We live in a shortcut society, where everyone is looking for a “hack.” We want to go straight to the results without putting in the work.
But there are no shortcuts to sustainable wealth. Hacks lead to risk and loss.
When you don’t have a relationship to the skills or outcome of investing your money, it is only a matter of time before you lose and are disappointed.
Hope is not an investment strategy. Hoping for great returns and passive income without developing financial savvy or investing skills is unlikely, almost impossible.
Luck does exist. You could sit around waiting to marry into money, win the lottery, or inherit it.
Or, instead of leaving your financial future to chance, you can take control of your finances, reclaim your cash, and create more certainty in your investing.
This is enabled when you stop looking for get-rich-quick hacks and instead, focus on investing in these three foundations:
- Quality of Life
- Skill Development
- Cash Flow
I’ve dedicated much of my life to helping people keep more of the money they make. Plugging financial leaks. Boosting their bottom line without budgeting. Creating more efficiency to maximize their cash flow.
Financial efficiency is great for shortening the timeline for economic independence. But by intentionally allocating money to invest in quality of life, skill development, and cash flow, you get a multiplier on that timeline.
1. Invest in Your Quality of Life
Even if money is measured by math, money is more like energy than math.
Your money can engage someone’s energy and expertise to build a home, a car, or a computer for example. How you manage and relate to your money can create or destroy your energy.
You can tap into the energy of others to create property and ideas for your benefit.
Money is an efficient way to exchange with one another; an exchange of energy, an exchange of value.
Money has a charge. If you put money into something that feels risky and uncertain, it can create stress and impact your thoughts and life.
What is your energy with money?
What is your money story?
How does your financial situation impact your energy?
Are you triggered by other people having money?
Do you feel jealous or are you upset you don’t personally have more?
Do you feel a sense of failure through the comparison?
Some people are addicted to earning money. Others are addicted to holding on to the money they earn. Some do all they can to avoid understanding money or even dealing with it, leaving it to others and shirking responsibility.
We see the energy when people compete in TV gameshows for the big money prize.
People even throw money at the lottery so they can dream about doing things they feel are too far out of reach. The dream of having money can make people feel substantially different.
This is energy.
The math says the lottery is a complete waste, yet people ignore the math.
Again, money is more like energy than it is like math.
Math only creates stress if we are in school and have homework. Numbers are more likely to have emotion when measuring money than a piece of wood.
Money is the way we store our energy and tap into someone else’s energy. A way to store value and utilize someone else’s value.
This is why we can’t rely solely on numbers on a piece of paper when it comes to money.
Plus, with inflation, those numbers start to mean different things. Numbers in the 1980s represented more than the same value as numbers today.
Math didn’t change—the value of money did.
In the pursuit of money, people can give (and lose) more energy than the money is worth. They can discount their time, discount their value, and lose things that are more important if they don’t understand money.
If we don’t consider what we really want, how we want to live, or without consideration for quality of life, money can mislead us. It can rob us of energy.
If we drain our energy and time to save money, what is our time worth?
Was it worth less than the money we saved?
Or if we work hard and drain our energy to make money, is it worth the money?
How do you value money?
How do you value yourself?
What is joy worth?
What is meaningful work worth?
If we don’t understand money, if we don’t understand our value, and if we don’t value our time, quality of life can easily slip away and seem to compete with our wealth.
This is where people get stuck in scarcity—thinking we live in an either/or, zero-sum game where the way to wealth is to be a cheapskate.
Even if you amass millions, you won’t feel wealthy. And that amount will be much less than you focusing on being a value creator.
Invest in you. Manage and respect your value and energy along the way.
I’ve made the mistake of measuring my value based on solely growing my net worth. I felt a sense of pride in seeing those numbers rise, but without rules or parameters, it came at a steep cost:
Closing real estate deals while on vacation.
Always saying yes to speaking and missed time with my kids when they were infants. Working late rather than doing date night.
Weekends with work and without family.
Work instead of working out.
This required a tremendous amount of energy at the time, and later required substantial time to repair the trust and relationship with my wife.
My chasing net worth and bank balances left my wife alone for years raising our kids.
Know your purpose and create your plan—or risk being betrayed by the pursuit of money.
Money didn’t make up for the feelings of exhaustion and guilt I had those few years. In those days, any opportunity that would add to my net worth was a “yes.”
So, what was my reward?
Being overextended in real estate.
Having too many businesses to manage in 2008.
Gaining weight and grey hair.
Being at a low in my marriage.
It doesn’t happen all at once. It happens ever so slyly. One “yes” at a time. One exception to the rule eventually becomes the rule.
An unconscious “yes” could mean a profound “no” to what we truly desire: Love, connection, and living our Soul Purpose.
But it can be confusing. When we invest incongruent with our Soul Purpose, we create bad habits, invite stress, and limit our learning and personal growth.
Society teaches us to sacrifice and quality of life isn’t considered.
When you live a life you love, one you don’t have to retire from, your energy will be different. You will have more energy. You will have the ability to give more if you take care of your greatest asset: YOU.
This isn’t about one day, someday, or retirement. This is about quality of life along the way.
Quality of life may seem to be at odds with retirement planning—thinking that a dollar spent today robs us of the growth potential of compound interest.
In this scarcity-based, either/or scenario, quality of life is seen as an expense rather than an investment—as a villain instead of a hero.
An investment in our life, in our energy, and developing our value is exponential, not linear. The real compounding happens in a life well-designed and well-lived.
It can be hard to see the exponential if we relegate money to numbers on a sheet of paper rather than knowing it is a byproduct of value creation.
Know your value.
Develop your value.
And enjoy life and the process along the way.
If we see reduction as the key, we miss the value of production and limit our value.
If we only think about increasing bank accounts by trading time for money, we reduce our quality of life, diminish our energy, and lose wealth long term.
A philosophy that maximizes immediate cash at the expense of long-term wealth, quality of life, and non-monetary wealth (family, friends, hobbies) limits wealth.
See quality of life as an investment. Invest in your energy, your health, and your enjoyment of life along the way.
2. Invest in Skill Development
Invest in the skills that are most aligned with your Soul Purpose.
Eliminate any investment that proposes a something-for-nothing mentality, because it won’t give the full value of you learning to be a better investor or teach you how to make more money.
- What will I learn from this investment?
- How will it help me grow and become more valuable?
- What investments are aligned with my competencies, values, drivers, and Investor DNA?
I am often asked, “What investments do you recommend?”
The better question is, “How can I be a better investor?”
When we skip the process, when we chase returns, it leads to risk with less return. This leads to ignorance, and reliance, and costs us our lives and money.
Instead, we can invest in ourselves; which can lead to making more money, creating more energy, and allowing for a more fulfilling life. The more value you create, the more money will find you.
Yet, it is strange that the pursuit of money leads people to tolerate and suffer boring and terrible work…for a paycheck.
How many people do you know that chose their career for benefits and compensation, but hate what they do?
Chasing money can drain energy, leaving people to numb out through entertainment, drugs, or other escapisms.
When we skip the process of learning to pursue the next financial hack or a supposed shortcut to wealth, this mentality comes at the expense of developing ourselves, hampers our quality of life, and prevents people from finding meaning in what they do.
We even lose if we temporarily win. The win is temporary when there is a lack of knowledge.
Even if the money stays, did we learn, did we grow, can we do it again? Will the win give a false sense of accomplishment or confidence?
False confidence creates risk. I’ve invested and made money because of timing, because of luck. This led me to think I was smart when I merely handed my money over. I wasn’t smarter, just had more money, temporarily.
Mental capital is required for sustainable wealth and legacy.
Let’s look at this from a different angle: What can money supplement, but never replace?
Money can help me hire the best people in the world to support my skills, develop my talent, and produce my intellectual property.
Money can supplement my skill development, but cannot automatically give me skills. I can’t buy being a writer, but I can hire people to help me to become a better writer.
Part of developing skills is picking the ones that matter to you. Some people don’t enjoy writing. Find what you enjoy and develop a skill set that you can grow. Figure out you vision, and go all in on developing the skills that matter in fulfilling that vision.
There are things money can buy and things money cannot buy.
What does it take to do something extraordinary, something truly worthwhile?
The world wants us to think excellence comes solely through being endowed with unusual, extraordinary gifts. Or simply knowing the right people.
This is a destructive narrative. It can leave people feeling defeated, and unlucky, or simply have them become a spectator.
When we think it is only about talent, we may watch others perform and appreciate the end product, but miss the process.
A lack of purpose, fear, uncertainty, busyness, and misinformation can lead to being a spectator and result in judgment and jealousy.
Money cannot buy what can only be earned: a great body, creating art (like writing a great book), a great family, a great performance, the list goes on.
I’ve made the mistake of being driven and addicted to outcomes and accomplishments. More focused on quantity than quality. More focused on money than fulfillment (not that they are mutually exclusive).
Unless it is a hobby, it is important to be paid for the value you create.
I’ve found that when I am not making money from my efforts over time, it dampers fulfillment. And when you make money from your efforts, you can hire people to collaborate.
In other words, profit is a responsibility.
With profitability, can afford the best in class to support your vision, your creation, and your Soul Purpose. When you are able to hire world-class people to collaborate and take your efforts beyond your ability alone.
Doing something that speaks to your soul is something money can only support and cannot buy. Building something with your hands or mind, working on something that entices and excites you, and putting out work in the world that calls forth your best is something that you can make money from.
I can’t buy my way to being funny. I am either funny or I am not. If people are paid to laugh, it isn’t the same, lol.
What skills can you develop with the right team of mentors and collaborators?
There are invisible factors that lead to unprecedented results. There is a tremendous amount of work and effort to do something world-class.
Yet, if it is aligned with Soul Purpose, if it is guided by a compelling vision, the win is in the work.
What would you do with your life and time if money were of no concern?
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
What are your ingredients to doing something world-class?
Taking care of your health?
Surrounding yourself with the best mentors?
Consistently investing time in refinement and growth in your key skill set?
Co-creation? Delegation? Collaboration?
Confidence? Peace of mind? Clarity?
Creating space and saying no to almost every other opportunity?
Entrepreneurship can be seductive. Money can be misleading in the short-term.
Chasing money can have us defer our dreams and lives because we want the perceived success that money can buy. Put off our dream because of today’s profits.
When we want to skip steps, maybe we haven’t designed life in the best way.
What can you give up today that isn’t serving you?
What can you delegate from your life?
How can you build a better team?
How can you have more support structure around you?
How can you be a better receiver and receive more value from other people living their Soul Purpose?
Invest in your vision, in your skills, and in the life that allows you to be the best version of you.
3. Improve Your Cash Flow
The third key element to investing is improving your cash flow. This could be paying off loans or it could mean acquiring cash-flowing assets.
In my next blog, the focus will be on the top four ways to plug leaks and the top four ways to create more cash flow.
You are your greatest asset. Not a stock, bond or piece of real estate.
You don’t get a second chance to live a life you love and create a legacy that lasts. Invest in yourself. Grow your value and your life.