Financial Advisors- Do you need one?

Your money and your future. Should you entrust yours to an individual or a firm? – The jury is out on this. I have spoken with about half a dozen different financial advisors, ranging from the most notable, long-standing trusted firms to the “hottest firms pushing education on the YouTube platform and honestly, I have to say, I’m just not that impressed.


When I think of investing my money, I often think of information, risk, my family’s future and all of the sudden I’m overwhelmed. I’m terrified to live in poverty as I had to do when the recession hit. No financial advisor is going to feel that way about my money. That is the first thing I am going to share. Remember, no one will care about or take care of, your money the way you would.

The second thing I would share is that before you decide to use a financial advisor or not to utilize one, educate yourself. With the invention and boom of the internet, there is no reason not to be educated. If your thinking of investing money, then certainly you can afford access to the internet. Research everything and don’t move on until you understand what you’re looking at.

There are certainly a lot of “Guru’s” out there, and most of their ideas hold true but under individualized circumstances. Let’s take for example Mutual Funds that are pushed hard by Dave Ramsey. Dave pushes these because they absolutely do work, over time. They have a proven track record to work consistently over a long period of time. But with them comes many fees that absolutely will add up and 3% of your assets may not sound like all that expensive now as a fee, but what about 35 years from now when you’re sitting on 1.5 million dollars? That’s a $45,000 fee each year. Now, that’s on the high end of fees but you get the point. He doesn’t push specific mutual funds, only that when you get to investing you branch out and diversify into at least 4 categories of mutual funds so that you’re diversified, which is certainly great advice. But he leaves you wanting more. You have no examples of what mutual funds he’s speaking of, no ticker symbol. This is what speaking to an advisor can feel like at times, you’ll be found wanting, feeling unsure once more. Now, this is not true for every advisor, I am just speaking from all of those I have spoken with and believe me I tried different techniques, dumb investor, unsure investor, educated investor, the know exactly what I want investor and so on.

If you have the ability to educate yourself, then I would say not to use a Financial advisor, but let me tell you why. With reading just a few books, such as Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover and The Smart Investor etc. etc. you can get a general idea or direction and this is important. Once you have a direction, you can begin to push your research into that direction. You can even google how to begin for heaven’s sake. Such as knowing you will need a brokerage account, I would suggest utilizing Vanguard for this. They are the most trusted and one of the longest standing brokerage firms, the founder invested Index funds for crying out loud.

Once you have opened an account which you can do here you will have completed the first step. Next, you will need to choose if you want to open an IRA account. IRA or ROTH IRA, depends on your situation but I would say ROTH IRA if at all possible. You can only fund this tax protected account up to $5,500 a year. Everything after $5,500 you can invest it using your regular brokerage account. So once you have money in there, from there you can buy a stock or bond, mutual funds, index funds, just about every security possible. So far, I would say you don’t need a financial advisor to do this..

Before you buy any security (stock, bond, or funds) you need to research them. Let’s say for example – my favorite fund to use one that looks like or matches the S & P 500 market. Good or bad, rain or shine, it’s going to match it pretty spot on, every single day. That fund can be purchased in a few ways under Vanguard as I am using them as my example.

  1. Purchase the ETF which is an Exchange Traded Fund. It’s like a mini fund with a lot of different stocks that are traded just like a stock itself. This is under the ticker symbol of VOO. It’s purchased just like a stock, itself. You receive dividends etc. I would say to use this if you can afford the next option.
  2. Option two is to buy into the fund directly. Once you buy into the fund, which just means you have to have a minimum amount you place into the fund to begin, yes you still keep the money, you can set up automatic investing and continue to contribute $1 a month into the fund if you wish. This is a great option if you want to invest regularly and have the money go from your account on a regular basis and be invested automatically. The minimum buy-in here is $3,000 and its worth every penny at least for me. This is the ticker symbol for it VFINX.
  3. Last option stays on the same fund and the ticker symbol would be VFIAX. It’s nearly the same as option number two, but the minimum buy-in is $10,000 and the only real difference to get into this class is the fees are slightly different. The fees under VFIAX are 0.04% while under VFINX 0.14% HEY it’s less than a quarter of a percent, we can deal with it, LoL.

If you have been able to follow along thus far, then you should know that these types of index funds are numerous. There are specific index funds that are specific to industry sectors like finance, home goods, and healthcare, the list goes on. Me personally, I enjoy tracking the market. Its hard to consistently beat the market anyway over time so why not just invest in the market itself. The three above are how I do it and I invest in this fund and others I like on a regular basis.

I also buy stocks in companies I like, most of the companies I buy their single stocks in are ones that pay our a dividend payment each quarter, which is like a mini paycheck just for owning a share in their company. I do this with companies I like and see continued success, such as Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, AT&T, Verizon – Companie that are so ingrained in everyday life. Everyone on the planet it feels like, has a cell phone, no better company than Apple in my opinion, so I purchased stock, they need service for the cell phones, I personally liked AT&T and Verizon as they are the largest and most widely used. Do you see where I’m going with this?

I spoke with a “Financial Advisor” yesterday, and he seemed very disorganized and completely unsure of my questions. (Which were basic questions I assure you.) He did not make me even feel remotely at ease, even nonchalant about some of my concerns. No interest what so ever. If he was sounding like this or making me feel like this, I wonder if he would treat my money the same way? What if he was having a bad day and just got tired of dealing with the hassle of selling out of a company position because it was too much of a hassle to do that today because he was having an “off day.” I don’t know about you, but I have never had an off day when it comes to my money.

Another one I spoke to seriously just said, “send me your monthly funds and we invest it for you. Every month we will send you a statement of your account.” REALLY! I realized that was a shady company. That one was the only one that responded to me that way, the others seemed more professional in nature but still not right. The main point is, no one is going to look after your money like you.

Take the time to educate yourself. Read a few books, scour the internet on Google and Youtube, read blogs for peoples experiences. Once you start doing it, you will come to greatly enjoy it. It doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun, especially once you see your money starting to work for you. Personally, I am going to steer clear of “Financial Advisors.” Remember what I said – You are responsible for You.




Productive or Busy?

Ever wondered why your so busy and your desk looks like the scene from the movie The Intern? The answer is simple; You’re “busy” but not “productive.” Well, then Mr. Smarty Pants. How do I get from being “busy” to being “productive”? I’m so glad you asked, or well, I asked. The answer falls under the skills of time management.

dbf72c437043efa3daf5a30a59dd44aa                                           Photo credit from Pinterest. Movie- The Intern

Time management is a skill that is acquired over time. You can learn about it of course. But learning about time management and actually putting it into practice or utilizing it is about as polar opposite as it gets. It would be like studying theoretical concepts of management versus actual management.

So now let me show you a few reasons why time management is important to you and your productivity.

  1. Time is limited no matter how you slice it. There are only 24 hours in a day. That applies to you, and to your coworker who only seems able to do half the amount of work you do. But it also applies to the former coworker who consistently accomplishes more than you, and was promoted as a result. If you want to rise through the ranks, you have to acknowledge the importance of finding a way to utilize your time.
  2. You can accomplish more with less effort when you learn to take control of your time, you improve your ability to focus. And with increased focus comes enhanced efficiency, because you don’t lose momentum, and the principle behind the commitment is to build momentum.
  3. Time management helps you make conscious choices so you can spend more of your time doing things that are important and valuable to you.

Managing your allotted time of the day can provide you with a large advantage. I know it can be difficult but try a few things just to start. Try it for a week and be consistent.

  1. Try to wake up earlier. (Not going to bed later.) Did you know that if you only woke up 15 minutes earlier, every single day you would gain 5,475 minutes after a year! That also equates to 91.25 hours or 3.8 days. It seems small, but over time, it adds up. Eventually, work yourself up (or back) to waking up at 4 AM. You cant imagine the difference waking up at 4AM will provide you. Let’s reverse engineer that too: If you woke up at 4:00AM instead of say 7:00AM. That would be 3 hours each day gained. That would be a total of 1,095 hours after a year or 45.63 DAYS! That’s over a months worth of time you gained of productive hours. Start at 15 minutes. Just try it and tell me I’m wrong. (Or Right)
  2. With so much to do and so little time to do it, be organized. Schedule EVERYTHING. (No, not your bathroom habits.) Stick to the rules that if it’s on the schedule then it must be done and done on time. A simple outlook calendar works here or even the calendar on your phone. One that provides alerts or reminders. Be sure not to schedule your self too thin, in other words, leave some room in between items for lag overs.
  3. Focus on the task at hand. You may be on top of your schedule but if your thinking about another item and veer off course because all of the sudden things are coming up that are more important or are weighing on your mind then you will become overwhelmed even by the calendar, the very tool that is supposed to help you. Stick to the item you scheduled. Tell people you will call them back. You wouldn’t want to talk to them anyway if you couldn’t devote your full attention to them at that time anyway! Same applies to your tasks. Set your tasks, and work on them. Focus on them and get them done.
  4. Lastly, eliminate the non-essentials. Not just on your calendar but everywhere. Having too much going on in the home can be a burden you take with you while at work. You’ve spent so much time and money on junk at home that has begun to clutter not just your home, but your mind as well, placing additional stress in the back of your mind. Simplify things. Do you need 25 coffee cups from your vacations over the years, sitting in the cupboard? Do you need to have a packed closet with clothes you never wear? Nic-Nac’s all over the place? You may not think of these items as a bad thing, but having too many things places an unconscious stressor in your mind. You think of the care these items need, cleaning, organizing etc. Having these stressors can slow you and your mind down, thus killing productive time.

I would have to say, that most people walk around each day in a zombified state of mind. Heads looking down at their phones checking their social media feeds 350 times a day. We can’t even go to the bathroom without a device anymore! They appear to be busy, but certainly not very productive. I have even witnessed high-level executives that are busier than they are productive.

three person holding smartphones
Photo by on

You must keep your daily goals right there in front of you. Put in on your calendar each morning to create three (3) goals you want to accomplish this day. Before logging out for the evening, check the list to see what remains. Sometimes its hard to come up with them, so keep it simple unless there is a very important goal that needs you, but on those days where it seems to be a routine day, set the goal to say something like, Wake up 15 minutes earlier or Take time to read the newspaper. Just keep it simple on that day. Remember not to attempt to put everything on the daily goal list, that is why you have a calendar. Think of it this way, busy people have many priorities, productive people have few.


    Photo credit Pinterest

Another difference is in the thought of “multitasking.” I have to tell ya, I’ve never met a person that was able to multitask and give their 100% best in anything. Busy people multitask. Productive people focus on a task at hand. The task they time blocked their calendar for.

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? Set a timer to 20 minutes. Work on the task time slotted until the timer sounds. Any distraction (I must check email, I must make a call, I must go to the check this or check that) and you reset the timer to 20 minutes. When the buzzer sounds, you place a checkmark on a piece of paper. You want to see how many checkmarks you can get in the day. The highest I’ve reached has been 11. It is truly hard to keep your mind on track. It took me some time to reach 11 too. For days it seemed, I could only get 3 or 4 check marks, I was always having to reset the timer because I had to go use the bathroom and grab a snack, even check an email (or 100).

Listen, you can go out and spend a ton of money on seminars and tools for time management, people make a killing off of it, but really it’s simple. It’s so simple that it is usually overlooked. Keep it simple stupid! Wake up earlier and tackle your day with a purpose.



The Wars at Home

Photo Credit: Pinterest

In our new world of Political correctness, #Me Too’s, prostitutes being portrayed as righteous, the “you didn’t do it alone” and the secret world of so-called “privileges” that don’t actually exist (But once did). How are we as a nation, as a people going to be able to sort this out? When do facts become facts again? Why in our times, are criminals celebrated as though they were innocent martyrs? When does good old fashioned common sense and decency popularise once more? What happened to the word- Responsibility?

So many questions such as these, often come to mind when common civility is no longer common.  The news outlets are plagued with one-sided stories, on both “sides” of the opinion table. All I can bring here honestly is some real common sense and self-experiences. I can not account for others’ experiences and I will not belittle nor downplay them, in fact, I would honestly and openly like to hear them and discuss, so be sure to comment below, please.

The first item I would like to bring up is the socialized popularity of victimization. If a burglar comes into your home, falls and cuts himself with a knife, or falls through the skylight, can then sue the homeowner and actually win, then there is a real problem within our legal system. (Actual Legal Case.) Police hate and demonization when a young man is shot by the cops for having a gun, threatening police or violently acting towards the police endangering their lives, and a protest occurs. Highlighting only the sweet angel of a young boy of times passed but not he violent behavior attributed towards the police or other civilians. Then there is a problem. Police shootings are tracked well by the Washington Post Found Here. And can be shown that race has little or nothing to do with the shootings taking place by a police officer. In 2017, of the 987 people shot and killed by a police officer 466 were White, 234 were Black, 160 were Hispanic. And yet we see protests all the time. You will also see that 14% of the shootings, the larges number of all the states, shootings happened in California, followed by Texas with 69 and then Florida with 58. California is in its own little world. They live by the TV and celebrity lifestyles thoughts and opinions. They believe because of their “status” as a celebrity, they have power in our country. They are doing far more damage than good. Remember, they are paid only for our entertainment, the common jesters of the 21st century. What is happening in California, is NOT happening around the rest of the country.

Prostitutes can now be celebrities and portrayed as being brave! Stormy Daniels “feminist hero” stated Jill Filipovic in the New York Times. She was a prostitute who happened to sleep with the man that became the President. She was paid ‘hush money’, signed a non-disclosure agreement and when her hush money ran dry, she opens her mouth to get more money. It’s that simple! Now, the part where the man slept with a prostitute is a different matter and is just as, if not more disgusting. The point here is, this woman, should be no persons “Hero” and it honestly doesn’t belong in the newspaper. It’s trashy reporting. Modesty is all but lost for America, and this is where (originally) “Conservative Values” were. Being responsible and modest. These conservative values have since been all but removed as well. Conservatives are no longer conservatives, and Liberal/Moderate is no longer as well. It’s an all-out popularity contest with hate ads running every few years. Our beliefs are being trampled upon on all sides.

Photo credit from Pinterest.

Responsibility is becoming an obsolete term or even more so, behavior. It is responsible, to work for what you get or have. It is responsible, to save for emergencies, it is responsible to invest for retirement, it is responsible to not have debt, it is responsible to plan for children and save properly, it is responsible to work for heaven’s sake. (If you can.)

From 2003 to 2013, there’s been a 29% jump in Americans with little or no work experience getting disability payments, according to the Social Security Administration. Over the same time, there’s been a 44% increase in disability claims by people formerly in the workplace. This isn’t because more people are becoming disabled. this is because people aren’t working or are looking for an easy paycheck and free healthcare benefits. Now there are absolutely cases, where people are truly disabled and need to file for disability, absolutely and I am not lumping them in with the group I’m speaking of. I am speaking of those individuals who no longer wish to work, so they file for disability benefits with social security and the pretend and fight their way to get those benefits.  I knew a judge a few years ago who heard some of the disability cases, and she said, “there is no work for them in this town and they don’t have the means to get to the places that do have work, not to mention, they don’t have the skills needed.” So she deemed them disabled! I was so distraught! How could this be? Do we not have a program that will supplement them for a period of say, two years, pay for their schooling or trade certificate in a field, then cut the benefits off and put them back in the workforces? I asked. She’s stated, “there is no program of that nature at this time, but good thought.” With individuals doing this, it is pulling out funds, paid into the system by others and will eventually those funds will run out and the government will have to raise more money to fund the program. c395ed6b34f967b8deaa67e42cf8700a

Don’t depend on the government social security “tax” pension program to be there for you. It may be there, it may not be. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t depend upon it. Learn to save and invest properly. The earlier you begin investing, the more money you will have at retirement. Do you really want to just go crazy and spend all of your money now and have nothing when you’ve reached 60 or 65? You will still have a lot of years left, 30 or so. How will you survive on $1,200 per month? Take a look at your budget; could you survive? Wouldnt you like to survive with$7,000 a month not including social security payments if they are there? I know I would! Invest now! It doesn’t have to be much, just invest. It’s called being responsible for yourself financially and not being a burden to your family or community.

At the end here, right is right. Wrong is wrong. Think of those rules from the older generations, no matter your sex or skin color, “treat others how you would want to be treated.” “A penny saved is a penny earned.” “You are responsible for you.” “The early bird get’s the worm.” The war here at home is that everyone wants the ability to blame someone else, when the fact is, you really are responsible for you. You are where you are because of the choices you made or didn’t make. If you want better, then do more. Stop blaming everyone else. My wife an I have the same opportunities and we are different sexes and different races. With hard work, anything is possible.