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CHAPTER EIGHT - Part 02

But either way, it’s insider trading. The only distinction is how far away from the inside are you? The reason you want to have rich friends who are close to the inside is because that is where the money is made. It’s made on information. You want to hear about the next boom, get in and get out before the next bust. I’m not saying do it illegally, but the sooner you know, the better your chances are for profits with minimal risk. That is what friends are for. And that is financial intelligence.

  1. MASTER A FORMULA AND THEN LEARN A NEW ONE: The power of learning quickly. In order to make bread, every baker follows a recipe, even if it’s only held in their head. The same is true for making money. That’s why money is often called “dough.”

Most of us have heard the saying “You are what you eat.” I have a different slant on the same saying. I say, “You become what you study.” In other words, be careful what you study and learn, because your mind is so powerful that you become what you put in your head. For example, if you study cooking, you then tend to cook. You become a cook. If you don’t want to be a cook anymore, then you need to study something else. Let’s say, a schoolteacher. After studying teaching, you often become a teacher. And so on. Choose what you study carefully.

When it comes to money, the masses generally have one basic formula they learned in school. And that is, work for money. The formula I see that is predominant in the world is that every day millions of people get up and go to work, earn money, pay bills, balance checkbooks, buy some mutual funds and go back to work. That is the basic formula, or recipe.

If you’re tired of what you’re doing, or you’re not making enough, it’s simply a case of changing the formula via which you make money.

Years ago, when I was 26,1 took a weekend class called “How to Buy Real Estate Foreclosures.” I learned a formula. The next trick was to have the discipline to actually put into action what I had learned. That is where most people stop. For three years, while working for Xerox, I spent my spare time learning to master the art of buying foreclosures. I’ve made several million dollars using that formula, but today, it’s too slow and too many other people are doing it.

So after I mastered that formula, I went in search of other formulas. For many of the classes, I did not use the information I learned directly, ‘ibut I always learned something new.

I have attended classes designed for only derivative traders, also a class for commodity option traders and a class for Chaologists. I was way out of my league, being in a room full of people with doctorates in nuclear physics and space science. Yet, I learned a lot that made my stock and real estate investing more meaningful and lucrative. Most junior colleges and community colleges have classes on financial planning and buying of traditional investments. They are great places to start.

So I always search for a faster formula. That is why, on a fairly regular basis, I make more in a day than many people will make in their lifetime.

Another side note. In today’s fast-changing world, it’s not so much what you know anymore that counts, because often what you know is old. It is how fast you learn. That skill is priceless. It’s priceless in finding faster formulas-recipes, if you will, for making dough. Working hard for money is an old formula born in the day of cave men.

  1. PAY YOURSELF FIRST: The power of self-discipline. If you cannot get control of yourself, do not try to get rich. You might first want to join the Marine Corps or some religious order so you can get control of yourself. It makes no sense to invest, make money and blow it. It is the lack of self-discipline that causes most lottery winners to go broke soon after winning millions. It is the lack of self-discipline that causes people who get a raise to immediately go out and buy a new car or take a cruise.

It is difficult to say which of the ten steps is the most important. But of all the steps, this step is probably the most difficult to master if it is not already a part of your makeup. I would venture to say that it is the lack of personal self-discipline that is the No. 1 delineating factor between the rich, the poor and the middle class.

Simply put, people who have low self-esteem and low tolerance for financial pressure can never, and I mean never, be rich. As I have said, a lesson learned from my rich dad was that “the world will push you around.” The world pushes people around not because other people are bullies, but because the individual lacks internal control and discipline. People who lack internal fortitude often become victims of those who have self-discipline.

In the entrepreneur classes I teach, I constantly remind people to not focus on their product, service or widget, but to focus on developing management skills. The three most important management skills necessary to start your own business are:

  1. Management of cash flow.

. Management of people.

. Management of personal time.

I would say, the skills to manage these three apply to anything, not just entrepreneurs. The three matter in the way you live your life as an individual, or as part of a family, a business, a charitable organization, a city or a nation.

Each of these skills is enhanced by the mastery of self discipline. I do not take the saying “pay yourself first” lightly.

The Richest Man in Babylon, by George Classen, is where the statement “pay yourself first” comes from. Millions of copies have been sold. But while millions of people freely repeat that powerful statement, few follow the advice. As I said, financial literacy allows one to read numbers, and numbers tell the story. By looking at a person’s income statement and balance sheet, I can readily see if people who spout the words “pay yourself first” actually practice what they preach.

A picture is worth a thousand words. So let’s again compare the financial statements of people who pay themselves first against someone who doesn’t.

People who pay themselves first

+————————+

Job—————>Income—-
^————————-
 Expense 

+————————+ |

+————————————–<

———|————————+

AssetsLiabilities
  
_________

Someone who pays everyone else first- Often there is nothing left

+————————+

Job—————>Income

|————————-

Expense—-> Nothing left!

+————————+

———————————–+

AssetsLiabilities   
_________

Study the diagrams and notice if you can pick up some distinctions. Again, it has to do with understanding cash flow, which tells the story. Most people look at the numbers and miss the story. If you can truly begin to understand the power of cash flow, you will soon realize what is wrong with the picture on the next page, or why 90 percent of most people work hard all their lives and need government support like Social Security when they are no longer able to work.

Do you see it? The diagram above reflects the actions of an individual who chooses to pay himself first. Each month, they allocate money to their asset column before they pay their monthly expenses. Although millions of people have read Classen’s book and understand the words “pay yourself first,” in reality they pay themselves last.

Now I can hear the howls from those of you who sincerely believe in paying your bills first. And I can hear all the “responsible” people who pay their bills on time. I am not saying be irresponsible and not pay your bills. All I am saying is do what the book says, which is “pay yourself first.” And the diagram above is the correct accounting picture of that action. Not the one that follows.

My wife and I have had many bookkeepers and accountants and bankers who have had a major problem with this way of looking at “pay yourself first.” The reason is that these financial professionals actually do what the masses do, which is pay themselves last. They pay everyone else first.

There have been months in my life, when for whatever reason, cash flow was far less than my bills. I still paid myself first. My accountant and bookkeeper screamed in panic. “They’re going to come after you. The IRS is going to put you in jail.” “You’re going to ruin your credit rating.” “They’ll cut off the electricity.” I still paid myself first.

“Why?” you ask. Because that’s what the story The Richest Man In Babylon was all about. The power of self-discipline and the power of internal fortitude. “Guts,” in less elegant terms. As my rich dad taught me the first month I worked for him, most people allow the world to push them around. A bill collector calls and you “pay or else.” So you pay and not pay yourself. A sales clerk says, “Oh, just put it on your charge card.” Your real estate agent tells you to “go ahead-the government allows you a tax deduction on your home.” That is what the book is really about. Having the guts to go against the tide and get rich. You may not be weak, but when it comes to money, many people get wimpy.

I am not saying be irresponsible. The reason I don’t have high credit card debt, and doodad debt, is because I want to pay myself first. The reason I minimize my income is because I don’t want to pay it to the government. That is why, for those of you who have watched the video The Secrets of the Rich, my income comes from my asset column, through a Nevada corporation. If I work for money, the government takes it.

Although I pay my bills last, I am financially astute enough to not get into a tough financial situation. I don’t like consumer debt. I actually have liabilities that are higher than 99 percent of the population, but I don’t pay for them; other people pay for my liabilities. They’re called tenants. So rule No. 1 in paying yourself first is don’t get into debt in the first place. Although I pay my bills last, I set it up to have only small unimportant bills, that I will have to pay.

Secondly, when I occasionally come up short, I still pay myself first. I let the creditors and even the government scream. I like it when they get tough. Why? Because those guys do me a favor. They inspire me to i go out and create more money. So I pay myself first, invest the money, and let the creditors yell. I generally pay them right away anyway. My wife and I have excellent credit. We just don’t cave into the pressure and spend our savings or liquidate stocks to pay for consumer debt. That is not too financially intelligent.

So the answer is:

  1. Don’t get into large debt positions that you have to pay for. Keep your expenses low. Build up assets first. Then, buy the big house or nice car. Being stuck in the rat race is not intelligent.

. When you come up short, let the pressure build and don’t dip into your savings or investments. Use the pressure to inspire your financial genius to come up with new ways of making more money and then pay your bills. You will have increased your ability to make more money as well as your financial intelligence. ; : So many times I have gotten into financial hot water, and used my brain to create more income, while staunchly defending the assets in my asset column. My bookkeeper has screamed and dived for cover, but I was like a good trooper defending the fort, Fort Assets.

Poor people have poor habits. A common bad habit is innocently called “Dipping into savings.” The rich know that savings are only used to create more money, not to pay bills.

I know that sounds tough, but as I said, if you’re not tough inside, the world will always push you around anyway.

If you do not like financial pressure, then find a formula that works for you. A good one is to cut expenses, put your money in the bank, pay more than your fair share of income tax, buy safe mutual funds and take the vow of the average. But this violates the “pay yourself first” rule.

The rule does not encourage self-sacrifice or financial abstinence. It doesn’t mean pay yourself first and starve. Life was meant to be enjoyed. If you call on your financial genius, you can have all the goodies of life, get rich and pay bills, without sacrificing the good life. And that is financial intelligence.

  1. PAY YOUR BROKERS WELL: The power of good advice. I often see people posting a sign in front of their house that says, “For Sale by Owner.” Or I see on TV today many people claiming to be “Discount Brokers.”

My rich dad taught me to take the opposite tack. He believed in paying professionals well, and I have adopted that policy also. Today, I have expensive attorneys, accountants, real estate brokers and stockbrokers. Why? Because if, and I do mean if, the people are professionals, their services should make you money. And the more money they make, the more money I make.

We live in the Information Age. Information is priceless. A good broker should provide you with information as well as take the time to educate you. I have several brokers who are willing to do that for me. Some taught me when I had little or no money, and I am still with them today.

What I pay a broker is tiny in comparison with what kind of money I can make because of the information they provide. I love it when my real estate broker or stockbroker makes a lot of money. Because it usually means I made a lot of money.

A good broker saves me time in addition to making me money-as when I bought the piece of vacant land for $9,000 and sold it immediately for over $25,000, so I could buy my Porsche quicker.

A broker is your eyes and ears to the market. They’re there every day so I do not have to be. I’d rather play golf.

Also, people who sell their house on their own must not value their time much. Why would I want to save a few bucks when I could use that time to make more money or spend it with those I love? What I find funny is that so many poor and middle class people insist on tipping restaurant help 15 to 20 percent even for bad service and complain about paying a broker 3 to 7 percent. They enjoy tipping people in the expense column and stiffing people in the asset column. That is not financially intelligent.

All brokers are not created equal. Unfortunately, most brokers are only salespeople. I would say the real estate salespeople are the worst.

They sell, but they themselves own little or no real estate. There is a tremendous difference between a broker who sells houses and a broker who sells investments. And that is true for stock, bond, mutual fund and insurance brokers who call themselves financial planners. As in the fairy tale, you kiss a lot of frogs to find one prince. Just remember the old saying, “Never ask an encyclopedia salesperson if you need an encyclopedia.” When I interview any paid professional, I first find out how much property or stocks they personally own and what percentage they pay in taxes. And that applies to my tax attorney as well as my accountant. I have an accountant who minds her own business. Her profession is accounting, but her business is real estate. I used to have an accountant that was a small business accountant, but he had no real estate. I switched because we did not love the same business.

Find a broker who has your best interests at heart. Many brokers will .’; spend the time educating you, and they could be the best asset you find. Just be fair, and most of them will be fair to you. If all you can think about is cutting their commissions, then why should they want to be around you? It’s just simple logic.

As I said earlier, one of the management skills is the management of people. Many people only manage people they feel smarter than and they have power over, such as subordinates in a work situation. Many middle managers remain middle managers, failing to get promoted because they know how to work with people below them, but not with people above them. The real skill is to manage and pay well the people who are smarter than you in some technical area. That is why companies have a board of directors. You should have one, too. And that is financial intelligence.

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