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Working a bit longer now appears to be the key to a secure retirement for most households, but if you take just a few steps as early as possible you may still be able to retire comfortable before the "normal" retirement age.   Learn more in this post. 

Grow  your financial future with a strong set of stocks paying increasing dividends.  Lear how to get started using a Dividend Reinvestment Plan.  In many cases you can do everything yourself by dealing directly with the company or their stock transfer agent.

How did Warren Buffet turn a $50 investment into millions?  By investing in solid companies and holding the stock for years, while the dividends continued to be invested in more and more shares.   This is a simple strategy and you can use it to start building your financial security.  Learn more, as I explain how to get started. 

Would you like to build your personal wealth?  Can you do it slowly with as little as $10-$25 per month?  Would you like to avoid commissions and fees, while building your wealth?  Can you do this investing approach consistently over several months and years to build your investments?  If your answers are yes, then I have a solution for you.  It's called a dividend reinvestment plan and you can get started for very little (either a monthly contribution or a single purchase.  Read more at this posting. 

Can your employer help you saving money? They can if you take advantage of any discount programs they have and make full use of savings programs. 

Learn how to play the money game like a millionaire and you just might become one.  

There are some surprising facts about millionaire your might want to learn about. 

For example, are you most likely to become a millionaire by going to college and working your way up the ranks of the corporate ladder, or striking out on your own and starting your own business?
Do you need a college education to be a success and have a net worth of a million dollars or more?
Who is more likely to be a millionaire, the guy flashing his American Express card at expensive resorts, or the guy with a Sears credit card in his wallet, but rarely used?
Do more millionaires drive fancy new cars or they more likely driving a four year old ford?
Click on the link above and play the millionaires game.  You might learn some surprising facts about who is a millionaire and the lifestyle the lead. 

If you are unsure where to start investing your first $1,000, then you will want to read this quick introduction to how to get starting in the world if investing, if you only have a small sum to start.  Not sure you can spare even $1,000?  Then check out mutual funds that allow monthly contributions or buying stocks directly with a dividend reinvestment program. 

The point is most wealthy Americans didn't start out wealthy, but they did invest and watched their money carefully so it would grow over time.  You can do the same thing.   

In the world of Wall Street, one popular tool used by investment bankers to get more value out out of company is the leveraged buyout.  But an IBO can be used for other purposes, some of them can be good for investors, employees, shareholders and the management of the company.  Learn more here. 

Most of us expect that our retirement might be spent in comfort, with family vacations, a nice home and our next egg properly filled out.  Sadly for many Americans that is no longer the case as more and more retirees slip into poverty, part-time jobs and fears of medical expenses that even government assistance can't help pay for.  Read these rather hard-to-take stats to get a dose or reality and I hope some action on your part to save more for retirement. 

Are you a part of the great American Middle Class?    Or perhaps you are striving to get there.  This inforgraphic highlights how the middle class in America spends money.

American's most successful investors have found the secret to investing over the long-term and building financial freedom.  You can do the same thing. The key to investing in stocks for the long-term is to buy shares of American’s best companies with a strong history of returning income to investors. That’s how American’s most successful investors build financial independence. So how do you find those select few stocks you want to invest in and hold for a long time while seeing your dividends increase each year?   Learn more here.

If you are just starting out in the world of investments, it might be useful to determine what sort of investor you are. This is often based on your goals, future financial needs and most importantly tolerance for taking risks.  Learn more here. 

One sure way of figuring out which stocks to buy and which to stocks to sell is to track the earnings estimates and quarterly earnings reports of the stocks you are interested.


Earnings drive the performance of stocks and traders will quickly dump stocks that miss the estimates for earnings. I recently wrote an article on the need to follow corporate earnings to help you determine when to pay stocks.  You can learn more here:

Most money managers working for the mutual funds are former stock analysts.  These guys drill down on corporate financial statements, earnings reports and use various models to predict the earnings of companies.  These earnings estimates are then published as way to encourage investors to take a look a specific companies they recommend buying (or perhaps selling).  

With earnings still on the rise for most corporations and the discount rate dropping (because the risk free/Treasury rate is still at near historic lows), this is one of big reasons for the prolonged market rally. The good news is that if this earnings season meets or exceeds expectations, then we will continue to rally.  

Sometimes it is that simple.

Five kids, and five different paths to getting an education past high school.  Each of my kids are made different choices about getting a college degree or additional training post high school.  Their parents did make plans to help, but that hasn't always worked as well I would have liked.  Over the past 40 years I have raised five children and each found a different path to higher education.  Learn how they did it and dozens of other options for making college affordable. 

Right now Congress is getting set to raise the interest rate on student loans and make a profit of $184 billion dollars. That's sufficient to finance one B-1 bomber.  You can stop this insane race to make college more expensive and you can learn how to go to college without student debt.  It's all in today's post, learn more . . .

It was another week of good and bad news for stock traders to digest and react to as the financial sector reported strong earnings and the technology stocks were hammered by earnings disappointments from Google and Microsoft. The S&P 500 index and the Russell 2000 index both finished the week with new all-time highs, as the S&P 500 pushed near 1,700, finishing the week at 1692. 


Do you know what drives stock prices in this bull market?

If you said monetary policy from the Federal Reserve Bank, corporate earnings and the monthly jobs reports you would be spot on.  Before I lose you with a discussion of monetary policy, let me suggest you get a copy of my book, Figuring Out Wall Street.  It includes chapters on the role of the federal reserve and the role of economic indicators in driving stock prices.  Corporate earnings are also explained in the book.

Monetary Policy

Right now the monetary policy of the Fed is to buy bonds, under a program called QEe or quantitative easing. Recently the Federal Reserve announced the policy may change in the future, but for now every month the Federal Reserve buys ups bonds in order to keep interest rates low. Specifically it buys mortgage-backed securities to stimulate home buying, new construction and, it is hoped, stimulate the economic recovery.  Quantitative easing increases reserves at banks, and raises the prices of the financial assets bought, which lowers the yield. Right now banks are holding over two trillion dollars in excess reserves in their accounts at the Federal Reserve, earning just .25% interest.

Jobs Reports

We have all seen how the stock markets reacts when the initial claims for unemployment benefits is reported. As new claims go down, stocks continue to rise.  Just take a look at the chart below, comparing the S&P 500 index to weekly unemployment claims.  Fortunately this trend has been positive since the economic recovery started back in March of 2009.  Not really strong numbers, but this is a very strong correlation.


The third driver for the stock markets is Wall Street's consensus estimate for earnings per share for the S&P 500 Index.  Now this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, stock prices always follow earnings (or bad news, in the case of price declines).

 Another earnings reporting season started this week, with aluminum giant, Alcoa (AA), reporting Monday evening that beat expectations. Now the collective wisdom of Wall Street analysts is that corporate earnings of S&P 500 companies will be less than one percent growth. If they are right, the stock market will slip lower for the rest of the summer, if they are wrong look for this bull market to continue.

If you are like most of us, you earned or are working on earning a degree not to get an education, but to get a job (sad, but true).  So what should you major in in order to earn the best income?  Not liberal arts.  Teaching might be your passion, but you are not likely to break into the top ten list for wager earners.  That list is dominated by science, technology, engineering and math majors.   Learn more . . . 

How do you find good quality companies to invest in?  You could read the papers, watch the evening news, or get research reports from the leading Wall Street analysts.  It would take your hours if not months to do the analysis, or you could let a leading investment web site, like the Motley Fool help you out.  


The 25 Best Companies in America combines comprehensive financial data with fundamental analysis on 1,700 companies to rank the top 25. Learn more.

Every parent wants their kids to graduate from college, it's part of the American Dream.  As a father of five, I know all about the need to save and the frustration of not haven't sufficient money to pay for college, but actually most kids don't go to college on their parents dime.  There are lots of options if you want to go to college and don't have all of the money saved up.  Learn more here. 

Affording college is tough enough, you shouldn't have to eat a diet of ramen noodles to graduate (even if my daughter tells me that's what most college students do).  There are dozens of ways to make college more affordable and you can learn all of then for $3.99 in this new ebook, I will be publishing soon. 

Stocks fell last week as active traders were set to take profits in stocks and as a reaction to announcements that the Federal Reserve that they "might" exit it's bond buying program with a stronger economy.  Here are more reasons why it is not time to panic. 

Don't panic, the financial markets are not crashing.  But we are seeing some increased volatility in the market, so be selective about you investments and build a solid mix of savings and investments to weather any storm.  Learn more here . . .

Excessive debt erodes personal wealth and hobbles your financial future.  A major contributor to debt is your credit cards, which can e defined as “a means for buying something unneeded, at price you can’t afford, with funds you don’t have.”   Here are a few tips for getting out of credit card hell. 

Financial success like anything in life comes for setting goals and making them happen.  In this post, i briefly discuss one of the roadblocks to financial freedom, no goals.  Learn more . . . here. 

Buying dividend growth stocks can set you on the path toward true financial security.  This post introduces you to the best part of buying stocks in American companies, they buy you as a owner.  Each quarter you get a check for being a part owner of a great American company.  Learn more . . 

Despite the rumors of its demise, there are still stocks you can buy and hold forever. Yes that’s right I said “buy and hold”, even as I said in my book, Figuring Out Wall Street, that the buy and hold strategy was dead, but it can work for a limited number of stocks with a history of increasing dividends quarter after quarter.  This is a very limited number of stocks, only about 89 have a history of increasing it’s dividend every quarter for at least 15 years. But buying dividend stocks is important to your financial security, especially if you don’t want to be in market every day actively trading. Learn more now.

You are in charge of your financial future.  You decide how much money you earn based on the work you do. You are also decide how much of your money you will save for the future.  Is saving a million dollars even possible?  Yes it is, given the right factors, which you control.  Learn more by reading this article.  You will learn how to get the best return on your dollars, how much you need to start saving and some of the best places to earn the highest returns to put you on the path toward saving your first million dollars. 

Dangers signs of a major market correction are showing up in the earnings, economic news and policy actions by the Federal Reserve just as the average consumer thinks it's save to return to stocks (and who could blame them, given the record low interest rates on savings accounts).   The current bull market has seen 20 weeks of rising returns.  It's time for caution. 

Will your bank account be ready for your retirement? Preparation is key and this post highlights the sources of income most retirees will have to depend on in their "golden years". This article is extracted from my book, "Figuring Out Wall Street, Consumer’s Guide to Financial Markets", available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

After climbing for most of the year, stock markets in the U.S. plunged some 1.4% to close out May. The last-minute sell off was most likely due to traders taking profits at the end of May and before they start to take the summer off. Friday was the worst day for the Dow and S&P 500 indexes in a month-and-a-half after posting gains in each of the last seven months.  Does this show growing fears that the market's run for 16,000 (on the Dow) is over? 

Learn how to take advantage of market trends. Read more here. 

Have you always wanted to achieve financial success?  Is your family's financial freedom important to you, but it still seems to be just a bit too  elusive?  Now you can create a plan for your family's financial freedom.  My new book, Family Financial Freedom is now available for the Amazon's Kinde, iPad, Nook and other e-readers.  In this blog post I discuss two of the rules to financial freedom you need to follow. 


U.S. manufacturing is leading the economy with two solid years of growth.  Manufacturing if measured separately would be the 10th largest global economy and represents a great opportunity for investing in solid US companies with a history of paying our increasing dividends.   Learn more in this post. 

If you are looking for a software product to run on your mobile device to help you track your personal finances, here are three of the most popular products available today.   Just a few years ago, no one used a mobile phone to do any banking or investing, but today you can do most of your banking and investing right from your smart phone or tablet from anywhere at anytime.

More Americans are realizing that getting out of debt is the key toward being financial independent.  If you would like to do more about achieving financial freedom, then take these steps toward getting your debt under control. 

If you have scaled back your expectations about retirement, or live from paycheck to paycheck, you are more like a growing number of Americans.  But a new survey reports that a financial plan can be a key element to help you have greater financial success.  Read this post to learn more. 

The holidays are always filled with travel to distance family members and vacation spots. Even if you are not traveling right now, you might be planning a vacation in the near future.  Here are six tips for saving money on airfare.

December is a perfect time to take time for a year-end check-up of your finances, investments and perhaps your budget.  Now is a good time to look at your credit card providers and cut up any card that charges more than 12% interest, assessing large late fees or annual fees. These charges to your credit card can add up quickly.  So, set a new year resolution to take time to find credit cards with lower fees and interest charges.  Many times you can do a balance transfer to a new card and get your monthly payments lower.  Just cancel the old cards and work on paying off the balances as quickly as possible. 

October is an excellent time to start your year-end tax planning. A good way to start your year-end tax planning is looking at last year’s return. You can use your 2011 information to help you assess your current tax situation and identify potential strategies for lowering your 2012 taxes. Learn more in this post. 

Nationally entitlements have grown at a pace that we can't substain, but is the answer blaming the 47% of Americans who don't pay federal taxes? Are we really a nation of makers and takers?  Maybe it would be useful to look at the demographics and a few examples of why entitlements have grown.

Recent headlines imply that almost half of Americans pay no federal income tax.  Unfortunately this was viewed as problem, because the people (half of Americans) view themselves as victims, needing some form of government assistance.   Apparently tax deductions should only be for the very rich.  According the view of some in politics, 47 percent are dependent upon government, and believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.  The truth is a bit more complex, but includes the poor, working families with incomes under $25,000 and people who have retired.   Read more in my blog post. 

If you are a part of the middle class, welcome to tough times.  The lower and middle classes are giving up more income to the richest Americans. Currently the median income for the lower class is $23,000 and  $113,000 goes to the rich. In 1970, the rich took in 29% of all income, in 2010 that number is 46% of all income.  The middle class in 1970 claimed 62% of all income, for 2010 it was down significantly to 45% of all income.

This post summarizes a report on the middle class from the Pew Research Center. 

Sometimes in life, we let all of the "stuff" out there get in the way of our really important priorities.  This is a short story to point out how important priorities are.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Before you start anything in life, it might be useful to reflect for a few minutes on how does this new path help me reach my goals in life.  Just that minute of reflection can help you stay on the path that you intend to be on. 

Dividend Growth Stocks are a simple way to invest in very solid well known companies and build your financial future over time.  Learn more about this great approach in this post. 

Most of don’t plan to fail we just fail to plan. My experience in the financial services industry has taught me one thing about financial security.  It’s possible for most anyone to change their financial future, it a simple math problem.  You see the key to financial freedom is not having a lot of money (Most of us don’t). It’s not a matter of getting lucky by being in the right place at the right time, or knowing the tricks or gimmicks (there are some rules you need to follow however).  All you really need is a game plan for winning and then follow that plan. 

Why you need an emergency fund 

The road to personal financial success doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes there are detours. Emergencies happen. A roof needs replacing. People are injured in accidents. Employers lay off workers. If something unexpected happens to you, will you have the money you need to pay the repair bills or see you through weeks or even months of being out of work?

To keep yourself financially grounded, especially in the face of unexpected events, you need to have an emergency fund. That’s an account that holds at least three to six months of your income—or more if you are the sole support for yourself or you have dependents.

Read the full article on my blog. 

Will you be able to live comfortably on your retirement income?  It is important to remember that the cost of things like food, travel, entertainment and medical treatments do not go down as your enter retirement.  According to March 2010 study by the Employment Benefit Research Institute, more Americans are simply unprepared for retirement and are planning on staying in the workforce longer to make up the shortfall in savings.   

For anyone who have been following my work recently, you might have noticed an increased use of slideshare to post and share some of the many presentations and seminars.  Today, several of the presentations were featured on the slideshare home page as most popular in the Finance section. Here's the link: slideshare.

Well after many months of writing and developing ideas, it's happened, I have changed the title for my next book to "Common Sense Money".   This more closely reflects the intention I wanted to communicate, that almost anyone can apply some common sense, self control and time and be more financially secure.

Buying on good news and selling on bad news is the wrong way to make money in the stock markets.  This post highlights trading activity at the end of June.  As professional traders get ready for the long weekend for the 4th of July, expect more volume in the markets as they settle positions in advance of getting out of town for the holidays.

This web site now includes a section with a number of different powerpoint presentations. Check it out,

What does financial freedom mean to you? Is it even possible? To me it means having no consumer debt and earning sufficient passive income to cover all living expenses.  Passive income comes from owning things like rental property, stocks that pay a good dividend and interest earned from certificates of deposit and bonds.

Most of us want the freedom to not have to worry about money, but do very little to make it happen.  One way to start down the path toward financial freedom is to start setting financial goals.  Creating goals causes you to behave in a manner that puts on a path toward achieving those goals.  As you start to investigate how, you learn about managing your money better. You take a seminar on investing or talk to friends about buying a rental property. 

Most people want the freedom of not having to worry about money. Knowing why you want to be financially free will motivate you to work hard enough to reach your goals. Reaching financial freedom takes hard work, dedication and consistency. But it can be done.  The American dream is not dead it might be harder than ever before, but it can be done.  Even during the economic recession of 2008-2009 the number of millionaires in the United States increased by 16 percent in 2009 and by eight percent in 2010.

I am currently finishing my next E-book, “Family Financial Freedom”.  Look for it this summer.  It will be a great guide to help you understand how to achieve greater financial freedom.  I am also developing a Financial Freedom Workshop,  which I plan to make available to anyone wishing to present it to their groups of friends.  Look for more details soon. 

My current book, Figuring Out Wall Street, Consumer’s Guide to Financial Markets is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other stores on-line.  It can also be ordered from any bookstore.  To get a short overview of the contents of the book, just read the post. 

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