Sunday, March 25, 2012

Multiple Skills for the 21st Century
Written by Jim Rohn

I believe that in the 21st century it is so important to have multiple skills. But what I also find is that if you have an entrepreneurial business (or plan to in the future), you can gain the needed skills for the future while you create your income now.

Here's my short list for on-the-job training, so that you can learn while you earn.

Sales
I began my journey with sales, which, of course, dynamically changed my life at age 25. The first year I multiplied my income by five. Being raised in farm country, I knew how to milk cows, but it didn't pay well. Sales altered the course of my life, where I learned to present a valid product in the marketplace, talk about its virtues and get somebody to say "Yes." Then give them good service.

Recruiting
Then came recruiting, how to expand my business and build an organization. We have all heard the question, is it better to have one person selling a $1,000 or have 100 people selling $10? If you ask me, I'll take the 100 at $10. Once mastered, recruiting, the ability to multiply your efforts, is one of life's and leadership's greatest time-management resources.

Organizing
Then I learned organizing. Keeping your own schedule can be difficult at times, but now you have to balance multiple tasks and people to get maximum results. You will find that the payoff is massive once you have tapped into the synergy and momentum of group dynamics and teamwork.

Promotion
Next is promotion. First it's the spring campaign and then the fall campaign, and then it's this month's objective's campaign. You never know when it's going to click for someone to want or need to buy from you or be a part of what you are doing, so having the offer or the special or the contest going when they're ready can make all the difference.

Recognition
Then it's the recognition. Some people work harder for recognition than they do for money. It's the chance to belong. It's getting people to do something that, ordinarily on their own, they wouldn't think of doing. They could, but they don't think of it. You come along with a little promotion for this month or this quarter and everything changes for them, and I found that paid big money.

Communication
Then I learned communication. How to do the training, how to do the teaching, and probably the greatest gift of all is learning how to inspire with words. Inspire people to see themselves better than they are with all of those gifts, all of those skills. Be the voice that tells them they have made a wise decision and here's why.

Now, I believe with just this little short list I've given you, you'll be equipped. We've all watched what has happened the last 15 years. The guy had one skill; the company downsizes. His division is eliminated and since he only had one skill, now he is vulnerable. He's wandering around saying, "Oh my, the last few years I should have taken some classes that would have taught me a couple of more things and I wouldn't be here in this vulnerable position."

So my admonition: Learn some multiple skills, or should we say, backup skills for the 21st century, and no better place to learn them than in what you're already doing now.

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2012. 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, March 18, 2012

Know your Variable Life Insurance Policy

Financially speaking, life insurance is probably the most important thing a family can own. Problem number one is that many families do not have life insurance. Problem number two is that for the families that do have life insurance; many are either over-premiumed or under-insured or both. I think the main reason for this is that many people are enticed into purchasing the more expensive and complicated policies because their associated savings accumulation (Cash Value) growing over the life of the policy.

My belief is that you should buy the cheaper and less complicated Term Life Insurance and invest the difference that you would have paid for the more expensive Cash Value policy. To see more information backing up my beliefs, please feel free to visit:
Today I want to mainly concentrate on the Variable Life Insurance policy, but first, I feel it necessary to give you some background on life insurance in general.

First of all, there are really only two types of life insurance – Term Life Insurance and Cash Value Life Insurance. Term Life Insurance, the cheapest form of life insurance, is simply a life insurance policy that lasts for a certain term or period of time. If you are to die during the term, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit and if you outlive the term they receive nothing. Sort of like car insurance, if you never get into an accident while you have the insurance, you paid the premiums and have nothing to show for it. Term Life Insurance can be bought on a year to year basis (Annual Renewable Term) where the price increases every year, but it is usually purchased at a level price for 10, 20 or 30 year Terms.

Cash Value Life Insurance is, to put it simply, is just a type of life insurance policy that has some sort of savings program associated with it in addition to the death benefit. These types of life insurance policies are typically much more expensive then Term Life Insurance. There are many different flavors of Cash Value like Whole Life, Universal Life, Variable Universal Life, etc.

Whole Life was the original player in the Cash Value Life Insurance game – it was very predictable, but it was also the most expensive. So, in order to compete with less expensive Term Life Insurance, the traditional life insurance industry had to come up with many different mutations of Whole Life Insurance which, not only decreased the cost and made them more competitive, but increased the complexity as well as unpredictability.

Today I am going to concentrate on pointing out the characteristics of and explaining some of the complexities of one of these aforementioned mutations - the Variable Life Insurance policy:
  1. What does “Variable” mean? First of all, when talking about life insurance and you hear the word “variable”, it just refers to mutual funds. The Cash Value in a Variable Life Insurance policy is allocated among sub-accounts, which are merely clones of popular mutual funds. This should be red flag number one, because since they are clone funds, they cannot be followed on the stock market. By definition clone funds are mutual funds that replicate the performance or strategy of an existing mutual fund or index through the use of derivatives.
  2. There are high expenses (mostly hidden) associated with Variable Life Insurance policies. Because the mutual fund managers typically also manage their cloned Variable Life Insurance sub-accounts, the internal fees for investing Cash Value in those options are much greater. Don't get too excited if you feel that you have very cheap premuims for your Variable Life. Chances are in this case, you have frontloaded the policy with a large sum of money up front or from the transferral of the Cash Value built up from a previous Cash Value Life Insurance policy.
  3. Variable Life policies are a lot of times marketed towards more affluent people as a means to shelter their money from taxes. Unlimited amounts of money can be put into a Variable Life Insurance policy. But one thing that is not always explained to the customer is that because of the corridor, the face amount (death benefit) has to go up. Because the face amount goes up, the premium goes up as well. The definition of corridor is the space created between the total death benefit and the Cash Value of a Variable Life Insurance policy. An automatic increase in the death benefit results when the Cash Value approaches the initial face amount as defined in the fine print. If this space did not exist, the Variable Life Insurance policy would not qualify as a life insurance policy under the definition of life insurance by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and would cease to reap the favorable tax treatment afforded life insurance policies by the IRC. Basically, this corridor is in place because life insurance is not supposed to be used as an investment, even though many times it is sold as such.
  4. Figure 1
  5. Who owns the Mutual Funds in your Variable Life Insurance? By law, all Mutual Funds must distribute at least 90% of earnings to the owner of the mutual fund shares --- the shareholder (See Figure 1for how investments and insurance are kept separate when buying Term Life Insurance). With Variable Life Insurance, the Mutual Fund pays the Insurance Company; however, nothing regulates what the Insurance Company gives back to the policy owner (See Figure 2 for how investments and insurance are bundled when buying Variable Life Insurance).
    Figure 2
    Remember life insurance is not supposed to be used as an investment, so why are you using the life insurance company as a middleman for your investing?
  6. Are flexible premiums really a benefit? Variable Life policies allow for flexible premiums. You can choose at any time to skip a premium or pay lower premium. The one thing they don’t tell you is that even if you do not pay your premium or make a reduced payment, they will still get their money. Remember, there is no free lunch. As long as you still have enough cash accumulated in your Cash Value, the unpaid premiums will be deducted from there. Once the Cash Value is depleted, then the policy will self-destruct or the policy holder will have to make an astronomical payment in order to revive the policy.
  7. What “Option” did you sign up for? Here is another interesting fact that most people that I have talked to that have a Variable Universal Life Insurance policy (This is only applicable to Universal Life and Variable Universal Life Insurance policies) don’t know. These policies usually have two options – Option 1 and Option 2 or some companies call them Option A and Option B.
    Option 1 or Option A: Most people choose this option because it is the cheaper option. In this case, if the policyholder were to die, the Cash Value accumulated would go towards paying the beneficiaries the death benefit and the life insurance company would only have to pay the difference. In a way, with this option, the policyholders are actually tricked into helping pay their own death benefit.
    Option 2 or Option B: This option is called something like “Cash plus face value” - the keyword here is “plus”. For the policyholders that chose this option, their beneficiaries will get both the death benefit and the cash value. However, like I said earlier that there is no free lunch, they are definitely paying for this benefit with higher premiums.
  8. The Cash Value accumulating is not your money. Another thing many people don’t realize is that they do not own their Cash Value. In the fine print there will be a clause stating that the Cash Value is owned by the insurance company not the policy owner. When you borrow money from your Cash Value policy, two very bad things happen. First, you are charged interest and second, the amount borrowed is deducted from the death benefit.
  9. When does the Cash Value start accumulating? Another nice thing is that your Cash Value doesn’t start accumulating on day one. Usually there is a waiting period of three years (the first three years is when the potential Cash Value accumulation is used to pay sales commissions and administrative expenses) before there is even a positive balance accumulated in the Cash Value. Also, when trying to cancel a Cash Value Life Insurance policy, you do not even automatically get all of your built up Cash Value back as well. If you have not owned the policy long enough, you will be charged a surrender fee. Depending on the length of time you owned the policy, will decide the amount of the fee, not to exceed the full amount of the Cash Value accumulated in the policy. It may take fifteen to twenty years of owning the policy to avoid any surrender charges.
So, now I hope you understand your Variable Life Insurance, however, I must preface my next statement with the following disclaimer: Do not cancel any life insurance policy unless you are wealthy enough to be self-insured or unless you already have a replacement policy in place.

And now that you understand your Variable Life Insurance policy, take the steps necessary to get out of it as soon as possible!

Just remember to keep it simple and keep your investments separate from your life insurance. Only buy Term Life Insurance and invest the difference that you would have spent on your Cash Value Life Insurance policy for yourself. Only choose the Cash Value route if you’d rather have someone else earn interest on your investments.

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, March 11, 2012

Building Supportive Relationships with Accountability Partners
Written by Jack Canfield

If you want to be more successful, one of the most vital relationships you can develop is with an accountability partner.

Accountability partners hold us responsible for meeting deadlines, accomplishing goals and making progress. They are a powerful combination of cheerleader and coach who make it easier to achieve our goals – and have more fun along the way.

How Accountability Relationships Work

When you enter into a relationship with an accountability partner, you agree to hold each other’s feet to the fire. Talking on a regular basis is essential for maintaining momentum and making steady progress toward your respective goals.

Ideally, you should check in with your accountability partner every day with a five-minute call. During these brief conversations, you’ll each state your goals for the day, as well as update your partner about whether or not you kept the commitments you made the previous day. Your partner will take notes about what you commit to achieving by day’s end and will ask you about them the following day.

Once a week or every other week, schedule a longer call with your partner so that you can provide a deeper level of support to each other. Use the time to get your partner’s input on a challenge you are facing, brainstorm ways to achieve a particular goal you’ve set, or tap into your partner’s network of resources. Many accountability partners find that the Mastermind meeting structure outlined in Principle 46 of The Success Principles works well for their longer calls.

4 Most Essential Traits of a Good Accountability Partner

When evaluating potential accountability partners, look for someone who:

  1. Is committed to growth. Accountability partners must be as interested in their own growth as they are in the partner’s growth. Without such a fundamental commitment with you, they will have a hard time providing the proper support.
  2. Keeps agreements. Entering into an accountability relationship requires making a commitment of time and energy. If you agree to speak every morning, it’s critical that your partner keeps that agreement.
  3. Can hold you accountable. One way we sabotage our success is by making excuses to ourselves when we don’t keep our agreements. Accountability partners must be able to listen to our justifications with compassion and kindness, yet not buy into them. They must strongly hold a vision of our success and challenge us, if necessary, to do the work necessary to achieve our goals.
  4. Is interested in results. At times, you will slip and not keep your daily commitment. Your accountability partner must be able to keep an eye on the ultimate results you say you want to achieve and support you in recommitting to your goal.
Questions to Ask a Potential Partner

When you find someone with whom you would like to partner, have an honest conversation about what you each want from the relationship. The more candid you are about what you need and what challenges have prevented you from achieving goals in the past, the better equipped your partner will be to support you. Here are a few questions to discuss with your partner at the start of your relationship:

  • What motivates you?
  • When you have set goals in the past, what worked to keep you focused and moving forward when you were met with obstacles, or you weren’t achieving as much success as you wanted?
  • What do I need to know about you that might present challenges for our relationship?
  • What do I need to know about you that will strongly support our relationship?
Working with an accountability partner is similar to climbing a mountain range with a buddy. They help to hold a vision of the summit when we are in dark valleys. They encourage us when we get tired and feel like quitting. And they celebrate our successes when we achieve a new peak. It may be possible to make the climb alone, but it’s far easier and more enjoyable with someone by your side.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul©Inspirational Books)© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com/.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Formula for Failure and Success
Written by Jim Rohn

Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. We do not fail overnight. Failure is the inevitable result of an accumulation of poor thinking and poor choices. To put it more simply, failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day.

Now why would someone make an error in judgment and then be so foolish as to repeat it every day? The answer is because he or she does not think that it matters.

On their own, our daily acts do not seem that important. A minor oversight, a poor decision or a wasted hour generally doesn't result in an instant and measurable impact. More often than not, we escape from any immediate consequences of our deeds.

If we have not bothered to read a single book in the past ninety days, this lack of discipline does not seem to have any immediate impact on our lives. And since nothing drastic happened to us after the first ninety days, we repeat this error in judgment for another ninety days, and on and on it goes. Why? Because it doesn't seem to matter. And herein lies the great danger. Far worse than not reading the books is not even realizing that it matters!

Those who eat too many of the wrong foods are contributing to a future health problem, but the joy of the moment overshadows the consequence of the future. It does not seem to matter. Those who smoke too much or drink too much go on making these poor choices year after year after year... because it doesn't seem to matter. But the pain and regret of these errors in judgment have only been delayed for a future time. Consequences are seldom instant; instead, they accumulate until the inevitable day of reckoning finally arrives and the price must be paid for our poor choices—choices that didn't seem to matter.

Failure's most dangerous attribute is its subtlety. In the short term those little errors don't seem to make any difference. We do not seem to be failing. In fact, sometimes these accumulated errors in judgment occur throughout a period of great joy and prosperity in our lives. Since nothing terrible happens to us, since there are no instant consequences to capture our attention, we simply drift from one day to the next, repeating the errors, thinking the wrong thoughts, listening to the wrong voices and making the wrong choices. The sky did not fall in on us yesterday; therefore the act was probably harmless. Since it seemed to have no measurable consequence, it is probably safe to repeat.

But we must become better educated than that!

If at the end of the day when we made our first error in judgment the sky had fallen in on us, we undoubtedly would have taken immediate steps to ensure that the act would never be repeated. Like the child who places his hand on a hot burner despite his parents' warnings, we would have had an instantaneous experience accompanying our error in judgment.

Unfortunately, failure does not shout out its warnings as our parents once did. This is why it is imperative to refine our philosophy in order to be able to make better choices. With a powerful, personal philosophy guiding our every step, we become more aware of our errors in judgment and more aware that each error really does matter.

Now here is the great news. Just like the formula for failure, the formula for success is easy to follow: It's a few simple disciplines practiced every day.

Now here is an interesting question worth pondering: How can we change the errors in the formula for failure into the disciplines required in the formula for success? The answer is by making the future an important part of our current philosophy.

Both success and failure involve future consequences, namely the inevitable rewards or unavoidable regrets resulting from past activities. If this is true, why don't more people take time to ponder the future? The answer is simple: They are so caught up in the current moment that it doesn't seem to matter. The problems and the rewards of today are so absorbing to some human beings that they never pause long enough to think about tomorrow.

But what if we did develop a new discipline to take just a few minutes every day to look a little further down the road? We would then be able to foresee the impending consequences of our current conduct. Armed with that valuable information, we would be able to take the necessary action to change our errors into new success-oriented disciplines. In other words, by disciplining ourselves to see the future in advance, we would be able to change our thinking, amend our errors and develop new habits to replace the old.

One of the exciting things about the formula for success—a few simple disciplines practiced every day—is that the results are almost immediate. As we voluntarily change daily errors into daily disciplines, we experience positive results in a very short period of time. When we change our diet, our health improves noticeably in just a few weeks. When we start exercising, we feel a new vitality almost immediately. When we begin reading, we experience a growing awareness and a new level of self-confidence. Whatever new discipline we begin to practice daily will produce exciting results that will drive us to become even better at developing new disciplines.

The real magic of new disciplines is that they will cause us to amend our thinking. If we were to start today to read the books, keep a journal, attend the classes, listen more and observe more, then today would be the first day of a new life leading to a better future. If we were to start today to try harder, and in every way make a conscious and consistent effort to change subtle and deadly errors into constructive and rewarding disciplines, we would never again settle for a life of existence—not once we have tasted the fruits of a life of substance!

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2012. 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.