Well, did you start doing it? Did you start looking for a house to buy as an investment or a place to live and profit from today’s super low interest rates? If you don’t know what I’m talking about go read my blog post from last week entitled “Money Money Money”. Maybe I should have called it “Low Rates Low Rates Low Rates”.
If you are already in a very comfortable place financially and either don’t need to or don’t want to make some easy money (I probably shouldn’t call it “easy money” it’s more like “simple money” because it does take work!), then may I suggest you talk to your kids or friends that may not be so comfortable but have the drive, desire and energy. You can be a major financial mentor for them and they will love you for doing it and you will get a ton of satisfaction knowing that you directed them and helped them.
I receive so many messages from people coast to coast and even from foreign countries, thanking me for my financial advice, for giving them the motivation to get up and get moving and for making good financial things happen in their lives. There are not many things in the world that give a person more satisfaction and contentment than knowing you’ve helped someone make major improvements in their lives.
And I’m not talking just about money. Just helping people believe in themselves and motivating them to be proactive in any and every part of their lives is what it is really about. Having a solid financial situation is certainly a good thing and can help in a myriad of ways but there is more to life than money. Bottom line … help others to reach their goals with encouragement and constant support. You will get your reward in the happiness it brings you to see them bring about what is important to them into their lives.
We all want it and we all need it—and some people will do most anything to get it. Right now there are a few things you can do to really cash in big time. I don’t mean to say that money is the most important thing in the world but if you don’t have any, or not very much, it certainly makes life pretty darn rough!
What many, if not most people, don’t fully realize is that there are some critical choices and critical timing of those choices that can make all the difference in the world. It should be obvious that the “choice” of making the most income that you can and at the same time keeping spending lower than your level of income is a very good thing. By doing that you create savings and with enough savings you can make investments that, if you do it right, can give you passive income that makes your life smoother, more pleasant and rather easy. But … what about those investment choices and, maybe even more important, that thing called “timing”.
My advice to most everyone, at least here in the USA, has to do with what you could and should be doing RIGHT NOW!! Recently I said to my adult children, “You know, if you are financially wise and want to make some huge strides in your financial situation right now is the time to act! And, acting right now will pay huge dividends in the near and distant future.” What are those actions that I encouraged them to take and they are doing even as I write this blog?
Ok, here’s the simple advice which could easily be called “Million Dollar Advice”! Go buy a house or maybe 2 houses or a duplex or even more. That’s pretty simple but it’s almost sure to make my children or you a ton of money. You may be saying “Wait a minute. Prices have already bottomed out and have moved up in the last year or so and more in the last few months. You’re right but that’s OK because the big if not the huge reason to buy now is not because the possible continuing rise in values (and it might well slow down a bit) but because of a thing called “Interest Rates” or should I say ”Super Duper Low Interest Rates!” Just take a look at where we are now and where we used to be and very likely will return.
Monthly Payment on a $400,000 Loan for 30 years
Today’s interest rates are:
Rates in past years & probable future years:
Now at first glance that may not seem like a huge difference but … over the life of the 30 year loan–the difference between the 7% loan and the 3.5% loan is almost a third of a million dollars ($958,035.60 on the 7% loan and $646,624.80 on the 3.5% loan.) The big bonus is that today’s rental rates are going up and up, so you can rent those houses or a duplex’s out for more and more. Just think … 3 properties could make you almost a million bucks over the life of the loan not counting the cash flow that is possible. And what if you had more than that? At the top of my “rental property career” I owned more than 1,000 units! How does that sound to you?
I hope I have inspired you to go out and take advantage of these super low interest rates. They won’t last more than maybe one or two years longer and maybe even shorter than that. In other words, this is not the time to hesitate. It is the time to buy!
It practically goes without saying … the Boston bombings were absolutely terrible. There’s no question that Boston’s tragedy pales by comparison to what is going on in the Middle East on an almost daily basis but here in the USA we’ve not seen anything like it since 9/11. But I’m afraid that too many Americans will jump to the wrong conclusions. I say that because I have seen and heard so many people blaming religion and specifically the Muslim people for these and many other acts of terrorism. But that’s more like blaming the evil acts of the KKK on Christianity– most of the KKK were Christians but very few of the Christians in the world were in the KKK.
I have had the great fortune and honor to have lived my formative teenage years in a Muslim country and have traveled extensively ever since then, experiencing the many different cultures and lifestyles in the over 80 countries I have visited. The bottom line lesson of all that traveling for me is simply this: 99% of the world’s people–regardless of their culture, language, lifestyles or religion–are good, honest, and non-violent human beings.
I have said to many, many people in the last few years as we’ve watched the media sensationalize violence from all the corners of the planet, “It’s too bad everyone couldn’t visit dozens of other countries and cultures to observe and get to know the people that are different than themselves. If they could they would see that the vast majority of all people are pretty much all the same.”
Sadly, there are many evil, demented, disturbed and brain-washed people who will use religion to try to justify their acts of evil and terror and in most of the world’s religious scriptures these people will find words that they interpret as God giving them permission to reject, torture or even kill someone who doesn’t believe the same way they do! After the Boston bombings the Muslim community in Salt Lake City made a statement to the community and the world that the Koran does not give any permission or instructions to their followers to commit such horrific acts. To me, it’s sad that they felt they had to make such an announcement. If people really knew the Islamic culture and the Koran they would already know this fact.
I sincerely hope that as we mature as human beings and as a country we will see and understand other cultures and religions and accept that 99% of all people, nations and religions are good and do good in the world. The world is not near as dangerous as you’d think from watching the news. Always remember, bad news sells and lifts ratings and that is the main reason you hear so much of it and so little of all the good and wonderful things that happen in the world every day, in every corner of the globe.
Last week I told you about my goal to work out every single day and do that at least until my 70th birthday which is now 347 days. (I’m pretty sure when I hit 70 I won’t stop then either!) So far so good–I haven’t missed a day in the last 45 days! I sure could have used the fact that I hurt my back one day as an excuse to skip a day but I didn’t. I was in a lot of pain then but I sure felt terrific when I finished. I mean, physically I was totally beat and in a world of hurt but mentally, I felt like a champion. And, wow … that felt great!
One big discovery I made with my “every single day” workout goal was that we are more likely to succeed at it because unlike a goal to work out 4 or 5 days a week, an “every single day” goal doesn’t tempt you to skip today’s workout. You can’t say “Oh, I’ll feel better tomorrow and I can still get in my 4 or 5 days this week.” The thing is, if you do procrastinate you may well find yourself skipping and pushing your work out until you run out of days in the week and miss your target. With an “every single day” goal you know procrastination or skipping days is simply not an option.
If this simple goal hasn’t motivated you to start your own health and work out program by now, then I think I need to tempt you by giving you a list of huge benefits or as I call these lists in my book “How To Ignite Your Passion For Living”, B-RAM. B-RAM stands for Benefits, Reasons, and Motivations. These are the things that will keep you chasing your goal if your keep them in the forefront of your mind. (See Chapter 7 entitled “The Sure Fire Way to Stick with Every Goal” on page 71 for more on how to benefit from B-RAM.)
Here are 7 huge benefits of setting unshakable fitness goals as given by Dr. Daniel G. Amen in his book “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age”. Print out this B-RAM (adding more reasons to it if you like) and post it somewhere to keep reminding yourself how wonderful this goal will be for you:
1. Those with pep in their step stay younger.
2. Aerobics will help you keep more brain tissue.
3. Balance exercises help you age gracefully.
4. Active seniors look years younger than their couch potato friends.
5. Resistance exercises keep you stronger to live longer.
6. The greater your muscle strength, the less risk of Alzheimer’s.
7. Those who exercise slow down their biological clock.
By the way Dr. Amen documents the evidence behind each of these 7 benefits starting on page 123 under the heading of “Exercise and Longevity”. He introduces this section by saying “New research seems to be popping up every day proving that exercise will not only increase how long you live but also the quality of life in those years.”
What else do you need to get you up and working on fitness? If you haven’t started, why not start RIGHT NOW! Take five minutes and briskly walk, dance, stretch, lift a few weights … and think about how you’ll do this every day so you can get all these great benefits, starting right now!
In early March I was on my way back to Kauai to spend the rest of the winter when we had a long layover in Los Angeles. Unfortunately I had left Dr. Lustig’s book “Fat Chance” at my Salt Lake City office, so I wandered down to the airport bookstore for a copy and stumbled across Daniel Amen’s book “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age”. There is a lot of good stuff in his book including many before and after brain scans of people that turned around bad habits and behaviors both in eating and exercising. The huge difference in those brain scans really got my attention but what stuck with me the most was the story Amen tells about 52 year old Andrew McGill and what he did to end up with a “younger brain, a sharper mind, and a happier life.”
Andrew McGill is a doctor who had totally let himself go and was in poor health (which just goes to show that even being a medical professional does not insure great health.) His brain scan reflected his poor physical state, looking like the scan of a much older man. Daniel Amen says “it could be attributed to a number of causes: alcohol; drugs; environmental toxins, such as mold or organic solvents; infections; a lack of oxygen; or a significant medical problem like severe anemia or low thyroid.” On top of these other possible contributors to his poor health, Dr. McGill weighed 289.5 pounds, which I’m sure was also a major contributing factor.
To cut to the chase and the real heart of the story, McGill had one day “found himself lecturing a diabetic patient about the importance of nutrition, losing weight, and exercise. On the way home he thought to himself, ‘Andy, what a hypocrite you are! When are you going to stop playing around with your own health?’” It wasn’t until later, in November 2006, that McGill finally made a deep, committed vow to never to miss a day of exercising. That was five years ago. Surprisingly, he has kept that promise, not missing a single day. Ever.
Wow! Just … wow! That kind of commitment really made an impression on me. And he was paid well for his commitment. He lost 100 pounds and a new scan showed the brain of a much younger and healthier man. Now, as I mentioned last week, exercise is not the only thing you need to lose weight and be healthy. Dr. McGill also stopped drinking alcohol, which contributes a huge amount of sugar to our diets, among other healthy changes to achieve these results.
The thing is his story was enough for me to make that same commitment to exercise every single day. Truthfully, it’s not that big a deal. There are so many things you can do to get in your exercise each day, things that don’t even require equipment or a trip to the gym—a lunch time walk, a morning run, 10 minutes jogging up and down the stairwell at work, calisthenics on your living room floor while watching your favorite show, etc. The important thing is to do it and if you make a habit of exercising in some manner every single day you will become healthier, especially when combined with healthier eating.
Since reading that story I have only missed one day of exercise and only because my wife had surgery. I have decided that I am going to keep it up for at least one full year … that’s when I hit age 70! And I know I can and will do it. So why don’t you? Is there any reason not to? No. But there are so many, many reasons to take on this simple challenge, aren’t there?
By now I hope you have watched Dr. Robert Lustig’s video that I’ve talked about in my last 2 blogs. If you heed his advice it really is life enhancing. I have and it’s made such a huge difference. But now, as I promised last week, I want to talk about exercise and what it can and cannot do for you.
To summarize what Dr.Lustig says on the subject of weight loss and exercise, exercise is not the key to weight loss, but it is one of two keys to great health. The first key is changing your diet by drastically reducing your intake of sugar in combination with a huge increase in your intake of fiber. Do that and your half way to excellent health.
The second key is, yes, exercise and by that he means consistent exercise. As Dr. Lustig points out, exercise will build muscle and in the very long run will help you lose a little of the weight because muscles burn calories faster than fat but this would only be a little additional weight loss. In other words, exercise should be part of a weight loss plan but is not the key to it. Without the change in diet, weight loss will be slow and the increase in overall health will be minimal.
Not a believer quite yet? Well, I’d recommend going out and getting Dr, Lustig’s book “Fat Chance” so you can read about all the factors that go into healthy weight loss and healthy eating. It’s not that exercise cannot have a tremendous impact on your health but exercise alone won’t do it. Next week I’ll tell you about another book and the story it includes of an amazing man, his commitment to better health and how you can follow in his footsteps. In the meantime, start evaluating your sugar intake. You may find it startling just how much you take in and, hopefully, it’ll stir you to do something about it.
If you watch the link I posted last week of Dr. Lustig’s lecture you learned about the major damage sugar does to your body. His words and proof of what he was saying certainly made a huge impression on me and has changed my eating habits significantly. I’ve watched his video presentation twice and after that quickly got a copy of his book “Fat Chance” and devoured it. I’m so glad that I did. Not only did I realize all the damage sugar was doing to my body but I began to see that what I believed to be true about how we process calories was, in fact, not true!
Most of us have been lead to believe that a calorie is a calorie regardless of the food we get it from. So if we thin k that if we eat a 1,000 calories of food that is loaded with sugar versus a 1,000 calories of food that is relatively sugar free the results to our bodies is exactly the same. But if you believe that (like I did) you’d be wrong.
The reason that one type of calorie can cause your body to gain weight and another one will not, is all in the way the body metabolizes the food. So let’s say that in the next 6 months you ate 2000 sugar loaded calories a day. You might gain 5 lbs. But if you ate 2000 calories of non-sugar foods you might lose 5 pounds or stay the same weight. But that’s just the beginning.
As Dr. Robert Lustig says in the beginning of his book, “Every good story needs a villain. While I am loath to reveal it this early in the book, I won’t keep you in suspense. It’s sugar…..a substance that now permeates nearly all food and drink worldwide. It’s killing us … slowly, and I’ll prove it. Every statement throughout this book is based on scientific study, historical fact, or recent statistics.”
Plain and simple, Lustig makes a totally convincing case that sugar is TOXIC.
If you read his book you will see all the ways sugar is doing damage to your body. Lustig’s book certainly motivated me to cut out almost all the sugar and processed foods from my diet. By the way–did you know that there are dozens of different names that the food industry uses to hide sugar content, especially in processed foods? If you aren’t sure you can identify them, go to the USDA’s page here for a list.
And if you are thinking, like so many people, “I will just exercise more to counteract the sugar.” Sorry, that’s not going to work either. Don’t get me wrong … exercise is not bad. In fact it’s very, very good for the body but that is not how you will counteract sugar or to lose weight. Why not, you ask? Well, I’ll talk about that next week. In the meantime, read your labels. See just how much sugar you are really taking in and try to cut it out of your diet. I bet you’ll be surprised just how many things you’ll have to eliminate but that just tells you how bad the situation is.
On Feb 21st of this year my son David, sent me an email with a link (see below) to a YouTube lecture by a Dr. Robert Lustig. Without a doubt this video has dramatically changed my physical and mental being! It honestly has lifted my life 2 or 3 levels … and my life was pretty damn good already. Watch it as soon as you can and see if you agree that his words have such tremendous value.
By now if you’ve read even a few of my blogs you know I am big on setting goals and strongly believe that goal setting and your journey toward those goals is a huge key to a happy, fulfilling and super productive life. Dr. Lustig’s video lecture gives you a pretty straight-forward goal that, initially, you might think is just a health goal but it’s more than that. I’m tempted to summarize what he says but then you won’t really get the impact of the presentation or you might think “I’ve heard all that before.” Trust me, you haven’t heard all this. I’ll just say it’s well worth every minute of your time to watch and learn and follow.
By following, I mean for you to set some health goals based on what he is saying. I certainly have done that and WOW what a superb and uplifting change it has made in both my physical and mental life—if you don’t believe me just ask my wife! So get yourself a nice cup of tea and sit down to listen. Then change your life. Now!
Not too long ago I was in Costco buying an elliptical machine. (These machines are a great way to stay in shape without hard impact on your knees, hips and back.) This 26 year old guy helped us load the machine into the back of our car. I couldn’t help but notice he had a certain sparkle in his eyes and was full of energy. He was so very helpful and friendly I just had to give him a little extra reward so I gave him my financial book The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You.
A couple days later he’d tracked me down via the internet thanking me profusely in an email. He wanted to tell me what a huge impact the book had already made even though he’d only read a few chapters. The very day I gave him the book he went to his bank and took care of some financial things he’d been putting off and he said because of the book he had reignited his life goals and was super inspired to really accomplish what he’d set out to do before but had let things slip.
Well, I couldn’t let his enthusiastic response end there, so I wrote back and invited him up to the house to talk. That day, before he got to the house, I couldn’t help but think of how a couple books I’d read had also hit me like a ton of bricks and changed my life forever. Now my book was making a difference in this young man’s life! Not that this was the only email and success story I’ve heard from those who’ve read my books but I don’t often get to meet them.
We had a great chat. This young man talked about how he has set news goals and renewed old goals and was already acting on them. Not just financial goals either but some very wonderful life and living goals. I could tell that he really got the message that money should be a means to a greater end not the end itself. As I have said many times “with the right formula, combined with drive and determination most anyone can make millions of dollars, especially if you are motivated by a higher and greater cause.”
As he left I just had to give him a copy of How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. The “passion book” gives you specifics about the best way to set goals with a specific formula that helps you stick to those goals until they are fulfilled.
My great reward–and it truly is a great reward–is seeing people light up and take the necessary action to go out and do what they need to reach their dreams! Whether it’s the huge success story of guys like Dell Loy Hansen–who read my book in college and made a half a billion dollar fortune (his story is in the beginning of the Financial Genius book) or if it’s the beginning success of a young struggling couple that were able to buy their first home along with two small rental duplexes, all these stories warm my heart and help me feel fulfilled, motivating me to keep on “paying if forward”.
Last week I talked a bit about how you think about death, how it can affect your health and how you live now. Your brain is a very powerful organ, operating beyond your conscious thoughts. You can use its vast abilities to feel better as well as live better.
In the book “Super Brain” Deepak Chopra and his co-author Rudolph Tanzi write that you need to train your brain to do what you want it to do. “The minute you say “My memory isn’t what it used to be.” or “I can’t remember a thing today.” You are programing your brain to “live up to your diminished expectations.”
The authors go on to say “The 1st rule of Super Brain is that your brain is always eavesdropping on your thoughts.” So the lesson here is we all need to be very aware of our thoughts. We need to monitor them and then move them to the where we want them to go so our brains operate on healthy and positive ideas.
Lately I have been saying to myself “I’m starting to feel younger and healthier by the day—frickin’ A!” and I am actually beginning to believe it! My brain is overhearing these thoughts and operating based on them.
Our wise authors also say “You are not your brain.” When you are acting as the leader of your brain you can actively reprogram your own neurochemistry and even genetic activity, no longer indentured to mood disorders. So the huge key here is:
Be aware of your thoughts and direct them the way you want!