Advice I Wish I Had When I was 18

I am currently on vacation in and was discussing my blog with some family and friends. One of the questions that came up as we were discussing personal finance and investing was, “what is the advice you would have wanted to hear when you were 18?”

This is a really great question. I think there is a big opportunity for those of us who have experience investing to share what we have learned and the painful experiences we’ve gained with the younger generation.

In fact, about five years ago I had an older and wiser person share with me some concepts from Dave Ramsey that were extremely helpful to me.  Even as a CPA, I benefitted from getting an understanding of the value of living debt-free and the value of being disciplined with my finances.

So here are the pieces of advice I wish had been shared with me!

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How to Start Investing in Stocks

One of the biggest reasons people don’t achieve financial success is that they fail to get started! We all know that we should be saving and investing but by the time we get our first job we usually don’t know where to start. Not knowing how to start investing in the stock market can lead to feeling overwhelmed. I have talked to many who say that they feel intimidated by the stock market and so they just don’t invest in it. Instead, they dutifully start a savings account or begin investing in Certificates of Deposit (CDs) at their bank.

But that is usually not the best approach.

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How I Lost Two Houses This Month

So this last month I tried to buy a new rental property: twice! It didn’t quite work out as I planned.  I had such a good experience with my property manager that I had decided it would be a good idea to buy another rental.

Using a property manager has made everything easy – I don’t have to find the tenants or deal with any maintenance issues. I can focus my energy on getting and changing the financing as needed and looking for new deals.  I think the 8% that I pay my current property manager is worth every penny.

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5 Ways to Negotiate a Higher Salary

It is very rare to feel like you are really making as much money as you deserve.  That is just human nature.  But there is something much worse than having a vague feeling that you may not be making as much as you should.

And that is knowing with absolute certainty that you make 20% less than others in your position.  Ouch!

Earlier in my career I worked at a company that wasn’t very disciplined or logical in their salary structure. They had various people in special rotational programs, lured people from other companies by offering higher than market rates, and had no structured approach to salary increases for strong performers. It was very much a fend for yourself system which rewarded those who made the most noise or were willing to job-hop.

I didn’t realize this until after three years with the company and by that time I was way behind the curve!

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10 Reasons You Should Use a Property Manager for Your Rental Properties

I had the strangest dream – there was a bell that kept ringing and ringing.  How annoying! I wish someone would turn off that stupid bell.

And then I woke up.

My phone was ringing and I woke up and turned on the light. It kept ringing as I looked at it blankly.  I was still a little confused and in the fog of sleep.  “Oh, my phone was ringing and it wasn’t a dream…” I eventually thought.  Who on earth is calling me at 1:15 am?

I picked up to hear the frantic and breathless voice of the HOA president of my condo which used to be my home but is now my rental property.  “Just great” I thought, “something is wrong at the condo, AGAIN!”

“There is some kind of major leak over here and we think it is your condo and we have the fire department and we need to get in but we don’t want to break the window and there is a waterfall…”

I must admit I stopped listening at the word “waterfall.” That is about the worst word you want to hear as the owner of an upstairs condo which has previously leaked on a lower unit.

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Who Wants to Work for 45 Years and Then Have $10 Million?

Recently I wrote a post discussing why I thought it makes much more sense to continue working at one’s career while also being a successful investor. Why would you set a goal to only save one million?

I found a comment by one of my readers to be very interesting.  His only comment was the title of this post: “Who wants to work for 45 years and then have $10M?”

That got me thinking – does anyone really want to save $10M, or are most people really trying to earn enough to retire?

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Why You Should Buy Used Cars

I never buy new vehicles. The first vehicle I bought was my Dad’s car which he had also bought used. It was a 1986 Buick Century and I will never forget it. That car cost less than $1,000 and lasted for several years and tens of thousands of miles. It was a perfect first car because I was never worried about putting a scratch on it or having it stolen.

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Why This Blog Will Be Successful – Yakezie Network and Alexa Ranking Challenge!

I am announcing today that this blog has joined the Alexa Ranking Challenge!!  I am really excited about this because it is a great way to promote a blog and learn how to help people find content that interests them while also being part of a community and helping others. I was lucky to have a friend recommend the Financial Samurai blog to me a few weeks ago and I was totally hooked. I have always been interested in writing and I’ll discuss more about how this blog started below.

The Alexa Challenge is something that has piqued my interest. I’m looking forward to learning more about how search engines work and the best way to get my blog posts noticed.  The other really cool part of the challenge is that when you reach a certain Alexa ranking and have achieved a level of consistency you can join the Yakezie Network. This is a network of like-minded bloggers and includes some really interesting and talented people.

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How to Save Thousands on Furniture Purchases

One of the biggest expenses when buying a house actually comes months or years after you purchase it.  We often don’t think about buying furniture until after we buy our home and realize some of the rooms are empty.  Most people buy their first house without much furniture or move from a small starter home to a larger home that they expect to live in for a long period of time.

I am going to tell you how I was able to save almost $20,000 buying the furniture for our home.  This was after we moved out of our condo into a house that would fit our family.  I made this article very detailed so if you want to get right to the numbers scroll down until you see the data table. For the full story: keep reading.

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Why Only a Million?

Years ago I read a very helpful article about financial goals and the author said that focusing arbitrarily on saving one million dollars was ridiculous. What? Isn’t that the goal of everyone who is saving and investing? Most of the financial literature we read is geared towards saving a million!

But why?

The author’s point was to actually think about what things make you happy and how much money you would need to buy or maintain those things.  You then add it all up and that is your financial goal. This may only add up to $700,000 or even less if all your debt is paid off.

But I actually want to take a different approach.

Why Only One Million?

If one million is good why not shoot for more? The longer you invest and the more disciplined you are the more likely you are to reach much more than one million dollars.

And to me that makes a lot of sense. The one million dollar goal is more suited to getting you out of a job that you don’t like. That seems to be the big fad right now. But there is a better way!

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