Monthly Archives: March 2012
Just When You Thought You Were Safe
Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:
1.Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put ‘PHOTO ID REQUIRED.’
2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the ‘For’ line. Instead, just put the last four
numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing
channels won’t have access to it.
3.Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.
4. Place the contents of your wallet on photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a Name, address,Social Security number, credit cards..
Unfortunately, I have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last September. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.
But here’s some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
5.We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
6.. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here’s what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)
7. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves’ purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. This will stop them dead in their tracks.
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, if it has been stolen:
1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-62851-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742 1-888-397-3742
3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289 1-800-680 7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271 1-800-269-0271
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about everything. If you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about.
Daily Resolutions For Highly Successful People
The Seven Habits are not a set of separate or piecemeal psyche-up formulas, they are in harmony with the natural laws of growth, they provide an incremental, sequential, highly integrated approach to the development of personal and interpersonal effectiveness. They move us progressively on a Maturity Continuum from dependence to independence to interdependence.
#1 Be Proactive
#2 Begin With The End In Mind
#3 Put First Things First
#4 Think Win/Win
#5 Seek First To Understand Then To Be Understood
#7 Sharpen The Saw
Dependence is the paradigm of you, you take care of me, you come through for me, you didn’t come through, I blame you for the results. Dependent people need others to get what they want.
Independence is the paradigm of I, I can do it, I am responsible, I am self-reliant, I can choose, Independent people can get what they want through their own effort.
Interdependence is the paradigm of we, we can do it, we can cooperate, we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.
Effective Interdependence can only be built on a foundation of true independence.
If we want to change a situation, we first have to change ourselves and to change ourselves effectively; we first have to change our perceptions. Perception is reality… you give words and actions meaning, change your belief and you will change your future. Once you master your emotions you are in control of your destiny, conquer the mind and your body will follow. It is when you make a change in your psychology that you will create a much-needed change in your physiology.
Albert Einstein observed – ” The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”.
The way we see the problem is the problem.
Effective People are not problem-minded they’re opportunity-minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems.
Paradigms are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world. The power of a paradigm shift is the essential power of quantum change whether that shift is an instantaneous or a slow and deliberate process.
We must look at the lens through which we see the world as well as at the world we see and understand that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.
We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be and our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions.
Each of us has many maps in our head – which can be divided into two main categories: maps of the way things are, or realities and maps of the way things should be or values. We interpret everything we experience through these mental maps.
Our character, basically, is a composite of our habits because they are consistent often-unconscious patterns they constantly daily express our character and produce our effectiveness … or ineffectiveness.
You are NOT your habits; you CAN replace old patterns of self-defeating behavior with new patterns, new habits of effectiveness, happiness and trust-based relationships.
Highly Proactive People recognize their “respons-ability the ability to choose their response. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice based on values rather than a product of their conditions based on feeling.
Reactive People focus on circumstances over which they have no control, the negative energy generated by that focus combined with neglect in areas they could do something about causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.
Proactive People focus their efforts on the things they can do something about, the nature of their energy is positive, enlarging, and magnifying causing their Circle of Influence to increase.
Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power.
To Your Continued Success,
Lesson #1: Does Income equal wealth?
While higher-income households tend to have more wealth than lower and middle-income households, the size of a paycheck explains only 30% of the variation of wealth among households. What really matters are how much of the income is invested, if you have multiple streams of income and how you choose to invest. On average, millionaires invest nearly 20% of their income.
Lesson #2: Should I Budget?
The majority of millionaires have a budget they are committed to. Of those who don’t have an artificial economic environment of scarcity,” more commonly known as “pay yourself first.” In other words, they invest a good chunk of their income before they can spend any of it.
As for those who do budget and plan out their expenses for the coming year, no, they don’t enjoy it any more than the rest of us. Yes, they do appreciate the “payoff,” as well as fear the consequences of not doing it. It’s much easier to budget if you visualize the long-term benefits of this action.
Lesson #3: Do I Know Where My Money Goes?
Similar to the previous point, almost two-thirds of millionaires can answer “yes” to this question: “Do you know how much your family spends each year for food, clothing, and shelter?” In contrast, only 35% of high-income non-millionaires answered yes to this question. Millionaires are more likely to track their spending.
Lesson #4: Where Do I Want My Money To Go?
Another two-thirds of millionaires answered “yes” to this question: “Do you have a clearly defined set of daily, weekly, monthly, annual, and lifetime goals?” One example: a woman who wants to have $5 million by the age of 46, at which point she offer a hand up to other entrepreneurs. At the time of this articles publication, she had already reached millionaire status on an annual income of $100,000. As for those who answered “no” to the question, many of them are retired and have already reached their goal of financial independence.
Lesson #5: Is Time Money?
All this budgeting and goal setting takes time, but millionaires are willing to make the time. Prodigious accumulators of wealth spend nearly twice as many hours per month planning their investments as under accumulators of wealth. The majority of PAWs agreed with the following statements, while the majority of UAWs did not:
“I spend a lot of time planning my financial future.”
“Usually, I have sufficient time to handle my investments properly.”
“When it comes to the allocation of my time, I place the management of my assets before my other activities.”
You don’t have to earn a big six-figure salary for planning to pay off. In a survey of 854 middle-income workers, Danko and Stanley found “a strong positive correlation” between investment planning and wealth accumulation. This extra planning doesn’t just happen. According to the authors, “Most PAWs have a regimented planning schedule. Each week, each month, each year, they plan their investments.”
Lesson #6: Why Should I Love My Home?
Your choice of home and how often you choose a new one will determine your ability to accumulate wealth. According to The Millionaire Next Door, that wealthy family has been next door for quite a while. Half of millionaires have lived in the same house for more than 20 years.
In Stop Acting Rich, Thomas Stanley digs deeper into how your address affects your spending, writing:
Nothing has a greater impact on your wealth and your consumption than your choices of house and neighborhood. If you live in a high-price home in an exclusive community, you will spend more than you should and your ability to save and build wealth will be compromised…. People who live in million-dollar homes are not millionaires. They may be high-income producers but, by trying to emulate glittering rich millionaires, they are living a treadmill existence.
He cites several statistics to back this up, including:
Ninety percent of millionaires live in homes valued below $1 million; 28.3% live in homes valued at $300,000 or less.
On average, millionaires have a mortgage that is less than one-third of the value of their homes.
If you really want to reduce your housing bill, join the 67,000 millionaires who live in mobile homes.
If you’re looking to buy a home, Stanley provides this advice: “The market value of the home you purchase should be less than three times your household’s total annual realized income.”
Note: J.D.’s real millionaire next door has been in the same house for fifty years.
Lesson #7: Why Is Important To Love The One You’re With?
The majorities of wealthy people are married and stay married to the same person. Of course, marriage shouldn’t be just about money. Several studies have shown that people who are married accumulate more wealth than those who are single or divorced.
It’s important to marry someone with the right financial habits. In the majority of millionaire households studied by Danko and Stanley, the husband is the main breadwinner and tends to be frugal, but the wife is even more frugal. As they wrote, “A couple cannot accumulate wealth if one of its members is a hyper consumer.”
Lesson #8: Am I Driving Away Wealth?
The majority of millionaires own their cars rather than lease. Approximately a quarter have a current-year model, but another quarter drive a car that is four years old or older. More than a third tend to buy used vehicles. What is the most popular car maker among millionaires, according to Stop Acting Rich? Toyota.
So who’s driving all those BMWs and Mercedes? Not millionaires. Non-millionaires purchase Eighty-six percent of “prestige/luxury” cars. In fact, Stanley writes “one in three people who traded in their old car for a new one were upside down and owed more on the trade-in than its market value.” It’s tough to get wealthy making decisions like this.
Lesson #9: Are The Wealthy Really Happier?
At this point, you might be wondering whether all this living below your means is worth it. Sure, millionaires having bigger portfolios but are they happier? Danko and Stanley’s research indicates that they are. According to their research, “Financially independent people are happier than those in their same income/age cohort who are not financially secure.”
First of all, PAWs worry less than UAWs. There’s a peace of mind that comes from living below your means and having money in the bank. But they also don’t expect “status” purchases to improve their happiness, because evidence shows it doesn’t happen. Among the people surveyed, those who drive a BMW and wear a Rolex are not happier than those who drive a Honda and wear a Timex.
The Double-sided Benefits of Living Below Your Means
After reading these books, it occurred to me that there are actually two benefits of learning to live on much less than your paycheck.
The first, of course, is that you can save more.
But secondly, it also means that you ultimately need to save less.
Permit me to demonstrate.
Someone who makes $50,000 but lives on just $40,000 can contribute $10,000 a year to her nest egg, and can retire when that nest egg is big enough to generate along with Social Security and other benefits $40,000 a year. However, someone who makes $50,000 but spends, say, $48,000 is contributing just $2,000 to a portfolio that must eventually help provide $48,000 a year in retirement. In other words, she’s saving less yet needs to accumulate more.
Thus, when it comes to retirement planning, adopting the lifestyle of the “millionaire next door” means you can save more toward a lower-priced goal. That’s a formula that can help even non-millionaires achieve their retirement goals.