Don’t Fall Victim to Financial Complacency

“Whatever you do, don’t become complacent to your surroundings.”

That was a warning that we all received prior to being deployed to Iraq in 2005.

We heard it from our pre-deployment trainers. We heard it from our higher ranking officers. We even heard it from our family.

Don’t become complacent to your surroundings.

The second part of that warning that often went unspoken – but was clearly understood – was “because if you do, that’s when the enemy will get you.”

Becoming complacent is sometimes too easy. You get comfortable. You get into a routine. You think that it can never happen to you.

When you reach that state, that’s when you’re the most vulnerable. I’ve been a financial planner for over 10 years and I see this in people’s financial lives.

They become completely financially complacent jeopardizing any hope of having financial stability and achieving success.

financial complacency

The good news is that often times there are little things that can be done to get them fixed.

Here are the five most common financially complacent things I see people do and how to fix them.
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15 Ways to Invest Small Amounts of Money (and turn it into a large amount of money)

In 16 Ways to Invest $100 I gave suggestions on how to invest when you have just a few dollars.

In this article I want to take it up a notch, which is to say how can you invest when you have more than a few dollars, but not the thousands that traditional investment vehicles usually require?

Before I started investing, I was under the same misunderstanding that you had to have thousands of dollars to get started.

I was surprised, shocked really, that I could start investing in the stock market via mutual funds with only $50 per month.

And that’s exactly what I did.  Even though I later found out that the mutual funds were okay at best, the fact that I started investing in myself was huge for me.

And for many, it’s that first step that prevents them from amassing wealth later on.

For our purposes here we are going to define small amounts of money as something more than $100, but not more than $1,000. Based on that parameter, here are 15 ways to invest small amounts of money.

how to invest small amounts of money
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My Biggest Business Challenge and How I Overcame It

I’d like to share my biggest business challenge inspired by the Office Depot Business Solutions Center as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #GearLove.

If you were to poll business owners and ask them what their biggest business challenge was or is, I bet many of them would point to starting their business as the winner.

That’s certainly true in my case.

Entrepreneurial types like myself want to get things done as quickly as possible but at the same time want to focus their efforts on the quality of their service.

Back in the days when I was a Series 7 Registered Representative, I fell under the full regulation of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

That might sound all fine and dandy, but let me tell you, it’s like getting out the duct tape and putting it over your mouth when you have something important to say – not fun!

my biggest business challenge

For example, instead of being able to tell folks that the Roth IRA is amazing and rocks, I’d have to say something bland like: “Consider the Roth IRA as one option among many for your investments.” Uh, no thank you.

So, I dropped my Series 7 license. I want to be able to talk when I want to talk – and I want to say things the way I want to say them!
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6 Safe Places to Invest Your Money in Retirement

“If I was your mom, how would you invest my money?”

A lady who I had previously helped with her aunt’s investments for years now came to me regarding up her upcoming retirement.

She was already working with a “broker” as she called him but didn’t feel 100% secure about her investments.

The 2008 financial crisis rocked her and she was seeking something much safer for retirement.

As we discussed her various options and I asked open-ended question after another she finally asked me that question above:

If I was your mom, how would you invest my money?

How’s that for an icebreaker question!

Once you arrive at retirement you no longer have time to wait out a major decline in the stock market.

Capital preservation and providing yourself with a regular income will suddenly be at least as important as growth.

safe investments for retirement planning

For that reason, you’ll need to begin shifting your investment portfolio from equities to fixed income assets.

Here are six safe places to invest your money in retirement that will provide capital preservation and at least some income.
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How to Avoid Getting Burned by Devastating Financial Malpractice

Play

Several years ago, I used to play in a flag football league.

After catching a pass, I hit the open field and between me and the end zone was one lone defender.

As I glided across the field I knew exactly what I was going to do next: I was going to bust out one of my vicious Barry Sanders-like spin moves.

There was only one slight problem: I don’t possess any Barry Sanders-like skills.

Oh, yes, I’m decently athletic. But busting out such a move in the open field was not in my forte.

As I went to make the move, my cleats caught awkwardly on the ground and I ended up falling and landing directly on my hip. The field that we were playing on had several bare, hard spots and that’s where I landed. It hurt.

I knew that I’d hurt myself, but there was no way I wasn’t going to finish the game. The next day, the pain was so bad I could barely walk, so I decided to go to the emergency room. After getting an x-ray, it turns out I only had a very deep bone bruise. I was prescribed some pain medication and sent on my way.

Financial Malpractice

Now, imagine if it was the same scenario, but before I even got x-rays, the doctor recommended that they amputate my leg. While I might not know much, I’m pretty certain that would be considered medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice happens a lot in the U.S. and we’ve all heard our horror stories – but what about financial malpractice? How often do we hear those stories? On a blog post I previously shared I revealed there are certain financial advisors I would like to punch in the face.
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10 Awful 401(k) No-No’s You Should Avoid

Me: “Who helped you select the funds in your 401(k)?

Client: “Ummm…..I just picked a few options really quick.

Me:  “How much time did you spend researching what you picked?

Client:  “I didn’t.”

Me:  <sigh>

This sort of exchange happens more often than it should.  What most investors don’t realize is that at some point, your 401(k) will most likely be the largest income producing asset you own.  Sure your home could be worth more, but; the last time I checked your home doesn’t send you a monthly check when you retire.

There are several reasons why 401(k)s make sense for so many people. But the primary reason you should take advantage of your 401(k) is because once it’s set up there’s nothing much left to do (except the occasional review as I’ll discuss).

Your 401(k) can be automatically funded using your earnings at your job – you won’t have to remember to make contributions.

401k mistakes

However, there are some 401(k) no-no’s I think you should avoid. And the sad part is that many people make these mistakes . . . don’t become one of them.
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Financial Planning Basics in 9 Steps

Everybody wants to have a solid financial plan, but over 40% of Americans don’t have one.

Unless you develop a formal strategy – like a written plan – it can be tough to accomplish a financial goal of any type.

And let’s face it, if you do accomplish your goal it’s more likely luck has more to do with it than your financial savviness.

Let’s go over some financial planning basics, that will help you to establish a financial plan that will have concrete steps you will actually be able to accomplish.

financial planning basics
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GF¢ 051: The Miracle Morning: Interview With Author Hal Elrod

Play

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Smack snooze button.

Back to sleep.

10 minutes later….

Rise and repeat.

This was my typical sleep routine every morning.

Most people assume that since that I was in the military that I’m naturally a morning person.

#notevenclose

I’m a bonafide night owl. I usually get my second and sometimes third wind after 9pm.

In fact, when I started my blog this is when I did most of my blogging. I was up many a night writing and hammering out blog post ideas. I used to be super productive in the evenings.

That was, however, before kids. Especially, after our 3rd son.

I started noticing that my blogging activities were turning into mindless Facebook and Buzzfeed sessions. I was wrongfully convincing myself that I was being productive but the truth was finally coming out.

I needed a change and that change happened when I read the Miracle Morning.

 

The miracle morning

MY MIRACLE MORNING EXPERIENCE

There are only a handful of books that I can say have honestly changed me for the better.

A few that come to mind are the Bible, Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Rad, Poor Dad, Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, and Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week.

Now added to the list is Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning.

Before reading Hal’s book I would usually roll out of bed at 7am.

Now I typically get up around 5am.  And one some of my more crazing Miracle Mornings I’ve woken up at 3:30am.

Yes, #craycray.

But the craziest thing is that the mornings that I wake up before 5am are usually some of the most productive mornings and days I’ve had in my life.

I’m hooked!

I was elated to have Hal on the podcast to share his journey and what inspired him to start a morning routine.

I promise you’re going to love this interview.

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Investing AND Borrowing Through Prosper

Want to know how to avoid your bank? If so, read on…..

Founded in 2005, Prosper is the first peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace in the US.

Since it began, it has funded loans totaling more than $3 billion to more than 250,000 members.

As a P2P platform, Prosper brings borrowers and investors together, in a lending arrangement that eliminates the middleman from the transaction entirely.

That “middleman” is the banker.

By taking that function out of process, Prosper allows both borrower and lender to come together to create a mutually beneficial financial arrangement.

prosper loan reviews

Borrowers can take loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000, and for terms of either three years or five years. Individual investors can invest as little as $25 in any one loan, which enables them to diversify their holdings over many different loans.
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40 Financial Rules For 40 Year-Olds

Every decade of life has its financial challenges and opportunities.

In your 20s, you feel invincible.

Your 30s brings on a whole new set of responsibilities including career and family.

However, your 40s are especially important because you are closing in on retirement.

Making a huge money mistake in your 20s isn’t nearly as devastating to your long-term prospects as doing so in your 40s.

Now that you’re scared spitless, here are 40 financial rules for your 40s:

Financial Rules for 40 year olds
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How to Discover Your Financial Grit

You might be under the illusion that financial success is all about smarts.

Nope. Think again.

You can be the smartest mathematical guru in the world and find yourself broke.

Why is this?

Don’t all the smart people get the best-paying jobs and a Lamborghini or two?

Isn’t it the smart people who can shrug their shoulders at briefcases full of cash because their portfolios are too big for the hassle of making the deposit?

Financial grit

Well, not exactly.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

You know what the secret sauce is to financial success?

It’s grit, and I’m going to show you how to get it.

What’s Grit Anyway?

Look it up in the dictionary and you’ll find words like courage, resolve, strength, and character.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear that someone has grit, I picture a tough, rough war hero pressing forward despite unspeakable odds.

I picture a weathered sailor in the perfect storm riding the crest of a 100-foot wave destined for glory. I picture someone who doesn’t stop even in the face of danger or failure. I picture a Soldier of Finance.  😉
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5 Fantastic Summer Productivity Tips for Businesspeople

I’d like to share some important summer productivity tips inspired by the Office Depot Business Solutions Center as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #GearLove.

Sometimes, I just don’t know how I do it all. I run multiple websites, have a financial planning practice, and have a bunch of boys running around that keep me plenty busy.

Productivity tips for me are a must. There’s no way I can get through my day without implementing some kind of productivity hack.

And oh boy, in the summer?

I definitely need to utilize these tips.

It can be tempting to spend too much time outside having fun instead of focusing on work. Sure, you need to make time for things like your children’s baseball games (I most certainly do), but you also need to be strategic with your time.

summer productivity

Every moment of work time matters as a small business person. Here are some important summer productivity tips I’ve found helpful and I think you will too.
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