December 31, 2009

2010 = Best time to be an Entrepreneur

In my last blog of 2009 - my focus for my blog in 2010 will have more entrepreneurial articles for you to read in addition to my usual investing and finance articles.  Because the markets were failing in early 2009 and most people (including some economists) were afraid that the sky was falling, I wanted to focus most of my blog articles on investing to motivate you all to take advantage of the cheap stocks and begin investing.

But now that we have avoided the so called impending "doom" of America and the rest of the world, the economy is on a better foundation and companies are starting to increase their earnings.  Which also means they will soon increase employment (just a little bit) and banks will increase their lending and credit will eventually be a little more relaxed in 2010 or early 2011.  Companies have become leaner with less staff (meaning they force their employees to work longer hrs without a salary increase) and more concerned about their bottom line because now they are or should be concerned about the threat of entrepreneurs.

In the past, it was an American cultural belief that "bigger is better".  Nowadays, this belief has changed to "less is more" mainly because of the wave of new technologies that are leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs and/or small businesses.  Look around - the business jargon of today is to persuade businesses and individuals to consume less energy, to drive fuel efficient cars, use green energy, conserve, etc.  Most big mega-companies cannot respond quickly enough to these rapid developments and advancement in technology the way a small business or entrepreneur can (except for the companies that the government deems "to big to fail"...but dont get me started on that.)

So if you've ever thought about becoming an entrepreneur or establishing your own business - then 2010 is the best of times to do so.  There are several websites and technology applications that are "entrepreneur friendly" to help you should you decide to become more entrepreneurial...and if you're creative and know how to work smarter - then you really don't have to work like a dog as most entrepreneurs have done in the past.  Google Apps and Google Adwords allows entrepreneurs and small businesses to operate more efficiently and professional no matter what your budget may be.  Some other good mentionables are,, and Yahoo Local Business.

Let's be realistic, the odds can be against you if or when you try your hand at entrepreneurship.  If you're not bringing to the marketplace an original idea or a different approach to an already existing idea then failure is likely during the first 2 years.  For example, there are several shoe stores in every mall or place where we shop, so it will be difficult to establish another shoe store where people shop just because you would like to open a franchise or think you would be good at managing a store.  So the idea of another shoe store is not original, however, there was room for a different approach and brought a different approach to shoe buying.  It brought the shoe directly to the customer - and made available several more varieties instead of the customer going out to buy and search for a particular shoe at a mall or whatever.  I know this is just one industry where an entrepreneur challenged the approach to traditional shoe buying, but there are several opportunities just like waiting for you in every industry if you look for them.

I'm not just talking the talk, but as with all my articles, I'm also walking the walk.  I have several projects I'm working on to even better establish myself as an entrepreneur in 2010.  I've finished my 3rd book, "Black Insolvency" which is ready for its debut January 2010 on MLK's bday.  I'm also a director/co-founder of BEL Advisory Group, LLC, a full service financial firm offering innovative and intelligent financial and tax advisory services for primarily small businesses and individuals.

So get to work people - don't just think about being successful - try, try, and try again until you are successful.  If you fail, then try another idea, or try another approach.  But at least try!  And 2010 is the best year to do it.


December 28, 2009


Well the year is finally coming to a close!  2009 was a roller coaster ride and the financial effects of this year will be carried over to the next.  The 1st qtr of 2009 we saw turmoil and the stock markets at their lowest - which also meant this was a good time to buy (I hope some of you who follow my blog actually took my advice and got into the stock market).  Ford Motor company was down to $1.01/share, but today it is over $10/share.  Bank of America was down to $3.26/share, but today it is over $15/share.  United States Steel was down to $19/share, but today it is over $57/share.  Almost every stock on the exchange was for sale at very low and discounted prices!

The worst of 2009 was actually the best of times for buyers...the lowest point in the markets became the opportunity of a lifetime to realize returns of 60%, 100%, 300%, or even higher investment returns going into 2010.  For Generation X and Y-ers, there has been no other better time to invest than 2009.  However, it is still not too late!  As we go into 2010 - there are several opportunities still waiting to be realized.  The real estate market has not fully recovered, and probably won't for some time.  The cost of a new home or foreclosed home has been dramatically reduced for those who have access to cash and good credit.

So what is my move for 2010?  As far as investing...I'm going to invest in commodities such as energy and metals.  This strategy should be a good shelter for any upcoming inflation due to government spending.  But nevertheless, I am also looking for expansion.  I'm looking to increase my audience of people who follow me by working smarter and reaching out across all networks.

What are your goals?  To increase cash flow?  Invest more?  Whatever your goals may be - let's aim to BE FREE in 2010 and retire early.

"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender" - King Solomon


December 25, 2009

Health care reform bill that passed Senate is a monstrosity - and a giant step for America

Health care reform bill that passed Senate is a monstrosity - and a giant step for America

via Health care reform bill that passed Senate is a monstrosity - and a giant step for America.

Interesting article on the reform of healthcare.  There should be some type of reform - but the current format of the bill is not the best answer overall and I think we could offer a better bipartisan alternative.  Let's take the politics out of it and just do what's right for America.  But nonetheless, it's going to happen....I just hope the government will better manage this program and not leave it in such shambles as the current Medicare and Social Security system.

December 21, 2009

Your 401K can be stolen. Legally.

  • NOT FDIC Insured

  • NOT Bank Guaranteed

  • MAY Lose Value

  • Have you seen this wording before?  Does this look familiar?  It should because it is stated on your retirement plan.  This phrase is disclosed in each and everyone's 401(K) retirement plan no matter which employee benefit company you're invested in (Fidelity, Principal, Schwab, Hewitt, etc).  Most people are truly depending on their 401(K) as their SOLE form of retirement like I was since most Americans won't have much of a Social Security to rely on for their retirement.

    But what we should ask ourselves is - Why are we blindly and solely investing our hard earned money into a retirement plan that clearly states it is:

  • NOT FDIC Insured

  • NOT Bank Guaranteed

  • MAY Lose Value

  • Are we investing in these plans just because they tell us our entire nest egg might be there when we are ready to retire?  I wonder how the next generation will feel when they are forced to keep working since their retirement lost 20% - 30% of its value the next time the economy hits a recession or depression. 

    But a factor we haven't considered is - legal theft.  Unfortunately, Most Americans won't be able to retire and will have to work until death...but how would you feel if your 401K plan was legally stolen from you?  Legally?  It can happen.  It HAS happened.  Remember the story about the Bear Stearns fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin who were acquitted by a NY District Court even though they lost $1.6 Billion dollars of investors' money?  Remember Bernard Madoff who made off with billions of dollars?  Some of these victims' retirements are forever lost.  Yes, Bernard Madoff and a few others were sent to prison - but that fact doesn't replace the capital value stolen from investors' retirement plans.  And these investors are forced to go back to work during their "golden years"...competing for jobs typically given to teenagers...until they die.  The money is forever gone - and there is no law that will replace it.

    What would you do if your company's 401(K) plan went bankrupt due to bad investments made by the company that manages your employee benefit plan?  We invest in our 401(K) plans religiously but how do we know our money is safe and not being wasted on high risk gambles such as mortgage backed securities that caused our economy to recess in the first place?

    We receive account statements, but how accurate are they?  I'm sure Bernard Madoff was sending out nicely crafted account statements as well until the walls came crumbling down.  Because our 401K is not insured by any government, bank, or any other entity we could lose it ALL due to some mistakes and bad management of so called portfolio managers or investment advisors.  And it's not a damn thing you can do about it - when it comes to 401(K) plans that is.

    America, do NOT put your faith solely into 401(K)ill plans.  Have a backup - own some property.  Invest in REAL assets such as oil, metals, land.  Get out of debt while you're young and before you retire!  There is nothing worse than having to retire while still paying off a mortgage.  Do not let the banks legally steal your 401(K) or your retirement by solely relying or trusting on them to have your best interests in mind when investing your money.  Have a backup plan so that it won't hurt as much if you become a victim to someone else's greed.

    December 18, 2009

    Director’s Blog » Blog Archive » Analysis of the President’s Budget

    Analysis of the President’s Budget

    via Director’s Blog » Blog Archive » Analysis of the President’s Budget.

    Interesting analysis of the President's budget by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office).  An informative an interesting least I think so.  Click on the hyperlink above.

    December 17, 2009

    401(K)ill Plan

    Research proves that our beloved 401(K) cannot save us in retirement.  In fact, it was never meant to be the primary retirement vehicle - but instead a way for top level CEOs to shield some of their income from taxes, and to be a supplement retirement plan for the rich.  Forget Healthcare Reform...we need Retirement Reform.  But a reform in the form of financial education that won't raise taxes in the long run.  (Side Note:  Healthcare reform is bound to raise taxes - the same way Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security does - it is a government plan, after all.) Yet nowadays, the average employee retires with under $200,000 in their 401(K)ill plan.

    Corporations preach to us that this 401(K)ill plan is the way to go (because it cuts their benefit costs in half by passing our retirement responsibility on to us and they no longer have to fund the old pension plans - so of course they want us to invest in it.)  And it is evident how wrong these corporations are about 401(K)ill plans when you see people in their "golden years" forced to work at Wal-mart as a greeter, sweeping floors at Mcdonalds, or bagging groceries at Publix because they lost their retirement once the market crashed or some company filed for bankruptcy.

    As I write this - I wonder if people actually understand the severity of this issue enough to actually do something proactive to change their reality of possibly never retiring.   The solution is to find ways to increase our income and decrease our debts during our working years -- and save more in our retirement plans than the 6% with company matching.  If you're going to participate in the 401(K)ill plan then make sure you're saving at 12% - 15% with whatever the company matches.   I call this plan a 401(K)ill plan because it kills your dreams, and it can kill your retirement.

    Every company provided 401(K)ill plan charges monthly "maintenance" fees that kills our overall investment gains... this kill plan is maintained by some benefit sponsor company like Fidelity, Vanguard, or Charles Schwab, etc.  And these benefit sponsor companies take their fees and expenses out of our 401(K)ill plan for their operations.  At my company, we employees are charged $1,000 monthly for maintenance of our 401(K)ill plan - may not seem like a lot of money to most people - but it is a ton of money considering we had to pay maintenance fees even though our overall account balance dropped 25% during this economic crises.

    I'm getting out - forget corporate lies and dress codes.  I hate having to schedule my vacation time around holidays and accumulating a billion sick hours I never use.  Why should I leave my fate up to corporate insecurity?  Entrepreneurship is going to be my solution...My goal is to be self sufficient.  Now I just have to figure out a way to get government spending under control so they won't tax my aspirations to death bailing out every defunct company or cause they deem "too big to fail".


    December 16, 2009

    Schooling the Competition - student entrepreneurs -

    Schooling the Competition

    via Schooling the Competition - student entrepreneurs -

    I'm fed up with corporate and their schedules, dress codes, set vacation and sick times, etc.  It's time to get out....And anything is possible once you put your mind to it....

    December 12, 2009

    Live as a CEO, or die as an Employee....

    The CIA World Factbook has some words about the US economy that many people may find very interesting.  These are profound facts published by the CIA about our economy concerning long term problems and risks such as the increasing wealth gap and deficits that can cause detrimental effects between the top and bottom percentage of families in America.

    As briefly stated on their website at

    "The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households.  Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups."

    It seems as if becoming a successful CEO is the best means of achieving a high salary versus being just an employee and working your way up.  "Working your way up" seems like it is just as difficult to do nowadays than it is to simply be your own boss.  The concept of job security is fleeting - and the idea of retiring with a 401K seems like a joke (especially since the 401K was never intended to be a retirement plan in the first place.)

    December 11, 2009

    Congress to Raise Debt Ceiling -

    Congress to Raise Debt Ceiling

    via Congress to Raise Debt Ceiling -


    Say it ain't so Demo's!  Why do these politicians believe that we can keep spending without eventually having some  consequences??!  Should we just say the US has an unlimited debt capacity?  I'm tired of seeing increased deficits of the US....  one day the bill will become due.  And guess who gets to repay it... taxpayers!

    What is sad is that Republicans are no different with all of the deficits we incurred under their watch.  We need politicians in Congress who know a thing or two about economics! 

    Enough is enough.  No wonder other countries are looking for ways to hedge against the dollar's woes.  India has dumped their dollars for gold.  China is dumping their dollars for gold, oil, coal, etc.  The Obama administration is reflective of none other than the Carter administration.

    December 3, 2009

    What happened to Pensions? Is Social Security next?

    Once upon a time, in a land called the United States, an employee would work for one company for 50+ years and could eventually retire from their job and live out the rest of his/her life knowing their expenses would be covered by their employer sponsored pension plan.  Not too long ago, pension plans were the norm and if you worked hard and long with one employer you could expect to get a pension in addition to whatever Social Security paid you.  

    Due to the large expenses associated with pension plans, and that every employee was entitled to one, companies at one time operated with smaller profit margins.   But as time went on, employers could not afford to guarantee everyone a check for life and eventually had to become more competitive on a global basis.  Because of the growing need to have access to more cash, cut operating costs, and expand revenues,  one solution was to expire the pension plan (which guaranteed employees income for life) and replace it with the now popular 401K plan.

    401K plans force employees to save for their retirement, as opposed to guaranteeing them an income for life.  This way companies can cut costs associated with pension plans - and pass this cost onto its employees.  As companies are pressed to cut even more costs they'll eventually pass off healthcare to us as well.

    What will come to be when the government cannot afford to pay out Social Security anymore?  This entitlement program has been operating at a deficit for decades now - and no bailout in sight.  Just as companies could not afford to pay out pension plans - the government cannot continue to pay out Social Security.  With an increasingly aging population soon to retire in the next 5 years (if they can retire), the United States is facing an enormous bill we can't afford.  Senators who foresee this as a "too big to fail" challenge, decided to postpone a solution by recently increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67.  This will help...for now.

    Nevertheless, there will need to be some serious restructuring for Social Security (i.e. significantly increasing taxes, and/or a bailout, or increasing the retirement age AGAIN)....or the US needs to get rid of it and maybe replace it with a Universal retirement plan?  Which would perhaps lead us to financial ruin.

    House Votes to Restore Estate Tax, Exempt $7 Million Update1 -

    House Votes to Restore Estate Tax, Exempt $7 Million

    via House Votes to Restore Estate Tax, Exempt $7 Million Update1 -

    No surprise here - unfortunately the government needs money and will get it from us in life and death.  We work all of our lives paying income tax, sales tax, property tax, capital gains tax, retirement tax (401k), you would think we could at least die without a tax!  Good grief....

    December 2, 2009

    Meet America's White Elephants (Healthcare, War, and Deficit)

    How will the Obama administration pay the tab? 

    • $30 billion for additional troops in Afghanistan

    • $1 trillion Universal healthcare plan

    • $700 billion TARP

    • $800 billion Stimulus plan

    • Expanding US deficits

    With an economy barely in the recovery stage - President Obama and his administration is utilizing "deficit spending" to get the economy back on track, the consumer spending again, and to pay for the war in Afghanistan.  One potential fall back is that as the Fed prints more money, the more worthless our dollar becomes....which means all of the dollars in our paychecks and savings accounts become a little less powerful - and the cost of food, gas, and /utilities become more expensive.

    I'm not sure how the Obama administration will pay for everything without raising taxes (which politicians tend to avoid so they may be re-elected) or allowing inflation.  The Fed is already considering ways to take money (bailout money) out of the system to prevent the potential of hyperinflation, yet they must be careful not to send the economy into stagflation

    Will Universal healthcare be the answer?  Tax the rich - they say - and quality healthcare will be provided for all.  But at what cost?  And how long will the rich pay for it before the government needs to expand the base of taxpayers? (i.e. Tax the rich AND the middle class)  In a WallStJournal article, "France fights Universal Care's High Cost" France's Universal healthcare system is in a crisis...and France is looking to become more American where they allow copays to combat the high costs associated with their system coined "Assurance Maladie".  Universal healthcare in the United States could potentially become a disaster in the long run.  Why doesn't the government leave health insurance to the private industry - but enforce caps on health insurance's rate of increase and eliminate pre-existing conditions?  Might be a little cheaper and more acceptable to critics then Universal care.

    • Fix the economy first - then everything will fall into place.  If people have jobs, then they can afford their own health insurance or some supplemental plan and people will be less dependent on rich people footing the bill.

    • Provide tax credits for businesses that have new hires - this will be an incentive to get employers back to hiring (which reduces the 10% unemployment rate) instead of cutting costs and keeping their cash/record earnings in the bank

    • If people have jobs - then people will spend more money instead of saving it.  Consumer spending is 2/3 of the economy.  Then we can allow the government to stop spending/printing so much money.

    Let's get rid of these white elephants....ASAP~!