from Reuters Money:

Secrets of wealthy whiz kids: How to make a million by 21

Earlier this month, Reuters Money featured a story with advice on how to get on the road to Millionaire Row. But what if you're in a hurry, like so many multi-tasking teens of the 21st Century? What if your goal is to make that million by the time you turn 21? Can it be done?

The answer is yes, if you take the fast lane as an entrepreneur on steroids — something common to the four millionaires we polled for this follow-up. Three made it to the seven-digit milestone by 21; the fourth reached it when he turned 24. Here, those wealthy whiz kids past and present share the secrets that contributed to the fortunes they made.


Jon Koon, 27

Position: Owner and designer of the Private Stock denim line, marketing guru and manufacturer of auto accessories.

How he made it: A licensing and fashion marvel, Koon made his first million at 16 as a pioneer in car tuning, where vehicles are modified with special parts to enhance appearance and performance.

Top tips for millionaire hopefuls: Get a business plan.
Koon saved $5,000 to start his first company, but the business plan helped him get substantial backing. “Investment is always tied to a clear opportunity for profit and that exact stream of profitability needs to be identified from the beginning,” he says.

from Reuters Money:

Raw deal: Why Groupon might be bad for business

When Fan Bi wanted to get the word out about his new company, Blank Label, he instantly thought of popular daily-deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. By offering a healthy discount for custom-designed dress shirts, “it wouldn’t cost us anything up-front, and we’d get all these new customers,” Bi remembers. “It sounded like a no-brainer.”

So he signed up with the deal site BuyWithMe, offering $100 gift certificates for $50. Only thing is, the discount worked a little too well. Almost 250 customers snapped them up, and after the deal site took its cut, “we were losing around six dollars a shirt,” he says. “If we’re losing money on every single order, it’s not even worth doing.”

It’s a common refrain from merchants who are testing out the increasingly popular daily-deal sites. For customers, as long as you actually cash in the coupon, it’s often a terrific bargain; for business owners, it can be a riskier gamble than they realize.

from Reuters Money:

Self-employed? When to graduate from sole proprietorship

When Darin Edmonds started Waterproofing Solutions, Inc. earlier this year he knew making a go of it wouldn’t be easy in a struggling economy. But he was determined to get things off on the right foot, and to him part of doing that was putting a wall between his personal and business assets by setting up a Subchapter S Corporation.

“When I began in this business 21 years ago it was okay for me to start out as a sole proprietor. At this stage in my life, when I have personal assets to protect, that’s no longer a sensible option,” says the 46-year-old Corona, California, contractor.

Whether they are running a small side business, investing in real estate, or are established professional service or trade professionals like Edmonds, go-it-alone, self-employed individuals typically start out as sole proprietors because it’s easy and relatively uncomplicated. Under a sole proprietorship -- or general partnership if there is more than one owner --a business can get started simply by hanging out a shingle.

from Reuters Money:

Groupon regret: How great deals make you spend more

Justine Rivero considers herself a bonafide personal-finance expert. She’s an adviser at the credit-tracking website Credit Karma, doling out tips on how to control spending, avoid crippling debt and keep your credit record pristine.

But even Justine Rivero is powerless against the lure of popular daily-deal site Groupon. When faced with a seemingly incredible bargain, she finds herself compelled to click that mouse again and again – against her own better judgment.

“I regretfully admit to totally blowing money on Groupons I never used,” says Rivero. “A dinner cruise for six people, a paintballing weekend, yoga classes. I swore it off for awhile, until something else popped up that I couldn’t resist. I should know better.”

from Reuters Money:

Why older workers are creating their own jobs

Deborah Ramsey went to work straight out of high school in the 1970s, working her way through the now-familiar rounds of layoffs, promotions and job changes at a series of banking, insurance and consulting companies in Philadelphia, her hometown. “I did my bit,” she recalls.

In 2005, she was working as an administrator for a technology consulting firm that was undergoing restructuring. “A lot of people were being laid off or leaving. I had been through two big layoffs before, I knew what they smelled like.” Ramsey decided to leave voluntarily, spurred by the changing work environment and caregiving responsibilities at home, where she looks after a mentally disabled daughter, an aging mother and mother-in-law, and her husband, a disabled veteran.

At age 52, she was ready for a change. Over the years, she had developed a strong interest in herbal remedies and massage therapy to help her daughter, who also suffers from asthma.