When President Obama proposed to freeze Federal Government pay for two years I thought he was taunting us with an April Fool’s joke in November. I mean really. Is the public supposed to take the President seriously after he signed off on a 3.9% 2009 pay hike when Armageddon hit in 2008 while attacking the private sector for getting paid too much? Not only did all Federal Government employees get a 3.9% pay hike in 2009, they also got another 2.9% pay hike in 2010! In other words, while practically all of America suffered through the financial crisis with pay cuts and job losses, Federal Government employees raked it in! We’re talking the percentage of Federal Government employees making over $100,000 jumping from 14% to 19% during the meltdown. Sweet!
Every two to four years we have government elections and every two to four years I wonder the same thing, “Does my vote matter?” In California, we have two Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman (R) and Jerry Brown (D) who have the most vicious attack ads I’ve ever seen. Their ads make them BOTH sound unappealing, which makes common citizens like me depressed that no change will come.
I have to think there are attack ads in almost every city in America which is resulting in the same voter ambivalence. Am I wrong? You tell me. Every single politician says the same thing:
* I plan to change the way the Capital is run. No more politics as usual.
* I plan to balance the budget.
* I am qualified because of my experience in politics, or my experience in business.
* My opponent is unqualified.
* I answer to no one but you.
* Wonk, wonk, blah, blah, schimmy, schimmy, bang, bang.
Watch Texas Rangers relief pitching if you want to learn how to NOT be clutch! Wow, I mean come on. How does that one kid throw 11 balls in a row and walk two SF Giants batters in the 8th inning of Game 2 when the bases are loaded? It’s absolutely unbelievable how bad the Texas Rangers relief pitching was, and it’s simply due to mental weakness. Texas going from having a chance down 0-2 in the 8th to losing the game 0-9 is a 100% ass kicking.
I understand how difficult it is to close things out due to competitive tennis. I’ve blown my share of 5-4, third set leads before, and 9 times out of 10, it’s because my mind broke down. Tennis, like many one-on-one sports is a complete mind bend. I started worrying and thinking about all the “what ifs”. What if I shank the ball when going for it? What if my calves start cramping? What if he starts catching fire? As soon as I start filling my mind with doubt, my body follows suite and then before I know it, I’ve blown the lead and lose.
I’ve since been able to calm some nerves that have helped me cross the finish line in tight situations before. Here are some tips for keeping your head in the game.
Over poker one night, we got to talking about what we always talk about: entrepreneurship. Out of a table of 10, four work at start-ups, three are at Google, one is a high-tech lawyer, one works as a medical correspondent for CNN, and then there’s me, a hybrid. I had just got done working on Yakezie.com for three hours after working an 11 hour day, and needless to say, I was a little bit tired.
I love going to Friday night poker mainly because I get to bounce ideas off of really smart and incredibly hard working people. When I hear stories of one start-up player working from 7am to 3am every night for two weeks straight to launch a product offering, I get pumped. When the Venture Capitalist player recounts his firm rejecting a pitch by Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder in 2008, I wince, but daydream in amazement.
THE LIFE AND BUSINESS QUESTION
When the state of California raised the sales tax by another 1% on April 1, 2009 I was pretty pissed. What kind of government expects their residents to pay a whopping 10% tax on everything they buy? Pedro doesn’t want to pay $200 in taxes on his $2,000 60-inch LCD TV. Nancy shouldn’t have to pay $300 more on her $3,000 diamond encrusted bracelet. And I certainly don’t want to spend $5,200 in taxes on a handsome $52,000 BMW! That’s just ridiculous!
We the people of California deserve our luxury items just like every other parrot-brained consumer in America. Who’s to dictate what we can and can’t waste our hard earned money on? Certainly not some bureaucrat in Sacramento counting all his money under the table, no way!
GOVERNMENT WANTS YOU TO SAVE WHILE THEY SPEND
What do Penn State, Texas A&M, University of Illinois, Purdue, and Arizona State University have in common? They are considered the Top 5 best schools in the nation according to recruiters! Wall Street Journal has this unique ranking system where they essentially ask corporate recruiters to rank their best schools.
I’ve seen a lot of college surveys before, and not once have I ever seen any of these schools in the Top 5, let alone in the top 10. Let’s be honest, for the same cost, would you go to one of these schools over Harvard, Yale, Penn, MIT, Michigan, or Berkeley? Most would say “probably not,” so what gives?
Let’s have a look at why recruiters are so excited about these schools.
Despite persistent insistence of economic improvement, President Obama has lost more than half of his key economic advisers. White House Budget Director Peter Orszag resigned in June. Christina Romer, Chairwoman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers left in September, and now Larry Summers, Obama’s Chief Economic Adviser has also resigned recently.
The next obvious candidate to resign is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who is considered brilliant but doesn’t pay his taxes, yet tells America that the government should raise taxes. The fact that Obama hooked him up with the Treasury Secretary job despite Tim cheating on his taxes tells me that Tim will likely stay loyal until Obama is no longer in office. Very few people have a second chance of this magnitude. If Tim does quit, he will get destroyed by the Democrats and the public.
EVEN THE PROTECTOR OF OUR COUNTRY DOESN’T CARE
If you want to make six figures, know that you can if you want to. Nothing in this world is stopping you with the right money mindset to get rich. I believe $200,000 is the income level that brings maximum happiness, so even if you are already making $150,000 a year, you still have more happiness to go.
Let’s start off with some basic necessities:
* Desire. Your desire needs to be focused. Mr. Miyagi said it best to Daniel-san, “You Karate do “yes” or Karate do “no”, you Karate do “guess so” get squished like grape.”
* Effort. Unfortunately for the lazy, you’re actually going to have to try hard at first. Maybe you’ll wake up earlier than everyone else. Maybe you’ll network like a mad person. Maybe you’ll stop making excuses? No effort, no results.
* Knowledge. The more you educate yourself, the easier things will be. Lucky for you, you’re reading this post and likely other great financial publications as well. I spent the past 13 years working in finance, received my MBA from Berkeley, and love personal finance so you’re in good hands!
* Optimism. Optimism is what will drive you to keep going when things turn sour. Optimism will make you do great things because you believe things will improve. If you have optimism, you will always find the right direction.
* Personality. At the very minimum, it’s important to be nice. At the maximum, your charisma will make believers out of others. People will be drawn to you and naturally want to start helping you and doing business with you. Be nice, but also be respectful. There will be haters everywhere. Embrace them.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s explore the many possibilities of making over $100,000 at any age. I truly believe anybody who wants to make more can make more. This post isn’t meant to be controversial at all. But, as always, feel free to share your thoughts below.
HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE YEARS
After getting my driver’s license at 17, I talked to my parents about finally getting a car. I don’t remember why I didn’t get my license at 16, but perhaps it was because I had such a spiffy bicycle the ladies loved. *Ring a ding a ling * was the sound of my bell every time I rode by a hot girl.
It always felt odd that I had to walk or ride my bike to school when other kids got to drive their new Ford Explorer SUVs, and VW Jettas. Even my parents drove an 8 year old car at the time. Oh well, I thought to myself. Perhaps one day.
THE HIDDEN GEM THAT WAS NOT A GEM
A 6-6 Washington team beat Nebraska 19-7 in the Holiday Bowl. Stanford demolishes ACC Champion Virginia Tech 40-12 in the 2011 Orange Bowl and now we have Oregon playing Auburn in the BCS National Championship game. Clearly, the PAC 10 is the most dominant athletic/football conference in the country. In 2010, Stanford also pounded Notre Dame 37 to 14 and UCLA crushed Texas 34 to 12. Statistics don’t lie, no matter how biased you are living in middle America or on the East Coast.
If you compare academic match ups, the Pac 10 wins as well. Not only are Stanford, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon academically superior to Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Texas, and Auburn based on polls by every single college ranking system available, they also have superior athletic programs to boot. Furthermore, the campuses of Stanford, UCLA and Oregon are like country clubs, with phenomenal facilities and fantastic weather all year around.
Notre Dame, Texas, Auburn and Virginia Tech are fine schools in their own right. However, if you compare the four against their Pac 10 match ups, there simply is no comparison. Hence, why is it that athletic recruits would ever go to a school other than one in the PAC 10 if they had a choice? Let’s find out.