Planning for the End of Days

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[Today's guest post comes from Kosmo. I'll warn you in advance that is a little different from what you'd normally read in this space (I've given some thoughts about that at the end). When Kosmo isn’t giving horrendous advice, he’s steering the ship over at The Soap Boxers and spinning up new fiction tales. You can find his Kindle books on Amazon.]

Most of you know that the world will end on December 21, 2012.  Most of the world is hunkered down in cold war era bomb shelters, in a futile attempt to remain alive through the end of days.  The smarter people are seeing the end of the world as an incredible opportunity.  Here are tips on how to take advantage of the imminent destruction of the earth.

  • Three words: cash out re-fi. Home equity? Is that really going to be important when the earth is just a smoldering core? Get your grubby hands on all the cash you can find.
  • Raid the retirement funds and your kid’s 529 plan while you’re at it. Hey, we both know the kid’s going to struggle to make it out of second grade – time to rid yourself of the delusions of grandeur and make a profit at the same time.
  • Job? What job? Goodbye, loser drones. I’ll be on the beach, sipping a Jack and Coke.
  • Spend, spend, spend! Take that cash and make sure it’s all gone by December 21, 2012. Apply for every possible credit card and run those suckers to the limit and beyond! Last one to max out their cards is a rotten egg.
  • Bacon
  • [Bleep] you, IRS. I’ll send you my tax return … in 2013. Ha!
  • Try some new foods. Personally, I recommend the homo sapiens filet. Take care when choosing restaurants that serve this delectable dish. Restaurants located near prisons tend to serve filets that are a bit tougher than those which serve only free range homo sapiens. Pricey, but excellent when prepared by a master chef. Simian fries are a great choice for a side dish.
  • Cut the tags off your mattress. I double dare you!
  • Travel to Costa Rica to see the dinosaurs. For that matter, buy one of the darned things. Cute little buggers, aren’t they?
  • Learn a second language. I recommend FORTRAN.
  • Lock in your 2012 Cubs season tickets early. It has long been forecast that a Cubs World Championship will cause the apocalypse, so the Northsiders are the team of destiny in 2012!
  • Can you really die from mixing Coke and Pop Rocks? Only one way to find out. Let’s wait on this one until a few days before everyone dies from terminal apocalyptia.
  • Buy that collection of Rob Schneider movies you’ve had your eye on. There will never be a better time to snap up the cinematic classics featuring this Oscar-snubbed thespian. The Olivier of our day, in my opinion.

[Editor's Thoughts: I couldn't help but not post this as it hit home on a few points. Not not the homo sapien filets. First I thought it made for a great reminder not to take things too seriously. I believe that's always fitting for a Friday. However, this week I've been in need of some comedy as I've been wrapped in Tsunami news and NFL players with much, much bigger problems on their hands other than money.

Other points making it post-worthy:

  • I appreciated the "bacon" reference. Bacon to me is like butter to Paula Deen.
  • There was a time when I actually knew FORTRAN fairly well... because I was dorky enough to find it interesting. Though I quickly moved from that to FORTH. Again, I'm big with the dork (as Willow might have said in Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
  • While on Buffy, when I read the phrase "terminal apocalyptia", I couldn't help think of this Riley quote, "Buffy. When I saw you stop the world from, you know, ending, I just assumed that was a big week for you. It turns out I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse." The lesson here is that there's a lot of fun to be had with the word apocalypse.
  • Finally, I think my mother might buy Deuce Bigalow from the Amazon link at the end earning me a small commission. I seem to recall her mentioning that it wasn't a bad movie. (Don't worry mom, you are still cooler than me. Remember the FORTRAN and FORTH stuff above.)

]

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Posted on March 18, 2011.

Thoughts on Airline Ticket Pricing

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For those thinking that I fell off a cliff and stopped posting, I would like like to direct you to a nearly 1000 word guest post on The Digerati Life about airline baggage fees. If Spirit Airlines new carry-on fee is your bag, lug yourself to The Digerati Life (ridiculously bad puns intended).

[P.S. I did mean to work in the concept that one could perhaps save more money by just buying new clothes at Wal-Mart and donating them at the end of your trip. (I owe credit to a commenter on Lifehacker.com for that one.)]

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Posted on April 8, 2010.

The Tax Collector

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[The following is a fictional story by Kosmo. Kosmo is an aspiring novelist, vehement opponent of the designated hitter, student of true crime, and plays the keyboard for The Casual Observer - an eclectic, team-written web magazine.

Kosmo would like to give readers of Lazy Man and Money a discount at his store. For the next month, use the coupon code LAZYMAN20 to get a 20% discount on all items (excluding writers' tip jars).]

Michael Hays tried to avoid talking about his job whenever possible. When the question inevitably arose, he said that he worked as a compliance specialist within the Treasury Department.

This was technically true. The Internal Revenue Service was within the Treasury Department, and an auditor could be thought of as a compliance specialist. This was Michael's way of evading the slings and arrows that might otherwise come his way, while still staying on the angelic side of the truth.

Michael plopped into his chair and looked at the work ahead of him today.

First on the list were follow-ups to some letters than had been sent to taxpayers to ask for evidence of certain deductions. Many of the taxpayers had deftly shunted the letter on to their tax professional. Most of the tax professionals had written coherent responses and attached the necessary documentation.

Some of the others had decided to respond without the assistance of professionals. Several of them had done very competent jobs, allowing Michael to cross their names off his list as well. Several others had responded in a manner that made it very clear that they did not fully comprehend Michael's request. Michael set these aside for the moment.

Next on his list was the dispute with Mr. Anthony Davis. Mr. Davis had taken advantage of an investment opportunity that was determined by the IRS to be a tax shelter. The amount was so small that Mr. Davis was getting minimal benefit from the shelter. Michael had the impression that Davis was simply trying to pick a fight with the IRS. Michael hoped that Mr. Davis would soon realize how foolish it was to risk jail time over this dispute.

The next batch of letters contained the interesting ones. Most of these were from the people who had ignored the W2s and 1099s that had been sent to them, under the firm belief that the IRS did not have the authority to collect taxes. The standard array of arguments arose from the letters. The tax system was voluntary, the sixteenth amendment was never properly ratified, the only people subject to income tax are employees of the federal governments. Some of the other letters involved disputes about bogus credits that the taxpayers had claimed on their returns.

Michael spent time carefully crafting his responses to these letters, citing the relevant case law in each situation. Michael was a bit surprised that so many people were still conned by quacks selling fraudulent tax evasion schemes. Time after time, courts had affirmed the authority of the IRS to collect taxes. So many frivolous claims had been argued, and so many had been dismissed by judges. The IRS had even posted a list of these arguments with details of the cases "“ but many of these people simply didn't want to hear the truth.

The final letter on Michael's desk was the most pleasant. A recent audit had tripped up a wealthy business owner who had used a variety of shell corporations and foreign bank accounts to evade taxes. Michael had eventually unraveled the mess, and the IRS had laid the facts out in front of the man. They offered a deal "“ pay the back taxes, plus interest and penalties, and the IRS would back down and not pursue a fraud case. Michael pulled the check out of the envelope and stared at the amount for a moment - $13,312,872.42. It was not uncommon to receive checks to settle disputes, but Michael was always happy to see such a large check.

Michael wondered where these dollars would end up going. The construction project near Michael's home had been stalled due to a lack of federal funding. Perhaps now the road could be widened and the traffic lights installed. The current state of the road was not adequate for the volume of traffic. The changes would make it much safer.

Perhaps the war on terror could afford more advanced screening tools that would allow for detection of dangerous items that currently evaded the scans at the airport. Maybe this money would prevent a hijacking.

Michael was a volunteer at one of the Head Start programs in town. The program was always a bit short of funds. Maybe this money would allow these kids to be more prepared for elementary school.

Of course, Michael knew that this thirteen million dollars wouldn't be earmarked for any of these projects. However, he also knew that actively pursuing all tax revenue legally owed to the government would allow a higher level of funding for many great programs. Michael knew that nobody enjoyed paying taxes, and realized that large amounts of federal funds were unfortunately wasted "“ but also knew that without the funds provided by income taxes, the United States would be a much worse place to live.

[If you liked the story above... or even if you didn't... I urge you to visit The Casual Observer and extol the virtues of the designated hitter.]

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Posted on March 26, 2010.

Dispelling Common College PF Myths

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studenomics_logoToday's guest post comes from Studenomics, a blog that tries to help younger people reach financial independence. It's actually part one of a two part series, so when your done, you'll want to click through to Studenomics to read the rest. If you enjoy reading this guest post then please consider subscribing to RSS Feed.

There are certain assumptions that have been made over the years in regards to a young persons financial situation while attending college. Today I will go as far as to say that these assumptions are nothing more than myths. As a result of this I will go one step further and dispel common college personal finance myths. I feel it's about time someone showed the young people of today that certain assumptions are simply false and that there are more choices than ever.

Myth #1: You must pay for school with student loans.

Sure there are some programs that are extremely expensive (life sciences, engineering, and a few others) and student minimum wage isn't exactly ideal, BUT this does not mean that your education you should be 100% student loan funded. You have the whole summer to work and save up your money to cover the costs of a college education. If that is not enough then you may still work a full time or a part time evening job while in college. If all of the above options are not feasible for you then try an internship in your field of study or even better enroll in a program that has paid work terms. The point that I'm trying to get across is that while some students may have to use a loan to fund their education, most students choose to accept this thinking as a fact instead of getting on their feet and working hard to earn money.

Myth #2:You will earn more money when you complete college, so there's no point to save now.

That is like saying an out of shape person asking, I will be fit one day so what's the point of working out today? The answer is simple, every little bit helps. Yes the money you save from a part time or summer job will not make you rich but it will definitely give you a head start over your friends that will be struggling to pay off their student debt. If you get used to saving a set amount of your income & budgeting at an early age then when you're older you will have instilled in yourself strong fundamental habits. Also as you grow older your income will hopefully increase as will your savings. I have seen so many people my age complete a college program that substantially increases their income and guess what? their savings remained stagnant or non existent.

Let me give you a simple calculation to demonstrate how every dollar matters. A couple of years ago when I started my job I decided to automate my finances. A set amount of my paycheck went to retirement, savings, and into a regular checking account. One little thing that I did was I set up an emergency fund (since I had never read a personal blog in my life at that point I called it "secret money") where I figured I would put $50 every paycheck (biweekly) into a government savings bond. Granted, the interest earned with savings bond is nothing spectacular but there is virtually no risk. Here are my savings without calculating the interest:

$50 x 26 pay checks= 1300$ x 4 years= $5,200

I know that $5,200 won't buy you that dream car or the newest Giorgio Armani suit but I would rather have $5,200 than owe $5,200. This is also not my main savings account, it is simply an emergency/ "Secret money" account which you could use for whatever purpose you desire when you complete college. What will I use the money for? I already made a down payment on a new condo development so who knows? Maybe I will take a month long vacation across Europe before starting my career.

Myth #3: Retirement savings do not start until you complete college.

Actually you should begin saving for your retirement as soon as you start working or earning any form of an income. While I personally wouldn't advise allocating a high amount of your yearly income into retirement savings, I still recommend that you put anywhere from $500-$1000 a year into retirement savings before you even begin your career. I set up a joint retirement savings account with my mom when I was 17 because I wanted to get a head start before I began making real money in my career. Once you begin your career then yes retirement savings will begin to get serious because you will have many different options and benefits, however, this is a topic that Lazy Man has covered extensively with his retirement plan series.

A common question that I receive from people in their 20s is, how are you suppose to motivate a 20 year old to worry about saving for a retirement that won't happen for at least another 40 years? I actually have two answers to this question;

  • Look around you, every time you see a senior citizen well past the age of 60-65 still working (assuming they are not Warren Buffet) a job that they do not particular enjoy just to meet ends meet should make you strive to want to avoid a similar fate. Yes as mentioned above there will be people like Warren Buffet who will probably work forever but that's because they truly live and breathe their job and it's not a simple 9-5 for them. For the rest of us we will work a 9-5 for at least over 35 years of our lives, don't you want to live comfortably in your golden years?
  • Look around you again. You notice all of those supposed "rich people" that are barely over 60 but spend most of their time traveling the world or spending time on activities that they truly enjoy? These people are not luckier than us, they are simply just people that planned for their retirement well in advance.

There you go. I have dispelled the most common myths circulated by young people while attending college. I am living proof that you do not need to be the smartest person to be financially independent. You just need to be the type of person that plans well in advance and goes against the curb in terms of not following common assumptions.

You tired of hearing advice from people that are always pessimistic? You looking for a common sense approach to personal finance issues that confuse many? If so then Studenomics.com is the place for you. Studenomics is one of the fastest growing personal finance blogs out there these days. Come check out the site and find out what all the buzz is about. Do not fear you will not be judged at Studenomics nor will you ever be treated with even the slightest bit of disrespect.

Check out Part 2 of Dispelling Common College PF Myths

[Editor's Note: I've actually been thinking about adding a University of Phoenix (UoP) degree to my resume since I can complete it while I run my businesses from home. The UoP website featuresAll University of Phoenix campus locations and the college degree programs offered in each.]

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Last updated on January 27, 2011.

Time Alone is Time Well Spent

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[The following is a guest post from Matt Wolfe. He authors the How I Will Be Rich. I encourage you to subscribe to his RSS feed.]

Spend some time alone.
How often do you really get a chance to get away and be alone in silence? If you are like most people, in this day and age, the answer is not very often. Between work, school, and relationships, people seem hard pressed to find time to seclude themselves with their thoughts. When they do get some free time to themselves, they turn to the television or the radio for companionship. Believe it or not, just some peace and quiet, away from distractions, can be an extremely efficient use of your time.

Relax and clear your head.
After a long day at work or a rough day at school, it feels so good to just kick off your shoes and find a comfortable spot to just kick back and relax. It gives you an opportunity to reflect. Think about the day that just past and how tomorrow is going to be a great day. Allow your mind to wander and don't let yourself worry about a thing. I made a habit of doing this every single night. Usually this is when I come up with my best writing material; ideas just seem to come to me. When you're not trying to focus on anything in specific, your mind comes up with all sorts of great ideas. If you are trying to solve a problem at work, relax and let the solution come to you. Your brain is solving problems and creating ideas even when you don't know it. Your subconscious is extremely powerful but you need some time to allow those thoughts that are brewing in the back of your mind to make their way out.

You could be a genius and not even know it.
Some of the greatest minds in history attribute at least part of their success to the fact that they spent some time alone. Spending time alone allows you to really think deeply about your goals and your strategies. Albert Einstein was known to be a quiet person that spent a lot of time to himself. He was one of the greatest and most influential minds in history. Henry David Thoreau developed the reputation of a hermit because he spent so much time alone. He was a social personal and loved interaction with others but he made it a rule for himself to just spend some time alone. He's now got libraries worth of philosophies and incredible writings. Franklin D Roosevelt spent time bedridden with polio. Would he have been as successful of a leader as he was if he hadn't had all of that time to himself?

Confer with yourself and you may be smarter than you think.
Studies have shown that people who spend time conferring with themselves make better decisions and are more successful. The people who turn to the TV to avoid moments of solitude never really give themselves the chance to discover the great things that their mind has been working on. Set aside some time each week to be alone with your thoughts and let your body relax. I guarantee it will pay off, and who knows, maybe you will be the person to solve one of the world's next greatest problems.

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Last updated on August 1, 2011.

Guest Writer Wednesday: AskDong Controls Spending Creep

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This week's guest post comes from AskDong.com. As an early 30-something from Boston, we have a lot in common.

I've been very fortunate in the last 9 years since college to have been able to increase my income every single year, but with that has come almost a requisite spending creep. I know I'm not the only one. MM over at pfblog.com clearly has suffered this as well. A mere 4 years ago, he thought $45K a year was enough. Today his estimate is $110K. Quite a jump. Some of that increase is understandable and difficult to account for when you're young. Children are expensive, and expensive in ways that I probably can't imagine, at least that's what I can gather from people I know who have kids.

I'm not one to preach excessive frugalness. Life is too short to not enjoy it. I think if you can afford to splurge, you should go ahead and do it. However, at the same time, I think it's important to understand your spending. It's not only important to understand where you're spending money but how your spending habits are changing, especially on budgetary items that are relatively fixed by contractual obligations. I include amongst these; rent, mortgages, auto loans and leases, insurance, basic utilities, and club memberships. That's not an exhaustive list, but each of those items represent a continuing obligation that cannot easily be cut from one month to the next. Discretionary items such as cable, eating out, clothes, vacation, etc., while still difficult to cut, are more controllable. The other thing about contractual spending is that it often times leads to more discretionary spending. Having a car is probably the best example of this. By owning a car, I've not only burdened myself with auto repair costs but I also drive to places when I could be taking public transit, increasing the wear and tear on the car, using gas, and occasionally paying for parking. Having the freedom to go on more road trips is a great thing, but I shouldn't forget that it comes at a cost.

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't done a particularly good job at limiting my own spending creep. Below is summary of what some of my expenses (the ones I have relatively good records of) have looked like for the last 9 years.

The annualized growth rate is 14.2%. Yikes. Luckily my base salary has increased at a slightly higher annualized rate, 15.2%. For comparison, I've included the CPI inflation data for the same period. I've been keeping pace with inflation and then some (actually a lot of some) given that the annualized inflation rate as measured by the CPI for that time period is 2.8%. While I know my other undocumented expenses haven't increased at the same rate, it's still a wake up call.

I think it's important to expect a certain level of spending creep is bound to happen. For instance, I have no regrets about owning a car after 6 years of not owning one. However, I'm glad I was given a hand me down from my family, nor do I have regrets about living in a nicer apartment than I did a few years ago. Increases in spending are okay, but what needs to be prevented is rampant uncontrolled spending growth. Investors pay a lot of attention not only to the worth of their assets, but how they grow. Why shouldn't they be just as concerned with the rate at which their expenses grow? Ongoing spending increases should always be supported by sustainable income growth. This is why bonuses (if you get them) should never be counted as part of any base income that you might base your budget on. A useful measure is looking at the ratio of spending increase to income increase. Spending growth to income growth must be at least 1:1 (i.e., grow spending at slower pace than income) and ideally much lower. Secondly, the main reason to stem spending creep is the reasons so many of us blog about personal finance - financial independence. You're not financially independent if you can't control your spending.

If you liked enjoyed this post (I certainly did) please subscribe to AskDong's feed. If you wish to write a guest post for Lazy Man and Money please see the guidelines and e-mail me at: lazymanandmoneysignature.png

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Last updated on August 1, 2011.

Guest Post Wednesday: MossySF on International Bonds

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For this Guest Post Wednesday, frequent commenter MossySF writes about international bonds. I have to admit that because of my age and risk tolerance, I haven't put too much thought into bonds - much less international bonds. This is another reason why this guest post Wednesday, can be helpful. It fills the gaps of areas that I wouldn't have otherwise thought about. Enough of the intro, here's the article:

If you've read up before about asset allocation, one topic often mentioned is international exposure. The conventional wisdom says anywhere from 15% to 50% of your equities should be international. But what about bonds? If you are at that stage of life where you need the lower volatility bonds give your portfolio, do you also need to diversify bonds against domestic inflation/currency/interest rate risks? A small minority of asset allocation advice say yes but the remainder usually stay silent on this topic. With my interest perked up about this subject, I decided to explore the international bond investments available. My first stop was of course index funds. As a firm believer in keeping expenses down, I checked out Vanguard to see if they had anything in this category. No dice. Fidelity? Nope. T.Rowe Price? Nada. What about ETFs? The only company even offering bond ETFs of any kind is Barclay iShares (although Vanguard will have Bond ETFs soon) and they're all domestic.With the index fund avenue closed, I next looked at actively managed funds. After a few unproductive searches, I found list of foreign bond funds at Yahoo. Unfortunately, the options listed turned out rather depressing. You either pay load + high expenses or need an extremely high dollar amount to buy in. Here's a sampling of the funds I encountered:

Fund Yield Load ER Min Invest
------------------------------------- ----- ----- ----- ----------
Alliance Bernstein Global Strat Inc I 3.69% 0% 1.41% 10,000,000
Alliance Bernstein Global Gov Inc A 5.25% 4.25% 1,34% 2,500
Delaware Pooled Global Fixed-Income 4.27% 0% 0.60% 1,000,000
GMO International Bond III 5.45% 0% 0.39% 10,000,000
Henderson Worldwide Income A 5.69% 4.75% 1.55% 500
Merk Hard Currency Inv 2.55% 0% 1.55% 2,500
Oppenheimer International Bond A 3.58% 4.75% 1.22% 1,000
Templeton Global Bond A 5.65% 4.25% 1.28% 1,000
Templeton Global Bond Adv 5.92% 0% 0.78% 100,000

At this point, I had given up on the idea of picking up the international bond asset class. Maybe this is why people rarely talk about it? Then I remembered a blog post at 1stMillionAt33 about tax-free closed-end bond funds. Perhaps closed-end funds is the place to look. Following the steps in the blog, I went to etfconnect.com and searched for global fixed income -- 40 funds found. 40 is a rather big number to decide on so I arbitrarily applied the following filters.

  • Avoid funds trading at high premiums. Closed-end funds can trade higher or lower than the daily calculated NAV price due to market irrationality.
  • Avoid funds with high expenses. ETFconnect shows the yields after expenses and in theory, you get the same return whether it's 10%+3% expenses or 8%+1% expenses. However, you are taking extra risk to pay for higher returns just to cover expenses.
  • Avoid funds with > 20% US fixed equities. I like to keep my asset class picks as pure as possible for easier allocation calculations. Plus with so many options for US bonds, it doesn't make sense to to combine foreign+US together in one investment.

After filtering the results, I ended up with the following options:

Fund Yield ER Prem Region Duration
------------------------------------- ----- ----- ------- --------- --------
CMK - Colonial Intermarket Income 6.44% 1.11% -9.01% Developed Medium-Long
JGG - Nuveen Global Gov Enh Inc 8.07% 1.09% 4.86% Developed Long
TEI - Templton Emerg Mkt Income 6.99% 1.22% -5.54% Emerging Medium
MSD - Morgan Stanley Emerg Mkt Debt 5.92% 1.34% -7.59% Emerging Medium-Long
ESD - Western Asset Emerg Mkt Debt 6.86% 1.02% -14.29% Emerging Medium-Long
EDF - Western Asset Emerg Mkt Debt II 7.97% 1.28% -12.06% Emerging Long
* as of 4/7/07

At this point, it was a shrug of the shoulders moment. I have no idea whether 20% Russian + 15% Mexico is better than 15% Russia + 20% Mexico. So again I looked at expenses. ESD is the definite winner in the Emerging Market bond segment while CMK and JGG are relatively equal for Developed Markets. JGG has a higher yield but with instruments with longer maturity dates also has more risk. In the end, I picked all three in roughly equal percentages and I am now periodically adding to these positions. It'll may take 5 years before I reach my target goal of 50% domestic, 35% developed intl, 15% emerging market as I only have my IRA/Roth IRA money (tax-sheltered brokerage) to devote to this. I hope by that time, Vanguard or iShares will have low-cost funds or ETFs to cover this market segment.

Thanks once again, MossySF.  If you want to read more by him, leave some comments and maybe he'll write again.

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Posted on April 11, 2007.

Guest Writer Wednesday: Cash flow is Lifeblood

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Welcome to another article in the Guest Writer Wednesday series. If you would like to contribute, here is how you do it. Today's post is from Prlinkbiz, a writer for No Limits Ladies. You can subscribe to their feed here.

Cash flow is lifeblood: Can't do much without either.

Our boy Lazy Man (and his money) commented on Jeffrey Strain's 10 Reasons You Aren't Rich earlier last week. He also added a few of his own reasons. I had to say a hearty "Amen" to this last one:

"You Need to Have Income - Many people will say this is not true, that's it's always possible to spend less than you earn. Back in the Dot Com bust, I had lost all my income except for the occasional contracting gig. I became a frugal maven out of necessity. I would not have become rich with that life style though."

Cash flow, or income is one of those things we tend to take for granted, until one day - we don't have it. Then we realize how important it is.

I realized the importance of money coming in when starting my first business. We were advised to keep our day jobs and build the business part time. We were also advised to work on the business full time, if we really wanted to make the business succeed. We would have to make time for it, if we wanted to have any money coming in.

We opted to "burn the ships" as it were. We had no income, but the funny thing was, we still had the same amount of bills to pay - or rather more bills to pay because we were starting a business! It was lean times for sure. Ever try living off $200 with a family of four, with two in diapers? Yeah, I don't recommend it -

I learned some valuable lessons during that time though.

  1. Save.
  2. Don't quit your day job unless you have another way of bringing in money each month.
  3. If you want to start a business, do it in your spare time, and leave your "day job" when your business can support you. (This might take a while, because all the money you bring in should ideally go back into growing the business - but that's a whole other rant - )

Cash flow is lifeblood. You really can't do much without it.  However, what you decide to do with it can make you rich.  What you doing with your cash flow (and do you have cash flow each month)?

This is exactly why I'm keeping monthly track of my Alternative Income Streams. If I can grow that bottom line, it means that I'll be free to spend my time on other business pursuits... but I'd rather just sip martinis and be lazy.

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Posted on April 4, 2007.

Guest Writer Wednesday: What Drives Fiscal Musings

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Today we begin a new series, Guest Writer Wednesday. The series is a direct response to the outstanding interest in my request for guests posts earlier this week. On most Wednesdays, this series will be in addition to my usual daily post. Check back for my post later on in the day. Limeade from Fiscal Musings heard our request and responded. Not only was his response quicker than we anticipated, the quality set the bar high for all who follow. If you are up for the challenge e-mail me at: . Enough from me, here's Limeade to tell you what motivates him:

I'm going to share with you the best piece of advice that I've received, and it's what motivates me to keep striving for success. There's a lot more to learn, but this is the quote that drives me:

"I'd rather live for a few years like most people won't, to live the rest of my life like most people can't."

I heard this quote from a very wealthy presenter in my Entrepreneurship Lecture Series class back at school. It's probably the one thing that I remember most from my five years in college (certainly not the things from my engineering classes).

Unlike most, I plan on keeping my living expenses as low as possible. It's far too easy to let your spending habits inflate to the level of your income.

Unlike most, I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to capitalize on in order to increase my income. It's really easy to become complacent once you've landed a "good job" instead of trying to continually push yourself to become better and better.

Unlike most, I'm looking for investments that will provide cash for me to live on. It's easy to take your paycheck and look for the new car you always wanted, or take the vacation you say you deserve.

I could go on, but there's a pattern here. I'm not advocating a lifestyle of deprivation, but one of carefully considered priorities. I can be just as happy on a picnic with my wife or watching a movie at home with her as I could be at an upscale restaurant or in a movie theater. I find happiness in spending time with those around me that I care about. It doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing. It's the time that matters. That's why " I'd rather live for a few years like most people won't". I want to secure for myself what most people can't have. And that's "time freedom".

I had feared that by yielding the floor, I'd be opening up this space for opinions that I'm strongly against. Happily, this is one I can fully endorse. Energi Gal and I prefer to spend time on a Saturday evening cooking a nice candle light dinner with a decently priced bottle of wine. I figure we easily save $50-$75 each time we do this.Once again, if you enjoyed this article read more like it at Fiscal Musings.

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Posted on March 28, 2007.

 
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