You Never Know How Amazing You Can Be Until You are Willing to Let it All Go

August 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm (Excellence in Business, Freedom, LoVe, Polo, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , )

Now let me start out by saying that I am in no way shape or form a great polo player or even an okay one. I am an amateur who has spent her Spring and Summer trying to stay on a cantering, jogging, standing, galloping, trotting, and rearing polo pony all while learning to swing a mallot and score a goal now and again while preventing others the same. Riding off versus falling off and of course no discussion of polo would be complete without a discussion on hooking. This is where you prevent your opponent from getting a good swing at a ball we both have the right to…The only sport where a woman smiles proudly when you yell at her and say she is a great hooker!

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The hook is coming from the near side and you can see the player is leaning way out to reach the other player’s mallet. Often in this situation newbies will instead just attempt to ride off the opponent and in doing so foul by being too late, and end up running over the ball and now neither has the ball.

This week was Aloha Sunday at the polo club and so my Hawaiian coach was getting ready for the festivities and we had Graham Bray as our coach…on horseback. I knew then it was going to be a full throttle growth experience and was glad I had my light breakfast. Full throttle was an understatement. Graham Bray is the #2 all time top polo player out of New Zealand…gettin’ the picture?

For starters we were banned from ride-offs for the hour and had to use anything else legal to gain control of the direction of the ball and to control our opponent.

photo (10)This is harder than it sounds. So now we have to strategize and think longer term. Like just flicking the ball away to change the direction and therefore the invisible lanes…knowing the likelihood that any given player can make that shot, hook that shot or flick it away all happens in nano seconds as you approach the situation. Are you watching your man (this is your designated opponent)? Are you covering your team mate in case it gets hooked and is left for the next rider in line?  All on horseback under the ever warming sun… Just as I was thinking a break in the shade would be in order here comes Coach Bray and he gives a little whip tap to Sami and we are off to the races “get up there and get to the wall” he shouts as I rocket across the dirt toward the fast traveling ball heading for the arena wall and past the pack of players in the middle of the field. So much for my nap in the shade! I do make the shot get us closer to goal and all while the competition was under the proverbial shade tree napping. By the time the hour was over for us Coach Bray was galloping over to the barn to ready himself for his matches and we were dripping in sweat dribbling the balls toward the gate with floppy arms and red skin and jelly legs. I stood much more in my stirrups during the match than ever thanks to my weekday equitation lessons, and my thighs can tell you all about it…

20130616_100058I was exhausted in the best possible way and learned a whole lot more about life and polo today than I knew when I awoke in the morning.

Sometimes just when you want a break is when you really are on fire and it is time to persevere and learn the lesson of hard work.

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When Investing in You is the Best Use of Your Cash

August 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm (Excellence in Business, Freedom, histoires financières, Letting go, simple frugality) (, , , , , , , , )

When working on a business plan the driving force is often “what will possible investors think?” What if you were the prospective investor? Instead of stashing your cash in a mutual fund, stocks or ETF what if you self financed your burning desire, your dream? I did exactly that. Twice.

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Now first off you have to know that “early and obvious” is not just a sailing rule it is a rule for investing.

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Make sure you pay yourself first from the get go. Building the habits of saving and investing are only part of your risk reward strategy. Understanding that the only real pay of your paycheck that is yours is the part you keep puts a spin on traditional thinking of more more.  Often we have to be willing to do with less now in order to reap larger rewards in the future. So let’s move ahead a few years and now you have the opportunity to spend some real time in the field of your dreams with mentors who blow your mind. Maybe this is a volunteer position or a meager wage. Maybe it is something so outside your experience and yet you have read numerous books on the subject and it is really the direction you want your life to move in? Now you might decide it is time to cash in the Facebook stock and subsidize yourself while working into your dream. Do it!…or not.

  • Don’t if you have debt. pay it off first.
  • Don’t if you are facing a large planned expense in the next six months.
  • Don’t do it if your spouse isn’t on board and you want to stay married.
  • DO it if you feel a solid excitement and you have your accounts in order.
  • DO it if you have enough to still have a 50% fall back that you won’t need (you may but let’s assume you won’t for now).
  • DO it if it will solidly add to who you are as a person.

When is investing in you your greatest resource? Only you know the answer to this one. For me whenever the expense adds to my skillset, overall depth of knowledge in a meaningful or measurable way and is still somewhat within my dream means. In eras gone by people were part of an apprentice system which ensured that knowledge and skill were imparted in a timely fashion towards being a journeyman and part of a guild. Now we get a formal education and thrust into jobs after maybe a short time as an intern. Working full time makes it difficult to get additional certifications, training and diplomas as well as often shortening the time a person has outside the office to develop themselves as a human being with diverse tastes and skills and wants.

So think about what YOU really want for your full life including how you make yo’ skrill, dolla dolla, cheese or bread.

Maybe it is time to invest in YOU

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Reframing Money is the Key to Financial Freedom

August 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm (Freedom, histoires financières, Letting go, simple frugality) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The idea that money is scarce, hard to come by, collected freely from us by the IRS, and equals many hours of your precious life makes for an awkward relationship with money. Imagine if you were in a human relationship based on fear of loss, scarcity and misunderstanding. That love will quickly become a love/hate relationship which is what so many have with their checkbooks.

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I came from a family where I didn’t lack and marrying a poor grocer at 17 made for a reality check on aisle five in a hurry.  Because of having my amenities taken from me I had to deal with transportation challenges, insufficient fund charges because we were both spending out of the same sad overburdened checking account as well as not being able to buy the things we thought we needed with cash. Viola! Credit cards. I worked at a record store…yes they had them way back when and I earned almost double the minimum wage and my husband had a union job with only part time hours. It looked like we were pretty well off…we were not as I married into his existing debt. I quickly figured out my Neiman Marcus taste didn’t sync with my K Mart (shudders) budget. It took a few bounced check fees, an angry landlord wanting timely rent to force me to seek a better understanding of money and why I should be actively managing my coin.

My father was zero help because he just criticised every choice and question. I turned to the library, bookstores and trusted family friends to learn how money works and why it should work for me versus the other way around. I read biographies of self made millionaires. Dave Thomas of Wendy’s, Sam Walton of WalMart, Warren Buffet and Cal Worthington as well as Conrad Hilton. Each taught me about using money to build something bigger than myself or a fancy house or car.

Once I became debt free and had savings I needed to learn how to put that money to work. No one ever built a financial legacy leaving their money in the mattress. Lazy oaf get to work!  I work hard for money that layabout needs to work for me now! So taking a cue from America’s original rich uncle I turned to Ben Franklin. There is a reason our first millionaire is on the one hundred dolla dolla bill! George Washington was first in Military leadership and Presidency so it is fitting he is one the one dollar bill. Here is what Ben has to say about money.

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  • In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes. (See uncle Sam has a claim on your cash before it is even made so we need to operate from this truth).
  • Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor. (He is saying if you can find happiness where ever you are in life you won’t have to focus on spending money to be happy).
  • Take time for all thing: Great haste makes great waste. (Researching your insurance costs, mortgage costs, ownership costs of vehicles all help us make savvy solid decisions which will benefit us most in the long run).
  • Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship. (The daily Starbucks, happy hours, Daily paper, lunches out are all groovy in themselves but when they become habits they prove costly over the long run. $10 a day spent during the week equals $2500 a year. That same $2500 invested at a conservative 5% rate of return would be $2500 plus $125 at the end of year one. I can always use an extra $125).
  • Diligence is the mother of good luck. (Sticking with new attitudes about money and new empowering habits take time but are worth the commitment).

…and so I leave you with a new way to think about your money as servant instead of your master. Just the act of being debt free when your credit card charges 9.9 percent makes you richer by 9.9 each year. Set up a cash reserve you call an emergency credit card and treat it as such paying yourself back in a timely fashion and building some cash for investing. My friend and financial mentor Laurie Itkin of http://www.theoptionslady.com showed me TDAmeritrade’s ThinkorSwim application which allows you to use Monopoly money to invest and get comfortable with the stock market before investing your own hard earned cash. It may not turn you into Gordon Gecko but that is A-OK, the world has too many of them already. It may however help you plan for your own future and your heirs all while providing a little extra for now.

So put that little suit and tie on your cash, hand it a briefcase and send it to work. Time to make it rain.

250px-BenFranklinStoreThe Ben Franklin Store’s were Sam Walton’s retail chain before he turned them into the Walmart of today. He took his cue for thrift and wealth from Ben too.

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