Tag Archives: financial freedom

Wait Watchers

Wait Watchers

Here we sit at the mid-point of the second month of 2012.

There are some of you who have dropped away from the regular workout routines you committed to in January…

Still a few who are still reading the affirmations that were created as the new year began…

While others have resumed their regular routine of worry, work and wonder about how to make this your best year ever…

Today I am here to applaud the quiet minority who have, for likely the first time ever, continued to do the daily little things; read the chapter of the self-help book, exchange the sweet, sugary delight for a piece of fruit, and invest in a new way to think and work…

Which of these scenarios best describes your GPS location today?

Are you waiting for another year to pass?

Are you watching others live the life you secretly wish to experience?

It can be yours…

Get off the couch and begin today to have the health, wealth and freedom that you believe is your destiny.

Stop waiting.

Stop watching.

Live free beginning today.

Peace.

Victim or Victor…

I have long been a fan of the sport of boxing. My Greatest of All Time is obviously Muhammad Ali. One other champion of note is Mike Tyson. In thinking about them, their careers and their impact on the sport and society, it occurred to me that though they both were Heavyweight champions, they had distinctly different responses after their defeats.

Of the five losses in the Ali career, I never recall him blaming the loss on anyone other than himself…never seeking to blame the opponent or undermine their credibility. Yet, with Mike Tyson, his two most compelling losses, to Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield will be forever remembered as him blaming the referee and then for losing his composure and biting the ear of Holyfield.

These comparisons are so inspiring to me as we face such challenging circumstances in America and around the world. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around as we become more aware of the disparities in the wealth of the top 1% of Americans and the remaining 99%. Yet, do we really benefit from feeling like victims…or do we now face, like Ali, that we must strengthen our resolve to regain control of our communities, city, state and federal governments?

Both Ali and Tyson were convicted of federal offenses…yet the difference in what they did after they “paid their dues to society” are as far apart as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. One went from villain to folk hero to icon, the other from feared fighter to foolish freakster to reality television clown. One taking responsibility for his actions, the other not.

As many of us rebuild our lives and seek a new sense of direction personally and collectively, it is my belief that we must be like Ali, and take the position that we are going to bounce back and regain our sense of direction and purpose again. This may require going back to school, spending our money with local businesses versus the “big box” conglomerates, and teaching our children that it is possible to wait for that “new” thing that is being marketed as a must-have-today item.

Choosing a Tyson-like response will reap only more of the self-indulgence that brings about certain doom and despair. Since we have had 30 years of this since Ronald Reagan’s voodoo economics, it’s undoubtedly time for a new way to live.

And so in life as in boxing let’s do all we can to insure that at the end of the bout our glove will be raised as the ring announcer says, “And the winner is…”

Peace.

Flip The Script…

Flip The Script…

One has to wonder these days as we Americans prepare for the looming Christmas holiday season, what level of guilt will be heaped upon us by retailers. In looking back at the past ten years, we have gone from being scolded for being a people who had lost our ability to save money, with our ever-expanding credit lines proof of our need to have it now, to being urged to spend money that many people do not have. The good times had rolled…up and over many of us.

Then the rules, and the game changed.

So much so that today, the home I am seeking to keep out of BK…is worth less than when it was appraised in 2000. My credit score is as upside-down as my mortgage…and cash is once again all that matters. Unless, of course, you had the foresight to buy gold at $400 per ounce. Let me check my jewelry drawer for some hidden treasures that I can send in to Cash-For-Gold.

So, with my tongue firmly in cheek, I have come to the conclusion that we are deep in dog poo…because we have been scolded about our need to save money. Yet, GW Bush, after 9/11, told us to go shopping and show the terrorists that our way of living would not be undermined by a few planes slamming into buildings.

Just last week I heard that the path to economic recovery will be traveled when consumers begin spending money again. And unless that happens the chances are good that we will slip into another recession. When did the first recession end? I ask friends, family members and fellow business owners that question, and most agree that the debt storm, and personal budget crisis, has not yet cleared in their lives.

I have a different thought as to how this never-ending financial crisis can be put to bed. Congress can mandate that the banks, some of whom were given taxpayer money in the form of a bailout…give every household a grant of ten thousand dollars. Imagine what you might use that money for; a remodel project in your house (Home Depot and a contractor will benefit), new furniture (Sears and Macy’s would be happy), and maybe even purchase new equipment in your business.

One truth that we rarely hear from the economic experts, is that corporate America needs to reinvest in her people…they are cash rich and people poor. There must be a few people who can answer a customer service question about your laptop, in plain English, and who would pay taxes on that income. Is there an India-based company that hires Americans?

Let’s make enough noise this week for Wall Street, Main Street and Bourbon Street to recognize that we are awakening from our slumber and will not be tricked into believing that red is blue and that we are to blame for the woes of the world.

We are Americans.

Peace.

Staying Stuck on Stupid…

Staying stuck on stupid…

We are living in a truly amazing time. On one hand we have electronic products that even the Jetson’s would envy; smart phones, iPad and iPod, and Goof Off. The last item is a substance that you apply to something that has a backing of glue, and is stuck to a wall, cabinet or other surface. The Kryptonite to Duct tape.

As unbelievable as those items are, what is more unsettling to me is that we are on the brink of the biggest internal “gunfight at high noon” since the civil rights struggles of the early ‘60’s. Can you remember George Wallace, then the Governor of Alabama, blocking the doorway to the University that sought to admit a Black student? Before it was all over, President Kennedy needed to send National Guard troops to protect citizens.

The 800-pound gorilla that is beating its chest and preparing to devour us is the stand off between Republicans and Democrats, and their selfish posturing surrounding the raising of the national debt ceiling. Funny how millionaires in government are now deciding to allow a possible government default…with the President seeking to play the role of Harry Truman with the proverbial “buck stopping here.”

I wonder and ask you to also consider what it will take for Americans on “Main Street” to realize that for 10 plus years the United States has borrowed much more money than it has received. Any businessperson knows that it is a quick road to ruin, when you pay out more than you bring in. And here we are, looking the landlord in the face and seem to be willing to say; “I am not going to pay you today.”

We, the people, hold the largest ticket to this dance, as we hold Treasury bonds, and can force the Government to pay up…now. We need to instruct Congress, who are our employees, that to default on our agreement with our people, is a sure path to destruction. And to them being voted out in the next election. Maybe it will take the Gray Panthers, AARP, and other politically savvy organizations to turn up their collective heat on the elected leaders, who believe that painting our President into a corner in public is patriotic. It is anything but…

Use your voice on Face Book, Twitter, and other means to let people know that we will not allow this great country to be embarrassed by a handful of political zealots.

We can demonstrate that we are not stupid…but are empowered to use the democratic process to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Please excuse me while I go fetch my bottle of Goof Off and prepare to release some frustration on our Congress…

Peace.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Hair today, gone tomorrow…

It is spring and thus time for the NBA playoffs, where it is always interesting to see the types of advertisements that dominate the between play segments of each game. Your standard beer commercials occupy a majority of the commercials, with car and truck ads often a close second in number. However, it is the “other” brands of products that marketers have determined we men are in need of that causes me to go hmmm.

The one lately that has me shaking my head is the one from Hair Club for men. You have seen at least one of these, I know. A very sad looking guy is sitting in the office of this follicle physician (?), looking miserable and forlorn. They hold a mirror to the back of his head and show him the bald spot…like the man has not already seen it before today.

The narrator shares with us how this new “hair” will look and feel like your own natural hair. You can even go swimming, with no embarrassing moments when you ascend form the water.

My biggest laugh came when the African-American man was combing his new “do”, and holding the back of his head/hair with his other hand. You know he was trying his best to make sure that his piece of hair was not going to be dislodged by that brushing. His little smile only made matters that much more humorous. Probably thinking that thankfully the check for this gig is already in the bank. I can recall only seeing two men of A/A heritage with a hairpiece…and neither of those resembled anything like their real hair.

So, as I have seen my once curly black hair both recede and turn to silver in color, I wonder how one determines to take the plunge and seek admission to the Hair Club. Will someone tap me on the shoulder and give me the coordinates to a secret meeting? Will I be required to take an oath and learn a password or handshake? This could all be so much fun. And expensive too, I would presume.

Or maybe I won’t do anything and just enjoy the transition from having a perfectly shaped super-size Afro in my younger days to a card-carrying AARP senior with a Silver-mane…and be graceful, and grateful, through it all. Now if I can just get my salon barber to charge me by the hair she has trimmed, and not by the minute I will be able to purchase that hand held mirror…

Peace.

What Will it Take?

What will it Take…?

To agree to eat two pieces of fruit each day.

To match each other and drink 4 glasses of water daily.

To insuring our walking partner will not succeed in quitting.

To give away those old, big clothes.

To parking the car and taking mass transit one day each week.

To commit to reading a new book each month.

To agree to spend money with a local business instead of a Big Box business.

If you and I will agree to this, we can make a difference. Every day. In a society where we are bombarded with what is wrong, what the problems are, and the belief that there is little chance for change…we will prove just the opposite is true.

We can have better health. We will lose weight and lower blood pressure. We can help local businesses succeed against the Big Corporations.

What will it take for YOU to make a difference in your life and those who are watching YOU?

Check out this article and consider another way to live.

Peace.

Who Do You THINK You Are?

Who Do You THINK You Are?

Most of us born before 1965 can remember that statement/question being asked, often in a not-too-friendly manner. It usually came out of frustration when someone wanted to remind you to stay in your place. This week I have a new focus for that statement.

I recently had lunch with a friend I had not seen in a few years. Once we got past the customary queries regarding our families, local sports teams and the problems with the local worship community, we settled into a debate on how men of our age are faring in this challenging job market.

My friend has worked with a couple of large financial institutions, a non-profit organization and even sits on a board of another community organization. But somehow he has been unemployed for almost a year.

Then when I prodded him about why he is not getting something of value monetarily from these affiliations, even an occasional consulting assignment, he said the words that locked me into him for the remainder of the lunch. He said he’d rather have a good paying job with an organization rather than a few consulting gigs…really?

Since then I have sought to understand how men of our “maturity” can believe that we will get a fair shot at any job openings where the choice is between us and a person half our age and likely, willing to work for half our well-deserved compensation.

American companies, it has been reported this week, are awash in cash…and the stock market is on a steady incline. Yet, no mid-level management openings are being created. Maybe it is a case of you-show-me-yours-then-I-will-show-you-mine…someone has to make a move. First.

As more and more intellectuals are proving, our thoughts truly are powerful instruments. They feed us the words that shape our actions, and inevitably, our destiny. Have you heard someone say something that is obviously the opposite of who they are and what they have espoused as their “life purpose?” Which is the truth?

By the end of our lunch as we were saying our goodbyes, he was about to say the same thing regarding getting a job versus entrepreneurship, and he caught himself…and said, I guess I should change my thinking. Yep. Another mind now prepped for the new marketplace paradigm, which is here to stay.

Now, who do you think you are?

Is This the End of the Line?

Is This The End of The Line…

In these days of now having the option to scan and check out our own groceries at the supermarket, it is often a surprise to see that line is considerably longer than any other at the front of the store. One day I happened to think that I had gotten lucky as I saw only a few shoppers in the line. So, I moved into a position where I saw no one else standing…only to be informed that where I was now standing was just a break in the line. The actual end of the line was back there.

Back there was about 20 shoppers behind me. Who knew? I had seen an opening and made my move, presuming that timing was on my side. Alas, as I survey the current financial and business landscape in the United States, I ask you the question, “Is this the end of the line?”

One of the local grocery chains used to have a policy of “Three’s a crowd”, which simply meant that when there were more than three shoppers waiting in line to checkout, a manager would announce that on the intercom system, and another employee would open up a checkout station. What happened to that type of response to the needs of people spending their hard-earned money with a business?

Using this grocery shopping analogy, I wonder how much longer it will take before the financial institutions realize that it is time to respond to the immediate needs of their constituents. Or even gas stations. There was a time when they were called service stations. But they did away with any service back in the late ‘70’s and early 1980’s.

Some of us can recall when we would get our windshields cleaned, oil checked and tire pressure inspected. They must have known that we would trade a perceived saving of money for a service we would no longer receive. Is that still true today?

Where is the end of the line? Maybe we will have to be pushed even farther away from real customer service before it is painful enough for us to respond in the only way that a consumer-driven society will recognize; by pulling away and not purchasing their products and/or services. Are you willing to change your thoughts and habits to effect a change for yourself? For your children?

In the meantime, I hate to tell you this…but I am not the last one in this line. See that woman back there in the parking lot, she is the end of the line…

Peace.

“Thanks For Riding With Me…”

Thanks for Riding With Me…

How exciting it is to be at the threshold of another new year. For many of us 2010 was quite an amazing experience filled with some triumphs…and a few troubles. Yet, we made it through. Hopefully, we are changed in at least some small way. Maybe you finally stopped smoking. Or you lost those unwanted pounds…and kept them off by employing a new way to enjoy food. Some of you have that book written and out for the public to embrace.

What will be the driving force for your 2011? Let’s acknowledge that we can have a different life. It starts each day when we choose consciously. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Drinking more water and less soda. Telling your loved ones…”I Love You.” Before they become the dearly departed…

I am grateful to those of you who kept me in your inbox as I wrote my blog posts. There were times I had that old tape playing…why am I doing this? No one is reading…Crap!

But, I kept going, determined to honor my commitment to sharing my life and thoughts in public view. Some people dropped out…more dropped in. And many of you gave me encouragement to keep going. I thank you.

As I did last December, I would like to know what it is you deem important going forward. For it is true that when we have people to whom we are accountable, we are less likely to quit. Something about knowing that someone cares gives us even more of a reason to press on. So, forward one or two of your 2011 goals…and I will do the same.

A year ago I challenged us that when we looked back at 2010, we would see a new path created. And, thus, a new life experience. I am pleased with what I can see looking behind me. I pray that you are encouraged as well…let’s make 2011 an even better year.

Peace.

Stop, Look, Listen…

Stop, Look, Listen…

We are all seeking answers to something. A better way to do our job. A more efficient method by which we can serve a client. An improved approach to communicate with our children; adult and adolescent.

The old school song by the Stylistics, Stop, Look, Listen has some real answers when one is dealing with affairs of the heart. I wonder how many of us are moving too quickly through our daily lives and miss out on the answers to our dilemmas…

Do me a favor today. Stop in your tracks at a new location. Take a look around you. I mean a real look. Allow yourself to see what is there…look at your environment…listen to the sounds that you miss each day.

You will then notice something, albeit even a small thing, that can make the difference and solve one of your challenges. I guarantee it.

Peace.