More on Personal Growth
1 year ago
Six Things Best-With-Money People Do Follow
I shouldn't generalize, yet this is true.
Spending is simpler than earning.
Prove me wrong, but with home debt at $145k in 2020 and individual debt at $67k, people don't have their priorities straight.
Where does this loan originate?
Under-50 Americans owed $7.86 trillion in Q4 20T. That's more than the US's 3-trillion-dollar deficit.
Here’s a breakdown:
🏡 Mortgages/Home Equity Loans = $5.28 trillion (67%)
🎓 Student Loans = $1.20 trillion (15%)
🚗 Auto Loans = $0.80 trillion (10%)
💳 Credit Cards = $0.37 trillion (5%)
🏥 Other/Medical = $0.20 trillion (3%)
At least the Fed and government can explain themselves with their debt balance which includes:
-Providing stimulus packages 2x for Covid relief
-Stabilizing the economy
-Reducing inflation and unemployment
-Providing for the military, education and farmers
No American should have this much debt.
Don’t get me wrong. Debt isn’t all the same. Yes, it’s a negative number but it carries different purposes which may not be all bad.
Good debt: Use those funds in hopes of them appreciating as an investment in the future
-Mortgage, home equity loan
Paying cash for a home is wasteful. Just if the home is exceptionally uncommon, only 1 in a million on the market, and has an incredible bargain with numerous bidders seeking higher prices should you do so.
To impress the vendor, pay cash so they can sell it quickly. Most people can't afford most properties outright. Only 15% of U.S. homebuyers can afford their home. Zillow reports that only 37% of homes are mortgage-free.
People have clearly overreached.
5% down can buy a 10-bedroom mansion.
Not paying in cash isn't necessarily a negative thing given property prices have increased by 30% since 2008, and throughout the epidemic, we've seen work-from-homers resort to the midwest, avoiding pricey coastal cities like NYC and San Francisco.
By no means do I think NYC is dead, nothing will replace this beautiful city that never sleeps, and now is the perfect time to rent or buy when everything is below average value for people who always wanted to come but never could. Once social distance ends, cities will recover. 24/7 sardine-packed subways prove New York isn't designed for isolation.
When buying a home, pay 20% cash and the balance with a mortgage. A mortgage must be incorporated into other costs such as maintenance, brokerage fees, property taxes, etc. If you're stuck on why a home isn't right for you, read here. A mortgage must be paid until the term date. Whether its a 10 year or 30 year fixed mortgage, depending on interest rates, especially now as the 10-year yield is inching towards 1.25%, it's better to refinance in a lower interest rate environment and pay off your debt as well since the Fed will be inching interest rates up following the 10-year eventually to stabilize the economy, but I believe that won't be until after Covid and when businesses like luxury, air travel, and tourism will get bashed.
Bad debt: I guess the contrary must be true. There is no way to profit from the loan in the future, therefore it is just money down the drain.
-Credit card debt
-Vacations, weddings, parties, etc.
Credit cards and school loans are the two largest risks to the financial security of those under 50 since banks love to compound interest to affect your credit score and make it tougher to take out more loans, not that you should with that much debt anyhow. With a low credit score and heavy debt, banks take advantage of you because you need aid to pay more for their services. Paying back debt is the challenge for most.
Choose Not Chosen
As a financial literacy advocate and blogger, I prefer not to brag, but I will now. I know what to buy and what to avoid. My parents educated me to live a frugal, minimalist stealth wealth lifestyle by choice, not because we had to.
That's the lesson.
The poorest person who shows off with bling is trying to seem rich.
Rich people know garbage is a bad investment. Investing in education is one of the best long-term investments. With information, you can do anything.
Good with money shun some items out of respect and appreciation for what they have.
Less is more.
Instead of copying the Joneses, use what you have. They may look cheerful and stylish in their 20k ft home, yet they may be as broke as OJ Simpson in his 20-bedroom mansion.
Let's look at what appears good to follow and maintain your wealth.
#1: Quality comes before quantity
Being frugal doesn't entail being cheap and cruel. Rich individuals care about relationships and treating others correctly, not impressing them. You don't have to be rich to be good with money, although most are since they don't live the fantasy lifestyle.
Underspending is appreciating what you have.
Many people believe organic food is the same as washing chemical-laden produce. Hopefully. Organic, vegan, fresh vegetables from upstate may be more expensive in the short term, but they will help you live longer and save you money in the long run.
Consider. You'll save thousands a month eating McDonalds 3x a day instead of fresh seafood, veggies, and organic fruit, but your life will be shortened. If you want to save money and die early, go ahead, but I assume we all want to break the world record for longest person living and would rather spend less. Plus, elderly people get tax breaks, medicare, pensions, 401ks, etc. You're living for free, therefore eating fast food forever is a terrible decision.
With a few longer years, you may make hundreds or millions more in the stock market, spend more time with family, and just live.
Folks, health is wealth.
Consider the future benefit, not simply the cash sign. Cheapness is useless.
Same with stuff. Don't stock your closet with fast-fashion you can't wear for years. Buying inexpensive goods that will fail tomorrow is stupid.
Investing isn't only in stocks. You're living. Consume less.
#2: If you cannot afford it twice, you cannot afford it once
I learned this from my dad in 6th grade. I've been lucky to travel, experience things, go to a great university, and conduct many experiments that others without a stable, decent lifestyle can afford.
I didn't live this way because of my parents' paycheck or financial knowledge.
Saving and choosing caused it.
I always bring cash when I shop. I ditch Apple Pay and credit cards since I can spend all I want on even if my account bounces.
Banks are nasty. When you lose it, they profit.
Cash hinders banks' profits. Carrying a big, hefty wallet with cash is lame and annoying, but it's the best method to only spend what you need. Not for vacation, but for tiny daily expenses.
Physical currency lets you know how much you have for lunch or a taxi.
It's physical, thus losing it prevents debt.
If you can't afford it, it will harm more than help.
#3: You really can purchase happiness with money.
If used correctly, yes.
Happiness and satisfaction differ.
It won't bring you fulfillment because you must work hard on your own to help others, but you can travel and meet individuals you wouldn't otherwise meet.
You can meet your future co-worker or strike a deal while waiting an hour in first class for takeoff, or you can meet renowned people at a networking brunch.
Seen a pattern here?
Your time and money are best spent on connections. Not automobiles or firearms. That’s just stuff. It doesn’t make you a better person.
Be different if you've earned less. Instead of trying to win the lotto or become an NFL star for your first big salary, network online for free.
Be resourceful. Sign up for LinkedIn, post regularly, and leave unengaged posts up because that shows power.
Consistency is beneficial.
I did that for a few months and met amazing people who helped me get jobs. Money doesn't create jobs, it creates opportunities.
Resist social media and scammers that peddle false hopes.
#4: Avoid gushing over titles and purchasing trash.
As Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reports, “Showing off wealth is no longer the way to signify having wealth. In the US particularly, the top 1% have been spending less on material goods since 2007.”
I checked my closet. No brand comes to mind. I've never worn a brand's logo and rotate 6 white shirts daily. I have my priorities and don't waste money or effort on clothing that won't fit me in a year.
Unless it's your full-time work, clothing shouldn't be part of our mornings.
Lifestyle of stealth wealth. You're so fulfilled that seeming homeless won't hurt your self-esteem.
Extroverts aren't required.
Showing off won't win you friends.
They'll like your personality.
#5: Time is the most valuable commodity.
Being rich doesn't entail working 24/7 M-F.
They work when they are ready to work.
Waking up at 5 a.m. won't make you a millionaire, but it will inculcate diligence and tenacity in you.
You have a busy day yet want to exercise. You can skip the workout or wake up at 4am instead of 6am to do it.
Emotion-driven lazy bums stay in bed.
Those that are accountable keep their promises because they know breaking one will destroy their week.
Since 7th grade, I've worked out at 5am for myself, not to impress others. It gives me greater energy to contribute to others, especially on weekends and holidays.
It's a habit that I have in my life.
Find something that you take seriously and makes you a better person.
As someone who is close to becoming a millionaire and has encountered them throughout my life, I can share with you a few important differences that have shaped who we are as a society based on the weekends:
-Best time to work with no distractions
-Take walks and be in nature
-Major family time
-Plan out weeks
-Go grocery shopping because health = wealth
#6. Perspective is Important
Timing the markets will slow down your career. Professors preach scarcity, not abundance. Why should school teach success? They give us bad advice.
If you trust in abundance and luck by attempting and experimenting, growth will come effortlessly. Passion isn't a term that just appears. Mistakes and fresh people help. You can get money. If you don't think it's worth it, you won't.
You don’t have to be wealthy to be good at money, but most are for these reasons. Rich is a mindset, wealth is power. Prioritize your resources. Invest in yourself, knowing the toughest part is starting.
Thanks for reading!
1 year ago
After 240 articles and 2.5M views on Medium, 9 Raw Writing Tips
Late in 2018, I published my first Medium article, but I didn't start writing seriously until 2019. Since then, I've written more than 240 articles, earned over $50,000 through Medium's Partner Program, and had over 2.5 million page views.
Write A Lot
Most people don't have the patience and persistence for this simple writing secret:
Write + Write + Write = possible success
Writing more improves your skills.
The more articles you publish, the more likely one will go viral.
If you only publish once a month, you have no views. If you publish 10 or 20 articles a month, your success odds increase 10- or 20-fold.
Tim Denning, Ayodeji Awosika, Megan Holstein, and Zulie Rane. Medium is their jam. How are these authors alike? They're productive and consistent. They're prolific.
80% is publishable
Many writers battle perfectionism.
To succeed as a writer, you must publish often. You'll never publish if you aim for perfection.
Adopt the 80 percent-is-good-enough mindset to publish more. It sounds terrible, but it'll boost your writing success.
Your work won't be perfect. Always improve. Waiting for perfection before publishing will take a long time.
Second, readers are your true critics, not you. What you consider "not perfect" may be life-changing for the reader. Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader.
Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader. ou don't want to publish mediocre articles. When the article is 80% done, publish it. Don't spend hours editing. Realize it. Get feedback. Only this will work.
Make Your Headline Irresistible
We all judge books by their covers, despite the saying. And headlines. Readers, including yourself, judge articles by their titles. We use it to decide if an article is worth reading.
Make your headlines irresistible. Want more article views? Then, whether you like it or not, write an attractive article title.
Many high-quality articles are collecting dust because of dull, vague headlines. It didn't make the reader click.
As a writer, you must do more than produce quality content. You must also make people click on your article. This is a writer's job. How to create irresistible headlines:
Curiosity makes readers click. Here's a tempting example...
Example: What Women Actually Look For in a Guy, According to a Huge Study by Luba Sigaud
Use Numbers: Click-bait lists. I mean, which article would you click first? ‘Some ways to improve your productivity’ or ’17 ways to improve your productivity.’ Which would I click?
Example: 9 Uncomfortable Truths You Should Accept Early in Life by Sinem Günel
Most headlines are dull. If you want clicks, get 'sexy'. Buzzword-ify. Invoke emotion. Trendy words.
Example: 20 Realistic Micro-Habits To Live Better Every Day by Amardeep Parmar
Our culture lacks focus. If your headline gets a click, keep paragraphs short to keep readers' attention.
Some writers use 6–8 lines per paragraph, but I prefer 3–4. Longer paragraphs lose readers' interest.
A writer should help the reader finish an article, in my opinion. I consider it a job requirement. You can't force readers to finish an article, but you can make it 'snackable'
Help readers finish an article with concise paragraphs, interesting subheadings, exciting images, clever formatting, or bold attention grabbers.
Work And Move On
I've learned over the years not to get too attached to my articles. Many writers report a strange phenomenon:
The articles you're most excited about usually bomb, while the ones you're not tend to do well.
This isn't always true, but I've noticed it in my own writing. My hopes for an article usually make it worse. The more objective I am, the better an article does.
Let go of a finished article. 40 or 40,000 views, whatever. Now let the article do its job. Onward. Next story. Start another project.
Online content creators will encounter haters, whether on YouTube, Instagram, or Medium. More views equal more haters. Fun, right?
As a web content creator, I learned:
Don't debate haters. Never.
It's a mistake I've made several times. It's tempting to prove haters wrong, but they'll always find a way to be 'right'. Your response is their fuel.
I smile and ignore hateful comments. I'm indifferent. I won't enter a negative environment. I have goals, money, and a life to build. "I'm not paid to argue," Drake once said.
Grammarly saves me as a non-native English speaker. You know Grammarly. It shows writing errors and makes article suggestions.
As a writer, you need Grammarly. I have a paid plan, but their free version works. It improved my writing greatly.
Put The Reader First, Not Yourself
Many writers write for themselves. They focus on themselves rather than the reader.
This article teaches what? How can they be entertained or educated?
Personal examples and experiences improve writing quality. Don't focus on yourself.
It's not about you, the content creator. Reader-focused. Putting the reader first will change things.
Extreme ownership: Stop blaming others
I remember writing a lot on Medium but not getting many views. I blamed Medium first. Poor algorithm. Poor publishing. All sucked.
Instead of looking at what I could do better, I blamed others.
When you blame others, you lose power. Owning your results gives you power.
As a content creator, you must take full responsibility. Extreme ownership means 100% responsibility for work and results.
You don’t blame others. You don't blame the economy, president, platform, founders, or audience. Instead, you look for ways to improve. Few people can do this.
Blaming is useless. Zero. Taking ownership of your work and results will help you progress. It makes you smarter, better, and stronger.
Instead of blaming others, you'll learn writing, marketing, copywriting, content creation, productivity, and other skills. Game-changer.
9 months ago
The Three Most Effective Questions for Ongoing Development
The Traffic Light Approach to Reviewing Personal, Team and Project Development
What needs improvement? If you want to improve, you need to practice your sport, musical instrument, habit, or work project. You need to assess your progress.
Continuous improvement is the foundation of focused practice and a growth mentality. Not just individually. High-performing teams pursue improvement. Right? Why is it hard?
As a leadership coach, senior manager, and high-level athlete, I've found three key questions that may unlock high performance in individuals and teams.
Problems with Reviews
Reviewing and improving performance is crucial, however I hate seeing review sessions in my diary. I rarely respond to questionnaire pop-ups or emails. Why?
Time constrains. Requests to fill out questionnaires often state they will take 10–15 minutes, but I can think of a million other things to do with that time. Next, review overload. Businesses can easily request comments online. No matter what you buy, someone will ask for your opinion. This bombardment might make feedback seem bad, which is bad.
The problem is that we might feel that way about important things like personal growth and work performance. Managers and team leaders face a greater challenge.
When to Conduct a Review
We must be wise about reviewing things that matter to us. Timing and duration matter. Reviewing the experience as quickly as possible preserves information and sentiments. Time must be brief. The review's importance and size will determine its length. We might only take a few seconds to review our morning coffee, but we might require more time for that six-month work project.
These post-event reviews should be supplemented by periodic reflection. Journaling can help with daily reflections, but I also like to undertake personal reviews every six months on vacation or at a retreat.
As an employee or line manager, you don't want to wait a year for a performance assessment. Little and frequently is best, with a more formal and in-depth assessment (typically with a written report) in 6 and 12 months.
The Easiest Method to Conduct a Review Session
I follow Einstein's review process:
“Make things as simple as possible but no simpler.”
Thus, it should be brief but deliver the necessary feedback. Quality critique is hard to receive if the process is overly complicated or long.
I have led or participated in many review processes, from strategic overhauls of big organizations to personal goal coaching. Three key questions guide the process at either end:
What ought to stop being done?
What should we do going forward?
What should we do first?
Following the Rule of 3, I compare it to traffic lights. Red, amber, and green lights:
Red What ought should we stop?
Amber What ought to we keep up?
Green Where should we begin?
This approach is easy to understand and self-explanatory, however below are some examples under each area.
Red What ought should we stop?
As a team or individually, we must stop doing things to improve.
Sometimes they're bad. If we want to lose weight, we should avoid sweets. If a team culture is bad, we may need to stop unpleasant behavior like gossiping instead of having difficult conversations.
Not all things we should stop are wrong. Time matters. Since it is finite, we sometimes have to stop nice things to focus on the most important. Good to Great author Jim Collins famously said:
“Don’t let the good be the enemy of the great.”
Prioritizing requires this idea. Thus, decide what to stop to prioritize.
Amber What ought to we keep up?
Should we continue with the amber light? It helps us decide what to keep doing during review. Many items fall into this category, so focus on those that make the most progress.
Which activities have the most impact? Which behaviors create the best culture? Success-building habits?
Use these questions to find positive momentum. These are the fly-wheel motions, according to Jim Collins. The Compound Effect author Darren Hardy says:
“Consistency is the key to achieving and maintaining momentum.”
What can you do consistently to reach your goal?
Green Where should we begin?
Finally, green lights indicate new beginnings. Red/amber difficulties may be involved. Stopping a red issue may give you more time to do something helpful (in the amber).
This green space inspires creativity. Kolbs learning cycle requires active exploration to progress. Thus, it's crucial to think of new approaches, try them out, and fail if required.
This notion underpins lean start-build, up's measure, learn approach and agile's trying, testing, and reviewing. Try new things until you find what works. Thomas Edison, the lighting legend, exclaimed:
“There is a way to do it better — find it!”
Failure is acceptable, but if you want to fail forward, look back on what you've done.
John Maxwell concurred with Edison:
“Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward”
A good review procedure lets us accomplish that. To avoid failure, we must act, experiment, and reflect.
Use the traffic light system to prioritize queries. Ask:
Red What needs to stop?
Amber What should continue to occur?
Green What might be initiated?
Take a moment to reflect on your day. Check your priorities with these three questions. Even if merely to confirm your direction, it's a terrific exercise!
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8 months ago
Is it bad of me to want our portfolio companies to generate greater returns for outside investors than they did for us as venture capitalists?
Wishing for Lasting Companies, Not Penny Stocks or Goodwill Write-Downs
Get me a NASCAR-style company-logoed cremation urn (notice to the executor of my will, theres gonna be a lot of weird requests). I believe in working on projects that would be on your tombstone. As the Homebrew logo is tattooed on my shoulder, expanding the portfolio to my posthumous commemoration is easy. But this isn't an IRR victory lap; it's a hope that the firms we worked for would last beyond my lifetime.
Venture investors too often take credit or distance themselves from startups based on circumstances. Successful companies tell stories of crucial introductions, strategy conversations, and other value. Defeats Even whether our term involves Board service or systematic ethical violations, I'm just a little investment, so there's not much I can do. Since I'm guilty, I'm tossing stones from within the glass home (although we try to own our decisions through the lifecycle).
Post-exit company trajectories are usually unconfounded. Off the cap table, no longer a shareholder (or a diminishing one as you sell off/distribute), eventually leaving the Board. You can cheer for the squad or forget about it, but you've freed the corporation and it's back to portfolio work.
As I look at the downward track of most SPACs and other tarnished IPOs from the last few years, I wonder how I would feel if those were my legacy. Is my job done? Yes. When investing in a business, the odds are against it surviving, let alone thriving and being able to find sunlight. SPAC sponsors, institutional buyers, retail investments. Free trade in an open market is their right. Risking and losing capital is the system working! But
We were lead or co-lead investors in our first three funds, but as additional VCs joined the company, we were pushed down the cap table. Voting your shares rarely matters; supporting the firm when they need it does. Being valuable, consistent, and helping the company improve builds trust with the founders.
I hope every startup we sponsor becomes a successful public company before, during, and after we benefit. My perspective of American capitalism. Well, a stock ticker has a lot of garbage, and I support all types of regulation simplification (in addition to being a person investor in the Long-Term Stock Exchange). Yet being owned by a large group of investors and making actual gains for them is great. Likewise does seeing someone you met when they were just starting out become a public company CEO without losing their voice, leadership, or beliefs.
I'm just thinking about what we can do from the start to realize value from our investments and build companies with bright futures. Maybe seed venture financing shouldn't impact those outcomes, but I'm not comfortable giving up that obligation.
Aaron Dinin, PhD
8 months ago
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Having Investors Sign Your NDA
Startup entrepreneurs assume what risks when pitching?
Last week I signed four NDAs.
NDA stands for non-disclosure agreement. A legal document given to someone receiving confidential information. By signing, the person pledges not to share the information for a certain time. If they do, they may be in breach of contract and face legal action.
Companies use NDAs to protect trade secrets and confidential internal information from employees and contractors. Appropriate. If you manage a huge, successful firm, you don't want your employees selling their information to your competitors. To be true, business NDAs don't always prevent corporate espionage, but they usually make employees and contractors think twice before sharing.
I understand employee and contractor NDAs, but I wasn't asked to sign one. I counsel entrepreneurs, thus the NDAs I signed last week were from startups that wanted my feedback on their concepts.
I’m not a startup investor. I give startup guidance online. Despite that, four entrepreneurs thought their company ideas were so important they wanted me to sign a generically written legal form they probably acquired from a shady, spam-filled legal templates website before we could chat.
False. One company tried to get me to sign their NDA a few days after our conversation. I gently rejected, but their tenacity encouraged me. I considered sending retroactive NDAs to everyone I've ever talked to about one of my startups in case they establish a successful company based on something I said.
Two of the other three NDAs were from nearly identical companies. Good thing I didn't sign an NDA for the first one, else they may have sued me for talking to the second one as though I control the firms people pitch me.
I wasn't talking to the fourth NDA company. Instead, I received an unsolicited email from someone who wanted comments on their fundraising pitch deck but required me to sign an NDA before sending it.
That's right, before I could read a random Internet stranger's unsolicited pitch deck, I had to sign his NDA, potentially limiting my ability to discuss what was in it.
You should understand. Advisors, mentors, investors, etc. talk to hundreds of businesses each year. They cannot manage all the companies they deal with, thus they cannot risk legal trouble by talking to someone. Well, if I signed NDAs for all the startups I spoke with, half of the 300+ articles I've written on Medium over the past several years could get me sued into the next century because I've undoubtedly addressed topics in my articles that I discussed with them.
The four NDAs I received last week are part of a recent trend of entrepreneurs sending out NDAs before meetings, despite the practical and legal issues. They act like asking someone to sign away their right to talk about all they see and hear in a day is as straightforward as asking for a glass of water.
Given this inflow of NDAs, I wanted to briefly remind entrepreneurs reading this blog about the merits and cons of requesting investors (or others in the startup ecosystem) to sign your NDA.
Benefits of having investors sign your NDA include:
None. Zero. Nothing.
Disadvantages of requesting investor NDAs:
You'll come off as an amateur who has no idea what it takes to launch a successful firm.
Investors won't trust you with their money since you appear to be a complete amateur.
Printing NDAs will be a waste of paper because no genuine entrepreneur will ever sign one.
I apologize for missing any cons. Please leave your remarks.
1 year ago
What An Inverted Yield Curve Means For Investors
The yield spread between 10-year and 2-year US Treasury bonds has fallen below 0.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2020. A flattening or negative yield curve can be a bad sign for the economy.
What Is An Inverted Yield Curve?
In the yield curve, bonds of equal credit quality but different maturities are plotted. The most commonly used yield curve for US investors is a plot of 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields, which have yet to invert.
A typical yield curve has higher interest rates for future maturities. In a flat yield curve, short-term and long-term yields are similar. Inverted yield curves occur when short-term yields exceed long-term yields. Inversions of yield curves have historically occurred during recessions.
Inverted yield curves have preceded each of the past eight US recessions. The good news is they're far leading indicators, meaning a recession is likely not imminent.
Every US recession since 1955 has occurred between six and 24 months after an inversion of the two-year and 10-year Treasury yield curves, according to the San Francisco Fed. So, six months before COVID-19, the yield curve inverted in August 2019.
The spread between two-year and 10-year Treasury yields was 0.18 percent on Tuesday, the smallest since before the last US recession. If the graph above continues, a two-year/10-year yield curve inversion could occur within the next few months.
According to Bank of America analyst Stephen Suttmeier, the S&P 500 typically peaks six to seven months after the 2s-10s yield curve inverts, and the US economy enters recession six to seven months later.
Investors appear unconcerned about the flattening yield curve. This is in contrast to the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT +2.19% which was down 1% on Tuesday.
Inversion of the yield curve and rising interest rates have historically harmed stocks. Recessions in the US have historically coincided with or followed the end of a Federal Reserve rate hike cycle, not the start.