HAPPY NEW YEAR! WHERE ARE YOU?

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The new year is coming this week. Do you know where you are?

Not your precise location, but where you are in life?

Better yet, do you know where you want to be? Is where you are en route to where you want to be, or are you currently off course, or lost?

If you’re off course, or lost, do you know what you need to do to get back on course? Do you see yourself never knowing where you are going, or even where you want to go?

Let’s start where you are, because it’s really the only place to start from.

If you are young, say 20-something, or 30-something, you are probably en route to somewhere. Do you have an idea of your ultimate destination? Your destination is all that’s important, because you’ll undoubtedly hit some bumps in the road, or turns that will get you off course. If you know that, you’ll know what you have to do to get back on course.

If you are fortunate enough to have a smooth ride to your ultimate destination, great. Chances are, though you won’t, so plan on unexpected diversions.

One way to combat diversions is to form good habits. If you like gooey desserts or snacks, forgo one a week. If you buy a cup or two of coffee a day, consider cutting out one or two a week. Better yet, make your own coffee at home and bring it with you. Same with any meals you might eat at work.

However you do it, figure out the money you are saving and PUT IT AWAY into a safe investment. Do the same with any raises you get at work, though these days, raises are scarce. Don’t touch what you’ve saved.Let it grow.

You’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll have at, say, age 50.

If you’ve reached 50 or higher, time is not on your side. But those same llitle things can still help you. Keep in mind, though that there are many vehicles out there that might help you make up lost ground. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Younger folks, too, may find a way to get to their destinations faster by exploring this option.

So take the time to figure out where you are, where you want to go and how you are going to get there.

Consider being an entrepreneur. For a good manual on how to do that, check out Darren Hardy’s book, “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster.”

Regardless of what you do, plan for obstacles, but know your destination. And, know what you need to do to get there.

Happy New Year!

Peter

THE FOUNTAIN OF AGE

Many who are old may wish they were young again.
Then again, others would rather not either relive their past, or be young in this day and age.
Reporter Kerry Hannon wrote an article on aging in the June 29, 2014, edition of USA Today.
Paul Irving, president of the Milken Institute, has a collection of essays on aging from experts across America, titled “The Upside of Aging: Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose.” Hannon used these essays to source the article.
“The common spine of their discussions is finding creative solutions to a range of issues from age-friendly housing alternatives and transportation systems to lifelong learning and socially focused encore careers,” Hannon writes.
Let’s start our discussion by paraphrasing baseball great Satchel Paige: “how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”
Would you want to be 30 again? How about 20? If you are in those age groups, you’ll think about this later in life. Prepare now to live a good, long life and be healthy, wealthy and wise.
If you are somewhat older, closer to retirement, how do you feel about your job? Does it give you any pleasure? Are you counting the days when you could retire?
“Every person will have the opportunity to be ‘right’ for his or her personalized aging,” writes Pinchas Cohen, dean of the USC-Davis School of Gerontology. In other words, we won’t all age the same way. Some of us will have different health challenges. Some of us will work until we die – here’s hoping that you love your work that much. Still, others will struggle financially and others will struggle to find enough to do when they stop working.
Many will feel forced into a situation that they had no control over, i.e. their employer “retires” them before they wanted to go. Though we can’t control those situations, we can control how we proceed after something happens.
The one advantage to being young today is having the time to plan to get older. We can’t anticipate every curve ball someone will throw, but we can have the ability to either catch it, or hit it out of the park when it comes our way. Everyone should presume to be thrown curve balls at inconvenient times.
Those with less time to plan may have to start from scratch at an age at which one should relax. There are many ways out there in which one can start from scratch, no matter what age he is now. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You may see a good financial future, that can also give you time to enjoy what you love.
So don’t dread aging – embrace it. Don’t waste time and energy thinking how good life was years ago. Anticipate how good life will be years from now.
We all have different views of the past, and have different ideas for the future. Remember your past fondly, but look with great optimism to the future.
Most of us will live a good, long life. Prepare now for how you will pay for it, how you want to feel as you live it and, most importantly, how you want to enjoy it.
Peter

YOUNG VS. OLD IN A CHANGING WORLD

It started in the 1960s.
Young people wanting something better than – or, at least, different from – what their parents had and cherished.
Some 1960s protests turned violent. Today, in countries all over the world, the protests are very violent. The police and military in many countries are turning on their own people – largely young people – for trying to change the status quo.
Reporters David Kirkpatrick and Mayy El Sheikh discussed the chasm between young and old in Egypt, which has already overthrown its longtime dictator. But in that country, the “new” government hasn’t given them what they want.
The reporters’ story was published in the Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, edition of The New York Times.
We see it in countries all over the world – Syria, Ukraine etc. Young people want more freedom. Young people want to be who they really are – not who their parents or other elders want them to be.
If you are young today, the world is very different from that in which your parents grew up. Jobs are scarce. Employers are reorganizing every five minutes. So, even if you are lucky enough to land a good job, you can’t expect it to last.
Your parents may not understand you. They want what’s best for you, but may not have a clue what that is. All they have to go on is what was best for THEM.
If you are older, you shake your head at the younger generation. After all, your “dream” was a secure job with benefits, some advancement potential and a pension when you retired. If you got that far and achieved that: congratulations. But those younger than you may never see that. They will really have to be diligent to have financial security when they are your age.
Yes, the world is an ocean liner. It is certainly not a cruise ship, but in many cases it turns just as slowly. Make no mistake, though. It is turning. Perhaps it is not turning as quickly as the younger people want, but it is turning. When it turns, it will go in a very different direction.
Companies and employers have experts watching the ship, and trying to determine which direction it will go. Unlike the world of the past, this world will be turning constantly, as innovation in communication, manufacturing and technology evolve, and re-evolve.
Innovation, combined with education, give young people the courage to be who they are, not who their parents or elders want them to be. They have different, and more modern, ideas about how to live. In their minds, if they are going to survive, they have to fight for what they believe in. They have to fight for the freedom to be what they want to be.
In a changing world, we – young and older – need to have a Plan B. If the world changes in a way we don’t like, we need something that will give us the security to be who we are, and want to be. We need something that will allow us the freedom to not be dependent on an ever-changing employment situation. There are many ways to accomplish this. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
Meanwhile, fight to be who you are in an ever-changing world. At the same time, let others be who they are, as long as they mean you no harm. Throughout the world, give the young people the freedom they so crave. With freedom comes innovation. Innovation will come, whether we want it to or not. So let people innovate.
If you are older, you must realize that change isn’t all bad. If you are younger, remember that your elders are fighting to keep what is dear to them. When young and old understand each other, the world will be more peaceful and prosperous for all. As Paul McCartney’s mother told him years ago, “Let It Be.”
Peter

YOUNG, ANGRY, VIOLENT

The violence in the Middle East is attributed to lots of things – inflammatory movies or other media, ruthless dictators etc.
But, in the Middle East, the center of the trouble, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and other experts have said, is angry young men who are fairly well educated, but have no job to go to, and are otherwise inhibited from using their talents most profitably.
In the U.S., we also have many young people who feel left out of the process. They see a few people making lots of money, but don’t see a way to break into the action so they can do the same.
They see that they’ve gotten an education, and all they have to show for it is a big debt and, at the moment, no way to pay it. Perhaps they engaged in a field of study that is not in demand, or cannot be converted to a job that pays well.
Perhaps they grew up in an atmosphere in which competition was de-emphasized. Everyone got something, just for joining the club, or just for showing up. The real world is teaching them that showing up – or getting a good education – may not be enough. The parents have no way to bail them out, except by allowing them to live at home as adults.
We can find much to blame for this predicament. But, let’s not waste a lot of energy blaming someone or something. Let’s focus on where we go from here.
No one wants to see thousands, or even millions, of young people saddled with college debt and no job to pay for it. So, let’s try to solve that problem first.
The best way for a young person to get out of debt is to set up a business that he or she can work. For a look at one good possibility, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. This and other vehicles can help young people start to build their fortunes. The good news about this is that ANYONE can do it. No special background or requirements needed. The person just needs the drive to get it going, and get his or her friends in the same predicament to do the same. It can happen overnight, but typically it takes time and diligence. If things go well, you’ll whittle down that college debt in a very short time. You’ll have ups and downs, but just stay with it.
Remember, when the economy picks up, or when the young person finds work in the regular job market, he or she can take that job, and work their business with whatever other time they have. If they work at it consistently, having a regular job might be unnecessary.
If you are a young person not yet in college, you and your parents need to think not just about what college to go to, but also whether college is right for the student. There are many ways to make money that don’t require education (see above). Think about the job possibilities in the field you want to study. Would it be worth incurring the debt to study that, and risk not having an income to pay for it?
Think of the reverse. Make your money first, then go to college to pursue your interests. You’ll have the money to pay for it and whether you can make a living with it won’t matter.
Don’t get angry. Don’t do things that will set you up to fail. If you are already in a difficult situation, work diligently to get out of it. It didn’t happen overnight, and it probably was not your fault, even though others will blame you. It’s not about how you got there, it’s about how you are going to get out of there.
The alternatives for making money don’t involve government. They are not for the lazy or the impatient. The ambitious young people are just broke. They can fix that with energy, diligence, time and the right vehicle. The lazy and impatient will end up poor, unless they change.
Protests solve nothing and hurt innocent people. Some of the alternatives available to us in the U.S. may not be available to the young folks in the Middle East. In those countries, it may be more about breaking down barriers to success.
There are no barriers in the U.S. There is no need to protest. Use your energy to get out of trouble, or avoid trouble, rather than to blame those you feel got you in trouble.
Peter