LIVE and LEARN
Experiences, Finances, goals, making money, MLM, money, passive income, Retirement, rich, Savings, Uncategorized, wealth

LIVE and LEARN

Mistakes anyone?

Have you ever made a mistake and blamed yourself for it? Well, so have I. But I’ve thought what is the worst that can happen from me  We all make mistakes. However, the way in which we react will be revealing of who we are. Best option: Live and Learn.

Lessons Learned

Jumping into the work field after college was an arduous ordeal that consisted of misleading business propositions and some money mistakes; thankfully none that I deeply regret. I almost joined 2 different MLM (multi-level marketing) businesses, almost became a life insurance agent, and spent lots of my money eating out. For now, we’ll settle in on the first.

What is an MLM?

In order to understand what an MLM is, imagine a pyramid. At the very top of the pyramid, you have one individual, and that individual recruits someone else; they in turn recruit others, creating a pyramid-like structure. Those who are able to create a sustained group of people who will recruit others who will then recruit others and so on, will be successful in such a business.

My very first experience with an MLM was with a business that provides telecommunication services. A buddy of mine called me up and got me to sit down with him to hear a business proposition, which sounded incredible to say the least. The selling point is to legally  accomplish the things you’ve only dreamed of and the limitless ability to make money. I thought why not?

Invitation

My friend kindly offered to pick me up and take me to the place, which I gladly accepted. We parked in the parking structure of a Holiday Inn. We climbed up the stairs towards the meeting location and were greeted with booming EDM (electronic dance music) music, a flood of people and great chatter. It was a pumped up environment with lots of chatter and well-dressed people. There was a bit of adrenaline rushing through my system as I was taking in all that was happening.

The seminar soon began and there was some sort of chant that started as the mc for the evening came up and introduced himself. There was a lot of positivity and energy in the place. After 2 speakers who shared their story and how they reached their level of success: thousands of dollars in passive income every month.

The Allure

After the seminar was finished, a pretty Asian woman approached me; pitching me the business proposition with great persuasion. The constant flattery and words of motivation, if I’m to admit, felt good. My mind cycled through the words of the presenters as I took time to assess what they were selling.

Ultimately, I would be paying $500 for a website with a monthly payment to keep it running, mentorship, and invitation to events (which were several hundred dollars more). The way that I would really make money would be to recruit other people to join and take commission from what they were selling. This would be the way to financial freedom (more on financial freedom here)! The woman pressed me to make a decision saying how winners act fast. I decided not to be so quick to act and slept on it.

The next morning, I realized the business proposition was exciting and adventurous but not one I would pursue. I turned down the offer.

 

LIVE and LEARN

I can see how such an organization can be successful, but the chance of reaching the pinnacle of success within is extremely slim. I was willing to work hard, but the addition of pitching my friends and family at the costs of relationships wasn’t very appealing. In this business, you hustle, making sure that your downline (those who you have recruited) are motivated and engaged, maintain relationship with your upline (those who recruited you), and always look to add people to your team.

If you want to be successful in such a business, you have to overcome your fears of rejection (huge positive) and be willing to be extremely uncomfortable. More than selling products, growing your team will bring greater profits; which was one aspect of MLM that was questionable.

In the long run, there won’t be many MLM businesses that will continue for long. A good business should have well-thought principles and values at its core, with a strong vision to add value; along with planning, developing strategies for growth, and systematizing its processes. If an MLM provides this, it wouldn’t hurt to give the proposition a shot.

Take Aways

All in all, here are some positives: development of social skills, networking, great seminars, excellent book recommendations, and collaborations. These are very practical experiences that you can benefit from simply being involved to one capacity or another. I also know individuals who have found incredible success from such endeavors.

However, the cons are as follows: you will be pushed out of your comfort zone, challenged in the way you think and urged to conform to another standard of thinking, you may lose some friends and experience lots of rejection.

 

Have you been approached?

This is a small bit of my financial journey and how I almost made a big money mistake. Have you ever been asked to join an MLM? What sort of financial mistakes have you made?

 

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Invest Smart
goals, money, passive income, Savings, wealth

Simple, Smart Start to Investing

 

My introduction to Investing

The very first investment I learned of was the Roth IRA. My knowledge of investing was slim to none at this point. I discovered that it was a great investment strategy as I did my own research. To briefly sum it up, a Roth IRA is a retirement account that allows you to invest post-tax dollars. Putting money that’s already been taxed into an index fund allows your money to grow tax free. Any interest that you gain on your money is tax free!

Why Invest in a Roth IRA?

The great thing about a Roth IRA is that you can withdraw your contributions tax free. A traditional IRA would be taxed at the rate of ordinary income at the time it is withdrawn. This makes a Roth IRA more favorable to those who speculate an increase in taxes in the future or for higher income levels at the time of retirement. Any growth within your investment is also tax free, but if you want to pull that amount out before age 59½, you will be taxed on your earnings.

Any money you put into a Roth IRA can be pulled out tax-free so it can even be thought of as a piggy bank that gives you an inordinate amount of returns. You can withdraw contributions to invest in real estate ($10,000), certain educational expenses, and/ or health insurance if you are unemployed (read more here)! Contribution growth can range depending on the mutual fund:

Example: Vanguard Mid-Cap Index Fund Admiral Shares (VIMAX) has returned over an average annual return of 10% for investors since inception, 11/12/2011.

Money Snowball

Investing in a low-fee (.05% expense ratio or less) index fund or mutual fund is a great idea for many reasons. One of the most compelling reasons to invest is the snowball effect:

John lives out in Washington, where it snows in the Winter. He decides to make the biggest snowball he’d ever make in his lifetime. He puts together some snow until it reaches the size of a fist. He then starts to roll it across the snow to grow it. After it reaches the size of a basketball, he eases it over to the edge of the hill and lets it roll. As it rolls down the hill, it not only gains momentum in speed but also in size. Upon getting to bottom of the hill, John finds the snowball that was once the size of his basketball to have grown to be higher than his Tesla.

So what does John and his snowball have anything to do with a Roth IRA? Let’s say an index fund grows 10% year over year as it did in the case above. It’ll take approximately 10 years, considering taxes and inflation, for the money that you invest to double. So if you put in $5,000 in a Roth IRA and never invest into it again, at the end of 10 years, you will have amassed $10,000. That’s a nice return for not doing much if you ask me.

Now say that you invest $5,000 every year for 10 years into a Roth IRA index fund. In 10 years, you will have grown the amount to $79,127. Not bad! If you continued to invest $5,000 a year for the next 35 years, you will have grown your investments to $753,028 all tax free. If you were invest in a traditional IRA with the same conditions above, you have a grand total of $1,495,634 but you would then need to pay taxes when withdrawing from your account.

How much can I Invest?

A Roth IRA allows you to invest a maximum amount of $5,500, post-tax, per year ($6,500/ year if over 50 by the end of the year) as long as your yearly modified adjusted gross income is less than $120,000 (single) or $186,000 (married) for the year 2018.

Where can I start Investing?

Highly rated platforms most commonly used to create Roth IRA accounts include: Vanguard, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab (if you choose to enroll in Charles Schwab, and use code: REFER616QU you can earn $100 for opening a retirement account).

  1. Vanguard: Minimum to start is $1,000; most minimums for investments are $3,000.
  2. Fidelity: At least $2,500 is required to start.
  3. Charles Schwab: $1,000; $100 if you do direct deposit, which is a great idea.

Smart Investments

Investing into a Roth IRA is one of the most popular ways to invest due to its tax-deferred growth. The S&P 500 from 1928 to 2015 has produced an overall 11.41% (read more about it on Alpha). This means, if you were to add up all the years of returns and losses over the year, the S&P 500 has an average return of 11.41%. An easy way to start is to invest in a Roth IRA is to invest in an S&P 500 mutual fund. For example, if you choose to invest with Charles Schwab, you can invest in the Schwab S&P 500 Index fund ticker symbol (SWPPX). All in all, a Roth IRA is a simple, smart start to investing!

 

Sources:

https://www.rothira.com/what-is-a-roth-ira

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/rothira.asp

https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/list#/mutual-funds/name/month-end-returns

https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/accounts/open_an_account.html?refrid2=REFER

https://investor.vanguard.com/corporate-portal/

https://www.fidelity.com/customer-service/friendsandfamily3a

https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/retirement_and_planning/understanding_iras/roth_ira/withdrawal_rules

https://www.rothira.com/penalty-free-roth-ira-withdrawals

https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/605212-robert-allan-schwartz/4831186-annual-returns-s-and-p-500-1928-2015

 

*I am not a professional in this field and am not advising you make a financial decision, rather to research and decide for yourself if this is a plausible retirement vehicle for you.

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goals, money, passive income, rich, wealth

Foundations on FINANCIAL Literacy

What is Financial Literacy? Why should you care?

Let’s start with the idea of money. Money is a tool that is used to obtain something else. It is currently what majority of people use in order to go about their daily living: buying groceries, clothes, gas, rent, so on… That much is known to us all, but how we utilize it can affect our lives in drastic ways.

Money is a tool. It’s a tool that helps us buy what we need and want. Financial Literacy is simply knowledge that allows one to be a wise steward of their finances. Many of us were not taught Financial Literacy in our general education, therefore we lack understanding of even basic finances when we step out of college and into the world.

I, for one didn’t have someone to really teach me the importance of saving – and where to save – and spending wisely, until I discovered a blogger, Tim Kim. I started there by closely following blog posts, engaging in his posts, and buying recommended books to grow in my understanding of stewarding my finances. Then I decided to change my spending habits and work towards growing my money instead of simply getting by.

Do I want to continue in this lifestyle? Am I able to pursue my aspirations freely?     If money wasn’t a factor, what would I do with my life?

These are the questions I wrestled with. Eventually I decided that it was time to take action. I would work on replacing bad habits with healthy ones to guide me towards my goals. Ultimately, I am passionate about God and serving others. I want to spend most of my time investing into others, particularly young people, and guiding them to make informed decisions. I also feel deeply for orphans and widows; I want to help care for them in a greater capacity through financial means. To accomplish this, I need to start using the money I am allotted with more care and thought as the way I use it now will impact my ability to use it in the future. Developing financial literacy has already helped shape the direction in which I will go in order to obtain my initial goal of $10,000/ month in passive income by age 40.

I have been progressively widening my exposure in the finance blogging world and hope you can benefit from my journey. Please feel free to share your thoughts!

 

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