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Is Financial Freedom Worth It?

July 22, 2017 by  
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Many of us want to achieve something big or great, but before you can do this you must have a dream. Your starting point is a vision, a goal, whether you want to be a great artist or a great athlete or a great statesman. The same principal applies to financial success. One doesn’t just wake up one day and find oneself the richest person in the world. Success must be earned, which to most of us seems obvious but some folks just don’t get it.

The good news is that it can be earned and in a relatively short period of time. Knowing that makes the effort much more worthwhile and should encourage more people to dream big and set big goals.

HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?

We all have difference wants and needs requiring different levels of income to feel financially free. Some people would require $10 or $20 million or more before they would consider themselves financially independent. Others would need only $500,00 or a million. Still others may need only $2,000 or $3000 more a month to be able to live as they wish.

What is financial freedom to you? How much income or net worth would you need before you would consider yourself financially free, having income that comes to you without much or any effort on your part? How much is enough to allow you to do exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it?

Finding that figure should be the first step toward reaching your new goal so set your goal and make it specific and, of course, write it down with a time frame or deadline.

IS IT REALLY WORTH THE EFFORT?

The next step is to decide whether or not the effort it will take to reach financial freedom will be worth it to you. You not only may have to work very hard and long but you may have to constantly defend, or chose not to defend, yourself against those who consider money to be bad and think you are just being greedy.

Of course, making lots of money can be either a good or bad thing, depending on what you do with it. Money has many powers. Money can free someone from drudgery and from feeling trapped doing a job that they hate. It can be, and usually is, a measuring stick, an indication of progress. It’s stored up industry. It is achievement and accomplishment made negotiable.

Aside from all the hard work and how having money is perceived, the most important consideration of all is the journey itself. At the very beginning you must ask yourself, “Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices and take the necessary risks on the journey?” If the answer is no, you should reevaluate your reasons for wanting to make the journey in the first place.

Personally, I had many reasons as I set out on my journey to make many millions of dollars. I highly valued the great freedom of traveling the world and helping other people along the way and trying to truly make a difference. For me, the hard road that I had to go down was well worth all my efforts. But only you can decide for yourself if it’s worth the sacrifice and energy you’ll need to put into it.

A little footnote … if you already arrived at your financial goal, I would suggest you send this blog on to your kids or grandkids or someone that you think would really like to hit it big. Being an example and encouraging others is just one more thing that reaching your financial goals can do for yourself and others.

 

A Darling Little House

July 15, 2017 by  
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Many years ago, I wrote a book called The Courage to be Rich. This week, I re-read some of that book and, in particular, a chapter entitled “How Yuks Can Create Big Bucks”. It reminded me again that making money by acquiring beat up, old, dirt bag properties and adding your own sweat equity can make a person rich today in the exact same way it did 30 and 40 years ago. In fact, right now, with many properties selling for top dollar, it makes even more sense to lower your financial risk by investing in these kinds of properties. Here is an excerpt from that section of the book.

Changing a Tacky Dump into a Swiss Chalet

I really couldn’t believe what I saw. A few years ago, while driving down a street in Salt Lake City, I glanced over at a little white house, maybe a thousand square feet at the most, and I just about drove off the road. The formerly grungy house had been completely transformed. Instead of a tacky little house complete with cluttered yard, worn grass, and garbage cans by the porch, I saw a cute, Swiss chalet cottage. The change was so stunning that I pulled over to stop and stare.

At first glance, it seemed that someone had spent a ton of dough making the property shine. Upon closer inspection, I found that the changes made on the outside of the property were quite inexpensive. The dirty sides of the house had been covered up by a fresh coat of paint, and Swiss style shutters with decorative patterns had been placed on either side of the windows. The garbage cans had been moved from the front yard to the back. For extra frosting, a white picket fence had been put along the front of the yard. One other conspicuous difference was a FOR SALE sign prominently displayed.

I was totally amazed at the change, but even more amazed at my reaction to the changes! I had, for years, been in the business of buying properties that needed fixing up and, after some work, would resell or refinance them at substantial profits.

Prior to stopping at this house, I considered myself very smart and successful at what I did. But here is the huge shocking part of this experience. My first reaction was: “What a cute little house! It’s absolutely darling. I should buy it!”

Talk about dumb–really dumb. Here I am in the business of buying dirt bag properties, fixing them up and making big money selling them and this little house almost fooled me into buying it. But now as I think about it, that experience is teaching me a big lesson.

Almost everybody would rather buy a property that looks nice and new and pretty. That’s just normal in us human beings. That’s why people are making money by fixing and fancying up beat up houses and apartments. And now in today’s market where a lot of properties are at top prices, these types of properties are the safer investment. You can greatly increase your chance of making money by doing the simple fixes that stand out and grab people’s attention!

That darling Swiss looking house certainly did it for me and needs to be duplicated. Or should I say, “Hey, here is another way showing how you can make big bucks from yuks.”

Bigger Rewards Than Money

July 8, 2017 by  
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It’s tons of fun making big money and it can help your life in so many ways. It not only allows you to live in a wonderful home, or even a mansion, but it gives you a chance to see the wonders of this great world of ours. On top of that, you can easily be a great giver to others including charities, struggling students, homeless people, and the sick.

Even with all these advantages, there are still other great rewards that supercharge your brain and give you big feelings of satisfaction, inner peace and happiness. And what would that be? Read the text message I recently received and I think you will see what reward I am talking about.

“Dear Mark: To me–now hold on big fella–you are a celebrity. It was such a privilege to have finally met you recently. I’ve wanted to do this for the 41 years that I’ve applied your basic fundamentals of real estate investment (coupled with my father’s teachings and influence with his rental property as a young boy) and learned and implemented from my first real estate book, HOW TO WAKE UP THE FINANCIAL GENIUS INSIDE YOU, in my year of marriage. It instilled confidence and was easy to understand. I’ve had “Fire in the Belly” ever since.

“That picture of you standing next to a Mercedes hood ornament screamed with success, at the time, in the advertisement of your book. I’ve had business mentors in my life, all unaware of the far and wide ripple of influence they’ve had in my life, unless I tell or have told them. And all of which were many years after the fact. You are one of those mentors that I’ve not had the opportunity to personally acknowledge and thank.

“So, thanks a million or better said, a few hundred million and even most likely, a billion times over. :) How many millionaires/billionaires you created? I can’t imagine! Hopefully this created wealth has been used to parlay, edify and lift others in doing good things. It has for me. This is all I hope to do, as I attempt to keep all things in proper balance and perspective. You have blessed my family, me, and many other lives. Thank you most sincerely,

Scott C. Keller, CEO/President of Keller Investment Properties (KIP)”

I’m told that Scott’s net worth is well into the 9 digits and has been there for many years! So, I think you can probably guess how receiving this text made me feel and I sincerely hope you, the reader, are super financially successful and coach, help out, and teach others along the way! The feeling you get from doing so is as big a reward as the money, if not bigger.

More Ways to Make Big Bucks with Existing Ideas

June 30, 2017 by  
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There’s no question that fortunes are made every year by people who come up with new products and services. Whereas many of these new products are totally new and different than anything we’ve seen before, there are just as many or even more products that are copies of existing products with some changes, a recombination, or additions that make it virtually brand new.

Take for example, the common product—the suitcase. They have been around for many, many years. It used to be such a tiresome thing to lug our heavy suitcases or trunks through the airport or into a hotel. Of course, there was the ever-present bell boy to help and get a tip for doing so but it was still difficult to get around with those bulky cases.

Another product that most of us, since we were little kids, have seen or had a bit of fun on ourselves are roller skates and skate boards. These had nothing to do with suitcases, not until someone said to themselves, “Hey, wait a minute, why don’t I put some small wheels on my travel bags, suitcases, and heavy trunks? It can’t be that hard to do.” Even if you didn’t have any skill to put those two things together, you certainly could find a mechanical type person to do it for you. And now I can only imagine how much money was made from that simple change.

That was a pretty simple little invention made by putting two known products together in a new way. If we take the time to observe and study familiar inventions and products and then thinks through how to put a couple products together we could, no doubt, come up with a brand new idea.

To help facilitate this, you could gather together 5 or 6 people you know that are creative thinkers. Put them together in a room and give the group a big list of products then ask everyone to brainstorm and throw out ideas on which products might be put together in a new way. Surprising things can come out of such a brainstorming session.

Or if you are a creative thinker, use that same long list of products and brainstorm on your own and see what you come up with. You can do the same thing to come up with a new service, as Uber did, though the taxi industry certainly didn’t like it. However, I don’t think the owners of Uber, a multibillion dollar company, were very bothered by that.

My first venture into mass marketing was done by copying someone else’s formula and it lead to millions of dollars of profits. As a stock broker manager, I discovered that several of my employees had purchased a book from an ad in the newspaper with the headline “The Lazy Mans Way to Riches”.

That got my attention to the point that I called the author, Joe Karbo, repeatedly until he agreed to meet with me in his California office. When I discovered how many thousands of books he’d sold from that simple ad, I burned the midnight oil each night to write my own book and when I finished I sat down and studied the style, sentence length and tone of Joe’s ad and made my ad as much like his as I could without copying his exact words. So yes, in a way I copied, but did it legally and the big money rolled in beyond my expectations!

There are many, many more fortunes to be made by observing what is happening in the markets and what products, ideas and services exist and then by coming up with something different enough to be seen as brand new. And if you do it right, soon enough, you’ll see the money flowing your way.

 

Copying Success Without Cheating

June 24, 2017 by  
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You probably know that if you copy somebody’s writings, product, or a special new and unique service you might get sued. But copy something with your personal touch and a few changes and you could make millions of dollars.

Most people copy to some extent, but few people admit it. We all want the world to think that we can, and do, generate good and even great original ideas. Only a secure person is totally at ease with learning from others, however. The smart people who value learning from the past and from contemporaries purposely set out to study and to observe others and their successes and then they go about duplicating them with some changes and in their own style so that their contribution becomes unique.

An exact copy usually doesn’t work and could be the cause of a lawsuit. Fortunes are made weekly by people who merely take a concept, a product, or a service they saw in one market and move it to a new market with very little changes made. If you try to copy somebody exactly in the same market, people will often regard it as a rip-off and will not pay the price that they would to the originator of the idea or product and, again, you probably will get sued.

However, you can reap huge rewards by taking the time to discern the particular aspects of a product, service, or idea that is working and making someone a ton of money. Think long and hard about how to change it for the market you want to implement it in. Even slight changes can be made to that money maker that are different enough that it really is your unique product or service.

Just take a look at the success that the taxicab companies were having and then with a few changes, here comes Uber, grabbing up a big share of the market. When others saw the huge success of Uber they jumped right in and copied it with a few very small changes to create like Lyft and Curb. These companies dipped quickly into Uber’s profits making these attentive duplicators very rich.

I strongly encourage you to take a hard look around and notice what is working and making big money for others. See what small changes and improvements can be made so it is uniquely yours and figure out if it has the potential to make you a fortune.

Next week I will give you some more ideas to how to see how this can be done with a little effort.

Staying Excited about Your Goals

June 19, 2017 by  
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Read carefully these great words to “The Impossible Dream”, a song sung by the fictional Don Quixote, The Man of La Mancha. Here the hero sets out to right all the world’s wrongs. Think about yourself and what you want to do with your life so maybe these words will help motivate you as they have with me.

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go,
To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try, when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star–

This is my quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far,
To fight for the right, without question or pause,
To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause!
And I know, if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest!

And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable star!

When Don Quixote set out on his quest he was an old man. But he pursued his goal with the energy of a man less than half his age. What kept him going? How was he able to stay so excited about his goal?

One thing that made a great difference was his commitment to the goal. He believed with all his heart that he was seeking to do the right thing. Do you believe in your goals? Do you really feel that they are best for you? Do those goals represent what you really want in life?

If you answered “No” to any of those questions, you’d better be in search of a new goal. Without a strong and positive belief that we are seeking what is best, we simply won’t have the power or the energy we need to take us through every action that is necessary to take us step by step to the goal.

And it always helps a ton to visualize what rewards await you when you achieve your goals. For me one of the great rewards that I always place firmly in my mind is the ability, both financially and time-wise, to travel to most of the countries of the world. What is your motivating force that pushes you to reach your goals? Think about what they are and then take time to do some big-time visualization of what it’s going to be like when you reach your goals. Seeing it clearly in your mind will help you keep focused and lead you there.

Gems of Wisdom

June 9, 2017 by  
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Last week I shared bits of wisdom with you from the great Paul J. Meyer. Many of these were principles that ensure long term success in handling your money.  Let me share some more gems with you. And remember these gems come from a man who started with nothing but accumulated a half a billion dollar net worth by successfully helping and motivating other people.

These quotes are from a great 30 page booklet that Paul gave me years ago, entitled “Being Smart with Your Money” with my thoughts in parentheses.

  1. Set goals.
  2. Live within your means.
  3. Get on a budget and stay there.
  4. Pay yourself first. Just remember that a part of everything you earn is for you to keep.
  5. Put your money to work. (Invest it wisely–so it works for you 24 hours a day.)
  6. Get out of debt. (As in credit card debt. I would add that mortgage debt on income property is okay and can be a good thing.)
  7. Have realistic expectations. (Building a financial fortune takes time)
  8. Get wise counsel. (Find a good mentor that’s been successful with their money)
  9. Never spend what you have saved.

Alright, now let me give you a few thoughts of mine that have helped me in my financial life and life in general.

  1. Pay careful attention to your self-talk or your chatterbox inside your brain. When you catch yourself with negative chatter going on inside your head, push it out and replace it with positive self-talk.
  2. Don’t beat up on yourself when you stumble, fall or make mistakes, or fall short of your goals.
  3. Set big goals then be sure to write them down with a deadline. Just remember it’s okay, even very good, to take baby steps toward those big goals.
  4. Physically keep moving no matter what age you are. Walk, run, or otherwise workout. Using a Fit Bit can help you with this one.

Here’s some other wonderful little tidbits from Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now that can help a life to be better:

  1. Make the living in the now the primary focus of your life.
  2. Stop judging self and partner.
  3. The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is.
  4. See if you can catch yourself complaining in speech or thought– if so, you are playing the victim.
  5. Let go of the past-only refer to it when it has relevance to the present.

 

 

Re-Motivating Words

June 3, 2017 by  
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The truly wonderful motivational guru Paul J. Meyer was one of my very greatest mentors. A couple of days ago, I was organizing a bunch of the books in my home library when I came across a book that Paul had given me back in 1977. I re-read the wonderful comments that he made about our relationship in the front of the book and consequently I just had to write about him and how he motivated me.

One of the great things he preached to me and others was to identify the books that help us the most and re-read them many times because all of us humans do tend to forget what we’ve learned in the past. Rather than read 1,000 books, he said find the best books that speak to you. That might be just a few dozen or even 100 books, but keep going back to them to refresh your memory and re-motivate yourself.

I began to glance through Paul’s book, The Story Of Paul J.Meyer … The Million Dollar Personal Success Plan, and yes, it refreshed my memory and I realized just how much I had forgotten. Now, just a couple days later, I am finding myself re-motivated and re-inspired. Here are a few choice quotes from Paul’s book:

“A self-confident attitude is the most important asset you can possess.”

“Self-motivation is the power that raises you to any level you seek.”

“Goal setting is the strongest human force for self-motivation.”

“Real confidence in yourself is always demonstrated by Action.”

“Decide what you want and write your goals. Then convert your goals into positive, present tense statement called affirmations. Affirm your goals each day until they become part of your subconscious mechanism.”

“A common reason for human failure is total disregard for the power of self-motivation.”

Great stuff! I do sincerely hope that Paul’s brilliant words, written years ago by this great man and friend who passed away in 2009, will reignite your passion for living and doing great things for your life as it has done for so many people on this earth.

Paul’s motivational records, books, tapes and speeches were, and are still, followed by millions of people around the globe. Even though he started with nothing he was able to get half way to a billion-dollar net worth in his lifetime. This was just part of the great reward he got from the many people he helped. Next week I want to share a few more of his great statements and motivational words plus a few others from great sources.

 

Transform Your Energy

May 28, 2017 by  
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Few people would argue against the proposition that Thomas Alva Edison, even though he only had three months of formal schooling, changed the lives of literally millions of people by bringing inventions such as the phonograph, electric light, typewriter, motions pictures, and the electric generator into the lives of people everywhere. Although Edison didn’t invent anything significant himself, he improved and promoted many things we still used today, patenting 1,093 inventions in his lifetime.

Edison worked from sun up to sun down, and beyond–in fact, sometimes from twenty-one to twenty-three hours a day! How did he generate so much energy to do such fantastic things? And how can you and I generate more energy so we can do much more than we are doing right now?

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, but it can be transformed into something else. That transformation is itself a kind of creation. How do people like Thomas Edison transform energy so they can keep going so long and hard? Perhaps the following illustration will help to answer that.

It’s early morning and you have to get up for work. You were up late the night before; you don’t want to get up. But you struggle into a sitting position and think about what’s ahead of you. It promises to be typically humdrum. You sigh and lie back down. “I can’t stand to go into that office one more day,” you think, and close your eyes. Ugh, you don’t seem to have any energy.

Contrast that feeling with this: It’s early morning and you have to get up to catch a plane to Paris or Hawaii. You were up late the night before but even though you’re tired you’re filled with excitement and feel a rush of energy. So, you jump out of bed and quickly get dressed and pack since you know that in just a few minutes a chauffeur driven limousine is going to pull up in front of your house. This will take you and a few of your closest friends on a trip to your favorite vacation spot where you will do exactly what pleases you and turns you and your friends on! So now you are all ready and up pulls the big beautiful limo. You feel great and have a ton of energy.

Why are these two situations so different? The answer is obvious. In the second example, your thoughts are transformed into energy! Isn’t it amazing that the simple act of thinking certain things can generate great physical and mental energy? I certainly think it’s amazing!

We all need to remember that so we can control and direct out thoughts to generate more and more energy. Great thoughts transform into great energy, while mediocre thoughts transform into only mediocre energy and may even be a big drain on our energy.

P.S. I must admit I copied the above from a great 1983 book, Goals, Guts and Greatness, but it’s just as true now as it was back then. And yes, I did get permission from the author … since it was my book.

 

The Inspiration of Children

May 19, 2017 by  
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Kids, Kids, Kids! What would the world be without them? The older I get the more I’m impressed with and love kids. We can all learn so much from them, whether it’s observing the super-fast learning ability of a baby or watching teenagers and their progression in this world. The month of May is so very significant for me in terms of kids, both in a good way and a very, very bad way.

Many years ago, my precious, wonderful, and beautiful daughter, Kristin, died from an eating disorder and, hopefully, passed peacefully on into another existence. I can’t put in words how that tragic event hit me, I’ve said many times since that you never get over losing your child, you just learn to deal with it! That horrific event happened on May 2nd.

But then 5 years ago, also on May 2nd, our family was blessed with the birth of another grandson, Oliver Haroldsen. To add to my May blessings, his mother is expected to deliver twin girls later this month.

A few nights ago, on May 17th, so much of the events of this significant month was brought back to my mind as I presented the Kristin Haroldsen memorial scholarships to 5 incredible Cottonwood High School senior girls. I was so very impressed, not only by their high GPA’s of 3.7 and above, but by how many other activities and achievements they were involved with. They also gave so much of their time and efforts to so many charitable causes. Their hard work and generosity is something we can all learn from and aim to duplicate.

Giving to others, whether it’s money, time, or physical help, not only is a great benefit and aid to these people, but improves and lifts the world including giving so much satisfaction, pleasure and happiness to the person who does the giving. Even a small gift, such as my practice of randomly giving kids a $2-dollar bill gives me a real mental boost. I usually say to the parent “Hey, this is a lucky $2-dollar bill; you see I’m an investor and that $1,000 dollar smile on your kid’s face is my reward.” And then I add, “Don’t you agree with me that that’s a darn good return on my investment?”

Bottom line … I think we all should remember to give, give, and give to others because, hey, if you do that everybody is a winner and gets a great big, fat return.

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