The Introduction to “Cash Flow Your Way to Wealth”


I’m excited to say that my second book, Cash Flow Your Way to Wealth, is fully written and going through the first edit.  It should be coming out in a couple of months.  To give you a taste for what this book will be about, I’ve provided the introduction below.

Introduction

Most people have the opportunity to become wealthy within their lifetimes, just using the income they have from their jobs. The reason that few do is because of the way they handle their money once they earn it, also known as how they setup their cash flow. Their whole lives they setup and maintain the cash flow of a middle class person, or even the cash flow of a poor person. People who will become rich and stay that way have setup the cash flow of a rich person. Even if you were to take all of the wealth accumulated by the wealthy people away, they would be wealthy again in a few years because of the way they have configured their cash flow. Likewise, if you gave the poor or the middle class people a bunch of money, in a few years they would be back where they were again because of the way they setup their cash flow. Knowing how to setup the cash flow of a rich person is the key to becoming wealthy, regardless of your income level.

The term “cash flow” is often used to describe the amount of money passing through your fingers each month, and many people say that the reason they cannot improve their financial place in life is because their cash flow is too small. But your cash flow is also how money flows into, through, and out of your life. This is the definition we’ll use in this book. Everyone has some sort of cash flow, regardless of their income. Even if you don’t deliberately configure and control your cash flow using a cash flow plan, you still have one.

Most people have a cash flow that is exactly balanced – every dollar that comes in goes out. In fact, many people don’t even see their money at all since their checks are direct deposited and their bills are paid automatically. They just know that their lights don’t typically get shut off, so things must be working. The issue with this sort of cash flow, however, is that it is extremely fragile. Any disruption in your income stream will result in the light bills not being paid and your lights being shut off.

The purpose of this book is to help the reader develop a different sort of cash flow. One that causes wealth to be built over time. Very quickly (in less than a year) an individual with this sort of cash flow will be protected from minor disturbances such as a missed paycheck or an unexpected expense like a car repair. Within a few years the same individual will be protected from major disturbances like a job loss with a couple of months spent finding another one. After a couple of decades, financial independence can be built – that magical state where one no longer depends on a job to pay for basic bills and put food on the table. In other words, financial security.

To understand the different kinds of cash flow, picture a large canyon. A water source flows into this canyon from one end. For some people it is a small creek. For others it is a moderate stream. For others it is a raging river.

Many people would see the raging river and think that the individual who owned that canyon would never run out of water. Truth be told, most people we think of as rich do not necessary have a rich-person cash flow, but instead are individuals with a raging water income. These are people who are NBA stars with multi-milllion dollar deals, rock stars, brain surgeons, and Wall Street financiers. They probably drive Lamborghinis and Ferraris, live in huge homes with maybe a servant or two, and are always going on lavish vacations and out to the finest restaurants.

Those in the middle class would have a moderate stream income. Many of them would drive late model cars, but be limited to SUVs and maybe a lessor luxury-brand like a Lexus. They would stilll eat out a lot but usually at the moderately priced chains with perhaps a spurge on a nicer restaurant once in a while. They would have nice homes with large yards and granite counter-tops, but nothing like the mansions owned by the raging water set. While they would not have as much water flowing through their canyons, you would still not expect them to run out of water very easily and expect the stream to always be flowing.

Those in the working class would have a creek flowing into their canyon. It would be steady, but nothing excessive. They would drive older cars, live in modest homes or apartments, and generally need to watch their money carefully to cover everything. At times the creek may slow and even dry up for a period of days. If you were living with a creek income, not being able to afford the things you need would be a concern.

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The truth is, however, that all of these individuals are equally vulnerable. All of the water flowing into the canyon flows right back out. Even for the individuals with the raging river income like a movie star, if there is a disruption in the flow of water coming into the canyon – like if someone builds a dam upstream (a job loss or an injury), they could very quickly be in trouble.

Now picture the same canyon with the same water source flowing into it, but now place an earthen dam at the downstream end. Now the water does not all flow out instantly – water starts to rise in the canyon, forming a small pond, then a small lake. Obviously the water level would rise a lot faster for the individuals with a raging river flowing into their canyons, but even those with just a creek would see water building up over time.

Now, these individuals are protected somewhat from an interruption in their income stream. When the water stops flowing for a period of time, depending on how far their canyon had filled with water before the interruption, they would have some buffer before they ran out of water. The amount of time they had would depend on how many holes they had in their dam – how many expenses they had each month.

Individuals who become wealthy – truly wealthy – build dams at the end of their canyons. They also limit the number of holes in their dams and work to increase the water source coming into their canyons. In fact they build additional feeder streams into their canyons, called assets, that build upon themselves to increase the flow over time This causes their canyons to fill with water and become large lakes from which they can draw and never worry about running out of water because of the feeder streams replenishing any water that they remove.

In this book you’ll learn how to manage your cash flow to build a dam at the end of your canyon. You’ll learn how to increase your income by adding feeder streams, assets, that will increase how much water is flowing into your canyon. You’ll learn the investments that you must make to pay for important things like retirement. And then you’ll learn how to set yourself up to never need to worry about money again. It all starts and ends with a cash flow plan.

 

Have a question?  Please leave it in a comment.  Follow me on Twitter to get news about new articles and find out what I’m investing in. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice.  It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA.  All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

The Conservative’s Welfare Plan


Let’s face it – welfare just isn’t working.  There is a lot of money being spent, but a lot of it is being wasted, to the point that kids are showing up at school hungry despite all of the food assistance money being sent to their households.  The issue is the same one that is always seen when you try to run something through central planning – those setting up the program don’t have the ability or the time to customize it for every person or region, so they create something that really doesn’t work for everyone.  In addition, the power created through centralization leads to fraud and abuse.  We need a better way to do welfare.

 

Some people are incapable of taking care of themselves and therefore need to be handed food, clothing, shelter, etc….  Others could take care of themselves but choose to game the system instead, taking resources from those who really need help (for example, those who abuse Medicaid to abuse prescription pain medications, making it more difficult for those who need the medications to get treatment) .  Rather than a check in the mail or an Obamaphone, many people really need a firm but caring “no” and perhaps an offer of something like a job or job training to get them back on track and being productive (and happier in the long run).  Some parents are struggling and sacrificing for their children and just need a little help to make ends meet, but others just ignore the children and spend all of the money on themselves.  Others have addictions, where giving them money just helps buy the next shot of heroin or fifth of whiskey.  A centralized program, with an army of government workers who quickly have any desire to change the system beaten out of them, gives you what we have:  fraud, waste, abuse, and a lot of hoops for those who really need help to jump through.

              

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The Conservative’s welfare program would rely on free-enterprise.   There would be a plethora of well-funded local groups that provide food, shelter, job training, and other assistance to those in need.  Because they were local, they could learn who really needs help and what kind of help is needed, be it a sandwich or a connection to a next job.  These groups would compete for donations by showing the good works they were doing.  Those who were effective at meeting needs would grow and receive more donations.  Those who were wasteful and ineffective would go out-of-business.  People could decide what was needed and direct their donations there.  If something got over-funded, to the point people for the charity were building palatial offices, people would donate somewhere else.

The issue with going to such a system is converting from what we have now.  Because people are already having a good portion of their tax dollars, on the order of 50%, going to welfare, it would be difficult for them to give additional money to charities (although a lot of them do).  It is also difficult to eliminate existing programs in order to cut taxes to allow for more private giving because there are always tragic cases for those that want to keep the power in Washington to parade in front of the cameras.  Luckily, there is a simple solution, and it would require very little effort.


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Here’s the plan:

Allow individuals to deduct their contributions to charities that provide services that replace government programs (food, shelter, job training, clothing, health care, etc…) directly from their taxes, dollar-for-dollar, up to 10% of their income.  Then, as the needs in different areas are met by private charities, discontinue the government programs, keeping them in place in areas where the needs are not met. 

Here’s why this would work:  

Right now, individuals are taxed, their money taken to Washington.  Washington bureaucrats making high six-figure incomes then hire an army of civil servants making high five-figure incomes to disperse the money they collect to programs such as food stamps and section-8 housing/HUD.  A lot of the money collected is lost in the process, plus the money is not distributed efficiently, resulting in bad results and/or an enormous cost.

By allowing individuals to give the money directly, which they would do if given the choice of giving it to causes they believe in or sending it off to Washington, groups that meet the needs of the poor and disadvantaged would be funded.  Because more money would be available, more groups would be developed and compete for funding by trying to do the most good at the least cost.  By limiting the amount that could be given, there would still be funding for things like Defense and essential government processes.

Advantages:

  • There would be more money available for the needy since there would be less waste.  Wasteful charities would change their ways or go out-of-business as more efficient competitors emerged.
  • People would be helped locally, meaning the charities would be designed to meet their needs, rather than some global need.  We’d see things like families being provided directly with food that met their dietary requirements rather than a check being sent to the home that gets spent on cigarettes and lottery tickets.
  • There would be enough different groups and people working within those groups to determine how to best meet the needs of those around them and actually improve society.  Imagine the minds who create things like the smart phone and FaceBook working on addressing the needs of society!
  • Needs currently not being met would be addressed as individuals looked for new charities to start once the space for things like food and housing became crowded.  Maybe there would be groups who drive people to job interviews or help those who are victims of crime right after they are robbed or assaulted.
  • Taxes could be lowered as needs were addressed more efficiently.
  • Those who are able to take care of themselves would be transitioned into productive members of society with an income, which in turn would further reduce the burden on those currently paying for welfare.  It would also bring pride back to people, which could change futures and neighborhoods.
  • Payers would feel good about their donations rather than feeling bad about needing to pay taxes.  There might be less tax-cheating.


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So in the end, we would all pay less in taxes, there would be more people working and producing things, which would make society wealthier, people would be seeing their needs met more efficiently and with less red-tape, and we would end the cycle of poverty, bringing pride to individuals.  If this sounds good, forward a link to this post to a friend or your FaceBook page.  Then, write your Congressman and your local newspaper.  We can make society better if we all work together for change.

Follow me on Twitter to get news about new articles and find out what I’m investing in. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice.  It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA.  All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

Finding the Right Stocks to Invest in


When I wrote and published the SmallIvy Book of Investing: Book1: Investing to Grow Wealthy, I covered a lot of the information on how to invest, including what the different types of assets are (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, warrants, LEAPs, REITs, and options) and what the risks are when you purchase these assets.  It also covers how to use investing, along with management of your money from work, to grow wealthy and have a good chance of becoming financially independent by the time you are in your mid to late forties, assuming that you start right out of college (or even in high school).


 

A question I would often get, however, is:

How do I find stocks to invest in?

To answer that question, let’s take a look at the type of company that you want to invest in, assuming you’re following the advice in  the SmallIvy Book of Investing: Book1: Investing to Grow Wealthy and buying great companies and planning to hold them for a long time.  If you’re instead planning to trade stocks – trying to time the market or find stocks to hold for a short period of time – I wish you the best of luck, because I think you’ll need it.  After several years of trying to do the same thing, I learned that I would have gotten a better return just investing in index mutual funds.  (See, for example, Bogle On Mutual Funds: New Perspectives For The Intelligent Investor (Wiley Investment Classics) to learn about this very sound investing method).  The way to have a chance to outperform the markets with individual stocks is to find great, growing companies and then plan on holding them of a long time, through good times and bad.

If the Loveless Cafe, near Nashville, TN were a publicly traded company, that would be the kind of stock you would want to own.  They have a top-quality product (fantastic southern food in a unique atmosphere) with few real competitors in the area.  They are fortunate in that a lot of people think they can cook and open southern-style restaurants, but most of them can’t cook.  Those who become chefs end up cooking fancier fare and also tend to open places in the bigger cities rather than out in the country, and therefore don’t compete. For more information on The Loveless Cafe, check out Meet Me at the Loveless or one of the other books below (just click on the image).

Part of the charm of the place is the location – it is just on the side of the road in what used to be a motel.  It is close enough to Nashville that people visiting the Music City can head out there for dinner after a day shopping and seeing the sites in Nashville, but it is remote enough to be memorable.  The remoteness also helps in that if you want a snack or a drink while you’re there, you almost need to pay the high prices they charge in the stores surrounding the restaurant since they have an effective monopoly.  (In actuality, there is a gas station with a store right next door, but they keep it hidden from sight on the property with hedges and such – smart.)  Having a lot of available free parking, to me at least, also is a draw.

More than just being a country diner, The Loveless Cafe is a name and a destination.  They can sell shirts, bags, and hoodies with their logo plastered across the front and people will pay high prices to buy them.  Think about that – owning a business where people from all over the world will pay you to advertise for you!  Few other restaurants have been able to accomplish this feat  Some examples include The Hard Rock Cafes, Planet Hollywood, and Joe’s Crab Shack.  There are other restaurants that are successful, but no one is going to pay to wear their logo.  In fact, most people probably wouldn’t wear something with their logo even if it were given to them.  Would you wear a shirt advertising Red Lobster, The Olive Garden, or Outback Steakhouse?  These are all great restaurants, but they are not destinations and tourist attractions in their own right.

As it stands today, The Loveless Cafe would not be a good investment as a SmallIvy, grow wealthy over time through growth, stock.  It would be a great income investment since I’m sure that the restaurant generates a ton of cash each year.  Even though their prices are very reasonable in the restaurant (not so much in the gift shops surrounding the restaurant), they pack people in every night from opening to closing.  The issue is that they currently don’t seem to have a plan to grow – they are happy just doing what they are doing in one location.  A great growth stock requires that the profit the make each year increases – not just that they do a lot of business.

The amount of income you produce is proportional to the number of people who you serve.  If the Loveless Cafe were to be sold to a family or a corporation who desired to expand operations, opening additional locations and also expanding the lines of products they sell directly to consumers off-of-the-web, they would then be instantly transformed into a great growth company.  So that is what you need to look for when selecting a company:

  1.  Find a great brand with few real competitions, at least in the same class of the company.
  2. Make sure the company has the ability to expand.
  3. Make sure that the company has good management. (Just look at their track record.  If they have had the ability to steadily grow the business each year while taking on a reasonable amount of debt, if any, they are good managers.)

Have a question?  Please leave it in a comment.  Follow me on Twitter to get news about new articles and find out what I’m investing in. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice.  It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA.  All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

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