Debt Is A Dirty Word! (Or Is It)

As a society we are out of control with debt.  If you think about it we are a now society, we are impatient and we want it NOW!  I want, I want, I want, that is the motto today.  Oh and I don’t have the money to pay for it so I will put it on a credit card with 23% interest and a really low monthly payment.  It is nice of the credit card company to help me out with low payments.

We are so out of control, today’s children are expected to be the first generation ever to not do better than their parents.  Can you imagine that, with the prices of things today how will our children not be in debt, probably serious debt? 

Keep in mind not all debt is bad; yes some debt is worse than others so let’s define the different types of debt.

1-The first type of debt is what I will call (for lack of a better term) “Good Debt”.
2-The next type of debt would be called “OK” debt.  This is debt that you are ok to go into but you would rather not if you could avoid it.
3-The last debt is “Bad Debt”.  This is debt that you should avoid whenever possible.

Good Debt
Buying A Home – This type of debt is called “Secure Debt” there is something that the lender has as collateral.  Buying a home and using a mortgage is good debt because in theory by the time the house is paid off it will be worth more than you paid for it (even with the interest).

OK Debt
School Loans – Paying for your education would be almost impossible for many college students if they had to pay for it each semester.  You will start paying it off after you get out of school. There are usually favorable interest rates attached to these types of loans.

Auto Loan – Having a car for many is the only way to get around so taking a loan out for it is ok if you follow some guidelines.  Remember you don’t need to buy a new car, there are some very nice pre owned vehicles out there at a reasonable price.  Also if you are going to take out a loan for say three to five years plan on keeping the car for at least two years longer than the loan.  Keep making the car payments to yourself and save it for the next car.

Bad Debt
Credit Card Debt – This is a BIG place where we as a society have gone wrong.  I don’t have the money for it right now, just put it on the credit card.  I will pay it later.  The problem is when the bill comes in you don’t have enough to pay it off so you make the minimum payment and this is where the vicious cycle starts.  As a society we keep charging month after month and we keep getting deeper and deeper in debt.

Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC) – Home equity debt might be the worst of all (might).  Don’t get me wrong there may be good reasons to use your home equity line of credit but for the most part it is a bad use of debt.  This debt is now secured.  Meaning the lender has an asset they can come after for repayment of the loan (Your Home).  So as you consolidate your debt from your credit cards and put it into a HELOC you took unsecured debt and made it secured

Although debt is classified here as Good, OK and Bad there really is no true good debt.  If it can be avoided then it should be avoided.

Strategy Based Profits TIP: – Try to pay cash if possible and never turn unsecured debt into secure debt.

Robert J. Roy
Money Man

Starting A Successful Home Based Business!

Whether you work full time, part time or you are a homemaker or even retired already if you are looking for a little extra income setting up your own part time business might work for you.

A part time business will allow you to keep your current job while testing the waters with your new venture.  If done right you will make some money along the way.

Many new businesses fail within the first few years of starting up.  To start up a business that has the best chance of being successful there are a few things you need to do to put you on the side of success.

In coaching individuals through the process of setting up a business there is a 5 step process you will need to go through to raise your chances of having a successful business.

1) What Will Your Business Do – The first question to ask is what will your niche be?  This is very (and I mean very) important decision.  Don’t try to be a jack of all trades. Just become a master of one.  You will need to determine what your business will sell, whether product or service it doesn’t matter just hone in on that core area.  You will also need to determine who your target market is.  Who will you be selling to?

2) Have A Plan – Setting up a business plan is crucial to your success.  There is no step more important in the process.  Knowing why you are going to do something, how you are going to do it and when you are going to do it are crucial questions to answer.

3) Follow The Law – Each state has laws and regulations that must be followed.  That means having a formal business structure.  This could be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC, a corporation or another type of structure.  For more information on this please contact me to discuss your options.

4) Sell, Sell, Sell – Next you need to determine where you will sell your wares or services.  Will you sell in a traditional brick and mortar or will you sell your products online?  Consider this, even if you sell door to door you will want to have an online presence for your business.  I have a list of resources on my blog under the Rolodex section to help you there.

5) Review Your Plan – Your plan is not a stagnant document.  It is a fluid and dynamic work that will forever be evolving.  As your business gets going review and revise your business plan.

Well there you have it a down and dirty 5 step proven plan to get you going.

Strategy Based Profits TIP: – Pick a niche market, create your plan, set up your business, sell your products and rework your plan as needed.

Robert J. Roy
Money Man

Top 3 Financial Mistakes Newlyweds Make! (So Do Married Couples)

Your wedding day is finally here and it is perfect (or as close as possible).  You are off on your honeymoon with your sweetheart and the both of you have a wonderful time.  Over the next few weeks and months the two of you settle in to your new life.

There are conversations related to many topics but one that weighs very heavily on the scale is the topic of money.  As newlyweds there are a multitude of financial decisions to be made.  It would be a list that would take more room than we have here today to discuss.  But there are some topics that rise to the top, some things that should not be put off.

Actually there are three financial mistakes that many newlyweds make.  By the way if you are not a newlywed keep reading because these money mistakes are not only for newlyweds.  There are many married couples that I have worked with that after five, ten, and even twenty years of marriage they have not addressed these issues.

Saving vs. Spending – I know it is very easy to go out with your friends and spend, spend, spend but you need to consider the alternative.  How about saving some of that money for your future?  I can hear the questions forming in your brain as I am typing this “Why would I want to worry about money now, there is plenty of time for that later?  It is very easy to get caught up in “keeping up with the Joneses”.  It can also be a very costly proposition.  Spend, spend. Spend is not a habit you want to get started off with.  Start budgeting early on in your marriage.  There is nothing wrong with going out and having fun.  Just set aside a certain amount every month for play time and once it is spent you are done until next month.

Retirement Savings – Most young people (not just couples) wait too long to start saving for retirement.  If you are working for a company that has a 401k, 503b or any other type of retirement plan where they match a portion of your contribution you should take full advantage of that.  If you have a retirement plan still with a previous employer you should consider taking it out and putting it in your own IRA type plan.  You will not be penalized for this if done properly.  Talk to your tax professional or the brokerage firm you want to move it to and they will tell you what you need to do to avoid penalties and taxes on this money.  If you don’t have a retirement plan at work then you should put as much into an IRA as possible (up to the limits of the law).

Set up a Will – I know we all want to think that we will live forever but the truth is that we won’t.  Wills are fairly inexpensive to do if you use an attorney.  They can also be done online for much less and with the same quality you would get sitting with an attorney in person.  It doesn’t matter how you do it just that you do it.  If you are looking for an online vendor to help you with this send me an email and I will give you a place to go to.

There you have it now go ahead and get started.  If you find you are in need of help with any of these things just send me an email and I will get back to you and we can discuss your options.

Strategy Based Profits TIP: – Start setting money aside for savings, maximize your retirement plan and set up your will sooner rather than later.

Robert J. Roy
Money Man

Vulgar Voicemails Force Debt Collector To Pay $1.5 Million Dollars

I was sent a link to this by a friend it is a great piece written by:  Jason Whitely at WFAA.com.  These guys are out of control, it is about time someone stepped in and put them in their place.

DALLAS — The harassing and threatening voicemail messages left on Allen Jones’ mobile phone are nothing short of vulgar.

“This shouldn’t be tolerated,” he said. “Nobody should have to experience what I had to experience.”

Debt collectors from Advanced Call Center Technologies, LLC left eight messages for Jones in August 2007 trying to collect what it said he owed on a credit card.

Most messages were laced with profanity and spewed racial slurs:

“This is your mother******* wake-up call you little lazy a** b****,” a collector said on one. “Get your mother******* n****r ass up and go pick some mother******* cotton fields.”

Jones is African-American.

“If we did not have tapes, no one would ever believe that this happened,” Mark Frenkel, one of Jones’ attorneys said.

The recordings are so offensive News 8 decided against publishing transcripts of the others.

“This is absolutely, without a doubt, the most egregious collection case I’ve ever seen,” Dean Malone, Jones’ other attorney, added.

Jones sued Advanced Call Center Technologies over the harassing calls.

Friday afternoon, a Dallas County jury awarded him one of the biggest verdicts of its kind.

He won $50,000 in mental anguish and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

“We made a statement and the statement is we will not tolerate abusive debt collectors,” Jones continued.

Frenkel and Malone said employees from Advanced Call Center Technologies confessed to the calls. It remains unclear if they’re still with the company and whether it will appeal. Messages left at its headquarters were not immediately returned.

Jones always disputed the debt and claims he paid it.

The amount in question is as hard to believe as the calls themselves.

“They did this to Allen for under $200,” Frenkel pointed out. “Two hundred bucks put him through this.”

Now the company trying to collect money has become the one paying it out.

Rates To Die For Or Kill Over, You Choose!

There is an article that I wrote for a major Ezines that will be published shortly (when it is I will let you know) on using CD’s to your advantage.  I thought talking about CD as alternative investments to savings accounts would make a good topic for us today.

CD’s or Certificate of Deposits are fairly well known to most people.  There are advertisements for them on TV, in the local bank, even at the bus stop.  There are even websites that specialize in finding the best rates available.  Some local newspapers will do the same type of thing.

Here is a snapshot of a local NY website that has the rates listed.

The local NY website only offered 1 year CD rates, but as you can see they are not bad (all things considered).

Here is a snapshot to a local NY credit union website and their listed CD rates.

The local credit union has 3 and 6 month rates listed.  These are nice if you have money you will be needing shortly, you can place it there and earn a decent interest rate.  Much better than the bank pays for savings avvounts.

Strategy Based Profits TIP: – Do some research and check back in a few days for the link to the full article on what to look for in a CD.

Robert J. Roy
Money Man

Cashing In On Summer Jobs For Teens & Tweens

Summer is upon us, the kids are out of school and looking to take it easy, at least for a little while.  Your tweens and teens are going to want to go and hang out with their friends; go to the movies and just do stuff this summer.  The kick of it is they are going to look to their parents for the cash to do so.  They will be looking to pull some cash off of the money tree in the back yard.  Oh wait there really is no money tree just Mom & Dad.

One way to help ease the financial burden (for parents) this summer is to have your children do some work to earn some extra money.  There is nothing wrong with teaching them the value of a dollar early on, actually the tween and early teen years is the perfect time to do so.

Here are a few of the top tween and teen jobs for this summer:

Cleaning up the yard – Yes it would be great to have them clean up your yard (and save dads back along the way) but don’t forget they can clean up your neighbor’s yard also.  Raking leaves, mowing the grass, watering the flowers and weeding the garden are just some of the things they can do.

Pet care – If your child has always wanted a dog or a cat or some other exotic animal like a ferret and you have resisted because you don’t believe they will be responsible enough with them than this could be a wonderful experience for them.  First they will get to see what it is like to take care of a pet with full responsibility and they will get to earn some money along the way.  They could offer pet sitting, dog walking and even give baths to the pets (get the first bath on video, it will be a blast).

House cleaning – Please don’t discount this one, everyone has to clean up at some time or another.   You might be surprised after one full summer of your kids cleaning up other people’s houses they might even keep their room clean.

Babysitting – This works best for the teens but the tweens are welcome to join in also.  When our daughter was eleven she babysat in our home so my wife was there to keep a watchful eye on her and the baby.  Kids are getting between $5 – $15 per hour for babysitting these days (not bad money).

Bake sale / lemonade stand – These types of events are usually less frequent than some of the others mentioned above.  They work well around block sales and sporting events.  One trick is to ask a store owner if your child could set up shop outside of their store for one or two days a week.

Try making up flyers and posting them at the local supermarket or library.  Also give them out to your neighbors and have them available at sporting events.  Let the kids help create them on the computer, it’s their business so let them treat it that way.

So there you have it a few good ideas for helping your kids not only to make extra money but you will be teaching them the value of a dollar.

Strategy Based Profits TIP: – Start teaching your children early about the responsibilities of money.  Have them pick out a niche and help them advertise it.  Most importantly keep them encouraged and motivated, be their hero!

Robert J. Roy
Money Man

Making Money Online With eBooks

As a society we have instant access to information.  It has gotten to the point of information overload.  If you do a Google search for the word “money” you will get 943,000,000 results (give or take).  This makes it almost impossible to find just what you are looking for.

Much of the information is not very good.  Most of it is just fluff thrown up on a homemade website full of grammar and contextual errors.  You might be thinking that this is bad news but it is actually very good news for you.

What makes this good news is you are going to do something about it.  You are going to contribute to the amount of information online.  The major difference is that you are going to create a document that is chock full of pure content.  This will be content that people are looking for.  How are you going to do this, you are going to create your own eBook.

I can hear the roars now “Rob I can’t write a book”.  Actually you can do it.  Keep in mind you do not need to be a journalist to write a book.  Here is what you do need:

            A desire to see the job through
            Deep knowledge of a topic
            A plan to get it done

Writing an eBook is actually fairly simple, the number one secret to success is to write about something that you know.  I am constantly writing articles, blog posts, chapters for my book and short stories that focus on money and finances but you can write on anything that you know that you could be considered an expert.

The best way to determine what to write about is to sit down with a pad and brainstorm.  Write down everything that you have an interest in, what you do as a job, your hobbies.  Don’t hold back here, just get it on paper, and don’t think about it at this point.

Now for the making money part.  Once you have written your eBook you will want to make some money with it.  You put in your blood, sweat and tears into this masterpiece and it is finally time to make some money by selling your work of art.

There are two main areas to focus on for selling your eBook.  First are the online auction sites such as eBay.  Go to eBay and search for eBook and look over the advertisements people already have posted there.  This will get the juices flowing on how to list your produce for sale.  Next go to Google and search for eBook directories and you can list your book there.  Some sites will charge you but that is ok because of the exposure you will get by listing it on their site.

You might be asking the question “Rob why would I want to go through all of this work”?  Well if you create an eBook that has value to it, people will want to buy it because it has meat to it and it solves a problem that your audience has.  So you have done a good thing BUT let’s not forget the money part of this.  Once the book is written the hard part is done.  As you sell your book (let’s say for $10.00 each) and you sell just 10 copies a month, that is an additional $100.00 per month.  Then you add a few more sites to sell your book from and you are now selling 15 books a month, well that is $150.00 a month of extra income.

Once you get to this point you will be thinking of your next eBook (your sequel as it were).  It’s not hard but it will take a little time.

Strategy Based Profits TIP: – Brainstorm and pick a topic you are familiar with, spend time writing your eBook, and list it for sale.  Sit back and let the sales come in.

Robert J. Roy
Money Man

Budgeting Made Easy (Or at least simpler)

I have received numerous emails asking for more information on creating a budget.  What I did was I went back to my files from a budgeting workshop that I teach and I have created a quick and concise eBook called: “Strategy Based Profits Starter Budgeting Worksheet”. 

I have set up a download link on the top right side of the page.  Enter in your email address and your first name and you will receive a download link to the free eBook.

I hope you enjoy it!

Robert J. Roy
Money Man

Profiting From Garage Sales (Finding Hidden Gems)

We have all driven past them before.  We have seen the sight stapled to trees and telephone poles and even posted in the grocery store on the community bulletin board.  Garage Sales (sometimes listed as yard sales, tag sales, estate sales, etc) are everywhere around us.

This weekend I saw over a dozen such sales in my neighborhood.  As I was talking to my wife about this we didn’t remember here being this many yard sales last year.  I decided to stop and talk to some of the “garage sale merchants”.  I was amazed at what I found out, my conversations actually confirmed my initial thought process on this recent boom in garage sales.  As the unemployment rate continues to climb and remain near recent highs individuals and families are cutting back and selling “The Family Junk” (as it were) to make extra cash.

The consensus I found in my conversations was that the economy wasn’t getting any better anytime soon so they were preparing themselves as best as possible.  I also realized that the home owners having the garage sales were very open to negotiating the selling prices of their wares.  I realize that garage sales are meant for negotiating but I have never been able to drop some of the prices to 10% of the original asking price.  This was at more than one of the numerous sales I stopped at.

So how can you profit from this recent boom in garage sales?  Here are a few ways you can take advantage of them:

*Look for deals for personal use – One persons junk is another person’s treasure.  I saw almost brand new bicycles for $5.00 each.  It doesn’t have to be brand new to be a good deal.

*Collectables – Estate sales are wonderful for these types of items.  Family members are selling off all of the assets form a parent or other family member that has passed on.  Usually they have no idea what they have their hands on.  You need to know your market to make sure you are not overpaying but if you get a deal here you can make a small fortune reselling the item.

*Resell what you buy – Places like craigslist.com and backpage.com are great places to resell your items and both of these are free to use.  You could also use paid sites such as ebay.com.  If you have some knowledge about books go to my post on “Selling On Amazon Click Here   to learn more on selling your items on Amazon.

Strategy Based Profits TIP: – When looking to profit from garage sales be familiar with the items you are looking at.  Also the key is to negotiate, negotiate, and negotiate.  Did I mention you need to negotiate!  Most important be willing to walk away from the sale.  Don’t show the seller you want the item more than they need to sell it.

Robert J. Roy
Money Man

Mom and Dad are not an ATM MACHINE!

You’ve see it happen before, little children going up to their parents in a store asking “Mommy can I buy this”.  I am sure your children have done the same thing, all kids do.  Children look to parents for their sole source of supply.  Who else should they turn to, a complete stranger?  Of course not, children know that they can go to mommy or daddy for anything.

At an early age it seems cute but as our children get older they need to learn that money doesn’t grow on trees.  Although they have always looked to you for their sole source of supply, the supply is not limitless.  There comes a point where (as parents) we have to draw a line in the sand.  A point where we have our children take on some (if not all) of their own financial responsibilities.

Here is one way to handle this situation.  The first step is to determine when you feel your child is mature enough to start handling money.  What I mean by that is if you were to give your nine year old child $50.00 on the first of the month would they be able to budget it and make it last the entire month?  At nine years old that is probably too much to expect, but at fourteen or fifteen they are more likely to be able to handle this.

Once you feel your child is old enough to handle the financial responsibility pick a dollar amount that you are willing to give your child for the month (or the week) to spend on their daily needs.  This could be for going to the movies, school lunch, transportation to school, etc.

What you are teaching them is how to handle their own finances.  In essence you are teaching them to create and stick to a budget.  BUT don’t believe for a second that they are not going to stumble along the way.  Instead of getting mad about it use it as a teaching time with your children.  You don’t have to be all business with them, have fun and enjoy the ride.

Strategy Based Profits TIP: – As your kids fall short of money at the end of the week or month explain to them that as adults we struggle with the same things day in and day out.  They are not alone here.

Robert J. Roy
Money Man

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