Monthly Archives: December 2010

Wealthiest Live in DC…That’s the Government, Right?!

When you examine the states with the highest concentrations of wealth – those states where the “richest” Americans live, it should give you moment for pause and, I hope, concern.  In fact, I hope to heck you get a bit outraged. Why is it that the wealthiest Americans live in states that border our beloved Capitol? And how is it that the highest concentration of “the richest Americans” live in DC?!  What do the people in DC do for a living that they are THE “richest” Americans?! They are the government! So I ask, when the richest Americans live in DC and the surrounding states, why is it that you keep turning to government to solve your problems?  Provide you healthcare? Secure your employment income? Pay for your retirement? Why? How exactly do you think the government makes its money? It taxes us. You and me. We pay for the government with our taxes and, alas, they pocket most of it. It is that hard to extrapolate these truths? I am not saying a government should not exist but the extent to which the government is involved in our lives is and to which we have allowed them to intervene is beyond sickening; it is corrupt and we are cannibalizing ourselves. If you want to make a difference in the world (a) do not become a politician and (b) actively work against any law that gives government any more power. Specifically, to take away their power means that your special interests can no longer win (ie: get funded) because you MUST stop believing that your special interest is just that – “special” – and should receive the hard earned capital of other citizens because, folks, it is your capital as well….at least for those of us who work. Thus,  stop asking someone else to pay for you and yours and if you think you are above this mentality then I ask you, do you believe healthcare should be mandated for all? Do you think that unemployment benefits should be paid out for two plus years? Do you think that the government should tax the rich even more because, remember, the “rich” are classified at those making over $114,000 per year (read my post “Got Wealth” December 14, 2010) and if you currently do not make this much money, I know you want to. Money is not the enemy, folks, it is a resource given by God and to those of us who know how to steward it well, more will be provided. Thus, the more you allow to be taken away from you and given to the government (which you do when you expect government to intervene and provide a solution to a problem), the more you believe that they can do a better job with your hard earned capital than you can.  The more you believe the government will send it into the hands of the needy and deserving, the more you believe that you are not capable of doing the same. I don’t know about you, but I am pretty certain the government is not sending my tax dollars into the hands of the needy and deserving but, rather, they are pocketing it themselves and, hence, maybe the answer is to move to DC to reap the benefits of a system that is NOT designed to be helpful but rather to redirect our hard earned dollars into the hands of the few....okay, participating in the system is not the answer but learning about alternative ways to gain more contractual control of your capital certainly is a step in the right direction. If you want to know more, ask me.

As Much As I Can Get

“Middle class falls short on retirement funds” was the title of an article in Reuters on December 8th. Because I work with “average” families every day in my business, mostly small business owners, I know that the advice people get is not advice at all but opinions and a hope and a prayer. I was a client of these advisors for about 15 years until I couldn’t stand my own ignorance anymore and I started educating myself.  As such, I never ask the question which all advisors, regardless of firm, asked me, “How much do you think you will need in the future?” How am I supposed to know how much I will need?! Isn’t that why I am coming to you Mr. Advisor?! Unfortunately, as the article points out, what the average American thinks she will need is far too little. Thus, the only correct answer that should come from your mouth when you are asked, “How much do you think you will need in the future?” is “As much as I can get!” If that sounds greedy or selfish then I submit that to speak differently is true selfishness because if God chooses to bless you with the ability to earn an income, then you have the responsibility to use His talents to earn more. (Read Matthew 25:14-30) The article goes on to explain that most people will not have enough in retirement because they “have their heads in the sand in the face of obvious savings deficits.” How is it that we judge others for their ignorance, their lack of education, when we do not seek knowledge for ourselves? If you will not take the time to educate yourself about your money, who will?  The writer points out that while individuals recognize the need to get educated, they are not willing to pay for advice. Does that mean people won’t take the time to buy books and read? Or does that mean people are not willing to give money to someone they barely know so that person can tell them information they barely understand? I agree. Why would you pay someone for advise that you are not even sure is going to work? What sort of guarantees can the advisor offer? Any?!  Don’t pay someone to advise you. If the advisor is worth his or her salt, she will offer you a strategy that you can understand and you will implement. It is from the products within the strategy from which she will get paid. We all make a commission. Some of us charge you for our time because it gives the illusion that we are important but the truth is, if I am teaching you to operate in a capitalist society, then I should behave like a capitalist and capitalists do not get paid until we add value. Oh, wait a minute…. we are still operating in a capitalist society, aren’t we? The article points out the majority of people expect someone else to help them. They expect the government to help via social security benefits and other tax payer funded welfare programs and they expect their current employers to educate them about how to manage their money. What’s wrong with us?! Have we strayed so far down the socialist path that we have forgotten that NO one is guaranteed anything. NO one is entitled to anything. What’s wrong with working hard for your money and saving it? People, wake up. You HAVE to invest TIME into your own education. You have to READ! Turn the TV off and start reading. If you don’t know what books to start with, click on my calendar tab and join my reading club. Finally, please know that the millionaires of this country are NOT the most intelligent. Having true wealth is not that complicated but, alas, those of us in the financial services industry have worked so hard to impress you with our credentials and all the “big” clients we serve, that we have left you feeling like maybe wealth is for someone else. But I say, why not you? Families of sustainable wealth start because someone at some time decided to do things differently. Why not you?

Got Wealth?

A common disdain exists for people who make a lot of money. From those who blatantly state that “rich people” should pay more to the less vocal who believe that one person or family does not need “that” much. As such, when we know that statistically the top 10% of the money earners in the U.S. pay 70% of the taxes, most folks respond, “Good, that is the way it should be.” Basically, whether verbalized or held only as an internal belief, a large percentage of the US population has the attitude – from those who make much, much should be taken and given to those with the least. Hence, we have the graduated tax system, socialized medicine, collective bargaining agreements, special interest groups, and yet one more cry for “my rights.” However, do you know what adjusted gross income qualifies a person or family to be in the top 10%? If your AGI is $113,799 a year, you are in the top 10%* and you “should” carry the brunt of the tax burden (69.94%) for the entire US…according to the facts and the attitudes of most of the citizenry. Now consider that the 2010 census data listed the median household income for several north Dallas suburbs as over $100,000 per year and you realize that the “rich” people are YOU! If it’s not you, it’s your brother, your best friend, your pastor! Can you really look at your spouse and say, “Honey, we make so much money, it is only ‘right’ that we pay 70% of the tax burden while 50% of the US population pays no taxes whatsoever.” Are you prepared to look at your best friend and say, “Because you make more money than I, you should pay more for the roads that we both travel, the unemployment benefits that others have been using for almost two years, the healthcare costs for those who are currently uninsurable.” What do you really believe? How do you truly feel? When you compare the per capita income of those in the United States to those around the world, we rank 3rd out of 208 countries listed of which 83% of the countries in the world make less than $20,000 on a per capita basis. What this means is that the U.S. (not just our country, you and I = “US”) is the 3rd wealthiest nation in the world (we, all of us, are the wealthiest people in the world) and if you believe that “from those who make much, much should be taken and given to those with the least,” then you support how we systematically give our money to fund the world. So, do you feel like one of the wealthiest people in the world? If you want to not just feel wealthy (because you are) but you want a clearly defined plan so that you know that you are, I would relish a conversation with you about how I can be of service. * Source: Internal Revenue Service