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Don’t Let Your Mortgage Control Your Life

With the current mortgage crisis gripping the whole world, and foreclosures still going on at an alarming rate, your mortgage may be at the top of the list. The stress is affecting people everywhere, but you can’t let your loan control your life.

The Crisis Isn’t Over Yet

Though economies around the world are showing signs of recovering, that does not mean we’re out of the crisis yet. Foreclosures are still continuing at an alarming rate, and the stress of keeping up the bills is affecting many people around the world. Here are eight tips to help you beat the heat:

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Teaching Kids the Right Financial Mindset

The following is a guest post from Steven Stanich of Financial Planning Tips

I know that many of the great money management skills I have came from my parents, especially when it comes to saving money. And there are definitely certain things I’ve had to learn on my own, and certainly some things I could improve on.

But what if you could teach your kiddos from early on how to be personal financial planning superstars—such that you’d never have to worry about their financial health?
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When There’s Movement – Stuff Happens

Goals

I had a whiny, way below my age breakdown yesterday. I’ve been putting in a lot of time with BudgetSnob but I haven’t seen the results I had planned by this point. So, I was a little lot down. I felt like I was staring at the Himalayas standing at the bottom of a dry lake bed in Death Valley

Then I read something that profoundly changed my outlook. It was a newspaper article about a little (or maybe not so little) obscure blog called TheAwl. I knew the rest of the article would be good after reading this…

If you were going to assemble a business plan for a Web site, you would look closely at everything The Awl (theawl.com) did and then head in precisely the opposite direction.

Why? Because the three co-founders, newly laid off, started a blog they wanted to read. Meaning, they didn’t try to find an audience. There were the audience. TheAwl’s posts are mostly short, punchy, and (in many cases) complete nonsense.

I found myself wondering if reading these posts was like hearing someone’s thoughts. Thoughts make perfect sense to the thinker. Not so much for anyone else. Obviously, I was not the audience there were trying to reach.

After a few months of massive content generation, TheAwl founders sold out to Yahoo! for $30 million dollars. There’s only one problem. That’s not the truth. Not. Even. Close.

By August 2009, they had chewed through their savings..when an anonymous donor sent in a few hundred dollars at one particularly stretched-thin moment…which they used to buy food.

They started in September 2008. Then spent a year—full-time by the way—hammering out content. A lot of content. When I checked yesterday, they had 20 posts up.

So, after a year of posting, they barely had enough to live on. When a donor shows up with two hundred bucks and they buy food. Why? So they can quit while they’re ahead? And go find real jobs?

Nope. They do it because they have to keep posting. And that would require staying alive. By eating food.

The Awl is attempting to build a low-cost site that delivers a certain kind of content for a certain kind of audience. And the owners don’t have to get rich — The Awl has no investors — they just have to eat.

Mr Sicha, one of the founders and interviewee throughout the article, sums it up in a breathtakingly, honest manner.

“My friends keep talking to me about how they want to start a Web site, but they need to get some backing, and I look at them and ask them what they are waiting for,” Mr. Sicha said. “All it takes is some WordPress and a lot of typing. Sure, I went broke trying to start it, it trashed my life and I work all the time, but other than that, it wasn’t that hard to figure out.”

That was the end of my whining.

I don’t know where you are today. But I do know that you’re more than likely not satisfied with some part of your life that just hasn’t materialized like you thought. Maybe you’re thinking about quitting. And what makes it worse is that you’ve been doing the right things, maybe for months or even years.

It’s one thing to simply be lazy and make excuses when nothing happens. I think we all know deep down when we’re lazy. But it’s an entirely different matter when you’ve been busting your butt…and nothing happens.

But I challenge you (myself too) to keep moving. Because breakthrough is just around the corner. The activity you’ve been doing. Those seeds you’ve been planting. Neither will come back empty.

Some amazing things happened to me today. Subtle but very powerful. All because I made the decision to keep moving forward. I hope you make the same decision.

TheAwl founders were interviewed for an article in the NYTimes.

Common Investing Mistakes

Of course we all make investing mistakes. Whether it’s buying a stock based on an eavesdropped conversation at dinner last night or making grossly inaccurate choices with a business transaction, we’ve all had our doozies.

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe these bad choices have something in common? That you’re making the same mistakes each time without knowing it?
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Passion isn’t Found – It’s Pursued

I write quite a bit about side gigs, starting a business, and other related topics. At least more than I thought. Here’s a sampling:

Stop Job Shopping, Start a Business
Multiple Streams of Extra Income
Why Not Start a Business?
5 Ways to Generate a Second Income

More than likely, you want to pursue your own gig doing something you’re passionate about. Which is another buzz word that’s been a lexicon of the business startup vocabulary for years.

So, that’s all good and well, but what does that mean? According to recent studies, your best option is not necessarily to go with your gut. Turns out that passion is a by-product of something else—the pursuit of it. But, passion pursuit has it’s own drawbacks.
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Grab Your Wealth

We live in precarious times when as it relates to our incomes, investments, and—ultimately—our livelihoods. So, how do we make sure our wealth, now and in the future, doesn’t slip through our hands?

We must first acknowledge that our wealth is our responsibility. Once we take responsibility, then we must go out and seize it.
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Multiple Streams of Extra Income

I’m always on the look out for ways to generate additional income. So I was especially interested in the extra income guide put out recently by Pinyo, owner of Moolanomy.com.

The guide is for those who are interested in earning more income so they can become less dependent on their job. Income diversification is as much about spreading risk as it is about doing something you love. We’re moving from the traditional, single employer for life to depending on ourselves—our skills—to create income now as well as in the future.
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Lessons in Cash Money

Cash Money

Forty bucks. Forty bucks burning the proverbial hole in my pocket. I’ve been a debit card guy my entire working life. But not this week. For the first time in more than 10 years, I have a small wad of cash strapped to my wallet.

I’ve been frustrated for just as many years with my inability to sock away much of anything. I don’t have a lot of debt but not much in savings either. In fact, if it weren’t for my company’s generous retirement plan, I would have exactly zero saved.
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Life is Change – be Prepared

I’ve been noticing something lately. Something that’s really had me thinking. Life seems to hit those who are most unprepared…the hardest. Especially those who are financially unprepared. I work with a guy (a very nice guy) who always seems to be flirting on the edge of financial disaster.

If it’s not car trouble it’s trouble with the college where his two oldest kids attend. If it’s not doctor co-payments, it’s air conditioner problems. Here recently, he bought a near brand new car (because his other car was about to disintegrate). Turns out this nearly “new” car had been in an accident. Despite a clear CarFax report.

It’s as if the financial grim reaper follows close behind him. As if life picks on him, throwing him curve ball after curve ball precisely because he’s not prepared financially. Needless to say, he’s stressed. I can see it in his eyes. Hear it in his voice.

So what’s the lesson here? That we have to be prepared for the inevitable life changes. And what’s the operative word? Inevitable. The phenomenon I’ve been observing with my coworker isn’t some kind of conspiracy against the helpless. What I’ve been witnessing is called unpreparedness in action. If he had the financial cushion to absorb these hits, I probably would notice slight irritation if anything at all.

Solid financial footing will give you greater freedom to choose; it will reduce the stress inherent in any unwanted circumstance. Also, it will allow you to focus your energy on what needs to be done.

Choice. When my coworker erupts in financial panic, it’s because he’s run out of options. Whatever choice he makes either worsens the problem or worsens his debt load. He really does have to choose his poison.

Being financially prepared will help you adapt to your new circumstances more quickly and with less resistance. Planning for change can reduce the stress of the event and give you greater peace of mind today, knowing you are ready to handle what’s coming.

Resilience. How well do you cope with stress and adversity? I can tell my coworker, and friend, has borne much adversity over the last 20 years. I can see the toll it has taken—psychologically, emotionally, and physically.

Financial preparedness acts as an antidote to the daily dose of adversity and stress. It turns mountains into speed bumps. Caverns into small cracks in the road.

So, how do you do this? How do you give yourself more options and create more space between you and life’s trials?

A monthly budget that reflects the reality of your income and expenses is one of the most important stress-reduction tools you have. With a realistic budget, you can more easily manage the changes you expect, while an emergency fund and proper levels of insurance can leave you ready to handle the unexpected.

My family and I have experienced this the last few months. I’ve had a budget my whole life, more or less. But I haven’t always used a budget like I should. But that’s changing for the better. And we’re saving again. Saving for those inevitable times when life just happens.

What about you? Do you see yourself in constant financial trouble? Or have you stepped away from the edge?

Quotes from the Durango Herald.

5 Mistakes Investors Make

Unrealistic expectations and not seeing the big picture are just a few of the mistakes investors are making in this market, says Jonathan Satovsky, CEO of Satovsky Asset Management. Dow Jones Newswires’ Veronica Dagher reports.

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