Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is this my life?

When I was 13, I decided that I didn't want the same life as my friends and family. I intuitively figured that the people that influenced my life had little influence over their own lives. They simply ended up where life took them. I grew up in a lower-middle class neighborhood, under parental guidance that lacked focus to say the least. I knew at that time that my life's successes were already written by my surroundings, unless I took the horse by the reigns and controlled my destination. I knew not how to accomplish this, but what is notable is that I had the drive in me. This drive would dictate my life's path to this day.
At 13, I was introduced to an academic program that would rescue me from my surroundings. This program was special in that it excelled students academically, and that in order to attend the program, I would have to attend high school across town. I jumped at the chance to get away from it all. My first year of high school I got up early everyday and caught the early bus across the county to get away from my surroundings. This one decision has effected my life in an infinite number of ways. Although I lost my friends at the time, I learned how to make new friends among a new surrounding. I thought that my journey out of the mundane was complete, but I was wrong. Although, I found the drive that could set me free, I lacked the focus that would continue to guide me to the top of the mountain.
At 14, I had a meeting with my guidance counselor. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea, so I couldn't answer the question. As she had been trained to deal with this sort of situation, she simply took a glance at my transcript, and decided that I would continue to do what I had excelled in. According to that transcript, I was good at Math and Science, and I had an interest in computers because I had taken some typing course when I was 8. My counselor at the time enrolled me into Computer Science courses. This would be my focus for the next four years of high school.
At 17, excelling in these engineering slash technical courses, I was offered several engineering slash technical scholarships. I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I simply went with the one that looked the most appetizing. My best friend decided to go to a close school, and that same school offered to pay for my classes, room and board, so that made my decision easy. My parents lacked the experience to guide me toward better choices regarding school, cause they didn't really capitalize on the schooling that they did receive.
At 18, I sat in front of another counselor. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life. Although I had quite some time to think about this now, I still didn't know the answer to that question. I was still afraid, like most young adults, to define my future. So she, like the other, took a look at my transcript and made a decision for me. I would be a computer scientist, because I excelled so well in it in the past. So, that's what I did, and just like before I excelled. Only this time, something was different. I wasn't home anymore. Although I didn't have everything growing up, I always had the basics. Now, I had to do my own laundry and find my own meals. And on top of that, I wanted more than my peers. I still had this thing inside of me that told me that in order to have more than my pears, I would have to be doing things different than my pears. This thing ate at my very being, until I questioned my choices. Did I really want to do this for the rest of my life? Did I really want to sit in front of books and computers for the rest of my life? I began to doubt my decisions. I doubted them so much, until I decided to drop out of school.
At 20, I was no closer to deciding what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to go somewhere. I started working. I started working allot! I worked in restaurants. By 21, I became a manager. By 22, I decided that I was in it for the money and not the career, so I went back to serving. I served from 6 in the morning until 2 the next. I was exhausting my every effort to break out of the monotony.
At 22, while I was serving, I became close with one of my customers. He noticed this struggle that I had encompassed myself with, and really took a liking to my drive. He ran his own company, and decided that he needed someone like me to run it. Considering the engineering experience I could get from this particular company I took the job. So now, I'm making the same amount of money working half the amount of time.
Today, it's been over 2 years since I took this position, and once again, I'm burdened with questions. Is this really what I'm going to do for the rest of my life? Did I plan to get here, or did all of this just fall into my lap? Am I living the same life that I so desperately wanted to get away from all those years ago?

I'm by no means a seasoned veteran of anything, by I'm not dumb either. I know for sure that my life will always be the same, if I never stop and think about my future. If I don't plan tomorrow, I could end up anywhere. Anywhere! 12 years ago, I never decided whatever it is that I wanted to be, so I became whatever.

Today, the cycle has stopped. I am sitting down right now, and deciding where I want to be when I'm 50, and working my way back step by step to where I am at 24.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Your Relationship with Money

I actually wrote the following about 6 months ago. As I'm rushing out for work, I wanted to get this out to you early this Friday morning for a little inspiration. My apologies for the fast pace at which it was written. I didn't originally write it for the world to see.

I had an incredible epiphany this morning! Right at the moment between consciousness and unconsciousness, I felt as if my spirit lent me a hand and connected the two. And at that split second, one could say I had an "AHA!" moment. Before I get into the epiphany, let me note that I had been pondering over this concept for the last couple of days, not fully grasping this mental discovery on the edge of the page of the tablet in my mind. Over the last couple of days, I'd been objectively viewing money as a concept. The major pattern that brought this concept to the light, was this: I have always been in the same money situation. Always! My habits with money have been similar my entire life. From rushing to the store to buy candy when my mom would give me a dime, to renting out the most extravagant apartment I could afford. The only difference between then and now, is that my relationship with money has advanced to bigger "sticks of gum". I imagine that if I could have signed a contract with the clerk of the Mini-Mart I would have showed up month to month to purchase yet another Tootsie Roll. The epiphony is this: Everyone has a relationship with money, and in a free world, this relationship determines where you land your materialistic dreams. This relationship with money, for most, is adopted and never-changing. Many individuals will adopt, as they do with most of their habits, the habits of their parents, and this relationship with money will never change. This article is not a how-to manual on how to get more money, it simply exists to beg the question among yourself, what is your true relationship with money? What patterns, regarding money, seem to repeat endlessly in your life? My money situation has always been the same. Although I've learned to buy bigger toys, I've continued to have the same amount of money at the end of each month as I've always had. I've yet to invest a dime, except perhaps for my education, and I've earned nearly every cent through employment. My offense (or the way that I bring in money), has gotten stronger, because I've gotten better jobs, but my defense has stayed the same. Every penny that I've brought through the front door, by any means, has undeniably found a way out of the back door. And that's just it; I've spent my whole life focusing on the offensive side of money, without any regard for the defensive side. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. At 24, I can sanely see clearly what my results hold, and I don't deny in the least bit that the results will stay the same for the next 40 years if my relationship with money never changes.

Note: Using percentages is an easy way to see what your relationship with money consists of. Broken down to just a dollar, how would you ration out your money? (i.e. Would you save 20 cents or give away 10 cents?) You have to develop this "law" for your money, in order to build the results that you desire.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Lower Class Doesn't Care About this Blog

One of the things that I have learned about finances, is that some sources of information that some take for granite is not as easily accessible to other folks. I should note that, as the internet grows ever-so-closer to saturation, information is becoming more and more accessible to everyone. But until we've reached that plateau, our general source for guidance comes from our parents. 9 times out of 10, people generate the same or similar lifestyle as to the life that their parents maintained. A student usually births students. Millionaires usually birth millionaires. Low class individuals usually birth low class children. People, with the lack of exchangeable guidance, will, for the most part, follow in their parent's footsteps. This fact cannot be challenged. When it comes to finances, there are basic rules that are prevalent in the affluent that the poor or middle class are not privy to. People are not informed of the basic financial guidelines in school (not even at the highest levels). Without being exposed to these laws, many people find themselves in economic turmoil, expressing the same traits they share with their parents.

I'd be a fool to argue against the fact that people become exactly what they choose to become. I can't change their minds. I've learned that this is just how life is. Somebody has to drive the bus. I cannot continue to hope to better the life of the lower class. I think that it is foolish to believe that everyone has the skills and will-power to become financially free. I've shaped my blog hoping to reach out to people whose financial life is in turmoil. I no longer believe that this is possible. I do believe that the people who do have the will-power to become financially free will break out of the "rat race" regardless of whether or not I had a blog to help them get through. I think that it is more important to be a good example, sharing with the many, my story of how I came to be financially free. This is a drastic change in perspective, from what I originally had planned for this blog. My motto is still the same, but my perspective of how I will share this with the world has changed tremendously.

With that said, I will show by example the financial philosophies that I have "stolen" from the rich. The results will be my story. It's more important that I be a good example than try to share what I know. What I know really means nothing if I don't have the stories to back it up. I can't prove that I can build a spaceship by talking about it; I can get you to follow me, when I bring you rocks from the moon.

I usually would just save a blog like this for myself to read over later, but I think that it is good for me to post it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Google is the New Wal-Mart

I started my blog about 2 weeks ago. I have learned so much since then about the internet and how people generate income by the use of it. And as I search and explore what is popular on the internet, the most common factor that I have discovered is Google's universal presence. It is rare that I have ventured on to a website that didn't have a Google logo on it somewhere. In most cases Google was, if not the only, the major source of income for that page through the use of Google Adsense, the Google search engine, or any of the various tools that make the internet more convenient and precious. Google has fully saturated the internet more efficiently than any other one website.

With that in mind, I have been focusing a lot on the time that we live in. With technology advancing at such an exponential rate, we are entering into a time where the internet will be prevalent among everything that we do. We are moving toward a time where we will use our internet window to do everything. We currently can get on the internet and make purchases and deliveries, book vacations and rental cars, look for an apartment or real estate investments, find directions and search for absolutely anything. We are at a time where companies will go out of business if you can't find it on the internet. The internet is fastening itself to everything that we do. I currently can go on the internet and watch movies, look for friends, listen to music, chat, play video games, or an infinite list of other things that keep me entertained. All signs point to a time where people will keep their eyes glued to a computer screen.

As a blogger or website developer, your business is to get as many people as possible to glue their pretty little eyes to your page. The more efficient you are at getting people to pay attention to your site, the more valuable your site becomes. As a blogger, you are looking to gather as many readers as possible. You offer frequent updates to your blog, to ensure that people will return to your page. You capitalize on this effort, by offering businesses a chance to advertise to those readers. This philosophy is shared by all websites. The most successful sites are sites that offer a community that people can become a part of. A site where people log on multiple times a day becomes the sites that create rich founders. Yahoo, Myspace, Youtube, Amazon, eBay are all examples, and the list goes on and on. These websites are successful because millions and millions of people want access to these websites everyday.

Google has capitalized on this concept. I was looking for some unique advertising for my blog. I searched Google for "blog advertising", and the whole first page was littered with ads for Google Adsense. I searched through Yahoo, and the same thing happened. I looked on some other popular blogs to see what they used, and it was easy to see that Google had the internet advertising market well saturated. I searched page after page, and the same results were discovered. Considering the internet has not yet reached its market saturation, I think that Google has smartly positioned itself to become the Wal-Mart or the Microsoft of tomorrow. When this younger generation gets older and expects the internet to ride with them on their hip, I'm sure this will become apparent to the masses.

For those of us with the most popular blogs, generating a couple thousand dollars of income a month through Adsense, imagine how much Google is raking in. I've yet to discover a new web developer without Adsense. And I don't blame them. Adsense is extremely convenient, easy, and accessible to the new web developer. I implemented Adsense on my page and saw immediate results. From my point of view, it is inevitable that Google becomes the next big thing, as if they are not already.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How Much Do You Make An Hour

How much do you make an hour?

This is an easy question, but I'd like to explore this evaluation a little further, possibly breaking some paradigms we may have.

It's easy to answer this question with how much money you make an hour, but what I want is to get you to think about your worth differently. Beginning with the average way of answering this question, let's evaluate. If you work a job 40 hours a week, and your boss pays you $28 an hour, you gross $1,120 a week, before taxes. That's a good amount, but are you really making $28 an hour? Should you not include the time it takes you to prepare for work, the time it takes you to get to and from work, and any other time you devote off of the clock? Adding this one aspect to the equation can drop your value per hour significantly. But wait, it doesn't stop there. Do you not have work expenses like the purchase of work-appropriate clothes, meals, office supplies, gas, ect.? Would this not lower your value per hour even more?

If you believe in multiple streams of income, then you believe that you can generate income at any time of the day, any day of the week. This is the mindset of the financially free. Incorporating this mindset into our original evaluation, we can no longer limit our time of productivity to 40 hours a week. A person that believes in multiple streams of income would need to evaluate their value per hour, based on a 168 hour work week. Remember, that if you believe in multiple streams of income, you trust that you can generate income at any time of the day. Going back to our original evaluation, making $28/hour at work, your true value per hour is more like $6.67/hour. Ponder that.

I think that it is important to remember that at every moment you can be generating cashflow. This doesn't mean that you should be thinking about generating income all the time, but simply that you have the opportunity to. Most people don't consider the possibility that they could be making money outside of their jobs or careers, while the financially free understand that there are opportunities all around us. Evaluating your true value per hour is just a simple test to relate your life to the law: "time is money".

Take the time to figure out your true value per hour. You'll be surprised at how quickly you can improve that figure.

[first photo by whole9yards, second photo by Single Malt; all via flickr]

Monday, October 20, 2008

How I Got Out of Debt

Debt can be a wonderful thing. Good debt can help you generate additional income. With the right understanding you can leverage debt in good ways. You'd be hard pressed to find a business that didn't use loans in their everyday structure in order to stay afloat and generate positive cash flow. For the average person though, debt can be an overwhelming lifetime struggle. Most people are not financially literate enough to understand how to use debt in good, productive ways. This lack of understanding has catapulted the world into an economic downturn. And, unfortunately, the powers to be aren't promoting financial understanding to pull us out. If you rely on governmental support to pull you through an economic slow down, you cannot gain the economic leverage you need to become recession proof. It is that reliance, and lack of financial understanding, that leaves you vulnerable to the swings of the economy to begin with.

My debt has been less intruding on my life. When I was 21, I found myself in minor debt. I owed about $16,000, but I had absolutely nothing to show for it. I didn't accumulate debt by purchasing above my means or taking risks. I simply lacked understanding and awareness, which unfortunately, started to stack up against me via bad debt. At that time, I started building good philosophies and habits that led to me getting out of debt. These philosophies can be duplicated and utilized for any amount of debt. I think that it is important to note, that with the right philosophies, you're financial woes cease to exist.

Here's an outline of the steps I took to get out of debt.

1. I identified the problem.
One of the hardest things to get someone to do is confront an issue. The easiest way to confront an issue is to identify it. You don't know what you're fighting against until you've carefully recognized what it is. With debt, it is important to know who you owe. While this may seem logical, a lot of people find it easier to ignore creditors instead of confronting them.
When I was 21, I decided that I would not ignore another phone call, email, or letter from a creditor. With that, I took a pro-active step toward paying off my debt by getting a free copy of my credit report. I took the information from all three(3) credit bureaus and put together my own personal debt log (a 3-ring binder with tabs). This was important in identifying the problem. Up until that point, I had too broad of a tally in my head. I knew that I owed some bills, but I couldn't wrap my mind around the problem until I had it all in one log. Psychologically, this helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The problem had become feasibly solvable when I knew how big of a problem I was dealing with.

2. I crafted a plan.
In my log, I had a tabbed list of every company and agency that I owed money to. Evaluating my income, I came up with a comfortable amount that I was willing to contribute toward the task of getting out debt. From this amount, I created a game plan to pay off each overdue account one by one. I would begin with the accounts that were generating the most interest and fees and work my way through one by one. Coming up with a plan that I was comfortable with helped me build up some financial confidence. At this point, the light at the end of the tunnel seemed a bit brighter.

3. I contacted my creditors.
Once I had a good game plan that I was comfortable with, I started contacting my creditors one by one. At first, I felt a little uneasy. I had always pictured the voices on the other end of the phone as evil villains, who were out to take everything I had owned. I was quite shocked to see how much they were willing to work with me to get my accounts paid off. A company would rather you pay them back in small amounts, than to not get anything from you at all. Even if it's just $20 a month, that's allot better than nothing. Companies are also willing to cut deals with you, if you can work with them. I had a credit card that had a balance of $1432.50. The company was willing to reduce that balance to $900 if I could pay the balance in a month.
Once you become pro-active toward eliminating your debt, opportunities start to present themselves, where they didn't exist before.

4. I stuck to the plan.
I must admit at times, it was hard giving up all of my extra money to pay for things I no longer had or wanted. But, as time went on, I persisted. I stuck to the plan that I had put together. After just a couple of months, I had already started to see some results to my credit score.

5. I learned from the past.
After a couple of years, I found myself completely out of debt. By that time, I had incorporated some good habits and also learned some good techniques as to how to build good credit. These habits have been tweaked, and now I'm more efficient at making sure I pay my bills on time.
One of the most important lessons that I learned, was saving to buy something is a lot more gratifying than financing it. My roommate and I bought the same TV a year ago. I worked and paid cash for mine. He financed his, on a loan that guaranteed no interest for the first 6 months. A year later, we are watching the same TV, but he is still making minimum payments for his. I'm sure he will pay for his TV two or three times over by the time he makes his last payment.

This is just the way that I got out of debt. I think that the most important aspect to understand is that I took an active role. I didn't let my creditors hunt me down and control my life. I crafted a plan that worked for me. If you take an active role and focus on your finances, good things are bound to happen.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tip'd - A Community for Financial News, Ideas and Tips

I set a goal to make, in one month, an extra $75. Part of the accomplishment of this goal is this blog. I am constantly searching for ways to promote my blog. On a regular basis, I use sites like Digg, Delicious (or for the fabuloso, Technorati, Twitter, or even Blog Flux. These and an infinite list of other sites to promote your blog are great to use for promoting your blog to the general public. But now there is a place that is taking financial blogging, specifically, to another platform. Tip'd is a new community for the financially interested to come together and spread financial news, ideas and tips(advice).

Tip'd (in it's first week) has opened up a realm (and in good timing too) where people can spread the word on the economy or anything financially related. Finance bloggers or the like have a place to call home. You can help spread the word about Tipd by simply tipping good financial articles where you see the Tipd button.

Bloggers can gain popularity in the early stages of Tipd, by getting, a, relatively, low amount of tips from readers. The current top story on Tipd has only 13 tips. A blogger can be featured at the top of the list with only 14 hits. Being on the front page leads to page views, and for bloggers, that's what it's all about.

Check out Tipd for your financial information feens, and don't forget to Tipd your blogger.

Sunday Roundup - Financial Philosophy

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I was going to change my life. I knew I wasn't doing as much as I could do with my life. If the skies were the limit for me I was definitely still on the ground. It's not that I was in a huge rut or in a large amount of dept that led me to this conclusion. I just reached a realization that I could do anything with my life. And as that thought marinated in my head, I started to see where my life did have some limitations. It wasn't enough to simply recognize my potential. I realized that I must build some sort of means to making that potential come to life. One of the major limitations that I had was my financial situation. Now, you must understand that I wasn't in a rut. I am more than capable of paying my bills on time, and I do; I always have food on the table and a roof over my head. Most evaluations of my life would probably say that I was doing rather well considering the path of which my life has come. The financial limitation that I recognized was the lack of control that I had. I was getting better at making money (through a job, at least), but at the end of the month I still had very little to show for it. No matter how much more money I was bringing in, I found that it was still just as hard to save. This mind process led me to the revelation that your financial philosophy determines your financial outcome. Your philosophies hold no regard for your income. With bad philosophies, you will always be broke.

I truly believe in this revelation. I believe in this revelation so much so, that it has transformed and bled into other parts of my life. I believe now that anything can be accomplished if you have strong enough philosophies. Additionally, I believe that strong philosophies will always out-perform talent. This is most prevalent in the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki (as discussed in last week's Personal Development Wednesday), as you learn of the lives of the two most influential men in Kiyosaki's childhood; one, a highly educated politician, and the other never finishing the eighth grade. The one that had the most talent, his "poor" dad, left his family with bills and no financial platform, and the other, his "rich" dad with very strong financial philosophies, leaving his family with millions. This demonstrates strongly how strong philosophy will always outperform talent. The best sport teams are not those with the big name players, but those who can demonstrate strong philosophies as a whole.

This entire thought process has lead me to this blog that you are reading right now. I feel that is important to get the word out, that we don't have to be controlled by our nation's economic turmoil. There are philosophies that you can put into play that will make you infinitely immune to all of the economic downturns that a nation will experience. This isn't the first time that our country has been in a rut, and I'm sure, just as Warren Buffet is, that this will not be the last.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Philosophical Saturday - What's Next For Us?

What's next?
Termed the Information Age, we live today in a world where information is exchanged literally at the speed of light. One can log on and instantly link up with strangers from all around the world in a matter of seconds. The only thing slowing you down is your ability to get the information from your mind to your finger tips. We have evolved to a point where every inch of the Earth is networked or linked, together. I can indulge in a wealth of information with just the slightest ponder. Between Google and Wikipedia, I have successfully eliminated television from its bulky interruption of my busy schedule. I have replaced my television time with hours and hours of info digging, constantly googling any and everything that I may ponder. I can instantly gratify my mind with answers and entertainment of any sort. I write this today to ask you what's next? What comes after this Information Age? If we are at the peek of this wonderful time, and growing closer and closer to the peak of the Technological Age, what could possibly drive us into and through the next renaissance?

Can you imagine a world without money?
As we struggle to find different ways to define our existence, we will eventually let loose of our ridiculous urges to collect and show off material things. This will become more and more apparent as we enter into this time of recession, and the gap grows between those who are "recession-proof" and those who are "recession-burdened". Some people have made the right decisions and are prepared to avoid the price hikes of literally everything. Prices will continue to increase on every single commodity as the economy continues to plummet, but some will be able to survive and even profit through these "hard" times. On the other side of the fence, most people will suffer through these economic downfalls, waiting for a solution to their problems to come in the form of new government and leadership that may (but may not) solve all of their financial worries. And that's exactly what they'll continue to do . . . wait, while things continue to get worse and worse. There are two ways to fight poverty. The easiest and most obvious way is to put money into the hands of those who are in the most need of it. This will temporarily calm the waters. The only problem with this is, the mentality that drove us into the recession is still prevalent. The other solution to poverty, I imagine, is to eliminate the idea of poverty. To rid people of this ego-trip of collecting more and more things, we would first have to supply basic needs to everyone, without the use of the marketplace. Eliminate the paradigm of supply and demand, by having one organization supply the basics needs for everyone. (No I'm not promoting communism). Society would then have to shift into a time where money no longer was the driving force behind all of its actions. People focus on money because they are directed to by way of survival. With the absence of money, poverty could be eliminated. What do you think?

Can knowledge really be power?
I believe that we are moving into a time where individual minds will reach a new platform of enlightenment. Our basic paradigms of life will be broken down and humans will enter into a time of enlightenment. As our financial sorrows continue to build up, people will begin to question the validity of this financial quest we all seem to embark on. We will then look to other ways to fulfill our need to be driven. People will begin to focus on another driving force. What is the one and only thing that you can enjoy to no end and share amongst everyone without ever worrying about its depletion? Knowledge. Enlightenment. As one grows wisdom, he can share his wisdom without ever losing any of it. It is only natural to want to learn. Learning should continue throughout life. It is unnatural to stop learning. We are coming to a time where enlightenment will be the focus of all. Knowledge will be the overall driving force of the entire human population. What a time it will be? What do you think?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rich in the Not Too Distant Future

Whenever I think about my dreams and aspirations, I attach this quite particular word to my vision. I quite often describe my lifestyle in my dreams as 'rich'. I do this so regularly when thinking about my future, that I don't often stop and define 'rich'. I've used the word so much that it has an incredibly broad meaning in my head. I may be using the word 'rich' to describe an enormously large amount of money. In other context, the word 'rich' may be synonymic with the word 'happy' or 'wealthy' or simply 'not broke'. Quite honestly, I haven't placed much definite meaning to the word, which is sad considering the pivotal role that it plays in the vision I hold for my life.

One of the philosophical changes that I am making in my life is providing detailed descriptions of my goals, rather than half-heartily putting together wishes and hopes. Today, acting on that newly found philosophy, I will describe what I mean when I use the word 'rich'.

When I stop and focus on this term 'rich', I realize that it means so much more to me than just a lot of money. It doesn't just signify financial freedom to me. When I am using the word 'rich', it describes the journey that I am on to become financially literate. It isn't necessarily a destination, but more of a lifestyle. Frankly, I believe that you are rich from the moment that you decided to be. At the moment in which you decide that your life will not be mediocre and bland, and that you will take over your financial situation, you become rich. The concept of rich is not upheld by your income or your material possessions, but by your drive to get out of the rat race and do something more for you and your family.

I've heard story after story about the millionaire that lost it all and gained it back again. To me, at no point was he not rich. He always believed that he was rich, so therefore he was. I've also heard stories of the average guy striking it rich by winning the lottery, and after a short period of time, that average guy is back to average. To me, at no point was he ever rich. He never believed that he was rich, so therefore he was not.

It's not the amount of money that you have that makes you rich. The amount of money that I consider allot is a moving target. When I was a kid, you could have given me a dollar bill, and I would've thought I had allot of money. As I grew older "allot of money" was a bit more than a dollar. To use 'rich' in this context makes it an unattainable goal. What you consider an enormous amount of money will always change with time.

I think that anyone, anywhere can be rich, just by repeating and believing the following statement,
"My life is no longer controlled by money. Money will not dictate what I do with my life. I am aware that I have complete control over where and how the money that I have is allocated. I am capable of earning more money, and I understand that I am always working for myself. I am continually developing a sound financial philosophy in order to attain dominance over my financial situation."

What does the word rich mean to you?
Are you rich?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Saving Money Not Eating Out

I'm not eating out this pay period.

This may not sound like such a big goal, but it has astonished me at how much money I have saved eating at home. Prior to setting this goal, I had been eating out for nearly every meal. If I didn't go to my mother's for dinner or just came across an event that offered free food, I ate out all of the time. I skipped breakfast in the morning and had a heavy lunch at a fast food restaurant, which led to a late dinner at the closest Taco Bell. My girlfriend and I have successfully dissected every restaurant in the area into all possible categories. We can predict almost down to the minute how long each and every delivery service will take, and the handlers know my name and apartment by heart. It's not that we're lazy, but her and I both aren't used to cooking. Neither of us ate together as a family growing up. In my case, my mother cooked, and everyone went to their separate ends of the house to eat. As I got older, it just became convenient to have someone else cook the food instantly. The number of restaurants in this area is incredible, making the decision even easier to eat out.

This sad and accurate explanation has cost me loads and loads of money. I didn't realize how much I could save by not eating out until now. I set a goal in a recent blog to not eat out this pay period. I am pleased to say that I have kept my word so far. I got paid last Monday and went to the grocery store on Tuesday. I spent $101.15 and haven't even gotten close to running out of grub. I am actually excited to go grocery shopping next week to see what i can get in addition to what is still in my cupboard.

With that said, let's do some math!
I was eating out every day at least once, but most of the time I was eating out twice. On average, I was spending about $15 a day. In 14 days, that's a total of $210. In a year, that's an average of $5,460.
If I simply stopped eating out so much, and reduced my budget to $120 every pay period (2 weeks), I would save $2,340 a year! That's more money than I spent to go on a cruise last summer (that's including 2 cruise tickets, 2 plane tickets, 3 excursions, hotel stay, and a trip to Universal Studios).
Here's a pitch: Go on a cruise by not eating out.

Here's a good list of tips on saving money at the grocery store. I will be incorporating some of these tips next week to see how much more I can get with my hundred bucks next time around.

In addition to saving money, I feel so much better. I have a ton more energy than I had just a week ago. My focus levels have increased ten-fold. Luckily my metabolism (and my girlfriend's) hasn't slowed down too much to where I would have a lot of weight to lose. Thank heaven I am not exhibiting through my body the effects of a poor diet. Age is a wonderful thing. I'm sure, I wouldn't be so lucky if I had let 10 years pass before I kicked that habit to the curb.

My next goal is to incorporate more healthy habits into my diet. I think that my diet is, if not more, just as important as my finances.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Personal Development Wednesday - "Stuck in a Rut?"

The following are a few words to those of you stuck in a rut . . .

What is it that has to happen in order to change your life right now? One of the greatest quotes I've ever heard is from the movie Vanilla Sky: "With every passing minute, there is another chance to turn it all around." I take that quote to heart every time I think of it. Every moment is another chance that you have to completely change your life. Your outlook on life is the absolute first thing that needs to change in order to begin changing your life. If you want to know what it takes to make your wildest dreams come true, get up from your computer and walk to a mirror. You are already equipped with everything that you could ever possibly need. Ponder this: At what point are you considered successful? Is it when you've reached retirement, or is it when you can finally call yourself "rich", or maybe it's when your kids have become "successful"? At what point have you reached the pinnacle of success? I personally believe that you've reached this platform that we so broadly call "success" when you've made a conscious decision to get there. At the moment in which you have made the decision to be successful, you are then successful. In life you are either working toward your dreams or you are working toward someone else's. One of the other has to happen for you every moment of every day.

One of the most detrimental things that we have is too much time. Because we have so much time, we often forget how truly valuable and scarce our time is. You forget how sweet that first taste of honey is, when you've already had an entire jar.

Time is like our natural gases; until we started running out, we gave it away for pennies.

This life, right now, is your one and only life. We're not just watching previews. You right there at the computer are experiencing your one and only life right now in this moment. Your life deserves your utmost respect, concern, and attention. If you were ever to focus, focus now fully on what it is that you want your life to be. The sky is truly the limit. Allot of us forget that we can do whatever it is that we want to do.
If you want to be a millionaire, be it. If you want to travel the world, go. If you want to have a happy family, decide what needs to happen to make that happen right now. If you want a promotion, go to your boss and ask them what it takes to make that happen right now. If you want to get out of debt, do it. If not now, when?
"There's only one guarantee in life; and that guarantee is that you will not make it out of here alive." Who are you trying to fool? What excuses do you have? Are those excuses potent enough for you not to be happy? What is your happiness really worth to you? How many times would you have to fail, before you decided to be unhappy?
Ask yourself, what is the price on the price tag attached to your happiness? Ask yourself, how many times in the past have you given away your happiness for close to nothing?

You should always be focusing on your goals. It's not supposed to be easy. You can't just take a break at will. You have to always be focusing on your goals. Always! If you are not willing to make your dreams come true, I've got news for you . . . no one else is either. There's no one out there focusing on your dreams and how to make you happy. If you don't do it, it won't get done.

Someone asked me, why am I always talking about success? It's simple. Because my dreams mean more to me than anything else. My dreams are absolutely everything to me. What do your dreams mean to you?

When did you decide that it was okay to be mediocre? When did you decide that someone else could dictate your schedule? When did you decide that someone else could dictate your salary? When did you decide that someone else could tell you what to do and where to live and what to wear? When did you decide that you weren't going to give your life your best effort? Well, I've got some news for you. With every passing minute, there's another chance to turn it all around.

The PD Wednesday Book of the Week is Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, MD.
It is a very easy read. You can sit down and read it in about an hour. It is good to read, if you are interested in changing you perspective on life. It is somewhat fitting, considering the economic turmoil that our world is experiencing right now. One of the most unique things about this book is that it is fitting for people of all ages. If you have kids, I encourage you to share this book with them. In fact, you should be sharing this book with everyone that you know. If they've already read it, at least you've found someone to have a good conversation with.

My True Goals for "Me Financially Free"

This is a new blog, and I am new to building wealth. If you are looking for a seasoned financial expert, I am definitely not the person to listen to.
I've boasted about goal-setting and how this one task is vital to any successful run, but I've neglected taking the time to share with you what my own personal goals are. Before I get into details, I think it'd be beneficial to first point out some key components of my story.
My life has consisted of me dabbing in and out of this and that. I went to school full-time right out of high school, on a full engineering scholarship. After about 6 months, I found that engineering was something I was very good at, but not necessarily something that I wanted to do everyday for the rest of my life. That lack of enthusiasm was then coupled with the fact that I was not very well-prepared for college. I didn't have a very intuitive and supportive structure at home. My parents pretty much said "when you turn 18, you're on your own (financially)." This led me to seriously consider how I was going to survive. It was hard to focus on my education, when I literally didn't know where my next meal was coming from or how I was going to wash my clothes. So, after 2 semesters of college, I dropped out on full scholarship. Looking back at that, I find it hard to believe that I actually did that.
But, what I lost is not comparable to what I gained. What I learned in the mean time was how to survive and how to work hard (100+ hours/week) to get the things that you want. I eventually learned to work smarter. I've been presented many job opportunities throughout this time, as some pertinent individuals have taken notice to my ambition and determination. Right now, I'm working as a Project Manager for an Engineering company making about $55K a year. For a college drop-out, that's not too bad. I'm back in school and I'm getting better at my job. I've gotten a raise nearly every 4-6 months for the last 2 and a half years.
Now I'm 24, and as school is rolling along, I've gotten to a point where I really would like more control over my finances. There's certain patterns that I've noticed as my income has gone from $7/hour to $27/hour. One pattern in particular is the fact that despite the change in income, at the end of the month, I still had the same amount of money- none. I'm am afraid that as my income continues to grow, without having addressed some of these issues, my financial situation will stay the same regardless of how much money I bring in.
This fear has made me seriously examine my financial knowledge. I want to know how you get rich and stay rich for the long term (beyond my lifetime).
About 3 years ago, I successfully got myself out of debt. I put together a goal and a plan, which led me to completely demolishing my debt (about $10K). That's not much, but I think that the philosophies behind my success can be shared and duplicated. I also believe that I can be rich. I believe that I can build similar philosophies that I used to get out of debt in order to build riches. And I believe that these philosophies can be shared and duplicated.
As I develop these philosophies, I want to so desperately to show other people how to incorporate those philosophies into their lives to produce real results. This is my true passion, and why I want this blog to be successful.

My first goal here (which is so small, it has to succeed) is to make $75 online in a month. This is a small short-term goal. This goal has led me to the creation of this blog. So far, through use of Adsense, I have made $0.62. I am confident that this number will go up. My $75 goal has led me to another goal: to get 1500 page impressions (or page views) within a month of the start of my blog. So far I have a little under 200.
I will keep you updated on how well I am doing. I'm working on a good way to track my goals. I see other bloggers who use charts and such, and I will be doing something similar to track my short-term and long-term goals as this journey continues.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Law of Attraction - What are you thinking about?

2 years ago I saw a very inspiring movie. It was called "The Secret". It is a cinematic depiction / documentary explaining one of our greatest gifts. After watching this movie, I was hit with the most amazing thought: Every single thought is another chance to think and feel as if all of your dreams have come true. Just thinking this has changed my life tremendously. If only we knew the power of simply thinking as if everything in our lives had turned out just as we had imagined. Believe it or not, your life is exactly the way you want it to be. Your life is simply the composite of how you've pictured it your entire life. If you've spent time picturing a fantastic outcome down to every detail, then your life is simply fantastic. Your mind, or should I say subconscious mind, is a very fascinating tool. It is constantly aimed at making your dreams come true. What most of us forget to do is provide our mind with the details of our dreams. It takes some focus to aim your goals. If you have no goals, then where are you going?

Goal setting is the one most important characteristic of the successful. Every successful story started with a goal. The most successful people, more than likely, wrote down their goals long ago, and then set out to make them come true. You must at some point sit down and focus your aim. You don't just close your eyes and throw the dart. Just depicting your dreams in your head is more than what the average person has done. Once you've gotten to that location (your dreams) in your head, you will be surprised at how quick your mind starts to create feasible goals to make that dream come true.
Regardless of where you are in life, one thing is certain: you are constantly accomplishing something. For example, you are keeping your teeth clean or going to work or filling up your car. The only problem for most people is that you haven't tuned in your accomplishments to move toward one particular goal.

The question that begs to be asked now is: what are you thinking about? Where are your accomplishments taking you? Have you set goals that you are constantly reminded of?

If you have gone there in your mind, you will inevitably go there in the body!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Who Influences You?

The mind is a very interesting tool. Through all of its complexities, there is one underlying, universal rule. The mind will always re-enact the patterns apparent in the [other] minds that surround it. (Monkey see. Monkey do.) Believe it or not, I'm here to tell you that nearly everything you do, from brushing your teeth to the way that you drive your car (or even which car you choose to purchase and how you purchase it), is mocking someone else. The whole success of learning lies in the ability of the "student" to re-enact what the "teacher" has taught him/her. What most don't realize is that the mind is constantly learning. The ever-lasting job of the mind is to understand its surroundings and react. Our surroundings are, despite our greatest attempts, random and unpredictable. To make up for all of the complexities of our environment, the mind looks to others for help. The best trick the mind has learned is becoming like the minds around it. For every trick or pattern your mind can mock, that's one less trick or pattern your mind has to learn.
The longer that you are around someone, the more you will act like them. It is an inevitable result.
The question that begs to be asked is: What minds do you choose to influence your own? Who is impacting your mind the most? If 10 entrepreneurs are who your are surrounded by, you will inevitably start thinking like an entrepreneur. On the flip side, if you hang around 10 alcoholics . . . well, you get the drift.
So, who influences you?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Watch Your Spending - Pack Your Lunch

I'm a true believer that you can get rich simply by changing just a few of your habits. The easiest way to demonstrate this for yourself is to keep a log of your everyday expenditures. Carry around a small pamphlet and document everything that you purchase. Every time you pull out your wallet or dig into your purse, make a note of it on a chart of some sort. When you've lacked awareness of your spending habits for so long, you will be shocked at how much money you truly spend. Simply creating a paper trail of your spending habits is enough to jar you into changing some of your habits. Here is what my list looks like,

(click the image to enlarge)

Here is a good list of 100 things you can do to cut back on spending.

This pay period I've decided to cut back my spending on fast food and eating out. I went to the grocery store on Tuesday and spent $101.15. By having a frequent shopper's card, I saved over $16. I haven't spent an additional dime on eating out otherwise, and I don't plan on spending any money eating out for at least the next 10 days or so.
I challenge others out there to do the same. Determine a way in which you could dramatically decrease your expenditures by first identifying where you are spending your money, and secondly, finding ways to shrink these expenses. By implementing this in my life, I will save over $100 just this pay period. Now, that's real results, right now!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Personal Development Wednesday - "Making Other Money"

Personal Development Wednesdays (P.D. Wednesdays) will be showcased as the day to embark on personal development! (. . . obviously) This will be my way of showing the world that education should never stop. People should continue to learn more and more about the things that they care about. Education is a never ending journey, that I love to be apart of.
I will showcase a book every Wednesday. Befittingly, I will start with a book that opened my eyes to the way in which I think about earning my income. A good book to begin your journey to financial freedom is Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki.

Kiyosaki has enlightened millions with his unique way of enlightening folks to the rich way of thinking about money. While sometimes quite jarring (breaking the monotony of average thinking), Rich Dad Poor Dad is a tremendously useful tool to learn some new ideas about money. Once you read this book, you will never look at your financial situation the same. Rich Dad Poor Dad is the first of a series of books about attaining financial freedom by Robert Kiyosaki.

This week's theme is "Making Other Money". By other money I mean money outside of your job. People rarely brainstorm other ways of generating income besides that of which they are used to. The most common way of earning a living is working a job. As I've discussed previously, this is an extremely wasteful way of utilizing your time. Your time is the most valuable thing that you have to offer. Use your time wisely and you can accomplish anything.

This week I will focus on learning more about generating other forms of income. I set a small goal of making an extra $75 dollars within a month.
Set a low monetary goal with a date by which you'd like to accomplish it. Write it down. Brainstorm ways in which you can accomplish this goal. Once you've accomplished this goal, set a higher goal. Learn from your previous experience and repeat.

Happy P.D. Wednesday!

Monday, October 6, 2008


I'm learning the importance of a budget more and more as I look at the shape of the American economy and see so many families struggling to hold on to their homes and jobs. More importantly, I'm realizing the advantages and the truly gratifying security created by maintaining a budget. Personally, I don't keep a tight budget. I definitely don't keep as tight of a budget as I should. (I eat out nearly 90% of the time!) I do, however, make it a point to plan my bills 6 months ahead of when they are due. My budget dictates my check months before I receive it, which protects my money from any impulse shopping or emergencies that may occur.
In order to keep track of my budget, I created a simple spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel, which acts as my own personal simplified version of Microsoft Money. I crafted my spreadsheet to fit my own personal style, making it easier to use for me and my situation. I simply input the value of my check, which happens to stay the same, followed by a list of my monthly bills. Each bill pretty much follows the same cycle. The amount stays the same (or there about) and I have to pay it every four weeks or so. So, swapping bills out every other pay period, my budget looks the same every four weeks. For example, if I paid my rent this pay period, and skipping the next pay period, I would be paying my rent again in four weeks. The same thing repeats for all of my bills. Following this cycle, I can plot my bills out for the next 6 months (or 26 weeks). I then subtract my bills from my check amount (including the $150 I plan to save from each check). The remainder of my check is what I use for food and everyday spending.
My spreadsheet is very simple and to the point. I keep track of it on my computer as well as keep a hard copy, a long with hard copies of my bills, in a 3-ring binder. My spreadsheet for this week looks like this,

(You can click the image to enlarge)

Notice my saving tally. I plan to use this savings to help generate more income as it grows.
It's amazing how much of a difference was made once my budget was written down and I could see it on paper. Saving was allot easier once I started and saw how much money I actually had to work with. Also, my bills got paid ahead of time and my credit card balances stayed at a minimum. This year, school will be paid for without a loan, and I will be paying for my summer vacation if January! Anyone, who's planning on becoming financially free should make it a habit to keep some kind of budget plan.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Your Perspective of Money

You ever wonder what factors change our circumstances and lifestyle?

I'm here to tell you that our income isn't the only major factor that determines our financial situation. The super rich didn't start off making millions of dollars a month. They started right where you and I did. The only difference between the super rich and the average family is their perspective of money. The super rich's perspective of money is vastly different than that of an average person's.

The average person doesn't take time to even focus on how money works. It's not that they don't care, but that when you are placed in a society where there is always a connection to money (meaning there is never a lack of opportunity to earn it), your mind can't help but to take that connection for granted. You don't apply definition or importance to something that is constantly available. In our society, despite the financial storm that we are apart of, there still exists the mentality that there will always be a job, some job, any job, out there for me. (And if there isn't, all I have to do is go to school, learn a trade or a skill, and someone will hire me.) This constant connection to money is crippling to your actual earning potential. Now, a job is not a bad thing. In fact we will always need folks out there who don't mind working. Someone will always have to drive the bus, collect the trash, become a doctor, ect. No matter what financial plateau you reach, you will always need society to function.
The rules of a job are simple. You show up to work, and someone compensates you for your time. Or even if you've got it good and you work from home, make your own schedule, and earn commission and bonuses, you still have to answer to someone else and prove that you are being productive. Your boss is looking for results through the use of you. This is the ideal situation for the average adult because they don't know any better. We're told to grow up and become productive members of society by going to school and getting good jobs. The biggest problem with a job is it takes up your time. It takes time to go to school. It takes time to be productive and earn raises and promotions. It takes to time to retire, if you've prepared for retirement, and by then much of your time is already used up. There is no leverage in working a job.
Leverage is the biggest tool in the world. Leverage is the ability to utilize your time efficiently. If you spend your time working a job for 8 hours a day and in return your boss gave you a $20,000 check, maybe this was very good use of your time. But for most of us, this is not the case. Let's say, you did make $1,000 a day. I'm sure we'd all agree that this is a fairly good salary. Would it not benefit you, the employee, to find someone else to do the same job for a fraction of your salary? If you could hire someone to do your job for say $800, would it not be worth your while to not work for $200 a day, while you went and got another job? The only problem with this equation is your the employee. You don't do the hiring and negotiating. If you could find someone to do your job for cheaper, why would your boss need you? This lack of control of your time is the reason why most people don't live up to their highest earning potential while performing a job. Additionally, the lack of time leftover for everything else, leaves little time to earn money else where.
You would be hard pressed to find many people that have thought even this deep into the process of becoming financially free. Thinking about your income is important, but that's not what gets you to the top. It's the out-come (defense), not the income (offense), that's important. Financially, your defense is the money that you spend. For most people, you give up about as much as you take in. If you earn $1200 a month, you spend $1200 a month. You can get rich just by strengthening your defense. Instead of spending $1200 of your $1200, spend $1000. Saving that $200 would put you far ahead of the pack. How much of your income have you saved in your working career? I didn't start saving until this year (besides my 401k). Does that make the 8 years prior worthless?

How much money do you really make an hour? Ponder this. Could someone prove that your expenses for your car, your house, your clothes, your food, ect. were necessary in order for you to be a productive member of your company? If those expenses are necessary, how much money do you really make an hour? At the end of the month, how much money is left over? If you divide that by the time that you put in at work, you've got your answer. For many of us, our job doesn't look all that savvy anymore. I personally save $150 from every check. I get paid every 2 weeks. So in a good month, I may get paid 3 times. The most that I can save, at this rate, in a month is $450. Suppose I work only 8 hours a day for 21 days out of the month (for a total of 168 hours). That's about $2.67 an hour. I make, ultimately, less than $3 an hour in a good month. In the median month, I make about $1.79 an hour. How much do you make?

Taking this perspective to money is what has brought me here today. I can analyze my situation and see where I can make some major changes. This week I plan on showing you my budget- where all of my money is being spent, and where I plan on making improvements overall.

In the meantime, check out one of my buddies stories of how he went from rags to riches in the DC Metropolitan area. His name is Anthony "Von" Mickle.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Qualities of a Millionaire

Now that the dust has settled and you know my financial starting point, I’d like to point out some developmental characteristics and philosophies that I have nurtured over my life. See, these characteristics are the reason that I am able to share this moment with you right now. My mental and philosophical development is vastly more important than my monetary reality. I am a firm believer that your mind is in more control of your reality than you realize. The power that rest in between your ear lobes is sufficient enough to pull the strings necessary to land you behind bars or behind a desk. Your interpretation of your situation is more your reality than the actual reality.

As a kid, I daydreamed allot. I was constantly questioning my situation, focusing in on details and asking why, letting my mind wonder off into endless possibilities about the future. As a kid, nothing was impossible for me. I’m sure most kids can relate. What changes in adulthood for most is that reality starts to poison your imagination. When you wonder about your future, instead of seeing endless possibilities, your mind begins to limit itself, eliminating those possibilities that are harder to manifest. In adulthood, as my peers begin to focus in on their life, I find it hard to not ask myself: what does it take to be different make it to the top? This mental block that most people begin to exhibit doesn’t exist for me. I’m assuming in order make it to the top (from wherever you are) you must confront this mind trick and not allow it to limit your dreams.
I have always had a desire for learning. In high school, I was constantly reading and strived to take on a tougher class load. I embarked on the International Baccalaureate Program to challenge myself further in high school. This passion for learning has never left me. As I get older, and technology gets more advanced, I find myself addicted to Google searches and Wikipedia articles. Again, I assume to follow me on this trip, you must have a passion for learning and bettering yourself constantly.

I believe that anyone can improve these qualities and that these are the main qualities of success: the ability to dream big, and the yearning for improvement and knowledge.

I will follow this up shortly with some quick steps I made to change my financial situation for the better.

The Reality of Savings

Okay, I didn't quite tell the whole truth in my previous post. I suppose the prelude to this blog would have been made a month and a half ago.
On August 25, 2008 I started a savings account. I took a portion of my check and kept it for myself, promising to myself to keep $150 from each of my checks. Now, at first, this was like pulling teeth. Like many others, my financial situation had grown equally proportional to the amount of money that I was bringing in. Shrinking that income, would mean changing my lifestyle, maybe not even paying some bills, or even worse, not being able to eat out 4 and 5 times a week. Despite my worries, I muscled through, and immediately extracted $150 from my paycheck. Surprisingly, after the first couple of times, saving the money seemed natural. Even more surprisingly, my lifestyle didn't change much at all. Truthfully, I seem to be getting by just as easily now than before, only this time my savings account is growing.
To maximize my savings, I opened an ING Orange Savings Account. It was very easy to do online and the customer service was immediate and very reassuring. There was no minimum deposit and no fees, offering a 3.00% variable interest rate. The online access allows me to link my checking account to my ING Savings account and transfer money from either at will. I made it a habit to transfer $150 each pay period into my savings account. At the time, I enjoyed a one time bonus of $25 just for opening the account. I currently have $475.65 in this account (and will be adding $150 next week).
ING Direct is not the only only online bank that offers decent interest rates with little to no fees and minimums. They just stuck out to me at the time when I was looking for one. So far, I have no reason to look else where. ING certainly doesn't have the highest interest rate, just check out what you find when you search "online savings accounts" on Google.
What's more important to me is that I am actually keeping some of what I'm earning. And I'm protecting myself from myself by separating this money from the money I plan on spending. You'd be surprised at how much easier it is to save money when you don't have immediate access to it. If you don't believe that, test yourself to see how long actual cash stays in your pocket.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Where I Started

Hi. My name is Caleb. I am 24, still in college and working full-time to survive in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. I am embarking on a journey of wits and determination in a world much unknown to myself. I have been living a rather mediocre life, and as things seem to get more and more mundane I can't help but to look for something more. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who feel the same and are waiting for someone to show them a way out. I can't guarantee that everyone reading this will get rich, but what I can promise is that I will be completely honest as I embark on this journey. Hopefully, as I learn these lessons of fortune, I can help others on their way to the top.

This is day one: It's 6:38pm (according to the clock on my computer) Friday, October 3, 2008. I suppose I should start from scratch. Hopefully everyone, if anyone, that follows can better connect the dots for themselves this way.
And the bitter beginning is I currently have -$38.05 in my bank account. I made a slight miscalculation and overdrafted my account by $3.05, which in turn caused the bank to charge a $35 overdraft fee. Ooooouchh!

Luckily, I get paid on Monday!

My goal is not to just make some extra money, but to completely transform my financial situation and perspective, and hopefully show others how to do the same. I will continue to post, addressing relevant topics, and updating my story of how I made it to the top.

[some useful links]

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