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Merry Christmas

Merry_Christmas__by_chopeh

Merry Christmas from me to you. May this holiday season be one of many

blessing for those you love.

Martha Small

Austin Portfolio Real Estate

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Now is the right time to simplify your financial life for 2013. But conventional wisdom on how to do it might be dead wrong.

 

The old-school advice for simplifying your finances boils down to “less is more”: Consolidate your accounts, cancel unused credit cards, and streamline your investments.

In today’s world, however, less is often less. Trying to simplify your financial life can boomerang on you with unexpected consequences.For instance, cutting down to one or two credit cards — or doing without them entirely — can hurt your credit scores. Consolidating your financial accounts could actually cost you more, and even leave you more vulnerable to lawsuits.

Here are some thoughts on avoiding pitfalls as you simplify your finances for an easier 2013.

Start with a purge. Don’t hang on to paperwork “just in case.” You should have a clear reason for hanging on to documents. If it’s tax-related, you typically should store it for seven years. In many cases, you can scan a document and toss the original (but don’t trash official documents such as marriage, birth and death certificates). Financial institutions are required to keep copies of your statements for six years, so you don’t necessarily need to keep hard copies.

Two gadgets can make your paperwork decluttering go faster: a cross-cut shredder and a really fast scanner, like the ScanSnap from Fujitsu.

Streamline your credit cards the smart way. I cringe when I hear people being advised to close credit card accounts, especially if they’re told to do so because “a large number of cards could hurt your credit rating.” The FICO scores used by most lenders don’t punish you for having “too many” lines of credit. In fact, having multiple open accounts is usually a positive factor in your scores.

What can hurt your scores is shutting credit accounts, or piling all your charges on one or two cards. The FICO scoring formula is sensitive to how much of your available credit you’re using. Reducing available credit by closing accounts, or using too much of your available credit on any card, can cause your scores to drop.

The less of your credit limit you use, the better. That’s true whether or not you pay your balance in full every month (which you should, by the way). A good rule of thumb is to use 30% or less of your credit limit at any given time. If you regularly use more than 50% of the limit on any card, consider shifting some charges to a second or even third card to ease the burden on your scores.

You can switch to cash or debit cards for everyday purchases. For big-ticket or online purchases, however, you’ll probably want to use credit cards, since they offer consumer protections that other methods of payment lack.

If your FICO scores are high (say, 750 and above), and you won’t be in the market for a major loan within the next year, you can consider closing some unused accounts, particularly retail store accounts you don’t use or cards that charge an annual fee. Otherwise, a smarter course is to keep those accounts open.

If you’re having trouble keeping track of all your credit accounts, consider using an aggregation service such as Mint.com. Checking in weekly will help you monitor your balances and spot any fraudulent charges on otherwise dormant cards.

Remember, the only smart way to use credit cards is as a convenience. If you have credit card debt, you need to make a plan to get it paid off as quickly as possible. If it would take you five or more years to pay off this debt, you may want to check with a legitimate credit counselor (find one here) or bankruptcy attorney.

Consolidate, but with caution. It can be tough to monitor multiple retirement and investment accounts. You could pay more in account fees and find it difficult to maintain appropriate asset allocations.

But that doesn’t mean you should lump all your accounts together, or even bring them all under one financial institution’s roof.

Let’s take the common recommendation to roll old 401k accounts into individual retirement accounts, for example. You’ll likely have more investment options with an IRA, but you could end up paying more for them if your 401k gave you access to the lower-cost institutional funds provided by many large-company plans. (There’s a reason financial institutions are so eager for you to roll over into an IRA — they’ll typically make more money by charging you retail rather than investor prices!)

Also, funds in IRAs have fewer protections from creditors, should you be sued or wind up in bankruptcy court, than 401k’s. IRAs are typically protected up to $1 million, while protection for 401k’s is unlimited. That’s not a concern for most people, but if you have a large balance (or are likely to accumulate one) you might want to factor this into your decision.

Another option to consider is rolling your old 401k accounts into your current employer’s plan, if that’s allowed. Again, that will make it easier to keep track of your investments, but you’ll want to make sure you’re not transferring your account away from a really good plan unless your current one is better.

Insurance is another consideration. The chances that you’ll ever need the coverage provided by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. are slim. SIPC pays back investors if a brokerage goes broke or if securities are stolen by a broker. If a failed firm can’t be merged with another brokerage, SIPC divides up the broker’s remaining assets among customers and then uses its own funds — up to $500,000 per account, including a maximum $250,000 for cash claims. If your claim exceeds those limits, which is rare, the broker often has insurance that will make you whole. Still, some people are uncomfortable keeping more than $500,000 at any one brokerage firm. If you have substantial assets, you may want to spread them around.

Simplify your investments. You may need to keep your money in different investment accounts, but you’d be smart to seek simplicity when choosing your actual investments. You can eliminate the hassles of asset allocation and re-balancing by choosing so-called lifestyle or target-date maturity funds. These funds offer broad diversification and regular re-balancing so that your portfolio stays in tune with your long-term goals. The best such funds don’t try to beat the markets, since most funds that attempt to do so fail miserably. Instead, they use low-cost index and exchange-traded funds to match the market returns. If you don’t have access to good-quality lifestyle or target-date funds, look for a good balanced fund (60% stocks, 40% bonds) or build a simple portfolio using low-cost index funds and then re-balance back to your target asset allocations once a year.

Set up savings “buckets.” When I had a single savings account, it was hard for me to keep track of how much of the money was earmarked for various purposes. If I had an unexpected car repair, would there be enough left to pay our property taxes when they’re due, plus cover our insurance premiums and our holiday splurge? Now each goal has its own labeled savings account at an online bank that doesn’t have minimum balance requirements or charge monthly fees. Each month, money is automatically transferred from our joint checking account at a brick-and-mortar bank into each of these savings buckets. Every large, irregular expense — from vacations to car repairs — has its own account, and I can tell at a glance where we stand. If a car or home repair exceeds the amount we have saved, I can shift money from our emergency fund or cut our spending until the bucket is refilled. The system sounds more complicated than maintaining one savings account. In fact, it has greatly simplified our lives, because I know the big expenses are covered.

Automate your payments. If paper checks are still a big part of your financial life, explore the advantages of electronic banking. Direct deposit means no more standing in line at banks to cash your paycheck (plus fewer opportunities for thieves to steal or alter your check). Electronic bill payment typically is safer and more secure than sending checks through the mail. Plus, many bills can be automated. You have several choices: setting up recurring payments through your bank’s bill payment system (a good option if the bill amount is the same every month), having bills charged to a credit card or authorizing billers to take the money directly from your checking account. Even if you’re nervous about ceding control of other bills, you should make sure that minimum payments to credit cards and loans are made automatically, so you don’t run the risk of missing a payment and damaging your credit scores.

Rethink consumerism. Buying less leaves more money in your pocket for saving and investing. Buying less also means less hassle. The less stuff you buy, the less stuff you have to maintain, insure, repair and replace or donate when you’re done with it. Breaking the habit of shopping and spending can be a surprisingly powerful way to simplify your life.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Liz Weston, MSN Money

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Shopping for that special lady in your life? While no two people are alike, there are some gifts worth skipping.

 

It should go without saying that not everyone has the same idea of the perfect gift. There are men hoping for cologne and women longing for power tools.

But that won’t stop us from having some fun with potentially horrible gifts for the woman in your life. Here’s our tongue-in-cheek list of the 15 worst gifts:

1. Any appliance she didn’t ask for

Unless she specifically asked for a waffle maker or blender, don’t buy her one. Even women who enjoy cooking don’t want to feel it’s expected.

2. Clothes

Clothes are a no-no for several reasons. There’s the size issue: If you get her something too big, she’ll probably be offended; if you get her something too small, she might feel bad about herself.

There’s also the issue of style. If a wardrobe makeover is what she wants, make a nice card promising to take her on a shopping spree with your cash.

3.  A framed picture of yourself

This “gift” is strangely common, based on personal experience and its presence on almost every “worst gifts” list out there. Nothing says you’re self-absorbed like a framed photo of yourself posing like a model. And the picture of you when you were 6 years old? That’s not cute either. A picture of the two of you doing something memorable is a much better gift idea.

4. Anything that can’t be easily exchanged

If your significant other absolutely hates the expensive gift you bought her, be sure you can exchange it, for her sake and yours.

5. Diet or fitness products

Unless you’re looking for trouble, don’t buy her anything related to losing weight. The implication is that you’re not satisfied with her the way she is.

6. Gifts for yourself

Buying her the new flat-screen TV you want and calling it a gift because she’ll use it too doesn’t work. Give her something she can appreciate and enjoy.

7.  Tickets to sporting events

Your significant other might tolerate, or even like, baseball or football. But unless she’s a die-hard fan, skip the tickets to sports events. Tickets to the ballet or a Broadway musical (unless, of course, she hates those things) are a better option, and you’ll get bonus points if you go with her. Choose something you might not normally attend, and she’ll appreciate it even more.

8. Tacky novelties

She’s not going to be as amused by that singing coffee cup as you were when you spotted it at the store. Unless there’s an inside joke behind the novelty gift, and it’s in addition to a larger gift, this is a bad idea.

9. Perfume

If she asked for Elizabeth Arden’s newest fragrance, by all means, buy it. Otherwise, stay away from the perfume counter. She might hate the fragrance you choose, or worse, she might be allergic to it.

10. Cash

Remember the “Seinfeld” episode in which Jerry gave Elaine cash for Christmas? Elaine got mad, as will the lady in your life if you give her this thoughtless gift.

11.  Cosmetics (including wrinkle cream)

It’s almost unbelievable that men buy women wrinkle cream as a gift. I once heard about a woman who received wrinkle cream from her boyfriend when she was 22. It’s also weird to buy a woman makeup. Just stay away from the cosmetics department.

12. Alcohol

A bottle of wine is nice for a housewarming party, but it’s not quite as classy when you give it to a woman as a holiday, birthday or anniversary gift.

13. Flowers

Flowers are appropriate at certain times, but the holidays call for something more thoughtful and longer-lasting.

14.  Last year’s gift

She loved the one-hour massage you bought her last year, but she’s expecting something different this year. Even if you have a hard time remembering the details of last year’s gift, chances are she hasn’t forgotten.

15. Candy

Many women love chocolate,  but it’s just not a sufficient gift at the holidays. Use it as a stocking stuffer, and put some more thought into a larger gift she’ll appreciate.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Stacy Johnson

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What a great way to spend the beginning of The New Year!

 

Everything here only costs a few bucks or takes a few minutes, but the impact? Huge.

1. Train a service pet. A $5 gift to canine assistants.org covers a week of food for a puppy learning to aid people with disabilities.

2. Buy groceries for a needy family. Nearly 50 million Americans are facing hunger; $21 to feedingamer ica.org feeds a family for two weeks.

3. Donate your old phone to cellphonesforsoldiers.com, which recycles them and uses proceeds to buy calling cards for our troops abroad.

4. Restore vision. $50 to unite forsight.org gives surgery to one of the 94 million people who are blinded or visually impaired by cataracts.

5. Rehabilitate women who’ve been trafficked. Senhoa.org hires survivors to make jewelry and helps them safely transition back into society.

6. Provide a kid with peace of mind. Holiday bulbs designed by celebs like Brooklyn Decker support the Child Mind Institute, which researches mental illness in kids ($40, available at bloom ingdales.com).

7. Help more teens in the U.S.graduate. A million drop out each year. Tutor and assist in an at-risk classroom for 10 months with cityyear.org.

8. Keep an infant HIV-free. In Africa, more than 800 babies are born with it daily; $50 to m2m.org teaches an expectant mom to avoid transmission.

9. Donate your wedding gown or veil to brides againstbreastcancer.org. They’ll sell it at a bridal show and help pay for support groups for patients.

10. Comfort the homeless. At projectnightnight.org, $20 provides a blanket, book, and stuffed toy to one of the 334,819 kids in shelters nationwide.

11. Beautify a city park. $15 to tpl.org goes toward playground equipment in a new or renovated green space for boys and girls across the U.S.

12. Ready young mothers. $50 to nursefamilypartnership.org coaches five first-time moms about healthy pregnancies and smart parenting.

13. Save a life in South Sudan. $5 to doc2dock.org ships unused supplies from U.S. hospitals to remote clinics, where shortages threaten lives.

14. Give Internet access to Afghan women. $25 to youngwomenforchange.org donates a desk to the first-ever female-only Web café in Kabul.

15. Prep an animal for its new home. Just $10 to petfinder foundation.com vaccinates four shelter dogs or five cats, keeping them ready for adoption.

16. Invest in health. 17% of American young people are obese; $50 to actionfor
healthykids.org buys PE tools for a class in a struggling district.

17. Inspire a new author. M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s holiday album ($11, amazon.com) benefits 826 National, which helps disadvantaged students build writing skills.

18. Stop partner violence. In honor of Yeardley Love, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend, joinonelove.org educates us all to prevent abuse.

19. Pay for a terminally ill child’s getaway. $25 to givekidstheworld.org helps affected families take a vacation to its Florida resort.

20. Volunteer from your desk. Sparked.com asks about your skills and passions, then gives ideas for using your talents to better the world.

21. Fight lung cancer. A donation to lcfamerica.org funds research to predict, detect, and treat the top cancer killer among Americans.

22. Take care of amputees. $300 to brac.net provides a prosthetic arm or leg to a Haitian who lost a limb due to the 2010 earthquake.

23. Prevent illiteracy. Order yourself a new book at better worldbooks.com, and they’ll send one to a needy child in the U.S. or abroad.

24. Raise a roof for a struggling family. Spend a day at one of womenbuild.org’s 27 sites and help put a low-income family into a home.

25. Groom women for government with a gift to the nonpartisan wufpac.org, conservative shepac.com, or liberal emilyslist.org.

26. Keep at-risk youth drug-free. For $25 to deaeducationalfoundation.org, one girl can attend after-school dance classes for 10 weeks.

27. End hunger. Spend $120 on a Feed tote full of gourmet snacks (deandeluca.com), and 15 meals go to kids in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East.

28. Soothe a scared kid. Send a stuffed animal to projectsmile.org; police officers and paramedics will hand them out to trauma victims.

29. Give land to a poverty-stricken woman. For $150, landesa.org secures a plot for a woman in India to live and grow food with her family.

30. Rush in relief when disasters like Hurricane Isaac strike. Teamrubiconusa.org uses your $11 to keep a veteran ready to deploy to crisis areas.

31. Rebuild schools after devastation. Every dollar to happyheartsfund.org, created by former Glamour Woman of the Year Petra Nemcova, does just that around the globe.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Emily Mahaney

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7 holiday traditions that can trigger an allergic reaction

 

Don’t let allergies put a damper on your holidays.

When you wheeze through your fa-la-la’s and your nose rivals Rudolph’s, it’s a little tougher to feel jolly. Although allergies peak in the spring and fall, the holidays may surprise sensitive sufferers with a gift of unexpected triggers, from dusty decorations and potent potpourri to even–say it ain’t so–the Christmas tree. Here are seven yuletide allergens, and expert tips to help you stay focused on shopping and wrapping, not sneezing and scratching.

How To Keep Your Allergies From Ruining Your Day

1. Trigger: Christmas trees

That’s right–the one and only, the centerpiece of all things Christmas, that perfect fir you found hiding in the lot of freshly-cut trees that’s now twinkling with the lights you spent hours untangling – may be to blame for your stuffy nose, watery eyes and rash-y skin. “Mold is the biggest problem with live Christmas trees,” says Marilyn Li, MD, an asthma and allergy specialist with the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center. “Often, they are cut in advance and kept in humid environments, promoting spore growth.” Within just two weeks of bringing a tree into your home, indoor mold counts can increase significantly, according to one study.

Other tree-related allergens: The sap contains terpene and other substances that can irritate skin and mucous membranes; and pollen stuck to the tree may be released inside and lead to reactions, adds Nathanael S. Horne, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU school of Medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. What about the artificial versions? They could harbor dust and mold from their time in storage, also triggering allergies.

Prevent it: Slip on gloves and wear long sleeves when handling your fresh tree to avoid the sap coming into contact with your skin. Before schlepping your tree inside, give it a good shake (or a blast with a leaf blower) and spray it down with a garden hose (especially the trunk) to help remove some of the pollen and mold, suggests Horne. Then sit the stump in a bucket of water and let the tree dry for few days on a covered porch or in a garage. For an allergen-free fake tree, give it a good wipe-down before decorating with lights and ornaments.

2. Trigger: Decorations

For eleven months out of the year, all your ornaments, lights, and holiday chotchkes sit stored out of sight, collecting dust and maybe developing mold. When the boxes of red, green, and gold goodies come out, the symphony of sneezing, coughing and nose-blowing commences.

Prevent it: Before decking your halls, mantels, windows and trees, wipe down each item thoroughly; when it’s time to repack, store your holiday trimming in airtight containers, and in a dry spot if possible. Also, go easy on the spray snow–you may love the look of frosted windows, but any aerosolized chemical can cause irritant reactions in the eyes, nose or lungs of a sensitive person, says Horne.

3. Trigger: Homemade pie

The fact that she makes “Why aren’t you pregnant yet?” the topic of Christmas dinner is enough to make you break out in hives – but the nuts that she baked into her dessert crust could be to blame, too. If you have food allergies, the holidays in particular are a ripe time for reactions, simply because you’re around so. much. food. The most common food allergens are milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat. “Of those, peanuts and tree nuts will most often make it into holiday dishes without people knowing, and have the potential to cause severe reactions,” says Horne.

Prevent it: It’s a good idea to let your holiday host know about your food allergies; it’s important to ask about the ingredients in each dish; and it’s very nice to volunteer to bring something that’s safe for you, and shareable with others. But what’s crucial is to be prepared with an epinephrine auto-injector (Epi Pen), an emergency dose of antihistamine, and an inhaler if you have asthma–just in case, adds Li, director of the USC Breathmobile, a pediatric clinic that travels to schools and provides ongoing asthma and allergy care to children. Learn which foods and recipes are unexpected sources of allergens at FoodAllergy.org and AAAAI.org.

How To Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

4. Trigger: Cocktails

You raise a glass to your loved ones, your boss and colleagues, friends and neighbors, and even the strangers sitting next to you at a bar. There’s lots of cheers-ing this time of year, but be mindful of what you’re using to toast. Some people may experience mild wheezing or other symptoms from the sulfites in wine, for example, and certain alcoholic concoctions contain major food allergens.

Prevent it: There aren’t good tests for sulfite sensitivity, but your reaction to dried fruit–high in this sulfur-based preservative–could be an indicator, says Horne. Pay attention if you have asthma, as sulfites can trigger symptoms. Maraschino cherries contain small amounts of sulfites, as well. Stick with organic wine for a sulfite-free sip. Other triggers to be aware of: Tree nuts may be found specialty beers, particularly seasonal ales; milk is in Irish creme and white chocolate liqueurs; and egg whites may be used to add froth to specialty drinks.

Low Calorie Holiday Treats

5. Trigger: Poinsettia

This festive plant is a member of the rubber tree family and contains compounds similar to those found in latex, so stay away if you have a latex allergy. Certain groups of people–such as healthcare workers and people with spina bifida who have had numerous surgeries–are more likely to be allergic to latex, says Li, and one study showed that 40% of latex-allergic individuals were also allergic to poinsettias.

Prevent it: If you have a latex allergy, keep the iconic plant out of your house–not only can it give you a rash if you touch it, but inhaling the allergen can lead to serious respiratory problems, like shortness of breath and wheezing.

6. Trigger: Smelly stuff

Pine-infused potpourri, dessert-scented candles, cinnamon air sprays–while they will make your house smell like Christmas, they can irritate the nose and throats of allergy-sensitive people. “Candles in particular are an increasingly recognized source of indoor air pollution,” says Horne. “The same is true for air sprays and other types of air fresheners–they can release many different types of noxious compounds, which can generate adverse reactions in sensitive patients.”

Prevent it: If skipping the scents feels Grinch-like, try making your own potpourri with cinnamon sticks and cloves so you know what’s in the mixture, says Horne. And choose candles made of soy or beeswax, suggests Li. There’s not much smell, but you can still enjoy the warm glow. By the way, fireplaces are an absolute no-no for asthmatic patients–the ash and smoke can trigger an attack, so keep the log unlit.

7. Trigger: Shopping

Stress doesn’t cause allergies or asthma by itself, but it can hinder your immune system and be a trigger for asthma attacks, says Horne. Chemicals released by the body during stressful times can cause the muscles around your airways to tighten, making it difficult to breathe.

Prevent it: All the deep breathing in the world probably can’t calm the chaos that comes with the season, but what you can do is make sure you take the steps to stay healthy: Stick to your controller medication regimen and get a flu shot, advises Li.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Teresa Dumain, Prevention

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Avoid foolish impulse buys by asking yourself these 4 pre-purchase questions.

 

If you’re feeling blue, hide your green. According to new research published in the journal Psychological Science, sadness can lead to impulsive (and irresponsible) financial choices.

Study participants watched either a sad or neutral video. Then researchers asked them to choose how they’d like to receive a cash reward. They could either receive one sum of money at the end of the session, or receive a bigger reward mailed to them in the future. Participants who watched the neutral video chose the delayed reward 13 to 34 percent more often than people who watched the sad video, according to Jennifer Lerner, Ph.D., director of the Harvard Laboratory for Decision Science and one of the study’s authors. These differences emerged even though real money was at stake.

“Sadness makes people devalue future gains relative to present gains,” Lerner says. In other words, when you’re sad, you’re more focused on the now, rather than the future. You just want to be happy. You don’t care about what happens down the line.”

“This process occurs unconsciously,” Lerner adds. “Decision makers themselves do not recognize that sadness has such effects.” Meaning: If you shop while sad, you could set yourself up for some potential wallet pain and not even know it. (Is the cold weather making you feel more sad than normal? Try these 6 Ways Beat the Winter Blues.)

Before you sprint to the mall, ask yourself these four questions to make sure you’re not being financially shortsighted.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Vera Sizensky, Women’s Health

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An author who interviewed rich people offers insights on how they made their money and how they think about wealth.

 

Do you dream of becoming rich but aren’t sure how to make your millions — or better yet, billions? Then who better to ask than the rich themselves about how they made their way to the top.

Steve Siebold did just that. He’s spent nearly 30 years interviewing the world’s wealthiest people.

Siebold, the author of “How Rich People Think,” (find it on Bing) spoke with U.S. News about what the rich have in common, how self-made millionaires attained their wealth and why now is the best time to strike it rich. Excerpts:

Q: What sparked your fascination with the rich?

A: I was a broke college student in 1984, and I wanted to be rich. But I didn’t feel like I was getting the information I needed from my college business classes. In a lot of the classes, the business professors seemed to put down the rich, and that didn’t make sense to me. So I started looking for outside sources until I found a millionaire to interview.

Q: Was he difficult to find?

A: Yes, because I didn’t know any millionaires and I was just a kid. I was probably 19 years old. And I found the rich don’t really like to flaunt their wealth. Most of the rich, in my experience, aren’t like Donald Trump — they’re the polar opposite. They want to be left alone, because as soon as people know they’ve got a lot of money, people come after them and the media goes after them. They want to be quiet and unexposed.

The deal they made with me was I wouldn’t give their names out unless they gave me permission, and very few of them gave me permission.

Q: Have you found any commonalities among the people you’ve interviewed?

A: Their personality styles vary: Some are introverts, some are extroverts. But their belief systems around money are the same. That was the one thread that really helped me throughout the process: They all have a really positive relationship with money. They think about money in terms of freedom, as opposed to the negative relationship a lot of people have with money.

Q: The net worth of the richest Americans grew by 13% in the past year to $1.7 trillion. Does that surprise you?

A: No, not at all. If you look at the global equity markets over the last few years, they’re up 18%. As where the average Americans have their money wrapped up in their home equity and low-interest vehicles, like 401k’s, the rich have their money in the global equity markets. They’ve got the money to invest, and it’s a good place to be right now. They’re also in a nice position because they can afford to lose.

Q: Did self-made millionaires simply work harder than the rest of us to get where they are?

A: Most people think the rich got lucky. People think their money wasn’t earned by hard work and strategic, calculated thinking, which is not the truth for most people. There are crooks in every income category, but in my experience, there’s no more on the rich side than the poor side.

But it’s interesting how the self-made rich are a really hated group. They’re discriminated against, even in the wealthiest country of the world. I think it’s really sad. I think we should celebrate these people. There’s a tendency to demonize them, which I think is just crazy.

Q: Is there any way that contempt some people have for the rich can change?

A: I hope so. It’s so easy to take a shot at people who are rich. I hope that, over time, we can change our beliefs in this country, because if we don’t lead the way in changing people’s beliefs about capitalism and wealth, I think we’re really in trouble.

Q: Do rich people feel that resentment to the point where they only want to associate with other rich people?

A: Absolutely. I call it “cocooning.” But they don’t like to talk about money when they get together. They genuinely like to associate with one another. But many people think it’s because the rich think they’re better than other people, and it’s not — it’s because they’re discriminated against. I think they just want to be with similar people who won’t discriminate against them. They’re a minority that people target, which is why they tend to hide out and stick together.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Daniel Bortz, U.S. News & World Report

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