Be an Ethical Entrepreneur, Marketer, and Business Builder

15 Must-Follow Rules for Retiring Wealthy

retirementAs someone who has owned 4 businesses before my 30th birthday, family and friends regularly ask me about investing, retirement planning and overall, what are the best ways to have more financial security.

Follow these simple rules and you’ll be well on your way.

Top 15 Rules for Retiring Wealthy:

  1. Always spend at least 10% less than you make. Always have a savings plan and understand that most people who “look” wealthy are just in a bunch of debt. Don’t be that family. Look comfortable and BE wealthy.
  2. Spending, Saving and Giving are all habits. If you spend every dime when you make $2,000/month, you’ll spend all that you have when you make $20k/month. Develop spending, saving and donating habits immediately!
  3. The quickest way to “make” money is to pay off debt starting with the highest interest credit cards and loans first. It’s a guaranteed Return on Investment (ROI).
  4. Never put more on a credit card than you can pay off each month. If you can’t pay it off each month, shred the credit card and pay with cash or debit cards for everything.
  5. Once the high-interest debt is paid off, save up 3-6 months in savings for a rainy day.
  6. Know your budget and don’t break it. How much are your housing costs? gas, grocery bills, Starbucks purchases, gym memberships, car payments, insurance, cell phones, internet, cable TV? Track your purchases every month (Mint.com is a decent way to do this) and make sure they are under budget. Reward yourself with a dinner out or other fun activity for each month the budget is met. Just make sure the reward is also budgeted. 😉
  7. Compound interest is the most amazing invention in the world so invest early and often.
  8. Max out any employer matching 401k’s or IRA’s. It’s like getting a guaranteed 100% ROI.
  9. Never consider your primary home an investment. By the time you pay utilities, taxes, maintenance, interest, and insurance a home is nearly always a loss. However, that’s not the goal of a home anyway.
  10. Short-term investing is extremely hard to do well. Long-term investing is extremely easy to do well.
  11. Learn how to minimize taxes legally. Taxes are your biggest individual expense BY FAR.
  12. Statistically speaking, money managers don’t know jack. Very, very few are accurate over the long-term.
  13. The most expensive thing in life is ignorance. Investing, like everything else, takes some homework and a commitment to learn.
  14. Never buy toys with debt. If you can’t afford to pay cash for motorcycles, quads, dirtbikes, jet-skis, razors, boats, vacations or anything else non-essential, then you can’t afford to have them. In other words, ONLY consider debt to buy a home, business, primary vehicle and some college degrees.
  15. Delayed gratification is the number one predictor of long-term success. It’s more accurate than IQ, EQ, SAT’s, ACT’s or any other tests ever administered. In other words, spending an extra $10k to get a nicer car today can mean having $50k less when you go to retire. Discipline yourself to be an expert at delayed gratification.

Here is one of the best articles I’ve come across for a nearly foolproof plan for a healthy retirement. It lists out exactly where to invest your IRA and 401k dollars each year.

Start with the book that is referenced, If You Can: How Millenials Can Get Rich Slowly, as it is only about 35 pages long, costs less than $6 and is available for Kindle.

Warren Buffet (one of the top 3 richest men in the world for several decades) told us 30 years ago the simple secret to investing and he predicted, quite accurately, that almost no one would listen.

Do you think there are any other investing or money-management rules that are missing?

To your healthy and secure retirement,
Bryan

photo by:

Nearly half of Americans think 2008 will go down as one of the worst years in American history…

Wow. Were the past 12 months that bad for you?

As I was reading the Wall Street Journal on my Kindle this week I came across an article that references a Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll indicating that nearly half of the people surveyed think 2008 will go down as one of the worst years in US history. Since 90% of the respondents indicated that the economy has gotten worse in the last 12 months I’m going to assume that’s the primary reason everyone hates 2008. I must say, as a young entrepreneur who has put everything on the line to buy a small business and move across the country 8 months ago, I’m a bit shocked…

Here’s why I’m a bit shocked that people think things are so horrible:

  • I sold my house in Pennsylvania in about 3 months at a profit when I’d only purchased it 24 months earlier.
  • I easily got financing (at 95%) for my new place in New Mexico.
  • I’ve secured several commercial bank loans and still have access to low interest credit.
  • My business is about to have the highest grossing year of revenue in its 60 year history.
  • We’ve hired 3 new people this year and anticipate more growth in the next 12 months.
  • I bought and resold a motorcycle in less than 2 months at 30% profit this summer.
  • My personal net worth has increased more in the last 8 months then it has during the previous 25 years of my life.

Now the news isn’t all rosy:

  • At last count my stocks, mutual funds, etc. are down about 33% this year. However that doesn’t really bother me since most of my money is invested in other areas. Now I have an amazing opportunity to increase my stock holdings and take advantage of severely discounted businesses on the stock exchange.
  • I haven’t been able to sell my sports car. It’s a 2006 G35 coupe. Bright red. Not exactly the vehicle people “hunkering down” for a depression would be buying.
  • My debt has increased more in the last 8 months then it has during the previous 25 years of my life. However, the right kind of debt isn’t bad as long as it’s used for assets and they are appreciating.

So what does this all mean to you? It’s very simple, are you bracing for a recession, depression, or worse? OR are you finding the opportunities that are now greater than ever out there.

Right now you can buy businesses, houses, stocks and mutual funds cheaper than probably in the last 20 years. Particularly with the housing market, if you have good credit, with the tightening restrictions on lending, guess what’s going to happen? More people are going to have to rent. Housing prices are down and rental prices are going to start going up (rental rates don’t seem to have changed much in my area yet). Is there a more perfect formula for residual income and profiting from rental properties then that???

As Brad Sugars pointed out recently – In Las Vegas, where the housing market has been particularly hard hit, he talked to a realtor who said he’s getting killed because no one is buying anything. Shortly thereafter he spoke with another realtor who said he has more work then he knows what to do with. With all of the foreclosures, banks are scrambling for good realtors to sell for them.

Which guy or gal are you? Is it all doom and gloom or are you picking out the opportunities that are abound?

The possibilities that are created in 2008 may be the ones that allows you and I to create more wealth more quickly than ever before. And what’s the worst that can happen? You could buy a business and fail? You could buy a stock that goes bankrupt and lose your investment? You could buy a rental property that doesn’t get rented out? Well, here are a few quick ways to minimize the chance of any of those things happening.

  1. Buy a business – Make sure it’s a staple that everyone will need no matter what’s going on in the economy. If you have few or no competitors, even better. If you already own your business, buy your competitors and/or complementary businesses that can benefit from your current facilities and customer list to spread overhead between several entities keeping costs low. What’s your company’s niche??? The most important part is the PURCHASE PRICE. Buy it cheap. Make sure you tell the seller that the economy is horrible and they better take your offer while it’s still on the table. 😉
  2. Buy a house – If you’re looking for a rental property and you’re not too worried about tax deductions, single-family dwellings are always the best to start out with. Young families and couples are abound so there’s always a need. And with the current credit markets those people will need to rent. Keep in mind, just like with a business, what’s unique about your property that will make people want to stay there? Again, the purchase price is the most important part. If you can keep your costs down with a low mortgage then your profits will be that much better. Make sure you tell the seller that the economy is horrible and they better take your offer while it’s still on the table. 😉
  3. Buy stocks – I’m not a big fan of mutual funds. I bought my first one when I was 14 and never had great success. In essence you’re paying extra to have someone pick stocks for you and put them in a nice, neat little package. Do your homework. Learn about the stock market and particularly business valuation. Read The Warren Buffett Way. Buy stocks that have more cash on hand then their current market capitalization and also have strong cashflow. If you want to be even safer, invest in ones that are still paying a dividend. Historically they generally fair the best.

Consider this for a minute – retail sales after Thanksgiving this year are up 7% over last year! That’s right, last year when the stock market was soaring and everyone was making money and unemployment was low we bought less stuff at Christmas sales then we did in this recessed year of 2008…  Hmmm… are you seeing the opportunities yet?

Don’t be that guy who remembers when Buffalo Wild Wings and Netflix were trading for $21/share and if you’d have only put a few bucks into those stocks you’d be rich now… If you still think I’m a bit “off”, since the sky is obviously falling, check out what the greatest investor in the world, Warren Buffet, thinks about the economy.

To your success in making 2009 your most profitable year yet, Bryan