How the Rich get Richer – Particularly in the Afterlife

It is said that most people don’t get serious about wealth-building until they are in their ’30s. But this is where most rich people are different. They start early in their ’20s.

I used the term ‘rich’ rather loosely here. I don’t mean ultra-rich like Elon Musk, Mukesh Ambani, or Jeff Bezos, I mean anyone who has created wealth that allows them to be monthly-salary-independent.

So when you are working on your financial plans, you should consider how you can continue building wealth – even after you are six feet under – for your descendants. Many of the richest people in the world, living and dead do this and it just seems like even past their death, they continue to build and give wealth. How?

Today, I am going to share six ways the rich use to keep getting richer – even after they have left this plane of existence. 

Continue reading “How the Rich get Richer – Particularly in the Afterlife”

Is It Possible to Achieve Financial Freedom in 5 Years?

Financial freedom means different things to different people.

Most people want to become financially independent to pursue their lifelong interests. Whatever those interests are – traveling, writing, cooking, woodworking, birdwatching, skydiving, underwater diving, teaching calligraphy, composing music, and so on. Others want to turn their hobbies into a business – big or small – in order to live freely.

Everybody desires something they want to pursue with all seriousness.

But to get there, you have to rid yourself of that millstone around your neck – the company ID you wear to work every day.

And, this is where most people screech to halt.

The mere thought of having to do without monthly salary forces you into hard contemplation. Finally, you conscious brain convinces you to not do anything stupid and rather stay the course.

You comply.

Trust me when I say this:

Contemplation alone kills more dreams than fear and failure combined ever do.

I understand that to give up on the comfort of monthly salary is not easy. This is also the reason why, there are so few entrepreneurs and so many employees in this world.

You must be wondering, can I not hit the milestone of financial freedom without having to give up on my job?

Yes, you can.

But look around you. What does the evidence suggest?

How many people in your knowledge created wealth while they were working? How many of them sauntered to the workplace every day with a reassuring calm and bliss as if they had a romantic date with Kylie Jenner? J

Not many, right?

Look I am not saying that you can’t create a corpus while you are on job. You very well can. However, that corpus, 9 out of 10 times, won’t be enought to inject in you the confidence to quit your job.

What’s the big deal about financial freedom?

Nothing, to many people. If the thought of financial freedom or living without a boss has never crossed your mind, then you have nothing to lose. You would stay happy in your day job.

For others like you who eat, drink and sleep financial freedom and early retirement, this is a terrifying scenario.

What’s terrifying? It’s the scenario where you are 65, pacing up and down your living room and thinking – I should have given it a shot while I was young.

Financial Freedom sounds cool, but achieving it is a daunting task.

I am 40 right now. Yes, I am starting late, but you don’t have to. I have set myself a goal to retire from my job in the next 5 years or before.

I know it’s not going to be easy. I know it would require me to make many sacrificies, especially, on the discretionary spending front.

I also know that I might have also to annoy my wife and daughter at times. But this is the price one must pay. So much so that when the time comes, I don’t think twice to quit.

A rude awakening in my life has turned my attention to a new goal in my life. I will post about it soon.

I only wish this enlightenment should have happened a little early. Nonetheless, better now than never.

I want to achieve the coveted Financial Freedom. 5 years from now, I want to retire.

Let me reiterate, it’s not that I want to stop working.

  • I want to work on my own terms.
  • I want the free time whenever I wish, not at somebody else’s behest.
  • I want the freedom to travel at any time of the year and not wait for the summers to arrive.
  • It’s been my dream to check out the most beautiful libraries across the world. And, if I have to write them about, too, I’d better start now.
  • I want freedom to pick up a book and read like there is nothing else to do. You know, reading while lying on my couch on a lazy afternoon.
  • I want to hit the gym twice a day – something that is not possible with when you are a systemic slave.
  • I want freedom from staying late in the office, putting out fires that drain your energy.
  • I want to hit the bed early and get rid of those vicious mails that creep into your mailbox at 11 PM and say – this can’t wait until tomorrow. Really?

I want freedom from all that.

I want to spend time with my family and friends.

That means, flying out to see them whenever I want and not having to ask for a 3 day leave from my boss and getting that raised scowl and wry smile in return.

Additional Notes and Thoughts

Monthly salary is the worst of addictions. It’s worse than saccharine. But I will address this topic in a separate post.

You are systemic slaves, just that you don’t realise it. And when you do, it will be late.

A research by Ashley Whillans of Harvard Business School shows that money can buy happiness—if it is used to buy more free time. (It isn’t the fancy lawn mower that makes you happy—it’s paying someone else to use it.)

To be rich isn’t a goal. To retire from the 9 to 6 in 5 years with $275K (₹ 2 Crore) in bank account is.

Always remember, money chases performance. That is why most of the money never makes further money. Only the money which chases opportunities ends up making further money.

Nothing wrong with 9-5 job as long as you use it as a stepping stone.

Eternal Conflict: Short-term vs Long-term

The other day I was speaking with a senior academician who teaches finance in a leading B-school and also plies his skills in the stock market. He proclaims to be a long-term investor whose mantra is: buy and forget. He says he is immune to the everyday insanity that plagues so many investors.

After skirting around politics and sports, I got down to brass-tacks and asked him to share a tip or two behind his success in stocks and career per se.

He counter-questioned me, “what do you like – a sprint or an ultra-marathon?” I said I try to be an ultra-marathoner, but I get distracted too often.

He replied, if you want to be a long-term investor, the first thing you need to is shut out all the noise. Sever all the distractions – financial news, app, twitter experts and even broker friends – who can make you think otherwise.

He told me that you would never be able to reason with someone who is gunning only for short-term goals. The perspective of a long-term investor can’t ever align with that of a day trader or a speculator or that of someone who buys today only to sell tomorrow for a few bucks in profit.

A long-term view is like a steel armour. It’s like an immunity dose that protects you from all daily madness and noise.

It’s like that blue bucket story, he said.

You drop one drop of blue hue in a bucket of water and nothing changes. You add one drop daily and still, after a week, nothing changes. You continue for a month, you see a change in the color of water. You continue for a few months more and the water is distinctly blue.

The same analogy applies to a long-term investing, too. You have to do your thing daily and not expect instant results because they won’t come.

How You Can Also Create a Multi-Variate Portfolio of Investments Like Rich People

Lately, in online culture and the real-life work world, there’s been this idea of hustling touted by entrepreneurs and growth hackers.

A lot of people have woken up to the fact that depending financially on your day job is akin to committing harakiri. That’s why, everybody seems to have an increasing awareness to develop a second stream of income.

I understand the temptation of monthly salary is hard to resist. But the idea of your monthly salary being the only income route is a dangerous one.

The central idea behind this article is to figure out and build different ways of alternate income that when combined could replace your monthly salary, if such circustances ever arise.

While it sounds attractive to have an alternate income stream, developing it requires hard work. And, before you come down to developing it, you must know what kind of income options there are.

It’s an established fact that rich people don’t rely on a single revenue source. Take any business, any industry, any promoter – if you deep dive into their modus operandi, you’d find more than one source of income.

I am not saying you can be that rich person tomorrow. But you certainly can simulate what they have done, that is, curate and cultivate the alternate income streams.

Many people expand their hobbies or interests into their side hustles, many choose the more passive route and invest in fixed income instruments.

These are healthy options to consider to supplement your monthly income, but let there be no confusion, none of them is a risk-free option. Ideally, you should have at least three of the following in your portfolio.

So before I explain the six different ways of creating an alternate income stream, please assume hard work as an underlying factor in all of them:

1. Side Hustle Income

You may already be familiar with this type of income. For the uninitiated, it is the income you get when you engage in part-time jobs or take up freelancing gigs while keeping your day job.

A lot of people have started online businesses capitalizing on their experience of working in a domain for a long time. I know someone who was a copywriter for an ad agency for a long time.

A couple of years ago, he started a blogging website and slowly got into making short videos. Once he got the response, he expanded into teaching copywriting. He built digital products, got an initial set of subscribers, reinvested the money from those subscribers into improving the products and just kept the cycle going.

Don’t be dismayed if you don’t have a blog. Creating one is easy, you can find the details here. However, turning it into a money-making machine needs consistent efforts and perseverance.

If your blog can generate 25000+ pageviews every month, you can turn on the ad income faucet. The monies may not be huge, but the recurring consistency could alleviate your stress.

As your blog grows, you can add affiliate income and income from selling digital products to the list. Not just that, slowly, your currency amongst your community would also grow. You would attract right kind of people. This could be your ticket to speaking opportunities. More opportunities, more side income.

2. Fixed Interest Income

The fixed interest income is reliable and boring. Yes. It guarrantees peace of mind, but not the excitement that could make you jump in your bed.

If your risk appetite is thin, you are better off investing in the PPF (public providend fund) – a small savings instrument. It can give you a passive income (as I write, interest rate stands at 7.1% per annum) without you taking a massive risk.

Keep adding small amounts to your PPF account and watch it grow into a reliable source of income. The bigger your corpus gets, the fatter your yearly interest gets.

Even if you are unable to add more money after a time, the annual compounding will keep working in the background, inflating your purse.

The best part is that both partial and complete withdrawls are tax-free. For more about PPF, read here.

3. Rental Income

Rents can give you a steady, income stream while your property appreciates in value. Rental income is also a great instrument for passive investors. You can reap sustainable income at much lesser risk.

In India, you can claim a deduction of 30% towards home repairs and improvements from the gross rent.

While an investment in real estate is a solid idea, it does have a few pitfalls. As a landlord, you can unwittingly become host to a whimsical tenant. This can hamper monthly cashflows and create other issues especially if you are dependent only on rental income.

4. Dividend Income

They say, if you want to be rich, invest for capital gains and if you want to be free, invest for income. This is where dividend income becomes focal to your future plans.

Dividend income comes from the distribution of company earnings to stock owners and shareholders.

Unlike rental income, however, dividend income is a slow starter. If you are a small investor or you are new to dividend investing, it will take some perseverance to build it all up.

To create a sound pipeline of regular dividends, you will have to do some digging and look for companies that have a solid track record of giving dividends. If you are in India, you can do you number-crunching at trendlyne.com and if you are in the US, you can deep-dive into dividend.com

Sometimes, however, a company is legally required to pay out the income as dividends to the stockholders. In the US, examples of these include real estate investment trusts (REITs) and business development companies – they are legally required to pay out 90% of their taxable income to shareholders.

As long as you’ve owned the stock for at least 60 days (90 for preferred stock), you are qualified to get yourself some dividend income.

5. Capital gains

When you own an investment or a piece of real estate, you’ll come across the scenario that involves the value of either of these increasing – and many times, it will end up being worth more than what you purchased it for. This is where capital gains come into play.

While you can’t access the capital gain until you sell your investment or real estate, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the prices as they fluctuate and see if there will be an increase in the future worthy enough of having that investment be sold.

Be cautious – capital gains have to be claimed on income taxes. 

6. Royalties

If you’re looking to literally make money in your sleep, this is definitely the best option for you – as long as you don’t mind putting in work at the forefront.

Royalties are earned when a person or company purchases something you helped create and sells it for profit. Examples of this are if you created a piece of artwork, wrote a book, produced a song, or have a copyright or patent for something.

Owning a franchise is another way to earn royalties – all businesses under your franchise will be giving you a cut of their profits.

Again – a lot of legwork has to be done in the beginning to make that art or build that business, but once you get to the point of success, just sit back and watch the money roll in.

Do you use any of these techniques to give yourself a little extra cash every month? Are there any techniques you use that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!

8 Financial Mistakes That Are Preventing You from Becoming Rich

If you’ve been moping for a while about why you just haven’t hit the jackpot or are swimming in mountains of cash a la Scrooge McDuck, it may now be time to examine your habits. 

That’s right – you could very well be sabotaging yourself. 

Before you go beating yourself up, however, know you’re not alone – these financial mistakes are so common and innocent that the majority of people you see every day are most likely also making them. 

Here are 8 financial mistakes that could prevent you from becoming rich: 

1. Micro transactions and subscriptions

Any monthly subscriptions and micro transactions that you have, may not seem like a lot of money at the time but adding them all together can be quite a shock to the system when you see how much money you’re truly wasting. 

You might have an online Yoga class subscription that you now don’t have time for or an online course that you don’t need now.

You could still be paying for them even if you don’t want them any more.

Take the time to go through all your monthly expenses and see what you can eliminate or find a cheaper alternative to.

This happened with me. I subscribed to an online graphic design service last year in September. It was costing me $15 every month.

In November, I stumbled upon a free service, but forgot to cancel the paid service. I, finally, cancelled it in April this year, but by then, I had paid $90 without having used it once since November.

2. Spending money you don’t have or spending on impulse

Every time you swipe that credit card, you are finding a way to spend money that isn’t yours. While this may seem like a quick-fix in a pinch, it will cost you in the long run – literally.

8 financial mistakes

The longer you take to pay off those debts, the higher the interest rate will climb, and you’ll be paying more than what you originally borrowed – effectively, you’re losing money in this scenario. 

Don’t spend money just because you happen to come across a sale online or in a store. If you weren’t thinking about it before, chances are you don’t actually want it or need it.

In this context, one of the world’s richest people once quipped:

If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.

Warren Buffett

Give yourself 48 hours before making purchases to really determine if you’re buying on impulse or on actual desire. 

3. Looking for extrinsic rewards, rather than intrinsic

Yes! You finally finished that mountain of work that’s been piling up on your desk all week. You feel accomplished. How do you celebrate? Do you:

  • Go grab a happy-hour cocktail with your friends, or;
  • Go home and congratulate yourself on a job well done (and maybe take a bubble bath)?

If you answered A, congratulations! You’re making yourself poorer.

Think about the types of things that motivate you to get tasks done.

Is it the idea of receiving a tangible reward, or the idea of feeling good about yourself and feeling accomplished? That’s the difference between an extrinsic and an intrinsic reward.

While I am not saying you should always dodge your after-work social time, make sure you aren’t always rewarding yourself by spending money. 

4. Complaining

When was the last time you complained about something? How often would you say you complain in one day?

It’s okay to be honest with yourself – everyone complains. 

Despite that, try to avoid it as often as you can – according to T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, complaining can be detrimental to accumulating wealth.

The more you focus on the negatives in your life, the more likely you are to attract them, which leaves little to no room for bringing in positivity and wealth. 

5. Surrounding yourself with negative people or people with poor mindset

Who you surround yourself with, can also have an affect on your net worth.

Like attracts like, which means that if you are around a bunch of friends whining about how little money they have, it may be time to reexamine what kind of energy you’re putting out into the world.

On the flip side, these same people may also be giving their energy to you, causing you to become the same way. 

Take your time in choosing the people you want in your life – you’re allowed to cut out anyone toxic to make room for the people who will uplift and support you.

It’s good for your mental and financial health. 

6. Trapping yourself in a job with no room to grow

It’s one thing to work at a job you hate – it’s another to work at a job you hate knowing that there’s no way to improve your situation within that job.

8 financial mistakes - trapping yourself in a job with no room to grow

In short, sticking to a job that sucks is a momentous financial mistake.

If you don’t like your work, chances are you aren’t working productively enough to receive a pay raise or promotion – both which are necessary to increase wealth. 

It also helps to work in a career you enjoy. By actually caring about it, you’ll put in more effort, and reap more benefits in the long run.

If your current situation doesn’t allow growth, or if you find yourself dreading waking up every morning, it may be time to switch things up.

7. Repeating the same mistakes over expecting a different result

You know that’s the definition of insanity, right? 

Rich people are very quick to adapt and adjust, meaning if they try something and it doesn’t work, they know to not try it again.

If you make a mistake or try and fail, make sure you walk away from the situation learning something.

Embrace the idea of change, and use it to your advantage to find new, lucrative methods of making millions.

8. The fear of failure 

Don’t be afraid to take risks.

If you stay in your comfort zone, you aren’t challenging yourself.

In a book by Steve Siebold entitled, How Rich People Think, a study that surveyed over 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people found that they tend to find comfort in uncertainty. 

Rich people are also not afraid to spend money if they know the profit will be worth it. Like the saying goes, “You gotta spend money to make money.” 

The next time you find yourself making these habits in your life, stop and ask yourself – “Will this make me rich?”

Now that you know what to look for, you can stop yourself sooner and change your actions to lead you down the path of riches, rather than rags. 

What other habits do you think are preventing you from becoming rich? Let me know in the comments! 

©RBC. All rights reserved.

9 Best Financial Decisions in your ’20s that can save you from pain in the long-run

Most young people are either reckless with money or clueless about it. Making best financial decisions in your 20s that can have future ramifications sounds greek to the most, but they are better off making them.

When you’re in your 20’s, most important financial decisions of life like buying a house, building financial assets and retirement corpus seem far off. Why should you worry about it now?

Then, the reality hits; you’re almost 30, and you haven’t even started with the building blocks yet. You haven’t purchased an insurance plan yet. Or paid off your education loan. Or improved your CIBIL score.

While you might be ready to just throw in the towel and take out a loan to help wash away all your short-term problems, don’t panic yet – you still have time to start making good financial decisions and developing good habits.

Whether you’re 20 or 29, it’s not too late to start making these important decisions to set yourself up for the future. Here are the top 9 financial decisions you can make right now that you’ll thank yourself for later. Trust me.

1. Set financial goals

While big purchases may seem far off, it’s good to start thinking about your big financial goals early. Do you want to be able to buy a home in 10 years?

Maybe when you’re finished with higher studies, you want to pay off the debt early or travel solo to Europe for 3 months or buy a sedan-class car or your own house before you get married. What kind of budget would you need for that?

Setting goals early can help you with every other decision you make, since you’ll always have that in the back of your mind. Goals can also be revisited and changed when needed – but having an idea will make your path to financial success much easier to navigate.

Oh, and the best way to stick to your financial goals is to write them down in a journal or diary. Don’t ignore this part.

2. Determine a budget

It’s easy to get caught up in the changes that happen when you enter a job, which means it’s easy to spend money.

Best Financial Decisions in your ’20s

The sooner you figure out how to live within your means, avoid bad financial habits that prevent you from accumulating money, the more money you’ll have set up for yourself to enjoy the finer things later on in life.

Set up a monthly budgeting plan that allows you to put money away in small investments, pay off any loans, take care of essentials, and also give a little breathing room without suffocating yourself.

3. Pay off education loan ASAP

The first thing you have to do as you start working is to repay your education loan. This should be your top priority. Begin paying it off as soon as you can.

You should be able to figure out how much you can contribute to loans once you have your budget figured out. Even if it’s a smaller amount than you’d like to start, any amount of money paid back is better than nothing at all.

Better yet, work out a plan where you could pay higher than the stipulated monthly installment or transfer a big chunk at the end of the year to your loan account.

Most banks won’t mind that. The private banks do levy prepayment penalties of 2-2.5%, the public sector banks usually don’t. Check with your bank and try to negotiate if they have prepayment charges.

If you put debt repayment off too long, a chunk of your contributions will go to servicing interest payments, and you’ll end up paying back way more than you initially borrowed.

4. Build an Emergency fund

In times like today when a global occurrence can set off a chain reaction of catastrophic events and jolt a nation’s economy before you know it, you should have your own emergency back-up ready.

This is more important when you are a young executive. Remember, when shit hits the fan, it’s often the newbies who get the axe.

Most young executives tend to splurge more and save little.

Be the minority. With every paycheck, be sure to put away some amount of money towards a savings account designated for emergencies.

Some experts suggest 20% of your post-tax income but decide what amount you can realistically contribute (remember that budget? You’ll be using it a lot.)

Aim for a goal of 3 months’ worth of expenses, and then 6 – or, save as much as you feel secure about.

5. Buy health insurance

Getting insured early on in your life is like building a wide moat around your financial castle. If you buy it late, the moat will only get narrow.

Obviously, life and car insurance are incredibly important, but what we’re talking about here is health insurance.

If you have just started working, buy health insurance even if your compensation package includes one from your company. Remember your company’s cover will only last as long as you are employed there.

The sooner you purchase health insurance, the cheaper it will cost you – now, and in the long run. Other benefits include getting cumulative bonus cover every year that grows into value the longer you have it. Talk about a great decision!

6. Build up a robust credit history

Setting yourself up with good credit early can be the key to getting the assets in life that you want.

Any time you need to borrow money – whether that be for purchasing a car, buying a home, going abroad for executive education or starting a business – your credit score will be checked.

If you have a good CIBIL score, your price of borrowing will be lower, and you can borrow money whenever you may need it.

The best way to build up a solid credit score is to repay your EMIs in time.

Even if it’s monthly credit card installment of a few thousand rupees, ensure you repay in time. Frequent misses will spoil your financial profile and could become a major problem at a later stage in life.

7. Keep all your financial documents organized

Make sure you have both scanned and photocopies of your birth certificate, PAN, Aadhar, education degrees, passport, and other identifying documents.

Best Financial Decisions in your ’20s

Keep them along with your tax returns, bank account information, investment account information, and other similar documents.

I suggest finding an expandable file holder online (I use Google Drive) or at your local office supply store and labeling each folder section so you can keep all the documents organized in one place!

There will come a time when you need these documents, and you will thank your younger self for being more organized so you don’t have to scramble.

8. Save up for retirement

Sure, retirement seems like a faraway dream right now – but ask any retiree, and they’ll tell you it comes sooner than you think.

The equation is simple: the sooner you begin saving for retirement, the more money you’ll have when you do retire.

Invest in a diversified equity mutual fund, open a public provident fund account (PPF) with your bank, and subscribe to the National Pension Scheme (NPS) if your company doesn’t offer you one.

These instruments alone, of course, will not guarantee a big corpse saved for your retirement, but they provide you a great headstart to leverage the benefits of compounding (I will address compounding in a different post).

9. Set up a will

Again, this relates to something that hopefully won’t happen for a while, but you can’t be too careful.

Be sure to figure out how you’re going to allocate your assets so you don’t leave loved ones with a mess on their hands when you pass on. It feels good when you finally just get it over and done with.

A living will isn’t a bad idea, either – this helps determine what should be done should you end up in a situation where you are still alive but unable to express informed consent.

Having all of this done years before you have to face it will make going through this situation so much easier – for your peace of mind and your wallet.

If you’re in your 20’s, have you taken action on any of these decisions? If you’re older, what financial decisions do you wish you had made sooner?

Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

9 Best Financial Decisions in your ’20s that can save you from pain in the long-run

Welcome to RBC

Hello, friends! This is my first post on my spanking new blog – Rich by Choices aka RBC.

I love reading about money. I have always been curious how some people excel so far ahead of others in financial terms even when the odds were stacked against them.

After having read several books and heaps of other literature on personal finance, I wondered why not use the knowledge to push myself and others achieve their financial goals. So here we are.

As I write this post, I plan to publish most of the content around the following categories:

  • The Millionaire Mindset. If you are someone aspiring to be rich, you must have given it a thought at some point of your life. What is it that wealthy people do that not only helps them stay rich, but, also, helps them multiply their wealth? How do they stay in complete control of their emotions even under duress. My writing in this section would help you steer clear of financial pitfalls that prevent ill-prepared people from hitting their goals. I would also share with you the srategies and tactics deployed by the wealthy people around the world.
  • Financial Planning. For a majority of people, wealth creation is a slow burn. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. You have to put solid foundations in place for years before tasting results. The posts in this section will act as a lighthouse for everyone who wants to savor money management and basic investing principles.
  • Make Money. Who doesn’t like an extra bit of income? This section will have my writings on legit side hustles that you can create for an alternate revenue stream.

If you are interested in knowing more about wealth-building or if you already have a blog of your own where you write about personal finance, then I would like to know more about you.

You would see a lot of things here are not in their place. There is a reason for that.

I don’t want to waste time to make this website look perfect and then, wait for the perfect moment to launch.

I am launching it anyways.

I’d keep making cosmetic changes as we move along. So don’t be surprised to see a lot of tweaks and pivots in the coming days.

You can follow me here on WordPress and I will follow you back.