Dollars and Sense

Maximizing Your Financial Dimension to Support Authentic Wealth

When I was just starting my career in insurance and securities, I was a young 22-year-old with a wife and a baby. I built my clientele door to door, relationship to relationship, studying the intricacies of the financial services industry as I went. I was eager to help my clients—many of whom were at least two to three times my age—increase their wealth. By the time we were married just four years, things were already going well. I had begun to move up the ranks at the firm where I worked, and my wife, Sharee, and I were excited to be building our dream home. But then things turned upside down.

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There were issues at work with a dishonest supervisor. While he was being audited, my earnings (and that of two other producers) accumulated and were held in escrow. As a result, we all found ourselves without an income. For nearly a year. As in no paychecks. It was agonizing.

My wife and I scrambled to stay abreast of our home mortgage. We did everything we could—after getting behind we sold a duplex we owned to come current. A few months later we sold our timeshare to make up for lost payments. When our mortgage became delinquent the third time, we knew we had to sell. The real estate market was abysmal at the time, so for months we dropped … and dropped … the price, and we eventually lost our home in foreclosure proceedings. My co-workers also lost their homes.

While Sharee and I were able to bounce back quickly, that defining moment changed everything. It led me to approach real estate differently (I have maintained liquidity on my real estate equity by keeping it safely separated from the property—which has enabled me to sail through several more recessions without losing real estate equity, even when the property dropped in value). It also helped me realize that without a healthy, stable Financial Dimension, every other aspect of our lives becomes complicated, stressed … agonizing.

What’s the Financial Dimension?

It’s one of the Three Dimensions of Authentic Wealth, a system I’ve developed for our Live Abundant clients that helps them pursue a balanced approach to abundance. While I’ll take a look at the other two dimensions, Foundational and Intellectual, in upcoming articles, here I’d like to focus on the Financial.

One of the critical things I learned in the aftermath of that big setback was that the three key elements of all prudent investments or sensible financial instruments are: 1) liquidity (the ability to access your money when you need it), 2) safety of principal, and 3) rate of return.

The problem is following the crowd doesn’t necessarily lead you to financial vehicles that can provide all three. As I experienced firsthand, real estate equity clearly fails the test. Many of the traditional financial vehicles promoted by Uncle Sam [IRAs and 401(k)s] don’t measure up well, either. Millions of Americans discovered this during what I call the Lost Decade. During America’s Great Recession, what Americans thought was the best way to save for retirement resulted in the loss of 40% of their IRA and 401(k) account values—twice—between 2000 and 2010.

Compare that to people who learned about my experience through one of my books or by attending one of our educational events. Those who followed the advice and protected themselves accordingly did not lose a single dime of their principals due to market volatility, and many of them actually doubled or tripled their money during that same time period, through indexing and re-balancing. The secret? It’s in using wealth strategies and financial vehicles that provide the most liquidity, safety, rate of return and tax advantages as possible.

I share these strategies thoroughly in my upcoming book about The LASER Fund. While I won’t get into the details here, let me just reiterate I’ve seen time and again that sound financial vehicles—ones that can provide all three key elements of a prudent investment—are critical to maximizing your Financial Dimension.

Whatever your chosen strategies, it is vital to do everything you can to make the most of your financial assets so you can avoid the ravages of inflation, market volatility, and rising taxes. Not only will you have greater peace of mind, but you’ll also be empowered to support your other Authentic Wealth Dimensions. You’ll be able to fund your family’s Legacy Bank and create a KASH Blueprint for things like education, business ventures, religious or philanthropic missions, weddings, charitable giving and more. (KASH is an acronym for Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills and Habits.)

Essentially, when you combine your dollars (the Financial Dimension) and sense (your Foundational and Intellectual Dimensions), you’ve got the formula for an abundant life—one that you can pass along to your loved ones for generations to come.