blog, blogging, budgeting, money

Fall Budgeting*

Now that it is officially Fall , this is the perfect time to look over your finances and look to make sure your budget works for the next few months.  Since the holidays are coming up this is the perfect time to set a budget for upcoming holiday expenses.

A lot of banks have special holiday accounts that you can put money into for holiday spending. First, if you have kids your kids will need costumes for Halloween which have gotten pricier over the years. If you can’t save for that look to get creative and make a homemade costume. Thanksgiving ,depending on if you are hosting or going to someone else’s home, can be pretty costly. Look out for all the different deals at your local grocery stores and look to utilize coupons to help save money. For Christmas, which can be the most costly holiday of the year should most definitely be budgeted months beforehand so you do not have to go into debt by using credit cards to afford presents for others. With all the holiday events that occur, it is easy to drive yourself into debt.

The best thing to do is get ahead of the curve. The holidays occur every year at the same time so it should be no surprise at the expenses that can pile up. Make a plan now so the holidays don’t become stressful or affect your financial standing.

blog, blogging, money

WEEKLY MARKET RECAP

Red hot sector.

This week the cannabis sector has been on fire. Stocks such as Tilray, Canopy Growth, Aphria & Aurora have been gaining momentum this last month as Canada prepares for legalization of recreational marijuana on October 17,2018. Also , with whispers of larger tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical companies looking to enter the sector expect a lot of interest in these stocks.

Is it too late to get in the game? I don’t believe so. I believe a stock like Tilray , which has reached a high of $300 recently is way overpriced but there are other companies I believe still has lots of room to grow. Aurora, Hexo & Aphria are 3 marijuana stocks that aren’t as pricy as Canopy Growth or Tilray but have long term potential.

Aurora Cannabis is looking to uplist to US markets next month but at this time trading OTC under ACBFF. Also, their earnings date is coming up 9/25/18 so there is time to purchase some shares and receive possible future gains. Also , with recent whispers of large beverage companies looking to partner with the company, I think this stock is fairly undervalued when compared with the other stocks in the sector.

Hexo (Hydropothecary) is also a reasonably priced marijuana stock. They currently have a joint venture with Molson Coors. At a price under $7.00 there is still time to hop on the cannabis train for a decent price.

Aphria is also one of the top 5 Canadian marijuana companies and has the potential possibility of being picked up by a beverage, tobacco or pharmaceutical company.

I listed some of the different stocks in the sector and believe there is a lot of potential for high long term gains. Remember, this is a new sector so expect a lot of volatility in the short term. If you are risk-averse these stocks may not be in your best interest. If you are okay with high risks, high rewards, I suggest you research some companies and look to invest.

DISCLAIMER*** I do not associate or work with any of these companies. I recommend you do your own research or contact a financial/wealth advisor if you need assistance in deciding if these stocks are right for you.

blog, blogging, money

Weekly Stock Pick

My stock pick of the month is OTC ticker ACBFF : Aurora Cannabis. I chose Aurora because of the impending legalization of recreational marijuana use in Canada in October. Marijuana stocks are currently bullish with other heavy hitters like Canopy Growth and Tilray making huge gains over the last month.

As of September 17,2018 there has been rumors/whispers of Coca Cola being in talks with the company. The CCO of Aurora was recently interviewed on the Midas Letter & advised the company plans to list in the US in October which is good news and gives the company more legitimacy. Also, Aurora is currently under $8/share compared to the other major players like Canopy Growth which is $49/share and Tilray ,which I believe is way overvalued, at over $120/share.  Aurora Cannabis has been acquiring many other companies in Canada and internationally in the last year looking to be a future mega force in the cannabis sector. At this time many are worried about the ACBFF stock being diluted due to multiple acquisitions meaning there is a high amount of floating shares. I understand the concern, it is a risky investment but as with the whole cannabis sector there is a chance of huge returns in the long term. Dilution is an issue but since it is a young market there is plenty of room for growth. It is also wise to remember that cannabis/marijuana isn’t legal everywhere. It is legal in certain states in the United States of America but not on a federal level. There are also European countries that it is legal. There is future opportunities outside of Canada for when it becomes legalized in other countries. This allows them to have a head start on production. At this time, Aurora Cannabis is setting itself up to have a high production rate not just for recreational use but for medicinal use worldwide.  Since it is still a new market/ young company future profits are purely speculative.

DISCLAIMER*** Investing is risky and anytime you invest in the stock market you risk losing money. I am not affiliated with this company nor am I financial advisor or stock broker. I recommend you do your due diligence and research companies on your own before investing. Also, I suggest reviewing companies financial statements and speaking with a certified financial planner before investing if you are new to investing.

blog, money

STOCK OF THE MONTH

My stock pick for the month of August has been stock ticker CVSI. The stock is up over 700% for the year. CVSI is CV Sciences Inc which has two divisions:Pharmaceuticals and consumer products. The company develops synthetically-formulated cannabidiol-based medicine. For further information please see their website : CV SCIENCES INC

 

DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend buying a stock without doing your own research. The best thing to do is research a company and review their financial statements before deciding to invest your money. Investing in the market is a risk. Make sure you have as much information as possible. It’s also never smart to put all your eggs in one basket so if you are buying stocks make sure your portfolio is diversified. This means having stocks from different sectors and companies in your portfolio which will help minimize your risk of losing money long term.

 

 

 

 

blog

Ways to Avoid Hefty Student Loan Debt*

Thinking of enrolling in college for the first time or going back to school but not sure how to pay for it without taking on a huge amount of debt? Everyday we hear about the student loan debt crisis in this country but yet people still go about going to school by continuing to do the same things that are causing the younger generation to delay buying a home, delay starting a family, delay investing due to taking out student loans…

I want you to know that you do not have to go into a huge amount of debt. There are many options out there to decrease your risk of incurring high student loan debt.

 

My personal story.

I’ve personally never had to take out a student loan. It wasn’t because my family was rich or that I had a full scholarship. I’ve always disliked debt and found ways to limit the amount I have to pay for school.  For me, I went to community college for a little over  2 years even though I got accepted to other schools because it was the most financially responsible thing for me.  It took me over 2 years to finish because I also worked during this time. I looked at the bigger picture. I realized working gave me experience on top of my education. How often do we see job postings that are entry level looking for experience? I always kept that in the back of my mind. It may have taken me longer to finish getting my degrees but I had not debt, worked throughout my entire college career and that made it easier for me to get jobs and end up working in a career that pays well. After going to community college and getting my associates degree, I transferred to a state university. I could have went to a private school or a more well known/respected school but I knew that wouldn’t guarantee me success or a job. I was confident enough in myself that having the degree and experience put me one step ahead of some of those with zero experience while saving money on large tuition expenses. I also stayed home during my college years to avoid additional costs. By the time I got to a state university, I worked for a job that offered tuition reimbursement. I was able to take courses that I initially paid for out of pocket but was reimbursed the tuition costs from my employer. I also work at an employer( who I am currently still with) that has their own credit union who allows you to fill out the tuition reimbursement form, take out a loan and if you pass with a C or better in your course they will reimburse you so that loan gets paid off without you having to pay out of pocket. So if you don’t have the money to pay out of pocket you can take out a loan but expect to be reimbursed as long as you pass the course.

 

Different ways to lessen your costs of attending school

  1. Job outlook & choosing a major

Before choosing a major , decide on a few different fields you will like to work in and what degree they require. Next, research those particular fields and degrees to get an outlook on that career path in the upcoming years. It’s pointless to get a degree in something you will not be able to find a job doing. Even if it is something that you enjoy, you can always still do it as a hobby. If you are risking going into debt wouldn’t you prefer to have some kind of guarantee you can find places hiring that will pay well when you graduate?

  1. Scholarships & Financial Aid

Check if you qualify for financial aid. If you do , that is great, if not you can find local & national scholarships to apply for at your school, place of work, local library or via the web. The internet has leveled the playing field. There are tons of scholarships available and some that go unclaimed because people do not take advantage of them. There are scholarships that are specific to majors, gender, ethnicity, income, location and more. Why not take advantage of free money if it is being offered?

  1. Gain experience through working or internships

It has become normal to job search and see entry level jobs require 1 plus years of experience on top of having a degree. I often question this and try to comprehend how can a position be entry level if it requires experience. You spend 4 years focusing 100% on your studies to get good grades but not qualify for a position because you have zero work experience. I suggest getting a part time job or finding an internship in your field of interest. If you have a heavy workload at school you can also decide to work during the summer break. Another option after graduating high school is to take a year off to work and save money or go to school part time while working. This will give you work experience and the option to gain income to go towards your tuition or loans.  Do not underestimate the power of getting hands on experience in your prospective field.

Going to college is one the first major decisions you will make as an adult.  It should be a decision that you put thought into and research. Why not start off your financial health on the right foot?

 

blog, money

Financial Freedom

The idea of financial freedom is being able to afford your current lifestyle without actively working for a regular paycheck. Some may look at retirement as an example of being financially free. I personally believe financial freedom is being able to live the life you want without having to stress about money. It is when you no longer have to worry about money coming in or what bills you need to pay. I believe most of us desire to reach a place of financial freedom but the reasoning for this desire is different among each individual. Not everyone desires to stop working especially if they are doing something they love. Let’s take a look at the richest man in the world today, Jeff Bezos. He was and still is very passionate about his company Amazon. Lucky for him, his passion has lead him to extreme wealth where if he handed the company over to someone else he would have no worries about money. In this case, financial freedom is not about retiring but being able to do the things that you are passionate about. It gives you the freedom do what you really want in your life or take risks without worrying about when money will be coming in.

Think of the term starving artist. Imagine living, breathing , creating art or music but not making enough to live on. In this scenario, you would have to get a full time job in an office and live a life that doesn’t make you happy and it will take away your time from dedicating your energy into what really makes you happy. This is why learning how to make your money work for you is important. If you just work this other job for the next 30 years and don’t properly manage your money to allow you to also do what you enjoy then you would have lived an unfulfilled life.

My goal is to reach a place of being financially free which will allow me the option to have the choice to work or not. Since I am working full time for a company, I make sure I invest my money into things that will bring in future passive income that will help me afford my basic necessities. Examples of this can include dividends from stocks, real estate, side gigs, own business etc. I think it is important that you don’t just work for a paycheck , pay bills and “hope to retire” one day. I believe the sooner you begin to put money into things that can make you more money and find ways to generate more streams of income outside of your employment, the more wealth you can accumulate in which you can reach financial freedom sooner than the national retirement age. Life is about balance. Let’s be honest, none of us know how long we will live to so managing your money to enjoy it today and also making sure you have enough for the future is extremely important. I get it, some people have the mindset that they don’t want to wait until they are older,  sick and can’t move around like they do now. That’s why you must capitalize off of the things you are good at and enjoy yourself while also working for someone else if you cannot withstand the risks of solely relying on your talents/passions. Also, let’s be real, not everyone wants to work for themselves or be a boss and that is fine. The idea of financial freedom is to allow yourself to retain as much of the money you make and find ways to grow it so at some point you can do the things you enjoy without worry. If you feel like traveling to another country next month, you will be able to without stressing how to make that happen.

What is your definition of financial freedom?

Create a list of your hobbies, talents and come up with ways you can make money off of them. You can even take personality tests. If you are an extrovert who likes people and good at selling things you can be a sales consultant. If you are an introvert who is good with computers or website designs you can offer those services to make money. There are so many ways to make money. Utilize the resouces you have available such as books and the internet.

“It is not how much money you make, it’s how much money you keep.”—unknown

After finding ways to make more money put that extra income to work so you can generate enough passive income that will allow you to live a financially free existence.

Shopping

Do I have to give up shopping?

Are you a shopaholic? Does saving money seem like a foreign concept to you? If so you are looking at money wrong. If you believe saving or investing your money will cause you to miss out on doing something you enjoy then you have not developed a healthy attitude towards money.

We all value different things. For one person the idea of giving up shopping may be earth shattering. For some people, shopping is their therapy hence the term “retail therapy” but you shouldn’t have to choose between being able to shop or save. If shopping is your vice or something that you enjoy , why not plan for it? Instead of spending frivolously draw up a plan that allows you to put money away and still shop. For example, have a savings account where you put a certain amount of your income into but also a shopping account where you do the same.  When you feel the need to shop you can take from your “shopping account”. I would recommend planning these shopping trips. An example would be to allow yourself to shop every 4 months.  That will give you enough time to fill up the account to where you will have a sufficient amount of funds to splurge on the things you like. Since you now designated an account for shopping you wont have to worry about spending money you need because you will still have your savings account which can be used for emergencies.

Saving money does not equal losing your ability to do the things you enjoy. If you have a plan for your money it will allow you freedom to live a life you desire. Money is a tool for us to get things done. Once you decide what’s important to you, you can then decide how to best utilize your money to make those things happen.

Self help

Sunday [RESET]

Sunday is the perfect time to reflect on your upcoming financial goals. Is there anything you want to change? Looking to rearrange your budget? Sunday is the perfect day to map out the steps you will like to take for the week that will help you meet your long term goals.

Create a list of the things you need to buy for the upcoming week such as food, gas, tolls, maintenance, bills etc… If you know where your money is going ahead of time it will be easier for you to account for where it’s going. Review any retirement accounts you have or your current investment strategies. Sunday is a day to unwind and it will be easier to handle finance goals when you are in a relaxed state of mind. Managing your finances when you are not stressed will make it a more pleasurable experience. What you do today will show in the future. Remember when you have a plan and execute it you are more likely to reach your goals. Action gets you results. Inaction leaves you standing in the same place. Don’t keep holding off until tomorrow, today is the best day to get started.

Self help

GOAL SETTING*

People set goals everyday but not everyone ends up following through with making sure they meet these goals. For example, you may ask someone where do they think they will be in 15 years and they will reply “I will be rich and traveling the world”. Now ask that same person how do they plan to get to this point and they are stuck. They do not know how they will do it. Someone who sets goals will be able to tell you what they will do to accomplish this goal whether it’s start their own business, invest a large percentage of their income, avoid unnecessary purchases etc.

 

 

I recommend having a long-term goal set that includes multiple short term goals along the way to assist you with accomplishing this goal.  Setting multiple goals along the way is beneficial because most people like to see quick results. How many people do you know that start a fitness plan but after two weeks because they only lose 2 lbs they give up. This is most of us because we want instant gratification. This is the culture we live in. To avoid giving up, I suggest setting short-term goals that can be met so you can feel like you are making progress towards the long-term goals you have.

 

Let’s say your goal is to save $100,000 in 5 years. If you are not a high earning individual who could save this amount in a lesser timeframe, I recommend breaking it down into saving smaller amounts of money in smaller time blocks. This will allow you to reach $100,000 by the end of that 5-year timeframe. This can entail setting aside a certain amount of money from each pay check you get to put into savings or investments over time to equal your goal.  If you don’t want to set exact numbers you can also create a chart with a list of steps to take to get you where you need to be. Please see chart below:

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 6.59.09 PM

 

This is just an example of how you can draw out a plan. I would recommend making your chart more in depth and creating a vision board. Place this vision board in an area that you will be forced to look at it every morning. If you see it every morning it will help keep you on the right track. What’s the point of setting goals then giving up on them continuously? Remember to take action , have a plan and work towards reaching each target.

 

“Keep setting short-term goals that will eventually help you meet your long-term goals. “

 

finance

Compound Interest

If you are new to investing you may not know how investing works or what it exactly entails.  It sounds easy but if you have no clue what it actually means to invest or how investing makes you money, you may avoid it altogether.

If you invested $1,000 in Amazon when it first went public in 1997 , it would be worth over $1 million dollars today. Please note that not many people would have stuck with the stock for the last 20 plus years to ride out the lows to get to where it’s at today but this is an example of compound interest at work. I am using Amazon as an example because it has been one of those stock success stories that people look to replicate but if it was that easy to make millions we would all be millionaires so please keep in mind that Amazon is quite the anomaly.  I chose this example to show you how compound interest can work wonders and since it is a company that most people know it is easy to follow along.  Although, there is more to the high returns with Amazon stock I just want to focus on compound interest for this blog post because it really is the reason people risk investing their money.

A simple way to explain compound interest is “interest on interest”.  It is where interest is calculated on the initial principle amount plus any previous interest you accumulated. The compound frequency varies depending on the type of account you have your money in. The compounding frequency can be daily, weekly, quarterly semiannual, annually or continuously.   If you are still lost to what any of this means please see the following example below to help you get a better understanding of how this works.

 

Let’s say you invest $100 in an account with an annual/yearly 10% interest rate. If you initially invested $100 , your money would now be worth $110 at the end of the year. The following year, you make another 10% return on your money which would now leave you with $121.00 at the end of that second year.  The $121.00  in the second year was calculated by taking the initial principle amount you invested the year before of $100 plus the 10% interest which was $10.00  totaling $110 and adding another 10% to that amount.  You can do the same thing for the following year and add 10% to the $121.00 from the second year so that by the end of the third year your money is now worth $133.10. It may not sound like a lot but if you keep that money in that same account for 20 years without touching it that money will be worth $672.75. Most people would continue to add money to the account and not just make one deposit. This is where the magic of compound interest can help you build a nice size nest egg for retirement or any large purchase you may be planning.  If you continue to add money to that account over the 20 years you will have a nice amount of money to fall back on. Let’s say after your initial investment of $100, you continue to add $1,500 to the account annually for 20 years from the date you made the initial investment. Your account would be worth $86,585.25.  There are many different investment vehicles and I would recommend researching this information in books or online immediately.  The earlier you start, the easier it will be for your money to grow. If you have 30 years until you retire you can invest less money over time than if you wait until later on in life and have to play catch up by putting away much more just to be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask below. You can also google compound interest calculators if you want to play with different numbers and lengths of times to see how much money you can have in the future if you start investing now.

 

Disclaimer: Returns aren’t guaranteed and there are risks when investing especially in the stock market. Please do your due diligence in researching or get help from a financial professional before investing your money if you are not sure where to start. ***