Do you know what OPM stands for?
Other People’s Money and it’s what get rich quick schemers tell you to use to do everything from buying real estate to…well really I’m just talking about buying real estate.
I was on vacation at my house/rental property in California and I kept hearing ads on the radio about a real estate investment seminar where the star of a house flipping show will teach me, the listener, how to invest in real estate using other people’s money. “The Palm Springs area is an ideal place” to use these techniques, the voice said.
The funny thing is that when I got back home to my primary residence, I heard the exact same voice of the exact same television star saying that my town in NJ was an ideal place for these techniques.
What this person was really saying is that there are plenty of suckers in Palm Springs and plenty of suckers in NJ. This house flipping is easy and can be taught to anyone drug is the opium being pushed on innocent people who lack some common sense and want an easy way to success.
Real estate can be a great investment, I’ve invested in real estate and now own three properties, but it’s not easy, it’s not short term, and no one is giving you money without a proven track record.
Money can be made flipping houses, I don’t doubt that, as a matter of fact, my nephew has been quite successful doing it, but it’s his full time job and it was something he grew into building from a different but related business. Flipping houses is not something that can be done on weekends or in your spare time.
I know (if anyone actually reads this) that there will be some who say, “but I’ve done it, I flip houses on the weekends, in my spare time and it works.”
My response is if it works so well, why don’t you do it full time? If it’s so lucrative why not quit your 9-5 and get serious about it? The reason is that it probably doesn’t pay as much as you think and when you really do the numbers you’ll see that.
Don’t get sucked up in the it’s easy to make money (especially if you use other people’s money) game. It’s a losers game.
Posted in Business, General, Money, Success and tagged flipping, house flipping, investing, OPM, Palm Springs, real estate by AJ with no comments yet.
The mood struck when I saw this article: Study Finds People Who Fall For Nonsense Inspirational Quotes Are Less Intelligent. It reminded me of my “series” on dumb motivational quotes of which I’ve only written one post. Well today is post number two!
First of all how well does this person really know trees? I mean, are they on a first name basis? Is there a tree this person would want to have a beer with? But beyond really “knowing” a tree what exactly do trees teach about patience?
I get that they wait, they stand still, that trees aren’t in a hurry, but that’s mainly because they’re inanimate. Patience is one thing but I don’t think there’s anyone out there whose goal is to be inanimate. Trees live a long time and that too takes patience but a tree isn’t going to teach anyone to live hundreds and even thousands of years. At the end of patience is an outcome but for a tree there is no outcome just more of being a tree.
Patience is a good thing and not enough people practice it (I know I struggle with it). We get angry first and ask questions later, we listen just long enough to jump in and add our thoughts or comments, we want things now rather than later. Instead we should seek to understand first and give the benefit of the doubt before anger begins to form, we should listen, really listen, and try to understand. It’s ok to wait because not everything happens on your schedule.
Patience however shouldn’t lead to inaction. Sometimes you have to push things along. A healthy balance between patience and agitation keeps momentum going.
What dumb motivational quotes do you recommend I feature in future articles? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.
Posted in General, Outdoors, Success and tagged motivation, motivational, patience, quotes, tree by AJ with no comments yet.
This is your automatic savings and investing such as your 401k, Roth IRA, or 403b. Start young and do your best to max this out. Take full advantage of any matching funds and never, ever, take a loan out against these accounts. The money coming out of your paycheck on a regular basis is dollar cost averaging and captures both the ups and downs of the market and smooths out wild swings like the downside rout we’re having now.
Buy More as Prices Fall
When the market drops, that’s the time to buy. As Warren Buffet said, “be greedy when others are scared, be scared when others are greedy.” Don’t try to wait for the bottom, just dollar cost average more aggressively. Friday I invested less than 5% of the money I’ve been saving over the past year. As prices continue to fall I’ll buy more again.
Save as Prices Rise
Over the past year or so I haven’t been buying stocks (I buy stocks only in low cost index funds) and instead have been saving more aggressively. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t been buying any stocks, just not any above my set investment plan. Now I have more capital to invest and since prices are lower I hope to get better returns. Too many people don’t have the discipline to save like this but if you can then you’ll be prepared like I am.
It Paid Off Before
Do you remember how far the market fell in 2008? In 18 months the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 50%. Many people sold, panicked really, but not me. I continued buying throughout 2008 but still I lost a huge amount of money, with my net worth diving 16.44% (check the chart below). In 2009, however, my plan and my discipline paid off. My net worth rebounded by 24.93%, more than recouping the losses of the previous year.
So what’s your plan in this tumultuous time for the market? Panic and sell at the worst time or stick with your plan and take advantage of low prices?
Posted in General, Money, Success, Taking Action and tagged dow, invest, investing, markets, panic, S&P, stocks by AJ with no comments yet.
My answer, if Elon Musk asked me, would be yes. I think Elon Musk is insane, just as I think Ted Turner was insane, and Richard Branson was insane.
I don’t mean that in a negative way. I don’t think they need to be committed. I use insane in a positive, you-have-to-be-crazy-to-do-what-you-did, kind of way. As I lay out in my book What Next, you don’t go from a billboard advertising company to pioneering 24 hour cable news with CNN, as Ted Turner did, unless you’re a little crazy. You also don’t do that in a straight line. It takes twists and turns as you find the right path and go around or over obstacles.
Entrepreneurs hear that word, crazy, a lot. Imagine you said to friends or family that you were going to start a rocket company. Even if you had hundreds of millions of dollars, I think you would be called crazy. No, I know you would be called crazy because that’s exactly what Elon Musk’s friends called him.
But did you miss the big revelation in his story? Elon Musk had no expectation of making money at this venture. It was his passion and belief in something bigger that compelled him. In my previous post about this video called Crap Filter, Elon says that you have to be compelled to start a company or be the boss because it’s not easy. What is compelling you to do the things you do, and are you responding or pushing it off for later?
I think a lot of people confuse the word crazy with confident and compelled. Elon Musk is not crazy in the sense that we think of it, he’s just crazy enough to confidently follow through on what compels him.
Posted in Business, Curiosity, General, Success, Taking Action and tagged compelling, confidence, crazy by AJ with no comments yet.
I watched an interview done at the Khan Academy with Elon Musk and it was his words that led to this title.
Entrepreneurship might be glamorous and could prove quite lucrative but it’s also the hardest work you’ll ever do. I’ll let Elon Musk take it from here.
Everyone thinks they want to be the boss but when you’re at the bottom of the “filter for the crapest problems in the company” it’s not a lot of fun. I can speak from experience and while my high points are not as high as Elon Musk’s neither are my low points. When SpaceX had three failed launches in a row and only had one last chance for a very big contract with NASA, that’s really low. When Tesla was a week away from running out of money with no investors willing to step in, that was very low.
In spite of all that, he still felt “quite compelled to do it” and that made all the difference.
In the face of skepticism and failure, to push forward anyway is the sign of a person who will be successful. I have wanted to give up many times, I have wanted to sell my business many times, but I have stuck it out and now it is beginning (these things take time) to pay off. I still have bad days but having come through past obstacles and problems makes the future problems easier to handle.
Feel free to share how you have been stuck at the bottom of the crap filter and come through it stronger than before.
Posted in Business, General, Leadership, Success and tagged Elon Musk, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, SpaceX, start-up, success, Tesla by AJ with no comments yet.
People need to move past the blame mentality. Blame is not a bad word. When I do something wrong and another person points it out, they are not blaming me, they are showing me an issue or mistake and helping me to correct it.
When my staff makes a mistake and I investigate and find the cause of the mistake I’m not blaming someone so they can get in trouble, or so I can fire them, I’m simply pointing out an error so it doesn’t happen again. This is the attitude I have when it’s determined that my action caused a problem. I’m not mad or scared, I’m glad, happy that an issue was discovered and that action can be taken to correct it.
Everyone has two choices when someone “blames” them for something:
1. Get mad and upset which leads to a bad attitude
2. Be thankful someone caught the issue before it became a problem, fix it, and become better
Which will you choose?
If your choice is number 1 then you are doomed to a mentality of cover-up, fear, and passing the buck. All of that leads to a bad workplace, a bad marriage, and bad relationships.
Choosing number two gives you power; power to take control of the situation and to learn from mistakes which leads to open communication, the freedom to think differently, the comfort to speak up.
The bottom line is that we all have to re-think the word blame and recognize it for what it really is, help and a way to improve.
So I pledge that if I mess up and you blame me, I’ll thank you and we will all be better for it.
Posted in Business, General, Leadership, Success and tagged blame, criticism, fear, growth, improve, improvement, mistake, problem by AJ with no comments yet.
I think the answer to both of those questions is a resounding yes! I would too, but would you pay a million dollars, or in the case of Warren Buffet’s latest charity auction, 2.3 million for lunch?
Even if I could afford it my answer would be no. From my perspective the fabulously wealthy offer little value. Sure, their success sets the bar high but I’m more interested in people who have done a lot with relatively little, the people whose advice can actually lead somewhere.
I’d rather have lunch with the man or woman who opened a local restaurant and now owns several throughout the state. I’d rather meet and talk to the person who created something that a lot of people use. Maybe they didn’t make billions but they did fill a need and did well doing so.
These are people I have access to, or more access than I do to Richard Branson or Warren Buffet.
By looking for lessons and advice from these entrepreneurial rock stars you might be overlooking the valuable advice that’s sitting next to you at the barber shop or on the subway.
Many people don’t listen enough, aren’t curious enough to ask questions, to discover the wisdom that’s right under their nose.
Posted in Business, Curiosity, General, Success and tagged entrepreneur, Richard Branson, success, Warren Buffet, wealth by AJ with no comments yet.
Here is how I would have written the same headline: “Supreme Court Says Pay What You Owe.”
In a 9-0 decision the court said that when a homeowner is underwater, secondary loans such as home equity loans and second mortgages, cannot be automatically discharged, simply stripped off, in chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Stupidity, greed, or a lack of knowledge is no excuse. If you sign a document and take the loan, you have an obligation to pay it back.
Bankruptcy exists to help people who get in trouble and is used correctly every day. The court’s decision doesn’t say that these loans can never be discharged, just that it’s not an automatic thing. Why should it be?
Sophisticated financial transactions are available to everyone but too many people don’t take them seriously enough. Too many people don’t give themselves any wiggle room, don’t plan for the unexpected. As I say in What Next, “it’s not the plan for the expected that saves you, it’s the plan for the unexpected that does.”
Here are my rules of thumb:
If you can’t afford 20% down, you can’t afford the house
If you can’t afford the mortgage on one salary, you can’t afford the house
If you take a second mortgage you should be able to pay it off quickly
If you take a a home equity loan it should be related to the house, not for something like a car or boat
Are some of these difficult to get to? Yes, but sticking to these rules will set you up for success down the road.
Posted in General, Money, Success and tagged bankruptcy, crisis, house, housing, loan, mortgage by AJ with no comments yet.
I’m not saying that having confidence is a bad thing or that being positive is a waste of time, I’m not telling you success isn’t worth working toward. I’m an advocate for curiosity, for adventure, for pushing yourself to your limits in order to discover what you’re good at, to find what excites you. Do all of those things but understand what you’re getting into, what you’ll likely face. I saw a tweet yesterday that is appropriate here:
Successful people are very good at managing risk, at understanding the odds and finding ways to tilt the odds in their favor.
You might think you’re good at that too and that’s where self-awareness comes into play. The cheerleaders out there will tell you you’re great, that everything will work out if you just believe but that’s not necessarily true. Belief only gets you so far.
This is why I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, he puts a lot of value on self awareness, he’s not a cheerleader in the sense that he’s honest with himself and has no problem being honest with his advice.
Listen to the cheerleaders for inspiration, get fired up, but then get real. Look at your What Next from every angle and anticipate as many problems from the start. Be an optimist in the dream phase and a pessimist in the implementation phase.
Posted in Business, Curiosity, General, Success, Taking Action and tagged adventure, anthony robbins, Curiosity, gary vaynerchuk, honest, motivation, risk, self-awareness by AJ with no comments yet.
Work from Home just Hours a Day!
Turn Your Hobby into Profits!
This all sounds easy and could fit into the definition of what so many entrepreneur cheerleaders call a side hustle. A lot of people post on social media about their side hustles, and Gary Vaynerchuk is a big proponent of hustle in general. The reality, however, is that what many think is a side hustle is really just a time, energy, and money suck.
A side hustle is a way to earn extra money on the side. If you aren’t smart about it and think it will be easy then you will probably fail.
Side hustle isn’t a get rich quick scheme – just ask people who thought flipping houses in the mid 2000s would be easy money.
Most of my side hustles didn’t work out but the difference is that it didn’t cost me much either.
In the appendix of What Next I have a trail map of my career and entrepreneurial side hustles – some are dead ends, some go on for a while, and some have made me lots of money. The point is that I didn’t put all my effort into one thing and I didn’t stop looking for a next hustle. Maybe most important, I was willing to walk away from ones I grew tired of or were becoming a drain rather than an addition to my income, time, or energy.
It’s great to have the motivation to pursue a side hustle but you also have the common sense to know when something is just a pyramid scheme or when an investment could end up costing you more than it makes you. The emphasis should be on the word hustle because these things take work, hard work, and too many people think it will be easy.
Posted in Business, Curiosity, General, Money, Success and tagged extra income, extra money, hustle, income, invest, investment, Money, side hustle by AJ with no comments yet.