Time: The Secret to Financial Success


You can spend weeks budgeting, saving, and cutting corners, but a short period of hard work isn’t going to turn you into a financial success overnight. If you want to win with money, you’re going to have to employ the secret of time.

There are lots of tools to financial success — budgeting, discipline, diligence, savings, giving and investing, to name a few — and you’re unlikely to achieve much without using all of them. But time seems to be the secret ingredient in this recipe, because everyone forgets to talk about it. That’s too bad; there’s no way to short-circuit the path to prosperity. [Read more…]

Insurance and Inheritance

Checkbook Troubles

If you need a good reason to buy insurance coverage, consider this: Having insurance can mean the difference between passing an inheritance on to the next generation or leaving them nothing at all.

There are all kinds of great reasons to buying health, life, home, auto and other insurance. Having good insurance insulates you against many of the risk factors that are inherent in our world. But say you’re not risk-averse. Maybe you’re a daredevil. Perhaps you like to live on the wild side. Do you still need insurance?

If you want to pass anything on to your children when you die, then you absolutely need insurance. For some people this is the most compelling reason of all to carry good coverage. [Read more…]

Business Wisdom: Budgeting is a Must!

Imagine the embarrassment: You’re a business owner, and you’ve just issued a round of payroll checks. Several of your employees have taken their paychecks to deposit over lunch, but they came back with bad news — the checks didn’t clear, because you didn’t have enough money in your bank account to cover them.

It may sound far-fetched, but this scenario plays out all too often. My father told me once that at his first grown-up job, employees would race each other to the bank on payday to make sure that they got their money while there was still money to get. The company he worked for was on such shaky ground that it couldn’t reliably make payroll. Can you imagine how red-faced that boss must have felt?

There are a lot of things that can cause a business to get into that kind of cash-flow trouble. One of the biggest is bad budgeting, or a complete lack of budgeting altogether. We’ve talked before about how budgets are essential to maintaining our personal finances in good order, and the same is true of business finances. In fact, budgets may be even more essential in business. When done right, budgets can be part of your road map to growth and success. When done wrong, they can lead your business down the  road to perdition. [Read more…]

Business Wisdom: Watch those Expenses!

A few years ago, I learned an important lesson about business expenses — out-of-control expenses can kill a small company even before the business starts.

Fortunately, it wasn’t my business that failed, but I got burned nonetheless. Back in 2004, I was a freelance writer, and got an assignment to do an article for a new magazine that was starting in my hometown. The magazine concept was great, they had a well-established editorial team, and I was convinced that the publication would be a hit. What’s more, they contracted with me to do the article at a very high rate — about twice what I was getting for similar articles in other magazines. I was, as you can imagine, excited to work with these folks. [Read more…]

Pencil and Paper: Building a basic budget

Via Flickr, by user quacktaculous. Used under Creative Commons License.

So you’re ready to become master of your financial life, and you know that the first step in doing that is to make a budget. That’s great. So what do you need to get started?

A pencil, a pad of paper and a calculator. [Read more…]

A Budget for the Future

Via Flickr, by user uberculture. Used under Creative Commons License.

You passed the sixth grade, right? So you have pretty good handle on arithmetic.

I’ve got some great news: Basic math skills are all you really need to figure up an accurate monthly budget. You add up the amount of money that comes in, subtract money for everything you spend, and then see what you’re left with in the end. But is that the whole story? [Read more…]

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