Ben Franklin

Wisdom from the past – Ben Franklin

“Lost time is never found again” – Ben Franklin

It’s time for another short post on wisdom and time. When you engage in activities that you otherwise wouldn’t if you had the choice you are losing time. Now the premise is “you don’t have a choice” and often that is the case. The goal here is, is to start working on the ability to HAVE the choice. This can be working on exiting from a toxic relationship.

This can be recognizing a bad habit and working on fixing it. This can be resigning from a job you hate, on and on. The important thing to strive for is maximizing the time you do have with things you want to do or enjoy. We all have things we would rather not be doing (like cleaning as an example) but working towards a life with less and less of those is paramount.

Time is the universal currency. It doesn’t care your about your gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, none of it. So to decrease your anxiety and increase your happiness figure out what you like to do and what you don’t like to do and stop losing time, you will never get it back, it will never be found again.

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One area where you underestimate your spending.

Inflation is running rampant. Gas prices are off the charts, rent has gone up, interest rates are rising. The key here is your income is likely not matching the pace. Maybe you got a 5% raise last time (if you are lucky). Inflation at 8%+ you’re losing money in nearly every area. Look this post doesn’t have to be long today, I’m not going to fill it up with elaboration on inflation.

There is likely one area in your life where you are underestimating how much you spend. That area is food. Yes, those $4-dollar coffee’s you buy twice a day, that organic ketchup on and on. Food prices rarely go down and the creep on food prices happens gradually. Here’s the rub, that food that you purchase, unless you buy a lot locally, has to be processed, shipped and stocked. All of that goes into the price point. So gas is going up? All of the food you’re buying at the super market was trucked in, someone had to pay for gas to get those products there.

Here is a link to a world food price index Now this is something finance professionals use to gauge real inflation numbers. I’m not suggesting you delve deeply into this. What this site does is aggregates average prices around the world for common food categories (meat, milk, sugar) and comes up with a “global average”. In 2004 the FPI (food price index) was 65.6 today it is 158.5.

I don’t care how much they charge for coffee.

A remarkable increase right? The key here is this never goes back below the prior year’s index. Unlike gas, housing and interest rates food prices keep going up. This is why your food cost is one of the most important budget numbers you have to know because the “price creep” is real. You are always going to be paying more for food, and now with inflation you are paying more for everything so chances are you are starting to lose wealth AKA purchasing ability.

Tighten up your food purchases, make your coffee at home, pack a lunch instead of eating out. Food continues to go up because we all need it; you die without out. Are you over spending here? Are you aware of exactly how much you spend a month on food? I look at how much I spent and I was blown away. I started a victory garden and that helped. Sure I don’t buy tomatoes anymore but coffee? Meh…

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How to be a better man – Advice for females

I am going to go out on a limb here, or more accurately stick my neck out and offer advice to females who want to keep a man. I know, this will all sound very crude, welcome to the male mind. In the context of relationships simple is better for us but it’s never simple is it? So what is this advice that will make everything simple and easy for our female friends? It covers two areas’ that if conquered serve the basic male want from a female.

Now in today’s culture this might be taboo. It’s not just feminists who are uninterested and in some cases hostile toward men’s wants but it is also a growing and vocal men’s movement, MGTOW that is no longer interested in the subject all together. You see we have come to this odd place of having equity promoted so much, no one knows what to do when they desire an unequitable situation. I know *GASP* someone actually said it.

In fact, there are times in relationships where men and women do not want things to be equitable. They do in fact want their partner to do something regularly so they don’t have too. Keep in mind this is mainly for heterosexual couples. I can’t speak to homosexuality, BI, LGBTQ I don’t have a good point of reference and intimate knowledge. For heterosexual males that WANT to be in a relationship the wisdom I am going to give you below is for the most part true. It’s a secret weapon for any female IF they want to be in a long term relationship with said man. 

“A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. A way to a man’s mind is through his penis”

Happy wife happy life? It works both ways.

I know its crude but it’s true. Remember the first part “stomach” means more than just cooking for him it means caring for him and giving him food is part of that. Its very primal but every male uses their first female relationship as a gauge to the rest of their relationships with women (to a degree) all of their lives. That first relationship is with their mother, there is no use in quibbling about it you aren’t going to change it.

The later “a man’s mind” is more nuanced. Men are bombarded with all sorts of expectations and new signaling that they have no historical reference for. Simply put, men today cannot operate as they have for thousands of years. This is new territory for all of us and if you want to KEEP a man you have to help him navigate this. Part of that is through understanding his sexual motivations. Most men view sex as a power exchange, that is the intimacy for them. You can rail against this notion as long as you want, you may suppress it in your man for a while but he won’t happy and will stray.

Penis, in the quote is also representative of how you want him to treat you. Men will treat you the way you want, IF you reciprocate. Men are fairly compliant, if you ask them to do something and it is reasonable they will do it. Not because they want too, but because they know you will fulfill for them their needs. The availability of sex has never been higher than it is now. This is a problem for men and women.

Mostly women, as nearly anyone can get on an app and find a hook up. Its low hanging fruit for a man to do this, but it’s simple, easy. Most men would rather be with a woman where this is never necessary. Why go to the well if you aren’t thirsty? Many men are pigs, you will never help them and you know who they are. Most men are not though, most men are normal. They have wants and needs like you do, theirs aren’t as nuanced. They want to be respected and looked at as powerful, they want sex and they want you to desire to give them both. That’s the trick, if you can do that you’ll hold that man.

Remember this is my opinion, this isn’t a universal truth you might have zero success with this approach but winning “hearts and minds” is how you win relationships. You want men to give a shit about you, to care what you think how you feel. No man is going to if you don’t do the same for him….

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What is the U.S. holiday “Memorial Day?”

Like many blogs I get traffic from all over the world. Russia, China, India, UK, Australia, Italy, Brazil and everywhere in between. I’ve learned a lot in my travels around WordPress. The diversity of cultures is great and it interests me a great deal. I often wonder about holidays in other countries, what event inspired it etc. Today in the U.S. is Memorial Day and its one of our most revered national holidays.

What is it? :  

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Source:

To understand Memorial Day today and what Decoration Day in the past was it’s important to illustrate how profoundly the civil war changed American culture. It wasn’t just resolving the issue of slavery, it was in effect how we became one country instead of a group of states acting as one country. The social and economic ramifications of a strong central government are still reverberating today, prior most states enjoyed near complete autonomy from the federal government.

Moreover the death toll from the Civil War was staggering and it impacted nearly every American in some way at the time. It isn’t some event that is held in the abstract, most Americans have someone in their family tree who fought in this conflict. Even new Americans who have recently migrated to the U.S. see the statues in their towns, see the culture references still present today. I was in Alabama 3 years ago on business, one of the people I met with introduced me as “his Yankee friend from New England”.

Like most holidays its meaning and application have changed over time. As an example, this year there will not be many parades due to covid. Most Americans have this day off from work paid. Most of us will have a party or attend one. Many more of us will go to the cemetery and visit the graves of those we lost.

And of course there is the national wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington national cemetery. This is to honor those who fought and died for the U.S. whom we could not identify or who never came home.

Memorial Day in the U.S. is important to us on so many levels. Kids can begin to plan their summer vacations, warm weather begins to take hold across the country, and we get a day to reflect on why we are proud to be American.

I know the later sentiment isn’t a popular one these days. Any hint of nationalism is often met with a skeptical eye. For me, I’m glad I live in the U.S. and I am proud of my heritage and my country, as I am sure you are as proud of yours.

How I stay in shape over 50 – Upper Body (in Detail)

So this is part two of how I stay in shape over 50. The first post, which is the most important one can be found here That post is the centerpiece of how I stay in shape. Squats are the priority for me, it gives me cardio and engages my endocrine system, its critical. That lower body (squat) routine is paramount to my success, however there is a “Workout B” and that’s upper body.

To reiterate the basis for my workouts lets recap:

What I do:

3 Months I do a basic 5×5 split. So what does that mean?

  1. 3 Months start date: Any day you want, but its 3 months so say 6/1/22 – 8/31/22.
  2. 3 workouts per week: Mon-Wed-Fri or Tues-Thurs-Sat

There are only 2 workouts. Workout A is the squat day. Warm up stretch and then get to the free weight squat rack. You start with the bar, if that is to heavy you start with a 25-pound weight. You do 5 sets of 5 reps. That’s the workout. Your next workout day (48 hours later) you do workout B, then next workout you are back to work out A.

Workout B is what we are talking about today. Now this workout has 2 exercise groupings. Meaning each workout B you are doing two movements but each workout B can be different depending on your preference. So let’s get the exercise groupings out of the way first.

  1. Bench Press & Rows
  2. Military Press & Dips

Now you pick one of these groups for the 3-month period paired with Workout A (squats). So if you pick Bench Press & Pull Up’s that’s your workout B for 3 months. The point of the 3-month cycle is to build strength in that specific range of motion, with that specific group. The first set of exercises (bench press and pull ups) will hit every major group in your upper body. You never really need to do Military press or Dips. That exercise group serves a different purpose here but the process is the same.

Men over 50 = Eat right, Lift weights, Sleep.

That process is true for all exercises. 5X5, so for workout B you are doing 10 sets. This is a heavy day, it’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be very hard but it’s not nearly the same cardio work you’ll get from workout A and squats. So you stretch warm up do all your prep and then you hit the bench press. Start with 100 pounds, that’s the bar (45 pounds) and 55 pounds on each side.

Rows are the same approach, on this you start with the bar. Here is a good resource on rows as how you position yourself is very important.   These can be substituted with pull ups if you can pull off the rows. The goal with the back exercise if to engage the back as much as possible. This will be harder because you have tired your anterior deltoid (top of shoulder) so you start with the lighter weight.

You do 5 sets, 5 reps each. No, you don’t do a 6th rep if you feel good, you hit the 25 total reps. That is always our goal with these exercises. Once you get to the 25 reps you go up 5-10 pounds, rinse repeat go for the 25 total reps.  You stick with this for the 3 months, along with your work out A squats. Now once the 3 months are over you should have a noticeable gain in strength, muscle tone and confidence. I can’t promise you weight loss but its highly likely depending on what you are consuming.

Remember that somewhere in the middle you will hit a point where you can’t get the 5 sets for 5 reps. This is when you are making your real gains. Remember the weight doesn’t increase until you get that 25 total reps, and it never decreases. This resistance training and progressive load is excellent for men over 50. Your injury risk is lower here because your starting off light allowing your body to acclimate to the movements.

Disclaimer: Please make sure you are physically and medically able to work out before trying. If you exercise regularly you are probably fine but if you don’t consult your physician.

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Historic Inflation – The most important # you need to know is 3.22%

So another finance piece today. I am not going to go through my normal disclaimer hopefully by now you understand you should be diligent about your finances and obtain information from multiple sources. I’m thankful you consider me one, today we are going to talk about inflation. Yes, its real, and it isn’t exclusive to one region we have global inflation. The numbers I will use in this post will be U.S. numbers but in my research it tracks, mostly, globally.

You are probably wondering what the 3.22% is, that is the historic average inflation rate over the last 108 years. That’s ON AVERAGE, which is important. We have years in there where we have 13.5% inflation (1980) so it’s really important to have good perspective here. Historic inflation isn’t as important as “life time” inflation. That metric is the inflation rate in YOUR life time. For me? Its 3.95%. None of the numbers I am throwing at you include 2022 which right now is approx. 8.5% (give or take). As it isn’t a full year of data we can’t use it for these purposes.

Here is a link to the historic chart I am using. So a few important things to remember.

  1. The distinction between historic and life time inflation rates.
  2. The likelihood of sustained inflation.
  3. Globalization

I distinguished the 1st item already, but items 2-3 are intertwined. We had a sustained period of high inflation in the U.S. from 1973 – 1983 (roughly) that’s a long time. That was in my life time, it might be yours too. What normally happens, and is happening now is wages increase as inflation increases but rarely at the same rate. As an example, it’s likely that in 2022 we will come in between 6-10% inflation for the year, it’s unlikely that your income increased by that same amount. The thing that is a killer about sustained inflation is multiple years where your income doesn’t match or exceed inflation = less wealth overall.

Inflation decreases your purchasing power.

You may make more but it doesn’t buy as much, basically. Globalization is a fairly new phenomenon in the inflation equation. In the 70-80’s it was far less then it is now. So what happens in one major country affects the global consumption and production metrics. If China can’t produce as much of X as it normally does, the price of X goes up, or inflates. Add in a pandemic here and there and well you get the picture.

There is only one sure fire way to combat inflation for you personally and that is increase your income by more than the current inflation rate. The problem is most can’t do that. So the second best way to combat inflation is to ensure your income and investments are increasing more than the average inflation rate in your life time. So for me, that means I need to increase my income and investments every year by 3.95%. Now that is just to remain as is, if I want to improve my financial situation (my ability to consume more) I need to increase my return by MORE THAN 3.95%.

Take a look at the link above and see what your life time inflation rate is. This is the minimum target you should be striving for in all of your investments and your income. Trying to figure it out monthly or on an annual is probably not going to work, but hey if you can make 8.5% in these markets I tip my hat to you. For now, shoot for 4% minimum, 6-8% would be ideal and reasonably attainable if you have investments.

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How to improve as a man – Accepting an unpleasant reality

Society has come a long way in terms of equality. It is true that at many points in the past there was gross inequality in nearly all aspects of life. Are things perfect? No, are they better? Yes. As a man you have a very unpleasant reality staring you in the face. At one time men enjoyed the fruits if in-equality. Maybe you were alive for that, so you think it doesn’t apply and that’s largely true but society has evolved to the point where it is now common place to shame/cancel people for things that happened decades prior.

That’s an unpleasant reality for everyone. What is the unpleasant reality for men that we have to accept? That Women, Pets, and Kids are loved unconditionally, and a man is loved only when he provides something. Of course this isn’t an absolute, it’s not 100% of the time but you look at the current cultural and social norms and this is a truism. Is it right, wrong? I’m not here to debate that or get into an argument over men’s rights or feminism. I am here to help men improve and for today’s lesson on improvement, men have to accept this reality.

There are organizations all over the world that help women, children, pets. When was the last time you saw an organization that was dedicated to helping men exclusively? I’m betting it’s not often at all, and are you a white heterosexual male? LOL good luck…

Don’t fight battles you know going in you can’t win.

How we improve here is by accepting this social dynamic reality. Fighting against it is wasted energy at this point you will be overcome by wave after wave of individuals whom want you silenced. I’m not here to discuss their motivations or why we are where we are but to offer you a way to excel in this reality. Embrace the notion that your value will be based on what you can provide to others. It is not and never will be unconditional like women, pets and children. As a man you will be measured by what you offer, for now anyway.

If you can accept that, then you can begin the process of building the basis by which what you are offering is in demand. That is the secret here, understanding the social dynamic and creating the conditions by which you “fill the bill”. Maybe you want to fight against this and find it hypocritical and detrimental? I would recommend you research MGTOW if that is the case. If you want to prosper as a man in the 2020’s what you offer to others will dramatically increase your value.

Examples of “offerings”

  1. Financial stability
  2. Good moral compass
  3. Physically fit
  4. Great hygiene
  5. Leadership
  6. Willingness to do the work others wont
  7. Honesty

I am not suggesting this is a great situation at all, its problematic for everyone because in the end what happens is resentment. Resentment is the poison that kills relationships. You’re going to resent people because you have to deal with this reality. Meantime something happens to a female and there are 800 different resources for them to draw from to recover. You? You’re on your own. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you will become stronger and have more to offer.

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How to turn your anxiety into a super power

For years now I have been doing posts on anxiety where I seek out articles and cite them for the purpose of giving people information. Inevitably many of these articles come boil down to a very simple proposition: change the way you think. I mean anyone with anxiety will tell you If they could do that they would. We get these over simplifications in many areas of life and its tiring. I found an article here that somewhat does this, but gets to the critical aspect of the identification process.

From the article: “Suzuki talks about “the superpower of productivity,” which you can tap into simply by listening carefully to the actual content of your worries. “A very, very common manifestation of anxiety is that ‘what if’ list that comes in your head: What if I get sick with Covid, what if I don’t get an A, what if I can’t remember what the professor said on this part of the test? The superpower that comes with that anxiety-induced what-if list is shifting that into a to-do list,” she explains to Newman. “ 

Chronic Anxiety is like having an itch that you can never scratch.

So the critical point here is identifying the source of the anxiety. Worried about an exam? Study more. I know simple right? The point here is identifying sources of anxiety and attempting to address them directly. This action begins the process of the infamous “change how you think” narrative and why this article is so valuable. You are likely never going to escape anxiety completely but if there are reoccurring issues that create anxiety, identifying them and working toward addressing them directly is going to bare a lot of fruit for your mental state.

Many of us, myself included have a multifaceted issue. Meaning it’s never just one thing, it’s an accumulation of many small issues that converge and lead to intrusive thoughts and debilitating mood swings. Take one issue at a time, if its work, well what part of work specifically? Try and drill down here, get into the weed and really figure out what is driving your anxiety. When you do this you create the conditions by which you can recover faster as you can in many cases address the issue directly and resolve it.

One down, hundreds more to go but its progress….

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How to move mountains

Time – The most valuable commodity in the world

I haven’t done a piece on time recently. As I contend in several of my blog posts over the years, Time is the most valuable commodity in the world. How you spend it largely determines how happy you are. Today’s lesson is relative to “years”. I am going to give you a popular phrase below, you’ve probably uttered it yourself or know someone who has.

“They (you determine who the they are) just turned (you fill in the year) so I have a good “X” amount of years left with them”

Let’s hone this a bit……

“My dad just turned 72, so I probably have a good 10 years left with him”

We usually end there. There is another question we rarely propose and to truly value our time we have to start asking it. With my example above that question is “how many times a year do you see your dad?”

Maybe you see him every day, that’s cool move on to the next person. Maybe he lives across the country and you see him twice a year. That would mean that, by our logic above that you have “a good 10 years left with him” then you are only going to see him 20 more times. Could be less, could be more. That’s not so many is it?

Time is the most valuable commodity in the world and every day we lose more of it.

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No formal post today or Monday

Hey folks, very quick post today. I have a very sick family member whom is near the end. This has come up abruptly and I am traveling to see this person one last time to say our final farewells.

Thank you for all of your support over the years, it really means a lot to me. Remember the people you hold most dear are fragile, enjoy the moment.

Your Pagan Friend,

Karac