On one hand, money is a stupid, trivial, and really annoying thing. Actual money is nothing more than meaningless printed paper slips in your billfold, or computer generated numbers that flash on your computer screen.
But on the other hand, money is an extremely powerful psychological and sociological force that we all need to face and make peace with on a daily basis. The psychological force of money — generated by our financial daydreams — produces feelings inside of all of us that range from hope, fear, courage, confidence, and inadequacy all at the same time.
When you think about it, you realize that this psychological force of money impacts your mind, self-esteem, and the decisions you make on a daily basis. I believe that money is right up there with other dominant feelings such as: love, hunger, and security. These are the great forces that dictates how we feel about our lives, and the directions and dreams we choose to pursue in life.
Since nearly all seven billion humans alive on earth depend on this resource of money to keep them alive and content with their day-to-day life, it’s no wonder that how much money you have, and how you make and spend it, is such a taboo subject to talk openly about in our culture.
I’ll be honest… For most of my life, I have been afraid to talk openly about money with friends. This feeling of fear was instilled in me by the way my parents raised me. They didn’t mean to bring me up with this fear. It was just a side-effect of the greater philosophical views that they encouraged me to have towards life.
I was raised in the heartland of the Midwest. I was told to take pride in this attitude called, “Minnesota Nice,” which is a carefree way-of-life that consists of being a truly nice, caring person, along with being a little passive-aggressiveness to get your point across, because people here don’t feel 100% comfortable sharing their true feelings out in the open. Haha. (Those of you from the Midwest, may know what I am talking about.)
My parents drilled this “Minnesota Nice” life-view in me since the first day I can remember. I was taught to be humble, modest, like-able, and hard-working all at the same time. And really, it isn’t a bad way to be raised as those qualities never go out of style and adapt nicely into any environment.
My parents taught me that the way to being modest, is by doing your best to avoid talking about yourself at all times. “Don’t tell people what you think,” they’d say, “Words are cheap. Everyone has them. Show people who you are by your actions.”
They asserted this humble and modest outlook even more aggressively when they discussed their financial knowledge and achievements. “Don’t talk about money out in the open,” they’d say, “Because not everyone in the world has as the same opportunities that you do, and you don’t want to alienate yourself from them.”
I’ll be honest: I am not criticizing the way my parents raised me. I think a modest and humble attitude is the best vehicle for anyone to find real friendships, and great opportunities that will lead to a wealthy life.
However; as I’ve grown older, I’ve also realized there are a few flaws to being so humble and modest, that you miss out on the opportunity to share knowledge that may help someone else change their life for the better.
I realized recently that I have spent so much of my life being afraid to talk about money, that I wasn’t able to share some of the helpful tips I have learned. Since I have been so fearful of standing out, and being different in the crowd, I’ve been realizing that I have been missing out on the opportunity to share, teach, and inspire people with the knowledge and talents I was blessed to receive myself. If I am missing out on the opportunity to help other people, then I am missing out on an opportunity to make the world a better place, which I believe is ultimately the most fulfilling experience in life.
I truly believe the purpose of life isn’t to have the most. The purpose of life is to learn the most, and then share the most. I now realized that if I am unwilling to share the knowledge and experience that I have gained, which includes money advice, than I am failing at living out my purpose in life.
My lessons on how to succeed at personal finance started at a very young age. I was blessed to be born into a frugal and financially-smart family. My grandparents were raised in the depression era and saw their families lose every penny they had. After living through that period, they decided to save every penny they had, and retired millionaires.
I learned by watching what they had done, and my parents built on their lessons. My parents taught me to avoid bad-debt like it was a hideous, giant spider, that if it bit, would suck the fun parts of life right out of you.
My parents also expounded on the benefits of investing often. They told me about the stocks they invested in, and they recommended a 33% rule of savings to me when I got my first job. (You should save 33% of your income for long-term plans like a house and retirement. 33% should go to middle-life expenses like cars and vacations. And 33% should go to daily expenses and fun money.) They also coerced me into waking up early (before noon) on weekend mornings, and be involved in countless family home and car DIY projects so I could build my base of knowledge, and not be at the mercy of paying a professional big bucks to fix everything that would inevitably break and go wrong in life.
But the truth is, just because you teach a kid how to be smart with money, doesn’t mean they’ll be good with money.
For example, I spent most of my teenage years rebelling against my parents experienced advice, and thinking the way I wanted to live was better. I didn’t want to save and invest in stocks. Boring! I wanted to party and have fun! I wanted to spend my money on expensive concert tickets, eating out, and buying the occasional bag of weed that I could roll into doobies, smoke, and do stupid stuff with my friends. This was way more fun than saving!
Let’s just say some of these purchases I made above probably weren’t the best financial investments I could have made at the time. They also probably didn’t make my parents too proud of me either, especially after they had spent all of my childhood years trying to indoctrinate me with their good decision making skills. But hey, at least I didn’t get into debt during that stage of my life, right? At least I listened to some of what they said.
But eventually, when I was ready to grow up and leave my irresponsible partying life behind, (I have been drug free for 15 years) all those decision-making skills my parents taught me sure did come in handy.
When I was ready to get serious about saving, I was able to become a PAW, or a prodigious accumulator of wealth like book, The Millionaire Next Door, refers to them. It only took me a couple years and I had a 20% down payment on my first house that equaled $40,000. Not long after buying my first house, I remembered all of the lessons my parents taught me about compound interest, and I started maxing out my tax-free retirement accounts. ($5,500 a year into those) I just kept saving, and I eventually bought more stocks, and my first piece of investment real estate which brings me a stream of $600 cash flow a month.
See parents, if you’re dealing with a difficult child now that doesn’t seem to be listening to anything you’re saying, there is hope for them, as I was once one of those children!!!!
Now that I am in my mid-30’s, I am fully-aware that life is not about having more stuff. It is about finding all of the meaning, purpose, and freedom that makes you the happiest, and then sharing it with the people you care most about.
This ultimately why I started this website, Wealth Well Done. I started it so that I could share the life tips and tricks I have used to build the mindset that propelled me to this point.
I am not saying that you need to live my life, or that my way of life is the best and only way. I just want you to build your own victory mindset so you can go out and accomplish whatever dreams you have in life. I want to help you succeed in whatever dreams that makes you feel alive, real, and one-of-a-kind.
When I first started this website, my modesty made is scary to talk about money so openly. But then I realized that if I want to be real and authentic, I have to be able to talk openly about who I am, and what I overcame to get to this point.
That was my “Aha” moment about fear and money. It was also the moment I stopped being afraid to talk about money. If I can’t help people become happier and more successful – If I can’t share and teach my talents, based on my experiences– then I am nothing and don’t deserve the air I breathe.
I mean, like I said in the first sentence of this post: Money is ultimately stupid, trivial, and mostly meaningless to our every day happiness. Why should I be afraid to talk about it? Since I have learned how to succeed with it, shouldn’t I feel empowered to help other’s succeed with it also?
So that’s why I am no longer afraid to share my thoughts on money. This is why I occasionally mention my financial based learning lessons, like my net-worth; how I structured my investment-property loan; and my favorite ways to invest. (that article coming next week.)
I also share these things with you, because I want you to know that I know what I am talking about. I am not some broke guy writing about wealth. I know what it takes, and I have been successful executing my plan and putting my ideas into action.
Pro-tip to create wealth: Take advice from people who have an awesome track record and have proven success in their own lives. There’s a lot of financial advisers out there who are broke and have no idea how to manage their own money, and are just playing the role of a salesperson so they can live off of your money! What makes my advice legitimate? Well I took $5000 in 2012, and I turned it into about $220K in five years. I am also happy, which is the most valuable trait to have in life. Remember, being wealthy means that happiness is even more important to you than having more money.
Ultimately, a great maxim about life is: Where a void of leadership exists, some form of leadership will always fill that void, and that leadership may not always be good for you.
I decided not to be afraid about talking about money, because I wanted on the team of good people leading the conversation about money.
If I chose to stay silent, than I’d just be letting the bad leaders: the marketers, sales people, and the companies putting you in bad debt, be the voice of leadership and reason. I’d have to sit on the sideline and listen to them push their narrative of great financial advice, which will lead them to becoming even richer, and you, even more broke.
Always remember that money is stupid, trivial, and annoying compared to the greater things in life. These greater things in life are love, purpose, meaning, and your journey to find your happiness.
Those are the qualities, when you possess them in abundance, that create true wealth.
The reason I am on a mission to build wealth is because I want to live in a life where I don’t have to think about money. I don’t have to worry about it, or pay attention to it. Enough is just always there, and I don’t have to worry about running out.
Once I don’t have to worry about money, I realize I can spend so much more time worrying about the most important thing to me: Finding and fulfilling my purpose in life.
I accidentally just hit on the purpose of this blog:
I want to share the life and financial tricks I have learned, so that you can be successful no matter where you go, or what you choose to do in life. I want you to live the life that God created you to live, and never have to sacrifice for anything less than that because you need more money.
Thank you for reading. God bless, Billy B.
So what do you think? Should people be afraid to talk about money? Or are money thought something we should all keep to ourselves?