Sunday, November 27, 2011

One of Life’s Great Lessons: Learn to Be Thankful for What You Already Have
Written by Jim Rohn

Is thankfulness a survival skill? Perhaps most of you would respond with, "No, Jim, thankfulness is not a key to survival," and I would tend to agree with you. Most of us have probably already solved the necessary problems of survival, gone beyond that and are now working to achieve our desires. But let me give you this key phrase: "Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want." I believe one of the greatest and perhaps simplest lessons in life we can learn is to be thankful for what we have already received and accomplished.

Both the years and the experiences have brought me here to where I stand today, but it is the thankfulness that opened the windows of opportunities, of blessings, of unique experiences to flow my way. My gratitude starts with my parents who raised me, gave me an incredible foundation that has lasted me all of these years and continues with the mentors I've met along the way who absolutely changed and revolutionized my life, my income, my bank account, my future. I am also very thankful for the people, the associations, for the ideas, for the chance to work and labor, and to produce results; all of that has brought me to this place, to this weekend. I'm grateful for it all.

What a unique opportunity each one of us has—many of us representing different countries and cultures—to appreciate the uniqueness of our own experiences that have brought us all here, together, for these three days to learn new skills and sharpen old ones. For the countries we represent, we have freedom and liberty. These are extraordinary times. About eleven years ago [at the time this was written] the walls came tumbling down in Germany, and it started a wave of democracy and freedom like the world has never seen. We as a country and as a world have so much to be thankful for. Always start with thanksgiving; be thankful for what you already have and see the miracles that come from this one simple act.

Thankfulness is just the beginning; next, you've got to challenge yourself to produce. Produce more ideas than you need for yourself so you can share and give your ideas away. That is called fruitfulness and abundance. Here's what I think fruitfulness and abundance mean: to go to work on producing more than you need for yourself so you can begin blessing others, blessing your nation and blessing your enterprise. Once abundance starts, once someone becomes incredibly productive, it's amazing what the numbers turn out to be. But to begin this incredible process of blessing, it often starts with the act of thanksgiving and gratitude, being thankful for what you already have, and for what you've already done. Begin the act of thanksgiving today and watch the miracles flow your way.

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, November 20, 2011

How Many Doubling Periods Do You Have Left?

So many successful people struggle with procrastination. Does this statement describe you? Do you say to yourself, "I'll start investing for my retirement next year." Hopefully, by the time you read this, you will no longer procrastinate and start investing for your future as soon as possible.

First of all, an easy way to estimate how many years it will take to double your money on a one-time investment is to apply the Rule of 72. Basically, this means that dividing the annual interest rate into the number 72 approximates the number of years it will take to double your money.

For instance, if you knew that you were getting a 2% rate of return on your investment (72 ÷ 2 = 36); it would take you 36 years to double your money – meaning you only have one doubling period in 36 years. At 6% it would take you 12 years to double your money and that would give you 3 doubling periods in 36 years. At 12% it would only take 6 years to double your money allowing for 6 doubling periods in 36 years!

If we were to take a fictitious $10,000 and apply the Rule of 72 to it, this is what it would look like based on the different interest rates discussed above:
Now let’s take an extreme case. In an earlier blog post titled The Cost of Waiting to Invest, I mentioned that if a one-time-investment of $1000 was made for you when you were 6 months old and it was working at a 12% rate of return - that would grow to $2.3 million by the time you were 65. And this could be accomplished without adding any new money! Now, at birth, you would have almost 11 (10.83) doubling periods until you were 65, if your money was working at 12%.

Now, let’s say that now that you know that $1000 can easily grow to $2.3 million in 65 years, you set that as your goal at age 65. Let’s also, assume you are like most people and you procrastinate. If you were to wait just 10 years until age 10, you would have 55 years or a little over 9 doubling periods left until you were 65. At age 10, $1000 is no longer going to cut it – you are going to instead need to invest $3300 one-time working at 12% to get the same results at age 65.

By waiting just 10 more years, at age 20 you would need to make a one-time investment of $10,893 working at 12% to accumulate $2.3 million by the age of 65 because you would only have 7.5 doubling periods left.

Waiting 10 more years until age 30, leaving you with only 5.8 doubling periods, you would need to make a one-time investment of $35,950!

So, hopefully you can see, it is never too late to start investing – it will always be possible to make “catch up” payments later. However, be warned, that over time those “catch up” payments can get you because they will grow exponentially. Don’t overspend on the high cost of procrastination. Instead, make the investment in your future goals now.

The difference is that discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.
~ Jim Rohn

How many doubling periods do you have left?

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 comments, please post them below, otherwise, feel free to contact me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It Is a Challenge to Succeed
Written by Jim Rohn

It is a challenge to succeed. If it were not, I'm sure more people would be successful, but for every person who is enjoying the fruit from the tree of success, many more are examining the roots. They are trying to figure it all out. They are mystified and perplexed by what seems to be some strange, complex and elusive secret that must be found if ever success is to be enjoyed. While most people spend most of their lives struggling to earn a living, a much smaller number seem to have everything going their way. Instead of just earning a living, the smaller group is busily engaged in designing and enjoying a fortune. Everything just seems to work out for them. While the much larger group sits in awe at how life can be so unfair, complicated and unjust.

"I am a nice person," the man says to himself. "How come this other guy is happy and prosperous and I'm always struggling?" He asks himself, "I am a good husband, a good father and a good worker. How come nothing seems to work out for me? Life just isn't fair. I'm even smarter and willing to work harder than some of these other people who just seem to have everything going their way," he says as he slumps into the sofa to watch another evening of television. But you see you've got to be more than a good person and a good worker. You've got to become a good planner, and a good dreamer. You've got to see the future finished in advance.

You've got to put in the long hours and put up with the setbacks and the disappointments. You've got to learn to enjoy the process of disciplines and of putting yourself through the paces of doing the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable. You've got to be prepared and willing to attack the challenges if you want the success because challenges are part of success. Now that may sound like a full menu of activities, but let me assure you that the process of going from average to fortune isn't really all that difficult. Thinking about it is the difficult part. Anticipating all the effort and the changes and the disciplines is far worse in the mind than in reality. I can promise you that the challenges you'll meet on the road to success are far less difficult to deal with than the struggles and the disappointments that come from being average. Confronting and overcoming challenges is an exhilarating experience. It does something to feed the soul and the mind. It makes you more than you were before. It strengthens the mental muscles and enables you to become better prepared for the next challenge.

I've often said that to have more, we must first become more, and to become more, we must begin the process of working harder on ourselves than we do on anything else. But in addition to gathering new knowledge, new skills and new experiences, it is also important to discover new emotions. It is how we feel about what we know that makes the biggest difference in how our lives turn out. How we feel about the chances we have and the choices we have determines the intensity of our effort. Whether we try or don't try. Join or don't join. Believe or don't believe.

I'd like for you to discover some strong feelings about your life and about what you want to do with that life. You probably have much of the knowledge and a lot of the experience and perhaps most of the skills that it takes to become successful. What you may be lacking in are the strong feelings about what you want and what you want to do. You may be one of those who have become so involved in the process of earning a living that you've forgotten about the choices and the chances you have for designing your own life.

Let these strong feelings help you take a second look at your life and where you're headed. After all, you've only got one life, at least on this planet. So why not make it an adventure in achievement? Why not discover what all you can do and what all you can have? Why not discover how many others you can help and in the process how that can help you?

Why not now take the Challenge to Succeed!

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.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How to Combat Market Anxiety with Dollar Cost Averaging

In today’s unpredictable and volatile economic times all I see are people watching the rollercoaster ride of the stock market on a daily basis and just driving themselves crazy. I hear co-workers discussing how much the stock market dropped today and how their investments are going down the drain. I hear people worrying about their retirement and wondering if they are even ever going to be able to retire someday. I see people saving more of their money – which is good - but because of their fear in the stock market, they invest in super-conservative investments that aren’t even keeping pace with inflation.

If you can relate to any of the people I mentioned above, I hope that by reading this and learning more about Dollar Cost Averaging, you may just be able to sleep a little bit better at night. By the time I am finished, I hope to change - in a positive way - the way you think about all of the unpredictable ups and downs in the stock market.

So, what exactly is Dollar Cost Averaging? Well, Dollar Cost Averaging is simply investing a fixed amount of money at regular intervals over a period of time.

To demonstrate the power of Dollar Cost Averaging I will be comparing two extreme market conditions using two fictitious investors – Jack and Jill. They will each be investing $100 per month and we will be looking to see how well each of their investments did over a period of one year.

Let’s start with Jack (the green line in Figure 1). On the first month he puts his $100 into a fund with a $12 share price. The next month the share price goes up a little bit, and then the next month it goes up a little bit more, and then a little bit more, etc. The steady rise continues and by the end of the year the share price tops out at $17.54. Jack is pretty excited because he realizes that all of his shares are now worth $17.54, even the ones that he bought for $12! The share price’s steady rise from $12 to $17.54 represents a 46% increase! This is a classic example of steady market growth.

Now, let’s look at how Jill did (the blue line in Figure 1). On the first month she too invests her $100 in a fund starting at $12 a share just like Jack. But, then a month later it dropped all the way down to $8, and then down to $6, then back up to $8, then down to $6, then down to $4! After a few more unpredictable ups and downs, it finally made it back to where it started, at $12 a share. At this point, Jill is not extremely happy with the results, but she is glad that she is at least out of the negative and now breaking even. In this case, Jill started the year at $12 a share and finished the year at $12 a share, representing a 0% increase. With all of the ups and downs, this fund probably looks a little familiar – it looks a little bit like the current stock market, doesn’t it? We call this a volatile market.

So, if this was the only information that was given, and you had to choose between Jack’s investment (the green line) and Jill’s investment, which investment do you think most people would choose? Most people would probably choose Jack’s investment, Right? – The one with the steady growth.

Figure 1

Let’s get a little bit more information and see if this is still the correct decision.

So let’s go back to Jack’s investment (the green line in Figure 2). The first month, Jack’s fund cost $12 a share, so with $100 he could purchase 8.3 shares. The next month the cost was a little higher, so he could buy a little less or just 8 shares. For the rest of the year the price kept going up so Jack was able to buy less and less shares each month. Finally, at the end of the year, if you were to add up all of the shares that were bought during the course of the year it would have totaled 82.2 shares. But since, at the end of the year, the share price was $17.54, that means that all 82.2 shares were worth $17.54 each – even the ones that were bought for $12. So, if you multiply the $17.54 by 82.2, you get the total value of the investment $1,441.79. That’s a $241.79 profit for the year, since Jack already paid into it $1200 by investing $100 a month for 12 months. That’s not a bad profit for one year of investing, but did you realize that by ending up with $1,441.79 by investing $100 a month, that Jack made a rate of return of 39.33%?

Now let’s look and see how Jill did.

Jill (the blue line in Figure 2), just like Jack was able to buy 8.3 shares on the first month, but when the share price fell the second month, she was able to buy 12.5 shares with her $100. Look at when it dropped to $4 a share at the end of June – she was able to buy 25 shares at this time. At the end of the month, Jill’s share accumulation was 161.7, almost twice as many as Jacks! Of course her share price was lower, but if we multiply the year-end share value $12 with the 161.7 shares and you get a total investment value of $1,940.40! That’s a $740.40 profit and an unbelievable 100.5% rate of return for Jill!!

Have you ever heard of an optical illusion? Well this is a financial illusion!

Figure 2

One key thing that I hope you get out of this, besides the fact that it is unhealthy to watch the market on a daily basis, is that if you do look at your investment often, pay more attention to the share accumulation and not so much to the share price. When the media reports on a stock rising or dropping, they are just reporting on its share price.

Some other important things to know about Dollar Cost Averaging
  1. “Dollar Cost Averaging” is a lot like gravity -- it works whether you believe in it or not. If you are participating in a 401k plan, it is already working for you, even if you are unaware.
  2. “Dollar Cost Averaging” automatically insures that you will buy more shares at a lower price and fewer shares at a higher price, over the long term.
  3. “Dollar Cost Averaging” can work for you even if you are not adding any new money. If the investment is in equity mutual funds, even if no new money is added, the “Dividends” and the “Capital Gains” can be periodically reinvested to buy more shares.
  4. “Dollar Cost Averaging” does not work in an interest bearing account down at the Bank!
You see, by not understanding Dollar Cost Averaging or how it works may make people more inclined to pull their money out or at least stop investing, when the stock market takes a dive. But not you – hopefully by now you understand that the market always goes up and down in unpredictable ways and always will. And Dollar Cost Averaging automatically insures that during market lows you will be able to buy more shares and when the market goes back up your investment can compound and grow.

So, the next time you hear about a major decline in the stock market, I hope you remember this concept of Dollar Cost Averaging and think of it more as an opportunity and not so much as a crisis.

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 comments, please post them below, otherwise, feel free to contact me.