Are you working? Why do you work? Do you have a goal? Seriously, what drives you? Why do you get up, get dressed, and head out to work every day? What’s your goal? What’s your purpose?
If you’re going to spend your life working, you might as well have a goal and a purpose for your money. I started working with my parents around age 10 . My dad was a carpenter. When I worked with him I got to sweep floors, carry wood, and occasionally step on a nail (which wasn’t part of the job, but it happened more often than I’d like). My goals were pretty simple. Buy more toys.
When I wasn’t busy on a job site with my dad, you might find me with my mom at the convenient store(s) she managed. My convenient store life usually included facing and stocking product shelves and the refreshments cooler as long as I kept my hands off the beer. I wasn’t old enough to face and stock the alcoholic beverages. As I got a bit older, my job moved outside to sweep the parking lot (hated it), concrete (hated it), paint the curbs (hated it), and pull the weeds (hated it). Don’t laugh. If you had to pull those thorny weeds that stuck you every time, you’d hate the job too. Yes, gloves would have helped, but they don’t work well when you leave them at home. Honestly, it was the worst job I’ve ever had, but at least I got to buy more stuff and save for a car when I would eventually turn sixteen.
As I got older I found myself working in grocery stores, shipping docks, manufacturing assembly lines, engineering departments, technology departments, and eventually as a corporate executive.
Throughout my early working life, I worked for things I wanted and things I needed. Along the way to becoming a millionaire, something changed. I began working for others. Sure, I still work for things I want and things I need, but now there’s another element. Others. When you build wealth and have a little excess, you’re more equipped to help people in need.
So I ask, “Why do you build wealth and become a millionaire?” My answer is simple. I build wealth to enjoy life and help people in need.
I recently came across this statistic in an article by *Robert Frank from CNBC, and it totally shocked me.
At first blush, the article is written in a very “positive language”, but these stats aren’t very positive in my opinion. Let’s look at it another way and break it down into pieces. Piece number 1.
Over 80 percent of people worth $25 million or more are only giving $10,000 or more a year to charity.
$10,000, really? That’s the low bar? Then there’s this. If 80% is the high number, that still leaves 20%. What are those people doing?
20% of people worth $25 million are giving less than $10,000 a year to charity.
Pardon me, but WTH? Seriously? You have a $25 million net worth and you give less than $10,000 a year to help people in need?
Okay, now it’s time for piece number 2. In Robert’s words…
“21 percent of people worth $25 million or more give more than $100,000 a year to charity.” – Robert Frank, CNBC
Let’s write it up this way.
Only 21 percent of people worth $25 million or more give over $100,000 a year to charity.
Now I agree $100,000 a year is a lot of money, and it sounds very “generous”. That is until you realize that people with over $25 million net worth are generating millions per year off their investments. You can very safely assume they are getting at least 5-7% off their investments. In many cases, much more. At 5%, that’s at least $1,250,000 a year income. The statistic is pitiful. Just pitiful.
I’m sure there are some very generous people in the mix that are quite generous, but the overall number is well below where it should be for serious altruistic giving, helping people in need, and changing the world.
Robert provides a another valuable statistic in his article, just how many people are worth $25 million or more in the United States? The answer, “there are now 142,000 households worth $25 million or more” according to Robert. From the numbers, we know that means roughly 29,000 households gave $100,000 or more to charity, and since 20% gave less than $10,000 to charity, we know that’s roughly 28,400. Interesting how the upper end of the scale and the lower end of the scale are virtually equal. 20% of the “Ultra High Net Worth” people are pretty generous, and 20% are well…grinches. Being just 11 days before Christmas, I had to work that in.
So I ask again, “Why do you build wealth and become a millionaire?” Keep this purpose in mind as you’re building your own wealth, and don’t disappoint me. Enjoy life and help others in need.
Way too many people are stuck. Stuck in life. Stuck in their job. Stuck at their current income level. If you want to get unstuck, learn something new. If you want your income to go up, learn something new, but make it something that is useful. Learning how to crochet probably won’t help you boost your income very much, so pick something else.
Since my new book The Millionaire Choice: Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose.came out, I’ve been talking to a lot more people about money. While I believe anyone can become a millionaire, it’s a lot easier when you can throw more money at it.
Invariably as we begin discussing how to build wealth and become a millionaire, the topic of “boosting your income” comes up. Always. It’s Millionaire Key #9 in the book. While there are tons of ways to increase your income, many of us overlook the obvious one, learn something new, and that’s one of the reasons over 70% of Americans are stuck living paycheck to paycheck. We stop learning new things.
My Learning Journey
I consider myself fortunate as I was a curious kid from the start. Mom used to tell me about how I dismantled the back of the washing machine when I was three. Although I’m pretty sure she exaggerated the story a bit. However, it’s easy to see that as a kid, I enjoyed learning new things. My mother’s job as a convenient store manager provided a learning opportunity outside the tradition school system.
Trapped at the convenient store after a long day at school, I entertained myself by reading the various publications on the magazine rack. It’s where I learned how to bass fish and put together hot rods. Very quickly, I became the best teenage fisherman in the neighborhood, and shortly afterwards, purchased and rebuilt the engine in my own car. Not bad for a 13 to 15 year old.
After college, the learning trend continued. I landed a job as a manufacturing engineer, but that required me to use a computer. Unfortunately, my computer knowledge was extremely limited at the time. I resorted to my old ways of magazines and books to learn what I needed about computers. Within six months, the president of the company began asking me to spec computers for the engineering department, work on the computer network, and various other tasks. Who knew a few books and magazines could increase your value in an organization? Hmmm.
At 25, I realized my lack of financial knowledge. I was ignorant about money. I blew my first year’s income and found myself $16,000 in debt. I needed to educate myself about money. After 90 days of learning about money, investing, retirement planning, etc., I began my journey towards becoming a millionaire.
During the internet boom, I became fascinated with data manipulation on the web. Resources were limited as it was a new technology during that time. Again, the bookstore for magazines and books played a role. Once again, I learned. Within three years, I switched careers to become an internet developer building online applications and business, and ecommerce apps.
Within six months of arriving on my new job, leadership opportunities started popping up. I knew very little about leadership. I had a little bit of raw talent, but it was just enough to get noticed. However, I recognized the opportunity and once again began learning about leadership through books, magazines and a few other resources which included a class an a mentor.
After that came online marketing, more leadership, strategic planning, executive leadership, more technology, etc. At each point, I learned something new and my income followed suit. More knowledge. More money. The more I learned and applied what I learned to my career and life, the more my income increased. Funny how that works.
Learning new things helped take me from being a green college graduate to a high income earning top executive of a very successful mid-size company. It helped me become a millionaire.
Did you know the average American watches over 120 hrs of TV per month? No wonder over 70% of us are living paycheck to paycheck.
If you want to make more money, turn off the TV. Turn off the games. Turn off whatever it is that is keeping your from learning something new. Boost your income.
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After working on The Millionaire Choice for over a year, it’s finally here! I’m so excited! The Millionaire Choice launches in bookstores today!
Although the book is publicly releasing today, quite a few people have already been able to read advance copies, and the reviews have been good. I’m excited about the impact The Millionaire Choice is already making in people’s lives, and this is just the beginning!
Special thanks to everyone who has supported me during this journey. I couldn’t have done it without you!
Now, it is time for the real work to begin. After 20 years of studying personal finance and working in the industry, I realized something while writing The Millionaire Choice. We’re barely scratching the surface in helping people figure out their finances. If we really want to make a difference and change the statistics, it is going to take all of us working together to share the message of hope and financial knowledge.
Recently, I shared my story and vision for The Millionaire Choice on 94.1 The Fish podcast in Nashville, TN with Doug Griffin, a long time radio personality in the Nashville area. After listening to Doug on the radio for 20+ years, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him and being on the show, but more than that, I enjoyed seeing the shine in people’s eyes as they began learning more about The Millionaire Choice and what it means to their lives.
The Millionaire Choice was written to inspire and equip people to become millionaires. No, that’s not hype. With the right knowledge, resources and choices, almost anyone in America can become a millionaire.
You learn a lot bad financial habits growing up in a family that mismanages money. Fortunately, you don’t have to repeat the same mistakes. At 25, my financial habits gave me a wake up call, and I made a choice, the choice to become a millionaire.
In The Millionaire Choice, I share my story of growing up in a financially messy home, my financial wake up call at age 25 and the life and financial principles I used to change my life and become a millionaire.
At the heart of these principles are what I call the Ten Keys of the Millionaire. It is these key principles that empowered myself and my family to break free from generations of financial mismanagement, stress and struggles.
The Millionaire Choice is a guide for making the right financial choices to become a millionaire. In The Millionaire Choice, you will learn to develop your own personal millionaire plan. Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose. Read More.
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Buy a copy of The Millionaire Choice during it’s launch in the month of November, and get a 2nd copy Autographed FREE!
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What People are Saying
Reviews are coming in for The Millionaire Choice, and the response has been amazing.
“Tony has a gift for breaking down wealth building into a clear and actionable plan. The Millionaire Choice: Millionaire Or Not. You Can Choose. 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.”
COO, GROOVE RINGS
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This past Thursday night on November 2nd at Knowledge Academies in Antioch, a suburb of Nashville, TN, I held my first ever book launch event, the launch event for my upcoming book, The Millionaire Choice. The night was a bit rainy, but that didn’t keep people away.
Needless to say I have a lot to learn about marketing and launching books, but we still had a lot of fun at the event. From food to giveaways, we had a great evening.
We started out the evening with a bit of food including the traditional chilled shrimp, cheese and smoked salmon on crackers followed up with sandwich rolls, cheesecake, and keylime pie.
After the arrival mixer, we moved on to the preliminary program which included Art Fuller, Founder and President of Knowledge Academies, talking about some of the innovative and entrepreneurial work they are doing in the community and school. You don’t often associate innovation and entrepreneurship with schools, but that’s what Art is doing through Knowledge Academies to affect the community and equip the kids to be more successful in life. It’s one of the reasons he chose to use The Millionaire Choice as the foundation for his students financial education.
Then it was my turn in front of the audience. It doesn’t matter how many times I’m in front of a audience, I still get a bit nervous. For 20-30 minutes, I walked the audience through The Millionaire Choice and the Ten Keys of the Millionaire, the life and financial principles that helped me become a millionaire by age 40. I was delighted by the audience’s response to my material. No matter how hard you work on a product, it’s the audience and customers response that tells you if you’ve done a good job. Fortunately, I got a great response at my book launch.
I grew up in a lower income family, and on the evening of my book launch event, I was able to speak to lower income families. The hope that I saw in their eyes and smiles has made the last year an half I’ve spent working on the book worth it. I’m looking forward to seeing many more people gain a hope for their financial futures and lives.
Another first for the evening, I held my first ever book signing. I’ve been practicing my signature for several weeks now and I’ve finally gotten it down just in time for the event. However, I still panic that I’m going to mess up someone’s name or the words I add. I’m sure it will get easier the more I do it, but for now, I’m a bit paranoid!
The moment was surreal. People standing in line to have me sign a book. Really? Again with the eyes and the smiles. Families came through the line. Teenagers came through the line. Single moms came through the line. At that moment, I knew this group of people had a chance to change their financial futures. They have a chance to become millionaires.
We wrapped up the evening with a few giveaways for door prizes although it didn’t quite go as planned.
The audience consisted of fifty percent friends and family and fifty percent Knowledge Academies families. We began the giveaways with gift cards to O’Charleys, Buca di Beppo, and Sperry’s steakhouse before ramping up to the bigger prizes. During the gift card giveaway, I felt a little guilty because one of my friends won a gift card, but I rolled with it. Then we drew for a bigger prize, a 4 day, 3 night stay at one of my beach homes on 30A in the Florida panhandle, and that’s where the problem started.
Originally, I planned to give away a 4 day stay at our beach townhouse (sleeps 10) and 4 days at our beach house (sleeps 13). Drawing for the townhouse, we hit a snag. Once again, one of my friends won the prize. Honestly, I felt a little bummed. I was hoping one of the families from the community would win it. What did I do? Well, we gave away another 4 days to the townhouse, and lo and behold, another one of my friends won that drawing as well! So what did we do? We drew again! In all, we gave away three 4 day stays at our townhouse.
Then it was time to draw for the beach house, and guess what happened. Yep. One of my good friends won the beach house drawing. We ended up giving away three 4 day stays at our beach house as well.
In all we gave away six 4 days stays at our beach properties mainly because it was really fun giving stuff away and the audience really got into it! I figured at the core of my book is building wealth to enjoy it, share it and help people in need so why not live it out by giving stuff away.
The Millionaire Choice is available for pre-order at all major booksellers and will debut in stores on November 13, 2018.
Special thanks to Meghan Cary of Megan Cary Photography for the photos!
The First Copies Have Arrived!
It’s hard to believe that after a little over a year of hard work the first copies of my new book have arrived! It seems very surreal. At times, I wondered if this day would ever come. Sometimes, writing a book feels like a never-ending journey.
I was a bit intimidated when I started writing in late May 2017. Would I actually be able to write a book? How do you go about writing a book? How do you publish a book? Would it turn out well? And the most intimidating question, would people even like it?
Now that I have the book in my hands and readers are starting to give me feedback, I’m pleased that all my questions have now been answered, and I like the results so far!
Why Did I Write on This Topic?
I first took an interest in personal finance in 1996, my own personal finance. I had blown through a $39,000 income and racked up $16,000 in car and credit card debt after my first full year as a manufacturing engineer. As a math guy, those numbers didn’t add up for me, and my quest to improve my finances began.
Now, 23 years later and after working in the personal finance education industry for sixteen years, I noticed a few things. For starters, people all over our country still don’t know how to handle money correctly. Even with all the David Bachs, Tony Robbins, Dave Ramseys, Suze Ormans, and T Harv Ekers out there, people are still slipping through without a solid financial education. And it’s not just poor people. It’s everyone. People with six-figure incomes. People in poverty. People in all walks of life.
Another thing I noticed is that many people just don’t do math or finance well. Seriously, that may seem like a no-brainer but listen for a minute. Most of the money books out there are filled with “financial terms,” “financial ratios” and “financial calculations.” Financial terms, ratios, and calculations are intimidating to many people. It’s like learning to read a foreign language. It’s hard. I’ve seen this first hand when working with family members who have trouble calculating tips at restaurants. Even simple financial math can be hard. Although I didn’t set out to write my book and exclude financial jargon and formulas, it turned out that way, and I’m glad it did. One of the biggest comments I’ve gotten from my readers so far is, “I get it!”
I did set out to do a few things with this book. One, I wanted to equip people to become millionaires just like I have. Today, about 10% of American households are millionaire households. I believe that number should be much higher. I believe almost anyone can become a millionaire if they make the right choices. Two, I wanted to make it as simple as possible for people to understand how they can become millionaires. This turned into the 10 Keys of the Millionaire. And three, I wanted people to realize that becoming a millionaire is not just about money. It includes things like character, how you manage your time, learning and finding mentors. So many of the financial books today focus only on the money aspect of building wealth. Building wealth is about more than just financial formulas and investments.
So, why did I write a book on this topic? I guess it comes down to three main things: 1) people need a financial education delivered in a way they can understand it and act on it, 2) my career and life experience have been in personal finance, and 3) I felt led to do it.
I hope you’ll check out my new book, The Millionaire Choice at www.themillionairechoice.com. Due for release November 2018, available now for pre-order at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million.
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I never realized how hard it would be to write and finish a book when I started in May 2017, but finally, it’s done! The book copy is done. The cover is done. Now it is prepping for print!
Truly writing a book is the project that never seems to end. It seems like things just keep coming up to do or redo that keep you from finishing the job. Thankfully, I had some good friends and professional support in my editor, Anna Floit of The Peacock Quill, and my publisher, Morgan James Publishing. I can’t imaging trying to write a book on your own without some help!
During my writing, it was fun to hear about the different ways people write books. Some plan books out for years. Some just start writing. Some come up with an outline and then get to work. After writing my first book, I believe there’s not a right or wrong way to write a book. There’s just the way that you do it, and that is one of the things that makes it special. For my book, I crafted an outline using the chapters. After coming up with a list of chapters I wanted to write, I thought about what I wanted to include in each chapter. Some of the original chapters didn’t make the final cut. I’ll probably include them in another book someday.
I was very apprehensive after finishing the first draft in early July 2017. That’s when it was time for phase 2, get feedback from one of my very close friends. I gave him my book in early July 2017. When August arrived, it was time to touch base with him again to see what he thought. The anticipation of what he might say was nerve wracking! Did he like it? Would he think it was bad? What if he told me to throw it in the trash and start over? I vaguely recall the conversation, but one part of our discussion I remember very well. I asked him, “Is it worth writing?” He answered, “Yes. You’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s worth writing.” His reply was all I needed to keep going on my book. Just that little boost of affirmation gave me the energy and confidence I needed to keep moving forward.
It’s been thirteen months since our conversation, and finally the book is done. Soon it will be heading to the printers. It seems so surreal.
The Book Wrap
This particular week I’m very excited because the book’s wrap has been completed. The book wrap includes the front cover, the binding, and the back cover. This is one of the last steps of production before the book is ready for the bookstores. With each completed step, I can feel the reality of my first published book and with it, the hope and excitement of being able to help people with it’s financial teaching.
The book cover process was pretty straightforward for me, and I was very happy that the publisher liked my cover concepts. I’ve heard many horror stories about publishers not really doing a good job on book covers for the authors and the authors not being satisfied with their covers. In my case, I’m very happy. I was able to present a mockup to the publisher and they quickly came back with several covers to review. After several revisions and tweaks, we ended up with a finished cover. The book wrap, binding and back cover, needed to wait until all of the writing was finalized so that we knew the page count of the book. This week, the final version came back, and well, see what you think. Comments welcome!
I present to you the book wrap for The Millionaire Choice, Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose.
What an exciting time it is to be in the financial space. The financial markets are at all time highs with the Dow Jones breaking 25,000. Personal and governmental debt has reached extremes possibly causing an implosion of the entire western financial system at any time. Russia and China are weaning themselves off the western financial system by working to create a gold backed alternative currency with the goal of dethroning the US dollar as the only world reserve currency. And then there’s cryptocurrency, where new “Bitcoin Millionaires” are being minted regularly.
In this crazy financial climate, the question is, “what are you doing to build and protect your family’s wealth?” Too many of us are going for the immediate gratification of that new car, luxury vacation, or indulging in some other way to spend your hard earned money. The reality is, it’s what you do with your money today that will determine if you will be a millionaire or multi-millionaire tomorrow. Does that make you think differently about how you are going to spend your money today? It should. Every dollar you spend costs you multi-dollars in the future.
At a meager 10% annual growth rate, $500 spent this month would have become $2,000 in just 14 years if you had invested it. $8,000 in 28 years. Now, how will you spend that $500 this month?
Perhaps, you have a bit more disposable income than the average person. Maybe you have $5,000 to spend this month. If you spend that $5,000 this month, you just cost yourself $20,000 in 14 years or $80,000 in 28 years.
Whatever money you have available, if you want to be a millionaire, you have to learn to multiply your money rather than spend it. To multiply your money you have to practice taking what you have and turning it into more. You can’t do that by spending it all on the latest gadget or your favorite latte at Starbucks.
Now, let’s get a little radical. 10% is a great annual return if you’re using real estate or the stock market, but what about getting a better return? Sometimes opportunities are all around us, but we miss them. I missed one in 2003 when my wife told me to invest in Apple Computers at $4 a share. Ouch. That one still hurts. Hindsight is usually 20/20, and we recognize our missed opportunities. Why do we miss these millionaire maker opportunities? That is a great question. Sometimes we’re just clueless about the opportunity, and it isn’t on our radar. At other times, we’re just not willing to take the risks. Well, the opportunity is here again and it’s called cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and the like. How do I know this is a millionaire opportunity? Because I’ve met quite a few people who have already become millionaires through cryptocurrencies. I’ve recently met several people who invested modest amounts between $5,000 and $50,000 who saw their investments grow to over $1,000,000.
Over the last several months as I’ve continue to get deeper into the cryptocurrency industry, I’ve recognized we’re still in the early stages of the industry, and we are quickly entering the early adoption phase where the industry takes a deeper hold on society and becomes more mainstream. The news is all around if you look for it. Crypto Coins News and Coin Telegraph keep you abreast of the daily industry news.
During my cryptocurrency dive, I’ve talked with dozens of people about cryptocurrency. Some people are taking the risks with cryptocurrency investments, and some are skeptics. The skeptics are usually the tradition financial and investing guys committed to the status quo and what they know. I would call these guys safe traditional investors. Cryptocurrency is too new and volatile for them. To them it’s a bubble waiting to pop. What I believe they are missing is that cryptocurrency is the birth of an industry. It won’t follow all the traditional rules of investing. When Ford created the car, he created an industry. It changed everything. Here we are again with Bitcoin in the financial market
I believe the “wise” risk takers will be smiling with millionaire, and I believe that the skeptics will once again be reliving the “missed opportunity moment.” In time, we will know who is right and who is wrong.
In any case, you can’t be a fool with your money or investing. Whether you want to stick with traditional investing tools like real estate and the stock market or you prefer riskier investments like crytpocurrency, it is important to take advantage of your millionaire opportunities and be smart about them. Educate yourself and sync up with people who are smarter than you on the topic. As part of my cryptocurrency learning, I connected with the team at Crypto Capital Club’s Telegram Chat and Adela Investment, the first Cryptocurrency Investment Fund based in Nashville, TN. Adela’s team has helped bring me up to speed on the cryptocurrency space. A few other great resources include Chris Dunn and The Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast hosted by Trace Mayer.
I always remember to consider the risks with any investment. Here are some simple rules that I follow.
- I never invest more money than I am willing to lose if things go 100% south.
- I never risk money I need. I could lose it all.
- I know cryptocurrency is considered a “high risk” investment at this time. It is very volatile. As the industry matures, the risk should become lower.
- I only put at risk 5-10% of my net worth. If things blow up, I have plenty of money to fall back on to keep going.
Let me know if you become a “Cryptocurrency Millionaire”. I’d love to hear your story.