Life, Liberty and YOUR Pursuit of Happiness

In the spirit of the Independence Day, I want you to take some time to reflect on the importance of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” not only when it comes to our country, but when it comes to your personal life.

I believe each of us has the power to discover our purpose and become joyful in the pursuit of that purpose. This journey may not be easy however; if you look back in history you’ll realize that nothing important and meaningful ever is.

To help guide you in your pursuit of happiness, I want to introduce you to what I call the “LIVE RICH FACTOR”. I call it this because those who find the purpose that leads them to happiness are the luckiest people in the world and are in fact, the ones who are truly living richly.

There are four basic principles involved in creating your LIVE RICH Factor:

PRINCIPLE ONE | BECOME CONNECTED WITH YOUR TRUTH.
The hardest thing to do is to be honest with yourself. We lie more to ourselves than to anyone else. You must tell yourself the truth about whether or not you are truly happy. If you are not happy, you must admit it to yourself. To really be connected to your truth, you must tell yourself and the world the truth. You must have what I call “truth congruence”— which means that who you are on the inside matches who you show to the world on the outside.

PRINCIPLE TWO | STOP JUDGING YOURSELF.
You are your own harshest critic. Many people talk to themselves in a way they would never accept from a stranger, a friend, or a loved one. If this describes you, try stopping the negative conversations you have with yourself immediately.

Try this, for one week, simply commit to just saying “Stop it!” when you think a negative thought about yourself. If you are in the habit of saying negative things to yourself, you will find this is one of the most difficult exercises you will ever do. Carry a pad with you at all times and make a mark each time you catch yourself “thinking negative.” You’ll find that as the days go on your negative thinking can quickly be reduced. The motivational expert Zig Ziglar uses a phrase I love about people having “stinking thinking.” Your job is to cut out that stinking thinking.

PRINCIPLE THREE | STOP JUDGING OTHERS.
It’s hard to be joyful when you’re always judging others. In fact, it’s close to impossible. Judging others creates a huge amount of stress in our lives. It affects our marriages and our relationships with our kids as well as the way we relate to friends, coworkers, and society in general.

We are not here to judge one another. The next time you find yourself upset at someone or some situation, stop yourself and ask, “Are you judging?” Judging others is often an unconscious habit. But it’s a habit that can be changed the moment you decide to stop doing it and just this little change can make a huge difference.

PRINCIPLE FOUR |PURSUE FUN WITH A VENGEANCE.
It’s okay to pursue fun. It’s what children do. My greatest joy these days is the simple pleasure of going to the park with my sons, Jack and James. The park is free; the time I spend with them in the park is priceless.

Why do we stop pursuing fun as we get older? Fun shouldn’t be squeezed into a few weeks of vacation each year. It shouldn’t be squeezed into the last chapter of your life when you will supposedly have enough money to “retire.” Fun deserves to be a part of your life now. Most of the things in life that are fun can be done for little or no money. But fun doesn’t just happen. You must make having it a priority in your life or it will go missing. And life is too short to not have fun.

This 4th of July I want you to take a moment and think about your pursuit of happiness and then go HAVE FUN! Report back to me by commenting below or on my Facebook page about what makes your life RICH!

Live Rich,

David Bach

 

 

Today.com – 6 Tips For Saving More At The Grocery Store

This week on Today.com, I helped a Facebook fan with her question on how to save on groceries. Check out my 6 tips for saving money at the grocery store and watch the video above.

Our Facebook friend Michelle asks: How do you save the most money on groceries when you live in a small town and only one grocery store? The next town with more grocery stores is about a half an hour away.

My advice:

1)      Organize a trip and carpool to the grocery store(s) that are a half an hour away with friends in your area – make sure you go to the best place, with the best prices.  

2)      Look into “big box” locations like, Costco, Wal-Mart or Kmart to see what prices they have available.

3)      Shop Online for foods and other household goods if you can. Here you can save money from the comfort of your home AND save the gas money.

4)      Look to see if the online grocery retailers available in your area offer free shipping. Many times if you spend a certain amount on your groceries or household goods they will have this as an option—if they do, try to take advantage of it! (Just make sure you don’t over spend to take advantage of the shipping.)

5)      Do your research and look for coupons online.  Some sites out there right now are: CouponMom.com, DealSeekingMom.com, BeFrugal.com.

6)      Check out the grocery store’s website for their current deals and sales.

I hope these quick tips help! Now I want to know, what’s the best tip YOU have when it comes to saving on groceries?

Live Rich,

David Bach

My Top 7 Tax Tips for 2012

 The United States Tax Code is about 18,500 pages long, filled with enough “ifs”, “ands”, and “buts” to make your head spin. So I  put together a quick list of my top tips when it comes to filing your taxes this year, to help you have a stress free filing experience.

1)    File electronically. According to IRS.gov, last year nearly 100 million taxpayers submitted their taxes online. When you file electronically through one of the IRS approved e-file providers or for free with Free File , you decrease the chances of making many common errors that can negatively affect your return. Free federal online filing is the easiest way to do your taxes and is the fastest way to get your return. The software takes you step-by-step through the e-filing process, asking you the questions many accountants ask to help maximize your potential deductions. You can find a list of qualified software companies on www.IRS.gov/efile  

2)      Take your time and most importantly double check your math. Software prevents many common math errors when filing, however, if you are filing with a paper return I urge you to sit down, take your time, and double check your numbers. This is important because if you do make a mistake in your taxes, you will need to amend it (with Form 1040X) which will take an additional 8 to 12 weeks from the IRS receipt date until the amendment is processed.

3)      Be sure that your Form W-2 and all Form 1099s are correct. When you receive these forms go over them and make sure all of the info is correct. If you find an error, have it corrected as soon as possible so that the IRS’s records agree with the amounts you show on your return. (Contact your employer to get these issues resolved.)

4)      Double check that your social security number has been correctly written on the return.  This seems so simple, but still so many people do not do it, so save yourself the time and stress, by checking this information right off the bat. If you are filing a paper return, make sure to include your social security number on each page of your return in case the IRS loses a page, it can be reattached quickly and easily. If you are married, check that your spouse’s social security number is properly listed, whether filing a joint or separate return.

5)      Get the right routing and account numbers. I love that these days you can make your tax return automatic by getting it deposited directly into different accounts.  But you need to make sure the financial institution routing and account numbers entered on the return are accurate. Incorrect numbers can cause a refund to be delayed or even worse, deposited into the wrong account.

6)      Make sure you take the Tax Credits and Deductions that are rightfully yours. Every year, the IRS collects millions of dollars in overpaid taxes. And guess what? They get to keep them—that’s right, they get to keep money that rightfully belongs to you. This year, make sure you make all the deductions applicable to you and your situation. There are deductions from everything to contact lenses to lead paint removal. For more in depth itemized tax deduction, go to IRS.gov and type the words “tax deductions” into the search bar.

7)      Keep copies of all documents that you send to the IRS. Use certified mail for all important correspondence to the IRS and make 1 or 2 copies of all the documents you are sending them. Don’t forget to keep your records in good shape so that you can find answers to any IRS questions about your return.

My tax tips are quick and simple—so make sure you do them. They will save you a lot of time and aggravation.

Let me know how you did filing your taxes this year and if you filed electronically or not!

Live Rich,

David Bach

NBC’s Today Show – Money 911 and Live Chat – February 1, 2012

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If you missed me on NBC’s Today Show – Money 911 make sure to watch the segment above! We answered questions about what to do if you’re marrying someone with a poor credit score, how to contribute to your 401k when your employer offers a match, and when it’s appropriate to use your spouse’s Social Security benefits.

Plus, I had the chance to stick around after Money 911 to do a Live Web Chat on Today.com. Thank you to everyone that joined me, there were so many AMAZING questions today.  If you missed the chat make sure to read the archive HERE  to see if I answered a question that could help you.

Here’s one of the questions from the Live Chat this morning. (Click HERE for the Full Q&A!)

Jennifer asked:

“My husband and I are 30 and because we were in graduate school most of our 20s, we are just starting to save money. At what point in life does it make sense to get a financial planner? How much should a financial planner cost?”

David replied:

“I think the sooner you get a financial planner the better. With that said, you should read up on investing before your hire one so you know what questions to ask and you are prepared better to screen a good advisor from a bad advisor. Read Smart Couples Finish Rich, before you hire a financial advisor. In this book I also layout how to hire and how to pay a financial advisor. The cost to do a basic financial plan is around $500 to $5,000 depending on how detailed it is. Then there are costs to work with the financial advisor. Most advisors today charge a flat fee on assets of around 1%. You can also hire financial advisors by the hour. Hope that helps you get started! Lastly before you hire a financial advisor check out their background online by visiting the NASD website and make sure there are not any complaints or legal issues with the advisor.”

Hope this helped!

Live Rich,
David Bach

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Welcome to My Kitchen

Ok, I did a special video in my kitchen about losing weight.

No, I’m not switching fields, in fact your money and your solid financial future are more important to me now than ever.  And in a later video I’ll share with you how me losing weight, and how I did it, has a common thread on how to protect and grow your finances.

January 1st I shared that one of my New Year’s resolution was to lose 15 pounds.  I’m not there yet, but as I type this I have lost 13 pounds in 27 days! 

I’m pretty psyched, as I really needed after the holidays to lose this weight.  Maybe you can relate? 

Most importantly I feel so much better.  My energy is up, I’m sleeping better than I have in years, and my pants aren’t tight.  And vainly, my face looks thinner on the Today Show!

So check out the video, and see what I have been making at home in my kitchen to lose this weight.  And there is nothing to buy here. 

I’m truly just sharing a 21 day cleanse called The Clean Program  that just worked amazingly for me.

You’ll see that I am clearly not the next “Martha Stewart”.  It was however really fun to shoot this video, and I hope you enjoy it.   

Live Rich,

David Bach

 

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Are You Making the #1 Financial Mistake?

After ranking top 3 in GoBankingRates’s Favorite Financial Expert of 2011 Poll (by the way, thank you again to all that voted!) they asked me to answer the question: “What’s the number one mistake people make with their money?”

So, instead of just giving a plain, vanilla, written answer, I rolled up my sleeves and shot a video so I could show you what I believe is the #1 financial mistake out there and how you can avoid or fix it in less than an hour!  In this video I walk you through how you can set up a system that guarantees you won’t have spent all your money on other things before you get around to putting your hard-earned dollars where they are supposed to go—to ensuring a richer future.

If you follow the action steps in this video and use the diagram that I show you, you will truly have a foolproof, no brainer, “set it and forget it” financial plan that, I promise you, will work! The plan to avoid this #1 money mistake is based on my New York Times Bestseller, The Automatic Millionaire and is updated for 2012. So, as I said watch the video, follow the diagram, it’s easy and, YES YOU REALLY CAN DO IT – so GET STARTED!

Hope this video helps you all and remember to let me know how great you feel once you “MAKE IT AUTOMATIC” by commenting below or on my Facebook.

Live Rich,
David Bach
 

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Your Financial Action Plan for 2012

New Year’s Eve has always been a time to reflect on the past and more importantly, set goals for the upcoming year. There is nothing that I want more this year, than for you to take action to live and finish rich in 2012. That’s why I am giving you an easy to use financial action plan for the New Year—so let’s get started!

1) PAY YOURSELF FIRST 
According to a new Fidelity Research Report, the number one goal of American’s is to double their savings in 2012. What I want you to do is take out your 401k statement and either increase the dollar amount or increase the percentage of your contribution.  If you just change it by 1% this year, you will make a positive impact on your financial life and savings. Making this increase to your savings is the single easiest thing you can do right off the bat for 2012.

2) MAKE YOUR FINANCES “AUTOMATIC”
2012 is the time to use technology to your advantage when it comes to your finances. The best part about automating your financial life is that it can be done in less than an hour and it will save you time and money for years to come! You need to start by making sure your paycheck is directly deposited into your checking account. Then by using online banking and bill pay you will distribute your money automatically into the following key accounts:

1) Retirement Savings
2) Emergency Savings
3) College Savings
4) Dream Account (i.e. vacations, holidays savings)
5) Mortgage Payment 
6) Credit Card Bills (minimum payment, so you will never miss a payment again) 
7) Recurring bills (utilities, phone, cable, etc.)

3)  GET A WILL  
It’s reported that over 50% of American’s do not have a will.  The reality is, everyone needs a will, even if you are not married or don’t have kids.  Think of your family and friends that you would want to receive your life’s work. Many people do not realize that making a will can actually be quick and relatively cheap. You can create a will yourself for as less $50, using a program such as Quicken Will Maker or you can hire an attorney to help you.

Critical things that you will need in your will are:
- Health care directive
- Financial power of attorney
- Executor documents
- Final arrangements

4)  TRACK WHERE THE MONEY GOES “AKA FIND YOUR LATTE FACTOR®”
The best way to improve your financial life that I know of, other paying yourself first, is to track where your money is actually going.  I would use a site like Mint.com , or Yodlee Money Center.  They have the best programs online to track your expenses and they use the same encryption system the banks do, so your information will be safe.  If you don’t want your expenses tracked online then you can go get an old school “budget tracker” workbook and keep track of where your money goes each month. Then review your finances to see what you are wasting money on or spending too much on and then stop that specific spending!

5) CLEAN IT OUT AND SELL IT
January is a great time of the year to clean out everything in your house that you don’t need and then sell it or give it away—especially if you have a storage facility.  If you are paying to store things you don’t really use and realistically will probably never use now is the time to get rid of everything! Doing this one act could save you over $1,000 a year. What you can do to help yourself, is to look up companies in your area that will come photograph and sell your unwanted items for you, saving you time and making you money.

I would like to say, that this is my personal, number one, New Year’s resolution to help me save in 2012. In fact, you can mark my words that I will get rid of my storage facility this year!

6)  GIVE SOMETHING UP
One of the fastest ways to cut your expenses in 2012 is to pick ONE thing and give it up. We all hate to do it at first, but once we make the change, we usually find out it’s not the end of the world and can be completely worth the savings.  For example, you can give up a car. For many families this can cut expenses by $5,000 to $10,000 a year! If you don’t think you can give up your car, really think about it, what can give you up?  What are you paying for each year that you truly could try and live without?  Is it your storage facility?  Is it premium cable?  Is it a cell phone?  Is it a second home?  A vacation you ALWAYS take?  Sometimes just deciding to give up “one thing” can completely change your financial life. Then these savings could be used to pay down your debt, OR save for retirement, emergency purposes, college OR all of the above!

What I want you to remember is that you don’t need to have a doctorate in math to get these things done; you just need the motivation to make a positive financial change in your life. Trust me—it will be worth it! To connect with like-minded people and get support on your journey to live and finish rich join my community on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Finally, for all of you that voted for me as your favorite expert of 2011, THANK YOU! Your votes have pushed me to 2nd place in the poll and now I need your help getting me to 1st. To vote now, click HERE.

Live Rich,

David Bach

hat new years

Today.com – Should I Go Back to School for a New Career?

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Question:
I already have $30,000 worth of loans from my first degree. Should I keep working minimum wage dead end jobs to pay off this debt or work on getting into a field that will provide financial stability?

My advice:
- Continue working your current job and look for a new opportunity.
- Save money for the next 6 months to a year.
- Go back to school to launch a new career.

Live Rich,

David Bach

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