My Summer Reading List 2015 (L175)

Create a reading list (equivalent to that of roughly 8 books) for this coming summer. The books you choose should focus on either business, personal finance, and/or economics.
Each of the books I have chosen were picked from the suggested reading lists in this weeks lessons. I also left the majority of the other book suggestions (which I did not choose) at the bottom of the page.

The first book I picked (at almost 200 pages) is called Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By, by Carey Siegel. I chose this book first because it covers a broad range of principles at a few pages a piece; I think it will be an impacting way to begin my summer reading.
The second book I picked is called What Has Government Done To Our Money, and like many other books on the suggestion list, it was written by Murray Rothbard. Being a short book, it doesn’t fail to cover crucial topics in understanding the gold standard, the history of money, and the barter system.
The third book I picked to read this summer was written by Bob Murphy, and while being officially titled The Great Depression and The New Deal, it is also known as the “Politically Incorrect Guide to The Great Depression”.
The fourth book I chose is How Capitalism Saved America, by Tom DiLorenzo; I am rusty in my economic history and this will hopefully be a good book to help me brush up.
The fifth book I’ve chosen is The Cause of The Economic Crisis, by Ludwig von Mises (who also appears on the suggestion list quite a few times).
The sixth book I’ve chosen is called Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow, by Ludwig von Mises.
The seventh book I chose is called Trade Offs, by Harold Winter. It covers the economic “trade offs” between safety/quality, and expense.
The eighth (but not the last) book I’ve chosen to add to my reading list this summer is The Road To Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek.

Other Books On The Suggestion List Included:

  • Applied Economics by Thomas Sowell
  • A Beginners Guide to Investing: How to Grow Your Money The Smart and Easy Way by Frey, Frey and Byte (100 P)
  • Common Sense Economics by Gwartney, Stroup, Lee, and Ferrarini
  • Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson
  • America’s Great Depression by Murray Rothbard
  • The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke by Suze Orman (400 P)
  • Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Top 5 Investing Habits I’d Pass On To A Younger Person (L140)

Having not been taught good finance habits as a child, I grew up a somewhat inefficient adult. I knew to be thrifty, and to make new of the old; I knew how to gain resources (on a budget). However, never had I been taught how to conserve those resources. Money, being an irregular excitement, didn’t last long when in my possession. Then, when I started getting older and getting more money, I still wasn’t saving for anything! Not things I wanted, and not things I needed. This has proved to be an issue in recent years, and I have been left to my own resources to discover a better way. Personal Finance has absolutely set me on the right path to be a financially sound adult.

Stocks and bonds are not the only forms of investment; do not be afraid to invest in your future by not investing your money into anything else. Being prepared both for the expected and unexpected financial hits is key to being successful. Save in advance for college, or a house, or a car, and avoid debt at all costs. Sometimes it is more beneficial to conserve all your resources than to take any chances with them, no matter what the return could be.

Should one decide to invest their money into a company, my biggest piece of advice would be to research! Check out estimations of the immediate and long term future of the companies. Make sure you absolutely know what you’re doing before you put your money on the line. Know the difference between risky and dangerous transactions.

 Hopefully, this is advice you have heard before; but if not, take heed! If you’re going to put your money on the line, you don’t want to loose it all in one fluke shot. You’re more likely to be a successful investor if you spread out your money across multiple companies; taking less of a hit should you be at a loss.

Be realistic with yourself and don’t build up impractical expectations. Keep in mind that greater risk can come about a greater return, but this does not mean one should make irrational decisions with their money. Again, know the difference between risky and dangerous transactions.

Avoid acting on impulse, and make decisions that will benefit you in the long term. Typically this way, you will end up with a bigger pay-out, and will have made your times worth back in money.

“If You Chose to go to College…” (L130)

If you chose to go to college, what would be a short list of majors you’d consider?

From a young age I was forced into adulthood; eventually, I became more of a parentified child. Now, well into my teenage years, as independent as I am, it is time to really learn to be an adult. I’m talking about choosing a career, and a school; applying for scholarships and looking into payment plan options. I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to plan as efficiently for my future, had I not had (Timothy Terrell’s) Mr.Terrell’s Personal Finance course.
I am nearing the end of my Junior year, and have decided to get my estheticians license. I will be attending a vocational school, (probably while I finish my senior year) for a 400 hour course.
However, if I were going to a traditional college, I would go to be an animal physical therapist, not a doubt in my mind. I love animals and think I would be really good at it – but school takes years and lots of money; it isn’t the best option for me right now. Helping people is the only thing I love just as much as helping animals; skincare and truly healthy products is right where I belong! I will be good at it, and I will enjoy it. Not to mention the healthy income it brings.

My Monthly Budget (L35)

As I have been taught well about internet and financial privacy, I do not feel comfortable including my actual spreadsheet for this month. Although the month is obviously not over, I have been using an excel spreadsheet (through Google Docs) to track my finances for the past week. So far what I have found is that although I have no debt, I also, unfortunately, have no savings. This is going to set me back in the future, and to try and counteract this I have been offering my services to neighbors and friends as well as turning in job applications around my town. I discovered that I personally tend to budget “safely” so that there is a rare chance I will end up with debt or not be able to purchase everything I need. I like to have a big enough cash cushion in my budget to catch any small slip-up. This is a good habit, but sometimes leaves me with unaccounted for money that then ends up being wasted on petty items.

My Slightly-Shameful Finance Habits (L30)

This week in the Personal Finance course of the Ron Paul Curriculum, we covered income / expenses and how to budget / save money. Lesson 28 Specifically covered expenses, and it really shed some light on all of the times I completely screwed myself over financially.
Although I am not working right now, I have always been able to pick up side jobs here and there. Just carrying out little tasks from time to time for friends and neighbors was usually enough to keep my wallet afloat. I have never had much money to spend until in the past year or two, and so I am not quite the best at holding onto cash for long periods of time. I have no income at the moment, but that’s not to say I am lacking anything. Between shopping and outings with my grandmother and with my boyfriend, (and going through all my girlfriends clothes), there isn’t a thing in the world I need to buy!
In an attempt to start generating my own income (aside from what seemed like a hundred job applications that I filled out), I actually started up my own business less than a month ago; Love-On-Four-Legs Pet Sitting & Dog Walking. I hung up posters with pull off tabs all around the neighborhood with my email and phone call. I have no customers as of now, but I am expecting some clients as we get closer and closer to winter. People (especially older people) usually don’t so much enjoy walking their dogs in a foot or two of snow, and it will also be a chance for me to get a higher pay per dog.
In the times when I end up with 5$ 10$ in my pocket, I tend to catch myself throwing it away on small expenses, like coffee or a snack. I do realize how quickly these things add up, as well as the good it would do me to save that money, but usually I just spend it anyways. I am trying to break myself of the habit and lately I have been doing a bit better. Since last Halloween, I would say that I probably have received somewhere around 750$-850$. This is almost entirely from my birthday, holidays, and other gifts. My grandmother also gives me cash to go to the mall with my friends or to go see movies and stuff so that amounts to quite a bit. When I go see my dad sometimes he will send me home with 20$ in my pocket, (he calls it “walkin’ money” which I like, it makes me laugh. It does however have a bad tinge in the name, implying that whatever you want while you’re walking along, you should buy. In reality, what my dad really means is that he wants me to use it as a rare treat to myself, which I do not think is wrong.) Of that some odd 750$-850$ a year, I am ashamed to say I have not saved one penny. Should I either get a job (which I plan on doing within the next 6 months), or have some dogs to walk through blizzards, I plan to open a savings account and save 25% of each paycheck / payment. I will most likely put this money towards a car one day when I have my licence, or maybe towards college.
My goal right now is that I will be able to update this post in less than 6 months time with a financial improvement to share! Once I have a steady income I honestly believe that I will be able to turn my bad habits around for good.

Bad Financial Habits (L5)

Sadly, it has only taken me a few Personal Finance classes to come to the realization that I may not be so well equip for the adult world as I had previously hoped.  In fact, after participating in the PF Self Test from the second lesson, I was a bit ashamed of some of the expenses I have caused myself – not only were most of my costs from big items but, (you got it!), a great deal of them were impulse buys as well.1888584_522574494523543_861787496_n The biggest impulse purchase I have ever paid for, is one that I continue to pump money into with each passing week; my beloved (US) Mini Lop bunny, Razzle. Although I had been on the search for the perfect pet for quite a while, the baby bunny sale certainly made up my mind on a whim. Although I have spent thousands of dollars on this 6 pound wonder already in the 8 months I have had him, he is healthy and both of us are happy, and my wallet was the only thing suffering from my quick decisions. This experience taught me that although you should consider each large (or seemingly small) purchase before hand, not all impulse buys are regrettable. You do not have to fail to recognize mistakes, but simply view every situation under a light of improvements to be made for next time. Think twice! Think three times; then re plan and think again. Explore all possible routes – the cheapest way may not really be the cheapest way in the long-run, and the fastest way may not always be the most rewarding (and could involve more effort than waiting for what you really wanted in the first place.)