On Being Right

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”     ~Bertrand Russell~

Some people see life as a war, with winners and losers clearly defined.  Any life lost because of stubbornness and inflexibility is a tragedy.  Most wars are certainly avoidable without serious consequence.

On a microcosmic level, relationships are also often treated as a war between good and evil.  The man is a beast, while the woman is always assumed to be the sensitive beauty.

Let me ask you a question:  How many ways can you slice up a pie?  Yes, an infinite number of ways.  But perhaps your perception and bias limits you to just a few available options or even only one.

If someone slices up the pie into bite-size pieces, another person may just go ballistic and say something to the tune of:  “How could you be so thick and insensitive?  Pies must be sliced in the familiar triangular fashion, stupid!”

Sometimes these words are voiced while at other times the person whose sensibilities are challenged will silently seethe and froth at the mouth.

Wars find their roots in the minds’ of the rigid.  Seeds of intolerance are often planted in the family living room or the schoolroom where stridency and undue bias paint a picture that the pie can only be sliced in one style and dimension.

In mathematical formulas, this one-way-thinking may hold water.  But in what color the drapes should be in the kids’ bedroom or which section of a territory is mine or yours…more intelligence and flexibility is desperately needed.

I hope we all can learn to accept the infinite positive outcome.  Our world is changing at a dizzying speed and our only hope for survival of our species is to think out of the box and allow for difference in opinion.

This is my pie-in-the sky dream.  Give peace a chance.

Plan B
“When planning for a year plant corn.  When planning for a decade, plant trees.  When planning for life, train and educate people.”     ~Chinese Proverb~

Yesterday I sat down with my friend Tom, a man in his fifties who is contemplating retirement.  Like many people of our age, he has had parents and in-law parents pass away.  He came into modest sums of inheritance, leaving him and his wife feeling somewhat stable, at least for the time being.  That is, unless he lives as long as many Japanese do.

As a child, few of us – including yours truly – had any real training in how money works and how it can work for you.  Like “sinful” sex, it was often left to a crap shoot.  There are many losers and a few winners in a crap shoot.

Did your dad or mom, even if they were relatively well off, give you any clear information on how to financially plan?

If they did, then you have the table set properly to feed your children with the same beneficial information.  But if you didn’t have the vaguest notion about how money works, then probably money is still not working well for you.

Many people feel that if they are living on let’s say $150,000 a year now, that they can live on a quarter of that in retirement.  In researching this article, it became clear that to maintain your present lifestyle (taking inflation into account) will take about seventy percent of your present income.

I’m not prepared, quite frankly.  Are you?  If you are chasing dollars as a wage slave and spending the money at almost the same pace as it comes in, then you must see the scenarios clearly.

The first is that you will die and your surviving spouse may have enough to live comfortably without you from the inheritance and insurance payouts.  The second is the opposite, you will die and your spouse will have a pittance and a small pension; likely she/he will need public assistance in a big way a couple of years down the line.

But here’s a third choice:  reconstruct your thinking and strategy about making and saving money, even if you are in your fifties or sixties and you can feel the financial noose tightening.

If all of your income comes from going to an office and punching a time clock, then you are an indentured slave.  Yes, you may receive a gold watch and, if lucky, a lump-sum retirement payout from your company when you retire, but your money flow will totally dry up when you stop punching.  Government pensions, meager as they usually are, will not in themselves keep you more than barely afloat.

You and I need to become creative and re-create our image of who we are and how we relate to money.  We need a Plan B.  Plan B is your residual income, money that flows in through a leveraged vehicle.  By leveraged, I mean “other peoples’ effort and funding.”  We must learn how to work money, rather than spend it frivolously.  An online business or even a networking (MLM) business is possible to begin and prosper till death do you part, and even beyond.

While you may feel unable to work independently and build a sales team selling your book, your original soap or your knitting goods, to cite a few examples, the alternative of not trying can be dark indeed for your future.

Get started with your Plan B today.  Take yourself out of the picture in how to create a retirement lifestyle.  Use other people to leverage your time and money constraints.  Stop trying to be a one-man/woman show.

Make this your best year ever by changing strategies, however painful or scary that may be.

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