#running #retirement, #RaceForRetirement

Road races have become a popular fund raiser for charities.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure has raised millions for breast cancer research, for example.

In its advertising, Prudential Wealth Management has taken a different tack on running to raise funds. It shows a Race For Retirement, in which the runners pledge to put a certain percentage of their income toward their retirement.

If you are one of those in which running a race motivates you to do something, this idea might appeal.

If you are disciplined enough to train for road races to win them, this also might appeal.

But saving for retirement requires a different sort of discipline. One must pledge to save a certain amount from his paycheck every time, without fail, a check is paid. Also, one must be disciplined enough not to touch the money until he reaches the proper age. It also requires the discipline to manage the money, often with trusted professional help.

Many people at or near retirement age today do not have enough money to retire comfortably. Obviously, some circumstances have inhibited their progress. One cannot control what an employer will do to an employee. One cannot control what markets will do to diligently-saved money. But many are not where they want to be financially because they did not have the proper discipline.

Many of us don’t have the interest, and, therefore, the discipline to train for road races. But we all should have the discipline to look after our own financial futures.

As teenagers, we often get jobs to save money for specific purposes, i.e. a college education. We expect those savings to be tapped out by graduation.

As young adults, we should make a pact to take a certain amount of our paychecks to put away into investments for retirement. We may only be able to afford, say, $5 a week at first. A technique to augment that is to add any pay raises to that amount, and learn to live on our original salaries. Some may say that’s easier said than done, and it certainly is. That does not make it undoable.

Life circumstances also change. Some of us get married, have children etc. A disciplined person does not let circumstances ruin goals. Circumstances change, so the disciplined person adjusts tactics to mesh with those circumstances. The disciplined person also doesn’t create circumstances that would ruin his or her goals.

Disciplined people also look for ways to save money on things they need to buy. They may also look for ways to earn extra income to augment their savings.

There are many ways out there to do one or the other. For a way to do both, visit

Often, to get something good, one must sacrifice. One must forgo present pleasantries for future enjoyment. Disciplined people NEVER expect the future to be given to them. They ALWAYS expect that a good future requires planning, and doing little things consistently over time, without fail.

Darren Hardy’s book, “The Compound Effect,” illustrates that success comes not from one or two “big things,” but from a lot of little things, plus time.

The lesson: be disciplined. Do lots of good, little things that may be painless, or may even deprive you of some present pleasure. You may need some good advice to select those good little things, so make sure you trust who is advising you.

If running a race will help motivate you, lace up your sneakers and go for it.



#investing #investors #TheBigShort

The year 2008 was a pivotal financial year for most of us.

If we didn’t lose our home, lose our job or lose our retirement savings – or, God forbid, all of the above — we were among the lucky.

The movie “The Big Short” illustrates how the economy can collapse when Wall Street gets creative, and mixes in a little fraud.

In many cases, we are asked to sign documents we don’t necessarily read from cover to cover. If you’ve ever bought property or gotten a mortgage, you rely on the person who is presenting the material to you to give you a summary of what it all says. We tend to trust that person explicitly that we are not being led down a destructive path – one that means big money to him or her at our expense.

Not only do we, generally, not have time to read such documents cover to cover, even if we did, we would not understand some of them. Some people don’t want us to understand them, because they’ve put something in them with a “gotcha” that hurts us.

“The Big Short tells a story that the Wall Street bankers themselves didn’t read what they were signing on for. When a few decided to read the documents, they found them filled with risky mortgage investments that were not highly rated. So, they created vehicles that allowed them to bet against those investments.

Many of those on Wall Street do what they can to make money quickly. When greed sets in, fraud becomes a great threat. Still, many who work on Wall Street are good, honest people. Even they get caught, sometimes unwittingly, into the mess when such messes occur.

We who are not on Wall Street have to make money the old-fashioned way, with work, savings and time. Many of us don’t have the wherewithal to turn around a quick investment that would make a fortune that will last our lifetimes.

Still, we don’t have to resort to greed, fraud and financial “creativity” to make a potential fortune. There are many ways out there for those of us not on Wall Street to turn our financial situations around. For one of the best, visit Yes, you’ll still need time to realize the potential, but the trajectory could be considerably shortened from that of relying on a traditional job.

“The Big Short” also revealed how bad the investors who bet against the risky mortgage-backed securities felt when their wisdom paid off. It hurt them that their profit came at the expense of many other innocent people.

The moral, perhaps, isn’t that making a profit is bad. It’s more on the angle of how one makes a profit. If he can do it without hurting others, that profit feels much better.

If one can make a profit by helping others do the same, that’s ideal.

Most investment advisers suggest that, as an investor, one must remove emotion from the decision-making. A few develop investment products designed to make the world a better place, making the investor feel good about what he is doing.

The range, perhaps, between those two extremes is to invest in things that help others, while having a plan to help oneself have, say, a comfortable retirement. Proper investing can lead to a degree of comfort, even when greed and fraud on Wall Street is exposed, or when circumstances take the markets in wild directions.

No market goes up in a straight line. Success comes with failures mixed in. But a good, prudent plan can protect each investor from almost anything. Good advice from someone you trust is essential, preferably not from someone who gets “creative” with financial products.



#rebel #manners #wolves

Are you a rebel?

A Dodge Ram truck ad asks the following questions: If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it too? Where are your manners? Were you raised by wolves? All this to see whether you are “rebel “ enough to buy a truck and drive it off road.

Let’s take the questions individually. Jumping off a cliff is not for everyone, but if it is your thing, you probably would either be equipped with the proper soaring apparatus, or you’d be jumping into deep water. It’s one way, certainly not the only way, to display your inner rebel.

Secondly, one does not need to have bad manners to be a rebel. In fact, bad manners are usually just bad taste. The point of this question is to see whether you are willing to break with convention. One can do that in a very mannerly way.

Thirdly, one does not have to raised by wolves to be a rebel. Rebels can have perfectly good parents, who may not understand their passion. A word of caution here: if your parents do not understand your passion, and you are too young, or are unable, to live on your own, you may have to wait until you are on your own to exercise your passion, assuming that passion is not destructive to you or others.

So when is it appropriate to be a rebel? You may discover that your ambition is taking you in a certain direction, even though others warn you against it. You may have a great idea that you need to pursue to an uncertain conclusion. If you don’t pursue it, you’ll regret it. If you do, and it was not what you’d thought, you would have at least made the effort.

Or, you might just realize that what you are currently doing, or what others want you to do, is just not for you, or is not going to take you where you want to go. So, perhaps, you follow the plan for a while, at the same time looking for something better. Perhaps you don’t follow the plan at all, and look for something better.

Your gut tells you what to do. Friends and family may tell you to follow your gut, but they may not mean it. They may just think you are nuts for being, well, unconventional.

Of course, the definition of “conventional” is fluid. Something may be “conventional” until it’s no longer conventional. Some things are seen as “conventional,” but shouldn’t be. Or, what’s conventional may not give you the results you want.

If your inner rebel is prodding you not to listen to “conventional wisdom,” follow your passion. Naturally, if your passion will not make you a living, you may have to follow it while doing something else. If you need help to get the funds to follow your passion, visit You’ll see and hear the stories of several people who saw their passion, followed it and prospered.

For some, finding their passion is elusive. They are either so in love with routine that they can’t possibly see anything else, or they haven’t latched on to something they really want to do. They should keep looking, because their passion is out there somewhere. Only they will know what it is when they find it.

Again, take great care to ensure your passion is not destructive to others or yourself. Passion usually involves risk, and one should be calculated in his risk. Being a rebel does not mean being reckless. Take whatever precautions you need to mitigate your risk. You may not eliminate the risk, so embrace risk carefully.

Rebels don’t always get what they want – at least immediately. But often, the joy is in the pursuit. The best revenge against naysayers and “conventional wisdom” is ultimate success.



#NewYearsResolutions #SuccessAtWork #WorkBetter
What do you want to do to make your life better in the new year?
Sure, most of us want to lose weight, but, if you are like most, you say that every year and it doesn’t happen. A few disciplined folks reach their weight goals, or come close, and should be congratulated.
Rex Huppke, who writes for the Chicago Tribune, has a great New Year’s tradition. He turns his column over to some wise folks he has met and interviewed in the past year, and lets them share their thoughts and advice about the workplace. His column was published in the Jan. 3, 2016, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Sharon Salzberg, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and author of “Real Happiness at Work,” says we often fixate on unrealistic goals – resolutions – that prioritize perfectionism over self-forgiveness. Because of the stress in a normal workplace, she recommends setting goals that compassionately acknowledge the ups and downs of the journey toward our goal, Huppke’s columns says.
In other words, give yourself a break. We can’t predict what will happen in the next few minutes in the workplace, never mind over the next year. Priorities change. Duties change. Bosses change. Salzberg suggests cultivating positive intentions. Do what you can to roll with the situations, and contribute what you can to make whatever happens as smooth and successful as possible.
Meanwhile, Heidi Grant Halvorson, psychologist and author of “No One Understands You and What to Do About it,” says you don’t have a clue what others really think of you. But, research has shown that others don’t think of you the way the way you think of yourself.
She recommends learning how you come across by asking some whom you know well. It may be the first step toward having people “get” you.
Avraham Kluger, professor of organizational behavior at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, suggests learning how to be a better listener, and describes how to do that. Practice on folks to whom you might not want to listen to, and let that person know you are practicing your listening skills. (You don’t have to tell them that you don’t like listening to them).
Other experts have suggested that you become more likeable if you listen more, and talk less.
Huppke lists several other ideas from experts on how to make 2016 as good as it can be for you in the workplace. Whatever your job, know that it is up to you to make your time in the workplace as pleasant, as meaningful and, yes, as productive as possible.
In years past, workers cared only about getting their hours in, with little regard for what they did in those hours. In today’s workplace, marking time by itself won’t cut it. Even if you see others doing it, don’t believe that you will get away with it. Today’s jobs are fluid, and fleeting. They change on a dime. Workers either have to adapt, or leave.
Of course, if your time at work is giving you little or no reward, financial or otherwise, there are many other ways to earn money outside of that job. For one of the best, visit You may see something a bit out of your comfort zone, but success is almost never created from comfort.
If you like your job, and find it fruitful and fulfilling for YOU, you are very fortunate. Still, never presume it will last as long as you want it to. Always have a Plan B in mind in case the worst happens. It’s unlikely that if the worst happens, you will know it in advance. It often comes as a shock.
So try to become a better person at work this year. You may find fulfillment you’d never imagined. You may find success you thought was never possible. You might even find something other than money that gets your juices flowing.
Have a happy 2016 with whatever you decide to work on.