Building a better 2020

So we are entering the final months of 2019, and I can bet that for the vast majority of us we are no further forward than we were this time last year and for some of us we may actually be worse off, and that will be further exacerbated by the up coming festive season and the pressure from both the media and advertisers as well as the personal pressure you put on yourself to spend money on presents and entertainment for your children or yourselves, often on credit cards or over-draughts or worse still loans, this time of year is really a hunting ground for capitalists and vultures looking to tie you into agreements that mean next year you will have to come back for more.

It is not our fault, advertisers and social media put us in positions that we simply cannot escape, and we borrow in order to “keep up” with the neighbours or our work colleagues be it through our children’s activities or through the car on the driveway, holidays, clothes even sports and hobbies all say something about us and our ability to pay out money, this is all well and good but what happens when you can no longer work? I don’t mean if something were to happen to you right now, more the inevitable end, Retirement we are all heading there and most of us with nothing planned to see us through.

I would like to push for another type of new years resolution, it will be something we are going to achieve in our house, that is instead of the standard “no chocolate” or “go back to the gym” both of which normally only last a couple of months before we find ourselves sitting on the couch eating chocolate while we should be at the gym, we are going to be working toward reducing debt and becoming more financially intelligent, after all how can you expect to master something without knowing how it works ?

Some startling statistics are that the average UK debt is £31k per adult! that is shocking and although I don’t know anybody quite there I am aware of people near that threshold, when you put that against the average UK household income of £28k the gap is clear to see, and of course as this comprised of borrowed money the interest is also staggering, an average of £967 in interest alone paid last year for every Brit.

All economies run on the least paid individuals, this is the case universally, as these economies are propped up on debt, the circle is vicious and relentless and designed to make it difficult to break, but not impossible.

Firstly bear this in mind, there are debt charities and advisories that offer free and payed advice to people struggling with debt, but this advice in my opinion is flawed beyond belief, the basic advice is centred around either declaring bankruptcy or entering into a sponsored agreement where you declare to the world that you are nearly bankrupt and asking for them to freeze all your accounts and let you pay off the balances, but let’s think that through for a moment,

  • Bankruptcy – Stays on your credit file for 6 years, and will affect your credit rating for much much longer, so let’s say that you have reached the point where you believe that is an option, you would normally be around 30 years old and may possibly have a mortgage, so you would need to sell the house and use the equity to repay debtors, everybody is made aware of the Bankruptcy as it is public information, and it will have to be declared when you apply for housing with private landlords, any credit over the value of £500 and could remain for longer based on how long it takes to become discharged, at the very best based on a 30 year old this means you are 36 when discharged and paying through the nose for credit while you try and rebuild a credit rating, then at around 40 you are able to start re-building your life and possibly look to buy a home again, all the while having to declare that you have been a bankrupt and paying higher interest for the rest of your life, this doesn’t sound like a good option to me.
  • IVA – Individual voluntary arrangement, this is a fixed term of between 60 and 72 months (so 5 years at best) possibly 6 and the conditions are no more relaxed, you will still have to sell any assets you have to pay into the IVA and then you are still the same age when you start to re-build your life.

And of course you could just bury your head in the sand and do nothing, but that leads to all manner of issues and most of these will ironically cost you more money because you are always viewed as not wanting to pay as opposed to not being able to pay and this is despite the fact that you haven’t got enough money for the initial debt.

The first steps in my opinion are to understand the nature of the debt, how much actually is it ? how much is the interest and how much am I paying off the capital ? often these questions are not asked and people simply start at the least amount and try to pay that off while struggling to keep up the payments on a debt that is costing them a fortune in interest every month.

Work out how much your utilities actually cost, it is surprising how many times we just simply pay the regular estimated payment without question and then are excited when the company gets in touch to tell us that as we have overpaid we can either claim the money back or allow it to be credited to our next bill (most companies assume this by default) under these circumstances we view this as good will on the part of the company but actually that money could have been better spent on a debt reduction rather than sitting in an energy companies account gaining interest.

Not everybody of course will be affected by the previous examples but I guarantee that if you are reading this you are either trying to make money to be more comfortable or you are stuck in a financial rut and are desperately trying to get out, what I am trying to illustrate is that lack of knowledge is often the most costly mistake we make, when we look at people that are financially savvy what we are actually seeing is people that have worked out how to not give all their money away, they look for value in expenditure and they look for return on debt, if you have a house that provides more rental income than the mortgage outgoing then this is good debt, if you consume any service or utility make sure that you are only paying for what you take, and never take anybodies word as gospel always check yourself where possible so you can say with certainty that you know how much you are getting charged and why.

Conclusion

As human beings we are forces of nature, we have the proven ability to change the world and explore other worlds, we can create our own futures, and deal with our pasts, capable of great acts of kindness and huge atrocity the human drive and spirit is the most voracious and uncompromising force known to man.

Make a list of every thing that is keeping you awake at night and worrying you in the morning, everything that makes you snap at family and friends because you are pre-occupied when they speak to you and realise that you do have the power to change it, end the cycle of debt by not taking anymore out, pay off credit cards quickly and realise that if you can’t do that then you can’t afford the lifestyle you are leading, but if you put that lifestyle to one side for a single year you may very well be able to afford a much better one, and not pay somebody else for the privilege.

Obviously I am not a financial adviser and any situation should be looked at on an individual basis to determine the correct course of action, but you cannot lose if you find a way to pay less interest to lenders, and borrow money or goods on inflated interest because we haven’t got a “perfect credit score”.

Amazon Seller – free guide to get started.

There are hundreds of courses out there to help you become an Amazon seller and on the whole they cost thousands to access, I know that you only get out of life what you put in but that does not mean we need to over extend ourselves or use money unnecessarily to learn something that can be picked up for free, sure if you were to be paying a couple of hundred pounds for a course then it would probably save you that much in errors further down the line, but when we start talking four and five thousand dollars then I really do think you would have to really screw up on a monumental scale to even up the balance.

I am not saying that these courses are all worthless, I am just pointing out that they are expensive and the majority of us have been driven to look for a side hustle or a change in income streams through lack of available funds, not through and abundance of money and boredom.

So I started looking around to see if there were any free reliable alternatives to some of the expensive courses, and I found this site https://tinuiti.com/blog/amazon/sell-on-amazon-uk/ the guide seems really thorough and one of the first things that I noticed was that I actually had no idea of the prerequisites of opening a seller account on Amazon, I also found another site as an alternative to Junglescout this is https://sellics.com they not only have a 14 day trial offer but they have some free resources including keyword search for your chosen products.

Another challenge I have is the US centric nature of this business, so I will be spending some time researching how much of an impact this will actually have on me as a UK resident and if there are any workarounds to those issues.

Turns out there are, in future posts I will going through setting up my seller account from a UK perspective and hopefully making a profit.

That’s all for now…….

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You do need to be number 1 – trust me.

Popular culture has told us for years now that we do not have to be the best at what we do or strive to do, our education systems have largely developed a process by which the class progresses at the speed of the slowest pupil, this is has resulted in over inflated school ratings as the overall bar is lowered and a decrease in specialist subjects being taught at all as they give way to more general subjects that are harder to grade effectively as the factors for evaluation become vast through diversification of the subject matter.

But who actually suffers from this new way of working ? the educators and the governments around the world will have you believe that it makes for a more level playing field, that this kind of broad baseline teaching provides all pupils with the same opportunities, but the reality is something quite different, you see by creating an environment where everybody is taught at the same level in the same way with no recognition of aptitude does not create a level playing field rather it holds back the pupils that would excel and invariably gets them the reputation of troublemaker as boredom sets in, or it highlights the shortcomings of pupils that haven’t got an aptitude for the subject in front of a jury of the cruellest peers, children, so you can see how this is detrimental to both parties, the children that are bored have their future coloured by the term troublemaker, and are treated accordingly and the struggling kids start to lack confidence and become either shy or overly overt as a compensation, both scenarios achieve the exact opposite of the intended result.

This is largely a product of lack of money in the system, and in most cases a spin put on that lack of funding by governments trying to juggle ever decreasing budgets and ever increasing debt, but the irony here is that a countries wealth is a product of it’s population and it’s capability to participate on the world stage, so effectively we stay in a loop forevermore where we do not invest in youth to provide a better future for all, instead we choke the education system and make the youth fight for a future that is uncertain, and we wonder why they lack motivation.

This level playing field extends into adulthood as well, the evidence is excessive, people that did not do well at school becoming billionaires such as Sir Alan Sugar, 1 GCSE and he is worth 1.4 Billion, Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school initially, Deborah Meaden of Dragons Den fame left school before her A-levels and is now worth over 40 Million, and Sarah Millican Failed hers, what sets these people apart is that they pursued what they wanted to do and they did it with a goal in mind, to be the number 1 in their chosen field, now with the vast majority of these examples it could be argued if they are number one in their fields, possibly some people might not find Sarah Millican funny, or there may be people with more money than Deborah Meaden, but if we think about it we would all like to be a pound behind them, or make it as a performer, we just had it beaten out of us in our youth.

That is why I say you DO need to be number one, in your own mind at least, you need to strive everyday to be number one at what you want to do, because if you don’t believe that people in most cases excel at what it is they want to do then just Google around for a while, in fact very few of the most successful people in this world have got a strong academic background, that is not to say that academia is worthless, far from it, the world runs on the work of academics, and without them we would still be in the caves trying to get a fire going, my point is that equality is not only a good thing to try and achieve in society but the only thing, we just have to remind ourselves what it actually means.

Equality should mean the opportunity to excel and be successful, to not live a life in fear and poverty, to not eek out an existence daily just waiting for the cold hand of the reaper, it SHOULD mean the opportunity to live a good and happy life regardless of age, race, religion, ability or sexual orientation, and I think that as a society we have forgotten that, we need people to fall within a budget or a qouta, and the only way to make people fit into statistics is to manipulate the system until those people appear, the fact is nobody is going to do it for you, if you want the life you see when you close your eyes at night you are going to have to fight for it no matter what that takes.

So that is why I say that you need to be number ONE in your own mind that is what you are striving for, don’t look at your heroes and claim that you can’t get there because they have a natural talent, don’t let yourself off the hook by saying they are just better than me, substitute Talent for Aptitude, and Better for More Hardworking, to say that a person is a NATURAL TALENT is often to negate the huge amount work and dedication that they put in everyday to get where they are, and if you put in the same amount of work everyday you would get there too, the education system may have failed you (it equally may not have failed you too) but if you want greatness stop the excuses given to us by a society that has lost it’s ambition, and drive yourself to be Number One at what you want to do, and you will find happiness, some careers are better paid than others and some jobs too, but I promise if you are the best at what you do, at least within your peer group, then you will find a happiness and a calm that goes along with doing something you love.

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Emotional intelligence – thought before action.

Hiring criteria changes about as often as the poles, but even employers are recognising that the ability to think slow and reasoned even when under pressure makes for a better employee, and if you can master it will help you in your own financial and health journey too, never beat yourself up over things, always listen to constructive criticism and help others where you can.

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/7-reasons-why-emotional-intelligence-is-one-of-the-fastest-growing-job-skills?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Changing yourself is not always a bad thing.

Controversial I know but hear me out, changing yourself is not always a bad thing if who you have become is what is holding you back, and for the majority of us that is the case, working jobs we hate on a corporate hamster wheel or even worse dead end jobs that are only “filling in time until we decide what to do” the world has educated the masses to believe that we are meant to work we shouldn’t aim high and routinely we, as a group ridicule the ones who dare to dream.

Don’t Change for Others!

Well no, you shouldn’t change for the sake of others, if you are being yourself and people have an issue with that then that is their issue not yours, on a personal level you should never alter your standards or shelve your hopes and dreams for the sake of a relationship, relationships are supposed to be reciprocal and therefore tolerance and in most cases a certain prioritisation of the partners wants and needs should come first and the other way round too, this way both parties are happy and equally valued, and if you had one person in your corner all all the time helping you to achieve your goals imagine how far you would get, this is not the place to change, love and loyalty under a false banner of intention and desire will always end in tears, Always.

Change Everything Else, However

I posted previously a news article that frankly scared the hell out of me, I do not want to work until I die, penniless and without the ability to enjoy my winter years or to help me children achieve their potential in a world that is getting smaller and more cramped, but to make this happen life has to be treated like a business, with the advent of gamer “professionals” and vlog millionaires the bar and the goal has shifted, you are now the business, and unless you treat everyday as a means to an end you will go out of business and be closed down sooner than you think.

The concept of going to work 9 to 5 and making a decent living, retiring at 65 and living a comfortable life at the seaside with a golden retriever and enjoying long walks on the beach with the Mrs in the sunset happy just to have an ice cream isn’t dying it’s dead, it no longer happens, chances are that if that was how you lived your life then the Mrs left ages ago for a younger bloke who sells rubber dog poo with a nice cheery face on it through his etsy store, and vice versa, this may sound very male biased but to be fair women have been just as capable of making huge sums of money as men, are just as capable of putting in the hours as men and the only thing that historically stopped them from achieving the same positions was having to wade through an archaic “old boys club” culture in business and life in general, this is now largely giving way and quite rightly, so the above scenario cuts both ways.

The process begins by having a look at yourself and having the guts to ask “what am I doing wrong?” and with the opportunities on the internet and global reach the way it is today, if you are worried about money in any shape or form then you (like me and millions of others) are doing something wrong, good news is these things are not too hard to spot I have listed below the one’s I found.

  • Sleep late / wake up late – sounds obvious right? then why do we all do it? realise that if we sacrifice the binge watching of breaking bad now we can watch it in a penthouse overlooking the beach in the future, but for now Sleep because nobody functions properly when tired and irritable.
  • Don’t exercise – Easy to say, that you want to be a business person or you are too busy to exercise, cardio at the very least is a must, remember you as an organism run on oxygen, cardio will improve your cardio vascular system, so in a basic sense the fitter you are, the faster you are and it takes less time to complete tasks, that way you have more time to do more things.
  • Take chances – The easy path is the path of least resistance, yet we marvel at people who are flexible and have trained themselves to be able to practise yoga or gymnastics or even bodybuilders. stop to think when looking up to these people is that what you are admiring is somebody literally chose the path of most resistance, if you are pushing so much there is a little pain then you are doing good.
  • Listen – Real simple, if you knew everything then you would be rich already, listen to as many people as possible, most of what is said will be useless, but there is gold in them thar hills!
  • Keep Goals in mind – Stop being distracted by everything around you, TURN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA NOTIFICATIONS

If you are looking for something to do while staring at your phone, rather than the latest cat video, or yet another guru shouting at you that their way is best and you should give them thousands to see how, train your mind to be quicker and more agile, try Elevate in the links below (not affiliate links) I will even start a little traineesuperhuman group so we can play against each other.

Call to Action

Now is not the time to start, now is the time to DO the clock has been ticking for some time already and we are literally fighting for our futures, so whatever it is you do, do it better, excel at your chosen field and always run a side hustle, no income is guaranteed that is true, but income that relies on the decisions out of your control needs a backup, because you never know when it is going to fail.

Work Until you Die? or make a stand now ?

This article confirms what I have thought for some time now, we need to make a stand because for most of us the future is set in stone and it is cold, hard and very unpleasant.

https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2017/mar/29/a-world-without-retirement

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Take your time – but use each minute to it’s limit

There are a lot of mixed messages out on the internet and indeed in the traditional media, we are encouraged by some financial Guru’s to take our time, try not to get rich quick because it is a fallacy, while others bellow from neon lit stages that speed and persistence is the key, move fast and make mistakes and ultimately you can come up with an idea that tomorrow will make you a millionaire.

I have spent a lot of time considering both and I can honestly say that neither extreme is true, the idea of waiting for the moment when you no longer have to worry about money for what could possibly be years is not a pleasant one, and constantly finding the holes in the “get rich quick” schemes also leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Personally I have suffered at my own hand in the regard because I got caught up in the race to find the one thing that would make me rich tomorrow, the one thing that I am constantly being told is out there and if I just work hard enough I can get it, I started down a path and then abandoned it after the first hurdle, without really giving it the time to become anything, and only now can I say that I learned a lesson from an abandoned project that no Guru or marketing expert could ever have taught me.

I started this blog for two reasons, one, I wanted to help others like me who were looking to improve theirs and their families lives in every respect, people who had more than one thing to fix, and didn’t have the funds to chase down every dream offered for a price in a YouTube advert, and two, to build something that would bring in revenue, not through hard selling or fabrication but simply by using something or finding a resource that was valuable and then offering it for sale (usually through Amazon) for an affiliates commission, so a simple exchange of knowledge for the revenue that popularity can bring.

But it didn’t take off how I would like, I had seen (and indeed read) several articles and books on blogging and how if you get it right you can make it a good second income and if done professionally you can make it your primary income, and a good one at that, and I made 22 cents, not even enough to have WordPress send me a cheque, so I got disheartened, went back to dreading getting up on a morning and driving into work without the promise of a better life to come.

But I was still watching the videos as they were coming through on notification, and I was still looking for ways to make extra money.

Without any kind of interaction ( This is my first post in nearly a month ) this blog started to get more followers, people were still looking at it and they were liking my posts, until I could no longer ignore the obvious, I had started something, I had made the beginnings of a business that was capable of returning cash without any intervention at all, and the amount that it returned was directly proportional to the amount of effort I put in.

The point of this is that yes, you should be prepared to wait for the big payday, the popularity or the sales that you crave because things take time, they always have and despite the loud protestations of certain “influencers” they always will, but with the right content or products, and enough thought you can create a business that will eventually reward you with as much or as little effort as you choose to put in, and that business will stay on the internet forever more if you so choose, the pivotal moment is to realise that getting rich slow does not mean sitting back and taking it easy, it is more a state of mind that protects you from the disappointment of not becoming an overnight millionaire, it means making every minute that you are pursuing your side hustle and trying to build that financial freedom count, it means instead of a Netflix marathon when the kids go to bed, sit down and work, change things, run with every idea just in case, and don’t make the mistake I made, once you start something see it through, if it is just failing then cut it loose and go on with something else but you owe it to yourself and whoever else you had in mind when you started pursuing money to see it through until that decision becomes obvious.

I know it seems like stating the obvious but I got caught out by it and I didn’t want anybody else to because the time that I could have been posting or trying products, or looking for other ways to sell products and make the money that I set out to is gone now and I can’t get it back.

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