| How To Get Out Of The Rat Race?
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Jul 25 2007, 06:41 AM
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Make sure you have enough in savings
To figure out if you've saved enough, there are a number of helpful Web tools. Whatever the tool, be sure you understand -- and agree with -- its assumptions. Some calculators assume that you will need income only for 25 years. If you retire in your early 50s, you will need your money to last much longer.
If you'd rather consult an expert, you can hire financial institutions or planners to crunch numbers for you. Find one using the latest income-planning software that analyzes the probability of your money lasting based on assumptions about your spending and portfolio growth.
Whatever resources you use, don't make unrealistic assumptions about the returns your savings and investments will generate -- or about how much you'll spend.
"You have to be prepared for the absolute worst -- deep, long recessions -- and assume you'll spend at least as much as you do now," says Malcolm Makin, a financial adviser in Westerly, R.I. "Especially if you're retiring young, you'll want to do more traveling and upgrade your golf clubs."
Set up a portfolio for growth and income
Once you've got enough squirreled away, you need to establish a reliable system that allows you to invest in stocks for long-term growth, while holding enough in fixed income to give you a reliable source of income for years to come.
This is a tricky balance to strike. "If you put too much in fixed income, you risk running out of money because you won't get the growth you need," says Lynn Ballou, an investment adviser in Lafayette, Calif. "If you put too much in stocks, but you don't get the return you're hoping for, you'll be in big trouble.
Just imagine if you had retired in 1999 with the bulk of your portfolio in stocks. During the crash that followed, you'd have been selling assets while they were under water," Ballou says.
The three-pot retirement income engine
Many planners recommend organizing your portfolio into three pots:
* One for cash expenses expected in the next year
* One for fixed income investments to feed the first pot
* The last for stocks that will provide growth to fund the first two pots
The idea is that as cash reserves decline, you can replenish them with overflow from the other two pots.
When the stock market is down, you may want to do so with some interest and dividends, McGrath says. When the market is strong, you'll probably have a greater percentage of stocks than you intended. "So when you sell off stocks to rebalance, direct the proceeds into your cash pool," McGrath says.
You can also generate a constant flow of income if you diversify your fixed-income pot with investments of varying maturities. Stay away from maturities of 12 years or more. "You get much more volatility and not much more return," says financial planner Michael Chasnoff of Cincinnati.
When you're deciding how much money to put in each pot, think carefully about your needs and your risk tolerance. This can affect how you save for and how much cash you make available every year. "This is one of your most critical decisions -- it can make or break your retirement," Ballou says.
If your cash pot holds about a year's worth of expenses in a money-market fund, your fixed-income pot should harbor at least four years' expenses. Ballou suggests holding seven to 10 years' expenses in this pot. During the 1970s bear market, she says, it would have taken about that much to get through the rough years without having to sell stocks at depressed prices.
The rest of your retirement savings can go into stocks or stock funds. If you're a seasoned investor, you're probably already comfortable setting up a diversified portfolio. Divide your money between large and small issues, growth and value, domestic and international.
If you're a new investor, lots of advice is available. On this site, the Start Investing decision center is a good place to start.
Get the most from fixed investments
Deciding where to put your fixed-income money can be a challenge. Even many experienced investors aren't faced with this challenge until they retire.
The traditional approach is to diversify your fixed-income portfolio with Treasurys and investment-grade corporate bonds of differing maturities. But someone with a much longer investment horizon may want to be more discerning and creative to eke out more return, Chasnoff says.
Here are a number of fixed-income alternatives:
* Treasurys: Yields on Treasurys can be so meager that they only really make sense if you're an extremely risk-averse investor, Chasnoff says. Backed by the U.S. government, Treasurys are about as safe as they get -- but you sacrifice yield.
* Corporate bonds: Corporate bonds can be hard to analyze, and the costs of buying them are often hidden. The issuer often has the right to call a bond, or to redeem it before maturity. But, Makin says, you do get more yield. Stick with investment-grade corporate, and stay away from bonds with maturities of 12 or more years, Chasnoff says. And unless you have $200,000 or more to put into individual bonds, the cheapest way to invest is via a low-cost mutual fund, preferably an intermediate-term fund, says Morningstar analyst Scott Berry. These generate more income than short-term funds. Possible choices: Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond (VFICX) and Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index (VBIIX). If you're willing to take on more risk, check out high-yield bond funds. They invest in lower-quality corporate bonds and can produce high yields when market conditions are ripe. "With the economy improving and interest rates poised to go higher, this is an area that's going to perform well," Berry says. One choice: Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX). "This is not the place to put a lot of your fixed-income money. The risk level is similar to buying stocks," he says. "But if you want some spice, this is a good place to look."
* REITs: Real-estate investment trusts have generated yields in recent years that most people only dreamed about. REITs invest directly in real estate such as office buildings, apartments and shopping malls, or they carry mortgages on these properties. They pay no income taxes so long as 90% of net income is passed to investors as dividends. The best way to buy REITs now is through exchange-traded funds -- low-cost buckets of securities created by investment firms. Chasnoff recommends iShares Dow Jones Real Estate Index (IYR, news, msgs) and iShares Cohen and Steers Index (ICF, news, msgs). Another good bet is a low-cost traditional mutual fund.
* Convertible bonds: Convertibles are essentially bonds that can be converted into common stock. They follow the tail of the stock market, while providing downside protection. "A typical convertible will get 60% to 80% of the upside potential of the stock market, while giving you less than half the risk," says William Harding, a Morningstar analyst. Harding and other planners recommend the Vanguard Convertible Securities Fund (VCVSX). Harding also likes the Fidelity Convertible Securities fund (FCVSX).
* Dividend-paying stocks: Dividend yields are on the rise again because of tax breaks.
* Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities: TIPs, as they're called, are basically Treasurys with a bonus: Your principal is tied to inflation. While inflation is still low, it has been inching up as the economy perks up. Your return on a TIP comes in two parts: a fluctuating return that's based on the inflation rate and paid out at maturity, plus the current yield, a fixed return paid out annually. The downside: You pay taxes on any gains on your principal each year, though you won't get the money until maturity. (As a result, planners typically recommend holding TIPs in tax-favored accounts such as Individual Retirement Accounts or Keogh plans.) How to get in? Via low-cost mutual funds for the convenience.
* Municipal bonds: If you're in a high tax bracket, don't overlook munis, which are exempt from federal taxes. (If you buy one issued by your state, it will be exempt from state taxes, too.) The federal tax savings alone can make munis look a lot more attractive than other bonds. But buying individual munis isn't always easy. They're generally sold in lots of $25,000. So look to mutual funds here. Two good bets: Vanguard Limited Term Tax Exempt (VMLTX) or Intermediate-Term Tax-exempt funds (VWITX). They come with relateively low expense ratios, compared to other muni funds.
* Agency bonds: These bonds, issued by government agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are about as safe as you can get next to Treasurys and generally offer higher yields. Unless you have a large amount to invest -- $1 million or more -- stick with the lowest-cost mutual funds. Morningstar and many planners like two Vanguard funds -- Vanguard GNMA fund (VFIIX) and Vanguard Short-Term Federal fund (VSGBX).
The easy alternative
If you're overwhelmed by the task of creating your own portfolio, don't sweat it. An easy alternative is a fund that gives you broad exposure to various bonds.
Among Berry's favorite broad bond funds is Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (VBMFX). "It's a one-step solution to your fixed-income portfolio." Another fund that's top-rated by Morningstar: Dreyfus Intermediate-Term Income (DRITX), which holds a mix of Treasurys, agency bonds, investment grade and high-yield corporates.
Indeed, as long as you keep a lid on expenses, it can pay to let the pros run your portfolio. "Let them decide what to buy, what to overweight, what to sell," Chasnoff says. You, meanwhile, will have more time to enjoy that new financial freedom.
Jul 25 2007, 10:51 AM
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We can all get in a rut from time to time. Who hasn't had a moment in their lives where you've asked yourself the question: "Why am I doing this?"
Whether it's who you've become, the business you are in, your career, relationships, where you live or all of the above - sometimes you realise you're just not where you want to be and you're not sure how you got there! It sure feels like your own version of a rat race though.
If where you want to be in your life is not where you are, then maybe it's time for you to drop out of your very own rat race. We are conditioned into believing that we must continue to strive, to take more on, and to do more, in order to be "successful". But this is a limited and ultimately self-defeating definition. If we can only be more successful by what and how much we do, then we have created our own treadmills to run on.
1. Redefine Success
Redefining success for yourself can be the first step in taking a fresh perspective. Try this exercise by completing the following sentence. " I know I am successful when... ... ." You man not complete the sentence with anything to do with work or material goods. Here are some examples. I know I am successful when...
... I laugh every day with my children
... I bounce out of bed enthusiastically every morning
... all of my relationships give me great joy
... I inspire others to make positive changes
By redefining what we believe makes us successful, we begin to strive for different things in our lives. This can be instrumental in slowing down the treadmill enough for us to take stock of where we are.
2. Springclean your mind
If you feel as though you don't have time for anything - especially thinking about ways to do things differently - it's time for a time-out.
When we are busy and occupied all the time, we are usually reacting to things going on around us, rather than acting out of choice. So make an active choice to take a rest, a vacation, talk it out with someone you trust, blow off steam, do whatever it takes to get some perspective about your situation.
Just this simple step will make you feel more in control, and can help to streamline the energy you'll need for the changes ahead. The idea is not to just get out of your rat race but to go towards a more fulfilling way of living
3. Get real
The reality is that you can't change anyone else's behaviour but your own. So it's a good time to stop wishing that people would act differently so that you could feel better. Also, it's time to make alternative plans just in case you don't win the lottery or get a salary increase.
This sounds harsh, but people who wait for things to happen to them are usually waiting a long time. Don't wait for chance or fate to step in. Figure out what it will cost (in time, energy, money, etc.) to make the changes you know you need to make. Then figure out what it will cost not to.
4. Pack light
There's something very cathartic about taking time to clean things out getting rid of the old to make way for the new. You could start with a room in your house, your email address list, or old beliefs that aren't adding value to you any more.
In every situation there is a good lesson to take with you - something of value to keep. Even if it's only, 'Well that's a place I know I never want to be again'. There is always something worth keeping.
Any situation, and your perception of it, is part of who you are. Identify specifically what it is you want to keep and what you'll leave behind. Be brutal. You may even miss some of the things you choose to leave behind that's all part of the process. What you will find is renewed energy for new things that you want to include in your life a great start to exiting your rat race and beginning on a new journey.
5. Create a map
When was the last time you thought about where you wanted to be in 5 or 10 years time? We get so caught up in "doing" things - for the business, for work, for others things we think we should be doing, that we take no time to consider what we really want. Forget the race. Think journey.
Take the time to think about yourself, and where you would like to be. Nobody else's map will do here it's time to do some hard thinking for yourself. What are the core values that you'd like to base your life around? What do you love to do or to be? What gives you a sense of purpose? What do you stand for? What could you not be dissuaded from believing in, no matter what? If you had one life to live this time round what would you do with it?
These are tough questions and their answers are part of the journey. Don't freak or feel guilty if you don't know the answers straight away. For the impatient and perfectionist people reading, this is not a test there is no pass or fail. So don't treat it like one. The more you know about yourself, the more you will be able to start drawing your own map.
6. Head for the Life! (Not the Lifestyle)
Do you know what the difference is between having a life and maintaining a lifestyle?
A lifestyle is something we are told we need by society, advertisers, and parents. Life's luxuries, although nice to have, can be expensive financially and in the energy spent getting them. Perhaps the energy spent maintaining a lifestyle might be better used turning your life into an expression of who you are.
A lifestyle buys comfort. A life buys satisfaction and contentment. The best bed in the world only makes for a comfortable sleepless night if you lack contentment. If your lifestyle impedes you being who you are then dump it.
7. Go for your ideal
If it turns out that you drop out of your rat race and into your perfect life, would you even know it? Create a vision of where it would be, who you're with, what you're doing. Design it around your passions, beliefs, values and loves. Remember, just like spending your money, if you don't know what you want from your life there's plenty of people around who will be only too glad to tell you.
8. Look out for the rough bits
Choosing to live your life in your own way is tougher than staying in your rat race. People you know may be understanding or incredulous, and won't hesitate to give you their opinion. Temptations will abound to take a few laps round the old racecourse when the going gets tough. Our old comfort zones are traps waiting to lure us back into our old ways.
By being aware of this and planning for how you'll cope you will get through. Anything different can be scary. But it can also be fun too!
9. Enjoy the trip!
You've recognised where you don't want to be any longer and identified where you do. Now live where you are. Learn from the past and move on. Plan for the future but live in the present. You can't do anything about yesterday, so stop worrying about it. If you spend every minute think about tomorrow then you'll never enjoy today. And that's where all the action is!
10. Go for it
No more excuses. Nothing more to say. Just do it.
Sometimes the only way to "win" a race - where there can be no winner - is to just stop running.
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Jul 25 2007, 12:11 PM
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Many people live in rat race without realizing it. You may be a high corporate executive with a high paid job, but you work 12 hours a day and some time even more. You hardly see your family, let alone participate in your children school and social curriculum. You stress yourself out every day, meeting after meeting, never ending entertainments, traveling on the road or by plane are becoming part of your life, but you have no time for your family vacation for the last couple of years.
You keep on telling yourself, next year, I will have more freedom when I completed this project or get the promotion and increment when I meet the target. Each year, either you fail below the borderline or the company just past you off because some one seems to have a better rapport with people of influence or just seems to have better luck in achieving more than you. Each year you promise yourself and your family, that next year you will bring them for the vacation that you have been talking for years, not because you cannot afford, but you just need to prove to the company that you are the person for the job. You do not want the management to feel that you value your family more than your job when the timing of the company project clashed with your family vacation plan.
If you have this challenge, you are running in the rat race without realizing it and “The Problem of rat race is, even if you win; you are still a rat.” Lily Tomlin.
Take some time off now, the corporate world is very realistic, nobody is indispensable. And if you haven’t got it, let’s repeat, NO BODY IS INDISPENSABLE! Many years, there are hundreds of thousand of fresh graduates matching into the corporate world; these graduates are more qualified in term of academic qualification and skill. They are young, energetic, and enthusiastic and willing to take on any projects assigned by the company. They may demand half and even one-third of your pay and doing the same job you are doing, only different are they may lack your experience, But then again, thing changes so fast in today knowledge management world that without continuous personal development, your experience is obsolete in just couple of years without you notice it.
So, take a couple of minutes of for yourself, in a quiet place to do some personal reflection of your life you want to be. If you still wanted to run the rat race and be a rat, fine, no body will say anything. It’s your life any way; you chose to live the way you like. In case, you decided that you wanted to get out of the rat race, you must realize that you have to does something difference. Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result!”
Do something different and Get Your Life Back!
Try doing this step by Step :
Think it You are different
You are not alone in the world, many people believe this is the only way to live, but you are different. You chose to read these lines, take action and look for something better.
Deserve to live the life that you want!
Try legitimate business vehicle that allows you to create the financial freedom and personal freedom you are looking for:
1. Be your own boss
2. Set your own goals
3. Manage your own time
4. Work with like minded people in an exciting atmosphere
5. Get paid based on the real value you provide
6. Have fun again!
1. Starting your own home business is not just a simple walk in park.
The secret of those who succeeded in their own home business is their determination, strong commitment to their chosen field, patience, creativity, hard work, and more hard work. The more time and effort you put into your home business, the better chances are for you to succeed.
2. Try Find out Fixed-income alternatives
Let's start with the simplest need, a safe haven for cash that you are going to need in the near future or on demand. Several types of securities provide this liquidity and security.
- Canada Savings Bonds ("CSBs")
These have been around since 1946, and although the terms and conditions vary from time to time, they are all essentially the same. The Bank of Canada issues CSBs each month and guarantees their principal and interest.
The big plus is that you can cash them at any time at any bank. In effect CSBs represent demand money. The disadvantages are that you cannot transfer CSBs so there is no secondary market and, more important, because CSBs are so popular, the government can issue them with very low and unattractive interest rates.
A few months ago CSBs were paying 1.35% for a one-year term. As a result, after paying as much as 46.4% in taxes, investors receive a 0.72% net return; that's less than last year's 1.3% increase in the cost of living. In my view, this is one time when safety doesn't pay. Right now you lose money - or at least purchasing power - with CSBs. So my suggestion is that you should keep CSB holdings to a minimum.
- Treasury Bills ("T-Bills")
These short term notes that the Bank of Canada sells every Tuesday (with initial terms of 91, 182 and 364 days) are ideal for investors who need a safe, short-term investment.
Investors like T-Bills because of the Government of Canada guarantee and the active secondary market. It's always easy to sell T-Bills or buy others for shorter periods with little or no loss and T-Bills are readily available from your bank in amounts as small as $1,000.
The odd thing about T-Bills is that they do not pay interest. You buy T-Bills at a discount and receive par or $100 on the maturity date. The difference between what you pay and the value at maturity is treated as income by the tax department.
For instance, a few months ago T-Bills with 338 days remaining were priced at $98.02 and paid $100 at maturity to yield 2.10%; considerably better than CSBs.
- Government Bonds
These are debt instruments issued by the federal government, the provinces and municipalities who guarantee their principal and interest.
There is an active secondary market for government bonds so that you can buy and sell them easily and keep track of their value. Keep in mind, though, that market values fluctuate which exposes you to the potential for either capital gains or losses.
As you would expect, Government of Canada bonds (also know as "Canadas") are the most senior and consequently offer relatively low yields. For example, the 7.25% Canadas due 1 June 2007, were recently trading at $111 to yield 4.95%. Still quite a bit better than T-Bills and CSBs.
At the same time, the Province of Ontario 6.16% bonds, maturing 12 September 2007, were priced at $105 to yield 5.15%, while the Metro Toronto 6.10% debentures, due August 15, 2007, were at $104 to yield 5.30%. Generally, the yields on provincial bonds are higher than those on Canadas white yields on municipal bonds are higher than on provincial issues.
- Preferred Shares ("Preferreds")
These securities are not really fixed-income issues at all; they pay the holder dividends rather than interest. As a matter of fact, preferred are a type of equity.
Companies issue preferred shares without any guarantee of capital repayment, and even the dividends are not payable until the corporate directors declare them each quarter. Nevertheless, because senior preferreds normally provide a steady stream of income, investors usually regard them as fixed-income securities. Certainly, some preferred offer attractive yields, especially because their dividends attract a lower rate of tax than the interest paid on bonds.
- And More Fixed Alternative Incomes where the best for you, That is your choice.
3. Step up your payments
If you are in a company pension scheme, this dream could come true if you act now. By maximising your contributions you can build up your pension more quickly, making early retirement or a career break a real possibility.
If you started pension planning late in life, or have had several years out of work, this is more difficult. But increasing contributions will help make up for some lost time and mean the difference between a frugal or a comfortable retirement.
Investing in your pension scheme is the best way to save for retirement because contributions are tax free. For a basic rate tax payer, pounds 100 of gross income is worth pounds 77 after tax. But, put into a pension, the full pounds 100 is contributed. As an employee you can put up to 15 per cent of salary into an occupational pension scheme each year, on top of contributions from your employer. There is an annual earnings cap of pounds 84,000, so the maximum you can contribute is pounds 12,600 a year.
4. Or you could change all your life.
You can your Life from one of this item below :
Downshifting invariably means having to live on less money, so the first task is working out exactly how much you need to live on. For example, the average before-tax annual salary for workers in the City of London is [pound]73,587, compared with [pound]28,210 for the UK as a whole, according to the GMB Union. Write a list of all your expenses, including mortgage repayments, any outstanding credit card balances, loans, subscriptions, insurance premiums and regular bills such as utilities.
"Take a step-by-step approach, such as destroying one of your credit cards or cutting out three non-essential purchases the next time you go shopping, and see how you feel about it,"
b. MOVING HOUSE
Even if you have a clear idea of where you want to live, it's important to do your research. Log on to websites such as UpMyStreet.com, which can provide you with detailed information on everything from crime statistics to the number of local dentists in the vicinity.
This all depends on your personal circumstances, says David Hollingworth, spokesman for London & Country Mortgages. If you have plenty of equity in a house you are selling then you might only need a small mortgage when you buy your new home.
However, it's worth remembering that if you are staying in the same house, you will end up paying more as a proportion of your income if you are earning less money. As the mortgage is usually your biggest expense, consider making overpayments via a flexible home loan while you've still got cash available to reduce the size of the future burden.
d. PENSION AND SAVINGS
Don't overlook your pension planning when you downshift. Turning your back on a final salary pension scheme - if you are lucky enough to have one - could seriously deplete the amount of money you have to live on in retirement.
Get advice on your particular situation from an independent financial adviser. It's also worth putting as much spare cash away as possible prior to a downshift, so make sure, for example, that you use all your ISA savings allowances.
e. LIVING COSTS
Don't assume that living away from a major city will mean your living costs will immediately shrink. While you can expect to pay less for nights out, general expenses, ranging from a pint of milk to a television, will be much the same and some could actually be higher. The price of petrol, for example, is often higher in rural areas.
f. WORKING ABROAD
For some people it's not enough just escaping the office - they need to make a complete break. According to figures from the European Union, there are well over 700,000 Britons working overseas.
If you are flexible about your country choice, opt for somewhere that has a shortage for your particular skills and make several reconnaissance trips to your chosen area.
If you have own Business and Free Carrer, you will enjoy your life and can get Vacation, Travelling by nothing to worry bout your Financial and Your bussiness.
Jul 27 2007, 06:43 AM
New Money Maker
Dream Points: 100
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Member No.: 21,193
Want To Get Out Of The Rat Race, Just follow these 10 Commandments
Lots of people dream of getting out of the rat race. They talk about it in different ways, but essentially they all have a dream of doing something different to what they are doing now. Perhaps you too have a dream that you want to follow. This tip sheet is written for you. But don't expect anything complicated or fancy. If you're reaction is "well I know that", then my question is "why aren't you doing it?"
1. Getting out of the rat race means different things to different people. For some people it might mean a more rewarding job; for others; return to study; and for others it really could mean living on a desert island, away from it all. So the first thing to do is get very clear on where you want to go in your life. Take some time for yourself. Relax with a notebook, and jot down everything that comes to mind about the kind of life you will be living when you are no longer in the race.
2. One of the keys to achieving any of your dreams is that you need to wake up. Most people live lives of unfulfilled dreams - they go through life asleep. The only thing that happens while you sleep is more dreaming. This is going to sound like a simple, common sense thing - and it is - but the problem is common sense isn't common action. If you want to achieve your dream and get out of the rat race then you have to do something. If it takes a while for you to come to terms with that, start coming to terms now.
3. When you know where you want to go and you're willing to take responsibility for getting there, think about what you have now that will help you move forward. It may be time, money, contacts, friends, knowledge or something else. Try to think a bit differently too - for example knowledge isn't just the stuff in your head; if you have access to the Internet or a library then you have knowledge. The idea is to build a list of all the resources currently available to help you.
4. Of course it's likely that you are going to need other resources in addition to those you already have. So now make a list of the extra resources you'll need. Again, it could relate to things like time, money or people and you may need to think creatively to get there. If there are two of you sharing the dream, brainstorm your ideas together.
5. Do you really want to do this? I mean really? You see, most people 'would like' to do something different. But 'would like' is not the same as 'will'. Are you prepared to say that this is something you will do? How committed are you? Are you prepared to accept that everything has a consequence? Before you commit yourself to doing this, take some time to write down every consequence you can foresee (even if it's a remote possibility) both for achieving your dream and for failing to achieve it.
6. Still with us? When you look at those consequences, perhaps some of them churn your stomach a little, perhaps some of them make you feel panicky. Guess what? Everybody who's ever changed anything in their lives has had those feelings - those people who you admire for changing their lives, those people you aspire to be like, they had the same feelings. The thing is they were prepared to face up to the possible consequences. So you need to be clear that you will face the consequences if necessary - and keep going
7. So you know what you want, you're prepared to deal with what comes your way, you know the resources you have and the resources you need. Let's make it a bit more real. What's your deadline? This is one of those 'little cracks' that most people fall down on. "It's something I'm working towards" is no use if you don't have a deadline. A deadline makes it real, gives you something to propel yourself forwards.
8. But propel yourself into what? Now you need an action plan. Take some time to think about all the options available to you to get you started. Who can you speak to? What research can you do? What actions can you take? Is it something to do with your existing resources or something to get new resources? Aim to make a list of at least 10 things. Don't worry about creating a big 'business plan' for your dream - that's just a distraction activity: it stops you taking action. This should be a list of options for things you can do.
9. Now choose one of your options, just one that will take you forward one step towards your goal of getting out of the rat race. Don't over commit by taking on too much - that's an easy mistake to make. Choose one action that will take you forward: write it down with a deadline and commit to taking action.
10. Take action. If you need support to take action then get a friend or someone else you trust to support you. Sometimes part of the reason we don't take action is that we feel out on a limb with no one to talk to. But choose your support carefully because sometimes it's the people around you who don't want things to change and who hold you back.
I hope that you achieve your dream of getting out of your particular rat race. The key thing from everything here is that you need to take action. Nothing will happen and nothing will change unless you do.
Contributed by Craig Brown, Life Coach © LifeFirst, 2005, www.lifefirst.info
Aug 3 2007, 08:15 PM
Active Money Maker
Dream Points: 102
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Joined: 23-June 07
Member No.: 19,680
This is a great question and I can answer it from a personal experience. ( I am not saying this is what you should do, but it worked for me!)
I was working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with an hour round trip commute. I did this for 15 years and everyday I grew to hate my job. That hatred poisoned everything in my life. It trickled into every aspect of my home, work and family. I set out to find a way to stay home, and I went out on a HUGE limb (for me), I bought a computer.
Buying a computer was a big step for me personally because the only class I failed in college was Introduction To Computers! I would have had a 4 point, but getting an "incomplete" in that class caused my grade point to end up at 3.77, so, there was a bad taste in my mouth with PC's from the start.
I taught myself to use the PC over time and one of the very first things I started earning money from home with was Paid To Click programs. Believe me, it was minimal, $50 here, $25 there, but I was inspired by those little checks. I wasn't ready to quit my day job yet though. So I kept poking around on the PC in my spare time and then the proverbial Goose that Laid the Golden Egg showed up for me...Ebay!
I joined Ebay and became addicted! I was spending loads of money on Ebay (you really can find anything there!), and then I had my epiphany! I saw these "PowerSellers" and I thought "I can sell stuff". I did tons of research on "Wholesaler's" and "Liquidator's" and found some great suppliers....but I still needed money to make my first wholesale purchase so I started going through my house. I found all kinds of things I didn't need! I then took my gathered items (basically anything that wasn't nailed down!) and I started listing auctions. I made $670 with my "stuff" and took that money and purchased my first Lot of goods.
I set a goal and told everyone I knew that I was "going to be a Powerseller in 3 months". I chose the 3 month time-line because you have to have 3 consecutive months with sales of $1000 or more to achieve Powerseller status. And I told people because when I tell people I am going to do something, I do it if it is humanly possible for me!
Guess what? In 3 months I was a Powerseller! I got on the phone and called my son first. I said "login to Ebay and look at my username!", he was amazed by the little Powerseller symbol proudly displayed by my name!
I love selling on Ebay! Two months after I achieved Powerseller status, I quit my job and never looked back. That was 6 years ago. I'm still selling everyday on Ebay. I let my Powerseller status go because I have added other online ventures to my "Stay At Home" income and I no longer need to maintain that $1000 a month level on Ebay. I continue to sell because it is something I love to do.
My computer experience put me in touch with many people all over the world by taking part in forums just like this one. I posted in one forum (a private forum) and the owners of the Private Investment Club that the forum belonged to, started noticing my posts. Eventually they approached me about joining their staff and I gladly accepted. I am now a Senior Staff member and have been with them for 2 1/2 years. All staff work from home! (Due to the private nature of this investment company I cannot list the name, but they have been successfully operating online for 3 years. Membership is closed).
Another avenue online, that afforded me the ability to leave the rat race, is Online Trading also known as Day Trading. I am a Day Trader It is another one of my passions. I love learning about companies, IPO's, the economy and all the other things that make the stock market tick!
So there you have it people. That is how I left the "Rat Race"!
Best wishes to you all..and I hope my little blurb has inspired one or two of you to step outside of your comfort zone and chase a dream you have.
This post has been edited by MxM07: Aug 3 2007, 08:22 PM
Aug 6 2007, 07:26 PM
Junior Money Maker
Dream Points: 100
Experience Points: 97
Joined: 3-March 07
Member No.: 13,392
The short answer would be to be unique. There is no point in creating a copy of an existing product or website. Of course, you it would be completely logical and gainful to improve a current product or service.
What I have learned from my past experiences is that, it's okay to replicate something, but it is important that the original item is modified to better benefit your audience. For example, I wanted to create a social networking site, and I thought to myself: " How would I compete with Myspace and Facebook?" After about a day of thought, I realized I need something new, something that hasn't been implemented yet. What I came up with is a completely new and creative item, that could hold serious potential.
Now, after all this talk on "what to do" rather than "how to do," it's important that I should tell you on how to get out of the "rat race."
First, if you would like to create something has already been launched, then just think "what." What needs to amplified to better suit the audience, that isn't covered by your competitors? It can be tough to find out what this idea is, but there is a way. It will be vital that you look into the history of your competitor. I suggest Google and, if your competitor is fairly small then use the waybackmachine.com. After you've analyzed your competitor, then just start from the beginning. I will use Myspace for example. Myspace was originally created for musicians, and Facebook was created for college students. So, from analyzing this, you might have noticed that in order to create a billion dollar company, you must first start small. Analyze your competitor slowly and carefully. Note of what they have done right and what they have done wrong. Use this information when running your creating a plan for your website, which I will talk about later.
Another method to get a "unique" idea is to implement a need and a idea. For example, say that you wanted to create a search engine, but of course it would be ludicrous to compete with Google and Yahoo. Now, think of something that the world lacks, something that we need, but we don't have. For example, there is no search engine that effectively searches every single site for products. So there you go a search engine that searches for products.
Creating a business plan is very important for your business, and I've learned that. Write your plan down and keep to it. Make it diverse and as unique as possible. Analyze your competitors' business plans, and find the pros and cons of them, and use it them to your advantage.
That's it. Whatever it is, creativity is your turbo that will make you either fly ahead in the "rat race" or just make you get out of it. Good luck to everyone on their ventures.
Well, that's my shot at it, and good luck to everyone participating. Oh yeah, Copyright 2007 nuk134r. I think I did that right.
This post has been edited by nuk134r: Aug 6 2007, 07:31 PM