A Christmas Present from me to you… and a contest!

December 25, 2008

Ho ho ho! Ol’ Saint Dave here from snowy white Detroit with Christmas greetings for you this Christmas day.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the presents today; I made a short video of things I’m thankful for from the past year that weren’t necessarily gifts. It’s about 4 minutes, and during the video I ask you a question that could be worth over $3K to you if you know the right answer and you’re the first to post it as a Comment on this post. Without delay, here’s the video:

I wish you well winning the contest, and have a GREAT Christmas day with your friends and family! 🙂 Merry Christmas! And Happy Hannakwanza to you too.

Whose Financial Advice Can You Trust NOW??

December 16, 2008

Do you feel like you’ve been sucker punched in the gut by Wall Street and Washington? If you do, then you’re not alone. The stock market roller coaster is lurching up and crashing down faster and steeper than it ever has before the past 4 months, and it’s enough to make you want to throw up.

Traditional advice is probably working for you less and less and less financially, and the people who were supposed to have your back financially have dropped the ball big-time. It’s enough to make you wonder who you can trust any more to give you sound advice that will work for you NOW.

With the market down 40% in 2008 and the global economy predicted to be in a growing depression throughout 2009, below are some ideas in my video of how to determine WHO you should be listening to and WHAT you can do to empower yourself in this time of economic uncertainty.

Watch the video now, and then take action to protect yourself. You don’t have to be a victim of the Wall Street fatcat bankers and the Washington robber barrons any longer when you give yourself the gift of a personal finance money makeover.

Know someone who is struggling financially now or who wants to cope with the economic uncertainty around them better? Give them and yourself the gift of financial education this year for Christmas and get yourselves copies of my book “Why Didn’t Anyone Teach Me This?” at www.FinancialPlanning202.com. Along with the toys and gifts that will be forgotten two weeks after the holidays are over, put some financial freedom under the tree this year that will be treasured for years to come!

What defines your true ‘net worth’ in a market meltdown?

October 16, 2008

It’s interesting how different people are reacting to the world economy’s gyrations the last few weeks. If you’re planning to retire in the next few years, you might be worried or pissed off or both if you had most of your retirement funds in mutual funds.

I talked with a guy the other day whose friends’ stock broker told him to leave his money in the market in June when he wanted to move everything to cash for awhile. He listened to him, and now I’m sure he’s not glad he did. The whole “dollar cost average” philosophy definitely has alot of flaws- especially if you’re near retirement age.  These unprecedented world conditions are causing alot of stress around the world, and I have an important question for you: what truly defines what you’re worth?

If all you focus on is your material worth, you can get down on yourself pretty easily. Maybe you’re scared out of your mind, worried, or feeling like a loser because your wealth is disappearing before your eyes every day lately.

CNN did a story 2 days ago on a guy in California and two wives who attempted suicide in the last
month because of their economic dispair. I can relate to their feelings of hopelessness.

When I was 16 I came within 1 day of killing myself because I was addicted to stealing, had tried to stop for 2 years unsucessfully, and was about to go to trial for stealing a car. People thought I was a ‘good kid’ and I was ashamed of my secret struggle and what people would think of me if they knew who I really was. (all 3 people in the story worried people would think less of them if they knew about their situation too)

Fortunately for me, in my despair I chose to do something radical to solve my problem: I gave Christ a try to see if I could be delivered from my kleptomania. I was totally skeptical that God could help me, and since that day I haven’t had the urge to steal once. (what a relief!)

So what do the CNN story and my teenage story have to do with you?

I’m not suggesting that giving your life to God is the solution to your economic concerns. What I AM suggesting is that you should do something just as radical as I did to solve your dilemma.

First, realize that you’re NOT your mistakes, and that people in your life who truly love you will love you no matter how bad things may get. Second know that ANY amount of money can be replaced.

You’ve lost 40% of your nestegg in the past year? OK, Let me show you a quick scenario to safely get it back, and protect yourself over the next few bumpy years ahead.


Let’s say you make $200K/yr and pay 30% taxes, you have $500K of equity in your properties,and you have $500K in the stock market. You’re worth $1M now, and a year ago you had $600K of equity and $700K in the market. So you’re $300K down.

SCENARIO #1: You keep following traditional wisdom- pay your house off and keep your money in the market- and 2 years from now you’re worth $800K. You’ve lost another $100K of equity, and your stocks are down 20% to $400K. 3 years ago you were worth $1.3M, and now you’re worth $500K less! It might take you 6-7 more years to get back to where you were in 2007.

It’s no fun to think about, and I want you to be honest with yourself. Imagine yourself “going with the crowd” the next couple years and losing another 20% to 50% of your hard-earned money. Do you really want to take that chance? You are now.

SCENARIO #2: You decide to get in touch with your ‘inner billionaire’ and play the money game to win. You take bold action to protect your equity and diversify and upgrade your investments. You legally lower your taxes to 10%/yr, you protect your equity and make 6%/yr on it in the process, and you MAKE 25%/yr on your investments safely. You invest your extra $40K/yr tax savings.

Two years from now, you’ve made an extra $50K while protecting your equity, you bullet-proofed yourself from lawsuits while lowering your taxes, and you have $840K in investments. You’re worth $1.29M now- you made back all of your 2008 losses in just 2 years- and you’re making over $200K/yr on your investments! Most importantly, you’re $500K ahead of where you would’ve been following the crowd- you’re worth 62% more in just 2 years. While your peers are looking at sleepless nights and having to work their tails off just to get back to where they were in 2008, you sleep well knowing your financial future is is your hands.

Close your eyes and imagine this is your life two years from now. It feels pretty good, doesn’t it.

=====> THE BIG QUESTION <=====

You have a simple choice before you: either take bold action now to protect yourself and start playing to win like in Scenario #2 above, or do what the mediocre majority do and let Wall Street and Washington robber barrons lead you around by your nose like in Scenario #1 above.

What future will you choose for yourself now? If you’ve finally had enough of being pushed around, put your own personal bailout plan in place today and take control of your life.

Now is the time; hem and haw and ‘think this over’ another month and you may have 20% less money to your name. I know you don’t want that.

Get details on your personalized “Market Meltdown Solution” here

It’s Not Every Day You Get to Meet The President(s)!!

November 24, 2007

It’s been a wild last month, that’s all I can say.

Went to the Philippines and was able to accomplish alot- was able to do my first seminar there, be a guest on 2 radio shows, be featured on national TV (watch the news clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXAHKkctz3I)

and meet celebrities and the President (and figured out the EXACT action steps I need to take to move there next May). Came home early November and was able to meet “Dubya” 2 days later… that’s 2 Presidents in two weeks! (wink)

with Filipina actress Vilma SantosDoing the native Filipino “Tininkling” Dance for the 1st time!Signing my book for “Dubya”

Whew… it’s taken me a couple weeks to settle back into a normal routine and restore my strength. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I also got to do the Tininkling dance (the most well-known native Filipino dance) in our next to last night while in the Philippines. Very fun and a good workout too! (can you see me sweating in the pic?)

I’ve also been in the process of better training my staff and hiring 2-3 new salespeople. I must admit that’s been the most frustrating part of growing my business the last 6 months- finding decent sales staff. They say you’re growing whenever you feel uncomfortable… learning to hire good staff has been uncomfortable, so I guess that means I’m growing and learning!

Make it your goal to push yourself to do something that makes you uncomfortable at least every 2 month if you want MASSIVE results in your life.

It’s also Thanksgiving season… I am thankful for all the doors that have opened for me in the past year as I’ve pursued my passions, and I’m also thankful for all the trials and difficulties I’ve gone through. I’m thankful for my wife and kids who motivate me to be better, and I’m thankful for my clients I’ve been able to help. I’m also thankful for you this Thanksgiving as well!

Well, I’ll leave you with a quick Christmas pointer- if you can’t dip into your “house ATM” this Christmas because the equity’s all gone, think about giving a thoughtful gift to your loved ones this year that represents how you appreciate them. Appreciation doesn’t have to equal big dollar items.

As an example, my dad got me a $10 tie rope last Christmas and I thought of him all through the year as I wore it to keep my tie from swinging around. (BTW, Dad, I lost it so please get me a new one!)

That’s it for now. God bless and live prosperously this Holiday Season.

**While I was gone in the Philippines, a decent chunk of San Diego burned to the ground. If you have ANY equity in your house, you should go to http://www.YourProserityPower.com and sign up for my FRE.E report “The Legacy Builder Solution” to learn how to avoid a potential $1million mistake with your home equity.

The Playboy Mansion and a Religious Experience in the same weekend?

August 31, 2007

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Playboy Mansion two weekends ago. I went there to network with some of the top info-marketers in the world, and I wasn’t disappointed. Several celebrities, guys who make $20 million to $100 million per year, and some NBA athletes were there. Oh, and of course yours truly. Here are a couple pics…


With Dave from ‘Pimp My Ride’

My 7 year old Ben loves the MTV show ‘Pimp My Ride’ so he LOVED IT that I was able to meet Mad Mike and Dave from the show. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a show where they take an old beat up car (like the 1980 Mercury Bobcat I used to drive) and put $20,000 to $50,000 worth of upgrades into it to transform it into a really awesome ride.

Hanging out at the Playboy Mansion and befriending people who make $5 to $10 to $20 million/year or more did some good things for my psyche. It let me know I’m ready to step up to the next level. If YOU are struggling with limiting beliefs about what’s possible for you or what you’re worth, I encourage you to hang out with people who are at the level you aspire to reach. Just by association, you’ll start to achieve higher and higher levels of accomplishment.

So… after hanging out with a bunch of rich/famous people at the Playboy Mansion, I went to a Christian concert Sunday night with my friends Rick and Etu. The music was good, but what really touched my heart was the story one of the bandmembers told. He and his brothers had been distant from their father for 17 years since their mom died, and their father realized he had NEVER told his boys he was proud of them. He called them all, got them on a conference call, and told each one he was proud of them and asked their forgiveness for how harsh he had been with them growing up.

After that testimonial of reconciliation, the band played “In The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics. During the song, I broke down and started weeping. God touched my heart and helped me realize I had been harboring some bitterness against my dad for the past year. I have also developed the habit of shutting anyone out of my life that isn’t supportive of me, and I’ve lost several good relationships over that.

The good news is we talked today, we worked things out, and I have decided to love my dad as he is and not put big expectations on him. If you’re harboring any bitterness against someone who has offended you, I strongly encourage you to search your heart and forgive them. It will be a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, and it will free you up for a more fulfilled life.

So… the lesson for the day is hang out with people you want to be like, and make sure there aren’t things in your heart (anger, bitterness, etc) holding you back from living the life you want to live and you deserve to live. And you don’t have to go to the Playboy Mansion or a Christian concert to get started… do it today!

Tips to Avoid the Taxman’s Wrath

August 5, 2007

No one likes the IRS, and you’ve likely heard nightmare stories of friends, family, or colleagues having their taxes audited by the IRS. All of us want to avoid an IRS audit to keep our stress level at a manageable level, and here are a few simple and advanced strategies available to you now to stay off the IRS’s radar:

1. If you use TurboTax or TaxCut and file your taxes yourself, there is an Audit Review feature in the software that will tell you how likely you are to be audited. Don’t be afraid to take every deduction you qualify for; many people don’t take deductions they should take because they’re afraid of the IRS. Take your deductions, and use the Audit Review feature in your software to make sure you’re not likely to be audited. I did this from 1999 to 2004 and never had a problem. BTW, the guys at H&R Block usually prepare your taxes with TurboTax or TaxCut- ask them if they have an audit review feature in the program they use to do your taxes. And if you do your own taxes, you should be using TurboTax or another software- in addition to the audit review feature, for around $20 more (or with some versions it’s included) they’ll deal with the IRS for you in the unlikely event you ARE audited. A nice feature for a small price.

2. Here’s a little-known trick to greatly reduce your odds of being audited: ALWAYS file for an extension to file your taxes. This tip comes from an ex-IRS agent. What happens when all the taxes come in by April 15 is that tax agents have big piles of returns to go through. They put the ones that appear “a little off” in a pile of returns likely to be audited. They go through the rest, then they carefully go through the ones that they’re more likely to audit. By filing for an extension every year, you accomplish two positive objectives- first, your CPA or accountant that files your taxes will love you because you’re not pressuring him the beginning of the year like everyone else is (“Did you get my taxes done yet?!”), and second, you’re GREATLY reducing the chance of being audited because the IRS agents who review your return will likely be done going through their “audit pile” by the time they receive your tax return. Cool, huh?

3. This one is way more advanced- only do this one if you’re willing to do a little extra work to greatly reduce your taxes. There is a little-known loophole in the law that allows a Roth IRA to own a company. If you have a 9-5 job, why should this matter to you? By setting up a Roth IRA (if you don’t already have one) and forming a company, you can give yourself an instant 20% pay raise. I KNOW it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. I’ve personally met dozens of people who have benefitted from this “tax structure,” I use it myself, and it’s been upheld in U.S. court as a perfectly legal, ethical way to greatly reduce your taxes. To learn more, you can go to www.YourProsperityPower.com or www.FinancialSuccessBlueprint.com. (Hint: if you decide to check out either of these items, get my book at www.FinancialPlanning202.com to give yourself a nice discount.)

You don’t have to overpay your taxes, and you don’t have to fear an IRS audit if you take a few simple steps to protect yourself. Get some audit protection, take your deductions, and ALWAYS file an extension to get your taxes done. If you want to give yourself an instant pay raise of 20% or more and you’re willing to do a little work to get it, get more informed at the websites above. It’s your money; the only question you have to ask yourself is how much of it do you want to keep in your pocket and how much do you want Uncle Sam to keep stealing out of your pocket when you’re not looking?

In The Market For A New House? A couple options

July 28, 2007

In America, we’re conditioned to think more is better. This philosophy when applied to housing has led to so many oversize houses being built that they’re referred to as “McMansions” nowadays. But how much house do we need? A better question is “How much house is best for us?” A story I saw this week illustrates this point very well…

I was watching the Colbert Report the other day on Comedy Central, and a certain segment got me thinking. It’s a new segment called “Colbert Platinum” for millionaires only(!), and in the segment this week the trusty host Stephen featured the richest man in India (Mukesh Ambani) who is building a $1 billion dollar house. It will be 60 stories tall and feature a 3 story garage to hold his 168 cars.

Contrast this to many of the “houses” I visited in the Philippines as a missionary. You walked down a 4-5 foot wide alley to get to people’s homes- with sewage running beneath you- and entered houses that were 10′ by 15′ or so. They were made out of a combination of cement and sheetmetal (usually scrap metal from a junkyard), and oftentimes you’d have a small wall dividing the houses into two rooms- one as kitchen/bathroom and the other as living room/dining room/ bedroom.

“New Home! New Life” sign in the Philippines“New Home! New Life!” is what the sign says- it’s at the entrance to a typical poor barrio in the Philippines.

These are obviously two extreme examples; they are both instructive. First, everyone with running water and electricity in the developed world should consider themselves prosperous- if you’re reading this then I’m talking about you and me.

If you don’t feel prosperous or you feel “poor” in some ways, I suggest going to the nearest Third World country and living among the poor people for 2-3 days as they live. Your perspective will change very quickly. If you have kids, seriously consider taking them with you and they will learn to stop complaining about not having EVERY toy they want. That’s what happened to me at the age of 10 at least.

Second, it is not my place nor yours to “judge” Mr. Ambani, the Indian billionaire. It is only God’s place to judge men. The splendor of his mansion I’m sure will inspire many to live fuller, richer lives. He will employ hundreds of local people to maintain and care for his house. And of course it will be awesome to be invited to hang out in his house- if you’re a car guy like me I’m sure you’d like to check out his garage. 🙂

At the same time, I’m sure a house of that magnitude will come with equally-as-big headaches of maintenance. I have a regular sized house in a U.S. suburb and don’t like dealing with fixing stuff or taking care of the yard- just thinking of handling the details of a house that size gives me a headache.

So, what can we take away from the 2 examples above? First, know that you are already more rich and prosperous than you often think; take a moment to be thankful for that. Second, know that you can achieve your goals and get your dream house one day. Don’t be afraid to re-think exactly what IS your dream home and accurately assess how much of a home you want to deal with. I like the idea of having 1-2 houses (a main residence and a vacation house), and joining a luxury time-share club where you can stay at cool houses all over the world when you travel. You get the benefits of high-end homeownership without all the hassles.

If you’re in the U.S. and you’re about to buy a new house, find out who your top local real estate agent is (or go to a local REIA- Real Estate Investor Association- and find the top 2 investors in your area) and buy a house for 70 cents on the dollar or less. Unless you’re in an ultra-hot real estate market, this shouldn’t be too hard to do. Put that 30% equity in your pocket! If buying directly from the seller, you can even legally get cash back at the closing table or have your down payment paid for you; check out http://www.TheGiftProgram.com for details.

Now go out and start shopping for your $1 billion dollar house!! (or less if you prefer)

Fires and Hurricanes and Floods- OH MY!

June 18, 2007

Ah… the joys of summer. Warm days, outdoor activities, driving with your sunroof open, and wondering if a natural disaster will wipe out your house.

It seems more and more natural disasters and whacky weather assail us with each passing summer. Whether you’re in the fire/mudslide/earthquake Western U.S. zone, the tornado/flood zone of the South and Midwest, or the tornado/flood/hurricane zone of the East, Mother Nature seems to have surprises in store for us all from time to time. All of this is part of nature, but it saddens me how underinformed people are about the financial risks they are taking by following traditional advice when it comes to protecting their #1 asset- their homes.

It’s interesting how little people are willing to “work on” their thinking. Henry Ford said that thinking is some of the hardest work you can do, and that’s why so few people do it. Are we just lazy mentally, or are we too bombarded with messages that vie for our attention that we forget how to think independently?

Take home equity, for instance. I have seen person after person lose their home because they left equity trapped in it, and when an emergency came up they couldn’t get access to it. Or something happens to the house (like Katrina), and they have to wait for eons to get their own money back.

Traditional thinking limits us in many ways. For example, most of us are taught to pay our house off. It’s good advice as far as paying less interest, but at what risk? Home equity is a large chunk of most Americans’ total wealth, and I contend that it’s needlessly at risk of being lost.

Simply take the “access test.” When something happens to you OR your house, would you rather have your money tied up where you can’t get to it or would you like to have it liquid? I’ll take the liquid choice, thank you. On page 76 of my book “Why Didn’t Anyone Teach Me This?” (FinancialPlanning202.com) I told the following story: When I was a loan officer, I watched a guy lose $100K of his home equity because he got laid off and didn’t qualify to get a loan to refinance his house. Sadly, he lost the house to foreclosure.

So… the moral of the story is: you can’t control the weather, but you CAN control how liquid your home equity is. Have access to it while everything is fine… refinance it to 100% LTV or have a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) open on it (*make sure you get one that is convertible to a fixed rate 2nd mortgage if you have to use more than 50% of it). When the storms of life come (either through financial emergency or natural disaster), you’ll be in a much better position.

And if you’re willing to grow your thinking enough to grasp and implement this strategy, you may even be able to break even or make a profit safely on your home equity while keeping it liquid. But only if you’re willing to do the mental work of thinking.