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.

Great Sayings – Alexander Graham Bell

People breakup in relationships.  They get laid off from work.  Those close to us die.  It happens to everyone sooner or later.

You will always keep that memory whether or not you want to, but moving on is part of life.  Yes, it takes time, more for some than others.  Some never move on as a loss is hurtful.

The best thing I can offer is that every experience can help you grow.  Try to look for the positives.  Try to remember those things or people that you lost for their positive influence on you.  Sometimes if you can’t move on, at least move along until the pain is less.

The other situation I often see is that you don’t get the dream job you thought would change your life.  There is always a next job if you keep seeking and no one thing is the panacea of life that will cause it to stop if it doesn’t go your way.

What Does the Internet Say Are Great Pieces of Advice for Life?

Not all of these are my idea, rather they were gathered from a collection of many, many others as I’ve run across them.  Nevertheless, they are interesting to ponder.  I’m sure there a thousands more, but they are here for you to share:

Don’t stop learning: If you start coasting through life, you’re gonna lose. Always stretch your intellect.
Don’t always try to be original: Just tell the story or paint the canvas or whatever.
Focusing on “fairness” will lead to stagnation.
If you’re not failing, you’re doing it wrong. (It’s OK to make mistakes.)
Don’t try to reason with mindless, irrational people.
Don’t stress yourself out with news and “staying informed” too much.
Do something that’s not for money.
The key to happiness is BUILDING stuff, not GETTING stuff.
Time passes by a lot faster than you’d think. This effect accelerates with age.
Wealth is relatively unimportant.
Some things can’t be learned; they can only be experienced.
Figure out who you are, then ACCEPT that person, and then BE that person.
Don’t wait for permission. Give yourself the okay.
Don’t lie to yourself.
Forgive as much as possible. Grudges achieve little.
Be humble (especially to the “little” people).
You and you alone control how happy you allow yourself to be.
Find a mentor and BE a mentor.
Find what you like and let it kill you.
You don’t have to eat everything that’s on your plate.
You don’t have to pick up a phone that’s ringing.
Always take action on things. People regret inaction more than action.
The past is something you learn from.  It is not something you live in.
Wealth is measured by your happiness and not by your financial statement.
Your mind decides what is hopeless.  Your circumstances do not.
More things will happen to you that you have absolutely no control over than things you do have control over. You ALWAYS Have the power to choose how you will react.
Remember that their is a God and don’t stop seeking him.
Do one thing at a time. All that huzzah about multi-tasking? BS
Don’t compare yourself with others. It’s an inaccurate measuring stick. It is more accurate to compare from within. Compare yourself with yourself. How much progress have you made? How have you changed? What negative behavior have you stopped engaging in? That’s what matters.

Don’t believe what you think. Never make up stories in your head about what other people are thinking or why they do certain things. Your made-up stories are making you miserable. You’re often wrong about other people are thinking anyway (I cannot count the number of times I’ve overhead “I think x hates me.”) Quit it. Remember, people are by nature benevolent). The criticism you hear about you is only ever one person’s opinion about you. If it becomes a pattern, then you can re-evaluate course and improve. More power to you.

Learn to handle criticism. Don’t take it personally. Criticism of an idea or project is not criticism of the creator as a person. Everything can always be improved; criticism is the vehicle to allow you to improve. Only apply remedial measures if the criticism has value. ”Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Aristotle

Quit idealizing authority. Don’t try to impress people. If you feel a need to you’re implicitly de-valuing yourself and asserting “I don’t think you’ll like me for who I am, so I will try to “impress” you instead.” You’re not allowing yourself to fully connect with someone when you put them on a pedestal.
Don’t take anything personally. It’s easy to get offended and internalize what others say. Recognize that when you ask someone for advice, responses can be all over the place. Understand that others opinions’ are a reflection of their own world and a product of their own reality. It has nothing to do with you.
Never get into a victim mentality. If you focus on what’s right and wrong, you’ll stagnate. Instead, accept things the way they are. Once you do this you can to start to change things and have the power to redirect the future the way you want to.
Value the people in your life. Everyone wants to feel like they’re important. Look at everyone as if they had a star on their forehead that said, “make me feel special.” People hunger for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you. Stop wasting time and energy thinking about how people should be different.
Be happy for other people who are happy. Train your mind to be sincerely happy for happiness and catch your resentments and jealousies before they run off too far. It’s easy to resent people for being happy.
Embrace vulnerability. Embrace discomfort. Doing this will increase your luck surface. Allow yourself to be hurt. When you trust yourself, you’ll be confident enough that you will rise up again when you fall.
Just because you don’t feel like doing something doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it.
You never have anything to lose. You could lose all your money, and become homeless for a while, but you can’t lose who you are, your essence. Be okay with getting your hands dirty and screwing things up – in believing that you have nothing to lose, you will have the power to move through your own life and create change.

Sequester Stories

A man stopped at a local gas station and after filling his tank, he paid the bill and bought a soft drink. He stood by his car to drink his cola and watched a couple of men working along the roadside.

One man would dig a hole two feet deep and then move on. The other man came along behind him and filled in the hole. While one was digging a new hole, the other was 25 feet behind filling in the previous hole. The men worked right past the guy with the soft drink and went on down the road.

“I can’t stand this,” said the man, tossing the can into a trash container and heading down the road toward the men. “Hold it, hold it,” he said to the men. “Can you tell me what’s going on here with all this digging and refilling?”

“Well, we work for the government, and we’re just doing our job,” one of the men said. “But one of you is digging a hole and the other fills it up. You’re not accomplishing anything. Aren’t you just wasting the taxpayers’ money?”

“You don’t understand, mister,” one of the men said, leaning on his shovel and wiping his brow. “Normally there’s three of us: me, Elmer and Leroy.  I dig the hole, Elmer sticks in a tree, and Leroy here puts the dirt back. But Elmer’s job’s been cut on account of the sequester… so now it’s just me an’ Leroy workin,'”

France’s Rich Jumping Ship To Switzerland. The Effect of Raising Taxes

THE CAUSE – VIA USA TODAY

Recently elected President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government introduced France’s 2013 budget with steep tax increases on the rich that include a 75% tax rate on those earning more than $1.28 million for two years and a new 45% rate for revenues of more than $193,000. Higher taxes on businesses are proposed as well.

THE RESULT

“In the north, we are hearing that more and more people are preparing to leave the country,” said Sebastien Huyghe, a conservative UMP lawmaker. “This autumn, a number of people may make their arrangements.

“The 75% tax will not fill the country’s coffers; instead, it sends a strong signal that will both scare away those who have the means to create jobs, and prevent others from coming and investing in France,” he said.

Economists and analysts say the super-tax is more symbolic than effective, saying it would affect only 2,000 to 3,000 French households while adding little to state revenue.

“From a strictly budgetary and economic point of view, the impact will be marginal, but the Socialists expect a political effect, and they are right,” said Thierry Pech, editor-in-chief of Alternative Économiques monthly magazine. “There is a deep resentment (by the public) against the ultra-rich, one that could feed populism.”

Many French say these super-rich must contribute more, and those seeking tax exile betray the very country that gave them the savoir-faire that led to their international success, a sort of French version of the “You didn’t build that” claim that President Obama leveled against successful businesspeople in America.

“Has (Arnault) thought about all the help he has received from French investors and from the French state itself to make it where he is now?” asks French taxpayer Olivier Weber in Paris.

Last year, 16 business tycoons and other holders of French fortunes wrote an open letter in the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur with the title “Tax us!”, saying that after benefiting from the “French model,” they were willing to pay more in times of crisis. But that was before a super-tax.

Many of them have changed their minds, such as Jean-Paul Agon, the chief executive of L’Oréal, the biggest cosmetics company in the world.

“If there is such a new tax rule, it’s going to be very, very difficult to attract talent to work in France, almost impossible at a certain level,” he told The Financial Times.

Even Stéphane Richard, CEO of telecom company Orange , who is close to the Socialist party, is worried about the “accumulation” of taxes and the impact on the French economy.

“I’m worried that we start by taxing the rich, and that’s it,” he told French daily Le Monde. “It’s one thing to call on economic patriotism, it’s another to organize a looting (of the rich) that will turn on the tax exile machine.”

Some French shrug their shoulders with typical Gallic distaste

“It’s normal to pay your taxes — it’s important — it means you belong to a community,” said Christine Templier, 38.

IS THE USA GOING DOWN THIS PATH?

Share the wealth has been the mantra of the current government.   Current policies emulate France, Greece and the PIIGS.  Based on our tax system, we certainly seem to be headed in the direction of not having enough taxpayers to pay for the entitlements.

It is said that the 1% need to pay more.  In fact, if you confiscated 100% of their wealth, it wouldn’t make a dent in the deficit.  It causes division and class warfare.  It clearly defies the history of success where “a rising tide raises all boats”. 

SO WHAT IS THE ANSWER?

Besides the obvious of spending less, which congress does not have the ability on either side to do, grow the base of taxpayers and more revenue will come in.  JFK and Reagan (and other Presidents) proved this so we have history to support this.  In fact, the largest year of tax revenue ever by the government was 2007.   There are far more complex economic theories, but increase a tax base who are not afraid to spend more, and tax revenue will rise.

CONCLUSION

I don’t think Zuckerberg, Gates and Buffet will leave America if they raise taxes, but many are leaving California (at 2000 per week).  If you look at history, we can do more by having an economy that is growing for everyone.  By not singling out a specific group, we get the rising tide and an economy shift with more jobs and more tax revenue.

As for the rich French, many are now in Switzerland. 

Maybe there will be a lesson in here for them and they can get their tax base back.

Green Jobs – Teaching my Offspring about Capitalism

Times are tough for teenagers to get a job.  I’ve heard that unemployment is more that 20 +% for teenagers.  My son has struck out getting a job, although he has put more effort into video games than looking for a job, so we started an eBay business.

It’s name is NeonDeal, Click on the name and see what he is selling, vintage fishing lures.   The one in the picture is worth a few hundred dollars.  Of course, I know something about it, but he built the blog and the Twitter account which you should follow and see what he is selling. He sold and shipped his first lures last week and made more money in one night than he would in a month at McDonald’s.  He’s learned a valuable lesson, work for yourself and it’s good to be the boss.  Michael Dell started a company called PC’s Limited out of his dorm room….It’s now call Dell Computers.  Hope my son gets that kind of  taste for the real green.  So he’s self employed for the summer and is understanding inventory, shipping, logistics, marketing, sales, blogging and if you don’t work…you don’t get paid.

Now, when I said green jobs in the title, I mean in terms of Money. If you thought I meant Green jobs in terms of saving the planet, they are tough to come by in real life.   One thing I learned is that if they really were a better solution, they would have succeeded on their own already.  That is the way business works.

h

Changing Jobs, My New Job, Resurrecting Old Talents

Today I start a new job.  I’ll be working in external communications for IBM Global Finance.

I’ve been a part of Software Group at IBM for about 10 years in a number of A/R capacities, it was a good run, but like all good things….it came to an end.

I’ll be handling not only Analyst Relations, but also stepping back into previous careers.

What few know is that I majored in Accounting and actually started my career as one, so I have a good understanding of finance/accounting (debit is on the left).  Combine that with my personal interest in economics, and you can see how the stars aligned for this.

Upon considering this job opportunity, the obvious occurred to me.  These are tough economic times, customers have IT needs, the banks are fully financed with TARP money yet are not extending credit….and IBM is a major financing organization and is helping customers and partners with financing.  Voila, it was a no-brainer.

So I embark on a new journey within IBM which is a good fit.

For all that I have worked with, I’ll probably still be working with you as IGF works with all IBM divisions to help them, so again, this to me is one of THE BEST STORIES NOT TOLD ENOUGH at IBM.

From our web page:

On a smarter planet, the opportunities that can emerge from intelligent and interconnected systems are unlimited. Unfortunately, your budget is not. The challenge for many organizations is how to invest in smarter systems when the majority of the budget is going towards maintaining current systems.

Building a robust and flexible IT infrastructure often involves systemic transformation that can happen all at once or in phases, and typically requires a new generation of hardware, software, and services. An equally robust financing and asset management strategy can provide you the opportunity to leverage new technologies, and turn your ambitious vision into a tangible solution.

IBM Global Financing can help credit qualified clients develop a comprehensive investment strategy, allowing them to seize new opportunities and accelerate transformation solutions with:

We provide flexible financing options and low rates that can:

  • Turn large upfront costs into affordable and predictable monthly payments
  • Customize payment plans that align costs to projected benefits
  • Accelerate solution implementation, and improve ROI and payback
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Preserve cash and credit lines for strategic business investments
  • Reduce or even eliminate the risk of project delays and technology obsolescence

Smart financial decisions, cost-effective results

From simple loans to custom leases, we can finance your total solution – including IBM and non-IBM hardware, software and services – under a single contract.

Learn the Key Elements for why IBM Global Financing is your smartest choice to fund critical IT investments and propel your business forward.