Success in life is all about making a couple of wise decisions.
Earlier in my career, I lost most of my money. My financial downfall was mainly caused by some destructive decisions I made. I made them because of my way of thinking about investing at that time. And our way of thinking always dictates our choices and our actions.
I can say that I had a damaging philosophy about investing and managing my money.
Philosophy is a very powerful word. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as:
A theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behavior.
If you have a destructive philosophy in any area of your life, you are basically doomed in that area. For example, if you start your business thinking that it will be easy to succeed, that you don’t need to work hard, that you have no competition and so on, you are almost certainly on your way to business failure.
How do you develop a certain philosophy or way of thinking in life? Your parents, peer group, friends, media and other sources of information mainly influence your philosophy. If certain types of information surround you, then you automatically start to believe them and act accordingly.
The fact that I was exposed to a damaging way of thinking about investing at the start of my investing career, cost me a lot of money and time. In retrospect, at that time I was mainly influenced by self-serving financial advisers, bad financial books, deceptive financial websites, misleading financial seminars and corrupt financial companies.
And now the kicker: most people are exposed to the same things. That is why most people have the same damaging philosophy about investing. And that philosophy serves only one party – the financial industry.
“You must unlearn what you have learned.” – Master Yoda
When people have this kind of damaging philosophy about investing, it’s very easy to take their money. As easy as taking candy from a baby.
Don’t be that baby. It’s time to unlearn what you have learned about investing.
David is one of the first clients from the UK who attended my workshops. I can still remember the look on his face when he approached me after the workshop and said, “Now I get it! When these financial blokes tell me to do something, the smartest thing I can do is to do the opposite.”
“That’s a very good way to put it,” I replied, laughing.
David’s story is a sad one. He spent a fortune learning “the most profitable” investing strategies, and all he had to show for it was huge losses on his investment accounts and plenty of financial worries.
When we parted, he said to me that the most valuable idea he got from my seminar was not one of the things that I emphasized the most, but something that I just mentioned in a couple of sentences. At that time, I was really surprised to hear that, but when more and more clients mentioned the same thing in their feedback, I decided to teach it in a more structured way.
When I talk about this topic at my seminars, I can always see that people’s eyes start to shine and that something transformational happens in their minds. Maybe you will also start to think quite differently about personal finance after you read this chapter.
I’m talking about the Financial Success Formula™. This formula is probably the most important wealth-building philosophy you can adopt. It’s the key to your financial success, and everything I teach my kids about money revolves around this philosophy.
So here it is, the Financial Success Formula™:
Let me translate it. Money Making (MM) skills plus Investing (I) skills equals Financial Success (FS).
This sounds quite simplistic but bear with me.
If you want to be financially successful, you need to do two things. You need to be able to Make Money – unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. And then you need to know how to Invest a part of that money.
The key word in this formula is AND. If you are good only at one thing, it’s not enough.
Let me give you a famous example. Mike Tyson.
Mike Tyson was exceptional at making money. Throughout his boxing career, he made $300 million. This could buy you 1,457 Lamborghini Gallardos, or 40 luxury villas in California.
If you’re like most people, you might think that with all that money, you are set for life and you could live happily ever after. There is no way that you could ever have financial problems.
But that was not the case for Mike Tyson. His wild lifestyle and preposterous spending sprees (110 luxury cars, three Bengal tigers, and a $2 million bathtub are really essentials to live a happy life) led to him filing for bankruptcy in 2003.
This is an extract of an interview Tyson had with The View in 2010:
“I’m totally destitute and broke,“ Tyson said.
“How did that happen?” asked Joy Behar.
“I had a lot of fun. It just happened,” he responded.
Well … it didn’t actually just happen. The truth is that Tyson was not financially literate. He simply did not control his money, and he did not understand that he needed to invest part of the money he made. He did not understand that no matter how much you earn, your money simply cannot help you if you do not know how to keep it, how to manage it and invest it. Mike Tyson was great at Making Money but terrible at Investing.
Let me repeat; you need to take care of both sides of this equation to be financially successful. You need to have Money Making AND Investing skills to win the financial game of life. That is the first rule.
But even that is not enough. Even though a lot of people try to take care of both parts, they, unfortunately, do it in the completely wrong way. That makes them Financial Failures. Let’s see how that happens and how to avoid that.
There are two types of people in this world. Those who are financially successful and those who aren’t, and their approaches to this formula are completely different.
First, let’s take a look at people who are not financially successful (most people) and ask ourselves, what makes a person a Financial Failure?
A while ago, I met one of my high school friends, and we talked for a while. It was very interesting to listen to his philosophy about money. He told me that he had a corporate job where he made a “lousy” income with no prospects of promotion. He wanted to buy a new car, so he started to invest in binary options (a very risky short-term trading strategy, similar to gambling). I tried to convince him that the only people making money with binary options were brokers, and then I asked him why didn’t he learn some business skills and start a home-based business in his spare time instead of that.
His answer was: “I thought about that, but it’s too risky.”
My friend had the classical Financial Failure type of thinking. While he didn’t want to “risk” improving his Money Making skills, he had no trouble gambling his money away with binary options.
A person who is a Financial Failure is not aggressive enough in the Money Making part of the formula. He is scared to death of starting a part-time business. He is not taking wise, calculated risks. He’s always on the safe side. If he tries a new Money Making activity, he quickly gives up after the first obstacles. Instead of learning new Money Making skills, he is watching the news on TV, or gossiping with his friends. That is why he never even gets the chance to notably increase his income.
Then we come to the ‘I’ side of the equation – Investing. The same person who was scared to death to start a new business, or to take some calculated risks in the Money Making part of the formula, becomes a risk-taking maniac in the Investing part of the formula.
He starts to gamble with his money and make uneducated decisions. Neighbors tell him there is an opportunity to get a 30% guaranteed return from some obscure investment opportunity and he takes it. He starts to trade stocks or currencies for a quick profit and jumps on the binary options trading wagon while hoping to get rich quick. He spends hours per day sitting in front of his computer watching the charts.
Then the inevitable happens. He loses his money because his neighbor’s opportunity was a Ponzi scheme and short-term trading is a losing game from the start. So, instead of getting rich quick, he loses most, or even all, of his invested money. On top of that, he spends a lot of time doing it. The time that could be better spent learning new Money Making skills.
Now that we know what kind of behavior leads to becoming a Financial Failure, let’s find out what it takes to be financially successful. To illustrate this, let me take you back to one of the most important moments of my life.
If you were with me in the winter of 2004, you would be looking at me and my girlfriend Sara, in our tiny 450 square foot apartment we had just rented. We don’t have enough money to buy a bed yet, so the mattress on the floor is our only solution.
It’s a dark, rainy day outside. The furniture in the apartment is old and worn-down, the lights are dim, not really the place you dream of spending the rest of your life.
You see us talking with concerned looks on our faces. The tension is thick enough to be felt. It’s the kind of tension you feel when you need to make a decision, which you really don’t want to make. A decision that could change the course of your life or ruin you.
“Robert, do you realize that we have everything riding on this? If this doesn’t go as planned, if we don’t fill the room, if his flight is delayed or if something else that we can’t control happens, we’ll go bankrupt, we’ll be ruined!”
“Yeah, I know, Sara,” I replied quietly, thinking about what that would mean for us. The company we founded in a student dorm three years before that was just able to break even. If we didn’t nail this seminar we would be in debt for years to come.
And then I slowly continued, “And I am also aware that we don’t have enough money to do it. It would be better to wait a couple of years until we are an established company, and I also know that I don’t have a good idea of how we will promote it.”
“… But it’s a unique opportunity – it’s once in a lifetime chance to do something incredible. We have to take the risk.”
So, we decided to go for it – to organize our first big seminar with the legendary public speaker and author Brian Tracy.
We had a lot of difficulty raising enough money; we were scared. But we gave it our best, and the rest is history. The conference hall was full, the clients were very happy, we earned a lot of money and became friends and business partners with Brian.
It would have been very easy to find excuses to not do this project. We did not have the money, it was clearly very risky, our company was still on shaky ground, and we were way too young…
Unsuccessful people in life have a lot of opportunities to achieve their goals and dreams, but they avoid the risk. They don’t venture into the waters and stay safely on the shore, and they avoid anything that might make them uncomfortable.
Successful people know that in order to succeed in Money Making activities, you need to take calculated risks; that you need to be assertive. Just a “safe” job will never solve your financial problems.
If you avoid risk, you will never grab the key opportunities in life.
And this is one of the biggest mistakes people make in their financial lives.
The Financial Success Formula™ for financially successful people looks like this:
When it comes to their Money Making activities, they are very assertive! They learn new skills that allow them to make more money. They are building their personal brands. They take calculated risks. If they fail, they get up and try again and again until they succeed. In other words, they draw their swords and attack until the battle is done.
As for the Investing part of the equation, they are very cautious and conservative. They know that they need to invest to make their money work for them, but they only invest in opportunities that they understand. They don’t try to beat the market with wild, short-term trading. They don’t make costly mistakes; they don’t fall prey to financial predators and Ponzi schemes. And, most important of all: they don’t spend a lot of time investing. They understand that passive, long-term investing works much better than short-term gambling with their money.
This enables them to feel financially secure and confident about their financial life, with far-reaching consequences. Think about it: if you are not investing, if your net worth is zero, or even in the negative territory, this will affect you even if you think it won’t! It will affect how you see yourself, how confident you are, how you think and, ultimately, how you act.
Our mind is a very simple mechanism. If it sees proof of something, it will believe it’s true. If it doesn’t, then all the positive thinking and visualizations in the world will not help you.
“The definition of a person who practices visualization and positive thinking, without taking action: a broke loser.”
Your mind needs to see the raw reality – the reality where you are wisely managing your money and investing it, and not just thinking about it.
“Someday” will not cut it! If you are not already, you need to start investing right away, to give your mind proof that something is going in the right direction. When your brain sees a new reality, the snowball effect kicks in, and you will start to make and invest more money.
Let me summarize: most people are very cautious when they need to make more money. They are afraid to start a new business; they are not assertive enough; they are not prepared to learn the business skills needed.
But, if you want to be financially successful, you need to be aggressive and risk-taking with Making Money and very careful and passive when you are investing it. Being passive in the Investing part of the equation saves you a lot of time that you can channel into your Money Making activities and thus make more money.
I cannot emphasize that concept enough. This is the key concept you should use in your life if you want to be financially well off when you are still young enough to enjoy it!
To learn more about how to successfully invest I prepared a special webclass for you. Register now by clicking on a link below this video and you will learn how to choose the best possible investment products, avoid high fees & win the money game of life.
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And remember: investing is simple – it’s the financial industry that works hard to make it complex.
92% of investors are losing large amounts of money when investing – without even being aware of it. And the main cause for that are The Six Dark Forces of Investing™. If you don’t learn what these forces are, you will never be able to invest profitably. Click here now to get to know them, and Darth Vader will seem like a good guy to you.