Check out my brand new writing challenge (Early Bird Price Now)

Ten Money Lessons I’m Only Learning Now at Age 37 That Felt Life-Altering

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Money, Personal Finance

Being a tightarse destroys your life.

It’s not obvious though. Right now I’m asking my neighbors to share the cost with me on a lawyer to fight our local council.

It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

The cost is $1000 per person. The average home price in the area is $2m. And these neighbors tell me they don’t have even $500. Some of them even have major renovations going on.

It seems smart in a situation like this to think, “Don’t worry, someone else will pay.” But it’s all or nothing. And not fixing this issue has a minimum of $100k-$200k impact on the property price of each of our homes.

One guy told me he wants to spend the last of his savings on a driveway. But if you live next to a Metallica concert every night, what’s the point of having a nicely cemented driveway?

The error in judgment is the result of three factors:

  • Not willing to take a risk

These neighbors don’t take risks. Spending $1000 on a lawyer is a hard decision. Maybe it won’t work.

  • Not understanding the hidden risk

Not making a decision to pay for a lawyer is a decision.

The risk is their crazy neighbor gets worse. But they don’t know how much worse things can get. They’re hoping everything will be fine.

There’s a high chance things will get worse. And if that happens they’ll have to sell their homes, which costs 100x the $1000 needed for a lawyer to protect their property rights.

But the risks you don’t see are easy to avoid.

  • Selfishness + Scarcity Mindset

The average person thinks they don’t have enough.

They do everything they can to protect their money, thus destroying opportunities to make more money. One neighbor asked me to crunch the proposed lawyer on his costs.

“Tell him to lower the price!”

If I start a relationship with a well-known lawyer by crunching his rates down, he’ll likely choose not to work with us. Why would he? He’s the best and already has too many clients.

When communities work together everything is better. Slowly that notion is being destroyed by selfishness.

2. Find this huge wake-up call any way you can

One of the biggest wake-up calls I ever had was meeting someone who made $1m a month. It put my $75,000 salary into perspective.

The more time I spent with this man, the more I saw he was just like me.

The difference was he always consumed new ideas. He was always on the lookout for new trends. Recently, when the Apple Pro Vision VR headset was released, a lot of trolls poo-pooed the launch.

“It’s for those privileged rich people” they said.

The guy on a $1m a month said to me, “I wonder if the apps that build on this device get an unfair advantage?”

See the difference? Some people are skeptical about everything. Wealthy people ask questions about everything. They wait to form an opinion, and they focus on the opportunity.

Action: Meet someone who makes your annual salary in a month.

3. Working harder should get you paid more

But it doesn’t.

The factory worker age is dead. Elon’s optimus prime robots will take all those jobs shortly.

Financial wealth happens when your assets eventually do the hard work for you. The money game isn’t a hard work game. No. It’s an asset accumulation game.

Money making more money by itself uninterrupted.

Action: buy assets that make you money while you sleep. If you can’t afford them, then build assets from nothing that do it instead (blog, business, newsletter, podcast, Youtube channel, house renovation).

4. The fastest way to destroy the “their privileged” debate

Whenever you talk about money the life-ain’t-fair crowd will come along.

Wealth inequality is a hot topic. Fairness and “billionaires should pay more taxes” dominate headlines.

Writer Thomas Sowell destroys them all with one statement:

Since this is an era when many people are concerned about “fairness” and “social justice,” what is your “fair share” of what someone else has worked [hard] for?

Action: stop being distracted by people full of jealousy who want money they haven’t earned.

5. “Your fear of losing money is stopping you from making it.”

(Codie Sanchez)

This idea ripped my face off.

You have to risk some money to make more money. The key is you don’t risk it all. By trying to protect your little empire and savings, you’re missing the opportunities that could make you wealthy.

Don’t worry, I’ve done it many times.

I refused to invest in a consultant to fix my business, so I kept making obvious mistakes that burned customers. I waited until the pain was too high before I made the investment to fix it.

The average person is driven by fear. So they work what they think is a safe job with a “we are family” culture, only to realize that recessions and layoffs make this choice just as risky as any other option.

They try not to change careers too much or switch industries out of fear they’ll blemish their resume forever and become unhireable. After a while the safe job starts to become a routine that creates enormous boredom.

Instead of change, they stay the same.

Fear of the unknown forces them to keep choosing the known. At some point regrets of what they could have done take over. Often by this point it’s too late to change. Years of life down the drain.

Reframe: it’s okay to lose f*cking money. You can always make it back again. Often, losing money is how you learn the lessons to make more money. See financial loss as free learning.

Action: lose a little money on an experiment. Notice how it feels.

6. Having no money isn’t an excuse

Wait, WTF?

E-h-h-h…yep. Jesse Itlzer said this:

Screenshot from Jesse Itzler’s Instagram


Having nothing is a huge opportunity. The motivation to get to a new place is in-built. In Jesse’s case all he could afford was an apartment he had to crawl into.

No distractions. No Netflix. No big ass TV. No fancy kitchen to cook meals.

What looks like limitations are actually constraints that can breed enormous focus that leads to success.

There’s nothing better than an underdog. And nothing better than free, automated motivation that makes the day’s work easier.

I sometimes fetishize about going back to having nothing. It’s such a beautiful place to live.

Action: dare to downgrade your living arrangements and luxuries for a simpler life.

7. The unknown formula for financial freedom

Your time gets turned into money. Money can be turned into time. Time can be used to create whatever you want.

That’s what we all secretly want and don’t realize. We want to be able to use time however we want. When we hit that stage of life we are living the good life.

The trap we fall into is thinking we want more money to buy more things. Society teaches us this concept. Social media newsfeeds reinforce it. Only by getting wealthy do you learn the luxury life is a lie. Now you know.

Action: use money to buy more free time, not more things.

8. “Some people are so poor all they have is money”

(Bob Marley)

I’ve learned to define poverty differently.

Rich people who can only think about money all day are the ones who are truly poor. What a disease. What a horrible way to live. Money on the brain every day is a mental illness.

There’s more to life. Money is a fictitious number. Want proof? Other animals don’t have financial systems. They live, they breathe, they eat.

Money is just a unit of measurement. Being addicted to it is like being obsessed with playing the Fortnite video game. It’s just a score. Any score can be beaten. And no one stays #1 in the world forever.

It’s why billionaires live such miserable lives. They have to be the richest but there’s no way to maintain it.

Action: make enough money so you don’t have to think about money.

9. Money reveals what parts of the world are dying

Writer Dan Koe says a lack of money in one part of the economy shows an area that’s dying. It’s like if blood stopped flowing to your hand it’d have to be cut off.

Instead of pumping more money into legacy innovations, like harvesting oil to put into cars, we should see a slowdown as a possible decay.

Same applies to your life. If money slows down in your career, it’s a sign you’re in a decline or becoming irrelevant. That doesn’t mean you stop and give up. No. It’s an opportunity to upgrade your skills. To change. To grow.

Action: pay attention to where money stops flowing to.

10. The simplest explanation of the economy you’ll ever get

This final lesson will blow your mind, so listen up.

Money writer Arthur Hayes pointed out the top 10% of American people pay 70% of all income tax. (I didn’t know that.)

These wealthy people make their money from owning stocks. When stocks rise these people pay the government capital gains tax. As the stock market rises, the government’s capital gains tax income increases.

So the government needs the stock market to perform well. That’s why in the recent major recession stocks have still done quite well. The stock market can’t fall 90% like it did in the Great Depression because the government needs it for income.

Action: stop listening to doom preppers who say everything is going to collapse. It likely won’t. The government will make sure of it to protect their income and so they stay in power.

This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

Are You Operating With Maximum Energy?

For those who are tired of dragging through the day, who want to get back the fire they once had, who are ready to reclaim your natural energy… this is your book.

Unleash the fire within