Friday, September 6, 2019

Invested- Practice is the Key to Success

In life when we want to get good at something we practice it. It doesn't matter what it is: singing, shooting a free throw, pitching a baseball, skipping rope, etc. We practice to get better at it.

For some reason this rule of practice seems to get overlooked when it comes to money. We learn to make change in our early years and that is about as far as our financial education goes. We never learn how to invest, or how to practice investing.

That is, until now.

I recently played the board game "Cashflow" by Robert Kiyosaki. As part of the game there was an investing and trading mechanic, however it didn't reflect life as closely as I would have liked. So I took it upon myself to build a game that was a little bit closer to reality, but still based on the mechanic from the game. The result is "Invested" a one player investing game where you try to get from $1,000 cash to $1,000 passive income.

In this game, your only income is your dividends, rent on properties you own, and your capitol gains from selling stock. No paycheck! Dividends and rent are paid every 3rd turn in an effort to simulate a full month passing. Income from houses assumes that you have a renter who is covering the cost of your loan for the house as well as putting a little cash back in your pocket.

After playing through it a few times you will start to get an idea of what investors go through as they look at stocks and properties. Played more often, you will begin to see and think like an investor.

This game will give you just a taste of what investing is like. If you want a fuller experience, then I strongly recommend playing the original game of "Cashflow" as it forces you to look at your income, debt, and impulse buying as well as learning to invest.

Click here to play "Invested" now!

Friday, August 30, 2019

The 3 Financial Goals

In life there are really only three financial goals that we strive for. The schooling that we get individually affects how well we do with each of these goals, and the education about money starts at home.

By learning what these goals are, you will have a better grasp on your current situation and what you can to do to improve it. Everyone's situation is a little different, and there are many ways each of these goals can be met, so keep that in mind as you read on.

1- Survival

The first money related goal that we must meet is that of survival. There is a minimum amount of money or time that must be spent in order for our families to survive. This number never goes away and has to be met every day, week, month, and year. The power bill, rent or mortgage, food, all these items have to be paid for in some way.

So the first financial goal of any individual is to meet this minimum survival number. This is most often accomplished by getting a job where you are paid for the time you spend working, or for the number of units you build or sell. The basic education you receive through elementary, middle school, and high school is preparing you to enter the work force so that you can meet this survival number.

2- Capitol

Do you remember the first thing you bought with your own money? How long did it take? How many chores did you have to do? How many dogs did you walk, or lawns did you mow, or children did you babysit? During all that time, and work you were trying to raise capitol. Capitol is any money that you have above and beyond meeting your basic needs. It is money that is available to do something with. This is usually the first financial goal that children experience. They want something, and a wise parent will make them earn the money to buy it, or at least half of it.

College education, a technical certificate, or other additional education beyond high school helps you get a better job, one that pays for your basic needs as well as some extra. The largest problem with raising capitol through your own work is spending the extra money on unnecessary items, which raises your overall cost of living negating the pay raise that you got through your additional education. Whenever you get a raise, or a better job, pretend that you don't have extra money, and use the capitol you gain from this practice to reach the next financial goal.

3- Retirement or Passive Income

Passive income is received by owning a business, or stock in a business that pays you a dividend. This is where the amount of time you spend working goes down and the amount of money you receive goes up. As the owner of a stock that pays dividends, I don't have to do anything but own the stock before the Ex-div date. As the owner of a rental property I only have to own the house and do the work to get a renter to live there (including occasional repairs). By owning a business I set up a system that generates money, and reap the rewards. 

This type of income has no formal educational structure, it is learned by doing or by being mentored by someone who knows the ropes. By raising capitol from your own efforts or by finding investors you have the resources to "make your money work for you." You will have to do some work up front to get things going, but once they do they will continue to make you money with very little effort on your part. IRAs, 401ks and other investment portfolios have tax benefits that can help you reach this goal.

Understanding this hierarchy of financial goals will help you better understand your own cash flow and what goal you need to focus on in your personal life. Those who start working on passive income sooner have the best return on their investments, because they have the time for their money to grow, and may retire at an earlier age. So whether you are an entrepreneur or just trying to survive, figure out which of these goals will best serve you and get to work!

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Lost Principles of Parenting

Many years ago my family enjoyed watching a TV show called "Super Nanny." During the show a British Nanny would observe an American family and then make recommendations on what changes they needed to make for their family to run more smoothly.

After watching several seasons I came to realize that although her approach varied between families, she was in fact only fixing a handful of problems. From these observations I came up with the Lost Principles of Parenting.

#1- Structure

The first principle is structure. Children thrive in a structured environment. The home is the first government, school, church, and society that they participate in. Give them a good structure when they are young, and it will help them function better when they encounter new situations as they grow older. When a child disobeys it is usually because they are testing where the boundaries actually are. You must decide how strict or loose the structure in your family is, but to go without it is a recipe for disaster!

#2- Consistency

Structure cannot exist without consistency so it is placed next on the list. A rule is only in effect if it is enforced. Whatever rules you decide on for your family, make sure you enforce them consistently so that your children know what to expect. Nothing creates distrust in a child more than a hypocritical adult. Only make rules that you yourself are willing to follow, and be kind in how you choose punishments for stepping out of line. This will make it easier to be consistent, and as your children grow up they will recognize your efforts.

#3- Inclusion 

Children are natural helpers. It is important to culture this desire at an early age. The one currency all children understand is time. When they get excited and want to tell you something, stop and listen! Be involved in what interests them. Find ways to include them in what you are doing. Yes, it is going to take longer and be messier, but they will feel that love that can only be expressed by doing something together.

#4- Discipline

Occasionally children disobey or make unwise decisions. At these times it is your responsibility as the parent to reprimand them. This not only cements the structure of the home, but the lack of discipline at a young age is directly related to a child's disregard for rules as they grow older. Discipline can be done in a large variety of ways, and will probably be different for each child. Learn what works best as a disciplinary measure for each child and use it only when warranted. In many situations discipline may be unnecessary if the child is given an opportunity to burn off some energy before they start acting up.

#5- Accountability

Everyone is accountable for their actions, to deny this, or teach your children otherwise is unwise. Individual responsibility is one of the keys of society, and of personal happiness. Hold your children accountable for their choices when they are young and it will keep them out of trouble when they are older. If your family circumstance allows, let your children hold you accountable for things. This will help them develop the understanding that this principle applies even when you are an adult.

Now that you know these principles, look at your own family and identify what principles you may need to implement better. Make small adjustments until you are applying that principle well in your family. Even if your children are older, you can still begin utilizing these principles to help them get ahead in life and to help your home run more smoothly. There may be some push back at the beginning, but by solidifying the Structure, Consistency, Inclusion, Discipline, and Accountability in your home, I know that your family can be happier.