Friday, July 30, 2010

Where are Your Habits Leading You?
Written by Jack Canfield

You are an accumulation of your habits. From how you get out of bed, how you shower, how you dress, how you walk, sit, and talk, how you respond to the world, how you act in front of others, and how you think; you're living out your habits.

Habits are necessary.

They free up your mind so you can concentrate on how to survive day to day. You don't have to think about how to drive your car so you can be on the lookout for danger while you are driving. You don't have to think about how to walk so you can concentrate on where you're going.

Unfortunately, habits can also keep you locked in self-destructive patterns, which will limit your success.

Is there something you want to accomplish in life that requires you to up-level your game? Whatever it is that you want to achieve, you will need to drop those bad habits that are lead to a dead-end and develop new ones that are in alignment with the life you want to live.

People don't suddenly appear in the life they want to live... their habits play a large part in determining their outcome.

What are the habits you have that are keeping you from achieving your goals?

Really be honest with yourself here...

Are you always running late?
Do you return phone calls within 24 hours?
Do you get enough sleep?
Do you follow through on your promises?
Do you plan out your day?

Imagine what your life would be like if all your habits were their productive counterparts!
  • What would your life be like if you ate healthy meals, exercised and got enough sleep?
  • What if you saved your money, stopped using credit cards and paid cash for everything?
  • What if you stopped procrastinating, overcame your fears, and began networking with people in your field?
  • Would your life be different? I bet it would!
So, my suggested action step for you is to write down some productive habits you could adopt and visualize in your life. Step two is to 'act as if' you were living these new habits right now!

I'd like to help you get moving toward creating more successful habits, so I'd recommend you develop four of your new success habits each year, one for each quarter.

Once you pick the new habit you're ready to adopt, next you'll want to create a method that will support your new habit.

Here are some ideas... You could write it down on a card that you keep with you and read several times a day. You could make it a part of your daily visualization. You could also enlist the help of an accountability partner who has habits to change, or work with a personal coach who can keep you on track.

It's important to make a 100% commitment to your new habit, so be specific about the steps that you're willing to take in order to drop an old habit and adopt a new one. Don't be vague about how you will change your habits. Spell it out for yourself so you can recognize situations that motivate you to act out your new habit.

Just developing four new habits a year will dramatically shift your life to be more in line with your vision. And the more in line it becomes, the easier the other habits are to replace because your perspective is shifting and you can see more clearly how your old habits aren't serving you anymore.

Make the decision. Make the commitment. Then watch your new, positive life unfold!

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul©Inspirational Books)© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com/.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Investing for Children with a Twist on Inflation

I’ve written multiple posts on the importance of parents, relatives or friends starting to invest for children as early as possible and in turn teaching children about money as early as possible too. I’ve also a lot of support on how great the Roth IRA is for most people – including children. I recommend that along with this post, you read some of my earlier posts that:
I’ve received some feedback on some of the earlier posts and found that not all parents want to go through the steps that I went through by having to document and prove verifiable income for their child. Also, not all parents want to possibly have to file for income taxes for their young child either. Furthermore, some parents feel a little uneasy starting an investment in their child’s name – they have fears that once the child turns 18, they might just take all of the money and blow it on something frivolous.

If you share any of the above concerns, then I may just have the solution for you!

Let’s just assume that a parent sets up a Roth IRA at age 25, when his first son or daughter is born. The parent sets up the Roth IRA for himself and then only makes a one-time contribution of $1000.00 in that that first year, but makes the new born the beneficiary. Keeping the money in the parent’s name protects the money from being foolishly spent by the child, as well protecting the parent from having to prove verifiable income or file taxes for their new born.

If the parent were to die 60 years later, at age 85, the 60 year old beneficiary would inherit $1,292,377.00 – assuming a 12% average annual rate of return on the investment. This inheritance would be completely Tax-Free and would come with an option of taking the lump sum or of converting it to a “Stretch Roth IRA” in the beneficiary’s name. (Stay tuned – I will be discussing Stretch IRAs in more detail in future blog posts.)

Since the IRS law in 2010 allows up to $5000.00 in any one year to be contributed to a Roth IRA, if that were the original contribution, the inheritance could have been $6,461,885.00! Due to inflation, if we assume a 3% rate of inflation, that $6,461,885.00 in 60 years is only going to have the “Buying Power” of $1,096,582.00 in today’s dollars!

Some interesting facts about inflation: Inflation has relatively little affect over a 10 year period – a loss of 26% in buying power. However, over a 60 year period – like the example above – it represents a decrease of over 83% in buying power.

If you are bummed about that loss in buying power over 60 years because of inflation, just think of it this way: Your one-time investment of $5000.00 has increased 21,931.64% to $1,096,582.00 in 60 years!

I'm so excited to share this information with you. If you have enjoyed the information or feel that it would benefit someone else, please share it. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What in the World Are You Doing?
Written by Chris Widener

Let’s talk about leaving an impact legacy. “What is an impact legacy?” you may ask. It is how you impact people and the world around you. You see, many people glide through life and do not make much of an impact. That is unfortunate. Others, though, those driven by a purpose and passion for living, are continually making the world a better place and making an impact wherever they go. That’s what I believe you want to do.

In order to help you reflect on this, I want to ask you a question: What in the world are you doing?

Here is the typical life—typical, though not everybody does it this way. For the most part, people’s lives generally go something like this:

You’re born
You eat and sleep
You play with toys
You go to school
You play Little League
You go to school
You learn to drive
You go to school
You leave high school
You go to more school, but you pay for it now
You get a job
You get married
You buy a house
You have kids
You watch your kids eat, sleep, play and go to school
You work, work and work
You retire
You die

That’s the basic life, isn’t it? I know there is more to it, but that is about it for most people.

Here is that question again: What in the world are you doing?

I mean, what are you doing besides the typical “enjoying yourself while you are waiting to die” scenario? What kind of impact are you making?

What I believe sets the successful apart is that they don’t just live the average life. They don’t just pass time. They make an impact. They have something compelling in their life that drives them—something that gives them an answer when they are asked that question: What in the world are you doing?

I’m helping children.
I’m creating a business that supports many families.
I lead a church.
I am defending our liberties.
I am raising great children.
I’m teaching others to improve their lives.
I help people have fun.
I create memories for people.

In other words, successful people always come down to this: I make an impact and help other people by (fill in your purpose here).

What in the world are you doing?

If you want to be successful, you need to be able to answer that by describing how you help others. If you aren’t helping others, if you aren’t making an impact, you are just taking up space, eating food and waiting to die.

Here’s the question for you to answer and what to do with your answer: What in the world are you doing?

If you know, then you are good to go—live it and make an impact!

If you don’t know, then maybe you need to reflect on what you are doing, what your life is about, and how you can explode the mundane bubble you may be living in!

The world needs impact makers—so live to be one!

Reproduced with permission from the Chris Widener Newsletter.
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© 2010 Chris Widener International. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Cost of Waiting to Invest

Most people don’t put money to work over the years where it can work the hardest for them.

The average person will wait until they are at least 30 or older to start investing money for their future.

Let’s do a little experiment to demonstrate the powerful concept of the “Time Value of Money” and find out how much it really can cost you to wait to invest:

So, let’s suppose John, a 30 year old, was to make a one-time investment of $1,000.00 and let it compound monthly at 12% for 35 years – until he was 65. That would accumulate to $65,310.00.

Now, let’s see how much would have accumulated if he invested that same $1,000.00 for one time 10 years earlier at age 20. If the money was left alone to compound monthly at 12% for 45 years (still until he was 65), that would accumulate to $215,547.00.

John, simply by waiting 10 years – from age 20 to age 30 – to invest the same $1,000.00, would cost him $150,237.00.

So, let’s go back a little further. How much would John have made if he made a one-time investment of $1,000.00 ten years earlier – at age 10 – and left the money alone to compound monthly at 12% until he was 65? This would accumulate to $711,388.00.

So, waiting from age 10 to age 20, John’s cost for waiting to invest $1,000.00 would be $495,841.00.

But wait, it gets better (or worse depending on your point of view). If John had a one-time investment made for him when he was born for $1,000.00 and it was left alone to compound monthly at 12% for 65 years, this would accumulate to $2,347,857.00!

In this case the cost of waiting to invest the $1,000.00 from under 1 to age 10 would be $1,636,469.00!

If the investment was made as a Roth IRA then it would be Tax-Free money!

Since currently in 2010, the maximum you can contribute to a Roth IRA per year is $5,000.00, let’s look at the numbers if the one time investment would have been $5,000.00 instead of $1,000.00:
  • Age 30: $5,000.00 for 35 years @ 12% = $326,550.00
  • Age 20: $5,000.00 for 45 years @ 12% = $1,077,735.00
  • Age 10: $5,000.00 for 55 years @ 12% = $3,556,940.00
  • Under 1: $5,000.00 for 65 years @ 12% = $11,739,285.00
The cost of waiting to invest $5,000.00 over the various periods of time:
  • From age 20 to age 30: $751,185.00
  • From age 10 to age 20: $2,479,205.00
  • From under 1 to age 10: $9,260,080.00
Most intelligent people don’t know that they are potentially losing an $11,000,000+ Tax-Free opportunity for their children, over the time between their birth and age 30 – that can never be regained.

Final Thought: It is never too late to start investing. However, now that you know the incredible power of the “Time Value of Money”, I hope you realize that the sooner you start to invest the better!

I'm so excited to share this information with you. If you have enjoyed the information or feel that it would benefit someone else, please share it. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.