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Investing to One Million Dollars or Bust!

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I bought shares in a couple Canadian energy trusts (PWI and PGH) about 2 years ago. I had them in my Roth IRA so they were tax free. Well, they were tax free from the US government, the but the Canadians were still taking a chunk. I think there might have been some way to got those taxes back since I am not a Canadian citizen, but I am not sure. And the amounts involved probably would not have been worth it. I have been considering selling them for a while. But then I have heard that the Canadians are going to change the way they tax the energy trusts, and will be taking a larger chunk out in taxes. Ouch! I decided it was time to sell them.
But I didn’t want to sell them imediately. These stocks pay dividends out monthly. And if I sold them at the wrong time, I would get a dividend, and it would have been re-invested and I would have now had a tiny fraction of a share of each of the stocks. I didn’t want that. So I waited until the dividend was paid out, then I sold them before the next ex-dividend date came around.

I got a letter in the mail telling me about a Rich Dad seminar that was going to be in the area. I love these get rich seminars. They are always entertaining. I have read a couple of the Rich Dad books by Robert Kiyosaki, and they were okay. I am not really big on the writing style. But I have picked up a few ideas from them. The theme of the seminar was “Learn To Be Rich Training”. So I signed up.
I arrived at 5:30 for the 6pm seminar. The only people around were the seminar people. I quickly checked in, and got my name tag which read “I Invest In My Future”. The signs said “What the rich teach their kids about money that the poor & middle class don’t”. The guy said the doors would open at 6pm, so I left to get some food.
I got back at about 5:45, and now there were now lots of people waiting to register, or waiting to get in. Most of the people were informally dressed in t-shirts and jeans or even shirts.
The doors opened at about 6:05pm. I took a seat towards the front. The were projecting motivational success quotes on the screen while playing music. People flowed in. I am guess there were between 125 and 150 people there. There was a package of stuff on display titled “You Can Choose To Be Rich”.
The seminar got started about 6:15, and was all about real estate. I don’t remember it saying that in the flyer that I got in the mail, but it might have. But when they called on the phone to remind me, they kept mentioning the real estate seminar.
The trainer guy came out. He was a very good presenter. He would get the audience involved without making it look as forced, or mechanical as some other presenters I have seen.
I am not going to go over everything that was covered in the seminar. But a large chunk of it was success stories of people who used the training. He talked a lot about the deals he has done. During a small chunk of the seminar he talked about his personal life, about running a foster care home, and adopting a young boy. A relatively small part was informational.
He talked a lot about the Cash Flow 101 game. I was intrigued, and considered buying it. There is also a Cash Flow 202 game as well. But then I looked it up this morning on the net, and see that it sells for hundreds of dollars. Hundreds of dollars for a board game? Give me a break! Maybe I will check out eBay.
Overall, the teaching to sales pitch ratio seemed pretty low. They were mostly trying to sell you on the $495 Rich Dad Academy (regularly $995, but $495 if you sign up at the seminar). I wonder what they would do if you called up the 800 number, and held out for the $495 price. They would probably make an exception…oh!!! you were at the seminar…I talked to my manager and he said I could give you the $495 price…yadda yadda yadda.
The seminar got a little slow towards the end. I considered leaving, but figured that this close to the end, I might as well stay and get my free audio CD. The seminar ended about 8:30pm. I grabbed my free audio CD, and went home.

I just got an interesting email yesterday. It said they are increasing the employer match for our 401k plans. They currently macth 50% your contributions up to 6%. So if I contributed 6% or more (I contribute over 25%), they would match 3% of my salary. But with the new schedule, they will match at 4% of my salary if I contribute 6% or more.

Our new 401k employer match schedule reads as:
If you contribute 1% previous match was 0.5% current match is 1%
If you contribute 2% previous match was 1% current match is 2%
If you contribute 3% previous match was 1.5% current match is 3%
If you contribute 4% previous match was 2% current match is 3.5%
If you contribute 5% previous match was 2.5% current match is 4%
If you contribute 6% or more, previous match was 3% current match is 4%

I will get a little more, but not a lot. But it will add up over time. I will still continue to contribute so as to max out my 401k!

I hate selling stocks, but basically I am trading one investment for another. My wife goes back to school next month for post graduate stuff to get her teaching credentials. She was unhappy in her previous job for years. Now she will become a teacher. But the college tuition will cost about $30,000! Ouch! I had over $17,000 in my regular brokerage account. I also have over $4,000 in company stock, and some stock options which will need to be exercised in the next year or two. I don’t want to borrow money to pay for the school. So I sold some stocks. I had been considering selling some of the stocks, and buying more of the ETFs. So I will keep the ETFs for last, and sell the stocks first. I sold my shares of Cabela’s, Carnival, Lowes, and Target. Each of these is a good company, but they also have strong competitors such as Bass Pro Shops, Royal Caribbean, Home Depot, and Walmart. I still need to sell something else to cover her first semester’s tuition.
But once she becomes a teacher, she will be getting good benefits, and a fairly good salary. Hopefully she will be happier. And then we can start building up our savings again. I am still contributing the max to my 401k, and she still has a couple 401ks with some good money in them.

My wife is going back to school in the fal to get her teaching credentials. I am guessing it will cost us about $30,000 over the year or longer that she is going to school. The holdings I have in my regular brokerage account are worth a little over $17,000. I also own about $4000 worth of my company stock. I will probably sell much of these to pay for her school. Then when she is done with school and gets a job as a teacher, we can start building our portfolio again. I am still stuffing money into my 401k (which passed $320,000 the other day). And my Roth IRA is worth over $15,000, and she has a small IRA, and a couple 401k plans with money in them.
I will probably sell some of the indivdual company stocks in my portfolio first.
I don’t want to borrow money. I gotta get my credit card balance back down again. Thankfully, I only owe about 4-5 more months worth of payments on my car till it’s paid off!

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