Tag Archives: life lessons

Terrible Car Buying Tips

by Greg Hague

Terrible Car Buying Tips (Terrible for Them, Not You)


Buying a new car?

Here are a few savvy tips to snag your best deal.

1. KNOW THE REAL DEALER COST – Through the Internet you can usually find the dealer invoice, the dealer “hold back” (extra profit dealers receive from the manufacturer not reflected in the invoice) and any other dealer or consumer incentives offered by the manufacturer. The point is to know the real dealer cost before you start to negotiate.

2. SHOP BY PHONE – You lose a HUGE advantage when you’re standing on the showroom floor. Before you go anywhere, negotiate dealers against each other by telephone. Get your absolute best cash price. Dealers will be less resistant to negotiating by phone if you say you’re from far away (you are – it’s a relative term).

3. NEGOTIATE A “NO TRADE” PRICE – If you have a car to trade, don’t let the cat out of the bag until the end. Dealers often pad the value of a trade (inflate the price) with extra profit built into the car you’re buying.

Dealers know that buyers are usually more sensitive to the $$ they receive for their car than the $$ they pay for the new car.

You will never know how much you are really receiving for your trade unless you first negotiate the lowest no-trade price on the car you’re buying.

4. FINANCE THE PURCHASE – Consider financing your new car for a few months, even if you can pay cash. Dealers often receive a large spiff on buyers who finance their cars (through the dealer).

This spiff is often substantial because it presumes, based on averages, that you’ll keep the loan in place for several years.  But you don’t have to. You can pay off most car loans at any time with no penalty.

So, once you’ve negotiated your best no-financing price, see if you can obtain an additional $300-$500 (or more) discount if you finance. Then pay off the loan in the first month or two. Your interest on a $20,000 loan at 5% for one month is only about $85, (and you’ll be earning some offsetting interest on the extra $20,000 in your account during that time).

5. SAY NO ‘TIL YOUR TONGUE BLEEDS – That’s a favorite phrase from my friend, Harvey Mackay. Cars go down in value (even on the dealer’s lot). Remember, the deal tomorrow is usually better then the deal today. When buying a car, time is on your side while the cash is in your pocket.


Why Rich People Aren’t Happy

by Greg Hague

Rear view of businessman with luggage walking towards corporate“I had everything I dreamed but wasn’t as happy as when I only had dreams.”

When I was a kid, I was convinced life would be perfect when I could buy my first Porsche (a black Targa to be precise).

Burning up the road, making my friends jealous, and trying to impress girls; what more could a guy want?

Dad was in real estate and I quickly saw the big money in selling homes. So at 18 I took the exam, got my real estate license and started selling while in college at Miami University.

Fast forward – middle age. Real estate had treated me well. That black Porsche Targa had come and gone. I had run through an array of homes, cars, motorcycles, boats and planes. As soon as I became bored with one I bought another.

These days I look back and realize I wasn’t buying because I wanted the thing…I was buying because I needed some thing to do. At one point I accumulated so much motorized crap that I “hired” one of my sons to keep all the batteries charged.

I had everything I dreamed but wasn’t as happy as when I only had dreams.

Then, on a Saturday motorcycle ride, my friend, Bruce, made a comment that changed my perception.

“Greg, do you know why rich people aren’t happy?” he asked.

I gave him a skeptical look, waiting for the punchline of what was sure to be a joke.

But Bruce wasn’t joking…

He continued, “Of course, not all wealthy people are unhappy, but many are because they’ve forgotten what happiness is.”

“So what is it?” I asked.

“It’s three things, actually.  Happiness is the deep sense of satisfaction that comes from the enthusiastic pursuit of a worthwhile goal of your own choosing.

Bruce emphasized the key points:

* The goal needs to get you excited (enthusiastic pursuit).

* The goal needs to be worthwhile (not something trivial like an everyday errand).

* The goal must be something you choose (not something you must do, something you want to do).

I got the point. It was the difference between short term pleasures and long term purpose.

Chocolate cake, Porsches and vacations are great, but when it comes to life, they’re icing, not cake.  They’re rewards, not pursuits. While they can add to happiness they don’t make happiness.

Today’s Takeaway:

Being better off is better. But it should be more about the freedom to pursue purpose than the bucks to buy stuff.


You Can’t Beat Fear Pretending It’s Not There

by Greg Hague

Fearful boy hiding under the bedYou refused to attack. It was fear, the dream killer; it held you back.

Calls you failed to make. Opportunities you didn’t take. Times you should have raised your hand. People you were afraid to walk up and meet.

What is fear?

Let’s dissect this ugly ole’ thing. You can’t conquer what you don’t understand.

Fear is mental theater with you on the stage.

It’s visualization – a fast moving, flash-forward sequence that unfolds in your head.

You’re the star…the central character in a play with an unfortunate end.

It’s self-imposed failure; an imagined travesty deep in your mind.

How do you beat fear?

Do what actors do:

First – Don’t try to pretend fear isn’t there. It is.

Second – Realize most fears are “no downside” fears. Embarrassment. Rejection. Disappointment. Hurt feelings. You have nothing to lose but a mental bruise. The real harm comes from not taking the risk.

Third – Learn, practice, drill, rehearse. Nothing subdues fear more than being prepared.

Finally…visualize, visualize, visualize.

Imagine a perfect performance. You make the sale, wow the audience, ace the test or win the race. Picture yourself emerging to the applause of a roaring crowd.

The Takeaway?

The goal isn’t to ignore fear, it’s to excel in the face of fear.

Over-prepare. Take control of your mind. Visualize perfection time and again. See yourself a star, a winner, a success at the end.

And remember…the real downside is letting fear keep you from taking the risk. That’s what you’ll look back and regret.


How Did You Know?

by Greg Hague


How did you know?

In 1959, my friend, Harvey Mackay, purchased a struggling envelope firm in Minneapolis. Today it is one of the largest in the world, with 500+ employees selling over 25 million envelopes a day.

How did he do it?  Four simple words:

How did you know?

Let me explain.

After he purchased the business, Harvey made a list of 66 things to know about each customer…  their customer profile.

It worked so well he started using it to learn about everyone he met… and then he began using it to learn about the people he was likely to meet.

Harvey now calls it his Mackay 66. I call it:  How did you know?”

The point is to get people to say, ”How did you know?”

It’s smart business and life advice, too.

Whether you are in school or working a job or building a business you better know this… you cannot succeed alone.

Whatever you want, someone else has.

You need a network of people who like you, trust you and want to help you. People like ME!

Show me you care. Get me to say, ”How did you know?”

Go online. Check out my sons… and Tanner and Chubby, my dogs. Learn about my beautiful wife, my hobbies, the organizations I support, the books I read, the music I like and the blogs I write.

Then, the next time we chat, shock me with something you know about me. Get me to ask,

“How did you know?”

I’ll be impressed. And, I’ll want to get to know you.

The takeaway? Before you…

* Meet with a friend.

* Interview for a job.

* Go to a meeting.

* Attend a social event.

Be prepared to make someone ask, “How did you know?”

Four simple words. Four nuggets of gold.



World’s Best Father – Dave Engledow

by Greg Hague

Engledow (1 of 7)World’s Best Father – Dave Engledow

Today it is our honor to publish a Savvy Dad interview with “World’s Best Father,” Dave Engledow.

You probably already know him through many of the photos we have shared on the Savvy Dad Facebook page.  Dave’s wonderfully creative photography, depicting hilarious images of him and his daughter, Alice Bee, have gained widespread recognition.


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Dave was gracious enough to take the time to answer a few questions for Savvy Dad about being the “World’s Best Father,” and how his savvy parents helped guide him into becoming the truly awesome dad he is today.

SD:  What was the best life lesson you learned from your mom or dad?

WBF:  The life lesson I learned from Mom is to always be supportive, no matter what.  No matter what life choices I have made over the years, my mother has always supported me unconditionally and told me she was proud of me.  I hope to be able to do the same for Alice Bee as she grows up.

SD:  What was the most special memory you recall with your mom or dad?

WBF:  I think I get my sense of humor from my father.  I remember one Christmas there was a giant box under the tree.  Inside was another large, gift-wrapped box, and inside that was another, and so on. After opening and unwrapping at least 15 boxes, I found the gift that was the thing I most wanted for Christmas that year – a brand new Swiss Army knife.

SD:  What is the best advice you can pass on to other dads and dads-to-be out there?

WBF:  Make sure to spend time just observing the journey of your new child.  It’s easy to get caught up in trying to shape who and what they are to become (when in fact, I think we as parents have little to no control over that), so make sure to just sit back and quietly watch how they interact with the world.


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Dave Engledow attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning a Bachelor of Journalism in Photojournalism under the mentorship of esteemed documentary photographer Dennis Darling.  Engledow currently lives with his wife, Jen, and his daughter, Alice Bee, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

He spends his days working full-time as the Deputy Director for Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.  His “World’s Best Father” photo series is an ongoing project consisting of over 125 images, all of which are shot on weekends and edited at night after Alice Bee has finally gone to sleep.

His book, “Confessions of the World’s Best Father,” will be released on May 6, and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most other online book retailers:



You can check out more of his great photos at his Facebook Page:


Coach Crosby

by Greg Hague


Crosby and Brandon

Have you ever witnessed a full moon appear while the sun is still shining?  Or a rainbow emerge in the fury of a thunderstorm?

Sometimes things aren’t what we naturally expect. It’s true in science.

It’s also the case with fathers and sons.

Dads are supposed to mentor their sons. But when dads do it well, sons often become the guiding light for their dads.

That has certainly been the case with my boys. These days I learn as much from them as they do from me.  My friend, Brandon, is enjoying a similar experience.

Brandon Steiner is a brilliant, successful entrepreneur. His New York-based Steiner Sports is the largest sports memorabilia company in the world.

In a recent blog, Brandon shared some words of wisdom from his son, Crosby. I asked Brandon if I might share some of “Coach Crosby’s” insightful son-to-father wisdom with my Savvy Dad readers.

Enjoy . . .

High School

Pick where you go to college for the “wrong” reasons. Sports, weather, social scene, etc.  If those things are important to you now, they will still matter when you’re there.

Savor your fleeting moments. There are a lot of experiences you’ll have that you just won’t ever be able to recreate.



Freshman Year

Meeting people should be your number one priority.

Classes are easy…a lot easier than upper level classes. Set the bar high for your GPA.

Effectively manage your time. If you don’t go to class, your grade suffers. Period. But, just being in class doesn’t mean you’re going to learn (especially if you spend the entire time playing snake on your phone).


Sophomore Year

Write a resume: You might not think you have enough to put on there now, but you will. Use what you do have as a base to start with. Always ask someone to review it.

Recruiters have great memories: Go to career fairs, corporate events and presentations. They’ll be calling you when you do need an internship/job. Besides, you get free food.

Join a club. Become president of said club. Fill formerly empty resume.


Junior Year

The people you choose to spend the most time with will have the greatest effect on your happiness. Choose wisely, and don’t be afraid to re-evaluate who you’re hanging out with every so often

See the value in any experience: I passed up the chance to spend three months roaming around Europe so I could take an internship and add another line on my resume. I quickly learned the true value of those two options.


Senior Year

Enjoy yourself: Reap the rewards of your hard work by taking every opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family.

Go on a road trip: There is nothing more exciting than getting in a car and seeing the country.  Stop anywhere and everywhere you can south of the mason dixon line for BBQ and/or Chik-fil-A.

Savor your fleeting moments. There are a lot of experiences you’ll have that you just won’t ever be able to recreate. (Sound familiar?).



Get a job: Take the process seriously, but don’t get caught up in what opportunities your friends are getting. Run your own race.

Seize the moment: I once got a call from a buddy during class. He said he had a ticket to the Michigan-OSU basketball game in Columbus. Tip-off was in six hours and we were 200 miles away…it was a great game.


Final Thought

At an event for students in my five-year program, I had a conversation with the program’s benefactor and namesake, an extremely successful real estate developer. As he discussed his houses in Vail, Florida and New York, I exclaimed how exciting that must be. I’ll never forget his reply:

“Yeah, having houses across the globe gives my wife something to do, but it’s all B.S. I couldn’t care less about them. The only thing that matters in life is relationships with friends and family. That’s it.”

Here is the link to Brandon’s Full Blog.

3 Ways To Make People Like You

by Greg Hague

People are attracted to people who look like, act like, and have interests similar to theirs.

Want to hit it off instantly with the people you meet?

1. Reflect their look. 

2. Mirror their actions. 

3. Know their interests. 





* Dress slightly upscale of those you’re likely to meet.

* Each day presume you’ll run into someone who can open a life-changing door. You might.

* Don’t be boring! I have a few handmade ties with tiny Swarovski crystals embedded in the material. They elicit compliments and help me stand out in a positive way.   

I know we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but we do.





* When you first meet people, adjust to their vibe.

* Be sensitive to their handshake and squeeze back with a similar grip.

* Be more animated with an enthusiastic person and tone it down with a somber type.

* Speak with a similar rhythm and speed.





* Research people you’re going to meet. It’s easy with Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.

* When you are invited to small parties, call the host in advance for the scoop on the guests.

* Before attending large events ask for the seating chart. Identify the people you want to meet. Keep notes tucked away in your pocket for a quick glance before you wander over to their table.


Savvy Says . . .

“If you work at making friends you may never have to work again.”