The Difference Between Investing and Sex

Sex on bed covered with dollars large1Money and sex are two very powerful human drivers – especially for modern people whose basic needs are easily met.

It’s not surprising that investing money and procreating (or just practicing) have a lot in common:

 

  • Some folks get a thrill from just watching…

  • Some avoid talking about it at all costs…

  • We like to know what other folks are doing… but it’s impolite to ask.

  • It requires practice and commitment to improving…

But when investing your savings with the goal of creating non-earned  income and financial freedom, passive is almost always better than active (unlike sex which is almost always better if you’re an active participant).

The squawking heads on MSNBC, the emails from investment newsletter promoters, and the headlines on the covers of magazines scream about the prospect of returns for your accounts that “beat the markets” if you’ll only follow their system.

Why? Because it sells; not because it’s good for your net worth.

Two major reasons active investors (or the average trader) rarely if ever “beats the market” in the long run:

  1. FEES, FEES, FEES

The financial services industry runs on fees. They take them out of your savings at every opportunity. But, the more transactions you make, the more those fees take out.

How fees reduce $100,000 investment over 30 years

  1. Consistently great active investors or traders are a rarity.

We love to hear the stories of that big score – George Soros has lived for 25+ years on his winning beat against the British pound back in 1992 – but it’s unusual, that’s why we keep telling it. Sure he’s won some (and lost some) since then but having a billion dollars to work with helps you get deals us individual investors will never be offered.

Though there are a few publicly available fund managers who are better than average investors and even the overall markets, most of their returns fluctuate and average out at or even below the general market growth especially after you deduct the FEES (see #1). Tactics that beat the market  one year quit working when more investors use them so it gets harder and harder to consistently outperform the general market.

Lucky for us, the modern equity markets offer two ways individuals can avoid most of the downside of active investing:

  • Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and
  • Index Mutual Funds

Both, when used for consistent capital accumulation, offer relatively low fees and returns in line with the overall growth of businesses in the United States and internationally. And you don’t need to become an expert in picking stocks or even know a whole lot about business or economics to make and follow a profitable investment plan.

By minimizing your costs and capturing the growth in broad equity markets, your savings can turn into the capital that leads to financial freedom. Consistently adding to your capital via savings from your earned income, plus the returns from your investments, is a far more likely way to become wealthy than attempting to beat the markets with aggressive, high risk trading.

Don’t let your emotions, or a slick financial product salesman, trick you out of the wealth you deserve. Pay attention to the fees you pay for investments and get your emotional needs (and some thrills) met in the bedroom instead of risking your future financial freedom.

Live long and prosper, Leah the MoneyDiva.com

 

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Scam Alert: The Fake Debt Collector

money gremlin

Real debt collectors are bad enough, but recently these guys have added a new scam to their repertoire:

Collecting on fake debts.

They call, sometimes outside the legal bounds…

They threaten, often WAAAAY outside the legal limits… 

They know stuff about you - personal details - and threaten to make your life hell if you don’t pay them, NOW.

Money Tree

These callers may be teeing off from legit collection agencies - certainly the tactics they use were probably developed during stints at real agencies and they don’t just call randomly. They may purchase old lists of debtors or have access to customer files from payday or car title lenders to get at folks who are vulnerable.

Another great reason never to borrow money from those modern day loan sharks!

According to a recent complaint filed by the FTC, the fake collectors:

“...threatened to garnish wages, and they offered to accept, or “settle the debt,” for significantly less than the amount allegedly owed. In addition, the caller didn’t give the person any proof of the debt — even when asked.”

Unfortunately, the scammers are so convincing that many victims made payments even though they didn’t owe. So, even if you don’t fit the most vulnerable target type, knowing what to do if you receive a call from a collector (legit or not) can protect you and your bank account.

5 tips for standing up to these scammers:

#1 Ask the caller for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Tell the caller you won’t discuss any debt until you get a written "validation notice." If the caller refuses, don’t pay, and hang up and block the number (but be aware that they’ll just call from another phone number if they think there’s any chance of getting money from you).

​#2 Make your request in writing. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, FDCPA, requires any debt collector to stop calling if you ask them to, in writing. If the debt is real, sending a letter does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the calls.

#3 Don’t give or confirm any personal, financial, or other sensitive information. Just refer back to rule #1.

#4 Contact your creditor. If a debt is legitimate – but you think the collector isn’t — contact the company you owe the money to and set up a real payment plan. 

#5 Report the call. File a complaint with the FTC and your state's Attorney general's office. Do this, even if you’ve already given them money. You may help put these guys in jail!

And, watch this short video the FTC made to help us combat this scam:

5 Simple Questions: Predict Who Gets Rich and Who Ends Up Poor

Fair or not, your financial future can be predicted by your current and past behaviors with money.
Did you save any money last year-

According to research released recently by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis,

“five simple questions may predict personal financial health and wealth surprisingly well.”

Looking at data from 1992 – 2013, researchers William Emmons and Bryan Noeth, found  a strong correlation between how the 38,385 participants scored on these questions and their net worth.

1. Did you save any money last year?
Yes = 1     No = 0

2. Did you miss any payments on any obligations in the past year?
Yes = 0     No = 1

3. Did you have a balance on your credit card after the last payment was due?
Yes = 0     No (or don’t have any credit cards by choice) = 1

4. Including all of your assets, was more than 10% of the value in liquid assets?
Yes = 1     No = 0

5. Is your total debt service (principal and interest) less than 40% of your income?
Yes = 1     No = 0

*Source: Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances

Add up your “financial health” score:

5 is the strongest, zero the weakest; the mean score was 3.01.

So what does your score mean?

“If you save regularly, make all of your payments on time, pay off your entire credit card balance when due, maintain a healthy stock of safe and liquid assets, and never take on debts that put a heavy strain on your monthly income, you are very likely to be financially healthy and able to accumulate significant wealth,”

-the study authors conclude. And,

“if you do none of those things, you are very likely to be financially unhealthy.”

The best news, IMO, you can change your behavior and change your financial future!

Live Long and Prosper, Leah, the MoneyDiva.com 

Investment Advice from Buffett, “The Sage”

Follow this advice and, you may not make the Forbes 100 list but,

you are almost guaranteed to end up rich! Graphic thanks to: Best Finance Schools
10 Financial Lessons We Can Learn From Warren Buffett