It’s a harsh world we live in

What makes me say that?

Obama has some partial agreement for his debt limit deal. And the Asian stock exchanges are celebrating. I am presuming that once London and New York open the same scenes of happiness will be shown by share price movement towards the heavens.

So why is this not good news? I suppose it’s good news for companies holding stocks in other companies and the big investors. The little guys have mostly had to leave the stock markets one would imagine after the serious ups and downs would have wiped most of the value from their shareportfolios. Especially the dramatic fall during the 2008 recession would have left the man in the street much poorer.

The debt limit deal does the following. No increases in tax. Just cuts to government spending that will involve thousands of programmes most of them dealing with services to the people. 1.8 trillion US dollars or more in deficit cuts will surely affect the poor and middle class the most.

After all the wealthy don’t need social services. And besides that they have gotten away unscathed in terms of paying more tax.

Of course to fix the situation in the immediate term the debt ceiling will be lifted by nearly one trillion US dollars. To pay it off, services will be cut.

And that’s what is so horrid. Many jobs will be lost, benefits to marginalised people such as disabled and disadvantaged folk will surely be cut, public parks closed down or run on shoestring budgets, museums left behind and the list will be a long one.

But the stock exchanges throughout the world see this as a good thing and are celebrating with upwardly moving share prices. They see it as creating more wealth for the investors while screwing over the little guy. Just doesn’t make sense to me.

Are you getting a raw deal as well?

An interesting article in the timesonline caught my eye yesterday. Warren Buffet, claimed to be the third-richest man in the world, spoke about the tax system during a fundraiser in New York for Senator Hillary Clinton. He felt the tax system that allowed him to pay a far lesser rate of tax than his personal assistant or cleaning person was totally unfair. His tax rate is 17.7% while his secretary is taxed at 30%. His worth is estimated at $52 billion, his PA earns $60 000 per year. The sums don’t make any sense to me.

For some time now, I have felt that the world, and in this case I don’t want to just focus on the western world, has some kind of conspiracy that is keeping the ordinary man and woman from actually making a decent living. Possibly conspiracy might be too strong a word, but still, there seems to me a move to keep the masses in economic slavery.

In the past, the ordinary people were quite blatantly forced to remain in their social strata. In some societies such as India the caste system ensured that lower caste members were unable to move into higher castes. In the western world the royal houses had a similar hold on the population with very few commoners managing to crack the upper echelons of society. This shifted slightly during the industrial revolution where the split was between white and blue collar workers. However, the haves and have-nots were as divided as before.

I even have some family history that demonstrates this. My grandfather, on my father’s side, was an ordinary brick layer and odd jobs man in his smallish home town. He ended up marrying the daughter of a very well to do family. For her it wasn’t an easy transition. She came from a home with servants and ended up in a home where she had to do everything. But this wasn’t the half of it, her family totally disinherited her and refused to have anything further to do with her.

As a more recent example, the German telecom industry’s strike resulted in the workers actually ending up working more hours per week at a lesser rate. The share price of the telecom company moved up on the German stock exchange. That means, the financial community and investors felt that workers getting a worse salary deal was a good result and worthy of valuing the share higher.

Looking at salaries closer to home in the UK, I see regular offers of £12 000 per year for hard work such as carers, cleaners, receptionists, personal assistants and many more. I have no idea how anybody can live off less than £1 000 per month which one would receive after paying tax and National Insurance.

The gap between the workers and senior management has widened. The average package for chief executives in the UK is around £500 000 per year and this report on the survey was held in 2001. In the manufacturing sector the average wage is £20 000 per annum. In the UK the average executive’s salary package has risen almost one-third since 1999, which is over a period of two years in this survey.

Add to this the fact that the worker faces clearly defined tax structures whereas the CEO is able to have his package structured to take advantage of tax loop holes and one sees that the gap is even more pronounced. In the super rich bracket, it is reported that a bare 65 out of hundreds of people who are paid more than £10m a year actually face income tax bills.

Besides the issue of greed and what do people actually do with an income of £10m a year, one wonders how this inequality can continue. How do the masses of people actually buy into this mindset? Why is not a huge groundswell of people objecting to this huge division. At one stage one thought that the Unions would champion better deals for the people.

The Unions seem fairly ineffectual nowadays as the telecoms Unions in Germany demonstrated, or the civil service Unions in South Africa who ended up brokering an almost worst deal than workers were getting before. The SA government offered such a small increase, that the wages the workers lost during the month long strike would negate the increase for many months. What was even more sad in South Africa, was that public opinion was in support of the civil service earning more.

What was in past times a banding together of royalty to maintain the status quo of haves and have-nots has now moved to the global financial stage. Internationally top management is feathering its bed at the expense of the worker and the trend does not seem to be slowing down. In fact the gap continues to widen.

Yet these CEOs depend on the worker’s consumption of product for their huge salaries. What is filling the gap? It is the personal debt which the average person is allowed and encouraged to accumulate that is making this possible.

With other words the average person ends up working for a miserable salary, is persuaded to borrow huge amounts of money to buy into the kind of lifestyle the advertising industry promises the consumer. In the end they have to cling to their pathetic jobs because without that small income coming in, their treadmill would collapse.

How to make a Million Dollars – Step Seven

Previously I have discussed five steps towards making a Million Dollars. These were passion, hard work, perseverance, the ability to cope with failure and still continue and belief in yourself and that you could do it. The next one I would recommend would be focus. Sure this is similar to a few of the others, but not quite.

Many people start off with a vision of that Million Dollars. And they are passionate and hardworking and they will try many new things to get to that goal. There lies the problem. Trying many new things. They bounce around, putting effort and passion into this idea, for about a week, then they put the same effort and passion into another idea the next week. I have seen many people do this. They are doing this even at home, or in relationships, or in starting a new hobby, in fact in many areas of their life.

I suppose it stems from the fact that we live in such an instant gratification society that we are not prepared to work at something for a long period of time. We might spend a year, or maybe just a few months on trying this particular business venture.

But if you look at some of the people who have made it big, they didn’t do this overnight. Even Bill Gates spent many years hiking DOS, around the operating system before his Windows System, trying to sell it. The Google boys didn’t do it overnight and as for Amazon, they spent years before they posted their first profit. The years before that involved many instances of groveling for more funds to keep the company afloat.

When you decide you want to make a lot of money then you have to stay focused. Decide on what you are passionate about, put some mega hard work into it, stay on track with your perseverance and don’t allow set backs to stop you. But over and above all of this, keep your focus on the one thing that you are passionate about and that will ultimately make you your money.

I am sure there are many people who look at their bank account, read some inspiring report on how Madonna made her millions, or Paul Getty drilled for oil, or Richard Branson took a chance on music and many more stories. So they are like kids in a toy store, trying out different get rich quick schemes. They might dabble in property because somebody has written about that. Or they might try their luck on the stock exchange. Or lo and behold, there is the internet where scores of people are making huge money in a few days. Now that’s where I should be.

Every time you change focus, you lose some momentum, and often you even lose some of your invested money. Keep your focus. Don’t expect to make money overnight. For that buy a lotto ticket. Oh that one didn’t work for you either? Neither for me. Get your mind around what you are passionate about and focus on that one thing.

Don’t get caught by quick fix solutions. They don’t work. Anybody who tells you it worked for them, they are lying. They are making up success stories to impress their audience. You need to know better. There is no such thing. Keep your focus. Remember those Karate Kid movies? My kids loved them. And I loved watching them with the two of them. And focus was the main principle behind those, slightly unlikely – but then its Hollywood isn’t it – stories. The principle of the story stood though, Hollywood or not.

How to make a Million Dollars – Step Five

The previous steps towards that Million Dollars, that I have written about are passion, hard work, perseverance and the ability to cope with failure and still continue. My next one would be that you have got to believe that you will achieve it. In this instance it is a Million Dollars, but it could be something different such as completing a marathon, losing 10kg of weight, making a marriage work, with other words any number of different goals would require the same steps.

Would perseverance not fall under believing in oneself and one’s achievement?  After all perseverance indicates belief in the positive outcome. I would still make a distinction between the two. People can happily persevere in working at a goal. But they might actually not believe they will ever get there. They are kind of going through the motions.

Many people will pause at this stage and remember failed projects which they had vehemently believed in at the time. Yet they didn’t make it. Those years that they studied and still didn’t get the degree, or worked long hours at their business many months hardly drawing a salary. And still the business bumbled along for a few years and in the end they gave up and sold up, closed down and went to work for a boss. All those were strong dreams that didn’t happen for them.

But I believe that what distinguishes the person with reaching their dream and those that just grab at it in mid-air, is the absolute, cast-iron, set in concrete belief that they can achieve their goal. Call it obsessional belief. There is not one crack of disbelief. In all honesty, ask yourself, when you gave up that dream to be a concert pianist, athlete, business owner how strong had you actually believed in yourself. Was it all consuming? Not a flicker of doubt?

Listening to Classic FM I heard an interview with Lang Lang, the world renowned Chinese concert pianist who is creating waves and picking up awards with his supreme technical skills and interpretative playing.  He said that during his years of tuition he once had a teacher who just took a dislike to him and told him that he should give up the piano because he was no good, and would never be any good.

Lang Lang gave up the piano for six months, not knowing what else to do as his entire life had been focused on becoming a pianist. Then a college invited him to play for a special event. He initially refused saying that he was no good at it. But they insisted and pleaded with him. Finally he thought, why not, after all this is what he truly wanted to do. And he played for them. He never looked back. Now almost ten years later, he is an award winning pianist.  Even now he has some detractors and is called Bang Bang by some critics who maintain that his playing style is vulgar and lacks sensitivity. This does not deter him however, and he continues to perform and record with top orchestras and conductors.

Are you going to get criticism if you have fought your way to the top with hard work, determination, absolute self-belief, having suffered many set-backs but kept your passion going. Of course you are. You will be criticised by the people who gave up on their passion, and who now envy you for your achievements thinking that you must have cheated to get where you are now. After all if they couldn’t manage it, then surely nobody else can without doing something underhand, or having excessive help and luck in reaching their goal. Don’t you believe it. People make their luck happen. You can do it too. You gotta believe!

I want to be a Fireman when I grow up

Do you remember when you were a kid and the world was such an easy place to be living in and to understand. Everything was so straightforward. The holidays were the highlights, school was ok, at the age of six you knew who you were going to marry and what you were going to be when you were grown up. Somehow, somewhere that absolute certainty of our life path became one big swamp of indecision.

Look at this statement and consider whether it is true. People who have the same dream, in full technicolour are actually able to realise their dreams, whereas people who have many vague dreams don’t get anywhere? What do you think? I myself have no idea what the correct answer is. However, what I do know is that most people actually don’t really have a clear idea of their life forward. They kind of react to what is thrown at them. I once asked a person this question. What is your strategy for the next ten years, or are you just going to drift along. He looked so shocked that I should ask a question like that.

Logically, if one has no clear idea of what one wants, it is going to be really difficult to get that! You go into a shop and you know that you want to possibly get a new shirt, but you are not sure whether you want long sleeves, formal colour or casual one, button sleeves or not and never mind what colour. You have no idea. You walk into the shop thinking, when I find something I like, then I will know what I was looking for. Does that sound right? And is it a good idea to treat your life along the same lines? If a job comes along that I might like, I’ll take it. So what are the odds that the job you like will actually come along. You might not even recognise that its a job you might like, because you don’t really know what you want.

What stops us from identifying what we want in life. Do we think we are not worth it and therefore its pointless to actually decide on what we want. Or, it’s never happened before, I never get what I want, so why bother putting a plan of action together to achieve what I really want to have. In any case, I don’t really have time for all this day dreaming stuff. There are more urgent things to attend to.

What if you decided that what you really wanted was a couple of million Dollars in the bank account, a beautiful four bedroom house with a garden, the grey Mercedes in the drive way, a holiday home in Spain and a seat booked for the first tourist flight into space. Wow. I can hear you say, I could never get any of these. I know my limitations. I’ll be lucky if I can raise a bond on a studio apartment, car is out of the question because I can’t afford to buy it, never mind all the road worthy and insurance costs and as for a holiday place to own, you must be kidding. That’s the response to the suggestions of what we might really want. So what do we do, we stop dreaming and settle for mediocre.

But just say as an exercise, just for fun, you actually put together a clear map, a plan of action, a totally identified landscape of your dream that you might have had in your first year at college for instance. You put it onto paper, whether in words, or using pictures and drawings and you hang it in a space that you will always see, such as next to the bathroom mirror. You keep that dream in your mind and some time everyday, while you are brushing your teeth, you check all the details that you have put down and think about it.

Eventually the dream starts getting to feel a bit more real because you have been looking at it so often. And then you start making career decisions that start to fall in line with your dreams. Suddenly you are looking out for promotion. You start to work out exactly what job you want in order to earn a better package. And somehow, from drifting, you suddenly have a plan. That could be something.

Doesn’t that sound better than just milling around, taking out your frustrations on the dog, wife, partner etc because you know in your heart that this life of aimlessness and underachieving, is actually not for you. You feel total dissatisfaction because you know and feel that something better was actually meant to happen to you. It’s not too late. Work out what you want, visualise it and see how long it takes for you to get there. Why not try it. You have absolutely nothing to lose. For more information and some help and inspiration to move forward to go to http://anjamerret.blogspot.com.

How to make a Million Dollars – Step Four

So far, in previous articles on how to make a Million Dollars, I have written about passion being essential, hard work definitely has to be part of the action and perseverance being the third step necessary in a quest for making real money. The next one to be added to this, would be the ability to cope with failure. Winston Churchill said that success consisted of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. That’s what I am talking about.

The best examples of going from failure to failure without giving up, are in the scientific exploration area. Scientists spend much time, in some instances, years experimenting in order to find the answers they are looking for. As an example, the story of the Wright brothers and how they worked on their first flying machine, is the story of failure after failure until success.

Another great example is the history of Google. Google began as a research project in January 1996 by two Ph.D students. With continuous funding required and raised, during the following years, the company developed its search engine, as well as its advertising format. It was only in August 2004 when the company was offered to the public that it’s true market value was revealed and the founders were rewarded for their passion, hard work, perseverance and ability to continue even through failures.

In the field of sport, Tiger Woods rates as one of the outstanding sportsmen the world has seen. During his professional playing years there have been several years where he lost ranking and did not win major tournaments. However, he always worked hard to regain his position. What is probably not that well known either is that he was legally blind without contract lenses or glasses until 1999 when he underwent the LASIK procedure. He has also won many tournaments against all odds, through sheer determination and effort.

In your own life you would have experienced these failures and successes. And your successes would have depended on whether you would have been able to continue through your failures. This could have been just completing a puzzle, building something with your Lego blocks as a child, or later finding you had talent and ability in athletics for instance and working on your talent until you won the championship race. On the path to that, there would have been many failures which could have either stopped you from continuing, or encouraged you to put in even more effort.

Our lives as adults are very similar, although we do tend to allow failures to determine our efforts more than when we were youngsters. As one gets older, the consideration that we could actually fail, many times prohibits us from even starting. This often affects whether we strive for some achievements in our life, or whether we sell out to mediocrity and vegetate through life.

If you feel that you are just drifting through life right now, and that you know inside yourself that there is something better out there, that you yourself were meant to do more, feel more fulfilled within your life, strive towards challenges, earn that first Million Dollars, no matter your age, then you might want to consider getting yourself some help by getting your copy of Get the Edge, a great mentoring program that will challenge and guide you to greater personal power and fulfillment.

Million Dollars – Saving Money

I discovered some great articles to add to my series of articles on how to start taking the first steps towards making your million dollars.

Putting income into savings tends to be overlooked, mainly because the returns offered by banks tend to be so low we disregard this option. We want that million dollars now. However, savings should be an integral part of any wealth generation strategy.
Freemoneyfinance.com is a great site to get more practical information on wealth generation.

How to make a Million Dollars – Step Three

If you have been following this series on How to make a Million Dollars, you will have come across Step One as being passion and Step Two as hard work. And at the time I wrote those I could not decide which one should be number one as they are both equally important. Hard work with no passion, and passion with no hard work is not going to get you that coveted Million Dollars into your bank account.

What then is Step Three. For me Step Three is perseverance. There are many examples of passion, hard work and perseverance and one of my favourites is the story of Michelangelo and the painting of the Sistine Chapel which took four years of back breaking labour. Imagine lying on your back on a wobbly scaffold with hot candle wax dripping on you intermittently while you are painting. The result is of course extraordinary. And I saw it before it was cleaned up!

A further example of people manifesting passion, hard work and perseverance is for instance Lance Armstrong, the cyclist. What a come-back from cancer, to go on to win the Tour de France seven times. Oprah Winfrey is another who took a fair time to put together her passion, hard work and perseverance. She started her broadcasting career ten years before she finally had her own show The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986. And she has become a legend since then. What about Ronald Reagan who persevered after loosing the presidential race in 1976, and ended up becoming a much loved and successful president of the States, winning re-election.

Then there is the story of Steve Jobs and Apple Computers. He and his partner Woz started Apple in Steve’s parent’s garage when he was 20 years old. They worked hard and it took 10 years for them to start becoming successful, and then he got fired at 30 from the company which he had started. It took a while for him to recover from that set back, but then he started Pixar, and most of us know the wonderful movies such as Toy Story that production studio has produced since then. Then he started NeXT which ironically was bought by Apple, and Steve Jobs ended up back at the helm of his old company. That is called passion, hard work and perseverance.

I’m sure you have a success story to tell, that you have experienced or observed. And these three components are present each time. Passion for the subject whether it’s computers, stamp collection, answering the phone or making cookies. A huge amount of hard work to make the computer company, stamp collector, receptionist or baker get off the ground and make it and perseverance to steer that enterprise through its hard times, set-backs, mistakes and achievements.

You have patiently read this far. And how do you feel now? Do you think you are still with the program? Can you see yourself making that first million dollar? That is always the hardest to do. Additional million dollars tend to follow a lot easier. Most of us have all the enthusiasm in the world to get going immediately on the task we set ourselves. But we tend not to get too far because old habits stop us from moving from our very comfortable, but unsuccessful path. You need help. So get it from here. All of the above makes sense, doesn’t it? And you have known this all along, but you have laboured on in your own little way not wanting to leave and take the plunge. With help you can do it. Help is only a click away. Go for it.

How to make a Million Dollars – Step One

If you are like most of us, looking at wealthy people with some envy and wishing you had the same ‘luck’ in making money it is quite a thought to wonder whether you could actually make a million Dollars yourself. It seems so remote and unreal. Not something that you believe could happen to you. The good news is that it is most assuredly possible for you to make a million Dollars. The bad news is that you will not make a million Dollars by sitting on the beach imagining one million Dollars stacked up in your bank account and believing that no other effort is required.

You need to get your passion back. This is your first step that you should take into that new wealth state that you wish for yourself. This first step is to find that passion again that you had when you were a kid. That passion that got you to play a computer game until you got to the top level, the guitar cords you picked until you could play the latest hit song and your finger tips were raw, the butterflies you collected, the Barbie doll clothes and accessories that you were fanatical about and many many more. Think back to when you were so passionate that nothing could stop you, from whatever you were trying to do Those passionate moments were times when you thought nothing could stop you from achieving your goals.

As a kid myself, I used to read passionately. I could read fairly well before I started school, so school just added some extra skills. And then the quest for stories was all consuming. I would read under my blanket with a torch. In later years I used to think that it killed my eyesight as I had to get spectacles from an early age. On the other hand my father was short sighted, so I think it was something I inherited rather than did to myself. To this day, I read through the night if needs be, when I start on a good book.

The first step in your process is to find the thing that makes you passionate now. This can be something like talking to people or helping people. One person who has made a success of talking to people, is Oprah Winfrey and this against some heavy odds stacked against her, another example is Parkinson. Then there is Nelson Mandela who was determined to help his people towards equality and democracy. He spent 27 years in prison on an island, but still never gave up on his passion. There are many examples of successful people whose passions have allowed them to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams and be successful in their chosen field.

You can do it too. But how to start is of course a huge question. We tend to be stuck in our every day lives, uninspired at work, so-so in our relationships, the dog the only close friend. Alright, maybe not that bad, but it is still difficult to get ourselves out of this mind set. And sometimes it doesn’t seem to be even possible, the drudgery of every day life keeping us back and with no energy left to start something new. That’s when you should get yourself help. You would if you had a really bad flu or a broken leg, wouldn’t you. So why not get assistance to reclaim the life you should be enjoying. You are worth spending time, money and energy on. Go here for more information and some help and inspiration to move forward to great wealth. It will provide you with all the boost you need to get started.

How to make a Million Dollars in one Month

I bet I am going to get the attention of many many readers with that headline. The disappointing news is that unless you win the lotterry or have some other very very fortunate occurrence in your life, you are not going to make a million Dollars in one month.

We all want to be millionaires. We want to lead the life of the rich and famous. And we are convinced that they had that money fall into their laps, appear in their bank accounts one day, were really lucky in their deals, were at the right spot at the right time and any other bizarre kind of acquisition process one can think of. If you are Paris Hilton, then yes it did. However, if you look at the source of her money, it is certain that the original Conrad Hilton worked very hard for his money. Because that is what most millionaires have had to do. This includes the Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, John D Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Oprah Winfrey or JK Rowling’s of this world, who have often been through hardships before their sheer determination and hard work paid off. Sometimes, they even had to endure going bankrupt in their quest for wealth, such as Conrad Hilton who lost his hotels during the Depression before buying them back again as soon as he could.

So you want to make a million Dollars in a month, starting from zero, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article. Bury that thought. It isn’t going to happen to 99% of us. The question is though, taking away the one month time and extending that into a longer time period, of whatever length you would be comfortable with, would it be possible. Of course.

There are many reasons why the millionaires and billionaires have made it happen for themselves. In the next few posts I will examine some of these attributes, habits and obsessions that I think have made it possible for these people to earn the millions that they have. In this first article I am going to look at the one personality trait that I think would be the most important one to have in order to succeed. As with all personality traits, these are not ones necessarily that one is only born with. They can be developed by anybody. Besides this, any number of other people could determine that my first choice is not correct, unlikely to be the one and other general objections. With other words this is a personal opinion. I am sure there are many people who have other opinions on this, and I would love to hear them.

The most important characteristic for financial or other success is passion. It could be called obsession as well of course, or tunnel vision, one track mind, stubbornness and more. It really depends on how one looks at this personality trait whether one calls it passion or obsession. I am certain if one were to study the people who have managed to acquire their millions in their life time, that this one particular character trait would be found in all or most of them.

For an example, reading some background on JK Rowling, who is said to be just behind Oprah Winfrey in terms of wealth, world wide, in the entertainment field. Her first Harry Potter book was submitted to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected it. A year later she finally was given the go ahead by a small publisher with an advance of £1500.00. And the advice from the publisher was that she should get herself a job since she had little chance of making a living writing children’s books. The first Harry Potter book had a print run of 1000, of which 500 were sent to libraries. In a report by the BBC it is stated that 12 million copies are to be printed just for the United States market for the launch in July 2007. How many of us would have given up when we were told that we would never make it, the advice by a publisher who would probably have known his market?

If you want to make a million dollars, discover that something that makes you really really passionate. It’s there. You’ve just allowed life and all its ups and downs to burry it. Put some real and passionate effort into that exercise. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just as an aside, I think just being passionate about having lots of money isn’t the same! If that were so, I would be a billionaire by now. And if you are not interested in making a million Dollars, don’t beat yourself up either. Hope you have fun reading the posts anyway. Let me know how you go! However, if you want to start on this journey it might be an idea to get some help right here.