America’s Gilded Age in the late nineteenth century was famous for industrialists who amassed unimaginable wealth — such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Cornelius Vanderbilt – and also for the era’s startling poverty. The U.S. is seeing something like that today. The booming stock market, up three-fold since the financial crisis, is no source of excitement for risk-averse small investors and savers, particularly retirees who expected to live off interest income. From 2008 through 2015, U.S. savers lost nearly $1 trillion of income from the cratering of yields on bank deposits and bonds, according to research by insurance company Swiss Re cited by the Wall Street Journal. And that’s even after adjusting for the benefit from paying lower rates on personal debt. Back in 2007 one-year CD yields were close to 4%, and currently one-year CD yields are less than 1%. Many retirees who were dependent upon these higher rates are being forced to find spare to part time work just to make ends meet. Some are moving into the stock market in the hopes of higher yields, and some can’t pay their bills. Time is a valuable tool, and to take advantage of compounding interest, a person must start early and often. A person should constantly be investing in his financial education and at the same time continue to create value for the sake of generating income and or security. I do recommend teaching yourself the self-lending principle as a means of breaking free from the cycle of consumer debt. When you buy assets, buy assets that are passive income producing that can be turned into a system and scaled. Without being creative, I argue a person could become a victim of the wealth gap that today’s current retirees are experiencing. That wealth gap is highlighted by the disparity between the pay of CEOs and their workers, which grew even wider in 2016, according to a study by consulting firm Compensation Advisory Partners, as cited in a Bloomberg story. The study looked at 42 U.S. public companies, a relatively small sampling, but it nonetheless is sure to spark debate. It found a 5.5% median pay hike for their CEOs, roughly double the 2.8% rise for the year in hourly pay for non-farm private sector workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is an income gap between workers and CEOs, so it’s important to work your job but also mind your business. What is your business? Your life. Every penny that comes into your bank account is your responsibility. Make your money work for you without you having to always work for it.
Robert Kiyosaki has an unusual reading recommendation for would-be entrepreneurs — one that even the most devoted fans of the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author might not see coming. It tells the story of a knight about to meet his death in battle. It’s written by a Hollywood movie star. For Kiyosaki, it’s become a treasured read. “Believe it or not I read a lot of spiritual books. One of the best is ‘Rules for a Knight’ by Ethan Hawke,” Kiyosaki said during a January interview, when asked if there were any books he would recommend for MarketWatch readers. “It’s so well written, talks to your soul,” he said of the book. “All my friends are entrepreneurs and they all get copies of it.” This books takes the form of a letter from a knight written to his children right before battle, and it outlines the rules for being a knight. That may not sound like fertile material for learning the secret to success in the 21st century business world, but the knight’s rules do have an aura of entrepreneurial mantra about them. The rule for humility begins, “Never announce that you are a knight, simply behave as one,” while the rule for gratitude states, “For all that has been, a knight says, ‘Thank you.’ For all that is to come, a knight says, ‘Yes!’ ” Robert Kiyosaki states that he only operates at the highest of spiritual values and seeks to do business with people with similar values. Values such as integrity, and honor are words with significant meaning. Personally, I look for a person with strong spiritual values such as transparency, integrity, and consistency. Another book he recommends is “The Untethered Soul,” by Michael A. Singe. If you prefer your reading to be more firmly rooted in the worlds of business and finance, Kiyosaki suggested two books on economics in MarketWatch’s live interview with him in August, which you can read more about here. Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad” is coming upon its 20th anniversary, and it is a good introduction into looking at money differently. This book was personally recommended by my good friend. His mentoring and this book helped shape in part how I look at finances. If you read that book, then you must read his second book “Cashflow Quadrant”. If you don’t enjoy reading, then I suggest the audio book version or even the short summary clips you can find on YouTube. However, reading is essential to being able to see into how a writer thinks and it’s not the same as a quick edited version. I’ve found that when I’m struggling to read a book, I read something I enjoy reading and then pick up and read from the book I’m struggling with. Block out a time even if you have to set an alarm for it to make the time to read. Your brain is a muscle and it needs a work out from time to time.
Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles above
For this week, I’ve included The Wisdom – Bruce Lee from the Absolute Motivation YouTube channel.
“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” – Proverbs 28:26 MSG