Why kicking the can down the road is never a solution.

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If you’ve ever owned a dog, or even raised a child, you know the best way to teach someone is through consequences. If someone is allowed to keep doing something harmful but never has to answer for their actions, what incentive is there to change behavior? None. So why are we still hearing about a sluggish economy or Greece, Portugal, Spain etc… It’s because know one has made them answer for their actions. We keep trying to avoid the inevitable by only making the inevitable worse. We need to take cues from nature. The strong must be allowed to survive. Keeping the week dangling only hurts the herd as a whole. The “Herd” in this case is our economy. We need to recognize that it’s the well managed companies who have always had to fend for themselves that lead us out of recessions. Instead of allowing them to reap the rewards for doing the right things, in comes the government and big labour to save the day. They artificially prop up losers for their own personal benefit, not societies. By allowing companies, governments and people to fail we are doing them a better service. By making them face the consequences of bad decisions we ensure they will never make them again.

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.

Rick Barbosa

 

Really Smart People “Buy” when the “Smart” money is selling

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If you’ve ever gone to my “Rick’s Picks” tab you probably have noticed that my picks rarely change. That’s not laziness on my part. That’s just me doing my homework. I like to lump myself into the “Investor” group rather than be labelled a “trader”.  Investors know that market volatility is part of the landscape, especially these days. What gets people into trouble is following the crowd and panicking when numbers start to move. Those who sold their investments after 9/11 , Black Monday and as recently as last week are those that will miss the inevitable rebound once the “Smart Money” moves back in.

Investing is simply putting your capital to work in a trusted company or institution, and letting them run their business. If they have done, are doing, or will do a good job, you will be rewarded with dividends, yield and capital appreciation. It’s that easy. The hard part is doing the homework to find out which companies have a good management team and a good business model that will stand the test of time. Once you or your advisor find those companies then invest and be patient. If you are not that type then consider yourself a trader.

So when you hear what the “Smart Money” is doing, think about what Steve Jobs once said.  “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

Till Next time,

Rick Barbosa

The Road to Prosperity : Step 5 Celebrate Success

You’ve done the hard work of taking responsibility for your own success, tracked everything, learned to pay yourself and finally started living below your means.  At this point you should have had some traction at paying off debt or accumulating some savings or both. It is equally as important to mark these wins as to achieve them. Celebrating milestones keeps you motivated and gives you something to look forward to. Enjoy a night out, nice meal or a weekend away with the family. You’ve earned it. Keep at it and you will start to celebrate more often and enjoy life rather than just living it.

Thanks for staying with me on the Road to Prosperity.

Rick Barbosa

 

The Road to Prosperity: Step 4 Live Below your Means

Like my other posts, the 4th step on the “Road to Prosperity” is not new or a “Quick Fix” but instead is time-tested and wisdom from generations of prosperous families and individuals throughout the ages. All of us have heard stories of celebrities and lottery winners that have wound up broke and worse off from lack of proper money and lifestyle management. To a lessor extent, our neighbours that try to “keep up with the Jones” often find themselves up to their eyeballs in debt and stressed out.  A prime example here in Canada are those hoards of Hockey parents spending thousands of dollars each year on their children for fees, equipment and travel. Many say they are doing it for the kids, but if you’ve ever hung out with Hockey parents its more often than not about the social aspect of the group. Many parents don’t know what to do with themselves once the kids choose not to play sports anymore or simply outgrow or don’t make the cut any longer. Parents often come to me with stories of how they blew 50k or more on organized sports with nothing to show for it but a burnt out mini van and a large line of credit.

To truly build wealth we must look at not just what we are doing or making in our careers, but how we are living our lives. It’s easy for governments to print money because there is no individual accountability to pay it back. They just tack it on to future generations’ tax bill and carry on. You and I live in the real world where we have to balance what comes in with what goes out. If we’re spending more than we’re making trouble is not far behind. In these situations the main culprit is “Lifestyle”. Keeping up appearances and a façade can only go on so long. Better to have a smaller house, older car and better family cohesion than to worry about maintaining all of the above.

Learn to live well. Don’t worry about what everyone else has. Appreciate what you have.  Think about what you need versus what you want and watch your wealth grow.

Take care and till next Step,

Rick Barbosa

 

The Road to Prosperity: Step 3 Pay Yourself

It’s not a secret, nor is it a new concept, but it is worth repeating, and it is extremely important if you ever want to build wealth and prosperity. After accepting responsibility for your future, tracking and budgeting your spending, the next logical step is to ensure that you treat yourself as an item on your budget. One of my clients asked me how do I pay myself??? Trying to keep things simple I said, treat yourself like a bill. You pay Hydro, Gas, Mortgage, so why not pay yourself. She immediately got the concept. She slotted “Savings” into her spreadsheet and began slowly putting away money each paycheque and was surprised how fast it started to add up.

Now there are different schools of thought on the order and importance savings plays in your budget so I will give you my view based on my own personal experience. During my crunch years (raising kids, paying the mortgage, high household debt) I made it a priority to pay my loans and mortgage off as quickly as I could. This meant that I put very little aside into savings, but still managed to save something each time. My reasoning was simple. I was going to get rid of the debt sooner and sacrifice now (social life, travel, entertainment) while the kids were young so I could enjoy life later. Some may opt to have a more balanced approach, while others are able to both save and pay off debt successfully at the same time. Whatever method you choose, so long as you remember to keep something aside for yourselves then things will work out. If you’re not saving, then ask yourself this question, “What do I have to show for all my hard work?”

Until next time.

Take Care.

Rick Barbosa

The Road to Prosperity: Step 1 Take Responsibility

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Prosperity however you define it, either being happy, healthy or financial stable, all comes about by what I’ve learned is the first and most important step in getting there. Taking personal responsibility means you take ownership for your situation. Don’t wait around for someone else to make things happen, instead, realize that you and you alone are the one who needs to take steps if you want to be financially stable. Successful individuals all have this in common. Those who rose to the top or have great jobs realized that only they could get themselves there. It’s easy to be lazy and just do the bare minimum and get by in life and just pay the bills. Wouldn’t you rather have little to no debt, a paid off house, savings and better vacations with your family?  Taking responsibility or being “accountable” for your life is going to get you there. Don’t rely on employers, government agencies, friends, family etc… These as many of you know can be unpredictable and can lead you into a false sense of security.

The road to prosperity is not a quick one, it takes time, effort, focus and patience. But when you start seeing the results of your actions and how empowering responsibility for one’s success can be, you won’t look back.

Here are some “Areas of Responsibility” that you need to take ownership for.

  1. Education-Go as far and as financially feasible as you can. Make sure you are “investing” in the right career path
  2. Learn your job well or start your own. Being OK at something just doesn’t cut it anymore. Be Great at something.
  3. Learn about money. How to handle it and make it work for you. Don’t be its slave, be its master
  4. Take care of yourself and your family.
  5. Be an example for those around you. Help others like those who have helped you. We all depend on one another.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and stay tuned for Step 2 on the Road to Prosperity.

 

Take care,

Rick Barbosa