Archive for the ‘Wealth’ Category.

How to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic healthier wealthier and better overall

Make 2021 a productive year
Make 2021 a productive year

Here is the problem with the current pandemic we are living in, other than the obvious health and economic implications impacting billions around the world: it is the fact that it came almost unannounced and that we have no end date in sight. It would have been much easier if we were told, for example, that the pandemic will last for 6 months (e.g March 10 to October 10) and we all go back to our normal lives after that. But it has been more like a playoff hockey game, where we have 3 periods, followed by overtime that could go on and on until someone scores a goal. While we can see some light at the end of the tunnel, we are far from seeing this thing through. In fact, for Canada at least, we are being told the population as a whole will not get vaccinated in full until early to mid 2022. And considering that pandemic restrictions and curfews started in March 2020, that will be a full 2 years that we will have to put up with living our lives in seclusion and isolation from one another and our usual leisure activities etc. For pre-teens for example, that almost one quarter of their life spent in mandatory isolation from society!

That means, at least for most of us, we have only finished the first half of this boring and dangerous game called Covid19: the second half is yet to start and will last through much of this fresh year and early next year. Unless there is a big breakthrough that will massively scale vaccine production and delivery to Canada and other parts of the world, which doesn’t seem likely at this point. So, with so much more free time on our hands, why not do something useful with it, so that when it is all said and done, these 1-2 years of your life will not be defined by Covid19, pandemic and vaccines, but rather how you used it to advance your life in every area possible. I did it myself already and you can too. Let me go through some of what I was able to accomplish in 2020, and what I would like to continue doing for 2021, until we see us through this once in a lifetime pandemic.

Heath

When the pandemic started, in my first week of working from home and with my GYM being closed, I literally looked at my wife and said: “how will we do this?” it was a week in which I opened the door to our fridge more than I opened any other door in the bedroom or the entire house. That was March. Then came April and something changed. Despite the weather still being cold-even snowy at times-I started to walk, sometimes alone and sometimes with my wife who was off work due to the lock-down. Then in June, as some restrictions were eased, our local trails and hiking parks reopened and i started to frequent them on a semi-daily basis. I also bought dumbbell sets to work out at home, during my breaks from work. To put it into prospective, by the time the lock-downs started, I was around 180 lbs and by new year’s eve, I had gone down to 167 lbs, and body fat from 25% to 17%! That is 13 lbs loss and 8% body fat reduction, with no GYM! All because I took the decision to walk and work out, even with no formal GYM to go to. Last but not least, using my Apple Watch, I am currently on a 203 day move streak, going all the way back to July 12! That is how long I have been active on a daily basis.

Wealth

I am proud to say I spent the entire lock-down so far without once shopping off Amazon, unlike the majority of the population! With not much to do, I saved most of my money and I did two things that will benefit me tremendously for the long term: first, I bought stocks when the market bottomed out in late March, and again during the summer and fall. Every single one of these positions were in blue chip high-yielding stocks. Combined, I will be making over $1800 in annual dividend returns ($450 a quarter) . The other thing I did with all the money saved during the lock-down was to pay off my line of credit balance of $8,500. It would have been close to impossible to do this had there been no lock-down, where i would have otherwise spent my money in a multitude of ways. Between the two (LoC payment + dividends), I now have $600 of net monthly income that I am saving/getting.

Self Development

Depending on how you define this, to me it is the process or steps you take to develop your character, learn new things, or help you reach new goals in life. Going by this definition, 2020 was one of my best years ever. The things I was able to accomplish speak for themselves and prove that you can turn an otherwise terrible year into something productive and better yourself in the process. To start, and this is as synonymous as it gets with the concept of self development, this was a record year for book reading for me. I was able to read a total of 20 books, compared to my average of 3-5 books on average. Not only that, but some of these books were business and technology references, one of which helped me earn an industry-recognized certificate specific to my profession. 2020 was also a year in which I found a huge new interest in audio-books and podcasts. For the latter, I have even developed a new hobby: podcast driving. This is the act of driving for leisure while listening to my favorite podcasts shows. From March to December, I listened to around 500 podcast episodes, in a variety of topics.

Don’t let another year go to waste, start now!

I am not here to download the seriousness of Covid-19 and the terrible human loss for millions of people around the world. But the point is to not let it define us. If 2020 was defined by a pandemic and lock-down, and nothing else for you, you still have time to make 2021 better and more productive year. Start by setting some small but specific short term goals: how about finishing a book, losing 5 lbs, saving $1,000 and so on. As you start and gain some momentum, you will notice wanting to go for more and then the sky is the limit. Think of a snowball that starts small and as it goes down the hill, it gets bigger and bigger.

As you read at the start of this article, I started with a simple question and a simple walk, and those progressed into much bigger goals and accomplishments. And in fact, I am even more fired up for 2021. For January, and thanks to a milder weather so far, I have walked almost every day, for a minimum of 30 minutes. My fear was that I would start gaining some weight back during the cold winter months. Thankfully, that never materialized and I have kept the weight off. As they say, if I can do it, so can you. In fact, you may be be able to do more than I do, depending on your personal circumstances (whether you have a family, kids, full time job etc) . I would love to hear some success stories of how people used these pandemic months and years to better themselves and start a new chapter in their life that will forever change them for the better. Ditch the countless hours of Netflix binge-viewing and Tiktok scrolling and pick a book, go for a daily walk, or start a new online course!

Don’t feel Envious of all the new Facebook Billionaires, learn from them!

Feeling all depressed and envious reading and hearing all the endless talk about Facebook’s 100 billion IPO? Don’t be, or at least try not to.

As much as I believe the hype and valuations are highly unjustified, I still say good for Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg. To be able to create a company from a dorm room and take it to what it is today-over 800 million members and close to 4 billions in revenues last year-is nothing short of spectacular.

But amidst all this hoopla, I am sensing that this Facebook IPO entry is causing some depression and negative feelings for many out there. I am observing this from all the hundreds of commentary I am reading online, not to mention all the editorials and articles from professional bloggers on some well-respected news sites. Some are downright jealous, while others’ feelings are simply centered on envy and wanting a piece of the pie. Some are very logical in their approach to the whole thing, arguing what I did earlier, that the whole thing is not justified.

And I probably can’t blame them at times.

One story I read of people becoming instant millionaires and billionaires from Facebook’s IPO was that of an artist whom the company had hired in 2005 to do some murals for the company’s building at the time. He was given the option at the time to be paid either money or stock options. Luckily, he chose the latter and that means his wait and patience will make him an instant $200+ Millionaire!

Instead of feeling envious and depressed about the insane amount of money going to certain individuals, while we struggle to make ends meet, let us pause for a second and think about the following:

These people did put some effort and time to get the money they are getting. Of course, luck has something to do with it too. But the point is, this is capitalism at its best-or worst-and these people are reaping the benefits. In other words, they are much better than lottery winners in that they did work and sweat for this money and it didn’t come with no effort. Whether the valuation is justified-I don’t think it is-is another question.

So we can’t just feel bad for not having a piece of the pie. Why should we, it is not like we worked at Facebook and deserve some of this crazy money.

The other reason why feeling negative about the whole thing doesn’t help, is that it can only make you more miserable. Think about it: if you constantly drool and envy these new young billionaires, it will make almost anything you have and own seem worthless. Because it is simply nothing compared to what they have. If you have $10,000 in the bank, a Honda civic and a one bed room condo, these billionaires will have $1billion in the bank, with couple of Farris and Porches and probably one or two mansions.  Relativism at its best.  What you have is probably not bad for your situation, but once you start comparing, it becomes nothing. Remember, envy is one of the 7 deadly sins!

Find a job you like or better yet, study to work in something you like and can make you good money. And when you are in the right position, with the right attitude at the right time, you will also be in a position that others will come to envy.  In other words, you can sometimes create your own good luck.

The likes of Google and Facebook are rare. They come once every decade or so, and between them, you have literally hundreds of thousands of average or even failed companies.

Be happy with what you have and if you are not, work smart and hard to make it better. Looking at what others have and being envious, without doing anything yourself, is self-destructive.

And last but not least, remember one thing: it was me, you and the millions of other Facebook users who helped make the company into what it is today. In other words, even though these millions of users didn’t work for Facebook directly, their spending so much of their time on the site is what took Facebook to the top. So despite my earlier claim that we can’t just wish to have a piece of the pie, as we aren’t employed by Facebook, the reality is that Facebook’s users contributed much more to its value today than did its employees.  Sorry for making it worse for you…

The least you can do is to stop wasting your time on the site and do something productive instead. Really, you are just wasting your time. Spend it on something more productive that can actually give you some monetary returns.

Or, you can buy Facebook stocks yourself and hope that they will go up and make some money.

Want to become a Millionaire? Go Big, have Luck, be Patient and get Going!

Although a million dollar is not what it used to be, I say a million is a million, and it still sounds cool and very cha-chingy!

Becoming a millionaire is still a dream for millions of us in this country and everywhere else you go-well, exception are those countries whose smallest denomination money starts at a million!  There is just something very cool about the word. If you were to ask people about having $999,999, I bet you it wouldn’t sound as cool as $1,000,000 even though only one dollar separates the two.

OK, so if having one million dollar or more is very cool, the next question is, how do we get there? Can a salaried 8-5 job get you there in one lifetime?

 

Now or later?
You can get to a million dollar using a short term strategy or a long term one. One that is very aggressive and ambitious or one that will take decades and requires a lot of patience.  If you want it now (requiring few months or years), you can be sure of one thing: your current 8-5 simply won’t cut it. You need something that can multiply your money quickly, such as an investment or real estate.  Once you make your first $100,000 for example, it will be much easier to multiply to $200,000 and so on… 

Individually or with a partner?
Are you doing this by yourself or with the help of someone else, say a business partner, a wife etc.? Certainly, having someone else beside you will make your job a lot easier, but at the same time, it will mean sharing that money with that person. So you may not be or feel like a real millionaire after all.  But as a challenge, having a business -or life- partner will make the job easier.  If you have a spouse who has a good job, you can then focus all your attention on your own high return-and high risk-investments, without having to worry about feeding the family and paying the rent.

How bad do you really want it?
If you ask 100 random people, almost everyone will tell you that they would love to be a millionaire. But the real question is, which one of these 100 people will actually put the effort to peruse the dream of having one million dollars or more? it is one thing to want it and quiet another to want it bad and work to get to it.  Unless you are lucky and win a lottery, the only way to get to one million is through hard work, persistence, patience and a very passionate drive to achieve this at almost any cost!

Can I get some luck with that?
If you ask or read stories of how some people got to becoming millionaires, and in addition to all the other traits they possesses, they generally had some luck on their side. Whether it is that deal that fell at the perfect timing, landing the perfect investment opportunity, or being at the right place at the right time, luck had a big part to play in helping them get to the top. Are you a lucky person? better yet, do you think luck is on your side? I know, some of you are probably thinking “I can’t just create my own good luck” which is generally true. But if you come to think about it, you can create some luck-or at least a perception of good luck-by thinking positively.  In other words, you create the ideal conditions or environment for luck to be on your side.

 

The cool thing about getting to a million dollar is that you can get to the next million a little easier. The money just multiplies easier than before.  But as I have already explained, getting to that million takes a combination of things, most of which you may already have, but all depends how you apply them.

Take it from me. I am not a millionaire, but I am working to get there. Hopefully in this lifetime. Ok, time to go check my lottery ticket for Friday’s draw.

Wealth and Health: more Related than you Think

Can good health lead to more wealth? Conversely, can being wealthy lead to being more healthy? There are a multitude of answers to these questions, but in general the answer is YES in most cases, especially when you take the time to analyze the relationship between the two (health and wealth)

Being Healthy is Good for your Money

For me personally, and for many more, the relationship is quiet clear. Being healthy is to follow a good exercise plan and eat healthy. Eating healthy often means staying away from junk food. By staying away from junk food, you are killing an addiction which forces you to go back to the drive-thu window over and over again. At the end of it all, this is just making you leak more and more money from your wallet. I don’t need to tell you that this series of related events is not good for you.

The Psychological Factor

It goes beyond just not eating junk so as to be healthy and save money. The psychological effect of this is even more profound and powerful.  If you get into the habit of working out and eating healthy, you will want to extend that to how well you manage your money and finances.  Just like you work out at the gym and shed lots of sweat to cut body fat, you will want to apply that to your own budget and trim any extra fat from it.  This can be in the form of these frequent stops at ‘McDonald’s’, ‘Starbucks’ etc. By avoiding these places, you are hitting two birds with one stone: trimming the real fat and trimming the financial fat.

Long Term Results

In the long term, and if done consistently, you should see both your health and finances moving in the same positive direction. You will also notice that as you work out harder in the GYM, you will also want to match that by saving your money and not spending it on useless and junk food.  Conversely, on days and weeks where I don’t make it to the GYM, I lose my focus and start to spend money on junk food again, which means losing money and gaining fat. The way to explain it, by not going to the GYM and working out, you are losing that positive energy and you end up making bad choices with your eating and diet.