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CHAPTER EIGHT - Part 03

  1. BE AN “INDIAN GIVER”: This is the power of getting something for nothing. When the first white settlers came to America, they were taken aback by a cultural practice some American Indians had. For example, if a settler was cold, the Indian would give the person a blanket. Mistaking it for a gift, the settler was often offended when the Indian asked for it back.

The Indians also got upset when they realized the settlers did not want to give it back. That is where the term “Indian giver” came from. A simple cultural misunderstanding.

In the world of the “asset column,” being an Indian giver is vital to wealth. The sophisticated investor’s first question is, “How fast do I get my money back?” They also want to know what they get for free, also called a piece of the action. That is why the ROI, or return of and on investment, is so important.

For example, I found a small condominium, a few blocks from where I live, that was in foreclosure. The bank wanted $60,000, and I submitted a bid for $50,000, which they took, simply because, along with my bid, was a cashier’s check for $50,000. They realized I was serious. Most investors would say, aren’t you tying up a lot of cash? Would it not be better to get a loan on it? The answer is, not in this case. My investment company uses this as a vacation rental in the winter months, when the “snowbirds” come to Arizona, and rent it for $2,500 a month for four months out of the year. For rental during the off?season, it rents for only $1,000 a month. I had my money back in about three years. Now I own this asset, which pumps money out for me, month in and month out.

The same is done with stocks. Frequently, my broker will call me and recommend I move a sizable amount of money into the stock of a company that he feels is just about to make a move that will add value to the stock, like announcing a new product. I will move my money in for a week to a month while the stock moves up. Then, I pull my initial dollar amount out, and stop worrying about the fluctuations of the market, because my initial money is back and ready to work on another asset. So my money goes in, and then it comes out, and I own an asset that was technically free.

True, I have lost money on many occasions. But I only play with money I can afford to lose. I would say, on an average ten investments, I hit home runs on two or three, while five or six do nothing, and I lose on two or three. But I limit my losses to only the money I have in at that time.

For people who hate risk, they put their money in the bank. And in the long run, savings are better than no savings. But it takes a long time to get your money back and, in most instances, you don’t get anything for free with it. They used to hand out toasters, but they rarely do that these days.

On every one of my investments, there must be an upside, something for free. A condominium, a mini-storage, a piece of free land, a house, stock shares, office building. And there must be limited risk, or a low-risk idea. There are books devoted entirely to this subject that I will not get into here. Ray Kroc, of McDonald’s fame, sold hamburger franchises, not because he loved hamburgers, but because he wanted the real estate ; under the franchise for free.

So wise investors must look at more than ROI; it’s the assets you get for free once you get your money back. That is financial intelligence. :

  1. ASSETS BUY LUXURIES: The power of focus. A friend’s child has been developing a nasty habit of burning a hole in his pocket. Just 16, he naturally wanted his own car. The excuse, “All his friends’ parents gave their kids cars.” The child wanted to go intohis savings and use it for a down payment. That was when his father called me. “Do you think I should let him do it, or should I just do as other parents do and just buy him a car?”

To which I answered. “It might relieve the pressure in the short term, but what have you taught him in the long term? Can you use this desire to own a car and inspire your son to learn something?” Suddenly the lights went on, and he hurried home.

Two months later I ran into my friend again. “Does your son have his new car?” I asked.

“No, he doesn’t. But I went and handed him $3,000 for the car. I told him to use my money instead of his college money.” “Well, that’s generous of you,” I said.

“Not really. The money came with a hitch. I took your advice of using his strong desire to buy a car and use that energy so he could learn something.”

“So what was the hitch?” I asked.

“Well, first we broke out your game again, CASHFLOW. We played it and had a long discussion about the wise use of money. I then gave him a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, and a few books on the stock market.”

“Then what?” I asked. “What was the catch?”

“I told him the $3,000 was his, but he could not directly buy a car with it. He could use it to buy and sell stocks, find his own stockbroker, and once he had made $6,000 with the $3,000, the money would be his for the car, and the $3,000 would go into his college fund.” “And what are the results?” I asked.

“Well, he got lucky early in his trading, but lost all he gained a few days later. Then, he really got interested. Today, I would say he is down $2,000, but his interest is up. He has read all the books I bought him and he’s gone to the library to get more. He reads the Wall Street Journal voraciously, watching for indicators, and he watches CNBC instead of MTV. He’s got only $1,000 left, but his interest and learning are sky high. He knows that if he loses that money, he walks for two more years. But he does not seem to care. He even seems uninterested in getting a car because he’s found a game that is more fun.”

“What happens if he loses all the money?” I asked.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I’d rather have him lose everything now rather than wait till he’s our age to risk losing everything. And besides, that is the best $3,000 I’ve ever spent on his education. What he is learning will serve him for life, and he seems to have gained a new respect for the power of money. I think he’s stopped the burning of holes in his pockets.” As I said in the section “Pay Yourself First,” if a person cannot master the power of self-discipline, it is best not to try to get rich. For while the process of developing cash flow from an asset column in theory is easy, it is the mental fortitude of directing money that is hard. Due to external temptations, it is much easier in today’s consumer world to simply blow it out the expense column. Because of weak mental fortitude, that money flows into the paths of least resistance. That is the cause of poverty and financial struggle.

I gave this numerical example of financial intelligence, in this case the ability to direct money to make more money. If we gave 100 people $10,000 at the start of the year, I gave my opinion that at the end of the year:

80 would have nothing left. In fact, many would have created I greater debt by making a down payment on a new car, refrigerator, TV, VCR or a holiday. 16 would have increased that $10,000 by 5 percent to 10 percent. 4 would have increased it to $20,000 or into the millions.

We go to school to learn a profession so we can work for money. It is my opinion that it is also important to learn how to have money work for you.

I love my luxuries as much as anyone else. The difference is, some people buy their luxuries on credit. It’s the keep-up-with-the-Joneses trap. When I wanted to buy a Porsche, the easy road would have been to call my banker and get a loan. Instead of choosing to focus in the liability column, I chose to focus in the asset column.

As a habit, I used my desire to consume to inspire and motivate my financial genius to invest.

Too often today, we focus to borrowing money to get the things we want instead of focusing on creating money. One is easier in the short term, but harder in the long term. It’s a bad habit that we as individuals and as a nation have gotten into. Remember, the easy road often becomes hard, and the hard road often becomes easy.

The earlier you can train yourself and those you love to be masters of money, the better. Money is a powerful force. Unfortunately, people use the power of money against them. If your financial intelligence is low, money will run all over you. It will be smarter than you. If money is smarter than you, you will work for it all your life.

To be the master of money, you need to be smarter than it. Then money will do as it is told. It will obey you. Instead of being a slave to it, you will be the master of it. That is financial intelligence.

  1. THE NEED FOR HEROES: The power of myth. When I was a kid, I greatly admired Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra. They were my heroes. As a kid playing Little League, I wanted to be just like them. I treasured their baseball cards. I wanted to know everything about them. I knew the stats, the RBI, the ERAs, their batting averages, how much they got paid, and how they came up 1 from the minors. I wanted to know everything because I wanted to be just like them.

Every time, as a 9 or 10 year-old kid, when I stepped up to bat or played first base or catcher, I wasn’t me. I was Yogi or Hank. It’s one of the most powerful ways we learn that we often lose as adults. We lose our heroes. We lose our naivete.

Today, I watch young kids playing basketball near my home. On the court they’re not little Johnny; they’re Michael Jordan, Sir Charles or Clyde. Copying or emulating heroes is true power learning. And that is why when someone like O.J. Simpson falls from grace, there is such a huge outcry.

There is more than just a courtroom trial. It is the loss of a hero. Someone people grew up with, looked up to, and wanted to be like. Suddenly we need to rid ourselves of that person.

I have new heroes as I grow older. I have golf heroes such as Peter Jacobsen, Fred Couples and Tiger Woods. I copy their swings and do my best to read everything I can about them. I also have heroes such as Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, George Soros and Jim Rogers. In my older years, I know their stats just like I knew the ERAs and RBI of my baseball heroes. I follow what Warren Buffett invests in, and read anything I can about his point of view on the market. I read Peter Lynch’s book to understand how he chooses stocks. And I read about Donald Trump, trying to find out how he negotiates and puts deals together.

Just as I was not me when I was up to bat, when I’m in the market or I’m negotiating a deal, I am subconsciously acting with the bravado of Trump. Or when analyzing a trend, I look at it as though Peter Lynch were doing it. By having heroes, we tap into a tremendous source of raw genius.

But heroes do more than simply inspire us. Heroes make things look easy. It’s the making it look easy that convinces us to want to be just like them. “If they can do it, so can I.”

When it comes to investing, too many people make it sound hard. Instead find heroes who make it look easy.

  1. TEACH AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE: The power of giving. Both of my dads were teachers. My rich dad taught me a lesson I have carried all my life, and that was the necessity of being charitable or giving. My educated dad gave a lot by the way of time and knowledge, but almost never gave away money. As I said, he usually said that he would give when he had some extra money. Of course, there was rarely any extra.

My rich dad gave money as well as education. He believed firmly in tithing. “If you want something, you first need to give,” he would always say. When he was short of money, he simply gave money to his church or to his favorite charity.

If I could leave one single idea with you, it is that idea. Whenever you feel “short” or in “need” of something, give what you want first and it will come back in buckets. That is true for money, a smile, love, friendship. I know it is often the last thing a person may want to do, but; it has always worked for me. I just trust that the principle of reciprocity it is true, and I give what I want. I want money, so I give money, and it comes back in multiples. I want sales, so I help someone else sell something, and sales come to me. I want contacts and I help someone else get contacts, and like magic, contacts come to me. I heard a saying years ago that went, “God does not need to receive, but humans need to give.” My rich dad would often say, “Poor people are more greedy than rich people.” He would explain that if a person was rich, that person was providing something that other people wanted. In my life, over all these ; years, whenever I have felt needy or short of money or short of help, I simply went out or found in my heart what I wanted, and decided to give it first. And when I gave, it always came back.

It reminds me of the story of the guy sitting with firewood in his arms on a cold freezing night, and he is yelling at the pot-bellied stove, “When you give me some heat, then I’ll put some wood in.” And when it comes to money, love, happiness, sales and contacts, all one needs to remember is first to give what you want and it will come back in droves. ? Often just the process of thinking of what I want, and how could I give what I want to someone else, breaks free a torrent of bounty. Whenever I feel that people aren’t smiling at me, I simply begin smiling and saying hello, and like magic, there are suddenly more smiling people around me. It is true that your world is only a mirror of you.

So that’s why I say, “Teach and you shall receive.” I have found that the more I sincerely teach those who want to learn, the more I learn. If you want to learn about money, teach it to someone else. A torrent of new ideas and finer distinctions will come in.

There are times when I have given and nothing has come back or what I have received is not what I wanted. But upon closer inspection and soul searching, I was often giving to receive in those instances, instead of giving to give.

My dad taught teachers, and he became a master teacher. My rich dad always taught young people his way of doing business. In retrospect, it was their generosity with what they knew that made them smarter. There are powers in this world that are much smarter than we are. You can get there on your own, but it’s easier with the help of the powers that be. All you need to be is generous with what you have, and the powers will be generous with you.

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