Monday, October 31, 2016

9 Things You Should Do Before an Early Retirement

Early retirement is equated with winning these days.  The Baby Boomer generation hasn't stopped working.  That could mean they didn't save enough for retirement or they just love work.  Knowing many Baby Boomers, it's the latter.  Among generation X'ers, and older Millennials, getting out of the rat race is priority number one.  Those that escape, get to flaunt it.  They get to look back at all of their FB friends, and Co-workers, and judge them from the sidelines.  Some of them think that their accomplishment is worthy of being an authority, so they start a personal finance blog and preach their formula to others.
Image result for early retirement

The majority of these early retirees have saved their way out of their job.  They've penny pinched for decades living miserable, frugal, lifestyles.  This approach is for the average human being.  Here at CCM blog, we promote personal greatness.  Working hard each day to acquire more assets, create more streams of income, distinguish yourself in your industry, are what we preach here.  Remember, the purpose of frugality is to save more to buy more assets.  But let's get into hypotheticals now.  What should you do prior to retiring early from your job?

1.  Make sure you have assets that grow automatically.  Real estate, and bond-like stocks with hefty dividends are two examples.

2.  Have an education plan.  According to Robert Kiyosaki, the only thing that protects you from the busts our economy is bound to have in the future is your intelligence.  You have to keep feeding your mind in retirement.

3.  See a financial planner.  (Years before to ensure you have enough saved up, and assets for sustainable income in retirement).

4.  Get in shape.  You don't want to be unhealthy after you retire as the costs of medical insurance (you won't have your company plan anymore) will only rise in the future.

5. Terminate your bad debt.  If you have credit cards, a home mortgage, or a car with a balance, you need to pay them all off.

6.  Move.  You won't need the home you are living in during retirement, so rent.  This will give you more leeway to spend your life without house duties.  Let your landlord deal with mowing your lawn, fixing leaky faucets, etc.

7.  A passion that will keep you living life to the fullest.  You'll need a serious hobby or past-time so you won't annoy your significant other all day.     

8.  Kick your kids out of the house.  What's the point of retiring early if you have a boomerang child at home?  They'll continue to mooch off you and restrict your movement in your own home.

9.  Make new (retired) friends.  Your old friends will still be working so it won't be the same to hang out with them.

Retiring early is great if done correctly.  If you don't, you'll be needing to make changes like getting a part-time job, or downsizing.  Making the leap into retirement too early could be a shock to your emotional well-being.  Some people miss the feeling of being productive and useful.  So be sure you have a second act ahead of you.  Many of you have the skills to become public speakers, trainers and consultants, writers, and help people.

Thanks for reading!  Until next time.  

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Friday, October 28, 2016

6 Dirty Lies About Success Students Are Told At School

The education system in America has been obsolete for many decades.  Because states have not been able to stop schooling, literally just close all school doors for as long as it takes to deconstruct our current system, and create a new one, the system simply gets makeovers every few years.  The sensible thing to do when something isn't working is to tweak, modify, and relaunch.  At least 50 years worth of this strategy has already taken place in schools.

The only business in America where the customer keeps coming back despite the product or service being mostly average are schools!  Like any business, exceptional service (teaching) is not the norm.  But unlike the business world, average service is protected in schools.  Collective bargaining, enough said.  The product has also been in question for a long time.  Students spanning several generations who don't fit the mold have been hurt by school indoctrination.

I'm in no way blaming educators.  Education hasn't even been addressed yet by any of the two nominees for the Presidency.  Three debates, no talk of school improvement.  What does this say about the priorities in this country?  It's beyond sad.  Similarly, the customer has changed quite some over the years.  Mostly white teachers are now educating a primarily minority student body.  The challenges are immense.

Image result for Lies

What can be done by educators to make the current customer more comfortable with the service and product?  We can stop lying to them!  Below are the lies teacher and educators must stop telling students now:

1.  You will use this one day.

Truth: I have no idea if this will be useful in the future.  I just want you to comply.

2.  Get good grades so you can...(insert your fantasy).

Truth: Your efforts stink so I'm trying to scare you about your future to motivate you to work harder.

3.  College is the key to success.

Truth: Going to college is the only future pathway we know how to prepare you for.  But only if you buy in.

4.  Doing your homework means you're being responsible.

Truth: Not doing your homework means you're lazy and we can't understand why you won't simply do it.

5.  Coming to school daily will improve your chances of passing classes.

Truth: We can't have you reject the only way we make money.  We will threaten you and your family until you return. 

6.  Going to college will help you get a good job one day.

Truth: We have no idea any more if going to college will help you get a good job.  But this is what we think you need to hear to stay compliant and sold on school.

Educators would do better if they agreed with their students more often.  Use words like, "You may be right," or "Perhaps," to stop students in their tracks.  I put it back on my students whenever they expose a lie out loud: "I'm glad you have thought critically about your education.  Now what are you going to do with this knowledge?"  The usual response, "I don't know."  I give them one suggestion: "You're stuck in school until you graduate from H.S., read 100 books on whatever it is you love to do the most from now until then."

Another thing educators can do is acknowledge that success is no longer guaranteed from a college education.  In fact, the rapid pace of technological innovation is making traditional school curriculum become obsolete at a quicker clip.  Financial literacy education is simply putting a bandage on a gaping wound.  It is not enough.  Entrepreneurship and business class offerings have to be exponential.  We are in dire need of the entrepreneurial teacher.

Lastly, we have to redefine what success looks like.  The image of success students leave high school with is one of wearing another cap and gown four to five years in the future.  Is this still what success looks like?  When I look at college graduates these days I see a bunch of indebted people, and very few of any graduating class achieve the four types of success: great health, happiness, wealth, and a loving family.

Thanks for reading.  
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Financial Cost of Kids Spending Time On Homework

There's nothing more satisfying to a parent than seeing their son or daughter busy working on their homework.  Having to continue to prompt, or even yell at a child to start their homework, is a nightmare that plays out in many homes across this country daily.  Many people believe this formula: Excellence in School + Effort on Homework = Successful Offspring.  Parent, I want you to reconsider this formula.

5 strategies to motivate kids to do their homework

Does effort on homework really enhance the path to success?  You may say, "Yes! Because doing homework will lead to a better grade in my child's class.  And getting better grades in class can help my child get into college."  You have all been brainwashed by your own experiences in school to believe that there are no better paths to success.

There is one theme that connects all successful people.  Successful people do not stop working on their craft and personal growth.  They write out goals.  They take action.  Most of them probably hated having to do homework as youths because it took them away from what they loved doing and were passionate about.

The only homework I ever valued was that assigned by my English teacher.  But not all of it.  I valued having to read a book, and write essays only.  Reading (not from a textbook) and writing are the only skills students need to be assigned past their school day.  These skills transfer into any profession.  I will probably take a lot of flak for this but the homework of any other class is a big waste of time.

As a science teacher, I believe that if I can't get my students to understand the concept or content of the lesson during the class period, then it's my own fault!  If a math teacher can't get students to be able to do a certain skill during the period, then he/she should wait until the next day!  Homework punishes kids and takes away their evenings to work on their own pursuits.  Malcolm Gladwell, author of the bestseller, Outliers: The Story of Success, discovered that it takes around 10,000 hours to really be great at something.  That something may be playing an instrument, skateboarding, Karate, soccer, painting, writing stories or a book, whatever.

Homework spreads kids too thin.  There is no way, no how, a student gets to their 10,000 hours wasting time on useless homework.  This is why most people end up being average in life, coming out of college with a degree, and joining everyone else in the rat race.  They never got great at any one thing!  It happened to me.  Here I am now many years after college honing my craft as an influencer.  Sure, some students become highly paid individuals, but they're still slaves of fear.  They work hard for money all of their lives, fearing the loss of everything they've accumulated.

If not homework, what should your child be doing?  Anything else!  Yes, even video games.  Video game design is a huge industry these days.  Who is to say your child will not one day design the next Angry Birds?  Your job as a parent is to outsmart your obsessed child.  For example, if video games is what they're into, go to your local bookstore and get Videogame Design for Dummies.  Follow it up with Beginning Flash Game Programming for Dummies.  Do not let them simply play all evening.  Set a schedule around both reading and playing.

Introduce your kids to massively successful individuals.  As early as middle school, have them read non-fiction books on success.  Kids love reading stories of supernatural beings, and make-believe kingdoms.  They may as well be doing homework!  Yes, your kids may develop a love of reading with "fun" books.  But unless your child wants to become the next J.K. Rowling, reading fantasy books produces no future income stream.  Have them read books about goal setting, positive mental attitude, the law of attraction, the principles of success, sales, and entrepreneurship.

Life would be a lot easier for parents if they weren't stressing about their children's homework.  Evenings are for family and personal growth.  That's all I have to say.  Drop mic.

If you life this post and want more like them, don't forget to subscribe before you leave.  Thanks!      
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

How Money Pedagogy And Teachers Can Transform America

When did you become interested in money?  Most likely it was the instant you were given a piggy bank by your parents.  That genuine curiosity you had for pennies, nickels, and dimes probably lasted all of two years.  Once in school, and you learned to correctly distinguish between nickel, dimes, and quarters, money ceased to be the topic of lessons.  Math, English, History, and some Science became the focus of your primary school education.

Image result for kid with a piggy bank

The trend continues to this day, albeit it, there are many schools across the country now adopting financial literacy curriculum and entrepreneurship classes as electives.  The National Content Standards for Entrepreneurship Education validate such classes.  Many agencies sell their programs and content to schools, for example, Junior Achievement USA.  Students who have access to teachers who teach financial literacy or entrepreneurship should consider themselves lucky.

But what if every teacher in America awoke the dormant money curiosity students have once again?  What if teachers could grow the consciousness of money in all their students, especially those who live below the poverty line?  According to a report by the Southern Education Foundation in 2015, 51 percent of all students in America are considered "low-income" and live in poverty.  What has been the solution to this disturbing increase of the past 50 years?  Answer: Common Core, the hiring of new test makers across states, more academics, fewer visual and performing arts, and personalized learning.  Only the latter gives students permission to seek out knowledge of money and entrepreneurship.

Yet the easiest solution has always stood before us.  To improve education, improve teaching!  To reduce poverty, improve the teaching of wealth!  Duh!  If it were only this easy.  Consider this:  Most teachers don't know the first thing about making money.  If they did, they wouldn't be educators.  Many will say that they are not teachers for the money.  That they love teaching and working with kids.  The truth is, if they were to win the lottery, they'd quit teaching instantly.  Not a single one of them would continue working in a job that gets ever more complicated and demanding.

How can teachers transform America and reduce poverty?  First, let's make sure we all acknowledge that society owes teachers big time.  Parents of students of poverty send their kids to school to be educated, and often rely on teachers too much.  But back to the question.  Teachers can transform America by acknowledging they do not know much about how wealth is made.  They may know how to create middle class aspirations by virtue of promoting and preparing students for college.  However, that is where it ends.  How has this worked the past decades?

Graphs showing the average graduation rates of white students and minority students at public colleges and universities.

According to the Hechinger Report as many as 40 percent of low-income students accepted to college in the spring never show up to classes in the fall.  40 percent!  So what good does it do to make an academic out of a poor student if they one, will not show, and two, even if they show, will drop out.  U.S. News & World Report reported a 50.1% college graduation rate for underrepresented minorities in 2013.  Let's do a little math.  What's 40% of 50%?  20%.  That's probably how many low-income and minority students who are accepted to college in this country, end up really graduating.  I know I'm crossing poverty with ethnicity here, but I can't be that far off.

College and college graduation are not as big of a carrot as educators seem to think it is.  Isn't it obvious by now?  Poor kids want to desperately get out of poverty.  They want it so bad they'll do just about anything else, except going to or graduating from college.  Ha!  The education system creates an upside down funnel where we squeeze out only the buyers of the college pathway solution.  Yet, even these kids get squeezed out by the funnel awaiting them at higher learning institutions.

We need to try different things.  I am of the belief that adding more money topics into teaching units and individual lessons, will inspire more students to value schooling.  I call it, Money Pedagogy.  The challenge to doing Money Pedagogy are teachers' own financial literacy.  The trade books they read from notable education publishers, have not solved America's education problem.  They keep being sold on these.  Why not start adding financial literacy to professional development?  Superintendents, a teacher who can budget, invest, and actually save for retirement is a happier teacher.  A teacher who can start a successful business on the side is more confident and exudes this confidence during her lessons.

What if teachers could present perspectives that were not so utterly useless, and often forgetful?  What if teachers could talk more money in class?  Consider these questions:

1.  How was the American Revolution financed?
2.  Was the Civil War really won in the battlefield?  How did economics play a role in how the war played out?

1.  Compare the type of wealth Gatsby had with the type of wealth Daisy Buchanan had, and how did it lead Gatsby down a road of no return?

1.  Solve the following: Every month the Gomez family spends $350 on groceries, $200 on cell phones and internet, $2,350 on their home mortgage, $150 on electricity, and $200 on water.  If they earn $3,200 a month, do they have enough money to cover their bills?  If not, how do you think they are paying for their shortfall?  What would you suggest they do to lower their expenses?

1.  Global warming is threatening our planet.  What would be the most cost effective way of stopping rising oceans, or reducing the burning of fossil fuels?

We have tried many things as educators.  Our efforts have saved millions of students in America.  But we can do so much better.  Money pedagogy takes no funding whatsoever.  All any teacher needs to do is spend a little less time reading educational magazines, articles, or books and spend a little more time reading books on business, entrepreneurship, and investing.  It would be personally beneficial and something new and exciting to share with your students!  Who knows, it could transform America.    
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

5 Mind Hacks to Defeat Fear of Success

For some people, the fear of success is just as intense as the fear of failure.  It seems counterintuitive that anyone would fear being successful, but there is such a thing.  I'm not making this up.

Fear of Success IS Real! But Not for Gritty Minds and Bleeding ...

Classic Fear of Success Moves:

1.  You fail to complete projects.
2.  You work in a frenzy on a bunch of things, failing to focus deeply on any one of them.
3.  You second-guess yourself. 

The two types of fears are very similar in how they make people react physically and psychologically.  Before moving forward with the fear of success, let me make sure you understand the fear of failure.

When you have failed a bunch of times, you get into a pattern of avoiding anything risky.  You don't want to once again damage your ego, which is fragile if you've internalized all of those failures.  You don't get your hopes up because if you do, and whatever the stimulus was doesn't pan out, now you're left once again floating in a sea of disappointment.

Fear of success is all about doubt.  You don't think you deserve what is in front of you, for example, a raise, a promotion, a book deal, or a bigger business, so you conjure up thoughts that excuse or justify your not pushing ahead.  Why?  Maybe someone in your past belittled you, as was my case.  My father used to call me a "good for nothing."  In Spanish, of course.  Surprisingly, it had an opposite effect on me--it actually fed my inner drive and motivation to succeed in order to prove him wrong!  But I know this may not have been your response to verbal abuse.

I happen to suffer from anxiety, and whenever I'm near a breakthrough, my anxiety spikes.  I start to get symptoms normally subdued by my low-dosage medication.  These include hyperactivity, stomach aches, and a rush of adrenaline.  If you have anxiety, and let's face it, almost everyone in America has it these days, you may experience symptoms you normally wouldn't living as an average, happy go-lucky individual.

I figured out some mind hacks that I think may help you, whatever your reasons are for having a fear of success.  They are:

1.  First you must acknowledge you have the fear of success.  Come to grips with it.  Then you have to think back at all the times you were near a breakthrough that would have put you on another level, but you fell short of materializing it.  See a pattern?  What did you do to stop your momentum?  List everything down on a piece of paper.

2.  Write down the names of everyone who would benefit from your success.  When you make your success about helping others, you get a second wind of courage to move forward.  People hate being selfish more than being scared.  One is a character flaw; the other is a temporary condition of the mind.

3.  Listen to William Wallace...Mel Gibson's character in Braveheart.  If you've seen this movie, there is a scene where he rallies his Scotsmen right before a battle with the English.  Go on YouTube and search, "Braveheart Freedom Speech."  People use this scene to get inspired to lead.  The part of Wallace's speech that is a mind hack for the fear of success is somewhere in the middle.  A clansman proposes fleeing (and not dying) as a logical response to the might of the English northern army.  Wallace agrees with him:  

"Aye.  Fight and you may die.  Run and you'll least a while.  And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance...just one come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom?"

Imagine yourself at your deathbed every time you start to doubt your impending success.  Could you live with letting an opportunity be squandered again by your fear of becoming a someone?

4.  Will you die if you succeed?  Ask yourself that question.  Will succeeding kill you?  Obviously not.  But it still helps to say, "No," to this question over and over, as much as you need to.

5.  Learn to differentiate between feelings of excitement and a reaction to trauma.  When you start feeling excited about your accomplishments and what they can become, remember that this is excitement, not the sensation you felt when being verbally abused.  

Don't let fear of success sabotage you.  Keep plowing ahead despite what your body or mind may be telling you.  Doctors and Therapist tell you too many times to listen to your body.  Don't listen to them! Your mind is trying to make you weak.  Use these mind hacks to fool it.  Until next time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Review of Be Obsessed Or Be Average by Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone is an excellent example of a case study on grit, resilience, and success.  His book, Be Obsessed or Be Average, should not only be read by every person in America (he'd say every person on this planet), but it should also be required reading for every psychology student who will ever be working with people and their pathology relating to fear.

Probably intentional, Grant Cardone threatens the mental health services establishment with a belief he holds to be true to the last cell on his body: You can obsess your way past your fears, personal stagnation, and become an unstoppable force with no ceiling.  Be Obsessed or Be Average refreshingly undermines everything Americans have come to depend on for coping with their anxieties, depression, and fears, namely, medication, self-help, and mental health providers.  And Grant is unapologetically convinced his way is better.

If this book doesn't make every person who reads it initially envious, they are not human.  Grant has gotten in front of every influencer out there and delivered a bombshell of a social theory with more than just bravado.  His book clearly describes how he went from rock bottom to the multi-millionaire (impending billionaire) he is today.  Now I have read many books from a slew of successful individuals, for example, Tony Robbins, Steven Covey, Brian Tracy, Napolean Hill, etc.  None of them have made as much sense to me as Grant Cardone has.  Perhaps it's because I'm wired just like he is?

A constructive obsession is the switch that both destructive and average individuals need to turn on, Grant emphasizes throughout the book.  If that were all, the book would still be revolutionary, but there is more.  In fact, he shares with readers multiple exercises he created and uses to revitalize his obsessions.  My favorite: The two column chart of Personal and Professional Life that identifies your potential expertise, and ways to increase your professional bandwidth.  This is where I felt most connected to his message.  No one can be Superman year in and year out.  Everyone has a Kryptonite.  Grant writes about moments when he let his Clark Kent identity get the best of him and how it cost him both financially and spiritually.

If you are a control freak, an obsessive type, and/or an extremely driven individual, you will love this book because it will show you how to convert those socially "unacceptable" personalities into a call to action for your life.  You will love this book because you will for once be championed and not denigrated.  You will cherish this book because you have been "given permission" to operate obsessively in all aspects of your life.  And if after all of this you still think obsession is a bad thing, you just don't get it.

I read the book in about three days time.  It's an easy read but so engaging that it forces you to stop and think, even discuss what you just read with your significant other as was often my case.  My wife, Jessica, a network marketer, couldn't help getting her hands on the book and seeing what all my excitement was about.

Jessica reading, Be Obsessed Or Be Average

During our anniversary weekend last Saturday and Sunday, Jessica and I spent a lot of time...(Hey what are you thinking?  I keep it PG-13)...talking about the message of the book and how it applied to our business ventures.  Suffice it to say, Jessica made some deep and emotional revelations about what has kept her on the sidelines while many regular people like her go from $30K in income a year to over $30K a month!  Before we got home Sunday afternoon, she had written out new goals for her business.  The following day she'd made cold calls to prospects she'd given up on, this time fully committed (she got a sale and booked an appointment), redesigned her website, and changed her theme from "Starbound" to "Rise Up Region."  Region manager is the level she wants to be at the end of March 2017.  Now she is all-in and understands true obsession.

How Be Obsessed or Be Average Helped Me

I too wrote out new goals before getting home: (Notice how they are written in the present tense.  Grant taught me this)

I have a new call to action freebie for new subscribers to Common Core Money blog.  This one I completed last Sunday evening!

I have 10,000 new subscribers to Common Core Money blog.

I have a new information product, a book for teachers and school officials tentatively titled, Pedagogy of Money.

I have 5,000 more Twitter followers.

I have 2,000 more FB page likes.

I have a professional development course for teachers who want to inspire at risk students with financial literacy and entrepreneurship curriculum.

Thanks for reading.
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Friday, October 14, 2016

The Two Best Financial Tips You'll Ever Get

I've been thinking long and hard about how best to put a bug in YOUR ear.  How to best get you to realize that you were born a masterpiece, but over time, life has cemented layers upon layers of marble around you.  And now it'll take a massive chisel and hammer to return you to your true brilliant form!

You see, most of us grew up with parents that through no fault of their own, instilled in us the "virtues" of the middle-class.  "Save your money, diversify your investments, work hard, reduce risk, live frugally, and get a formal education," are all outdated and obsolete modus operandi.  There's a simple explanation for this.  As most of the money passes into the hands of fewer and fewer individuals, what once worked to spread the remaining available money around loses its effectiveness.  What's my evidence?

How about the gargantuan wealth gap in this country?  Tell me, if doing all those things your parents (and my parents) taught you still worked, how could the wealth gap be growing wider?  You need to accept that things have changed and in order to ensure your own economic survival, and that of your children, YOU need to change with the times.

Careers offer diminishing returns.  A formal education is losing value every year.  Consumption of things that distract and keep people from using their intellectual capital is only a click of a button away.

It's time to reboot yourself and start your life 2.0.  I'm gonna give you two completely obvious and sensible pieces of financial advice.  You will argue with me that they are not financial in nature, but I will disagree with you vehemently.  The first one is:

1.  Stop watching television!

They call TV the idiot box.  So let me ask: Are you an idiot?  What was that?  I couldn't hear your, "No," past this screen.  Do me a favor...yell, "F-no!" for me one time.  Get mad about wasting your time and life in front of the tube.

Think about how much time you spend being sold to while watching TV.  Commercials sell you.  Crooked politicians and their crooked ads sell you.  Sports and entertainment place you in a fantasy world where your wife and kids aren't worried you'll be able to provide for them, where you aren't stressing about how to make the next car note, and so on.  Harsh words, I know.  But they speak the truth.

Just imagine how much you could accomplish and make of yourself not wasting time watching Television or YouTube for pleasure or entertainment.  You could use those hours to partake of financial advice number 2.

2.  Read a book!

But not just any book.  Read a book that will teach you how to collect money from others.  Sales, Entrepreneurship, Business, and Investing books will wake you up and free you from The Matrix.  I know how much you love your fiction novels...but fiction is fantasy...and fantasy is poverty.

The number of Americans not reading a single book has risen steadily for decades.  In 2014, 23% of Americans admitted not reading a book which tells me one thing: there's probably a whole lot more who didn't read a single book but lied about doing so out of embarrassment.

Image result for how many books a year does the average american read 2015

 This is just disheartening.  Knowledge is power and time is money!  People, if you want a better life for you and your family it's going to take hard work.  That chisel and hammer aren't going to move on their own.  Carpe diem!

See you next time!  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Why Telling You To Live Frugally Is The Worst Financial Advice Ever

When you are told by scores of bloggers that living frugally is great financial advise, you are being lied to.  Living frugally is by far the worst financial advice ever and you have all been brainwashed to believe that it is the best thing that ever happened since sliced bread.

Image result for mocha frappuccino

When you start making buying a mocha frapp from Starbucks a fifteen minute debate in your mind, you've lost.  Flat out lost.  You've freakin' become a zombie in life, choosing mediocrity, contentedness, and inaction, over conquering each day like a genuine badass.

Buy that mocha frapp.  Buy the $30 book.  And if you like a nice expensive watch, buy that too!  When you worry about spending and obsess with being frugal, you have essentially made up your mind about money.  In your mind, money is finite.  The reality is, there is an abundance of money! You've just decided that you'll never get your share so you make like a squirrel and hoard those tiny acorns.

No one who has ever lived frugally had ambitious goals.  Or maybe they did and seeing no way of making their dreams come true instead gave up.  Is the fight too brutal for you?  Have you stopped swinging, following this ridiculous doctrine of frugality as your saving grace?  If this is you, you need an intervention like yesterday.

Image result for cartoons boxing

Frugality is bad for your finances for many reasons.  Being frugal means you probably despise debt and have this false belief of all debt being bad.  But guess what?  You will never be rich without debt.  Good debt, that is--the type you incur starting a business, buying into an investment deal, or purchasing real estate.

Being frugal also means that instead of applying your entire being to laying down some concrete goals and taking massive action to see them to fruition, you would rather apply your intellect and time to the next best clever way of saving a couple dollars a month.  You're better than this!  You have unlimited, untapped potential to make money come to you.

Here are the myths about frugality you have come to accept:

1.  Frugality will make you rich.

-Wrong! Frugality will limit how rich you can ever get.

2. Being frugal is a lifestyle choice.

-Wrong! Being frugal is a lifestyle default.  No one who knows how to make major mula has ever chosen frugality.  Moreover, it takes absolutely zero inspiration to be frugal, and a lifestyle without inspiration lacks both substance and style.

3.  There is courage, strength, and resolve in someone who has the discipline to stay frugal.

-Wrong again!  There is fear and weakness in anyone who lets frugality be their go-to behavior.  If you pride yourself on your frugal discipline, expecting some sort of trophy for penny-pinching your way into a boring existence, you're metaphorically hiding under a rock; you're too scared to come out and show your true strength to the world.  Unleash you inner lion!

4.  Being frugal and budgeting is cool.

-Not! Being frugal is so not cool.  Tell me, what is so damn cool about bragging you've saved $100K in ten years by saving like a madman?  Why do these people get so much air time on Finance sites?  They have zero talent.  They helped absolutely no one.  Their productivity on this planet amounts to withdrawing their passion and emotional energy from the rest of us.  Failure is cool.  Losing $100K attempting to change the world is outright heroic.

Let me give you ten better financial tips than being frugal:

1.  Learn to make money. A monkey can make money from a job or a side-gig.  I'm talking making bank.

2.  Write down what you want (variable X), and take daily action to get to X.  If you think you are doing enough, just think, there is always someone in the metaphorical gym practicing harder than you are.  You must not want it bad enough.

3.  Spend money so you are motivated to make more of it.

4.  Learn to keep your assets, not your cash.  Your cash is always disposable and if you're not using it, you are losing it.  But this is about protecting what is yours so incorporate, LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp.

5.  Don't tell yourself you can't afford it.  Ask yourself: How can I afford it?  Check your negative, broke person attitude.

6.  Learn the 5 Simple Rules to Becoming Wealthy and devote your life to them.

7.  Discover how you can help others with a monetized passion.  Helping others pays back 10X or more.

8.   Skip the emergency fund.  Apply every last dollar you can to your ventures and investments.  If you should have an emergency, liquidate from investments first.

9.  Don't waste time with budgets.  Pay yourself first at the start of the month and keep your expenses and buying activities consistent.  Focus all your energy on meeting your monster goal.

10.  Educate yourself constantly. Squeeze time in the day for learning.  YouTube has thousands of videos from some of the most successful entrepreneurs just ready to be viewed.  Listen to them on your way to work, in the bathroom, while changing diapers, etc.  No reason why you have to go at it alone.

Image result for conquer each day

Living frugally is sad.  There are so many more ways you can experience the world having carefree money.  Not to mention, it is your moral obligation to help society, not withdraw yourself from it.  And you can't do this living a frugal life.  On the contrary, you have to make, employ, teach, and give.  So if I've burst your bubble, good!  Get over it and start conquering each day like the badass you will soon become.   

Saturday, October 8, 2016

5 Simple Rules to Becoming Wealthy

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  You make decisions every day.  When it comes to your money, you can make better decisions, but your problem is that you often don't...and that is why you're not wealthy.  And if you keep doing the same thing, you'll never make that leap to the next level.

Take my case, I've recently spent over $10,000 to remodel my master bedroom.  Sure, by doing much of it myself, I probably got well over dollar-for-dollar in terms of home equity appreciation.  Nonetheless, I violated a cardinal wealth building rule.  One I learned a long time ago yet fail to follow over and over, until posts like these, that kick my ass and reset my wealth building mode.  We all need a kick in the posterior to get ourselves in the right mindset:  There is an abundance of money on this planet and YOU deserve your share of it.

If you can stick to the following wealth accumulation rules more often than you cut your own legs off with poor money management decisions, you WILL be wealthy one day.

1.  Limit Your Liabilities.

Robert Kiyosaki shocked the middle-class when he placed a personal residence in the "liability" column.  A home is not an asset...unless you rent rooms and the rent from tenants pays for the mortgage and then some.  Otherwise, guess what?  It's a liability.  It's no surprise that in his best-selling book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Kiyosaki describes his Rich Dad's home as old, with a creaky floor, and furniture out of an antiques catalog.  He did this to imprint in your mind that the path his Rich Dad took to build his empire did not involve remodeling every other year and competing with the neighbors for best looking interior!  Buying a home, a new car, a new television you don't need, a smart phone with more data than you can use, and so on, only does one thing...keeps you in the poor house.  So stop buying liabilities!     

2.  Learn Sales.

I learned a great lesson from Grant Cardone: Everyone is in sales!  Yes, even you.  Whether you are a lawyer, a teacher, a fire fighter, an engineer, whatever, you are in sales, selling and persuading others to agree with your ideas, suggestions, logic, etc.  More importantly is being sold on yourself.  If you are not sold on your wealth ambitions, you will never be wealthy.  To be wealthy you need to buy assets (rule number 3), and you can't do this unless you can persuade your boss for a raise, close others on more deals, convince others you are the best candidate for a promotion, and so on.

Whatever it is you are currently doing, there is a pathway that leads to more income.  You will need to up your salesmanship, whether you like it or not, if you aspire to be part of the wealthy class.  I made one critical mistake in my life, not realizing I needed to embrace sales strategy and technique as an erudition.  They don't teach it in school, and so it is up to you to learn how to "sell or be sold"--Cardone.

3.  Buy Assets

Anything can be an asset IF it puts money in your pocket at the end of the month.  Narrowly speaking, however, there are just three main classes of assets.  They are, Businesses, Real Estate, and Paper.  Most Americans buy paper assets, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs.  They are the easiest assets to purchase.  What most Americans don't do is crossover.  They re-invest profits from paper assets back into buying more paper assets when they should be buying real estate.

My sole purpose for trading stocks is to raise enough money for my next out-of-state rental property.  The wealthy stay wealthy because they own real estate portfolios that deliver cashflow monthly, independent of how the stock market is doing.  But what's more, the wealthy stay wealthy because they pass on their real estate and businesses to their children!

My side businesses: this blog, freelance writing, e-book sales, have a similar purpose: to help me raise more money for another real estate purchase.  Businesses are the hardest assets to create and grow, or buy, simply because they take a huge cerebral toll on you.  But businesses also happen to be the best and fastest way to accumulate wealth, especially if your business is transferable and you can sell it to the next party for 3-5 times sales revenue.  The best aspect of owning a business is not just the potential to add to your income, rather it is that a business assists you in following our next rule, number 4.

4.  Limit Your Taxes

You are not a victim of the tax code!  You are merely in denial of it.  Your tax rate doesn't miraculously rise, nor does it miraculously fall.  In either case, it takes action on your part.  The way you keep increasing your rate is by becoming that consummate professional who defines his/her entire life by working for someone else and climbing the income ladder.  The way you lower your State (if any) and Fed tax rate is by taking advantage of the tax code and all possible deductions.  You can only reduce your taxes by running a business, investing, donating, or making less taxable income from your job.

Image result for the wealthy don't work for money

The wealthy do not work for money, money works for them.  So they are taxed at lower rates than the average American.  Warren Buffett admits his secretary is taxed at a higher rate than he is.  He feels guilty about it and now proposes that wealthy individuals agree to be taxed more.  But why should they?  This "pay your fair share" belief is a cop out for all highly taxed individuals who don't want to put forth the effort to follow rule number 3.  They'd rather work long careers, buying toys for themselves, and hoping they'll have enough for retirement.

I am proud to say that my effective tax rate last year was 13% State, and 11% Fed.  Compare that to the rate I would pay, 22% or more, if I didn't have assets (and a great Enrolled Agent) helping me come tax season.  Do yourself a huge favor this year and start a business, any business!

5.  Invest Using Leverage or OPM (Other People's Money)

Pop Quiz.  You have $100K.  Would you use it to finance purchase 4, $100K appraised rental properties by putting 20% down payment on each (leaving the last $20K to close on all four) or would you use it to outright buy one $90K appraised ($10K for closing) rental property and collect the entire rent amount sans a mortgage payment?  For the purpose of this example, lets also say that the rent collected from the four rentals financed equals the rent collected from the sole rental completely paid off.  What's the right move?

If you chose the path that has you worrying less about four tenants versus one, or four times the problems versus one, you are not understanding rule number 5 or rule number 4!  Using the bank's money is superior to using your own.  With four rentals, you'll have many more accumulated repairs and fees over the course of a year to use on your return as deductions from your rental income.  Do not let the fear of being a landlord hold you back from getting that first rental property (or second, third, etc.).  I happen to use property management and I'm still in the black at the end of each month.

Follow the five simple rules listed above and one day you will be wealthy, so long as you keep wanting it bad enough.  Never give up!  Until next time.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

5 Reasons Why At Risk Students Need Entrepreneurship Classes

We're almost two months into the school year.  By now what they call the "honeymoon" period in education, is long gone.  This is when students behave their best and give teachers a false sense of security of having things under control.  For many "at risk" students, by now they have visited the dean's or vice principal's office at least one or two times.  Similarly, the grades of "at risk" kids have plummeted from all A's on day one of school, to C's, D's, and F's.  Every school has a small segment of kids that just doesn't like what's on the menu, so to speak.  And in many instances, intelligence is not the culprit.

Signing up to be on teams

Technical education is on the rise.  In many high schools, students can now learn job training skills, like graphic design, digital media, photography, and video production.  These new vocational type classes with certification as an end goal, do reel in many dissatisfied customers of the system, those who happen to have passions of their own related to these courses.  Innovative schools have adopted personal learning, where teachers present students with problems they must research and solve.  The leash is being unhooked and students have more freedom to design their learning than ever before.  So why has entrepreneurship not caught fire just as much as technical education and innovation?  The only reasons I can think of is that there are too few teachers with entrepreneurial know-how (to teach a course), and course creation issues keeping classes from being adopted by district curriculum boards.  And this is how Charters sometimes out-compete districts for students.  They have more freedom to offer non-traditional coursework.

The elected management team leading the discussion
I happen to teach entrepreneurship and financial literacy to 8th graders at a public middle school.  This is my one elective class (I teach science the rest of the day) and it consists of 31, Mexican-American, males.  It is my most difficult class.  I spent the first week of school breaking them of their pattern of using the word "Fool" as a first name.  Nobody had a first name.  It was, "Hey, fool!" this and "No, fool!" that.  But by the second week we were well on our way to becoming a family.  

Web Design and Social Media Teams

Even though they constantly talk, talk over me, can't stop joking at each other's expense, and will transform into playground mode if I don't keep my eyes on them, they have made significant progress in the following areas.  My claim is that these results can be duplicated at other schools with similar class demographics.

Product Design and Innovation

1.  Engagement.

I have several of my entrepreneurship students also in my science classes during different periods.  The difference is that when these boys are in my entrepreneurship class, they actually raise their hands to contribute, don't try to hide, listen attentively, and always do their work because they know the rule: No turned in work = no time to work with their hands creating products to sell.  Being a builder and designer is a privilege.

2.  Leadership.

In their core academic classes, at risk students get little to no experience leading.  Teachers just don't provide the environment for one, two, or three students to take the helm and make decisions for everyone else in the room.  Not so in entrepreneurship classes.  After coming up with a business idea (selling custom made fashion jewelry and accessories at a discount), these boys then voted for three individuals to lead the company, a CEO, a CFO, and a COO.  After failing to live up to the standards of the "workers," the CEO was deposed with a quick vote and another one selected.  Now this second CEO is under fire and a normally quiet student in my science class has asked to be CEO (would be the third one thus far) in the entrepreneurship class.  Fighting for control of the company has become the norm.  And this is a great thing!  I've recently instituted doing impromptu 30 second pitch to lead presentations for all would-be CEOs, followed by a class vote.  This happens every two weeks and the current CEO has to defend his tenure.

3.  Ownership.

At risk students often don't feel like anything at the school belongs to them.  The books are borrowed, the classrooms belong to the teachers, and even the culture of the school is foreign to them.  They rent their time there and can't wait until the lease expires.  In entrepreneurship classes, however, these same students begin to see that whatever effort they put forth builds shared equity.  This is especially apparent to them when they start selling and the money starts rolling in.

4.  Confidence.

What's there to really be proud about in a core academic class?  Getting an A on a test.  To at risk kids, earning an A on a test is equivalent to a big, So What!  But because this is what defines success in school, these students have their confidence constantly under attack.  Entrepreneurship success has nothing to do with grades on a test.  Success is based on mastering a set number of skills, like salesmanship, record keeping, and team building.  Success in entrepreneurship also has to do with perseverance and grit, driven by repeated failure.  What happens when a student fails in a core academic class?  Usually the teacher just moves forward because of pacing, leaving no opportunity for the student to learn from his/her mistakes.

In my entrepreneurship class, students have embraced failing.  They know that failure is an opportunity to tweak what isn't working.  On our first day of selling, we sold one or two items.  A week later when the store was open again (during lunch), the sales team had tweaked their activity, taking product in hand to the customer and making sales away from the table.  They showed their pride running back to the table waving money they had made, closing a sale.  We quadrupled our sales volume that day and this instilled great confidence in them!

"Friendship necklaces" with personal gift note. 

5.  Value.

The value of a traditional, formal education is obvious to students who have college and career firmly entrenched in their vision of the future.  At risk students have the opposite going on: they don't see the value of a traditional and formal education.  College and a long career is not something that excites them.  Yet, teachers sell this pathway as if it were the only ticket to these students' salvation.  When encouragement and support for whatever passion or pursuit these at risk students have is called for, often times teachers discourage these passions by telling kids they won't have a job, a way of supporting themselves or a family, etc.  They mean well of course. 

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In the words of Notorious B.I.G., (from his hit album that went quadruple platinum):

"Yeah, this album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I'd never amount to nothin'..."

In entrepreneurship classes, whatever passion or pursuit a student has is celebrated.  Why?  Because it can lead to a business idea!  At risk kids can finally be told:  "You love to rap?  Great, now think hard about how you can become the next B.I.G. and write down some goals."  Skaters, street artists, rockers, and so on, can all be told the same thing: In this class you learn how to make what you love to do into a monetized opportunity.

The other day, one of my students told me he set up a lemonade stand outside his house.  He did this on his own; it was not a homework assignment.  That tells me that he recognizes the value of what he is learning in my class without being forced to and is applying his education.  The only homework I ever assign in this class is for them to read.  When I took a quick survey, every single one of them told me they don't like to read and that they don't do it at home.  So I introduced them to the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki.  We are reading this as the class text!  After reading the book in class, the next day one student told me he downloaded the PDF on his phone, and another one told me he found an audio file and started listening to it on his way to school!

I'm on a crusade to get entrepreneurship in schools across the nation.  Since innovation is flourishing, it is only natural that we add the topic of how to turn innovation into jobs in America.  Innovation might be the cart, but entrepreneurship is the horse!  And as the saying goes, "you don't put the cart before the horse."

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