ASK JAMES: MEET GOOD PEOPLE, THE ECONOMY, OCCUPY THE UNIVERSE, WAKING UP SCARED, AND MORE

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Every Thursday from 3:30-4:30 EST I do a Q&A about anything in the Universe. People ask me about stuff ranging from the economy, to dating, to stocks, to who is the best superhero, to why am I so amazingly handsome but never was a male supermodel? I take some of the questions and give more expanded answers on a post that I put up either the next day or on Saturday.

Next Thursday I have to give a talk in Scottsdale, AZ so will miss the Q&A but will be back in form the week after. As I mention at the end of this post, I’m really grateful to anyone who asks questions. It gives me stuff to think about, it makes my life better,  and I hope it’s a little bit helpful.

THE ECONOMY

@billtheimpaler asks “What makes you so optimistic about the economy?”

ANSWER:  There’s really two answers to this: personal and public. The personal side is “why should you and I be optimistic right now about finding opportunity”.

Right now, with everyone so pessimistic, is the best time to be optimistic. There’s $1.6 trillion extra dollars lying around in the banks. Corporate America has an extra $2 trillion and there’s untold trillions in pension funds, retirement accounts, etc that are completely in cash. ALL of that money will eventually hit the economy. Any business started now that is halfway good will get their hands on that money.

“Getting that money” is the equivalent of “the Olympics”.

You can’t just hold your hand out and get an Olympic gold medal. You have to get in shape. You have to start coming up with ideas. You have to get rid of the crappy people in your life. You have to plan your exit from your corporate job which sucks 10 hours of life (and 50% of your money via taxes) out of you each day. You have to have gratitude for your health and for the loving people around you.

Then you have to start coming up with ideas. What do 76mm retiring baby boomers need? What do 750 million people on Facebook need? What do hundreds of thousands of returning veterans need? And so on. Find the demographic trend, any of them, and feed it. You will get paid for that.

(these baby boomers need our HELP!)

But on a more public level: what makes me an optimist?

–          Rail traffic is up! What does this mean? It means people are shipping commodities all over the country. Steel, oil, food, etc. Which means companies are about to start building things, which means companies are seeing demand pick up so they are getting ready to restock inventories, which are at lows. This indicator is almost never talked about in the media outlets. All they talk about is a beach resort in Europe called Greece which has nothing to do with us.

–          Hotel occupancy is up. What does this mean? It means business people are traveling again. They are traveling because they are selling something. They don’t travel to sell without companies asking for those sales, putting out proposal requests, etc. Things are moving.

–          Look at the statistics for fedex.com (using a site like compete.com). It’s up. It slipped a little when manufacturing dropped 15% in the summer in Japan because of the Earthquake but now it’s back up. This means things are being shipped. Goods are being sold. This doesn’t mean the economic statistics will be good for last quarter. It means it will be good for NEXT quarter.

–          Housing starts up huge. HUGE. The biggest since 2006. That means people will get hired again to BUILD houses. That’s a huge part of our economy.

–          Earnings are killing it. Intel is the bellwether for all technology. Technology has driven the market (for better or for worse) for fifteen years. Intel is killing it. This means people are buying computers and phones. Which means businesses are expanding. AAPL, one of the fastest growing companies, trades for just 8 times forward earnings and has $116 billion cash in the banks. These companies aren’t going bankrupt and demand is not going down for their products.

And let’s forget all about the basic economic statistics. Google is making cars that drive around on highways without drivers. MIT scientists are working on quantum computers. Every day there’s more evidence on how to diagnose and cure various cancers.

(this Google-made car has no driver)

We are a smart country, filled with innovators, and nobody comes even close. Sure, maybe China will get close to us by 2050 but that just means they will become our customers instead of just some random country selling us cheap goods.

Don’t be a pessimist and hold a sign up and get angry. The time for opportunity is here. Start planning for it.

You can say, “Well, what about the Eurozone?”

Let me tell you something about Greece:

Greece has only survived by the grace of its good friends since 40 BC. Julius Caesar supported it, other countries supported it, all the way through Ronald Reagan who supported it because of his terror of the Soviet Union. Since then, the Eurozone has supported it. So everyone since 40 BC has known that Greece is what it is: a beach resort on the Mediterranean. Nothing more, nothing less. They won’t make the next Google. And maybe they’ll pay down their debt, maybe not. And then China will support it. Who knows? But their issues, which have been known for 2000 years, will not bother us one bit.

Wow,that was a big answer. It’s almost a post by itself. I’m going to get some seaweed crackers before continuing onto the next questions.

 

HOW TO SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE

@kjepeneter asks: After I fix myself, how do I find others who are also “fixed”?

ANSWER:  The question is really asking: I’m healthy – now I want to meet other people who are healthy. Healthy not just physically but emotionally and in other ways.

The  answer is that you don’t have worry: when you are the beacon of light in the gray storm, the other boats that have survived will naturally come to you. This is a law of the universe. Like attracts like is a cliché because it works.

I have “met” better friends through this blog than just about through any other means in my life. For me, I wasn’t ready to meet good friends until recently. Now I am. And when you are ready, things happen.

What about a girlfriend, does it hold for that also?

Yes it does. The way I was able to meet the love of my life was when I made a conscious decision to be emotionally healthy: not get obsessed over anyone, not try too quickly for sex, not drink alcohol, but find someone who I really liked/loved and thought would be a good partner for the rest of my life. Someone who I could not only kiss but eventually die with.

More seaweed crackers now. I’m obsessed with these things. I can even hear Claudia doing yoga upstairs. But I don’t think seaweed is heavy enough for disqualifying me from doing yoga. I’ll catch up to her later.

IS IT TOO LATE TO ESCAPE FROM CORPORATE AMERICA OR AM I STUCK?

@GoldenStLiberty asks: Is it ever too late to escape from Corporate America? Even for a serious career change?

ANSWER: Absolutely not. In fact, if you are asking that question then you already know the answer.

Here’s the thing about “Corporate America”

–          Your boss usually sucks and someone eventually stabs you in the back. It’’s inevitable.

–          Fluorescent lights

(why are fluorescent lights so annoying?)

–          50% of your income is taxed

–          Between commuting and working its usually a 10-11 hour a day process

–          Your mind and creative abilities start to atrophy. And maybe you get out of shape.

–          And its NOT SAFE. We used to think that Corporate America met safe, rising jobs, promotions, salaries, life savings, etc. 2008 showed us that was all a lie. Heck, 100,000 people lost their life savings when GM went bust. GM was the most solid company in the world 20 years ago. So don’t count on any corporation to tuck you in bed at night and sing you a lullaby. Corporate America is not Mary Poppins, it’s the Exorcist.

So if you even have a semblance of desire to get out of it, you must start planning your exit. You don’t have to do it in a day. But set the forces in motion:

–          Start coming up with ideas about what else you can do. It might mean multiple streams of income  instead of just one. It might mean freelance. But get your idea muscle in motion. You need to exercise it because it ALREADY atrophied. 10 ideas a day for six months and write down what all the next steps of each idea are. Eventually you will be an idea machine. The corporation will get scared because they will see it on you. This has happened to me. They will keep promoting you and raising your salary because they will be afraid to lose you. But they have already lost you.

–          Wow, that was a big bullet point. I need another bullet point here just to point that out.

–          If you have to, get ready to downsize. You don’t need to live in NYC, forinstance, if you’re not going to be working at the big bank anymore. And cash is king. Don’t buy a house. Save your cash.

–          My own experience: I left corporate America working as a programmer at HBO in order to build a company making websites. It was brutal at first (see link). Then a few years later I had a job offer at a huge investment bank. NO WAY SUCKERS! I turned that down so I could have a miserable few years daytrading for hedge funds until I built Stockpickr.com. Not every day of “life on your own” will be a happy one. But the challenges will be different and you will be your own boss. And you might go broke. Who cares! At least you know you can do it again and again. Not everytime you have sex there are fireworks right over your house. But you still go back the next day and beg and plead for more (oh wait, maybe that’s just me).

[See also, “10 Reasons You Need to Quit Your Job Right Now“]

 

OCCUPY THE UNIVERSE PROTESTORS: FOR OR AGAINST?

@StealthAviator asks: “What’s up with the Wall St. protestors and now that it’s gone global? What is their objective?”

I answer this, more or less, every week. BUT, I’m going to be more definitive this week.

The Wall St Protestors are ANGRY. They are so angry it hurts. Let me tell you an example.

A good friend of mine has a credit score of 817. Which means he’s not only returned every penny he ever owed he probably gave the lenders even more money and said, “hey, go have a big party or something. I’m paying for it.” I’ve never even met someone with that credit score. To be honest, before I spoke to him (yesterday) I thought the top score was 800. But he says he has 817 so I believe him. He also made 300k last year. He wants to buy a house for 500k and put 30 or 40% down.

GUESS WHAT? THE BANKS WON’T LEND TO HIM

–          The banks have $1.6 trillion in cash

(there is a ton of cash in this economy)

–          The banks CEOs took home about a trillion in bonuses since the bailout.

And yet they won’t give my hardworking friend a loan so he can live in a house with his wife and three kids.

And that’s the cream of the crop. There are a thousand stories of foreclosures, layoffs, etc that are much worse. So people are angry. I get it.

But nothing the protestors do are going to change the banks. It’s like all the people who protested the Vietnam War at the Democratic Convention in 1968. Guess what! You won. Nixon got elected. You were protesting the wrong thing at the wrong place and towards the wrong people to get what you wanted accomplished.

The banks want to make money. They want to lend to people.

I can go two ways from here: personal or public.

I’ll do public first:

–          The Fed needs to stop PAYING THE BANKS to hold onto money. The Fed was so paranoid that the banks were going to lose all of their money that they started paying the banks 0.25% to hold onto their reserves. Why would the banks lend that out? The Fed should just get out of the way. Btw, the Fed is located in Washington DC.

–          Why did we give any bailouts without some restrictions on executive compensation. Btw, Congress and the President are in Washington DC.

–          There are 6mm private small businesses in the US. Instead of randomly printing money and giving it to the defense industry ($3 TRILLION already spent in Iraq and Afghanistan – two countries I still can’t find on a map if you had a gun to my head) why not do one single little stimulus that incentivizes each of these 6mm small businesses to hire one more person. BAM! Unemployment solved.

And now, more importantly, the personal:

–          Why are you so angry? Corporate America has ALWAYS SUCKED. Think how much better it is now than a century or so ago before child labor laws. Women garmentos would go on fire and the bosses would keep them locked in until everyone died. Children would work 80 hours a week for pennies. HECK, WE HAD SLAVES.

–          If you want to walk comfortably, you can’t cover the entire  world with leather. YOU PUT ON SNEAKERS.

–          Get my post out: The Nine Ways to Succeed (which really should becalled “TheNine Obstacles to Success”) and start following them. Start being grateful for what you have. Start being the smartest person in the room.

–          Plug all your leaks. Anger, even if justified, is a leak. I get scared also. I’m scared every day. I don’t want the world to end. I want to have opportunity for myself also, and my daughters, and their daughters. But that means I have to work at it. The banks will never give it to me. Eventually a boom will come again, like it always does, and the banks will throw money at all of us. But first, let’s get ready to take it and this time, let’s not lose it.

So what about those big CEOs who took the bailout money? Should they be put in jail? Who knows. Why did Washington DC give them that money? I don’t know anything. I’m only worried about what’s in my pocket right now. I don’t care about Obama(other than that I think we should Abolish the Presidency) and I don’t care about Lloyd Blankfein (other than that he didn’t return my email several years ago but that’s another story). I worry about what’s in my pocket, not yours and I trust will consistently do the wrong thing, like they always have.

WHO IS MY FAVORITE SUPERHERO?

@lakergod who is your favorite super hero and why?

ANSWER: Dr. Strange, of course. Not only is he the Sorcerer Supreme but he cleans up on women. I mean, look at Clea. And he has magical powers that can basically do anything: teleport, create exotic food fishes, heal people. He can also astral project, something  I’ve wanted to do since I was 12.

(Dr. Strange and Clea)

And he’s got a guy named Wong who is a master or martial arts  who is his assistant.

WHAT DID I DO TO MAKE MONEY AFTER I WENT BROKE?

@ScottEPowers asks: what did you do to make $ after you went broke?

ANSWER: Several things:

–          I downsized. I had to sell my house. I SEVERELY downsized. I went from a 4500 square foot penthouse to a 1400 square foot house 70 miles north and I cut my expenses by 75%

–          I had to get in shape. I worked out every day, I emotionally stopped dealing with people who were dragging me down, I made lists of ideas EVERY DAY, and I either meditated or read from various spiritiual or inspirational texts each day. I knew it was going to be a tough battle to climb back up so I did everything I could to prepare.

–          I immediately started writing about finance to generate income. Within a few months I had a book deal and I was writing for thestreet.comand The Financial Times.

–          I was daytrading and that was doing well back then (2002-5). I don’t think daytrading is practical now but it was then.

–          I started trading for hedge funds, then I started helping people sell their companies, then I started a fund of hedge funds.

–          Then I started stockpickr.com which I sold to thestreet.com. There was a six year period where nobody was paying my salary and I had to hustle for every dollar. But that proved to me that no matter how bad the economy gets, if you’re the one eyed man (the optimist) in the land of the blind (the pessimists) then you will find the ways to make money even if we are in a Depression.

BEST FICTION EVER

@importgenius asks: “I read non-fiction voraciously but want to read some more fiction. What novels could you recommend most highly?”

I used to be like that. But then I realized that most non-fiction writers have zero writing skills so it’s hard to actually get through one of their books. I really like fiction writers that have strong autobiographical voices so I can learn from not only their stories but the strength and quality of their literary voices. I’ve written about some of these before but I’ll add some more:

“Ham on Rye” by Charles Bukowski is THE novel of the 20th Century in my opinion.

“Jesus’ Son” by Denis Johnson is the best collection of short stories.

[See. “6 Things I Learned from Charles Bukowsi”]

“No one belongs here more than you” by Miranda July

“ Anything by Raymond Carver.

“Whores for Gloria” by Willliam Vollmann (or Rainbow Stories by him)

“I never liked you anyway”  a graphic novel by Chester Brown.

Start with those and you’ve started with the best fiction on the planet in history (in my opinion)

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU WAKE UP ANXIOUS?

@ScottVanEpps asks: I wake up every morning and am positive for about 30 seconds and then the tick list of everything negative creeps in, suggestion?

ANSWER: I do this also. Here’s what I do:

–          Label each thought: “useful”, “not useful”. Try to do that for as long as you can. I recommend this in “The Power of Negative Thinking”. You’ll find that a lot of those negative thoughts are “not useful” and you move on quickly. In fact, I just realized this second I was thinking of a not useful angry thought about something someone had sent me an email (usually the ones closest to you are the ones that know how to push your buttons) and I had to do the “not useful” thing a few times before continuing this answer.

–          Understand that most things you’ve ever worried about, didn’t come true. I’ve worried about stuff for the past 15 years at 3 in the morning. Almost everything I ever worried about didn’t come true, or had a solution long before it became a problem. If you stay in shape, do the daily practice, you’ll be able to fight the problems long before they come to fruitition.

–          Assume the worst case scenario. What happens then? Really picture it. I know it’sbad. But you’ll survive and move on. Sometimes the worst cases scenario is unimaginable. But if it doesn’t involve our own death, we usually can figure it out and move on and we’ll still laugh at a funny movie and the best we can to the people around us if they will still have us. And if they don’t, then we go on to new adventures.

[See, “I Woke  up Scared and Angry Today”]

 

DO I EVER SIMPLIFY COMPLEX IDEAS WHEN I WRITE POSTS?

@iAspin asks: “good afternoon Sir. Do ya ever struggle to simplify & structure complex ideas when writing books? What steps do u go thru?”

Yes, every single thing I right. In my last book, most of my ideas in the second half come from texts I’ve read that were written over 2000 years ago. I totally plagiarize them. But they are texts that have withstood the test of time and I know, when written with modern examples and modern language, that they will still resonate and people will still find Truth in how they can apply these principles in their own lives.

But if I were to just cut and paste them, they wouldn’t be useful at all. So I run them through the filter of what’s happened to me in my own life and how I’ve used these principles and it becomes much more accessible.

 

WHAT IS MY FAVORITE CHAPTER IN MY LATEST BOOK?

 

@ClaudiaYoga asks: “What is the favorite chapter in your last book?” [Here is the book. Or click above image. Or read this post to see special promotion I’m giving away with this book.]

Ok, she’s being sneaky. She’s my wife. Bad CLAUDIA! Now you force me to self-promote. And I even heard your giggling while you were typing that tweet so you AREN’T FOOLING ANYONE.

But it’s a good question. She knows people will think my book might be just a collection of blog posts and she wants me to always describe how it’s different.

In my blog I constantly recommend “The Daily Practice” to pick yourself up when you find yourself on the floor and are having trouble getting up and started again. IN this book, in the chapter, “What is True Happiness and Success” I provide a lot of modifications to that practice that’s not anywhere on the blog. Also, in the introduction I provide an overriding arc which suggests that the first step in success is acknowledging how much we’ve been brainwashed, who has brainwashed us, how do we get over the brainwashing, and then from there what are the steps needed to be truly happy with our lives. I think these are useful chapters. At least, they have been for me. As I say in the conclusion, “Don’t believe me. Try these things for yourself.” And then see what happens.

 

Next week I have to give a talk on Thursday in Scottsdale, Arizona. So no twitter Q&A but I’m back the week after. I really enjoy doing this. I’m really really grateful to anyone who asks a question. It makes me think and I hope it’s a little helpful.

 

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  • http://www.szelhamos.com TheAcsMan

    James, your very fortunate. You shouldn’t “scold” Claudia for helping to promote your book.

    I wish that my wife, whom I lovingly refer to as “Sugar Momma” would be as supportive of my re-invention efforts. When I asked her to pose for the photo in my blog entry How My Wife’s Bra Saved Us Money she declined. Not just with words, but with one of those looks that you know has the word “moron” in it.

    Can you believe it? I had to go to the internet to get a photo, instead. SOme nameless person adorning Sugar Momma’s story

    When I asked her to read my book to get an idea of how a person with no interest or background in stocks would react, she put it down after a couple of chapters. She barely got past the point in my life that cockaroaches helped me to discover a cash hoarde. Never even got to the charts and tables.

    You’re a fortunate guy. “Nice CLAUDIA”

  • http://www.parmcharm.com karen parmelee

    Bravo, James & twitter questioners! Your posts, not just the Q&A, always make me feel more “one-eyed” or at least, *justify* my one-eyed take on most things. Thank you; feels so good to have the confidence to be a happy one-eyed lackey.

  • http://736hundred.tumblr.com/ 736hundred

    Here’s a story about Chase bank…..and a small change.

    Three months ago they started charging our business account a fee.  No notification, or if there was it was in small print not a call from our business banker.  I went it ask why, and if they planned to continue and they said “yep, that’s our new policy. There nothing we can do to change it.”

    Yesterday, I went to Chase bank to rearrange my accounts so that there would be zero fees, this entailed closing two of four accounts.  The Business banker wasn’t there.  I was told all my accounts are now free ( no one let me know this prior to my visit). Additionally they said they would erase the old fees.

    I explained that I had already spent my time opening new accounts at a local bank.  I left without closing my accounts, ( I will close them next week) but I was an unsatisfied client.  Just like I was three months ago. 

    In less that one hour the Chase business banker was on the phone trying to save my business. 

    From “tough luck” to calling and almost begging me to stay with them.  Huge difference.  We have been with them since 2007 – first call EVER.
    _______
    Unlike you James I think OWS is making a difference. I do not believe that their protest is in vain.  I believe it is raising awareness, and engaging people from all walks to learn more about the corporate power in our country. And it is educating people on choices regarding money where we save it and where we spend it.

    I will admit I see a serious disdain for OWS form my conservative relatives, and my ultra rich relatives.  I wonder why do they even care?  They all boast about there F-U money and belittle people who have fallen on hard times. Why does OWS bother them so much? 

    And I would like to add, many in the protest do put their own shoes on and are employed. It’s a misconception that all these people all unemployed.
    ______

    I am finished with this subject here.   Carry on.

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ltbjn2yzwb1r08rzho1_400.png

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I tihnk YOU made the difference by wanting to close your accounts. If everyone wants the banks to change then customers can walk and shareholders can walk and that will cause real change. That’s what you did and it works.

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        My other point in this post is that the government should’ve had more responsibility in how the TARP money was used and the OWS protestors should be a little more aimed at that. If TARP was used to give one trillion to the banks how come people with an 800 credit score can’t borrow any money. Something went wrong, some policy was off, something wasn’t well thought out. That needs to be now communicated to the government.

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          I have no sympathy at all for either the Republicans or Democrats who set policies in motion that allowed all of this to happen. $3 trillion in wars, another 2 trillion in bailouts, lowering standards on Fannie Mae, changing FASB rules right when housing prices started to fall, and then allowing huge CEO compensations and then firings while we were bailing people out. It was all a travesty. But the #OWS guys are just in the wrong location. Its like protesting in a desert.

        • Matt

          You know how the money could have been given directly to the people?  Don’t take it from them in the first place.

          The problem with taxes is that no matter how the money is spent, it is still a tax.  The government does not have any money to spend, so they must take it from productive people in order to spend it.  They do this by tax, by borrowing (which eventually will be paid with taxes) or through inflation.  
          People who are unaware of how to avoid inflation (or don’t know it exists) and taxes (most of the middle class) end up paying for this with a lower standard of living.  The poor have even less chance of avoiding it.  Sure they don’t pay taxes, but inflation will bury them so really no difference.

          Arguing about what a the government does with the money it has taken from productive parts of society is not the correct argument.

          I know this is one of the things you would say we can do nothing about and thus shouldn’t worry about.  But it is one thing to ignore a problem and another to be completely unaware of it’s existence.  There comes a time when you must pay attention to that nagging pain in your knee and see a doctor.  There is a time when you have to pay attention to the way we are being deceived every day by our government.

          The people of OWS are right to be angry.  All Americans should be angry at what’s happening.  It’s just difficult sometime to find the right direction to point this anger.  Tea Partiers blame government and OWS blame the banks.  They are two heads of the same beast.

          • Mike Periboob

            When you say “Arguing about what a the government does with the money it has taken
            from productive parts of society is not the correct argument.” It sounds as if you do not consider the government a “productive” organization.

            I regret that that the government is not more efficient, but I am pretty sure that without government efforts and, yes taxes, we would have no military, no police departments, no highways, no schools, no speed limits, no traffic lights, and no Internet. These elements may not be what you call “productive”, but without them, the productive, capitalist, society would be a pretty sad place.

  • Guest

    Best blog post yet.

  • Macwild

    James,

    Isn’t the concern with Greece that banks own all sorts of complicated credit default swaps that will cause them to owe trillons of dollars if the country defaults on its bond obligations?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      The good thing is is that US banks have little exposure to any debt or banks that have Greek obligations. This is difference from 1981 where our top 5 largest banks were 260% exposed to the South American nations that defaulted and yet we had a 20 year stock market boom after that.

  • xo .

    Thanks again James. I started the daily practice a while ago in various stages and wanted to share my experience, particularly from the spiritual and gratitude aspects.

    Today was the first time that I kissed my father good night as an adult and thanked him for everything that he has done.  Our relationship had been estranged for many years, and it became easier to hide the emotion beneath an apathetic mask than to be honest. After a while, the years catch up and old age cuts short precious time. 

    I was by his side as he lay dying in hospital, touching and stroking him the whole time. Although there were many other things that could have been said, I was happy to to simply let him know he was loved.

  • http://www.bradentalbot.com Braden Talbot

    Saying we’re in a boom because consumption is up and the Fed has dumped trillions to the banks is incredibly short-sighted and economically ignorant. Yes, there’s still a lot of innovation and opportunity. But we were in an inflationary, onerconsuming boom 5 years ago too. It dosn’t amount to prosperity. It’s a continuation of the housing boom and will end badly for a lot of people.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I’m saying that you PERSONALLY could be in a boom if you take advantage of the opportunities out there. That is more important to me then any pundit theorizing that takes place on TV.

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        I guess i’m also saying that it is better that rail traffic is up than that it’s down. All economic theory aside, I’d rather things be up than down.

      • http://www.bradentalbot.com Braden Talbot

        Agreed. Your own boom is limited to your own creativity and drive.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OTAZAD4MZMGPRHWPEMAVGJULV4 Q

      We are in a government debt-fueled boom. You can’t deny that it’s something you should take advantage of, as after this debt binge the depression will inevitably come and wouldn’t having a nice cash hoarde help you then? Hate the game, not the player.

  • http://twitter.com/abbymaries Abby Marie

    as usual, I started reading your post, got my mind going and I wrote a “chapter” for a “book” then came back and finished your post almost an hour later. I have a question for your next Q&A and will write it here so I don’t forget. how do I walk the line of cultivating my ideas for future ventures while employed full-time? For example the “chapter” I just wrote could easily be ferreted out by current coworkers who would maybe not be too happy… I want to post it on my blog anyway. bad idea?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      No, in fact, best to be as expansive as possible. Advertising who you really are (entrepreneurial, creative, thinking of things in a bigger way than just the four corporate walls) will only better serve you in whatever workplace you are in. As long as the chapter isn’t specifically hurting anyone you work with. Don’t be afraid, though, that it takes you out of your comfort zone a little bit.

  • http://www.goldenstateliberty.com GSL

    Appreciate the expanded response to my question. I’m working on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607318 Vladimir Zykov

    There is so much more to the Occupy movement than anger and fear. In fact, the emotional range that I’ve encountered in my experiences with it is actually very positive.

    – Gratitude to the thousands of people who are putting their bodies at risk to create change that would benefit me and almost everyone I know
    – An increased feeling of safety as someone whose concerns are no longer marginal to the political conversation
    – Happiness that others who are suffering in silence because they are unemployed and indebted will not be as isolated, as invisible, as trapped, as they were before
    – Inspiration by the fact that right now, in the world I live in, there exist people who think they can change that world. People who, despite not being born to wealth or power, fully believe that they have a say in what human civilization should be. This is nothing short of a miracle.
    – feeling the dead parts of me — the ones that have come to accept that the best I could ever do is to have my own atomic happiness as a fortified, deaf/mute island fortress — washed away
    – profound hope that the absurd farce of inhuman extremes of poverty and wealth that we’ve come to take for granted is not forever and is not the only way things can be

    Come to think of it, my physical health has actually improved since the Occupy movement began. I no longer have chest pains. Seriously. Who has chest pains in their late 20s!? Maybe Mohamed Bouazizi did.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I’m not saying its “bad”. I’m just saying it’s in the wrong spot. If we want change, and we do, then let’s get to the source.

      • Julian

        It’s clear for everybody that the spot is just a convenient symbol, because “the source” is spread in glass buildings all over the world. Also a clever columnist in Montreal wrote that the apparent chaos and lack of clear message is actually a good thing, because it shows that it is not organized by a particular political group. The protest itself is the message. “We are angry. People in charge, figure out why and fix it now. Or else”.

        In fact most of these people benefited from bad policies in the past. They (and the government) could buy real estate and stuff with a HUGE hidden cost (same goes for Greece). Now that the hidden cost is showing its ugly face, it’s obvious that the risk was greater than thought, and too many people (and companies, and governments) spent way beyond what they could afford. And it’s now known that the information they had to make their decisions at the time was 1. incomplete, 2. biased, 3. ignored anyway. When rating agencies wake up, it’s always too late. People were misinformed AND careless.

        And that’s not what makes people angry.

        What pisses off the average working/middle-class pawn is that they now have to bear the full cost of those errors, while the high castes in charge at the time who took bad risks, made bad errors, and told people bullshit knowing it was bullshit, those high castes individuals are getting away with it. Not only that, but most of them found ways to get richer in the process. To the point some of them feel bad for their high caste peers and say “uh maybe we could be taxed a little bit more if it may help to buy the peace?”

        Which is to say some are getting scared.

        The 99% is the real tea party. They are fed up with “taxation” that makes the riches richer (e.g. rising healthcare costs, rising bank fees, rising housing costs, rising “education” costs, rising insurance costs, losing their investments to the profit of speculative traders, taxes to pay the bailout). And the total lack of decency, compassion, responsibility, ethics and even morals that some of the upper-class individuals still exhibit.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607318 Vladimir Zykov

        Yes, it’s very important to get to the source! If you look at something like the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 — or the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 — publicly elected officials enabled this to happen, but they were lobbied by the financial industry to do it, and it’s the financial industry that directly benefitted. That last piece of deregulation almost singlehandedly brought food insecurity back to a lot the developing world.

        Government is already at least somewhat accountable to the people. It’s time to bring public accountability to financial institutions as well (which will, in turn, put pressure on government to remember who its constituents are). And while a lot of those institutions are uptown now, say “Wall Street” to anyone in the world and they’ll know what you mean. And that’s important.

        I am sympathetic to people working on Wall Street who lost their jobs. Or who still have their jobs. They do not deserve to be singled out and vilified. But if there had not been a bubble in the financial industry, their lives might be different now too.

        And not everything that’s come out of the financial industry is “bad.” Microfinance in the developing world, for example, has genuinely lifted many people out of poverty. The availability of startup capital to companies whose business models create positive externalities makes the world a better place. But there are a lot of bad players whose actions have had tremendous negative externalities, and they should have a role in the remediation of those externalities.

        I don’t mean to hector you about this. Or to say things that might be obvious to both of us. I hope this thread lands more in the “food-for-thought” category than the “angry troll” category.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607318 Vladimir Zykov

        oops, there _were_ paragraph breaks in there before…

  • pjc

    That’s a wild story about your friend with 300K income and 200K to put down who can’t get a mortgage.

    I had a similar experience a few years back. 

    Screwed up banks! They won’t loan to people who can prove they don’t need the loan! Which means they won’t loan to anyone, I guess.

  • Jewel

    Hi James,
    Is the talk in Scottsdale opened to the public?  The subject? 

  • Anonymous

    You must now write about Lloyd Blankfein.

    And thank you for writing about Greece. The news makes it seem like it is going to explode and the after effects will make me and my children homeless. I had no real perspective. Knowing their economy is the size of Rhode Island is comforting (to me…maybe not to the Greeks).

  • http://twitter.com/purvirajani Purvi Rajani

    Another great post. I’ve been doing a a kind of half-assed version of the Daily Practice for a few months now. Even with the limited application, I am starting to notice big differences. Certainly, the health and exercise are key but the emotional and spiritual advice given in your blog and your books are helpful too. I haven’t done any of the idea generation stuff yet and intend to start this week. I read your new book last week and felt inspired. If you get a chance to expand on how you approach idea generation, it would be much appreciated. 

    Thanks again for your words of wisdom. I recommend your books and blog every chance I get.

  • 95096340923

    “Yes, every single thing I [write].” Just pointing it out because you and your blog are too awesome to have a silly error like this. Unless it was intentional.

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  • indirectexchange

    Hello James, I read your book “I Was Blind But Now I See,” you seem to be very honest and sincere, which is great. I’m always looking for revolutionary ideas–that’s why I read. A dear friend  of my mind told me at the age of 40 (62 now) that WOMEN DON”T LIKE SEX!!! I had to learn this on the “street” not from the science of Psychology–what a joke! One of the biggest keys to life if your a male. BTW, I call it the “Ho” theory in honor of my dear friend who had the mind and maturity to figure it out. He should win the Nobel. Your thoughts, James?

    Thanks so much, indirect exchange