More on Personal Growth
8 days ago
Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a Giant Steaming Pile of Sh*t by Robert Kiyosaki.
Don't promote it.
I rarely read a post on how Rich Dad, Poor Dad motivated someone to grow rich or change their investing/finance attitude. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a sham, though. This book isn't worth anyone's attention.
Robert Kiyosaki, the author of this garbage, doesn't deserve recognition or attention. This first finance guru wanted to build his own wealth at your expense. These charlatans only care about themselves.
The reason why Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a huge steaming piece of trash
The book's ideas are superficial, apparent, and unsurprising to entrepreneurs and investors. The book's themes may seem profound to first-time readers.
Apparently, starting a business will make you rich.
The book supports founding or buying a business, making it self-sufficient, and being rich through it. Starting a business is time-consuming, tough, and expensive. Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. Rarely do enterprises succeed.
Robert says we should think like his mentor, a rich parent. Robert never said who or if this guy existed. He was apparently his own father. Robert proposes investing someone else's money in several enterprises and properties. The book proposes investing in:
“have returns of 100 percent to infinity. Investments that for $5,000 are soon turned into $1 million or more.”
In rare cases, a business may provide 200x returns, but 65% of US businesses fail within 10 years. Australia's first-year business failure rate is 60%. A business that lasts 10 years doesn't mean its owner is rich. These statistics only include businesses that survive and pay their owners.
Employees are depressed and broke.
The novel portrays employees as broke and sad. The author degrades workers.
I've owned and worked for a business. I was broke and miserable as a business owner, working 80 hours a week for absolutely little salary. I work 50 hours a week and make over $200,000 a year. My work is hard, intriguing, and I'm surrounded by educated individuals. Self-employed or employee?
Don't listen to a charlatan's tax advice.
From a bad advise perspective, Robert's tax methods were funny. Robert suggests forming a corporation to write off holidays as board meetings or health club costs as business expenses. These actions can land you in serious tax trouble.
Robert dismisses college and traditional schooling. Rich individuals learn by doing or living, while educated people are agitated and destitute, says Robert.
Rich dad says:
“All too often business schools train employees to become sophisticated bean-counters. Heaven forbid a bean counter takes over a business. All they do is look at the numbers, fire people, and kill the business.”
And then says:
“Accounting is possibly the most confusing, boring subject in the world, but if you want to be rich long-term, it could be the most important subject.”
Get rich by avoiding paying your debts to others.
While this book has plenty of bad advice, I'll end with this: Robert advocates paying yourself first. This man's work with Trump isn't surprising.
Rich Dad's book says:
“So you see, after paying myself, the pressure to pay my taxes and the other creditors is so great that it forces me to seek other forms of income. The pressure to pay becomes my motivation. I’ve worked extra jobs, started other companies, traded in the stock market, anything just to make sure those guys don’t start yelling at me […] If I had paid myself last, I would have felt no pressure, but I’d be broke.“
Paying yourself first shouldn't mean ignoring debt, damaging your credit score and reputation, or paying unneeded fees and interest. Good business owners pay employees, creditors, and other costs first. You can pay yourself after everyone else.
If you follow Robert Kiyosaki's financial and business advice, you might as well follow Donald Trump's, the most notoriously ineffective businessman and swindle artist.
This book's popularity is unfortunate. Robert utilized the book's fame to promote paid seminars. At these seminars, he sold more expensive seminars to the gullible. This strategy was utilized by several conmen and Trump University.
It's reasonable that many believed him. It sounded appealing because he was pushing to get rich by thinking like a rich person. Anyway. At a time when most persons addressing wealth development advised early sacrifices (such as eschewing luxury or buying expensive properties), Robert told people to act affluent now and utilize other people's money to construct their fantasy lifestyle. It's exciting and fast.
I often voice my skepticism and scorn for internet gurus now that social media and platforms like Medium make it easier to promote them. Robert Kiyosaki was a guru. Many people still preach his stuff because he was so good at pushing it.
13 days ago
By Engaging in these 5 Duplicitous Daily Activities, You Rapidly Kill Your Brain Cells
No, it’s not smartphones, overeating, or sugar.
Everyday practices affect brain health. Good brain practices increase memory and cognition.
Bad behaviors increase stress, which destroys brain cells.
Bad behaviors can reverse evolution and diminish the brain. So, avoid these practices for brain health.
1. The silent assassin
Introverts appreciated quarantine.
Before the pandemic, they needed excuses to remain home; thereafter, they had enough.
I am an introvert, and I didn’t hate quarantine. There are billions of people like me who avoid people.
Social relationships are important for brain health. Social anxiety harms your brain.
Antisocial behavior changes brains. It lowers IQ and increases drug abuse risk.
What you can do is as follows:
Make a daily commitment to engage in conversation with a stranger. Who knows, you might turn out to be your lone mate.
Get outside for at least 30 minutes each day.
Shop for food locally rather than online.
Make a call to a friend you haven't spoken to in a while.
2. Try not to rush things.
People love hustle culture. This economy requires a side gig to save money.
Long hours reduce brain health. A side gig is great until you burn out.
Work ages your wallet and intellect. Overworked brains age faster and lose cognitive function.
Working longer hours can help you make extra money, but it can harm your brain.
Side hustle but don't overwork.
What you can do is as follows:
Decide what hour you are not permitted to work after.
Three hours prior to night, turn off your laptop.
Put down your phone and work.
Assign due dates to each task.
3. Location is everything!
The environment may cause brain fog. High pollution can cause brain damage.
Air pollution raises Alzheimer's risk. Air pollution causes cognitive and behavioral abnormalities.
Polluted air can trigger early development of incurable brain illnesses, not simply lung harm.
Your city's air quality is uncontrollable. You may take steps to improve air quality.
In Delhi, schools and colleges are closed to protect pupils from polluted air. So I've adapted.
What you can do is as follows:
To keep your mind healthy and young, make an investment in a high-quality air purifier.
Enclose your windows during the day.
Use a N95 mask every day.
4. Don't skip this meal.
Fasting intermittently is trendy. Delaying breakfast to finish fasting is frequent.
Some skip breakfast and have a hefty lunch instead.
Skipping breakfast might affect memory and focus. Skipping breakfast causes low cognition, delayed responsiveness, and irritation.
Breakfast affects mood and productivity.
Intermittent fasting doesn't prevent healthy breakfasts.
What you can do is as follows:
Try to fast for 14 hours, then break it with a nutritious breakfast.
So that you can have breakfast in the morning, eat dinner early.
Make sure your breakfast is heavy in fiber and protein.
5. The quickest way to damage the health of your brain
Brain health requires water. 1% dehydration can reduce cognitive ability by 5%.
Cerebral fog and mental clarity might result from 2% brain dehydration. Dehydration shrinks brain cells.
Dehydration causes midday slumps and unproductivity. Water improves work performance.
Dehydration can harm your brain, so drink water throughout the day.
What you can do is as follows:
Always keep a water bottle at your desk.
Enjoy some tasty herbal teas.
With a big glass of water, begin your day.
Bring your own water bottle when you travel.
Bad habits can harm brain health. Low cognition reduces focus and productivity.
Unproductive work leads to procrastination, failure, and low self-esteem.
Avoid these harmful habits to optimize brain health and function.
2 months ago
Successful people have this one skill.
Without self-control, you'll waste time chasing dopamine fixes.
I found a powerful quote in Tony Robbins' Awaken The Giant Within:
“Most of the challenges that we have in our personal lives come from a short-term focus” — Tony Robbins
Most people are short-term oriented, but highly successful people are long-term oriented.
Successful people act in line with their long-term goals and values, while the rest are distracted by short-term pleasures and dopamine fixes.
Instant gratification wrecks lives
Instant pleasure is fleeting. Quickly fading effects leave you craving more stimulation.
Before you know it, you're in a cycle of quick fixes. This explains binging on food, social media, and Netflix.
These things cause a dopamine spike, which is entertaining. This dopamine spike crashes quickly, leaving you craving more stimulation.
It's fine to watch TV or play video games occasionally. Problems arise when brain impulses aren't controlled. You waste hours chasing dopamine fixes.
Instant gratification becomes problematic when it interferes with long-term goals, happiness, and life fulfillment.
Most rewarding things require delay
Life's greatest rewards require patience and delayed gratification. They must be earned through patience, consistency, and effort.
A fit, healthy body
A deep connection with your spouse
A thriving career/business
A healthy financial situation
These are some of life's most rewarding things, but they take work and patience. They all require the ability to delay gratification.
To have a healthy bank account, you must save (and invest) a large portion of your monthly income. This means no new tech or clothes.
If you want a fit, healthy body, you must eat better and exercise three times a week. So no fast food and Netflix.
It's a battle between what you want now and what you want most.
Successful people choose what they want most over what they want now. It's a major difference.
Instant vs. delayed gratification
Most people subconsciously prefer instant rewards over future rewards, even if the future rewards are more significant.
We humans aren't logical. Emotions and instincts drive us. So we act against our goals and values.
Fortunately, instant gratification bias can be overridden. This is a modern superpower. Effective methods include:
#1: Train your brain to handle overstimulation
Training your brain to function without constant stimulation is a powerful change. Boredom can lead to long-term rewards.
Unlike impulsive shopping, saving money is boring. Having lots of cash is amazing.
Compared to video games, deep work is boring. A successful online business is rewarding.
Reading books is boring compared to scrolling through funny videos on social media. Knowledge is invaluable.
You can't do these things if your brain is overstimulated. Your impulses will control you. To reduce overstimulation addiction, try:
Daily meditation (10 minutes is enough)
Daily study/work for 90 minutes (no distractions allowed)
First hour of the day without phone, social media, and Netflix
Nature walks, journaling, reading, sports, etc.
#2: Make Important Activities Less Intimidating
Instant gratification helps us cope with stress. Starting a book or business can be intimidating. Video games and social media offer a quick escape in such situations.
Make intimidating tasks less so. Break them down into small tasks. Start a new business/side-hustle by:
Get domain name
Write out a business plan
Approach first potential client
Instead of one big mountain, divide it into smaller sub-tasks. This makes a task easier and less intimidating.
#3: Plan ahead for important activities
Distractions will invade unplanned time. Your time is dictated by your impulses, which are usually Netflix, social media, fast food, and video games. It wants quick rewards and dopamine fixes.
Plan your days and be proactive with your time. Studies show that scheduling activities makes you 3x more likely to do them.
To achieve big goals, you must plan. Don't gamble.
Want to get fit? Schedule next week's workouts. Want a side-job? Schedule your work time.
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5 months ago
Donor-Advised Fund Tax Benefits (DAF)
Giving through a donor-advised fund can be tax-efficient. Using a donor-advised fund can reduce your tax liability while increasing your charitable impact.
Grow Your Donations Tax-Free.
Your DAF's charitable dollars can be invested before being distributed. Your DAF balance can grow with the market. This increases grantmaking funds. The assets of the DAF belong to the charitable sponsor, so you will not be taxed on any growth.
Avoid a Windfall Tax Year.
DAFs can help reduce tax burdens after a windfall like an inheritance, business sale, or strong market returns. Contributions to your DAF are immediately tax deductible, lowering your taxable income. With DAFs, you can effectively pre-fund years of giving with assets from a single high-income event.
Make a contribution to reduce or eliminate capital gains.
One of the most common ways to fund a DAF is by gifting publicly traded securities. Securities held for more than a year can be donated at fair market value and are not subject to capital gains tax. If a donor liquidates assets and then donates the proceeds to their DAF, capital gains tax reduces the amount available for philanthropy. Gifts of appreciated securities, mutual funds, real estate, and other assets are immediately tax deductible up to 30% of Adjusted gross income (AGI), with a five-year carry-forward for gifts that exceed AGI limits.
Using Appreciated Stock as a Gift
Donating appreciated stock directly to a DAF rather than liquidating it and donating the proceeds reduces philanthropists' tax liability by eliminating capital gains tax and lowering marginal income tax.
In the example below, a donor has $100,000 in long-term appreciated stock with a cost basis of $10,000:
Using a DAF would allow this donor to give more to charity while paying less taxes. This strategy often allows donors to give more than 20% more to their favorite causes.
For illustration purposes, this hypothetical example assumes a 35% income tax rate. All realized gains are subject to the federal long-term capital gains tax of 20% and the 3.8% Medicare surtax. No other state taxes are considered.
The information provided here is general and educational in nature. It is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal or tax advice. NPT does not provide legal or tax advice. Furthermore, the content provided here is related to taxation at the federal level only. NPT strongly encourages you to consult with your tax advisor or attorney before making charitable contributions.
6 months ago
Putin's War On Reality
The dictator's playbook.
Stalin's successor, Nikita Khrushchev, delivered a speech titled "On The Cult Of Personality And Its Consequences" in 1956, three years after Stalin’s death.
It was Stalin's grave abuse of power that caused untold harm to our party.
Stalin acted not by persuasion, explanation, or patient cooperation, but by imposing his ideas and demanding absolute obedience. […]
See where Stalin's mania for greatness led? He had lost all sense of reality.
The speech, which was never made public, shook the Soviet Union and the Soviet Bloc. After Stalin's "cult of personality" was exposed as a lie, only reality remained.
As I've watched the nightmare unfold in Ukraine, I'm reminded of that question. Primarily by Putin's repeated denials.
His odd claim that Ukraine is run by drug addicts and Nazis (especially strange given that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, is Jewish). Others attempt to portray Russia as liberators rather than occupiers. For example, he portrays Luhansk and Donetsk as plucky, newly independent states when they have been totalitarian statelets for 8 years.
Putin seemed to have lost all sense of reality.
Maybe that's why his remarks to an oligarchs' gathering stood out:
Everything is a desperate measure. They gave us no choice. We couldn't do anything about their security risks. […] They could have put the country in jeopardy.
This is almost certainly true from Putin's perspective. Even for Putin, a military invasion seems unlikely. So, what exactly is putting Russia's security in jeopardy? How could Ukraine's independence endanger Russia's existence?
The truth is the only thing that truly terrifies leaders like these.
Trump, the president of “alternative facts,” "and “fake news” praised Putin's fabricated justifications for the Ukraine invasion. Russia tightened news censorship as news of their losses came in. It's no accident that modern dictatorships like Russia (and China and North Korea) restrict citizens' access to information.
Controlling what people see, hear, and think is the simplest method. And Ukraine's recent efforts to join the European Union showed a country whose thoughts Putin couldn't control. With the Russian and Ukrainian peoples so close, he could not control their reality.
He appears to think this is a threat worth fighting NATO over.
It's easy to disown history's great dictators. By the magnitude of their harm. But the strategy they used is still in use today, albeit not to the same devastating effect.
The Kim dynasty in North Korea has ruled for 74 years, Putin has ruled Russia for 19 years (using loopholes and even rewriting the constitution).
“Politicians and diapers must be changed frequently,” said Mark Twain. "And for the same reason.”
When their egos are threatened, they sabre-rattle, as in Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump's famous spat about the size of their...ahem, “nuclear buttons”." Or Putin's threats of mutual destruction this weekend.
Most importantly, they have cult-like control over their followers.
When a leader whose power is built on lies feels he is losing control of the narrative, things like Trump's Jan. 6 meltdown and Putin's current actions in Ukraine are unavoidable.
Leaders who try to control their people's reality will have to die to keep the illusion alive.
Long version of this post available here
3 months ago
What is this Fed interest rate everybody is talking about that makes or breaks the stock market?
The Federal Funds Rate (FFR) is the target interest rate set by the Federal Reserve System (Fed)'s policy-making body (FOMC). This target is the rate at which the Fed suggests commercial banks borrow and lend their excess reserves overnight to each other.
The FOMC meets 8 times a year to set the target FFR. This is supposed to promote economic growth. The overnight lending market sets the actual rate based on commercial banks' short-term reserves. If the market strays too far, the Fed intervenes.
Banks must keep a certain percentage of their deposits in a Federal Reserve account. A bank's reserve requirement is a percentage of its total deposits. End-of-day bank account balances averaged over two-week reserve maintenance periods are used to determine reserve requirements.
If a bank expects to have end-of-day balances above what's needed, it can lend the excess to another institution.
The FOMC adjusts interest rates based on economic indicators that show inflation, recession, or other issues that affect economic growth. Core inflation and durable goods orders are indicators.
In response to economic conditions, the FFR target has changed over time. In the early 1980s, inflation pushed it to 20%. During the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the rate was slashed to 0.15 percent to encourage growth.
Inflation picked up in May 2022 despite earlier rate hikes, prompting today's 0.75 percent point increase. The largest increase since 1994. It might rise to around 3.375% this year and 3.1% by the end of 2024.