Grow Your Income
I'm gonna start with the truth about money. This may be the most annoying slide I show you all day long because it's just so true. It's this. The bottom line, when it comes to money, you have to spend less than you make, you can cut your expenses, you can grow your income, the best approach is to do both. That's it though. Right, like, if you want to really dumb down personal finance, you have to spend less than you make, if you grow your income it's easier, if you cut your expenses and you grow your income, you're unstoppable. So I want to talk about the concept of you, the money machine. And here's what I mean by that. First question is what does it mean to finish rich? We've shown a lot of compound interest charts today and showing you how money grows and rich means something to everybody differently. So what I thought we'd do today is sort of like, right now, is personalize it. So let's stroll down on the numbers. Financial planning, personal financial planning, is actually persona...
l. So I want you to think about that for a second. Personal financial planning is personal. Whenever I see these things that are the financial service companies put out and they say things like a million dollars isn't gonna be enough to retire. You're gonna need two, two and a half, or three million. First of all, what that makes most people want to do is take a gun and put it towards their head, right? Because I told you earlier that 47% of Americans had how much?
Four hundred dollars.
Four hundred dollars. So you tell an American that they need to have three million dollars and that is a pretty useless thing when the average American's got $400. So what I tell you is you have to drill down the numbers and you have to personalize these numbers. I've had, when I was at Morgan Stanley and I was a financial advisor, I had clients coming into my office and retire on a quarter of a million dollars. How'd they do that because your head goes what? How did somebody retire on a quarter of a million dollars? Well, again, it's personal, right? So, in most cases, believe it not, they were teachers, they had pension plans, they had healthcare, they had no overhead, and they don't spend a lot of money. So it's totally relative and it also depends on where you live. I've had people, I've seen people retire with five million dollars and go through all of it in less than 10 years and have to go back to work. It's personal. It all depends on how you live. So, first of all, how do you make it personal? You do this. I would start with what does it cost a month for you to live. If you stopped working tomorrow how many months of expenses do you have set aside. So if you spend $5,000 a month and you have $50,000, then you've got 10 months of runway. Right, does this make sense? So a lot of it comes down to how many months of runway do you want? So how much money do you desire a month to be financially secure? And what does this look like? Like, I desire X years of income to feel financially free. So my experience again, and I'm talking about, now I'm not talking about retirement, I'm just talking about feeling free. My experience has been that when most people have two years' of money set aside, they feel free. And the reason is is that two years of runway allow you to quit a job you hate, leave a relationship you don't want to be in, start your life over fresh. Two years is a nice long runway. A year, quite frankly, is more than most people often get to have. But I bring this up because I really think that when it comes to living rich, I talked about, you know, you can go out 30 years but you need to zoom in on now. And then I want you to take a look at how many years of income will it take for you to feel really rich? So, like, well, it would feel really rich if I knew I never needed to work again and I had enough income coming in off my investments that I would never need to work again. Now, the truth is, most Americans today actually don't desire to stop working. They just desire to reinvent and re-engineer themselves, reinvent, reignite on something new. So to me, what financial planning needs to change from is this whole concept of retirement to re-engagement and rejuvenate and reinvigorate our lives. Because the truth of the matter is, it almost doesn't make sense anymore to retire in your late 50s, early 60s if you're honestly gonna live to be 100. I mean, you're life is active. So you may not need to retire early. We're gonna talk about turbocharging your income. I want to show you how small amounts of money can change your entire life. So I want to use $500. I've been talking a lot about $10 a day. Five hundred dollars a month in extra income is a little over $10 a day, right? So, $500 extra a month in income at 8%, remember I showed you those funds in earlier lessons that, you know, I think you earn 8%, or 9%, or 10% annually over time? I showed you how the stock market has averaged 10%, 11%, 12% and I showed you a boring, incredibly automated mutual fund from VanGuard that has averaged over 9% since it started in 1985. They're not guaranteed returns but I'm gonna use 8%. You make $500 at 8% and you don't need to use it and you put it in SEP IRA, your self-employed retirement account, or your solo 401K plan that I covered, and you let that grow for 20 years, that's $296,000. So talk about catch-up plans? Five hundred dollars a month can help you catch up. Now, someone goes, well, that's not a million dollars. Okay, I got it. Twenty-five years, though, it's almost to half a million. So my belief is if you're sitting here and you're in 50s, 55 or 60, it's never too late. And that's $500 extra a month. What if you had, oh wait, 30 years, $750,000. So a lot of the economy that we live in today is what's called an entrepreneur economy where we're all doing a side hustle. You know, the freelance world is where we're moving to where I think potentially most of us will be in some form or another self-employed and freelancing. A lot of these businesses can be started on the side. Small amounts of money make a big difference. I just want to go through $1,000 quickly. A thousand dollars extra a month in 20 years, it's almost $600,000 at 8%. In 25 years, it's $957,000. In 30 years, it's $1,500,000. One of the things I like to point out for couples is that often in two-income households, one of the people in the relationship stops working when they have kids. And 10 years of income stop. And I point out all the time that, you know what, even an extra $1,000 a month that you could earn on the side, that the family doesn't need to use, that you could save could be the difference between retirement and not retirement. You need to recognize that if you go from a two-income household to a one-income household, you have put yourself in an enormous financial disadvantage. And by the way, that is not a conversation that is easy to have with your spouse so you can blame me, alright? (audience chuckling) Oh, I wanted to go go big and get excited, right, because some of you guys are just kick-butt entrepreneurs so you at home, you're the kick-butt entrepreneur doing whatever it is you're doing, $10,000 a month, 8%, you're in real estate. You can catch up all day long and you have unlimited income, right, so you're in commission, you're in a commission business, lots of realty agents follow me. In 20 years, look at these numbers, by the way. You make an extra $10,000 a month and you save it, you literally could build in 20 years a six million dollar account. Now you may not want to work 20 more years, so let's just cut this number in half, you could build three million, right? Could you have a 10 year plan and go, you know what, I'm gonna go crush it out there and I'm gonna fully fund one of these retirement accounts. I'm not gonna pay tax on this money and I'm gonna catch up. And if you've clarity on this and purpose, then you can get out of the it's too late for me, I'll never be able to do this thing. A lot of times this is what you need. I can see the tears forming in your eyes right now. And a lot of times that's what you need, you just got to like, I can go do this. And if you're really driven and you like go out and, you know what, I'm gonna make this happen, because you deserve for this to happen. The same thing for a lot of you at home right now. You deserve for this to happen for you. There are 27 million small businesses in the US. They create 60%-80% of all new jobs. Many of you, if you're not self-employed, you will be eventually. Small businesses represent 99%, small businesses less than 100 employees represent 99% of all employers. Two-thirds of American millionaires are self-employed. Do you need to be self-employed to be a millionaire? No. Everything I have talked about today, based on The Automatic Millionaire book, none of this was about having to be self-employed. This was how do you build wealth on an ordinary income with a job. If you're self-employed and you make good money and you're smart with it, you can be rich faster. That's a simple fact. But anybody who tells you that it's easy to be self-employed is lying to you. Because if you're self-employed, and I'm, again, an entrepreneur here, I work a lot harder being an entrepreneur than I ever did work being an employee. The day doesn't know, a lot of times, an end, right? You're working 24/7. It's always on your mind. So I want to talk about business owners because I love you guys, I feel for you, and I want to tell the truth to you. There are three ways to make money in a business. Just three. You can make money from the business and invest it. You can have the money you invest make you money. You can sell your business. That's it. So now I want to show you what this looks like. I call this the Bach Formula to building wealth. Typically in a business that you're self-employed you have income. And you can take that income and you can save it, right? We've been talking a lot about how you take the income and you save it. Second thing you can do is you can take the income and you can invest it in investments. What did I say was the most important investment you can make when you're self-employed?
Real estate, the real estate. For you to buy, you're gonna put, buy the real estate that you put your business in, rent the real estate back from from your business. The third thing you can do is you can have a sale. You can sell your business. The biggest fantasy, myth, misdirection, mistake that many entrepreneurs make is that they bet everything on the sale. So they're gonna build a business and they're gonna sell the business. The truth is that most businesses aren't salable. If your business, if you're a small-time, small-time's not the right word. If you are self-employed, you are a solo entrepreneur and the business, hi, talking to you at home, requires you to do the work, do you have a business that can be sold? It most cases not. By the way, that's most businesses. The other thing is that if it's not a business that's just you and you have employees, most businesses in America sell for somewhere between one to two times revenue. That can be great if that happens but it doesn't happen all the time. So those first two legs, income/save and investments are really critical. Again, what I've seen business owners do is they don't even get to have the sale but because they bought a building, 15, 20 years later, they own the building free and clear and that's where all the equity value is. I recently just had a friend of mine I told this story to, the family just inherited the building that the father bought for his business. This is actually an amazing story. And the building was, they paid for the business, the business bought the building, he bought the building personally and the business rented it. They bought the building for $225,000. They just sold the building for seven million dollars. Right? Father just recently passed away, the kids are inheriting the building, the building's being sold and now the kids are gonna have, well, from that, and they, business was ultimately just closed down. But the family had seven million dollar valuation on that piece of real estate. Interesting thing is that they bought that property originally from the school system and who ended up buying it back? The school system. (audience chuckling) Now this took place over a couple of decades, actually 25 years but still, yeah. Perfect world you'd do all three of these. In the first leg you'd have over here, your SEP IRA, your sole 401k plan. Second leg here, you'd buy a building or a condo for your business and you'd rent it back and you'd own the building. And then the third leg is you'd have the sale. But you don't have to have the sale to be wealthy in business. You really don't. So, now I want to show you something that your accountant should show you but they won't. This is how you make, I'm gonna show you the difference between a dumb business, I call it dumb business/poor business. Let's start off with the dumb business/poor business. I apologize, I'm not calling anybody here dumb that does this. I'm just teaching you why it looks dumb. Okay. So, this is what people do in the real world. The business makes money and the beauty of being a business owner is your accountant says to you, you can write off almost everything. So what you should do is you should spend the money, you should take lots of tax deductions. And I'm all for tax deductions. I am, because I don't like to pay taxes. But if you do this really well, what will happen is that at the end of the year, your accountant will say, well, I have great news for you. You owe no taxes because we ran all your expenses through the business, legally, and now you, so you made $300,000. And we ran all the expenses through the business and you owe no taxes. And you go, man, that's great. It's like, yeah, good job. What that means is, you have no money at the end of the year. So what that really means is, there's a technical term for this and it's called broke. (audience laughing) Now, it's funny right? Except this is what businesses all over America look like. This is also why self-employed people can't get loans. Because their business has no profit. So the bank looks at you and goes, well, you've been running a business for 10 years and you haven't made any money, here's your tax returns. And you're like, yeah, I know, but I really make money, I mean, over I spend all that. They're like, whatever, we don't care. So this system, here's what is guaranteed with this system. You will never have a retirement, you will have no assets, when the economy turns down you're really in trouble because you have no emergency cushion. But the good news is you won't have paid any tax. And I'm being a little facetious there, right, because in the effort to not pay taxes, you can work five, 10, 15, 20 years and have absolutely nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, your friend who got a job at a company, you're like, oh, my God, he's got a job? Your friend who got a job has been using his 401k plan, paid himself first, or paid herself first, maxed out his plan, she maxed out her plan, now she's got a quarter of million dollars, or he's got a quarter of a million dollars, they've got healthcare, and they haven't had half the stress that you've had being self-employed, and they have real wealth and you have none. This system does not work. And I see entrepreneurs with a million dollars in revenue and they have no money. And then the recession hits and they got a $200, or $300,000 a year overhead. When the recession hit they've got credit lines on their business and then the bank calls the credit line and business goes down and they're upside down and it's over. It happened to lots of businesses across America. So this is what smart business looks like. Business makes money, owner pays themselves first. Let's hear that again. What do they do? Pays themselves first. Yeah, because if you're an owner you still got to do that so you use your retirement account. SEP IRA, solo 401k plan, defined benefit plan, you go and get one of those set up, then you save some money, and the owner buys real estate, and the business rents the real estate back. And then, ideally, the business has a liquidity event or a sale, and you have wealth and financial security. Cool, right? People do it all the time.
Why don't our accountants tell us this?
Because, no offense to accountants, but they're accountants. First of all, most, I've not met too many wealthy accountants. But, you know, the way they get patted on the back, and I'm, again, now the accountants are gonna come out after me, but, they're not in the wealth creation business. They're in the avoid tax business. Now, there's a whole key to avoiding tax to build wealth. Like, earlier when I talked about 1031 exchanges on investment properties, that's a legal great way to avoid taxes. There are things that you can do when you buy real estate to depreciate the real estate. There are things that you can do to write things off that should write things off. But if the entire strategy for the average small business owner, like, we're not talking about Trump here, the average small business owner, if you have no profit at the end of the year, chances are then you have no money left over. So, like, real estate, I see it all the time. Real estate agents, they don't have a SEP IRA, they run all their expenses through their business, they drive up to my office in a beautiful Mercedes Benz, they got the gold Rolex on, they got $2,000 worth of clothes, and they have no assets. True?
Yeah, I asked him about that, or if I needed to do an LLC and he keeps saying, no, not yet.
Okay, well, he's fundamentally wrong and I'm gonna get to that in a second. (audience laughing)
I guess I need to change accountants.
Yeah, you need to change accountants. So, in fact, I'm gonna skip right to this. Learn from my experiences, set you up from Day One. What did I tell my wife to do before she, she got, literally, she got her job at Corcoran, and what's the first thing I told her to do? Honey, you need an LLC. What's an LLC? Here, let me show you. So here's your business in a box. You need to have, first of all, corporate structure. So I went online, bizfiling.com, here's the name of your LLC, now she has a Tax ID number, now she has an LLC. Now honey, you need to go down to the bank and get yourself a bank account for your new company. And now you need to get a credit card for your new company. She's like, what new company? I haven't even started working yet. I'm like, this is how you start your business the correct way. By the way, you have to build it before it comes. And she's killing it now in real estate. So all this is set up, she's like how am I gonna get a corporate credit card? I'm like, you're gonna go online right now, and trust me, when you Google business credit cards and you put your information in, you're gonna get a credit card. She's like, how? Like, just do it. She does it. She's like, I can't believe they approved me just like that. Of course they did. They pulled your Tax ID number and they saw that you have credit, like, it's not that hard. And I'm like, now when you, like, and I say to her, when you go out with your clients, make sure you use the business credit card. So, banking relationship. Go meet with the bank, have a business relationship. You know, this is, I've got business phone, website, email, etc. It takes very little to be in business today, be in business, like, you can be in business for nothing. Like, I started my business with $500 on a kitchen table. I got to a million dollars revenue with my business, I didn't even have business cards. Now, it didn't happen overnight. But three years later I had a million dollar business and I didn't even have a business card, I had a website. I had a couple of books out, but I never had business cards. Didn't have letterhead. A lot of times I see people go out and they spend all this money to get all this stuff. The good thing today is everything's cheap now, right? But like, get these fancy brochures and all this stuff and they don't even have a business. Go make the money and then worry about the stuff that looks cool. You need to have a business dream team. So, let's talk about the people that should be on your team. Corporate attorney. You know, in the old days you needed a corporate attorney to set up the LLC, you really don't now. You can do it online. But if you're gonna build a more established business, if it's a C-corp, you probably should hire an attorney. S-corps, most people don't do S-corps, they're doing LLCs. And the accountant's really critical. You need an accountant, I think, Day One. I think that you probably need to consider replacing your accountant. Sorry to your accountant but I will say this, as your businesses grow, often you have to upgrade your talent. I think I've gone through four accountants in the last 20 years. Because you reach a point where you learn more and you're doing more and then you're like, wait a minute, I need to go see if there's another person who can help me better. I had my wife immediately work with my accountant. And then I immediately, I'm like, now you need a bookkeeper. She said, a bookkeeper, I haven't even earned a commission yet. I haven't gone to the office, what do I need a bookkeeper for? I'm like, because in the next 30 days you're gonna start having expenses and when you make your first commissions, you're gonna need all of this tracked. Bookkeepers are cheap today, too. You need, often, help because you can't do this yourself. You can run a business today with virtual assistants. I've run a business many, many years with no staff. Staff, but virtual. So these are two companies I've used, assistu.com, getleverage.com. I use getleverage right now. These guys, when I have overflow work, I send it to getleverage. This is run by a buddy of mine, Ari Meisel. In fact, I think he might have, he taught a class here. He did, right, Less Doing? I pushed him to write that book. We were talking and he's like, you should talk to Creative Live, they do a great job. So, again, you don't need to have a lot of money to be in business, you just need to have the desire to be in business. But you do need help. You can't always do it yourself. And that takes me to the fastest way to make more money in your business. There's usually three ways to make money in a business. One, get more clients. Get more customers. Two, sell more to those existing customers. Right? Three, raise your prices. All three combined, it's like unstoppable. But those were the three. Find more clients, do more business with existing clients, and raise your prices. Those pillars, there's more pillars in that, but those fundamental pillars, I think the first time I learned that was from a marketing genius named Jay Abraham. And the one that I really drilled in on was raise your prices. So the fastest way to make more money in any business, like all that stuff where I was like you can use $500 a month, or $1,000 a month. You show me a typical business that raises their prices and, boom, they just found $500 a month, or $1,000 a month. In some cases, it's $10,000 a month. How do you raise your prices? You just do. So I'm gonna walk through the dry cleaner millionaire. This is a true story based on a dry cleaner in the marina in San Francisco, my old dry cleaner. So I had this dry cleaner, I loved this guy, I should go by and see if he's still there. So I loved this guy because, you know why I loved him? First thing about this dry cleaners is they didn't lose my clothes. It's amazing that that's a remarkable thing but in the dry cleaning business I find that to be huge. Two, they did a good job on my clothes. And three, every time I showed up, they knew who I was. By the second time I was there. It was like Cheers. Hi, David. Which is funny because Dale Carnegie always said that the favorite word in the English language is a person's name. So here I am and the guy knows my name and I was always impressed. So, he was always there and his family was involved in the business and I got to know him. And I knew that they did very well at this dry cleaners. Most dry cleaners do very well. Most dry cleaners do really well. It's a beautiful business, it's recession proof. Once you start going you never stop going. And this guy took his money and guess what he invested in? Real estate! So he owned all kinds of buildings all over the place. And what he would do, I didn't realize this right away, is that, when I started going to him, the cost to do, this tells you how long ago this was, the cost to dry clean a shirt was $1.10. So like six months later, the cost to dry clean my shirt was $1.15. Okay, do you think I moved? No. Why, why didn't I move? I didn't even notice it, right, it's like a nickel. Then I started noticing he does it every six months. I really didn't notice it though right away. So then he went to $1.21. And then he went to $1.27. All he's doing is raising his prices 5% every six months. Again, $1.34. When did I actually notice it? You want to know when I noticed it? Right here, $1.52. Because all of a sudden I'm like, God, you know what, when I started here weren't the shirts like a buck? And now they're like a buck fifty. And he's like, in three years a dry cleaner is charging me 38% more and I didn't move. And I never moved until I actually physically moved to New York. And you know what, people just don't pick up and leave for 5%. And then I realized our landscaper was doing the same thing. (audience laughing) And so like some people have systematically in their businesses set up to increase their price by 5% and they're doing it to you every six months to a year. You're not leaving because you're loyal. You go home tomorrow and you raise your price by 5% and if you don't suck at what you do, they're not leaving. And then you just found 5% that drops to the bottom line that pays for you to pay yourself first account. And then you do it again in six months and you raise it 5%. Now you've just increased the profitability of your business by 10%. That changes the entire business. That's so simple that most people won't do it. But what was this class all about? Action. What's the biggest thing that can go wrong if you do this? All of a sudden people pick up and leave en masse. Well, then you would know you have a problem. I've taught this to financial service companies, believe it or not, and I know one financial service company that was charging 1% and they saw me do this talk, something to a certain extent, and they raised their fees to 1.25%. And so literally they increased the cost of their money management by 25% and 85% of their clients stayed and their profitability went up by 33%. I think that was the math. And they started paying their employees more and they decided like, you know what, those other people, fine, they left. But 85% of our clients stayed, they appreciate us and business runs better. So a very simple technique. Which takes me to the six biggest mistakes investors make. Before I got to that, let's take a quick, any quick questions on this?
We had one question that came up from Erin who's watching online. They were curious about affordable health insurance for people who were setting up their own businesses and getting that set up. I know this isn't a health insurance class at all but any guidance you could give on when's a good time to set that up.
It's all good. Trump's gonna take care of it.
Yeah, oh right, of course. (audience laughing) Let's not worry about it.
If there's affordable healthcare in America, someone call and tell me where it is.
Medi-Share. I don't know, I heard it, I went on it.
Are you using it?
Did you get it through the network?
$233 a month.
There you go, Medi-Share, $233 a month. Know nothing about them.
It's a sharing system.
It's a sharing system. That's amazing. I mean, I just had to get a new plan for my family and we're at $1,950 a month.
It's unbelievable! Hell, I mean, I could go on a two hour tirade on healthcare. We have to fix healthcare in America. And I've never heard of healthcare that inexpensive but yeah.
I have a question regarding the freelance stuff, of course, for me. You were talking about the accounting and breaking it down to have an accountant, a bookkeeper, a personal assistant and stuff. In my business, you know how my concern is doing all my stuff automatic. Would the bookkeeper be doing that?
The bookkeeper can definitely assist, you have to direct the bookkeeper.
But that would mean, so I don't see it.
But the bookkeeper could absolutely assist you.
If you have a good bookkeeper they can assist you with that process, making it automatic. Don't have the bookkeeper, though, write your checks.
I'm gonna go through, it happens to be one of the biggest mistakes people make is they let somebody else sign their checks.