Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Are You Prepared For A Nuclear Attack?

This afternoon, while browsing the news headlines, I came across a YouTube video link with the title above, posted by the news network RT.

It immediately dawned on me that I was not even prepared to go home from work yet.  And then, preparing dinner, once I got home.  But, it also dawned on me how unprepared we are, in general, preparing for the future.

I have blogged many times before on this site about the sad state of U.S. retirement savings.  Note that I’m not picking a fight with Americans.  The same is true of many other countries and their peoples.  I happen to currently live in the most open society on earth.  I am provided with a wealth of content to blog about, along with freedom of speech to complement the available information.  Take that… North Korea!

So no, I am not prepared for a nuclear attack.  I don’t think San Francisco would be a target anyway, what… with its happy people, flowers in your hair, colorful clothing, orange bridge and funky, peace-loving neighborhoods.  When I relocate in a few months from now, I will reassess my preparedness.

But, I am financially prepared for almost anything.  I want you to be too.  You would have to cross many hedges and moats to get at me.  It is my intent to help provide financial literacy in easy-to-understand English.

For example, these 4 rules are easy to understand and follow:
  • Earn money by selling something.  That includes selling your services to an employer.  For the highest price you are able to achieve!
  • Spend less than what you earn. If you have debt that is not making you money, get rid of it.  A mortgage will not help you build wealth unless you are paying less to service the debt, than what you are earning from whatever you have bought with ‘other people’s money.’  For example, if you have a mortgage on a rental property, the tenant must pay you more than the cost of the mortgage.  What do you mean you live in a fancy house partly owned by a bank, while you incur all the ongoing expenses?
  • Start saving what you don’t spend, but not in a bank savings account. Save like an investor, not a saver.  You need a return on your investment.  The 1% interest rate offered by your bank savings account is not enough!  They use your cash to build wealth for themselves and their investors.
  • Get help from a trusted advisor before you make investments, unless you’re confident that you know what you’re doing on your own already.  Don’t give a financial advisor any money to manage before he/she has earned your trust.  It’s your money and we live by the golden rule… he who has the gold, rules!
Now, start building your own hedges and moats to protect you and your family. You owe at least that to yourself.  An imminent nuclear attack is improbable, but your approaching retirement is not!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ed Koch: The Quotes

Edward Irving "Ed" Koch was an American lawyer, politician and political commentator.  He served in the U.S. House of Representatives ('69-'77), followed by three terms as Mayor of New York City. 

Koch was widely credited with leading NYC from fiscal insolvency to an economic boom period, spanning '78-'89.  Despite being a lifelong Democrat, he crossed party lines often (e.g. endorsing Rudy Giuliani for mayor, '93; Michael Bloomberg, 2001; and George W. Bush, 2004) and self-described as a "liberal with sanity".  

He focused on renewing public housing in his later years as mayor, and cut NYC spending and taxes.  During his tenure, he cut 7,000 employees from the city payroll to help balance the fiscal deficit.

Here's a short look at some famous, well-documented quotes:
  • "Whether I am straight or gay or bisexual is nobody's business but mine."
  • "I'm not the type to get ulcers. I give them."
  • "You punch me, I punch back. I do not believe it's good for one's self-respect to be a punching bag."
  • "Have you ever lived in the suburbs? It's sterile. It's nothing. It's wasting your life." (a reference to Albany during a failed race for Governor, State of NY, '82)
  • "If you agree with me on 9 out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist."
  •  "I know that nothing happens here on this Earth that wasn't ordained by God. I know that. You know that. And therefore, while I know that it was the people who elected me, it was God who selected me." (During an Easter Sunday worship service in Harlem, '85).  The next day, he stressed that it did not necessarily mean he was endorsed by God.
  • "I was defeated because of longevity, not because Yusuf Hawkins was murdered six weeks before the election, although that was a factor. People get tired of you. So they decided to throw me out." ('89, after losing the mayoral primary)
  • "If they want a parade, let them parade in front of the oil drums in Moonachie." (about the NY Giants, requesting a permit for a parade after winning the Superbowl '87 - the Giants actually play football in NJ, the bordering state)
  • "It's not soaring, beautiful, handsome, like the George Washington or the Verrazano. It's rugged, it's hard working – and that's me." (A bridge renamed in his honor, 2011)
  • "Not that I was given approval by the Deity, but I am delighted I was given the opportunity by the Deity."
  • "I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone. This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me."
Long live the memory of the often abrasive, hated & adored, working class antagonist & hero... Ed Koch.