Money & Debt = Financial Comfort food = Retail Therapy

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Everyone has that thing which brings them to their happy place……. for a short period of time.  If you poll a one thousand people you will find everyone has a comfort vice.  Many people use drugs, some people use work, others use television while many people use consumerism/materialism and the illusion of wealth as their comfort vice. If you wonder where the term retail therapy come from, think comfort debt.

In years past I used money,  consumerism, materialism and debt like a drug.  When my emotional state was down, relief was had by purchasing some truly unnecessary item to divert my attention away from my real life problems and issues.  I have haunting memories of being depressed because I did not have enough cash on hand in my bank account. With my bank account being in the red zone and depression filling my emotional tank, the only relief I could muster was by buying something on credit to make me feel as if financially everything was OK. Let’s face it, being a human being is an exercise in excess and restraint, and I, like many of us humans had far more excess than restraint.

What most wisdom would suggest is life should be is a management of moderation. Realistically, life is more of a roller coaster, and when the sea we are sailing on is to calm, we feel justified to jump in shark infested waters with just a life preserver or knife, just to keep things exciting more often than not.  Our issues are compounded when judgement,  external acceptance and peer pressure come into the fold.

12932990_10208367892530867_1197993098941897_nThink about the majority of the purchases you had made in your life. How many of those purchase were, I want therefore I need? A prime example is purchasing an automobile. Sure, we all understand the purpose of an automobile is to get you from point A to point B safely. Usually when shopping for an automobile the basic premise is a minor considerations. The pressing issue is how the automobile will make us feel, the physically and emotionally comfortable of the vehicle, the emotional safety and how people will judge us as we are associated with the automobile as a status symbol and envy project. Instead of purchasing a Prius which is a safe, economically sleek get it done vehicle, we opt for a Dodge Challenger. I as most of us, have made those purchases.  The bigger issue comes from the fact of most car purchases and many other items are facilitated via a lease or credit terms. Putting you into depreciating debt. the item just purchased, be it a Television at Best Buy, booming car stereo, latest mobile phone (Don’t get me started on those), automobile or just about anything else in this world loses its value the exact moment you take “possession”. I want you to pay attention to the word possession vs ownership, because until you pay the asking price, lease and financial fees of the acquired product technically you are not the owner.

I recently found a purchase/lease agreement for a 1990 Geo Prism I once owned (eventually), the sticker price was $12570.00. If I had not paid the car off early, the car would have cost me something like $20,000. I would have gotten straight pimped. That is why I now purchase cars I can easily have in my possession for a minimum of 10 years.

It all comes down to comfort food, which relates to my earlier post “Are you financially Fat or Obese” . Are you just financially eating yourself into the black hole designed for you to stay in bondage with the chains of comfort holding you down. I wonder how the consumer landscape would appear if we could all remove our emotions from the equation of making purchases.

Let’s make wise choices and be free.

The Billionaire lifestyle Coach

Emmitt Muckles

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The Good Money Opportunist

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Some people think the word opportunist is a bad word, well that depends on who you ask. An opportunist is simply a person who is open-minded and present in the moment for any possible advantage for himself or herself. All businesses and startups are the result of someone looking for or identifying an opportunity to serve a niche
community or the population at large.

I understand how someone may view an opportunist  a bad person or thing, but that is only how modern media presentation the picture to us. Television and movies have simply given the wrong impression of the opportunist for the most part, programming the population to be in victim node and identify with the victim as the only means of good. It all about perception and directing our attention to a particular view. In turn much of our society plays the part of the opportunist. There is plenty of opportunity, if we all open up to the vast possibilities.

Important for us as people is practicing the constant vigil of having our eyes peeled and our opportunity radar on maximum for opportunities to positively promote our life and the lives of others.

Being a positive opportunist provides the world with:

  • Good deeds,
  • A learning experience.
  • A sense of service
  • Overall awareness
  • Self worth
  • Financial gain.

 

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Being a good money and deed opportunist is the practice of saying YES, instead of nothing or no to things and situations before us. I’ll give you an example, have you ever encountered someone who stated “I wish I could___________? (Fill in the blank). That is an opportunity for an opportunity. Someone needs something that you may be able to provide.

There are times when your knowledge is worth a great deal to someone else. Someone is willing to pay you to mentor or tutor them based on information or skills  currently  in your personal arsenal. There are other methods of seizing opportunities simply by providing a service. Many of us have talents and knowledge currently not being g used for opportunities which present themselves daily. Don’t think of financial gain off the from the start, sometimes just a show of faith and goodwill may turn into some fortune at another point. Don’t expect to always get your fruit where you plant your seed.

If you have nice size pickup truck, I bet you could make some side hustle money every weekend with a small Craigslist advertising campaign and a little hustle.

The whole point is to open your eyes, ears and other senses taking stock of your personal inventory to find some hidden value lying dormant, just waiting to be used. If you can profit $50.00 every weekend that’s an extra $200.00/a month, or $2400.00 a year. Sounds simple and small until you add the numbers up over time. Making $50.00 a weekend should be easy if you put a really small amount of effort forward.

There was a time my goal was just to make $250 a month, which I reach consistently in a relatively short time. As time progressed that $250 began turning into much more than just a side hustle, eventually that $250 became a LLC small business for the next 9 years making multiples of that initial $250. Starting my own small business saved me while helping me learn more about opportunity and being prepared when opportunity knocks.

There is a thing I learned early in my life. Alway, and I mean always look at things objectively and trying to learn things just for the experience. I have an uncle (Edward) who has never attended formal college, but continuously is involved in courses and self learing to the point I don’t think there isn’t much he can’t do in this life. I remember a HVAC course he was taking just to learn the skill. He never had an intention to really use it but the skill was available if required.

There use to be these places where anyone could go for acquiring knowledge for free called the library, but not the library is in everyone’s home in the form of YouTube.com, Wikipedia and Google.com, Knowledge is all around you.

Last example, my brother-in-law had a car amplifier that required repairing, I told him I would try to fix it, and asked if I fix the amplifier just pay me for the parts. I visited the library, learned about switching power supply circuits and fix the unit in less than a week. I figured it I fixed his amplifier,  more people are available who could use an amplifier car audio repair service. A side Hustle was born for the next 5 years.

 

Opportunities are literally everywhere, www.craigslist.com is full of opportunities. Even if you see some service someone else is providing, that’s an indication of validity. Try it yourself. So is Fiverr.com, and kickstarter.com, indiegogo.com  just to name a few places to search for the opportunities. You may find a different point of view on a service or product to offer.  AW Hell, just sell lunches you make to your coworkers, bet they will buy them, and you will make a little cash.

 

GO BE AN OPPORTUNIST…….NOW!

 

 

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The Devil = Personal Credit Cards

 

Credit Card Are The Devil, I Say!
Credit Cards Are The Devil, I Say!

We all have them. Little sheets of plastic tether made to corrupt our very souls. I’m referring to credit cards. The evil unleashed upon the masses in the 1980’s from places like Delaware and South Dakota to make purchasing goods easily affordable and accessible to the general public.

It is my honest opinion concerning credit cards, the world would be a far better and healthier place if they did not exist, or at least had realistic applications. Once upon a time in America having a revolving credit line of $1000 -$100,000 or more on your person hidden in a little coded piece of plastic, was unheard of and simply crazy, a thing for the rich.

I can actually remember my first “Credit Card”, my mother applied for a credit card for Mervyn’s department store in my name Taylor, Michigan. She sure did, thanks MA! The credit line was maybe $500. This little action was the start of my addiction to plastic credit and slow demise for several decades.

Ya see, before the early 1980’s you had to be well off to even own a credit card. Which means they were A) Not Easy to obtain and B) not available to the masses. Then the credit card political lobby persuaded several states to loosen thing up a bit with the usury rates.

The interest rates credit card companies and banks provide is out of control. Imagine paying 19%-35% APR on $40,000. Yes this can happen to you, because it did to me. They start with a small allotment and work their way in like a virus, is what credit cards and lines of are made to do.

I have had them all except American Express:

  1. Visa
  2. Visa Platinum
  3. Discover
  4. Mastercard
  5. Hudsons
  6. Appliance store card
  7. Audio Chain Card
  8. Marshalls
  9. Best Buy
  10. Open lines or revolving credit.

You name a credit card, I had it. I still have a few, but they play a different role in my life. At one point in my history while making less than $50k I had approximately $35,000 – $70,000 of credit open, WTF was I thinking. No More, No, No, No,No, No!

Here is a quote from a PBS Frontline article from Bill Janklow was governor of South Dakota from 1979 to 1987 and from 1994 to 2003. He and his state played a key role in helping the credit card industry take off in the 1980s:

” It was called the Marquette Bank decision [Marquette National Bank v. First of Omaha Services Corp. (1978)]. The Marquette Bank decision was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said forget where the bank is chartered; wherever the credit decision is made, in whatever state locality the credit decision is made — the “lex loci” rule — that’s the place where you can apply interest wherever you make the loan. In other words, let’s just say that if South Dakota had a 5 percent ceiling on interest, and that’s where the decision was made, the bank couldn’t charge more than 5 percent, even if they loaned the money to somebody in Florida. But if South Dakota had a 25 percent ceiling, then you could charge 25 percent, even to a loan in Florida. 

There is a great PBS Frontline televised show related to the quote The Secret History of the Credit Card ,

The credit card is the Devil, El Diablo, Satan and we are kind of stuck with it unless you have cash. Many places will not do business with you if you don’t have a credit card on file with them, or doing business is really difficult.

Due to the ease of issued credit cards and credit line to the American public we are suffering and borrowing against our future and well being, yes there are some positive aspects to credit, but how it has been presented is a Pandora’s box upon those who don’t understand how the system works.

Banks and lending institutions offer Credit cards that  prey on the weak and unsuspecting, promising everything will be great you have nothing to worry about. You have nothing to worry about as long as you can make the minimum payments.  If you know how the banking money system works ( Later Post  FYI) you would be shocked. If you or I would loan money in the same method as banks we would be put in jail for loan shark activities, racketeering and about five other crimes.

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Here is where the evil come into play. Bank provide you with a credit card and a manageable limit let say $500.00. You immediately or within a short time span use said card because you don’t have the cash. Soon you make a few small payments and think that’s not so bad. Then something happens in you life where you need more money than you have in the bank and you think to your self “Self why don’t I use the line of Credit”. Which of course you can’t pay off at the end of the month. Now the banks have got you if your close to your credit limit. Why do they have you by the short hairs? They have you because, the interest will put you over the limit and maybe cause a spiral of debt.

The second scenario is you make the grand purchase or purchases and are close to your limit, then ask for more credit or a Credit limit increase. That increased credit limit will make you a slave for years to come because credit is addictive and easy. Honestly most credit card owners are not versed enough concerning these little creations of evil to manage them responsibly.

I have witnessed more than a few people in my life go to bankruptcy not once,but several times because of the access to credit card, and lines of credit. The little buggers have even cause me some problems in my own life until I made the decision, Credit Cards will be tamed and used for my benefit. It is my driving force to never pay interest charges on Credit Card again.

Credit cards have become a staple in modern society along with their kissing cousins the Debit Card. It’s a really simple equation, banks and lending institutions are here to separate you from a very valuable resource, your future earnings.

There are very responsible method to use these little demons for your benefit, which I will describe in an upcoming post, but we all must be very careful and diligent. I treat my credit cares a an enemy walking beside me with a gun, I never take my eye off of them and give pay constant attention.

It was so bad after the 2008 financial crash, it  was mandated to make it harder for college student to obtain credit cards without the proper credit standing and method of repayment. The reason for the change was due to the easy with which a college student could get credit without having the proper qualification.

The reason its is or has been so easy to obtain credit is because these institutions of lending are making money from nothing. They loan you money they don’t actually have and everyone else is in on the scheme. It all play a part in the Rational Reserve system.

Maybe you can tell Credit Card are not my favorite financial vehicle, but we should hall be wary, because the devil of easy credit lurks very near at any moment, waiting for you weakened emotional state of temporary poverty.

 

My Rant is done.

Emmitt

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Are You Financially Fat or Obese?

FMO =Financially Modified Organism

Are you carrying too much financial weight and don't know it?
Are you carrying too much financial weight and don’t know it?

photo credit: AMURICA via photopin (license)

We all have a favorite pair of pants or a shirt that makes us feel great when we wear them. So we tend to cherish those items and not wear them as often. When we do wear those items it tells us we fit the mold of what we were when we bought them.
I have a pair of pants usually slated for me in the spring, but often a little eye-opening moment happens when I try to put those pants on every few years. They don’t fit any longer. I can’t button them and usually just put a belt on without fastening the pants. The reason for my new found situation, I gained weight, because i let things slide. Over the months of not wearing those pants, I put on somewhat feels like a few tons of butt and belly meat.

The simple act of putting on a pair of jeans has told me I have not been paying attention to my weight and physical condition, and I have work to do. This is actually a post about finances but stay with me here.

The very same thing happens almost by magic to us financially. We start taking on financial weight in the form of small debts which can affect out overall and previous lean financial state. Have you ever done an audit of your credit card or debit card spending and try to shed some financial weight?

Credit cards and debit cards are like a financial buffet VIP pass, allowing the holder of these small densely packed financial calories cards to got wild.  I like to think of credit cards and debit cards as the High Fructose corn syrup in your purse or wallet waiting to enter your financial body. Ewe Financial GMO, or FMO Financially Modified Organism.

Have you ever taken and financial inventory of your spending habits regarding your credit and debit cards. The world is our financial buffet with the membership sitting right in your pocket waiting for you to enter the feast. If you have never taken an inventory, it’s time to do so. Here are the steps for your spending habit inventory.

  1. Gather your credit card statements. 3 months worth
  2. Gather your bank statements attached to your debit card. 3 months worth
  3. Look at each transaction and label it(AN) Absolutely Necessary (example, automobile gas purchase, is absolutely necessary, getting a cheeseburger because you were too lazy to make lunch is not.)
  4. If the purchase was for comfort, entertainment, recurring payments for something you don’t use, or laziness label it (UN) unnecessary

Tally up your unnecessary purchases, particularly the recurring payments. If you are not using the recurring item or service you are being billed, the answer is simple CANCEL IT!

Are you a Debt Slave
Are you a Debt Slave

Performing a routine audit and having an action plan can allow you to maintain a manageable healthy financial weight. One practice I have performed since 2004 has been to find a comfortable level of money to work with per month,  no matter what raises or financial increases I get to spend that Set monetary level. I have based my living expenses of $2800 a month give or take a few bucks for the last 12 years. Anything over that $2800.00 amount is slated for going into savings of some sort. Some of that $2800 right into savings as well.   my income, I increase the amount per month directly to my savings account. Now I will not sit here and say that I am a perfect financial guru, I am a human with emotions and emotions can make us irrational, Sometimes I refer to myself as a recovering debt alcoholic with an infrequent tendency for falling off the wagon from time to time personally. Because I pay attention to my finances overall and frequently, I can get back on the wagon and recover without too much mayhem and destruction in my life.

I know a few people with the mindset who constantly rationalize well I’m broke so might as well spend it while I got it. I experience this from the time I was a child, especially from the various peer groups in my life. I too was there in my young adult life, and I now refer to myself as a former Fat Debt Slave. Financial responsibility is a choice and sometimes the choice is uncomfortable for a defined period.

Financial health is equal to physical health, they both have to be monitored and maintained to make the life trip easier for the long-term. Simply adding debt to your budget unconsciously can and will cause discomfort.

Unless you have a financial generation of unlimited proportions, we have to monitor our financial situation constantly. Purchases we find important today may be just a small or medium burden tomorrow. I am not advocating not living your life and not having awesome experiences, but be mindful of where and how your financial resources are allocated and how the bottom line will be affected.

 

Have an awesome day.

The Billionaire Lifestyle.

 

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