Monthly Archives: September 2013

Things that we all need to think about…

Some investors think that saving for retirement is too much of a burden
By not saving now, investors will suffer a 72% decline in standard of living in retirement
Financial pros recommend investors save at least 15% of income for retirement
USA TODAY markets reporter Matt Krantz –

Q: What can investors do who cannot afford to save a dime for retirement?

A: Investing for retirement is a sacrifice. Investors are foregoing spending now so they’ll have money to spend in the future.

Some investors say saving for retirement is one thing they cannot afford or choose not to do it. The problem is that if investors don’t cut their current standard of living now, to invest for retirement, they’re going to be forced to cut it in the future.

The basic rule of thumb is that investors must, on average, put aside 15% of their paychecks if they want to have a fighting chance of having any money left over when they turn 95, says Stuart Ritter, financial planner at T. Rowe Price.

Just saving a small amount, say 3%, just isn’t going to cut it. Even if a 30-year-old saves 3% of income toward retirement, the chances that nest egg will last through their 95th birthday is just 1%. A person who saves nothing for retirement now will likely, on average, suffer a 72% decline in standard of living in retirement, Stuart says.

So the question isn’t whether to save now or not. It’s really a matter of deciding to give up income now, or give it up to the point of struggling later.

Simple Stuff-Happiness

(Simple Stuff is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)


Happiness arrives not in the absence of problems, Jim, but in the absence of rules about when you can feel it. –Michael Dooley – The Universe


Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. –Dalai Lama

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.-Abraham Lincoln

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.-Mahatma Gandhi


It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.-Tony Robbins


The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.-Benjamin Franklin

Happiness depends upon ourselves.Aristotle


The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature. –Marcus Aurelius

Research has shown that the best way to be happy is to make each day happy.-Deepak Chopra

Bonus: Good book….
Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff and Carol Kline

Survive the Unthinkable,


I am always on the lookout for good books.

I try not to ‘over-recommend’ either, but here is a great one….Survive the Unthinkable,


…here is some background… may know someone in a situation that this may be relevant…..

Violence against women remains one of the most common human rights abuses in the world. Women ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war, and traffic accidents combined.

Rape and attempted rape are very much silent assassins. Only 16 percent of rape victims actually report an incident to the police, which means that the statistics we have about rape in the United States barely reflect the grim reality. The World Health Organization has found that domestic and sexual violence affects 30 to 60 percent of women in most countries. And the majority of offenses are committed by someone the victim knows or at least recognizes.

Perhaps the most disturbing truth is that the rape perpetrator will probably victimize seven to nine women before he’s jailed.

In our increasingly violent collective, women must often yield to an incessant voice that warns: Be careful where you walk. Be careful where you park. Be careful where you go. Be careful what you wear. Be careful what you say.

The unnerving posture of gender violence is what prompted me to seek out the best self-defense instructor I could find for the women I care about in my life — who just happens to be the author of the book you’re holding in your hands right now.

Tim Larkin’s Survive the Unthinkable relays a message of empowerment, not panic. It’s the key that can unlock your personal power as a woman.

With many things in life, the truth is often nearly 180 degrees from what your imagination might suggest. The principles and methods that Tim Larkin shares in this critical book are perfect examples of this:

  • Women need NOT be vulnerable to attack, and they already have the tools necessary to avoid violence or protect themselves in those rare instances where avoidance isn’t possible.

  • Even the most violent sociopaths are incredibly vulnerable once you know the psychology of what drives their behavior.

  • The people who are most effective at “self-defense” typically have no formal training.

Being able to protect yourself doesn’t require muscle, fancy techniques, or months of practice at the martial arts studio. All that you need to live confidently and joyfully is knowledge and the willingness to apply it.

As a woman, you have people who depend on you — perhaps your partner, children, siblings, friends. Please consider the ability to defend yourself a responsibility, not a luxury, in much the same way that you might exercise, wear your seatbelt, or get regular medical checkups.

This book presents imperative components that ensure peace of mind, which ultimately allows us to find fulfillment in our daily life. The emotional edge my friend Tim Larkin presents helps to create a better life through key adjustments to our perception, psychology, and awareness. You can trust, as I do, that Tim Larkin’s teachings are the most effective, thoroughly tested, and reliable way to ensure your safety, confidence, and self-assurance, which will in turn enable you to effectively cooperate with others, operate at optimal productivity, and get the most enjoyment out of every day of your life.

Approximately   1.9 million women are physically assaulted annually in the United   States alone. In his New York Times bestselling book Survive the Unthinkable, Tim Larkin empowers women to   understand that surviving a potential attack isn’t about being   physically bigger, faster, or stronger; it’s about knowing how to   self-protect, not self-defend. – See more at:

(Foreward by Tony Robbins)

Shift any relationship

I’ve had a coach a few times in my life and it has helped me.

Here is a cool video from Tony Robbins about coaching and it shows a good example of something useful that I know I can use and I thought that you perhaps also could.

(Note: there is something for sale here. You don’t have to buy anything, just scroll down and watch videos. Also, if you do buy something, I don’t get anything from it, I am not an affiliate. This is just FYI Only)

  • Here’s a great strategy for transforming any relationship in your life or work….scroll down part way to the video about Neil…..

You’ll meet Neil, who stood up to speak with Tony… while his wife was at home packing up his belongings!

After talking with Tony, Neil saved his marriage and created his dream relationship with his wife. He beat the odds.

This is a strategy you can use in coaching someone or you can use it now for yourself. Business coaches: this is a great strategy for those disputes at work 🙂

See Tony do it

Bottom line: this is something you can do. I’m telling you this because I see our students using these strategies successfully on a daily basis. Yes, they are doing “Tony work.” Yes, they are doing the “Neil intervention.” This is a methodology you will start to learn and use in the first week. So start getting used to being a LOT more powerful in your life.

YES: this will be YOUR skill set too.

F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real.

The Power Within

Fear is an emotion induced by a “PERCEIVED”threat which causes people to quickly pull far away from it and usually hide. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. “

fearAll the fear we feel is based on our past experiences. Fear itself doesn’t know anything about present or future experiences. Fear has the power to paralyze us and holds us hostage to past occurrences. Fear insists on re-telling us the same old story, always trying to convince us that WE have all the right answers, that because we have been there we know at all, that we are just not that lucky, that we are not deserving, that we were not meant to be happy, regardless of how many times we see the opposite happening to others around us.

We get used to use some tactics: we…

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Simple Stuff – Action

(Simple Stuff  is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

“Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer 
Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.-Thomas Jefferson
When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. –Confucius

I never worry about action, but only inaction.-Winston Churchill

Action expresses priorities.-Mahatma Gandhi

Action is the foundational key to all success.-Pablo Picasso

A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.-Tony Robbins

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.-Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.-John F. Kennedy

Never confuse motion with action.-Benjamin Franklin

Bridges out of poverty

I recently heard someone speak about a book, DVD, seminar, and nationwide program that is all based on the book “Bridges Out of Poverty.”
I strongly recommend that you check it out
In short, it discusses how different classes have different mindsets, perceptions, and priorities. It also helps businesses and the community bridge those differences to communicate, work and help each other better. Likewise, the program provides tools and strategies for those in poverty to get out of it, if they want.
I grew up with two parents who came from poverty. My mother’s family was always living paycheck to paycheck and she often spoke of the day ‘they’ came to repossess her parent’s furniture. She had to wear hand-me-down shoes and clothes from her relatives and her brothers. My mother’s toes were actually permanently injured because she had to wear shoes that were too small. All the kids had to work and give their parents their money.
My father’s family was a little better off but, like my mother, he lived during the Depression. Jobs were tough and even though his family had a better work ethic, he, too, wore second hand clothes.
They married and struggled for many years. I recall one story when my parents had $0.59 in the bank, one can of soup, and my father brought someone home for dinner. My father started a business from a chicken coop and grew it to 30 employees and later sold it. They retired comfortably and he was actually a savvy investor.
They sent me to private school and I rubbed elbows with all sorts of classes and people, including the very wealthy.
As I sat through the lecture of “Bridges Out of Poverty”, the speaker discussed the three classes; Poverty, Middle Class, and Wealthy – and how they think differently. I found that I had thoughts or perspectives from all classes. My parents probably instilled in me thoughts from their years of Poverty. I lived a middle class, maybe upper middle class life. I learned some wealthy thoughts from classmates and the school.
Lessons? Each class has its advantages and disadvantages.
  • Those in poverty often can achieve great success because they believe in destiny of some kind and also believe that they have little or nothing to lose. They can just let go and go for it. They work hard. However they have ‘tyranny of the moment’ often because their lives may be ruled by bills and immediate needs.
  • Those in the middle class have future vision – they can think about and plan for the future. They also have a network of social and business contacts that can work together. However there are sometimes examples of conditional relationships.
  • Wealthy classes have the relationships and connections to do well. They have expertise. However, there are examples of conditional relationships (vs unconditional) and loss of work ethic.
The program is not about judgement, labeling, or otherwise. It points out rules of thumb for each group and simply the awareness of these things can help – it helped me. The program can then point out ways that each of us can change or think differently if we want to change a class.
How do you prioritize in life? What do you think about social and business connections? What about your work ethic? Your thoughts on destiny, risk, taking chances? Do you have a future vision?
here is more….
Bridges Out of Poverty is a powerful model and book for economic and social change, sustainability, and stability. It inspires innovative solutions in those looking to counter poverty and its impact at all levels in a community. This approach helps employers, higher education, community organizations, social service agencies, hospitals, individuals, and others address poverty in a comprehensive way. People from all economic classes come together to improve job retention rates, build resources, improve outcomes, and support those who are moving out of poverty
Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World is a program that supports people in poverty to create their own plan for stability. It embeds the concepts of Bridges Out of Poverty into a format where groups examine the impact of poverty on themselves and their communities.

My Story, Chapter 11

If you’ve read any of my other posts, “MY STORY” you know a bit about my personal and professional life.

You know a little about my challenges and my losses, and also about those people in my life.

The last post, “My Story, Chapter 10” is from one of the toughest years in my life, actually just the first 6 months. You can read that post here.

In short, in early 2009, I lost my job, had great trouble finding a job and remained unemployed. I tried some independent ventures and struggled. My one investment property had great issues which led to losses. On top of that, my mother’s wonderful grandmother, like a surrogate grandmother for me, died, then my father and mother died – within about 5 weeks of each other.

In the summer of 2009, my wife’s uncle, in his early 50’s, passed away from a brain cancer related item. In September of that year my wife’s other grandmother passed away. I was still unemployed.

As you may have read in the last post, my father passed in March, my mother on the first of May. After the initial cloud lifted, my sisters and I were left to settle their estate. My parents weren’t rich but they did save a lot and coming from the Depression, lived well below their means.

Also coming out of the Depression, my parents save lots of ‘things’. July came and we started to work on the estate. I was unemployed and in between interviewing for jobs and trying to get my own business rolling but took time to go to my parents’s house and start the process.

Let me make something clear, I don’t think that my parents threw away or gave away any clothing that they bought for 20-30 years. You may sit there and think, “OK sure, Jim’s exaggerating a little to make a point.” They had all sorts of clothes. Now the clothing was not expensive stuff. I bet that much of the clothing was from JC Penney, Sears, Kmart, Target, and the like. I am almost certain that no known ‘brand names’ were found in either wardrobe. I enjoyed going through all of my dad’s ties from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I really enjoyed his white belt and shoes collections.

My mother had so many clothes with the tags still on them, probably unused. The tags told a story about how she shopped. Clothing marked down a few times and even ‘red tagged’ to clearance were there. Over the years my mother started thin, gained weight due to medication such as steroids and such, then lost weight during her various surgeries in her life – probably 16-20 surgeries – until she died very skinny, having been ravaged by cancer.

My father saved almost all of the significant mailings I sent him – anything related to a promotion, new project, progress, something about my daughters or anything important in our lives. I wasn’t necessarily ready for that. As I dug through his messy desk that was literally stuffed with papers, I found all of these things I forgot I sent him. I was a touching walk down memory lane. I was able to relive ideas and thoughts that I had when I was writing and sending the notes to him. It was emotional and a little tough at times but I was so glad to see this.

My mother saved a few of the cards and notes I sent her, and a random collection of photographs from vacations, school moments, birthdays and holidays with her handwritten notes on the back.

My mother was the type that if she liked a teapot, toaster, portable grill or other small appliance, two was better than one. So we came upon multiples of lots of things. It was nice for us in some cases because two of us could keep the same memories.

I spent days and weeks in my parents’s basement – it was my father’s workshop. He was a cabinetmaker for years and for years after he sold to cabinet makers. He still had so many saws, tools, and supplies stuffed into a small basement. He often had projects going for friends and for the church, so it was a well-used shop. As I had the overwhelming job of going through those tools, I would have flash backs as I found tools used in my youth – some small hammer I used to make my first birdhouse with my dad, a saw I used when I cut my hand badly trying to make tough depressors for re-sale, and lots of other tools with good memories. To this day the smell of wood dust and varnish take me back to the days in my dad’s shop or when we visited cabinet shop clients when we worked together in his business.

I wrote about the painful, draining, rewarding, roller coaster of a ride of going through my parents’s barn – sorting through memories and junk – in a post I named Cabinet Doors and Piles of Paper – you can read here

While many of the things were emotional and overwhelming, generally speaking, it was a nice process to go through all of their items. It was draining when it came time to decide what to keep, sell, and give away. I recall spending weeks cleaning, organizing and separating things around the house. It came time to start to separate a pile for the auction, a pile to keep, and a pile for charity. I remember starting to go through the home again looking for other things to do and for more work. I was really just trying to avoid the process.

I think part of me also knew that this was it. As bad as we wanted to clean the house and move on, I knew that once this process was done, IT really was over – the era of my parents was going to be really over. I recall being at my own home on a Saturday morning and having told my family that I was taking the day to go to my parents’s house to sort and organize, then finding myself dreading the drive there, dreading the process and dreading even more the end of it.

As long as I was sorting, separating, remembering they seemed like they were there – or about to come home. For the last 15 years or so my parents would spend a few months in Florida during the winter months. It became very easy, after they died, to feel or pretend like they were just away in Florida for a few months again. For quite a while I think I avoided mourning completely because of this. It was easy initially but I think it made the overall process harder.

I recall many hot days in the summer being tired and having gone through a whole cabinet or closet and feeling tired and emotional. Then I would go into another room and open a closet and seeing the vast amount of things to go through combined with the memories, the smells, the loss, the emotions, and the sheer volume of ‘stuff’, I would just break down and cry like a child. Sometimes I would just go sit in their backyard and not move for long periods of time. I don’t think I ever felt so lonely during those days in my parents’s home – yet it was something that I really wanted to do alone. 

So the day came that we decided on a date to put things up for auction. We had a deadline. We had to separate and make decisions. We got to be efficient and we worked together well. We organized so much ‘stuff’. They had so much to go through. We actually ended up filling 4 of the largest dumpsters. My father was a pack rate.

Towards the end I recall getting overwhelmed and burnt out and I began to just purge things…..I ended up selling some tools, an old hunting rifle, and other things that I now wished I would have kept – but at that moment the emotions and responsibilities and nature of it all combined so that I just wanted to get rid of the emotional baggage. I’m told this was actually the healthier choice because many times people attach emotional meaning to all sorts of things and then just save those things. It can be hoarding or it can be just holding on to something and anywhere in between.

I definitely didn’t hoard and that’s probably a good thing but I do regret letting go of a few things, strictly because of sentimental reasons. But then again, those things are now gone and have been since 2009 and I suppose my life is no worse because of it. Perhaps my life has less emotional baggage because of it.

In any case, through out that year I can’t tell you how much I worked at doing well at things…..running my own company, trying to get a job, improving my financial situation, and trying to be a success at something – and none of it worked. I really could not succeed at anything. It seemed everything, except my wife and daughters and friends, went wrong. My car, my bills, my job, my health…..When we sold my parents’s home and resolved the estate, I finally felt some sort of resolution and some accomplishment.

The inheritance was not huge but for all of us, my sisters and I, 2009 was a tough year, so the extra funds helped out. For me, I can say that without the inheritance I would have struggled in a major way and I probably would have had to relocate or at least work out of town during the week only to return home on the weekends. I lost a lot of pride and self worth that year and it took years to regain it.

In 2009 I learned lots of lessons – I learned that in the years 2007 to 2009 I really was a negative guy and that I focused on what went wrong and mostly on what I did not have. I complained a lot about things I would be so grateful for now. Even though I earned some nice income in 2007 and 2008, I was not a happy guy. I lived beyond my means and we were in debt. I made enough money that we could live nicely but we weren’t saving for the future and made poor money decisions.

After losing my job and experiencing the Recession in 2009, we were forced to focus on paying down debts and we had severe financial stress…….- for years. I felt like I might break down many times, but when things got very bad, when I was very low, I looked at my wife and daughters and I knew that I had to just keep moving. Some days I just barely showed up for life, and sometimes that was enough.

The other things that I learned – or at least re-learned were these items that I reflect on daily still:

  1. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have
  2. Focus on what works, not what doesn’t work
  3. Monitor, improve your self-talk – often we are the toughest on ourselves without knowing it – we ask ourselves so many negative questions like “Why can’t I make any money?” and our brain, like a computer, searches for answers. We must change those questions around and ask positive questions like “Why do I earn more money now?” or “Why am I so lucky?”, etc. instead.
  4. Keep moving, show up, smile.
  5. Help others. There is always someone worse off than you and if you help anyone, it helps you and life seems much better.
  6. Get active – go take action, any action, don’t sit around and wait and wallow. Go out and do it!

I wish you the best until next time…..


UPW Tip of the Day: What is the force that determines what we try or fail to try to accomplish in our lives? It is our beliefs—about what we’re capable of, about what’s possible or impossible, about who we are. In Haitian culture, a person’s belief in the deadly power of the witch doctor “pointing the bone” can indeed cause death. But the real killer is a sense of certainty—the belief—not the witch doctor. – Tony Robbins

What do you believe?

We all have beliefs, ideas, judgements, and expectations…

  • Beliefs about others,
  • Beliefs about the world, about luck, about their careers.
  • Beliefs about ourselves
  • Beliefs about fears and limitations.

What beliefs do you have about your fears and phobias? Do they serve you well? Do they empower you? Many of us have fears from our childhood or false/needless fears that hold us back, that limit us, and that just don’t really help us. Maybe it is time to reevaluate those fears?

What beliefs do you have about yourself – your talents, your goals, your successes and your failures? Do they serve you well?

Did you ever notice that our believe appear to be true, that they appear to be reality?
Becareful what you believe.

Once in a while I believe that we all need to step back and look at our own beliefs and evaluate them.

Do they help us? Do they empower us?
You can change your beliefs. You can change the meaning behind events and things around you.

\Your truth is the truth, so make it work for you, make it serve you and your world better.

Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives. -Tony Robbins 

Simple Stuff

(Simple Stuff is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
Warren Buffett

Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
Vince Lombardi

Habit is stronger than reason.
George Santayana
Habits aren’t destiny. -Charles Duhigg

Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive.
George Bernard Shaw

Suggested reading

The Power of Habit by . -Charles Duhigg


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