Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 A year without Alcohol

They speak of my drinking but never think of my thirst

This is the last day of the year and we all are wondering about our New Years resolution and considering that I have a commitment to make one Million Euros in less than five years I want to share with you, that the challenge is here and its coming true.

I just realized that I need more than one lasting personal goal or project, I have to be into something always at all times it is my nature, and what I have written is certainly too short to do it full justice; but at least I have touched on many aspects therefore I have decided to reform a habit.

I will go 365 days without drinking I know this will require making a conscious choice each and every time I’m confronted with the temptation. It’s not so much about setting a 365 day plan, but rather setting and living a moment-by-moment plan. It is my hope all of these moments of making the deliberate decision to resist the temptation will all contribute to the final result I’m seeking. I want to test my will once again I want to see if I'm able to have that never ending spark while sober if I can resist temptation... I can easily answer yes it is a simple task and I will do it. Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness.

You may notice the headline for this last post of the year in the form of a statement. The reason for this is because I want it to be clear.

I have always experienced the gap, the thin line in my soul between alcoholism and sobriety as paper thin and always in danger of being erased, I used to always confront myself with the never ending existential problems while having a hangover, and I hate that lack of energy as a result of it. There is plenty of family history to suggest both a propensity and a genetic pre-disposition for alcoholism to surface inside me at any given time. It is a disease I have narrowly escaped most of my life – and I want to continue to do so.

My attempt to go 365 days without drinking a beer or having a glass of wine or Champagne will not erase my tendencies to drink for the wrong reasons and it certainly will not give me any moral ground to stand on if I am indeed successful. I just want to see if I can do it.

Too often, I have reached for alcohol to sooth my anxiety or to make me feel more comfortable when I’m with people I don’t know well. I associate going out at nights with drinking beer, champagne and wines and I eagerly look forward to that first Friday after-work drink, too.

Now, I want to try to experience all of these things without the usual assistance. My inner voice, my inner wisdom, has been suggesting this to me for some time now. Specially realizing that I lost some considerable money during my wild partying. Now It’s time to listen.

Day One started twenty days ago, Dec 11. 2011 Day 365 will be on Dec 11.2012. How I live the days in between will be the challenge. I really don’t have a roadmap or any past experience to draw on for these 365 days. All I have is determination and a hope I will learn new things about myself.

My hope is old wounds that sometimes open and fester with insecurity when alcohol is the instigator will begin to close. I will not be healed or fixed in these 365 days, but there is hope I will have gain valuable personal insight that will help me get the real major goal of a Million Euros.

I’m not sure what will happen on Dec 11. 2012 I can’t say if I will drink again or at what level and frequency. I do, however, have faith and confidence in whatever happens between now and then will be the right thing for me. So, a leap of faith begins.

By making this very public announcement, I’m asking to be held accountable for my actions. Some things in our lives are much bigger than we are. And I am already pleased with all the beauty around me.

Pride and arrogance contribute to our failure when we fail to ask for help. Ironically, it takes confidence and courage to ask. Confidence in that we believe there are people in our lives who care enough to listen and support us. Courage in the sense we want to keep moving forward in spite of the obstacles and pain.

It will be difficult finding alternatives for the Sunday afternoon glass of wine or the cold draft beer during a dinner out. For me it’s just been a matter of habit; a matter of comfort.

Just as the physical act of drinking is a habit, so is the dependency on the calming effect the alcohol provides. Therefore, I may substitute a beer for a glass of cold water, but more importantly, I will need to discover alternatives to finding comfort and peace. This will be the biggest challenge and hopefully the greatest opportunity for me.

Investing more time in reading, writing, investing, improving relationships, exercising and just thinking are seem to be the likely candidates right now. I know a certain degree of peace in my life can be rejuvenated and restored by focusing in these areas. I’m also certain I will find comfort by learning how to take better care of myself.

The thought of truly feeling all of my emotions without the faint haze of melancholy draping over me is invigorating. I’m looking forward to going into a Friday afternoon with the knowledge I can be at peace and content by just being Me; no other assistance will be required.

Some days will be easier than others because it wasn’t my habit to drink everyday. Typically, I would not drink alcohol during the week. It will be the weekends, or being in a restaurant or a night out that will be the most challenging. There is also a vacation planned for later in May that will undoubtedly give me some concern. However, the cliché take it one day at time is the best advice I can try to follow.

I know by heart that if I can manage this challenge I will have a clearer perspective and more energy to focus on my main goal and by now you all know what it let me wish you the Best New Year ever!!! don't forget to let all your dreams come true, keep writing to me, keep investing and above all keep positive the real secret is that there is no secret!!! Happy 2012 and see you on the other side!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

$1 million in 10 days from Comedy

Now that the snow is starting to make its presence in Finland and the Christmas feelings are all around I want to share what happened to Comedian Louis C.K. He was annoyed that he never saw a royalty check from sales of his standup specials through traditional outlets like DVD or iTunes. So he produced his own recent special, sold it online directly to fans for $5 -- and made a cool million in just 10 days. That is one of the great advantages of technology during this times, and this is just the beginning, many cases like this will flow during 2012

Louis C.K. announced the sales milestone on Wednesday night's episode of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

Louis C.K. began selling the special, filmed at New York's Beacon Theater, on December 10. He put up a simple website that directed customers to "buy the thing" through eBay's (EBAY, Fortune 500) PayPal for $5. A footnote explained that the file has "no regional restrictions, no crap. You can download this file, play it as much as you like, burn it to a DVD, whatever."

Louis C.K. called it an "experiment" when he launched the sale. Wednesday's $1 million milestone showed that it's paying off.

Jimmy Fallon asked: "You just said 'Hey, everyone who wants to see the show, you give five bucks'?"

Louis C.K. paid to produce the special "out of my own money," he responded. "So I had it. And I said, I can just give it to people for a little bit of money."

A friend told him "everyone's going to steal I just wrote a note that said, you know, please don't do it," Louis C.K. said, as the audience laughed. "And they didn't. So it made a lot of money."

Louis C.K. said he was shocked as he watched the orders come in -- and then began to feel guilty about the amount he'd netted.

"I've never had a million dollars all at once. I grew up pretty poor and I was like, this is not even my money," he said. "This is just a five-dollar impulse that 220,000 people had, and now I have it. And I felt uncomfortable about having that much money."

So Louis C.K. set aside $250,000 to cover the cost of the expenses of producing the special, then doled out another $250,000 in bonuses for his staffers.

He then donated $280,000 to five charities: The Fistula Foundation, The Pablove Foundation, charity: water, Kiva and Green Chimneys.

"I was going to [donate] $100,000, but it's like blackjack -- I just kept dishing it out," he told Fallon.

That leaves $220,000 left over.

"Some of that will pay my rent and will care for my childen [sic]. The rest I will do terrible, horrible things with and none of that is any of your business," Louis C.K. wrote in a statement posted on his website.

A $220,000 profit is plenty, he added.

"I never viewed money as being 'my money' I always saw it as 'The money.' It's a resource. if it pools up around me then it needs to be flushed back out into the system," he wrote. "If I make another million, I'll give more of it away."

Great idea to end the year...Hope all the celebrations are full of hope and love keep witting the objective of 1 Million Euros in less than 5 years is closer than ever!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Choose an Investment Adviser

Investments advisers support clients on how best to save, invest, and grow their money. They can help you tackle a specific financial goal—such as readying yourself to buy a house—or give you a macro view of your money and the interplay of your various assets. Some specialize in retirement or estate planning, while some others consult on a range of financial matters. The idea of this blog is to give you an idea on what to do with your money to get the Millions, but what if you already have them? Then the best idea is to find someone to manage your money and assets in such a way that keeps them growing.

I recently received an e mail from a 45 year old couple asking me advise on Where to go and Who to see, of course my advise helped them for some time, but when they started searching for an adviser to manage their mid-six figure account, they learned that charges of 1.5 percent -- about $7,000 per year -- weren't unusual.

The good news for people like them is that there are less expensive solutions out there, even as investors transition away from commission-driven advice to fee-only, or fee-based approaches.

More advisers than ever are now following some sort of fee-driven approach in which investors pay for the advice and management they get directly, instead of having those fees hidden in higher investment costs that show up as commissions. Fee-only advice is generally considered to be a more conflict-free approach, and individual investors are starting to appreciate that.

From 2007 through 2010, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped a total of 17 percent, the average adviser's assets in fee-based accounts rose 24 percent, according to PriceMetrix.

But, as many people discovered including myself, those fees can be hefty, and, paradoxically, the less money you have to manage, the more it can cost you, therefore try to do it yourself until you can really pay for it. In the world of investment management, size matters. "Larger accounts are usually more cost effective for advisers than smaller ones," It's kind of like the financial services equivalent of getting a volume discount."

Indeed, half of portfolios in the $250,000 to $500,000 range pay annual fees of 1.5 percent or more, and one-quarter of them pay annual fees that exceed 1.75 percent. Those with $1 million-plus accounts fork over a much tamer 0.92 percent. On average, expect to pay fees of 1.32 percent of assets under management.

Now, a growing group of financial advisers are coming up with ways to charge half (or less) the amount of the industry average with flat fees. By doing so, they say they can shave $1,000 or more in charges a year for every $100,000 in the portfolio. Their services appeal to those who don't quite fit into the high-net-worth category, but who want complete oversight rather than just investment and allocation recommendations. An annual fee typically covers setting up the portfolio, phone consultations with an investment manager at least once a year, the cost of executing trades and periodic re balancing. I always offer cheaper ways to execute trades and periodic re balance as well as phone consultations twice a month, but my accounts are much more smaller.

The firm the couple choose, Flat Fee Portfolios, is part of MACRO Consulting Group, a New Jersey investment advisory and financial planning firm. The service, which includes semi-annual phone reviews by a manager assigned to the account, costs a flat fee of $199 a month. As a result, the Colons now pay a shade less than 0.5 percent a year for investment management fees.

Accounts of less than $250,000, which pay $129 a month, get a pared down version of the higher-priced service.

Another low-cost firm, Troy, Michigan-based Portfolio Solutions, charges 0.25 percent of assets to assemble and manage a portfolio of index-based exchange traded funds and mutual funds. There's a minimum annual charge of $2,500 per household, and the firm doesn't accept accounts of less than $500,000.

Another way to keep advisory costs low is to pay by the hour for just the advice you need. The Garrett Planning Network in Shawnee Mission, Kansas provides referrals to advisers who charge hourly rates. Consider an hourly plan to offer to your clients if their finances aren't especially complicated, once wrote to me Kent Grealish, partner at Quacera in San Bruno, California and a member of the national 329-member network.

Grealish, a former stockbroker with 38 years of experience, pegs the initial cost to set up a simple investment plan at around $2,400, based on his rate of $240 an hour. That comes to just under 1 percent for a $250,000 account. In subsequent years, when he needs to put in less time, the charge typically falls to $480 to $720.

In reality my clients only pay for the work I put in and a 50% of the profit I make, not by how much they have in the account. "That makes a lot more financial sense for most people than the traditional assets under management model."

While most discount brokerage firms offer investment management services, their charges vary widely. With Fidelity Personalized Portfolios service, fees start at 1.5 percent on the first $500,000 in assets, and the service requires an investment minimum of $200,000. Vanguard charges 0.70 percent of assets on the first $1 million, but has a $500,000 minimum and $4,500 minimum annual charge. And if a discount brokerage firm has its own brand of mutual funds or ETFs, it's likely those offerings will figure prominently in their recommendations.

Even if published fees appear high at first glance, there is often room for negotiating discounts, especially if it's likely you'll be adding money to the account over time or are in a position to help build business through referrals. (Vanguard doesn't discount its published fees for investment management, according to a spokesperson. Fidelity has no official policy on negotiating published rates on an individual basis, but says part of the fee is credited to the account if the portfolio holds Fidelity funds or any of the funds in the firm's brokerage network.)

People with $25,000 to $100,000 accounts who want investment management have a more limited menu of options to choose from. One of them, E*Trade's Managed Investment Portfolios, has an investment minimum of $25,000 and cost 0.75 percent of assets a year for amounts up to $100,000. Another smaller investor option, MarketRiders Managed IRA program, charges an annual flat fee of $495 and uses index ETFs and mutual funds to implement its recommendations.

Of course, fees are just one thing to consider when choosing an advisory firm. Lower-cost services focus almost exclusively on investment management and may include automated programs, so they tend to work best for people who don't need lots of hand holding and have low-touch, simple financial situations.

"One of my clients who used to pay $1,000 a year for investment management told me he missed getting calls from his adviser every couple of weeks,". "This guy was paying thousands of dollars for a lot of telephone calls he really didn't need."

So pay attention on How to find the best option and once you find it you should know that every conversation you have on any investment advise, could help you in the future, therefore here is a great tool to record any Skype conversation you want

Riviera for Skype is a Skype call recorder. It automatically records Skype calls and conversations to MP3 files. It is also very convenient for recording interviews, tech talks, conferences, audio casts, pod casts for learning later, etc.

You may get more food for thought from Riviera for Skype home page:
Here is a link to download Riviera for Skype

Let the Christmas magic festivities begin! keep investing here and now, it is time...and keep writing. I had a big setback during this weekend but now I know and I feel I learned the lesson keep in touch...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wealth & Millions (The Wealth Cure)

Christmas is here and the feelings of peace, Joy and happiness are all around, enjoying the most of my family... and then comes the time to share the best of a book written byHill Harper a New York Times Bestselling author. Hill is a graduate of Harvard and Brown Universities, and when he's not writing, he stars on CSI: NY. A couple of months ago Hill contacted me and I agreed to write a review of his newest book The Wealth Cure which looks at wealth as a reward of a gratifying life full of rich experiences, instead of in the monetary sense of it. While he does share ways to create financial stability, he reflects upon the idea that there is much more to personal wealth than money. The Wealth Cure came out August 23, 2011and it is my pleasure to write a brief review about it.

It is inspiring, encouraging, and insightful. The book is not just about money and how to save it or spend it. Instead, it’s about living a meaningful life enjoying every single moment and how money plays a part in that.

One of the main ideas of this book is to emphasize that wealth is comprised of so much more than just money, and that as a society we need to “create a new definition of abundance” so that our way of living will change for the better. He says we “make irrational and often destructive choices because we have given money and its pursuit too much value.”

Rather than defining wealth as merely having a high net worth monetarily, Hill defines true wealth as “having our life balanced and organized so we are free to pursue any dream or happiness.” He also challenges his readers to figure out what their individual “Wealth Factors” are. In other words, he wants his readers to really think about what is most important to them – what things provide them with a real sense of well being.

Hill also reminds his readers that “You can’t be free if the cost of being you is too high.” In other words, how do you ever except to attain financial freedom if you spend your pay check even before you receive it? How can you afford to do the things you love if you always spend your money on things that don’t even make you happy? Hill’s advice- “Stop spending what you don’t have on what you don’t need.”

Throughout the book, Hill also emphasizes the fact that money is simply a tool, and it’s neither good nor bad, it’s neutral. How you treat money actually defines what money is to you. Money is not a result as so many of us might assume. It just enables us to do what’s important to us. Hill goes on to emphasize that the purpose of money is NOT to spend it and that it takes courage to save money and not allow yourself to be pulled into spending. This gave me the insight to realize that you can get the amount of money that you really want one million in less than 5 years welcome to my journey.

Another interesting thought brought up in the book was that “our financial actions and our decisions about what we can and can’t afford can so easily be guided – and misguided – by fear.” When deciding whether to practice law or pursue acting, Hill’s wise Uncle Frank told him, “If you are making any decision solely based on money, then it is the wrong decision.” All too often we make decisions that are detrimental to our well being out of fear of not having enough money to pay the bills, etc. I think we all need to start listening to Uncle Frank. Sure, money may be an important factor in our decision-making, but it shouldn’t be the only factor. And we shouldn’t allow our fears to trap us into staying in jobs we dislike or living lives that are less than satisfactory we always have to enjoy what we do.

Hill provides his readers with advice on how to be successful and work towards becoming unreasonably happy. One suggestion is to form a “Mastermind Circle”. A Mastermind Circle is a group of individuals with a common goal or interest that acts as a support group where each member gains encouragement and inspiration, and every member contributes. These members do not need to be your friends but they need to be people who have your best interests at heart.

Another piece of advice is to determine that you are going to be happy. Make the conscious decision to pursue happiness in your life. Recognize that “when you decide to be happy, you take control of your life’s direction, as opposed to waiting for the right object to fall in your path or the right job opportunity to crop up.”

Another tip is to recognize the importance of actually talking about money. As Hill says, “If you don’t talk about money, how are you supposed to learn about it?” Ask your parents and trusted friends how they manage their finances or find a trusted adviser and learn as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to talk about money,don’t be afraid to learn about money.

Hill also emphasizes the concept of treating your life as a business. Are you a satisfied customer? Seek consultants to help you just as you would if you were running a business. Consider yourself an architect that is designing and building the business from the ground up. As your own architect, you are in control of your life’s direction.

Finally, and most importantly, Hill emphasizes that “the things we love can, and will, bring us the most joy and – believe it or not – the most wealth.” Don’t discount the things in your life that bring you the greatest joy – chances are, the things at the top of the list will not be money. And, many folks make a living doing the things that they love, so don’t discount the idea that your hobby could turn into a viable business someday. Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement.

So what is Hill’s Wealth Cure? Here’s what Hill has to say: “A true Wealth Cure for me is to seek a balanced healthy relationship with all things in my life, especially money.” And always remember, “Money can carry anything we assign to it. It can carry our doubts, fears, and greed. It can also carry our love, hopes, and generosity.”

The Wealth Cure is a definite must-read! A perfect gift for Christmas!. You feel as if you are sitting right across from Hill and listening to him telling you his own story. You will love it.

Keep the messages coming, next week a review for a great skype conversation recorder, keep the spirit up, keep investing two shares you must have from the Finnish stock market

1) Talvivaara TLV. Is an internationally significant base metals producer with its primary focus on nickel and zinc.

2) Oral ORA The dental care company just recently came to the Finnish market The company is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. Oral Hammaslääkärit comprises of 600 dental care professionals. The company's net sales for 2010 amounted to EUR 39.4 million.

Both of them are less than 3euro per share a must have until mid next year.