Are You Actively Working Against Yourself?

It hit me pretty hard, a few months back…one of my best friends and I were talking about money and he stated, “I will most likely would work until the day I die.” Looking at this country as a whole, I think that is the bleak picture of what many Americans face today.

In the 1960’s a man could work a regular full time job, without college background, his wife could stay home and take care of the kids, they would own a house and have everything they needed to financially sustain their life. Why did this change? Today we are very far away from such an existence.

The average college student cannot support a family on its own. It seems, in these times, it takes both a husband and a wife working to make a family financially run smoothly. On top of that we have more and more billionaires popping up every year, it is no secret to where the money is going.

Since the stagnant wages of the 70’s, we are now dealing with high healthcare costs that continue to rise, gas prices that are insane to what they were just a few years ago, poor public school systems and college graduates dealing with the massive burden of debt that can take decades to pay off. The list goes on and on.

If you need more proof just look at our national debt and the debt ceiling that we keep having to raise so the country does not shut down. Or the social security money that will soon be gone and the millions of seniors who failed to save enough in their 401K to sustain their current lifestyle. Oh here is the solution, now we are going to raise the retirement age to 73, that’s the way it’s going to be and that’s that!

That’s not it… There is something you can do about it, if you’re smart about your life and how you manage your expenses.

The expectation of the government taking care of you in retirement is bleak, and for many of us without any retirement education, we were left to navigate the cloudy water of retirement planning alone.

Only you are in control of your own future. Do not be one of the followers, be one of the leaders who understands the future, what’s important, and makes good decisions about your resources.

I do not understand the concept of one complaining about money problems when they are driving a new car, having the latest smart phone, buying 80” televisions and paying hundreds of dollars a month to have video streamed into their home. Without even knowing it, people are concurrently robbing themselves of money they don’t need to spend while they let products and services run their lives.

The average person spends about 75% of what they earn on products or services that that are not necessities. Then, borrowing money comes into play. Borrow money at high interest rates just to spend money they don’t have; then they run the risk of paying more for something they did not need in the first place. People are trying to save, but they spend most of their time working against the very thing they are setting out to do.

No matter how much money we dump on an ailing society (like our own), we will not solve our money issues. This is because the issue is not a shortfall of money, but a shortfall in our ideology. We need a sprit that allows us to get the most of out our lives verses one that works against our very best interest.

Let’s stop talking about expenses and spending as if they were out of our control, you have a choice. Figure out what is important to you and make the best decisions for your life. If you get duped into buying something you don’t need, then hats off to the other guy, he will be the one enjoying his retirement while you work until 73….

Make Smart Decisions About What You Buy

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life regarding debt. I only wish I could go back in time and redo some of my spending decisions I made when I was younger. Obviously that is impossible, but maybe this post will help younger individuals who are about to go out and do something they might regret later in life.

I remember when I was 26, living in a nice area of San Francisco with three roommates. It was a good fun time in my life and I have several great memories from this period. I was very good with my money overall, but every once in a while something would come over me and I would do something that I would later regret.

When I was younger, I saw this new television at Circuit City (remember them?); I still remember the exact TV model. It was the Hitachi 61SWX10B and the price was $3,500. It was a rear projection television and was quite large; a 61″ unit that had a built in stand.

Of course, I was not going to go out and drop that much money on a television at that point in my life, but when I heard I could go out and get a new credit card with 6 months no interest financing I thought okay I can make this happen. My plan was to just put $500 down and then pay off $500 a month and I would get that TV without paying any interest.

I executed my plan flawlessly and I was the big man in the house; all my roommates loving that TV for all it was worth. Guest would come over and tell me it was the best TV they had ever seen and I ate it up. We watched movies, played video games, sporting events, we all enjoyed it.

About a year later, all of our lives changed and we went separate ways. Then it hit me, I was now stuck moving this massive television and the burden of moving it to my new place was quite a hassle. All my former roommates got to enjoy my big awesome television for free and they simply moved on. I was stuck with a $3,500 bill and now moving into a place that I could barely accommodate a television that size.

As it turned out, over the next couple of year’s plasma televisions started coming out and my once super mac-daddy televisions seemed ancient. Within 4 years of my purchase rear projection TVs were no longer desired at all. I couldn’t even sell it due to its large size, so when I moved I simply posted a free ad on Craigslist. Obviously, I gave it to the first interested party instead of trying deal with something that big and heavy with little to no value.

It would have been totally reasonable for me to just buy a $500 television, which also would have been a nice television, or to look into Craigslist and buy something there for an even better deal. But unfortunately, like most people can probably relate to, I had to get the biggest and best product on the market. Looking back I realize it was a very poor decision on my part.

It was clearly not the end of the world, but being 41 now, if I would have not have bought that $500 television and invested the other $3,000, today the money I spent would be worth more than $20,000 and in another 20 years, it would be close to $200,000.

These are the typical decisions that everyone makes, especially the younger society, not necessarily bad decisions, but definitely irresponsible ones. We all make them, as we don’t actually think about the long term effects of what we buy.

The key is to cut back, save and invest. It might look like you’re not building much over a few months or even a year, but continued savings over a decade or 2 can have dramatic jaw dropping effects. Do you want to give your 20 something self the latest electronics or do you want to give your 40 something self a better, easier life?


What Do You Need To Retire? The Surprising Math For Better Life

One of the questions that I hear more frequently is, “how can I possibly know how much money I can have to save in order to retire?” The fact is no one really ever gives the same answer, you could talk to 10 people and they would all tell you something different.

On top of that, you have to deal with poorly designed internet retirement calculators, media companies with ulterior motives, then market factors, such as what might be going on in China, inflation and then on top of that, everyone has different spending habits.

The above is not really what mattesr, the only thing that matters is how much money you make per year and how much of that money you spend versus save.


If you are spending 100% of your income every year, what some call living paycheck to paycheck, unfortunately you will never retire. You will have to work until the day you die.

If you are spending 0% of your income and you expect this to be a sustainable model then you are ready to retire right now.

I have never met anyone that have spent zero money, that is really quite ridicules, but unfortunately I do know people who live paycheck to paycheck. However, most people fall in the middle somewhere.

What most people fail to understand is the time value of money. Once you start saving your money and invest it intelligently that money can grow. Sure when you just compare month to month results it doesn’t seem like much, but over the course of a career these numbers can be shocking.

If you were to just put away a $100,000 today at an annual 10% return it would only take just over 23 years for you to have a million dollars. Okay, so you don’t have a $100,000 to put away today. Well if you start today at zero and just saved $800 a month with a annual 10% return it would only take just over 24 years to be a millionaire.

Now of course no one really needs to be a millionaire to retire, but I just wanted to give you an idea of what savings can actually do for you. Starting right now with zero, if you were to save $2000 a month with an annual 10% return it would take just you over 11 years to have half a million dollars saved and you might just be ready for retirement.

Investing happens to be my expertise.  If I only made 10% a year on my money I would classify that as a bad year. However, most people don’t want to take on that type of risk profile or are equipped with the same investment education that I have in order to manage that risk. But if you can get a 6% return on your investment a year, I think that is very doable.


  • Assuming you earn a 6% return on your investments
  • You live off of 5% after retirement to give yourself a cushion


Believe it or not most people do not save more than 10% of their income, they would rather buy that new, showy car, or that expensive watch, without even realizing it they are adding years of work to the end of their career.

If most were given the choice right now to drive a new car, but they would have to work 10 more years or drive a mediocre car and retire 10 years earlier I think the majority would pick to retire 10 years earlier. The problem is that most people do not think about the financial differences and the long term effect of their decisions. They simply calculate the cost of the car and how long it will take them to pay it off.

Small changes can make big differences too. Making sure you have the most affordable cable package for your needs, or just cut off cable completely and sign up for Netflix. Make sure you have the best cell phone plan possible.  Also, take the time to look through other expenses as well and see where you can save. In my area there are two competing trash companies, I simply found out which one was cheaper and chose that one.

It’s not difficult and the time to invest is minimal, but still most people don’t take the time to help themselves.

The first step is understanding what you get paid monthly. Then, think how much of that you intend on spending and how much you intend on saving. Then, for the money you save, how are you going to invest it. Please do not just store it in the bank, that is not going to increase the value of your money.

Most of my spending tracking is done by credit cards or with my online bill pay account.  This way I can simply know exactly what I am spending and on what. If you need more help, there are online tools to track exactly what your spending as well. My favorite is Personal Capital which emphasizes investing and saving for retirement. You can track expenses and create an investment plan for the future.

Now it is up to you to make it happen, remember, no one is going to care more about your money than you.

Love to Eat Well… How To Eat Great On a Budget

One of my favorite things to do, and I think almost anyone can relate, is to eat great tasting food. Unfortunately, dinning out, especially at a quality restaurant can come at a high cost. In fact, eating out regularly can start to add up rather quickly if you’re not careful. So what is one to do? Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, this is one of the areas I have struggled with the most in my budgeting, so have come up with a couple of possible solutions to keep your stomach happy and your wallet full.


Experimenting in the kitchen. I have mastered several meals that are nothing short of amazing. Several restaurant favorites can easily be mastered at home with minimal effort. From a rotisserie chicken, to homemade pizza dough, to top notch burgers, many standard favorites can be accomplished right in your own kitchen with a plan and a desire. I even experiment with concepts in my head to make tasty dishes no one has even seen before. I love to watch friends reactions when I dish up my green chili pasta that was invested just be slamming a few ingredients together and hopping for the best, you may just surprise yourself how good of a cook you can become. Cooking at home can also be as social as going out. Have friends over, cook together, get your kids, your spouse, family, neighbors all involved.  It is fun.

A quick trip to the grocery store and you’re ready for a fantastic evening that ends with a mouthwatering meal you can be proud of and saved you money. Again, I always find cooking to be a great bonding experience with friends and a loved ones, not only do you and your co-chief make something together, but you also get to enjoy the satisfaction of your hard work together.


As much as I like to brew up my own tasty treats, going out is still a must here and there. There are always the anniversary celebrations, birthdays, happy hour and sometimes it can seem easier to eat out versus cook if you are not in the mood or are tired.  So, one of my favorite ways to save money is to use It never ceases to amaze me how people are just too lazy to put in a small effort to try to save money, but trust me, is well worth the effort.

I like the site for several reasons, first it allows me to experiment and try restaurants I may have never found, and secondly, the most important point is that by finding coupons on this website allows me to eat at these restaurants for a huge discount. Just go to the site and enter your zip code and within seconds you will have dozens of participating restaurants in your area.

You can then purchase gift certificates at a steep discount. I usually target the $25 gift certificates that are sold for $10. They come with stipulations, in most cases you must spend $35, $45, or as high as $50 to receive the discount. But $10 is never the price you really pay for the certificate, once you purchase one gift certificate and get on’s mailing list, they send you coupon codes to get even deeper discounts. The 80% off coupons are the ones you really receive.  These go out every couple of months. Now you can buy that $25 gift certificate for only $2!

You can buy as many as you want, so be sure to load up, if for some reason you decide you don’t want to go to that restaurant you can always trade it in for another restaurant coupon at a later date and free of charge.

Now that $45 dinner is only going to cost you $20 plus the $2 you used to buy the gift certificate. That’s a substantial savings. When I am traveling I even look up restaurants in the area and take advantage of the savings.

Get the full dinning out experience for half the price or a third of the price.  I actually found my favorite restaurant on  I came back from dinner that night and bought eight more gift certificates on the spot.  This is the way I do it, and I highly recommend you do the same.

Just a little bit of effort can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Driving an Expensive Car or Saving Your Money?

I would like to introduce you to two long time childhood friends, Bob and Jack, both are 25 years old and have been working in their newly founded careers for less than two years. They both got similar paying jobs out of college, the question is who is going to have a more fulfilling life? The choices they make will have a lasting impression on the rest of their life.

Jack wants to celebrate his successful career by purchasing a $50,000 luxury vehicle, he has worked hard his whole life and he feels he deserves to buy something fancy for himself. He will do so by putting the $10,000 he has saved down and financing the $40,000 balance. Bob on the other hand has decided to buy an $7000 used car and save the rest of his earnings.

Now Jack gets to drive around town looking like a big shot, then over to all their buddies houses to show off his new purchase where everyone tells him what a sweet ride he’s got. Bob watches while Jack gets all the praise for his shiny new ride while Bob gets little praise if any at all for his older used vehicle. The fact is Jack feels like a success and wants to show off his success, at least for the first couple of years. However, let me break this scenario down for you…

Jack is going to spend the next five years paying off this vehicle putting another $45,000 of payment into it with interest, once it is paid off he will likely get another 5 years out of his vehicle until he decides it’s too old and wants to get another luxury car so he can show off once again. At this point he sells his 10 year old car for roughly $9,000.

So Jack who was a big shot for the first couple of years invested $55,000 and 10 years later is left with only $9,000. I hope Jack had fun because that was a $46,000 loss. OUCH!

Bob on the other hand took what money he could afford and purchased a modest $7000 vehicle and over the same time frame invested the same money jack had used to make his car payments. This means Bob started his investment account with $3000 and made monthly deposits of $800 for five years. Of course in reality Bob was smart and continued to make $800 a month payments after the 5 years was up, but I only want to compare the same years Jack was investing in his car until he decided to sell to make things fair.

We know how Jacks decision went. He got to look like the man for a couple of years until his car that was once new is now just another older vehicle on the road. His investment of $55,000 has shrunk to just $9,000.

But what about Bob? Well fortunately for bob is doing a little bit better. Bobs initial investment of $3000 along with $800 a month at an annual 10% rate of return has netted him $66,885 after just five years. But Bob is not done yet. He is going to let that $66,885 compound for another 5 years at a 10% annual rate until Jack sells his car.

10 years after the initial purchase Jack is happy, he just sold his 10 year old car for $9000 and his heading to the bank while he thinks about what type of luxury vehicle he wants to finance next. However, what Jack does not know is that Bob’s same investment over the same time frame is now worth $109,137. Bobs decision to invest his money and by a cheaper used car has lead him to have a net worth of over $100,000 more than his friend Jack by the age of 35.

Fortunately for Bob, he kept saving and making good choices beyond this example and he is already thinking about retirement in the next few years.

Oh yeah, Bob was also able to sell his car for $900 at the end of the 10 years. Adding this to his previous totally he was able to splurge and buy his next car for $10,000 cash and keep $100,000 in the bank.

So back to the original question, who is going to live the more fulfilling life? If you answered Jack, then this site is not for you. If you answered Bob, then you’re in the right place and I have a lot more examples on how you can safe for that better life.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Getting Rich and Pulling Ahead in Life

Hello everyone, you probably have not heard of me, but I am one lucky guy who was able to turn tragedy into a fortune. It all started back when I was just 29 years (MAYBE WANT TO PUT A THE YEAR YOU WERE 29 HERE) old working for Goldman Sachs stock option floor trading division.  Goldman had just purchased the company I previously worked for as a Lead Market Maker and they were egger to get their foot in the door in the option trading business.

Unfortunately, after just one year of the Goldman management team fumbling their way around through this new businesses, they all but killed the company and my bonus, which was going to be close to my yearly salary. Even though my team and I made good money for the company, my bonus was stripped away because other people didn’t do their job right. Getting legally robbed because someone else was incompetent wasn’t something I wanted to stick around for, so I left.  I spent the next four months in Tahoe exploring to the fine mountain of Heavenly. But that life could not have lasted forever and so I made the decision about the next steps I was going to take…

This is when I realized I no longer wanted to play the same game that everyone else I knew was playing. Life can be hard and expensive, I started looking at my life and analyzing how much I had time and money I had wasted on things that were so irrelevant. I looked at my friends who were working so hard to get ahead, only to consume more and more as their careers grew. To be brutally honest, I was guilty of this myself. I was told the same story that everyone was and just like everyone else, I believed it.

Unfortunately, this story represents the formula that most people have taken for their life plan without any question. Work hard, day after day, to make someone else rich, put the max into your 401K plan, while trying to be happy and while trying to save for your kid’s college education.  After doing the same thing for 40 years, you prey you have enough saved to last your full retirement. By the time you’re free from the grips of society telling you how to live your life, you are left with a body that is too worn down to actually enjoy the pleasures in life you once did.

Is this really a life I questioned? It was then that I realized the standards of society was pulling the wool over my eyes and leaving me blind to living a better, happier life… If you see the reality in this, then you too will easily be able to cut your expenses, releasing society’s hold on you and allowing you to save far more than you ever thought possible so you can achieve financial independence far quicker.

One advantage I have is the fact that I studied and worked in finance and after pondering the ideas in my head night after night, I was able to calculate exactly what I can expect out of life with the right financial plan in place; now I have the ability to see savings in a whole new way.

What do I mean? When most people save $1000 they think they have a $1000, and in one aspect this is true. Now, I happen to be a very good investor, but when I save $1000 I think I am going to have $8000 in 10 years or $60,000 in 20 years, so if I spend that $1000 today I am actually stripping myself of $60,000 in 20 years. Is that new TV you want really worth it?

The fact is that if you start saving half your salary at the age of 24, you should have no problem retiring by the age of 40. If you make good money and you save even more it can even be a lot faster. If you want to live a great life without working your fingers to the bone then stick around, there is a lot more to come.


What is happiness? If you are just another person following the herd then maybe you have not put much thought into what happiness really means. Happiness comes in many different forms, but I can tell you it should not come from the car you drive or the bling you wear. Trust me, no one really cares. And even if they did care, is your happiness really defined by making other people jealous? Don’t be told what happiness is to you, make up your own mind, but owning expensive things should not be on the list, especially if they’re depreciating assets. The fact is, I have been all over forums on the internet and there are hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) who are learning how to use their finances to get ahead in life, the sooner you can get on board the sooner you can be rich. Remember, this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, it does not matter who appears to be in first at the start of the race, it only matters who will be leading the pack at the end.


  • Get yourself out of debt if you have any
  • Don’t by large scale deprecating assets like a new luxury vehicle or boat
  • Move to an affordable city
  • Don’t buy expensive accessories such as jewelry, sunglasses, purses
  • Make sure you have the best deal regarding your cable/satellite package or cancel cable completely
  • Don’t eat out as much and when you do use promotions and don’t buy alcoholic beverages
  • Shop more efficiently at the grocery store, look for sale items, use coupons
  • Don’t buy the most recent electronics
  • Don’t lend money to friends
  • Workout at home instead of paying high gym membership dues
  • Use the right credit card


You need to invest your money. Investing is one of the things I do best, but there are lots of investments to consider. Put your money in stocks, options, real estate, just make sure your money is growing. Most people fail to do this, they put their money in the bank and just let it sit there making zero or close to zero returns.

Currently I have two rental houses and I self manage all of my investments, these include a Roth IRA, a 401K, an Individual account and a HSA (Health Savings Account). I keep a limited amount of money in the bank to pay my bills and the rest is in investments where it generates even more money for me.


First, you need to know your annual spending habits. If you can save up 25 times your annual spending then you can retire and live the rest of your life on your own terms. The first step is to worry about your habits, your lifestyle and making the change to a better reality.

This is not for everyone, if you would rather have a Mercedes in the driveway, go out to dinner and drinks with friends every night and work until your 65 then you can make that choice. Most people have a hard time seeing the future, only the “now,” but the future is going to be one of two ways. Either you’re going to be in your 40’s, wake up on your own terms, spending your day doing what you desire or you will be heading off to work for another 20 years. The choice is yours…