Friday, January 04, 2013
Monday, September 03, 2012
The Hush of Heaven
This is that time of day, the predawn hours, before the busyness of the world begins, that proves a solid portal for the soul.
It is in our highest function that we cultivate stillness, and simply sitting in this hush of heaven will suffice.
At the level of our human being-ness, this time, the quiet pre-dawn hours, have always proved the most difficult to endure. It is here that one would find the most extreme loneliness and the ache for leaving.
So, then, this time is the chalice in which the magic of transmutation occurs, where we are forced to awaken to our depths, beyond human, more real.
As a writer this time of day has always served this soulful endeavor. But now I see how very much more this daily devotion has yielded to me, and now to the world I serve.
The shift in my life, from human to that somewhat unnamable “something else,” has become defined by the rising sun. It was a moment of serendipity brought by the crescendo of one morning’s simple sunrise.
And then it becomes clear, in the silence, the beauty and the power that arises from seemingly nothing. The lesson deepens, about letting go of doing for the sake of being. I need do nothing.
In the stillness of each morning, this predawn hush, comes all the guidance, all the direction, and all the inspiration for that day….this is all that is needed.
There is something exquisitely simple and equally powerful about living one’s whole existence within the framework of one day.
If one learns to pay attention, especially during this “teaching time,” the hush of heaven shows us eternity, and in this we see the meaning of everything.
It is like opening an acorn and seeing the full magnificence of the oak tree, all coiled up in this possibility. One then knows god.
Each morning is this perfect acorn, awaiting your care, your allowing, that the magnificence of this one perfect day might unfold.
Like the hibiscus blooms out my window, whose whole existence is in this one day. Truly all of life only has today.
The hush of heaven holds my human heart, bringing sweet comfort, that everything I could ever need will be supplied in infinite abundance.
And I smile, and I await with gladness the rising sun.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Don’t be (super) ignorant
In arguably the second-most controversial section of the award-winning investment book, “Who’s Taking Your Money? (and how to get some of it back!)”, Chapter 13 opens by stating that, “some people are just intellectually inferior… to hardwood…”
We could possibly change that last word to “driftwood”, as many hardwood timbers actually serve a defined and structured purpose, unlike the soppy pieces of wood that simply drift through life aimlessly without direction.
It may be cruel but it is a harsh fact of life: people who set themselves toward a certain goal or task will generally achieve it (or a semblance thereof), whilst people who bob along as victims of tides and circumstance will not achieve much (unless you count having a story about how much of a victim they are in life).
To continue the watery metaphor, we could discuss those who design their route after reading maps and charts left behind by wise sailors (guidebooks by mentors) or we could look at those who get caught up in merely watching or reacting to the uncontrollable currents (current events, current affairs); but you get the point. If you’re a column reader, you will be a classic succeeder.
As a guest on an international wealth creation teleconference two years ago, I asked the hypothetical question, “if you could continue to do your current job, and receive 10% wage increase and then, after 20 years, receive a bonus free car, would you switch companies?” With one exception, everyone on the call suggested that they would happily move.
The notable exception was a multi-multi-multi-millionaire who asked the pertinent question: “What kind of car do I get?” This question is further proof that millionaires are not just ‘lucky’ opportunists: they think differently (and this is a skill which can be learned).
One man asked the wise question, “Do I get a Ferrari or a Daewoo?”, whilst the rest of the callers were simply content with a 10% wage rise and a free anything. A free $10 000 car would be OK, but a free $40 Million car would be nicer… (just ask Ben Stiller’s character in the movie “Tower Heist”)
My reason for asking the question was an analogy about superannuation and it proved the point wonderfully. Most people are ignorant of the power of compounding and they are similarly ignorant of the control which they can exert over what is, and what shall be, their greatest investment. Someone who works without thinking and fails to choose their super will choose to fail with their super.
The employer will put you into the “default” fund if you fail to choose an option. It may be “safe as houses” (hang on, haven’t house prices dropped by 30%?) and your retirement money may be as solidly reliable as government bonds (yes, those big complex things that many investors are pulling out of, as major world governments accumulate debt which they cannot pay).
The default “balanced” fund for one of Queenslands’ major superannuation suppliers has had a barely positive result in the last five years: if you put $1000 in there in 2006 you would now have around $1020. If you think that you would have done better sitting in cash in the bank, you would be correct, and cash is the default option for many self-managed super funds (SMSF’s).
There are thousands of employer super funds to choose from and thousands of people who create their own SMSF’s to further direct their control of their monies.
Of the $430 Billion in Australian SMSF’s, it is interesting to note that only around 5% of this money is in “managed” investments such as managed funds or mutual funds. It would seem that the wealthier Aussies prefer to direct their own paths (around 88% of the $400+Bn is in direct shares, direct property and direct cash or trusts). [ABS 2011]
That “the rich get richer” is a cliché only because it is true; just not in the way that you may think. Those who are richest in education become richest in assets: it is all about knowing where to put the money and when (again, this skill can be learned: http://bitly.com/WealthClock).
With a plethora of investment books around, you may find it hard to read a handful of them and make an informed decision. We’d also suggest that if 90% of them agree on a point, it’s possible that the majority is wrong.
It would take a true contrarian to take cash OUT of the banks when everyone else is putting cash INTO the banks. It would take an incredible übermensch with nerves of steel to take money from cash IN the banks and put it into owning stock OF the bank itself.
Instead of leaving your cash in the super default fund and earning 4% per year for 5 years in a row, or putting the cash inside the bank and earning around 4%, you could have put your cash into bank stocks a few years ago.
In the last 3 years, stock in NAB has gone up 50%, as has Westpac. Commonwealth Bank is up 100% from January 2009 to January 2012, and ANZ is a smidge behind the 100% mark. We will not even mention mining stocks.
You can tell the people who do NOT own stock in their own bank; they are the ones who are constantly whinging about “the bastard banks” and lamenting the price of bank fees. If you owned part of the company and you just made 50% or 100% profit, you would not be whinging about it. So change.
How many times can we say “take control of your own destiny”, “stop being a victim and become an investor” or “buy a contrarian investment book”?
No excuses: for those who do not have the capital or the means to commence a SMSF, there are many funds around which will allow you to choose your own investments or even purchase direct stocks and shares inside of your “off the shelf” super fund. Just because your own fund said that they cannot do it, that doesn’t mean it is impossible. You just need to ask someone else.
Not only have I assisted clients to purchase stock with just $1000 in their work super fund, I have also opened super accounts for my kids whilst they were under 12 years old (another thing most super funds will tell you that you cannot do).
Rather than be accused of labouring the point or preaching to the choir, we will let it rest for now with some pointed yet sagacious advice: read something wise and make a decision now for a better future. The choice of a Daewoo or the Ferrari at 65 is entirely up to YOU; but you must decide now!
Jeremy Britton is an independent wealth coach and business coach who advises clients on all aspects of wealth creation. Find out more or purchase his best-selling investment book at www.24HourWealthCoach.com
Saturday, October 29, 2011
“DownUnder” bucks the global trend to come out on top as world’s richest
At around 3% of the world population,
The average Aussie is now worth almost US$250 000 net, around 400% wealthier than the average
The high wealth rate in
Australians have become wealthier in actual dollar terms, increasing by 300%-400% in a decade, even after adjusting for the improved Australian dollar and the fall in the $US.
“It can be hard for people to tell who is truly rich when they are looking at perceived wealth rather than net wealth,” says Australian wealth coach Jeremy Britton. “We may see the image of the so-called ‘wealthy’ in Ferraris and Porches without realising that many of these people may be leasing the expensive car with a high income and may not actually have much money in savings or investment.”
Britton says that the rising popularity of being “green” has also helped Aussies to save and accumulate money. “Helping the environment by recycling things in business and in the home has cut spending, leading to more actual held profits, both in the corporate world and in our own homes.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) classifies someone as a millionaire only if they have more than $1 Million in “investable assets” such as cash, shares or property equity. Figures of those who are making higher-than average incomes do not necessarily show any correlation to net wealth.
The most recent ABS figures show that the average combined value of a true millionaire’s cars are only $36 000. This would seem to suggest that most Aussie millionaires do not drive cars worth more than a small house, and it may suggest that frugality, rather than flashiness, is one of the keys to true wealth.
Media contact +61410 468378
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Friday, December 31, 2010
Making your New Year’s resolutions “sticky”
It’s that time of year again when everyone expects you to make some life-changing decisions and finally get your life in order. Your well-meaning friends and relatives may have even made some New Year’s resolutions for you on your behalf… Bless ‘em.
Be prepared: if you tell your friends that you are going to clean out your wardrobe or donate 10% of your income to charity, they may well counter with, “Have you thought about adopting a child from Nigeria?” or “Why don’t you join a gym; then you can wear all your old ‘thin’ clothes again?” Again, Bless ‘em.
It is far easier for your friends to plan your life for you, simply because they do not have to live your life or deal with the consequences of your actions every day. Here are some ongoing resolutions that you may like to use, remembering; it’s your life.
1) Resolve to take it easy on yourself: Don’t aim to run 5 kilometres a day if you are currently doing zero. Start with running to the corner and back, then running around the block. Build yourself up by increasing the distance by 5-10% per day. Aim for incremental improvement, not perfection. An increase of 3% per day will mean 1000% improvement in one year.
2) Pay yourself first. Resolve to set aside 5% of all incoming money and put it into a separate account. After one month, take out half the money and gift it to your favourite charity or spend it on a guilt-free gift for you. After the third month, see if you can increase the 5% to 10%. Surplus funds that are not used for monthly gifting will become the cornerstone of an investment that will bring further income.
3) Listen to the advice of others but then act with your own intuition. It’s your life and you have to live it. Sometimes that means that you have to make your own mistakes and find out for yourself that the stove was too hot to touch. Mistakes are how we learn and our intuition is built up over time. Resolve to listen to what others THINK and then act how you best FEEL.
4) Resolve to pay one random stranger a compliment every single day for 30 days. You can tell the postman you like his hair, tell a lady that she has a nice dress or compliment a motorist on their choice of car. People love to be noticed and if the compliment comes from someone they do not know it makes them feel fantastic. This feeling, in turn, then shines onto you. “As you sow, so shall you reap.” You may receive an increase in confidence from talking to strangers, better self-esteem, or make new friends.
Remember to make it easy, make it incremental and be gentle on yourself.