All Things Money – Roundup

Some interesting things this week:

Budgets are Sexy has another installment of “Would you rather”. This time on the interesting topic of fame vs. fortune.

This has to be the coolest idea I have seen in awhile from the PF blogosphere. I have an idea for a documentary I have been kicking around for awhile as w I look forward to this one!

Wise Bread on How not to be a wage slave, how to git-r-done on an airplane and college fund tips. All great articles (as usual)

Get Rich Slowly has an interesting reader story about the relationship between nosy family members and personal finance

Financial Samurai has an article on How To Always Feel At Home While On Vacation

Don’t Do This!!! (but if you have to read this article first) How to borrow from your 401(k)

 

Be Well

-WR

The Hero’s Journey to Financial Independence [Kindle Edition] is free for 24 hours

If you own a Kindle (and even if you don’t) don’t hesitate to grab a free copy of the new book The Hero’s Journey to Financial Independence:

Free for 24 hours!

 

This small book offers a unique approach to the subject of personal finance. The Hero's Journey to Financial Independence takes the reader through the steps necessary to develop strong, enduring money habits and to avoid the pitfalls many of us face. My intention was to create a fun, easy to read volume full of rock-solid financial wisdom and real-world advice. It is based in part on Joseph Campbell's monomyth as described in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

The hero’s journey has been an inspiration to writers for over half a century. The Matrix, Lion King and Harry Potter all use a form of this framework. Most notably, it inspired George Lucas to envision Star Wars as a mythological hero tale.

 

-WR

 

 

 

 

 

Worthwild Financial Snapshot: Cinco de Mayo Edition

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

First, Let me dazzle you with my Margarita Recipe:

2 Ounces of  freshly Squeezed lime juice (Pulpy is good)
1 oz triple sec
2 oz tequila ( Get a bottle of Dos Gusanos, or Two Worm Tequila and share with a friend)

Ice, Kosher salt and a few wide rimmed glasses.

Ok, Now that’s better. Let’s do a Worthwild Roundup. Here are a few stories and articles I found worthwild this week:

1. SCORE blog: Successful Entrepreneurs Share Stories.

My favorite line: Self-employed individuals have a certain entrepreneurial spirit that’s hard to describe. But, you can see it in his or her facial expressions and hear it in their voices. Once you catch the bug, it is hard to think of anything other than launching your business. How true

2. Budgets Are Sexy: Help a Reader- pay off student loans or start saving

My Advice?: Get moving on building an (at least) 6 month contingency fund. This is not a matter of current need, local situation or any other fleeting reason. It is a matter of philosophy. Building and maintaining a contingency fund forces you to make tough value choices and build enormously powerful lifelong habits. You’ll realize that having this critical safety net allows you to make better choices about almost everything else in your financial life. Try to refinance your student loans to lower rates + longer term. One thing different about student loan debt than most other forms is that *hopefully* your earning power will climb over time.

3. Consumerist: I am so glad to see an American company be so profitable, Wait! What? http://con.st/10018507

4. Deal Seeking Mom: Lots of coupons going on!

5. Get Rich Slowly: Pack Smart To Save Money

Great article. My personal tips are to pack sandwiches, water and a bag of veggies for long road trips and picnic instead of restaurant. You get on the road quicker and can spend the time walking and stretching your legs (instead of sitting in a booth at a Shoneys). You save a ton of cash, too!

 

I posited my opinion on who should get the Bin Laden bounty

 

Let me know what you think.

Who Should Get The Bin Laden Bounty?

Bin Laden is dead.

I have little doubt that our fine media will debate the minutiae of every bit of it for quite some time. Was the raid legal? How was the intelligence gathered? Was it torture that drew out the golden nugget of info that led to Osama’s bunker? Why the burial at sea? Who should get credit? The Seals? Obama? Clinton? Bush? This Guy?

These questions and more will be the fuel for a politically charged back-and-forth debate all the way up to the 2012 election.

Regardless of how this story plays out, I do believe the $25,000,000 reward placed on Usama Bin Laden’s head should be paid. But to whom?

I’ll throw this idea in the hat. It was not a rogue warrior, a president or a self appointed mercenary that killed Bin Laden. The Navy Seals were at the head of the spear but I believe it was the collective sacrifice of members of the U.S. Military and their families over the past several years that made this mission successful. These are the people who deserve this reward!

I beleive the $25,000,000 dollar bounty should be spread generously across the entire nation through the local chapters of Operation Homefront.

What is Operation Homefront?

Operation Homefront provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors.

Operation Homefront provides direct services to alleviate a military family’s or individual’s actual/complete emergency financial burden, as well as counseling and/or recovery support. Emergency financial assistance is in the form of checks paid directly to mortgage lenders, auto mechanics, contractors, hospitals, doctors, dentists and other providers. Other emergency funding assistance, which an applicant receives within 24 to 72 hours, includes the following:

  • Financial assistance
  • Emergency food
  • Emergency home repairs
  • Critical baby items: formula, food and diapers
  • Home and appliance repair
  • Furniture and household items
  • Local moving assistance
  • Community events
  • Wounded Warrior Transitional Family Housing

I thought it would be fitting to share what I found interesting relating to this. Especially the affect on personal finance:

Free Money Wisdom contemplates the effect this will have on the markets.

Marketplace has a good summary of this issue as well.

Let me know what YOU think?

 

Lovedrop instant winner

How many scratch off lottery cards are winners? Yes, not very many. Want to get an instant return on your $1 bill? Give a buck to Lovedrop. I am really liking Lovedrop. It Defines what it means to be Worthwild!

Last month they gave over $5,000 worth of cash and goods to their recipient, Katie, who had been battling a couple of brain tumors over the years, and it culminated with a surprise gift of 15+ friends showing up at her house to celebrate with her. It was awesome. You can watch how it all went down here.

This month they start all over again and grow support for the Kahlen’s – a family who has been hit hard by the economy, and by their daughter’s serious medical condition, tuberous sclerosis. In addition to financial assistance, they’re planning to unite the artistic community to help support Kent’s glassmaking work.

Want to help? Here are two ways you can participate:

Give $1.00 – This is the best way to help out and join their team at the same time.
Donate a piece of art – They will be hosting an auction this month, and would love to feature your artwork in it. Proceeds go to help the Kahlen’s this month, and is a great way to promote your work :)

-WR

Love Drop March 2011

Last month the Love Drop Team raised over $13,000 (and 3 iPads!) to help two little boys with autism receive a service dog. They were beyond touched, and we did this in only 1 month – that’s it. Everyone came together and gave a few bucks each to impact one family’s life. If you were a part of it, THANK YOU!  You can check out the final video of us showing up to their house here – it’s pretty cool.
This month we start all over again and rally behind Katie, a single mom out in Dallas battling not only two brain tumors so far (she’s knocked out one, and currently working on the other), but who’s also dealing with hydrocephalus. We’d love to bring the community her way, and make a huge dent in her medical bills.
Wanna help?  Here are 3 ways we could use you:
  1. Give $1.00 – This is the best way to help out and join our team at the same time.
  2. Join our blogger network – Blog about our Love Drops each month like I am :) It’s easy, it’s rewarding, and it REALLY helps spread the word (which in turn helps our families). Love Drop will give you all the content you need.
  3. Give a gift or provide a service – Gift cards are always helpful. Places like Target, Safeway, gas stations, etc would definitely help them out.
-WR

The Cult of frugality: Part II

Frugality is no longer a fad. (That ship has sailed)

Fads of yesterday

Fads come and go

The most recent wave of the fad of frugality is on it’s way out. This fad comes upon us when jobs are scarce and people are scared. Now that things are looking a bit rosier I urge you not to let it go. Donate your Crocs, Uggs and lowrider jeans but hang on to your frugality.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average  is hovering above 12,000. Consumer spending is up. Credit card interest rates are up as well according to this CNN Money article. It seems that the credit card reforms left out the most obvious culprit in the ‘debt is the slavery of the free‘ equation: Interest Rates.
One of my favorite radio programs is APM Marketplace. Kai Ryssdal, besides having a pretty cool name, puts on an amazingly informative and entertaining half hour money talk. Today the Marketplace team reported that credit card use has risen while savings rates have dropped. Hmmm. I remember wondering last march how many people would retain their frugal mindset. What do these numbers seem to tell us? It is too early to tell but I think most of us have or will soon revert to previous habits of spending. If your pre-meltdown habits were frugal, great. If you, like millions of others, got caught up in the spend-for-all then you should probably hide your plastic right about now. Couple the past few years of recession fatigue with good news of the economy and an early spring and you could be in for some difficult consumer temptations.

Spring is near!

Now, it is true that we need consumers (you and me) to go out and spend. Buying stuff is the engine of capitalism. Just make sure that you are building your contingency fund and investing in your long term wealth first. There is no benefit to our society when unhinged spending leads to a personal financial disaster. One of my all time favorite quotes is from public speaker and author Jim Rohn:
“I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me. ”
- Jim Rohn
It is important to understand that while it may seem like there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between one and the other, The Stock Market is not The Economy. Experts use the economic indicators and stock indices to predict the future but are often wrong in their prognostication. The only relatively sure path to financial independence is to practice the fundamentals:
1. Give your money or  time to a worthy cause (here’s a good one: Lovedrop)
2. Be frugal
3. Build a contingency fund
4. Park your money in well-balanced investment vehicles
5. Strive to find your bliss and follow it

If you will do these things for me, I will do the same for you.

-WR

btw- I have a ton of Silly Bands, real cheap, if anyone is interested…

Love Drop: Giving back with style

LoveDrop:

Have you heard of micro-donations? You can get going with as little as $1 a month! It is easy to join and you’ll see, every month, how big a difference many small donations can do for someone.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”

-Mother Teresa

Auld Lang Syne and A Financially Independent New Year!

Happy New Year!

This day tends to force us to reflect on the past and as a result, there is no shortage of top ten lists out there. We have instant access to the top 10 movies, games, news items, victories, blunders,the sexiest, the ugliest, the best dressed, etc…

I wanted to take a different tack and focus much more on the coming year. In that vein I have chosen one area of reflection and several more items to help plan for an amazing 2011. I hope you find these ideas useful.

The Past:

Consumerist has a tidy list of their most read stories of 2010. Since I got a Best Buy gift card for xmas, this article popped out as one of my favorites. They are all good as there are few things more satisfying than hearing about a little guy beating a corporate Goliath. As their tag-line reads: shoppers bite back.

OK, enough about the past…

The Future:

J.Money at Budgets are Sexy posted a great looking forward article.

Entrepreneurship:

Is this the year you are going to get that business started?

Now would be a great time to visit SCORE.

What is SCORE you ask?

SCORE, Counselors to America’s small business, is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small business start, grow and succeed nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

As I mentioned in The Hero with a Million Dollars, SCORE is all about finding a mentor to help you with your business.

Should you incorporate? Form a multi-member LLC? Go in as a Sole Proprietor? Should I set up in my home state or in Nevada? Delaware?

These are questions every potential entrepreneur faces from day one.I have 2 things that helped me and could serve as the launching point for your great idea:

1. Get a copy of Limited Liability Companies for Dummies by Jennifer Reuting and (after you read it) head over to her site: MyLLC to set yours up.

2. Don’t be afraid to Ask the Business Lawyer about specific issues related to your chosen endeavor. Nina Kaufman has tons of excellent articles, a free E-zine and if you are considering a partnership of any kind, you absolutely need to check out The Entrepreneurs Prenup.

Investing:

1. Open an account with Vanguard (Disclaimer: I have zero affiliation with Vanguard other than some excellent investments). They have the best low fee mutual funds in the industry. Whether you are starting a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA or a Tax advantaged Bond fund, you should be working with Vanguard. Do you want to learn about ETF’s? Check this out. It is the single best overview of ETF’s I could find anywhere.

2. Do you already have an IRA? Don’t worry, you still have until April 15th, 2011 to max out your 2010 contributions. Nice!

3. Pick up a copy of The Richest Man in Babylon and check out my review of The Elements of Investing. Both of these small, easy to read books should be on your bookshelf.

Taxes:

1. Get a copy of Sandy Botkin’s Lower Your Taxes: Big Time. It is an eye opener and will pay for itself in the first chapter.

Frugality:

1. Check out inexspensively.com and clean out your cupboards already!

Giving Back:

I believe giving should start at home, in your neighborhood and in your community. Give to your church, your school, your firehouse. Buy local when possible and help employ one of your neighbors. The following organizations are amazing in their creativity and cause. Give till it hurts then give some more, you will never regret it! Here are my favorite charitable groups:

1. There is nothing quite like Operation Homefront. Helping out those who bravely and tirelessly defend our freedoms is possibly the best kind of giving back.

2. The Giving Effect:

from The Giving Effect’s about page: Most of us have lives filled with things we don’t use — shoes, food, clothes, computers, and more. At the same time, thousands of non-profits and civic-minded people are struggling to get basic items to people in their communities. We see an opportunity to connect these groups together.

What a great concept!!!

3. LoveDrop:

You’ve heard of micro-transactions right? Small amounts of money from a large enough pool of people can add up to some huge results. Well, Love Drop is a micro-charity concept. With as little as $1 a month, you assist the love drop team in helping one person or family a month.

-WR

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