2016 Investment Strategy

On January 9, 2016, in Finance, by Early Financial Freedom

2016 has had a rocky start, all Major Indexes are down 6% or more for the first week of the year. There are a lot of talk of another 2008-09 like crisis and 30% or more market drop. They are all scary news for sure.


Our investment portfolio has two parts; taxable accounts and tax differed accounts (IRA and SEP-IRA). Our asset allocation for taxable accounts are 54% stocks and 46% bonds. Tax-deferred accounts asset allocation is way more aggressive; it is 93% stocks and 7% bonds. Overall asset allocation is 88% stocks and 12% bonds.


We are at least 25 years away from withdrawing from our tax-deferred accounts so we chose a more aggressive asset allocation. Honestly, when the stocks are down, I wish I had more money to buy stocks.


Therefore, my investment strategy for 2016 is to buy, buy and buy whenever we can.


What is yours?


On October 18, 2015, in General, by Early Financial Freedom

I just read “What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard N. Bolles. It is a gem. Below are some of the parts I found interesting from the book.



The Key Ideas for Successful Job-Hunting in the 21st Century

Principle #1: You Are the Given. (Find a job that fits you)

Principle #2: The Importance of a Self-Inventory. (Know yourself)

Principle #3: Creative Job-Hunting Rests on Your Finding Answers to Three Questions: What? Where? and How?

Principle #4: Search for What You Love, Not Just for What You Can Do.

Principle #5: In Creative Job-Hunting, You Treat Every Job-Hunt as Though It Were a Career Change.

Principle #6: You Must Always Prioritize.

Principle #7: Go After Any Organization That Interests You, Whether or Not They Are Known to Have a Vacancy.

Principle #8: Go After Small Companies (with 25, 50, or 100 Employees at Most).

Principle #9: In Approaching an Organization, Try to Avoid the HR (Human Resources) Department, If They Have One.

Principle #10: Resumes Are a Lousy Way to Go About Finding a Job.

Principle #11: Use Contacts or “Bridge People” to Get in for an Interview.

Principle #12: Use Three Different Kinds of Interviews, in Your Job Search.

Principle #13: Keep in Mind That in an Interview There Are Only Five Questions an Employer Is Really Concerned About.

  1. “Why are you here?”
  2. “What can you do for us?”
  3. “What kind of person are you?”
  4. “What distinguishes you from, say, nineteen other people whom we are interviewing for this job?”
  5. “Can we afford you?”

Principle #14: Notice Time in an Interview.

  1. Half and Half.
  2. 20 to 2.
  3. Past, Present, Future

Principle #15: At the End of All the Interviews at That Place, Ask for the Job.

Principle #16: Always Send a Thank You Note the Same Day.

Principle #17: Remember, Job-Hunting Is by Its Very Nature a Long Process of Rejection.

Principle #18: Always Have Alternatives.


Your sole purpose, for your resume, if you’re targeting individual employers, is to get yourself invited in for an interview. Period.


The primary purpose of a resume is to get yourself invited in for an interview.

The primary purpose of that interview is to get yourself invited back for a second interview.

The primary purpose of the second and subsequent interviews there, is to help them decide that they like you and want you, once you’ve decided that you like them, and could do some of your best work there.


Broadly speaking, then, the job-market consists of the following four arenas: agriculture, manufacturing, information, and services

Level is a matter of how much responsibility you want, in an organization:

❑ Boss or CEO (this may mean you’ll have to form your own business)

❑ Manager or someone under the boss who carries out orders

❑ The head of a team

❑ A member of a team of equals

❑ One who works in tandem with one other partner

❑ One who works alone, either as an employee or as a consultant to an organization, or as a one-person business


When the timeframe of the interviewer’s questions moves firmly into the future, then is the time for you to get more specific about the job in question. Experts say it is essential for you to ask, at that point, these kinds of questions, if you don’t already know the answers:

  • What is the job, specifically, that I am being considered for?
  • If I were hired, what duties would I be performing?
  • What would you be hiring me to accomplish?
  • What responsibilities would I have?
  • Would I be working with a team, or group?
  • To whom would I report? (Remember, the communication skills and personal warmth of an employee’s supervisor are often crucial in determining the employee’s tenure and performance. In fact, recent research shows that the quality of the supervisor may be more important than the experience and individual attributes of the workers themselves.)
  • Whose responsibility is it to see that I get the training I need, here, to get up to speed?
  • How would I be evaluated, how often, and by whom?
  • What were the strengths and weaknesses of previous people in this position?
  • May I meet the persons I would be working with and for (if it isn’t you)?
  • (Optional) If you don’t mind my asking, I’m curious as to why you yourself decided to work at this organization?
  • (Optional) What do you wish you had known about this company before you started here?


The First Secret of Salary Negotiation

Never Discuss Salary Until the End of the Whole Interviewing Process at That Organization, When (and If) They Have Definitely Said They Want You

The Second Secret of Salary Negotiation

The Purpose of Salary Negotiation Is to Uncover the Most That an Employer Is Willing to Pay to Get You

The Third Secret of Salary Negotiation

During Salary Discussion, Never Be the First One to Mention a Salary Figure

The Fourth Secret of Salary Negotiation

Before You Go to the Interview, Do Some Careful Research on Typical Salaries for Your Field and in That Organization

The Fifth Secret of Salary Negotiation

Research the Range That the Employer Likely Has in Mind, and Then Define an Interrelated Range for Yourself, Relative to the Employer’s Range

The Sixth Secret of Salary Negotiation

Know How to Bring the Salary Negotiation to a Close; Don’t Leave It “Just Hanging”


You figure out who you are, and what you most love to do. Then you decide which organizations match you. And you do not wait until they announce they have a vacancy. You approach them anyway, not through a resume but through a person, specifically a bridge person—someone who knows them and also knows you.


The Twelve Best and Worst Ways to Look for a Job

  1. Looking for employers’ job-postings on the Internet. This method apparently works on average just 4% of the time.
  2. Posting or mailing out your resume to employers. 7%
  3. Answering local newspaper ads. This method works somewhere between 5% of the time, on up to 24%
  4. Going to private employment agencies or search firms for help. This method apparently works somewhere between 5% of the time, on up to 28% (at best).
  5. Answering ads in professional or trade journals, appropriate to your field. This method apparently works only 7% of the time.
  6. “Job Clubs.” There are hundreds of job-hunting groups that call themselves “job clubs.” Sorry, they are not. Their job-hunting success rate is usually around 10%, if that.
  7. Going to the state or federal employment office. This method works 14% of the time
  8. Going to places where employers pick up workers. If you’re a union member, particularly in the trades or construction, and you have access to a union hiring hall, this method will find you work, up to 22% of the time.
  9. Asking for job-leads. This method works 33% of the time.
  10. Knocking on the door of any employer, office, or manufacturing plant. This method works 47% of the time. It works best with small employers (25 or less employees) as you might have guessed.
  11. Using the Yellow Pages. This method works 65% of the time.
  12. The Parachute Approach. This method, faithfully followed, step by step, works 86% of the time.


Here are five steps that job-hunters or career-changers have found tremendously helpful to take—in this order:

First, You Need to Find Out What Careers or Jobs Your Flower Points To.

Second, You Need to Try on Careers Before You Decide Which Ones to Pursue.

Third, You Need to Find Out What Kinds of Organizations Have Such Jobs.

Fourth, You Need to Find Names of Particular Places That Interest You.

Fifth, You Need to Learn as Much as You Can About a Place Before Formally Approaching Them.


What is it you should research about places before you approach them for a hiring-interview? Well, first of all, you want to know something about the organization from the inside: what kind of work they do there. Their style of working. Their so-called corporate culture. And what kinds of goals they are trying to achieve, what obstacles or challenges they are running into, and how your skills and knowledges can help them. In the interview you must be prepared to demonstrate that you have something they need. That begins with finding out what they need.


Shyness Issue?

If you’re talking with someone, for example, and you are enthusiastic about the topic under discussion, you will forget that you are shy, in your excitement. Everything depends on what you’re talking about, and how you feel about that topic.


Why is it called “PIE”?

P is for the warm-up phase. John Crystal named this warm-up. “The Practice Field Survey.” Daniel Porot calls it P for pleasure.

I is for “Informational Interviewing.”

E is for the employment interview with the-person-who-has-the-power-to-hire-you.


How to Start Your Own Business – Case Studies

You will notice, right away, some things that are common to these case histories:

  1. a) These people didn’t need a whole lot of money to launch their own business.
  2. b) They did have to do research, sometimes plenty of it, to make it work.
  3. c) All three of them used the Internet to make their product, service, or expertise, known.
  4. d) None of them went down the traditional paths that people used to go down, when considering self-employment, such as buying a franchise, or being sucked in by one of those well-advertised “work-at-home” projects that used to sound appetizing to the unwary. “Being self-employed” wears quite a different face these days, compared to what it used to.
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On October 4, 2015, in Finance, by Early Financial Freedom

My wife/business partner and I have been discussing a new business idea for a few days now. I was looking for some tips on how to verify a business idea and found some (three to be exact) practical articles about the topic, below.


3 Steps to Validate Your Business Idea For FREE…almost

Step 1 – Create a Landing Page

Step 2 – Run an Adwords Campaign

Step 3 – Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! … or Try Again

Now you get to see what happens…



Validate Your Business Idea — Quickly — With These 5 Steps

  1. Look for it, do a Google search
  2. Seek feedback. Talk to others about your idea, especially people you trust. At this stage, what you want is brutally honest feedback.
  3. Build an MVP. If your idea has support, then consider developing an MVP, or minimum viable product, to determine if it is a product you and others would really use
  4. Start building your identity. If your testing goes well and you feel that you might have a winning idea, start building a brand around it now.
  5. Hash a customer acquisition plan. Before you dive into a lengthy business plan, which more than likely will be obsolete before you even launch, focus on two questions:

“How do I get my first customer?”

“How do I get my n-th customer?”



Think Your Business Idea Rocks? 10 Ways to Know

  1. No one else is doing it
  2. Someone else is doing it … but not like this
  3. It solves a problem
  4. It’s fundable
  5. It fills a niche
  6. If your idea for a business solves a very specific problem— one that only a select group of people need solved— you might be onto something big
  7. People you don’t know say it’s a good idea
  8. People you trust say it’s a good idea
  9. It does well at trade/consumer shows
  10. It’s easy to understand
  11. Your heart is in it