Bonding Relationships

People can’t be happy in a vacuum.  We are social creatures.  Even the most anti-social among us needs some human contact.  How can you make that contact happen in a meaningful way?  How can you connect with other people beyond some superficial meaningless chatter?

According to Keith Ferrazzi in his book, Who’s got your back, there are four mindsets necessary to build lifelong relationships.

1.  Generosity. This is your promise to help others succeed.  If have a skill that can help someone you know, why not give them a hand?  when you help others, you are building social capital, which is a currency that cannot be bought.  Since our lives are not ledger books, you can’t do favors with repayment in mind, but it is reasonable to assume that the people ou help will want to help you some day.

An often overlooked generosity strategy is to give away 90% of everything.  I’m not suggesting you give away 90% of your wealth or possessions.  I’m suggesting you give away 90% of your personal product.   Plan to give away 9 times more than your receive.  This will not only keep your from being disappointed, but it will also leave you feeling very fulfilled.

2.  Vulnerability. It is important to let down your guard and let the world see your humanity.  It’s almost impossible to truly connect with someone who’s shields are always up: the guy who seems to be invulnerable and unapproachable.  The people you spend time with know your flaw anyway.  If you pretend they don’t exist, you are only fooling yourself.  I have a lot of problem with this one.   Letting down my guard is incredibly difficult, in almost every circumstance.  It is far easier to be strong than to let myself be vulnerable.

3.  Candor. Total honesty is vital to establishing–and maintaining– lifelong relationships.  Even the white lies can destroy your connections.  If you can lie about the little things, you are planting doubts on everything else you do and say.  Who can trust you then?  Lying is inappropriate in almost all conceivable cases.  I was raised that a man’s word is his bond.   Almost everything you have can be taken away from you, but not your honor.  That can only be destroyed by you.  Without it, what do you really have?

4. Accountability. You need to follow through on your promises.  Be Mr. Reliable(or Mrs!).  If you say you will do something, do it!  Nothing builds resentment faster than disappointing the people who are counting on you.   If you can’t meet a commitment, let the soon-to-be-let-down know as early as possible, so other plans can be made.  If you have a hard time keeping promises, then make fewer of them.

If you embrace these principles, you will be well on your way to building–and keeping–strong, satisfying relationships that benefit everyone.

How do you build your relationships?

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ING Direct – 2 Day Sale

Today and tomorrow, ING Direct is having a “Financial Independence Days Sale”.

It’s a good sale. If you open a checking account or Sharebuilder account and you’ll get $76.  Apply for a mortgage and you’ll get $776 off of the closing costs.

I have accounts at 4 different banks.  Two of those were opened for specific debt-reduction purposes.  Of the others, one is used for most of my cash flow and bill payments, and the other is ING.   As of this moment, I have 15 accounts or sub-accounts with ING Direct.

Opening an account is painless and only takes a few minutes.   They are currently offering up to 1.25% in an interest-bearing checking account, though I’ve never qualified for more than .25%.  That account comes with overdraft protection, so you are charged interest instead of overdraft fees.

Once you have your first account set up, sub-accounts can be created in literally seconds.  Why would you want a bunch of sub-accounts?  I have a number of saving goals. Each of these goals has its own account at ING.  I can tell at a glance how much we have saved for our vacation next month and far away we are from affording my son’s braces.   My kids each have an account here because, currently, the interest rate is at 1.1%, which is miles ahead of most traditional banks.   Combined with the convenience of total online control, there’s no contest.

Money transfers are smooth.  I use one of my accounts as a transfer account to get money to and from two separate banks.

I also have a Sharebuilder account.  For those who aren’t familiar with it, it is a stock brokerage with low fees and a low barrier to entry.    If you set up an automatic investment, you get $4 stock trades with no minimum.  I’m not aware of any place cheaper.

That all sounds like a lot of ad copy and the links are affiliate links, but the truth is, I am just that happy with ING. I’ve never had an accounting error, or any problems at all.

The downside? Paper checks are verboten.  They will not accept paper checks, but you do have a check card to use.   You can hit 35,000 ATMS for free withdrawals, but any deposits are held for a few days before you have access to the funds.   It can also take 3-4 days to transfer money from ING to another bank.  I keep enough in the accounts that I’m always spending or transferring older deposits while I wait for the new ones to clear.

Even if you don’t like the bank, get a checking account, use it a few times and get $76 for very little trouble.   Open a Sharebuilder account, buy some stock and collect $76 for it.   Without an automatic payment, it will cost you less than $20 to buy, then sell the stock, netting you $56.

Who doesn’t like free money?

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