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6 Sales Traps You Need To Avoid If You Want To Get Rich

6 Sales Traps You Need To Avoid If You Want To Get Rich

Most of us have an inner desire to develop wealth, primarily because it affords us the type of financial security that makes life easier. There are a number of misconceptions that surround the accumulation of wealth, including the assertion that people can’t get rich simply because they earn too little. This is a consequence rather than a cause, and the fact remains that people struggle to accumulate wealth largely because they spend too much time and money on things that lack value.

A reckless approach to expenditure or a lack of focus will undermine any attempts to generate income, whereas frugality and hard work will drive success. In practical terms, those with a desire to build wealth must avoid prominent sales traps. These schemes are used by companies across multiple sectors to target those with a propensity to spend impulsively, although they rarely offer anything of tangible or long-term value. This is also an issue with short-term investment plans, so you must tread carefully when faced with the following examples:

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1. Marking down a marked up price

When companies or distributors hold sales events, you could be forgiven for thinking that any subsequent purchases represent far greater value than usual. It is not unusual for sales teams to inflate the price of a particular product in the weeks prior to a sale, however, before reducing this drastically and creating the false impression of value. Although huge reductions in excess of 50% are extremely enticing to customers, this means nothing if the original sale price was manipulated to mislead individuals about a particular product’s value. To avoid this, you need to take responsibility as a customer, recognize the dangers and shop around aggressively for the best possible deal. A specific percentage discount does not translate into pure savings, as it simply reduces either the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or the one initially set by the distributor. By comparing prices across the market, you can delve beyond individual deals and achieve value for your hard earned money.

2. The lure of exclusivity

Online price comparison technology has proved extremely challenging to retailers, as it creates an informed and motivated army of customers who are less susceptible to traditional sales techniques. This is where the concept of exclusivity comes into play, as this is a ploy used by stores to justify high price points and deter consumers from shopping around. By marketing goods as part of an “exclusive line” that is not available anywhere else, retailers can drive a far harder bargain and force the hand of impatient customers. This has proven to be a successful scheme, especially when it is aimed at impulsive spenders who are in the market for a specific product. Exclusivity deals are usually restricted to specific regions, meaning that you may be able to find your chosen product elsewhere. These deals are usually signed for a fixed period of time, and once this has passed the product will become available in other stores nationwide. Patience is therefore crucial, while more flexible customers can also shop around for a similar product that serves the same purpose.

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3. Persistence wins the day

The majority of successful salespeople are aggressive self-starters, meaning that they are generally self-reliant and persistent in the pursuit of their goals. This leads us to another common sales trap, through which customers are implored to make a purchase as a way of satisfying a relentless and driven sales effort. Although this is an obvious trap that relies more on direct communication and tenacity than psychology, customers can easily be influenced to buy if they feel pressured by the attentions of a sales representative. In this instance, the key is to remain grounded and communicate authoritatively with salespeople. If you have no need or desire for a specific product or service, remember that this is unlikely to change throughout the course of any dialogue. By focusing on this and communicating your stance clearly to a sales team, you can quickly discourage them from pursuing your custom. Time represents money to salespeople (especially those who rely on commission), so they are unlikely to chase leads where the customer shows a clear and unwavering lack of interest.

4. The art of accessorizing

Have you visited a furniture store recently? If so, you will have probably noticed perfectly standard centerpiece items, such as beds or sofas, adorned with a number of high end and visually engaging accessories. While the store will justify this by claiming that such a practice helps customers to visualize how their property will look in a fully decorated and accessorized room, it actually serves to enhance the appeal of ancillary products that are not included in the sale price of the core product. Not only does this make the core product itself look more enticing, but it also drives additional purchases. Awareness is crucial in this instance, as once you recognize this sales trap you can refocus on your needs as a consumer. The first step is to make a concise list of everything that you need prior to hitting the high street, while also establishing a fixed and viable budget for the trip. In order to ensure that the core product in question meets your needs, you should also look to strip it of any accessories or ancillary items before making a final decision. You could even bring in some of you own accessories from home, as this will present the product in a more realistic light.

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5. When insurance has no purpose

In addition to corporeal items, there are also a number of lucrative insurance products sold on an annual basis. As the ongoing controversy surrounding PPI claims proves, however, not all of these products offer value to the buyer or are sold in an ethical manner. There are two damaging sales traps to be wary of in this instance, as vendors will either sell erroneous policies that offer no discernible value or inadequate coverage that fails to deliver long-term, financial savings. The former policies tend to be sold aggressively by call center operatives, and they usually look to capitalize on client ignorance or gaps in knowledge. How do you avoid the insurance sales trap? The first step is to assume the role of aggressor when communicating with service providers, especially if you are in need of a specific product. More specifically, you will need to set out exactly what you are in the market for, detailing your need, budget and any additional data that helps to reduce risk. If you are contacted directly by a firm offering their products, you should also look to challenge their knowledge and ask them to clearly explain the terms, purpose and salient points of the policy.

6. The quest for high-yield, short-term investments

In the quest to build wealth, you may be tempted by any of a number of investment opportunities. You will need to be cautious, however, as the demand for instant, high returns has triggered a rise in the number of risk-laden schemes and ill-considered investment traps. While some of these investment opportunities may well have the capacity to trigger quick returns, they are primarily aimed at inexperienced investors who fail to understand the relationship between risk, return and long-term gains. To avoid this, you will need to research your chosen market and ensure that there is an opportunity to earn reliable, long-term gains that offer a suitable reward for your investment. The market for sustainable assets and green investment is particularly strong at present, for example, especially when you consider that there are now viable technologies that reduce carbon emissions and consumption in sectors such as fuel, energy, and even data storage. This trend is likely to continue for the future, making this a far more suitable investment option than those that revolve around real estate flipping and pyramid schemes.

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Featured photo credit: Wallet Credit Card Cash Money/Steve PB via pixabay.com

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

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