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The Secret Method for Establishing Your Child’s Financial Future

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The innate drive I have as a parent to teach, influence, and leave a legacy for my children was unexpected. It was sparked at the hospital when they were born and hasn’t stopped since then.

While I was growing up, I wasn’t taught much about money, investing, business, and entrepreneurship. I had to learn a lot of painful lessons. I have been fortunate to establish a financial system from which my kids are already benefiting.

My system runs contrary to the traditional financial system parents and grandparents used to save for their kids’ future in many ways.

But the only way to get uncommon results is through uncommon means. This is my system for establishing for your child’s future.

The Unnecessary Burden of a 529 Plan

The 529 plan, also called a qualified tuition plan, is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs. These plans are very popular and have become a sacred cow, even though they have only been around since 1996.

When my two girls were born, my dad was insistent on contributing to a 529 plan for college. At the time, I was barely into my first job out of college and hadn’t learned what I teach now, so I decided to open one up.

Today, millions of people have them, and your kids and grandkids are attached to them. In my experience, saying no to a 529 plan is like telling a mother her baby is ugly.

I don’t want to say what you’re doing is bad. You’re planning for your child or grandchild’s financial well-being, which is commendable. But if you look at the nature of a 529 plan, it’s not set up for your best interests or the best interests of the child or grandchild.

It’s pitched to you as a benefit, but it’s just another way for Wall Street to sell you mutual funds and make money off your desire to do well by your kids.

The objective of the 529 plan is to put money away and pay for future college expenses while getting a tax benefit for doing so. The catch is, if the money is not used for college or some other qualified higher education expense, you have to pay penalties for withdrawing it. What if you don’t need the account anymore—your kid decides to skip college, for instance—and you want to use that money for something else? Is the penalty you pay on the 529 plan worth it from the beginning?

Additionally, the burden on families to completely fund college has an opportunity cost that is difficult to quantify. Because of that, the financial future of the family may be put in jeopardy. I have seen it bankrupt a few.

The 529 in Practice

Here’s an example of what I mean. Assume your child is five years old and you have committed to taking care of their educational costs for a four-year degree.

Right now, the average annual cost to attend a public university is $25,000, rising by 5 percent a year. That means that by the time a five-year-old today is 18 and ready to go to college, tuition would be almost $50,000. Over four years, factoring in tuition rises, that comes to a total cost of $213,344.

For a 529 account to pay out that much when it’s needed, it has to start with $100,000 and earn a net 5 percent every year through graduation.

Or, you could just save $8,147 a year for 18 years.

To really drive this point home, the opportunity cost for the family during their later years is really where the price is paid.

If you saved $8,147 a year for 18 years and then let it grow past that point until your future retirement, your balance at the end of 35 years would be $551,602.

If you spent that down through a 20-year retirement, the cash flow would be $42,154.24 per year, for a total lost opportunity cost of: $843,084.80.

A More Certain Future

The opportunity cost that comes with following the typical college path doesn’t simply disappear if funded through a WMA—it only gives you more options.

You’re trying to prepare for something in the future that may not happen the way you think or may not happen at all. Consider the opportunity cost of that money—what that money could do between now and the time your child goes to college.

When I learned about what I do today, I cancelled the 529 plans I had and opened Wealth Maximization Accounts on each of my kids. Today, I have multiple policies for each of them.

However, the idea isn’t simply to treat these as 529 comparisons. The money inside a WMA can be used now, without any restrictions. In my experience, that has been a most powerful tool to teach kids, including my own, about money.

Instead of saying no to things they want, I can say yes. The money is borrowed against their policies, however, so it becomes their responsibility to pay it back. We call it our family bank.

For example, my daughter Meghan has used her policies to buy numerous types of electronics and a $400 gymnastics mat, amounting to thousands of dollars cumulatively. She had to create a payback plan before she was given the money. She felt she could earn enough for the payments by increasing the amount of babysitting she did in the neighborhood.

She also researched ways to earn bigger tips by giving better service, such as making little videos of the kids, making sure the house was cleaner than when the parents left, and leaving a handwritten note. This experience has given Meghan an appreciation for where money comes from, what a loan is, and what interest is—both the interest you pay and the interest you earn. I know that will benefit her in the future.

Wealth Maximization Accounts for your kids are the ideal way to teach them about money and also to prepare for their future purchases, such as a car, college, and beyond. Properly structured plans are a superior alternative to a 529 college savings plan. For more resources take a look at Paradigm Life.

Patrick Donohoe is the President and CEO of Paradigm Life, a company he founded to help clients build wealth, create income for life, and leave a legacy of service to those who will inherit their assets. Patrick is a popular speaker at wealth management seminars and hosts The Wealth Standard Radio, a popular financial podcast on the TuneIn network. Patrick grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut, and attended the University of Utah, where he received his BA degree in economics. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and three children.

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Back to school self-care tips for mom

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Tell me it’s not true! School has already begun?

These are the thoughts of millions of moms around the world, as they enter into the first few weeks of the school year.

Are you prepared? Do you know what you need to do to stay at the top of your game as a mom with kids in school?

For the past 28 years, number one best-selling author, counselor and life coach David Essel has been helping millions upon millions of people every year get into the practice of self-care, and moms, you might need this more than anyone.

Below, David talks about the six key self care tips, they can help you keep sane, during the school year.

Almost 20 years ago, I worked with my first mom who was having a serious anxiety attack 30 days into the school year.

She was nervous and anxious, because one of her children was going into first grade, and the other child was going to high school… Two daunting experiences for most children in their lifetime.

And she was really feeling their anxiety, and her own.

So, we sat down, over the period of several months, and went over all the most important self care tips that she needed to be following in order to be at her best.

The problem is that she wasn’t doing any of them, and actually felt guilty and filled with shame that she was looking at taking time for herself when she really needed to be putting all of her free time into her children and family.

But she was wrong.

Many women, many moms are wrong when it comes to the amount of time they put into their own self-care versus that of their children and family.

Below, are the six most important key self care tips for all moms to follow, when you have children in school:

Number one. Exercise. I know, I know, I know. You have no time.

Nonsense.

Everyone has time to exercise, it’s whether you want to make it a priority or not.

Exercise of any type releases endorphins in the brain, feel good chemicals, anti-depressant chemicals, that can keep your mood elevated even when you’re going through the stressful experiences that your children are.

What type of exercises is best? The answer to this question is really easy: the type of exercise you’ll do on a regular basis. That’s it. No secrets. That’s it.

So, if you’re into yoga, Pilates, running, weight training, Zumba classes… I could care less what you’re into, just get engaged in the activity 3 to 4 days a week at minimal.

Do you hate all of the above?

Then walk dammit. I’m laughing as I write that, don’t take it personally, it’s just the truth.

No excuses when it comes to exercise. If you want to walk, or that’s the only thing you’ll do, 30 minutes a day minimal, seven days a week is what you need to try to say sane in this world.

Number two.   Stay in close touch with your children’s teachers. Don’t be a nag, but I recommend at least every two weeks to touch base and ask their teachers about your children’s behavior, performance, effort and the end result of their work.

Now for the millions of teachers out there that are also moms that are reading this, you’re probably going to be pissed off at me right now because I’m recommending parents to stay close in touch with you.

It’s OK that you’re irritated with me, but I can tell you from experience, that the very best thing a parent can do is to be in close contact with the only other person that has her children more than she does on a daily basis: teachers.

Number three.  Eat every 3 to 4 hours. Your energy levels, which is tied 100% into your blood sugar levels, need to be elevated throughout the day in order to reduce the chances of irritability, impatience, yelling… At the simplest thing that your children do.

We have found with all of our clients, when they eat every 3 to 4 hours a combination of protein and vegetables or a small amount of fruit, that they dramatically decrease their irrational reactions to the children’s behavior before and or after school. Never, ever, ever skip meals. Every 3 to 4 hours, eat something healthy.

Number four.  Remember, your children are children. I don’t care if they’re six, or 16, they’re kids.

Recently, one of my clients with a 14-year-old child, a young girl, snuck out of the house when she had a sleepover, got in a car full of boys, and they went on a joy ride at midnight.

Everyone was safe, no one got hurt, and when her daughter came back to the house she was filled with guilt and shame for breaking the rule surrounding not leaving the house during a sleepover.

Many parents would absolutely flip out, ground their children for six months or do some other outrageous rages disciplinary action… Because they’re being freaking children.

The role of the child, as they age, is to learn to become independent. To live on their own. To make their own decisions. And guess what mom and dad? They’re going to make mistakes.

If you were the perfect child, good for you, but that’s not normal. Most children will try to push boundaries and territories and we must be firm, without being ridiculous.

My client, recommended when she talked to her former husband, that they take away her privilege for sleepovers for several weeks, and get her involved in community action, whether it’s picking up trash on the side of the road or some kind of service… Which I told her was a brilliant move.

Her husband? He didn’t see it that way. He wanted to be the big bad Wolf. He wanted to go after and beat the hell out of the boys in the car. He wanted to take away her phone and ground her for months. He was being a bully, I’m sorry I’m just gonna call it the way it is.

If you can’t sit down and talk with your children, with a consequence yes, and not bully them and berate them and beat them down, you suck as a parent.

Please get into counseling with someone who can teach you How to be a reasonable adult. If this irritates you, you need a lot of counseling.

And if you really think I’m wrong? Hire me for eight weeks, I’ll work with you one on one and teach you how to be a phenomenal, loving, boundary setting parent… Something this world needs more of.

Number five.   relaxation techniques. Get involved with meditation, deep breathing, you can go and google my relaxation video on YouTube, a brief meditation, and do it every day.

It doesn’t matter if it’s four minutes a day or 30 minutes a day, get into the habit of doing breathing or meditation exercises. I recommend guided breathing or guided meditation, so you don’t have to try to do something that is so foreign for most of us.

This will lower your anxiety, decrease a percentage of depression, boost immune system functioning and much more.

Number six.  Journal every day. Right about the great things your kids are doing, and the challenges they’re offering you. Balance your writing. But get it out of your head on paper, and then you can actually share that with a counselor, minister, priest or life coach if you run into serious parenting issues.

Over the last almost 30 years, I’ve worked with children as low as 10 years of age who are filled with either anxiety or anger all the way up to 18 years of age as they were preparing to leave high school and go on their own… Struggling with alcohol, drugs, peer pressure and more.

There’s a darn good chance as a parent you’re going to need a support system outside of friends and family, once again a counselor, therapist or a life coach could be a saving adjunct, or tool, to your parenting experiences.

Over the last 40 years, I have had the greatest opportunity in the world, to learn how to be a parent to four different children.

A role model. At first, I was overly demanding, yes, I was a bully, and that was in 1980.

Recently, three years ago, I became the male role model for a beautiful 10-year-old little girl who now is 13 1/2, who never had a consistent, loving, caring, male role model… And it is been the most incredible experience for both of us.

But hold on Sally! That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. I’ve had to use incredible patience, outrageous communication skills, and allow her to grow at her rate… Not my rate.

Think about that as a parent.    I know, by following the above six tips, you can rock your own world, and become the parent that maybe you’ve always wanted to have in life.

(more…)

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How to Determine If You Are Eligible for an EIN

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An Employer Identification Number or EIN number is important for new businesses. It helps the Internal Revenue Service or IRS to monitor businesses. Through the nine-digit unique number assigned to different business entities, also known as Federal Tax ID Number, acts like a Social Security Number, it is only meant for a business or company.

If you are planning to start up a business or will restructure your current one, you need to obtain an EIN. The first thing to do to get an EIN number is to determine whether you are eligible for one.

Here are the different types of entities:

  •      Sole Proprietor – This refers to a lone ownership of an unincorporated company, which is not registered with the state as a limited liability company.
  •      Limited Liability Company – Also called an LLC, a limited liability company is formed by filing articles of organization with the secretary of state. The owners of an LLC are called members.
  •      Partnership – An unincorporated organization with at least two members.
  •      Corporation – A person or a group who establish an identity through filing an Article of Incorporation with the state secretary’s approval.
  •      S Corporation – A domestic corporation that elects its status through Form 2553 to avoid double taxation

If you are part of a farmer’s cooperative, a non-profit organization, or real estate mortgage conduits, then you are eligible to apply for an EIN. Sole proprietors who employ at least one individual must get an EIN too. An estate EIN is also needed if you have created a trust or represent an estate of a deceased business owner. Once you’ve identified your entity you can easily apply for an EIN online anytime for free at https://www.irs-ein-tax-id.com/. When you send your application online during business hours, you will receive your EIN via email on the same day.

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My Dream Job as CEO of a Porn Company

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Bella French of ManyVids

If you would have told me five years ago that I was going to build a successful porn company, chances are I’d say you’re crazy (or probably call you something worse). But here I am, CEO and co-founder of ManyVids, and I could not be prouder or more professionally challenged. This is my dream job, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

So how does a girl like me wind up in a place like this? It’s been a wild ride. Starting my own business was always in the cards, from setting up a lemonade stand as a child, to studying business in University. Everything seemed to be going according to plan as I was busy running my own clothing store, but when a flood destroyed my inventory and wiped me out financially, that’s when things went from bad to weird. Desperate for cash, a friend of mine suggested I could make some quick money as a cam girl. I had never heard the term before, so as soon as he explained that “camming” involved stripping or performing simulated sexual acts in front of a camera, I let him know exactly what I thought of his not-so modest proposal. There is no way I would EVER do something like that! But two weeks later, amid growing debt and no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, there I was, adjusting the lighting, fixing my hair and setting up for my first cam show.

 

I soon put everything I had into being the best cam girl there was. I researched it day and night, worked on my wardrobe, my technique and building a loyal audience. Spending this time inside an industry that is pretty much in the unknown to most people, I was shocked to discover a world I had never given much thought to. The people who work in the adult entertainment business, from the men and women creating amateur cam videos to porn stars in adult films, they were all lovely, gentle, and clever human beings who deserved to be treated with respect and have greater control over what they do. Porn is a multi-billion-dollar industry and from what I can tell, these “porn stars” weren’t making their fair share of the profits.

So, I put on my entrepreneurial hat once again and decided to step away from in front of the camera to build a website that was an e-commerce platform for these sex workers that would make each one of them entrepreneurs as well. They would have their own marketplace, where they set up what they’d like to sell, setting the price, producing and promoting their content on their terms, and they would have full copyright ownership of their work, a huge deal in an industry full of pirated content. Plus, we would promote sex-positivity and raise awareness about the issue of abuse among sex workers. And so ManyVids was born. In the beginning it was just the three of us, Sed, my friend and now boyfriend who had originally introduced the idea of camming, along with our friend Gino. Together we worked in a basement apartment, the guys worked on the coding and the back end for the website and I came up with the marketing plans to launch our product and managed all the financial aspects of running the business.

After 3 months of intense work, things started to take off and it kept growing faster and faster.  As the company grew, success came with a whole slew of different problems: basically, how do we keep up? There were cash flow problems, lack of resources, lack of experience, lack of time and lack of space. We converted our apartment into our official ManyVids Office. We kept one room to sleep in and transformed the rest of space for working. At that time, every decision we took was a huge risk. Because of the lack of funds, one wrong move and everything, the business, our dreams would be over. We hired our first team members without having the proper funds. We believe it was the right decision and it was. We moved the MV Offices from the basement apartment into a much bigger, much nicer office space, moving a few times as the team grew, to our current 16 000 square feet office in Montreal, Quebec.

Today, almost 4 years after the initial launch of ManyVids.com, the MV Team is composed of over 100 dedicated team members that believe in our vision and mission and wish to help adult content creators from all over the world become successful independent entrepreneurs.

 

At ManyVids, we have the utmost respect for all our strong and courageous MV Stars. There are over 17,200 performers on our site and the most important thing that we want to get across to them is this:

“You are not alone! You are important and you can and will accomplish amazing things in this world”.

I am incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished and it’s just the beginning. There is an incredible amount of work ahead of us that to help change perceptions and conditions for these people who give so much of themselves. I truly believe that it’s possible to have a profitable business that considers caring and helping a top priority that influences everything we do. What could be better than that?

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