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Money… the most powerful tool in your toolbox!

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Today I want to talk about a subject that we ALL have struggled with throughout our lives, some more than others, but I can guarantee… we have all struggled with and will continue to do so at some level, but hopefully I can share my insights and understanding of this tool, and that sharing may help YOU struggle less going forward.

Yes, I did say TOOL…. The more I understand money, the more I realize it is nothing more than just a tool.

No matter what position you have in your shop, or in your life for that matter, you have a toolbox.

Now if you’re a body, service or paint tech, you have an actual, physical toolbox somewhere in the shop…. Some as big as a small SUV, with built-in entertainment systems, flat screen TVs and lighting, that may have cost you as much as a small SUV, and some (like mine) are just old, shitty, beat-up Craftsmen boxes from the 80’s & 90’s, and some painters may be working out of something small & simple as a milk crate, but regardless of size & cost, that toolbox is where you store all those “necessary gadgets” (or tools) that help you accomplish whatever tasks you need to complete to reach your objective (in this case, repairing the vehicle in your stall).

Now if you’re an estimator, writer or manager, your “toolbox” may be your desk or mobile estimating cart, but the same concept still applies… you keep everything you need there to accomplish YOUR tasks & objectives.

If you’re the shop or business owner, or an entrepreneur, your toolbox may be more of a mental storage space than a physical one, or maybe some digital file(s) on your laptop or maybe in the cloud, but still the place where you keep all your “tools” that help you complete your objectives, right?

For the rest of us that may not be in the auto service industry, we still have our own toolbox that we have built over the years… filled with our “tools” … all the skills, talents, strategies and tactics we use every day to accomplish OUR objectives too.

So, money… in its actual capacity, when you strip away all of our mis-conceptions, incorrect theories, bullshit ideas and limited learnings about…. Is really just a tool…. Plain & simple… a tool.

So why don’t we think about it that way?

I mean when you get right down to it; money IS something that helps us complete our tasks & objectives, right?… it certainly should be part of every one of our “toolboxes”, wouldn’t you agree?

Not sure what I mean?… that’s ok, I will try to explain from my perspective (which also would be echoed by many successful financial leaders like Robert Kiyosaki, Tony Robbins, Warren Buffet, etc), exactly why that is.

If you are say, maybe 40 -45 years old or older, chances are your grandparents or great-grandparents were greatly affected by the Great Depression on 1929, so what they taught your parents about money was very limited, and they in turn, passed those same beliefs down to you and probably consisted of one or more of the following concepts:

·        Scarcity – Money is hard to come by, there is just not that much of it available for you

·        Money can only be had by working very, very hard

·        Save what money you make, don’t spend it, put it in the bank

·        Don’t take any risks with your hard-earned money

·        You’ll never be “rich”, that’s for “other” people

 

If I missed any, let me know… but I didn’t even get that much from my dad, he just basically said “it’s tough out there” …. Great!… thanks for the advice pops!

There was no education on money, wealth, investments or real estate going through school, and we had no training or education on the home front, so most of us just got out there, soon as we could, hell, I had a paper route at 12, lied about my age at 14 to start a job in a restaurant and started working…. HARD!…. and have never slowed down since.

I didn’t know anything else about money for so long… I just kept working and working, thinking someday, if I work HARD enough and LONG enough…. Maybe I will get to retire, or as our parents would tell us, get a job with a pension, then after 30 years you can retire & the government will take care of you (what a crock of shit THAT turned out to be!)

But along the way, I have learned or come to realize a few things… not just from working my ass off for the last 45 years, but also from studying others… from reading books written by others that have been successful, and listening to educational tapes, CDs and podcasts.

Money is NOT… a goal, nor a destination

Money is NOT… just for “other” people… the lucky, the privileged, our elected officials

Money is NOT… scarce, it is wildly abundant in our world… there is more than enough for anyone

Money is NOT… bad or ”the root of all evil”.. or whatever bullshit saying people without money say

Money does not buy happiness… happiness is an emotion, it is within your mindset, you can be extremely happy without money. There are millionaires and billionaires that are absolutely miserable, lonely, no family or friends, depressed with no love or happiness in their hearts. (BUT A LOT OF FREAK’N CASH)

Although money may not buy happiness, if I’m miserable… I think I’d rather be miserable with a lot of cash on hand!… wouldn’t you?

Money does not make you “rich”… people can be rich in relationships, rich in spirituality, rich in “inner peace”, rich in physical health, rich in making an impact through service to others without having much actual money.

Being “rich” and being ‘wealthy” are two very different things.

Being “rich” is more a state of mind, an attitude you hold in your spirit or in your heart… you can be “rich” without money, but you absolutely need money for wealth.

Wealth is position of financial freedom, of independence, of power or ability to live your life exactly to your standards, desires and direction. Wealth can allow you to serve others at whatever level you wish to. Wealth gives you complete control over your life… you are not a player on someone else’s team… you’re wearing a jersey with your damn name on it, not someone else’s!

Money is not just to be saved, stuck in some low-interest savings, checking account or CD… or busied in mason jars out in the back 40…

Money IS a tool…

Money IS an amplifier… it’s kind of like alcohol, you know if you’re a mean person, or an asshole… you become meaner or a bigger asshole when you add alcohol, but if you’re a happy person & friendly, when you start drinking, you get more friendly with everyone around you & usually end up crying at the end of night telling your buddies that you love them!… money works much the same way… give an asshole a lot of money, it only amplifies and they become bigger, more powerful assholes, and a good-natured, friendly person will do more good things, help more people, give more & serve others at a much higher level when they build some wealth.

Money is most useful when being used (whether buying you something you want, because nothing is more satisfying or rewarding, than spending YOUR money or something YOU want!)

Ladies can I get a “hell yeah” on this…. Why do you think most women come home from a successful afternoon of shopping in a good mood?… because they bought some stuff, THEY wanted to buy…. Guys, you know that feeling as well, right?

We get a nice hit of dopamine after buying something and it reinforces our desire to work more, to make more money, to spend more… it’s really quite an addictive cycle.

Money should work hard for us, now I know this is a total 180 degree from what were taught as kids, but working hard for money will NOT make anyone wealthy… our best returns on our work, are when we take what have earned and re-invest it in other financial instruments that have the ability to generate income.

Now I will preface this with a disclaimer…. I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISOR, NOR AM I ENDORSING ANYTHING and my ADVICE, THOUGHTS or EXPERIENCES in this arena should NOT BE TAKEN AS FIANACIAL ADVICE.

For example, taking some of your “hard-earned” money and investing in some stocks that have risk, but have good potential for higher returns in the current market (let’s say 12-25% returns) may feel too risky, but just putting that cash into a CD or savings account or bond fund will generate very little return and ties up that cash for a long period of time, but in those “medium risk” stocks may generate some growth in a shorter period of time, then you take those earnings and buy some additional stocks… now your money is actually working FOR YOU, not vise-versa.

I didn’t know anything at all about the stock-market back in the 90’s, and had nothing saved at the time, but I had several body shop customers (mostly techs) that were day-trading (back before they clamped-down on that) and were making some killer cash while they were at work between waiting for a cut-in, waiting for additional parts or letting filler dry.

That naturally sparked my interest in learning a little about stocks, although I never got into the day-trading (it was just a tad too scary for me at that point), I did open my own E-Trade account and started with $1000 and just played around, losing & gaining as I went, and now over the years those investments have grown, I’ve moving earnings around into other stocks & those have grown, so now I am pretty happy with what my cash worked itself into… I didn’t work hard for IT…IT worked hard for me. I say this not to brag, not in the least… but hopefully to inspire others to NOT be afraid of investing, that even someone totally uneducated in the stock market could do it, so could you… it is worth the risk, at least it was for me!

Income-producing real estate is probably the best way to let your money bust its ass for you… buying a rental property has some risk & will take a little up-front homework and cost, but can start making YOU money instantly, creates an income stream and simultaneously will be increasing in value as your property.

Buying an existing business, expanding your own company or adding a new service, brand or division can be a wonderful use of money to allow if to start working FOR you.

Many entrepreneurs have started brand new companies with little or no cash of their own, and turned it into hugely successful money-makers, and the amount of on-line businesses and Shopify stores out there now, can allow someone to have an online store where they don’t have to stock anything & all items are just drop-shipped…. It’s crazy, there are people making 100’s of thousands and even millions of dollars without anything, or very little upfront to start!

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of ways and opportunities to make money work FOR you, instead of you working endlessly for IT.

That saving every penny & hoping that the government or your Social Security will “take care of you” in your Golden Years, is merely a fantasy or pipedream at this point… the days of great pension plans are long gone, and there is no guarantee that Social Security will even be around in 5 or 10 years?

There is no one coming to save you… your financial future is ultimately in your hands (which is actually a good thing for you), I mean our government can’t seem to properly manage their own finances… I’m quite sure they’re not going to do a better job with MINE or YOURS!

Do you really want to rely on them?… NO THANK YOU!

The only requirements for success in playing an active role in your own financial future are just a few simple things:

1.     Having the right mindset & belief system about money… to learn more than you were taught at home or in school about it (which was probably little to nothing), that it is not a limited resource, nor meant for other people besides you, or is only for saving & not spending until your too old to enjoy it. The low-to-middle class programing we have in our minds currently about money will keep us low-to-middle class unless we change it.

2.     That understanding there is a major difference between being “rich” and having “wealth” and how that applies to you… how to live richly in the other areas of your life with what you have and work on building your wealth

3.     To gain a little courage and accept some risk when it comes to making some investments, to not let your fears keep you playing small, playing safe. To understand life is not fully lived or enjoyed without taking some risks, without stepping outside of your comfort zones

4.     To start using money as a tool, something you use to help complete a task or accomplish an objective… to make it work HARD FOR YOU and not the other way around

 

So, just like when you have your next R&R front bumper and front fender job, you go to your toolbox and get all those tools use know you need to accomplish the task, except your 10mm socket… you’ll probably have to borrow one from someone else, cause God only knows where yours went?… but treat your money the same way… keep it in your “toolbox” (just not the one at work) and pull it out when you need to put it to work helping you accomplish the task of building your wealth and really providing security for yourself & your families future!

Remember, regardless of how many unique & special tools you’ve acquired over the years, unless you have money…. The most powerful tool you’ll ever have access to, in there too… your toolbox will never be complete!

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