He‚s Got A Secret
Well, given that every time I turn around, someone is talking about this book called The Secret, [Financial Advisor, November 2007] it only makes sense that I should let everyone know that I‚ve got my own secret. Besides, maybe Oprah will call and ask me to share it on her show…being the true Nashvillian that she is. It seems that the "self-help" books just keep on coming, and just when you think you‚ve read one that "truly changed your life," as I‚ve heard with this one … another will come along and change it again.  
The book I‚m referring to talks about The Law of Attraction, which says that people basically get what they think about, and that their thoughts determine their destiny. Kind of sounds like Dale Carnegie to me, being that I‚m a big Dale fan. I do find it interesting that even though this book finds itself in the "self-help" section, the author states that she learned "her secret" after reading The Science of Getting Rich. (Source: http://www.thesecret.tv) That book, I‚d doubt, will find itself in the financial section at Borders.
I‚m sure that several will challenge "my secret" as my life in academia ended with a BS in Business from the University of Tennessee. However, given my history and the fact that over my 25-year career as a financial advisor, most of what I do is listen to others, I‚d like to think I‚ve earned a master‚s degree in life experiences, and a PhD. in applied common sense. "What‚s my secret?" you ask. Well, here you go …
The secret of life is very similar to the secret of investing. It‚s about the ebb and flow of things, the bull markets and the bear markets. It‚s about creating an "action plan for life" and not just a "financial plan" for today. It‚s learning how to manage our behaviors and our money logically … despite the media-based world of emotion and misinformation. It‚s surrounding ourselves with people more experienced than we are and trusting their judgment when dealing with what life throws at us. It‚s learning that true wisdom is learned, not earned, and that oftentimes wisdom comes at a high price, especially when adding up those lessons learned that we find ourselves constantly confronting. It‚s learning that maybe Dad wasn‚t so wrong after all.  
If you believe "my secret" and don‚t spend the $20 to buy the book, then very possibly, you‚ve earned over $900 alone by just following along with my thoughts. How‚s that you ask? Well, $20 x 40 years @ 10% return = $905.00. Oh, I forgot, there‚s another secret too … Bill Gates, with all his billions, doesn‚t manage his own money. He has competent professional advisors along side him. So it‚s a two for one "secret" day! How‚s that for value added?
Brian Carden
Financial Strategies Group
Cool Springs, Tenn.

Good Work
I want to applaud you on a well-done article, written by David Drucker, that appeared in your most recent issue. Certainly there will be people on both sides that can provide cases for and against the concept of positive thinking. After being in the trenches of the financial planning business dealing directly with clients for more than 17 years, my experience has been that the message of The Secret is more appropriately used when minimizing negative thoughts. If someone does nothing but deal with negative thoughts, they aren‚t devoting time and energy towards finding opportunities to succeed. But to sit around while positively–thinking, expecting positive things to happen, is a lesson in futility. Nearly all high-net-worth clients of ours are positive people, who have the same problems as everyone else, but they focus on the positive and minimize the negative. The other trait I notice is that these same high-net-worth clients spend a small but focused amount of time looking at potential negative things that could happen (a disability, losing their job, a family crisis, etc.) to determine what can they do to manage these roadblocks in their road towards success, and then move on with confidence.
Andrew Markham
President, Markham Financial Services Inc.
Laguna Hills, Calif.