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How to Turn $10k into $46k

So you have some money to invest into a stock portfolio. For argument sake, let’s say it’s $10,000. 

Where do you put it?

Simple answer:

  • 35% US Stock Index Fund
  • 35% International Stock Index Fund
  • 10% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 10% International Bond Index Fund
  • 10% US Bond Index Fund

Set it. Forget it. 

(Some people just want the answer and move on)

For those that want to know more detail:

Why Index Funds?

Funds are a grouping of stocks. Every fund has an ‘expense ratio’. It’s the fee that the fund charges to manage the fund. A low expense ratio is typically found in “Index Funds” and can be as low as .05%. A high expense ratio is typically found in “Mutual Funds” and can be as high as 1.25%. You should never have a need to go over .3% – meaning Index Funds are the way to go.

But, .3% is nothing, why should I care?

You know that $10,000? Let’s say you selected a .6% expense ratio vs a .10% ratio. In 25 years, you’ve thrown away $3,345, assuming average market return. 

$3,345! 

For just selecting a lower expense ratio. $3,345 for a single click – that’s a great return on a click!

Why no individual stocks?

Picking individual winning stocks is like picking the winning horse at Kentucky Derby. If you pick the right one, you can really make great money. 

It’s difficult to pick the winner. This is why index funds are the recommended approach. Sacrifice some upside and all but eliminate risk. 

Why 20% bonds and 80% stocks?

This asset mix is right in between aggressive and conservative. 

Bonds (20%) are a safer investment (read: low risk, low return). 

Stocks (80%) are a more risky investment (read: average risk, average return).

There is a definite relationship between risk and upside. The more risk you take on, the more upside you have. However, the more downside potential as well. 

If you want to be more risky (more upside), you could shift the mix to 90/10 or even 95/5. 

As stated above, the fact that we are investing in index funds makes the overall investments much less risky vs individual stocks. 

What if I already have investments in the stock market?

You need to balance your portfolio across all of your holdings.

  • Do you have a 401k?
  • Do you have a Roth IRA?
  • Do you have existing stocks/bonds?

If so, it’s time to apply your asset mix (the %’s above) to the entire portfolio. 

What return should I expect?

Nothing is guaranteed. Historical performance is no indication of future performance. 

With this asset mix, historically you would see a 5-8% return each year. Over 25 years, your $10,000 turns into $46,000. 

You spent 15 minutes setting up the account, don’t touch the money for 25 years, and you add $36,000 to your net worth. 

Where can I invest?

There are unlimited institutions that will happily accept your money. 

My top 2 recommendations would be Vanguard or Fidelity. Both offer low expense ratio index funds, have good apps to track your investments and are large institutions that will be around for the long haul. 

Conclusion

Investing doesn’t need to be rocket science. If you have funds you want to invest in the market – make it easy on yourself:

  • Setup an account
  • Deposit $
  • Determine your asset mix (i.e. 80/20)
  • Invest in the appropriate Index Funds
  • Leave it alone
  • Enjoy the returns in the long-run

Happy investing!

Newsletter #9: Now

March 30, 2021

A book.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Our mind’s default is to concentrate on two things:

  1. The past
  2. The future

What’s missing? The Now.

Which is strange, because the present moment is all we ever have. Eckhart implores us over and over to come to the present moment. Just be. And enjoy being!

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment: Tolle, Eckhart:  9781577314806: Amazon.com: Books

Buy it here

A thought.

Recall the last time you sat down with a child and played with them. They are focused on one thing and one thing only: The Now. They aren’t thinking about what’s for dinner, what time they have to wake up in the morning, who they have to call or what bill they have to pay. They are 100% immersed in playing with you.

It’s an incredible feat and it’s very challenging to meet their undivided attention with our own.

There are few places we may be fully in “The Now”. Perhaps it’s when you’re playing a sport (which is why you can recall every shot, pass or play). Perhaps it’s when you’re cooking (which is why you can smell the aromas and feel the knife slicing through the vegetable). Perhaps it’s when you’re out in nature (which is why you notice the flowers and hear the birds chirping).

Where do you find yourself not thinking about the past nor the future?


A quote.

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”

Mother Teresa

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Questions to Ponder

  • Why is the average retirement age 67 yet the average life expectancy is only 11 years more (78)?
  • Why do we consistently think something is a good idea, but don’t act on it?
  • Why do our brains primarily only think of 2 things: the past and the future, but rarely the present?
  • Why are we all in such a hurry? Where are we going?
  • Why do we get so caught up in making a living and forget to make a life?
  • Why do we focus on what we may lose instead of what we may gain?
  • Why do we keep so many doors open in our lives when we know when we shut one door another one opens?
  • Why do we overvalue numbers and undervalue anything difficult to quantify?
  • Why do we focus so much on income vs net worth?
  • Why do we consistently fall victim to consumerism?
  • Why do rules always begin with “Never” or “Don’t”?
  • Why do we tell children “No” 40x more than “Yes”?
  • Why do we have such trouble admitting when we are wrong?
  • Why do we wait to tell people how we feel?
  • Why do we often forget we have one life to live?

Newsletter #8: Compounding

March 16, 2021

A book.

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

There are things in our lives that are easy to do and things in our lives that are easy not to do. Do them.

You will not see a difference in your strength or your body after 10 push-ups. You will not see a difference after a week of 70 push-ups. You will see a difference after a year of 3,650 push-ups. The compounding effect is real, just ask the British Cycling Team.

Buy it here

A thought.

We often think we have to make big changes in order to see results.

If we want to get healthier, we think we must completely overhaul our diet.

If we want to get stronger, we think we must go to the gym for 75 minutes a day.

If we want to get smarter, we think we must read 100 pages a day.

When in fact, if we make small changes like the following:

  • Only drink water and coffee during the week.
  • 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups a day.
  • 10 pages of a book a day.

We won’t see results in a day or a week, perhaps not even a month. But after a year, we will have completely transformed ourselves thanks to the compounding effect.

The journey doesn’t start when you think about taking the first step – it starts when you take the first step. So just start!


A quote.

“It’s not the big things that add up in the end; it’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.”

Darren Hardy

What little things can you do?

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Newsletter #7: Memories

March 2, 2021

A book.

Final Rounds: by James Dodson

This is a true story about a terminally-ill father and his son who make final memories together on a golf trip. You don’t have to love golf or be faced with a terminally-ill loved one to feel the kindness, love and laughter that exudes from this story.

Final Rounds is a stark reminder that all we ever have is the present moment – so why let life’s distractions get in the way to make a memory with those we love?

Buy it here


A thought.

We should be careful not to pass up an opportunity to make memories with the ones we love. Even if it seems insignificant at the time.

A friend has recently put a 30 minute hold on their calendar that repeats each day.

How do they use it? They go pick their child up from school. They get uninterrupted time each day to make tiny memories with their child. Awesome.

Making memories can be that simple.

Memories are the foundation of our relationships and relationships are the foundation of a fulfilled life.


A quote.

“It’s realizing that a great dream is not as good as a great memory. The dream can be had by anyone. The memory – must be made.”

Eric Thomas

What memory can you go make?

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How much do I need to retire?

When thinking about financial freedom and retirement, we often forget why we want to free up our time.

One of the best exercises is to create your ideal day and see how much it costs. 

Here’s mine:

  • 06:30 AM: Wake Up
  • 06:45 AM: Meditate
  • 07:15 AM: Read/Write
  • 08:00 AM: Take kids to school
  • 08:30 AM: Play golf
  • 12:15 PM: Workout with a friend
  • 01:30 PM: Picnic lunch with wife
  • 02:15 PM: Pickleball with wife/friends
  • 03:30 PM: Pick up kids from school
  • 03:45 PM: Snack/Homework Help
  • 04:30 PM: Play
  • 07:00 PM: Family Dinner
  • 07:45 PM: Build a Fire
  • 08:00 PM: Family Dessert (s’mores)
  • 10:00 PM: Fall asleep reading
determine how much it costs to have your ideal day 

For me, 11 of the 15 parts of the day are free. The remaining is $49:

  • Play golf: $35
  • Lunch: $5 (groceries)
  • Dinner: $8 (groceries)
  • Dessert: $1 (groceries) 

For me, a years worth of ideal days costs me $17,885 ($49×365).

The Equation

Add your annual ideal day cost to your:

  • Annual Living Expenses (mortgage, insurance, car payments, gas, taxes, etc.)
  • Annual Travel Budget (for the really ideal days)
  • Annual Savings (college fund, etc.)

Now you will have a good idea of how much you need per year in order to retire.

Now, multiple your yearly number by (100 – retirement age goal). This gives you the TOTAL amount needed, assuming you live until 100.

Now it Gets PErsonal

Congrats! You have your total amount needed in order to retire: the magic number!

This is where it becomes very circumstantial on when you can actually retire. It depends on your age, your health, passive income level, investment portfolio, risk tolerance, debt, among other factors.

Two people of the same age, who both have $6M as their magic number may be a decade (or more) apart on their ability to retire.

Don’t forget about your ideal day

It’s easy to get lost in the magic number. To get lost in spreadsheets and what-if’s.

Don’t forget your why. Don’t forget about your ideal day!

Newsletter #6: Negotiation

February 16, 2021

A book.

Never Split the Difference: by Chris Voss

This is the best book on negotiation. Whether you’re negotiating with a customer, a landlord, a spouse, or a salesperson – you’ll find it useful. There are a lot of practical tips, but a few key ones are:

  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Be empathetic
  • Listen more than you speak

Another one of Chris’ tips is labeling. If you’re actively listening during a negotiation, you’ll begin to feel what the other person is feeling. Chris says: Label it!

“Sounds like you are frustrated.”

“Seems like you aren’t comfortable with this outcome.”

Label. Then listen. You’ll hear more from their side.

This is a win/win. More information for you and your counterpart feels understood.


A thought.

We often hear the word negotiation and think “I don’t negotiate in my life” or “I’m not in business”.

Think again!

We negotiate every day.

If you have a kid, you negotiate TV time or how much more dinner they need to eat to earn dessert.

If you have a significant other, you negotiate which restaurant you should go to or who is going to do the laundry.

If you have a landlord, you negotiate rent and how long you can stay.

If you have a boss, you negotiate your salary and other ways you’re compensated.

Taking the time to learn a few easy tips (hint: Labeling and Mirroring) can set us up for success in many areas of our lives.


A quote.

“Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.”

Chris Voss

What can you discover in your next negotiation?

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Newsletter #5: Habits

February 2, 2021

A book.

Atomic Habits: by James Clear

Hands down, this is the best book on building habits. James Clear walks through a very methodical approach to developing good habits and getting rid of the bad ones.

When we realize that our outcomes in life are the results of our habits – we start paying attention. We must challenge ourselves to improve our habits first so we can improve our outcomes later.


A thought.

A simple habit to improve ourselves is to ask the question “What’s better for the long term?” before making any decision.

Should I eat a deep fried Oreo or an appleWhat’s better for the long term?

Should I do a 15 minute workout or scroll my phoneWhat’s better for the long term?

Should I binge watch this TV show or read a book? What’s better for the long term?

Should I buy this thing on Amazon or save for retirement? What’s better for the long term?

We don’t have to be robots and not enjoy things in the short term, but if at least 51% of our decisions are better for the long term, we’ll come out on top.

Incorporating this habit into our decision process is how we make our future selves proud of our current selves.


A quote.

“Habits matter because they help you become the person you want to be.”

James Clear

What kind of person do you want to be?

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Newsletter #4: Kindness

January 19, 2021

A book.

The Sun Does Shine: by Anthony Ray Hinton

A true story about Anthony Ray Hinton who was falsely accused and sentenced to death row in 1988.

This book highlights how Anthony used kindness to find life and freedom amid horrible circumstances. If he can do it on death row – there’s no reason we cannot find kindness across our lives.


A thought.

It’s always good to remember that everyone is going through something: A tough day at work, an ill loved one, depression, anxiety – we all have our struggles.

We must remind ourselves of this next time we encounter a friend, a coworker or a stranger. 

Approach with kindness and remember that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason: listen twice as much as we speak.


A quote.

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again”

Stephen Grellet

What kindness can you show today?

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Newsletter #3: People

January 5, 2021

A book.

How to Win Friends and Influence People: by Dale Carnegie

When I was first recommended this book, the act of “winning” friends seemed disingenuous. Nobody wants insincerity.

Once I began studying the 30 principles on how to win friends and influence people, I realized there was a theme of genuineness and sincerity. A few of my favorites:

#2 Give honest and sincere appreciation

#17 Try honestly to see things from the other persons point of view

#28 Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to

The more we can understand how people tick, how they make decisions and what’s important to them, the better off our lives and the lives of those around us will be.

We all interact with people to live a fulfilled life. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what’s truly important to the person you’re interacting with?


A thought.

Every person in our life has a gift. No matter their gender, race, upbringing, schooling or occupation. Their gift may be unknown to themselves. It takes patience, but if we take the time to help them realize their gift, we can completely transform their life.


A quote.

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”

Dale Carnegie

Next time you are checking out at the store, find the person’s name on their name tag and say “How are you doing today, {insert name}?”.

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