Top 10 Personal Finance Myths

Unfortunately, one of the factors that will prevent many people from becoming financially successful is their own false beliefs about money and their personal finances. Take a look at my top 10 money myths, and hopefully you can avoid the consequences of believing in them.1. If I get a raise that bumps me into a higher tax bracket, I’ll actually take home less money.
Buzz – WRONG! Moving into a higher tax bracket only increases the rate of tax paid on the last dollars you earn. For example, let’s say you’re filing single, your old salary was $40,000 a year and your new salary is $43,000 a year. According to the Canada Revenue Agency’s 2010 federal tax rate schedules, when your salary was $40,000, your federal marginal tax rate was 15% and now with a salary of $43,000, your marginal tax rate is now 22%.The key to unlocking this personal finance myth is the definition of the word “marginal.” In this situation, your first $40,970 of income is still taxed the same way it was before you got your raise. With a $40,000 income, your take-home pay was $34,000 ($40,000 less 15% in federal tax). If you make $43,000, you will take home after federal tax a total of $36,407.90. This is because it is only the extra $2,030 above $40,970 which is taxed at the 22% – not the whole $43,000.2. Renting is like throwing away money.
Do you consider the money you spend on food to be thrown away? Or, how about the money you spend on gas? Both of these expenses are for items you purchase regularly that get consumed and on the surface they appear to have no lasting value, but they are ultimately necessary to carry about daily activities (unless you can walk or take the transit everywhere). Rent money falls into the same category.Even if you own a home, you still have to “throw away” money on expenses like property taxes and mortgage interest (and likely more than you were throwing away in rent). In fact, for the first five years, you are basically paying all interest on your mortgage. For example, on a 25-year, $300,000 mortgage at 5% interest, your first 60 payments would total about $105,000. Of that you “throw away” about $71,000 on interest payments and you only put $34,000 into equity of your home.3. You always get what you pay for.
Higher-priced items are not always higher quality. While there is sometimes a correlation between price and quality, it is not necessarily a exact correlation. A $2 chocolate bar may be tastier than a $1 bar, but a $10 bar may not taste significantly different from a $2 bar. When determining an item’s true value, look past its price tag and examine the true indicators of value. Does that generic Tylenol stop your headache? Is that home well-maintained and located in a good neighborhood? When doing a proper analysis, you’ll know when paying the higher price is worth it or alternatively, when it isn’t (and you’ll be on your way to understanding the principles of value investing).4. I don’t have enough money to start investing.
It’s true that some brokerage firms require you to have a minimum amount of money to invest in certain mutual funds or even to open an account. The truth is, it is easy to start investing with very little money thanks to online savings accounts. While traditional bank savings accounts generally offer interest rates so low that you would barely notice the interest you accrue, an online savings account will offer a more competitive rate based on how the market is currently doing. As of April 2010, it is common to find online banks offering 1-2% interest. With recent news that interest rates in Canada will be going up, we could be in the 3% range within a year or so. A 3% return is a pretty good return on your low-risk savings account investment when you consider that stocks historically return an average of 7-10% annually. Also, some online savings accounts can be opened with as little as $1. Once you’re in a position to start investing in stocks and mutual funds, you can transfer cash out of your online savings account and into your new brokerage account.Alternately, you could open a brokerage account with minimal funds through one of the online trading companies that have cropped up. However, this may not be the best way to start investing because of the fees you’ll pay each time you purchase or redeem shares (generally $10 – $30 per trade).5. Carrying a balance on my credit card will improve my credit rating.
Carrying a balance and paying it off slowly does not prove your credit worthiness. All this will do is take money out of your pocket and give it to a credit card company in the form of interest payments.If you want to use a credit card as a tool to improve your credit score, all you really need to do is pay off your balance in full and on time every month. If you want to take it a step further, do not charge more than a small percentage of your card’s limit because the amount of available credit you have used is another factor involved in the calculation of your credit score.6. Home ownership is always the best way to invest your money.
Just like all other investments, home ownership involves the risk that your investment may decrease in value. While commonly cited stats say that housing appreciates at somewhere between the rate of inflation and 5% per year, if not more, not all housing will appreciate at this rate. Owning a home is a major responsibility and there are easier ways to invest your money, so don’t buy a home unless you are attracted to its other benefits.Another factor is the psychological element – I once heard a partner of a large accounting firm say that he credits much of his wealth to the fact that his mortgage payment is “forced savings.” So, that’s true.. if you don’t think you have the discipline to invest the money you save from not having a mortgage… you’re probably not going to be better off financially.7. “I’ll save more later when I make much more money.”
That’s just another excuse for not saving, in fact, that’s a really lame excuse. Claiming that a higher income will be your source to good financial habits, is simply lame. You can need to take control of your own finances, now… not later.8. The stock market is tanking, so I should sell my investments and get out npw before things get any worse.
When the stock market goes down, you should really keep your money in the market. This way, you can ride out the dip and eventually sell at a profit. In fact, stock market lows are a great time to invest even more. Many seasoned investors consider a decline in the market to be a “sale” and take advantage of the opportunity to pick up some valuable investments that are only experiencing a temporary dip. You might want to do some reading on Benjamin Graham or Warren Buffet – who are both proponents of this method. A common expression out of Buffet’s mouth is “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”.9. Timing the market is easy
You always hear successful stories of those who have timed the market and have made fortunes. We rarely hear of the thousands who time the market but lose fortunes. Studies and reports show that marketing timing does not work for 95% of us, unless you have money to burn, don’t try to time the markets.10. I’m young – I don’t need to worry about saving for retirement yet… or, I’m old – it’s too late for me to start saving for retirement.
The younger you are, the more years of compound interest you have ahead of you. Compound interest is like free money, so why not take advantage of it? Someone who starts saving and earning interest when they are young won’t need to deposit as much money to end up with the same amount as someone who starts saving later in life, all else being equal.On the flip side, you shouldn’t worry if you’re older and you haven’t started saving yet. Of course, your $100,000 nest egg may not grow to as much as a 20-year-old’s by the time you need to use it, but just because you may not be able to turn it into $1 million doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try at all. Every extra dollar you invest will get you closer to your goals. Even if you’re near retirement age, you won’t need your entire nest egg the moment you hit 65. You can still put money away now and make a considerable sum by the time you need it at 70, 80 or 90.

Get Kitted Up to Lose Weight: Essential Workout Clothing

Your essential guide to losing a few pounds whilst looking mighty fine doing it.Getting kitted out and hitting the gymSo you have decided you need to lose a few pounds for that upcoming wedding, summer has just around the corner or you just want to feel better about yourself. The important thing is to ensure that you have a steady workout routine and are committed to the cause. Few people however take into account the fact that half of the motivation required to workout is simply self esteem. So how do I increase my self esteem and hence my motivation to workout? Get kitted out.If you look good, you feel good, if your feel good, you’ll perform.New wheelsWheels are what touches the ground and in this instance your feet will be doing plenty of that. So it is absolutely crucial that we ensure we have the right footwear on our feet. Choosing a pair of workout shoes can be like buying a car, there are so many out there to choose from. So how do I go about selecting the right pair for me?Well it is important to have the right shoes that have adequate protection, support and comfort. We need to make sure that they are the correct size to inhibit the appearance of blisters or sore feet, as well as providing that nice comfortable feel. Last on the list of must haves when selecting a new pair of kicks, is to ensure you have something that looks good and depicts your personality. There can be nothing better some mornings than putting on a pair of hot looking runners and hitting the trail.The rest of the pieSo you have the motivation to workout and a new pair of shoes, what’s next? Well you can’t workout in the nude….well at least not legally, so it’s important that you have the right outfit that allows you to achieve your fitness goals whilst maintaining a fashionable look.Skins are becoming ever more popular in a lot of sports and running activities, the benefit of these is that they allow you to have protection against the weather, protection from injury with added support and they have that aerodynamic feel to them. It’s important when selecting your clothing that you ensure you have free field of movement and relevant support for the workout you will be undertaking. There are a lot of clothing types out there but a good pair of well fitting shorts and a breathable quick dry top are almost as important as your shoes.Whatever your style it is important to remember that looking good leads to better self esteem and improved results.

How to Kick-Start Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Developing a B2B content marketing strategy that aligns content messaging with your target audience is no small task. In fact, 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a content marketing strategy.The development of a fundamentally customer-focused marketing strategy will blaze a trail for a B2B content marketing strategy to reach new customer engagement and acquisition goals. By ensuring value is delivered to your customers, the B2B content marketing strategy will fall into place.Here are a few key tenets of B2B content marketing strategy to kick start the process for you and your team:1. Determining your content point of view. Here’s a hint: Make it customer-focused.2. Ensure once you start executing on content creation, you can measure your efforts. Another hint: Make sure it’s driving a tangible business outcome as well.3. Align your team’s talents with the type of content being created. Last hint: Not all marketers think the same way.Customer-Focused Point of View for Content Pays OffContent marketing strategies developed to engage customers with your brand start by aligning content with the point of view of your reader. Delivering information both that the customer sees as valuable and that aligns with your brand should be the underpinnings of every B2B content marketing strategy.In a recent study from Forrester Research, they provided the example of Kraft Foods launching a site (kraftrecipes.com) to share recipes and food ideas using their products. By shaping purchase decisions, encouraging buyers through the journey through value-driven content, Kraft Foods had buyers that were all-the-more inclined to purchase cream cheese for “that casserole recipe I saw online”. They delivered value to customers by encouraging a purchase decision as opposed to pushing a coupon.With a customer-focused point of view regardless of the buyer type (B2C and B2B buyers), position your content to deliver value to your customers. Similarly, through customer-centered content, you can actively shape purchase decisions through a B2B content marketing strategy that drives leads which, in turn, fuels revenue.Prioritize and Set Content GoalsIn a recent survey of content marketing maturity, Forrester found that 52% of B2B marketers were in the early stages of assembling a content strategy and executing it. While B2B marketers seem to be embarking on a more customer-focused approach to content development, a key tenet to a closed loop model for your B2B content marketing strategy is tracking buyer interactions with content at each stage in the purchase life cycle.Providing buyers with content that is useful and valuable to read, watch, or interact that encourages forward movement in the buying cycle is a B2B marketer’s dream. And yet if those interactions are not measurable, how do you know your content strategy and supporting tactics are effective?To kick start your B2B content marketing strategy that produces customer-focused content, ensure your team is taking a practical approach to content creation aligned with short-term goals. Meeting and rewarding these short term goals will push your team to drive increasingly buyer-aligned content. This will inevitably result in customer interactions that contribute to increased revenue. These longer-term objectives ensure content drives tangible business outcomes.Align Talent with Content CreationBalance your team to align strengths with content creation requirements. Buyer-aligned content that captivates, inspires and challenges is a different focus for most B2B marketers. Marketers whose background include a mix of product marketing, sales positions and even direct marketing may be challenged to make this shift.Climbing to new heights requires planning and preparation but it also mandates physical and mental stamina. Applying that principle to strategy development versus plan rollout and execution, B2B marketers need to consider skill assessment and training as a critical tenet of B2B content marketing strategy. When the team is ready to hit the trail, talent needs to be aligned with a type of content creation that sees through the buyer’s point of view, interweaves a compelling story and is appropriate to the content application.So, begin with your team to consider what content will deliver value to your customers. With this customer-focused lens, a B2B content marketing strategy will achieve the following:

Address buyer concerns to engage

Motivate them through the buyer journey

Build support from bottom-line-thinking executives.