December 31, 2013

Set aside more dollars for healthcare in 2014

December 11, 2013

The power of Mobility in the Modern Age

The power of Mobility in the Modern Age

November 8, 2013

Barry Gets A Dollar - Published!

Sorry for the lack of blog entries as of late - but starting a new career, teaching class, and negotiating
with several publishers simultaneously is tiresome! Nevertheless, I'm happy to say that at least one accomplishment is down in the history books - and that is Barry Gets A Dollar has been finally picked up/published by Createspace.  It will soon be published on Amazon, Kindle, and a few stores between now and January 2014.

But you can purchase a copy now by clicking on this link:

I hope you enjoy this financial literacy book designed for your kids learning and fulfillment into the world of money.  Please leave your feedback and comments on Amazon!


September 17, 2013

My Retirement was Hacked!

What do you do if the NYSE gets hacked?  Nasdaq?  Furthermore, what happens if your retirement
image from Tumblr
sponsor (i.e., Vanguard, Principal, Schwab, etc) gets hacked?  Would they refund you your money?  Unlike most checking/savings accounts, your retirement fund is not supported or backed by any Federal bank insuring or guaranteeing that your account will be restored to a certain level.

Bank accounts have certain safe guards on them that limit transaction liabilities to $500, and even credit cards have a $50 liability, if the fraudulent activity is reported within a certain time frame.  So, for instance, if you realize a $3,000 fraudulent activity on your savings account - the bank will replace your $3,000 minus your $500 liability.  Some banks have full recap with no liability due from you.

However, many retirement accounts have little safeguards in place and "no federal consumer regulations specifically protecting consumers in the event of brokerage account hacking" according to an article by MSNBC.

Some accounts have inconsistencies in their statements - for instance, in one paragraph this sponsor states "We will reimburse your account for any losses due to unauthorized activity".   But in the small print you will notice a "loophole" statement stating: “[the customer protection guarantee] also does not cover unauthorized activities resulting from a breach of security in an employer or plan sponsor’s systems.

I don't really have an answer on how to protect your employer or plan sponsor's systems in case of a breach - but I would at least check my plan sponsor's "customer protection guarantee" to be sure of the procedures to restore balance should your account become jeopardized.  And, if my plan sponsor was not completely sufficient for me - I'd move to another sponsor that I was more comfortable with.  There's already enough volatility and uncertainty in the market - the last thing I'd want to question is the safety of my money from potential hacks.

So here's my list of what we can do to cover the basics:

  • Make sure your retirement plan sponsor is up to date with security/privacy safeguards.
  • Be sure that the computer you use to access your funds is secure as well.  
  • Check your balance at least once a year.
  • Change your passwords regularly - and have a strong password not used anywhere else!  
  • Store your passwords on a piece of actual paper - not in a document stored on your computer.
  • Keep the latest statement of your account filed in a secure drawer.

September 10, 2013

Finding Balance and Clarity.....

Everyone knows that nothing is for certain anymore in our global economy.  Long gone are the days when
one could graduate from high school and work at the local manufacturing plant for 50 years and retire with a pension + social security.  Nowadays, it is almost a complete necessity for us to obtain an education beyond a high school diploma if there's to be a better shot at a decent income and lifestyle....well, that is, if you're lucky enough to secure a full-time job or career after college.  If you decide college (or expensive student loans) isn't for you, then you'll have to become a very successful entrepreneur or tradesman and create your own career path (which is very possible given recent advancements in technology).

Furthermore, economic volatility and job uncertainty brings along the cloudiness of whether or not we'll be able to acquire assets and/or stash away enough cash for retirement.  If we take a look at past history, current statistics, and future predictions - it's plain to see that most of us are not on the right track when it comes to savings and investments...and we can use a little information or assistance about our own personal financial situation.

Here are 6 difficult questions to ask yourself:

  • What are you doing to protect your financial well-being?   
  • Do you own any investments besides a 401K? Or are all of your "eggs" in one basket?
  • What would happen if you got severely injured or sick and couldn't work?
  • Do you have an updated will?
  • How long could you or your family survive without a paycheck if you got fired or laid off?
  • Do you know if you're on track to retire comfortably? 

Finally, there is hope for finding balance and clarity through all of this uncertainty.   In addition, I strongly recommend that we utilize someone or something to inform us of our financial outlook.  We can do this ourselves if we're financially savvy enough and willing to spend the time to stay abreast of everything that might affect our financial outlook.  However, we can also decide to ask a financial planner or a professional to do it for us.  Whatever you do - do something!  Get your financial scorecard ASAP - and be one of the few living comfortably in retirement.


August 25, 2013

Another Step In The Right Direction

Hello people - I had to write a post about my new snippet due soon on the SnippetApp platform later this
month.  The snippet is basically a book that includes videos, audio, social media, and other "discoverables" to make reading more of an enhanced experience.  The new snippet that I wrote is called "Be Silly, Daddy" - which is a self-help business success "book" about the secrets of success that can be learned from our youth - in this case, I learned these principles from my daughter.

My page is listed here - you'll be able to check out my site on the SnippetApp website and register for my current and future snippets.  I hope you enjoy.

P.S. - I'm on the 3rd row!!


July 31, 2013

Distressed Properties Can Be A Good Investment

So I'm doing research for potentially good investments to include in my portfolio and I found that investing in distressed properties can be a good investment.  This is why:

First, I normally would pass on such an investment - but given the recent volatility in the stock market and current low prices/interest rates in real estate (soon to go up) - I noticed that distressed properties have begun to show a silver lining. While researching the state of the economy and other demographic trends - I think that distressed properties are a potential "home-run"... mostly for their income potential.

Why?  Well, I'll show you an example of a property I hope to purchase.

       Price =     +$32,000
       Rehab =     +$4,000
Down Pymt =    -$7,200
Total Financed   $28,800 @ 4.5% Fixed 30YR Mortgage

It makes sense to include the cost for repairs & rehab at these low interest rates - especially since I'm putting down 20%, which brings my total amount financed under $30K (seems almost as if I'm financing a car doesn't it...?  except this is Real Estate!)

Mortgage Pymt =    -$182.41
Property Mgmt =      -$87.00
Rent Income =       +$870.00
Net Income           +$600.59/month

The rental income above is estimated based on the area's fair market rent - because my monthly net income is so high, I could lower the rent below the fair market rate if needed and still make a hefty profit after paying the mortgage.  I don't have the experience nor the time to manage the property myself, which is why I'd rather leave the maintenance, leasing, tenant background check, etc. up to a reputable property management company that will do all of this for me (for a small fee of course - not included is the one time $250 acquisition fee).

With these types of returns - distressed properties don't look so bad...especially when they are relatively new (this one is built in 2008) and in functioning neighborhoods ( I don't want to be a slumlord!).  I'm willing to take on this type of risk because of the cash flow potential and limited downside.  If I can't get someone to rent it out - then I'm stuck paying the mortgage.  But this is what the property mgmt company is for - they specialize in getting tenants into homes.

Finally, this property will prove to be an even better investment once I include my tax depreciation, interest deduction, and expense write-offs.  It's probably better to take this risk versus getting myself locked into another car note and paying a dealership for the next 5 yrs.  Just my thoughts.


July 21, 2013

Just a quick thought of mine

Click on this link to go directly to the Huffington Post article which I believe is absolutely misleading.

This article might have been so much better if more research was done and/or the article was titled "A Few Ways to Save Money on A Small Salary" instead of "How to Save for Retirement on a Small Salary".  Because this article is obviously about additional ways to save money and doesn't really help someone with a small salary facing retirement.

Currently, only 14% of the country feels comfortable having enough for their "golden years" in retirement - this statistic clearly does not include anyone currently working with a small salary.

If you have a small salary and would like to retire one day (nothing is promised), then spend your life buying income producing assets.  Buy cheap investment properties (some properties here in the US are going for $3000 or less - and it's OK to be a slum lord if you can get some income out of it).  And don't tell me you can't find $3000 - with the average car price on the road today is north of $15,000.

July 14, 2013

5 Reasons Why You Should Invest in ETFs

For the last 3 or 4 decades, the world has evolved to become more fluid, interdependent, cohesive, and
interconnected environment where either everyone learns to work together or fail individually.  Corporations now have an international presence - where social responsibility and earnings (or lack thereof) in one country could mean profits (or losses) for shareholders in an entirely different country.  Political progress, fiscal and monetary policies, and other relationships between a few countries could cause disruptions in other markets all over the world...which would potentially cause trouble with our retirement plans and other investments.

Because of all of these "potential" shocks in our newly developed world, where an event in one country could bring ripples of trouble to the assets and investments in another country - our investment portfolio should show resilience in the face of these added risks.  And ETFs are a good way to add resilience to your porfolio.  Here are 5 reasons why you should invest in ETFs:

  1. Mitigate Risk - ETFs invest in a portfolio or sector of stocks within the same industry.  This allows you to balance any bad stocks with the good (diversification).
  2. Low Fees/Expense Ratio - there are passive ETFs that do not include extra maintenance charges and fees such as that of a mutual fund.
  3. Flexibility - ETFs trade just as stocks do, and you can sell anytime.  They are very liquid.
  4. Hedge - ETFs can easily help investors create a hedge against potential losses in the market
  5. Transparency - ETFs offer investors details of the fund, including the stock holdings, weighted avg, etc.
As the world evolves - our investment portfolio must also evolve to protect our holdings and increase our assets and income.


July 3, 2013

High Dividend Stocks

Investing in dividend stocks, especially high dividend stocks, provide a stream of income that is taxed at a
maximum rate of 15% or 20% no matter how much money you receive from your investments.  I say 15% or 20% because for any amount of income equal to or below $450K - you'll be taxed at 15%, and for any amount above $450K - you'll be taxed at 20%.  You should know that for this article I am making the case to accept cash payments today in lieu of deferring income and re-investing the dividends in return for more stock.

Also, listed in this blog are 3 dividend stocks that are paying investors over 20%!  

The reason for investing in dividends and accepting cash in lieu of stock is because most of us have our earnings and/or savings for retirement already invested in stocks/bonds by way of our 401K, IRA, 403b, etc.   So we need to diversify.  Plus, when an investor invests, he/she is looking for their return on investment (ROI) rather quickly...not 30, 40, or 50 years down the road in most cases.

Basically, I'm making the case that if we were to use our lifetime working to build up multiple streams of income, instead of using our lifetime working to save up for an uncertain future...we'd be better off when our "golden years" inevitably came around.  Put it this way - if I showed up at your front door and said "pack your bags because we are going on a trip"...but I excluded details about the trip, or how long we were staying, or how much money you will'd probably have a ton of questions for me...or wouldn't go on the trip.

This is the same as saving for has already knocked at your door and said "pack your bags because we're going on a trip"...and you've already jumped in the car without a clue of where you're going or how much money you're going to need for this trip.  So you save a little and spend a little on this trip...without having a clue of how much you're going to need at the end of this trip...(i.e., the end of your working years).

If you've followed my twitter account recently, you'll notice on June 29th I made a post stating that "money is not a store of value, which is proven by the disproportionate number of people who can't retire via savings or 401K".  This means that you can only increase your steams of income that you can have additional income coming in whether you're working or not.  You can't store money because it's'll leak away from you.

--OK back to dividends--

Investing in dividends and taking cash payments today increases your discretionary income to invest in other things or use the money to live your life more abundantly. For example, if you're investing in dividends and making $400/month after taxes - you can spend (if you so desire) $400 every month because you will be receiving more money the next month...without working for it...because your money is working for you.

Some people may feel like they'd rather keep the money reinvesting into stock and making more money instead of taking out the cash payments.  That's totally up to them and nothing is wrong with that.  But obviously the increase in cash flow is far more important than storing or saving  up all of your investments...for retirement's sake.

There are 3 huge stocks that I'd like to point out because they have the strongest corporate earnings, have a very diversified energy structure, and pay over 20% of your investment in dividends!  The stocks are listed below:
  1. CIG – Companhia Energetica Minas Gerais (ADR) — 21.10% in dividend annual yield
  2. CVRR – Coffeyville Resources – 21.02% in dividend annual yield
  3. NTI – Northern Tier Energy LP – 20.48% in dividend annual yield

June 26, 2013

The Ultimate Insurance Guide

So you want to be an Insurance Agent? Learn from the top agents in the industry! This ebook contains only the bes ...

June 10, 2013

Investing in Domestic Energy

With new fracking technology, it seems that America has great potential and opportunity to become a net exporter of energy and also consume most of its energy produced right here at home.  Not only do we have the chance to become more energy independent - we're also producing vehicles that run on alternative fuels, and vehicles that still rely on traditional fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, but have higher MPGs than ever before.

The introduction of new vehicles that run on alternative energy, such as electricity and natural gas, will make for better prices at the pump for those of us that drive gasoline/diesel engines.  I'm a becoming a big supporter of more vehicles that run on natural gas, which is a cheaper and cleaner-burning alternative than regular gasoline.  If not for the individual consumer, then definitely for commercial fleets such as city buses, mail trucks, semi-trucks, construction vehicles, etc.  Mostly because these vehicles typically run on diesel and put out a lot of pollution.  Why not switch to a cleaner alternative - especially since this technology is available?

For instance, UPS has agreed to purchase over 650 trucks that run on LNG (liquified natural gas) for its fleet of brown trucks and semi-trucks.  They aim to pave the way for other companies, mainly those within their distribution industry, to follow suit...and all this talk of domestic energy must mean there's room to make some money via investing in energy!

The top 10 ETFs, the top 10 natural gas stocks, and other news are listed at - this is a new site that I created to generate buzz about this market and help support the need for cleaner alternative energy sources that America can produce naturally.  This only helps to lower prices, create jobs, and underscore America's position as the #1 economy.  By investing in natural gas stocks, ETFs, or index funds of energy companies that bring the commodity to market - we also stand to profit from this boom in domestic energy.

"It's just amazing to me that these dumb clucks in D.C. don't see this opportunity." - T.Boone Pickens


May 28, 2013

Insurance as a retirement vehicle

Insurance can help with your retirement - especially should you fall ill or not make enough money during your " ...

May 23, 2013

New found Wealth - just a quick thought

Given recent advancements in technology, the power to start a profitable company is at our fingertips.
Unfortunately, there isn't any technology that will help us think of the next Facebook or Google faster than anyone else - but the power to administer business has never been greater.

In fact, I believe technology has allowed the path of entrepreneurship to be a lot more comfortable.  Instead of venturing on unchartered terrain with a compact, small engine vehicle - we now have a fully loaded F-250 with 4 wheel drive and GPS.

The only challenging part is programming your GPS on where you want to go...

But once you figure out how to program your GPS - you'll have new found wealth.  Because you'll be able to generate a cash flow ( or preferably several cash flows) much easier by leveraging technology that will afford you the option to keep your day job or focus on your new found wealth full-time.

Here are some ideas to help find new found wealth:

  1. Focus on creating ways to make your job easier (become an entre-ployee)
  2. Discover ways to make existing products better
  3. Leverage your friends and contacts experience/qualifications to come together and make a product
  4. Take time (a few days per month) to do something outside of your daily routine that you're interested in
Let's focus and find our way to new found wealth.


May 4, 2013

How to make some money if unemployed

Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) tweeted at 10:10 AM on Sat, May 04, 2013: If u have no job and u need money help someone else make money.

May 2, 2013

The road less traveled.....

The economy for millenials must include a few things:

  • Access to technology
  • Mobility
  • Options
  • Multiple Income Streams (Cash flow)
  • Entrepreneurship
These are the keys to success - even though we'll make a few mistakes along the way...have ups and downs...remember that the aforementioned items are the ultimate goal and that with these keys of success, you'll always be able to get back up when you fall.

The road to success is not always smooth and straight - but rather rocky, unpaved, and unchartered.


April 25, 2013

Let's get started

Many thoughts to discuss and keep the blog going since we've last spoke! I've updated a twitter feed into my blog because a lot of my random quick thoughts have been posted to twitter. Glad to have some time to get back to writing. It's challenging, because I want to have fresh material for my readers...and not just a repeat of previous articles. BE FREE