I just got back from Dallas, Texas at a 3-day financial training event with several of the top financial advisors in this country. I’m so grateful to be able to learn (and contribute) about the best financial tools and strategies to create the maximum financial potential for my clients.
When I am visiting a city I always like to eat at a local restaurant. I usually enjoy the food and I feel it’s the fastest way to learn more about a local community. I was eating at the bar having a delicious pork chop and the gentleman next to me asked what I did for work and he was very interested. He pulled out his phone, subscribed to my podcast and his next question was, “Hey, I know you don’t know my financial situation, but what is the first thing I can do to create more wealth for my family?”
My response, “save 20% your income and live off the rest.” At first, he appeared a little confused/disappointed and then he asked what I meant by that. I explained the importance of having money that is safe from market risk; readily available to use anytime he wants; and that the more he accumulates — opportunities will seekhim out. Your savings account becomes one BIG OPPORTUNITY FUND. Once I said, “Opportunity Fund” his eyes lit up.
Over the last eight years, I’ve been advising clients to save at least 10% of their income and live off the rest. Because of our low-interest-rate environment (it’s about to get even lower), I typically advise clients now to save 20%. Quite often with new clients that advice creates some resistance – just like the gentlemen at the bar. Why?
At first, it sounds like they will have to live less of a lifestyle; have to do without; can’t remodel their kitchen/bathroom this year; can’t go on a fun trip, can’t ….
But once my new clients understand this different approach to their finances, they are ecstatic. They see that I just changed the flow of their money. There was no out-of-pocket expense and they get to use and enjoy more of their money TODAY and potentially create a way wealthier tomorrow!
I now understand I have been using the wrong word: ‘savings.’ It is a horrible word to introduce initially. So from now on I will refer to it as the ‘Opportunity Fund.’ Once you can establish feeding 20% of your income into your opportunity fund, opportunities will seek you out. And your rate of return will shock you.
I have seen this phenomenon with my family and a lot of my clients over the last several years. Opportunities will seek you out! We are not talking about 8% returns. I’m talking about double-digit and triple-digit rates of return!
What makes more sense for an investment? Options A, B, or C?
Tie up your money for two years and make 1.526% in interest.
Tie up your money for ten years and make 1.476% in interest.
More investors are buying 10-yr US Treasury Notes than 2-yr US Treasury notes. At first glance, it doesn’t make sense. However, when you reflect on basic economics and think about supply and demand, you realize that investors must be buying more 10-yr US Treasury Notes than 2-yr notes which increases the purchase price and the inverse relationship causes the interest rates to go down. Basically, more investors are thinking that the 1.476% is going to be a better yield than what will be available two years from now. This is known as a treasury yield curve inversion. It’s a concern because it typically has been a reliable indicator of an upcoming recession.
I have no idea what the stock market’s going to do. However, if you’re near retirement (< 10 years) and the stock market has been on a great run for the last 10 years – maybe it’s time to move and protect YOUR money.
Personally, I prefer …
Moving a substantial portion of my earned and passive income through the Bankosaurus® and away from the stock market to protect my money and then grow it by leveraging some of the money into a 1-yr to 3-yr commitment (energy & real estate notes, syndicated real estate, …) that cash flows every month and pays 7% or greater in annual yield.
If you like to learn more about Option C, please don’t hesitate to call me. I love what I do! Elevating others and helping people make the next step.
I’ve always enjoyed listening to different financial entertainers on a variety of radio and TV shows. They bring us some great ideas (and bad ones) that cause me to think more about certain financial scenarios for my family and clients. I like hearing different perspectives and am always open to ideas that can help us improve our current financial strategies.
However, we must be careful. They can have a huge influence on our behavior. That’s why companies spend a lot of money on commercials. These shows in many ways are one big ad for Wall Street. Their number one job is to entertain and get people to keep listening and watching their shows. When entertainers are giving universal advice and are adamant on their positions, it can cause a lot of harm to people. They are entertainers, not financial specialists.
Watch this YouTube clip from a financial entertainer in March 2008.
He was adamant about not selling Bear Stearns stock (BSC) when it was at $62/share. Five days later, the stock was bailed out at $2/share by JPMorgan Chase. That is a 97% correction! If an investor had the equivalent of $100,000 in BSC and decided not to sell after watching the show and held on, the same investor had $3,226 one week later.
The takeaway: listen and learn, but then consult with your specialist to make sure it fits your financial strategy.
In October of last year, I read an article about the historic tax revenue collected by the US government for 2018. This was accomplished with our income taxes near a historic low.
Unfortunately, another article I just read discusses how our government is also at a historic budget deficit. It is spending way more money than it is collecting. In my opinion, our government’s number one role should be to create a balanced budget first, then move on to the next important project of numerous projects to tackle.
Our government debt keeps increasing (debt ceiling raised again). The US government deficit has drastically increased. We are at a historic tax low. The new tax laws that decreased income taxes for a lot of families and companies will sunset (expire) after 2025. What do you think must happen to your income taxes, less than seven years from now? Are they going to go up or go down?
If your answer is “down,” no point of reading the rest of this snippet; if you think “up,” please keep reading.
Income taxes are on sale right now!
What makes more sense to you? Do nothing. You will get to it later (which can turn in to next year or years later)?
Or create a financial strategy today, to protect your wealth and income from higher taxes tomorrow (potentially way higher taxes)?
One of my mentors last week in a conference call with a handful of the top financial advisors in this country asked us a very powerful question that I like to share with you:
“So much wealth is lost to procrastination. What excuse is good enough for you, to not take the next best step for you, and your family?”
There is a relatively small window of opportunity to take action now. If you’d like my help, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I love what I do every day: helping clients create financial strategies that will enable them to do more today while simultaneously creating numerous opportunities for a way wealthier tomorrow.
How To Change Your Budget Mindset From Scarcity Mode to Abundance Mode
I have realized that for an analytical thinker, I have been writing a lot about conceptual topics. Very interesting. And here comes another blog where I talk about more conceptual ideas; but hang with me, because if you get this right and adopt an abundant mindset and purge a scarce mindset, your probability of never having to worry about your finances will increase exponentially.
In this industry and all other industries, I cannot tell you how important it is to think with abundance versus scarcity. I have no tolerance for “can’t”, especially when I ask collaborators, financial firms, or vendors how to solve a problem and they tell me it’s impossible. Odds are it isn’t impossible, they just think it is because they are perceiving the problem through a scarcity mindset. When you approach problems with abundance, solutions will follow.
And Now, A Word From Disney
A few nights ago I watched the Disney animated movie, “Meet the Robinsons” with my kids. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it — it’s fun. And I don’t think this is a spoiler, but there are some scenes and a theme to the movie that emphasizes an abundant mindset. One of Walt Disney’s famous quotes was, “Keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Look at the empire Walt Disney created with this type of mindset. He didn’t have a scarce mindset of how it could not be done as the banks kept informing him. Working with his brother and others on his team he found a way to keep moving forward and to get it done.
Quick tangent, he got the funding for Disneyland from his Bankosaurus® because the banks would not give him the money. I mention it all the time on my podcasts and I’m sure in these blogs: banking is necessary, banks are not.
Thank you, Walt Disney! I cannot tell you how many great memories I have going to Disney World and Disneyland with my friends and family.
Stop talking about why you can’t, Start exploring how you can.
Always remember, your number one investment is you and your earned income. Typically, your residual and passive income streams are secondary for quite some time. So always focus on abundance. Don’t think about how you can’t get something done, think about how you can. Who can help you? Who do you need on your team? What can you do to become the best employee or entrepreneur possible? What are all the different ways you can solve this problem?
Look at the abundance of information on Google. Amazing! There is so much around us with all the information out there, with all the specialists in each industry, that can help you create and do amazing things.
Contribute to the Growth of Others
Focus on how you can help and educate your employees, peers, and your boss. When I was an engineering intern I was so grateful for the managers and engineers that would share their knowledge and educate me on management and design. I didn’t understand why some in the telecommunications and civil engineering industry would keep it to themselves. Now I understand, they had a scarce mindset — they were afraid the new employees and interns would replace them or outperform them in time.
Once I was able to transition from less of a trainee to more of a trainer, I was eager to help new interns. I wanted to pass that knowledge on that I learned. And as I stepped into the role of mentor, we both improved at our craft. It became abundantly clear to me that as everyone gets better and better, I was pushed to keep improving and imagined what we could accomplish as a top team.
Scarcity breeds complacency, and there’s no room for complacency in finance or anywhere really. Kill the scarce mindset if it ever creeps in and focus on abundance.
Ready For A Jedi Mind Trick?
Budget sounds like scarcity. Investments sounds like abundant mindset. The truth is, budgets create abundance.
When I talk about investments with people who are eager to grow their wealth the right way, the immediate response is excitement. They want to learn more about how they can make more money with their money so they can do more things, have more time, and as a result, more choices. The abundance mindset immediately kicks in with most people.
When I bring up budget, I typically don’t get the same response. A couple years ago I was buying a new cell phone and the young salesman noticed I was a financial advisor and started asking me a lot of questions about money and investments. He wanted a sports car. He wanted more toys. And some of his friends made a killing (at that time) in cryptocurrency and directional trades in the stock market. He asked me what’s the number one thing he should focus on to become rich. I told him it all starts with savings and a budget. I went from a hero to zero in his eyes within a second. Needless to say, he did not become a client. Which is okay, I was just there to buy a smartphone.
Consistently when I first meet prospective clients and I bring up the evil word “budget”, I can see the scarcity mindset kick in. So I created a new term: Cash Flow Optimizer (CFO). Full disclosure, I realize it’s corny. But the point isn’t to win the award for most creative new financial term, the point is to find a new way to think about growing your wealth through savings. (Also, it’s infinitely better than budget).
The word budget has baggage. When I ask prospective clients who are sick of living paycheck to paycheck what they think of a budget, I hear this:
I don’t want to be told what I can’t do
that means I can’t spend as much
I don’t get to do everything I want to do
that sounds like a lot of work to track
I know I should save money, but I struggle with it
what if I want to remodel my home and it’s not in the budget?
When I ask the same question to prospective clients who already have a budget and strong savings plan ahd who want to maximize their economic potential (my forte) below are their answers:
Find lost money and put it to good use
Find errors from the banks (I’ve yet to see one that is not in the banks favor)
More opportunities: the ability to invest and make more money on their money, which becomes this perpetual “money making machine.” I stole this name from a new client. She’s a very sharp and motivated registered nurse and loving mom. I was showing her how to create a savings/checking account that is specifically allocated for savings and investments. She nicknamed it the “money making machine” account. Awesome! That’s an abundant mindset.
This is my last blog (for a while) where I try to cleverly tackle the word: budget. I want to emphasize to those reading this blog that are struggling with this word, embrace the word: CFO. Switch the thought process from scarcity to abundance. If you’d like a nudge or a little help, don’t hesitate to talk with me. I will make it easy and — gasp — fun! Games are fun when you’re winning. I am sure I will have plenty of future blogs talking about abundance. We all deserve a life filled with abundance, start with rewiring how you think, feel and talk about saving.
The Problem With Financial Advisors (Or Why I Love My Job So Much)
December of last year, I shared the pilot episode of The Engineer of Finance podcast. I was eager (and a little nervous) to see how listeners and clients would respond to an engineer enthusiastically talking about finances with an unconventional perspective. It was (and still is!) an absolute joy to create, and I was hoping it would be useful for listeners too.
Fortunately, it’s not just fun and games for me. The podcast has been a huge success, and I am humbled by how this free content has helped so many people from coast to coast in this country. I am so grateful for all my listeners and clients.
In the pilot episode, I discussed how I transitioned from a full-time professional engineer to “The Engineer of Finance.”
I first broke into this industry in December 2008, and for a long time, I would hesitate when people asked what I did for a living. I would usually mumble that I’m a financial advisor as if it were an embarrassing confession. Then I would reinforce my answer by adding I’m also a Professional Engineer.
Why was I doing this?
It’s because 99% of the financial advisors make the other 1% look bad!
In other words, the majority of financial advisors in the industry are great salespeople, not great financial designers and mentors. It sounds like a very strong statement but it’s true. Look around you. Look at all the big beautiful skyscrapers in the big cities with financial firms’ and banks’ names on the buildings. Watch how they advise their clients to do one thing with their savings and investments, yet they do the exact opposite.
I didn’t want to be associated with this industry that has failed so many people. Thankfully I invested in a marketing company (I was horrible at succinctly sharing my message) and was provided an ingenious solution to my “What do you do?” problem. I have the mind of an engineer and a career in finance advisement, I do not just advise — I troubleshoot, I design, and I look at finance from an engineering perspective. So my marketing company suggested I called myself the “Engineer of Finance.” Boom, done. Makes sense. Best marketing dollars I ever spent.
Moving Right Along …
99% of the US population that enters retirement doesn’t have enough money for retirement. Look at how much money these great money managers take and brokerages and banks fees and assets under management fees. They tell their clients how buy-and-hold is such a wonderful strategy in a 401(k), IRA or some other qualified plan. You give them all your money today, you own it, but the government and the financial industry essentially control it, forever.
When I show prospective clients the financial calculations, they are always shocked at how good it is for the IRS and the financial industry, but not so good for them. For example, the financial industry talks about how great compound interest is for your retirement plan. Unfortunately, as the money compounds so does all the tax liabilities waiting for you at retirement. The transference of wealth from your hard-earned income over all that time to the government and the financial industry is unbelievable.
I believe most of these typical advisors genuinely believe they’re doing the right thing for their clients. But if it’s so good, why is 99% of US in this nation going to outlive their money in retirement? Look at these fun (not so fun) facts below. The irony in these articles is their solution: qualified plans!
$1 million might sound like a lot of money at 65 — it’s way better than $172,000 — but when the financial industry is advising a paydown of 3-4% so you don’t outlive your money, $30,000-$40,000 per year is not so great.
I Love This Industry, I Swear!
I could go on forever picking apart the financial industry, and many of my key arguments have already been said on my podcast. You also get a whole bunch of me making fun of the typical advisors, and myself a little bit too — no one is safe!
My point is that as much as I have struggled with this industry, I am so grateful for being a part of it. When I was an engineer full-time, I was shy and reserved (I’m an introvert, after all) and I liked to work in the corner and avoid dealing with too many personalities. Working with clients in the financial industry has forced me to grow so much as a person. It’s improved my communication skills and confidence in reaching out to help others. Most importantly it has forced me to listen, listen, and listen some more. My job is a blessing and I will be forever grateful.
Being an engineer working in the financial world has made me a great troubleshooter. I have found that my engineering background is very good for this industry and in turn very good for my clients. It has allowed me to help clients head towards becoming the top 1% with their finances over time.
Fun fact: the financial industry hates dealing with me, hates engineers and other analytical thinkers because we ask way too many questions. I represent a lot of engineers and I love all the questions because predominantly they are all the same questions I asked all the financial institutions that drove them nuts when I entered this industry ten years ago. They didn’t like me wanting all the details, in fact, most financial advisors could not answer many of my questions so I sought out the top of advisors to learn from. They have taught me, in my humble opinion, the right way to play the financial game for my family, friends, and clients (which most have become friends over time).
The Right Way To Play The Game Is NOT The Standard Way.
In almost every meeting a potential future client has asked:
Why hasn’t anyone shown this to me before?
Why aren’t we taught this?
Why don’t the majority of the advisors in this industry teach this?
Looking at financial concepts with an engineering mindset has enabled me and my clients to play the financial game an entirely different way. I have studied why the financial industry (banks and brokerages) are so successful and teach my clients how to do what they do, not what they teach.
If you’re looking for a new way to approach personal finance using a custom-designed personal finance plan for you and your family, schedule an introductory call with me and we’ll see if I’m the right mentor for the job.