What Exactly is Meditation and What are the Benefits?

One day a few months ago, I was making small talk with someone and it turns out they were a guided mediation instructor at the gym we were at. A week later I decided to drop into one of the classes, I’ve been hooked ever since.

Top 3 Impacts Meditation Has Had On Me:

1. Sense of Peace and Calm

One of the major benefits I’ve noticed is the calm peaceful feeling that I have, not only during meditation but throughout the day.

2. Better Focus

A major element of meditation is concentrating on one or two things at a particular time i.e. your breathing and movement or a particular word, etc. This helps in day to day life by enhancing the ability to focus on the important matters at hand, slicing through the distractions. I found myself being “present” and paying attention more intently. Working in corporate America I’m often in countless meetings. Since practicing meditation, I am able to key in on the issues during those meetings, better able to ask the right follow up questions and ultimately make smarter business decisions.  With family and loved ones, the time spent together is enhanced, due to being conscious of the present moment, and really focusing on the time shared together.

3. Higher Patience Threshold

Things that may have bothered me in the past, no longer seem relevant. If someone stepped on my foot or cut me off in traffic and didn’t apologize, I’m not as annoyed as I once may have been.

What Does The Science Say?

According to the Mayo Clinic the emotional benefits of meditation can include:

Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
Building skills to manage your stress
Increasing self-awareness
Focusing on the present
Reducing negative emotions
Increasing imagination and creativity
Increasing patience and tolerance

Some research suggests that meditation may help people manage symptoms of conditions such as:

Anxiety
Asthma
Cancer
Chronic pain
Depression
Heart disease
High blood pressure
Irritable bowel syndrome
Sleep problems
Tension headaches

Give it a try if you’re not familiar with meditation, there are tons of resources online. You can take in person classes, download apps such as Calm, you can even tune into Spotify for meditation playlists.

Peace and Blessings MGs!

Jay Z Launches New Venture Capital Fund

The Rock is in the building.

Jay Z is launching a new venture capital fund with business partner Jay Brown according to a new Axios report. They’ll be focusing on early stage tech startups. No word yet on the fund’s size. Jay’s had some hits on billboard charts as well as investing. He’s also taken his share of lumps. Let’s take a quick glance at his investment record.

The Wins

He was an early investor in Uber participating in the company’s 2011 Series B funding round, when it was valued at just $300 million today Uber’s valuation is at approx $66 billion. Nice!

He purchased Tidal for a rumored $56 million, and recently sold 33% of the company to Sprint for approx. $200 million.

Jay Z co-founded Roccawear clothing and sold it for $200 million in 2007.

The Losses

In 2012, Jay Z’s Roc Nation invested in a company called Viddy, who was aiming to be the “Instagram for video.” Unfortunately the company failed just a few years into the investment.

Roc Nation also invested along with Ashton Kutcher & Marc Benioff in a private jet startup called BlackJet in 2012, but the company shut down last year.

Too Close to Call

In 2011, Roc Nation invested in Stance, a “premium sock company.” I know it sounds a bit weird, socks son?! Stranger investments have blown up, think Snuggie. Who would have thought a blanket with holes in it would gross over $500 millon? Well the sock company, Stance, has raised $116 million. Let’s see how this one pans out.

In the VC game 75% of venture capital investments fail. All it takes is 1 to pop and you’re a legend. The 1 win can obliterate all of the losses many times over. Scared money doesn’t make money. Be smart though!

Martel

Credit Card Debt is for Losers: 4 Quick Tips to get it Under Control

Debt is a form of slavery. It can be crushing and debilitating, as well as a major hinderence to building wealth, which is why in most cases it’s wise to avoid it like the plague if you can. Check out a few tips to get out of credit card debt.

  1. Stop Spending

When you find yourself in a ditch stop digging. Get a hold of yourself you don’t need that Louis Vuitton belt buckle.

2. Make a Budget

Track your spending, create a budget and trim the fat from expenses. A little here and there can add up.

3. Increase your Monthly Payments

If you just pay the minimum payments it can take years to retire the balance. So pay as much as you can and as often as you can.

4. Make your Payments Sooner Rather than Later

The earlier you pay in your bill cycle the less interest you’ll pay for that month. Credit card interest is calculated based on the average daily balance. By making payments earlier the interest that accrues is reduced.

Those are just a few quick and dirty ways to reduce your debt that have worked for me. What are some of your tips to eliminate debt? Hit me on the Gram.

Martel

Not Every Pro-Athlete Goes Broke After Leaving the Game, Just Ask Jamal “Monster Mash” Mashburn who Owns Over 80 Franchises

80% of professional football players and 60% of NBA players experience financial failure shortly after retirement. The list of horror stories of athletes going belly up when the “music stops playing” seems endless; Vin Baker, Antoine Walker, Lenny Dykstra, Curt Schilling, Mark Brunellthe list goes on.

Jamal Mashburn was a college phenom at the University of Kentucky and the 4th overall pick in the 1993 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks. He played 12 seasons in the NBA averaging 19.1 pts per game, before injuries took their toll.

Early in his career Jamal was conscious that the fame and NBA checks would not last forever and conducted himself accordingly. He adopted the philosophy of “always working with the end in sight.” Jamal viewed basketball as a means to an end. It was a vehicle to help aquire the capital and relationships to launch sustainable businesses. He lived well below his means and saved for the proverbial “rainy day.” Mashburn always knew he wanted to get into business and upon retirement he began to immerse himself into developing his empire. As a result of his prudence, he’s proven to be as successful off the court as he was on the court. Today Jamal owns over 80 restaurant franchises (Papa John’s, Outback Steakhouse, and Dunkin’ Donuts), several car dealerships, real estate, a marketing firm and a venture capital firm. Whew! I reckon he’s not too bored in his retirement years.

The key takeaways here are:
  1. Stack your paper, work hard and save for your initial capital in order to invest it.
  2. Don’t invest willy-nilly, take chances but be be smart about them and do your due diligence. As noted above Mashburn invested in tried and true business models such as franchises while also allocating a small portion of his portfolio for moonshots (riskier investments with a chance for higher returns) via his venture capital firm. (Strike the right balance of risk for your portfolio.)
Kudos, to Mashburn we wish him continued success! Are you building an empire? Hit me on the Gram, I’d love to hear about it.

Martel

Lots of gems in this video, hope you enjoy and pay it forward.

Guess What the Average 401K Balance is in America: How do you Stack Up?

Fidelity Investments manages over $5 trillion in investment accounts. According to their most recent analysis of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and 401k accounts here’s what they found:

  • The average IRA account balance for the 3rd quarter in 2016 was $94,100, up from $88,000 in 2015.
  • The average 401k balance for the 3rd quarter in 2016 was $90,600, up from $84,400 in the previous year.

Now Is This A Good Or Bad Thing?

Great question. If you’re young then it’s fine and dandy, but if you’re about to retire then not so good. Let’s look at the math:

$90,000 in an IRA adding $5,500 per year (approx $114 per week) over 30 years compounding at 7% interest rate per year, you wind up with $1.2 million.

On the other hand if you take the same scenario but only have 10 years before retirement you end up with approx. $253k over 10 years.

The Moral Of The Story

Save! Save! Save! The sooner you start saving the better. Compound interest is your friend. Take advantage of it as soon as possible.

Martel

Multi-Billionaire John Paul Dejoria’s 3 Keys To Success When Starting a Business

John Paul Dejoria is an entrepreneur best known for co-founding Paul Mitchell Systems, a haircare company and Patron Spirits, a world renown tequila brand (I’m sure we all had a few shots). Forbes Magazine estimates his net worth to be approximately $2.9 billion. I think it’s safe to say he’s had some success in business. Paul recently dropped a few gems on the key ingredients to starting a successful business.

1. Be The Best In Your Category

Make the best product you possibly can. The end result should be when the consumer tries your product or service it is something they want again.

2. What’s Your Story?

Have a story behind your product that is true. Be authentic.  Then be willing to tell enough people your story and why your product is the best. You can have the best product in the world but if no one knows about it what good is it?

3. It’s Cheaper to Keep Her

Once you get a customer put your personality into it and really let them know how much you appreciate them. It’s harder to get a new customer than it is to retain your existing customers. Pay great attention to your first customers. They will be your ticket to new ones via word of mouth.

Martel

Meet the 5 Most Valuable Startups in America

5. WeWork

Valuation: $16.9 billion

Coworking startup

WeWork cofounders Miguel McKelvey and Adam Neumann

 

4. Snap

Valuation: $18.19 billion*

Formerly Snapchat, is a social media/camera company

CEO Evan Spiegel

 

3. Palantir

Valuation: $20.53 billion

Data-mining startup

CEO Alex Karp

 

2. Airbnb

Valuation: $30 billion

Home-rental startup

Product chief Joe Gebbia, CTO Nathan Blecharczyk, CEO Brian Chesky

 

1. Uber

Valuation: $68 billion

Ride-hailing startup

CEO Travis Kalanick

 

*Elon Musk gets an honorable mention. His aerospace manufacturing and space transport services startup, SpaceX comes in 6th place with “only” a $12 billion valuation. Poor fella.

Be inspired my friends, be inspired! Are you working on the next big thing? Hit me on the Gram.

Martel

Becoming a Millionaire is Easier than you Think: 5 Wealth Building Tips

1. Pick The Right Profession – You can become a millionaire on a small salary with proper saving and spending habits but it will be a lot more challenging. Look to boost your income either by improving your skillsets through education or supplementing your income via a side hustle/second gig. Check out this list of best and worst jobs for the future.

2.The Stock Market Is Your Friend Bruh… – The stock market has it’s ups and downs but over the long term it returns approx. 7%-8% per year. If you invest $10,000 and let it sit in the market for 3 years compounding at 7% you’ll have $12,250 at the end of that period. Now let that compound for a long period of time and routinely add to the principle to accelerate the growth and you’re on your way to building considerable wealth.

How Compounding Works

Year 1 = $10,000 + ($10,000 x 7%) = $10,700

Year 2 = $10,700 + ($10,700 x 7%) = $11,449

Year 3 = $11,449 + ($11,449 x 7%) = $12,250

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying “compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world.”

3. Save! Save! Save! – The sooner you start saving the better. If you save/invest $671 each month at age 35 you’ll have$1 million by the time you turn 65, assuming you earn an 8% annual return. The sooner you start and the more you save, the quicker you get to $1 million just from saving!

4. Step Out Of The Matrix (Live Within Your Means) – If you don’t have it, then don’t spend it period point blank. We don’t need a fraction of the things that we think we need. The realization of this, is what I call stepping out of the matrix. Advertisers are so adept at tricking us into thinking we can’t live without their products. A little discipline and sacrifice now will go a long way toward gaining financial independence. Soon enough you’ll be able to purchase what you want with cold hard cash instead of financing it and building a mountain of debt. Debt is a form of bondage, it can be suffocating so shun it like the plague.

According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, one out of every three American households carries credit card debt from month to month. And the average credit-card debt is $16,061, according to the Federal Reserve.

Total owed by average U.S. household carrying this type of debt Total debt owed by U.S. consumers
Credit cards $16,061 $747 billion
Mortgages $172,806 $8.35 trillion
Auto loans $28,535 $1.14 trillion
Student loans $49,042 $1.28 trillion
Any type of debt $132,529 $12.35 trillion

Debt balances are current as of Q3 2016; figures are updated quarterly by the Federal Reserve.

5. Create a Budget – It’s important to know where your money is going. Once you’re able to track how your money is being spent it’s easier to control and make adjustments where necessary. I use both an old fashioned excel spreadsheet and also track my expenditures using Mint.

To paraphrase the late great Biggie Smalls “now you’ve got the manual, a step by step booklet for you to get your game on track…”What are some of the tools & techniques that you use for building wealth and staying debt free?  Hit me on the Gram.

Martel