6757871357_f3f060a40c_zI’m not saying you’re an idiot. But I am suggesting that you might need a hand getting started in the road to investment success. Lots of people like you and me see investment as something that isn’t really an option. It seems like a money-making tool for people who were already born with money. But the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are thousands of investors of every stripe. Some are rich and have always been so, some are poor and have their eyes on the prize. I’m guessing you’re more like the latter. No shame in that. That’s where I come from, too. But that’s not where we have to stay.

Non-investors have a couple of major hang-ups that typically keep them from getting started down the investor’s road. One is knowledge; the other is resources. Both of these realities make perfect sense. Neither should cause you sufficient consternation to keep you from becoming an investor. For the first point, it’s important to realize that almost nobody is given in school the knowledge they need to properly invest. Our parents don’t tend to pass on these little nuggets either. The antidote to this way of thinking is that we live in a time where it’s easier than ever before to self-teach. Many educational resources for new investors are available online. So spend an hour or two, several times a week, and lay the groundwork for what could be a significant earnings tool for you in the not-too-distant future.

The other problem is finances. Where do you start if you’re a new investor with nothing? In the beginning, it’s important for investors to start building credit. Good credit is the foundation on which you’ll get people to let you borrow their money, for cheap. For people with middling credit, borrowing is possible, but it’s so expensive it’ll likely eat up any earnings you might get from your investments. Some people recommend starting with a secured credit card, one where you make a principal deposit against which all future borrowing is collateralized. From there, borrow steadily and always make sure you pay your debts and bills promptly. Your credit score will soon demonstrate good credit behavior.

Now is the time to start investing. You will, of course, need to adjust your lifestyle to maximize investment monies. This means budgeting fastidiously, looking for savings opportunities everywhere, and making sure you are earning as much money as possible. Once you’ve carved out extra funds that you can spend on things like investments, it’s time to decide what these early investments will be.

I usually recommend that new investors invest for today, tomorrow, and many years from now. “Today” investments will show you results immediately. These are investments which will teach you the ropes, from which you will learn lessons, and (hopefully) gain some money. For these, Forex is the perfect model, inviting new users to make value judgments on how assets and currencies will change in value in the immediate future. This requires you to learn about real world events, and the way they play into what stuff costs. For example, according to Daily Forex, “Very recently, the New Zealand Dollar and its counterpart, the Australian Dollar, were hit hard in Asia trading at the divergence of monetary policies among the US Federal Reserve Bank.” Get the hang of this way of thinking and you’ll become a very good investor indeed.

“Tomorrow” investments are in fields like real estate, which immediately begin earning you wealth in the form of equity. It’s impossible to tell if a piece of real estate will continue being a valuable asset into the distant future, but it’s good for tomorrow. “Many years” investments are your retirement investments, which will only pan out many years or decades from now. By combining all three of these strategies, as well as the lifestyle changes I mentioned earlier, you can become an investor from scratch.

Do you have any experience with investing?

mobile hotspot

As a work-at-home dad who has been shuttling between working part-time from home while taking care of our daughter for the past seven years, among other tasks, I'm constantly on the lookout for things to make my work life better. A mobile hotspot is at the top of my list.

I'll get into the reasons why in a bit, but the main reason is to simply get out of the house. We have great Wi-Fi at home, and I could work in the back yard if I wanted to and write all day while sitting in a comfortable and cushy lawn chair. But as anyone who works from home knows, the benefits of working at home (T-shirt, shorts and a chance to work on your own schedule) can feel a little cramped after awhile.

Mobile hotspot envy

Now, after waiting almost a year after I ordered a mobile hotspot called Karma Go, I'm awaiting delivery. After many delays by Karma, shipping is starting in mid-July to its first customers (me!) and my mobile hotspot should arrive soon. Yay!

As luck would have it, however, I'll be away on vacation during the expected shipment time, so I won't likely get the mobile hotspot until I return from vacation and will then have to track down a FedEx office to retrieve it. I'm supposed to get an email from FedEx whenever delivery is imminent, so checking my phone during vacation for a delivery I won't be home for seems like some sort of cruel punishment that I'll have to deal with. ...continue reading


summer vacationSummer is going kind of slow around here, resulting in less work, fewer posts and an almost too-relaxed vibe. But at least we're busy getting ready for summer vacation.

Here are five saving tips for summer vacation that we're using in full force this year:

1. Plan ahead

Some things shouldn't be put off if you want the best prices, starting with travel and everything that goes into getting there. For flights, rental cars and accommodations, we booked most of our summer vacation in January for the best prices. Booking early also helped get available rooms at our destination because we quickly discovered that a convention or some sort of big gathering is taking up a lot of rooms there.

One thing I don't like about planning ahead for a vacation is the lousy feeling in your wallet when prices drop. This is rare, but sometimes airplane seats, hotel rooms and rental cars are underbooked, and prices drop for last-minute shoppers.

To avoid this, most of our hotel reservations can be canceled within 24 hours of arrival, and Southwest Airlines has a good rebooking policy if you find a better price. The rental car can also be changed without taking a financial hit. ...continue reading