Your Attitude Is The Lock On The Door, Or The Key To The Door Of Success

The Barometer Of SuccessThe American motivational speaker Denis Waitley said: “Your attitude is either the lock on, or the key to the door of success.”That passage is the inspiration for this article, owing to its message of self-ownership.I consider the Self to be the key to the door of success, an attribute successful people recognise because of years having toiled away in their respective fields.The Self is the enduring psyche hidden underneath the ego. Call it spirit or soul, yet many recognise this timeless quality as the core to one’s success.It was the American self-help author Napoleon Hill who wrote in Think and Grow Rich: “Remember, too, that all who succeed in life get off to a bad start, and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they “arrive. The turning point in the lives of those who succeed usually comes at the moment of some crisis, through which they are introduced to their ‘other selves’.”The alternate self he speaks of is the Higher Self, perceived to be in union with an infinite source. It is whereby an extra hand seemingly guides your steps throughout life.However, one of the greatest attributes to success, apart from the Higher Self, is your attitude.A positive attitude is not enough because it can be feigned, it is something more profound and constant. A deeper realisation that you will prevail against the odds, despite outer conditions.

Your attitude serves as the barometer of success.Whilst motivation, determination and courage are admirable qualities, without the right attitude they are an ember without a flame to light the way.Temperament, Not IntelligenceThe evangelical Christian author Charles R. Swindoll wrote in Strengthening Your Grip of the need to develop an unwavering attitude in light of our challenges: “I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position.”"Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.”Attitude provides the altitude for your dreams, goals and achievements. It infuses them with a commitment to excellence, perseverance and a determined resolve to act in the face of fear.Attitude is a temperament that helps you conquer your emotional self. Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is the measurement of your capacity to endure adverse conditions.The British-born American investor Benjamin Graham said: “Individuals who cannot master their emotions are ill-suited to profit from the investment process.”Similarly, Warren Buffett considers one’s temperament, not our intelligence to be responsible for managing wealth. He believes most people’s emotional intelligence can deal with a twenty percent growth in wealth or a twenty percent loss. Any more or less requires unwavering emotional resilience.It is the same story told of lottery winners who are worse off within five to ten years after their win because they lack the emotional means to manage their finances.Attitude is everything.Attitude engenders your response to life’s circumstances.An Attitude Of ReadinessThe right attitude leads to empowering emotions essential for success. Your thoughts and beliefs are the engines that breed the right attitude.”Keeping one’s attitude positive, especially when the world conspires to make us mad, is one of the great accomplishments of life,” explains Brendon Burchard in The Motivation Manifesto.Life is fickle and uncompromising.Yet interspersed throughout these moments are the tiny treasures reminding us that the struggle is also the culmination of healthy ideals leading to success.We must temper our attitude and master our inner growth, not for what it brings to our life, but because of who we become when success shows up.

Jeff Olson says in The Slight Edge: “Showing up consistently with a good attitude for a short period of time isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to show up consistently with the good attitude, being patient and persistent for a long time to create lasting change.”I realise maintaining a positive attitude is challenging because life will break your spirit and crush your soul, even those with the noblest intent.Consider the Navy Seals BUD/S training, which has an attrition rate of 80 percent of candidates according to author Steven Kotler in Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.It is for good reason the attrition rate is high because the process eliminates those incapable of developing the right attitude and emotional resilience in critical field operations.The BUD/S training serves as a metaphor for life, where those who fail to reach their goals resulting from their inability to embrace failure, defeat and setbacks.Therefore, cultivate an attitude of readiness, grit and a strong temperament. For when the time is right, the key to the door of success will be close at hand.

Car Finance – What You Should Know About Dealer Finance

Car finance has become big business. A huge number of new and used car buyers in the UK are making their vehicle purchase on finance of some sort. It might be in the form of a bank loan, finance from the dealership, leasing, credit card, the trusty ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’, or myriad other forms of finance, but relatively few people actually buy a car with their own cash anymore.

A generation ago, a private car buyer with, say, £8,000 cash to spend would usually have bought a car up to the value of £8,000. Today, that same £8,000 is more likely to be used as a deposit on a car which could be worth many tens of thousands, followed by up to five years of monthly payments.

With various manufacturers and dealers claiming that anywhere between 40% and 87% of car purchases are today being made on finance of some sort, it is not surprising that there are lots of people jumping on the car finance bandwagon to profit from buyers’ desires to have the newest, flashiest car available within their monthly cashflow limits.

The appeal of financing a car is very straightforward; you can buy a car which costs a lot more than you can afford up-front, but can (hopefully) manage in small monthly chunks of cash over a period of time. The problem with car finance is that many buyers don’t realise that they usually end up paying far more than the face value of the car, and they don’t read the fine print of car finance agreements to understand the implications of what they’re signing up for.

For clarification, this author is neither pro- or anti-finance when buying a car. What you must be wary of, however, are the full implications of financing a car – not just when you buy the car, but over the full term of the finance and even afterwards. The industry is heavily regulated in the UK, but a regulator can’t make you read documents carefully or force you to make prudent car finance decisions.

Financing through the dealership

For many people, financing the car through the dealership where you are buying the car is very convenient. There are also often national offers and programs which can make financing the car through the dealer an attractive option.

This blog will focus on the two main types of car finance offered by car dealers for private car buyers: the Hire Purchase (HP) and the Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), with a brief mention of a third, the Lease Purchase (LP). Leasing contracts will be discussed in another blog coming soon.

What is a Hire Purchase?

An HP is quite like a mortgage on your house; you pay a deposit up-front and then pay the rest off over an agreed period (usually 18-60 months). Once you have made your final payment, the car is officially yours. This is the way that car finance has operated for many years, but is now starting to lose favour against the PCP option below.

There are several benefits to a Hire Purchase. It is simple to understand (deposit plus a number of fixed monthly payments), and the buyer can choose the deposit and the term (number of payments) to suit their needs. You can choose a term of up to five years (60 months), which is longer than most other finance options. You can usually cancel the agreement at any time if your circumstances change without massive penalties (although the amount owing may be more than your car is worth early on in the agreement term). Usually you will end up paying less in total with an HP than a PCP if you plan to keep the car after the finance is paid off.

The main disadvantage of an HP compared to a PCP is higher monthly payments, meaning the value of the car you can usually afford is less.

An HP is usually best for buyers who; plan to keep their cars for a long time (ie – longer than the finance term), have a large deposit, or want a simple car finance plan with no sting in the tail at the end of the agreement.

What is a Personal Contract Purchase?

A PCP is often given other names by manufacturer finance companies (eg – BMW Select, Volkswagen Solutions, Toyota Access, etc.), and is very popular but more complicated than an HP. Most new car finance offers advertised these days are PCPs, and usually a dealer will try and push you towards a PCP over an HP because it is more likely to be better for them.

Like the HP above, you pay a deposit and have monthly payments over a term. However, the monthly payments are lower and/or the term is shorter (usually a max. of 48 months), because you are not paying off the whole car. At the end of the term, there is still a large chunk of the finance unpaid. This is usually called a GMFV (Guaranteed Minimum Future Value). The car finance company guarantees that, within certain conditions, the car will be worth at least as much as the remaining finance owed. This gives you three options:

1) Give the car back. You won’t get any money back, but you won’t have to pay out the remainder. This means that you have effectively been renting the car for the whole time.

2) Pay out the remaining amount owed (the GMFV) and keep the car. Given that this amount could be many thousands of pounds, it is not usually a viable option for most people (which is why they were financing the car in the first place), which usually leads to…

3) Part-exchange the car for a new (or newer) one. The dealer will assess your car’s value and take care of the finance payout. If your car is worth more than the GMFV, you can use the difference (equity) as a deposit on your next car.

The PCP is best suited for people who want a new or near-new car and fully intend to change it at the end of the agreement (or possibly even sooner). For a private buyer, it usually works out cheaper than a lease or contract hire finance product. You are not tied into going back to the same manufacturer or dealership for your next car, as any dealer can pay out the finance for your car and conclude the agreement on your behalf. It is also good for buyers who want a more expensive car with a lower cashflow than is usually possible with an HP.

The disadvantage of a PCP is that it tends to lock you into a cycle of changing your car every few years to avoid a large payout at the end of the agreement (the GMFV). Borrowing money to pay out the GMFV and keep the car usually gives you a monthly payment that is very little cheaper than starting again on a new PCP with a new car, so it nearly always sways the owner into replacing it with another car. For this reason, manufacturers and dealers love PCPs because it keeps you coming back every 3 years rather than keeping your car for 5-10 years!

What is a Lease Purchase?

An LP is a bit of a hybrid between an HP and a PCP. You have a deposit and low monthly payments like a PCP, with a large final payment at the end of the agreement. However, unlike a PCP, this final payment (often called a balloon) is not guaranteed. This means that if your car is worth less than the amount owing and you want to sell/part-exchange it, you would have to pay out any difference (called negative equity) before even thinking about paying a deposit on your next car.

Read the fine print

What is absolutely essential for anyone buying a car on finance is to read the contract and consider it carefully before signing anything. Plenty of people make the mistake of buying a car on finance and then end up being unable to make their monthly payments. Given that your finance period may last for the next five years, it is critical that you carefully consider what may happen in your life over those next five years. Many heavily-financed sports cars have had to be returned, often with serious financial consequences for the owners, because of unexpected pregnancies!

As part of purchasing a car on finance, you should consider and discuss all of the various finance options available and make yourself aware of the pros and cons of different car finance products to ensure you are making informed decisions about your money.