneur.
Follow along as I profile a variety of different entrepreneurs this week.
In honor of Entrepreneurship Week USA I’m going to be examining the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur here at Money Smart Life for the next week. According to this CNNMoney.com article, more people than ever are getting the itch to go into business for themselves.
“We are in the midst of the largest entrepreneurial surge this country has ever seen. According to Small Business Administration projections, nearly 672,000 new companies with employees were created in 2005. That is the biggest business birthrate in U.S. history: 30,000 more startups than in 2004, and 12% more than at the height of dot-com hysteria in 1996.”
Being an entrepreneur is something I’ve aspired to for the last several years now. I started making money outside of my day job about a year ago. I’ve learned a lot but still have a long way to go on my journey to creating thriving ventures and partnerships.
There are many different ways to earn money for yourself. I’m going to be interviewing a series of entrepreneurs to try and ferret out the principles of how to be your own boss. I’m going to try and answer some of the questions I’ve come across in the last few years, hopefully we can learn together.
One of the things I have learned is that a successful entrepreneur feeds off of relationships and collaboration. If you have any questions or suggestions about what topics I should cover or questions I should address, please contact me. Here we go!
Follow the interviews as they appear:
- Generation X Finance – Meet this Entrepreneur
- JohntUnger.com Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Entrepreneur Extraordinaire. Learn from this Artist, Designer, and Catablogger
- JohntUnger.com Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Entrepreneur Extraordinaire. Entrepreneurial Journey, Motivation, & Enthusiasm
Welcome to the 76th Carnival of Debt Reduction. Hold onto your hair pieces, and get ready to do the happy dance! Pay close attention to the topics we’re about to cover and you too can celebrate like the guy in the video. This debt reduction seminar will cover the following topics:
- How to Get Out of Debt
- Psychology of Debt
- Featured Product – Debt is Slavery
- Saving Money
Plus, if you subscribe to my feed in the next 5 minutes, you’ll also get several bonus features. Okay, you’ll get the bonus features either way but I promise if you subscribe you’ll get some pretty good content on a daily basis.
In addition, make sure you check out the Super Bonus Feature at the end of the seminar to see how you could win $50. We also have a special treat for anyone in this seminar looking to make some extra money with our “Money Making Secrets of Entrepreneurs” series. See details at the end of the seminar.
How to Get out of Debt
We’ll start off the seminar with some speakers who will provide concrete steps to helping you get out of debt.
Pushpa Sathish lets us know how to avoid lenders tricks in an extensive list in Avoiding the Debt Trap: 17 Hidden Tricks Lenders Use, and How to Avoid Them posted at Debt Consolidation Lowdown.
Jimmy Atkinson shows us how to borrow our way out of debt with How to: Make Money with Balance Transfer Arbitrage posted at Ask the Advisor.
Pay off debt by living in your car, or without a car. That is the question Nina presents in Sleep in Truck: Student Pays Off Credit Card Debt posted at Queercents. This is not a specific how to list but it is a real life example of how to make sacrifices to get out of debt.
That concludes the first portion of the seminar. We’ll pause now for restroom break. Refreshments are provided, simply get up from your chair and check your refrigerator. If there’s nothing there that you like, we apologize. What do you expect, this seminar is free after all.
Psychology of Debt
Welcome to the second part of the seminar. Getting into and out of debt is largely controlled by how we think about money. Learn from the next set of presenters how to use Jedi mind tricks and other mental tactics to control your debt.
Golbguru talks about how you don’t have to rely on others, especially Dave Ramsey, to creat a plan for debt reduction in I Didn’t Need Dave Ramsey To Get Out Of Debt posted at Money, Matter, and More Musings.
Featured Product – Debt is Slavery
Now that you’ve absorbed all this free information its time for us to sell you something. We bring you below, two positive reviews of the book Debt is Slavery. Proceeds from the purchase of this book will go to Money Smart Life to help fund the facilitation of future free seminars.
mbhunter presents Debt is Slavery, Part 1: Do people have your best interests at heart? posted at mbhunter.
Thanks for buying the book. On to the next part of the seminar. Obviously, one way to get out of debt is to spend less money. Use these next set of tips to save some big time cash.
Silicon Valley Blogger compares a series of two similar items with huge price differences in Test Your Buyer’s IQ: Quit Wasting Money On Costly Crap posted at The Digerati Life.
Steve Faber presents ways to save on health care, cut your taxes, and perform cost benefit analysis with 3 More Money Saving Ideas to Help You Get Debt Free posted at Debt Free.
David E. tells us ten ways to save lots of money in 10 Simple Ideas to Save Thousands of Dollars per Year posted at Worldwide Success.
As promised, here are your bonus features, regardless of whether you subscribed or not.
Andy presents How I plan on using my tax return posted at moneywalks. Good job Andy on using your tax return to pay off credit card debt. I don’t know your interest rate but I bet if you reduced your tax withholdings and paid more each month towards your credit card balance you’d be out of debt even faster.
Ironman presents Political Calculations: Chopping Time Off Your Loan posted at Political Calculations.
Super Bonus Feature
If you’ve ever been burned by payday loans or any other type of high interest borrowing, check out the contest I’m running here to find out how you can get back $50 of the money you lost.
Money Making Secrets of Entrepreneurs
In honor of Entrepreneurship Week USA we’ll be covering various aspects of being an entrepreneur and I’ll be featuring interviews with a variety of entrepreneurs this week on Money Smart Life. Be sure to check back throughout the week and see how these entrepreneurs have made their money.
Thank You & Good Night
The presenters for this seminar were excellent, thanks to all the participants for submitting quality and relevant content. Stay tuned next week when the Carnival of Debt Reduction will be over at Climbing Out of Debt
Make sure you check out the Carnival of Personal Finance Celebrity Edition just launched today over at Binary Dollar. Thanks for attending the semiar, be sure to tell your friends about it, now go reduce some debt!
Why Blog carnivals? The concept is to provide readers a quality collection of recent articles on a given topic and blog owners the opportunity to make their writings known.
Since the first blog carnival in September of 2002 the number of carnivals has continually grown, with Blog Carnival now reporting a total of 1149 carnivals and 165 new carnivals in the past 30 days (14% increase in one month).
There has been talk in the blogosphere lately as to whether the quality of carnivals has decreased while the quantity of carnivals and carnival submissions has increased. I think as the interest in blogging and publicizing ones blog has grown, so has the blog carnival “industry”.
Some common complaints about trends in blog carnivals are articles being submitted to more than one carnival, people submitting irrelevant articles, and the extraordinarily large number of articles submitted to popular articles. Basically it boils down to readers and carnival hosts having to spend more time filtering irrelevant content. I suspect that the blogging community will eventually come up with solutions to these issues but in the meantime, don’t shy away from the carnivals because they have alot of good information to offer.
Stock Market Beat hosted both the Carnival of Investing and the Carnival of Personal Finance this week. My entries were Too Chicken to Buy Stocks and a post about buying more insurance once you have a baby.
I participated in the Cavalcade of Risk for the first time with an entry on How to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Premiums Without Even Trying.
I actually missed out on the Festival of Frugality this week but did publish an article in the Festival last week at Hustler Money Blog entitled How to Save Money and Save Your Spouse from Embarrassment.
Have you ever had to give 25% of your paycheck to a payday loan company because times were tight? If so, read on to find out how you can get some of that money back.
I was recently contacted by a payday loan company and offered $50 for mentioning them in a post. I’ve never gotten a payday loan and hopefully will never be in a situation where I have to. I knew so little about these loans I read up on them on Wikipedia and Get Rich Slowly to get the details on how they work.
Basically they serve as a way to “bridge the borrower’s cash flow gap between paydays”. The payday loan company gives the borrower money in return for an obligation to pay it back with their next paycheck, with 15-25% interest. We all work hard for our money and it’s a shame to give up 25% of it to a payday company but I guess sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.
Payback Time for High Interest Lenders
I’m using this offer as an opportunity to give back to anyone that has ever needed to use any type of high-interest credit to make ends meet. Leave a comment about what you went through. I’ll randomly select one of your stories and send you the $50 I’m paid by the payday loan company.
The only catch is that you have to use the $50 as seed money for an emergency fund and commit to putting away a little every month. Hopefully, this will help you get through your next rough patch without having to borrow. I have no way of verifying your story or that you’ll actually use the money as intended so please be honest.
I’ll be accepting comments through 2/28 and will announce the winner on 3/1. I’ll send the money to the winner with PayPal. Good luck!
Thanks to JD over at Get Rich Slowly for letting his readers know about the contest. I’m going to extend the deadline for coments through 3/5 to allow them to participate as well.
Ebenezer Scrooge was rich and lonely. He needed ghosts to help him realize his sorry plight. You don’t need a supernatural encounter to change your life. You can do it yourself in three easy steps.
Money & Time
Time and money have an intimate bond. You participate in this relationship as three different people, your past, present, and future self. If you enable these three “people” to communicate about money, across time, you can change your personal finance future.
Step 1. Personal Finance Past
What did you do with money in your past that got you where you are today? Write a letter from your present self to your past self, praising or cursing the decisions you made years ago. Hindsight is 20/20 so this should be the easiest letter to write.
Step 2. Personal Finance Present
You think you know what the future holds for you? Well, you’re probably wrong but at least put it on paper. Write a letter from your present self to your future self. You may have to explain to your older, wiser self why you’re not contributing to your 401k or why you’re running up credit card debt. Or you may brag about how you’re setting future self up for a plush retirement. Whichever it is, don’t hold back. Let future self know what to expect.
Step 3. Personal Finance Future
Pretend you’re Marty McFly, coming back in your Delorean to give your present self an earful. Write a letter from your future self to your present self. Where did you go wrong? What did you do right? Are you scrubbing floors in McDonald’s or resting in the penthouse suite, and why? What does present self need to know to make future self a happier, healthier person?
When Scrooge awoke from his close encounter on Christmas morning he was a changed man. Now that you’ve had a 360 degree view of personal finance across the years of your life what will do? Will you change assumptions and make adjustments or will you continue down the path you’re on? It’s your life, it’s up to you. Just never say Ebenezer Scrooge didn’t give you the chance to change your life.
This article is an entry in the “Win $100 from Dumb Little Man: Personal Finance Tip Contest”
March Madness is almost here! I’m pulling for the Kansas Jayhawks to finally make it out of the first round of the NCAA tournament this year. I’m also rooting for my four articles that I’m submitting to the Bracketology over at Free Money Finance. He’s pitting 64 articles from different personal finance blogs against one another. I’ll be submitting the four articles below. Your comments will help determine the winner so if you enjoy any of these then stop by the competition once it begins and let him know!
Stop Comparing Your Finances With Others. Five Financial Ratios to Keep You on Track. Learn how to analyze your personal finances like a Wall Street analyst. Track your financial situation against your own progress, not against the Joneses.
10 Ways to Cut Your Restaurant Bill Big Time. I love to eat out but I hate to spend money. The cost of a lunch here and a dinner there can add up quickly. Now with these tips you can grow your net worth and eat out too.
Ten Low Cost Ways to Reduce Money Stress. Money can be stressful; don’t let it rule your thoughts. When you’re overwhelmed with money issues turn to this list and your troubles will melt away.
How Discounting the Value of Your Home Could Keep You Out of Financial Trouble. The housing craze has led to overvalued home prices. This article will help keep you out of financial trouble by showing you a conservative approach to valuing your home.
My niece asked a very good question the other day. “How come they charge you 54 cents for a candy bar when the sticker only says 50?” When I told her the extra money was for sales tax she wrinkled up her nose and said “I don’t like tax!’. Smart kid!
Sales Tax Sucks
Who does like to pay sales tax? It’s kind of like being kicked when you’re down. Inevitably there are things we don’t want to buy but have to for one reason or another. Pulling out your wallet to pay for something is bad enough. Then they slap the sales tax on top of the bill, ouch!
Avoid Paying Sales Tax in Your Neighborhood
The good news is there are several ways around paying sales tax. If you buy something that wasn’t purchased or made solely for resale, it is typically considered a “casual and isolated sale”, in which case no sales tax is charged by the seller.
Instead, most states have a use tax in place that relies on consumers to pay tax on the honor system. I wonder, is that the same honor system that politicians use when they waste your tax dollars? I digress. The point is that the use tax is rarely enforced mainly because most states do not have the resources to do so.
Whether you pay the use tax is up to you. Let me just ask. When was the last time your neighbor was fined or hauled away to jail for not paying their use tax? The best way to capitalize on this “honor system” is to buy used items directly from individuals.
- Garage Sales
- Newspaper Classifieds
- Flea Markets
Avoid Paying Sales Tax Online
I explained in an earlier post about the Streamlined Sales Tax Project why we don’t currently pay sales tax on many things we buy online.
“In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that forcing remote sellers to collect sales tax in states in which they do not have a physical presence would constitute an undue burden on retailers and commerce in general.
Since that ruling, states are prohibited from collecting remote sales tax until they have simplified their tax regimes enough to lift the burden on remote sellers why we don’t have to pay sales tax on many items that we pay online.”
Unfortunately, the states have figured out they’re missing out on huge amounts of tax revenue and are on a mission to change that. Take advantage of this consumer benefit while you can, it won’t be around forever.
Celebrate Sales Tax Holidays
Our state and others offer a sales tax holiday prior to the start of the school year. The intention is to give parents a break as they buy “back to school” items for their kids. Check out this link to the sales tax holiday in Texas. I don’t know if all states offer this, if yours does, pay attention to the dates because it’s typically only once a year.
If you know of any other (legal) ways to avoid paying sales tax, please let us know. Taxes cut into our hard earned salaries and it’s nice to reduce them any chance that we can.
Below is an update from a reader on another way to save on sales tax.
Avoid Paying Sales Tax in Your Neighboring state
Another way to avoid sales tax is to purchase an item from a local retailer in a neighboring state and have it shipped directly to you across state lines.
We did this for my wife’s wedding ring before we were married. I lived in Missouri and she lived in Kansas. We went to a local jeweler in Missouri and had it shipped to Kansas, no sales tax! However, this won’t work if the company has nexus (a location) in your resident state where it is shipped.