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Attention: Black Business Owners and Aspiring Black Business Owners – We Invite You To Join Us For 5 Days of Business Training Starting Oct 5

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Can you commit to one hour a day for 5 days next week to learn and get a framework to build an amazing business? Learn from Celia, Ken, and other successful Black business owners as we share our experiences and show you the key things you must focus on to build, grow, and scale your business.

Learn more here.

In 2012, Celia, Sean, and I founded GMS Professional Corporation (Known as Green, Meikle & Smith Chartered Accountants in the early days). At the time, we were all professionals working in Corporate Canada with no prior established business experience. All we wanted was to escape the corporate grind, to seek freedom from running our own business, to control our time and our own resources.

What we did not prepare for was that building a business is hard. We went into business to escape the corporate grind, but we were grinding it in our business. We went into business to seek time freedom but we were working long hours in the business. We went into business to create financial freedom, but we were struggling to keep up with bills and to pay ourselves. We did not prepare for Sean resigning from the business several years ago. We made adjustments after adjustments and against all odds, 8 years later, we’re still in business.

We’ve grown, we’ve achieved some success but we are still learning. Starting on Monday, October 5, join us as we share our experience and prepare you to build a better business by avoiding all the mistakes we made. If you’re a Black business owner looking to start your first or next business or looking to grow your existing business, we invite you to join us for 5 days as we give you a framework on how to build a business plan for success. 

Learn more and Join Here.

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Business

The 3 Components of Business Success

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How to experience true fulfillment in your business

I have always loved business and since 2006, I’ve been doing business. I started doing business on the side as I had a full-time job. I tried my hands on many different businesses, many of which failed.

My primary motivation for going into business in the early years was money. I wanted to make more money to achieve financial freedom. Now, while making money is still important, it is not always the primary motivation for me again. Now, I go into business to do things I love, to learn, and to serve.

Looking back to my experience trying my hands on different businesses, I’ve now found that you’re more likely to fail in business if you’re working in a business you don’t love. You’re more likely to get frustrated if you’re working with people you don’t like.

Now, when I teach others that are looking to start a business, I tell them to first start with their passion. You’re more likely to put in more effort if you’re running a business that lights your passion. You’re more likely to hang in there a little longer even during tough times.

One of the businesses I run is a chess event promotion business. We run chess events and tournaments by bringing lovers of the game together to compete for a prize. This is a classical example of a passion business as I love the game of chess. When I work on this business, it’s hard to tell if I’m working or playing. However, this business lacks one of the components required for success.

So, what is lacking?

In an article by Michael Hyatt, he writes that job satisfaction requires three components:

  1. Passion: This is where it begins. What do you care about? What moves you? What problems do you want to solve or issues you want to address? If your heart is not in your work, you have a job but not a calling.
  2. Proficiency: Passion alone is not enough. You have to be good at what you do. Being good enough will not give you the satisfaction you desire. You have to excel at your craft and be awesome. Mastery is the goal.
  3. Profitability. To enjoy a successful career, people must be willing to pay you for what you do. You don’t have to get rich, but there must be a market for your product or service. Otherwise, your career is not sustainable.

As Michael writes, if you have all three of these components, you can experience genuine career satisfaction which is at the intersection of all of these three components as illustrated in the figure below:

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Image Credit: https://michaelhyatt.com/

Anything short of these three components intersecting perfectly will lead to something other than true job satisfaction.

  • If you have passion and proficiency without profitability, you have a hobby. Many people that work in the Not-For-Profit sector will fall into this category. They have the heart to serve using the skills they’ve been blessed with but end up overworked, stressed, and unable to pay their bills. My chess business fits into this category. The business fulfills my passion and I’m good at running these chess events as we’ve now become the top chess event organizer in Canada in two short years since starting this business. What is lacking is profitability. In my opinion, passion gets in the way of profitability. Although the margins are small, with some creativity and better focus, there is potential to make this business profitable.
  • If you have passion and profitability without proficiency, you have failure. You can fake it in the short-term but in the long-term, your lack of proficiency will be exposed. You will struggle to get hired, or simply be flushed in the next round of layoffs.
  • If you have proficiency and profitability without passion, you have boredom. This was my story in the latter part of my career where I had the proficiency and had decent pay but was bored as the job did not fulfill me intellectually or otherwise.

This explains why the majority of business owners never find satisfaction working in their businesses because it is rare to find that perfect intersection of all of these three components.

As an entrepreneur, you have a better chance of finding job satisfaction in your business. However, most entrepreneurs don’t start out looking for job satisfaction, instead, they focus on profitability. It takes years of tweaking the business to get to the point where you will have true job satisfaction working in your business.

Final Thoughts

If you have job satisfaction, lucky you. It is rare.

If you don’t, ask yourself, “Which of these three components am I missing? What could I do to build a business that will give me more satisfaction?


If you’re looking to start a business, check out my training on “How to Start a Profitable Side Business.”

You can watch the course introduction and the first two modules for FREE by going to the link below:

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Personal DevelopmentPersonal Finance

The Freedom in Living a Life of “No Shame, No Blame”

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How to set yourself up for financial freedom by taking the “No Shame, No Blame” approach

A few months ago, I listened to a podcast where Vicki Robin, the author of Your Money or Your Life was interviewed and she talked about this concept of looking at your current financial position (i.e. your personal balance sheet) in a “No Shame, No Blame” way as a way to drive change.

I found this quite interesting and personally think there is a great lesson here for everyone. Your ability to really confront your current financial position is perhaps the only way you can be motivated to make changes that will improve your future financial position.

A while ago, I posed a challenge where I asked you to look at your tax returns over the last decade and add all the income you’ve earned to determine how much of this income you’ve kept.

Let’s say, for example, you determined from that challenge that you’ve made $2 million and now you have a net worth that shows you’re $50,000 underwater (i.e. if you sell all your assets and pay all your debt, you still owed $50,000), what should you do?

Vicky suggests that you confront the results of your financial behavior in the past, stomach it, and accept it in a “No Shame, No Blame” way. By doing this, you will be motivated to learn from your mistakes and develop new money habits so that when you earn $2 million or $4 million over the next decade, you will keep all of it!

Confrontation is tough, particularly, when it comes to our personal finances. I know this because I have personally been challenged several times in the past with confronting my financial position.

Confrontation is particularly more challenging for men as men generally tend to protect their pride more than women do. So, you have to learn to move past your mistakes, forgive yourself for the bad behavior in the past, and move forward in a “No Shame, No Blame” way to design the life you want to live.

The ability to confront is one of those character dimensions we must develop to be successful in life. In his book, Integrity, Dr. Henry Cloud quoted one of his favorite sayings…

“Reality is always your friend.”

If you don’t embrace the reality of your financial position, you will be living a false life and you will have little or no chance to be successful. So, we must learn to confront the brutal facts as missing reality can have disastrous consequences in the areas we care about the most in our lives. Dr. Cloud goes on to say…

“So, for us to get real results in the real world, we must be in touch with what is, not what we wish things were or think things should be or are led by others to believe they are. The only thing that is going to be real in the end is what is. That is where profits are going to be made, and that is where love is going to be found.”

I think this is a profound statement. By the way, if you’ve not read integrity, I strongly recommend it.

Final Thoughts

So, if you’ve not taken up the challenge of looking at your financial position, go do it now. As you review the results of your past financial behavior, acknowledge and accept your past mistakes, assign no blame, have no shame, and embrace the reality of the results before you with love.

Remember, you have accomplished great things in the past, be grateful for the things you’ve achieved and for the opportunities ahead of you. I am cheering for you. So, go get it!


P.S. I am on a mission to arm you with financial education. That’s one reason I started writing on medium and that’s why I wrote Tax-Efficient Wealth. This book will help you accelerate your wealth in a tax-efficient way. Grab a FREE eBook version of my new book, Tax-Efficient Wealth, to learn how you can build wealth quickly using strategies that will save you a ton in taxes.

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Personal FinanceTax Planning

The Tax-Efficient Way to Build Your Wealth

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Minimize taxes with the tax-efficient plan

There is no doubt that taxes will increase in the coming years with the massive money printing going on right now to provide relief for individuals and businesses suffering financially as a result of COVID19.

These taxes will be major obstacles as you plan to build long-term wealth. Therefore, it is essential that you have a strategy to combat taxes today and in the coming years.

In my book, Tax-Efficient Wealth — The Blueprint to Quickly Build Tax-efficient Wealth to Achieve Financial Freedom in Four Actionable Steps, I discuss that in order to address these obstacles, you need a Tax-Smart Plan.

A tax-smart plan is a simple plan with three key goals:

  • Contribute or save money tax-free
  • Grow or accumulate money tax-free
  • Withdraw or distribute money tax-free

Your wealth can ben enhanced dramatically by arranging your affairs so you can achieve all or some of these goals.

If you consider the likelihood that taxes will continue to increase, you will agree with me that it makes so much sense to invest in an environment where you do not have to pay taxes now or sometime in the future.

Imagine a situation where you’re able to invest with tax-free dollars, allow those investments to grow tax-free, and also withdraw the funds at a future date without paying taxes?

If you’re able to achieve these goals, you can make your savings grow exponentially. And this is how you accelerate your wealth.

So now, let’s examine the plan. The plan is simply to:

1. Eliminate or reduce taxes

2. Convert non-deductible interest to deductible interest

3. Increase cash flow


1. Eliminate or Reduce Taxes

Reducing taxes or eliminating them, where possible, will certainly help you in your journey to financial freedom.

This is where tax planning plays a critical role. Most people do nothing simply because they’ve given into the fact that taxes are complex. Rather than doing nothing, you should consider how to turn these tax complexities into tax savings.

Planning requires you to ask great questions.

How can I sort through the myriad tax credits to find the ones that are right for my situation?

What tax deductions can I take to reduce my taxes?

What do I need to know before buying a house or making a significant investment?

How do I use my RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) and TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account) to maximize my tax benefits?

By asking these questions and working with a qualified tax advisor, you will gain a much better understanding of your tax situation and uncover ways you can save on taxes.

Here are a few tips and strategies you can consider to save taxes:

  • It is important to know your marginal tax bracket and determine if there are deductions you can take or planning ideas to consider to drop to a lower marginal tax bracket. This can save you taxes.
  • Carefully review all tax credits to ensure you’re taking advantage of those that you are eligible for. Often, tax credits are missed. For example, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, you qualify for a one-time non-refundable federal tax credit of up to $750. If you have a service animal to help cope with an impairment, you can claim the related costs as a medical expense. If you’re disabled, you can qualify for a disability tax credit. And starting in 2020, you may be eligible to claim the Canada training credit, a new refundable tax credit, introduced in the 2019 federal budget.
  • Take advantage of RRSP and TFSA to reduce or eliminate taxes. Use these tools strategically. For example, if an RRSP will allow you to drop to a lower tax bracket, use it. If you’re starting out in life and have not bought your first home yet, consider maxing your RRSP as much as you can so you can use this as part of your down payment for the purchase. Use tax-free cash to contribute to your TFSA as these investments are not taxed.
  • If employment income is your only source of income, consider starting a side business to expand your eligible deductions. If you’re considering a side business, it’s better to look into a business or freelance opportunity in areas you’re passionate to make it less of a job.
  • If you’re an employee, in addition to your salary, wages, and bonuses, you’re taxed on the value of the benefits you receive by virtue of your employment. However, certain benefits are tax-free, so it is important to understand these and consider ways you can negotiate with your employer to maximize your benefits.
  • If you’re an employee receiving stock options from your employer as a benefit of employment, you can develop an “exercise and sell” strategy for the stock options to ensure you consider cash-flow needs, tax consequences, and investment risk. Without careful planning, you will not maximize the tax benefits of your stock options.
  • As an employee, consider the benefits of employee deductions permitted under the Canadian Tax Act. Could you negotiate with your employer to structure your work arrangement to allow you to claim certain employee expenses? Could you negotiate the structure of your compensation to include some commission income so you can claim even more deductions?
  • If you’re self-employed or a small business owner, ensure you take advantage of the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) claims to reduce your taxes.
  • If you own a business and have kids, consider getting them involved in your business and paying them a reasonable wage for the work they do. By doing this, you can income split and save on taxes.

2. Convert Non-deductible Interest to Deductible Interest

If you own your home, the mortgage payment you make monthly is a huge obstacle to accelerating your wealth. There are two key reasons why this is a huge obstacle.

First, it is a cash drain. As you know, without cash, you cannot invest to earn returns, and if you don’t have those returns, you cannot deploy them to earn even more returns and thus accelerate your wealth.

Second, the interest on the mortgage is not deductible for tax purposes. As a result, you end up paying more taxes.

Given that the mortgage on your home is the largest debt you have that is non-deductible for tax purposes, one of the greatest ways to tackle this obstacle is to convert the non-deductible interest on your home to deductible interest as quickly as possible.

You can achieve this by renting out a portion of our home as this will allow you to claim a portion of the interest as a deduction in your tax return. In addition to this, you can obtain a re-advanceable mortgage loan and HELOC (Home Equity Line Of Credit) on your principal residence and use this to redeploy the equity in your home for investment purposes. This is sometimes referred to as the Smith Manoeuvre strategy. To learn more about this concept, you can google and find a book on this written by Fraser Smith.

With this strategy of converting your non-deductible interest to tax-deductible interest, you are employing all three of the powerful accelerators I discussed in an earlier article — compound interest, leverage, and velocity. As a result, you have a tremendous opportunity to massively accelerate your wealth.

Why is this concept attractive?

First, you will pay off your mortgage in half the time. You can accomplish this by taking advantage of the up to 20% mortgage prepayment that most banks allow as well as the principal paydown you get from your monthly or biweekly mortgage payments.

However, unlike the regular tax-payer who throws a party to celebrate mortgage freedom, you will be using the otherwise, lazy equity sitting idle and earning no returns to invest in safe and reliable investments earning decent returns.

Second, you will significantly reduce the non-deductible interest you pay on your mortgage. If you look at the interest expense paid on a regular mortgage amortized over 20 years and compare that to the interest paid on a mortgage amortized over 10 years, you will realize that your interest cost can reduce by as much as 50%.

This is significant.

Third, you have access to capital that will allow you to create more assets, and by creating more assets that generate returns, you can now deduct the interest cost to optimize taxes. You can now use the additional returns to create even more assets that will continue to generate more and more cash in the years ahead.


3. Increase Cash Flow

The average taxpayer has an inefficient cash flow pattern, mostly from the inability to structure his or her affairs to convert after-tax expenses to before-tax expenses.

In addition to this, there is more pressure on the average taxpayer’s cash flow as a result of mortgage payments as all the interest costs are significant and non-deductible for tax purposes. As a tax-smart investor, you want to create as much cash as possible as this is the only way you can deploy capital to accelerate wealth. Here are some examples to increase your cash flow:

  • Look for opportunities to create income, and more importantly, multiple streams of income that will generate cash flow today. Do you have a skill you can deploy as a Freelancer? Can you write a book and sell it on eBay? Can you set up an online business that can generate income?
  • Review your expenses frequently to look for opportunities to conserve cash. Do you pay for subscriptions that you no longer use? Are you paying for a service you can get at a cheaper rate or even for free? Have you considered using money-saving apps to cut down on your expenses?
  • Have you looked at your tax situation for opportunities to convert some of the expenses you currently pay on an after-tax basis to before-tax expenses? For example, could you start a business you’re passionate about and deduct regular expenses that can qualify as tax-deductible expenses? Could you hire your kids to work for you and convert some of the kids’ expenses to tax-deductible expenses?

Conclusion

If you want to make progress in building your wealth, you must have a plan to combat taxes and other major obstacles that stand in your way.

And the best way to do this is to use a tax-smart plan.


P.S. I am on a mission to arm you with financial education. That’s one reason I started writing on medium and that’s why I wrote Tax-Efficient Wealth. This book will help you accelerate your wealth in a tax-efficient way. Grab a FREE eBook version of my new book, Tax-Efficient Wealth, to learn how you can build wealth quickly using strategies that will save you a ton in taxes.

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Personal Finance

About Your Money

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Why you should act now to protect yourself against the coming destruction of your money

The significant amount of money printed in the last couple of months by nearly all developed countries will certainly change the economic outlook in the coming months. Many have described this period as the greatest reset in our history — a time when we will witness a great transfer of wealth.

Canada, the US, and many countries around the world are printing trillions of dollars out of thin air. This will create inequality as those that are knowledgeable and those that foresee what is coming will be better prepared to profit, while those that are unprepared will be the biggest losers.

To prepare for the coming economic reset, I’m arming myself with knowledge and that’s why I’m now reading these two books. And I strongly encourage you to get copies of these books and do the same so you can protect your wealth and potentially position yourself to come out of it better off than the majority.

Here are the two books I’m currently reading and some additional information about the books:

Book # 1 — The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous

I got this book as a gift from Tom Karadza after I was featured on his podcast show recently. Since I knew very little about Bitcoin, I was excited to dive into this book to learn more.

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Image Credit: Saifedean Ammous

While this book is aimed at helping the reader understand Bitcoin, the author writes, “In order to understand Bitcoin, one must first understand money, and to understand money, there is no alternative to the study of the function and history of money”. The following on the back cover of the book summarizes the essence of this book:

“In The Bitcoin Standard, economist Saifedean Ammous walks readers through the fascinating history of the technologies of money and explores what gave these technologies their monetary role, how they lost it, what that teaches us about the desirable features of money, and how Bitcoin is designed to improve on these technologies.

Ammous elucidates the economic, social, cultural, and political benefits of sound money over unsound money to allow for an informed discussion of the potential role Bitcoin could play in the digital economy of the future.

Rather than as a currency for criminals or a cheap mass consumer payment network, this book argues Bitcoin is emerging as a decentralized, politically neutral, free-market alternative to national central banks, with potentially enormous implications for individual freedom and prosperity. For anyone looking for a clear understanding of this new digital money, The Bitcoin Standard is the essential resource.”

It’s a fascinating read as I’m learning a few things about money I never really knew. The two characteristics of money — the salability of money and the hardness of money that he discussed early in the book is an eye-opener to me. These two concepts alone will help you make wise decisions on how you store your money.


Book # 2 — The Great Devaluation by Adam Baratta

I don’t quite recall how I stumbled onto this book. But I remember spending hours one morning when I landed on a page with a special report by Adam Baratta where he laid out a fascinating discussion on inflation and the upcoming monetary reset. At the time, he was still writing this book so I placed an advance order for the book which just arrived in the mail last week. The following narrative in the back cover of the book sets the stage for what to expect from this book:

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Image Credit: Adam Baratta

“In 2008, the world economy suffered through the Housing Crisis which wiped out nearly $10 trillion in global asset value. In response, the Federal Reserve created Quantitative Easing, and added $3.5 trillion to their balance sheet over the next seven years. In March of 2020, we had a crisis and the Federal Reserve added another $3.5 trillion to their balance sheet, only this time they did it in a matter of seven weeks!

The real crisis facing the world today is not the Coronavirus. The real crisis facing the world is explosive government debt and deficits. Governments are now left with no choice but to spend more than they make, borrow more than they can ever repay, and devalue their currencies to cover it all up.

What happens when central banks lose control of the monetary system? We don’t have to speculate — The Great Depression of the 1930s tells us everything we need to know about what to expect in case of a financial collapse. The problem is, very few people understand just how close we really are to repeating this slice of history. All the warning signs are there — asset bubbles, explosive debt, social inequality, and political tensions, to name a few. And yet, we have been able to look the other way, potentially to our peril — until now.

In The Great Devaluation: How to Embrace, Prepare, and Profit from the Coming Global Monetary Reset, national bestselling author and leading gold investment strategist Adam Baratta shines a spotlight on the state of the monetary system and the Federal Reserve. Baratta brings a fresh and engaging perspective to a topic that investors urgently need to understand. He tells the story of how the Federal Reserve grew to be the secretive, ultra-powerful institution it is today, and how its tactics have resulted in an economy that is on its last, wobbly legs.

Although it isn’t easy to open our eyes to the imminent reality of economic collapse, it will be well worth the pain. Baratta reveals the history-proven strategies that we can use to insure ourselves against the coming collapse, recession, and depression. No matter what we do, the system is in trouble. The U.S. Dollar is in trouble. The Fed is in trouble. So, why not benefit by consciously pivoting our investments, our business practices, and our society? George Santayana famously said, ‘Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it.’ The Great Devaluation is a history lesson that offers readers a road map for what to expect and how to profit during the next decade.

Other Reading ResourcesWhat You May Not Know About MoneyWhat is money?medium.comDebt Is Not the Problem, You Are!Busting the widely held myths of debtmedium.com

Final Thoughts

Take action now and get copies of these books (The Bitcoin Standard & The Great Devaluation) to read and to prepare for the potential devaluation of the dollar.


P.S. I am on a mission to arm you with financial education. That’s one reason I started writing on medium and that’s why I wrote Tax-Efficient Wealth. This book will help you accelerate your wealth in a tax-efficient way. Grab a FREE eBook version of my new book, Tax-Efficient Wealth, to learn how you can build wealth quickly using strategies that will save you a ton in taxes.

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Personal DevelopmentPersonal FinanceSelf GrowthTax Planning

Building Assets That Generate Monthly Cash Flow Has Never Been More Important. Here Is Why

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Five ideas to consider in building assets that generate monthly cash flows

If we’ve learned anything from this coronavirus pandemic, it is the importance of having strong diversified sources of monthly cash flow. This pandemic proved that many individuals and businesses could not survive 4 to 6 weeks without the intervention and help from government relief programs.

So, it is important to take a close look at all your sources of cash flow and come up with ways to fortify your existing sources of cash flow, and where applicable, add additional sources of cash flow to protect your ability to continue to generate cash for the foreseeable future.

When building a cash flow plan, you want sources of monthly cash flows that will accomplish one or more of the following:

  • Cash flow that can survive any economic situation
  • Cash flow that is independent of your time
  • Cash flow that is uninterrupted regardless of whether you’re awake or asleep
  • Cash flow built around your lifestyle
  • Cash flow with the potential to grow from month to month
  • Cash flow that is not eroded by commitments to long-term contracts, overhead, debt, salaried full-time employees, etc.
  • Cash flow that is location independent

So, what ideas can you employ to generate these kinds of monthly recurring cash flows?

Here are 5 ideas to consider:

1. Turn your ideas and knowledge into recurring income: You know a lot and you likely don’t realize it. You have the experience that is valuable to others. Consider ways you can turn this into a business that provides extreme value to others; never runs out of inventory; needs no staff; pays no rent; stays open 24/7; and pays you while you sleep.

2. Invest in an online business: There has never been a better time to invest in an online business. This is a sector that has been growing rapidly, even before the coronavirus pandemic that just poured fuel to the growth. It will continue to grow in the coming years as the technology to support these businesses continue to improve. Consider creating and selling courses online; building a retail store on Shopify or other similar platforms; selling information products; etc.

3. Buy an existing business: Consider a business that is undervalued and has the potential to generate a strong monthly cash flow that you can purchase. You can then invest in the business to turn it around and increase its value over time by fortifying existing cash flow sources, adding additional cash flow sources, improving sales, marketing, and operations.

4. Invest in dividend-paying stocks: In May this year, I started a process where I now invest in at least a dividend-paying stock a day in my registered savings account. The idea behind this is to create a consistent habit of growing my stock investment portfolio as well as the income generated from these investments each month. And by being consistent with this process, I will have at least 365 assets that produce cash each year. If on average, these assets pay $1 in dividend per year, I will have $365 in annual dividend income from these assets and at least $3,650 in 10 years. And with compounding and annual increases in dividend income, it is likely that in 10 years, the $3,650 may actually be $7,300 per year or over $600 per month. This is income I can earn regardless of whether I’m awake or asleep.

5. Invest in rental real estate: As some of you already know, this is one of my favorite asset classes. It provides an essential need — shelter. And due to the fact that land cannot be created, it is an asset that grows in value over the long-term. If you own one, two, or more rental properties that are fully paid off, you have the potential to generate great monthly cash flow that can fund the rest of your lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

Consider these ideas and others not listed here and choose one that you like. Focus on building sustainable monthly cash flow from this one source. Once you fully establish that source of income, move on to a second one. Keep doing this to diversify your sources of monthly cash flows.


P.S. I am on a mission to arm you with financial education. That’s one reason I started writing on medium and that’s why I wrote Tax-Efficient Wealth. This book will help you accelerate your wealth in a tax-efficient way. Grab a FREE eBook version of my new book, Tax-Efficient Wealth, to learn how you can build wealth quickly using strategies that will save you a ton in taxes.

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Personal DevelopmentPersonal Finance

10 Money Experts You Should Be Following Right Now

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What you can learn from a diversified crop of personal finance experts

In a time such as the one we’re currently living in, finding a money hack can be a great thing. And the best way to do that is to follow the experts who write regularly about money and share their insights.

It’s about building knowledge and putting that knowledge into action to create financial transformation.

NextAdvisor, in partnership with TIME Magazine recently created a free resource to help you make smart money moves that can create a big impact on your wealth. As part of this partnership, they recently profiled a diversified group of 10 money experts that are worth following.

As you may know, when it comes to personal finance, it is personal. There are many universal truths, but these truths cannot be blindly applied to every situation. So, that’s why it pays to diversify the information you’re getting and hear personal points of view from others.

These crop of personal finance experts featured by TIME are using their platforms to do just that. They are sharing stories of how others are achieving financial freedom via a variety of ways.

Here is a brief highlight of these 10 pros and why you might want to consider following them. For more details, check out the TIME Magazine story on these experts here:

  1. Danetha Doe is a Jamaican-Ghanaian money mentor, writer, entrepreneur, and the creator of Money and Mimosas, a financial well-being resource and social club for influencers, bloggers, and creatives. Her mission is to elevate the self-worth and net worth of women.
  2. Jully-Alma Taveras, aka Investing Latina, shares personal finance tips and tricks through her social media platforms. She’s also a contributor with NextAdvisor. In a recent article, Jully writes. “It’s about being intentional with your spending, clear about your financial goals, and mindful about your consumption.”
  3. Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche blogs about personal finance for The Huffington Post and her Budgetnista Blog. She’s the co-hosts of the podcast show “Brown Ambition,” and she created an online school, the Live Richer Academy, that teaches women how to create and implement a personalized financial plan.
  4. Rebecka Zavaleta is the co-founder of Finance Snacks. A platform where they make personal finance advice bite-sized and accessible for their family, friends, and community.
  5. Nathalie Figueroa is the co-founder of Finance Snacks . Nathalie and Rebecka met while studying at the University of Pennsylvania, and they immediately connected over their passion for making wealth creation actionable and accessible. Finance Snacks was born after they realized they were both unhappy with the financial state of their communities.
  6. Farnoosh Torabi is a personal finance author and expert and host of the “So Money” podcast, which features candid money conversations and strategies from well-known entrepreneurs, authors, and celebrities. Torabi launched a special series of “So Money” episodes in June called Black Wealth Matters, featuring Black thought leaders and experts from Queen Latifah to business coach Rachel Rodgers.
  7. Suze Orman, one of America’s most recognized personal finance experts, is a certified financial planner, television personality, and author now hosts a weekly podcast called “Women and Money,” which speaks primarily to women on a wide range of personal finance topics, from the emotions of money to how to prepare for the costs of health care in retirement.
  8. Erin Lowry helps millennials “get their financial lives together” by offering advice on how to make more money, get out of debt, and build savings. Through her “Broke Millennial” blog, books, lectures, and workshops, Lowry tackles questions like whether you should share personal financial information with your partner and how to manage student loan debt after college.
  9. Ramit Sethi is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of iwillteachyoutoberich.com, which focuses on strategies for investing and earning more. Sethi doesn’t believe in saying “no” to spending on everything, so he won’t shame you for buying lattes or avocado toast. Instead, he encourages big-picture thinking — moves like getting a raise or starting a side hustle that can have a transformational approach on your wealth.
  10. Jill Schlesinger is a certified financial planner and Emmy-nominated business analyst for CBS News. She regularly appears on CBS radio and TV stations across the country and is the host of the “Jill on Money” podcast and nationally syndicated radio show. Schlesinger has a talent for breaking down complex personal finance ideas and topics into understandable, relatable themes. She not only tells you what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it — she tells you why, too.

Final Thoughts

Now you have a dose of personal finance advice from a variety of experts. Follow them, learn from them, and get ideas that you can implement in your life to transform your financial journey for good.


P.S. I am on a mission to arm you with financial education. That’s one reason I started writing on medium and that’s why I wrote Tax-Efficient Wealth. This book will help you accelerate your wealth in a tax-efficient way. Grab a FREE eBook version of my new book, Tax-Efficient Wealth, to learn how you can build wealth quickly using strategies that will save you a ton in taxes.

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Personal DevelopmentPersonal FinanceSelf Growth

Money Can’t Buy Happiness. Broke Can’t Buy Anything.

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7 reasons why you’re broke

Money can’t buy you happiness.

Broke can’t buy you anything.

Two true statements. If you had the option to choose between having money and being broke, which one will you choose?

Your guess is as good as mine. Yet, people still choose to be broke.

Jelleestone has a popular song titled “Money Can’t Buy Me Happiness” and while I don’t endorse the entirety of the lyrics, I like the line where he says…

“Money can’t buy me happiness, but I’m happiest when I can buy what I want, anytime that I want…”

We know the high we get when we go on a buying spree, and we know that buying stuff will not give you true happiness as Jelleestone seems to suggest in his song.

So, it is obvious money cannot buy you happiness. However, this is not an excuse to be broke because being broke may just be worse — you can’t buy anything.

To get out of your broke state, do the opposite of these 7 things that prevent you from achieving a financial breakthrough.

Here are 7 reasons why you are broke:

1. You are lazy

“Success is not easy and it is certainly not for the lazy.” — The Everygirl

Yes, you heard me right. You are lazy.

Don’t be mad at me. Be mad at yourself.

But if it makes you feel better, we all have our lazy moments. I have my lazy moments and I have my lazy days. This is excusable.

What is not excusable is consistently being lazy day in, day out. If you’re always lazy, you will be broke forever.

You don’t want to put in the hard work required to achieve success.

You give up too soon when you’re just a few steps away from achieving a breakthrough.

You buy into the lie that achieving success in anything is easy. No, it is not.

It never gets easier. You get better.

Achieving success in business and in your career requires hard work. It requires sacrifice. And it requires patience and perseverance.

You may have to work 80-hour weeks. You may have to sleep less. You may have to give up on some of your favorite TV shows for now.

If you work hard and work smarter, success is guaranteed and you will never be broke.


2. You don’t invest in your education

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence” — Abigail Adams

I had a chat with a friend a few weeks ago who recently invested $40,000 in a U.S Commercial Real Estate Education and Coaching Program.

When I asked him why he invested that much in a program, he replied “If I don’t invest in my education, who will?”

I watched this friend invest $20,000 in a similar program in Canada not too long ago. In less than two years, he did two commercial real estate transactions and made more than 10X the amount he invested in the program.

Most people stop their education as soon as they graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. They fail to realize that most Bachelor degrees don’t prepare you for financial success.

When you stop investing in continuing education, you don’t build the knowledge that is required for success.

You’re too busy at work and distracted by social media that you have no time to read. The majority of people will only read one book per year, thus missing out on an amazing learning opportunity.

You fail to realize that the more knowledge you have, the more competent and confident you will be. The more knowledge you have, the better your decisions. Decisions that can open opportunities for you.

Reading is part of my daily routine. I read and journal every day. I listen to audiobooks as I work out and as I drive. I’m constantly reading and listening to insightful content on topics that help me get better at my game.

You can do the same too. Make learning a priority. Make building knowledge and learning new skills a priority. If you do this every day, you will be a better version of yourself in a couple of months. And you will automatically earn more.

“Personal confidence comes from making progress toward goals that are far bigger than your present capabilities.” — Dan Sullivan

As you grow in your knowledge, you will start to take meaningful action that drives you closer to your long-term goals. As you take action and make progress, your confidence grows. And the more confident you become, the bigger actions you can take.

Investing in yourself is critical. It is fundamental to making huge leaps in your business or professional career.


3. You don’t mind paying too much in taxes

“There may be liberty and justice for all, but there are tax breaks only for some.” — Martin A. Sullivan

Whether you like it or not, taxes affect all of us.

If you earn a decent income, then taxes are by far your largest cost. Yet, you don’t take any action to intentionally manage your taxes.

You give in to the lie that you have no control over the amount of taxes you pay.

You don’t realize that the tax laws reward certain groups of people with favorable tax breaks for engaging in certain activities.

Because you pay no attention, you religiously pay taxes without much consideration.

In fact, you allow the government to take a huge portion of your money upfront before you even see it.

And if you’re a Canadian resident for tax purposes, the more you earn, the higher your taxes.

The point is you must pay attention to how much you pay in taxes. It is critical if you want to keep and grow your money.

A basic understanding of taxes is thus critical to ensure you keep as much of your money as possible. The more money you have, the more you can invest to grow your money.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with paying taxes. In fact, we must pay taxes to maintain the amenities we have. But, you don’t have to pay more than your fair share of taxes.


4. You don’t model what works or what successful and rich people do

“Success leaves clues.” — Unknown

You think you know it all.

You think you will be the next great inventor.

There is nothing wrong with thinking like this. But, you must realize that whatever you want to do would have been done already in one form or another.

So, save yourself time, money, and painful experiences by looking for those that have gone before you. Look for those that have achieved the same thing you’re looking to achieve and model them.

I made the same mistake of trying to figure things out myself and wasted so much time and money along the way.

For a long time, I hesitated to work with coaches and mentors. I did not invest in mastermind programs early on to surround myself with high achievers. And I paid for this in time, money, and painful experiences.

If you want to be a great digital marketer and online business guru, model people like Ryan Deiss, Russell Brunson, and many other great minds in the online business space.

By modeling successful people, you will duplicate the extraordinary results they have achieved in their own businesses.

When you invest in a coaching program offered by someone that has achieved the extraordinary results you’re looking to achieve, you will have access to their knowledge, their thinking patterns, and you can learn from them directly.

There are so many ways to model. Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Read biographies of successful people. Study people you admire. Read their articles. Watch their interview clips. All of these will inspire you to keep pushing towards your goals.
  2. If you know people that have the personality traits you admire, look for them and spend time with them. By doing this you will develop those skills and traits. As much as you can, make sure you are never the smartest person in the room.
  3. One reason why we never learn is ego. Often times, the smartest people are not usually the most successful because they have too big of an ego. They think they know it all. Never put your ego in front of learning something new. You must realize that there is always something to learn from other people.
  4. Get a coach. Find someone that has achieved exactly the same thing as you want to achieve. Ask them to coach you. This is one of the best ways to achieve great results in the shortest time.
  5. Join a mastermind group. A mastermind group is a group of high achievers with similar goals. It may be a group of business owners or a group of marketing agents. These groups often meet regularly and they share ideas and experiences that can help you grow.

5. You are unaware of your money mindset

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” — Ayn Rand

A money mindset is your unique and individual set of core beliefs about money and how money works in the world.

It is your overriding attitude about money.

It shapes what you believe you can and cannot do with money, how much money you believe you’re allowed, entitled, and able to earn.

It shapes how much you can and should spend, the way you use debt, how much money you give away, and your ability to invest with confidence and success.

If you don’t know your money mindset, it may be very challenging to make money. So, given the powerful impact, your money mindset has on your relationship with money it is important to understand your money mindset.

When it comes to money mindset, there are two extremes — Scarcity/Lack and Wealth/Abundance.

Most of us will fall in between these two extremes.

If you think money is a scarce commodity, you’ll feel stressed and anxious. You won’t be generous.

On the other hand, if you think that there is enough money to go around, you’ll feel calm, positive, and optimistic. You’ll openly share and be more generous.

One suggested approach for uncovering your money mindset is to test yourself by marking True or False to the following statements:

  • I’m no good with money
  • I always make the wrong money decisions
  • I’m financially learning disabled
  • I’m no good with numbers
  • Money can’t buy you love
  • Money makes the world go around
  • Rich people are snobby and shallow
  • Poor people are hardworking and noble
  • There’s a limited supply of money in the world

This exercise along with many other ideas can help increase your awareness of your money mindset.


6. You pay no attention to the return on your time

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” — Stephen R. Covey

This concept of looking at the return on your time requires you to look at the time you spend as an investing activity.

You can spend time on useful and useless things. But if you call it “investing”, you’ll definitely invest it in something that has value. Something that is important to you.

So, you must choose your goals wisely so that time you spend on them becomes an investment, not an expense.

Often times we forget that time is money. As a result, we don’t always pay attention to how we spend our time.

“Time is money.” — Benjamin Franklin

In the past, I never attached a lot of value to my time and how I spent my time. Now, I value my time more as I know lost time can never be recovered. Although I make mistakes from time to time with managing my time, I’m more conscious of it now than I’ve ever been in the past.

You have to look at time with the concept of opportunity cost. This means each choice you make with your time has its cost. If you take action quickly, you will achieve results faster. If you delay, it will lead to a decrease in output that will cost you.

You should constantly be looking for ways to save time by automating repetitive tasks, delegating, and outsourcing certain tasks.

If you’re struggling to find a solution for a project or task you’re working on, you can hire an expert to help you. Rather than wasting hours trying to figure stuff out, get someone that can do it in less time and even better.

As an entrepreneur, I struggle with this as most entrepreneurs do. Often, we waste time trying to figure out how to do stuff when someone else can do it faster and better.

So, get in the habit of always thinking of the “Who” rather than the “How”. Find other capable people that can help you accomplish a task rather than wasting time trying to figure it out yourself.

By regularly assessing how you spend your time, you may find the following as examples of things you can cut out of your life to save time:

  • Events/conferences and social gatherings that don’t inspire and add value to your long-term vision
  • Social media is an addictive waste of time and energy
  • Checking your messages and emails every time your phone beeps
  • Picking your phone every time it rings
  • Excessive addiction to news media
  • Doing chores you don’t enjoy when you can pay others to do them
  • Watching excessive TV
  • And many more that I can’t list here…

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” — Harvey Mackay


7. You always hang out with broke people

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Image Credit: Angie Leonard at pinterest.ca

We are all familiar with the famous quote.

“Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.”

It is true.

If you hang out with broke people, you will be broke. If you hang out with rich and successful people, you will be rich and successful.

Dan Peña (a.k.a. the trillion-dollar man) has a similar expression.

“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

Dan makes a point that if your friends are losers, then you should dump them on the scrap heap where they belong. They will only drag you down to their level if you continue to hang out with them.

Of course, Dan has an extreme viewpoint on this. He openly admits that he has no friends. He sees people as a steppingstone to his life goals.

You may not be that extreme.

There is nothing wrong with keeping friends, particularly friendship that has been built over a long period of time. Good friends will serve many other purposes other than helping you advance your business or career goals.

The point here is that you should seek to hang out with people who force you to level up.

Have you heard the expression…

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”

Rich and successful people seek out people who are smarter than they are. They are always looking for smarter people to learn from.

If you consider the relationships you have and the people you hang out with, what’s the discussion like?

Do they talk about what they are learning or experiencing?

Do they talk about intellectually stimulating topics?

Do they talk about the challenges they’ve conquered in business or in life?

Do they discuss strategies on how to be a better you? How to be more effective and efficient?

Conversations like this will reveal the kind of people you hang out with.


Conclusion

Next time when you hear yourself say “I’m broke”, read this article.

When someone you know complains that they are broke, share this article with them.

Now, you have what it takes to get the results you want. You have what it takes to make all the money you want.

So, go for it!


P.S. I am on a mission to arm you with financial education. That’s one reason I started writing on medium and that’s why I wrote Tax-Efficient Wealth. This book will help you accelerate your wealth in a tax-efficient way. Grab a FREE eBook version of my new book, Tax-Efficient Wealth, to learn how you can build wealth quickly using strategies that will save you a ton in taxes.

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Personal Finance

About Your Money

Why you should act now to protect yourself against the coming destruction of your money The significant amount of money printed in the last couple of months by nearly all
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