Tag Archives: Life

Step 1 for A Secure Financial Future – Take Stock!

Whether you have broken your 2020 new years resolution by now or not, for the most of us, our finances continue to be a concern.

Here is the first step towards planning for a Secure financial future.

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Take Stock of Current Financial Status, that is,

  • Calculate your current NET WORTH.
    • Do this at least quarterly; certainly
    • do it once a year!
  • Compute the current value of all your assets (what you own).
    • The total of non-obligated funds (balance) at all bank accounts
    • The fair market value of all real assets you own
      • trade-in value of cars, motorcycles, boats, scooters, trucks, etc.
      • Current fair market value of all real property you own
        • house(s), farm(s), land(s), etc.
      • Current trade-in value of equipment and appliances you own
        • TV’s, Refrigerator, tools, computers, sound systems, etc.
      • Current trade-in value of all furniture, jewelry, antiques, etc.
    • Compute the current value of all financial investment instruments
      • (these are the value of these instruments
        • that will be available to you on demand
        • after deductions of all penalties, fees,commissions etc.)
      • Cash payout of all retirement accounts
      • Cash payout value of bonds, stocks, etc.
      • Cash payout of life and other insurance policies
        • if any;
      • Cash payout of all other investments
  • Compute your total debts (Liabilities);
    • Current short term loans
      • (those payable within 1-5 years)
      • credit card(s) balance(s)
      • total current value of all car loans/note(s)
      • other short term debt(s)
        • e.g. lease or rental obligations
    • current value of total long term obligations
      • Mortgages/house payments
      • Student Loans
        • many student loans have a payoff value
          • attached to your total balance
      • Other Long term contractual Obligations
        • current value of total child support payments
        • current value of alimony or divorce settlements, etc.
        • current value of all other court ordered payments, etc.
  • Compute the Net Worth
    • = Total Current value of Assets – Total Current Value of all Debts.
    • This is the foundation of all planning for a secure financial future!
    • The numbers need not be super accurate.
    • This is just a birds eye view of your current position
  • Now that you know your current financial status,

  • the Next Step is to SET SOUND FINANCIAL GOALS
    • That is, clarify where you want to be
    • That’s in the next Post

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Orientation for a Secure Financial Future

Scanning the landscape of your financial future?

There are about six major ways to become wealthy:

  • Be Born into a Wealthy Family

    • It goes without saying that
      • if you are the child, relative, or heir of
        • Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Sam Walton, or
        • Africa’s Aliko Dangote, or Mexico’s Carlos Slim, or
        • any of the royal families in Kuwait, Oman, or Dubai, etc.
          • you WILL also be wealthy.
    • But this path to wealth is not available to over 99% of the planet!
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  • Marry into a Wealthy Family

    • Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle
      • married into British Royalty and into Wealth!
    • The wives of Rupert Murdoch, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk
      • all married into wealth.
    • However, this road is reserved
      • for only a tiny sliver of humanity. 
      • It also appears that
        • the wealthy generally marry
          • people of similar economic status.
  • Win a Lottery Jackpot with a Big Cash Prize

    • The odds of winning the mega million jackpot in the US
      • for example, is over 1 in 300 million
      • that means it is ‘possible’ to lose over 300 million times
        • before you win once!
      • It also means that you may never win
        • if you play the lottery every day
          • of a 100-year life span
          • (that is about 36,600 days!)
          • and never win!
      • As a means to wealth,
        • winning the Jackpot is therefore a ‘false hope’
        • for the majority of us.
      • Note:  Forget about the publicity
        • around those who win;
        • the prize money
        • (less the portion
          • that goes to the organizers)
          • is coming from all those who did not win,
            • (that is a lot of people!)
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Photo by kat wilcox on Pexels.com
  • Steal Money From Plenty of People or From a Wealthy Person

    • The problem with this approach is that
      • it is illegal and you may get caught, 
      • it is anti-biblical, unethical, and immoral; moreover
      • people/the wealthy will work to protect their money, and
      • therefore the success rate of achieving lifetime wealth
        • through thievery is also very low.
    • Therefore, this is not a viable approach to wealth
      • for average person
      • (some still try to make a living
        • by scamming people out of their money).
  • Become a Successful Professional in a Well-paying Industry 

    • Note: “successful”
    • Also Note: “well paying industry” of the economy, meaning
      • star athletes, champion sportsmen, movie stars, etc.
        • at the top of their profession
        • (Usain Bolt
          • the 100 meter Jamaican world record holder
          • is reportedly worth over $30 million
            • in 2019!);
      • professions requiring high qualification, and
        • that are in high demand
        • but with low supply of workers, for example,
          • brain surgeons, computer whiz, fund managers, etc.
    • Also Note: Working for income in an excellent but regular job
        • is not usually a means to wealth!!
    • The possibilities here in my judgment are greater
      • than the previous listings
      • but still for most people
      • it is not a feasible way to build lifetime wealth.
  • Start and Run Your Own Successful Business 

    • Note again “successful”
    • Starting and running a business requires
      • special skills
        • which many people do not appear to have;
      • willingness to take risks,
      • willingness to bear full responsibility
        • for your own welfare.
      • But with risks comes financial reward
        • that can grow without limit
          • into lifetime wealth,
          • as long as the business continues to grow
            • and is successful.
    • The proportion of people who can take this is also greater 
      • than than the previous options!
  • Get A regular career and invest wisely

    • in other Successful Businesses
      • over a long period of time!
    • Note: you do not have to be successful at
      • starting and running a business; but
        • you must be good at picking successful businesses
          • over a long period of time!
    • This means using modest regular income, and
      • saving all you can, while
      • investing in businesses that are successful,
      • over a long period of time,
        • will generally compound into wealth!
    • This is the most available route for most people!
      • More next time.

On a final note:

  • Becoming ‘wealthy’ need not be your goal, rather
  • Make it your goal to become Financially Free:
    • Have enough to tithe and give to the work of the Lord.
    • Have enough to cover your budgeted expense
      • including miscellaneous, as well as
      • unplanned and unexpected expenses.
    • Have enough to cover for emergencies.
    • Save enough to guarantee a desired standard of living in retirement.
    • Have enough to leave a legacy for the next generation!
    • Have enough to be generous and make a difference in the lives of others.
  • This we can all do
    • If we start early,
    • with much planning, prayer, and discipline!!

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New Year! What Resolutions?!

I NO LONGER MAKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!!

WHY?  Two things!

  • I have come to view the end of one year and the start of another as 
    • a little too artificial.
    • Imagine looking back to the earth
      • from the vantage point of the moon.
      • What is the difference between
        • December 31st and
        • January 1st?
    • Or Imagine being a bird, or another animal.
      • What is the difference in the experience
      • of December 31st relative to January 1st?
  • I have resolutions,
    • but they are no longer bound by an artificial timeline.
    • My resolutions
      • like time itself,
      • are always on a continuum; and they
      • are about
        • ‘always growing’;
        • always becoming a better version of me.
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Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com
    •  I don’t stop striving to become better version of me
      • just because I broke a resolution after two months.
    • Neither do I wait until the next December 31st
      • to resolve to start again;
      • to become a better version of me;
        • after I fail by February 1st each year.

So what should we do on the 31st of December each year?

  • Do celebrate 
    • the end of a block of (man made) ‘time’ and the start of a new one,
      • like everybody else; and
      • it is useful to have time markers along the way, but
  • Do, never become obsessive
    • that you must meet all your benchmarks within the year
      • to consider yourself successful!

So here is the ONE AND ONLY RESOLUTION you need to have:

  • Always strive to become a better version of yourself with each passing day:
    • Be better at your faith, you know,
      • trust, pray, love, give, testify, know, and serve more, etc.,
        • about and as a result of your faith!
    • Better in your character
      • (the real you;
      • what’s inside;
      • like toothpaste,
        • what comes out when pressure is applied);
      • Be more dependable, more patient, more truthful,
      • more balanced, less self-centered, more at peace with yourself,
      • more generous with others,
        • with your resources as well as with their faults etc.,
      • more self disciplined with time, words, and actions; wiser.
  •  Better in your relationships: more
      • serving, self-less, open, forgiving, listening and less talking,
      • considerate, gentle, humble, and more self-control.
    • Better at your Career:  Make it your goal to be 
      • more dependable, knowledgeable, skillful, useful, available, etc.
        • with each passing day.

A wise man once said, long ago:

“…One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize…” Paul (ca. AD 52-62, Phil 3.13-14)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE!!

A Very Profound Event Happened at Christmas

A Very Profound Event Happened at Christmas:

  • God Became Man!

The Scriptures Says it Best:

  • No Exposition Needed
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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com
  • In the beginning was the Word, and
    • the Word was with God, and
    • the Word was God.
    • He was with God in the beginning.
    • Through him all things were made;
    • without him nothing was made
      • that has been made.
    • In him was life, and
      • that life was the light of all mankind.
        • The light shines in the darkness, and
        • the darkness has not overcome[a] it. . . . 
  • He was in the world, and though
    • the world was made through him,
    • the world did not recognize him.
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  • He came to that which was his own,
    • but his own did not receive him. 
    • Yet to all who did receive him,
    • to those who believed in his name, 
      • he gave the right to become children of God
        • children born not
          • of natural descent, nor
          • of human decision
          • or a husband’s will, but
        • born of God.
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Photo by KML on Pexels.com
  • The Word became flesh and
    • made his dwelling among us.
    • We have seen his glory, 
      • the glory of the one and only Son,
        • who came from the Father,
        • full of grace and truth.
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Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

A Very Profound Event Happened at Christmas:

  • God Became Man!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!!

What Is So Special About Christmas?

For most of us, the Christmas season is special,

  • a welcome time of the year.

But I ask myself the question, Why?

  • WHAT IS SO UNIQUE ABOUT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR!?

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Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

It is about the giving and receiving of gifts?

  • Everyone seem to make an effort to give a gift to someone else
    • No doubt receiving a gift is a pleasant experience.
    • Giving a gift that brings joy to someone else
      • is also a beautiful thing.
  • All this shopping for gifts mean more sales for businesses
    • which allows them
      • to hand out bonuses to workers
        • at Christmas.
    • Even without increased revenues,
    • Christmas is when businesses
      • make positive gestures
        • towards employees and the public.
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Could it be the Bright and Warm Colors of the season?

  • A lot of people put on
    • red, green or gold or other
    • bright and warm colors during this season.
  • Many homes are decorated with multi colored Christmas lights
    • on the outside
    • and, with colorfully decorated ornaments
      • on the inside including on Christmas trees.
  • Many stores and businesses 
    • make dramatic and colorful window displays.
    • On the inside, their products
      • are also beautifully arranged with Christmas decorations.
  • The streets, and city centers in many areas around the world
    • are also impressively decorated.
  • But the Christmas season is all this and more!

Could it be the Wonderful Sounds that fill the air?

  • Lots of music and the sounds of bells and whistles
    • fill the air during this season.
  • Christmas Carols tell the wonderful story
    • of the love of God and
    • of peace and goodwill towards all men.
  • The sounds of the Christmas season evokes nostalgia
    • in the minds of adults
      • about innocent childhood days as well as
      • about simpler days and times;
        • when they looked forward to
          • Christmas gifts, toys, family, and fun.
    • But the Christmas season
      • is special for  all this and more;
      • more than just the sounds of love, joy, peace, and hope that fills the air!

Is it because of the Special Food we enjoy at this time of the year?

  • Everyone goes out of their way to prepare special food and 
    • there is plenty of it
      • at Christmas time;
    • there is also a large variety of it
      • at Christmas time;
    • there is plenty of food and lots of variety
      • of very nice food
        • at Christmas time.
    • But the Christmas season is special
      • for more than lots of very fine food.

Is it the many celebrations, the events we get to attend?

    • Parties among friends and families,
    • nine lessons and carols;
    • special concerts and
    • sporting events etc.,
      • are all mostly very nice experiences.
  • Even without a party to go to,
    • the streets have more people
      • out and about,
        • (shopping, dining, buying and selling, etc.
        • not to forget the traffic);
      • during the Christmas season
      • giving a special ‘event’ type feeling.
  • This is good but Christmas season is special for much more!

All of the above,

  • each have a part to play
    • in making the Christmas Season
      • SO VERY SPECIAL.

But together,

  • the giving and receiving of gifts,
  • the bright and warm colors,
  • the sounds,
  • the special and very fine food,
  • the celebrations and special events;
    • combine to create a very powerful and positive vibe
      • in society.
  • The season is special,
    • because together
      • they make it a season of GOOD WILL
        • wherever Christmas is celebrated!

And we

  • (all of humanity, our families, our communities, our nation, our economies)
  • need AT LEAST ONE SEASON OF GOOD WILL in each year!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU THE READER AND SUBSCRIBERS!

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How to Give the ‘Perfect Christmas Gift’

In Developing Countries;

  • it is easier to come up with gift ideas,
    • (if you have the funds for it),
  • there are many things that people need
    • but do not have; indeed
    • cooked food was the gift that
      • my mother dispatched
        • (through us children)
        • to neighbors, extended family, and friends
        • as a sign of good will at Christmas time;
    • watches, shoes, garments, jewelry, dishes, sheets,
    • pens, books, personal music player, TV, computers, toys, etc.
      • are all also great gift ideas.

In affluent societies like in the Western World

  • coming up with the perfect gift at Christmas
    • can be a challenge;
      • because most people use
        • their regular incomes or
        • credit cards to buy what they
          • need or use regularly.
  • One option is to buy
    • high-end gifts or
    • exotic and rare versions
      • (which can be very pricey)
      • of things people use on a regular basis.
  • Regular folks therefore have to work harder to give the perfect gift;
    • here are a few suggestions of how to give the perfect gift.

The perfect gift takes time

  • Start early, as early as September;
    • listen to everyday conversations,
    • listen to expressed desires and aspirations
    • and make a note for gift ideas from those conversations.

The perfect gift may be an ‘experience’

  • Gift ideas do not have to be ‘things
    • they can be
      • a vacation, cruises, concert, a trip to a destination
      • museum/zoo visits or theme park rides, air fare, special trips;
      • time off work, housekeeping, or baby sitting;
      • an offer of cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping;
      • scholarship, tuition contribution, tutoring,
      • a special radio station/you-tube, blog post announcement, etc.

The perfect gift should be personalized, customized or handmade;

  • an autographed book/ticket/music/fan wear,
    • (from the author or composer, or admired person)
  • monogrammed items:
    • a person’s name, initials or special message,
      • can be inscribed on
        • silverware,  bathroom set, plaque, musical instrument;

The perfect gift must fit the personality of the receiver 

  • Some people want big
    • (the amount spent is impressive)
    • others look for small details
      • (how rare, how much effort, how much thoughtfulness!)
  • Some people are visual
    • others are action oriented, still
    • others are moved by sound, etc.
  • Some people like things, others like ‘experiences.’
  • Some people want to keep up with their peers
    • (they get gifts that are popular)
    • others want to know that ‘they’ are unique
      • (they get gifts just for them);
  • How do you know what is the perfect gift?
    • People usually give the type of gift
      • that THEY like to receive;
      • use that to guide your gift giving
        • TO THEM!
        • not the other way around
        • do not give what you cherish
          • (I once gifted a hat to my wife
            • that she has never used;
            • it was something I fancied for myself!)

The perfect gift may be what someone tells you they want

  • They tell you directly or respond if/when you ask.
  • Some apps make it easy to create a registry for gift requests.

 

 

Thanksgiving (An Attitude of the heart!!)

This should have been posted before Thanksgiving Day.  All the same,

“Better Late than never,” and on thanksgiving week,

I heard one radio announcer say:

“Thanksgiving is not a day, it is an attitude of the heart.”

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Photo by nappy on Pexels.com
  • T – THANK and PRAISE God

    • for all things BIG and SMALL!
      • And do not forget
        • the precious people in your life!
  • H – HEALTH AND LIFE

    • are things we can all be thankful for
      • even if we are ill at a hospital
        • or in bed!
  • A – APPRECIATE and ADMIRE

    • the beauty of God’s creation around you.
  • N – NAME and NUMBER

    • your blessings,
      • its a rewarding experience,
      • including the precious people in your life.
  • K – KINDNESS and THANKSGIVING

    • in the heart
      • are twin siblings in the same home.
  • S – A SMILE and a CHEER;

    • want to see it on the face of the deserving?
      • Just say, “Thank You!”
        • from the heart
        • and with a warm smile!
  • G – GIVING and RECEIVING:

    • The one exists not without the other
      • every time you say,
        • “Thank You!”
  • I – ICTUS;

    • Five Greek letters for ‘fish‘:
    • Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior:
      • at least one reason to “give thanks!”
  • V – VISION and VALUE:

    • Nothing says:
      • I see and I value what you have done” like when you say
        • “Thank you very much,”
          • from the heart.
  • I – INSIDE and OUTSIDE:

    • A thankful heart, expressed outwardly in sincere words
      • belong together.
  • N – NICE and NEW: 

    • Thanksgiving is always that
      • and much more.
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Photo by Panos Sakalakis on Pexels.com
  • G – GOOD to GREAT: 

    • ‘Good Gifts’ become ‘GREAT GIFTS,’
      • when it is received with a heartfelt:
        • “Thank you.”