Hispanic professional society & diversity job fairs at NSHP.org

By Juan J Miret

Almost everyone thinks or feels that personal value is defined by their net worth and lifestyle. Therefore, in hard times, these persons are hit particularly hard.

Some grew up with a special outlook:
"Money is a singular thing. It ranks with love as man's greatest source of joy". John Kenneth Galbraith
"We all need money, but there are degrees of desperation". Anthony Burgess
"You can be young without money but you can't be old without it". Tennessee Williams.
Sometimes, they may think that Money can be a painful issue.

There are people quite successful; however, sometimes they could never seen to live within their means. So, they are trying to prove something by upgrading their lifestyle.

I consider myself to be frugal, but only when it comes to spending. When it comes to investing, I have no qualms at all. Here's what I consider investing: Buying clothes that make feel good when I walk into a meeting. Having a membership in a gym so I can always get a workout in. Tipping above average at my favorite restaurant so I always know I'll be treated well, especially when I go out with my gorgeous wife. Also, when I get flowers or special gifts for people I care about. And of course, traveling, that's the very best investment.

All of these are investments in my future and the future of those around me. And they're paid back to me in ways you won't see in a quarterly report.

Finance gurus annoy us. They want we forget our daily latte, they tell you:
That's $4 a day, compounded over 20 years at 8% interest, will grow into $70,000. FINE!!. But what about this: You want and you like your latte. If you were to apply their advice to every aspect of your life, you'd live at the Y, hitchhike to work and eat three squares of wheat bread a day. My point is: Their advice may help you save, but it won't help you live. And besides, it's not necessary. Retiring rich isn't that difficult. You simply need to
recognize your spending strengths and weaknesses and learn how to exploit the present while suppressing the latter.

To accumulate some spare change for nice investments, take a look of these tips:

1.- Create a Personal Expense Account:
According with the Federal Reserve, 70% of you have a savings account, but less than half of you use it. This wouldn't be a criminal offense, except that almost 30% of you regularly pay overdraft or late fees, because you don't have enough money in your account to pay your bills on time, every time. The solution: Open a checking account just for household expenses with whatever's required to avoid monthly services fees (around $2,000 typically). Put the rest of your paycheck into your savings account and let it accumulate until you need it.

2.- Go to the ATM once a week, No More!
According with the US National Bank Association, 30% of you make most everyday purchases with cash, while 50% of you use a debit card. Some financial experts favor cash, others prefer plastic, but all agree that visiting ATM more than once a week is a red flag. Look at it in this way: If you have $40 in your wallet, it's easy to spend $35 in 2 days and hang on the other $5 for a week. This only takes some planning and discipline.

3.- Take a salary cut:
According with the Department of the Treasury, two thirds of you have a 401(k) or IRA accounts, but only 20% of you are putting 10% or more of your paycheck toward retirement. I you are under 30, put money in the stocks. At 30, start drizzling in cash, bonds and other safe investments.

4.- Postpone gadget purchases for 3 months:
The electronics store is the place people are most likely to spend more than they intend.

5.- Send an extra $10 to your friends at Visa and MasterCard:
According with report issued last month in the Wall Street Journal, over 50% have confessed to carry a credit card balance and one in five owes more than a month's salary and makes minimum payments. Credit card debt is your financial suicide. If you add an extra $10 to your minimum payment, you'll save thousands in the long run.

6.- Splurge on shoes, not shirts
The most expensive items in your closet should be the most durable.

7.-Keep the big prize in sight
What are you saving for? A house? A car? A dream vacation? Early retirement?
Figure out how you want to reward yourself in the future. Then work backward.
How will you get there?

8.- Know when to buy
A new car: Last week of December: They need to hit their annual quotas.
A cruise vacation: April or November: That's when cruise lines reposition their ships for seasonal route changes.
Outdoor gear: 2 to 3 months before the season.
Furniture: April or October: Stores are unloading last season's pieces.
Mutual Funds: Early in the year: You won’t be taxed on money that hasn't grown yet.

And remember: If you feel a little sharp pain down in your bumper, take your wallet out of your back pocket. Then open it up and pull out any receipts you might have stuffed there. Did you spend that money? Or did you invest it?

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