Review Category : Entrepreneur Series

Nothing But Net Is All That Matters

Analyzing fund returns can be one of the more treacherous tasks for the average investor. There is so much information on the internet, but it doesn’t necessarily make the regular Joe more knowledgeable when it comes to picking a fund. In addition, the prospectuses have such technical legal and financial jargon that you practically need an engineering degree to get through it cover to cover. In my mind, the most important thing you do not want to overlook is making sure you are comparing funds net vs. net when making a decision about where to put your money. The first piece of the ‘nothing but net’ conversation is to line up all the costs of the fund. Beware that some costs will take you more time and research to find out versus others. Review shareholders fees such as sales loads, exchange fees, and purchase fees. Closely examine fund operating expenses including management fees, 12b-1 fees, and a line item called ...

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Does “Flow” Really Matter To The Average Investor?

To be successful as an investor, it is important to grasp certain basic economic principles including the law of supply and demand. As inflows and outflows are reported within the mutual fund and exchange traded fund industry, the average investor should start to pay closer attention to these numbers when it comes to making their portfolio decisions. Evidence strongly suggests that watching inflows and outflows can quickly demonstrate that the average investor chases performance. How many people have bought at the top of the market and tend to sell at the bottom of the market? Or they end up being a day late and dollar short when it comes to making the right investment decisions. Examining these inflows and outflows can help you spot raw trends of where the mass money is moving and may also present you with opportunities in certain asset classes that may become undervalued. What is decidedly more important than watching the macro trends of money ...

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How Rich Do You Think You Are?

Wealth can be defined in many different ways, but classically it is measured through one’s net worth.  Your net worth is simply everything you own versus everything you owe.  The own part of the equation includes real estate, cash, stocks, bonds, 401(k)’s, IRA’s, businesses, and much more.   The owe part of the equation includes mortgage debt, student loan debt, car loans, credit cards, and more.  Once you subtract the liabilities from the assets, you can begin to determine just how rich you really are in today’s day and age. WHERE DO YOU RANK IN WEALTH (source: wsj.com) (If you have a household net worth of X … you rank in the Y percentile): $50,000 … 60th percentile $93,000 … 50th percentile $100,000 … 48th percentile $200,000 … 34th percentile $500,000 … 18th percentile $750,000 … 12th percentile $827,000 … 10th percentile $1 million … 8th percentile $1.4 million … 5th percentile $6 million … 1st percentile There is a really ...

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How Marketers Manipulate Us To Buy More Stuff!!

Did you know that the highest paying job in America is and will always be marketing?  That’s right.  No matter how good your product is, it all doesn’t matter if you can’t get people to line up and make a purchase.   Marketers are smart.  Marketers are cunning.  Marketers (well some of them anyway) have learned the secret sauce that makes us want to buy more stuff even though we don’t really need it or even want it!   If you pay attention, you can learn the tricks of the trade but here are three ways that marketers learn how to separate you from your money: We Don’t Buy In Absolute Terms–   In one of my favorite books, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, he discussed the theory of relative pricing vs. absolute pricing.   Don’t confuse this with the idea of presenting you with three choices knowing that you’ll likely pick the one in the middle.  In the case below of the Economist ...

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How Much Should I Pay for a Custom Suit?

$399 for a custom suit? You may be surprised to hear that the price tag can be well beneath 4 digits. Many tailors in this space start their pricing around $1,000, but most of us in the X&Y generation don’t want to foot that kind of a bill to look sharp.  I’ve been fortunate to watch two Atlanta entrepreneurs start a custom suit business more “tailored” to our needs. Trio Tailoring https://www.triocustoms.com/ realized there was a big need for moderate to low priced custom suits in the market, and the concept has been well received locally and is gaining traction nationally.   Check out the tips below from the owners at Trio – Benjamin McMillan and Mike Hu: Fit matters more than brand. The cardinal rule of the Office Style Guide is that the fit of the suit trumps everything else. A three-piece from the Ferragamo Fall Collection isn’t doing you any favors when the jacket is falling off your shoulders. ...

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Retirement Assumptions: What’s Your Legacy Goal?

When you are building out your long term retirement plan, a financial advisor will often have to make many different types of assumptions. I have authored numerous articles around this topic. You need to consider market downside risk, interest rate risk, inflation risk, liquidity risk, tax risk, sequencing risk, and several others. Often, one major mistake made around the discussion regarding building a quality retirement plan is actually having the end in mind. What do you want your legacy to be when you pass on? This is a crucial conversation to have at the onset of your overall comprehensive financial plan. Consider this for a moment. If you tell your financial advisor nothing, he or she will likely build out your retirement plan analysis by using a ‘death age’. From the conversations you have with your planner or from some default number in the financial planning software, you will arrive a set age usually in the 85 to 90 range. ...

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Entrepreneur Series Lesson 10 – Passion, Persistence, and Perseverance

Lessons one through nine of my entrepreneur series were lessons extracted from my own business and other business owners across the country over the past twenty years.   Undoubtedly in your first year of business, you will make your fair share of mistakes like anyone starting a new venture.   There are so many valuable pieces of wisdom to learn as an entrepreneur, but here are my big three traits you must have to truly succeed in your business. Passion – Many business ventures people conjure up in their heads often revolve around the dreams of making a lot of money.  While building your wealth can be an outcome of a successful entrepreneurial pursuit, passion around your dreams is what will get you through the good times and the bad times.   When you get out of bed every day with emotions that are so compelling around what you are doing, it becomes easy to motivate others to get excited around that dream.    ...

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Is an SBA Loan right for my business?

Small business owners who are looking to grow their business through the purchase of a building, the purchase of equipment, the opening of an additional location or the acquisition of another business, are all faced with several questions; one of the first being, “Where will I get the capital for this project?”  Depending on the how long a business has been operating, how successful the business has been and the financial strength of the business owners there may be an overwhelming amount of options or an extremely  short list.  One of the options that is on most small business owners lists for financing no matter how long or short the list is SBA. The U.S. Small Business Administration is a federal agency committed to helping small businesses grow. One of the ways it does this is by guaranteeing loans to small businesses made through lending partners across the country.   The SBA does not make loans directly to small businesses. Instead, ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 9 – Execution

I remember growing my career in management with a large Fortune 500 company when my Executive Vice President told me something one day.   He said, “Ted, execution is the one thing that separates the good from the great.  Let me put it to you this way.   If you don’t execute, you’ll be executed.”   I guess it’s hard to forget that, but it still rings true in my mind today.   Some of the best leaders and managers in business don’t achieve peak results because they simply don’t execute the plan. If you like to read, I highly recommend that you pick up a book written by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan called Execution.  There is a wealth of knowledge in this book about execution, and how to be very successful at getting things done.    Here are three mistakes new entrepreneurs make when it comes to execution. Changing the plan too often– One of the sayings I love is that focus beats ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 8 – The Marketing Plan

Marketing your products and services is the lifeblood of a new business.   While you can ultimately have all kinds of long term business strategies, without having a steady stream of new revenue your new business venture can close up in a short period of time.   In my opinion, if you look at the three big areas of business: marketing, the actual product or service you are offering, and client service, marketing is the one driver that can help sustain a business even if the other two areas are slightly subpar.    There are really two parts to the marketing plan.   One section involves dealing with implementing strategies that will specifically drive new client acquisition.   The other arena is building the brand of your new company. Many new entrepreneurs substantially underestimate the time and money it will take do marketing in the first year of their business.    From a time perspective, your networking functions, community involvement, and meeting face to face with ...

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