— Book Summaries

SUZE ORMAN’S 2009 ACTION PLAN

Posted on March 8, 2009. Filed under: -- Book Summaries, -- Building Wealth, -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- Suze Orman, -- YOUR Retirement | Tags: , , , |


By Molly Greavessuze_orman_2009_action_plan1

New York Times best-selling author and one of our nation’s go-to experts and on financial matters, Suze Orman believes that 2009 is a critical year for your money. And I completely agree with her, which is why this weekend I sat down and read her book, 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe & Sound.

 

I know Suze Orman is a trusted household name and I wanted to be sure to recap her message for you in case you don’t have time to read her book.  Below I have outlined with bullets the main ideas from each of her 10 chapters.

 

Don’t forget that the whole goal for you making the rights moves in 2009 is to alleviate the stress, fear and anger you’re feeling and replace it with the secure sense that you have done what it takes to protect yourself, the money you’ve worked for, and the one’s you love. Good for you for taking the first step and reading the action plan. Best of luck to you with your goals as well =)

 

Here is SUZE’S 2009 ACTION PLAN and WHAT YOU MUST DO:

 

  • Make it a priority to pay off your credit card balances.

 

  • Read every single statement and all correspondence from your credit card company to make sure you are aware of any changes to your account, such as skyrocketing rates.

 

  • Work to get your FICO credit score above 720.

 

  • Be very careful where you turn to help with credit card debt. Debt consolidators are often a very bad deal. The National Foundation of Credit Counseling is a smarter choice.

 

  • Resist the temptation to use retirement savings or a home equity line of credit to pay off credit card debt.

 

  • Pay the minimum amount due each month on every card. That’s your only shot at keeping your FICO score from falling further. It will also lower the odds that your credit card company will close your account.

 

  • Line up your cards that charge the highest interest rate at the top of the pile. That’s the card you focus on paying off first. Send in as much money as you can each month to get that balance down to zero.

 

  • Once the first card is paid off, focus on the second card in your pile: the card with the next-highest interest rate.

 

  • Keep up with this system until you have all of the cards paid off.

 

  • The biggest risk to your retirement security is giving in to your emotions. You may make decisions that “feel right” for 2009, but that doesn’t mean they are the right long-term solution for you.

 

  • Make sure you have the right mix of stocks and bonds in your retirement account for your age.

 

  • Do not make early withdrawals or take loans from retirement accounts to pay for non-retirement expenses.

 

  • Convert an old 401(k) to a rollover IRA so you can invest in the best low-cost funds, ETFs, and bonds.

 

  • If eligible in 2009, consider moving at least a portion of a 401(k) rollover to a Roth IRA. Or wait until 2010 and convert it to a Roth then. In 2010, everyone regardless of income will be able to contribute to a Roth. Just don’t forget about the tax due at conversion.

 

  • Make sure your bank or credit union is covered by the federal deposit insurance (this is the FDIC for banks and the NCUA for credit unions ).
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    ncua_logo-1208135202_std

 

  • Check that what you have on deposit is eligible for full insurance coverage in the unlikely event that your bank or credit union fails. Through December 31, 2009, the general limit has been raised to $250,000 from its previous $100,000, but you still need to educate yourself about the ins and outs.

 

  • If your savings is in a money market mutual fund sold through a brokerage or mutual fund firm, consider moving it to the Treasury money market fund at that company.

 

  • Build up your savings to cover eight months of living expenses.

 

  • Move all money you need within the next 5-10 years into savings. Money you need soon does not belong in the stock market (make sure you choose a high-interest yield savings account).

 

  • Separate your wants from your needs.

 

  • Get over the guilt that you aren’t “providing” for your kids.

 

  • Strike the word “deserve” from the conversation. What you deserve is irrelevant; what you can truly afford is all that counts.

 

  • Try to negotiate better terms on a car loan you can’t keep up with.

 

  • Be very careful when asked to co-sign anything, no matter how much you love the person asking you for your help.

 

  • Pledge these three things:

 

1.     Do not spend money for one day

2.     Do not use your credit card for one week

3.     Do not eat out at a restaurant for one month

 

  • Push for a mortgage “modification” if your current loan is too expensive.

 

  • Do not use credit cards or retirement funds to pay for a too-expensive home.

 

  • Stay informed about new programs, from lenders and the government, in the months ahead that aim to keep more homeowners out of foreclosure (try calling 888-995-HOPE or go to hopenow.com)
  • Build a real savings fund a HELOC should not be used as a safety net in 2009.

 

  • Focus on your home’s long-term value, not it’s price change from month to month.

 

  • If your child is headed to college within four years and your collge savings are in the stock market, you should begin to phase out of the market, so that you have 100% out by the time your child is 17.

 

  • If you have a child who will enter college in 2009-2010, look into getting a Stafford loan.

 

  • If Stafford loans are not enough, parents consider a PLUS loan. Significant changes to this program last year make this a viable option for many more families.

 

  • Stay away from private student loans at all costs.

 

  • If you are graduating college in 2009 with student loan debt, know your repayment options.

 

  • Build a substantial savings account today so you will be okay if you are laid off.

 

  • Do not go without health insurance (try ehealthinsurance.com for the largest online resource for health insurance or nahu.org if you like to work with an agent).

 

  • Shop for private health insurance if you are laid off; it is often less expensive than COBRA.

 

  • Purchase an affordable term life insurance policy if anyone is dependent on your income.

 

  • Make sure you have all of your estate-planning documents in order.

 

  • Focus on the road ahead!

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Book Summary: Laura, America’s First Lady, First Mother

Posted on January 5, 2009. Filed under: -- Book Summaries | Tags: , , , , , , , |


Posted by Molly Greaves41xg1xxygjl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_

 

I just finished the book Laura America’s First Lady, First Mother and I was very impressed. In just a few hours I was able to learn so much about this famous small-town Texas mother, wife. 

 

Written by an author that appears to have great respect for Laura, or unbiased writing abilities, this book presents Laura to be a wonderful mother, wife and First Lady.
This is a quick read that will make you appreciate Laura Bush. I hope they make one for Michelle Obama that is similar.
A few fun/interesting facts I learned about Laura:
— She is a Republican by marriage
— She was married at 31, just after knowing George only a few months!
— Laura swears she never met George until she was 31. George, however, swears that they met in 7th grade. Lucky for Laura, she is known in this book to have an impeccable memory, so everyone believes Laura, not George. 
— Laura’s dad was a carpenter with a great sense of humor and love for life. She says she has the “funniest Daddy.”
— She was very very sick before giving birth to her twin girls–who are both named after Laura and George’s mothers– and was forced to have a c-section 5 weeks early to help save her health.
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Book Summary: The No Spin Zone: Confrontations With the Powerful and Famous in America

Posted on January 4, 2009. Filed under: -- Book Summaries | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


By Molly Greaves

A #1 NY Times Bestseller10015_h_sw350

After great success with his first book becoming a #1 New York Times Bestseller, Bill is back with his second book: “The No Spin Zone: Confrontations With the Powerful and Famous in America”.

One of the most controversial folks on TV today is Bill O’Reilly.  If you don’t have any idea who I’m talking about, he is best known as the host of Fox News Channel’s top-rated program, The O’Reilly Factor, and as mentioned  he’s also the #1  best-selling author of a book by the same name, The O’Reilly Factor. His TV show is not a news program in the sense that it doesn’t report news but instead has the capacity, more often than not, to make news. 

Whether you hate the man or relate with him on everything he talks about, you might know that he has a ton of books out there.  And the geek that I am, I tackled 4 books in one week, and I have to say, I can’t remember the last time I laughed my butt off so hard.

This book, is mainly a recap about Bill’s TV show and what has occurred during his more famous interviews. O’Reilly calls himself a moderate, independent guy, leaving all questions open for discussion as he interviews people like George W. and James Carville. O’Reailly also pokes at those like Hillary Clinton and Al Gore who after repeat invitations, do not appear in the Spin Zone on his show. 

 

To learn more about Bill and The O’Reilly Factor, please click the link below. Have fun!

http://www.foxnews.com/oreilly/

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The Welch Way: 24 Lessons From the World’s Greatest CEO–quick book summary

Posted on September 11, 2008. Filed under: -- Book Summaries | Tags: , , , , , , , |


 I was a Leadership & Change Management Major in college so I’m a huge fan of Jack Welch. I’m also from New England, and a huge fan of the Red Sox and Fenway Park like Jack Welch is. Even though we’re both from the Northeast, his accent is waay heavier than mine because I am from Vermont and he is from Massachusetts (the Romney, Kerry & Kennedy state).

Anyhow, I recently sat down and burned through his great, fast read THE WELCH WAY, where he shares 24 great lessons from his experience as CEO at GE. I highly recommend the book and think that it’s a great read, and guess what? It’s less than 120 pages so there’s sort of no excuse for not reading it =)

Here’s a quick overview of what the 24 Lessons are in case the suspense is killing you.

 

1. Lead

2. Get Less Formal

3. Blow Up Bureaucracy

4. Face Reality

5. Simplify

6. See Change As An Opportunity

7. Defy Tradition

8. Make Intellect Rule

9. Pounce Every Day

10. Put Values First

11. Manage Less

12. Involve Everyone

13. Rewrite Your Agenda

14. Live Speed

15. Instill Confidence

16. Set Stretch Goals

17. Eliminate Boundaries

18. Articulate a Vision

19. Get Good Ideas From Everywhere

20. Spark Others To Perform 

21. Quality is Your Job

22. Change Never Ends

23. Have Fun

24. Lead By Energizing Others

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The Power of Positive Criticism–Top 10 Tips That Will Help You Harness The Power of Positive Criticism

Posted on July 24, 2008. Filed under: -- Book Summaries, -- Uncategorized | Tags: , |


By Molly Malone

Not many people know this, but I don’t have a TV. Haven’t had one in years actually. Instead, I read a lot of non-fiction and watch things on my laptop when needed. I have plenty of friends that have TVs should I need one, but I have yet to find myself seeking them out to watch the newest American Idol. Somehow I’m able to resist. 

Anyhoot, I recently just plowed through the book The Power of Positive Criticism by Hendrie Weisinger. It was an easy read for me and thought I’d share with you and summarize the Top 10 tips that Sir Weisinger claims will help you harness the power of positive criticism, which are based on 3 sources–research, theories, and clinical experiences. 

Weisinger also says that these tips can be used for both giving and receiving crisitscm although some may be geared more one way than the other.

Anyway, here are the Top 10 Tips he has for all of us out there:

1. Befriend Criticsm- He says it comes with the job. He then adds that we all need evaluative information and know how we are doing. It’s information that can help us grow. 

2. Criticize Strategically- He says that people who consistently tap into the power of positive criticism are strategic: They actively take responsibility for how they communicate and see themselves as a directive force, with the goal being to get their recipient to take their criticism productively.

Ask yourself these questions before you try and use the power of criticism:

– Exactly what do you want to communicate?

– What do I want to change?

– What are my motives for expressing this criticism

– What specific solutions and goals can I offer and what can I do to help the person achieve these goals?

3. Be Improvement-Oriented.

4. Protect the Self-Esteem.

5. Choose the right words.

6. Criticize your criticisms.

7. Involve your recipient.

8. Remember the merits…without the “But”

9. Tell them what you want.

10. Be timing-oriented.

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Top 10 Ways Of Thinking Like a Billionaire–According to Donald Trump’s Best Selling “Think Like a Billionaire–Everything You Need To Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life”

Posted on July 19, 2008. Filed under: -- Book Summaries, -- Building Wealth, -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- Top 10..., -- Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |


I have been reading a lot about Donald Trump recently, and find him and his hair to be very intriguing.  Did you know he was once $8 billion in the hole? Yep. That’s ridiculous. He turned that around to be up 6 billion. That’s one fact I learned from the Trump Seminar I attended the other day.

Oh, and guess how many lucky billioanires are out there as per the realease date of this book? 587.

I believe in personally having a millionaire mindset, and continuously read books and take classes about becoming rich to keep be on track with things. I also surround myself with others that are smarter and that I can learn from.

Recently after the Trump Seminar I attended at the Marriott, we were all handed a copy of Donald’s newest book “Think Like a Billionaire–Everything You Need To Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life.”  I decided to take some time and get started reading it.

I’ll blog more about my notes later in case you too are interested in learning how to think like a billionaire.  But first though, I wanted to share with you what Trump considers the Top 10 Ways Of Thinking Like a Billionaire:

1. Don’t Take a Vacation.    He says “what’s the point? If you don’t like your work, you’re in the wrong business.”

2. Have a short attention span.  He says that the most successful people have very short attention spans, and that it has to do with imaginiation.

3. Don’t sleep any more than you have to. Trump says he goes to bed at 1AM and by 5AM he is reading the newspaper.  Helps him have a competitive edge.

4. Don’t depend on technology. He says that if you have something to say, look the person in the eye and say it. He adds that if you can’t do that, give the person a call and make sure they hear the sincerity in your voice. Email is for wimps he says.

5. Think of yourself as a one-man army.  He says that not only are you the commander in chief, you are the soldier as well, adding the fact that you must plan and execute your plan alone.

6. It’s often to your advantage to underestimate. 

7. Success breeds success.  Trump says that the best way to impress people is through results. He adds that you have to create success to impress people in the world of business.

8. Friends are good, but family is better.

9. Treat each decision like a lover. He says that if you treat each decision like a lover–faithfully, respectfully, and appropriately.

10. Be curious.  The Don says that a successful people are always going to be curious. He continues by saying that you have to be alive to your surroundings and hungry to understand your immediate world. Otherwise, you’ll lack the perspective to see beyond yourself.

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Stars & Stepping Stones– Some CHOICES Only Come Around Once

Posted on July 8, 2008. Filed under: -- Book Summaries, -- Building Wealth, -- Entrepreneurship And YOU | Tags: , , , , , |


Posted by Molly Greaves: Another GREAT Resources from ACTON MBA that I thought you should have access to:

Click on the link below to finish the PDF for yourself if you’d like.

 

As a teacher of bright, motivated MBA students at a top Texas university, I was 

often approached by a student and asked: “I have to choose between a $100,000 

a year job with Consulting Firm A or a $120,000 a year job with Private Equity 

Firm B? Which one should I accept?” 

I almost always responded by asking: “What is important to you? Why do you get 

out of bed in the morning? What do you want to have accomplished by the time 

you are seventy?” 

All too often, the response was: “I don’t know. I just want to take the best job.” 

I would sigh and flip a coin. It was the best I could do. 

Steven Covey advises “to begin with the end in mind.” This is sound advice. Each 

of us has a spark of divine inspiration that can lead to lifelong goals. Once you have 

discovered these goals and your end purpose is clear, you can begin to set a life plan, 

backing up decade by decade from the end, examining each stage of your life. By 

viewing your life as a continuous journey, you can identify the achievements at each 

stage that will act as steppingstones toward your final goal. As you near the present, 

today’s questions and alternatives will become clearer. 

This note is written to help you consider your long-term goals in life (your “star”) 

and how to keep steadily advancing toward that vision. It is about thinking for the 

long-term, picking a direction and charging ahead; charging confidently ahead, but 

remembering to look up occasionally to keep from charging off a cliff. The objective is not to craft a perfect

plan — life and circumstances change too much for that. You can, however, chart a course toward a

meaningful star,  set philosophical guardrails to mark the path, and lay steppingstones to mark each step in

the right direction. After all, it would be a shame to wander aimlessly through a journey we will all take only

once. 

 

 

FiNIsH This SHORT PDF By CLiCKING this LINK!

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So You Want To Be An ENTREPRENEUR? Don’t Jump In Unprepared…

Posted on July 8, 2008. Filed under: -- Book Summaries, -- Building Wealth, -- Entrepreneurship And YOU, . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , |


By  Molly Greaves: Another GREAT resource from The Acton MBA program website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Bubba,” he asks, “how in the world did you make so much money?” 

“It’s easy,” Bubba replies. “I make these widgets for one cent each, sell them for four 

cents each, and I sell about a million of them a day. You know, it’s amazing how 

much money you can make on a three percent markup.”

 

Some people portray business as a complex enterprise, requiring the mastery of 

impressive-sounding jargon, complicated flowcharts, and spreadsheets —  a “secret 

society” limited to Fortune 500 CEOs, highly paid consultants and business  

school professors…

This PDF also teaches you amongst other things…

There are three areas of knowledge that are critical for starting a successful business: 

1   In-depth knowledge of the competitive structure of an industry and a network of 

contacts within that industry; 

2  The skills to run the daily operations of a small, rapidly growing company; and 

3  The ability to raise money. 

As you begin a new career, think of yourself as being on a scavenger hunt with three 

bags labeled “industry knowledge,” “running a business” and “capital.” In each bag 

is a list of the items you (or your partner) will need to improve your odds of be- 

coming a successful entrepreneur. While others spend their time at their next job 

standing by the watercooler or having lunch with friends, you will be busy collect- 

ing the knowledge and relationships you need to launch your business. The more 

items you collect before you launch, the better your chances of success. 

Read the REST OF THE PDF HERE!

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Naïve Networking: How Wasting an Entrepreneur’s Time Can Spoil a First Impression

Posted on July 8, 2008. Filed under: -- Book Summaries, -- Entrepreneurship And YOU, Networking | Tags: , , , , , , , |


Posted by Molly Greaves, and found on http://www.actonmba.org

Naïve Networking:  How Wasting an Entrepreneur’s Time Can Spoil a First Impression 

 

The Call Entrepreneurs Dread 

“Hi, my name is Tom Matthews. Bob Smith suggested we meet. Is there any time in the 

next six weeks we could get together for lunch?” 

“Can we have lunch, just to get to know each other better?”  

You have no idea how much busy entrepreneurs hate to hear these words.  Despite 

knowing that the meeting almost certainly is a waste of time, common courtesy to the 

caller and “Bob Smith” means the entrepreneur has little choice but to squeeze something 

else into his eighty hour work week, meaning that work, family or charitable duties must 

suffer. 

Finally, it’s the day of the meeting. Thankfully, the entrepreneur’s assistant has managed 

to convert the lunch to a short meeting. 

“Nice to meet you.” 

“Nice to meet you.” 

“So how do you know Bob?” 

“We met a few weeks ago, and your name came up.” 

Another ten minutes are wasted on empty pleasantries, like the weather and the latest 

sports scores.  Finally the moment comes. 

“So what can I do to help?” 

“Well, I’m not sure.  I’m just trying to network with as many people as possible.  I’m 

thinking about changing careers.” (Heavy sigh from the entrepreneur.) 

“So what kind of job would interest you?” 

“Well, I’m not sure.  Something that’s really exciting and pays well. I’m really open to 

anything.” (Another heavy sigh.) 

 2 

Then, if you are really unlucky, the guest begins to recount, in agonizing detail, his life 

story.  This takes another fifteen minutes. Time moves slowly. Very slowly. Finally, the 

meeting is over.  Another half hour wasted.   

What’s wrong with this picture? 

So what went wrong?  Is the entrepreneur unsociable? Selfish?  No, not at all. Even the 

most charitable person wants to know – what’s in it for me?  Even if “what’s in it for me” 

is the joy of helping someone else. 

Basically, as an entrepreneur with a family and obligations to my community and church, 

every minute of every day is already taken.  That means there’s an opportunity cost for 

every new task accepted.  If you waste my time because you haven’t thought about your 

own goals, you are telling me that, at best, you are naïve; at worst, self absorbed.  Not 

exactly the best first impression. 

It is a waste of time to use personal interviews to learn about an industry or decide what 

you should do with your life.  A stranger or casual acquaintance doesn’t know you well 

enough to give you personal career advice and general career advice isn’t very valuable.  

If you want to learn more about an industry, it’s more efficient and effective to read about 

the industry first and then interview front line workers—not bother a CEO with general 

questions. 

Save interviews and interactions with busy entrepreneurs until you know exactly what 

you need.  Someone who can help you naturally becomes your mentor, so make it as easy 

as possible for them to help by having a specific request. 

But, But, But…… 

“But don’t entrepreneurs want to make new friends?”  Sure, but at their own choosing, 

not as a social obligation because it’s rude to refuse to see you.  Sometimes random 

meetings do lead to long lasting friendships, but the odds are against it. 

“But I just need someone to listen to me.” Sorry, that’s not an entrepreneur’s 

responsibility.  That’s the job of a spouse, friend or counselor. 

“But I need to learn more about your industry.”  Fine. Read a book. I’ll even send you a 

list of books by e-mail. Surf the internet. Talk to salespeople and operators.  I can’t tell 

you enough about my industry in thirty minutes to do you much good.  You need to do 

hours and hours of reading to even scratch the surface. 

“But I’d like to meet influential people.” So would I.  That doesn’t mean they want to 

meet me. 

“But I’m really talented and wonderful.”  I’m sure you are. Now do something to prove 

it.  Like doing your homework before you burden busy people with meaningless 

interviews.  

 

 It’s Not about You 

“Can you introduce me to Michael Dell? I’d like to ask him some questions about the 

computer industry.” 

Amazingly enough, just last year an incoming student made this request.  He never 

stopped to ask whether Michael Dell would have any interest in meeting him. Or what 

Michael would have to push aside to make time for such a meeting.  He never stopped to 

consider how much personal capital it would take me to set up such a meeting or what the 

cost would be to me if he wasted Michael’s time. 

The first rule of “networking”—by the way, I hate that word – is that you must put 

yourself in the shoes of the other person.  Why would they want to meet you?  How can 

they help with the least possible expenditure of time or effort?  How can you make such 

an encounter enjoyable for the other person? 

If you cannot recast your idea of networking: “Here’s what I need;” into one of humble 

service:  “I’ve got something to give to the world, and with just a little help from you I 

can make my dream a reality;” you shouldn’t expect to get far.  Bottom line: You cannot 

expect the world to revolve around you and what you need. 

Some Suggestions 

The suggestions below will help you get the most out of personal interviews: 

1. Do your personal soul searching and industry homework first

Take a personal inventory.  Take aptitude tests.  Ask those who know you well what 

you do better than most.  Do whatever it takes to narrow your search to a few 

industries.  Read about these industries and the leading companies and people. 

Personal interviews with teachers, entrepreneurs and executives should not be used to 

narrow your search or learn about jobs or industries.  A stranger or casual acquaintance 

doesn’t know you well enough to map out your career. This is a very inefficient use of 

a busy person’s time. 

2. Be specific about what you need. Make sure the other person understands how a 

little effort on their part can make a big difference in your life. 

READ THE REST of the PDF here!  

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Suze Orman’s Insurance Action Plan

Posted on July 6, 2008. Filed under: -- Book Summaries, -- Building Wealth, -- For The Investor In YOU, -- Insurance Help For YOU, -- Top 10... | Tags: , , , , |


 

I’ve gotten good response emails from a few readers that liked my Suze Orman post. They too say they cant handle her show, but appreciate her knowledge and advice. 

Since I’m one that just loves deals and knowledge, I wanted to share with you what I found when investigating ways to be a better insurance consumer. I got this tidbit from Suze Orman’s book “Women & Money: Owning The Power To Control Your Destiny.” Although the title implies that the book is for women, the advice is for all. This is verbatem from her book. I’m not an insurance whiz by any means, but I do find the information valuable to readers so I still wanted to type it up and post it anyway. 

SUMMARY FOR LIFE INSURANCE & HOME INSURANCE:

-Get life insurance to protect anyone who is dependent on your income.

-Buy term insurance. Do not buy any other type of insurance.

-Opt for a guaranteed renewable policy. 

– For maximum protection, aim for a death benefit that is equal to twenty times the annual income your dependents need to cover their living costs.

– Make your revocable living trust the beneficiary of your life insurance policy.

HOMEOWNERS

-Make sure your dwelling limit coverage is updated to reflect the current cost of rebuilding your home if it were destroyed.

-Check that your dwelling limit coverage is either guaranteed replacement cost or extended replacement cost. 

-Make sure your possessions are insured for replacement value; if you just have actual cash value coverage, you need to upgrade your policy.

-Confirm that your policy has an automatic inflation adjustment.

-Find out your coverage for additional living expenses. Ideally, you want a policy that will pay your living costs indefinitely while you rebuild/repair your home. 

-Get a separate personal umbrella policy if you’re assets are valued at more than $500,000.

RENTERS

-Make sure you have your own personal renter’s policy. If the value of your personal assets exceeds the liability coverage in your policy, buy an additional personal umbrella policy.

CONDO/CO-OP/TOWN HOUSE OWNERS

-Get your own personal condo owner’s policy. If the value of your personal assets exceeds the liability coverage in your policy, buy an additional personal umbrella policy.

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