After a career that's spanned approximately 40 years in the business and sales environment, I seem to have developed a few opinions—surprise, surprise. Recently, I was talking with one of my partners about financial literacy. And again, I've seen it all.

For example—how do you make more money? Two ways: you raise prices, or you lower costs.

No, that's not the only way. You can also increase the number of leads you're getting to your business… do some marketing. You can also increase the conversions that you're getting. Yes, so it's not just raise the price or pay less. However, we were agreeing that there is wisdom in paying prudently, because the cheapest is not always the best, by any means.

And there are standards and necessities that we must provide. But do we have to over-provide? For instance, he was telling me about a friend of his who has a $4,000,000 house in Canada. Now, I have nothing against a $4,000,000 house.

He's also got a $4,000 home payment. And I really have nothing against that, either. I've known dozens and dozens of people who had that, not that it's a subject of conversation every time we talk. But I do know that you can't even buy a $150,000 home without having a payment that's over $1,000 if you do normal, minimum financing. See, I'm in the real estate industry, also.

So I don't have any issues with that, but then my friend told me that the guy had put a reverse mortgage on the property, so that he only had to pay $2,000 a month.

In other words, he's actually paying even less than the interest on the money required—and he's not getting ahead, he's not staying equal, and there's no way the value of the property will ever increase enough to where he can sell out and make his money—because remember, there aren't that many buyers in that market.

Which is what a lot of people do when they get interest-only loans. They're counting on the property value to rise and bail them out of the situation… Preferably, of course, make a handsome profit. If an interest only note is risky, imagine the dance with the devil you do on a reverse mortgage!!

Of course, there’s the asset protection strategy that few poor and middle class people understand—being that if you have an asset and it's mortgaged to the hilt, nobody's going to take it from you… But how many people are over-leveraged for “protection” reasons?!

My friend and I were both agreeing that a reverse mortgage is not financial literacy. What the specific gentleman who took the loan out even admitted, sadly, is, "Yep, at the end of it I'm going to be in a situation where I'm just going to hand the keys back."

Wow! Is this impressive? What a way to live beyond your means! (Instead of raising your means, mind you! Instead of investing a nestegg that grows into a harvest!) Kool that you end up with nothing, huh?

I would encourage you to take a financial literacy course. I offer some courses on financial literacy, and Robert Kiyosaki talks about financial literacy. It's all over Yahoo Finance. It's not hard to find—it's hard for some people to find the time.

Start exercising discipline, looking for the future, driving for the future, making wise choices, thinking about the long term, not the short term. As my beloved mother taught me, “You can't eat ego when you're old.”

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Author's Bio: 

Ted Ciuba, “living legend” and bestselling author of The NEW Think and Grow Rich, Ted Ciuba is one of the world's top human potential trainers. He helps people find, define, and actualize their passions to transmute their intangible desires into real money. To find out more about Ciuba, how he can help you, and to collect $297 worth of free gifts visit