Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ballantyne BNI

I have been bad about blogging this week. I had a personal tragedy of sorts and while I thought I was ok, it seems that I have falling into a bit of a depression...

funk...blue streak...despair...gloominess...melancholy

Good news is I am coming out of it, and while I haven't been one for blogging, I have been writing. Somehow melancholy and angst are good for creativity. I also made it to the library this week so I have lots to read as well--which for some reason also sparks creativity. I picked up a book about personal finance, as well as one on the real estate business. Granted, neither are really my book subject matter, they are on topics I have some interest.

Gotta love the library.

-also updated my profile page on the BNI Connection Website. Check that out.


Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I am a Charlottean...

I have lived in Charlotte now a year and a half. And while many have called Charlotte home for longer, I know few who have called it home their whole lives. In fact, Charlotte is a city of newcomers.

...But now I am official, and here is how I know:

1) I drove through the city this week to get to a meeting. I had another meeting on the other side of town. I had been to neither of these places before..and yet... I was able to drive to my meetings, without to aid of a map or GPS, or navigator, and arrive on time, and move to the next appointments with speed, efficiency and having never considered myself "lost." Something rare for me to this point.
---it is like I live here!

2) I walked into two different places this week, where someone I knew was there--and they recognized me--and we didn't pre-arrange the meeting. We were just there at the same time! Meaning, I know enough people to "run into them." Very cool.

3) I finally broke down and got a local phone number! Now, in the interest of full disclosure, my number is technically a South Carolina number. Because technically I live in SC. However, from my house, I can literally see the state border, so I feel that I can accurately call Charlotte home... even if it is really only a close neighbor. But to me, it is close enough.

I am so happy to call Charlotte home now. The weather is lovely, the people are friendly, the economy is strong and this is a positive optimistic place. I feel in so many ways that Charlotte has always been for me, even if I didn't know it. And now I am official.


---on unrelated/related business--- I am looking forward to working with Fred from Mouse and Man on a website face-lift. Fred Sexton is a member of my new Ballantyne BNI group and I am most impressed with his level of expertise and business sense. So look for my new look soon.

Fred will also be working on Matrelaw.com - a website for Charlotte area real estate attorney Gail Matre & Attorneys. This site will highlight Matre Law's firm and their strong commitment to affordable, high-quality real estate legal assistance. Matre Law is located in Mint Hill, North Carolina, but, like me, do business in both North and South Carolina. I am excited about this new Charlotte site, because it really will celebrate all that is right with Matre Law -- not your average attorneys, that is sure--something I can personally attest to. Congratulations to Matre Law, for your partnership with Fred from Mouse and Man, and I look forward to seeing that awesome site.

I am blogging a lot these days about Charlotte, the Charlotte economy and real estate. It is very educational, and I do enjoy learning from the pros at Southern Winds--they really know their business, and let me tell you... no one has told them that we are in a market slow-down! They are working like gang-busters, selling homes in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Those guys have Charlotte's real estate market moving.

Just another reason to be glad I am a Charlottean. Everything is alive...

Happy Thursday to all. Don't forget to comment!




Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

Friday, July 11, 2008

Investing, saving, being frugal and living lavishly

I have been thing a lot lately about investing. I am not flush with cash, and while I make a modest living doing website content and web consulting, I would not be adverse to having more cash on hand. It seems every day that it costs a little more to live: Gas cost me $65 today to fill my tank and I seem to be going through more than 1 tank per week. The stock market is abysmal. My cell phone bill is ridiculous. I bought $100 worth of groceries today and enjoyed a lovely pedicure--at no small cost. (My toes look lovely...) That said, the mortgage is at a fixed rate, there is some equity, even if the home value has slipped and the cars are paid off. We have no college loan debt any more, nor any credit cards that aren't paid off monthly. I saw a show yesterday that had couples interviewed who were saying they had $200,000 in credit card debt! And that was before the house with the ARM, the cars, the private school tuition for Junior, the 2x a day Starbucks habit. Each story got worse. Bad choices, no investments, lifestyles they could not afford.

And I could only think of two things: "What are these people thinking?" and "How can I make sure this doesn't happen to me?"

Even with a little cash in the bank, and many many years until an official retirement, a strong financial future is not guaranteed. Not for me, and not for many people. Investing now, while there is essentially a "sale" on making money is smart. But making a smart investment is not always easy. The "old way" may not work, the "new ways" may be too new. So many want to rely on schemes and procrastination. Think about all the people put money into property in California, and Florida. They thought they were making a smart decision and now sitting on a house that is valued less than they paid for it 5, 10 years ago. 401ks are based on diversified investments--in the stock market--which I don't have to tell you is down.


Now that is all a lot of my own personal information, but it sets up my experience and tells you were I am at. I have been investing in Prosper now for about a year an a have and to date have 58 loans funded. Now, I am not one to talk about money in any great detail on the average day, but I did want to share with you my prosper story. Those 58 loans represent 58 people whom I am helping get out of a bad credit situation. These people are consolidating credit cards, or paying off other high interest loans--or getting through other financial tough spots. For each of these loans there was background info, the person's story, credit history, credit score, expenses, etc. And I choose my loans carefully. There is a high default rate, especially now, and I am fortunate to have all my payments from these people current. Admittedly, on occasion there is a late payment--but so far, everyone is hanging in there.

Now Prosper isn't for everyone wanting to make an investment. It is risky. But so is the stock market. Right now Prosper is paying an average 17% for me, which I consider rather decent. Right now Prosper is a good investment. A smart investment. I re-invest the money each time I am paid back+interest, enough to fund another loan. It will be a long time until I take the money out of this (loans are for 3 years), and with each re-investment I push that back again.

But I don't need the cash today. Today I will ride my bike, clip my coupons, go without. Today I will splurge on a pedicure, but I will sacrifice something else. Because I need to look to tomorrow. I do not want to be one of those people talking to Suze Orman about how I screwed up and paid my 15% interest rate credit card with a cash advance with a 30% interest rate, and can't pay my electric bill. I do not want to look at this period of "economic slowdown" as the "time I lost all my money."

I am investing in my future - $50 at a time...

If you are interested is learning more about my Prosper story - how I choose my loans, or my investment strategy, I would be happy to discuss it here. Feel free to comment below or email me directly.

Meghan Wier
Writer - Author - Woman - Investor.




Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Good Morning Charlotte

The mornings don't seem to have started right anymore unless I get to enjoy a few minutes outside sipping my tea and going through my email. This is such a silly guilty pleasure--making a quick breakfast for my son and then slipping outside to the patio while he eats and watches 30 minutes of mind-numbing, but gloriously distracticting morning programming.

I find that I am developing new habits. Good ones. Like waking up early to spend this time breathing in the cool morning air and listening to the birds sing to eachother.

The hustle and bustle of the day--the doctor's appointments, impersonation of a taxi, important phone calls, and meetings will all begin soon enough, but for now I have found a little piece of spiriuality, or meditation, or just peace and quiet--and it is wonderful.

Today I meet with a guy who works for a company who sends out mass text messages... sort-of the new flavor of spam. And I am sure he would not appreciate that description, because in reality there are many useful applications for quickly and inexpensively letting people know what tonight's dinner specials are, or how many tickets are left for the game, or which American Idol to vote for. Apres the meeting I am sure I will have a new-found appreciation for all that texting can do and likely try to convince all of you of the same. Maybe even texting you messages such as "buy Meg's book" or "Are you an Introvert? Find out today at www......." But all the same, I may just send you an old fashioned and way-more personal email. Kids these days I tell you, with their fancy technology. Doesn't anyone believe in email anymore?

On another note I may wander off to the bookstore and buy a copy of 4-Hour Work Week - since I think it was actually written about me. But I will find out and report back after a thorough read. Perhaps he doesn't mean "billed hours" (as I certainly work many more) and probably doesn't count parental responsibilities into "work" which we all know would be incorrect... however, I am fortunate to be able to enjoy a truncated, semi-retirement, situation as an author and writer, (and I may have to add "blogger" since blogging seems not to be considered "writing" in some circles, and if one where to read this entry as a sample, I could see their point).

Oh dear, I am rambling again. Tea is gone. 7:30 is here. It is time to get the taxi packed and the day started.

Good Morning Charlotte.
Meghan Wier


Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

Sunday, July 06, 2008

fog

The day started out cool and lovely, after another night of thick, uncompromising, and wholly unnecessary despair. I sat outside and drank my morning cup of hot tea and listened to the ramblings of weekend news radio. I even worked on my freelance writing invoices in between surfing the Web and reading up on the real news and the un-real as well. The weather turned from perfect to a heavy rain storm sometime after lunch and my lazy hazy day became even more glorious as I was unable to do any yard work in the downpour, so I enjoyed the men's tennis finals at Wimbledon. I am no fan of tennis, but it was a very engaging match and the perfect excuse for not doing the inside chores that called out for attention.

They have been ignored yet again. Perhaps tomorrow they will learn to sing a louder song or a more compelling tune...

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. The 4-day weekend and my current inability to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time, day or night, has made my mind an interesting place as of late. Thoughts of my paternal grandparents have monopolized my late evenings for a fortnight. I can speculate why, as family, holidays and good-byes weigh heavily on the mind of one who has spent so much time considering lineage, but it has been interesting to revisit these memories as I lay awake at night, so many years after they left this mortal coil.

My grandfather had a small basement workshop area, that was entered from the garage of his Upstate New York home. It was dark, cool and moist, and I remember the stairs and the smell and the feelings of being in that place. He had a neat and frugal organization, which struck me--and is an odd thing to recall, as I was less than ten, perhaps even younger. But yet I hold that in my consciousness. To have gone down there in that private sanctuary would have been a special thing, as it was rare, and so for me that memory is especially joyful.

The other memory invading my near-slumber is of Grandpa Bud's last hug and the well-wishes he gave as we left before moving briefly to Belgium. This too is a joyful memory despite the fact that it is my final one of my grandfather. He died a few months later while we were still away. But I will forever remember that hug, the wonderful words and the wave as we drove away. I wish that all people were able to have such great memories of the goodbye.

Not everyone gets to say goodbye. And my missed goodbyes are painful and raw. And for some reason these are the things infiltrating the dark of night and causing the daytime fog. Tonight I am hoping to banish these grey monsters and replace them with the little pink ones. The pink lovelies of hellos, and the warmth of a good night's sleep.

Perhaps tomorrow the fog will lift and my brain will again function, if but a bit, and I will be able to focus on the important things like life coaching, dental health, party planning and real estate.

...no wonder my brain is favoring the fog.

Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Writing, Business Networking and Roller Coasters


Today was a day of making and cultivating business relationship and of unrelated family fun. The networking happened virtually with several connections made, introductions delivered and networking commenced. The family fun took place in between the latter, at Carowinds Amusement park, where members of my immediate and extended family gathered to enjoy the pleasure or near-barf-inducing and unnecessarily-wet thrill rides.

It was a good day.

...Tomorrow will be spent writing and in some sort of quiet fashion away from crowds, noise, and pavement that sticks in a way that beacons you to quickly change your train of thought and not overly analyze the reasons for the gooeyness.


--I would like to re-introduce you to Pete McGourty of Expect Success, whose new website has officially launched. Pete is a recognized expert in business consulting and life coaching in Charlotte. Congratulations Pete!










Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant