Millionaire Key #3: Get Money Smart
You will never be a millionaire until you learn more about money. It sounds so basic, but if it is so basic, why aren’t more people taking time to learn about money?
From the time we are born, we begin our learning journey. We learn to breathe air. We learn to eat. As our lives progress, we move on to more complicated learnings. The most critical part of our education is learning to read. You cannot succeed in school or life without learning to read.
Succeeding with money is the same. You will never be successful with money or become a millionaire until you take the time to learn about money. You must put in the effort, and just like reading, you will get better over time.
Think back to when you were in school; were you an A student? I was a B student. If you are like me, then you realize you could have made better grades if you would have worked a little bit harder. Much like school, the harder you work and the more you learn about money, the better grade you will get. In this case however, your “money grade” becomes how much wealth you will create.
When it comes to your life and money, would you prefer to score an A, B, C, D, or F on your money grade? Personally, I prefer to score an A, so I’ve kept learning more about money since I was twenty-five. The beauty is that the choice is yours.
You can still learn about money and make a good money grade. Now that you realize how important it is to learn about money, you’ll do fine. All you have to do is keep at it once you start.
Learning to Work Smarter vs. Harder
From my earliest days in the workforce, a saying has stayed with me and become part of my vernacular. I first heard it from my older, seasoned co-workers on one of my college jobs. You could say it was wisdom from the sages. “Boy, don’t you know you’re supposed to work smarter, not harder?”
While I personally prefer to work smarter and harder, as a young man moving up in life, I’ve found this marvelous quote to impact me significantly. As my career and life have progressed, I learned to pause and consider, “Is there a better and easier way to do this?” Let’s talk working smarter-not-harder examples. Physical labor. Cutting grass. Back in the day, cutting grass used to be a real chore. First came the scythe: a hand-held blade used to cut grass. In the 1800s, the lawn mower was invented and people began cutting their yards “smarter.” You may have seen one of the first lawn mowers. They were two-wheeled push machines with gear-driven spinning blades between the wheels. As you pushed the machine, the wheels turned the gears and the blade spun cutting your grass.
In the early 1900s, the lawn mower evolved again and got “smarter” with a power upgrade. In 1919, the first powered lawn mowers were produced. People began working smarter not harder while cutting grass. What used to take hours and hours to do could now be done in minutes with a fraction of the effort. People became more productive as they learned to work smarter not harder.
Most of us going through life working very hard for our money. In fact, some people find themselves working sixty hours or more per week. That’s a lot of work!
While at times I’ve worked more than eighty hours a week, it’s not something I recommend doing for any length of time. It is unhealthy and bad for your family. Now as a millionaire, I ask, “Why would anyone want to work sixty- plus hours a week?” It could be for any number of reasons. Some people do it to support their family. Others do it to live a desired lifestyle. The overachievers do it to get ahead. And some just don’t have a choice—their job requires them to do it. "If you want to become a millionaire, you have to learn to be smarter with your money."
It’s okay to work hard, but what we miss is “getting smart about our money.” We fail to learn how to “work smarter” when it comes to putting our money to work for us. As a result, we fail to save. We fail to build invest. We fail to become millionaires.
Without getting smart with our money, we’re doomed to live out a repeating financial struggle. Perhaps you’ve heard the words living paycheck to paycheck. According to BankRate.com in 2013, 76 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck.8 Living paycheck to paycheck is the epitome of “not working smarter with your money.”
Getting smarter with your money gives you options. Options to build a better quality of life and get your life back. If you want to become a millionaire, you must learn to be smarter with your money.
How to Get Smarter with Your Money
Apply “smarter vs. harder” to your money. Becoming a millionaire requires you to “put your money to work for you.” How can you make your money work smarter? Smart money works for you.
"Smart money works for you."
Growing your financial knowledge is another key foundation piece to improving your finances. If you want things to change, become a millionaire, and help others, then you must get smarter about your money. You must acquire financial knowledge.
Once the light came on for me at twenty-five, I knew I had to make a change. “How?” was the next question. My parents obviously knew nothing about money. If you had asked them, “What are you doing to become a millionaire?” a puzzled look would have appeared on their faces. My aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents would have done the same. At the time, no one in my life could help me. I did the only thing I knew to do. I learned on my own. At Books-A-Million, my favorite bookstore, I headed straight to the magazine rack where I picked up Kiplinger’s Fund Magazine, Smart Money and a few others. I picked those magazines because my goals were to learn what to do to multiply my money. At the time, the stock market was the only option I was familiar with, so that’s where I started. Over the years, I’ve found many different teachers and techniques in the personal finance space. Each teacher, writer, or speaker comes with their own biases. It’s important to learn from multiple sources to avoid financial tunnel vision.
I want to lay out a path to start improving your financial knowledge and provide a track to continue your growth. By the time you finish this book, you will have a picture of what is possible and a clear path how to move forward. My goal is to introduce you to the world of finance, help you where I can, and direct you to resources to continue building your financial knowledge muscles. This will equip you to become a millionaire and change your future. The rest will be up to you.
Let’s start with the Basic Financial Track. The Basic Financial Track is a list of the basic money topics you need to learn about to be successful with money. Think of it as your primary money education list. Learning this basic information will equip you well beyond the average person. We will discuss each of these items more in later chapters.
How does this financial learning list make you feel? Did you feel overwhelmed or lost? Do not be overwhelmed by the list or topics. You can and will master them all in time.
This list is where your learning begins. As you master this list, feel confident that your money grade on each topic will improve. Overtime, you will become an A student and the results will show up in your wallet and personal net worth.
Now, we need to establish a baseline for your current financial knowledge to know where you stand. Go ahead and take a moment to give yourself a grade for your knowledge in each of these areas. Score yourself with an A, B, C, D, or F based on how much you think you know about each topic. Don’t overthink it. Go with your first impression.
If you scored poorly on some of the topics, be careful not to be too critical of yourself or feel shame for not knowing more. Everyone begins at the starting line. Some people just start learning earlier and learn more. You can do the same thing.
Now, let’s look at a look at the Advanced Financial Track. You will notice a few more topics have been added. It is important to focus on mastering the basics before trying to master the advanced financial topics. I’m providing you with an advanced learning list to help you see how to continue your learning once you are ready.
Don’t become overwhelmed by the topics on the advanced list. They are merely there to act as a guide for your future. Guess what. You can become a millionaire if you simply stick to the Basic Financial Track. Some people however want to be over achievers. For those people, that’s where the Advanced list comes into play.
Compared to the Basic Financial Track, think of the Advanced Financial Track as “secondary or college” financial education.
Now that we have our Basic and Advanced Financial Tracks, we need to start your learning. Throughout the rest of this book, I’ll be providing you with a strong financial foundation that will equip you to become a millionaire. In addition to what you’ll learn from me, you need to continue your learning with other resources.
Here are a few of my favorite personal finance resources for learning. In addition to these items, look for other resources in the talk radio, podcasts, online and offline financial classes, seminars, and publishing media such as books, magazines, and websites.
10 Millionaire Books to Read in 2021
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Unshakeable by Tony Robbins
Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker
The Wealth Choice by Dr. Dennis Kimbro
The Conscious Millionaire by JV Crum III
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
The Blessed Life by Robert Morris (Religious)
Permission to Prosper by Ray Edwards (Religious)
when you finish those, reread The Millionaire Choice!
10 Millionaire Podcasts to TRY in 2021
Millionaires Unveiled with Clark Sheffield and Jace Mattinson
Rich Dad with Robert Kiyosaki
Radical Personal Finance with Joshua Sheats
Stacking Benjamins with Joel Saul-Sehy
Bigger Pockets with Brandon Turner
The Millionaire Woman with Debrda Kazowski
Choose FI with Brad Barrett and Jonathan Mendonsa
The Conscious Millionaire with JV Crum III
Eventual Millionaire with Jaime Masters
and don't forget about The Millionaire Choice Podcast!
Always remember, learning about money and finance is a lifetime journey. Keep at it long enough, and you'll become a master!