Archive for August, 2012

14 Ways To Trick Your Customers and Co-Workers Into Liking You

Written by Sam on . Posted in Education, Inspiration. 10655 views.

Business relationships matter.  It’s the relationship that keeps your clients coming back and not going across the street to your competitor. The key to starting (and maintaining) a successful relationship is being likable.

Whether you’re already likeable or a real SOB, if you want to be successful in business you’re going to need to be liked.  For some of us, that means playing dirty.

Here are some sneaky ways to trick people into liking you:

  1. Jump on a crisis.  People never forget when you help them out in their time of need.  Even small tasks like helping a busy co-worker make copies or filling in when they’re on vacation will make you stand out (and appreciated). Better yet, help a coworker or client who was recently laid off – I guarantee it will solidify a relationship for life.
  2. Bypass technology.  Email is the enemy of effective communication.  With everyone being so damn reliant upon email, most of us have become afraid to meet in person.  A face to face lunch, an impromptu meeting at the office, or even just picking up the phone will go further than years of email communication.
  3. Open up personally.  The more you share your passions, hobbies, and family stories the less likely you are to get fired and more likely you are to get the sale.  People are suckers for a good “My kid started walking for the first time this weekend” story.  Your life is interesting, I promise. Excellent read: “Rework”, by David Heinemeier Hansson.
  4. Show your sense of humor.  Don’t be afraid to tell a cheesy joke or play a prank.  Loosening up a client or coworker can help cut through inefficient formalities and accomplish what you want quicker.   Humor is obviously a sign of tremendous intelligence.
  5. Grow a mustache.  Just kidding…or am I?

18 Financial Tips I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was Younger

Written by Sam on . Posted in Inspiration. 101429 views.

Sooner or later most of us will be caught saying or thinking “If I only knew then what I know now”. I started diving into specifics, but eventually settled on a list to get us thinking. Look for the series to continue with expanded topics upon each of the following 18 tips:
  1. Work smarter, not harder.  Follow an interest or passion.  Focus your efforts on working to develop a way of life, not just a job or position.  There will always be a company willing to trade you dollars for your time – pursue your interests and work toward making that your way of life.  Excellent read:  “Rework” by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson.
  2. Surround yourself with good people.  Good people are inspiring, trustworthy and ultimately great for business.  Not everyone fits into this category, but don’t be afraid to reach out and build relationships with those around you.
  3. Develop the habit of saving.  Much like brushing your teeth or wearing your seat belt, saving should be a habit.  You should feel guilty when you don’t do it  – it’s one of 10 easy things to increase your net worth in 10 years.

10 Easy Tricks to an Increased Net Worth in 10 Years

Written by Sam on . Posted in Education, Inspiration, Investing. 6414 views.

Of course it’s easiest to say “make more money and spend less”, but sometimes that’s not possible or even desirable.  Here are 10 tricks to increase your net worth without increasing your income:
  1. Auto-deduct from your paycheck.  It’s not necessarily bad to spend 100% of the paycheck you receive – just make sure your savings are taken out before you get it.  Most employers who allow for direct deposit allow you to specify multiple accounts.  This makes it easy for your living expenses to go into a checking account and a set amount to go directly into a separate savings account.  If this is not an option for you, automatic monthly transfers from checking to savings can also be effective.  $50 a check can add up quickly.  Recommended best-selling read:   The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg.
  2. Transfer, pay down, then eliminate your debt.  We all know that credit card interest rates are sky high.  If you’ve run up a high balance, consider transferring the balance to a new card (cancelling the old one) to take advantage of the lower, introductory rates.  Follow this up with paying off the balance, then allocating what you were paying in credit card bills to amounts you’re contributing to savings.
  3. Contribute to a Roth IRA account.  Most people do not realize that there is typically NOT a penalty to remove the funds you’ve contributed to a Roth IRA.  Since the government also allows for qualified contributions to be withdrawn for education, housing and medical, why not contribute (get the tax benefits) then withdraw down the road if you need to? See IRS Site for the complete list of qualified distributions*
  4. Pay extra mortgage principal.  A typical new mortgage payment is comprised mostly of interest ($1100 payment can be $960 interest, $140 principal).  An efficient trick is to pay extra principal each month to avoid paying interest on it in the future.  Paying an extra couple hundred bucks per month could allow you to pay your 30 year mortgage off in 15 years.

4 Keys to the New National 3.8% Real Estate Sales Tax

Written by Sam on . Posted in Education, Investing. 2459 views.

An often less talked about portion of the massive legislation known as ObamaCare is how the government is going to pay for it. The great majority of the bill pertains to matters that have nothing to do with healthcare. It may surprise you, but some of the needed revenue will come from the sale of real estate – kind of.

Effective January 1, 2013, a new 3.8% tax on investment income will be imposed. This tax does not affect all real estate transactions, only when certain conditions are met.

Here’s what you need to know from a capital gain/real estate perspective:

  1. Is your AGI greater than $200,000? The 3.8% tax is on the LESSER of your investment income amount or the amount in excess of Adjusted gross income (AGI) over $200,000 (Individual) or $250,000 (Couple). Therefore, if your AGI (which includes real estate sale gains) is less than $200k (or $250k) you are not affected by the new tax.
  2. Your AGI will include the sale of investment income (or real estate). Say you make $100k salary and sell your vacation home for a profit of $225k – your AGI will be $325k and you’ll be subject to the 3.8% tax on $125k ($325k-200k).
  3. You get a $500k deduction for the sale of your primary residence. If you sell your primary residence for a gain of $550k, you get to deduct the first $500k and are left with a gain of $50k to be added to your AGI.

8 Ways Financially Successful People Start Their Mornings

Written by Sam on . Posted in Inspiration. 8737 views.

Beginning the day with a purpose and a plan increases your chances of success.  Here are 8 ideas to start your day with (how many are you doing?):
  1. Get an early start.  Most markets and businesses open by 9 A.M.  Whether you work from home or commute to an office, the more time you’ve had to digest the day’s news, goals and obstacles, the greater advantage you’ll have over your competition.
  2. Get in the habit of exercising.  Other than the obvious health benefits, movement increases brain function and decreases stress levels.  Developing a consistent habit of exercising is a discipline which will carry over into your business day – Apple CEO, Tim Cook, is in the gym by 5 A.M. every morning!  Excellent read: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.
  3. Make a to-do list.  Lists are a great way to keep yourself on track and visually aware of your goals for the day.  Getting in the habit of prioritizing key tasks and identifying less urgent matters is a great way to decrease stress and increase your efficiency.  Literally crossing matters off a list will help to put issues behind you and move on to the next task at hand.
  4. Stay informed.  Whether you prefer National Public Radio or the Wall Street Journal, start the day by hearing about what is going on in the world.  Whether you’re looking for inspiration or just conversation points for clients and co-workers, being well informed is always a positive.  Staying informed is a key contributor in achieving the 10 Easy Tricks to an Increased Net Worth in 10 Years.

7 Signs You’re Smart Enough to Switch Careers

Written by Sam on . Posted in Inspiration. 39661 views.

Being stuck in a dead end job can be one of the most debilitating and stressful situations one can face in their life. The sad part is most of us know when we’re trapped in such a situation but choose the unproductive sanctity of the familiar  rather than the short term discomfort of change. The hardest thing to do is acknowledge and accept that it’s in your best interest to ditch the comfortable and move on and grow as a person.  Get out of your comfort zone and start that business or switch jobs to try out something new.

Here are 7 reasons why you’re strong (and smart) enough to survive short-term discomfort and change your situation:

  1. You’ve learned that money does not equal happiness. For most people, it’ll take a lifetime of failed relationships, poor health and lack of real achievement to realize that amassing money should never have been the goal.  The goal should have been to be truly happy.  Happiness is achieved through meaningful relationships and by realizing one’s potential – not through short-term emotional highs or sticking with an unfulfilling job just because it will make a couple hundred dollars more per month.  Don’t be afraid to trade your higher salary for a happier existence.
  2. You’ve realized that you’re no longer learning. Stress and anxiety levels decrease when you’re learning new tasks – not to mention you’re growing as a person. When you’ve acknowledged that the monotony and replication of a job is negatively affecting you, you’ve taken the first step to motivating yourself to move on and seek person grow elsewhere.  Life is too short, get out there, open your mind and learn new things!
  3. You’ve embraced the fact that nothing worthwhile comes easy. Sure, most of us think that it would be great to win the lottery or inherit a huge sum of money.  The fact is that real personal satisfaction comes from hard work and savings, not luck or gifts.  When you were a kid you’d save up for weeks or months to buy that toy/used car/computer you researched so much – appreciating every detail and facet of it.  It’s the hard work, growing and achievement that will lead to happiness.  Don’t avoid things that are ‘hard’ – look at them as goals which, when accomplished, will lead to feelings of self-worth.