Who is our Prime Minister? Wait, I don’t care.

So, apparently we have a new Prime Minister of Canada.

From what I’ve gathered on Facebook, he’s a young, good-looking fella (just like me) who is smart enough to win elections (so NOT like me) and brave enough to steer an entire country into The Great Unknown. Oh, poor guy. Before this we had another gentleman running this country who was into sweaters and had a somewhat creepy smile.

Apparently, the election thing happened and the old guy is out, and the new guy is in. Despite what people were saying, the sky hasn’t fallen and everything is EXACTLY the same as it was before. I still have to go to work, pay bills, be nice to my wife, buy groceries, take out garbage, be nice to my wife, fill the car with gas, shovel my driveway, and be nice to my wife. Don’t see much difference.

Aren't we awesome, Mr. Trudeau?

Aren’t we awesome, Mr. Trudeau?

 

But people who were rooting for the old guy are now saying the country is going to hell in a handbasket. People who were rooting for the new guy proclaim how our future is bright and awesome. Apparently there will be puppies and rainbows for everybody too.

I on the other hand missed the whole thing because I was probably preoccupied with things that actually matter. Or muffins.

Anytime somebody starts talking to me about politics, my eyes glaze a little and I go find my happy place inside of my head. Here I am at Dunkin Donuts. Or perhaps I’m on a beach in Florida with my wife. Who happens to be Natalie Portman for this particular fantasy. Basically, I’m anywhere BUT in a conversation about prime ministers, parliament, election promises, and lobbying.

Continue Reading

I’m starting my own DREAM Savings Account!

What in the world is a DREAM Savings Account?

Updated: Click here to read the latest update on my DREAM Savings Account balance

So, I’ve been thinking (good start, eh?). Few weeks ago, I’ve sat down and came up with a list of things I’d like to accomplish. Cool kids these days call it “bucket list” and put things like “travel to 100 countries” or “eating world’s largest burrito!” on it .

Some of my goals and dreams are somewhat silly such as “driving an army tank” or “meeting Kevin Smith“. But other goals are very practical and I view them more like milestones as opposed to “dreams” – for example, starting my own online business that in turn will allow me to pay for my future kids post secondary education or become a silent investor in a business.Continue Reading

Dear Debt … it’s been a while

Dear Debt 6

Dear Debt,

 

It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Five years ago I’ve walked out on you. Five years ago I’ve decided to end it with you. And these five awesome years were filled with joy and happiness. In all honesty, I don’t miss you one bit.

We’ve met when I started going to college. A sweetheart counselor  thought she’s doing me a favor by introducing me to you. See, I was new to this country, and didn’t know anybody, so it felt nice to have somebody to rely on. Too bad I’ve never finished college and had to go back to work, but you’ve stuck with me even after I dropped out.

 

Heck, we had some good times together

 

My life felt easier when you were right next to me. You took me places, you bought me stuff. I remember going on a trip to Europe with you, and you made it extra sweet for me. You paid for hotel, my meals, and even an awesome camera I just had to have before heading there. I still have pictures, dear Debt.

I remember you buying me a new car. You felt I deserve something better to drive because my old car was not as shiny as new ones, and didn’t have fancy options. At first, I resisted but you’ve talked me into it by saying how hard I work and I deserve to enjoy finer things in life. So, you bought me a new set of wheels, and after parking my old car in a garage (hurt feelings!) I started driving in style, just like all of my friends.

 

All good things end

 

What started as a fun flirt on a side soon turned into a nightmare of a relationship. Before I knew it, you basically moved in with me. Good memories of trips together were long gone, but you were right next to me every day. Every night you kept me awake as I crunched the numbers in my head trying to figure out how I can make it work. You forced me to work on weekends to bring more money home to pay for you. All of my money was going towards you, but you kept demanding more and more. Your collecting friends started calling me at night asking about money. You made my food taste bland and every day seemed joyless because you sucked the life out of me. You have no idea how bad you make people feel. Heck, some people commit suicide because you got a hold of them.

 

This is when I said I’ve had enough.

 

Breaking up with you was hard but truly worth it, dear Debt. I’ve kicked you out of my house, sold your presents, and got rid of your shiny new car. Took me months to clean up your mess! But my old car was happy to see me, and in all honesty I don’t miss any of your presents. I sleep well at night, and my new friends Budget, Savings, and Investing take good care of me. We spend a lot of time together, and I haven’t thought of you for a while now. Because of them, things are looking up for me! All because I’ve made a decision to end it with you.

 

Dear Debt

Dear Debt

 

I’m glad you’re gone, dear Debt. Don’t ever come back. Forget my number, and forget my house. You’re dead to me.

XOXO,

Financial Underdog.

 

 

 

Dreams and goals

Dreams and Goals 2

An epic list of my dreams and goals

 

Dreams and Goals

Dreams and Goals

 

Here are some of my dreams and goals (in no particular order) I’m trying to accomplish. Some of them are silly. Some of them are outright insane. Some are just mine, and some me and my wife share together. And some are rather simple.

Incidentally, not all of them have revolve around personal finance or investing although this is the main subject of my little blog. At the same time, if we ever get to financial independence status, achieving them might become a little bit easier.

 

1. Go whale watching on Vancouver Island

 

2. Visit abandoned city of Pripyat

 

3. Fully fund my kids’ post-secondary education

 

4. Create a successful Internet business with passive income

 

5. Complete post-secondary school

 

6. Cameo appearance in a movie (as “Police officer  #3”)

 

7. Bring flowers to my grandparents’ graves

 

8. Become an angel investor

 

9. Spend some time working in Australia (and surviving it)

 

10. Teach my kids how to start and run a profitable business

 

11. Become a personal finance mentor

 

12. Drive an army tank (briefly)

 

13. Adopt a dog

 

14. Give $500 tip to a waiter/waitress on Christmas Eve

 

15. Compete in a power lifting competition on amateur level

 

16. Trace my ancestry and creating a family tree

 

17. Visit my extended family in Russia (aunts, uncles, cousins)

 

18. Buy my wife a brand new car as a surprise gift

 

19. Become financially independent

 

20. Sit on a board of a charitable organization

 

21. Start a personal firearms collection

 

22. Reach 190 lbs. in weight (and staying there)

 

23. Become a father

 

24. Finance an independent movie

 

25. Meet Kevin Smith

 

26. Visit North and South Poles

 

27. Visit Churchill, MB to see polar bears

 

28. Plant an oak tree in our backyard

 

29. Become a silent investor in a profitable company

 

30. Experience zero gravity (once again, briefly)

 

31. Take my wife to Paris for a birthday celebration

 

32. Accept an award

 

33. Build a cabin or small house with my own hands

 

34. Restore an old motorcycle

 

35. Start my own scholarship for young immigrants

 

36. Appear on Dragons’ Den and close a deal

 

37. Live abroad for one year

 

38. Sail from Vancouver to San Francisco with my family

 

39. Motorcycle trip from Spain to China

 

40. Reach $1,000,000 in net worth

 

41. Fly a jet fighter

 

42. Cycle across Canada

My 13,940% risk-free investment

2

What if I said there is a risk-free investment with 13,940% profit over time?

 

Now, at this point you would probably laugh at my face. First of all, the return figure is way too high and comes close to that of Apple. Second, there is no such thing as risk-free investment besides GIC’s and money market accounts (and they return around 2% these days – barely keeping up with inflation).

But my investment does exist. And the returns are real. And they are indeed risk-free! And I’m not even Steve Jobs.

 

My 13,940% investment

 

Risk-free Investment

Risk-free Investment

 

Now, before you close this page and/or start writing me an angry email about being misled, hear me out:

– I’ve always had short hair, at least since high school. Longer hair doesn’t look good on me. So, at some point I just started getting my head shaved. Every two weeks, I’d stop by a barber to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand – but then an idea of doing it myself and getting an electric razor popped into my mind.

– My initial investment on it was $20. You can get it cheaper, but I went with quality in mind. And the quality paid off – the thing never let me down.

– I used to visit a barber to get my hair trimmed every two weeks, or 26 times a year. Each barber visit costs roughly $12.

– For the last 9 nine years, I’ve been trimming my own hair thus saving me $2808 in total (26 times * 9 years * $12)

Let’s plug these numbers into investment calculator to find out the return on my initial $20 investment:

 

Risk-free Investment

Risk-free Investment

 

Total investment return: 13,940% (just below Apple’s stock returns of 15,000%)

Annualized return: 73.2% (average stock market return – 11%)

Risk factor: NONE (but the risk of being mistaken for Bruce Willis still exists!)

 

On a more serious note

 

Of course, I’m not trying to say that buying an electric hair trimmer is a real risk-free investment. The whole thing is meant as a joke, relax.  It’s not really an investment, it’s just a razor that happens to save me money because I’m not very touchy about my looks and it makes my life easier. And I’m not trying to say that everybody should start shaving their heads to save money! I sure would not like if my wife started shaving her head – even if it made her look like Sinéad O’Connor (not that she would ever willingly do that no matter how much money it saves).

I think my main point is that if you are struggling with money or have goals of reaching financial freedom one day, you have to start thinking with long term in mind. I didn’t have a good start when it comes to finances, but I’m still trying to reach my goals by changing my financial habits.

Every single transaction/event in your life is either a benefit or a detractor to your financial well-being. You have to pay attention to them and know their long term effects when it comes to your financial picture. For example, ask yourself how these events affect you in the long run:

– Does getting your daily morning coffee on the way to work benefit you financially?

– What would going back to school and getting an advanced degree mean to your income and how it would stack up against the short term expense of school fees?

Is getting a brand new car a sound financial decision and can you truly afford it along with higher expenses it brings?

– What makes more sense – paying off your mortgage earlier by throwing more money into it monthly or investing extra money and getting a higher return on it?

– Is commuting 50 kilometers every day to a higher paying job worth it despite higher transportation costs?

 

Biggest mistake people make

 

Just from talking to people and observing their decisions, I’ve noticed that most people don’t think their financial decisions through, no matter how big or small they are. Most people act on impulse, follow the herd, and don’t really pay attention to their financial picture. And this is the biggest mistake people make – not paying attention.

Maybe all of us should become a bit financially nerdy – start paying attention to our expenses, weigh options against each other, and think of long-term repercussions of our actions. You might not want to calculate the return on investment of a simple hair trimmer like I did today or calculating amount of money lost on smoking, but just paying a bit more attention to your financial health will be beneficial to you and your family in the long run.

 

Do you calculate returns of your everyday “investments”?

 

How much money do Olympic athletes earn?

What do Olympic athletes earn? 32

Do Olympic athletes earn a lot of money?

 

With 2014 Olympics in full swing, everybody is talking about sports. While I’m not exactly an athletic person, I’ve always admired people who dedicate themselves to sports; especially if they get to the level of representing their country on the international scale – such as World championships and Olympic events.

At the same time being a huge financial nerd, I’ve always wondered if being an athlete pays anything. This is not exactly a regular job, isn’t it? You don’t work eight to five, you have to train a lot, you get to fly around the world, and quite often you’re asked to pee in a cup for drug testing. But do you make the big bucks?

 

You might want to get a real job

 

What do Olympic athletes earn?

What do Olympic athletes earn?

 

Just being an Olympic athlete doesn’t actually make you a lot of money. Olympic athletes do earn a small stipend ($200-$2,000), and many of your expenses are reimbursed such as travel, hotels, and training camps. Your clothes will also be provided by the official sponsor – Hudson Bay Company in Canada and Nike in United States. Also, being an athlete with higher risk of injury, you are provided a special health insurance that covers sport-related risks and injuries.

So, at first glance being an Olympic athlete isn’t the best way to get rich quick. In fact, you might want to hold on to your day job in order to pay the bills. Being an athlete is far from being cheap as you have to invest a lot of time into training, eat properly, and buy specialized equipment.  But there’s more money in sports!

 

Medals = Money!

 

In 2007 Canadian government announced it will be rewarding Canadian athletes financially for earning medals at high-level events such as World championships and Olympic Games. Just for that reason Athlete Excellence Fund (AEF) has been established. Funding comes from government (federal and provincial) and corporate sponsors. In 2012 over two million dollars went into Athlete Excellence Fund to support training, research, and athletes’ compensation.

 

What you stand to earn by grabbing medals:

 

$20,000 – Olympic gold medal

$15,000 – Olympic silver medal

$10,000 – Olympic bronze medal

$5,000 – Top 5 position in World Championship.

Canada is not the only country to reward their Olympic athletes for earning medals. In fact, some countries offer much higher rewards for earning gold at Olympic Games. Some of the numbers are truly mind-boggling:

 

What do Olympic athletes earn?

What do Olympic athletes earn?

 

– Azerbaijan (I’ll give you $5 if you know where this country is located the prize has been claimed by one of my awesome readers!) will pay $510,000 to their athletes if they bring home gold medal from Olympic Games in Sochi. Out of four athletes from Azerbaijan (have you found it yet?), none are expected to bring any medals though.

– Singapore was ready to pay $800,000 for gold medals in London Olympic Games. No gold medals were earned by their athletes that year.

– In United States, government pays $25,000 to gold winners, $15,000 to those who earn silver, and $10,000 for bronze.

– On top of monetary compensation, some countries offer luxury cars, apartments, and even supply of food to those who bring home medals.

– British Olympic athletes earn absolutely nothing for their medals, but winning has other benefits. From the moment any take gold medal, Royal Mail will begin designing a stamp bearing their image and deliver them to 500 post offices for sale the following day!

 

 

Where the big money is!

 

But the main source of income for athletes isn’t financial rewards for medals. Most of the money Olympic athletes earn come from corporate sponsorships. Larger companies such as Nike, Nokia, Adidas, Gatorade, and many others want consumers to associate their products with high performing athletes. To do this, they sponsor selected athletes and provide them with steady stream of income sometimes reaching millions of dollars. In return, sponsored athletes wear their brands at sporting events, appear on their advertising, and participate in corporate events.

 

What do Olympic athletes earn?

What do Olympic athletes earn?

 

Amount of money Olympic athletes earn from sponsorships can reach stratosphere but you must understand far from everybody can earn this. Most corporate sponsorships are much more modest.

 

Top ‘Olympic’ sponsorship earners (as of 2012):

 

1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) – $20,000,000. Sponsors: Puma ($9m p.a), Visa, Gatorade, Nissan, Hublot, Virgin Media.

2. Kim Yuna (South Korea). – $9,000,000.  Sponsors: Kookmin Bank, Nike, Korean Air, Hyundai.

3. Michael Phelps (USA).  – $7,000,000. Sponsors: Speedo, Visa, Omega, and Under Armour.

 

My wife bought me a motorcycle. Kind of.

My wife bought me a motorcycle 2

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to have a motorcycle.

 

I guess it’s one of these things guys like – motorcycles, battleships, machine guns, greasy burgers, and other gender stereotypes. Loud things and complete disregard for safety are very appealing to us – no wonder men don’t live as long as women.

When my wife asks me what I want for my birthday, I always say: “- No need to get me anything, unless you want to buy me a motorcycle.” I’m kidding, of course. And she always says, “- One day, when we have enough money, I’ll buy you a motorcycle for your birthday.”

And we laugh and go back to our daily lives.

 

However, for my birthday last week my wife gave me this:

 

My wife bought me a motorcycle

My wife bought me a motorcycle

 

You’re probably now wondering if Mrs. Financial Underdog has somewhat cruel sense of humor. While she does tell me from time to time we’re having pie for dinner just to see me get excited for no reason, she’s generally a very kind non-cruel woman.

 

Then why would she give me a toy motorcycle?

 

As she quickly explained, while a real motorcycle is not exactly possible, it’s not always going to be this way.

And I completely agree with her.

See, right now we’re not financially set. We still have to go to work, have to make our own coffee because it’s cheaper this way, have to choose slightly cheaper detergent just to save $0.99. Every month we have to plan our spending – because we don’t have stacks of money lying around –  and have to watch where our money goes.

At the same time, we’re doing everything we can to grow our investments in hopes that one day our money will be working for us harder than we have to work for our money (boy, that’s a bit wordy!). Every month we put a good chunk of our money away towards investments, throw some extra money towards the mortgage (more like bondage), and enjoy our simple lifestyle. No new cars for us, simple pleasures here and there, and a whole lot of dreams of things to come.

 

But one day it will change.

 

One day we’ll reach that financial independence everyone is talking about by following our plan. One day our investments will be producing a steady stream of income and work will become something we choose to do – not something we have to do. We will be able to take off and visit cool places once in a while. Maybe we’ll choose to buy ourselves some toys. And one day, I will choose to own that fancy motorcycle – and proudly ride around knowing that we did all the right things in the beginning of our journey, and now it’s time to enjoy the fruits.

We have to keep the future in mind – and stop focusing on today’s problems only. You can’t always look under your feet – once in a while you have to look up and see your destination getting closer and closer. Because this will give you energy and motivation to keep doing mundane “Left foot, right foot” routine every day and say “- Hey honey, we’re almost there. We’ll get there soon!”

 

My wife bought me a motorcycle

My wife bought me a motorcycle

 

So, for now this little toy motorcycle will sit on my desk and remind me of our destination. Think of it as a symbol of that future, or a small advance against it. To be completely honest, I’m not even sure I’ll want to buy a motorcycle when we get there – maybe by that time flying cars will be all the rage. But it will sit here for now and remind me to keep going.

Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot…

*****

PS: For those of you who thought this post is way too long to read, here’s a musical rendition of it featuring scenes from TV show “Kings of Queens”:

 

Looking for a witty Facebook status about money?

Want to say something witty about money on Facebook/Twitter?

 

Money

Money

– Visa is everywhere you want to be….except out of our debt.

– Most stress is caused by three things: family, money and family with no money.

– When they offer you “instant credit”, don’t they really mean “instant debt”?

– My credit card company called. They want me to leave home without it.

– I have to take my paycheck to the bank. It’s too little to go by itself

– A budget is just a method of worrying before you spend money, as well as afterward.

– I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who laughs all the way to the bank, instead of one who cries every time he leaves.

– Money doesn’t buy happiness but it’s a damn good down payment!

– You know its time to start saving when your debit card declines a $1.25 purchase.

– One day I want to be “Let’s Just Take My Helicopter” rich.

– Forgotten pocket money is the best!!

– Always hold out your hand when someone is counting money in front of you, just in case.

– “Latte” is Latin for: You paid too much for that coffee.

– I’m so broke this New Year’s I’m gonna party like it’s $19.99.

– Why don’t hoarders ever hoard money?

– My bank lets me send a text message and it’ll text back with my balance. It’s a cool feature but I didn’t think the LOL was necessary.

– Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

– Ever notice that people who spend money on beer, cigarettes, and lottery tickets are always complaining about being broke and not feeling well?

– America is a country where half the money is spent buying food, and the other half is spent trying to lose weight.

– I have all the money I’ll ever need – if I die by 4:00 p.m. today.

– Materialism: buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people that don’t matter.

– It is hard to understand how a cemetery raised its burial cost and blamed it on the cost of living.

– Money talks…but all mine ever says is good-bye.

– A bargain is something you don’t need at a price you can’t resist.

– A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don’t need it.

 

Interesting Banknotes Around the World

Let’s take a look at some of the world’s most interesting banknotes

 

Last week I looked at Canadian banknotes and how interesting they can be. But other nations’ money can provide some entertainment too!

 

Israel

 

Israeli lira from 1968 featured a portrait of Albert Einstein. You can still buy it on eBay for roughly $10 if you happen to be a big fan of his. Not many people know it, but Albert Einstein was offered Israeli presidency back in 1952 but turned it down.

Interesting Banknotes

Interesting Banknotes

 

Serbia

 

Serbian dinar also features a man of science – Nicola Tesla himself. The back side features a picture of electro-magnetic induction engine.

 

Interesting Banknotes

Interesting Banknotes

 

 

 Turkey

 

Turkey went all math instead of physics. Their banknotes have a portrait of Cahit Arf – Turkish mathematician. While I consider myself fairly knowledgeable in math, I couldn’t even being to understand which part of mathematics he’s famous for.

 

Interesting Banknotes

Interesting Banknotes

 

Canada

 

Did you know that Canada used to have a 4-dollar banknote? They date back to early 1900, and were withdrawn from circulation shortly after.

 

Interesting Banknotes

Interesting Banknotes

 

 

Zimbabwe

 

Zimbabwe went through a brutal cycle of hyperinflation – money was being printed with no regard to state of economy. More money flooded the market, and prices kept rising to no end. The banknotes issued risen in denomination. Below is a banknote for one hundred trillion dollars – probably just enough to fill up your car with gas!

 

Interesting Banknotes

Interesting Banknotes

 

Congo

 

Democratic Republic of Congo used to be known as Zaire. Joseph Mobutu ruled the country until he was overthrown in 1997. Instead of producing brand new money, new govt decided to punch holes in old money to get rid of his face – that resulted in producing banknotes with holes in them. I guess he wasn’t very popular, and everybody was sick of his face.

 

Interesting Banknotes

Interesting Banknotes

 

 

Secrets To Financial Fitness – Some similarities between financial and physical fitness and what we can learn from them!

A little intro to secrets to financial fitness…

 

Secrets to financial fitness – do they exist? Is there a set of things you can do that will turn you into a wealthy individual over a short period of time? Ever thought there might be one little thing you’re missing that will help you achieve financial independence?

I’d like to draw a parallel between personal and financial fitness. Once I’ve started thinking about it, I was shocked how similar these two areas are – and how similar are the struggles people face in each area. Ironically, I used to struggle greatly in both, but currently working really hard on improving these two areas of my life. Just like I used to live paycheck to paycheck and owed more money than I actually had – I’ve struggled physically by being out of shape, and almost having a heart attack when climbing stairs.

Eight months ago (33 years old and 55 lbs. overweight), I signed up for a gym membership. I walked into a gym and felt completely lost. I didn’t know what to do, I was afraid people will laugh at me if I ask them for help, and I wasn’t sure where to begin. But little by little, I’ve made some progress. I’m far from being in the shape of my dreams (if there’s such a thing), but I’m proud of the progress I’ve made so far.

Here’s some of my discoveries when it comes to secrets to personal fitness – and how they relate to secrets to financial fitness.

Secrets to financial fitness

Secrets to financial fitness

Nothing happens overnight – and there is no silver bullet

 

Despite what late-night commercials will tell you, you can never get into great shape by working out 8 minutes per day. In fact, it’s scientifically impossible! Getting into shape requires hard work, and constant improvements in your workout routine, diet, and lifestyle in general.

What about financial fitness? Same thing applies! You can’t just do one little thing and turn your paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle into a life of luxury and prosperity. There’s no software program that will show you all the secrets stocks about to double – if there was one, nobody would be selling it. While I greatly respect Robert Kiyosaki, I’m very leery of his personal finance lessons. You can’t become a Ferrari-driving real estate tycoon after reading a couple of his books. It might be possible, but don’t read his books think you’ll implement his system and be on the way to riches in a matter of months. Won’t happen.

Simplicity makes great sense

 

When I need a good laugh, I pick up a magazine on personal fitness and read a couple of articles. Good god, how many workout programs are out there – and why are they so different? It seems to me that every single fitness writer came up with his own program. In reality, all these programs and approaches do nothing but confuse new members. But if you talk to an experienced coach or trainer, they’ll tell you right away – most of the results can be achieved by doing a number of exercises over and over, again and again. Here’s a barbell, you can squat with it, you can bench press it, you can dead lift it. Do eight or ten exercises for 12-24 months, do them repeatedly and really well, and you’ll be in great shape. Maybe then it will make sense to target some obscure muscle by doing an exotic exercise, but most people shouldn’t be thinking about it.

Financially, it’s exactly the same. Yes, there are some tricks and creative accounting techniques – The Smith Maneuver, flow-through shares investments, etc. But for most average people most of the results will come from a set of simple rules that need to be followed day after day to achieve great results – and they are very simple too. Live on less than you make, invest part of your paycheck wisely, don’t spend money on stupid things, and keep track of your spendings. Yes, it’s hard to do it, especially in the beginning. But it ain’t complicated.

Pay attention to yourself, not the guy next to you

 

Want to completely confuse yourself about working out? Start paying attention to what other people doing more than to what you’re doing. I had to force myself to stop trying following other people at the gym (figuratively speaking). You see a guy slightly smaller than you bench press 180 lbs. and you automatically think – “- Oh, I should be able to do it no problem.” Wrong. What you don’t know is that he might have been doing this for months. Start with what you’re comfortable with, and go from there. Trying to chase other people will only cause you pain (emotional and physical).

On the personal finance side, chasing other people will get you in trouble too. Ever heard of “keeping up with the Joneses?”. It’s not productive to say the least. You don’t know financial situation of everybody, and looks can be very deceiving. Just because your neighbors or friends have nice luxury cars and big houses, doesn’t mean you should follow suite – they might be actually be able to afford those things or they’re deeply in debt. The only thing matters to you is your financial health, not your neighbors’. Don’t pay attention to them, follow your financial plan.

Start small

 

Secrets to financial fitness

Secrets to financial fitness

Things won’t turn around overnight, so there’s no need to go “all in” when you step into the gym for the very first time. You won’t be Mr. Universe (rather ironic title considering there’s only one planet involved) after a month of exercising, so start small. Start going once or twice a week – no need to promise yourself a rigorous 5 days/week schedule. No need to go on a “fruit-only” diet for a month hoping to shock your system into submission – just add an apple or a salad to your normal way of eating and go from there.

When it comes to your money, secrets to financial fitness are just as simple as personal fitness. Start small – try to pay off some of your debts to see how awesome it feels to be less in debt. Instead of promising yourself to eat nothing but cheese and crackers and invest 50% of your paycheck to retire early – try doing 2 or 5% first! Once you work out an appetite for financial fitness – then increase your workload.

Beware of the industry

 

When you start paying attention to your health, you’ll notice how huge the industry of personal fitness is. There are magazines, TV channels, countless websites, and late-night infomercials that are designed to do nothing but take money from you. I love Chuck Norris movies, but after going to a gym for a few months, I’m quite sure that Total Gym endorsed by him (along with other products) is total garbage. There are countless products appear out of thin air every year that are targeting novice gym members – or more like targeting their wallets.

On the financial fitness side things are just the same the same – there is a huge industry and everybody is trying to sell you a product. Educational classes, exotic types of insurance, personal finance software, and personal finance books – all whispering in your ear that these are essential products and you can’t live without them. Some are excellent products, and some are total garbage. You have to be aware of the fact that there’s a small army of salesmen out there trying to sell you something – and this industry is very good at marketing their products. Be aware and beware.

 And the most important “secret”:

 

Never ever ever ever give up.

Secrets to financial fitness

Secrets to financial fitness

 

My name is Financial Underdog, and I’m currently rewarding myself with a nice smoothie for a very exhausting visit to a gym.