Discover the Wealth Within You
No author, not even a best-selling one, would be so bold as to tell his readers that they are going to love his new book. That would be arrogant, self-centered and egotistical. So, no, I would never say you will love this book.
You're going to love half of it.
I just don't know whether you will love the first half or the second half. What I do know is that you'll prefer one much more than the other -- and that you need both halves.
The first half - which is really less than 50% of the total, but who's counting -- shows you how to choose fun, enriching and rewarding goals, and then reveals how to achieve those goals.
The second half is a detailed exploration of investing -- showing you how to choose the mutual funds that can best help your goals become reality. Asset allocation, portfolio modeling and the like can be rather dull, so we'll instead talk about baking a cake. With luck, the analogy will make the topic easier for you to, uh, digest (sorry).
Like I said, you're probably going to like one half more than the other. You might find goal setting to be fun, inspiring and motivational, and mutual fund analysis to be drudgery. But you might just as easily love the detail you'll find in the second half. This is as true for readers who have never bought a mutual fund as it is for those who regard investing as a hobby.
Although you'll favor one half over the other, both are critically important. Without goals, you can't invest effectively. And if you don't invest effectively, you won't achieve your goals. That's why this book contains both halves -- it's really two different books -- and why I urge you to devote your attention to the half you're enjoying least (because that's the part you probably need most).
As you turn the pages, you'll discover that the secret to attaining wealth is not found in the business section of the daily newspaper. It's not revealed on financial talk shows, and it's not in your rich uncle's will. No, the secret to attaining wealth is in the one place you haven't looked. You'll discover that all the wealth you could ever want is already within your grasp. So come along and discover...the wealth within you.
Chapter 1: Does the Cabbie Know Where You Want to Go?
Have you ever gotten into a cab but refused to tell the driver where you want to go? Of course not. The whole point of hailing a cab is to have the driver help you get to your destination. You tell him your goal, and the cabbie both develops the plan for getting you there and implements it for you.
Financial planning operates the same way. Thus, if you don't have goals, the planning effort is as pointless as asking a cabbie to drive you around town, with no destination in mind.
I bet you can tell me what surveys reveal are the top three reasons people save money. They are:
- To buy a home
- To pay for college
- To afford a comfortable retirement
If you were to expand this list, you could add:
- wedding costs
- major medical expenses
- capital expenses, such as a car
- elder care costs
- celebrations, such as a couple's 50th anniversary
- and ultimately, leaving your money to your kids and/or other heirs
Each of the above is a common reason why people save and invest. Each requires or constitutes a set of goals. And when combined, each fits into an overall financial plan.
But one thing bothers me about this entire list. And I imagine it bothers you, too. You know what the problem is?
Simple: The entire list is boring.
I mean, really boring. Yeah, I'll grow up. Buy a car. Get married. Have kids. Pay for college. Maybe foot the bill for a wedding or two. Retire. Wither away in some old-age home. Die.
And to make this even more fun, I'm supposed to pay some financial planner to tell me I can't afford it.
There's more to life than this, isn't there? Tell me there is! Please!
Yes, there is much more to life than obligation and responsibility. There is also personal fulfillment and happiness. In fact, it's partly why our nation was founded.
In the Declaration of Independence, the founders of our nation recognized our right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."The pursuit of happiness
The document doesn't say anything about financial planning.
This is what makes the United States of America the greatest nation on earth. If anyone ever disputed that notion, no one has dared do so since September 11, 2001. On that day, our lives changed forever. At some point - was it days? weeks? I can't remember -- I began wondering if this book's message would still be valid. So, I reread my manuscript, and discovered that you still need the message this book offers you, and that perhaps you need to hear this message even more so than before that horrible day.
That's because this book is all about setting and achieving goals. More than ever, you need to focus on your future. But as you read, you'll see that my emphasis on goal-setting is of a personal, and in many cases, materialistic nature. And in the aftermath of September 11, I suspect that many of us will have replaced many such goals with different, more fundamental ones. Where in the past goals might have pertained to beach houses, fancy cars and exotic vacations, people increasingly are considering goals that involve their communities, charities and families. All of this is healthy, and as you'll see as you read on, it is entirely consistent with my message.
Life is about the future. And our future is bright, thanks to the incredible foresight of our nation's founders. So, let's return to our nation's roots -- and begin our journey, a journey in the pursuit of happiness...