Bezos Trying To Buy Immortality Through Reprogramming

Everyone has to face the fact that we have a limited lifespan. Steve Jobs found that out 10+ years ago with over $7 billion. How much is that money helping him now?

Bezos has more than anyone at this point, although Elon Musk is giving him a run for his actual money. These guys like Gates, Buffet and others have more than they can spend. As I’ve pointed out before, their currency becomes control, power and the search for meaning.

The one thing you can’t control is mortality. That’s not going to try to stop them from trying. It’s why I found it interesting that Bezos is investing in this.

Here is his take:

“Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at,” Bezos wrote then, adding, “More generally, if living things didn’t work actively to prevent it, they would eventually merge into their surroundings, and cease to exist as autonomous beings. That is what happens when they die.”

He’s invested in Altos Labs to try and reverse the aging process.

The new company, incorporated in the US and in the UK earlier this year, will establish several institutes in places including the Bay Area, San Diego, Cambridge, UK and Japan, and is recruiting a large cadre of university scientists with lavish salaries and the promise that they can pursue unfettered blue-sky research on how cells age and how to reverse that process.

Excerpt from the link above:

Among the scientists said to be joining Altos are Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, a Spanish biologist at the Salk Institute, in La Jolla, California, who has won notoriety for research mixing human and monkey embryos and who has predicted that human lifespans could be increased by 50 years. Salk declined to comment.

Also joining is Steve Horvath, a UCLA professor and developer of a “biological clock” that can accurately measure human aging. Shinya Yamanaka, who shared a 2012 Nobel Prize for the discovery of reprogramming, will be an unpaid senior scientist and will chair the company’s scientific advisory board.

Yamanaka’s breakthrough discovery was that with the addition of just four proteins, now known as Yamanaka factors, cells can be instructed to revert to a primitive state with the properties of embryonic stem cells. By 2016, Izpisúa Belmonte’s lab had applied these factors to entire living mice, achieving signs of age reversal and leading him to term reprogramming a potential “elixir of life.”

Mid-life crisis?

It’s been said that young people dream of being rich, and rich people dream of being young. That paradox is one that people like Milner, age 59, and Bezos, who is 57 years old, may feel acutely. Forbes currently ranks Bezos as the world’s richest person, with a net worth of around $200 billion. Milner’s wealth is estimated at $4.8 billion.

Young and rich

Bezos is said to have a fairly long-standing interest in longevity research, and he previously invested in an anti-aging company called Unity Biotechnology. Rumors of the billionaire making a seismic-sized splash into the field have swirled for months.

The article goes on to mention that there are “side effects”.

The results of such mouse experiments, while tantalizing, were also frightening. Depending on how much reprogramming occurred, some mice developed ugly embryonic tumors called teratomas, even as others showed signs their tissues had become younger.

“Although there are many hurdles to overcome, there is huge potential,” Yamanaka said in an email, in which he confirmed his role in Altos.

I’VE GOT NEWS FOR YOU JEFF

Just like Jobs’ money is not doing him any good right now, Jeff can buy whatever he wants, except a few more breaths.

While the soul may be immortal, the body will never be.

How many days do we have left? I don’t know. No one does, except God. He knows the exact number of years, days, hours and seconds that I will occupy my address on Planet Earth; the exact moment that death will occur.

For those of us who believe in God, here is what is said in Psalm 139:16

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

In other words, all that money you have isn’t going to buy one more second. You also won’t take it with you.

Maybe you should try a little harder on your soul than your body big guy.

History, Learn From It Because It Can’t Be Changed

This is for the mush-heads who are tearing down statues or Colleges trying to teach a different story than what actually happened.

Teach the warts and the successes so that the next generation can decide for themselves.

Instead, they want to blame and disparage, for what? As always, it comes down to power and control. That’s another history lesson.

You can’t make yourself better by tearing others down.

Do I expect them to learn this in Portland, SF, Seattle, Chicago, NY and other like places? Of course not.

Worst of all, look at Washington DC and Afghanistan right now. How well is that going? They got their power and control, probably a lot of money also.

A lot of good that will do them when they die. The real book that should be there is the Bible. A history lesson is there also.

I wish the next generation luck. If they don’t learn the real lesson, there will be a new book about another country that was the greatest, for a while.

On This Day, 10 Years Ago…..A Momentous Occurrence Happened To Me…..

I retired and enjoyed the heck out of it. If you want to know what I did, go to about and about me.

I started planning for it when I was in my 30’s and knew it would be a long game to have enough. I listened to Larry Burkett of Crown Financial Services, a biblical based ministry that taught me to save and to live debt free. I posted about it a while back on how an average Joe can become a millionaire.

Was it hard?

You bet it was. There were a lot of sacrifices and a lot of learning about investing, managing money and faith in God. It turns out that we were blessed with an abundance of riches, only a small amount of which are financial.

We were alone.

Fortunately, my wife was on the same page. Heck, my Mom even taught me how to save as she lived through the depression. She could make anything last longer than possible. That woman sacrificed for us and I noticed. My siblings however never learned. Mom told me she taught each of us the same lessons, but said no one else listened to her.

I caught a lot of crap from my friends.

Working in the airline industry is very common for my family and friends. We have many pilots and flight attendants in that group.

One of them, with whom I went to school with since 7th grade, gave me a ton of grief when I was in my late 20’s. He was serving cokes for a living (flight attendant) and wasted 15 years of his life doing it. He was broke when he quit.

I spoke to him one Saturday when I was at work. He told me that he only worked 2 weeks a month and was off to Hawaii, rubbing it in my face that I had to work. When I hung up, I knew right then that I was making a short term sacrifice for long term gain. I would be retiring early while being financially safe and knew I would have to work hard. I said to myself that I would make it my goal and I’d be playing golf while he was working. He still is working today, and when he got to the real world I’d had 15 years of experience. I had owned my own business shortly after that conversation. FWIW, I played golf this week.

Did I get even with him?

I chose not to rub it in because the facts show our different outcomes. I’m glad I have mine.

Being an introvert, I don’t want to get into it anyway and he doesn’t want to talk much anymore. I don’t care what happens to others as I can’t control anything other than my destiny. I’m sorry he didn’t listen to me. He told me he resented that job for 13 of the 15 years he did it and hates his current job.

A theme and a pattern.

It wasn’t only my siblings and friends. When I sold my business and went to work for IBM, they were the same. When it came time for me to say goodbye, my house was paid off and we had saved. Almost no one could believe that I was pulling the plug that early. They thought it was some scandal that I had to quit and were very disappointed that the reason I retired was because I could. Most of them were keeping up with the Jones and didn’t save. I looked some of them up and they are still stuck working at the same job when I left.

At the end, IBM was a terrible place to work (see managing executive ego’s, the good, the bad and the ugly). I actually pulled the trigger a year early to get out of that hell hole. To a person, everyone said they wished that they could do what I did, get out. They were too far in debt to do so.

I turned down moving to New York to “climb the ladder” because living there sucks and I didn’t want to raise a family there. People told me when they moved to New York, they got to pay 30% more for everything, for less than I made. Again, I knew that I was making the right decision for my family not to go there to “get ahead” (behind would have been the actual case if I’d gone there).

My Father.

Dad worked until he was 70. Work defined his life. He was lost when he retired.

Working was only a means to an end for me. To be fair, I was fortunate enough to be highly successful and God decided that I should be compensated for it. That helped make it happen, but if you go back to my siblings, they earned more than me at times. They still work though as most of it was wasted on useless stuff.

Dad couldn’t understand my goals, but I had so much going on that work was interfering with my life, so I stopped. I never regretted it.

A lot of the IBM’rs died shortly after retiring because they had to work a long time. I saw that and knew I wanted to enjoy my life. Now, every day is Saturday for me.

I have enjoyed each day these last 10 years. Heck, I’m the president of the how to enjoy your retirement club. Never once did I think about going back because I didn’t have to.

If there is any lesson, it is in the post of how to become a millionaire.

Short term sacrifice for long term paradise.

How Is Freedom Safe, By Adlai Stevenson

“My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.”

It’s always been difficult to be unpopular. We learn this lesson in school. No one wants to be an outcast.

With the dreaded social media and their censors against only certain people and certain words that they don’t agree with, the visibility of this subject has leapfrogged past logic, reason and congeniality. You say the wrong thing to the wrong person and your head gets bitten off.

First, you have to care if what people say about you bothers you. I don’t give a flying fig anymore because if they like me they do. If they don’t, what they say probably isn’t going to phase me.

The real hero’s and leaders are those who will stand up against the sheep and go the other way, or lead the sheep. Oh, you are going to piss some people off, but they were probably just there to try and get in your way.

The moral is don’t be a sheep. Fight (say to others, don’t hit them unless you are in Portland) for what you believe in and the hill you want to make your stand on.

Most of all, when you have made your decision, don’t let public opinion or popularity contests sway you. When you are right you are. If you are not sure, you probably aren’t.

Most people who get in your way are jealous or get their kicks by bringing others down instead of worrying about what they should be doing.

When Steven Hawking Was Wrong

“I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.” – Hawking

He has clearly taken the creation story (Genesis 1) and used the right words, “Our Image” in his attempt at playing God and creation.

I’ll give him that both computer viruses and some people are annoying and can ruin your day or data, but that doesn’t make it alive. JUST PULL THE PLUG and see how alive it is.

I disagree that a virus is not destructive. If it isn’t, why was it created? Let me guess, evil, destruction, theft of data, denial of service, disruption of service and not letting me sign on.

I’m going with me on this one. It may be one of the few times I was more on the side of being correct than he is.

He should have stuck to physics on this one.

Does the Size Of Your Funeral Depend On How Powerful You Are, Or Whether You Die?

“No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather.” – Michael Pritchard

Steve Jobs died with billions and with Aids (according to Wikileaks). He went into a box and nothing he did on Earth helps him for eternity. Everything he did on earth means nothing to him now.

We should step back and take a look to see if we are being effective here on earth while preparing for eternity.

Tuesday Saying – Life, by Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin lived 88 years.
He left us 4 statements:
(1) Nothing is forever in this world, not even our problems.
(2) I love walking in the rain because no one can see my tears.
(3) The most lost day in life is the day we don’t laugh.
(4) Six best doctors in the world…:
1. The sun,
2. Rest,
3. Exercise,
4. Diet,
5. Self-respect
6. Friends.
Stick to them at all stages of your life and enjoy a healthy life…
If you see the moon, you will see the beauty of God…
If you see the sun, you will see the power of God…
If you see a mirror, you will see God’s best creation. So believe it.
We are all tourists, God is our travel agent who has already identified our routes, bookings and destinations… trust him and enjoy life.
Life is just a journey! Therefore, live today!
Tomorrow may not be.

Great Sayings – Daniel Patrick Moynihan on Opinion vs. Facts

Everyone has both.  Some choose one over the other.  Most mesh the two together.

The difficulty in this day of being barraged by social media and a 24/7/365 news hype cycle is that you can choose to go with your bias and only see one side of any story.  This is dangerous regardless of which side you view it from.

Don’t believe the scare tactics of the money hustlers who rush people into a position like sheep herders trying to corral the flock into group think.  The tactic is shame for not subjugating yourself to the PC position of the day.

It takes courage to step out and stand for what is right, especially in the start of a crisis or an event in time. This requires critical thinking as to discovery of the real facts and applying the necessary logic to come to the right conclusion.  It also can take time.  The media and politicians will try to rush us into judgement based on opinion.

As they said in Watergate, follow the money and you’ll usually see through those who are self-serving.

Most of all, don’t be a sheep.  Think for yourselves and don’t take anything you read online as gospel, except for the Gospel.

Sooner or later, time exposes the truth.  Whether you want to believe it or not is now up to you.

Great Sayings – Jordan Peterson

“A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control.” — Jordan Peterson

 

Self control is a good trait.  The baddest man in the room never has to prove it, but should be able to defend himself and the weak when necessary.  This is not just a bare knuckles statement.  Being intellectually strong as well as spiritually sound are also strengths one needs.

None of these come for free.  You must work on them, and work on them constantly.  The world doesn’t stop and neither does evil.  Now go out and be dangerous to evil.

The Birth of Jesus, The Real Christmas Story

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[f] 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 2:2 Or This census took place before
  2. Luke 2:23 Exodus 13:2,12
  3. Luke 2:24 Lev. 12:8
  4. Luke 2:29 Or promised, / now dismiss
  5. Luke 2:37 Or then had been a widow for eighty-four years.
  6. Luke 2:49 Or be about my Father’s business

History and Egypt

Here’s how you know a country has been around for a while. When BBC.com’s “Timeline” starts with “Settlement of Nile Valley.”

• For the next 9,000 years, it’s mostly downhill from there:

669 BC – Assyrians from Mesopotamia conquer and rule Egypt.

525 BC – Persian conquest.

332 BC – Alexander the Great conquers Egypt.

31 BC – Egypt comes under Roman rule.

642 AD – Arab conquest of Egypt.

1517 – Egypt absorbed into the Turkish Ottoman empire.

1798 – Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces invade but are repelled by the British and the Turks in 1801.

1882 – British troops take control of Egypt.

1922 – Fuad I becomes King of Egypt and Egypt gains its independence.

1953 – [Military] Coup leader Muhammad Najib becomes president as Egypt is declared a republic.

1956 July – Gamal Abdul Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal.

1956 October – Tripartite Invasion of Egypt by Britain, France and Israel due to the nationalization of the Suez Canal.

1967 June – Six-Day War in which Israel defeats forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Israel takes control of Sinai, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

1973 October – Egypt and Syria go to war with Israel during Israel’s celebration of Yom Kippur to reclaim the land they lost in 1967.

1978 September – Camp David Accords for peace with Israel are signed.

2011 February – President Mubarak steps down and hands power to the army council.

• And, like that.

• Egypt’s major mistake was being located along the Nile (which flows north to the Mediterranean, but you knew that) and the Red Sea. If it weren’t for that no one would have ever bothered with it.

• Except, maybe for that whole Cleopatra-Julius Caesar-Marc Antony thing.

• More recently Egypt has been the focal point of the “Arab Spring” that began two years ago on December 18, 2010 in Tunisia. Since that time there has been unrest ranging from demonstrations, to riots, to revolutions to at least one civil war in (according to Wikipedia’s count):

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Western Sahara and, of course Syria.

• We know from recent events how stable Libya is and, according to the Washington Post, some 64,700 Syrians have died since the demonstrations began in November 2011.

The Mayan Calendar – Not The End of the World

Res Ipsa Loquitor

The world ends for 153,781 people every day. That’s  who they were talking about.

ht_doomsday_mayan_end_wy_121220_wblog

So the world didn’t end on 12/12/12, but there is another shot at it on 12/21/12 just in case.

Let me remind everyone why it is not going to happen:

 

New International Version (©1984)
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Happy Chanukah, The Story

I am not Jewish except through the grafting of the family of Japheth into Shem (Gen 9:18  And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
Gen 9:19  These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.)

I still believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people to deliver the Messiah, so any anti-Semitic comments will not be allowed on this post.

This is the story of Chanukah anyway, so i looked it up on a Jewish website and here is what I found:  There is more at the link if you wish to explore for yourself.  If you wish to add more meaning or correct any accuracies, I gladly will accept them.

Chanukah, which begins on the 25th day of the month of Kislev and lasts eight days, is known mainly for the ritual of lighting the Menorah, an eight branched candelabra. Before we discuss this and other rituals and observances associated with Chanukah, a little historical background about Chanukah is in order.

Chanukah, unlike the other Rabbinically ordained observances (Purim, the Four Fasts), is not mentioned explicitly at all in Scripture. Even in the Talmud, there is little discussion about Chanukah. The Gemora in the tractate of Shabbos (21b) writes: “What is (the reason for) Chanukah? For our Rabbis have taught ‘On the 25th of Kislev, the days of Chanukah, which are eight (start), on which eulogies and fasting are not permitted.’ – For when the Greeks entered the sanctuary of the Temple, they made all of the oil there ritually impure (and therefore unfit for use in the Temple). When the Hashmonean dynasty gained the upper hand and defeated them, they searched and found only one flask of oil on which the seal of the High Priest remained (which indicated it was not defiled). There was only enough in this flask to light (the Menorah in the Temple) for one day. A miracle occurred and they were able to light (the Menorah) with it for eight days. The next year, they established and made (these days) a holiday, with Hallel (praises of G-d) and expressions of thanks (to G-d).”

There are many commentators who elaborate on the Gemora. One of these is the Aruch HaShulchan. His words, which follow, add to the very general description that the Gemora offers. There are more detailed historical works which deal with the background of Chanukah. However, the general description of the Aruch HaShulchan is a good starting place for the discussion of Chanukah which will follow in later issues.

The Aruch HaShulchan (Orech Chayim 670) writes that: At the time of the Second Temple, during the reign of the wicked kings known as Antiochus, decrees were issued on the nation of Israel. These decrees had the effect of anulling the practice of the holy Jewish religion. The Jews were not permitted to study Torah or perform Mitzvos. The money of the Jews was confiscated, and the Jewish daughters were snatched. They went into the Temple where they performed improper acts and defiled the ritually pure. They pained the nation of Israel and pressured them immensely until the point where Hashem, the G-d of their forefathers, had mercy on them and saved them from the evil hands that were persecuting them. Hashem saved them through the hands of the holy and pure Hasmoneans, who were high priests, with Mattisyahu and his sons, who fought with Antiochus. The victory occurred in a way that went against the laws of nature, as the Hashmoneans, with their righteous troops, were very small in number, while Antiochus fell upon them with a great number of people, with many elephants, and with horsemen and chariots. However, Hashem favored His nation of Israel and therefore let the strong fall into the hands of the weak, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, the impure into the hands of the pure. Furthermore, those traitors from the nation of Israel who sided with Antiochus fell into the hands of those who studied Torah. Then, the name of G-d was elevated and sanctified in the world, and the light of Torah with its purity shined, and the name of the nation of Israel reached a level of great stature amongst the nations of the world .

This miracle came to a completion on the 25th day of Kislev. There was, however, another miracle. When the nation of Israel entered the Temple to purify it, all of the people were ritually impure because they came into contact with the dead during the course of the battles. A person who is impure because of contact with the dead can only become pure through a process which takes seven days. It was only after these seven days that people were able to obtain a supply of pure oil. Furthermore, it took 8 days to make the round-trip needed to obtain pure oil. Only one flask of pure oil, which still bore the unbroken seal of the High Priest, was found in the Temple. Hashem performed a miracle, and this flask of oil which should only have lasted for one day was able to be used to light the Menorah in the Temple for eight days, until which time no additional pure oil was available. We therefore have eight days on which we praise and give thanks to Hashem.

I wish to all my Jewish friends and those grafted in a Happy Chanukah.

 

 

 

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage?

This goes with my series of “How and average Joe can become a Millionaire”.

I am not the author, but this is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll make (the other is tithing) The whole article can be found here:

One of my good friends, “Judge Rob,” is a local, elected judge who also owns a small family business. Judge Rob paraphrased Warren Buffett when we were discussing mortgages over a recent breakfast, saying, “If I knew where I was going to live for the next decade or so, I would buy a house with a long-term mortgage.” The idea is that a mortgage is a good hedge against inflation because you pay it off with much cheaper dollars down the road.

Today, many pundits point to low interest rates and encourage people to borrow as much as they can while interest rates are low. While they do have a good point, deciding when to pay off my own mortgage caused a great deal of conflict between the logical and emotional parts of my brain.

In the early days of black-and-white television, much of the programming was old, silent movies. Who can forget the little old widow, confronted by the evil, rich banker, who licked his chops at the opportunity to throw her out as her mortgage payment came due? As the deadline got closer, the piano would bang louder and faster, and somehow Widow Nell would make her payment in the nick of time. Was I programmed by my generation’s version of Sesame Street?

There’s Something to Being “Old School”

I spent a good bit of my breakfast with Judge Rob in “Yes, but!” mode. Here’s why.

When I was contemplating paying off my mortgage, I spoke with a CPA who also happened to be a financial advisor recommended by a good friend. I explained that I was self-employed, so my income fluctuated, and my mortgage was my largest monthly bill. I suggested that there could be some emotional benefit to paying it off. Less stress perhaps?

He insisted that I could invest and out-earn the cost of my first mortgage. He pooh-poohed the idea of paying it off to calm my nerves, and kept repeating that I could easily invest my money and earn more after taxes than the cost of the first mortgage.

When I asked if his mortgage was paid off, he responded with, “Oh, hell yes!” I was flabbergasted. How could he advise me to do one thing when he’d done the exact opposite? He explained that his wife was from Germany – the old school where you pay your bills, don’t borrow money, and stay out of debt.

Then I asked him, “Once you paid off your mortgage, did you sleep better at night?” He pondered a bit and said, “Yeah, I guess I did. I no longer worried about it. No matter how bad things got, we would still have a roof over our heads.”

When I asked Vedran Vuk, our senior research analyst, about when to pay off a first mortgage, he made some excellent points. First, you should no longer view your house as an investment that’s going to rapidly appreciate as it did in the past. A house is a home, and you should look at it that way. Second, right now a mortgage can make sense from an investment perspective. If you can borrow money at 3.5%, invest it, and earn a guaranteed higher return on it, you’ll come out ahead.

The real question becomes: where can you find a guaranteed greater return, even with the low mortgage rates available today? The government is committed to keeping interest rates artificially low for the foreseeable future. Yields on CDs and high-quality bonds are pathetic.

I just checked my brokerage account, and the longest CD they have available is a five-year CD paying 1.15%. A 30-year Treasury bond will pay 2.8%. Neither holds any appeal for me, particularly if I were investing with borrowed money.

If you’ve found an investment that’s a lead-pipe cinch – one that’s absolutely, positively going to pay off – and a low mortgage rate, you may want to roll the dice. However, I want to add one more note of caution.

The upcoming issue of Money Forever‘s premium subscription, which we’re releasing on December 18, takes an in-depth look at reverse mortgages, one of the most controversial ways to help fund your retirement. Our team will explain reverse mortgages in easily understood terms, highlight pitfalls to avoid, and explain how a reverse mortgage is a good way for some (but not all) folks to fund their retirement and maintain their lifestyle.

Before obtaining a reverse mortgage you must go through HUD counseling. While researching our upcoming report, I came across a study of over 20,000 people who had been through HUD counseling between September 2010 and November 2010. A few statistics really jumped off the page!

In 2000, the average age of people receiving reverse mortgages was 73 years old. By November 2010, the average age had dropped to 71.5, and it’s continuing to decline. In other words, retirees are tapping into their home equity at an increasingly younger age, many because they have no other choice.

It was also interesting to learn why these folks wanted a reverse mortgage. In the 70-and-older group, 38% still had mortgage debt. Seventy-one percent owed 25% or more on the current value of their home, and 33% had a mortgage in excess of 50% of the value of their home. Many wanted a reverse mortgage because they could not service their existing debt. A reverse mortgage is based on the net equity in your home. If their homes were paid for, meaning no huge house payment, perhaps they could have put off the reverse mortgage for a few more years. The older the applicant, the higher monthly payment they receive.

I wonder how many of these folks lost money betting on their lead-pipe cinch investment because they had been nudged along by their CPA.

My point is simple. For most baby boomers and retirees, their home is their largest asset. You don’t want to live like the little old widow in a black-and-white film, worrying about getting thrown out of your home, particularly if you’re no longer working.

Nevertheless, if you had a mortgage with a 3.5% interest rate and we were still living in a world where a top-quality bond or CD would pay you 5% or more, it could make sense to take advantage of it. But that’s not the world of today.

Ideally, you would pay off your mortgage and then use the money you’d been setting aside for payments to build a nice portfolio. For many folks, home equity is like a security blanket – and a potential source of income for when they may really need it.

The Judge’s Word Isn’t Always Law

As I left our breakfast meeting, I shared a few parting comments with Judge Rob. The mortgage conundrum has both financial and emotional factors. Paying off your mortgage is a milestone; it really does change your life. I certainly sleep better, and my blood pressure probably dropped ten points. It was the point when my wife and I actually started accumulating true wealth.

Once I paid off my mortgage, I never looked back.

A true leader who built a business by standing for what he believed in. Now he is being discriminated against by those against discrimination. Hated by those who say they are against hate.

Mr. Cathy goes about the success of Chick-Fil-A and serves, hires and buys from those who say they hate what he believes in. Who is the hypocrite?

UPDATE: Cathy sticks to his guns.  

As you can see, he is not picking on any group, rather is giving to what he believes in.  Just because you aren’t a politically correct lemming doesn’t make you against something, it is your right to have an opinion.  He can run his company the way he so desires.  Those who believe otherwise to make a statement by starting their own business and supporting their desired group, rather than trying to change everyone else.

For many months now, Chick-­‐fil-­‐A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized. And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving. For that reason, we want to provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving.

A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-­‐fil-­‐A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.

As we have stated, the Chick-­‐fil-­‐A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.

 

 

Crown Financial Ministries

Political correctness has made us a nation tolerant only of “one-legged opinions,” a friend of mine recently observed. We take a stand on a hot issue, but only on one leg at a time, shifting when necessary so as not to offend the beliefs of others—but never standing solidly on two feet.

Like a modern day parable, the story of a lone, courageous businessman has taught us what it means to be guided by truth, rather than political fad.

Dan Cathy is the Chief Operating Officer of Chick-fil-A, a privately owned chain of quick service restaurants with annual sales of $4 billion. The company is ranked the 10th fastest growing retailer in the country, although Chick-fil-A restaurants close their doors every Sunday, the best sales day of the week for those in this business sector.

Cathy recently expressed his belief that marriage is the union of a man and…

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Carroll Shelby RIP, Life Is Short and You Are Only But a Vapor

Carroll Shelby died last Thursday night.  It should be a reminder of how short life really is. He was the longest living heart transplant survivor, but unfortunately, no one can escape death.

He will be remembered as the creator of some of the worlds (American) best sports cars, not to mention beating the Ferrari powerhouse in racing in the 60’s.

OUR LEGACY

However, some of us will vanish quicker than others, but we must remember that we are but a vapor in life, you can’t grasp a vapor.  You don’t know today what will happen tomorrow.  Don’t boast about tomorrow for you don’t know a day will bring forth (Proverbs 27:1).

 

Here is a poem about life, all too true.  Remember, a cemetery is full of people who have plans.

When I was a child I laughed and wept and time crept;

When I was a youth, I dreamed and talked and life walked;

When I became a full grown man, time ran;

When older still I daily grew and time flew;

Soon I shall be traveling on, time will be gone.

COUNT THE DAYS YOU HAVE

How long will you live?  The average American lives to the age of 77 (Shelby was 89):

If you are 15 you have 744  months to live.

If you are 25 you have 624  months to live.

If you are 35 you have 500 months to live.

If you are 45 you have 384 months to live.

If you are 55 you have 264 months to live.

If you are 65 you have 144 months to live.

If you are 75 you have 24  months to live.

After that, you are beating the curve, don’t buy green bananas.

So when it is over, then you have eternity to deal with.  Many have contemplated this thought in different ways.  The unpredictability and brevity of life reminds us that we are short sighted.

We all contemplate these questions even if you deny it:

Where did I come from? Why am I here?  Where will will I go when I die?

Here is a thought to contemplate.  Carroll is doing it now.