August 31, 2012, 6:00 am

Epicness Time

by: MD    Category: Financial Rambling

The last weekend of the summer (unofficial end of summer) is upon us. How will you be spending it?

Today I wanted to highlight a different kind of article. The most epic piece that I found is:

The Batman Bodyweight Workout @ Nerd Fitness.

I wanted to shift away from money and focus on your health and fitness. Most of you reading this are pretty damn busy and don’t have time to spend two hours at the gym. Most of you have a business, kids, full-time job, and commitments that prevent you from training.

This is why I wanted to highlight an article that shows you how to get an effective workout done at home. You don’t have to spend any money. You don’t need two hours.

What’s stopping you?

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August 30, 2012, 6:02 am

Why I Work Like a Single Mom With Two Kids

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income

I set a record for shifts at my part-time job the other week. I’ve also been going after as many freelance writing gigs that I can. I often bite off more than I can chew. I spent this summer constantly working hard.

My girlfriend is always frustrated with me because she feels that I work too much. She often comments that I work like, “a single mom with two kids.” She’s upset that I always have a new idea on my mind or that I’m always working on something. I feel bad that I always have to be busy, but I just have so many goals right now and I’m not afraid of work.

Why do I like working like I absolutely have to?

Prepare for the future.

I don’t want to have to work so hard in the future when I actually do have a family and kids. I’m putting in the work now so that I can have security in the future. I’ve invested my money into property and retirement accounts because I want to live a good life when I’m older. I see too many older folks struggling to get by and figure out how to retire. I don’t want to be stuck at a job I hate in the future.

I have a specific goal in mind.

I’m going to try an experiment out this fall. I’m moving out of town with a cousin. We have a few ideas that we’re working on. I spent this summer trying to build up a decent “war chest” or “emergency fund” so that I can have money to pay for food and bills if things don’t work out. I’m working for my freedom and there’s nothing more motivating than freedom.

I enjoy my trips more.

I like to travel fairly often. This year I went on three trips already and have fincon coming up. Last year I finally went to Europe all by myself on my first solo trip ever. None of this would’ve possible if I didn’t work hard to save money. I also work on trips because I love to write about personal finance and I really enjoy my work.

Going on a trip where every expense is fully covered with cash is an excellent feeling. I could never imagine putting a whole trip on my credit card and then stressing about paying the money back when I return.

I love to have fun.

You know the classic 1,000 year old saying:

“Work hard, play harder.”

I live this to the fullest. I always go out with friends for drinks. I go on mini-trips and I’m always looking for something fun to do. Thinking about an upcoming night gets me going during a late-night and it definitely blasts through any writer’s block that could possibly happen.

Working hard in your 20s isn’t for everyone. Finding that balance is difficult. You either get trapped into working all of the time or you never feel like getting off the couch. The fun lies in trying to find YOUR own balance between work and life.

While I do follow the work of Tim Ferriss and other lifestyle design bloggers, I believe that you have to put in the work to enjoy a solid quality of life.

Oh and if you’re a single mom with two kids — keep up the amazing work you do!

This article was mentioned in the Carnival of Personal Finance at Nerd Wallet.

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August 24, 2012, 6:00 am

Conference Advice Roundup

by: MD    Category: Financial Rambling

Since I’m hitting up fincon12 this year for the second year in a row, I wanted to highlight some pieces that have gone up about conference advice. I was only able to find two recent pieces on getting the most out of a carnival. If you find any other good articles, please mention them in the comments section and I will add them here.

Are You an Introvert? Here’s How to Make the Most of Your Conference Experience @ Invest It Wisely.

How to Get the Most Out of #FinCon12 @ Fincon Home.

What advice do you have for getting the most out of a conference?

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August 23, 2012, 6:00 am

If You’re Willing to Spend Thousands of Dollars on College, Then…

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income

Let’s assume that you graduated from college and are now making money.

You spent thousands of dollars on college. If you went away for school then you spent even more money on housing and moving. You either had to work like animal to graduate debt free or you picked up student loans to cover your time in college.

Long story short: you spent a decent amount of money on an education.

This brings me to the point of this article…

If you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars on college, then you should have no problem with investing more money in yourself.

We have no issues with shelling out thousands of dollars for random courses and textbooks that we have been told to read. Yet for some reason we’re afraid to invest in ourselves.

Where am I going with this?

I’ve already written about investing in yourself on here in detail. Today I wanted to look at a different angle.

College is just one example. The same sort of logic applies to buying a home. We spend a fortune on closing costs, moving, and the actual home mortgage. We lose so much money to become home-owners. Then we go on personal finance blogs to read about frugality. We worry about saving 90 cents after we’ve spent 15 grand!

How does that saying go? Step over a nickel to pick up a dime?

Alright, so what’s the story here?

I wasn’t totally sold on attending The Financial Blogger Conference this year (or #fincon12). I wasn’t sure on spending so much money on a flight, hotel, and food. I was debating not going.

Then I spoke with an older friend about this. I informed him all of of the expenses and how they could add up. He responded:

“So what?”

That was a great point. He went on to say that I should never hold back from opportunities that will allow me to better myself. He then reminded me about how much I was raving about #fincon11 and what I got out of it.

What I’ve come to realize is that if you were willing to fork over thousands of dollars for a college education, you shouldn’t be afraid of paying for further education. Instead of worrying about the price and stressing about the money spent, it makes much more sense to think of what we actually got out of the purchase/investment. Was it worth it? Has the investment paid off?

We all know by now that investing in yourself is good. Every single personal finance blog tells you to invest in yourself. Frugality has been replaced with spending money on yourself. I just wanted to remind you that you shouldn’t be afraid of taking risks with your money if you know that you can improve yourself and move onto something better.

Who doesn’t want to grow and become better? You don’t have to answer that. I would love an answer to this question:

How have you spent money on yourself recently?

“Don’t be fooled by the calendar.  There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.”  — Charles Richards

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August 22, 2012, 5:00 am

Whole Life Insurance Sucks… And The Reason Why We Have One!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Insurance

 

 

Whole Life Insurance… these three words don’t fit right in my head. Actually, the last two words are fine, but I would rather switch the word “whole” by “term” usually ;-). I’ve rarely spoken about my insurance structure on this blog. In fact, the last time I discussed my own life insurance structure was back in 2007! Since then, I’ve upgraded my life insurance structure according to our needs. I’m actually going to tell you more about my personal life insurance structure in another post. Today, I want to concentrate on explaining why I chose a whole life policy to cover a part of my needs.

 

Hint: if you are an entrepreneur, you want to read this post.

 

The Concept of Whole Life Insurance Policy Explained Quickly

 

A whole life insurance policy is quite easy to understand:

–          You pay X amount of premium per year to get your contract.

–          This contract insures you for X amount in the event that you pass away.

–          The contract is good for your life.

–          If you pay more than the premium, you have the possibility to invest in a tax-sheltered account (let’s say that your monthly cost is $100 and you pay $125, there is $25 being invested in a tax-sheltered account called Cash Surrender Value).

The major downside of whole life insurance is that it’s quite expensive (and brokers are making a lot of money on them! Hahaha!). This is why brokers tend to push this product down your throat based on the fact that they will make more money you need life insurance coverage for your entire life. This is definitely not the right way to get cheap life insurance if this is what you are looking for ;-)é

 

Technically, your insurance needs are a lot higher when you are younger than when you are 70. So being insured for 500K at the age of 70 is quite useless. Unless you want to play Santa Claus, nobody really needs this money. So in 90% of cases, you are much better off with term life insurance that will cover your needs for a specific period of time. For example, most of my life insurance coverage is in a term life insurance that will last for the next 20 years. After that period, I won’t need much coverage since all my kids will have finished school, my house will be almost paid off, I will have RRSPs and a pension plan big enough to cover my wife’s financial needs. So why would I pay for an expensive whole life policy that will only make my kids rich? But still, I do have a whole life insurance policy… of $250,000!

 

Okay… but Mike, why the hell have you taken a whole life insurance policy then? Are you that dumb???

 

Bear with me for a moment, you’ll understand.

 

The Problem All Entrepreneurs Face One Day – DEATH!!!

 

There are two things you can’t avoid inCanada: Death and Taxes! The problem is that both of them are quite related. In fact, if you ever pass away, you are considered to have sold all your assets the second prior to your death for tax purposes. Therefore, if you can’t roll your assets to your spouse, there will be a huge tax implication to be paid by your Estate. This is the first reason why you need life insurance if you own a company. This insurance need is there today, but will also exist in 40 years from now. This is why I need a whole life insurance policy that will cover this risk. Since I can roll my company shares to my wife without tax implications, there is another reason why I needed insurance.

 

I have a partner.

 

Having a business partner is clearly amazing. It enables the both of us to grow something much bigger in less time. But this also means that I don’t hold 100% of my company shares. If my partner would pass away tomorrow morning, his 50% of the company shares would be transferred to his wife. While I really like his wife and we are very good friends, I doubt I would like to manage “my” company with a different partner. So the easy way would be to buy her shares. But since we valued our company at $263,042 this year, I would need to spit $131,500 to buy back her shares. I obviously don’t have this liquidity!

 

Without insurance, this could create a big mess. Imagine if his wife would like to receive a dividend of $1,500 per month? Or that she would like to sell half of our sites to get a big fat check? The fact that we each hold 50% of the company would completely freeze the company and would make it very difficult to operate. On my side, I wouldn’t be able to continue growing it as I want and I would not have the liquidity to hire someone to replace my partner’s expertise (remember, I’m a techno retarded blogger, I can’t run this company by myself since I don’t even know what html and php means!). This is where the whole life insurance policy could become your best friend!

 

In order to be able to buy back my partner’s 50%, we both agreed to purchase a $250,000 whole life insurance policy. We are both insured by the same contract (which means that if I die, my partner will receive the $250K and vice-versa) and we have selected a “first-to-die” clause. The first to die clause enables us to both be covered for $250K but the payment occurs only once. Therefore, the first one to pass away will trigger the $250K payment from the life insurance company. The second to pass away won’t trigger anything more.

 

Our goal was to take an insurance policy that would enable us to buy our partner shares upon death and generate some liquidity to hire someone to cope for the loss of the partner in the daily activities. This is why the amount of $250,000 is much bigger than the actual value of the company. After paying the shares, we need a few thousand to operate the company.

 

Since this insurance need will exist until we sell the company, we couldn’t go for a term life insurance of 20 or 30 years. In 30 years, we will still need that cash to buy our partner shares. This is why the whole life insurance was the best bet for us. It guarantees us to be able to operate our company and it guarantees also that our wives receive something coming from the company.

 

It is very possible that we will have to increase the amount of coverage later on. When we started, the company wasn’t worth that much and the amount of $250k covers a company value of $500K. We are already halfway in this valuation after three years. I guess that we will hit the $500K value in a few years. At that time, we will probably take the option to invest in the cash surrender value. By increasing the payment of our premium, we will be able to not only invest in a tax-sheltered investments, but this will also grow the amount of our whole life insurance policy.

 

For example, if we pay $100/month for our $250K coverage, we could decide to invest $100 more and increase our payment to $200/month. At that time, we would be investing and additional $1,200 in the policy. Therefore, at the end of the year, we would be having coverage of $251,200 instead of the previous $250,000. The other option would be to write another whole life insurance contract for an additional amount. Depending on the cost of the insurance, the cash surrender value investment could become more interesting.

 

In the end, the most important thing is to make sure that we have enough coverage to keep the company rolling and to make sure that our wives get the part they deserve in this story. I’ve seen families being torn apart after the death of a rich individual, I won’t let this happen. All I need is a whole life insurance and this problem will never happen!

 

 

This post about insurance is linked to the Insurance Movement initiated by Jeff @ Good Financial Cents. Check out his site, he is offering cash rewards!!! Insurance is so important, but most people are not properly insured. This is why Jeff decided to raise this movement. You can read other articles about Life insurance here:

Investing and Cash Flow Strategies Through Insurances

An Overview of the Insurance Sector

Determine Your Life Insurance Needs – Thx to Excel!

Life Insurance by Age

5 Tricks to Get The Best Term Life Insurance Quotes

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