Category: Money

Business, Financial and Self-Help Books

In the previous post, I listed out the 72 books that I read in 2017. In this post, I continue my analysis of them. I won’t address every book, more the groups of them, with some call-outs to the most impactful.

(That being said, if you have questions about any one, feel free to ask in the comments below.)

My biggest category was business…

13 Business Books

  1. The Great Disruption by Rick Smith with Mitch Free
  2. Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits! by Greg Crabtree
  3. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff and J.J. Sutherland
  4. Hacking Marketing by Scott Brinker
  5. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  6. Scaling Up by Verne Harnish
  7. Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson
  8. Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
  9. The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
  10. Predictable Success by Les McKeown
  11. No by Jim Camp
  12. The Synergist by Les McKeown
  13. Key Performance Metrics by Bernard Marr

Business is a broad category, and these books run the gamut.

Predictable Success as the most impactful as it changed how I look at business, as well as giving a big picture gameplan that has already turned out useful. I wrote about Predictable Success in this previous post.

Though not on the same level, The Synergist, his follow-up title was also good.

Who by Smart and Street was another impactful read. This details an extensive hiring system, proven to work great, that we have starting using as best as we could at Lost Empire Herbs.

Another favorite was Hacking Marketing. This came right after Scrum and is about that same topic. However reading the former was more applicable to me, using it inside marketing team, rather than in software development, where it was created. This is still an aspirational read as we haven’t quite got there, but the idea of it excites me.

No by Jim Camp was another great one. Famous email marketer Ben Settle kept talking about it and I see why. I haven’t studied negotiation much at all. But I applied just a few principles from this book and landed a high-dollar client without really even trying, by going for the no.

5 Financial Books

In the past, as I detail in the introduction for my money system book, I’ve read a lot about the topic. Now, not so much. Most of these occurred after I had purchased a home and wanted to expand in some new areas.

  1. Succeed and Grow Rich through Persuasion by Napoleon Hill
  2. The Sale of a Lifetime by Harry S. Dent Jr.
  3. The Last Safe Investment by Bryan Franklin and Michael Ellsberg
  4. Automatic Wealth by Michael Masterson
  5. Buffettology by Mary Buffett and David Clark

Of these, The Last Safe Investment was the most different. Really the concepts transcend age, but especially for any young person looking for an alternative path the the classic college route, this would be a great read. This book challenges conventional wisdom, which makes it great (since so much convention is wrong).

8 Self-Help Books

Self Help Books

  1. The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope
  2. The Book of Joy by Douglas Adams, Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
  3. How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  4. Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal
  5. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
  6. Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  7. The Art of Living by Bob Proctor
  8. The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

Looking at it again, I lumped all these into self-help when it really covers a wide variety of things.

Tools of Titans covers lots of major topics so I just lumped it in here. As that is a collection of wisdom from many people, distilled down, I found a lot of useful bits in there.

My favorite of this group was The Great Work of Your Life. This was recommended over and over by Yanik Silver. (Actually half of these books came from him and other Mavericks!) This book is great for you finding more of your purpose or calling in life. I will likely re-read this one over time as there are lots of great stories and ideas in it.

More next time…

Mental Accounting and Different Perceptions of Money

We continue in The Money System That Never Fails with Mental Accounting and Different Perceptions of Money

If you missed the first few of parts you can view them here:

  1. Introduction
  2. Money Offense and Money Defense
  3. Most Important Part of the Money System

One of my favorite books on money is Inside-Out Wealth, by L. Michael Hall. Hall is one of the best writers and teachers of NLP (Neuro linguistic programming). In this book, he details his journey to making millions and applying the methods of NLP modelling to look at it. It is a detailed and complex book, but worth spending time with.

Inside Out Wealth

Money and wealth are both abstract words. While a hundred-dollar bill is something you can carry, “money” itself isn’t. Even more so in this day and age, our money is simply digits on a screen. There isn’t “your cash” sitting inside of a bank vault somewhere. (For every dollar in the bank, in the USA, they’re only required by law to keep 10 cents there.)

Thus, when two people speak about “wealth” they can have very different numbers in their head of what that looks like. Ultimately, there are different images, sounds and feelings that go along with that wealthy lifestyle too.

When we say money, what kind of money are we referring too? We already covered four different types: income, expenses, savings and investments. When you hear or read those words, you may picture those quite differently than if I say “money”.

This is why it is important to get to concrete numbers in your planning. Further, with money we can attach all sorts of other meanings. The chart on the following page comes from Hall’s book, showcasing different frames of money we humans tend to think in.

Have you ever got a bonus or tax refund and felt you deserved something special? Contrast this to your normal income and you can see we easily think about money differently.

How much easier is it to put something on a credit card than to pay with actual cash?

That we treat different types of money differently shouldn’t surprise us. But most people miss this critical distinction. In the end, you shouldn’t fight this. Instead, harness and use it in a systematic way.

Inside Out Wealth Different Kinds of Money

Since we put money into different mental accounts, it’s just a part of human nature and how we think, why don’t we just extend this to physical accounts too? Almost every writer or speaker on the topic of wealth discusses this. Why? Because it works. Find the right model, the right amount and purposes of accounts to suit you.

For the reasons just discussed, it is important to match the real world to your thoughts. We do this by actually setting up different bank accounts for different purposes.

Money that gets commingled gets spent in commingled ways. If both serious and fun money are in the same account, you’ll have no idea which is which. Separate accounts allow you to easily and without effort separate out what that money is for. It gives the money an explicit purpose as is defined by what the account is for.

Ease of use and transferring is important. While we’ll address the specific cases in which you might want money to be hard to access, in general, you want it to be easy.

First, we’ll cover the essential accounts. Then, we’ll move onto the optional accounts. Later on, in the book, we’ll address business accounts. (Even if you don’t own a business, this still might interest you for someday, or just to see the same principles working in something bigger.)

The Money System That Never Fails is now available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.The_Money_System_That_Never_Fails_Cover

Most Important Part of the Money System

We continue in The Money System That Never Fails with The Most Important Part of the Money System.

If you missed the first couple of parts you can view them here:

  1. Introduction
  2. Money Offense and Money Defense

This system started with the book, The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. This old classic can be found for free online in many places online such as this link here.

The first chapter is the most important but it all is worth reading and re-reading. It’s about paying yourself first, i.e. saving. The is probably the most important principle of money there is, period.

The principle is this: “A part of all I earn is mine to keep.”

This is counter to Parkinson’s Law, which originally meant “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. This applies to money as well, in that the more money we make, the more we typically spend. Most people these days are spending more than they’re making with the pervasive use of credit. And our governments certainly aren’t good role models either.

Instead of fighting the natural urge to spend, by paying yourself first, you’ll be saving despite Parkinson’s Law.

This is how most people handle money (and how I did for years):

Money System - Income minus Expenses

Typically, this doesn’t leave much left in savings, if anything. Once again, many people spend all that they make, thus there is nothing left on the right side of this equation. This is living paycheck to paycheck.

But this equation can be easily flipped, by utilizing this foundational principle that allows wealth to build.

Money System - Income minus Savings

We simply take the savings out of the income, off the top, and then spend what is left. It really is that simple.

“A part” – We’ll cover how much shortly.

“of all I earn” – From your income.

“is mine to keep” – Gets saved.

That also means, the other part, is what is left over for spending for both the necessities and the luxuries.

I knew of this principle long ago. But I made some errors in dealing with it. And I realized that, for most people, for it to actually work, there needs to be a few different types of savings. Then money must be saved in specific ways for you to benefit from this principle.

However important saving is, it is just one factor of many. While we can save our way to millions, it is by no means the most interesting aspect. It must be balanced, with the other areas of money too. Eventually, once your savings grows it will look like this:

Money System - Income minus Savings + Investments

That will be discussed more later. Notice that there are four different types of money here already referred to in the last section.

The Money System That Never Fails is now available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.The_Money_System_That_Never_Fails_Cover

Money System that Never Fails – Money Offense and Defense

We continue from the Introduction to the Money System that Never Fails, with the next part on money offense and defense, and the four areas of wealth.

One of the pivotal books for me, that I read in that massive action period, was The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley. In it he talks about playing offense and defense with money. This was a big epiphany for me. I started to see that there were different areas of money. Offense could be likened to what you did to get money in the first place, i.e. producing an income. Defense was keeping the money and watching your expenses.

money offense vs defense

Offense and defense was a good starting point. But it became even more apparent when I added upon this idea and realized there were essentially four areas of wealth.

1. Income
2. Expenses
3. Saving
4. Investing

It seems so obvious now, but I didn’t see anyone specifically point this out. Understanding these four categories of money is the foundation to this system.

Finally, this explained why people can have huge incomes and still end up broke. Lots of sports stars and celebrities are great examples of this. The first area is great but all the other three are not. As soon as the big income goes away they’re left with nothing because they’re not truly wealthy. One strength, with three weaknesses does not equal long term success.

It even explains why some people living on meager wages can still end up with large amounts after many years. Income may not be great but the others are even more important. Still I wouldn’t necessarily call these people wealthy either.

It was another epiphany to me to realize that with just minimum wage, you could become a millionaire, just by saving and investing.

At $7.25/hour, 2080 hours worked in a year is $15,080. Saving 10% of this would be $1,508 per year. Invested into something that provided a 5% annual rate of return, it would take 72.37 years to meet this goal.

Yes, that is a long time. And I’m guessing you don’t have that long to wait. But I’m willing to bet if you’re reading this you make more than minimum wage. In California, the minimum wage is raising up to $15/hour soon. In a year this is $31,200. 10% of that is $3,120. Invested at the same 5% annual rate it takes 58.1 years.

This shows that it can be done, showing the importance of savings and investing, and the commonly touted magic of compound interest. But the trick is, if you also optimize your income, then save even more, and invest even better it can all be done far faster, and yield even bigger results.

This is just an extreme example, meant to show you the possibilities. Something to think about is how much money has passed through your hands over your lifetime so far? How much more do you think will happen over time?

If you want to look at other similar calculations you can use this online duration calculator.

Not understanding these four areas of wealth is probably the biggest setback in any money or wealth program or coaching because they are incomplete.

But what happens when you optimize all four areas? Magic!

Each area has some unique traits that best help it out, that are not in the other areas. Each area has specific habits you should do, which are not in the other areas. The good news is that you’re probably doing okay in some areas but just one or two of them falls short.

We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. In this case it is important to play to your strengths, but also to shore up your weaknesses too. The star ball player will be great off with that amazing income, if they make sure the other areas are taken care off.

Thus, when it comes to crafting your wealth plan you must include each of these areas. And each one will have goals and action steps for you to take. Let’s make sure you’re clear on what these four areas are:

1. Income

Money coming in. For a business, this is revenues. Personally, this may be an hourly rate, salary, royalties or whatever else. It also includes selling things, or services whether at a yard sale, on eBay, or wherever else.

2. Expenses

Money going out. Money is used as an exchange of value, so this is where you spend it on stuff. Of course, this occurs both in businesses and personally.

3. Savings

When you get income, it is turned into savings. Most people do this backwards, which is why they don’t have savings. More details on this in the next section. Also note that different types of savings are used for different purposes. Specifically, I consider savings when money is transferred from the income/expense account to a savings account for a specific purpose.

4. Investments

Money from income or savings can then be turned into investments. Active investments are those that generate more income. While you can invest in things like precious metals, these are stores of value, and don’t actually generate income, so these are passive. Understand this difference between active and passive investments.

All of these can be further broken down into more categories. But if you just get these four areas, and the differences of each, you’re ahead of where most people are at. A lot more on each of these to come next.

The Money System That Never Fails is now available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.The_Money_System_That_Never_Fails_Cover

Money System that Never Fails – Introduction

I’m working on a book that shares about money and finances. It shares my system that took me from a mountain of debt to being very comfortable and on projection for riches to come. The working title is “The Money System Than Never Fails” because it is just that. It is a systematic approach to money that anyone can adopt. Of course, I would highly recommend doing so.

None of these things are unique to me. Most of it I picked up from many sources. However, I started working on this system because I never saw anyone cover finances in a holistic manner like this.

Below is the introduction to this book. I might even be sharing the entire thing, over time, here on the blog. On that note, I’d love to hear your comments, if you want to see more of this…

“Wealth is not the man that has it, but the man who lives it.”
 – Benjamin Franklin

When I was growing up, I saw how my parents handled money. We weren’t poor by any stretch, but I thought of us as in the lower middle class, while some friends’ parents of mine were in the upper middle class. I have no idea if that is financially accurate, I’m not sure if there are official positions for those spots, it’s just the way it seemed to me at the time.

While my friends’ parents owned nice houses, we rented, and were forced to move a couple times because changes in ownership. While my friends’ parents seemed to spend more just on little things here and there, such as family outings, I saw my mother and father fight about money.

In high school, I started to get interested in money. On a friend’s encouragement I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. This is turn led me to reading Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. I decided then that I would have a million dollars by the time I was 25. Seemed doable at the time.

I started putting some money into stocks. I felt like I was on top of my personal finances. I made money and I saved a lot of it. But this was just because I didn’t have many expenses. I didn’t even have a car until I was 20.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I start my business as a personal trainer, while still being employed.

Specifically, it was in going into business that I would begin my financial descent. While I did well personally, I knew nothing about business nor the changes in finances in there. Being a solopreneur, I rode the roller coaster of unstable income, and constantly reinvesting money back into my business, mostly in the form of more education. While this was good, I was doing it in an irresponsible way.

My debt started to grow. At its highest point, I was around $25,000 in credit card debt. Throughout this time, as you might imagine, I developed a strained relationship around money.

One of the first major turning points around money for me (of which I’ve identified three occasions) was pointed out by one of my coaches. He told me to say the phrase, “I Appreciate Money.” As soon as I said it, I could feel the sinking feeling in my chest, and I knew that it wasn’t true.

Once you know a few tools that can help to transform beliefs, then it is the finding of them that is the hard part. We did some work to clear that up. The following transformation in my financial life was nothing short of extraordinary.

Within a couple of months, I made more money than I ever had before in my business. I was able to pay off my debt completely. And I noticed that I always had cash in my wallet. I was never without money.

My relationship to money became far better than it was previously.

But like all things, that was just one turning point. An even bigger change was coming up on the horizon…

Although I got out of debt and started to develop some savings, I would find that I would run up the bill on my credit cards a bit. Then, in a fit of frustration, I would borrow from my savings (with the intention to pay that money back, since I wasn’t supposed to touch it) to get back to zero.

This probably happened four or five times over the next few years.

Although I “appreciated” money, I still seemed to struggle with it. I couldn’t get ahead. Finally, I got fed up with this pattern and resolved to break it once and for good.

Here, I took massive action. Over the course of a few weeks I read at least 30 books on the topic of money and finances, looking for whatever missing keys to money I was lacking. I can’t say there was any one book that solved the problem for me. But all together they did.

While there were certainly some changes in beliefs during that time, the biggest change was in how I saw different forms of money, and how they all fit together systematically.

It was during this period that I largely developed the system that you’re about to read about. It was then that I developed my Wealth Generation Plan. This included new shifts in mindset and establishing habits, that would get me out of that repetitive cycle I was in.

From that day forward, getting ahead with money was never an issue. Every week, every month my net worth grew.

And still I was not done learning. …

With that plan in place my financial foundation was now in place as well. Over the next years I continued to grow financially…at least personally.

What happened was that one of my businesses, Lost Empire Herbs, grew to the point over the next few years, where the finances were a bit beyond my current skillset. While I had always done the Legendary Strength financial books myself (my other business), because they were simple to do, here we handed them out to a bookkeeper.

I lost track of what was happening. What money was coming in. What money was going out. But armed with my plan, I realized this problem sooner rather than later. I had to upgrade my financial skills even more. I had to learn how to read a Profit and Loss Statement, as well as a Balance Sheet. I had to figure out cash flow, in an inventory heavy business. I had to understand good debt, and how it can be used to fuel growth.

In addition to these new things, what I realized is that I needed the same type of foundation that I had personally, going on in the business. While the numbers were bigger, and many more transactions took place, it really wasn’t all that different from what I did personally.

Looking back on my life I can see these three pivotal moments and the periods in between. It’s a series of plateaus’ and jumps or exponential growth points. Because of the system though, ever since that took place, the plateaus are not flat, but are trending upwards. You can see a graphical representation of this here. While simplified, this is overall quite accurate to my financial life.

Money System - Plateau and Jump

I’m sure there will be a couple more jumps in my future. There are always new things to learn. However, I don’t expect these to be quite as impactful as these few moments in time. That’s because the system is the rock on which it all stands. It will get better over time, but that foundation is now firmly set.

The Money System That Never Fails is now available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.The_Money_System_That_Never_Fails_Cover