Friday, February 25, 2011

Enough Already!!
Written by Darren Hardy

No more whining, bitching, moaning, griping and complaining.

At a social function recently, 90 percent of the chitchat I heard were whimpers about the economy, how bad Obama is doing and how much the health care plan sucks, ad nauseam.

Finally, I had heard enough and I blurted out, “In the ‘80’s when the economy was booming, did you get rich?”

“Uh, well, no” answered the small crowd’s speaker.

“But Reagan was president and still you didn’t? What about when Clinton was President? He created a big national surplus, certainly you got rich then?”

“If you were standing in the healthcare haven of France right now, as you describe, would you be any healthier than you are now?”

Silence was his answer.

“Look”, I said, “stop worrying about the national economy and focus on your own economy. Don’t worry about who’s running the White House and concern yourself with running your house better. The only health care plan that matters is your health care plan… for you.”

In my observation, it is just as easy to fail in a good economy as it is in a bad one. And it is just as easy to get rich in a bad economy as it is in a good one. Why? Because the economy has nothing to do with it.

I know many good, capable, smart and hardworking people who have been whacked by unexpected consequences of the economic winter we are in. It happens to the best of people even in the best of times.

Instead, start focusing on what you can control, what you can do, what’s possible and what’s great. Note the abundance and opportunity all around you… no matter the national economic report. Just focus on your report… and your life.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed, stressed, defeated or even just uninspired, try this exercise:

1. Make a three-column list.

2. Write down things that are affecting our world, our nation, your state or your business. (Ex.: war in Afghanistan, Toyota and GM recalls, car bombings in Iraq, healthcare reform, etc.)

3. Write down all the news that you or your friends have discussed this week. (Ex.: unemployment figures, who won an Oscar, who shouldn’t have gotten booted off American Idol, 911 terrorist trial location, etc.)

4. Write down all the things you are worried about in your life. (Ex.: finding a job, survivability of your business, kids having difficulty in school, arguing with spouse, health condition of family member, your own health condition, etc.)

5. Next, write down if you have any control affecting the outcome of that situation.

a. If you don’t, stop worrying (and paying attention!) because you can’t do anything about it. It has no immediate impact on your life, so wipe it from your mental plate.

b. If you do, write down what you can do to take control, improve the situation, and most important, what is the next step to take.

6. Lastly, write down your top three goals for the year and write down the next single step you can take to move closer.

Remember, stop giving attention to the things you can’t control and have no bearing on your personal life. If you can do something about it, decide what part of it you can control and affect. Then take positive action.

Don’t get stuck standing still. Contemplating and, certainly, complaining about things you don’t have control over is simply lunacy.

Only you are responsible for your success or failure, happiness or sadness, stress or vitality, scarcity or abundance, appreciation or depression. You choose what you experience. And you choose by what you give attention to, what you think about, what you talk about and what you do or don’t do about it.

Remember, this is the greatest time of opportunity and unlimited possibility ever available in all human history! To understand or remind yourself of why, review these articles:
What are you doing to weed out the negative and keep yourself focused on abundance, opportunity and positive thinking?

Content republished with permission from Darren Hardy, Publisher of SUCCESS Magazine. For more great insights, tips and strategies on success and achievement go to http://darrenhardy.success.com/. More about Darren Hardy can be found at: http://DarrenHardy.SUCCESS.com/About.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Easy Way to Lose Three Million Dollars

Let’s say you were given a list of ten options where each option netted in the loss of $3,000,000.00. If you had to choose from that list the option that you thought most people would choose as the most unlikely way to lose $3,000,000.00, which one would you pick?

1.) Leave the Lottery Ticket line to go to the restroom, only to find that you missed buying the winning ticket.

2.) Spend an extra $15,000.00 on a car at age 20. Instead of buying the $20,000.00 model, you opted for getting the supped up $35,000.00 model. (Assuming you retire at age 65, if the $15,000.00 was invested and left to grow for 45 years at a 12% rate of return then you would have $3,233,203.96 at retirement.)

3.) Cause a catastrophic accident without having any insurance.

4.) Borrow $3,000,000.00 from your rich Texas uncle to start a business and end up losing it all in three years.

5.) Start smoking at age 16 and continue until age 30 (14 years), then never smoke again. (Assuming your smoking habit cost you $130.00 per month for the 14 years, if you would have invested that $130.00 a month for 14 years at a 10% rate of return you would have $47,687.32. Then if you left that $47,687.32 alone for 35 years working at a 12% rate of return, you would have $3,114,570.16 by the time you retired.)

6.) Have a “Mystery Thriller” you wrote make millions for the person to whom you gave it to, because the top publishers in the country told you it was worthless.

7.) Spend $12,000.00 at age 18 for one year of college, then quit and never return. (I am definitely not promoting not going to college, but had you instead invested that $12,000.00 for 47 years at a 12% rate of return, you would have accumulated $3,284,248.87 by retirement.)

8.) Fully fund a “Guaranteed” IRA at a Bank starting at age 25 until retirement. (By “Fully Funding” an IRA, I mean investing the maximum allowable for the year, which is currently $5,000.00 per year or around $416.00 a month. Since we are assuming retirement at 65 then this would be for 40 years.)

9.) Never work a day in your life.

10.) Win the “Mega-Millions” Jackpot and then blow it all in Las Vegas in one week.

Believe it or not, in all ten options, you could stand to lose $3,000,000.00 – some in a very obvious fashion, while others in a not so obvious fashion. Now the million dollar question -- or rather three million dollar question: Which option do you think most people would choose as the least likely way to lose $3,000,000.00?

I know that’s probably a silly question, but I think most people would agree that option number eight would probably be the least likely case for losing $3,000,000.00 much less any money at all. You may be asking yourself, “How could I possibly lose $3,000,000.00 by investing $5,000.00 a year for 40 years into an IRA that is guaranteed down at the bank?” Well, let me show you how easy it actually is:

First of all, you would be lucky nowadays to get a guaranteed 3%, much less 6% rate of return at the bank right now even if you tried. But, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Over the last 40 years the banks guaranteed CDs have averaged around a 6% rate of return. If you were to invest that $5,000.00 a year for 40 years (from age 25 to 65 – till your retirement) …
  • at a guaranteed 3% rate of return you would have $388,316.00 at retirement.
  • at a guaranteed 6% rate of return you would have $820,238.00 at retirement.
Now, let’s compare that to skipping the middleman and investing that same amount of money directly into the stock market with mutual funds. Over the last 40 years the stock market has averaged a rate of return over 10%! By investing the same $5,000.00 a year for 40 years …
  • at 9% rate of return you would have $1,841,459.00 at retirement.
  • at 12% rate of return you would have $4,295,712.00 at retirement! The cost of that guarantee at the bank would have cost you $3,475,474.00!!
The reason that this is such an easy $3,000,000.00 mistake to make is because it is just as easy as signing on one dotted line versus signing on another dotted line!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a bank hater; however, I don’t think banks should be used for investing for the long term. In essence, when you invest down at the bank you are loaning your money to the bank. The bank, in turn, will invest your money at a much greater rate of return than they will agree to pay you. After they take their portion of the profits, they will keep their word and pay you the agreed upon -- “guaranteed” -- lower rate of return. When you invest in the stock market you own your money and you have more control and a much greater probability for getting a higher return.

So, be an owner and not a loaner! My hope for you is that you do not make this $3,000,000.00 mistake! I hope this is helpful.

Here are some additional related articles explaining why it is a mistake to do your investing at the bank:
Also, my Canadian counterpart Stephanie Holmes-Winton of The Money Finder and contributing author to Difusing Debt Blog has written her version of this post in a Canadian's perspective. I would recommend that you read her article titled 7 Ways to Lose a Million Dollars!


I'm so excited to share this information with you. If you have enjoyed the information or feel that it would benefit someone else, please share it. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Read All the Books
Written by Jim Rohn

All of the books that we will ever need to make us as rich, as healthy, as happy, as powerful, as sophisticated and as successful as we want to be have already been written.

People from all walks of life, people with some of the most incredible life experiences, people who have gone from pennies to fortune and from failure to success have taken the time to write down their experiences so that we might share in their wealth of knowledge. They have offered their wisdom and experience so that we can be inspired by it and instructed by it, and so that we can amend our philosophy by it. Their contributions enable us to reset our sail based upon their experiences. They have handed us the gift of their insights so that we can change our plans, if need be, in order to avoid their errors. We can rearrange our lives based on their wise advice.

All of the insights that we might ever need have already been captured by others in books. The important question is this: In the last ninety days, with this treasure of information that could change our lives, our fortunes, our relationships, our health, our children and our careers for the better, how many books have we read?

Why do we neglect to read the books that can change our lives? Why do we complain but remain the same? Why do so many of us curse the effect but nourish the cause? How do we explain the fact that only a small percentage of our entire national population possess and utilize a library card—a card that would give us access to all of the answers to success and happiness we could ever want? Those who wish for the better life cannot permit themselves to miss the books that could have a major impact on how their lives turn out. The book they miss will not help!

And the issue is not that books are too expensive! If a person concludes that the price of buying the book is too great, wait until he must pay the price for not buying it. Wait until he receives the bill for continued and prolonged ignorance.

There is very little difference between someone who cannot read and someone who will not read. The result of either is ignorance. Those who are serious seekers of personal development must remove the self-imposed limitations they have placed on their reading skills and their reading habits. There is a multitude of classes being taught on how to be a good reader and there are thousands of books on the shelves of the public libraries just waiting to be read. Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. We must not permit anything to stand between us and the book that could change our lives.

A little reading each day will result in a wealth of valuable information in a very short period of time. But if we fail to set aside the time, if we fail to pick up the book, if we fail to exercise the discipline, then ignorance will quickly move in to fill the void.

Those who seek a better life must first become a better person. They must continually seek after self-mastery for the purpose of developing a balanced philosophy of life, and then live in accordance with the dictates of that philosophy. The habit of reading is a major steppingstone in the development of a sound philosophical foundation. And in my opinion it is one of the fundamentals required for the attainment of success and happiness.

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2011. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to Calculate the Arithmetic of Loss and Recovery

Did you know that during our last steep market decline from the high in October of 2007 through it’s low in March of 2009, the Standard & Poor 500 Composite Index (a broad measure of U.S. stocks) fell nearly 57%? The good news was that by the end of 2009 the index had risen almost 65% from its March low. But, do you think that after a 57% loss that a 65% gain is enough to at least get you back to your break-even point?

Let’s look at an easier example to help us figure this out: If a $1,000.00 investment loses 50%, then its value drops to $500.00. In order for the investment to return to the $1,000.00 level again, that $500.00 must do more than gain 50% - which would only bring it to $750.00. It would actually need to double! Isn’t that interesting? A 50% loss would need a 100% gain to bring you “back in the black” or back to your break-even point.

So, to answer the original question, for the S&P 500 to return to its October 2007 high, it would have to realize an increase of over 132%! How did I figure that out? By using the same loss and recovery percentages as the S&P 500 and with a nice round number like 1000, if a $1,000.00 investment loses 57%, then it drops to $430.00. So, you would need to make another $570.00 to get back to $1,000.00. All you have to do now is figure out what the percentage 570 is to 430 by using the following equation: (570/430) * 100 = 132.56%.

Here is a quick reference list to help you figure out what type of gain you would need to get back to break-even after a loss in your investment:
  • If your investment declines 10% you would need a gain of 11.1% to break even.
  • If your investment declines 20% you would need a gain of 25.0% to break even.
  • If your investment declines 30% you would need a gain of 42.9% to break even.
  • If your investment declines 40% you would need a gain of 66.7% to break even.
  • If your investment declines 50% you would need a gain of 100.0% to break even.
I'm so excited to share this information with you. If you have enjoyed the information or feel that it would benefit someone else, please share it. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.