Can I Afford It? Cashflow and Financial Savviness (Episode 202)
Have you experienced true cashflow in your life? Have you experienced abundance in your life, where you weren't feeling a financial strain? What is that "one thing" that would make everything okay?
For many, that "one thing" just must be money, right? "If only I had enough money in the bank, THEN I'd be happy and all my problems solved."
Well unfortunately that's not the way it goes. Or maybe that's the fortunate thing! More money definitely does not always equate more ease in your life, and that's where we really look at what our relationship with money is, and what the purpose is for it in our lives.
The "one thing" that made all the difference for us was when we shifted our perspective on money. The game changer was one simple statement.
Can I Afford This?
Starting out in our marriage, I was the budget queen. I could find a deal like no other, and almost everything I bought was on clearance, a crazy sale, or secondhand. My whole perspective was looking at what I could afford.
I could afford anything at the Dollar Store! And I was notorious for wracking up $50 worth of "deals" at the Dollar Store, full of low-quality items that really weren't necessary in my life, and simply added to the clutter.
I would look at deals and literally be thinking "do I have this money in my pocket/bank account" vs if I really needed to get something!
My focus was simply on what was possible for me to be - what I could afford.
Is This A Worthwhile Investment?
These magic words changed my life. When I switched from "Can I afford it?" to "Is this a worthwhile investment?"
And it's not just about finances. When I'm looking at getting something now, I am coming from a place of abundance - not that I'm a millionaire, but that we've been strategic with our finances, and are not operating from lack and scarcity in our life.
When I look at something now, I'm assessing -
Is this a worthwhile investment of -
- My finances? Will I get a return on my investment? Can I make more money back on it, or will it save me money ultimately?
- My time? Is this worth me paying attention to and prioritizing in my life?
- My space? Am I willing to take on this item/thing/expense and be responsible for that impact? (Think about the plastic items and packaging we simply "get rid of" that ends up in our landfills. How quickly we fly through things that end up sitting in trash heaps, or pay for subscriptions that suck us into bad habits)
Shift your semantics from:
Can I afford this?
Is this a worthwhile investment?
Does your bank account reflect your top priorities?
Where are you investing your money, your time, and your space?
Our Story: The Game That Changed Everything
Feeling the Itch
In our first years of marriage, we were figuring out work, and Nathan had been a banker, climbing up the corporate ladder. As our bank account was growing and we were looking at next steps, we wanted to look beyond exchanging hours for dollars and looking at other ways to make an income that would be a better fit.
At this point, it was clear that Nathan was not thriving as a banker. He hated putting on that suit and tie every day and feeling the pressure of meeting number goals over the relationships with clients. As he rose up in ranks, he was less and less around the elements of banking that he truly did enjoy.
So we started looking at other options. At this point, we had young children at home, and we made the decision that now is the time we wanted to have a more flexible schedule where Nathan could be more present at home as our children grew.
We had the income and the "security" of knowing where Nathan was going to work every day. Yet he also had the stress of workplace drama. He had the discomfort of clothes that felt suffocating to him. My outdoor-loving husband was inside concrete walls day in and day out, and it was slowly sucking the life out of him.
I remember having a conversation with him about his "comfortable misery". He was pretty familiar with this story already, as it's one we often refer to with our 48 Days company.
After one too many days of Nathan coming home stressed out and frustrated, I simply asked him how long he planned on sitting on the nail. When you are feeling stuck, you can stick there for as long as you're willing to sit in that discomfort. That's going to look different for everyone. Yet when it impacts the rest of your family, pay attention. What is it going to take for you to get unstuck?
And from there, we stepped into action.
The Big Investment
We had real estate agent friends who had shared with us about investing, and had encouraged Nathan to explore real estate. We had gotten to know two wonderful ladies, Connie and Sheila, and knew they had built themselves quite a cashflow world with rental properties and investments.
So, instead of jumping in blind, we decided it was really important to pay to play. We asked Connie and Sheila to coach Nathan on real estate investing and really help him understand all the ways he could use real estate for making an income - both actively and passively.
We paid $8,000 to have Connie and Sheila coach Nathan.
Yes, this was a big decision. Pay $8000 just to pick the brains of two people who were doing what we wanted to do? Why yes, it was worth every penny.
Nathan learned so much about real estate - how to really look for those great deals, how to spot a lemon, and creative ways to purchase, as his first rental property purchase was actually done through a Roth IRA for a creative cashflow opportunity that may not pay now, but is building a nest egg for the future.
It was a big investment for us, and yes, it was a scary one to take. Yet we calculated the risk. and saw the potential if Nathan truly implemented and took action on what he could learn. We saw that, if we wanted to get out of our own "rat race", we had to be willing to "pay to play" and recognize it's worth educating ourselves as the first step. And let me emphasize here that it was the first step.
If Nathan hadn't then taken that $8k amount of knowledge he gained and put it in motion, taking action and applying it in our life, that money would have been a fruitless expense.
It became that worthwhile investment due to his commitment to see it through and step up to the responsibility of his own action that was needed.
The Game that Rocked Our World
One night Connie and Sheila had us over to play a game. We knew they were big game people, but had no idea the impact this one game would have on us.
They introduced us to Cashflow.
CAUTION: Now, this is a game created by the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki. Quite honestly, there is plenty about Kiyosaki's tactics and focus that I don't care for. Like everyone, take it with a grain of salt - there is some great content, yet use your own discernment for what works for you and your family.
Cashflow is a game that introduces the concept of passive income as a way to get out of the "rat race" of life where you are exchanging your hours for dollars.
In it's definition, it says:
CASHFLOW is unique from other money making and resource management games. Not only does CASHFLOW coach you on how to secure assets and invest money correctly, it reveals your investing personality. We all like to think we’ll make the right moves when our big opportunity comes up, but the truth is some of us are conservative and some are risk takers. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with one mindset, it just means you need to play and practice until you find a winning strategy both on the board and in the real world.
I had no idea about investing. I didn't understand stocks, the real estate market, or how to navigate what risks are worth taking and what aren't when it came to finances. I would of course play it super safe.
Literally the only thing my mind could really comprehend the first time I played it was this one simple switch. When I experienced true "cashflow", where my passive income had replaced my monthly living expenses, it was like a lightbulb went off on really seeing what was a worthwhile investment and what was not.
When I realized I either had (or could generate) the money I needed, it wasn't about looking at literally what I could afford from my bank account, but what was worth really investing in for the longer return it would yield - both for my wallet and my life.
The Stories We Tell Ourselves
This game really shares a bit more of the reality as to why it can be so hard to get out of a lifestyle you've created. For example, Clara starting out the game as a doctor may seem well and good, as you are bringing in a lot of income. By all impressions, it appeared that she would be starting ahead.
Yet this is another reminder of how we tend to live at our max capacity. We live based on what income we're bringing in - so when you have that six-figure income as a doctor, you may also have your children in the prestigious private schools, the debt from the medical school bills, car loans, house payments and cost of living expenses for that fancy HOA and events to keep up social status.
She made the most money by far when we started that game, and yet she was the last to really be able to get out of the "rat race" where her passive income was higher than her monthly expenses.
Often we create this dualistic model in our mind that we only have either/or options in life. Yet there are so many creative paths and "and" opportunities that will open up new paths.
Is Work Your Purpose?
Recognize that your purpose - your passion -goes beyond just a j-o-b. My purpose is to help people find their inner light (as I continue to explore my own).
That purpose, to me, is greater than one job. While my job right now may be coaching people and providing great resources for families, if that were to go away and tomorrow I choose to deliver pizzas, that doesn't take away my purpose and passion in this life.
Work does NOT have to be the essence of your life's purpose.
Oftentimes work because the huge looming dictator that determines every other aspect of our lives. A game like Cashflow is completely focused on creating the cash that flows in passively so your life isn't being dictated by the work you are doing.
A huge part of my income is directly related to helping people find - or create - work they thrive in. I strongly believe in finding work that doesn't suck the life out of you. I'm not discounting the importance of finding work that is a great fit for you.
Yet the reality is that jobs come and go. Even work ventures have seasons. Check out this blurb from thebalancecareers.com -
Average Length of Time at a Job
How long does a typical employee stay at a job? The median number of years that wage and salary workers have worked for their current employer is currently 4.6 years, according to an Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, this longevity varies by age and occupation:
- The median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years.
- The median tenure for employees age 65 and over is 10.3 years.
- Workers in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median tenure (5.5 years).
- Workers in service occupations had the lowest median tenure (3.2 years).
If you were to change jobs every three to five years, you would be right within the average, and the job switches may reward you with higher compensation and a broader base of skills than you'd acquire by working for only one or two companies during your entire career.
Add in all those entrepreneurial endeavors. How many entrepreneurs try multiple businesses until they create that thing that really sings? Even in over 17 years of working with my father at 48 Days, the roles I've played at work have varied tremendously over the years. I have not been stuck in the "daily grind" of a mundane lifestyle because I recognize that EVERYTHING has a season. Even in the same job, roles, responsibilities and perspectives can completely shift from it being a great fit to being time to move on, or to grow with you as you grow stronger in your strengths.
Yet I don't believe that work is the epicenter of a life well-lived. And I don't believe all of my purpose is wrapped up in it. Quite honestly, I could make an income as a farmer, teacher or artist and still very much be living out my purpose of helping people find their inner light. Coming from the entrepreneurial world I lived in growing up, I can think up a ton of ideas on how to make money in these other arenas.
I could also make money just to make money - money through investments, money through some hard work or selling items I have - and it could completely be work that fuels the life I want and doesn't suck me dry in the process.
What Makes Sense?
I love what I do, and my work DOES align with my passion to help people understand and explore their inner light as they learn to acknowledge it in others as well. That being said, I am still looking for other streams of income that would allow our monthly expenses to be covered.
For us, real estate makes sense. If you know anything about Robert Kiyosaki, he goes deep into all kinds of ways to invest, exploring stocks and trading and the oh so big deal Bitcoin focus.
What makes sense to you? What are you attracted to? Do you know real estate investing? Stocks? Bitcoin? Or maybe you know of certain collector items you're passionate about, or your experience with essential oils has impacted you so much you want to be a distributor?
I can tell you the pros and cons of all of these. I can share how risky it is, how it won't work for everyone, and how you really need to know who you are and if it's a good fit for you and your family.
What I want to do is simply open the door to explore it. How are you making money right now? Is it allowing for the life you thrive in, or are you feeling trapped in the "rat race," simply making money to spend to make to spend, without taking the time to enjoy anything?
Do you have a dream for the future you would be willing to invest in?
How are you going to get there?
Have you opened the door to "experiment" with life with your children? This is what Cashflow allowed for us - to really play with different job roles, investing, and how money works.
Are you having money conversations with your children beyond "money doesn't grow on trees" and "that's too expensive?"
Do you - and your children - understand assets, liabilities, investments, and overall financial literacy?
Pay attention to how your children best learn. Making things fun with a game can be powerful. If you have a kinesthetic learning style, something hands-on and real life application is powerful. Our challenge to you this week is to get real with financial literacy with your children this week. Discuss how you can give from a full cup by taking care of yourself.
Explore "Functional Wealth" - wealth that covers your basic needs and allows you to give from a full cup - this is what we want for our family. Not to just acquire to acquire, but to get clear on our dreams and passions, and then look for how money will fuel that; not be the ultimate focus.
If you are feeling stuck, get very clear on what would be a worthwhile investment. Maybe you clearly see how your passion does align with work you want to thrive in, and you need a little support to clarify that more. Is now a time to work with a coach, take a course, or go ahead and invest? If you are flowing, take a minute to look back and show gratitude to those people you invested in to get you to where you are today.
Remember the beauty of different paths as a way to make us all grow, and celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.
Dig Deeper with These Posts and Episodes:
- Get the Cashflow Game here
- Join the 48 Days Eagles Community and dig into finding the work you thrive in
- Get the Free Family Vision Email Series Here
- Why look at personality tests for kids?
- 7 Seconds Will Change Your Life (Episode 62)
- What Is Your Goal?
- Who Is Your Home?
- Shift Your Perspective Before Your Bank Account (Episode 186)
- Money Can't Buy...What?
- Money, Marriage and Mountain Lions (Episode 58)
- What Is Your Purpose For Money?
- Money, Love...or Both? (Episode 143)
- Which Wolf Do You Feed? Work and Finances (Episode 23)
- Feeling Stuck? (Episode 77)
- What Is Your Goal?
- Life Skills and Dealing with the Critics (Episode 107)
- Unhurried Spaciousness: Five Steps for Your New Year (Episode 85)
- Clutter Is Simply A Postponed Decision (Episode 19)
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