Self-Awareness & Wealth Building

Learn the importance of “knowing yourself” as you embark on your wealth building journey…


Frequently Asked

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1-2-3 Credit & Me (Frequently Asked Questions)


If you are someone who desire to build wealth more effectively and efficiently, it is important that you not only have an effective plan that will take you to where you need or plan to go, you must also know your personality–or have an awareness of how you mentally approach life–or another way of stating it is, you must know yourself and how you operate “internally” in the various facets of your life whether the wind is at your back or you are encountering a major storm.


It is important that “you take time” out of your busy life to look inward and determine where you are now at in a sincere manner so that you can enhance areas that you are weak–and utilize areas in which you are strong in a more effective manner, so that you can build wealth more effectively throughout your lifetime.


Are you an effective money manager and are you aware of how you approach the management of your finances and do you feel good about yourself on a consistent basis, value your life and what you know you will accomplish, know your self-worth and how you can build wealth optimally, and have confidence in your future in spite of all that may be happening around you?


In this discussion will go into detail about the qualities that you need to have or improve upon, based on the success of many past clients and the qualities that they demonstrated while building wealth in varying economic environments.


It is important that you demonstrate a high level of focus as you pursue the improvement of your finances and you also want to have a real handle on how you are aware of and manage the following:



How do you see and feel about yourself?  Your self-esteem must be at a high level as you must see on the inside of you someone who looks good, feels good and does good in the world–and you must know that you are and will continue to be a positive force for the advancement of humanity.


When you have high self-esteem you see yourself as having value, you set the bar high and you not only expect more of yourself, you will actually achieve more!  You also never let others mistreat you or knowingly take advantage of you in any facet of your life!



How do you value yourself?  Do you see yourself as someone who can set goals and accomplish them?  What do you expect to happen in your financial future?  Do you expect others to be the breadwinner and do what you are responsible for doing, while you sit on the sidelines–or do you plan to be active in making the wealth building future that you desire happen in real time?


Do you at this time value your financial management skills or do you feel they are lacking?  Do you expect creditors and others to have the edge over how you manage your finances and do you expect to negotiate from a position of weakness or strength?



How do you see yourself within?  What do you expect from yourself and others as a result of pursuing your goals and dreams at your highest level?  Are you looking at your worth based on the effort that you are willing to expend or are you cautiously optimistic with no plan in place and no real understanding of what you need to do?


It is imperative that you feel worthy of whatever you desire to occur in your future and you must know that you are “worthy” of whatever “you” think you are worthy of.



If you have high self-esteem, you value yourself and what you know you will accomplish, and you feel worthy of the success that you are about to achieve, you will put yourself in great position to have the confidence that you need to succeed as you pursue the various wealth building goals that you may have.


Whether it is creating a budget or cash flow statement, determining your income on an annual basis, creating a balance sheet so that you can know your assets and liabilities so that you can determine your net worth, mastering your understanding of credit, and understanding and improving upon your finances in all areas–you must feel confident that you can do all of that and more, and you must put into action what is necessary so that you can soar!



What you accept of a negative nature from others can lower your value, esteem, and worth within your mind and heart and you will be less likely to achieve more–and truly set yourself apart!  You don’t have to accept detrimental or hostile treatment from creditors and others who are in your life.


You don’t have to sacrifice or engage in transactions from a point of weakness and achieve less because you failed to give it your absolute best!


You can now see the light and you now have the opportunity to take the necessary steps to build your wealth right!  Even if you are on a positive path toward success, you may need to re-focus your efforts toward success so that you can truly put forth your best.  By being keenly aware of what your responsibilities are as you approach your wealth building efforts, you put yourself in real position to making it happen in real time.


By having a high level of self-esteem, valuing your life at your highest level, and knowing that you are worthy of whatever “you” think you are worthy of, you will put yourself in position to have the confidence to put together a plan and pursue that plan in an unrelenting fashion because you will have cultivated those important qualities at such a high level that success will be the only possible outcome!


Always remember that “you are accountable to yourself” for your and your family’s future, you must have integrity at all times, and you must honestly pursue what you desire to occur because you know wholeheartedly that it is your responsibility to create the future that you desire for yourself and your family–and no one else’s.


It is important that you do so in an inspiring and uplifting manner–and not be pulled down by others who do not have your best interest in mind!


You must measure yourself based on “who you really are internally” and not by the degrees or titles that you may have or hold.  In order to maximize your self-improvement  and build wealth more efficiently, you must be aware of how you operate daily and particularly how you manage your finances on a consistent basis.


You must own peace, freedom, creativity, and clarity “within your mind” and you must know that you are enough and you can and will put a plan in place that will allow you to see your future clearly and build wealth at the level that you desire.


Your accomplishments over your lifetime may be impressive and appeal to others, but your achievement should be all about appealing to you and what you desire–as you must set the bar higher–and you want to take your achievement to a level that is acceptable to you–not others who in reality are not as impressed as you may think, by what you do.


You must know that you are worth your time, energy and effort that you are expending or will soon expend, and you will do what you need to do to make what you desire most happen in your life at this time!


Above all, you must love yourself and the path that you are on, and realize wholeheartedly that how you internally see, hold, and base your approach to your life here on earth, is critical for your long-term success and improving your self (and net) worth.


You will never know what is inside of you (your potential) if you don’t put a demand on what is inside of you!  You must rise up with boldness, have a high level of self-awareness, have a high level of self-esteem, have a high level of self-worth, have a high level of self-confidence and you must know in definite terms that you are aware that you are a valuable addition to the human community, and you plan to advance society while you are here on earth.


You can choose to play it safe by going through life by not being aware of what is going on in your financial life, or you can choose to talk yourself into success by being more aware of your future and using what you now have and will work to improve upon to take the right action–consistently.


Isn’t it time you tap into your hidden talents and achieve at a higher level?  Isn’t it time that you release all of your gifts and potential while you are yet alive.  Isn’t it time you have a new thirst for success and isn’t it time you give it your absolute best?


Isn’t it time that you turn something that you were put on earth to do from ordinary to extra-ordinary?


All the best as you commit to a higher level of success by giving it your absolute best….


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This page created in honor of the 50th Wedding Anniversary–Roosevelt & Shirley–may you have many more celebrations…


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Credit Scoring & Wealth Building

Learn why you must know how to utilize credit effectively so that you can maintain or improve your credit score so that you can do more…


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1-2-3 Credit & Me (Frequently Asked Questions)


In the current economy many are in the process of making financial moves and their credit standing will play a major role.  If you are one who plan on making major financial moves in the future, it is imperative that you know the way the credit scoring system operates and you take a “proactive approach” in the management and improvement of your finances.


In this discussion you can learn what you can do to work toward improving your credit and using credit for your and your family’s best interest and not for the greater benefit of creditors and others who do not have your best path toward success in mind.  By making a serious commitment to comprehend and apply the “credit scoring” concepts below based on your unique goals that you have, you will put yourself on a path to attaining a credit score where lenders can’t say no!


Know the 3 Major Credit Bureaus & How They Operate






Transunion, Equifax, and Experian are the three major players when it comes to the credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies.  It is your responsibility to know the 3 major credit bureaus and an easy acronym that you can use is TEE.  Think of TEEing off, only it is not for golf but for managing your credit more effectively throughout your lifetime!


You can go to to get your credit report from all three credit bureaus once per year at no cost to you.  Additionally, if you are denied credit or turned down from a job based on your credit file, you will be entitled to a free credit report.


The 3 credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies as they are commonly called, assemble files on you based on your name, addresses, social security number, date of birth, employment, and creditors that you owe or you have a relationship with such as credit card companies, student loan providers, auto loan providers, mortgage providers etcetera, and the agencies will note when you pay on time and when you pay late.  If you have public record data, foreclosures, liens, rental defaults and other debtor payments that you “failed” to make–that too could appear in your credit file.


If you have “credit issues” be sure to visit the credit improvement discussion on this site and/or be sure to purchase 1-2-3 Credit & Me if you desire to take control of your credit in a more forceful manner!  Although effective credit management throughout your lifetime should be your goal, an UltraFICO score and Vantagescore 4 plus are alternative scoring models that offers those with a poor or non-existent credit history to get a score that some creditors will accept based on your banking activity with your checking and savings account(s).


You can go to the following sites to see where you now stand as far as your credit reports are concerned.


                      Transunion                      Equifax                      Experian


Know How Credit is Scored

You want to know what factors go into the scoring of credit.  Negative information, utilization, time of credit, type of credit and hard inquiries all play a role in the scoring of your credit.


You can go to the following sites to see where you now stand as far as your credit score is concerned:


Others–your bank, credit card issuer and others that you may have a financial relationship with all offer free or nominal rate credit scores, monitoring and other products that could be of benefit to you. offers ratings on various financial products and services that can possibly be of help to you and your family.


Also realize that there are 2 major scoring models and they are FICO and Vantagescore and by effectively managing the 5 credit factors you can “maximize your credit score” regardless of the scoring model that a creditor or others may use during transactions that you engage in during your lifetime.


To get an exceptional (800 plus credit score) score with your credit, you will need to consistently:


  • Keep Negative information off of your credit report.  It is important that you stay current for a number of years and always pay on time as you will show that you are a good credit risk by doing so.


  • Keep your Utilization rate low.  It is important that you keep your utilization of your available credit under 7%.  You will pose less risk to lenders and your score will rise over time.


  • Keep older accounts open over Time, as your score will rise the longer your credit record is.  Once you get an average age of 9 years or more, you will be a serious candidate for the 800 club.  You can still get there in a shorter time frame as well, depending on your overall credit management, income and particularly how you manage the credit factors that you are now learning.


  • Know that the Type of accounts that you have are important.  Those who are in the 800 club normally have about 6 revolving accounts and 5 installment accounts on their credit reports.  In many cases they have several installment accounts in their credit file that have been paid off, but are still a part of their credit file.  Credit cards, installment loans, mortgage loans, retail loans etcetera will be weighted.  Always realize that your credit mix will be more important if your credit report doesn’t have a lot of other information to base a FICO® Score on.


  • Know that when you apply for new credit an Inquiry goes on your report.  A new inquiry has the effect of reducing your score for a period.  Those who are not actively looking for new credit pose less risk.  Those in the 800 club generally have not applied for new credit in the past 12 months.


Know How to Manage Your Credit Effectively

You want to be more than just aware of the credit bureaus and how your credit is scored.  You want to proactively get out in front of your credit and do the work upfront so that you can have a lifetime of credit success, or credit success for the period in your life that you desire to utilize credit.


By keeping late payments or negative information off your credit report, utilizing 10% or less of your available credit, keeping your accounts open over a period of time, having the right type of credit based on your goals and keeping hard inquiries to a minimum based on your goals, you can position yourself for a lifetime of credit and financial success.


You also want to ensure that you pay off or pay down burdensome debt like revolving accounts and you properly establish an emergency fund at the earliest time possible.





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It is important that you manage your credit and finances in an intelligent, consistent, and proactive manner and not show concern for your credit after you have damaged or mismanaged your credit and finances.


You also want to ensure that your credit usage align with your goals, as you don’t want to purchase a car or get a home mortgage if you have no need for the car or you prefer renting or don’t like the added responsibilities that come with home ownership.


Even if your “credit mix or type of credit” is not ideal, if you pay your revolving debt on time over time, you will see a gradual and steady increase in your credit score and you will have a good to excellent score that may allow you to achieve your short, intermediate and long-term goals successfully.  If your credit is not ideal and traditional credit card issuers won’t issue you a card, you may need to get several secured credit cards to help rebuild your credit if you have had several major dings in the past and your current score is not at the level that allows you to get a loan at a good rate.


If you are “exceptional” in paying on time over time and utilizing your available credit appropriately over time and you are good, very good, excellent, or exceptional by paying on time over time, having different types of credit and keeping your inquiries low–you will eventually get to the 800 plus club (800 or more credit score).


Again, you want to be aware that there are two major credit scoring models and they are FICO and VantageScore, and creditors may use either one of the models when you apply for new credit.  If possible, you may want to get information from the potential creditor in advance to determine the model they use–as well as the version so that you can plan, strategize and negotiate better.


Also realize that there are different versions and year of release of those versions when it comes to scoring models, as older and newer versions are on the market at the same time and creditors may use older or newer models and differing versions of those models.  Some models will even take your score up to 900!  In addition, there are “industry specific” models and versions that you want and need to be aware of!


In addition to managing your credit wisely, you want to do your due diligence in all areas of your finances by proactively knowing what you need to do and what you need to avoid–not re-actively as it is often too late to take corrective action or the action that serves your best interest and not creditors and others after the transaction has occurred!  It is imperative that you learn credit card basics prior to running up astronomical balances–as you want to manage your credit wisely from day one when possible!


By implementing the above steps in your life at the earliest time possible you can get out in front of your credit and manage your credit to your advantage and not creditors.  Effective credit management will put you in the “scoring range that allows you to have the “audacity to be you” as you pursue your goals and what you desire to see most come true!


However, the audacity to be you is contingent upon you doing what you need to do!


All the best to your credit scoring success as you now should expect nothing less…


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Bottom Feeders & Wealth Building

Learn why you must expect the best as you pursue success…


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In this discussion will lighten the mood some from the blog posts over the last few months that were somewhat technical, and now discuss why those who fail to give it their best must transform their mindset  in a manner that can lead to greater success–and end the type of behavior that is holding them back, if they desire to achieve more in the coming years as they attack more aggressively to get their finances back on track.


There are many who let worry, anxiety, fear, frustration, lack of effort and excuses control their daily actions in a detrimental way.  If that type of behavior applies to you, now is not the time to panic as you can learn much of what you need and can do to start or continue on a more definite path that can lead you towards making your wealth building dreams come true. is not for those with a short attention span, but for those searching for meaning in a sincere and real way as far as building wealth more efficiently and effectively at the various stages of their life is concerned.


Even though Investment Simplification, Retirement Simplification, Social Security Simplification and Bond Simplification posts over the last few months “tested the patience” of many visitors (20 plus minute reads on all of the posts), those who focused in on–and comprehended the posts at their highest level now have a “new awakening” of how they can achieve lasting success, based on the responses of many visitors to those posts.


In particular, the bond simplification post has helped many, as a number of visitors stated that it was the best explanation of bonds that they could readily grasp that they had ever read!


Now is the time that you too address the “reality of now” in your life so that you can avoid financial strife.


In this discussion, those who are not giving it their absolute best for various reasons will be described as “bottom feeders” (tongue-in-cheek) and if that type of behavior applies to you (actually it applies to all of us on some days), it is important that you don’t take it personally, as the goal for all who come across this page is to get them to do more and achieve more while they are here on planet earth.


It is important that you have the mindset to develop a financially alert mind as opposed to just being financially literate as that will allow you to see more, be more, and do more so that you can truly soar!


Even if you may be living paycheck to paycheck and feeling the effects of inflation at this time and you know that what you are experiencing is real in a definite way–so too must you know that compounding too is real–and putting together a plan that you can utilize to achieve more can also be made real by you–therefore you want to make the best decisions and manage both inflation and compounding to your best advantage–now that is the real deal!


While others (whether consciously or unconsciously) promote worry, anxiety, fear, frustration, lack of effort and excuses, your heart and mind needs to promote “comfort” as you manage your finances.


It is important that you gain applied wealth building knowledge that has been proven–and you use every day that allows you to pursue success in a better way to your best advantage–not creditors!


You need a “personal wellness system” that includes effective wealth building and financial management that leads to real results based on the income that comes into and goes out of your household on a monthly and annual basis.


In the steps below you will have the opportunity to learn how you can implement a plan so that you can truly grow and a plan that can truly put you in the know:


1) Create Financial Statements that You Can Benefit From

It is important that you take an introspective view of how you manage your finances, and you want to eventually come to the conclusion that “how” you manage your finances is very important as you pursue wealth building.


You must be ready for all that comes at you financially during your lifetime, and you must always have hope and you must know that there are routes that you can take that can lead to the success that you desire–as there are many options for you to take in the building of wealth.


You want to at a minimum create a budget or cash flow statement so that you can get a handle on your finances and determine future moves that you can make.  If you are comfortable with numbers, you may also want to create a personal income statement and a personal balance sheet so that you can determine your personal net worth.


2) Have Mastery of How Credit Works

Do you know how you manage your credit?  Have you ever given serious thought about how you manage your credit and considered ways that you can possibly do it better?


Effective credit management throughout your lifetime is one of the major tools that you can use to build wealth.  Whether you are credit averse and desire to pay all cash throughout your life or you plan to utilize credit as a leveraging tool to build wealth more efficiently, more than likely you will have to utilize credit at some point.


Therefore, you want to ensure that you have mastery over credit and not allow credit to have mastery over you!


You master credit by knowing the factors that affect your credit, knowing the major credit bureaus that record your credit and have a credit file on you, and knowing how your credit is scored by the various agencies and how it is reported by the credit reporting agencies and credit monitoring companies that impact your ability to make financial maneuvers.


3) Have a Comprehensive Understanding and Application of that Understanding as it Relates to Your Finances

You must have an approach to managing your finances that is “all encompassing” meaning you don’t leave anything up to chance by not knowing all of the areas of your finances that you need to address–and you must address!


You want to know at the earliest time possible that you must have an understanding of how you address your insurance. investments, taxes, emergency fund, education planning, estate planning/wills and retirement planning as that knowledge will put you well ahead of 90 percent of the population–and give you the needed focus to achieve more and reach higher toward the excellence that already resides inside of you!



It is important that you invest in who invests in you and not be stuck behind–like glue!  The golden rule of wealth building is that you invest in those who invest in you and those who can show you a real path toward making your dreams come true!


Even if you are now a bottom feeder so to speak, or possibly moving along in life at a prosperous and productive pace, you must realize that you can do more–and you will do more!


Regardless of your money management personality or where you now stand as far as your wealth building knowledge is concerned, you can change all that and benefit even more while you are here on earth, the place of your birth, if you have a real desire to do so–and you are truly willing to expend the effort so that you can grow.


By implementing the 3 steps discussed above you can help ensure that you rise higher and achieve the meaningful and significant goals that you desire.


Convenience and a focused path are major factors for building wealth, and with the 2024 release of Wealth Building Now, on the market–wealth building success is NOW accessible in an easy to read and apply format that is designed to guide you toward the success that you desire in an empowering manner in any economy–as you now have the convenience and focus that you need so that you can truly succeed.


Read “chapter 5” NOW to get a feel for what you can achieve by purchasing this book today…


You no longer have to take what life dishes at you!  You can now take control of your wealth building efforts with more clout–as you NOW know what you need to do to manage your way out!


Isn’t it time you form a wealth building wellness system within “your mind” that can put you in control and keep you in control?


Speaking of bottom feeders, the links below are bottom feeders so to speak (low number of monthly visitors) but can potentially help you improve your credit, finances and life in a more efficient manner.


The moral of this blog, you can achieve success in the building of wealth regardless of where you now stand as far as your financial knowledge base is or your financial status is, if you are sincerely willing to make a change in how you approach your future and you decide to do more in a sincere way from this day forward.


In order to achieve more–you must want more!  Bottom feeders dream small or not at all nor do they put forth the required effort on a consistent basis!  Now is the time that you use your imagination to dream big, pursue more and do more!


By doing so you will be able to “swim to the top” and not remain a bottom feeder and you can position yourself and your family to enjoy a bountiful harvest in the process!


Even though the creator of was once a bottom feeder (we all are at varying degrees at some point in our life) and did not have the required financial knowledge at the time and nowhere to turn, you now have better options as this site provides you a comprehensive overview of what you can do to work toward making your dreams come true.


The answers to your perplexing financial concerns or questions can possibly be found on this site if you are willing to navigate and address what ails you tonight!


All the best as you rise to the top and achieve major success…


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Bond Simplification & Wealth Building

Learn all about bonds and how you can possibly use them to build wealth more effectively…


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Caution:  30 minute read

In the United States you will often hear of corporate bonds and government bonds being touted by many, but exactly what are corporate and government bonds and how can you use them to build wealth?


In this discussion will focus on government and corporate bonds and discuss ways that you can possibly use them to build wealth more efficiently.


Municipal, Mortgage-backed, Agency and Corporate bonds will all be discussed to further enhance your understanding of the bond market.  You can also purchase bonds as part of a Mutual Fund, ETF, Target Date Fund, 401k’s, IRA’s or other retirement plans by utilizing brokers or doing the selections yourself on your brokerage account.


Treasuries (Bills. Bonds, Notes) and CDs (Certificates of Deposit) are often considered the safest of investments on the market because they are government backed, and they too will be covered in this discussion.


Other bond investments, like municipal or corporate bonds, have credit ratings from rating agencies like Moody’s Investors Services and Standard & Poor’s.  The higher the credit rating, the more likely an issuer is to make timely interest and principal payments.


Conversely, the lower the credit rating, the greater the risk that the issuer can’t make timely interest or principal payments.  Prices for bonds with longer maturities tend to be more sensitive to changes in interest rates compared to shorter-term bonds.  Be particularly cautious of junk bonds as they are riskier, and the inability of the issuer to make payments should be of higher concern to you.  On the flip side you can potentially receive higher returns, but with more risk.


Municipal, are bonds issued by states, cities, counties, and other local governments, as well as enterprises that serve a public purpose, such as universities, hospitals, and utilities.  Those who issue municipal bonds generally pay “interest income” that is “exempt” from federal and potentially state income taxes.


Corporate are bonds issued when companies issue corporate bonds to raise capital for activities such as expanding operations, purchasing new equipment, or building new facilities.  The issuing company is responsible for making interest payments and repaying the principal at maturity.


Mortgage-backed securities are created by pooling mortgages purchased from the original lenders.  As an investor you would receive monthly interest and principal payments from the underlying mortgages. These securities differ from traditional bonds in that there isn’t necessarily a predetermined amount that gets redeemed at a scheduled maturity date.


Agency bonds are issued by either a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) or a government-owned corporation (GOC) and are debt obligations solely of the issuing agency (fannie-mae and freddie-mac come to mind as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Hoover Dam).


There are generally two types of government bonds that you can buy directly at, and they are marketable and non-marketable.




Marketable bonds include TIPs, (Treasury Inflation Protected securities), Treasuries (Bills, Bonds, Notes), FRNs (Floating Rate Notes), and STRIPs (Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal securities).




Non-marketable bonds include series EE and series I-Bonds (series is based on issue date), and they can be purchased in electronic form on or purchased with your tax refund at set purchase amount intervals–you will receive a paper bond(s). will start by discussing bond basics and because marketable bonds cause more confusion for many and are generally a more complex transaction than purchasing non-marketable bonds, government marketable bonds will be discussed first among bonds, followed by corporate marketable bonds and then non-marketable bonds.


Bond Basics

When you buy a bond, you are a company’s (or government entity) lender and the bond is like an IOU-a promise to pay back the money you’ve loaned to the company or agency, with interest back to you.


The amount of income a bond pays is largely determined by the prevailing interest rate at the time of issuance and other factors specific to that bond.


In simplified form, face value multiplied by interest rate equals interest payment to you.


$1,000 * 5% = $50


You might receive 2 coupon payments a year for $50 each and get payment of face value in 5 or 10 years, depending on term of the bond.


Bonds are often used to generate income, protect earnings, diversify portfolios and a strong point for many with government bonds are that they are often backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.


What determines a bond’s yield?

Two key factors that determine a bond’s yield are credit risk and the time to maturity.


Credit risk: A bond’s yield generally reflects the risk that the issuer will not make full and timely interest or principal payments.


Rating agencies provide opinions on this risk in the form of a credit rating.  Bonds with lower credit ratings generally pay higher yields because investors expect extra compensation for greater risk.


Maturity: Generally, the longer the maturity, the higher the yield.  Investors expect to earn more on long-term investments because their money is committed for a longer period of time, and they lack access to it.


Who Issues?

Bonds are issued by both public and private entities.


Many cities, states, the federal government, government agencies, and corporations issue bonds to raise capital for a variety of purposes, such as building roads, improving schools, opening new factories, and buying the latest technology—along with other stated purposes.


How Bond Yields Work?

The yield you’re quoted when you buy a bond is often different from the interest it pays.


I’m sure you want to know why that is the case!


Because in addition to the annual interest rate, the bond’s return reflects any difference between its purchase price and its face value—the amount you’re expected to receive when the bond matures.


If you buy the bond at a price higher than the face value (at a premium), you’ll receive less than you paid when the bond matures.  Let’s say face value is $1,000 and you pay $1,100, when the bond matures you will only get $1,000.


If you buy the bond at a price lower than the face value (at a discount), you’ll receive more than you paid when the bond matures.  Let’s say face value is $1,000 and you pay $900, when the bond matures you will get $1,000.


If you sell the bond before it matures, you get its current price, which may be higher or lower than the amount you originally paid and you are in essence forfeiting your future coupon (interest) payments.


Frequently Asked Questions about Bonds…


TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities) Basics

  • Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are a type of Treasury bond that is indexed to an inflationary gauge to protect investors from a decline in the purchasing power of their money.


  • TIPs with a fixed principal can be stripped (more on stripping later in this discussion).


  • TIPS are issued with maturities of five, 10, and 30 years and are considered a low-risk investment because the U.S. government backs them.


  • Auctions are held several times a year.


  • TIPs pay interest every six months based on a fixed rate determined at the bond’s auction.


  • The principal value of TIPS rises as inflation rises.


  • The principal amount is protected since investors will never receive less than the originally invested principal.


  • The principal value of TIPS rises as inflation rises, while the interest payment varies with the adjusted principal value of the bond.


  • TIPS can be purchased directly from the government through the TreasuryDirect system, in $100 increments with a minimum investment of $100.


  • Some investors prefer to get TIPS through a TIPS mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF).    However, purchasing TIPS directly allows investors to avoid the management fees associated with mutual funds.


Suppose you as a bond investor owns $1,000 in TIPS at the end of the year, with a coupon rate of 2%.  If there is no inflation as measured by the CPI, then you will receive $20 in coupon payments for that year.  If inflation rises by 4%, however, then the $1,000 principal will be adjusted upward by 4% to $1,040.  The coupon rate will remain the same at 2%, but it will be multiplied by the adjusted principal amount of $1,040 to arrive at an interest payment of $10.40 for the year.


Conversely, if inflation were negative—known as deflation—with prices falling 5%, then the principal would be adjusted downward to $950.  The resulting interest payment to you would be $9.50 over the year.   However, at maturity, you would receive no less than the principal amount invested of $1,000 or an adjusted higher principal, if applicable.  Learn more about TIPs by visiting “Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS),” at



You can buy most at auction or in the open market.  If bought at auction you can re-invest your earnings automatically.  If you have an investment account with a brokerage, many brokerages allow you to purchase treasuries on their platform and re-invest as well.

Check current interest rates…


Treasuries (Bills, Bonds, Notes)

NOTE: Treasuries have a competitive and non-competitive bidding process, and you want to be aware of that proactively, as opposed to after the fact.


Treasury Bill Basics

Note about Cash Management Bills: Cash Management Bills (CMBs) are also available at various times and for variable terms.  Cash Management Bills are only available through a bank, broker, or dealer and cannot be purchased at

Treasury issues short-term cash management bills periodically to manage short-term financing needs.


*Bills are issued in electronic form only for periods of 4, 8,13, 17, 26 and 52 weeks.

  • Interest is “fixed rate” and is set at auction.


  • Interest is the difference between what you paid and the face value you get


  • when bill matures interest is paid


  • minimum purchase is $100 and sold in increments of $100


  • Taxes at federal level are due on interest earned yearly (no state or local taxes)


  • Not eligible for STRIPs


Treasury Bond Basics

*Issued in electronic form only.

  • Term is either 20 or 30 years.


  • Bonds pay a fixed rate of interest every six months until they mature and that rate is determined at auction.


  • You can hold a bond until it matures or sell it before it matures.


  • Interest rate is never lower than .125%.


  • Minimum purchase is $100 and interest is paid every 6 months until maturity.


  • Sold at auction several times a year.


  • Taxes at federal level are due on interest earned annually (no state or local taxes).


  • Are eligible for STRIPs.


NOTE: Treasury Bonds are not the same as U.S. Savings Bonds

EE Bonds, I Bonds, and HH Bonds are U.S. savings bonds and are “non-marketable,” meaning they can’t be sold in the secondary market, see U.S. Savings Bonds.


Treasury Note Basics

*Issued in electronic form only

*Term is of 2, 3, 5, 7, or 10 years.

*Notes pay a fixed rate of interest every six months until they mature.  The rate is fixed at auction.

*You can hold a note until it matures or sell it before it matures.

  • Interest rate is never lower than .125%


  • Minimum purchase $100 and interest is paid every 6 months until maturity


  • Sold at auction several times a year


  • Taxes at federal level are due on interest earned each year (no state or local taxes)


  • Are eligible for STRIPs


  • Whether you purchase at auction or on the secondary market the bonds can be readily bought and sold.


FRNs (Floating Rate Notes)

*are relatively short-term investments that are issued in electronic form only.

  • Mature in two years.


  • Pay interest four times each year.


  • have an interest rate that may change or “float” over time.


  • You can hold a FRN until it matures or sell it before it matures.


  • Minimum purchase $100, sold in increments and Interest paid every 3 months.


  • Sold at auction.


  • Federal tax due each year on interest earned. No state or local taxes


  • Are not eligible for STRIPs.



You can buy, hold, sell, and redeem STRIPS only through a financial institution, a broker, or dealer who handles government securities.


Treasury securities with a fixed-principal, such as notes, bonds, and TIPS are eligible and may be stripped!


Treasury Bills and FRNs can’t be stripped!


The idea behind STRIPS is that the principal and each interest payment become “separate securities” that are treated individually.


Each separated piece is a zero-coupon security that matures separately and, has only one payment.


You can learn more about stripping by going to!


Corporate Bonds

Corporate bonds are often used by investors in their portfolio to help reduce the risk of returns from other investments.  Many investors use a laddered approach (purchase bonds or bond funds of varying maturities to reduce risk) and many laddered corporate bonds pay 5% or better if properly structured.


Investors usually select Junk or High Yield Corporate bonds so that they can obtain a higher rate of return and possibly an increase in the bond price down the road.


The segment that is considered high-yield would be rated B to BB+ by S & P or B to Ba1 by Moody’s.


They can be a good choice during economic expansion and quite risky during an economic decline.


High-yield bonds are also less sensitive to interest rate movement than the other categories mentioned in this discussion.  You can buy junk-bonds through a broker or invest through a fund.


Investment grade bonds are purchased by many mutual fund companies and more conservative investors as they are not as risky as junk bonds but provide a stable return in many instances.


Although many domestic bond funds invest a small percentage in markets overseas you may be able to diversify your fixed income investments and receive a more attractive yield (bond yields and inflation on international bonds tend to have a low correlation to the U. S.  Bond Market).


Some corporate bonds pay interest monthly, but quarterly or semi-annually are more common!


Be sure you are properly positioned to invest as there will be more risk.  In addition to interest rate risk which is always a constant when investing in bonds—you will also have currency risk.


Depending on your “life stage” you could use international bonds to increase your nest egg–or utilize them during retirement if you are properly “positioned” to do so!


To help reduce currency risk, some International Bond Funds enter into “currency forward contracts” that lock in an exchange rate to buy or sell a currency on a future date and locks in the foreign currency fluctuations versus the United States Dollar.   In addition, other methods are used to reduce currency risk depending on the company that you choose.  As with any fund it is important that you are aware of the expense ratio—and particularly with International Bond Funds as there are usually other fees added that you won’t see on the expense ratio but will be charged to your account nevertheless.


Even though you can get hefty returns during good times, market risk can be substantial when bond funds in international markets plummet during volatile times, therefore it can never be stressed enough that you must be in the “right financial position” and at the “right stage in your life” to utilize International Bonds & Bond Funds in your portfolio for maximum results.


Non-marketable Bonds 


Series EE and Series I Bonds

These are also government issued bonds that are sold at a “discount of face value” and mature over 20 to 30 years.


Series I bonds are also adjusted for inflation twice a year!


Non-marketable bonds include series EE and series I-Bonds (series is based on issue date), and they can be purchased in electronic form on or purchased with your tax refund at set dollar amounts with your tax refund–you will receive a paper bond(s).


The interest would accumulate in your account and once you cashed in you would receive the interest and principal.  If you cash in early there could be a penalty!  In order to get the full face value on the bond, you would have to keep the bond for the full term.  You could also be taxed on the interest unless an exception such as proceeds were used for educational purposes–were to apply.


CD’s (Certificate of Deposit) & Money Market Accounts

A CD with a fixed term and guaranteed rate can be a good place for money you plan to spend down the line, such as a wedding, or the purchase of a house or boat.  Due to early withdrawal penalties, however, the money is not as easily accessible as funds in a savings account.  This makes a liquid savings account a better option for money you may need for emergencies.


You want to ensure that you properly establish an emergency funds at the earliest time possible to help with unplanned events that will occur in the short and long-term.  A CD could work for you as part of your emergency fund if you found low penalty CD’s that otherwise met your goals and you used a laddered approach in establishing the fund.


Unlike bonds, a CD’s fixed term is guaranteed to pay a specific yield on a set date in the future!  If you like the safety of bonds and CDs, you may want to set up a bond or CD ladder so that you can have better access to your funds, particularly if you will be using part or all for your emergency fund utilization!


You can use a CD calculator to determine exactly how much interest the CD that you are considering can earn when the CD matures so you will know your “numbers” in advance.  And you can go to to learn more about CDs and how the one you are considering ranks as far as safety and penalties are concerned.


Since CDs usually pay fixed yields, a CD may be a smart option in a falling interest rate environment.  When rates are decreasing, you may be able to lock in a higher yield than what will be offered in coming months or years.


Although they are not in the bond family, CD’s and money market accounts are worth considering depending on your goals as there are a large number of consumers who possess these accounts and like their safety ($250,000  protection through FDIC).


With interest rates fluctuations Certificates of Deposits and Money Market Accounts will vary on what they pay in returns, and returns that you expect may depend on FED policy of keeping short term rates close to zero or utilizing FED policy to raise interest rates!



You can use bonds to fund your IRA if you have a brokerage account.  You can possibly save on management fees by purchasing Treasury bonds directly at


Bonds can play an important role as you approach retirement and even during your retirement years.  Used as part of an overall or comprehensive wealth building approach they can play a role in helping you live out your retirement years with dignity.  If you are uncomfortable selecting bonds you can use bond mutual funds or let mutual fund managers select bonds that are part of the mutual fund that they manage.  Target Date and Educational accounts may automatically include bonds in your account if you are currently using that type of financial product.


All bond types have their pros and cons so you may want to do additional research or consult with your financial advisor if you are still uncomfortable with bonds.


Bonds can also be used to fund your, your children’s, or grandchildren’s education, and the interest earned could be tax free if you meet the educational guidelines outline in the IRS tax code.


Treasury marketable securities are sold through auctions.  In 2023, Treasury Direct held 428 public auctions and issued about $22 trillion in Treasury marketable securities–no small change!


Treasury marketable securities include Bills, Bonds, Notes, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), and Floating Rate Notes (FRNs).  What makes them “marketable” is that you can sell or transfer them before they mature and there are always ready buyers.  Agency, mortgage-backed, municipal and other bonds are available at the federal, state and local level and are offered by various entities.


You can strip some marketable bonds and basically break them down into individual payments!


Corporate bonds include investment grade, junk, international, bond funds and other classifications and they can be found in abundance in the financial markets.  You can set up an account with all bond types in 15 minutes or so at many brokerages as the process is fairly straightforward.


Many mutual funds that you may already have, or are considering, may already have a percentage invested in bonds that you may not be aware of.  If you have a target date fund or a 529 savings plan a portion of your investment is more than likely already invested in the bond market.


Non-Marketable bonds include series EE and I bonds and they can be purchased by you, but can’t be sold in the financial markets.


Bonds can be an important part of your wealth building future if you utilize them in the appropriate manner and you have addressed your finances in a comprehensive manner as a major part of your approach to your future, whether it be for retirement or any other purpose.


All the best to your bond management success…


Set up a non-competitive bidding account at…


Treasury Auction Dates…



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Social Security Simplification & Wealth Building

Learn the importance of knowing all about social security prior to you actually deciding to get your benefits…                 


FAQs of Visitors to the sites created by Thomas (TJ) Underwood…


Purchase Wealth Building Now–Now…


Read a Sample Chapter in Wealth Building Now

See what is inside Wealth Building Now


Caution: 50-minute read, but well worth it in the opinion of for those who desire to take control of their understanding of Social Security


In the current economy the threat of Social Security and Medicare tampering happens on a regular basis.  But what exactly is Social Security and Medicare–and how can you make the Social Security and Medicare that you have contributed to work for your best advantage during your retirement years?


Deciding on the best approach to take to receive your Social Security benefits can be a confounding and confusing process for many, and this discussion is designed to clear up competing arguments on when and what is the best approach to receive retirement benefits and more specifically your Social Security benefits so that the average person can understand and possibly provide guidance so that they are better informed.


And just as your investments and how you approach them are determined by your unique goals that you have, your risk-tolerance level, your income and your personal situation–so too does your analysis of your Social Security that you will receive, to a lesser or greater degree, depend on those same factors.


In this timely discussion, will attempt to simplify the topic of Social Security so that you can make better use of Social Security during your retirement years–and possibly be of more benefit to your heirs after you transition.


Social Security & Your Finances


Learn how to determine the best time to receive the social security and other benefits that you are entitled to…


As you age and edge closer to retirement, Social Security and your other retirement income becomes a real concern.


In this discussion, will discuss the ins and outs of Social Security so that you can better time “the time” (pun intended) that you will elect to receive your benefits, and furthermore show you other things that you can do as you approach retirement that can enhance your Social Security and other benefits that you may be entitled to.


You can apply for Social Security disability income at any time if you are suffering from a disability that allows you to receive benefits.


Full Retirement Age, or FRA, is the age when you are entitled to 100 percent of your Social Security benefits, which are determined by your lifetime earnings.  It is gradually increasing, from 66 and 6 months for those born in 1957 to 66 and 8 months for those born in 1958 and, ultimately, 67 for people born in 1960 or later.  Be sure to “distinguish” that FRA when you are entitled to 100% of your Social Security benefit, is not the same as your Maximum Benefit Amount which could be 25% or more higher than the amount you receive at your FRA.


Those FRA dates apply to the retirement benefits you earned from working and to spousal benefits, which your husband or wife can collect on your work record.  They differ slightly for survivor benefits, which you can claim if your spouse dies.


Full retirement age for survivors is 66 and 4 months for people born in 1958 and gradually increases to age 67 for people born in 1960 or later.


  • Claiming benefits “before” full retirement age will lower your monthly payments that you receieve from the SSA; the earlier you file — you can start at age 62 — the greater the reduction in benefits.  Spousal and survivor benefits are also reduced if you claim them before reaching full retirement age.


  • You can increase your retirement benefits by waiting past your FRA to retire.  Each month you put off filing up to age 70 earns you delayed retirement credits that boost your eventual benefit.


How early should I decide to get my benefits?


Your window to elect to receive Social Security benefits begin at age 62 and end at age 70 (note: you can elect to receive Social Security after age 70, however there is no financial benefit of doing so).


That’s a difficult question and will depend on your goals, risk-tolerance level, income, tax position, personal situation and other factors that may be unique to your current and anticipated financial position.  You can claim Social Security as early as age 62, but it may be to your benefit to put off filing for benefits as long as possible (pun intended).


By delaying you can maximize your monthly payments.  But you may want to do further analysis.


Here are some key factors that you may want to consider:


  • Q: How’s your and your family’s health history?  A: If you have a reasonable expectation of living decades past retirement, postponing benefits to get a bigger payment could prove important to your long-term financial stability.  But if you turn 62 and you are in poor or debilitating health, or you have a genetic predisposition to certain illnesses, or otherwise have a pessimistic view of your future, you may decide it makes more sense for you and your family to get what you can, while you can.


  • Q: How long do you expect to be gainfully employed? A: Many older workers are being nudged into early retirement as companies downsize, and they wind up spending their last working years in the gig economy or other odd jobs.  If you are one who did not plan appropriately for you golden years and you find yourself struggling to pay your monthly expenses, filing for Social Security at age 62 or before your FRA and taking lower benefits may be what you need to make ends meet.  Just be sure to take into consideration inflation, rising property taxes, rising insurance rates and other factors that may be unique to you and the environment in which you live, into serious consideration.


Still, there are strong arguments for waiting as long as you can, and you want to use caution and do careful analysis of the choices available:


  • Filing earlier locks you into a lower benefit on a “permanent” basis.  You are not entitled to 100 percent of the benefit calculated from your earnings history unless you apply at full retirement age (66 and 6 months for people born in 1957, 66 and 8 months for people born in 1958 and rising two months annually to age 67 over the next few years).



  • From full retirement age until age 70, you can earn delayed retirement credits that can boost your eventual benefit by two-thirds of 1 percent for each month of delay — and increase survivor benefits for your spouse, if you die first.


Survivor, Spousal & Dependent Support


  • after you transition your spouse and/or dependents could receive–survivor benefits


  • after 10 years of marriage and you divorce–your “former spouse” could be entitled to benefits–divorced spouse benefits


  • dependents may be entitled to receive social security benefits based off of your work record–dependent benefits


Other family members may be entitled to benefits that you have earned through the Social Security program during your working years.


Social Security “survivor’s benefits” are paid to widows, widowers, and dependents of eligible workers and this benefit is particularly important for “young families with children” and the benefit amount would be based on your earnings, if you were to transition after accumulating a work history.


If you are divorced, your ex-spouse can receive benefits based on your record (even if you have remarried) if certain conditions are met.


Generally, you must be married for one year before you can get spouse’s benefits.  However, if you are the parent of your spouse’s child, the one-year rule does not apply.


The same is true if you were entitled (or potentially entitled) to certain benefits under Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Act in the month before the month you got married.  A divorced spouse must have been married 10 years to get spouse’s benefits.


You can apply for benefits by going online and completing the application for benefits.


Regardless of when you claim Social Security benefits, the sign-up age for Medicare is still 65. You can’t enroll earlier, except under very narrow circumstances, and you may incur hefty fees for signing up later.  There is a “time-period window” (roughly a 6-month period near the time of your 65th birthday) that must be met in order to sign up and receive Medicare!


How does a Reduction in Benefits work?


It depends on the year you were born and how long until you reach full retirement age, abbreviated as FRA.  That’s the age at which you would collect 100 percent of the monthly benefit payment that the Social Security agency calculates from your lifetime earnings history.


Retirement benefits are designed so that you get the full benefit if you wait until full retirement age, which is 66 and 6 months for those born in 1957, 66 and 8 months for those born in 1958 and gradually rising to 67 for those born in 1960 and afterward.  If you file early, Social Security reduces the monthly payment by 5/9 of 1 percent for each month before full retirement age, up to 36 months, and 5/12 of 1 percent for each additional month.


Suppose you were born in 1962 and will turn 62, the earliest age to claim retirement benefits, in 2023.


Filing at 62, 60 months early, permanently reduces your monthly benefit by 30 percent and if you would have been entitled to $2,000 a month at full retirement age, you will get $1,400 if you start benefits when you turn 62.


Here’s what the reduction would be in subsequent years.


  • Age 63: 25 percent


  • Age 64: 20 percent


  • Age 65: 13.3 percent


  • Age 66: 6.7 percent


In essence, by starting early you would forfeit roughly 5% to 7% or more in guaranteed returns a year, depending on the year you decided to start receiving your benefits.


  • The figures above represent the reduction if you start benefits as soon as possible upon reaching the designated age.  The benefit decrease is calculated based on months, not years, and each month that you wait beyond your 62nd birthday lessens the reduction.



  • All care in the accuracy in the data above was pursued, however the above data cannot be guaranteed as changes occur over time and the data obtained cannot be guaranteed.


What is the Maximum Benefit that I could receive?



You receive the highest benefit payable on your own record if you start collecting Social Security at age 70.


Once you reach your full retirement age, or FRA, you can claim 100 percent of the benefit calculated from your lifetime earnings.  Again, the full retirement age is 66 and 6 months for people born in 1957, 66 and 8 months for those born in 1958 and for those born in 1959, 66 and 10 months.


It will incrementally increase to 67 over the next few years, however if you were to hold off a few years, you could earn delayed retirement credits that increase your eventual benefit — by two-thirds of 1 percent for each month you wait.


For example, if you were born in 1958, your reach full retirement age between September 2024 and August 2025.  If you put off filing for Social Security until you turn 70, you’ll get 40 months of delayed requirement credits, good for a bump of nearly 27 percent over your full retirement benefit.


If the benefit you’re entitled to at FRA is $1,800 a month, at 70 your benefit would bump up to about $2,280 a month.


Here’s how that $1,800 full benefit could grow for you if you decided to wait:


  Year of birth     Full retirement age    Benefit at 70   


1954 66 $2,376 (132% of full retirement benefit)
1955 66 and 2 months $2,352 (130.67%)
1956 66 and 4 months $2,328 (129.33%)
1957 66 and 6 months $2,304 (128%)
1958 66 and 8 months $2,280 (126.67%)
1959 66 and 10 months $2,256 (125.33%)
1960 or later 67 $2,232 (124%)

At age 66 and 8 months you would receive a benefit of $1,800 a month, however if you waited to age 70, you could pocket $2,280 monthly–a difference of $480 a month, which could go a long way if you were in financial position and health condition to hold off a few years.


Keep Points


  • You can claim benefits later than 70, but there’s no financial reason to do so as delayed retirement credits stop, and your payment tops out once you attain age 70.


  • From age 67 to age 70 you can earn “delayed retirement credits” which can increase the benefit amount that you would receive.


What is the maximum amount that I can receive if I contribute a substantial amount to the system?


The most an individual who files a claim for Social Security retirement benefits in 2024 can receive per month is:


  • $2,710 for someone who files at 62


  • $3,822 for someone who files at full retirement age (66 and 6 months for people born in 1957, 66 and 8 months for people born in 1958).


  • $4,873 for someone who files at age 70 (Maximum Monthly Benefit Possible for anyone in 2024)


To add more clarity, the average Social Security retirement benefit in October 2023 was $1,796 a month, while the average disability benefit for 2023 was $1,489 a month.


You would be eligible for the maximum benefit if your earnings equaled or exceeded Social Security’s maximum taxable income — the amount of your earnings on which you pay Social Security taxes — for at least 35 years of your working life.


The maximum taxable income in 2024 is $168,600 and the figure is adjusted annually based on changes in national wage levels (wage adjustments), and thus the maximum benefit changes each year.


Also be aware that the maximum benefit is not the same as the maximum family benefit.  The most a family can collectively receive from Social Security (including retirement, spousal, children’s, disability or survivor benefits) on one family member’s earnings record differs from the maximum benefit amount for an individual mentioned above.  That amount is generally, about 150 to 180 percent of your full retirement benefit.


Can I stop and later restart receiving my Social Security benefits?


Yes, within limitations.  If you are in your first year of collecting retirement benefits, you could apply to Social Security for a “withdrawal of benefits” if you started early, say age 62.


If you later got an unexpected windfall such as an inheritance, lottery winnings, or a pay raise or higher-paying job, you could theoretically be in a position to wait until you are older and you can collect a larger benefit if you do so within 12 months of the date you first claimed your benefits.


You start the process by filling out Social Security form SSA-521. and sending the completed form to your local Social Security office, preferably by certified mail.


If you opt for a stop (withdrawal), Social Security will treat it as if you never applied for benefits in the first place, and you will have to repay every dollar you’ve received including the following:


  • Your monthly retirement payments.


  • Any family benefits collected by your spouse or children, who must consent in writing to the withdrawal.



If you’ve been getting retirement benefits for more than a year, the “window for withdrawal” has closed for you!


However, once you reach full retirement age (66 and 6 months for those born in 1957, 66 and 8 months for those born in 1958 and rising two months per year to 67 for those born in 1960 and later), there’s a second option:


You can request a suspension of benefits!


During a suspension, you accrue delayed retirement credits that were mentioned earlier, which will increase your monthly retirement benefit when you start collecting again.


You can ask Social Security to reinstate your benefits at any time prior to turning age 70, and if you don’t ask for reinstatement by age 70, the agency will do it for you!


Be aware that:


  • If you change your mind about a withdrawal of benefits, you have 60 days from the date Social Security approves your withdrawal to cancel the request.


  • The SSA-521 includes a question asking if you want to keep “Medicare” benefits.  You can if you want to, however if you don’t, there are numerous implications both for any health care benefits you’ve already received and for re-enrollment in Medicare at a later date.  You can review these implications in the Social Security publication “If You Change Your Mind.”


  • You don’t have to hand in your notice when you start getting retirement benefits, as there is “no requirement” that you stop working.


  • But continuing to draw income from work might reduce the amount of your benefit if you claim Social Security before you reach full retirement age (FRA), the age when you qualify to collect 100 percent of the maximum benefit allowed from your earnings history.


To reiterate, Full Retirement Age is 66 years and 6 months for people born in 1957 and will rise two months for each subsequent birth year, until it settles at 67 for those born in 1960 and later.  Prior to FRA, Social Security doesn’t consider you fully “retired” if you make more than a certain amount from work, and it will deduct a portion of your benefits if your earnings exceed that limit.


The earnings caps are adjusted annually for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and they differ depending on how close you are to full retirement age.


If you are receiving benefits and working in 2024 but not due to attain FRA until a later year, the earnings limit is $22,320.  You lose $1 in benefits for every $2 earned over the cap.  So, if you have a part-time job that pays $30,000 a year — $7,680 over the limit — Social Security will deduct $3,840 in benefits or roughly $125 a month, from your social security check.


Suppose you will reach full retirement age in 2024.  In that case, the earnings limit is $59,520, with $1 in benefits withheld for every $3 earned over the limit that applies until the date you hit FRA!  Once you attain age 70 and onward, there is no benefit reduction, no matter how much you earn–once you hit age 70, the sky is the limit as far as your earnings are concerned as it relates to your Social Security benefits.


In fact, Social Security increases your monthly benefit at that point so that over time you recoup benefits you lost to the prior withholding.


If you receive wages, earnings-limit calculations are based on your gross pay; if you’re self-employed, Social Security counts your “net income” only.  The Social Security pamphlet “How Work Affects Your Benefits” and its Retirement Earnings Test Calculator can provide you with more details.


Key points


  • The earnings cap applies only to income from work.  The cap does not count investments, pensions, annuities or capital gains.


  • If your Social Security payments are reduced because you earned income above the limit, spouses and children receiving benefits on your work record will have their payments reduced as well.


  • The earnings cap and rules also apply to the work income of people receiving spousal, children’s and survivor benefits.



  • It may be wise to consult your tax advisor prior to electing to receive your benefits, if possible, as all tax situations are unique and experienced tax professionals can see through blind spots and areas of taxation that are nuanced and you may not be aware of.


Will my benefits increase if I continue to work?


It very well could.  It will all depend on how much you’re making now and how much you’ve made working in years past.


Social Security uses your “lifetime average” for monthly income, as calculated from your 35 highest-earning years and adjusted to reflect historical wage trends, as the basis for your benefit calculation.


Even if you’ve already claimed your benefits, Social Security annually recalculates this average, factoring in any new income from work.


If your current earnings fall into your top 35 earning years, your monthly average will rise, and so could your benefit!


What is the recalculation time period?


The Social Security Administration recalculates your retirement benefit each year after getting your income information from tax documents.  If you have a job, employers submit your W-2s to Social Security; if you are self-employed, the earnings data comes from your personal tax return that you would file during the tax season.


Social Security will take any work income from that tax year and figure it into your benefit calculation.


That calculation is based on the average monthly income from the 35 best-paid years of your working life (as indexed for historical United States wage trends, a process similar to adjusting for inflation).  If your recent earnings make the top 35, it will increase the monthly average and your benefit payment will increase!


You can call Social Security at 800-772-1213 to ask about how your anticipated earnings might change your benefit.


What is the payment schedule?


Apart from any earnings-based calculations, Social Security makes an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to your benefit based on inflation, if any.  The COLA for 2024 will be 3.2 percent, boosting the average retirement benefit by $59 a month starting in January.  COLA review and adjustments are done annually by the Social Security Administration.


Social Security pays benefits in the month following the month for which they are due.  For example, the January benefit that you are entitled to would be paid in February.


For most beneficiaries, the payment date depends on your birth date since changes that were made in 1997 went into place.  If you are receiving payments on the record of a retired, disabled or deceased worker (for example, spousal or survivor benefits), that person’s birthday sets the schedule for the payments that you would receive.


Here’s how it works in a nutshell:


  • If the birthday is on the 1st through the 10th, you are paid on the second Wednesday of each month.


  • If the birthday is on the 11th through the 20th, you are paid on the third Wednesday of the month.


  • If the birthday is on the 21st through the 31st, you are paid on the fourth Wednesday of the month.


The Social Security Administration adopted this staggered schedule in June 1997.  Prior to that, all benefit payments went out on the third day of the month, but that became untenable as the number of beneficiaries grew to a level that made it impractical to pay out on a single day.


Most people who started receiving benefits before May 1, 1997, are still paid on the third of the month.


The third is also the monthly pay date for these groups of Social Security beneficiaries:



  • Those enrolled in Medicare Savings Programs, which provide state financial help for paying Medicare premiums continue to receive their payments on the 3rd day of the month.


  • Those who collect both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  If you were in this group, you would get your SSI on the first of the month and your Social Security on the third day of the month.


Social Security has an online calendar showing all the payment dates for 2024 and is updated annually.


Key points


  • Social Security no longer pays benefits by check. You can receive benefits by direct deposit or via a Direct Express debit card.


  • Those who receive Social Security Benefits receive payment based on the birth date of the retired, disabled or deceased person, or a set date determined by the Social Security administration which is generally the 3rd day of the month.


  • If a scheduled payment date falls on a weekend or federal holiday, payments are made on the first preceding day that isn’t a Saturday, Sunday or holiday.


Medicare payments

Medicare consists of:


Part A   Hospital

Part B   Utilizing Outpatient Coverage

Part C   Medicare Advantage

Part D   Prescription Drugs


An easy way to remember what each part of Medicare covers (which can be difficult for some) is to use the following system:


When you think of part A think of coverage that allows you to go to “A” Hospital

When you think of part B think that you will “Be” getting health coverage or utilizing outpatient coverage

When you think of part C think that you are buying “Coverage” for Medicare Advantage

When you think of part D think that you are going to get prescription “Drug” coverage


Medigap Insurance coverage fills in the gaps where you would possibly have out of pocket expenses and deductibles, and it can be purchase by you if you select Medicare–and decide not to buy into Medicare Advantage coverage.


Another way of looking at it is part A is Hospital Coverage and possibly free, Medicare is part B, Medicare Advantage is part C, and part D is coverage for Prescription Drugs, whether you have Medicare or Medicare Advantage!


Or yet another way to look at it is you must get over the HUMP with your Medicare–and you do so by realizing that part A is Hospital coverage, part B is Utilizing outpatient coverage, part C is Coverage for Medicare Advantage, and part D is Prescription Drug coverage.


Now that you have a system that you can use to distinguish all parts of Medicare and MA, let’s discuss Medicare in greater detail.


If you elect traditional Medicare, you will pay for parts B, D and Medigap, and you could be surprised by the premiums.  You have just learned and fully understand that part B covers outpatient care and has a monthly deductible ($174.70 in 2023), and there is also a deductible for every hospital visit on part A ($1,632 in 2023).


Part A: generally, you will qualify for hospital coverage if you have worked in the United States and have paid Medicare taxes (provides hospital coverage up to 60 days and a high deductible could be involved).


Part B: outpatient care is similar in scope to health insurance and in 2024 had a payment of $174.70 per month and the coverage will subject you to the benefits test if your modified adjusted gross income is over $103,000 single or $206,000 married filing joint.


Part D prescription drug coverage premiums averaged $50.50 in 2023, however drug and other coverage varies.  Often purchased through a private insurer.


Medigap coverage kicks in when there is a “gap in coverage” when you use part B and D, for example you could use the coverage to pay the part A and D deductibles mentioned above!


With Medicare, physicians and hospitals would have to submit claims to parts A, B, D and Medigap, where applicable individually, whereas with Medicare Advantage the claim would normally go to just one provider.


Medicare recipients could also possibly get financial assistance from Medicaid or other assistance programs if they qualified.


Medicare Advantage (part C) —the “competitor to Medicare” offers coverage for parts A, B and D, and coverage and costs varies by provider.  The coverage provided is similar to that of an HMO or PPO and provider costs and coverages that vary from provider to provider, so it is best to shop around.


In either plan, Medicare Advantage (MA) or Medicare “pre-existing conditions” will be covered!


Star Ratings by AARP could also be helpful when considering plans!


If you are signed up for both Social Security and Medicare Part B — the portion of Medicare that provides standard health insurance or outpatient care — the Social Security Administration will “automatically deduct” the premium from your monthly benefit.


The standard Part B premium for 2024 is $174.70 a month, an increase of $9.80 from the 2023 rate. Medicare Part A, which covers hospitalization, is free for anyone who is eligible for Social Security, “even if” they have not claimed Social Security benefits yet.


If you are getting Medicare Part C (additional health coverage through a private insurer, also known as Medicare Advantage) or Part D (prescription drugs), “you have the option” to have the premium deducted from your Social Security benefit or to pay the plan provider directly yourself.


Part D is also subject to a means test, similar to part B!


If you want the deduction from your Social Security income, you will have to contact your part C or D provider to arrange it!


Keep points 



  • People with low incomes and limited financial assets may qualify for Medicare Savings Programs that can help with Part B premiums.  These are federally funded but run by the states.  In 2023, income limits to qualify for the programs in most states ranged from $1,235 to $1,660 a month for individuals and $1,663 to $2,239 a month for married couples (the thresholds are higher in Alaska and Hawaii).  The 2024 limits will be posted on the Medicare website once they are announced.


  • If you are receiving benefits” from SSA, the Social Security Administration will “automatically sign you up at age 65” for parts A hospitalization and B outpatient care of Medicare.


  • Medicare is operated by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, but Social Security handles enrollment.  Social Security will send you sign-up instructions at the beginning of your initial enrollment period, three months before the month of your 65th birthday, however mistakes and delays can occur, therefore you want to act within the 6-month window of your 65th birthday if you have a need for Medicare as you are now aware of the enrollment process.


  • Medicare Part A covers basic hospital visits and services and some home health care, hospice and skilled-nursing services.  If you are receiving or are eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits, you do not pay “premiums” for Part A.


  • Medicare Part B is similar to standard health insurance and carries a premium.  The base rate in 2024 is $174.70 a month.  Higher-income individuals pay more depending on the amount of their modified adjusted gross income.


  • You can “opt out” of Part B — for example, if you already have what Medicare calls “primary coverage” through an employer, spouse or veterans’ benefits and you want to keep the primary care that you already have.


  • Check with your current insurance provider to make sure your coverage meets the standard. Opting out will not affect your Social Security status, but you might pay a penalty in the form of permanently higher premiums if you decide to enroll in Part B later.


  • If you want to enroll in Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage, an “alternative to Part B” that is provided by private insurers, you must sign up on your own. The same goes for Medicare Part D, prescription drug coverage.  You can find more information in Social Security’s “Medicare” publication and AARP’s Medicare Made Easy guide, or you can call Medicare at 800-633-4227.


Key points


  • If you are living abroad or are outside the United States when you become eligible for Medicare, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to request an enrollment form.


You can only enroll in Medicare at age 62 if you meet one of these criteria:



  • You are on SSDI because you suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease (The two-year requirement is waived in this case).


  • You suffer from end-stage renal disease.


Otherwise, your initial enrollment period for Medicare begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday.  For example, if you turn 65 on July 14th, 2024, the enrollment window opens on April 1st and closes on November 1st, 2024.


If you “are receiving” Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration, which handles Medicare enrollment, will send you an information package and your Medicare card at the start of the sign-up period.  You’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (standard health insurance) in the month you turn 65.


In the meantime, consider looking into other options for health insurance to bridge the gap until you are Medicare-eligible if you lack insurance and have not reached the age to receive Medicare.  Depending on your financial and marital situation, these might include Medicaid, private insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace or coverage through your spouse’s workplace plan or your own employer’s work plan.


Key point



How to enroll


You can enroll online, by phone at 800-772-1213, or by visiting your local Social Security office.  Local offices fully reopened in 2022 after being closed to walk-in traffic for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Social Security recommends calling in advance and scheduling an appointment to avoid long waits.


You should proactively be aware of the enrollment deadlines, as Social Security will not sign you up automatically at 65 for “traditional Medicare” — Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (health insurance) — as it typically does for people already collecting Social Security benefits!


In this situation, you’ll have to enroll yourself, either online or by contacting Social Security.


Always remember that Medicare and Social Security are “two separate programs” however the Social Security Administration runs enrollment for traditional Medicare!


You can enroll in Medicare parts A, B and D (prescription-drug coverage) as early as three months before the month you turn 65 or as late as three months after your birthday month which is called your initial enrollment period.  For example, if your 65th birthday is May 15th, 2024, the initial enrollment window is open from February 1st until August 31st, 2024.


Here’s why you need to be on top of your deadline:


If you don’t sign up during those seven months, you may be subject to a permanent surcharge once you do enroll.  You’ll find more information on sign-up periods in Medicare publications about enrolling in Part B and Part D.


Part A is free if you qualify for Social Security, even if you have not claimed benefits yet, however Part B carries a premium and in 2024, the standard Part B premium is $174.70 a month; it goes up for beneficiaries with MAGI (income) above $103,000 for those who file an individual tax return, and MAGI of $206,000 for a married couple filing jointly.


If you are not yet receiving Social Security benefits, you will have to pay Medicare directly for Part B coverage.  Once you are collecting Social Security, the premiums will be deducted from your monthly benefit payment.


If you “decide to purchase” a Part D prescription-drug plan, it’s best to do so during your initial enrollment period; and as mentioned previously, you may pay a higher premium, permanently if you fail to sign up in a timely manner.


Your Part D provider cannot deny coverage even if you are in poor health or have a preexisting condition.  You can choose between paying Medicare directly or having Part D costs deducted from your Social Security payment.


Key points


  • The Medicare eligibility age of 65 no longer coincides with Social Security’s full retirement age (FRA) — the age when you qualify for 100 percent of the Social Security benefit calculated from your lifetime earnings.  FRA was long set at 65 but it is gradually going up: It’s 66 years and 6 months for people born in 1957, 66 and 8 months for those born in 1958, 66 and 10 months for those born in 1959 and will settle at 67 for those born in 1960 or later.


  • Always remember that even if you don’t elect for Social Security at the earliest time possible, you can still sign up for Medicare at 65 as long you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.  You will have to pay Medicare directly for all coverage, including Part A (unless you or your spouse are among the small number of state and local government employees who paid Medicare taxes but not Social Security taxes; in this case, you may be able to get Part A for free).


Managing Medicare enrollment


For most people, Medicare eligibility starts at age 65 and “if you’re receiving Social Security retirement benefits” at that time, SSA will send you a Medicare enrollment package at the start of your initial enrollment period, which begins three months before the month you turn 65.   This point cannot be over-emphasized and is repeated here yet again due to the importance of you understanding this deadline.  If you are not on Social Security, you want to still know that you must sign up by age 65 if you desire the coverage!


For example, if your 65th birthday is July 15, 2024, this period begins April 1.


On your 65th birthday, you’ll automatically be enrolled in parts A and B.  You have the right to opt out of Part B, but you might incur a penalty, in the form of permanently higher premiums, if you sign up for it later.


If you have not yet filed for Social Security benefits, you will need to apply for Medicare yourself!


You can do so any time during the initial enrollment period, which lasts seven months (so, for that July 15 birthday, the sign-up window runs from April 1 through Oct. 31). If you do not enroll during that period, you could face late fees if you do so later.


You’ll find comprehensive enrollment information in SSA’s “Medicare” publication and links to application forms on the Social Security website.


Paying Medicare premiums


If you are drawing Social Security benefits, your Medicare Part B premiums are deducted from your monthly payments.  If you’re not getting benefits, you’ll receive bills from CMS (almost all Medicare beneficiaries pay no premiums for Part A because they worked, and paid Medicare taxes, long enough to qualify for the program).


The standard Part B premium paid by most Medicare enrollees is $174.70 a month in 2024. The rate rises with the beneficiary’s income, going up in steps for individuals with incomes greater than $103,000 in 2024 and married couples who file taxes jointly and have a combined income of more than $206,000 in 2024.


Social Security determines whether you will pay a higher premium based on income information it receives from the IRS!


If your income is high enough, Social Security will impose what is called an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) or means test on Part B outpatient care and Part D prescription drugs.


Although this surcharge is unknown to many prior to signing up for Medicare, it can add up and can be hundreds of dollars on a monthly basis for some recipients.  If your income tier (MAGI) is from $103,000 to $129,000 in 2024, everyone in that tier would pay the same annual surcharge.  For MFJ the tiers start at MAGI of $206,000.


Therefore, if you are a high-income household and your spouse were to transition, you could fall into the single tax bracket (and the tier of $103,000 to $129,000) and a monthly surcharge could be added to your monthly payment, even though your household actually had a reduction in income.


The determination as to whether you will face this surcharge is based on your AGI (line 11 amount on form 1040 that does not go into the calculation of your MAGI or modified adjusted gross income) so charitable contributions or donations, mortgage deduction, taxes and medical deductions would not be of benefit with the exception of a QCD (Qualified Charitable Deduction) in which you can donate up to $100,000 annually and count it toward your RMD (distributions that must begin at age 73 according to the SECURE  Act 2.0.


Unlike cash, a QCD will keep the donation out of your gross income (it is an above the line deduction in tax jargon–goes on schedule 1 adjustments) and thus “lower your MAGI” so you could possibly avoid (the IRMAA adjustment) the surcharge.


Strategies that you can use to avoid or minimize the surcharge imposed by the Income Related Monthly Income Adjustment Amount:


*Consider a ROTH conversion

News flash–withdrawals from a ROTH IRA don’t count toward IRMAA


*Contribute more to your Retirement plans

You can lower your above the line income (IRS form 1040 line 11 and above) by contributing the maximum amount or at the very least an increased amount to your retirement plan or IRA account(s) and thus fall below the $103,000 threshold for singles, or $206,000 threshold, if you file as married filing jointly.


*Use tax-gain harvesting

By harvesting you sell your stock, mutual fund, etf etcetera, that is outside of your retirement account and buy it back immediately to “reset” your basis.  You would pay taxes on the gain in the year you harvested.   And by doing so the higher cost basis will reduce your taxes once you sign up for Medicare.


*Set up a Qualified Charitable Donation

As mentioned above, by setting up a QCD you can take an above the line deduction and reduce the amount of you MAGI, so your income won’t reach the threshold set by IRMAA (Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount).


*Defer taking Social Security

You have up to age 70 until Social Security benefits make the most sense to take for many, and by delaying Social Security won’t count toward IRMAA.


*Compare your premiums between Medicare and Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage may give you the coverage that you need and might be cheaper than Medicare.  With Medicare you must pay separately for Parts A, B, D and Medigap and that along with the coverage that you desire could tilt the scales as to which one to choose.


*Appeal the surcharge

You can appeal if your income is significantly lower than it was 2 years ago.  SSA uses a 2-year lookback to determine current year surcharges.  If you were to start receiving Medicare in 2024, they would look at your 2022 MAGI to determine if IRMAA was applicable for 2024.  Other grounds to appeal include life changing events such as retirement, death of a spouse, divorce, loss of pension and other life changing events that the agency could possibly accept if it appeared reasonable in their eyes.


*Use your imagination to find other ways to avoid the surcharge

The surcharge is not necessarily permanent and if you can find ways to reduce your income some in future years, you may be able to avoid this surcharge altogether.  You may want to take the surcharge early because you know you can avoid it later.  Likewise, you may want to find ways to avoid the surcharge early and pay it later.  The surcharge is a year-to- year charge and you want to use the creativity that you have to find ways to eliminate this charge–when possible.


Key points


  • People with disabilities may qualify for Medicare before age 65 in many instances.  If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Social Security will enroll you automatically in Parts A and B after you have been drawing benefits for two years.


  • If you have Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan) or a Medicare Advantage plan, also known as Medicare Part C, you can elect to have the premiums deducted from your monthly Social Security payment.




Social Security, Railroad Retirement Benefits and Pension income and other retirement income are areas that you want to give proactive analysis to, as the decisions and choices that you make will be critical for a successful retirement where you can do what “you” desire during your retirement years and not be restrained due to inadequate income or poor planning.


Although pension income for many is a thing of the past, those who now or will soon receive it can use the proceeds in conjunction with their social security income and sound investment and retirement planning to live out their life with more joy and enthusiasm.


Railroad Retirement Benefits are similar in scope to the benefits that the Social Security Administration provides, however those benefits are designed to assist railroad workers and their family in retirement and in the unfortunate transition of the income earner.  It is a system that is generally more generous than that of the SSA (pun intended) toward recipients and beneficiaries.  If you receive, or anticipate receiving those benefits, you too want to plan appropriately and build your retirement nest egg in the best way possible, based on your ability to do so.


Now is the time that you contemplate your Social Security payment amount that you will receive and combine the monthly benefit with your other retirement benefits to determine if the number that you are now at or will soon be at, is sufficient or whether you will need to earn more income, work a few more years until ultimately retiring or taking your benefits at the earliest time possible due to financial and health concerns.


Your total monthly income must be determined upfront, that means you must combine your 401k or other pre-tax retirement income, pension income, IRA income and income that is outside of your retirement accounts to determine if you have the monthly cash flow that allows you to pay your monthly expenses, do what you desire and have funds that can last for your remaining life expectancy and beyond.


The basic questions of choosing whether Medicare or Medicare Advantage is your best choice, whether you should you start your SSB, RRB or other retirement distributions earlier, at a reduced amount, or start later at a higher level may all coincide at this time or at the time you plan to retire!


If you delay, your eventual Social Security and/or RRB payment that you could receive will keep rising, until you hit age 70.


If you elect to start your benefits today or before reaching your FRA, you can enjoy the benefits earlier, because you are concerned about whether life and the future will go your way!  If you decide to wait, you may find an additional amount monthly, and for you that could be great.  Your unique financial and health condition will play a large role in the approach toward your retirement funds that you choose.


The choice as to whether to choose Medicare or Medicare Advantage can be a difficult one and should be given careful analysis, possibly with the assistance of family members and other professionals.


But many other factors come into play when determining the best age for you to claim benefits, including your physical well-being, marital status, financial needs, tax position and job satisfaction, other sources of income and your life savings.


The election of when and how you will elect SSB, RRB or choosing between Medicare and Medicare Advantage must all be analyzed in a thoughtful manner from all angles.


When you combine your SSB, RRB, investment income inside and outside of retirement, retirement income whether from your 401k’s, IRA’s, 403b’s, Thrift and other retirement plans, you want to be in position where you can put yourself, your loved ones and causes that you value most that bring you the most joy at the center.  And if you planned appropriately and obtained the necessary knowledge in a timely manner all of your retirement goals can come into clear focus and be attained in real time.


By simplifying the process and the way that you approach investments and retirement, you can make what you desire to happen most during your retirement years become a reality.


Other Key Points:


You receive the highest “maximum benefit payable” on your own record if you start collecting Social Security at age 70.  Full retirement age is 66 years and 6 months for people born in 1957 and will rise two months for each subsequent birth year until it settles at 67 for those born in 1960 and later.


You receive the “highest benefit payable” on your own record at FRA if you start collecting SSB or RRB at age 67.  Full Retirement Age extends from age 65 for beneficiaries born before 1938, to age 67 for those born in 1960 and later.  You can receive your full railroad retirement benefit starting at age 60 if you have 30 years of qualifying service.  Normal full retirement age for railroad benefits is 65 or 67, depending on the year you were born.


Medicare and Medicare Advantage are often in a “state of flux” and you can expect changes (hopefully for your benefit) to occur in the future.


All the best to your SSB, RRB, Other Retirement Income & Medicare success, as it is our hope that this discussion has allowed you to valiantly perch from your retirement nest…                                                                                                                               



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Retirement Simplification & Wealth Building

Learn how you can manage your retirement in a more stress-free manner as you build your wealth…


Caution:  20-minute read, however it is “well worth your time” in The Wealth’s opinion


In the most recent post investment simplification was discussed and investment approaches were presented in a way that allows you to build wealth almost effortlessly.  Based on that post, if you determined that you had the needed discretionary income and you were to apply the principles learned in that discussion on a consistent basis, you would now be on a real path toward investment and possibly retirement success.


You must know what you need to do after you have accumulated a large nest egg and this discussion is designed to show you a number of ways that you can receive your retirement income and minimize your taxes so that you can stretch your income over your life expectancy so that you can do more and live more abundantly!


Your retirement plan may need to last you decades and you want to know how you can stretch your nest egg at the earliest time possible so that you can live a more comfortable retirement.  Even if your retirement is decades away, you want to proactively familiarize yourself with the information in this timely discussion, so that you can achieve more throughout your lifetime.


Once you approach your retirement years you can choose to roll over your 401k, 403b, Thrift or other retirement plan, you can decide to leave your retirement funds in the 401k or other retirement account, or you also have other options, and they will all be discussed below:


Do the rollover yourself

Once you retire you can choose to roll over your funds from your retirement plan into an IRA, and you have 60 days to do so if you want to avoid the pain of being taxed on the entire amount.  Even if you roll over your funds within the 60-day window your employer (or former employer) or plan administrator will withhold 20% of the rollover amount for income taxes.


If you don’t have the 20% amount laying around in your emergency fund or other accounts, you will only be able to roll over 80%.


By coming up with the 20% you can “recoup” the 20% that was withheld at tax time when you file your tax return!


If you are unable to come up with the 20%, be sure that you realize that the 20% will be considered taxable income, and if you are under age 55 you will be penalized another 10%!


Say you receive $200,000 to rollover, $40,000 would be withheld and sent to the IRS and $160,000 would be rolled over into your IRA that you designated.  You would receive a 1099R at tax time showing $40,000 as taxable income.  By rolling over 100% it would not be considered taxable income and you could file your taxes and get the 20% withholding back.


Arrange for a trustee-to-trustee rollover

A trustee to trustee, also known as a direct rollover could be more beneficial than a rollover that you do yourself as it will be done by your retirement plan administrator, and is generally the best course of action as there would not be a 20% withholding.


Once the money is in the IRA, you are not “required” to take anything out until April 1st of the year after you turn 73.  If your contribution includes “after-tax” contributions, you can only roll over for the full amount if the IRA sponsor will account for the after-tax money separately.


If you have after-tax contributions, a “portion” of every IRA withdrawal will be tax free.  Or you can receive all of the “after-tax money” before the rollover and pocket it tax free!


Leave the money in the account

If you like your plan administration and the returns that you are getting, you can choose to leave the money in the account and cash out or roll it over later if you desire.  If the retirement plan is providing good returns and you are comfortable with the investments, why shake up the pot?


You would normally need at least $5,000 or more in the account to make this option worthwhile and distributions would be required by age 73, even if you did not need the money.  If your account was invested in a ROTH, you could leave the money in the account until you transitioned.


Roll over to a ROTH IRA

You can roll your assets from your company plans to a ROTH IRA, and because your contributions to your company plan was done on a “pre-tax” basis and have never been taxed, the rollover would now be taxable, however no 20% withholding would be required.  You do not have to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) at age 73 with a ROTH.  The assets in your ROTH IRA could then grow tax-free indefinitely.


If you use this strategy, you want to be able to find the money “outside of your retirement account” to pay the taxes, otherwise you will limit the tax-free growth of the ROTH account.  Also, if you transition, the funds in the ROTH IRA could go to your beneficiaries and RMD’s and taxes would come into play.


Take out company stock

If you work for a fortune 500 company or a company that has publicly traded stock and your company put those stocks within your retirement plan, you could have yet another option that could help you save on your taxes.


You can use a tax concept called NET UNREALIZED APPRECIATION” (NUA) and pull the company stock out and put only the non-company stock balance in the IRA!


Rolling highly appreciated stock into an IRA, locks in a high tax rate for that appreciation.  You will owe taxes on the full value of the stock at ordinary income tax rates (up to 37%) “as you sell it” and take distributions from the IRA.


However, there is a better way to transfer the stock!


Lets say you have $2.2 million (the part not held in company stock) and roll it into an IRA, and you transfer the stock to a separate taxable account.


You will owe income taxes on the company stock, but the tax is based on its “cost-basis” — the value of the stock when your employer put them into your account.  In this case, let’s say it was $20,000 and is now valued at $200,000.


When you sell the stock from your taxable account, you will report a long-term capital gain, and if the sales price is $300,000, the gain ($300,000 minus $20,000) of $280,000 would be taxed at the more favorable capital gains rate of 0%, 15% or 20 percent–which would for most be lower than the “ordinary income tax rate” mentioned above that could be as high as 37%.


Assuming a retirement “long-term capital gains” tax rate of 15%, ($280,000 * .15) your taxes would be $42,000.


Had you rolled the entire $2.2 million into the IRA and “then” withdrawn the $300,000, you would owe income tax on the entire distribution in your highest tax bracket–and if it was the 37% tax bracket you would owe $111,000–a difference of $69,000, an amount that can go a long way during your retirement years.


Another way of looking at it is if you were able to use the above strategy you would pay $69,000 less in taxes or you would have an additional $69,000 that you could be utilizing for the continued growth of your retirement fund.


It is important that you realize that there are things in life that you don’t know–that you don’t know, and you want to know this important “lifelong fact of life” at this time or the earliest time possible in your life (no pun intended)!  This tidbit of knowledge that you have just learned as it relates to company stock can go a long way in protecting your nest egg during your retirement years, if it is a strategy that you can use with your retirement portfolio.


If you own the stock when you transition, not having it in an IRA creates a windfall for your heirs as the stock will receive “favorable stepped up basis” (stock will be stepped up to the stock price at your transition date and that means lower taxation for your heirs) treatment and once your beneficiaries sold the stock the tax would be at the capital gains rate and would be based on the price of your company stock at the time of your transition–not when your employer put them in your account.


Or another way of looking at it is if the stock is “outside the IRA, appreciation after the distribution becomes tax free” and the gain not taxed at the time of the distribution would be taxed at the 0%, 15% or 20% long-term capital gains rate, depending on where your beneficiaries would fall based on taxable income and filing status.


If the stock was in the IRA, the full value would be taxed as income in your beneficiary’s top tax bracket (as high as 37% as of 2024) as it is withdrawn.


Taxes & Retirement

Once you retire and start taking distributions from your retirement accounts, pensions, social security or railroad retirement benefits, you want to plan for the payment of your taxes in a proactive manner where possible.  You social security income could be taxable depending on the amount of your retirement income and whether you work part or full time after retirement.  Also keep in mind that taxation at the state level must be taken into consideration as many states exempt some or all income of retirees–and some states have no income tax at all.


In addition, consider the estate tax system in your state proactively, as even though you may not have estate taxes at the federal level–you may very well be required to pay them at the state level.


During your retirement years you will receive 1099Rs, Social Security Benefit statements, W-2s or 1099NEC if you decide to work, other 1099 statements for interest, dividends, capital gains etcetera, and you want to proactively plan with your tax professional so that you won’t have large surprises at tax time.


The IRS also receives copies of all of these documents so you want to do a “double take” to ensure that you have all of your documents at tax time.  Failure to do so and your inability to provide them to your tax pro for any reason could result in your return being audited.


Also realize that if you file your personal or business taxes by paper, the return will receive extra scrutiny from the IRS.  Even though many think paper is more secure, filing electronically has proven to be more secure and accurate.  You can also enroll in the IP PIN program (Identity Protection Personal Identification Number program) to further secure your filing, as even if they (scammers) have your social security number or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) they would still need your PIN to pretend they were you.


Your payment of taxes (ordinary income rates) will be based on your taxable income and filing status (10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% or 37%) and you will pay taxes on your investment income at a rate of 0%, 15%, or 20% and that rate would be based on your taxable income and family situation (filing status).  If you are single with adjustable gross income over $200,000, ($250,000 married filing joint), you will have an additional 3.8% net investment income tax on your investment returns that were not offset by losses.


You also want to commit age 59.5 (age that you can begin withdrawals), age 73 (age at which you must take RMDs) and the age in which you will eventually transition (your assets will or will not receive “stepped up basis” treatment) to memory as those ages are important to know for planning purposes and particularly for tax and estate planning.  In addition, you want to know that short-term (less than 12 months) gains will be taxed at your ordinary income rates.


The above figures are based on the 2023 tax year and the numbers are adjusted annually.


Required Minimum Distributions & Retirement

Required Minimum Distributions or RMDs are the least amount of money you “must” withdraw from your traditional IRAs or pretax 401k and other pre-tax retirement accounts based on United States tax law.


Always remember that whatever your retirement (or pre-retirement) age, it is never too early to strategize your RMDs for 2024 and beyond.


The year that you turn 73 is the year that RMDs will be required to be taken by you.  If you are not turning 73 this year, you may still want to take withdrawals to reduce the amount of your future RMDs.  It will all depend on your goals, risk-tolerance level, income, personal situation–and tax bracket, the impact on the raising of your Medicare premiums and the impact of increasing the taxes on your Social Security income.


If you are now 70.5 or older, you can make a QCD (Qualified Charitable Distribution) directly from your IRA to a charity.  If you are 73 or older the QCD will count toward your RMD.  Though you can’t generally claim the deduction for the donation, you won’t be taxed either.


If you fail to take your RMDs in a timely manner, you want to notify the IRS of this “before they notify you” when possible (use form 5329) and explain with a letter why you didn’t take the RMDs by the December 31st deadline.


By doing so you can possibly avoid a 25% penalty on the amount you were required to withdraw–however you may still be subject to a 10% penalty!


Bond Management

Unless you have time to monitor and respond to the bond market, you may want to hire a pro as the pricing of bonds are normally out of the public view when compared to stocks.


Bonds have what is called a “bid price” and an “ask price” and shopping around for bonds can save you hundreds on commissions and markups.  If you are a buy and hold investor, you normally want to have at least $50,000 to spend and you want to assemble a portfolio of high quality corporate, treasury and possibly municipal bonds.  Mutual funds offer one stop bond diversification, but a portfolio of them typically costs “more to maintain” than a portfolio of individual bonds.


You want to have “at least two brokers” and check with each before placing your order.  You can also search online to compare prices and yields by going to:







All of the above sites would be a good starting point. allows you the opportunity to purchase directly without fees and you can manage savings bonds, T-bills, notes, bonds and TIPs (Treasury Inflation Protected securities) in a free online account.


You also want to ask the right questions whether online or with your broker.  You would want to know the following:


*What is the spread between the bid and ask price?

The closer you buy to the bid price the smaller the markup!


*Is the bond callable?

Bonds may be redeemed by the issuer, and if so you want to request the yield-to-worse call (which is the lowest potential yield)!


*Which yield are you quoting me?

The coupon, yield to call (YTC) or yield to maturity (YTM)!  Be ready to haggle as brokers expect it.  If you don’t like to haggle, consider treasuries.


Since you are retired or are now anxiously anticipating the day that you will be, you now or will one day have the time to learn about bonds and other investments that can possibly help grow your nest-egg with relatively low risk.  You want to put yourself in position to learn what you need to learn in a relaxed and as stress-free a manner as possible while you are improving your finances.


You may also want to set up a bond ladder system during your retirement years to “smooth out the ups and downs” of interest rates.  Treasuries are as close to a risk-free investment that you can buy and when purchased in a 5-year laddering system, it can provide you income that guards against inflation during your retirement years.


If you need more income, consider CDs, municipal and corporate bonds in a laddering system or even dividend paying stocks such as those offered by utility stocks and REITs (companies that own and manage office buildings, shopping centers, apartments and other large developments).


On occasion, annually at least–you may need to re-balance your asset allocation, as over time based on gains and losses–your asset allocation will go out of balance from what you initially selected.


If your stocks or bonds exceed your previously set allocations by more than 5% you may want to re-balance once that occurs.


You generally want to re-balance first inside of tax deferred IRAs or tax-free ROTH accounts to get their allocation back on track as no taxes would be due and you want your risk level to return to what you selected initially.


You can also invest RMDs that you receive from your retirement accounts that are out of balance back into those tax-deferred accounts–so they go back into the market (they will be taxed) and increase your returns further.



You will have to allocate your assets based on your goals, risk-tolerance, income and personal situation.


You want to buy and sell bonds appropriately and know how to set up a bond ladder if that is of appeal to you and something that you feel can be of benefit during your retirement years.  It is important that you choose the best option possible based on what you desire to achieve during your retirement years and after you transition.


As you can see from this discussion the “choices that you make” can lead to lasting, cost-effective or cost-ineffective results during your retirement and pre-retirement years–and even after you transition!


The factors that should influence your decision should include your age, income tax bracket, insurance needs, income needs, estate plans, and whether you own individual stocks and/or mutual funds.  If you have adequate pension and social security income, you can supplement resources by spending income “generated in taxable accounts” and letting the “investments in your IRA grow tax deferred” until withdrawals are required.


Some people re-invest even after RMDs start, rather than spending their money.  You want to ensure that your allocation of stocks, bonds and cash are at the right mix to balance your need for both income and continued growth.  If you have Treasuries and Money Market accounts, corporate bonds and REITs that generate taxes, you may want to put them in your IRA.


You can put municipal bonds, index funds and stocks held for the long-term into a taxable account(s).


With the cap rate on most stock dividends capped at 20%, your IRA may not be the best place for dividend paying stocks.  And even though your stocks in a taxable account may generate capital gains taxes when you sell, the top long-term rate is 20% in 2024.  Keep in mind non-qualified dividends could be taxed at your ordinary income rate.


It is critical that you create a portfolio (or have your advisor do it) that is diversified among asset classes–from small company domestic companies to international equities, from bonds to commodities to help lessen the effects of an economic downturn during your retirement years as the funds in your accounts along with your social security (and possibly pension income) at a minimum must last through your remaining life expectancy.


Keep in mind that an all-stock portfolio will normally “fall more” during a downturn and also “rebound more” during an upturn in the economy.  As you get older during retirement, you may want to shift your allocation to a more conservative position such as 35% to 40% in the market, 10 to 15%% in cash and 45% to 50% in bonds.


By taking to heart and giving real consideration to how you will build up and  divvy up your retirement fund(s) during your lifetime, you can make your retirement stage or phase one that you can truly enjoy with your loved ones.  You can also “position your life” where volunteering your time and resources toward causes that are important to you while you are yet alive here on planet earth–can happen for you in a more realistic way–as you awake each and every day!


All the best as you make the best choices that will lead to continuous retirement success…



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Investment Simplification & Wealth Building

Learn if you at this time have the right investment vehicle(s) to effectively reach your investment goals…


Caution:  35-minute read, however it is “well worth your time” in The Wealth’s opinion


It is important that you start your long-term investing at the earliest time possible and there are investment vehicles that you can utilize to get you where you need to be more efficiently.


In this discussion The Wealth Increaser will hone in on some of the most useful and time-tested investment vehicles that you can use to build wealth and reach goals that you desire at the various stages of your life.


Your path to investment success does not have to be a difficult one if you start early, invest consistently and you know your “target number” that you need to reach to fulfill your various goals.


Your home purchase, college funding, traveling around the world, reaching your retirement number or reaching the number that you need to reach for any other purpose is attainable if you are at this time willing to make a serious effort toward achieving what you desire.


Mutual Funds (MFs) Investment Calculator

A Mutual fund is an investment program funded by shareholders that trades in diversified holdings and is professionally managed.  It normally includes a “bundle of stocks” and investment products and frees you from the hassle of selecting individual stocks or other investments yourself.


A MF is a portfolio of stocks, bonds and other securities and creates a diversified investment portfolio that generally reduces your risk factor.  It is key that you understand that mutual funds are “bought and sold” at the “end of” the trading day!


  • Mutual funds are sold based on dollars, so “you can specify any dollar amount” that you’d like to invest.


  • Mutual funds are divided into several kinds of categories, representing the kinds of securities they invest in, their investment objectives, and the type of returns they seek.  Although there are others, most mutual funds fall into categories which include stock funds, money market funds, bond funds, and target-date funds.



  • Employer-sponsored retirement plans commonly invest in mutual funds and if your employer offers them–especially with an employee match, you want to put yourself in position to contribute as best you can, based on your financial ability to do so.


Index Funds (IFs) Investment Calculator

Technically a Mutual Fund, Index funds invest in stocks that correspond with a major market index such as the S&P 500, Nasdaq or the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).  It could be one focused on a sector, such as healthcare, durable goods or technology.  This investment strategy requires less research from analysts and advisors, so your expenses as a shareholder would be lower, and these funds are often designed with cost-sensitive investors in mind.

  • The positives of index funds are that they require little financial knowledge, are low cost, and are convenient to invest in.  On the negative side, you could end up stuck with poorly performing assets and the potential for returns to be less than those of successful managers of actively managed funds.


  • The goal of index fund managers are to mirror the performance of a particular index – and not try to outperform it, which is the goal of managers of active funds.


  • Although many think that index funds are relatively new, the first publicly available index fund was launched back in the mid-1970s.


  • Index funds often perform better than actively managed funds over longer investment time frames.  Even so, there are still risks involved with this style of investing.  If the tracked index falls, then your investment’s value will follow and if it is at the time of your retirement or planned withdrawal, you will suffer financially, and your living conditions could be affected.


  • You can reduce risk by diversifying your portfolio by holding several different index funds covering a variety of stock markets or sectors.


  • Index funds can provide a very straightforward, cost-effective, and diversified way for you to steadily increase your wealth over time.  Fund managers do not decide which individual investments they should buy or sell, which is what happens in active mutual funds.


  • Investors in these products expect their chosen index to rise over the long term, even if it encounters some turbulence along the way!  The performance of the FTSE All-World Index, which has delivered an average annual return of 9.3% since 1993, according to Vanguard, provides a real world blueprint (30 plus years of results) of what index funds can achieve IF utilized appropriately.


  • So, should you as a novice investor choose an active mutual fund(s) or index fund(s)?  You can spread your risk by investing a portion in each at the level that you are comfortable with.  Again, index funds replicate the performance of an index, whereas the managers of mutual funds will pick and choose securities they believe will help them outperform that index.  If an active manager makes the right calls, then they can substantially outperform their benchmark index and deliver handsome returns to investors–normally with more risk.


Popular index funds that you may want to consider include the following:


*Fidelity 500 Index Fund (FXAIX)

*Schwab S & P 500 Index Fund (SWPPX)

*T. Rowe Price Equity Index 500 Fund (PREIX)

*Vanguard 500 Index Fund Investor Shares (VFINX)

* Schwab 1000 Index Fund

*Many others


Be sure to do your own independent research, confirm that fees are low, and you can do so by going directly to the sites by “typing in the ticker symbol” using your favorite search engine!


Target Date Funds (TDFs) Investment Calculator

Although technically a mutual fund, target date funds are separated out in this discussion in order to give you more clarity on how you can use them to build wealth.


Target-date funds are a “set it and forget it” or “invest it and rest” retirement savings option that removes two headaches for you as an investor:


1) deciding on a mix of assets which saves you time and


2) re-balancing your investments for you over time which saves you time


Target-date funds, also known as life-cycle funds or target-retirement funds—aim to continually strike the right balance between the risk necessary to build wealth and safer options to protect a growing nest egg.


The fund automatically re-balances your portfolio with the right mix of stocks, bonds and money market accounts as you age and is a great hands off way for you to build wealth if that fits your personality and risk profile!


Target Date Funds are “mutual funds” that purchase from other mutual funds (known in the “investment world” as a “fund of funds”) and they are designed to build a diverse portfolio.  While you set and forget or invest and rest so to speak, the fund updates your asset allocation over the years for you.


Early in your working life, a target-date fund generally is set for growth by having a much larger slice of your portfolio in stocks rather than fixed-income investments like bonds, which are safer but provide smaller returns (the approach is similar to that of a 529 education savings plan).  As your retirement year approaches, the fund gradually shifts toward more bonds, money market accounts and other lower-risk investments.


Your retirement year is the “target date” of most of these funds–unless you choose a target date for other purposes, and the funds are conveniently named to correspond with your planned retirement year.  Say you are 35 years old and plan to work until you are 65, a Target Date 2055 would possibly be of appeal to you.  Most target-date funds are named in five-year increments with some at 10-year increments, so you would choose the provider with a fund named with the year nearest your planned retirement date or other target date based on your goals.


Below you will find some of the more popular target date funds that you may want to consider:




Expense Ratio

Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 Fund Investor Shares



Fidelity Freedom Index 2045 Fund Investor Class



Lifecycle Index 2045 Fund Premier Class



American Funds 2045 Target Date Retirement Fund Class R-5



T. Rowe Price Retirement 2045 Fund



There are many other target date funds, and the current data is current as of market close on February 1, 2024.   Be sure to do your own independent research as the accuracy of the data cannot be guaranteed.


Always realize that the main appeal of target-date funds for most is their simplicity.   And just as an index fund operates with simplicity, so too does a target date fund!


The funds go from a “high ratio” of riskier equity funds to safer investments like bonds, and money market accounts as it gets closer to the “target date”, freezing your asset allocation in order to protect your nest egg.


An important question to ask yourself or your advisor when choosing among target-date funds is whether the account will freeze the year you plan to retire, or whether a “through” fund that continues the glide path for 5, 10, 15, or 20 years past retirement before freezing your asset allocation will be in effect.  You want to plan your approach appropriately and select the fund that’s right for your retirement or other goals.


How to purchase:


*through your retirement plan

*directly from fund

*open brokerage account ($500 to $3,000 to open)


Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) Investment Calculator

They are similar to Mutual Funds as just a few key differences set them apart.  The biggest similarity between ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds) and mutual funds are that they both represent professionally managed collections (or “baskets”) of individual stocks, bonds or other investments.


However, investment minimums are normally lower with an ETF!  You can purchase an ETF share of Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets for under $100.  Many more ETF shares start at $500 or more and you can learn more about ETF offerings by visiting VettaFi financial website.


  • It is key that you understand that ETFs allow you to trade “throughout the trading day” at market prices.  This flexibility is a key difference in how the fund works as compared to a mutual fund.  This level of flexibility may be utilized by active traders making moves throughout the day.


  • The main difference between ETFs and mutual funds are that an ETFs price is based on the market price and is sold only in “full” shares.  Mutual funds, however, are sold based on dollars, so “you can specify any dollar amount” that you’d like to invest.


  • As an investor, you have options and can reap the benefits of diversification.



When you are investing it is imperative you know that your goals, risk-tolerance, income and your personal situation must be taken into serious consideration!


If you currently owe $100,000 on your home mortgage and you desire to pay it off in 5 years, you will need to do some analysis and not just choose the first thing that comes to your mind.  If your monthly payment is $1,000 and $500 of your mortgage payment is going toward principal, in 5 years your balance would be roughly $70,000 if you continued on that path.


By adding $1,200 to the monthly payment of $1,000 you could pay $2,200 monthly ($1,700 going toward your principal) and have your mortgage paid off in 5 years, however you would be responsible for paying your property taxes (mandatory) and insurance (optional after your home is paid off, but generally makes sense to have).


Or you could choose an investment strategy of investing the $1,200 per month for 5 years in the market and based on historical trends you could have over $90,000 after 5 years, and since you continued your mortgage payments at $500 per month in principal payments, you would owe $70,000 and therefore have an addition $20,000 plus after the payoff of your mortgage, in your pocket by doing so–assuming your returns were as expected.


In this example inflation is assumed to be 3% and your rate of return is assumed to be 9%.  Even if you only assumed a rate of return of 3% (same as inflation) you would have over $80,000 which would still put you ahead by over $10,000 after the payoff of your mortgage.  As long as you had a positive return you would come out ahead based on the assumptions mentioned above.


If after 5 years of investing you had a negative return you would possibly fall short of the $70,000 that was needed and you could decide to ride the market longer and pay off the mortgage later, cash in, in spite of the losses and payoff as much as you could on the mortgage.


As you can see from this discussion, your goals, risk tolerance, income and personal situation will play a large part in how you decide to pay off your debt and how you select your investments!


You want to know how to invest properly on the front end and you want to know that you can invest inside of your retirement account(s) (your earnings will grow tax free) and avoid taxes for years or outside of your retirement account(s) (you will provide 1099 and other paperwork to your tax professional that your brokerage would send to you at tax time) where you would possibly owe taxes on an annual basis (ETFs and Index funds are often tax efficient even outside of retirement accounts).


If you are age 25 and desire to retire by age 55 with your house paid off and over 4 million in your account in today’s dollars, you would have to invest $1,600 monthly for 30 years assuming 3% inflation and a 10% rate of return–and also assuming you pay your house off within that 30-year period.


Therefore, in the above examples, your returns would be affected depending on the type of investment and whether the investment is inside or outside of your retirement accounts.  Once you reach age 59 1/2 you can withdraw your retirement funds without incurring an early withdrawal penalty, however you would pay taxes at your ordinary income rate–unless the distributions were from a ROTH IRA or there was an exception that applied.


Mandatory withdrawals from your traditional IRA or retirement plan would be required once you reached age 73, however with a ROTH IRA, there are no mandatory withdrawals, however after your transition your beneficiaries must take required minimum distributions!


Also realize that you can choose balanced funds that invest in a hybrid of asset classes, whether stocks, bonds, money market instruments, or alternative investments. The objective of this fund, known as an asset allocation fund, is to reduce the risk of exposure across asset classes.


In closing, it is important that you realize that this discussion is not about theory or what you possibly need to do, but what you CAN do!  You must at this time analyze your income and expenses and determine your discretionary income that you have available so that you can start investing now, get more income by creating a plan to increase your income whether by the payoff of your debt, scaling back on your entertainment and other expenses–or finding other ways to get income on a consistent basis.


Although you will hear many financial planners tout the fact that you can increase your savings and come up with a significant amount to invest by scaling back on the $5 that you spend daily on your favorite latte or coffee, that is not something that we are a big proponent of as we realize that for some, a $5 cup of coffee can give them the added energy that is needed to help them earn more on a daily, weekly and annual basis–therefore they more than offset the $100 or so that they spend on a monthly basis on coffee that they could be using for investing.


However there are other ways that you can get more income and cut expenses and you may want to analyze and pursue them!


Once you determine the amount of income that you have available to invest and you commit to investing that or another amount over a period of time, you can start on a path to reaching the number that you need to attain your goal(s) and live daily with more joy on the inside!


Whether your discretionary or available funds to invest are $200 per month or $2,000 per month and you decide to use it to invest long-term, you can achieve significant results over a 30-year period.  By calculating what you can do now, (you need to know your discretionary or available income that you have to invest, whether you will invest weekly, monthly, yearly or a one-time lump-sum investment and furthermore you need to know the “time frame that is needed or desired” to reach your goal) you can determine the nest egg that you can have by investing consistently in a relatively painless way–starting today.


Investment Calculator


Investing $200 monthly at 3% inflation and a 9% rate of return will will provide you the opportunity to have over $500,000 (five-hundred thousand) in 30 years! 


The 4 percent raise that you get, the promotion that you get or working one or two days a month for lyft, uber, grubhub or other new economy options can easily provide you that cushion to invest either temporarily or permanently over the next 30 years.  In many cases, you can find the $200 by analyzing your monthly spending and tightening up your budget some.  You can do a detailed analysis of your insurance products, taxes and other areas of your finances and discover new savings or increases in income.  The ways that you can come up with the needed funds for long-term wealth building success is endless–if you want to achieve your goals in a sincere manner!


Investing $2,000 monthly at 3% inflation and a 9% rate of return will provide you the opportunity to have over $5,000,000 (five million) in 30 years! 


To get that extra $2,000 per month you may have to start a business, have your stay-at-home spouse find employment either part-time or full time or determine other ways to increase your monthly income based on your creativity and the unique skills that you now have or will cultivate in the near future.  In many instances high net worth and high-income earners wasted hundreds if not thousands on a monthly basis on frivolous or unnecessary spending that could be utilized more appropriately for building long-term wealth of significant amounts.


What is the discretionary amount that you “need or want to get to” so that you can invest at this time and in your future, to work towards making life more manageable for you and your loved ones?


How You Can Invest using Mutual Funds, Index Funds, Target Date Funds and Exchange-Traded-Funds:


  1. Make sure you have a brokerage account with enough cash on hand, and with access to mutual fund shares and other investments
  2. Identify specific mutual funds or ETFs that match your investing goals in terms of risk, returns, fees, and minimum investments.  Some brokerage platforms offer fund screening and research tools.
  3. Determine how much you want to invest initially and submit your trade.  If you choose, you can set up automatic recurring investments in the amount that you desire.
  4. Monitor and review performances periodically, making adjustments as needed.
  5. When it is time to close your position, enter a sell order on your platform.
  6. Realize that with some funds you can invest directly and depending on the fund type, the functions mentioned above will be done by the fund manager or brokerage.


While many mutual funds are no-load, you can often avoid brokerage fees and commissions by purchasing a fund directly from the mutual fund company instead of going through an intermediary or third party.


Expense ratio is the percentage of your account that is calculated for the fund management such as .20 expense ratio on a $200,000 fund would mean you are paying $40 for the fund management and that would have the effect of reducing your fund amount by $40 for that particular year, or if held in a retirement account the ratio would accumulate from year to year and would be subtracted out from your funds once you were to retire or cash out.


There are pros and cons of investing utilizing mutual funds and you can go to to learn more about investing in a simplified, yet effective manner!


Some funds are defined with a specific allocation strategy that is fixed, so the investor can have a predictable exposure to various asset classes.  Other funds follow a strategy for dynamic allocation percentages to meet various investor objectives.   This may include responding to market conditions, business cycle changes, or the changing phases of the investor’s own life.


The portfolio manager is commonly given the freedom to switch the ratio of asset classes as needed to maintain the integrity of the fund’s stated strategy.


Below you will find what is often included in mutual funds, including balanced funds, index funds, target date funds, and exchange traded funds.


Money Market Funds

The money market consists of safe, risk-free, short-term debt instruments, mostly government Treasury bills.  An investor will not earn substantial returns, but the principal is guaranteed.  A typical return is a little more than the amount earned in a regular checking or savings account and a little less than the average certificate of deposit (CD).


Income Funds

Income funds are named for their purpose: to provide current income on a steady basis.  These funds invest primarily in government and high-quality corporate debt, holding these bonds until maturity to provide interest streams.  While fund holdings may appreciate, the primary objective of these funds are to provide steady cash flow​ to investors.  As such, the audience for these funds consists of conservative investors and retirees.


International/Global Funds

An international fund, or foreign fund, invests only in assets located outside an investor’s home country.  Global funds, however, can invest anywhere around the world.  Their volatility often depends on the unique country’s economy and political risks.  However, these funds can be part of a well-balanced portfolio by increasing diversification, since the returns in foreign countries may be uncorrelated with returns at home.


Specialty Funds

Sector funds are targeted strategy funds aimed at specific sectors of the economy, such as financial, technology, or health care.  Sector funds can be extremely volatile since the stocks in a given sector tend to be highly correlated with each other.


Regional funds make it easier to focus on a specific geographic area of the world.  This can mean focusing on a broader region or an individual country.


Socially responsible funds, or ethical funds, invest only in companies that meet the criteria of certain guidelines or beliefs.  For example, some socially responsible funds do not invest in “sin” industries such as tobacco, alcoholic beverages, weapons, or nuclear power.  Other funds invest primarily in green technology, such as solar and wind power or recycling.  Fidelity Charitable and other “Socially Responsible Investment Funds” are now available in abundance in the investment world.



Isn’t it time that you use a “more pragmatic approach” toward investing and building wealth?

Always realize that you have numerous options to choose from in the investment world regardless of your goals, however the process of investing in an effective manner is not that complicated, unless you make it complicated.  In this short (relative to what you have learned) discussion you have learned how you can invest in a straightforward manner and achieve realistic results that can enhance your living conditions while you are here on planet earth.


All the best to your investment and wealth building success…


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Mental Awakening & Wealth Building


Learn why a financially alert mind provides you the ability to grind and the freedom to unwind at this time…


This discussion is intended to provide you a mental awakening as you work toward “investorship” and attaining a financially alert mind as you pursue a serious path toward building wealth in a more efficient manner!  It is imperative that you operate daily with a financially alert mind–and not just financial literacy if you desire to go to a place that you need–or want to be.


In this discussion will discuss the importance of using your mind in an optimal manner as you build your wealth and pursue the dreams that you desire most.  Successful financial planning “starts with a thought” and the decision by you to work diligently toward making your dreams come true.


Unlike others who go about their life daily without a mental awareness of what they are doing and knowledge of where they are going–you will position your mind for better success if you are at this time willing to give it your absolute best.


Know Your Thought Process

Whether you fall into Gen Alpha (born after 2010), Z or Zoomers (born between 1997 to 2010), Millennials (born between 1981 to 1996), X (born between 1965 and 1980), Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1964), the Silent generation (born 1928 to 1945) or the Greatest generation (1901 to 1927), there are actions that you can take to reach higher than you can see, and it all starts with giving deep thought about the future that you desire and who you truly want to be.


It is very important that you are aware of the way that you think on a daily basis, as your thoughts are critical as you work toward wealth building success!


You must be undeniable as you put your wealth building plan into action as “permanent” failure is not an option at any time when you are pursuing your wealth building goals!  Your wealth building efforts must be offensive, not defensive–if you desire to achieve at an optimal level!  Your understanding of your money management personality, thinking about the right things on a consistent basis and going after your goals with more enthusiasm or fire, will allow you to reach higher and achieve much of what you desire!


You must create the success that you desire and not just defensively react–after the fact!  You must think about ways to get more income, cut expenses or do a combination of the two so that you won’t slack, but you will attack your finances so that you can stay in the black and not live daily with lack!


It is important that you create something that you and others have never seen before, and you use your mind in more empowering ways so that you can truly build wealth and attain meaningful and significant goals that will move you and your family forward.


Implement the Right Plan of Action

Your goal is to utilize credit and wealth building strategies in  a way that is most advantageous to you, improve your financial focus, possibly find ways to get other income, have a contingency plan or emergency fund in case things don’t work out, address your insurance (including disability, health, life, key person etc.), investments, taxes, education planning, estate planning/wills and retirement planning in a way that serves your best interest.


You must also season and marinate in your mind what you must do to make your life and financial dreams come true, and “knowing and implementing” the right plan of action that is uniquely created for you can lead you toward the success that you desire.


You want to without a doubt create one of the most empowering financial plans possible that addresses what you desire to achieve and also review from time to time and have a—just in case strategy—or default strategy in case your plans don’t work out!


Your financial plan should complement how you approach the management of your finances and direct you in a more focused way towards goals that are good for you and your family.


Review to Ensure that You are on a Definite Path Toward Making Your Dreams Come True

Always remember that by reflecting on your past you can plan better, do better—and review better.

Adversity has its advantages if you are determined to get through adversity and recognize that major success is ahead!

Are you dissatisfied with being stagnant?  Are you justifying your failure by inactivity, blaming others, blaming your income–or lack thereof, blaming your knowledge–or lack thereof, for your wealth building shortcomings?


You must realize that failure is not final—and now is the time that you get renewed and dream big again and cultivate a money management personality that will lead to continuous success throughout your lifetime!


Once you master the actions that you need to take on a consistent basis, you can reproduce those successful actions over and over and duplicate success throughout your lifetime.

You must have the vision of a deal maker and not associate with—shakers—breakers—takers and fakers!

You must create a plan of attack that you desire and not react after the fact!

By applying what you are learning in this discussion in a sincere manner, you can achieve exponential growth in your wealth building understanding and achieve far more in your life.

You are only as strong as you think you are, weak, wrong or incomplete thoughts will not take you where you need to be, as you must focus in on the goals that you now see.

Your goal is to row (take the right action) so that you will know and grow and achieve results that will show!

A “just in case or default strategy” allows you to continue to move toward your dreams in an uninterrupted way as you will still pursue your goals at a high level with some adjustments along the way.

Many want to see results before they learn what they need to do in advance of achieving those results (preparing their mind and heart with the knowledge that they need to succeed) and that can lead to frustration for some when the results that they desire never happen.

Your challenge at this time is to plan, do, review and work diligently toward making your dreams come true!  By doing so you put yourself in position to make the needed adjustments that will get you back on track or help you improve your wealth building attack.




Your desire to successfully build wealth is contingent upon your ability to utilize your mind at a higher level of urgency as you move toward who you were truly meant to be.

Your wealth building efforts don’t have to provide 100% certainty, but you must utilize passion and pursue your goals in a more vigorous manner.

A financially alert mind makes you more self-aware of what you need to address.

Learning about investorship helps put you on a path that is not a blip.

The universe honors character and other qualities—you will succeed.

Character and giving it your absolute best is more important than achieving wealth building success.

Your gift makes room for giving, and a high level of character will take you toward better living.

You must manage your risks throughout your life so that you won’t live in strife.

A job loss, pay cut, car breakdown, plumbing issues, HVAC issues and any other form of adversity should not deter your wealth building efforts in any way.

Get your mental awareness where it needs to be starting today–a new mental awakening is what your actions and thoughts should now portray!


You must transform or renew your mind from the inside out–and find new and more effective ways of thinking about matters that are of importance to you!


Regardless of where you fall generationally, whether you are a member of the Greatest generation (1901 to 1927), the Silent generation (1928 to 1945), Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1964), X (born between 1965 and 1980), Millennials (born between 1981 to 1996), Zoomers (born between 1997 to 2010) or Gen Alpha (born after 2010) you must conclude that you can do more, and you will do more!


This discussion is designed to get you on a more consistent path toward using your mind and heart in a more reliable way so that you can think and act in a manner that truly serves your and your family’s best interest.


Success must always be your expectation and you must know that you will get out of your situation or solve your equation (your financial dilemma).


Your elevation of your mind when responding to devastation based on your unique situation can help you more effectively reach your destination as you create a new presentation that will not lead to your degradation.


Always realize that your mental awareness (or what is going through your mind and heart at this time and/or any time in your future) is under your control and you can effectively direct your thoughts and do more from this day forward–and achieve more!


The choices that you make throughout your life will in large part determine your future.  Although there will always be times of unplanned struggle, you must realize that you have been blessed with a “mind and heart” and you are now in position to do far more to build wealth than you were prior to visiting this page.


Is what you want to achieve in your future what you deserve or are you putting forth less than optimal effort that is leading you on a path to achieving a lesser version of you–because you failed to act and do what you needed to do–to make what you desired most come true?


You must think and act proactively and not think and act re-actively, if you really desire to be all that you can be and more than what you now see!


You must get to a point where self-motivation directs your actions and improved decisions are made that will truly guide you to your destination–because you are not waiting on others to give you the ok to improve your situation!


All the best as you become “mentally awake” and learn once and for all how you will achieve lasting wealth building success–as your landing on this page was not a mistake…



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Reliability & Wealth Building

Learn why it is important that you and those who you interact with are reliable when it comes to building wealth…


As you move about throughout life it is important that you do what you plan to do and you also interact with those who do what they say they will do.  Or another way of looking at it is, you must be reliable in doing what you need or want to do and you must associate with those who are reliable in doing what they need or want to do whether on their behalf or yours.


And with the transition of Joe Madison (The Black Eagle) on January 31st of this year, it is more important than ever that you do something positive to transform your finances.  What are you going to do about it is one of his favorite quotes and it is important that you ask yourself “what are you going to do about it” when it comes to your finances–and life!


In this discussion will focus on why you must have a reliable track record of doing what you say you will do and you also associate with those who will do the same in their life.


You must reliably create personal finance statements

It is important that you realize that effective management in the financial realm of your life starts with you analyzing your finances on a monthly and yearly basis, determining what you own and what you owe (your net worth) and determining from this day forward that you will do all you can to understand your finances in a way that is more rewarding for you and your family–not creditors!


You must reliably master your credit

If you are like many, there will come a time in your life that you will have to (or you will choose to) utilize credit to live at a higher level.


If you choose to utilize credit in a more effective way, you will need to master the 5 credit factors that include keeping your credit positive by reliably paying “on” time, utilizing your available credit appropriately, reliably paying off your credit “over” time, utilizing various types of credit (your credit mix) based on your goals and doing your best to keep hard inquiries into your credit file at a minimum if you are trying to improve your credit and utilize your credit for a major transaction in the short-term (next year or so).


You must reliably understand your overall finances

Your determination to understand and utilize personal finance statements, have mastery over how you manage your credit and understanding your financial responsibilities with heightened awareness in the following areas such as insurance, investments, taxes, emergency fund, education planning, estate planning/wills and retirement planning, is what will potentially set you apart from your peers as you progress through the various stages of your life.



You cannot go through life making mistake after mistake, let worry, anxiety and fear rule you, or become frustrated because you are unwilling to put in the required effort when others who are truly determined are willing to do so because they have a strong desire and are highly committed to making their big dream happen in real time.


You must make it  a priority to associate with those who are reliable and will come through for you on a consistent basis in good and bad times.  And you must know that those who are reliable have a plan in place for success and they have already made up their mind to perform at a level that is their absolute best.


You must persuade yourself of the success that you will achieve and you must have a track record of being reliable as you reach higher and higher towards the goals that are uniquely your own–and what you sincerely desire!


All the  best as you reliably pursue success…


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Adversity & Wealth Building

Learn why you must push harder when adversity rears its ugly head as you build wealth so that you can really get ahead…


Special “10 Year Anniversary of Blogging Page” of 


It is amazing to think that “10 years ago today” from the time of this posting (January 27, 2024) did not exist and at that time there was no indication that it would ever exist, as the thoughts and inspiration to create would occur on January 28, 2014 during the infamous “snowjam” that shut the metro Atlanta area down due to a snow/ice storm!


It is important that we all respond positively to adversity that will occur, as the time and place when meaningful information and inspiration will occur often cannot be determined in advance!


Adversity or unwanted happenings during our lifetime will occur, regardless of who you are or how effectively you plan for your future.  Even so, you want to do all that you can to plan to manage adversity and other unwanted occurrences that occur throughout your life in the best manner possible as you build wealth.


As the news on a worldwide basis appear to depress many and lead many to have a more pessimistic view of the future–you must do all that you can to stay positive and still know that your wealth building and other dreams that you have will come true.


In this discussion will present steps that you can take to “respond positively to adversity” so that you can achieve more throughout your lifetime.


And just as the creator of had to dig in and discover new ways to move forward when adversity of a high magnitude occurred–so too must you do the same!


In the paragraphs that follow will present ways that you can face adversity in a manner where you can move forward as opposed to going backward, remaining where you are at, or possibly remaining or going into a depressed state.


Respond to Adversity in a Winning Style

In spite of the pain, it is not the end of the world…


When you face adversity, remember that generally no one else cares!  Always remember that with adversity–how you got to where you are is not as important as where you can and need to go, even when it is not your fault, however “the solution” is up to you!


Excuses and/or blaming forces beyond your control for your current position are akin to being stuck in quicksand, as it prevents you from moving forward–and will often move you in the opposite direction of your big dream of achieving goals that are good for you and your family.


You cannot wait on someone else to do what you know needs to be done by you.  You must come to the conclusion at this or at the earliest time possible that what needs to be done and what must be done–is your responsibility.  If you desire to achieve optimally while you are here on planet earth–the place of your birth, you must know your self-worth!


Know that Success is in Your Future

Success can still come your way, if you hold your head up in spite of your pain, today….


Whether you are facing adversity as a result of the loss of a loved one, a job loss, a medical diagnosis, losing your home, being forced to file bankruptcy, what seems to be insurmountable debt or any other occurrence, it is important that you know that you can respond appropriately–and you will respond appropriately.


By having the determination to respond favorably to adversity and not giving up or feeling sorry for yourself, you can come up with new and more empowering ways of coming back stronger than you were prior to facing adversity, along with achieving far more–if you believe and know that better days are ahead, and you are committed to bringing those better days into reality during your lifetime!


Put in the Required Work that is Needed to Make what You Desire a Reality

Work will be required of you, and you must do what you need to do…


It is important that you realize that the road or journey toward the success that you desire or need to attain may not be easy and will require effort by you, and you must put a plan in place to do what you need to do.


You must have an unrelenting spirit to bring into reality what you desire most after facing adversity and difficult stretches during your life, regardless of causation!


You must also realize that adversity can occur on multiple fronts, and it may appear that there is no way out–however you must ask adversity, is that all you got–and by doing so, you put adversity on the spot?  Your goal is to always overcome adversity, no matter how daunting the challenge is as you must be willing to put in the work to make what you want or need to happen occur in real time.



The adversity that we all face is designed to make us stronger, not weaker in the long run–and make those who “sincerely believe it to be so” even stronger!  And just as the creator of overcame great adversity in late 2020 and early 2021 with the transition and burial of the one who brought him into this world–so too must you be prepared to overcome any adversity that you may face now–or in the coming years.


You must roar like a lion, even when the prey is scarce (you can’t clearly see a way forward) and you must know that better days lie ahead.


Whether you earn six figures or just enough to get by and live on, you can transform your future to that of lasting success “if you have the right or smart approach” and you are committed to that approach in a determined and dedicated way.


And just as the creator of began blogging initially in 2010 in response to an adverse situation where a back injury would not allow him to do the love of his life (jogging) and was not able to jog due to that injury for over a decade–little would he know that the change in activity (small steps at that time) would lead to writing at an unparalleled pace (he had not written an article over 500 words in over 20 years and now has over 700 pages of web content) that has led to the creation of 3 websites, a number of blog sites and a number of books that are helping those who desire lasting wealth building success, attain just that in ways they never imagined! was inspirationally created on January 28th, 2014, as a result of facing great adversity as the creation of the was formulated while in delay (2-hour delay) during snowjam in 2014 that led to the city of Atlanta and surrounding areas to basically shut down due to inclement weather, with traffic backed up and cars abandoned for hours in many areas.


By responding positively to that adverse situation, the site that you are now on was created, as well as a number of books later that year that has helped those who desire exposure to principles and solutions that will help them achieve lasting wealth building success in a comprehensive way do just that at this time.


And even as this page is being created on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the creation of, the 10th book in “The Real Estate & Finance 360 Degrees Series of Books” that will include 10 Principles that can lead to lasting success for you and others as you build wealth and pursue success in personal finance and other areas of your life is in the works.


The books in the series are designed to provide you a much-needed roadmap and the new book that will soon be on the market as a result of inspiration that is occurring at this time–and inspiration that will be acted upon, will hopefully lead to the creation of a book that can “enhance your travels even more” as you pursue financial freedom.


As you move about throughout your life you want to realize that adversity is to be expected, but so too is your future success–if you make the decision to give it your best and you don’t rest until you have given it your absolute best to achieve ultimate success.


It is important that you realize that you have the power within to use your creativity to make what appears as a miracle to others occur in your life.


Instead of praying only for a miracle tonight, you want to pray and “take action” to make what appears to be miracles happen in plain sight!  In short, you can make miracles happen in your life if you take the right action–consistently.


Miracles can sometimes take years–and if you confront your fears, dream big and follow through on that big dream–the right path to take will be presented to your eyes, ears and feet as you will visualize, hear and act toward making what you desire a reality for the world to see, and achieve what you were sincerely meant to be.


You must have your “antennae up” and be willing to act on powerful inspiration that comes your way, when it is in your best interest to do so! 


Isn’t it time that you improve your mental flow, so that you can truly grow and get in the know so that you can reap “more than” you sow? 


And just as the creator of knows that the pain of losing a loved one may never go away–so too must you cultivate the mindset of responding positively to adversity in a way that will never go away–and the knowledge that success at an even higher level is on the way must remain steadfast, because you were built to last.


You must stay focused, put a plan in place that you believe in, and know in definite terms that you won’t be deterred–regardless of what occurs in your life locally, nationally or on a worldwide stage–as your present and future is an open page–and your time to be a sage is now, not after you age!


By responding positively to adversity, you can create what others can’t see!  And even though the creator of writes in an unorthodoxed style that is designed to move you forward, some may not see the benefit–as they are waiting on book critics, influencers and others to give them the ok–while you are determining for yourself that you can do the management of your finances in a better way.


And by purchasing any number of books that can lead you toward success today or visiting a number of pages on this site that allows you an avenue towards success in a more effective way–you can transform your future in a major way!


It is amazing to realize that after 10 years of being in the blogosphere, this humble site that does not  seek Search Engine Optimization  or Ad Revenue has provided avenues to success for many worldwide visitors–even while other larger, well-funded personal finance and wealth building sites seem to miss the mark as far as providing a refreshing, inspiring, forward moving, and comprehensive approach to wealth building that is available at minimal cost (free–except for your time and effort) for all who desire success in their future!


Always remember, that as empowering as this site is for many, it may not be for you–therefore I urge you to do as I do, analyze this site in a careful, accurate and critical way–and move on if you feel this blog is not for you!


All the best as you respond positively to any adversity that you face and achieve major success…–is a wealth building site created by Thomas (TJ) Underwood that speaks directly to the human spirit so that wealth building success is more attainable for those who sincerely desire success.  It is our desire that this site acts as a springboard to help you achieve all of the goals and achievement that you desire as you “reach” higher and pursue success from wire to wire (throughout your life stages) –and you never let the adversity that you will undoubtedly face deter you in any way!


What led you to create—you already have two websites and two blogs?

Question from a visitor to this site in 2014


A: The inspiration to create occurred in January of 2014 during the infamous “snowjam” that backed-up traffic on the freeways in Atlanta for hours and in many cases overnight for some unfortunate drivers.


Even though my delay was only several hours, that adverse occurrence—provided the inspiration for the thoughts to create a website that would directly assist consumers in a more intelligent, consistent and proactive manner to materialize.  was formulated on the premise that consumers need good input (knowledge) on a regular basis on the front-end (proactively) if they are to reach their highest potential when managing and improving their credit and finances.


If you are one who has the determination and commitment that is required to reach your future goals—or you desire to gain those important qualities you must start the process by doing a self-evaluation (you must know what you really desire in your life) so that you can constantly grow.  was designed with you in mind and the goal is to provide you with powerful knowledge that you can utilize effectively to help you be the best “you” that you can be as you move forward in your credit, finance or any other life pursuits that you may have. is for those who are interested in asking the right questions and getting the right answers.  The site is available for those who desire clarity and direction as they journey towards improving their credit and finances.


The site is part cheerleader (designed to encourage, motivate and inspire you to do all that you can do) and is designed to create a desire and thirst in you to understand and apply credit and financial management systems and approaches that serve your best interest—not creditors and others.


The site provides you the ability to put what you learn into practice and further provides you the ability to transform your and your family’s finances for generations by providing you the comprehensive wealth building focus that you need to succeed.  On occasion, this site may seem to admonish you, however the ultimate goal is to get you to achieve at “your highest level of excellence” at the various stages of your life!


It is important that you realize that your current circumstances are only temporary and not the way that it has to be in your and your family’s future!


By frequenting on a consistent basis you will soon realize that you can push harder than you are currently pushing—you can reach higher than you are currently reaching, and you will not only know that you are capable of accomplishing much more during your lifetime—you will actually start on a positive path to doing just that!



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2014 in Review…

Return from Adversity & Wealth Building to The 3 Step Structured Approach to Managing Your Finances

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Return from Adversity & Wealth Building to Excuses & Personal Finance 

Return from Adversity & Wealth Building to Distractions & Personal Finance

Return from Adversity & Wealth Building to Imagination & Personal Finance

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