Thursday, October 18, 2018

CBD Sales Boom In Kansas

CBD product sold by Quiet Trees, Lawrence, Kansas.

By Michael Hooper

A multimillion-dollar cannabidiol market has emerged in Kansas. A dozen stores selling CDB quickly opened in Lawrence and Topeka after CBD sales was approved on May 14, 2018. Insiders of this market say business is booming with sale of CBD products such as tinctures of oil and vapes. Some stores are generating $20,000 in sales of CBD oil per month in northeast Kansas. Retailers are selling CBD oil made with hemp from California, Oregon, Colorado and Kentucky. The quick response shows just how hungry consumers are for CBD in Kansas.

CBD oil is generated from hemp, the cannabis sativa plant that has virtually no THC.

Most of the hemp fiber is imported in Kansas and most of the CBD is domestic. Kansas has ideal growing conditions for hemp.

There is a lot of red tape for Kansas farmers to raise hemp through a research bill that passed in 2018, said Chris Brunin, CEO of Quiet Trees, a wholesaler of CBD products in Lawrence, Kan. The regulations for operating under the new hemp law are expected to be published by year's end.

Brunin said he wants to collaborate and consult with Kansas farmers who would like to grow hemp.

"With the climate, soil, and ingenuity of farmers, hemp could have a very bright future in Kansas," he said.

About 25 people gathered Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in a room at the Jayhawk Theatre to talk about hemp in Kansas and the world.

Kansas has an opportunity to be a part of this hemp industry, said Rick Trojan, a lobbyist for the hemp industry. Trojan grows hemp in Colorado. He showed a movie of his Hemp Road Trip.

Industrial Hemp production was an important crop in Kansas in the late 1800s early 1900s. In 1863, Kansas led the nation in hemp bushels per acre. However, the hemp industry got wiped out with the passage of laws against marijuana, even though hemp has virtually no THC and cannot get you high.

Hemp can be manufactured into clothing, construction products, automobile and airline parts, health care products, food and energy. Depending on the strain of hemp, the plant can have 8% to 22% CBD, with virtually no THC, said Chris Brunin.

Brunin said it's difficult to tell how big the CBD Market will be in Kansas but it is quickly becoming a multimillion-dollar industry. There are dozens of places in Kansas already selling thousands of dollars worth of CBD oil per month.

Quiet Trees offers products through its website and wholesales product to retailers in Lawrence and elsewhere. CBD oil is sold in popular shops like Third Planet and Sacred Leaf in Lawrence. In Topeka, CBD American Shaman, CBD Healing Co are among the retailers of CBD.

CBD can be used to treat anxiety, epilepsy, pain and cancer side effects.

Industrial Hemp sales in the United States last year was about $820 million, according to Hemp Business Journal estimates.

Based on what he's seen so far in Kansas, Brunin estimated that the Hemp Market in Kansas is already worth $10 million in annual sales, but the sad part is the hemp is imported. Kansas farmers could easily grow hemp if regulations are not intrusive and expensive, said Brunin. He said there was a proposal to adopt a Kentucky-modeled piece of legislation for hemp in Kansas, but was not successful. The legislation adopted here has an application that is expected to be lengthy and intrusive, Brunin said.

I believe legislators need to create a free market in order for the hemp market to develop and prosper. With any new industry it is best to let the free market run.

Kentucky has been growing hemp since 1774. After many years of prohibition, Hemp was legalized for production with the stipulation hemp could not have more than 0.3% THC. The first 500-acre commercial crop was planted in Harrison County, Kentucky, in 2017, and research permits were issued for over 12,000 acres that year

Quiet Trees in Lawrence is a small operation yet it is growing quite rapidly selling CBD products including bottles of oil, vapes and tea. Last month the company did about $20,000 in wholesales. Brunin said sales have been growing 10% to 20% month-over-month since startup.

"This is exciting for me," Brunin said. "We've developed this product in house, it's really awesome, it looks very promising."

Even though drug enforcement agencies tried to eradicate hemp in Kansas, somehow the weed survived. It's resilient, the plant wants to be a part of the Kansas ecosystem, and Kansas could use it.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Intertextuality Is The Library Of The Mind

       Flowers in the Bon Bon Garden, Lawrence, Kansas

By Michael Hooper

Good prose is colorful, alive and meaningful. The use of intertextuality provides layers of meaning and connections in literature and art.

I've been reading two wonderful books about Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, two writers who used intertextuality in their works. The author of these two books is Robert D. Richardson Jr.

Intertextuality is the relationship between texts, especially literary ones. It can be said that every text is a product of intertextuality. An example of intertextuality is when a writer takes an old storyline like Homer's Odyssey and creates a new story with references and metaphors to the old story. 

It takes a tremendous memory and a good reader to recall on the fly useful references, allusions, symbols and lyrics from other authors and poets. I like to think of intertextuality as the Library of the Mind. It is all of these works that I've read over the years buried in my memory and subconscious. Arlen Lazaroff spoke in lyrics with other poets and artists. In the same thought he might quote Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles and White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. Then Arlen would create new poems on the fly, using the texts of these hypnotic psychedelic songs. 

Intertextuality is hyper-consciousness, it's the state of being connected to multiple texts at the same time. It's rummaging through the library of your mind rather than going to Google to come up with answers and responses. Intertextuality lives. Tap this resource and you will see increased use of the right word.

So you master this artful literary technique but what do you use it for? To educate, to persuade, to be bombastic, to be evil, dictatorial? Or do you try to be an entertainer? The comedian. I think laughter is probably the most convenient way to persuade people because it's easy for the masses to digest. 

Donald Trump knows that fact. He recently called the Federal Reserve members crazy for raising interest rates. He was upset that the stock market fell 5%. Yet members of the Federal Reserve are not really crazy. He's just trying to get them to reverse course and stop raising interest rates. Raising interest rates gives value to the dollar and incentivizes people to save. But rising rates can drag down the stock market. And Donald Trump does not want to see the stock market decline during his term, nor the wealthy poorer at the end of his term.

Donald Trump knows how to capture an audience. Using hyperbole to make a point is necessary in a society with a short attention span. Too many people want to be fed information rather than research it out for themselves. I'm reminded of the song by George Harrison, Think for Yourself. I know some young people who grew up in the digital age and never learned how to read a physical map, they depend on GPS to get them where they want to go. That's fine until your phone dies.

The dead brain without Google will wander aimlessly, and be easily persuaded. The brain with a library of texts, guides and proverbs will digest, analyze and judge a matter with wisdom.

I think this word intertextuality can also be applied to other things in our lives and I'm thinking about artwork. Art without a story is meaningless. Blankness, emptiness and nihilism are conditions of a mind controlled by clickbait on the Internet.

Art with a story line is powerful. Think of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. I saw this painting in Madrid. it has countless story lines going through it. The three-segment painting begins with the birth of life in the first segment; the middle segment is full of decadence, and the third segment is full of death and dying. There are symbols of biblical narratives. The middle section is full of orgies. I'm in awe of this painting, I stood there for hours looking at all these people.

The best art reminds me of people in their joys, sufferings, cries, triumphs and defeat. With that in mind my wife and I recently went through a huge transformation of artwork in our house. We took down some paintings that have lost their luster and started over with a blank slate and recreated something that has intertextual visual power for us, each piece has layers of meaning to us, many of these pieces are  family members, old portraits, my dad with his dog, my mother as a Young Beauty. My father-in-law at Ponto Lake.  My mother-in-law with her three daughters. My daughter, my son, my beloved.

There's a drawing of John Lennon, who believed we should give peace a chance. And there's the picture of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns, agony in his face, yet looking up hopeful. There's the philosopher by artist Mary Huntoon, he looks sensitive and sad.

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. So says the author of Ecclesiastics. 

I have a lot of art by artists I know personally, there's layers of meaning in their art, I was a part of their lives, we had some great conversations, wonderful memories.

We moved three times in three years before we moved to Topeka. When we found our house here, I said I'm staying here till I die, I'm not moving again. The airport's only an hour away, if I want to escape this place. But I found that living is like a tree. The deeper our roots the broader our span. I dug deep where I am and searched out thinking people, lovely people, a vast array of colors, from people all over the world living here in my very neighborhood.

Where once there was a law to prevent black people from living here on my street (before the Civil Rights movement), there is now multiple black people and Native Americans, Gay and Jewish and Puerto Rican all living on my street. What an honor and a privilege to be around such an Eclectic group. They add layers of intertextuality to my life, by sharing and listening to them, I am connecting with them, I am richer for it. Their stories enlarge my universe. 

I recently saw my neighbors to the north of me at a local coffee shop. They shared their story of a recent journey through Minnesota, Wyoming, Montana and Yellowstone. I told them about a trip to California. Emerson went on a trip to California by train near the end of his life, upon seeing it, he said, a young person would never leave. Which gets me back to my point. This labyrinth of beautiful people in my neighborhood inspire me.

There is a majestic nature here. Amplified by my participation in two book clubs, my blog, and the newspaper The Oakland Express, Blackbird Coffee Shop, The Dutch Goose, The Bourgeois Pig. We have our own literary salon, with these hyper conscious people. We have rational discourse of equal, similar and opposite ideas. There is the NOTO Arts District in Topeka and the Cider Gallery in Lawrence. There are multiple studios and working artists sharing a common thing, a passion for creativity.  

The secret to useful intertextualization is to read deeply and connect the knowledge to your real life, in your literature, your communications, your speeches, your artworks, your poetry.

Use metaphors, myths and stories to amplify your message.

Intertextuality takes work. But I think it's rewarding. Connecting to multiple layers of literature is one reason Emerson's work is so timeless. It is the literature of achievement and activism. It is transformative. Transcendental.

We can be timeless, too. We can create art works that will be hung on museums 100 years from now. We can write works that will be read 100 years from now. Hopefully these works reflect something better than our folly. I hope that some day our literature and art reflect our ability to create intelligent operating systems, that improve all peoples, the Earth and the universe. Perhaps some day these intelligent operating systems will connect with life on other planets in the universe. Perhaps we already are connecting with alien life now but don't even know it.

Poet November Evelyn Wilde contributed ideas for this essay.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Rebalance Now, Buy Evergy Post Merger

By Michael Hooper

It's a good time to rebalance your stock portfolio while U.S. stock markets are near record highs.

I recently sold my losers and bought more of my winners and also entered into some new positions, including Evergy (EVRG), Nintendo (NTDOY), Canopy Growth (CGC), and Turning Point Brands (TPB).

I had purchased an overweight position in Eversource (ES) at 54 per share and then sold at 60.50 per share and used the proceeds to buy other stocks.

I took advantage of the run-up in Canadian cannabis stocks and sold some of my poor performing assets including Emerald Health (EMHTF) and Beleave (BLEVF).

Cannabis assets may be at all time highs but over the next several years may go even higher. So with assets trading at high multiples in the Canadian cannabis market, I took advantage of those prices and sold poor performing shares and then put the money into what I think will be better assets long-term.

Evergy (EVRG) is a combination of Westar Energy in Kansas and Great Plains Energy (Kansas City Light & Power) of Missouri. 
The merger closed on June 4, 2018. Now the companies are focusing on merger integration and rebalancing the capital structure. 

The merger integration plan includes shutting down some operations in Kansas and Missouri.

Evergy recently issued its second quarter 2018 earnings report.

The company says it has targeted earnings per share growth from $2.43 annually in 2016 to a range $3.25 to $3.57 by 2021, with a compound annual growth rate of 6% to 8%.

Evergy says it's targeted dividend growth is expected to be from $1.84 to a range of $2.19 to $2.32 by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 6% to 8%.

The company expects to repurchase up to 60 million shares of common stock or 22% outstanding by mid-year 2020.

Think about it, the company is going to remove 1/5th of all shares from the public. That Buy-Back and the projected growth in earnings should drive the Evergy share price higher.

Financially, the merger of Westar and Great Plains Energy will be profitable for shareholders overtime. Most of the job cuts are coming through attrition, when people retire the company is not replacing those people. Some people are getting buyout packages as well but not most of the reductions in staff.

I don't want to be left behind on this. So I picked up some EVRG shares at $55.31.

Governor's Race To Determine Future of Cannabis In Kansas

Photo from wikipedia commons

By Michael Hooper

Advocates for the legalization of medical cannabis in Kansas may want to vote for a Democrat or an Independent in the governor's race on Nov. 6.

Sen. Laura Kelly, the Democrat party nomination for governor, has supported efforts to legalize medical cannabis in Kansas. Kelly supports the Kansas Safe Access Act, a comprehensive medical legislation vetted by the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS) in Denver, and also approved by the Kansas Health Institute for meeting its 2015 health impact assessment requirements.

Independent candidate for governor Greg Orman has said he supports legalization of medical cannabis.

Jeff Caldwell, Libertarian Party candidate for governor, supports full legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. He also supports pardoning nonviolent cannabis users.

Republican Kris Kobach has publicly opposed legalization of cannabis. A June 29, 2018, report by Jonathan Shorman in The Wichita Eagle said Kobach opposed legalization of recreational marijuana and is highly skeptical of medical marijuana.

About 76% of Kansans support legalization of medical cannabis, according to a Spring 2017 survey of Kansans by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University.

Kelly Rippel, a member of the Industrial Hemp Research Advisory Committee for the Department of Agriculture in Kansas, said in the 1970s his father Gary Rippel participated in a hemp eradication study. Researchers saw the effects of using 2,4-D to destroy hemp. This had consequences to the environment, including the loss of bobwhite quail habitat. The hemp growing near corn and bean crops had provided habitat for birds. What is so disturbing about policy in the 1970s was the willingness to destroy hemp even though it was known to have no THC.

Today, Rippel said, there is a growing number of Kansas farmers who want to grow hemp for industrial uses. Both state and federal governments need to make some changes to allow the hemp market to develop and grow. Hemp can be used to make clothing, building materials, rope and many other products. Henry Ford once made a car body out of hemp.

CBD, the nonpsychoactive ingredient in cannabis, is now legal in Kansas as a result of legislation signed by Gov. Colyer on May 14, 2018. 

Several states around Kansas already have chosen to legalize medical cannabis.

Oklahoma recently approved medical marijuana. For more than five years, Colorado has been making hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue from the sale of recreational and medical marijuana.

Thirty-one states have laws supporting the use of medical cannabis. Recreational use of cannabis is legal in nine states.

Laura Kelly, the state senator from Topeka, supports changing sentencing guidelines for cannabis use. She said the state's jails are full of nonviolent first-time offenders who probably just needed treatment, the Eagle reported.

Missouri is set to vote on whether to legalize cannabis on Nov. 6. There are three initiatives on the ballot, all three would legalize growing, manufacturing, selling and consuming cannabis for medicinal use. If that happens, Kansas will be surrounded by three states where medical cannabis is legal. The fourth state, Nebraska, decriminalized marijuana possession many years ago.

Kansas is likely to be among the last states to legalize cannabis. However, a new governor who supports legalization would make a huge difference in the next legislative session.

Kansas would create thousands of jobs if it legalizes cannabis and gives more support to the hemp industry. Kansas climate is ideal for growing hemp and cannabis. Plus, the state of Kansas could use the tax revenue from the sale of cannabis. 

If voters choose the Independent or the Libertarian candidates, they will split the vote and possibly hand the election to Kris Kobach.

A vote for Laura Kelly will achieve two things. One she will support legalization of medical marijuana. She already has previously demonstrated support for the Kansas Safe Access Act. Plus, a vote for her will likely prevent a Kobach outcome. Election of Kobach would be worse than electing Sam Brownback.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Emerson: The Greatest Liberal In American History

By Michael Hooper

Ralph Waldo Emerson is perhaps the greatest liberal in American history.

In the 1830s, Emerson wrote letters and gave speeches against the movement of Cherokee Indians from their lands in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Emerson was an activist against slavery for many years, long before the Civil War. Emerson was part of a group of people from Massachusetts who sought to make Kansas a free state. In 1857, Emerson gave a speech to raise funds at a Kansas Relief Meeting in Cambridge, Mass. 

Emerson supported women authors and educators like Margaret Fuller. Emerson, perhaps more than any other thinker, influenced religion, poetry and literature and scholarship in America.

I have been reading "Emerson: The Mind On Fire" by Robert D. Richardson Jr." I also pulled out copies of his essays.

Emerson devoted his life to studying the Classics and modern thought in philosophy, religion and literature. He was obsessed with connecting to Nature, the divine, the universe, the eternal. He loved biography. He mastered the art of writing of an Essay and delivering a Speech. He craved knowledge from all cultures including the Persians, the French and the English. He learned languages so he could read books in their original texts. 

Emerson believed there was here in America a voice of its own, separate from Europe, a dynamic place of achievable greatness. Oliver Wendell Holmes was inspired from hearing Emerson's speech, The American Scholar, in 1837.

Emerson studied the common sense Scottish philosophers and Plato, Shakespeare, Goethe and many religious texts. In religion he sought to strip away third parties between man and God and to promote a direct personal link with Nature. Indeed he believed all of humanity is in your soul, the answers to living are already inside of you, the knowledge to achieve a better life is there if we can only listen to it and extract it and apply it to our daily lives.

He invited many people to come to his home in Concord and share ideas for days, sometimes weeks.

I'm impressed with his handling of Jones Very, a zealous poet who had a Dante like religious experience with God and hell. Emerson saw in him some talent to express these joys he had experienced and helped publish a book of his poetry.

Emerson was part of a group of authors, educators and religious people who discussed and promoted Transcendentalism. The Transcendental Club's ideas were  published in The Dial.

Emerson led the literary salon of Concord and New England. Authors like Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Caroline Sturgis, and so many others communicated with him often and sometimes lived with him.

The daily walks to Walden Pond would have been a joy to participate with Ralph Waldo Emerson. He knew the name of every plant and tree, he can recognize a bird with its sound, he cherished the sunlight in the trees. He built a large garden of fruit trees.

Emerson teaches us to connect with nature. Go to the forest and listen to the sounds of nature, and so many things disappear, the politics of the day, The Madness of the crowds, all disappear. And we are left with the Majesty of nature. And somehow in that cool repose, nature lifts us up, calms and inspires us.

Emerson had his share of struggles and tragedies. The loss of his son caused a deep sense of grief that never went away. He said that grief did not make him wiser or closer to nature.

But oh he was a wise man for sure. He had great capacity for joy.

Emerson said "it is better that Joy should be spread over all the day in the form of strength, than that it should be concentrated into ecstasies full of danger and followed by reactions."

Emerson is the ultimate rational mind, the stoic with an inner burning fire, held in reserve, ready to accomplish multiple things in one day. He wrote over 120 journals. He indexed his journals so he could find material for his essays and lectures and sermons.

Emerson is sublime. His wording is beautiful. He writes as if he is talking to the gods. The words are part of the divine, part of humanity and philosophy and the universe. He is the ultimate transcendentalist because his ideas are always rising to the highest of levels, influencing for good, transcending mediocrity to greatness.

He lived a transcendental life because he was focused on the divine and looking for good in all people and all things.

In some ways it did not matter what he read because he was able to dig into the material and create new material in his own brain. I think the way he read was like a highly-skilled athlete or gymnast, somebody who is hyper alert to understand and analyze the words of the book.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is a hyper conscious individual who is connected to the universe grounded in the Earth. He saw injustice and was willing to speak out against it. He was widely respected in his day, so when he spoke out against slavery in Cambridge on Aug. 1, 1844, people listened. His Emancipation Address was a fiery emotional speech that called for the abolition of slavery. He had always opposed slavery but now he was ready to work actively and openly against slavery, wrote Richardson in The Mind on Fire.

Emerson spoke in favor of raising funds to help Kansas become a free state. He spoke in 1957 at the Kansas Relief Meeting in Cambridge, Mass. He said, "In these calamities under which they suffer, and the worse which threaten them, the people of Kansas ask for bread, clothes, arms and men, to save them alive, and enable them to stand against these enemies of the human race. They have a right to be helped, for they have helped themselves. This aid must be sent, and this is not to be doled out as an ordinary charity; but bestowed up to the magnitude of the want, and, as has been elsewhere said, “on the scale of a national action.” I think we are to give largely, lavishly, to these men. And we must prepare to do it. We must learn to do with less, live in a smaller tenement, sell our apple-trees, our acres, our pleasant houses. I know people who are making haste to reduce their expenses and pay their debts, not with a view to new accumulations, but in preparation to save and earn for the benefit of the Kansas emigrants."

Emerson was truly a man ahead of his times. There are descendants of Emerson living today. Kansas and America and the world are the beneficiaries of this great man.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Runza Looks To Expand Into Northeast Kansas

By Michael Hooper

Nebraska restauranteur Runza is looking to expand outside of Nebraska.

Based in Lincoln, Neb., Runza is looking for franchisees in Iowa, Colorado and Kansas, including northeast Kansas towns of Sabetha, Seneca, Hiawatha and Belleville, Kan.

Runza currently has 84 locations, most of these are in Nebraska. Runza's locations outside Nebraska are Council Bluffs, Iowa, Clarinda, Iowa, Lawrence, Kansas, and Loveland, Colorado.

Runza is known for its German sandwich, with ground beef seasoned with a secret blend of spices and mixed with cabbage and onions. All wrapped up in fresh-baked bread. Runza also makes great hamburgers and onion rings.

It's interesting that Runza is marketing on its website for franchisees in the smaller towns like Sabetha. Many of their Nebraska locations are in small towns with less than 10,000 people. They believe there are enough economics in Northeast Kansas to make it work. There is a Runza in my hometown of Clarinda Iowa, a town of 5,385 people.

In Sabetha, there are just a handful of options: Sonic, Pizza Hut, Subway and Casey's and the El Canelo Mexican Restaurant.

The franchise fee for a Runza is $25,000 which is reasonable considering Sonic is $45,000.

Runza locates in 2500- to 3600-square-foot places, 

Runza requires a 5-percent monthly royalty fee paid to Runza National exclusive of sales tax. Runza also requires 1% of your gross sales to go to a long-term Improvement fund to update your restaurant. And 1% of gross sales will go to advertising production fun for the development and execution of advertising and public relations campaigns.

In addition, you must spend 4% of gross sales for marketing in your local market. so all of that is 11% of gross sales which is a lot. The margins in restaurants vary. It really depends on volume, if you get a lot of volume everyday you can make some good sales numbers and pay the bills and have a margin of 15% or even 20%.

I like the Sabetha market because there's a lot of activity going on around here, at the intersection of Highway 36 and Highway 75.

Sabetha employers include Wenger Manufacturing, Mac Equipment, ADM, Buchheit Logistics.

I believe a Runza would do very well in Sabetha for several reasons. It's close to Nebraska, people in those parts are familiar with Runza. A lot of commuters work in the local Industries. Unemployment is low. There are jobs and there is discretionary income for going out to eat at the local restaurants.

Terry Krepel and David Tangeman contributed information for this article.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

How To Save $100,000

By Michael Hooper

Today millions of people around the world are suffering from too much debt and no liquidity, no cash, no reserves.

But with perseverance and dedication it is quite possible to pay down debt and save $100,000. This goal requires a lifestyle change. A hatred of debt and a love of savings. A desire to work overtime, or take a second job, to earn more money to pay off debt and save money. A willingness to do without, to sacrifice now, so you will have it easier financially in the future.

There comes a time in everybody's life when they face choices -- tough decisions, a crossroads, a line in the sand. It is at these crossroads we must decide how we want to live. I once came to the crossroads when I carefully examined my credit card bill and realized I was paying $44 per month in interest. This was $44 going to the bankers on a $2,000 debt. A light bulb came on, I decided I'm not going to take this anymore and I sent $200 per month to the credit card, and paid off the debt in 11 months. I vowed then never again to work for the bankers. They are going to work for me. How do we make the bankers work for us? Save money and earn interest on our savings accounts. Indeed, open multiple accounts, checking accounts, savings accounts, brokerage accounts, individual retirement accounts and participate in the 401(k) at work.

The checking account is a temporary holding place for money, it will never grow, somehow all the money in the checking account is spent. So when pay day comes around quickly move money out of the checking account into these other accounts. 

Downsize to upsize. Develop good habits that produce health, wellness and savings, a way to live below your means, the ability to save 10% or even 20% or 30% of your take-home pay.

Here are 10 steps to save $100,000.

1 Take a hard look at your budget and find a way to cut your expenses so you are living within your means, your take-home pay. If your take-home pay is $2000 per month, find a way to live and operate with $1800.

2. Open up a savings account and deposit money into this account every payday. Pay yourself first. Even if it is just $50, this is your personal private paycheck.

3. Open up a brokerage account at Charles Schwab or Ameritrade. This brokerage account will be a tool to achieve  retirement. Save money every month into this account. When you have $1,000, purchase shares in a Standard Poor's 500 Index Fund or ETF, a popular ETF is SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY). The S&P 500 index funds and ETFs have low expense ratios and are easily purchased or sold with lots of liquidity. The S&P500 is the standard by which large cap mutual fund managers are measured, but most cannot beat the index. So why not invest in the index?

4. Participate in your company 401K. If the company has a match of 5% of your pay then you should put in 5% of your pay. Because this is a double your money program. You can't beat free money. Put all 100% of your contributions into your 401k into the S&P 500 Index. Its returns average about 10% per year. 10% is a fair return, Using the rule of 72, 72 / 10 equals 7.2 years to double your money.

5. Acquire quality things at fair prices. Don't buy frivolously, never borrow to buy anything, don't binge shop.

6.Don't gamble your money away. Don't waste money on lottery tickets and gambling machines, I never won. Chances are you won't either. I know people who spent hundreds of dollars per month on gambling and could have easily turned that into tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over time if they would have put the money into the stock market at the same regularity they put money into gambling devices and lottos.

7. Live a lifestyle that produces wealth. Live frugally, watch expenses and save money every day.

8. Race to pay off debt. Send extra payments to credit cards to quickly pay them off and never use them again unless you pay them off at the end of every month, to avoid interest and penalties. After all credit card debt is paid off, then send extra payments to your mortgage on your house. Pay off your house quickly, you'd be surprised at how much a little every month will add up to a lot over several years and cut down your term of your loan substantially. We paid off a 15 year loan in eight years by sending extra payments every month.

9. When you finish a series of debt payments, send the amount of the monthly debt payment to your brokerage account. Build up your brokerage account into a substantial amount of investments.

10. Follow these guidelines every day for one year and you should have an increase in your net worth. Do this for many years and you will have $100,000 or more.