December 16, 2017

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-inventor-of-the-401k-says-he-created-a-monster-2016-05-16

Most religious men find the answers to their prayers in scripture. Ted Benna found them in the U.S. tax code. Fed up with clients only interested in getting the maximum tax break for themselves while doing as little as possible for their employees, he began to feel he could either remain a workplace benefits consultant or a Christian, but not both. In fact, just weeks before his life’s eureka moment came in September 1980, he thought about leaving the Johnson Companies, his suburban Philadelphia firm, to take a job at a local Christian college. Instead of quitting, Benna, 74, helped turn a little-noticed new subsection of the tax code into the least likely of household names: the 401(k). With a 401k you can put aside pre-tax earnings with a company match up to a certain percentage into a retirement account. This retirement account is managed by a financial services company that will invest your money into the stock, and bond market and overtime build your retirement. This process would replace the typical pension plans that companiess had used for years, and put the financial responsibility on the employee to take care of their retirement. In fact, the original purpose of section 401(k) was to limit the use of executive cash-deferred plans. The Johnson Cos. administered 50 401(k)s in 1982, mostly to its own employees. Today Americans have some 50 million plans holding roughly $3 trillion in assets. Benna’s firm earned its money on the record keeping for the plans (with the help of a $65,000 Wang computer), but outsourced the actual investing component to the Vanguard Group, back when the future mutual-fund giant was still in its nascent days. “Ted was the moral standard within the company and thought it was a conflict for us to also handle the investments,” Wright said. “He believed in doing the right thing.” But like many critics, in recent years he began to think 401(k)s might not be the right thing. He’d created “a monster” that should be “blown up,” Benna lamented in 2011. The 401k plans themselves have grown so complicated. They’re filled with hidden fees, and have so many opportunities for bad decisions that the financial industry benefits more than the savers. “For all its issues, the 401(k)’s biggest value is that it turns spenders into savers,” he said. “Not that I spend much time basking the glory of the 401(k). What matters most to me now is spending time with my grandchildren and my horses.” I think that this forced process of making spenders into savers by the government can be risky, and there needs to be a re-examination of what components are missing from the public education system. Financial education is topic that should be, but isn’t often talked about in homes. In my profession, I see a lot of people that don’t understand the importance of managing credit and risk. I believe a person should look to build multiple streams of income, and not be 100% dependent on their job and the government to take care of them. It’s about taking personal responsibility and learning, and not just handing your money over to someone.  Personally I do have a 401k, but I also look for opportunities to build my income producing asset column, and fight to lower my own consumer debt. I do these things with two things in mind: legacy and eternity. What’s your why?

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/use-self-made-billionaire-ray-dalios-2-minute-rule-to-radically-improve-your-meetings.html

Why do so many of us hate meetings? There’s no shortage of reasons, from wasting time in entirely unnecessary get togethers, to overlong scheduling, and meandering conversations. But somewhere towards the top of nearly everyone’s meeting pet peeve list is oafish meeting behavior. I’m sure you’ve experienced the type of thing I’m talking about – the spotlight hogging, endless interrupting, and under informed bloviating that can make getting together with colleagues about as much fun as watching paint dry. So how do you ensure everyone gets a turn to speak, but that the loudest of the group don’t monopolize the meeting and drown out other good ideas? Ray Dalio, founder of $160 billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates and self-made billionaire, has a simple rule that can ensure everyone gets their time in the spotlight. On the TED Ideas blog recently Dalio shared nine rules for meetings from his new book Principles: Life and Work . The entire post is definitely worth a read if your organization struggles to keep meetings under control, but one idea stands out as both exceptionally useful and dead simple. Dalio calls it “the two-minute rule”:

The two-minute rule specifies that you have to give someone that uninterrupted period to explain their thinking before jumping in with your own. This ensures everyone has time to fully crystallize and communicate their thoughts without worrying they will be misunderstood or drowned out by a louder voice

This concept isn’t new, and it was instilled in us at an early age. But these two minutes of freedom will allow a person to express his thoughts without interruption. You may need to enforce this time constraint, but make sure you know your team knows this constraint is in force going in. if you’re in leadership/management role, give it a try and see if it changes your work environment. The purpose is to ultimately bring the team together, and find the areas that can be improved together.

This week, I’ve included The 13 Truths – Matthew McConaughey [MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH] from the Mulligan Brothers 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

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