I stay in tune with the health of our country’s financial progress by taking in information from several sources. I read Investor’s Business Daily on a regular basis. They provide a gauge of the market and print it right on the front page: Market inConfirmed Uptrend, UptrendUnder Pressure, or MarketIn Correction. I take cues from reports on CNBC and daily newspapers and combine the findings to make good decisions. Ever since I’ve taken my financial position into my own hands, my level of attention is critical to its success.
On a typical lazy weekend, I came across an Amazon Prime flick called The Joneses. All I saw from the description was “a perfect family…” and stopped reading. I don’t like spoilers and I also know that there are no perfect families, so it intrigued me.
I was pleasantly surprised to see some of my factor actors, Demi Moore, David Duchovny, and Lauren Hutton, and as the story progressed, it sent my money-brain thoughts into motion.
The movie opens with the Joneses moving into a new home. It’s in a polished, upscale neighborhood where the possibilities of a charmed life await. With their stately peaks, each house’s exterior represents the image of suburban nirvana.
When it comes to saving money, there are many ways to economize. Taking your lunch to work is a great way to avoid overspending. Then, there’s finding better alternatives. A generic store brand is worth a try and may be just as good as a name-brand item. Ultimately, there’s doing without. However, the habit of doing without may offer diminishing or detrimental returns.
Frugal, froogal, froot-gle. Nothing good can come of acting out a word that sounds way goofy. I’m reminded of 18th-century farm living where vocabulary was as limited as the society’s vocational opportunities. No one’s saying that you can’t adjust some habits downward, but developing an austerity habit may not help your future as much as you think it will. Frugalizing to the nth degree can be harmful to your well-being.
Investing. The word alone connotes stocks and bonds. Diversification is the sister term associated with investing. Subtract your age from 100 to figure out how much of an allocation in bonds you should own. Why do we need to have bonds? And what makes bonds a necessary portfolio companion? While trying to understand portfolio allocation a little bit better, I came up with the following five points.
Bonds are fairly simple to understand, they’re loans with a specific duration. They pay interest at stated dates. There’s an issue date and a maturity date. The issue date is the beginning of the loan and the maturity date is when the principal is paid back to the investor. Therefore, unlike stocks that you own forever, bonds are a temporary loan to the issuer.
Janesville is an account of the economic adjustments that occurred subsequent to the closing of the local Janesville, Wisconsin, GM plant. The book documents the shakeout of the newly-unemployed individuals that relied on their financial livelihood from the assembly plant. To earn their living and raise their families, generations of workers banked on GM employment as a default. When GM closed down the Janesville assembly plant, it disrupted the economic environment, leaving GM workers, and workers of supporting businesses, without employment.
Today is as good as any day for making financial changes, but maybe today’s not the day. Are you truly ready to change? What’s stopping you?
Instead of thinking about all the reasons why not, take the pressure out of the equation and, well, try.
When I took my Dale Carnegie class, each session involved standing in the front of the room and speaking for approximately three minutes. The most compelling presentations had a beginning, middle, and end. What I didn’t know was that this started in the first session. I thought we would have a warm-up session, not jump right in. I felt sick to my stomach and barely managed to get through. Continue reading “Making Financial Change”