Christmas Plan: For the Cheerful Giver

Christmas Plan: For the Cheerful Giver

With Christmas right around the corner, let’s all attempt not to catch amnesia as December 25th approaches. Yes! Christmas is still on the same date every year, so let’s all be prepared to celebrate and enjoy the holiday. There are 358 days between January 1st and December 25th. That duration gives all of us a marvelous opportunity to be generous, intentional, and diligent for Christmas.

 

Christmas can be merry, but when your pockets are empty Christmas can spell trouble for the otherwise cheerful giver. Therefore, intentionality with money is beneficial. This is where a budget comes in handy. A budget naturally grants you permission to spend. Also, it holds you accountable to financial goals set. Are you planning to spend $25, $50, or maybe even 2,000? In any instance, all these goals are achievable with patience and persistence. A sinking fund is useful for expenses that will occur often. The sinking fund is a method that can be used to make small incremental steps towards Christmas goals. For example, Jake wants to save $2,000 before December 1st. If Jake starts on January 1st, he will need to set aside $200/month for 10 months. It is necessary to establish what your lifestyle can manage. And without a budget this becomes stressful, so remember to be intentional with money and Christmas can be a breeze.

 

Although, store-bought presents can be the norm on Christmas Day. There is a myriad of ways to give on this joyous day. Giving can be done in the form of volunteer work such as soup kitchens, food pantries, and mentoring. Visit your local community centers to locate these incredible opportunities. When you are on the bubble and Christmas is coming soon, try re-gifting used items such as books, appliances, and clothing. Most of the time these items are just hanging around your home. Stylish jeans you can no longer fit or books that you have now bought electronically can always be a blessing to someone else. We all feel better when we serve others and give generously.

 

In a perfect world, you have already performed a budget and started a sinking fund back in January. In that world, these ideas are not foreign. Unfortunately, Christmas is in two months. And this is the first time you’ve heard about a budget and sinking fund. How do you start in October? Whether October or November it is never too late to work vigorously. Side hustles and working extra hours enables you to meet short-term Christmas goals. The good news is temporarily working extra hours has never ended badly for the person receiving the check. Also, there are numerous side hustles to choose from in 2018. Start with companies like Uber, OfferUp, and DoorDash where you can earn up to $1,000/month on these platforms. Implementing diligence, generosity, and intentionality can combine for beneficial rewards. Hopefully, now you are equipped to use all the information within this article.

 

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What Is a Budget?

What Is a Budget?

“I do not like math.” “I budget by tracking my bank account.” “I do my budget in my head.” “Budgeting is too boring.”
I have listened to these excuses countless times, and every time when left unchecked for too long this produces poor money management behavior that will be harmful to wealth creation. For instance, living paycheck to paycheck does not have to feel normal to you and should not. Everyone has experienced this uncomfortable position of overspending that leads to financial exhaustion. However, the solution is quite an easy one, plan a budget!

So, what is a budget anyway? A budget can be best described as an estimation of income and expenses for a set period of time. Basically, a budget would consist of all sources of income(after tax) and all your expenses for a set period of time. Budgeting should be done a month in advance to give you time to adjust to unintended events. I personally recommend a zero-based budget.

A zero-based budget is not as complicated as it sounds. A zero-based budget produces long-term thought to take place. The concept of “zero-based” indicates exactly what the term states, income minus expenses equals zero. For example, if you bring home $2,400 each month in income you need to budget where your money is going to go. A zero-based budget is that simple, you do not have to have to carry a balance of zero to make it work. Instead, think of it as telling all your income where it needs to go before payday hits.

Moreover, budgeting is useful for all things that involve usage of money. Whether you are paying student loan debt, saving for retirement, planning a vacation, or paying off the mortgage on the house. A zero-based budget is just one tool required on the path to creating wealth. Whatever your aims are you must tell your money where it should go. And creating a zero-based budget can be simple if you devote time to creating it. Below is a step by step guide to creating a zero-based budget.

1. Make a list of income (all sources)
2. Make a list of all expenses (start with your basics)
3. Make a list of second order expenses (restaurant, entertainment, and events)
4. Give every dollar a name

Budgeting can be as simple as pie, or as complicated as you want it. Furthermore, keep in mind rent and or mortgage comes before entertainment. Also, you need to budget for once a month calendar events such as weddings, parent’s birthday gifts, and anniversaries. Once all income has been assigned a purpose, and income remains for the month invest, pay on the debt, save more, or roll it over the category it belonged to. But, remember this decision should always be determined by you. Every path to generational wealth is paved with right decisions.

 

 

How to Build Wealth in Your 20s

How to Build Wealth in Your 20s

Hosting family events in your paid for home, traveling the world, and becoming free of debt. To most twenty-year-olds, this resembles a far-fetched idea of retirement only achievable for people earning six figures or more in income. The truth is you do not have to dream of this type of lifestyle when it can become a reality. However, becoming farsighted and setting goals now will lead to the creation of wealth. Building wealth is all about making correct decisions which determine prosperous financial outcomes and curb outcomes which will damage wealth creation.

In our twenties, we are given the greatest years of our lives. The use of popular phrases like “young and reckless” come to mind when I recall personal experiences of overspending and debt accumulation. At the same time living life on the edge does not have to become another popular phrase of our generation. There are advantages associated with being a twenty-something. Besides, good health there also is time. And time allows our generation opportunities that older generations no longer have. A vast majority of millennials choose to endorse a culture of self-indulgence which produces high debt over time.  Under the current prevailing culture, wealth creation becomes difficult when investment is not encouraged. In order to counter the prevailing culture of easy credit and high debt, millennials must avoid debt, stop reckless spending, budget income precisely, and invest early.

Let’s take a look at an example of two friends in different financial situations. James decides to invest $250 a month at age 24, and Jake leases a new car and plans a lavish vacation on a credit card. Due to Jake’s short-sightedness, he now has to delay investment till 35. However, James is on track to possess $1.1 million in retirement savings at age 64. Nonetheless, Jake would have $405,922 at age 64, but James will be ahead by $694,078. James will also be closer to the goals once imagined as far-fetched. Financial positions built in your twenties can dictate your future expectations. In the example above of James and Jake. Jake is unable to build the foundation necessary for wealth creation sooner due to bad habits. More importantly, larger financial outcomes occur if investing is seen as beneficial earlier and not later.

Three key takeaways:

Start Young

-Start creating wealth as soon as possible. The path to creating wealth is a neverending process, but if done correctly building large retirement savings could be effortless.

Build A Budget

-Create a budget, as a budget supports making right decisions with your income. A budget should include necessities such as food, housing, travel, debt, etc. A budget provides you with an idea of income available for future activities and retirement savings(far-sightedness). Every dollar should have an assigned purpose.

Destroy Debt

-Eliminate debt quickly. Debt can become your worst enemy, so treat it as such and increase your distance from it. You should aim to throw as much cash as you can at existing debt. Especially, for debt that accruals interest such as unsubsidized students loans.

 

(Week 6) Saving Grace

Saving and investment are seen as two closely related terms.  Before we can explain why this premise is true we must understand why and how individuals save and invest.  An economy has an array of markets, and if there is a demand it will be supplied.  The financial market of funds is one that connects savers and borrowers.  This market helps firms and households acquire funds through bonds and stocks that can be sold for future expected gains of a borrower.  Saving is considered as individual income left over after consumption.  Investment is the purchase of new resources.   

Once again the “invisible hand” is working the magic in the economy.  The financial market is similar to other markets in the sense that it coordinates action between buyers and sellers.  On the financial market, sellers are known as savers and the buyers are borrowers.  The interest rates proposed by financial intermediaries such as banks and mutual funds give information on whether or not borrowers and savers should save and invest less or more.  The reading introduced more equations that could be used on behalf of calculating national saving, but I felt words were so much more beneficial in understanding these ideas and concepts.
After spending 23 years on this earth I have started to understand the importance of saving.  I began working at 16 years of age and still am with many years of productive labor ahead.  Once I entered the labor force I had very little understanding of  the benefits of savings.  I now have a Roth IRA, 401K, savings account for my family and separate for myself.  I look forward to savings because it increases wealth and benefits the future of future generations of Williams’ family to come.  

Sources:

https://mises.org/library/function-saving

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNS.ICTR.ZS

(Week 5) The Wealth of Nations

America is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and what creates this wealth is seldom understood.  There are some who believe government coercion is vital for the creation of wealth.  Others believe that voluntary action between humans explains the creation of wealth.  Wealth is described as an abundance of valuable goods.  When we assign names to goods, such as “money”.  The means of measuring wealth becomes the universal medium of “money”.  Therefore, one can assume America has a lot of it, but what determines this abundance of money is the productivity of individuals in America.

Economics is often misunderstood as the study “about money”.  However, it is actually a social science used to explain the human interaction between one another for the creation of wealth.  Let us start with the concept of human capital explained in this week’s chapter.  Suppose there are two men “A” and “B” some thousand miles away from one another. “A” constructs this circular stone with a hole through it, and thus the modern wheel has been made.  The other man “B” has the idea of the wheel, but his knowledge of creating circular items limits him in creating the idea inside his mind.  This is an example of human capital as one man was able to use his knowledge to create something beneficial as the other lacked skills to create.  This example is simplified, but human capital continues to be one of the major factors in increasing wealth.  According to,  World Bank the United states GDP per capita is $55,836.80.  The GDP per capita has increased over time due to human capital, technological knowledge, and physical capital.

A lower GDP per capita is not a reflection of dormant individuals.  As for Nigeria’s GDP per capita is currently five times less than that of the United states.  The lower GDP per capita could tell a different story of mismanagement of public funds by governments through coercive behavior.  The economic contrast between Nigerians in America and Nigerians in Nigeria is extremely disturbing.  I wonder how is it that the Nigerian fares better aboard than home?

I will add additional sources to my project.  These sources being the data.worldbank.org and an interview between a younger Nigerian man named “Arinze”.

 

 

 

(Week 4) Down with GDP?​

Is GDP a measurement of productivity ? Or an economic equation used to promote policies proposed by policymakers?  GDP is a country’s overall market value of goods and services provided in a given time period.  There are four components when calculating GDP; consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports.  I believe all four separately could explain quite a bit about the economy.  However, I will talk about two of the four that I found most interesting consumption and investment.  Consumption is the purchase of goods and services excluding purchases of new housing.  This variable in the equation of GDP shows how much money is spent on certain goods and services consumers are consuming.  This information could hint at future technological advancement in goods or services consumers spend heavily in.  Investment is spending on goods for a future produce of more goods and services.  Investments can range from new housing to antiques.  This week’s read was great, and I think it really contributed to my economic understanding.  I am still amazed by GDP.  How is it that one aggregate number measures a country’s productivity?  Going forward for my project I will plan on adding bea.gov to my sources to compare and contrast the GDP of the Chicago, Illinois to Nigeria.   

(Week 3) Backed by Popular Demand

The concepts of supply and demand go hand and hand.  Therefore, one without the other could not exist.  The law of supply states, that quantity and price move in the exact same direct.  As for the law of demand, it states that as a price of a good or service increases, consumer demand for those goods and services trend in the opposite direction.  These two laws are simply amazing, and together they construct the third law of supply and demand were both laws together produce a balance or equilibrium  between quantity supplied and quantity demanded via prices of goods.  

These concepts are difficult to put in practice, but I will attempt to create a connection between concepts and groups people.  For instance, let us apply the concept of supply and demand to Nigerian immigrants.  North America like much of the world is constantly growing in population and with an increasing population, a need for labor is scarce since it is never abundant.  As supply for labor increases, so would the price or wages, but at what cost.  The quantity of labor demanded then diminishes, and the prices retract to the equilibrium which is determined by the market.  The law of supply and demand is universal as it allocates scarce resources to its most efficient source.  These laws can explain some of the phenomena around the increased immigration of West African Nigerians to large cities in America.  I believe the concept could also explain the reason for  Chicago’s Nigerian communities.  According to MPI,  between 2010-2012 Chicago, Naperville, and Joliet accounted for 0.1% of the Nigerian immigrants an estimated 11,000 in population.  The population may continue to trend in this direction or it could go the opposite way, but that is left up to the individual Nigerian households and the market.  We have to keep in mind that individual people on the market voluntarily interact with it.  These individuals change the market when they bring their personal taste and expectations to the market.  In other words, there is an array of variables to consider when addressing changes in the law of supply and demand.  

This week’s reading was great information that can be applied once learning, and also explained in simplicity if understood.  Also dealing with the concept of supply and demand was difficult when it came to groups people.  I found myself wondering if the law applies if we shift the medium (money) used in the text to another medium.  The law seems to remain constant even if apples and oranges where the medium of exchange i.e. barter system.  I look forward to improving, and seeing how all these economic concepts can help explain the impact of immigration.