2020 – It’s a New Year – Actually it’s a New Decade

Wow where has the last year gone? Actually where has the last decade gone? Anyone remember Y2K?

One year, 10 years, 20 years….wow did they go as fast for you as they did for me? And how many of us have made a New Year’s Resolution each year to make next year better than the last? Especially when it comes to finances.

According to an article in Forbes Magazine published in January 2019 just one year ago and one year later than the 2018 PEW Research article mentioned below, as well as a 2017 CareerBuilder study found that 78% of U.S. workers are living paycheck to paycheck. See a pattern? Year after year different studies and research find the same results. What do they say the definition of insanity is? Isn’t it; keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Who are these people? Are they people living below the poverty level. No, in fact many are earning by many standards a good income. CareerBuilder reported nearly one in 10 workers making $100,000+ live paycheck to paycheck.

Here are some other crazy statistics reported in Forbes;
• Nearly 3 in 4 workers say they are in debt – and more than half think they always will be
• More than half of minimum wage workers say they have to work more than one job to make ends meet
• 28% of workers making $50,000 – $99,999 usually or always live paycheck to paycheck, and 70% are in debt

Clearly the Financial Matrix is alive and well as many people have fallen victim to the fact that Financial Literacy is not being taught in our schools. I believe a certain level of financial literacy should be a requirement to graduate from Middle School and a greater level of literacy at the High School level. You may ask how and why should we expect a certain level of financial literacy even at the Middle School level? I live in Central Pennsylvania where a significant number of my friends come from an Amish and Mennonite background and many of them attend school until the 8th grade (Middle School). For many of these families this age group enters the work force and many even become entrepreneurs, if not immediately soon after. This takes an understanding of handling money, investing in their business, understanding cash flow, operating budgets, and concepts such as credits and debits. You are never too young to learn about money, something that affects our lives forever, even after we die, think inheritance and legacy.

What are some changes we can make right here and right now? Let’s see what the most financially successful investor of our time Warren Buffet says…

In two CNBC make it Articles published; May 10 2018 on Money, and Apr 30 2019 about Power Players, Warren Buffett says avoid debt at all costs. If legendary investor Warren Buffett could give one piece of advice to young people, “it would be just to don’t get in debt,”. He told this to a 14-year-old shareholder at the 2004 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting.
“It’s very tempting to spend more than you earn, it’s very understandable,” he said. “But it’s not a good idea.” And if you’re deep in the red, it may be a good idea to “never look at a credit card the rest of [your] life,” Buffett added.
Warren Buffett, who is worth nearly $89 billion according to Forbes, is famous for spending only $3 a day on breakfast. Buffett said he uses cash “98% of the time. Buffett’s tendency to use cash puts him in the minority among Americans. Using cash, however, can actually be a good way to save money. And researchers have found that physically handing over money feels painful, making you less likely to do it.
In 2018, only 18% made “all or almost all of their purchases” with cash, according to the PEW Research Center. About half (52%) of Americans made “some” of their purchases with cash and 29% made none of their purchases with cash.

That is over 80% which is very similar to the percentage of people who are 90 days from bankruptcy. In other words if they did not have a check come in for 90 days they would have to start selling items to pay their debt obligations.

So….What changes are you going to make in 2020 that you promised yourself you were going to do in 2019, and maybe also in 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015?

Now is the time! Let’s make 2020 a New Beginning.

Get Financially Fit.


A.G. Gaston’s 10 Rules

While on a trip across country, My wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham Alabama.

It was heart wrenching to see both the discrimination and hatred of individual‘s due to the color of their skin. It was a sad and disgraceful time in our country’s history. Sorry to say that this type of discrimination has always been, and will most likely always will continue, due to the fallen nature of men & women. It doesn’t seem to matter the race or what part of the world it exists it is all wrong. But in spite of the circumstances there are those who prosper.

One  such example was A.G. Gaston. Arthur George Gaston born in 1892 in Alabama was one of those individuals.

Mr. Gaston’s father died while he was still an infant. He grew up in a log cabin with his mother and grandparents. A.G. Gaston’s formal education ended with the 10th grade. After WWl he went to work in the mines and according to Wikipedia while working in the mines, he decided there was a need to feed the workers and came up with the idea of selling lunches to his fellow miners and then branched into loaning money to them.

Overtime Mr. Gaston had become a wealthy businessman in spite of the discrimination and poverty that surrounded him. His success included a business college, insurance company, a home for senior citizens, a bank, savings and loan association, motel, funeral home, bottling company, construction company, two radio stations, and a boys and girls club. He was a tremendous success by any standard of measure.

What were some of the principles that Mr. Gaston practiced and live by that allowed him to ascend to this level of success?

A.G. Gaston had 10 rules for success which he followed;

  1. Pay yourself first and save a part of all you earn.
  2. Save at an established institution such as a bank or savings and loan and stay away from loan sharks.
  3. Take no chances with your money.
  4. Never borrow anything that if forced to it, you can’t pay back.
  5. Don’t get big headed with regular people. It you take care of their needs they will make you big.
  6. Don’t have so much pride and wear the same suit for a year or two. It doesn’t matter the kind of suit if there is no money in it.
  7. Find a need and fill it. Successful businesses are found on the needs of other people. Keep good books and hire the best people you can find.
  8. Never run around with people that you can’t compete with. Stay in your own class.
  9. Once you get money or a reputation for having money people will give you money.
  10. Once you reach a certain bracket it is very difficult not to make more money                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Mr. Gaston famously said, “I never went into anything with the idea of making money. I thought of doing something, and it would come up and make money. I never thought of trying to get rich” Mr. Gaston’s net worth was estimated to be more than $130 million dollars at the time of his death..

I have learned over the years that when it comes to finances that good principles are necessary to follow. No matter your background or environment, if you follow sound financial principles not only will you find a way to earn money, but you will more than likely be able to keep it.

Austrian Economics and Entrepreneurship

I mentioned previously in an article that Entrepreneurship was in essence the story of the founding of America. What makes entrepreneurs unique is their ability to take risks when others seek safety and comfort. Entrepreneurs lives tend to move from one experiment to the next. They look to try with hopes of success but with no guarantees. They seek to find a need and fill it.

In an articled penned on the Mises Institute website by Hunter Hastings a Business Consultant best explains how Austrian economics aligns with the entrepreneurial mindset :

In Austrian economics, the role of the entrepreneur is to sense, through the application of empathy, the dissatisfactions of consumers — the signal that they are not experiencing the value they seek — and to rearrange resources into a solution that addresses that dissatisfaction. Because value is subjective in the consumer’s mind, and because the future is unpredictable, entrepreneurs exercise what Austrians call judgement: the commitment to action required to bring their new solution to market for the consumer despite the uncertainty of a profitable outcome. Mainstream economics is unable to comprehend entrepreneurial judgment. Why do 9 out of 10 entrepreneurial initiatives fail? Because, explain Austrians, such a high failure rate is to be expected as a consequence of high levels of uncertainty, consumer subjectivity, the limits on present knowledge. These cause entrepreneurial initiatives to be experiments in new knowledge creation, and the rivalrous actions of multiple entrepreneurs conducting contemporaneous experiments so that the sovereign consumer can choose the best one. Entrepreneurship is the dynamism of the unhampered economy, as more and more people are beginning to understand.


This truly is what the Free Market is all about, letting the customer/consumer decide to use or reject a product or service. If it (the product or service) meets their need they choose to use it. If not they choose another. It is really that simple. As Mr Hunter points out “mainstream economics” as he calls it does not comprehend this very well. I believe it is because “mainstream [government] education” does not teach Austrian economics and therefore the majority of Americans , economists, media, government officials, and the majority of Americans over the last 100 years although inherently as a consumer respond to the entrepreneur’s ideas they don’t necessarily understand their mindset. As humans designed by God to be free we unfortunately have been educated to seek security. We have all heard parents and others say; get a college education, a good job with good benefits, and you will be set for life (secure). Then when the secure job produces a product that doesn’t meet the need of the consumer, secure jobs may no longer be secure.

In the world of “mainstream economics”  that is when the lobbyists and government step in with hopes to change the market, which then no longer becomes a free market. The entrepreneurs response is to change and try something different. As much as those who may dislike change, those who aspire to be entrepreneurs realize it is a necessity to survival or success.

To create a foundation for a free life much the Founders who dreamed of creating the foundation of a free society like America one must take risks and then be willing to change to make those dreams a reality.

Free Markets = Free Societies

America’s founding is a story of entrepreneurship—of innovators banding together to launch an experiment in liberty and self-governance unlike any the world had ever seen.

Most of our founders were living comfortably under British rule, but they believed there was something better. They pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, not to increase their bottom lines but to create a country that would elevate the common good. This entrepreneurial spirit became the foundation on which grew the freest, most prosperous, most generous country the world has ever known.

Yet somewhere along the way, elected leaders drifted from these entrepreneurial roots. Forgetting the free-market principles that has allowed for the most widespread prosperity and happiness for the greatest number of people, politicians let principled policies become subservient to political power, in some cases to the point of exchanging principled progress for partisan gain.

The result has been a slow but decided shift away from a system that empowers everyone with equal opportunity to earn success and toward a system that stifles ingenuity, innovation, and economic growth…….But this is changing.

Recognizing their history as the forward-thinkers who founded our country, entrepreneurs are embracing their influence to re-ignite principled policy change. Put simply, entrepreneurs founded this great nation, and entrepreneurs will save it.

When entrepreneurs, embracing the same vision as our nation’s founders, exercise their influence to become what Samuel Adams recognized as the “irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush-fires of freedom in the minds of men” free market principles that has done more to elevate the masses from around the world out of poverty, will once again bring about a meritocracy where performance not politics will be rewarded.

Salon Concepts Have Come of Age

For years hairstylist, barbers, and other beauty professionals have had two options; work for someone else or start their own salon. Both concepts offer opportunity however they both have major limitations. For the individual who works for “the man“ or “the woman” the limitations are many.  Typically this individual is a commission based employee who shares not only a portion of their income from their expertise, but also a portion of the profits on the products they sell. The owner of the traditional salon has influence over their income, the hours they work, the rules they must follow, and a host of other limitations that limit their lifestyle, family life, and their future.

Traditionally for the individual who wanted more independence and wanted to own their own salon they had somewhat more freedom in that they had the opportunity to work for themselves, to be their own boss.  However with this option brought many other risks and headaches. First there was the question of location and typically the better locations cost more money.  Then the question of should I rent or should I purchase. Many times this question is answered by the financial ability of the hairstylist or barber and typically the answer to that question is to rent due to the excessive cost of buying a building. Whether you rent or buy a location then there’s the added expense of the build-out and the need to meet the cosmetology board requirements as well as the necessary equipment to operate your salon. If you decide to open your own salon you have to maintain the building and pay all of the monthly associated costs such as rent or mortgage, taxes, electricity, water, repairs, etc. etc. etc. Too often the risks outweigh the rewards.

Welcome the salon studio concept.  To many this concept may seem new, however it has been alive for years and is now rapidly expanding across the US and Canada. Beginning in the mid 1990’s as a new concept and slowly gaining acceptance at first, it started making its way into the hair salon industry.  Now nearly 30 years later it is quickly becoming the new standard.  There are both franchise salon suites concepts and individual owned concepts. This concept has become so popular it has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Franchise Times, Modern Salon, American Salon, Salon Magazine, and Yahoo Finance.

In 2019 the top four franchise salon concepts currently have over 1000 locations across both the U.S. and Canada and along with approximately another 1000 independent locations provide over 50,000 individual salon operators the opportunity to “do their own thing”.

The reason? Quite simply many people want to be their own boss. They want to control their own schedule and lifestyle and give themselves the independence to work when they want and how they want. With the studio concept all of the major details are taken care off. The fully equipped studios make it easy, so they can own their own salon, choose their own products, set their own hours and keep all of the profits. It simply provides the best of both worlds freedom to be the boss without all the risks, so you can enjoy the income, and choices of being in charge of one’s life.

The Most Expensive Real Estate – Invest In It While You Can

It has been a 2 year hiatus from posting. Much has happened over the last couple years both personally and in the world at large. But as much as things have changed many things have remained the same. They say that plans may change but principles remain the same. And that my friends, is one of the reasons I have decided to begin posting again. I have realized that over the last 30 plus years of my life I have been extremely fortunate. Fortunate that I have been blessed with an amazing wife who has believed in me and supported me even during my periods of doubt and failure, and children who love and respect their parents as we struggled to make our way as parents and to find our place in the world.

Each of us have paths we have taken and many times those paths have led us to results different than our expectations when we were young and dreamed of an amazing life. Early in my life I decided to learn from those who were farther in life than I, and with the results in their personal and professional lives I wanted to emulate. I have had two great mentors who have helped to shape the life we have today. I don’t think I was the best student in that I struggled implementing the wisdom that was shared, but if there is one quality I am proud to have had, it was persistence. Persistence or maybe stubbornness to not quit, because when you quit you quit on you.

I heard it said once, that the most expensive real estate in the world is not in Dubai, Singapore, New York City, or LA it is your mind. How are you treating your expensive real estate? Do you take care of that property as though it is the most expensive piece of property you will ever own? Is it depreciating or appreciating in value, because one day it will bring the return you expect of it. Let me know what you are doing to improve that valuable piece of real estate between your ears?

Thankful To Be Free


Well we went from Christmas to the next Thanksgiving as I took a short hiatus, or maybe a long hiatus from publishing. Thanksgiving is once again upon us and a time for reflection, the reflection of so much I have to be thankful for. May you take this time to reflect on the things that you are thankful for. And if you find yourself questioning that there is so little to be thankful for……. just remember where you live, America, a country where you are Free, Free to roam, or Free to stay put, Free to succeed, or Free to fail, at least you have the opportunity to choose.

These last couple years, we as a Nation seem to find everything with us as people, and as a Nation to be discontented about. Individuals struggle to be happy and thankful, but why? Is the dialogue so negative we lose perspective and forget how good we in America have it. Take a moment to watch this short video, silence the negative, and think…..



Another Christmas….

Another Christmas……some can’t wait until it comes

Some can’t wait until it’s over

But now it is here….. Christmas Day

What does it all mean and why such a Celebration?

For Christians it means something different in a more personal and meaningful way than those who just know it as another Holiday…..a day off of work or school, or a day to give and receive gifts.

For some it is a day of joy, and others a day of drama, still others a day of sadness.

For some it’s football.

Whatever this day means to you…..could you pause and read a small note, a personal message.

This personal message from a friend of mine of years past, Freedom Kongvold, might help some find a reason to consider why all the “fuss” over Christmas, a day everyone in the world knows of, and many acknowledge as one of the most important days of all mankind, could be one of the most important days of your life.

Take a read and give some thought.


Want a Fair Tax System?

Why do Major Corporations and the Super Rich have the ability to pay less taxes?

Because they can!!

The government has become a special interest government and those who have the money to get deals and breaks can do so because they are big enough to afford lobbyists and lawyers who get them favors with politicians.

Why would politicians give favors to big companies?  I’ll let you decide.

For now let’s look at a solution, not only a solution to limit the favoritism but a solution that would make every Americans life easier and more fair.

Watch and comment;

What could be more fair than EVERYONE without exception paying the same percentage?

How Do You Describe Your Potential?

How do you describe your potential?

Do you focus on your obstacles?

So many times I have limited myself, not because of my potential, or even my obstacles, but because of my thinking. I tell myself I can’t, without even really trying. If I try and don’t succeed the first time it doesn’t mean I failed, it just means the first effort was unsuccessful. Do I give up or try again? That is a decision. That is a decision we all have the opportunity to make. Do we, or is it too hard?

My friend George Guzzardo posted this inspiring video that caused me to examine myself.

Watch this inspiring video and be honest with yourself…..do you and I really have obstacles?

I think most of us would all be embarrassed to say we did.

Rather than watch and be embarrassed, let’s watch and be inspired into ACTION.

Trystan says; “It you don’t try you will never know what could have been”

Act until we succeed or as Trystan says; “You have to try new ways to live your fullest potential. If I can do that, you can surely do that.”

Be Thankful for who we are, but strive to be all we have been created to be!

Happy Thanksgiving!