T R U S T M A K E R S
Asset protection planning and education April 24, 2008
This week I had the honor to spend time with a person who had made it through complete financial destruction and emerged on the other side. We actually had a conversation about the positive side of watching your world slide into the sea. We had both lost small fortunes, me in the 80s and him in the 90s. We were both back on our feet looking back at the experience. Here are some truths we both gleaned from this experience.
File this away in the “I’ll use it when I need it” file.
Truth one: Losing everything is not the end of the world. In fact, we both thought it was one of the only times in our lives in which we were truly free. Nobody had anything over us. We weren’t being plagued by suits or creditors. When your world falls apart, the phones light up with your creditors. Lawsuits fly. These all go away when you don’t have anything. The silence feels good. It changes you.
Truth two: You find out who your true friends are. The “good time” friends (who are most people) go away. I emerged with less than 2 friends. He had about the same. Looking back, we thought this was a good thing for us. Like cleaning house and getting rid of the junk.
Truth three: You realize that your worth as a human does not depend on money. Most of us guys value ourselves based on our ability to make money. This process teaches you that this is not a good formula to value people for money. It is just what we are taught from our upbringing.
Truth four: It soon becomes very clear that the storm that seems never ending and overwhelming is nothing but a blip on the radar. If you make it through the initial onslaught you will find that there is nowhere to look but up. Things do get better. Many people throw themselves into a bottle of booze or something worse, however, that doesn’t help. Many take a long term approach to a short term problem and kill themselves, however, that doesn’t do anything other than devastate those you leave behind. Remember, when the walls are crumbling, it will soon stop. It is easy to rebuild, especially if you have done it once before. The hard part is keeping stuff, not getting it in the first place.
If you are facing financial meltdown it will be tough. You won’t like it, but if you keep your health and mind, you will emerge on the other side a better person. Probably with a fuller and more meaningful life.
My professional life is blessed by relationships with people who have gone through financial death and rebuilt. I hope you don’t have to do this, and this is the reason why I protect people’s assets. I want to save them from the pain; however, if your world collapses, please try and enjoy the short ride.
It can take you down, but it can also raise you up.
Have a healthy and protected week.
Rob Lambert is an independent financial planner of some prominence.
Coach Mitch’s REFLECTIONS
“You can’t buy love or happiness.”
Philosophers and laymen alike all speak about the emptiness of spirit after accumulating wealth or goods. “The more we have, the more we want”, a situation that turns the human spirit sour. The effects of a vacuous existence can be seen by the behavior of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, et al.
We may know persons who are happy and sublime, even though they are poor. Predominantly, they are religious. We often think these folks are a bit silly, however, ask yourself, who has a better foundation? Who is happier? Who has a better family life?
Of course, you may not value these things, but that would only be true if you were a shallow person and without feelings. How sad for you.
Giving should hurt
The truth is that we (most of us anyway) get great pleasure from “giving.” That being said, we must have the resources to “give.” And, money does not grow on trees. It is said that G-d looks more favorably on those who have so little to give, that, when giving, it hurts; than he does on those who give significant amounts – because they can, and they barely notice the loss.
These are the folks who value their lives in the number of “toys,” i.e. the number of parties, the number of designer dresses, the size of the boat, etc. They have little empathy. When their financial world collapses, they are lost.
The more grounded person, not having steeped themselves in “stuff,” will still feel the pain, but will more easily and quickly rise out of the ashes and be better for the experience.
“No pain no gain”
Think of “pain” differently. Think of the “pain” of not making your very best deal. Then, think of the “pain” of the seller, who is about to lose his home to a tax auction. Compare the two.
You are getting a great deal! You are probably buying at less than 50% of fair market value, if you follow what I teach. Look at the additional amount of money that you would get if you were to force a purchase at 40% FMV versus the 50% FMV (which you could do). Then, look at the additional value to the seller of that 10% added cash. Who needs the money more?
If this is your first transaction, it will set the pattern for your future transactions. Hopefully, it was successful and you envision many more deals, and soon. However, this is the seller’s home. It is lost to him. He may never again own a home. All he wants is to start over again. He has lost almost everything. He needs every penny just to relocate and set up his family again. Who has a greater need for that 10%?
Let your conscious be your guide.
In these posts, I have repeatedly said that your empathy for the seller’s situation will be your ticket to creating a successful transaction. It may not be sexy, but it is very true.
Through the years, I have had tenants who have not paid rent or who have damaged the property. My uncollected losses have been in the many tens of thousands of dollars. I don’t care for these losses, nor the situations that go with them. The most salient point is these losses have not affected my way of life. I have usually let these tenants slide – because I could. Had I pursued legal action, my spirit would have been hurt more than these folks. In other cases, I did pursue legal action because I felt that the persons needed a lesson. In this way, you sort of act like G-d. Use your powers earnestly and for good purpose.
Be thankful for what you have. Be cognizant of what is important: your health, your family, your intelligence, your conscience.
See Coach Mitch’s “Ridiculously Simple System…” ™ for details.
G-d Bless US All,
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