Thursday, November 23, 2006
Happy Thanksgiving Day. My Wealth Builder wishes that everyone has much to be thankful for this year. Here are my top ten “financial” areas of thanks.
Number 10 - Not worrying about credit card debt. As regular readers of My Wealth Builder know, we use credit cards only for convenience and pay them off each month. So we are thankful for this every year. (Read more about using cash or credit.)
Number 9 - Beginning an additional career in publishing:-) I started My Wealth Builder on August 13, 2006, with a readership of one, me. In late August, I learned about and joined pfblogs.org. In mid September, my first submission to a carnival was accepted by the Carnival of Personal Finance. In October, I began using FeedBurner. This month, I am getting about 30-50 readers per day.
Only time will prove if this will lead to something bigger:-)
Number 8 - Already funding our IRAs with the 2006 contributions. We contributed the maximum to two non-deductible IRAs. The deadline for making 2006 IRA contributions is April 16, 2007.
Number 7 - Having made some good stock, bond and CD investments this year. My best picks this year: Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). I have sold Intercontinental Exchange, but still have Google and Apple. Google is up over 25% and is a core holding in my personal portfolio. I plan to hold Google as long as their business model remains a strong competitive advantage. My worse picks were Alcon (ACL) and Chicos (CHS), which are down 19% and 47% respectively.
For fixed income investments, I purchased 5-year term CDs with rates of 4.5% to 6%. I also purchased triple tax free (i.e. federal, state and local tax exempt) municipal bonds at 3.35% to 4.61%.
Number 6 – Paying off our 30 year mortgage faster by making additional principal payments. Although we have a 30 year mortgage, we are making enough additional payments each year to pay it off in 15 years. For details on how you can do the same thing, see Paying Off a Home Mortgage Earlier.
Number 5 - Using adoption tax credits and income exclusions gave us a BIG refund on our 2005 tax return that covered over 50% of our adoption costs. We had saved to pay the entire cost and getting a refund was a nice bonus.
Number 4 - Funding our college savings. We funded our daughter’s 529 account in December, 2005 and January, 2006. Fortunately, we still have 16 more years to contribute:-)
Number 3 - No major unexpected house, auto or healthcare costs occurred that required use of our emergency fund or any of our insurances. This was good since we have insurance to primarily protect our wealth and give us peace of mind.
Number 2 - Having an increase of 10.8% in our savings and retirement funds. A main contributor to this increase is my company’s stock gaining 10.5%. In addition, the accounts managed by my financial advisor are up 11.5% this year. For more information on my retirement goals, see How Much is Needed to be Wealthy.
And my Number 1 reason for being thankful is - Staying healthy. On average, healthier people are wealthier. Several studies have shown a positive correlation between state of health and amount of wealth. The University of Michigan published a study about this relationship in 1996. Yahoo! recently published an article on a new study by the British Medical Journal that reconfirmed the findings.
Have a happy, safe, and healthy Thanksgiving holiday,
Photo Credit: morgueFile.com, Malinda Welte
This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
Copyright © 2006 Achievement Catalyst, LLC