#weddings #WeddingCosts #LifeExpenses
The average U.S. wedding cost $35,329 in 2016.
So says The Knot’s Real Weddings Study, and quoted by NerdWallet columnist Brianna McGurran.
In a column published April 2, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a 25-year-old questioner asked McGurran how she was going to plan a wedding, and pay off her student loans by age 30.
She advised her to sit with her fiance and get their financial house in order. Determine how much they can save per month toward the wedding, and don’t go into debt to cover those costs. Then, McGurran advises the couple to talk to their parents or other family members to see what they intend to contribute.
Couples themselves covered 42 percent of wedding costs in 2016, McGurran quotes The Knot’s study.
She also advised the future bride to budget for the must-haves, and don’t include what doesn’t matter to the couple, such as flowers. She also recommended saving money by having friends provide services and homemade wedding gifts in lieu of actual gifts.
A bride in California got the cost of her 150-person wedding down to $23,000 in 2013, McGurran writes.
Meanwhile, Danielle Braff writes in the Chicago Tribune that there are hidden wedding costs that a couple may not learn about until the wedding day. Those include tips, overtime (for a reception extended past the paid-for time), fancy liquor not covered in typical bar charges, postage (McGurran recommends getting RSVPs on line to save there), taxes (not mentioned in the costs) and dress alteration.
Braff’s article was published in the April 3, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
So, we’ve learned that getting married can be expensive. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a nice wedding. After all, the gifts a couple can collect may offset some of the costs, providing they are gifts the couple wants.
But once a couple has decided on marriage, the two should discuss not just wedding costs, but life costs. They should give priority not necessarily to a wedding, but how they are going to live. That includes, yes, saving for retirement. No matter how young a couple is, the two should not assume that they will both have the jobs they have until they retire. Job security no longer exists.
They should be thinking about what they might do if they found themselves out of work in their middle age – well before they wanted to retire. What will they do? Will anyone hire them for decent pay?
Fortunately, there are many ways out there to earn an income that have nothing to do with a traditional W-2 job. To hear about one of the best, message me.
If a couple decides to pursue a non-job income before their wedding, perhaps they’ll have enough to cover the costs of a nice wedding AND make a dent in any educational or other debt. They may even get a head start on retirement savings.
Certainly, any couple needs to be economical in planning a wedding. They should have what they want, and eliminate what they don’t. A great time, and beautiful memories, can be had by all – without going overboard, or wasting money on things that aren’t necessary.
So, here’s a toast: To a happy and prosperous life, and an elegant but not over-frilled wedding.


#BreakTheRules #employers #GoodWorks
Sometimes, one makes progress by following a set of rules.
Sometimes, one really gets ahead by breaking the rules.
At the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, if one breaks the rules or otherwise shakes up the status quo, he can win $250,000.
Tamara Best discussed this program in a New York Times article, which was published in the March 20, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“There are people doing really important things, breaking either the rules or sticking to their principles with knowledge that they will be hurt or punished in some way,” Best quotes Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab.
“In a lot of large institutions, there’s really two ways you can make progress,” Best quotes Ethan Zuckerman, director of MIT’s Center for Civic Media. “You can make progress when people follow the rules and work their way through the processes, and then sometimes you can make very radical progress by someone who essentially says, ‘Look, these processes don’t work anymore, and I need to have a radical shift in what I’m doing,” Zuckerman’s quote continues.
If you work for someone else, you should follow your employer’s rules. Some employers don’t handle radical thinkers well.
But let’s talk about “rules” that your parents perhaps handed down to you. They may go something like: Get a job with good benefits and decent pay. Keep your head down at work. Do what you are told. Your job security is the best thing you have. (I would use the word “own,” but no one owns a job. One may take ownership of his work, but the job belongs to the employer).
We’ve come to learn that these rules are obsolete. You can do great work, show up every day, stay out of trouble and even put in lots of extra effort that may or may not be in your job description. That may not keep you in a job for as long as you want to be.
Your good works may not get you into heaven, and they may not guarantee you job security anymore.
What to do?
Think radical. Upset the apple cart. Do something – perhaps not at work or on the job – that others might not do for fear of breaking the “rules.”
Some might say that I can think radical as well as anyone, but it may not get me anywhere, except in trouble.
There is a way you can think, if not radical, at least outside the rule box.
You can look at one of many ways you can earn an income without a traditional job. You can work for yourself. You can help others along the way. All you have to do is be open enough to check it out. If you’d like to check out one of the best vehicles to accomplish this, message me.
In some settings, it’s OK to break the rules, especially if the rules don’t help you get what you want. Sometimes, the rules are enticing you to break them. That can be good – or bad – depending on the setting.
The best rule for breaking the rules is to do it in a setting where it is encouraged. That can be at a place like MIT’s Media Lab, or in your own home.
Some rules are meant to be broken. Others break themselves. So examine your situation and determine whether it’s time to break the rules – or not.


#CollegeDegrees #college #education
Wages for college graduates across many majors have fallen since the 2007-2009 recession.
So says an unpublished analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in Washington, D.C. The study is based on U.S. Census Bureau data.
Young job seekers appear to be the biggest losers, according to an article by Austin Weinstein in Bloomberg News, which quotes the unpublished study. The article was published in the April 4, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The study, according to the article, shows:
• Chemical and computer engineering majors earned some of the best salaries, at least $60,000 a year for an entry-level position, since the recession.
• A biology major earned a starting salary of $31,000 on average in 2015, down $4,000 from five years earlier.
The outlook for experienced graduates, ages 35 to 54, was a little brighter, with wages generally stable since the recession.
On the brighter side, an experienced petroleum engineering major earned $179,000 on average in 2015, up $46,000 from five years earlier, the article quotes the study.
What about liberal arts majors? The article says that beyond those with special skills, philosophy and public policy majors have seen their earnings rise.
So what’s a recent college grad, or soon-to-be college grad to do? The article says, get a graduate degree. The wage gap between undergraduate- and graduate-degree holders has been growing, the article says.
As we’ve previously discussed, a potential college student should think long and hard not only what to major in when he or she gets to college, but also whether to go to college at all.
If one’s education will not be paid for by parents or other sources – in other words, if a student has to borrow the money to go to college – that should be a big factor in whether one chooses college, or not.
One could look at it this way: if one is not going to get rich anyway, one might as well be less broke without college debt.
Alas, one does not have to believe he will be broke. If the investment in college doesn’t yield a great job, or even if one doesn’t go to college at all, there are many other ways out there to make money without the benefit, or headaches, of a job. To check out one of the best, message me.
What do we conclude from this study? First, as the article points out, advances in technology, automation and other efficiencies have reduced the need for a lot of people. There’s nothing anyone can really do about that, in terms of his individual situation.
Second, college is certainly a great experience, and the friends one can make in college can be a lifetime treasure. One can certainly look at college as an investment in life experience, rather than an investment in earning potential.
Third, don’t feel pressure that you HAVE to go to college, if it is not practical. Of course, you don’t want to be a lifetime dependent, but you may have to think outside the box a bit if you want to be prosperous, with or without college.
So, look at college with a great deal of thought. If you go, go for the right reason. Study what you will study for the right reason. Get the most from your degree, whether it’s income or life experience.
Look at your degree with a great deal of consideration.


#millionaires #immigrants #frugality
Just about anyone can become a millionaire.
The big difference between those that become millionaires, and those that don’t, is ambition.
Statistics show that one in 100 people in the world will become millionaires, with the ratio increasing with time. One in 10 immigrants to the United States will become millionaires.
In a story aired on CBS’ “60 Minutes” May 7, 2017, CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported on the case of Roberto Beristain, a restaurant owner in Indiana who had come to the U.S. illegally 20 years earlier. He is in the process of being deported, despite having a wife and children who are U.S. citizens. Before all this, those who knew him said he was a job creator, not a job stealer. It appears he was well on his way to becoming a millionaire.
Master investor Warren Buffett, in his February 2017 letter to his Berkshire Hathaway investors, praised “ambitious immigrants” for helping to increase the wealth in America, according to USA Today.
So why are immigrants being demonized?
In certain public discourse, immigrants are described as either moochers, job stealers or potential criminals or terrorists. Certainly, among any human group, you’ll have bad apples. You will have people who will do others harm, or take from others.
The vast majority of immigrants come here either for economic opportunity, or to escape violence, corruption or other evils in their home countries.
When opportunities are given to immigrants, most take advantage of them. They work hard, they learn what they need to do and many of them look for unmet needs and find ways to meet them.
Some come here for education and, yes, stay. They fill lucrative jobs that American talent apparently is not filling. Some do menial jobs that Americans, in large numbers, will not do. In those cases, the immigrants may not be educated, but they have skills Americans, in large numbers, chose not to acquire.
They are creating products that Americans use. Most pay taxes.
When all the immigrants are gone, what will Americans do? Will they be able to fill the jobs they have vacated?
Some areas of the country have seen their populations decrease, because the young people who grew up there see no opportunity for them to succeed. These areas actually want immigrants to move there, to fill vacant housing, and take unfilled jobs.
So, do you want to become a millionaire? It’s not necessarily easy to do, but you have to find an unmet need, or a met need of which you can lower the cost.
You have to be frugal. You have to save and invest properly. Becoming a millionaire may not be an instantaneous process unless, of course, you win the lottery. If you are so lucky, learn to use your money wisely, so you’ll still have a good bit of it when you die. That may require you to grow as a person, as well as having a good investment strategy.
You may have to look for a vehicle to help you become frugal, and perhaps help you to increase your income. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Millionaires generally are careful with their money. They are looking to spend less, earn more and do what they must to achieve their goal. They do not believe anyone owes them anything they have not worked for.
Do you want to be a millionaire? There’s a difference between wanting it, and doing what you need to do to get it. Most millionaires don’t work for the money. They work for what they can accomplish with the money.
Dolly Parton sings of “a cup of ambition” in the theme for the movie “9 to 5.” You may need more than a cup of ambition to be among the one in a hundred millionaires.


#millennials #BabyBoomers #wealth
Millennials are having it tough.
Though most have eventually found work after the Great Recession, they are trailing their boomer parents in wealth, when their parents were roughly the same age.
Gail MarksJarvis of the Chicago Tribune discussed this issue in an article published March 20, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
MarksJarvis tells the story of Julius Givens, who moved to Chicago after graduating from the University of Missouri in 2013. He spent six months delivering sandwiches by bicycle and living with two roommates in a studio apartment, MarksJarvis writes.
On top of that, he had $20,000 in student loan debt.
“It’s tight living with three people in a studio, but you figure out how to handle it,” MarksJarvis quotes Givens.
The millennials came into adulthood amid one of the worst recessions in U.S. history. Though most have found jobs, their incomes are 20 percent lower than what baby boomers earned at the same age, MarksJarvis quotes a study by Young Invincibles, an advocacy group for millennials.
They also have fewer cars, homes, less savings and other assets, and a lot more student loan debt than their parents did when they were young, MarksJarvis quotes other studies.
Givens says he’s actually doing better than his mother did at his age, since she worked and raised six children on her own in St. Louis. He now has a professional job in the medical products industry, and backing for a business he is starting. He now lives in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate, according to MarksJarvis’ article.
“I’m not hurting for anything. I don’t need a car or a house,” she quotes Givens.
The difference between millennials’ and their parents’ situation boils down to job security. Very likely, most baby boomers came out of school, found a job and got to keep that job for a lot of years. Or, they were able to easily move from one job to another, with better pay at each move.
Many baby boomers, however, got kicked in the teeth with the recession as well. Just as they were beginning to think about retirement, some lost their jobs. Many had a tough decision to make: take a job that paid a lot less than the one they lost, or retire “early,” long before they wanted to.
Many millennials like Givens are starting to see their situations get better, and they have a lot more time, at least in theory, to prepare for retirement. However, though their situations may be getting better now, they can’t presume that the good times will last. The fortunate ones will have jobs for as long as they want. Many, if not most, will not.
Certainly the economy is changing for all age groups. Each group needs to look for ways to make money other than through a traditional, W-2 job. If you are willing to look, and want to check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
The world is changing much more quickly than when baby boomers became adults. For some, change can work for the better. For others, not so much.
The important thing is not to just protest the change, and complain about it. It’s paramount that you take matters into your own hands.
Circumstances will bite, but strong people fight back. You have to decide how strong you are, and how willing you might be to look at something you may never have thought about before.