Why Being Poor Is like Being Fat (And What to Do about It)

Being broke is a lot like being fat (I’ve been both).

If you’re 50 pounds overweight, you know you have a problem. Chances are, you also have plenty of ideas about how to do better, such as exercising more, going on a diet, or reducing your stress.

Yet you don’t do anything about it. Why? Because it’s easier to go on eating, pretending you don’t have a problem and comforting yourself with the food.

You might even shy away from anything that would remind you. For instance, you might start avoiding looking at yourself in the mirror, or put your scale in the closet so you don’t have to look at it every day.

It’s not because you’re in denial, necessarily. You’re just ashamed. You know you should be doing better, but you can’t bring yourself to face the situation. You’re just too weak.

Do you recognize the thought process?

It’s exactly the same for being broke or in debt. It can cause you to spend the rest of your life going through the same old pattern, never making the kind of money you deserve to make.

The good news is you can break it. Let me show you how.

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Why Starting an Investment Club is Important

If you are thinking about investments of any type, but are not sure where to start, or are more experienced but realize that there is much more to learn, we recommend joining an investment club.

Investment clubs come in many forms, some are composed of individual investors who combine their money for specific investments, to a more community-type meetings where guest speakers are invited for the members to learn from. Some clubs actually analyze each member’s financial portfolio to brainstorm ideas and provide constructive input. Other clubs allow for members to not disclose their finances to any great detail but are more broad in their exchange of ideas.

Since investment clubs have a social community foundation, it is important to have a certain level of friendly relation between members. This camaraderie can start among friends and expand with referrals. An ideal group will be comprised of members from diverse backgrounds, that could contribute from their varied experience to the overall goal of learning about smart investment.

Clearly there needs to be a consensus reached among group members regarding the topics to be discussed, so as to prevent some members from wanting to talk about retirement planning while others wishing to discuss Forex trading.

The ideal location for meetings would be in a home or some other quiet place for people to congregate at, such as a private room in a restaurant.

Notably, an agenda should be distributed for every meeting since it is important to keep the meetings organized and consistent over time in order to keep the meetings on track.

Related links can be found at:
Investment Club Central
The National Association of Investors Corporation

Chew on this – Tip #3. A Blog for the times

For the current economic crisis, I would like to mention a blog that I came across as being focused on the topic and presenting the information with the consumer in mind first and foremost. The Talk Money BlogĀ  discusses such pressing issues as: money saving tactics, debt problems and solutions, the mortgage meltdown, the credit crunch and its impact, finance contracts, and how to claim compensation for wrongful bank or credit card charges.

The blog’s author is Mark Aucamp, who has worked in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and is experienced as the owner of a debt management businessĀ  and as a mortgage consultant running his own company.

Some of the informative blog articles include the “Buy to Let Landlords“, “money saving tips – free enterprise”, and “Credit Cards Debts Cleared Legally“.

There is also a forum section within the blog that is divided into sections of: The Mortgage Market, The Credit Crunch, Money Saving Tips, Unenforceable Finance Contracts, and Debt Management.

The site itself is slick looking and easy to navigate. It also isn’t bombarded with ads, just a couple of banners and some Google Adsense ads, which make for an unobtrusive reading.

Overall, the site shows good potential, as it was launched in early July and already contains many extensive posts and relevant comments relating to the current economic crisis.

Asshole Envy and the Value of Extreme Focus

What do Simon Cowell, Steve Jobs, Dr. House, Bill Belichick, and Donald Trump have in common?

They’re all assholes… but lots of people (including me) love them anyway. Why is that?

Maybe its envy. Deep down, we would all like to be able to say anything to anyone, cause trouble without consequence, and act without caring what others think.

But we don’t do it.

We can’t bear the shame of becoming an asshole. We’ve been conditioned by centuries of faithful mothers teaching us to mind our manners. We are proud of being polite.

Except… could that be the problem?

I know about a dozen people that make over $1 million per year, and I’d imagine all of them are called assholes on a regular basis. The two seem to go hand in hand, and I think there are reasons why.

Extreme Success Requires Extreme Focus

If you want to be successful, you have to focus. We all know that, but I don’t think many of us understand it.

Focusing means giving one objective all of your attention and ignoring everything else. Dr. House from the House M.D. TV show focuses on saving people’s lives, and nothing else matters to him. He’s willing to cheat, lie, steal, manipulate, and coarse in the pursuit of that end. And it works.

The wealthiest people in the world use the same approach with their finances. Frequently, they’ll:

  • Leave behind a trail of broken marriages and forgotten children
  • Lose the life savings of their friends and relatives on an ingenious but doomed business
  • Refuse to lend anyone money or give to charity
  • Avoid unnecessary expenses to the point of miserliness
  • Treat everyone that can’t help them as if they’re expendable

We hold up cases like those as “how not to be successful,” but really, I think it’s exactly the opposite. The amount of wealth you’ll accumulate in this lifetime depends on how willing you are to put money ahead of everything else.

Frugal investors become millionaires because they’re willing to give up immediate gratification and luxury for a few decades. Successful entrepreneurs become billionaires because they invest every ounce of their life in the business and convince others to do the same. In each case, someone will inevitably labeled them as a miser, workaholic, or asshole, but they don’t care.

For them, it’s worth the trade-off. So ask yourself: how much are you willing to trade?

Are you willing to let some people think you’re an asshole?

Stop Planning: 50 Ways to Improve Your Finances Today

I only have one resolution for 2008: action.

You can set all the right goals, have all the right intentions, and know all the right stuff, but if you don’t act, none of it means anything. I learned that when I was a teenager, and it’s the only resolution I’ve made ever since.

If you want to achieve your financial goals, I think you should make it your only resolution too. Most people spend their entire lives intending to get rich but never make it, and it’s almost always because they never actually do anything

So take action. Here’s how:

First, forget about planning for 2008. A year is too long of a timeline. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time remembering what I’m supposed to be doing for 15 minutes, much less an entire year.

Second, focus on today. Figure out just one thing you can do today to move yourself closer to the finances you’ve always wanted. Then do it.

Third, pick one thing the next day, and the next day, and the next day, until you wake up six months from now and realize you’ve already achieved all of your goals for 2008, and you have to set new ones.

If you’re having trouble coming up with one thing to do, I’ve put together a list of 50 ideas to get you started.

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The Forrest Gump Guide to Becoming a Gazillionaire

forrest-gump.jpg

Who taught Elvis how to dance, received the Congressional Medal of Honor, got Nixon impeached, became the world ping-pong champion, built a national shrimping empire, and fathered Haley Joel Osment?

One man: Forrest Gump.

If I could choose one mentor in business, or in life in general, it would be Gump. I don’t care that he’s not real. The wisdom that he conveys is real, and I think we could all learn something from it.

Let’s listen to what he has to say, and I’ll translate his Gumpisms into advice that, if followed, will make you a much more successful moneymaker:

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