Mindconnection eNL, 2002-02-14
In this issue:
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1. A personal Valentine's Day note
My sister used to wonder who is the favorite child or our parents--am I it, or is she? Over the years, I just shrugged off her questions, telling her, "I think it's pretty obvious who is the favorite. But I won't tell you." She'd recount this or that incident, sometimes trying to position herself as the favorite and sometimes trying to position me as the favorite. Our parents said they didn't have a favorite, but she "just knew" they did. Finally, after 30-some years of this I told her that I was the favorite.
"How can you say that?," she asked, looking somewhat hurt.
"It's very obvious. You see, back in 1964, Mom and Dad gave me a very special Valentine's Day present I treasure to this day. What better way to show how much they loved me?" My sister, who was born on Valentine's Day, 1964, gave me a big hug.
I hope this story made you smile.
2. Finance tip
If you're wondering how to improve your financial picture in these days of frozen raises, unemployment, and other financial woes, here's a tip for you. Readers of the eNL know I detest the world's #1 terrorist organization, the IRS. But, a small part of their job is collecting duly owed taxes. What most wage-earners don't know is the IRS can't compel you to do many of the things they try to intimidate you into doing. One of those things is smart management of your W-2 withholding allowances. Please note, these are not "exemptions" or "dependents." You claim exemptions and dependents on your 1040.
Here's the trick. For the first six months of the year, claim twice as many withholding allowances as you normally do. The last six months, claim half as many. If you got a refund last year, you can probably add one allowance before doubling.
Use the difference to pay down debt, such as you home equity line.
You can modify this strategy. I keep track of my total income and total withholding (I get both W-2s and 1099s) throughout the year. I keep my allowances at 9 for the first quarter. Each month, I adjust the number downward so my withholding moves toward 20%. The last two months, I drop to 1 allowance. As long as you have paid your tax bill by the end of the year, there's no interest or penalty. Why give an interest-free loan, when you can instead pay down debt by providing capital to the economy?
3. Health tip
Do you want to look much younger than you
are? It's easy to do. One of the secrets
is skin-care. Most of us are lousy at this. Another secret is keeping good posture
and muscle tone, but let's look at skin care
4. Fitness tip
How do you stay fit while traveling? I'm traveling while I write this, thus this topic. Let's take a cue from a guy who might know a thing or two about physical training. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't have his weights when filming Predator way out in the jungle. The porters basically said, "If you want exercise, you carry your own weights." Arnold runs steps at hotels and does "sissy squats" and other "body-only" exercises while there. But,. what about the jungle? Chin-ups. Arnold would simply find a tree he could chin up on. He could work any muscle group with what was available--even junk on the ground. This provided him with variety, which is essential to a good fitness program. Me? I use the chairs in my room to do pushups and triceps dips. Curls with the suitcase. I use my briefcase for shoulder lateral and rear delt exercises, and I do hand-stand pushups to work the entire shoulder (and my back and thighs). These pushups are brutal, but I can whip out 30 of them. If you lack the upper body strength to do these, you can modify the exercise in countless ways--use your hotel bed to support your legs and butt, and, lying on your back, do handstand pushups.
Use your imagination, and you can be fit anywhere. The goal, remember, is to work the muscle, not to go through some kind of motions that somehow resemble good training.
5. Personal security tip
Have you ever wished you were Bruce Lee or
some other martial arts guy? Well, unless
you are willing to endure a lot of pain and
sacrifice (trust me on this, I'm a 4th degree
black belt), it's not going to happen. But,
that doesn't mean you are defenseless. Here
are some tips for avoiding danger in the
6. Thought for the Day
It's easy to bemoan circumstances. The world is just an unfair place, and bad things are happening. But, good things are happening, too. The trick is you have to pick yourself up and decide to change the situation you're in. Can't get a job? Well, stop sending out resumes and go to the library to read every book they have on finding a job. This should take about two weeks. Then, get back into your job search and see if things don't improve. Use a similar strategy for other situations. The world belongs, not to those who wait, but to those who go after what it has to offer.
Wishing you the best,
AuthorshipThe views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.
Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.
Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).
The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).
Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader.