PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE

When you break something that isn’t yours, you fess up to the person who owned the item. You offer to repay the person for it. That’s personal responsibility, to just about everyone.

                You work, you pay your way, you rely on no one for help. That’s personal responsibility, too. The question today is, what if something happens so that you can’t work? Perhaps you become disabled. Perhaps you lose a job you had for years, because your employer decided he didn’t need you anymore. You look for work that fits your qualifications.  You can’t find it in a short time. What do you do, if you want to be personally responsible?

             Some would argue that looking and waiting wastes time. You should take a job that pays something, no matter what your qualifications. Despite your advanced education, it should not be beneath you to flip burgers or wash dishes for a couple bucks an hour. But the time you waste working for menial wages, just to be “personally responsible,” is time you could be looking for something better. Sure, you can flip burgers or wash dishes at night and look for better work during the day. Then, when do you sleep?

               To add insult to injury, the burger-joint manager may not hire you because he knows you’ll move on once you get something better. And, he’s right. He’s more interested in finding a long-term burger flipper so he doesn’t have to keep filling that same job over and over. Perhaps the same person who thinks it should not be beneath you to flip burgers is the same person who won’t hire you if you apply, because you are overqualified.

OUT OF WORK A WHILE? WE DON’T WANT YOU!

               The latest trend: long-term unemployed need not apply. So not only are you overqualified to flip burgers, you’ve been out of work a few months – or longer. That gives burger-joint manager has another reason to tell you NO! And, that manager goes home at night complaining about taxes and deficits that have occurred because, in his mind, people like you are not “personally responsible.” You are always looking for a government handout, in his mind.

               Here’s another rationalization: if we keep extending unemployment benefits, people will figure out that they’ll collect just about what they would take home from a job, and not have to work for it. It’s welfare, or government overspending, by another name.

               In reality, very few people would trade a job for an unemployment check. Sure, you’ll find some who are comfortable with their feet up constantly, but most people WANT to work. The trouble is, many of the jobs they do best have gone away because of technology or other methods of productivity increases. THESE ADVANCES ARE NOT BAD THINGS!

             If you are out of work and struggling to find a job suited to your qualifications, you are not alone. You have many things stacked against you. Despite what you might hear about people like you, you are NOT personally irresponsible. You are NOT happy sitting home, collecting a check. You WANT to work! The fact that there are too few jobs is NOT your fault! No klnd of work is beneath you, but doing jobs for which you are overqualified – assuming someone will hire you – can be counterproductive.

            Here’s the good news! There are many ways out there to make money – even lots of money – regardless of your qualifications, your background, your demographics, your station in life.  All anyone has to do is to look for them. When they find them, they have to think a bit outside their comfort zones to determine whether the situation is right for them. Sure, there will be scams. Sure, there will be operations that promise more than they can deliver, and take scarce money out of your pocket.  For a great opportunity that has a proven track record and has been thoroughly vetted, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.

             If you need cash immediately, and the burger joint will hire you, grab the job if it works for you. At the same time, find one of the great opportunities out there available to everyone, spend a few hours a week working on that.  Robert Kiyosaki, author of the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” series, says these opportunities are the future of commerce. Yes, they are open to anyone and everyone who wants to work them – even the disabled.  Heck, even if you are able to find a job in your field, you may not want to risk getting laid off again. These opportunities can eradicate unemployment, WITHOUT government. But you have to be willing to pursue them. 

           You have nothing to lose by checking out the above link. See whether it is right for you. If it’s not, say NO when you get a follow-up call. No one will harass you, or try to get you to buy something you don’t want.  If it seems as if you could do it, jump in. There will be no risk, but perhaps great reward. Never risk being called “personally irresponsible” again.

Peter

GOING SOLO!

How many people are in your household? How many people were in your household when you grew up as a child? Those numbers are trending down.
But what does that mean? New York Times columnist David Brooks recently discussed the trend of smaller households, in conjunction with the book, “Going Solo,” by Eric Klinenberg.
What Klinenberg’s research shows is that more people are living alone than, say, 30 or 40 years ago. In fact, there are more single-person households than married-with-children households. In cities such as Atlanta, Denver and Washington, more than 40 percent of the households are one-person dwellings. In Manhattan (New York), that number rises to 50 percent.
A few years ago, more people affiliated with a major political party. Now, more register as independent. More people worked for big companies and/or were part of unions. That type of employment is also down.
As Brooks quotes these figures from Klinenberg, there is a lot to digest about what we have become, and will become. We are less likely to join groups, in the traditional sense, and more likely to connect on social networks online, at our own pace and in our own time.
We’ll have more entrepreneurs than employees. The reason the traditional job is falling out of favor is not only that companies are downsizing, but also that working for a company – pigeon-holed into a specific job, schedule or lifestyle – may not work for the individualists that we have become. Getting married seems old school, but it’s more than that. Marriage creates obligations, which can limit one’s flexibility in a fast-changing world. People may still love, without marrying, to the chagrin of some.
In recent times, which Klinenberg and Brooks didn’t measure, we have seen more young adults still living their parents because they were out of work, or faced some other economic catastrophe. One would suspect that most hate that arrangement, and will “Go Solo” as soon as they are able.
INDEPENDENTS AND CHOICES

Speaking of political parties, the irony is overwhelming. One side of the debate wants people to be more “self-reliant,” and take more “personal responsibility,” while at the same time limiting the choices those people have in some areas. The other side of the debate is all for having more choices, but wants to steer people into more collectives.
Let’s take that argument a step further. We do not want people to choose to be a criminal, but we must take great care in determining what acts constitute criminality. People crave freedom, but at the same time despise inequality. People love security, but one pays a price – in some freedoms – for security.
The bottom line is that households are getting smaller. It may not just be a youth phenomenon, since many of the single-person households are older, widows or widowers. They look for a life with fewer obligations, more opportunities, fewer constraints and more pleasure.
People are taking more responsibility. They are becoming more individual. They are forgoing the comfort of groups for the opportunity to “Go Solo.” Of course, there is a happy medium. What if you could be in business for yourself, but not BY yourself? What if you could get the help you need to make a fortune, from others with a vested interest in your success? If that intrigues you, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Whether you “Go Solo” or not, you may find something there that will fit your life – not disrupt it.
We love independence, and, using Klinenberg’s data, it shows. Let us go forth and prosper, seeking help when we need it but doing most of the heavy lifting on our own. Let us have the choices available to make that journey the best it can be.

Peter

LOTTERY WINNERS, RESTRAIN YOURSELVES

Three winning tickets were sold in the Mega Millions drawing March 29, 2012. The three people, or groups of people, will split more than a half billion bucks – the largest jackpot in lottery history. Will that ultimately be a dream, or nightmare?
With money comes happiness and heartache, celebration and harassment. You will know who your friends are, because you will take care of them. You know who your pseudo-friends are, because they will expect you to take care of them. People you haven’t heard from in years will contact you. You probably will have to move, which may not be a bad thing.
Above all else, act with caution and restraint. Jackpots like this always tempt dreamers to blow a lot of money on things they shouldn’t. Ask yourself: other than giving the money away to more people or causes, what could you do with half a billion that you can’t do with $10 million, in terms of lifestyle? As you buy things, ask: why am I doing this?
It’s not that you CAN’T buy that cool car you never could own before. But, restraint should rule when you win a jackpot. The more restraint you have in times of great emotion, the longer you will have your money.
If you are not used to dealing with large sums of money, get reputable, professional help. The temptation is to buy that Cadillac, that big new house and give a million each to your hundred closest friends and family. It’s better to spend a little of it for professional advice before going out and spending your fortune at will.
A TEMPTATION AND A CURSE
Money is not only a temptation, it is curse – in the wrong hands. If you plan to give some away, make sure you give it to people or organizations that will do things right, and do the right things. If you know someone you would like to help, but don’t trust that they will do right by the money, place conditions on the gift. Perhaps that child has to finish college first. Or, that brother or cousin has to first get his act together. Funding bad habits is a waste of good fortune.
Sure, there will be frivolity in spending – by you and by those to whom you give. But you want the gift to last a lifetime – even outlive you and your recipient. Don’t hesitate to place conditions on the gift, and restrain yourself in what you keep.
We all have our favorite charities. If they do things right, and do the right things, fund them well. You will get back so much more by giving generously. Besides, selfishness is not a good attribute, no matter how much you have. You want to take care of your needs and desires, but you also want to be carefully generous. If your charitable gift is big enough, put conditions on that , too. Make sure it goes to the actions you want to promote, and not wind up in someone else’s pocket. Not all people who work for charities are charitable.
When you hire that professional adviser, make sure he or she is not only qualified to advise you, but also won’t rip you off through, say, exhorbitant fees or unnecessary business churn. Some of these advisers make lots of money off rich clients and the clients end up with no money in the end. Look what Bernie Madoff and Jon Corzine did to their clients. Audition a few advisers and see whether your gut tells you they can be trusted. A good adviser can make the difference between your money outliving you, or you outliving your money. There’s a difference between reasonable risk and callous investing.
Caution, again, is the operative word. Restraint today will lead to more frivolity later. If you come in to lots of money, you should act pretty much the same way you would if you were frugally trying to stretch scarce dollars. Keep frivolity to a minimum, at least at the beginning, until you have all your money securely in the right places. Then, if you wish, be very selectively frivolous, without being wasteful.
Most state lottery proceeds benefit education. If you have a child or grandchild who benefits, or will benefit, from lottery funding, skip one drive-through cup of coffee a week and play your favorite game. If parents and grandparents did that religiously, lottery-funded education would never suffer. It’s also good practice for restraint if you win. And you just might get lucky.
If you are unlikely to win a lottery jackpot, there are many ways out there to make lots of money. To check out one of the best ways, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Average people have made above-average incomes, regardless of background, education or skills.
We’d all like to get rich. But the freedom money buys comes at a price. Be aware of the price, and always act with caution and restraint.
Peter


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GETTING OLD IS, AND WILL BE, TOUGH

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We are living longer. That’s good news.
We are living healthier. That’s good news.
We are living better. That, too, is good news.
What’s the bad news? All of the above.
Those who came into adulthood in the 1970s or later had differing definitions of family from their parents and grandparents. The result: families got smaller.
It made sense at the time. “Moms” didn’t stay at home as much. They went to work outside the home, as did the “Dads.” The advent of day care helped with the problem of caring for children, but the more children a couple had, the more expensive it became. Both mom and dad wanted to keep their jobs. So, they had fewer children.
There was much talk as well about overpopulation. China began restricting the number of children a family could have. It began selling its baby girls off to other countries, including the U.S., to keep its population at bay.
In the U.S., we witnessed economic downturns, layoffs and other prosperity killers. We wanted to keep our jobs, so we didn’t give them up to raise children. And, as older workers got shown the door before they wanted to be, we feared that more children — hence, more younger workers — would just hasten our retirements – before we were ready. If this has happened to you, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. It may be the best of many solutions to way-too-early retirement.
As for the aging parents and grandparents, more went to a nursing home, rather than moving in with their children. If parents were healthy enough, some of their children invited them in to act as baby-sitters for their grandchildren. But few wanted – or could afford — to take the time off work if their parents or grandparents needed full-time care themselves.
MANAGE YOUR OWN LIFE, DEATH
What will this mean in the future? If you become fortunate enough to live a long, good, prosperous and healthy life, and die quickly when you do get ill, that would be ideal. Theoretically, at least, you will not need a great deal of care. If you do, you’ll be able to afford it on your own. The few children that you had will enjoy your company. You might even want to baby-sit your grandchildren often.
But what if that long, good, prosperous and healthy life suddenly stops at, say, age 65? What if you will have drained your retirement savings for your care, to the point that you will need outside help to cover your medical and other care-related costs? What if the few children that you had – if you had any at all – can’t afford to help you much, because they are having enough trouble surviving on their own?
Ted C. Fishman, author of “Shock of Gray,” and “China, Inc.,” discussed this in a recent issue of USA Today. Next to Fishman’s piece was one by James Stacey Taylor, a medical ethics professor at the College of New Jersey, talking about how patients are unique and that one-size-fits-all medical solutions will tend to dominate medical care.
You can see that we are headed to a difficult situation, as the U.S., and much of the world, ages. Fewer young will be available to take care of the old. Fewer young will be able to fund care for the old.
How do we solve this? If you are anywhere between 20-something and 50-something, presume that you will get no help funding your old age – however you end up spending those years. Save as much now as you can. Invest well, with the eye of making sure you will have old-age income that will outlive you. And, have a Plan B in case your Plan A is disrupted by forces you can’t control (see link above).
Take charge of your own life. If a medical diagnosis and prognosis is going to render your life not worth living as you see it, and you wish to take measures to hasten your death, make sure your wishes are known. Take the emotion out of the decision for your heirs. You’ll actually be doing them a favor, even if they don’t see it that way at the time.
What made sense 30 years ago is bearing unintended consequences now. You’ll do well by yourself and those you love to leave as little to chance as possible. “Chance,” as Taylor points out, could mean a one-size-fits-all solution,that may or may not fit you.
Peter