Life Lessons for People Young and Old

May 31, 2013 by  
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A few nights ago I presented 2 Cottonwood High School Senior scholarships. 27 years ago I set up the Kristin Haroldsen scholarship fund in honor and in memory of my daughter Kristin, who died suddenly at age 16 from an eating disorder.  I told the 400 or so high school seniors and parents how shocking and painful it was to lose a child and sadly a few families already knew from experience the deep sorrow parents, families and friends suffer.

But then I tried to explain the huge “life lesson” I learned from that tragedy. And yes, it took years for me to learn this big life lesson.  I tried to convey to the audience and especially these wonderful young, senior high school students what I consider the great secret of a happy, fulfilling and productive life. Here are those 2 messages:

LIFE’S BIG LESSON:  It’s not what happens to you during your life but how you react or respond to what happens to you. You have to remember that whatever happens, you have choices and you determine the quality of your life by the choices you make.

LIFE’S BIG SECRET:  To have a happy, fulfilling and productive life, you must monitor, control and program your self-talk and constantly make positive affirmations to yourself, inside your head. Talk  to yourself by saying simple things like,

“I can handle any situation.”

“I am happy and healthy.”

“I am positive and upbeat.”

“My life is working out beautifully.”

“I love people and I listen to them.”

Based on the many comments I received later that night from these wonderful teenagers I think they got the message, The real key, however, is how long they will remember it and live by it. That goes for their parents too. And for you and me!

The Big Goal Boost

May 24, 2013 by  
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Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge believer in setting goals. Of course that’s the major them of my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Goal setting grabbed my attention in a very big way even back when I was in high school.

As a pole vaulter then and in college my goals were in feet and inches. As soon as I reached a certain height, I would set a new goal a few inches higher–from 10 feet 6 inches to 10 feet 9 inches then 11 feet. After a ton or work, trying over and over again, I finally was consistently clearing 12 feet and eventually I peaked out at 14 feet 1 inch. Back then, in 1962, the world record was just over 16 feet, so I wasn’t doing too badly. But, no, I didn’t set the world record. Still setting those goals kept me completely engaged and excited about life. Such physical, self-competitive goals aren’t the only goals that can do that for you. Just about any goal will do that for you if it’s something you really want.

To get that jazzed feeling every day, be sure to constantly set goals for yourself. It will keep you passionate about your life and living and of course there is a Big Bonus in that you end up accomplishing so many things. So my message this week is push yourself to set more goals, and tough goals, in all parts of your life –physical, mental, family, charitable and, yes, don’t forget financial goals. I promise you as you do this you will enjoy each hour and each day more.

By the way, as you may already know, it helps to tell people that are close to you (as long as they are positive people) what goals you have set for yourself because when you know they are watching, you are more likely to stick with them and they also can act as a cheer leader for you. I myself have been sharing with you my goal of working out every day until I turned 70 and just knowing I told you about that makes even more dedicated. I just can’t let you down.

So you know. I am still on track with that goal which is 46 weeks from now. I was sick one day last week and hurt my back on another day but I still got a work out  in. Yes it hurt physically but, wow, I sure got a huge mental boost from sticking with my goal! That’s 83 out of 84 days that I have kept up my work outs. Pretty good! Now, what goal do you have?

Mentor for Success

May 17, 2013 by  
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Well, did you start doing it? Did you start looking for a house to buy as an investment or a place to live and profit from today’s super low interest rates? If you don’t know what I’m talking about go read my blog post from last week entitled “Money Money Money”. Maybe I should have called it “Low Rates Low Rates Low Rates”.

If you are already in a very comfortable place financially and either don’t need to or don’t want to make some easy money (I probably shouldn’t call it “easy money” it’s more like “simple money” because it does take work!), then may I suggest you talk to your kids or friends that may not be so comfortable but have the drive, desire and energy. You can be a major financial mentor for them and they will love you for doing it and you will get a ton of satisfaction knowing that you directed them and helped them.

I receive so many messages from people coast to coast and even from foreign countries, thanking me for my financial advice, for giving them the motivation to get up and get moving and for making good financial things happen in their lives. There are not many things in the world that give a person more satisfaction and contentment than knowing you’ve helped someone make major improvements in their lives.

And I’m not talking just about money. Just helping people believe in themselves and motivating them to be proactive in any and every part of their lives is what it is really about. Having a solid financial situation is certainly a good thing and can help in a myriad of ways but there is more to life than money. Bottom line … help others to reach their goals with encouragement and constant support. You will get your reward in the happiness it brings you to see them bring about what is important to them into their lives.


May 10, 2013 by  
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We all want it and we all need it—and some people will do most anything to get it. Right now there are a few things you can do to really cash in big time. I don’t mean to say that money is the most important thing in the world but if you don’t have any, or not very much, it certainly makes life pretty darn rough!

What many, if not most people, don’t fully realize is that there are some critical choices and critical timing of those choices that can make all the difference in the world. It should be obvious that the “choice” of making the most income that you can and at the same time keeping spending lower than your level of income is a very good thing. By doing that you create savings and with enough savings you can make investments that, if you do it right, can give you passive income that makes your life smoother, more pleasant and rather easy. But … what about those investment choices and, maybe even more important, that thing called “timing”.

My advice to most everyone, at least here in the USA, has to do with what you could and should be doing RIGHT NOW!! Recently I said to my adult children, “You know, if you are financially wise and want to make some huge strides in your financial situation right now is the time to act! And, acting right now will pay huge dividends in the near and distant future.” What are those actions that I encouraged them to take and they are doing even as I write this blog?

Ok, here’s the simple advice which could easily be called “Million Dollar Advice”! Go buy a house or maybe 2 houses or a duplex or even more. That’s pretty simple but it’s almost sure to make my children or you a ton of money. You may be saying “Wait a minute. Prices have already bottomed out and have moved up in the last year or so and more in the last few months. You’re right but that’s OK because the big if not the huge reason to buy now is not because the possible continuing rise in values (and it might well slow down a bit) but because of a thing called “Interest Rates” or should I say ”Super Duper Low Interest Rates!” Just take a look at where we are now and where we used to be and very likely will return.

Monthly Payment on a $400,000 Loan for 30 years

Today’s interest rates are:

Rates in past years & probable future years:




Monthly payment




Now at first glance that may not seem like a huge difference but … over the life of the 30 year loan–the difference between the 7% loan and the 3.5% loan is almost a third of a million dollars ($958,035.60 on the 7% loan and $646,624.80 on the 3.5% loan.) The big bonus is that today’s rental rates are going up and up, so you can rent those houses or a duplex’s out for more and more. Just think … 3 properties could make you almost a million bucks over the life of the loan not counting the cash flow that is possible. And what if you had more than that? At the top of my “rental property career” I owned more than 1,000 units! How does that sound to you?

I hope I have inspired you to go out and take advantage of these super low interest rates. They won’t last more than maybe one or two years longer and maybe even shorter than that. In other words, this is not the time to hesitate. It is the time to buy!

Boston Belief’s

May 3, 2013 by  
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It practically goes without saying … the Boston bombings were absolutely terrible. There’s no question that Boston’s tragedy pales by comparison to what is going on in the Middle East on an almost daily basis but here in the USA we’ve not seen anything like it since 9/11. But I’m afraid that too many Americans will jump to the wrong conclusions. I say that because I have seen and heard so many people blaming religion and specifically the Muslim people for these and many other acts of terrorism. But that’s more like blaming the evil acts of the KKK on Christianity– most of the KKK were Christians but very few of the Christians in the world were in the KKK.

I have had the great fortune and honor to have lived my formative teenage years in a Muslim country and have traveled extensively ever since then, experiencing the many different cultures and lifestyles in the over 80 countries I have visited. The bottom line lesson of all that traveling for me is simply this: 99% of the world’s people–regardless of their culture, language, lifestyles or religion–are good, honest, and non-violent human beings.

I have said to many, many people in the last few years as we’ve watched the media sensationalize violence from all the corners of the planet, “It’s too bad everyone couldn’t visit dozens of other countries and cultures to observe and get to know the people that are different than themselves. If they could they would see that the vast majority of all people are pretty much all the same.”

Sadly, there are many evil, demented, disturbed and brain-washed people who will use religion to try to justify their acts of evil and terror and in most of the world’s religious scriptures these people will find words that they interpret as God giving them permission to reject, torture or even kill someone who doesn’t believe the same way they do! After the Boston bombings the Muslim community in Salt Lake City made a statement to the community and the world that the Koran does not give any permission or instructions to their followers to commit such horrific acts. To me, it’s sad that they felt they had to make such an announcement. If people really knew the Islamic culture and the Koran they would already know this fact.

I sincerely hope that as we mature as human beings and as a country we will see and understand other cultures and religions and accept that 99% of all people, nations and religions are good and do good in the world. The world is not near as dangerous as you’d think from watching the news. Always remember, bad news sells and lifts ratings and that is the main reason you hear so much of it and so little of all the good and wonderful things that happen in the world every day, in every corner of the globe.