Are you getting your Matching Contribution? A discussion on saving for retirement

“If you’re not contributing up to the five percent match, you’re leaving money on the table!”

Note. Like my Net Worth piece, the subject matter of this blog post is not new. It has been known for years by those who’ve learned about it in their families, learned about its concepts in business school, or have discovered it on their own. It’s a discussion from my personal perspective which I think is worth visiting. Also, while this is a ‘money’ topic, I’m discussing it from a ‘scholarly’ perspective. I’m not rendering financial advice where I’m telling readers what they should do. In the spirit of the first principle of my blog, Creating Ecosystems of Success, I’m simply introducing a concept and discussing why it’s important for the lay person, so they can make their own life choices.

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At the beginning of this week, a mentor emailed me telling me that April is “Financial Literacy Month”. He asked me if I was writing anything on this subject. I shared with him that I already had something coming out of the pipeline regarding a topic we’d coincidentally discussed at length. He also shared an article with me entitled, There is a savings crisis and many Americans don’t know how to fix it. Here’s how. It serves as the perfect jumping off point for my financial offering for the month of April 2019.

I saw many retirement commercials during my young adult life. They were usually run during sporting events. I wasn’t thinking about my older years at the time, which seemed too far away to imagine. The commercials I remember the most are those by Dean Witter where, in the black and white film, he states, “We measure success one investor at a time!”

My next thoughts of saving for retirement came courtesy of Robert T. Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. I believe it was in his book, Conspiracy of the Rich. In the book he described the “Employee Retirement Income Security Act” (ERISA) enacted by President Richard Nixon. The new law made employees responsible for their own retirement savings, converting most everyone over from ‘Defined Benefit’ (DB) plans (pensions), to ‘Defined Contribution’ (DC) plans. That was during my postdoctoral fellowship and I think I set up a ‘Roth IRA’ at my bank, shortly after reading the book.

It wasn’t until I started working in the federal government that I seriously started thinking about retirement, but it wasn’t due to my own volition. It was due to a friend I was dating at the time. I’ll facetiously say that the relationship didn’t last, but her asking me about whether I started saving in my government “Thrift Savings Plan” (TSP) was a major contribution on her part. She caused me to think about retirement in the relationship context.

I realized that I might be a liability as a partner if I didn’t have my own retirement ‘nest egg’ which in some respects is true. (See my Mother’s Day 2017 blog post to get a feel for the potential dangers of two people settling down when only one has savings and the other one doesn’t.) In terms of relationships, are money and resources everything? No, but they count for a lot and are worth pondering and discussing ahead of time!

At this point I’m going to transition and point out that in the financial world, there are different rules for different people. I first learned this after reading the above-mentioned Robert Kiyosaki’s second book, Cash Flow Quadrant, which discussed the differences between: Employees, Self-Employed Individuals, Business Owners, and finally, Investors. To make a long story short, in addition to having their own unique ‘tax laws’, employees by nature have a ‘working life’, and they must figure out how they’re going to survive once their working life is over. That’s if they’ve thought about it.

Some of my relatives are beneficiaries of the DB plans described above, but they’re “Baby Boomers”. My father is a retired educator who started teaching in the late 1980s. My uncle, a retired firefighter, started his career around that time as well. I could be wrong, but I think that most municipal workers such as the police officers and firefighters receive Defined Benefit pensions. Most teachers now must contribute to a Defined Contribution plan. If I’m wrong, please leave a comment below. What if you’re responsible for your own retirement savings? Read on.

“If you’re not saving the maximum amount so that you’re getting the government’s five percent ‘Matching Contribution’, you’re leaving money on the table!” The first person to point this out to me was a counselor at work who was helping me with relationship issues with the above-mentioned lady friend. By the way, this anonymous friend inspired me to write my piece entitled, The difference between being Cheap and Frugal, so she deserves a lot of credit in terms of inspiring some of my content.

I’d told the counselor that she’d called me ‘cheap’ on multiple occasions, a label which hurt me at the time. One of his immediate questions was about whether I was saving into my retirement account to get my government match. When I told him that I was saving less than the five percent, he responded that I wasn’t taking full advantage of what the government was offering me. Also getting the match should’ve been first and foremost in my mind.

So, what is a Matching Contribution and why is it important? I’m glad you asked. A Matching Contribution is a dollar amount that your employer matches in relation to what you’re saving in your retirement account. For the federal government, it’s five percent, and it differs from employer to employer. Some don’t match at all. The point is that if you’re not contributing anything, you’re not going to get anything, or maybe the bare minimum. If your employer matches what you’re put in, you’re effectively getting free money.

Your employer match makes it easier to get to the holy annual retirement threshold of 15% and beyond. If you’re consistently saving five percent, and your employer is matching that with their five percent, you’re already at ten percent for the year. At that point you must come up with another five percent or more to get to 15%. If you don’t know where you’ll get that extra five percent, look at your personal budget. I wrote a piece on that recently.

If your employer doesn’t match your contribution, should you still save for your retirement? Absolutely. First, if you’re going to work until your 60 years old or more, you do want something for yourself, or else you’ll have to keep working, or someone will have to take care of you.

Second, from experience, your retirement savings contributes to your ‘Net Worth’ and this translates into other areas such as qualifying for mortgages. Most lenders want to see that you can save money and something they consider qualifying you for a mortgage is your Net Worth – the difference between your assets and liabilities. I wrote a piece on that as well.

When refinancing my mortgage two years ago, I realized that that my lender actually had a form entitled, ‘Net Worth’. Calculating it quarterly was routine for me by then. I’d already built up an ‘Emergency Fund’ and I’d started methodically saving into my retirement account, so I knew I was in good shape. This was in stark contrast to when I barely qualified for my first mortgage due to being too ‘overleveraged’ (carrying too much debt) ten years earlier. See my post on Dave Ramsey’s ‘Debt Snowball’, to see how I dug out of my own debt-hole.

Speaking of debt, as an employee living off one paycheck, budgeting, controlling costs, and minimizing debt are all keys to being able to build a retirement nest egg. You want to be able to create enough ‘Cash Flow’ so that you don’t miss the amount going into your retirement account every pay period. Furthermore, you don’t want to be in position to have to raid or borrow against your retirement savings should an emergency arise – both of which could hurt you.

Speaking of Dave Ramsey’s group, a good book to read is Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan. It gives a nice discussion about what retirement is and why it’s important, which brings me to my closing point. If we all know we’re going to age, why doesn’t everyone save for their retirement? I think the answer is a lack of awareness and a lack of understanding of why it’s important.

“You should’ve learned about this when you were 18 years old!” My mentor scowled at me after we finished talking about my retirement savings and why I hadn’t maximized it a couple of years ago. It stung for a moment, but I laughed about it inside afterwards. It would’ve been nice to have been educated on the subject 20 years earlier, but honestly those in my ecosystem back in Buffalo just weren’t talking about investments or retirement savings.

One could argue that the change from DB-pension plans and DC plans needs to be better explained in the school system so that all kids get exposure to these concepts early. I do agree with that, but the reality is that if these things aren’t discussed in your family circle, you must figure them out on your own somehow.

I don’t want to make this racial, but over the years I’ve heard stories of Jewish families regularly and openly talking about money and investments at family gatherings. It’s not race-specific as my mentor’s family which is black, regularly engages in these types of discussions. What does your family talk about at gatherings?

The financial world has a language all its own. When you’re entering your first job fresh out of school, being told to start your retirement benefits and then hearing all the esoteric terms can literally sound like ‘gibberish’. It can be daunting like talking to your surgeon or your auto mechanic. Unless you understand why it’s important to start saving for your later years, you’ll likely neglect it and use your precious resources on other things, but hopefully not for too long, as it’s difficult to catch up beyond a certain age.

Why is it hard to catch up? This brings us to the “Law of Compounding Interest” of which time is a major component. I wrote a piece on that as well which I’m sure you’d enjoy, but the quick version is that the earlier you start your retirement savings, the more time they have to grow and multiply. Furthermore, depending on the nature of your plan, you could be missing out on significant annual tax savings which add up over the years.

The last important piece is figuring out what your retirement savings should be ‘allocated’ in. This is a completely different but related subject. The point is though, that you must have something to allocate first and foremost.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed it, you might also enjoy:

A look at the Law of Compounding Interest and why you should care
Your Net Worth, your Gross Salary, and what they mean
The power in budgeting your money
I still don’t have a car in 2018: A story about playing financial chess
We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing story
My personal experience with Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball revisited

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How To Apply Your Money Saving Sense To Your Business

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Just as with your personal finances, you must also manage the finances of your business. In both instances, to be successful you must control your money management, costs and try to run as much of a surplus as you can. The following contributed post is therefore entitled, How To Apply Your Money Saving Sense To Your Business.

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Image via Pexels

You may have mastered the fine art of balancing your personal finances, but when it comes to starting up a business, it’s a whole different ball game. If you’ve launched a start-up it may well be your first time having to manage business finance, and although the opportunities are good, it can also be a tough, global marketplace to compete in. No matter how great your product or service, if you don’t get the money side right, your business doesn’t have a good chance at being successful and expanding. Many a promising venture has ended up on the rocks due to fiscal naivety or mismanagement. Your best bet is to apply the same money-saving sense to your business as you do your personal financial affairs.

Focus On Low Cost Advertising

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your business can succeed without a marketing strategy. You do need to allocate some budget towards attracting customers to get those profits rolling in, but the good news is that there are plenty of very low cost digital options available. If your brand is a visual one, investing in polished, professional Instagram content is a great way to catch the eye. If your business is more technical, you could chose to focus on public relations work and positioning yourself as a source of industry expertise, through hosting Q&A sessions on Twitter, participating in LinkedIn groups and publishing white papers. There’s also a lot you can do with targeted AdWords campaigns without a huge budget. Search out the low-cost marketing activities that most align with your brand.

Find Great Suppliers

A lot of the costs you will be encountering as a start-up business come from your suppliers, so it’s basic sense to shop around for the best deals. Whether you’re looking for office supplies or something specialist like crane hire on a construction project, don’t be afraid to use your negotiation skills to improve on the first price you’re offered. Find ways to become a preferred customer – ordering in bulk, trading services or recommending to other customers. Depending on your industry and the growth potential of what you do, you may be able to set up exclusive trading relationships with some suppliers including a fixed unit price which will help to cushion your company from the effects of inflationary cost rises.

Head In The Clouds

Small business owners are almost always better off using cloud based systems solutions. Most of these work on a annual user basis and they free you from the need to constantly maintain and upgrade your own systems. They also extend productivity by allowing you to access data and work from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection, plus they usually have hefty security methods like encryption and secure servers that you may otherwise be paying for separately. Your CRM and word processing systems are better off in the cloud, and some programmes, such as Trello project management software or Canva for graphic design, are even free up to a certain point, or offer special enterprise licences for small business.

3 Of The Best Ways To Make Money Today

Two of the key focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. In 2019 there are several ways to make money aside from working a 9-5. The following contributed post describes a couple of them and is entitled, 3 Of The Best Ways To Make Money Today.

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You will no doubt have heard plenty about different ways to make money in the past. As it happens, there are so many great ways to make money that you might even struggle to choose between them, and this is certainly not going to be helpful if you want to be able to make the most of your finances in the future. However, there are a few ways of making money which generally come out on top, and those are what we are going to focus on solely in this article. Here, we will look at some of the best ways that anyone can make money today, so long as they put the right effort in, are sensible about it, and in some cases, have a little luck on their side. Consider all of the following if you are truly keen to be able to make a lot more money than you might normally think possible.


Foreign Exchange

Chances are, you have thought about betting on the foreign exchange at some point in your life, but thinking about it and actually doing it are two very different things. The truth is that if you want to make money here, you will need a few different things on your side. First of all, and probably most importantly of all, you will need to find a decent platform like KnightsBridge FX to be able to use. The platform determines not just how easy you find it to carry out the necessary actions, but also how much you are likely to stick with it, and you will want to try and find an exchange which you feel you can use in a strongly intuitive sense. With that, you will have more chance of then making real money from it – but you will also need to make sure that you are genuinely paying close attention to the markets too, otherwise you can’t expect to make any money at all.

Matched Betting

If you have never looked into matched betting before, you are about to discover something of a revelation. Matched betting is when you take advantage of free bets given out by bookmakers by laying your bet at a betting exchange, so that you always make a guaranteed profit, no matter which bet wins or which one loses. You will need to read up on this in some detail before you attempt it, so that you can make sure you are doing it right – but as long as you do that, it is a sure-fire way to make real money, and you could even make thousands a month, depending on how much you have to bankroll initially. This is a powerful and exciting way of earning money, and you should think about it seriously if that is what you want to do.


Write An Ebook

If you feel you are something of an expert on a given subject, you might want to think about writing an ebook. This can be a good way to help others with that thing, while lso actually being able to make a lot of money in the process. Writing an ebook doesn’t need to take too long, especially if you are already a good enough writer, and you will find that it is a highly rewarding means of bringing in some extra cash.

Are You Putting Your Income To Good Use?

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy. A key to understanding money is knowing the best ways to use what income you have, but also to eliminate waste. Incomes vary and there is less room for error the less you make. The following contributed post is thus entitled, Are You Putting Your Income To Good Use?

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With the number of expenditures most of us face on a daily basis, it’s hard to make a paycheck last for the entire month. But there might be more you could do to manage your financial situation. Are you putting your income to good use? Let’s talk about some ways in which you could spend your money wisely.

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Tidy up your monthly expenses.
The first way in which you should put your income to good use is to tidy up your monthly expenses. So many people unnecessarily waste their earnings on expenditures that they don’t need. Practicing the 30-day rule (avoiding buying a luxury until you’ve waited for 30 days) is a smart way to control your desire to splurge. Of course, even those of us who avoid luxury purchases might still struggle to cover the endless list of monthly bills. But you could save money in that sense too. You could insulate your walls and windows to reduce the energy needed to warm up your house and save money on your energy bill. You could use online vouchers to save money when shopping for food, new clothes, or anything else you need online. You could even put up a lodger to help cover some of your bills if you have a spare room in your house or flat. There are so many ways to tidy up your monthly expenses if you change your approach to spending money. Budgeting is the easiest way to track and manage your finances, of course.

Find worthwhile investment opportunities.
Finding worthwhile investment opportunities is another way to put your income to good use. As we’ll discuss in the final point, saving your money is important, but you could really improve your future financial situation by letting your wealth grow substantially through investments. Perhaps you could look at the stock market, for example. You might even want to head here for some new build houses. Investing in property is very smart because it’s a market that always has keen buyers. After all, people always need somewhere to live. Whether you buy and fix up properties to sell them for a quick profit or you buy properties to lease them out for a regular income, there’s a lot of money to be made here. Still, however you choose to invest your money, just make sure you do your research to make low-risk and high-reward decisions.

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Save on payday.
If you know that you’re prone to splurging as soon as that paycheck comes through every week or every month then you should start saving on payday. That way, you don’t have to worry about triggers urging you to spend your money when you’re out shopping or browsing online. You can immediately transfer a portion of your disposable income to your savings account and any disposable earnings that remain can be your spending money for non-essentials. It’ll mean you don’t have to feel guilty if you do treat yourself to luxuries because you’ll know that you’ve already put something into your savings for the month. This is a smart way to start putting your income to better use. You’re allowed to treat yourself in life, but you shouldn’t do so at the expense of your overall financial security in the present or the future. That’s always the crucial thing to remember.

Your Money Mindset And How To Improve It

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. A prominent financial talk show host and writer once said that money is 20% head knowledge and then 80% behavior. This suggests that it’s actually pretty easy to win with money as long as you continue to repeat the right steps. How can you improve your money mindset? The following contributed post is entitled, Your Money Mindset And How To Improve It.

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Do you know what a money mindset is – better yet, do you know what shape yours is in? Being aware of your own money mindset is absolutely key if you want to get your finances in order. With a strong money mindset you’ll be able to earn more money, manage your money better, and feel more comfortable and free around money. It is honestly the best thing you can do to improve. Too many people look outside of themselves for solutions rather than looking inwards to fix what is going on. If you aren’t good with money, what makes you think you’ll be better when you’re earning a lot more? The troubles will remain!

Below, we’ll go into more detail on your money mindset and how you can improve it. Enjoy!


Identify Your Limiting Beliefs
The first step to changing your money mindset is identifying your limiting beliefs. We all have limiting beliefs to some degree, some more than others. These beliefs are usually the beliefs that we picked up off our parents and the people around us when we were young. By identifying what your beliefs are, you can eradicate them and write a new story. It takes time. You must be mindful of your thoughts, and you can think about using techniques like tapping to help you overcome the beliefs that are holding you back.

Spend More Time With People Who Are Good With Money
If you’re always spending time with people who squander their money, don’t appreciate it, and talk about it in a negative way, you will do the same. We become like the people we spend the most time with. If you spend time with people you’d like to be like, you’ll be investing and learning all about accounting for cryptocurrency before you know it. You can try to spend more time with people who are good with money by finding mentors, asking for advice from people you admire, and even following them on their social channels. You don’t have to cut out people who are bad with money, but you must make sure you’re not soaking up their limiting beliefs and getting involved in their narrative.

Read More Books On Money
There are so many books on money that can help, including ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ and ‘Think and Grow Rich’. Look them up and gain a new perspective!

Know What Your Spending Triggers Are
Certain things may trigger you to spend, for example, feeling sad, or feeling bored. You’ll need to make sure you stay extra mindful during these times so that you don’t cave in and spend money on things you don’t need.

Practice Gratitude Every Day
Practice the feeling of abundance by being grateful for all you have every day. Be grateful for every dollar, every cent. Be grateful you are able to pay bills. Be grateful for everything!

Open Your Mind To The Myriad Of Possibilities
There are a ton of possibilities for you, but you must be open to them. Changing your story will allow you to imagine new possibilities for yourself. Amazing things can happen, you just have to believe it!

Ways to Save Money When Starting a Business

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. When trying to get your business off the ground, it’s important to understand where you can save money initially. This can pay dividends later. The following contributed post is thus entitled, Ways to Save Money When Starting a Business.

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One of the most difficult challenges start-up’s face is that of having to set things up on a limited budget, particularly in the very early days when they are yet to get any traction, times can be tough.

Yet, it’s usually upon an injection of capital into the business, for instance, via angel funding, that start-ups get themselves in financial hot water as there’s a tendency to overspend, or at least go on a spending spree to kit out their start-up with anything from a fancy website to the best premises.

Now, there’s a time and place to invest in your business, of course, and investing in items such as cold room panels to replace the bootstrapped domestic solutions used previously, make financial sense – it’s just important you don’t fall into the emotional trap many entrepreneurs fall into which is to overspend and put themselves in a precarious cash flow situation down the line.

In this article you’ll find seven ways startups can save money, in the early days:

A common mistake many startups make is they feel the need to secure premises, even with a digital business.

It’s emotionally understandable as there are clear benefits to having the space to focus in a distraction free environment, yet if this isn’t absolutely necessary to your business functioning (i.e. you employ a team of people or often have physical rather than virtual meetings) then you’ll want to try to avoid acquiring premises as it will put a significant strain on your start-up budget.

There are certain essentials every entrepreneur needs, for instance printer ink, yet there are ways to keeping costs down by shopping around and/or looking for cheaper alternatives.

The majority of entrepreneurs feel the need to do everything on their own, but when business starts picking up one of the first things they’ll do is go out and hire more people than necessary. A much more cost efficient strategy is to hire virtual assistants to outsource tasks to, as they tend to operate on a more flexible freelance basis meaning the workload (and therefore, the amount you pay them) can change with your needs.

There are certain things within your business that might feel good to outsource, for instance, web design, yet there are plenty of ways you can do it yourself and come up with a “good enough for now” solution that gets you to a place of more traction.

Similarly, it can feel important not to waste your precious time on tasks that could be outsourced – and whilst this is good advice for business owners, when starting a business, it really is a hard slog that requires you to do most things yourself; from the accounting to the cleaning. The good news, however, is that this is a fantastic education that all entrepreneurs should embrace.

Often, entrepreneurs put a lot of pressure on themselves to have everything perfect; yet this paradigm of ‘good enough for now’ is very helpful when it comes to starting up a business, as in many ways, it’s about leaping between stepping stones where you build more and more traction. If you let go of the need to have everything “perfect” then you’re likely to get a lot more done, for a lot less money, and make much more progress as a result.

It’s very tempting to feel the need to impress, when starting out, but often this comes from a place of insecurity in the terms of the value you are offering.

Sometimes we rely too much on symbolic statements of success in the material world such as the clothes we wear, or the ability to arrive at a meeting in a fancy car or signing a contract with a Mont Blanc pen – yet, none of this is necessary.

The one thing you need to create as a start-up is VALUE. When you focus more on substance over style, people will naturally be drawn toward you and you won’t feel the need to impress so much.

The reality is, in the modern world, most business people don’t respect this flashy stuff nowadays. Whilst some do care, they tend to be somewhat superficial, and in reality a good business person cares about one thing and one thing only; the value you create and your ability to deliver results.

Whether you sign a contract with a Mont Blanc pen or a Bic biro, the one thing they truly care about, is that you deliver on the promises made.

In today’s world you can’t use this material puffery to hoodwink people into believing you are an established business, if you’re just starting out, as everyone checks digital resources like Facebook and LinkedIn now to work out where you’re really at.

A lot of the time, start-ups struggle to be able to spend money on certain services they need, and therefore, it can be wise to look at other ways to create value. For instance, as a simple example, let’s say you would like to purchase a tailor made suit – but don’t have the required cash. If you have web design skills or social media marketing skills that the tailor does not have, and would like their website to be improved, you could offer your services in exchange for the suit as a barter agreement.

In summary, when starting out it’s all about keeping perspective and focusing on what really matters – which is creating value for your end user.

That’s the one most vital currency in any business; create value and everything else will fall into place. Indeed, the only way to reliably earn respect as a start-up is to focus so much on creating value that your successful trajectory speaks for itself.

Remember, everyone has to start somewhere and the journey to major success often starts from a very humble and small beginning.

Making Money From Those Major Investments

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. A key aspect of this is understanding how to invest money for significant rates of return. If you weren’t raised in an ecosystem where this knowledge was prevalent, you have to obtain the information and then have the drive to apply it in disciplined way. The following contributed post is thus entitled, Making Money From Those Major Investments.

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If you’ve got plenty of entrepreneurial spirit, and a zest for savvy financial decisions; there’s no doubt that you’ve got a couple of the attributes needed to gain financial success and a comfortable future. The fun part (mostly) is in the process; deciding how, where, and when to invest your money, and work hard at something, so you can reap the rewards is also the challenge. But, you’re not here because you’re shy of a challenge, and you won’t be fazed by making some major decisions. You’ll already understand how crucial it is to hold as much knowledge as possible regarding your investment; you’ll have worked hard for what money you have, and won’t want to waste it due to a poor, or ill-informed choice. Therefore, whatever it is that you’re thinking about; prepare, plan, and acknowledge as much as possible beforehand.

It’s time to push forward with your plans, and ensure that your major investments are an excellent way to reap some financial reward. Don’t expect instant success, as this is a rarity in a heavily saturated market; however, put plenty of time and effort into where you put your cash so that the return will keep you smiling. Whether you want to be the CEO of a new venture out of your investment, a pot of money for a rainy day, or you’re just happy to see where it takes you; your work ethic and decision-making need to be on point. The following are some ideas, advice, and inspiration for those who have made, or are about to make a significant investment so that they can gain more from their money.

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Investing In A New Venture

So, you feel like you’re born to do a certain job, provide a particular service, or create an empire; however, the difference to most people, is that you want it to be as part of your own company and venture. Fortune often favors the bold and the brave, but, only if they’re smart about it all. Focus on your business’s USP so that you can really set yourselves apart from the crowd. If you want to become a serious competitor in the hospitality or leisure industry; you need to push something different. As a hotelier, your venue needs to make an impact as soon as it opens; consult with both design and service experts so that every review is an excellent one. Perhaps you want to take hospitality into the sky, and invest in a private jet service; the luxury market is forever growing. You could even push your skills into the water; looking into marine engineering and naval architecture will allow you to investment in a yacht or boat, that’s ideal for your brand and business. Keeping your potential patrons in mind, at all times, will help you budget as you create something truly unique.

Maybe it’s your products that you believe in, or your curation skills in regards to stocking a business that offers consumers something different. Remember that many are bored with the mass-produced items that they see everywhere, all the time; so focus on being something a little different so that a customer feels like they’re buying into something niche, without being off-putting. Become a business that stocks and supplies other businesses; this is great for entrepreneurs with a particular knowledge or skill in a specific area of the market, who are adept at large supply and demand. You’ll need to be brave will your initial investment; however, your reward could exceed that of the consumer market.

Upcycling may bring about thoughts of small garages and home projects; however, there’s a huge demand for vintage, and antique items, due to their rarity. If you have an eye for value, and a knowledge for what’s in demand, perhaps it’s a good idea to spend your time in an auction house. Restore items that need some TLC so that your markup and profit will be far greater than the time and money you originally spent on it. There’s some luck and timing involved in this venture, but if you’re the sort of entrepreneur that thrives on that, you’ll be perfect in your fresh role. Build-up a friendly, and more importantly, trustworthy, reputation, with both customers and your various suppliers so that grabbing a bargain and selling it on will be as straightforward as possible.

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Building-Up Your Cash In Something

Perhaps a quick-paced supply and demand, or opening a venue or service, just isn’t for you. That’s more than fine; there are entrepreneurs out there making money in a huge variety of ways. If investing in something solid (quite literally), and building-up your cash over the years, is how you want to kick things off, then real estate and property could be your ideal option. Even those who buy to live in a property, will add value to their original investment eventually,; however, there are ways to get that bit extra at a distance. Buy-to-let properties are an excellent way to pay off your original spend, and continue making a decent income into the future. You can also re-invest the profits so that you can build-up a portfolio of homes for people. Utilizing a letting agent is the perfect way to take a lot of the stress out of looking after tenants, so it might be worth considering if you have other things you need to focus on each day.

Becoming a shareholder in a startup, is yet another way to make money at a bit of a distance, and over time. You’ll need to be really savvy regarding who and where you invest, as many new businesses can fail in the first year. However, ensuring that you’ve chosen something smart, and ensured that you’ll receive a set percentage at a certain time, will help to alleviate any concerns, and bring you a lump sum. Depending on your agreement, you can arrange to receive a certain percentage each year instead, which is great for a long term option, and will mean that you don’t need to worry about selling your share. Get the right information and advice, and you could well be onto a winner.

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Investing For Profit: A Beginner’s Guide

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. While some people are fortunate to learn about the world of investing at a young age, many people don’t learn about it until much later in life, if at all. It’s a large, dynamic and ever shifting world and can be overwhelming for novices. It’s thus important to know where to start and be patient early on. The following contributed post is thus entitled, Investing For Profit: A Beginner’s Guide.

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There are many ways that you can generate income in this world, including working for a salary and starting your own business. However, one way that you should always consider is investing the money you have in order to grow it. Of course, this is a complicated and sometimes confusing field to get involved in, and that is why I have devised the beginners guide below to help you negotiate it. Read on to find out more.


Do think of investing as a way of making your money work harder for you.

Firstly, before you get anywhere near choosing where about to put your money, it’s crucial that you grasp the central idea behind investing. In fact, investing is all about putting your money to work for you rather than just letting it sit there. The ultimate goal being that it makes more than just a basic interest account would provide.

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However, it is worth knowing that interest accounts especially those designed for high-level earners can off a fairly decent return on your money with only a minimal risk. Something that makes them much more suitable for those that are not prepared to gamble with their hard earned wages, but still want to make a profit on the money they already have in the bank.

Don’t ever forget about risk.

The next issue to be concerned with when it comes to investing is risk, as mentioned above. This is the other side the coin that you need to consider whenever you make an investment, as there is no such thing as a sure thing!

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What this means is that while you could make a fantastic return on the money you invest, you could also lose all of that money as well. Something that can be further complicated if you get into a situation where you are racking up credit in order to make investments.

To that end, the potential risk in each investment situation need to be calculated accurately, and a cost-benefit analysis needs to be performed to check that the risk is worth the benefit that it could return.

Of course, it is essential to realize that the value of a potential risk will be mean more to some people than it will to others, and it’s not just by the financial value that you can establish this. In fact, for a billionaire, a $100,000 loss would be upsetting, but for a family whose only assets are total $100,000, it could be utterly devastating and ultimately lead to their bankruptcy. The message here being that it is wise never to invest more than you can comfortably afford to lose.

However, in this section is it also worth highlighting that it is the element of risk that provides the opportunity for investment in the first place. After all, if there were no gamble, investors would be needed to stump up the finance. What this means is that it is often the case that the higher the risk, the higher the rewards that can be expected. Of course, that also means for those that are in a stable enough financial position to take those risks, that they can be well worth it regarding return on their initial investment.

Do consider all the different types of investments.

Next, when it comes to making money from your investments is crucial that you consider all the options that are on offer.

What this means is that you think about investing not only in the stock market and financial products but also in things like property as well. In fact, many investors prefer to put their money in property because unlike investing in the stock market, they actually have a physical assets that they gain ownership of, something that provides a greater sense of security.

Sadly, navigating the property investment market can be as complicated as finding your way in with stocks and shares. In particular, deciding on the right type of investment return can be problematic. This is because many investors do not know whether to buy a property with a view to renovating it and then selling it at a profit, or as a let to buy.

Of course, both have disadvantage and advantages that could affect the return you see on your property investment. In particular, choosing from one of the many houses for sale overseas may provide you with a prime opportunity for buy to let, especially if there are in popular vacation spots, or cities. This is because you will be more likely to have potential renters all year round, something that can ensure a high and regular yield on your initial investment.

However, for investors looking to make a substantial sum more quickly, it can be better to flip a property instead, something that can happen over a shorter period of time, and free up more capital faster. Capital that can then reinvested with the aim of making an additional profit in the property or other investment sectors.

Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket.

While not putting all of you eggs in one basket may be old wisdom that you grew up hearing, it doesn’t mean that it is any less relevant to the field of investing. In fact, its excellent advice and what it translates to here is the value of diversifying your portfolio.

What this means is that its bad practice to put all of your investment capital into a single stock, company, field, or even market. This is because if that particular investment fails you will lose all of your money and have none left over.

Instead, if you diversify your portfolio across different products and fields, even if an entire market crashes you should be left with some investments of value. Something that can help you minimize any losses, and so make your chances of making a profit over the long term much higher.

Do join up with others.

No person is an island, and this is the case, even when it comes to investing. In fact, there are services out there that make pooling your money with other investors much easier now, including peer lending platforms and investment cooperatives.

Of course, the benefits of doing this is that, while still only putting up a relatively small amount you can gain the benefits of making a large scale investment. Something that can help to increase your percentage profits significantly.

Although, it is worth ensuring that you have an excellent grasp of the legal side of things when pooling your money with others. Otherwise, you can end up getting the short end of the stick, and this can negatively affect the return you can expect from your investment.

Don’t listen to hot tips.

Finally, when it comes to investing in any field, be it property, the day trading arena, stock and shares, cryptocurrency or peer lending, there really is no such thing as a sure thing! This is crucial to remember because any sources online, or otherwise that specific stock and companies to invest in usually have a vested interested somewhere down the line.

In fact, many hot tips are actually trading scams including pumping and dumping schemes in disguise. This is a process where hot tops are given out to raise the share price just enough for the initial buyer to make a profit when they sell. This then leaves the rest of the investors with hard to move shares, this naturally being something that you will want to avoid if you are looking to make a profit through investing.

11 Ways To Make Money Outside Of Your 9-5

The first principle of my blog is Creating Ecosystems of Success, and two key focuses are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. There’s an argument out there that the smartest way to live is to have multiple sources of income. As such, many individuals have given a lot of thought to how they can create second- or third-income streams outside of their 9-5 jobs. The following contributed post discusses how to create multiple income streams and is entitled, 11 Ways To Make Money Outside Of Your 9-5.

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Making money by going to your 9-5 job every week is certainly an honorable way to earn money. However, more and more people are beginning to realize that if they want to lead truly comfortable lifestyles and build wealth, they are going to need more than one source of income to do it. In fact, the most wealthy people in the world often have 6 or 7 different sources of income. The less you have to rely on one source of income, the better!

Below, we’ll go into 11 ways you can make money outside of your 9-5 so you can begin working on bringing in cash from various sources:

1. Rent Out A Part Of Your Property
If you have a property and you don’t use all of it all the time, you could consider renting out a part of it. Even renting out your driveway could help you to bring some extra cash in from time to time! If you have a spare bedroom you could rent that out, provided you don’t mind sharing your home with somebody else. Alternatively, you could look into a site like Airbnb to rent out your entire home when you’re going to be away yourself. You could make money while you’re off on your own vacation!


2. Sell Things You No Longer Use
Go through each room in your home and collect things that you haven’t used for 6 months or more. Usually, if you haven’t used something in 6 months you can pretty much guarantee you won’t use it again (unless it’s some special item that you only really need for emergencies, that is). You can use sites like eBay to sell these items and make some extra cash. If you’d rather cut out the middleman costs, selling on Facebook or even hosting a garage sale can be just as effective.

3. Offer Your Services As An Online Freelancer
If you have a little spare time, you could always offer your services as a freelancer using sites like Upwork and People Per Hour. You could proofread, write content, design logos, or do anything else that you think you’re good at! It can take a little time to get work when you’re just starting out, but it can be a nice way to make a decent side income in your own time.

4. Start Blogging/Vlogging
Blogging and vlogging should be done first and foremost because you are passionate about what you want to share. If you’re doing it purely for the cash, you’ll probably get fed up and end up giving up after a short time! You should create quality, consistent content because you have a message you want to share and you enjoy it. Enjoyment will keep you going when your subscribers aren’t growing and you’ve made a miniscule amount of money in months. Consistency is key if you want this to be a way for you to make money!

5. Turn Your Passion Into A Side Hustle
If you have something you’re truly passionate about, it could be possible to turn it into a side hustle. Maybe you like making jewelry or reupholstering furniture; if you’re serious, you could spend your spare time building up this business. Eventually, you may be able to leave your 9-5 job and work for yourself. However, you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of the reasons most new businesses fail. It won’t be easy, and you’ll still need to work hard in the beginning. You really have to love it and you really have to want it!

6. Investing
Investing can sound like a scary word, especially to beginners who have only ever put their spare cash into savings accounts. However, it’s essential if you want to ensure your financial health for the future and give yourself a chance at being truly wealthy! There’s a plethora of information out there that can help you to get started, and you only need to start small. You can even find apps like Moneybox to help you get started. The important thing is getting started and committing a portion of your earnings to investing regularly – then you’ll build up momentum and be able to learn as you go along. You’ll be glad you started now. The earlier you start, the more you can take advantage of compounding!

7. Smart Spending
Smart spending can sometimes be all it takes to help you make money outside of your 9-5. There are numerous ways you can do this. For example, by making sure you buy items that will enable you to make more money in the long run, like Disney DVDs that become more valuable once they are taken off the shelves (rather than items that lose value, like brand new cars). You can also spend smartly by using cashback sites when you buy, and you should be able to get a portion of what you spend back each time. Then you can try smart spending alongside the NFL betting guide – but be warned, using that method comes with an element of risk that you should keep in mind.

8. Create Online Courses
If you have a lot of knowledge and/or passion on a certain subject, how about creating online courses to help others learn? You can create courses about just about anything these days, and the great thing is, you only have to do the work once. The courses can sell again and again and you will continue to make money!

9. Write Ebooks
Ebooks can help you to make cash if you do some keyword research and figure out what people want to know about. Both fiction and non-fiction are an option, although you may need to write lots of ebooks to make a decent sum of money.

10. Start Your Own Ecommerce Business
Ecommerce businesses are extremely popular, and for good reason. Pretty much anybody can set one up using sites like Shopify, selling items that they feel passionate about.

11. Advertise On Your Car
There are companies that will pay you to have an advertisement for their business on your car. All you have to do is fill out a form stating where you drive and how much you drive, and any suitable offers will then be sent to you. The company will remove the ad when the campaign is complete and you will get paid. Easy!

Here’s How You Could Increase Your Retail Sales without Breaking the Bank

Two key focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. In order to successfully run a business, controlling cash flow and money management key. It’s always important to consider how to increase sales and earn more money. The following contributed post is thus entitled, Here’s How You Could Increase Your Retail Sales without Breaking the Bank.

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A lot of people think that they need to spend money to make money, and sometimes this is the case. There are however things that you can do to try and boost your business efficiency without spending anything at all.

Setup Your Store

The very first thing that you need to be thinking about is how your store is set up. Think about it, where are the displays? How long is the queue to the checkout? Does the store seem packed? You really don’t want to force your customers to hunt through racks just so that they can find what they need. Your displays need to be clean and they also need to make it easier for your customers to find any items that they MUST have. There are a couple of ways for you to do this. The first thing that you need to do is use this “power wall” wisely. In the US, people drive on the right-hand side of the road. For this reason, you need to make your right wall into a feature. Customers will naturally turn right when they walk in, and this is a fantastic way for you to capitalise on that. If you are in Australia, New Zealand or even the UK then your power wall will be on the left.

Zone Everything

You need to remove any excess merchandise from the store floor. If you sell shoes for example, you need to make sure that you only have one pair of each size on show at any one time. This will encourage customers to buy because they think that it is the last one, and it also stops your floor from becoming too cluttered. When you sell that size, put another one on display. You also need to keep an eye on your decompression zone. This is the first 10 feet inside your front door. Customers are very prone to distractions when they enter this part of the store, so keep it as clean and as de-cluttered as possible. This will encourage your customers to walk right into the heart of the store, which is exactly what you want.


It’s very easy for a customer to become spooked if they see a huge queue. They don’t want to wait that long and they may even weigh up whether or not the product they are buying is worth the time it takes to queue. If you want to stop this then put your register at the back. You can also go mobile if you want. A POS payment system is a fantastic choice here because it gives your team the chance to serve anywhere on the store floor and this can keep your customers from leaving without making a purchase.

Staff for Traffic

A lot of stores will ask their staff to work when the most sales are made. You shouldn’t do this at all. In fact, you should always staff according to the amount of traffic you have. Your employees will be able to help everyone much more efficiently and this can lead to you experiencing way more sales. This will also stop your staff from becoming bored when working on the store floor as well, which leads onto the next point.

Your Staff have a Huge Role to Play

You have to make sure that your store is well-staffed. You also have to make sure that they are helping you to boost your conversion rate. They can do this by meeting and greeting customers as soon as they walk through the door. The best way for you to do this would be for you to have a staff member working the door at all times. If you just have them stood there then this can be intimidating for a customer, so have them “tidy up” or look busy around the front of the store. This will help your customers to feel more at ease and it can work wonders for your branding as well. If your team are having trouble engaging with customers, then stop them from asking yes and no questions. For example, instead of them asking “Can I help you to find something?” tell them to ask questions such as “What are you looking for today?” This requires the person who is shopping to engage, and even if the outcome is still negative, at least some engagement happened. Little things like this can also work wonders for your conversion rate as well because it gives your staff the chance to locate products that might be in the back of the warehouse.