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Living the Rich Life … Well Below Your Means

August 12, 2017 by  
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In last week’s blog, I said that multi-millionaires are risk takers and, sure, sometimes those risks don’t work out but with enough time, determination, and a good game plan, taking risks do pay off.

Viewing multi-millionaires from a distance you might not realize that most of these people also have a “lack of attachment to spending”, especially on their way up the financial ladder. But even after arriving at the multi-million dollar status, they still tend to live below their means. This is because they still pay close attention to their spending; it’s a habit they formed when they were poor and working on climbing that money ladder.

This trait jumped out at me just a few days ago while planning a trip to Europe.  I got on line to buy two first class tickets to Paris and, on my first search, saw that prices ranged from $8,000 to $11,000 for each round-trip ticket. Even though I could easily afford those kind of prices, I just couldn’t stop there.  I spent another 20 or 30 minutes looking at different route’s, dates and airlines and those minutes paid off big time.  I found a $2500 ticket for a nonstop flight to London, knowing that we could catch a ride on the great Euro star train which only takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to Paris. The only minor problem was that we prefer to fly on Delta airlines since we get a lot of free miles and our million-mile status gives us all kinds of benefits and privileges.

I told my wife and she told me to wait a few minutes because she was checking a few different dates for Delta and sure enough within 5 or 10 minutes she found a round trip, first class flight on Delta into London for $2600 dollars—for another $100 it was well worth it to us and we quickly booked our 2 tickets.

Like I said, I could easily afford the higher price but I would much rather use the savings to buy more properties or even make more donations to my favorite charities.  Maybe if I were a multi billionaire I would just not bother shopping around and would pay the much higher price.  But then I look at someone like Warren Buffet and even with his $75 billion, he lives far below his means, still residing in a very modest house that he’s been in since 1958.  He very much has that great “lack of attachment to spending” trait and knows how to live below his means!  We all need to learn a lesson from him and yes, pass it on to your kids and friends and anyone who wants to make it big and stay there.

A little P.S. here … that Euro star train ride is fantastic! It’s smooth, quiet, and travels at 200 miles an hour, straight from downtown London to downtown Paris. I love that wonderful and very scenic ride! You should make your own plans to take Euro Star and visit Europe in the not so distant future.

A Bold Night

August 5, 2017 by  
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Recently I read a list of 10 traits one sees in millionaires and found the list to be very much in line with my own experience, especially points like “not afraid of taking risks” and being the types that just go out there and “do it” without worrying about the possibility of failing.  There is much I’d like to discuss with you about the things on this list but this week, I want to zero in on risk taking and how it can pay off in many parts of your life.

Last weekend my wife booked tickets to the great historic Egyptian Theatre located in Park City, Utah.  It’s a wonderful place that books many talented actors, dancers and singers.  We went to see one of the original singers from The Supremes, Mary Wilson.

Wow, what a great voice she still has all these years later. She gave an absolutely wonderful performance and ended the concert by asking if any women wanted to join her on her last song.  I’m not sure if she invited any men to join in but no men took to the stage.  I was really into her music and performance and felt so turned on. I really wanted to join her along with that bunch of pretty ladies on stage but she was ending the song and I was afraid to go up and maybe totally embarrass myself.  I thought about it for maybe 15 seconds and then said to myself, “I’ve done all this preaching about not worrying about failure or embarrassment so why sit here? Just get up and go do it!”

Well, even though I was very unsure of myself, doing something that I’ve never done before, I just jumped up and got onto the stage and began singing and dancing with all those women.  And what happened?  Well, I had a wonderful time and all the women seemed to love that I joined them. Mary Wilson made a special fuss over me, even pulling me into her side as the song came to an end and, WOW … did we ever get a great standing ovation! Not only that, I met all her backup singers and musicians back stage.

Later my wife and I had a nice chat with Mary about success and what it takes to make it big. And yes, overcoming fear of failure and just “doing it” is high on that list.  There was an additional bonus for my boldness and that was the number of people that came up to me afterward to give congratulations for my boldness, saying they wish they’d done the same thing.  And now we even have a few new friends in Park City.

A big plus was that the theatre sent pictures of me on stage with Mary! Now, this experience certainly won’t turn me into a great singer, but I had an incredible evening and I re-learned that great lesson of overcoming the fear of failure.  I certainly used that lesson as I built my financial fortune, overcoming fear and pushing forward even though I knew there were risks I was taking.

We all need to keep telling ourselves to take some risks and push ourselves to overcome fear of failure.  I would hope you too will keep working on this one and, please, pass this lesson on to your kids and grandkids and friends, especially those that you see needing a little help in this department.

Mary wilson

 

Inspire Yourself– Write Down Your Own Thoughts

July 29, 2017 by  
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Anyone that has followed my blog over the years knows that I think very highly of the power of words, especially the words that you and I write down. I encourage everyone to “journal their journey” through this life. Your own words can be so powerful in helping you through it.

When I go back and re-read some of my thoughts from 5, 10, or even 40 years ago, I am amazed at the things I wrote. Oh yes, there were many goals that I set for myself—I made progress on some and was a failure on others—but the big stuff that often jumps out at me as I read are the words in which I am preaching to myself, pushing myself to do better and, more importantly, to enjoy my life right now.

Reading those words can be, and have been, very motivating years later. Many times, when I go back and read my inner thoughts and ideas days, weeks, or even years later, I say to myself, “Wow, I wrote that?”, or “Wow, where did that come from?” It’s like it came from some other person’s brain. Start writing in your own journal and see if you don’t experience those thoughts and feelings when you read them later on.

It’s very interesting to me that our own words can give us, and our lives, motivation and inspiration. Here are the words I came across today that I wrote in my journal back on January 29, 1998, entitled simply “Thoughts”. I should have titled it “Random Thoughts” though.

  • We involve ourselves in so many activities—games, sports, work, relationships, eating, drinking etc.—to distract ourselves from ourselves. Is making it in the world the most important thing about our being?
  • Climbing and coming back down from Mt. Everest is a perfect metaphor of life. When you get to the top you are only half way.
  • Love is what we were born with, fear is what we learn. Love is our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.
  • Meaning doesn’t lie in things, because things don’t love us back; meaning lies in us.
  • We overvalue what we perceive with our physical senses, and undervalue what we know to be true in our hearts.

And my last of these random thoughts:

  • Time only exists in the moment of right now. Time is an infinite series of “nows” strung together. The way we spend each “now” creates our destiny. When you are focused, time is your partner.

I do sincerely wish and hope that these few random thoughts may enhance your life and those people, friends, family and loved ones around you.

And once again I strongly encourage you to write notes to yourself in a journal, on a note pad, or on a computer. Later on, as you re-read your own words, you will be so very glad you did and you may even be inspired by those words, ideas, and inner thoughts that you put down.

 

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.

 

 

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