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Fighting Off Boredom Today and Tomorrow

February 20, 2017 by  
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I’ve been writing about having a personal breakthrough and how keeping a record of one’s thoughts through a journal can be very helpful. I’ve also recently found a few thoughts in those journals about how bored I had become since I retired and, again, my own, previously written down words, have motivated me to do something about it.

If you are retired you probably know what I’m talking about and if you are totally busy, working hard, long hours plus taking care of your home and family responsibilities, you might not hit that boredom thing very often. It’s funny how so many of us have thought of work as a bad thing but it really is a blessing, as many retired people would probably tell you.

So here is the question—what do you do if retirement has you bored out of your mind or, if you are not even close to retirement, you find yourself bored way too much regardless? Retired or not, what I’ve found, and continue to find, is that there are many different ways to cope with the boredom that can hit our lives.

The short answer to boredom is to get busy and stay busy! Other simple answers include pushing yourself to do more, challenging yourself, and setting goals with detailed plans. Specifically, it’s a really good idea to set goals that are well thought out and goals that fit with what you like to do, what you are good at, and what brings you joy and fulfillment. This might be a big goal, maybe something you’ve always dreamed of doing but didn’t go for out of fear. (If you haven’t already read the book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, it’s a great book and I recommend that you get a hold of a copy.)

Big projects can give you a real mental boost even if they take months or years. I remember how fulfilled and not at all bored I was when I decided to have a new house built for me in Kauai! No, I wasn’t the guy who poured the cement or swung the hammer but I decided on the floor plan that fit my personality and what things I wanted so that it fit my lifestyle–like good indoor-outdoor living spaces. Then just about every day there were decisions to be made and stuff that kept me busy and during that time I was rarely, if ever, bored.

Keeping busy is a great antidote for boredom, and it’s certainly a better way to go than something like alcohol. Yes, alcohol will entertain you but it only works for a short time and it has some pretty big negative consequences for a person’s life and health, as most people know.

So, if you’re a bit (or a lot) bored, may I suggest you look for something to keep you busy, like a big project that really turns you on? If you don’t have anything in mind and can’t think of something, well, next week I’m going to make some very specific suggestions that I think will help most readers. And if you are just totally busy and never bored then don’t change anything and be thankful. But also know that circumstances can change so you might want to take note of some of my suggestions.

On the Way to 100

January 13, 2017 by  
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It’s early January 2017 and I’m sitting on beautiful Shipwreck Beach in Kauai.  It’s the perfect temperature with a slight breeze and as I’m writing I’m also listening and watching kids, grand kids and adults laughing, playing and having an absolute blast!  To be in a place like this doesn’t take tons of money but it certainly helps, especially if you live a thousand or two thousand miles away from a warm beach.

I’ve talked quite a bit about new year’s resolutions and goals in the last few weeks, especially talking about that big financial goal or resolution you need to set for you self for 2017.  I must say, that no matter how important financial goals are, setting goals and resolutions for your health is just as important, or I should say much more important!  Look at the billions of dollars that Steve Jobs had, but all that money couldn’t buy his health or save him from the grim reaper.

I’m surely not saying that money can’t ever help your health. It really can by providing better doctors, hospitals, and the latest and greatest hi-tech procedures and medicine, but what you and I choose to do, day by day, can greatly increase our odds of having good health. We could even live to be 100 years old and arrive there in pretty good shape.

A  article from August of 2015, titled “100 Wonderful Ways to Live to 100”, quotes a book called The Longevity Project written by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin.  In the article, it is explained that the authors’ research showed that “being conscientious was one of the best predictors of longevity. That’s because people who are conscientious may be more likely to abide by healthful behaviors, may be less prone to disease, and may find more success in relationships and in the workplace.”

In addition to that observation, I would like to share with you a few of the other article’s 100 ways to live to 100. Then maybe next week I’ll share a few more of the 100 wonderful ways and my thoughts on those. I should also add that almost all the 100 ways are backed up by good solid research. Here are a few easy one to keep in mind:

  • Don’t dread getting older…adults who developed positive attitudes about getting older live more than 7 years longer than those who had negative attitudes.
  • Find a life purpose.
  • Walk a lot.
  • Go meatless.
  • Try to keep your marriage friction-free.
  • Get your Mediterranean diet on.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Drink alcohol (but only in moderation).
  • Cut the sugar.
  • Drink your coffee-but only in moderation.
  • Join the 1 percent.

beach 1Yep, rich people live longer. It’s been proven in many studies!

Oops! I’ve got to stop for a few moments while I watch crazy, young, testosterone filled guys jump off the more than 100-foot-tall cliffs into the water. My son-in-law just did it and survived and went back and did it again. Ugh. It’s very scary.  Maybe I should add to the list of my rules for longevity and health not to take huge risks, like jumping off a cliff or out of a perfectly good airplane, even if I have 2 parachutes!

Ok, that’s all for this week. There will be a few more next week. In the meantime, let’s all go to work on these and set some hard and fast new year’s resolutions for our health and longevity.

 

Lifting our Lives in 2017

December 30, 2016 by  
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As you look at or contemplate what you will be doing in 2017 and beyond, be sure to take a very hard look at the financial category. Life is certainly much more than just money but with plenty of money your options and success with many of your other goals in life can be greatly expanded.

For example, I just discovered that before the great actor and governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was famous, he became a millionaire from … yep, you guessed it … investing in good ole real estate! So even if you’ve not yet started an investment program you can do so now with savings and investing goals for 2017. It may take some time to build your fortune and you may feel you have so little to contribute right now, but try never to forget the huge power of compounding your money. Compounding can multiply even a very small amount of money into millions of dollars. Certainly Arnold knows that from his experience and so do I.

Eight years ago, when I starting writing my weekly blog it was almost exclusively about taking a small amount of money and wisely investing it, mainly in real estate, to build a fortune for yourself or at least for you to make enough to live very comfortably and retire without ever diminishing your lifestyle. But I’ve also written about health and well-being, relationships and friends, and traveling to broaden one’s perspectives on living, along with many other subjects. But I’m thinking now that as we face another year it would be wise to refocus our attention and goal setting back to that money thing that can lift so many parts of our lives including the lives of those around us.

In the foreword of the book Tools of Titans, the author Tim Ferris quotes Schwarzenegger’s thoughts not only about real estate making Arnold a millionaire but about his many other accomplishments. “I am not a self-made man,” Schwarzenegger says. “I got a lot of help … I stood on the shoulders of giants,” which was his way of giving credit to his parents, coaches, and teachers.

We all need to realize and give so much credit to others that have helped us along the way and then step up and let others climb on our shoulders to lift them up. For me I give tons of credit for my success to my wonderful parents and to the great Bill Nickerson and what his book, How I Turned $1,000 into a Million in My Spare Time, did for me. I also need to credit the great Denver real estate guru, – who took me under his wing and showed me exactly how he turned a few thousand dollars into multi-millions over the years. You can read more about that great story on my June 24th, 2016 blog.

I’ve tried to help others through my investing advice, directions, books, lectures and conversations. I have received rewards of great appreciation and many thank-you’s which are worth so much more than money. One of my resolutions for 2017 is to be more helpful to others. To accomplish this, I need to go to work right now and write down the details and specific steps or actions that I am going to take to accomplish that very goal. What are your goals and do you have them written down yet? If not, let’s do it. There is no time to waste.

Just Do It with Baby Steps

September 9, 2016 by  
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As I mentioned last week, the way to reach huge goals is through the many little baby steps you take, one at a time, to get there. Reaching any big goal will have its difficulties but I think we all need to keep reminding ourselves that a big part of hitting our big goals is keeping focused on those baby steps and not being too hard on ourselves when our progress is not as fast as we want it to be.

This concept works for anything you are after. If one of your goals is to save up many thousands of dollars so you can make investments that will put you in a great position to retire, allowing you to do whatever you like such as traveling the world as you please like I do, you just start with a few baby steps. What those baby steps are depends on what you can manage. The important thing is to get started.

Let’s say you are on a real tight budget now and you just can’t afford to save the recommended 10% of your income. That’s okay, just make those baby steps do-able. You can squeeze your expenditures a bit and save just 2 or 3 percent for the time being, then after a while try to increase that to 5% and once you are doing that comfortably, push that towards 10%. The saving of just 2% right now might seem like it will never amount to big bucks, but over time it does add up because it helps you form a habit that makes it easier to increase the percentage as time goes on.

It’s not just money that works this way. For instance, most people would not think they could drop down and do 100 pushups without stopping, but most people could do 5, 10 or 20. To be able to do 100 pushups just use the baby steps concept by doing those 5 or 10 now and add a one or two more every other day and you may surprise yourself, and everybody around you especially if you or 70 or 80 years old, how easy it was for you to reach that goal!

The same goes for just about every goal we may set. Baby steps really can lead to world breaking records or at least big time records and success in your own life. And it’s always a good idea to share the baby step concept with your kids, parents and friends. Once they see how well you’re doing, it’s sure to motivate them to do better on their own goals. So share the idea and encourage those around you. If they follow it, they will not only feel great about their accomplishments but they are sure to give you lots of thanks and credit which feels pretty good!

 

 

 

Risk is Not for Herds

June 10, 2016 by  
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Last week I talked about risk taking and how the willingness to take risk when it comes to investing is critical.  Those people who really want to attain Financial Freedom or FF need to look at themselves to determine their tolerance for risk.

As a real estate investor working towards achieving FF, it’s important to understand your own temperament, and your ability to assume that element of risk.  It’s important to know your limitations and not torment yourself with sleepless nights by taking unnecessary risks in trying to keep up with others whose capacity to assume risk might be much greater than yours.  This decision may slow you down on the road to FF, but what is FF without some enjoyment, comfort and happiness along the way?

Everyone has a level and a threshold for tolerance and excessive and unnecessary risk will only create anxiety and tension and may well shorten your life.  So take a hard look at yourself and measure how much risk are you willing to take that doesn’t make you worry you to the point of causing pain, anxiety and suffering in your life.

But keeping in mind our objective, achieving FF, it is important to remember that the greater the potential risk the greater the inherent reward will be. It is also almost impossible to avoid every risk at any one time in selecting an investment. In order to achieve and maintain high rates of return, which are critical for achieving total FF, one must be prepared both mentally and emotionally to incur a higher than average risk. So look hard at yourself and measure how much risk you can handle.

Remember that “eagles don’t fly together in flocks.”  So if you are going to make it big you can’t just go along with the flock or the herd.  If you earnestly desire to achieve FF today, you must learn to assemble all the facts, calculate the risks, be decisive, and then act accordingly.  Statistics and history prove that the majority of people fail to ever become FF because they do not have a specific plan. They are content and willing to wait patiently throughout their lifetime for Social Security or they are looking for that one super great investment or the lucky lottery number to suddenly become super rich.  Don’t follow those kinds of people. Work on your plan that will take you to total FF over a reasonable period of time and you will reach the level of Financial Freedom that you set as your goal.

Avoiding Your Own Loss Aversion

June 3, 2016 by  
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Statistics indicate that the majority of people are security conscious. This fact has been verified in a number of studies which concluded that many people people’s fear of failure is twice as great as their desire to succeed. Some of these studies also noted that in general, there will be up to 5 times as many people choosing a stable situation than people choosing an option with recognized risk. In order to achieve FF (Financial Freedom) you cannot be afraid to fail or take a risk.

Our tendency to avoid risk is known as loss aversion. It means a person believes that if they lose something, say $50, their level of unhappiness with that loss will be significantly greater than the potential increase in happiness if they gain $50.  Its apparent in our everyday lives. People will order the same thing off the menu every time simply because they are afraid they might not like what they order if they try something new, even when there is a good chance they could find a new favorite. Similarly, people put their money in low interest bearing savings accounts rather than put any of it some kind of investment account that will most likely make them significantly more in interest, primarily because there is some chance of loss. So it sits in the banks making next to nothing.

The problem may come down to a belief that one has no control over the outcome of their circumstances, be it their food or their investments. A class of Harvard graduates was asked what they believed were the necessary ingredients to become financially successful.  Their conclusion was summed up in two words, “Greed, and Luck.” I couldn’t disagree more.

If you consider the statistics I mentioned, you might very well conclude that only one out of five people will ever have FF. But that is just a statistic and has no bearing on what YOU will achieve. You can decide to take the risk and be that much closer to FF. Next week I will talk more about risk taking and what you as an investor need to understand about yourself.

Real Estate Investing: The Advantages Never Change

September 12, 2015 by  
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Yesterday I was going through a bunch of old files and I came across a large envelope that my good friend Joe Sugarman sent me. Joe is the founder of the company that introduced the Blueblocker sunglasses that sold millions, making Joe a very, very rich man. In the package was a few of my old ads that Joe had kept.  On the old yellowed paper I re-read one of my first half page ads printed in the Wall Street Journal on January 25, 1977. The headline read “How to Achieve Total Financial Freedom”.  I am totally convinced that the reason the ad sold so many copies of my first book, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You, had less to do with the semi-catchy headline than the sub-header that read, “Millionaires Are Not 100 Times Smarter Than You, They Just Know The Wealth Formula”. I’m sure that most people read that and it rang true to them. Because it is true.

In the body of the ad I went on to say, “Millionaires are not 100 or even 10 times smarter than you , but it is a fact that millionaires are making 10 to 50 or even 100 times more than you.” Additionally, I should consider that millionaires are not working 100 or even 20 times harder or longer than you either. There are not enough hours in the day to work 20 times longer than your average worker! And now, 38 years later, I can clearly see that the formula to making big money and accumulating great wealth is basically the same today as it was way back then.

I can tell you for sure that if I were just starting out now as a young man without any money to speak of, just like I was years ago, I would pursue the same path as I did back then.  The only difference would be that I might be a little more aggressive today than I was then. Today’s market is ripe for the picking!  For the most part the only push back that I have had in recent years from readers of the Financial Genius book is that buying properties at the prices given in the book are just not possible in today’s market.  And those critics are absolutely correct, but the ratios are still pretty much the same.  In other words today you can’t find “dirt bag” properties for prices like $40,000 or $50,000 in most markets. And that’s correct.  But the ratios for what you can make on your investment are still the same.

In many cases, you can gain a 33% value increase on a dirt bag property you fix up. On a $50,000 property, that would be a little more than $66,000. But today, you may have to pay $120,000 or $200,000 dollars for a beat up property but after fixing it up, you could sell the $120,000 purchase for at least $159,000 and the $200,000 investment for $266,000 or more. Yes, these numbers don’t take into account the money you spent on fixing it up, but if you leveraged the deal with a mortgage–using someone else’s money to make money–you will find that the return on your investment goes up a ton and will usually more than make up for your fix up expenses.  So bottom line here is don’t get hung up on the lower price examples in the book, invest and pay attention to the percentages you can gain.

To help with that, I have recently updated my Financial Genius book. It will be going to the printer before too long and I will let you know here when it’s ready for ordering.

How to Live to be 142!

May 8, 2015 by  
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You no doubt have heard the rumor that all of us humans will die someday. Of course, I don’t believe every rumor I hear and this one sucks. I just don’t want to believe it! So maybe I’ll call for a huge boycott. You know, get a bunch of us older people together with big signs saying “We are boycotting death!” or “We refuse to die!” or “Death sucks and we won’t participate!” Well, it’s a nice thought but it probably won’t work. Oh yes, if we did it in front of a TV station they might put us on the news so everyone could get a big laugh out of it, but I don’t think that will help us avoid death or even prolong our lives by much.

However, there are things we can do to postpone the inevitable and live longer, stronger and in great health. In fact, there are some researchers that are “inching toward the seemingly impossible: a cure for aging,” according to the February 23, 2015 Time Magazine article. Maybe you saw that issue. On the cover was a picture of a cute baby with the headline “This Baby could Live to be 142 Years Old”. That headline certainly grabbed my attention and yes, I read every word of the several stories covering what the researchers have discovered and what we can do right now to postpone our own demise.

The main story was about “Mouse UT2598″ and the discovery of a compound called Rapamycin which seems to dramatically slow aging, at least in certain cells. If this compound works for humans it could increase lifespan to around 142 years. The research going on at the Jackson Laboratory and the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, is in its early stages and researchers don’t recommend that humans start popping Rapamycin pills just yet says David Harrison because there are some down sides they have discovered at this point in their research. But the good news for me at age 71 is that they have seen that, “Rapamycin is also neat because it works even when you start quite late in life”.

So if this compound isn’t for humans just yet what can we do about it now? The obvious answer, at least to me, is to do everything in my power to stay healthy, in hopes that science figures out how humans can safely take Rapamycin. And the most effective and proven ways to do that is by eating the best foods which, according to the researchers in the Time magazine article include fish, fruits, veggies and extra virgin olive oil as well as calorie restriction, periodic fasting and consistent exercise with maybe a bit of yoga and meditation.

Do all that and you will have a significantly better chance to live longer and maybe hang in there until they perfect Rapamycin for humans. If doing all those things that you can do and should do sounds like a tough challenge, then listen to the words of William James. What he said many years ago has helped me to better my life when I could see that I needed to make changes and knew that it was going to be a big challenge. “If you change your mind, you can change your life”. I have that burned into my brain and hope you do the same.

 

 

 

We All Age but We Don’t Have to Get Old

January 17, 2014 by  
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On January 8th I launched what I call my “90 Day Super Quest”. That quest is my ambitious goal to get myself into the best possible physical and mental shape of my entire life!  My birthday lands on the 90th day of this quest–and I turn the big 70 this year!

I am a week into my “super quest” and I’m right on schedule with my workouts which include tennis, weight lifting, sit-ups, push-ups and stretching.  As for the mental side of my quest, I’ve been doing pretty good keeping up with reading, writing, making new friends and spending lots of time with old friends as well as my family, of course.  But, I’ve noticed a problem.  It’s that old demon … that negative inner self-talk.  Since I’ve set the 90 day goal I’ve been way too focused on my age and the fact that I am getting older. That number 70 has dominated the chatterbox inside my head and not in a positive way.

However, today, I just happened to pick up a book that I’ve read and written about many times and it flopped open to page 55 where the word “aging” jumped out at me.  It’s the book that Susan Jeffers wrote entitled Feel the Fear and Beyond. This is the follow up book to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Here’s what she says about aging and what your inner voice should NOT be saying about the subject:

“I am getting older now.  Aging is horrible. I wish my body were young again.  Look at those wrinkles.  Who could love a face that’s old? I hate it. Pretty soon no one will want to be around me.  When I was young, I could dance all night.  Now I don’t have the energy.  Why do people have to age?  I wish I could be young forever.”

And here is what she says we should be saying to ourselves:

“I love aging.  My children are grown and now I’m free to do the thing I put off doing.  I’m glad I joined the gym.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in such great shape.  I’m going to learn all I can about keeping myself in the best of health.  I have so much to look forward to.  I learn and grow every day of my life.  I wouldn’t want to go back one day.  Why would I want to go back?”

With all my focus on hitting 70, that number became set in my head, like a heavy, unmovable, concrete block.  I have now realized that I need to get rid of that and ask myself the question that I used to ask so often, something we all should probably ask ourselves whenever we think about aging: “How old would I say I am if I didn’t know?”.  When I ask myself this question I can honestly say I come up with the answer of 44.  So I guess on April 8th I will be in the best physical and mental shape of my life as a 45 year old. That sounds pretty good to me!

 

Don’t Retire–Keep Engaged!

September 20, 2013 by  
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A few weeks ago my message was all about how critically important “Work” is for every human being on the planet. Well, I was waiting to catch a flight from Paris to Salt Lake City earlier this week and when I saw the cover story on Fortune Magazine. It really grabbed my attention. Why? Get this … the story is all about a 72 year old guy who is still working his buns off and risking huge amounts of money. Shouldn’t he be retired and taking it easy?

Ok you could assume that maybe he needs the money and can’t retire yet. But no, he’s a multi-billionaire! So why then is he still working and on top of that risking mega money to develop what Fortune calls “America’s Biggest Real Estate Project …Ever”.

I will tell you at least one very good reason why. Because he knows that to retire and just sit by the pool drinking Mai Tai’s–which he certainly can afford to do–will greatly diminish, if not totally destroy, his physical and mental health and at the same time it will do major damage to his sense of self-worth. So instead of letting himself wither away, Stephen Ross, the 72 year old I’m speaking of, is working on a 20 billion dollar project that is set to reinvent a huge swath of New York City. That would keep someone as sharp as they can be and certainly engaged!

As anyone who has been reading my blog knows I am closing in on the big 70 (only 200 days now), and I find myself, even though I don’t need the money, looking for and engaging myself in more and more projects and adventures (like these last 3 weeks in Europe.) I find that the harder I push myself towards social, physical, and financial goals the better I feel. However, because I don’t need to do anything at all I need to push very hard to stay active and keep on working! But I always see the result and I can tell you, it more than just a little worth it.

I think you can probably tell that I am trying to push any and all of my readers to do the same. Even if you are still young and not facing the 65 year old retirement number or are already pushing yourself towards big goals you can probably still be much more engaged and excited by setting even tougher goals. Plus you could encourage your parents, siblings, friends and neighbors who might be on the verge of retirement or already retired and give them a gentle nudge (or a kick in the butt!) to encourage them toward enhancing their lives by more fully engaging in work and staying super active in all parts of their lives. They will reap such huge rewards if they do.

 

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