Let me introduce two of my favourite books - The Millionaire Next Door and Stop Acting Rich, both written by the late Dr. Thomas J. Stanley. The main theme of the books is that you can’t judge a book by its cover when it comes to personal wealth. The author has spent many years researching the typical life of a millionaire, which goes against many misconceptions that people still have today. In Stop Acting Rich, Thomas defines a group of people he calls "aspirationals" as people who choose to act rich, but don’t have the financial resources to back it up. They are typically high income earners but aren’t wealthy, and are low net worth individuals with little savings. Aspirationals often spend exorbitantly beyond their means (think luxury homes, country clubs, BMWs, Rolex watches, and the like) just to appear rich, leaving them vulnerable to losing everything should their financial positions turned for the worse.
Gold is often described by many as the “barbarous relic” of the past. It’s a favourite phrase of gold-bashers everywhere trying to make gold the object of derision. Even legendary investor Warren Buffett criticized gold this way: "It gets dug out of the ground in Africa or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head." Gold not only doesn't earn you interest, you even need to pay storage cost for your gold. Furthermore, many speculators got burnt speculating gold. The long-term total returns of gold are not that fantastic and therefore should have discouraged most investors.
Indeed, gold is one of those investments that attracts extreme viewpoints. Are there still good enough reasons to include gold as part of your investment portfolio? Or should you just forget about investing in gold altogether and focus on other investment vehicles instead?
Debt is bad! At least that's what most people think. Are they correct? If not, is debt good then? Well, it really depends. Whether debt is good or bad depends on the reason for incurring the debt, and whether you can afford to repay it.
Debt is a complex concept. If you use debt carelessly and irresponsibly, you'll get into financial trouble. On the other hand, if debt is used in a calculated and intelligent manner, it can help you build tremendous wealth. Therefore, you must be able to distinguish between good debt and bad debt if you want to be successful financially.
What is the difference between good debt and bad debt?