3 Things You & I Can Learn From The 2010 Lakers

27 04 2010

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First, let me say this: I’m a life-long Lakers fan. It was my father’s favorite team in the 80’s when Magic, Worthy, and Kareem were running the Showtime fast break.

Yup, life-long… er… w-well with the exception of the

Chicago Bulls dynasty runs but I digress.

The Los Angeles Lakers of this past NBA season

have been a complete enigma to their fans.

It’s been filled with moments of nirvana…

…with echoes of … umm twisted genius…

…(Or could that be omens of impending implosion?)…

Jump-ball

But even with their occasional inconsistency binges, there are at least 3 valuable things we can all learn from their recent season and current playoffs run to defend their title. So let’s tip-off shall we?

#1 Success is a moving target

Ask Jordan, ask Ali, ask Tom Brady.  Ask any former champion just how hard it is to get BACK on top after you’ve already been there. The Lakers are still the defending champions after winning the title last June, but what can their struggles this year teach us?

Well, for starters Success is a moving target. When I get out of debt, in order to maintain my debt freedom, I will have to continue doing what got me out of debt! The fact is I’ll NEVER be at a place where I can just say “Ah, I’ve made it, I can STOP now!” And this applies not just to money but any area in which you hope to maintain any real level of success.

#2 The larger the letdown , the less likely the loyalty

All Lakers fans are bandwagoners, ALL OF THEM, except maybe Jack Nicholson… and possibly Lakers Owner Jerry Buss. Even I have had my moments. (See second paragraph of this post.) After the last 2 losses in the first round of this year’s playoffs, even die-hard “fans” have begun to question if the Lakers can ascend the heights of hoopdom again this year. Suddenly, Naysayers abound!

The point here is that being a true fan is supposed to be an act of Loyalty. Not just the type of Hollywood “fan” that shows up court side on Christmas day, or shows up on camera just as the announcers happen to be talking about their next blockbuster, or the ones who can remember when Kobe dropped 81 points. The kind of loyalty I’m talking about is akin to the type of fan that remembers the Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, and Cedric Ceballos led Lakers of the late 90’s that preceded the 3-peat Shaq & Kobe special… and still LOVED them because they were Lakers.

Make sure you’re showing THAT kind of loyalty to the things that matter. You can do this by tithing, giving to charities, and paying yourself first by saving for emergencies and putting something away for retirement. Love YOURSELF!

#3 Never put all of your eggs in one hoop bucket basket

I’m talking to you, Kobe. I know ALL about your greatness in playoffs past, and I’m looking forward to your continued assault on the All-time scoring leader list next season.  But for right now, beginning with Game 5 of your 1st round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, I DON’T need to see you chucking up every flailing desperation shot attempt on every possession down the court. If ever this quote applied, it surely applies to your valiant effort so far this post season:

“We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are still looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde

Your ambition in spite of the doubts and injuries is simply awe-inspiring, but at the same time, MY GOSH MAN it’s also terror inducing!

The lesson I’m learning here is to make sure you spread the wealth.

If you let all of you hopes ride on just one pony, what happens when that pony pulls a hamstring? Conversely, Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean that your other teammates aren’t expected to perform their roles, so allow them to do their jobs too!

The same applies to your money. You never want to spend it all in one place. You have categories that each need to be addressed: Food, Clothing, Shelter, Transportation. I can’t just go out and spend my entire paycheck on Clothing and Gas. (Unless I plan to sleep in my car and drink petrol since I’m neglecting my need for Shelter and Food!) Got it? Good, now spread it around.

Well I hope this has been insightful for you whether you follow the NBA or not! These types of life lessons can be gleaned from just about any other activity in the exact same way.

Live Invincibly,

@W

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How I would save GM… The Great Auto Lotto of 2009!

2 06 2009


Photo courtesy of jhoweaa

GM is a car company right? So how would I save a car company? I would sell it’s cars! Put on your thinking caps boys and girls, it’s time to do some math!

Our Government has committed roughly $50 billion to bail out this automaker. So let’s say the average GM car cost $26k…

($50,000,000,000 divided by $26,000 = 1,923,076 brand new cars)

Let’s keep the math neat by rounding the figure to 1.9 million… that’s a lot of cars right? So then the question becomes, “Who would those cars go to?” And I would answer that question easily, “The GOVERNMENT… duh!”

In my scenario essentially, the government just contracted out GM to operate their entire fleet of vehicles. Everything from FBI cruisers, surveillance vehicles, even the *motorcades of Diplomats and elected officials can be covered by this $50b ‘contract’. (*President Obama already has a stable of tricked out limos produced by Cadillac, a GM brand, so there ya go!)

Next question: “What if the government doesn’t need all 1.9 million vehicles for it’s own use?” Answer: They raffle off the excess vehicles to the public… after all WE did pay for this bail out with our own money right? Any US citizen with the means could essentially enter a lottery to get a crack at the leftover inventory of vehicles. They could buy as many tickets as they like to increase their chances of getting a brand new vehicle for a DIRT CHEAP price.

For example if the government used 1 million of the vehicles to replenish/upgrade it’s stock of fleet vehicles, 900k would be left. Again, to keep the math clean, let’s say that 300k have a price range of $0 – $10,000. They would be raffled off at $100 per vehicle. That would equal $30 million instantly pouring back into the economy. Then let’s say that 300k have a price range of $10,000 – $30,000. These would be raffled off at $500 per vehicle. The proceeds would equal $150 million for this group of vehicles! Then lastly, we have a final group of 300k vehicles with a price range of $30,000 to $50,000. The raffle price for these would be $1000 per vehicle because of the premium/luxury nature of the lines offered at this price. This group would bring in $300 million.

Now keep in mind this is just a basic experiment and it only takes into account one raffle ticket sold per vehicle… but as I said earlier, the buyers could buy as many tickets as they like. The total revenue from the scenario we just did comes out to $480 million, and THAT does not take into account taxes, tags, and freight charges on the vehicles themselves – which again goes back to the government. I would also add a stipulation for any raffle winner that they could sell their current vehicle for no more than equal value of the raffle ticket they purchased! This would again, instantly create a secondary car market and most likely DOUBLE the figures I just gave at the very least.

And what’s more, GM isn’t the only auto company in need of this type of “bailout”. This would serve as the perfect catalyst to reinvent both the US auto market and the overall rules of engagement for the consumer they sell to.

Now, I’m sure some one reading this is going to ask, “What’s the point of the Government spending $50 billion on this example just to make back a minimum of $480 million?!” But to that I ask this question: “What’s the point of the Government bailing out GM with $50 billion and having no plan other than to ‘keep it afloat’ operationally while the company still slowly bleeds to death in this economy?!”

GM is a car company… and something needs to be done with the cars right? I don’t care how much you say you don’t like American made cars… if you could get a brand new one for $100 to $1000 you’d be down for it!

What would you do?
@W

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What the HECK are you DOING?!?!

16 04 2009


Photo courtesy of Whysteriastar

The title says it all… it’s the number one question I get from family and friends when they ask how we’re doing with “the debt thing”.

Four years ago, my financial routine was as follows: To spend nearly all of my money on multiple pairs of the same sneaker in the same color, a PlayStation game or two, and the latest DVD release from Best Buy for that week. Once those major priorities were taken care of I’d make sure I had enough money left to cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner from McDonald’s, and enough gas money to get me back and forth to work. No savings, no 401k, no responsibility. I didn’t even know HOW to budget, let alone consider following one! But me? Man, I was living THEE LIFE! …Right?

My how life has changed! Before we started this journey to evict our debt, I was barely making a salary above $40 Grand… but flash forward to today and we’ve paid off $46.5k! (Stop it, you’re making that face again.)

So what changed? In short, it’s a simple phrase but in practice it’s anything but simple:

“Live like no one else, so that one day you can LIVE like no one else.”

Over the next few posts I’m going to introduce you to what that really looks like in my everyday life.

In the next episode: “You want me to do WHAT?!?”

@W

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Update: @Risk Blog to be Shut Down…

1 04 2009


Photo courtesy of Jasoon

It’s with the deepest sadness that I must let you all know that I’ve been ordered to shut the blog down. This is not a joke or prank. This is simply what happens when you ‘go against the grain’ in too loud and effective a fashion. It appears that this post did not go over too well with Suze Orman and her stable of lawyers. They’ve filed and injunction for me to cease activity on this blog.

What makes matters worse is that we didnt even get to reach our One year anniversary as a blog! In fact we fell a mere 3 days short! I was in the middle of making huge plans to celebrate that anniversary when I got the email from her lawyers.

This experience has TOTALLY changed my life! It’s no small feat when I think of how I went from simply LEARNING how to get my family out of debt, to making it a personal responsibility to TEACH others how to do it as well! God is so good!

I’ve got to wrap this post up because right now I just can’t handle that it’s over. I’m crying as I type this. I hope that I at least helped SOMEONE in the last 362 days! That’s all I ever wanted.
Again, I can’t speak to the details too much, but I can say this much: Happy April Fool’s Day!

*Cue the song: Bad Boy For Life*

[chorus]We ain’t, go-in nowhere, we ain’t, goin nowhere We can’t be stopped now, cause this bad boy for life We aint, go-in nowhere, we ain’t, goin nowhere We can’t be stopped now, cause this bad boy for life!

Can’t stop, won’t stop! lol

@W

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The Passion of the Price… (tried to rhyme with Christ)

24 12 2008


Photo courtesy of jennipenny

Ok, so It’s confession time… How much did you spend on Christmas gifts?

For the 2nd straight year, my wife and I have budgeted only $150 TOTAL for Christmas gifts, and for the 2nd straight year we’ve come in under budget! We decided only to buy for immediate family members and a select few friends.

I’ve gotta tell ya, it’s pretty liberating to spend such a small amount and still find quality gifts to give to each person. It really hurts me to watch people in the check out line spend the same $150 on just 2 sweaters from Banana Republic and then complain about how they dont have any money to spend on gifts for others.

This year we focused on giving relevant books as the main gifts. And ironically few things have been more relevant to so many people this year as the state of the economy has been. With that in mind we decided to gift copies of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. We hope it doesnt come off over zealous, but we simply feel that with the amount of success we’ve had doing the plan, it would be grossly neglegent of us not to impart that information to our family and friends!

It’s similar to when you first fall in love (and hopefully stay in love) with Jesus. You just want others to know how it feels to be on the winning side! But honestly, the thing that would have truly made this a wonderful christmas for me, would have been if we could all agree not to exchange gifts at all this year. Not because my wife and I couldnt handle it (oh yeah $150 on gifts just PLUNGED us back into debt haha.) but because some of our friends and family still make a ‘thing’ out of buying gifts even when they cant afford to and then get themselves in financial trouble trying to appease everyone with a gift.

That’s just not us anymore… call us weird but we’ve had it with the whole Giftmas gimic that’s been shoved down our collective throats!

If you didnt get on board with us in keeping the Christmas budget down this year, you’ve got 364 days to get on board for the 2009 Holiday Season… there’s no time like the present.

Merry Christ-mas,

@W

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The @Risk Bailout Plan…

29 09 2008

Dow: Down 778 points in one day…

Congress: On crack…

The current bank that holds my account: Changes by the minute….

Financial outlook: Bleakest we’ve EVER seen…

Personal Opinion on this whole mess:

THIS IS WHY I NEED TO BE DEBT FREE!!! (And why you do too!)

What are we waiting for? What’s it gonna take? Why are you surprised?

And most importantly, what are you going to do about it?

Oh and lets end this on a high note…. this just in: Oil is now $95/barrell!

(See, it aint ALL bad news!)

This too shall pass,

@W

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An Open Letter to my DEBT…

23 09 2008

I need this relationship to be over.

I’ve said it a million times in my head, and I’ve said it to others about you, but never directly to you . Forgive me if I sound rude or ruthless, but I need this to feel as painful for you as having you in my life was for me.

I’m leaving you behind because you bring nothing but pain and remorse. You are what stands between me and my dreams. You’ve been the cause of so much strife and confusion in my life. I’ve thought about YOU more than probabbly anything else in my life, and that’s just not right.
You were always good for showing me a good time… And then leaving me stuck with the bill. I cant count the times you told me to freely use you, to rely on you. Only to find out later YOU were using ME!

And when I had exhausted my resources you never lent a hand. Instead you sent merciless goons after me. But time after time I came back to for more because I thought you were the only way. The way to everything I thought I wanted.

I’ve finally got up the nerve to head out on my own without you. I know you wont miss me cause I never was your ‘only’. I’m finally at a point in my life where I can SEE living life without you!
Oh yeah, I’m so through with you! But I want you to know I’m not angry with you. In fact I’m grateful because of what you’ve allowed me to learn about myself. I’m different from the dude you met in college. Thank you sooo much for putting me up on the game. Now that I know you inside out, you’ll never be able to get me back.

So I urge you to enjoy what time you have left with me. I’ve made a vow to get rid of as much of you as I can each and every day till there’s nothing left of you in my life.

Yes it’s a slow painful process like climbing a mountain using only your fingers… Or scraping peanut butter out of a jar using a toothpick… But once you’re gone I wont ever have to do it again.

I pray my children never meet you. In fact I forbid you from ever coming around them. Going forward you are to keep your hands off of my family… PERIOD!

Again, I’m not mad at you. You were only doing what you were designed to do. Just know that you cant do it to US anymore. I just thought it would only be fair of me to be straight up with you and tell you why I’m leaving you.

I cant wait to be free of you…

@W

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