While AARP (American Association for Retired Persons) and AMAC (Association of Mature American Citizens) are both clubs for older adults, AMAC has been billed as a conservative alternative to AARP. Here are a few of the political differences between AARP vs AMAC:

AMAC is vociferously opposed to Obamacare and very actively campaigns to repeal it.

  1. AMAC is vociferously opposed to Obamacare and very actively campaigns to repeal it. AARP generally supports Obamacare.
  2. AMAC is actively pro-life. AARP has not taken a position on this issue.
  3. AMAC very actively campaigns for the right to bear arms. AARP has not taken as a strong position on this issue. They do strongly support the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and talk about the need to keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals.
  4. AMAC actively campaigns to lower taxes for everyone. AARP supports additional taxes on the richest Americans.

AARP and AMAC are also very different in terms of sheer membership numbers. AARP has approximately 40 million members, whereas AMAC has not yet broken half a million members. Of course, AMAC is only a few years old so it is a much younger organization than AARP which has been established for more than fifty years. In addition to AMAC, other more conservative organizations for older Americans have sprung up too. These include American Seniors Association (ASA), 60 Plus Organization, and The Seniors Coalition (TSC). However, AMAC is the largest by far in terms of membership. This was boosted by the fact that in January 2008, they offered a one-year membership for free.

Both AARP and AMAC offer many discounts to their members. These include discounts on supplemental insurance, home insurance, dental insurance, long-term care insuranceprescription eyeglasses, prescription drugs, hotels, car rentals, airline tickets, and restaurants. Both retirement clubs also offer discounts that appeal very specifically to seniors such as discounts on dentures, long-term care insurance, life insurance with no age limit, Medicare insurance, identity protection since seniors are often preyed on in this way, and insurance for manufactured homes since many seniors live in senior communities featuring these types of homes.

At this point, AARP offers more discounts than does AMAC but the latter may catch up at some point. In more esoteric categories, AARP usually offers more than AMAC. For example, one couple we know were able to get a great deal on RV insurance through AARP and there was nothing even close through AMAC.
Since the details of the discounts and other benefits can vary when comparing AARP vs AMAC, some people could benefit most by being a member of both organizations rather than one or the other. However, many older Americans may choose one organization over the other based on the political differences between the two politically active organizations.

6 Money Skills I Have Learnt Over the Last 3 Years

There’s one thing about being successful – it’s best learnt from those who have already done it. In the last few years, I have read tons of internet articles and books on making money. Well, I guess it’s something anyone wants to learn. If you feel that your life is moving forward and your wealth isn’t surging accordingly, you’ll be keenly picking multiple sources to see what you can do to improve your situation.

In this article, I have highlighted all lessons I have learnt on the subject of making money. You can also benefit greatly from these insights as I believe they have enriched my life in a significant way.

1.      Money is Freedom

Make no mistake – money equals freedom. One of the best books I ever read on the subject of wealth taught me that without enough of it, it’s impossible for most people to live life to the fullest. Of course, there are a lot of people who’ll disagree with this notion, but it certainly makes great sense. The rich know it. I’m not trying to say that money can buy freedom. What I’m trying to say is that having enough money gives you the freedom to choose what you want to do, and when you want to do it. So rather than committing all your time to the 9-5 office job so that you can be able to pay your bills, you’ll have the freedom to think beyond that. Think about it! If you really had a lot of money right now, would you still be doing that job? And what if you get sick. Could you be able to afford the best doctors medical practice has to offer?

2.      Invest Daily

Yes, at this stage, you’ve already learnt that money is freedom. But how do you actually start making that money so you can enjoy this freedom? The time is right now. If there’s one thing I have learnt from the rich, it’s that every day is the time to make investments. Opportunities are always there, you just need to open your eyes to be able to see them. That conversation you had with your friend, parent or colleague the other day could be the unique opportunity you’re waiting for. Think about Mark Cuban, internet billionaire and a ‘shark’ on the popular TV program ‘Shark Tank’. The guy used to sell beer, alcohol and that kind of stuff in a bar. But then he got an idea about starting a video site. The idea became really successful and eventually he sold it for billions of dollars! So never say that there are no opportunities anymore. Just look very closely and you’ll definitely see them.

3.      Don’t Spend

I have learnt that not spending is the same as making money! But this doesn’t mean that you have to become a penny pincher. It just means that you need to sacrifice in some areas so that you can make enough money to invest elsewhere. For instance, if you’re flying from one city to another and a plane ticket costs more than $3000, why don’t you take a seat in business class and save $1,000. Somehow, you’ll have earned a thousand bucks, which you can channel to an investment somewhere. Money working for itself is money you don’t have to earn again!

4.      Invest in Assets

And not just assets. I have learnt this from a number of articles written by some of the most successful entrepreneurs today. There’s the middle-class syndrome, and I guess that’s where I belong. We are the guys who earn a substantive amount of money, and then squander all of it on ‘lifestyle’. We buy expensive clothing, accessories, cars, etc. Instead, we should be investing in appreciating assets! It’s that simple!

 5.      It’s About the Skills

If you’re still employed and earning a decent sum of money, have it in mind that it could all go away in a snap. So never take comfort in your paycheck. Rather, focus on the skills. You’d rather get a low paying job in your 20s, and then become a multi-millionaire in your 40s. So if there’s anything you can do to increase your skills when you’re young, bank on it.

6.      Don’t Put All your Eggs in the Same Basket

Don’t make this mistake that a lot of people still make. The wealthiest people will never put all their money in one or two stocks. They will diversify it to include a variety of investments, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, etc. Think about Sir. Richard Branson. His company, Virgin Group, owns over 400 other companies. So if one sector of the economy gets hit really hard, Mr. Branson can always afford to smile. Because he made the smart decision not to put all his eggs in one basket. Instead, he put them in so many baskets!

Well, I’m not a self-declared tutor, but those are some of the important things I have learnt about money, making it and keeping it. So try to see whether you can borrow a leaf!

4 Ways I Can Make My Life Better This Year

I want to be happy. Who doesn’t? I want to be better than I was last year and the year before. But happiness is elusive. Nonetheless, they say that happiness is always within anyone’s reach. You just have to open your eyes to see it. Maybe they’re right, and maybe they’re not. But certainly, there are those things I could do this year that could certainly make my life better. And that got me thinking. What are those things?

Stepping Back to Assess

Before I could figure out what I could do to be a happier human being, I realized that I had to step back and look. It has to start with imagination and observation. Really stepping out of your shoes and analyzing yourself from another person’s viewpoint. What would it take to make that person (you) happy and better this year? It’s a million-dollar question. Assess your own like a third party. This way, you’ll be able to derive a lot of insights that you otherwise couldn’t have gotten from elsewhere. Create a list.

Practice Gratitude

Once I created a list of things that could make my life better this year, including getting closer to God and giving more to the less fortunate in society, I also learnt that exercising gratitude is another great way to be happier. Many of us just get into the habit of focusing on what we don’t have, what we lack. We take everything that we have for granted. This is not to say that you should live in denial and ignore the problems that plague your life. All I’m trying to say is that while you’re tackling those problems, you should also appreciate all the things that you could be grateful about. Think about everything that you have others wish they could own. Think about all the great friends you have. And even if you don’t have great friends, chances are high that you have a loving family. And if not that, what about good health? Each one of us has a lot of things that others wish they could also have. And that’s reason enough to be grateful – or so I thought. So one of the ways I’m going to be happier this year is by exercising gratitude.

Live in the Present

Live in the present moment. There’s always cause to worry about tomorrow. I realized that whenever I thought about things that I really had no control over, I got stressed. I became unhappy. And so I noted that one of the things I could do to be happier this year is live in the present. You should learn to be able to appreciate what’s going on right now. Do everything in your power to be fully present in this very moment. After all, this moment is all you have.

Treating Others Right

This is another great way to improve the quality of life you live. Choose to do the right things, it helps a lot. Even when other people are not treating you well, do the right things. Say something positive. It’s the little things that make our world a better place. Have it in mind that every time you do something good towards others, you also do something good about yourself. So get started right now and make sure you’re making others happy through those little things.

Yes, that’s all. Very simple things that really go a long way towards making me happy. Maybe you should try them too.

5 Powerful Body Language Tips I Have Learnt Thus Far

Body language is instrumental in everyday relationships. Whether you’re speaking to your significant other or conveying a concept to your workplace colleagues, body language plays a lot in your communication. Indeed, a recent scientific study says that your words make up only 30% of communication. The rest has everything to do with body language and other non-verbal cues, such as tone of voice. So I figured if I wanted to spruce up my communication – and I really do for that matter – I could count on the following body language tips.

  1. The power pose – we all know that confidence is a very important quality. Confident people are often more successful, whether at work or in relationships. Also, people tend to like and trust confident people. But how can you pose so that you look confident? A joint study carried out by Harvard and Columbia Business Schools actually demonstrates that holding your body in a power pose – lean back with your hands behind your head and feet up on a desk, or just standing up with legs wide stretched – increases levels of testosterone. This can be done for as little as two minutes, and works great especially when you want to feel tentative and want to appear confident.
  2. Look like you’re listening – if you want people to open up, don’t multitask when they do. Often, we are all faced with technology-centered distractions. For instance, you might feel like you want to check whether there’s a new text message on your phone, in which case you stop paying attention to whoever is speaking. This is especially a great tip for team communication. Don’t create a barrier that will hinder the communication. Lean forward, nod, and tilt your head as a nonverbal way of showing that you’re paying attention.
  3. Shake hands – you probably meet with a couple of new persons every week. Physical obstructions can impact your relationship with these people for a long time. So you want to make sure that you give your best. But a firm handshake is a great way to show rapport and open up. Also, body language research suggests that people who keep their hands held at waist level than those who keep them chest high.
  4. Breathe through your mouth – are you attending an important meeting? Take a deep breath and exhale through your mouth. This is a great way to release the tension in your jaw, neck, and shoulders that can make you look aggressive or rigid.
  5. Pause before a formal presentation – just before you make a formal presentation, make sure to pause. Human beings are drawn by movement. So if you move while you speak, people will notice. This is an effective body language tip that especially comes in handy when you want to drive a point home. The most impact in communication is achieved when you combine movement with physical pauses.

These might seem like simple body language tips, but they can definitely go a long way towards enhancing your communication efficiency! Consider trying them one by one when the situation presents itself.

Making Money is Dirty?

Since that episode at the playground when I was twelve years old, I’ve always looked at making money as dirty. That there was something immoral and suspect about making a huge profit. I looked at capitalists and business people as somewhat dirty and morally suspect as well. Things didn’t improve when I went to college. I went to college at the University of California at Berkeley which is a very liberal college and my friends were very big on the idea of the government taking care of people from cradle to grave. They think that the whole solution to all of the humanities’ problems can be found in the hands of government and government experts. This was the whole assumption that my college years were based on. The problem is it’s easy to be a socialist when you have no money. It’s easy to be a socialist when you don’t have a job. I learned the hard way that after I got out of college and got a job that Uncle Sam was taking a nasty chunk of my pay and even though my payslip will say that I made a decent amount of cash, a huge chunk of that was missing thanks to this concept called taxes. Still, I believed in the whole idea that government is the solution to all sorts of problems. It was a very hard ideological habit to kick. Part in parcel of that was the whole employee mentality that I developed.

I always thought that the way to get ahead was to work for somebody else. I never really looked at myself as capable of being self-employed or owning my own business. Again, this is all a part in parcel of that talk my father and I had when he discovered me and my brother were making a lot of money by reselling candy. The employee mentality that I developed in my 20’s was a big handicap because it limited my ability to develop a realistic conception of money, wealth creation and even my own appreciation of what I’m capable of. I developed a fairly crippling attitude regarding money that I have to be an employee for me to make a living. It was some small consolation to know that I was not alone. In fact, the vast majority of Americans have the same exact employee mentality.

My First Taste of Arbitrage

For the longest time, I was quite happy with my employee mentality. I would just show up to work, do my job in the most efficient, quickest and most effective way possible and my boss would let me go home early. To me, this was the best of all possible worlds. My idea of being the perfect employee was to do a really great job, producing work quickly, showing up early and leaving early. In fact, my supervisor loved me because unlike other employees, I was able to do eight hours of work in only three hours.

I was very happy working as an insurance adjuster in Los Angeles for several years. In fact, it got to the point where I would come in at nine in the morning and leave at eleven. How was that efficient? I was getting all sorts of raises and promotions and I was happy with that lifestyle. I could spend the rest of the day at the beach. I would often go to El Matador Beach near Malibu and enjoy the rest of the day there. However, my life was about to change when my boss Frank White told me to adjust certain BMW rims. I had to go to the west side in Brentwood to adjust this woman’s BMW. She apparently kit several potholes and this five thousand dollar set of stainless steel crone rims that she had were damaged. In my mind, I was expecting like really warped and chipped rims. I was expecting the worst when I showed up at the body shop that her car was located in. I was surprised that these rims were at least from a very superficial level, look perfectly intact. They didn’t look warped at all. They weren’t even chipped or nicked, but when the body shop manager took them off and we ran some tests, there were slight warps in one of the wheels.

According to company policy, if a full set of rims had one wheel warped, you have to replace all four. I basically argued with my boss and we’re going to spend five thousand dollars replacing a whole set of stainless steel crone rims when only one of these wheels was messed up and it was slightly messed up at that. Do we really have to pay five thousand bucks? That was how big of a company man I was. My supervisor Frank said ‘we have to replace all four’ because that’s company policy. Being the boy scout that I said to Frank ‘well Frank, what if we get defrauded? What if she just buys a replacement rim for that one wheel that was screwed up and keep the rest of the money?’ Frank had a stuck answer. He said ‘well, this is a common practice in our industry, you just take all the items that you paid for and to make sure that the body shop replaces all those rims. Of course, the natural question that followed was ‘what am I going to do with these rims that are going to be replaced?’ The next sentence out of Frank White’s mouth changed my life forever. He said ‘I don’t care what you do with them. Just make sure that you remove them from the body shop.’ So I told the body shop manager ‘remove the rims and put it in the trunk of my company car’ and I got the hell out of there. Without a moment hesitation, I went and placed an ad on the Los Angeles Recycler.

Recycler was a buy and sell classified ad magazine where people sold used goods. Just to be sure that I was complying with company procedures, I called Frank and I said ‘well, are you sure that I could keep these rims?’ In no uncertain terms, he said ‘yes, you can keep those rims.’ I was in the free and clear so I put an ad selling these rims for fifteen hundred dollars. Sure enough, a day didn’t even pass when my phone rang and some Afghan guy called and he said he wanted to take a look at the rims. To make the long story short, within twenty-four hours I was able to sell those rims which cost me nothing for nine hundred dollars. This was an experience that changed my life. This showed me that I didn’t have to live my life as an employee. Also, it showed me the value of creating value for other people. When you make money off of the exchanges, you make money selling stuff, when you make money selling services, you make money because you offered value. You didn’t steal from other people. You didn’t transfer wealth from somebody’s slice of the pie to make your slice larger. You basically offered value for value. This one experience changed the way I looked at wealth. It changed the way I looked at myself and it changed the way I looked at how I’m going to make a living from that day forward. You have to remember, at that stage of my career, I was making somewhere around in 2014 dollars, seventy-five thousand dollars a year. Not too shabby. I also have a company car, full health, and dental and I was working at one of the biggest insurance company in Southern California, but that experience showed me that I was capable of something more.

After three years in law school in San Francisco, I was ready to become self-employed. Originally, I wanted to own my own private practice law firm, but the Internet blew up in 1996. I became so fascinated with making money online using websites that in my first year of law school, I started my own academic essay consultation company. In that year alone, we made seventy-five thousand dollars. That was the beginning of my long journey in self-employment. I have never held a job ever since. To me, a job is a step-down. To me, a job is really nothing short of slavery. Nothing to me is more pointless than making somebody else’s dream come true. Your job as a human being is to make your own dreams come true.