Thursday, April 16, 2015
Some of us believe that rich people know something that the rest of us don’t; that at some point in their lives they were let in on a little known secret. And they’ve used that knowledge to gain immense wealth. At least that’s what it must be right, a secret or trick the financial elite picked up along the way.
When you or I imagine a wealthy person we tend to view them as “dripping in diamonds” or showing off their wealth at every point possible. We imagine we can tell the rich from the rest of us by the clothes they wear; impeccably tailored outfits made with the finest of materials some of which display the luxury brand from which they come (Yves St Laurent, Chanel).
It’s also thought that you can tell by where they live; in mega mansions that dot the oceans, lakes and most prestigious streets in upscale communities. You can easily spot wealth by the cars they drive; Bentley’s and Roll’s Royce’s are the vehicle du jour for these financial elite. Plus they tend to acquire luxury accessories like Rolex watches and designer handbags.
But what if I told you that the image most of have in our head of millionaires is wrong? That most don’t drive Bentley’s, wear brand name clothing, live in expensive mansions, or spend much money on luxury accessories.
Is this the secret to real wealth? Perhaps, but probably not.
So then who is buying all those Armani suits, bottles of Grey Goose vodka, Gucci handbags, and BMW’s? According to Dr. Thomas J. Stanley, who studied the habits and buying patterns of America’s financial elite for his bestselling book The Millionaire Next Door, it’s a type of person who he terms “aspirationals.”
In his book Dr. Stanley describes “aspirationals” as people who want to be rich and therefore act like the stereotype they have in their mind of a rich person. They buy expensive trappings of wealth to fill a material void created by a faulty perception.
This hyper-consumerism leads people to buy items that they can afford, but at a detriment to their financial well-being. It leads to a drain on savings and increased credit card debt.
In truth millionaire’s live an entirely different way than most of us perceive. In fact most of the people who have more than a million dollars or more in assets after liabilities:
-Live in a house that costs $400,000 or less.
-Do not own more than one primary residence.
-Do not own a boat.
-Generally pay less than $15 for a bottle of wine.
-Are more likely to drive a Toyota than a BMW.
-Have never paid more than $400 for a suit.
-Spend very little on prestige brands and other luxury items.
That’s probably not the idea you had in your head of a rich person is it?
Perception is a funny thing. It colors the way we view the world, the people in it, influences the things we buy and choices we make. We perceive wealth through the display of prestigious brands and luxury items.
When we perceive something we think we know something. The downside to this line of thinking is that our perceptions are usually off and that leads to poor decision making.
When we buy these brands we perceive as exclusive to the financial elite we do ourselves no good. $600 handbags…$200 bottles of alcohol…$75,000 cars…$7,000 watches…$400 cell phones…after these kinds of expensive purchases it makes it really hard to save money.
Even those of us who make good money, over $100,000 a year, would find it hard to purchase these goods and save a lot of money. In fact regular purchases of these kinds of trappings will actually prevent you from becoming wealthy.
This is the real secret of the wealthy elite in our nation.
Rich people aren’t necessarily smarter than us and they don’t know anything we don’t know either. But what they do that sets them apart from the middle class is to spend far less than what they earn, save the difference and invest it to make them even more money.
The people who are actually wealthy in this country don’t spend nearly as much of their income as the rest of us do, at least not percentage wise. They don’t get caught up in the trappings of wealth.
Rather they recognize that true wealth comes from experiences; time spent with family and friends. They realize that a night sitting on the back porch, eating off paper plates with their loved ones is just as enjoyable as a night out at Morton’s Steak House with a $150 bottle of wine.
Income has a lot less to do with wealth than you might think. Sure you can make $250,000 a year, but how wealthy are you becoming if you spend $275,000 each year. Plus if your salary goes down you still have the bills to go along with it.
It’s much better to make $100,000 a year and save $25,000. This way you’re actually building wealth by living within your means.
The rich also realize that living rich isn’t about owning powerboats or vacation homes on the lake. They aren’t working their fingers to the bone chasing things that will inevitably become out of date, obsolete, thrown away and forgotten, instead they are living within their means and enjoying the freedom and peace of mind that comes from that.
Another secret of the real rich is that they hate debt. If you can’t afford to buy it in cash you probably shouldn’t. You become rich by collecting interest on your money, not paying interest to own cars, TV’s, boats, and other toys.
The rich know that those that flaunt their wealth aren’t truly rich. That’s probably why they don’t display their wealth as prominently as the rest of us do. To them it’s more important to have freedom. To be able to do what they want, when they want, with who they want.
So the next time someone asks, “What’s the secret to being rich?” You can turn to them with confidence and say that it’s not some trick or secret passed on to only a select few. And no the rich aren’t smarter than the rest of us. The knowledge on how to live rich and be successful is available to us all.
Tell yourself and everyone who will listen that financial freedom is the most powerful secret of all. You become wealthy one dollar at a time. Buying expensive luxury items just makes you poorer.
So live within your means and over time you can be sitting on a million dollar bank account too.
Keeping Money in Your Pocket,
Posted by omeng at 10:32 PM
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Do you like to surf the Web?
Ever use Google?
How would you like to get paid to do both of those things?
I’m talking about $50 an hour at a minimum. It could be a great part time gig to make extra money. If you go full-time, you could make a very nice living – close to six figures a year. And in either case, you don’t have to worry about going to an office, a 9 to 5 schedule, or any of that corporate hassle.
You work where you want, with whom you want, when you want (although you do have to meet deadlines).
And it’s all thanks to a specialized skill (one you can learn easily with practice) that you combine with a little mental elbow grease to create a money-making opportunity that could only come around in recent years.
I’m talking about becoming an Internet researcher.
No degree, special training, high-tech equipment, or expensive software is required. All you need is your computer, access to the Internet, and an email account. Yet, you’ll cash in doing something you probably already do for hours every day for free.
As a Internet Researcher you’ll work with writers, marketers, authors, website owners, publishing companies, and other businesses to find information they need for their blogs, websites, articles, books, ebooks, special reports, white papers… basically anything that can be published offline or online.
These folks want to concentrate on the actual writing, which is what makes them money. So they prefer to hire freelance professionals to do the research.
They need facts and figures, statistics, quotes, case studies, testimonials, study results, graphs and charts… and much more.
A project could be tracking down information about the Great Depression and accounts of daily life of that era for a novelist writing a book set in that time. Or you could help an advertising copywriter who needs detailed statistics about historical gold prices for a new sales letter. Or a blogger might need help tracking down quotes from famous politicians for his latest post.
Really the sky is the limit when it comes to the assignments you’ll get as an Internet Researcher. That’s what makes this opportunity so fun – every day will be different.
Your Research Resources
The Internet is chock-full of information to help you with your research projects.
Search engines are the gateway to the Web, so it’s no surprise that you would start your research here.
Google is a huge resource. First off, the search engine itself is a wonderful tool. Just by entering keywords related to your research assignment, you’ll have instant access to hundreds, if not thousands, of possible resources to get information and stats you need for your project.
To get the most out of Google, there are a few best practices you should follow. Otherwise it’s quite easy to get buried under a mountain of results, many of which aren’t useful.
1. To look for a specific word or phrase put it in quotes. This will return only results with those exact words in them, which eliminates many related but not useful results you might get otherwise.
Say, for example, you were researching European cruises. If you put that in Google, you would get information on both Europe and cruises, including cruises everywhere in the world. But if you the phrase in quotes and search for “European cruises” the results would be only about, you guessed it, cruises in Europe.
2. You can also exclude words from your searches to get more targeted results. All you have to do is use the minus sign. So, for example, if you don’t want any information about Mediterranean cruises specifically, you could search for this:
European cruises- Mediterranean. Be sure that the minus sign is touching the word you want to exclude.
3. To search for similar words at the same time, you use this symbol: “~”
For example, to get results about ferries in Europe, as well as cruises, you would enter this in the search box:
European cruises ~ferries
Google offers a wide variety of search tools just like this. You can find the official search tips here: http://www.google.com/
Google also offers some other resources that are perfect for Internet researchers.
Google Books– Save a trip to the library. You’ll also be able search by keyword and Google Books will scan the thousands and thousands of books in its collection to find related passages.
You could also set a Google Alert for articles and news related to the topic you’re researching. When you sign up, you’ll receive a regular email (daily if you wish) from Google that offers the most recent and most informative news stories and other web content (including blog posts) on that topic. So instead of searching for the information it comes directly to your inbox.
Of course, when it comes to search engines Google isn’t the only game in town. Microsoft’s Bing.com is fast becoming a quality search engine. It returns different results than Google. So if you’re Google search is coming up dry, check out Bing.
Another great search engine, especially for statistics, historical data, and other detailed, quantifiable information is Wolfram-Alpha.
Industry publications specific to your topic are going to be required reading. For example, if you are researching human psychology for your client, you would definitely check out the website for Psychology Today for the latest news and research in this field.
If you are researching health topics, check out some of these: New England Journal of Medicine, Merck Manual (info on drugs, diseases, and health), and Journal of the American Medical Society.
Copywriters working with investment advice publishers can be very lucrative clients. They get paid a lot – so they pay the people they hire to help them well, too. For these types of clients you don’t need to be an expert in investing. But it helps to know where to track down the information they need, like current and historical stock prices, quarterly reports, news from the Federal Reserve, and similar information.
Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal are excellent sources of financial news and trend analysis. Yahoo Finance is the best place to find stock quotes and other “numbers” like that.
Magazine and Newspaper Archives
Thanks to the Internet, hundreds of publications have put decades and decades of past issues online, every article searchable by keyword. Go to sites for the New York Times, Time Magazine, and the like and search their archives for information on just about any topic you need for your research project.
If you’re clients are interested in worldwide economic trends, check out The Economist or U.S. News and World Report.
The U.S. government puts out a ton of information every day, week, month, and year. You’ll find official statistics for things like gross national product, unemployment, agriculture figures, geographical and geological surveys, and so much more.
So keep an eye out for government agencies related to the niches you’re researching in.
-The Food Drug Administration is in charge of drugs and medical treatments.
-The Bureau of Labor Statistics studies how many people are working out there and where.
-The Small Business Administration helps entrepreneurs get on their feet.
-The Census Bureau has information on population, political affiliations, and more.
-The Bureau of Economic Analysis releases information on the U.S. economy.
This is just a small taste of the government agencies that you can use as research resources. This is official data – very trustworthy.
Warning! Warning! Danger Ahead!
Caution: Do not use Wikipedia as a primary source. There are just too many people with an agenda (or just plain wrong information) on Wikipedia. You can use Wikipedia as a jumping off point for further research. Never use any info directly from this site.
The Nuts and Bolts of Finding Gigs
The best way to find clients for your Internet research business is to ask.
It’s that simple.
Believe it or not, many of the world’s best paid copywriters, authors, and other writers do not realize how they could benefit by hiring a researcher to track down information for them.
So all you have to do is contact them and explain the benefits.
The first step is to make a list of the top copywriters, authors, publishers, website authors, and bloggers. Get their contact information. And then write them a simple letter explaining the benefits of your services.
Sure, not everyone will respond and hire you. But those that truly understand will appreciate the value of your work and will get in touch.
You can also post your services on craigslist.com, elance.com, andguru.com and other freelance sites.
Lastly, be sure to let your network know about your new career. Put it on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on your own blog… wherever. You never know who you know that might hire you… or whether they have somebody in their network in need of your services.
Once you land a client, it’s time to set ground rules.
As an Internet Researcher you’ll probably have to offer your services at around $20 an hour to start. But once you have some experience under your belt, within a few months you could be charging $50 or more per hour. I’d recommend working out retainer relationships with good clients that pay well and you enjoy working with.
That way you have a steady stream of income, even if you just keep this as a part-time income stream.
If you run into any potential clients that balk at paying $50 an hour for your research services, remind them of all the time and hassle they’ll be saving. These folks are interested in saving time most of all because they know they’ll be making plenty of money once the project is done and it’s ready to be published.
To Your Success,
P.S. The Internet is the world’s most powerful and comprehensive research resource. There are thousands of websites that can help you research any topic under the sun. But here are some of the best – you’ll no doubt discover your own as you start your Internet research business.
New England Journal of Medicine: http://www.nejm.org/
Journal of the American Medical Society: http://jama.ama-assn.org/
Merck Manual: www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/
Food Drug Administration: www.fda.gov
Bureau of Labor Statistics: www.bls.gov
Small Business Administration: www.sba.gov
Census Bureau: www.census.gov
Bureau of Economic Analysis: www.bea.gov
Where to Find Jobs
You can’t get paid to surf the Web without clients, right? Here’s where to find them:
Posted by omeng at 10:14 PM
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
This week I’m going to talk about something different… something that will allow you to look at the negative in a completely different light.
Hey, it wasn’t me who burned the economy by allowing banks to leverage their assets by 30:1, I’m just the spectator trying to make my way through the aftermath. Politicians and economists are clowns in a circus- all we can do is watch and be entertained by them.
Right now, you’re hoping for the best as we charge through 2015. You’re hoping that everything will be okay and that you will get more out of this year then you did the last. We want more income security, the value of our home and assets to increase, and to live the good life.
But what if life is trying to teach us something? What if you could learn from the bad times.
A wise man once told me that whenever you feel life pushing you around, don’t get upset; it’s trying to give you a lesson… to make you a better and happier person.
It’s one thing to learn from our mistakes, but there’s something even more special about seeing an inner message in those mistakes…
What I’m saying is: instead of stressing about your lifestyle being threatened, perhaps the greater lesson is that your lifestyle was flawed in the first place.
We as a people lost our way long ago. For many, hardship has become not being able to show off the latest Chanel purse, or not being able to trade up to a house with the same square footage as your buddy’s or not having the newest cell phone.
As a society, we got addicted to ‘stuff’. Material possessions. The world grew to count on Americans as the chumps of last resort to sell crap to. China’s economy was built on that fact. All the time Americans use credit cards in shopping malls, the world continued to turn.
Life is teaching the brief inhabitants of the third rock from the sun a lesson. Maybe it’s to stop us from blowing each other up. After all, if we’re prepared to fight illegal wars (i.e. a wars that the U.N. did not sanction) to keep gas prices down so we can drive ludicrous gas-guzzlers, it’s fair to argue something needed to change.
On a side note, I don’t care what car you drive, just don’t bitch about gas prices if you drive a Suburban! And no, I don’t drive a Prius.
Maybe you’ve lost your job. Maybe it’s threatened (and you usually won’t know it’s threatened until you’re actually fired).
What’s the worst that can happen? Will you starve?
Maybe in the great depression, but not in this era. If you and your loved ones have shelter, food and water you’re in better shape than a lot of the world.
And did/do you actually enjoy that job anyway?!
Do you need a certain level of salary just so you could live in the good part of the town where your job was? Well guess what, now you don’t need to live in that town! In fact, you may not even want to live in a town at all. Now you can move somewhere you’ve always wanted to.
Life is giving you a chance to re-evaluate our lives. To take a step back.
Surely we hear all the horrible reports of mass shootings and other crimes on a constant basis. What you don’t often read about is all the good that is done by regular folks all over the country.
A person’s true colors come out in a crisis. Some yes, will turn to the dark side, but you’ll also see the better side of human nature. Life is making us connect with each other once again; we’ve not only lost touch with what life’s all about, we’ve lost touch with each other.
A long period of prosperity as we’ve had can actually be very stressful. People feel pressured to get indebted just to keep up with everyone else.
I for one try to maintain a reasonably modest lifestyle, though towards the end of the boom I succumbed to certain pressures to keep up with the Jones’s. But the Jones’s lifestyle was a big façade…
As the saying goes, “When the tide goes out, you see who’s been swimming naked.”
Well, I’m sure during the recession you saw so many naked bodies you thought you were in a nudist colony! You can most certainly make your own American Dream, but it can’t be done on a revolving line of credit.
The good news is that regardless of what the media says, the playing field has never been more level than it is right now. More million dollar businesses are being started at kitchen tables and in basements then in any other time in human history. The point is you don’t need a lot to make it and live the good life.
I know there’s all those toys, but take it from someone who’s been there and done it, toys don’t fill the soul. And they make you a lot poorer!
If you’ve been sucked too far in to the ‘game’, I don’t doubt your family missed you. Their Mom and/or Dad were gone for a while there, but now they’re back- physically and mentally…
THAT IS, if you can let go and basically get off the merry go round and OPT OUT of the race with the Jones’s. Re-evaluate what you actually need and want from life.
If you’re struggling just take a moment to wonder if this isn’t a blessing in disguise. Maybe life’s giving you a second chance or giving you time-out to regroup and reconnect. Maybe the thing you feel you’re clinging on to by the fingernails right now isn’t worth clinging to.
“Failing” is a subjective word.
Posted by omeng at 8:00 AM
Sunday, February 22, 2015
I had an interesting conversation today with Patrick Coffey. He is in the process of hiring a new customer service representative to join the team. And boy did he have a lot to say about the hiring process!
He posted the job opening on CareerBuilder just two weeks ago and in that short period of time they have received over 500 applications! That’s a lot of résumés to look through. Thus it takes a lot for a person to stand out among the crowd.
Now I know you read our Easy Street newsletter each week to learn money saving tips and tricks. But in order to save money you have to make money, so I thought it prudent to tell you the eight most common mistakes Patrick is seeing. Some are obvious while some, I’m sure you’ve never thought of.
Mistake #1: Typos!
Nothing says “I really don’t want this job!” like a misspelling or incorrect information. Double and triple check your résumé for typos. Have a third person look over your résumé and cover letter before you hit send. Careless and easily correctible spelling mistakes are an easy way for hiring managers to pass you over.
Mistake #2: Disregarding Your Online Reputation
If Patrick liked an applicant’s résumé the next step would be to check out their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. “You can learn a lot about a person online. One applicant had semi-nude pictures of herself on her Facebook page. Another had her privacy settings activated but had a message up that referred to ‘f%$* buddies’ and other sexual encounters.”
Job applicants should assume employers are checking out their web pages. They use social media and other web pages to judge the character of an applicant. Pictures with inappropriate clothing, bad mouthing an employer, references to drugs and alcohol can all put a potential candidate out of the running.
Remove all scandalous material and put up only appropriate pictures up while searching for a job. Facebook provides privacy settings so use them!
Mistake #3: No Cover Letter
To compete against the hundreds and maybe even thousands of other job applicants you need to find a way to stand out. A cover letter is a great way to do that.
Write a paragraph or two explaining yourself and why you would make a great addition to their team. Personalize the letter with the name of the hiring manager instead of To Whom It May Concern. Reiterate the position you are applying for and your qualifications in the first paragraph.
This is also a good place to site examples rather than mention general skills. If you are applying for a marketing position, cite a time when you used your marketing expertise to execute a marketing campaign.
Mistake #4: Violating Interview Etiquette
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. If a potential candidate is lucky enough to make it to the next round in the interview process a face to face interview is arranged.
That means dressing appropriately for the interview, arriving on time and having a firm handshake. Research ahead of time what type of company you are interviewing with. If it’s a financial company wear a conservative suit or dress, no loud prints or colors. Likewise interviewing with an internet company a tie without a jacket may be appropriate. Try to gleam this from the tone of the company’s website, when in doubt overdress with a conservative outfit.
To go along with your clothing arrive at an appropriate time. Arriving late to an interview is not an option. Arrive five to ten minutes early, but no more than that. Being too early can be just as bad as arriving late. To make sure you arrive on time do a dry run the day before your interview to make sure you know where the company is located and how long it will take you to get there.
Employers also judge potential candidates based on how firm their handshake is. Many applicants provide a weak handshake due to nervousness or stress. A limp hand will be remembered far longer than a strong one.
Mistake #5: Not Researching the Company Before The Interview
Undoubtedly you will be asked if you checked out the company’s website during an interview. No matter what, ALWAYS review it. If you don’t have access to a computer or the internet use a friends. This step is so important and a big reason why some candidates don’t get hired.
I sat in on an interview a few years ago, the applicant had the experience we were looking for, answered every question appropriately and did everything right, except check out our company’s website ahead of time. This one fact cost the applicant the job.
Employers are looking for reasons not to hire you. Don’t give them one. Read over all company material ahead of time to get a feel for the type of company they are. Make sure to compliment employers on their site when appropriate and ask questions about any content. Be able to express in words that you visited your potential employers’ website.
Mistake #6: Not Being Able to Give Examples
There are questions you will be asked no matter what job or industry you are interviewing in. Ask a friend or relative to go over these questions with you ahead of time and come up with examples for each one. Preparation will take you far.
Make sure you have answered prepared for questions such as these:
-What is your biggest weakness?
-Give an example of your leadership abilities?
-Describe a situation in which you had to work with a difficult person. How did you handle it?
-What have you been up to since your last job?
No matter what question you get, never answer with just a “yes” or a “no”. Employers are trying to learn as much as possible about you so expand on your responses and give examples. About.com provides answers that any employer would like to hear to these typical interview questions.
Mistake #7: Not Asking Any Questions
An interview is a two way street. Employers conducting interviews like it when potential candidates ask them questions too. Don’t be afraid to ask about something that confuses you or interests you about the position or company. Asking questions shows a potential employer you are interested in the job and have done your due diligence before the interview. Great questions to ask are:
-Is this a new position?
-What happened to the last person that held this job?
-What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
-Can you describe an ideal employee?
-How do you see the company in the next five years?
Employers will judge you based on the types of questions you ask. Ask open ended questions and not one’s easily answered by a simple web search. Don’t ask about salary or vacation time during your first phone or face to face interview.
Mistake #8: No Follow Up
Following an interview send a thank you letter to the employer. If most of your contact has been through email then sending a thank you letter via email is appropriate. Make sure to reiterate your interest in the position and remind the employer of any vital qualifications you possess. If there is anything you failed to mention during the interview mention it at this time. Keep your follow up brief and to the point.
A major purpose of the follow up is to demonstrate that you have good manners. If more than a week has passed from the date you were told you would hear from the employer send an additional email inquiring about the position. This will demonstrate your continued interest in the company and willingness to go the extra mile.
At every chance try to show your potential employer you are the best candidate for the job. Do your due diligence, practice your answers and know the proper interview etiquette to ensure a fighting chance at getting the job. Interviewing can be stressful, but taking the proper steps necessary to beat out your competition will help ensure you’re the right man for the job.
Keeping Money in Your Pocket,
Posted by omeng at 9:57 PM