Here are the 3 things you need to be good at investing

Category: Basic Money Management
Published: Tuesday, 03 February 2015
Written by Admin
While studies have shown that some of the most successful investors actually leave their money alone, that doesnt mean success is guaranteed.

According to certified financial planner Douglas Goldstein, who co-authored Rich As A King: How the Wisdom of Chess Can Make You A Grandmaster of Investing, with chess grandmaster Susan Polgar, there are three things you need to be a successful investor.

Goldstein says that when it comes to making sound investing decisions, without at least a sampling of each one of these, youve got almost no chance.

1. Knowledge

Garnering some basic background knowledge about investing should be your first step. This can mean reading books, listening to podcasts, or browsing websites. If youre not sure where to start, take a look at this list of investing resources that are helpful for any level.

Goldstein emphasizes that you dont need to become an expert on all aspects of investing. Developing an understanding of basic money management does not require a PhD, he writes, and you dont need to dedicate years of your life to studying every aspect of corporate finance before you buy a stock.

2. Training

Youve probably heard the saying practice makes perfect, and its no different when it comes to mastering your investments.

I know what youre thinking: How am I supposed to practice investing without losing actual money? According to Goldstein, all you have to do is go online. If you want to learn about stock trading, go to one of the many free online stock trading games. You get a mock account with faux-money and can buy and sell all day. This paper trading will give you a sense of how the motions feel without your having to risk any real money. Investopedia, Wall Street Survivor, and Smartstocks all offer free stock market simulators.

3. Experience

Goldstein says theres no substitute for attending the School of Experience. In other words, at some point youre going to have to make the switch from practice investing to real investing, and gain some real experience.

Investing can seem scary, though, so if youre not ready to make that switch just yet, Goldstein says the experience you rely on doesnt have to be yours. He recommends making the most of available advice from experts. If you truly want to garner investment experience, try leveraging the know-how of others. Seek mentors or licensed financial advisers who will take the time to teach you.

Not everyone has the means to hire a financial adviser, though. If this is the case for you, consider looking into one of the many investing resources out there created by experienced investors such as Warren Buffett and John C. Bogle.

The Wealth Chef by Ann Wilson

Category: Basic Money Management
Published: Saturday, 31 January 2015
Written by Admin

The Wealth Chef is the book I wished I had found when I started my financial freedom journey. It is a combination of inspiration "this is possible for anyone" and practical "how to do it" delivered in a clear jargon-free way.

As I discovered, being great with money and creating wealth is a learnt skill, just like cooking.  When we want to cook something new we get a recipe and discover what ingredients are needed, the order they get added, the specific techniques we have to use and the tools we need.  We then give the recipe a go, improving it and getting more skilled as we go along. 

The process to break free from consumer debt, manage money successfully, invest and create wealth generating assets, protect ourselves and our wealth all follow a series of steps and processes just like a recipes and require an understanding of how money works. By learning these recipes and apply them consistently in our lives, we get better and better at creating wealth heaven rather than money hell.

I discovered there are just five core recipes for wealth and if you learn these and consistently apply them in your life, financially freedom is on its way. To start you must first know what financial freedom is for you and where you currently are financially. Having defined that you then put your plan into action by implementing the recipes for wealth.

Can you tell us a little bit about the five core recipes for wealth?

The five core Recipes For Wealth are as follows:

Wealth Pie - Be the master of your money and become great at managing your money and carve it up in a way that lets you live a great life now and ensures your financial wellbeing.

Expand Your Dough - Get money working for you by learning how to convert your income into wealth generating assets.

Blitz That Debt - Break free from consumer debt, reduce your liabilities and stop the drain on your finances cause by compounding working against you.

Protection pate - Put in place the wealth documents and appropriate insurances you need to protect you, your loved ones and your assets, while you're creating your financial freedom.

Mastery - Learning how to get the most from the greatest asset we have - ourselves and how to use our unlimited potential and creativity to create wealth and live a juicy feast of a life.

Why did you decide to make a change of career?

Having freed myself from debt I was determined never to feel so vulnerable and anxious about money again and whilst working in my engineering career I started studying the world of investing and getting savvy with my money.

As I became better and better at managing and growing my own money, friends and family would ask me to help them too and I found myself talking more and more about this stuff and really enjoying being able to share and help. I then started introducing this work to my teams at work and realized just how big a need there was for financial education and how many people, no matter what they earned desperately needed help. Not because they are stupid but because we just aren't taught this stuff.

Being financially empowered and helping others achieve the same became more and more of a passion. When I achieved my own financial freedom, I chose to continue in my engineering career for a few more years but more and more my true desire was to help others in this area of their wealth and so The Wealth Chef was born.

I knew I had a burning passion to help people achieve their own financial freedom, I had the skills to help and there is a massive demand and need for this - so it was more a case of I couldn't not start it. The only question was the best way to do it, and that is when I decided to go the writing and online training route so I could reach more people and make products and programmes that they could also access easily and supported their lifestyle. 

Why is The Small Enterprise Foundation so close to your heart?

The SEF's mission - to give people the means to build their way out of poverty--resonates with me because it touches on a simple truth: Each of us has the power to change the world, and each of us has a responsibility to try.

The work of the SEF uses this incredible seed called money together with financial literacy education to help women change their world. This is my mission too - to help people learn how to use the seeds they have to create a meaningful abundant life.

The SEF makes tiny loans to the poorest women in the country, giving them the opportunity to start or grow their own businesses without resorting to predatory loan sharks. They also provide basic money management and financial literacy education and require their borrowers to save, ensuring that the business is sustainable and that the relationship with money is healthy.  Women make up 100% percent of the SEF's borrowers and, despite 95% of the borrowers being illiterate and innumerate, have proven to have a unique ability to lead their families out of poverty.

Please tell us about your biggest highs and lows from going from broke to being a millionaire.

Wow - that's a big question. The biggest low was about 4 years into my Financial Freedom Journey after my divorce. It was feeling like the journey was taking forever and despite "doing" the work, taking action and seeing my wealth pots grow I was feeling disconnected from me and "Is this really what my life is about?" thoughts was swirling around my head. It was at this time that I first stumbled into the world of personal development and the "radical" concept that we can define our own reality by mastering our minds. This was like a lightening bolt for me and I plunged into a new parallel journey - a journey within and one of discovering me. This then became my biggest high and where Wealth Recipe #5 emerged - self-mastery because as I learnt more about mastering me, my mind, my beliefs, my values and how to reclaim back my personal power and be fully authentic to who I am - my wealth journey accelerated exponentially - almost by magic. 

Why is one of the biggest hurdles your relationship with money?

Resisting what society, advertising and the media tells us wealth is and what we all need to be successful, to be happy, to be loved. This has required (and still does) a strong internal sense of who I am and what is important to me. But, discovering that has also been the most rewarding.

The second aspect or hurdle is always remembering that I am in the driving seat and that whatever is happening in my money world is a reflection of my personal leadership and management. Money can only do what we direct it to do and if we don't give it clear direction if wonders off to someone who will.

Why is there fear around making money?

Fear is always an extension of some belief we hold about something, and the fear of having or earning lots of money is often connected to a fear of being rejected by others.

We all collect baggage and a mountain of beliefs around money as we grow up and more often than not these beliefs hold us back. One of the beliefs that I see a lot is that:- "If I have a lot of money I will be judged or rejected by those I love, I'll be seen as mean or greedy, or people will want things from me and acing money will be a burden, it will be complicated and stressful.... the list goes no.

When we can get to neutral with money,that is where the magic happens. The truth is all of the emotions we project onto money are just our stuff. Money in and of itself has no meaning, we give it meaning and the more money you have the more it will magnify whatever is inside of you. Positive or negative.

What is next for you?

2015 is all about streamlining and systematising my business so I can help more people and deliver more value through my online training programmes, speaking and The Wealth Chef book. I've also got some very juicy trips planned through the year, including taking clients on a fabulous retreat into the heart of the African bush to discover what wealth is for them, and doing lots of creative things I love to make sure my own tank is topped up enabling me to do and contribute even more. Beyond that I'm working on the next book to be released in 2016.

by Lucy Walton-Lange for
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40 years of being anchored

Category: Basic Money Management
Published: Sunday, 25 January 2015
Written by Admin

When our community members have nowhere else to turn they look to Commodore Perry Federal Credit Union for help and guided to financial stability. They can have one-on-one meetings with a financial counselor that helps them create a workable budget.  Many members have been helped by this personal and respectful guidance. Not only has Commodore Perry been anchored in their efforts to guide current memberships to financial stability, they have also been anchored in efforts to help the community's future.  

As part of a financial literacy initiative, Oak Harbor High School students have been learning how to manage their money and develop banking skills through an in-school program. Another program within the financial literacy initiative is incorporated within TNT's after school program at the Oak Harbor Middle School, where the fifth, sixth, and seventh grade students can also learn basic money management skills, confidence, and critical thinking. 

Throughout the past forty years Commodore Perry Federal Credit Union has made strides to continuously be anchored in the community by developing hands-on financial literacy programs that guide membership to financial stability. 

Commodore Perry Federal Credit Union would like to thank the community for the continuous support over the past forty years. "We look forward to being anchored with you over the next forty."

At A Glance How to Get People to Boost Retirement Savings

Category: Basic Money Management
Published: Sunday, 18 January 2015
Written by Admin
How to Get Americans to Boost Retirement Savings

GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS: I would like the government to stay out of my way and lower my taxes so I can take better care of my family. But, after being in the financial-services industry for over 20 years, I know that, sadly, probably isn't the correct answer if the end goal is to help people save (more) for retirement.

You can add all the tax incentives you want but we will likely still have people living paycheck to paycheck and not saving a dime. It is difficult to change human behavior! What can the government do instead of dictating a mandatory contribution into a retirement type account?

Actually, the government has already made a move toward this goal by establishing the (oddly named) myRA accounts, which will be available starting this year to workers without access to a 401(k) plan. I shared my feelings about the myRA accounts here where I said: "I am all for anything that encourages people to invest more for retirement, as the current savings rate is pathetically low. But I am skeptical about the eventual success of this new plan. MyRA's will be voluntary, meaning workers will still have to opt in to them. People tend to procrastinate and they likely won't sign up if it is up to them to take action on their own." Let's just say time will tell if these accounts prove successful, but call me skeptical.

The latest tax bill signed into law adds yet another account that will allow tax-free distributions for expenses by individuals with disabilities. Disabled individuals must be aware of these accounts authorized by HR 647ABLE Act of 2014. You can learn more about them here.

The latest interesting idea I heard about was SavIncent, which will use a "prize-linked savings" (PLS) mechanism to get participants to contribute more. This method appears to be similar to the incentives used in health-insurance plans to take advantage of lower premiums (online risk assessment, physical, etc.). It may work; time will tell. You can learn more about the PLS mechanism here.

Requiring basic money-management education courses to be taught starting in elementary or middle school will go a long way toward getting more people to save for retirement. Of course, like the plans listed earlier, this isn't a quick fix.

Perhaps the most effective plan for the most people would be to require every person who dispenses financial advice to be a fiduciary. Maybe then we would see fewer people being taken advantage of and losing nest eggs to scams or clearly inappropriate financial "products" that are of value only to scam salespersons and only because of their high sales commissions.  The result: More money available for retirement!

George Papadopoulos is a fee-only wealth manager in Novi, Mich., serving affluent individuals and families. You can follow him at twitter (@feeonlyplanner), connect with him at Google+ or visit his firm's website.