Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tricks Wealthy People Use to Stay That Way

12 Wealth Building Secrets You Need To Know

By Following These Tips, You Can Become The Millionaire Next Door

Man climbing ladder up dollar sign
fandijki/Getty Images

If you haven’t read the book The Millionaire Next Door, this is an absolute must to put on your reading list.  The bestselling book identifies several common traits that show up many times over among those people who have accumulated wealth.  If you’re thinking mega mansions and yachts, think again.  The "millionaires next door" are people that don’t look the part. They are the people standing behind you in the grocery store line or pumping gas next to you in their “not so fancy” car.
For the most part, these people are under consumers.  They have achieved millionaire status because they have consistently employed several wealth building strategies that any of us can use- beginning today. Here are twelve traits of the millionaires next door:
1. They set goals. Wealthy people don’t simply expect to make more money; they plan and work toward their financial goals. They have a clear vision of what they want and take the necessary steps to get there.
2. They actively save and invest. The majority of wealthy retirees began making the maximum contribution to their 401(k)s in their 20s or 30s. Remember, every dollar you put into your 401(k) is tax deductible and builds your nest egg. Many companies also offer to match a percentage of your contributions—an added bonus.
3. They maintained stable employment. Our research has revealed that the wealthiest retirees stayed with one employer for 30 to 40 years.
Staying with the same company can offer big rewards, including a very nice ending salary, significant pension benefits and hefty 401(k) balances. While we constantly hear about the high rates of employee turnover these days, there are still a number of people who are fortunate enough to have this kind of job stability, like teachers and government workers.
This proves you don’t have be in a high-powered, fast-paced career to be wealthy.
4. They ask for advice and surround themselves with experts. Wealthy retirees don’t do their own taxes and they aren’t do-it-yourself (DIY) investors. They know what their strengths are, and if their strengths don’t lie in investing, taxes and financial planning, they leave it up to dedicated experts.
5. They protect their credit score. This group guards their FICO score closely so they can keep lower interest rates on major purchases such as mortgages and car loans. They also do this by limiting their debt.
6. They value having multiple sources of income. Considering the prime importance of income, wealthy retirees go a step further to secure at least three income sources. Those sources tend to come from a combination of Social Security, pension, part-time work, rental income, other government benefits, and most importantly, investment income.
7. They believe in keeping busy. Busier retirees tend to be happier pursuing their hobbies and social activities. A second job that fuels your passion and keeps you busy while also bringing in extra money is the ideal scenario. Think of how much money we spend simply out of boredom to amuse ourselves.
Your side gig doesn’t need to be a grind. Do something you would enjoy even if there was no paycheck attached to it, like ushering at local sports events or clerking at a bookstore.
8. They are cautious about their spending. Wealthy retirees are careful not to become a target for scammers. They know that the wealthier you become, everyone from Internet hustlers to home improvement con artists are likely to target you. These retirees take their time and ask the right questions from service providers and seek out referrals before doing business with anyone.
9. They’re not wasteful. Wealthy retirees believe if you aren’t using it, stop paying for it. This can be anything from cable subscriptions to club memberships to home security systems. They follow a monthly budget that helps them see where their money goes so they can make cuts when necessary.
10. They recognize money does not buy happiness. There is, in fact, a diminishing return on happiness. Our survey to happy, wealthy retirees found that these retirees each have a high net worth, but their money’s power to boost happiness diminished after $550,000.
11. They pay themselves first. For this group of retirees, they understand the value in setting money aside for themselves first. For them, it is an essential tenet of personal finance and gives them a way to keep up financial discipline.
12. They believe patience is a virtue. Wealthy retirees get where they are through patience. They have an underlying belief that wealthy comes gradually and accumulates through diligent saving, investing, and budgeting over multiple decades.
Bottom Line
The wealth mentality is not as mysterious as many people think. Small tweaks, goal setting and long-term financial planning can move you one step closer to a wealthy retirement. For more great tips and insights on how you too can become the "millionaire next door," please download this free e-book, Wealth Building Secrets Of Wealthy Retirees.
Disclosure:  This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only.  It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.  This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.

smartphones stop us from living in the moment

How our smartphones stop us from living in the moment

Joelle Renstrom
is a writer whose work has appeared in Slate, The Guardian, and the Daily Beast. She teaches writing and research at Boston University, and blogs about the relationship between science and science fiction at Could This Happen? 
1,600 words
Edited by Pam Weintraub

Do our smartphones prevent us from living in the moment?
<em>Photo Dick Thomas Johnson</em>
Photo Dick Thomas Johnson
As a teacher who has long witnessed and worried about the impacts of technology in the classroom, I constantly struggle to devise effective classroom policies for smartphones. I used to make students sing or dance if their phones interrupted class, and although this led to some memorable moments, it also turned inappropriate tech use into a joke. Given the myriad deleterious effects of phones – addiction, decline of face-to-face socialisation, deskilling, and endless distraction, for starters – I want students to think carefully about their phone habits, rather than to mindlessly follow (or not follow) a rule.
After reading my Aeon essay on the topic, a representative from a San Francisco startup called YONDR contacted me. YONDR makes special pouches that keep audiences from using their phones at shows. You silence your phone, slide it into the pouch, and lock it at the top. After the performance, or if access is necessary before then, you can unlock the case in the lobby by touching the lock to a metal base, similar to anti-theft tags on clothing. Performers such as Dave Chappelle and Alicia Keys have used YONDR – whose motto is ‘Be here now’ – to curtail unsanctioned recordings and, when they look into the crowd, they see faces, not phones. The approach seems less draconian than forcing people to part with their tech, as separation anxiety defeats the goal of increased engagement.
YONDR sent me pouches to use in class. At the start of the winter semester, I introduced my students to the routine: before each class, they’d silence their phones, get a pouch from the box, and lock their phones in. Before leaving, they’d unlock the case and put it back in the box. During class, I didn’t care if they put the pouches on the desk, in their pockets, or if they clutched them tight. I told them this was an experiment for an eventual article, and that I wanted their honest opinions, which I’d collect via surveys at the beginning and end of the semester.
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Initially, 37 per cent of my 30 students – undergraduates at Boston University – were angry or annoyed about this experiment. While my previous policy leveraged public humiliation, it didn’t dictate what they did with their phones in class. For some, putting their phones into cases seemed akin to caging a pet, a clear denial of freedom. Yet by the end of the semester, only 14 per cent felt negatively about the pouches; 11 per cent were ‘pleasantly surprised’; 7 per cent were ‘relieved’; and 21 per cent felt ‘fine’ about them.
Workarounds emerged immediately. Students slid their phones into the pouches without locking them, but because they still couldn’t use their phones in class, this became a quiet act of rebellion, rather than a demonstration of defiance. Some of them used their computers, on which we often search databases and complete in-class exercises, to text or access social media. I’m not comfortable policing students’ computer screens – if they really want to use class time to access what YONDR denies them, that’s their choice. The pouches did stop students from going to the bathroom to use their phones. In previous semesters, some students would leave the room for 10 to 15 minutes and take their phones with them. With phones pouched, there were very few bathroom trips.
A quarter (26 per cent) of my students predicted that YONDR would make the classroom ‘more distraction-free’. At the end of the semester, twice as many (51.85 per cent) said it actually had. I can’t tell if this is a grudging admission, as though conceding that broccoli isn’t so bad after all, or an earnest one. Once, after class, I noticed a pouch left under a desk. A few minutes later a student raced in. ‘I totally forgot about my phone after I put it in the pouch,’ she said. ‘I guess that means they’re working.’ Perhaps she daydreamed about something else or produced a magnificent doodle, but chances are she was actually engaged in the class.
When I asked whether society would benefit from decreased phone use, only 15 per cent said no. Two-thirds (65 per cent) said yes, and 19 per cent said: ‘I think so.’ Half (50 per cent) of students mentioned better communication and more face-to-face interactions as benefits of using phones less. ‘I started to notice how my cellphone was taking over my life,’ one student wrote. ‘[B]eing in the shower is a time I really appreciate because it forces me to spend some time away from my phone, just thinking rather than mindlessly scrolling.’
My goal with this experiment was to get students thinking about their habits, rather than to necessarily change them. Students should question authority, including mine. It’s easy for me, and, I suspect, much of the older generation, to seek evidence to support the idea that life was better before smartphones. My students admit they can’t read maps, that they find reading and writing on paper antiquated, that they don’t memorise information they can google. Yet these are not confessions – these are realities. Some changes are simply changes. Not everything needs to be a value judgment, but students generally agree that phone use in the classroom is inappropriate – only 11 per cent believe a class phone policy is unnecessary.
At the beginning of the semester, 48 per cent said that a more distraction-free environment would help with learning. Given that, I asked why we still surround ourselves with phones in the classroom. A fifth (20 per cent) used the word ‘addiction’ in their responses – a word they often avoid. Many mentioned boredom. Unfortunately, societal norms suggest that phone use is an acceptable response to boredom. But as philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard and Bertrand Russell have argued, boredom is essential – it ignites imagination and ambition. Boredom isn’t something from which students need rescuing.
One student voiced a reductionist explanation: ‘We are idiots. We cannot control our behaviour.’ While I appreciate the pithy observation, the resoluteness of these statements troubles me. If we write ourselves off as idiots, then why bother examining the way we live? If we have no control over our behaviour, what’s the point of trying to change?
Technology is part of humanity’s narrative. That’s neither inherently good nor bad – the implications are up to us. While 39 per cent of my students said that studying the effects of phone use didn’t change their thoughts or behaviours, 28.5 per cent try to use their phones less and 21.5 per cent now try to be more aware about how/when they use their phones. Half of my students think more critically about the role of phones, and that’s the first step in guiding our relationship with technology, instead of letting tech guide us.
Still, I wanted some sense of where my students’ generation will take this story. I asked them whether they’d ever implant their phones in their bodies (as predicted by industry leaders at the Davos World Economic Forum in 2016) and here’s what they said:
  •  7 per cent: Yes! The closer I can be to my phone, the better
  •  7 per cent: Yes – it’s inevitable, so I might as well
  •  7 per cent: Depends on the cost
  •  11 per cent: Depends on how many other people are doing it
  •  36 per cent: Depends on the physical risks
  •  32 per cent: No way
Two-thirds of my students would at least consider making their phones part of their bodies, which would mean accepting all the consequences of screens, instant gratification and information-dependency. But as with all hypothetical questions, perhaps when the possibility arises, some will decide to preserve the ability to put down their phones. Perhaps they’ll remember that time with the kind of nostalgia I feel for the experiences of childhood that no longer exist.
In the novel Ishmael (1992) by Daniel Quinn, the ape Ishmael tells its human pupil that it’s an expert in captivity.
‘I have this impression of being a captive,’ the pupil says, ‘but I can’t explain why.’
‘[You’re] unable to find the bars of the cage,’ Ishmael replies.
I keep returning to this idea when I think about the YONDR experiment. Ishmael is talking about the destruction of the environment, but his observation applies to human use of technology too. Participation in modern-day civilisation requires technology, particularly smartphones. We pay bills, communicate with friends and family, get our news, and apply for jobs, college and healthcare via websites and apps. The old-fashioned way doesn’t work anymore. We have to adapt.
But it’s up to us exactly how to adapt. Do we line up to fork out more than $999 for the new iPhone? Do we text someone across the room or keep our phone on the table during dinner? Do we opt to interact with other humans as little as possible and rely on technology as the go-between?
Ultimately, that’s what the YONDR pouches represent: choice. Perhaps agency won’t lead to a different narrative, but it could offer my students a workaround. If they are going to implant smartphones in their bodies, I hope they do so not because it’s the path of least resistance but because they thought about it and truly want it. And if they power down their phones, I hope it’s not (always) because a professor asked them to.

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