Capitalism: Its Fundamental Truth And Moral Dimensions with Jason Rink

TWS 2 | Capitalism


Capitalism is one of those esoteric terms in a sense that most people know but don’t understand what it means. Kicking off the year by doing a deep dive into this concept is Jason Rink, award-winning producer and director of documentary films, an author, a marketer, and a self-proclaimed capitalist. Jason talks about capitalism and how it relates to us individually. He also shares how he has come to believe its relevance and the magic it holds when understood properly. Toppling down some perspectives, Jason addresses some of the misconceptions that keep people from having rational conversations with each other about it. He gets down into the entire market economy together with money, trade, and survival as he bakes the fundamental truth and moral dimensions about capitalism that people have to realize.

Listen to the podcast here:

Capitalism: Its Fundamental Truth And Moral Dimensions with Jason Rink

This is one of our first episodes for season one 2019 where we are focused on the theme of capitalism. I decided to have one of my good friends, Jason Rink, to join me for this first guest episode. The reason why I brought Jason on is him and I have interacted and I consider him as an individual who understands the philosophy of capitalism better than most. He is a nonbiased party so there’s no institute behind his title or a book behind his title. He represented the concept of capitalism as far as this philosophy is concerned. All the different activities of his professional life in such a manner that this is going to be an invigorating conversation. Jason, you do so many different things. It’s hard to keep track of you sometimes but why don’t you introduce yourself?

First, I just want to thank you for having me on. I’m super stoked to have this conversation with you. I’m honored because your show has been around for so long. You’ve had so many different guests on it, people that I respect. You were telling me about some of the other people coming on this season and I’m like, “I’m surrounded by some giants.” I’m humbled to be a part of this. Part of my career, I was in commercial banking for years. When the bailout started happening in 2007 and 2008 and the financial crisis started to visit upon the US economy, I was working at Chase Bank in the Equipment Finance Division and in Business Banking. It was along that period of time I got introduced to Ron Paul.

I was not a political person at the time, but Ron Paul had some ideas that resonated with me personally. As I started looking into what he had to say about the Federal Reserve and started to say about Austrian economics, I started to get interested in these ideas. At the same time, I found myself here in the belly of the beast. As things started to go south during that 2008 crisis, I started to see, “Some of these things Ron Paul’s talking about are happening all around me.” I felt conflicted as well because here I am working for the Federal Reserve at the big banks. It was during that season of time that I started to dive deep into Austrian economics and monetary policy and some light reading on the side. That set me off on a course of being personally interested in these ideas.

Fast forward, I have a video production company. I’ve worked with a lot of free market-oriented think tanks and organizations because I support what they’re doing. I have done some work in the infinite banking realm with Nelson Nash. At the same time, I do a lot of work with some big brands like Toyota, Mazda and Aston Martin. I’m out in the world. I’m a business owner and I’m a capitalist. I’m out there creating jobs and generating income for my family. I’m applying the principles that I believe about free-market capitalism, sound money, and being smart with how I invest in preserving my capital and all of that. I’m doing it out in real life. It’s the lab for all the ideas that I’ve embraced.

That’s what’s going to be cool about this conversation. It is to talk about what you’re doing and the drive behind it that has to do with anything. Capitalism is one of those esoteric terms in a sense that most people know but don’t understand what it means. They don’t notice what it means as it relates to them individually. I met you during this same period of time at FreedomFest down in Las Vegas, which is put on by Mark Skousen. You at the time were part of the production team at the Tenth Amendment Center.

You can't take care of other people unless you take care of yourself first. Click To Tweet

It was 2012 because I had made a movie called Nullification with Tom Woods and Michael Bolden of the Tenth Amendment Center. It was all about the Tenth Amendment and the idea that the States have the right to push back against federal legislation that’s unconstitutional. It’s a controversial idea. That was the first feature-length documentary I ever made. I was at FreedomFest. My film was there and that’s when you and I had got connected first.

I was there at the little film festival that they do as part of the conference and I saw you there. It was that next winter in 2013 where we were at an industry event. I was walking along and I saw you. You had a very distinct glasses and you had a Tony Stark goatee. I was like, “You’re that guy.” That’s when we hit it off and then I saw you again at FreedomFest and from there, we’ve kept in contact. You’re part of the Prosperity Economics Movement that I work with. What links us is the ideas that we’re going to be discussing. That’s our backstory and this is where I want to go with the conversation.

From a very general standpoint, I wanted to talk about how you understand capitalism, why you’ve come to certain conclusions about its relevance, and how magical it is if properly understood. Address some of the misconceptions that are out there. It’s a misconception where people don’t understand it or have this idea about it but it’s a third in line behind religion and politics as far as discussion points. People feel so strongly about it where their emotions take over that belief and you can’t have a rational conversation with anybody about it. That’s how strong this topic is penetrating into the language and vernacular of the United States. I want to get into this confused sense of morality as why there’s this big Bernie push as well as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez push. Why is it so appealing but why it’s the same drive as just the pure sense of capitalism? It’s not that there is a tall order to this conversation.

Let’s see if we could solve this thing and get both sides together hand-in-hand.

How do you understand capitalism and what’s the story behind that?

TWS 2 | Capitalism

Capitalism: When we look at human beings and society, we all fundamentally have to find a way to survive and to provide for ourselves and for our families.


The word capitalism, people bring with certain understandings or ideas about the word. You can’t throw the word out there by itself. If you throw the word Trump out there, you’re going to get some polarized opinions. If you throw the word Jesus out there, you’re going to get polarized defendants and then all of a sudden there’s this other word, capitalism, and it’s almost as big of a grenade in a conversation. Digging back into my own understanding, I don’t think I ever had a negative perspective personally on capitalism. I was neutral on the idea.

When I started to dig into learning more about money and government, I started to recognize that a way to define capitalism that worked for me is I started to see it as the market or voluntary exchange. When I say the market, I’m even thinking at its smallest sense. When you go into a farmer’s market in a city where you’ve got all of these different entrepreneurs selling their goods: the vegetables, charcoal, toothpaste, candles and soap or whatever it is. The farmer’s market is the purest form of trade. I don’t think there’s anybody out there who looks at a farmer’s market and they’re like, “That’s an evil capitalist thing.” It is because this idea of the marketplace where people come together as buyers and sellers of their own free will voluntarily exchanging goods and services. That seems very normal. That resonates with this all at a human level. That is what I see as the fundamental truth that’s baked into the idea of capitalism.

There are so many different examples that we can cite but I want to reverse engineer the whole idea of a farmer’s market or a market in general where people come to exchange their goods and services. This comes down to the drive there. What’s the initiating drive for someone to go to a farmer’s market?

When we look at human beings and society, we all fundamentally have to find a way to survive and to provide for ourselves and for our families. The fundamental drive here is how am I going to generate the things that I need to live? When you go to that fundamental level, there are a couple of different ways we can do it. The primary way is for me to go out and try to gather together all of the different things that I need to survive, my food, my water, my shelter, all of those things and create them by myself through my own work and through my own hands. What you see is the way that this is developed throughout society logically when you look at how this all comes together. As people gather together in society, it turns out that some people are better at certain things and other things. We find ways to become more efficient. We find ways to become more effective at creating certain things and not other things.

What we do is we start to specialize in making certain things then we trade to other people for things that they create. This whole market economy or the flourishing of certain people specializing in certain skills and products and other people and then finding a way to exchange those things in the marketplace, that coming to life is a function of just trying to find the most efficient way to survive and to care for ourselves and to generate some leisure. Baked within this whole market thing are concepts of money, trade, survival, craftsmanship, and all of these things. That’s where it comes to life. The farmer’s market is the outgrowth of that development. It’s the development of social technology. If you think about what the marketplace is, it is a social technology. It’s something that makes it easier for us to survive on this planet.

We are much more likely to survive individually if we gathered together with others. Click To Tweet

If you look at the word that keeps coming to mind, what initiates is people want something. What is it that they want? I’m not even asking them what they want, it’s why do they want it? All human beings we are wired. This is going to sound not politically correct, but we’re wired to do what’s best in the best interest of ourselves. This is the nature of it. The politically correct thing which people look at morality is that we have a stewardship to take care of other people. That’s true to an extent. At the same time, you can’t take care of other people unless you take care of yourself first. The first thing is that the initiating drive is self-interest. It’s you as an individual because people are driven to survive but as you go up through the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it’s not the needs of a society, it’s the personal needs. Those are personal needs which start with physiological then they go to safety then to relationships. They go to self-esteem and to self-actualization. These are all personal needs that we are self-interested in. People are out there, they wake up in the morning and they’re the center of attention.

Even us gathering together in tribes, in groups or in societies is about self-preservation. What we find is that we are much more likely to survive individually if we gathered together with others to help us navigate the world that we’re in and nature. Even this idea of getting together with other people, that’s a self-interested drive that drives us there.

Going through the Hierarchy of Needs, it’s physiological. You need to eat, have some shelter and then you need some safety. What’s after that is relationships. Start with intimate relationships and then going to the communal type of relationships. Other people are a part of our makeup. It starts with us. It starts with our drive and everybody is this way. Everybody’s wired this way. What’s also fascinating is that we all are wired slightly different as to what we think is our best interests. That aligns with unique strengths, unique abilities, talents and so forth. The purest sense of capitalism is what provides us with the opportunity to go out there uninhibited and pursue what is best for us. It’s not like the capitalism word is in the Bible or the ancient scripts. This word came about right as the birth of our modern era toward the Scottish Enlightenment and around the Adam Smith period of time. Also, the Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who wrote The Communist Manifesto. This is where the idea of capitalism started to be demonized. Also, you have some of the purest writings as far as societal morality with a lot of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Those thinkers gave birth to this idea of what happens to humanity if there is this structure in place in which people can take who they are, what they’re best at and operate for their self-interest. The end result is what provides people what’s best for them, the most selfish thing possible has to be able to provide the best thing for somebody else first. That’s where the confusion is where people are naturally self-interested. We want preservation, we seek all of these needs that I went through. What you pointed out is that as we have a community, most people are self-interested and get what they want. Other people are involved in that process. They’re benefited just as much as the initial individual with they’re trying to meet their self-interest.

TWS 2 | Capitalism

The Communist Manifesto

We’re self-interested, we’re moving through the world in a way where we are looking after our own interests. However, it turns out that the best route to that is to find how we can create the most value for others in this marketplace. It’s an interesting design. For me, it’s a spiritual concept because I’m like, “This is incredible.” It’s this irony that like, “Here we are breathing out CO2 which is like poison. By the way, there are these things called plants that suck it in and then they generate this oxygen thing out of it. By the way, that’s what we need.” This whole market economy that’s based on, “How can I best serve other people that are going to bring the greatest amount of good back to myself?” It’s a paradox on one hand and on the other hand, it’s like, “Society in humanity has been engineered to function in this way.”

Once you start to see it that way, it becomes a beautiful thing. The Bernie Sanders of the world, they’re not out there railing against the farmer’s market to be clear. They’re railing against a more “complicated form of capitalism.” As our society has changed as it seems, it’s gotten much more complicated. In reality, the same fundamental principle is still at play. There are some new factors that have been introduced. Now we’ve got to navigate around in this marketplace in order for us to achieve those two basic goals and provide the most value to provide the greatest good for ourselves.

I’m going to go to a couple of principals then move to that point. This is where the most confusion exists in regard to the conflict of morality. Adam Smith is most known for his book, The Wealth of Nations. His first book is The Theory of Moral Sentiments. This is where he breaks down that people have a natural drive to understand and be moral. He calls it the impartial observer where there’s this angel on our shoulder when we’re tempted to do something that may be immoral. We think and we ask ourselves. It’s as if we have this observer on our shoulders looking at us and we’re caught in between, “Do I make this decision to do something dishonest or do I be honest and do the right thing?” How do we know it’s the right thing? There’s no board that says, “This is the right thing to do.” It’s like we have that wiring inside of us and then we have this compelling force to do the right thing that he calls the impartial observer.

Most people demonize capitalism because it exploits others where it takes advantage of others where a person benefits by making others worse. That’s where the biggest disconnect. The true nature of a capitalist is going out there, taking a risk and doing it because it meets some level of self-interest but other people have to benefit more so than the person that is creating whatever that goods and services in the first place. When you inhibit that, you inhibit human nature. You look at what stagnation occurs when you don’t allow a person to think and when you don’t allow them to figure things out.

When a person has removed from them the opportunity to figure things out, to survive and to figure out their life, it is one of the greatest harms cause on an individual. It is done all over the place with the banner of doing it as morality and as the right thing to do. The right thing to do is to give this person food and housing. Give them a structure and safety net. That’s not what makes us thrive, even though this confused sense for morality puts us in this where it makes sense. We need to give to them so that it helps them. Giving hand out, safety nets, food and whatever the case may be is where the biggest prevention of where human beings thrive. Maybe we gravitate toward that because you brought up this idea of what capitalism has become, which is more corporatism. Is that capitalism?

The further you go, the more there is the to unpack sometimes. On the one hand, we’ve got this idea at play where people don’t always act morally. People’s self-interest can be directed into a way that generates some negative results in culture and society. This has been a problem that’s been with us for a long time. There’s this balancing act where people left to their own devices will just run roughshod over everybody. If you can be powerful, you can dominate others and you can take advantage of others then, of course, you will. There is this other force at play and it’s from that, that this whole moral argument comes up. How do we best act together as a society and ensure that certain people are taken care of and other people aren’t taking advantage of others? It’s in that context that these discussions about government and the outgrowth of government end up being things like corporatism. Whether or not the government can serve as an impartial entity that can help take care of certain people or certain things. As we start peeling the layers of the onion, there’s all different social dynamics here.

The purest sense of capitalism is what provides us with the opportunity to go out there uninhibited and pursue what is best for us. Click To Tweet

One of the books I found most helpful in navigating this whole terrain was The Law by Bastiat. What was so useful about that book and why it’s one of the most important pieces of philosophical writing that I’ve come across is because it forces us to look at this idea of whether or not we, as individuals, can carry out certain actions as moral actions and whether we can delegate the immoral actions to another entity to carry them out on our behalf. When we start talking about this whole idea of morality and whether or not capitalism’s moral or whether or not we’re going to go about taking care of the needs of the less fortunate and things, you’ve got to wrestle with this idea. It’s because most people won’t look at carrying out theft or violence against another individual as a moral idea.

If I were to be violent against you to take something that’s yours and give it to somebody else, as a society we don’t see that as a moral good. Yet there is something that takes place when we take that same activity through a process of democracy or voting. We put it into this thing called government. It is run by people which are populated by flawed individuals. We’re worried about taking advantage of other people and being self-interested in running roughshod and then we just create this thing called a government. It’s supposed to become a neutral good entity that can then carry out what is the same thing, theft, and violence against others.

Somehow there’s a magic that occurs in that process that makes that moral. That feels a little bit of a rabbit trail but what I’m pointing to is this idea that we have a lot of people with different ideas about what government is and what force and violence is. Also, what the role of government is. When we start getting into these ideas about capitalism and the government gets involved in all these things, we start getting into a question about morality. We have some people on the side of the moral argument that says, “We can’t trust people and businesses to be moral. We can only trust the government. People are people and businesses are groups of people and governments are just groups of people.”

We’ve got the same problems all throughout that. What I hear going on in our society around this discussion of capitalism is that it’s more a discussion about who is moral, what institutions are moral, and what institutions have the incentives to be most moral. When we get into that discussion with this dance of me being self-interested yet having to serve and provide the most value in good for my fellow man, that’s accountability and an incentive structure that’s built into capitalism that generates the best out of me. What I see over here in this design of government is that that same accountability doesn’t exist because the government is based on a force. It’s extracting resources from this area and moving them over to this area, which is fundamentally an immoral activity.

TWS 2 | Capitalism

The Wealth of Nations

You said it was a rabbit trail and I followed every piece. This is the crux of it. In the end, we all have to have an agreement that we as human beings, we’re all here trying to figure out the same thing. We all have flaws and we all make mistakes. The idea is do you try to create a system in which mistakes aren’t possible? That’s where the government goes and that’s where stagnation can be proven time and time again. Do you allow individuals to make those mistakes and then have the structure of the environment in which they’re making a mistake done in a way where the rights of others are as protected as possible?

The system now is very difficult to get away with doing something immoral, especially in a business sense. It’s being done quite often whether it’s hacking or cybersecurity issues or certain fraudulent businesses. Those don’t last very long and are weeded out very quickly because of how we’ve been able to share information. There’s a restaurant that I liked going through on the way into work and also going home instead of Chick-fil-A or other fast food type of restaurant if I have to get something on the fly. It’s like a health food store. I went in there and the Department of Health was in there doing their inspection.

It’s one of those things where it’s like, “If this place served in a dirty way and people got sick from it, they’re going to be out of business.” You have Google, you have Yelp and the word is going to spread quickly. It’s one of those things where the government is trying to play this role of the moral authority saying, “This is good and this is bad. You have to do what we say because we’re protecting people.” I would say, “I get that. It is a good intention but is there a better way to do it where you’re not taking away the rights of others?” I see the intentions of the government in that authority, but I also see the intention of individuals and special organizations. It comes down to what is the best structure to make the most amount of progress and create the most happiness and prosperity possible for humanity?

Maybe there was a time in which there needed to be certain government or some oversight or some protection or whatever. I’ll grant that to somebody. The question is whether or not anything’s changed. What is interesting is when you point to the things such as Yelp where there’s a mechanism for us to govern ourselves. When you think about what hierarchical government emerged out of it was because it was looked to solve some deficiencies in governing ourselves and holding ourselves accountable. I just want to look at how much has changed. You look at something that’s happening with Uber. The normalization of getting into cars with strangers to get rides, which is bizarre. I took an Uber in Uruguay. Years ago, I never would have thought of getting into a foreign country into a stranger’s vehicle, but the mechanism exists now that I can have total comfort in doing that. It’s brought the costs of transportation down. It has granted access to transportation to people who didn’t previously have it. It’s granted opportunities for employment to people who didn’t previously have it. It’s brought together all of these different things and it’s provided a solution. What’s interesting is who’s angry about it.

Who’s the moral authority?

It’s two-fold. On one hand, there is a company called Uber that’s got some things that they’ve developed. There’s also a function that empowers me as the rider and the driver to rate each other about that experience. There are a series of different checks on what’s happening within it. It’s not been put together by the government. The only thing that I’m seeing that’s top down in it is the company and they can only carry out the function if they’ve got the margins to do it.

The further you go, the more there is the to unpack. Click To Tweet

The moral element too is that if Uber wasn’t doing the right thing, they’d be out of business but they’re also providing a service. The reason why you were comfortable with it is that of the internal makeup of the feedback system, of that feedback loop. If you are in Uruguay and all drivers have one star, are you going to get a ride or are you going to go in a taxi or are you going to walk? There’s a built-in impartial observer that is saying, “You have to do the right thing. You’re not going to kidnap Jason and take $100 out of his wallet because the cost of doing that is so much more. What you gain from it is so much less than what you would gain by doing the right thing.”

You touched another aspect of this moral dimension, which is competition. Uber’s had a little bit of a rocky road because their CEO has run into some allegations about sexism in the workplace and some other things. Those may or may not be true or whatever. I don’t know the details but what I do know is that he was removed or stepped down as CEO. Lyft, on the other hand, started picking up a whole lot of more share in the marketplace. Here’s this other company that holds the whole thing accountable. They see an opportunity where like, “We can be better. We can be better people. We can run this company different.” That is not something you have to hold government accountable frankly.

You don’t because there’s no competition.

At the heart of capitalism is this other thing that’s brutal and it’s called competition. It is a force of nature. It eats the company’s and people’s lunches. It’s a force of moral good to make sure that the greatest value for the greatest number of people in the way that the market demands it.

TWS 2 | Capitalism

The Law

There’s such a strong presence of what humanity is capable of but there are so much wisdom and potential in our minds. The issues and the challenges that exist now, whether it’s healthcare or nutrition, you can start to list all the different calamities that are out there. If there’s a problem, you would assume that there is a solution but in order to accomplish that solution, another person has to come up with that. The structure to best do that has always been the incentive a person has to do what’s best for themselves by first doing and figuring out a way to be of value to somebody else. The more of that exists and the quicker, we’re not only going to solve the existing problems that we have. There’s going to be more overall prosperity but here’s the deal. What did we solve in regard to problems? You solve the problem of people dying when they’re 35 or 40 years old and you created industrialism where you started to have more progress in society but there are other problems that occurred despite that. Those problems were solved and then there were more problems once those problems were solved and so on and so forth.

It’s always going to be part of the human experience. There are always going to be difficulties. There are always going to be challenges because we’re humans and we have that side of us. At the same time, the ultimate solution to that is right up in the mind of an individual. It’s the ideas they come up with and the incentive that they have to bring those ideas to the marketplace. When you inhibit and stifle that incentive, that is where the system breaks down. I’ll cite one example and then we can get into the other side which is the confused sense of morality. One of the examples I saw is when Facebook was put on trial. They went to Congress and had to explain to Congress certain elements of how Facebook worked. For better or for worse, has Facebook done some stuff they shouldn’t have done? Yes. They’ve done a tremendous amount of good. That wasn’t celebrated.

The good that they did as far as connecting the world wasn’t celebrated. What they were able to do as far as connecting families and connecting businesses and creating community accountability, that wasn’t celebrated. It was, “You’re taking people’s data and you’re taking private things,” which granted, that’s something that they did. The lack of understanding of what Facebook does was so surprising to me in the questioning. It was going back and forth of Zuckerberg not explaining what the whole privacy issue was about but having to explain what his business was. It just shows the complete disconnect of those type of individuals in that they’re not coming up with solutions. They are playing the role of God telling people what they should and shouldn’t do coming from a fallible place. That’s the idea of this morality. Is it moral for one infallible person to tell another to do or for an infallible person to figure out ways in which to provide value for others?

When we look into the different areas where most people are going to say that capitalism has failed or where we’re experiencing the negative impact of capitalism, when you start looking into most of the sectors that are being discussed, they tend to be the sectors that are most heavily regulated or that government has created the strongest cartels. You start getting into this whole other dimension of things that people don’t talk about which is this idea called regulatory capture. This idea that government or a body that oversees something, there’s an incentive to then capture that governing body and influence it for your own purposes.

This is one of the things that we saw when the mortgage crisis started to unfold. It turned out that the entities that were supposed to be rating the different bonds were paid off. They’re receiving fees from the people they’re supposed to be overseeing and that creates some other outcomes. In America, it’s been a long time since we haven’t been the richest nation on the planet, at least on paper. I don’t know what the P&L looks like. When you go to places where people have been living on under $1 a day and you start looking into the transformation and the human flourishing. The access to opportunity and capital that is happening in places where people had been living on under $1 a day and now those people and nations are rising over the last years.

The data shows that it has everything to do with the loosening and the expansion of opportunities that we’re defining as capitalism marketplace, being able to voluntarily exchange. In most of those places, it’s been the forces of government or cartels or the destruction of the value of the money that’s been making that prosperity be nothing but a dream. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, they can talk about how bad we have it here in America and how bad capitalism is and something needs to be done because of the 1%. Everybody having that conversation in the United States is in the global 1% and always has been. It’s only because we’re so rich and prosperous and the fact that capitalism and human ingenuity can outperform and out create the forces that try to keep it at bay. We have the luxury to even talk about these ideas while the rest of the world is trying to figure out how to get out of those first couples of stages of the hierarchy of needs.

Life is always going to be challenging because we're humans. Click To Tweet

Why are the emotions so high than when it comes to these ideas? Why do yelling and screaming and emotional tirades seems you can’t have a rational conversation? Why are they so high?

Part of it is because they’re as good as it is. There is a problem and I do believe that there is an unlevel playing field in America and people see it. Some people are feeling that maybe in some areas it is more difficult to become wealthy to achieve the American dream and all of these things. Most people are not informed and they’re not educated. Most people are busy trying to work their jobs, care for their families and get a little bit of leisure time on the weekends. They’re not diving into Mises, Hayek, Bastiat and Adam Smith.

When the capitalism label is placed on the most visible people in organizations that are the richest in the nation, the label is misapplied. Most of the richest in America have taken advantage of regulatory capture in ways that aren’t necessarily good. People see that but they don’t see how it’s happened. The capitalism labels misapplied. It’s used by people in the media who have an agenda to try to demonize it and who wants to empower the government for certain other things. It’s an uneducated population in my estimation that doesn’t know the difference. That’s where the emotions get high because some people are struggling and envy is at play.

There’s nothing easier than us to look at somebody who’s got something we don’t have and for us to think that they’re doing something to get it. At the same time, there are things at play that have shifted the playing field away from the average person and the middle-class individual that needs to be addressed. It doesn’t need to be addressed to redistribution through government because that’s where the problem originates. People don’t want to look there. It’s easier to look at the corporate boogeyman than it is to look at the ballot box or it is to look at democracy, which we hold in such high regard.

The danger of this topic is you can go in so many different directions. I want to recap what you said and make a few comments. I want to pivot some influential things. You’ve already mentioned The Law by Frederic Bastiat and have some influential whether it’s books, people, podcasts that help you understand some of these principles. You’ve come to have a belief in a perspective of things that are atypical. You talked about playing field and also where things seem unfair and I look at the opportunity and also what people have. The opportunities that people have now are a lot more even than they’ve been in the past because of what people have access to.

TWS 2 | Capitalism

Capitalism: The more personal the problems we have as a society are, the more local the governance and the policies are.


I was watching something where this guy, he wasn’t a trained chemist or physicist. He spent years doing it, he discovered how to extract sugar from plants that would replace the sugar that we have but also would create biofuel. He spent years doing it and came up with it and felt so strongly about it. It took him a number of years to get very prominent people on his board. Here’s a guy who didn’t graduate from MIT or didn’t graduate from Harvard and get an MBA or have a doctor or PhD behind his name. He went out and figured things out and used the resources that were available to him and created something amazing. They’re saying it’s going to revolutionize just food, fuel and emissions. My point is people are all wired differently. If we agree to that, not everybody’s going to have the same life. Why would you want the same life? It’s all different. I see some of the things that come from us being in this communication-rich society where we see others, we see their life, and we see what they have. We see the things that they do and there’s envy there. The thing is there’s never going to be equality when it comes to what people have. The equality is always going to be in the environment in a sense, but people are all different. How you’re wired to bring value to the marketplace isn’t who you are right now but it’s who you develop yourself into.

This guy spent years doing it. He just didn’t wake up one morning and suddenly he’s going to become a billionaire. There was so much that went into that. The development of his passion and skills and strengths, his drive to go out there and create an organization and create community and hire people, there was so much effort behind that to provide value in the marketplace. That’s where I would say there’s this use of equality where the rich have all of this and you don’t, and you’re entitled to that. They shouldn’t have that, you should have that. This goes to politicians and people playing God that they’re not fallible and they’re going to come to figure out the best way to distribute all the different resources. It’s such a toxic thing where you lob humanity in a sense and that goes on because it is occurring. Money is taken from people involuntarily and distributed to different programs, which in a sense looks so inhumane. Why wouldn’t we give them food stamps or why wouldn’t we provide housing for them? I agree that there are certain circumstances but at the same time, people are wired to figure life out. They’re not wired to have things done for them where they just sit in their house and do nothing.

There are exceptions for this. The best thing that’s happened for me is being on the brink of poverty, being on the brink of bankruptcy. Being on the brink of not being able to feed my family. If everything was taken care of for me, I would never have learned anywhere near the lessons that I’ve learned. This is where we all have to as far as capitalism understand how powerful it is. We all have to understand that we’re all fallible. We all have to understand that there’s no such thing as perfect in this life. This doesn’t exist and it’s never going to exist in government’s and it’s never going to exist with pure capitalism.

At the same time, what is the most humane thing to do and what is the fairest? The fairest is to protect people from their natural rights, the life, liberty and property but at that same time, the problems are not on the shoulders of government to figure out. Problems in the purest sense when it comes to capitalism are for individuals to operate in a system where their mind works. They can come up with ideas and there’s friction in that process. Look at what we have seen in humanity over the last 50 years or even the last ten years and how much that’s improved our lives. It all originated from an idea in a person’s head and them acting on that idea. There are these principles of capitalism wired into our society but at the same time, there’s a big force against it which is trying to rob some of those liberties. That was how I looked at some of the things that you said. You have some of the final comments and words and then talk about some of the more inspirational things that have helped you understand this perspective that you have and we both share.

I saw an article where it was like, “Fidel Castro’s grandson’s Instagram feed was felt like leaked.” He’s on yachts and hanging out with babes and he’s living in Europe. What’s been generally true is that in societies where these more collectivist, socialist type of economic policies have taken root, there’s almost always a class of people who sit on top of that system. They live exactly like the people that were being demonized in order to get that system put together. We’ve got a lot of examples we can look around at in the world with what’s going on in Venezuela, Cuba, or whatever. We’ve got the ability to see what’s happening in other places. I just hope that we can see and look at the lessons of other countries and other times and use that to discern where we should go as a society.

There's nothing easier than looking at somebody who's got something we don't have and think that they're doing something to get it. Click To Tweet

It brings us full circle back to the film I made, Nullification. When we start getting into these issues, Nullification was very much about this idea of federalism. The more personal the problems we have as a society are, the more local the governance and the more localized the policies are. We should wrestle through those problems instead of looking to establish one-size-fits-all legislation and policies to go over 330 million people in one country. In that whole process, as more and more power has been sucked up to Washington DC, we’ve lost a lot of community and humanity in our own cities, neighborhoods and towns.

The front porch communities of old don’t exist much anymore. We don’t know our neighbors, and this is all related to the idea of how we are designed to be our brother’s keeper. It is for us to take care of one another and to look after one another from a voluntary sense and not only through capitalism. Capitalism is the way but there is something in us that we are wired to care for those in our tribe. I see a lot of what’s going on as a result of a breakdown in that. I see the tribalism that’s happening on the national political level and the ugly politics. All of that comes back to remind me that ultimately we are responsible for our own humanity. We’re responsible for the way in which we carry ourselves and demonstrate the moral code that we would like to see demonstrated by others. It’s the most fundamental idea.

I’m on the board of an organization called the Libertarian Christian Institute. We have a podcast as well and we’ve had 100 episodes. Part of what’s driven us as an organization and me to be a part of it is because we want to talk about the ideas of capitalism from a very moral Jesus-centered perspective. When I think about what’s influenced me, I am very influenced by the Bible in the treatment of money and in the treatment of capitalism. The word doesn’t appear but a lot of principles of capitalism are very evident. If you had Larry Reed on, he could say about that. The book that he puts out, Was Jesus a Socialist? is a great little book to read on this idea.

The other things that have impacted me are talking with other entrepreneurs. As I become an entrepreneur, as I’ve seen what that takes, I’m a believer that not everybody is designed to be an entrepreneur. We’re all wired differently. I’ve talked to more and more entrepreneurs and learned more about who’s out in the world creating businesses. I echo your sentiment that there’s never been more opportunity and I also believe that the more entrepreneurs you’ve talked to, the more you can see them as true heroes. Entrepreneurs are creating value, they’re creating jobs and new ideas that as a society and as a world, we are solving all of the problems together for one another. That’s what’s inspiring me to spend time looking at, reading about and talking to other entrepreneurs. Also, the people who are capitalists that are out in the world to see what they’re up to and the problems that they’re solving in society.

TWS 2 | Capitalism

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

One of the things that you said that resonated is echoed from The Theory of Moral Sentiments, that original work by Adam Smith where people are driven. That’s this innate thing that we have to take care of one another. However, doing it involuntarily, being forced to take care of somebody else, you don’t have that same drive and it goes to Christianity where are the two greatest commandments. Those commandments of loving, it’s loving others but also loving others as we love ourselves. It incorporates the idea of understanding ourselves and our role in society and humanity. Capitalism is not this high-level thing that’s associated with a society or a country. It’s very individual and if you understand what those principles are, it could give you a different perspective on what you do on a day-to-day basis. Understand your relationship with yourself but also understand your relationship with others and how others help you but how you could potentially help others.

From a group side of things or a bigger picture, understanding these principles and then aligning yourself with other individuals does help our community and our society adhere to them on a higher level more so than there exists now. People are not reading, they’re not thinking, they’re not having conversations around these types of macro topics. It’s around the very superficial thing that allows the creeping in of the ideas of being forced to be moral. It’s that Robin Hood mentality where you rob from the haves to give to the have nots because they don’t have, and we should take care of them. We won’t go down that rabbit trail, but I’ll give you the final word.

Patrick, I’m going to take an opportunity to plug you a little bit. One thing that needs to be true is people need to take responsibility for their own financial autonomy. People need to surround themselves by other people who can help them to become more autonomous and more in control of their own financial future, destiny and access to the capital that they need to be able to fulfill on whatever the dream, the idea or the mission is that they’ve got out there. At the heart of all of what we’re talking about, I would see it as very immoral for me to ever throw up an obstacle in the way of somebody else trying to fulfill on what they believe their mission, purpose and calling is in this world.

It turns out that often that has to do with the work that we do in the world because we’re wired for service. The work that you’re doing in the Prosperity Economics Movement, the work that you’re doing through Paradigm Life, I see that as something that empowers and grants people the tools. Not only the tools of knowledge but real financial tools to be able to achieve those things and to become an entrepreneur, to become a steward of the resources they have. Whether it is to give, to solve the world’s problems through entrepreneurship or whatever it is, they can be the captain of their own destiny. That’s all I got to say. I enjoy the time we can speak together. I wish you the best.

Thank you. We’ve known each other for several years and you have some incredible creative talents and you’ve been able to own it. You were doing a little freelance stuff here and there when we first met but mostly working for others. You’ve taken the entrepreneurial calling that has been inside you for a long time and you owned it. You took some risks and went out there and you’ve been incredibly successful. If anyone wants some video or marketing work done, Jason’s your man. It’s JasonRink.com and they can follow you in your social media where you’re very active. Jason, you’re the man. Thanks a ton for being on and having this cool conversation with me.


Make sure you stick with us because we have some more scintillating information and conversation about capitalism. Take care.

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About Jason Rink

TWS 2 | CapitalismJason Rink is an award-winning producer and director of documentary films, an author, a marketer, and a self-proclaimed Capitalist. Prior to starting his own company, he spent 10 years in commercial banking, and four years as a producer and director at Emergent Order, a creative agency in Austin, Texas. Jason has worked with Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, Congressman Ron Paul, Senator Rand Paul, and brands such as Aston Martin, the Charles Koch Institute, and Mercer.


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The Hierarchy Of Wealth Unpacked

TWS FF 1 | Hierarchy Of Wealth


This is a replay of the presentation Patrick gave at 2018 Cash Flow Wealth Summit about the hierarchy of wealth. When you look at the hierarchy of wealth, there is always a starting place which is the foundation. There is a process that you go through step by step. Patrick ranks these different levels or categorizations of wealth based on the degree of control as well as risk. Patrick created The Hierarchy of Wealth to help him as well as the clients that he works within the personal advising space to prioritize investments, financial decisions, and opportunities. Learn this simple model so that you can position certain assets in different places as well as their priority and sequence.

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The Hierarchy Of Wealth Unpacked

It is an honor to be able to talk about financial strategy with you in the 2019 Financial Fridays season. This is going to be the first episode. Instead of me going into a diatribe of my financial philosophy, I’m going to replay the presentation I gave at the 2018 Cash Flow Wealth Summit. Some of you are familiar with it and some of you may not be familiar with it but for more information, you can go to CashFlowWealthSummit.com. We also have a podcast, the Cash Flow Wealth Show, but I’m going to just introduce the topic that I spoke of in the Cash Flow Summit relating to my financial philosophy. For those of you who have listened to The Wealth Standard for a long time, you probably came to an idea of what my philosophy is in general. When it comes to my financial philosophy, I believe it’s very similar if not the same.

TWS FF 1 | Hierarchy Of Wealth

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A Financial Strategy to Reignite the American Dream

The presentation is one way in which I like to explain it. I thought this out quite a bit for the book that I came out with, Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A Financial Strategy to Reignite the American Dream, and it’s what’s called the hierarchy of wealth. The inspiration behind it was the nature of an investment and how investment is evaluated by an individual. I don’t think it’s evaluated in the exact same way. I look at the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as well as the framework in which I built the hierarchy of wealth. Maslow has a hierarchy or a process by which humans meet their needs starting with physiological ending with self-actualization. There’s a number of them in between, but there is a process where you go step-by-step. You don’t necessarily skip steps. I look at the hierarchy of wealth and I believe that there is a starting place which is the foundation.

I ranked these different levels of wealth or categorizations of wealth based on the degree of control as well as risk. There’s a different way of looking at something depending on the person looking at it and that’s where the control on risks come into play. Looking at the hierarchy of wealth, it starts with a foundation of tier one. That tier one has certain characteristics of wealth and a certain percentage of your overall financial strategies that should be in that foundation. Then there’s tier two where you progress to which has a good degree of control and perhaps slightly more risk associated with it. Tier three, which has less control and more risks. Finally, tier four which has very little control, if any control, and very high risk. Looking at the financial strategies, the typical financial plan, it’s an inverted pyramid. People start with the riskiest whether it’s mutual funds or stock market-based investing where they don’t have much control and also take on a tremendous amount of risk as it relates to the performance of their overall strategy. I believe that that is the opposite way to look at it.

You are going to learn quite a bit in this presentation but throughout the Financial Fridays, I’m going to be talking with who I consider experts. Some I know very well and some I don’t know very well. The nature of the questioning is around the financial strategy that is in their business. These are individuals who offer their services to investors and you’re going to see that I take two angles. The first angle is the actual service and product and what they do. What I believe why a business succeeds or fails is the other angle that I take, which is around their business operations. It’s an angle that most people don’t know how to take. It’s the most important because financial failures and investment failures come from the operations and not the product itself. A good example of that is a Wall Street model where they have an incredible business and operational system and a lackluster, poor product that has not performed. I look at why they’ve been so successful. It’s not because of the product and it’s very similar to the McDonald’s and the quality of their hamburger. They’re so successful because of their operations. It’s not because of the quality of their food.

If you look at alternative investments, I believe there are gems in the alternative space whether it’s a rental property or other alternative investments. However, there’s a tremendous risk and that risk may not always be the actual product itself and the offering of the investment. It’s the actual people behind it and their operational structure, their background, and their experience. That tells you a lot about what they will do when it comes to challenges in the economy or challenges with their business, which is an inevitability. I hope you enjoy this first segment of understanding the hierarchy of wealth so that you can figure out the ways in which you position where your wealth is, where your money is allocated, where you focus your attention and your time and what you decide as a pursuit of expertise when it comes to understanding certain investment categories. I hope you enjoy the rest of the season where we’re going to be talking on Fridays about financial strategy.

I wanted to acknowledge you for being here and the time you have been willing to invest in listening to what my expertise is. This is what I do outside of being the co-host of the Summit as well as the co-founder. It’s something I’ve dedicated my life to and it does mean a lot to me that you are investing time and you’re investing attention and I don’t take that lightly. Thank you for doing the things that I believe are necessary to accomplishing financial freedom and achieving your goals. Thank you for being here.

My topic is called the hierarchy of wealth. The hierarchy of wealth is something that I created to help me, as well as the clients that I work within the personal advising space, to prioritize investments, financial decisions and opportunities. Priorities are very important because there are so many choices. We’re adding to these choices and adding to the opportunities just based on what you’re learning at the Summit, but where do those opportunities fall in your specific strategy and your specific path to those end goals that you’re seeking? I believe that the hierarchy of wealth is a simple model so that you can position certain assets in different places as well as their priority and in sequence. This is something that I use personally and it’s helped me personally to stay focused. Before I get into the meat of the presentation, I wanted to introduce myself to those of you who may not know who I am.

Priorities are very important because there are so many choices. Click To Tweet

I am the author of the book Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A Financial Strategy to Reignite the American Dream. It’s something that took me a couple of years to write and it’s been well-received. It has a lot of my stories and my experiences over the years and also a lot of details in regard to the financial strategies that my firm specializes in. I’m also the host of The Wealth Standard Podcast, which has been out there for years. It started about 2007. Something I love doing is interview a lot of people and talk about things that are of interest to me. The topics range anything from financial strategy to financial products to economic issues and theories to investing and business. I do get into a lot of personal development topics as well. If you haven’t listened to the podcast, I would encourage you to do so. It means a lot to me to support me and it’s something I love doing and I’m passionate about. This is getting into my expertise and my firm. I was honored by Investopedia as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Financial Advisors. It comes down to the influence that we’ve had in the marketplace by putting out what our financial strategies are and how they are benefiting the lives of our clients. I do that through my firm, which is Paradigm Life.

In Paradigm Life, I am the President and CEO. I also still do some personal advising, but we specialize in certain financial strategies that help people achieve financial independence. In addition to that, I’m active on social media. I’m relatively active on social media and I would love to connect with you out there. I share a lot of information and other resources that you may find valuable. Let’s get into the hierarchy of wealth. The hierarchy is something that didn’t necessarily just spawn one morning. It’s a conglomeration of the experiences that I’ve had with individuals and their unique financial situations. We do business with people all over the country and Canada and even outside of the United States. I have had the tremendous privilege to see where people are in their finances, what they’re trying to do, what are some of their challenges, what are some of the things that keep them up at night.

Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs

I’ve been able to position certain strategies to help them. In addition to that, I’ve experienced all of the investment opportunities, ideas, and innovations that are out there. It gets confusing sometimes and I get excited about certain things and become unfocused on others, so the hierarchy of wealth is something that helps me. It’s a simple model where you can position and prioritize your wealth building by essentially adding a label to the different opportunities that you have. The model and the pyramid and the word hierarchy was originated from Abraham Maslow and I was participating in a business event and the training was around the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As I was learning about that psychological model that outlines our instinctive behaviors to pursue the certain thing that’s called human needs, I made a connection between that and finance. What I’ll do first is just explain what the Hierarchy of Needs is for those of you who are unfamiliar with it. Abraham Maslow was a very famous psychologist and this is a very famous model that has been used in a number of publications and a number of contexts. The model essentially illustrates the sequence of needs that we have as human beings and also the order in which we seek those needs.

The first is the foundational level of the pyramid, which is physiological. The physiological is food, shelter and clothing. Ultimately, we seek those instinctively before we seek anything else. Once we have established food, shelter and clothing, we seek to establish safety. That could be the safety of our community, our neighborhood, the country that we live in, the state that we live in. It’s seeking a safe environment. We naturally seek that once we have established our physiological needs. As you’ve established physiological and safety, then once those two are established, the next need that we seek are relationships. Those relationships could be friendships, family or community but also our intimate relationship with a partner. That is something that comes after our basic foundational physiological needs are met and our safety needs are met. We pursue those relationships. Once those three sets of needs are established, the next thing we seek is self-esteem. Our identity, our meaning in the world and our self-concept. There are a number of ways to explain it, but we seek to separate ourselves from others. We seek to magnify who we are and, in our uniqueness, compare to others.

TWS FF 1 | Hierarchy Of Wealth

Hierarchy Of Wealth: Financial education and having a financial statement are foundational elements upon which rest all the other investments that you have as well as financial decisions.


The Hierarchy Of Wealth

Once you’ve established all of these others, physiological, safety, relationships, self-esteem, you pursue what Maslow called self-actualization. Self-actualization is pursuing something outside of you. It’s a common altruistic idea where you’re seeking not for personal gain but you’re seeking to provide ultimate value for people. What does this have to do with anything? For me, it is a very famous model that makes sense. I believe as human beings, we like models to create a context for us which we organize, help us understand, give us direction or simplify. What I did is I connect the dots between the Hierarchy of Needs and how to position investments and financial decisions and that’s where we created the hierarchy of wealth. This correlation is important for you to understand and I’ll try to make it as simple as possible. The first arrow going down is control and influence. I’d also say it corresponds to the nature of certainty. If you go to the red side, it is uncertainty and then risks, the probability of loss. The idea is on tier one, tier two, tier there and tier four. These are different types of investment decisions and investments themselves. Financial decision could be considered here.

The bottom tier is where you have the highest degree of certainty and it’s because of an element that you possess or control and influence. The higher up you go, the more risk you take on because of the uncertainty. It’s the categorization of assets. Tier one is your financial foundation. The easy way to explain that is your reserves, your sleep well at night account, the money that’s set aside when things don’t go the way in which you had planned. I would say financial education is a big part of tier one. Insurance, insuring against those events that you may not be able to adequately prepare for. Organization skills, your business and how your business is set up and your overall financial strategy. Having a financial statement is also part of tier one. These are these foundational elements upon which rest all the other investments that you have as well as financial decisions.

Tier two is investments where you have more control and influence. In tier two, you can identify yourself as an asset or something that produces cashflow. I believe we are our number one asset because there is the greatest rate of return based on the money that we put into ourselves whether it’s a financial education or professional education or just maximizing our ability to create value. I’d also say that there are some other investments that would fit in here that have collateral that produces cashflow where you have control and influence. I’m trying to get the general concepts across. Tier three are investments that you have less control over. It’s money that you will give to another person. When you do give money to another person, you have a level of education where you can ask the right questions and you understand what the money is doing. There is cashflow associated with that investment. That investment is where you’re able to ask the right questions, do the right due diligence, understand the mechanics of what is going on and potentially also have collateral associated with it. It’s an actual tangible asset of the underlying investment and the money that you’re putting in.

Tier three is not where you have the ultimate control and influence, but it’s where there are investments that you understand, and you hand your money over to somebody else to make a return. Tier four are assets that you have the least control and influence over and it’s where the highest risks exist. The education that you possess is not adequate to understand the underlying investment. Tier four is where most people have their money. If you were to flip the pyramid around, the typical financial mindset and typical financial plan are to start with your mutual funds and your 401(k) assets that are in something where you just hand your money over to a money manager or an investment bank. You trust that they’re competent enough to make a return for you and give you the end result that you’re looking for way down the road. I don’t think that’s realistic. I think that’s irresponsible. If you look at establishing foundation and building on that foundation, that is how I look at wealth-building. That’s how I have looked at success based on the numerous experiences that I’ve had with individuals and their personal finances.

It's important to establish your foundation first which creates an abundant mindset that allows you to make better decisions. Click To Tweet

The Hierarchy Of Wealth Unpacked

It is almost the complete opposite of how we as a society are taught to manage our money and what we’re supposed to do with our money and how to invest. That’s the basics of the hierarchy. I’m going to dive a little bit deeper into the story of how this was created. There was an event back in 2013 that touched me deeply and it helped me start to put some of these elements together. It was an investment conference where I was speaking and a number of Rich Dad’s advisors were speaking. Robert Kiyosaki is the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. He spoke on our Summit and his wife has also spoken a few times, Kim Kiyosaki. The Rich Dad’s advisors are specialists in a particular field that Robert Kiyosaki has chosen to have as his personal advisors as well as those who have written books underneath his brand. I get Andy Tanner and Tom Wheelwright, the other Cofounders of the Summit. Andy Tanner is one of the co-hosts. they are Rich Dad’s advisors in particular areas and very intelligent and very giving people.

I’ve learned a tremendous amount from all of them but this particular time in 2013 was very simple but I had not connected the dots. This is what I was taught by Ken McElroy, Josh and Lisa Lannon. It came down to a continuum or an order of focus to create the most amount of wealth. It started with producing money as a business. It’s where your business is going to produce the most amount of wealth and cashflow. I would also add to this, it’s not just your business. If you don’t have a business, it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to produce cashflow. It’s the business of you. It’s your ability to educate yourself, figure out ways to be more valuable to others and in return, receive compensation for that value. The idea is to produce as much of this cashflow as possible. Once you’re producing that cashflow, it’s setting aside a certain percentage outside of your lifestyle to capitalize on investment.

If you haven’t read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, the definition of an asset is something that puts money in your pocket. An asset according to that definition is also producing cashflow. The idea is to build your cashflow to the point where it’s passive. There’s not much time or effort on your part which allows you the mental wherewithal to produce more money as a business or as an individual. Here is where there are infinite possibilities associated with you learning something and being a value to other people. The financial decisions I make and the investments that I position is to be an infrastructure for me to figure out a way to be the most valuable to others. You taking on this mindset, you first have to consider yourself your most valuable asset because you are. Once you have established that belief or that idea, now it’s figuring out ways to educate your assets so that you are more valuable to other people. It’s a model or a continuum that’s simple but it connected so many dots for me.

It doesn’t matter how big your business is or no business. If you’re an established business owner or you’re just out of college in your entry-level job, it doesn’t matter. When you identify yourself as an asset, you figure out ways to maximize it. It requires education but also requires leverage. It requires insights by others, coaching, being in the right environments and these right social groups. There are so many different ways in which you can figure out how to take who you are and be a value to somebody else and have a financial remuneration for that exchange. There’s no barrier to entry to understand yourself as an asset. The equation that you do want to understand is here you are and if you improve your education and education I would say, the definition is to improve your capacity to be valuable to somebody else. Increasing education increases your value and an increase in value gives you more money. There are infinite possibilities there. There’s something you can always work on. As you establish passive cashflow, that enables more of this. Hopefully, I’ve established that point.

TWS FF 1 | Hierarchy Of Wealth

Hierarchy Of Wealth: Start to look for opportunities to increase your cashflow to make more money.


I’m going to expand off of that continuum. You have your specific business or the business of you and you produce value, you get money in return and then you make an investment. This is where it comes down to the hierarchy of wealth where you are able to categorize the priority of what you established first, second, third, and fourth. I’m going to break down some of the assets and give you some examples. First, as you are producing cashflow and that you are investing that cashflow, tier one is what gets filled up first. Tier one is assets but they’re also financial decisions. Some of these decisions may not be an investment that is a stereotypical investment or something that puts money in your pocket. It might be an organization. It might be a financial team. Whatever dollar amount allows you to sleep well at night and not have to worry about losing the primary income and having six or twelve months to figure it out, that is some of the most valuable money ever. Getting rid of bad debt, if that’s the situation that you’re in, is a good decision in tier one. Your financial team is important to establish. Asset protection falls there as well as your business structure.

There are numbers of other things that relate to the specific situation of the individual, but this is your foundation. This is a foundation that may not produce any return, but it is a foundation that will ensure that wherever tier two, tier three or tier four investment goes, you are protected. Whereas I see most people when one of these goes wrong, it crashes the entire house of cards. It’s important to establish your foundation first which creates an abundant mindset that allows you to make better decisions to focus more on where your strengths are and how you can use those strengths to produce massive value for others. Establishing that foundation is paramount. This is where my team and I and our expertise falls. We feel and have used it over the test of time in thousands of clients that we’ve worked with, but there is one fundamental tool that should be in your tier one arsenal. It is a specific type of life insurance policy and it is a life insurance policy that isn’t your stereotypical life insurance. It’s a life insurance policy that when you design it, it acts as a growth vehicle that has a liquid cash value as well as a number of other benefits.

As we’re talking about the foundational asset, as you are producing cashflow and you’re filling up your bucket as far as reserves are concerned, we encourage that you systematically save and put aside a certain percentage of your income. That percentage first builds whatever your reserve requirement is in six to twelve months, but then beyond that, is where you start to get into other investments. Even in the six to twelve months of reserves, the account that we encourage which we have defined as the wealth maximization account, which is this specific type of life insurance policy designed in a specific way, meets the criteria of this tier one asset. It’s something that you have control and influence over but it’s also something that you can’t lose. There is a contractual guarantee backed by some of the strongest institutions in the world, but you have a higher amount of interest that’s earned on your reserves. You have a level of protection as well, but you also have the ability to take a loan against the growing value in this account. That is important when it comes to making investments in tier two, tier three and tier four.

The wealth maximization account is something that we designed based on what your situation is. We designed it first to establish the reserves that help you sleep better at night. Once that is established, the money beyond that will become your opportunity fund. The opportunity fund or opportunity amount is what you identify as the amount of money to invest and that investment is going to be in tier two. I’m going to get into something that may seem somewhat complex. The idea of establishing your reserves is paramount than getting into money above and beyond that reserve amount as your opportunity fund. At that point, as you start to acquire tier two investments, it also produces cashflow. As you use the loan provision that is afforded to you by the insurance company, the cashflow from that asset is paying back the loan that was taken to capitalize it. It will keep you disciplined to continually save and be disciplined to payback and then capitalize more investments. Every time you make a loan payment, that money is available to make another investment.

Ask questions based on your expertise or education around an investment instead of blindly giving money to people. Click To Tweet

As you establish your reserve amount, the six to twelve months of your comfortable living expenses and you have money that is available that’s above and beyond that which we are calling the opportunity fund, it’s when you start to look for opportunities to increase your cashflow to make more money. This might be first as far as tier two is concerned. These could be personal development type of investments and that’s basically investing in yourself. It could be a certification for the career that you’re in or the profession that you’re in. It could be learning leadership and management skills. It could be to invest in a paid mastermind group. Kyle Wilson, that’s one of his primary businesses is establishing these high-level paid mastermind groups in different parts of the country. These are groups of people that get together. They’re in different professions, different ages, different goals, and different priorities, but they get together and exchange ideas, brainstorm and mastermind so that you can get insight. Have your own board of directors in a sense to gain insight into what your biggest and best opportunities are. If you’re interested in that, pay attention to Kyle.

These are investments that you control and have influence over. It may not be a personal development course. Maybe it is purchasing a property, a property that you hold title to, a property that you control, or a property that you have influence over. If you are a business owner, it also could be to capitalize on hiring somebody or a marketing strategy or ways in which you can improve the cashflow of the business. Tier two assets are vast, but the idea is that as you acquire those, you acquire them by using your opportunity fund which is a loan provided by the insurance company. Once you capitalize it, the discipline over whether that investment is working or not is the cashflow that it’s producing. The loan payback acts as a disciplined way to ensure that it was a worthwhile investment.

I’ve personally analyzed hundreds of different types of investments ranging from real estate investments to commodity type of investments to training investments. I would never say that I’ve heard them all, but I’ve heard about lots of different types of investments. This is where I would say it’s important to realize that it’s all subjective. These aren’t just absolute rules because you may know a certain field better than another field. That may for you be a tier three or tier two investment. For me, it might be tier four investment because I don’t have that background or education. As you’re positioning where your investment opportunities are, a great thing to ask yourself is how much you know about the mechanics of an investment? How much control do you have? How much influence do you have? What’s the liquidity?

If you don’t some of those variables, then it kicks into tier three and you are now asking questions based on your expertise or education around that investment instead of blindly giving money to people. That’s what I would consider a tier four investment. The idea here is to have a way in which you categorize your investments. From a percentage of wealth standpoint, I have broken them down into different ranges as far as how much of your total wealth should be in tier one, tier two, tier three, and tier four. Here are the ranges that I’ve found to be the most successful. Your foundation which is your tier one investment is 30% to 50% of your wealth. Tier two is 30% to 40% of your wealth. Tier three is 10% to 30% and then tier four, I put 0% to 5%. I believe that a focus on just the first three can get you to the point where you have achieved financial freedom in a short period of time, but it’s establishing a foundation and going in the right sequence.

TWS FF 1 | Hierarchy Of Wealth

Hierarchy Of Wealth: The hierarchy of wealth is a great way to set the foundation of a context that could give you the direction of what to focus on first.


As this whole ecosystem is working for you. The idea is to focus the financial returns from the investment as a means and as a medium to discover what is truly the best thing that you can do with your time to create value for other people? I would consider that as an infinite type of investment that you should always be focused on. What I wanted to do is to teach you about this in the context of a story. It’s a client that I believe represents the story very well. It’s also a client that is stereotypical of those that we work with and how the concept of the hierarchy of wealth has helped them to be more organized, have more certainty and have more direction associated with their finance.

Paradigm Life

I’d want you to meet John and how we do business at Paradigm Life which is virtually where we don’t meet with people face-to-face in person. We do meet with some, but 95% plus are those that we connect with and do business with virtually. We meet through a video conference and John was one of these relationships. I met John years ago and he was one of those driven guys that were excited about life. Similar to my four-year-old who has an on switch and he has an off switch. He’s on switch is all out all the time and that was like John. He was excited. He was motivated, and he was driven. He was excited about life. At the time, he was in a high paying government job which was difficult for him to leave especially with the carat of a pension that he had now. It was in California but regardless he had put a lot of time into this profession and he wanted to stick it out for a certain period of time where he became invested in his pension.

He had money in the stock market. He had a 401(k) on his pension but he discovered this entrepreneurial drive inside of himself and started to pursue those types of investments. He had a few real estate investments, a couple of single-family homes. He also had a handful of individual mobile homes. His master plan was to leave this particular municipality once he achieved his tenure or his vesting which is twenty years. His dream was to open a hospice franchise for a variety of reasons. I knew a lot of this before I even met John because of the team that I work in and how they do some discovery to see if our services are the right fit for people. I was excited to meet him because of how driven he was and the interactions that took place before I was able to meet with him.

How I usually start my meetings is by asking a very simple question which is, what keeps them up at night? I asked John this question and that’s when he unloaded. He described this drive within him and this frustration that his job was creating to pursue what he wanted to do. He talked about his investment experience and also talked about some of the investment losses that he had. He also went into his time is spread thin where he’s not able to focus because he’s going to conferences and he’s going to events. He had a financial coaching thing he was doing. He had his job and he had his family as well. He started to drop balls and he made some bad decisions with some investments. It started to run up credit cards. He was using credit cards to purchase the mobile homes and the thought that he would be able to get enough cashflow to pay them off before the 0% phase was done which didn’t happen.

How I usually start my meetings is by asking a very simple question which is, what keeps them up at night? Click To Tweet

He had his finances all over the place and everything was disorganized. It was keeping him up at night and the level of uncertainty that he had was at an all-time high. As I took his story and then took some of the concerns and challenges that he was facing, I sympathize with him. I had seen those similar financial situations with other people that I’ve met with. This is where I started to explain to him how the hierarchy of wealth worked. It was a model that was so simple that we started to talk about all the different things that he was involved with and it started to place him in those different tiers. We found out that most of what he was doing was in tier three and tier four and it was putting his entire life in jeopardy. The first milestone was to figure out a way with some of his budgeting and cashflow to set aside 10% of what he was currently making into a wealth maximization account. He committed to me to not make any other investments or made investments decisions until he had established his sleep well at night account. We wanted to achieve twelve months of his expenses because it wasn’t just him sleeping well at night, but it was his spouse who was also not sleeping very well at night.

The first order of business was to set aside a systematic way in which John could save into a wealth maximization account. We started to establish reserves at the same time we were paying off some of his high-interest credit card debt which required selling a couple of his properties. One was sold at a loss, but we felt that this was something that made sense because of the high interest that he was paying. Also, the fact that two of the properties were not performing at what he was anticipating. Those are the first couple of priorities. The fourth priority and milestone was to start to establish in his opportunity fund the down payment for that first franchise, but something else occurred during this whole process. It was the fact that with this franchise that he wanted to open up. There was a team involved, a team of experienced nurses and licensed people which he was not. I can’t remember what the minimum number of people was, but it was just under a dozen and John hadn’t had much leadership or management experience. This was one of those overlooked things. Because he didn’t have that background or experience, he was now going to have to rely on those skills which he didn’t have to operate a franchise.

We came to the conclusion that this was something that he should not invest in until that experience or that understanding of leadership and management was in place. The plan was his idea. He found some opportunities within the municipality to do a lateral move which would have put in jeopardy anything that he had established as far as benefits were concerned. It was being over first and the second-year employees to the municipality. It wasn’t a two-year plan. It ended up being a little bit longer than three years, but he established an idea of how to run a team. He started to study management. He started to study leadership. He felt he was adequate at being able to provide a good office environment, a good team and business environment to make this franchise work. That mindset was paramount, and everything changed. His priorities changed, and some other opportunities presented themselves. The idea behind the hierarchy of wealth that it helped to create context and focus of what he had and how that related to what his goals and the things that he wanted to achieve with his life were.

It was an amazing experience for me and for him as well. As I look at John’s situation, your situation and the countless others that I’ve been fortunate to meet with, this is a model that is subjective. It is based on your situation which could be having a lot of money but still not being able to sleep well at night to having no money. The hierarchy of wealth is a great way to set the foundation of a context that could give you the direction of what to focus on first. This is something that I’d love to talk about. I love finance and I love seeing people succeed. I’ve seen a lot of success over the course of my career and it’s something that is inspiring to me personally, but I also see a lot of failures. That failure is preventable and at the same time, there are only so many things that we know. I’ve failed a lot at investing and business as well in the past and I’ve discovered ways in which I can take those lessons and use them to empower me and achieve better things for myself. From a financial perspective, I’m confident that this is a model that could benefit you and can help you. It could allow you to position your investments in a way that gives you a degree of certainty that is part of the mindset of financial freedom and it’s impossible to be financially free without it.

Thank you for being here. I hope that you found value in this. As far as learning more about this mindset, this philosophy, these strategies, the best direction to give you is through the audio and PDF that talks about the hierarchy of wealth as well as the wealth maximization account. There’s a whole study guide that’s online that has dozens of videos in there and you can access it even without the book. You can go to HeadsOrTailsIWin.com and you can register for the study guide and also subscribe to the podcast. This is where I’m always talking about these ideas and talking about the ways in which you can improve your life and finances. I would be honored if you subscribed. Thank you so much for spending this time and for investing in yourself. I wish you the best when it comes to your investing and on your road to financial freedom. I hope to hear from you soon or at least hear about your success. Thank you.

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The Fundamental Principles Of Life, Liberty And Property

TWS 1 | 2018 Wrap-Up


Life isn’t perfect, and it’s never going to be. We’re all human beings and we’re fallible. At the same time, we have so much capability, and where we thrive is typically where things are the most disruptive. In this 2018 wrap-up episode, take a look back at the fundamental principles of progress and prosperity, namely, life, liberty, and property that led to why we have experienced so much prosperity in our day and age. Notable guests like Garrett Gunderson, Jaireck Robbins, Peter Gray, Connor Boyack, George Gilder, James Arthur Ray, Angela Duckworth, Jonas Sachs, Mike Cobb have graced the show to add value, share important resources, and help you understand what your goal is. As 2019 kicks off, Elizabeth’s vision is for you to understand the principles of capitalism and how it relates to you at an individual level so that you can achieve the goals and ambitions that you have. Join us for another year of high-impact discussion about capitalism, not just from Elizabeth but from other people that are authors, organization presidents, and intellectuals.

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The Fundamental Principles Of Life, Liberty And Property

The 2018 Wrap-Up

We are going to be officially wrapping up the final season of 2018, actually all the three seasons of 2018. Introducing the new season and the theme that we’re going to be using. I think you are going to love it. First off, happy new year to everyone. I hope you guys had an amazing holiday. I wanted to kick everything off with a story. First, I believe that as human beings, we have some incredible things that we’re capable of. At the same time, we have these subconscious habits that rule our lives. It’s the majority of our thinking, the majority of our behavior. If you look at the limitations that we often have that prevents us from getting to the next level, whether it’s in our career, whether it’s in relationships and so forth, it’s because of some preconditioned habit.

This is a funny story about my family. We spent Christmas with my wife’s family. They drove up and they hadn’t had Christmas together in years. Then on the 26th, we went over to Denver where my brother lives and his family. We drove from Salt Lake to Denver and it was a pretty long drive. It was awesome. The kids get along well. We didn’t have any issues or the drama, but on the way back is where we had some drama. My wife for better and for worse got my four-year-old son in the habit of if he had to go to the bathroom on some of these long trips, and we’ve driven him to California before and to Arizona. Instead of stopping every half an hour or an hour, she’ll have him pee in a cup. The condition was that if you have to go to the bathroom typically in a long trip, he would pee in a cup or pee in a bottle and throw it away when we got to our stop. We were coming back from Denver. It was on New Year’s Day and Synthia, my wife, was on the passenger seat and she was sleeping. My two older girls, Hannah and Meghan, were sleeping too. I had my headphones on. I was listening to information about this upcoming 2019 season.

Before I knew it there was this screeching scream that disrupted me. It got everybody awake. What had happened is Jack, my four-year-old, had realized that everyone was asleep, and I was on my earphones and couldn’t hear him. He had to go to the bathroom. His habit was to find a cup. He found a cup and he essentially started peeing in the cup. I had hit a bump and he accidentally dropped the cup and couldn’t stop peeing and peed all over Hannah, my fourteen-year-old. The hysterical screams did not come from Jack. They came from Hannah who unfortunately had her sleep disrupted and Jack was sitting there frozen. It was one of those traumatic events for him most likely that the habit is broken. At the same time, Hannah, obviously I had to pull over and calm her down a little bit because she was pretty hysterical.

We're meant to produce. We're meant to create value for as long as possible, not stopping at some point in the future. Click To Tweet

The Fundamental Principles

Anyway, this is a funny story relating to the principle of habit. The reason why I’m bringing that up is that all of the previous year, the idea was to talk about some of the fundamental principles that led to why we have experienced so much prosperity in our day and age. What we experienced on a daily basis, they were dreams. They weren’t even dreams. It’s something that people 100 years ago couldn’t even conceptualize. If you look at the roots of how that occurs, what principles that progress and prosperity is based on; life, liberty and property, is the reason why I wanted to bring that to the surface so that you would understand those foundational principles. They applied as much to the future as they did to the past. I would say even more so to the future. The idea was, as far as life, liberty and property, is to bring it down to the individual level.

We had guests like Garrett Gunderson was on there. We talked about The Law of Success In Sixteen Lessons which was an instrumental book for me, understanding a lot of these principles and what’s possible for a human being. What would it be possible for me? We had Jairek Robbins on there who is one of the most inspirational guys that I know, younger guys. He has some incredible things to say about what we’re capable of and also what holds us back and practical things that we can do to overcome our limiting beliefs and some of those habits and subconscious behavior that we all have. We talked to Peter Gray who was a BC professor. He specializes in education for children and had a completely different view than the typical view of our education system right now, which has more flaws than we can discuss on multiple podcasts. That was a fascinating discussion with him. We had John Rampton on there, who’s a serial entrepreneur that I know. We had the Founder of UGG boots, Brian Smith.


TWS 1 | 2018 Wrap-Up

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A Financial Strategy to Reignite the American Dream

We kick off with liberty, which is the second principle. Life is the first principle. Liberty is the second principle, with Connor Boyack who is the President of the Libertas Institute. The idea of liberty as we framed it in an individual level is the pursuit of financial freedom, the pursuit of freedom as an individual. Not the financial notion of retirement, which is to stop working, to stop producing. This is where a lot of the companies that I spend the majority of my time do is educate people that the typical financial planning model is principally flawed because it’s getting people to defer life until some future date. At that point in time, instead of being dependent on an employer, now you’re dependent on market performance and a financial advisor in Wall Street to help you with your income throughout retirement. It’s one of those things where I’ve seen it to be destructive to what is capable of a human being. If they would realize that the notion of retirement is not in alignment with our human nature. We’re meant to produce. We’re meant to create value for as long as possible, not stopping at some point in the future.

Plus, if you look at longevity and the amazing innovation associated with healthcare, we’re going to be living longer. The idea of saving 5% to 10% of your income for 30 years and then living off of that for 30 years, the math doesn’t make sense. Market performance has shown that it’s not capable of providing the returns that will allow you to do that. We went through the second season and talked into great detail about how to achieve financial freedom. That was around the time where my book was released, which was the first one I’d ever written. It took me a couple of years to do it. It’s Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A Financial Strategy to Reignite the American Dream. Thank you so much for all those who provided tons of feedback and bought the book. It took a long time but I’m grateful that it came out and did emphasize a lot of the philosophy that you, longtime audience, had been hearing, but put it in a more organized, condensed fashion. That was in the summer.

We finished off the year with interviews with George Gilder who is an investor and an author and is a lot older in age, but his experience shows the cyclical nature of how things work and what is on the horizon. That was a fascinating conversation with George. Then James Arthur Ray, if you guys are familiar with him. He had a fall from grace in a sense a number of years ago and went to prison but is one of the most profound types of speakers on personal development. It was awesome to hear his story and all that he went through during those times and how he got back on track and what he’s focused on now. Then we had Angela Duckworth who’s the author of Grit. She has the second or third most-watched TED Talk of all time, it’s behind Simon Sinek. That was an awesome conversation. She’s a psychologist and has a lot of training in human behavior and how we behave and how we act.

Then we had Jonah Sachs who wrote Winning the Story Wars and he has another book called Unsafe Thinking, which is targeting how disruptive the employment industry is and how people are not taking risks. It’s a fascinating idea. Then finally, Mike Cobb, I’ve known him for a number of years. The coincidence was he had wrote an article talking about John Locke’s life, liberty and property and how that pertained to the real estate investment industry globally. It was fascinating to have a discussion with him, which was the second to last episode of 2018. Then we ended with David Neagle, who is instrumental in creating the personal development space and industry.

Maximize who you are, your human life value assets, which are the assets that are the most valuable to other people. Click To Tweet

It was an awesome season. I benefited personally because I got to talk all the time about these three foundational principles of our well-being, of what we’re all after and the foundational things. If they’re there, if they’re focused on, then essentially they could be maximized whether it’s life, use your best asset, figuring out ways to invest in yourself and be of more value to other people which will bring more money. The best investment you could ever make is to maximize that. The idea is to achieve this profession or career where you’re doing what you love that gets you out of bed in the morning but also is in an environment where it’s conducive to how you operate that gives you that fulfillment and achievement. Most people aren’t focused on that. They’re focused on sacrificing now for the benefit of tomorrow and differing life now. Rationally, it doesn’t make sense if you think about it. Figuring out how to leverage what’s going on in the US now and in the world, where we’re becoming this online society.


There are opportunities to provide value to other people in so many thousands of different respects. Being able to pursue how to maximize who you are, what we consider your human life value assets, which are the assets that are most valuable to other people. They’re different for all human beings. Then also discovering your human life value liabilities, which is the stuff that you’re not good at, that people typically put up with instead of finding others that could provide that service and value better than you. That’s the idea of creating financial statement around who you are, your human life value assets, what you’re best at, your talents, abilities, strengths and your human life value of liabilities, which is the stuff you’re not good at, delegating that and maximizing the assets. That’s going to create this notion of freedom. Then finally property, which is the physical world. I’ve talked about this for years on the show. Putting it into the context of what John Locke talked about. This was during a time where there wasn’t much difference between that time and the zero AD, as we came into this new era. People rode around on horses and buggies and they ate in a very similar fashion, they had similar clothes.

John Locke had discovered right through his mentors and thinking and going to school. He discovered some principles that ultimately influenced the Scottish enlightenment, with David Hume and Adam Smith, which ultimately influenced the creation of the United States in our foundational documents, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. Getting into the property helped me identify that when you have the principle, the right of life and celebrating that as well as liberty, your freedoms, that property, the resources of the world can be used and aligned with those two other principles. Let me give you some examples. Back then with John Locke, how he understood property wasn’t just a piece of land. It was the material world. Look at what humankind has created with first understanding their mind and the value of that asset. Then looking at the world around them and using those resources to create value for others.

TWS 1 | 2018 Wrap-Up

2018 Wrap-Up: Capitalism, according to Ayn Rand, is the ideal structure so that humankind can progress at the maximum level possible.


The abundance that we live in right now is hard to fathom if you take a step out of the here and now. We have incredible technology for communication. We have incredible technology to leverage people around the world and their strengths to form a business. You have transportation technology, healthcare, technology, all things that are allowing human beings not to have to be afraid of surviving which has been a fear of society for a long time. We don’t have to even think about that anymore. The idea then and how the world was then and how it is now and associating our progress with all of that was valuable to me because I started to look at the world in a multitude of contexts. How much we’ve benefited from these simple ideas.

Hopefully, you got some value out of it as well. Maybe some of you had gone into reading some of John Locke’s texts. His treatises of government as well as some of the other books by some of those that were revolutionary in the ideas that help spawn the United States formation. I hope you’ve got tons of value out of that. I certainly did, and it’s led into a new theme for this year, which is I believe a taboo word or concept or idea that fits right alongside politics and religion. This is the word, capitalism. That’s going to be our theme for 2019. What it is? What it isn’t? Why it’s so reviled but also so celebrated? The structure of capitalism is the embodiment of what we talked about in 2018. Understanding it from a macro level, a group or a global level, as well as an individual level, is what my goal is.


My vision is for you to understand the principles of capitalism and how profound of a system it is and how it relates to you at an individual level so that you can achieve the goals and ambitions that you have. I always benefit from seeing, not conflict, but when there are very widespread opinions where you have at one end of the spectrum an opinion and then another. Both are very strong but on both sides of the spectrum. This is definitely capitalism. It’s been blamed for all sorts of atrocities, let alone the 2008, 2009 great recession. It’s been blamed for the exploitation of children.

Life isn't perfect; it's never going to be. Click To Tweet

Ayn Rand, who I came to understand in 2005 and 2006, celebrates it as the ideal structure so that humankind can progress at the maximum level possible. Her strong opinions versus the other side of the spectrum are evident in society now. As you guys learn about capitalism, not just from me, but from some of the people who are authors, organization presidents and other intellectuals. They’re going to be guests. You’re going to learn a ton of what it is, what it isn’t and how it relates to not only the macro side of the world but also at an individual level for you specifically. Some of the guests that we have, Yaron Brook from Ayn Rand Institute. We have Lawrence Reed from the Foundation for Economic Education. We have Joel Skousen, Connor is going to be on as well. G. Edward Griffin who wrote The Creature from Jekyll Island is on there. My buddy, Jason Rink, is going to be on there. There are going to be some incredible guests and some incredible dialogue associated with capitalism. You’ll definitely see where I stand as far as the philosophical point of view and what I’m doing about it. Organizations I support, how I analyze investments and how I analyze businesses and opportunities as well as my own business and own investments. It’s going to be beneficial to you too.

I have a bunch of other notes as far as some of the ways in which I view capitalism and view how important it is to me. I’m going to leave that for the season. I’m going to talk about one more thing. If you guys want to start to follow along with this theory. I would recommend that you pick up Ayn Rand’s book which is Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Milton Friedman also has an incredible book called Capitalism and Freedom. If you haven’t read Atlas Shrugged, maybe we’ll do a season on that one of these days. That’s a profound book that is very misunderstood as far as what the messages are and aren’t. If you want to pick up some literature and dive into this topic, then I definitely think that those books will give you a good idea of what some of these principles are and how they apply to the modern world.

I’ll leave it at that. If you have any comments, make sure you’re emailing us at Podcast@ParadigmLife.net or Hello@TheWealthStandard.com. We’re going to do something different. We’re going to keep doing these seasons. The seasons are primarily based on philosophy. In 2018, it was life, liberty and property. That’s what we’re going to continue to do this year with the main podcast, but on Fridays, we’re going to do something called Financial Fridays. I’ve been accumulating some interviews that I’ve done with specific financial strategy. We’ll have investment strategy on there. We’ll have specific investments, not typical mainstream investments like a mutual fund or a stock. We’re going to use more of the alternative investments that are out there. There are a number of people that I’ve interviewed and we’re going to play those. We’re going to kick it off with how I look at investment, which is from a hierarchical standpoint as far as tearing the different types of investments and how do you categorize them. That will be the first episode. I have some people I invest with as well as those who have participated in the Cash Flow Wealth Summit, which is a virtual event that we put on every year.

TWS 1 | 2018 Wrap-Up

2018 Wrap-Up: As human beings, we have so much capability, and where we thrive is typically where things are the most disruptive.


That’s going to be on every Friday, fifteen to twenty minutes, sometimes 30 minutes. I tend to want to do some short episodes. I love talking. I love conversations with people, especially stimulating conversations. Sometimes those will bleed over from 15 to 20 to 30 minutes. We’re going to try to keep them shorter, but they’re all focused around practical financial strategy. That’s it. Hopefully, you had a great end to 2018. I hope you’re ready to crash it in 2019. I look at what’s going on with the government shut down. I look at a lot of signals that are showing me that there is major disruption on the horizon. I don’t think what we’ve experienced over the last couple of months with market volatility is anything. I think that’s a blip on the radar. I believe that we’re going to have an incredible five to ten years of disruption from a technology standpoint, from an education standpoint, from a tax standpoint.

It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be hurtful for others and painful for others, but I believe that there are going to be some tremendous opportunities that arise because of it. That’s awesome for you. It’s awesome for me because that’s what it’s about. Life isn’t perfect, it’s never going to be perfect. We’re all human beings and we’re fallible. At the same time, we have so much capability. Where we thrive is typically where things are the most disruptive. Thank you for your support. Thank you for allowing me to do this. Feedback is always appreciated as far as questions or things that we can address or other elements to add that you think would be valuable. Make sure you reach out to us. If you haven’t given us a review on iTunes, that helps. It gets the word out. Apple has these algorithms that did help rank and improve the listenership based on the success of the podcast. If you like what you’re hearing, definitely give us a good rating. That would mean a tremendous amount. That’s it. We’ll talk to you next time.

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David Neagle: What It Truly Means To Be Wealthy

TWS 16 | Wealth


Just as we thought we are doing just fine with the bare minimum, life happens. After a near-death experience, David Neagle woke up to the realization that he has to do something with his life and make the most of it. Now, as the best-selling author of The Millions Within and is known as one of the architects of the coaching and personal growth industry itself, he has been impacting people to live their purpose and affect others as well. David shares his perception of the world and his attitude. He also talks about how we express ourselves or deal with negative situations in a productive way as he correlates everything to what we know about being wealthy.

Listen to the podcast here:

David Neagle: What It Truly Means To Be Wealthy

TWS 16 | Wealth

The Millions Within: How to Manifest Exactly What You Want and Have an EPIC Life!

It’s quite the honor to have my guest on. His name is David Neagle. He’s the best-selling author of The Millions Within: How to Manifest Exactly What You Want and Have an Epic Life! He has a number of things going on. The book was written a couple of years ago. We’re going to also talk about some of his presence online, the courses that he has and other resources. David, maybe give us an idea of who you are, what your background is and what you’re all about.

I’m from Chicago, Illinois. As a teenager, I was headed in the wrong direction, quit high school at seventeen, got married early, started having children young. Creating all the responsibility that goes with that without any way of being able to fulfill it. I was working two jobs. I was working at a dock six and a half days a week and driving a truck. Right after my son was born in 1989, I had a water-skiing accident. I got separated from a boat and I was sucked through the dam, broke my back. I was only one of two people that ever survived going through that dam up until that time. It was a rough day. That day woke me up to the idea that we don’t know how long we have here. I was playing small. I was not fulfilling my commitments. I didn’t know what it was to be a responsible man, husband, father. My parents split up when I was thirteen. My dad wasn’t around a whole lot. I didn’t have a whole lot of guidance.

That woke me up to the idea that if I was ever going to do something with my life, I need to stop procrastinating and start doing something now. I learned a lot of lessons from that day. As far as the story of where I was and where I’ve come to, that was the main story that changed for me that day, that I need to do something. I didn’t know what to do. I had an idea in my mind that if I’ll let this happen, something was going to break open and my life was going to change in some way, which turned out not to be true. It did cause me to start thinking differently. Once I got back to work and I was okay, I was working so much I was just exhausted. We were living in a bad neighborhood next to a drug dealer. My self-esteem was going down on a consistent basis. I was ashamed of where we were living and that we had to be exposed to that.

On a Tuesday morning in February, I had a complete emotional meltdown in the back of the trailer that I was loading on this dock. I was just praying to God, “Show me a way out. How do I get out of this? What do I need to change?” A little voice in my head said, “Change your gratitude.” I didn’t even know what an attitude was. I began to think about what is an attitude. I picked the person that owned the company that I worked for and I asked myself, “What’s the difference between him and I as far as our attitude? He’s so much further than I am and I would love to be where he is. What is the difference?” I broke it down to three main things that I noticed about myself and him as far as the difference. He must have loved what he did because he started the company in his garage and he was the largest food importer in the country at that time. He treated everybody with total respect. He would very often come through with other business people through the warehouse.

He would always stop and say hello, shake your hand, thank you for working for him, ask how your family was if he had time. He acknowledged people. I figured he also must have done a great job. That’s how he built the business. I wasn’t doing any of those three things. I hated what I did. I was angry internally so I was taking it out on other people. I didn’t hear about the quality of my work. I decided I’m going to change those three things. At that time, I was making $20,000 a year working two jobs, six and a half days a week, all the overtime I could take. I was trying to find a way to get to $40,000. I thought if I get $40,000, that will solve all of my problems. After I changed my attitude and I made this commitment, no matter what, I am going to stick to this. Thirty days later, I tripled my income. I went from $20,000 a year to $62,000 a year.

There were a couple of things out of that that was extremely significant for me. One was I knew that some way somehow, I caused that to happen. I just didn’t know how. Years later, my mentor told me I was an unconscious competent, which is fine until something changes and then you don’t know what to do. I was blown away that this kind of a change could happen this fast with relative ease. It wasn’t like I went back to school. It wasn’t like I was working harder. It was an internal shift in how I was showing up every day. That’s what made the change happen. The other thing was that I was stunned when I realized that the opportunity for that to happen was around me for two years and I couldn’t see it. Later on, I had been reading Think and Grow Rich. In the beginning, he talked about the sly disguises of opportunity. I immediately resonated with that paragraph where he said, “Sometimes opportunity shows up as fortune or temporary defeat or just being unfortunate.”

I thought, “This opportunity was around me for two years and because of my mindset, I couldn’t see it.” That caused me to start studying. I studied for seven years and then I started working with a mentor. From there, I went on to create my own business and became a multimillionaire. Nothing outside of that original attitude change changed all that much. I didn’t go back to school. I didn’t get a degree. I just kept working on myself and applying myself the best that I could at every opportunity that I had. I found out what my purpose was that I’ve wanted to teach other people how to do this. I like working with entrepreneurs, which I still do now. I’ve worked with people all over the world and continue to do so. It is my passion and my joy to wake up other people and lead them to their purpose and the freedom and the expansion of what it is that they’re here to do to affect the people that they’re meant to affect. That’s what gives me the greatest joy of all being able to do that.

How we view things is largely a function of the past. Click To Tweet

The first thing I see is the perception of the world, how we view things is largely a function of the past. Opportunities are probably all around us. It can’t be seen because it’s our past perception unless we start to make changes. That’s a big thing. Napoleon Hill talked a lot about this, which is taking on a mastermind group and essentially an archetype of someone else that represents or an archetype way has characteristics, traits, attributes that are desirable to you and start to act that way. If you act the way you act, you’re just going to get what you’ve always got. It’s the perception. As you wake up every morning, how has that adjusted your perception of the world? When you wake up, how do you view the world?

I view the world as an amazing place. We’re probably at the most amazing time in history. I view the world with an incredible amount of potential that is slightly misguided at the moment. We’re in the midst of a major change. Anytime you see a lot of change occurring, you usually will see a lot of confusion simultaneous to that or parallel to that. That’s what we’re seeing right now. We’re seeing a lot of confusion in values, a lot of confusion in where we’re going as human beings, what’s important to us. I also think that there’s a lot of delusion out there that goes along with it. I’m very optimistic about what we’re doing. One of the things that keeps me optimistic is how many people are showing interest in a positive change for our world and getting involved and working on themselves and trying to make a difference, versus the way that we did it 50 years ago in the ‘60s. We had a great idea back then but I don’t know that we have the emotional tools or the psychological tools to pull it off. We made some progress but people now are starting to show a little bit different and realize, “I’ve got to change me in order to change what is a representation of me, which is the reality that I live in.”

How do you see the correlation of your perception of the world and your attitude?

I can tell you that it is so vastly different from what it was like before I went through that data. I felt very unempowered. I felt very victimized. I felt like I lived in a world where there was nothing that I could do to control my outcome or my destiny. The world that I live in now, just because of the changes that I’ve made personally, is 180 degrees different. The people that I know, that I work with, that I come in contact with are nice, friendly and they want to help. They want to make a difference. That’s not what I used to see before. I saw anger, victimization and entitlement. I know that those things are out there but it’s not part of what my experience is now. I hope I’m answering your question. It’s very different because I changed that.

TWS 16 | Wealth

Think and Grow Rich

This goes to the relationship idea. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I know you’ve spoken alongside Tony Robbins, Bob Proctor and a few others in the personal development world. Something I have learned through just study and education is the idea that having a lot of money doesn’t equate to what people think it does. People are seeking an emotion. They’re seeking a way of feeling about something and proof of that is the people that take their own life even though they have a lot of money. The correlation to attitude and to this is all money and all wealth is an exchange. When you have a lot of money it’s because you’ve affected in one way or another a lot of people. I believe attitude is that connecting piece, which I find fascinating. I never thought about it like this. It’s fascinating to think about how you come across with a perception of like, “We’re the most amazing time in the world or we’re in the shittiest period of history.” You could see it both ways and sympathize with it in a sense. The attitude and how that connects with other people based on that perception is curious. With a person in a perspective of the glass is half empty, you don’t want to be around that person or do business with them. If it’s the other way around, you do.

You’ll hear people talk about what it’s like to go visit different countries. I’ve been to a lot of different countries. I’ve had people say, “The people are rude there. They’re not nice,” and I go and have a completely different experience where the people are warm, friendly, helpful and wonderful. I don’t have that experience. The money part of it, what you’re saying is so dead-on. Every dollar that we spend or that we earn benefits the lives of other people. Money is just a tool. If I’m spending money, I’m contributing to the people that bought or own the companies of the products that I’m buying, which benefits them and their families and their kids. They can send their kids to school. If I’m earning money, I’m building a business which provides jobs and income for people’s families so that they can grow. When I first started off, I didn’t know I was going to have that experience of how much joy I’d get in contributing to the lives of other people in that way. Not just with the products and services that I deliver to the world, but the fact that I provide jobs, I’m doing something that’s meaningful in a very holistic way with everybody that I come in contact with.

There’s a correlation there more than we think. You can do something that’s not meaningful and get money from it. The idea of being wealthy or fulfilled or have that sense of emotion of achievement is because you have both, which is you’ve done something and you feel that. You also have impacted the lives of somebody else because they’ve given you a lot of money.

It’s interesting what people think about money. I remember before I was wealthy, the thought was about what I would do when I was wealthy, what I would spend money on, houses, cars and trips and stuff like that. Then you become wealthy and after you buy things for a little while, it’s not about what you’re going to buy next. You’re not coming from that place. It’s about how you’re going to serve more. For me, that’s what it is. To watch the light go on in somebody’s eyes when you make a difference for them, the psychic income that you get for that far surpasses any financial income that you could. If I wanted to stop working now, I could. I get to get up and do this every day. It’s not something I have to do. The whole attitude behind the fact that I get to get up and make a difference, I make choices in my life that allow me to do that. I get to watch other people have those breakthroughs. That to me is absolutely amazing.

It’s like the accelerator. I was observing a dinner conversation and the net lottery was a huge amount. I was just listening and observing but they were like, “We’re going to be able to do this and do this.” It’s interesting because most people think that way. If you get to that place and you have those things, you realize that it’s an emotion that you’re after, then the acceleration piece is you get to that point. From my perception of those that are wealthy, you’re on a different gear where your drive doesn’t come from having more money. It comes from having more of those feelings, which is serving and helping people.

People want to feel good. One of the problems that we have as a society is that we’re having difficulty keeping up emotionally with how fast everything is changing. The answer that we have to that is drugging people. That causes a major problem because it doesn’t allow them to grow. When we’re seeking those feelings, when we want to feel good, you mentioned about wealthy people taking their own life. I’ve seen that and we’ve also seen some very prominent people commit suicide that you would think to yourself, “They’ve got everything. They’ve got dream careers and they hanged themselves or something.” I did a podcast about Anthony Bourdain after he hung himself because he was one of my heroes. There was no other way for him to get that feeling, whatever it is that was missing in his life. There’s something to be said for finding why you’re here and having the appreciation and the gratitude for that.

If you act the way you act, you're just going to get what you've always got. Click To Tweet

We do an exercise that we do as a company and I also do it with my family. That is every day you have to say three things that you appreciate about yourself and three things that you’re grateful for in your life. The hardest part for adults is to sit around at a dinner table with a bunch of adults and say, “Tell me three things that you appreciate about yourself.” They go blank, they have a hard time with that. If you ask a five-year-old to do it, they’ll be like, “I appreciate my nose. I appreciate my coat.” They come up with things. They have no problem with it whatsoever. It’s almost like it’s taught out of us as we go through life. It’s like waiting for the other ball to drop or whatever that saying is. It’s like there’s always an air of disappointment ready to come into somebody else’s life because they don’t feel they have control over where it’s going.

It’s like you’re selfish or you’re self-centered if you appreciate yourself for something. It’s interesting, it’s like a social stigma. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the school that teaches. It affects a lot of people because I know a lot of people like that, even myself to an extent.

It starts off with the idea that part of our value systems is to put other people first. We’re never taught a healthy balance of putting ourselves first, taking care of ourselves, giving ourselves what it is that we need first and making that okay without being shamed for it. We’re not born with shame and guilt but it is used as a correction tool from the moment we’re born almost and then all through life. Once you pass that on to somebody, we do it ourselves. If my parents shamed and guilted me for my behavior, I don’t need them to continue doing it. I’ll do it for the rest of my life unless I correct that. If I’m doing something that would be outside of what was acceptable for them, I’ll immediately go into shame or guilt and automatically correct my behavior to go back to stay in that pattern. That’s where it has to start to change. Plus, the other thing is this. We’re the only form of life that adjusts our behavior for the appreciation of other forms of life. It happens in nature. The way that we were trained to do that is by limiting the way we can express ourselves.

I’ll do seminars and I’ll ask by a show of hands, “How many of you grew up in a household where it was not okay for you to express your anger?” 90% of the room will raise their hand. We were taught to express ourselves in a way that our parents were comfortable with, but not necessarily based on what we were going through emotionally or how we were feeling. In order to set ourselves free, we have to get back to that baseline of who are we and accepting ourselves for who we are and where we are. Not to say that we can’t get better, but not shaming ourselves for what we haven’t done yet and learning how to express ourselves authentically. Anything that would be considered a negative emotion, like a lot of people, consider anger a negative emotion. I suppose that it is when it’s expressed in a negative way. We’re human beings. When we do have those emotions, how do we express it in a positive way so that we can get it out of our body instead of suppressing it, then at some point blowing up where it does get expressed in a negative way?

We do tend to deal with it. It may seem so subtle on the surface where there’s this little issue and it’s like, “I’m not going to deal with it.” Even though we don’t think that it affects us, it does and it stays. Then the next time something happens, that it’s a little bit more and then a little bit more. That compounds out of control. I’ve thought about a lot of this about how we express ourselves or how we deal with especially negative situations in a productive way. I don’t know if I have the answer to it. I’ve been aware of it and I’ve thought through and I’ve had difficult conversations or had to have difficult conversations. What do I do in order to not subconsciously come across as a jerk?

TWS 16 | Wealth

Wealth: The natural progression is that whatever the dysfunction in life is, it’s going to continue to get worse until we have one of those radical wakeup call moments.


Part of it is evaluating how much a person has the ability to accept responsibility for themselves and talking to them based on that level of where they are. If you’re dealing with somebody who is projecting that they’re victims and that they’re entitled. You come like, “No, in order for you to change your life, you’ve got to accept responsibility.” They’re not going to be able to hear you. We have to get back to a place where we were teaching what responsibility is in society and holding people accountable for that. The difficulty that we have is that’s great for kids. A kid’s mind is not programmed yet to blame other people for their actions or where they are in life. When you’re teaching children, all they have to do is make up their minds. That’s the truth. That’s the direction that they’re going to go. They’re relatively okay with that with some guidance. Adults have to change their mind. You have to get them to accept a different idea about how life is based on what the problems are that they’re experiencing and where do they ultimately want to go. The truth of the matter is some people just don’t want to change it.

Also, there are layers upon layers, years upon years that is on top of what the core issue is. It’s typically what’s manifesting those core issues. You’re right, it’s dealing with that. In adults, especially, it’s difficult. Also one thing in relation to what you said, which is this understanding where we put others first before ourselves. The connection that I made years ago and I would say I still have issues with it, which is the best way to take care of others, is to first take care of yourself. If you don’t do that, then you’re going to show up less than what you could for others. You’re hurting others regardless of whether you put them first or not. If you put yourself first, that at least puts you in the optimal position to be of most benefit to others. These are all attitudes. It’s interesting it still seems very counterintuitive to what the overarching universal belief is. I see signs of it changing and adjusting. It’s years, decades and repetition of what’s held as a social belief or an American belief or whatever. It’s going to take a lot of work. It seems from your perspective, I would agree with it that there’s a momentum there.

I was listening to Oprah in an interview one time a couple of years ago. They were talking to her about racism and where we are as a society as far as racism. It was an interesting interview. There was nothing new being said. The question was asked, “What do we do with people that are above 55 years old? They were raised in a different generation with different beliefs. How do we change their minds?” Oprah’s response startled me when I first heard it. She said, “They just have to die.” At first, I thought to myself, “That’s crazy.” Then I was thinking from a realistic perspective, there are some generational beliefs that people are not going to change.

You can tell a person that racism is wrong and it’s ignorant and it’s passed down from one generation. You can bring all the logical argument to someone. If they don’t want to change the belief, they’re not going to change it. They’ll just shut up their mouth but they won’t necessarily change it. That’s what Oprah was trying to say. If you look at other things, it will pass away as those generations of people with beliefs as they transition. New generations of people come up with a more loving mindset or a liberal mindset or however it is that you want to put it. People are becoming more aware of the truth every day. It starts to become more obvious. We’ve pushed the button so far in one direction and there’s too much information that is readily available at everybody’s fingertips. It becomes difficult for the people to try to carry the light from one generation to another to be able to continue to do so.

We’ve been talking about how individuals suppress. Once it’s a group or a collective that’s suppressing something, it’s even stronger. Going to your story and your awakening when you went through that dam, catastrophic events oftentimes disrupt that mindset. Look at 9/11 or you look at the different hurricanes and natural disasters, they tend to bring people together. In those very disruptive environments I would say is where you have this inkling of people are putting aside any differences, political, social and race to help one another. Then a month goes by and it’s back to normal. It’s interesting to see how those types of disrupted events break down those social barriers that are evident.

Every dollar that we spend or that we earn benefits the lives of other people. Click To Tweet

We do a program that’s called Date with Your Darkside. The whole idea behind it is that if you have something in your life that is showing up dysfunctional or a problem that just keeps persisting. My belief is that the universe is always trying to correct us individually, trying to get us back on track with what our purpose is. We don’t readily see all of those signs as we’re going through life. The natural progression is that whatever the dysfunction is, it’s going to continue to get worse until we have one of those radical wakeup call moments, whether it’s the trauma in our own life or we’re seeing it as a society. I’ve told people you don’t have to get to the point where you have a near-death experience to change if you can recognize what the signs are ahead of time. Then unravel or unpack what the patterns and the roles are that you’ve taken on from your parents that are continuing to cause those problems. You can proactively change and then learn the tools and the skill sets that you need in order to literally take your life down a totally different path and have a completely different result.

We’ve been doing that for a long time with people. The results are absolutely astounding that they get from that. For me, it came out of the idea of, “What happened in my life that caused me to change and what have I watched thousands of people do to precipitate change in their life? What caused that? What were the precursors that they experienced that said, “This has got to change now. Something different has to happen.” It doesn’t have to be that somebody dies or gets hurt. It could be something proactive, following something that inspires us, a desire that we have, an inspirational person or book or art or something like that. There are a lot of things in this world that are pointing in the right direction, we just have to wake up to what they are.

What does this have to do with being wealthy? This is a topic of your book and something I think a lot about. Let me first address this notion of awareness. That’s the keyword that you brought up is when these disruptive events happen, you have a new awareness. Your perception has changed. I was having a conversation with somebody and they made an observation about me, which was fascinating. I’m still trying to process it. My parents were both teachers in the same school system that I went to school in. My middle brother and I, we realized early on that we couldn’t get away with anything. The discipline level of normal teacher-student was enhanced because if we did something bad, they went to our parents. It was an extra layer.

You’re always trying to make sure that things look good. Whether it’s the right connection or not, I just found it fascinating that we have all these experiences in the past. It’s everybody. It’s not just me, it’s everyone, where we’ve had certain experiences that we put meaning on and we’ve just continued to grow and enhance whatever that is until it exists now. It’s not like everybody was watching me then. We may have gotten in trouble or whatever. It doesn’t apply or has meaning if you’re aware of and you know how to process it, which is a whole other set of things when you approach the dark side, as you put it with your event. When you show up in life, the value you create to the world is represented in a couple of ways. One of the ways is with wealth, with money which is, “Here’s what you’ve done for the world.” If you don’t have a lot of money, you can be a victim about it and say, “It’s because this didn’t happen or this person is this way, this person is that way.” If you take stewardship and responsibility for it, it’s becoming aware that and then figuring out how to show up different, how to change your attitude and control what you can control. What does any of this have to do with being wealthy or achieving what we define as wealth?

What I believe the way that this is connected is that money itself is very interesting when you take into consideration. If everybody was aware of how to earn whatever amount of money they needed whenever they needed it, which is my definition of wealth. It’s not stacking up money in the bank or in a mattress or whatever. Not that investing or saving is a bad thing. It’s a good thing, but that doesn’t define wealth. Wealth is your ability to bring that resource in. If everybody was aware of how to do that beyond working a job, understanding how money moves and how to bring it into their life then they become uncontrollable. It is one of the ways that society still can control the masses because if they are dependent upon everybody else for the money, then they have to conform to everything that is required in order for them to earn money.

TWS 16 | Wealth

Wealth: Wealth is a mindset; it’s not something that you achieve. It’s not this end result. It’s a way of being.


There are one or two reasons that people look at becoming wealthy. One is so that they don’t ever have to worry about money again, which is a negative viewpoint. That’s built out of fear. The other one is, “I am born to be a success. I have a purpose. It is going to require a lot of money for the fulfillment of that purpose and that purpose is going to benefit a lot of people and money is going to have a role in that.” In our website, we have a free download that’s called You Were Born to be a Success. It starts people off in that direction. It’s like turning the corner for that individual in their life. The key is that if we come from this place of, “I don’t have to worry about money because I’ve mastered my ability to bring finances into my life,” you totally change the direction and the purpose and the capacity for a person to expand their life because they’re no longer fixated on, “I’ve got to spend this much time or trading my time for money, working in a job that I don’t like, which makes people unhappy. Working with people I don’t like.” You should do what you love with people that you love and master being able to bring money in your life so that it’s not an issue. Everybody can do it.

My belief is that everybody on the planet has the same amount of money. They’re just either ignorant to that, meaning that they don’t know that that’s the truth or that they don’t want to change to be able to do the things that are required to bring it in. Earning a lot of money is not difficult. There are homeless people that understand that more than there are people that work that understand that. Homeless people are believably resourceful. There are people that walk around free, they talk about all the reasons why they can’t do something and we have people in prisons that are able to get drugs, pornography, cigarettes, all kinds of contraband and they’re in a 9×11 cell, 23 hours a day. How is it that they’re able to be more resourceful than a person who’s free? It’s the change in your mind that binds you. If you think about it in those comparisons.

You have a person that says, “I can’t do this because I don’t have the money.” The problem is that they don’t have the urgency. If you change the urgency in a person’s life in order to get the money, everything changes. If somebody said to you, “If you don’t come up with $10,000 in the next seven days, your kid will lose his life.” That I guarantee, the person will find $10,000 in seven days. That will be the same person that won’t go out and buy a self-help book because they say that they can’t afford it. Or they’ll be late on their payments because they literally stop with the imagination in their mind or the story in their mind that they can’t do it, it can’t be done or they have toleration as to what’s acceptable and they don’t raise their standards in their lives. But if you change the circumstances, they’re able to do it. They’ll break through whatever barrier that they have in order to make something happen.

The word “can,” what an amazingly controlling word that is, which is totally false. You’re hitting on things that just resonates so well. That’s probably what you meant with the title of your book, The Millions Within. Humankind shares very similar attributes as far as who we are, maybe not the physical environment in which we live but who we are and our ability to create and our ability to think. Going back to what we talked about, which is John Locke who lived in a time where there wasn’t electricity, there wasn’t plumbing, where life was very at a rudimentary level. He saw what a human being could create with the right mindset, with the right environment and so forth. As you alluded to in the beginning, we have more opportunity now than ever. Also, you could see a perspective where people think it’s all going to end. It’s all going to end.

What we’ve been talking about here, wealth to me is a mindset and it’s not something that you achieve. It’s not this end result. It’s a way of being. You don’t have to have a lot of money in the bank to think and believe that way. I believe that true wealth is going to come about by first believing and thinking that way, which will create a specific attitude which will then bring you around the right people and get you away from the wrong people. That right there altogether is that state that people are seeking. It’s not a state that you achieve, it’s a state that you are working on all the time.

There's something to be said for finding why you're here and having the appreciation and the gratitude for that. Click To Tweet

It is a state, it is a way of being. It is how you show up every day. Anybody can do it. It starts with this. If you’re willing to take responsibility for everything that’s in your life, you take your power back, which allows you to change your perception and see what you couldn’t previously see before. All the opportunities, everything that you need is here for everybody. It’s not to pick or choose. You don’t see the worry. You don’t see the fear. You don’t see the dysfunction anywhere in nature unless human beings get involved. Nature just flows with life and intelligence. It knows exactly what to do. Think about a beaver building a dam. They don’t go to building dams school as little beavers. That’s instinctual knowledge that they have. It’s the same with birds building a nest. Those are very intricate things if you’ve ever looked at one up-close. How did they know how to do that? We have the same guidance inside of ourselves. We’ve got to stop following the dysfunctional stories that we’ve been told that are not based on any truth and start following what is true. The truth is you have to study a little bit to get to those things. If you’re willing to do that, you can change your life for the better in a very short period of time.

David, this has been enlightening for me. This has helped me connect a few things. I appreciate that from a personal level. We’ve been talking about all of your elements of this. We brought it together well. Thank you so much for helping us do that. I know you have not just the book but there are a lot of other resources that you have that speak to practical ways of implementing some of what we’ve been talking about. Would you mind speaking about that?

All anybody has to do is go to our website, DavidNeagle.com. There is a free download there called You Were Born To Be A Success. There are also a lot of other resources. Our events are all listed on the website if you want to come to participate with us. You could give one of our coaches a call. That information is on the website and they’ll help you work through any problem that you’re having and help you with what is the next step from there.

Are you active on social media?

Yes, we’re on absolutely everything and always communicating there.

David, we’re going to have to do a follow up to this. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your experiences with us. We appreciate it. I’m sure we’ll touch base and talk soon.

Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Important Links:

About David Neagle

TWS 16 | Wealth

In September of 1989, what was supposed to be a rare relaxing day with family cruising down the Illinois River in a roomy boat, quickly turned into a nightmare.

David Neagle was pulled deep into the gates of a dam that shredded his flesh, broke his back, and nearly drowned him. No one expected him to survive the accident, and rescue workers even told his family he was already dead. (Entire boats had been sucked into this same dam, without survivors.)

What happened instead is that David, a high-school dropout and dock worker, awakened to the potential previously untapped within him. He made a decision that day to begin the journey responsible for changing his entire life, and now the lives of thousands of others.

David Neagle knows how to help you achieve whatever dream your heart desires – no matter where you’re starting from.

After his brush with death, David began to study his own potential. In the 12 months following his accident – despite being unable to walk for more than a month – he tripled his income. By December of 2000, David had expanded to become an executive corporate manager, a stock investor, and a business owner.

Over the years, David continually sought new mentors with each new level of success he attained. He began to study every great person in history. But it wasn’t until David began studying “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace D. Wattles, that he fully understood the transformation he’d undergone. Wattles’ book uncovered the exact change in David’s thinking and in his attitude that had gotten the ball rolling to create his unstoppable success.

Today, David Neagle is the best selling author of The Millions Within and is known as one of the architects of the coaching and personal growth industry itself, having worked alongside other well-known mentors like Bob Proctor, Marianne Morrisey, Tony Robbins and the like for decades.


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Seeing Opportunities For Development with Mike Cobb

TWS 15 | Opportunities For Development


There are so many opportunities in the world. All we need is a discerning eye that knows how to make something out of what we see. Mike Cobb, CEO, and Co-Founder of ECI Development and President of Gran Pacifica, talks about opening doors for development. Sharing his background and uprooting his family living outside of the United States in Nicaragua, he talks about the many opportunities the world has to offer for investors to grow. Mike discusses the emerging markets, most especially in Central America, as well as traveling to developing countries and creating environments where people could have experiences. Taking something and creating a business opportunity out of it, Mike engages us in a teak conversation about how this wood works and what opportunities it offers as far as how it is used.

Listen to the podcast here:

Seeing Opportunities For Development with Mike Cobb

I was fortunate to be in Southern Florida at an incredible event put on by Tony Robbins called Date with Destiny. It’s my third event with Tony and I’m with my wife as well. I’m going to save this experience for another day. We’re going to do a bonus episode with my wife. We have the second to final episode of season three. I hope you had enjoyed 2018. I didn’t plan for this fifteenth episode with my guest, Mike Cobb, but it worked out perfectly. I have known Mike for years. He wrote an article at the beginning of 2018 with the topic of what we’ve been discussing on here, which is by John Locke. It’s, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of property.” I met Mike a few years ago on an investment cruise that we were both speaking at. What a stellar guy. The energy level he has, the knowledge he has, the experiences that he has gone through.

I’m going to add one of the variables that are the most unique and certainly the most valuable, which is the understanding of principle and understanding of history, understanding of humankind and our capacity to take this human experience and learn how to take our knowledge and our intellect and our talent and our ability and the material world around us and create an incredible life. You’re going to read some cool stories and you’re going to read about something that you didn’t know about before, which has to do with a very long-term time of investment in the forestry space.

You are in for a treat. My guest is Mike Cobb. Mike is the CEO and Cofounder of ECI Development and President of Gran Pacifica. Mike and I met a couple of years ago on The Real Estate Guys Investors Summit at Sea. We also connected at another event in Bermuda. Mike’s an awesome guy and you’re going to hear a little bit about his background. Mike, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining us.

Thanks, Patrick. It’s nice to be here.

You were passionate about uprooting your family and living abroad outside of the United States over a decade ago. Can you give us a little bit about your background and what led up to that?

I grew up in Western Pennsylvania north of Pittsburgh. I graduated college in ‘86 and unfortunately it was a depressed area of the country. I moved to the DC area. I worked in the computer business for several years on the PC side of things. In ‘94, I went to Belize for my first trip on vacation to have some fun with a buddy of mine, the Cofounder, Joel Nagel. We bought a couple of condos and started to rent them out. What we saw interestingly was that there was no mortgage money for North Americans in Belize generally. The bank up in the States or Canada would not lend money on collateral in Belize and the bank in Belize didn’t want to lend money to foreigners. You had this weird hole in the marketplace. We started a little mortgage company in 1995. I went out to a bunch of my buddies in the computer business, raised some money. Joel went to a bunch of his clients, we put the other couple of million bucks and we started buying mortgage paper all over Ambergris Caye. It was a phenomenal business. The paper was usually two to four years to mature, 12% to 14% interest rates. We were buying for $0.80 on the dollar.

It was a great business. Joel was the deal guy. He’s the money, finance side of things. I’m the more boots on the ground guy. What I did was I ran around and looked at the collateral. I would go and look at these condos and these homes that had been bought a year to four years. What I saw was incredible. You’d walk into a living room and there would be an outlet on the wall. There’d be two outlet strips, one going each direction. With extension cords plugged into the outlet strip running around the edges of the wall so that you’d have power all the way around the living room or a bedroom. They had one outlet in the living room or one in the bedroom. The door handles are at different heights and kitchen countertops too high, too low, whatever it was. We started to put our heads together and we said, “To fix this stuff is almost free.” Put all the door handles at the right height, to get the countertops the right height, put the mirror centered over the sinks, simple stuff.

TWS 15 | Opportunities For Development

Opportunities For Development: The time machine is an imaginative concept. The more technical word is path of progress.


We started the development company in 1998. We bought a small resort in Belize. I moved to Belize with my new wife, Carol. We didn’t have any kids at the time. We lived in Belize for a few months. We turned the property around and then move back to the States. In ‘98, ‘99, I did a lot of work in Panama on a tea plantation. In 2000, we bought a giant piece of property in Nicaragua one hour west of Managua, the capital. I say giant. It was three and a half miles of Pacific beachfront and the property is a mile deep. It’s a 2,500-acre property. In 2002, it was time to get down there. We’d done the initial permitting and master planning. My wife, Carol, my daughter, Amanda, who was two at the time, we literally picked up and left Shepherdstown, West Virginia where we own a home. The same home, we kept it. We moved to Nicaragua for what we thought would be two to three, maximum four years to get a company started. We did. We went down there and we hired architects, engineers, a chief operating officer, accounting people, IT, marketing and the whole thing. We put all the team together.

About three and a half years into it, my wife and I go out to dinner one night. We took a piece of paper. I know you’re a big Tom Hopkins fan. I’m a big Tom Hopkins fan. We took that piece of paper, we drew the line down the middle and we did the old Ben Franklin. Stay in Nicaragua, go back to the US. The list to stay went down the front and onto the back. The list to go back to the States was a third of the way down one side. We ended up staying in Nicaragua another several years by choice. It was an incredible quality of life. The cost of living was silly cheap but the quality of life was higher, which is paradoxical. How can you have a higher quality of life with a lower cost of living? It’s possible in the developing world and we did. We moved back to the States a couple of years ago. One of my daughters, my eldest, Amanda, was fifteen. She got accepted into a ballet program in New York City. Mama bear was like, “We’re not living in Nicaragua with the baby bear in New York City.” We came back to Shepherdstown and we’ve been here for the last couple of years.

Your perspective on what’s going on in emerging markets is intriguing. My wife is from Mexico originally and grew up there. I grew up in the Northeast. The differing perspectives helped me. I had a bigger view of the world and how people live. We see innovation all around us in the US. Oftentimes because of how big the world is, we’re seeing what’s on TV as far as how to determine what type of growth is occurring or what’s going on outside the US. Why don’t you talk briefly about what you saw in emerging markets, specifically the Central America markets? What are you seeing? You raised your kids in Nicaragua. You say that to a normal person they look at you funny, which I’m sure people have looked at you funny in the past. Talk about that and what your experience is versus the stigma that’s out there.

The best concept I can put around this is a time machine. Going to a country like Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Belize, anywhere in Central America is literally like getting in a time machine. In my presentations, I sometimes will ask this question. I say, “If HG Wells stopped in the middle of this room with this time machine and we could all jump on it. Take one check and go back twenty years. We could all make one investment. How many of us would come back to this moment wealthier?” Everybody puts up their hand or a few people are a little slow and they don’t know. The hindsight’s 20/20. What we see in the developing world, Central America specifically in this case, is we see the time machine concept. That’s the more imaginative word that I use, but the more technical word is the path of progress.

A country like Costa Rica and Panama are pretty far up this curve. Panama because of the Canal and we’ve had US military presence there for 100 years. Costa Rica because many years ago they jumped on the bandwagon of tourism and promoted themselves as a tourist destination. They have moved up this popularity curve, the path of progress curve. Whereas a country like Belize is a little further down and a country like Nicaragua is far down. If folks want this curve, I’ll send it to you and you can forward it onto folks. It’s a pretty powerful visual tool because here’s how I put the countries on it. What I said to myself was, “Where do people from Utah or Midwest America or wherever take their honeymoons?” Pacific Coast to Costa Rica, absolutely. People going to Costa Rica for their honeymoons, there’s a Four Seasons or Westins. It’s fully on. Panama is almost there too. There are lots of people taking their honeymoons in Costa Rica, but not a lot of people taking their honeymoons in Nicaragua.

It is amazing how much the person can create with their minds when they have the freedom. Click To Tweet

I know a lot of your audience is cashflow people. What you’ve got to understand is that where you have popularity, you have cashflow. You have people coming and renting. Where you have less popularity or somewhere in the middle, fewer renters, less cashflow but it’s priced into the marketplace. You get into a country like Nicaragua, it doesn’t cost much. For example, an oceanfront condo on one of the ten best surf breaks in Central America. It’s been on the cover of The Surfer’s Journal, Kelly Slater films there. This is world-class surf break, empty. Oceanfront condo, $129. Will you get the cashflow you would get in Costa Rica? No, you’re not going to get the same average daily rate. You’re not going to get the ADR. You’re not going to get the occupancy rate yet. As Nicaragua climbs the curve, what’s your cost basis? Your cost basis on that’s $129. That same condo in Costa Rica costs you $350. You start to run those numbers. I’m a big fan of diversification. You should have a little bit of both. Plug either place real hard. Get some across that whole spectrum. The path of progress is to be the single most important takeaway at 30,000 feet, time machine. I’ll give your audience the best tip. The first person who puts that Dairy Queen in Nicaragua is going to clean up. We have McDonald’s, Quiznos, Subway, TGI Friday’s, all these chains but there are no Dairy Queen.

Countries or destinations, there’s a brand. In and of itself, it’s a brand. If you think of Costa Rica, something comes to mind. If you think of Nicaragua, something comes to mind. If you think of Guatemala, something comes to mind. If you think of Mexico, something comes to mind. I look at Costa Rica and how beautiful it is and it’s a supply and demand issue. The reason why you can get a beachfront condo there is because there’s only so much beachfront and it also has brand recognition. When you have more people going, which is increasing because of the older population retiring and wanting to travel and go on cruises and so forth, that’s when essentially at some point doesn’t make sense because there’s only so much beachfront.

That’s where you look at similar destinations. Case in point, who knows where Belize is? Most people know where Mexico is. Most people know where Panama is because of the Panama Canal, but where’s Belize? Most people don’t know that, but it’s coming online because it embodies some of the characteristics of some of those popular destinations. There are others, Nicaragua is one. I have some friends that are in Guatemala and they’re doing these pictures of these huge mansions that they’re staying in. How beautiful they are for the cost of a hotel room in Costa Rica. It’s one of those things that Central America specifically, despite its issues which are in the headlines, is coming into its own and appeasing the demand that’s out there for beautiful places to travel to.

Belize was the first place I did business. I still do business there. Belize on that curve is in the sweet spot. It’s not as mature as Panama or Costa Rica. It’s not as unpopular as a country like Nicaragua. It’s in the middle, so it’s got cashflowness now. Southwest started flying in. They’ve opened up some new routes coming from Denver, they’re from Fort Lauderdale now and they’re in from Hobby Houston. WestJet in 2017 opened up from Toronto. They’re opening up from Calgary. You have these discount carrier airlines coming in, bringing the more mainstream tourists to a country like Belize. We’d been working there since 1994. When I moved to Belize with my wife, we lived in this little tiny resort on Ambergris Caye. A few years ago, we bought the property next door. We’ve since signed a franchise agreement with Marriott Corporation and we’re in the development phase. We’ll be into construction Q1 of next year for a Marriott Resort and Residences on Ambergris Caye. The market is ready for it. Years ago, the market would not have been ready for a Marriott-class hotel.

The folks you’ve talked with on your program before, they’re working with the Curio Hilton product there on Ambergris Caye. There’s a Marriott Autograph under construction as well. We’re seeing this interesting transformative moment in time in Belize. I wrote an article on this concept of the timing of that sweet spot of the marketplace and how the market has transformed over the many years since I’ve been working there. It’s neat to watch these things happen over a couple of decades and be a part of that transformation as well. To help folks like your audience to see these opportunities. Understand what these opportunities are and how they might best fit depending on their investment goals are. Some people like cashflow, but they’re willing to take less percentage cashflow but a more certain cashflow. People want to take a little riskier, buying in it cheaper and other people want the sweet spot. Knowing this big picture concept allows people to put themselves in the spot that best fits their investment goals, which is what you’re all about and what we’re all about. It’s all about the client. How can we help the client get what they are looking for in terms of an investment and a return type?

TWS 15 | Opportunities For Development

Opportunities For Development: At the end of the day, what businesses are all about is the client.


This is where I talk to you about the theme that we’ve been using in 2018. It continues to fascinate me because there’s a saying that we’ve used. John Locke was a philosopher in the 1700s, “The pursuit of life, liberty and property,” in which ultimately became part of the Declaration of Independence. Back then, we’re losing in Europe, which is still under the semi-authoritative rule. Talking about how a person can use their mind when they have freedom and essentially develop the property into something that’s valuable to other people. Those such as yourself who see the beauty in these different countries whether it’s Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama or any other beautiful place and figured out ways in which you can create a resort. Create an environment where people could have experiences.

It’s profound and that’s where I look at. You’ve opened the doors and others have opened the doors of development, which has allowed bigger brands to come in. Those bigger brands don’t need to take those types of risks. They essentially look for opportunities to piggyback on the risk that has already been taken. I look at the development of Central America and those beautiful places all year round and how desirable they’re going to be for the growing population of travelers and vacationers. You can make any comments you want in regard to that. I wanted to talk about something that I find fascinating with what you’re doing in regard to teak, which plays into this whole idea and whole theme too of taking something and creating a business opportunity out of it. Maybe speak to the comment I made in regard to the development of these beautiful places in the world then we can get into the teak conversation.

I wrote an article for the National Association of Realtors. I was the Director with the National Association of Realtors and now serve on their Global Business and Alliances Committee. I wrote an article about that whole part of why real estate is an incredibly powerful foundation for the United States. Jefferson tweaked it when he changed it to happiness, but the property was the foundation for that concept and private property specifically that allows people to take and find the highest, best use and then serve clients. I’ve been a student of the development process and I’ve given some presentations on a Semester at Sea about this exact topic. There are a lot of great books out there. One that is powerful and you’re probably familiar with Hernando de Soto, The Mystery Of Capital. It’s a phenomenal read that in my mind encapsulates the development process or the development challenges in Central and South America or the developing world.

Companies like ours come in, we address the risk factor. We bring technology. It’s a mental technology. It’s a process. It’s a system of development, but it’s also a philosophical construct in the sense that we bring the idea that the pie can get bigger. A lot of the developing world is zero-sum or the pie is big. If you get any, I get less. There is no bigger making of the pie. Curio Hilton, the Marriott Autograph, these are my competitors. We understand as North Americans that the McDonald’s on one corner does okay. You stick a Burger King, KFC and a Wendy’s on the other three, all four do better. All the car dealerships are on that same highway somewhere. These are philosophical constructs that we bring. It’s a technology that we bring as foreigners into the developing world and probably as much as our money. Certainly, our money’s important because capital is an issue as Hernando de Soto draws out well in his book.

Capital is important, but intellectual capital is equally vital to the process of progress and development as we would define it in the United States. It’s what gets me up in the morning. This is what motivates me. We want to make money. We’re a company. We’re in business to make money and serve our shareholders and clients, first the client and then our shareholders. At the end of the day, that’s not what gets me out of bed and gets me excited. It’s this ability to come and be transformative to a developing country with both the money and the intellectual capital as well to change how it’s viewed and how things are done.

In business, it is the team that translates an idea, business plan, and concept into reality. Click To Tweet

That’s what Locke meant. He understood this internal drive of humankind to create. Once you have that lens, you can see. I was watching The Jungle Book with my son the other day. Mowgli, what separated him from the animals? It’s his ability to think and come up with solutions. Locke understood that. He also understood the restriction is going to be the environment in which it takes place. Where if you do have a monarchical rule, they’re dictating how you live therefore that part of your drive is going to be suppressed. When there is freedom, when there is an opportunity and then you combine capital with it and property, that’s when there are some amazing things that can be created from it. There are examples of it everywhere.

Going to your business, development of actual real estate property is a feat in and of itself. I don’t think most people understand or value what goes into effective development of something that could take six months, nine months, a year and how all the different parts and things need to be orchestrated. There’s much beauty in how you take something that doesn’t exist and turn into something that does exist or at least exists at a fundamental rudimentary level and then turns it into something that’s a desirable place to go visit and create memories. It’s fascinating to think through. Let’s talk teak. Teak fits into the same idea. When people think of teak, it’s like, “Wood or is that a stain?” Tell us about your passion with teak.

There is one answer to that question. The answer is people. The answer is your team. The team is what translates an idea, business plan, and concept into reality. It’s all about the people and we’re fortunate to have an incredibly powerful, sophisticated and dedicated team on the ECI company. Teak is cool because I didn’t know anything about it. Back in 1998, we read an article by Kathy Peddicord. She wrote an article about teak as a reforestation product. Both Vietnam and Panama had a reforestation program. There were a group of six guys. We all got together and said, “Let’s throw in some money. Let’s do this teak thing.” We flew over to Vietnam for several days. This was ‘98. This is early Vietnam changing. What we realized was it was way too far. The timezone was exactly twelve hours or whatever opposite East Coast. It would’ve been a real nightmare to manage.

We also went down to Panama and we saw that the reforestation center programs there were pretty strong as well. Being the boots on the ground guy, it was my job to go and begin to figure this out. The other guys all had jobs. Joel was a lawyer, I’m boots on the ground guy so, “Go figure it out.” This is the long before Google, ‘98. I live about an hour and a half west of Washington DC. I live in the Shenandoah Valley. Back then, I did a couple with that many years in the middle of Nicaragua. I went down to the Library of Congress and I got a bunch of books on teak. What I found was teak has been raised in the plantation by the British starting a few hundred years ago in India, what was then Burma, Myanmar now, Indonesia. These books that I was referencing were incredible because they had a few hundred years of statistical record keeping of soil conditions, weather, rainfall, altitudes, on and on. I got smart enough to be able to go to Panama and interview forestry companies about taking on our project. Helping us find a piece of property and then managing. I knew I scratched the first layer of the onion, but I needed to at least understand if somebody was blowing smoke at me on their answers to some of my questions.

TWS 15 | Opportunities For Development

The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else

The company we ultimately selected is a company called Geoforestal. One of the principal reasons is they answered all the questions. They’ve been in business well. They were the company that grew the seedlings that most of the other forestry companies in Panama used to plant plantations. They were getting into the management side of things. We took a little chance on them, but they’d been in the nursery business for a long time and the genetics side of the teak. We hired them and we bought 100-acre cattle pasture. It was grass and brush and we cleared it. The forest company planted some number of teak trees and sat back for the last many years. The forestry company manages it. They thin it, they take care of it. This would have been ‘99. The trees went in the ground in July and August of 1999.

I’m in the Rotary Club. I live across the street from the Bavarian Inn. It’s right on the Potomac River. They have the Rotary meeting there every Tuesday morning. I’d slip across the street at 7:00 and eat breakfast until 7:30. The bell rings. You have your Rotary meeting. From 7:00 to 7:30, there’ll be a table of eight or ten folks and like, “Mike, you missed the meeting last week. Where were you?” I said, “I was down in Panama.” They said, “What are you doing in Panama?” I said, “We bought this farm. We’re going to plant these teak trees and in 25 years we’re going to cut them down and we’re going to make a lot of money.” The heads would shake and they’re like, “Your crazy, Cobb. What are you doing? Panama? 25 years?” The answer I got finally after a couple of weeks of hearing this nonsense around the tables was like, “In many years, I’m going to either need this money and be glad I did this or in many years I’m not going to need the money and I’m going to be glad I did this.”

Many years later, I’m glad I did this. Our trees are big around. They’re fourteen to eighteen-inch diameter and they’re 60, 70-feet tall. Our trees are average. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re growing. In a few more years, we’re going to harvest them and make a ton of money and we’re going to replant. In fact, I’ve got a guy headed down there to look for a new property. We’re going to pick up another 250 acres and plant another plantation in Panama. We’re doing the same thing in Nicaragua. We’ve planted about 60 acres of our Gran Pacifica property. We’ve surveyed off another 45 to plant this year. We’re continuing to plant teak because teak is one of those incredible investments.

You’re a Kiyosaki fan. I’m a Kiyosaki fan and the rental and the cashflow and that stuff are important. When we think about cashflow periods, most of us think about maybe it’s every two weeks we get a paycheck. Every month we get a rent check from somebody if we’re doing the Kiyosaki cashflow thing or we have stocks and bonds and we’re not a day trader. Maybe we’re moving in and out of those annually or every rate. Our periods tend to be a couple of weeks to maybe a couple of years. The thing about teak that I love and it’s not something you would do a lot of your money with. A small piece of your assets goes into what I call the 25-year cap flow period.

There’s nothing in the middle. They grow and you cut them down. You create this huge asset. You cut them down, you plant them again. In 25 years, you come down for the next generation. One of the tabs on your website is legacy. Teak specifically for us because we liked the region of Central America and teak grows exceptionally well in those latitudes of about ten to twelve degrees. Panama sits at 9.86, it’s right there at ten. Perfect rainfall, perfect soils, it works well. I have stocks and bonds. I have a 401(k) and I’ve got other investments. I’ve got properties at that two-week cashflow, one-month, two-year cashflow. We all need that in our lives.

Someday when I die, if I died now, my kids would be fourteen and eighteen. Hopefully, they wouldn’t go sell off all my stocks and buy Ferraris and Lamborghinis. I won’t be around. I don’t know what they’ll do. The nice thing about teak is even in a few more years, they’ll be twenty and 24. They’ll be more mature. Even if my two daughters had blown the money on Lamborghinis or whatever it was they bought, it gets replanted. In 25 more years when they’re in their 50s, they’re going to get another harvest to proceed and presumably they’d be a lot more mature and be able to steward that money better then. It gets cut down, it gets replanted and maybe the next ones for their kids. It’s a powerful generational wealth stewardship tool precisely because it’s not liquid. Everyone’s always, “Liquidity.” It’s important. I get it like most of your portfolio. If you can take 5% or 10% of your portfolio and lock it up and make it illiquid, I personally believe you are doing future generations an incredible favor. You’re locking it up and keeping it out of the hands of late teen, early twenty-year-old kids.

Sometimes we’ll classify these types of assets as perennial assets, which are assets that ultimately last forever. Sometimes it doesn’t appease the short-term intrigue people have with regards to investment. It doesn’t mean that they’re not valuable. In a sense, they’re even more valuable. What it does is it plants this one investment that will have consistent dividends which will require probably little to no increase in operational expenses, barring inflation and cost of living increases. It’s not to say that’s an asset that’s boring. When you compare it to a lot of the investment that has been made over the last many years, which is mostly in real estate and markets where there is good rent to value ratios, that’s where you have a lot of opportunity for short-term gain, but yet they’re not perennial assets.

The example I gave to you is if you buy fifteen homes in Columbus, it’s going to outperform a teak investment in the short-term. 25 years from now, I’m not sure how valuable those homes in Columbus will be without massive amounts of operational costs and improving expenses. The idea is it’s a different type of investment. This is more of a legacy perennial type of investment, whether it’s a farmland or timber or another mineral type of investments. There are lots of opportunities there. What I found fascinating is you’re intrigue getting into the research at the Library of Congress into the nature of teak and why it’s desirable. If something takes that long to harvest, that’s an asset that you are not going to have much competition in because of how long it’s going to take to play out. Talk about how teak works and what that opportunity is as far as how it’s used, what the demand is and so forth.

That is one of the things. If all of a sudden in 2019 or the year after teak becomes even more in demand, you can’t rush out and make it. You had to have planted them many years ago. It takes foresight and it takes the ability to understand that these products should. It’s a future event. We all understand the investment concept of a future event. Who knows? Nobody can predict the future. The nice thing about teak with a 350-year track record, it’s been in the plantation, it’s been in demand for a few hundred years. Teak has increased in value by about 5.50% a year on average for 100 years. It’s got its ups and downs, it’s a commodity. It moves up and down. 5.50% per year growth in the value of teak, we’re talking about the growth of the tree. We’re talking about lumber sold as lumber, 5.50% a year. You have the actual growth of the trees. The kinds of IRRs when you run those numbers are double digit.

It’s 10% to 12% IRRs over 25 years. You’re talking about compounding over 25 years at that rate. It’s huge and the easy numbers. $50,000 turns into a little over $1 million round number things. The idea is that it doesn’t take much to get in now, but the legacy you leave for the kids, grandkids in 25 years are significant. Teak is a unique wood in the sense that it’s impervious to rot, fungus, molds. It’s a hardwood and it has high oil content. In fact, for centuries they used teak for dominant wood in the oil industry because it didn’t spark. It had some curious industrial uses. We’re most familiar with it with boats. The chairs on the Titanic as well as the decks were all teak wood. Teak furniture weathers well, it holds up to the environment. Teak is an incredibly long-lasting product that has a centuries-old track record of being in demand for its natural properties for the most part.

My parents live on Cape Cod but my uncle has been there forever. He bought this Grand Banks, which are these old iconic trawlers. The majority of the value is in the wood and it’s all teak.

Teak is exceptionally valuable.

Are there other ways in which people can follow you or learn more about you?

ECIDevelopment.com. Info@ECIDevelopment.com or MCobb@ECIDevelopment.com will find its way to me. That’s our property website. If you’re interested in that popularity chart, it’s part of our Consumer Resource Guide. We publish a consumer resource guide. It’s not a sales document and it’s got the fifteen questions that every property buyer should ask when they buy property overseas. Questions that we as North Americans wouldn’t necessarily think to ask. If any of your folks are thinking about a property overseas, this Consumer Resource Guide is great. Send an email to Info@ECIDevelopment.com and write Consumer Resource Guide or something in the subject line. If they’re interested in the teak, write teak in the subject line and we’ll send something out about that. They’re separate businesses, but that’s probably the easiest one-word answer to be able to get to me. I would love to provide some articles as well. It’s good stuff for folks if they want to dig a little deeper.

Mike, thanks so much for your passion and for sharing it with us. It’s been an awesome conversation.

Thanks for having me and I’m glad we got locked in there. That was fantastic.

It was fun. Take care, Mike.

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About Mike Cobb

TWS 15 | Opportunities For Development

In 1996, Michael K. Cobb and his business partner formed a company, Exotic Caye International, to provide loans to North Americans purchasing properties in Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, and throughout the region. With a strong focus on consumer need, Mr. Cobb accurately predicted the growing demand for high quality, residential product for North American “baby boomer” retirees in the region. He led the group into real estate development and created a holding company called ECI Development for several properties, including a resort on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Michael speaks at dozens of international conferences annually about offshore real estate finance, development, and ownership. He was a consultant to The Oxford Club, hosted a weekly radio program, contributes regularly to overseas publications, sits on the board of several international companies, gives counsel to various real estate projects throughout Central America, and serves on the Board of Directors and the President’s Advisory Group for the National Association of Realtors.


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