financial freedom

Italy – The Past, The Present And The Future

TWS FF 10 | Raise For Life

 

Humans are designed to grow, to expand, and to solve new problems. It may be at various levels and capacities based on our uniqueness, but we all have that within each of us.  With that in mind, how do you get a 10% raise for life? There are actually more opportunities to work from home or work in a place you want to live in because of how society is progressing. Everything is within your reach because of the internet. Knowing that all these options exist creates focus and ultimately a path to build your value statement. In this episode, Patrick tackles how to make more money or make the same amount of money with less time and do it every year.

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Italy – The Past, The Present And The Future

Financial Friday

I am in a different location than Salt Lake City, Utah, my home office. I’m actually in Florence, Italy. My wife has had a dream of coming here for so many years and there’s actually a conference that I’m attending so we’re excited to extend a little bit and visit a few cities. We were in Milan, then went to Venice for a few days, then came here to the conference in Florence. Then we’re headed to Rome for a few days. We’re hitting all of the hot spots. I thought what would be appropriate for this episode is to talk about Italy, the past, the present and the future, and what that has to do with you specifically in regards to the idea of compound interest. Get ready for another episode.

Let’s first talk about the past. I’ve mentioned this in episodes of the past, but Italy is actually credited as being the ground zero for banking. It’s really the more robust organizations. They had massive influence that started here in Italy and you can still see signs of that. One of the most prominent families, probably one of the more well-known ones was the Medici family. You could see their coat of arms everywhere and it’s popular here. I learned a few different things I thought that would be interesting for you. First off, they’re the first prominent banking family that had tremendous influence during the Renaissance era. Eventually part of this line became Popes and lots of influence. From a banking perspective, here’s something that’s pretty fascinating. They’re credited with the creation of double accounting using two variables: credits and debits. The banking family also funded the creation of the opera and they also funded the creation of the piano. These are things that we look at every day and realize that they’re just a part of our culture, but they weren’t necessarily here several thousand years ago. It’s interesting to see that history behind it and that it was funded by credit, by somebody taking a loan, using that loan to make something. In this case, it was opera and the piano.

However, a lot of the early banking families like the Rothschilds, obviously the Medici family is also part of it, they lent a lot of money to the Catholic Church. In addition to these ventures, the opera and the piano, the Medici family also funded the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica, which is at the Vatican City. That’s also very interesting. Then there’s a bank in Siena, which is the oldest bank still running today and it was founded in 1472. Before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, there was an Italian bank that was up and running and it’s called the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. That’s essentially very instrumental in creating what we know as banking now.

Let’s get to the transition to the present. You look around Italy and it’s such an amazing culture. I’ve never been here before, but there’s beauty everywhere. The art, the cathedrals, the ornateness of everything, the food, the culture is so rich. Why don’t they have the power that they once did? They were the superpower of the world. Obviously, Rome being one of the greatest examples of a society that rose and then subsequently fell. There are many variables. If you look at why they lost so much power, I put it into two primary reasons. The first reason is the wealthy that were clearly intelligent, mainly coming from banking and being able to lend on ventures that were suitable for lending, such as the opera such as the piano, there are lots of different trade ships and the shipping industry being funded by banks. They had it going really well and there were some incredibly wealthy nobles and non-nobles.

What you started to find was that there became this idea that in order for the wealthy person to get into heaven, they had to make some pretty big donations to the church for them to be permitted to go to heaven. It was interesting. There are several different comments on some of the tours we took that talked about how much of the wealthy’s money went into funding, just these incredible cathedrals and churches, which is nice because we still have that today. At the same time, you look at the productivity and the wealth that was created in the first place, the ability to analyze and price-risk that it wouldn’t do something that really did not produce anything.

Humans are designed to grow, to expand, and to solve new problems. Click To Tweet

Second variable is that disruption happens. What happened in 1492? Columbus sailed the ocean blue, new trade routes were created, new trade partners were created. It no longer was the Mediterranean Sea. It really became to the Americas and slowly the Roman empire as well as Italy and their significance started to falter. It’s interesting to see how us as humans and our race, how we innovate and we’re always making things better and new things are created that we don’t necessarily anticipate. It ruins businesses sometimes. Just look at what the retail industry is becoming because of Amazon, you have disruption and you have cycles and you have new ways of doing business. It puts the older businesses, established business on the fritz. You see that quite often, especially in our day and age, and it happened back then too.

Let’s transition to today. Italy today is part of the European Union. This is the present. It’s not doing so well. However, Italy has a pretty big economy. It’s about a $2 trillion economy. It’s part of the European Union. I think it’s either fourth or fifth as far as its GDP. $2 trillion is its GDP. The issue with Italy is that from a banking perspective, they should be the experts in loans. If they’re the ones where banking originated, right now their GDP is over 150% and their credit rating is one notch above junk. Junk is considered a very high-risk bond or a high-risk investment. That’s where Italy’s bond rating is right now. One of the riskiest countries out there, one of the poorest situations, they’re in a recession. They had some negative quarters of GDP in 2018.

I’m going to give you one example of some of the stuff they’re spending money on. They’re taking out loans, you would think with a background in banking that they would know how to price the risk of different ventures just as a culture. They committed money to building this tunnel that goes underneath the Alps and it connects to France. I know the European Union has pledged money for it as well as France and a few other countries. However, Italy pledged 30%, 35% of the project and the project from the get-go has a negative $7 billion return. Obviously the point of making an investment with debt is to have a positive return. That’s the nature of debt. Oftentimes when you put debt in the hands of government politicians, they don’t necessarily have the incentive to always be profitable. It’s to do what’s good for everyone, yet there are a lot of unintended consequences with that, such as the situation they’re in right now where they have way more debt than they have GDP. As interest rates should be creeping in on their ability to go into Junk status and possibly be defunct and bankrupt. What’s interesting is the whole concept of bankruptcy originated in Italy, banco rotto, which is like a broken table because banking used to happen on a table. That’s where banco comes from.

This is where Italy’s at. I looked at where they’re priced in the market and they’re priced at a very interesting interest rate. In the United States, typically to understand the medium of short-term and long-term bonds, you have the ten-year yield. In Italy, it is basically at the same level as the US’ ten-year bond. That shows you just how mispriced the markets are when it comes to the underlying collateral, which is in this case, Italy’s government and being on par with the United States who has the best credit rating that’s out there. It’s just fascinating. The reason why it’s priced like that in the present is because you have the European Union, the European Central Bank, is ultimately going to be forced to bail them out. Who knows what the future is going to be? Oftentimes the fundamentals, the logical way of thinking as far as A plus B plus C equals this, “If this happens, then this should happen. Then this should happen.” It’s the human being’s ability to deduce and the ability to be rational and understand connections. At the same time, human beings also have the tendency more often than not to be irrational and their behaviors don’t reflect logic.

That comes down to the future. That in the future we don’t really know what’s going to happen. We can speculate but right now, Japan has been operating at over 200% debt to GDP for a really long time. They keep on going. Obviously, they have their own central bank, which is the Bank of Japan, whereas Italy does not see the European Central Bay because they’re part of the European Union. They can’t create their own currency. It would be interesting what the future holds. What this does show is that there are a lot of things that are out of whack and things are changing very quickly as far as technology, as far as the new people coming online, new technologies. That disruption is what creates companies going out of business, countries having major issues politically. What does that have to do with you? That has a lot to do with you because we live in a world that is interconnected.

The majority of American savings, which I’m assuming the majority of my audience are Americans, the majority of savings is tied to markets and markets are affected and impacted by a few things, the speculation of what things are right. For instance, the two and a half percent-ish that the Italian tenure is at as far as yield is concerned. That’s priced into expecting that the European Central Bank is going to bail them out. If they don’t bail them out, what is going to happen? You’re going to have a tumbling in the bond market, which means prices are going to go down quite a bit and the yield is going to spike to where normal levels should be for a country that has a bad rating. Right now, the expectation is that the European Central Bank’s going to bail them out. Therefore, the yield is still pretty stable. You look at other aspects of the market and what it prices and sometimes it’s rational, sometimes it’s not. The disruption and how quickly things are evolving shows that there is going to be volatility. When you have volatility, you have a much higher probability of loss when asset prices go down.

Let me hit on one more point. I look at my experience here in Italy because it’s not just the debt to GDP, which is really high, but there’s super high unemployment, almost 11%. Walking around the streets of these different countries, you wouldn’t think that there is a high unemployment rate. The people of Italy seem to be very productive. What I mean by that is they don’t open until 10:30, 11:00 in the morning, stores, cafes, restaurants, and then they close for the majority of the afternoon for like a siesta. Then they open up at night and they still are profitable. I look at the amount of youth that are on the street as well as a lot of the businesses that I have observed. There’s a lot of productivity. It’s a very dynamic people too. You look at how beautiful the hills are, the environment is the tourism that exists here. It’s incredible. Those resources are there for the Italian people. Yet oftentimes that’s not what is relied upon for things to rebound. It’s typically government who intervenes and thinks that they know the right decisions to make. Apparently that’s not working out so well for most companies, but we’re not going to have to be talking about that more than what I’ve already mentioned.

Let’s get to the last aspect of this short episode of Financial Friday, which is compound interest. One of the things that I see as the biggest misunderstanding or financial point that is made that is never questioned, which is the idea of compound interest. Compound interest is typically defined when an amount, typically money, is earning interest and then that interest earns interest, and that continues to grow. The hockey stick example is often used, exponential growth is often used. The rule of 72 applies to compound interest. Whenever it comes to something that can lose, when there is a loss available and anything that is assessed as being a compound interest, the whole notion of compound interest must be questioned. Here’s why. I used this example in the book that I wrote in Heads I Win, Tails You Lose. I hit on it a few different times because a lot of the claims in financial services with typical financial planning, is that because the market has earned certain rates of return in the past that they use that even though they disclaim that the past results are not indicative of what future results are going to be, they still use it. They use an interest rate to determine how interest compounds over time. If the market has averaged let’s say 10% over the last 30 years, then that 10% is used every single year without loss to determine what an end value will be.

TWS FF 10 | Raise For Life

Raise For Life: As you’re doing research and due diligence on what is available to you to make more money, make sure that it is fulfilling and aligns with who you are.

 

Here’s the problem with that is if you actually look at the nature of markets, when a market goes up and interest is earned, but then the market goes down and there is a loss, what happens next is very important. You can’t just measure the number because if you look at an average return, if you lose 50% in the market and then you earn 50% that next year, so one year you lose 50% in the next year and you gain 50%, you’re not going to be at zero. If you earn 50% and then lose 50%, you’re going to be at zero. Why is that the case? Let’s look at 2008. The markets collapsed in 2008 and the S&P lost about 40%. Math shows that if it lost 40%, it’s going to get back to breakeven if it earns 40% because negative 40 plus 40 is zero divided by two is zero. However if you have a $200,000 balance, you lose 40%, $40,000 and then you gained back 40%, you’re only gaining back 40% on $60,000.

Let me do that math for you again. If you start with $100,000 and in 2008 you lose 40%, your balance is $60,000. If you earn 40%, you’re earning not on a hundred, you’re earning on 60% which is only $24,000. You’re at $84,000 not back to a hundred but yet the average return is zero. There was an event that boil my blood because he’s talking about compound interest and talk about average returns and they were showing what the future will look like if these average returns are earned. The claim was made that if you didn’t participate in the 300% increase in the market over the course of the last ten years, then you lost out. I’ve heard that quite a bit, not just from this group. This group particularly hit home because there’s an affinity that I have with so many other of their teachings. This thing totally spun me because of the notion of compound interest and just how misunderstood even at very high levels this concept is.

I ran some numbers. The numbers show that from 2008 to 2018, the eleven-year period of time, the market losing was 38.49% in the S&P 500. The gains that it earned since 2009, if you look at the increase that it’s being talked about, it’s the level of the S&P and the level that it’s at now, which we argued that those two levels show almost a 300% increase. However, that is not how money works. That’s how math works, where you can measure those two points and show the increase but you’re missing time. Number one, you’re missing ten years there. 300% in one year is amazing. Over the course of ten years, not so much. Even if you look at a 30% average, which you just took 300 divided by ten. That’s not reality. The average return is actually only 6.74% over that eleven-year period of time if you factor in the 38% loss. If you factor in management fees, 1%, then you factor in taxes, the actual return is just above 2.5%. That is how profoundly misunderstood this concept is.

When you hear average returns, that’s something that you want to call into question. If it has to do with an account that can lose money, where your balance can actually have a loss in a year. The notion of compound interest must be analyzed at a much higher economic level where you are able to factor in the actual losses of money, not just the losses of an interest rate. I didn’t want to lose you too much. I’m going to post a video that I did on compound interest because this will help kind of go through these examples. When you think, do you like what you’re reading? Is this interesting to you? Do you like some of the history of banking? I hope that you take some action and actually go and study what compound interest is, how it works. These videos are very short, ten, twelve minutes the particular one I’m referring to. I know that it will make a big difference because it will give you some knowledge, give you some education that as you’re learning about finance and seeing how it applies to you specifically, most people will ultimately run some compound interest calculations, make so you do it the right way.

If you wouldn’t mind and if you’re not subscribed to the YouTube channel, subscribe. If you aren’t following me on social media, Instagram, Facebook, I love to connect with you. I try to post as much as possible. I’m posting about being here in Europe. It’s a fantastic trip. I hope you get to come here if you haven’t already. Also if you would do some reviews, if you review in iTunes, that really helps us get the word out, get the message out. I love to hear your feedback. Thanks for tuning into this episode of Financial Friday.

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The Pursuit Of Financial Certainty And Happiness with Will Street – Part 1

TWSFF 06 | Financial Certainty

 

Everyone wants financial freedom, but not everyone is willing take responsibility to create one for themselves. Wealth strategist Will Street enlightens everyone on the importance of taking ownership of your finances. We can never be certain of the risk, but not taking the risk will not get you anywhere near financial certainty. Will shares stories of risks taken by investors and what we can learn from it. Failure is inevitable, but what makes a difference is rising up, learning from these failures, and having the will to continue the pursuit of financial certainty and happiness.

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The Pursuit Of Financial Certainty And Happiness with Will Street – Part 1

Financial Friday

I’m here with my good pal, Will Street. How are you doing, Will?

I’m good. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a podcast.

It’s going to be a fun one because we’re going to talk about the context of some of the guests we’ve had on so far for Financial Friday. We’re going to review an article probably as a part two that is going to help us prove or hits home some of these points. I look at finance and I look at it from probably a different perspective than most and I think you’re starting to grasp that. You had the legal background and practiced in the financial sector as an attorney, which gave you a perspective and then being here for a few years now. You’ve worked with a lot of individuals personally, but you’ve also heard things about the situations of people when it comes to finances. It’s helped you fine-tune perspective when it comes to what financial success is and what it isn’t. Talk to that briefly. What have you seen as the reasoning behind what creates success for people financially? What gets them into trouble, gets them to make bad investment decisions or financial decisions?

TWSFF 06 | Financial Certainty

Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win

I finished reading the book, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. I’ve read/listened to it. I had it and then I listened to the Audible version driving into work. The whole premise behind Extreme Ownership is you own everything. If there’s something within your sphere of influence, as a leader, he’s talking about it from the Navy SEALs perspective. You don’t cast blame on other people, you own it.

It’s your responsibility, your stewardship.

If something isn’t going right, don’t point fingers at somebody else. Look at what you could have done better to improve the outcome. To go back to your question, many people nowadays are passive when it comes to what they do financially. They assume that somebody else, whether it’s the government or Wall Street or businesses or whoever has their best interest at heart.

They’re competent to give them the advice that they should trust.

Things didn’t go well. Immediately, they look outward to try and cast blame on somebody else. My philosophy that has evolved over time is this idea that if I want to get somewhere financially or if a client wants to get somewhere financially, it’s got to start with us. It’s got to start with what we know, with what we understand, with what our objectives are and putting together a game plan to get there. It’s no one’s responsibility more than it is our own. That’s something that I didn’t understand the notion of Extreme Ownership in the beginning, but as people get into trouble it has to do with not taking an active role in what they do financially. Making assumptions that things will fall into place a certain way, that somebody else is looking out for their best interest and them not doing nearly what they need to do to take ownership of their own.

You’ve got to realize that all human beings, number one, we’re fallible. We all have opinion and we all have a perspective. Opinion and perspective can go hand-in-hand. Individuals tend to delegate responsibility to others, especially when it comes to things that they don’t understand. It’s easy. That’s the easy button. If they’re competent, they have experience and you don’t have to go through the trouble of learning everything, it makes common sense. That’s where most people get in trouble. What do you do? If you don’t have all the time in the world to study every single financial decision that you make, what’s the route that you take?

On this show, we’ve had individuals that represent a commodity type of investment. We’ve had Gene Guarino, who I’ve known for a long time. He has a new fund and investment in a cool niche part of the real estate industry. We’ve also had note investing guys in here. If you go to the Cash Flow Wealth Summit, the first presentation of Financial Fridays was my presentation at the Cash Flow Wealth Summit, which hits on a lot of this. We have the Hierarchy of Wealth, which helps to categorize where investments are. A lot of the categorization has to do with what you understand or the degree of certainty and control you have over whatever the financial decision is, whatever the asset is. In the Cash Flow Wealth Summit, we’ve had every type of real estate investing you can think of. We’ve had FlipNerd on and Mike Hambright on there. We’ve had Mobile Home. Andrew Lanoie was on as well for Financial Fridays.

These are all sorts of investment ideas, their perspectives, the little niches that people have and they’re presenting opportunities. You and I both know that there are a lot of opportunities out there that don’t end up the way that they were intended. That’s where I’ve tried to hit on this notion of instead of asking about the details or features and benefits of the actual underlying investment, it’s also to start to look into the business itself. The operations, the people involved because that’s where it starts to fall apart. There are some other things that you can do. That’s how I look at finances. I never try to discount anything.

When somebody claims or somebody says their perspective, I don’t say, “You’re right and I trust you,” I say, “That’s an interesting perspective and that’s valuable to me regardless of what the perspective is.” I start to ask some questions about it and verify if it’s a valid piece of advice if it’s a valid claim or not. That’s where we’ve used the three sides of the coin where you have heads, tails and the edge. Heads are one opinion, tails are the other opinion and then the edge is where you sit to make the most informed decision. As you’ve looked at investment opportunities and made financial decisions for yourself, what are some of the things that you do consistently that helps you make an informed decision?

You don't cast blame on other people, you own it. Click To Tweet

The image that I have in mind is the Cash Flow Wealth Summit is this financial buffet of all different options and different strategies, tools, experts, companies and things like that. What a lot of people tend to do when it comes to their finances is they’ve got their tray and they take a little scoop of this, they take a little scoop of that. Then they get back to their table and then start to dig into it, but there’s no rhyme or reason to it. There’s no forethought given to what they’re going to do and how these various elements might interact with each other. It goes back to your point about everyone has a perspective. Everyone has some background, some knowledge and some familiarity with something. Everybody has somewhere to start. What I try to do is recognize that, “I don’t know everything, but I do know something. I know what my risk tolerance is. I know where my interests are.

I know generally where my goals and objectives are. I can start to put together a strategy that will start to point me in that direction as opposed to taking a little bit of this, taking a little bit of that, throwing it against the wall and hoping that something sticks.” Instead of taking that buffet approach, doing some analysis of, “What do I know? What am I drawn to? What am I interested in? Do I have any prior knowledge or experience or expertise with certain assets or asset classes or companies and starting to build from there?” I love the hierarchy because it does give us our blueprint for how to build our financial game plan. If we don’t have tier one established, if we don’t have the foundation securely in place, we’ve got no business jumping to the tip-top of the hierarchy. You’ve got to start it and you’ve got to continue it in the proper sequence.

Here’s how I look at it. It’s made me think about the idea and principle of certainty. It’s like human beings have this drive toward both certainty and uncertainty. Uncertainty is variety. It’s doing new things. It’s experiencing going on a roller coaster. We have this internal drive to do that. Sometimes, choosing from the buffet of financial options, it appeals sometimes to that internal drive. That’s why we’ve developed the Hierarchy of Wealth is because the foundation is certainty. That’s where we have certain characteristics and criteria. We teach the wealth maximization account and we use that for the characteristics that it has. Above that is when the degree of uncertainty sets in. There are three tiers above that. There’s tier two, tier three and tier four. In each level up, the degree of uncertainty increases. The idea is once your foundation is set, now it can properly balance the pursuit of this uncertainty, there’s a variety of different things that you may do. Let’s talk about tier two and tier three and some of the characteristics there. I’m going to use some examples as far as some bad decisions that I’ve made and also some bad decisions that I know clients have made, actual experiences. How do you look at tier two?

If I’m walking through the hierarchy with clients, which I do. The way that I explain it is where each layer, each tier that we’re building on top of the previous, there’s a little bit more risk or a little bit less control or a little bit less certainty with the previous. We don’t have a license to take on a bunch of uncertainty and give up a bunch of control if we don’t have the most secure, the most control and the least amount of risk established. For me, that’s that bottom layer. As we’re stepping into tier two and maybe it’s a little bit less certain, a little bit riskier and a little bit less control, I’m going to look at assets like real estate. Real estate’s a broad category in and of itself. For me, what I define as a good solid tier two asset would be the good buy and hold, three-bed, two-bath rental property. Going back to my own experience and my own expertise, my wife would tell you I have basically zero construction knowledge, expertise and ability. I’ll mess up an Ikea piece of furniture. That’s how bad I am.

In other words, I’ve got no business in a flip because I have no idea what needs to be done. I don’t know if it’s being done correctly. No clue, no concept. That is outside of my area of expertise, I understand buying a property. I understand what metrics to look at when it comes to rent relative to purchase price and some of those things. A good solid tangible asset like a piece of real estate or rental property is a fantastic tier two asset for me, or for somebody else, it might be starting a business. It’s something that you have control over. It’s something that you can impact. You’re not surrendering control to somebody else. You’re not leaving it up to chance. When you wake up in the morning, you’re not looking at the ticker and finding that, “The market is in the toilet now,” and you had no control. That’s not a tier two asset. We’re looking at something that might be a little bit less control, a little bit less certain and a little bit more risk than that bottom layer. We want to be careful about how much additional risk we’re taking on or how much uncertainty we’re moving into. At least that’s my philosophy.

TWSFF 06 | Financial Certainty

Financial Certainty: A good solid tangible asset like a piece of real estate or rental property is a fantastic tier two asset. It’s something that you have control over.

 

I’m going to deviate. This comes to some stuff I’ve been thinking about. I don’t want to get into failures and some bad decisions that I’ve made and clients have made. I look at some of the events that occurred in the last couple of years. You had Robin Williams commit suicide. You had Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. There are others as well. The thoughts that I’ve had is here you have individuals, you have human beings who achieved what some people are after. People are after what they consider financial independence, financial freedom and to be at a certain level. To be successful here, to be successful there, to have a lot of money here and a lot of money there. I would argue that that’s financial freedom that might not be freedom. Tier two for me is a lot of investment in yourself. I look at where people are at and a lot of what they want to become independent from or free from. It’s something that they don’t like to do, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do.

I’ve joined an inner circle of Tony Robbins, which is called Platinum Partnership. I’ve been listening to a lot of his material. There’s something that hit me and he said, “For a fulfilling life, you have to spend between 50% and 60% doing meaningful things.” It’s the discovery that I don’t think most people ever venture to do. Meaningful things are something that drives you, something you’re inspired by, something that you know makes a difference and aligns with who you are, your talents, your abilities, your strengths. The discovery of that is part of tier two because one of the things is potentially starting a business. Retirement is an idea of escaping something. You stopped doing what you don’t like doing, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do because a part of you dies when you’re not contributing. I look at the meaningful things that people do and what drives them and why they thrive. It’s not because they make a lot of money but because there’s another interest in it besides that.

Tier two is where you can take assessments. You can take StrengthsFinder 2.0. You can take Kolbe, DISC and Myers-Briggs. There are a number of them out there. The idea is to understand more about you. It’s also to dig deep and start to pay attention and put some glasses on where you can see the world and the things that you enjoy doing, the things that make a difference. It’s starting to pursue a business that revolves around that. If you look at tier two, some of the criteria are things that you have more control over, but still have an element of uncertainty. Real estate has that, but at the same time, there’s still a degree of control that you have especially with how you determine markets. How you determine rents and values. How you determine down payments. How you determine mortgage payments versus rents. It’s one of those things where it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to have a good piece of real estate. It’s somewhat passive.

You look at other investments to make. There’s an article that I wrote a few years ago and I mentioned the idea in the book, which is how to get a 10% raise for life. Most people get a 3% raise. If you look at a 30-year career, someone that makes $100,000 will earn shy of $5 million total earnings with a 3% increase yearly. If you make a 10% increase yearly, the earnings are almost $17 million. It’s a huge difference, a little over $11 million. What’s the difference between someone that gets a 3% raise and someone that gets a 10% raise? 3% raise is because of the cost of living. It’s standard. If you look at 10%, it’s because somebody has figured out a way to create more value in either that capacity or another capacity. They get a certification. They learn management. They learn leadership. They learn how to do marketing. They learn things that create more value for an employer or for customers. That’s the idea. That opportunity is available to everyone. It’s where you have the most control when it comes to taking risks or delving into the realm of uncertainty.

It’s one of those things where all of us can think about times where we’ve done something meaningful. Maybe it’s giving to a charitable organization or serving in some way. The feeling of invigoration that comes from that, it makes you fire on all cylinders. If you can start to make that a part of what you do as a matter of practice, how much more driven are you going to be to get out of bed in the morning to work harder, to be better, to produce more. Think about somebody who’s stuck in a job that they don’t enjoy and how deflating that is and demotivating and difficult life can be and unhappy. Flip that completely 180 degrees the opposite and you start to invest in yourself and to fuel what drives you. That’s huge.

Let’s talk about some failures. We’re hitting on things that we’ve hit on before. It’s going into the context of what’s the purpose of being financially successful? What’s the end result to escape or to support or help to buffer doing the most meaningful things according to what makes the biggest difference in your life and in other people’s lives? The failure side of things, I look at all the decisions you make. You want to have trustworthy people in your life, but at the same time you have to look back and say, “Everyone has fallibility.” They make mistakes. They make bad calls. Rarely is an investment opportunity going to tell you not to invest with them. You have to look at that and that essentially gives you the area in which you can ask questions. You can dig a little bit deeper. You can verify. You can check and use your financial education to make a decision. Oftentimes, that comes as the result of not doing it. You can say, “That guy sounds like a credible guy. I’ll write him a check.” These are mistakes that I made a number of years ago. This was probably 2004, 2005.

I remember I was invited to this person’s house. In Utah, there are two things that happen at people’s houses. The first thing is it’s like MLM or network marketing company. They try to have you sell the vitamins or the juices or whatever, or it’s some investment or business. I’ve been to both. I didn’t grow up here, but I learned whenever you get that call, “I have this business I did. You’re a business guy. I think you should come and attend.” It’s one of those two things. This was an investment one. The investment opportunity was a fish farm and they had this proprietary way to breed fish. It sounded cool and the name of the company that did it was Winsome. That should have been a sign. It was a $20,000 investment and I never saw anything from it. It was a group of people that was in Sandy. It was about 30 minutes away. It’s an investment that went bad. The actual fish farm existed, it’s just that they had nobody to sell the fish to.

Individuals tend to delegate responsibility to others, especially when it comes to things that they don't understand. Click To Tweet

What was cool was this guy went to prison. This was a few years after this occurred. It was right during the time where I had tons of different failure business-wise. I was called into an FBI office. There’s a building here in Salt Lake and in the building, there are three floors of FBI. I went in there and there were no signs or whatever. I go into a huge boardroom and there are people everywhere, plus there were people on conference calls. There’s this horseshoe thing and I come in. They asked me questions like, “How did you hear about this guy? What happened? How much did you invest? What type of communication did you receive from him?” It was an interesting experience. I learned more about what this guy did. It wasn’t just people in Utah. There were a bunch of other states.

It’s one of those things where every single person that gave this guy money and it was millions of dollars. It was done by trusting that he knew what he was doing. Nobody asked questions about, “Who are your customers? Do you have contracts? Can I see those contracts? Let me see the business plan. Who else is on your team? Who’s doing the marketing? Who’s doing the operations? You’re in Texas so who’s running the thing in Puerto Rico?” It’s one of those things where nobody was asking those questions. All the questions were, “What’s the rate of return? When am I going to get my money? Do I get it monthly? Do I get it quarterly? How much is it? Could I get more?” All had to do with the financial details, not the principles, the values and the operations. That was one of the more crazy investments that I heard of.

I’ll give one that will make everybody laugh. This was in 2018. We started getting lots of people who were interested in cryptocurrency. You’re talking to them and explaining the Hierarchy of Wealth and how to position assets. People started to tell us that they were refinancing their homes and cashing out everything and putting their money in Bitcoin. This was when Bitcoin was probably $18,000, $19,000. They were convinced that Bitcoin was going to $100,000 and that was going to be the key to their retirement. This is an example that sounds ridiculous, but it was happening a lot. It was a number of instances. There’s another one too, which is the Iraqi Dinar. This was probably a few years ago when we started to get these types of calls where people were like, “I’m coming into this large sum of money, which is to the tune of potentially $500 million. I need a place to put that.” I’m not going to get into the details of that, there’s plenty of information online. Individuals, the uncertainty that they’re in pursuit of is natural. It’s not like people wake up one morning and like, “I’m going to go pursue uncertainty.” It’s one of those natural drives that compel us to want variety. We realize that, but at the same time once you realize it you have to position things so that you don’t let that get in the way for making good decisions.

TWSFF 06 | Financial Certainty

Financial Certainty: You want to have trustworthy people in your life, but at the same time you have to look back and say, “Everyone has fallibility.”

 

I would say there are a number of people I talked to that have lost money, lost investments and they value what we do a lot more than those that haven’t lost money, but at the same time, I look at that as a powerful tuition. It’s an investment and it’s an investment in your future. I got off the phone with a guy. He was a dentist. He was successful and made bad decisions. It costs him $500,000. He was like, “I want to make up for lost time.” I was like, “You didn’t lose time.” You gained time if you think about it because you learned some valuable lessons that are going to be essential as you expand your practice and as you raise your family and as you determine what your future looks like. You’re going to have so many financial decisions throughout your life, whether it’s purchase decisions, whether it’s investment decisions or whether it’s what you do with your career.

We advocate that having a foundation of certainty, which consists of financial education as well as certain assets and structure that allows you to buffer the uncertain decisions that you make. That’s where you start. It’s also to understand the values and the principles that underlie all of these decisions. Sometimes that’s the discovery of your strengths, your purpose, your mission, your calling and the pursuit of that meaningful work. We are going to be reviewing an article of a woman who studied 600 millionaires and she discovered where you choose to live has two effects on your ability to build wealth. We’re going to talk about that. We’re going to take the contrarian. Her opinion’s heads, this is tails. Stick with us until the next episode for the second segment of Financial Friday with Will Street. Thanks. We’ll see you in the next episode.

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About Will Street

TWSFF 06 | Financial Certainty

Will earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University in 2005. After graduating from BYU, Will attended the University of Iowa College of Law and received his Juris Doctor in May of 2008. Will began practicing law with the law firm of VanCott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy the oldest and one of the most well-respected law firms in the State of Utah. Will’s practice focused primarily on consumer finance-related litigation, consumer finance transactions, sale and purchase agreements, NDA’s, RFP’s, teaming agreements, security agreements, creditor’s rights in bankruptcy, and estate planning. Working directly with clients to analyze a problem, develop a solution, and working to ensure a successful resolution are what Will enjoyed most about being an attorney. Will comes to Paradigm after nearly six years in the private practice of law.

After his exposure to the Infinite Banking concept and seeing that his legal training would be directly relevant to his role at Paradigm, Will made the decision to leave his practice. Paradigm allows Will to continue to do what he enjoys most – develop client relationships, dissect problems, create solutions and work collaboratively with the client towards a successful resolution. Originally from the Tri-Cities area of Eastern Washington, Will currently resides in Salt Lake City with his wife, Sunny, and their three children.

 

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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

Financial Friday

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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