SAVE EARLY, SAVE OFTEN

#SaveEarly #SaveOften #retirement #jobs
In previous generations, people (usually the man of the household) worked, using the money to raise his family.
Couples married fairly young, had children young, and concentrated on giving the kids the best life they could.
When the kids grew, graduated college etc., parents were still working, still fairly young, and began to save for retirement.
In the few years between when the kids grew up and when they actually retired, investing their nest eggs into fairly safe investments, they could accumulate a decent amount of money. Using that savings, plus pension and Social Security – and, if desired, a low-stress part-time job – they could put together a pretty good life in retirement.
That was then. Now, young people, who may or may not marry young, need to begin thinking about saving for retirement as soon as they get their first jobs. But, as life would have it, most young people postpone saving for retirement, and pay the price later.
Two articles from USA Today, both also published April 22, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, take on this topic.
“Wasting just five short years at the start of your career would cost you nearly $500,000 (if you invest $250 a month), reads a headline under a column by Peter Dunn, known at Peter the Planner.
“Too little cash. Don’t know what I’m doing. Not the right time.” These are some of the excuses cited in an article by Adam Shell about postponing key financial decisions in life.
To sum up these articles: save early, save often. Let time work in your favor. Whatever inconvenience one must endure to put a regular amount of money from each paycheck away, not to be touched until later in life, it will be so worth it.
When you analyze the scenario above, you realize that times have greatly changed. Previous generations could bank on a certain amount of job security. Today’s workers have virtually no job security, no matter what they are doing.
The job security of previous generations allowed them to wait until later years to save. They knew they could work until, say, age 65, and save for a comfortable retirement in a few short years.
Today, many workers are forced to retire long before they want to. Younger people may work for eight, nine or 10 employers over their lifetime, without little, or no, pensions. Social Security probably won’t go away, experts say, but in coming years benefits could be reduced.
That leaves the bulk of one’s retirement nest egg up to his or her own decisions.
That means that no matter what you are earning, put some of it away and let it grow. You may only be able to afford, say, $5 a week. Start with that, and keep increasing it as your pay increases – presuming it does. (There’s no assurance of that anymore).
Something else to consider: perhaps you might take a few non-work hours a week to pursue your dream of a comfortable retirement. How? There are many vehicles out there that, with a few hours a week of part-time effort, could produce a substantial income, without interfering with your regular, W-2 job.
To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Since one cannot count on employers or other entities to ensure a good retirement, one must take matters into his or her own hands. Certainly, you want to provide a good life for your family, if you start one. Certainly, you want to pay rent or a mortgage, put food on the table, pay the electric bill etc.
But you HAVE to think about the future. You have to think about what will happen to you if your job goes away. Presuming you don’t want to work until you die, you have to think about, as the TV ad says, not how long you expect to live, but how long you could live.
If you are young, time is your best ally. If you are nearing retirement, and don’t have what you need, you have to perhaps think outside the box on how you are going to make up what you didn’t, or were unable, to do when you were young.
Save early, save often.
Peter

THE DREAM OF BEING YOUR OWN BOSS

#BeingYourOwnBoss #entrepreneurs #BusinessOwners #freelancers
The trend is growing.
Americans say they intend to become their own boss, with all the flexibility that may entail.
According to MetLife study on employee benefits trends, 57 percent of workers say they are interested in becoming a freelancer, according to an article by Charisse Jones for USA Today. It was also published April 22, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The 57 percent, the article says, is up from 51 percent just last year.
Millennials were the most interested in such work, with 74 percent of those in that age group saying they were curious about becoming a freelancer. That compares to 57 percent of those in Generation X and 43 percent of Baby Boomers, the article quotes the study.
Certainly, the lack of job security working for someone else has contributed to this feeling. Younger folks can look forward to a work life of not knowing whether they will still have a job when the walk into work on a given day.
Younger folks, it seems, want more out of life than just working, working, working. But they may not realize that becoming a freelancer has many pitfalls.
First, until the U.S. can figure out how to make health insurance affordable, buying such insurance on the individual market is incredibly expensive.
Second, it’s been said that one doesn’t own a business. A business owns him or her. If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you can’t really tell yourself that you are only going to work X number of hours, with certain days off etc. You have to work when work finds you, and, you have to keep hustling to make sure you have enough work to make a living.
Third, there are duties that you have to do – or pay someone else to do – to keep your enterprise afloat. There is bookkeeping, keeping records for taxes etc. – the kind of work you may not like to do, or find boring.
In short, the flexibility you sought by not working for someone else may not be there for you.
Certainly, there are advantages.
There is something to be said for starting a business from the ground up, and making it successful.
Perhaps, eventually, it can be successful enough that you can pay others to do much of the work, so you can be more flexible.
Usually, though, that takes many years to achieve, and many, many hours of being chief cook and bottle washer.
Perhaps there is a happy medium – having a regular W-2 job that pays the bills, while using some of your own time – say, a few hours a week — building a business for yourself – one that potentially could allow you to eventually ditch the W-2 job and be on your own.
There are many vehicles out there that would allow you to do that. To check out one of the best, message me.
No matter how you decide to earn a living, there is good and bad about each. Independence is a lofty goal, but it’s not for everyone, or every situation.
Here’s a rule of thumb, as you contemplate how you construct your life: if it is to be, it’s up to me. Working for someone else has some benefits, but those benefits can be taken away at any time. Working for yourself has many benefits, but you have to know whether your skill has a market and, if you believe it does, be willing to go out to find it.
Write out your dreams for your life, then put together a game plan that will get you to those dreams.
Peter

ECONOMY AFFECTS MILLENNIALS’ HOMEOWNERSHIP

#HomeBuying #homeownership #millennials #RealEstate
Contrary to what one might think, millennials actually want to buy houses.
But, the economy is stopping them from doing so, in significant numbers.
As with previous generations, they believe owning is better than renting.
“We’re wasting money where we are right now,” said Chris Eidam, 27, who lives with his girlfriend near Bridgeport, Conn. “We just take our rent and we throw it away. That money doesn’t go to anything,” said Eidam, who was quoted in an article on the subject buy Agnel Philip for Bloomberg News. It was also published in the Jan. 1, 2018, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The article points out that stagnating wages, rising housing costs and lack of supply are hindering first-time home buyers.
Still, the article says, for two straight quarters, homeownership rate among those 35 and younger has increased.
But, these are not their parents’ times. Decades ago, a lender would look at a young person that had a steady job, figure out what payments they could afford and determine whether they could buy a certain house. The lenders actually bet on a person’s good name and reputation and loaned them the money.
Today, lending restrictions are stricter. Buyers, sellers and real estate agents, too, have to hope that the agreed upon price meets the lender’s appraisal. Often, the appraisal comes in less than the agreed-upon price, prompting sellers to back out of the deal. Lenders have encouraged appraisers to be strict, to come in less than the fair market value.
Secondly, today’s young folks don’t have the job security that their parents often did. If their parents worked at, say, the local phone company, and had a decent wage, the lender could look at that as an income unlikely to go away. Today, no job is “secure,” and paychecks could dry up just like that. Lenders don’t really want to own real estate and, during the recession, that real estate often came back to lenders worth less than the money owed. Some of that can be blamed on homeowners playing fast and loose with home equity, but that’s another story.
In the overall scheme of life, stricter lending standards may be a good thing. But to those wanting to buy their first home, they are a detriment.
Lending standards have relaxed some in recent times, the article says, but younger folks are carrying record levels of student debt and can struggle to qualify, according to the article.
Home building today is also geared more toward high-end homes, and away from so-called starter homes, the article says.
Still, the experts, according to the article, believe the home-buying market among millennials will equal, or come close to, that of their parents decades ago, the article quotes Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia.
So what is a young person, or young couple, that wants to buy a home, to do? First, figure out what you can afford. Don’t expect your first house to be perfect, especially, as the article points out, if you expect to change jobs, or move away from your location. You can always trade up, or remodel, later.
If your income, debt load etc. is making home buying difficult, look for a vehicle that can augment your income by devoting a few, part-time, off-work hours a week. There are many, non W-2 vehicles out there to do that. To check out one of the best, message me.
Finally, if you see a house you can afford, and you are reasonably happy with the location, overlook any cosmetic deficiencies. You can fix those eventually with time, patience and elbow grease. Remember, too, that perfect houses, like perfect people, don’t exist. Every house will have something about it you don’t like. Don’t dismiss good deals out of hand over something you can ultimately fix.
Remember, too, that homeownership is not for everyone. It may have been part of the American Dream, but it’s no sin not to own. Owning your own home comes with great responsibility. If you don’t want or need that, rent, and invest in other things. In short, do the math, figure out the kind of life you want and proceed accordingly.
Peter

BOOK THE UNREALISTIC

#dream #TheUnrealistic #ReturnTheRealYou
Book the unrealistic, and return as the real you.
This statement’s meaning may not be obvious on its face, so let’s break it down.
Book the unrealistic means to prepare for your dream as if you were booking a trip.
The unrealistic part comes from all those dreams your parents, teachers and other influences on you as a child told you were out of reach for you. After all, you had to think practically, aim for the secure and go for the known, tried and true, quantity.
You may have been told you were silly to think you could be, say, an actor, musician, star athlete etc., or even be wealthy. You had to think in terms of getting a good job, with good benefits and stay there until you retire. You were expected to eventually have a spouse, children and other obligations that such security will help take care of.
Today, much of that secure reality is gone. So, why not book the unrealistic? What have you got to lose?
It may take a while to get to your unrealistic goal, so take pleasure in the journey. You’ve booked it, but you may not know exactly when you’ll get on the dream vehicle. You can reserve a date, but you may have to cancel and rebook if your date arrives, but your dream has not yet.
The great motivator Jim Rohn defines success as “a progressive realization of a worthy goal.” Progressive may be the key word here. The journey may take you steps toward your goal, and may even force you to step backward away from your goal for a time. Those may be the failures you will encounter on your journey.
The second part of the statement calls for a return as the real you. That means you’ve taken the journey, after booking your unrealistic goal, reached your goal and now must return.
The variable here is that you may not return to the home, security etc. that you left. You may return to a different home. To borrow from a John Denver lyric, you might be coming home, to a place you’ve never been before.
Hence, we use the word “return” to mean to come back from the journey to the unrealistic that you’d booked a while ago. Some journeys are so good, you may never come back from them.
Bottom line is that it’s OK to dream. It’s OK to have goals that others did not wish for you. As long as your goals are worthwhile, as Rohn says, don’t let anyone stand in your way.
Perhaps you are looking for a method, or a vehicle, to get you to your goal. That might mean being open for something to come into your life that may be totally different from the kind of good things that your influencers may have wanted for you. If you are looking for such a vehicle, message me.
Life journeys are not always smooth, and not always pleasant. There can be rough roads, turbulent air, flat tires etc. If you understand that mishaps can befall you, but you can still have your eyes on the unrealistic goals you have booked, you are at least halfway there.
You can take pleasure in the journey, overcome the rough patches, and return with a sense of accomplishment. Remember, too, that such journeys are better when you take others with you. Trips are usually better when taken with friends or family.
So book the unrealistic, and return as the real you. Don’t go it alone, bring others. Return with the sense that the journey, however long, was worthy.

Peter

WE NEED RISK TO GROW

Everything is risky.
Getting in a car, an airplane, even going to school as a child is risky. We only have to look at the number of shootings and killings at schools in recent times to realize that.
With so much risk out there, why don’t we crave it?
Growing up in the 1950s or 1960s, we learned to love security. By security, we meant a job, with benefits and a pension. Companies and employers didn’t change much during these times. As long as you worked hard, you advanced. As long as you kept out of trouble, you could work there for as long as you wanted.
Today, having a job is risky. Benefits and pensions, if they are there at all, have been cut. Because progress happens at a much more rapid pace, companies need to be flexible, and change happens more often. Job descriptions, if they exist, are not cast in concrete. They can change a lot, and often.
You could be one reorganization away from losing everything you hold dear at work. You could be one bad manager away from having a career stopped in its tracks – no matter your age or how good you are at what you do.
But, instead of bemoaning our quickly changing times, you could embrace them. When we were taught that risk was bad, and security was good, how much did it hold us back from being the best we could be?
Today, being good, or the best, at something may not be appreciated. The thing you’re good at may become expendable. A company that gave you glowing evaluations yesterday may toss you out as excess tomorrow. It’s not your fault. But you can control what happens next for you.
One cannot grow without embracing risk. You don’t have to jump from airplanes, if that’s not your thing, to embrace risk. But you may have to do things that previously were not comfortable for you. Yes, you have to do it afraid.
If you are young and just getting out of school, don’t expect to get a job, or join a company, and hang around for 40 years. It could happen, but it is less and less likely as time passes. Expect that any job you take will be short-lived. What you were hired for yesterday could change even before your first day of work.
What to do? First, if you are young, take a job and manage expectations. Presume your job will change often. You may not get rewarded for all the change you endure, but presume change will happen often.
Secondly, keep your eyes open for opportunity. If you see an opportunity to use your skills and work for yourself, that would be ideal. There are many of those opportunities out there. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. It may or may not be for you, but don’t be deterred just because it seems uncomfortable. Remember, you can do this if you see it.
Thirdly, embrace risk and forget security. Today’s relative pillars of security can collapse on you in a heartbeat. Take what the world gives you, for as long as it gives it to you, as long as it works for you. But if something is working for you, don’t presume it will ALWAYS work for you.
Remember, too, that no one has achieved great success without risk. There are some great, true stories out there from those who started with nothing but an idea, and made it work for them. That’s not to say you should risk EVERYTHING all the time, or that you should be reckless with your circumstances. But don’t let discomfort alone deter you. Don’t let a full plate of activity keep you from seeing the bigger picture.
Don’t be trapped into “security.” It could be all gone tomorrow.
Peter

30-SOMETHINGS SWEAT RETIREMENT: PART 2

Those in their late 30s today are more worried about retirement than those in the Baby Boom Generation, which is retiring, or on the verge of retiring, now.
A Pew Research Center survey, as reported by Hope Yen of The Associated Press, says that about 49 percent of those between 35 and 44 said they had little or no confidence that they will have enough money for retirement.
As discussed last week, time is on your side if you are in this group. There are steps you can take to stave off disaster. We talked about presuming your job will change and presuming any pension promises made to you will be broken. If neither happens, and you prepared for the worst, it’s a bonus for you.
But there are two other areas about which you should think if you are in this age group, and are worried about retirement.
Your spending habits. We talked last week about the “need” to keep up with all the latest technology. Do your gadgets last you a long time, or are you constantly trading up for the newest stuff? If something works for you, even though it may be “old” technology, sticking with it may help your retirement. The money you’d spend on upgrades will be more useful working for you so you can retire on your terms.
COFFEE: A RETIREMENT BOOSTER?
But there are other spending habits to think about. Lots of folks like Starbucks, or other premium-priced coffee. When your grandparents or parents were your age, coffee was coffee. It might have cost a dime in your grandparents’ day, and up to 50 cents in your parents’ youth. For that dime, or half-buck, that you spent in a coffee shop, you got all the coffee you wanted. Unlimited refills were yours. Today, you pay $2 for a cup of coffee. Many places still give you unlimited refills, but that idea is trending out. Starbucks never gives free refills. Other places are charging, say, 50 cents for every refill. Sure, the coffee shops and restaurants need to make a living, but a cup of coffee a day from a shop can add up to real money over a year. Do the math: $2, multiplied by, 250 workdays (5 days a week over 50 weeks) is $500. Put $500 a year into your retirement account starting at age 35, and if you work until you are 65 (30 years) is $15,000 in contributions over that time.
Say those contributions that money doubled every 10 years in your retirement account. In the first 10 years, $5,000 in contributions doubled to $10,000. That $10,000, plus the second 10-year contributions of $5,000, doubled becomes $30,000. That $30,000, plus $5,000 in contributions, doubles to $70,000. That’s not much for a retirement nest egg, but you augmented your nest egg by that amount, just by skipping the daily cup of coffee on the way to work.
Remember, your grandparents made a pot of coffee at home before work, and put it into a Thermos that kept it hot all day. You could buy your own bags of whatever coffee you like, and try putting it into a Thermos. Sure, it’s a pain in the neck to carry a Thermos, and your friends may laugh, but you may have the last laugh at retirement.
Finally, your free time. We all love free time to watch TV, play sports, enjoy our families etc. But what if you took some of that free time to work on your fortune? Retirement would not only not be an issue, you might even be able to retire VERY YOUNG! There are many ways to leverage your time into activities that could produce a lifetime, residual income. To check out one of the best ways, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. It’s thinking outside the box, but if you are still young, and fretting about retirement, you have to think of alternatives you’d never thought of before.
It used to be risky to start a business. But today, starting a business appears less risky than trying to keep a good job for 30 or 40 years. If you can keep your regular job for as long as you can, and start a business on the side, you may have the best of all worlds.
This is not your grandfather’s, or your father’s, job market. Like the gadgets we like, jobs change. Companies are finding ways to hire fewer people, no matter the skill level. Pensions are changing. The defined-benefit pensions, paid for entirely by the employer, are disappearing quickly. Employees have to contribute toward their own retirement.
If you are between 35 and 44 years old, you have time. Little changes in how you live and work could make the difference in when and how you retire. Let your friends laugh at you. Retirement planning is no laughing matter. For if you do what you can for you, you’ll have the last laugh.
Peter