Success Sells

A favorite read of mine is The Pessimist blog, and this week they have a very interesting philosophical statement, which is nothing says Success like selling your “secrets of success” . The heart of the concept is that being over-confident in your own skills makes you seem much more successful (according to Forbes, the Kardashian effect). If you are a shameless self-promoter and over confident you will be successful (or at least appear to be successful).

Success ?

After reading over many different posts lately for a lot of reasons (not just for the Carnival of Personal Finance), I tend to agree with the concept that: Shtick seems to overrule Skill™.

I realize that most Leaders have a degree of Chutzpah or Brashness in them, but the number of “get rich quick” schemes out there clearly out strips the money to be made from them (except for the person selling the Get Rich Quick scheme).

So the implication seems to be that you:

  1. Claim to be a financial Success
  2. Create a “methodology” about how you became “successful”
  3. Whore, shill, and sell this until the cows come home (with the correct legaleze disclaiming any claims that it actually works)
  4. Wait for the money to roll in
  5. Success!

Success is the result of this function, not the catalyst. Stay tuned I’ll need to start marketing: The BCM Make a Million Bucks as a Personal Finance Blogger™.

 

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I read that platitude on another website and at first thought the post about it was quite good, arguing that the statement was an impossibility ( if it is unforgivable how can you forgive it?), but then I started wondering about the format of the statement and know that I have seen this form of gibberish before:

{Important Life Verb} is _____ing the Un____able

I guess this was a precursor in the writing world to Twitter (i.e. getting an inane point down in 144 characters or less) (remember to follow the Big Cajun Man Twitter Feed).

Pyromania is burning the unburnable!

I then started thinking of how you could fit this innocuous format into a financial format and came up with some quite vapid phrases that you can feel free to use on your friends:

Saving is NOT spending the unspendable

This one is actually quite logical, since the unspendable is money you don’t have, or money you should not spend! The opposite of that might be:

Debt is spending the unspendable

Seems pretty clear and also true.

Profit is selling the unsellable

I have some salesman friends who believe that is where they make the most of their money, selling the things that others thought were unsellable.

Hoarding is valuing the invaluable

Had to change it a little to be grammatically correct, however, that is really how hoarding starts for lots of folks, valuing stuff that really has no value to you (any more).

Investing is believing the unbelievable

For me a lot of the time, buying some of the more interesting stocks has meant I have believe something I should have not believed (i.e. Nortel), oh well. This is much less the case if you do passive investing techniques.

Blogging is writing the unreadable

Now this comment I have heard about many sites (including this one), whether it is true, I will leave with you gentle reader.

Any that I might have missed? I invite you good reader to add your platitude that fits the above format (maybe with a short explanation).

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Pay Day Loans the Crack Cocaine of Personal Finances

I said it! I meant it! Pay Day Loans are predatory short term, high interest rate loans designed to entrap their customers in a financial death spiral.

Yup, if you look down the side of this post, you will find ads for Payday Loans, for that I apologize, I need to look into Adsense on how to turn those off, but yes, Pay Day Loans are the Financial Equivalent of Crack to your finances.

I have no idea how Crack feels, and I do not wish to ever learn (I have much the same view on Pay Day Loans too), however, prevailing opinions is that Crack is highly addictive, and it’s high diminishes over time so you have to use it more but you still don’t ever reach that initial high, much like a Pay Day Loan. Pay Day Loans are highly financially addictive, and once you start using them, your financial well-being goes down hill quickly, and they are hard to kick as a habit.

Pay Day loans are modern day loan sharks

Modern Day Loan Sharks

Why am I bitching about this still? Where I live in Ottawa is a relatively affluent area (although it does have a food bank), but it has more than a few Cheque Cashing/Pay Day Loan “stores”. All I can ask is What the Hell is Going on?

Interest rates are ridiculously low and these places are spreading faster than the black death in the middle ages, what happens when interest rates start going up? There are more regulations on these places, but I just don’t understand why there are so damn many of them.

Please feel free to comment on this (any comments about how I am a hypocrite for having ads on my site for these parasites, expect a colourful reply, but take your arguments to Google for allowing them to advertise) topic, and any insight as to why they are multiplying in a Fibonacci sequence would be helpful too.

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Are Canadians Financially Stupid?

An interesting comment was left on my post yesterday about Instant Income Tax Refund systems, which made the bold statement, “…the average Canadian is stupid about money…”, and I don’t think I like or agree with that statement.

While I have berated folks for using Pay Day Loans, Carrying Credit Card Debt, and various other “financial running with scissors”-type issues, I hope I haven’t made my readers feel “stupid”.

I believe that Canadians have many different issues with their money, and I might describe them as:

  • All Those Who Agree I have a Hat for You too!

    All Those Who Agree I have a Hat for You too!

    Naive, would be a good adjective, since a lot of folks I have met, really don’t know much about the “science of money”.  What worries me is that they don’t want to know or learn about what they don’t know. You wouldn’t do this if you had a major disease, would you?

  • Mad Cap, or Whimsical, given that this generation (or at least the one behind me) really can’t remember the bad days of the 70’s and 80’s when interest rates for loans were over 20%. There is a naive belief that interest rates of 4-5% is actually high, and I can assure you, this is very much not the case (from a man who’s first mortgage interest rate was 12% for 5 years and it was a good rate (for a while)).
  • Indiscreet, I have been told a lot of really personal financial information by a lot of folks, and more than once I have told them that divulging this information to an acquaintance might not be a very good idea.
  • Uneducated, that really sums it up nicely. Many Canadians just have not taken the time to read, or learn about the “science of money”. I think high schools really should teach more about money, because the financial parasites try to catch folks very early.

I hope that if I have used the word “stupid”, folks have not taken it to heart. Think of it more of an aggravated utterance by a friendly teacher (yes, I am not friendly and I am a crappy teacher, but you can see where I might be coming from). I don’t think my readers are “stupid”, but if you are doing those things that I constantly rant about, you really need to get Educated!

Are Canadians financially stupid?


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No One Complained (Hear no evil)

In Ottawa we are having a bit of a brew haha (maybe even a hulabalu) about OCTranspo (the bus system) and their latest set of optimizations to their routes. Mayor Jim Watson (who I hear looks a lot like me) has said he really has only received about 100 complaints, which seems remarkably low (given everybody I know who takes the bus has complained about it to me). I think the Mayor may have poked the bear on this one, and he may receive a few more complaints thanks to his comments.

I have noticed that no Bank CEO has stood up and made provactive statements like:

  • I only have about 100 complaints about our bank’s service charges
  • Our credit card’s interest rate policy is never complained about by our customers
  • I feel my bonus package for the coming year does not compensate me sufficiently given the good work I am doing for our customers

Yes, I am being very facetious about this, but making the general statement,“… because I have not heard much complaining the system must be just fine…” is really a red flag in front of a bull. The banks public relations gurus carefully train their public faces to not talk about things like bank fees directly, because they know that folks hate them, and pretty much nothing a CEO says can put the fees into a better light (aside from saying, we are abolishing our fee structure, in favour of a no-fee structure).

The hear no evil concept doesn’t work well for a lot of things (financially):

  • I haven’t received a credit card bill lately, so it must mean I don’t owe any money. I really think that is a dangerous game to play.
  • My wife and I don’t talk about money issues, which must mean she is happy with how things are working. Really?
  • I’m saving a lot of money by not replacing my roof and it doesn’t seem to be causing my house any problems.

Just because you don’t hear about trouble, doesn’t mean it’s not happening, maybe it’s just being very, very quiet.

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