Whether you have broken your 2020 new years resolution by now or not, for the most of us, our finances continue to be a concern.
Here is the first step towards planning for a Secure financial future.
Take Stock of Current Financial Status, that is,
- Calculate your current NET WORTH.
- Do this at least quarterly; certainly
- do it once a year!
- Compute the current value of all your assets (what you own).
- The total of non-obligated funds (balance) at all bank accounts
- The fair market value of all real assets you own
- trade-in value of cars, motorcycles, boats, scooters, trucks, etc.
- Current fair market value of all real property you own
- house(s), farm(s), land(s), etc.
- Current trade-in value of equipment and appliances you own
- TV’s, Refrigerator, tools, computers, sound systems, etc.
- Current trade-in value of all furniture, jewelry, antiques, etc.
- Compute the current value of all financial investment instruments
- (these are the value of these instruments
- that will be available to you on demand
- after deductions of all penalties, fees,commissions etc.)
- Cash payout of all retirement accounts
- Cash payout value of bonds, stocks, etc.
- Cash payout of life and other insurance policies
- Cash payout of all other investments
- Compute your total debts (Liabilities);
- Current short term loans
- (those payable within 1-5 years)
- credit card(s) balance(s)
- total current value of all car loans/note(s)
- other short term debt(s)
- e.g. lease or rental obligations
- current value of total long term obligations
- Mortgages/house payments
- Student Loans
- many student loans have a payoff value
- attached to your total balance
- Other Long term contractual Obligations
- current value of total child support payments
- current value of alimony or divorce settlements, etc.
- current value of all other court ordered payments, etc.
- Compute the Net Worth
- = Total Current value of Assets – Total Current Value of all Debts.
- This is the foundation of all planning for a secure financial future!
- The numbers need not be super accurate.
- This is just a birds eye view of your current position
Now that you know your current financial status,
- the Next Step is to SET SOUND FINANCIAL GOALS
- That is, clarify where you want to be
- That’s in the next Post
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Scanning the landscape of your financial future?
There are about six major ways to become wealthy:
Be Born into a Wealthy Family
- It goes without saying that
- if you are the child, relative, or heir of
- Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Sam Walton, or
- Africa’s Aliko Dangote, or Mexico’s Carlos Slim, or
- any of the royal families in Kuwait, Oman, or Dubai, etc.
- you WILL also be wealthy.
- But this path to wealth is not available to over 99% of the planet!
Marry into a Wealthy Family
- Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle
- married into British Royalty and into Wealth!
- The wives of Rupert Murdoch, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk
- However, this road is reserved
- for only a tiny sliver of humanity.
- It also appears that
- the wealthy generally marry
- people of similar economic status.
Win a Lottery Jackpot with a Big Cash Prize
- The odds of winning the mega million jackpot in the US
- for example, is over 1 in 300 million
- that means it is ‘possible’ to lose over 300 million times
- It also means that you may never win
- if you play the lottery every day
- of a 100-year life span
- (that is about 36,600 days!)
- and never win!
- As a means to wealth,
- winning the Jackpot is therefore a ‘false hope’
- for the majority of us.
- Note: Forget about the publicity
- around those who win;
- the prize money
- (less the portion
- that goes to the organizers)
- is coming from all those who did not win,
- (that is a lot of people!)
Steal Money From Plenty of People or From a Wealthy Person
- The problem with this approach is that
- it is illegal and you may get caught,
- it is anti-biblical, unethical, and immoral; moreover
- people/the wealthy will work to protect their money, and
- therefore the success rate of achieving lifetime wealth
- through thievery is also very low.
- Therefore, this is not a viable approach to wealth
- for average person
- (some still try to make a living
- by scamming people out of their money).
Become a Successful Professional in a Well-paying Industry
- Note: “successful”
- Also Note: “well paying industry” of the economy, meaning
- star athletes, champion sportsmen, movie stars, etc.
- at the top of their profession
- (Usain Bolt
- the 100 meter Jamaican world record holder
- is reportedly worth over $30 million
- professions requiring high qualification, and
- that are in high demand
- but with low supply of workers, for example,
- brain surgeons, computer whiz, fund managers, etc.
- Also Note: Working for income in an excellent but regular job
- is not usually a means to wealth!!
- The possibilities here in my judgment are greater
- than the previous listings
- but still for most people
- it is not a feasible way to build lifetime wealth.
Start and Run Your Own Successful Business
- Note again “successful”
- Starting and running a business requires
- special skills
- which many people do not appear to have;
- willingness to take risks,
- willingness to bear full responsibility
- But with risks comes financial reward
- that can grow without limit
- into lifetime wealth,
- as long as the business continues to grow
- The proportion of people who can take this is also greater
- than than the previous options!
Get A regular career and invest wisely
- in other Successful Businesses
- over a long period of time!
- Note: you do not have to be successful at
- starting and running a business; but
- you must be good at picking successful businesses
- over a long period of time!
- This means using modest regular income, and
- saving all you can, while
- investing in businesses that are successful,
- over a long period of time,
- will generally compound into wealth!
- This is the most available route for most people!
On a final note:
- Becoming ‘wealthy’ need not be your goal, rather
- Make it your goal to become Financially Free:
- Have enough to tithe and give to the work of the Lord.
- Have enough to cover your budgeted expense
- including miscellaneous, as well as
- unplanned and unexpected expenses.
- Have enough to cover for emergencies.
- Save enough to guarantee a desired standard of living in retirement.
- Have enough to leave a legacy for the next generation!
- Have enough to be generous and make a difference in the lives of others.
- This we can all do
- If we start early,
- with much planning, prayer, and discipline!!
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I NO LONGER MAKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!!
WHY? Two things!
- I have come to view the end of one year and the start of another as
- a little too artificial.
- Imagine looking back to the earth
- from the vantage point of the moon.
- What is the difference between
- December 31st and
- January 1st?
- Or Imagine being a bird, or another animal.
- What is the difference in the experience
- of December 31st relative to January 1st?
- I have resolutions,
- but they are no longer bound by an artificial timeline.
- My resolutions
- like time itself,
- are always on a continuum; and they
- are about
- ‘always growing’;
- always becoming a better version of me.
- I don’t stop striving to become better version of me
- just because I broke a resolution after two months.
- Neither do I wait until the next December 31st
- to resolve to start again;
- to become a better version of me;
- after I fail by February 1st each year.
So what should we do on the 31st of December each year?
- Do celebrate
- the end of a block of (man made) ‘time’ and the start of a new one,
- like everybody else; and
- it is useful to have time markers along the way, but
- Do, never become obsessive
- that you must meet all your benchmarks within the year
- to consider yourself successful!
So here is the ONE AND ONLY RESOLUTION you need to have:
- Always strive to become a better version of yourself with each passing day:
- Be better at your faith, you know,
- trust, pray, love, give, testify, know, and serve more, etc.,
- about and as a result of your faith!
- Better in your character
- (the real you;
- what’s inside;
- like toothpaste,
- what comes out when pressure is applied);
- Be more dependable, more patient, more truthful,
- more balanced, less self-centered, more at peace with yourself,
- more generous with others,
- with your resources as well as with their faults etc.,
- more self disciplined with time, words, and actions; wiser.
- Better in your relationships: more
- serving, self-less, open, forgiving, listening and less talking,
- considerate, gentle, humble, and more self-control.
- Better at your Career: Make it your goal to be
- more dependable, knowledgeable, skillful, useful, available, etc.
A wise man once said, long ago:
“…One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize…” Paul (ca. AD 52-62, Phil 3.13-14)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE!!
For most of us, the Christmas season is special,
- a welcome time of the year.
But I ask myself the question, Why?
WHAT IS SO UNIQUE ABOUT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR!?
It is about the giving and receiving of gifts?
- Everyone seem to make an effort to give a gift to someone else
- No doubt receiving a gift is a pleasant experience.
- Giving a gift that brings joy to someone else
- is also a beautiful thing.
- All this shopping for gifts mean more sales for businesses
- which allows them
- to hand out bonuses to workers
- Even without increased revenues,
- Christmas is when businesses
- make positive gestures
- towards employees and the public.
Could it be the Bright and Warm Colors of the season?
- A lot of people put on
- red, green or gold or other
- bright and warm colors during this season.
- Many homes are decorated with multi colored Christmas lights
- on the outside
- and, with colorfully decorated ornaments
- on the inside including on Christmas trees.
- Many stores and businesses
- make dramatic and colorful window displays.
- On the inside, their products
- are also beautifully arranged with Christmas decorations.
- The streets, and city centers in many areas around the world
- are also impressively decorated.
- But the Christmas season is all this and more!
Could it be the Wonderful Sounds that fill the air?
- Lots of music and the sounds of bells and whistles
- fill the air during this season.
- Christmas Carols tell the wonderful story
- of the love of God and
- of peace and goodwill towards all men.
- The sounds of the Christmas season evokes nostalgia
- in the minds of adults
- about innocent childhood days as well as
- about simpler days and times;
- when they looked forward to
- Christmas gifts, toys, family, and fun.
- But the Christmas season
- is special for all this and more;
- more than just the sounds of love, joy, peace, and hope that fills the air!
Is it because of the Special Food we enjoy at this time of the year?
- Everyone goes out of their way to prepare special food and
- there is plenty of it
- there is also a large variety of it
- there is plenty of food and lots of variety
- But the Christmas season is special
- for more than lots of very fine food.
Is it the many celebrations, the events we get to attend?
- Parties among friends and families,
- nine lessons and carols;
- special concerts and
- sporting events etc.,
- are all mostly very nice experiences.
- Even without a party to go to,
- the streets have more people
- out and about,
- (shopping, dining, buying and selling, etc.
- not to forget the traffic);
- during the Christmas season
- giving a special ‘event’ type feeling.
- This is good but Christmas season is special for much more!
All of the above,
- each have a part to play
- in making the Christmas Season
- the giving and receiving of gifts,
- the bright and warm colors,
- the sounds,
- the special and very fine food,
- the celebrations and special events;
- combine to create a very powerful and positive vibe
- The season is special,
- because together
- they make it a season of GOOD WILL
- wherever Christmas is celebrated!
- (all of humanity, our families, our communities, our nation, our economies)
- need AT LEAST ONE SEASON OF GOOD WILL in each year!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU THE READER AND SUBSCRIBERS!
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In Developing Countries;
- it is easier to come up with gift ideas,
- (if you have the funds for it),
- there are many things that people need
- but do not have; indeed
- cooked food was the gift that
- my mother dispatched
- (through us children)
- to neighbors, extended family, and friends
- as a sign of good will at Christmas time;
- watches, shoes, garments, jewelry, dishes, sheets,
- pens, books, personal music player, TV, computers, toys, etc.
- are all also great gift ideas.
In affluent societies like in the Western World
- coming up with the perfect gift at Christmas
- can be a challenge;
- because most people use
- their regular incomes or
- credit cards to buy what they
- One option is to buy
- high-end gifts or
- exotic and rare versions
- (which can be very pricey)
- of things people use on a regular basis.
- Regular folks therefore have to work harder to give the perfect gift;
- here are a few suggestions of how to give the perfect gift.
The perfect gift takes time
- Start early, as early as September;
- listen to everyday conversations,
- listen to expressed desires and aspirations
- and make a note for gift ideas from those conversations.
The perfect gift may be an ‘experience’
- Gift ideas do not have to be ‘things‘
- they can be
- a vacation, cruises, concert, a trip to a destination
- museum/zoo visits or theme park rides, air fare, special trips;
- time off work, housekeeping, or baby sitting;
- an offer of cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping;
- scholarship, tuition contribution, tutoring,
- a special radio station/you-tube, blog post announcement, etc.
The perfect gift should be personalized, customized or handmade;
- an autographed book/ticket/music/fan wear,
- (from the author or composer, or admired person)
- monogrammed items:
- a person’s name, initials or special message,
- can be inscribed on
- silverware, bathroom set, plaque, musical instrument;
The perfect gift must fit the personality of the receiver
- Some people want big
- (the amount spent is impressive)
- others look for small details
- (how rare, how much effort, how much thoughtfulness!)
- Some people are visual
- others are action oriented, still
- others are moved by sound, etc.
- Some people like things, others like ‘experiences.’
- Some people want to keep up with their peers
- (they get gifts that are popular)
- others want to know that ‘they’ are unique
- (they get gifts just for them);
- How do you know what is the perfect gift?
- People usually give the type of gift
- that THEY like to receive;
- use that to guide your gift giving
- TO THEM!
- not the other way around
- do not give what you cherish
- (I once gifted a hat to my wife
- that she has never used;
- it was something I fancied for myself!)
The perfect gift may be what someone tells you they want
- They tell you directly or respond if/when you ask.
- Some apps make it easy to create a registry for gift requests.
This should have been posted before Thanksgiving Day. All the same,
“Better Late than never,” and on thanksgiving week,
I heard one radio announcer say:
“Thanksgiving is not a day, it is an attitude of the heart.”
T – THANK and PRAISE God
- for all things BIG and SMALL!
- And do not forget
- the precious people in your life!
H – HEALTH AND LIFE
- are things we can all be thankful for
- even if we are ill at a hospital
A – APPRECIATE and ADMIRE
- the beauty of God’s creation around you.
N – NAME and NUMBER
- your blessings,
- its a rewarding experience,
- including the precious people in your life.
K – KINDNESS and THANKSGIVING
- in the heart
- are twin siblings in the same home.
S – A SMILE and a CHEER;
- want to see it on the face of the deserving?
- Just say, “Thank You!”
- from the heart
- and with a warm smile!
G – GIVING and RECEIVING:
- The one exists not without the other
I – ICTUS;
- Five Greek letters for ‘fish‘:
- Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior:
- at least one reason to “give thanks!”
V – VISION and VALUE:
- Nothing says:
- “I see and I value what you have done” like when you say
I – INSIDE and OUTSIDE:
- A thankful heart, expressed outwardly in sincere words
N – NICE and NEW:
- Thanksgiving is always that
G – GOOD to GREAT:
- ‘Good Gifts’ become ‘GREAT GIFTS,’
- when it is received with a heartfelt: