WEALTH

Wealth In A Consumeristic Society With Garrett Gunderson, Part 2

TWS 15 | Consumeristic Society

 

We’re in a consumeristic society where our idea of wealth lies in the physical things we get to have. So we consume and consume thinking that it is the only way we can quench that thirst. Garret Gunderson is back in this second part of the series to redefine the game. He shares his unique insights on wealth and what people are after with their goals. He also taps into the power of intuition, allowing it to guide him to achieve the things he wants and make a better impact.

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Wealth In A Consumeristic Society With Garrett Gunderson, Part 2

There is a saying that embodies the idea of absolute and unwavering commitment. That saying is, “Burn your boats,” which is to say when you make a decision or a commitment, there’s no plan B, no escape clause, no way to back out of the commitment. My good friend, Garrett Gunderson has made a pretty bold commitment. He’s made one of the riskiest moves that I’ve seen in a long time. He spent what most people would consider a fortune on training, coaching Hollywood-level film producers, production crews and other consultants to create this one-hour comedy special, primarily focused around the topic of money and personal finance.

In June of 2021, I was fortunate to be invited to live taping. It is seriously a level ten. It met all expectations and exceeded them. It’s honestly hilarious. Before this film is made available, Garrett is going to be doing a multicity tour and it may be coming to a city near you. Why did he do it? Why comedy? I would say the taboo topics of politics and religion have a stepchild, which is money and personal finance. The stack of cognitive biases that prevent the mind from rationally evaluating financial strategy is pretty thick. The exception is someone having an open mind. However, the rule is that what’s familiar with the status quo, it’s to stay on that course.

Garrett hypothesizes that humor is a catalyst to breaking through these filters but he’s written three books. One of them is a New York Times Bestseller. He’s been in the space for years. Despite what most would consider a success, his mission is to breakthrough what keeps holding people back from living a life that they truly want. He’s spoken on videos. He has a pretty broad social media audience. He’s taken this message, he believes as far as he can go. In this three-part video show series, you’re going to learn a few things about what he’s doing and why he’s doing it.

Number one is how powerful ideas have made their way into our belief systems, with any betting scrutiny or evaluation, how difficult it is to go back and objectively understand these beliefs without shortcuts such as humor. Number two is the unique perspective on wealth and what people are after with their goals like retirement or financial freedom. In the third episode, we’re going to talk about Garrett’s journey, where he’s put his essentially successful career and reputation at risk, why he’s done it and everything that has led up to this point in time and this decision. You are going to love these episodes. I can’t wait for you to experience this new content from Garrett, to learn more about his tour. If it’s coming to a city near you, go ahead over to FreeFlow.group. Enjoy.

I don’t know if we’re designed to sit still. He’s certainly not the type to sit still.

It’s cool to look back. I was a miser when I was first married. I was all about the game of preservation, cutting and budgeting. My kids are fascinated when they hear these stories because they don’t know that version of me. I remember my youngest. She goes, “I thought it would be the best thing for our family at the time.” I was like, “That was so healing.” In our first year of marriage, I felt like my wife was going, “What did I get into?” I’m like, “We need to balance this checkbook. Why are you spending so much on your classroom? You’re supposed to get paid as a teacher, not that you’re paying out. Why is this electrical bill so high?” It’s ridiculous.

She was patient. She keeps holding a mirror up and saying, “Is this what you want? Is this who you want to be?” She creates that powerful listening for me where I’d be like, “I could probably do better.” You’ll love that version but I appreciate this version even more. We can probably go on. We should totally do another one of these. This is what I get that we’re not talking finance because people can learn finance from your book or my book and all this stuff. This is the stuff that’s underneath it that captures wealth.

TWS 15 | Consumeristic Society

Consumeristic Society: Intuition is the source. It is the divine path or divine wheel.

 

That’s where I want it to go. I believe, maybe it’s not direct but there is a total correlation between your enjoyment of life, who you are, your understanding of wealth and your experience of wealth. We all live in a society that we should be in amazement 24/7 because of how we get to live compared to the past, yet there are still people that are miserable. You then have people with lots of money. There is this insatiable thing where they think that physical things are going to quench that thirst. I look at my experience with things. I would love to get your thoughts. Your levels of impact have improved. With impact, I mean ways in which you create wealth. It’s improved because of your internal improvement. I’m not sure if there’s a direct correlation but I know that there is a tie, at least that’s my experience.

We’re in a consumeristic society where the eternal quest is for more.

The limbic part of our brain is like that monkey brain, all it knows is to consume as much as possible.

We're in a consumeristic society where the eternal quest is for more. Click To Tweet

In redefining the game, it changed everything for me. What if more peace and less worry? What if more leisure and less sacrifice? What if more meditation, recreation and less frustration? In my twenties, I had so much ambition of more revenue, even more employees so I could tell people how many employees I have. Do you remember my office back then? It was way extravagant for I was out at that point in my career. It was about more shows and less personal growth because I didn’t have time for it. The work was being at work versus the work is working on myself. I had enough of it because there was a care of what if I do this work.

I can remember one of our mutual friends, Vince. He’s like, “Go to Myanmar.” I thought it was going to make me a better financial advisor. It did but not for the reason I thought it would. In my twenties, I did a lot of talking in this show but now I’m focusing on listening more. Not just listening to people but listening to intuition because I felt like intuition is the source. It is the knowledge that it is the divine path or divine wheel. I can have free will but that could detour a lot of times than listening to that intuition. I still have a choice, whether to pay attention to it or not. That might be a little bit deeper on a philosophical level but I’ve found that to be true.

I don’t know if it was listening to my intuition. I was in LA and walking. I saw this kid looked like he was in pain, in angst and mental pain. He didn’t look like he’d been homeless or if he had been homeless like, “Don’t talk to him, just walk by.” It was inconvenient because there were two other people. I’m walking to the airport and I see this girl. She’s a little bit heavier but she was beautiful. I’m like, “Go tell her she’s beautiful.” He’s like, “I’m married. That might be weird.” My intuition was like maybe she’s needed to hear that at that moment. I start rationalizing and justifying out of safety, protection, convenience, inconvenience or hustler. When I’m listening to my intuitions, I had a dream to write a one-man show. It was a dream. I woke up. I’m like, “I’m doing it.” You’ve seen it. You’ve seen the impact it has. It’s not even officially out yet but that’s intuition.

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About Garrett Gunderson

TWS 15 | Consumeristic SocietyI am the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling personal finance book Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity.

Founder and Chief Wealth Architect of the Inc. 500 firm, Wealth Factory. A regular on ABC’s Good Money, he has been on Fox, CNBC, as well as hundreds of radio interviews, and I contributor for Forbes. I also am a frequent speaker at workshops and conferences and live in Salt Lake City.

I have also been interviewed by some of the greats in the personal development space like Hal Elrod, Robert Kiyosaki, Ryan Moran at the Capitalism Conference, Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach, the Mindvalley Podcast, Project Life Mastery with Stefan James, Joe Polish of Genius Network, Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas, The Science of Flipping with Justin Colby, The How of Business, and many more!

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Diving Deep Into The $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill

TWS 81 | $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill

 

Just recently, the House passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill in the hopes of rescuing America from the economic damages brought about by the pandemic. But what does it really entail? What are the underlying consequences of putting out all of this money? In this episode, Patrick Donohoe flies solo to share with us his thoughts about this new bill. He takes a look at it from different perspectives and then offers some insights on how you can best navigate your wealth and more.

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Diving Deep Into The $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill

Thank you for supporting another episode. I’m glad that you’re here. I’m going to freestyle it, I’ll be by myself. I’m going to bring on some cool guests to speak about some of the points I’ll bring up. I’m going to make some comments regarding the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. There’s enough information out there in other podcasts that analyze the details. I’m going to approach it from a couple of different angles in hopes of inciting you a different perspective of what’s going on so that you can best navigate your wealth, your business, your profession and the enjoyment of life. I believe that is what wealth is. It’s to extract, to experience the joy in life, regardless of what’s going on, tall order. Wealth is something that most people pursue. Oftentimes when they associate it with money and material things, they come to find out that it is not what they wanted.

Best to start with what wealth truly is, which is mindset, being able to look at your circumstances, look at your life and extract the good, the beauty, the gratitude, which if you think about it is all around us. I tried to approach this $1.9 trillion bill from a more neophyte position, meaning 8-to 10-year-old who understands ideas at a certain level. I look at the $1.9 trillion package from an economics perspective, a legal perspective, a precedent setting perspective. I stepped back and I look at the first idea, which is the surface, especially the title, the American Rescue Plan is pitching this $2,800 per family and also extension of unemployment benefits. I look at how much of the bill that amount is. I’ve seen figures around 9%, 10%, even if it’s 15%. That’s where the focus has been.

It’s unfortunate because in the end, when an 8-to 10-year-old see’s candy, they see an amusement park. They see the surface benefit and don’t necessarily have the experience to look at the unintended consequences. It makes sense to me. Majority of Americans do support the bill. At the same time, I believe if they took a shovel deep look into the other points of the bill, tenets of the bill, where money is being spent, it would cause even the young person to scratch their head. $1 billion here, $10 billion here, $500 million here, things that are unrelated to COVID, but at the same time are being pitched under this umbrella that it’s necessary to rescue America. That’s the first thing that I observed is looking at this from a psychological perspective and how a bill that is monumentally massive in size.

TWS 81 | $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill

$1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill: The government was not set up to take care of people. It was set up to protect the rights of the people.

 

We’ve become desensitized to the language of money. I’m sure $1.9 million to most Americans is a lot of money. 1.9 trillion seconds ago is 60,000 years. This is a massive amount of money and it is going everywhere. If money were free that grew on trees, if it’s what most 8 to 10-year-olds think money is where you swipe a card and you get stuff, it makes sense. Who wouldn’t want all of this stuff? There are consequences for spending this money because it’s not free. Interest has to be paid on it. Principal has to be paid back. For those of you who are interested in economics, monetary policy, and monetary theory, this idea of MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, which removes some of the responsibilities associated with spending money at a government level, it’s something that is happening in a sense. This $1.9 trillion, the amount of debt that’s being piled up, it’s not possible to payback without some significant dire changes.

We’ll get into some of the precedent setting. A couple episodes back, I talked about some of the points of Biden’s fiscal ideas and specifically taxes, what’s going to change in that respect? I believe that because of how this bill was passed, $1.9 trillion, the majority of Republicans, all of them I think opposed it and all of Democrats were in favor of it to an extent. It was right down the line. It’s interesting where this sets a precedent with all their laws that are going to be pushed forward through the House, the Senate and then signed into law. It’s interesting to look at what Biden wants to push forward is going to be an inevitability. That’s the precedent that it sets. It may not be 100% absolute but close.

Going back to a couple episodes ago, whether it’s higher taxes, whether it’s removing step-up in basis for real estate, whether it’s eliminating capital gains, meaning capital gains will be treated, especially for high income earners as ordinary income. These are sweeping changes, changes to the debt tax, the estate tax, the lifetime exemptions that are available and what can be included. It’s crazy. It’s time to pay attention. There is going to be an impact. This is the precedent that it’s setting. It’s setting another precedent as well, which is one that’s way more philosophical. I’ll end with this, making this a shorter episode.

The precedent is that American people are not creative enough, hardworking enough to take care of themselves, to solve their own problems, to exercise their ingenuity, which is deep inside of everybody. This is where the precedent is dangerous. An example is an article that came out a few years ago, it was a study. It was done in Europe, somewhere Sweden, I believe. The study showed that if families had one less child, it would make a huge difference as far as the carbon footprint human beings leave. It’s an incredible claim. You can remove people and we wouldn’t have any carbon footprint. You look at the human ingenuity specific to this claim. The inventor, Bill Gross, you can look him up, has a project called Carbon Capture, which is an economical way to remove a toxic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If one of those children that weren’t born wasn’t Bill Gross or was Bill Gross, there’s no solution at that magnitude.

The point I’m trying to make is that when we’re put in predicaments of challenge and difficulty, we can take the easy way out and most people would, if that hand is extended. We can take another way out, a route that allows us to understand ourself at a deeper level, to understand what we’re made of. Think of the loss of fulfillment, the loss of self-respect, self-esteem knowing that you overcame challenge. It’s the feeling of rising above adversity. It’s a feeling of conquering something on the surface that you did not believe was within you, what you weren’t capable of. To me, these are the massive losses that are impossible to quantify. The precedent that’s being set is that, “When there’s challenge, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to do anything. You can sit back and relax. We’ll be there to help you.”

I don’t believe that this is an environment of growth that leads to what we’re looking for, which is a sense of self-understanding, a sense of self-reliance, respect, and having the understanding, having the knowledge that we accomplished something. We overcame something. That to me is sad. I look at the genius in everyone and how that genius is being put on the altar of sacrifice. I believe that there are circumstances where people find themselves in challenging times, maybe impossible to fend for themselves. At the same time, I think that is the exception, but we are making it the rule.

There are a couple of interviews I’m going to link to as I conclude this short episode. They were done a couple of years ago, one with Greg Lukianoff, who’s the author of The Coddling of the American Mind, another one, which is a follow-up to that book with Andy Tanner, talking about what we teach our children, the importance of challenge, of difficulty, of overcoming, and the sense that comes from overcoming, the muscle that builds. It’s important especially with what’s going on now.

As a recap what to take from this episode, number one, I look at it’s a clear path to higher taxes, to inflation, and ensuring that you ask yourself the question, “How is my wealth, my portfolio, my financial future impacted by inflation?” I’ll give you a short crash course on inflation, this $1.9 trillion in addition to the north of $100 billion that hasn’t been spent from the previous COVID stimulus bill. This is the money that will go into circulation even though it goes into areas that would make you question, “Why would we do that?” Go look at some of the details. That money is going to find its way into the business’ pockets. That business is going to buy stuff. They’re going to pay their employees, maybe give them a bonus or raise. Those employees are going to go out and spend money. This money came out of nowhere. The money was not earned. Now, we have that much more that is circulating in our economy.

When you have more money circulating and a seemingly finite amount of goods and services, what ends up happening is that more money bids up the price of assets, of goods and services. We’ve seen that already and we’re going to see even more of that. What that means is that the money you have, the money you earned, the value of your assets, your wealth will be buying less stuff in the future because those things have gone up in price. That’s the nature of stimulus and inflation, higher prices. You can also define inflation as the devaluation of the dollar. That’s the first thing.

We have a prime opportunity as human beings to grow, to thrive, and to learn. Click To Tweet

The second thing is legislation that is coming down the pipe, whether it’s taxes or otherwise that is being pushed forth by the administration. We see that a precedent has been set where they can pass laws that are highly controversial. They can pass measures that are highly controversial. Pay attention and start setting up your tax strategy to help you keep more of the money that you’ve earned. Finally, it’s the context of challenge and hardship. I’m not debating that there isn’t hardship. I’m not debating that COVID hasn’t made an impact or the response to COVID has not made an impact. It has. It is evident, not just the United States but around the world.

I remind myself that government was not set up to take care of people. Government was set up to protect the rights of people. People have done some incredible things over the course of time. In this day and age with access to limitless information, resources, knowledge, we can debate the definition of knowledge, but finding solutions, whether it’s YouTube, books, blogs, podcasts, the majority of which is free if not insanely inexpensive. People have the resources to solve problems. At the same time, when resources aren’t needed, they are rarely taken advantage of. Water is not valuable until you’re in the middle of a desert and thirsty, or running a race. It’s the environment where resources become valuable.

We have a prime opportunity as human beings to grow, to thrive, to learn, not just for our own betterment and the remuneration that comes tangibly materially but it’s the feeling, the sensation. It’s the understanding we have about ourselves about what we’re made of. I think we all thirst for that. In essence, we’re being robbed of that because of what’s going on, where governments are taking care of us. They’re solving our problems. They’re giving us handouts. As I look at it from an 8 to 10-year-old, I can see on the surface that the bill makes sense, the narrative makes sense. As 8 to 10-year-old, maybe 12-year-old, when you realize you’ve been deceived or screwed, you’re going to be pissed. I look at the emotions that are going on in the social and political atmosphere. They’re high, it’s tense.

TWS 81 | $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill

$1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill: People have the resources to solve problems. At the same time, when resources aren’t needed, they are rarely taken advantage of.

 

This is by no means to incite more of what doesn’t serve you, but it’s to make you even more aware of what’s going on, to navigate your life where you’re not dependent on others, you’re not dependent on handouts. You’re dependent on yourself. It’s to take actions, to make efforts to those ends. Thanks for reading. I appreciate the support. Tune in to the next couple of episodes. We’re going to be talking politics. We’re going to be talking tax strategy and some investment strategy given what’s going on with our environment, specifically how the tax implications could impact your investment strategy or wealth strategy, and some ideas of how to remedy that. Until next time, take care. Bye.

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Seeking The Uncertainty You Can Comfortably Live With

TWS 76 | Uncertainty

 

The great Tony Robbins once said, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.” But up to what extent is it comfortable? How do you measure the amount of uncertainty you can handle in life? In this episode, Patrick Donohoe shares a breakthrough that had him realize the ways we all are seeking uncertainty in life just as much as certainty. He tells us about some of the reflections that occurred to him on what we need to do in order to take in more without reaching beyond the limits of how much uncertainty we can live with, most especially when it comes to our finances. 

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Seeking The Uncertainty You Can Comfortably Live With

Thank you for tuning in. I’m excited to be with you. I’m grateful for your support. I’m excited to share with you some things that have been on my mind that have impacted the way I’ve viewed my life, my financial life, viewed financial life of clients that I have. I’m excited to share that with you. As a side note, there has been a group that is advertising and marketing underneath the #TheWealthStandard and they’re promoting different courses and other things, this is not us. This is not me. Please, if you have come across them, we’re reporting them, doing some cease-and-desist stuff. We’re on top of it but we wanted to let you know that’s going on. There are some people who have purchased some of their material that is associating the reason to this show, which is not true. This is not our group. This is not us, so please be cautious.

I’m excited because I had this breakthrough and the breakthrough occurred in a software training that I host every year, at least I have for the last few years. It’s Financial Advisor Facing. I’ve gone and participated in this training many times. It’s also something I’ve felt strongly about hosting here at my office so that my team can participate in it. In 2020, it was different because of COVID and quarantine, so the majority of it was live but it was virtual. Nonetheless, I had some thoughts that I hadn’t had before. It starts with a quote that I learned from Tony Robbins. I’m not sure if he is the author of this quote. He’s the author of some pretty amazing quotes. This is an amazing quote but he also uses quotes by others as well.

This quote says that, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.” Uncertainty in his words is a need that we have. He believes we have six human needs. Certainty is the first one. Uncertainty is the second. It’s a contradiction there. You also have significance, love and connection, growth, contribution. These needs that we have, one of them being uncertainty is that we want variety in life, adventure, we want new. We want different. If everything was the exact same thing, we ate the exact same thing, we wore the exact same thing, we did the exact same thing every single day, life would suck.

We're all seeking uncertainty. Click To Tweet

At the same time, we want a degree of certainty. The uncertainty side of things is the new movies you get to watch, the new clothes you get to buy, the vacation you get to go on or the new place you get to visit, the new car that you have, a new experience, skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving. The uncertainty is this adventure. It’s doing things that are new and exciting. Comfortably live with, that’s a very interesting word and this is where the epiphany is.

This school I go to, this training, the software program that we put on is called Truth Training. It uses a software program called Truth Concepts. I first learned about this software during this 2009, 2010 period of my life, where it was a very vulnerable time in my life. I was in the middle of getting crushed by the 2008 and 2009 timeframe where I almost went out of business. I almost went bankrupt, lost my family. It was very challenging. It was a scarce point in my life where I was afraid. I lacked certainty. I had way too much uncertainty going on.

That is what I pushed. Truth Concepts is geared around validating the financial product, financial strategy claims. It’s objectively looking at scenarios whether it’s a mutual fund, a piece of property, an alternative investment, it doesn’t matter. It’s objectively analyzing it so that you can see between the lines, the fluff of a sales pitch and understand what’s truly going on. It was humbling. It gave me not only a realization of how individuals are making investments and planning their life financially but also gave me confidence in what I was doing.

TWS 76 | Uncertainty

Uncertainty: Improving the foundation of certainty that you have with your financial life will allow you to experience even more uncertainty than you currently experience.

 

It was right. It was beneficial. It helped people. It started to help me as well. It gave me more certainty. This is the realization that I had at a much deeper level is if uncertainty is what is required to have a higher quality of life, if it’s not balanced out with certainty, it puts you in this position of not comfortable living with uncertainty. You’re uncomfortably living with uncertainty. In essence, improving the foundation of certainty that you have with your financial life will allow you to experience even more uncertainty than you experience.

Going to human needs, these driving human needs that we have most are not aware of those. I’ve been aware of them for quite some time. It doesn’t mean that I understood them. I continue to understand how those needs manifest in me whether it’s the degree of certainty that I’m looking for, it’s the degree of uncertainty that makes me feel alive and excited and gives me that adventurous experience of life. There’s also the need for significance, the thing that allows us to understand that we bring value to the world. There’s also the need for love and connection but there’s also a need for growth.

There’s also a need for contribution, which is giving back, being of value, of service to others. As we look at where we’re getting these needs, one of the big things I’ve learned in my personal development is to strategically position myself so that it’s not this random way in which I’m meeting needs. It’s not this random impulsive behavior that has me doing this, that and the other, and hopefully getting what I want in the end but it’s strategically doing it.

What gave rise to more people wanting to invest is the dream of doubling and tripling a return and what that would mean to their life. Click To Tweet

That’s where in addition to revisiting this software, how financial products work, the combination of financial products and how taxes and inflation and other impacts other financial influences out there give either rise to the claims that are being made or in question the claims that are being made. It allowed me to step back and ask myself the question, “What are our people after?” The driving force behind human behavior is these needs.

As much as I was in this training, there was also a lot of buzz and excitement with regards to what was going on Wall Street, mainly in a few different companies, GameStop, AMC, where you had a group on Reddit and other influence that were combining efforts of retail investors and influencing the rise of certain stocks, which squeezed out those who were short-selling those stock, which are mainly hedge funds. There’s lots of buzz. There was lots of excitement. There was lots of adventure there.

A lot of people made a lot of money but as you can guess, the excitement and buzz led to a lot of people losing money. In the end, what I wanted to do with this very short episode is highlight the fact that we’re all seeking uncertainty. What gave rise to more people wanting to invest was that dream of doubling and tripling, 600% return of what that would mean to their life. It’s exciting. You also had those that were driven by this unbridled control of their behavior and lost money.

The lesson and the connection I made is there are things that are going to pull me, pull you toward adventure, excitement. I believe that degree of certainty that you have as your foundation will allow even more of that. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with everyone but those that understood this principle, whether it’s using the words that I’m using to describe it or using others. If there was a foundation of certainty, certain things that you can count on whether it’s cashflow, your profession, your business, your liquidity, the financial products you have that did provide certainty of outcome or the highest degree of certainty for that outcome, these bets, these risks made you feel alive but did not take you out of the game.

TWS 76 | Uncertainty

Uncertainty: You can experience more uncertainty, adventure, and excitement in your life when you improve the quality of the degree of certainty that you have.

 

That’s my breakthrough is before, I was very prone to creating more certainty and more certainty in my life but not equating that certainty to the amount of uncertainty that I could experience. I don’t get a big rise by making those types of bets in the market. That’s just me. I like to have experiences with my family. I like to make bets in my business as far as trying this thing, trying that thing, developing software, developing a course, developing ways in which I can create more value for clients. That gives me a lot of excitement.

Because I have a degree of certainty that backs me, I’m allowed to push more and more of the limits that were in place previously. I encourage you guys to do the same thing. Don’t let your impulses, your passions be a quilt, strategically position yourself to take advantage of those. That’s what gives us this higher quality of life. However, the positioning is where you create whether it’s financial education, it’s a degree of certainty and the financial products that are at the foundation of your financial life, whatever the case may be. Just look at that, it’s a balance. You can experience more uncertainty, more adventure, more excitement in your life when you improve the quality of the degree of certainty that you have. That’s it. Stay tuned for a couple of episodes that you guys are going to enjoy that are forthcoming. Go out and create some value, have an amazing life. We’ll see you next time.

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The Wealth Gap: Identifying Inequalities With Connor Boyack

TWS 59 | The Wealth Gap

 

One of the most controversial topics today is the existing and widening wealth gap between the rich and the poor. Tackling this important conversation to offer a unique and even quite controversial view, Patrick Donohoe is joined by Connor Boyack, founder and president of Libertas Institute—a free-market think tank in Utah. Here, Connor gets into the significant wealth that has spun great talks about inequality from both sides of the political aisle to create divisiveness. He goes deep into capitalism, the billionaires that keep getting rich, and moving up the economic ladder. Follow along to this insightful episode to learn more about this issue we’re facing now in our society.

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The Wealth Gap: Identifying Inequalities With Connor Boyack

Thank you for tuning in to the show. Connor Boyack is an incredible man. He’s been on the show before. We’re talking about a controversial topic. We’re breaking it into two parts. The first part is going to get into the wealth gap that is significant. Wealth inequality is a theme that’s being used by both sides of the political aisle to create divisiveness. Right now, there are a lot of upset people. This episode, without the proper context, may upset you, so go back and read the last 4 to 5 episodes.

Hopefully, that will prepare you to think rationally about this sensitive topic. The drive we have to make a difference grow and be free is evident across most human behavior. Achieving that result is what I characterize and what I’ve tried to talk to you about as true wealth. The show’s mission is to help you identify sound principles that will guide you to achieve wealth and prosperity regardless of the environment or economic circumstances. Right now, it may not seem possible but understanding the principles will allow you to understand that it’s not the environment that creates that end, it’s principles, and acting on those principles.

Through this lens, these emotionally sensitive topics will inspire you instead of infuriate you which is, unfortunately, the way in which people are looking at this topic. My compadre, Connor Boyack, has dedicated his professional life and arguably because of some threatening experiences that he’s had his whole life to defending the principles of prosperity by being involved in the political arena here in Utah. Also, by expanding that into the world of literature and education with over 21 books, most of them through the children’s book platform.

For those of you who have listened to Connor before The Tuttle Twins books, I get comments about that more than anything else that’s coming from the show. Connor is going to give you a code to get these books. I’m offering something for the rest of 2020. For those of you who purchase the package and Connor is going to give an insane discount for all of the books or the online curriculum that he has, I’m going to match that. What I mean by that is if you purchase, I’m going to pay for another either package of books or the online course that you can give to somebody else. I’m going to do that through the end of 2020.

I hope you gain a lot from this. I hope you’re able to step back and think through some of the points that we make and that it enlightens you to understand the narrative but also understand how to have a productive, and meaningful conversation with somebody else about this topic. I hope it inspires you to understand how the world has improved because of the environment that we have in which people can start businesses. They can be free to fail, free to succeed, and how that improves everybody’s life. Let’s cut to the interview. Without further ado, this is Connor Boyack.

Wealth is not the natural condition in life. Poverty is the natural condition in life. Click To Tweet

He is the President of Libertas Institute, which is a nonprofit think tank here in Utah, but it’s also an educational organization. They promote through a lot of influence up on Capitol Hill during legislative sessions. They promote the principles of liberty but they also educate the public in many different ways. Connor is also the author of 21 books. It also includes a children’s series, which is incredible. It’s called The Tuttle Twins. Connor, welcome to the show. You’re no stranger here except for those that are new and new readers. Thanks for coming back. I appreciate your time.

I’m happy to be here. I’m excited to get into the issues with you.

This is a hot one because it’s something that’s been politicized. It’s being weaponized by different political parties. It’s the wealth gap. I’m going to read some statistics which I haven’t given you in advance I’m sure you won’t be surprised. This is given the federal reserve’s stats, whether they’re objective or not. I would say it’s close to as objective as possible. In the United States is $104 trillion of private wealth in terms of money. The top 1%, $32 trillion, the next 9%, $39.1 trillion, the next 40%, $31 trillion and the bottom 50%, $1.5 trillion. There’s a gap and the gap is shown to widen. Connor, I think we are able to have a conversation that understands both perspectives. When you hear these numbers, when you hear the narrative that’s used and how it’s weaponized and politicized, what goes through your mind? How do you process that?

I’m excited by those numbers, where other people find them repugnant and see an inequality that needs to be addressed. I’m conversely excited and that’s for an important reason. What would those numbers have been like a century ago? What would those numbers have been like three centuries ago? The fact that much wealth has been created has made it so that we all live like kings. Even that bottom 50%, the bottom 10%, even the bottom 2% live like kings compared to people a century ago.

The creature comforts that we enjoy that this wealth inequality has allowed wealthy people to amass capital, to invest in research and development, and come up with new innovative conveniences. The fact that Jeff Bezos is now going to be delivering our products by drone on the same day we order them. Packing the mule over the mountain with a couple of workers that take up a three-week journey to get to you and by then, half of what you ordered has been stolen or moldy. The fact that some people have gotten rich should not distract us from the fact that everyone has gotten rich.

Wealth is not a natural condition in life. Poverty is the natural condition in life. The fact that some people have become wealthier than others doesn’t discount the fact that basically everyone has become wealthier. Everyone has a higher standard of living and it’s this system for all of its warts and bumps and everything else. It’s not perfect. It’s this system compared to any other that has allowed for that massive creation of wealth and prosperity across all the demographics that you can imagine.

TWS 59 | The Wealth Gap

The Wealth Gap: The comforts we enjoy from this wealth inequality have allowed wealthy people to amass capital to invest in research and development and develop new, innovative conveniences.

 

I could have guessed that you were going to say something along those lines, even though we haven’t even talked about this in detail previous to the interview. I have some statistics here that I usually will find from an opinion and perspective research, depending on the perspective. It doesn’t make the news headlines that often but one of them is Matt Ridley. He’s written a bunch of books. The one that hit me the hardest years ago was The Rational Optimist, which is when everything was falling down and he wrote this book that said that the world is amazing.

Here are some of the things that he cited in a blog post. He said, “Extreme poverty has fallen below 10% of the world’s population for the first time.” It was 60% when he was born, which was in the late 1940s. Child mortality has fallen to record low levels. Famine virtually went extinct. Malaria, Polio and heart disease are on the decline. One of the least fashionable predictions that he made was the ecological footprint. We have been able to use more sustainable resources and be more efficient with the way in which we are attentive to those initiatives.

As far as the use of land and the use of water when it comes to producing food has dropped 100%. I can keep going on and on as far as how people are coming out of extreme poverty. Peter Diamandis is more on the technological front. He’s talked about the fact that we’re approaching four billion people with smartphones. Where people are getting connected, they’re getting access to information, education, and so forth. I agree with you. There’s a disease of abundance than there is of scarcity when it comes to living the way that we live now versus what life would have been 100 years ago.

I was going to add to your list before with the proliferation of mobile phones and so forth, access to banking or cryptocurrency, sending money around, transmitting to family members and other countries. The fact that Africa didn’t get into landlines and telephone poles and all the rest. They leapfrogged over that and now have like 95% plus penetration of cell phones, even out in these remote villages where they can access Wikipedia and suddenly any villager can learn from all of the knowledge in the world.

I was a missionary in Honduras many years ago and I lived in these tiny little pueblos for two years. I remember once a week, we would get an opportunity to email the family and say, “I’m still alive out here.” We do that at these internet cafes that were crazy expensive. They were rare. The internet was horrible. Now, the same thing as you pointed out. Everyone’s got cell phones, constant connectivity, connecting all the world, creating amazing remote work opportunities where people out in these villages can go on Upwork.com and say, “I can do graphic design. I can do editing. I can do translation and I can do whatever.” It creates all these economic opportunities that they didn’t have before.

I care a lot about issues surrounding charity and poverty. I don’t want to sound like I’m some kind of greedy capitalist. My wife and I focus and try to lift those who are in need and find ways to serve. I know of no other economic system that does it better than what’s often called capitalism because you have the incentive for these people to go and produce. That means the Jeff Bezos and the Elon Musk and others are going to amass substantial wealth but they’re not extracting it from anyone. It’s not a zero-sum game. They’re not forcibly taking it from people. All that means is they figured out a way to serve a crap ton of people because capitalism and entrepreneurship and business is service. It’s, “I hate pulling weeds and the fact that someone will come to serve me by pulling my weeds and we have an economic exchange, I can make it worth their while.”

There's more of a disease of abundance than there is of scarcity when it comes to living the way that we do today. Click To Tweet

That is still service to me because I would rather part with $10, $20, $50 or whatever than do the weeds. Having an electric car, having drone deliveries, or whatever the issue is. These people have figured out a way to serve a ton of people rather than a few people. In my mind, that is a system that should be praised, notwithstanding that. I do think it’s important that we still look at the inequality issues and figure out even better ways to help people move up that economic ladder. It doesn’t come from the traditional. Do you remember the lobsters and the bucket story? Where you put lobsters in a bucket and as one tries to get out, the other crabs pull down, “Let’s try and pull it down so we can get up.”

That’s not how the system works. We can figure out a way to build up more people. We don’t have to tear down the 1% and take more of their money and remove their incentives to serve even more people. We can do it in a way that empowers even more people and removes those roadblocks of regulations. Even people who want to start a food truck, they’ve got to deal with a nightmare of regulations to get their foot in the door and entrepreneurship to maybe do a food truck to then do three, to then do a brick and mortar restaurant and grow an empire of franchise.

If we have these regulations and other problems in the way that prevent the people on the bottom, if you’ve got money, you can make problems go away. You can be strategic and figure out a way around them. It’s the people on the bottom who don’t have those resources. They can’t navigate the system. They’re often trapped by the system that purports to help them and puts them on the dole and says, “Here’s some money. Go sit on a couch, watch Netflix and chill while we subsidize your inactivity.” What if instead, we remove those roadblocks that don’t have the capital and the network to circumvent on their own so that they can bootstrap themselves up and be able to go to work? There’re many stories of rags to riches that you can’t say that everyone who’s wealthy gets wealthier and everyone who’s poor stays poor. That’s not reality at all but I do think there are improvements we can make to help more of those rags become riches and give even more people that opportunity.

Now, let’s cross lines because just as much as we ourselves have rationalized this, not together but in probably similar ways, the overwhelming majority does not believe this way. Let’s look at their perspective. How do you sympathize with them? How do you understand why they’ve come to a conclusion they have which could be the diametric opposite of ours? How is that being politicized?

You may have seen the video of a Black Lives Matter leader protesting outside of the courthouse saying to the camera, and to the public that it is okay that we go loot these businesses, that we do these riots, that we bash in the store windows, that we take all these apparel, toys, electronics and everything we’re taking because they have insurance. There have been other Black Lives Matter protesters who I watched a video of one woman defending the pillaging of white store owners as a form of reparations because, in her words, it was the black community that has built that business and never been able to take advantage of the profits.

The downside there is, first of all, that’s not how insurance works or why it exists. I think the first comment reflects an economic misunderstanding. She’s trying to justify theft. The second comment was more interesting to me. This notion of reparations and this long-standing injustice that certain people have been kept down. They’ve been denied these opportunities and to that, I say I don’t disagree. There have been a lot of these problems. Zoning laws were instituted because of racism. It was a way to segregate neighborhoods and keep black people out of white neighborhoods. You still have those problems to this day. Zoning boards and city councils and others will perhaps not overtly or explicitly but they can hide their bias and use zoning laws to keep certain people down and prevent them from having commercial activity in their neighborhoods or from integrating into other parts of the city or whatever.

TWS 59 | The Wealth Gap

The Wealth Gap: The fact that some people have become wealthier than others doesn’t discount the fact that basically everyone has to become wealthier.

 

It’s because it was illegal. They could have been fined. They could have been put in jail if they crossed those lines.

There are certainly these policies that have been in place over time that have been put in place but the tough thing I have with reparations is that you don’t have an opportunity to connect one-to-one. By that, I mean that maybe someone did something horrible 80 years ago or 20 years ago, or 150 years ago but how does that justify perpetuating the injustice by forcing someone else whose fault it is not to pay for the misdeeds of what someone else does? I sympathize. I want to help. I want to remove those roadblocks. I want to help everyone be able to flourish and have that opportunity. I just struggle with what some of the demands are where people look at that inequality, and they have this kind of aggregate perception that there’s this systemic problem. Therefore, we’re going to have a systemic solution, an aggregate solution that uses the sledgehammer and says, “We’re going to do this so that we benefit.”

In a way, that’s continuing the injustice that they’re talking about by perpetrating it on more people who are innocent of the misdeeds that they’re rightly pointing out in the past. It becomes a sloppy way. I sympathize with the problems, the solution is where it breaks down. That’s where I think if we can sit down and talk together and resolve this, maybe we’d come up with some interesting ideas. I feel like a lot of the people who speak out against inequality and who are especially vocal about it, especially in the past few months with Black Lives Matter and some of these groups, there’s a bit of an economic ignorance there and perhaps political collectivism where they’re trying to force these solutions on other people. Thereby, they become the perpetrators of the injustice they’re speaking out against.

You have this balance between very strong deep-seated emotions that go back generations. It goes back culturally. That’s when we start out talking logically about the wealth gap, it’s provable. At the same time, people aren’t going to sit back and say, “You’re right. I should think about things differently.” People have these deep-seated emotions that reinforce a perspective. For me, I try to sympathize and empathize with that. I look at some of the extreme things that human beings to this day still do to one another, do to children, do to women and do to the minorities. It’s sickening.

At the same time, you look at history and it’s always happened that way. I look at what do we do now with the “civilized society” that we supposedly live in so that the political sphere is not injecting these cheap, slighted, and shallow emotions into the narrative to gain political capital? What do you do? How do you reconcile all of this? What’s the solution because you have these deep-seated things that are not going to go away and then you have these rational things that we can show, the rich and wealthy people have created much as it relates to our lifestyle?

We use the same internet browser as Jeff Bezos. We have the same iPhone as Bill Gates. They’re not living much of a different lifestyle other than maybe the car they drive and where they go on vacation. It’s not much different. How do you reconcile this, Connor? You’re amazing at taking divisive topics when it comes to liberty and teaching people through books, through education but also promoting principles on Capitol Hill and being influential to lawmakers who clearly have one perspective. They lean toward a party. How do you reconcile all of it?

The market doesn't like uncertainty. We need to have some kind of predictability. Click To Tweet

This one is tough because over the past several months during the shutdown and everything, I’ve been talking to folks about these issues. I feel like among people who are more free-market minded, conservative, libertarian, Republican, whatever you want to call it, there’s a lot of unease in the sense that people have long felt on the foundation of society and their principles and whatever. The degree to which these riots have happened, killings, lootings and all these kinds of things, the way society and culture has been changing as a result of all these events. A lot of these people I’ve talked to have felt uneasy like those footings, the foundation of society is shifting underneath them and they feel that there’s this instability where they don’t know how to act. They don’t know how to step forward. If the ground is loose, how do I know that’s a sure footing so that I can move forward with my life?

There’s absolutely risk and the market doesn’t like uncertainty. We need to have some kind of predictability and this is a tough question for me because how do you forecast things? How do you offer a solution and try and figure out what that approach is? What I’ve seen a lot of families do is think about turning inward. It’s like the story of a tree. When there’s a drought or something to conserve resources, the tree is not going to grow that year. You look at the rings of the tree and when they’re tight like that, that’s during a year where it didn’t have growth. It was in survival mode.

It feels like a lot of families are in that mode right now where they’re trying to say, “How do I talk to my kids about these issues? What do I think about these issues? What voices do I trust?” I’ve seen a lot of these people shift from engaging online or community activism or going up to the Capitol or trying to change the world to say, “I’ve got to protect my family. I’ve got to figure out what we’re going to do and how we make sense of this.” Not only economically, like how’s our job doing but also, if society can shift this much where we’ve got shutdowns, mandates and “Karens.” We have this culture now of shaming one another like, “You’re insufficiently compliance. I’m going to call the cops on you.”

We haven’t had that before in our society. We have riots, lootings, all these blue states and Democrat mayors, letting these people run amok destroying businesses and government buildings. We’ve seen that in Eastern Europe. We’ve seen that in some parts of Asia and Africa and elsewhere. We’ve never seen that in America. That shift is disconcerting to a lot of people. I even feel this way, partially myself, where I struggled to figure out, “Is there anything I should be doing or can be doing right now that I’m not or should I be trying to maintain my balance so that when the ground solidifies a bit more, then I’m ready to move forward?”

Things seem to be changing quickly for a lot of people. I think it’s rational to be like, “I need to wait this out and see where things land.” We’ve shifted a lot. I’ve shifted personally, a lot of my energy into our children’s books, and helping families get material to have these deep conversations and talk about these ideas. It seems like that’s where an investment right now is going to yield a lot of dividends in the future, as opposed to on the policy side of things trying to figure out where to step when the ground is shifting.

I hope you enjoyed part one of this two-part interview. Come back for part two. This is where we get into education. We get into inspiring, influencing and helping kids understand the environment and how to essentially change their life with some simple tweaks. Connor has made some amazing resources available. I’m going to match through the end of 2020 any purchase you make with his steep discount, allowing you guys to give that as a gift to somebody else. Check out all those details on TheWealthStandard.com. Thanks again. Don’t forget to tune into the next episode.

Important Links:

 

About Connor Boyack

Connor Boyack is founder and president of Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah.

Named one of Utah’s most politically influential people by The Salt Lake Tribune, Connor’s leadership has led to dozens of legislative victories spanning a wide range of areas such as privacy, government transparency, property rights, drug policy, education, personal freedom, and more.

A public speaker and author of 21 books, Connor is best known for The Tuttle Twins books, a children’s series introducing young readers to economic, political, and civic principles.

Connor lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and two homeschooled children.

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Will The Economy Rebound? With Jason Hartman

TWS 49 | Economy Rebound

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably thrust us into very unfamiliar ground. Economies are crumbling; systems are collapsing; the future remains unknown and unpredictable. With all these things happening, some of the most significant questions anyone wants to know are: Will things go back to normal? Will the economy rebound? In this episode, Patrick Donohoe brings Jason Hartman, the founder of the Platinum Properties Investor Network and host of The Creating Wealth Show, to help him answer this pressing question. They talk about what is going on in the economy and where investors fit in the picture, covering the good, the bad, and the ugly. On to the side of the consumers, Patrick and Jason then tap into life insurance companies and the effects of media in this time of the pandemic.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Will The Economy Rebound? With Jason Hartman

I hope you are safe. I hope you’re enjoying paying attention to everything that’s going on. It’s quite a world in a society that we live in. I decided to go online and research some of the most frequently asked questions through Google as it relates to the topic of The Wealth Standard, which typically revolves around investments, finance, and entrepreneurship. There was a question that surprised me, so I wanted to have a good friend of mine, Jason Hartman. He’s the Host of Creating Wealth Show as well as 7 or 8 other podcasts. This guy is definitely busy.

I had Jason on because Jason is informed. He thinks outside of the box and I thought it was a great discussion. The question is, “Will things go back to normal? Will the economy rebound?” This episode is a little bit shorter. We spent a few minutes on that and I think it’s going to give you some decent insight into what’s going on in the economy. I’m going to reserve some additional commentary of my own for after the show. If you feel so inclined, go ahead and stick with me until then. We have a ton of resources available on the website and we’re adding more. We have a couple of things that are in the works that I’m excited about. Check that out. There are a couple of free courses as well as other material that’s important to me that I feel will bless you and impact the way you do business and enjoy life. This is my interview with Jason Hartman.

Jason, there’s a question that I’m seeing more and more and it’s understandable because of the environment that we’re in. It’s, “Why the economy will rebound or not?” I think there are sentiments and signals pointing to it not rebounding, but also rebounding. What are your thoughts on that?

Free speech is incredibly important, but the mainstream media has been telling free lies in many ways. Click To Tweet

I think we are in a time where we are going to see the square root recovery or the modified square root recovery. Everybody’s talking about, “Is it going to be a U-shaped recovery with a long valley or is it going to be a V that went down pretty hard and we’re going to come back pretty quick?” Things aren’t coming back. It’s nice to see that faster than I thought, but ultimately, what we’re going to see this type of recovery is going to be square root sign. It goes along, it goes down, then it goes up. It’s up higher. The modified square root is it’s going along, goes down with the pandemic, comes up, but it comes up lower and that’s the recovery we’re going to see. I think we are waking up and we’re just barely waking up to it. This is not just the US. The whole world is going to wake up to a smaller economy than it had before. However, the good news is that there are lots of opportunities for investors, even in that environment with the mass migration to suburbia and all of that stuff we’ve talked on our mutual show.

The other thing is that there are a lot of efficiencies being created in the economy. We don’t know how efficient that’s going to make us, but it’s pretty good. We both were talking about how much more efficient we can be not traveling. That’s terrible for the airline industry, hotel industry and many other industries that are related. For business people, you can get a lot more stuff done when you stay put. That’s the efficiency of remote work, extremely efficient. A lot of new technologies have come up with the needs of remote workers. There are a lot of efficiencies being created too. Will that overcome the disasters that are being created? I don’t know. We’ll see.

I look at the rebound and it begs the question, “Rebound to what?” Is it the rebound to what was before? I don’t think so. In a sense, as you alluded to, it is going to be better but right now, it is in-between when something happens that causes plans or assumptions to not work anymore. What humanity does in times of need, which is innovative, figure out ways of doing things differently. It’s usually better. The outcome of traveling is, “I need to meet with this person. I need to get this deal done. I need to go visit somebody or I need to X, Y, Z.” People are figuring out other ways to do that.

In a sense, more efficient ways to do that. That’s the genius of humanity is they always rebound. Will the economy rebound? Not to the same degree, I don’t think, but humanity will rebound. It’s times like these, especially the extreme nature of what happened, the shutdown and then we have protests and rights. There are a lot of extreme things going on. I believe that it’s the yin and yang. The more extreme, on the other side of the spectrum, it’s going to grow too. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Necessity is the mother of invention and that has certainly been showing a lot lately. No question about it.

I miss seeing you. I miss hanging out with you.

We’re doing it but it is not the same. There’s no question about it, but in a lot of ways, it does create a lot of efficiencies. Look at the size of the industries that have been hit hard from this, the layoffs, the bankruptcies, and the foreclosures that will come out of this. It’s significant. There are some areas of the economy there, interestingly, very insulated. The low-cost necessity housing in my world is insulated. It’s interesting about your business though, which is unique, insurances. It’s one of the most unique industries in the world because it has this unique characteristic, a negative cost of capital. You paid for it before you get it. With most things, you get it and then you pay for it or you pay for it at the same time you get it. In insurance, you pay for it first. Insurance companies have an interesting thing. You’re on the life insurance side, but other insurance is going to be hugely hit. With the civil unrest and all the damage and all those insurance claims, all the business interruption claims from that, but previously COVID and continuing COVID. The insurance industries got to be pretty hard hit from that, but I don’t know about life insurance. Your business is good through all this.

TWS 49 | Economy Rebound

Economy Rebound: The whole world is going to wake up to a smaller economy than it had before. However, the good news is that there are lots of opportunities for investors.

 

The only barometer you have is when you look at history. They have been able to thrive through some challenging times, World Wars, other epidemics, or pandemics. These industries have been around for a couple of hundred years. It’s similar to your industry where everybody needs a place to live. There’s a median part of the bell curve where that sits a lot of people, tens, or probably hundreds of millions of people.

They don’t need an expensive place to live in a city, but they do need a place to live.

It’s one of those things, whether it’s a building, a car or business interruption insurance, those are micro but from a life side of things, it’s macro because it is everybody and it’s life. These are circumstances that don’t have a huge impact on mortality. I have seen where it is more difficult from a health standpoint to go through and gets certain approval ratings and health ratings. At the same time, nothing else has been impacted. In fact, these are the times where these types of companies thrive because they have a lot of capital and they know how to make a good investment. I would say the best investments they’ve made in the past is when that investor behavior occur. When times are the worst is when they are typically ready to pull the trigger. They have dry powder to do that.

Do you monitor what life insurance companies are investing in? Is that something you look at? Tell us about that. That’s interesting because they used to have office space, office buildings, and shopping centers. Those are hard hit, the multifamily apartment side and they invest in that. If it’s not a high-rise, I think that’s going to do well. You have some social distancing opportunities and not have to go in elevators or garden style.

They’re institutional investors. The deals that they participate in are big. It’s not a one-off multifamily apartment. These are bigger buildings. It could be developments or land. The example I use quite often is one of the companies we work with purchased a huge parcel of land in Boston Harbor during 2000 or 2001. It was during those dot-com crash plus 9/11. They bought a huge plot of land for $100 million and have sold individual parts of that parcel for over a billion. There aren’t many people or companies that can write a $100 million check but insurance companies, these big mutual private companies can.

Have you seen any evidence of they’ve changed their focus that they’re more focused on housing versus shopping centers? It is because the shopping centers and office space will be hard hit, but housing is good. Other assets like the medical office would be pretty good. That will be the one office category that will probably be okay through this. Does it get that granular in your view of it?

Not usually. There are regulations as far as what they can invest in. How much of their portfolio based on the rating of the company because they’re all rated. There are a few different rating agencies similar to how publicly traded companies are rated. They take out debt. Insurance companies are also rated. Based on their size and based on their rating, it gives them some flexibility as far as where they can invest, but it’s regulated. In large part, they have safe assets. I have big positions in the debt of strong stable companies, but they own mortgages. These are mortgages usually on commercial properties and their LTVs are extremely low rates. There’s a default on the real estate that they own. That impacts how they’re rated and subsequently what they can invest in. They do release reports as far as their portfolio is concerned. You can see that on an annual basis.

Let’s flip to the other side of that equation though. What about the consumer side of it? Have you seen these life insurance companies? Are they being more strict from their underwriting criteria? Are they rejecting more applicants? Are they raising their prices for insurance? In other words, that’s a barometer of whether or not they think the risk is higher. What’s going on there?

First off, there are regulations around the mortality expenses. There’s a whole commission that does this, and they usually do it about every ten years. There was one done in 2017. There’s a regulation on that from that standpoint. However, there are different tiers of health that a person can be in and there are all sorts of different criteria. I’ve seen them adjusting those. If somebody is older and has some health conditions, that is something that is a high risk these days given COVID.

They increase the price and they’re declining more people, but the price is higher too?

Price is higher because of ratings. They can adjust how they rate somebody. We have a standard way in which mortality is measured, then you can have a substandard or above standard. The above standard gives you a little bit better rating, substandard gives you a worse rating. The actual standard, they don’t touch because that’s regulated, but the above and below standard, they can.

What else can you tell us about that?

It’s one of those things where it’s a sign that they know how to respond during difficult times. I would say from the economy rebounding or not rebounding, the companies that don’t have the experience of downturns are getting hurt or have overextended themselves. These are big companies. Starbucks announced that 500 locations are going away. Big companies are reacting to it because these events weren’t priced into their business model. Now that it’s there, you’re going to have a different way of doing business.

I’m not sure if wages are going to get hit or benefits are going to get hit. Companies are going to act differently because what’s priced into their business model is something like COVID or some Black Swan event that can come out of the leftfield and disrupt the entire world economy. It was interesting because I got a news flash and it was this guy that was in a silent retreat for 90 days and he just got out. I challenged my daughter because she was sitting next to me. I said, “If I’m that person, talk to me about what went on over the last 90 days.”

What’s amazing is the time perception for all of us, the entire world has changed so much because the news was coming at us quickly. With the civil unrest at the time, the reopenings were starting. It’s crazy. Do you realize the biggest news story of 2020? We thought it could have been what was going on in January. It was the Australian wildfires. Nobody is even thinking about that. Right before that were the Amazon wildfires. That’s out of our collective consciousness and it goes to show you that in some ways, people have a short memory. Collectively, we can’t pay attention to that much. We can only pay attention to a few things. I noticed this whenever I go and kicking back in a hotel room on a trip somewhere.

I’ll let the news play and I do not do this at home. I haven’t even had a TV at home because I can’t handle the commercials and the garbage on it. I’ll turn on a news station on the TV in a hotel room a lot of times and let it play. It’s like the same stories over and over all day long. If you’re there for a conference, you go to the conference in the morning, turn on the news, come back, turn on the news. It’s the same stories. It’s just a repeat. I think to myself, “Isn’t there anything else going on in the world?” There’s way more, but maybe they’re lazy and they don’t cover the other things or it’s that people can’t perceive any more than that. It’s entirely possible.

These are times when people think differently. That’s why the questions that we have been answering are important because there are different questions that may have not been asked previously to COVID. If you look at the disruption, there’s more questioning of media and people are asking themselves about time, “Is that true? Is that perspective right? Is there another perspective and trying to form that?” Media has the majority of people’s attention and that’s where they get influenced and then because of our upbringing and most people in the public school system, we’re taught to listen and to obey in a sense, and we have to do what we’re told. People are questioning it these days. I think that’s a good thing because there are other forms of media, news, and ways in which they can validate what’s true and what’s not.

Sadly, those ways are being censored by the big disgusting tech companies. We are on one of their platforms and it’s scary. Love them or hate them. I’ve got to tell you, Trump has made some good points about the media. They have an agenda. This is not about free speech. Free speech is incredibly important, but the mainstream media has been telling free lies in many ways. It’s biased and ridiculous. They are dividing people more and it’s awful. We’ll see what comes of it.

There are two kinds of converging forces within an individual that fuels it. The first one is people hate to be wrong. If they’re wrong or challenged, they resist and they fight it. The other one is people hate being deceived, lied to, and told mistruth. It’s like you have this convergence of these two powerful forces. In the end, humanity in a sense always prevails. It’s a matter of time and everything else has to happen.

It takes a long time, though sometimes to work through those cycles. Unfortunately, it does, but we shall see. The upshot of this is my opinion is modified square root recovery. We’re going along, the economy was booming, went down, and coming back up. We’re going to come up less than before, but the good news, some efficiencies have been created. We’ll see how those pay off over the coming years. Your opinion I think is somewhat similar to mine, but what do you think?

Sometimes, we have amazing learning experiences from challenging times, yet we try to position our lives never to have them. Click To Tweet

It is. At the same time, the variable that I’m concerned about is everything is fueled by credit. If credit contracts, that’s going to negatively affect the economy. I look at how do you measure the economy. The economy will rebound and rebound is a function of measurements. You’re rebounding to a certain measurable level. I believe that paying attention to the fed, what they’re doing, how they’re stimulating expansion, and contraction of credit. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out because that’s going to be a variable. It may make some of our assumptions invalid. These are the Black Swan variables who knows what’s going to happen. At the same time, long-term, I agree with you. The economy is going to be even better because it’s going to be more efficient. There’s going to be less waste.

Everybody, happy investing. Thanks for reading.

Thank you, Jason.

I hope you enjoyed that short interview with Jason. He’s a great guy. Check out his podcast, the Creating Wealth Show. I believe he does a couple of shows a week and he has 1,200 or 1,300 episodes. This guy is a machine and smart. We just scratched the surface. He’s been on the show before, but if you guys have not had a chance to follow him, I would encourage it. I want to comment on some thoughts I’ve had as I’ve reflected on our interview as well as the question that was posed, which is, “When things go back to normal?” It’s been interesting living through this. I think we’re going to look back on these times and appreciate them and see some change and growth in us, hopefully. It’s different than what anyone anticipated.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of challenging and difficult times and in hindsight, I think we see how they’ve changed and helped us. Oftentimes, we don’t go into those difficult times with that attitude and perspective. I believe that it is an opportunity to do that. Something I’ve talked a lot about on the show is how these times refine who we are, help us understand, and grow. Without challenging times, I don’t see how much growth is possible. It might be marginal at best. This came to an important discussion in my family, specifically with my two daughters. I think that most children who grow up in the United States, if you compare the United States to other parts of the world, whether it’s third world countries in Africa or the Middle East, India, as well as Asia, I look at sometimes how we have this amazing learning experience from challenging times, yet we try to position our lives to never have them.

It’s interesting how that works. I’m not going to say it’s a paradox, but maybe it is. I realized something in relation to my daughters because they’ve experienced this shutdown and it’s different. At the same time, I look at it being a challenge. It also is an environment where you can as easily complain about and sit back and relax, and except the paycheck from the government and not do anything. I believe I know why that happened. I believe that we have the biggest opportunity cost when you paper over challenges, especially these Black Swan challenges because humanity thrives during these times. It’s not always in the moment, especially in the beginning moments, but as we figure things out and we find solutions and we innovate, things become even better.

There are going to be instances of that because lots of companies are failing, going bankrupt, and weren’t prepared. There are going to be some valuable lessons learned from that, which is good. I look at my kids on how they interact with me, their little brother, and others. For the most part, they’re incredible but I’ve noticed lately a sense of entitlement, a sense of selfishness, and a narrow perspective of life. I wouldn’t expect them to have a broader perspective because they haven’t experienced challenging things. Those of us who live in the United States who benefit from many things that we take for granted, as you compare us in our circumstances to the rest of the world, but yet you still find yourself complaining, getting frustrated, and irritated.

I’ve stepped back and I’ve looked at what an incredible time that we live in and what an incredible opportunity for me to be more aware of who I am and why I’m in this situation. The first thing I did with my girls, I wrote them a letter about their mom. Even though the content of the letter is known to them, I wanted to put some emotion into it. That letter was telling them about their mom. My wife was on here a couple of years ago and we discussed some of this. She grew up in some horrible circumstances in Mexico. It is a very poor city. She lived in a cinder block home. There were only three rooms, a cinder block or concrete floor, and a small shower. She never had her own bedroom or bed. She always slept with the brothers or slept with her mom. Her dad wasn’t around. He was working outside of Mexico.

TWS 49 | Economy Rebound

Economy Rebound: The time perception for all of us in the entire world has changed so much because the news comes at us quickly.

 

She had to be an adult at a young age cooking, cleaning, taking care of her brothers, helping them with their schoolwork, but she did it. She did it her own and she got good grades. She accomplished some pretty amazing things. She didn’t have anything. She didn’t have Christmas or birthday presents. They didn’t have food that often and she doesn’t talk about this at all and I’m reluctant to talk about it either. The point is those challenging times, put her in a position to either accept to be happy with them or to shrink. Those circumstances and experiences of life impacted her in a big way and formed her into the woman she is and their mom. There are a lot of other things I talked about in this letter.

The point of me talking about this letter is to give a different perspective of life on an intimate level because it’s their mom and to show you how difficult challenging times help and change us. Whether it’s talking back, refusing to do things, being dishonest, or treating little kids, especially six-year-olds who have way too much energy. They can be irritating sometimes, but it’s to be composed and patient. As I thought about that and about myself and thought about you as readers, it’s looking at the world and recognizing that these are experiences that we have no control over, but we do have control over how we act and how we show up.

When we look at the world in hindsight, by asking the question, “Will things go back to normal? Will the economy rebound and go back to the way it was?” We missed the point because whether that’s true or not, it’s the wrong question. I think the perspective to take is, “How am I going to do better, be different, and help more people be a better steward over my circumstances?” That’s what I’ll end with. I started to approach life a little bit differently where I recognize that life may not be coincidental. Life may be by design and the people I meet and interact with every day, maybe for a reason. Whether that’s true or not, I probably will never know. What occurred to me is knowing that I can show up in a good way every single day, every single moment, and enjoy it. Whether it’s smiling to a stranger or helping somebody, reaching out to somebody, or sending a text. There are a lot of people that are in need.

A lot of people that are lonely these days, but having a perspective of making somebody’s day better, making my team’s day better, inspiring, and motivating. Finding the opportunities to do that has impacted me in a good way and a positive way. I believe that’s possible for all of you. It’s looking at your circumstances and looking at what you’re going to experience tomorrow the next day and realizing that in those moments, the people that you meet and interact with that happen across your path. There could be some amazing opportunities there. I believe we have a stewardship to show up as the best person for those moments.

I believe that it is by design and that’s how I’m operating. It’s been awesome to observe. We look at some crazy times and I hope things don’t go back to normal. I hope we all are better from this. I hope we innovate. I hope we find new relationships. I hope we seek out experiences and do things differently than what we would have done in the past. I think if we show up as the same person after this, we’ve missed a big opportunity to grow. That’s all I wanted to share with you. We have links to Jason’s podcasts as well as any other links that we talked about. Also, check out the website. Make sure you bookmark it and subscribe to the newsletter. We’re emailing weekly. Thanks for reading.

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About Jason Hartman

TWS 49 | Economy ReboundJason Hartman is the Founder of the Platinum Properties Investor Network and host of the Creating Wealth podcast, which is heard in more than 180 countries. Jason is a genuine self-made multi-millionaire and serial entrepreneur who owns 21 businesses in investing, financing, real estate development, and SaaS software. He has owned properties in 11 states, had hundreds of tenants, and been involved in several thousand real estate transactions. He has visited 83 countries, enjoys adventure, fitness, and lifelong learning.
Jason Hartman is the host of 23 podcasts with listeners in 189 countries, over 15,000,000 downloads, and over 5,000 episodes where he shares powerful strategies for business, investing and living the good life. Check out his podcasts and resources at www.JasonHartman.com or www.HartmanMedia.com Available on iTunes and your favorite podcast platforms.
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