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4 Strategies to Optimize Your Money Stream Now

have multiple income streams for BIGG SuccessWe’re always looking at models here at BIGG success. Recently, we’ve been thinking about our prehistoric ancestors.

Here’s the progression: BIGG success is life on your own terms. You own your life. You’re the entrepreneur in charge.

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So what if you thought about the family unit like an enterprise? We’ll call it the family business.

Our ancestors had well-defined roles for their family business.

The men largely hunted. The women gathered. The children didn’t just play; they helped. They contributed. They learned about their future jobs.

Everyone was involved in the family business. And there was a genius to its organization.

Hunting

Hunting was a risky activity. If the right thing went wrong, you could pay the ultimate price – your life.

The returns were intermittent. Some days, there was a BIGG payoff. On other occasions, there was none.

But make no mistake – the payoffs had to come frequently enough for the family unit to survive.

When they came, the family feasted. When they didn’t, the family survived on the gathered items.

Gathering

Gathering was a low-risk activity. You may get hurt, but you weren’t likely to lose your life from it.

It yielded steady returns. These returns were a nice addition to the family feast when the hunt was successful. On days when there was no kill, the family could subsist for a period of time on what had been gathered.

Two types of income

Modern finance theory works much the same way. It suggests that investors should allocate a portion of their portfolio to riskless assets (i.e. treasuries).

For the rest of it, hold risky assets (e.g. stocks).

Like the family unit of the past, modern investors use this hunting-gathering mindset. Risky assets hunt for intermittent, high returns while the risk-free assets steadily gather income.

The rationale for this is to optimize your money stream. You earn more money given the risk by balancing your portfolio between the two types of assets.

It’s also a clue to optimize your money stream now.

4 strategies to optimize your money stream now

As we said before, BIGG success is about entrepreneuring your life. As the person in charge, you can use the hunter-gatherer model to optimize your money stream now.

Here are four ways you can do it:

  • Keep your job and start a part-time business

    While holding down a job is not risk-free these days, it provides a steady money stream. It’s gathering. You do the work. You gather the income.

    In your spare time, start a business. It’s the hunting side. The income you make may be intermittent until you get established. But it will allow you to feast once it takes off!

  • Build a portfolio career as a business

    This is a ramped-up version of the first one. It seems to work particularly well for people in mid-career and beyond.

    Instead of trading time for money as you would with a job, turn your expertise or talent into a business.

    Instead of only having one customer (your employer), build a business with multiple clients.

    Just be sure to not just sell time for money. Sure, it’s a career but why not think BIGG and build a business, too!

  • Start a business full-time while your spouse holds down a down

    Another alternative if you have a supportive spouse is to start a business full-time now. Your spouse can provide the steady income from his or her job.

    This is how many couples get started in business. Once the business takes off, the other spouse can work in the business too or start their own.

  • Do one of the above and invest in businesses

    This is the BIGG play. Combine this strategy with one of the others to put your progress on steroids.

    Money and time are two of the five elements of BIGG success. They are your two resources.

    You only have so much time. You can leverage your time with money.

    Instead of working a business yourself, invest in one with someone who does the work. Get your money working as hard as you do. That’s BIGG success.

Want to optimize your money stream but aren’t sure where to start?
Maybe we can help!

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How to Weather Financial Climate Change

weather_a_stormBigg success is life on your own terms. There are five elements of bigg success – money, time, growth, work and play. Today we’ll focus on money.

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We hear a lot about climate change and its implications. It occurred to us that financial markets change much like the weather.

So here are 4 tips for weathering financial climate change:

Asset prices heat up and cool down

Stock prices skyrocket. Then they fall.

Real estate prices rise. Then the bubble bursts.

Nothing goes up linearly. Yet most of our projections do. Plan for all weather – diversify.

You won’t create much wealth without taking some risk. But you can manage that risk by investing across asset classes (e.g. stocks, bonds) and within asset classes (large cap, mid-cap and small cap stocks).

Price movements can be extreme

Experts are predicting more volatility in the years ahead. We don’t mind it when prices are rising quickly. But we have to be prepared for the other side as well.

Very, very few people successfully time the market period after period. So it’s important to move your money to less risky assets as you near the date when you’ll need it. If you’ll need it in less than ten years, you may want to look at shifting money to something less risky.

As we always say, talk with your financial planner about your specific situation to determine your best move.

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Watch your emissions

By emissions, we mean money out the door. In our businesses and in our personal lives, it’s much easier to spend less than to make more.

When you’re getting ready to spend it, think about how many hours you have to work to earn the money in the first place. If you really want an accurate picture, do this on an after-tax basis.

Make the green house effect work for you

When you’re buying a house, ask some important questions. Do you really need that extra room? How often will you use it?

You may decide to buy a smaller house and invest the “green” to further diversify your portfolio and increase your returns.

Also, invest your “green” in energy efficiency. Improving the efficiency of your home pays you back month after month by lowering your utility bills. You can’t say that about most outlays.

Take these four tips and go green to build a sustainable future for yourself. That’s bigg success!

How are you weathering financial climate change?
Share that with us by leaving a comment, e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leaving a voice mail at 888.455.BIGG (2444).

Thank you much for visiting us today. Next time, we’ll discuss a positively fantastic way to improve your bottom line. Please join us. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Should I Stick with Stocks?

mattress Last time, we talked about a new trend – people stuffing their mattresses the 21st century way. Baby boomers seem to be the main group behind this trend. They are buying treasury bills and gold coins as safe harbors from the volatile stock market.

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It’s understandable that baby boomers are looking for alternatives because many of them are so close to retirement.

But what if you’re not about to retire … should you stick with stocks?
We’ve heard a lot about how the recent decline in stock prices has wiped out all of the last ten years worth of gains. So it’s a really good question. We decided to do some analysis of our own.

Before we start, allow us to make one disclaimer: We’re going to provide an example to help you understand how the market works. Your decisions about your portfolio should be based on your specific situation. We recommend that you talk with a certified financial advisor to help you with that.

Stocks and Certificates of Deposit

To keep it simple, we looked at just two assets – stocks, represented by the S&P 500 (Source: Yahoo! Finance) and risk-free investments, represented by one-month CDs (Source: Federal Reserve) in FDIC-insured institutions.

There may be better assets to invest in (e.g. a broader stock market index), but we still felt that these represented risky assets and risk-free assets relatively well. We were curious about what has happened in the past, looking at various scenarios, with these two assets. This is a good place to insert a couple of caveats:

  • We are looking at historical numbers. We’re not psychic nor do we possess any other ability to project the future.
  • We used nominal pre-tax rates of return, so inflation and taxes have not been factored in to the returns we’ll discuss.

The last ten years
When we look at the last ten years (going back from December 31, 2008), we see that the stock market underperformed its historical average through almost the entire decade.

The best mix of these two assets for the last ten years would have been no mix at all. Investing 100 percent in CDs provided the best return. Even then, the return was not that great: 3.62% per year by our calculations. The worst return, as you might guess, was being 100 percent invested in stocks over the last ten years. They lost about one percent per year.

What about prior ten-year periods?
One ten-year period isn’t all that instructive. So we went back ten more years (January 1, 1989 to December 31, 1998) and looked at those returns. The highest returns in that period came from a portfolio of 100% stocks, which returned 17.28% annually.

So stocks are one for two. Let’s break the tie and go back another ten years. Can you hear the disco music playing?

A portfolio that was fully invested in stocks delivered the best return in that period (January 1, 1979 to December 31, 1988) as well. They earned a return of 14.36% per year.

Is ten years long enough?
Financial advisors have said for years that stocks perform best over longer periods of time. They used to tell us that we should have at least five years before we needed the money or we shouldn’t invest in stocks. Now we’re hearing more and more that ten years is the magic number.

But here’s the thing … we really shouldn’t even count on that as we’ve learned the last ten years.

How long until you retire?
Let’s think about this … if you’re 40-years old, you might have twenty years before you want to retire. At 30, let’s say you have 30 years. How have the returns looked over that period?

Looking back twenty years, even with the most recent decade, our best bet would have been to be fully invested in stocks. Our return would have been 8.14% annually. It’s ditto for the most recent thirty years. An all-stock portfolio returned 10.21% per annum, about its historical average.

So, our research shows that history shows that you should stick with stocks over the long term. But is there a way to lower your risk without sacrificing returns unjustly?

The price of a higher return
There is a price to pay to get a higher return. That price is more volatility and volatility equals risk. Riskier investments should pay more to compensate you for the risk you’re taking. Stocks are riskier than CDs; therefore, they should pay more.

The price of less risk
We just said that riskier investments generally offer higher returns as compensation for the risk. So why not just invest in CDs and other risk-free assets? Because they may not return enough to get you where you need to go. There is a better answer.

Diversification smoothes it out
When you diversify your assets – investing part of your portfolio in risky assets like stocks and a portion in risk-free assets like CDs, you smooth out the volatility, relative to just investing in stocks, while still getting a higher return than if you invested all your money in just CDs.

Example: A 50/50 Mix

As we discussed earlier, had you just invested in stocks over the last thirty years, you would have made about 10 percent per year on your investment. However, you would have lost about one percent a year in the most recent decade.

What if you can’t stomach losses like that?

Obviously, any money invested in stocks is at risk. However, if we had invested 50 percent in stocks and 50 percent in CDs over the last thirty years:

  • We wouldn’t have lost money over the last decade. In fact, we would have made 1.31% per year.
  • The thirty-year return on our portfolio would have been 8.32% a year. While it’s less than the 10 percent we could have earned by just investing in stocks, it’s not that much less. Looks pretty good right now, doesn’t it?

We want to emphasize again that we’re not saying a 50/50 mix is right for you. Consult your financial planner. We just picked 50/50 to see what would have happened with an even mix of these two assets.

Long on stocks
As you can see from the returns we quoted earlier, the experts are right – stocks are good long term investments. If you need the money ten years from now, you need to be careful. If you’re a 30- or 40-year old funding your retirement, a good basket of stocks as part of a well-diversified portfolio is a great place to stick your money.

Short on dollars
Going back to where we started, more people are investing very conservatively in treasuries right now. The problem is, if you invest too conservatively, you have to make a choice. Will you be short on dollars now or at retirement?

If you choose to fully fund your retirement, it means you’ll have to invest more now to reach your goal, which means you’ll have to sacrifice more now than is probably necessary.

We still don’t know if we’ve hit bottom on the stock market. But here’s what we do know – most market timers get it wrong most of the time. That’s why we won’t try!

If you have time until you need the money, invest in a well-diversified portfolio. You won’t be quite as happy in the good times, but you won’t be nearly as upset during the bad. 

We really appreciate you spending some time with us today. Join us next time when we interview John Jantsch, The Duct Tape Marketer, about how to make customers stick without busting the bank. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Take More Risk to Earn Greater Returns

By Bigg Success Staff
06-10-08  

Bigg Success with Money

coins 

There’s something that men seem to do better than women – accept more risk to earn a higher return.

Now granted, anytime we stray into generalizing about the sexes, or any other group, we risk over-generalizing. But long-standing research seems to support this notion.

Women may be too risk-averse. One of the basic tenets of modern financial theory is that taking greater risk should lead to greater rewards. Granted, it may be a rough ride with more volatility, but in the end it pays off.

Especially if you’re investing for the long-term.

Research shows that risky assets (e.g. stocks) overcompensate for the risk taken over long periods of time (e.g. five years). So if your investment horizon (i.e. the time before you’ll need the money) is five years or more, you can probably afford to accept more risk.

It can make a bigg difference. For example, let’s say that one 22-year old new college graduate invests $500 a month in stocks while another invests only in treasury bills. It’s not unreasonable to expect a 6 percent premium per year, after inflation, for the stock investor.

What’s the difference if they both retire at 65?

Over $1.2 million!

This figure is based on commonly reported historical returns. If anything, it’s understated based on historical standards, but hopefully the $1 million difference gets your attention anyway!

It pays to take some risk if time is on your side.

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