By Rob Severson on May 8, 2012
Education: Is it working?
This is a question that is coming up more and more along with how much more money should be spent on it. Most politicians love to talk about spending more on it as it is like motherhood and apple pie; no one will criticize it. Few can or will argue money isn’t helping improve it and in the spirit of fixing it (and getting re-elected I fear!) most campaign with promises to spend more on it. To me they are admitting that it isn’t working well now and money will fix the problem.
I admit to be one of the folks who wonder how much more we need to spend as it increases every year. How much is enough? Why do we think we need to spend more; will that help?
Whenever I talk with teacher friends I usually hear about the stress, long hours and extra work they have to do. I admit I am not sympathetic as I have been in the business world where those things exist and there are no lengthy vacation periods several times a year. But I would bet that every teacher I know is passionate about teaching and wants their students to succeed.
With these things in mind, I have been thinking about education a bit today. It occurred to me that the teachers may be right, they may be overworked! But the reason may be that they are overregulated! Both parties seem to put new plans in place that require reporting and extra hassle for the teacher. It seems to me that they are plagued with the same issue businesses complain about, too much regulation! Business say regulations hurts their productivity, how about teachers who spend time reporting rather than teaching? Is that the reason class sizes need to be low, to give teachers the time to do reports? Could they handle larger classes if they didn’t? Could they be more effective if left to “run their own business” like my business friends want? Do unions and their regulations make teaching harder also? Is it a hassle to meet all the government and union requirements for hiring?
Years ago we used to have one room schools that many people did very well in and rose to prominent positions in he country. Kids from kindergarten through 6th or 8th grade were taught by one teacher, often dealing with 25 kids at different grade levels. They learned discipline, how to read and learn, and how to help others. There was no political correctness then, only learning respect for each other. Not a bad concept to bring back!
Maybe we have made it too complicated to be successful. And too expensive to sustain.
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, business finance, education, prosperity, success, TEACHERS |
By Rob Severson on May 6, 2012
I have gone through “The Life of Julia” several times. It is a very clever presentation showing how “Julia” progressed through her life very well, with seemingly little stress because of government programs that helped her along the way. I admit, it is a very compelling case that they make for more entitlements. And the clip makes it all look easy! But something was missing and I mulled about this for several days. Then it hit me, there was no mention of a survival instinct, or better yet, a drive to accomplish high success. It also occurred to me that much of the stuff Julia received was already available either by existing government programs or the private sector. Health insurance for example is pretty cheap for young people. So are condoms. It didn’t address the exorbitant cost of college other than how she could pay for it! So are we really accomplishing much in “making life easier”? We can argue all day about how much is enough, but without any survival instinct and fire in her belly Julia will still have a hard time in her life; that part is missing.
• In her career, Julia must learn to sell her services to her employer, not just show up and get equal pay to everyone else. Businesses reward employees who get the best results, not the ones who just “show up”. I hope she can learn to compete and make her own way; I’m not sure where she will learn this in her “automatic” world of go to college, get a job, own a business and retire. She must eventually learn to survive on her own as she will have problems. We all do. •
In her business, Julia must have a strong survival and success instinct if she is going to make it. The idea that if she gets money she will do well is a myth for a majority of businesses. I have seen thousands of businesses who have lost the money they borrowed, and have also seen thousands who did well with little money to start. It came down to drive to make it and lots of long hours and creativity. Not just money.
• Most of the businesses I have worked with have gone through tough times and most of them come out better business people. The fear of failing is a strong motivator as well as the desire for success. You can call it greed if you want, but maybe a little greed is healthy! A business must make a profit to survive.
• Julia disappointed me in that I didn’t see any evidence of her giving to others and helping them along their way. It seems her life was all about her; getting what she wanted and then finding a hobby in retirement to provide her further pleasure. I guess in this model that that is the government’s role, not hers.
• Who will be the stars in Julia’s world? Will we have millions of Julia’s living an average life and leave the high success to the people who take care of themselves and have higher goals than just to be average. Will this solve the income inequity problem people complain about or just raise the numbers for all? Will the increased taxes on the rich pay for more entitlements or just cause them to raise prices to consumers?
• But, if you are certain you need assistance to survive, Julia’s world may work for you. I doubt it unless you learn a survival mentality. And if government doesn’t run out of money. And don’t be envious of the people that want more!
I fully recognize that many people need help figuring out how to make a living and survive. That is much of the reason I wrote my book: “Connecting Peace, Purpose & Prosperity” a memoir that shows how I overcome obstacles and problems to achieve the “average” success I did. I also speak to colleges and other groups to get the message out. Yes you can make it in this world! And be happy!
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, business finance, careers, financial prosperity, government spending, Julia, make a living, Obama entitlement, prosperity, success, survival |
By Rob Severson on May 4, 2012
“One thing I want to make sure young people everywhere know is that it doesn’t matter where you grow up, or whether you go to a big or small college, everyone who works hard and keeps their eyes and ears open at all times for opportunities can and will succeed.” Dana Perino on Facebook in response to questions raised to “The Five” about her career. I hope everyone gets this message, especially young people starting out in their careers! From my own experience I know it is true as it is how I got ahead in spite of some personal obstacles. I did it by finding problems and solving them; that brought opportunity. The internal auditor manager at Norwest told us to keep our “antenna” up at all times when performing audits, similar advice. The ones who did that found things that others missed when they just did audits on a perfunctory basis, i.e. just filling in the audit forms. Guess what? The ones who were curious and found problems were the ones that were promoted! Along with the discovery they also provided solutions which was even better. Business is a very competitive these days, we all know this. That also means that an individual must also be competitive and compete with others to get the jobs and advancement they desire. (Not ruthlessly; teamwork is also important) I highly recommend to young people out of college that they get started in something and distinguish themselves in the job. Then by keeping eyes and ears open to opportunities they will find success. Thanks Dana for pointing this out!
I have a couple examples of this in another article: http://robseverson.com/success-stories-people/
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, careers, Dana Perino, jobs, opportunity, prosperity, success, work |
By Rob Severson on April 18, 2012
WORK!! WHY DO WE HATE IT SO MUCH?
I think that at some point in our lives many of us have wished we didn’t have to work. I know I have, mostly on specific days when I wanted to do something else. But I would claim that I have enjoyed every job I ever had and had fun in each one. Plus, they put bread on the table for me and my family! Work is ordained by God and mentioned many times in the Bible. The relationship between masters (now employers) and slaves (then indentured employees) is also addressed frequently from both sides; treating employees well and serving employers well and honestly. Work is the way we get food, shelter and fulfill our other needs. We ask for these things and God gives us a way to get them: Work! Was that a joke? So why is it such a contentious topic? I think there are several reasons:
• Control! When we take a job we seemingly lose control of our lives. We don’t have to, but we think we have and that is what counts. Reality is that we are gaining control with the freedom that comes from making a living.
• Selfishness! If we believe our jobs are “all about us” I think we are doomed for unhappiness in them.
• Some envy the self employed; but those folks have many bosses. They are called customers, suppliers and often, bankers!
• Work can be competitive; winners like it, losers don’t. doesn’t mean either are “bad”, just an observation. We are jealous of people who are too successful at work, and some think they should share their “winnings”.
• Working people are jealous of those who don’t have to work for a living. Stay at home spouses who take care of the household and rely on a single income family are castigated. Why? Do we see work as punishment?
• Many employees do not like their bosses. Some employers don’t like their employees. If we took some of the Biblical teachings to heart would that help?
One big topic of the day is socialism, a concept of sharing the rewards for work in addition to other things. I can actually understand why this is appealing and why it could be a good system. Especially for the folks who can’t provide for themselves. It is indeed a valid economic system. Problem is, if so many hate work who will be the ones to produce?
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, business finance, careers, financial prosperity, job dissatisfaction, jobs, make a living, prosperity, relationships, social injustice, socialism, work |
By Rob Severson on April 14, 2012
PLEASE EMAIL ME AT ROB@ROBSEVERSON.COM IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN RECEIVING A BOOK. YOU ARE WELCOME TO REGISTER FOR MY SITE TOO, BUT I NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ALSO WANT A BOOK IN ADDITION TO REGISTERING.
I am turning 65 in a few days and to celebrate my birthday I will give the first 50 people who send me a message with their email address a free eBook. I am doing this with apologies to the generous people who bought my book and helped me with the cost I incurred!
My book: “Connecting Peace, Purpose & Prosperity” is a short memoir I wrote for my family showing them how they can learn to live lives that are happy, joyous and free. It incorporates concepts from the 12 steps of AA, the Bible, and some life experiences that all tie together. It is not my wisdom, but a collection from these sources!
I firmly believe that most people can learn to survive on their own if they focus on some simple principles including building relationships and an unselfish attitude about work and life. I am offering this because i believe it is an important message to the young starting out as well as those in the middle of their careers.
Check out the book reviews http://robseverson.com/book-reviews/ and other information on my site. All I ask if you want one is that you read it!
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, entitlement, financial prosperity, job dissatisfaction, jobs, life priorities, prosperity, relationships, social injustice, success, survival |
By Rob Severson on April 10, 2012
I confess i used to be very apathetic about politics and world affairs. Even in the Viet Nam years I barely knew what was going on and it followed me for many years as i was focusing on my career and family. Now that i have more time along with cable news and the internet i can be accused of being too consumed by politics. Maybe there is a middle. But, i was talking with a good friend the other day who says he doesn’t pay much attention to cable news or anything political. He went on to say that the GOP lost him when they didn’t want to increase taxes on folks making more than one million dollars. Why? Because most of them do not pay any tax at all and the rest of us make up the burden. Mind you, he is a CPA, over 60, and probably in the top 10% of folks who one would think keep informed So, i showed him an article from USA Today that surprised him very much. Some of the comments from the article:
“The 10% of households with the highest incomes pay more than half of all federal taxes. They pay more than 70% of federal income taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
There may be individual millionaires who pay taxes at rates lower than middle-income workers. In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. But that’s less than 1% of the nearly 237,000 returns with incomes above $1 million.”
The full article can be found at http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/story/2011-09-20/buffett-tax-millionaires/50480226/1
He was shocked. But a bigger question is how many other seemingly educated people believe the sound bites coming from politicians? Any of them for that matter. And more so, how does the average, infrequent listener/reader of the news discern truth? Certainly not by being apathetic!
Posted in General | Tagged financial prosperity, make a living, political apathy, social injustice, taxes by high income, taxpayers, tea party |
By Rob Severson on February 11, 2012
I think we all have said that at one time or another. My business is coaching businesses that rely on bank’s for financing and I too get angry once in a while. But my role is to teach my clients how lending works and what they need to do to communicate and keep their financing alive. This week the government announced a mortgage deal whereby the banks would be “punished” for the mortgages they made that are underwater or delinquent. Hurray, that’ll teach them! Make them pay! But…… we will pay for it! Somewhere, somehow we will pay a bit more for interest on loans or a bank fee on something. Count on it, it will happen. Unless like B of A which tried to charge fees on debit cards that resulted in a near-revolution and they changed their minds. There are many ways to get it back. My experience with it was in credit cards interest. I pay off my card each month and have good credit so I had a fairly low rate on my card. Once in a while I used to carry a balance for a month or two to manage my cash, but since the credit card laws changed a few years ago guess what happened? My bank increased my rate to 12% on any balance I carry. I won’t use it now to borrow so the only way I get hurt is if I have an unusual situation come up. But some others with previously low rates will pay more if they keep a balance. The banks will get it back, they have to if they are to keep their profits and returns to investors where needed. If they don’t their stock may go down and pension funds etc my lose values needed to pay for pension benefits. Kind of a vicious circle isn’t it? We also have a consumer finance czar now to protect folks from those damn bankers and their complicated agreements. Never mind that 90% of the complicated language in the agreements are required by law and regulations. But it is a circle: government requires disclosures that are complicated; then created jobs for folks to protect folks that don’t understand them! This may be a key issue though, all consumers don’t understand what they are getting in to when they borrow money. I sympathize with their dilemma but also believe that lack of knowledge is not a reason to get subsidized. I had a variable rate mortgage once my self, but I understood it. My rate went up but I had calculated what the increase in cost would be and satisfied myself that I could afford it if I had to. But I refinanced when I could get better terms. I have a problem with adjusting these mortgages because folks didn’t understand. But I hope it solves the problem as a whole in the housing market.
In this situation most every knowledgeable person I hear understands that it wasn’t just the banks’ fault. Fannie and Freddy put out the offer to buy mortgages for lower credit standard loans. The banks should be mostly criticized for going along with it and selling mortgages that deep down they knew were not good loans. The banks did some bad things on their own, but it is hard to criticize them for selling loans to an entity that offered to buy them. It is not any seller’s job to judge whether the buyer knows what they are doing is it?
I am hoping that there will be some “common good” in this, as they say. I doubt it, unless consumers get smarter!
Posted in General | Tagged banking, entitlement, finance, financial prosperity, loans, make a living, money priorities, mortgage deal, personal finance, Wells Fargo mortgages |
By Rob Severson on February 6, 2012
This is another puzzler to me. Why does Obama and others think it is a travesty that some folks have two jobs? Or as they say, HAVE to have two jobs?
I see a lot of people every day that have two jobs, I see some a couple of times a day at various places. When asked why they work all the time their answer is that they want to buy a car of pay for education. I laud them for working hard! Isn’t that how this country was built, by hard work?
I have had two jobs at various times in my life. I did it to get ahead to pay for college, or later to have some extra cash for Christmas or summer time activities. I never once saw myself as a victim.
Their alternative would be to collect unemployment or get other government assistance. I think they are too ingrained into the principle of self sufficiency to consider being cared for. Sure, everyone likes play time but I think the ones who have two jobs like to make some money too. I don’t think we should make victims out of them; I think they “get it”!
I also know that if I were hiring people I would look hard at the ambitious, two job people!
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, entitlement, financial prosperity, jobs, prosperity, social injustice, success, survival, work two jobs |
By Rob Severson on February 1, 2012
I wrote this article several months ago. I recently talked with a friend who is refinancing under the mortgage plan that Obama set up to help folks with underwater mortgages. My friend is underwater by about $10,000. He is refinancing a 6% mortgage with a 3% mortgage and will have lower payments. I am happy for him, but have no idea how this will help him with his underwater mortgage other than making his payments lower? It does solve a problem for lenders who get rid of the loan, maybe he wants to help the banks.
I have been reading about the mortgage deals Obama is proposing for folks whose home values are less than their mortgage balances. As I understand it, he wants to get lower rate financing for these folks that are current on their mortgages and would like a lower payment on their loans. I don’t understand how this will solve their problem of being underwater on their mortgage unless folks take the freed up cash and make principal payments on their loans to bring down the shortfall. That is the only way the shortfall problem will go away other than home values once again increasing. If we really want to get rid of the shortfalls, why don’t we offer refinancing at lower rates, but keep the payment the same. The result will be that principal will go down faster and soon the shortfall may be eliminated via repayment and hopefully appreciation. Then the home owners’ would be free to sell or move, whatever they want. A lower payment may make people feel better about their homes investment, but it won’t solve their problem. I don’t understand why we are so concerned about underwater mortgages anyway, other than making it difficult to move or trade homes. Most of our major expenditures that we finance go down in value much quicker than our debt on them; car, appliances, electronic toys etc all take a hit the day we buy them. I think we have been confused with the house bubble even as folks made and lost fortunes in the internet bubble. Maybe we should have bailed out all those internet investors too.
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, banking, careers, consumer advocate czar, jobs, make a living, prosperity, social injustice, success, underwater mortgages |
By Rob Severson on January 25, 2012
I’ve watched this movie 5-6 times, once in the theatre, 4 times on cable and once on a disc. It fascinates me. Why do i like it?
• I like the history of the time • I like that the King had a stammer. It proves that anyone can have problems that can prevent them from being successful regardless of social and economic status
• I like the fact that the King asked for help. One of the most powerful people in the world needed help from someone. How many of us have problems that are solvable if we ask for help? Or do we just claim victimhood?
- Maybe most of all, the speech coach encouraged the King. We all need encouragement, even kings!
• He overcame his obstacle and gave due credit to his speech coach
This story should be a lesson to all of us!
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, overcoming obstacles, prosperity, social injustice |
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