Archives For December 2015

Warning: my potential controversial opinion to follow…

When Trump first started the campaign, he was nothing more than one of those annoying little yappy dogs who always had something to prove. He ran his campaign like a reality show and his media-savvy meant his campaign wasn’t as short-lived as I expected.

Now Trump has grown from a little yappy dog to one of those big, scary dogs you avoid when walking your neighborhood. He has the potential to be very dangerous as his rhetoric worsens and his base strengthens. He has nothing to lose and speaks to a base that’s more comfortable with what America used to be than what it will be.

I found two really good quotes that help explain or even confirm my fears. The first is from Ayn Rand:

Every dictator is a mystic, and every mystic is a potential dictator. A mystic craves obedience from men, not their agreement. He wants them to surrender their consciousness to his assertions, his edicts, his wishes, his whims—as his consciousness is surrendered to theirs. He wants to deal with men by means of faith and force—he finds no satisfaction in their consent if he must earn it by means of facts and reason. Reason is the enemy he dreads and, simultaneously, considers precarious; reason, to him, is a means of deception; he feels that men possess some power more potent than reason—and only their causeless belief or their forced obedience can give him a sense of security, a proof that he has gained control of the mystic endowment he lacked. His lust is to command, not to convince: conviction requires an act of independence and rests on the absolute of an objective reality. What he seeks is power over reality and over men’s means of perceiving it, their mind, the power to interpose his will between existence and consciousness, as if, by agreeing to fake the reality he orders them to fake, men would, in fact, create it.

He is creating the reality he wants and getting many others to buy in. He’s reinforcing antiquated beliefs that should’ve died out last generation. He’s feeding fear and not dealing in reason.

Another great quote that helps explain why trump is popular is from the original definer of capitalism, Adam Smith:

Through capitalism we gain, but we also lose.  The loss, Smith felt, was felt most among the lowest classes – his particular example was employees in a pin factory – whose cramped place in the chain of production leaves no room for the enlargement of the mind and spirit, which the freedom of commercial society should open up.  It was especially worrisome to Smith, because “in free countries, where the safety of government depends very much upon the favorable judgment which the people may form of its conduct,” a mass of ignorant, culturally degraded citizens easily becomes an immense drag on the system.  They become easy prey to demagogues and applaud every attempt to undermine the foundations of that “natural liberty” which they have enjoyed the first place.

I had to look up the full definition of demagogue before appreciating the quote:

a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

synonyms: rabble-rouser, agitator, political agitator, soapbox orator, firebrand, fomenter, provocateur

Nailed it! Okay, I’ll get back to talking about personal finance and BREAK FREE topics now!

Ayn Rand Inspiration for 2016

December 27, 2015 — 1 Comment

If you’re not familiar with Ayn Rand, I’m writing a post that will come out in a few weeks with my full biased review and explanation of her philosophies. I’ve had quite a cycle starting with an obsession with her philosophies and going “all in” on her objectivism, to then disagreeing with most of her stances, to now being a bit more neutral and pulling some things I like and discarding the rest.

Regardless of my own cyclical thoughts and tendencies, the fact remains there’s a lot of merit in her writing and philosophies and she has some really great quotes. With quotes from Rand’s powerful book Atlas Shrugged, I wish you a prosperous 2016!

I’ll start with my favorite quote of Rand’s that continues to drive my quest for a BREAK FREE lifestyle

“What greater wealth is there than to own your own life and to spend it on growing?”

This really drives my interaction with work and money along with my desire to create a lifestyle where I get to focus on my wife and my visions – and not spend it all working in a job I may not want. However, to get to this point, you have to realize the system we live in and avoid things like this

“A viler evil than to murder a man is to sell him suicide as an act of virtue”

I equate “suicide” in this quote with giving up your life for the profit of someone else. Work is necessary to get to where you want to go:

“there’s no such thing as a lousy job – only lousy men who don’t care to do it”

However, dedicating your entire life to a job you hate because you need to pay the bills on a bunch of crap you don’t need is the suicide. But you can take control of your money and think about how you can pursue the things you want to pursue.

“Thought is a weapon one uses in order to act.  Thought is the tool by which one makes a choice.  Thought sets one’s purpose and the way to reach it”

Think. Act. Make the decision to live the life you want to live. Don’t be another cog in the wheel, unless of course you want to.

“this is what they want of me, this is where they want me – neither living nor dead, neither thinking nor insane, but just a chunk of pulp that screams with fear, to be shaped by them as they please, they who have no shape of their own.”

No matter where you have to start, just start.

“Do not say that you’re afraid to trust your mind because you know so little.  Are you safer in surrendering to mystics and discarding the little that you know?  Live and act within the limit of your knowledge an keep expanding it to the limit of your life.  Accept the fact that your mind is fallible, but becoming mindless will not make you infallible – that an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error.”

Know your life is incredibly valuable

“to live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life:  reason – purpose – self-esteem.  Reason, as his only tool of knowledge – purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve – Self-esteem, as his inviolated certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means:  is worthy of living.”

You have the potential

“Every man is free to rise as far as he’s able or willing, but it’s only the degree to which he thinks that determines the degree to which he’ll rise.”

And if you haven’t already, find the why

“the desire not to be anything, is the desire not to be”

Because in the end,

“What greater wealth is there than to own your own life and to spend it on growing?”

Yes, I’m one of those guys. I’m fully bought in on Apple products and too plugged into the “ecosystem” to escape anytime soon. I’m also one of those people who love to save money and shudder at the thought of throwing down $850 on a new phone, or worse yet, signing up for their new phone leasing program with unlimited monthly payments.

But I have to admit, I almost did the lease plan just because I wanted to pretend I wasn’t actually spending that much on a phone… but then…

I found a deal for a $650 credit when buying a new iPhone!!

As always, there’s a catch… and this one comes with a new credit card in your name. I’m largely over my absolute distaste of credit cards which was largely taught by Dave Ramsey, but I still only use them for the benefits and pay them off each month. That said, let’s get to the deal!

Here’s the plan:

  • Sign up for the citi AT&T “access more” credit card
  • Charge $2,000 within three months
  • Buy a new iPhone from AT&T with no contract
  • Maintain service for 15 days
  • Receive your $650 credit!

Here’s the catch:

  • Pay the annual fee of $95
  • Sign up for (or keep) AT&T service for at least 15 days

As long as you satisfy the requirements and play by smart credit card rules, you can get a $650 credit for the $95 fee! After I have the card for 10 months or so, I’ll probably cancel it just so it’s no longer alive. If you don’t have AT&T, you will have to open an account ($45 activation fee) and probably pay two months for phone service (~$90) before you could cancel and keep the phone. You can also get AT&T to unlock the phone… but basically this is the easiest if you already have AT&T.

I got the card today and will start the process shortly to replace my wife’s shattered-faced iPhone 5. I’ll update you after I get through the full process of ordering the new phone, activating, and getting my rebate. If you’re interested, check out this post which gets much more into the details.

You can apply for the card here. If I was smart and ambitious, I’d figure out how to get a commission for clicks, but I’m not, so rest assured I’m only recommending this because I like you.