Do you have the amount of money you want to have right now? Will you have it in six months? Maybe five years? Maybe you have a ten year plan? Are you financially free, financially educated, and financially savvy?
How about this: do you think about money annually, monthly, weekly, or daily? Of course you do! It’s always been on our mind, even as kids. As kids, we want to be rich and famous. In college, we want to learn to get a job to be better off financially. When we graduate, we are paying off loans and credit cards. When we get a job, we wonder if it’s ever going to be enough. When we get into a relationship, we need to get on the same page with our significant other about spending habits. Raising a family, we raise kids with smart money values. It never ends…because everything that we want in life costs money! Yes, everything!
Sure, you can say that sitting next to your significant other and gazing into their eyes doesn’t cost you anything. Are you in a house or apartment? Are you sitting on a chair? Are you outside gazing at the stars? Did you drive a car to get there? Maybe you walked. Are you wearing sneakers? No. Okay, are you naked? Fine, did you brush your teeth with a toothbrush or did you brush hair today with a comb? Are you with me on this? Everything costs money! Any some of you don’t have the money to buy a new brush for your hair!
That’s where I am in my life right now. No, not the hair thing (in case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have any hair.) My wife and I have weekly meetings to share moments of appreciation, discuss highlights of the past week, plan goals for the upcoming week, review the calendar for the upcoming two weeks, understand where we are in comparison to our financial goals, and ultimately check in with each other and see how our marriage is doing. Proactively. Every week. Sometimes money is a small part of the conversation and sometimes it’s the whole meeting.
I had a mentor and partner (Tony D'Angelo, the founder of Collegiate Empowerment) share with me a few years ago that we should divorce ourselves from the idea of divorce (and one of the big causes of divorce is a lack of financial alignment). Another mentor of mine (Tony Robbins, the biggest contributor to the personal development movement) shared that money doesn’t solve all problems, but at least we can arrive at our problems in a nicer looking car.
The problem is that you don’t really want more money…you want more stuff: gadgets, toys, vacations, square footage, tech from QVC. You don’t want money; you want the things that money buys—even if it buys you more time because you get to be with your family and friends as someone else paints the house or mows the lawn or uploads movies to Netflix so that you can invest in some quantity time with your love (not your TV, your family and friends).
The purpose of money is to help you fund your purpose and legacy. My wife and I have aligned our values so that we can achieve our purpose and legacy together, and in doing so, we have these weekly meetings to make sure we’re on the same page. During some of those meetings, we have learned to track our expenses and how to better use our money. We track our debt (yes, more than ten years after graduating college and a few years after grad school, there are still school loans.) The outcome of this conversation: open, honest, authentic dialogue—consistent with achieving our purpose. It’s a direct result of understanding a new philosophy.
My wife, Ema (who doesn’t live, breathe, and die in the personal development industry like I do), has agreed that it is critically important to continue these weekly meetings and yes, even a year-end “retreat” to review the past year and plan for the next one. It’s a part of who we are, and I get to pass this open and authentic culture on to my kids. We've been doing this since we got married in...oh shoot...what year wa—2007. Just kidding. I know for sure it was 2007.
The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, and money is the vehicle we use to achieve our purpose. All of our dreams will cost money, so let’s just give it a shot…like my wife did when I asked her out. She didn’t say yes; she didn’t say no. She said “I’ll give it a shot.” How about you?
Everything in life costs money. You don’t want money; you want the things that money buys. In the great book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki opens up your eyes to understand that "it's not about how much money we make, it's about how much we keep.
If you are not financially free (you have more income than expenses and don't have any money worries), if you are not financially educated (you know the real difference between an asset and a liability), and if you are not financially savvy (making smart decisions about money every day), then you've got to change the level of game you're playing at.
I know for sure we need to do the same thing for our students because they don't even know what they don't know that they need to know about money. You know?
Let's tell them...because Being Broke Sucks. April 15th is a great day for financial education! Well, so is any day. 81% of college students surveyed indicate their #1 lifetime objective is to be very well off financially (The Higher Education Institute @ UCLA). But how many of you are encouraging and planning financial education to help them get what they want and need? Right, let's do that now.