Mindconnection eNL, 2002-04-18
In this issue:
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1. Courses at Mindconnection
We have had nothing but good feedback on our project management courses. If you haven't yet checked them out, the intro course is priced to move, at only $7.97! Life is full of projects--why not become extremely good at doing them? Click here to start now on the road to excellence:
Check out our time management course, too. Time is money--why not have more of it? Moneyback guarantee on all of these courses!
2. Money morons
The median wage in the USA is about $30,000. This is what the average Jane or Joe makes to pay all taxes, bills, taxes, mortgage, taxes, and more taxes. Yet, the folks who vote bills into law without even reading the bills--Congressmen and Senators--claim they just can't make ends meet on five times that amount. That makes them money morons--they are not even 20% as capable of managing their money as is the average janitor at the local high school. Why we are paying them anything at all is a reasonable question, is it not?
Given this situation, people who don't believe the tax cuts are deep enough are taking the position that money morons simply need more money. How much will be enough? Hint: There is no limit--if they can't manage their own finances, they can't manage ours.
Is this a call for a tax rebellion? No. It is a call for each of us to write to our legislators and suggest they rescind their absurd wage increases, use another approach to solving their dual residence problem that they use to justify needing an extra $120,000 a year. We could pay them a very comfortable $60,000 a year and they'd still come out ahead financially, unless they are lying through their teeth about their costs. In corporations, such solutions to the problem include paying per diem, contracting with an apartment company for executive apartments, owning company homes, teleconferencing, and so on. Additionally, the Congress and the Senate get little accomplished during their expensive meetings because they don't understand the objectives of those meetings. In their minds, the objective is to play political games because they are always running for re-election. The life of a Congressional Rep is horrible, because their terms are so short. If they would simply establish 6-year terms, the cost of federal government would go down and the performance of it would go way up.
So, please take a few minutes to send a half-page letter expressing these sentiments. After all, it's your money. When you pay in taxes for stupidity, it is the same thing as asking your employer for a wage cut. It's amazing to me that people laugh at the idea of asking for a smaller paycheck--who would be stupid enough to do that, right?--but at the same time, they blindly hand over more money for Congress and the Senate to flush down the federal tax toilet each year.
I'm not justifying tax cheats, but the status quo must certainly be part of their motivation. If we fix the problem rather than simply throw more money at it, we are very likely going to see more people paying their fair share and lower taxes around for all of us. We can maintain a better level of government service than we have today, at less than half the cost, just by applying a bit of common sense. That won't happen without pressure from you and me. You can find contact info. at www.mindconnection.com/hoyt.
3. Finance tip
Well, now that I have taken Congress to task for being money morons, let's look closer to home. Here's an example for you to think about. I was going to buy a $350 Rubbermaid shelter so I could put some things from my garage outside and have more room in the one bay that was getting a bit tight. But, I first decided to examine the garage to see just how much I needed to store.
I had an 8-year-old mower that I wanted to upgrade, anyhow. I replaced it with an emission-controlled mower that has better features all the way around and takes less room because of its construction even though it has an extra inch of blade length. It was $220, on sale. I gave the old mower--which was still quite serviceable except for missing fasteners that made it rattle ($20 at a mower repair place, and it's golden). I gave it away to a neighbor whose friend is down and out but needed a mower. I had maintained this mower meticulously, and it still starts with one pull. My neighbors were ecstatic, and the good will was worth far more than the residual value of the mower.
The two sawhorses went into an oddball closet in my basement, where my sump pump sits and some infrequently-used items are stored. I'm done with construction, so those horses no longer get use. Between tossing a few items and simply rearranging things, the net result was more space than I would have had with the new shelter.
Rather than spend $350 to have more of the same (clutter, just relocated), I spent only $220 that I was going to spend anyhow (but I spent it with my space-saving goal in mind, this time), did a big favor for the neighbors who watch my house when I am gone (and they do an outstanding job of it), and gained more room than the original plan would have given. Now, this isn't a major deal, and it doesn't make me a whiz at resolving huge money problems. It is an example of lean thinking that looks at the whole picture for a good solution, rather than looking at part of the picture to justify a solution that simply costs money.
You can apply the same kind of thinking to your purchases. If you make smart purchases that reduce your big ticket or discretionary spending by 1/3, you essentially give yourself a huge pay raise that is far more than it appears to be on the surface. Your discretionary spending is what you have left after you pay all your mandatory expenses--which are considerable. If you make, let's say, $60,000 a year, and save yourself $100 a month on discretionary expenses, you save $1200 a year. That is a 2% pay raise, right? Wrong! You don't have $60,000 a year after you pay taxes and expenses. If you have only $300 a month to spend after taxes expenses (mortgage or rent, taxes, food, etc.), and you save $100 a month on that money, that is a 33% pay increase! Attention to this kind of spending nets huge gains, so pay attention!
4. Health tip
Colon cancer, prostate cancer, and obesity all share some common risk factors (or, to be blunt, causes). Diets low in fiber, high in sugar, high in saturated fat, and low in essential fats are all good ways to get these diseases. The cure? Eat green vegetables (no butter on them!) as a high proportion of your diet, read your packages and don't buy stuff with sugar on the label, and cut back on grains.
5. Fitness tip
When you exercise with weights, consciously pull your shoulders back, as though you are trying to touch your shoulder blades. This prevents misalignment and tendon impingement, and it improves breathing. The most important muscles to work are not your pecs and biceps. The most important muscles are your posture muscles. Take care of them by checking your posture throughout the day (use an alarm on your watch, if you must), doing some activity (mowing, walking, snow shoveling, gardening, etc.) regularly, doing compound exercises with free weights, and daily stretching. Over 95% of Americans have bad posture, and they pay for it with back pains, loss of energy, reduced strength, reduced "presence," and reduced brain power. The next time you are in a room full of people and someone seems to just stand out and appear "large and in charge" or simply confident, observe that person's posture.
6. Thought for the Day
You can do only so much. For success, don't have a large number of projects going on at once. Make a list of what you want to do, and prioritize it. Then, focus on the top 2 or 3 until each is done. You will find you are soon happy with a string of achievements. Those things that don't get done weren't important, anyway. What is important to you? Once you know this, you are the rider instead of the horse.
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.