It's time to put the excuses to bed and live out your promises. Don't let anyone, including yourself; keep you from turning your potential into reality. We will make sure to deliver our best in 2013 and hope you will do the same. Be Safe and Happy New Year!
Avoiding D.E.B.T. Tip of the Day: Expect your car, home and family to need untimely repairs. You will run over a nail every once in a while. Someone in your family will get sick or break something. The roof and plumbing will wear down. This is just a part of life and shouldn't be viewed as unexpected. The more we expect these things to happen; the better we are prepared for them.
When you make a trip to the bank and withdraw a few dollars, you probably would refer to this legal tender as money. But is it really money? By definition, money is used as a medium of exchange, which should be based on something of value. So, today's dollars do fulfill a portion of this definition. What about the value part? You want to know how much real value your dollar has, try going to a bank and asking for real assets in exchange for your dollar. I'm sure the bank teller or manager will look at you as if you had horns growing out of your head. The so called "money" that you have in your accounts and wallets should only be called by its true name, currency (fiat money). There is no gold or silver set to aside to back the dollars you hold. Your dollars only hold value because of consumer confidence and a strong military. But, this doesn't mean real money doesn't exist. Remember, money can be anything that represents value and can be used as a medium of exchange. If you have a transferable legal document for the valuables you own (without any liens) like a home, land, food, gold, silver, an automobile, water and any other valuable goods, you have money. On the other hand, when a bank owns most of these valuables, you probably don't have much money.
As our country continues to increase its debt and decrease the value of the dollar, it is important that you focus on increasing your real money. We can all hope the dollar never collapses or becomes useless, but being prepared for the possibility should be a priority. In 2013; work on replacing your debts and dollars with real money. What's the worst that will happen to you by doing this? If the dollar remains robust and increases in value, your real money will increase in value too. That's the best part about this type of preparation; it creates a win/win outcome.
If you need help with increasing your real money and becoming less dependent of dollars and debt, pick up a copy of my book "Did Everything But Think" and sign up for the "D.E.B.T. Clean for 2013 Challenge" on our home page.
10. Going to the gym for the first time in 3 months without stretching.
09. Locking myself outside of the house for a second time in 2 months.
08. Driving to Delaware for a meeting that was canceled (Also going to work on my day off).
07. Traveling to Puerto Rico without brushing up on my Spanish first.
06. Letting someone that didn't have car insurance drive my car.
05. Becoming addicted to a television series that only comes on once per year.
04. Not recording several of my lectures and radio interviews.
03. Not signing up for the Brooklyn Book Festival.
02. Going to the store and buying something I already had...again and again and again.
01. Not realizing that I was signed up for something which cost me a few hundred dollars.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR D.E.B.T. MOMENTS OF 2012?
We've all heard the phrase "stress kills" before and many physicians have recommended better stress management to lessen its' impact. They recommend exercise, yoga, spiritual meditation, and other similar methods of escaping stress. But, I choose to help people deal with their stress by attacking the cause. Why? Firstly, I'm not a trained physician and am therefore unqualified to make those types of recommendations. Secondly, I do have training and experience to assist people with specific problems, namely financial issues. These financial issues I am speaking of are common causes of stress. They can literally cut years off your life. Here are a few things to think about while you're making important financial decisions.
1. Numerous studies have shown that there is a link between average age of death and income. People with more income tend to outlive those with less income. But, this trend cannot be solely linked to regular doctor visits and superior medical care. Debt stress plays a big part. While doctors can help you to cope with these stress problems, they can't solve them for you. The task of solving these problems is assigned to the owner of this debt, and it will be only be completed through a strong removal process.
2. Living in communities with high crime levels increases your chance of being a victim of violent crimes and it's often leads to more anxiety. This one is self-explanatory. Living with unsustainable debt will force most people to live in undesirable neighborhoods. Being closer to crime makes you more susceptible to it and it increases stress levels.
3. Most adults with debt problems will not enable their children to care for them once they become older. It is very difficult to escape poverty. Most people won't become a multi-million dollar earning professional athlete, actor, singer or entertainer. In fact, most adults in the U.S. will never earn a six-figure annual salary. This means the majority of us will barely be able to take care of ourselves and will find it difficult to take care of our elderly parents. Some adults that are able to earn a six-figure salary will also have a difficult time taking care of their parents. If they had to accumulate hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt to qualify for their high paying job, it will take a lot of time to pay off those debts. Having to pay off so much debt leaves little opportunity to assist others. This usually results in increased stress for senior adults. Stress that they are not physically capable of dealing with.
Eliminating debt problems from your life will increase your chances of a long life. Begin to remove these problems from your life today, while you still have time.
Avoiding D.E.B.T. Tip of the Day: Stop buying silver and gold to prepare for Doomsday. If it's the end of the world, money won't save you. Investing in any material goods to prepare for the end of the world is a waste of your time and money. On the other hand, investing in bullion to prepare for a possible collapse of the dollar may not be a bad idea.
Avoiding D.E.B.T. Tip of the Day: Get out of the Dec 26th thru Feb 1st broke cycle. Using future income tax returns to cover Christmas/Holiday spending does not qualify as a great budgeting plan.
Please forgive me for this slight rant about the major disservice both congressional Republicans and Democrats have done to the most important and largest economic group in the United States; the middle class, but I can no longer remain quiet. To be clear, I define the middle class as a legal U.S. citizen, married or single, earning between $45,000 and $100,000 per year. My figures take into account those living in several areas ranging from New York to Alabama. I also included sample data from several different demographics like single adults with no kids or property and single adults with kids and property. There aren't many differences between them, given current tax codes, but that argument will be reserved for future articles. With that said, on to my small rant.
Let me begin with the Democrats. If Democrats are for the "working families" of America, why do they impose so many taxes on "working families"? The average American pays dozens of taxes outside of personal income tax each and every year. These taxes range from the infamous telephone federal tax, state and local surcharge tax, to my personal favorite the excise taxes. Excise taxes are truly taxes on products you already pay sales tax for, but are
levied because of the need for the government to raise revenue. This certainly doesn’t seem like the actions of someone looking out for the “Average Joe”.
The Republicans aren’t doing a much better job either. If the current Republicans in congress believe smaller government helps middle class families, why are they spending so much? The last true fiscal conservative president was Richard Nixon. His presidency cut the national debt
down to 35.6% of Gross Domestic Product, today it’s almost 100%. Secondly, Republicans favor tax codes that aren't fair and equal. Continual support for the capital gains taxes doesn’t promote fiscal equality. Capital gains earnings aren't taxed at the same rate as regular income; they are limited to 15% of the revenue received. If I was a full-time teacher and decide to pick up a part-time bartending job, I would get taxed based upon what I earned from both jobs. Wouldn’t my earnings from this part-time job (aka “something in the side”) be equivalent to earnings from capital gains? The 87 million dollars Warren Buffet gave dollars on C shares in 2011 could be perfectly described as "something on the side”;however, it is taxed as if there are major differences. How does supporting such an unfair tax policy help middle class families?
So yes, I'm calling both sides out. They have done a terrible job of protecting the most valued assets outside of our basic freedoms, the wealth of Americans. Sadly, given current headlines, things don’t look to be getting any better in the near future.
Trae Lewis is a graduate of Howard University with a BA in political science. He is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and currently works in the financial services industry. He has been an active member in the political community for several years and has assisted with numerous political campaigns.
Today's tragic mass murdering and many other recent similar events have pushed me to make a change in my life. While I am sure some people will use these events to promote their pro or anti-gun movements, I refuse to join this crowd. I would rather work towards real change. This real change is a personal choice, but I won't discourage others from joining me. I've decided to gradually step away from desensitizing programming. No longer will I watch numerous television shows depicting senseless violence. Music that promotes vengeance and hate will have no place in my playlist. News programming and other media outlets that use tragic events to entertain the masses will not receive my support. I will begin to ignore people and media outlet's that leave people with little hope for the future. The countless 2012 Doomsday and Mayan Prophesy promoters will not be allowed to spread their messages within my household. My time will be spent doing better things like praying, spending time with my family, studying God's word, writing, creating, helping others and improving myself. I am not promising to never watch television or listen to music. I am not isolating myself from society. If anything, I am working towards further integrating into my local community. I've given too much time to people with desensitizing agenda's and am making a choice to take it back. Sure, my actions may not prevent mass murders and other heinous acts, but it will at least help one person from adding to non-sense.
The MoneyEtiquette team sends our prayers and condolences to all that have been affected by the evil acts of a few.
As we hurdle towards 2013, it is looking less likely that we will return to good old days. The Federal Reserve is pumping more fiat money into the economy and most economist believe it will be several years before we return to an unemployment rate under 6.5 percent. There is also a possibility of economic disaster due to the looming "Fiscal Cliff". With all these negative outlooks, it is easy to lose hope in the possibility of personal financial freedom. But there is a way to achieve financial freedom despite these circumstances and it begins with acceptance.
We must accept our new reality to succeed within today's economy. The good paying ideal jobs are not plentiful. Cost of living expenses are rising. The rich are getting richer. College tuition costs are higher than ever before. These circumstances are not going away anytime soon. It is better to just accept these circumstances than to keep hoping things will quickly improve. Acceptance will motivate us to make proper financial adjustments that lead to financial freedom. We save more when we believe our jobs lack stability. We pay down our debt more aggressively when accept that or economy is weak. These hardships often lead us to downsizing our homes and increase our value for family. They also push us to innovate and create new ways of generating income. Sure, this new reality is uncomfortable, but we have proven the ability to overcome hard times in the past. These times give us the opportunity to reset and leave our wasteful spending behind us. It is time to adjust our ways to flourish in 2013. Waiting too long will only delay our recovery. Once we accept that achieving financial freedom requires better financial discipline; it becomes more realistic. Make the necessary changes today so you won't be left behind tomorrow. Things will not be changing anytime soon.