What’s Your Backup Plan?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

There was a commercial on the radio where a banker called for a man and his young son answered. The kid told the banker his dad had gone fishing. He bragged, “My dad is the world’s greatest fisherman. And neat, too!” The banker was intrigued. “Neat?” “Yep! Every time he comes home the fish are neatly wrapped in white paper just like they do at the fish store!”

I was never that creative when I went fishing. We’d get back to the dock, open the cooler, and take out the few fish we’d caught. If my wife commented about how small they were, I had a standard reply. “They must have shrunk in the ice.” Hey, it’s physics … I don’t make the rules.

Whether you call it creativity, forward thinking, or just plain lying, there’s something to be said for having a backup plan. Things won’t always go according to plan, so there’s nothing wrong with making sure there’s a seafood market on the way home. And make sure it’s open.

In my early twenties, a business owner introduced me to a word I’d never used before – diversify. In simple terms, it means not putting all your eggs in one basket. Of course, yesterday that was the name of the game as kids around the world ran around picking up brightly colored eggs. At least those are boiled. If you drop the whole basket, all they do is crack.

But when it comes to life and finances, it’s not always that simple. Find a stock that’s performing well and sink all your money into that one stock. As long as it keeps growing, you’ll make money. But what happens if the company goes under or the product suddenly becomes obsolete? Then you’re left holding a stack of worthless paper.

It works that way in the job market as well. You get an education, find a great job, and settle back into a life of relative comfort. Well, as comfortable as work can be. But having been on the receiving end of a few “restructuring initiatives” (that’s what they call it when they send you home), it’s a lot more comfortable having a job than not having one.

But life happens. And whether you’re talking about employment or the stock market or pretty much anything besides dating and marriage, it’s good to be invested in more than one thing just in case something falls through. In this day and age, you can pretty much count on it. And according to a guy named Murphy, it’ll always happen at the worst possible time.

Now, I’m not a real fan of Murphy, and to be honest, I’m not even sure he’s a real person. But Murphy’s Law is well-known to most of us: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment.” It’s a little pessimistic for my taste, but reality says we need to be prepared for those times when things don’t go as planned.

If you’re an investor, it means spreading your money around a bit. Sure, focus on the one that is making you the most money today, but always be on the looking for something additional. In the job market, it means keeping your resume up to date and networking with others in your profession just in case.

And unless you’ve reached a point where you could retire today with no additional sources of income, diversification is even more critical. The days of company-funded retirement are long gone. Social Security appears to be relatively safe for now, but who knows what the future holds? And if you think your 401(k) is safe, we need to talk.

The closer you get to retirement age, the less time you’ll have to recover from an unexpected scenario that wipes out or drastically reduces your income. Success in the stock market is a long-term strategy. And retirement plans go bankrupt just like anything else. Could you withstand a shock this late in the game? Most of us can’t.

And if you’re younger, that’s both good and bad. You have more time to get ready for retirement, but you’re also that much more likely to be called into HR with unpleasant news at some point. That’s not a reflection on you, but on employment in general. Job security isn’t what it used to be, and that’s not likely to change in our favor.

Bad things happen when we least expect it. Having a backup plan can make the difference between survival and bankruptcy. What’s your plan? Could you implement it on a moment’s notice? Or would it take a little time?

Diversification is insurance against disaster. It doesn’t mean you’ll never feel the pain of income loss, but it can certainly minimize that pain. Do it right, and you can match or even exceed your current income. Then your biggest problem is where to spend it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Have to Wait if You Get Started Now

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Okay, I realize that for most of you it’s afternoon. It’s only 9:30 here. It’s not my fault Arizona decided to start the day so late compared to everybody else. Well, unless you live west of here. My workday starts at 5 AM. I don’t care where you’re from, that’s early. On the other hand, I get to knock off at 2 and head to the pool. So, there’s that.

As I look around, I’m surrounded by what was once a dream. Living in an RV, surrounded by palm trees, mountains, and a clear blue sky, and everybody who walks past either waves or stops to talk. Stress exists, but on a distant planet. You know, somewhere outside the front gate. This is what we’ve dreamed of. Well, except the scorpions.

People ask sometimes if it’s hard living in such a small space and moving from one location to another. I guess that depends on how you look at it. The view out our front window right now is awesome, and we can change it any time we want. Having the ability to move means you’re never stuck with the local weather. Don’t like snow? Head south!

For us, it was all part of the dream. Getting out and seeing the country (even west Texas), chasing the sunshine, sampling the local cuisine, and meeting new people every day. So far, most of that has come to pass. Okay, as it turns out, there’s still a Burger King on every corner, so I’m not completely convinced there’s any such thing as local cuisine. But we try.

Should we have waited a few more years instead of doing this now? Maybe. My bank statement could make a financial analyst cringe, but this was our dream, not theirs. And there’s something to be said for doing things like this before you’re too old to enjoy them. Okay, that ship already sailed, but you get the point. We’re not getting any younger. It was now or never.

We always think there will be plenty of time to chase our dreams, and that our financial situation will somehow be a lot better later in life. Well, ask somebody who’s made it past 50 how well that worked out. Sure, we may make a little more money, but expenses pretty well keep up. And your health doesn’t care what you had planned. It has plans of its own.

That doesn’t mean you just chuck it all and start living the dream. Depending on your situation, that can be a quick way to make the dream come to a premature end with little to no hope of ever reviving it. On the other hand, we see a lot of young couples living on the road, enjoying the experience before life forces them to put down a set of roots.

And let’s be honest – what makes it all possible is money. Not necessarily a huge bank account, but the ability to replenish it as you go – a source of income that doesn’t stop the minute you leave home. A friend once told me that when you can make money from home, then home can be any place you want. “There’s no industry there!” Awesome! Sign me up!

Maintaining that income is simple if you just open your mind to possibilities you never considered. When you’re the boss, you decide when and where you work. When you need more money, you work harder and give yourself a raise. If you want a vacation, you take one. And nobody tells you that you’re too young or too old, or that your job has been outsourced.

Find an income like that, and you open a whole world of opportunity. It’s not easy, but it’s not hard. You just have to be open to new ideas, and willing to take a chance on the one person you can count on the most. Sure, you have to ease into some of these things. But with that in mind, how long do you plan to wait? Rather, how old do you plan to be when you finally get there?

Nobody visualizes themselves at beach in a wheelchair or dragging an oxygen bottle through the streets of Rome. When we see the dream, we’re vibrant and healthy, living life to its fullest. Maybe you can’t start the dream now. That’s okay. But the sooner you take the steps to make it possible, the sooner it’ll happen. So, what are you waiting for?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Make Money or Make Excuses – You Can’t Do Both

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

Well, the verdict is in. Our washing machine has a faulty RF line filter. Unless you’re into electrical stuff, that means nothing. In layman’s terms, it’s fried. And it may or may not be my fault. That all depends who’s paying the bill. I say it was defective, but the manufacturer may have other ideas. All I know is that repairman sure knows his stuff. And the bill reflects it. $523 just to tell me it’s broken. Wow.

The good news is we can get it fixed. Next week. Which means all the dirty clothes that were in it are back in the closet. The nice thing about camping is that people don’t notice smells quite as much. That’s probably due to the multitude of odors that are so prevalent in campgrounds. Like the smell that hit my wife’s nose when I emptied our tanks this morning. Phew! By comparison, I smell fine.

Yes, we’ll have to find a laundromat today. Always have a plan B, right? And a little extra in the bank, because none of these things are cheap. A friend once told me that emergencies have no regard for your dreams, but they know exactly how much you have in savings and the estimate will always come in just a little higher. Can I get an amen?

Thankfully, we’ve got this one covered. Ten years ago, a similar repair would have brought us to our knees. A recent survey revealed that only 39% of adults could afford an unexpected $1000 expense. And for many of them that expense would wipe out their savings completely. Well, guess what? With $250 “service fees” and labor at $135 an hour, you can blow through $1000 in an instant.

Financial experts suggest we should have enough money in savings to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. We’ve all heard that, and we’ve all said the same thing. “On what planet???” You might as well tell us to grow wings and fly. Sure, that looks good on paper. But when you’re barely making ends meet, it’s a little hard to fathom.

Yet, when you ask people why they don’t make more, they pretty much say the same thing … “If I knew how, I would!” Okay, so let me show you how. “Well, yeah, but I don’t have the time for something like that. I’m too busy already. And my brother-in-law said his neighbor’s cousin tried something similar and failed. Besides, I’m up for a cost-of-living raise in a few months. We’ll be fine after that.” Really?

Thankfully for some people, excuses are cheap. Otherwise, they’d go broke just telling you why they’re going broke. If $10 were deducted from their bank account every time they uttered a lame excuse, they’d be overdrawn by dinnertime. And then they’d whine about the overdraft charges. When, all along, they could have used the same amount of energy to actually fix the problem.

You can make money or make excuses – but you can never do both. I didn’t dream that one up. It’s been around a while, but it’s as true today as ever. And sooner or later, we all have to answer this question – which one will make your life better? Which one will make the problems go away? Excuses may buy you some time, but sooner or later you’ll have to pony up. Or give up. It’s your life.

You know one thing you almost never hear? “I make enough – I don’t need any more.” We ALL need more. Things can change in an instant, and what we know today may not be what we’ll live tomorrow. And even if things don’t change, is there nothing else in life you want that you don’t already have? “Sure, if I had the money!” Seems this is right where we started.

We all think our situation will change with time, but it never works out that way. Pay off the car, and it needs repairs. Pay off the house, and the kids are headed to college. Pay off college, and the kids are having grandkids. Get a promotion, and your property tax goes up. Get all that under control, and it’s time to retire. You know, on half-pay (if you’re lucky). And that’s when the medical bills get real.

The question is, what will you do about it? Will you fix the problem, or spend your days in a rocking chair explaining that it’s the best chair you can afford? There are dozens of ways to make more money, and just as many excuses for why you can’t. Take control now, and you won’t need those excuses. Open your mind, and you may find the answer right there waiting for you.

Money can’t fix everything, and there’s something to be said for enjoying what we have. But sooner or later, you’ll need more. We all do. Fix the problem today, and you won’t even have to think about it tomorrow.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’re Either Building Your Own Dreams, or Somebody Else’s

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Yesterday I posted about Groundhog Day, and I made a mistake. I caught it later in the day but decided to leave it there to see who would point it out. Nobody did. So, given that the groundhog saw his shadow today and we all agreed (apparently) that means an early spring, I say let’s make it a decree. Otherwise, we’re stuck with six more weeks of winter.

Now, I know some of you like winter. According to a travel industry survey, 23% of adults prefer to spend their time in winter destinations. That’s almost one in four. I found another statistic that says about a million babies each year are dropped on their head at birth. Coincidence? I think not.

That said, if you like playing in the snow – if that’s what you dream of while the rest of us are dreaming of sunny days on the beach – more power to you. Get out there and enjoy it. Because the groundhog says you only have six more weeks before it’s gone, and the groundhog is never wrong. You know, except those times when he really is wrong. Which, as it turns out, is about half the time.

I read something the other day that stuck in my mind. “If you don’t chase your own dreams, somebody else will hire you to chase theirs.” That may not be an exact quote, but it’s close enough. Most of those people flying north in ski clothing instead of clocking in at the office have one thing in common. You know, aside from being dropped on their head.

Years ago, I spent my days building and refurbishing luxury motor yachts for people who made a whole lot more money than me. My first day on the job, I helped a captain find a box of Waterford crystal that was covered up in a corner. He was frantic. Not as frantic as I was when I found out what was in that box. Ten minutes earlier, I’d been kneeling on it. Total cost for that box – $15,000.

Every day, really expensive boats would cruise past, driven by people my age who apparently didn’t have to work that day. And most of them probably made more money that day than I made in a year. They were out enjoying their dream because they paid somebody else to make it possible. You know, somebody like me.

Now, it would be easy to belittle somebody like that for taking advantage of us poor folks, living a life of luxury while I went home smelling like sawdust and turpentine. But let’s be real. If it weren’t for people like that who can afford to live their dreams, I’d have been sitting in an unemployment line waiting for the next rich guy to come along.

As long as you’re working for somebody else, you’re making them more money than they’re paying you. That’s just the way it is. And if they can get a dozen people like you to make them a little bit of money each, it adds up. Give them a hundred or so more, and they’re making money while they sleep. I tried that once. I got fired.

Okay, I’m kidding. I’ve never fallen asleep on the job. Not as far as the boss knows. But you get the point. Almost 90% of us work for somebody else or are self-employed in a small business that requires our daily participation. And somebody much higher up the ladder is earning a premium on our work. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. But the bottom line is, we’re worth more.

So, it stands to reason that if you want to be on the receiving end of that equation, you need to start a business of your own and build a team of people whose efforts contribute toward your income. In most businesses, that means employees. And who wants the headache of dealing with that every day? Not me!

But what if you could build that same team of people, except instead of making them work to support your dreams, you helped them build their own? Sure, you’d get a small cut, and the bigger your team, the bigger that cut would be. But instead of sending people home smelling like sawdust and turpentine, you’d lead them closer to their dream.

In his bestselling book, Robert Kiyosaki named network marketing as “The Business of the 21st Century.” It’s a business model that works, simply because it’s based on mutual benefit. Do the people at the top make the most money? Sure. Just like in every other company. The difference is the people at the bottom can increase their own income any time they want.

Network marketing is one of many ways you can build an income that supports your own dreams instead of somebody else’s. Is it right for you? Only you can answer that. But it might be worth a closer look if your income continues to fall short of your dreams.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Best Time to Plan for the Future is Before It Happens

Good morning and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

So, I woke up yesterday with the best of intentions to write something really intriguing and stunningly insightful. Okay, I wake up with that intention every day. But if you’ve been with me any time at all, you know that’s kinda like a baseball player stepping up to the plate. They always expect a hit, and some believe every swing will be a home run. But more often than not, they whiff.

In my defense, I had to get ready for an early morning job interview yesterday. It’s the same job I’m doing now, for the same people I work with today. Only difference is who will sign my paychecks. I assume pay will be involved. We haven’t discussed that part yet.

If you remember my post from Monday, my contract with this company had expired and I was working on faith that the contract would be extended. Well, that came through late in the day, so I’m good for another few months while they decide if they like me enough to keep me around on a more permanent basis. Notice I said, “more permanent.” In the corporate world, that means “at least for this week.”

In my business, I talk to people a lot about income stability. Once upon a time, you found a job, went to work every day, and after 40 years of loyal service, you were sent home with a gold watch and a monthly check. If you were lucky, you climbed the ladder along the way, but not always. My grandpa worked on the same assembly line almost 50 years.

But anybody born after 1925 knows those days are long gone. Jobs come and go, and companies change their market focus on a dime. Part of that is the natural evolution of business. Last time I checked, there are very few companies still making slide rules, and they’re not actively hiring designers to enhance their product. On the other hand, if you have one of those dinosaurs at home, it’s probably worth a lot.

Another uncomfortable fact is that we’re all replaceable, at least in the corporate world, and company loyalty is usually a one-way street. It’s not that employers don’t value us or our work. But we have to accept the fact that we are little more than tools to get a specific job done, and every day newer and better tools pop up. Unless you’re a hammer. Some things are as good as they’ll ever get.

Throw in the fact that every day brings challenges we never anticipated, and what we know today is never certain. Two years ago, I had brain surgery that could have ended my work career for good. Several years before that my wife was driving to work when another car crossed the centerline. She was back to work in two months, but it could have been much worse.

I’m not trying to be a downer here, but we all have to acknowledge the fact that the life we live today can change in an instant. Having a backup plan has never been more critical than it is today. And no, I’m not talking about the lottery. If your idea of investing in the future involves a weekly Powerball ticket, we need to talk.

Yet, how many of us go through life with that lottery mentality that says no matter how bad things are today, something will magically happen, and we’ll live happily ever after? Sure, I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy, and I tend to focus more on the positive. But if we’re just sitting around waiting for good things to happen, we may be waiting a long time.

If something happened today and you were suddenly no longer able to work or find employment in your career field, what would you do? Could you retire today if you had to? Could you live on whatever you and the government have set aside for your golden years? Or would you have to invoke a Plan B and try something different?

And if the answer to that question is that you’d have to scramble and try something new, let me ask an even more important question – what are you waiting for? I’m not suggesting you change careers on the off-chance you’ll find yourself unemployed, but there are literally dozens of things you can build on the side that could either supplement or replace your current income should the need arise.

We buy insurance in the hope we’ll never need it, and thank our lucky stars if that time ever comes. Life happens. Things change. And the best-laid plans go awry. The impact of those events will depend largely on what you’re doing to reduce that impact. Today. When it counts. Hopefully, you’ll never need the extra income. And if not, I bet you could find some fun ways to spend it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

And Here We Go Again …

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

I’d like to begin by thanking you all for your kind words regarding the loss of our family dog. We all go through moments of pain, and what makes those moments so much more bearable is knowing you have family and friends who care. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Well, 2020 is winding down, and the world is still spinning at a rate of about one revolution per day. Funny, if it suddenly slowed down, it would still spin at one revolution per day … the days would just be a lot longer. Has anybody checked the speedometer lately?

And, with news of two potential vaccines on the horizon, we are once again in the midst of a deadly resurgence in Coronavirus cases. Worse still, there are many in our nation who still don’t believe it’s real. A nurse recently spoke of patients dying in her care, adamant that they had to have some other affliction because “Coronavirus is a hoax.”

Well, folks, it’s real. It’s very real, and not only are new cases skyrocketing around the world, but hospitals are full, intensive care beds are nowhere to be found, and local morgues can’t keep up with the influx of deceased patients. Not to be a downer, but it doesn’t get any more real than this.

If you’ve been reading my posts over the past couple of months, we’ve talked about the possibility this could happen. Nobody expected it the first time, and we were caught off-guard. But you know the saying – fool me once, shame on you … fool me twice, shame on me. I think more than a few of us are sitting in that second category right now.

And the thing is, we go through these things all through our lives. Not anything of this magnitude, thankfully, but life is full of twists and turns. One day you’re living the good life, healthy as a horse, with a great job, an awesome family, and money in the bank. Who could ask for more?

But it can all change in an instant. A new CEO comes in and says, “We’re making changes.” You get an unwelcome call from the doctor. You wake up to the smell of smoke. A dump truck swerves into your lane. Or maybe it’s just Human Resources saying you’ve done a great job until now, but the company’s needs have changed.

Okay, first things first – life goes on. First we cry, then we dust ourselves off and pick up the pieces, and then we grow. The only other option is to just give up, and most of us are better than that. We know nothing bad lasts forever, and as long as we’re able to draw another breath, we can turn things around. We do it all the time.

So, here’s the question I want to pose. What have you done differently since the last crisis? What steps have you taken to make sure you can weather the next storm? Are you working on your health? Have you done anything to increase your income? Have you saved a little for a rainy day? Or are you right back where you were, pretending it’ll never happen again?

Nobody likes the thought of a second job. Oh, maybe if we have a really strong goal, like buying a new car or taking a nice vacation. But beyond all that, it’s just more work. One more thing to cut into your quiet time after a day on the “real” job. But when the boss calls you and says the doors won’t be open for a month or two, that extra money would sure be nice.

Some things we can’t change. Our health is largely dependent on factors beyond our control. Accidents will happen, and jobs will come and go. We can’t change a raging virus, or how it will affect our jobs and families. But we absolutely can do something to ward off debt collectors if our primary source of income were to suddenly disappear. The thing is, we have to start NOW.

If you want to be in control of your income, you have to take control. Nobody will hand it to you. You have to stay ahead of the trends. And never before have home-based businesses been in such a position to thrive. People aren’t shopping in stores like they were. They want product delivered to their home. And that won’t change when the virus goes away.

A business doesn’t have to be massive to generate enough money to make a difference. Sometimes a little extra is more than enough. And if it’s not, you know what to do. Best of all, that’s a decision you get to make – nobody else makes it for you.

Take control. Grab the bull by the horns. Shape your own destiny. But do it now. The longer you wait to get started, the longer you’ll be wishing you had.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Time to Get Started is Now

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

It’s Monday, not to mention the last week of October. Just in case you needed a reminder that … you know, after this, things start getting real. For those of us in the US (okay, most of the US), daylight savings time ends this week. After that, we’re officially in the build-up to the holidays. Not that the stores have noticed. I think they still have last year’s Christmas displays up.

Which reminds me, I need to get my grandson over here to put up our outdoor lights. I like to get that done before the first snow falls. Something about climbing 16 feet up a ladder that’s resting on a bed of ice just sounds dangerous. So, I pay him to do it for me. Besides, he’s young and his bones will heal faster.

This is also the time of year when we start to complain. Okay, we got an early start on it this year. Like back in March. I’d say we were entitled. But every year around now we take notice of how much earlier the stores put out their holiday inventory and how the whole thing has just turned into one big, commercialized mess. In other words, “This is gonna be expensive!” Yep.

And I’ll be honest – I think we do miss the whole holiday spirit in the rush of the season. The cleaning, the baking, the meal preparation, throwing the dishes away because there are too many to wash … and we cap it all off by standing in the drizzling cold at 4:00 in the morning to get a 92-inch TV for $6.95. But hey, they’re giving away free Furbies to the first 100 customers!

Okay, it’s obvious I haven’t been Black Friday shopping in a long time. It just never was my thing. Besides, I’m usually still too full of whatever was on the table the day before, most of which my body can convert to gas in a matter of minutes. Let’s just say I’m doing the world a favor by staying home.

Black Friday sales are there for one thing, and one thing only – to get whatever is left of your paycheck before anybody else gets their greedy paws on it. And when the money runs out, we go home. Right? Are you serious??? That’s why God made plastic! And if you’ve already reached your credit limit, have no fear! Customer service reps are standing by to give you an increase.

Well, let’s get down to it. If you don’t have the money to buy something today, odds are you won’t have the money to pay it off next year. We all know that. And this year has been especially hard on people. A lot of credit cards have been maxed out at the grocery store buying superfluous items like … you know, food. That doesn’t leave much for anything else.

Several months ago, I posed a rather important question. Could you do 2020 again? Hopefully most of us made it through with our health and finances relatively intact, but could you survive another round? Was there any point this year where you wished you hadn’t spent quite so much last year? “If only I’d known what was coming.”

Well, here’s the thing – we don’t know what’s coming. We never know. Hopefully this virus will fade away, but the numbers right now aren’t working in our favor. Almost every expert says it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Can you survive another round? Can your employer? How will that affect the decisions you make over the next couple of months?

As soon as things get dicey, we all start singing the same tune. “I have to do something to make more money!” So, why do we always wait until things are really bad before we look for ways to make them better?  Sure, better late than never. But you can’t just snap your fingers and double your income. It takes time. Time that most of us are wasting today.

Are there things you could do if you suddenly found yourself short of money? Are you short today? Let’s be honest. We could all stand to have a little extra coming in. Believe me, two years ago when I found myself facing brain surgery, I thought about that a lot. “This business could have made all the difference in the world. Why didn’t I get started sooner?”  

Dig the well before you get thirsty. What’s the worst thing that can happen? The drought never comes, and you have a little extra water on hand? Never once have I heard anybody say they wish they hadn’t saved money or built an extra income on the side. Because the reality is, we’ll all get thirsty at some point in our lives. And the decisions we make today will make a world of difference when that time comes.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

How Secure Is Your Income?

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

I woke up this morning thinking back to when I was a young boy, probably 12 or 13. Yes, I can remember that far back, thank you. Times were a lot easier then. Not because times have changed that much, but all I had to worry about were pimples and girls. As it turned out, there wasn’t much I could do about either of them, so all that worrying was for nothing.

One of our pastimes back then was daredevil stunts on our bicycles. Understand, this was way before the days of bicycle helmets, which probably explains a lot. Yes, I bounced off the ground a few times. And our default response was to figure out what went wrong, then do it again a little faster.

That was in the days when Evel Knievel was a star, and you could instantly spot a home with an adolescent boy by the makeshift ramp in the front yard. It was pretty simple, actually. A narrow sheet of thin plywood propped across a big rock, with a loose gravel approach and a car parked in the landing area. What could possibly go wrong?

Suffice to say we suffered our fair share of scrapes and bruises, and I’m pretty sure Dad knew the source of those scratches on the side of the car. We’d hit the ramp, the plywood would shift, we’d go off sideways, and flip over the handlebars when we landed on the front tire. A little Bactine and some fresh bandages, and we were at it again. “See if you can find a bigger rock!”

If this sounds even remotely familiar, welcome to my world. I wasn’t a daredevil by any stretch. I was just a typical boy having fun. And I guess that mentality hung around long enough to drive some of the decisions I make today. No guts, no glory. I’m pretty sure my car has a spare tire, but I couldn’t begin to say if it has any air in it because I’ve never checked.

Dad used to drill that into me … “Check the air in that spare tire, boy!” Okay, Dad came from an age where tires were a little less reliable and driving around on “may-pops” was a time-honored tradition. He’s told me several times about a short trip where he got a flat, put on the spare, and then the spare tire went flat. Sometimes, you just can’t win.

Driving around without a spare tire isn’t overly intelligent, even though a lot of newer cars don’t have one anyway. But it’s something we never think about until we need it. Then all of a sudden, we find religion. “God, PLEEEEZE let this thing have air!”

We’re in the middle of some very unsettling times, and all indications are that we’re nowhere near the end. In fact, it seems to be ramping up again. Millions of people are unemployed, and those of us who were lucky enough to keep our job the first time may not be so lucky again. A lot of companies are barely surviving and one more blow will finish them off.

The question is, do you have a spare tire? Does it have any air in it? “I’ve got a few bucks in the bank.” That’s great. How long would it last if you had to live on it? For most of us, the answer is “not long.” A month or two? Maybe six? What happens after that? Hopefully that spare tire is capable of breathing in new air, because it’ll go flat long before you’re done using it.

Now, more than ever, we need multiple streams of income. I’ve always been able to add in a little with stand-up comedy and freelance writing, but it’s never quite enough to live on. How about you? If you had to suddenly start paying the bills without a weekly paycheck, what would you do? This isn’t about doom & gloom. It’s about having something to fall back on, just in case.

Dig the well before you get thirsty. I didn’t make that one up, but it’s one of my favorite quotes. Are there things you could do to earn an income if you suddenly lost your job? Sure, there are dozens. But most, if not all, will take a fair amount of time to get started and up to speed. Meanwhile, those bills just keep coming.

The time to start is now, before you need it. Hopefully the need will never arise, but what’s the worst that happens then? You have extra money and have to figure out how to spend it? That’s a problem I could live with. And if the need does arise, you simply shift gears. Challenges are only a problem when we’re not ready for them. When we are, they’re just another path to success.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Ready For the Next One?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Mom once told me that if I walked through a door and got punched in the face, I might not be so eager to walk through that same door again. And if it happened a few more times, I’d find a different door. Well, knowing me, I’d just open the door and duck. Until I got kicked.

I thought about that the other day as I read about more states opening up and allowing people to get back to work. I think it says a lot for our society that we are so eager to work. And, when you get down to it, we do like working. Okay, we like the paycheck. We’d like it more if it were bigger, but that goes without saying.

I’ve been working the whole time anyway, but that’s more a stroke of luck than genius. I learned long ago that I’m not good at sitting around. In 1984, Dad had a heart attack and I went on emergency leave. My ship sailed while I was home and, through a series of administrative blunders, it took three months to get me back onboard.

By the time I got back, my commander had decided I’d gone AWOL and was trying to process me as a deserter. I’ll never forget stepping off that plane when it landed on the ship, after a lovely 32-hour trip halfway around the world, waiting for the Master at Arms to put me in handcuffs. It didn’t happen, but life was never the same for me on that ship again.

The entire time I was waiting for a ride to the boat, my job was to check in every morning and keep my sea bag packed by the door. After a week, I bought a bottle of bourbon. A week later, I bought another. By the end of a month, I called in at 7:45 every morning and had my first drink at 7:50. It wasn’t pretty. My wife didn’t even cry when I left. Neither did I.

Over the years, I’ve had a few bouts of unemployment. That happens when you’re a contractor. But I learned a few lessons from that experience in my Navy days. First, no drinking. Get a hobby instead. In my second month at home that first time, I took up woodworking. It was pretty rudimentary at first, but over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Second, you need a plan B. We all like to think we have a secure job and that we’re so good at it nobody would ever think of putting us out to pasture, but that’s just our own ego stroking itself. And even if we are that good, nobody counts on a pandemic almost entirely shutting down the nation. A job isn’t much good if the doors are closed.

Well, we’ve mostly weathered the storm … for now. But already we’re seeing a spike in new cases and medical experts are telling us to buckle up because we’re likely facing a second round this fall that may be even worse than the first one. If summer is truly the miracle we’ve been waiting for, can you wait eight months for it to come around again?

One of the wisest quotes I’ve ever read was this: “Dig the well before you get thirsty.” We live in a nation where more than 60% of us don’t have enough in savings to cover a $1000 emergency. And we know the emergencies will come. They always do. It’s just a matter of when, and how bad it’ll be. And how long it’ll be before the next one comes along.

It’s hard to dig the well when you’re dying of thirst, especially when you don’t know how far down the water is. You get tired. You make mistakes. When the bills are stacking up and there’s no relief in sight, you take chances you wouldn’t normally take. Or, worse yet, you just give up and wait for the inevitable.

If you could put some extra money in the bank today, would that come in handy when things get bad again? What if you could build an ongoing income, even a small one, that’s independent of your current job and could continue through another round of shutdowns? Would that be a game-changer?

I’m willing to bet you’ve been given opportunities to get ahead of the situation. If not, talk to me. I’m happy to offer suggestions. What works for me may or may not work for you, but you never know unless you try. And maybe we can come up with something completely new between us.

If you’re not thirsty today, you will be. Hopefully it won’t be anything like the crisis we’ve seen, but it’ll still happen. The question is, will you be ready? The sooner you start digging that well, the better off you’ll be when the rivers run dry.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Road Will Curve Again – But Will You Be The One Driving?

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

For those who missed my follow-up post yesterday, our daughter was diagnosed with a pretty strong case of pneumonia, but no coronavirus. Yes, we live in a time when that’s something to celebrate. “Woohoo! It’s only pneumonia!” They loaded her up with IV antibiotics and then sent her home. Right now, a hospital is not the place to be if you’re sick.

As I’ve mentioned a few times lately, I think we’re just beginning to see the new normal. I read an article yesterday that said oil prices will be down for a long time to come, and I guess we can all feel pretty good about that. Unless you own an oil well, in which case I really don’t feel sorry for you. Of course, they’ll still find a way to drive up gas prices. “Coronavirus blend.” It’s coming.

That said, I was pretty excited when I topped off the tank in the RV for $13. Okay, I used my Kroger fuel points and got a 70-cent discount, but still. I had to risk my life to build up those points. So far, I haven’t given in to online grocery shopping. I still go into the store with a bottle of hand sanitizer in my holster, dodging sneezes the whole way through. I earned that discount.

But now, we don’t have much choice. Our daughter is back home with us, and in no condition to fight off germs. So, we have to dig in a little deeper and find ways to keep the pantry stocked without putting the whole family at risk. I have to assume those rabbits and squirrels dancing in the yard haven’t been watching the news. That’s some pretty low-risk shopping if you ask me.

Okay, I’m kidding. I’ve only shot a squirrel once, and I filled it so full of buckshot it weighed in at six pounds. Needless to say, we had chicken for dinner. I’m just not much of a hunter. I’m too much of a softie. I’ve always said I could shoot a deer if the family were hungry, but only if it didn’t look at me. That one seems to be in the playbook, because they ALWAYS look at you.

Part of me wonders if anybody will eat a wild animal after this. Apparently, that’s where it all started. On the other hand, farm-raised animals aren’t all that safe, either. Every time you turn around, something else is being recalled. Guess we should all become vegetarians. You know, so we can learn the joys of listeria, salmonella, and e-Coli. Guess that’s one way to lose weight.

Hopefully, part of the new “normal” will be more stringent food safety standards. Working from home has been nice, and I could get used to these gas prices. That said, having kids cooped up in the house when there’s a playground within walking distance is for the birds. We need to fix that one. I’ll volunteer to keep the monkey bars clean if I can find some disinfectant.

Another change I hope we’ll see is more people taking control of their health, wealth, and happiness. We seem to go through life looking for the easy path to all three. Find a good job. Get a good doctor. Enjoy the good life. And that’s great, until it’s not. Something can always come along and change what we’ve come to know.

Right now, health and income are the two big ones. If we’ve neglected our health to this point, there’s not a lot we can do to change it overnight. But we can try to optimize our health going forward. Illness doesn’t ask if we’re ready – it just hits. And the healthier we are at the outset, the better our odds of survival. The time to do something about that is now.

The same is true of income. We all know the risks of putting our eggs in one basket, yet that’s what most of us do our entire life. And we know better. Companies fail. Industries die. Recession, pandemics, and even weather can impact our ability to put food on the table. Having a secondary income isn’t just prudent. It’s essential.

This crisis has affected us all in different ways. And right now, when there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s easy to wipe our brow and say, “That was a close one!” Well, guess what? It’ll happen again. Hopefully nothing of this magnitude, but we’ve all faced crisis before, and this won’t be the last one. The question is, will we be any better prepared next time?

Preparation isn’t about watching and waiting. It’s about taking proactive steps to be ready for whatever comes along. Are there things you wish you’d done before this crisis? Then get started now. This won’t be our last crisis. But hopefully, we’ll all be a little better prepared for the next one.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved