Branch Out Into the World of Forex

forex“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This nugget of financial wisdom has been around forever and we’ve all heard it at some point. While we’ve all listened to this mantra and generally accept its validity, do we actually put it into practice? Most people think they’re diversifying by purchasing a handful of unrelated stocks and throwing a few bonds into their portfolio for good measure. Many choose to buy shares of a mutual fund and leave the diversification up to the pros. Although this does diversify your investments to an extent, are you really protecting your money from that “perfect storm” that could wreak havoc on your financial well-being?

If you truly want to diversify your holdings and protect your money to the best of your ability, you’re going to have to explore a few alternative forms of investment. This does not mean that I’m advocating taking your retirement money down to the track and betting it on a horse with 100:1 odds. However, if you think your portfolio is diversified by putting your money into various domestic markets, you might be kidding yourself.

When the stock market declines in value rapidly, it may not matter how unrelated your stock holdings are. They might all lose significant value at once. One option that I think you should consider is investing a portion of your money into the foreign exchange market. It provides you with the opportunity to add an uncorrelated element to your portfolio that is not directly tied to the fortunes of any single stock market or economy.


What is the Foreign Exchange Market?

The foreign exchange market, or “Forex,” as its known, is actually the biggest financial market in the world. Over $4 trillion changes hands in this market every weekday. Of course, most of that is traded between large investment banks, but it involves regular investors as well.

In Forex, you’re not buying stocks or commodities or baseball cards. You’re actually buying lots of money. That’s right. You’re trading cold, hard cash. What could be a better investment than money, right? In reality, it’s not that simple, but you get the idea.

When you place a trade in the Forex market, you’re actuallly working with a pair of currencies. Forex brokers combine them together to form currency pairs. For example, a commonly offered currency pair in the market is the Euro/United States Dollar pair or the EUR/USD. Every time you place a trade, you are actually simultaneously buying one currency and selling another. In the example of the EUR/USD pair, if you place a buy order, you’re buying the Euro and selling the Dollar.

So why would you buy one currency and sell the other? You’re hoping the first currency in the pair moves in the direction of your trade. If you buy the EUR/USD, you’re actually hoping that the Euro rises in value as compared to the Dollar. If it does, you’re a winner. If it doesn’t…well, you get the idea.


Low Barriers to Entry

One of the benefits of getting involved in Forex is that it has relatively low barriers to entry. This isn’t like that hedge fund that you couldn’t get into because you didn’t have a net worth of $1 million. Many Forex brokers will let you open an account for $100 or less. Although you probably won’t make much money with a $100 deposit, you could get started trading. Most real traders start with somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000. If you’re looking for another investment to add to your portfolio, you probably only want to invest a percentage of your available funds anyway. This gives you an easy place to start.



Another potentially nice thing about Forex is that traders get to use leverage. Since exchange rates between currencies only move ever so slightly over time, it takes a large investment to realize any significant profits. A standard lot of currency is $100,000 when you place a trade. This means that you’ll either need $100,000 for every lot you trade or you’ll need to trade with leverage. In the US, traders can trade with leverage up to 50:1. Traders outside the US can find brokers that offer leverage up to 500:1. This means that you only have to put up a very small amount of your own money to take a trade.

If you’re familiar with trading on margin in the stock market, this is not the same thing. With a margin account, you’re actually borrowing money to trade and if you lose, you have to come up with that money to pay back your broker. In Forex, brokers simply close out the trade when your account balance gets to the minimum margin requirement. If you only put up $2,000, you’re not going to have to come up with $98,000 if you lose your trade. You just lose your investment amount.


Skip the Commissions

If you’ve ever traded in the stock market, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “Why am I paying this outrageous commission to the broker for doing nothing?” If so, you’re probably going to appreciate Forex. When trading with a foreign exchange broker, you typically don’t have to pay commissions. Brokers are paid by collecting the “spread” or the difference between the bid and the ask price on a trade. Although the broker still gets paid, it’s not quite as painful as forking over a commission every time you trade.


Should You Try It?

I’m not going to lie and say that everyone’s going to love trading currencies. It’s not for everyone and it does carry with it some risk. Leverage is a double-edged sword that makes every swing in the market that much more painful when you pick the wrong direction on a trade. With that being said, it can be highly profitable if you figure out how to trade and it also gives you a way to diversify your portfolio. If the stock market crashes, you could actually profit from it by purchasing other currencies as your own currency declines in value.

Before you try it, you’ll need to learn a profitable trading strategy and understand how the market works. If you’re already a stock trader, you should have no trouble picking up the technical aspects of the process. Once you’ve done your homework, you should also open a demo account with the broker of your choice. This makes it possible for you to trade with “Monopoly money” until you feel comfortable.

After you’re more than comfortable with your new trading strategy, open an account and start trading. If you like it, you’ve found yourself a new avenue for earning returns. If you don’t, at least can tell your significant other you didn’t blow your money at the track.

(Luke Arthur is a writer and financial blogger with a Bachelor’s degree in business from Missouri State University . He has written for many financial publications and published a book “Modern Day Parables” which is available on He is the owner of Forex Trading Rookie which helps beginners navigate the foreign exchange market.)

Insights from the Bible on the Redistribution of Wealth

redistribution of wealthThere are, it seems, two sides to this question:

  1. what is the responsibility of the individual, and
  2. what is the responsibility of the state?

I don’t think anyone would argue the idea that, as individuals, we have a responsibility to take care of the less fortunateâ”the Bible, both Old and New Testamentsâ”make it clear that we do. Strictly speaking though, this is about sharing wealth, not about redistributing it according to some formula. So let’s say that the question of redistribution of wealth as an individual responsibility is a moot point. We’re required to provide for the less fortunate, but it isn’t redistribution in any sense of the term.

That leaves us with one open question: does the Bible call us to engage in the redistribution of wealth through the apparatus of the state?

This is actually a more complex question than it seems at first glance, and I’ll tip my hand up front and make the following assertions:

  1. There is no directive in the Bible for the state to engage in redistribution of wealth (other than, loosely, the titheâ”which we’ll get to shortly), BUT
  2. We are required to do what the authorities (a.k.a., the state) command of us.

This makes the answer yes AND noâ”but mostly yes. Why do I feel this way?

Let’s tackle the no❠portion of my assumption, just to get it out of the way.


Biblical directives to Israel were for Israel, not the modern nation-state

There’s a wide division among Christians on this point. Some believe that the commands God gave to Biblical Israel are immutable for all nations for all times, while othersâ”like meâ”don’t believe this to be true.

Biblical Israel was established by God to eventually carry out his plan of salvation for all the world through Jesus Christ. This gave Biblical Israel a special status, but not a universal one. Israel was not only a nation, but it also functioned as a theocracy where there was no separation between the clergy (Levites) and the political class. That hardly describes modern, pluralistic nations such as the United States or Canada.

In any event, the closest we come to redistribution of wealth by the state❠is the Old Testament tithe. In Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, we have the tithe established by God to fund three purposes: an income for the clergy, funding for religious festivals and for â¦the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.ââ”Deuteronomy 26:12.

We can take that last part and say that it justifies redistribution of wealth by the state, but that’s a real stretch. The tithe was commanded for the purpose of glorifying God, and it was food–the most basic provisionâ”that was to be provided to the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow❠who were in the midst of the people of God. This is vastly different than the modern welfare state that redistributes wealth in the form of direct cash (to be spent at the discretion of the recipient).

Also, consider that the political-type redistribution of today is facilitated by modern states which go to some length to separate themselves from God. In case there’s any question as to the transferability of the things of God to the secular state, Jesus provides a clear separation:

âRender therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.ââ”Luke 20:25

There’s no conclusive Biblical support for redistribution of wealth as it’s practiced by modern governments that are divorced from God.

But that’s not the end of the story; here’s where we clarify the ambiguous, but all-important, no, but yes❠part of the equationâ¦


We are SPECIFICALLY directed to obey the civil authorities

Take another look at Luke 20:25 above. Note that Jesus doesn’t tell us to do one and neglect the other–he tells us to render to both God and Caesar what is due each! Thus we have a personal, God-given responsibility to the less fortunate, PLUS that which is required by the civil authorities.

Want more proof?

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by Godâ¦Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.ââ”Romans 13:1 & 5

Peter gives even more specific guidance.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.ââ”1 Peter 2:13-14

If we’re looking for Biblical permission to resist the governing authorities, we’re not going to find it, not at least as it relates to redistribution of wealth.

Government has largely taken over what we might loosely call charity❠and turned it into the wholesale redistribution of wealth, no argument there. But this is a civil, social, philosophical, legal and political debate for sureâ”but it isn’t a faith based argument. If it is to be changed, that must happen at the voting booth, through the legislative process or through the courts, and until that happens we’re commanded to comply.


Personal observations and thoughtsâ¦

Technically speaking, any transfer of money from productive populations to non-productive ones is redistribution of wealth. The argument then should also extend to Social Security, Medicare, corporate welfare, industry subsidies, tax breaks, foreign aidâ”virtually anywhere money is taken from one person or entity and given to others. It’s clear that current government redistribution has moved well beyond caring for widows and orphans❠and shows unmistakable signs of political preference.

We can try to bring about change through the political and legal systems we have, but as for looking to Biblical justification to say that participating somehow puts us at odds with Biblical laws or doctrines isn’t supported.

For what it’s worth, I haven’t arrived at this conclusion lightly. I confess to being a Libertarian, and the whole idea of redistribution of wealth runs against everything I believe from a non-faith perspective. However, everything we believeâ”our personal preferences, our behavior and even our politicsâ”must be subject to our faith and not the other way around. Any time we try to wrap the faith around our preferred doctrines, we’re in danger of following a false gospel.

What are your thoughts? What do you think the Bible says about redistribution of wealth? Can you find Scripture that supports a different conclusion?

Root of Riches Review With Book + $350 Giveaway!

root of richesRoot of Riches.  Pretty catchy title isn’t it?  I know it caught my attention!

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Chuck Bentley, the author of Root of Riches.  Chuck is also the CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, an organization with a mission to touch people’s lives through the combination of personal finance and Biblical principles.

Before we get too deep into this review, I just want to say how big of an impact Root of Riches made on my life.  It has transformed the way I look at finances and has shed some much needed light on scripture related to money.  Because of this book, I know see the world differently and see money differently.

If you’re looking for a way to get involved with Crown, they have an awesome blog as well as Facebook community.  I highly encourage you to check Crown Financial ministries out and get plugged into their resources.


Book Give-Away and Free Budgeting Credits!

I support what Crown is doing so much that I’m willing to give away a brand new copy of the book with over $350 worth of Mvelope budgeting credits!  I hope this goes to someone that could use the help with a great budgeting resource.  OK, so how do you enter?  You have four options!

-Subscribe to my email list by going here (you will get my free 7 day e-course on how to retire a millionaire!)

-Become a fan on my Facebook page

-Follow me on Twitter

-Join my Linkedin group “Personal Finance For Everyone”


Remember, whatever you do, make sure you comment below this article and let me now what you did!  Each action will get you one point for a maximum of 4 points!  Good luck and may the best reader win!


Now the review!

(FYI, I was not compensated for this review.)

Boy, was I challenged reading Root of Riches!  Chuck doesn’t hold back in this book and I felt as if he was sitting next to me asking me if I was going to apply what I just learned!  It’s especially convicting when Chuck’s words are grounded in scripture.  It’s so easy to write someone off if they are only talking from experiences in their life.  Chuck sticks to the Bible and does not go on a detour.

At the core, Root of Riches is about just that: roots!  Chuck has created this fantastic visual of a tree and the roots below in the soil.  He goes on to explain how there are two types of tress with two very different types of roots.  One is the “me tree” and other is a “he tree.”


Me Tree, He Tree

Chuck’s definition of a “me tree”:

-Focus is on earthly treasures

-Roots have not been redeemed

-Worldly belief system void of Jesus

-Selfish and out for itself


Chuck’s definition of a “he tree”:

-Redeemed through Christ

-Has a heavenly worldview

-Outpouring of good fruit

-Jesus is at its core


Complete Transformation

Yes, did you know that God compares us to trees in the Bible?  It goes back all the way to the garden of Eden.  There was the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  One was amazing and pure,  while  the other  brought  despair and destruction.  Jesus later compares us to trees again and tells his disciples that they need to be producing good fruit.  The two trees share a bodily similarity but are extremely different at the core.

It doesn’t stop there though.  Chuck keeps going and encourages the reader to dig deeper, down to the “roots.”  Chuck explains that we should be completely transformed by God, seeing the world through a brand new set of eyes.  No longer should our desire be to get rich, but it should be to help others instead.  Chuck also talks about how “true riches” are not the fancy cars and big houses.  True riches are things like worshiping the Lord, serving in the church, sharing the gospel, and the blessings of family.  With Jesus at the core, it doesn’t matter how big your bank account is!


Non-Negotiable Pillars

To sum up his writing and not write a 2,000+ page book, Chuck introduces the reader to three non-negotiable points that every human needs to live by.


1. I accept that both the cause and the solution to my money problems lie within my own heart.

Chuck brings up a great point about 1 Timothy 6:10, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”  Chuck explains that that verse is centered around the word love, not money.  This is an interesting take-away.  We should have transformed hearts and tackle money problems at the heart level.  If we are in love with these things of this world, we will never be truly rich in the Lord’s eyes.  This is huge and ground breaking for me personally.  I take scripture at face value sometimes and don’t dig deep enough.


2. I must align my beliefs with God’s Word to produce behaviors that will make me truly rich.  

It call comes down to our belief system.  We can have positive behavioral change according to Chuck but true transformation can’t happen unless our fundamental belief system changes.  Oftentimes you may wonder how other Christians are cheerful givers.  Chuck encourages you to look deep inside your heart and do some introspective meditation.  Cheerful gives really believe God’s word and it becomes something they “get” to do.  Once you align your beliefs with God’s Word,  generous  giving and  generous  living ill start to flow naturally.  Chuck drives home this message.


3.    I must act upon and apply spiritual truth in order to receive true riches.

Chuck brings up a great verse for this non-negotiable, “Now that you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” from John 13:17.  Chuck encourages everyone to stop treating the Word like a self-help book and more of a heart changer.  Chuck goes on to say that the more we act on spiritual truth, God will reveal himself more and more.  Yet, this does not mean financial riches specifically.  Again, remember, true riches might not be physical.  We should shift our focus toward heavenly riches and know that any type of financial pain here on Earth is nothing to worry about and that we have so much more to look forward to in the Lord’s presence in Heaven.

After reading Root of Riches, I came away with one overarching theme: our life is destined for ruin if we live it for ourselves.  God wants us to recognize that we need Him first and need Him far more than earthly riches. This will stick with me for the remaining of my life and is just one example of how this book has changed the way I look at finances.

To end this book review, I’d like to showcase an info graphic from Crown Ministries that I found to be very interesting.  Check it out!

root of riches


Hit up Amazon here to grab your copy today!  If you have read Root of Riches already, please comment below with your thoughts, I wanna hear from you!

How Safe is Spread Betting?

spread bettingIn the current financial times we live in there are people looking for various ways to make money, some are safe, some are dangerous, and some are just a waste of time!

One of the alternatives that you may not have considered is spread betting, which can see you gain great returns on your investments, or conversely massive losses.

This is why you need to make sure you do your research before you begin to invest in such a method to make money, because if you don’t there is a chance that you will lose more money that you hoped for, and see the money that you wanted to save disappear before your eyes.


What does spread betting offer?

Spread betting is essentially betting on the stock and shares markets. Therefore you are making the same moves as someone who has actually invested in stocks and shares without actually buying them. So if you have always wanted shares in that top company, for example Apple, then you can actually find a way of getting rewards from their shares, without actually holding any of them.

At the same time, â˜investing’ in these shares will not cost as much as actually trying to find some to buy, so you can benefit from any increase, or suffer from any decrease in value, but, at the same time, spend less of your savings and investments on the stock. This means that you can control your investments completely even at a low level, and try and see returns. Obviously betting on stock market changes can be extremely risky, and you need to make sure you know what you are doing before you commit to investing your money.

That being said, if you manage to pick the right stocks you will see good returns on your spread betting activities, much the same as if you were investing on the normal stock market.


Is it actually safe then?

So is spread betting safe? Realistically it is only as safe as you make it. If you decide to invest in a spread betting firm, and begin to see which stocks appeal to you, there are limits you can set. You can set a limit on the amount of money you make before you take your investments out, and you can also set a limit on the amount of money you lose before your investment ends.

This means that you do have ultimate control, just in case the markets collapse. Whilst this gives you slightly more freedom than investing on the stock market, it is important to remember that you should not get carried away, at the end of the day the stock markets are an extremely liquid market and a bad day can lead to huge losses. On the other hand you could have a great day and see huge profits, it’s just about playing the right cards at the right time, and to do that you need to make sure that you do a lot of research on the market you intend to bet on.

(This article is written by James who has a strong interest in different investment techniques, including spread betting. He believes it is important to manage investments appropriately and advises you check the various spread betting firms before beginning to bet on the markets.)

Get $150 in Bonus Cash for the Holidays with the Discover More Card

discover more card Well, it’s that time of year again.  That time when credit card companies offer amazing sign-up bonuses just in time for the holidays.  The Discover More card is one of those examples. This is a card everyone should have in their wallet.  With 5% cash back in rotating categories, it’s a card out to impress!

In an effort to help people ease the burden of holiday shopping, Discover is offering a limited time bonus of $150 in cash just for singing up for their Discover More card.  When will you receive this bonus?  It’s easy; all you have to do is spend $1,000 during the first three months of ownership and you’ll get $150 transferred to your account automatically.  How sweet is that?

Discover decided to sweeten up the pot a little bit and throw in something special in case the bonus cash wasn’t enough.  Right now when you open this card, you’ll get 2% cash back on all Amazon purchases during the first billing period.  This is an awesome perk during the holidays.  Why not get cash back on presents you were planning on buying anyways?


What Discover More Has to Offer

5% cash back bonus– Discover offers this program to the credit card user’s benefit.  They have various rotating categories.  From January to March is travel and restaurants.  From April to June is home and fashion.  June is groceries.  July to September is gas, hotels, movies, and theme parks. Lastly, October to December is restaurants and fashion.  Discover is great about reminidng you to sign up for each rotating category when it changes, so no worries there.

Discover online shopping mall– During the upcoming holidays, you may want to head on over to ShopDiscover, Discover’s online shopping mall.  When you use your Discover card through their online mall, you can receive up to 20% cash back from various vendors.  This may be a great option if you can buy your gifts online vs. going to the store.

Gift cards are king– For some reason, Discover gives you more value in terms of benefits with their gift card cash back.  Instead of receiving cash, you can opt to receive gift cards.  You will have plenty of vendors to choose from and you may find this to be a better value in the end.


Discover More Card Positives

0% APR for six months– This applies to both purchases and transfers.  After the six months is up, the APR will go back to a rate between 11.99% and 20.99%.

No annual fee– This is an added benefit!  This makes the Discover More card an excellent choice for every day consumers during this holiday season.  Combine a $150 bonus, zero interest for six months, and no annual fee, this card is begging to be placed in your wallet.

World class customer service– A reason I recommend Discover over Chase is because Discover offers real people to talk to and is known for their stellar customer service.  I don;t know about you but I hate talking to machines.

Zero fraud liability– No need to worry if you lose your card or it gets stolen, because the Discover More card offers zero fraud liability.  Basically, Discover will reimburses you for any purchases that you didn’t make.  No need for backup documentation, Discover will take your word for it.


Discover More Card Negatives

Foreign transaction fees– This may or may not apply to you depending on how much you travel.  You will be charged a 2% fee when you spend money in a foreign country.  Just be aware of this when you open the Discover More card.

Lost reward points if account is closed– You’ll need to keep your account open if you want to spend your rewards points.  They disappear the moment you close your card.


Discover More Card a Must Have

I highly recommend that open a Discover More card.  With $150 in bonus cash, it just makes sense during this holiday season.  With great features and customer service, this card is a winner.  It’s important to note that this bonus cash is a limited time offer, so you’ll want to jump on this opportunity as soon as you can.

You can visit the Discover application page for the More card by going here.

How the Financial Meltdown has Changed all the Rulesâ”or Should Have

financial meltdownBut godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.ââ”1 Timothy 6:7-10 (Emphasis added)

Four years after it began, we still find ourselves mired in some level of the Financial Meltdown. We’re all sitting around waiting for politicians, economists and industry leaders to fix what’s broken in the economy, but have you noticed that doesn’t seem to be working? Maybe it’s time for us to get busy. And since we have the handbookââ”the Bibleâ”perhaps as Christians we need to take the lead.

Part of the reason that our leaders have been unable to fix the economy is purely because of the enormity of the problem. As much as we want to pin the blame for the mess on politicians, in truth the causes are so deeply rooted in our culture that fixing them defies easy solutions.

So where do we start?


It starts with money

I believe that we need to change our views and opinions of money, and align them with what we read in the Bible. Most of us are unaware that the traditional role of money has changed completely in just the past few decades.

In its essence, money is a medium of exchange. It’s used to facilitate trade between people and businesses and because it carries a standard value, it’s more efficient than barter. So far, so good.

But here’s the problem⦠In today’s economy, money is no longer just a medium of exchangeâ”it’s become an asset unto itself. We still use it to trade, but it’s become something much more. Success is now defined as earning, acquiring, preserving and growing as much money as possible. The end game is no longer to produce as much food, fish, minerals, shoes or widgets as possible, but to earn as much money as possible!

That’s a game changer, and it has a lot to do with the mess we’re in. Money manipulation has become more important than building a better mousetrap!


Money as wealthâ

What is it you think about when you see or hear the word wealth� From Biblical times up until about the end of the 19th Century this might have invoked visions of vast acres of rich farmland, a forest full of timber waiting to be cut, large catches of fish, coal mines or perhaps a thriving family business.

Do you notice something about each of these? They all refer to something tangible, something that’s being produced. Wealth was measured by what you added to the economy and community.

How do we see wealth today? Stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, money markets, cash. Notice something about these? None of them are tangibleâ”they’re all paper. Stocks represent a share of ownership; they’re the way we own- and trade ownership in- the means of production, but are not means of production in themselves. All the rest are debt securities, which is to say that they represent a promise to pay, but nothing tangible.

The one possible wealth exception we have today, the one that actually represents something tangible, is real estate. But in the modern world there’s a caveat even with this. So much real estate has been purchased with debt (mortgagesâ) that’s often so large that the owner has little or no equity. Many property owners today are even in negative equity situations, owing more on their mortgages than their property is worth.

Wealth today is measured not in units of production as in days of old, but by the accumulation of pieces of paper.


Detaching money from the real economy

Here’s where we get to the root of the problem. Back when people grew, built, fixed or produced things for a living, there was a clear connection between being productive and earning a living. With the rise of money as a commodity in itselfâ”as the end game everyone now chasesâ”we’re now detached from actual production. Think about how many people work in money-related businesses, as compared to farming, manufacturing or the skilled trades.

The financial meltdown that started in 2007 has been commonly called the Financial Meltdownâ, but have you noticed that no one refers to it as the Economic Meltdownâ? That’s because the failure of what we loosely call the economy❠has been driven almost exclusively by financial factors. Could that possibly have something to do with the fact that in today’s world moneyâ”and all things closely related to itâ”have come to dominate all things economic?

When the ultimate economic goal becomes the creation of ever larger amounts of money, should we be surprised by the explosion of debt, the disappearance of real jobs, and the many Ponzi schemes that have flourished in recent years?

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.ââ”Proverbs 28:19-20


How should Christians react to the financial meltdown?

I believe the time has come for Christians to realign our goals and set our sights on what is lasting. How do we do that? By changing our attitudes toward wealth and what it truly is.

Work. In the financial thinking of today, when we go out to look for a better job❠what we really mean is a better paying job, don’t we? That’s a pure play on money.

But perhaps if instead we sought work that we find fulfilling at a deeper level, money would become less important. Shouldn’t we be seeking our life’s callingâ”the work we’re meant to doâ”rather than just a higher paycheck? Maybe we should be asking ourselves, where can I be most productive?❠That needs to come back into the equation before work can be anything more than another component of the paper chase.

Investing. When we turn our money over to othersâ”mutual funds, investment managers, financial plannersâ”we’re asking them to get us a good return. Do we ever concern ourselves with what it is the money is invested in? We should.

We even seem content to have the money invested in exotic vehicles that we know little about, as if complication and complexity increase our chance at making a killing (they don’t). We need to invest only in what we do understand. How about investing in ourselves, investing in our own business, in the stock of companies that are either producing something tangible or providing a necessary service, in people (charity), or in our churches? Think of it as investing locally, in ventures we’re already familiar with.

Debt. If we could pick one cause to the financial meltdown that stands above all the rest, it’s debt! Culturally, we’ve come to believe that debt is benign, and once we reached that point the end result was inevitable. That needs to change. We don’t need to be borrowing to pay for entertainment, travel and consumer goods. And for those where we do need to borrow, we need to do so more conservatively.

We may need to borrow to buy houses and cars, but when we do we should 1) only buy well within our means, 2) make the largest down payment possible and, 3) take the shortest term we can afford. Paying off a loan (as opposed to rolling into a consolidation loan at a later date) should be a priority, otherwise we lock ourselves on a debt treadmill.

Family, community and church. It’s sad that we no longer think of these as wealthâ, but that’s exactly what they are. It’s equally disturbing that these very institutions that are so critical to basic life have degenerated in the great money chase of the past 50 years.

Family, community and church are the very foundations of civilized life and if we can’t invest our time, effort and money in them, then the quest to earn and amass more money will condemn us to chase that which we will never find.

What do you think that we as Christians should be doing to move the economy in a positive direction? Should we be doing anything at all? Scripture calls us to come out and be differentâ”does this also apply to economic and financial matters?

10 Steps I’m Taking to Become a Millionaire

become a millionaireI’ve seen one too many blogs talk about 5 or 10 steps that people can take to become a millionaire.  Well, I want to do something different and share with you ten steps I’m taking to reach my first million.

Instead of giving you another list of general steps you can take, the steps I’m making are going to be personal and much more specific than what you’re probably expecting.  I really believe that sharing my story and specific events will impact you far greater than a general article about “becoming a millionaire.”

If you want general steps, I highly recommend my 7 day e-course “Retire a Millionaire” (yes, you should subscribe!).  I know not everyone is going to want to know my more specific steps related to my personal life, so this course might be right up your alley.

Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I’m young (23) and have no debt.  These two things alone are on my side.  Now, I’m not saying that if you’re 40 it’s impossible to become a millionaire.  It’s very possible, just much, much harder.

Let’s dig in, here are ten specific decisions I’ve made or plan on making to become a millionaire and retire early:


1. Create Multiple Streams of Income

This one is huge.  Unless you’re a doctor, lawyer, or work in the government, it’s going to be hard for you to become a millionaire.  With salaries freezing, skyrocketing inflation, and a US economy that is headed nowhere, one income is not going to be enough.  I came to realize this living in San Diego.

I make an above average salary and I still feel pinched for money!  All the more reason to be frugal I guess.  However, that’s not the life I want, constantly worrying about the cost of coffee or buying the cheapo toilet paper.  Not me, no thanks!  I’d rather increase my income and live comfortably.

So, what is my second income stream?  Well, this blog of course!  After graduating college, I wanted to start a business that could go with me where-ever I traveled and it had to be something that I was interested in.  A personal finance website just made sense.  Since starting in December of 2010, this site has grown exponentially and it has made a huge impact on my finances.  As the income from this blog grows, the sooner I can retire and the sooner I will be a millionaire.


2. Investing 20% of my Income

Twenty percent might seem high to the average American, but guess what, it’s a reality!  We don’t know what taxes are going to do in the coming years and we don’t know where inflation is headed.  Save tons of money and start saving now.  For me, 20% is a nice chunk of change that I invest regularly through Vanguard.  I also recommend brokers like Options House and Betterment.  Money is automatically taken out of my paycheck so I don’t even think about it.  If you don’t know what automating you finances is, go here for a great resource.

Although I invest a large percentage of my income, don’t be turned off if you can’t do that!  You have to start somewhere.  Whether that is 2% or 7%, start investing now because compound interest is powerful.  Do make it a goal to invest 20% of your income at some point.  You really need to ask yourself how bad you want to retire.  Do you really want to be working the rest of your life?


3. Building up a $10,000 Emergency Fund

I’m half way there and I’ll hit this goal by the end of next year.  Having a hefty emergency fund is critical in times of distress.  If you lose your job, what are you going to do about income?  If your car is totaled, what now?  These are events that are more common than not.  You need an emergency fund to protect yourself from debt during these times.  Avoid debt and making your first million will come easy.


4. Living as a Minimalist

I’ve only been a minimalist for about a year now.  I graduated college and realized I had tons of useless junk and things I kept “just cuz.”  Well I decided to become a minimalist and own very little!  I’m 23 and all my personal belongings still fit in my car!  It really does feel good but I have a feeling that’s going to change when I get married next year haha.

Living as a minimalist will help me avoid unnecessary purchases and free op more of my money for investments.  I’ve already seen this lifestyle save my butt a couple times.  I’m sure it will save me many more times.  If you aren’t a minimalist yet, what are you waiting for?


5. Cashing in on Credit Card Bonuses

Seriously, what is the scare with credit cards these days?  I place part of the blame on Dave Ramsey.  The rest of the blame goes on people’s ignorance.  Credits cards are not of the devil and shouldn’t ruin people’s lives?

I believe the opposite.  I enjoy playing a game called the “credit card shuffle.”  Basically, what I do is open a couple credits cards in a year and space them in intervals.  I hand pick certain credit cards with the highest bonuses.  For example, I will be singing up for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card.  Earn up to 25K bonus points ” 10K with your first purchase and another 15K when you spend $5K within the first 6 months of Cardmembership“ enough for a weekend getaway to a Category 4 hotel like the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa.  This is one example of literally dozens of cards that offer similar bonuses.

I typically over four cards over the course of a year and just keep doing that every year.  My credit score stays high and I make close to $5,000/year using this money scheming strategy.  Credit card companies may hate me, but I love them.


6. Driving my Car into the Ground

If you don’t know my story about paying my Acura TL off 52 months early, check out the article here.  Looking back, I shouldn’t have taken out that loan, but I did anyways.

Thankfully it all worked out and I was back to living debt free again.  I originally purchased that car to be my ride for years to come.  I wanted something reliable, powerful, and fuel efficient.  The TL provided that.  And guess what?  I’m going to ride it into the ground!

I plan on taking care of the paint and always doing regular maintenance on it.  The plan is to baby this car and drive it until it dies.  By avoiding expensive car purchases, I avoid taking on debt and a reduction in my cash flow.  Instead of money going towards a new car I can invest it towards retirement.


7. Living Debt Free Until I Die

This never seems to be a hard one for me.  I don’t know if it comes from the way I grew up or something that has developed over time, but living in debt is not something I’m personally fond of.  I will steer clear of situations where I could get into financial trouble.

I’m always looking out for deals and shopping at discount retailers.  To be honest, the word “debt” is not in my vocabulary.  You also won’t see any stories about me getting out of debt, I really do hate it that much.  I hate it so much that I refused to graduate college with debt.  Please feel free to check out how I did it.

With a positive cash flow being a benefit of living a debt free life, more of my money will be available to be invested and multiplied.  I believe this is a critical component to my long term goal of reaching my first million.


8. Marrying a Frugal Wife

I don’t know if this is politically correct or not, but I’m marrying the most beautiful, amazing, and frugal woman in the world.  You can see a picture of us on my about page.  If you are reading this and searching for that special someone, I would recommend you finding someone frugal!

Not so frugal wives can wreak havoc on your finances and destroy your dreams of retiring early.  You have to find someone who shares your passion and vision for the future.  If you’re worried, just ask to see her wallet.  One glance will tell you what her spending habits are like.

Because I’m marrying someone who is just as frugal as me, not only is it easy to save money but we both have fun doing it!


9. Reading Financial Blogs and Publications

Like anything in life, you never want to stop learning.  I’m always on the lookout for new information and money saving tips.  I choose to read various personal finance blogs and publications.  For finance blogs, my “go to” sites are ChristianPF, Bible Money Matters, and Consumerism Commentary.  When I’m in need of something more in depth or more numbers based, I always head over to Morning Star.

I would never want to be in a position where my goal of retiring a millionaire was in jeopardy.  Being “in the know” not only protects my investments but helps me make better financial decisions.


10. Living Below my Means in Every Area of my Life

This is just common sense.  Take housing for example.  I would say most Americans choose to live beyond their means and live in luxurious apartments or homes.  Why not take it down a notch and live somewhere humble?  Yes, it will hit your pride, but your wallet will be super happy.

I could have followed the crowd and chose to live in a condo requiring two paychecks a month.  Instead, I found a modest house and found some roommates.  I ended up paying 3/4 of a weekly paycheck.  It’s not the nicest place or the nicest neighborhood, but I’m definitely living below my means.

This type of mentality will make a huge impact on how soon I reach my first million.  If you ever see me straying from this, shoot me and email and tell me to shape up!  Let’s keep each other accountable.


Join the Millionaire Club

Join me on this journey!  Hopefully my ten steps above will help you on the way to reaching YOUR first million.  I know that your steps will be different, so comment below with your top tip.  Sharing is caring 😉

Kindle Fire Giveaway Extravaganza!

kindlefireRecently, Bible Money Matters posted an article about the Kindle Fire as an alternative to the iPad. In response to that article, a few of us Christian finance blogs decided put together a group giveaway, so now you have a chance to win a brand new Kindle Fire, woo hoo!

Here are a few cool features of the Kindle Fire:

  • 7â³ multi-touch display with IPS technology, 1024×600 resolution at 169ppi, 16 million colors.
  • 14.6 ounces
  • 8 GB internal memory, with unlimited cloud storage.
  • Dual core processor
  • Between 7-8 hours battery time.
  • Wi-Fi â“ supports most common Wi-Fi networks.
  • Amazon Silk web browser – cloud-accelerated browser that uses a split browser❠architecture to leverage the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud.

How to Enter to Win

You have a couple of ways to enter the giveaway.

1. Like all five blogs on Facebook (1 entry)

These five blogs made the giveaway possible, so to enter, simply click the like button next to each blog. (You might even be a fan already and that’s great!)

Like Free Money Wisdom

Like Bible Money Matters

Like Faith and Finance

Like Redeeming Riches

Like One Money Design


After you click like for each blog, write this in the comments: I like all fiveâ

2. Follow all five on twitter (1 entry)

Follow all five blogs on twitter and tweet the following for an extra entry: I entered the Kindle Fire giveaway from @______________your blog’s twitter name_________. (Get tweet button here)

Click to follow:







You can receive a total of 2 entries. Duplicate comments on the other five blogs will not be counted, so only leave your comments here on Free Money Wisdom.  If you want to stop by the other sites for a visit though, that is highly encouraged!

The deadline is one week from today.  Make sure to tell all your  friends  and family about this opportunity to receive a free Kindle Fire!





Yakezie Blog Swap #13: What Do You Never Go Cheap On And Why?

Happy Saturday everyone!  I’m about to hit the road and go to Blog World in Los Angeles, but I wanted to share with you the latest with the Yakezie Blog Swap #13 that I hosted!

The topic for this swap was “What do you never go cheap on and why?”  It’s a subject that I find kind of amusing and love hearing different people’s views on it.  What better way to get multiple perspectives on this than host a blog swap and have people share their opinions!

I hope you enjoy the following articles.  Please share the love and promote these awesome posts:

Retire by 40 dives right into the subject of “going cheap” and nails down the logic behind his financial choices over at Money Q and A.

Money Q and A explains why experiences shouldn’t have a price tag but “stuff” should.  The post is over at Retire by 40.

Narrow Bridge Finance shares a little bit about his Jewish background and how sometimes the price is worth it.  The post is over at Money Beagle.

Money Beagle itemizes some things that one should never go cheap on, including peanut butter!  The post is over at Narrow Bridge Finance.

Live Real, Now shares with us that he is willing to pay the full price for food any day over at DQYDJ.

DQYDJ goes into detail why nice dress shirts are a must and spending money now.  His post is over at Live Real, Now.

My Personal Finance Journey never goes cheap on sports equipment.  His post is at My Broken Coin.

My Broken Coin encourages to spend money on yourself and not to go cheap on the luxuries in life.  The post is at My Personal Finance Journey.

My Dog Ate My Wallet never goes cheap on tea and neither should you for the things you enjoy.  The post is at One Cent at a Time.

One Cent at a a Time bares all and says fancy shampoo is a requirement!  The post is at My Dog Ate My Wallet.

This concludes the Yakezie Blog Swap #13!  As it turns out, many frugal financial bloggers don’t go cheap on everything!  Let this

October Roundup 2011

monthly roundupWelcome to my October monthly roundup!  You may have been used to seeing weekly roundups, but I have officially switched to monthly updates.  There are a couple resons for this.

First, I was getting burned out spending tons of time doing roundups.  I love showcasing other blog’s posts and what carnivals I’ve been featured in, but it was just getting out of hand.  Between managing the post each week and formatting, I could be using that time to write EPIC content for YOU!

Another reason is that I think weekly roundups get methodical and repetitive.  They seem to lose their special gift of being new and exciting.

Monthly roundups are going to work better.  I think you’ll like this!

Lastly, I have decided to share with you some of my stats on a monthly basis.  I know other guys like Derek @ Life and my Finances do this and have inspired me. I’m going to bare it all with my statistics and how you what’s happening behind the scenes.


Free Money Wisdom Stats

Total Visitors for October- 5,350

Total Subscribers293

Twitter Followers1,328

Facebook Fans711 (Slurpee  anyone?)

LinkedIn Connections487

Alexa Ranking- 76,872

Google PR- 3


All in all, not too shabby!  I like where my traffic is but I’m excited to breach the 10k mark.  As for subscribers, I got my sights set on 500 within the next couple months.

I’m pretty happy with this as I’ve only been blogging for around 10 months, woo hoo!


Some of my goals

I’ve been brainstorming ideas for an E-book and I think I know what i want it to be about.  I’m going to be spending countless hours over the next year to create this E-book.  It’s probably going to be a paid product, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.

I’m hoping to increase my subscriber count in the coming months.  If I saw 500 subscribers by January, that would be awesome!  However, with the holidays coming up, I don;t know if this would be possible.


Best posts of October

October was an awesome month full of amazing new posts from around the  blog-sphere.  I encourage you to give these bloggers some social media love, actually I am TELLING you! They really do deserve it, these posts were truly epic.

Am I A Complete Hypocrite? Or An Opportunist? over at My Journey to Millions

Random Thoughts on Investing over at Investorz Blog

Invest in Yourself! over at Krant Cents

Losing Weight Again over at Prairie EcoThrifter

10 Worst Paying Degrees of 2011 over at Not Made of Money

7 Ways to Safeguard Your Children’s Financial Future over at Squirrelers

Better Off Unemployed Than Working over at Darwin’s Money

Reflections On The Financial Blogger Conference over at KNS Financial

When Frugality = Stupidity: Illusion of Saving Money over at Wealth Informatics

Cheap Halloween Costumes over at PT Money



As usual, I was accepted into multiple Carnivals during the month of October.  Here they are!

Festival of Frugality Halloween Edition

Carnival of Financial Camaraderie  #1

Carnival of Financial Camaraderie #2

Carnival of Financial Camaraderie #3

Totally Money Carnival #39

Canadian Finance Carnival #56

Carnival of Financial Planning #205

Canadian Finance Carnival #58

Yakezie Carnival October 9th Edition

Canadian Finance Carnival #57

Totally Money Carnival #40

Carnival of Financial Planning #206

Totally Money Blog Carnival #41


Staff Writing

I was incredibly busy during October and didn’t have too much time to staff write.  I actually had cut down my staff writing positions in Septermber to just three websites: ChristianPF, GenXFinance, and MoneyCrashers.

I’m back to my writing schedule so keep an eye out for weekly staff posts at those blogs.


On to November!

This brings us to the conclusion of my first monthly update!  I’m looking forward to a strong month of November and can’t wait to get my hands on some turkey!