January 1996 In Florida, at about this time of year, the interstate highways are crowded with retirees and their RVs. Many of them have bumper-stickers which say, ‘We’re spending our children’s inheritance’. I think what they’re really saying is that they intend to consume some of the fruits of a well-spent life themselves and pass on what’s left to their children. It’s one thing for those who’ve earned their ‘golden years’ to spend their own money doing what they want with it. However, it’s quite another thing for well-paid fat cat bureaucrats to spend savings that they haven’t earned and which has been wrested from the public in the form of multiple taxes.
December 1995 Every week, a deposit is made in a special bank account that each of us has. In a way, rich or poor, sick or healthy, regardless of race, religion, or political persuasion; this deposit gives us all a level playing field. At the same time, the way it’s used is the first thing that begins to separate the winners from the losers. Although rarely mentioned by those gurus who promise wealth and a life of ease and comfort to the true believers, how we exploit this special account is a fundamental key to how successful each of us becomes.
November 1995 In 1995 we’re all becoming dependent upon computers for just about everything. Those who rely upon computers to store personal financial information and records or to conduct business are at the mercy of an interwoven web of computer data bases that nobody really controls and few comprehend. Even when you maintain a manual records system, when your broker, banker, lawyer, doctor, pharmacist, or accountant depends upon computers, that affects you too.
October 1995 Recently, a subscriber and personal friend, George, suddenly passed away without any warning. It wasn't time for him to go. He was in relatively good health. He'd attended one of my seminars within the past few months. His life wasn't particularly stressful. One moment he was with us, and the next he was gone. I liked George. I'll miss him. He was about my age. His family's composition was similar to mine. His passing should make us all pause to ponder our own fates.
September 1995 She was 54, widowed, and broke! She owned a 2 bedroom house that was free and clear on a large lot she’d bought with the proceeds of a small insurance policy for $4500. Taxes on her home were being increased again. Her property had been re-zoned from residential to commercial usage. She needed income just to be able to survive in that austere time of balanced budgets. Back then, there were few social safety nets in America for anyone below the age of 65. Her only assets were her house, her kids, her friends, and the goodwill she’d built up through years of service to her community; and her own self-reliance. She had no debts.
August 1995 Recently, Santa Ana, California passed an ordinance which prohibited vagrants from setting up housekeeping in public parks and on public roads. It outlawed dumping garbage and trash, stealing shopping cards from local markets and strewing personal possessions about makeshift ‘camping’ areas. You’d think Santa Ana’s ordinance reasonable, but not so. This expressed will of the taxpayers of a city had to be tested all the way to the state Supreme Court before it was deemed legal and enforceable. Winning cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. This illustrates how the rights of those who produce in American are being subverted to the rights of those who only consume. The Homeless are a case in point.
July 1995 John Kennedy wasn’t the first person to start a political speech with this admonition, nor is he likely to be the last. He concluded by saying: ‘rather, ask what you can do for your country’. The inference being that we each owe a duty to serve our country in some fashion. It’s interesting that these ringing phrases always seem to be proclaimed by those in positions of political privilege whose country appears to be serving them quite well. Folks at the bottom of the political food chain more often already are serving their country. Tax-paying wage earners and producers are burdened by hoards of government regulations, enforced by legions of bureaucrats who soak up taxes squeezed from meager profits and earnings.
June 1995 I came across an interesting statistic a few weeks ago. Despite all the hype put out by our public servants in Washington about rising employment and a booming economy, the current purchasing power of the average wage earner is at about the same level as in 1973, after being adjusted for taxes and inflation, and his net worth (after debt) is negative. As the post WWII generation moves into its 50s, it is awakening to the fact that, by and large, it has no reserve assets to fund retirement. Neither has the federal government nor many corporations. The situation is going to become critical without a fundamental change in the way that government raises and spends money. One way or the other, this could affect us all.
May 1995 Recently I was reminiscing with one of my original investor clients about how kindly fate had treated us over the past two decades. His daughter, a suckling infant at the time his investment program was initiated, is now attending MIT. Her tuition was paid in full out of her investment portfolio which was started with $5000 the day she was born. Moreover, she still has $80,000 in equity left in her investment account. I wonder how many parents in the United States with kids in college (or college kids themselves, or their teachers) might envy this position. What was the secret to her success? Her parents had simply made profitable long term investments, and then left them alone so they could produce and compound her yield. Come to think of it, that’s also how Warren Buffet, American’s riches investor with a $10 Billion net worth, built his own fortune.
April 1995 Just twenty one years ago, I launched out on my personal odyssey to start making serious money by investing in real estate. Although I’d been licensed as a real estate residential salesman and broker and had bought and sold many lots and houses around the country over the years, I’d lost more than I’d made in the process. Why? I should have invested my capital in myself to learn all I could about real estate and finance before investing what little capital I had in property. Consequently, even after two decades of trying, success continued to elude my grasp time after time just when it seemed I had a sure thing.