When I was in college I had the opportunity to dance with the Purdue repertory Dance company. It was primarily a modern dance company. Modern dance is a form of dance that is based on the concept of your Center. Meaning all movement starts and is an extension of the core structure of our bodies. An understanding of how our spine, pelvis, and the small muscles, ligaments and tendons operate and function allow us to create ever greater movements.
The most powerful movements starts with very small muscles
These movements utilize the entirety of our body. They create dance that exudes a passion and emotion rarely found in forms of dance that don’t start from the core of our body. Beginning my dance life as an adult rather than a child meant I had to unlearn years of moving from my head and shoulders and not my center. My first teacher was vital in this training.
This amazing dance teacher would drag me around the dance floor with her sweatshirt wrapped around my waist. So I could feel what it was like to move from my pelvis instead of my head or shoulders. Her investment in my life changed the way I have moved ever since. He helped in finding my center has helped reduce my back pain and be a more graceful dancer. Holly helped change my life and I am forever grateful.
How this applies in everyday life
To live a fulfilling life of passionate purpose and destiny we need to be centered on core values and principles. These provide the starting place where all our pursuits, interactions, and plans are derived. This core becomes our Center.
Many people choose to go through life as windblown tumbleweeds. Allowing outside circumstances to determine where they go. They only react to their environment, instead of having a determined course of action in adverse circumstances.
Knowing our center enables us to respond and face the winds of adversity with purpose.
The more we develop and practice these core values and principles, the more power and strength we have to affect things outside of ourselves. Like a well-trained dancer who misses a step or loses their balance knowing their Center will enable them to recover without an audience knowing. Our core values and principles are the anchor when the winds and waves of adversity come our way.
Let others help you find your Center
Finding and developing these core muscles or core values will happen at a faster pace and with greater clarity if we have spouses, friends, coaches, parents, and pastor’s to help us find them and strengthen them. We can’t use other peoples’ core values (nor would we want to). We want to utilize their experience and questions to learn what our Center is.
Who is helping you find your center?Read More
The insurance companies collect premiums in advance to cover certain risks. The risks covered and the liability limits are defined in the declaration of coverage. With these collected premiums the insurance company then pays current claims and other expenses (such as advertising). The remaining balance of premiums is invested and held in reserve for future claims.
Basic Insurance Company Income Statement:
|Revenue from Premiums||_____________|
|Income from investment of Reserves||_____________|
|Payment of Claims||_____________|
Insurance companies fall into two main groups:
- For Profit (These have owners who expect a return for their investment): State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, Geico,
- Cooperatives, or Mutuals (These don’t have owners, the policy holders are the stakeholders): USAA, Nationwide, Hastings, most Farm Bureaus
Theoretically the Mutual companies should be of greater value to customer, as the customer are the owners. However, profits are only one component of the various factors that determine total value to the insured. I am not for or against either type of insurance company and you can find great value in either type of corporate structure.
Now we will go through each line of the income statement and discuss the strategies implemented by those insurance companies
Several companies utilize a core marketing strategy that focuses on the lowest price for their policies. Progressive utilizes this strategy the most. They encourage you to compare rates (although it is not a simple process). Usually they are the lowest priced option (perhaps you are getting what you pay for?). This is a great marketing strategy, hoping the consumer views it an apples to apples comparison.
Not all apples taste the same. Just like there are several attributes to creating a great tasting and nutritious apple. There are other attributes that reveal the total cost of your insurance not just your upfront premium.
Investment returns on reserves
As a general rule the investment returns are relatively similar for different companies. However, are those returns utilized to provide more value to the customer, paying shareholders, or paying one of the other expenses discussed below.
Note: Warren Buffet uses insurance reserves to fund many of his investments through Berkshire Hathaway (owner of Geico and several other insurance companies).
Customer acquisition costs
Traditionally all insurance companies would work through insurance agents. However, that has changed over the last couple of decades. Several companies now offer you the option to buy directly from them via the internet or over the phone.
There are two types of agents Independent and captive. A captive agent sells the products of one company. All State, Farmers, and State Farm are good examples of this strategy. Independent agents represent several companies in each category of insurance they provide.
Components of Acquisition costs:
- Agents or staffs to handle direct sales
- Advertising (all those ads at our favorite sporting events are not free)
- The more they spend on advertising the less they can spend somewhere else
This entails all components of paying a claim such as:
- Cost of the adjustor
- Cost of the staff to process claims
- Fraud (some people file fraudulent claims some companies can be more susceptible to this which raises their costs)
- Legal defense fees (when those attorney’s you see on TV sue to get more money)
So far in my life I have experience 5 different companies insurance claims process. I was very satisfied with several of them. However, my experience with Progressive was awful. They paid me wholesale value for my car, and were very nasty and rude throughout the process. In comparison my experiences with All State and Hastings were phenomenal. They made frustrating situation as easy as possible for me.
Some companies focus on low premiums prices to attract customers, then they fight to not have to pay their customers when there is a claim. A little research on the internet will go a long way in helping you determine how the claims experience is for different companies. Most purchasers fail to examine this component of their coverage. This is the difference between a cheap blah tasting apple and that succulent full flavored apple.
This includes things like buildings, utilities, some staff, and regulatory compliance. A well-managed company can keep these costs down. These enables them to provide more value to you.
- Next time you pick an insurance company look at the entire picture.
- Ignore cute lizards, cavemen, and annoying spokespeople.
- Research the customer opinions on their claims process.
- Determine their corporate structure.
I choose to mostly work with independent agents (although I have several properties insured through a captive agent with Kentucky Farm). I also prefer to work with well-managed mutual companies (such as Kentucky Farm and Hastings).
Are you an agent… Give me your opinion in the comments below.
What are your experiences? Tell us about it. Help the rest of us make a more informed decision.Read More
What is an Asset?
Definition of Asset: “An asset is a resource controlled by the enterprise as a result of past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the enterprise.”(IASB)
In other words an asset is something that currently and will continue to produce revenue. As you remember from Wealth creation part 1; we learned the first rule of wealth creation is to have an accumulation of surplus each year. Those accumulated surpluses can then be used to purchase assets or seeds.
Why is this important?
When a farmer plants their seed in the ground, it produces a harvest (revenue). So why can’t we just consume our seed, why can’t we buy more of the things we want. “I earned that surplus, so why can’t I use it for that new car, new T.V. or trip to the Caribbean? ” If you consume your seed you have nothing to plant. If you have nothing to plant you can’t get a harvest.
When we use our surplus to buy assets we create a new source of revenue!! So now, not only do we have our normal revenue; we have additional revenue being produced by these new assets. Later we will discuss different types of assets. You can view a sample Income statement here. The income statement lists some of the types of revenue that come from different types of assets.
The four steps of Seed Power:
- Your Surplus purchases a seed
- We nurture the seed as it grows.
- When the time is right we Harvest
- We spend, give, and reinvest our harvest.
You planted one seed and get to harvest 1000 to 2000 new seeds. Think about the exponential power of your seed if you plant the 1000 seeds. In this example, your asset requires additional effort and resources to produce your harvest. You would need to sell some of your seed to pay for the costs of planting, nurturing and harvesting your seed.
Different types of assets require different amounts of effort and resources to produce a harvest. A stock that pays a dividend requires almost no effort on your part. While a buying a snowplow to clear snow in the winter time requires a lot of effort. I will discuss these differences between passive and active income in later articles.
If you begin to use your income to buy assets and those assets create more income…. Think of your money working for you. You can go on vacation while your assets work and keep income flowing into your pocket. It is possible to not have to work and yet still have income. FREEDOM
Each dollar you receive has the potential to be a seed. Each dollar you have has the potential to work for you. When you consume that seed it is gone…
What are you consuming that could be a seed instead?
How much income are you receiving from your assets each year?Read More
Often people refer to salvation being free… and yet is it really free? It is so true that you can’t buy salvation, and yet it can cost you everything you ever had or wanted.
Salvation cost Christ pain, suffering, and ultimately His life.
What did my salvation cost me:
My Marine career, cost me all of my self-righteousness, it cost me my ideas about race and culture, it cost me my dream of being a small town policeman, it cost me my angry scowl, and it cost me headaches from worries and fears.
Although, perhaps cost isn’t the correct term it was more like a bartering or making a trade.
Here is what I traded:
- I traded my unsuccessful Marine career for an education in business which inspires me.
- I traded my self-righteous standard that I failed to live up to, for His righteousness which empowers me to live a life free of self-condemnation.
- I traded my racist thoughts for deep friendships with many from other ethnic groups and an amazing and beautiful Asian wife.
- I gave a dream of boring future in a small town for a life full of travel and adventures that fills my life with joy.
- I traded my angry scowl for laughter and joy beyond compare.
- I traded my worries and fears for His peace that pass all understanding.
- I traded my sin and eternal damnation for an eternal life with my Creator
It cost me everything that weighed me down. It cost me everything I thought I wanted. I have received more than I could have even dreamed possible. Life is better than I could have ever hoped. It was the best choice I have ever made.
It cost Christ everything, and it will cost us everything we think we want. The eternal reward both in heaven and on Earth is beyond our wildest fantasies. I believe there is nothing greater than living the life you were created and designed to live. I believe you can only find your entire purpose through knowing your Creator (The Lord Jesus Christ)
What did your salvation cost you?Read More
Most of us of heard his story. If you have not, you can read it here. The basic story is; on a cold snowy day he got up early and walked to an interview for a minimum wage job at a thrift store. On his way he met Art Bouvier and asked him if he was walking in the right direction. Mr. Bouvier gave him directions and told him he should take a bus because he still had a long way to go. It was cold, icy, and snowy morning and most people were starting their day late due to the poor weather conditions.
After Mr. Bouvier was done clearing the snow at his business, he got in his car and left. On his drive he saw Jhaqueil, still walking towards his interview. Mr. Bouvier stopped asked him why he wasn’t on the bus. Jhaqueil informed him that he didn’t have money for the bus. Mr. Bouvier drove him to the interview and asked for Jhaqueil’s phone number. Mr. Bouvier was going to offer him a job after his interview for the other job (although he kept this a secret).
Mr. Bouvier ended up hiring him. In the interview with the local news Jhaqueil mentions he was “just lucky.”
It may have been fortunate; however it wasn’t “just” luck. Jhaqueil moved toward an opportunity. Mr. Bouvier didn’t knock on his door while he was playing video games and offer him a job.
Can you think of an excuse as to why you didn’t go to that interview? Here is an incomplete list:
- It is freezing outside
- I don’t have ride there
- It’s only a minimum wage job
- It is to far to walk.
- I probably won’t get the job anyway.
- I don’t interview well
He didn’t get the job he interviewed for at the thrift store. That door of opportunity closed on him. His pursuit of that job led to the job with Mr. Bouvier. Often our excuses, laziness, indecision, and procrastination keep us on the couch. Then we miss opportunities we would have only found on our way to a different opportunity.
How many of you have ever used a Post-it note? That consistently consumed product that is a standard in offices and homes all over the world was an opportunity that arose from a failure. Dr. Spencer Silver was attempting to create a super sticky and powerful adhesive and failed. He didn’t throw away this creation; he sought a new use. (Read more of the story on Wikipedia)
“Moving toward an opportunity will open up more opportunities”
- You able to see new things from this new perspective
- You might meet new people
- You create greater opportunity to learn something new
Your journey can open the door, for a opportunity you may not of seen, thought about, or knew about. You may meet someone who has an opportunity for you just as Jhaqueil did. The key is to begin moving toward an opportunity.
Tell us of a time you were pursuing an opportunity and had a different/better opportunity open up?Read More
I want you to picture a football or soccer field. Picture yourself as one of the 22 players dressed in their team uniforms. The stands are filled with SCREAMING, face–painted fanatics. The game is about ready to begin. You have butterflies in your stomach, and are looking for a place to throw-up. The energy is palpable!!!
Now, take away the end zones or goals. There is no way to score points in this game.
- How hard are you going to play if there is no goal?
- Would you spend hours practicing to get better?
- How many people will pay to watch this game?
- How is that energy now?
Most likely several of the players will stand around talking, a few kicking the ball. It doesn’t matter what direction your team or you go in. There isn’t a marker, target, or goal to get to. “Who cares?”
Have you set goals in your Life?
Successful people sit down on a regular basis and decide what their end zone looks like. They determine a direction. They determine what success looks like in their life. Then they move toward it in a purposeful way.
Successful People have a goal
- Goals give us a direction to move towards.
- Goals allow us to lay out the steps to success in our life.
- Goals that serve others will bring finances into our pockets
- Goals will energize and motivate us.
Proactive vs Reactive
Maybe you have been milling around without a goal. You have been just floating through life reacting to circumstances. Goals give us basic parameters, for how to respond when surprises come our way. People without goals are often just hoping for the best. With goals we are planning for the best.
Stop Blaming your Past Failures
Maybe your bad decisions in the past are holding you back. The great news is your past does not determine your future. No matter what stage of life or what past failures look like. You can lay out a plan for what your future can look like. You can choose to have a better tomorrow.
“Your past does not determine your future”
Failure is an event not a person. Often we learn the most from our failures. If we will just learn the lessons and not allow the lessons to imprison us. Your failures position you for future successes.
So tell us, what does your future look like?