Honesty

Rule #1 in life, don't lie to yourself. Always seek the truth. Lying to others may make you untrustworthy, but lying to yourself makes you a fool. People lie to themselves as a way to avoid facing things they don't want to face. You are better off avoiding something then lying to yourself about it. Once you start lying to yourself, you start making decisions based on lies, which you end up digging a bigger hole for yourself.

Love

Love is Good

There is nothing better in life then love. It makes every day better then it would have been otherwise. It helps you get thru things you may not have otherwise been able to get thru.

Love is Bad

While having love is great, losing love is equally bad.

Suffering builds character

Money

The Nature of Interest

Interest is like gravity. If you are earning interest, it is like jumping out of a plane. As interest compounds, you go faster and faster toward the place you want to be - back on the ground. On the other hand, when you borrow money, its like hanging off a cliff. The more you owe, the harder it is pulling you down and you have to struggle more and more to keep from falling in. If you owe too much, it becomes a black hole from which you can't escape no matter how hard you try.

Borrowing

Don't borrow money. OK, there may be some rare cases to borrow money. If you are starting a business that will provide a lifetime of income and that loan can be paid off in a few years, it actually makes sense to borrow money. In all other cases, its a huge mistake. People don't distinguish between wants and needs.

There are some basic needs: Food, water, shelter. Generally, if you need to borrow money for these items, no one will lend it to you. You are so poor that it is unlikely you would be able to pay the loan back.

Beyond the needs are the wants. I don't just need shelter, I need a $500,000 house. Really, you need a half-million dollar house? That may be the extreme case to make a point, but is what you "need" really a need or just something you want so much you can't live without it. Sorry folks, but we are very spoiled Americans. The truth of borrowing money is to obtain something you want that you can't really afford. You lie to yourself by taking a loan and saying you can afford the product because you can afford the monthy payments. You are borrowing against your future happyness to be happy today. Compounding interest means you will pay 2 or 3 times the price you think you are paying (eg. would you buy that $20,000 GrandAm for $60,000)? If you are using a credit card with 20% or higher interest rates and making minimum payments, you might end up paying 10 or 20 times the purchase price. OK, so I'm paying for this thing 20 times over just to get it now rather then later. I can still afford the payments so what's the problem! Well, if that is your attitude, then you of all people can least afford it. You've proven you really have to have stuff and now. Do you think someone with such a need for stuff and is so impatient should putthemselves in a position where they can't purchase any more stuff for 20 times the length of time it would have taken that person to earn and pay for the first item they wanted? To put it another way, would you rather have one thing now and nothing else for a long time, or wait a little while for that one thing and then a little while for the next thing, and in the end have 20 times as many things?

The one thing many folks will make an exception for is purchasing a house. It is expensive, so you are going to have to wait more then a few days to save enough to buy a house. Generally speaking, however, the economics are exactly the same as above. Lets say you are looking at buying a $100,000 house. You are making a decision: Do I rent for 10 years, then buy a house cash and then over the next 20 years have $200,000 in interest payments to spend on myself or do I buy it now and take a 30 year morgage that ends up costing $300,000. Do you want to spend the next 30 years just making it financially or would you rather have the house, plus lots of other stuff like trips and cars and a bigger/better house. Well, the only price for those extras is to wait a few years upfront. Now, you are going to point out that during that time you are paying rent and the house is an investment so you are earning money on it. Well, in reality, when you own a house, you are paying higher utilities, home owners insurance, realestate taxs and every few years something major will need repair. So your rent balances out against those additional expenses and you can't just put that rent money into paying your morgage. As for this being an investment, did you pick the house because it was in the city where you live and work, or did you find the house which was most undervalued in some other state. Don't lie to yourself and say this is an investment. When you invest, the goal is to purchase something that has maximum return on your dollar invested. You can't do that when you are constrained by your specific housing needs. When was the last time you borrowed money to invest it? Investments need to have returns that are substantially more then their costs to justify the risks. Maybe over 30 years the price of your house may double, so now you are only down $100,000. Then again, what if it loses value. Anyone in NV or AZ can tell you their houses are worth half what they were two years ago. Maybe in their lifetime, it will get back to the price they bought it for. In the best case scenerio, you might break even and you'd almost certainly still have done better to wait 10 years, then purchase and have 20 years of increased value.

Lending

When you lend money to a friend, you should always start by asking yourself, would I give this money to this person as a gift. If the answer is yes, then lend them money. If the answer is no, then don't. Consider the money you loan as a gift and whatever comes back is a bonus to you. Now, I'm not saying that someone shouldn't pay you back, but the reality is many times they won't.

Look how many friendships have been destroyed by people lending their friends money and they don't pay it back. Take a look at Judge Judy or the Peoples court. Some times they won't pay you back. They may decide that your friendship isn't worth as much as the money or they may rationalize excuses for not repaying. You may find out they are not as good of a friend as you thought. A good life lesson, but perhaps an expensive one.

Sometimes people can't pay you back. Unexpected things happen. Then again, expected things happen more often. As a general rule, the fact that someone needs to borrow money says something about how they manage and live their lives. The fact that you have money to loan says something about how you manage your life and finances. There are exceptions of course, but it is more likely that someone who needs to borrow today isn't going to have a surplus to pay you with tomorrow. Be honest with yourself upfront and realize they may not be able to repay you rather then being mad when they don't and start pointing out their faults that keep them from repaying. Its your fault for ignoring that reality when you made the loan. So now you are going to be mad at them and trash your friendship?

War

Ever notice that it is the young who go to war. Sorry kids, but you don't always make thought out decisions. That's why the drinking age is 21. You might not make the wisest of choices. Its not that people in their late 20, or even 30s or 40s are too out of shape to go to war. Most of the older folks may know more about life and think a few seconds longer before signing up. Young guys, Yea, I'm gona kick some ass. Winning is always fun. Being a badass that others fear is fun. Who wants to work 9-5 when you could be driving a tank or flying a jet or fighting in the field.

The reality is that the experience generally sucks. Maybe the guy in the jet who gets the rush when in danger and who gets to go home at night and doesn't have to witness it up close still has some fun, but many people who live it up close come to realize its not that great of a thing. Most people come to realize they are killing women and children and other innocent people and it isn't just playing a video game. Ever notice the old guy who's great idea it was to go to war is sitting somewhere away from the action with lots of people to guard him because he is too important to die in battle. Take your pick, Hittler, Bush or Osama. Granted Osama went under fire, but that was just because we brought the fighting to him. You guys keep fighting here at Tora Bora. I'll slip out the back door and keep my important self safe over that border to Pakistan. If you live thru the battle, please stop by so I can strap some bombs onto you and you can blow yourself up. Again, I'm too important to the movement to blow myself up.

Name one war where the person who started it really had a good reason. No, its for their own glory of conquest or to line the pockets of the millitary industry or for political gain. Those voters like it when you talk tuff. Would anyone follow Osama if he went into accounting? Its all for personal gain of one sort or another. One of the problems with war is after it gets started, people start having good reasons for continuing it. You killed my wife and kids and blew up my house, so I'm pissed and I'm going to do it back to you 10 times worse. One side or the other (and usually both) think they are going to win, so they keep going. Why stop if you think you can win. So wars only end when one side totally destroys the other or people get so tired of the horror that the feelings of being sick of it exceed the hatred. Unfortunately, after the war ends, the tiredness wears off faster then the hatred. In the case of an actual victory, those victorious never have the sense to resolve their differences with those who are beaten. Why concede anything when you have won. Look thru histories at some of the worst and best post-war situations. After world war 1, everyone punished Germany. The result was world war 2. At the end of world war 2, the U.S. made some concessions to Japan such as retaining the emporer. It is up to those who have won to concede more then those who have lost if there will be a peace.