Why you should make a difference in life


Make a differenceWhere are you going dear reader? What is it you want to achieve in life? If you’re anything like me you’ll be asking yourself these questions frequently.

However any vision you have for your life should not just involve some notion of what you want to achieve. Well I think so anyway.

In looking to the future, your vision should also include something you would like to leave behind, surely?

I’m talking about your legacy. In other words, what you will leave behind for future generations.

So there’s another question you should be asking yourself and that is, For what do I want to be remembered?

Developing a clear idea of what you want your legacy to be will focus your attention on what you need to do to achieve it. This will involve more than just establishing priorities. It requires you to consider what truly matters to you.

Once you know what really matters to you, then you will know where to focus all of your energies.

If you can connect with your highest values, then this will have a profound effect on your behaviour. That in turn should provide you with the motivation and the drive to pursue your life’s purpose. Your raison d’etre.

However you should also recognise this fact. If your life’s purpose is to be achieved then there will be a price to pay. That’s why you’ll need to be driven.

So, how do you turn your vision into reality?

Like every journey, it starts with the first step. You think about what needs to be done, but not for too long, and then you start doing and you keep going until you get to where you want to be.

Like many people, you may be thinking that you have to have everything ‘just right’ before you can begin to achieve your aims. That’s not so dear reader.

If you wait for everything to be perfect, then it will never happen.

The danger with waiting for everything to be perfect is that you delay and delay and never get any traction on moving things closer to where you want to be.

Your life’s purpose will only become clearer as you experience life, and gradually adjust your direction based on your experiences. Every successful person goes through many experiences before they find that thing that will allow them to truly make a difference.

This is a process of incremental changes that gradually take you in a direction which is most appropriate for you.  And if you’re heading in that direction, you’re almost certainly reinforcing what works for you.

If you just keep moving in the right direction you will achieve your aims. It may take longer than you’d like, it may not be as dramatic as you thought it would be, but you will get there. The key word is perseverance. Keep going until you achieve what you want to achieve.

Achievement is a confidence builder. The more you achieve, the more you believe you can achieve. With confidence and self-belief you can achieve anything you want to achieve.

You’ll find dear reader, if you haven’t already, that achievement changes your experience of being alive.

Not only does it make you feel good about yourself, as a natural consequence it also produces what will become your legacy and that will have made your life a life worth living and a life well-lived.

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Your life on earth timeline; what’s it all about?

Life on Earth TimelineDo you ever think about your life on earth timeline dear reader? Have you ever asked the question, what’s it all about?

The timeline to which I refer is our journey from the cradle to the grave. There is no road map for this journey, we learn as we go along and use what we learn to improve our lives as best we can.

Along the road of life’s journey we face an endless stream of choices at various times in our lives.

However fear not the choices you make because every decision you make will be a valid one. Most decisions you make will be based on imperfect information so all you can do is make a judgement as best you and act accordingly.

Inevitably, outcomes won’t always be favourable but that doesn’t mean we’ve made a bad choice. It just means life has a lesson we must learn. That’s the thing about mistakes they are just lessons which over time provide us with that valuable commodity known as experience.

So make decisions to the best of your ability and then, if they don’t work out, just look for the lesson and learn it well. Never let anyone tell you that making mistakes is a bad thing.

Despite anything people will tell you to the contrary, there is nothing wrong with making mistakes because that’s how we gain experience and that’s how we grow in character.

That said, whilst making a mistake is perfectly reasonable, making the same mistake frequently is not.

Make a mistake once and that’s acceptable; make it twice and you’re starting to look a little bit careless. Make it three times and people will start to have serious doubts about you.

So the message today is to accept that you’ll make mistakes but try not to make the same mistakes too often.

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You’ll be helping your friends and you’ll be helping me too. So you really can make a difference to the lives of others.

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People or Money? Which one matters most?

People or MoneyOccasionally I’m sure we all think to ourselves, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be rich and financially secure?

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Money, money, money!

You’d be able to do what you want; travel anywhere; and buy anything. You’d have high quality clothes; the latest fashions; and all the latest gadgets.

No more searching for cheap flights and even cheaper holidays. And you wouldn’t have to worry about a job anymore either. Wealth would mean the end to all your problems surely?

Well maybe wealth would eliminate some of your problems but actually it would present you with lots of new ones too.

Riches may be chains of gold but they’re still chains.

Everyone has their problems, regardless of any wealth and privilege they may enjoy. People just have different problems.

For a start, when you have plenty of money, you become the caretaker of your own possessions. You worry about the volatility of financial markets and how your wealth will be affected. Everyone is trying to sell you something and/or give you advice. And people resent you for your wealth.

Then you become a magnet for criminals and con artists, and indeed politicians,  who want a piece of your wealth. You don’t know who you can trust anymore. Do people become your friends because they like you or are they simply after your money?

So winning the Euro Millions lottery, for instance, would have an impact on your life in ways you couldn’t begin to imagine. It wouldn’t solve all your problems, it would present you with many more.

For those readers who are rich; good luck to you.

For those people working hard to become rich; good luck to you too. I hope you achieve your goals and enjoy your wealth when you find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

However whatever your financial circumstances, never ever forget this; only people matter.

You can have all the money in the world but without family and close friends you would have absolutely nothing at all.

It’s the people in our lives that make life really worth living.

They make us laugh, they make us cry. They’re there for us when we need someone to listen; someone to put an arm around our shoulder and tell us that everything will be fine; and someone to give us a pat on the back when we’ve done well.

Money might make life comfortable but does it really make you rich? I don’t think so anyway.

If your life is blessed with good people who care about you then that’s when you’re truly rich. If you also have a sense of purpose and a hobby then actually you have all you need.

Money is very nice to have of course and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from seeking to build wealth.

However money alone will not make you happy. To be happy your life needs people, purpose and a pastime.

These are the things that really matter. Money is simply the icing on the cake. Nice to have of course but not essential to your happiness. Whereas having people in your life is essential to your happiness.

If you could only have either money or family and friends, which would you choose? I’d choose people every time.

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How to ensure you’re a satisfied customer

Pay beforehand was never well served. ~English Proverb

Have you ever been in a situation where someone is trying to sell you something and seemingly they can’t do enough for you? They promise so much and they seem so keen to ensure that you enjoy a ‘great customer experience‘.

Then you buy, part with your money and suddenly everything changes.

They’d love to help you but that wasn’t included in the sale price, despite you having been given the impression that it was.

This is particularly true with a service.

If you have a tradesman or woman doing work for you, for as long as they haven’t been paid, they’ll do just about anything and everything you ask.

Once they’ve been paid, “they’d love to help you but they’re far too busy”.

The moral of the story is that paying for a service before you’ve actually received it is always a mistake.

You won’t be well served if they’ve already got your money, undoubtedly that’s a fact I’m afraid.

So my message to you is clear dear reader. You pay as little as possible upfront and retain as much as possible until the work has been finished to your complete satisfaction.

Do that and you’ll always be sure to get a job well done. Part with your money first and you’ll be a hostage to fortune.

Tell us about your experiences:

Have you had any bad experiences when making a purchase or with tradespeople?

I’d love to hear from you and I’m sure other readers would love to hear from you too.

So please, add a comment and tell us all about it. Your experience can help someone else avoid being ripped off.

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Why investors shouldn’t ignore stock market sentiment

Stock Market SentimentBuy when the blood runs in the streets. ~Nathan Rothschild

If wealth creation is your aim then investing at least some of your money in the stock market can be a great way to achieve above average returns, if you know what you’re doing.

The problem for most people is that they don’t really know where to start, so they avoid the stock market altogether. And that’s a shame really.

However if the stock market does have some appeal to you and you’d genuinely like to know where to start then my advice would be to take a close look at successful investors, the professionals, and see how they approach the process.

Look at what they do because if it’s worked for them then it’ll probably work for you.

The legendary investor Warren Buffett once observed that markets are driven by fear and greed. And greed always trumps fear.

When stock markets start moving quickly on an upward trajectory, amateur investors are tempted to join the party, particularly when the return on cash deposits is low.

The problem for amateur investors is that by the time they notice what’s happening in the market, all the real bargains have gone. So they tend to join the party at the wrong time and then over-pay for the stocks they buy.

Stock Market SentimentMy underlying point here is that market movements tend to be exaggerated, in both directions.

The collective herd behaviour of investors tends to cause the market to overshoot fair value when it’s rising and then fall way below fair value when it’s in decline.

Stock prices are driven by the economics of supply and demand.

When lots of money is chasing a relatively few stocks then the price of those stocks keeps going up. Until professional investors realise that the stocks have become overpriced, relative to the underlying fundamentals of the businesses involved.

At this point fleet-footed professionals sell and bank the profits.

Amateurs tend to be slow to notice a downturn but when they do, they lose their nerve and sell. Usually that means they sell at a loss but also, as the index has by now hit an exaggerated low, they actually sell for less than the underlying value of the asset. Thus creating more bargains for professional investors.

So what signs are professionals looking for to allow them to bag a few bargains?

The answer to that is simple. Successful investors know that the best time to buy is when everyone else is heading for the hills. When there’s a panic going on.

That’s when you’ll find the real bargains.

The market is always volatile of course but had you invested in 2008 for instance, when market conditions were as dire as they get, and you held your nerve, then you’d be sitting on some very good returns over the past 10 years.

And what sign tells successful investors it’s time to sell?

Well they know that the best time to sell is when the ordinary man and woman in the street are starting to talk about the stock market and the shares they’ve just bought.

When everyone has bought into the market, then professionals know that demand must start drying up and without demand prices can’t keep going in an upward direction. So they know it’s time to bank some profits.

Personally, I view the market through a contrarian lens and so far that approach has served me well.

I look for value but it gets harder to find the more market sentiment lifts prices to levels which defy sound investment logic.

Again to reflect on Warren Buffett’s investing philosophy; he suggests you should be greedy when people are fearful and fearful when people are greedy.

Stock Market SentimentThe key to successful investment is that you must never lose sight of stock market sentiment and signs for when the market might turn, either up or down.

And never listen to anyone who tells you that it’s different this time. It’s never different.

Markets fundamentals never change, not in my experience certainly.

So that’s what I think but what’s your opinion?

Please share your thoughts and experiences with me. I’d love to hear from you dear reader.

However if you’d like to know more about legendary investor Warren Buffett and his approach to investing then you’ll find plenty of books on Amazon if you CLICK HERE.

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Why anxiety about spending money is pointless

Anxiety about spending moneyIf you can afford to go first class and you don’t, your heirs will. ~Mike Spinelli

I am a firm believer in the need to manage money carefully and I have made that a constant theme in this blog. You really must look after your money.

If your aim is to create wealth for yourself, then you have to manage your money with great care, otherwise it will disappear faster than you can say “stone broke’.

However as with everything in life balance is very important too.

If you can’t enjoy a little of your money then it all becomes a bit pointless, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Putting off enjoying your money until old age is a bit like putting off sex until old age. Why would you?

We’re all going to die one day and you can’t take anything with you when you go. So if you don’t enjoy some of your wealth now then your heirs will; of that you can be sure.

My message today therefore is create wealth for yourself but don’t stress when you’re tempted to do something nice for yourself. It’s perfectly reasonable to reward yourself occasionally.

Why?

Why not?

You’re worth a little enjoyment occasionally, surely? Ultimately, anxiety about spending money is pointless.

It’s never a good idea to waste money but it’s a good idea to ensure you enjoy the fruits of you labour now and then too.

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The real cost of being a fashion victim

Fashion VictimYoung people need to develop a sense of being responsible with money. ~Joseph Crosby

Dear reader, are you a slave to fashion? If you are, you’re not unusual.

Young people in particular are often driven by fashion, as indeed are many not quite so young people.

People feel a need to fit in with their peer group, so they feel the need to dress like their peer group.

However the fashion industry exists ultimately to drive the sales of new clothes.

Fashion is an essential part of the clothing industry. It encourages people to buy new clothes constantly, despite the fact that they may have plenty of very good and serviceable clothes in their wardrobe already.

Fashion says, “Oh, you can’t wear that anymore, it’s so last year.”

And so people are encouraged to spend their money on things they don’t really need and could easily live without.

Next time you’re thinking of buying the latest fashion item, ask yourself this question, “Should I part with my money and make someone else rich or should I start being more responsible with my money and then I could start building wealth and financial independence for myself.”

If you line the pockets of other people by spending your money on things you don’t need then you’ll always be poor. That is a fact dear reader.

So start taking more care of your money. If you don’t waste it then you can start building your own wealth and one day you could be financially independent.

People looking back at photographs taken during their youth usually cringe at the fashions they wore. I know I do. How about you?

A nod to fashion is fine of course but being driven by fashion is a serious mistake and one that will prevent you from ever becoming financially independent.

Dear young reader, your parents were fashionable once. Do you look back at the fashions your parents wore and think to yourself, “Hey, don’t they look cool?” I rest my case.

Don’t be a fashion victim.

You’ll cringe when you look back at the clothes you wore but you’ll never, ever cringe when you look at a healthy bank balance. Trust me.

Calculate the cost of your improvidence:

We’re all guilty of buying clothes we don’t wear or wear very little.

So here’s a little task for you reader.

Take an inventory of your wardrobe and identify all those items you’ve never worn or worn very little. Then calculate the original cost of these items. Then ask yourself, “Was this money well spent?”

Share your conclusions with me in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.

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Here’s how to make extra money

How to make extra moneyWhere there’s muck there’s brass. ~English Proverb

If you’re short of money and you could use a little extra, what’s the best and quickest way to generate some cash?

How about making money from your old junk? All that clutter filling every available space in your home?

If you’re anything like me dear reader you’ll have accumulated plenty of junk and clutter over the years.

Old toys, bric-a-brac, old vinyl records, CDs and DVDs and so on. They can all be traded for money. Even old clothes can be traded. And if you have anything that offers some antique value then that’s even better.

A classic way to sell your junk and clutter is via a boot sale or yard sale of course but nowadays you can also sell using eBay, Craig’s List and similar websites. The internet makes it even easier to trade your old stuff for cash.

Believe it or not, even old, broken electronic gadgets can be traded to be used by people seeking spare parts which would otherwise be unavailable.

Old cars similarly can be mined for spares and therefore offer a means to make money too.

Then there’s scrap metal; there are plenty of people who make a decent living trading scrap metal.

Have you got a pile of old bricks at the back of your yard or garden?

You have? Then don’t just throw them away as someone might need bricks of that type and they could be prepared to pay you some cash for them.

There has always been money in old junk and clutter for those with a keen eye for hidden value. And there’s always someone, somewhere who might just need what you have but don’t want anymore.

Even dirt offers a money making opportunity. Many people have made fortunes by processing rubbish or waste materials.

Even if it can’t be sold it can be cleaned up for other people, hence there’s always money to be made somewhere.

For instance, houses where someone has sadly passed away will need clearing before they can be sold. Families are often willing to pay someone to clear it for them.

And don’t forget, trading in old junk can be turned into a profitable business.

For instance websites like MusicMagpie make good money trading old DVDs and CDs.

Then there are people who buy old books cheaply and sell them for a profit on Amazon.

And there are people with an eye for hidden value who will go round boot sales or yard sales looking for valuable items being sold cheaply. They will then buy them and resell them on eBay or at auction for profit.

For instance I saw a lady a few months ago who bought a vase for £1 at a boot sale and it was re-sold at auction for £800. Now that’s a decent profit.

As I said earlier, it’s never been easier to sell old junk and clutter on websites like eBay so there’s no excuse for not being able to make some extra cash.

Enterprising people will always find a way to make money and you can too.

Why not you? Why not now? Go for it!

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Money: Servant or Master?

Money Servant or MasterMoney is a good servant but a bad master. ~English Proverb

If you’re lucky enough to have some money then it can serve you well.

If you’ve got your money working for you then it can make your life both pleasant and comfortable. With enough money you can have the lifestyle of your choice. So in that sense money is a very good servant.

However owing money is quite another matter.

If you owe money to other people then that debt can control your life in all sorts of unpleasant ways. Essentially debt enslaves you.

And that’s when money can become a very bad master.

Owing money can be stressful and it can really take its toll on your well-being

It’s true, you can’t always avoid debt. For instance few of us can afford to buy a home without a mortgage. That would be true for the purchase of a car too without a financing arrangement.

However you should never take on debt to fund discretionary spending. That’s unwise. If you can live without it then don’t buy it until you’ve got enough of your own money to pay for it.

Today’s mantra is simple. If you can avoid incurring debt, you should.

Well you should if you want to sleep soundly at night, that’s for sure.

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Why you must earn before you spend

Why you must earn before you spendEarn it before you spend it. ~Author Unknown

If you want to build wealth then developing good money habits is essential dear reader. And if you’re a parent then it’s a good idea to encourage your children to develop good money habits too.

In fact, if you can only give your children one piece of financial advice then the best piece of advice is included in the quote above. Earn before you spend.

Far too many people today do the exact opposite.

People spend money they don’t have to impress people they probably don’t even like. The result is a burden of debt from which it is very hard to escape.

Occasionally we all want to buy those big ticket items. A nice television; nice furniture; a nice personal computer, tablet or smartphone; et cetera. Naturally, these are things we all want. The question is, does it make sense to incur debt in order to own these things?

My advice is to save the money first and then buy that thing you really want.

Financing arrangements are there to make other people rich. And by using finance that almost always means you’ll pay a lot more for items acquired using credit.

The ‘buy now, pay later’ deal usually comes with a high interest rate added. So inevitably if you go down this road then you’ll end up paying a lot more than you would otherwise.

Yes, you’ll get the item quicker, that’s true. However you’ll enrich someone else at your own expense. In what way does that make sense?

Now be honest with yourself; there really are very few things in life we couldn’t live without if we had to, surely?

Look after your own interests rather than lining the pockets of other people whilst impoverishing yourself and your family in the process. That is today’s message.

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