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Time Value of Money

Understanding The Time Value of Money

Today’s guest post is by Gary Forman, founder of the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and website. One of his clients asked Gary:

“Does anyone think that $20,000 will buy a new car forty years from today? Maybe it’s time for an article on the time value of money, accounting for inflation in long term investment plans, and related issues.” ~  Lester

Lester was referring to an article that I had written saying that when you buy something today, you’re agreeing not to buy something more expensive later. And, he’s right. You can’t simply take today’s prices and expect them to be valid for future purchases, especially if you’re looking more than a few years into the future.

The concept of rising prices is only one component of an economic theory called “the time value of money.”

Having money over a period of time is valuable. Money can earn more money. Suppose that you had $100 today and could earn 10% on it. A year from now you’d have $110. In two years $121. So having that $100 is valuable.

Also, I’d rather have $100 today than wait and get it tomorrow. I won’t earn much interest in one day, but it should be worth a little more tomorrow. It’s also safer getting it today. There’s always that possibility, however small, that you won’t get the money tomorrow. By getting it today, you’ve eliminated that risk.

Another area where the time value of money applies is in the area of retirement planning. Suppose that you expect to retire in 20 years. You know that prices will rise before then. But can you estimate by how much?

Rule of 72

A quick and easy way to answer that question is to use the rule of 72. The formula is easy. The number of years in the future times the interest rate you expect equals 72. That’s how long it will take for prices to double.

Let’s do an example. You want to know how long it will take prices to double if inflation is 6%. A little algebra tells us that you divide 72 by 6. Thus, prices will double in 12 years. So if you expect to retire in 20 years and inflation is 6%, prices will be nearly 4 times higher when you retire. ($1 x 2 = $2 in 12 years. That $2 x 2 = $4 the next 12 years. Or 4 times in 24 years)

Suppose that you had $100 today and could earn 10% on it. A year from now you’d have $110. In two years $121. So having that $100 now is valuable. Also, I’d rather have $100 today than wait and get it tomorrow. I won’t earn much interest in one day, but it should be worth a little more tomorrow. It’s also safer getting it today. There’s always that possibility, however small, that you won’t get the money tomorrow. By getting it today, you’ve eliminated that risk.

If you play with the formula, you’ll find that the rate of interest you choose makes a big difference in the results. For instance, 3% inflation would mean that prices would double every 24 years. Quite a difference compared to our first example – going up 4 times in the same amount of time.

You can also use the same formula to calculate how long it will take your money to double in an investment account. For instance, if you’re earning 9% on your investments, it will take 8 years to double. (9 x 8 = 72).

You may want to get more precise than our little formula will allow. For that, you’ll need something called a financial function calculator. It will do a lot more than the time value of money formula, but it’s easy enough to learn how to use it for time value questions. And, they’re not expensive.

Some people will subtract the inflation rate from their investment return to get a “real” rate of return on their retirement savings. For instance, if you earned 8% on the money and inflation was 3%, you’ve really gained 5% in buying power.

Another application for time value of money is when you’re trying to decide which payment plan you’d prefer. What happens if you were told that you could buy a car for $20,000 cash today. Or you could make $400 payments for 60 months. Or you could put $4,000 down and make $375 payments for 48 months.

You could add up all the payments you would make, and that would be a good rough estimate. But you’d get a more precise answer by using a calculator to bring everything back to today’s dollars so that you’d have a fairer comparison.

$1 today is more valuable

Don’t be intimidated by the concept. Just remember that having $1 today is more valuable that having one a year from now. And the same holds true if you’re paying. A dollar that you pay today is more valuable than one that you’ll pay next year.
With an understanding of the time value of money and the ability to use the rule of 72, you can help yourself in a variety of common money situations.

~~~~~~~

Thanks Gary! This article by Gary Foreman originally appeared in The Dollar Stretcher.com.

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He’s been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, Credit.com and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter or visit Gary Foreman on Google+. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

Time Value of Money Image via weakonomics.com

 

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Intentional Words Create an Abundant Life

Intentional words create an abundant life!

Words are powerful

Listen to what you are saying to yourself and the world. Now, consciously use words to create a new paradigm. Think before you speak. If you want to change where your life is going, then it’s time to become aware of your internal priorities. It is feasible to live an abundant life regardless of your salary level.

People say, “I need a bigger TV,” or “I need to go to Hawaii.” But these are wants are not needs. They may want those things, yet they can live a full life without a bigger screen or vacation. People need oxygen; they don’t need the newest cell phone upgrade. By prioritizing need over want, many people find that they are more connected to what is valuable to them, and don’t want to waste time or money on the latest gadget advertised by the media.

Once you decide what is important, listen to your words, begin to give yourself more choices, and change your mental map. Your word is your magic wand and the words you speak create your destiny! If you constantly want more or feel overwhelmed by the “things” you have accumulated, you can redefine what “MORE” can be. You will want to expand your vocabulary and choose new words to use.

MORE isn’t always better

Adopt the mantra that MORE isn’t always better. More than enough food may make you heavier and less healthy. More than enough alcohol may consume your budget and your good judgment. More than enough clothes may cause you stress each day when you can’t decide what the “right look” is. And more than enough stuff takes over your life, clutters your house and mental state, and strains your budget when you have to pay to store all your extra stuff! Having less does not mean being poor or restricted. you can live an abundant life thru positive choices.

Create an abundant life where MORE is less

Here are some examples:
More time with friends, less time stressing about work or money.
More options to make life fulfilling, less fear of what others think.
Intentionally selecting actions to complete your life goals, build a more meaningful life and less blame, shame, and frustration.

Choose the Life You Wish to Lead

By choosing what positive choices and changes you want and then directing your energy on those, you spend less time fixating on the negative impulses, purchases, and decisions. Thus, you begin to live each day with the intention of creating an abundant and proactive life, personally and financially.

What words will you use?

Find powerful action words to support a sense of purpose like “I will”  “I can” “My next step is…” Give yourself permission to make conscious choices. Let go of old assumptions and give your life the value it deserves. Start by substituting the word “but” with the word “and.” It opens up your options! Try it, “I really want _____ and I can _____ to achieve that.” You only have one life ~ Live an abundant life and make the most of it!

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Convert a Lucky Break into Positive Change

Lucky break

A Lucky Break!

Imagine you landed a brand new job, won a $100,000, or just got the raise and promotion you have been wanting. You may tell others, “Whew, that was a lucky break!” The world often offers us a shot at a new opportunity, but we don’t always reach for the golden ring. An open mind can convert that moment of opportunity, that lucky break, into positive change.

Fear of Success

Some people are fearful when they succeed. They don’t believe in themselves. When good things happen in their life, they wait to see if others have discovered they are “fake.” People who feel they are not worthy think everyone else has life figured out. Any success they achieve is viewed as a fluke of nature, and will probably never happen again. By fearing the success they crave, any meaningful movement forward becomes an illusion. They are unable to flip a chance of a lifetime into a life of possibilities.

Living in the Past

Many of us still hear voices from the past. Maybe our parents said we failed or that we would never amount to anything. Tuning into old or negative thoughts keeps us captive by clouding our minds. If there is too much baggage rattling around in our brains, it becomes harder to hear the new possibilities. Let’s look at breaking that mindset.

Learn to Say YES!

As long as people deny new experiences, the door to opportunity will stay shut. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” When Lady Luck drops an unexpected gift in your lap, use the chance to create momentum and excitement for the future.

Learn to say yes by changing your mental perspective. If your answer to any question or request is always no, stop and think before you reply. Take a moment to think about the possible outcomes before committing to others. Give yourself the power to visualize different options.

Know Your Value

Examine your value. Explore how to capitalize on your lucky break and spread the abundance to build long term benefits. You got the new job, so now is the time to sign up for the company assisted 401K retirement plan and invest in you. Another important step, set up an automatic deposit to funnel 5% of your salary into a dedicated savings account.

Congratulations, you won $100,000! After you pay the taxes, maybe you invest 10% of the money, quit renting and purchase a new home. Now would a good time to begin a college fund for your children. All of these actions will “pay you back” in the long run.

Finally, you got the raise and the promotion you wanted. Celebrate, go out for dinner and drinks! Continue to live off your old salary. If you have credit card debt, use the overage to pay it off. Open a second savings account to save for travel and your next car – what a treat to pay for a big vacation or a new vehicle with cash!

Stepping Stones of Success

Luck comes to all of us in very small and huge chances. Are you prepared to take advantage of that? A chance to take on more responsibility at work can be your lucky break. Creating new protocols in your industry can boost your career. A side hustle fulfilling a childhood dream can propel a fabulous small business. Be open to the abundance that each of these moments has – you can convert a lucky break into positive change.

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SPEND MONEY ON EXPERIENCES, not THINGS

3x3 Vacation TimeSpend Money on Experiences, not Things!

Sounds hedonistic, but spending money on experiences over things may bring you a higher level of genuine joy and longer-lasting satisfaction in life. We all have a limited amount of money to spend and want to allocate our resources for maximum results. Earning more money brings happiness – but only up to a certain point. People need a place to live, a car and food on the table, but before you buy that next new “thing,” take a moment to determine if you would be more satisfied spending money on an experience with family or friends over a new iPhone.

A new gadget or piece of technology often causes us to swell with pride in a brief moment of that “Wow” factor when showing off the new purchase. Physical products often lose their value as they become a mundane piece of your life and let’s face it – there is always something newer, better, or that has more options.

The concept of spending money on experiences over material purchases has been studied in-depth by Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich. For over a decade, he has been trying to understand how and why experiential purchases are so much better than material products. Using the simple concept of conscious choice, you can create a life that is rich in its abundance by sharing experiences and connecting with the people you love.

In fact, if you have ever been at a party where you are meeting new people, it is easy to connect with someone when you realize that both of you ran the same marathon, hiked the same trail in a national park or vacationed in the same city. It doesn’t matter if they spent $10,000 and you spent $900. Both trips were equally as exciting! The shared experience bonds you as you both compare notes, relive your trip, and refresh the memories.

Summer is quickly passing, and if you have not taken the time to refresh yourself, there are still some great experiences waiting for you! Take a pass on a new car and use the one you have. Journey to a fabulous week with family or friends and make memories that will last a lifetime! Here is a great website to help you purchase an experience before the leaves begin to turn: http://www.lastminutetravel.com/PagePackageSearch.aspx

Remember to take time to stop and smell the roses!

Bob

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INVESTING IN VALUE = Long Term Success

3x3 Invest in Value

When you have something of value: family, friends, possessions – you want to take care of them, and maintain your investment. Many people are financial quick-fixers with a duct tape mentality, and contrary to popular belief, duct tape doesn’t fix everything. They may get immediate results, but are not actually dealing with the cause of their problem. This can result in complicated or frustrating long-term results.

If you are overdrawn in your bank account, you might think you are doing right by using your credit card to bring your account back into balance. That is robbing Peter to pay Paul. The reality is that you are creating more debt for yourself and adding interest payments to what you owe already.

I joke that I wish I could “un-know” what I know. It is a lot more work when you start to take responsibility for your life. Imagine going to a seminar and hearing that there are eight steps you have to take in order to become a millionaire. Many people in the seminar will stop at four steps and say, “I’ve finished four steps, why don’t I have 500,000 dollars?”

We live in a volatile world. Instead of being a financial quick-fixer, take a longer view into the future, make value-based choices and begin to create a healthy and abundant lifestyle over time.

  • Figure out where you are: Take a look at your spending habits and write down every purchase in a month. Will you be happy with that choice in five years?
  • Identify your priorities: How can you reallocate funds to support your priorities and provide additional value in your life? What really matters to you?
  • Create a financial support system: Actively seek support utilizing professional advice, friends, financial tools, software and applications to set your self up for success.

Once you learn to work with your list of financial goals and stop operating out of fear regarding money, you will see your efforts transfer to other aspects of your life. You may feel more financially confident once you have a clear vision of where you are and where you want to be.

Empowering yourself financially allows you to toss out old reactions and habits. You choose your actions! As you tap into your own power, you no longer wait for luck to happen or hope that you win the lottery—you actively take charge of your life. I call this positive lifestyle where the riches of life are inherent in your soul—proactive abundance!

Have a great week,

Bob

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START TO QUESTION

3x3 Habits we learn from parents

You have probably heard this story before, but I wanted to share it again because it made such an impact on me.

It is easy to get caught up in the business of our lives and lose sight of what’s important and “WHY!”

A little boy started saving his allowance and any spare change he found, stashing it under his pillow.

One night, the little boy greeted his father at the door and asked, “How much money do you make?” The father was slightly offended and told his son it was none of his business.

Later, the father started feeling guilty and went back to his son and said, “Son, I make twenty dollars an hour.” The little boy’s face brightened and he asked his dad if he could borrow $12. Now his father blew up, “Why would I give you $12? You probably just want to spend it on junk toys and silly games!” He told his son to go to bed and angrily left the room.

As the father sat in the living room and his anger dissipated, he realized that his son very rarely asked for money. He had not given his child the opportunity to share why he needed the money. He went back to his son’s room and apologized, “I’m sorry I got angry. You rarely ask for money and I will give you the $12 you asked for. Why you are asking for extra money?”

With tears in his eyes, the young boy looked up and said, “I know you are very busy and have so much to do. I wanted to know how much you make so I could save enough money to buy an hour of your time. With the money you have given me, I have enough! Will you please come home earlier tomorrow night and have dinner with me?”

It has been said by many that no one regrets spending more time at the office as they look back over their life. Family and friends are valuable and your investment in relationships will always outweigh pure materialism. Do we need money? Yes! Do we need to manage our finances effectively? Yes! But remember there is more to life than just more.

As you walk through life, take a moment and breathe deeply enough to create a space; space that allows you to make choices objectively. Rather than simply reacting, have empathy with yourself and others. I hope you will honor yourself and others this week!

Bob

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Does Money Solve Everything?

yard work with grandpa

Do you use money to “solve” problems or to make people like you more?

My grandparents gave my family so much! They provided TVs, stereos, a vehicle when we turned sixteen – and we loved being spoiled by them. When I was a young adult and my grandparents needed some help around the house, I spent a weekend in their yard fixing things up. At the end of the weekend, my grandfather tried to give me a hundred bucks, which I politely refused. My grandparents were very confused and hurt. They could not comprehend that I simply wanted to spend time with them because I loved them.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized what my grandparents were really saying with their overly generous attention: “We don’t feel worthy of your love, but if we give you lots of money, will you pretend to love us?” I was totally taken aback and saddened by that thought.

What I came to understand is that my grandparents grew up feeling insecure and unworthy of attention. The only way they thought they could convince people to love them was through bribery. My grandparents taught my mother the same lesson, which not surprisingly trickled down to my siblings and me. Buying expensive presents, always treating friends or family to meals or providing luxuries that they cannot afford, to make others love you more, isn’t a “real” relationship.

All of these activities are positive things that we do with friends and family because we care about them. However, if the underlying emotion is based on fear and need, it might be time to explore your actions. Is your money serving you well when you “buy” people? Investigate the emotions that trigger your automatic responses in relationships. Begin making conscious choices that will generate a genuine connection based on love and trust.

Bob

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Know Your Value

I am valuable

What value do you place on financial freedom? If you place a high value on being debt-free and are consciously choosing how to manage your finances, you can start to mentally “pay yourself.”

Reward yourself for taking the time to map out your plan.

By questioning and evaluating your process of handling money, you can turn off the autopilot mode you were in and begin to explore new options. Navigating this new course may feel strange and uncomfortable at first. Stick with this action plan; you’ll develop new habits to support your dreams, and very quickly, this new lifestyle will become second nature to you.

Find the value in yourself, your relationships and your financial future. If you track your progress, you will see a series of small successful steps – all pointing toward your goals. If you find there are areas where you need help, enlist the guidance of a friend, colleague or family member who can be a champion. For example, if you are not sure how to start saving for retirement or need help setting markers for that big goal, a champion or a mentor can be valuable helping you navigate new territory and get you on the right track.

Explore your value in the workplace as well. Ask yourself, “Do I do everything possible in my position to demonstrate my value?” Determine what level of compensation others in your industry and at your level receive. Is there an industry standard of pay and is there a documented skill level or list of job descriptions you can use to compare with your current position?

You may find that you are under-valued at work and need to share what you contribute each day with your upper management. Do you have advanced skills? Have you taken extra training classes? Worked on special projects? Make a list of what makes you a more valuable employee and ask to be compensated. There are many people who wait for someone to recognize them or offer them a raise. If you ask for higher compensation, you have a better chance of boosting your wages. Ask and you may get it! You really have nothing to lose.

After making industry comparisons, you may also find that you need to update skills or invest in yourself. Take the initiative to make yourself more valuable. Conversely, you may find that it is time to move on.

Exploring, calculating and defining your value gives you the power to control your options. Whether you stay, change jobs, get more education or work harder to be the best at your current position, you have empowered yourself by knowing your value. Now you are better able to choose the best life for you and your family.

Here’s to a life of value!

Bob