Tag Archive - Money

Free Billion Dollar Water

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One upon a time I was at my car dealer for maintenance.

I went inside every fancy car that I cannot afford to enjoy its interior.

I then went to the free water fountain to drink.

As I moved my head down to drink I reallized that while I can definitely live and even enjoy my life without the expensive cars, I cannot live without this free water, which is way more precious and expensive than all the expensive stuff.

A billionaire would trade all their wealth for this free water if they ever had to choose only one, that alone should teach us how wealthy we are if we just have enough food and enough water.

Thank You God!

Restroom encounters and the ASS-U-ME lesson!

We pass by so many people every single day. We don’t pay attention to them. Everyone has a story behind. And every story has much wisdom and many lessons to it.

And we usually keep to ourselves. We don’t explore people. We think it’s intruding. But the reality is, in most cases, people won’t mind a friendly approach and a few questions. We are designed to be social. God created people to co-exist. To enjoy sharing and being together. To help each other. To learn from each other.

Recently I had a small experience that got me thinking about all that. Someone I meet a few times a week in the restroom. His office is in the same floor. I always pass by his quiet office and wonder what kind of business does he do under this “web services” title. I’d even say to myself, this office looks like they’re not doing any business in this tough economy. I even went on wondering why won’t the owner just have a home office and save a few thousands a month in useless rent. He doesn’t seem to be making any money any anyway!
 
I was wrong! I remembered what a friend taught me once, a lesson that was passed to her by one of her school teachers. The lesson is simple, and it goes like this: “ASSUME… makes an ASS of U and ME!!!”. What a genius remark!
 
I met him as usual. We say hi and hello, how are you and how’s it going. Fine thank you. Blah blah blah! But that day I just was in the mood for some real questions:
 
- How’s business going?
- Actually it’s going very well.
- Wow, really! So you do web services? What’s that exactly?
- We shoot videos for companies that wish to have some YouTube presence.
- So you shoot the videos in the office?
- Yes. And we’re trying to expand and add some space to the office. It’s become too small.
 
Wow! How wrong was I. I assumed things by what I see from outside! I was feeling sad for this company and wishing they just save the rent and move to a home office instead, telling myself I’d do this smart move if I was in their place! Why worry about an expensive Chicago downtown location when you can create your web sites from home!
 
But I knew better after this short conversation! Their web services didn’t include making websites at all! And they were expanding their office, far from thinking about moving to a home office and save the rent! I also learned that YouTube is creating new business opportunities. But most importantly, I learned not to judge anything when we look from the outside!

Build, Before You Spend!

That’s the golden, yet simple rule for financial freedom. It’s a principle that this great country lives by its exact opposite. We spend what we don’t have. We borrow money from others (banks) to buy stuff for ourselves. Just for a moment, think of this scenario as if the bank was your friend. You like a new shirt, or desire a yummy steak at your favorite restaurant, so you go “borrow” money from your friend to buy it. Can we see ourselves do that? I guess not, it sounds insane, even indecent and irresponsible, as long as we don’t do it out of necessity. Who will ever say that we can’t live without a brand new car, a fancy dinner every week, and new cloths every couple weeks! Well, only those who don’t have a clue what “real life” is will say so!

In the famous book “The Millionaire Next Door”, one of the noteworthy characteristics that the author found common in self-made, first generation millionaires is that they live “below their means”. Not only they don’t spend what they don’t have, they actually don’t even spend “all” that they have. And that’s how they could build real wealth that ends up liberating them from money. They might live a simpler life, and others, who heavily rely on their high incomes to qualify for big credit, live a more sparkling life, dwelling in more expensive homes and driving luxurious cars. But the first group lives a simpler, yet comfortable life that is “theirs”, while the latter lives a luminous life that doesn’t really belong to them. They are at risk of loosing it every month, even every day. If their big fat paycheck stops, their ill-founded life falls apart. This is indeed a sure prescription for stress and the inability to truly taste and enjoy what we “think” we own.

I recently heard from a friend about a pilot who committed suicide. He got laid off, and obviously couldn’t find another job with a similar income. He gave up on life once he was hit and paralyzed by his finances falling on his head. He must have relied too much on his big pay, borrowing heavily to buy a nice house and new cars, etc., the typical scenario. Had he waited and lived “within”, not even below, his real means, he wouldn’t have ended up in trouble. He could have rented a nice place to live, or bought a reasonable house, used his big pay to save money while living comfortably, and his life would look very different by now. He’d probably be having enough savings to cover all his expenses for a long time, until he figures something out. He was one of the millions of victims of the norm. I wish more of us humans were strong enough to go against the norm, when it’s not really normal, if we just use some common sense! When enough of us do that, soon we will change and restore the norm to a more normal and harmonious state.

I like this advice from Suze Orman, even though I myself am nowhere close to it at the time of writing this. She suggests that we should have enough savings to cover our expenses for 6 months. That’s the first financial foundation we should build on. If your paycheck brings you a decent sum every month, I’d even say it’s safer to start by building enough savings for one year in case you lose your job. Six months sounds good, but we all know that life is UNPREDICTABLE. Yes, in capital letters, because I want it to look you bigger in the eyes! It’s one of those obvious facts that we tend to forget.

Well, I do think that the system itself is not going the right direction. We have seen what happened in the last years in the US market, and how many people lost their homes. I don’t think it’s even fair that you make payments for your house, then lose everything once you can no longer afford to pay. Buyers make mistakes and buy things they can’t really afford long-term. Buying a house is really a long-term commitment, mortgages going for 15, 20 or 30 years. We need extra caution when committing to something this long. However there is something wrong with the system itself.

In Islam, interest is strictly forbidden. I do believe that the Islamic rules are divine and meant for the ultimate, long-term good of both individuals and societies. Interest is a passive and abusive profit. We need no proof; those who got caught in debt know it too well. It’s hard to get out, and it enslaves the borrower to his ever-increasing debt. I do think that we can use the rule of “no interest” with the lessons of modern economy, and we can come up with the best formula. We need a just economy and just profits. No one can go wrong with justice, because it’s a win-win. In the meantime, we individuals have to start by our own selves. You don’t have to believe that interest is evil, because you might not believe in the Islamic teachings as I do. But we can all believe that it’s always better to use what we have. We can easily believe that buying a house or a car that we’re not sure to afford over time is like living in the house with no roof over our heads. It will get damaged with the first storm, and we’d even loose what we already paid in the walls and the furniture, thinking that the storm will wait for us until we can get to that roof and build it!

Build the whole house first, then move in and enjoy it! Now it’s really yours.

Quotes from Donald Trump’s “How to Get Rich”

 

  • There are situations in which the only way up is out.
  • Learning is a new beginning we can give ourselves every day.
  • Learn something new, whether you think you’re interested in it or not.
  • It’s a big world. There’s lot we don’t know, which means there’s still a lot to be discovered and a lot to be accomplished.
  • Writing is a form of thinking, and so is speaking.
  • People who persist have courage, because often it’s a lot easier to give up.
  • He who looks outside his own heart dreams, he who looks inside his own heart awakens. Carl Jung
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein
  • Sometimes, rather than confronting a tyrant or a psycho directly, it’s more effective to keep the knowledge to yourself and proceed accordingly, behind the scenes.
  • Homework is required and there will be a test.
  • We can learn from our mistakes, but it’s better to learn from our successes.
  • There are no short cuts to anywhere worth going. Beverly Sills
  • The harder I work, the luckier I get. Gary Player
  • The way we dress says a lot before we ever say a word.
  • The sooner you understand the value of money, the more likely you are to possess large amounts of it.
  • Here is the golden rule of negotiating: He who has the gold makes the rules.
  • If you see the entire planet as an emerging market-which it is-you’ll discover that you’ve got a lot of homework to do every day.
  • Ideas are door openers, the first step. Without a first step, there won’t be any other steps to take you where you want to go.
  • I will study and prepare, and perhaps my chance will come. Abraham Lincoln