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Sunday, September 05, 2010

131. Noah's Ark Survival Kit - Paul B. Farrell

'Noah's Ark Survival Kit' for stormy 2009 seas

The message was from Capt. Jerry Shields, chaplain for the First Marine Expeditionary Force, their son's unit. I'm a Marine veteran, so had to read that "thought for the day" emailed for support during troubled times. Today, as the ominous storm clouds continue darkening, that message carries more impact.
So you're tired of endless bad news. Me too. Let's take a brief break. Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year are times of joy, love and celebration. Laughter, singing, bowl games, presents. And Noah's spirit reminds me of how to navigate successfully through bear markets, economic storms.
Yes, if you want to know how to survive, Noah's got the answer. The ark-builder is one of history's best long-term investors. He thinks like a Coast Guard ice cutter heading through the storm. The ark's the perfect metaphor, a symbol of survival. Noah's message fits today. We paraphrase it, but you'll get his gift. Listen to his survival tips.
Here's how to build your "ark," your very special ark:

1. Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark
Yes, we know it'll be raining in 2009. Pouring hard. But the real storm is within you. So is your ark. A state of mind. Like my favorite special forces instructor put it: "If you have a guy with all the survival training in the world who has a negative attitude and a guy who doesn't have a clue but has a positive attitude, I guarantee you that the guy with a positive attitude is coming out of the woods alive." Plan ahead, budget, save. Cut expenses. Build your ark. It's never too late.

2. Don't listen to critics, just get on with what needs to be done
Only one in three Americans were building their retirement ark before the credit crunch. Most have less than $15,000 savings. Most ignored the coming flood, laughing at ark-builders for wasting their money. Don't listen, do what's right.

3. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by pros
The Pros: Wall Street, Corporate America, Washington, Cable anchors, White House, Congress, SEC, the Fed. Best. Brightest. Listen to their happy talk ... and you'll sink in the flood. You know what's best for you. Trust your inner voice.

4. Two heads are better than one
Remember, "they boarded in twos." You're not alone. Your spouse. Best buddy. Mentor. Ask for help. Think long-term, to after troubled waters recede. Maybe a new career, self-employed. Time to start building a big ark for your retirement.

5. Build your future on high ground
Goals, goals, goals. Research studies prove that successful folks, the millionaires, get there by setting goals. In one major university a small percentage of graduates with specific goals made more money than all the rest of their classmates 20 years later. Today's recession is a great time to rethink your goals. Just do it.

6. Don't miss the boat, the ark will keep you from sinking
Action. Now. Yes, the market's below last year's peak, even below the 2000 dot-com peak. Stocks aren't the only answer. Hard assets? Realty? Commodities? Oil? History tells us cycles happen. We've had 25 bull/bear cycles over the past century. Steady your ark. Recoveries happen too.

7. Don't forget, we're all in the same boat
America is the great land of opportunity, even in a bear-recession. You can still become a millionaire. And when you're getting yours, remember to help someone who missed the boat, throw them a lifeline.

8. Speed isn't always an advantage, turtles came on with cheetahs
Let's hear it one more time: In the race to build your financial ark, the tortoise beats the hare. Trust. You've got a lifetime. You can do it.

9. Woodpeckers inside are a larger threat than the storm outside
Attitude is the key to success, it's an inside job folks, "all in your head." Successful investing begins with that "positive mental attitude."

10. When you're stressed out, float awhile
Going over the edge? Time out. Turn within. Listen to the still small voice. Ask. And receive. Pray. Meditate. Exercise. Go for a walk. Take a break. Call an old friend, kibitz. Help someone worse off. Answers will come. This too will pass.

11. Stay fit
When you're 600 years old, "someone" might ask you to do something really big, like build a big "ark" and "save your world." And that someone will be you. Yes, a new calling. To follow your dreams. To achieve the mission you came here for.

12. Overwhelmed? Your higher power's with you, a rainbow's ahead
I'm very visual. I love symbols, icons. Reminders that a higher power's working in my life. It's so easy to forget. Everywhere in our house and outside we have them: Noahs, Santas, Buddhas, angels. Protecting us. And encouraging us to follow these "Survival Tips."
Do it, you'll weather the storm, discover a new day. Bears and recessions do pass. Bulls eventually return. And when doubts seep back, worries the big guy in the sky's abandoning you on the high seas, there's always that rainbow off the bow of Noah's Ark, dead ahead, sail into it!

Merry Christmas Chaplain Shields wherever you're serving. And thanks.
"Noah's Ark Survival Kit" is the perfect gift for investors. We're the richer for it.