Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How Investing Can Make You Rich

Wish you could see the power of money? Wonder how the rich make their money work harder than they do?

Ever felt overwhelmed by some decision, and just picked an option so you didn't have to think about it anymore?  It can be easy to get lost in numbers. And when your head is swimming, you won't make the best decisions! 

It helps to see this kind of junk displayed in a graph. As hard as it can be to imagine how compound interest works, graphs like this can make it easy to understand!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Starset: a cool new rock band

"Who are you to change this world? Silly boy..."
From "Carnivore" by Starset

I've been into this band lately! Starset is an interesting new rock band with a polished sound. You could probably classify them as arena rock: the outer-space-themed music is catchy and well-produced, and it gets stuck in your head pretty quickly! 

They've gotten a bit of radio play on rock stations, particularly "My Demons" and "Carnivore." The lyric on the picture above comes from "Carnivore." 

If you like Skillet's recent music, Starset has a similar sound. Their sound also reminds me of We As Human, My Darkest Days, Stria, and Ashes Remain. They also remind me of a more mellow alternative to Three Days Grace (before you jump on me that they sound nothing alike, note that I said "more mellow"--I think many Three Days Grace fans would like Starset, even though classic TDG has a heavier sound). I've embedded a couple of my favorite Starset songs here:

My Demons:



Do you agree? Is Starset cool, or meh? 

Are colleges ripping off students?

Yikes! According to a Washington Post article from 2013, colleges and universities are spending recklessly, and charging more tuition while spending less on education-related services. This isn't good for higher education--and it certainly isn't a sustainable path for the future!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The importance of financial literacy

A recent article published online by Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/nealegodfrey/2015/04/12/why-dont-our-kids-have-the-money-smarts-to-live-in-the-real-world/) laments the lack of financial literacy in America today, reporting the alarming finding that 40% of Americans grade their own understanding of personal finance with a C, D, or F! Moreover, over half of American adults don't have an emergency fund big enough to cover 3 months worth of expenses.

The author joins in the recommendation that parents and schools combine to teach fiscal responsibility to our children--but first, adults need to understand it themselves!

Until everyone is financially savvy, we will all need to keep up the fight and advocate the Millionaire Mindset!

Happy saving!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Around the web, 4/10/15

As I work furiously to finish my thesis before the end of the spring semester, I haven't had much time to put into the blog. Priorities!...

Anyway, I have been on Twitter, sharing some of the best content I found. Here are my favorites:

-This one is targeted squarely at recent college graduates, who may be struggling with whether it's better to rent an apartment, or try to buy a home and take on a mortgage in addition to the student loans! A tough question, tackled here: http://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/squared-away/grads-with-student-loans-rent-or-buy/

-These 15 money-saving hacks can apply to anyone! My favorites from this list are tips #1, 5, 7, 10, and 15. http://fundingmyway.com/15-simple-money-saving-hacks/

-This is Investment 101: Investing for the Real World. Put some money into dividend-producing investments (as part of a properly diversified portfolio, of course!). Reinvest the dividends, and...poof! It's like getting free money! http://misfitmoney.com/investing-for-beginners/dividends-are-the-easiest-way-for-you-generate-additional-income/ Remember, millionaires make their money work harder than they do!

-What if you want to start investing, but you have barely any money to spare! On her excellent blog, author Stefanie O'Connell dug up a couple no-minimum investment options: http://thebrokeandbeautifullife.com/where-to-start-investing-when-youre-broke/

-In fact, you don't have to be broke for years while taking on a monstrous student loan debt! If you aren't traditionally academic (you didn't enjoy your classes in high school, or you didn't do so well in tougher courses), you can take a quicker and cheaper route to a nice salary while solving people's practical problems! [The alliteration was unintentional, but I'm keeping it anyway!]
A number of blue-collar professions are in-demand and can't be outsourced. Some examples include electrician, mechanic, carpenter, roofer/builder, plumber, paramedic/certified first responder/emergency medical technician, or other professional trade. Don't count out working in the military, either--they need help in a number of non-combat areas, like working in logistics, intelligence, or repair.
You might find it more rewarding--on several levels--to work in one of these fields instead of trying to figure everything out while accumulating debt in a traditional four-year college. Stefanie O'Connell discusses that here: http://thebrokeandbeautifullife.com/how-to-make-six-figures-before-thirty/ *Disclaimer: working in these fields won't guarantee that you'll make six figures. In fact, you probably won't, unless you start your own business. But the point stands that there are a variety of rewarding, well-paying alternatives to college--going into one of these fields can help you avoid burdensome student loans!

-Speaking of those student loans: are they worsening economic inequality? A French economist argues that they are: http://bigthink.com/think-tank/hefty-student-loans-are-worsening-income-inequality

-Microsoft is finally surrendering to pirates!
They will reportedly allow people who pirated Windows 7 or 8 to upgrade to the legit Windows 10 when it becomes available--just like the people who are running the genuine versions! Microsoft appears to be bowing to the inevitable: nobody is willing to pay for an operating system anymore. Credit Microsoft for finally getting in sync with the times!  http://www.techrepublic.com/article/microsoft-gives-up-on-charging-for-windows-in-china/
Tech geeks might find it entertaining to debate whether or not this move will ensure that Linux never attains widespread use...
*UPDATE 5/24/2015: Despite numerous reports originally, it turns out that this is not true. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2484352,00.asp?

And, kids, this is your lesson:

-This teen has her stuff together! She's helping her mother with the family budget--kudos to this young woman whose heart (and mind!) are definitely in the right place! http://canadianbudgetbinder.com/2015/03/16/ambitious-teen-helps-mom-with-family-budget/

-This is a common trait among entrepreneurs: they refuse to accept a "no." You might even say that entrepreneurs tend to have a lot of...grit!
Barbara Corcoran, an investor on the very entertaining show "Shark Tank," wrote an example of how she refused to take no for an answer--and that's why she got a spot on Shark Tank! https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140906172705-264544111-the-best-entrepreneurs-don-t-know-when-to-quit
Speaking of Shark Tank--if you haven't seen it yet, you should! Here's a link to an episode from season 6 (aired March 2015).
And, if you haven't heard, Bowling Green State University in Ohio has a similar production annually, called "The Hatch." It's a great educational opportunity for students there (and it's entertaining to watch)!

-Also on an entrepreneurial note, here's a peek behind the curtain of some of today's most successful and talked-about companies--before they were household names! https://medium.com/@todfrancis/what-did-billion-dollar-companies-look-like-at-the-series-a-e53ea8043a85

-Diversification is just as important in marketing as it is in investing, as this article makes clear: http://marketingland.com/unofficial-death-google-means-marketing-122696
There's one particular quote from this article that really struck me, and it dovetails nicely with an article that's been simmering in the back of my mind for months (but so far exists only as a title). The quote is, "...there's often more to be learned from failure than successes."
Very true--and, as many successful entrepreneurs will tell you, they often learned valuable lessons from starting businesses that failed early in their careers. [See the note on Barbara Corcoran's article two paragraphs above. Remember, failure isn't final!]

-Need a new lock for a broken door? You can make one yourself, for the cost of a used fork from a thrift store: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lNFJt10w1E

-Sometimes, instead of trying to keep wages low and profits high while accepting an absurdly high salary, a CEO has compassion for employees and does something extraordinary to increase their happiness, like Dan Price of Gravity Payments! Read more here:

Hope you found these links as interesting and helpful as I did! Happy saving!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Hatch: A Shark Tank for students!

I'll be attending an exciting opportunity for students at Bowling Green State University to gain experience pitching their business ideas to real investors, in a Shark Tank-style presentation: it's called The Hatch, and you can watch it online!

Here's a link, if you'd like to know more about it: http://www.bgsu.edu/business/centers-and-institutes/dallas-hamilton-center-for-entrepreneurial-leadership/e-week/the-hatch.html

You can watch the entirety of The Hatch 2015 (for now, at least) at this link:  https://dvss.bgsu.edu/public/publicPlayer.php?movie_id=bd6f624a843753f8592745a1ba4ff49e
The action starts at 38:00.

There were some innovative business ideas, including a way for coaches to diagram their plays using technology, a personalized clothing line, a teddy bear to teach children several languages, and a music sharing app, among others.

Chalk one up for these student entrepreneurs! This program is a great way to give young people practice thinking through an idea, pitching it to investors, and potentially bringing it to market!

One note: the investors appeared to have "inside information." It appears that they were given business plans that were more detailed than the 10-minute pitches allowed. I suppose that's only to be expected, but I wish the investors had to base their initial reactions on the same information that the rest of us had.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

New Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers.

Less than a month to go!

To whet our appetite for their latest movie, Marvel has released new trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron. For your viewing pleasure, here are all of them:

TV spot 1:

TV spot 2:

TV spot 3:

TV spot 4:

Extended trailer 1 (with the dramatic, stomach-shifting introduction to Ultron):

Extended trailer 2:

Extended trailer 3, which may be the best one yet:

New scenes (April 6):

Are you as excited about this movie as I am? Have you see all the trailers already? Which superhero is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!