How To Maximize Your Income with Portfolio and Work Life Screens

I was chatting with my career coach on the phone this morning. We were discussing switching my plan from a “to do list” and yearly goals to a 90 day plan and yearly goals. The reason? Yearly goals and “to do lists” often have nothing to do with one another, but yearly goals and 90 day goals often line up, as do “to do” lists and 90 day goals.

In short, the 90 day goal is the sweet spot that helps me focus long term, yet make sure that the right fires get addressed in my everyday activity. I can focus on 90 day goals like they’re right now. I can’t focus on one year goals. I’m too short term oriented, no matter how much I try to change.

How I’ve Developed Screens To Weed Out Time and Money Drains

The biggest issue I’ve had while earning money online has been developing consistent income streams, yet that’s really all that matters, isn’t it?

If I spend my time flogging our podcast on Facebook, yet won’t work on finding a new sponsor for the show, is that really getting me anywhere?

I can tell you all day that thinking “long term” is a great strategy. Yet, without some results today, it doesn’t really matter.

Money that isn’t in my pocket today can’t be added to tomorrow. The law of compounding interest will show you that it’ll take a hell of a lot of tomorrows to equal one little bit of money in my account today.

So I’d recommend that if you spend all of your time on “long term” results over today, that you shift your focus: let’s work on a 90 day approach rather than a one year approach.

What Does This Have To Do With Investing?

This is the reason why I have difficultly investing in companies that have a new drug or a new, potentially disruptive drug. The probability that these will hit is horrible. If I invest in the future drug or future tech, while maybe it’ll pay off, it’ll take a lot of winning in the future to equal money in my pocket today.

Evaluating Stocks

Everyone has a different evaluation method, but mine springs from the thoughts above. How do I make sure that my money has a 90 day plan?

Let’s look at my filters. In the comments, you can share yours, if you wish….or tell me how mine are all wrong.

First, the company needs positive earnings. If the company isn’t making money, it’s a bet on the future. I have a hard time justifying using hard-earned dollars on a bet.

Second, I need a company that’s started to surprise with good earnings. Famous investor Lousi Navellier noticed that companies which surprise on the upside tend to continue to surprise. For a variety of reasons, analysts have a hard time keeping up with a company’s ability to turn the corner. He points to the early days of Apple as an example. It took forever for Wall Street to get on the train. Now that the company struggles to meet astronomical numbers every quarter, it’s impossible for some analysts to believe the opposite: that Apple might be fallible.

Third, companies should be expanding their sales each quarter. If they aren’t selling more this year than last, the surprises will cease as soon as the company runs out of efficiencies that they can cut. In the words of a former Sears CEO, “You can’t shrink your way to greatness.”

Not a Stock Market Investor? These Screens Are Still For You

Those are my first three screens when it comes to evaluating stocks….but they’re also my screens for income opportunities in my life. If it’s good for my portfolio, it’s also good for my time. Here are the screens applied toward your working life:

First, I can’t align myself with companies that aren’t cash positive. I need clear indicators that a company is on the right track already. Turning around an operation or working for an operation in the process of turning brings too many variables to the table. I want nothing to do with it.

Second, I want a company that is full of surprises. I like working with people/operations that insist on delighting customers. I especially like being aligned with companies/people that haven’t been discovered yet who are in the business of making others happy. That rubs off on me and I’m excited to get the job done.

Third, the company/person should be on the attack, trying to do more. I have no problem with people retiring, but I’d prefer to buy those people out rather than work with them. I don’t want to wrk with people who are dead weight. If they’re only maintaining, I’m not getting the lift from my career that I’m looking to achieve.

There you have it: three screens for my portfolio and for life. What screens do you use that apply to both?


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When he isn’t posting monthly here, Joe Saul-Sehy is co-host of the popular Stacking Benjamins podcast.

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