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Where Scrooge Got It Right

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

If there's an official villain of the end of the year holidays, it must be Ebenezer Scrooge. No one wants to be called a "Scrooge." Nobody wants to feel like they've "been scrooged." Anyone watching Dickens' A Christmas Carol is rooting for Bob Cratchit, not his "Bah, humbug!" boss. But what if we could actually learn from Scrooge? Wouldn't it be interesting if he turned out not to be "all villain" after all? What if Scrooge got some things right? Let's have a conversation about wealth guided by the world's most reviled rich man, old Ebenezer himself. We may be surprised at what he has to teach us.

I. The Opposite of Scarcity is Wealth

"How shall I ever understand this world? There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty, and yet, there is nothing it condemns with such severity as the pursuit of wealth." -- Ebenezer Scrooge

It may surprise some to learn that the opposite of poverty, or scarcity, is not "less scarcity." The opposite of scarcity is wealth. Check it out in any dictionary. Your plan for life is either leading to scarcity or leading to wealth. So why is it that the same people who hate scarcity seemed to be so opposed to creating wealth? Maybe you've even been called a "Scrooge" for living your life as an entrepreneur, working to put cash in your pocket now and into the future. In the name of Scrooge, stop! You won't help yourself or anyone else by planning to be poor. So one thing we can learn from good old Ebenezer is that trying to create cash for yourself is a great way of telling everyone how much you hate the idea of poverty and scarcity!

II. Focus on the Future

"Spirit of the Future, I fear you more than any spectre I have met tonight!" -- Ebenezer Scrooge

We're coming up to the end of the year, and that means getting the conversation in place about what will happen next year. This is the time to reset our lives for the days and months to come in 2010. Scrooge is more afraid of the future than the present or the past, for one simple reason: it is not set in stone. This last year we rode out what can rightly be called a depression:

  • Economist David Rosenberg says depressions "typically happen after a prolonged period of credit excess morphs into a collapse, and you get asset deflation. We had asset deflation, and we had a contraction in private-sector credit." That may be the understatement of 2009.
  • In USA Today's recent roundtable of investors, forecasts for 2010 ranged from a 15% gain in stock prices (Merrill-Lynch's David Bianco) to a 40% drop and a call for investors to "store their nuts" (David Tice of Federated Investors)

But Scrooge's follow up question to the Ghost of Christmas Future should be our conversation for the end of the year: "Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change." What Scrooge means is that your choices now will change your future. How you decide to prepare for 2010 will effect what kind of 2010 you have. Bull or bear market, with good investments in commodities such as real estate (at garage sale prices right now) you can set yourself for a great upcoming year.

III. You Are in Charge of You

"It is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done." -- Ebenezer Scrooge

Few people notice this interesting fact about Mr. Scrooge: he does not blame anyone else for his circumstances, bad or good. He is the master of his ship, and takes sole responsibility for the course he has plotted. The same should be true for you. No one else but you can decide who's who on your team for 2010. No one else but you can decide that your conversation from here on in will be about putting cash in your pocket and building up wealth. No one else but you can decide what to start doing, what to stop doing, and what to continue doing, to make 2010 a year where you make money and create a future that you can look back on with a sense of accomplishment.

IV. Make This the Year You Reset

"What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you?" -- Ebenezer Scrooge

That's word for word what Scrooge says to his nephew, Fred. Don't let that be you, this time, next year. Next year, have the money to pay your bills and then some; find yourself a year richer, and find your books balanced in your favor. What to learn how? Visit liveoutloud.com and create a cash machine to put cash in your pocket. Share your own thoughts by calling into the Loral Langemeier Show at 877-777-7713, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. Pacific, 8 a.m. Mountain, 9:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Or listen to the podcasts.