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Hello, August!

For the Chinese, August is more popularly known as the Ghost month, the time of the year in which the Gates of Hell (or the underworld) are open allowing the spirits of the dead to wander the earth and visit their families.

In Philippine setting for business and finance, the Ghost month is the time of the year when sales hit its lowest. This is mostly attributed to the cash outlays being done in the previous quarter due to the school opening. Businessmen also consider the third quarter as the calm before the storm, before sales hit its peak in the fourth quarter during the Christmas season. For 2014, the Ghost month officially started on July 27 and ends by August 24.

Many long-term investors actually consider the Ghost month as a time for bargain shopping. It is this time of the year that stock prices go dipping (in fact, when we look at our stock portfolio online, they are all in red and all with negatives – or losses) thus making it the best time to accumulate on stocks that should rack up on sales by Christmas.

Now, if you think that taking advantage of this dreaded season is something that you could not consider, then try asking yourself these things before anything else:

1) How deep is my knowledge in investing?
Read up on books, blogs and articles that talk about investments in bonds and other securities, mutual funds and stocks, business and real estate. Attending seminars are also great and if you think they are too expensive for you, think about how much more you could lose because you do not have the right knowledge. If you have zero knowledge on these things, then make sure that by the end of the month, you should have some idea what these things are about and how they can help you build wealth.

2) How strong is my financial foundation?
Then again, investing is not something to be done if you have zero knowledge on building a solid financial foundation first. Make sure that you have all the bases covered – that you have some emergency stash, that both your health and your life are protected (insured) and that you are out of debt. By then, you should be ready to build up on wealth that could help you attain financial freedom.

3) Am I ready to both win and lose?
Investing entails risk – even seemingly safe deposits in the banks are in danger if the bank goes bankrupt. So, make sure that you have the proper mindset to accept losses along the way. Those who have made it big have all made calculated risks and have also made sure that they did not put all their eggs in one basket.

Even winning requires a proper mindset, too. If you don’t, you may simply live to become a one-day millionaire, all because you were too overwhelmed with the new-found wealth and wasn’t sure what to do with it. The best balance is to save some and also spend some so you could learn to control and discipline yourself in case the big ticket opportunities come.

4) Is my family with me?
No matter how hard you try to build on your wealth, it is no use if your family is not with you along the way. Progress could become too slow that reaching full potential is difficult (because you are alone on the journey) or that the wealth could easily become depleted because too many family members are relying upon you for support. In your journey to financial freedom, always make sure to bring your family with you. Talk with your husband or wife and educate your kids on what it is you are doing and are trying to achieve. The journey will become so much easier then.

If you have other tips on making the road to financial freedom easier, do share them below!

Have a safe and happy journey!
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