In an Over-Communicated, Intrusive World, Simple is Better
Ed

Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon” Part 2 – The 7 Cures for a Lean Wallet and The 5 Laws of Money

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Part 1 of this 2 Part series ends the synopsis of George Clason’s book “The Richest Man in Babylon,” but Clason raises an important question: Why should
so few men be able to acquire so much gold?

The answer is because they know how.

One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how. Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability.

And so it was that the good king of Babylon sought out the richest man in Babylon to teach to others in his kingdom the secrets of his success.

This is a synopsis of what the richest man taught to the people
of Babylon:

The Seven Cures for a Lean Wallet

1) Start your wallet to fattening. Save one-tenth of all you earn. Remember that a part
of all I earn is mine to keep. Do this faithfully. Do not let the simplicity of this escape you.

When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my earnings,
I got along just as well.
I was not shorter than before, and, money came to me more easily than before.

2) Control your expenses. How is it that all do not earn the same yet all have lean wallets? Here is the truth: That which each of us calls our “necessary expenses” will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to
the contrary.

Confuse not necessary expenses with desires. We all have more desires than our earnings can gratify. Examine which of the accepted expenses of living can be reduced or eliminated. Let your motto be 100% of appreciated value demanded for every dollar spent.

Budget your expenses so that your actual necessities are met without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.

3) Make your money multiply. Protect your growing treasure by putting it to labor and increasing. Money in your wallet earns nothing. Money that we earn from our money is but a start; it is the earnings generating earnings that builds fortunes.

When the richest man in Babylon loaned money to the shield maker to buy bronze, he said this: “Each time I loaned money to the shield maker, I loaned back also the rental he had paid me. Therefore not only did my capital increase, but its earnings likewise increased.”

4) Guard your money from loss. Everyone has an idea of how to make quick money; few, however, have the evidence of making money to justify their idea, scheme or offer of quick riches. The first sound principle of investment is security for your principal.

Before you loan your money to any man assure yourself of his ability to repay your loan, and of his reputation to do so. Make no one a present of your hard-earned treasure.

Consult the wisdom of those experienced in handling money for profit. Such advice is often freely given for
the asking, and may possess more value than the amount you
are about to invest.

5) Make your home a profitable investment. When you can set aside only nine-tenths of what you earn to live, and can use a part of that nine-tenths to improve the investment in your housing, do it; owning your own home is also an investment that grows with your wealth.

Your family deserves a home they can enjoy and call their own. It builds a sense of stability and well-being.

6) Ensure a future income. Build income-producing assets that do not require you to work forever. We will all grow old and die.

You should prepare a suitable income for the days to come when you are no longer younger and cannot work as hard, and to make preparations for your family should you no longer be with them to comfort and support them. Provide in advance for the needs of your growing age, and the protection of your family.

7) Increase your
ability to earn.
Desire precedes accomplishment, and the desire must be strong and definite. When you have backed your desire for saving $1,000 with the strength and purpose to secure it, you can then save $2,000.

Desires must be simple and definite. Desires defeat their own purpose when they are too many, too confusing, or too difficult to accomplish. Cultivate your own powers to study and become wiser, more skillful, and more productive.

Here is more sage advice from Clason’s masterpiece on financial matters:

The 5 Laws of Money

If you had to choose, would you choose tons of money or wisdom? Most men would take the money, ignore the wisdom, and waste the money. Here is the wisdom:

1) Money comes gladly and in increasing quantities to any man who will put aside not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and the future of his family.

2) Money labors diligently and contently for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying unto itself in infinity if kept working diligently. Money multiplies itself in surprising fashion.

3) Money clings to
the protection of the cautious owner who invests it with the advice of men wise
in its handling.

4) Money slips away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes that he is not familiar with, or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep. The inexperienced handler of money who trusts his own judgment, and puts his money in investments which he is not familiar, always pays with his money for his experience.

5) Money flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings, or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers, or who
trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

Here is the hard lesson of the 5 Laws of Money: You cannot measure the value of wisdom in bags of money. Without wisdom, those who have it quickly lose money, but with wisdom, money can be secured by those who have it not.

This ends the condensation.

Finance and Investment

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

It does not seem that long ago that federal spending in the United States of America was $627 billion in 1965, according to The Heritage Foundation, which keeps track of these and other numbers of interest. Federal revenue in 1965 was $620 billion, so our government was $7+ billion in the hole for 1965.

Even then, knowing that $1 billion is really $1 million 1,000 times and that $628 billion is really $1 million 628,000 times, it seemed like a lot of moolah.

Federal spending in 2008 is estimated to top $2.7 trillion. Knowing that $1 trillion is really $1 billion 1,000 times, and that $2.7 trillion is really $1 billion 2,700 times, and really $1 million 2,700,000 times, it is mind-boggling to wrap your mind around. No wonder we are called the richest nation in the world.

We may also be the most foolhardy nation in the world as our national debt has now topped $9.4 trillion against an estimated annual federal revenue of $2.5 trillion for 2008. It may be difficult, but think about servicing $9.4 trillion in debt with $2.5 trillion in revenue.

Perhaps the relationship between the two figures it is easier to think of this way: Your annual income is $100,000 and you have to service $376,000 in debt, or your annual income is $50,000 and you have to service $188,000 in debt. What if the $188,000 in debt was credit card debt? Would you ever get out from under?

There are a lot of families in America with annual income well in excess of $100,000 that are servicing more than $1 million in debt, but does all of the wonderful lifestyle make your feel any more secure?
Is our federal spending out of control in the United States? It is a fact that federal spending has grown 334% since 1965, that is 9 times FASTER than our median income, which rose just over 35% during the same period.

If you think that statistic is scary, try this one: Discretionary spending, the portion of the federal budget subject to annual review and debate, has risen 152% since 1965 while mandatory spending, consisting mostly of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid which continue on automatic pilot, has risen 759% since 1965.

In other words, mandatory spending is rising 5 times FASTER than discretionary spending. Mandatory spending has grown from $169 billion in 1965 to $1.45 trillion in 2007, taking up more than 58% of the federal budget.

Our government has a real stupid plan when it cannot meet our taxpayer obligations—the government prints more money. When doing so, our government simultaneously increases inflation and reduces the value of our American dollar. This is the same plan that South American dictators use when pressed for cash to pay bills. Do it enough, and pretty soon it takes a wheelbarrow full of dollars for a citizen to buy a loaf of bread.

If you lost your job and your income was cut in half or two-thirds, you would use some good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity (common sense) to cut back your expenses until you found another source of revenue. If we as citizens printed money to cover our expenses, our government would prosecute us and send us to jail.

The people who run our government are citizens like you and me, with one big difference: they can authorize the printing of money to cover their mistakes and we cannot. It also helps that none of them are forced to live in a dumpster behind a trash store. Trust me when I say that they are hardly living near poverty level.
In other words, there are so many millionaires running into each other in the nation’s capital they can hardly get anything done that will actually help the people they are representing, which would be us. The plain truth is that politicians have done more to help themselves get on in life than help us, and they have done this because we put them in a position to do so.

Our elected officials in Washington have such a good self-image they refuse to be part of our Social Security System, which is plenty good enough for the taxpayers who elect and support their spending habits, but certainly not good enough for them. Their retirement system is not nearly as shabby and cheap as ours; their retirement system continues their salary for the rest of their life when they retire.

But enough carping about our elected politicians who basically could really care whether we drop dead or get on in the world. Do not believe all of the drivel coming out of their mouths this presidential election year.
Put simply, Barack Obama wants to be the first African American president, Hillary Clinton wants to be the first woman president, and John McCain wants to be the oldest president ever elected. All are U. S. Senators, and all are multi-millionaires or married to multi-millionaires. Their chief interest in being a politician is to line their pockets at our expense.

If nothing about our country being $9.4 trillion in debt bothers you, perhaps you should know that the $9.4 trillion is the actual debt at this very moment—the federal debt INCREASES $1.2 billion per day into the future.
And, just for the record, our actual federal obligations into the future are a whopping $55 trillion and counting. This figure includes “off balance sheet” items like Social Security, Medicare, etc. that we the taxpayers are obligated to pay by being taxed even more in the future.

Most of us who are less prosperous than the millionaire politicians who represent us would do well to work at becoming debt free so we can ultimately survive even if our government cannot.

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Part 1 of this 2 Part series ends the synopsis of George Clason’s book “The Richest Man in Babylon,” but Clason raises an important question: Why should so few men be able to acquire so much gold?

The answer is because they know how.

One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how. Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability.

And so it was that the good king of Babylon sought out the richest man in Babylon to teach to others in his kingdom the secrets of his success.

This is a synopsis of what the richest man taught to the people of Babylon:

The Seven Cures for a Lean Wallet

1) Start your wallet to fattening. Save one-tenth of all you earn. Remember that a part of all I earn is mine to keep. Do this faithfully. Do not let the simplicity of this escape you.

When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my earnings, I got along just as well. I was not shorter than before, and, money came to me more easily than before.

2) Control your expenses. How is it that all do not earn the same yet all have lean wallets? Here is the truth: That which each of us calls our “necessary expenses” will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary.

Confuse not necessary expenses with desires. We all have more desires than our earnings can gratify. Examine which of the accepted expenses of living can be reduced or eliminated. Let your motto be 100% of appreciated value demanded for every dollar spent.

Budget your expenses so that your actual necessities are met without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.

3) Make your money multiply. Protect your growing treasure by putting it to labor and increasing. Money in your wallet earns nothing. Money that we earn from our money is but a start; it is the earnings generating earnings that builds fortunes.

When the richest man in Babylon loaned money to the shield maker to buy bronze, he said this: “Each time I loaned money to the shield maker, I loaned back also the rental he had paid me. Therefore not only did my capital increase, but its earnings likewise increased.”

4) Guard your money from loss. Everyone has an idea of how to make quick money; few, however, have the evidence of making money to justify their idea, scheme or offer of quick riches. The first sound principle of investment is security for your principal.

Before you loan your money to any man assure yourself of his ability to repay your loan, and of his reputation to do so. Make no one a present of your hard-earned treasure.

Consult the wisdom of those experienced in handling money for profit. Such advice is often freely given for the asking, and may possess more value than the amount you are about to invest.

5) Make your home a profitable investment. When you can set aside only nine-tenths of what you earn to live, and can use a part of that nine-tenths to improve the investment in your housing, do it; owning your own home is also an investment that grows with your wealth.

Your family deserves a home they can enjoy and call their own. It builds a sense of stability and well-being.

6) Ensure a future income. Build income-producing assets that do not require you to work forever. We will all grow old and die.

You should prepare a suitable income for the days to come when you are no longer younger and cannot work as hard, and to make preparations for your family should you no longer be with them to comfort and support them. Provide in advance for the needs of your growing age, and the protection of your family.

7) Increase your ability to earn. Desire precedes accomplishment, and the desire must be strong and definite. When you have backed your desire for saving $1,000 with the strength and purpose to secure it, you can then save $2,000.

Desires must be simple and definite. Desires defeat their own purpose when they are too many, too confusing, or too difficult to accomplish. Cultivate your own powers to study and become wiser, more skillful, and more productive.

Here is more sage advice from Clason’s masterpiece on financial matters:

The 5 Laws of Money

If you had to choose, would you choose tons of money or wisdom? Most men would take the money, ignore the wisdom, and waste the money. Here is the wisdom:

1) Money comes gladly and in increasing quantities to any man who will put aside not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and the future of his family.

2) Money labors diligently and contently for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying unto itself in infinity if kept working diligently. Money multiplies itself in surprising fashion.

3) Money clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it with the advice of men wise in its handling.

4) Money slips away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes that he is not familiar with, or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep. The inexperienced handler of money who trusts his own judgment, and puts his money in investments which he is not familiar, always pays with his money for his experience.

5) Money flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings, or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers, or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

Here is the hard lesson of the 5 Laws of Money: You cannot measure the value of wisdom in bags of money. Without wisdom, those who have it quickly lose money, but with wisdom, money can be secured by those who have it not.

This ends the condensation.

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

George Clason’s book “The Richest Man in Babylon” reveals the fastest way to become financially savvy. It works today because money is governed today by the same laws that controlled it when prosperous men thronged the streets of Babylon 6,000 years ago.

Here is a synopsis of The Richest Man in Babylon and the important financial lessons it teaches:

A self-employed chariot builder becomes discouraged when, after years of hard work, he realizes that he will never become rich. He labors hard to build the finest chariots in the land, soft-heartedly hoping that some day the Gods will recognize his worthy deeds, and bestow upon him great prosperity.

He now realizes that the Gods could give a care about the work on his excellent chariots. He longs to be a man of means, and have the lifestyle of the richest man in Babylon, who was a childhood friend.

He confers with his best friend, a musician, who reminds him that it is not enough to have a fat wallet, as a man’s wealth is not in the wallet he carries, because a fat wallet quickly empties if there be no golden stream to refill it.

The chariot builder decides to confront the richest man in Babylon, who he knew in his youth, and learn how he became so rich.

The chariot builder shares his lament with the richest man in Babylon, knowing that both he and the richest man in Babylon were once equal, played the same games in childhood, studied under the same masters, had equal talent and ability, and worked just as hard; now he works just as hard but his childhood companion has become the richest man in Babylon, while he still struggles.

The rich man replies, “If you have not acquired more than a bare existence in the years since we were youths, it is because you either have failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth, or else you do not observe them.”

The richest man then explains that he had learned how to become rich from a moneylender, for whom he had provided a service in exchange for the moneylender’s secret to success.

The moneylender said, “I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep, and so will you.”

The money lender tells the rich man, who was then a scribe in the hall of records, to set aside one-tenth of all he earns as his portion to keep.

A year later the young scribe comes back to the money lender, who asks him if he has kept a tenth of all he earned.

When the scribe replies yes, the moneylender asks him what he has done with it.

The scribe says he has given it to a bricklayer who was going to foreign lands to buy jewels, which he and the bricklayer would sell for profit when he returned. The scribe ends up with nothing, as the bricklayer is sold worthless glass rather than fine jewels.

“Every fool must learn”, says the money lender, “but why trust the knowledge of a bricklayer about jewels? Your savings are gone,” continues the moneylender, “you have jerked up your wealth-tree by the roots. But plant another. Try again. And, this time, if you would have advice about jewels, go to the jewel merchant.”

Another year passes, and again the scribe goes to the money lender, to tell him that he had saved one-tenth and given it to a shield maker to buy bronze, and each fourth month the shield maker pays him rental.

“That is good,” says the moneylender, “And what did you do with the rental?” “I had a great feast and bought a beautiful scarlet tunic,” replies the scribe.

“You squander your savings,” admonishes the moneylender. “How do you expect your savings to work for you, and generate more savings to work for you? Get yourself an army of golden slaves to work for you, then many a rich banquet you may enjoy without regret.”

Two years later the scribe again goes to the money lender, to tell him that he still saves one-tenth, invests it more wisely and now continues to do so. “Each time I loaned money to the shield maker, I loaned back also the rental he had paid me. Therefore not only did my capital increase, but its earnings likewise increased.”

“You have learned your lessons well,” says the moneylender.

“You first learned to live upon less than you could earn. Next you learned to seek advice from those who were competent through their own experience to give it. And, lastly, you have learned how to put money to work for you.

“You have taught yourself how to acquire money, how to keep it, and how to use your money to prosper. You are now competent for a responsible position.”

The scribe goes on to become the richest man in Babylon.

It was apparent that no one could do for the scribe what the scribe had done for himself. Each man has to work out his own understanding of what needs to be done, and then prepare himself to take advantage of the opportunity to succeed in a big way.

The moral to the story The Richest Man in Babylon teaches this lesson: Proper preparation is the key to our success.

Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley

While there are predators all around us, we generally do not think of our financial providers as predators. Typical providers we might use include banks, financial centers (the fancy name some banks call themselves today), credit unions, mortgage brokers, and mortgage bankers to name a few.

With thousands of people going online and starting home-based Internet Marketing businesses daily, many quickly develop a need for more capital to build their new part-time, second-income enterprise. Some inexperienced newcomers fail to budget properly and soon find themselves in over their head.

Their next likely stop is to find a lender. I was stunned yesterday to get in my post office box one of those new, fancy, 6-by-9-inch oversized postcards with this screaming headline on the slicked up front side: Get $5,000 by tomorrow!

If I did not know better, I would have thought I was reading one of the exaggerated opportunities that pops up on my monitor every day, you know, the one that says “Join Us Now And Collect Your $2,000,000” from “one of the world’s most rewarding financial associations.” Yeah, right. I could use an extra $2 million, and if I read through the entire sales pitch, I would probably find out that I really had to do very little to get it.

Sometimes it is easier to relate to the $5,000 you can get tomorrow (yes, you read right, tomorrow). You see, the lender in this case does not want a lot of legal paperwork and collateral to hold you up. Heck, they just need your signature!

This presents a wonderful opportunity to play Donald Trump. There was a time when The Donald could borrow millions by just signing his name on a dotted line.  Sure, the $5,000 lender, called CashCall out of Fountain Valley, California, presumably does a credit check and, even if you rent or your credit is not perfect, the $5,000 will be in your bank account tomorrow (this delivery process is commonly known among the financial community and those who borrow such sums in such ways as a bank wire transfer). And, of course, your immediate money problems are solved! Viola! (as the French would say).

Turns out the source of the money received actually comes from First Bank & Trust of Milbank, South Dakota, a member of the FDIC, mind you (this important fact is used to apparently inspire confidence in the lender which is probably in good standing with your federal government as FDIC does stand for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an independent agency of your federal government).

Words cannot express how choked up I am with compassion over the fact that a bank would lend someone $5,000 on their signature only, and deliver the money into their account the next day. Some banks are just too wonderful for words.

A lot of folks would be overjoyed at the bank’s generosity and understanding in their time of need. Then again, those same folks probably would be too excited about solving their “problems” to read the fine print in the same offer.

Did I just say fine print? Yes I did. That is the really small type on the bottom of the back of the life-saving postcard that has the catchy headline (get $5,000 by tomorrow!), and the prominent picture of ten $100 bills on the front, that says:

“Example of loan terms: The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for a $5,075 loan is 59.90%, with 84 payments of $254.03.” This is what I call a 7-year, fixed-rate loan that will bring the lender $21,338 in return. So, here is the deal: You get a $5,000 loan and the privilege of repaying the $5,000 you borrow plus another $16,338 in interest.

It caused me to wonder if they sell asbestos suits in Milbank, South Dakota, surmising that some folks may develop a need for them, depending, of course, on where they might be going.

The next time your lender is being so nice to you, remember the message of this postcard, and ask yourself, “Why is this lender (or banker) being so nice to me?” The answer, dear friend, is not that he or she has your best interest at heart.

Why should I even give this seemingly obscure offer even two cents of my time? Only to make this point: Since when is helping a financially desperate person made better by driving them deeper into debt, and then leaving them as ignorant as you found them?

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), who became a U. S. journalist and literary and social critic, once said “You can never underestimate the stupidity of the American people.”  Man, was he right.

Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley

I told my son that normal closing costs for a re-fi of $148,638 at 6.5% for 30 years is $2,500. Total closing costs for his $134,999 proposed loan were $5,412, only $2,912 more. So I asked him “Could you be paying too much for closing costs?” Answer: Yes.

Then we looked at his original principal balance owing of $123,773 versus his new principal amount owing of $134,999 should he accept the loan. I pointed out that he is losing $11,226 before he even starts servicing the new loan. Yes, he is getting a home equity loan of $10,409, but what is he really gaining? Answer: Nothing. He is losing again.

Then we calculated the closing cost recovery rate of $5,412 using a financial planning program. He learned it would take 30 months of payments just to recover his closing costs. I pointed out that until you recover your closing costs you have not saved a cent in the transaction.

He had already made 12 payments on his existing $123,773 loan, reducing his principal amount owing to $122,623. He had earned $1,150 in equity by making 12 payments at $862 a month.

Then we looked at what his principal amount owing would be when he reached his 30th payment with the new loan. (Remember, it is going to take 30 payments to recover his closing costs.) Answer: $133,085 at a monthly payment of $1,233.

Then I asked him what his principal amount owing would be if he just kept paying another 30 months on his current loan plus the 12 months he had already paid. Answer: $119,342 at $898 a month.

The lights began to turn on in his mind. Now he recognized that he would be $13,743 ahead in principal owing if he just kept paying on the existing loan at the lower monthly payment ($335 less!).

This sudden revelation begged the question: How can this be? Answer: The interest on mortgage loans is front loaded. He learned that if he went for this nationally known lender’s great loan deal that he would be making loan payments for 30 months (2.5 years) and still owe $13,743 more in principal balance than if he kept his present loan and paid $335 less in his monthly payment.

Finally we looked at what it would cost to service both loans. His current loan had 348 months remaining (29 years) at $898 monthly. Total cost? $312,504. The proposed loan had 360 months remaining (30 years) at $1,233 monthly. Total cost? $443,880. The difference? $131,376.

Just how badly did he need that home equity loan? Answer: Not at all.

And how much would he save in actual dollars by not accepting the proposed re-fi from the lender who was supposedly helping him out? Answer: $157,495.

Here are the savings:

1) $11,226, the difference in the original amounts of the loans.

2) $1,150, the equity he already had earned from making 12 payments on his present loan.

3) $13,743, the difference in principal owing if he continued paying his present loan.

4) $131,376, the difference in the cost to service the proposed loan.

Never forget that finance is a dirty business like finding a cockroach on a cow pie.

The banker, mortgage broker or financial predator you are dealing with is not your friend trying to help you. He (or she) is your enemy trying to hurt you so his company can profit at your expense while he gets his big commission check and looks good to his employer.

If you want an excellent example of how your banker educates you about your finances, try swallowing his line about your first home purchase being probably the greatest and most rewarding investment you will ever make.

Remember that he talked about how your new home would be such a great asset for you. Anything to get you thinking you could not possibly afford your new home without his help, and that it would be your greatest investment.

Your banking friend never told you that your fantastic new asset is not even an asset but a liability. A liability, you say? Of course, silly, the bank holds the paper on your home until you pay it off, and your loan is really an asset on the bank’s balance sheet, not on yours.

By lending you the money to buy your home, your bank creates an asset on its balance sheet, and if it is an asset for the bank, it must, by straight accounting procedures and common sense, be a liability on your personal balance sheet.

Heck, if the banker told you this, you might think twice about becoming a 30-year employee of the bank while you are making your payments for the next 360 months.

Are all bankers and mortgage brokers bad people? Naw, only 95% of them. When you go to borrow money for your next mortgage, my best advice is Good Luck, and God Speed. I certainly hope you educate yourself enough to realize that dealing with the 5% will save you a ton of money and grief over the next 30 years.

Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley

The next time you go borrowing, and your friendly banker smiles as you walk into his office, be aware that you may be snookered by someone not worthy of your trust. If your banker is an attractive woman, then you are even more susceptible.

I have grown over the years to appreciate a certain breed of bankers as one of the lower life forms that inhabit planet Earth. What I am about to share with you is even more true of certain mortgage brokers, secondary lenders and financial predators. They operate as sleazy parasites under the guise of helping the least creditworthy consumers who have virtually no savvy in financial matters.

Rather than pick on the worst of this collection of lenders who will help relieve you of your money without any conscience, I have targeted bankers. Before the banking industry was deregulated there were many people who considered bankers worthy of some trust and admiration. Those days are over.

Bankers still enjoy the best reputation (such as it is) among these lenders, but they have no problem patting you on the shoulder while picking your pocket and telling you how much they have helped you. I do not intend to indict the entire lending industry, just 95% of it. Here is an example:

My 24-year-old son wanted to refinance his first mortgage and was about to go to a leading lender in the market to look at its loan proposal. I decided to tag along because I know how lenders operate, especially when dealing with younger clients and senior citizens who have not handled the finances in their family.

His present loan had a principal balance of $123,773 with 7.458% interest at a 30-year fixed rate. The proposed re-fi was for $134,999 with 9.9% interest (10.28% APR) at a 30-year fixed rate. The re-fi would cover the $123,773 principal balance due and provide a $10,409 home equity loan. The lender was actually smiling when he outlined what a good deal this was for my son.

I had coached my son to simply listen to the proposal, commit to nothing, take the paperwork with him, and tell the lender he would study the proposal and let the lender know if he wanted to proceed.

Once away from this flytrap I took my son to lunch, and we discussed the great deal he was given.

First, I had him look at the 3% discount fee on the Good Faith Estimate of the closing costs. (The discount fee is the amount you are paying for the privilege of getting the loan.) The discount fee was listed at $312.

What the lender was not telling him was that the 3% discount fee was figured on the $10,409 home equity loan and not on the $134,999 for the total loan which was $4,050, a slight difference of $3,748 in their favor.

If you called the lender on this discrepancy, he would probably say, “Oh, you’re right, that’s a mistake. That’s the figure for the home equity loan. Jeez, I’m sorry.”

When the day comes to close the loan, you see the bloated figure and object, and then the lender multiplies the $134,999 loan times 3% and viola, it comes up correct. You are dazed and confused, feel under pressure, want to get this over with and sign on the dotted line. This happens every working day in America when loans are closed.

Long after you are gone, the lender is quietly snickering, counting up the additional funds he will earn, and welcoming the next dumb bunny who comes through the door while you will be stuck with making payments for 360 months on a lousy loan.

For the uninitiated, there are more real surprises at loan closings in America than when opening gifts on Christmas morning. One client of mine went to a loan closing and learned that $10,000 had been added to the loan closing costs without prior notice; he thankfully got up and left.

Always remember that for every liability you have, you are someone else’s asset. For every liability—such as a mortgage, credit card, car loan or school loan—you are an employee of the company lending the money.

If you take out a 30-year mortgage loan, you have become a 30-year employee of the company which lends you the money. This is a very sobering thought when you are paying attention, as you should be. I am not talking about anything important in this article, just your financial health.

Part 2 of this article will take the financial details of the loan apart and show how not taking the loan will save my son $157,495.

Sid Miller Wants to Know: What are you voting for?

 

That moment when someone says, “I can’t believe you would vote for Trump”

I simply reply “I’m not voting for Trump.”

I’m voting for the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech.

I’m voting for the Second Amendment and my right to defend my life and my family.

I’m voting for the next Supreme Court Justice(s) to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I’m voting for the continued growth of my retirement investments and the stock market.

I’m voting for an end to America’s involvement in foreign conflicts.

I’m voting for the Electoral College & the Republic we live in.

I’m voting for the Police to be respected once again and to ensure Law & Order.

I’m voting for the continued appointment of Federal Judges who respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I’m voting for our jobs to remain in America and not be outsourced all over again to China, Mexico and other foreign countries.

I’m voting for secure borders and legal immigration.

I’m voting for the Military & the Veterans who fought for this Country to give the American people their freedoms.

I’m voting for the unborn babies that have a right to live.

I’m voting for continued peace progress in the Middle East.

I’m voting to fight against human/child trafficking.

I’m voting for Freedom of Religion.

I’m voting for the American Flag that is disrespected by the “mob.”

I’m voting for the right to speak my opinion & not be censored.

I’m not just voting for one person, I’m voting for the future of my Country.

I’m voting for my children and my grandchildren to ensure their freedoms and their future.

What are you voting for?

About the Source: Sid Miller is the Commissioner of Agriculture in the Great State of Texas.

(Ed’s Note: The current 2020 Presidential Election has been reduced to a choice between our “constitutional republic” form of government and creeping into a “socialist” form of government in America. We should not allow any political party in America to bring advancing socialism—example: The Green New Deal—under the guise of improving our constitutional republic. Every form of socialism as a government in history has failed to advance the welfare of the citizens therein. Smart people know that socialism does not secure our rights as citizens but rather reduces our personal rights to the point where we have none and ultimately end up as a dictatorship.)

Financial Thoughts
on Investing
by Warren Buffett

(Ed’s Note: The following condensation is from The Tao of Warren Buffett, written by Mary Buffett and David Clark and available for sale at Amazon and bookstores nationwide. I am always impressed by what Warren Buffett has to say and am doing this condensation to help promote their book.)

On Investing: Never be afraid to ask too much when selling offer too little when buying.
(Ed’s Note: How much you get from a sale or how much you have to pay when making a purchase determines whether you make or lose money and how rich you ultimately become.)

(Ed’s Note: For more of Warren Buffett’s advice go to the menu bar above and click on Financial Thoughts.)