Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Final Post Before Sabbatical

This is my final post before taking an indefinite sabbatical

After more than 7 years of posting on mostly a daily basis, it is time to take time off.   I feel better prepared for retirement finances since recovering from the 40% decline in the 08/09 bear market.   For the past year, we've consistently been able to meet our financial targets known as Wealth Builder Ratios.   We will continue to use the ratios as our metrics going forward.

Here are some posts that I particularly enjoyed writing for this blog:

Achieving early retirement:

Achieving Financial Freedom - I've Retired In My Forties


The Our Journey to Financial Freedom series:
  1. Our Childhood Preparation
  2. The Value Of Higher Education
  3. Making The Most Of My Job
  4. Lifestyle and Spending Choices
  5. Setting Goals, Developing Plans and Tracking Process
  6. Staying The Course
  7. How Luck Played A Role
  8. My Personal Finance Mind Tricks
  9. The Professionals We Used
  10. When Preparation Met Opportunity

I wish everyone a great 2014 and good luck on their journey to financial freedom.

Bye.

This is not financial  or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

The Wealth Builder Carnival #157 - Final Edition

Welcome to the one hundred fifty-seventh edition and final edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

And now on to the Carnival.


Earning


Bryan presents How To Make A Career Change posted at Glennalicious.org, saying, "The end and beginning of each new year brings about many changes. If you are planning a career change or possibly considering starting your own business, here is a guide with steps on how to manage your finances and prepare for success."


Investing


John Schmoll presents Betterment Review: A New Investing Option to Consider posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "Investing in the stock market is vital to building wealth and with the variety of options available of where to invest it can be confusing. Choosing a good brokerage that has good offering and low fees can be a great way to help grow your retirement portfolio and get your investing on the right foot."


Retiring


Justin @ Root of Good presents Running Out Of Money In Early Retirement posted at Root of Good, saying, "Depleting all your assets during early retirement is a common fear for those seeking financial independence. Here are five reasons why it's unlikely you'll run out of money and four tips to avoid depleting your investment portfolio in early retirement."


That concludes this edition. Past posts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wealth Builder Ratios - Q4 2013

Here is our Q4 2013 Wealth Builder Ratios update. This will be the last update before my sabbatical from this blog.   During the fourth quarter of 2013, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P500 indices were up 8.5%, 10.2% and 9.5% respectively. My company stock was up 8.5%.  Our investment portfolio increased in value 7.6% due mostly to my company stock.

For more details on the relevance of these ratios, please see this How Much Is Needed To Be Wealthy - The NUMBER.

Ratio and Target
Q3 2013
Q4 2013



Comments
Retirement Income to Salary
Target=0.8
2007= n/a
2008= n/a
2009= n/a
2010= n/a
2011= n/a
2012=  n/a
0.790.84This is the new metric that I'm using which is based on a 4% withdrawal rate of the liquid assets in our retirement and savings accounts.

The initial target I'm using is a 0.8 ratio, which would be 80% of our pre-retirement pre-tax income.   We were very close in Q3 and passed the target in Q4, due to the advance of my company stock. 
Investment
Income to Salary
Target=0.8
2007=3.41
2008= -5.47
2009= -1.38
2010=1.29
2011=0.5
2012= 2.02
4.445.89I will use this metric through the end of 2013 and then replace it with the Retirement Income to Salary ratio.

5.89 is the highest increase in our wealth ratio ever. The increase in Q4 was due to the increase of my company stock.

I plan to sell some additional shares of company stock in my retirement plan, keeping only the low basis shares in my company retirement for a future NUA execution.  At this point, I have sold 85% of the stock options with a  2014 expiration date.  I will sell the balance in 2014.  
Savings to Salary
Target >20
2007=23 2008=16.7 2009=15.3
2010=16.6
2011=17.1
2012=19.1
23.525.0I will use this metric through the end of 2013 and then replace it with the Retirement Income to Salary ratio.

Most of the gain in Q4 was due to increase of my company stock.

During Q4, I slightly increase the amount of funds invested in equities.    I plan to add more funds into stocks and ETFs during 2014, especially if there is a correction.
Debt to Salary
Target=0
2007=1.51 2008=1.46 2009=0
2010=0
2011=0
2012=0

0

0
We said bye-bye to our mortgage on May 20, 2009. Eliminating a mortgage payment has reduced our expenses by 24%.

My financial goals for 2013 were:

1.  Maintain a Retirement Income to Salary ratio >  0.8.  (met target at 0.84)

2.  Continue to maintain an Investment Income to Salary ratio > 0.8. (exceeded target with 5.89)

3. Maintain a Savings to Salary ratio of 20. (exceeded target with 25)

4. Maintain Debt to Salary Ratio at 0. (met target of 0)

(For reference, Salary refers to gross salary just prior to early retirement in October, 2007.)

 #1,  #2 and #3 were directly correlated with how well our stock, bond, and CD investments returns. With the advance of my company stock and the high proportion of cash, our portfolio was up less than the indices.

Although I am pleased with our portfolio results, I am not confident the gains are sustainable. Our short term expenses (next 3-5 years) are invested in CDs, bonds and money markets. I continue to be concerned about volatility of our investment portfolio, and there are equal downside and upside potential going forward due to EU issues and the US debt ceiling crisis.  So I continue to add funds to the stock market during dips, and sell off my company stock and stock options in a tax efficient manner.

I continue to have the same financial goals for 2014. At this point, I am slightly optimistic about the economy and the stock market.

For more on Strategies and Plans, check back every Monday for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Indefinite Sabbatical

My last day of regular blogging will be December 31, 2014.   After that I will be taking a sabbatical of indefinite length.  My reasons for taking a sabbatical are simple.

 First, other activities are requiring more of my attention.  For example, we adopted another child in 2013, which was a pleasant surprise since we had applied in 2006.   I also have a number of half started home projects I want to complete. In addition, I've figured out that Social Security and Medicare will require preparation on my part even though my participation is over 6 years away.

Second, I want to move to full retirement.  I've stopped working at various part time jobs and, while I have enjoyed blogging, it has become more like a part time job over the years.   So I decided earlier this year to retire from blogging also.

So my plan is to post the final edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival on Tuesday, followed by a final parting post for My Wealth Builder.   After that, I may write an occasional post . . .  or not :-)

For more on New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.

This is not financial or blogging advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What I've Learned

As I prepare for winding down this blog, I've been thinking about what I've learned over the past 7 years from writing posts about our personal finances..   Here are some of my key learnings:
  • Successful wealth building depends on skill and luck.  Part of our success was due to good personal finance habits, e.g. saving and living below our means.   However, luck also played an important role.  I was fortunate to work my entire 27 year career for one company with outstanding retirement benefits and great compensation.  In addition, the stock market (and my company stock performance) played a large role in building our wealth. For example, if I had worked for Enron, or the stock market didn't recover, our financial situation would be much different.
  • There are many paths to building wealth.  However, I wrote mostly about the path with which I had experience: Getting a college degree to work in a higher paying profession and living way below our means.   I didn't have much experience in other paths, e.g. owning a business or real estate, so I didn't post much about those paths.  
  • Doing what I love for work doesn't pay much.  After retiring, I tried jobs that I "loved" to test drive potential second career options.   It turned out doing what I loved didn't pay enough for me to start a second career. I found there was no perfect retirement job for me.  So in early 2013, I stopped doing part time jobs.
  • It's time to move on and really retire. Doing this blog and the part time jobs was probably a subconscious effort on my part to keep working and delay fully retiring :-) 
  • So it's off to the next adventure  - full retirement.  I know now that is a lot more for me to learn.  However, I won't be blogging about it.  That would be too much work :-)

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #156

    Welcome to the one hundred fifty-sixth edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Insuring and Protecting


    Matt Becker presents How to Know When You Need Life Insurance posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "Life insurance is one of those topics that nobody really likes to talk about because, well, who likes to talk about dying? It’s also one that gets a bad rap because of the poor behavior of a large number of salesmen who push it. The lack of conversation is unfortunate, as life insurance is one of the foundational pieces of a secure financial lifestyle."

    Bryan presents Variable Universal Life Insurance Pros and Cons posted at MyLifeInsurance101, saying, "Learn about the pros and cons of variable universal life insurance? By comparing the flexible premiums, investment options, and tax advantages, you can determine if universal life insurance is the best type of coverage for your family."


    Investing


    Bryan Chau presents Investment Trends For 2014 - Secure Your Future posted at Success Pen Pal, saying, "investing, trends, future, opportunities, 2014, goals, lifestyle, profits."

    Mark Hanna presents Dividend Champions List Review – December 2013 posted at Debt, Dividends, & Diversions, saying, "In this series we look at the December edition of the U.S. Dividend Champions sheet, compress down the data into a few simple metrics, and attempt to find the best valued dividend stocks based on a combination of yield, P/E, and dividend growth rate."

    Bryan presents Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Early? posted at Gajizmo, saying, "With mortgage interest rates likely to begin increasing in 2014 and beyond, does it make sense to pay off your mortgage if you have a variable interest rate? What are the pros and cons of paying it off early? Check out our guide to analyze the factors and whether or not you should!"


    Living Frugally


    Theresa Torres presents Christmas Spending Without Guilt posted at CreditDonkey.com Tips, saying, "Don't want to make the same mistake as last year when it comes to Christmas spending? Then follow these tips so you won't enter the new year with lots of debt and an after-holiday guilt."

    John Schmoll presents 6 Fun and Frugal Christmas Traditions to Start This Year posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "Christmas is just around the corner which means the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. There are many traditions you can start in order to celebrate the Holiday and still be frugal at the same time."

    Debt BLAG presents The lessons I learned paying off all $35,000 of my credit card debt in 2013 posted at Debt BLAG, saying, "I paid off all $35,000 of my credit card debt in 2013; in this post, I outline the most important steps I took and the lessons I learned along the way."


    Taxes


    Justin @ Root of Good presents 11 Tips to Finish the Year Strong posted at Root of Good, saying, "Don't make a huge financial mistake by ignoring these 11 things you have to do before 2013 comes to a close."

    kurt@mymoneycounselor.com presents These Tax Breaks Ending! posted at Money Counselor, saying, "You've got until December 31st to take advantage one last time of these five tax breaks. They end when 2014 begins."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Sunday, December 22, 2013

    Hedging Against an Upside

    Since 2011, I've been expecting a 10+% correction in the stock market to create a buying opportunity.  The correction hasn't happened and I've missed out on one of the 10 best years of stock market returns since 1947.  Oh well :-(

    Although I continue to have a cautiously negative outlook on the stock market, I recognize that the it may continue advancing for a long period before the next 10% correction.  So I plan to use up to 10% of our investment funds to hedge against the upside that may continue for months.  That way we can participate somewhat in the market advance, while waiting for the inevitable correction to happen.

    For more on New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    Creating a Margin of Safety

    For our investments, I'm still expecting a downward correction, which hasn't materialized for almost 2 years. So we are in a tentative hold position, selling a few stocks with gains, buying a few depressed stocks but keeping the amount of funds in equities about the same.

    To me, 2013 still feels a lot like 2007, when the market peaked.  I still feel the pain of the 08/09 stock market decline.  So for now, we're holding much more cash  in our investment and retirement accounts than in 2007-2009, just in case the market drops.

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday  for a new segment.

    This is not financial or investment advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #155

    Welcome to the one hundred fifty-fifth edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Earning


    Bryan presents 5 Reasons You Are Still Unemployed posted at Gajizmo, saying, "If you're still unemployed since the middle of the recession, there are definitely a few things you are doing wrong. Don't blame it on the weak economy or labor market - take accountability and read our guide to improving your chances of landing a job."

    Mark Wang presents Which assets produce passive income? posted at The Money MailThe Money Mail, saying, "Proper asset allocation and identification is required to invest in passive income assets. If you have been trying to invest in passive income assets this article is a must read to help you identify the passive income producing assets."


    Insuring and Protecting


    Bryan presents Whole Life Insurance As An Investment posted at MyLifeInsurance101, saying, "The New Year is coming and you are likely considering how best to protect your financial dependents. You hear about term and whole life insurance, but which is better? Are you wondering if whole life insurance is a good investment? Read our guide to get insight into why whole life is a bad investment option and you should just buy term life and invest the difference."

    Bryan presents How To Get The Best Car Insurance Rates posted at My Best Car Insurance 101, saying, "Car insurance is a necessary expense and all Americans are constantly looking for ways to lower their rates and improve their coverage. So what factors affect your auto insurance premiums? Check out this guide to getting the best car insurance rates through discounts via associations, defensive driving classes, low-mileage discounts, and more."


    Investing


    May presents Google as a Penny Stock Research Tool posted at Messy Money, saying, "Google can be a wonderful tool for researching potential penny stock investments. Penny stocks are small, unproven companies that tend to trade outside the major exchanges and at a low share price, usually under $5."

    Matt Becker presents Should Young Investors Really Fear a Market Downturn? posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "For younger investors, the fear of market downturns really needs to be challenged. In fact, the biggest risk we face is not the big market downturns, but failing to participate in the big market rallies."


    Living Frugally


    John Schmoll presents Two Great Days to Shop Online During the Holidays posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "Retailers like to make us believe that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best days to get deals for our Christmas shopping. However, that is not always the truth as there are two days that are generally better days for you to do your shopping and allow you to keep more money in your pocket and less money for the retailer."

    Six Figures Under presents 6 Ways to Get Kids' Clothes for Free or Cheap posted at Six Figures Under, saying, "You could spend a small fortune outfitting your little ones in cute apparel. Here are 6 secrets to getting great kids clothes cheap, or even free!"


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Technorati tags: , .

    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Sunday, December 15, 2013

    Uncharted Territory

    Since retiring in October 2007, I've been working at a number of part time jobs that paid in total 20% to 100% of our retirement expenses.  I did this for two reasons. First, I wanted to try "jobs I loved" to test the possibility of a second career.  (The answer was none.)   Second, I wanted to reduce our withdrawal rate from savings during the Great Recession and preserve capital.  (This worked, but probably wasn't necessary given the stock market recovery through December 2013.)

    In 2014, we will be living entirely off our savings and investment accounts.  (We won't be using our retirement accounts yet since I won't have penalty-free withdrawals for another 3.5 years when I turn 59-1/2.) We've been doing a test run since May 2013 when I ended my last part time job.  (My spouse still does a 1-day election polling job, but it pays less than $200, so I am excluding that.)  So far, the test run has worked out well, but the stock market has been very accommodating.

    So we move into 2014 with a bit of uncertainty.   I have resigned from all my part time jobs.  Stock market gains are likely to be lower, or maybe, even negative.   Our family size has increased since we adopted a second child in 2013.  The economic recovery is still very slow and fragile.

    For me, this will be uncharted territory.   I think we are better prepared than we were in 2007.  Back then, I only expected stock market and my company stock to keep rising.  Now, I know that both can drop significantly in the short term.

    For more on  New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

    2014 Doom and Boom Predictions

    "It's hard to make predicts especially about the future."  ~ Yogi Berra

    Here are my predictions for 2014:
  • The stock market will have a 20% correction and then rise to new highs.
  • Gold and commodities will continue to fall as inflation remains low.
  • Obamacare will become the poster child for smaller government advocates.
  • Money velocity (credit expansion or credit contraction) will drive the 2014 economy.  
  • The Fed taper will be a short term negative to the stock market, creating a buying opportunity.

  • Overall, I continue to expect the worst and hope for the best :-)

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #154

    Welcome to the one hundred fifty-fourth edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Earning


    Bryan presents Fun Jobs That Pay Well posted at Gajizmo, saying, "Tired of stressful 80-hour work weeks? Maybe self-employment or entrepreneurship isn’t for you either? Ever wonder how some people you know make a great living at a cushy, easy job? Check out this list of the easiest jobs that pay well. You’ll be surprised what you find."

    simon elstad presents How Multiple Streams of Income Lead to a Flood of Wealth posted at Modest Money, saying, "Multiple income streams afford you the luxury of retiring when you chose to not to mention the added layer of security where your main source of income is concerned. Think different. Act Different. Establish worthy income streams and probably even retire early!"


    Insuring and Protecting


    Matt Becker presents What to Look For in a Disability Insurance Policy posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "There are a lot of variables to consider when looking at disability insurance, and with all of the different terms it can quickly get confusing. Today I’d like to explain some of the most common and important characteristics of a disability insurance policy so that you can make a more informed decision when evaluating your options."


    Living Frugally


    John Schmoll presents How I Come Up With Great Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "Shopping for Christmas presents for children can be a challenge when you want to be frugal and are on a limited budget. With a little creativity, you can come up with great Christmas gift ideas for your kids and still be frugal at the same time."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Technorati tags: , .

    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Wednesday, December 04, 2013

    Five Ways to Become a Millionaire

    Becoming a millionaire is sometimes a milestone for growing wealth.  Here are fives ways that can be used to become a millionaire.
  • Save - At 0% interest, saving $25,000/year will achieve $1 million after 40 years. At 4.5% interest, saving $10,000/year will achieve $1 million after 40 years. 

  • Earn - Based on millionaire interviews, a six figure income, living way below one's means and savings the difference is another way to become a millionaire.

  • Inherit - Having parents who are millionaires may also be a way to become a millionaire.  However, none of us get to choose our parents.  So this may be difficult to act on :-)

  • Win - A low probability way is to win $1 million or more in a lottery.  

  • Marry - Marrying someone who already is a millionaire also works, unless a prenup excludes access to the assets by the non-millionaire spouse.
  • For me, earning and savings are the best ways to acquiring wealth.  However, I still occasionally put a few dollars towards the lottery when the jackpot is over $100 million :-)

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, December 03, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #153

    Welcome to the one hundred fifty-third edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Earning


    Jon Rhodes presents How To Make Money Online At Christmas posted at Affiliate Help!, saying, "Make money online this Christmas with these tried and tested methods."


    Insuring and Protecting


    Matt Becker presents Disability Insurance: Why Almost Everyone Needs It posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "Disability insurance is one of the hallmarks of a secure financial plan. And it's something that almost everyone needs. If you rely on your income, disability insurance is a must."


    Investing


    Justin @ Root of Good presents Investment Management Using Asset Allocation Targets posted at Root of Good, saying, "Many investors have an asset allocation for their portfolios. Find out how to rebalance your portfolio using asset allocation targets and free software."


    Living Frugally


    John Schmoll presents When Being Frugal Embarrassed Me posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "There are times when being frugal can be embarrassing, especially if the person in question is considered being cheap. However, it is those that have a keen eye and willing to be frugal that are able to find something that still holds great value."

    Theresa Torres presents How to Save Money with 3 Kids posted at CreditDonkey.com Tips, saying, "Learn how to get a price break and savings every time you shop for your kids with these methods."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Technorati tags: , .

    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Thursday, November 28, 2013

    My Reasons to Be Thankful

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Personally, I have a lot for which to be thankful.
  • Health - In December 2012, a stress test showed significant arterial blockage in my heart.  In January 2013, I had an angioplasty procedure that put stents in the arteries to open up the blockages.  Thus, the issue was corrected before I had a heart attack.

    I was lucky, since I had only experienced a few minor symptoms before going to see a cardiologists.  Since the blockages were discovered, I changed to a vegan, no added oil diet and have lost about 35 pounds.  This diet change should help reduce the probability of a future heart attack.

  • Family -  In April 2013, we received an adoptee referral for an application we filed in November 2006.  After almost 7 years since applying, we traveled to China and adopted a health 11 month old boy.   So our family size is now four, a bit later than we had planned.

  • Finances -  With the stock market gains of 2013, we have recovered all of our losses due the 08-09 bear market.  In addition, we have paid off our mortgage.  So we are in a better financial position that when I retired in 2007.  However, this time I won't be as na├»ve and will take more precautions against a significant market decline.
  • Hopefully, 2014 will be as good a year.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #152

    Welcome to the one hundred fifty-second edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    And now on to the Carnival.

    Investing


    Justin @ Root of Good presents Snapshot of Root of Good’s Diversification and Asset Allocation posted at Root of Good, saying, "Justin explains the asset allocation in his seven figure investment portfolio. Here's a preview: global diversification spanning the US, Europe, Asia, and Emerging Markets along with a tilt to value and small cap stocks. There's also a slice of alternative investments (real estate) to round out the portfolio."

    John Schmoll presents TradeKing Review: An Online Brokerage Worth Considering posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "Investing in the stock market is vital to building wealth and with the variety of options available of where to invest it can be confusing. Choosing a good brokerage that has good offering and low fees can be a great way to help grow your retirement portfolio and get your investing on the right foot."

    Bryan Chau presents Time To Take Stock of Your Investment Success - Follow Up posted at Success Pen Pal, saying, "stocks, investing, markets, success, tips, follow-up"

    simon elstad presents Is Peer To Peer Lending A Good Investment Idea? posted at Modest Money, saying, "Have you ever let a friend or family member borrow money? That’s a small form of peer to peer lending. There are millions of people out there that want loans, but don’t want to deal with banks. They are increasingly turning to online platforms to acquire the funds. As an investor is buying debt notes worth the risk?"


    Living Frugally


    Gary presents The Best Time To Buy Anything During The Year posted at Gajizmo, saying, "The holiday shopping season is coming up, but should you buy everything and anything that is on sale now? According to our research, Christmas time is not always the best time to buy stuff, from cars and televisions to furniture and refrigerators, learn what month of the year is best to buy what products and services. You’ll be surprised by what you read."

    Nivene presents Nearly Half of Americans Cutting Back for the Holidays posted at CashNetUSA, saying, "Unfortunately for the economic recovery, many Americans are set to cut back on their holiday spending this year. Almost 1 in 2 Americans (46 percent) report they will spend less on the holidays than last year, according to an October 2013 survey conducted by CashNetUSA."


    Retiring


    Matt Becker presents What Does Financial Freedom Mean to Me? posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "I have a very simple definition of financial freedom that's a little different from the norm. Find out what it means to me and how I plan to achieve it."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    Wrapping Up My Wealth Builder

    At this point, I expect  o meet the Endpoint #1 criteria of demonstrating four consecutive quarters of meeting our wealth ratios that I outlined in My Exit Plan from Blogging.  Specifically, we will be able to sustainably spend 80% of my pre-retirement salary from our retirement and savings accounts, we achieved our target savings ratio of 20x of my pre-retirement salary, and we have zero debt. 

    Mission accomplished!

    So unless there is a significant change, I'll be wrapping up My Wealth Builder on December 31, 2013.

    For more on New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    A Case for No Stock Market Bubble

    Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab share her perspective and data on why the stock market is not currently in a bubble.  The most interesting point to me was the 10 year rolling average of the S&P.  It shows S&P is just in the beginning phases of a long term advance.

    Of course, there are still corrections and bear markets during the long term advance.   But the overarching trend is still projected to be upward for another 15 years.  For me, this data supports my plan of waiting for pullbacks and corrections before putting more funds back into the stock market.

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday  for a new segment.

    This is not financial or investing advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #151

    Welcome to the one hundred fifty-first edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Insuring and Protecting


    Gary presents Life Insurance Dividends Explained posted at MyLifeInsuranceQuotes123.com, saying, "Do you receive life insurance dividends? If not, maybe you should consider a participating policy from a mutual company. Learn about insurance dividends, how they get paid out, and factors to consider."


    Investing


    Bryan Chau presents The Ace of Trades - 7 Tips For Flips posted at Success Pen Pal, saying, "tips, investing, stocks, markets, positions, strategies, success"

    Matt Becker presents How to Start Investing From Scratch – Part 2 posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "Welcome to Part 2 of my mini-series on how to start investing when you have little money or understanding of investing. This article will give you some simple steps you can take right now to get started on the right path."


    Living Frugally


    John Schmoll presents Buying in Bulk: Making Warehouse Club Shopping Worth the Trip posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "Warehouse Clubs are known for their gigantic packaging and for some quality deals, however is everything there a deal? It is possible to be frugal and save money while shopping at a warehouse club and still get out with the things you need."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Technorati tags: , .

    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Monday, November 18, 2013

    Protective Put Strategy

    As the end of 2013 nears, I am pleasantly surprised with the rise in the stock market and my company stock.   At the same time, I am worried about a significant drop in the stock market and my company stock over the next two months.   However, for tax efficiency reasons, I am reluctant to sell any more stock in 2013 and want to wait until 2104 to make any sales in our taxable accounts.  The main risk is that the stock market and my company stock declines significantly before 2014.

    At this point, my plan is to buy protective puts on my company stock that expire in early January 2014.  I will start buying the puts in mid-December at a target price of $0.50 per share with $2 maximum of downside protection.  Thus, I will be able to protect my profits against a loss greater than $2.50 per share.   If the stock should continue rising, then I will only lose $0.50 per share for the protection. 

    For me, a protective put strategy is worthwhile insurance since I believe a 10% or greater correction is likely in the next few months.

    For more on Strategies and Plans, check back every Monday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or investing advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Saturday, November 16, 2013

    No Bubble Obama

    Although unintentional, President Obama's greatest achievement will be the absence of bubbles during the economic recovery of 2009 - 2013.

    This economic recovery has been the slowest post WWII recovery.  It was no surprise since President Obama "invested" government spending in paying back the political supporters of his campaign, instead of  putting money towards programs that would grow the economy.   Recall the shovel ready projects, start up funding like Solyndra, and alternative energy programs?

    So businesses hunkered down, consumers deleveraged debt, and banks slowed lending, despite record low interest rates.  The result was that businesses, consumers and banks got stronger, the economy slowly healed, and investors bid up the stock market.  However, there was none of the irrational exuberance that happened in previous recoveries has been exhibited yet.

    My guess is that the Obama administration will continue it's policy of allocating funds toward political supporters which will continue to keep businesses from hiring, keep consumers cautious, maintain a slow healing economy and, best of all, avoid any bubbles.

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

    This is not financial  or policy advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival - Sesquicentennial Edition

    Welcome to the one hundred fiftieth edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Earning


    Martin Poldma presents How to Write Your First Sales Letter in 9 Steps posted at Success and Personal Development Blog, saying, "This is an article about how to write your very first sales letter, in which I explain the main formula that most top copywriters use to sell their products."

    Matthew Bauman presents How NOT to start a blog posted at The Zadoo, saying, "About a month ago I decided that a blog would be a profitable way to spend a few hours per week. My family would be considered "middle class" and a few extra bucks are always welcome. We have scaled back in the last few years, but the vision of escaping to Florida in February is on the wish list. I naturally enjoy spending time on the computer so what a better way to spend a few hours a week then to do something enjoyable to accomplish an item from the family wish list. Win-Win. Not so fast....."


    Investing


    Abdulrasool presents S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats 2013 posted at Top Dividend Stocks, saying, "S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats is a listing of all companies in the S&P 500 Index that have consistently increased dividends each year for the last 25 years. You will find some of America's largest blue-chip companies in this index including AT&T, Chevron, Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Procter & Gamble, Wal-Mart and Walgreen. For the year 2013, the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index had 54 companies that were equally weighted and not favored because of their sizes or market capitalization."


    Retiring


    Justin @ Root of Good presents Developing A Retirement Budget posted at Root of Good, saying, "Justin at Root of Good reveals his $32,000 per year retirement budget for a family of five. He explains the process of developing a budget for retirement that is based on your actual spending and what you actually plan to do in retirement (instead of a crazy "80% of pre-retirement income" rule)."

    Ward Carson cfp presents Women and Retirement – The Happy 401k posted at The Happy 401k, saying, "Ward Carson is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. He is the owner of The Happy401k.com and the Managing Partner of Cambridge Financial & Insurance Group. Cambridge provides counsel to corporate clients in the areas of qualified retirement plans and executive/employee benefits. Through TheHappy401k.com, Ward shares valuable insight for sponsors and participants of corporate retirement plans."

    Bryan Chau presents How To Maximize Your 401K - All The Way! posted at Success Pen Pal, saying, "401k plans, investing, money, savings, retirement, funds, stocks, strategies, success, etc."

    John Schmoll presents Protecting Your Retirement Funds in These Volatile Economic Times posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "Whenever you invest in the stock market, it’s important to be aware of current economic conditions and how they may impact your retirement portfolio as you seek to build wealth that’ll last for the long run."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Saturday, November 09, 2013

    Just ACA Everything

    "How can anyone be expected to pay $13,000 a year for health insurance?" ~ statement by supporter of Affordable Care Act

    This argument seems to resonate among supporters of government entitlement programs: if someone can't afford something, the government will provide it.   So why stop with health care?  Here are some other ACA programs for "basic needs" that the President Obama can introduce during his second term.
  • Affordable Car Act -  I guess I should wonder how anyone can be expected to pay $25,000 for a car or $50,000 for an electric car.   People making under a certain amount will qualify for Caraid, and have their car payments fully covered.  Cash for Clunkers was just the beginning.

  • Affordable Cell Act - Cell phone plans are getting expensive, over a $100/month for a smartphone with data usage.  This would expand the Lifeline program that currently serves over 12 million customers.

  • Affordable Clothing Act - This would give people access to designer wardrobes that have become the standard for many people. 

  • Affordable Cuisine Act -  Eating out at fine restaurants should be available to every one instead of only those that can afford to pay the bill.  Subsidy vouchers will reduce the cost to the level of eating at a fast food restaurant.

  • Affordable Condo Act - Rent is very expensive also.  People need a certain level housing, which many cannot afford

  • Affordable Child Act - Children are expensive and income should prevent people from having them.   This would replace the Earned Income Tax Credit.

  • Affordable College Act - Higher education is expensive, as is evident from the current student loan crisis.  This would replace the current government grant and student loan programs.

  • Of course, all these programs will be paid for by a 100% tax on the rich, who need to keep earning to support these programs.  

    President Obama will be remembered as the Affordable President.

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or policy advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Wednesday, November 06, 2013

    Interviews with Self Made Millionaires

    Free Money Finance is doing a series of millionaire interviews with a focus on how they became a millionaire.  The series is up to number 11 and growing.

    Based on the interviews, the most frequent way to become a millionaire is to earn a six figure base salary, live significantly below one's means and save the difference.  

    The need to earn six figures makes sense to me since someone saving an average of  $50,000 per year would accumulate $1,000,000 in 20 years.  The $50,000 saved would need to be done after taxes and living expenses which could easily equal a minimum of $50,000.  Although possible, it would be very challenging to average earning $80,000, living on $30,000 and saving $50,000 per year.

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, November 05, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #149

    Welcome to the one hundred forty-ninth edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    This week, Blog Carnival had some technical difficulties resulting in fewer than normal submissions.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Earning


    Matt Becker presents Make Your Money Grow Faster: Investing Better vs. Earning More posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "Whatever your particular financial goals, there is often a desire to find a way to make your money grow faster so that you can meet your goals along the timeline that fits your needs. So what’s the best way to do it? Well, I ran I little experiment comparing two options: investing better and earning more. Let’s find out which one is more effective."


    Insuring and Protecting


    Justin @ Root of Good presents Be Your Own Insurance Company posted at Root of Good, saying, "Justin at Root of Good explains how to take on a large number of small risks throughout one's financial life in order to cut out wasteful spending on unnecessary insurance."


    Investing


    John Schmoll presents Jumping Off a Cliff: Investing in the Twitter IPO posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "The Twitter IPO is all the talk in the stock market lately. Many people want the opportunity to invest in it. However, when you’re trying to build wealth and grow a retirement portfolio, listening to the herd is not always the best course of action as it could have negative impacts on your growing of wealth."


    Living Frugally


    Theresa Torres presents What to Buy in November before the Holiday Sales posted at CreditDonkey.com Tips, saying, "If you're smart enough, you can find the best deals this November before Black Friday and Holiday sales hit. Here are some tips on how to be a smart consumer."


    Retiring


    kurt@mymoneycounselor.com presents Is Your 401(k) Plan a Rip-Off and Delaying Your Retirement? posted at Money Counselor, saying, "401(k) plan administrator fees can be as high as 1%. The hit on your retirement nest egg can reach six figures over a working lifetime."


    Taxes


    Bill Smith presents The IRS Publication 17 And You posted at 2009 Tax, saying, "IRS publication 17 deals with general instructions and guidance for people using form 1040. Paying income tax can be daunting but reading this publication will aid you in this process."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Technorati tags: , .

    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Monday, November 04, 2013

    Health Insurance Subsidy Cliff

    A friend of mine is making sure that he earns less than 400% the federal poverty level so that he qualifies for the health care insurance subsidy.  Otherwise, he will need to pay 100% more than  his current insurance policy premium  for essentially the same coverage.  Earning $1 over the threshold will require him to pay a month's income more in health insurance premium.  For him, it doesn't make sense to earn more than the threshold.

    Apparently, this phenomenon is not limited to my friend as shown is this San Francisco Chronicle article.  Retirees and small business owners will be considering options that will enable them to keep income below the thresholds and avoid the health insurance subsidy cliff.

    For more on Strategies and Plans, check back every Monday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or insurance advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Saturday, November 02, 2013

    Getting Baracked by Health Insurance

    "How do you know when a politician is lying?  When his lips move." - old joke

    It seems that a growing number of people are disappointed in President Obama for delivering the opposite of what he promised.  It has happened to so many people, I think the phenomenon is worth an eponymous description of  getting "Baracked."

    The most recent Baracking happened with Obamacare.   Many people with individual insurance policies are unable to maintain the same coverage and often need to pay much more to be insured.  In the case of the young and healthy, health insurance is not quite as affordable as anticipated.   As it turns out the Baracked in these articles also voted for President Obama, which seems very fitting.

    Fortunately, I have not believed any of the health care promises that President Obama made and have been prepared for my insurance coverage changing and getting more expensive.  I expected more government involvement would significantly raise the cost of health care and it has for us.  

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #148

    Welcome to the one hundred forty-eighth edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    This week, Blog Carnival had some technical difficulties resulting in fewer than normal submissions.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Earning


    Martin Poldma presents The Secret Behind Increasing the Sales of Your Business posted at Success and Personal Development Blog, saying, "In this article I talk about the secret that most top salesman use to increase their turnovers and revenue."


    Insuring and Protecting


    Gary presents How Much Life Insurance Do I Need? posted at MyLifeInsuranceQuotes123.com, saying, "Term life insurance is cheap, but why overpay for more coverage than you need? Or worse, accidentally under-insure yourself and put your family’s financial future in jeopardy? In this guide, we discuss the factors to consider when calculating how much life insurance you need."


    Investing


    Matt Becker presents Start Investing Now, Even if You Stink posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "Many people avoid investing out of fear. They fear doing something wrong and losing all of their money. But the truth is that those first few years of returns are relatively unimportant to your final result. So get started today, even if you don't know what you're doing. The benefits of starting far outweigh the risks of getting something wrong."

    John Schmoll presents Reasons Why You Should Start Investing For The Long Run posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "Many people want to go for the quick buck when it comes to investing. However, a long term approach in generally best if you’re looking to build wealth and grow a decent retirement portfolio that will last."

    Mark Hanna presents Why Dividend Investing is Perfect for New Parents posted at Debt, Dividends, & Diversions, saying, "4 points for why new parents should think about getting started with dividend investing: simplicity, time required, the ability to start small, and that it supports your kids as much as you."


    Taxes


    Justin @ Root of Good presents $150,000 Income, $150 Income Tax posted at Root of Good, saying, "Justin at Root of Good reveals how his household made $150,000 and paid only $150 in income taxes through a combination of contributions to workplace savings plans and IRA's. Tax efficient investing and tax loss harvesting also played a key role in keeping his income taxes at 0.1%."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Technorati tags: , .

    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    Bullish or Bearish?

    At the beginning of 2013, I was expecting the worst for the stock market and continued to plan for the worst in September 2013.  I was wrong.  2013 has been one of the best years for stock market returns,  both in percentage gain and lack of major corrections. 

    The bulls are making a case for the market advance as in the article The next 10% correction could be 5 years away.   Of course there are also calls, although fewer, for a market decline as in the article Scary this bearish call points to 40% drop which interview Mark Spitznagel who called the 2000 and 2008 declines, resulting in large gains for the short positions his hedge fund.

    At this time, I am still choosing to be very cautious.  I plan to maintain our current investment amounts, continue to reduce our exposure to my company stock options, and take profits in equities in which we are overweight.   I will also return to my strategy of buying every dip, which I didn't do for the debt crisis/shutdown pull back.

    For more on Strategies and Plans Ideas, check back every Monday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    In the Zone

    One of my fun activities with our daughter is to do Dave & Busters on their 1/2 price game day.  Not only to we play for half price, but we are using play points that I purchased using a 2 for 1 coupon.  So it really is a 1/4 price game day for us.  We usually use about 200 play points, which would be 400 play points on a regular day, and costing $70 to $80 dollars.  But due to the promotions I use, it only costs about $20 for us, which I think is very reasonable for kids entertainment.

    Usually, I will average hitting one jackpot a session, which gets my daughter excited since we win 500 to 1000 points towards prizes.   However, the last time we went, my daughter was in the zone.   She managed to hit four jackpots, while I got my usual one jackpot.   Each time, she did made the jackpot with ease, with little thinking or effort.  It was amazing to see her in the zone.

    For more on Crossing Generations, check back every  Thursday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or entertainment advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    An Unstoppable Stock Market

    "I believe the United States economy is extremely resilient and will recover to reach new highs."  ~ my father-in-law in 2009.

    My father-in-law had unfailing confidence in the U.S. economy over the long term.   He believed that short term disruptions were a buying opportunity.   We often debated the merits of timing versus fundamental investing.  

    He would have appreciated this last minor pull back due to the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis.  He would have been buying and benefiting from the subsequent market advance.  On the other hand, I was convinced there would be a 10% correction and waited for a further decline, which did not happen.  

    My lesson is to follow my buying every dip plan going forward, even if I expect a 10% or greater correction.

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every  Wednesday  for a new segment.

    This is not financial or investing advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #147

    Welcome to the one hundred forty-seventh edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    This week, Blog Carnival had some technical difficulties resulting in fewer than normal submissions.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Earning


    Bryan Chau presents The Acronym of My Life – PASSION posted at SuccessPenPal, saying, "earning, passion, mindset, success, business, entrepreneurship, ambition, strategies, etc."


    Insuring and Protecting


    Gary presents Return of Premium Term Life Insurance posted at MLIQ123 saying, "Ever heard of free life insurance? Thought it was a myth? Check out our guide on return of premium life insurance and the pros and cons of a policy that refunds all your premiums if you outlive the term period. Should you buy ROP term life insurance?"


    Investing


    Matt Becker presents Beware the Source of Your Financial Advice posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, " When it comes to financial advice, there's so much BS out there and it makes me sick. When it comes down to it, you’re the only one who truly has your best interests at heart. There are people who can help you make your goals a reality, but you have to understand that there are likely even more who are much more interested in simply taking your money and running. And the financial services industry is one of the worst in this respect. Educate yourself and thoroughly evaluate any prospective advisor before entrusting them with something as important as your financial future. After all, if they’re worried that you could do their job for them, they’re probably right."


    Living Frugally


    Gary presents How Much Car Can I Afford? posted at Gajizmo, saying, "Unfortunately, many American consumers overspend when buying a car. Here’s a guide on how you should budget for your vehicle and a few strategies on how to determine how much car you can afford."

    John Schmoll presents Frugal Birthday Parties for Kids - Frugal Rules posted at Frugal Rules, saying, " It can be quite easy to throw a birthday party for your child and overspend. However, with a little creativity and planning you can throw them a frugal birthday party and still have one they’ll enjoy and remember."

    Justin @ Root of Good presents Auto Costs On The Cheap posted at Root of Good, saying, "Justin at Root of Good reveals helpful hints that allow his family to keep auto costs very low. Justin walks his kids to school instead of driving them, and does simple maintenance tasks himself."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Technorati tags: , .

    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #146

    Welcome to the one hundred forty-sixth edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Earning


    Theresa Torres presents How to Make Some Extra Money posted at CreditDonkey.com Tips, saying, "Here are a few ideas to help you get some extra cash in your spare time. Check out which suits you best."


    Insuring and Protecting


    Gary presents Is Life Insurance Tax Deductible? posted at MyLifeInsuranceQuotes123.com, saying, "Is life Insurance tax deductible? Is life insurance taxed at all? How about estate taxes, death benefit payouts, and premiums – how are all these aspects of life insurance treated under the tax code? Check out our guide to answer the most important questions you’ll have about life insurance and taxes."


    Investing


    Bill Smith presents Rating Royal Bank Of Scotland Today posted at FastSwings, saying, "Royal Bank of Scotland Group operates in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Its operations in other countries are minimal in comparison."

    John Schmoll presents OptionsXpress Review: An Online Brokerage Worth Looking At posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "Investing in the stock market is vital to building wealth and with the variety of options available of where to invest it can be confusing. Choosing a good brokerage that has good offering and low fees can be a great way to help grow your retirement portfolio and get your investing on the right foot."


    Living Frugally


    Matt Becker presents Buying a Car: Sealing the Deal posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "This is the final installment of my series on buying a car. In this post we'll go over the final steps in the car-buying process to make sure you get exactly the car you want at the absolute best price possible."


    Retiring


    Justin @ Root of Good presents A Simple Way to Retire 15 Years Earlier posted at Root of Good, saying, "Justin at Root of Good illustrates the huge impact of lower spending and higher savings. By increasing savings from 10% of income to 30% of income, aspiring early retirees can knock 15 years off their retirement date."


    Saving


    simon elstad presents How Much Money Should You Have In Savings Before You Invest? posted at Modest Money, saying, "Beyond what amount should you move part of your emergency fund from a savings account to maybe an investment account. This weeks post explores that from the combined wisdom of PF bloggers."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Wednesday, October 09, 2013

    Prepared for a 10% Correction

    "This time is different.  I think they (Wall Street) should be concerned." ~ President Obama on government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis.

    It doesn't appear that the budget and debt ceiling stalemate will be resolved without causing market volatility.   This may the be catalyst that causes a 10% market correction that I've been anticipating for the over a year.  The decline may be as much as 20% which is just a little more than happened in 2011.

    Should the market correct, I am prepared to increase the amount funds that we have in equities, through managed accounts, commission free index ETFs, and dividend paying stocks

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or investing advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    Tuesday, October 08, 2013

    The Wealth Builder Carnival #145

    Welcome to the one hundred forty-fifth edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival. The purpose of this carnival is to collect articles from the blogosphere on building, preserving and keeping enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. For reference, I have tried to keep the carnival content tightly focused on wealth building and did not include submissions that were off topic. For reading convenience, the posts are listed with a brief summary or comment by the submitter and organized into seven categories: Earning, Insuring and Protecting, Investing, Living Frugally, Retiring, Saving and Taxes.

    And now on to the Carnival.


    Earning


    Shelby Martin presents 5 Nanny Expenses Your Employer Should Cover posted at GoNannies.com Blog, saying, "For some nannies, especially those newer to the field, it can be a little tough to bring up money with an employer."

    Martin Poldma presents How to Start a Business With No Ideas and No Money posted at Success and Personal Development Blog, saying, "Here is a great post I recently wrote on how to start a new business, even if you have no ideas and no money at the time. I give an explanation of how 2 great entrepreneurs did it in their lives."


    Investing


    Bryan Chau presents Don’t Shun From Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) posted at Success Pen Pal, saying, "exchange-traded funds, ETFs, investing, business, wealth, retirement, success, market indexes, etc."


    Living Frugally


    John Schmoll presents A Pumpkin Costs What?!: 4 Fun and Frugal Fall Activities posted at Frugal Rules, saying, "If you’re like our family, we don’t want to spend $150 to get into a park to buy a pumpkin. I share some of our favorite frugal ways to celebrate the season and still have fun in the process."

    Theresa Torres presents The Secrets to Job Searching on a Small Budget posted at Simply Hired Blog, saying, "The hidden costs of looking for a job can add up if you're not careful, so here are a few tips to help you along the way."


    Saving


    Matt Becker presents Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund - Is it a Good Idea? posted at Mom and Dad Money, saying, "The concept of using your Roth IRA as an emergency fund is one I find incredibly interesting, mostly because of the mental or behavioral considerations. From a purely technical standpoint, it can make a lot of sense. But from a behavioral standpoint, it can be dangerous when you start mixing your retirement savings with other purposes. Today I'd like to explore some of the strengths and weaknesses of taking this approach."


    That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Wealth Builder Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Technorati tags: , .

    For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, earning, insuring, investing, living, retiring, saving, tax, or wealth building advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2013 Achievement Catalyst, LLC