Sunday, July 31, 2016

DO YOU HAVE $400.00?
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, July 30, 2016
(Note:  Anything in Blue is a link you can click on to see more on the subject)

47 Percent Of Americans Cannot Even Come Up With $400 To Cover An Emergency Room Visit

Click on this study link if you want to read more of the study that came up with the number 47 percent.

Question:  Do you have $400 cash, not credit card, real cash available to you on a moment’s notice?  According to the study if you do, you are part of the 53% and that is good.  But wait…what the study shows is that almost 50% of Americans DO NOT have $400.00 ready cash for emergencies or any other reason.  If you are one of the people who does not have $400 cash or if you know of someone who does not have $400.00, this Nugget is for you/them.

Almost everyone has access to credit cards, able to take out a loan or even have a line of credit on their home mortgage but they are all DEBTS!  The MOST VALUABLE lesson I have ever learned came from Gary Keller one of the co-founders of Keller Williams Realty International.  He has repeatedly advised his agents to lead with revenues not with expenses (debt)!  The theory is priceless and if followed will lead you to a very stress-free life at least financially.  There obviously are times when you have no choice but to take on debt like  buying a home.  Yes you can rent but paying a monthly rent is a monthly debt that you get absolutely no financial return on only an emotional return by living in the rented home.  Nor are you building your financial wealth by paying down the mortgage on a home that you can eventually sell; hopefully for a profit.  If you need a car you may have to take out a car loan but do you need a brand new top-of-the-line car or would a low priced used car serve the purpose at least for now?  You may also need cash that you don’t have to open a business.  That is far more stressful when you consider a lot of new businesses go out of business within the first 2 or 3 years.  Most do so because they failed to plan and/or have sufficient cash reserves to take them over the lean periods.  If they start out in the hole, they typically continue digging that hole until they realize they cannot get out of the hole they put themselves into.

Let’s concentrate on the $400.00; no, let’s make that $800.00 because that is what I am about to show you how to save with little to no pain.  This plan is so simple it ought to be taught in our schools at the earliest grades. 

This is how it works. 

  • Never use a credit card (debt) to buy anything unless you absolutely have to.
  • Always use cash to make your purchases.  If you use a debit card on your checking/savings account, using your card will NOT get you to the $800.00 cash-on-hand mark suggested earlier.
  • Therefore always carry cash with you.  Pay cash whenever you can.  Why is this important?  You don’t SEE your money leaving your hand when you use a credit card or debit card.  When you pay cash, you SEE the money leave and it hurts.  Quick test in regards to determining whether you MUST HAVE, NEED, LIKE TO HAVE or eventually ask yourself why on Earth did I buy this?  Ask yourself if I buy this item (let’s make it a huge flat panel TV that everyone seems to want as compared to need).  Let’s also say that the BIG TV costs $800.00 (there is that number again).  Now ask yourself, how long would I have to work at my job at the rate I am being paid or compensated just to pay for this TV at $800.00?    If you were making $15.00 per hour, it would take you 53 hours just to cover the basic cost but wait, if you charge it you have to add in interest.  If you were to calculate your minimal monthly payment on a charge card you will discover that it would take a lifetime of minimal monthly payments to pay off the debt on the card – a lifetime.  But wait, you have other expenses beyond the cost of the BIG TV do you not?  Back to the questions.  Do you absolutely MUST HAVE (in order to survive), a NEED, LIKE TO HAVE, or why didn’t I just pay cash for a much smaller TV or even a used TV?
  • When you pay for something using ONLY real cash, NEVER SPEND a Dollar Bill – NEVER.  Always use a $5.00 bill or larger regardless of the price.  If you want to buy something that only costs .89 cents, spend a $5.00 bill or larger.
  • When you get home put the Dollar Bills from your pocket or purse into a box or jar or something.  I like just putting them in a bunch all facing the same way (like the banks do) and then using a bulldog clip to hold them together.  I also clip a note to the pile of Dollar Bills that indicates the current amount of Bills in the pile.  Then as I add more bills to the pile I cross out the old balance and write in the new one. 
  • For what it’s worth, I also save quarters because they add up quickly as well.
  • Once I have $50.00 in a pile of Bills, I close out that pile and start a new one.  I put the old pile out of sight so it is also out of mind.  It is after all $50.00, exactly 1/8th of the $400.00 that the study indicates that people DO NOT HAVE for emergencies. 

You will be absolutely shocked at how quickly those bills and piles begin adding up.  When I was a license real estate agent I would routinely incur upwards of $1000.00 in annual fees that came due at different times of the year.  I was always shocked when so many real estate agents claimed not to have the money required to keep their licenses active.  Why?  Because they failed to have a plan and if they did have a plan, they failed to work their plan.  I found that by working my Dollar Bill Plan I was able to collect in $1.00 increments over $1000.00 a year.  That is $600 MORE than the $400 that people claim NOT HAVE for emergencies according to the study.

I retired from Real Estate in 2012 and I still save my $1.00 Bills.  With 4 children, 9 grand children and 2 great grand children we have a lot of Christmas and Birthday presents to buy.  Well there you have it, my collection of $1.00 Bills is used for that purpose.  It works beautifully.

As a side note, when you work your plan you often decide NOT to buy something simply because it is not getting you to your desired goal of saving money and being debt free.  Diane and I rarely go to the Casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast but when we do, we usually go for the shows or just to eat out; great restaurants in the casinos.  Occasionally we may play the slot machines.  A very good friend of mine once told me that you should never gamble with SCARED MONEY and most money IS scared money.  That simply means if you can’t afford to lose it, don’t bet it.  Ah, now for the quarters that I saved specifically for that reason.  Who cares about a quarter here or a quarter there?  Few people if any care.   You now have a stash of quarters that you can use for events such as visiting the casino and not being afraid to lose a roll of quarters that for the most part you had forgotten you even had.

This system works and I know it works because it has worked for me for 10 years or more.  It WILL work for you if you give it a try.  Try it, you’ll love it!

Just in case you didn’t believe that I actually do this…..

Friday, July 29, 2016

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, July 29, 2016

Epitaph:  “Sadly he (or she) would have been so much more successful had he not spent so much time checking emails, wasting time on Facebook, text messaging (instead of eye-ball-to-eye-ball conversations) and otherwise wasting time on his (or her) tablet, notebook and computer on non-productive crap or trying to solve all of the world’s and other people’s problems.”

There was a time when I diligently and constantly worked on my attitude.  How many people do you know can honestly say that?  Can you say it about yourself?  I remember reading Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, The YES!Attitude for the first time.  I say first time because I have read it at least 8 times (and will now read it again), I have also bought the book as an eBook so I would have it on my iPhone and other devices when I travel and I have bought it on CD and listened to it several times in the car.  I have also purchased copies for my children.  Before Gitomer’s book, it was a cassette tape set titled Creating Teamwork by Lee Shelton.  Both are about your attitude or lack thereof.  Gitomer asks the question: When was the last time you saw a course on attitude offered at the college level – the answer – NEVER!

There was a time when people told me that they would call me when they were feeling down because they knew I would always be up or at least “seem” up even when I wasn’t feeling all that up.  I learned to fake it, to be “up in advance” as Gitomer explained.  That was then; this is now!

Since I retired in December 2012 I find that I am no longer up nor am I faking being up and frankly I don’t like it.  Gitomer writes about the feeling you get when you cross the finish line, sink the putt, make the sale as the YES! Attitude®  He writes about teaching yourself to create attitude habits and constantly reminding yourself how to attain and maintain that YES!Attitude® feeling.  He suggests reading something positive every morning for at least 15 minutes and the same at night before you turn in.  He also suggests turning off the TV and NOT listening or watching the news (almost 100% of which is negative depressing crap).  I use to do all those things and even included them on my Daily To Do Lists.  The book was written before Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and the many other web sites that have become so popular.  I am certain he would suggest that unless you use those sites for business purposes (making sales and developing networks), you should turn them off as well.

This morning I realized just how negative Facebook has become and how much negative news is being broadcast even on the local news programs.  When I was a real estate broker it was essential that I check my emails several times a day but certainly first thing in the morning and last thing at night because it could mean the difference between making a sale or helping an agent solve a problem.  It was a habit I created and unfortunately now that I am retired I am still doing it even though there are no more sales to be made or problems to be solved.  I have also discovered that I am wasting far too much time on Facebook.  I seriously doubt anyone would send me an email that required an immediate answer, not even my doctors - still, I routinely checked my emails throughout the day; but why?  I would then go to Facebook, all of which could take an hour or even two.  If ever there was a bigger source for negative and oftentimes biased and false posting of “stuff”, I have not as yet found it; not that I am looking.

Therefore, today, I have made the decision to terminate my Facebook account and will check my emails once a day unless I am specifically waiting for a response from someone.  It definitely will not be the first or the last thing I do every day.  It would be fun to know how many conversations have you recently started or heard that began with the words, “Did you see on Facebook the……..”  People are addicted to Facebook, Instagram, Text Messaging, etc. most of which is pure unadulterated negative crap.  No more, I am freeing myself from this negativity as of now.  To my over 2700 Facebook friends we can still be friends, just not on Facebook.  To my family and friends, if you want me to see your pictures, email them to me; I’ll check it once a day. 

There will always be stupid people on the planet and nothing I will ever say or post on Facebook will change one mind or cause anyone to do anything they otherwise might not say or do so why try?

To my friends in sales, especially real estate sales, at the risk of sounding immodest, I have a wealth of knowledge that took over 33 years and over 1000 books to acquire.  I welcome you to tap into that knowledge any time you wish; just not on Facebook.  You can email me at  Negativity is everywhere and this is the start of a new life by ridding it from my life as much as possible as I had always done before and will now do again.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, July 2, 2016

This is an Opinion, my opinion.  Opinions are like behinds, everyone has one and this is mine, opinion not behind.

It is hard, at least for me, to look at America and the World and not become totally depressed and I beg the question, what have we done? 

In America we have two candidates who are definitely less than ideal and I find it extremely difficult to believe that they represent the best beliefs and policies of either political party yet these two imperfect candidates are really our only two choices unless you consider a pot smoking former governor a good choice.

In America the streets in our largest cities have become war zones.  On a recent FOX News report (and yes I said FOX News as if that very name carries with it some form of disease for so many people who are the on Left of the political spectrum), they had an article on crime in the streets of Chicago.  Just during the month of June 2016, there were 70 murders in Chicago.  There was no mention of the number of people who were wounded during this same period.  It was said that there is a murder in Chicago at the rate of 1 per every 10 hours.  Let that sink in for a moment.  In the Orlando shooting there were 49 people murdered in the Pulse shooting, 49.  Outrage across the country and world ensued.  Yet in Chicago 70 people were murdered during the month of June and over 350 thus far in 2016 and hardly a word from anyone.  In my opinion, the result of the terrorist in Orlando and the maddening murders on the streets of our major cities is no different – they both strike fear in the hearts and minds of people who have to visit or live there.  Is that not a form of terrorism?

I believe we have two terrorist fronts to confront and we are confronting neither of them: terrorists from Radical Islamic Terrorists at home and world-wide and domestic terrorists on our own streets in the form of street thugs.  They both result in death and fear. 

The question arises, what exactly are our current President and his administration doing about either one of these issues?  Outwardly not much.  I continued to hope that President Obama’s speeches that really have said nothing hid an underlying objective or goal to rid ourselves of both of these types of terrorists but after seven and a half years I see no evidence that his actions are any different than his shallow words.

I have 4 children, 9 grand children and 2 great grand children.  I look at them and/or their photographs and can’t help but think my generation and the following generation has let them down.  There is no way that they will ever enjoy the freedoms and a life without fearing attacks by either type of terrorists that we now face and it IS our fault.  When you see the photos of people in other parts of the world being drowned, burned alive, beheaded, raped, murdered, etc, not to mention bodies laying in our own streets at the hand of our own citizens, how can you turn a blind eye to this type of pure evil?  Yet that is what we have done.  Yes we have had air strikes and we have killed hundreds, maybe even thousands of these devils but that policy is not even holding a status quo position.  We as a country have done very little to curb the violence in our own streets.  We are losing two wars that as of yet really haven’t even been declared.

What are the solutions?  Yes I am retired military; I retired from the U. S. Coast Guard and while the Coast Guard IS a branch of our military, being a member does not make me a military expert but I would like to think I have majored in life and common sense.  So here are my common sense solutions to the problems we now face:
  • Strengthen our military.  We hear stories of mechanics cannibalizing very old planes just for parts.  The number of vessels the U. S. Navy can claim to be able to put afloat has diminished to the scary point.  The number of foot soldiers has also diminished to pre-WWII levels during war time and YES, we ARE AT WAR.  Unfortunately our current Administration doesn’t seem to realize it YET!
  • STOP with the asinine legal attacks on our police departments and the policies such as “stop and frisk” that have been proven to work where they have reduced crime and protected the very people that politicians and our courts say the policy hurts.  What sane police officer wants to see his or her face smeared all over the local news programs suggesting they violated someone’s civil rights just because a potential criminal said they did.  As good as our police departments are, the deck is currently stacked against them preventing them to do effective police work BEFORE the criminals do their dastardly deeds.  This must change and the change MUST come from the White House and the Department of Justice.  I don’t see either stepping to the plate to fix this wrong.
  • The world, at least in my opinion, looks to America to lead.  Who would have won WWI and/or WWII had Americans not become involved?  It surely wasn’t Europe.  One nation standing alone could not have taken on the opposing forces but many nations standing together can defeat a vile enemy like ISIS.  They defeated Hitler’s Germany, why not ISIS?  But until someone, anyone, takes the lead, defeating ISIS simply will not happen and while everyone sits on their collective asses and waits for someone else to take the lead, ISIS becomes stronger and stronger and has acquired more and more land and assets.  Besides our current administration, who is stupid enough to believe that ISIS won’t eventually come to the shores of America as if they haven’t already?  Like before, AMERICA MUST take the lead and form a REAL coalition of countries not the fiction of  66 we continually hear President Obama and Secretary Kerry refer to – I seriously doubt they could name even half of the 66 countries if asked.  You either lead, you follow, or, you get out of the way of someone/country who has chosen to lead.  We are neither leading nor are we getting out of the way.  We are simply following but who we are actually following only God knows.
  • We need to dump the United Nations.  It is a financial drain on America with absolutely no appreciable return on the billions if not trillions we have spent on this lame organization.
  • We need to stop spending more than we take in from our tax dollars.  We routinely give billions of billions of dollars away to countries with little to no accountability and then tell the American people, especially its veterans, that there is no money in the pot to do the right thing for its own citizens.  We have politicians including the President who feel they need a pay raise at the same time that people on Social Security, government retirees both civilian and military, haven’t had a pay raise in years.   We have a VA Hospital system that has simply failed the veterans it was created to serve and no one, absolutely no one has done anything to fix it as promised by President Obama.  WE NEED A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT AND WE NEED TO STOP SPENDING MONEY ABROAD UNTIL ALL OF OUR HOME ISSUES HAVE BEEN RESOLVED!  PERIOD!  AND WE NEED TO STOP GIVING MONEY TO COUNTRIES WHO HATE US AND WHO WOULD TURN ON US AT THE VERY FIRST OPPORTUNITY.
  • WE NEED TERM LIMITS.  There are more millionaires in Congress per capita than in the country.  Were they all millionaires BEFORE they got to Congress?  I don’t think so.  Career politicians we do not need.  We need problem solvers in Congress not money seeking people missiles like we currently have, people who have spent 15, 20, 30 and more years in Congress.  People who were sent to Congress to govern and fix problems instead of sucking everyone dry and fixing nothing.
  • We need to restore racial harmony in America, a harmony that people like President Obama and then Attorney General Eric Holder diligently worked to destroy.  Whatever degree of harmony we had, it is now history.
  • We need to secure our borders to insure that no one enters our country ILLEGALLY with the key word being ILLEGALLY.  As in years past, people entered our country ILLEGALLY and then there were movements to make those who entered ILLEGALLY legal citizens all while there are others who wait patiently on LEGAL waiting lists to become citizens.  If I were one of those citizens who came here LEGALLY I would start a class action suit against the Federal Government for making them jump through hoops and spend money to become citizens when the same Federal Government does nothing to stop ILLEGALS from entering the country and eventually becoming citizens by the stroke of someone’s pen.  When you see this in writing, it is hard to imagine anyone not appreciating the stupidity of our current policies.  Make it hard to come here ILLEGALLY; make it easy to come here LEGALLY. 
  • There needs to be a procedure to legally remove a Supreme Court Justices from the bench IF a Justice fails to uphold and defend the provisions of the U. S. Constitution.  Case in point is Obamacare.  There is nowhere in the Constitution that authorizes the U. S. Government to REQUIRE its citizens to purchase anything – ANYTHING!  Yet the Congress and the Supreme Court failed to rule constitutionally on the issue and these Justices are appointed for life; they cannot be removed.  Who in America should ever hold a job/position where you can’t be fired for incompetency or committing fraud?  No one!  Repeat:  NO ONE!

If you have read this far, congratulations.  But if you HAVE read this far you can obviously tell that I am pissed off at our government for failing its citizens.  Answer this simple question.  What has our government, starting with the President and working down the ladder, what has any of them done for you lately that would be considered as being positive and without taking something from you?  I’ll wait………

Humpty Dumpty has in fact fallen  It has been broken into the smallest of bits.  Now it can’t be put back together again; or can it?  Let’s hope so!