Tag: America

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When I was 17, my mentor Mike Watson asked me to write a list of all the things I wanted in my life. Here is what I wrote

-Get my own place.

-Get a car.

-Get a girlfriend

-Get a job and be able to support myself with out the help of my family.

By the time I was 18 years old, I had gotten these things. I had a little apartment in South Los Angeles, bought a 95 Acura Integra for $5,000 and met a pretty girl that I was with. I was working at Guitar Center in Lawndale CA as sales rep which was a step up from my last job working the burrito line at Chipotle. I went back to my mentor and told him that I had gotten everything that I wrote down on my list. He told me to go make another list, but this time dream bigger.

My next list looked something like this.

-Go to Jr. College.

-Move in to a bigger place.

-Make enough money to where I have some left after bills at the end of the month.

-Get a truck!

-Start a businessAEF

When I turned 20, again I finished these things. I enrolled at El Camino Jr. College paid for by a scholarship I won in a persuasive speech contest. I found a nice little house in Lomita CA I moved in with a couple of friends and started my first business, a clothing company called All Else Failed Ind. He told me to keep going, that I can have whatever I wanted as long as I put it down on paper and was willing to work for it. (So I did, but I went big on this one)

-Make 100k or more per year

-Transfer into a UC/CSU school to finish my undergraduate degree.

-Write a book

-Make an album (Im a musician)

-Buy a house

-Buy a nice Car

07 TravelsBy age 23, I published my first book The Rich Kid Syndrome.” I moved from Los Angeles to San Diego to buy my first home in Oceanside CA, and then transferred to CSU San Marcos after spending the summer of 2007 Studying abroad in Spain, Italy and France.¬†This was also my first $100,000 year and I earned quite a bit more the following year with my little brokerage firm that started in Carlsbad. I was doing so well, I decided to buy and new BMW, and I bought it with Cash ūüôā I also finally completed my first full-length solo album entitled The ¬†Midnight Songbook.”

As my 24th birthday passed, it seemed as if I could do anything. It was like every single year, I would just write a new list of things down that I wanted, and then I would get them. I felt unstoppable, and invincible. Then the year 2008 came and everything changed.

It only took about 6 months after the economy crashed to lose just about everything that I had worked for. Aside from the fact that I had lost all steams of income, I ended up being 160K in debt to boot.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I broke up with the girlfriend of 2 years, my dad went to prison, my mentor Mike (pictured above) died from cancer, my best friend screwed me over and I was conned out of my last $10,000 by a person posing as a roommate of mine who stole my identity and flew the coop. That’s what I call a bad year. I was so beaten down by all the loss in and around my life that it was hard to get back up and keep going. In fact some days it was down right direly depressing and some very bad thoughts entered my mind.

I realized that even though I had some major setbacks, and life threw me a couple of shit sandwiches, I had 2 choices. 1)Quit and kill yourself 2) Eat the shit sandwiches and make a list of things you want (as it has always seem to work before). So after a long day of gathering my thoughts and some  meditation at the beach, here is the list that I made.

-Finish college

-Publish my second book

-Find a new industry to work in

-Surround myself with better people.

-Climb out of the hole (meaning get out of debt)

So, I picked up the pieces of my life and got back to work. I was 24, in serious debt, couldn’t find a job that would pay me nearly anything I was making in the mortgage game and all my “friends” or at least the people who I thought were my friends seemed to disappear with the money, the girlfriend and the stuff. I literally just had to hit the reset button on my life and start over.

24-28I got in to Multi-level marketing, first with a company called Mona-Vie and then eventually in a company called RevvNRG. I always thought MLM was a scam but saw a lot of people making money in it. I figured if some barley high-school educated bozo’s from the Utah could make a couple million bucks on the Network Marketing game, how hard could it be? So I jumped in with both feet.

It took me about 18 months before I saw my first $10,000 month. As it turns out, you really can make some money in MLM. The next 3 years of my life seemed as if I was getting back in to my groove. I was traveling around the country, building a huge organization, making great money again and speaking on stages around the world telling stories of success and rising back up once life had knocked me down. I graduated college, published my next book The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Life.”

I felt relieved in a lot of ways. I felt as if I had a handle on things, life threw me some curve balls but I learned how to bend and fold in the situations and survive. As I was nearing 28 Years old, I began to reach my peak again. Now that I had the money game on point it was time for me to start living again, for me, this meant lifestyle.

What do I mean by lifestyle? Well to me “life” encapsulates all the things a human being has to do to live. Meaning we need to eat sleep, make a living, have friends etc. “Style” is a manner of doing something, so when you put those two together what you have is how a human being goes about living. I’ve come to understand that living life can be done many ways. Some people live very safe, they like a 9-5 job with benefits and 2 weeks vacation. Some people don’t even get that choice, they feel stuck in their life due to circumstances. Example: The man who worked as a mechanic his whole life because that’s what his father did and grandfather father did before him or the idea that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Well, thats all bullshit at least to me it was.

So I picked up a few new hobbies, and got back in to someones that I had neglected due my crazy ass work schedule. Here is what it looked like.

So I finished, college, published my new book, completely changed the people I surrounded myself with and found myself 5 years in to a promising industry that was allowing my to travel the world, live my dreams and crawl out of the black hole that I had lived in. I wish i could end the story here, because then it would be a happy ending, but there was one more twist that was going to happen to me before I hit the age of 30. But I at least got my dream trip of traveling around South East Asia and Surfing in Bali twice before shit hit the fan again. (see below)

And then I got back to America. in fact it was Early May of 2013 when I arrived home from Bali for the second time that year to find out the master distributor of the Network Marketing company I was involved in was trying to do an end-run on the distributor base and secretly move them in to another company all together. When I caught him in the middle of it, I blew the whistle (get that full story here). 

In a mad rush to try to save what was left of the company, I began negotiations to broker a buyout from another MLM company. In fact that is where I was last year on my 29th birthday. Even though we were able to get a deal done, it ultimately fell apart because as it turns out the owner of the company I was staying loyal to was scarred and greedy.

Fortunately, being down the “put all your eggs in to one basket” road before, I had some back up plans this time around. I had learned how to trade the FOREX market (read that story here) for some time and I had a little Tech-Start-up called Roommatefax.com that I had been working on for a little time. Although I though I would have at least another year of residual income to count on from my network marketing ventures, I didn’t so I had to execute that back-up plans a little faster and take some side consulting work to make ends meet till I got them off the ground.

That brings us to the present, and as I cross the threshold into my thirties, I took some time to reflect, and these are the questions that kept repeating to me in my head.

-Have I lived honestly and had the best intentions?

-Did I take all the risks necessary to pursue success no matter the cost and safety?

-Would those (dead or alive) who came before me and made sacrifices for me so I could get ahead in life be proud of the man I have become?

-Will I be able to look my child in the eyes one day and proudly tell him or her about the choices I have made?

-If I were to die tomorrow, did I accomplish everything I set out to do? and when some of those things failed, did I see them through till the end and learn something from the experience? 

-Have I lived with Honor, Integrity and loyalty?

-Was I a good son, brother, friend and human being?

I can honestly and confidently answer yes to all these questions, and that makes me grateful. I always thought by 30 years old, I’d have a million dollars and today I’m 30 and ¬†I don’t have a million dollars, in fact, I’m far from it, but what I do have is something that money can’t buy. What I have is something a lot of rich men spent their entire life chasing but could never seem to find. It’s the thing that most people live their whole life trying to find but it eludes them. What is it? Love. I’m surrounded by it and all the things that happened to me in my life were for a reason, they were to keep me safe from people, places and things, and sometimes from myself. I had lots of guardian angels that came in the form of people and circumstances.

I did my best to put Love out in the world, to give it when I could and try to keep the faith that it was there even when I couldn’t see it. I found hope, even when good people died or went to jail. I make hard amends to people I disliked, and let go of hatred for those I could justifiably hold resentments against. I found out what kind of man I was when life got hard, and saw what I was capable of when surrounded by the right people and situations. I learned to have a thick skin, be fearless and most importantly, not take life to seriously.

So all that’s left to do is make a new list. The list will probably have some things like get married, have kids etc. For me, it’s an open book. A big blank canvas waiting to be filled with life, love and memories. Fortunately, I’ve got quite a bit of experience now and I believe my best years are ahead. My 20’s were the minor leagues, and now its time for the major’s and I can’t wait to start playing!

Thanks for all the love and support! See you at the top!

-Steve Wolf

 

 

(You are in Part 2 of 2, to see part 1, click here) /////and scroll down because all my favorite Vice.com videos are at the bottom of this post. 

It is always interesting having conversations with people when it comes to questioning their belief systems. Depending on the emotional intelligence ofvice-logothe individual you might find yourself in a very sticky situation if you begin to allege that what ever the believe is simply not true. No one likes to have their bubble popped, and for a long time, I believed that even if I was to send the person in a tail spin temporarily by popping their bubble, I honestly believed that the truth would set them free, and even though they would hate me in the moment they would thank me for it later. They approach worked about 1% of the time.

Case and point. One day I made some comment on Facebook about why football was a modern-day bread and circus. I went on to say that ¬†“it is ridiculous to spend as much time, money, and effort following, knowing about and discussing football games, players etc.” What happened next was absolutely mind-blowing. A group of my so-called “Facebook” friends turned on me and started jesus_footballattacking me. It was as If I told them Jesus doesn’t exist and their mom is a Kunt!

As I watched these people attack me personally and go through my past Facebook posts trying to find hypocritical statements that would give them more fuel to de-legitimize¬†me as an individual proving to anyone who looked at the post that I was an idiot and fuck me because I didn’t like football. I should have known better. You can questions someone’s religion, you can punch them in the face or call them an idiot, but don’t EVER attack football! And if you are going to attack football, don’t do it in a public forum like Facebook, ask me how I know. I’m pretty sure I lost about 25 or so Facebook friends that day.

So what does this have to do with VICE. Well everything actually. As one of my favorite political philosophers Herbert Marcuse wrote about in his book The¬†Dimensional¬†Man.¬†He introduced the idea of “Repressive-Desublimination.” It’s the idea that Pop-Culture eclipses real culture. For example, give a 21-year-old the option to listen to Frederick Chopin or Flo-Rida and see what happens. Even though Chopin is considered by many to be one of the best pianists of all time, most of my generation doesn’t even know who he is.

Here is a better example, and one you test. Next time you’re in a group, ask the group “who here know’s who Brad Pitt is married too?” Guaranteed 100% will know the answer. Then ask “Can anyone in here name just 2 standing supreme court justices.”

No one will get that one. So what does this all mean? It simply means that the media has done an incredible job of keeping us fat, entertained and happy. This won’t stop either. As long as we continue to plug-in and support shows like MTV’s Teen Mom, or Jersey Shore, and have a bigger turn out for the super bowl than the popular presidential vote. The Media or the people/corporations that control the media, aka: the elitists, illuminate, the Bush’s, Clear channel, AOL-Time Warner, Disney, The Kerry’s, Powell’s, News Corp, GE, and of course Wal-Mart will continue to sell you watered-down cheap thrills, food, explosions, wars, and fake Chinese-made bullshit wrapped up in American flags as long as we continue to buy it.

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So coming back to why I love Vice is because they are the one entity that is going against the mainstream and finally getting some traction. If we as a public sphere could become more educated as a culture, then we could do a better job at such things like electing public officials or not allow ourselves to be manipulated by some dodgy lobbyists looking out for the corporations the represent and not the people. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with anything. I’m not representing a conservative or liberal biased here. I’m not even going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t believe, all I ask is that you look and decide for yourself.

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God, or the Universe, (what ever you believe) gave a you a brain and the ability to reason so that you could make informed decisions about your life and the world around you. As for as American Democracy is concerned, what I believe is that because it is a democracy, we all rise or fall together as a nation of people. Just because I may have been against the war in Iraq doesn’t get me off the hook for all the innocent people who died out there at the hands of American Soldiers. If you disagree, good, but what did you do to stop it then?

You see, in a democracy, like it or not, any decision made as a country represents the individual decision I make or don’t make if I agree to call myself an American Citizen. So with that being said, lets stop complaining about shit that we “DO” have control over. Educate ourselves, and become a more informed populous. A more informed populous = better elected officials. Better elected officials = Government that represents the people better. Government that represents the people better makes for a happier life. Happier life = longer life and a solid future for us all. Choose wisely.

Now here are my most favorite media spot Vice ever put out, I guarantee once you watch one or two, you will be hooked too! After all, the truth feels good!

Here are some of my favorites!!!

Vice (Show: Guide to Travel) North Korea, the only American media outlet ever to get in to the country. 

Vice (News) the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan (This is what winning looks like)

Vice (Documentaries) “The Jesus of Siberia” Classic Vice reporting! Awesome

Vice (Picture Perfect) Saudi Arabian Women “Unveiled”¬†

Vice (Fresh off the Boat with Eddie Huang) FOB in Mongolia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8v9Gw9BJB0

Vice (Far out series) Surviving in the Siberian Wilderness for 70 Years

See more at Vice.com

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Being in debt sucks, you should get out of it. America is HIGH on credit cards, loans and just living way beyond our means in general. ¬†It’s got to stop because it’s simply a vicious cycle of madness, and will only end if you make the personal choice to do it in your own life.

‚ÄúWhen you get in debt you become a slave.‚ÄĚ -Andrew Jackson

It has been a long time coming for writing a blog on this topic. I write a lot about life-style and ways to accumulate wealth, but there is another side to the wealth coin and that side is DEBT. We all know what it is because at one time or another we have all been in it. For most people I meet, being in debt is a part of everyday American life that 99% of Americans live in day in day out. The other 1% owns all the wealth, and we can’t get to where they are because they are the ones lending the money ūüôā Imagine if we lived in a world where you couldn’t get a credit card or a loan. Think of how different the world would be, how much stress would be lifted off of you or your loved ones. What if you woke up tomorrow and you were magically at $0. How would that change your life? Here in America, we start getting credit card offers weeks before we turn 18 years old, with banks enticing you with instant gratification telling you to buy now and worry later. Sadly it has become a way of life here in the U.S. and I believe it will ultimately lead to our downfall. The powers that be do an incredible job keeping us in a constant state of denial, and for good reason too, because it’s hard to sell you on the idea of being ok with getting in to debt if they actually told you what you were really getting yourself in to.

Let me throw a couple of stats at you real quick on the US debt situation, then we will get in to your shit! * As of April 1, 2014, the official debt of the United States government is $17.6 trillion ($17,578,141,920,036).cols_ventura-39636 This amounts to:

  • $143,543 for every household in the U.S.
  • ¬†103% of the U.S. gross domestic product.
  • 559% of annual federal revenues.
  • $55,372 for every person living in the U.S. (not including Americans Individual’s personal debt which is indicated below.)

U.S. household consumer debt profile:

  • Average credit card debt:¬†$15,191
  • Average mortgage debt:¬†$154,365
  • Average student loan debt:¬†$33,607

James Quin from financialscense.com ¬†writes:¬†“The average hard-working, taxpaying American has been enslaved in debt of such proportions that they will never be able pay it off. Your share of the $17.6 trillion National Debt is now $55,372, and growing by $4,500 per year. Your share of the future unfunded liabilities, created by the people you elected, is approximately $350,000. This crushing burden is in addition to the $13.8 trillion of mortgage, credit card, student loan, and auto loan debt Americans have accumulated in the last three decades of delusion. Forty percent of all credit card users do not pay-off their credit card every month and carry an average balance of $16,000 at an average interest rate of 15%. Good to see the Wall Street banks passing along some of their 0% borrowing windfall to their ‚Äúcustomers‚ÄĚ.¬†” So what does this all mean? Well it’s simple, as a country we’re F*&%ed. As an individual, you may have a chance for redemption if you choose to take the hard road and opt out of the vicious cycle, but it won’t be easy. In this blog, I am going to share with you some of the key ideological changes I underwent as well as the actions that I took to get my debt managed, and eventually paid the f%^& off. If you do exactly what I tell you to do in this blog, you will be well on your way to getting out of debt for GOOD! I will explain how to cut your interest rates in 1/2 if not more. Here are the steps.

stop-bleeding-save-your-own-life1. Stop the bleeding – Ok, if you are serious about doing this, it’s time to make some hard decisions. I don’t mean like you need to tighten your belt a bit and cut back a little, I’ll equate this to a obesely overweight person that needs their stomach stapled, and triple by-pass heart surgery to stay alive. This means fire sale time. You go through your house and collect everything of any value that you don’t use. My indicator is: unless it’s a seasonal item like a snowboard, if it hasn’t been used for 6 months, sell it, thrown it out or give it to goodwill for a tax credit. Anything you own two of needs to be reduced to only one, after all, why do you need 2 anyway? This includes big ticket items like cars, motorcycles etc. ¬†Next you need to look through your bank statement and find any subscriptions or monthly reoccurring charges that you don’t use on a regular basis. For example, expensive gym memberships, magazine subscriptions etc. Be vigilant, we are talking about things you don’t absolutely need, if you need your gym membership, I”l tell you how to save on that later on, but for now, just follow the directions. If your a person like my mom who needs to hold on to everything, than you need a close friend to help you through the process like a drug addict needs a sponsor to keep them in check, you can’t be trusted.

reality-check2. Reality Check –¬†Time to get out of denial and face the truth.¬†Gather all the statements of debts you have. College loans, car loans, credit cards, mortgages etc. Then start an excel spreadsheet to lay it all out. I’ve included the one I used that gave me a clear picture of what I owed and the percentage rates I was paying. (StevenEwolf.com Debt Worksheet). Once we have it all laid out on paper we have “THE¬†NUMBER” meaning the price you will have to pay for freedom. For me that number was $160,000 in 2010, and I got it under¬†control¬†without a bankruptcy or credit help bullshit company. It can be done, if I can do it, you can too.

3.Budget time –¬†Here is where you sit down with your loved one, or by yourself if your single and simply find out how much you are making imgres and how much you are spending. To get an idea of this, I strongly suggest you use a budget program like¬†Mint.com. I used¬†mint.com and still use today to mange my income, expenses and investments, it does all that for you in one simple program by collecting all your financial data and putting it in one easy place for you to see and manage. It will give you a snap shop of your current cash vs. debt as well as up to date information about every asset and liability you have. It will also allow you to create a budget based on your income so you can track and see exactly how much you are spending and what you are spending it (or wasting it) on. This can only be done once you figure out what your income is. If you are like me, and never had a constant pay check, this will give you data collected over a period of time to help you balance out your income as you receive it.¬†

Piggy-Bank-e13684380021284. Savings¬†Strategy¬†–¬†What is savings you ask, well that’s money that you don’t spend, something that is not a familiar practice to my generation. Here is what it needs to look like, I’ll give you an example for an income of $5,000 per month. (I adopted this practice from the book The Richest Man in Babylon & Secrets of the Millionaire¬†Mind¬† and customized it to fit my needs to get out of debt and build wealth)

*****Note, a tax savings account is necessary if you are a 1099 guy like me, if not don’t worry about, the government steals it from you already every pay period at your W-2 job. So for the sake of this example Red will indicate W-2 Person, and Green will indicate 1099 person.

:::EXAMPLE:::

Total Income $5,000

-20% ($1000) in to separate bank account specifically set aside for taxes.  Capital1 Р360 gives you free Savings and Checking account with no  Capital-One-360-Checking-Special-Offer minimums or ATM fees, that pays you a .75% yearly APR yield (5 times national average). If you follow this link to the right and you will get a $50 referral credit just for signing up through my link! (You see, pays to read my blog!) So do it NOW!

50% of whats left after taxes ($2,000) ($2500) Goes in to you spending budget. This is to be used to pay the mortgage/rent, gas utilities, car payment, food etc.

20% Goes in to savings. ($800) ($1,000) // This is money that you will invest in to something later, but don’t worry about that just yet¬†because¬†you don’t have any money yet, so just save it and if you are in serious debt, all of this money will go to pay off debt starting with high interest credit cards and loans ūüôā

10% Goes in to the “emergency/big ticket item fund” ($400) ($500) // This is money for a new car or a trip, something you may want but don’t¬†necessarily¬†need so if shit hits the fan you can use the cash to get you out of a pickle, but the hawaii trip is not gonna happen this year as a result of it.¬†

10% Goes in to the “Play” fund¬†($400)¬†($500)¬†// This is your money to blow on what ever you want.¬†

10% Goes in to the “Charity/Education Fund”¬†($400)¬†($500)

budget-clip-art(3)4. Budget Review¬†– By following the example above you easily get a hold on your own personal spending, not lets cut some more monthly costs. Time to sit down, look at everything you decided to keep: memberships, subscriptions etc.¬†If they don’t fit in to your budget, you need to cut back even more.¬†It is however worth calling all of the entities and seeing if you can reduce the membership costs. I called my gym, they cut my membership rate in half, then I called some magazine I subscribed to, they gave me a year free, then the cable company, then my cell phone provider and so on. By the time I was done calling every single entity that I had a subscription with, I managed to hang on to one or two things I would have had to get rid of by just calling them and asking for a discount. Once you have accomplished getting this all together and knowing that you are at least not going negative every month, we can go to the next step.

credit-card5. The Credit Card Shuffle РOk let do some plastic surgery. First pull out that debt sheet that you have downloaded from above. Remember the one where you wrote down the total amounts you owe. Ok, now pull out all of your credit cards and start calling each one, here is what you need to find out, and do this exactly like I tell you to here!

1. Call the CC company and find out what you actual rate is on the card.

2. If you have balanced transferred money or have a promotional rate of some kind, find out the rate and when the promotional rate ends and then indicate it on the sheet just like the example I have set out.

3. Ask the customer service agent if they can lower your rate. If they say no, ask them if they can waive this months interest charges as a courtesy. Most companies will do this at least once per year.

4. Ask them if they have any promotions on Balance transfers, don’t do it yet just find out if they do. (It’s usually 0% for 6-12 months or 4.99% for 18 months. They will charge you between 2%-5% to move the money)

5. Repeat this step until you have called every single one of your credit cards and recorded the information on the sheet provided. Now that you have an idea of how badly you are being raped by finance charges, we can start the shuffle. Looking at all of your existing credit left on cards, figure out if it would make sense to transfer balances to cards that have room.¬†Take in to consideration that it will cost you money to move the money, so if the¬†benefits¬†of savings don’t outweigh the costs to move the money or you simply don’t have enough credit left, you will have to choose another option. The main idea is to try to get any credit card balance to 0% or as close to 0% as possible. Some of you may still have good credit if that’s the case, use the following method, if not, read on, there is options for you. If you can swing, pay your highest APR% cards off immediately, meaning any card that only a couple hundred bucks or something on it, just pay it and check that one-off the list.

If you have a good credit score or are a home owner:

1. Ask each CC company to raise your line of credit, explain that you need the credit for business travel.

2. Try to move all of the balances ton¬†ONE¬†card so it’s easily manageable and at the lowest rate. If you have to spread this out over 2 cards, do it, but make sure it makes sense.

3. ¬†If you weren’t able to get the CC companies to extend you more credit, try to get a personal consolidation loan. I used one of their and it drastically helped me get out of debt faster. The best company with the lowest rates is Lending Club. Lending club will beat any other lending_club_logopersonal loan service or big bank on unsecured debt consolidation loans. If you do this, you can get a secured loan for 3 years that can be paid off early with no pre-payment penalty. Otherwise, try a HELOC on your home or a refinance to wrap the debt in the equity if you can do it. ¬†If your debt is only a couple thousand it may be a good idea of doing a “used-car refinance loan” and wrapping some of the debt in to that if you have some equity in a vehicle.

If you have bad credit or have no home. 

1. See what you can do to move balances around to 0%. If the CC companies won’t extend you credit then try the personal loan from¬†Lending Club¬†like I mentioned above. They still have some great rates with people who have below Prime credit scores.

2. Get a copy of your credit report and find out exactly what you have going against you that is affecting your score.

3. If you can’t get more credit to move balances, and you can’t get a personal loan that makes sense it’s time to start playing dirty with your creditors. The following advice is the last option that you will before you have to start looking at¬†bankruptcy¬†as a viable option. (I will not be covering bankruptcy in this blog¬†because¬†if your¬†situation¬†is that bad, you need to get in touch with an¬†attorney¬†and¬†discuss¬†your options.)¬†

4. Credit card consolidation companies are bullshit. There is nothing that they can do for you that you cannot call your credit card company do yourself. They basically charge you money to “go to bat for you” but what they are really doing is serving as a middle man between you and the CC company and make a little money off of your hard ship. I’ll share my story explaining below at the end of the blog.

6. Sticking to the plan no matter what – The hardest thing that you will encounter when trying to follow these steps is the feeling that there is no end in sight. That you feel so far away from $0 that you want to give up or just say F%^&* it. Understand that it was that exact attitude and lack of discipline and knowledge that got you in to this situation to begin with. In fact, you have probably spent years getting your self in to this situation, so don’t think that this is going to get fixed over night.

What I am proposing here is a long-term and effective strategy to recognize and asses the problem, reconcile the damage done, and then install a system of ideological principles to live by. Taking all of the actions I have laid out here is a start but the ultimate idea here is that you change your mindset, and that you do it long-term because if you use what I gave you here to get out of debt just to do it all over again that we have failed. So, be brave, be sturdy, and most of all, find some gratitude and accomplishment in the fact that you are doing something about it. Just that is a huge step that you should be proud of.

Summary and a Personal Story.  

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Me in Bali living the life of my dreams. You can to!!!!

As I indicated before, this guide isn’t something I thought up last night, this knowledge comes from years of experience going through this myself. I have been through some very scary times, and if I could, I would love to help you avoid some of those pit falls in life. When the market turned in 2008 I went from owning a house, with a brand new BMW paid with cash to $160,000 in debt ducking creditors and conducting a fire sale with any assets I had left to try and cover the losses. I didn’t do it all correctly and I wish I had seen a blog like this one to help me out of that horrible situation. As my good friend Rob Guth says “ask me how I know?” I love the saying because it comes from experience, and it the experience of the good and bad that has allowed me to learn from my mistakes and come back from some dark times with hope and re-energized spirit to not only continue on when things go south, but to always have hope that tomorrow is a new chance an opportunity to turns things around if they not going well, or continue to rise if they are.

I hope that you take what I wrote here to heart because these nuggets of information have cost me years of my life and hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain. Learn from it, apply it, and execute it in your own life and enjoy years of time and lots of money saved because you were wiser that I was to look. If this blog speaks to you, share it the information with your friends, family and people you care about. If you have questions, comments, concerns, feel free to post in the comments section or contact me via the contact page. 

I wish you the best of luck!

See you at the top.

Steve W.

Solutions Links as indicated above.

1. Debt Worksheet 

2. Capital 1 360 Free Savings and Checking account with no minimums or ATM fees. 

3. Mint.com

4. Lending Club

5. If you are looking where to go after this, check out my book that will begin to give some great insight on how to go in to business for yourself and build some wealth. 

301851282PART 2

3 Weeks ago, I took a sales job to help keep me going while I continue to bootstrap my start-up company. Sure I still make a little money from my Multi-Level-Marketing company, but not nearly enough to live off of and definitely not enough to take any kind of Mini-Retirement Vacations.¬†I have never been an advocate of full-time multi-level-marketing¬†anyway, that is¬†NOT¬†the model! A good MLM company gives the person who has a day job the ability to add income and then after about 18-36 months produces enough income to replace what ever that person was making at their job. This idea of being a full-time networker with no experience in that space is a bad idea, you will most likely run out of money and burn through your savings before you get profitable forcing you to go back to your job with your hat in hand. Trust me, I know, I’ve made that mistake before.

All to many times I see people jump from company to company trying to “Find the right one” and that is just a bad way to go about. Do I believe in MLM? Yes, from the bottom of my heart, but I don’t believe that putting all of your eggs in to one basket in life is ever the correct path.

I think the correct path should look something like this, and keep in mind, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, this still applies.

  1. 1. Preparation –¬†Get a money plan for any and all income, if you a 1099 guy like myself here is what I use for all income……
    • ¬† ¬† – Say I make $10,000 from work, investment, play what ever
    • ¬† ¬† ¬†– 20% ($2,000) – Goes to interest bearing savings account for Taxes
    • ¬† ¬† ¬†– of the 8K left it gets divided as follows
    • ¬† ¬† ¬†– 50% (4K) for living expenses i.e. Rent, mortgage, gas, food, travel etc.
    • ¬† ¬† ¬†– 20% ($1,600) Savings / Retirement / Long-Term-investments
    • ¬† ¬† ¬†– 10% ($800) – Education i.e. books, audios, personal development/investing seminars etc.
    • ¬† ¬† ¬†– 10% ($800) – Big ticket item saving i.e. new car, toys, vacations etc.
    • ¬† ¬† ¬†– 10% ¬†($800) – Play fund money to spend on what ever I want, when it’s gone, I’m done playing
    • ¬† ¬† – If you have debt to pay off, take 20% off the top before you adjust for Education, Big ticket items and play fund. Put it¬†towards¬†your highest interest debts 1st¬†eliminating¬†any all¬†debt¬†
  2. 2. Job – Income coming in on a weekly/bi-Monthly basis (30-40 hours a week / 3-10k per month)
  3. 3. Find the balance – Mind, Body, Soul, Relationships, Pocketbook.¬†If these aren’t in balance, the next steps wont matter because you will never get there.
  4. 4. First 2nd Stream of income w/ little to no investment РThis can be an MLM or a side business like flipping cars or selling stuff on eBay. This should make you money fairly quick, and the start-up cost should be small. A couple thousand dollars that you will see a return on in a couple of months. Any proceeds from the business.
  5. 5. Do Something Your Passionate about that Makes Money! –¬†This could be from a side job you started or something that you always wanted to do. With enough money coming in and savings in the back subsidized with side income you now bought yourself the freedom to quit your job and find something that you’d much rather do.
  6. 6. Deals – Once you have conquered all of these areas, then it’s time for you to graduate from Owner to Deal maker, meaning that by now, making money has become easy to you, it’s no longer emotional and trivial, it jut is. When you get there, and you will know when you do, then life becomes more about the challenge instead of making money to survive.

Now, if at any point, you get knocked on your ass which you will, you simply start the steps over. It is what I am doing in my life right now, what I’ve done in the past and what financial_planning_processI¬†will do in the future. Why, because none of my financial decisions are based on emotion, if they are, you’re losing at the money game. Even when I’m down, I still strive to make logical decisions when it comes to money. That kind of delayed gratification is what allows wealthy-minded ¬†people to stay rich, and poor-minded people to continue to stay poor or loose you wealth. If you are anything like me, you will find that you become much more resilient to the ass kickings life throws at you once you have been through a couple of them. For me, it’s never about how hard I fall or what I lose, it’s all about how quickly I can get back up. This time around, I didn’t lose much as I was 10 times more subsidized and protected than I was when I went through some similar circumstances at the age of 23. I predict it will take me less than 6 months to clear all debts, and be in a cash flow positive situation traveling around the world by the end of 2014.

How am I so sure? Great question. Let me ask you this, if you were 23 years old and woke up one day and found out you were all of sudden $160,000 in debt, what would you do? If you make 50k a year, you would be shitting bricks. What if I gave you the same scenario, but you made $190,000 a year before. Probably not so bad right? Ok set that aside for a second and let’s assume that you have been in debt most of your young adult like I was and like most Americas are. We’re conditioned from a young age that it is ok to live like this. This is why you get credit card applications in the mail @ 18 years old and high schools, colleges and employers never even teach the most basic of finance. “The Man”¬†i.e. your boss, the government (IRS especially), super rich people and the owners of banks and lending institutions etc. don’t want you to figure this out.¬†They want you broke, tired, hungry and pre-occupied with shit that doesn’t matter like video games, American Idol, and spectator sports¬†so that you are not paying attention to the fact that they are ROBBING you blind. If you don’t believe me, enjoy this video.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

Debt, should be used as a tool, not as a way to get instant gratification to buy yourself things that you cannot afford, or even need in most cases for that matter. With the exception of college loans (Which I think is another racket anyway) you shouldn’t have any debt unless you own a business that produces income, or own a home. The fact that no one ever told you that you shouldn’t be in debt isn’t really an excuse and if it is, I’m telling you now. Don’t worry, it’s not like our country leads by example, they’re 16 trillion in debt, so don’t worry about them, because policy isn’t going to fix our problems here on the ground right now today as it pertains to you and your family or future family.

robert-kiyosaki-network-marketing-cashflow-quadrantThe point is that all those institutions make money off of our continued ignorance. Why does everyone hate them? Simple, because they’re smarter than us and no matter what recession we go through, the good people at Goldman Sachs or in Congress don’t seem to mind all that much our struggles doesn’t affect them. While were slaving away everyday trying to collect their scraps going to work every day to run on the mouse wheel they are taking million dollar bonuses from our bail out money and buying yachts. Do I not believe in Capitalism? Of course I do, and in order to achieve the types of results that they have been able to achieve you simply must understand their game.

Solution: Stop borrowing money. If a bank sells money, and we’re not buying it, the bank can’t make money. If we bought houses cash, we wouldn’t need a mortgage. If we cut up our credit cards, we could only spend what we had incurring no negative interest. If we took a job we didn’t like as a means to buy us some time to find something better, then we would all be doing things we liked and wouldn’t get stuck in the rat race. If we were always educating ourselves with the same materials the richest people in the world did, wouldn’t that level the playing field a bit? If we could all wrap our heads around this idea of delayed gratification, wouldn’t we become less impressionable to consumerism thus driving all prices of consumer goods down substantially because fewer people are “willing” to buy.

Ask yourself, do you really need a new car every year? Do you feel so left out because you don’t know who won the game on Sunday? Would it kill you to watch a little less TV and maybe read a book? Don’t you think you were put on this earth for more of a purpose than running on the hamster wheel, getting your food pellet, drinking water, playing a video game and getting back to running on the wheel again?

So lets start moving in the right direction, let’s stop trying to look good and actually do good. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my friends, and people I love find themselves in life and achieve great success. So much to the point that I have dedicated a large part of my own life to help people do just that. The help is there for those who seek. I sought it out when I was young and it got me to where I am today. As it turns out, all the successful people I met growing up were happy to help guide because they saw my willingness to learn and the way I sought out enlightenment. Let’s stop lying to ourselves and get honest with each other about where we a really at now, and get very clear on finding just what our real purpose is here in this life.

The One Thing Successful People Never Do , top_of_the_mountain , Success comes in all shapes and colours. You can be successful in your job and career but you can equally be successful in your marriage, at sSo if you have a Job, work your ass off at it, find something you actually love doing and then get out of there before you forget your dreams. There are no shortcuts in life that lead to the top of the mountain, you’re going to have to climb it, and the first time is always the hardest and scariest. I know because I have tried a couple of shortcuts while climbing the mountain and they always led back to the hamster wheel. The irony is that once you master that mountain and you can afford to buy a helicopter to fly to the top, it doesn’t seem all that hard to climb anymore anyway ūüėČ

I wish you the best of luck out there, and take it because you’ll need it.

-Steve