What is Wealth?

Every time that an asset class rises or falls, the media begins to challenge the notion of wealth, productivity, and output that many people hold in their minds.  The typical situation for most people is that they think of wealth as being measured in money.  For people like Ben Bernanke, money means currency.  For people like Bill Bonner, money means gold.  However, in both cases, I see wealth as something much deeper.

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The Financial Overweight Smoker

Many overweight smokers know what they need to do in order to become healthy, but do not do it.  Most people that are smokers don’t suffer from a lack of knowledge that smoking is bad for them.  Most people that are overweight already know that there are health risks associated with being overweight.  In both of these cases, a lack of knowledge is not the issue.  Similarly, beating overweight smokers over the head with information about the health risks of their lifestyle isn’t very likely to make them change.  This phenomenon applies to our financial life also.

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A Dollar Saved is Two Dollars Earned

Benjamin Franklin is famous for saying that a penny saved is a penny earned.  With all due respect to Mr. Franklin, it is possible that he has under-estimated the return when yous save.  The reason for this miscalculation is the fact that you must pay taxes on every dollar that you earn before you have the opportunity to spend it.  (Remember the parable of death and taxes)

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Good Debt, Bad Debt, No Debt?

Throughout the lexicon of financial advice in the marketplace, there are many different views regarding the role of debt in our lives.  The traditional view is that debt causes us to make interest payments that deplete our wealth and erode our ability to build wealth.  In the case of the mortgage crisis, many lending institutions and government agencies encouraged excessive lending to borrowers that were at very high risk of default.  This even prompted some financial authors to proclaim that all debt is bad, regardless of what it is used to finance, and regardless of how it is structured.

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3 Steps to Plan for Financial Emergencies

Financial emergencies are an unfortunate part of life.  No matter how hard we try, it is inevitable that something will blindside us at some juncture in our life.  Chances are that it will be many things blindsiding us at many points throughout the tenure of our life.  The thing that is important for people to understand is that the way we address these emergencies will determine whether they become catastrophes.

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3 Simple Steps to Calculate your Net Worth

One of the most powerful concepts in your personal financial success is net worth.  Simply put, your net worth is the difference between the value of what you own and the value of what you owe.  By tracking it regularly and taking actions to increase it, you will have an exceptional foundation for your personal financial future.  There are three simple steps for calculating your net worth in a way that will make it highly useful for your financial planning.

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The Myth of Objectivity

In the context of news and media, there is a popular belief that journalists and reporters are ethically bound to avoid injecting any of their personal opinions into their work.  This assumption leads many people into a blind belief of anything that is reported by the news agencies.  The unfortunate impact of this phenomenon is that so many people accept what is reported to them in the news without any skepticism or question that it is quite possible for the masses to be manipulated.

In the world that we live in, total separation of thought and action is not possible.  This means that the personal views & opinions of news journalists cannot be prevented from reflection in their actions.  Because of this, objectivity is really a myth that is propagated to create a false sense of trust in news reporting.  The unfortunate result is a large amount of people who allow the television, newspaper, or radio to do their thinking for them.

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Giving Yourself a Pay Raise

If you ask most people whether they would like to earn a pay raise, they would answer yes.

If you ask them whether their boss is likely to give them a pay raise, they would most likely answer no.

However, there is a reliable way to give yourself an after-tax pay raise in any year and any economy.  This fool-proof strategy is to track your spending and tighten-up your budget, regardless of your pay.
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Here I Go Again

Dear Internet –

We haven’t spoken for a while …

A while back, I used to blog quite regularly.   (Who am I kidding – it was “A long time ago, on a website far far away”)

I found the experience to be cathartic and enjoyed the process of using writing as an outlet for my thoughts and feelings.  However, life got in the way … so I stopped.

The Saga Continues

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