deeptrancenow_create_money2.jpgIf you ask children to choose between eating one ice cream immediately or two ice creams a day later, they’ll invariably choose to have just one right away. But if you give the child a choice between one ice cream the next day or two ice creams the day after that, almost all children will choose to wait the extra day and get two ice creams instead of one. I think all parents know this. I too figured this out almost as soon as my daughter was old enough to ask for things. Of course, children are pretty clever and often manage to outmaneuver parents. But whether it works or not, parents know that the trick is to try and avoid situations where a choice has to make between immediate gratification and some future pleasure.

Unlike parents, economists took a long time to figure this out and when they finally did, it was thought to be a great discovery. But then, applied to economic behavior, it probably is. What is true about the way our children make ice cream decisions is also true about the way we make decisions about savings, investments, and expenditures and probably about many non-financial matters like health and work too. Most of us, children or adults, are not good at making decisions that involve comparing the seductive present (and the immediate short-term) with the distant future.

Of course, this is not equally true of everyone. Some people, especially at a young age, have a severe form of this problem of not being able to think past the immediate gratification. These are the people who supply much of the profits of credit card issuers. At the other extreme are the kind of people who spend their lives accused of being misers- the ones who are unable to live the present without obsessively planning for the future. For a long time, the difference between the two kinds was considered to be a sort of moral gap with the former being the thrifty and careless no-goods and the latter being sensible and prudent.

But perhaps this is not the right way of looking at things. Over the last three decades or so, there has been a lot of research that suggests that some of these behavior patterns are fundamental to the way the human brain has evolved. For most of the period during which human beings were evolving, the immediate present really was very important – much more so than the distant future.

The problem is that this instinctive preference produces financial behavior that is detrimental to our economic well being. Conventionally, the solution to this would be education and self-awareness. If more people learn about patterns of risky economic actions then they wouldn’t take those actions, right? Well, actually, it doesn’t look like it. Only a small proportion of people will have the self-awareness to modify their economic behavior and pay more attention to the long-term than the immediate short-term. The only way that people can change their behavior is if they somehow get committed into a good choice.

I’ve always said that it was important for investments to be liquid so that one could withdraw from them when the need arises. However, it is a fact that for a large mass of people, the main investments tend to be the ones like long term retirement funds where they are forced to make and stick to for a long period of time. Perhaps there’s a lesson there.

100130497_30b44feff9_m.jpgInvesting in the stock market sometimes boils down to one essential element, namely good choices.

No matter how well we do our research, how often we buy and sell, or how much we pay experts for their tips and advice, without choosing stocks that represent value, we won’t succeed.

Although some are good at predicting the direction of the market and timing the ups and downs, if they don’t purchase the right stocks, they will still meet with difficulties when trying to reap profits.

For that reason, some of the best paid people on Wall Street are known primarily for their talent at picking stocks. Financial advisors give talks and write books and newsletters about how to choose stocks that will outperform the market, and most experts echo the same sentiment and agree that one of the best ways to judge a stock is from the point of view of a consumer. By using instincts we have already honed as ordinary shoppers, we can often ferret out information that even the most skilled and software-savvy market watchers miss. While they study analytical charts, earnings reports, and the stock exchange ticker tape, folks just like you actually do business with the companies they invest in, because their experience as a customer speaks volumes about the value of the company and its products and services.

Here are the kinds of things to look for as indicators of a company’s worth.

How popular is their product or service? If everyone you know uses it, and is satisfied with such things as price, customer service, and reliability, the company is probably well situated among the competition. Are the employees satisfied? One of the best ways to judge a company is by talking to employees. Many companies put on a good façade, but underneath the fancy marketing is plenty of discontent. But if employees like a company – especially if they like it enough to buy stock in it – that’s a very good sign.

How well known are they? You may find a great startup company with all the trappings of success, but discover that it is lesser known. Many small or regional companies are popular in their own back yards, but the rest of the world may not yet know about them. Buying such unknowns can be a great way to invest in the next hot stock. If the fundamentals look good, sometimes being lesser known is a good thing for investors getting in on the ground floor.

If they went out of business, where would you go for similar products and services? If you can’t think of a convenient alternative, the company is probably in a niche market that enjoys customer loyalty and repeat business.

Shop around, and notice what you see and how each business makes you feel. Then trust your intuition. Make a list of companies that get your attention, and then call their shareholder relations department and ask for more details. By starting your list with companies you already have a first hand experience of, you raise the chances considerably that you will make smart choices.

bankrupt.jpgWe have all heard the old saying ‘health is wealth’ this I think is perhaps only about half right. If we think wealth is the key to health, then you know you’ve found good wealth to afford the comforts of life, and your worries would take a backseat. Much the opposite would happen if your finances are out of control.

I believe that the ultimate success is defined as staying alive. And the more I think about this, the more I believe it. After all, what do money, power, and good looks matter if you’re dead? For starters, smarter people are likely to have more money.

The first step towards a secure financial position starts with budgeting. You must have a budget to gauge your future positioning. A budget is nothing but an overview on how much you earn, spend, and save. This can be short-term as in case of daily or weekly budgets. It helps you to have an idea about where your money is or will be. Budgeting also helps in achieving long-term goals. For instance, if you fancy owning a Lexus after five years, you should plan to save some bucks from your pay every month and budget accordingly. If you stick to this practice, your desires won’t fail you.

Another must-do en route to financial health is to save. They say if you look after your pennies, the pounds will follow soon. So be penny-wise and start saving early in your career, but save to save future troubles/emergencies. However, this is not to say that you say good bye to fun-factors in life. Indulge in luxuries or occasional extravagances, but save consciously.Don’t remain tied in debt. The sooner you become debt-free, the healthier it is for you. And remember to start paying off the highest-interest loans first. Loan interests are known to break lives, so be aware of the dangers.

Yet another obstacle to a financially healthy future is your credit card. These are such items in your wallet that can drive you to bite off more than you can chew. If you cannot pay your card bills in full, say ‘no’ to credit cards and save yourself a perennial debt-trap.

Of course, we all like to pamper ourselves with a new dress, an expensive watch or a handsome car; but be sure to think before you spend. Do you really need it? If the answer is ‘no’, forget it.

Having said all that, it’s true at the same time, that no matter how much you organize or plan your finances, life throws up unexpected surprises and you’re caught unaware. Maybe you’ve forgotten to consider your emergency house paint or missed an important bill. It’s then that you’d need payday loan online to get the clog out of the wheel.

Wise men would say: keep this as your last option. To sustain your financial health, choose not to go for these high-interest loans.

Work as a team in managing your finances and maintain equal voices in your partnership no matter how much money either of you earns.

It is critical for married partners to work together in maintaining the different financial dimensions of their household. This includes both partners being involved in everyday financial decisions and transactions, as well as working toward your financial future together.

One of the more interesting topics is when a couple is struggling to handle their finances like a married couple. What I usually hear is one of the spouses handles all of the finances and the other just takes orders from the one who handles the money.

What I have found in my limited experience with marriage is that a budget does not work unless both spouses are working together to plan a budget and stick to it. My suggestion is to dedicate an hour every two weeks to sitting down with your spouse to discuss the budget and go over any changes or concerns about the budget and the general household finances.

When it comes to the subject of marriage and money, it always comes down to communication. I remember hearing a wife talk about how she handles all of the finances, but her husband gets angry with her when she spends money one something he doesn’t agree with. Well, get off your lazy butt and get involved in the finances, buddy! You can’t rant and rave to your spouse about where the money is going if you won’t take the time to help plan where it should go.

Another thing to consider is putting your defensive personality in check before starting to talk about the finances and the budget. It’s so easy to get in fights when talking about your opinions about the money. I may want $50 to go towards household stuff, but she may want $100. You can’t let this kind of discrepancies turn into world war 3 or else it will put a huge strain on other areas of your life.

It’s okay to compromise on issues with the budget, because when you put your spouse’s interests above your own, then you are making healthy compromises. Remember, studies have shown that issues with money is one of the leading causes of divorces. It can make or break your marriage, so take it seriously when you two talk about what to do with your dough.

nri.jpgPlanning your financial future may not sound like the most glamorous of things, but it can make a huge difference. The key is to understanding the value of time.

They say death and taxes are the two things you can’t avoid. Well, they are wrong. There is a third thing – time. Time passes us by no matter how we try to fight it with exercise, diet and, in some cases, plastic surgery! From this description, it may sound as though time is a bad thing. It all depends on how you use it.

You can turn the passage of time to your financial benefit if you understand it. In truth, we live in a “now” world. Give me convenience or give me death! So many of us are used to getting things now, that the idea of doing something for a positive effect in ten or twenty years sounds ludicrous. Heck, most of us find it difficult to do such things even if we are talking about a benefit five years down the road. This is where you can make a major mistake in planning your financial future.

At its core, financial planning is really about time. The goal is to use dollars today in such a way as to maximize their future effect. Let’s look at a simple example.

The dream for many people is to own their own home. Millions of us clamor forth to find our first home and come up with the money for a down payment. We then apply for a loan, go through the application process and wait/pray for an answer. Most of us never even think about the term of the loan – the number of years it will be paid back over. We are just praying we get the financing and will worry about the detail later. This is a big mistake because it discounts time.

The traditional mortgage has a term of 30 years. This means you will be making that mortgage payment for 30 years or 360 months assuming you don’t sell it before then. Think about that for a minute. If you are 30 years old when you borrow the money, you will be making your final payment when you are 60! And they say people are unwilling to commit to things!

For a person that understands the importance of time in financial planning, a different approach is usually taken with a mortgage. Instead of a 30 year term, they go with a 15 year term. Since there is less time involved in the payback, each dollar of their monthly payment is converted into a greater percentage of principal, to wit, they pay much less interest over the length of the loan. Ah, but the monthly payment is more? Yes, but you can buy a lower price home, build up equity for five to seven years and then trade up for something nicer. You effectively have more money and a better home in five to seven years instead of the financial anchor of a 30 year mortgage. This is why understanding time is so important!

As hard as it may be, you should take into account time as a factor in your investing. If you can come to grips with the future benefits of action taken today, you will really be happy when those future benefits come around.

dawn.jpgThe following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM. The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early.

Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” I will present you some tips about how to physically wake up early and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day. Before I forget to mention, remember “its the early worm that gets caught.” 😉

Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I use my cell phone as an alarm clock and put it a distance away from my bed. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed.

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divorce.jpgWhen your marriage breaks up, the last thing you feel like doing is crunching numbers. You’re hurt, perhaps angry, and possibly overwhelmed with anxiety, fear and despair. You’re focused on the past and present, not the future. But as many divorced couples learn the hard way, this is precisely the time you need to get a grip and pay close attention to your assets and your financial future, lest both slip away in the flood of emotion.
First and foremost, it’s a business deal. That means you’ve got to get rid of your emotion any way you need to, whether through therapy or going to a gym. Because your divorce should be based on one thing: your property settlement. It’s a matter of numbers, that’s all it is. At least 80 percent of money is about self-management, about emotions, and 20 percent is about quantifying and computing, the counting part is easy; it’s the emotional part that’s hard. Since money is a major cause of divorce, it’s safe to assume that splitting the financial sheets won’t be easy.

Pull your credit report before the divorce so that anything in dispute can be resolved before the divorce is final. The reports are the quickest and easiest way to get an overview of outstanding loan balances, mortgages and credit card debt that you and your spouse will eventually divvy up.

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Generally, time management refers to the development of processes and tools that increase efficiency and productivity. You can improve your time management skills by doing nothing. Sounds impossible? Okay you’re right; you have to do something but not very much. The skill of time management is about knowing what to do and when.

lifestyle.jpgDoes it ever feel like there is never enough time in the day? Are you always rushing? Do you feel stressed at the end of the day? Do you believe that you are not accomplishing what you hoped? Better time management may be the answer.

We must “protect, organize and prioritize our time”. If you are having any of the above listed difficulties, then my guess is you are missing at least one of those elements.

Protecting our time is important. Your time is your gift to spend, as you will. You can spend it wisely or you can waste it. It’s your choice. However, one thing you can’t do is get it back to do over again.

Sometimes we all do things that we don’t really want to be doing but when we do, it should be in furtherance of a bigger goal that we have. Maybe we don’t want to be going to work today but we want to collect our paycheck at the end of the week, so it’s something we choose to do to get to the bigger payoff. However, there are things that we do that just aren’t important, don’t lead to anything and waste our time. Can you think of any activities that fall into that category for you?

I have three general categories for which I like to protect my time. One is for making progress toward my work/life goals. These are the things I do to move me forward in life. These are generally geared toward helping people in some way, generating more clientèle, and increasing my revenue streams.

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If you are thinking of buying your first home, your first big decision buy, or not to buy. Sounds simple? It’s not. While the notion of owning a home may appeal to you, actually making that decision is tough. There’s the intellectual component, but also a very emotional one.

house51.gifBuying a home is one of the greatest investments you will ever make. The best — and least stressful — way to purchase a home is to be well educated throughout the process.

Before you even start looking for a house to buy, you need to review your financial situation. This will let you know how much of a down payment you can afford and how large a monthly mortgage payment you can handle. Lenders will look at the ration of how much you make to how much you owe.

But you should look at what fits into your budget, not what the lender says you can afford. If you are currently making a rent payment of $1200 a month and barely getting by, how could you expect a mortgage of that size with the added insurance and maintenance costs of owning a home? You have to go with what works for your budget and finances. Remember, you can always work your way up to a larger home over time.

Once you have determined how much home you can afford, you need to check on your credit report and score. Lenders will rely heavily on your credit score when deciding whether or not to lend to you. It will also help decide how much interest you will pay. Your credit score is determined by the information in your credit file. If something is incorrect, your score will be affected.

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act2pic.gifThis is a common question amongst many car buyers. Depending on who you talk to, some people may feel that leasing a vehicle is the better option, especially if you enjoy driving a new car every couple of years. On the other hand, if you enjoy a car payment-free lifestyle, buying is without a doubt the better choice.

Purchasing a new car is always an exciting time in life; however, it can also be confusing and time confusing, especially with so many different types of financing options available. Should you purchase your next vehicle outright or would it be better to lease it? Which option will be better financially for you? Read on for more tips to help you make the right decision for you and your finances the next time you’re in the market for a new car.

It’s important to understand that there is not a clear cut answer to this question. It really depends on your needs and situation. When considering whether it would be better to buy or lease, it is important to understand all of the terms regarding the lease. Generally, the lease will be for a specified period of time and you will probably be limited to the amount of mileage that can be placed on the vehicle. In the event that you go over that specified mileage at the end of your lease period, you will be liable for paying the overage. Lease agreements also pay what is known as a finance charge at the end of the lease agreement. So, it is important to understand that while your lease payments may be less than payments would be if you bought the vehicle outright, you will still be responsible for a sum of money at the end.

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