Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

In the early 2000’s Beth and I had met some people that were in business and expanding.  It wasn’t anything I was familiar with or qualified for.  They were building communities of people that products flowed through.  Made sense to me.  Beth and I started our learning journey.  Many times we felt out of place and like nobody was understanding us.  We stayed the coarse and pushed on, and doors started to open.  I am attaching a video of a guy dancing that i think explains how it go’s when you decide to do something out of the ordinary.  I love what we do, it has evolved into an amazing machine that I am more excited about today than when we originally ever started.

Today May 28th, marks 11 years since I walked away from my job and decided to bet on myself and my efforts.  I used to have more confidence in my boss than I did in myself, then I realized that I am the artist drawing the picture of my future.  I have had so much fun with my wife and kids in the last 11 years, it has been priceless.  Not once did I ever say, “Man I wish I had a job again.” To this day, not many people understand why we dance, but many that see us from a distance know that we have fun doing it. Now I get to tell people that what I do for a living is help people get free from the financial matrix and run a successful business if they so choose.

There are so many people like the guy in this video that start dancing, and doing something that not everyone will understand, and they quit dancing to soon and say dancing is stupid.  I did this blog today to encourage those that may be dancing alone right now. Keep on dancing, as long as you’re having fun and believe in what you are doing, others will join.  Leading isn’t easy and in whatever capacity you are leading (dancing) keep it up, the world already has enough people that won’t, we need more that will.

As George Clooney said in the end of Tomorrowland “Go out and find the ones that haven’t given up, they’re the future.”

Dreamers need to hang with other dreamers. Surround yourself with others that encourage you, your life will be so much better.

I hope that you dance your heart out,

Steve Morgan

Orrin Woodward did it again, he wrote an amazing article on why we must always keep our eyes on the Government and there brilliant ideas that will HELP us.  He poses an interesting point that we just get busy and don’t think much about it anymore, which is what they want us to do so we don’t stand and fight it.  I love that he and the Founders of LIFE created a business that teaches people the vital principles that we need to know.

Here is the article:

Social Security or Insecurity?

Orrin Woodward reads and studies many different fields. Indeed, sitting down with Orrin can lead to discussions in many different fields. For instance, this article on social security leaves me wondering how he finds the time to research all of this? Nonetheless, subject after subject is studied and shared in a manner that a person can learn. Americans should be concerned about the unfunded deficits and the LIFE Business is an educational businesses focused on informing America in the 8F’s of life – Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Freedom, Fun, Friends, and Following. Chris Brady and Orrin Woodwardhave developed a one of a kind model with LIFE. Here is Orrin’s post.

Social Security picture

When I was eighteen, I had, in one day, two life changing experiences, both coming on my first day of work.  One for good, the other, not so good.  All of the new co-op students for AC Spark Plug, then a division of GM, gathered around a long wooden table in a conference room, to learn of their roles and responsibilities.  It was at this meeting that I first met Chris Brady, my good friend and business partner.  This was the good life changing event, as Chris and I have partnered in business over the last fifteen years, producing results and memories that will last a lifetime.  I will save my Brady stories for another time, mainly, because I want to discuss the other life altering experience that day.  I was an A section student at GMI-EMI (now Kettering), so I went to school during the summer while B section students worked in the summer, with each section rotating between work and school every twelve weeks.  Because I was A section, I was only at work one day that summer for my initiation, meaning AC had to cut a check for that day before I headed to school the following Monday.  You can imagine my anticipation, after leaving work, making my way to my rusty Chevette, when opening my first ever paycheck.  I made a whopping sixty-four dollars minus,  Federal withholding, Michigan State withholding, Flint City witholding, and FICA, leaving a grand total of around forty dollars.  I couldn’t believe the taxes taken from my check, over one third of my check vanished, but still a nice amount for a broke eighteen year old.  I quickly reviewed the taxes and acknowledged some legitimacy (the tax, not the amount) for the Federal, State, and City, but what is this FICA (Social Security)?  No one told me about any FICA tax, exactly what is FICA Tax?  I raced home to talk to my financial guru, my mom,  sharing with her my concern at this extra tax.  Laughing at my ignorance, she shared with me that our benevolent government withholds a certain amount of money from your paycheck, planning to take care of you when you retire.  “But I don’t need the government to take care of me when I retire,” I emphatically stated, “I’m going in there and telling them to stop withholding that FICA tax.”  My mother chuckled at me, like she has many times over the years, figuring I would have to learn this truth the hard way.

Imagine how strange I felt, realizing for the first time, that the State can help itself to my paycheck, not just for protection of my life, liberty, and property, but also to provide nanny services in my retirement years.  I appreciate the offer Mr. State, but I will take care of myself through my own savings plan; sadly, that isn’t an option as we are forced to save our money with the State.  Always the curious one, I asked around, seeking wisdom from some of my older co-workers, learning that employees and employers both pay half the bill, totalling over 12.5% of a employee’s income.  What I learned, that government can take our money, becoming a mandatory bank for us, didn’t sound like freedom as I understood the term.  But like most eighteen year olds, my mind quickly lost focused, conveniently forgetting about my lost freedoms, reassuring myself that I could trust the Federal government to save my money; after all, if you can’t trust your own government, the one assigned to protect our life, liberty and property, who can you trust?
What’s most surprising to me, looking at our Social Security system, isn’t its upcoming bankruptcy, nor its over 12% tax on every incomes, but the curious lack of concern by the American citizens.  Look at the latest statistics from the Mark Crovelli, writing for Mises Institute, on our American Social Security system.

For those people not gifted with accounting ESP like Lindorff, Social Security’s unfunded liabilities are conservatively estimated to be around $17.5 trillion. Oh yeah, and that “trust fund” that Lindorff mentions as if it were really overflowing with saved money — all the money has already been spent by Congress. As you can see, the numbers are not exactly as rosy as Lindorff’s ESP has led him to believe.
What is really interesting is that even while Lindorff is trying to make the case that Social Security’s fiscal condition is not all that serious, he concedes that Social Security will indeed go bankrupt this year. He writes:

So with beneficiaries rising faster than anticipated, and the total national payroll in sharp decline, of course things have gone negative for Social Security earlier than originally anticipated.

One would think that an institution going “negative” (i.e., bankrupt) is a sign that there is something fundamentally flawed with it. For Lindorff, however, bankruptcy is nothing to get ourselves worked up about, especially since the bankruptcy is only caused by the demographic problem posed by the baby boomers.

Lindorff thinks the boomers are only a “demographic wave that will eventually pass.” He’s right — we only have around 30 more years until the “wave” passes. Thirty years of bankruptcy is nothing that need trouble us!

Now, let’s see if we can understand these figures.  The unfunded liabilities is $17.5 trillion, that’s a boat load of money, even if your last name is Buffett or Gates, certainly enough to bankrupt the 100 wealthiest Americans with plenty of room to spare.  The tax money, taken from us against our will allegedly for our own good, because it was assumed government would be more responsible than its citizens, saving it for us until we retired, is missing in action.  Politicians transferred the money out of Social Security into other projects, violating our trust and their fiduciary responsibility, exhausting themselves in an orgy of spending, leaving a huge IOU to unsuspecting Americans.  The problem, as I see it, is our government has proven incapable of balancing the budget with the Social Security surplus; how will they balance the budget and fund Social Security when there is no surplus?  Can anyone say higher taxes or inflation?  I heard recently, that Social Security is now paying out more in benefits than its receiving in taxes; simply put, this means it’s time for us to reap what we the State has sown. Believing Americans, from all regions of the United States, allowed the federal government to go beyond its normal responsibilities, surrendering their money to FICA,  assuming their savings is secure.    Every year, for approximately the next 30 years, the numbers will get worse, accumulating more debt as baby boomers retire faster than the younger generations enter the workforce.  Remember,   currently, the State relies on the tax from the workers to pay the benefits of the non-workers.  If the pool of workers reduces while the pool of non-workers increases, exactly the condition we find ourselves with the Baby Boomer retirements looming, the State is in trouble.  The Social Security system is a classic example of a Ponzi scheme, where people get paid only if new people join fast enough to compensate existing beneficiaries.  If new members do not appear, the system collapses. Population growth, not to mention the economic conditions, are not cooperating with the needed tax revenues to fund.  By reviewing the State’s results, it’s clear to me, that Social Security isn’t going to be social and it certainly isn’t secure.

After hearing the dismal record of government involvement in Social Security, one can only pray for leaders to arise and address the root causes.  America is suffering a courage crisis at the highest leadership levels.  It’s time for government to stop trimming the leaves, calling this change; instead, start pulling out the failed government bureaucracies root and branch.  Leaders in the business community, that want to serve their customers, not partner with the State, need the freedom to do so.  Only production can generate real GNP and job growth, hiring more government employees only means higher taxes for the few courageous enough to still produce.   Perhaps the biggest lesson learned in the Social Security mess is that government is the wrong place to look for retirement planning.  We can make politicians our scapegoat, but the system rewards the wrong behaviors; changing politicians will do nothing, until we change what we ask government to do.  Of course the politicians, tempted by potential votes, increased the Social Security benefits; of course the politicians, enticed by the “free money” surplus, spent it all, writing IOU’s that come due after they leave office.  Social Security is in shambles, whether the government inflates its way or taxes its way out of the mess is the only question. We can complain about how poorly the Social Security system has been managed, but government wasn’t designed to manage our affairs, placing the responsibility upon citizens to clearly define and limit government’s roles.  Politicians, by their nature, cannot think long term, having to stand for re-election every two, four or six years; when you consider that Americans live over seventy years on average, making life a long-term project, even retirement happening after thirty or more years, you quickly see the fallacy of our short term government involved in our long term lives.  This is another example of the “Destruction of the Commons”, the politicians choosing their personal short term “good” creating the public’s long term bad.  A simple way to remove the risk of “Destruction of the Commons” is to privatize, similar to what the airlines did in the early 1980′s, ensuring there is no commons to destroy.  Government has always been a hot bed for short term fixes, pushing the long term consequences off into the future, a future that never comes for them, since they are out of office, being replaced by others who quickly learn the rules of the political game.

The problem, even though accurately defined and easily predicted, is not simply solved.  Because of the politics associated with Social Security, every electable politician is afraid to touch this with a ten foot pole, assuring the problem isn’t addressed, passing the buck into the endless future.  By studying the failure of Social Security, learning the “Destruction of the Commons” principles, seeing the political take over from the economic any field government enters, one becomes certain of the proper course, keeping government out of people’s affairs.  Americans, if we include colonial times, without the help from government, saving their own money and relying on family and friends, survived for 250 years without a Social Security system. Government, it seems, by offering to care for us in retirement, taxed our incomes, reduced our savings, forced us to hope in government’s solvency, a hope perpetually deferred.   I have mentioned only one area of government intervention, but there are plenty of others to choose from.  Each of the areas have their own particular facts, but all have the same underlying failure modes – “Destruction of the Commons.”   Without looking at Public Schools, Medicaid, Federal Housing Aid and many more, don’t we already have enough knowledge to know that less government intervention is better?  Is anyone truly going to argue that a $17.5 trillion deficit in one program is a success? With that said, is it really in our best interest to sacrifice our Health Care system on the State altars?  You don’t have to be a prophet to see the effects of the “Destruction of the Commons” in the Health field, offering slower services, less doctors, but always the higher taxes as our reward for trusting in the State.  As a leader, I learned a long time ago not to listen to what a person or organization says.  Instead, I learned to watch what they did and the results they achieved.  The rhetoric out of Washington may tickle the ears, but it empties the pocketbook.  We can and must do better.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

 

I hope you liked this as much as I did.

 

Steve Morgan

We are sitting in weird times.  If you have a job, you are probably trying to make more US dollars than last year.  Seems like a simple thing, its not that easy.

I just finished reading a book written by Oliver DeMille called 1913, a fantastic book.  I think all Americans should read this.  Its an easy read, even if you aren’t an avid reader. DeMille simplifies when actual freedom started to fall in the US.  Its not one of those doom and gloom books though, he gives solutions to the problem.

I’m convinced that if the average person is just trying to get a raise they will run out of options quick.  For example, when our paper dollars are printed by a privately owned company that prints it in amazing quantities, our dollars don’t keep their buying power.

For example: If you make 80K/yr and they print Trillions and place it in the marketplace, your value of your 80K is of lesser value.  It’s a game you can’t win.  Most people that I have ever met, have no clue that the Federal Reserve is a privately owned company (a monopoly on the American money system).

A scary thing that Oliver DeMille covered in the later chapters of the book was that there has been 4 things passed since 2009 that majorly effect our rights as Americans.  I want to explain them here.

1. “No Bills of Attainder” this means no laws will form directed at specific citizens.  This one was broken in 2009 during the financial meltdown.

2. Ex Post Facto laws should never be passed.  These are laws that get passed and applied retroactively so something that is legal today may become illegal next week and you may be arrested and prosecuted for doing it even when it was legal.

3.  Seperating state and federal power. When the Health Care Bill was passed it was the first federal law to break this.  DeMille says ” The Obama-led health care law was the first federal law to break these, and it set a dangerous precedent for the future.  In short, under this model, U.S. presidents and Congress can add one or two sentences in any bill at any time that requires Americans to do or buy anything–and pretty much nobody is likely to know until the law is passed.”

4. DeMille also says “A fourth blow to the freedom came in 2012 when the U.S. adopted the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows military personnel to arrest and hold American citizens in indefinite incarceration without warrant, charges, or trial.”  He goes on to say they can do this ” without court oversight or any of the requirements of due process listed in the first ten amendments of the Constitution.”

Those 4 things are very scary, but most people are more worried about getting a $2/ hr raise next year and it wont take you forward as fast as the flow will take you backwards.  I hope that this small part of the book will get you interested in reading it.  If people dont decide to read, then according to DeMille, we are part of the problem not part of the solution.  I am very concerned about this stuff, I have kids.  Some day I will have to tell them that I either did or didn’t try to make their life better in America.

I believe most people out there are more concerned about some sporting event or season than they really are about freedom.

Chris Brady said one time, ” every fallen country leaves their stadiums behind to show what the people did at the end of the country.”

 

thanks for reading.

Steve

Beth and I went to Mexico on a vacation a couple of weeks ago.  It was so much fun.  The part that I thought was so interesting was when we visited Tulum.  We went on a tour of the Mayan ruins. It was an amazing experience and very enlightening. I am going to do the best to my memory to explain the story that our tour guide told us.

 The Mayans were a culture of people that lived in a climate that doesn’t really have seasons.  Our guide described them as hot & hotter.  This lead to its own problems of not knowing when or how to plan ahead for farming.  I personally live in Michigan and we have 4 beautiful seasons, so it made me very thankful to live where I do.  As we walked to the ruins she was telling us some of the story and I was blown away.  Apparently the “royal” family would, keep themselves separate from the others, and create a physical difference by elongating their skulls.  They would start this process when their baby was little, they would put a block of wood on the front and back of they babies head and tie rope around the head to create the elongated skull look.  They did this so that they could claim that they were different from the common folk.  Almost like man-gods.
This is where the story got weird, the “royal” people had a calendar and didn’t tell everyone else about it.  It was a 19 month calendar and one of the months was only 5 days long. ( it was winter solstice.)  The other months were based on the cycle of the moon.  They would go into the public and tell the people to plant the seeds and they would talk to the rain gods and see if they would bless them with rain.  You can probably imagine what kind of power would come from this type of secret.  They would sacrifice an unknown amount of people claiming that it was for the gods.  On June 20th each year there would be another created phenomenon, at sunrise, the sun would shine through a properly placed building and make a star through the front door.  Its easy to predict where to build a building when you know the calendar and the day that the sun will be there.  Once again I was amazed with the trickiness of the leaders of the mayan culture in this area.
As I was learning of this new info about the mayans I was remembering about good ole’ America and how the same thing has happened here.  Recently Orrin Woodward wrote an article about Andrew Jackson.
Here is some of the article from Orrin Woodwards Blog:

Andrew Jackson, right or wrong, was always a man of strong convictions. He stood by his libertarian principles even when it hurt him politically to do so. It takes courage to stand by one’s convictions, especially when a person is offered peace and financial rewards to surrender them. Courage isn’t the absence of fear; rather, it’s the acknowledgement that one’s principles are bigger than one’s fears, regardless of the consequences.

In today’s “situational ethics” society, principles are sold out for pragmatism, making courageous stories like Andrew Jackson’s as rare as gold-backed currency. Consequently, much could be learned by the study of Andrew Jackson’s stand against the “moneyed interest” drive to re-charter the Second National Bank. Indeed, through reading Jackson’s battles against the Bank, one yearns to find leaders with similar backbones to break the Federal Reserve monopoly on America’s money. Let’s examine this historic battle between the President Andrew Jackson of the United States of America versus President Nicholas Biddle of the Second National Bank. Several questions come to mind. First, what are the leadership lessons learned from this historic struggle between the statist and anti-statists philosophies of money? Second, how do the lessons from Jackson’s battle apply in today’s battle for monetary freedom? Click here to read the rest of the article.

I agree that our biggest problem that we face in America is the privatization of the Federal Reserve.  At first when I heard this I thought, how could this be that big of a deal?  Then I learned that it is a privately owned company that sells paper $ to the United States of America and charges us interest on it.  Now you have to think about it for a minute, thats a big problem.  We as Americans have to work very hard each and every year.  The problem is that 8 private owners of the Federal Reserve decide what we owe in the future and are not accountable to anyone.  This is pandemic is size because in 1913 the US for the 1st time since the revolution decided to let a private group, or central bank, run the future of our country.  From the revolution to the time of the Federal Reserve a dollar was worth a dollar.  Now it has the buying power of 2cents compared to a dollar in 1913.  This issue has hurt Americans in so many ways.  It has taken freedom from us and given it to private bankers.  If you think about it, this problem has had a bigger impact on the American family than divorce.  This issue affects everyone of us even if we don’t care about it.  The fact that Andrew Jackson devoted his career to stopping the bank is a big deal. This is an issue that we need to take serious in our lifetime.
In a recent CD that I heard from Oliver DeMille he said ” you will only be as free as you know how to be.”  You may the person that reads this article and rolls their eyes and does nothing.  Or you are the person that digs in and tries to learn more on this topic.  They say in life you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  I hope for the sake of the future of our country that you decide to become educated on this topic.
Some resources to learn more:
BOOK-A guide to investing in gold and silver- Robert Kiosaki
You Tube- Freedom to Facism
Leave some comments and lets get the public more educated on this topic. If people would put aside differences and work together on this one topic we could be more free than we have ever been in 100years.
The journey of 1000 miles starts with 1 step.
Steve Morgan