There’s good debt and bad debt.
Of course, having no debt at all is ideal, but often, to have what you want in life, you sometimes have to borrow money.
Mortgage debt is among the good kind. As you pay it down, you are paying a part of it to yourself in the form of equity in your home. The more you pay down, the greater the equity. As a bonus, you are living in your house, too, so there’s an absence of rent payments. When your house is completely paid off, you essentially are living there for free.
In this economic milieu, when you sell a house, it’s not an automatic profit. But if you HAVE to sell your house, one of the considerations is that for however long you’d lived in your house, you didn’t pay rent – all of which goes into someone else’s pocket.
College loan debt used to be considered good debt. You were getting money for an education that ultimately was going to lead you to a better job than if you hadn’t gone to college. It made college available to non-wealthy families.
But Carolyn Thompson, reporting for the Associated Press, asserts that student loan debt is widening the gap between rich and poor. Her article ran in the March 30, 2014, edition of The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
Thompson’s point: those who came out of college with lots of debt – roughly 37 million people saddled with $1 trillion in debt – will have a hard time catching up with the wealth of their peers who graduated with no debt at all. In short, those from wealthier families, long term, will have a leg up financially on their cohorts that were forced to borrow to go to school.
Looking at the big picture, a college education isn’t what it used to be. Decades ago, a college education gave you a shot at jobs that those who didn’t graduate or finish college wouldn’t get. Companies hired raw brains, and trained them for the jobs they wanted them to do.
Today, some of those degrees we cherished years ago are almost worthless in terms of job opportunities. You may have studied what you loved, or found your passion in, say, the arts, but converting that to economic advancement can be difficult.
Therefore, if you borrowed money to study what you love, or to find your passion, you need to do something to pay back all that debt. Unemployment, or constant job hunting, isn’t going to make that debt go away. Even if you get a good job out of college, as Thompson asserts, you’ll still have a potential six-figure debt out of the gate. Those years it takes to catch up to your debt-free peers may find you not getting a mortgage for the house you want, and having to settle for a lesser lifestyle for a long time. It could keep you from starting young to save for retirement.
In short: if you have to borrow money to go to college, you had better find it all worth it, regardless of what you study. You may come out an expert on Shakespeare’s works, but you could be making a living pouring coffee. Though there’s nothing wrong with having smart coffee pourers, you won’t be paying down your debt quickly, and may have little in savings at age 60.
There are numerous solutions to this problem, besides skipping college altogether. If you are not college material, don’t fret. There are other ways to make money. For one of the best, visit . You may find a way to earn a substantial income without interfering with your academic loves or passion. If it fits you, and you start before college, you could have a financial leg up on all your peers.
As radio talk show host and financial expert Dave Ramsey might advise: don’t let debt be your financial death.


If you are finally back at work after a long unemployment, your life has changed.
In decades past, one may have had a job that had ebbs and flows. He worked when there was work, and got laid off when times were slow – only to be hired back when times improved.
In those days, jobs – particularly in the trades – didn’t go away. They sometimes went on vacation. Those who faced that situation often planned for it. More importantly, when they got hired back, it was often a better situation from what they had before.
For most professions, THOSE DAYS ARE GONE!
Today, if one gets laid off, often the job is never coming back. The person has to re-invent himself or herself. That can take time. You may know someone, even yourself, who has been out of work for months or years. As they look for jobs, they are discriminated against because they have been unemployed for so long. If they get another job, it is often for less money than they were making.
Wall Street Journal reporter Veronica Dagher talked to experts in the field and, in an article published March 2, 2014, offers advice to those who are finally working again after a long employment. In short, the six steps Dagher found in her research are: 1) Celebrate in moderation. Have a drink or an expensive cup of coffee, but don’t take a big vacation. 2) Set a new budget. A smaller salary means a reduced lifestyle. 3) Start saving and tackle debt. Bills may have drained your savings and increased your debt. Start building your savings and paying down debt. 4) Get a checkup. You’ve probably put your health on hold to save money. Start taking care of yourself again. 5) Catch up on retirement. You’ve probably drained any retirement account you may have had. Start building it back up. 6) Plan on your job going away again. Employers are constantly restructuring. They have to. You are just one reorganization, or one bad manager, away from the end of your career in certain fields.
If you are working, be thankful — no matter how bad your job seems to be. If your work situation is terrible, look to find something you can do part-time to help you get out of it. A second job may not be the answer you are looking for. There are oodles of opportunities out there to augment your income without having a traditional job. For one of the best, visit You, and your friends who may be in the same boat, just might find a way to eventually walk out of miserable jobs with smiles on your faces.
Re-inventing oneself is not the same as being someone you aren’t. You can still be you, with all your beliefs, quirks etc. Re-inventing oneself means taking control of YOUR situation. You can’t stop your employer from downsizing or reorganizing. He may be very sad to have to let you go. Regardless, things happen and YOU have to deal with it. Often, that means changing priorities, learning new things and, most of all, being open to looking at new things.
Not everything out there is going to suit you. Sometimes, you have to take a job you hate to get you over an immediate financial hump. But, long term, the future is in your hands and you can achieve great things if you want to.
Here’s hoping that if you were out of work for a long time, that you’ve finally found a new job that suits you. If you are newly unemployed, check out some of those other opportunities out there while you are looking for a new job.
If you have a job you hate, or you have a job you fear is going to go away, start to re-invent yourself now. Spend your free time checking into some of the ways to pick up extra money. So, when, or if, the day comes that your boss tells you goodbye, you’ll be OK.
Or, better yet, you can tell your boss goodbye first, and leave smiling.


Every dispute, situation or dynamic is centered around power.
Those that have it tend to want to use it to control others.
Those that don’t have it look to find something they can use as a weapon against those in power.
When terrorists cannot implement their agenda, they use terror tactics to inflict damage against those whom they cannot conquer.
When a criminal wants what someone else has, knowing that person would not give it to him willingly, he gets a weapon to force the exchange.
Our only hope is that those who gain power use it to help others, not hurt others.
Anyone can gain power. Most of those who are successful in business, for example, didn’t get there without hard work, good fortune and some help from others. Now that they have achieved their success, are they using it to take from, or give to, others? And, in the process, are they using, or otherwise taking advantage of others to achieve their goals?
Some see power as evil, unless they have it. Power does not have to be evil. It can be very good, if used properly. Of course, it can be evil if not.
How do we use power for good? We use power to empower. We use power we have achieved to empower others. For example, we use our power as parents to empower our children. How? By acting toward others in ways you would want your children to act toward others.
You see, you can tell children anything, but what you tell them won’t matter unless they see you acting the way you are telling them to act. You can tell a child to stay away from drugs, but if you are taking them yourself, chances are your children will follow your actions.
If you are an employer, you can’t expect your employees to give you their best if they believe you are not giving your best to them. They have to see you act in the way you want them to act, and you have to reward them the best way you can if they perform well.
If you are a teacher, your students will follow what you DO, more than they will follow what you TEACH. Actions are the best teacher. Students can learn from books, but they will learn best when a teacher not only acts professionally, but shows the students respect. A good teacher empowers.
Anyone can get power. Almost no one is powerless. One just has to think right, find what they need to get power, then empower.
You are just a “working person,” you say? Your current job may not give you the power you want, but there are many ways outside of your job that you can gain power. For one of the best, visit You may find the classic tool to not only give you power, but give you the power to empower.
We all believe that if we had the power, we would use it wisely, and for the benefit of others. For some, achieving power changes them for the worse. Still others who gain power change for the better.
Some who gain power just want more of it, and will do what they must to get it. Others who gain power just want to give themselves to others and empower.
If you had power, would you distribute it or hoard it? Doing the latter could eventually come back to bury you. Doing the former could change the world for the better.
To paraphrase an adage, power can corrupt. Absolute power can corrupt absolutely. But the opposite can also be true. Power can enhance. Absolute power can enhance absolutely. It all depends who has it.


Did you ever come across some information that you didn’t really want to know?
Did you ever wish so badly that something were true, that you actually believed that it was? When someone challenged you on its validity, did you ever say that THEY were lying to you?
Charles Simic, in an article titled “The Age of Ignorance,” in The New York Review, posted online March 20, 2014, said the political polarization in the United States has caused some parties to profess untruths as truths, to try to create an ignorant electorate.
Author Andy Andrews, in his book “How to Kill 11 Million People,” tells how Adolf Hitler killed that many Jews simply by lying to them.
It’s not uncommon for politicians, regardless of party or ideology, to lie. When the politicians start campaigning, one is hard pressed to know whether what they are saying is true. We are left to figure out the truth on our own.
We, as ordinary people, tell lies occasionally to suit our circumstances. When a lady asks you whether she looks fat in a particular dress, truth is not really what she is looking for. If you dare tell it, you do so at your peril.
No one would condemn you for “lying” in that circumstance. Other circumstances cry only for the truth. If you are selling something — and we all sell something at some time in our lives — we must tell the truth. Those who do not eventually get burned.
The saying goes that the truth will set you free. Why don’t many people in power believe that? Perhaps they don’t want people to be “free.” They perhaps want them held in the bondage of ignorance, as Simic asserts.
People of different faiths believe the “truth” of their faith. Yet, faith is defined as believing something is true, even if it is not proved. Science is defined as suspecting something to be true, then seeking to prove whether your hypothesis is correct.

So what should we, who seek the truth, do? Let’s get a few things set first.
Faith is good. We all need faith in something or someone. Our faith can often lead us to truth, even when we are not looking for it.
Science and education is good. Some of what we learn may contradict something our faith told us was true. Yet we as intelligent human beings can reconcile any differences. We can have strong faith AND still learn new things. Mostly, our faith should tell us to believe as we wish, and still interact with those who may not share our beliefs.
In short, we should always want to eeek and tell the truth. We should engage with others who seek and tell the truth. In some cases, we should humor those who kindly don’t seek the truth, and look with great skepticism on those who attempt to “create” truth from wishful thinking.
Power is not necessarily truth. We should seek truth over power, not power over truth. Facts may not lie, but if you try to make facts debatable, you may lack a solid conscience.
Simic and Andrews illustrate how lying can really hurt a society or a group of people. We as individuals must always know the truth. We must mix our core beliefs with that truth, and use that mixture to help others, and make ourselves the best people we can be. We will always encounter untruths. But we must always be strong enough to know what we know, and learn what we don’t know. That’s how good people are created and maintained.


P.S. For a dose of truth that may set you free, visit


Parting with money is difficult in most circumstances.
But if we trade money for something we really want, it can bring a certain amount of pleasure.
Washington Post columnist George Will once talked of “consensual transactions,” to differentiate between those in the private sector and taxes, which no one likes.
But there are many different feelings we can have when parting with our money. Not all “consensual transactions” are made with pleasure.
Hated transactions in the extreme are forced transactions, like taxes and fines. When someone robs you, and forces you to give him money, that’s another forced transaction.
Other transactions that displease to a lesser degree. If one’s car or refrigerator breaks down, the transaction to repair or replace it is not necessarily forced, but they are less than “consensual.” One would have difficulty living without refrigeration or transportation, so one must do what one must do. They can leave the consumer vulnerable, because circumstances dictate a purchase, at almost any cost.
Other transactions give you something you need, but anger you because of the cost. Gasoline, utilities and the like can cost you too much. Again, it’s difficult to live without those services. These are the expenses you look to minimize. Paying less for necessities can bring a certain amount of pleasure.
Consensual transactions in earnest might be the cup of coffee you buy each morning, or the decadent pastry you might buy with it. You don’t think about the cost, only the pleasure you’ll receive after consumption. These costs, though, don’t seem much at the time, but can really add up over time. Making your own coffee at home, or buying pastry in a grocery store — if you must eat pastry — can give you just as much short-term pleasure at a lower cost.
Real pleasure transactions might be that dream vacation you want to take. They might be that big-screen TV or other gadget that you’d always wanted. Sometimes, you want things so badly it doesn’t matter what they cost.
But these pleasure transactions can lull you into paying more than you should, or can lull you into buying something you really don’t need, or can’t afford. Make sure that purchases in this realm fit well into your income. Also, don’t scrimp on things like saving for retirement to buy a big-screen TV or take a dream vacation. You’ll pay dearly for that down the road, if you do.
It boils down to looking for value in every transaction. It also comes down to behavior and choices. Good behavior and smart choices can keep more of your money in your hands. Don’t go without affordable pleasures, but don’t overdo them either.
We all would like to earn more, and spend less. For one of the best ways to do that, visit Pleasure abounds when more money comes, and stays, in your hands.
So not every “consensual transaction,” as Will might define it, is desired or pleasant. If you are in business, you would love people to find pleasure in giving you their money. Make sure if you have to work with less-pleasant transactions that you minimize the displeasure. If you work with pleasurable transactions, take advantage with care. People don’t want to feel ripped off, no matter what they are buying. Learn to take “no” for an answer, and don’t try to sell someone upgrades they don’t need or want.
If you collect taxes or fines, ease the payer’s discomfort as much as possible.
Not all transactions are consensual. Let’s make sure yours are, at least, sensible.