A peak at what the new nickel will look like:
You may not be a Bill Gates, but where exactly do you rank in the world when it comes to your income? The Global Rich List gives you a chance to find out. You may be surprised to find out how well off you really are.
I came well within the top 1% of the world and I would not consider my income extraordinary. Now I’m sure that I would rank much further down if the comparison was just for the US, but it does show that we are a lot luckier than we often take the time to consider.
Now I would never suggest that this should make you satisfied so that you can ignore your personal finances. So while you’re at it, you can also see how long it will take you to become a millionaire to get you motivation to be financially secure into high gear.
I wrote a few days back about lending money to friends and the approach I take. I came across a fairly straight forward article about how you should approach this issue if you are on the other side: ie if need to borrow money.
I especially liked this advice:
Make an appointment to discuss your request privately. When you do meet, state your case in a businesslike manner, not emotionally. No tears. No crying. No desperate pleas. Explain why you need the money, how much you need and for how long. Spell out where the rest of the money to buy your house is coming from. And, make it very clear that you will pay interest.
While I still will only lend money never expecting to get it back, I would feel much more comfortable lending it to someone who has taken the time to thoroughly think through the situation and why they need the money.
The post office is saying that postage stamps will likely increase again in 2007 (they are already set to increase to $0.39 next year) because in increased operating costs from gasoline price increases.
The truth is that I rarely use the mail anymore except for when selling items on eBay. 99% of my correspondences with family and friends are done through email. All of my bills are paid through automatic bank withdrawals. As I sit here writing this, I’m trying to think when the last time i wrote a letter was and can’t.
The one big exception is for items I send through the mail from eBay auctions and the cost of mailing can get expensive there, but since it is the buyer and not me that covers that cost, it isn’t an issue. Although a lot of people don’t seem to realize this, if you do use a lot of postage stamps, it is possible to get stamps at below face value.
If you haven’t looked into direct bill pay through your bank or credit union, it’s worth a look. You should be able to find a way to get it for free if you look around and switch to email when possible. We started sending out holiday wishes by email instead of snail mail a few years ago and that lopped over $50 off our holiday expenses.
I have always had a simple policy when it comes to lending money to friends. Any money I lend I never expect to see back. I give it and leave it at that. If the person happens to pay the money back, then that’s a bonus. I feel that this ensures that the friendship will never be affected by the money.
At one point I had my best friend from college ask me for a loan. Just knowing him I know it must have been a difficult thing for him to do and I decided that I would give him the money with no strings attached. He was making his way through medical school and had already maxed his credit on student loans. He just didn’t have any other place to get the money in a short period of time and so he turned to me.
He said he was willing to pay any interest on the loan. Instead of asking for interest, I said that all I expect is that when he became a doctor and a patient came to him and for whatever reason couldn’t pay, he should find a way to help them out. That was the “interest” for the loan.
The money was given about 10 years ago and it was never a subject that came up during that time ( a testament that my lending money to friends rules work well for me).
Then I received a letter from him that shows that many times when you do something good for someone, it comes back to repay for itself many times over. Here is the letter I received:
Many years ago I was in a financial “pickle”…as part of our agreement, I have been engaged in volunteer and philanthropic activities. Most notable is my involvement with two Foundations as a member of their Board of Directors. both Mile for Miracles Foundation and Kelsey’s Kids Foundation serve children in Colorado. They were started because both of these children had leukemia and they are patients of mine. Although the initial intent of the foundations was to be charitable for causes that are focused on childhood cancer, I have convinced the respective Boards that they should reach deeper. So now we have a multi-dimensional approach.
We provide funds for the education of fellows of Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, provide unrestricted funds for patient care to the Center of Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Children’s Hospital of Denver, fund under-insured patience, donate funds for unrestricted use to the Foundation of the Children’s Hospital, and most importantly require that a fixed percentage of each Foundation’s assets be dedicated to the communities that these children live in. To all of these goals we have so far been successful and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for these purposes. Again, I can not emphasize how much you made this a reality.
I don’t know if there is a “correct” way to lend money to friends, but i think it’s important to come up with a plan that you feel comfortable with that won’t affect your friendship. If you can do this, you’ll find that when you do help others out, your help may go on to make a much bigger difference to a lot of others down the line.
I just found out I was quoted in Budget Living Magazine in their October 2005 issue (page 70) for a story about saving money on groceries. The article title is Browse The Aisles and Bag $168 which gives shopping tips to save money. Although I was interviewed on a lot of different subjects, the only one they used a quote directly from me was a tip on shopping at farmer markets – shop the hour before the farmer’s markets close . Since most of the farmers have no desire to take home the produce they brought to sell, they will discount quite a bit if they have left overs.