If you're reading this, it means you survived both Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Good for you!
I did okay myself.
Spent Thanksgiving with a neighbor because she felt bad I was going to be alone. Drank a few before I got there just to make it tolerable.
Turned out to be better than anticipated.
And I'm not stupid enough to mess with Black Friday so I stayed in, worked, wrote, watched movies, and...survived the potential brutal slayings of retail shopping on the worst shopping day of the year.
How did you do?
It's amazing...the extents people will go to save a few bucks or to get something they perceive as being "free."
Isn't your time more valuable than getting a beat-down in the electronics department of Walmart? Isn't your life more valuable than getting killed over Big Hugs Elmo, Furby...or whatever other ridiculous toy is the "hot" seller for the holidays?
I'd rather pay the extra money and have Toys R Us mail the sh** to me than go through all that hassle to save a few dollars.
Sometimes people never sit down and do the "math" in their heads. They don't value their time (or their life) very much. And they waste time and take risks that really make no sense when you actually think it through.
We have some major cultural deficiencies.
We have the Instant Gratification Syndrome where Americans culturally want things right now...otherwise forget it.
We have the Get Something for Free (or Discounted) Syndrome where Americans culturally want something for nothing or at a deep discount, even if they have to waste hours of time and a tank of gas to "save" money.
We have the Forget the Future, Live for Today Syndrome where Americans culturally don't give a damn about anything happening tomorrow, next week, next year, or...definitely not in the next decade as long as our immediate needs and comforts are accommodated for.
We have the Entitlement Syndrome where some Americans think they are entitled to a check or some time of financial disbursement for doing nothing. This disbursement can come in the form of a government welfare check to a frivolous lawsuit for something like, say, a hot pickle on a burger purchased and consumed at a local McDonald's.
We have the We're Better Than Everyone Else Syndrome where Americans culturally think that we have the best country. This, perhaps, applied multiple decades ago when we were still cutting edge but...not so much anymore. Yet many Americans haven't figured that out yet.
We have the Government Needs to Make My Life Better Syndrome where Americans culturally think that it's the government's job -- not their own -- to make their life better in every way. And, unfortunately, many Americans haven't quite figured out that, compared to other countries where people still sleep on dirt floors, crap in a hole, and have no running water...our country really isn't that bad after all.
Does that make us bad people? To have all of these selfish, small-minded syndromes?
Well, sometimes you can change the wiring in your brain, especially if you were culturally raised a certain way. In that respect, I guess you just can't help it.
However, some of those syndromes can be abolished if you simply understood basic economics and took responsibility to write your own checks in life.
You can control your own destiny. Everyone can. It's just a simple choice.
The choice, of course, starts with your mind and how you process things including how you process making major life-altering changes in your life.
A few days ago when I sent all of my students those credit templates with strict instructions on how to fill them out while reiterating the importance of sending your personal credit disputes during the Thanksgiving holiday season, I looked in my email inbox the next day and had over 100 emails from students. Mostly a lot of "thank yous," "you're the greatest," stuff like that.
There were a few asking for particulars on things such as: "Should I really lie and say that an account isn't mine if I know it really is?" (If a collection agency has the account, technically you never started a financial commitment with them and therefore the account isn't really yours.
Otherwise you can change the lingo and say something like: "This account information is inaccurate and needs to be investigated. All reported credit information must be 100% accurate as per the FCRA otherwise it must be removed. Therefore, since this account is inaccurate, please remove it from my credit report.")
But one particular email from a student of mine stood out. This is part because I know this student's history. He's been a student of mine for the past 2 1/2 years or so, probably longer. And I know he's been working on his credit.
I also know he's a bit stubborn so when I do (and have) mentioned some of my advanced strategies on how to fix personal credit, it seems that it's falling on deaf ears. (I know, not my fault but...what can you do if someone isn't hearing you?)
For those of you who are my troopers or warriors and did your disputes the day before Thanksgiving, kudos to you. You're freaking awesome!
Something you should know though.
Certain disputes, after several attempts and letters, won't get anywhere. Sometimes the credit bureaus will simply stop investigating even though they are legally required to do a full investigation with each request (even if they've done it before) as per federal law.
So...what happens when you get "the letter" from the credit bureau(s) that state they will no longer investigate your dispute because it's already been investigated and has been determined that the information is accurate and that it is, in fact, your account?
For me, this is where the fun begins. In fact, this is the part where it actually gets easy because you are no longer stuck in the bureaucratic red tape of the inner workings of each credit bureau (where your paperwork gets shifted around month after money). Instead you take it outside of the credit bureau and push it onto a different level.
And this is where you get results. This is where stuff gets removed...and fast!
By filing your disputes during this time of the year, you still have an opportunity to take advantage of this "holiday glut" period in the credit bureaus where they are basically understaffed, sleeping on the job, and not really interested in processing disputes because they get up to 30% more disputes during this period. (People are onto them.)
We have another 2 major holidays: Christmas and New Year's. Yet the credit bureaus have to investigate and get back to you in 30 days, regardless of the holidays in play.
Furthermore, when the credit bureaus do an investigation, they have to send a letter out to the collection agency or creditor you are disputing and they have to respond with proof of your account within this very short window.
And who is really working or sending anything back on time during the holidays. Even if they are, there are mail delays due to the holidays in place.
It's not too late to use this short period of time to your advantage by having negative accounts removed from your credit reports so you can start 2014 fresh.
After all, you do need credit if you are going to build business credit or buy real estate. You can get a head start on the New Year by doing a little bit of work in the next couple of weeks.
Years ago on Thanksgiving I saw my Aunt Rosemarie (my dad's sister) who I hadn't seen for a long time before that day. She's a nice lady, I guess. A little rough around the edges but most notably...dumber than a box of rocks.
Or at least that's what I started to think about her mental capacity (or lack thereof) after the heated argument I had with her during that Thanksgiving episode.
So, the argument?
Let's see, the short version of the debate/argument sort of went like this:
Aunt Rosemarie: "So, Monica, do you cook?"
Me: "No, I don't have time. I work 60 hours a week and make roughly $2 million a year so I never quite got around or understood the use of learning how to cook."
Aunt Rosemarie: "Really? You don't know how to cook? Anything?"
Me: "Well, unless you count scrambled eggs, spaghetti noodles, or a bag of popcorn...basically no. I don't cook. Anything."
Aunt Rosemarie: "Don't you think you should know how to cook?"
Me: "Uh, no. Not really."
Aunt Rosemarie: "But why?"
Me: "Because I run two companies. I don't have the time or the interest."
And on and on and on this boring, heated, angry, and unpleasant conversation went.
Maybe I should have poked the hot stoker stick right back into her face. Like..."Hey, Aunt Rosemarie. Why don't you divorce that lying piece of sh** husband of yours who is cheating on you and hits you? You know, the one that gave you an STD recently? Oh, wait.
That's right. Because you can't financially take care of yourself, you're stuck living with the pig until you die. But...as long as you can cook and all, everything must be A-OK in your simple-minded world. Hope you like your daily face-punchings from your loser husband.
You can probably take them better than most people being that you're head is made of rock and all. Maybe you can cook your way out of your situation."
Sorry to be mean but...no, sorry I'm not mean.
It's odd how someone can try to diminish what someone can't do regardless of whether it's actually important.
It further disgusts me that people don't realize what's really relevant. Like with my aunt, for instance. Why would cooking be relevant when she's in a situation that, well...completely sucks?
Maybe it's all she's got. You know, her only "claim to fame." And what better way to showcase something you're good at than to diminish somebody else in the process? Right?
One of the things I instill in my daughter's ripe and growing mind is this, "Learn to take care of yourself. Become independent of others...especially of needing a significant other to carry you through life."
This applies to both men and women alike. (Believe it or not, some men are in abusive domestic situations as well!)
Where am I going with all this?
Well, it's Thanksgiving tomorrow and it made me think of a huge reason as to why it's awesome that I get to sit at home with 3 cats and drink an entire bottle of wine while watching movies...instead of the alternative which is doing a bunch of work and spending time with people that suck.
It's also a reason to always be ready, willing, and able to take direct financial control of your life however you can (legally, of course) so you're not at the whim of another person or the economy or being broke and having no choices. Because that really sucks. Been there done that, for only a short time before I quickly kicked that life choice to the curb.
And best of all, a direct ticket to creating your own income streams so you don't have to end up like my aunt...only knowing how to cook and...knowing how to argue with those who don't.
My mom's favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. And she's been gone for 8 years now.
So...for the last 8 cruel, grueling years I've suffered in agony with each passing Thanksgiving because she's not here.
Here we are on Monday of Thanksgiving week. Most people pillaged the grocery store shelves this past weekend for food, stuffing, ingredients, turkeys, and a variety of other things for their Thanksgiving table on Thursday.
But I won't be enjoying the same holiday you will be. Instead I'll be sitting at home, by myself. My daughter will be with her dad's family. I don't see my own dad or brother except on very rare occasions. Thanksgiving isn't one of them.
One thing I will tell you is that the more wealthy you become means you'll be separated from your loved ones because of it. I've been lucky in that I'm the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg. (I wouldn't ever trade that position out to be the "other guy" in the equation.)
So...when you hold that title, everyone else will stand there with their hand out or, even worse, try to steal your Golden Eggs. Yes, that includes family, too. (Especially family!)
And this tends to put major stress and strain on relationships you may currently have in place with your friends and family.
I will never regret being able to take care of myself financially. (And pretty damn good at that!) What I do wish I would have rearranged a little differently is my display of wealth. Maybe I should have downplayed my wealth a little more and became the "Millionaire Next Door" rather than buying the $100,000 cars or the million-dollar house.
Oh well. What do they always say? Money will bring the best and the worst out in people.
Wait...that's not a saying of any kind, is it?
And who the hell is "they" all the time anyway? They don't know jack sh** most of the time.
It can be painful dealing with this disparity between your ability to make money vs. your entire friend/family base trying to get at it.
Unfortunately, the poorer your family/friend base is, the more "separated" you will become when you achieve wealth.
So...if you come from a middle class, upper-middle class or (even better) a wealthy upbringing with a financially solid friend/family base then you're in the best possible situation to be in because these people (1) won't have their hand out when you hit it big, (2) won't try to steal from you, and (3) won't be pissed off when you're bank account is exploding at the seams.
Believe it or not, this is why "success" is actually a fear people have. They're afraid their friends and family will either beg for money or steal it.
And trust me...they do both! (With much more frequency than you'd ever imagine.)
So...what do you do? Decide to stay in your current station in life?
Do you make money and remain the Millionaire Next Door to where no one really knows what you have and don't have. (This is a good route to take.)
Say "F*** it!"? And make whatever you want to make, roll around town in your Bentley, and just deal with the people who have claimed to be your friends and family all these years?! (This is the route I took. It comes with both pros and cons.)
Believe it or not, this is all stuff you have to figure out before you start banking huge sums of money with your real estate empire. It may seem insignificant now until you start rolling in some serious dough...then you'll see your posse's attitude change. And fast!
Even worse...you're going to have to figure all this out within a very short period of time. Try in 36 months...or less!
I found myself taken a little off guard when talking with a few students recently who had no clue as to what my Cash Flow Evaluator (CFE) Excel spreadsheet was.
And I was stunned.
How is it that these "students" of mine have been taking online mentorship groups, showing up to seminars, and have supposedly been reading through my courses on real estate investing yet none of them knew what the CFE was...which is the crux of how I teach students to analyze a property's cash flow?
Two (2) important things about the CFE:
1) I have the best analysis tool out there for analyzing cash flow properties.
2) Anyone who even remotely considers investing in a passive income cash flow property needs to use this tool before putting in an offer.
Since I'm in the position now where I just want to share my latest and last real estate investing secrets with all of my students and students-to-be, I'm going to give you the link to download the 2013 CFE. I also have a link on the download page to view the video tutorial which will show you how to use the Excel spreadsheet.
You should never even consider doing a real estate deal without first doing an analysis of the cash flow. I've done thousands of hours in consulting with relatively smart people like doctors, dentists, lawyers, and even engineers who were told by a commercial real estate agent that the deal they were looking at was a "hot deal" and that they should "jump on it ASAP."
And they jumped on the deal.
And now they're losing the property because the deal was in a negative cash flow before they bought it but didn't know because they never analyzed the numbers on the property!
Of course, you won't end up in that position. Ever! Because you have the most powerful tool out there to help you with the cash flow analyses of any potential property deal you're looking at.
I started thinking about something the other day that I believe holds great significance.
I imagine all the people in the world being part of this gigantic tapestry being made to hopefully (one day) be completed. (Maybe then the secrets to the universe will be revealed in the picture that's been woven.)
Each person is a thread in this tapestry. Without one another (good or bad), we can't exist. After all, without the dark we never know the light. (Right?)
Except, of course, the tapestry would turn out much better if we all did the right things but, most importantly, we help other people.
I think the most important threads in the tapestry are those who can enrich other people's lives daily.
This is what I try to do with my students.
As I've neared my "I Quit!" date (next month on the 31st), I realize that I have too much work left to do. And when did this whole thing become about me?
I think I got to the point where I wasn't seeing the purpose of all this. I was in the "me-me-I-I" mode of thinking...becoming a whining little nag about students that wasted my time or drained my energy.
And always forgetting the students who have empowered me over the years with their success stories and their "ah-ha" moments I helped get them to. Or their pleas of "don't leave us now, Monica."
Because, after all, somehow I made it about me and not about you.
And it's always been about you. Or at least it should have been.
I think both teachers and students help each other learn. They always say, if you want to learn a topic super fast, teach it. Nothing is more true a statement than that.
I have found that my students have taught me a lot, made me strong/brave to do things I perhaps feared, and have given me a purpose all of these years.
As I'm nearing my "end date," I'm thinking..."Now what?! I thought I had it all figured out but it seems that I don't."
I do realize that I'm going into a different direction now. I think my students know too. I'm getting more away from the real estate training and more into the Aggressive Income stuff.
Starting next year, I'm going to be expanding on the Aggressive Income side as well as adding onto my Wealth Attraction stuff since that's done so phenomenally well for my students.
I don't want to be done teaching. I've realized that teaching/mentoring is part of my "thread" in the greater tapestry of life and that without that element, my life would essentially bring no meaning to both myself or anyone else.
What is your thread?
Sometimes it's not all about making money. You have to be a thread somewhere otherwise you become insignificant and basically a waste to the valuable resources on this planet.
For example, if you make a lot of money with a business or real estate, are you contributing to any worthy charities? Even better, are you planning on creating your own non-profit organization? (This is something that's been heavy on my mind lately -- creating a non-profit to directly benefit people.)
It's been said before that there's only one difference between heaven and hell; this difference is in whether people help one another...or not. And you can probably guess where you're at if everyone is selfish, only out for themselves. In the other place, everyone is a servant to one another, giving selflessly to benefit other people.
I've come to realize lately just how incredibly lucky I am. And I make it a point to feel that gratitude into the pit of my stomach each day. Yes, I have "problems." Who doesn't?! But the more I focus on how awesome things are, awesome things continue being part of my life.
If you want to start changing things around for yourself, I suggest you start being grateful for all you do have. No, this shouldn't be some once-a-year deal around Thanksgiving where you sit at a table, reciting a short list of everything you're grateful for. It can be something you do each day when you're driving on the freeway to work or driving home...or when you're at the store because you can buy things or when you're at home because you have running water.
I know...this all sounds trivial and you're thinking, "But Monica, you don't have any idea about my problems, do you?"
No, I don't. And I don't care. Do you want to know why? Because I've had battles in this lifetime that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. That's why. And I've gotten through them.
So unless you're on trial right now for a murder you didn't commit, you can't possibly top me in the problems you have that I haven't battled personally in this lifetime.
I get so tired of everyone being so "touchy" and "offended" and "appalled" by things these days.
Right before Halloween Walmart pulled a child's costume called "Naughty Kitty" because someone was offended by the name of the costume.
I wish people would start finding a purpose on how they can benefit others rather than bitching about every freaking thing.
[In a whining voice:]
"Oh, that lady offended me because she said an ethnic explicit comment...to someone else other than me!"
"Oh, that company made a shirt with an offensive picture so they need to stop selling it otherwise I'll continue being 'offended.'"
"Oh, that manufacturer named a Halloween costume something I find to be 'dirty' so therefore they need to stop selling it to make me 'happy.'"
"Oh, that politician was texting a woman pictures of his gentiles so therefore he and therefore he should be fired...and then I'll be 'happy'"
"Oh, that guy over there looked at me and therefore he should be arrested because...well, he looked at me and he wasn't smiling...so I'm 'offended.'"
Is it just me or is it getting ridiculous.
To all these people who are so easily offended, I have this to tell you.
Think about people (who were perhaps even your own family members) who had to sit in a concentration camp for years! Then, imagine that had to be you.
And think about how many of the stupid things that would offend you right now that would really bother you if you survived something so extraordinary!
Absolutely nothing would bother you. That's what!
My point in all this?
If you're not contributing, you're not a good thread in society.
If you're one of those whiney people and complaining is your "thread," find another thread because you're destroying the tapestry.
Write a book. Teach a class. Donate your money or time to a charitable cause. Go help cook Thanksgiving dinner for homeless people. (If you ever do that, I guarantee you that all the things you thought were "offensive" will immediately disappear as you see the belly of what skid row looks like...and how fortunate you really are.)
My thread is to help people find financial freedom. And I've always enjoyed helping people find success in their own lives.
I should also mention that 2014 is my year for Aggressive Income. This means that Passive Income won't be something I'll be covering a lot of during 2014.