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Monday, March 23, 2015

So You Wanna Prevent A Stock Market Crash?

Just a quick thought. This week as I was pondering the philosophy of the stock market and how modern man interacts with it, it came to my attention that many.....too many humans act like the stock market is operating beyond their scope of influence. Most humans wrongly assume that the stock market is controlled by some outword entity....some wall street big wigs.
But what I have noticed is that THE most powerful influence on the stock market is actually YOU and I....ordinary small time investors who either decide to stick with it or jump ship and sell when the going gets tough. The "crashes" that so many investors fear and loathe are created by US.....not some mysterious entity.
Stock market crashes occur when the majority of folks give in to fear and try to all sell their shares at the same time, thus driving the stock prices down to next to nothing.

So, in a quick summary, what can you and I do to prevent another stock market crash? Don't panic!!!
Stay in the market for the long haul. Don't be reactionary and pull your money out when you see some doom and gloom on the news channels. Stewart your money with intelligence and  prayer and accurate and up to date information.....just don't be hasty to abandon ship during rolling waves. Prices will always go up and down.

And yes, finally, yes oil prices will come back up in North America....it won't be overnight...but it will come to pass. Just wait and see.

Peacefully productive,

Is your DEBT Compounding FASTER than your INVESTMENTS?

I'm sure most of you already know what "compounding" interest means right?

Basically, just in case you need a bit of a reminder, it's the way in which, if a chunk of money that earns a certain percentage of interest is left alone for several years to compound.....it will gain great value over a lengthy period of time. Every year the interest is not only earned on the original principal amount but also on the interest paid out for the previous year(s). So let's say you invest $500 at 5% interest and leave it alone for 5 years, you won't just have $25 in interest earned at the end of the five year term. You will have much more than than because each year you will have earned "interest on your interest".

So the miracle of compounding is pretty awesome in the world of investing, especially if you have the fiscal discipline to leave your investment money alone before trying to withdraw any of it to spend.
Those who love the stock market and utilize dividend re-investment plans also use a similar concept of compounding in order to build up the value of their portfolios by simply "not touching" the dividends that their equities produce and allowing the plan to use the cash dividends to purchase even more stocks.

The scary part of compounding is that it can also seriously apply to instruments of DEBT. Therefore, if you have a debt owing of $500 dollars and you are paying 12% in interest yearly to the creditor....and you allow that debt to remain unpaid for five years, then after the FIVE years of compounding you won't just owe the company the original $500 plus a simple 12% interest payment....but you'll ALSO owe the creditor
"interest on the interest". That's why and how consumer debt gets way out of control so quickly. Many folks forget that DEBT also compounds when it is not quickly paid off in full. A small debt of only a couple thousand dollars can quickly balloon into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt obligations if the debt is never paid off in full.

Remember that interest rates REALLY MATTER. One credit card might charge you 12% yearly in interest. Another credit card might charge you 28% in yearly interest. That is a HUGE difference and it will make a HUGE difference in the amount of money you are paying in interest to your creditor.

Today I just wanted to mention that when you are trying to get a healthy perspective on your financial situation you may want to dumb it down to this simple question..."
"Is my debt increasing FASTER than my investments?"
Is my debt costing me a higher interest rate than my the rate at which my investments are growing? It is a simple but very powerful tool to use to get us all to think about our finances in new and empowering ways.

For example, a simple equity portfolio might earn an average of 5% compounded annually. But what is your consumer debt costing you to carry it? 28% on a credit card is not uncommon for many department store credit cards. Therefore, if your investments are only GROWING at 5% and the consumer debt that you are carrying is ballooning in size at 28%.....something is not good. Ideally, we all want our investments to grow FASTER than our consumer debt. Then we will all stay ahead of the game and have something to retire on in the long run.

Think about it.

Peaceful productivity,

DISCLAIMER: Note the above blog post is not intended as professional financial advice and the owner/publisher of this blog does not accept any liability for the ideas discussed in this post. Professional financial advice should be obtained from a licensed professional.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Canadian and American Finance Authors

I don't know about you...but I latched onto that catch phrase "Readers are Leaders" and so it has become a habit to inhale books just as often as I can.

Therefore, in case your reading list, particularly in the realm of finance and investing, has become a little stale, permit me to share with you some of the finance authors that I have dabbled with in reading their books or speeches over the past decade. If any of them have also piqued your curiosity and provided meaty motivation, please go for it and share your feisty opinions in the comments section.
 Peacefully productive,


Derek Foster "Aka, the Lazy Investor" has published several investing books written for the common folk. 
    to see his titles, go to his website www.stopworking.ca

The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

Robert Kiyosaki ----a large number of books....too many to list...check out his websites by googling him....or start with his breakout book  entitled "Rich Dad Poor Dad".

Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki wrote a book together called 
"Why We Want You to be Rich: Two Men One Message"

Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich"

Tony Robbins new book "Money, Master the Game"

Tim Ferriss---lifestyle hacker/author of the breakout book "The Four Hour Work Week"

Gail Vaz Oxlade--personal/family finance coach from TV seminars (Canada centric eh)
all major book sellers will carry her books.

David Bach--check out his website --www.Finishrich.com

Small Gains are Better than NO Gains

I recall listening to yet another of Tony Robbin's videos online and I appreciated what he was talking about in terms of "gradual gains".

Sometimes when/if one gets caught up in the "self help" motivation world, that folks just start making WILD long range goals that are really really large. Now, I'm not against making LARGE goals....however, I believe in taking SMALL steps towards LARGE goal.

For instance.....if someone is trying to lose a HUGE amount of weight, it may actually be broken down into measureable gains of losing just one wee pound at a time. We humans usually don't lose huge chunks of weight at a time, unless we are having some kind of surgical procedure. There we have to learn how to celebrate small steps accomplished. Lost one Pound? Celebrate that small step. No matter how many long term pounds you want to lose....it's important to focus on losing just one small pound at a time.

Same thing goes for financial gains. 99.9% of folks who make it rich, don't gain their wealth overnight in one huge big win. The financial gains come in smaller more bite size bits and spurts. Maybe you are trying to get out from under hundreds of thousands of dollars of consumer debt. But maybe the answer is not in the BIG chunks of debt, but rather in many small hundred dollar gains. Slowly but surely paying off debt, is not as sexy as paying it off in one showy extravaganza, but it may be more realistic for most of us.

So, in a nutshell, just permit yourself the small wins FIRST before demanding to win the BIG fish.
Before you figure out how to save many thousands of dollars, ya might need to celebrate the saving of just one dollar at a time.

Peaceful productivity.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

When You Make a Change....Give yourself Time to Acclimate

I hope you're havin' a good day. If you're one of the folks who stumbled upon my blog looking for some empowerment and motivation ....then I just might have a wee thought for ya today.

Perhaps you've been reading lots of blogs and books and have started putting some plans of action into place to make a change in your life. It takes a lot of gumption to wake up one day and decide that you don't like where your life is heading and have the courage to steer that boat into a new direction.

So maybe it has been a few months and you now know that it's not easy, but you know that it was the right choice to set your hands to a new plan of action. You've crafted your written list of life goals and now you've actually started to take action on at least one of those written goals.

But now, like many of us mere mortals, you're starting to feel uneasy. You hope that  you are making progress and feel like you're on the right track, but it all feels just soooooo new and strange. The newness and strangeness of it all, is enough to make you run back to your old comforting haunts and back to the ruts you once lived in. I want to encourage you to not give up now. The discomfort you might be feeling is simply your heart and body's way of telling you that it needs time to ACCLIMATE to the new and better direction of your life.

When any human being make s new life choice and starts heading into a more positive direction, it can literally takes years of feeling out of sorts before you start to feel comfortably like yourself again. New things ALWAYS bring a sense of strangeness and discomfort. We aren't used to the new pathways yet and our inner "curmudgeon" might just be griping about all the extreme changes.

But I just want to encourage you today.....just because you're feeling out of sorts doesn't mean that you have made a wrong choice. Take some time to get accustomed to your new way of setting and accomplishing your written goals. It is a very different lifestyle compared to just living from the hip.

Give your mind, will and emotions the rest that they require in order to start to begin to feel at home with your new goal centered life. It may not feel like the real "you" just yet. Give yourself time to get used to the massive changes you have undertaken. Don't doubt yourself and PLEASE don't give up.

If you are writing down goals and taking steps to accomplish them, you are on the right path. May God bless you with wisdom as you adapt to this new lifestyle filled with promise and adventure.

Peaceful productivity,

Monday, March 9, 2015

What is Frightening about Prayer

I've come to a conclusion today....that what is actually frightening about prayer is not that it is hard or unfruitful or arduous, but rather quite the opposite.
Lately my experience with prayer has been that not only is it easy, but it is soooo fruitful, so very fast and excessively kind, loving and generous that the simple abundance and kindness of God is just so hard to wrap my brain around.

I love God. But sometimes it is just hard to comprehend how very generous and patient and kind He really is. When I spend time in prayer, however briefly or lengthy period of time I spend, it has begun to astonish me how quickly God answers my prayers. His door is sooo open. He is so very welcoming and listens so attentively.

I write these things, not to cause confusion or to invalidate any other kind of experience that you may be having or have had in the past regarding prayer to God. I have had, and probably might have in the future seasons of time when God seems oddly quiet....as if He is waiting me out to get me to do some of my own thinking and make some of my own decisions. God doesn't babysit us forever. There are times He lets us stand alone, for our own good and for the health of our relationship with Him. Mature folks learn how to stand, and kneel and sit and run and play and work and think and write and gallop......shall I go on? ")

There is room for all of your experiences, past and present, with God. He can handle all your fears, frustrations and confusion. He can heal your mind. He can heal your body. He does well for you.

Let it be that this day, you see the hand of your God at work in life today.

Peaceful productivity,

Authors and Thinkers ....Authors and Thinkers

Yes, we are one and the same. You really can't be an author if you are not a thinker.....and if you are a thinker....then I highly encourage you to become an author.

I have seen around me that there are many many thinkers, but there is a lack of confidence in the common folk, in the leap perceived in jumping from "just thinking and speaking" to thinking and putting onto black and white the written words that you are thinking about.

Perhaps, of course, there is the fear that somehow or in some way one might make a mistake and have written something that is inaccurate at best or even false....at worst.But don't let the fear of making of making a mistake hinder your progress in sharing something of value with the world. We just might need what you have to say. Your thoughts may bring breakthrough to someone half way around the world.

But I want to encourage you, my friends and colleagues around this mighty globe....that you not consider your life as smaller than it needs to be. It came to my attention some years ago, that someone somewhere across the world might actually need my thoughts and inspiration to make their own dreams come true. I  came to see myself as someone that could potentially inspire and motivate others. I sensed that who God had created me to be was not necessarily for the gains of those who know me locally, but perhaps and maybe even more importantly, for those who might never meet me in person, but who will someday and in some format read my words or hear my speeches or songs remotely via recordings on line or otherwise.

It was from either of two documentary films either "Blue Gold" or "Flow" that a mild mannered gentleman from Asia declared softly and quite prophetically that this age is the season "For the common man". This
confirmed what I had begun to sense in my own heart.....that the access granted to us via the internet was and could be maximized as a POWERFUL SUCCESS vehicle where access to capital or people of influence was not necessarily required to gain entry or momentum.

Wisdom always does spread to wherever it is welcomed. Empowerment flows to where it is treasured. Encouragement trickles to starving hearts....no matter where they reside or what their yearly income is....or what their nation's GDP happens to be. May God bless the internet, and keep it open and free.

And so, to sum up my blurts from this early morning chat, I just want to encourage you to take a small step of faith, if indeed you are a thinker, but have not yet made the leap over to calling yourself an author. If you  know that you have good things to share with humanity, then please hear me, my brother, my sister......

Peaceful productivity.

Monday, March 2, 2015

He Said "Savers are Losers" ???

Yes, it was one of the days....I was reading one of my fave authors who also happens to really tick me off on a regular basis....But as I said in a previous blog post, I usually figure out I've found a great author when they peeve me.

So, let me keep it short and sweet. Robert Kiyosaki said in his book "Unfair Advantage"
that "Savers are losers"....and of course that irked me somewhat. So why would he say that?
Why would a habit that has been forged and tried and true for centuries now suddenly NOT make financial sense any more? Well, Robert's explanation of this state of affairs includes his summary of how money is not really money anymore.....it's actually just debt.  The U.S. dollar was taken off the gold standard in the 70's and ever since then, the governments have used a dozen different ways to excuse the practice of simply printing money out of thin air. All this money does not represent real wealth....rather it represents more debt.

Therefore, Robert made the bold statement that it doesn't actually make any financial sense to "save" money like how we used to stuff our mattresses with it.....because money is no longer real money anymore.

Then, lo and behold I came across an article in the Globe and Mail for Feb 21, 2015 written by John Heinzl  entitled "Who would buy a bond with a negative yield?" in which he explains that literally Robert was SOOOOOOOO right ! Right now there are government bonds being sold in the Eurozone countries of
Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden with up to five year terms, that actually have a NEGATIVE YIELD!. Therefore, one who attempts to save their money with one of their government bonds would actually LOSE money and owe money to the institution that issued the bond!
Sounds outrageous doesn't it? Boy, Robert really saw that one coming! Apparently, John Heinzle writes, fears of deflation along with stagnant economic growth has forced the creation of these negative yeild bonds.
What is perhaps entirely more shocking is that people are still buying them!!!

Thank you Robert.....my irked response to your books, is well worth it....you've proved your point.