How the Pandemic Has Changed Real Estate in 2020

Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily
 

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Robert KiyosakiRobert Kiyosaki

Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily

Dear Reader,

In the early summer of 2005, I sent a warning to the Rich Dad community that the real estate market was cooling down. After all, we know that all booms go bust eventually, and every party comes to an end.

While many readers thanked me for the words of caution, many others sent me “hate” mail. An angry real estate broker called me and said, “Are you trying to ruin my business?”

The angry readers should draw insight from something Warren Buffett said: “For some reason, people take their cues from price action rather than from values.

What doesn’t work is when you start doing things that you don’t understand or because they worked last week for someone else.” The sage of Omaha sums up pithily: “The dumbest reason in the world to buy a stock is because it’s going up.”

Personally, I would say, “The dumbest reason to buy anything is that the price is going up.” Yet that’s what people do when they invest. They generally don’t buy high-priced things when they shop.

This is what has been happening for the last few years in real estate. The market has been climbing and climbing largely due to a strong economy, low unemployment, and record-low interest rates.

But this all changed when the coronavirus pandemic hit this past March.

We all know a real estate crash is coming. The problem is we don’t know when. I’ve been saying that real estate has been in a bubble—much like everything else—and that it will take only one little event to burst the bubble.

During periods of high prices and volatility, it’s even more important to pay attention to value, more than price. Yet, it’s one of the toughest things to do especially when prices are volatile in either direction. It’s difficult to resist the urge to sell when prices are dropping and buy when they’re rising.

We are in a time that most of us have never experienced making real estate an unpredictable asset class at this time.

Below are a few considerations that will affect real estate for the remainder of 2020.

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Affordability

We’ve had almost six years of increasing home rates and higher interest rates for the past two years. It has been challenging for all types of homebuyers these days.

With that said, affordability is forcing many to move back in with family, or to a state that has more affordable housing.

For example, in Phoenix, AZ where I live, affordability was already a problem prior to coronavirus. It was reported in early April that 65% of Phoenix residents couldn’t afford housing And according to the “Los Angeles Times,” it is estimated that “as many as 30% of Americans with home loans—about 15 million households—could stop paying if the U.S. economy remains closed through the summer or beyond.”

Student loan debt and skyrocketing housing prices were to blame for millennials planning to rent forever. 12% of millennials plan to “always rent” and the majority cited affordability being the issue.

So with millions out of work, businesses still shut down, and no end in sight, it is unknown what the actual aftermath will be.

Migration Patterns

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, real estate was already seeing the effects of migration from one state to another. It’s a natural thing. When the cost of living goes up, people move elsewhere.

Big cities were already losing population. For example, New York has lost a net 1.4million residents since 2010. Nearly 181,000 in 2018-19 alone. Because of the coronavirus, many people are leaving high-density areas for fear of catching the virus. Additionally, many people are returning to their home states because they are being forced to move back in with their parents.

A combination of residents who had already planned to move out of high-density states like New York and those who are forced to move has accelerated the typical migration numbers that affect real estate.

Pay attention to migration patterns of both retirees and millennials, these trends will create supply and demand imbalances in certain areas which can often be very helpful for your investment choices.

Retirement marks a new phase in a baby boomer’s life, and it seems only natural to relocate or move to a new home when they transition away from their primary career, or from the day-to-day rearing of school-aged children. Historically people have also moved to areas with moderate climates, like California, Arizona, and Florida. Oftentimes people are tied to certain areas due to family and jobs until they retire, then they decide where they want to live.

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“Work from Home”

Once packed business campuses are all but ghost towns. Now more than ever, commercial real estate is feeling the ripple effects of the pandemic.

Commercial real estate used to be the playground for the rich. Now, empty buildings are causing great concerns for investors.

The major cause of fear is that there is still so much uncertainty in the market. Some experts predict that “work from home” for many businesses is here to stay as they’ve been able to continue business-as-usual while their employees set up home offices.

Very early on, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, announced that they would be able to continue to work from home as long as they see fit.

At Rich Dad, our team is still working from home and only coming to the office to pick up mail or record a radio show.

Obviously things are subject to change for many of these companies. But for now, the outlook for commercial real estate is unknown.

Opportunity

I’ve said many times that I love market crashes because that’s the best time to buy— finding true value is a lot easier during such periods. And during a crash many people start selling so they’re more willing to negotiate and make you a better deal. Although a crash is the best time to buy, the market’s high pessimism also makes it a tough time to do so.

I remember buying gold at $275 an ounce in the late 1990s. Although I knew it was a great value at that price, the so-called experts were calling gold a “dog” and advised that everyone should be in high-tech and dot-com stocks. Today, with gold above $1800 an ounce, those same experts are now recommending gold as a percentage of a well-diversified portfolio. Talk about expensive advice.

My point is that this current period is a tough time to buy or sell. Real estate is high, interest rates are still relatively low, the stock market is very shaky, the U.S. dollar is low, gold is high, oil and gas are high, and there’s a lot of money looking for a home.

So the lesson is: As I said in the beginning, now, more than ever, it’s important to focus on value, not price. When prices are low, finding value is easy. When prices are high, value is a lot harder to find—which means you need to be smarter, more cautious, and resist your knee-jerk reactions.

A reminder from Warren Buffett: “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.” In my opinion, there are many naked swimmers, especially in the real estate market.

Regards,

Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily

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Want Answers For Your Debt Consolidation Problems We Have Them

One of the best things you can do in terms of restoring your peace of mind is to improve your financial situation. Debt consolidation is one excellent way to reach this goal, but how exactly does it work? What is debt consolidation? The purpose of this article is to tell you just that.

Look to see if a debt consolidation company’s counselors are qualified. Are they properly certified? Are they backed by a reputable company that will be there if something goes wrong? It’s vital to use a company that is reputable and has a history of satisfied customers.

Make sure to ask about the debt consolidation company’s privacy policy before getting involved with them. What will they do to ensure your information is kept confidential? Get a copy of their privacy policy and read over it before making any decisions. If you spot something you do not like, move on to another company.

Talk to friends, family and coworkers. You aren’t the only one with money problems, and chances are that someone you know already has some experience with debt consolidation. This is a great way for you to find a company you can trust, so that you can avoid using a less than reputable company.

A non-profit debt consolidation agency is not necessarily a better option. Regardless of the status of your debt consolidation agency, contact the Better Business Bureau to make sure it is a legitimate business. If you find that some complaints have been filed or come across some bad reviews online, find another option.

If you have a life insurance policy, you may could possibly borrow the money against your policy. Even though you are not required to pay back the amount, it is recommended that you do. Whatever amount you withdraw will be deducted from the final amount paid to your beneficiaries.

If you make the decision to consolidate high interest debts such as credit card balances into a different obligation, do your absolute best not to begin racking up new debt until the consolidated amount is repaid. If you are doing nothing more than moving debts to different places while continuing to spend, you will not reap the benefits that debt consolidation really can provide.

With the current low home mortgage interest rates, you may be able to refinance your home and take out some of the equity. Be careful to avoid borrowing as much as possible on your new mortgage. If home values should drop even more, you may end up owning a home that is less than the amount you owe on it.

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Throughout your life, you will have ample opportunity to really do something special and stake your claim. Whether or not you decide to take advantage of the opportunities out there, is up to you. But if you want to start making something better for yourself, you should check out these home business tips and use them to build a solid career.

Make sure you groom and dress for work, no matter where you are working. Developing this habit will help get you into a productive frame of mind at the start of each work session. It also means, you will be ready to conduct business outside the house at a moment’s notice.

If you want to market something and you are not sure what, make it something you use. Selecting a product that will be successful involves thinking about people’s needs. If it would improve your life, it would probably improve the lives of many other people.

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Solving the issue of overwhelming outstanding debt can sometimes seem like an impossibility. However, as long as you take the time to teach yourself about debt consolidation options and concepts, there really is hope. Continue reading to find out what to watch for and what you can do to ensure a promising financial tomorrow.

Following debt consolidation, budgeting your money wisely will help you keep future debt to a minimum. Most people get in over their heads by over spending with credit cards, so learn to work with money you have rather than borrowing. Doing this will also make it easier to pay off your debt consolidation loans and improve your credit score.

Debt consolidation works best when applied to credit cards. If you have significant balances on various cards, you’re probably paying way too much in interest and could benefit greatly from a debt consolidation loan. See if you can’t combine all of the debt into one payment with a favorable interest rate, and limit your credit card spending once that is accomplished.

Be careful with the terms of collateral for any debt consolidation loan you apply for. Many times these types of loans will include a clause about your home, should you default on payments. Obviously, this could put you at serious risk should circumstances make meeting your loan payment difficult. Keep your home out of any loan agreement, and read the fine print.

Prior to making any debt consolidation decisions, look at the privacy policy of the company you are considering. You’ll be giving this company a lot of your personal financial information, and what they are allowed to use it for is a really big deal. Never assume in this instance. Look to that privacy policy to know the real situation.

When it comes to dealing with debt consolidation, make sure that you relax. This practice is very common and will help improve your finances when all is said and done. You have the opportunity to lower monthly fees, lower high interest, eliminate late fees, put a stop to those harassing phone calls, and eventually become debt free. You can bounce back from this, but you must keep calm and pay attention to your payment plan.

When you are consolidating debt, you must try to renegotiate with your creditors. Whether you are choosing to try and do this yourself first or have enlisted the help of a debt consolidation company, renegotiation is key to saving you a lot of money when paying off your debt.

If you are looking for a debt consolidation program, consider searching the Internet. Many sites on the Internet offer you the chance to shop various lenders in order to find the best interest rates and terms with one application process. This can simplify things, and help you to find a plan that really works for you.

If you are struggling with seemingly insurmountable debt, you are not alone. But, you should also realize that there really are debt consolidation opportunities that can help a great deal. With any luck, the advice above has shown you what to guard against and what to look for when making these types of financial decisions.

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Christmas is just around the corner! You’re probably preparing to travel over the river and through the woods to exchange gifts and spend time with loved ones.
As you get ready to celebrate, there’s one thing that should be at the top of your check-it-twice list: Figuring out how to secure your home from bah-humbug burglars who want to steal more than your holiday cheer.

Think back to glorious 1990 and the movie Home Alone. (Yep, we think the fact it came out over 20 years ago is scary too.) We’re not saying you need to tar the steps, heat the doorknobs, put cutouts of Michael Jordan in the windows, and release the tarantula—but there are some easy steps you can take to protect your home, family and memories.

1. Get to know your neighbors (especially the nosey ones).

Okay, we know some neighbors are quirky and some might be annoying—especially when they blow leaves and grass all over your driveway. But there has to be one neighbor you can ask to look out for deliveries, newspapers and the trash can. Remember Old Man Marley in Home Alone? He scared Kevin at the start, but they were friends by the end! So muster up some courage (and cookies) and ask a neighbor for a hand.

 

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2. Find out about the neighborhood watch in your area.

Did you know Facebook hosts a national neighborhood watch page that’s a division of the National Sheriffs’ Association? Check it out to see if your area has a group (which could be really helpful while you’re away). You could also reach out to your community’s homeowners association.

3. Get packages shipped to your workplace.

Or at least track them so you can tell that friendly neighbor when to pick them up. That way they’re not piling up on your porch and announcing you’re not home to the world.

4. Shovel the snow from your driveway.

If a burglar is scoping out your neighborhood and sees your driveway hasn’t been cleared (when everyone else has done theirs), they might think you’re away. Give a neighbor’s kid the chance to earn some festive commission. And maybe give them a little extra if they build an awesome snowman. Nothing says “We’re home for the holidays!” like a fresh snowman in the front yard. Now that’s festive and effective.

5. If you live in an apartment, get to know management and maintenance staff.

Not only will you recognize them if they come knocking, but they’re also more likely to remember you (and help out!) if you need them. Why not bake some cookies to show them a little love? And if you live in a ground floor apartment, double-check that your windows and porch doors are locked and your curtains are drawn.

6. Don’t showcase expensive items.

We get it: There’s nothing like seeing that Christmas tree twinkling in the front room. But those big, boxed gifts around it? That’s like window shopping to the Wet Bandits. Move those presents out of sight from people creeping by and looking for easy pickings.

7. Make it sound like someone is home.

Timers on your indoor lights? Check. Timers on the outside lights? Check! Lights are the obvious things to remember here, but think about sound too. Try setting up a clock radio or iPad near the front door and time it to turn on during the day. If your TV can be seen from outside, link it to your smartphone to turn on while you’re away.

8. Change up your spare key hiding spots.

It’s handy to have a spare key outside in case you get locked out. But how easy is it to find? Try thinking of obvious places a burglar would look. Is it under the flower pot or on top of the door frame? Too easy. But buried under the third shrub from the right? Now that’s better. Get creative if you’re keeping a key outside.

9. Make a spare key inventory.

We’ve all gotten a little too happy with key cutter kiosks at the store every once in a while—but now everyone from Aunt Betsy to second cousin Stu has a key to your place! And Aunt Betsy might not have the best memory when it comes to where she leaves things. Take a moment to write down who has a spare key and who really needs one, and make sure they’re all accounted for.

10. Put combination locks on your shed and backyard fence.

This one’s simple: If your garden shed is home to expensive tools and equipment, you need a lock on the door. Same goes for your backyard fence.

11. Make sure your garage is locked.

Raise your hand if you don’t lock the door that leads to your garage when you leave. It’s an easy one to forget! And what about leaving the garage door opener inside your car . . . while it’s parked in the driveway for days on end? Guilty as charged. You should always make sure to bring garage door openers inside with you, otherwise you’re giving burglars an invitation to waltz right on in and shut the door behind them.

12. Trim trees and overgrown shrubs so there’s less cover for thieves.

Trees can give you private, cozy seclusion—and that’s great for you. But it’s also great for thieves who want to hide from security lights or watchful eyes of neighbors.

13. Try to rob your own home.

This sounds nuts, but hear us out! Remember when we talked about being creative with hiding your spare key? Well, spend some time trying to get into your own home. You want to find yourself saying things like, “The freakin’ fence is locked!” or “Oh, the windows are locked too,” and “I see a light and can hear a TV—someone’s home!” If you’re thinking it, then a pesky thief probably will too and give up.

14. Don’t share too much on social media.

It’s never a good idea to overshare on Facebook, but it’s a really bad idea to advertise your travel plans to everyone. If you’re just dying to post a selfie of your feet dipped in the ocean, wait until you get home! Check out more tips on prepping for travel in our Ultimate Travel Checklist.

15. Do you have a family password?

To keep your kids safe during those times they’re home alone (and older than Kevin McCallister), establish a family password. This is a word or phrase that only you and your kiddos know. It can be shared with close family and friends as needed, but it’s meant to keep strangers out.

16. Don’t hide cash under your mattress.

Or in the freezer. Or the cookie jar. Or the million other places cash-hungry crooks look when they bust into a joint. Keep it in a safe, bank or mutual fund!

17. Shred documents you don’t need.

Because it’s not just the obvious things like electronics or jewelry that a burglar will swipe. Your mail and personal details with your Social Security number, driver’s license, and date of birth are rich pickings for identity thieves.

18. Lock your safe.

If you have a safe somewhere in your house, make sure it’s locked with those important documents (like birth certificates) and family heirlooms tucked inside before you travel. Oh, and make sure you bolt that sucker down so it can’t be carried away.

19. Take pictures of all your valuables.

This is an old insurance trick. Take a quick shot of your jewelry, art, tools, electronics, furniture or anything else that might tempt a burglar. This helps you remember what was taken if someone breaks in, but it’ll also help the insurance company process your claim. To find the best home insurance coverage, check out Dave’s recommended local providers.

20. Get references for any service professionals.

Make sure the housekeeper, gardener, plumber or HVAC guy is the real deal before you call them to take care of something in your home. The only person visiting your house without a reference should be Santa! Just watch out for those creepy little elves that sit on the shelves—we hear they can get just about anywhere.

21. Be aware of what you’re throwing away.

Picture the scene: The presents have been unwrapped, the gizmos and gadgets are ready to be played with, but the living room looks like the aftermath of a Christmas war. You’re tempted to stack the boxes and packaging at the curb just to claim your living room back. Stop! You don’t want to advertise those awesome gifts to shady characters circling the block looking for their next score, do you?

Break boxes into smaller pieces and put them in recycling or trash bags. Then wait to put those bags out on pick-up day. Or you could even take a trip to the recycling center yourself!

22. Install a home security system.

You’re probably wondering why this isn’t at the start of the list. Well, all of these tips are important to consider (and you could never go wrong putting them into action). But if you had to choose just one for your best line of defense, a home security system would be it.

That’s why we recommend securing your home with SimpliSafe. With zero annoying contracts and easy customization and installation, it’s exactly what your home needs without paying for the stuff it doesn’t need. Plus, a home security system can shave some bucks off your home insurance premium—and we’re all about saving money.

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It feels like every Christmas season, businesses are competing for your hard-earned cash in new ways. The festive marketing is everywhere trying to get you to spend a little extra.

And if you’re getting out of debt or building up your savings, the phrase extra money probably isn’t even in your vocabulary. But stores will do everything they can to convince you to toss a couple of added items into your cart this season.

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Extra! Extra! You Don’t Need These Things
1. Extended Warranties
You’ll hear the pitch for the extended warranty as soon as you reach the register. So, we want you to practice saying this: No. It’s a complete sentence. Now wasn’t that easy?

You should decline the extended warranty simply because it’s not a good deal. Warranties at electronic stores are ridiculous because these stores have slim margins on the products they sell. And since they have to make money somehow . . . hello, upselling of extended warranties. The markup is unreal! Stores can make a major profit (and commission) just from selling one to you. That’s why you’ll hear a pitch about a $1 warranty on your $2 pack of chewing gum.

Ready to start saving? Download our free budgeting tool today!

2. Store Credit Card Discounts
Say it again: No!

You’re getting really good at this.

Everyone from big-box retail stores to Uncle Bob’s Toothpick Shack seems to have their own store credit card these days. They’ll be more than happy to offer you 10–20% off a $7 purchase of Santa Claus socks, if you’ll just open a credit card account. And watch out for those tricky “store cards”—a lot of them are credit cards in disguise!

Just think, you could still be paying off this year’s Christmas next December! Talk about Christmas memories that last—bah, humbug to that!

3. High-End Electronics
So this is Christmas.
And what have you done?
Bought everyone on your list an iPad.
When your budget said only buy one.

It might be Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy people pricey electronics. It’s still Christmas whether you gift your friends and family with a nice coffee mug for beverage-sipping or a big-screen TV for game-watching. And once you start buying the fancy Apple products, TVs, cameras and other gadgets—where do you stop?

If you’re getting mom an iPhone, dad’s going to want one too. If you’re bro is getting a drone, what do you get your sister-in-law? Your 7-year-old wants an iPad? Nice try, kid, here’s a pencil and a notepad.

Think about it: Any way you slice it, electronics add up to be way more than most people want to spend on Christmas. But we end up giving in once we get caught up in the Christmas craze. Steer clear and focus on more personalized (and cheaper) gifts that will be meaningful.

4. Exercise Equipment
You might be thinking, Who buys exercise equipment at Christmas? And the answer to that is—a lot of people, actually. Why? We all know January is lurking right around the corner. And even though we aren’t about to pass up that second round of chocolate pecan pie, we’ll splurge on an expensive elliptical . . . in the hopes that seeing it every day will make us want to use it.

So you want to make a commitment to stay healthy—and that’s a good thing. But if you wait until January, you might find some better sales headed your way. Stores are trying to clear out what didn’t sell over Christmas, and they know the rush of New Year’s resolution-ers has already passed. That’s the time to score a great deal. Better yet? Check out your local Facebook Marketplace or craigslist for good, used equipment to get your fitness on.

5. Gift-Wrapping Services
If it’s complimentary at the store, go for it. But you really don’t need to pay for someone else to wrap all your gifts. This isn’t the North Pole. You’ll save a ton of money by just buying a roll of wrapping paper and a bag of bows from the local dollar store. It’s all going to get ripped up on Christmas morning anyway.

You could also get crafty and creative! Grab some newspaper, brown bags or butcher paper and wrap your gifts with it. You can dress them up with some festive twine and ribbon, or let the kids decorate them with stamps and markers to give to the grandparents. It’s affordable and adorable!

And if you really want to try something unconventional this year, how about using wrapping paper made out of a potato chip bag? We’re serious. All you have to do is turn an (empty) bag of chips inside out, wash it, and then use the shiny, silver foil to wrap your gifts!

6. Overnight Shipping
You don’t need overnight shipping because you’re planning ahead, right? Don’t wait until December 22 to order your Christmas presents. If you order a few weeks earlier, you might even be able to get free shipping and have it arrive in plenty of time for Christmas.

Santa’s on a tight schedule, and he doesn’t have time to sit around and wait for your last-minute order! Plan ahead (like right now!) so you don’t have to worry about those extra overnight shipping rates.

7. Everything on Your Kids’ Christmas List
Oh yes, this is so “extra” as the youths would say. Just because your kid (who has been mostly good all year) put 20 super-expensive items on their list doesn’t mean you have to spring for all of it.

Set a reasonable budget, determine what’s fair for each kiddo, and stick to it. Be sure you’re following realistic gift guidelines before you go out shopping. Don’t let your kid’s list dictate how much money you spend—your budget should do that.

Look out for sneaky buys that drain your budget too. Some people can spend just as much money on stocking stuffers as they do on regular gifts under the tree. Don’t get swept up in a stocking that looks like it was stuffed by Santa himself. Set a minimum per kid and keep it simple. Don’t break the bank on stocking stuffers when your local dollar store has everything you need.

8. Christmas Cards for Everyone
We know you want to send out the annual Christmas card with a festive photo of the family and your holiday-ready pet, but do you really need to?

If you do, go the inexpensive route: Skip the professional photographer and set up your tripod and self-timer. Or ask a family friend with a good eye (or on-point photography skills) to snap some Christmas photos for you.

When it comes time to print the Christmas cards, look for companies offering coupon codes. Some will even give you a certain number of cards for free—all you have to pay is the shipping cost.

You can cut costs even more if you only send those Christmas cards to five to 10 of your closest friends and family. It’s okay to be a little selective here. You don’t really need to send a card to the pizza delivery guy, your boss’ cousin, and your ninth grade Sunday School teacher.

Make the Most of Your Money This Season
Ready or not, this is the last full week before Christmas is finally here! We’re not trying to burst your holiday shopping bubble, but remember this: Christmas is all about finding joy by spending time with others and blessing them—not spending money just because every Christmas commercial told you to.

Invest in meaningful experiences and gifts that will make a difference in their lives—not in another fruit cake, trendy gift or touch-screen gizmo. If you’re stumped for ideas, we have plenty of purposeful gifts in our online store that will leave a lasting impact long after this Christmas season is over!

If a leader doesn’t convey passion and intensity then there will be no passion and intensity within the organization and they’ll start to fall down and get depressed. Get Your Free Position Now http://lock-in-your-position.com/lp3/?sponsor=homeprofitcoach

“… our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Independence Day, 2013.

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by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. Aime’ Joseph never ceases to amaze me, and of the
foundations for lasting friendship that felicitous agility is surely one of the best.

Knowing my habits, the need to have everything about the new tale, the current article
readily at hand, even old napkins, smudged and ripped, valuable artifacts notwithstanding so long as they contain a single indecipherable letter, for my handwriting has never risen above the abashed level of execrable; given these habits, I say, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he had dropped over with a paper in one hand, a question in the other.

It’s the kind of good deed he does and why I permit him to raid the refrigerator with
impunity, leaving me to wail from time to time, “But I was saving that ginger beer…”,
giving the strongest possible impression that my bite is indeed worse than my bark,
but even I don’t believe it.

He knows this and at the earliest possible moment restarts his researches
into and acquisitions from the food and wine which I always purchase in far too
ample quantities for the amount I eat and the nullity I drink.

This, of course, provides the rationale he needs for raids which would impress a
Viking, though in truth the fact he is my constant helper and friend provides all the
reason he’ll ever need… although I do wish he’d ask before gallivanting home with the
last morsel or drop of any much craved delicacy.

“Do you need this?”

And, of course, I did… for this tale of Independence Day 2013 would never
have taken place — for me — without it and the grande dame who mailed it
and so literally made my day. Here is what it looked like. Here is what it said.

“Generations, Friends, Families. Please join us!”

There then followed explicit directions of what these generations, friends, and
families must do in the matter of furnishing food (“your favorite and a little extra
to share”), and drink (“Also your favorite and a little extra to share”)… with further
detailed instructions on such critical matters as “places to swim, eat, sit, chat,
rest, sing, ice, cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons”, and the most important directive
and admonition of all… to bring your crucial holiday spirit and so increase its already
ample measure stemming principally from our hostess, Diane Neal Emmons.

Distinctive right from the start.

Did you pronounce her first name DIE ANN. Of course you did. I did when first
introduced. The world does, but you, me and the wide generality of the planet,
all of us, are mistaken. For she pronounces it DEE ON and woe to thems who gets
it wrong, for as every Eskimo knows, a name is totemic, the thing that holds your
spirit and first tells the world who you are, where you have come from, and where
you are going.

In this way, with this subtle variation, Diane (did you pronounce it correctly this time?)
announced that she was not and would never be of the humdrum, prosaic or everyday
variety of mere Dianes, much less (horror of horrors) of the Dee Dees who derive
therefrom; that she was instead something quite different, distinguished, unique; though
as a lady to the manner born she couldn’t possibly tell you this. You’d have to find out for
yourself, if only you had the good sense and good manners to do so. And so are the real
gems separated and higher valued than the baubles who, at first, seem the same.

The happiest girl in the neighborhood, maybe the happiest girl in the world.

I don’t have any proof for what I am about to say, no proof at all. However, people
like me, called commentators are given wide latitude and what is called “the benefit
of the doubt” in advancing their cases; in other words so long as what we write is
not specious in the extreme or wildly implausible we may dream, wonder, ruminate
and speculate to our heart’s content. I am about to use that privilege here….

There is something larger than life about Diane, and this is especially true when
she first glimpses you. There is in that moment the ghost of Ezio Pinza singing
“Some enchanted evening.”

You sense rather than see that her eyes light up and she is no longer that woman of
a certain age, but a girl in flying dance slippers with bright pink ribbons in the much
considered hair of a twelve year old; the twelve year old who greets you like a favored
child greets her favorite relation with nothing more troubling on her youthful horizon
than who to ask to the Sadie Hawkins dance in just two weeks.

When you are the boy who receives this high energy treatment, you think, no you know
that you are the boy she’ll invite… and that you’ll have a spiffing good time, because Diane
knows to her fingertips how to make sure you — and everyone else — leaves happy and
recalls each event with a smile. It is her special secret, and you are glad she is lavishing
some on…you.

Fashionably late and better so.

People who run 24-hour-a-day Internet enterprises learn to be approximate in the
matter of time; technology, after all, is a capricious mistress, smooth running one
minute, causing mayhem the next, even on holidays when one is expected out of
town at a particular time. “Technology is great when it works.” Thus my party,
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and I left late… and arrived as my grandmother used to say
“fashionably late.”  This proved to be a good thing, since many guests having
partaken of luncheon under a tent most often used at weddings and anniversaries
went home to laze the blistering afternoon away dozing in the shade. And thus both
Josephs and I were able to spend more time with the hostess, a happy result of
tardiness.

But first I had literally to sing for my supper.

“Songs to Sing When Two or Three or More are Gathered Together.”

Open upon my desk now is a thin volume of the name above, a volume compiled
by Diane and providing numerous clues to the lady and her metier. It is her personal
song book, and it is both curious and touching. Diane, you see, is of the generation
where people entertained each other by each being responsible (particularly young ladies
of good family like Diane) for an enjoyable rendezvous, with and for only the right people,
which for this lady and her friends, meant prep schools like Winsor and Groton,
colleges like Radcliffe and Harvard, social clubs like Chilton and Somerset, and
above all the Mayflower Club always remembering that if you must inquire about it,
you were most decidedly NOKD, “not our kind, dear.”

The Kennedys, not yet with a postal code in Camelot were in this category, and in the
Irish way their revenge was thorough and hurtful, not least because they soon shunted
the old families of the Commonwealth (called Brahmins) aside and to the rest of the world
portrayed themselves as Bay State aristocrats, which caused society matrons on
Commonwealtlh Avenue to fume… and plot revengeful motifs they no longer had the
money, power or unquestionable social position to dictate.

Diane Emmons was caught up in this sea change in Boston. She was born to
adorn a particular universe and that universe was changed beyond recognition.
It was a world into which you were born, where acceptance was automatic and
life long for those with the right surname and genetic code. Never mind It was often dull,
dowdy, smug and insular, none of which mattered to the people who wanted entree they
would probably never get until club revenues fell and provided a compelling reason
for new members mere equity could  never provide.

“In” could only be valuable in relation to who was “Out”, a fact which social novelist
Frances Parkinson Keyes (1885-1970) captured to a nuance, in books like “Joy Street”.
This street on Beacon Hill was cut in half, the top socially acceptable; the bottom mixed
and dubious. I wrote my first book in an apartment well down from the acme, yet adored
for all that.

She must have regretted at least some of the changes, but her Fairy Godmother
made sure she had the one essential feature she needed to live through such
massive change and come through it smiling, albeit saddened by the loss of what was
after all her birthright and cherished reality… now just so much ancient history, gone with
the wind. Her great attribute? She liked people and people liked her. In the truest tradition of real ladyship, Diane took pains to help when she didn’t have to; assisted beyond the call of duty so many charitable endeavors; and always, always had time for
that far-flung and heterogeneous group, her Friends, of which I proudly call myself
one.

With a song in my heart… and nowhere else.

Ever since I was a child at church, I have been rebellious and adamant on the matter
of group singing: quite simply, I hate it, not merely because I am unable to carry a tune
in a bucket, but because when one sings in any venue even remotely public one is
expected to boom out the song in question, your role (happy, amorous, joyous, sad,
whatever) determined by just what you’re singing and always overdone.

Instead of entering into the spirit of the enterprise, I did everything imaginable to ensure
that any such involvement would only be by force and after a masterful display of temper
and high volume obstinacy.

Diane, of course, loves to sing, never mind that her voice is reminiscent of a species of
frog found only in the swimming pools of the well heeled. She is awful… However, she
believes in the social utility of what she is doing… and, as hostess, she is unrelenting in
“persuading” her guests into her unyielding view that group singing on very hot holidays
is a privilege, not cruel and unusual punishment to be avoided at all cost, which is my
abiding take on the matter.

But I am a guest, I aim to please, even if I transgress against my core beliefs… and
so I sing… about 15 words or so of “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.”
It is one of the most insipid tunes ever composed, therefore popular with people for whom
their inexhaustible jauntiness and perkiness is a gift from on high, to be celebrated
whenever possible around those of a sarcastic and insufficiently civic spirited demeanor.

That would be me, and it is a measure of how highly I esteem my hostess and her chipper
orientation that I sang and clapped at all, never mind with tepid demeanor. I knew my rights and obligations as guest, and calibrated my finger movements and strain on my vocal chords accordingly. And so, obdurate, I listen to — but do not sing, warble or chant  — the eccentric litany in the song book that jumps from “Blue Moon” to “Chattanooga Choo Choo” to “Good Night, Irene.”

Diane was zealous but she had long odds against her, the day sultry, the repast generous,
delicious, ancient guests drowsy, eyes determined to close, collective nap time at hand.
Then there it was… the perfect song for the day, the hostess, every visitor and even
for me, hardened city dweller and professional scoffer determined to stay an anthropologist, watchful but disengaged.

“What would you think if I sang out of tune/Would you stand up and walk out on me?/
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song/And I’ll try not to sing out of key”…

And then the words that define us all:

“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Better because of DEE ON.

As I looked around the backyard of her rambling colonial-style home just blocks
from the well-known Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea (officially incorporated
in 1645) I saw it populated by her friends, old, young, some vibrant and running over
with high animal spirits, some for whom moving at all, especially on such a stifling
day, was a labor… I thought of how lucky the human is who can conjure so many
and make them sing this song first written in mid-March 1967 by John Lennon
and Paul McCartney.

Just click on the link below and hear it all over again and ask yourself if you’ve
been a good friend today, the kind of friend you’d like to have, the kind of friend well
deserving of your esteem and high regard, the kind of friend I am so lucky to have in
Diane Neal Emmons… the one person I am prepared to sing for, out of key of course,
but completely sincere… and grateful.

Howard Martell is the Owner of http://HomeProfitCoach.com/silver . Check us out anytime for marketing tips and a free subscription to our cutting edge newsletter.

‘We’re starting up a brand new day… I’m thinking in a brand new way.’ New Year’s Eve. Unbidden thoughts.

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Author’s program note. All of a sudden there was a bone-chilling gust of frigid air right off the punishing Atlantic filling the night… it was the kind of gust we here in Cambridge call the Montreal Express… not merely cold but gelid, polar, arctic… than which there is nothing colder but the morning after the greatest love of your life said good-bye, this time for good.
Shivering, I had to get up… present reality, even though freezing, being preferable to another minute of the dream being played out sharply in cinemascope in my brain. In it I was marrying Hillary Clinton, and we were redecorating my condo as our love nest after a cosmic flood. Yikes, it was indeed time for this article… and the music for it came swiftly out of no where saying, ” I think you’ve been looking for me.” And indeed I  had…
I was smiling…. this was how Marley (in clanking chains of course) summoned Scrooge to his destiny… and look what happened to them. I’m a literary gent, and I appreciated the reference… and this song by Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, born October 2 1951, known to the world by his sobriquet “Sting”, a name, a description, a declaration, a clear statement of what you must do when the world is too much with you late and soon. Yes, that Sting.
I don’t think much about Sting. I’m not a rabid fan or anything close, but he’s got the poet’s own way of insinuating himself into my life at significant moments.  His words are often mine fields, often verbal shrapnel, the kinds of words one fastidious word smith appreciates in another who like you demands respect for the language and mastery from himself.
Cold reality.
My hands are cold… my fingers are stiff. It is 3:25 a.m., and Sting and his lyrical insights, melodic, as deep as you want them to go, fill the crucial space between two ears. I am listening, because here is a man who has something important to say to me, about the year now past, about you and me, and how we’re glad to be alive and give thanks to whoever made it possible. The song is called “Brand New Day” and I hadn’t heard it since it debuted in 1999, just in time for the new millennium.
I remember hearing this song in this very room, where I sat at this very desk in this very chair as I watched the clock move inexorably to the first midnight of the new century, the Y2K midnight that was supposed to bring cosmic computer chaos, so admonishing experts had told us. And so I, like so many others, worried myself into the new year, following the advent of midnight around the globe… only to discover that nothing happened anywhere…  the biggest “same old, same old” ever. Yes, I was listening to this song that night. It couldn’t really be so many years ago, could it? Go now and find it in any search engine and listen carefully….
“There’s simply no immunity/There’s no guarantee.”
2016. I lived it. Which is to say I was alone, I was together, I made money. I squandered money. I lied. I deceived. I was cruel. I was affectionate. I made messes and ignored them.  I cleaned up messes made by others who ignored them.
I cursed. I adored. I slept the sleep of the just. I just barely slept at all. I did random good deeds… I insulted those who meant me well. I hugged strangers… and ignored those nearest and dearest. I ate too much cake… and told others they shouldn’t eat cake at all, then ate theirs.
I knew the bite of the flesh… I abjured God… then went in panicked search of Him all over again. I was magnificent. I was squalid. I was the best of friends and the most unrelenting and tenacious of foes.
I demanded mercy and gave none. I wanted to make a difference and the difference I made was miniscule and negative. I ate without savor. I loved without passion and thought well of myself when there was not a single reason for so much conceit. I always took the easy way and had the temerity to tell others they must sacrifice when I would not. I took, always took, more than my share and bellowed that it was not more. I winked at injustice until I became an injustice.
I hated. I condemned. I demeaned. I disdained. I hurt whenever possible and denied whenever feasible. I exulted in the misfortunes of others and laid the burden of mine at the feet of God Almighty whose name in vane passed often through my lips.
I chose to misunderstand when understanding was facile… and blamed everyone but me on what was so readily apparent to others but willfully ignored by me. And yet I never lost the deep belief that I was a hero to others, a paragon to myself.
I was all this and more, I did all this and more in the tiniest morsel of time we call one year … as if it was something that could be neatly boxed and neatly understood. But even now this year, waning, its end in sight, abides… with possibilities still to come before it is played out, kaput, history we are glad to dispose of and forget, as if forgetting was even an option. It isn’t.
“Turn the clock all the way back.”
How many hours of 2016, how many hours of your life have you now wasted wishing you could regain even a single moment of time, to live it, savor it, even the most commonplace of activities? It is natural to think so for our system is profoundly exasperating… you lived that moment. It is yours. You want it back. You must have it back. And so you expostulate against your fate, the inevitability that defines us. You must go forward, only forward, never back no matter how badly you want it. and you know how badly that is.
Right this minute, the sands of time are escaping through your open hands, hands you long to close and stop the inexorable… but you cannot close them. And so, you experience the pain of certain loss that defines each of us in a world that we live in, are destroying, but cannot stop and enjoy without anxiety.
Each word you now read here takes you into a future that challenges us, a future we must engage whether we want to or not. We stand alone before eternity… and it frightens us to our very core. That is why next year, the year after that. and all the next years to come you will fail to stand tall and courageous before the vast immensity we call The Future and why instead we will take what comfort we can from what our species is most expert at doing: dissipation, distraction, diversion, self destruction.
Only by such devices can we face that which most concerns us… and so we are profligate about the time which constitutes our essence. Sic semper gloria mundi.
The only resolution that matters.
At this moment of peril for each of us, all of us, for our planet and our Cosmos, for our very God, what are we offering to change our course and destiny? Some opt for trivial resolutions about increased exercise and ways to diminish pounds. Others still seize upon any one or two of a myriad of possibilities to improve themselves, all petit, inconsequential, trifling, insignificant. Is this the best we can do against the daunting, monumental challenges we face? We must do better. And what better time to begin than now as a new year signals the commencement of a brand new day?
What then must we resolve and do? Just one thing: Love. For in this single thing there is everything and everyone. Where we dismissed and condemned… we must love. Where we demeaned and destroyed…. we must love. Where we insulted and hated… we must love. Where we divided and estranged…. we must love. And where we worked to rend asunder and alienate… we must love.
” ‘Love is pain,’ I hear you say/Love has a cruel and bitter way of Paying you back for all the faith you ever had in your brain.”
But it’s the only and certain way to start up the brand new day that dawns radiant this very day.
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
About the Author
2017 is fast approaching and with it Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s 70th birthday. He is, he likes to
say, in the prime of his prime. Thus does the “scribbling” life he commenced at age
5 continue. Over fifty books. Thousands of articles. Untold radio and television programs;
worldwide recognition and enthusiasm, all of which culminated in the publication of
his autobiography, “A Connoisseur’s Journey, being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck and joy”. It was a book that screamed “classic!”, and he has
delighted in the several awards that followed.
Howard Martell is the Owner of http://HomeProfitCoach.com/silver . Check us out anytime for marketing tips and a free subscription to our cutting edge newsletter.
To get your copy go to www.drjeffreylant.com. You will also want to join his Guaranteed Millionaire Club with people striving together for financial freedom for all
www.drjeffreylant.com
Listen in to Dr. Lant’s reading and pass it on to a friend, neighbor, lover.
The sands of time are slipping through our hands
Take this time to make a resolution that really matters
To change our ways and direction.

[Video] Excerpts from “Tales of All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween”