3 Smart Ways to Overcome Your Anxieties about Investing

Anxieties about Investing

Most of us have the most basic understanding of finances. We work hard to earn our money. We use that money to pay our bills, buy a house, pay for our kids’ education, and whatever is left over we put in the bank to save for the “future,” whatever that means. But we all know there is another world out there. A world with people in nice suits and fancy cars. People who seem to know how to get their money to work for them. The people of Wall St. We don’t want to be like them. Most of us just want to lead simple lives but, man, wouldn’t it be great to be a little like them? But there’s no way. There’s just too much to learn and it requires skills we just don’t have, right?

No. That kind of “I don’t belong” fear is what prevents most people from investing. Here’s what you can do to get over it.

Start learning
You want to get over your fear of investing? Learn how to invest. It’s not as hard as you think. You don’t need an Ivy League education to become a wise investor. You can teach yourself by buying a few books. Just Google, “top rated investment books for beginners,” and you will see many options to choose from with detailed reviews. There are also websites dedicated to the subject such as The Balance, Bloomberg, and Yahoo Finance. Teaching yourself how to invest is easier than you think.

Realize you are just as wise as everyone else
Remember those Wall St. people with their fancy stuff? A lot of them go on TV to talk about “dividend plays,” and “price to earnings multiples,” and whatever highfalutin terms that don’t make sense to us. They obviously know something we don’t know, right? No. Believe it or not, most investors under-perform the market. That means if all you do is put money in an index fund and do nothing else for the next 20 years you will have outperformed most investors. Seriously. Why? Most investors are really bad at timing. They buy when they should sell and sell when they should buy. Does that mean you should just put your money in an index fund and forget it? No, there are a few really good investors who consistently outperform the market. Learn from them. Buy their books.

Go with what you know
You might not know which pharmaceutical company might be developing the next great cancer drug, but maybe you love watching movies on Netflix, or eating at Chipotle. Behind each great company you love there is a stock that you can invest in. Do some homework on them and invest if their future looks bright. You’ll feel more comfortable investing in companies you understand than ones you don’t. 

Remember, investing isn’t a members-only club. You belong. Go out there and buy wisely.

5 Ways To Get Your Kids Excited About Investing

5 Ways To Get Your Kids Excited About Investing
5 Ways To Get Your Kids Excited About Investing

Every father and mother wants the best for their kids, and this often includes financial security. Financially savvy parents often provide sufficient financial education for their kids throughout their time in the house. This may begin with a basic savings account and learning about the benefits of saving regularly, and it can grow into stock investing. Financial planning and personal finance are topics that many adults prefer to avoid altogether, and this can be a source of stress. However, when you talk to your kids about long term investments and financial security earlier in life, they can actually get excited about the money. By understanding these steps, you may be able to get your kids excited about their economic investments.

Encourage Them to Save Money For Their Own Investments

Saving money can generally be rather boring for kids, and it may even seem like a punishment to some. For example, if a child received money for allowance or as a birthday gift and you require the child to put half of that money into a savings account, he or she may feel punished because the money cannot be spent on their terms. However, when kids are permitted to save money for their own investment purchases, they may see a reason for their savings. 

Let Them Research and Pick Their Own Stocks

Everyone likes to be in control of their money, and this includes kids. There are many ways to pick stocks, and you may want to save an earnings per share analysis or another similar form of analysis until kids are well into their teen years. Younger kids may be able to pick their stocks by choosing brands they are familiar with, reviewing stock charts on a basic level and looking at buy, sell or hold recommendations from experts. Of course, you should have the final say in their stock picks. You also should show them how dividends work and the benefits of choosing dividend stocks.

Make Investing a Regular Activity They Can Look Forward To

The best way to watch your child’s account grow is to make regular contributions. Consider setting up a regular time when you and your child sit down to make stock picks and to review account growth. By making investing a regular activity that you do together, you may find that he or she begins to enjoy this quality time with you.

Show Them How to Monitor Account Growth

Everyone loves to see their money grow, and this holds true for kids as well. Show your kids how to read their account information online. Clearly, show them the number of donations they have made, their total balance and the current growth. Monitoring account growth is an excellent way to encourage kids to take a greater interest in their finances.

Use an Online Investment Growth Calculator to Project Their Future Wealth

Even children understand the importance and value of money on some level, and this knowledge expands as they get older. When you think your child has a solid grasp on how much things cost and how much money they may need when they get older, show them investment growth calculators online. These are excellent tools that can be used to determine your future account value if you continue to enjoy the same rate of growth and make the same regular contributions to your account. Many kids who start investing at an early age and who continue the activity into their young adult years can retire with financial security at a very young age. 

Finances and investments are common challenges for adults, and the unfortunate reality is that many adults were never formally educated by their parents about these matters. By teaching your child about finances and by getting him or her excited about money, you are taking great strides to promote your child’s financial security. 

5 Ways Potential Franchise Owners Can Protect Themselves

5 Ways Potential Franchise Owners Can Protect Themselves
5 Ways Potential Franchise Owners Can Protect Themselves

Owning a business is the dream of many people, and buying a franchise can be a great way to make this happen. But before you buy that business, you need to make certain that you protect your interests.

Potential franchise owners should understand that there exists a major conflict between those who offer franchises (franchisors) and those who buy them (franchisees.) Franchisors make money through royalties, which are based on gross revenue, while franchisees make money from profits.

This can lead to franchisors making business decisions that help them a lot more than the franchisees. A classic example of this is Subway’s $5 footlong sandwich promotion. The Subway corporation loved this promotion because it greatly increased sales, but many Subway franchisees did not love it so much, as it cut into their profit margin.

The time to protect your interests is before you sign the franchise contract. In addition to hiring competent legal and financial counsel to review the contract, here are 5 ways you can do this:

1. Get a Long-Term Commitment

You should never assume that you will be able to continue owning the franchise just as long as you meet some performance requirements. You need to read the contract carefully. Many franchisors will stick end dates into their boilerplate contract. This could result in the contract ending in as little as 10 years, and they could afterward force you to sign a new contract with far less favorable terms.

2. Make Sure You Can Sell It

Another stipulation often found in boilerplate franchise contracts is the right of first refusal when it comes to selling the business. This gives the franchisor the right to buy the business before anyone else can. You should try hard to eliminate this stipulation if it is included, because if you should decide to sell your business in the future, this clause could greatly diminish the business’ value.

3. Make Sure You Can Close the Business

Every new business owner believes that they will succeed, but unfortunately some do not. Because of this, you need to make sure that the franchise contract has an early-out clause. Without it, if you decide to quit, you could end up owing significant royalties.

4. Get Territorial Protection

Every business has to worry about the competition. It is part of being in business. But you should not have to worry about competition from another franchisee of the same company. So, you should make certain that the contract provides some form of territorial protection. The more the better.

5. Get Support

Running a business can difficult, and running a franchised business comes with its own set of difficulties. Fortunately, you do not have to face them by yourself. Today, there are many professional associations that support franchisees, whose members are people just like you. You should contact one even before you sign on the dotted line.

Has the World Wide WebModified the Film Trade?


There is no denying it: the Internet has changed our world.  Nearly every aspect of our society has been affected by it and has had to adapt.  If telephones and airplanes made the world smaller, the Internet shrank it many times more. The ability to communicate instantly with anyone in the world—with words, pictures, music, and video—has forced us to change how we do business, how we interact with the world around us.  The Internet has changed the movie business drastically as well, not only by affecting how movies are marketed and watched but also by changing the pathways and entrances to the movie industry itself.

It used to be that if you wanted a career in film, there was a narrow path to take to get there—one that involved a lot of face-to-face networking and “dues” paying.  Most people couldn’t make independent films, much less get them seen, unless they went to school to get access to the equipment, or grew up on the set.  Most people didn’t make the right connections unless they moved to Hollywood and were lucky enough to land a job on a movie set doing whatever.

Today, there still is a lot of networking and dues-paying to get into the movie business, but the Internet has radically changed what that looks like; and the biggest change has been in accessibility.  Combined with the advent of cheap digital technology, the Internet now makes it much easier for almost anyone to do a video project and get it seen.  Web sites like YouTube and Vimeo have made it so anyone with a camera can post a video, and computers now have editing capabilities to help anyone “tweak” their projects and make them look better.  As a result, millions of aspiring filmmakers, who otherwise would not have the resources to get seen, can now “go public” on their own. 

The Internet simplifies the process of entering films into contests and makes it possible to network with many more people. Most of all, it allows filmmakers to get their work “out there”, getting attention on the web before a movie mogul ever sees it.  There are also (obviously) a lot of mediocre projects posted by amateurs for fun, but for the serious-minded, the Internet has become a virtual “calling card”.  Not only does it help unknown filmmakers gain more access to the public and to industry professionals; it also makes a possible career in film more accessible to more filmmakers.

As with anything else, the movie business has had to adapt to the changes the Internet has brought and is still adapting; neither is the Internet a guaranteed ticket to Hollywood. You still have to be good to stand out, especially with all the competition on the web.  But the Internet does provide much more access than before, and forward-thinking individuals may even find more innovative ways to use the web for filmmaking in the future.

Save and Invest Now For a Better Future

Save and Invest Now For a Better Future
Save and Invest Now For a Better Future

The average American has little to no money saved in the bank and lives paycheck to paycheck. Personal savings is important to help people to make big purchases without paying interest, to deal with unexpected expenses and to survive an unexpected job loss. As April is Financial Literacy Month, there is no better time to start saving than now.

Financial Education

For decades, schools spent little time teaching students about money. However, in recent years, personal finance classes have become more common in schools across the country. Some states are even mandating personal finance as a required class before a student qualifies to graduate from high school. Whether a person is a student or is already out of school, there are many sources of information available to learn money skills. Just a little effort can make a big difference in improving a person’s financial understanding.

Simplified Savings

Modern technology can play a role in making it easier to save. Most employers require paychecks to be direct deposited into an employee’s account. The direct deposit system makes it easy for people to have a portion of their paychecks put into a savings account. Online banking, saving and investing apps and electronic fund transfers have made it easier than ever for people to save and invest for the future. However, all the technology that exists can’t make decisions for people. People need to act to use the technology that is available to start saving money for the future. 

Retirement Investment

In one form or another, retirement savings accounts are available to everyone. Most employees have access to 401k accounts and IRA accounts are available to almost anyone with taxable income. Most people believe they do not have the money to start saving for retirement. However, with careful budgeting, most everyone could start saving for retirement. Retirement savings are especially important for those whose employer match contributions. The employer match is basically free money and anyone eligible for a match should take advantage of it.

The public education system has not done a good job of teaching personal finance and related skills. Hopefully the education problem will get better in the coming years. However, it is never too late to learn. There are many sources of financial education available online and off to help people of any age to learn about managing money. By taking the time to learn about budgeting and investing, people can learn to better handle their money so that they can plan for their financial future, avoid financial struggles and have a comfortable retirement.

The 5 worst pieces of financial advice that will cost you time, money and sanity.

The 5 worst pieces of financial advice that will cost you time, money and sanity.

There are many different times that we hear pieces of financial advice that are supposed to help you get to the next level of your fiscal life. It is important to take a lot of these tips with a grain of salt. There are actually some pieces of advice that will hurt you in the long run. Understanding that you are not going to have the best advice financially from everyone will help you be more cautious with the financial advice that is being given to you.

Fresh air will save you money on cooling your home 

When someone tells you to just open your windows instead of turning on your air conditioning, they are helping you waste money instead of saving it. When it is too warm outside, you are not going to have the wind cooling power you need to make it cost effective. Instead, your home will simply just be getting warmer and warmer as the day goes on. 

Try to win money in contests 

If you are constantly spending time and energy trying to win money in contests, you are going to be let down. Your time can be better spent furthering your education, advancing in your career, or starting your own business. If you are constantly trying to win money on radio shows and giveaways, you will find that you will not have much of a return for your time investment. Instead, try building a future for yourself that you can be proud of. 

Go ahead and write a book 

Anyone who is telling you to write in order to create a passive income stream has probably never written or published a book. Having a book that makes you passive income while you sleep is just about as likely as becoming a rockstar. While it is possible, it is very unlikely that it will happen to you. 

Getting too into self-help books 

Self-help books and seminars can be a great way for you to learn more about business and yourself while getting the hype you need to really take action. However, there are times when it can just be too much. You need to make sure that you aren’t getting too into the type of self-help obsession that will keep you from ever taking real action. It is easier for you to actually go out in the world and make things happen when you aren’t too busy watching inspirational YouTube videos or reading books all day long. 

Always hang onto your loose change 

Hanging onto your loose change is a very insignificant way of saving up a substantial amount of money. Instead, you can use apps or programs that will help you round up credit card transactions and turn that loose change into investments. Only using cards will also be a better way for you to track all of your purchases. 

Learning different ways to save and manage your money can make a big difference. Instead of trying to scrimp and save, you will have strategies that will help take your business to a whole new level.