Friday, December 6, 2013

Financial Myths

I am really enjoying reading Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying your Prosperity by Garrett B. Gunderson. There are way too many good quotes to provide all of them in just one blog, but the following should give a pretty good idea of the themes of this book. The basic premise is that most of our beliefs regarding the path to financial security are just dead wrong.

Here are a few excerpts:

"Rather than believing in the myth of throwing money into investment accounts and hoping that it will realize a return after a long waiting period, we can utilize our assets to immediately provide as much value for as many people as possible. Utilization means we stop waiting for financial freedom to come to us and instead become proactive in creating it ourselves, right now."

The author states that the interests of financial institutions that manage our wealth may be very different from our own interests. We need to be aware that what drives financial institutions are the following:
  1. "Financial institutions want our money.
  2. They want it on a regular, systematic basis (preferably through automatic withdrawal).
  3. Once they have our money, they want to hold on to it for as long as possible....
  4. If they have to give it back, they want to give back as little as possible."
"Banks operate under completely opposite rules than do most individuals, and they rely on that fact to stay profitable. While individuals are  accumulating and hoarding, banks are utilizing the money we give them in far more productive and profitable ways. While individuals are hoping for a 10 percent annual return, banks are mitigating their risk to near zero and guaranteeing themselves healthy double- and sometimes even triple-digit returns....."

In other words, banks use other people's money to invest in more profitable activities that individuals are taught to be too "risky" or "complicated" for their own personal finance. "Meanwhile, our production is decimated...based on a [faulty] construct of scarcity and is a recipe for fear-based hoarding."

"Where did the belief arise that the purpose of our existence is to scrimp and save for thirty years, then spend the next twenty in scarcity, afraid that we're going to lose all that we accumulated or jost outlive our resources? Why do we buy into this kind of thinking? Why do we think that this is financial freedom?"

The author proposes instead that it is "far more productive to base our investment and planning for the future on our Soul Purpose and human life value than our minimum requirements or our tolerance for risk." In other words, creating value to others and knowing how to create value are the recipes for true prosperity and happiness.

"The accumulation theory fundamentally requires an abdication of responsibility. It requires people to stop thinking, to accept social norms and cliches unquestioningly, and to quietly consent to their lot in life while allowing external circumstances to dictate their success, all in the name of financial security. Yet the way to provide for security is to cultivate the ability to produce value in the world under any set of circumstances. The way for you to get what you want is to give others what they want; to make yourself valuable to others...."

More great quotes from this provocative and informative book in a future blog. In the mean time,

Happy Investing!

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