My Path to Getting Rich

This is my blog about my journey to financial freedom.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sisyphean Challenge

Ever feel as though you aren’t getting anywhere and paying into that debt and it isn’t going anywhere? Do you feel as though you are never going to get out of the bondage of debt that gives you sleepless nights on how you are going to pay for groceries tomorrow? Times are definitely tough with high gas prices and the temptation to use credit sounds as an easy way to get by, but you must resist. You must stay focused on paying down those debts with any available funds you have. You might say, “Money is tight, and I don’t have extra for that!” but this attitude will only dig you deeper down and cost you big bucks if you don’t do this now. Find the money. Disconnect that cable, get a second job and skip out on that Starbucks coffee every morning. I know it seems tough but if you don’t get it under control, you will only be rolling that boulder uphill only to have it roll right back to the bottom.

Sisyphus was a King in Greek mythology that was punished for his deceitful acts towards Zeus and others. His punishment was to roll a huge boulder up a very steep hill only to watch it roll back to the bottom and forced to do it all over again for eternity. Can you imagine the frustration?

When you are trying to eliminate debt, sometimes it can feel like that boulder is getting bigger and heavier with every trip up . There are times when those balances just don’t seem to be lowering. Stick to it and keep your eye on the prize of financial freedom. The good news is that your days of pushing a boulder don’t have to be an eternity. The choice is yours on how many trips up you will make to the top. Keep in mind that one day you will push it up and over for the last time, then you will look down and celebrate a victory which very few will ever achieve.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Add an Arm and Leg to that Car Payment

Before you go out and get financing to buy that new car, furniture or even stereo you should always know what it's REALLY gonna cost you. Sure it says $20K but how much will it run you in the long run. That funiture might be on sale for ONLY $2K, but be sure that they will get their money in financing. In fact, Sears makes more money on their financing services than they actually do on the products they sell. That is why retails stores usually ask if you would like to put it on their card because it brings in BIG MONEY. Car dealerships used to just go through banks for financing but then they discovered the beauty of compound interest...That's interest that just keeps piling on to itself. Compound interest can be what makes you rich or puts you in the poor house making payments for 6 years on that Pinto.

Regardless how bad you want that new leather couch or nice race car to cruise around with let's look at some numbers. BEWARE, you might not like what you see but I do it in the hopes that you will open your eyes and save your money.

Let's start with a $20K car. Now picture this bad boy. It's got all the extras. It's got the racing seats and 20-inch rims and bluetooth sound system. It's flawless and a major neck-breaker. When you first saw it at the dealer, it was just calling your name. The salesman says, it's only 20 thousand dollars, way below what they are charging across the street. Plus, we have all these rebates. Here you are, a first time buyer with not-so great credit. The salesman says he can get you very low payments if you just sign on for 6 years. Six years isn't anything right, plus this car is worth every penny. Here are the numbers.

On a $20K loan at CRAZY 15% interest for 6 years, your monthly payment will be $422.90 At the end of your loan, you would have paid $20K PLUS $10, 448.82 IN INTEREST. The total for this car is $30,448.82 Here is the chart for it.

Click here for the Amortization Chart

As you can see, you don't actually start paying more on the car than on interest until the 19th month. That's over a year and a half...and that's by only a few bucks. Can you believe you are going to pay over $10,000 in interest... that's another small car!! Just imagine how much you could save if you got a cheaper car.

When I wrote about making mistakes yesterday, I was serious. I've made this mistake. I've been there, done that, and lost out on thousands. Please don't let this be you. Think twice next time you want to finance something.

As an extra, I added a amortization chart that you can fill out everytime you want to know how much you are going to REALLY pay for something on credit. Just scroll all the way to the bottom and fill out the info.


Trust Me, It's Hot!

I have yet to figure out why it is in our nature to learn the hard way. If someone tells you that coal is hot, would go you and touch it? I hope not.... and if you do, you are a Bonehead! One of the reasons why I write is blog is to tell you that I've touched coal. I've been burned and made plenty of mistakes. Mistakes that have costed me thousands of dollars. I'm sure we have all made mistakes that we can tell somebody about in the hopes of trying to prevent them of doing the same. The sad part is most of the time they won't listen and continue the never-ending cycle of money going down the drain. For some strange reason I was watching the The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week and she had Will Smith as a guest. One thing that I loved that he said is how there isn't a problem out there that someone in the world hasn't encounted and written a book about. It's true and if there isn't a book written about it, someone knows how to fix or avoid this problem. One of the good things about having older siblings is that it gives them the opportunity to make losts of life's mistakes, thus allowing you to learn from them. That's how it's supposed to work. You learn from them and your younger ones learn off of you. Too bad this isn't a more perfect world so we must all learn in our own way. Sometimes the best way to really believe that the coal is hot is to get burned.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Try This Card"

One thing to remember about getting your oil changed done at Walmart is to stay out of the store. That's how they get you to spend more. You pay a cheaper price for the service because they are betting on you spending the difference in the store. I'm not faulting Walmart, it's a smart tactic, but if you are like me and trying to cut down on your expenses then it's best to stay out. We dropped the car off and walked around the area because it was a very nice day.

When I went back to check out, there was a woman there that was in line before me checking out. I was kinda in a rush to go to work so I was wondering what was taking so long. I stepped aside and say that she was trying all her credit cards. All she kept saying was "Try this one.". I could see the cashier getting fustrated but what could she do. This made me think about how much others are struggling. I won't deny that I have been there. I've tried using cards until I found the one that worked... it's sad. We get into so much debt that we just keep on piling it on so we can support ourself. Without even thinking about it, we pull out that credit card saying "Oh, I'll pay it off this month." knowing darn well we can't once we've used it once, twice, and three times. It adds up. Studies show that only 40% of Americans pay off the balance every month and for sure that woman wasn't one of them. When I say this all unfold, it made me realize how much of a need there is for more education. I got a passion to beat this and a passion to help others beat it to.

Next time you go to the store, make sure you use cash for the small living purchases. That $3 here and $10 there will end up costing you hundreds of $$$. Don't take 2 years to pay off that oil change!! Use what you work for....CASH.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Stimulate Your Own Personal Wealth

Income Tax Rebate checks are out and all the retail stores are crowded. I went to Walmart the other day and there wait a huge line at every register. That can only mean one thing, people are doing what they usually do with "extra" money... spending the heck out of it. I can't blame them too much since the government is telling them to spend, spend and spend.

But, have you wondered why the rich don't get these rebates? Maybe because they are rich and don't need it. Nah, that can't be it because even the rich don't turn down extra money. Maybe it's because they pay less in taxes... Nope that's not it because they actually pay over 75% of all the income taxes paid. The reason is because they won't spend it. They will either save it or invest it. That's why they are rich. They don't act like poor people and that is why they aren't. If that is the case, why do we spend it? The easy answer would be because it's "free" and we didn't have to do anything extra to get it. The government knows that lower income people will go out and blow all this cash and thus "stimulate the economy". It's kinda sad that they believe that way but it's the truth. People will spend that money and won't even know what they spent it on. The behaviors of lower-income people is what puts us in the situation. It's been like this for decades and will continue to be.

The average return will probably be around $1,500 for married folks and just think about how much that could actually stimulate your personal wealth. Would you should do is ACT LIKE YOU ARE RICH! Invest it into your personal debt. Pay down some of those credit cards. Earn your paycheck back so you aren't paying on this bills every month. Don't you just hate having to pay all these credit companies every month PLUS interest. Pay those suckers off. Keep that interest. You will feel much better about yourself when you do because you will finally be able to keep what you earn. Does it make sense? One of the most profitable ways of getting rich is by elimanating your debt, not by looking for some get-rich me. When you change how you think, you will change the direction your life moves into. It's tough making that big payment with this "extra" money but it's something that must be done. Just mail that check out and feel confident that you are investing in your future. Then you will be less willing to put that stereo or purse on credit next time.


P.S. I just saw this Ad on


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Are you making a profit?

One thing that I have learned is that it doesn't really matter how much money you make. It doesn't matter what you are doing to get the money flowing to your bank. What matters is that you aren't spending more than you are making. Sounds simple right?? Well, write down what you make and keep track of what you spend. You will be surprised how much goes out and on what. Cash Flow is a simple concept but it can bring up some problems if your wallet. If you are noticing that there is too much month and not enough money, this is your problem. You could be making all the money in the world, but if you aren't keeping some (profit) and you are spending it are or will be in trouble. You will result to credit cards and loans.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

i'm back

It's been along time and I've got plenty to say so stay tuned.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Limbs lost, and Redirection Needed

I suffered a loss of a young relative this week and it brought sadness and deep thought to me. I thought about how he used to live with me as a kid. Times were tough for them and my family welcomed them in. One thing that I have always admired about my family both close and distant is that we can always rely on family to help in times of need. I think it’s natural for us Hispanics to stick together; we tend to build that close knit with each other. His passing also made me reflect on my life and my path that I have taken. I think about if I’m at the place where I’m supposed to be. I wonder if I’m on the right track to fulfill my dreams. As I mentioned before, I didn’t come from a wealthy family; and that is an understatement. I enjoyed my childhood because I had friends and family that had cool toys like Nintendo’s, baseball equipment, and even a basketball court. I didn’t have things like that. I even rode a girl’s bike that was passed on from my eldest sister. It was pink, but that wasn’t anything a little spray paint couldn’t fix. The only problem was that the rubber handle bars were also pink and I couldn’t get the white paint to stick. Embarrassing isn’t it? Even with all the paint in the world, every kid knew that bicycles have different body styles along with seats. This one had one of those big padded banana ones. LOL. I’m laughing just thinking about it. Anyways, this is where I’m from. My family tree doesn’t consist of large amounts of wealth. I don’t know one millionaire in my bloodline. Can I be the first?

This tragic event even made me realize how unprepared most of us are. When my mother died a while back, we were totally unprepared. She had insurance that I don’t even want to go there. My grief was pushed aside by worries for my mother to have a nice funeral. It took all of my siblings to come up with a plan to give my mother a decent farewell. My cousin’s family was also unprepared. Thank goodness for our family, now they are planning some sort of fundraiser so my cousin. His burial will depend on donations from those who can give. Should it be this way? I don’t think so. From personal experience, it’s too much of a burden to worry about money during this period of time. I never hope this upon my children. It’s not my mother or cousins fault for the lack of financial planning. We just are raised this way. It’s the way our family tree is being grown. Well, I refuse to water that tree! I am making it a personal goal of mine to change the direction of my branch in this large tree grows. In what direction are you allowing yours to grow? Are you making a change in direction your family tree grows? When I leave this earth, I want to have affected my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That is the legacy I plan on leaving. I want an empire to be passed on and on. All it takes is for me to make a ripple in this pond we call our lives. Will you be the one that affects those children for generations down the line? Push away the skeptics and drive on. WE CAN DO THIS!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Name That Dollar

It’s been a while since my last post and now I’m back. I had to finish up a class and re-evaluate my finances. I like going over my finances because it allows me to see what’s working and what isn’t. It also tells me where I need to improve and where I don’t. I’ve also been doing a lot of research into investing and real estate. I don’t really want to touch on that tonight because I want to make this post about debt and budgets. Budgets are not fun, but they are necessary. I never made a budget when I was younger; I just lived on what I have. Now I like to see where my money is going and where I can squeeze more into savings, then investments. I made a budget before but it was tough to stick to so I sort of avoided it not knowing how much damage that can do. I have to give Dave Ramsey credit for helping me get back on track. With his resources and great speeches, I realize that a lot of people give up on their budgets. He goes on to even say that budgets don’t usually work for the first couple of months. I’m on the second draft of mine so I’ll see what kind of adjustments I have to make. At first I made my budget on Microsoft Money but maybe that’s another reason why I didn’t stick to it. It wasn’t simplified and customized to my life. So what I now use is Dave Ramsey’s Cash Flow Plan sheet. It’s pretty easy to fill out and read so it’s great for my wife and me.

I can’t stress how important it is to make a budget. I know how you may feel when making one. It’s tough to see what you spend your money on. It’s tough to see your money come and go. Some of us are even afraid to see where we stand when it comes to our finances; I know I was at first. But think out your future, family and retirement. We need to make a budget if we are to be financially free. Like I said before, I was one of those people who believed I didn’t need a budget. When I was working at a grocery store as a teen, I had no idea where my money was going. Ask my cousin Nick; he’ll tell you. As I got older though, I had to learn the hard way, by not having any money.

Wondering where your money is going? Never had enough money at the end of the month? Is your car broken down and you don’t have the cash to fix it? YOU NEED A BUDGET!

Click Below to Get the Cash Flow Sheet for FREE!!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Fix that LEAK!

I had to put some power steering fluid in my little old Focus today because when I checked the fluids I realized it was low. Another thing I realized is that I have a small oil leak. Like I said, it’s a small one but it’s causing the oil to run down the motor and burn. When you get burned oil, you get a little smoke so that can’t be good. By now you are probably thinking about where I’m going with this right? Well, like I said before, I always try to relate things to my journey to financial freedom.

The first thing I had to do was figure out where this leak is. I’ve already established that an oil leak can’t be good. It would be quite embarrassing to be putt-puttin’ around in a billow of smoke. Plus if you don’t fix the small leak, doesn’t that usually lead to a bigger one? Like I said before, I don’t claim to be a mechanic, but I also don’t want to pay somebody for something I may be able to do myself. So now that I have figured out where the leak is coming from, what do I do now? Well, I’ve determined that it’s just a gasket that needs replaced and I should be able to do it myself. How does this pertain to my financial journey? Well, I think we all have some kind of leak going on in our wallets that might be setting us back. What am I talking about with all this? I’m talking about debt. I didn’t talk too much about debt except for a link so now might be a good time. I have allowed my budget and finances to have “leaks”. I bought things I really didn’t need and dined-out when I didn’t really have to. It took a lot of lectures and lack of money to make me realize I had these leaks. Just like in a car, you don’t really know you got a leak until you see the signs or you actually get under the hood and look around. You have to take the time to do a self-assessment and see if you are leaking cash. You might not know where those last 20 bucks went to last week, but if you don’t figure it out it might be 40 the next. Most people don’t realize they have a leak until it’s too late. Honestly, how many times do you step in oil when you are in the parking lot of Wal-Mart or any other shopping area? I know I see them all the time because I always have to tell my son not to step in them. Do you think the people that left the oil on the ground actually knew that their car is leaking? They might have known about it but some people just don’t care until they see the estimate given at the local mechanic shop for major repairs. Ouch!

Are you one of those people who just don’t worry about it until something major happens? Does it take an emergency to realize you haven’t saved any money at all? You have allowed your wallet to leak so much to the point that it’s no longer a small repair. Then you start getting loans and making even more holes in your wallet. I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve been there before. Most might be but I take it as a learned lesson on this path I’m on. It takes real dedication to locate and admit that you have leaks in your financial situation. You have to put your pride aside and actually tell yourself that you spend too much on this or that. Control your debt today, so you won’t have to see the bill later. It makes no sense to have a great idea on how to make money if you haven’t learned how to control the expenses. It’s tough I’m telling ya.. Make charts or lists on your expenses. Find out where YOUR money is going. If I had a nickel for every time my son stepped in oil at the market, I’d be well-off. If I had a penny for every time I’ve allowed money to be wasted, I’d be RICH!

So, we must find our leaks and seal them. There are tons of tools out there to help reduce your debt. I have a great one posted on the website. That is the one I use and every month I see myself closer to the goal. Get under that hood and see where you stand. Don’t get stranded along the side of the road

Friday, March 2, 2007

Quick Thanks

I'd like to say a quick thank you for all who have taken the time to view my blog. Every time type in a new entry, I do it in hopes that I can teach someone out there in the world something about financial freedom. I hope you have enjoyed what I have written to this point and look forward to hearing comments and feedback. I would also like to give a special thanks to my world-wide viewers. I've been getting some views from all over, from China to the U.K. to Columbia. Thank you once again for taking this journey with me.

P.S. Don't forget to check out these links provided on my page and Pass it on to all your Friends.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Golden Rule for his Birthday.

It was my oldest son’s birthday this week and it gave me an opportunity to realize how much he has grown. I look at all the things he is able to do all by himself. I also get shocked at the things he’s great at (especially Xbox360 games). As I watched him, I sat there and thought about what are the important things in life to teach him. Obviously I would love to show him traditional values of our American way of life and how to be respectful and all that. But what are some other things that I wish I would have been taught? Shouldn’t he know about the Golden Rule? The Golden Rule that states "treat others as you would like to be treated." But, what about the other Golden Rule? The other one says, “He who has the gold, makes the rules.” Ever heard of that one? Believe it or not but neither did I until recently. I guess I should have figured it out sooner since I’m in the military and all. Regular enlisted folks don’t make nearly the same as officers do. Since they have a degree and different training, they are paid more. And since they get paid more, guess who makes all the decisions….you guessed it, Officers. From my small experience and knowledge, I’m pretty sure the rest of the world’s job market operates in the same matter. Does your boss make more money than you do? So what is our goal here, to make more gold right? I know mine is but I would rather make it in a way that doesn’t require more back ache and longer nights. So I concluded that it’s going to make great sense to teach my son financial skills that I learn so maybe he can make the rules. They don’t teach this stuff in school and I wasn’t even taught it at home. I’m not upset though because the average child doesn’t get taught stuff like that. If you did, lucky you. I didn’t even know what a credit score was until about 7 years ago. Weird huh! Things like that weren’t taught to me when I was growing up. The focus was more on getting good grades and learning a trade. The best part about getting rich is that you will know how far I came along proving that you can too. I can't really explain all this to him just yet, but soon enough I will have to and hopefully he will continue to pass it on as well. Happy Birthday son.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What are You Building?

Lately I've been reading tons of books. People have told me that I'm frying my brain, but I hope that I'm adding wrinkles to it everyday. I am really serious about getting financially free and so should you. I have been somewhat disappointed in some of the reactions that I have received from this blog. I think many of us are afraid. I sincerely believe that as you read this, you actually believe you can't be free. Believe it or not but my sources have even given me the inside track on what you might be thinking. You might believe that good things like that don't happen to people like us. Am I close? Trust me, I've ran these doubts across my head many times. Look at the position I have put myself in. If I fail, (and I don't intend on doing that) I've created a blog to document it so everyone can see-including strangers. But, others might say "I'll wait to see if he can do it" and that'll prove that any old "Joe" can achieve it. I would advise you not to wait. It might be quite some time before I see any results because my dreams are BIG.

By establishing this blog, I have suppressed my fear an established my goals. Many people don't tell others their goals because for the fear of not meeting them. Is this you? Maybe you don't even want to be wealthy because of the the stereotype that wealth is not enough to give us happiness. True, but remember, poverty makes happiness nearly impossible. Which one are you willing to bet your life on? Whatever the reason why you don't think wealth can come to you, leave it behind. Stand up for your dreams and start planning. Stay Focused! Set your goals and tell others about them. Make your goals count and look for others to push you to achieve them. Surround yourself with success. If you are surrounded by "non-believers", use them as motivation to make your visions into realities.

My dad is a multi-skilled man. I always seen him as a man that could build and repair anything. From cars to the toilet-in-the-house with nine people waiting to use it, he could fix it. As for me, I might be able to fix some things, but there might be some "extra" parts laying around. I was more of a painter with my brothers. I could never really construct anything, but me and my friend Keith always managed to build cool clubhouses. We didn't always have the materials but we could make a "mansion" from some plywood. All it took was a little imagination. There is a story that I read not too long ago that goes like this:
Three bricklayers were working side by side.

When asked, "What are you doing?", the first bricklayer replied:

"I'm laying bricks."

When the second bricklayer was asked. He answered,

"I'm building an arch."

When the third bricklayer when asked the question,

"What are you doing?", responded,

"I'm building a cathedral."

Here is your plywood: What do you plan on doing with it?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Debt Relief

I finally got the website for the tools I personally use to Get Out of DEBT. Click on my Green Icon or here

Check it out and get yourself Signed UP! I wouldn't steer your wrong.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A CD i wouldn't get again.

During my first deployment to Iraq, I figured I should do something with the extra money that I was making for going to war. Although it wasn’t much, any extra pay in the military is good. After paying some bills and I realized that I hadn’t saved much money at all. This is when I decided to take on the first and one of the most basic ideas of investing, CD’s. A certificate of deposit is similar to a savings account that you can get through your local bank or credit union that earns interest. You really can’t go too wrong with these because there is minimal risk. The down fall is thought that you don’t earn very much. I had Security Service Credit Union, which may I add is horrible!! I think their name should be Security Service Fee Credit Union. Anyway, through them I was able to transfer money from my checking account to the CD. It was pretty simple and I was able to watch the interest I accrued at the end of the month. Like I said, I didn’t know anything about investing and I figured that this is simple and I was making money. Well, I was making more like cents. It had a poor return rate of about 4%, but usually you can decide the maturity and that determines the rate you get. Regardless of the term period you get though, unless you have millions to put in these things, don’t bet your retirement on them. It is a good way to start but if you have bigger plans, dreams and wealth you should pass. What you are doing is basically giving the bank money at a low rate so they can lend it to your neighbor for double the rate. Some banks have “rate-climbers”, but even then you are only going to get about the national average. I stayed with the CD until it was mature and then I withdrew. Here is where I made a mistake that I regret. Not knowing too much about investing, I figured that it was a waste of time because I didn’t make very much off of it. So guess what I did? If you said, “Spent it” you are absolutely correct. So one thing that I have learned about investing is that I won’t stick to it unless I see good results. So if you didn’t know anything about CDs I hope I was able to shed some light on them today.