Grant Cardone is Both Very Right and Very Wrong: Let’s Pick Apart His Advice

Ben Leybovich
, 13/11/2018 | Source: The BiggerPockets Blog


Grant Cardone loves to offer advice that folks shouldn't mess with houses and small multifamily and should go to the big stuff right away. We have to accept that Grant's advice is both very wrong and very right at once. In this article, we will explore both sides of the argument.

View the full article: Grant Cardone is Both Very Right and Very Wrong: Let’s Pick Apart His Advice on The BiggerPockets Blog. This content is Copyright © 2017 BiggerPockets, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Not Everything Needs to Be Optimized

Alicia Adamczyk
, 13/11/2018 | Source: Two Cents

With a few clicks of your keyboard, you can find hundreds of opinions hashing out the best ways to live and be and do. Travel, spend money, invest, be productive, structure your day, listen to music, brine a turkey—there’s a right and a wrong way for everything, and god forbid you use the wrong credit card or…


These Two Simple Rules Will Save You Thousands in Unpaid Rent & Property Damage

Erion Shehaj
, 13/11/2018 | Source: The BiggerPockets Blog


Look, life happens. People lose their jobs or face unexpected expenses and they’re unable to pay. Even the best tenant screening process in the world doesn’t screen for events that might happen to your tenants in the future. Regardless, this Tony Robbins axiom rings true: You get what you tolerate.

View the full article: These Two Simple Rules Will Save You Thousands in Unpaid Rent & Property Damage on The BiggerPockets Blog. This content is Copyright © 2017 BiggerPockets, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

13 Best Lego Christmas Gifts for Kids Under 10 (for 2018)

Erike Towne
, 13/11/2018 | Source: Millennial Boss

There’s a reason Legos have been a favorite for kids both young and old for generations, they’re awesome. But sometimes those Lego gifts are tough to choose. They’re either too advanced or too costly for your Lego aficionado. This list aims to help you find a few Lego Christmas Gift options that are right up their alley.

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

1. Klutz’s Crazy Action Contraptions Book

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

Katie of Gift of Curiosity puts this as one of her top choices for her kids. The Crazy Action Contraptions Book by Klutz uses gears, levers, and axels that teach kids while they’re playing. Katie also says the instructions are very clear so even if your child hasn’t learned to read yet, she can still make the creations in the book.

You can find it here on Amazon.


2. Lego Minecraft Sets

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

What happens when you put a kid’s two favorite things together? You get Minecraft Lego sets. Karen of The Midlife Mamas says anything and everything Minecraft makes her kids smile. Bonus: It also cuts out the screentime.

You can find one here on Amazon.


3. Lego Police Unit

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

Born Cute spends a lot of time researching toys for kids, so the site knows when something is a winner. Not only is the Lego Police Unit one of its top picks for boys this holiday season, but it’s also the best value.

You can find it here on Amazon.


4. Lego Friends Olivia’s Mission Vehicle

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

Speaking of best value, Born Cute’s best value Lego toy for girls is Lego Friends Olivia’s House. That one’s a bit pricey, but we suggest Olivia’s Mission Vehicle.

You can find it here on Amazon.

It goes without saying, when it comes to both these toys, just because it’s considered gender specific doesn’t mean it is.

5. Personalized Lego Storage Box

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

Kids love it because it’s theirs and theirs alone. Parents love it because it helps keep those tiny, pointy Legos off the floor where they can be stepped on.

You can find it here on Etsy.


6. Lego Light Switch Covers

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

For the true Lego lover here’s something to make their room even more Lego friendly. Not only are the light switch covers but also outlet covers too.

You can find the light switch covers here on Etsy. The outlet covers are here on Etsy.


7. Awesome Lego Creations with Bricks You Already Have

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

What Mommy Does suggests you give your little Lego lover, the book Awesome Lego Creations with Bricks You Already Have. Not only does spark dozens of new and creative ideas, but it also uses Legos you have at home, which means you don’t have to buy new sets.

You can find it here on Amazon.


8. Lego Classic Large Creative Brick Box

My Mommy Needs That suggests you let your kid’s imagination go where it takes him. The Lego Classic Large Creative Brick Box has 790 pieces and no rules, which means everything is left to the imagination.

You can find it here on Amazon.


More of the Best Lego Christmas Gifts for Little Kids in 2018..

9. Lego Base Plates

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

They seem like a super simple gift, but Mitzi at Written Reality swears by them. The plates work great for transporting a project from one room to the next, but perhaps the best part of these flat plates is that it makes projects more secure. Anyone who has witnessed a 6-year-old’s meltdown when his project breaks, knows how invaluable that can be.

You can find them here on Amazon.


10. Lego Make Your Own Movie Kit

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

This one may require the sacrifice of your cell phone, but it could be worth it. Blogger Wicked Uncle suggests the Make Your Own Lego Movie kit for your kiddo. Lights, camera, action!

You can find it here on Amazon.


11. Chain Reaction Kit

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

The Chain Reaction Kit tops the Lego list for the blog Little Bins for Little Hands. It’s a kit that not only gives kids new ways to play with their Legos, but it also teaches them physics.

You can find it here on Amazon.


12. Lego Juniors

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

This is one of my personal favorites, the Lego Juniors kits. It’s specifically designed for younger builders because there are larger pieces and fewer of them. It also has instructions that are a little easier to follow than the Lego sets for older kids. Among the best sellers on Amazon, The Lego Junior Joker Batcave Attack.

You can find it here on Amazon.

13. Lego Watch

Best Lego Christmas Holiday Gifts for Kids Under 10

This last one is a useful gift for your little Lego lover. Best Products recommends the classic watch, but there’s a bunch of different ones available on Amazon. For example, a super hero fan might love this Superman Lego watch on Amazon. While, a Star Wars fan might turn to the dark side with this Darth Vader watch on Amazon.


What are the best lego Christmas gifts for Kids under 10 this holiday season in your opinion? Have you given a Lego Christmas Gift to a niece or nephew and had it go over well?  Share below!

The post 13 Best Lego Christmas Gifts for Kids Under 10 (for 2018) appeared first on Millennial Boss.

How to Get Your Finances in Order

Alicia Adamczyk
, 13/11/2018 | Source: Two Cents

Should you pay off debt, or save for a rainy day? Knock out some of your student loan balance, or put some extra money toward your credit card debt? Focus on your savings account, or save for retirement?


Guest Post: Disconnecting From The US Marketing Machine

Mr. 1500 Days
, 13/11/2018 | Source: 1500 Days to Freedom

Today’s guest post comes from the writer over at Getting Canned. Mr. Getting Canned is pretty good at losing jobs. He has been fired and not the good kind! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

First of all thanks to Carl – Mr. 1500 himself, for allowing me a guest spot on this site to talk about finding happiness by disconnecting from the marketing machine. You’re doing great work, and I hope you’ll keep it up.  It makes me wonder where I’ll be 1,500 days from now.

The Consumer Mindset

Back in 2008, I was a fairly typical American consumer. I had some decent financial habits like investing and routinely contributing to a 401k. I wasn’t what I would have considered an irresponsible spender but looking back, I realize I bought into the consumerist mindset that keeps many of us on the earn and spend hamster wheel at the cost of a better future.

I bought into the idea that I needed to maintain an image professionally and socially which of course required purchasing and maintaining brand name clothes regularly. I always had the latest phone or gadget, and we casually ate out often without giving the spending a thought. Even though I was a saver and investor, I didn’t realize how much of my earnings were slipping away with frivolous, unnecessary spending. I was a product of the US marketing system and was of the consumer mindset.

Now, I’ll mention that I lost my job towards the end of 2008 right as the financial crisis was kicking off. Being long-term unemployment didn’t stop me from dropping several hundred on a new iPhone 4 in 2010. How’s that for priorities?

I was well programmed by the US marketing machine to believe that happiness was the result of spending on the right experiences and things. Successful marketing makes a potential customer aware of a real or perceived problem that creates a dissatisfaction. Once the dissatisfaction is created, the marketer positions their product or service as the solution to this problem oftening winning the sale.

Manufacturing Dissatisfaction

The marketing we’re all routinely exposed to creates dissatisfaction in our lives that otherwise would not exist. Consider that no one truly needs to spend $65,000+ on a luxury car to meet their needs or be happy. Paying such a sum to get from A to B is a bit absurd when you consider the opportunity cost of wealth lost. Much more absurd when you realize wealth builds freedom and gives you your time back.

But the luxury car is not about getting from A to B. This is accomplished easily enough with a used economy car purchased for under $10K. It takes creative marketing to motivate someone to drop such a sum into a car purchase, and it’s typically an ego driven decision. The marketing is psychological, subtle, effective and rather brilliant. The ads attack the ego.

Car companies show ads that subtly and subconsciously send the message, “If you don’t drive this car, you’re a failure/not a man/haven’t achieved success”. You send messages like…”You work hard and you deserve freedom and joy after a hard days work- otherwise, it’s all for nothing”.

The psychology is sharp and focused with good marketing. Perhaps marketers will target the successful independent woman for example. They can subtly imply that her failure to buy a luxury car is due to being afraid her husband will judge her decision as irresponsible. Not buying the car means she’s not independent and buying it will demonstrate her strength. A direct attack on the ego.

Come on!  Just Ignore These Silly Ads.

Doing what you can to avoid ads will help. Turn off the TV. Read a book. (But keep checking out blogs!) Marketers know that you aren’t going to be interested in their ads, but many are designed in a way that the ad is effective on a subconscious level. Consciously speaking, ads don’t register with me. But on a subconscious level, I think they do play into our motivations and perceptions. After all, ads bombard us. Billboards, radio, TV, podcasts, movies. You can try to disconnect but many ads will still slip into your view.

Disconnecting From the Marketing Machine

So I mentioned I lost my job in 2008 as the financial crisis was kicking off. I was ready to take any position that would have me. At this time I was less aware of the various ways that an entrepreneur might earn such as freelancing or through the gig economy. That would come later. What happened next was that I became aware of an opportunity that would take me to another country where English was not the primary language. I accepted a job teaching English in Taiwan and booked a 20-hour trip to get there.

Off to Asia

Living in Taiwan was great for many reasons. The food was new and exciting and the Taiwanese have many delicious dishes like hot pot and beef noodles. They’re also known as being the originators of bubble milk tea. If you get a chance to visit Taiwan, look for a dish called “stinky tofu.” (It’s better then it sounds.)

Taiwan is also an excellent hub to do travel to other parts of Asia at a relatively reasonable price. (You can travel to some countries for less than $80). But one of the best things about being in a place where the primary language was Chinese, is that you’re not a significant part of the population enough that marketers will target you.

Sure I was still surrounded by ads from many types of media. But they were in Chinese. As such, they went over my head. I disconnected from the marketing machine considerably. Major luxury car brands still ran their ads, but I didn’t have to hear the attack on my ego. They were just videos of nice overpriced cars driving around with someone speaking Chinese over them.

Being disconnected from the marketing machine of the West I noticed something. My desire to spend seemed to drop naturally. In three years of living in Asia, I rarely bought new clothes. I stopped desiring a fancy car or any clothes that displayed status. I was happy enough as is and realized that I had what I needed.

Where I Found Happiness

I found happiness in having a life where I could sleep in a bit and avoid waking up to the dreaded alarm clock. This life was a bit of a preview of the financial independence I’m relatively close to achieving in the next couple of years. The life of an English teacher is a bit lax. It typically consists of working around 20 hours a week in the late afternoons to early evenings.

I found happiness in conversations with friends and enjoying good meals together. It’s possible to have great times while spending very little to nothing. Riding a used $400 scooter up a mountain to explore gives a sense of freedom that would rival any Audi or BMW ad experience I’ve seen.

I discovered passion and meaning in travel. All travel is enriching but global travel offers an opportunity to see other cultures as well as gain a new perspective of our own culture through an outside lens. (Using chopsticks to cook raw meats in a communal hot pot soup at least made me question if Americans are a bit overzealous about our fear of germs).

Making friends and meeting new people from around the world bring a sense of happiness that didn’t cost anything. Travelers from around the world share a sense of comradery since it’s a bit of a shared experience to see a new place for the first time, regardless of where you originate.

Where I Didn’t Find Happiness

I didn’t even own a car when I lived in Taiwan. For the first year, I lived in a small town where I got around on a used scooter I bought from another teacher for less than $400. Later, I moved to the city of Taipei and got around mostly by public transportation. I never once envied the people getting around in BMWs or Lexuses or the luxury brands I never saw in the US.

The climate was hot and humid, and the idea of fancy clothes seemed silly. You’re just going to get sweaty. Most of the time, an old pair of shorts and a t-shirt was sufficed to feel ok for the day. I didn’t feel the need for expensive shoes or clothes to try to show that I was “cool.”

Minimalism and Empowerment

As funny as it sounds, eliminating unnecessary needs and spending is an empowering feeling. When you realize that you don’t need to buy so many things to exist or be happy you feel more self-sufficient, and you achieve happiness that breaks the cycle of dependency on spending and things.

There’s a saying that I’m probably going to butcher and I can’t recall the source but it goes something like:

I’m rich not because of my wealth but because of my lack of wants.

Was it Ben Franklin? Someone drop me a line and let me know.


These days Rob is back in the US working but close to heading out into the world to travel and freelance full time. You can read more about job independent earning and travel as well as my experiences after losing my job at

The post Guest Post: Disconnecting From The US Marketing Machine appeared first on 1500 Days to Freedom.

How To Start Investing In Your Future With Little Money

Thomas Minter
, 13/11/2018 | Source: Millennial Money

You can do a lot with a little.

And when it comes to investing, that couldn’t be truer. If you have $1,000, $100, or even just $25, you can start investing today — right now.

So if you’re looking to figure out where and how to start investing, here are 11 ways to do that with whatever money you have today.


Why You Should Invest Even If You Don’t Have Much Money


It sounds too obvious to even say, but you’re never going to get rich if you don’t invest in some form. Even lottery winners invest their money before becoming millionaires (we’re not at all suggesting you play the lottery).

People are scared of the risk, but isn’t it a risk to not invest? What happens if an emergency hits? What if you’re never financially free?

Even if you don’t have much, you can let compounding interest work for you. The sooner you invest, the more interest can accrue, and the more money you can make in the long-run.

The sooner you start, the less weight will be on your shoulders later on.

Now, moving on to specific ways to answer the question, “how to start investing with little money”.


How to start investing with little money (11 Best Ways)


If you’re looking to figure out where and how to start investing, here are 11 ways to do that with whatever money you have today.


The Good Ol’ Fashion Cookie Jar


Saving and investing are like siblings. You can’t really do one without the other. And using a cookie jar to save coins and cash can be a great way to start saving and, in turn, investing.

You can start slow — just save any loose change left over from the coffee you buy or the cost of parking. If you can put in, say, $5 a week, that can turn into $260 a year.

If you’re new to saving or investing, this can be something that helps you practice. It helps you develop the habit of not overspending but reinvesting in your future. And it doesn’t have to be a literal cookie jar — you could use a simple savings account (and even label it “cookie jar”).


Get In On Your Employer’s Retirement Plan


Even if money is tight, you can look into contributing to the 401(k) your employer offers. You can choose the amount, so if you can only do $5 per paycheck, that’s at least a start.

Plus, many employers have a matching program where they’ll deposit a certain percentage into your 401(k) based on what percentage you choose to deposit.

And then each year as your annual pay raise comes around, you can up the percentage your putting into the account. And because of the increase in pay, you may not even be impacted by the increased contributions.


Invest In Mutual Funds With A Low Initial-Investment Amount


A mutual fund is a type of investment account that spreads your money across stocks and bonds.

The biggest downside of mutual funds is that most of the time, they require a large amount of money to be invested initially. We’re talking between $500 and $5,000. And as a first-time investor, those numbers probably don’t work for you.

On the flipside, there are mutual fund companies that may make an exception if you agree to small automatic monthly contributions, like $50 to $100 a month. When you talk with an investment advisor, ask if this is an option.

What’s nice is you can set up these automatic payments to come out of your paycheck, so you don’t even have to think about it. Once your mutual fund is set up, the human resource department at your place of employment should be able to help.


U.S. Treasury Securities


Although a Treasury security (aka a savings bond) isn’t a huge money-making investment option, it can be a nice place to put your money and earn some interest.

You can buy these through the U.S. Treasury’s online savings bond portal called Treasury Direct. You can buy fixed-rate bonds that have maturity periods from 30 days to 30 years. And the great news is that bonds can cost as little as $100.

These, too, can pull money right from your payroll if you’d like.


Set Up A Consultation With A…Robo-advisor?


If you’d rather not hire a human investment manager or advisor because of the cost, you can hire a robot to do that.

You can use a service like Betterment to automatically spread your investments among different stocks and bonds. Computer software does the whole thing.

You can start with investments as small as $100, so it’s a great option if you want to avoid large fees and easier access to your money.


Crowdfunded Real Estate


This one might surprise you, but you can invest in real estate with not much money. With crowdfunded real estate, you can put down as little as $1,000 investment.

The way it works is that you team up with other real estate investors, pool your money, and buy some real estate. You become a partial owner of the property and any profit made from selling the real estate would come back to you.

You can get started with crowdfunded real estate investment using websites like Fundrise.


Gold And Other Precious Metals


Investing in precious metals like gold or other metals can actually have a good payoff. There are doubters and critics, but the idea is that metals hold their value because they’re physical, tangible products.

The downside is that you won’t see dividends — it’s literally a piece of metal or rock that you’d lock away and hope to someday sell it for more than you bought it. However, the price of gold has gone up by over 300% in the bast three decades.

It’s a risk, and you’re basically hoping that the demand for gold and other precious metals will skyrocket and people will be desperate for it.

But if you think it’s a viable investment, you can buy gold or precious metals through your brokerage or from the U.S. Mint.


Stock Options


Stock options are not to be confused with stocks. Stock options are contracts that give you the ability to buy and sell a stock.

You can buy “calls” or “puts.” Calls are options that are projected to go up in price. Puts are projected to fall.

Dealing with stock options can get very complicated and they’re also pretty risky. The benefit is that you can start with very little money and get big rewards. It just comes down to the risk-reward ratio and what you’re willing to put on the line.




Commodities can be things like oil, natural gas, renewable energy, and agricultural products (crops or livestock).

By investing in these types of commodities, you’re basically relying on the supply and demand of the said commodity. The way it works is that you buy a future contract, and if the market price for that product is higher than your future contract, your investment is paying off and you’re making money.


Lending Money


If you have $1,000, you can lend that out to others as a type of investment. It is risky because you don’t know if the individuals you lend to will honor their end of the bargain. What you can do to counteract this risk is by lending lots of smaller amounts, like $25-50 a piece.

And rather than lending money to friends and family and risking tension in your relationships, you can do this online. Through companies like Prosper and Lending Club, you can get started with just a little bit of money.

You may want to try just a few smaller loans to see what the experience is like, then increase the amounts if you feel it’s worth it.


Certificates Of Deposit (CDs)


This is one of the oldest and most proven ways to invest your money. Certificates Of Deposit (CDs) are very safe and it’s clear what type of money you’ll end up with.

Through your bank or credit union, you can buy a CD at a fixed rate, which allows you to see exactly how much money you will have made when the CD matures. The bank then takes your money and lends it out.

The downside is that CDs offer much lower returns than other types of investments, but the risk is much lower.


So what are you waiting for? The sooner you start investing, the more you’ll make over time.


See Also:

Start Investing (4 Simple Steps) 

Best Investing Strategies 

Stop The Excuses & Start Crushing Money 

Investing Your Emergency Fund


4 Best Micro-Investment Apps Right Now


The post How To Start Investing In Your Future With Little Money appeared first on Millennial Money.

How to Retire Happy with Lots of Money

Keith Taxguy
, 13/11/2018 | Source: The Wealthy Accountant

What is the secret to a happy retirement with lots of money? Here are a few who actually did it. When I started this blog a primary goal was to share the worldview from my side of the desk. Over the years I’ve seen things I would never have seen if I were not in the profession I am in. And now I’ve seen things in the early retirement community I can no longer keep secret.


How I Purchased a Portfolio of 9 Houses at Once

Andrew Syrios
, 13/11/2018 | Source: The BiggerPockets Blog


Buying groups of properties at once is a great way to rapidly increase your portfolio. The key is being able to find, evaluate, and finance such deals.

View the full article: How I Purchased a Portfolio of 9 Houses at Once on The BiggerPockets Blog. This content is Copyright © 2017 BiggerPockets, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

How I track investment returns

, 13/11/2018 | Source: Young FI Guy

I’ve promised this for a long time. I’ve finally got round to tidying up my investment returns tracking spreadsheet!

Here’s the link to the spreadsheet:

[Note: you need to go to ‘File’ -> ‘Make a copy’ to be able to edit it and use it for yourself]

An overview of how it works

A general tip is that anything highlighted in yellow is where you enter data. Everything else is automatic.


Investment returns tracker

The front page is in the Returns tab. At the top is the money-weighted return (IRR). There is also a time-weighted return, and a unit return (these are effectively the same/very similar, mainly there for my curiosity). These are measured over various periods from 1 month through to 10 years (annualised). Have a read of this if you want to know more about the difference between money and time-weighted returns.

Below these are year-by-year returns.

On the right, we have the overall cost of the portfolio expressed as a percentage. That includes both fund charges and platform costs (more on that in a bit).

Finally, we have some comparisons of our fund to a benchmark. Including the Information Ratio and .


This is where you enter your start date and the names of your accounts (the yellow boxes). In total there are 20 account tabs. You don’t need to use them all (Mrs YFG and I have 9 accounts across a number of brokers).


Investment returns allocation

This tab has all the fancy allocation tables and charts which you may have seen in my ‘How I invest my money‘ post. There are a few places to enter data (the yellow boxes).

Portfolio tabs (numbered 1 through 20)

Investment returns portfolio tracker

This is where you enter your portfolio data. In the top left, this is where we enter our investments and details. If you hold listed securities (ETFs, shares, Investment Trusts etc.) then Google Finance will automatically return the prices (blue boxes). This used to work for mutual funds too. However, it seems Google has discontinued the service – you’ll have to enter data manually. There are further boxes where you enter the fund fees, and Class, Geography and Type (these are drop downs linked to the ‘Lookups’ tab, see below).

Many platforms offer a data export tool. In the area below you can paste this data in. If prefered, you can link the table to this if it’s easier.

To the right, we have the contribution/withdrawal table. Each month end you will need to fill this in so that returns are calculated.

On the far right, we have a table for on-going value. This doesn’t link anywhere, so it’s optional. But may be useful to see movements of particular funds/investments over time.


This is the engine room of the spreadsheet. No need to enter any data here. I can’t remember exactly, but I think this is based on a Bogleheads spreadsheet.


Investment returns benchmark

This tab is optional (unless you want benchmarking data). There are two options: “Google Finance” or “Manual”.

If you use Google Finance, you enter the ticker of your index or ETF benchmark (cell I11) and all the calculations flow out.

If you use Manual, you enter the data yourself manually. You’d use this option if you wanted to use a mutual fund as a benchmark. Such as a Vanguard LifeStrategy fund.


This brings together all the data from the portfolio tabs so that these are summarised for the Allocation tables and charts.

In here you need to enter the platform cost for each portfolio in the yellow boxes (Column M). [I know it’s not good practice to have to enter data in a summary calculation tab, but I got lazy!]


Finally, there is the Lookups tab which is used for creating the various drop-down menus you see throughout the spreadsheet. Add and remove to these lists as you need.

That’s it!

Here again is the link to the spreadsheet:

Please leave a comment or send me an email if you have any questions or spot any errors! Feedback is very welcome, so if you have any suggestions for improving the spreadsheet please let me know.

All the best,

Young FI Guy

The post How I track investment returns appeared first on Young FI Guy.