How to Kill “Work” for Ever and be Eternally Happy

freedom

Dream jobs don’t exist. Period.

You can get jobs which make you money, challenge you, grow you, help you reach your highest potential – but work is still unwanted, tiring and a necessary thing we have to do anyway.

You can do a “great job” in your work but the concept of work and job in itself is not that great. If it was, then you will not look forward to the weekend. You would look forward to Mondays!

There is no point in hiding this truth and lying to ourselves that we love what we do for a living.

We as cavemen used to hunt in the forest for food, or go to the rivers with spears to catch fish – and there was/is nothing to get excited about that “job”.

We are not so different today.

We work so that we can survive. Nothing else. Its just that with evolution and technology we have created a 1000 different jobs through division of labour.

So accept it. You don’t want to be an employee. And You don’t want to be a boss either. What you really want is… TO BE THE OWNER. Have enough passive income so that your monthly expenses are taken care of – and some more for fun.

But to OWN things and get passive income you need capital. Capital comes from savings – years of it. [Read more...]

CitiBank India Rewards Credit Card – Get Your Rewards Point as Cash Back! Save 1% on Everything.

citibank rewardsI have been experimenting with various credit cards in India. Alsmost every card in the beginner to intermediate level gives reward points when you use the card and these reward points can be then redeemed for gifts. HDFC Bank Card, ICICI Card and most of the other cards have a catalog of products from which you can choose to get vouchers from and then use those vouchers to get discounts while shopping.

When I did the math, it looks like you will get around 1% of the value of the purchase back in terms of points. The numbers may vary but it is always close to 1%. For example, for every Rs.150 spent, you may get 5 reward points. Looking at the price of the offers in the catalog, I evaluated that the value per reward point is approximately 33 Paise. So for Rs.150 you are getting back Rs.1.50 worth of points. That’s 1%.

But the catch here is that the products that you shop for usually are in MRP without any discounts and if you go and look up the same product in Flipkart or Amazon, it will be much cheaper.

citibank

I recently discovered that Citibank Rewards Card is perhaps the only CC in India which allows you to redeem the reward points as cash back. And this is at a very good rate of Rs.0.35 per point. I just redeemed my reward points and got a credit in my card account! Now this is real money with which I can buy anything and I am not restricted to their catalog of products :)

Do you know of any other credit card in India that allows cash back for points?

Google Upgrades Google Places to “Google My Business”

Listing your website on Google places has its benefits. When someone searches for my brand name “Digital Deepak” on Google, this is what they see:

Google Places Search Results

Such listings will be much more useful for businesses which have an office / premises where customers walk in to do the transaction. It shows the map, the picture of the place attracts people to visit it, it shows the address and phone number too. Overall, the search result is more rich and helps in establishing a strong brand.

[Read more...]

Amazon, Please Stop Sending me Checks! I am Getting Tired of This!

I just got a check for $108.46 from Amazon. This is for my earnings in the Amazon.com affiliate program. I am really getting tired of this. Taking the cheque from my mail box, depositing in the bank, and waiting for 21 business days! (That’s how it works in India for FCY cheques)

Don’t get me wrong. I like to get paid! But almost all the affiliate programs that I participate in: CJ.com, ClickBank, AdSense etc. either pay me via PayPal or deposit the money directly in my bank account. Amazon.com is the only affiliate program that is still sending me checks! :)

photo (1)

But this doesn’t stop me from loving the Amazon.com affiliate program! It’s one of the best.

Want to Become a Millionaire? Do this Simple Math First.

millionaireIf you live long enough, if you keep earning some money consistently, you will eventually end up becoming a millionaire. The word millionaire may not mean having a million US dollars but it stands for being financially independent and not having to worry about money for the rest of your life. 

Whatever your financial goal may be, reaching that goal doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to hold all that money in CASH. Because unless you are in a deflationary economy, inflation will eat away your savings. When you have converted your earnings into different forms, how do you calculate your net worth?

Your Levels of money:

  • Level 0 – Cash Balance: Liquid Cash in hand and in savings/current account. The money that you can use to buy something today.
  • Level 1 – Cash in Fixed Deposits, Loans to Friends & Family – things that can be liquidated quite soon if you need the money.
  • Level 2 – Cash locked up in precious metals, jewelry, fixed-term bonds, pending payments on a later date (accounts receivables) – things that can’t be liquidated immediately but is quite easy and quick to convert into cash if you sell at a below market rate.
  • Level 3 – Money locked up in the value of own house, real estate, work of art, equities etc. that take a long time to liquidate & mostly will never be liquidated.

Total Net Worth = (L0+L1+L2+L3) – Liabilities

if {total net worth > $1,000,000}, millionaire = YES!
else {keep thinking, working & making things happen}

You can notice that lower the liquidity of an asset, higher the appreciation over time. It makes sense to have least of L0 & L1 and most of L2 & L3. Ratios can differ from person to person depending on needs. I seem to have nearly 85% in L3+L2, 15% in L1+L0.

Your assets will appreciate or depreciate in value with time. You can update the numbers once in 3-6 months and watch how your net worth grows or shrinks. This exercise will help you to invest more in good assets and less in bad assets. Your brand new imported car is a bad asset which depreciates in value. Your home and real estate appreciates in value.

Data Reveals Why Housing Prices in India Will Start Declining after 2017

House-Prices-FallWe have seen only real estate prices go up in our generation. We have never seen it decline in India. That’s because the demand is high, not because everyone believes that “Real estate prices should always go up”. Fortunately, we now know that real estate prices can also go down.

In Spain, housing prices have gone down as much as 65%. In US, as everyone knows, housing prices crashed in 2007 and then it has recovered artificially because of some government policies like QE. Experts say that US housing pricing doesn’t have any other place to go except down, down, down.

Many people don’t want to believe that real estate prices can go down due to lack in demand. The housing price crash in US is largely attributed  by the media to unethical banking practices. Though the policies, rules and regulations have played a part in blowing up the housing bubble to even larger extent, the bubble would have never formed in the first place if there was no demand.

So where did the demand come from in USA? Who blew up the pricing?

Harry Dent’s research points to the fact that people buy big houses when the male/boss of the household is at 41-43 years of age. That’s because they will have teenage children and hence the need for a bigger home.

[Read more...]

How to Make a Living as an Author

If you are good at writing, you can make a living out of it. But you also have to be good at business and marketing. If you are only good at writing, you will end up publishing books and will end up “trying” to market it via social media, blogging & events.

writerWhen you publish a book through the traditional publishing channel, you will not make much money to support yourself even if you hit 10,000 sales. I don’t want to get into the economics of book sales. And you don’t want to know it. The royalty income that authors make are so low that if I told you how much they exactly earn, you would look down upon them!

Ok, since you are good at writing, you may think that starting a blog, writing a lot and getting some revenue through display advertising will help you pay the bills. If you think so, you will be wrong again. Since the barrier of entry is so low, everyone is trying to start a blog on a topic they like, get some traffic and earn revenue via display advertising. High supply, low demand. You will be a poor blogger living in a hut with a laptop and 4 mbps internet connection :P

I am not saying content marketing will not work. Content marketing will work for the right reasons. For example in DigitalDeepak.com I do content marketing to expand my professional network and get more job and consultancy offers. Here I blog just to organize my thoughts. Content marketing no longer works if you are trying to sell display advertising.

[Read more...]

How to Safe Guard Your CAPITAL when Inflation Eats Away Your Savings

Inflation is often misunderstood by the general public. It takes a lot of thinking just to understand how inflation works and how it can hit you and your saved up capital.

inflationInflation is the rise in prices of goods and services over time. Big Brother usually make us believe that inflation is a problem that arises due to a weak economy and rise in demand of goods and service because of increasing population. Those are true to some extent but the main reason for inflation is the rapid increase in money supply by the central bank.

When the government needs more money for its “responsible” spending, RBI buys government securities and through this process, new money is released in the economy. When the inflation has to be controlled, RBI will sell the bonds/securities and the money paid to RBI will reduce money supply in the economy.

If you invest your savings, say 10 Lakhs in a fixed deposit and earn 10% interest every year on it, you are not making any money because inflation will be at least 10%. Though you will have around 26 Lakhs after 10 years, your purchasing power would not have gone up.

When inflation is more than 10%, you are losing money because your buying power is reduced. If you are able to buy X amount of food, clothing and shelter today with 10 Lakhs, you would be able to buy only 0.5X of food, clothing and shelter after 10 years – even if you grew your savings at 10% per year. 

[Read more...]

Loans on Credit Cards in India Have a Hidden 12.36% Service Tax on Interest!

When the banker called me an said that they have a “Great Offer” for me on my credit card, I was interested. They said that I can get a cash loan on my card at an “amazing” interest rate of 0.99% per month.

card-trap

It worked out to be 11.88% annually and I said OK. What he didn’t tell me was that there was a 12.36% service tax on the interest component of the EMI! 

Now the total cost of funds increases from 11.88% to 13.35%! This credit card loan is different from the normal home, car and personal loans which is taken from the bank. This is a fact that bank sales people always hide and many card holders do not realize this small service tax creeping into the credit card statements for months or even years!

This service tax is applicable even if you are paying your minimum dues and postponing the payment of the entire due to the next month. Let’s do some math here. Let us say you have swiped your card for a total of 50,000 rupees in a month. Your credit card dues are Rs.50,000. But the banks allow you to pay minimum dues on it which is 5%. So you pay Rs.2500 and plan to worry about it later.

Now the remaining Rs.47,500 attracts a rate of 3.25% per month (or around that depending on the bank). This is 39% per year! Your savings account returns 3-6% per year! But this 39% is for the bank. The government wants a cut from this. So at the prevailing rate of 12.36% service tax, you end up paying 39% X 12.36% = 43.82% per year in interest including service tax.

[Read more...]

How to Cherry Pick the Best Performing Keywords in Adwords?

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 11.04.38 amAdwords is a great tool for getting targeted traffic who will come to your website and buy what you are selling. But if you are not careful, adwords can also deplete your bank account and you may not have any sales to talk about. Usually, no one can get adwords right in the first go. Only with experimentation we can know which keywords perform well and which drives the revenue.

The biggest mistake that I see many adwords “experts” make is that they THINK if a keyword gets higher CTR and if the CPC is low, it is a good keyword. But they often fail to check if those keywords actually drive the conversions. Yes, adwords has conversion tracking facility and it can show you metrics like who landed on your landing page and may be converted into a lead, but it doesn’t show you if they converted into a buying customer later on. So the end conversion where the prospect has become your paying customer is the REAL conversion which has to be tracked.

[Read more...]