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Finding Independence

The Power of Prosperity

Karen and Jay, along with Shawn Hauver of OsteoStrong, take a moment to share thoughts on the idea that in addition to providing income, prosperity plays such a vital role in enabling individual freedom and independence.

When people talk about prosperity, they most often speak of material riches. Accumulating more and more. Eventually, becoming ‘prosperous.’ And while it is true that material wealth is one very important component of prosperity, the true essence of prosperity – and why it can be so very valuable – is that in many ways, prosperity is the bridge to freedom. Economic freedom and independence.

Prosperity represents the ability to achieve one's desires and goals, leading to a fulfilling and abundant life. And the truth is that a state of prosperity is crucial in our quest for freedom because it provides us with the means to make our own choices and determine our paths in life. Without financial stability and resources, we are all limited in our options and constrained by external circumstances, hindered in our ability to exercise true freedom.

Very importantly, prosperity enables those who have achieved it to extend a helping hand to others and contribute to the well-being of their communities. It goes beyond mere material wealth and encompasses

the spirit of generosity, compassion, and collaboration. Sharing prosperity involves not only sharing resources but also sharing knowledge, experiences, and guidance to uplift others. By serving as role models of success, individuals can inspire and mentor others on the path to prosperity, fostering a culture of empowerment and support.

As individuals embrace the principles of belief, hard work, and perseverance in their pursuit of prosperity, they become beacons of inspiration for others seeking similar success. Through their actions and achievements, they demonstrate the transformative power of dedication and resilience, showcasing that dreams can be turned into reality with determination and effort. By embodying these values, individuals can serve as educators and guides, imparting valuable lessons on how others can also attain prosperity and create a life of abundance.

In essence, the cycle of prosperity forms a virtuous circle of empowerment, positivity, and growth. As individuals achieve prosperity and share their successes with others, they set in motion a chain reaction of progress and development. By uplifting those around them and fostering a community of support and encouragement, individuals contribute to a ripple effect of prosperity that expands exponentially. This cycle of giving and receiving creates a network of interconnected opportunities, where each individual's success fuels the prosperity of others, leading to a collective journey towards freedom, security, and economic independence. So very, very exciting!

"Empowering Financial Literacy: Bridging the Knowledge Gap"

When it comes to financial literacy, the statistics are sobering. Actually, they are frightening. What may be even more intriguing is that while the number of Americans aged 25 or older with a college degree has nearly doubled in the past 20 years, overall financial literacy has tanked. In fact, college education in general is not a strong indicator of financial education. About 11 years ago, student loan debt nationally surpassed automobile loan debt for the first time and continued this pattern unabated until recently, mainly due to higher car prices and interest rates juxtaposed against several forms of student loan forgiveness programs.

As a basic math question, how is it that spending on college education is far higher than in past generations, yet the percentage of financially literate Americans is lower in the younger generations? The youngest of the “Millennial” generation are 27, with birthdays later this year. Compared to Baby Boomers, of whom 59 percent are financially literate, only 48 percent of Millennials are, and only 36 percent of Gen Z. Granted, the youngest of that generation are 12 years old, yet with all the advancements in technology and ready access to information, it would seem that they should be far more aware.

Dave Ramsey, famous for creating his own multi-million dollar empire based on teaching financial counseling, started his firm in 1988. While some of his teachings could be deemed as “one size fits all” and don’t work for everyone in every situation, a few of the basic concepts are really sound. For example, the envelope technique. The idea is to bring money back from being just numbers on a computer to being “real.” Having actual cash in envelopes that are each earmarked for various household bills and other expenses makes it more meaningful when you can see it.

I wonder what difference our advanced electronic transaction technologies have made since the days when many of us grew up. Actually, back in the really ‘old days,’ you would have what looked like a passport that the bank would stamp each time you went in and took money out or put money in. When you got paid from an employer, you would get a paper check in an envelope. Even many years after direct deposit started, the paper checks would still show up on your desk or next to your lunch pail every Friday or every other Thursday. When your wallet was empty, that was it; you had no money on you. Today, aside from a debit card to access your bank-stored money, you have credit cards with which to borrow money that doesn’t even exist yet. It’s a wild concept, but so very true.

With all these myriad ways of physically touching and being involved in paper money disappearing, it’s no wonder that financial literacy rates have dropped so badly. It’s a big cost too. The average cost of not being financially literate is more than $1,800 per year. Worse for some than others. Dealing with people applying for life, disability, or long-term care insurance, and the results from underwriting, the majority of Americans overestimate the quality of their health. Statistics prove the same is true with literacy in finances. 71 percent of Americans believe they have high marks in this area, while test scores show it’s closer to 35 percent who answer correctly.

There is quite a range of what matters in finances. From using apps like GasBuddy, which helps you find the least expensive gas station anywhere in the country, to making your own seltzer water at home and saving $100-$300 per year on average. It could be the old tried and true method of making coffee at home as opposed to buying from a chain and enjoying how the savings add up for you. It can also be the larger concerns, such as knowing how much more it costs to finance a home or car depending on your credit score, and how to use credit wisely.

Keep an eye out for the upcoming column in the Claremont Eagle Times about financial literacy by our colleague, Jon Morton, which we will also run from time to time here in the Sunshine Report. Jon and his insights will even get past the math and into the psychology of money and why, of course, that may be the most important part of the whole conversation. Please stay tuned.

The Magic of Compound Interest!

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it” – Albert Einstein.

Compounding Interest is hands down one of the most powerful tools in finance. While the concept of it may seem mystifying it has two simple ingredients: time and growth (interest rate). Time is something we have precious little of, and growth is something we are always striving to find.

The power of compounding interest is situated around the idea that growing money makes money off of grown money. With the advent of retail investing, this powerful tool is no longer out of the reach of the common man. Simply tracking the S&P 500 yields an average of over 10 percent growth per year when looking at the last 100 years.

Let’s put that into perspective: a 25 year-old who invests $100 a month, every month, could have over $640,000.00 when he or she retires at age 65. Unfortunately, time is not something we can get back. If that same 25 year-old waits just 5 years to get started, he or she would have only $385,000.00 by the time they retired. And that huge difference in result is due entirely to only a five year delay.

When it comes to compounding interest, time is almost as important as the interest rate itself. Sadly, we do not teach this important tool at a young age and the stigma around discussing money leaves many young people in the dark until they have lost something very precious: time. Do not wait to discover the power of compounding interest and arguably very importantly, do not wait to tell young people about the magic of this powerful tool.

Positive Profile of the Week: John Motta - It’s Way More Than Just Coffee!

This week we are delighted to highlight a great friend, a superb leader and outstanding entrepreneur, John Motta.

John is a prominent Dunkin' Donuts franchise owner and a key figure in the franchise community. He leads Motta Management, a third-generation family business that owns and operates 30 Dunkin' Donuts locations across southern New Hampshire and Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Motta family has been in the Dunkin' Donuts franchise business for nearly four decades, highlighting their deep-rooted commitment to the brand and the communities they serve. In addition to his role as a franchisee, John serves as the Chairman of the Dunkin' Donuts Independent Franchise Owners and the Coalition of Franchisee Associations. These positions reflect his leadership and advocacy for franchise owners' rights and interests at a national level.

John is also dedicated to giving back to the community. His franchise operations are involved in various local charitable activities and community support initiatives. This commitment to philanthropy is a hallmark of his business philosophy, ensuring that his success in business translates into meaningful contributions to the well-being of the communities in which his locations operate.

John Motta's financial astuteness has been a cornerstone of his success. He is known for his strategic investments and careful financial planning, which have allowed his franchise operations to thrive even in challenging economic times. His ability to navigate the complexities of the franchise business and maximize profitability has earned him a reputation as a savvy and respected business leader.

Finally, it's important to highlight the role that franchising plays in creating opportunities for hard working entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams. Ordinary Americans, many from first generation families, find their entry into the world of entrepreneurship and the independence it provides while starting out in a franchise operation. John’s leadership in this industry gives him a special place as a role model as well as a supportive force for so many such folks to pursue the American Dream.

And, if all this were not enough, John is a devoted family man as well as President of the United States Amateur Soccer Association.

It fills me with great pride when a local resident is able to make a significant impact not only in his industry but also in his community and in John’s case, even on a national level with his high profile leadership in the franchise industry.

Quote of the Week: The Power of Compound Interest

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it.”- Albert Einstein


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