I’d like to introduce you to Billy, the investment guru living inside my head. He always convinces me to buy and sell stocks at the perfect time, but he must be a billionaire since his call to action always cost me financially. I can’t blame him though, because he probably doesn’t need any more money and probably doesn’t care.

Whenever there’s a bull run in the markets, he tells me to plow more money into stocks. “Buy and hold, stay the course, the market always comes back so it’s always a good time to buy”, are just some of the catchphrases he’s been yelling at me during these years.

The advice worked well enough for a long time since the market climbed relentlessly, but then COVID-19 happened and stocks took a quick dive. And what does he do? At the depths of the market plunge in March, he had the guts to tell me to sell. It’s not just a casual nudge either. We are talking about not letting you sleep, screaming “sell, sell, sell” the whole time for days on end.
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The idea of being financially independent is something most of us dream of, but some of us are taking action to make this dream a reality. We believe that living below our means, maxing out our retirement accounts, paying off our debts, and saving consistently will allow us to achieve freedom. We will be free from money issues, free from our constant struggle at work, and free to work on what we are passionate about.
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He told me he had a gun, and I thought he was about to hurt me. But it turns out to be a friendly neighbor trying to protect everybody because there was a robber just down the street.

To say that perception is important just doesn’t do the term justice. It’s the sole contributor to our decision to purchase, and the reason why some of us make more money than others. Perception is one of the most crucial factors of personal finance because it affects the two main avenues of accumulating more wealth – our ability to earn and our discipline to save.

Let me explain.
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I may run the risk of getting hate mail for asking, but I have a genuine question I want to get an answer to. How do pet lovers justify owning a pet financially?

I saw the other day that animal shelters are running out of pets during the pandemic and I shook my head because now isn’t the right time for many people to adopt a pet. I get people wanting companionship when we are forced to stay at home for the better part of our lives, but isn’t getting a pet the last thing we should do during this time of crisis because owning a pet costs so much?

My Struggle to Stay Dog-Free

I wanted to know because Sara has been asking if we can get a dog for basically forever. What do you want for your birthday? A dog. What about Christmas? Dog. For lunch? Not a dog, but could we get a dog soon?

Most days I’m pretty firm with my response, but there are times when I feel like giving in. Sara is only ten years old, but she’s pretty responsible considering her age. She is also a very caring person and loves animals so much that if any kid “deserves” a pet, it would be her.

Still, all I can see whenever someone walks their dog is the work and money that’s tethered to that leash. These are just some of the negatives that immediately pop into my brain:
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Self-control is a challenging thing to master, as it’s always easy to cheat just a little bit. You may limit yourself, for instance, to eating candies only on the weekend, but pretty soon you find yourself eating candy on your days off too because those days feel like a weekend and don’t count. It’s human nature. Most people are very skilled at figuring out how to get what they want if they think and try hard enough to find loopholes.

And since loopholes are pretty easy to find, it’s often best to eliminate the ‘reward’ entirely. If you know candy is bad for you, then it’s best to give it up completely. Cold turkey.

That’s why we are going to try this today. The goal is to choose one spending category and cut it out entirely. You aren’t spending a dime on it anymore. This method is pretty powerful way of kicking that temptation in its gut and increasing your net worth, and I promise it’s worth the effort.

For me, something I’m going to completely cut out of my life is soda. Drinking the substance isn’t good for me and it’s wildly expensive for what you’re getting – sugar water. So I will never buy it again. Ever.
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I read an article recently that detailed the story of a retired Florida couple who used their personal savings to start their own business. In their case, it was worth the risk, since they’re now preparing to open their third location and are earning full salaries.

This type of move might seem unsafe, especially for those who live on fixed incomes or only have savings in the form of their 401K or IRA. But despite all the financial red flags, studies show that about 35% of new businesses were launched by people over the age of 50.

Since these people aren’t in their prime, and may not be able to recoup their losses as easily, this sounds like a risky venture. With so many losing their jobs these days, you too, may want to start a business but hesitate to put in the capital necessary to get the venture off the ground. I can just imagine the thoughts racing through your head. What if you lose the much needed savings you have left? What if the business does decent enough that you linger on but you end up wasting all your time when you could’ve instead found a job that paid much more?

Are you too old to start a business? Why are so many people choosing to start one?
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