April 14

Do You Have What it Takes To Become a Financial Literacy Award Winner? Here Are The 2014 Education In Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards Winners

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The Institute for Financial Literacy® 2014 Excellence In Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards winners are honored for their distinguished accomplishments in developing, implementing and promoting successful financial literacy education worldwide.

The EIFLE Awards were established in 2007 and have since become one of the most prestigious and sought after awards in the industry. Each year, the Institute for Financial Literacy presents EIFLE Awards to individuals and organizations that have shown exceptional innovation, dedication and commitment to the field of financial literacy education.

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The work of these authors, educators, organizations and researchers inspires others to strive toward excellence as well, increasing the availability and effectiveness of financial literacy education in communities across the country.

I had the pleasure attending the Annual Conference on Financial Education. I met and interviewed some of the award winning individuals (see below) and I will make the interviews available in future blog posts and podcasts of The Potential Millionaire / Potencial Millonario – www.potentialmillionaire.net. In my conversations with the award winners it was made very clear that helping the underprivileged was a staple of their commitment to producing, teaching, and funding financial literacy programs. I learned that it was the core of their individual beliefs and corporate visions.  On behalf of The Potential Millionaire, I congratulate and commend all of the EIFLE winners.

The Institute for Financial Literacy website can be reached at www.Financiallit.org for detailed information on the EIFLE awards. If you know any of the award winners or just wan to say congrats,  please  leave a comment below. 

EIFLE logoHere are the 2014 EIFLE award winners:

For Profit Organization of the Year:

ING Bank Turkey

Organization of the Year, Corporate Leadership:

Discover

 Instructional Game of the Year:Tabletop

MoneyWorks

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, Inc.

Nonprofit Organization of the Year:

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)

 Education Program of the Year:Children, General

Hartford Stage Financial Literacy Program

Hartford Stage

Education Program of the Year:

Children, Financial Responsibility & Decision Making

TrueWealth-KIDS

TrueWealth Ventures, Inc.

 Education Program of the Year:Children, Income & Careers

CU 4 Reality™ Financial Education Program

America’s Credit Union Museum

Education Program of the Year:

Children, Saving & Investing

Delaware BANK AT SCHOOL

Delaware Financial Literacy Institute

 Education Program of the Year:Adult, General

Adelante con tu future, Educacion Financiera

BBVA Bancomer

Education Program of the Year:

Children, Planning & Money Management

Youth Financial Camp

A+ Federal Credit Union

 Book of the Year:Adult, General

Pocket Change: Using the Science of Personal Change to Improve Financial Habits

by Heidi T. Beckman, PH.D.

Book of the Year:

Children, General

The Money Tree

by LaDonna Smith

Legacy:

Hon. John C. Nifo II

Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE)

Book of the Year:

Adult, Money Management

The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese

by Brian O’Connor

Educator(s) of the Year:

William Daniel

William R. Boone High School

Educator(s) of the Year:

Ingrid Adade

Leominster Credit Union

April 12

Boxing Legend Felix “Tito” Trinidad Brought To His Knees By A 68 Million Investment Loss

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Posted By Felix A. Montelara

Author: Potencial Millonario

Boxing  legend Felix “Tito” Trinidad is brought to his knees by a 68 million investment loss.  However, the knockout blow may be the reported debt of approximately nine million dollars.

Felix Trinidad, in an attempt to be responsible with his assets obtained a brokerage firm, “Popular Securities,” to manage his well-earned fortune. Now I’m going to explain how it is possible to lose an estimated 68 million dollars even if it is invested by a third party and you (or in this case Trinidad) are not monitoring the account. According to reports, José ‘Pepe’ Ramos was assigned by Popular Securities to handle Trinidad’s account. Ramos invested most if not all the money in bonds, according to news reports in Puerto Rico.  The truth is that until September 2013, this type of investment was not risky on face value. The problem began in September 2013 when the markets (Moody’s and the S&P 500) downgraded Puerto Rico’s bonds to junk bond status, hence reducing Trinidad’s wealth (fortune). It is said that Trinidad began to see losses in his statement. Really? Red flag, anyone?

The second problem is that if it is true that Ramos invested 100% of Trinidad’s money in bonds only, we can all see an issue with assets allocation. In lay man words, Ramos placed all the eggs in one basket (Puerto Rico bonds). The right thing to do was to diversify into many assets across the market and invest in several different market sectors, as I would say, “A little of this and a little of that.” Truth be said it is unknown at this time if Trinidad asked to be conservative with his investments, or even if Ramos was authorized to invest without Trinidad’s consent.   No one knows why Ramos decided to place everything into bonds. It is true that before September 2013, Puerto Rico bonds had good ratings in the market and benefited from a triple tax exemption and could be enticing- or as I would say it would have been “sexy” to invest in them for any portfolio at that time; however, never at 100% of any portfolio.

One must understand that Trinidad is a former professional athlete and a marvelous boxing World Champion. He is not a finance expert. He took prudent steps to preserve his fortune but that was not enough.  The last blow brings Trinidad to his knees by a man without gloves in a suit. The lack of basic personal finance education hurt Trinidad as much as it hurts everyone else. Trinidad would have most likely have avoided this type of situation if he was well trained in personals finances. Its like training for a championship bout and not knowing the opponent.  It is alleged that Trinidad noticed losses on his statement.  In the boxing world that is like telegraphing a cross punch. With personal finance training Trinidad may have seen the knee dropping blow coming his way.   When Trinidad

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received his earning statement reports with some personal finance training he could have determined that all the eggs were in one basket and we all know in personal finances that is not a good thing.

Also with a good personal financial education a millionaire worth 68 plus may have not carried with an estimated nine million in debts. Why would Trinidad? Anyone trained or educated in the basics of personal finance knows that the debt is the most powerful opponent, who most likely provides the knock out blow when you are already down on your knees. But as they say in my neighborhood: “to late,” the money was invested and lost. The only controversy is whether Ramos was authorized by Trinidad to place the eggs in one basket.  Ramos, along with Popular Securities, will defend themselves as if they were in a championship bout and the truth will be known in court.

If you were in Trinidad’s shoes, would you have the know-how to foresee that ultimately it is your responsibility to watch over your money?

Finally, we are celebrating Financial Literacy month in April.  Wise up!   Get educated in personal finance and do not allow yourself to be victimized due to financial ignorance. Remember, we all have “The Potential Millionaire.”

April 11

8 secrets of success – (TED Talk)

Why do people succeed? Is it because they’re smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.

Richard St. John, Marketer, success analyst
A self-described average guy who found success doing what he loved, Richard St. John spent more than a decade researching the lessons of success — and distilling them into 8 words, 3 minutes and one successful book

0:11This is really a two-hour presentation I give to high school students, cut down to three minutes. And it all started one day on a plane, on my way to TED, seven years ago. And in the seat next to me was a high school student, a teenager, and she came from a really poor family. And she wanted to make something of her life, and she asked me a simple little question. She said, “What leads to success?”And I felt really badly, because I couldn’t give her a good answer. So I get off the plane, and I come to TED. And I think, jeez, I’m in the middle of a room of successful people! So why don’t I ask them what helped them succeed, and pass it on to kids?

0:47So here we are, seven years, 500 interviews later, and I’m gonna tell you what really leads to successand makes TEDsters tick. And the first thing is passion. Freeman Thomas says, “I’m driven by my passion.” TEDsters do it for love; they don’t do it for money.

1:04Carol Coletta says, “I would pay someone to do what I do.” And the interesting thing is: if you do it for love, the money comes anyway.

1:11Work! Rupert Murdoch said to me, “It’s all hard work. Nothing comes easily. But I have a lot of fun.” Did he say fun? Rupert? Yes!

1:21TEDsters do have fun working. And they work hard. I figured, they’re not workaholics. They’re workafrolics.

1:29Good! Alex Garden says, “To be successful put your nose down in something and get damn good at it.”There’s no magic; it’s practice, practice, practice.

1:39And it’s focus. Norman Jewison said to me, “I think it all has to do with focusing yourself on one thing.”

1:45And push! David Gallo says, “Push yourself. Physically, mentally, you’ve gotta push, push, push.” You gotta push through shyness and self-doubt.

1:54Goldie Hawn says, “I always had self-doubts. I wasn’t good enough; I wasn’t smart enough. I didn’t think I’d make it.”

2:01Now it’s not always easy to push yourself, and that’s why they invented mothers. (Laughter) Frank Gehry — Frank Gehry said to me, “My mother pushed me.”

2:13Serve! Sherwin Nuland says, “It was a privilege to serve as a doctor.”

2:18Now a lot of kids tell me they want to be millionaires. And the first thing I say to them is: “OK, well you can’t serve yourself; you gotta serve others something of value. Because that’s the way people really get rich.”

2:30Ideas! TEDster Bill Gates says, “I had an idea: founding the first micro-computer software company.”I’d say it was a pretty good idea. And there’s no magic to creativity in coming up with ideas – it’s just doing some very simple things. And I give lots of evidence.

2:46Persist! Joe Kraus says, “Persistence is the number one reason for our success.” You gotta persist through failure. You gotta persist through crap! Which of course means “Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure.” (Laughter)

3:01So, the big — the answer to this question is simple: Pay 4,000 bucks and come to TED. Or failing that, do the eight things — and trust me, these are the big eight things that lead to success. Thank you TEDsters for all your interviews!

April 6

How to get your financial house in order by age 30 (USA Today- Money)

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Author: Anne Godlasky, @annieisi, USA TODAY5:38 p.m. EDT May 16, 2013

New wrinkles. Pressure to procreate. And what have you checked off your bucket list lately? Turning 30 can be stressful, even before thinking about personal financial goals and how to achieve them.

Adults 34 and younger grade themselves worse than any other age group in their personal finance knowledge, with 48% giving themselves a C or lower, according to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Financial planners say that needs to change. Millennials have a lot to do to get their house in order.

“I think every birthday you check your credit score and your weight, and one should be going up, and one should be coming down,” says Jean Chatzky, 48, a personal finance expert whose Money School webinars launched last month. “People around 30 are under more pressures than any prior generation,” she says, citing “tremendous” student loan debt, “stagnant” wages, the burst housing bubble and the burden of retirement and health care costs moving increasingly from employers to individuals.

In fact, the average net worth of those under 40 in 2010 was 7% below that of people in the same age range in 1983, the Urban Institute reported in March.

“Thirty today isn’t what 30 was a few decades ago. It could mean single and 30, or married with children,” says Megan Rindskopf, 26, a certified financial planner with ClearView Wealth Management in Charlotte. “I think the biggest issue for people in this age range is knowing how best to deal with competing priorities. A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck. This is kind of the age where you feel you need to grow up.”

WHAT FINANCIAL GOALS SHOULD MILLENNIALS SET?

A good benchmark is to have one year’s salary saved in retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), by age 30, says David Weliver, 32, who created the financial advice websiteMoney Under 30 after recovering from his own problems with debt. Weliver calls the goal “income-based, so it’s not comparing a kindergarten teacher and a Wall Street banker.”

Financial experts recommend saving 10% to 15% of every paycheck to retirement and savings accounts.

However, saving newbies shouldn’t start with 10%, some advise.

“It’s like going on a crash diet — if you go too high, it’s too painful and too likely to fail,” Chatzky says. “Once you manage to set aside 2% for three to six months, then notch it up another 2%. … I’ve never seen a budget where I can’t find some wiggle room.”

As you save money, here are steps to take:

1. Meet obligations. Pay your rent and minimum loan amounts on time to avoid charges and fees.

2. Build an emergency fund. If you have nothing, start with $500-$1,500 to avoid overdrafting your checking account, says Weliver, then grow that buffer into a savings worth three to six months’ salary, to support you in case you lose your job.

3. Pay into 401(k) up to company match. If you don’t do this, “you’re missing out on free money,” Rindskopf says. If your company doesn’t match your 401(k) contributions, Weliver still recommends donating 3- to 5%.

4. Pay off credit card debt. “The biggest payoff is going to come from two things — capturing any matching [401(k)] dollars and paying back credit card debt,” because it is high interest, says Chatzky.

5. Increase savings. Once you’ve paid off debt, built an emergency fund and started saving for retirement, “look at shorter term goals and figure out how much you’ll need in two to five years,” such as paying for a wedding, car or down payment on a house, Weliver says. “You don’t want to put everything in retirement if you don’t have enough to pay for the things you’ll need.”

6. Buy life insurance. “I absolutely recommend it if you’re starting a family or if you have a spouse who depends on you to pay the bills,” says Rindskopf. “Do a little research before you jump in and buy a policy.”

7. Increase 401(k) contributions to 10%, even if it’s beyond company match, Weliver says.

8. Pay off student loans on schedule. Student loans are “tax-deductible and the interest rate is generally low,” says Chatzky.

9. Open tax-advantaged accounts. “If you’ve maxed out [other savings], but you still have money to put aside, look at other tax advantaged accounts you can open. If you have a child, look at the 529″ to save for their college education, Chatzky says.

10. Invest. If you’ve done all of this, increased your retirement and your savings and still have money to spare, you may consider investing in taxable brokerage accounts.

THE GENERATION OF ADJUSTED EXPECTATIONS

Chatzky, a mother of two teens, 18 and 16, says many young adults will need to “choose a smaller lifestyle than earlier generations.”

“It’s very demoralizing to think that the next generation won’t have a shot at doing as well as their parents did,” she says.

Weliver agrees that his generation has a different standard of living.

“We need to lower our expectations,” he says. “Retirement age may be 70. … That just may be the reality of our generation.”

With 32% of those 18-34 saying they put nothing toward retirement, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, even a later retirement date requires getting serious about personal finances as soon as possible.

“When you turn 30, it’s a really good time to make a five-year plan for your finances. Your 20s are notoriously uncertain — you may be moving, in and out of relationships and different jobs — so it’s hard to stick to a five-year plan because things change so quickly,” Weliver says. “By the time you’re 30, things may slow down a bit and there may be a natural progression in terms of savings and salary.”

Follow Anne Godlasky on Twitter @annieisi

April 4

Six (6) Tough Questions To Ask Before Retiring

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Here is a great article from Moneyrates.com. It provides food for thought. Are you ready?

Remember we all have “Potencial Millonario”

Enjoy,

Felix A. Montelara

Author: Potencial Millonario 

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Felix A. Montelara – Author Potencial Millonario (Army Photo 1985)

By Naomi Mannino | Money Rates Columnist

While the biggest factor in deciding when to retire is whether you still need or want to work, there are many other variables to consider to ensure a comfortable and secure life after work.

“There is an upward trend in Americans working beyond age 60,” says Gary Burtless, Ph.D, research associate at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. “And we’ve seen an increasing number of people staying in the workforce until age 72.”

Burtless says that the incentives within the Social Security system and employer-matched 401(k) plan contributions can make working later in life more financially attractive.

In addition, American’s confidence in their ability to retire comfortably is at an all time-low. According to the 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), 60 percent of workers report having less than $25,000 in savings or retirement assets.

In “Women Still at Work: Professionals Over Sixty and On the Job” and a forthcoming book on aging men in the workforce, found that a main reason would-be retirees choose to keep working beyond age 60 is that they enjoy the work and the feeling they are contributing and making a difference.

How can you know whether you’re ready for retirement? Asking yourself these six questions may help. Any “no” answers may mean it’s worth waiting a little longer to retire.

1. Is your credit in order?

“High interest debt on credit cards should be paid off,” says John Ulzheimer, president of SmartCredit.com. “Otherwise it simply doesn’t make sense to retire.”

Ulzheimer notes that carrying debt with interest rates higher than your investment yields can lead to losing money every month.

“It’s not uncommon to have some small vacation rental or remaining mortgage debt upon retirement,” Ulzheimer says. “But this interest is tax-deductible and low-priced, with an end in sight in comparison to credit card debt.”

Ulzheimer also recommends not applying for any new credit and cleaning up any default or collection accounts remaining on your credit report. “Once you’ve stopped working, you will have less capacity to pay off debts and you certainly don’t want collections phone calls,” he says.

2. Have you maxed out your retirement benefits?

“The more money you can put in your monthly retirement income bucket by maximizing the income from all different sources, the better off you will be” says Steve Repak, CFP, author of “Dollars and Uncommon Sense.” “And, currently, a lot of it depends on delaying retirement.”

Repak notes that your Social Security benefits increase until you reach age 70, and that if your employer provides a pension or matches any investment contributions you make, such as those made to a 401(k), it may pay to keep working and let your accounts continue growing.

3. Is your health declining?

Good health is another reason Americans may choose to work longer, according to Fideler.

As a healthy worker, you may find it beneficial to keep your job — and health insurance — until age 65 when Medicare can cover some of your health care expenses. If you retire before age 65, you may pay significantly more to keep health coverage through the COBRA program or your spouse’s employee health plan, says Repak.

“Maintain as active a lifestyle as possible to save money on health care costs now and later,” advises Dr. Paul Terpeluk, D.O., medical director of employee health services at the Cleveland Clinic. “You will avoid spending on prescription and over-the-counter medications, procedures and co-pays for the major sedentary-lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease.”

4. Are you working out of choice?

In the EBRI survey, retirees who worked gave some of these financial reasons:

  • To buy extras
  • Decreased value of their savings or investments
  • Needing money to make ends meet
  • Needing money to keep health insurance or other benefits

“Obviously, if you have more income than expenses, then you have the choice to work at something you enjoy or are passionate about,” Repak says.

“Well-educated, career workers over 60 are more likely to love what they do, find meaning in their work and enjoy their patients, clients and/or students,” says Fideler, who notes that many gradually cut back to part-time work or become consultants or self-employed. “The decision is not irrevocable — if they find themselves bored, they return to work.”

5. Have you minimized your income needs?

“The many retirement calculators and savings and spending formulas don’t work for everyone,” says Repak. “A simple list of monthly retirement expenses and monthly retirement income can show you whether you have enough to retire or not. Try living that budget for a few months to see if it’s realistic,” advises Repak.

If you still have college expenses, dependent family members or other costly obligations, waiting longer to retire may help decrease these expenses, according to the EBRI study.

6. Do you have enough cash?

Repak advises having at least two years of retirement expenses available in liquid, insured savings accounts with the best savings rates you can find. This way, if you need money for a large household repair, car mishap or health emergency, you will not have to raid your retirement accounts or turn to credit cards.

But Repak says you shouldn’t keep more in liquid assets than you need to.

“Liquid, safe money is not currently earning interest ahead of inflation,” says Repak

March 28

The Richest Man in Babylon – Audio

Felix Cesar

The Richest Man in Babylon is a Life Changing Novel using Parables set in Ancient Babylon to discuss Financial Progression and How to Acquire Riches. A Must Read for Success!

I read this book for the first time in 1988, while studying business administration at Southern New Hampshire University on a military campus. I must admit it was difficult for me to visualize the parables as applicable to me.  However, in 2008, 20 years later I purchased a copy of the book at a thrift store. I reacquainted myself with the parables realizing they were very applicable. Today, I live by the teachings of the parables. I am financially free.

Enjoy,

Felix A. Montelara

Author & Host Potencial Millonario and Author of Bulletproof Finances (Future Release 2014)

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March 26

The Millionaire Next Door – Audio

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The Millionaire Next Door accumulates 100′s of interviews within wealth ranking neighborhoods and discovers the habit so many of these wealthy individuals share. *A must read for success. I’ve provided the full audiobook of the novel for you to listen to.

You will need about 8:45 hour to listen to this audio. If you do complete the audiobook it will lead you to succeed with money. The authors of  The Millionaire Next Door make it clear that high income does not equal wealth. Want to learn more? Enjoy the audiobook below.

Felix A. Montelara

Host & Author: Potencial Millonario and Author: Bulletproof Finances (Future Release Summer 2014)

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