Connect with us

Finance

12 Reasons You Won’t Be Millionaire

Published

on

Becoming a millionaire likely won’t mean a life of flying on private jets, yachting around the Mediterranean, and living in a sprawling Beverly Hills estate. Today’s reality is that those making an average income (or more) will likely need to become millionaires to fund a happy and secure retirement. Keep reading for the 12 reasons you won’t ever become a millionaire.

If you combine the effect of compound interest and time, anyone can become a millionaire or even a multimillionaire. Try to avoid these 12 common financial moves that will make it even harder to become a millionaire.

Here are 12 Ways to Ensure You Will Never Become a Millionaire

Millions of Americans are dreaming of financial freedom. Others are hoping to achieve Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE). How many of them are making smart financial moves to help make those dreams a reality? How many more are sabotaging themselves?

Here we will be covering some of the most common issues that will prevent you from ever becoming a member of the Millionaire Club.

MORE FOR YOU

REASON #1 You Are Not Investing

Without some investing, you will have virtually no chance of accumulating a million-dollar net worth. Even if you were to win the lottery or receive a large inheritance, it would be hard to make that money last without investing it.

Example: How to Accumulate $1 million

CASE STUDY 1*: Let’s say you wanted to accumulate $1 million by the time you were 70.

· Option 1: Starting at 22 and earning 1% (after any taxes and fees), you would need to save $1,354 per month to become a millionaire. That will be tough or impossible for most people.

· Option 2: However, with the help of compounding interest, if you were able to earn a 10% return every year (after taxes and fees), you would need to save just $71 per month. That is less than $2.50 per day. I’m confident we could all find a way to come up with $2.50 per day to become a millionaire. Right?

This is a simple example of how compounding interest can help you build wealth faster and easier. Each option has the same result, a net worth of $1 million, but you could save 95% less thanks to the benefits of compounding interest.

To make this point another way, if you saved $1,354 per month from 22 until 70 and earned a 10% return every year, you would have accumulated more than $19 million.

REASON #2 You Choose Not to Pay Yourself First

Even with the perfect investment portfolio, if you don’t adequately fund it for your financial goals, you will never become a millionaire. Pay yourself first. After all, it is not what you make but what you keep. I know plenty of high-income-earning folks who have a negative net worth. Conversely, I know plenty of people who have accumulated a fantastic net worth on merely good incomes.

Get started now. There will never be a better day to start saving than today. Even if you can only save a tiny amount, you will be better off than if you never started. I bet you will be surprised how you don’t even miss the money you are socking away. That tiny savings rate can grow over time into something substantial.

CASE STUDY 2*: Let’s say you just turned 40 and want to become a millionaire by the age of 70.

· If you earned 1% net of fees and taxes, you would need to save $2,383 per month. That is $28,596 per year to become a millionaire.

· Assuming a 10% net return on investments, you would only need to save $442 per month to become a millionaire.

· Remember, these numbers continue to grow the longer you wait. Just starting at 40 versus 22 translates into needing to save nearly six times as much per month. GET STAR AR TED NOW! No matter your age, the sooner you get started, the better off you will be.

REASON #3 You Live Beyond Your Means

Inflation has been busting some budgets lately; even without that, many people are spending more than they earn. Living beyond your means is not a good way to build wealth over time.

REASON #4 Drowning in Debt Payments

Being in debt is expensive. Compound interest can help build wealth and keep you drowning in debt. As your debt grows, the cost of servicing that debt (just paying the interest) also increases. Bad debt is a significant roadblock when it comes to becoming a millionaire.

REASON #5 You Ignore the Costs of Little Things

You can still spend a ton of money on cheap items. All these little expenses can add up.

I was speaking with someone who happens to have a multi-million-dollar income who canceled streaming services they weren’t using. Individually, each service is pretty cheap per month, but if you aren’t using the service, go ahead and cancel it. You can always sign up again if needed.

REASON #6 You Are Making Unhealthy Choices

According to a recent US Trust study, ninety-eight percent of millionaires consider good health to be their most important personal asset. Without your health, no amount of money will be able to buy back your quality of life.

Spend money to ensure you get all of the necessary screening and physical exams that your health care professionals recommend. If you don’t have a primary physician, get one. Exercise (more) and increase the health value of your food. I am aware that real food (aka healthy) will cost more than processed junk food (with little real nutritional value), but this is the one area where I almost always advocate for people to spend more.

While I am a financial planner, not a medical professional, I know being healthy allows many people to work longer (if they choose). Likewise, healthy living also makes for a more enjoyable retirement.

REASON #7 You Aren’t Getting Fiduciary Financial Planning Advice

If your financial advisor is not a fiduciary, they are not legally obligated to put your best interest first. When they follow the confusing “best interest standard” or suitability standard, they only have to show that something is ok for you rather than your best option. There are many people out there with big-name firms behind them, trying to sell you crappy investment products to earn a hefty commission.

REASON #8 You Don’t Have a Spending Plan

I don’t think anyone likes to budget. I know I don’t. However, I do love having a spending plan. When people are good at handling their finances, they are not just treating their financial choices as random events. Money issues will not just take care of themselves. Yet, many people are surprised when that recurring monthly bill pops up (yet again, every month) on their credit card or bank statements. Simply put, a spending plan is about managing your financial expectations to avoid unwelcome surprises and leaving you with enough money left over for the better things in life. Think vacations, clothes, massages, or even money for a babysitter.

Firstly, take account of your major expenses that easily fit within your income. Think housing, car payments, insurance, cell phone, etc. Secondly, your spending plan will pave the way for bigger splurge purchases – like a luxury vacation or the down payment on a home or new car.

Without a spending plan, it is easy to see a bunch of money sitting in your checking account and spending it on something you don’t need or want. When that opportunity to go on a dream vacation pops up, you may not be able to afford it. Worse, it could end up on a credit card, eventually drowning you in debt.

REASON #9 Inadequate Tax Planning

Proactive tax planning is a major part of becoming a millionaire. Keeping more of your hard-earned money frees up more money to be invested. The more money invested, the faster you can build wealth.

Talk with a fiduciary financial planner to see what other tax-saving opportunities you might be able to incorporate. For those with large amounts of taxable investments, tax-efficient investing can help add to your investment returns without taking more risk. There is a slew of strategies for the self-employed to help minimize your taxes.

MORE FROM FORBESCan Exchange Traded Funds -ETFs- Save You Money On Taxes?

REASON #10 You Chose the Wrong Career Path

If you hate your job or career, it will show. This can result in slower career advancement over time. Perhaps, you just burned out and quit. While it may be easier said than done, choose the right career path that comes with the potential to earn enough to support your desired lifestyle and offers more joy from your career along the way.

Reason #11 You Married the Wrong Person

First, I’ll start by stating the obvious. Divorce is expensive. Splitting your assets in half will make becoming a millionaire harder.

Some studies show there are many financial benefits to being married. Choosing the wrong spouse will make becoming a millionaire much more difficult. If one spouse is a spender and the other is a saver, the spender tends to win out. When considering a life partner, don’t forget to consider how you both think about money.

#12 You Don’t Actually Need to Be a Millionaire

Some of you have found a way to live well on less. You may not even need to become a millionaire to reach financial freedom. If this is you, congrats. Keep doing what you are doing.

Paying off your home, maximizing Social Security, and working in a career that provides a pension are other great ways to potentially reach financial freedom and have the money to fund a happy and secure retirement without necessarily becoming a millionaire.

You don’t have to do this all alone. Work with a fiduciary financial planner to get your financial house in order, and maybe, just maybe, you too will make it to millionaire status.

Finance

Teacher, Police And Firefighter Pensions Are Being Secretly Looted By Wall Street

Published

on

America’s severely underfunded public pensions are allocating ever-greater assets to the highest cost, highest risk, most secretive investments ever devised by Wall Street, such private equity, hedge funds, real estate, and commodities—all in a desperate search for higher net returns that, not surprisingly (given the outlandish fees and risks), fail to materialize. Transparency—public scrutiny and accountability—has been abandoned, as pensions agree to Wall Street secrecy schemes that eviscerate public records laws.

Our nation’s state and federal securities laws are premised upon full disclosure of all material risks and fees to investors: “Read the prospectus before you invest,” is the oft-cited warning by securities regulators. Nevertheless, teachers, police, firefighters and other government workers today are not allowed to see how their retirement savings are managed or, more likely, mismanaged by Wall Street.

For nearly a decade, the United States Securities and Exchange Commision has warned investors that malfeasance and bogus fees are commonplace in so-called “alternative” investments and, more recently, Chairman Gary Gensler has called for greater transparency to increase competition and lower fees.

Gensler has asked the agency’s staff to consider recommendations on ways to bring greater transparency to fee arrangements in private markets. “More competition and transparency could potentially bring greater efficiencies to this important part of the capital markets,” he said. “This could help lower the cost of capital for businesses raising money. This could raise the returns for the pensions and endowments behind the limited partner investors. This ultimately could help workers preparing for retirement and families paying for their college educations.”

Gensler has stated he would like to see a reduction in the fees these investments charge and has also commented on industry abuses such as ”side letters” which permit private funds to secretly give preferences to certain investors—preferences which harm public pensions.

MORE FOR YOU

But that’s not good enough to protect public pension stakeholders.

No one—including the pensions themselves—seems to care that the government workers whose retirement security is at risk are being kept in the dark.

The SEC needs to do more—actually alert public pensioners as to those abuses the Commission knows full well are rampant, at a minumum. Advise them, Chairman Gensler, to demand to see and read prospectuses and other offering documents related to their hard-earned savings.

Does the SEC think it’s kosher for Wall Street to conspire with public pension officials to withhold this information from investors—any investors?

Since my 2013 forensic investigation of the Rhode Island state pension exposing gross mismanagement by then General Treasurer Gina Raimondo which I accurately predicted would cost workers dearly; my 2014 North Carolina state pension investigation exposing that $30 billion in assets had been moved into secretive, offshore accounts and, most recently, my investigation of the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, I have provided my expert findings to the SEC staff for their review. Each and every public pension forensic investigation I have undertaken has extensively discussed Wall Street secrecy schemes that enable looting. In my book, How To Steal A Lot Money—Legally, I quote disclosures from SEC filings that detail industry abuses.

Join me, Chairman Gensler, in giving government workers a clue, a glimpse, a peek, at the alternative investment abusive industry practices that are carefully guarded by Wall Street and being hidden from them.

Teachers, police and firefighters deserve a fighting chance to protect their retirement savings.

Continue Reading

Finance

It Is Time To Buy Bonds

Published

on

US 10-year note prices are likely to rise through August. The monthly histogram below shows that July and August have been the two strongest months for the note price.

Monthly Return- US 10-Year Notes

Blue: Average Percentage Change

Red: Probability of a rise on that day

Green: Expected Return (Product of the first 2)

These numbers are static in the sense that they change little over the years. This is only one cycle, the one-year cycle, whereas there are many cycles operative at any one time. In order to get a reading on such other rhythms, a scan is run to identify other profitable price cycles. The graph below reveals the most valuable cycles that are operative at any one time.

10-Year Note Monthly Cycle

MORE FOR YOU

These cycles reinforce the seasonal tendency for notes to rise. Prices have risen in 60% to 65% of the time in these summer months. With the dynamic cycle also in ascent, the probabilities rise to about 65% to over 70%. There are similar and supportive developments in the Japanese and German fixed income markets.

The cycle projection must be confirmed by market activity. The daily graph reveals that price broke through a downtrend line.

10-Year Notes Broke Through Resistance

Here is a helpful sentiment indicator that supports the bullish view. The cover page of this week’s Barron’s points to much higher rates. Applying contrary opinion, this suggests lower rates and higher note and bond prices. The first objective is 123.0.

Continue Reading

Finance

Will There Be War Over Taiwan – The Next Spy Thriller

Published

on

I usually go through a rhythm of reading one or two serious books, followed by a few works of fiction and with summer on the way I wanted to highlight a few of both. In that regard I have just finished Laurence Durrell’s ‘White Eagles in Serbia’, an old-fashioned espionage thriller where the hero Colonel Methuen is dropped behind enemy lines in post war Serbia (he speaks excellent Serbo-Croat) and becomes embroiled in a violent plot to overthrow Tito.

The book is a warm-up to reading Durrell’s ‘The Alexandria Quartet’, a work that nearly won him the Nobel Prize. Durrell was part of an interesting Anglo-Irish family, who largely considered themselves Indian – his brother Gerald, the naturalist and writer, touches on this in ‘My Family and Other Animals’.

Thrillers

Though I am not an expert on these matters, I found ‘White Eagles’ a more realistic account of espionage than much of what we see in the media today (Mick Herron’s ‘Slow Horses’ is good), and overall it is a tale of derring-do that is more in keeping with the work of the founding fathers of the genre – Eric Ambler, John Buchan, Erskine Childers and Ted Allebury for example.

It also made opportune reading given what seems to be an epidemic of espionage – with reports of the Chinese hacking group APT40 using graduates to infiltrate Western corporates and notably the admission by the head of Switzerland’s intelligence that Russian espionage is rife in that country (notably in Geneva – for which readers should consult Somerset Maugham’s ‘Ashenden’ as background material).

These and other trends – such as the outbreak of a heavy cyber battle last week (against Lithuania and Norway for instance) and the increasingly public ‘clandestine’ war between Israel and Iran (they have just sacked their spy chief) point to a world that is ever more contested and complex.

MORE FOR YOU

Secret World

One of the new trends in the space is cyber espionage – both in the sense of stealing state and industrial/corporate secrets, influencing actors (such as the manipulation of the 2016 US Presidential election) and outright acts of hostility such as the hacking of public databases and utilities (i.e. healthcare systems). Here, if readers are looking for some serious literature I can recommend two excellent books – Nicole Perlroth’s ‘This is how they tell me the world ends’ and ‘Secret World’ by Christopher Andrew.

I am personally more intrigued by the difference between a spy and a strategist. A spy’s work could well be described as the pursuit of information about someone who is acting with a specific intent, as well as a sense of their reaction function. There are plenty of examples – from Christine Joncourt (‘La Putain de la Republique’) to Richard Sorge (see Owen Matthews’ ‘An Impeccable Spy’).

In contrast a strategist may try to plot trends and the opportunities, spillovers and damage they may cause. The US National Intelligence department is good in this regard, becoming the first major intelligence agency to publish detailed warnings on the side effects of climate damage.

Spies and strategists might work together, but history is full of examples (LC Moyzisch’s ‘Operation Cicero’) where intelligence fails to make it through the strategic process or is simply ignored for political reasons (might the early warnings on the invasion of Ukraine be an example).

Asia next?

In the spirit of the Durrells and Flemings of the world, what issues might be of interest in terms of digging into unknown knowns and unknown unknowns. Here are a few ideas, most of which are Asia focused (we might see an uptick in Asia focused thrillers).

On the diplomatic front, an interesting recent development was the visit of Indonesian president Joko Widodo to Ukraine, and then Moscow. It was a rare visit to Ukraine by an Asian leader and potentially marks the emergence or at least aspiration of Indonesia (population 273 million) as an emerging world diplomatic player. What has intrigued me so far is that there has been little coordination by the populous emerging (largely Muslim) nations (Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan) in the face of high energy and food prices, and that potentially Widodo could play a unifying role here.

Then, still in Asia, but on a more deadly footing, if the Western commentariat is to be believed, China is preparing an assault on Taiwan, and looking to learn from Russia’s military errors in this regard. Other countries are reacting, and I suspect that there will be much intrigue around Taiwan’s ability to acquire sufficiently powerful ballistic missiles that could strike the coastal cities of China, and relatedly how long might it take Japan to produce nuclear missiles (my sources say they could very ambitiously do it in five months!).

So, whilst the espionage literature of the 20th century has tended to be focused on Geneva, Berlin and London in the 21st century we may find ourselves reading about ‘behind the lines’ exploits in Jakarta and Tanegashima.

Continue Reading

Trending