Equal Partners Podcast

Adam Kol helps couples who love each other make sure that the money conversation doesn’t get in the way. His aim it to take couples from fear and fights to partnership & prosperity.

As a Couples Financial Counselor and Certified Mediator, Adam provides customized counseling and tailored tools to give you intimacy, peace of mind, and ultimately: cash.

His services are available worldwide via video coaching.

Learn more about Adam Kol’s offering on his website AHK Coaching.

It was an honor to have been a guest on Adam’s 30th episode of his “Equal Partners Podcast” together with my wife Martina who was speaking as a podcast guest for the first time in her life!

Listen to our episode right here or find more links below.

During our show with Adam we introduce ourselves, how we got to know eachother in Taiwan and how we started planning our lives together in Taiwan as we quickly fell in love.

From two worlds apart, a lot of sacrifice went into figuring out our future together. After Matt moved back to Switzerland, we knew that we couldn’t be apart for too long and made a five-year plan to be together.

In this episode, we share how we turned our post-it note dreams into our thriving reality via financial planning and selfless compromise, we share some of the things we sacrificed and how we helped eachother along the way as well. 

Now, with a family and financially independent we love to share in this podcast that if you plan your couple as a dream team, you can superspeed your life goals while still afford the things that make life exciting.

Be careful, because once you tune in to this podcast, your interest is sure to …compound!

Listen to this episode either directly on Adam’s website: The Equal Partner$ Podcast

Or click here for: Spotify

If you found today’s post helpful, kindly consider sharing it with your spouse, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues. Please don’t forget to subscribe my blog by email, like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter.

Go after your goals as a dream team!

Matt

If Youth Knew If Age Could

Have you ever wondered what advice you would give to your younger self? Or similarly, have you ever thought about how your future self would show up and how it would want to guide you today?

Since we haven’t built a real flux-compensator [yet], wouldn’t it be easier to simply start asking those older and smarter than you to share their most valuable lessons?

I’ve spent some time to gather some nuggets of wisdom from people I’m surrounded with and decided to sort them systematically. Maybe first and foremost, one of the key lessons that I’ve learned is that’s it worth it to pursue what your longing for, especially if it’s difficult.

The most valuable things in life are often hardest to obtain.

This rule of thumb is valid for experience, wisdom, skills, technical talent and of course wealth. At the same time, the most valuable lessons of life are often the ones you try to avoid, resist, or simply miss for years – as you’re following your current routine indefinitely.

If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard.

But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.

Life is simple. But not easy!

In this post, I’ll try to summarize all the thoughts and ideas about what I’d be telling my younger self.

No Fear

Dream big – if your goals don’t scare you, set bigger goals!

Your true potential is only limited by your passion and imagination. Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth. What the mind can conceive and believe, it shall receive.

Work on making your dreams come true by finding your true ikigai. This planet needs more people that dare to dream – learn to dream with eyes wide open. Keep in mind that if it doesn’t challenge you, it most likely also doesn’t change you.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Walt Disney

The biggest risk in life is actually to play it too safe. You might end up with regrets for not having tried. We all just have one life. Use your time wisely. Time is the only wealth we’re given.

The biggest obstacle to get started is fear. People are afraid to think big, of trying new things and of making mistakes. However, if you think too small, you’ll only achieve small things.

Some of my friends confirmed they achieved the greatest advances in life in moments where they stayed calm and did it anyways. This is true for your career, for love and for making new experiences!

I would tell my younger self: “Trust me. The best things in life are on the other side of fear!”

“The problem human beings face is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed.”

Michelangelo

Find your true north, your direction, your why.

Then stick to who you are and keep building on it.

Do not try to impress parents, partners, the other gender, friends and bosses. In doing so, you would only head in directions that are at odds with who you really are or could become.

Yes, you will make mistakes.

Yes, you will have to learn more on your journey.

But all this is worth your while as long as you keep an open mindset and stay open to possibilities and chances.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein

In order to strengthen your foundation, do keep your partner and family onboard, you have higher odds as a dream-team!

Don’t be the guy that spent his entire life in the comfort zone.

Have no fear!

Start Now

Some say, the best time to get started was twenty years ago. The second-best time of course is today, not tomorrow. Don’t wait for the perfect time – it will never be perfect. Forget about waiting until you know everything – you never will. Start now.

The actual root of procrastination is doubt. Find a way to increase your belief and you will increase your activity. Of course you will be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t even try.

Keep in mind that people who never try are failing already.

For all you know, no one else knows what they’re doing either. Everyone feels insecure sometimes (some even a lot of the time).

Simple truth of life is: Those who keep going, keep winning.

Keep in mind: Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Take risks while you’re young and while you can.

“Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.”

A. Sachs

In case you don’t like where you are now, move. You are not a tree.

Move towards your goals starting now. Other than your partner and family (teamwork!) don’t wait for someone to give you permission – they won’t.

Just start now!

Stay Curious: Keep Learning

Unless you are completely retired, earning money is still the best form of building and preserving wealth. Anything that you learn will somehow become your wealth, a wealth that cannot be taken away from you anymore.

Invest in yourself so that you’ll never have to worry about earning an income whether it be from a full time job, side-hustle, or business.

There are many ways to learn new things: Reading books, attending classes or through experience. I’m a strong advocate of learning desirable skills and my favourite way to go about it is through exposure: Experience is king.

Experience are the raw form of learning and will put you in a situation which pure (book-) knowledge cannot give. Life greatest lessons come from experiences.

Get started with learning “how to money”. Use this key-skill to buy more of your time and expose yourself to learning more: New languages, new technical skills, how to write, give public speeches, how to start a business and so on.

Make your brain faster, smarter, more confident and more savvy!

Stay curious and keep learning!

Move the Needles

How to money?

The very first step to building wealth is to spend less than you make.

Simply put, focus on increasing the gap between income and expenses.

The bigger the difference, the more “free cash flow” you have flowing and the faster you cruise towards your (monetary) goals – be it net-worth or cash-flow.

The Crossover Point — illustration from “Your Money Or Your Life” – by Vicki Robin

The higher your monthly income and the lower your monthly expenses, the more you can save and invest. The more you invest, the faster the third curve, the monthly investment income, will move higher up. Once the “passive income” reaches your expenses, you’ve reached the crossover point. Congratulations, you are now financially free!

Read more about this in the wonderful book “Your Money Or Your Life” by Vicki Robin.

Reduce your expenses by listing them all up and question them one by one. You will be surprised how much potential most people are able to unlock doing this exercise. Focus on ongoing savings, not on one-offs. Explore saving more money by going for the “Million Dollar Haircut” or work on similar new habits. A budget might help.

On the other side, work on increasing your income either by adding more value to this world either on your job or with your business or by investing more into cash-flowing assets.

Move the needles [income and expenses] into the right direction over time.

Pay yourself first!

Don’t save what’s left after spending, spend what’s left after saving.

Start Investing Now

Very often people tell me they don’t have enough money to get started with investing. Well, how much is enough? I’d say, if you found a way to have your basic needs covered, anything above that is fair game.

No amount is too small, so start NOW!

Know the power of compounding in investing in financial assets as well as other areas in life. Whatever it is you like to get started investing: Start your compounding journey with your first paycheck and keep going from there.

Never stop.

By setting-up automatic bi-weekly investment contributions to a stock market index fund as soon as you open a bank account you’ll most likely be well served. Try not to look at it until you’re much older.

“Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.”

Albert Einstein

Buy Assets instead of Liabilities

Learn the difference between assets and liabilities.

Assets are anything that puts money into your pockets.

Liabilities are anything that takes money out of your pockets.

Simple as that!

Following this definition your car, expensive toys, boats or even your oversized home most likely qualify as liabilities (!) while investing into your education, equities or your business will be assets.

Never finance depreciating “assets” and be careful with financing liabilities even more. Better to purchase second-hand cars or wait until you have sufficient free cash-flow to indulge purchasing “fun-items” – if must be.

Most people can afford NOT to be a great investor, but probably can’t afford to be a bad one. Invest early in Index funds: You’ll worry less and earn more. Index and chill.

Once your assets are accumulating capital understand that capital is that part of wealth which is devoted to obtaining further wealth. This can be human capital (yourself) and/ or financial capital.

Keep accumulating capital.

Understand Your Taxes

The average person will view taxes as something inevitable and therefore not spend too much time understanding the “tax-code”. Each tax jurisdiction has different rules and loopholes. Understand the rules of the game before you start playing.

For most tax-codes the advice is similar: Maximize your retirement-account contributions, untap others such as health savings accounts, know how to optimize mortgages, debt, and real estate. Figure out how capital growth and dividends are taxed. Implement more tools if and when needed as your net-worth grows.

At a certain point in time you should consider starting your own business for employing yourself and/ or holding assets. From eight digits upwards the topics could be your personalized fund vehicle or to collateralize your assets within or establishing foundations and trusts with insurance shields to prepare for handing over your wealth to the next generation.

Beware, the rules keep changing.

Keep yourself updated.

Socialize with intention

You’ll become the average of the five people you spend the most time with!

Choose your friends wisely.

Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with. And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes. And the changes are what you become. Change the outcome by changing your circle.

Seth Godin

Take people for who they really are and not for who you want them to be. They show you everyday just look. Make sure you don’t confuse looking rich, (buying fancy toys and big houses), with being wealthy. The people we think are rich are often deep in debt.

Stay away from people that think you’re lucky if you succeed or that you’re greedy if you acquire wealth. Pay no attention to them. They simply doesn’t understand. Avoid people that don’t understand.

Choose your tribe. Surround yourself with energetic people that like to discuss their ideas instead of talking about other people. Engage in some #JacuzziBeerstorming for getting more creative with your social circle. Wealth flows from energy and ideas.

It is the product of man’s capacity to think.

Build your relationships, your network is your networth.

Fuck the Joneses

Avoid keeping up with the Joneses.

Avoid herd-mentality and most money problems will avoid you throughout your life. Instead of spending too much time with what the average Joe on your street does, says or thinks of you, focus on what you can control.

Why bother trying to “fit in”?

What other people think of you is none of your business. Don’t be in a race with your social media neighbours. No one is so miserable as the poor person who maintains the appearance of wealth. Be content with enough and stay clear of lifestyle creep.

“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money”

Pablo Picasso

Never ever, ever, ever give up! Ever!

Be patient and be prepared for set-backs.

Life is not a sprint, it’s rather a marathon. The greatest of all works have not been performed by strength but by perseverance.

Be more tough!

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

Every journey starts with a first step. Get started and then focus on daily progress. Take small steps if needed. But steps into the right direction. Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed no hope at all.

Aim high, be unrelenting in your pursuit of your goal, but flexible in your approach of it. Stay true to your values and don’t compare yours with anyone else’s journey. Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

„When the going gets tough, the tough get going.“

Ignored the haters in the late 1990’s and 2020 again, never give up.

No Regrets

Sometimes when you think back you will realize in your life there are certain important decisions that have led you to where you are today. It could drive you mad if you keep thinking in “what ifs” all the time.

Imagine, back in 2004 I got accepted to work for Google through an AIESEC traineeship, said no and decided for the more adventurous challenge of working in Taiwan. Was this a stupid decision? You could argue so. However, I chose to venture out to Taipei instead and got to know my wife. There are many such crossroads in anyone’s life.

My advice here: Once you’re at that crossroads, listen to your heart, your passion. Choose wisely. Make a decision. Go for it. The path you take will define and form you. In the end, it doesn’t matter which path you take, as long as you move forward. And have no regrets.

Listen to your heart – keep your passion alive.

Seriously, it doesn’t matter too much what others think.

Regrets don’t help.

Take Care of Yourself so You can take Care of Others

When you fly on an airplane, the flight crew instructs you clearly to “put your oxygen mask on first,” especially before helping others, including your own children!

Wrong (credits to “Fight Club”)

Why is this such an important rule? It’s a rule to ensure a higher rate of survival. If you run out of oxygen, you wouldn’t be able to help anyone else with their oxygen mask anymore. Put more simply: if you die, you can’t help anyone else.

That’s how to do it.

Again, the life advice here is not to push forward at any price. You got to know how to take care of yourself. Especially when to take a rest. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can experience burnout, stress, fatigue, reduced mental effectiveness, health problems, anxiety, frustration, inability to sleep, and more.

Keep in mind, whatever you try to attain here: You’re doing this to improve your life! Money is not the end goal. It’s a means, a tool, a way to have options to build the life of your dreams but not worth anything in its own right. Don’t lose sight of what really matters. Happiness over being “rich”. The journey should be as remarkable as the destination. While wealth is the ability to fully experience life please ensure to enjoy the ride: Life is about being and becoming, not having and getting.

Remember: You only live once!

What advice would you give to your younger self if you could?

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.

Financially Imagineer Your Life!

Matt

Disclaimer: Please be made aware that the some of the links used above may be affiliate links for which Financial Imagineer could receive a compensation.

Ikigai – The Japanese Secret for a Long and Happy Life

In Japan, people have learned to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. That’s because they are aligned with their ikigai! Let’s explore what is behind this ikigai and see what we can learn to improve our lives as well.

The Japanese island of Okinawa happens to have one of the largest population of centenarians. They have accomplished an extraordinary longevity. Even for Japanese standards. Researchers found the reason behind this amazing achievement was due to people living their ikigai.

Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life.

The Okinawans don’t have a word for retirement. Instead, they keep using ikigai or “the reason for getting up” to define their purpose of life. You can do the same by adjusting your mindset. Free yourself from having your purpose of life just linked to either your work or your ability to earn money. Your life wouldn’t stop being “of purpose” once you stop working.

Have you ever realized that when you get to meet new people it’s very common to get introduced from an angle of profession or job. There are studies suggesting (early-) retirement may be a cause for an earlier death.

Blue Zones

Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow, New York Times-bestselling author, explorer and researcher wrote “Blue Zones: Lessons on Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest” and found there are just five so called “blue zones” with extraordinary longevity around the world.

Inhabitants of blue zones usually share a specific concept of “how to live life” which is the reason they indeed do enjoy longer than average lives.

The concept of ikigai is the most impactful of them.

You can replicate it for your life as well!

What is Ikigai?

Please see the below diagram to illustrate “Ikigai”. Ikigai is the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing on one side – this can also be called your “passion” – and of what the world needs and what you can be paid for on the other side.

In his book “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” Hector Garcia writes how chasing money without true purpose instead focusing on adding value to society and happiness is not healthy.

Did you know NOT living your true life is the number one regret of the dying?

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Bronnie Ware

How To Find and Live Your “Ikigai”?

1. What do you love?

How do you usually spend your time if it’s not for money? What activities do you enjoy the most? Does time just fly by when you are usually engaged in these activities? Most people know the answers to these questions. It’s easy to know what you enjoy.

Step 1: Write down a list of activities that you enjoy doing.

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.

2. What does the world need?

Start thinking from a problem perspective. What problems in this world need to be solved? Try to think from an angle of identifying problems that interest you and tickle your passion again. The bigger the problem, the more opportunities you might find going after.

Step 2: Make a list of problems in this world you care for.

People don’t pay you for following your passion, they pay you to satisfy a need.

These first two questions are the core of finding Ikigai: Match what you love with what is needed. They build the foundation for the next two questions.

3. What are you good at?

If you ask your friends and family how would they reply to this question on your behalf? What are you especially good at? What can you do better than others?

Everyone has some skills they excel at. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses. While it’s easier to work with existing talents, don’t despair: With putting in time and effort you can acquire many skills these days.

Step 3: List up your talents, ask your friends and family for help if needed!

The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.

4. What can you be paid for?

Depending on what you could offer, it’s possible to get paid for pretty much anything. Promoting and getting paid for services, products or work has never been easier. With the internet, social media and other tools finding customers that are willing to spend money is the key step here.

While this sounds easier, it might be the most difficult step. Be creative and keep trying. People promoting their passion services and products have a clear and sustainable advantage over businesses and others out there!

People don’t buy from companies; they buy from people.

Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.

5. Final Step

The final step of this exercise is to put the above findings together in a meaningful way and come to a conclusion. Going through the above four steps and line of thoughts you should get more clarity towards which direction you might want to be heading.

The intersection of all four areas is where you achieve Ikigai.

Should you have problems going through the above exercise I’d highly recommend you some Jacuzzi Beerstorming to up your creativity and imagination.

Imagineer Your [Ikigai] Life

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

If you don’t design your life [plan], chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan instead. Should you have a partner, I highly recommend to get aligned.

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.

Japanese proverb

Living your ikigai is not something easily achieved. It takes time. The key part is to get the process started and keep moving into the right direction. You will learn a lot on the way, keep learning.

Once you stop learning, you start dying.

This world needs more people that have become truly alive. The problem with the large majority of people is that at one point in time they stop being curious. They no longer care about new ideas, experiences and solutions as they assume responsibilities. Then they build and get stuck in their daily routines. Don’t be like them.

Stay curious and creative.

You will grow and can finetune and adjust your path on the journey. Finding and living your Ikigai is difficult but so much worth it!

Dare to make time in your life for a satisfying occupation, a meaningful contribution to society, make time for your family and hobbies.

“My future starts when I wake up every morning… Every day I find something creative to do with my life.”

Miles Davis

Time to get started! Imagineer your dream life!

Now my question to you is, are you excited to wake up tomorrow?

Matt

If you enjoyed this article and like to learn more about life-hacks, financial independence and more, please don’t forget to follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Disclaimer: Please be made aware that the some of the links used above may be affiliate links for which Financial Imagineer could receive a compensation.

The Art of Jacuzzi Beerstorming

Dipping in hot water has been an enjoyable activity for humans over centuries. No wonder jacuzzies have become such a popular backyard feature. Tons of research show how hot water therapy can positively affect you physically, mentally, and spiritually. There’s even more to it. Financially. Read on!

Regular hot tubbing can sustainably improve your life. It can help you become better at generating creative ideas, focusing your thoughts, getting clarity about your goals, and building your network while doing this together with likeminded people. It can make you happier and richer.

Spa time in Taiwan

Jacuzzi Beerstorming

My grandfather used to say: There’s nothing better than something good together with something good. Jacuzzi Beerstorming is just like that. It’s one of my favorite habits. It combines even THREE of my favorite ways to spend time: Bouncing ideas with friends, sipping a cool beer and dipping the jacuzzi.

The basic concept is to bring people together into a situation where they are forced to disconnect, relax, rest their minds and can focus on bonding. The warm water and bubbles are helping with the relaxation part. Good beer enables to open up minds, unblocks certain boundaries and lets unlimited creativity flow.

Jacuzzi Beerstorming [ʤəˈkuːzi bɪəˈstɔːmɪŋ]: The activity of brainstorming with likeminded individuals while sipping beer in a jacuzzi.

Financial Imagineer

Disclaimer: Stay hydrated and do not drink too much alcohol while hot tubbing

In our Singapore condo “The Waterina” we have established an awesome group called “The Jacuzzi Mates”. When in Singapore, we usually meet several times a week in the early evening hours to relax and exchange ideas together. After a few “Jacuzzi Mates” sessions we were surprised by the usually very positive thinking and creative idea sharing without any boundaries.

Following these sessions, careers have changed. Businesses have started and investments in real estate and others have been made. In retrospect, “Jacuzzi Beerstorming” sessions where the incubator for many things.

Jacuzzi Beerstorming with Jacuzzi Mate in Singapore

Giving Birth to Ideas

The essence of Jacuzzi Beerstorming is to create the right atmosphere combining the informal (bathsuits, super relaxing activity) with being away from anything that smells like work or unnecessary distractions (meetings rooms, offices, Starbucks) and simply add good beer to it! While it works best with groups, introverts please feel free to “fly solo” to keep your mind on creative mode. Jacuzzi Beerstorming is very comparable with meditating. It usually gives me the best ideas.

Try to think back in your life: Think about that one time when your most brilliant insight struck you. Chances are you weren’t actually focused on anything. Right? Fact is: The best ideas usually come unexpected and especially when we allow space for them.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.

William S. Burroughs

After having studied the brains’ default modes, the author of the book Hyperfocus: How to Manage Your Attention in a World of Distraction coined the term “scatterfocus” to describe the act of purposefully letting the mind wander. If you’re like most ambitious people out there, there’s a high chance you resemble more a time-management and productivity expert and simply can’t accept the concept of “actively doing nothing”. You might have trouble getting into “scatterfocused” stage.

The actual key is to build (or to schedule if that’s what it takes) sufficient idle moments into your life – while accepting that idleness and getting stuff done aren’t in opposition! Idleness IS getting stuff done as an idle mind is not necessarily a lazy mind.  

Imagination Requires An Idle Mind

“Idle” and “lazy” are two very different concepts, with very little overlap. “Think of it this way — a fisherman is often idle while still at work,” says Celeste Headlee, author of the new book Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving. “The same is true for a toll booth operator or security guard. Idleness means inactivity, while laziness means reluctance to work.

Can a person be idle because they’re lazy? Of course! But a person can be working while idle and active while not working.”

Imagination requires space and time to stew and simmer, to explore and to emerge; imagination dies in the crucible of intense competition (of ideas). It is ironic that humanity created tuition classes for imagination driven by a spirit of competitiveness in schools.

Jacuzzi Beerstorming is the habit that works best for me – and eventually might also work for you. It’s my secret sauce to “Imagineering” my life. It’s just about enough activity to stimulate my brain while my ideas do not have to compete with distraction or conflicting thoughts. With the right friends around plus beer, neurons will be firing on all cylinders and new, creative, and motivating ideas will be born!

If you’d like to work on designing a new life-plan together with your loved one, please read my guest-post on Get Rich Slowly about “How couples can create a shared plan for the future”.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Zig Ziglar

How Billionaires Use Hot Tubs

As Tim Ferriss shared in his excellent book Tools of Titans, Chris Sacca, a Silicon-Valley early-stage investor in dozens of companies such as Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Kickstarter or Twilio, took a very out-of-the-box approach to get started focusing more on his business back in 2007. He started by buying a cabin in rural Truckee, Tahoe’s less-expensive neighbour. That’s where he moved to, away from the Valley, with a super convincing rationale:

“I wanted to go on offense. I wanted to have the time to focus, to learn the things I wanted to learn, to build what I wanted to build, and to really invest in relationships that I wanted to grow, rather than just doing a day of coffee after coffee after coffee.”

Now he had the perfect excuse to escape the Valley’s “busy-ness”, he no longer attended meetings he didn’t want to, no day-in-day-out coffee dates or late night socializing. Chris turned his life around and started to invite founders and people he liked to get closer to for a day or two to his cabin.

And guess what, the cabin sports a hot tub!

Billionaire Tech Investor Uses Hot Tub Endurance Test To Pick Winners, Because Science

Despite all his fanciful and successful investments, Chris considers the cabin the best investment he’s ever made. “Everyone loves coming to the mountains. Over the years, that’s helped me build lasting friendships. Some of those have been the catalysts for my investments in Uber, Twitter and others.”

Over the years, Sacca has perfected his “due diligence” in order to avoid bad deals. Besides hot tubbing, he observes the new entrepreneurs at his cabin to see how they act over a series of home-cooked meals, hikes and ski trips. While the Andreessens and Thiels are taking their chances in a boardroom, Sacca wants to see what money-hungry nerds will do out in the nowhere. This way he will gain insight on how well they are prepared to navigate the crazy world of the tech biz.

If you really want to get cash from Chris Sacca, then you better get yourself ready for an epic “tub session”. Travis Kalanick, chief executive officer of Uber, impressed Sacca through his hot tub resilience: “Travis can spend eight to 10 hours in a hot tub,” Sacca said. “I’ve never seen a human with that kind of staying power in a hot tub.” – Chris Sacca invested in Uber!

How long can you stay in a hot tub?

Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson, another Billionaire, has refined “bonding events” with entrepreneur even more. You can actually “buy time” with him directly here. If you attend the event, you “might” get to meet him on his own island, Necker Island, located in the British Virgin Islands.

There are great success stories about people bonding with Sir Branson either in a hot tub or around his bonfire on Necker Island. Branson particularly believes in taking relaxing bubble baths for brainstorming purposes.

Become A Jacuzzi Brillionaire

To enjoy a hot relaxing bubble bath, you don’t have to be a billionaire. Depending where you live, you may have natural hot-springs around or can find facilitated hot tubs in public pools. You can also find them in hotels, gyms (wellness section, Spa area) or your friends and neighbors might own one.

Only in 2020 did I realize owning a hot-tub is significantly cheaper than I previously thought. As this year we can’t travel as freely as in earlier years, we have redirected parts of our travel budget and bought an inflatable Intex SPA hot tub for our garden. It reminds me a lot of our condo jacuzzi in Singapore where many friendships were made, and ideas were born. Similar products are available on Amazon.

Inflatable Intex SPA in our garden in Switzerland

Hot Spring Culture Around the World

Did you know that across the world dipping hot water is widely enjoyed, cultivated, and respected?

Most often bathing in hot water is done for health benefits: The heat widens blood vessels, which sends nutrient-rich blood throughout your body. Warm water also brings down swelling and loosens tight muscles. And the water’s buoyancy takes weight off painful joints. A dip in the hot tub might also help your mental state, lets you relax and sleep better!

In Japan, monkeys also enjoy the benefits of a dip in an Onsen.

If you happen to travel, please do take your time to enjoy the local bathing culture in different locations. We have dipped hot-waters in Taiwan (“Wenquan”: Yangminshan, Beitou, Wulai, Taroko Gorge hot springs), Japan (“Onsen”), New Zealand (Hanmer Springs) and Iceland (Blue Lagoon!). Each place has a different feeling and background story.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Blue Lagoon, Iceland, “Gull” (gold) beer is served in a bar directly attached to the hot water.
Skál!

Thanks for reading this far. Chances are, you might be someone enjoying hot water and/ or beer a fair bit! What was your best experience dipping a hot spring, jacuzzi, onsen, wenquan or hammam??? Do you also like to sip a good beer along? I’m sure we’d all be more than curious to find out. Not just location wise, but also if you’ve had some great ideas, met interesting people or something else happened while dipping!

Happy Jacuzzi Beerstorming to You!

Cheers, Matt

If you enjoyed this article and like to learn more about life-hacks, financial independence and more, please don’t forget to follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Do You Even Blog?
Do you even Jacuzzi Beerstorm?

Disclaimer: Please be made aware that the some of the links used above may be affiliate links for which Financial Imagineer could receive a compensation.

Why People buy Lottery Tickets instead of Creating their Dream Life?

Why people buy lottery tickets, when there’s almost zero chance they’ll ever win? Previously I thought the answer is obvious: They buy because they want the millionaire lifestyle right now! Instant gratification! Boom: Millionaire life. Now.

However, after giving it additional thoughts, this seemed not to be the complete truth.

Actually, people buy lottery tickets ritualistically because it gives them the permission to regularly fantasise about living the millionaire lifestyle. It’s like buying a movie ticket for your own inner mental cinema showing: “Me, the Millionaire”

Apparently having this fantasy playing in your “Kopfkino” is worth $2 a week to many fellow humans. In fact, a large majority of people show very similar behaviour with all kind of stuff such as weight loss products, get-rich-quick schemes and products, dating products, you name it.

Why not spend the money on a one-year gym membership and then daydream about losing weight while not actually going back to the gym?

How convenient! For a seemingly small amount of money you can instantly “buy” yourself a solution to calm your inner voice that’s constantly asking you to change something in your life: Like a lottery ticket.

Just imagine parking right here! They are mostly empty though… how come?

The main problem here is most folks attempting to consume their way to happiness will realize that after having bought their “feel-good” products and picturing what life could become: Instead of changing life itself – everything remains the same. And soon next purchase of happiness is needed. Like an addictive drug.

There’s no instant rich, no instant weight-loss and no easy way to success.

via GIPHY

How about yourself? Many people spend more time reading about getting rich, successful people or businesses, instead of attempting to build one themselves? Sure, we all need inspiration. But how to actually get started once you feel you got the right amount of inspiration?

Most people persistently complain about “not having enough money or time”. They worry about their lack of success, instead of focusing on their small victories and building on what they’ve already got.

Luckily: Most successful people, wealth and businesses where not “built” overnight.

Somehow, it’s quite logic, the bigger a dream you dream, the higher an ambition you have and especially the more impossible your plan seems, the more scared you might get that you could fail. Many humans somehow fail to see beyond their own worries, concerns or problems and panic as a result of fear-based decisions.

F-E-A-R has two meanings:

Forget everything and run

Face everything and rise

The choice is yours.

– Zig Ziglar

In other words: If something isn’t working after a few days, or weeks, they move onto something else. And then something else again, and on and on the cycle goes. Until at one point in time, guess what, they buy their next lottery ticket once again and break the chain of trying – by giving up.

How to break this apparent inevitable downwards spiral?

Let’s get to work!

The key to change is simple, but not easy: Slowly reduce and then replace consumption with creation. Instead of daydreaming about getting rich, start earning more, saving more and learn how to invest and making money work for you. Instead of going to restaurants, start cooking more at home. Instead of reading more, start writing more. Instead of buying craft-beers, start brewing yourself! Need veggies? Plant them! Haircut? Learn how to do it yourself. Make it a habit to keep learning and doing.

“Stay afraid but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

– Carrie Fisher

Like anything at the beginning, it might feel awkward and you might not get immediate success or satisfaction.

However: Keep at it! See it as a transformation. Important is that you’ll take the first steps and that you keep going.

As you keep learning, doing, creating – whatever it may be – you’ll feel how your skills improve day by day. If you just improve 1% day over day, imagine how much better you’ll be in a years’ time, two years’ from now, in a decade! It’s the law of compounding! Your wealth will grow, your self-cooked food will get better, your haircuts will start to look better, your writing will get more appealing, you will get more confident and have more fun. And one day you might be able to do stuff you don’t even dare to dream as of now.

Besides: Creating value to the world is so much more satisfying than mere consuming stuff or ideas other people created.

Ultimately, you’ll gain mastery from doing. It takes time and repetition. The better you get at doing something, the more enjoyable creating will get. The more value you can add to the world, the more ideas will be pushing you from the inside – asking you to get realized.

You will transform into an idea-machine: An Imagineer!

Eventually you can’t leave your home anymore without a notebook to write down your new ideas as they come and hopefully you can’t even wait to start and keep doing again. Once you wake up, you’d want to jump out of bed to get back doing and you’ll be filled with a new kind of energy and deep satisfaction.

Believe it or not: Humans are born to be imaginative creators!

Not lottery-ticket buyers.

For most of human history there were no lottery-tickets.

In a way, it was only the occurrence of the industrial revolution that started to change how we humans spent our days. Thanks to increased productivity, corporations suddenly found themselves drowning in too much supply and not enough demand.

They had to find ways to convince us we need more; they improved marketing in order to let an increasing amount of people believe they need to consume more in order to “keep the economy going”. Unfortunately, many bought into this lifestyle.

Most surprisingly is that especially nowadays, where most of us are fully aware of this bombardment from advertisers, we still let them do it and give them evermore of our attention – the new currency of the 21st century. We let them into our lives, our homes, our screens and they know more than ever before about us. Just think about the big data-collectors on this planet.

The problem is that we believe we can fill our inner emptiness by consuming the right products and services. However, we can NEVER get ultimate satisfaction by simply consuming more. Actually, the opposite is true. The more we consume, the more we tend to experience stress and anxiety. The more we consume and possess, the more our possessions possess us – mentally, physically and emotionally.

All my things, what a mess, what to do?

It takes time to realize that the solution to this problem is on the other side of the equation: We’re so into this consumer mindset that we forget our inherent urge to create. At least for me, the solution is to consume less and create more. If we spend more time creating, we will automatically spend less time consuming. This saves money, builds skills and experience and leads to a happier life.

“The cost of living is dying.”

Find one thing that will add value to your life, your family and the world – and let’s start creating it! Step by step. Doing so will provide you much more satisfaction than purchasing a lottery ticket and just dreaming about another, better life while your actual life, your time passes by.

For myself, acquiring new skills, applying them and creating has and always will be an essential part of my life. Even though I can afford to have my hair cut, I bought an electric haircutting machine, I love to cook myself, learnt how to brew my beer, paint the walls in my home, started an indoor herb garden and much more. Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. So, stop wishing, start doing.

The only limitation is your fantasy…

What would you love to be able to create?

Would be happy to read more about this in the comments!

Happy creating!

Matt

Disclaimer: I must admit having bought lottery tickets myself – and will buy again in the future. It’s a fun thing to fantasize and hey, I choose to be called Financial Imagineer. While I enjoy the fantasies, I don’t build my “wealth building strategy” solely on lottery tickets and will not be too disappointed by not winning. Should you have won the lottery already and wonder what to do now, please look no further and read here. There are too many horror stories and horrifying stats about lottery winners getting rich quickly and losing everything again.

Who Wouldn’t Want to Be a Millionaire: 6 Life-Winning-Lessons From a “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” Contestant

What would you do if you received a $ 1 million jackpot? How does it actually feel to receive a windfall? What to do with it and how could it impact your life in the short, medium and long run?

Let’s first think about what you could possibly do with a large financial windfall?
– splurge (Sir? The Lamborghini in same gold as the Maybach?)
– take a sabbatical and travel to exotic locations, sipping martinis all day long
– travel to Vegas (all or nothing)
– re-invest in lottery tickets
– buy a house and/or pay-off your mortgage
– invest all into Vanguard ETFs and draw an annual $40,000 forever (Trinity study, 4% withdrawal rate)
– keep calm and carry on

Here’s what a Financial Imagineer would do with a $ 1 million windfall:

Keep calm and carry on!

 

Keep calm and carry on!

You find this hard to believe?

Looking through all the above options, this clearly appears to be the most boring choice. But hey, I’ve got a rather personal story for you guys today. Let me explain.

Once upon a time, I won a windfall myself.

I wanted to be a Millionaire.

We write the year 2001, my most crazy side-hustling days: During daytime, I was usually studying business administration and economics. Frequently, after sundown, you’d find me baking up to 200 pizzas each night at the first pizza home delivery franchise in my hometown. Saturdays, you’d find me advising clients at a bank counter and Sundays I’d be running the local polling station in our village.

Some wondered if I’d ever catch some sleep.

One evening, I was sitting on our couch watching the Swiss edition of “Who wants to be a Millionaire” on TV3. Somehow, none of the contestants ever seemed to make it past the first 10 questions. It got boring and frustrating. It quickly became painful for me to keep watching. I knew and appreciated the show from abroad and generally liked it because you usually learnt something while watching – infotainment. The entertainment value of the local version was rock-bottom. This tickled a nerve.

Instead of applying the ordinary way, I sent a feedback letter asking them to invite more suitable candidates in order to improve the infotainment value of their show. Little did I know that my written rant would be read and acted upon. Before I knew it, we – my then girlfriend and myself – got invited to participate as contestants at the TV show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.

Turn sound on, click “play” and listen as you read on!

We spent the two weeks prior to the recording with extensive preparations. Since nobody could every finish reading Wikipedia (back then it was the Microsoft Encyclopaedia on CD Roms), we started feeding our brains with compressed wisdom using books like “The Knowledge Book: Everything You Need to Know to Get by in the 21st Century”. We also played the computer game of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” over and over again in order to get into shape and learn how we’d react if under pressure and what mistakes to avoid.

Ready Player One

Two weeks later it was showtime.

We entered the TV studio. The recording started. Game on. First question. Bam, I got on the hot seat. From there, everything went incredibly fast. And after less then 2 hours in the TV studio I was fortunate enough to have won a large windfall for the first time in my life.

How much did we win?

Actual screenshot from Swiss TV3 (2001)

We cleared about $125,000.

I was young, 21 years young to be exact, ran out of all three jokers and decided to call it a day. It felt surreal.

A short moment later they ripped the cables and microphones off me. There are still some blurred memories of me having shaken the show masters’ hand. My knees were soft, somehow it felt like flying on cloud number 9 to the back of the stage.

All of a sudden somebody tipped my shoulder, they pulled me back to reality.

A pen was handed to me and I was asked to clear the paper work in legalese. I signed. Sign-off here, sign-off there. Besides confirming how much we’ve won, the TV station asked me to also sign a non-disclosure agreement: We were not allowed to reveal the outcome of the show to ANYONE until the show was aired. It took another two weeks until my episode was on TV.

We went home.

Stealth wealth mode.

Swiss banking secrecy.

I knew the drill.

The Aftermath

In hindsight, this was probably the most awkward AND best situation I could ever have asked for. It was stealth-wealth practice. Maybe you have also read articles about how most lottery winners can’t handle a windfall and end up broke. I had time – time to think about how to win at life – despite having won a small fortune.

Here I was. Glowing in the inside. Ice cold on the outside. Poker face. Not allowed to talk about my experience of just having won a windfall. Pretending nothing has happened and going back to my normal busy life.

Some of my friends and colleagues knew that I participated on the show. Of course they asked all kind of questions. I played along and didn’t bother to talk too much about the show anymore for two weeks. I was back to “business as usual mode” and kept hustling. Literally the very next day, I was baking 200 pizzas again as if nothing happened. Many assumed that the show didn’t work out for me. At all.

Two weeks later, the TV show finally aired.

As the news spread, some colleagues wondered why I still show up at work and continue to bake pizzas until midnight, continue to advise banking clients on Saturdays and still rely on public transportation instead of buying a car.

What does a 21 year old do with a six-figure bank account?

First thing: I went to the ATM and printed an account statement for the record.

Nice, but now what?

The Splurge

It was a real honor for me as a young BA and Economics student to invite our family and selected friends for a restaurant celebration meal with drinks. Thereafter, we also splurged about $500 for a short break to sunny Spain, paid our taxes (ouch) and most importantly invested ALL the remaining into boring mutual funds.

That’s it.

Nothing else.

About two months later, we were back to normal and carried on with our lives.

Did my life change at all after that event?

Hell yeah it did!

Not immediately, but slowly.

The Transformation

Having had the extra cash aside, I slowly realized how much power came with it. Power over your own time and life. While most of my university classmates couldn’t wait to have their employment papers signed, I was dreaming to learn more, explore and discover the world.

Explore, Dream, Discover

With a fresh Masters Degree in my pocket, I took off on a 3 months backpacker trip to Central America. Learning Spanish, exploring a foreign culture and another way of life was extremely refreshing and eye-opening.

On my trip, I passed through New York, Toronto, then Bocas Del Torro in Panama, Turrialba in Costa Rica and many other exciting places. The scuba-dive course was $200. Spanish lessons came at $15 half a day including free coffee and internet. A night in a hostel was $7. Arroz con pollo $2 and cerveza for $1. The ultimate luxury dish, fresh caught lobster, butterfly style, set me back $5. Beautiful.

Bocas del Torro, Panama, watertaxi to Red Frog Beach (2003)

Conclusion: I learned a new language. Price tag: $3,000 and 3 months of my time.

It came with fun, adventure, new friendships and unforgettable memories. Actually, back in high school I sucked at learning languages! Now, without the pressure, I was enjoying it! Muchas gracias!

On the flight back home I got sad that this “graduation trip” is over. Then it dawned on me: While I was away, my investments more than fully covered for the trip already. Passively.

Bazinga!

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”
– Yogi Berra

This experience taught me that I enjoy getting lost in other cultures, eating stuff I’ve never tried before and exploring how other people live on this planet. My logical conclusion therefore was to double dare myself and set an even more ambitious target: learning Chinese. In early 2004 I left home again. This time to live and work in Taiwan, thanks to AIESEC.

I stayed in Taiwan for almost three years, worked for three different companies, learned Mandarin Chinese, and got to know my future wife. A whole new world opened itself: The Chinese hemisphere with all its opportunities.

Badaling, the Great Wall of China (2005)

In 2007 we – my beautiful, loving wife and I – returned to Switzerland. To say the least, the newly acquired Mandarin Chinese language skills and the cross-cultural awareness opened the door to a promising job covering Chinese speaking clients.

“Time is more valuable than money. You can always get more money, but you cannot get more time.”
– Jim Rohn

Don’t just invest your money, make sure that you also invest your time.

6 Life-Winning-Lessons

1) Keep Calm and Carry On.

If you win the jackpot, receive a windfall or get a huge inheritance: Keep calm and carry on. Circuit-break your natural busyness and stop the rat-race for a moment. Don’t adjust your lifestyle right away. You got all the time in the world to adapt slowly. Invest into buying time!

Make it a blessing, not a curse.

2) Take a Break and Celebrate Your Windfall.

Commemorate your big moment. Spend something but don’t splurge.

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
– Oprah Winfrey

3) Dream and Plan for the Long Term. Imagineer your life!

How many people have the opportunity to do this in life? How could such a windfall help you learn new skills, grow and have fun at the same time? Having/ taking time to reflect about life is extremely valuable. We all have different dreams. What is yours?

“A human being always acts, feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment. For imagination sets the goal ‘picture’ which out automatic mechanism works on. We act, or fail to act, not because of ‘will’, as is so commonly believes, but because of imagination.”
– Maxwell Maltz

4) Invest the Money and let Compounding do its Magic.

Imagine $125,000 invested in equities, growing at an annualized 10% for 20 years: $125,000 could have grown into  $1 million by itself by late 2021!

How to become a Millionaire if you didn’t win the full million at the show?

“The stock market is designed to transfer money from the Active to the Patient.”
– Warren Buffett

Become a successful navigator of the seven capitalistic seas!

Use a GPS and/or read up if needed.

5) Do a Real World MBA

In 2016 Tim Ferriss’ published his book “Tools of Titans”. One chapter is called “How to create a Real-World MBA”. His idea is quite straightforward:  Instead of spending a fortune and a couple of months of your lifetime on a MBA and simply “learning” theoretical stuff in classrooms from reputable PhD theoreticians and professors who use big words and fancy powerpoint slides but never left their campus themselves, you might as well use the same amount of money and start-up a company or create even better and more exciting learning and growing opportunities. Apparently exposing yourself to real-world experiments and experiences shapes you stronger than learning theoretical stuff from books alone. “Tools of Titans”. Great read.

From 2001 onwards I’ve bought time and invested in improving skills of all kind on an ongoing basis. This has not only kept my life interesting and adventurous but also brought me financial returns and lasting contentment later in life.

6) Give back

You can give back and share in many ways. Some people prefer to give money through donations or on a one-off basis. Others prefer to directly share their time and experience. This could be done through volunteering, mentoring/coaching or even with a blog. Ever since my windfall, I’ve done all of the before mentioned. It feels good if you can support and help others!

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
– Winston Churchill

Final Conclusion:

If you are lucky enough to win a windfall: Keep calm and carry on. Celebrate, but don’t splurge. You may not be able to stop time, but you can stop the rat-race and “buy” time. Dream and imagineer your future. Invest in your skills, your passion, life quality, memories and fun. Why? Because it will shape you and your loved ones in ways you could never have imagine before. Dreams are everything – technique can be learnt.

“You cannot advance if you cannot visualize the end from the start.”
– Nabil N. Jamal

What’s your dream? What’s your perfect life? Imagine the perfect day, all the people you’d like to see and have fun with, the passions you’d like to chase as well as all the places you’d like to go. What’s your dream and how do you plan to get there? Writing down your dreams is the first step!

Inspire all of us by leaving a comment below or on Twitter and Facebook.

Leave your comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!
Leave your comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!
Leave your comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!
Leave your comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!

Sweet dreams!
Financial Imagineer

 

Disclaimer:
This blog doesn’t finance itself, please be made aware that the product links used above are affiliate links for which Financial Imagineer might receive a compensation.

The Power of Planning: 8 Life-Changing Ideas to Set Yourself for a Financially Successful 2018/19/20/21!

Update [2020]:

This post was originally written for the New Year 2017/18, but its lessons are timeless: Please also consider this as you plan for 2021/22/23… or within the year.

xxx

Set challenging targets for 2018. Plan to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Try new things, learn new skills, keep pushing yourself forward, change and enrich your mind and your world. Embrace change. Be not afraid to make mistakes. Nothing is perfect from the beginning. Whatever it is, family, love, art, work – life itself. Do something new, something you’re scared of doing. Dare to allow yourself to make mistakes. Only this way can you grow!

To reaching new heights and making dreams work in 2018!

In a life well lived, each succeeding day becomes better than the last. Each day, each year, each experience does not stand alone. It cannot be separated from what has happened before or what may happen later. Yesterday determines today and today helps determine tomorrow. Decide and plan your tomorrow today. Do not stick to business as usual, don’t be a play-it-safer, a creature of the commonplace or a slave of the ordinary.

If you want to have an extraordinary life, you got to get rid of your ordinary one first.

Same procedure as every year James?

If you are aiming for a journey towards financial independence: Dream big, plan ahead and get started. Life is busy. Time flies. Organize your life. No one cares about your success more than you do yourself. And surprise: It’s not all about a budget, saving or investing.

1. Re-Imagineer Your Relationship Infrastructure

Your social environment defines who you become. Did you know that you’ll become the average of the five people you hang out the most with in your life? Therefore: Ensure that you surround yourself with people sharing your vision for financial success!

You become the average of the five people you hang out with.

Do you spend enough time nurturing relationships that matter? Do your current relationships bring you closer to where you want to be? Do you actively reach out and try to connect with people that are already living a life you’d like to live yourself? How do you manage toxic relationships that drag you down? Is the bulk of your current relationships meaningful and enjoyable?

Find five people within your social network that are living the life you dream about, increase engagement with them and learn from and with them. Grow together! Re-imagineer your trusted circle. Engage also in social media online groups such as Choose FI on Facebook.

Your network is your net worth. How do you value your network? Well, if you don’t value it, cultivate it, nurture it, it becomes worthless. If you do value it, it becomes priceless.

If you’re looking for a new start in 2018, this is where to get started!

2. Commit Yourself to Lifelong [Financial] Learning

If you want to grow, you got to keep learning and expose yourself to new experiences. Make expanding your mindset your new habit – embrace ongoing learning. Learn one or two new skills in 2018. This could be anything you believe could add value to your immediate life. Learn how to cook, how to write, how to invest better, how to start a business, anything that brings you forward and closer towards your goals! The most important thing is to get started and keep going so it may become one of your habits.

Make it a habit to read three blog posts a day – http://rockstarfinance.com/ already did the job for your pre-selection by posting the three best personal finance posts every day! Listen to good podcasts on your commute to and from work.

Simply: Create an environment that won’t allow you to escape your new habits anymore. Set yourself up for success.

Jerry Seinfeld has a great way to make new behaviours a sticky habit. Get yourself a big wall calendar and hang it on a prominent wall. For each day you got to do your newly self-assigned task, e.g. to write or to read, take a big marker and make an X over that day. After a couple of days, there will be a chain of Xs on your wall and you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Keep at it and let the chain grow longer. Your only job now is to NOT break the chain! After a couple of weeks you can put the calendar aside as you’d be living your new habit.

Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom. Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching. Education, therefore, is a process of current living and not a preparation for future living.

Bonus tip: For myself, I always carry a notebook and pen with me to write down new ideas as they pop up, some people also use online tools such as Evernote. Do this right after you’ve had an inspirational chat, listened to a podcast or finished your three blog posts a day.

Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind. Don’t starve it and feed it well.

3. Set A Net-Worth Target

Humans are simple, they usually pay extra attention on what is being measured. Hence, measure financial success, and I assure you will pay attention to it. Start tracking your net-worth, set-up an excel and define a net worth target for you to reach in the next five years, by end of 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Goals are simply a dream with a deadline.

What is your current net-worth? Well, you basically add up all your assets and deduct your liabilities. Track the value of your cash, your investment account, your real estate, your business and deduct your loans, your mortgage and any other outstanding liabilities. The resulting balance is your net-worth. Aim to grow it.

When people calculate their net-worth for the first time, some will add their furniture, a car, an impressive DVD collection and assign highly subjective dream valuations to it. Don’t be like these people. Only consider your tangible assets with a objective market value for your net-worth calculation.

Net-worth can be grown by increasing your assets, by decreasing your liabilities or by doing both at the same time. Define by how much you aim to grow your net-worth in 2018 and get started.

Wealth is not money, it’s capacity for quality of life.

4. Activate Your Assets

Look through your list of assets – as in step 3 – and try to find any assets that are currently idle and could be put to work harder in order to help you achieve your net-worth target easier. This could be a large chunk of cash, gold or other unproductive assets, an extra room or two in your home, an extra parking lot, assets in your retirement account not invested efficiently or many other things that I might not have listed in this paragraph.

An asset is something that puts money in your pocket, a liability is something you still got to pay for or that costs you holding it. Hence, you better check if there’s any idle parts in your overall assets that you could activate or reconfigure. Any idle asset that you could activate today will start adding money to your pocket tomorrow and lets you achieve your financial targets earlier and easier.

You got a huge home? Rent out one or two rooms in your home! You got a parking lot but no car? Rent out your parking lot! Reconsider your current retirement account investments and make sure your current assets are put to work in an efficient manner. Many people will be surprised to find potential for further optimization in this area. Activate your assets!

A related area could also be to optimize your debt. Maybe you could pay-off high interest liabilities with lower interest loans and streamline your liabilities part as well. Sometimes I meet people who take up a car-loan but could have borrowed for much cheaper against their home or their portfolio.

In case you like to explore this topic further, you might also enjoy reading my post “Your Gravity Defying Money Bazooka”.

5. Increase your earnings

Are you making as much money as you’d like to? No? No problem: Everything is figureoutable! If you’re not making enough money [yet], then you need to get more creative. The majority of our fellow human beings rely on their salary for a lifetime. That’s not wrong, but it decreases their chance to attain financial independence dramatically. Did you know that the average millionaire has somewhere around seven different sources of income? In case you’d like to earn more money, don’t just focus on your job alone. Explore, dream, discover!

The most helpful tool I’ve come across for this step is Rich Dad Poor Dads Cash Flow Quadrant. The Cash Flow Quadrant is comprised of four quadrants. You might want to view this short video for further clarity before we move on.

E stands for Employee – Human Capital, no leverage

People that “have a job”, they sell their time and are “compensated” with money. Whatever value they create or contribute is absorbed by a company and they are “rewarded” with a salary for their efforts. As you will shortly see, this is unfortunately the poorest quadrant of them all. It offers no leverage and you can’t stop working without loosing your income immediately. Active, linear income with time constraint.

S stands for Self-Employed – Human Capital, no overhead

People in this quadrant “own a job”. They are self-employed and can cut-out paying for expensive offices, bosses or other stakeholders involved in the E quadrant. Hence, they can earn somewhat more money against their time. However, it’s just another version of the “time against money” game since if a self-employed stops working, no income is flowing back to them. Somewhat more money, but still active, linear income with time constraint.

B stands for Business – Human Capital with leverage

People in this quadrant “own a system”, the system allows other people to work with them and hence, they have a leverage component in terms of manpower. The system and its people work for the owner. The key to building a sustainable business system is to have useful, unique and hard to copy products, solutions or services combined with a great branding. Franchise systems can also be considered. In order to be successful, people need to transition from a job-mentality to a business person mindset. They need to learn how to hire and motivate the right people and how to keep all stakeholders involved happy over time. This quadrant is still a rather active one, but offers leverage from the peoples’ as well as the capitals component. Owning and managing a business is more risky than holding or owning a job. Therefore governments around the globe incentivize them with tax benefits people in the E and S quadrant don’t have.

I stands for Investors – Financial Capital with leverage

Last but not least, the investor. The big difference of this quadrant is that investors invest their financial capital instead of their human capital. In other words, they send money to work. This quadrant is therefore the only truly passive income quadrant. The active part comes from choosing the right investment cases and reviewing existing investments once in a while. Investments can be made in businesses, the capital markets as well as in real estate. This quadrant offers you unlimited upside potential but also bears most risks due to the volatility of the markets.

A common way towards Financial Independence is to slowly emerge from the E quadrant towards the S and B quadrants while constantly feeding the I quadrant on the side over time. Don’t just diversify your investments, also diversify your streams of income. Evolve from the E and S quadrants and start unlocking the B and I quadrants for yourself. In case you like it on the safe side: You can still hold your job while taking the first steps into these new fields! Don’t chase seven rabbits until you learn how to catch one.

I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.
– John D. Rockefeller

6. Multiply your streams of [passive] income

There are different forms of income. In step 5 you’ve seen that there are active and more passive forms of income. You can either sell your time for money or create systems such as a business or investment strategy to provide you with income. Most people start the wealth building process with an active form of income: salary.

Your salary: A nice looking flow of income. What if someone stops or diverts the flow?

Get started on this path and as your active income grows, open up and invest into passive streams of income.

First step: Make a list of all your current streams of income.

Salary
Interest [cash, bonds, mutual funds, ETF]
Dividends [stocks, mutual funds, ETF]
Capital Gains [real estate and capital market investments]
Side-hustle 1
Side-hustle 2
Rental income [apartments, rooms, parking lots]
Business
Any others?

As you look through this list, categorize the income streams into active and passive streams of income. Also make a triage in terms of how much return on investment you could possibly obtain by shifting your focus and/ or more capital into each respective source of income. Now, figure out how much additional resources such as time and savings you could possibly boost every month and define into which income streams you’d be investing your time and money going forward.

As the CEO and CFO of YOU Inc., it’s your job to focus on increasing your passive streams of income, especially where your expected return on investment is the highest. In order to learn more and get your streams of income from more independent sources, try to diversify into several streams of income as long as the administrative effort is manageable.

Imagine: If you’d be a publicly listed stock, would you invest in yourself?

Read here to unlock the power of unstoppable multi-flows of income!

If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.
– Warren Buffett

7. Reduce your expenses

Live below your means. Avoid lifestyle inflation. Do not keep up with the Joneses, rather try to keep up with the Mustachians.

Did you know Warren Buffett is still living in the same home he bought for USD 31,500 back in 1958. He managed to avoid lifestyle creep and smartly reinvested his savings instead of upgrading his residence. Amongst other reasons such as being patient, sticking to his strategy and reinvesting his profits, this allowed him to “early retire at 25” and focus on his true passion: Investing instead of selling stocks. Eventually, this helped him to unlock the magic of compounding interest and lead a happy, self-determined life.

Warren never thought of a $5,000 couch simply as a $5,000 couch. He calculated that $5,000 in today’s dollars multiplied with 7% annual performance over 50 years would represent an opportunity loss of $5,000 x 1.07^50 = $150,000. Now imagine, how much a new car, that expensive dress or a designer bag will actually cost you in tomorrows’ dollars. On top of that, such stuff will all end up as trash.

Warren is smart and successful. Be more like Warren.

Constantly throwing money at new experiences or more stuff is also not a recipe for lasting happiness and contentment. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to live like a caveman. But I’m 100% confident almost everyone can cut back their expenses and reinvest the difference in order to snowball their wealth up faster. Economize somewhat, simply spend less on housing, cars, eat out less often, keep your desire to acquire in check and off you go!

8. Pay yourself first – automate your investments

The majority of people simply spend their whole pay-check and only in the rare and special case some cash remains after a month, this might eventually get stashed away. Why not do the opposite and pay yourself first instead? Did you know Mustachianism comes from MUST-STASH!?

“Treat your savings account like just another bill. It has to be paid every month or there are consequences.”

Define how much to stash away every month! Right after you’ve received your pay check, pay yourself first. Best is to have this transfer automated! Stash this cash into your savings or even better investment account. By doing this, you will not be tempted to spending away your saving portion and you will start getting used to making ends meet with whatever amount is left in the bank account after having paid yourself. Another habit is created!

After you paid yourself first – get this surplus invested and make it work for you. Invest whenever your money is ready, invest regularly, best is to have investing automated as well so you don’t have to actively make an investment decision every single month and end up suffering severe decision fatigue. Once you pay yourself first and the investment part is put on auto-pilot, you’re set for a financially successful 2018 and beyond!

Looking for more reading material on these topics?
Click here.

What are your Financial New Year resolutions? What are your net-worth targets? Which skills would you like to build? Leave your comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!

Remember: Failing to plan is planning to fail!

To reaching new heights and making dreams work in 2018!
Financial Imagineer