It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year!

Anticipating that Special dividend from Main Street Capital (MAIN) !

That’s right – Anticipating that Special dividend from Main Street Capital (MAIN) !

Main Street Capital will pay a special dividend to owners of record as of 19 December 2017 (Ex Dividend December 18) on December 27th this year. The special dividend rate is $.275 per share.

Main Street Capital is a Business Development Company that pays monthly dividends of $.19 per share and in addition historically pays a Special Dividend twice a year once at mid year and once at the end of the year. This marks the 5th year of MAIN paying  special dividends of at least $.55 per share in addition to its normal monthly dividends.

MAIN is considered a top notch BDC among investors and is a great investment consideration for those that seek current investment income.

Main Street Capital is currently in two of my portfolios – Should it be in yours ?

Thoughts and comments re always welcome.

 

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Multiple Income Streams

“Why should you actively cultivate multiple sources of income?”

 

Multiple Incomes- Exactly what is Multiple Income Streams ?  Developing multiple income streams is a way to enhance your present income, help save for the future and provide an “insurance policy” to make sure that if the unthinkable happens you will still have income coming in from various sources.

Why everyone should develop multiple sources of Income for personal Safety

Everyone at one point in their lives look for ways to earn a living. We have compiled an ever growing list of ways to make money, some you know, some will shock you.

The best ways I believe are the “Passive Income” Ways. Invest the money, the time or the expertise and for the most part put it on auto pilot and let the money flow in. Even if you are modestly successful you could potentially provide yourself a decent steady income for the rest of your life.

How many Income Streams should you develop? I recommend developing as many as you can until you are confident that no matter what is thrown at you in life you know that you can always provide for you and your family.

Recently I have turned my efforts to just this, discovering as many possible ways to make money as I can.  Recent events have shown me that single sources of incomes for almost anyone can spell gloom and doom. Most people in America although in the recent past felt as though they were secure financially if they had a good paying job, a nice house and a decent savings in an IRA or a 401K etc. But the “Great Recession” that started in 2008 and has lasted through the present has dispelled this myth. Many of us followed all the advice of the so called “Financial Experts” and where did that get us? For many it was disastrous, for others it has postponed or perhaps even cancelled our Retirement plans.

The answer – Well everyone might have a different answer but for me the answer is to have as many different sources of incomes as possible, especially from the “Passive Income” sources. Now one note on “Passive Income” as you read on you will see that some familiar types of investments are included in the “Passive Income” category but use extreme caution here, that’s not to say they are not good passive sources of income but as most know these sources can disappear quickly. A good example is CD’s, they were relatively safe and providing a great source of income for many Americans. As many discovered though the CD rates can go from a great return of say 10% to 1% almost overnight. When we discuss CD’s later on we will explore strategies to help mitigate this radical loss of income.

Why should you actively cultivate multiple sources of income? As explained previously there are many unexpected pitfalls that just beyond your control. Will you wake up one morning with the value of your home cut in half? Will the next economic bubble burst and take you with it? Will the bank or financial institution you entrusted your life savings to suddenly be declared a Ponzi scheme? Who knows but you owe it to yourself to be prepared. Not so much by saving your way to retirement but by ensuring that you have multiple incomes for life.  Does this mean you should stop saving for Retirement and personal goals?, absolutely not.  Everything the “financial Experts” have taught are true for the most part it’s just that they have left out one of the most important aspects of ensuring your personal financial welfare – your income. Traditional wisdom teaches us to get a good education or to obtain a skill that will get us a great job and provide the income we need. But, Traditional Wisdom is only half the equation in today’s environment. You must go beyond the traditional good job and savings route.

I saw my father work his whole life and save every penny he could only to see it all disappear when my mother fell ill. Now of course he did the right thing and so will the majority of us when face with tragic  circumstances  , but what if he had cultivated multiple sources of income so that when tragedy fell he not only had the savings to cover the tragedy but the income to keep up his lifestyle?

The whole goal is to never have to worry about the loss of a source of income. After all when it comes to investing all the experts say the key to safety is DIVERSITY and why shouldn’t the same hold true with the most important aspect of your life, your income sources? The idea  is to have MULTIPLE sources of income coming in at all times. Doesn’t it make sense to help insure the safety of your family by simply taking the time to set up easy sources of income? No one is asking you to quit your job or to radically change your life just to take a little energy now and devote it to setting up Multiple Income Sources!

I categorize income into three types

  • Active Income – Active income requires you to show up to work each day and actively participate to earn a salary or income.
  • Investment Income – Investment Income is a type of Passive Income with a few exceptions like that of Day Traders or active Stock Traders etc. Investment Income can require very little effort on your part but you can devote as little or as much effort into as you wish.
  • Passive Income – Passive Income requires very little effort on your part once you have set up your business or income system. Passive Income is the Holy Grail of the Multiple Income Sources. A great source of passive income has been made possible by the internet. There are a great number of people making thousands and even millions from things like Blogging, Niche Websites and posting how to or entertaining videos on You Tube. There is no reason why you can’t join in and be a part of it.

The Pitfalls of “ Financial Advisors”

First let me say there are a few great Financial Advisors. These are the exceptions however and while most talk a good talk for the most part they fail to deliver. Financial Advisors basically earn their money in one of two ways and even in both ways in most cases. The first way is they earn commissions from the Funds they steer you to invest in. Now usually they have some really good funds to invest in but I personally am not a big fan of Mutual Funds. Mutual Funds charge you to invest in their portfolios, there can be penalties for withdrawing money too soon, they have requirements that they must meet as directed by their charters such as they have to invest in certain percentages of a certain type of stock or have to hold so much in cash and so on. Mutual Funds rarely beat the overall market on a consistent basis.

The second way is that they charge a fee or percentage of your portfolio for actively managing your account.  This can be good as the more your account grows the more money they make.  But they can also earn a percentage of your portfolio even when your money drops, so either way they are making money off of yours.

Another way of Investing in Mutual Funds is to buy them directly from a Fund Company like Fidelity. Cut out the middle man so to speak. This can be good for those that don’t mind doing a little homework.

My favorite way to invest in the Stock Market is to buy the funds directly through a company like Charles Schwab. I only buy Dividend paying name brand stocks, that is they must pay a dividend and they must be  a company that has a long history of dividends and must be a name I recognize. Examples are Coca Cola, IBM, 3-M, Exxon Mobile, Proctor & Gamble etc.

I buy these stocks ( I recommend at least 15 to start and a goal of 30 stocks in differing sectors like Tech, Communications, Energy, Utilities, etc  for safe diversity ) and except for a quarterly review hold them forever. The only way I sell is if I believe that something major will negatively affect the company for a long time or if the products they sell are no longer relevant. An example of a company that has failed to adapt to modern technology for example would be Kodak – once a dominate force in cameras – that has now become obsolete and failed to quickly adapt.

 

 Some potential  Income Sources :

  1. Internet Store Sales
  2. Internet revenue from blogs of informational websites
  3. Dividend Stock Income
  4. Investing in Real Estate
  5. Part Time Jobs
  6. Consulting
  7. Turn your hobby into an income
  8. Trading Stocks
  9. Become a “Wheeler & Dealer” bargain, trade and sell for profit
  10. Open a business on the side of your regular job, example : a food or service  Franchise ( I do Not recommend retail businesses )
  11. Become a Real Estate agent on the side.
  12. Flip Houses
  13. Weekly or  monthly yard sales
  14. open an Ebay or Etsy business
  15. Become a Handyman
  16. Write and sell books/e-books
  17. Teach others how to do what you are an expert at.

 

 As you can see there are many ways to earn extra income but the important thing here is to develop the income sources now before you actually need them. By doing this now you give yourself peace of mind, it will serve as an insurance policy for you and you family and can help you save more money for your future through the extra income generated.

 

Thoughts or Comments? We love to hear from our readers. Also if you are not already following us please do so.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Money with Google Adsense

” almost anyone can create Income streams by simply creating a website or a blog. “

How to make Money using Google Adsense on Your Web Site or Blog

One area that we focus on is Multiple Income Streams and just how important it is to create these for yourself. Having multiple income streams generating income for you and your family helps to create peace of mind. This article is not intended to be some get rich quick scheme, although many have claimed to have generated very good wealth by creating niche web sites or popular blogs. The purpose of this article is to show how almost anyone can create Income streams by simply creating a website or a blog. Like anything else in life your success will depend on your talents and the amount of work you put into it. There are basically two types of websites and blogs – the static information type and the fluid information type. The static type is one that you have permanent information on so that when someone searches for information on that topic, if you have done your job well and have picked a popular topic people will visit and read. The beauty of this type is once it is created it requires very little effort on your part to maintain, there fore once it is monetized you can relax and let the income roll in. The draw back to the static site is that you have to make sure you have information posted that people want or no one will visit your site. You also have to have very good and appropriate search terms which can take a little luck or a lot of expertise. But this type is popular and many have developed these informational type static sites.

The other type can be a fluid type of site or perhaps more like a traditional blog. It is similar to the site in that it is constantly being changed and added to. You need to add articles or posts continually attract visitors and a following so it does take quite a bit of work. On the other hand because the content is constantly being posted it attracts more people naturally and you can have a wider audience. Even better if you can attract followers who love visiting your Blog or Website without the need of a Search Engine to attract them. If you have followers who visit you weekly or daily or on some sort of regular basis this helps to improve your traffic.

The goal is traffic, the more people that visit and read your articles the more money you can make. Makes sense right? Basically there are two ways you make money off of showing ads. The first is by the number of times the ads are shown, usually counted in per thousand impressions. The other is by the number of clicks your ad receives. This can be very lucrative for certain high value products because Google basically has an auction system where the more money a company bids for its ad to display the more money you can make off that click.

 

 

I will answer some Common Questions and provide you with a wealth of Information on making money with Google Adsense.

  • Can I make money using Google Adsense?
  • Is Google Adsense a good Ad Company?
  • Is Google Adsense a Scam?
  • Can you Make Money Online with Google Adsense?
  • Can You make money Blogging and using Google Adsense?
  • How can I make Money Blogging?

Can I work at home and earn money from the Internet

The answer is absolutely yes. I would guess to say results will vary as to the quality and type of content you present but it is certainly not unheard of for people to make an extra $200 to $500 per month in  income. (I know because I have fallen into this category). It is really a good feeling to see that extra money being deposited into your account each month. Of course the amounts will vary by the amount of traffic that comes to your site each but as long as you have quality content and adhere to the rules you are set.

 

 

You more than likely stumbled upon this article because you are searching for ways to earn money or you are just thinking about monetizing your Web Site or Blog and you don’t know where to start or if it is even worth your trouble. Let’s start off with the basic questions.

What is Google Adsense and how can I earn money by using it on my web site or Blog?

Google has two main components when it comes to advertising. The first of course is the advertisers. They are the companies that are trying to get you to visit their websites, buy their products or services or trying to build brand recognition. They pay Google to show their ads across the internet. They can target locally, nationally or even internationally. They bid on Keywords (Words or phrases that people type in when they are searching for something) An example would be “Wig” a broad termed Keyword or “Costume Wig” or “Red Costume Wig”. The shorter Key Words are called Short Tailed Key Words and the longer more detailed Key Words are called Long Tailed Keywords. This first Google advertising category is called “Adwords”

The second category is called “Adsense” and is for the Website owners or “Publishers”. You simply paste the Code onto your blog or web site to show the ads. Each time people click on the ad you earn money. The amount of money depends on your share from above – that is how much that advertiser bid for your keywords. It is important that your website contain as many Key Words as possible to attract the right people for the right advertiser. (This is why the Subject or theme is important (Discussed Later))

 

Is Google Adsense a good Ad company to use?

Yes, They are one of the best and I believe the only one that pays per click now. Most pay on a Pay per View (PPV) basis only now. There revenue share is not the best but you will probably do better with Google than other advertising platforms.

What is the advantage of showing Google Ads on my Web Site or Blog?

Well there is one major advantage – To make money! Some people set up several websites for one purpose – to show Google Ads and to earn money. That’s what I do myself. I think of great Web Sites or Blogs. I build them with Content. Place Ads on them and wait for the traffic to build and the money to start rolling in.

How Long does it take to start earning money?

Well, that depends on how much traffic you have coming to your website. A new web site could take as much as two – three years to build up but a good rule of thumb is that a web site with a hundred thousand views each month will earn about $150 – $200 per month. Not going to make you rich by any means but consider this. Build 10 websites or blogs to that amount and you are potentially bringing in $1,500 – $2,000 per month. Not a bad supplemental income. If you have twenty of these sites you could be earning $3,000 – $4,000 per month. See the potential?  Again I will stress it is not easy and it takes time but it is time well worth investing in. Once you have built up your sites the money just keeps rolling in month after month it will be deposited into your account and you don’t have to be present for it to happen. It will be a potential lifetime of income for you.

 

Where do I find Website Providers or Blogs to Post on that are not expensive?

There are literally dozens of websites and blogs available. WordPress is very popular but be warned that if yo choose WordPress hosting for your blog or site you will not be able to use Google. You will be forced into WordPress Word Ads. It is okay but in my opinion an inferior product as you have no say or control whatsoever in the ad displays.

Is showing Google Ads on Blogs or Website anyone can do?

Yes, If you can put together a Blog or a Website almost anyone can earn money this way. If you can use a computer you can earn money by building Web Sites or by Blogging.

Is it hard to paste the ads onto my website or blog ?

Not usually, Some sites like WordPress ypu will have to install a plugin to let you show ads while others you simply paste the Java Script from Google Adsense and paste it into the page as a script. Once the site is re-published the ads will show.

Can I show Ads on My Website or Blog?

Yes, any blog or Web Site you own can be used to make money by showing ads except as noted on certain sites like WordPress hosted sites. Also Google may have restrictions on sites that have “offensive” content. Check with Google on their current policies.

How do I pick a theme or subject for my Blog or Website?

The best way is to choose a Theme or Subject you are Knowledgeable in or Passionate about or better yet – Both. You will have to post a lot of content about that theme or subject so the more you know or the more passionate about the better.

Some popular themes and Subjects are:

  • Cooking
  • Diets
  • Recipes
  • Health
  • Animal Rights
  • Politics
  • Crafts
  • Art
  • Music
  • Entertainment
  • Movies
  • Television
  • Religion
  • Sports
  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Snow Skiing
  • Travel
  • Restaurants
  • Blogging about other Web Sites
  • News
  • Use your imagination and think of thousands more topics!

We sell our own products – Will showing ads take away from our business?

No, you can control what shows on your web site or blog by blocking certain categories of ads or even specific advertisers. I have found with my own web sites that it actually ads to the experience of the user. Let’s face as much as 80% of the traffic to a web site is people that are not specifically looking for the products you are selling but rather just random users stumbling around the internet. Why let these views go to waste, show them ads and hopefully earn a little money from them. After all they are eating up your bandwidth. With my own site  I show ads continually so I am making money even when people are not buying products  from me.

Will showing ads on my site make it look tacky or somehow cheapen it – Will people not visit my website because I am showing ads?

Seriously? Have you taken a look at any of the major sites? They all show ads. People will not stop coming to your site because you are showing ads. People are so use to seeing ads they don’t even think twice about them. Besides many sites are out there to make money, they either have to charge people to visit the site or show ads. Showing ads wins 99% of the time. People will not visit your site for only a couple of reasons, either you are not showing up in the search engines or, you have lousy content on your web site. In most cases its because you have lousy content because otherwise you would be showing up in the searches.

Warnings with Google Adsense :

Google operates with a very strict set of rules that you must follow. Make sure you read their guidelines before placing ads on your site.

Some of the Google rules are:

  • Never click on your Ads.
  • Don’t let family or friends click on the ads.
  • Never trick people into clicking on the ads.
  • Ads have to clearly recognize as ads.
  • Only three Banner Ads are allowed per page
  • You can include Link ads in addition.
  • Your site must have a page dedicated to your sites Privacy Policy.
  • You must not have links to certain types of sites like pornographic Web Sites
  • And more rules – visit their website for current and complete rules.

 

How can I get traffic (More Visitors to my Site)?

The number one thing to do to drive traffic (Visitors) to your site is to have a Web Site that is rich in good quality, useful and original content. People look for Web Sites to educate themselves, enrich themselves, or to entertain themselves.  If you can meet their needs they will come to your site.  Don’t think it is easy though. Everything you write and do for your web site should be done with the intent of filling the needs of your sites visitor. Stick with the theme. In retail, I had a saying “Don’t sell Hams in a Party Store”. What did it mean? I once hired a Lady as a manager for one of my stores that had previous experience running a Ham Shop where they sold Hams to Tourists.  She told me how well certain items sold at the Ham shop and started ordering them for our store. I quickly learned that what sells well in a Ham store will not sell in a Party Store – and more than likely vice versa. People have expectations when they visit your web site, don’t try and sell them Hams!

Make sure the content on your site is fresh and original. Google will actually punish your site in the rankings if you are copying and pasting from other sites. They have algorithms that are designed to pick up on sites that are doing this. Make sure the content besides being your own and fitting your sites theme is also useful. This will help ensure that once people find your Web Site – they will return to it for more information.

How Much Money Can You Make?

This depends on how much Traffic your Web Site gets and how many people click on or view your displayed ads. There really is no limit and it is not uncommon for some to earn thousands of dollars each month simply by showing Google Ads on their Blogs and Web Sites.

How does Google Adsense Pay ?

They pay you monthly if you earn the minimum amount ($100) They will mail the check to you or you can have it direct deposited into your account.

How long does it take to start earning money with Google Adsense?

You can start earning money from day one but really it depends on the amount of traffic to your web site or blog.  Of course the more traffic and visitors to your site the higher your potential to earn. You earn money when someone clicks on your displayed ads. The amount you earn on each click depends on the type of ad and how much the advertiser bid  for the ad.

 

Do you have to have paid SEO people to rank your site higher?

Not really, some of these companies can help but generally they are really just putting on a little window dressing and charging you an unbelievable amount of money. There are SEO tricks to help with your rankings but really not worth the money. Your number one goal should be to make money not to spend it. If you want to rank higher the best route is to add good quality and original content to your Web Site or blog. When you deliver great, original content you are giving people what they are looking for when they search the internet, they pick up on it which increases your traffic and increases your ranking in Google. Make sure the content you place on your Web Site or Blog is your own. Don’t copy and paste it to yours. This will not increase your traffic and in fact it will do the exact opposite, it will get you penalized and reduce your traffic. Another thing to avoid is posting “mirrored” content on your sites. If you have an article on one site do not post it on another. Google likes original and unique content. One of the best ways to drive traffic to your site is through the use of Social media – like Facebook and Google Plus. Instagram and others.

 

Where do I find Google Adsense?

You can find Google Adsense by clicking here

 

Are there other Ad Companies I can Use ?

Yes there are many Ad Companies out there . Some of the alternatives are :

InfoLinks

TribalFusion

Revenue Hits

Media.Net ( Yahoo/Bing)

AOL

EPom

EDOMZ

Chitaka

Bid Advertisor

Clicksor

BuySellAds

ISocket

SkimLinks

Intellinks

 

Thoughts or Comments are welcome. Also please consider following us for even more great and informative articles.

Technology means the Elimination of Some

“Here are some everyday items that will eventually go the way of the Dodo Bird :”

In other words – The old has to make way for the new !

Technology can be a great thing for society in general but there is almost always “victims” as the result of the changes it brings. Some happen quickly and some die a very slow death.

Remember the days of Pagers, Typewriters , Printed Encyclopedias,  Drive In Movie Theaters & Boom Boxes? How about 8 track tapes or cassette  tapes, or even VHS tapes? These are just a a few items that have been quickly replaced as technology evolves.

Recognizing changes that are occurring are important for Investors and those of us that like to have multiple incomes streams. In some cases it can determine which direction to invest or to develop our income streams. You certainly don’t want to invest in a dying company with obsolete products.

Here are some everyday items that will eventually go the way of the Dodo Bird :

  1. Libraries – Thanks to digital books it won’t be long before libraries are a distant memory, but don’t expect it to happen overnight because libraries are taxpayer funded. As books are no longer published in paper format the libraries will become non functional or will evolve into digital store houses.
  2. CD’s – Compact Discs are quickly fading from the music scene being quickly replaced by digital devices.
  3. DVD’s – Just like CD’s they are being replaced by streaming services. (Anyone remember the Video Rental stores that were on every corner?)
  4. Watches – Frankly I am surprised they are still around today. I believe they smart watch fad gave this category a brief reprieve but there is doubt this is a dying industry.
  5. Land Phone Lines – Telecommunication companies have for sometime been ridding themselves of the old land lines. These lines cannot carry data and are very expensive to maintain. Very few households even have landlines and when 5-G comes along I am will to bet you will see most businesses dump lanlines in favor of wireless.
  6. Yellow Page Books- When was the last time you bothered to use a Yellowbook? Mine goes straight into the recycling bin as soon as I receive it.
  7. Newspapers – absolutely no one under the age of 35 is reading newspapers ! Its very antiquated and by the time you receive it the news is old news!
  8. Printed Magazines – I know a lot of people love the mindless dribble that is published in magazines but take my word for it, because of publishing and distribution costs you will not see them in the grocery check out lines in the not too distant future. ( As a side note I started to pick one up in the grocery the other day – The price, $13.99,  – I quickly put it back on the shelf!
  9. Brick & Mortar Stores – Online stores like Amazon are the future. Physical stores will be forced to adapt, as a result they will become much smaller and serve a primary role of as that of the electronic store hub for the warehousing of goods that are for pickup by consumers or as an ordering hub. It is unclear to me exactly how they will evolve but they will evolve or face extinction. Smaller stores that survive will only serve in a micro niche capacity.
  10. Checks – Checks are on their way out and my prediction is that banks will not accept paper checks at all by 2025. All banking transactions will be digital.
  11. Paper and coin Money – The governments of the world will most certainly convert to all digital currency soon. I would predict in the next twenty years. Why? To fight counterfeiting, and for the ability to control all aspects of the money flow. The government loses Billions of dollars to “under the Counter” transactions that are not taxed. Digital transactions will eliminated a lot of fraud.
  12. DVD Rental stores & Kiosks – I know the rental stores are mostly gone but a few are still holding out and the Kiosks will soon follow.
  13.   The US Post Office – This one will hold out for quite some time but the writing is on the wall, its just a matter of how long the government will keep this dinosaur going.
  14. Jobs – Technology has been eliminating jobs at a rapid pace but just wait until the robotic revolution kicks in. Jobs will be far and few between. Robots will replace factory workers, store clerks, security, and even reduce military jobs.
  15. Taxi Drivers, Bus Drivers and Truck Drivers – Driver-less cars and trucks will eliminate the need for these professions as well as many other related jobs. Uber and Lyft as well as  other companies are working hard on the testing and implementation of this technology now and maybe in  as soon as five years – say 2022 we will start to see the effects.

It’s coming folks and if your job is one that might be affected you should start developing Multiple Streams of Income now to prepare yourself. The days of relying on single income sources to support yourself or your family will quickly become a thing of the past. Start thinking of ways to develop income sources – like blogging, making money from hobbies, real estate investing or one of my favorites – Dividend Income Investing. Start today by following us for many more great ideas on Investing and developing Multiple Income streams!

 

Thoughts or Comments ? We would love to hear from you !

The Robots are Coming – The Robots are coming !

“There is no doubt that robots are poised to eliminate many human jobs within the next decade. “

Perhaps we should have a Paul Revere type riding through out streets warning of the pending Robot Invasion. Why ? Let’s have a look into to near future, but be warned it might not be like you and others have imagined it to be.

I believe we are now entering an age that is witnessing the fusion of technology, artificial intelligence and robotics. Where will it lead? Many have speculated but circumstances always have a way of going in directions many people would never dream of.

There are several robots currently under development that are designed to replace humans in the work place . Everyone by now is familiar with Amazon’s hopes of delivering packages to your doorstep utilizing the use of drones. This technology is real and is ready to be implemented and I think most of us will experience it in out lifetimes along with a hot pizza being delivered or other items. Amazon has been building distribution centers in every state. While they have given up tax advantages by eliminating their exemptions. What eats up more costs than taxes? Shipping costs. By building distribution centers they can reduce shipping costs and improve delivery in the short term but dramatically reduce costs if they can deliver packages by drones. And this seems to be Amazon’s ultimate goal.

Other companies are also quietly introducing or supporting the development of Robots that will replace their own workers. We are all familiar with factory automation with devices that paint automobiles and weld components as they travel an assembly line but I am talking about much more advanced . Many restaurants, Applebees and Chili’s are examples,  are testing new systems that are designed to let patrons place their meal orders without having to wait for or interact with a waitress or waiter. In addition to placing your order you can also pay with a credit or debit card using the device. This will eliminate errors and employee costs by allowing the restaurants to only hire a couple of “runners” that will deliver the food to your table. Fast food restaurants are leading the charge with robotics however with many Wendy’s and McDonald’s utilizing Kiosks to place your order. Once the order is placed and paid for you can go to the counter to pick up your order. In addition enterprising robotic companies are also developing robotic machines that will cook and assemble hamburgers to order. With fast food workers demanding $15 per hour in wages it will make the machine the cost effective approach.

Robots are also under development for use in retail stores like Walmart, Target , Home Depot and most others. The robots will have the capability to interact with customers and act as store clerks. In many ways the robots will be improvement over the humans in that they will have instant access to knowledge bases and inventory counts being able to share the availability of products. They can also collect instant data and feedback for the stores as to what items people are requesting and what items are trending. The robots will have many other advantages over their human counter parts. They will not have to call in sick or request time off and in fact will be available for work 24 hours per day 365 days a year. Robots will not care if it is Sunday, a religious Holiday or a Birthday they will always be available for work making it cost effective for stores to remain open 24 hours a day and year round. Basically one Robot, because it does not need sleep or rest could in theory replace up to three employees during a 24 hour period. That is a total of 120 hours per week.  This is $93,600 a year in savings based on the $15 per hour that many fast food workers are currently demanding. This would mean if a robot cost less than $50,000 each it would pay for itself in less than a year. The second year would increase company profits. Who knows what the potential lifespan of a robot will be but ten years certainly sounds like a reasonable projection. The robot will never complain or cause malcontent with other workers, will never strike, demand raises or join unions. It will not require benefits like health insurance and retirement and the employer will not have to pay for workman compensation insurance or federal and state unemployment insurance, the employers mandated matching Medicare benefits tax or the matching social security taxes. In addition the employer will not have worry about equal pay issues or civil rights issues, and sexual harassment lawsuits. As you can see even small business will benefit greatly from replacing workers with robots as the savings will be tremendous.

What about the drawbacks of replacing human workers with Robots?

There will be very little disadvantage for the employers, at least at first. As one can quickly contemplate this scenario cannot be sustained, at least as our way of life exist today. As employers replace human employees with robots more and more people will be forced out of the work force. This in turn will create a “snowball” effect, the more people that lose their jobs the less people will have money to purchase goods and services from the very companies that laid them off. It will also quickly overwhelm the state and federal governments unemployment and welfare safety nets. With fewer and fewer workers to pay into these programs they will quickly overwhelm the system to where the government will have to terminate the programs. New jobs will be nonexistent as most  jobs created will for robots. I can envision governments actually collapsing under the burden of a calamity for which they were not prepared. Only a lucky few will still have jobs in just a few short years. Before the companies have realized what they have done it will be too late to turn back. They will have destroyed the very customer base they depend on by putting so many people out of work. Not only will this scenario play out in the United States but it be taking place world wide.

I am not a “Doom and Gloom”  type of person but I am just not sure we can stop this from occurring. It is playing out now at a somewhat slow pace but at some point it will take off and there will be a point of no return. A good example is the cell phone or smart phone. I can remember when only a select few had satellite phones, they were very expensive and were literally the size of a large brief case. Then, magically they were reduced in size and the cost came down. Now days you rarely see anyone without a smart phone. Almost overnight it seemed had one. And I’m afraid that’s what will happen with robots, Just a few companies are using them now but when the technology improves and the prices become more reasonable due to mass production the robots will replace workers extremely fast.

What I believe will take place with the companies using robots to replace workers is that there will be a company that produces a robot that is truly revolutionary. In the beginning only a few companies will take the plunge and replace almost all their workers with robots. A few companies will resist altogether but it will become quickly clear to them if they do not also adapt this new robot revolution they will not be able to compete against the companies that have gone to robots. In this competitive manner all companies will be forced into adapting robots. This is when it will be so rapid of a change it will seem to take place almost over night. They will either adapt to robots or most will simply go out of business.

Can the Robot Revolution be stopped?

Perhaps, but it would require legislation not only from our Congress but by governments all over the world so the likelihood of that happening are very remote. No country will be willing to risk letting others have the technological advantage over the others. In addition Big Corporations control most governments so they are not likely to try and stop it either. I believe the best we can hope for is that governments are recognizing the threats and start to prepare for a different type of society and start planning for how people can survive without jobs. It is a very difficult and complicated  subject to address so it must be started soon.

One thought that I had was that people be allowed to “own” robots. Corporations would be forced to hire these robots and pay them wages on behalf of their owners. These robots would become the their “proxy” workers that earn money for them and pay taxes out of their “salaries”. I am not entirely sure how this would all work out but it seems like a good starting point for addressing the problem. Still there would be a lot of questions to answer. Would everyone be assigned a robot at birth or at a certain age? Can you own more than one robot? Do all robots receive equal pay? I could go on and on but I believe you get the point.

Robotics in our everyday lives are here already

Robotics have been with us for a while now but few of us recognize them as such. Cars that drive themselves, planes that fly on auto-pilot, or drones that fly, spy and even kill human targets. Robots are being incorporated into our everyday lives.  Take the development of Siri,Ok Google, Pixby or Amazons Echo and IBM’s Watson they are all being incorporated into our lives and are taking on increasing attributes of humans to the point where we no longer recognize or think of them as robotics.

Another example is the Honda robot (Asimo) that is being developed. a humanoid robot that can do many amazing things just like its human companions. It can push a cart, carry a tray, it can assist humans by synchronizing with them by adjusting its movements and strength when interacting with the humans. It can walk, climb and descend stairs, and can avoid obstacles. It can even jump! It can also chart a route to follow, recognize moving objects ( like shaking hands) , distinguish sounds and can recognize faces and human gestures. While the Honda robot has not yet hit production parts of the robot have, a many developments have sprung from the robot to aid handicapped individuals such as a body support device, stride management assist which are both products that help support human mobility. While much of the robotic development we have seen to date is mostly products that serve a single function we are about ready to hit the next phases of development e=where we will have the multitasking humanoid types of robots that will actually perform complex human tasks and start to fill in human roles. When exactly the first robots will start rolling off the shelves is hard to predict but I think it is entirely possible to see them within the next five to ten years.

Another unknown area – Human Computer Implants

Did you know that the FDA has approved a computer chip for implant into the human brain? The ones that have been approved for now are more like the implants that are used for pet tracking only these chips will contain your medical history so that in medical emergencies doctors will instantly have access to your records. But other companies like Intel are working on actual computers that will be implanted and connected to your brain. You will be able to access the internet and make calculations all the while carrying on a conversation with your girlfriend or perhaps a work colleague. Intel is predicting to have these ready for implanting as early as 2020.

Humans that choose to have the implants will have distinct advantages over those that choose not to have them. So will this force people to have the implants to remain competitive at school or work? I would predict if they are successful then it will almost certainly force most to have the implants. Employers will want only the brightest and best for the few positions that are not occupied by robots. If you want to be competitive you will not only have the implants but you will be forced to continually upgrade to the latest and greatest implants. Wow, what a future!

Summary

There is no doubt that robots are poised to eliminate many human jobs within the next decade. We as individuals and even as a nation and a world need to prepare for these developments in our evolution. Unless we start preparing now the change will occur so rapidly that when it reaches a critical mass it could very well cause widespread economic collapse. One only has to look at recent history to see how fast computers and cell phones were incorporated onto our daily lives. It just a few short years we reached the point in society that it would be very difficult to do without these important tools. (for those that were born afterwards it could be impossible!)  It seems that each time a new and revolutionary technological advancement is introduced it is accepted and incorporated by humans the quicker it becomes part of our daily lives. The robotic revolution is upon us and I believe it will happen very quickly and if we are not prepared the results could be catastrophic for our society. It doesn’t have to be though, with just a little preparation it could be humanities road to utopia. What does this all have to do with dividend Income Investing? I’m glad you asked. This is one of the many reasons I believe it is important to not only invest and develop income for the future but to develop multiple income streams as insurance for life’s unexpected turns and twists.

Just for Fun

As far as I know – as of yet no controls have been placed on robots. Even if we (the United States) had controls on robots the reality is you would have to impose controls literally on every single nation in the world. This not only very likely I will state it is impossible to do.

Issac Asimov, a famous science fiction author, published a short story that later became famous for it’s suggested “rules” for governing Robots behavior. His article publish in 1942, included the simple rules for robots. three were original and the fourth he added later on.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First Law or Second Law.
  4. Asimov added this law later – The Fourth Law . A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

This all sounds good and makes us warm and fuzzy when thinking about those cute little robots running around doesn’t it? Well maybe you forgot that the Military is developing its own prototypes of robots and I am very sure they will not be on the battlefield to tell jokes. They will have a primary purpose of destroying and killing so you can bet Issac Asimov’s Robotic Rules will not apply !  Sorry to ruin it for you, I know it was bad enough thinking about the possibility of losing your jobs. As someone that prides himself as a realist though I believe it is necessary to point out the bad and the good.

There is little doubt that if instituted correctly the robotic Revolution can have very positive impacts on society. It is our responsibility to make sure we move to limit the possible negative impacts.

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Read- Wandering Security Robots Taking over America!

How Not to Spend Your Money !

“The objective is to accumulate a sufficient amount of investments so that it provides you with a very comfortable income stream “

My philosophy is “The best way to make money is not to spend the money you have”. This concept seems a little difficult for some to understand, at least in my own immediate family. When I try to explain this concept to them I get blank stares or looks of total confusion. I firmly believe though once you grasp this fundamental concept you can be on your way to financial Independence and Freedom. Notice I did not use terms such as  “Millionaire” , “Rich”, “Wealthy” and similar terms or phrases because that is not what my objectives are. The objective is to accumulate a sufficient amount of investments so that it provides you with a very comfortable income stream and is continually growing in size. Of course there is usually many ways of accomplishing goals and objectives but one area that I believe most people seem to ignore is also what I believe on of the most simple ways.  Not spending you money in the first place! In this article I am trying to give you ideas of how not to spend your money. When you don’t spend it you have more to invest and you can produce more income for yourself.  In a previous article I explained how much money each $1,000 dollars would produce in potential future income.

So with the mindset of not spending money let’s see some potential ways to achieve our goals.

Areas to Save Money ( Apply the Golden Rule of Investing)

  • Alcohol – Drinking alcohol can cost you in many ways but just the basic cost is worth avoiding it. If you must drink, then try to buy it yourself and mix your own drinks, you will save 90% of the cost. Easily save $500 per year.
  • Cigarettes – I will not lecture anyone here but just pointing out not only are you hurting your health but you are hurting your future income. I was surprised to learn of cigarettes going for $5.00 a pack. If you smoke a pack a day that’s about $2,000 a year to invest.
  • Fancy Coffee – Did you realize you can make your own coffee at home for about $8 per month versus $120 – $150 per month for the coffee bar brands? Add on another $1,400 in savings !
  • Expensive Vacations – Vacations are important in my opinion but you should look at ways of vacationing that is more affordable. Instead a $5,000 vacation look for ways to cut it in half – Another $2,500 to invest !
  • Prestigious Automobiles – Do you really have to have an expensive or prestigious automobile? In today’s market there is little difference in the quality of cars. What you are really paying for is the honor of sporting a name. Is driving that name brand vehicle really worth the cost of your future income? I would say that only you can answer that question but for me, the answer is a resounding no! Purchase a car with a monthly payment of $300 per month versus $ 600 per month and you will have another $3,600 to invest !
  • Expensive Makeup – I’m certainly no expert on makeup but I have noticed that some of the department store makeup is 10 times the cost of the makeup in other stores. I have yet to see a pretty woman and say to myself “I bet she is wearing the more expensive makeup”. In other words ladies – I don’t believe men know the difference! Let’s cut back $20 per month for a yearly savings of $240
  • Expensive hair-styling – A haircut is a haircut – Why pay more for a product? Is a $100 haircut really better than a $`15 haircut? Probably not. Even at two cuts per year – $170 saved !
  • Fast Food and Expensive Restaurants – Eat out less often and you can easily save $50 per week which amounts to $2,500 per year saved.
  • Telephone – Why pay $ 800 for the privilege of owning an I-phone when you can get a nice phone free instead? Saving $800 would pay you $128 per month in retirement! $800 saved.
  • Cable TV – I remember when they first introduced cable TV – It was billed as Ad free – Not so much any longer, now you are paying to watch ads. Out of thirty minutes of programming they are squeezing in as much as 15 minutes of advertising! All trying to talk you into spending money on things you don’t need. Dumping cable could add as much as $16 per month in retirement income each month! $1,800
  • Designer Clothes and Shoes, Accessories. Many people justify the exuberant prices by saying that they represent higher quality – but in most cases, they don’t! You are paying for the “privilege” of sporting a popular name. The amount saved here varies widely with each individual but I know most could save $500 here and not even notice it.
  • Designer Bottled Water – Did you realize in many cases you are paying 3 times or more for water than gasoline? – Insanity! easily save $260 per year!

These are just a few of many possible areas to cut back or eliminate spending but it amounts to over $16,000 per year in savings ! This could be a big boost to your Income Portfolio !

The point I am trying to make here is that there are plenty of ways that we waste money that we could be investing for our future. Just by eliminating a couple of items from above could put you well on your way to investing for a more than comfortable retirement!  Take a moment and read them again. Now decide which ones you can eliminate and make a pledge to yourself to start investing that money each month instead. Your future self will be eternally grateful that you did!

You may also want to go back to review even necessary items like home and car insurance. I recently reviewed my own Home Owners policy and car Insurance policy. I found that they had slowly crept up in price over the years and after some investigation and a couple of quotes I was able to reduce my homeowners policy by $600 per year and my car insurance by $400 per year for a total sayings of $1,000 per year ! Amazing is the fact that I did not give up a single thing to save this money except for a few moments of my time.  It didn’t take one thing away from my lifestyle and certainly my friends could care less about what insurance company I have. I would recommend you make this part of an annual review of your expenses so that you can be sure you are not overpaying.

The choice is yours alone – I can’t talk you into making wise choices; only you can do that for yourself. Decide now to make this philosophy part of your life. Take action now for your future self, for your children and for your family.

If you do decide to take action on making cuts to your everyday expenses please consider:

  • Keep a diary and write down every penny you spend for a couple of months to become aware of just where you are spending ( Especially pay attention to the discretionary spending)
  • Set a goal – (IE I will cut $200 per month in spending)
  • Take action at cutting expenses
  • Dedicate those savings to your Investing account
  • Review your spending on a periodic basis – say annually in the same month every year so you remember – A suggestion is to perform the review each year when you do your taxes.

My message – It is easier to not spend money than it is to save money.

have your own ways to save money ? How about sharing them with us. We love to hear your comments !

 

 

Use tax Refunds to Add to Investment Income

“What if you started a new tradition with your annual tax refunds”

According to USA Today the average tax refund is $3,096. That is a good chunk of money. While I don’t have any information on what people use their refunds for my own observations are that people immediately run out and spend the money on things. Some items they maybe in need of and probably most items are things that they want but really don’t have a real need for.

What if you started a new tradition with your annual tax refunds – Investing it into income producing stocks? Done properly you not only save your money but it starts producing a steady income for you that will serve you for the rest of your life.

It only takes a few short actions on your part to do just that. Have a plan ready for which stock(s) to Invest in. If you don’t already have a Brokerage Account make sure to open one. Go to the account and under trade stocks enter the stock symbol and the number of shares you are buying and at this point you will be asked what type of order. I choose Market order 90% of the time and its that simple. Now sit back and wait for your dividends to roll in.

By the way if you are the “average ” person and have $3,096 to invest at 8% you yearly income will be $247.68  or about $20.64 per month. Not bad, you still have your money and now it is producing more money for you. You are now a Dividend Income Investor and can start building an income stream for your future.

Or… you could have blown it on something you probably not even remember by your next refund………….. the choice is yours ! Choose wisely !

Remember the Golden Rule of Investing !

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