Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

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Your Questions Answered by Kevin Hogan, April 2023

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Q.  What should I do with all of my money in the stock market? What is going to happen to stock prices? What should I do with my money?
A. First things first. The best investment you have today is to get rid of credit card debt. If you have credit cards at 15%, and pay the minimum payment you won’t escape a $20,000 balance, ever. That rate of interest doubles every five years. (A $20,000 balance becomes $40,000 in five years and $80,000 in ten years.) Paying off CC Debt is a GUARANTEED huge win, and one that’s bigger than anyone can do in the stock market for the rest of 2023.
If you have money in a retirement plan (401 k, IRA, etc. etc.) then you have made 16% since 1/1 in the NASDAQ and 8% in the SP500. (Less fees for your 401 providers which is why your numbers don’t EVER look like “reality.”) In the casino of life it depends on how old you are and how many years til retirement as to what to do.
If I were 30, I’d stuff a couple thousand a month in a 401 k SP 500 on random days for the next 20 years. If I were 60, I’d take the money off the table you made since New Years and work on profitable coffee table projects.
Certainly 16% to the good is a cash out point for me.
If you go to a casino, you should always know what your cash out point is. The same is far more true if you are in the market in your retirement plan.  Why not be thrilled to take that 16%, slide it all into a money market fund paying 4% for the rest of the spring and summer and see what August brings. The probability the NASDAQ or S&P500 will be at least 4% higher on 8/21 vs. today is about 35%. 
Good news: The “consumer sentiment index” is very low right now. Typically this is a contrarian indicator that I like a lot. It is THE reason I say 35% instead of 10%.
The flip side is simple. The US 2 year bill is now yielding 4%. The 10 year bond is yielding 3 1/2%. This is an emergency siren for the probability of recession continuing (beginning, if you accept recent political re-definitions).   This isn’t going to turn around quickly and it has already been in this position for several months. It’s not bright to own stocks when the yield curve is in inverted.
In my lifetime, in the early 80’s the US 30 day vs. 10 year was just a little worse than it is now. Life was seriously not good in that period. Recessions are predictable. We’re there. Proceed with wisdom.
Q.  My e-mail inbox is being deluged with everyone and their brother telling me to buy gold…what say you, Kevin?
A. Everyone should own gold. But, when you have a deluge in your mailbox, the short term scale tips the other way. Too many average people = Wisdom of the Crowds, and crowds, are not bright.
Buy an ounce or two of gold every couple of months. Gold will always have value. Of course so will Credit Suisse…wait a minute…that isn’t right. (Just think about it.)  Gold IS able to be manipulated by governments in tandem but not so much by governments in opposition as we experience now. Gold at $2,000 seems like about the right price to me. A drop to $1,750 or a bump to $2250 wouldn’t get my interest. I expect that range. Go past either of those numbers and I become very interested and aggressive.
I suggested people buy when it was at $450, 20 years ago and then again at $1250 five years ago. I’m not that excited one way or another right now. The reality is simple. Gold generally moves in opposition to the dollar. I don’t see the dollar getting much stronger, if at anything, for the next few months and I think that gold might have a bit on the upside this spring. All that said, it’s a good, historically certain, store of value.

Q. What is the biggest hindrance to people’s success in general and in business?

A. Dragons. Once the person knows it is time to grow or achieve something that matters, this is when I tend to meet them. Specifically when someone applies for Inner Circle there is an intake form of perhaps 7 or 8 pages. The most critical questions that people need to be aware of and honest with themselves about are their close relationships at home and out of the home.

Each day consider this about each person who is close to you.  “How has this person impacted my life?” “Am I a better person because of this person?” “Do they anticipate me to do well?” “Would they physically take time away from their favorite tv show to help me?” “When everything is under stress do they still help me keep my eye on the outcomes I need to do for the family/relationship?”

One disastrous relationship can do more to take a person down than anything. Almost every business mess occurs during the throes of a relationship at home or in the business that is ripping the person apart. It is almost futile to create a successful anything without  being in an excellent personal or business relationship, having that person you are “partnered with” as your biggest cheerleader. You need someone who will not just support you but listen to your concerns, fears and make sure you move forward. Success doesn’t require bliss in your closest connections, it requires tough minded support. Someone who won’t talk with you on the phone all day, who will insist you get back to your project, tell you how much they love you and let you know they are there to physically call the web host when your site goes down.

The psychology of success almost always requires positive inputs outside of your SELF and thus choosing friends, those new people you will hang out with, and establish the rules of your current closest relationships must be mapped out before continuing on any real success journey. There are a number of dragons and well intentioned dragons out there in life. To succeed you will require new agreed upon “rules” with people, or new connections.

Q.  Can I just have a Facebook page for my business or do I need to have my own personal website?
A. Website far outweighs Facebook for 99+% of all businesses. Facebook can be integrated into business, of course and most certainly. Always remember you don’t own anything on Facebook. Just because you’ve been there 15 years doesn’t mean you’ll own your profile (if you still have one) in 10 years.

Q. OK, Kev, but it’s hard to do therapy with patients if you don’t “think backward,” as many of the patients problems lie in the past, often the distant pass. It’s almost impossible to discuss life in general without examining the past. What you are saying makes a lot of sense but it’s a stretch to believe that it should be avoided. Can you expand for me?

A. You may have overgeneralized my position here and in some cases, the past is very, very much alive in the present and must be dealt with. But to your point:

Imagine I say to you, “What caused you to be a Fine Arts Major in school? Did you really believe there would be a job for you in the real world when you graduated? Look at the mess you are in today!” or “What made you think working at a job you’d hate would work out, and now look at the mess you’re in.” or “Why would you marry the guy who cheated on his wives and you thought it would be different for you, now that he’s with her?”

The thinking structure is on the part of the inquisitor (crappy therapist)  is a) blame based, b) negative judgement based, c) an unreasonable comparison between the crummy therapist choice vs. that of the client.

(The way you framed the question, you have told them that they are stupid, you WOULD HAVE made a better decision and it’s their fault that it caused today’s life situation.)

Blame is something social media has brought into the forefront of human thinking. People have always blamed but never to the degree we see today. Blame is generally a disaster. If you pick out a behavior or action someone took and tell them it’s their fault that you now are in the pickle you are, you are blaming them.  “You invested our money and now we are broke, I should have stayed with my first wife.”  It’s not that it isn’t correct in some fashion, it’s the cause/effect aspect. There is no upside to blaming a person when simple correct action steps going into the future erase negative emotions and allow for a better situation/context in the future.

So you, being the smart person, says, “honey going forward, let’s talk about the relationship each week or each day for a half hour so we can head off any and all problems.” No blame. No negative judgement, no unreasonable comparison between you and the other person.

Q. You mentioned today that you don’t like the word “coach.” Why? There are a lot of good coaches in football as an example, and I don’t think most people would consider them anything other than successful.

Bad example.

Most football coaches are incredibly average. They are mostly as replaceable as a light bulb. Studies at all level of sports have shown this to be accurate.

There are truly excellent coaches in football who don’t “play it safe” which specifically means do what will be the best choice of a play (win or lose) and not worry about being judged harshly in the media on Monday morning. Coaches that really do the math win more over time. Andy Reid, Bill Bellichek and a few others come to mind in say the NFL.

Most “life” coaches or relationship or business coaches simply don’t have the latitude of experience in business necessary to coach someone in a business. A seriously good coach knows how to analyze decisions before the choice is made and would NOT make a different choice simply because the result was better/worse than they personally expected.  A good result doesn’t mean a good choice was made. A bad result doesn’t mean a bad choice was made.

Q. I’m a qqqqqqqqq coach and am incredibly frustrated by my failure in the light of dozens of “coaches” in my field that are making a lot of money. What question should I ask for help?

A. You can let go of your frustration. Very few people excel in your field at truly sculpting better humans (lovers, CEO’s, entrepreneurs). Most coaches go with their gut. They are good at persuading the other person seeking enlightenment or whatever, and think their success in one realm translates to another realm.

A coach in 2023 is like saying “breathing person.”

I know your field quite well and I can think of 3, maybe 4 people I would trust in that industry. Assume there are GOOD coaches that are well compensated. Also assume that most coaches are incredibly average and that many are such good marketers they are paid for what their client believes is good guidance, when in reality it’s grounded in nothing but intuition and biases.

P.S. If “doing really well” means “making a lot of money” then you are focused on the wrong aspect of your business. An outstanding qqqqqqqq coach will do just fine financially. Word of mouth DOES travel…

Q. Kev, I have a small online business. Some months are great. Others are really quiet. I was on a webinar showing how to use Facebook Ads, I’ve been on zoom calls for Google Adwords and I keep thinking I’m really missing out because I’m scared to put the money into these avenues. Please help.

A. You’re missing out on nothing. I sold advertising for quite awhile. I’ve spent money on advertising and fortunately because I had the experience of selling advertising, I knew what would work and what would not work. On average, for the average 80% of people in small business, advertising (exchange of your dollars for eyeballs) is not wise. Successful advertising is complex to say the least,  and I’m using the word meaning, the advertiser knows how to follow up, write follow up copy, stay in touch with potential clients and on and on.  You’ve missed out on nothing. Become seen as the sharpest mind in your field. Be seen as the person who cares enough to go the extra mile and then more. If you were my client I’d walk you through processes and forms. (Do you have a process for everything in your business and do you have forms to make doing business with you incredibly easy.) That’s where you are likely to have the Pareto Principle in your favor.

Q. Kevin, you said that being in a relationship (“business or personal”) with someone who uses phrases like, “If I would have known this I would never have xxxxxxxx you.” Well my wife says this a lot more often than I’d like to admit. It’s disheartening and I feel 2″ tall when she says things like this. How do I approach this? I am very much in love.

A. Sit down with your wife and say this in a way that you resonate with and with the certainty that it represents your true feelings:

“I love you. I would give my arm for your happiness. I need a massive favor. When you get frustrated about something from our past, simply mention that if we can erase it we’ll be much happier and much closer.”  (Remember that can sound like, “we’d be a heck of a lot happier if you were not such a screw up.”) Tone of voice, intention, purpose all need to be on target.

Q. You said on Facebook Live that another person’s statements about regret can induce guilt. You also said that this can be good. I didn’t fully understand your point here.

A. If someone SHOULD feel guilty (they beat up the kid next door for no reason other than being a bully) the child needs to get that he was wrong, that she hurt someone and she must feel guilty. The inability to feel guilt is a learned symptom of a number of pathologies that can become better or worse over time. However, in general, inducing guilt accomplishes nothing. If someone screws up a big sale, they probably didn’t want to screw it up.  Bring them in the office for an hour and start the conversation like this, “Next time I send you out on a big account, I want us to sit down beforehand and talk about approach, the best solutions for the account and the most likely way they will see this.”

Having the person experience deep pain about screwing up an account is simply not functionally useful. If they are that bad as an account exec, fire them.

Q. I’m on Facebook Live with you right now and you are talking about ultimatums in relationships and in business. Your examples are ‘Break one more glass and I’ll leave.’ Another is “I’m going to quit my business if I don’t make money this month.”The other is, ‘If you hit the wall one more time we’re done.'” These don’t seem like unreasonable things to me. I really like your work but I think you’re wrong. I don’t like these behaviors.

A1. Your comment is important and does require a bit more discussion here.

Your husband doesn’t want to break a glass. It’s likely a habit. Not a good one. It needs to be fixed and can be over time. Start work on that today. “Hey honey, you broke another glass yesterday, that’s gotta drive you crazy. I have a book on anger management I’d like you to look at. Do this for me. It might suck but read it for me and you tell me what you think.” THE END.

A2. As for your business, you can predict you’ll have many months over the years that will be terrible and quitting your business because “it” didn’t make money this month is ridiculous. One month is a very short moment in time. Expect full effort 24/7 from yourself. Do all the right things, in the right order. Follow the advice of a kick butt mentor (ONE) and then go forward. Remember that every time you start a new plan there will be wrinkles and we EXPECT THEM. Give yourself an HONEST self assessment. Did you put in 70 hours on your business this week? Yes? Good. Was 25 of that on marketing and promotion? If yes, excellent. Did you have a follow up plan prepared when people responded to your efforts? If yes, excellent. And so on.

This is where a great mentor makes success very likely. And the failure of the entrepreneur is generally not one of lack of effort but lack of process, the logical flow of the ability to do business appropriately (get paid well for outstanding work) and believe it or not I watch more people fail because they have simply not got enough ways to get paid for their services. “I can’t do that with my credit card company?”  That simply means, you do something that seems unimportant like adding another payment method that works in EVERY situation or earning 1/3 by having a single way for someone to pay you.

Q. Do you think a stock market crash in the U.S. is coming soon?

A. Less than a 5% chance that we’d see a halving of any of the major market indices this year. So, no. I’d bet against this.  I see a lot of back and forth for the next few months. Next 30 days? Down. Mid May to Mid June, perhaps up. Summer. Probably down. Early autumn probably up. Each visit up and down could be 10 – 20% and cause a lot of excitement and a lot of pain. But crash? Not really. Not yet…

Q. I’m a 48 year old executive and just got fired after a decade of working at hhhhhhh  hhhhhhh.   What’s next? I’m scared to death.

A. You have pause for concern BUT getting fired is no disaster. 1/2 of all upper management and c-level people that get fired get hired on elsewhere in six months. 3/4 in one year. And the better news? They get hired on in a parallel position and typically at a higher salary than they were earning before. I don’t see a big problem yet. Never allow yourself to believe you “need a company” to make you excellent. It’s quite the other way around.

Q. How do you analyze a woman’s body language?

(Start here, it’s a couple years old and we’ll do more next week!)

Body Language of Women and How it’s Analyzed in 2021

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