Overcoming Fear
to Thrive in the Current
Downward Economic Cycle

(Part 3 – December 31, 2008)

Creating and Implementing A Wealth-Building Plan During The Current Economy

As we enter 2009, the economic realities of the new year will begin to unfold – with a new President in the U.S., reduced gas prices, and “hope” for better times ahead.

We are living through what is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime situation right now. It’s once-in-a-lifetime for many reasons, so we must know those reasons, be prepared for any direction our economy and financial future may take, and capitalize on some of the tremendous opportunities available right now - and which could become even greater as the reality unfolds. These opportunities will make some people very wealthy. Will you be one of those people?

I sure hope so. To make it more likely, though, you must not be afraid to take action.

So make sure you read the first two parts of this financial “happiness” series - if you haven’t already - to get a foundation for what comes next, here in Part 3.

- To read Part 1 ... click here
- To read Part 2 ... click here.

From the first two parts of this series, you understand a bit about how managing fear plays a major role in our ability to get through these financially tough times as painlessly as possible (Part 1). You also have several tools and strategies to make sure the basics of financial stability are addressed for each of us (Part 2).

Yes, Parts 1 and 2 can help you BeHappy! by overcoming fear and helping to stabilize your financial situation.

Now, here in Part 3, we can really start to get excited – and become happier – especially if your definition of happiness is partly financial. That’s because it’s not focused on the fundamentals, such as money management, sacrifice, debt and emotions like in Parts 1 and 2; but rather on making money – perhaps even getting wealthy – during the current economic turmoil.

Please remember, though – this is not a financial website. It’s a happiness website. And this "economy" series is here to make those of you happier who either (a) have a financial or wealth component to your definition of happiness; (b) are living in fear right now because of the financial stress you are under as a result of the economic realities we are facing (which makes you unhappy); and/or (c) are not prepared for what might happen in the economy - which could make you unhappy in the future.

It’s important to realize that every generation faces some variation of this type of "crisis". And with this type of crisis, there are many examples of people in every generation who get wealthy in the process.

Why?

Because they were not afraid to take advantage of the situation. They created a plan. They took action to implement their plan (including some risks), and did what Parts 1 and 2 of this series are all about. That is, they had a vision, were not paralyzed by fear, and perhaps sacrificed somewhat in the short-term to make sure they created wealth for the future.

So assuming you have a vision, can manage your fears, and are willing to sacrifice a bit if necessary for the next year or so – and yes, take some risks - then make the decision right now to take control of your financial future, get resourceful, and take action.

Admittedly, this part of the BeHappy! financial series will not be for everyone. Some people will still have limiting beliefs about what can "realistically" be accomplished, especially if finances are at a critical level right now. The truth, however, is that there is always a way. There are countless examples where fortunes have been made by people who were living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and even by people who had no paycheck (and no money). Again, it just takes the ability to overcome fear, create a plan, be resourceful, and take action - regardless of your financial situation. Also, I agree with whoever said, "nothing great was ever accomplished by a realistic person".

The Direction of the Economy

What will we see in 2009 economically? What about in 2010, 2011, and 2012? Obviously, none of us knows. So we must be prepared for anything.

Some are saying we’ll be getting out of the current recession by the end of 2009 and others are saying we'll be going into a deep depression by that time, which could last several years. The book pictured here is by Harry Dent (release date January 2009) – who years ago predicted the current economic downturn and is now predicting a prolonged economic “Great Depression” until at least 2013. You may want to get this book and read it.

"Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst"

But who is right?

Again – nobody knows.

We all hope it’s the former - and that by this time next year we will be back to the "good times" (or at least well on our way). But what if it isn’t? What if Harry Dent is right - and the economy is even more negative at the end of 2009 than it is today?

Are you prepared? If not, what can each of us do to get prepared? And as the objective of this month’s article states, what can we do to get wealthy – even if we enter a true depression?

Extra Cash: This is the cash you have available to you – over and above what you need for your regular expenses during the next six to twelve months – either in actual cash (for example, money in a bank) or in liquid assets (like real estate equity, art, a non-essential car, or other asset of some value that can be turned into cash within 3-4 months)
As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, the basic concept in this environment for being prepared – and for getting wealthy – is ... cash is king. Those who have some extra cash will have the best opportunities for creating wealth during this economic cycle (see the meaning of extra cash in the box to the right).

Why?

Because in an economic downturn, when many people are forced to “sell” (mostly at bargain prices) – those people with extra cash can “buy” – at those great, bargain prices (or even better).

And we’re talking about buying things like:

- real estate
- stocks
- businesses
- precious metals
- commodities (even oil at today's prices)

So if you have the extra cash, these are the things you should be researching immediately to see if some are right for you to start buying now or in the near future. And it’s important for you to start taking action immediately. Don’t wait. Start gaining the knowledge required. Do the research. Study those who have done it in the past. Understand the risks. Know your desired outcome. See Section “A” below for some specific examples of what to do if you have the cash.

If you don’t have the extra cash, however, you can either decide to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and do nothing (which I don’t recommend) or be proactive to get that extra cash (see Section “B” below for 3 ways to take advantage of the opportunities - even with little or no cash).

If you do these things, you could be setting yourself up to be one of the wealthy people of the future - as we eventually get out of this economic downturn, whether in the short-term or the long-term.

A. If You Have Extra Cash

With some extra cash (as defined above), there are many ways to get rich in the current economy – especially if it gets worse and becomes a prolonged “Depression” as predicted by Harry Dent.

Real Estate: Real estate is one of the most proven opportunities and has created significant wealth for many people in the past. And we all know how real estate has come down in value over the past couple of years. The big questions are (1) where is the bottom? (which nobody can really predict) and (2) how long will it take to appreciate in value?

You need to be able to answer both questions for yourself and – if you can live with the answers – buy some real estate at the appropriate time. Because of the uncertainty in the economy, it is best to buy real estate that provides immediate positive cash flow. With some of the deals out there - with many more likely coming - this is certainly possible.

Stocks: It’s the same with stocks. Many have come down significantly in price. According to Harry Dent, we are still far from the bottom (in both real estate and stocks). But again, nobody knows. If you are prepared to sit through the possibility of a continued decline and can hold for a prolonged period, it could be very lucrative. To be as conservative as possible, you could start with solid companies that pay a dividend (for cash flow). This is what some of the experts are recommending.

Oil: Similarly, some of the other opportunities mentioned previously could be explored as wealth-building strategies. Oil, for example, has come down in price from over $140 per barrel to below $40 per barrel. It is possible it could go back up (Harry Dent says it will hit new highs by 2010, predicting it will be between $170 and $200 per barrel). Could you take action to capitalize on this possibility? Many people will – and will make a fortune if it happens. Could this be you?

Businesses: Could you buy a business – especially one in an area of passion for you – to take advantage of bargain-basement prices? There are many businesses struggling right now. Some business owners are being forced to sell or go bankrupt because of economic conditions. And it is clear from the past that those businesses who survive through a significant recession (and especially through a depression) become leaders in their industries for decades to come (and make their owners very wealthy).

I saw an interview recently with Robert Kiyosaki (The well-known author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad). He says he is buying now. He is buying real estate, stocks, and businesses - all at what he believes to be at "bargain" prices, and most with immediate positive cash flow.

Personally, we are doing the same - while remaining somewhat cautious in case Harry Dent is right. We have bought a business in California and are in the process of growing it since business deals are very attractive right now and because we intend to be a leader in the industry once the economy turns positive. We are looking at various real estate opportunities – especially those with positive cash flow. And, we have begun to invest in oil (there are several ways to do this).

Almost everyone has some extra cash because of the reduced price of gas. Think about it. Six months ago gas prices were around $4.00 per gallon in the U.S. For the average driver, that’s an expense of between $2,600 and $3,000 per year. Now, with gas prices around $1.65 per gallon, the average driver will spend between $1,100 and $1,300 per year. That means you have an extra $1,500 - $1,700 per year to invest (since that cash won’t be going to pay for gas). Don’t “blow it”. Use this extra cash to take advantage of investment opportunities to get rich. You will BeHappy! you did.
The point is - there are significant opportunities created when the economy is down, like it is now. And it could get worse before it gets better. If you take advantage of some of the opportunities, you could get very rich – and it’s easiest if you have the extra cash to capitalize on the opportunities quickly.

In all these cases, again, it's important to do the research. You may even want to consult a financial advisor if necessary.

B. If You Don’t Have Extra Cash

Now, if you do not have the extra cash, a different strategy must be employed. For example, here are three ways to take advantage of the opportunities coming available right now if you don’t have the extra cash:

1. Borrowing (the least attractive - highest risk method)
2. Non-cash opportunities (the quickest but most difficult to implement method)
3. Income supplements or builders (the slowest but least risky method)

Let’s explore each of these three strategies:

Borrowing: As mentioned above, this is the highest risk strategy and should only be employed under special circumstances.

Obviously, borrowing money increases your debt load; which can cause significant financial stress – especially if your investment opportunity goes bad (which is always a possibility). I know people who are in this situation and it’s not pretty.

But, if you are very confident in the ability of an investment opportunity to either (a) generate immediate positive cash flow (enough to service the debt load) or (b) be turned around very quickly for a profit, then this could be a way to go. Again, though, only under special circumstances would this be an advisable course of action since debt is dangerous.

If you have a mortgage on your home, make sure to look into refinancing your loan since interest rates are very low right now. This could be another way for you to (a) reduce expenses and/or (b) create some extra cash.
There are certainly many examples, however, of investors and entrepreneurs who borrowed – even on credit cards – and became multi-millionaires. If they had sat on the sidelines and not tried, they would probably still be broke today.

Study these people and these stories before you consider using this method. It is a high risk strategy. So consider – and reconsider – all your options and the specific opportunities.

Non-Cash Opportunities: If you don’t want to borrow to take advantage of the opportunities available (which is understandable), there are some opportunities which require little or no cash.

The most common (and perhaps most well-known) of these opportunities is “no money down” real estate investing. There are many ways to do this – and just as many people prepared to teach you how to do it.

Robert Allen – a proclaimed self-made real estate millionaire - claims to have made his fortune buying real estate, mostly for no money down. He has a complete program claiming to teach anyone how to do it, too. If you are interested, look him up and research it.

Again, like other types of real estate investing, it is a proven way to buy property. Many people have done it. And some people have created significant wealth by doing it. Like most other things, though, you need the knowledge, the commitment, and the drive to take action.

Aside from real estate, there are a few other ways to get into value-creating assets with no cash (and without having to borrow). In very bad times – like it could get over the next year – there are business owners who would “walk away” for little or no money, just to stop from losing more money.

This could be something to consider. You could even partner with someone to pull this off.

Which brings up another strategy: if you have no extra cash but have some time and knowledge or expertise, you could partner with someone you know who does have some extra cash, but no time or knowledge about a particular investment or business opportunity. This could create a win-win situation for both of you by teaming up to achieve your wealth objectives.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking – and acting – on the possible once-in-a-lifetime situation we are in right now.

Income Supplements or Builders: This is one of the least risky methods for taking advantage of the opportunities which are becoming available to generate wealth in the next couple of years. It is also possibly the slowest method. It will likely take at least a year before you are generating the extra cash to be able to divert to investment opportunities.

But, if the economy continues to be negative – and especially if we enter a more prolonged Depression (as Harry Dent predicts will happen) then (a) you’ll BeHappy! you’re generating the extra income and (b) there will be even better opportunities to get rich a year or two from now - once you have the extra cash. Because if you work at it, it is almost certain you will make money.

Network Marketing

I have mentioned in previous parts of this series and in other areas of this website that Network Marketing is one of the wealth-building waves of the future. And it’s even more true right now – with people losing jobs everyday.

Many people – including me and some of my friends – are beginning to take advantage of the wealth-building, residual (passive) income realities of this proven business opportunity. It’s important to (a) understand the business first (as it contrasts with a “pyramid scheme” – as some wrongly believe it is) and (b) make sure to align with a reputable, solid company that will be here over the long-term. We believe we have found that company.

You can expect this method to take anywhere from six to twelve months to start generating a significant income, but if you’re serious about it – and work at it for at least 10-15 hours per week - you can be making $2,500 - $10,000 every month within this period of time. It will usually cost about $500 to start this type of business – but the returns can be incredible. You can use the money you will save over the next several months from reduced gas prices to get started (see the box above about gas prices and extra cash).

Infopreneuring

I have also discussed Infopreneuring as a means to generate extra cash. This is also a proven system. Unlike network marketing, though, this is generally not something already set up for you, but rather something you must create – essentially from scratch (like I’ve done with this website).

You need to create a concept, learn how to implement the website and monetize it, then take the time to create the content. It can be started for as little as a couple hundred dollars (which is what it cost me for this site). I use a company called SBI (Site Build It), which I recommend highly.

If you do this, though, you can be making $3,000 – $6,000 per month within 6-12 months, $6,000 - $15,000 per month within 2-3 years, and much more within 4-5 years (I know of one guy who is making over $700,000 per year with his website after just 4-5 years).

Summary

So, to summarize (since there is a lot here and it’s a long article), remember:

- Nobody knows how this economy will unfold
- We all need to focus on the best scenario but be prepared for the worst
- Every generation faces this kind of “crisis”
- People are not rewarded for proportionate effort, so we can't necessarily work harder to get through it
- There are many opportunities to take advantage of what happens next. This requires the following:

  1. Make a decision to take control of your own life and destiny
  2. Get resourceful – face (and overcome) your fear
  3. Create a vision beyond right now
  4. Develop a proven plan
  5. Take massive action – implement the plan (this requires taking risks)
  6. Focus on the positive scenario, but be prepared for the worst

Look at the people who have succeeded in the past - including during recessions and depressions. Use the resources listed at the bottom of this article as a start. The opportunities to succeed have not disappeared. It just takes creativity, a plan, and action. Whatever you focus on becomes real. And the first action you take may not work – just don’t give up. Change your approach. Team up with someone or with a group of people who can work together to achieve the desired result.

In the new paradigm of business, wealth, and the economy, people do not get rewarded for proportionate effort. This has been evolving for years. If they did, teachers and doctors would be making more money than actors and athletes.

With this fact, though, you and I have the opportunity to take advantage of what happens next in this economic turmoil.

Because ultimately - the quality of your life (and your happiness) is not about circumstances. It’s about what you focus on, and what you do about those circumstances. So focus on what you want. Do something about it. Take action.

If you do, you will likely be BeHappy! you did. You might just become one of those people others study many decades from now when they face the same “financial crisis” we’re facing today because you became rich during this potential once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Be prepared. And...

BeHappy! my friends

Click here to go to Part Four of this series

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Resources:

Harry Dent (economic forecast – book: The Great Depression Ahead)
Robert Kiyosaki (income, investing, real estate – book: Rich Dad, Poor Dad)
Robert Allen (no money down real estate opportunities and multiple streams of income)
John Beck – (tax foreclosure real estate system)
MarketAmerica (income - network marketing opportunity)

Websites (income, infopreneuring):

www.sitesell.com - Site Build It (infopreneuring website builder)
www.stevepavlina.com (personal development website)
www.iwant2makemoney.biz (internet money making site)

NOTE: All of the resources listed are ones I have personally used and find useful. I obviously cannot guarantee anyone’s success with these methods.





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