November 30, 2009, 5:00 am

Carnival of Money Stories – My Financial Dreams’ Edition

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Reviews

What I really like about the Carnival of Money Stories is definitely its personal touch. Personal finance often has a lot of calculation involved (how to save money, how to gather money, how much to pay for this or that…) and those articles don’t bring much “flavor” in the blogosphere. Then again, there is nothing like a personal touch within a rational topic! So along the Carnival entries, I have decided to share my financial dreams:

millionaire#1 Becoming a Millionaire by 35

This is definitely my biggest dream. Why 35? Simply because 30 was too short and 40 was too old 😉 This is also why we named our company M-35! At the age of 28 (only 7 years to go! Doh!), my net worth is around 100K. So I basically have to multiply it by 10 in 7 years. While this sounds completely ridiculous for most people, I look at it as quite the challenge instead. One way or the other, if I do all I can to make it, even if I fail, I’ll surely end-up with a nice fat net worth at that age anyways 😉 As becoming a millionaire at 35 is my biggest dream, here are my EDITOR’S PICKS:

A special mention to FMF who presents Five Steps to Six Figures in Seven Years posted at Free Money Finance. As I just started my new series about how to make 6 figure income, I really like the advices in this great articles!

Baker presents There’s Always An Excuse Not To Give posted at Man Vs. Debt.

Rainy-Day Saver presents Bad Spending Habits — We All Have Them posted at Rainy-Day Saver.

vh presents Would you buy a house near a Walmart? posted at Funny about Money.

BWL presents An argument for giving gift cards posted at Christian Personal Finance.

J.D. Roth presents The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good posted at Get Rich Slowly.

golfing#2 Running my own business full time (and golfing every Friday!)

For those who have been reading The Financial Blogger for a long time (and if you are a new reader, I suggest you subscribe to my RSS Feed and Mailing List), you know that I am running a company as an alternative source of income. Over the past 2 years, the company’s revenue hasn’t stop growing and I am now hoping that it will reach the critical step where I could quit my job for good. Once this goal is achieved, I will “force” myself to go golfing every Friday morning. This is will become a special moment where I can think about the company, its direction and also about how the hell I will be able to play below 90!

Super Saver presents It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask posted at My Wealth Builder.

David R. Lampsen presents It’s the Grocery Game… And I’m Actually Interested posted at Personal Finance Analyst.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Yet Another Tax Humor Piece: Interactive Taxes posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

Suzane Smith presents 13 Most Common Sneaky Charges on Your Credit Card Bills (and How to Spot Them) posted at Online Criminal Justice Degrees.

Mr Credit Card presents How To Maximize Reward Points for Vacation and Travels posted at Ask Mr Credit Card.

acreage property#3 Buying an acreage property

I almost realized this dream this year! I really would like to buy a house with 3 to 10 acres of forest. I love to have space around me and I really like forests. We saw a property with 3.5 acres of land recently but there was only one bathroom and no possibility to build a second one. That is too bad; I’ll have to wait for the next one!

Linda Jones presents 100 Money Experts You Should Follow and Learn From on Twitter.

Zach Scheidt presents Whole Foods Market – Not Every Sale is a Bargain posted at ZachStocks.

Robert D Flach presents WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ – WEDNESDAY EDITION posted at THE WANDERING TAX PRO.

oneadvice presents What Debt Solutions are Available? posted at One Advice.

Case Ernsting presents Memberships Can Save Your Business Money posted at FinditLocal411 Blog.

Alex presents The Best Free Online Budget Tracking Tool posted at MoneyStance – Money Making Opportunity Reviews.

Robert Damone presents Ten Myths About ETF Investing posted at ETF Database.

Randolph Goldberg presents How to Rebuild Your Credit posted at Las Vegas Bankruptcy Information.

children#4 Teaching my children about money properly

I am the lucky father of two amazing children. They are now 4 and 2 and obviously don’t know much about money yet. As we educate them, I hope that I will be able to show them how to handle it carfully, how to avoid the pitfalls of debt and how to create revenue with their talent. Financial education is very important to me as money can facilitate a lot of aspects of one’s future.

Mrs. Money presents The Debt Shoebox | Ultimate Money Blog posted at The Ultimate Money Blog.

Tyler presents Multiple Intelligences: Why You?re A Green Rock Star but Suck at Saving Money posted at Frugally Green.

Annette Berlin presents How To Buy Craft Supplies on Ebay posted at Craft Stew.

Wenchypoo presents Just in Time For Black Friday and Beyond: Print Ad Susceptibility posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Mental Wastebasket.

mrs laughton presents The Definitive Guide To Real Estate ETFs: Real Estate ETF Investing 101 posted at ETF database.

The Amateur Financier presents Small Business 101: Bootstrapping posted at The Amateur Financier.

Billeater presents Five Ways to Save Home Heating Energy posted at Billeater.

J. Money presents The $100 Scratch Off Lottery Project! posted at Budgets are Sexy..

debt kid presents Getting Out Of Debt Is Lonely posted at Debt Kid.

eemusings presents What are you worth? posted at Musings of an Abstract Aucklander.

So, that’s it for the Carnival. However, I really would like to know about your financial dreams?

image source: chispita,

Enkhtuvshin’s 40D..’s ,

brianforbes37,

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November 29, 2009, 10:59 am

Financial Ramblings – I Feel Like having the H1N1 Edition

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Rambling

I am feeling very bad today… feels like I got the Flu… H1N1? I have no clue! I prefer to stay home and don’t go at the clinic… we’ll see how it goes tomorrow 😉

All right, more seriously, we are entering in the big sprint before Christmas! I really like it since we already bought most of our gifts and I am off starting December 23rd until the beginning of January!

There are several good reads this week, but first, I want to let you know that on December 1st (this Tuesday), we will celebrate The Financial Blogger’s 3rd anniversary with prizes (probably an iPod Touch and some other surprises!). Make sure to come around!

There is a SmartyPig Review at Gather Little by Little and we are giving 2 X $50 gift card as a giveaway (must be US resident to open an account…).
Rumors about a Facebook IPO at Intelligent Speculator.

Black Friday Shopping Strategies at The Digerati Life.

Case Study: retirement soon, rrsp or mortgage at Million Dollar Journey

Five years and counting at Canadian Capitalist ($500 in giveaways!)

Just Because You Like To Do It, Doesn’t Make It A Good Business Idea at Four Pillars.

Tax advantages of Seg Funds at Where Does All My Money Go.

How Canadians Can Take Advantage Of Black Friday And Cyber Monday by Canadian Finance Blog

Double Taboo: How Much Do You Spend on Sex? At Canadian Dream
The David Swensen Asset Allocation Model at The Dividend Guy
RRSP vs TFSA Investing in Canada.

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November 27, 2009, 5:00 am

Sometimes, Having Faith Can Pay Off

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career

faith

I am writing this post having just left my boss’s office after my annual performance evaluation. I went into the office that afternoon, I was confident, but even more importantly I was prepared. Prepared for what you ask? Prepared for war! As you already know, I don’t (can’t!) trust Human Resources. They are simply evil… what can you do? Hahaha!

Seriously, I had documented everything I did this year to make sure to get one fine evaluation. The thing I like about my job is that the numbers often speak for themselves. I finished the year at 175% of my objectives and I attained at least at 100% in each and everyone one of them. This ranks me in the top 5 (ranking is not official yet… might be looking at the top 3!) in downtown Montreal. So, I was eagerly looking forward to my evaluation.

However, I prefer to influence my own destiny when it comes to issues as important as compensation. I made a list of other accomplishments (such as finishing my MBA, increasing the number of clients, improving the relationship with them and thereby increasing share of wallet, providing advice and coaching to my fellow financial advisors, etc.). The new word in today’s office is teamwork. Therefore, no matter how great you are on an individual basis (read personal performance), you need to be able to help your colleagues and share your tricks with them.

While I will be providing some tricks in the upcoming weeks on how to get a promotion, it always starts with superior results in your evaluation. If you don’t have them, you won’t get very high up on the corporate ladder. Funny enough, I definitely don’t want to climb that ladder right now. However, I want to make some serious money and be left alone in my office to handle my business as I see fit, just LOOK at my results so far.

I finally got my raise!

During summer time, I wrote a few posts about tricks to get a raise in salary and how I asked for mine. Back then, I didn’t get one and I was pretty upset. I even went into serious discussions with a potential suitor while comtemplating leaving the bank but the cost of my MBA was looming overhead like the Sword of Damocles.

I had expressed my disappointment to my manager and decided to not make a big deal out of it. After being turned down for my raise, I kept a smile on my face and continued to perform at work. My professional attitude has finally paid off!

This week, at the end of the meeting with my manager, she told me that I was getting what I requested back in June. This couldn’t be better timing since my wife had stopped working back in May!

I was happy to see that what she told me back then was the truth (they say they would reconsider at the end of the fiscal year). I am glad that I trusted her (she doesn’t seem to be part of the HR department after all 😉 ).

So, my day ended with a big smile in my face. Once again, I have learned that sometimes, you are better off not fighting back immediately and to behave for a while longer. Choosing your battles always pays off!

image source: kalandrakas

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November 26, 2009, 5:00 am

The Devil (Visa) Made Me Do It (Wow, Have We Really Come to That?)

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Pay off your Debts

This is a guest post from Joel at Credit Card Chaser.

devilDoes it bother you when people not only refuse to take any personal
responsibility for their own actions but even go so far as to blame their
actions on someone or something else entirely?

It seems that all too often when we are confronted with the realities and
consequences of our negative behavior we take the attitude of the comedian
Flip Wilson’s character Geraldine when we say some kind of variant of the now
popular phrase, “The Devil made me do it”. One of the more current
variations of this phrase is essentially that “My credit card company made
me do it”.

For example, “My credit card company sent me some cash advance checks in the
mail so I just had to immediately go use them to max out my card at the
mall. They shouldn’t have sent out those checks to me because they knew that
I would be tempted to use them. I don’t really feel like learning how to manage credit because then that means I have to have
some self control and that is just all kinds of boring. That credit card
company is just preying on people like me. It’s not my fault. My credit card
company made me do it you know.”

Before you say, “Oh boy, here comes another lecture on personal
responsibility. Go tell it to someone that needs it. I am reading a personal
finance blog that has all kinds of stuff on
estate planning
, how to choose a financial advisor, and more that I have
already read you know.” and tune me out I would like to quickly take a look
at a few things that I think that all of us could improve on in our lives
and utilize to become better stewards of our money and possessions.

The Natural Way is Not the Best Way

No, I am not talking about giving birth “the natural way” vs. giving birth
with an epidural but rather I am talking about the types of ingrained
motivations that are naturally within each of us (yes, I realize I should
have probably just changed that horrific paragraph header but now it just
seems funny so let’s just leave it 🙂 ). This may seem like common sense but
it is worth remembering that what comes naturally to all of us are things
like laziness, selfishness, greed, and pride.

It’s difficult to fight the desire to just blow your paycheck on new clothes
or a new TV rather than socking away money into your 401k. It certainly
becomes easier to do the financially responsible thing as you develop strong
habits but nonetheless it can still be difficult sometimes to work hard day
in and day out, live within your means, and plan for the future.

We could all use a reminder that being financially responsible takes hard
work and a dedicated proactive mindset. The opposite of this proactive
dedicated mindset is the mindset where nothing is ever your fault and if you
rack up huge bills on your credit card and don’t have the money in the bank
to pay off the balance at the end of the month then it’s the credit card
companies fault and certainly not your own.

Everyone Should be Held Accountable

Because of the pride that is naturally ingrained in all of us it can be
tempting to assume the high and mighty attitude of, “I would never live
beyond my means and not pay off my credit cards every month but those poor
low income people on the other side of the tracks should not be held
responsible for their actions. They just don’t understand what they are
doing. No one ever taught them to have discipline and self control. It’s all
just the credit card companies fault for preying on those types of people.”

Have you ever caught yourself saving something similar to the above? If so,
it is important to keep in mind that no matter who one is – whether a CEO of
a Fortune 500 company making tens of millions of dollars a year or a gas
station attendant making $25,000 a year it is still each and every one of
our responsibility and ours alone to be held responsible for our own
actions.

Sure, there are unique challenges faced by those with lower incomes than
those with higher incomes but that still does not give those with lower
incomes a get out of jail free card and excuse them of all responsibility
for their actions. There is a right and a wrong. Each of the choices we make
have consequences. These things apply to all of us no matter who we are.

Yes, it is difficult to make next to nothing and constantly see things that
you want to buy but cannot afford without being irresponsible and going into
debt. It is very difficult to even have to tell yourself that your treat for
the week will be a 99 cent double cheeseburger at McDonald’s instead of the
usual Ramen noodles (hey, I was a college student once too and I can
remember the days of working to put myself through grad school while working
2 jobs).

(Note: It may seem like I am reverting to the opposite but equally false
position of what I have just described as if I am somehow absolving any of
the relatively small percentage of credit card companies that practice
deceptive marketing techniques from accepting responsibility for their
actions but I assure that I am not overlooking them. It is despicable and
very wrong for anyone to take advantage of anyone via deceptions and flat
out lies. Period. However, my intention is to communicate some things that
are beneficial for all of us as consumers as we seek to control our own
finances rather than making this a lesson for the credit card companies –
unless of course anyone reading this article just so happens to be the CEO
of a credit card company then just let me know and I will be happy to
redirect my focus 🙂 )

Think Long Term

What is the remedy for falling into so many of these personal responsibility
destroying snares? I firmly believe that one of the best remedies is to
focus on the long term.

Having a long term focus means weighing the cost of the new flat screen TV
against the decrease in money that you will have available for your
retirement. It means cutting back now to have enough for the future. It
means moving forward by choking down pride and taking responsibility for
past mistakes instead of playing the “blame game”. It means using credit
cards responsibly by finding a credit card with rewards and paying off the balance in
full every month rather than racking up large balances and large interest
charges.

I would challenge myself right along with you to strike the kind of thinking
that says, ” The credit card company made me do it” right out of our
vocabulary and replace it instead with a dedication to not only encourage
the growth of personal responsibility in our own lives but also in the lives
of those around us.

image source: goodnight photography

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November 25, 2009, 5:00 am

Making a 6 Figure Income By Working Less than 50 hours a week Part 1: a Look at Your Job

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Alternative Income,Career


Two weeks ago, I wrote about how I achieved my goal to earn a 6 figure income at the age of 28. Since I got a lot of feedback from the post (comments, emails, visits, etc.), I have decided to dig a little deeper to let you know how I was able to optimize each aspect of my overall income in order to reach the psychological mark of $100,000.

Technically, making a 6 figure income is pretty easy. $100,000 per year is $1,923 per week. Therefore, if you are earning $20/hour, you would simply have to work 96 hours a week and you could do it. The problem is that you may die from a heart attack at the age of 40  (ever seen a fifty year manager at UPS, HARD livin’)… if you don’t suffer through a burnout and/or a divorce before then;-)

I found it was easier to diversify my income rather than trying desperately to find a single 6 figure income job.  Those jobs require a lot of talent, knowledge (i.e. diplomas), connections and devotion (read working almost 96 hours a week ;-)). While I am not so dumb, have a few piece of papers stuck in frames at work and I know a few people, I certainly don’t want to work 96 hours a week!

So, I decided to create source of alternative income. But before I start anything, I had to improve my current salary. So here how I did it:

How to increase your salary

#1 Getting a promotion

I have already covered this topic partially in a few other articles but getting a promotion has nothing to do with being your manager’s pet. My first boss came to my office after I was working for him for 3 months and asked:

“Do you want a promotion?”

“hell yeah!… I mean, yes sir, I really would like to climb the corporate ladder, sir”.

“Then, you have to do 3 things:

#1 Dress like you get the job.

#2 Act like you get the job.

#3 Do your job and do additional tasks linked to the next job you want.”

YES SIR, may I please have another SIR!

And this is how I changed my way of seeing work. I started to pay attention to what I was wearing (we all have our too much casual Fridays… I never let myself hav casual Fridays anymore). If you want to become a senior or a manager in your team, you must look like one. People won’t respect you because your title changed overnight. But they will if they see you as a great leader and a professional in front of them. Dressing like one and not looking like a sloppy goof, with running shoes and a Batman t-shirt, will enhance the perception  others (your coworkers and your managers too!) have of you.

Acting like you get the job doesn’t mean being cocky or looking at others in an intimidating matter. It means thinking twice about what you say in meetings (stop complaining and whining and start acting proactively and suggest solutions). It means you need to  get to know colleagues in the water-cooler conversations. Some people are just too good to make you talk and spread the word after ;-). You don’t have to defend anybody, but you can simply say that you don’t bite the hand that feeds and that you respect your boss and co-workers.

Not entering the stupid games will definitely help earn others’ respect. If people like you and respect you, they are more likely to be happy about your promotion and your manager will be pleased to give you a push up the corporate ladder.

Finally, if you want another job, show people that you can do it. Telling people that you would do better is easy and annoys most everyone around you 😉 However, you actually show how you would do things better, that you actually cover your work and do more in order to improve efficiency, ambiance at work or profitability.  This will land you better odds of getting a promotion.

One last thing to mention is that if you follow those 3 rules and you don’t get a promotion in the next 2-3 years, you need to ask yourself some questions. People that get promotions usually don’t have to wait 5 years to get one. There is the fast lane and there is the HR lane (remember, HR are evil!). So you better be in the fast lane of change department right away. Sometimes, the best move is a lateral one 😉

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