The Discipline Hurdle

April 24, 2015 by  
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If you truly want to be wealthy then it’s virtually a must for us average humans to do it through wise investing. But you might say, “Hey, what about the person who doesn’t have any money to invest, even in the smallest property?”  So the question becomes, how can you begin without a dime to your name?  Well, you build a nest egg. Of course, that begs the question, how do you get that beginning nest egg to start your investment program?

Most of us know that the traditional way to build a nest egg is through savings.  For many people that’s a big fat “ouch!” When you take a close look at the average American family, you see that the rate of savings has been in a steady downtrend the last few years.  When someone is asked why they don’t have any savings they usually respond with something like “I can’t afford to put any money aside. I barely break even. By the end of the month, nothing is left over.”

The people that say this are usually the same ones that, even after they get a raise, nothing changes. They are forever stuck at breaking even at the end of the month or, worse, going into debt.

So what’s the real problem here?  In a word it’s usually discipline, or more accurately, the lack of discipline.  When you are saying to yourself, “I just had to buy that new coat (or dress, suit, latest and greatest cell phone, computer, new car, etc.)”, or “We’ve been scrimping so long we deserve to treat ourselves to a very nice night out on the town or a vacation,” you are also saying that you’ll never be wealthy and are likely to be a ‘wage slave’ your entire life.

In order to be able to start an investment program, you must be tough on yourself and fully realize there is a huge difference in what you ‘need’ verses what you ‘want’. Once you have arrived at the point of understanding that, then you may well be on your way to great riches and maybe even wealth beyond your wildest dreams. That is what happened to me.  Unfortunately I can’t remember who or what book taught me the big difference between need and want, but once I learned that lesson and applied the needed discipline, I was able to save thousands of dollars in one year and that launched my investment program.

Of course, once you’ve built up that “nest egg” you must be wise and put it to work with great care.  When I began my investments, I was in a big hurry so I used a lot of OPM (Other People’s Money) as well as sweat equity which propelled my return on investment by leaps and bounds. I’ll talk more about just what worked for me in next week’s blog but in the meantime, consider the fact that your biggest hurdle to the wealth and financial security you are craving is one less vacation a year, one less shopping spree a month, one less night eating out each week and one less fancy coffee each day. When you think about it, that really isn’t too much to ask of yourself. Not for the chance to make a fortune.


April 17, 2015 by  
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I was going through a bunch of old documents, notes, and papers the other day and came across the very first article ever written about me in the local newspaper.  The headline read “So Here’s How to Go About Making that First Million”. That was in the Salt Lake Tribune clear back on January 18, 1978

They quoted me as saying “…the best way to get rich with someone else’s money is through loans–mortgage and real estate loans.”

Now we fast forward 37 years and guess what?, That old method of getting rich, for most people, is still the best and most reliable way to make your first or second or fifth million. I did however get a big kick out of reading my example and some of the numbers of how you make a 100% return on a simple investment, such as a small house.  It was the small numbers that made me smile.  I had been quoted as saying:

“If you have $5,000 to put down on a $50,000 house and you borrow the other $45,000 to purchase the house, you can compound your investment by 100% if that house increases in value by $5,000 over one year”.

Most casual readers would quickly say or think, “Wait a minute, where can you find a house that you can buy for 50k?  They don’t exist anymore.” If you say that, of course you are right about finding a 50k house but that doesn’t mean the same formula used back then won’t work today.

That financial formula for great wealth is still the same today, but you do need to add something–simply a zero to each of the dollar numbers.  It’s the ratios that give you the 100% return on your money.  You are right if you are thinking that 10% increase in value won’t just happen by itself though. That is unless you are really lucky and we have 10% inflation in one year. But don’t count on that. However, you might be able to buy a house at a real bargain price then make cosmetic improvements which costs money and or your time and efforts but that may well increase the value by 10%.  Of course with the additional money you put to fix it, it may reduce your overall return to 50% or 75%.  But still, those kinds of returns will almost certainly make you a million or multi-millions over time.

Go ahead and google “compound table calculator” and see how quickly 50% or 75% returns increases $5,000 dollars into a million dollars! You may be shocked; especially what it turns into in 15 or 20 years.





The One ‘Dead’ Thing That Makes You LIVE More LIFE!

April 10, 2015 by  
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Most of us when we hear the word “dead” we automatically think it’s something real bad, and many if not most of the time it is just that. But there is one use of the word “dead” when applied to your life that can and does add much more ‘life to living’; that is when it’s linked with the word ‘line’, as in the word ‘deadline’.

The origin of the word deadline is very interesting. It came about during the civil war when prisoners were surrounded by barriers or sometimes just simple lines drawn in the dirt. If a prisoner crossed over these, the guards we under orders to shoot them dead! These boundaries were called deadlines.

Now deadlines are used to make the world a more organized and efficient place. They force us to push ourselves a little bit harder to do more and be more. Think about this: If none of us ever died then we probably  would not even have a clue why anyone would want to set time limits or deadlines on themselves, since time would not be much of a consideration or may not even seem to exist, at least when wanting to get things done.  Why? Because we’d never run out of it.

But, of course we all have a limited amount of this thing we call time (remember, the average person lives less than 30,000 days or 720,000 hours) so it’s important to use it wisely and efficiently. Deadlines help us do just that.

Think what the world would be without deadlines. What if we didn’t have deadlines for any or all of the following?

  1. Time to start or finish work.
  2. Time for school to start or end.
  3. Response time on business deals or real estate offers to sell, buy or close a deal.
  4. Court deadlines for filing document.
  5. Departure or arrival times for airlines, trains or buses.
  6. Times or dates by which we want to accomplish goals that we’ve set for ourselves.

So my message for this week, and really a message for a productive and more satisfying life, is this—Always set goals for yourself and be sure to set those deadlines as well so as to push yourself to use your time wisely and more efficiently.   But don’t shoot yourself if you step over the ‘deadline’ a bit. Just re-boot and try again.




It’s About Controllable Assets

April 3, 2015 by  
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I have a few more insights to share with you, hatched from Jeff’s “book report” on my book. On Addendum B–“When a Billionaire Speaks, I Listen” he commented on Curt Carlson’s advice. Jeff said, “Interesting that Fortune Magazine would say over 30 years ago that we’ve seen the last of the billionaires. But, that may be the typical thought of someone with limited thinking or a small world view.  While the oft-quoted statement by the commissioner of the US Patent Office in 1899 said ‘everything that can be invented has been invented’ may not be correctly attributed to him, it tells the same story. Carlson’s advice to get good people, then delegate is certainly right. The big wealth comes from spreading yourself around or at least by using ‘Other People’s Money’.  I always remember Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping magnate who married Jackie Kennedy, saying ‘borrow as much money as you can and always pay it back on time.’”

Hey Jeff, that’s some good stuff from your book report!  I think I will have to give you an A+.  I would add to Onassis’s comment about borrowing money with a very critical qualifier.  Yes, borrow as much money as you can but borrow it to purchase the “right kind of stuff” and by the right stuff I mean use it to purchase assets that appreciate in value and ideally assets that also provide you with cash flow returns as you watch and wait for their value to increase.

Yes, many stocks fit those parameters but for my money the assets that have worked by far the best for me have been income producing real estate (and that’s coming from a former successful stock broker.)  Why real estate rather than stocks?  The biggest reason is because with stocks you cannot control the company or the ups and downs and whims of the stock market. With the right kind of real estate you can at least have some degree of control over the property plus all that money you borrowed will, in the long run, be paid back by your tenants and if you have done it right, you will be collecting cash flow along the way.

So the take away here is that Onassis was partially right when he said borrow all the bucks that you can and always pay it back. But I say borrow all the money you can to buy appreciating assets that you have at least some control over, collect cash flow along the way and let your tenants pay off the money that you borrowed! I bet you can see just how smart that is!