If you know someone in their fifties, don't be surprised when you discover they're afraid. I'm 52, and I checked with everyone. They confirmed it. It's true.
Ten years ago, all of our investments were booming: real estate, the stock market, you name it. It looked like we were headed toward retirement heaven. And we had no qualms about spending money we didn't have.
Now, of course, we're in trouble.
Have you ever sat down at a restaurant, reviewed the menu, wanted to leave but stayed anyway? Did you stay because you didn't want anybody to think you were a cheap tight-wad?
Did you ever go shopping with a friend and bought clothes that were too expensive? Did you do this because you didn't want your friends to think less of you?
Did you buy the wrong car because you felt pressure to make an impression on the friend who went shopping with you?
You can start a business even if you don't have any money. You should do it even if you don't need to earn more money.
I was blog-surfing this morning and visited the forums at Get Rich Slowly. I saw one particular post that really intrigued me. It was one person's journey about leaving the rat race and starting her own business.
What was particularly fascinating about her experience and every person who left a comment was that they didn't do it for the money. They opened their business because they wanted freedom.
Please stand up if you read Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Workweek. Now sit down if you work less than 40 hours per week. Still standing? I thought so. Me too.
Tim's book is great, no question about it, but let's face it: we already know just about everything we need in order to be financially successful. We've got all the books and blogs we need to get on track. We know where to find the 10% coupons. We know how to track our spending, and we know where to educate ourselves about investments. But most of us are still stressed out when it comes to money. What's the problem?
Financial earthquakes (like the “Great Recession of 2008”) don't help. But as brutal as the economy has been over the last year, most of us are in the same relative place as when this mess started.
If we've learned anything from the current financial crisis, we've learned that it's important to understand what it is we're actually investing in. No more black-box investing, right? That's true of the folks on Wall Street, but it's also true of the average mutual-fund investor, too.
If you invest in mutual funds and you want to understand what you are about to buy, you'll have to thumb through the prospectus and Statement of Additional Information. These two documents tell you what the fund managers intend to do with your money — and how much they're going to charge you for doing it. Unfortunately, this information is usually drowned in a soup of legalese, but the information is there, and I'm going to show you how to find what you need in less than 10 minutes.
You've probably heard the term prospectus, but you may have never heard about the Statement of Additional Information (SAI). The SAI is where the fund's lawyers put all the information they want to hide from the avid prospectus-reading public. Continue reading...