Solano Real Estate Scene: Pay yourself first

I sometimes feel like my kids, my clients and my staff might be getting a little tired of me talking about “it’s all about the math” and “the magic of compound interest.” However, I am not going to stop. A strong middle and upper-middle class is vital to my kids’ and grandkids’ future, and financial education is key to making time work for you rather than against you. I have clients and friends that are retired without a financial worry in the world that never made more than $25 per hour over their 30- or 40-year career. They made smart and simple decisions over 40 years and retired debt free and will outlive their money and equity. Twenty-eight years ago, a financial coach taught me the concept of paying myself first. I made decent income for the first 10 years of my career but was beyond broke when I heard this concept. I definitely believe that having a high FICO score and paying all your bills on time is critical to blue-collar wealth growth. The expression “the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer” is applicable in America today. Sixty-two percent of the country has less than $1,000 in the bank. The rich generally have high FICO scores and the poor do not, leaving the poor having to pay higher interest rates on auto loans, credit cards and mortgages, which handcuffs the poor to a vicious cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. This coach’s point was that your water bill and PG&E are very important and certainly your auto insurance better be paid and never lapse, but aren’t you and your dependents more important than your creditors? We obviously need to pay credit cards off every month, if possible, and if not, make sure that you maintain a perfect credit rating to keep your credit card rates below 10 percent, but aren’t you and your family’s financial security more important than Visa and PG&E? If a person is not fully vested in a very strong government pension plan, then establishing a large retirement fund by the time you are 70 is mandatory for yourself and your family. The concept is so simple. When you get paid, pay yourself first. Do something such as a payroll deduction or auto withdrawal from your bank or credit union account so the money isn’t easy to grab and spend out of your checking account. Hide the money from yourself in stocks, gold and real estate. Maximize your SEP IRA or your 401k plan, and every single month invest 15 to 20 percent of your income in assets that grow historically better than the inflation rate. Be an owner (investor), not a loaner (saver). Happy Holidays and get started now.