Are financial success principles forgotten?
by Kevin D. Crone
There is no such thing as a free lunch. Our province is saddled with enormous debt. Our youth and my grand kids will pay the price. No matter what a government does to continually redistribute wealth, wealth runs out. Money has to come from somewhere. It comes from creating more wealth by investment in Ontario, and more successful businesses that create it. Governments just spend it. And boy have they spent it. Now the interest payments on the debt are bigger than what the government budgets to colleges and universities. We just can’t keep spending dough we don’t have. It doesn’t work.
If you feel hampered by your debt and your bills are greater than your income you know that feeling of hopelessness. Somehow, we never learned. It doesn’t work in government, business or every day life. We know that! Something has to change.
I read the book, The Richest Man in Babylon, as a 21-year-old. I didn’t have much income at the time but I told my then general manager Kathie “Once we finished paying off the purchase of our business, keep putting the same amount away into investments”. One day we will be our own bankers. We can invest and watch our company grow. We started that (about 10%) a few years later and continued to do that every year except during recessions. The Bob Rae recession of 1989-90-91 was terrible. It really hurt, but overall, what a freedom. No lines of credit, no one yelling at us for money. And we invested over the years. We bought other businesses and real estate.
Uh, what has happened to this world – to the values of our grandparents? Too many young people are over their heads and yet they are working sometimes two jobs with both parents working. Seems that too many people are claiming that it is unfair and someone isn’t taking care of them. I suggest that no one took care of our grandparents. They had big families, worked hard, and did just fine. Today, there are tremendous opportunities in the world. If you work for the government and your union, you seem to be set. Better than most in the private sector. Who doesn’t know that? It appears that free market democracy rules don’t seem to matter on how you do and the security you receive. In the private sector, it still does. Our well-meaning elected governments may forget that from time to time and just keep redistributing and borrowing to please everyone and to get re-elected. Our dreams can’t depend on government. It is like planning to win the lottery as your only financial plan.
An old good friend who called me today arrived from Asia as a young economist and got a good job with the government. He followed the Babylon concept and bought one duplex and eventually turned it into many large condo buildings and is now a very rich man with a terrific family. So even secure government employees can grow and succeed financially if they choose to. Yes, money makes money, but you have to do something to get it, keep it and invest some of it.
Maybe few ever read The Richest Man in Babylon (Ie. Pay yourself first. Put 10% away). I would suppose that most people can’t believe they could ever do that because they don’t have a lot left over. Well that’s the point. Pay yourself first. Yes, it can be tough, but that’s the way to grow money. Maybe consumerism and the corresponding cheap, bank loaned money, have made everyone stupid. Those excuses for success seem to be the drivers and win out over success principles.
You can’t go through life living the dream before you earned it. But it isn’t just this financial principle that produced our savings and investments. It was that we had a bold dream. We had plans to give real value to the marketplace. We had ups and downs and kept learning. Our action plans were always guiding every year – every week – every day.
And we were about ACTION. We learned that what we were becoming was more important than what we presently had. We listened to the market, the trends, and the needs and kept innovating. That is how you earn it. You become successful. You grow through personal and business development. Become more valuable. The value you bring to the marketplace pays you.
Every week for 10 and a half years I have been writing about these kind of success principles. I had no mentor writing to me every week. It seems that with all the info available today we listen and learn and act less. Can that be? Growing up and stepping up to the financial truth is necessary for all of us. Putting ten percent away doesn’t sound like fun, but you will be very happy when you have money put away and invested in more than an over mortgaged house.
Stepping up to all these principles is necessary. Ask any successful person or business group and what I described as important principles to us were vital to their success as well. Success leaves clues. You pay attention to them, you read, make notes, plan and act, and reset and act some more. If you want change, then change!
Ontario is a wonderful place. You are not living in a war torn place. You have freedoms. Sure, we are challenged right now by a loss of manufacturing, expensive hydro, government debt and expensive housing and living expenses but that’s the ocean you are sailing in.
Don’t complain about the wind, adjust the sail. Renew the Dream. What value are you to the marketplace? What could it be? What is your plan? What are your action steps?
Excuse me, I don’t know what caused this rant but it sure looks like we need to get on with it. Use the time tested success and financial principles (how many of you have read the Richest Man in Babylon?) that are all around us and act. What do you think? What occurred to you this morning?
Have a great week!