Dear Investor's Daily Edge Member,
As a member of Investor's Daily Edge you've already gotten a full week of powerful, actionable advice that will change the way you grow and protect your wealth. Today, we continue that theme with the Michael Masterson Journal. It's part of your subscription to Investor's Daily Edge. And it's totally free.
Michael Masterson is a self-made multi-millionaire and the founder of Early To Rise, our parent company. The Journal is him at his most direct. You'll get no-holds-barred guidance and first crack at his latest breakthrough business ideas. If the Wall Street Journal got it wrong, he'll expose it. If the Fed needs to be knocked down a peg, he's ready.
And if there is something you should be doing right now to accelerate your wealth, health and success, Michael will tell you about it. The Michael Masterson Journal will arrive in your inbox each Saturday. Don't miss it!
I am dumbfounded by the "Cash for Clunkers" program.
But I am not an economist. I'm a businessman. So perhaps some smart economist out there can explain it to me.
Here's how I look at it ...
Wealth is stored value. When you create something of value -- something that lasts over time -- you create wealth. When you destroy something that has lasting value, you destroy wealth.
Think of the Roman roads. When I was in Turkey two summers ago, I walked on a road that was built 2,000 years ago. It was still in perfectly good shape.
When the Romans built their roads, they invested a great deal of money in them. They did so because they believed their empire would last for thousands of years. They understood the arithmetic of value, and so they engineered them to last and used marble to make sure they did.
Nothing is built to last today. But since the 1980s, cars have gotten much better. They can easily last 20 years and 200,000 miles.
If the Cash for Clunkers program really was about clunkers I'd understand its value. But most of the cars being turned in still have years of life in them.
They may not be fuel-efficient. But building a new car is enormous in terms of energy consumption. And destroying a car when it still has good life in it can't possibly be ecologically sensible.
From an economic perspective, it seems downright idiotic.
You can't create wealth by destroying something that has value. Yes, those cars will be replaced by new cars. But the net arithmetic has to be negative.
It's like trashing all the antique furniture in your house and replacing it with new tables and chairs. It may give you the feeling that you are somehow richer. But if you took the time to do the math, you'd realize you had less net wealth than you did before.
That's how I see it. If I'm missing something, write me at: AskMichael@ETRFeedback.com.
The Justice Department is cracking down on bribery by enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (a post-Watergate law that was ignored during the Bush administration) with missionary zeal.
Hieu, my wife's Lexus dealer, is the perkiest salesperson I know.
I wondered how he stays so energized. "You must get loads of sleep," I said.
"Actually," he said. "I sleep only four hours a night."
I looked at him skeptically. His eyes were beaming. His skin was clear. He was brimming with life.
"You're not serious," I said.
He was serious. Most of us need seven to eight hours of sleep to be at our best. Countless studies have confirmed that. But there are those rare people like Hieu who perform at a peak level without much sleep. They are the exceptions that prove the rule.
New research, Melanie Segala informs me, suggests that a genetic mutation may explain why Hieu does so well on so little sleep.
In Total Health Breakthroughs, she quotes Paul Shaw, a neurobiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. "We've believed for a long time that there's a genetic basis. But scientists have only recently begun to ferret out which genes are responsible."
Lab tests on mice and fruit flies confirm her findings.
I saw an advert for a "combat training class" in a NYC cab. The class is run by a woman. She wears fatigues. So do her students. Not entirely unique. (My sister was doing the same thing 30 years ago.) Still, it distinguishes her from the crowd.
What is more interesting is that she is selling a six-week course for which she offers a 100 percent, money-back double guarantee. (She guarantees both weight loss and satisfaction.)
It is a strong guarantee for a six-week program. And it occurred to me that I hadn't seen any guarantees on fitness or martial arts programs. Most offer free introductory lessons. But once you sign up, there are no refunds.
It's a tough business. They have fixed overheads and have to fight to make a profit. So I can understand why they don't want to offer guarantees.
Which is exactly why this ad caught my interest. And since it has been running for a while (I've seen it four times), I can only assume it's working.
The first time I saw it, I sent an e-mail to several of my friends who are fitness and martial arts instructors, suggesting they might benefit from this simple marketing technique.
Half of them thought it was a good idea. But the other half had reservations. They were afraid people would take advantage of them.
I don't think they would. It's hard to ask for a refund face-to-face if you know you've been getting good service. It would be a very rare individual who would dare to do so. If I had to guess, I'd say the bad debt would be less than five percent.
That's a small price to pay for a considerably higher rate of response to your ads.
Joe Seta sent me the following quotation by the late Adrian Rogers. I thought you might enjoy reading it.
From the Economist comes a report that broadcast television (the big four networks -- ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox) is sliding further into oblivion.
Worried about a tax audit? You shouldn't be. If you make more than $500,000 a year, your chances are about 5 percent. If you make less than that, they are considerably lower.
A reader writes in for advice on promoting his website. He's built a site, put in meta-tags, and has filled it with keywords. But nothing has happened. He's considered starting a pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign, but finds the process "confusing and un-assuring."
He asks if we have any suggestions on how to get the word out about his website to potential customers.
We get letters like this from Early to Rise readers almost every day.
It's obvious that this guy is new to Internet marketing and new to ETR. If he had been reading us for some time he wouldn't be asking such a basic question. We have published thousands of pages of specific advice and information about Internet marketing in the past few years. And we offer numerous services for people who have a serious interest in this subject.
You are not going to learn how to market your Internet business by asking one, big, oversimplified question. There are hundreds of ways to jumpstart your website and get your business in front of customers: search engine marketing, social media, e-mail marketing, teleseminars, viral campaigns, insert ads, joint ventures, co-registration, banner ads ... the list goes on.
The point is, you have to invest money and time into educating yourself. Here are some of the programs ETR is offering right now:
* Internet Money Club: Independent Learner Edition. This is a step-by-step guide for anyone who wants to do business online ... but doesn't have a clue as to how to get started.
With the Internet Money Club: Independent Learner Edition, you don't need any technical skills or business experience. You'll learn everything you need to know -- from setting up your website (as easy as using a word processor, thanks to the XSitePro software that's included) to writing profit-producing sales copy to setting up blockbuster marketing campaigns. It's only $695.
* The Secrets of Easy Internet Money. At $97, this low-cost product shows you how to find and profit from public domain works by turning them into your own information products. It is ideal for people who don't have their own products and want to get started fast.
* Instant Internet Income. This is a great program for people with little marketing experience and little time to devote to an online business, but a desire to set up nearly automatic streams of side income that could turn into life-changing amounts of money.
You don't need a fancy website or any technical knowledge to learn to broker the Internet deals you'll learn about in Instant Internet Income. One of ETR's most popular programs, it's available for only $77.
From The Wall Street Journal comes word that commercial real estate is in trouble. Commercial property foreclosures are rising. As we saw with residential real estate, that's bad news for commercial-mortgage-backed securities. And there are $700 billion of them out there.
The Feds are scrambling. If this market collapses, the economy will take a huge hit. But who could have predicted this mess? Who could have foreseen any problems with commercial real estate?
Well, I've been saying it since December. Here is Prediction #3 from the Christmas edition of Ready, Fire, Aim (the previous incarnation of the Michael Masterson Journal):
I've told you many times that I'm not an expert in stock investing. And options and futures are definitely out of my realm.
Scamsters have been coming out of the woodwork in record numbers. You know about Madoff, of course. Hedge fund manager Arthur Nadel was indicted back in April for his $360 million scheme. Then there are "smaller" fish like Beau Diamond. The Sarasota man has just been charged with running a $37 million Ponzi scheme. He defrauded 200 investors.
[Ed. Note: Michael Masterson welcomes your questions and comments. Send him a message at AskMichael@ETRFeedback.com.]
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