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Money Can Buy Novelty

November 14, 2014 by  
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It’s too bad that much of the time money, especially having a ton of it, gets a bad rap. The negative view of money probably started a very long time ago, maybe even before the Christian bible made the comment that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” I do believe that tons of money can ruin some people’s lives, especially if they come into that money overnight and not by their own hard work over many years. But let me talk about one super wonderful thing that money can do for you, especially if you are wise enough to do the right things with that money.

It seems that way too many people think that the best thing to do with lots of money is to go out and buy a lot of stuff, especially fancy and high status goods. But that stuff can quickly become worn out and/or very boring. Consider the following as an alternative and one that can, and will, jump start and excite your brain as well as lasting a very long time.

This is all about giving your brain a huge dopamine boost through experiencing new and novel things. You see, the human brain craves novelty, and money makes it so much easier to give yourself novel experiences. Gregory Berns in his book Satisfaction says, “Novel experiences are the surest route to satisfaction.”

As I write these words my wife and I are on a flight to the French Rivera. Just minutes ago we had lift off and as we did, believe me my brain got a big dose of dopamine and that’s just the beginning. We’ll be staying in Cannes at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel and then later in another 5 star hotel in Nice. Then we’ll drive to the Italian town of San Remo to meet an old Swiss friend, Reto Moro, who I met 30 years ago on a tennis court in the south of Germany. We are visiting places, some of which are totally new to me or, in other words, ‘novel’.

Castles, old churches, new restaurants and all that I will see will pump my brain with dopamine. As you probably know dopamine is the natural brain chemical that makes you feel so very satisfied. I just love it. For years I didn’t have a clue about this thing called dopamine that was making me feel so good, but I certainly knew that I got a huge charge and brain boost by my visits to new places, so much so I came up with my bucket list of trying to visit every country in the world. I currently have hit 84 countries and my wife tells me that since I am now 70 years old I better pick up the pace—there are, at present, 196 countries in the world!

I guess I could have spent my money on fancy new cars and other expensive stuff but I’m pretty sure the novelty of a new car wouldn’t last very long. Traveling to new places has given me great memories that will last for many, many years, especially since I can easily re-stimulate my brain chemicals with so many pictures and videos!

The bottom line is, it’s true that money can’t necessarily buy happiness, but it can open up so many possibilities and make it easier to obtain more novel experiences. It gives one more time to carefully and creatively design, plan and carry out a wide range of novel experiences. So now I hope I have given you another good reason to push yourself to earn, save and invest your earnings.

 

Wants are not Needs

October 25, 2014 by  
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Ok, let’s talk about money.

A few days ago I was thumbing through a book I wrote back in 1983, The Courage to be Rich, when, in Chapter 4–The Fallacy of Working for a Living, I found a quote from a guy by the name of Joe Karbo (who, sadly, passed away from a heart attack at the young age of 55). The quote was: “Most people are so busy earning a living they never make any money.” What Joe was saying is that most people are ‘wage slaves’ and never figure out that the key to wealth is really not your earnings or wages. Yes, wages have a part to play but only if you do the right things with a portion of your wages. Your wage doesn’t have to be huge but the key, of course, is saving some of it and setting it aside then letting it build up enough for you to make the right investments.

Of course, the problem with most people is they don’t use enough discipline to control their spending. They think there are things that they just have to have now such as a new dress or car, a fancy night out on the town, an extravagant vacation, etc. I find it very interesting that people choose words like ‘need’ rather than the more accurate word ‘want’ when talking about the things they spend their money on. There is a huge difference between our needs and our wants. Most of the things we think we need are really just things we desire. We all need water, food, shelter, clothing and a certain amount of security to survive and have the chance to thrive. If you take time to think it through, you will be able to see the difference and if you really see the difference, you can then choose to set aside those wants that you previously thought were needs. That will get you the money you’ll need to save up in order to invest and get ahead.

What I used to do when I was depriving myself of a lot of extras that I really wanted right then and there was to concentrate on the huge benefits that I would be receiving later on. I would focus on two wonderful words: ‘passive income’. That concept of having income that would come in automatically each month, whether I got out of bed or was vacationing in Europe, would really motivate me to not spend on things that were wants and to keep saving more and more of my wages. And it paid off big time. Now I spend a lot of time traveling the world and doing super fun things without worrying about the money. It comes in every month no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

It’s so funny how often I hear, “Oh Mark, you are so very lucky to have such a great life style.” They probably don’t mean that literally, but I always respond with the same thing, saying, “Believe me, it’s not luck. It was good planning and discipline over a long period of time.”

Friends, pretty much anyone can do what I did. It does take time but it’s so very worth it. If you think you are too old and don’t have enough time to do it at least pass the message on to your kids and grandkids. They will thank you and greatly benefit for many generations to come!

Live and Leave a Legacy

October 3, 2014 by  
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The great Arthur Ashe left a wonderful legacy, not so much as you might think from his champion tennis days but more for his amazing kindness, sharing and selfless giving and his gentle warm personality that moved people to accept that every human being is equal. Believe me, back in his early tennis days, black people were not thought of or treated anywhere near equal. In fact, in some areas it was against the law for a white person to play tennis with a black person.

When you read about Arthur Ashe or watch the documentary on his life, you keep seeing these same words over and over to describe him–thoughtful, kind hearted , great role model, warm, gentle, friendly, fair minded and so very concerned about other people. He made a huge difference in the world and is a great example and role model for the rest of us. But you know what? Anyone of us can do similar things if we set our mind to it.  That, believe it or not, brings me to the subject of money.  Arthur Ashe used tennis and the fame he received from that as a lever to do good in the world.  The same thing can be done with money!

Money is neither good nor bad.  I know many people think that money is “the root of all evil” and they claim that this is what the Bible says, but this is not what the bible actually says. It says “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”  The real key, of course, is what you do with that money.  If you let money become your god or the end goal in and of itself rather than a means to the end you might well be in big trouble.  I’ve seen this happen many times. Someone will make tons of money and then spend and lavish it all on themselves with high end toys, jewelry, food, drink and drugs and then you see that love of money really does become the root of evil that arises in these people’s lives.

If you want to help humanity for many years to come, way past your own lifetime, then you need to devise a plan that does exactly that.  I’m not saying that you have to have huge amounts of money to leave a great legacy fro mankind but it sure helps. I don’t know about you but working hard to make a lot of money–especially past the point of making enough to just live on–is much easier, seems like less work and is more rewarding when I know that the extra cash and net worth can, and will, be directed to others in need. And not just for the here and now but long after I have checked out of this life. Call it extra motivation, extra energy or whatever you want to call it. It’s real and it can help keep you going.  That ‘legacy’ can also spill over into the future for many, many years after you are gone and may even get bigger as time rolls on.

Try to pretend that this is the only world there will ever be–as in there is no after or next life.  If that were the case–and it might be–and you still really want to live forever, then maybe the only way to do it is through what you do for other people.  First your kids and grandkids, then maybe your friends and associates but why not go way beyond that and try to help total strangers and anyone on the planet that you can reach, especially those that are in desperate need.  If you can motivate them to make their lives and their kids’ lives and their kids’ kids’ lives a little better, encouraging them to pass it on or ‘pay if forward’ forever into eternity, then I think you may see that you are living forever. Just one person has the potential to make the world a better place for numerous other people and that is one terrific legacy that you can leave as well as live.

Be Sure To Have Joy In The Journey to Being Rich & Famous

July 11, 2014 by  
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Would you agree with me that most of us at one time or another, especially when we were young, had thoughts that of being rich and or famous? And maybe those thoughts were followed by “If I was rich and famous, my life would be perfect or darn near perfect.”

If you were at all like me, you certainly had those thoughts. Most people I’ve talked with over the years had those thoughts run through their minds at some point.  But I’m here to tell you that “a near perfect” life does not necessarily follow fame or wealth.   Yes, wealth can make a lot of things in your life a lot easier, but if you think that tons of money and fame will automatically bring you happiness and contentment, you’re dead wrong.  (In fact, speaking of “dead”, I think you will find a higher early death rate and more addictions in the rich and famous than the middle class. That is saying something about how imperfect a life with wealth and fame can be.)

Riches and fame can give you a lot more choices but you do need to be extremely careful of what choices you make. For example, gifting your wealth to charitable causes can bring far greater and longer lasting satisfaction than feeding a cocaine or alcohol addiction with all that money.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m not dissing money and fame or going after great and lofty financial and glory goals. Those are energizing, lots of fun and can be very satisfying but be sure you enjoy each hour and day of your pursuit and be aware that whatever the end results of your journey, it won’t make your life perfect. Nobody’s life is perfect and when you realize that and accept that fact, your satisfaction and contentment can begin to really soar. Trust me on that; I’ve been there and done that and learned it.  I have to remind myself of that on almost a daily basis and concentrate on the big multi-year goals but at the same time “live in the now” and have tons of “joy in the journey”.

After saying all that about what money is not, it doesn’t mean that money is not important. It is and it can do good things for you and your life. So I think next week I am going to talk about how I see the market right now and what you can do about it to make some pretty big financial gains.

A Great Evening with Richard Paul Evans

March 7, 2014 by  
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My good friend and fellow author Richard Paul Evans (who, having sold over 17 million of his 31 great books, is a bit more successful as an author than I am) invited me to join him as he made a great presentation to about 150 people last week.  His subject was based on his book The 5 Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me.  My wife Kimberly and I very much enjoyed both Rick’s motivating and informative remarks and the wonderful people we met afterwards.  I totally agreed with Rick’s view on money, on what it is and what it is not.

Among other things he said, “Life isn’t about money.”  He explained that life is about love and family but without money “life is thrown out of balance. To the financially enslaved, life becomes all about money; too many are missing the opportunities and abundance life has to offer”.

Of Ricks’ 5 Lessons, the first two I find to be so very important: that you must decide that you are going to become wealthy and that wealth is about saving money through either earning more or spending less.   I certainly agreed with those two first lessons, in part because that’s exactly what I’ve been preaching for many years and it certainly has served me well. It transformed a poor, struggling guy into a multi-millionaire. And my path didn’t come from being brilliant, as my C- grade average can attest.

Many years ago I noticed that most people’s spending rises at the same rate as their income when it increases. Too often it rises even faster, creating a debt loaded and stressed out person.  So if that sounds familiar and you want to be wealthy, or at least be way ahead in the money game, set a goal right now to start spending less than you are earning. Without any savings it will obviously be hard to proceed with the next step of investing wisely.

It really is up to you to either allow yourself to be controlled by money or be the one in control of it.  But always remember, life isn’t about money but with enough of it your life can be filled with abundance and opportunity.

Spending the winters in Kauai and being able to do things like take my kids and grand-kids to Europe for a Disney cruise to celebrate my 70th birthday certainly doesn’t make my life perfect. However, giving others those types of grand experiences that stick with them for life certainly does incredible and wondrous things to my brain and my level of satisfaction, and without money I couldn’t do these things.  So I encourage you to set the goals, follow the formulas for wealth and use that wealth wisely to enhance your life and those around you. You won’t be sorry that you did it.

If you need more information on a good financial formula go to my book, The Next Step of Waking the Financial Genius Inside You. I also strongly urge you to go to Rick’s website and sign up for his notices, giveaways and special offers atwww.richardpaulevans.com.