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What Turns Your Dial?

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Fear Dial


Fear Starts Out Simple

The emotion of fear is a gradient scale that starts at simple, garden variety “worry”, at the lowest level and goes up to a high level of terror.  At the highest levels of fear the body will literally shut down.   The emotion of fear is built-in to the body from a long time back as a survival mechanism (the fight-or-flight response).  If you have a mental fear the body will respond.  Any real or imagined threat to survival can produce this response.  However, possibly having less money (which is a survival point in the current society) is not likely to cause death.  But many people will get a mental and physical reaction to being laid off, fired or receiving less money that is not much different than if life itself was about to end.

If there was ever a question about stock market prices ever being based on anything other than greed and fear that question had to have been answered in the past two days.  Oh-my-god-congress-didn’t-pass-the-bailout-bill-sell-everything.  Good-news-it-looks-like-they-will-work-it-out-my-stock-is-valuable-again.

Good grief.

This isn’t the end.  The four horseman are not mounted and riding – I make that statement fully realizing that folks wearing suits who are on TV or work for the Federal Government are saying this is the worst possible situation.  Blah, blah, blah.  In case you missed it over at Bloodhoundblog, see this for a good laugh.

This is only about money.  Money that was spent by people who didn’t earn it and who didn’t have it.  One of the primary laws of finance is that income must be greater than outgo.  Sounds simple.  So simple it is routinely ignored:  by individuals, companies and governments.  The United States is the richest, most powerful nation on the face of the earth.  More so than any nation has ever been in all of recorded history – even Rome, when all roads lead there.  And yet, our country – with all of it’s riches and all of it’s resources has been spending more than it has been earning.  The current “meltdown” is just the house of cards that was there all along, falling down.  You can’t lose what you didn’t have.  We haven’t “lost something” so much as we discovered we didn’t have something.  To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s statement on democracy, the bailout is the worst possible solution, except for all the others.

No Bailout Means a Depression?

Some say if we don’t do the bailout we could have a depression.  Not a recession, a depression.  Truth is we could have a giant recession or even a depression if we do the bailout.  And I’m writing this to make you feel better.  It is just money.  That’s all, money.  No matter what happens, it isn’t the end of life as we know it.  You want to survive.  Me too.  A simple way to accurately predict how a person will behave or fare in the future is to look at their past pattern.  How did they do before?  How do they tend to handle things?  Do they tend to screw things up no matter what?  Or do they tend to land on their feet – always finding some way to make things go right?  That is always the ultimate test of any being: The ability to MAKE things go right.  Not “are things right?  The ability to make them right.  Don’t you usually do just that?  So what makes this all that different?  The suits from the government and TV yip yapping about this mess like they know what they are talking about?  If they knew what they are talking about we wouldn’t have this mess.

Survival of Man

No no.  It isn’t that I have faith in the people “fixing” this – it is that I have real faith and confidence in man’s survival drive – your survival drive.   Something really bad?  September 11th, 2001, New York City.  Yet, here we are.  If you insist on having something awful to worry about at least have the good sense to move it off of the subject of money.  Money does not equal life.  Worry about (I’m not really wanting you to do this!) World War III.  This small little planet is composed of an anarchy of nations armed with nuclear warheads.  Potential mid-east conflicts alone could bring about the end of life as we know it.  If you must concentrate on “something awful” – use that one.  But let me suggest, if you have managed to make it through the past few weeks without losing sleep over that one – skip the bailout, as well.

The question, what turns your dial isn’t nearly as important as who.  Who turns your dial?  And hopefully, the answer to that question – at least most of the time – is you.

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at nohasslelisting.com and number1homeagent.com.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Bob

    October 1, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Well done Russell.

  2. Paula Henry

    October 1, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Russell – What happens around us is not near as important as how we react to it. When it comes to money,though, it changes people; for better or worse.

  3. Tina McAllister

    October 1, 2008 at 9:52 am

    wow, how timely! I just posted this morning on my blog about how the current economy does not scare me…and how I won’t accept the fear that seems to be infecting people like a plague. Great post!!

  4. James Bridges

    October 1, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Russell,

    Wonderful points to share. Our coach is fond of saying “control your fear”. Letting fear take over can certainly ruin confidence and affect your business, so we must be bold and control our fears. 🙂

  5. Teresa Boardman

    October 1, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I have been thinking a lot about the economy and the current state of affairs. I have some strong opinions on how we got into this mess and how we should get out. The idea of the bail out frightens me.

    As for me I am a survivor and never worry about the future becasue I always figure out what to do and I go out and do it. My survival instinct is strong and always has been. I know I can support myself and any members of my family that get laid off. I have done it before and I can do it again.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?

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NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<

#CarsonHUD

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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.

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Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

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The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.

#JobOpenings

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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.

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Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.

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Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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