I’m thinking a lot about money these days. In some ways I feel totally unprepared for what’s happening. In other ways, I feel totally at peace and realize… that there is a lot of work I’ve done to get to this point, and if I can help anyone with a shortcut, I will. So here are 16 quick Saturday morning lessons on money. I hope they speak to you.
1. No matter how hard or gnarly something seems today, it will be harder tomorrow – I promise. Procrastinating on money stuff, whether it’s debt reduction, investments, wrangling a money goal… so many of us don’t like to do it because it feels too hard or messy in the moment. And without fail, every time, I realize days, weeks, months down the road — it never gets EASIER. Today is the best day. So now when I know I need to do something, I stop what I’m doing and do it today, knowing that tomorrow it’s not going to magically be easier.
2. Many money things (like purchasing life insurance for example), feel a bit like overkill. I remember when I elected to file as an S Corp into 2016. Felt like overkill because I wasn’t making much yet. It feels weird to do something BEFORE you need it. It feels like overkill. It scares you because you’re like, “But what if this is the best it’s going to be?” and then you over prepared. When it comes to money, no matter how it plays out, even if it feels like overkill, do it.
3. Know your numbers. Even if they are hella ugly and depressing and you think not knowing them is somehow going to make things better, it’s not. Face the numbers. I speak from experience on this one.
4. As you start to make more, the management of money will take up more and more of your time. That’s why there are entire fields of expertise around wealth management. If you want to turn your full time job into managing cash and investments, go for it. Otherwise, find an expert who doesn’t have a bias towards one type of investment and then take their advice!
5. You might think that debt is the scariest problem in the world of money… but it’s actually less scary than you think. When you realize how much companies and hell even the government use debt, you start to realize that we carry so much shame around something that much of wealthiest people in the world leverage to keep cash flow moving. There is debt you want to avoid sure, but it’s not the scary monster Dave Ramsey wants to make us all believe.
6. Your greatest financial investment is in your longterm emotional, spiritual, physical, and intellectual health. I used to think that earmarking money for therapy or coaching or development was a luxury or an “exception” to the rule. Now I see that the #1 way I like to spend money is on the development of myself and my kids. Whatever they need and whatever it looks like, it comes back in spades.
7. It always feels too hard until it isn’t. There are some money decisions in my life that feel absolutely crippling. And the anticipation of it is worse than the walking it out. So when you start to want to worry about money in the future, remind yourself that it is far more painful – the act of worry – than the walking out of whatever it is you have to do.
8. Hang around people who see money as a tool, not as the end destination.
9. Figure out your *enough* numbers. The amount you need to live the life you want. The real amount. The amount you need to retire. Stop chasing a destination when you haven’t yet plotted the coordinates (because of fear, lack of know how, etc.).
10. You can ALWAYS start over when you focus on skills, mindset, and connections. Those are your three pillars. What skills you can continue to market. What mindsets you need to stop thinking you have no choices and you’re stuck. What connections matter and give you life and energy and which ones you need to let go of.
11. Money will be a part of any major identity shift you make in life. If you’re scared of it, you might not make the transformation you’re supposed to make because you don’t want to face the financial reality. It’ll always be the excuse you fall back on.
12. It’s so cliche… for a reason. More money is not going to make you happy. However, not letting money become a source of pain and suffering, deciding you will get back in the drivers seat instead of sticking your head in the sand, and seeing the money conversation as simply unlocking a new “level” in the video game of life… will give you more peace.
13. Parkinson’s Law states work will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. If you have two hours or two weeks, you’ll use that whole time even if it you could have done it in 30 minutes. Money works on the same principle. It’s going to be spent, whether it’s $1.00 or $1000. So might as well create some intentions around where it goes.
14. As you sit here today and think about a financial goal of the future, understand that the person you will become to be able to manage that goal will adapt and transform. So when you arrive, don’t be surprised if it didn’t feel like you expected it would.
15. Get outside perspective. Seriously. Stop thinking you’re weird or abnormal. You’re not. We’re all on this spinning blue ball doing the best we can and I assure you – you are not alone. All the money in the world that we could ever need, is already there. We just need to change how we relate to money to start to access it.
16. I’ve had no money and lots of debt. I’ve had some money and a little debt. I’ve had a lot of money and no debt. I’ve had money that I thought was forever that I have to lose. If I could give people anything from my journey, it’s that money is an inside job. A job of the heart and of the mind…and a little bit of the hands.
If you’ve not been a part of the Future Fund community, I invite you to do so. The course is open all the time, but Aryeh and I will be holding a complimentary office hours and Q&A session for all students this Wednesday, April 27th at 2pm EST. All current students are invited.
In this world of rapid inflation, volatile markets, emerging crypto and blockchain technology, a crazy housing market, and a quickly changing digital landscape, this is your chance to come and ask questions. Hope to see you there!