“The habit of constantly improving your productivity is not common for most men.”

Learn this now, learn it early, that you need to find a productive routine to stave off poverty and to stave off languishing creatively.  You’ve got to stay on top of things from Day 1 to the end.  Read this, then get going.  Set a daily schedule. Use Google Calendar if you must, use anything, but get going.  You have to formulate a plan.  A bad plan is better than no plan.

The habit of constantly improving your productivity is not common for most men. People prefer to get in a groove, and they remain in that groove for as long as they are being paid to do so. In effect, they are in ruts. The older you get, the more economically suicidal this mentality is. As the years of net income decline, a wage earner had better figure out ways to increase his output and therefore his income.

People don’t like to push the edge of the envelope, but if you do not do this as you get older, you’re not going to have much envelope remaining to push.

You can push the envelope in various ways. You can continue to improve your productivity in your specialty. You had better be improving to such an extent that, at some point, you will become a guru in your field. You will be invited to speak. You will put on workshops at annual conventions. You will have a website that gets traffic. You will produce YouTube videos. In other words, you will distinguish yourself from 90% or more of the people in your age group in your field.

Your Most Valuable Investment Asset

Gary North – December 16, 2015

This was posted yesterday. From the New York Times:

From the article: Years ago, my colleagues and I conducted a fairly large-scale research project. We interviewed a bunch of high-income professionals who provided professional services. This group included doctors, dentists and lawyers, and like most of us, they earned money only when they were working. In essence, they traded their time for dollars.Our finding was this: Homes and retirements accounts aside, the most valuable asset they owned was the person staring back at them in the mirror each morning. Chances are, the most valuable investment you own is the investment called you.

A more technical way to think about it is that the most valuable asset you own is the present value of your future earnings. But here’s the problem: Despite what your spouse may tell you, the investment called you is getting less valuable with every year that passes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/your-money/your-most-valuable-asset-is-yourself.html

This is an important observation. It is an observation that most men really do not want to acknowledge.

Because of the reduction in the years remaining, the discounted present value of your net future earnings keeps falling, other things remaining equal. But that phrase, “other things remaining equal,” is also an opportunity. Other things don’t have to remain equal.

Normally, if a person is on career autopilot, his income will probably peak somewhere around the age of 55. He will not be getting promotions after this age. In some fields, this may take place a decade earlier. But it is clear that once a person reaches age 55, that unless he makes major changes in his productivity, his employer is going to regard him as a reliable but uncreative source of revenue for the company. He is going to do pretty much the same things as he has done in the past, so he is going to be paid pretty much what he is paid today. He can forget about substantial raises.

Again, this assumes that other things remain equal. This is why, in any man’s career, he had better make certain that other things do not remain equal. He has to find a way to compensate for the declining number of years of productivity that he has left. In other words, he has to increase his level of productivity as he gets older.

Obviously, in fields such as professional sports, this is not going to happen. But in almost any other field, it is possible for old dogs to learn new tricks. Old dogs get tired of learning new tricks. Old dogs would rather sit quietly by the fireside and be fed by a faithful master. But old dogs can learn new tricks.

We find these people in every field. In Hollywood these days, the best example is Christopher Plummer. While he had his share of important roles as a young man, he is becoming the go-to guy for any character who is over 80 years old. He is well aware of this, and he is profiting from it handsomely. Of course, there seems to be no equivalent for women. But until she died, Jessica Tandy put her age to good use. Her husband, Hume Cronin, was not equally successful.

The habit of constantly improving your productivity is not common for most men. People prefer to get in a groove, and they remain in that groove for as long as they are being paid to do so. In effect, they are in ruts. The older you get, the more economically suicidal this mentality is. As the years of net income decline, a wage earner had better figure out ways to increase his output and therefore his income.

People don’t like to push the edge of the envelope, but if you do not do this as you get older, you’re not going to have much envelope remaining to push.

You can push the envelope in various ways. You can continue to improve your productivity in your specialty. You had better be improving to such an extent that, at some point, you will become a guru in your field. You will be invited to speak. You will put on workshops at annual conventions. You will have a website that gets traffic. You will produce YouTube videos. In other words, you will distinguish yourself from 90% or more of the people in your age group in your field.

If you do this, you will probably be able to stay active in the field for an extra decade, at least. This, in and of itself, will push out the number of years of net income remaining to you. If you are doing things that you like to do, and if you are in a leadership position, then the added years of work are not a burden. They are not a liability; they are an opportunity. When you think of the extra years in the labor force in this way, you will not become hypnotized by the lure of retirement.

Almost nobody does this. This is why the opportunity exists. The barrier to entry is lethargy. It’s not the fact that there are not people out there who are as good as you are. It is the fact that the people who are as good as you are would prefer to retire. They stop competing. They leave the arena. It is like walking away from a gutter down which hundred dollar bills keep floating.

CONCLUSIONS

The habit of constantly mastering new techniques and tools extends into later life. If you get this habit early, it will not be seen as a burden when you have to continue it beyond the age of 55. You don’t have to be on the cutting edge of technology. Being on the trailing edge is sufficient.

If you learn one new technique, one new piece of software, or one new area of production each year, you will stay ahead of the pack. The young ones won’t have had enough experience to match your judgment, and the old ones will be in their coasting phase.

Reprinted here with expressed, written permission from Dr. Gary North. See his websites, Specific Answers and Tea Party Economist.

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