Saturday, January 19, 2008

Secrets of a Self-Made Millionaire

Its been snowing all day today. And those of you that know anything about Georgia know that we're never prepared for snow, especially since it only comes about once every three years. Anyway since I'm snow bound I had plenty of time to catch up on the blogs I read.

I stumbled across an article that that JD who publishes the blog Get Rich Slowly discovered in Readers Digest called Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires, seeing that I plan to be a self-made millionaire figured I should check it out.

Below I've summarized the secrets the article lists:

1. Set your sights on where you’re going
2. Educate yourself
3. Passion pays off
4. Grow your money
5. No guts, no glory

The Biggest Secret? Stop spending.

I decided I'd check to see how I was coming on each of these secrets.

1. Set your sights on where you’re going - I definitely have my sights set. But the more important part, at least to me, I have an action plan to achieve my sights. check--- on my way to becoming a millionaire
2. Educate yourself - By creating this blog I'm helping to educate myself. I read a ton of money articles every week and anytime I run across a financial topic or a word I'm unfamiliar with I research it. My biggest problem is when there is conflicting advice trying to figure out what to follow. check--- on my way to becoming a millionaire
3. Passion pays off - I am passionate about my job and am happy to go to work every day (well most every day). I also am passionate about savings because I realize the freedom money saved will give me in the long run. check--- on my way to becoming a millionaire
4. Grow your money - I have never really lived pay check to pay check so I'm head of that curve. I also activity save. check--- on my way to becoming a millionaire
5. No guts, no glory - Okay I definitely am not doing this. I've never been a financial risk taker. I have always felt I work really hard for my money and save every penny I can, so I don't want to loose even a cent. This thinking holds me back from taking risks, even minimal ones. But I think I'm starting to take some calculated risks, this year is the first year I've invested indirectly in the stock market via mutual funds. So maybe there's time left for me, however I know I'm loosing opportunity every second I wait to take a calculated and responsible risk.

The Biggest Secret? Stop spending. - While no one ever just completely stops spending I think I've reach a point in my life were I realize I don't have to have the latest gadget or accessory and truly do want to live below my means.

Overall, I think I'm on my way to becoming a self-made millionaire. How do you check out with becoming a self-made millionaire? I hope you're on the same path and/or working to get on that path so we can all enjoy our retirement together.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Progress on 2008 Goals --- Progress on obtaining Promotion

I just got back from the airport after being out of town for work since Tuesday and wanted to take a quick second to let you all know about an interesting conversation I had while out of town before I crash in bed since I've hardly slept in the last 4 days.

In my company the culture when you're traveling with a group of people is that you're expected to go to dinner and the hotel bar with everyone each evening (not sure how productive the next day meetings are since every one's usually pretty hung-over). I always end up staying up too late and my schedule gets all messed up, but at the same time I don't think I'd have it any other way because once you've socialized and "boozed it up" with the bosses you always get to know the inside scoop of what's going on in the company. You can find out who's performing and who's not, what's the next cooperate strategy that's going to roll out, etc etc etc -- its really invaluable knowledge you receive.

Thursday night one of the Vice Presidents and my old boss (soon to be my current boss once I move back to Atlanta) was talking about the problems that he's having in his department with some of the new hires and how he's is really looking forward to having me back to set an example as well as bring positive energy and enthusiasm for the job. We'll call him "Mr. VP" goes on and on about how I'm such a valuable asset. I'm taking this all in and listening to him and he continues on, so I'm thinking this is good that he recognizes I'm a valuable asset but I also realize the man's had about ten vodka tonics and he likes to talk. But "Mr. VP" goes on and says he wants to see me succeed and that when I come back in April we should sit down and talk about my career path. Again I'm happy but he's still drunk so he might be just talking but the next day at breakfast as "Mr. VP" is hesitantly drinking his coffee and shading his eye he asks me if I remember our talk last night, I say yes thinking he wants to let me know I should keep that info to myself since my career path wasn't all he talked about, but rather he says he wants to make sure that when I do come back in April that we talk about my career path because I'm a "super star" according to him and he wants to keep me challenged and happy. Inside as I eat my bagel I'm silently jumping for joy! Exactly what I need, some one in a high place that wants to help me get ahead and recognized that I'm good at my job.

Well thanks for listening to my exciting news, in April I'll have to let you all know how our talk goes, but for now I'm crawling to bed and won't resurface until late on Saturday.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday's Money Funny - Debt Consolidation

I've decided to start a feature on my blog called "Monday's Money Funny" which will be humorous (or at least humorous to me) articles (real or satire) that I've discovered over the weekend when I catch up on all my on line reading.

I hope you enjoy the first of the series from The Onion

Below is the article: U.S. Takes Out Debt-Consolidation Loan

WASHINGTON, DC—Plagued by late fees, high interest rates, and harassing creditors, the U.S. took out a debt-consolidation loan Monday, combining the nation's $6.1 trillion debt into a single, easy monthly payment.

Enlarge Image Debt-Consolidation

Bush watches an E-Z Debt commercial on a White House TV.

"My fellow Americans, we have just taken the first step toward regaining control of our finances," said President Bush at a press conference. "Thanks to a joint arrangement between the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and E-Z Debt Services of Baltimore, we are finally on our way to freedom from debt."

As of press time, the national debt stands at $6,144,393,982,061.52.

Under the terms of the consolidation, E-Z Debt Services will repay the nation's estimated 45,000 creditors, a majority of whom are foreign investors, insurance companies, banks, and other privately held entities. In return, the U.S will make a single monthly payment of $9.26 billion, adjusted for inflation, to E-Z Debt every month for the next 70 years.

"We are proud to enter into this arrangement with the federal government," E-Z Debt spokesman Phil Rizzo told reporters. "We know how hard it is when you're buried under a mountain of bills with seemingly no way to get out. When you don't know where else to turn, E-Z Debt is there to help get you back on your feet."

The government first became aware of E-Z Debt Services on July 10, when Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) happened to see a commercial for the company while watching late-night television. Two days later, President Bush saw the same ad during a 3 a.m. M*A*S*H rerun.

According to White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, Bush was sitting at his desk clutching a fistful of past-due notices when he saw the ad.

"He was holding all these unpaid bills, and tons more were piled high on his desk, including a three-month-old bill from Lockheed-Martin for $5.3 billion worth of jet fighters," said Fleischer, who was in the Oval Office working late at the time. "He raised the handfuls of bills above his head and shouted, 'I can't take it anymore!' That's when the ad came on."

Enlarge Image Debt-Consolidation Jump

Bush poses with a Lockheed-Martin X-35A fighter that was saved from repossession, thanks to E-Z Debt.

After extensive meetings between E-Z Debt officials and the Treasury Department, an arrangement was reached which provided a manageable payment plan—with no threatening phone calls or military invasions from creditor nations.

Though the House Of Representatives swiftly and decisively approved the consolidation plan by a vote of 285 to 103, the Senate took longer to rally the necessary support, debating the issue for weeks.

"I was definitely skeptical about E-Z Debt, as were many of my colleagues," Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said. "I'd heard horror stories about those debt services. England used one to get out of a recession in the late '80s, and they're still paying for it."

"But E-Z Debt is different," Daschle continued. "Jim [Smoller], our E-Z Debt representative, sat down with me and the other senators and really convinced us that debt consolidation was the way to go. He was extremely helpful, taking the time to patiently answer all our questions. He even gave us a free quote."

Opponents of the plan charge that it unnecessarily endangers the numerous national assets offered as collateral. Among the valuable properties being put up are Yellowstone National Park, NASA, and the state of Alaska.

"Holding the nation hostage to a single creditor is hardly preferable to the original situation," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) during a lengthy Senate debate on the consolidation. "Besides, I am confident that if we just trim a few unnecessary expenses from the budget and somehow get a little bigger GNP, we can climb out of this hole without help. We just need a little more time."

"Okay, so we mismanaged our money a little bit—who doesn't every now and then?" Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) said. "But that's no reason to resort to using one of those get-out-of-debt-now services."

Despite such opposition, ultimately, the Senate's pro-consolidation voices won out.

"In the end, everybody came to see that E-Z Debt isn't just another loan. It's a way to get out of debt without declaring bankruptcy," Daschle said. "Thanks, E-Z Debt. We couldn't have done it without you."

I hope no one is in quite as dire situations as the US government's debt, however in case you are facing these type of problems I have included a link to an article at Bank Rate on how to best consolidate your debt.

Stay tuned for next week's Monday's Money Funny!

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