Monthly Archives: June 2008

Behavior and your Credit Score

Industry experts now say that consumer behavior may have an impact upon credit scoring. In a Business Week article entitled “Your Lifestyle May Hurt Your Credit” (June 30, 2008, pg. 30) CompuCredit is highlighted as a credit firm that uses behavior as a tool to calculate credit scores

If there was ever a time to learn the methods of cash flow, cash solvency and most importantly, Communication, it is now. If your Visa is noted as paying for marriage counseling, it may hurt your credit. Divorce is one of the most expensive choices a couple can make. For all the effort of marriage counselors, too many simply address the symptom. Before any argument or disagreement gets that far, there are tools you can employ right now that address the root cause of frustration when communicating with a loved one or spouse especially over the topic of money

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Financial Bureaucrat vs. Financial Entrepreneur

Financial Bureaucrat vs. Financial Entrepreneur

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)

Have you ever encountered the company’s self-proclaimed apologist? This is the person who bleeds the corporate colors, memorizes the company mission statement, all 250 words, and who quotes all the slogans and tag lines of the corporate mantra?

I’m not the best example in this case, because I always wanted to morph into Hulk Hogan and body slam the schmuck. I’ll never forget the memo received many years ago from Corporate Head Quarters entitled “Good News” and then the body of the memo proceeded to explain why a cut in pay was in fact a good thing.

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The Greatest Story Never Told

The Greatest Story Never Told
June 2008

I just finished meeting with some good friends and clients over some tough financial and life decisions they must make in the next few weeks. As we discussed their situation, a comment was made about the news media and how too much of it is putting a damper upon their decision-making process.

Let’s address the economic state of the union. More wealth has been created over the past 25 years than in any other comparable period in history. More people have been removed from poverty, standards of living have been dramatically elevated and the quality and length of life have been improved. As Larry Kudlow coined: this is the ‘greatest story never told.’ Let’s review the cliff notes of the story.

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Indexing versus Stocks

I received the following from Jim Dew of the 300 Financial.

As Ricky Ricardo would say, “LUCY! You have a lot of esplaining to do!”

10 years ago in 1998, you filled up at the pump for $1.19 a gallon and the S&P 500 was at 1099. Those were the days weren’t they?

10 years later, oil has increased eleven-fold and gasoline has quadrupled. And what’s happened to the old adages…

The stock market will stay ahead of inflation over the long run?

The stock market will give you high returns over 10 year time periods?

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It’s Not About the Money

How To Prepare For Retirement!
June 2008

What’s the #1 cause of divorce and marital strife? Money

What’s the primary concern of baby boomers? Money!

What do Stock Brokers and Financial Planners always talk about? Money!

What is the least important aspect of your retirement preparation? MONEY!

The following excerpt is from a Tim Ferriss post when he had the opportunity to ask ‘Warren Buffet’ a question at the Berkshire Hathaway stock holders meeting recently.

“I was out of breath from running up the steps but had managed to find one of the microphone stands, manned by two headset-wearing volunteers.

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Teach vs. Tell

Too many scholars and so-called teachers TELL you what THEY know and not what YOU NEED to learn!!!

What takes the most time in learning?

NOT GETTING IT!!!

Once you get it, it’s easy.

If all we hear is what the other person knows, it’s difficult to learn what we want!

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Being Present

Being Present

It’s 4:45 PM and your 15 minutes from the commute at 5. You can’t wait to get home because you leave for Hawaii tomorrow morning and it’s been two weeks since you’ve seen the sun. To add intensity to the next quarter hour, you can only take 30 more minutes of your boss before you receive 10 years to life for a passionate dispatching of an undeserving middle manager.

You hit the freeway onramp at 5:02 PM with a vigor known only on the oval track at Daytona and by 5:10 PM you’re off the freeway and minutes from mentally ending your workweek and commencing bliss surrounded by white sandy beaches, sunshine from morning until dusk and a low temperature 30 degrees higher than at noon day where you live.

You hit the garage door going a mile a minute and the phone rings. It’s your friend who wants to come over and talk. She really needs some help and you promised. “Thank you soooooo much. I’ll be there in an hour,” she says as she hangs up.


An hour, you think, that’s a lot of time, I can get most of my stuff done by then. About 10 minutes later the door bell rings and your friend gives you a big hug and thanks you for taking out some time for her in your busy schedule. She apologizes for being a few minutes late and commences her tale of sorrow. ‘What happened,’ you silently wonder as her words fly by you like freeway signs on the autobahn. Where did my hour go? For the next 90 minutes you sit in a daze wondering how you’re going to get ready by morning and daydreaming of what will be tomorrow. Your friend continues her story and you settle into your patented ‘uh huh’ mode of paying attention. ‘She just needs a sounding board,’ you rationalize, and that’s exactly what I am, bored.

Now let’s pull out of our Hawaii trip and picture the last time you were in an automobile accident or any accident for that matter. Can you remember what happened? Think for a minute, how fast did time go during the crises? If you’re like most people, (actually every person I’ve ever asked) you will respond that time went very slow, in fact, you can remember almost every detail.

What’s the difference between the first scenario and the last scenario? The answer rests in what the mind was doing during both experiences. In the first experience, your mind was multi-tasking at warp speed. You were thinking about Hawaii, packing, sunshine, your jerk boss, your friend taking up so much time, sun tan lotion, body surfing, the dog, the mail, and hundreds of other thoughts.

During the accident, you had only one thought, getting in a wreck and all you said was “Ohhhhh myyyyyy gaaaaawsh!” or something akin to that, perhaps with a little more flavor and gusto.

This is the concept of “Being Present!” Being present means you are 100% focused on the task at hand. Your mind, body and heart is riveted on the same target. This application of energy can mean the difference between understanding and not understanding, between life and death, between success and failure, between 1% or 2% milk, a white board for your son’s report on the Trojan horse or a box of condoms.

If you have children, think of the last conversation you had with your little crumb cruncher. How present were you? Did the ‘Uh huh’ mode of listening surface? In today’s fast paced world, wearing so many hats, in other words, constantly multi-tasking is a sure way to wear down your immune system. You will also guarantee a host of misunderstandings and a slew of potential offenses to those with whom you come in contact.

It’s easy to sluff such behavior off with a cursory, ‘Well, everyone does this.’ And you are correct; almost everyone does do this, so does that make it right? We’ve had a tradition in our home since our oldest turned 12 that we travel back east and spend a week touring Gettysburg and other Civil War sites. The first three trips were very short trips for me because my mind was so ubiquitous.

I remember driving down the freeway and Cheri would instruct me to exit right at the next off ramp and I would drive right by without flinching. I never heard the instructions because my mind had a million other things in the way and her words could not penetrate the massive deluge of work blocking my path to ‘Being Present’ and enjoying the vacation with my wife and my son. It took me a full three days to come out of my fog and this behavior lasted for over 10 years. What a difference spending time with your loved is when you are present. Conversations are deeper, experiences are richer and the ability to accomplish more is increased because when all is said and done, it’s actually not possible to multi-task and be effective.

Statistics are now coming out, for example, a person sending a text message while trying to listen to you is operating as though they have not slept for 36 hours. Another way to look at it, when your teenager is ‘listening’ to you while texting to her girlfriend, her IQ drops at least 10 points. (click here to read more on the impact of multi-tasking:) Be sure to read Part I and Part II.

What is your IQ when in the presence of your family, friends and associates?

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Overweight: Intellectually, Physically & Institutionally

Today’s post starts with a quote from John Mauldin’s newsletter. If you have an interest in reading some of the best financial commentary that you will never see in print, you can subscribe at no cost by clicking on this link:

http://www.investorsinsight.com/blogs/thoughts_from_the_frontline/default.aspx

So on with the post:

Fooling With Inflation

By Bill Gross

You can fool some of the people all of the time,
and all of the people some of the time,
but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
- Abraham Lincoln

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In The Box

Are there some people in your life that have a unique talent of frustrating you beyond the breaking point and yet, someone else can do or say the exact same thing and it will roll off your back like water off a frog? If you have read the book Leadership and Self-Deception, you understand the term ‘In The Box.’

As many of you know, I have been blessed with the friendship of Bill Branson. Bill has been mentoring/coaching me in “My Way of Being” for over a year now and yesterday he taught me, or should I say ‘retaught’ me an important concept.

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Commander’s Intent

What is YOUR Commander’s Intent? As the saying goes, no plan survives contact with the enemy. More appropo is: No plan survives contact with my teenagers? or my in-laws or my life!!! For this reason, we have developed a Commander’s Intent worksheet.

Here is how a solid Commander’s Intent can help in a financially sticky position. You are on vacation and you see something very expensive that you’ve always wanted and you are tempted to make the purchase. Because you are on vacation, the feeling is relaxed, life is great, and you tell yourself everything will work out, it’s only $150 a month for 4 years.

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