As I look back over the last year, one of the experiences that I will not recall with fondness was the arduous process I experienced obtaining a home loan. Quick background..my wife and I have excellent credit and cash flow was not an issue. Yet, there was a certain point where I almost decided this process was far too difficult and gave up. How does anyone in America get financed these days?
The truth is that they manage to figure it out. Within that truth is also a theory. Home sales would improve if the process of obtaining financing had not become so painful. For the record, what I am advocating does NOT involve lowering credit standards. I am suggesting some potential buyers walk away from the process because it is too burdensome and time-consuming. Read the rest of this entry »
Today, April 15, all Major League Baseball teams will honor Jackie Robinson with all players wearing his number 42. To understand how significant Jackie Robinson’s life was, rent the movie “42” tonight. I highly recommend it!
A few fun things you may not know about Jackie Robinson (courtesy of the people at bathoncho.com).
Fun Facts About Jackie Robinson
1. On January 31, 1919 Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was born on a plantation in Cairo, Georgia.
2. Robinson attended John Muir High School where he was placed on the Pomona Annual Baseball tournament all-star team. He played alongside future hall of famers Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox and Bob Lemon of the Cleveland Indians.
3. Jackie’s older brother, Matthew “Mack” Robinson, was a silver medalist at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He finished 2nd to Jesse Owens in the 200 meter dash.
4. A natural athlete, Jackie Robinson attended UCLA where he participated in not only baseball, but also basketball, football and track.
5. Robinson didn’t play baseball between the ages of 21 and 26. During these years he not only played pro football, but he also served in the US Army as part of World War II.
6. Robinson made a salary of $5,000 his first year with the Dodgers.
7. Jackie played in six different World Series but was only victorious in one of them.
8. At the age of 37 Robinson retired from Major League Baseball as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He then took a position with an American coffee company by the name of “Chock Full O Nuts” where he eventually became the Vice President of personnel.
9. In 1964 Robinson co-founded the Freedom National Bank. A black owned and operated bank in Harlem, New York.
10. Robinson was also the first African American TV sports analyst. He broadcasted for ABC’s Major League Baseball game of the week telecasts in 1965.
11. On March 1, 1981, American astronomer Schelte John “Bobby” Bus discovered an asteroid at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia. Bus named the asteroid “4319 Jackie Robinson,” after his favorite baseball player.
12. In 1999 Robinson was added to the Major League Baseball all-century team along with Cal-Ripken Jr., Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, and Ty Cobb. Fans chose the final selections from list compiled of the 100 greatest Major League Baseball players from the past century.
One of my college kids called me the other night. Well actually she text-ed me. Because that is what kids do today. When they have a complex question that involves a response that could exceed 100 words, they of course text. My standard response when this happens…”call me”.
So the phone call shortly arrived. The whole purpose for this communication involved a certain movie streaming application that her new television came with last summer. She has been enjoying this application with no charge associated. She thought Dad had set it up but I had not. So, all I can figure is there was some type of free introductory period. The freebie had now ended and daughter was hoping that Dad would either provide his log in to this program, or a credit card so this right of college life could continue.
Matters like this are better not to hit me with at 10pm at night. I understand just enough about business to know that no company has set up a video streaming app that all one person needs to do is share their password with their college student and pretty soon an entire dorm is streaming movies on your account. I was not entirely sure how the business model worked, and daughter swore she would keep my login secret (I really believe she would do her best to keep it secret), but I was not buying it. I enjoy the service, we use it at home, and the last thing I wanted was to get our home blocked because my password was also being used at a college campus not exactly in the same location as my home. I thought maybe there was a usage model that might solve this issue but as my tired head tried to figure out a solution at the company’s website, the solution hit me.
The solution was so obvious frankly I got a little upset at myself for not having immediately thought of this. Our goal is for our kids to come out of college debt-free. So, we cover tuition, room and board and books. Social items are on the kids so they need to work whenever they can to pay for their social and entertainment. Same program I was on with my parents and I am forever thankful to them for not forcing me into the world of student loans. I was not handing over my log in information, so this problem was not mine. Clearly an entertainment issue…this was daughter’s to decide. Plus in my research I found out the cost of an unlimited plan was less than two grande lattes at Starbucks! We know how often college kids make that pit stop! (To daughter’s credit, she called me later and apologized for expecting me to handle this expense-much appreciated.)
Which brings me to the end of the story but I just could not stop thinking about this. What a world we live in! For $8 a month, you can have unlimited movies streaming into your college room. My first memory was that we had a small black and white TV in my college room and we hardly could watch it through the snow on the screen as we strained to pick up stations 75 miles away! We did buy record albums (kids-ask your parents what they are) and I remember those being about $6 each. One album with 40 minutes of music, 35 years ago, cost more than the limited plan for the movie streaming application! If they sold albums today they probably would be $15! College kids in the 70’s collected record albums like the Harbaugh family collects coaching victories. Our kids have no idea how great life is for them.
Of course, I sure hope they find some time to study!
I had a rough day yesterday. When it was over I realized I had neglected a number of things that should have been the most important parts of my day. Instead I was wrapped up in the ridiculous circumstances that just seemed like piling on. In retrospect, I have to do better.
Then I started to think about neglect. When you neglect something it generally means it is not important. There are different levels of neglect though. The stress of the day yesterday caused me to neglect a few minutes I could have enjoyed with my son and wife. Those are really important moments to me. It is not the same as the neglect that occurs when you choose to eat pizza late at night every night! Or is it?
How do you separate the levels of neglect? Make a list of the three to five most important things to you. Mine are my marriage, children, spirituality, business, and volunteer efforts. (Sorry Buddy the dog..you are not on this list but that does not mean I won’t feed you and take you out)! Now I look at that list and the top three are non-negotiable. When I have another day that feels like my luck is terrible and the world is crumbling around me, the top three will NEVER be neglected.
What can I neglect? Eating crummy food, reading trash about politics and opinions that frustrate me, ridiculous reality TV shows, and I know I can keep this list going and going. It is all things that suck out my remaining time and energy when it should be spent in better ways.
Figure out what you can neglect and what you never want to neglect. Then lets all do our best to not neglect the important ones again!
Trying to reason the outcomes from yesterday does no good. Clearly, we are a very divided country. I am on the wrong side of the divide and now have to rethink a number of aspects of my life. I started my working life in the same year Ronald Reagan was elected and lived those first years experiencing first hand the idealism that a “rising tide lifts all ships.” For the following 30 years I embraced that philosophy and actually worked very hard to be a part of the rising tide. This morning I now believe that the majority no longer believe in this philosophy. I want to be patriotic and say great things about the future, but I am first going to have to reconcile that the future will be much different than the one I imagined.
As a business owner, the difficulties of the last four years cannot be exaggerated. The huge tax bills are not imagined. Interestingly, Jennifer and I work our tails off 24/7 just to be told that we need to pay our “fair share” while struggling to make a payroll, and pay for a home, college, and groceries. Strangely, there is not much left over for us. We are the middle class…with a business and the opportunity to create employment and hopefully, maybe, a better life for our family and employees. The risks we have taken to get here are substantial with many costing us in ways that include hundreds of thousands of dollars and our enthusiasm for being an employer. Now, the majority have spoken. It feels like the majority has kicked people like us to the curb. I keep hearing “you didn’t build that” in my head and wonder how we are at this point this morning? For almost 20 years I have employed at least one person. The taxes we pay, and how little we have at the end of the day, would surprise most readers. It is not a small burden for the small businessman.
I fear the majority opinion of last night is now a part of the fabric of America. The majority is of the opinion that people like us, the small business owners of America, need to be bled dry. Somehow we are not paying our fair share. Of course, providing jobs is a major problem in this economy. I believe the job creators in America did speak last night. We are just not respected or of the majority. Nor will we likely ever be.
There is not a lot of blood left in this turnip. Please don’t say wait until 2016. What happened across America last night was a statement that won’t make a difference in 2016. People like me are now faced with using this information and adjusting our lives to best take care of our families.
I hoped 2008 was an aberration. It was not. It is the majority. My years of hard work and efforts to provide employment and a better life to lots of people now seems destined to be seriously challenged if not near ending. I believe our President is a good man. It is not personal. These are words from the trenches. I hope I see something that allows me to post that I was wrong.
Hope won’t pay our bills. And there is no change on the horizon.