Category Archives: Inspiring Stories

Love, Success and Wealth – The Wiser Choice



A woman came out of her house and saw three old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said, “I don’t think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.”

“Is the man of the house home?” they asked. “No”, she said. “He’s out.”

“Then we cannot come in”, they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened. “Go tell them I am home and invite them in,” he said.

The woman went out and invited the men in. “We do not go into a house together,” they replied. “Why is that?” she wanted to know. One of the old men explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added, “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.”


The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How nice!” he said. “Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”

His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?” Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”

“Let us heed our daughter-in-law’s advice,” said the husband to his wife. “Go out and invite Love to be our guest.”

The woman went out and asked the three old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.” Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other two also got up and followed him.

Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, why are you coming in?” The old men replied together: “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would’ve stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!”


An American Business man & Mexican Fisherman



I have been reading a book lately and came across this inspiring story in it. I thought I’d share it as it’s a good example of wisdom and leading a happy life:

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Â Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.

“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.

“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he unloaded them into a basket.

“But…What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican looked up and smiled. “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Julia, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”

The American laughed and stood tall. “Sir, I’m a Harvard M.B.A. and can help you. You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. In no time, you could buy several boats with the increased haul. Eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

He continued, “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village, of course, and move to Mexico City, then to Los Angeles, and eventually New York City, where you could run your expanding enterprise with proper management.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, senor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years. 25 tops.”

“But what then, senor?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions, senor? Then what?”

“Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your children, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings, where you would sip wine and play guitar with your amigos…”

At the end of it, do you choose to slog out on the corporate ladder in order to enjoy a good quality of life?  The choice is yours 🙂


Warren Buffet’s Golden Quotes



“Rule No.1 is never lose money. Rule No.2 is never forget rule number one.”

“Shares are not mere pieces of paper. They represent part ownership of a business. So, when contemplating an investment, think like a prospective owner.”

“All there is to investing is picking good stocks at good times and staying with them as long as they remain good companies.”

“Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy. Profit from folly rather than participate in it.”

“If, when making a stock investment, you’re not considering holding it at least ten years, don’t waste more than ten minutes considering it.”

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.
Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.
Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.
It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.
Our favorite holding period is forever.
We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.



Top 10 Rags-To-Riches Success Stories Of All Time

Rags To Riches Stories

They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. These inspiring figures had less than a lemon to start out with – and are now known for their sheer tenacity as they climbed to the top.


1. Henry Ford

Rags To Riches Stories-Henry Ford

Image Credit: hemmings (dot) com

Henry Ford was a farm boy who went on to revolutionize transportation industry in America. Ford was very interested in mechanics from a young age, when he dismantled and reassembled a pocket watch at the age of 15 his father had given him. A self-taught watch repairman who graduated to being an apprentice machinist, Ford started his personal experiments on gasoline engines which was the beginning of his vast Ford empire. And his net worth, as per Forbes in 2008, is a cool $188.1 billion.

2. Walt Disney

Rags To Riches Stories-Walt Disney

Image Credit: expansiveperspective (dot) com

Our childhood would have been dreary without this genius of a man. Walt Disney was also another boy brought up in a farm – and used to draw pictures for his neighbors for money. He used to be the cartoonist for the school newspaper, Disney went through the jobless phase where no one hired him, and his brother had to help him out with his job search. He went from rags to riches by starting out with advertisements and going on to animating his own cartoons.

3. Ralph Lauren

Rags To Riches Stories-Ralph Lauren

Image Credit: crainsnewyork (dot) com

Born in a strict Jewish family with a house painter for a father, Ralph Lauren grew up with big dreams. He used to sell ties to his classmates to earn some cash, and he mentioned in his yearbook that he wanted to be a millionaire. His interest in ties went on help his put his foot through the door of bigger achievements in the fashion world. When he was signed on to design the clothes for ‘The Great Gatsby’ in 1974, he was catapulted into the fame which he commands today.

4. Steve Jobs

Rags To Riches Stories-Steve Jobs

Image Credit: iphonelovers (dot) com

This Apple founder is now a household name. Jobs was given away for adoption by his biological parents and he became interested in electronics after his foster dad showed him the joys of technical tinkering in their garage. He had to drop out of college, because his education was costing his foster parents a lot. He used to return Coke bottles for money and live on free meals at the Hare Krishna temple. A hippie who used to trip on LSD, Jobs went from a technician in Atari, Inc. to becoming the CEO of Apple Inc.

5. Richard Branson

Rags To Riches Stories-Richard Branson

Image Credit: flightdeckindia (dot) blogspot (dot) com

Branson went from being a dyslexic kid who performed badly in school to a British business magnate with a net worth of 4.6 billion. There was a time when Richard Branson started his record business from the crypt of a church – and now he is the fourth richest citizen of the UK. This entrepreneur is an example of how one can be eccentric and yet rake in the moolah. He had his finger in many pies – record label, airways and telecom.

6. John Paul DeJoria

Rags To Riches Stories-John-Paul-DeJoria

Image Credit: youtube (dot) com

Born to Italian and Greek immigrant parents, this billionaire had to sell newspapers when he was nine to support his family. He has lived in a foster home, been part of a street gang and jumped through a number of jobs. With a loan of $700, he began what is now known the world over as the Paul Mitchell line of hair products. He went on to own 70% of The Patron Spirits Company, the world’s ultra-premium tequila brand. If this is not a rags-to-riches story, we do not know what is.

7. Oprah Winfrey

Rags To Riches Stories-Oprah Winfrey

Image Credit: freeonlineserver (dot) com

Born to a housemaid and a coalminer, Oprah definitely did not grow in the lap of luxury. Living the life of poverty, where she used to have to wear dresses made out of potato sacks and was molested by relatives. She entered the world of media after getting the job of a news-reader in a local black radio station. After she got her first talk-show in Chicago, there was no looking back for this TV personality.

8. J.K. Rowling

Rags To Riches Stories-J.K. Rowling

Image Credit: brothersoft (dot) com

Born in a lowly English family, Rowling battled depression, suicidal tendencies and poverty to become one of the most loved British authors in the world for her hugely popular Harry Potter series. Highly imaginative as a kid who thrived on stories, she drew from her surroundings and the people in her life as inspirations for the books which have now become one of the biggest movie franchises. From her humble beginnings, she has gone on to become one of the most powerful women in the United Kingdom.

9. Daymond John

Rags To Riches Stories-Daymond John

Image Credit: bemagazine (dot) me

A black boy growing up in Queens – one would not have pegged John as a potential entrepreneur who would go on to become the CEO of the hip-hop clothing brand FUBU. But that he did, with an entrepreneurial instinct that he honed from his school days. Selling popular wool hats at half their market price, he mortgaged their house for future business expansion. It paid off well – and he now is one of the most influential motivational speakers in America.

10. Chris Gardner

Rags To Riches Stories-Chris Gardner

Image Credit: bancaynegocios (dot) com

This is the man whose life has inspired the Will Smith-starrer ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’. Physically abused by his stepfather as a child and placed in a foster home, Gardner’s woes did not leave him even as he grew up to marry and be a father. As shown in the movie, Gardner struggled with homelessness while raising his kid. It was the strength of the lessons he learnt from his mother that he went from rags to riches by tenaciously building himself to be the CEO

There is no disadvantage these personalities did not suffer on their journey from birth to where they stand today – but sheer tenacity, confidence and hard work led them to the inspiring figures they are today.

Originally posted on


11 steps to financial freedom

by Julie Cazzin



Want a new car? A bigger house? An earlier retirement? Make your own financial plan right here, in 11 easy steps.


I learned everything I know about money from my dad. Even though he had little formal education, he understood how money works, how to get it and how to make it grow. One moment stands out in my memory: it was a Sunday afternoon when I had just turned 12. Dad took his tan leather briefcase down from the top shelf of his bedroom closet, pulled out his notebook and preceded to show me how to create what I now know was his personal financial plan.

That afternoon, at our kitchen table, he showed me how saving can earn you money through compounded interest, and how owing money can bury you in debt. His message? If you have a financial plan, you have choices—and having choices and setting goals is what leading a successful and satisfying life is all about.

My dad’s personal financial plan was his road map, helping him navigate to his dreams. And the roads to those dreams were built on details. For instance, dad always knew exactly what his take-home pay was, how much the family spent every week on groceries and gas, and how much he needed to save each month to pay off his mortgage in 10 years—his main financial focus when I was growing up.

His plan wasn’t just about counting pennies though, it also allowed him to plan for luxuries—and pay for them in cash. That’s why there was a special column in his plan for $50 in weekly savings towards a family trip to Italy. He had a system he believed in, and made sure the household finances were managed effectively.

These days, most people I know don’t have a financial plan. We spend a lot of time planning for other aspects of our lives, such as our careers, marriages and having kids, but many of us fail to build a plan to achieve our financial goals.

If you would like to stop wondering about whether you’ll ever realize your financial goals, and build a plan to actually reach them, I can help. Read on and I’ll not only show you how to build a proper financial plan, I’ll take you through each step, complete with worksheets and a blank financial plan template that you can fill in at the end. Follow my simple instructions and in no time at all, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with a professional-quality personal financial plan—without having to pay a financial planner a dime.

1. Talk to your spouse
Most couples never talk to each other about their financial goals. If you’re in a relationship, before you roll up your sleeves and dig into the numbers, talk to your spouse about what you want to accomplish. “Have a brief conversation about goals, values, and what kind of lifestyle you want,” says Karin Mizgala, chief executive officer of Money Coaches Canada, a national network of fee-only financial experts based in Vancouver. “That’s key to a good start.”

Action step #1: Click here to find 10 worksheets in the “MoneySense financial plan kit.” There is a PDF version of each worksheet that you can download and print out if you want to fill in the sheets with a pencil or pen. There is also a Microsoft Word version you can fill out on your computer. Print out “Worksheet 1-Prioritize your goals” for this step. You and your spouse should fill this sheet out separately, then compare the results when you’re done.

2. Figure out where you’re at
Before you start worrying about where you want to go, you first have to figure out where you are now. In this step you’ll create a net worth statement, which is essentially an honest measure of your current wealth. You do this by tallying up the value of what you own (your assets) and what you owe (your liabilities). When you subtract your liabilities from your assets, you get a number that represents your net worth. Your net worth statement is an important tool that charts your financial progress over the years. For instance, if your net worth is going down, you’re eroding your wealth and making it harder to achieve your goals. If it’s increasing, you’re on your way to getting richer and achieving your financial goals.

Action step #2: Determine your net worth. Print out “Worksheet 2-Gather your documents.” It’s a checklist to help you pull together what you’ll need before you start, including bank statements, credit card statements, and life insurance polices.

Once you have all your documents in front of you, you’re ready to fill out “Worksheet 3-Your net worth statement.” First list the values of all of your assets, including your home, your cars, your cash and investments. Then list your liabilities, including credit card debts, your mortgage and any other outstanding loans. Tally both your assets and your liabilities and transfer those amounts to the following section, your simplified net worth statement.

Finally, subtract your liabilities from your assets to discover your true net worth. This shorter net worth statement gives a clear snapshot of exactly where you stand today.

3. Track your spending
The key to building a strong financial plan for the future is to understand how much you spend and save right now. This is called tracking your cash flow, and it can give you a sense of control and confidence that makes it easier to make financial changes in your life.

Personally, I’ve kept a small journal tracking my spending for years because it helps me modify my behaviour if my spending gets out of control. It’s not always easy, but it works.

“The part most people dread is taking a really close look at their expenses,” says Mizgala. “But don’t put it off. Successfully managing cash flow is your key to financial control. It will give you an awareness that has more long-term value than anything you can invest in, buy or sell.”

The point of the exercise is to find out whether you finish each year with a cash surplus or a cash deficit. This number will tell you a lot about your general financial shape. A surplus means you’re living within your means, while a deficit shows you’re spending more than you make. If you have a deficit, you will have to cut your expenses (or increase your income) to achieve any financial goals.

What do most people find after doing this exercise? “They’re shocked,” says Mizgala. “It’s a very revealing exercise, mainly because if you have a family with two spouses with debit and credit cards, it’s hard to really see the complete financial picture unless you write it down. This awareness allows you to set up a system for the household.”

Action step #3: Record your cash flow. Fill out “Worksheet 4-Your spending and savings.” It shows what money is coming in (wages, interest, government benefits) and what’s flowing out (rent, debt payments, utility bills). Fill in all your monthly expenses in column 1 and your annual expenses in column 2. (You can leave column 3, the estimate for your future spending in retirement for a later date.)

Tally up your expenses in both columns and subtract them from total net income on both a monthly and yearly basis. The result is your cash flow deficit or surplus.

A good way to approach this exercise is to start with your regular monthly after-tax income and subtract the bills that don’t change month to month, such as rent or mortgage payments. If you don’t know the exact numbers, put in averages for things like groceries, gas or children’s activities. Then add in expenses that only come up a few times a year, such as travel, car repairs and gym fees. Estimate a total for these and divide it by 12, and put that figure in the monthly column of your worksheet. You may not pay the bills in 12 monthly installments but imagine you are setting money aside each month so that you have the total amount when the bill comes due.

4. Adjust your spending
Look closer. Are your expenses higher than your income? If so, you’re living beyond your means. You’ll need to adjust your expenses accordingly so you don’t go further into debt.

This step is not about punishing yourself or laying blame. If you’d rather eat out four times a week than buy a cottage in 10 years, that’s your choice. But you owe it to yourself to be honest about what you’re doing so you’re not wondering why you can’t reach your financial goals.

If you decide to cut back, there are some less painful ways of doing it. Consider renegotiating your mortgage to a lower rate or cutting out one major expense completely. A close friend of mine cut the $5,000 annual family vacation and substituted a couple of long weekends of camping instead. It saves his family $4,000 annually.

If you have a cash surplus, congratulations. You can start allocating money to meet your goals right away.

Action step #4: Compare your spending to your goals. Take a second look at “Worksheet 1-Prioritize your goals” and “Worksheet 4-Your spending and savings.” The idea here is to look at how well your current spending habits mesh with your goals. If you have a cash flow deficit you won’t be able to meet your goals, so you’ll have to see if you can free up cash by cutting back your spending in areas that are less important to you.

For instance, if you have a $5,000 a year deficit on Worksheet 4 and one of your goals is to go on a $4,000 family vacation to Britain in four years, you need to figure out a way to cut $6,000 a year from your spending. You could try using only one car and taking public transit to work. Such a cut could save you $6,000 a year in vehicle costs, allowing you to both balance your budget and reach your travel goal.

5. Set your life goals
Financial goals don’t just happen. You make them happen. This step requires you to assess where you want to be five, 10 and 20 years from now and answer some big questions, such as where you want to live in retirement and when you want to stop working.

One tip is to visualize what your life will be like 10 years from now if you do everything right. The truth is when they picture their future lives, very few people see themselves in a $10-million house in Hawaii. Most people’s goals are more realistic, such as keeping up their current standard of living in retirement (with maybe a few upgrades), preventing any financial disasters, and having the freedom to do the things they love, such as spending more time with friends and family.

“Think of what type of life you want in the future and how you are going to organize your life right now to get it,” says Mizgala. “Your job is to structure your finances so you can achieve your vision.”

Action step #5: Set your top three goals. Fill in “Worksheet 5-Your life and financial goals” and “Worksheet 6-Your top three goals.” If your are in a relationship, sit down with your partner and examine what your goals are and how they fit in with your spending and saving patterns. On Worksheet 5, list each of your top four or five goals and assign a dollar value to each, as well as a time frame for achieving the goal.

Now, compare how closely your goals align with those of your partner. In Worksheet 6, list the three most important goals that you both agree on, in order of priority, in column 1.

6. Develop a strategy
Once you know where you’re going, you need a plan to get there. The usual route is to spend less than you earn and invest the surplus in such a way that you can get where you want to go.

One word of caution—if you’ve identified your goals but you’re in debt, you probably should address that debt before you start investing for the future. “Even when people are not overspending and have debts that carry reasonable interest rates, I encourage them to work aggressively at paying those debts down,” says Norbert Schlenker, founder of Libra Investment Management in Salt Spring Island, B.C. “Don’t even think about investing before your debts are all gone.”

Action step #6: Chart a path to your goals. Go back to “Worksheet 6-Your top three goals” and in column 2, note any obstacles to achieving each goal. Then, in column 3, write down the action steps that you and your spouse have both agreed on to make that goal a reality. For instance, when you tally up the costs of your top three goals, you may find that you need an extra $65,000 in five years to meet those goals. The main obstacle may be that your household income is low because one partner works only part-time. That partner may decide to work full-time in order to earn extra money. The key is to develop strategies and appropriate timelines to make your goals materialize.

7. Review your insurance
If you work full time, much of your insurance may be provided by your employer’s group plan. But is it enough? If you feel confident enough to do some basic calculations yourself you can find out.

Many workplace benefit plans include disability insurance, but if yours doesn’t, get enough to replace at least 60% of your after-tax income.

Then look at your life insurance needs. The general rule of thumb is to get enough life insurance to cover 10 times your income if you have kids under 10 years old (five times your income if you have kids over 10), plus the amount needed to pay off your debt. So if you make $50,000 a year, you have $250,000 outstanding on your mortgage, and two kids under 10, you will need $750,000 in term life insurance. Go to for quotes.

At this point, it may make sense to have an agent review all your insurance policies—disability, life, auto and home—to make sure your coverage is adequate. But be careful. “Do not be oversold on insurance by an industry that is famous for doing exactly that,” says Schlenker. “Pay attention to fees, especially with life insurance. If you need more life insurance, chances are renewable term is the right product for you. You want plain vanilla coverage for a plain vanilla problem—your kids going hungry because you can’t work.”

Action step #7: Review your coverage. There’s no worksheet for this step, but you should still take some time to carefully review all of your insurance coverage. If you don’t have group coverage through work, you probably have private insurance policies for medical, dental, life and disability insurance. Consult an independent insurance agent for a quick review. If you need extra coverage, make a note of it so you can include that in your final financial plan.

8. Slash your taxes
Most tax planning is relatively simple. You’re probably doing a lot of things right already. For instance, if you own your home and use RRSPs, Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), you’re already taking advantage of the best tax shelters out there.

To reduce the taxes you pay on your investment portfolio returns it helps to understand that the income tax system treats the various sources of investment income differently. Interest on bonds and foreign dividends is taxed at your full marginal tax rate, Canadian dividends are taxed at rates about one-third lower, and capital gains at half the full rate. So there are advantages to holding investments that generate capital gains and Canadian dividends outside of your RRSP and TFSA if you’re tight on contribution room.

Action step #8: Consider calling a tax accountant. Again, there’s no worksheet for this step. But a few basic principles apply. For those with low to moderate incomes, paying off debt—including the mortgage—is the best tax-planning you can do. That’s because you don’t pay taxes on the capital gains on your home and there’s no tax on the return you get for getting out of debt. If, however, you’re in a higher tax bracket—earning $85,000 a year or more—it may be worth paying for a couple of hours of an accountant’s time to see what mix of investment options—RRSPs, RESPs and TFSAs—is right for you tax-wise. Have these suggestions handy for your final plan.

9. Create an investing policy
Every professional financial plan includes an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that recommends how a portfolio should be invested. It puts in writing the rules that will make you a more disciplined investor. Having an IPS helps you to stick with your plan and keeps you from changing course when the market gets volatile.

A typical investment policy might specify that your portfolio should always maintain a ratio of 60% stocks to 40% fixed-income investments. This ratio is determined by your time horizon and risk tolerance. The longer your time horizon and the greater your tolerance for risk, the higher the equity portion of your portfolio. As you near retirement and need the security of more stable income from your investments, the portfolio mix will usually tilt towards bonds.

An IPS also states the expected annual returns for your portfolio—typically 5% to 6% per year—over a very long time period, such as 20 years or more. Your IPS might also note the volatility you should expect for a given portfolio. For instance, it could say that you should expect the portfolio to suffer a 10% drop in the short term at least once a decade.

Action step #9: Determine which investments are right for you. Fill in “Worksheet 7-How are you currently invested?” and “Worksheet 8-Which investments are right for you?” On Worksheet 7, itemize every investment you own today—including cash, fixed-income products and equity holdings.

Worksheet 8 will help you assess how much you need to save monthly, when you’ll need the money, and what your risk tolerance is. The results will allow you to zero in on how you should invest in future to meet your goals.

If you have trouble with this section, you can always leave it for now. Once your financial plan is complete, you can consult a fee-only adviser to help you build an investment strategy that’s right for you.

10. Write up a will
Every adult who owns assets and has a spouse or children should have a will. An accurate and up-to-date will is the only way to ensure your assets will be distributed the way you want them to be. If you don’t have one, you’re letting the laws in the province you live in make those decisions for you. And if you hold the belief that your spouse will automatically inherit everything—you’re wrong. In most parts of Canada children trump partners. Without a will your husband or wife will get a predetermined amount of your assets—the rest goes to the kids.

Action step #10: Create or update your will. If you have an updated will it should be filed with your financial plan. If you don’t have one, hire a lawyer to draw one up for you. Visit and search for lawyers in your area who specialize in wills and estates.

11. Create your final plan
A typical financial plan has five main parts. The first outlines where you stand right now, that’s your current situation. The second contains your top financial goals, or where you want to go. The third is a simple net worth statement. The fourth lists the steps you must take to achieve your goals. It includes your income and expenses, an overview of your insurance, a section on retirement planning, and a section on estate planning. Finally, the fifth section—usually a separate document—is your Investment Policy Statement, which lays out how your portfolio is to be invested.

To get a better feel for what your financial plan might look like, let’s take a look at a plan that has already been created by a fictional couple, Patty and Walter Berglund. The Berglunds are a 34-year-old couple living in Halifax. They have two daughters, Debra and Marie, ages 5 and 2. Their household income is $110,000 and after all expenses have been paid, they have $20,000 in cash left over each year.

Their plan lists their top five goals—to pay down $20,000 in consumer debt, save $5,000 for a family trip to Disney World in two years, pay off their $150,000 mortgage in 15 years, save $60,000 in RESPs for their daughters’ post-secondary education and finally, to retire comfortably at age 60.

This is followed by a basic statement of their assets and liabilities that shows a net worth of $82,000. The couple’s projected income and expenses show a $20,000 annual cash surplus. That money is earmarked for their goals in the following way: In the first year the entire $20,000 surplus will go towards paying down the debt. In year two, $5,000 will go towards the big family Disney World trip, $5,000 towards an extra payment on their mortgage, $5,000 to the RESPs and $5,000 to a spousal RRSP for Patty. The couple agrees to continue using the annual surplus in this way each year until their goals change.

After consulting with an insurance agent, the Berglunds agreed that their group plans with their employer are mostly adequate but they decided to increase Walter’s insurance coverage by $300,000. In the section on retirement planning, the couple made some assumptions: that Walter remains employed as a physiotherapist and stays in the hospital’s defined benefit pension plan until age 60, and that Patty continues working part time earning $30,000 a year as a social worker. Walter will start saving $5,000 annually in a spousal RRSP for Patty once their consumer debt is paid off (excluding the mortgage). If they do this, the couple should have more than enough to cover their retirement expenses adequately. Their wills and power of attorneys are all in order.

The second document, the Investment Policy Statement (IPS), outlines the Berglunds’ investment plan. They have an average tolerance for risk and don’t require regular income from the portfolio right now. So a balanced 60% equity, 40% fixed income mix suits them fine. The couple wants a well-diversified portfolio at minimal expense. Thus, their policy states that low-cost index funds or exchange-traded funds are to be used wherever possible.

Their IPS also states that once a year the Berglunds will review their portfolio and rebalance to bring the asset allocation back to their pre-determined target mix of 60% equity and 40% fixed income. It also states clearly that sudden market price movements are not grounds for revision. This will help stop the Berglunds from making impulsive investment decisions out of fear or greed.

Action step #11: Create your financial plan. Open “Worksheet 9-Your financial plan” and gather together all of the worksheets you have already filled out. Worksheet 9 is a blank financial plan with all the sections already labeled for you. At this point, all you are really doing is taking information from the completed worksheets and putting it all together to form your plan. Before you proceed, it may help to review the sample plan for Patty and Walter Berglund at the end of Worksheet 9.

Now fill out “Worksheet 10-Your investment policy statement.” Again, refer to Patty and Walter Berglund’s Investment Policy Statement at the bottom of this worksheet for guidance. Write a brief summary of your current status, and under Objectives and Constraints write down your risk tolerance, time horizon, any taxation strategies you plan to use, and the amount of time you wish to spend managing your portfolio—in many cases, minimal.

Under Investment Strategy Guidelines, write an outline of how your investments will be allocated, according to asset class. The next three headings—Security Guidelines, Location Guidelines and Risk Control, Monitoring and Review are fairly generic and are already filled in for you.

Phew, it’s done! You now have a financial plan for the rest of your life. From this point on, as your goals change, modifications to your basic plan will be straightforward.

Of course you still have to follow your plan. But you’ll probably find that the process of putting it together has already changed some of your beliefs about how your money should be spent and invested, so changing your financial behaviour may not be as hard as you think.

To make sure you stay on track, you should take the time to review your plan at least once a year, and update it as necessary. It’s also a good idea to pull it out whenever you run into a big financial or life event, such as a market crash, marriage or job change. “It’s a tool to support you through life,” says Mizgala. “Money and household finances won’t be as scary when you break it down into these manageable bits. If you truly commit, it will be a huge boon to your emotional and financial well-being.”

Originally posted in


This Pretty Girl Was Seeking A Rich Husband. The Reply She Got From A Banker Was Priceless!

images (1)


The following is what a women posted on a dating forum seeking a rich husband:

I’m going to be honest of what I’m going to say here. I’m 25 this year. I’m very pretty, have style and good taste. I wish to marry a guy with $500k annual salary or above. You might say that I’m greedy, but an annual salary of $1M is considered only as middle class in New York.

My requirement is not high. Is there anyone in this forum who has an income of $500k annual salary? Are you all married? I wanted to ask: what should I do to marry rich persons like you?

Among those I’ve dated, the richest is $250k annual income, and it seems that this is my upper limit.
If someone is going to move into high cost residential area on the west of New York City Garden(?), $250k annual income is not enough.

I’m here humbly to ask a few questions:

1) Where do most rich bachelors hang out? (Please list down the names and addresses of bars, restaurant, gym)
2) Which age group should I target?
3) Why most wives of the riches are only average-looking? I’ve met a few girls who don’t have looks and are not interesting, but they are able to marry rich guys.
4) How do you decide who can be your wife, and who can only be your girlfriend? (my target now is to get married)
Ms. Pretty

A philosophical reply from CEO of J.P. Morgan below:

Dear Ms. Pretty,
I have read your post with great interest. Guess there are lots of girls out there who have similar questions like yours. Please allow me to analyse your situation as a professional investor.
My annual income is more than $500k, which meets your requirement, so I hope everyone believes that I’m not wasting time here.

From the standpoint of a business person, it is a bad decision to marry you. The answer is very simple, so let me explain.

Put the details aside, what you’re trying to do is an exchange of “beauty” and “money” : Person A provides beauty, and Person B pays for it, fair and square.
However, there’s a deadly problem here, your beauty will fade, but my money will not be gone without any good reason. The fact is, my income might increase from year to year, but you can’t be prettier year after year.

Hence from the viewpoint of economics, I am an appreciation asset, and you are a depreciation asset. It’s not just normal depreciation, but exponential depreciation. If that is your only asset, your value will be much worse 10 years later.

By the terms we use in Wall Street, every trading has a position, dating with you is also a “trading position”.
If the trade value dropped we will sell it and it is not a good idea to keep it for long term – same goes with the marriage that you wanted. It might be cruel to say this, but in order to make a wiser decision any assets with great depreciation value will be sold or “leased”.

Anyone with over $500k annual income is not a fool; we would only date you, but will not marry you. I would advice that you forget looking for any clues to marry a rich guy. And by the way, you could make yourself to become a rich person with $500k annual income.This has better chance than finding a rich fool.

Hope this reply helps.

J.P. Morgan CEO

Originally posted on