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A Busy and Purposeful Life

February 9, 2018 by  
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I am so very impressed by people that keep themselves involved and busy with work, social connections, play time, and, yes, no matter what their age is, investment goals.  Look at Warren Buffett—he’s 87 and worth billions but is still out their investing.

Speaking of age 87 and of someone who keeps on moving and staying involved, take a look at my January 10th post. After I wrote about my very talented tennis buddy, I asked him if I could post his full name and a photo of him in my blog. So here he is, standing to my left in the photo. Ken Greenbaum, a super, great, inspiring example for me and many others, looks a lot less than 87 years old. And you ought to see how he runs! He plays a great game of tennis.

Right after writing that January 10th blog post entitled “The Key for a Longer and Healthy Life”, I read a great article by Claudia Dreifus in Kauai’s Garden Isle newspaper, entitled “When Work Brings Joy, Why Quit?”  The author highlights 3 great examples of people that have not let aging slow them down.

“On most mornings,” Claudia writes, “Jack B. Weinstein rises at 5:30 to exercise. At 7, a car takes him from his home on Long Island to Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, where he is a senior Federal District Court judge for the Eastern District of New York.” That morning routine might sound pretty ordinary until you find out that the man is 96 years old. That is very impressive and it no doubt helps keep him alive and healthy.

For Adolfo Calovini, a 82-year-old New York City high school teacher Dreifus writes about, ” the need to earn income is part of his motivation. The approximately $110,000 annual salary he earns … is a necessity.”  When asked if he’s ready to retire, Calovini shook his head, saying, “to me, teaching is about life. This is what I do. I can’t see a time when I wouldn’t.”

Then there’s the 88-year-old Dr. Kandel.  He works in a research laboratory at Columbia University. “I like what I do. Keeping engaged keeps you intellectually alive.” He goes on to say, “If you are healthy and enjoy your work, continue. At the very least, it gives you additional income. Even if you don’t need it, the money can be for your kids and grandchildren.”

I don’t know how old you are but I’m getting up there in age myself. The more I think about it, however, and the more of these stories I hear, the more it motivates me to do everything I can to prolong my life and health and create my own great story of keeping busy and purposeful far into my later years.

The Social Happiness Factor

February 2, 2018 by  
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I will get back to a more strictly financial theme in a week or two, but today I want to talk a bit more about health and longevity. Without those two things in your life, making a ton of money does not end up being very important. Making money, growing it, and keeping it are very important in anyone’s life but it is not the most important thing we work towards.

Years ago, someone asked, after the death of the richest man in the world at that time, Howard Hughes, “How much money did Howard Hughes leave when he died?” And that question was answered in three simple words: “All of it.” You can’t take it with you and it’s doesn’t help you much if you aren’t here to enjoy it.

Although I’ve talked a lot about how important it is to eat right and exercise for good health and longevity, there is one more critical element that has been proven to boost your health and add years to your life, something that I think we all need to pay more attention to. It is the “social” aspect of your life. Having an active social life also lifts your “happiness factor”, as Seth Godin points out in his book, Tribes.

There are some very good studies that shows how having a strong and active social life helps extend your longevity. I read an article by Holly Richardson last year where she told of a study on 3,000 women who had breast cancer. The article says, they “found that those who went through cancer alone were four times more likely to die from their disease than those with 10 or more supportive people.” The article goes on to note that a “six-year study in Sweden found that men with heart disease were much less likely to have heart attacks if they had good friends around them than those without that social support.”

From my casual observation, I’ve notice that the older many people get, especially men, the less social they are, whereas women tend to stay more social. Maybe that is one reason that women tend to outlive men.

I’ve noticed in my own life that the older I get the less I tend to expand my social life. I used to have a number of “tribes” that I belonged to but now basically I have only my “tennis tribe” and the other is a social club my wife and I belong to. But like I’ve said in many past blogs, “When I start preaching for my readers to challenge themselves in different parts of their life, I am also preaching to myself.”  And now by writing this blog I find I am pushing myself to create or join another tribe or two, knowing that I will most likely expand my social life and lift my happiness and contentment levels in the process.

Norway is said to have the happiest people in the world and it’s because they have broader and better social relationships. Norway was ranked the happiest nation by the 2017 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It has been found that in addition to a good social life, happiness also comes from helping others such as taking part in volunteer work.

So now we know two more thing that will help us live fuller and longer lives, and it’s something besides making money. It’s getting out and being social and helping others. Now those are some great goals you can look forward to creating and fulfilling!

Getting Into Good Debt

January 26, 2018 by  
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Last June, I shared 9 key items, found in Paul J. Meyer’s great booklet “Being Smart with Your Money”, that will help you attain a healthy financial life. Number 6 was “Get out of debt”.  This is, of course, great advice but the real key is knowing what kind of debt to get out of and what kind to go after.

One of the biggest keys to making a fortune–and this was a huge key for myself—is to take on the right kind of debt, the kind that has others paying that debt down. Paul’s advice was about credit card debt. Back then, in 2004, the average person in the U.S.A. had between $5,000 and $6,000 in credit card debt with the average for couples seeking a divorce having $37,000 in debt. As most people know (or should know) the interest rates on credit card debt is huge—as high as 29.99%.

Paul goes on to note that debt does more than ruin marriages. It also:

  • Saps your creative thinking.
  • Drains you physically and mentally.
  • Burdens you with pressure.
  • Limits your investing opportunities.

The good kind of debt, however, that helps make you big money is mortgage debt on income producing properties. That debt could be on a small rental house or, as it was in my case when I was in the first few years of my investing career, many, many rental houses and later, apartment buildings. I loved it. Every month, when my tenants would pay their rent, I paid down my debt and the more of this kind of debt I took on, the more the debt was paid down.

Just look at the numbers. I’m using small numbers for this example but if you double the number or add a zero, the rate of return will still be the same. If you bought a rental property for say $110,000 with $20,000 down, in the first year alone the pay down of a 4.5% loan would total $2,841 or a 14.2% rate of return to you.

So, a person’s net worth can grow at a good rate even without that other factor called inflation. But if you have, let’s say, only 2% inflation a year, ten years later that property would be worth over 10% more and your debt would be substantially paid down.  If you put in some fix up money on a property that needs it, you can often push your rate of return much, much higher, even to 100% as I’ve done many times.

Bottom line here is, yes, Paul Meyer is right to get out of the “wrong kind” of debt but you will greatly profit if you get into the “right kind” of debt—mortgage debt on rental properties.

There can be a big double bonus when taking on the right kind of debt too. You can greatly increase your rate of return by using that thing called leverage. If you were able to buy property with only a 10% down payment and had that same 2% inflation, that would push your return to 20% in the first year alone. But then if you had bought what I call a “dirt bag” property that needed an inexpensive cleaning and fix up, using mainly elbow grease and just a small investment of money, you might be able to push that rate of return to over 100%. I’ve done this many, many times. For example, a $100,000 property with a $10,000 down payment plus say $5000 in fix up costs could push up the value to $130,000–your return would now be a whopping 100% of your initial investment of the down payment and the fix up costs!

So, I encourage you to pass this advice onto your friends, kids, and anyone you want to help, especially those that you see getting into the wrong kind of debt, and then push yourself to get out of the bad debt and into the good debt and watch your fortune grow.

 

Commitment to Movement

January 19, 2018 by  
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Let me begin this week’s blog by quoting Harvard Medical School’s conclusion as to the 5 ways that exercise helps people live longer and better.

1. Exercise helps the heart raise up the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL.

2. It keeps your brain sharp. There are even studies that suggest exercise my help ward off Alzheimer and other forms of dementia.

3. Exercise lowers blood sugar levels.

4. It possibly lowers the risk of getting cancer.

5. As a person ages, bones begin thinning, but walking, running, and lifting weights stimulates the growth of new bone. It may even reverse knee problems!

Since, as you see here, movement is so important to our mental and physical health, we all should keep moving as much as we are able for as long as we can. One thing that totally encourages me is knowing that we don’t have to go running for great exercise. Just slow jogging or even just walking a lot is very beneficial.  And of course, getting outdoors to do those walks is great for the mind and mood.

I’ve recently began jumping on a mini trampoline and that has really helped my physical conditioning as well as helping my bone growth. I bought this mini trampoline on Amazon for just a little over $30. Things like this are a great investment and fun as well.

I think it is very important, not just to start doing these easy physical activities, but to set goals for them and break those goals down into bit size chunks. For example, with my walking and counting steps, after I set my goals for the week, I not only break it down by the day but I set my walking goal by the hour. Usually I set the goal to walk 2,000 steps by 9 am which only takes about 20 minutes and then I aim for another 2,000 steps each hour until I reach my daily goal of 20,000 steps. By breaking it down this way it is much easier to reach the goal. It’s the old “baby steps to reach giant achievements” deal.

So, if you want to live longer, stronger and feel better as you age I strongly suggest that you set goals for daily or weekly walking, jogging, lifting weights, stretching, push-ups, sit-ups, and maybe even bouncing on a mini trampoline.

Uh-oh … I just looked at my Fitbit and I’m only at 18,714 steps today and it’s almost 6pm. So I will say aloha for now.  On next week’s post I’ll be coming back around to that good ol’ money making and fortune keeping theme so keep up the exercise and we’ll work on financial health next week.

The Key for a Longer, Healthy Life

January 12, 2018 by  
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I thought I was in great shape and looked pretty darn good now at almost 74 years old. Then I went to my favorite Kauai tennis club last week and played tennis with this old friend, Ken, who looks like he is 55 or 60 years old and plays a great game of tennis. But would you believe this guy, who is in super great shape, out on the court with me, is 87 years old? You’d be shocked if you saw him and he is not slowing down at all.

Ken inspires me to keep moving and, yes, I set some more new year’s exercise resolutions including playing more tennis with Ken and many other friends. I think most people know that exercise–even moderate exercise–is good for your health. According to a one large study, 75 minutes of vigorous, or 150 minutes of moderate, exercise per week extends life by 3.4 years. That might not seem like a lot of extra years, but that’s just the average and you and I might be able to push that to 10 or 15 years like Ken has. Plus remember that most likely those extra years are going to be so much more enjoyable because your physical and mental health will be much better.

And hey, 150 minutes a week is only about 22 minutes a day and if you are anything like me, you can easily push yourself to do a little more than that each day if you have the proper motivation. As I mentioned in another post a while back, one of the best gifts my wife ever gave to me was a little simple “Fitbit” that counts all my steps among other things. The recommended goal is 10,000 steps a day. However, that little device has had me competing with myself to continuously increase my daily steps to the point that I now shoot for 20,000 steps a day. That is more than 3 hours of walking, but it is not hard to spread it out over my day and, I have to say, I love it.

By the way, if you want to increase the chances of reaching your exercise goals, it’s a very wise move to tell your spouse or a good friend about your goal and then encourage them to remind you and ask you how you are doing with those goals. They can basically act as your coach and prod you along but mostly, you know they know and so you will feel accountable to them.

There is another big health related benefit that comes with working out when you do it via a game such as tennis or golf. That benefit is the social interaction you get during and after the game. Keeping up an active social life is another proven life extending way to keep you healthy.

So, I do sincerely hope you will be motivated to set exercise goals and never forget the many benefits you’ll be receiving. Write those goals down and get someone to remind you and push you. Next week I’ll want to expand on this subject because we could all use a little extra push, even me!

 

 

The Unparalleled Importance of Health

December 30, 2017 by  
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Eight years ago, when I began writing this weekly blog I pretty much focused on just one subject and that subject was how to make lots of money and end up with a great fortune. As time passed and as I made more discoveries about life and living, I began to see more clearly how money is very important but not the most important part of our lives.

As I said in my last week’s blog, a billion dollars would not make your life perfect if you lost or didn’t have a single friend or loved one. The same goes for the huge, unparalleled importance of our own health. We don’t, unfortunately, have complete control over our health but we certainly can do a lot to greatly improve the odds of having good and even excellent health.

Let me list just a few things this week that we all can do to be and stay healthy. Here’s my list of foods, vitamins, and supplements that have greatly helped the mental and physical health of many people and can even extend your lifespan.

Foods

These foods can increase the feel-good brain chemicals of serotonin and dopamine as well as help your physical and mental health.

  1. Fish–Salmon
  2. Eggs
  3. Tofu
  4. Cheese
  5. Pineapples
  6. Nuts and seeds
  7. Turkey
  8. Apples
  9. Blueberries
  10. Red beets
  11. Bananas
  12. Strawberries
  13. Kale
  14. Oregano oil

Supplements

These vitamins supplements are mood lifting.

  1. Fish
  2. Vitamin B complex
  3. 5HTP
  4. L-Theanine
  5. Vitamin B12
  6. SAMe
  7. Turmeric
  8. Vitamin C
  9. Melatonin
  10. L-Tryptophan

And here’s one more supplement that has shown promise in reducing the risk of cancer, among other things—resveratrol. Consider eating the above foods and adding these supplements to your new year’s resolutions for a great positive and healthy start to your new year.

A Passion for Your Goals

December 16, 2017 by  
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As we are quickly coming to the end of this year, and with the New Year just a couple weeks away, most of us are thinking not only about the holidays but all the shopping that we must do. I know most guys really don’t enjoy that part of the holidays but thank heaven for women! They do generally have a passion for shopping. But why are they so passionate about it while men aren’t? It really comes down to how we go about it. The people who like shopping aren’t just buying gifts, they are out to find the greatest stuff and to get the best bargains on them. It’s a challenge and an adventure. The rest of us just want to find something that will fill the bill and be done with it. So that’s the thing—when you have a passion for your particular goal and for how you reach it, it makes it much easier, and much more fun, to accomplish.

This is true for any goal, but not only do you need passion, you need the goal to be attainable or you may lose that passion. The thing is, if you set goals and objectives that are so big as to make it impossible to achieve, even by taking lots of baby steps, it can lead to a huge disappointment which can kill your passion. At that point, it can become very easy to beat yourself up and may eventually make you want to give up on goal setting itself. In other words, setting goals that are challenging but that you can achieve can help keep up your passion. Setting unattainable goals, on the other hand, can do major damage to your passion factor.

Passion is a very interesting feeling that is so very important in life and living but it can be an elusive pursuit. As people age, they have flashes of passion here and there and then they lose it and they don’t know why.  Unfortunately, there are physical reasons that passion starts to decline that make it hard to keep those fires going. From about age 25 or 30 your brain begins to produce less and less dopamine and serotonin–the hormones that make you feel good. A child’s body is awash in these hormones. There are things that stimulate and produce these hormones in young people that our aging bodies are missing.

The good news is, setting and reaching realistic goals can help the brain increase those important brain chemicals. Another helpful factor is eating the right foods and exercising, both of which will help restore those dopamine and serotonin levels. In the next week or two, I will talk more about what foods are best to eat that restore those 2 brain chemicals.

So, if you are like me, you will be thinking more and more about what next year will bring and what you want to accomplish in 2018.  Go big but with a touch of caution as you set your goals for the new year so that you’ll still have plenty of passion for each new dream you come up with.

 

This New Year’s First Step

December 9, 2017 by  
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Have you started asking yourself, “What are my new year’s resolutions going to be?” Hopefully you have begun to put a list together that is detailed, clear, and measurable. If you have started, that’s fantastic. But if not, when do you start on it? Without a start date and a few actionable steps planned out, what chance do you have of your objectives, goals and dreams for 2018 becoming real in the new year?

My first suggestion to you, and to myself, is that we make our start date … TODAY! That’s right, start now, even if the list you begin today is very short. That is at least a start. There is no reason that you can’t take that first baby step today.

If you haven’t clearly defined your goals, go ahead and write down you rough thoughts. You can refine and add to the list later. But right now, take time to write down a schedule as to when you are going to add to your list of resolutions and when you will write down your specific plan for the steps you will begin to take in the new year.

You really don’t need to know all the details of every step you’ll need to take to reach your dreams at this moment. Much of what you’ll need to do will become more obvious as you begin working on your plan. The important thing is that you keep moving forward.

I like to set goals in the main areas of my life that I feel are most important. They go like this:

No. 1. Improve all my family relationships and plan lots of family get togethers as well as some exotic vacations in order to expand and deepen my social relationships.

No. 2. work on and improve my financial position, both in income and assets.

No. 3. Reach out and help others through my writing and donations.

No. 4.  Take care of my health by eating all the right foods. I can eat salads instead of steak, take the best vitamins and supplements, go out daily walking or running, work out with weights, and playing tennis.  (This is a big focus of mine and it gets bigger every year as I age.)

Whatever objectives, goals and dreams you want to realize in 2018, don’t just talk about them. Start writing them down and then take action, even if you just take baby step at first. All those little steps add up to big dreams!

 

A Goal for Novel Experiences

December 2, 2017 by  
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We now are fast approaching the end of another year and I think it’s a really good idea to start right now making plans, setting goals, and writing down a list of what your New Year’s resolutions are going to be.  If you have followed my blog in the past, you know I like to push myself and others to get out and try new and various experiences.  Every time I travel to Paris, London, the Far East, or any foreign country, it amazes me how much energy and motivation it gives me. I meet and get to know so many different people as well as becoming immersed in their culture and I get so inspired by those new sights and experiences.

Now, you don’t have to travel to Europe or the Far East to find novel experiences but entrenching yourself in different cultures is an ideal way to jump-start your spirit, your mind, and your passion for life and living.  Even starting right where you live, there are probably some cultural areas, shops, events, and plenty of new people that you have had no exposure to and may even be a little fearful of, because of the lack of familiarity. But forcing yourself to walk into that strange place or spend a day at a new and unusual event expands your horizons as well as your mind. You might even find some new interest that you just fall in love with.

So, I challenge you to set some travel goals for the new year, be it a place that is very near or very far away, just find some places that you may at first be hesitant to venture into. Go in with an open mind and actively look for new experiences, talk to new people, and make an effort to understand and appreciate cultural differences. You never know what you’ll find or whom you will meet.

Then I invite you to come back home and share your new ventures with your friends and family. See if you can’t inspire them to go on their own adventures. In the meantime, if you find this little reminder just the thing to kickstart new adventures for yourself, you can also pass this on to your friends and family by sending them a link to my blog or to the sign up to get these little ideas by email.

P.S. I just saw a special airfare promotion for a round trip flight to Paris from Salt Lake City for just over $500 dollars. So even going overseas doesn’t have to be too expensive. And a bed and breakfast over there can be real cheap! Just decide you want to do it and start looking for great fares from your area.

Energizing Goals for 2018

November 25, 2017 by  
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Now that we’ve gotten through Thanksgiving, how about some helpful hints and ideas that will motivate you to have a super 2018?

Think about these 12 suggestions as you gear up to set goals and make resolutions for the coming year. It’s not too early to begin setting some great new goals for 2018. Whether it’s for work or play, family or friends, we all need more energy. I find that to be especially true for me as I am almost 74 years old. So here you are … 12 ideas to get you going each day.

12 Proven Ways to Boost Your Energy:

1. Set exciting goals that will put your big dreams into action. Be sure to add a time frame and an exciting game plan to those goals.

2. Create a daily “to do” list. Look at it or take time to think about it in the morning to add extra energy to your day. I find that if I make that list the night before and then look at it first thing in the morning that it works wonders for my enthusiasm for the day.

3. Eat more nutritious foods. Especially at this time of year, it’s critical to pay attention to what goes into the pie hole.

4. Drink green tea to overcome a mid-morning slump.

5. Get plenty of exposure to natural light. Taking a walk outside always seems to boost my energy and I do that virtually every day.

6. Ease your stress by simplifying your life and mainly, or exclusively, pursue your life’s priority items. Delegate the rest.

7. Heal yourself by being grateful and loving and by letting go of all anger.

8. Think positive thoughts to stimulate those good neurotransmitters called endorphin’s.

9. Play and exercise hard to release more endorphin’s and dopamine.

10. Get more sleep.

11. Do yoga. A few minutes of yoga stretching will give you a good morning boost.

12. Listen to your favorite music. For some people it may be something with a heart pounding beat and to others it may be inspirational symphonic music.

I sure hope you give all of these hints a good college try, plus here’s one more bonus thought … hang out with positive, upbeat people who are energetic and are making good things happen.  And along those lines, read good, upbeat, positive and energizing stuff like I aim to give you on this blog. Just check out my prior posts and sign up to get this by email at ignitemylifenow.com

 

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