Most people think going to work every day and working hard are the main elements that determine wealth. Some people even think holding down two jobs will secure their financial futures. But hard work alone won?t allow the average low- to middle-income individual to live well or control debt.
In Look What Happened to My Pocket Change!, author Rochelle Melanie provides a guide to help low- to middle-income individuals learn how to create wealth, overcome obstacles that prevent them from saving and investing, and manage money better.
Rochelle describes her personal experiences with spending, saving, and investing to demonstrate techniques for creating financial stability. She discusses:
? Where wealth comes from
? The importance of organization
? The benefits of a good work ethic
? Credit and paying bills
? Banks, finance companies, and loan stores
? Coupons, rebates, reward points, and dollar stores
? How real savings begins
? Savings bonds, mutual funds, the stock market, real estate, and life insurance
Look What Happened to My Pocket Change! details techniques for wise investing, smart borrowing, and getting organized that anyone can adopt in order to enhance their lifestyles.
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LOOK WHAT Happened to my POCKET CHANGE!
Low- to Middle- Income Saving and Investing
By Rochelle Melanie
iUniverseCopyright © 2014 Rochelle Melanie
All rights reserved.
Where Does Wealth Come From?
Most people think that going to work every day and working hard are the main elements that make up wealth. Some people even think that holding down two jobs will secure their financial futures. Most people do not know that working from nine to five and grueling hours of overtime are the least effective ways for the average American to gain the financial wealth that can contribute to a secure future.
Hard work alone will not allow the average low- to middle-income individual to live well or control debt. For the past twelve years, I have worked in the private sector for high-net worth individuals. In the private sector, individuals can have assets ranging up to a billion dollars. It has been my experience that many affluent Americans gained their wealth from inheritance, insurance payouts, or lawsuits. The Americans who have acquired wealth from hard work are usually inventors. These inventors who have created their wealth from hard work have mastered a certain product that is beneficial to people's everyday existence.
Do not misunderstand me when I say that working hard at a job is not the way to financial success, but it is one of the least effective ways to achieve financial success without savings and investing. Clearly, there are doctors, lawyers, Wall Street professionals, accountants, entrepreneurs, and private contractors, among many others, who have been successful at securing financial wealth. On average, however, these white- collar professionals hold PhDs, master's degrees, or CFA and CPA licenses, etc.
This book focuses on the low- to middle-income individual, the blue-collar workers, the minimum wagers, the low- to middle-income earners, the working middle class, the poor, and the less fortunate. Being dedicated to an employer while working hard every day will usually help a person support a family and perhaps allow for an annual vacation, but without the proper savings and investing tools, it's is very hard to become financially stable.
Most lower- to middle-income Americans do not know that the wealthy will always have an advantage because they are surrounded by financial resources that enrich their lives. These financial resources have afforded them the finest educations, the best jobs, the best networking connections, and the greatest life experiences. Since average lower- to middle-income Americans cannot compete with that, they have to be realistic and approach their financial goals in practical ways. They have to set smaller goals to achieve their bigger goals. This book describes the many different phases of spending, saving, and investing in a manner that will fit into any budget. I have found ways to save and become comfortable with my financial stability.
Minorities do not typically have the luxury of inheriting trust funds from their parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles or benefiting from life insurance or large sums of money from a lawsuit. Since they will always be at a disadvantage, they will have to work harder and smarter. There are many ways to approach building wealth, and the first approach is stabilizing finances. In order to do this, a person's mental and physical states should be in order. What does mental and physical well-being have to do with achieving financial wealth? Most simply stated, having positive energy sends signals to a person's brain to help creative thinking. Being physically fit provides energy that can be exerted in daily activities. This combination makes it easier to plan future goals strategically. Realistically, how can people take care of financial affairs if their physical and mental states are not at their best? Mental and physical states play an important role in achieving well-being and obtaining stability in life. With stability, it is possible to keep goals in line and not steer off the determined path. These stabilities will create a solid foundation, which can strengthen concentration and dedication for something an individual really wants to achieve. Essentially, if a person is determined and focuses, it is highly predictable that he or she will attain their financial goal in life.
I elaborated about the creation of wealth, and I mentioned that wealth is often inherited. Very few low- to middle-income individuals pass down significant financial wealth because they do not have the knowledge about creating financial wealth; therefore, we struggle with building our finances. It's important to create wealth because it can be passed down to the next generation. Building wealth to pass on to the next generation can be as simple as educating youths about spending, saving and investing. This type of education can help cultivate logical thinking as it relates to establishing financial goals. Also, being proactive, as opposed to being inactive will prepare the next generation for even greater success.
Building wealth to pass on to the next generation can consist of educating through the development of strategies about spending, saving and investing, thereby helping to cultivate logical thinking concerning life goals and being proactive, as opposed to being inactive and neglecting to prepare the next generation for success.
Dedication and striving for more helps a person build a solid financial foundation. Having a concrete financial plan allows people to achieve their goals. Starting out small should never be a concern. I am a firm believer that when starting out small, the value of money can become more appreciated; therefore, people will eventually make better financial decisions in their lives. Low- to middle-income individuals must learn that educating the next generation financially will encourage success beyond measure.
Low- to middle-income individuals also need to understand how to maintain wealth that is inherited. Many of us have known someone who inherited a small fortune from parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles, but they lost it all in a very short period of time. They ended up broke because they did not know how to manage their finances or lacked the proper education about how to spend, save, or invest to maintain the value of an inheritance.
It is never too soon to begin teaching the next generation. I have two nieces (Melanie and Lasalle), a nephew (Jeremy), and a great-nephew (Mylin). At six years old, Mylin is very smart. Like most children his age, he often says some of the most unexpected and funniest things. Mylin is a strangely intelligent boy. He likes to repeat things that he hears, both good and bad. This is the time in a child's life when vital learning takes place.
Whenever I spend time with Mylin, I talk to him about finances. Perhaps it seems extreme to talk about finances with a six year old, but this is a very impressionable time in his life. While Mylin may not understand what I'm trying to convey to him, he surely hears me; eventually he will start to digest what I'm conveying. As he gets older, his curiosity will have already been piqued. I'm waiting for the day when he comes to me and asks about spending, savings, and investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. When thinking that someone is too young to learn, it is time to think again. This is how to build a solid foundation. When someone thinks there is nothing to pass on, it is time to think again.
People often reflect about things they have done wrong financially and wonder what they could have done to prevent them. Knowing what one has done wrong and coming up with a way to correct the problem is half the battle. In life, there will be financial mistakes, obstacles, and headaches. People cannot avoid these things. The important thing to remember about finances it that it is a continuous process. Passing down financial knowledge will help prevent the next generation from repeating common financial mistakes.
Knowledge about how to obtain financial wealth can teach the next generation to achieve financial goals. If low-to middle-income individuals do not have the riches to pass down to the next generation, they can have the resources to jump-start the next generation. I cannot stress enough how important it is for low- to middle-income individuals to start building financial wealth. Low- to middle-income individuals can create great wealth by adopting certain economic practices.CHAPTER 2
Why Life Needs Organization
Organization plays a significant role in building financial wealth. A person whose personal life isn't in order will probably not have his or her finances in order without the help of a financial advisor, which can be very costly. To achieve financial goals, one's physical state will play a vital role. Waking up every morning and feeling good will elevate a person's self-esteem and confidence. This will promote the ability to achieve financial goals in life.
A person who wakes up rested, energized, and ready to tackle the world will be stronger, which will lead to the possibility of having a productive day. Someone who wakes up grumpy and dreads getting out of bed has a good chance of carrying that attitude throughout the day, which will surely lower productivity. A person's mood is a very important part of productivity. That is why it's important to start the day fully rested with a positive attitude—even if you are going to work as a french fry chef at a fast-food restaurant. It is important to remember that a person's current position in life is only a stepping-stone to a better life. A person must fuel success; what is better than waking up every morning refreshed, energized, and ready to be productive?
Positive influences and the company one keeps should be reflections of how that person wants to live. This is the most significant statement I have ever heard. When someone is trying to accomplish goals in life, that person needs all the positive energy that can be gathered. A constant flow of positive energy will keep creative juices flowing. Negative energy is a goal buster because misery loves company. If a person is miserable, it is difficult to get in the mood to be creative; the last thing that person wants is to think about financial potential.
Think about positivity as growth and negativity as broke! This is all the more reason for people to seek out positive influences. People like to think that they are always in charge of their attitudes, moods, and feelings, but almost everyone has woken up in a wonderful mood and had their positive mood disrupted by someone else's negativity. As much as we would like to think that we are in control of our own feelings, to a certain degree, we are not. Since negativity can crush dreams and goals, it is important to surround yourself with as many positive people as possible.
Another part of being organized is working out. It is great to wake up rested, energized, and ready to tackle the day, but one does not want to fizzle out during the day. A physical workout can strengthen a person's productivity. Maintaining a high energy level throughout the day is essential for success. Working out keeps the body healthy and makes the blood flow freely. It keeps the arteries free from blockage, which can reduce stress and decrease the chances of developing heart disease.
Working out gives the body the energy it needs to tackle day-to-day obstacles. Energy motivates the brain; it allows a person to think outside the normal range of daily activity. Working out broadens expectations and expands creativity. I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping the body healthy. Americans should strive for at least thirty minutes of physical activity each day in order to maintain an optimum level of energy.
The average American may not know this, but physical activity is possible anywhere and at any time. When I get off the train in the morning, I take the stairs instead of the elevator. I find it amazing that I'm the only person taking the stairs. When I look around and see the sizes of many people riding the escalators, I'm often stunned. I find it even more amazing when people ask me why I take the stairs when they clearly should be taking the stairs with me. I do understand that everyone's health circumstances are different, but if a person makes a concerted effort toward a little physical activity every day, that person would be amazed at what he or she can accomplish.
When I'm at work, I often stretch in my chair or do chair exercises while working on the computer. I do leg extensions, crunches, and triceps and bicep twists. I often get up to walk around, and I take advantage of long walks on my lunch breaks. It is amazing how many physical activities a person can engage in during eight hours at work.
I cannot stress enough the significance of getting proper rest. I need it more because I have always been active. I have never really taken the time to sit back and relax because I always felt that I would miss out on a big opportunity. I have always made time for vacations, but I seldom made time for relaxing at home, doing nothing, or taking naps.
I have often made fun of people for napping every day, especially my sister Earnie. I have always had the notion that naps were strictly for babies and senior citizens because they do not have the energy to be vigorous all day long. I have never had the proper rest, and although I cannot go back and change the past, I can work on correcting the future. If I had a chance to go back and reconstruct my sleeping habits, I would definitely find a way to incorporate rest and relaxation into my life. I want to do this because my friends who have always incorporated the proper rest and relaxation—including daily naps—look like they have been drinking from the fountain of youth.
Karen has been my close friend for seven years. She has always made it a top priority to get at least ten hours of sleep each night. On her days off, she sleeps even more. When I first met her and learned of her sleeping habits, I thought something was terribly wrong with her because she would sometimes sleep more than she was awake during a day. I learned that she had incorporated her rest into her life many years earlier. I viewed this as being a negative, and I often teased her about the amount of sleep her body required because it appeared unproductive to me. However, Karen is very productive according to her lifestyle. Most importantly, because of her sleep habits, she is healthy. It looks as if time has stood still for her. She looks as if she is in her early thirties. She is in her mid forties. She is youthful, beautiful and doesn't have a gray hair on her head. I have several other friends who are in this same category who have gotten the proper amount of rest in their lives, and they look as if time has stood still for them too.
Eating right is another major part of being organized. Helping one's body function at its highest peak will allow a person to perform at the highest possible level. Breakfast is the most essential meal of the day because it fuels the start of the day. I have often noticed that when I start my day with a high-protein breakfast, things seem to go smoother. People should aim for three balanced meals per day, but this can vary depending on the individual. I have noticed that waiting until I am at the point of being very hungry before I eat my first meal can have an adverse effect because I will consume almost anything and any amount. Waiting until this point is not advisable because eating the first thing that is available is usually the wrong choice, and then wrong choices are typically made for the duration of the day. Watching what one eats is just as vital as eating three balanced meals. I also try not to eat if I'm not hungry, but I will have a snack to prevent me from making the wrong choices.
Excerpted from LOOK WHAT Happened to my POCKET CHANGE! by Rochelle Melanie. Copyright © 2014 Rochelle Melanie. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Where Does Wealth Come From?, 1,
Chapter 2 Why Life Needs Organization, 7,
Chapter 3 The Benefits of a Good Work Ethic, 13,
Chapter 4 Credit and Paying Your Bills, 19,
Chapter 5 Banks, Finance Companies, and Loan Stores, 27,
Chapter 6 Coupons, Rebates, Reward Points, and Dollar Stores, 33,
Chapter 7 The Real Savings Begin Here, 39,
Chapter 8 United States Savings Bonds, 45,
Chapter 9 Mutual Funds, 51,
Chapter 10 The Stock Market, 55,
Chapter 11 Real Estate, 67,
Chapter 12 401(k), Deferring Income, 71,
Chapter 13 Investing with Life Insurance, 77,
The End Result, 83,