Buckets of Money

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bucketsofmoney.pngBuckets of Money: How to Retire in Comfort and Safety (2004)
By Raymond J.Lucia

Most of what the author say is in American context. In 2012, he was accused by Securities and Exchange Commission for spreading misleading information.

Regardless of this, he has an interesting idea of putting your retirement planning in a few buckets of money. Or what to do when you are going to retire.

 

You have 3 buckets. In bucket number 1 you put your money for the next 5-7 years (for very safe and secure investments or those generating income – REITS) . Bucket number 2 is for the next 5-7 year period after that (can take some risk) . And finally, bucket number 3 is for the money you will not need for 10-14 years (can take more risk).

He has a few interesting Lucia’s Law that he talks about.

  1. The government isn’t going to take care of you.
  2. Don’t count on your employer to take care of you, either.
  3. It’s not what you make.. but what you keep that counts.
  4. If you don’t invest in stocks, you won’t be financially prepared for retirement.
  5. Too much trading can be hazardous to your wealth.
  6. Trying to pick the best mutual fund is an exercise in futility.

 

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American Girls

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americangirlsSocial Media and the secret lives of teenagers
By Nancy Jo Sales (2016)

The author writes very authentically on the idea of how social media affects American girls nowadays. It is very painful to read this book. It gives you a very sad picture of what is happening in America and the future generation.

If I ever have a child whether boy or girl (especially if its a girl), I will not want to raise him or her up in America.

The young teenage girls are crazy over Kim Kardashian and wants to be like her. Kim launches her book “Selfish”, a collection of selfies and nudes. It was Kim naked in a bathroom mirror, clutching her naked breast, leaning naked over a bathroom sink…

Kim had become social media’s biggest star. In 2006, she had just 856 friends on Myspace, now she had over 31 million followers on Instagram. Kim’s fame actually started due to a leaked sex tape with her boyfriend then. Kim successfully used the technological tools now available to almost everyone to get what everyone wanted. I find it very sad that the book even mentioned one line “You are a role model for my daughters,” said someone’s mother.

In a 2014 survey, YouTube Stars are more popular than mainstream celebs among U.S Teens.Beauty gurus are popular with American girls. Girls are more hookup on social media than guys. In a 2015 study at University College London found a possible link between anxiety in girls ages 11-13 and seeing images of women being sexually objectified on social media. Girls this age were more likely to feel nervous or show lack of confidence than they were 5 years ago. There is also a sharp spike in emotional problems among girls.

The problem of cyber bullying was prevalent too. Girls are more often the victims of cyberbullying than boys. Even on social media example Instagram pictures, if you don’t like or comment on them, someone can get offended and it can cause some drama.

I think America is a great country, but to read it in more details, it is very depressing. In fact, I only finished 3/4 of the book, and couldn’t continue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Income Guide

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highincomeguideBy Andrew Packer (2013)

This book is a very hands-on guide that really tells you specifically which are the things to buy in the context of America.

There are 3 financial sources in America to secure “golden years” – Social Security, retirement account and value of home.

Today’s retirees face significant headwinds especially in inflation. Albert Einstein calls “compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. Inflation is also a compounding force. A dollar invested today, with interest re-invested, performs substantially better than if you don’t re-invest.

In a 1994 book “Stocks for long run”, Siegel’s research showed that over a long enough time period, returns on stocks with the dividends reinvested beat every other asset class hands-down.

These are some of the guides that the author provides. However, it may not be latest and things may change. Hence, take it with a pinch of salt.

  1. 3 Dividend giants safe for income : – Johnson & Johnson, Wal-mart and Cisco.
  2. 3 REIT : – Realty Income, Long term care type of REIT (skilled nursing properties), Annaly Mortgage (NLY)  etc.
  3. 3 Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) : – Kinder Morgan, Buckeye Partners, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners.
  4. 3 Trust Preferred Payout : = Nuveen Quality Preferred Income Fund (JTP), Goldman Sachs Preferred Series D, ING Perpetual Hybrid Trust.
  5. 3 Covered Call Opportunity : – ING Global Equity Dividend and Premium Opportunity Portfolio Fund (fund writes covered calls), Madison/Claymore Covered Call and equity Strategy fund, Blackrock Enhanced Dividend Achiever Trust.
  6. 3 Business Development Companies (BDC) : = Hercules Technologies Growth Capital, Ares Capital, Apollo Investment Corp.
  7. Currency Plays : – Aberdeen Asia Pacific Income Fund (FAX) – bond fund which is low risk and income oriented, some currencies trade in opposite direction of US$ :
    1. Currency Shares Australian Dollar Trust (FXA)
    2. Currency Shares Swedish Krona Trust (FXS)
    3. Currency Shares Mexican Peso Trust (FXM)

 

The Achievement Habit

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achievementhabit.pngBy Bernard Roth (2015)

This book gives ideas in area of design thinking to control our intentions to create habits that make our lives better.

Idea of design thinking principle :
1. Empathize : Whether you design, you are not primarily doing it for yourself. You are doing it with other people’s needs and desires in mind. Figure out the user’s experience and how to help.

2. Define the problem. Narrow down which problem you are going to solve or question you want to answer.

3. Ideate. Generate possible solutions using any means you like – brainstorming, mind mapping, sketching on napkins… however you work best.

4. Prototype. Without going crazy to make anything perfect (or even close to it), build your project in physical form, or develop the plans for what you’re going to enact.

5. Test and feedback.

Some other areas of thinking :
1. Nothing is what you think it is . You give everything its meaning.

2. Reasons are bullshit. You need to have bias towards action.

3. Getting unstuck. If you get stuck, try putting it aside for a while. Or take the time to explain exactly why you can’t solve the problem. The author’s friend created a handout, listing 22 things to try if you find yourself hitting the lamp post.

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4. Find assistance. If you want people to assist you, you should ask them and be a decent human being.

5. Doing is everything. Notice the difference between intention and attention, between trying to do something and actually building it.

 

6. Watch your language. Successful communication takes both intention and attention. It requires the explicit intention that the meaning be shared and also it takes the explicit attention to be sure it has been shared. Acknowledge other people’s issues. People want to know you heard them.

 

7. Group Habits. An effective group icebreaker is to divide class into pairs in which each tells the other what type of person she is; this provides good experience in both talking and listening. The more you reveal about yourself, the more people like you. It is ironic that we hide aspects of ourselves because we fear rejection. It is the hiding, not the revealing, that leads to rejection.

Apply these same ideas in a private conversation. Next time you are having a leisurely conversation, tell your acquaintance what type of person you think you are and then ask her to tell you about herself. Then go on to share the last time you could not sleep all night and ask your partner when that happened to her. From there start trading stories about the last time you had a good laugh, the last time you made a bad mistake, and so on. At the end notice how your relationship with the other person has been altered by the details you shared.

8. Self image by design. Make a list of your attributes. Ask yourself “Who are you”
Who am I in terms of what I have?
Who am I in terms of what I do?
Who am I in terms of my being?

You can use guided fantasy to assist you in examining who you are really are. Imagine getting off the plane and making your way to a bus. Take a short bus ride, and then imagine getting off the bus. Now, imagine a house in the distance, and walk towards that house. When you get to the house, explore the outside and then the inside, examining the details carefully. In speaking for the house and its possessions, you are describing yourself. This is an excellent way to look at yourself, because it is nonthreatening. It produces candid insights that might otherwise not be available from examination of one’s own self image.

 

9. Big picture – Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs it is the rule.

 

10. Make achievement your habit – The next time you are asked to do something, don’t spend too much time thinking. Simply charge ahead. Do this by taking the first idea that comes into your head and make a quick prototype.

 

 

 

 

 

Innovation is Everybody’s Business: How to Make Yourself Indispensable in Today’s Hypercompetitive World

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innovation.jpgBy Robert B.Tucker  (2011)

In this book, the author mentioned about mastering the 7 essential I-Skills you need to become indispensable. You need to understand the 4 I-Skill Principles :

Principles
1. Innovation isn’t about something you do after you get your work done. It’s how you do your work.

2. Innovation is about more than inventing new products. It’s about figuring out how to add value where you are .

3. You can innovate in any job, any department or any organization.

4. Innovation is about taking action.

You need a strategy to develop your innovation. Here are 4 critical components to design that strategy :

  1. Identify where you are and where you want to go.
  2. Learn the business side of your organization.
  3. Understand your company’s culture.
  4. Pull it all together.

 

These are the 7 I-Skills
1. Embrace the Opportunity Mindset
– You add value to every task and every project.
– Noticing is essential to opportunity discovery.
– What would it look like if you did the reverse? When you do this on purpose, you embrace what I call the opportunity mindset. You make it a point to notice not only what is but what could be.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Learn to consciously shift your perspective.
2. Think small.
3. Listen for “there’s got to be a better way” mutterings.
4. Pay attention to happy accidents.
5. Look for problems customers have that aren’t being solved.
6. Look for opportunities to eliminate non value adding work.
7. Think big.
2. Become an Assumption Assaulter
– Blast away at personal, organizational, and industry notions that block progress.
– Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said “The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

How to invoke this skill?
1. Remember that innovation often begins where assumptions end. So talk back to the voices in your head that emerge out of defeatist, sustainer, and dreamer modes of thinking. Cultivate a questioning mindset. Asking questions is the most powerful spur to jump-start new thinking.

2. If you don’t like the choices on the table, ask yourself (and others) what a third or fourth choice might look like.

3. Cultivate a Passion for the End Customer
– Everything you create is your product and every product has a customer.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Understand the business you are in.
2. Develop empathy for the customer.
3. Strive for a big picture perspective.
4. Take on the customer’s problem.
5. Treat your boss like a customer.

4. Think ahead of the curve
– Notice trends, anticipate threats, and discover hidden opportunities.

How you need to think ahead of the curve?
1. Audit your information diet.
2. Think of yourself as the eyes and ears of your organization.
3. Build your information and support networks.
4. Seek out forward-thinking, idea oriented people.
5. Master the art of deep dive.
6. Develop your point of view on key issues.
7. Connect the dots.
8. Give people permission to give you bad news.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Monitor trends close at hand.
2. Learn to separate fads from trends.
3. Don’t wait for senior management to come to you and explain how they think you and your department can help them invent the future or implement a new culture.

4. Start observing trends and applying them to your life and work with penetrating questions.

 

5. Become an idea factory
– Scarcity creates value ; value creates indispensability.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Take the time to inspect your idea factory now. Do it now and periodically in the months and years ahead. Look not just the ideas you are generating, but at what is happening with those ideas. If you’ve gotten bogged down by the minutia of tactical execution, shift consciously into Innovator Mode. Reread your personal innovation strategy and coax yourself to come up with ideas to move you forward.
2. Become conscious of when an issue you must deal with, a decision you must make or an opportunity you wish to maximize would benefit from unitasking.

3. Know yourself in terms of the time of day and specific locations that often produce a flood of ideas.

4. Do plan to take a Doug day. Put it on the calendar and take it seriously.

6. Become a standout collaborator
– Galvanize teams and departments to get new initiatives done.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Have an eye on the bigger picture. Keep an eye on reputation, results and residuals.


7. Build the buy-in for new ideas.
– You need to have powerful methods to build buy-in for new ideas example by doing your homework, let others think it was their idea, customize their communication style, make it safe for buyers to say yes, focus on benefits and overcoming resistance, use the power of stories, cross boundaries to build support for your idea, be persistent.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Try to anchor your idea in as many places inside the company, and with as many customers that are important outside the company.
2. Ask yourself whether
– your idea is aligned with sphere of influence, track record and overall reputation?
– Is timing right?
– Have I sown plenty of seeds and educated influential people on the merits of making this change?
– Who has actually used this idea and what have the results been?
– What info or expertise do I need to obtain to accomplish this goal?

Mark Twain once said, “I’m all for progress. It’s change that I don’t like.” Learn to enjoy the journey from idea to implementation because your idea quest will almost always end up someplace that you didn’t quite expect.

 

Dare to be different

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DaretobedifferentBy Sandro Forte (2008)

When you want to present, you can consider the “Two Jobs” Presentation.

Job A
1. $19,000 pa
2. Company car

Job B
1. $18,000 pa
2. Income protection (50% of salary)
3. Death in service (2X salary)
4. Critical illness (2X salary)
5. Personal pension
6. Private medical insurance
7. Company car.

Which of the 2 jobs would you consider more attractive?

 

Dare to be different Part 1

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Daretobedifferent By Sandro Forte (2008)

We live in an ever-changing environment and nothing changes more than life itself. To cope with this change and to capitalise on it, we must, above all else, be consistent and persistent.
-> Understand the nature and art of being consistent.

-> Being able to deflect any thought that’s likely to make you stop being consistent.

-> Having “inside” knowledge around the best tools and techniques needed to make being consistent easy to achieve.

-> Having an all-consuming passion to be consistent about your primary goal That is often the number one reason why you are alive.

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You need to have a specific and credible Primary Goal. You need to adopt MindChangers, which is a set of tools emerged from the world’s number one business associated with winning- the World of Sports.

MindChanger tool called Fast Forward

I’d like you to talk to yourself. In a moment, set this book aside and talk to yourself. Talk about what you expect to achieve. Do this now for a couple of minutes before reading on..

This time, I want you to do the same thing but assume it’s a year into the future and you’re looking back, reminding yourself what’s already happened – as if it has. So put the book down and do this again but now talk in the past tense..

If you were to do fast forward regularly – and it’s more fun with someone else- you would start to change your beliefs automatically.

  1. Write down your primary goal
  2. Write down a list of other goals – short, medium and long-term
  3. Commit at least 10 of these goals to Mindchanger flip cards and read them briefly each day. Create one Mindchanger flipcard for each goal.
  4. If you don’t already have one, design an introductory script format which you will use at every first meeting. Learn it by heart.
  5. Make 10 calls using the Dynamic Phone Path and make every third call a social call to a friend, old client or contact.dynamic.jpg

    Step 1 : Apology
    Hello, is that Michael? Michael Turner?
    (Yes)
    Hello.. I’m so very sorry to be ringing you out of the lue like this.
    (Who is it?)
    My name is Sandro, Sandro Forte from the Forte Group. Is this a good time to speak with you?

    Step 2: Promise
    I’ve recently taken on Mary West as a client and your name came up in conversation a couple of times, hence the promise to call to offer you my help, given I make it a professional business practice to work with the friends and families of my clients before anyone else.

    Step 3: The Message – core reason for the call.

    “I am currently helping individuals to improve their personal wealth in ways which realise more disposable income. Would more funds for you to spend or retain as you choose to be useful?” It’s useful to note the phrase ” That’s exactly why I am calling” when faced with any objection.

    Step 4 : “Meeting place” Do you know the Axis Office building? May I suggest we meet there next week so that I may have the opportunity of introducing myself and sharing some beneficial ideas as I have already done with your friend Mary? What time of the day suits you best?

  6. Find out the best credit card, loan and mortgage offers available and carry a few application forms with you. Hand them to your clients where appropriate. Better still, build relationships with a bank manager, lawyer, accountant and the other professionals who could add value by offering discounts on their services, without committing you to any work.
  7. Call your top 20 clients and ask them to help you build your business by introducing you to other people like them.