Life is not just about knowledge but requires action as well. Please complete this life changing exercise before you read any further. Add up all the payments you have ever made in your life to a bank or finance company on every debt you have ever had during your life. This is on cars, real estate, business loans, business equipment, student loans, boats; anything motorized, etc. Now whatever that figure is for you (it will be largely a figure of age and income) double that number. So if your figure is $1,000,000 in total payments your number would be $2,000,000. Why do we double that figure? By giving up control of all your money in the form of monthly payments for all those years you turned over the growing power of that money to the bank. Depending on your age, even if you had kept that money and received even a modest interest rate of 4% to 6% your money would have easily doubled once and for many of you doubled a couple of times. Now that we have your “money lost” figure you need to add up your “money kept and invested”. To get that figure simply add up all the money you have saved up in your IRA’s, 401k and other retirement accounts. Grab your most recent statements and add them up quickly.
This entire exercise can be done in 10 minutes and I challenge you to do it before you read one more word or at least immediately after you’re done. How much have you saved and invested for retirement? Now which of those two totals is bigger, the money paid to the bank figure or the money for your retirement figure? Now ask yourself who is getting rich with that personal finance model. The answer is very apparent and that is the banks and Wall Street who love this business model. You borrow money your whole life and don’t care as long as the interest is low. This keeps you in financial bondage to the banks. Then whatever money you are able to put away is put inside of qualified plans and then given to Wall Street. Wall Street is flat out drunk with money and has been for many decades.
When I do this exercise in front of a room it produces laughter from the crowd because they are realizing that the monthly payments have deprived us of most of the wealth in our lives. My average participant might tell me $2,000,000 given in payments and lost growth and $70,000 saved for retirement. Which figure would you prefer to have for yourself? This is math that any fifth grader can do and makes sense to anyone who has an open mind.
Now to be fair very few people could afford to self finance their first car or house so the numbers get skewed because you most likely would not have the option of self financing those early items. However, that is not an excuse for not moving toward that goal of being self financed. Think of your life as a giant income wheel. Income comes into the wheel and most of it gets spit right back out the other side of the wheel. Your goal is to keep as much money as possible coming in on the wheel for your accounts and to stop the 4 massive wealth drains we all have during our lives. Yes, there are more than 4 wealth drains but these 4 are the biggest and must be stopped so you can grow wealth regardless of what happens to any market. We will be discussing these wealth drains in depth in future articles.
It’s important to understand that I am not advocating just paying cash for items like many gurus incessantly preach. I am talking about using your capital just like a major bank would use their capital. If you took out a loan from the bank would they be alright with you borrowing the money and not paying it back? Would they be happy with no interest paid to them? (Don’t get fooled by those 0% loan pitches because there is always a cost of money but sometimes it is hidden in the actual price and not the finance charges) The answer to both of those is, of course it wouldn’t be acceptable to not pay them back or not give them interest. Then it stands to reason that if you are acting as your own bank, why would it be acceptable to not pay yourself back or without interest? It is never acceptable just to pay cash (especially for anything over $10,000) and not pay the bank back even if you own the bank.