Debt: Good, Bad, and In Between

Since the spring of 1995, when I realized some debt can be very good, Sarita and I have not only used a line of credit, we have learned quite a bit about debt . . . and credit.

I have not rejected wholesale the lessons of my youth. Rather, I have learned that the lessons I learned when I was young are good rules-of-thumb. Until you begin to think the way Robert Kiyosaki teaches in his Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW QUADRANT, and you begin to work from the “B” and “I” rather than the “E” and “S” quadrants,1 those rules-of-thumb have got to be true pretty nearly 100% of the time. . . .

Once you begin to think and act as a Business Owner or Investor, you ought to—you need to—let other factors override the basic rules-of-thumb.

I don’t guarantee that the following factors are in the “right” order. But I hope they help you understand. (more…)

Why I Believe Some Kinds of Debt Can be Good. Sometimes VERY Good.

Stacks of orders

If we could have stacked them in a pile, our backorder sheets in August 1994 would have made a column 13 feet high!

When Sarita and I first started our business, we operated it according to the principles we had learned concerning debt.

We had no debt. We never considered acquiring any. We didn’t want any. As I explained in my last post, if cleanliness is next to godliness, then debt, for us, was the next thing to sinfulness.

Further, beyond any of the emotional appeals or the lessons we had imbibed throughout our growing up years, we knew that cash worked just fine. And it kept expenses low. (No interest payments!)

But then . . .


Why I Believed All Debt is Bad


Perhaps you imbibed some of the same lessons about debt that I did when I was growing up. Lessons like . . .

  • “Debt is foolish at best; near sinful at worst.”
  • “The borrower is slave to the lender.”
  • “Interest on debt will kill you.”

And so on.

The practical results of this kind of wisdom or counsel: (more…)

Your Charity Portfolio, 7: Matching Grants

Let's Go - Matching Grant (small)

I remember the day we sent our first $50,000 check to one of the non-profits to which we committed ourselves. It was the biggest gift we’d ever given. I sent it off and a few days later I got a phone call from the organization’s head of development (the person in charge of fundraising).

He said, “John, I have this $50,000 check here that you sent. I would like to send it back.”


Your Charity Portfolio, 6: Special (Non-Monetary) Contributions . . . and Partnerships

MI Thanks

Something that still brings tears (of joy) to my eyes.

The (emotional) story of a partnership between committed donors and a willing non-profit—a partnership that has multiplied into a wide-ranging impact not only on the partners themselves, but other organizations and, literally, hundreds of thousands of people around the world, for years.

Perhaps you are—or will be—in a position to make a similar impact?


Your Charity Portfolio, 5: Focused Giving Maximizes Opportunity

Focused charitable investment can put you in the room with the decision-makers.

Focused charitable investment can put you in the room with the decision-makers.

I closed my last post with a comment that, by focusing, “Sarita and I have been able to ensure . . . that our (charitable investments) actually do ‘make a difference.'”

How can that be true?

For a number of reasons. But in this post I want to talk about being in the room with the decision-makers and those who make things happen.


Your Charity Portfolio, 2: Freedom from Distraction

No distractions please.

It wasn’t that long ago, I received a phone call. The lady said, “Is Eldon there?”

“No, I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number.”

I was about to hang up. “Oh,” she said. “Well maybe you can help me anyway?” . . .

Within another minute, I realized that her opening line was simply the latest way that her marketing firm was attempting to get me not to hang up. It wasn’t an error call. It was a deliberate way to paralyze my defenses long enough so that she could get me to listen to her spiel: “I’m calling for the Breast Cancer ____. . . . Can the women rely on you?