Unsolicited Advice for the New Year

Well, first of all, welcome to the New Year!  It’s about 5am, I’m sitting on my couch in my pajamas, just thinking about the upcoming year and feeling blessed for the year about to be over.  I’ve had a lot on my mind lately (I usually do).  Lots of ideas swirling around, lots of things I want to learn, new skills to tackle, and thoughts on how I can get better.  So, since all this is swirling around in my big old melon, I thought I’d put it down on a sheet of e-paper and force it down your throat.  We’ll call it unsolicited advice.  Isn’t that the kind we all love?  🙂

Before I dole out the forced advice, I’d like to preface by saying we all need to do this.  No matter where you are in your life, this advice will work if you’re willing to apply it.

Unsolicited Advice #1. Honest Assessment

It’s healthy to take a good, hard, honest look at where you are currently.  It’s a good idea to do this more than once a year, but for the sake…at least do it once a year.  Look at where you are, your circumstances, the decisions you’ve made.  What’s worked, what hasn’t?  What did you learn from the failures, and what corrections will you make going forward?  Assess every major area of your life: Spiritual, financial, physical, mental, social… We all need improvement in at least one or two of these areas.  Since I’m a finance guy, let’s look at that one for an example.

Let’s say you look back on your year, and you say to yourself “Self, this year was not good, financially speaking.  We pretty much just stayed afloat, and we’re really no better off than we were this time last year.  We basically survived.”  You know what?  Realizing that is a great start, so congratulations!  Now you can take responsibility for the decisions you made and CHANGE can happen!  Oh, wait…Did I say “take responsibility” out loud, or just think it?

Unsolicited Advice #2. Take Responsibility.

“Oh, man!  That advice doesn’t sound fun!” -Everyone.

Every New Year, I see people lamenting the year gone by.  “Oh, man…I’m glad THIS year is over.”  “Hope the next one will be better!” “Maybe things will finally turn around THIS year…”  What’s the problem with these comments?  The problem is that these types of comments come from a “victim” mentality.  A victim mentality is the opposite of taking responsibility.  Have you ever broken down the word “responsibility”?  Response + ability.  Meaning, the ability to respond.  If you take responsibility for where you are, you are giving yourself the ability to respond.  If you’re a victim, there’s nothing you can do.  You’ve lost control because you’ve taken the victim’s seat.  Don’t be a victim.

Unsolicited Advice #3. Strategize to Change.

Thus far, (yes, I said “thus”) you’ve done an honest assessment, you’ve taken responsibility.  Now you need to figure out where you want to be this time next year, and figure out how to change.  “Wait…I have to CHANGE?!”  The great news is that you don’t!  You can stay exactly the same and keep doing the same things!  Yay!  Laziness, I win!  You can stay the same and keep getting the same results, or you can change and start getting better results.  “That’s your prerogative.  You can do what you wanna do…” -Milli Vanilli

IF you want to change, it’s time to create a strategy.  Make a loose plan, a rough draft of what you need to do to change a circumstance.  Don’t worry about making it pretty.  Use a permanent marker on a bar napkin…who cares?  Just get some thoughts down.  But what’s this, you say?  Maybe you don’t even know where to start?  Here are some ideas.

Want to lose weight permanently?  Research lifestyle change, not diets.  Learn about exercise and figure out a goal.  Want to learn about personal finance?  DaveRamsey.com has a ton of info for free, as does Suze Orman.  You can learn about debt elimination, what’s the best thing to do with your tax refund, whether or not you should lease a car.  There’s a ton of great info out there!  Or, maybe your j-o-b isn’t allowing you to reach your goals, and you now realize it never will!  Research alternative incomes like franchises, how to start a mowing business, or maybe you’d rather do something online?  Personally, I love the idea of online business but I don’t know much about it.  However, I did find a way to learn it “on the cheap”.  (If you know me, you know I’m cheap! ha!)  If you’d like to learn it too, check it out here: Wealthy Affiliate

Unsolicited Advice #4. Take Action.

Dr Seuss - Time Passes

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that no amount of thinking, talking, desire, passion, planning, writing notes, studying, meeting at Panera (you know who you are!) will make a hill of beans difference if no action is taken.  Taking action is the most important part of any successful undertaking!  Whatever you do, whatever road you decide to take, just take action.  You don’t have to plan a year out, either…just have an overview idea and figure out what you need to do TODAY, then do it.  Just get out there and fail, learn from the failure, and try again.  Otherwise, you’ll be approaching the new year next year, like everyone else, saying “Man, I hope NEXT year is different.”

Here’s wishing you Success (whatever that means to you) in the New Year,

Chris Laymon

 

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How to Start Saving Money for Retirement

Ah, man!  Not another personal finance article!  Is there anything more boring than personal finance?  Oh, boy…I just don’t know if I can do it.  I’d rather be knitting 2 pairs of socks for my dog.  (Get it?  2 pairs?  Zing…)  Hey, I know this stuff is boring for most people (except you nerds, who are on the edge of your seat).  But, here’s the thing I want you to understand.  All you have to do is the initial setup and set up automatic payments, and it’s basically DONE!  So, try to suffer through and just do it.  Once it’s done, it’s done, and an annual review should be sufficient from here on out.

Before I begin this post, I’d like to be clear: I’m not breaking much “new ground” here as far as investing for retirement goes.  The real reason I’m writing this article is to attempt to SIMPLIFY the process.  A lot of articles go into so much detail that people lose interest before they get through it.  So, I want to make this simple and a quick read.  I’ve purposely left out a lot of details to this end.  With that said, we begin…

So, it’s a pretty well-known thing that Americans, in general, don’t save much money.  The personal savings rate is somewhere between 2-4%, which has dropped from the 1970’s when the rate was more in the 13-15% range.  I have a couple of theories about why this is, but I think I’ll save those for another post and focus this one on what YOU can do to change this in your own life (assuming it needs changed, and you want it to change, of course).

The first step in any change is figuring out why you’d want to make the effort.  If you don’t have a good reason, you’ll abandon the change when the first challenge comes up, right?  “Eh, forget this”, you’ll mutter under your breath.  So, you have to figure out what the point is, for you personally.  It doesn’t really matter what my reasons are, it matters what yours are.  So, do you want to be able to retire early?  Or at all?  What kind of retirement do you want to have?  Do you want to travel, or do you prefer to stay home?  You only need one compelling reason, so just get one that works for you and let’s move on to the steps needed.

1.  How much do I need to save?  Well, for the purposes of this article, let’s focus less on the big picture and more about what you can do right now.  So, let’s try to save 15% of your gross household income.  That said, if you can’t start there, just do what you can and we’ll increase that over time.  Maybe you can start with 5%, or %6.  Even if you can only start with 1%, do it!  1% is better than nothing.  Just do something!  Once the habit is formed, you’ll have a better chance of increasing it later than if you waited until you could do 15% all at once.

2.  Here’s a great place to start saving:  If you have a job with an available matched 401k, you definitely want to take advantage of that.  A 401k is a great place to start saving if it’s matched (most are).  For example, let’s say your company offers to match your contributions up to 6% of your gross income.  You can set it up with your job to automatically save this money with every paycheck, and it’s great because it comes out pre-tax!  So, you’ll put in 6% and your company will put in another 6%.  That’s like giving yourself a 6% raise!  Also, another important detail is that this enables you to invest first, without the risk of spending the money on anything else, because it comes out of your check before you get it.  That’s a great benefit.

3.  After you’re contributing to your 401k to the full company match, if you still have money left over to save, don’t over-contribute to the 401k.  Just max your match, then open a Roth IRA.  You can invest up to $5,500 each year into your Roth (your spouse can do another $5,500 in his/her Roth), so that’s another $11,000 each year saved.  One thing to note, with a Roth IRA, you’ll be funding this with after-tax money.  (That might sound like a negative, but it’s actually a good thing since your withdrawals during retirement will be tax-free.) Since the Roth IRA is not typically related to your job, you’ll probably have to set this up with an investment advisor.  However, you can still set up the monthly withdrawals to be automatic, which I highly recommend.  Otherwise, you’ll find somewhere else to spend that money.

4.  If you still want to save more money, you can go back and begin funding your 401k beyond the match.

Here are a couple of tips to increase your contributions as time goes on:  If you get a 3% raise at work, consider increasing your 401k contributions at that point.  You’ll be saving more, but you won’t miss the money since you never saw it.  Another great place to save is annual bonuses, if your company gives them.  Even tax time is a great place to save.  If you get $2,500 in a tax refund, you can drop that right into your Roth IRA and you never missed the money.

One last note:  Don’t get “paralysis of analysis” on choosing your mutual funds, worrying about expense ratios, timing the market, etc.  The most important factor in retiring with some wealth is that you saved consistently.  It’s VERY important to save every month (preferably automatically), no matter what the stock market is doing, and no matter what your friends tell you.  Just keep saving, keep saving, keep saving… One day, you’ll look up and realize that you’ve accumulated a pretty sizable pile of money, and you’ll have options that very few other people have.

You CAN retire with dignity.  All it takes is some planning, some time, and some financial discipline.

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Spending Fast!

When you read the title for this post, you probably read it one of two ways:

“How does HE know I spend fast?” Or, the way I mean, which is the same as a spending “freeze”.  Now, hold on! Don’t leave yet… I know, when I say spending fast, I can almost hear your eyes glaze over (I wonder what that sound would be…)!

But here’s the thing: Just like it’s healthy for your body to skip a meal every now and then, it’s good for your finances to stop spending on occasion.  That’s not a very popular thing to say, but that doesn’t make it less true!  And you KNOW I like to say unpopular things!  (Woot!)

Now, I know it costs to live. You have to put fuel in your car to get to work, and you have to pay the electric bill if you want your lights to stay on. But, hopefully you’d agree with me that a large part of our spending is not necessary. For instance, the coffee at the convenience store on the way to work in the morning. (You could make a cup at home.)  The soda out of the break room when you need a boost after lunch (you could take a case of them and save a lot of money, or (gasp!) drink water instead. (What did he just say?! WHAT did he just say?! I know he didn’t!!) How about not eating lunch out, and brown bag it? Cooking dinner at home instead of going out…

If you stop and think about it, we spend a LOT on little items. But man, do they add up…

What would happen to your finances if you stopped all these little cash drops? Think it would make a big difference? What if you tried it for a day? What if you got your spouse on board? Think you could handle it for a week? What about a month?  What about a month-long spending fast?

OK, in the interest of full disclosure, we first had the idea to do this when we had a REALLY big spending month. When we looked at our monthly statement, we were both like “Uh… Seriously?” But here’s the crazy part: We went through the statement to find what we spent our money on, because surely there were some big ones… right? Well, the truth is that we could only find a couple of significant expenditures. The majority of it was $10 here, $26 there… Our big thing is Amazon. Sometimes we’ll think of something we’d like to check out, and in 5 minutes, we just buy it. “It’s only $11, and it’s on prime!” A little more truth here: Amazon is a little too easy for us. You know, in the old days, you had the hassle of driving to the store, standing in line, not finding the item you want so you have to go somewhere else, etc. On Amazon, it’s all just THERE. That’s not a good thing in some ways.  What’s that, you say?  You don’t have that problem?  You’re right.  It’s probably just us.  We’re probably the weirdos… Oh, you know someone else who’s the same way?  Good friend of yours?  Yeah, got it.  😉

So we discussed a couple of options to keep the spending at bay. One thing we might implement is to give ourselves a small allowance ($20 for Tami, $100 for me…hehe) each week that we can spend on whatever we want, guilt free.  That might be good. But the thing we’re trying this month is a complete spending fast. Yes, for a month.

I’m thinking about doing this once a year for an entire month and see what happens. I’ll keep you posted.

So what about you? Any great ideas you’d like to share? You know I’m all ears (and disconnected earlobes!  Hey, it’s hereditary!  Don’t make fun…)!

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Life is All About Choices

You know, I try to not be a judgmental person.  I really do!  Who am I to judge what anyone else does, or how other people want to live their life?  But, even though I try very hard not to judge people, I can’t help observing them.  I mean, really… is it possible to go through life and not even notice what other people are doing?

Sometimes, I see someone driving their new, amazing car and I think “Golly Gee Willikers, I’d LOVE to own a car like that…”  Other times, it’s someone’s huge house that catches my eye.  Yesterday, I was talking to a guy who owns his own business and has a lot of free time for golf and vacations, and I found myself a little jealous.  He’s got the big house, the big lifestyle.  That would be awesome, right?

Well, I don’t know… let’s analyze this for a minute.

Ok, quick side note here because I realize not everyone fits into a box.  For the purpose of this article, I’m going to define two groups:  Group A is the lifestyle lived on credit.  Group B is the lifestyle lived without the need for credit (or at least working toward that).  Of course, there are always exceptions to the examples used below so I’d like to make a quick mention of a couple of them.  

Exception 1: Let’s say there’s a woman who has a very high income and she lives a very big lifestyle.  However, she pays for everything with cash.  It LOOKS like she’s a Group A person, but in reality she is a hybrid. 

Exception 2: What about the guy who lives a very simple lifestyle, has almost nothing, but what he has he bought on credit.  The “pay by the week” tv, the furniture…everything is on credit.

The point is that you can’t always tell by someone’s lifestyle whether they’re in Group A or Group B.  It’s not necessarily what they have, but how they pay for it.  But another point that needs to be made: who cares?  People are going to live how they want to live, so you just have to do the best you can do!  🙂 

(Ok, side note over.)  Most times, a big lifestyle is largely paid for with credit.  Meaning, you don’t own anything.  It’s all financed in some way, so there are monthly payments that have to be made on every big ticket item.  That means there are a lot of bills, which means more stress, which means you HAVE to make enough money to pay them, which means if you lose your job or your business takes a hit, you’re REALLY up a creek (and not in a good way!).

A simple lifestyle (yes, this actually is an option) means that you pay cash for the things you want, and typically you don’t have a lot of the fancier things (cars, houses) that “the other group” has.  It means you have very few bills, if any, and a lot of extra cash (referred to as “margin”).  If you lose your job, or your business takes a hit, you shrug your shoulders and go find another job or do something different in your business.  Not a big stressor.  Basically, you live far below your means.

I realize it sounds like I lean toward simplicity.  That’s probably because I do.  But, it doesn’t mean I think any less of the group that wants to “live big” either.  There are pros and cons to both.  Maybe Group A gets to take killer vacations, drive awesome cars, eat at super nice restaurants, etc.  That would be pretty sweet, eh?  Then again, Group B probably has more peace and less stress.  Every person gets to make their own choices in life, and that’s the beauty of how this life works.

Now, don’t think just because I lean toward simplicity, that we sit around a candle at night and play “Rock, paper, scissors”, wearing homemade pajamas cut out of gunny sacks.  Simple doesn’t have to mean boring, and it doesn’t mean you don’t have anything.  We have plenty of “stuff”, we just don’t owe anyone for it.  When we wanted a set of dirt bikes to ride in the summer, we paid cash for them.  When we decided we needed a new mower because our other one kept breaking down, we paid cash for it.  We have decent cars and a house we built on our own with the help of family (on 6.5 acres).  We feel like we live a pretty nice lifestyle, and it’s one without the stress of job loss and a bunch of bills.

Recently, there was a big layoff at my job, and it was very clear that people were completely freaked out about it.  It was interesting for me to observe the difference between what they were feeling and what I was feeling.  I didn’t WANT to lose my job because it’s a really good gig.  But I wasn’t worried about it either.  I figured, worst case scenario, I could go get a job at O’Reilly’s slinging spark plug wires and oil filters and pay my bills.  That’s a nice feeling!  Contrast that with the people I spoke to, literally crying on the phone with me, worried about how they were going to make it.  That’s really sad.

I think it just all comes down to how you decide to live your life.  Do you want your life to be full of “stuff” bought with credit?  Toys, cars, boats, TV’s, etc?  Or would you rather live simply, with whatever “stuff” you have being bought with cash?  No judgment here… however you decide is fine.  But here’s the thing:

You need to decide ON PURPOSE.

Don’t let society choose for you.  Don’t live your life in “default” mode.  Don’t make the false assumption that “It has to be this way…what choice do I have?” We have the choices.  We can live our life on our own terms.

I began this blog based on that very premise.  Tami and I want to live our life on our own terms, on Laymon’s terms.  Not what society tells us we have to do.  All I want from this article is to maybe open one persons eyes so they realize that life is all about choices.

So, here’s your action item: Analyze your life.  Take a very unbiased look at the decisions you’ve made until now.  Notice how you’ve done things up to this point, and think about whether that’s what you meant to do or if those decisions were made on auto-pilot under pressure from society.  Decide how you really want to live your life, and adjust from here.

Or don’t.  🙂  It’s your life.

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Stick Your Hands Up! And Give Me All Your CCMP!!!

“Whoa!  What kind of a deal is this?!  You can’t rob me from a blog post on the internet!  And further, if you tried, you’d have to pry the CCMP from my cold, dead fingers!  Oh, but…actually…this is a little embarrassing…but..what’s CCMP?”

Hey, take it easy there, big fella… Don’t get all riled up…don’t get your feathers in a bunch.  (Insert random, “old western” phrases here:)

Ok, so you’re probably thinking, out loud yet to yourself “What’s a CCMP?”

Well, I’m glad you asked, my friend!  Glad you asked!  A CCMP is a Clear, Concise Mental Picture.  But you’re thinking “A picture of what”, right?  Man, I know you so well…

In a word: Your future.  Ok, in two words.

Why in the wide, wide world of sports would you want a CCMP of your future?  Well, you wouldn’t!  Unless, of course, you wanted to plan your life and try to make it what you really wanted it to be.  I mean, you could just wander through your life, reacting to whatever happens and bouncing from event to event.  At the end of your life, you would have either “gotten lucky” and had a decent life, or you would have been victimized by the “bad hand” you were dealt.  I guess, in the case of the latter, you could spend the last few years complaining about how life isn’t fair and feeling sorry for yourself.  THAT sounds pretty good…  🙂

But, all kidding aside (well, to be truthful, probably MOST kidding aside), why not plan your life to be the best life it could be?  Why not figure out what would really be a killer life and take steps toward that?  Seems simple, right?

A CCMP means that you know exactly where you want to end up.  If it’s truly a CCMP, you should be able to instantly conjure the picture in your mind about the life you want to have.  It won’t be difficult or take much time, once you’ve spent the initial time to first figure out what you really want.  Also, an important point: Figure out your CCMP before you try to set goals.  If you do, your goals will be related to the CCMP and one will complement the other.  If you try to set goals without a CCMP, they may not get you any closer to where you really want to be.

Example:  Let’s say you spend some time developing your CCMP.  You learn that you’d really love to have a classic car restoration company.  You enjoy doing the actual work, but you imagine you’d eventually like to be the “big picture” guy and just manage the work.  At some point, you’d like this business to pay you income passively, so you can travel the world and go to car shows.  Maybe some of these shows, you could bring along a car or two of which you’re especially proud.  You’d really love just hanging out and chatting with the other people at these shows, and learning new techniques and concepts, which you could eventually teach your crew back home.  This would put you on the cutting edge of car restoration and give your company a competitive edge.

Great work on that CCMP, my special reader!  Wow, the more I’m reading that, the more it’s becoming part of my OWN CCMP.  🙂

Now that you have the CCMP, you can begin to set goals.  Goal 1 could be to go to a trade school to learn the ropes of auto body repair, paint, rebuilding engines, etc.  Goal 2 might be to work for another restoration company to gain experience and start to learn the actual business.  Goal 3 might be to find a great deal on a project car and begin working on it in your spare time.  Goal 4 could be to put up a website to chronicle your progress, set up a youtube channel with videos, and eventually show it at car shows.  Maybe you could sell that car and profit enough to buy something else and fix it up nicer than the first car you bought.  Goal 5 might be to start your own company and develop a following in the auto restoration world.

Notice how all these goals logically line up with your ultimate dream, your CCMP?  That’s why a CCMP is so important.

So, let’s approach this the other way, where we put goals first and the CCMP last (or not at all, which is more typical).

You have no idea what you want to achieve with your life.  When you finish high school, you do what most of your friends are doing. You go to college.  You declare a major, but 2 years in decide that’s not really your deal, so you change majors.  You cram 4 years of college into 5 years, but eventually finish.  You get the first job that seems decent and start working for “the man”.  That goes pretty well, so you decide you should get married.  You marry this person who seems pretty cool and someone suggests buying a house, so you do that.  Of course, you need a car (make that two) since you can’t be dealing with repairs on the old one.  So, now you have two car payments and a mortgage, and you’re now stuck at your job because you have so much debt.  (Plus, your company has excellent dental benefits!)

Jump forward 20 years, and you’re living a life you might never have really wanted.  You have a couple of good kids, and you tell yourself that’s what life is REALLY about, and your dreams were just a fantasy.  I mean… you had to do the responsible thing, right?

So, here’s a thought-provoking question for you: Which approach to life do the majority of people take?  The overwhelming majority of people take the second, of course.  They don’t realize it, but they do.  The reason they don’t realize it is because they never consciously sat down and chose what they wanted their life to be like.  They never developed a CCMP.

Maybe reading this has made you realize that you unconsciously chose “Door #2”.  So, your normal reaction might be “Dang it!  I really hosed this up…well, nothing I can do now…”  Don’t despair, my good reader!  It’s NEVER too late to make a change!  Take some time and figure out where you ultimately want to be!  I promise you it’ll be worth it.  Once you have your CCMP, you can start taking steps in that direction.  Don’t let your life be lived in “default mode”.  “Beast mode” is way more fun.  😉

 

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Is it better to push for “more success”, or be satisfied with where you are?

For the past 16 years or so, I’ve been reading business books, self-improvement books, etc.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to “break through the barrier” of my personal lid.  I’ve started businesses, went to schools, and generally just worked really hard to “figure out” how to make it in business.  I’ve spent probably $40k on education toward this goal.  (Side note: I thought that was a lot of money until I started learning that some of the “gurus” in businesses spend more than that annually.)

The truth is…the more I read, the more I research and study, the more I learn.  I seem to have “breakthroughs” from time to time, and I start to make changes.  Slowly, the changes are beginning to make a difference.

But I’ve been doing some thinking lately, and wondering if I’m doing the right thing.  The question, as the title of this post might suggest; “Should I push for success or be satisfied with where I am?”  I believe that the road to success in anything requires a person to learn who they are and what they believe.  For example: If a person believes that wealth is evil, they will never have wealth.  If they get it by accident (inheritance, etc.), they’ll get rid of it.  This is because their belief system MUST line up with their reality.  People always act from their belief system.  The mind is a powerful thing.  If we see lack in our own life, it’s almost surely because of our THINKING.

They say if you are born into a middle class family, it’s very difficult for you to break out of that class.  I was raised in a lower middle class family.  As a result, I received a lot of programming from my family and group of friends.  Not surprisingly, that programming was generally “lower middle class” programming.  Well, let me tell you…18 years of that kind of programming can take a LOT of work to undo.  When I started reading books and learning about “Abundance vs. Lack Mentalities”, the information I was learning was starkly different than what I had learned growing up.  I quickly realized that my new values of abundance didn’t line up with my old values of lack.  I began to believe in the abundance in the world.  I started to realize that there was opportunity all around me, and that if I wanted a different life than what I grew up in, I could have it.  My values were changing, but my programming was so ingrained that it would take years to begin to undo.

So, with that background in mind, I return to my original question.  Is it better to always be pushing for more success, or is it better to just be satisfied with where you are?

Actually, I think that answer has to come from each person as an individual.  If I know a guy who is a family man, who spends a lot of time with his kids and wife, but doesn’t make that much money…does his apparent “lack of ambition” mean he’s a bad person?  I think not.  I think that what’s important to him is family and time, more than money.  Honestly, I’ve had thoughts during my “journey” a lot of times (yes, I realize using the word “journey” makes me sound like a nerd.  I embrace my nerdiness.).  That’s only because I can see tremendous value in family time.  Heck, I can see the benefit of coming home from work, leaving work at the door, and just being able to relax with the people (and, in my case, puppies) you care the most about.  Not only have I had thoughts about this, but I’ve been tempted to adopt that lifestyle myself.  Sometimes, it gets tiring to always be pushing…to have endless “to do” lists, calls to make, meetings to set up.  I get tired sometimes.  Tired of running at 100% all the time and seldom really stopping.  People have told me things like “Man, you’ve always got so many things going…how do you do it all?”  I do it all because it all has to be done, but I don’t always like it (and it doesn’t always get done as quickly as it should).  Currently, I work a full time job.  A partner and I started a real estate investment company about a year ago (side business).  I’ve just begun working with a network marketing company because MLM has always intrigued me.  I recently began an Internet Marketing certification course because I feel like that’s one of the weak spots in my businesses.  And my wife and I are building our own house.  Don’t mistake that sentence as “My wife and I are having a house built.”  No, no… while I agree that having a house built comes with its own set of stresses, we’re actually building ours on our own (with help from family).  Do I sometimes feel overwhelmed?  Yeah, of course I do.  I have endless stress knots in my shoulders, and when a nurse takes my blood pressure and pulse, he asks if I took the stairs on the way to his clinic.  (I’m halfway kidding about these examples.  Halfway.)

My point?  I want to do something with my life.  I want to travel, to see places most people never dream of seeing.  I want to work myself out of a job and have the freedom to determine what I do with my days.  I want to drive a motor home all over the U.S. for a few years and just see places, and do things.  Most of my goals can’t be done while I’m tied down to a job, so I have to have businesses paying me when I’m not there.  Is it wrong to want these things?  Nope.  And it’s not wrong to NOT want these things.

People have to make their own decisions about their life, their goals.  Every person has to decide what’s most important to them, and I believe this decision needs to be made consciously.  If we don’t make this decision consciously, our sub-conscious will make it for us based on our past programming.  And that, my friends, would be a really sad thing.

 

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