Category Archives: Mental Game

The Airplane Metaphor

You know how people take more time to plan their summer vacation than to plan their retirement? And they think their retirement destination must include travel by means of sending extra principal payments to their mortgage banker and socking away hard earned money into tax-deferred, qualified plans like IRAs and 401(k)s.

Well, what we do as your lead advisor and retirement planning “travel agent,” is start by first asking you where YOU want to go, how soon you want to arrive, and how long you will stay. We help you maximize your retirement savings through tax-favored deposits, tax-free growth, access to your money tax-free, and we enable you to pass on your estate to your heirs tax-free and without federal income tax, estate tax, or probate. What a great way to fly towards your retirement destination. Don’t you agree?

Proper retirement planning is very much like designing an airplane. For the plane to fly it must have four natural forces at work: Lift, Thrust, Drag, and most important Weight.

LIFT can be compared to the power of compound interest working in our favor. Many people “stall” their financial future by letting the weight of credit card debt and negative compound interest overcome the lift of positive investment compound interest. With too much of the wrong kind of debt, you financial plane will literally fall out of the sky.

THRUST is created by the engine and propeller that PULLS the plane forward. This is like tax-favored deposits and tax-deferred accumulations. These advantages “pull” taxpayers into saving for their own retirement. That’s good. BUT far better is the trust generated by the PUSH of a jet engine. Tax-favored contributions followed by tax-free accumulations, tax-free distributions, and tax-free transfer thrust your jet-air-craft toward your retirement destination. You arrive sooner, more refreshed and in the BEST shape financially.

DRAG in your personal finances is the power of safe, positive leverage using Other People’s Money (OPM). This is as difficult to understand in finances as it is in the physics of aviation. In air plane design, it is simply a form of friction. But without this friction, the air would not slow down as it goes over the top of the wing. Therefore, without drag there would be no lift.

Borrowing Other People’s Money using SIMPLE interest and with an interest only loan creates the least amount of drag. This, coupled with the COMPOUND interest found in a properly structured, non-qualified, retirement planning alternative to tax-deferred IRAs and 401(k)s, produces the incredible LIFT that is needed to take you over the rocky, dangerous mountains of stock market investing and safely through the clear blue skies of asset protection towards your final retirement “vacation” destination.

While we’re on the subject of drag or friction, please remember that people are going to give you “friction” about the “lift” you now feel from your new found understanding of paying simple interest to earn compound interest. Drag is hard to understand in aerodynamics and it’s hard to understand in personal finances. Your friends and family just don’t know what they don’t know. But YOU understand where you want to go on your retirement trip to wealth accumulation and asset optimization and this is the best weather report you could get from the control tower.

Let’s face facts. It IS a “drag” to pay interest on a mortgage. But real estate can be a fantastic leveraged investment. The use of Other People’s Money for safe, positive leverage in a real estate transaction is the key to wealth accumulation.

WEIGHT is the fourth and final natural force in aerodynamics. Without a doubt: Taxes and Inflation weigh us all down! But taxes and inflation are the “baggage” that MUST be carried on our flight toward our retirement destination. Taxes really are not bad anymore than luggage is bad. The real problem is carrying TOO MUCH. We all know what a huge pain it is to carry too much luggage. But we can have a more comfortable retirement with fewer hassles if we use a creative means of minimizing this baggage of taxes and inflation.

In aerodynamic design, special consideration must be given to weight. The structural design of the plane is the key. It cannot be made from light weight paper or from heavy weight steel. It must be strong enough to withstand the turbulence of stock market conditions and also light enough to fly over the down drafts of market losses. How many people have suffered “paper losses” from their stocks? Many were attracted to the strength of their US Steel stock and held onto it too long. They lost everything when that solid “heavy weight” fell out of the rarified sky of leading Fortune 500 companies.

In the same way, the design of your properly structure Indexed Universal Life (IUL) contract is also key. When designing this “means of transportation to your retirement destination,” special consideration must be given to tax codes 72e, 7702, and 101 and also the legislative mandates of TEFRA, DEFRA, and TAMRA. When carefully designed, this IUL plan absolutely takes off.

The biggest problem folks have with life insurance is the cost. If the HR director of your company proposed that you now have the benefit of FREE life insurance and then asked, “How much do you want?” You’d probably say, “As much as I can get!”

The cost of insurance is like the fuel on the aircraft. You need enough jet fuel to last the whole trip but not too much! Better yet is having a bit left over so that flight conditions and delays don’t burn up too much of this precious commodity. Fuel adds to the weight of the plane. Cost of Insurance (COI) adds to the weight of the plan. You’ve GOT TO HAVE IT if you every hope to get the plane (or plan) to leave the ground – but too much fuel is too much weight. Safely minimizing the COI will make your alternative retirement savings vehicle really take off. Without the COI you do have insurance and without insurance you do not have the tax advantages that come with life insurance.

Oh, one last thing. Before you can reach take off speed, your retirement “plane” must taxi out onto the run way and roll down the air strip. You will gain the speed you need to get this retirement “vacation trip” off and flying if you will attend a public seminar, read a book, listen to a CD, watch a DVD, or meet one-on-one with your TEAM trained Missed Fortune Advisor.

Doug Andrew, author of the books “Missed Fortune”, “Missed Fortune 101”, and “The Last Chance Millionaire”, is your “pilot” on this flight. I am your retirement “travel” agent Steve Minnich. Together let’s plan a safer, more comfortable retirement “flight” for our “passengers,” for you and for all your loved ones.

FAILURE is NOT an OPTION: “Try again, fail better!”

Two things that young(and old) players fear in baseball are getting hit by the ball and failing in front of a crowd. These are normal fears and must be dealt with on an individual basis. Every player is different and we must acknowledge this and provide a learning environment within which a player can learn to overcome these fears. The fear of failure is a concept that requires the belief in oneself and the understanding that baseball is a game of “small failures”. If you look at the history of the game and the statistics of the past, it is easy to deduce that one will hit less than 50% of the time and not make every play. The fear actually is a mental image that a player has created within himself that has no real meaning. One must play baseball without thinking of errors/mistakes as failure(s), but as a learning situation!

Essentially failure will NOT stop a player as much as the fear of failure will. It is very important that young players do not confuse a single error/mistake as a final defeat or failure. As someone once said, “There is no failure, just negative feedback”. Babe Ruth would say, “Every strike brings me closer to another home run”.   Players must learn to continue playing and put the past “away” and focus on the next play. A memory in baseball must not include the bad plays but the conversion of these into positive results.

Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, and almost every Major League player has experienced failure! However, none of them allowed the failures to get in their way or path to success. WE are ALL failures, at least the BEST of us are!! NEVER QUIT and remember, “No pressure, no diamonds!!   GAGPTH!!!!!

STUDY HABITS THAT WORK…if YOU do!!

“Oh Boy, Not Another Genius!!”

Many students spend a lot of time studying and have poor results, and many feel that they are a genius and do not need to study at all. FirstSwing has researched many study guides and has provided some suggestions for productive study. As in baseball and life, studying requires hard work, determination, and the will to NEVER quit!!!!! Memory is made to forget, not to remember. Hence it does take a concerted effort to learn(and remember), and one must learn the best way to study for oneself. Stress, fatigue, and lack of interest are factors BUT these are excuses not reasons for poor studying and failure in learning!

One does need to learn how to study, not just in school, but also in life situations, problem-solving, and decision-making. Reading and understanding will empower a productive life and make it easier to deal with all the problems that can arise. Read and STUDY the five easy steps outlined and you will improve your study habits, learning ability, grades, and quality of life.

Basic Study Habits: “The Road to Learning”

  1. SURVEY the material and information
    Take about 30 minutes or so and read all the headings and subheadings in the book, article, lesson, etc. Read any other information that is included in the assignment or the preface if it is a book. Browse the index, table of contents, and other parts. You have now learned something already!
  2. MOTIVATION: Be ready to learn and study
    Create a positive mindset so you are READY!! Once you are prepared to
    study, sit down, and go. Use the sample questions in a lesson to help as well as
    creating your own. Be curious and seek the answers.
  3. READING: Know what to read
    Carefully read the first and last paragraphs of every chapter and focus on
    the first sentence in every assigned reading. Always read the first and last
    sentence of every paragraph. Remember: Have a positive mindset before
    you begin reading. Read the entire assignment carefully! Look up words
    that you do not know and write down important words and concepts in the
    text.
    Concentrate on the subject matter…it takes will power, determination,
    and “guts” to study. DO IT! Study in short bursts and take mental breaks
    every 15-20 minutes. Review what you have learned and take notes to help
    retain the information. EAT the FROG and do not quit if it gets tough!!!
  4. RECALL leads to knowing and learning
    Recall is best accomplished by REPETITION. As in sports and life, one
    learns by practicing and repeating. This is MOST important in studying and learning. It does take time but is best done by creating your “system”. Physical
    exercise empowers the mind as it keeps it alert and builds endurance, so it is a good idea to keep in shape; it will improve recall and learning! A good general rule is to study one(1) hour for every hour of class. Later, it will rise to three(3) hours for every hour!! Create a good learning ATTITUDE and spend the time.
  5. REVIEW
    Constantly review the material that you are studying. Keep it fresh in your mind so you have learned it and can remember what is important. Do NOT cram the information in at the last moment(night before), but rather enjoy the knowledge and let it “seep” into the recall process.

FINALLY, the TEST!

The last phase of learning is “taking a test”. It can be written, oral, or just
applying what you have studied. Test taking is a difficult task for most students
and it is best to have your own “system” or game plan. Basically. It is a time to
apply what you have learned as a result of studying. The FIRST thing to do
when test-taking is to RELAX! Close your eyes and visualize how you studied
and prepared. Spend a few minutes reading over the test in general, and then
READ the directions…”What is required of you? A good way to begin an
exam is to find the easy questions and answer them first. This will “free” your
mind, build confidence, and relax you for the others.

REMEMBER: There is NOTHING you can not do IF you want to do it!
Learn to study and create your own study habits that work best for YOU!!!

GAGPTH!!!!!!!!

NINE MUSTS

The game of baseball is one of individual skill sets that must unify with nine players at a time. It is a team game and each player/individual MUST do things that will sacrifice personal gain for team success. It is a nine inning game that tests the mettle, work ethic, integrity, and skill of all the participants. It is unlike the other two major sports of basketball and football in that you may not give the ball to the star or have the star bat when most needed…the team must follow rigid rules as to who can bat when and who can pitch. As a result, every player MUST work hard to hone their skills in order to help the team win the game and be successful in the long run. It is the ultimate team game.

The following list of nine MUSTS are not in any particular order but MUST be addressed in order to be properly prepared to play the game. There are thousands of aspects and parts to the game, but these nine MUSTS will empower players to be prepared and provide the team with the very best opportunity to win!

  1. The Proper Bat: Each player needs to find the correct bat. Young players try to emulate their friends and want the “coolest” bat; this the “kiss of death” and forces many to quit the game. The bat MUST be manageable as it is a tool. Each player MUST find a bat that is not too heavy and that creates a short, quick stroke. Almost all youngsters use bats that are too heavy and flounder at the plate.
  2. The Glove: As with the bat, most players(and their parents) opt for a large “cool” looking glove. The big and heavy glove impedes the player from fielding and throwing effectively. A young player MUST find a glove that is pliable and fits their hand snugly. It is recommended that young players use 9 ½” gloves; catchers and first basemen use mitts so this is not applicable to them. The glove MUST be broken in as most new ones are too stiff and ineffective.
  3. The Diet: Players MUST eat the proper foods and stay away from “junk” at the ball park. It is a recommended to eat “five(5) colors” at each and every meal; balanced and nutritious should be the rules. Proper hydration and the elimination of soda pop, coffee, energy drinks, and sugary drinks will energize the player and enhance focus and visual acuity.
  4. The Work “Off the Diamond”: Players MUST condition and work out each and every day. With the absence of PE in the schools it is absolutely a MUST to condition on your own. Taking a few minutes each day(twice a day is better) a player should skip rope, do pushups and sit ups, run, stretch, and play other sports. It is recommended that youngsters play 2-3 other sports in the off season as it will increase their flexibility, keep them in focus, and improve their overall athletic skill.
  5. The Proper Work Ethic and Attitude: Young athletes must be conditioned and trained to work together and unite for a common goal/mission. Their focus MUST be on a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, and perseverance. Players MUST work through the tough times and unite to help each other succeed in both their individual and team endeavors.
  6. The Simple MUSTS of the game: In all aspects it is a MUST to keep it simple and focus on the fundamental mechanics of each skill set. Hitting a ball proficiently requires the right tools(see #1) and a short, quick swing to the ball. Throwing/pitching success hinges on an over-the-top motion with a release point in front of the eyes. On defense, one MUST go to the ball on every play with a preconceived plan of attack!! YBON!
  7. Develop a Strong Personal Credo: Each and every player MUST commit to working on their individual skill sets as well as being a viable asset for the team. It is a team game!! Playing with integrity, working hard, never quitting, doing one’s best, not whining or making excuses, and pursuing excellence are not just a MUST but essential for team success. KWTP!
  8. Stay in YOUR Lane: Each player MUST be responsible and accountable for their job and not worry or concern themselves with the other players’ role(s). Stay focused on the ball and getting your team to its destination. KTS!
  9. It is up to YOU: Player’s MUST do the work and prepare for each practice, game, and baseball team activity every day. YOU MUST do the work, YOU MUST correct your deficiencies, and YOU MUST do your best to be an important part of the team in any way you can. It is an ALL-IN proposition and only YOU MUST do it! WNM!!

Baseball and being on a team is simple but YOU MUST commit to the task(s). It is important to have fun and enjoy the experience, but it a MUST that you work hard to achieve your goals…just as in life, YOU MUST do it!

GAGPTH!

The Blue Moment(s)

A “blue moment” is a time when something special is happening and you feel truly alive in the world around you. It can happen anywhere and at any time! It may be a moment of love or a moment of terror, BUT it is a moment you will never forget!

Enjoy the “blue moment” and treasure it forever. The “blue moments” string together to make up your life….it is up to you to make them, find them and share them.

List as many “blue moments” as you can, in your life thus far: