Simple Spending Plan Magic

Alright, let’s just admit it. The word budgeting makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. You break out in dry sweat. Your skin gets clammy. Your stress level goes up, and you may have a number of other symptoms. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Personally, I hate the word budgeting. It’s sooooo constricting. We had to do annual budgeting at work and everyone hated it. Even the CFO (that’s Chief Financial Officer) hated it, and he’s supposed to love it! Whether at home or at work, we have to do budgets if we want to manage our money well. I prefer to call it “Watch Your Money” and it’s Millionaire Key #5 in my book, The Millionaire Choice.

The concept of budgeting can suck the life right out of you, so here’s a trick. Stop calling it a budget. Call it a spending plan. It’s a lot more fun to figure out where to spend your money that budgeting it. And here’s another secret, if you spend your money (put your money) in the right places, you can end up creating a ton of wealth and breaking out of the paycheck to paycheck life that 75% of Americans are living. Want to know how? Read on.

Try breaking your spending plan into 4 simple groups.

  1. Living Money
    Living money is the money you need to live each day, week, month and year. It’s your rent, your electricity, your water, your food, your gas, your auto, your insurance, etc. If it doesn’t get paid, something bad happens. That’s living money. You need it to live.

    Your living money is pretty consistent each month. It’s doesn’t change much, and it’s very predictable. Once you have it set, you don’t have to worry about it as long as it gets paid. As long as your other spending habits don’t mess things up, life is good.
  2. Wealth Money
    Wealth money is the 2nd most important category on your spending plan and you want to stack it up as much as you can. The problem with wealth money is hardly anyone sticks money in this group. It’s why 75% of people are going to keep living paycheck to paycheck. They’re not thinking about their future.

    If you skip over wealth money, the future isn’t going to be too bright, but if you put aside some wealth money on your spending plan, you might just become a millionaire.

    How much wealth money should you have each month? Well that depends on your age and goals. My personal goal for you would be for you to become a millionaire in your 40s or 50s, but maybe you’re already in your 40s or 50s. Don’t worry, you just have some ground to make up.

    The best way to figure out how much wealth money you should put back each month and year is to create your own financial plan or what I call millionaire plan. A millionaire plan gives you a real number and a real goal. A financial advisor or planner can help you figure this out or you can use some online investment tools.

    Here’s a tip, if you’re not putting at least $10,000 a year into wealth money, you need to get there quickly. If you are already putting $10,000 a year into wealth money, think about what you can do to get it to $20,000 a year. Always stretch yourself and see what it will do to your millionaire plan. In general, wealth money gets neglected in favor of play money, but if you can keep things in balance you’ll do well.

    Rule of Thumb: Target 4x-10x more wealth money in your spending plan than play money. That should build you a really nice millionaire future.
  3. Play Money
    Alright, we’ve all got to have some fun in life too, but some of us have too much fun. We skip over the wealth money and spend way too much money on fun. Movies, trips, toys (i.e. four wheelers, new cars, boats, eating out, fancy vacations, and more). Too much play money can ruin your financial future. However, too little play money can ruin your life. It’s a balancing act.

    So how much play money should you have each money. It’s relative to your income and futuregoals. If you’re spending more in play money than wealth money, you have a problem. A real problem. For slimmer spending plans, $200-500 a month isn’t a bad number as long as you’re hitting your wealth goals. That’s $2,400 to $6,000 per year. Spend it wisely.

    Now let’s use the rule of thumb mentioned earlier of putting 4x-10x more into your spending plan than you are into your play money. For example: if you’re play money is $2,400 a year, then target your wealth money at $10,000-$24,000 per year. While $10,000 is probably more realistic in this case, always keep in mind the balance. This is all related to your annual income and how much you have available. If you’re coming up short, look for new ways to make some more money.
  4. Other Money
    The other money group is anything that doesn’t fit into living money, wealth money, or play money. Things like Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, Valentine’s day, slush money for unplanned spending needs, or whatever. If things get bad and your money gets tight, this is the first category you cut although I don’t recommend you cut your spouse’s birthday or anniversary celebration out. I don’t think that would end particularly well for you.

That’s it. Using this simple spending plan magic when I was 25, I knocked out $16,000 in debt in about 18 months and invested over $18,000 in stocks and mutual funds. I kept this plan in place as I kept marching towards my goal of becoming a millionaire by age forty which I’m glad to say I reached.

You want balance your spending plan to cut waste out of your spending plan, have a little fun and pump up your wealth money. By balancing these four areas, you’ll build a better financial future for yourself and your family.

CentsAble Chat Podcast with Bobbi Olson

I had a great conversation with Bobbi Olson (a.k.a. “CentsAble” Bobbi) on her Podcast, CentsAble Chat. She has a real heart for teaching and helping people figure out what to do with their money.

Bobbi is a certified budgeting geek and knows that budgeting is critical to getting and keeping your finances on track. Without a budget or as I call it, spending plan, it’s going to be really hard to build wealth. A budget is planning how to to spend your money. That’s why I like to call it a spending plan. You’re telling your money where to go and what to do. When you do that, you’re taking control of your money, your life and your future.

The Millionaire Choice Podcast – (Libsyn)

The Millionaire Choice Podcast – (iTunes)

Discovering Art Williams. Extraordinary Businessman. Extraordinary Leader.

I’m a bit ashamed to say that I’ve been in the financial world for almost 20 years but didn’t know anything about Art Williams. Yes, I’d heard his name and knew he was someone important, but I never took the time to learn his story. I didn’t know that one amazing man named Art Williams turned an one of the largest industries of his day upside down.

Last week a dear friend of mine invited me on an impromptu trip to Atlanta, GA for a sold out one day conference featuring Art Williams. After conferring with my wife that she could hold down the fort and our six kids for 24 hours, I packed up my Jeep with 3 sidekicks and headed to Atlanta.

At the event, the speakers relived the early days of A.L. Williams, a company that turned the life insurance industry upside down in the late 70s and 80s. A leader, Art Williams, and a company, A.L. Williams, that took on the giants of the day and beat them. The stories of the struggles Art’s early team of believers and warriors were truly inspiring. I call them believers and warriors because they believed they could beat the industry giants and change the life insurance industry to better serve people and families, but it was a battle. The industry fought them at every turn trying protect their profits and market ownership. The industry giants lost.

Over a ten year period of time, Art’s little band of believers grew from 85 agents to over 225,000 agents to become the market leader for life insurance. Well, Art Williams tells the story much better than ever could (YouTube). Watch and enjoy the story of Art Williams, an extraordinary businessman and leader.

75% of Americans are Living Paycheck to Paycheck. What are YOU Doing About It?

Did you know that roughly 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck? Reality check. That means that 3 out of 4 people you know and meet today are living paycheck to paycheck. It doesn’t matter how much money they make, the problem is the same, and in most cases, it comes back to how people manage their finances. They don’t.

It’s sad, but we go to school for 13 years from K through 12. Then many of us enter college for 2, 4 or more years of additional education. We study English, Science, Math and more. Somehow, we missed and are still missing one of the most important subjects, money.

If you want to be smart about money, you have to study. There’s no way around it. I went to school to be an engineer. Let’s clarify that. Mechanical Engineer. I learned about cars as a teenager and I read books about cars. I went to college for engineering and I learned math. A lot of it. In all, 17 years of math to be proficient as an engineer.

Revisit me at age 25 when I realized I was broke. 25. No money knowledge. No money studies. Just broke. Pure and simple. I made great money, and had nothing but $16,000 in debt and a few trinkets. The good news is, I made a change. I got money smart, and you can too along with the people you know and meet.

Meet Elena Perez

I’ve been blessed by all the stories coming from people who have read my book. Long time friends changing what they’re doing with their money to couples married for 35 years finally getting on the same page with money. It’s so exciting! This week, something new came up that I want to share.

Meet my friend Elena Perez, Financial and Insurance advisor for World Financial Group. I met Elena at a local networking group at Brentwood Baptist’s Connections Cafe several weeks ago. She’s a powerhouse. We chatted and she picked up a copy of The Millionaire Choice.

A few weeks later, we bumped into each other at a different networking group where Elena told me how she gave a copy my book to her friend who was in dire financial straits. After reading The Millionaire Choice, her friend had a plan and hope.

Last week, I discovered Elena had been buying copies of TMC (The Millionaire Choice) off Amazon and giving them away to people she meets. 7 copies so far. Wow! So exciting, but that’s a lot of money to pay for my books!

Yesterday Elena and I met up at Panera Bread where she picked up her first case of The Millionaire Choice (30 copies), at a really steep discount. 🙂

I love that Elena understands that 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. She cares. 90% of the potential customers she meets, aren’t ready for investing, but she’s doing everything she can to help the people and families where they are.

No one person can change America or the world, but together, I believe we can. Thanks Elena!

What You Can Do

I believe financial poverty starts to disappear when we’re all financially educated.

I grew up in a low income family. Our power was cut off. Our water was cut off. I was educated. I was an engineer working on million dollar projects, but I was broke. I followed in my family’s financial footsteps. That all changed when I became “financially educated”, and the crazy thing is, it only took me 90 days to figure out that I could become a millionaire. 25 years old. Broke, but realized I could become a millionaire if I did the right things with my life and my money.

I learned a lot of math in school. Once I started learning about money, I realized something. Money is really just a math problem. It’s predictable and if you do the right things with it, you can solve the money problem.

I don’t know your friends or family members. I don’t know the people you work with or the people you’ll meet today. I can’t impact their lives, but you can. Just like Elena. I want to make it as simple as possible for anyone to have a positive impact in someone’s financial life. Grab my free ebook Creating Millionaire Families or give someone a book. I don’t care if its my book or someone elses. Just make sure its a good one they can understand.

Take a little time. Make a little effort, and watch the impact you’ll have in someone’s life. I guarantee you’ll like the results.

2,000 Hours and a More Fulfilled Life

Have you ever thought about your life in the amount of hours you work in a year? Does that sound odd? More than any other activity in your life, you probably spend the majority of your time each year working.

Since graduating college and joining the workforce full time in my 20’s, my goal has been to increase my income while cutting my hours. Who wants to live their life on the job?! My first year as an engineer, I worked 55 to 60 hours per week. I made $39,000. From there, my income went up each year, while I worked to get my hours down.

During those peak years, I worked 2,800 hours per year never losing site of my goal to work less and make more.

Career and Income Growth

My career progressed as an engineer and eventually reached $47,500 a year while working 45 hours a week. Much better than my early years. My hourly rate was roughly $20.30. That particular job required me to average 45 hours a week even with my vacation time. That meant I had to work to make up my hours just to take a vacation. Yes. I know you’re shocked. I was too when I was reprimanded for not hitting my quota.

I changed jobs and careers by moving into technology. Looking for more opportunity, I found it.

The value of my 2,000 hours of work per year went up, up and up. Year after year, I found ways to increase my value. I studied. I worked. I grew more valuable to my company. My $20 per hour rate as an engineer soon jumped to $30, then $40, $50, and eventually breaking the $100 per hour mark. Eventually even that number would continue to increase.

How did I get there? I grew up in a lower income area of Nashville. Just making $39,000 a year put me in an income category well past my parents. I found myself at these new levels of success because I did what all the other successful people do. Work hard. Invest in yourself. Learn more. Increase your value and contribution. And quite a bit of prayer. 🙂

The first big investment I made in myself was learning how to program. I spent $1,000 on server software so I could program at home. That $1,000 was an investment in my and my family’s future. After that, it was immersion in learning and books so I could do more of what the company needed. As the company grew, more opportunities came my way, and it was awesome!

Now What About Your 2,000 Hours

Now consider your own life and your own 2,000 hours of work.What do you want to get paid for it? Are you satisfied? If you are satisfied, great. I think of the 2,000 hours more this way. If I have to work 2,000 hours anyway, why not make more money while I do it? It’s a simple concept.

I have friends that are content with their life and job. 2,000 hours a year. $35,000 a year. $17.50 per hour. I have other friends. 2,000 hours a year. $80,000 a year. $40 per hour.

What are you getting for your 2,000 hours? Are you working more than 2,000 hours? What are getting for that? Is it worth it? More money. Less hours. More life. It’s a great goal.

If you want to increase your value, invest in yourself. Turn off the TV. Turn off Netflix. In fact, cancel Netflix. It’s a total wast of time. The average American watches 122 hours of television a month! That’s practically a full time job! Yikes! Too much entertainment will suck away your opportunities and future.

3 Questions

  • What can you do in the next year to increase your value by 10-20%? List several ideas and get to work.
  • Is your work/life out of balance? What can you do cut your work hours back to something reasonable? 2,000-2,300 hours a year. You’ll never get the time back with your family. Figure it out.
  • Where do you want to be in 10 years. If you move your life a little each year, you make huge moves in 10 years. Make it a goal to improve your life 5-10% per year and you’ll see amazing results. Don’t let yourself get stagnant.

The Stacking Benjamins Show

stacking-benjamins-itunes-logo smallIf you want to learn about personal finance from some very knowledgeable people in a fun and entertaining way, you definitely need to listen to Joe Saul-Sehy and his show, Stacking Benjamins. Stacking Benjamins is a top rated personal finance podcast who hosts well known guests such as Jean Chatzky, noted financial expert and Today Show contributor, Jill Schlesinger, CBS Business Analyst, and more.

This week, I got to talk with Joe on his his award winning show broadcast from his mom’s basement. I love the way Joe brings financial talk down to where anyone can understand it. Joe is more than just facts, figures and a bunch of financial jargon. His approach is disarming, uplifting, and encouraging. Personal finance, building wealth and becoming a millionaire isn’t all that complicated. We just think it is. The truth is, almost anyone can become a millionaire if they make the right life and financial choices.

Making The Millionaire Choice with Tony Bradshaw (iTunes)

Making The Millionaire Choice with Tony Bradshaw (Stitcher)

Guest Appearance on Market Wrap with Moe Ansari

market wrapI enjoyed talking with Moe Ansari on his show, Market Wrap. Moe has been covering the stock market and finances on the radio and internet for over 20 years. Every day, Moe gives a rundown on what is going on it the market with a bit of advice and forecasting sprinkled throughout the show.

Moe really dove into my book, The Millionaire Choice, touching on making the millionaire choice, debt’s impact on our ability to build wealth, getting money smart, why a money mentor and financial mentor are important and putting together your own millionaire plan. Thanks Moe. I appreciate the opportunity to be on Market Wrap.

The Millionaire Choice (iTunes)

The Millionaire Choice (Libsyn)

Will The Millionaire Choice become an Amazon.com Best Seller Today?

Will The Millionaire Choice become an
Amazon.com Best Seller Today?

3d-Bradshaw smIt’s been five months since The Millionaire Choice launched. The book, the story and the brand continue to pickup steam, and we’re still just getting started. Over the last two months, The Millionaire Choice has been featured on several podcasts and radio shows with the most recent being Market Wrap with Moe Ansari.

Will The Millionaire Choice become an Amazon.com Best Seller today? Truthfully, I don’t know and I don’t care. As much as I enjoyed writing The Millionaire Choice, it is just a tool. I like to think it’s a pretty good one for the purpose it’s been designed, helping people figure out money and building a millionaire plan.

I grew up in a low income home in a low income neighborhood. I know what it means to struggle with money. It sucks. Statistics show us 78% of people are living paycheck to paycheck. I want to make a difference on that number and many other financial statistics. I want to make an impact, but I need help to do it.

I know one person can’t change the world. The reality is, one person can only do so much, but together we just may be able to turn the tide and create a different future. A future where everyone is financially educated and has their own millionaire plan. If we’re going to change the world, it takes a tribe. A tribe to reach people and help them make their millionaire choice. Will you be part of the tribe?

Today is the day you can start helping to make a difference in the financial landscape of America. Pickup a copy today for yourself, a friend or family member. With 78% of people living paycheck to paycheck, I’m sure someone you know could use it!

Buy at Amazon.com

Reviews

“I’ve read over 50 books on money and personal finance. The Millionaire Choice is one of my favorite. It was easy to read and had a lot of great financial information.”
– Jeff Fields, CIO ServPro

I loved reading this book. It is written in a conversational style and explains how you should manage your money by using personal examples. It is very powerful in the sense that it allows you to see how a brother and a sister took two paths that transformed their lives for better for one of them. Excellent read, highly recommend it!
– Anca Pop, Cryptocurrency & Cybersecurity Advisor

“Tony has a gift for breaking down wealth building into a clear and actionable plan. Millionaire Or Not tackles both the numbers and the human behavior required to reach seven-figure net worth. He provides great advice in a highly personable writing style.”
– John Mitchell, COO Groove Rings

Read More Reviews at Amazon.com

Guest Appearance on The Practical Wealth Show with Curtis May

Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 11.50.50 AMHuge thank you to Curtis May for hosting me on his podcast The Practical Wealth Show. One of the best things about helping people figure out their money is meeting people who have the same passion and heart. Talking with Curtis felt like I’d know him for years. Curtis has an amazing passion for helping people fix their finances and starting building wealth.

The longer I’ve worked in the personal finance space, the more I’ve realized that there’s a huge need for people of all races and color to step into the space and get involved. Right now, like it or not, the financial space if filled up with a bunch of white dudes…myself included. It was refreshing to speak share notes with one of the few Black Americans working to make a difference in the personal financial education space. Keep it up Curtis!

Episode 72: Becoming a Millionaire is a Math Problem (iTunes)

Episode 72: Becoming a Millionaire Is A Math Problem (Web)

Guest Appearance on Retire Well. Retire Happy. with Ann Nelson

RetireWellRetireHappyPodcastI had an amazing conversation with Ann Nelson on her podcast Retire Well. Retire Happy. Ann bases her show just outside Townsville, Queensland in Australia. Ann resides in a part of Australia near the Great Barrier Reef and she’s been an avid diver having done a few night dives (which I haven’t done…yet.)

Ann has been working in the personal finance and advisory business for many years helping people prepare for retirement and a strong financial future. There’s a real financial problem surfacing in Australia as many women are preparing for retirement unprepared. Ann is doing her part to make a difference in people’s lives.

Episode 111: Learn How to Have Success with a Mindset of The Millionaire Choice (iTunes)

Episode 111: Learn How to Have Success with a Mindset of The Millionaire Choice (Web)