Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why Do You Need to Be Rich?

There are only three ways to get rich honestly: inheritance, live within your means and invest wisely. Understand that you have choices, and some of your choices create debt, others create wealth. I recently read of a Elinor Sauerwein, who everyone thought was poor. She made different choices.

She was taught by her mother to never waste a thing. She hung her laundry on a clothesline in the backyard. She painted her home when it needed it, and mowed her lawn until her early 90s. She refused to go to restaurants, movies or pay for cable TV. She wanted to support the Salvation Army after researching which agencies spend the most on their clients. Needless to say, it was a shock when a check for $1,731,533.91 from her estate  was presented to a California branch of the Salvation Army. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/01/poor-woman-leaves-close-to-2-million-to-salvation-army/

She lived well within her means by her own choices. She had a financial adviser who invested her money wisely. By most standards she was rich. She chose not to have things that many of us see as necessities of life today, but are all of our necessities really necessary?

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie was asked, "How much money is enough?" He replied, "Just a little more." If you have to choose, do you prefer to save and invest your money and become rich, or do you choose to spend all your money and live in debt-slavery all your life? Or is there another choice you choose?

Attraction Factor 3: Overrespond

Note that this says overrespond and not overreact. By overresponding instead of overreacting, you evolve yourself, which is very attractive. Reactions tend to be impulsive actions that follow a surprise and are not well-thought out or implemented. A response tends to be thought-out and even practiced. How do you react to a good, or a bad, surprise? How often does your reaction get you what you really want? What kind of response can you plan and practice that will allow you to evolve yourself into a better person with a better response?

One great example of responding is how my best buddy from college, Carney, would respond to an argument. I would bring up a subject and express my opinion. Carney and I would engage in dialog up to the point where I would press to win the argument. Then he would respond with a smile and say, "Maybe so." This allowed us to continue and strengthen our relationship on friendly terms and give each other the space to grow, rather than dig into a position that could sacrifice our friendship. (Thanks Carney!)

But overresponding goes beyond the normal response by seeing every event as a creative opportunity to learn and grow. Many of us suffer from having a two-valued orientation: we see two choices and it’s either this or that. There are more than two choices, so look for them. In the old days, a Roman soldier could force a civilian to carry his equipment for one mile. The normal reaction was to cooperate and carry the load, or refuse and face the consequences. We see that Christ Jesus recommended the overresponse: "And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." (Matthew 5:41)
Change and improve yourself with the extra choices you find or create. Overresponding takes you past just fixing something. You take care of things sooner rather than later, the same problems don’t keep coming back because you head them off and fix them permanently. Overresponding goes beyond the "Maybe so."

Maybe So, Plus
There is risk involved because you are learning to look for additional options and to respond in new ways. Some people will not know what to do with you. With practice, you might surprise yourself with how you handle familiar situations in new ways and realize how much you have been missing. Go the extra mile; overrespond and see the world in different ways.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Paying the National Debt Destroys Your Money

Most people don't know that the US has a debt-based money system: it "borrows" all its money into existence—at interest that must be paid back. This is included in the National Debt. The Catch 22: paying down the debt actually destroys the supply of money we need to operate the economy; increasing the debt will eventually cause us to default and this will do global damage. We lose either way.

Many believe that our debt-based money system is not sustainable for today's world. The solution finds precedent with Abraham Lincoln who created debt-free money called "greenbacks" which he used for paying the Civil War debt, but then greenbacks were phased out. Also, our early government was its own bank; it printed its own money, loaned it to the colonists, and the interest was enough to run the government—so nobody had taxes to pay (wow).

From my study, I currently believe the solution is to create a sustainable debt-free currency system. Otherwise we will remain slaves to our debt. Your thoughts?