I’m certain I’m not alone by saying I came from a working middle-class family with parents who, unfortunately, had no personal finance knowledge beyond getting an education, finding a steady job, and saving anything possible in a savings account. Actually, they declared bankruptcy when I was young due to some misguided business ventures on my dad’s part, and my mom thought “going to college and getting a good job” was the ticket that guaranteed an abundant future (even though it didn’t work that way for them).
School didn’t help either. In all my education, I only remember one class that discussed savings options beyond a typical savings account or personal investment strategies beyond an employer-offered retirement plan (and that one college class was solely due to the instructor’s background as a financial advisor). If you’re like me, most everything you’ve learned about personal finances and how to get ahead in this world came from your own hard work and research.
A few high-level concepts can positively alter your ability to generate wealth quickly and efficiently if implemented with timeliness and dedication. These may seem simple, but each one requires attention to detail for (possibly) years at a time before you can achieve mastery
Are you getting excited yet? Let’s go!
Money Management in Four Steps
A fantastic view of your high-level financial journey is to break it down into “four pillars,” as M.C. Laubscher from Cashflow Ninja calls it. Cash creation, cash capture, cash flow creation, and cash control are the four pillars he’s taught to his faithful followers for years.
In the first stage, cash creation, your task is to create (i.e., earn) money. You venture out on your own, obtain a degree or vocational training, land a salaried position at a stable company, develop your seniority and connections with industry peers, find a mentor, perhaps start your own business, and hustle toward bonuses and raises. The cash creation stage is the foundation of all the other steps. The key is not to get stuck here for 40 years, like most of the American population!
Next we have cash capture. In this stage, you create a buffer between how much you bring home and how much you spend. You likely succeed at this by budgeting and saving as much take-home income as possible. The difference between your income and your spending is where you capture cash and use it to fund your investments in appreciating assets.
Once you have emergency funds and other savings in place, have a grip on your budget, and are consistently capturing cash, you move on to the cash flow
Take notice of this name: cash flow creation. There’s a big difference between the first stage of working for cash (cash creation) and working to create cash flow. In this stage, you learn how to use the money you’ve saved and the relationships you’ve nurtured to invest, generate additional cash flow, earn interest, and create income that’s independent from your day job.
In the first stage, you’re working for money. In this stage, you’re putting your money to work for you.
People in this stage actively seek investment opportunities, possibly including insurance policies, stocks, REITs (real estate investment trusts), bonds, residential real estate, and commercial real estate syndication opportunities. While opportunities to grow your overall equity (your net worth) are valuable, focusing on growing your regular cash flow to be higher than your living expenses is what will help you achieve financial independence. At this point, you no longer need your day job, so you’ve protected yourself from the risk of a sudden layoff, but you can certainly keep working if you choose to.
The last step, cash control, isn’t a final resting point, but more of an ongoing focus to protect and tweak your financial strategy for the best. Cash control involves estate planning (a will, living trust, etc.), maintaining life and disability insurance policies, perhaps the creation of a business entity like an LLC or S-corp, tax reduction strategies, and ensuring your finances are set up for longevity.
You didn’t learn this stuff in school, so it’s up to you to intentionally learn it and refine your financial plan toward protecting your assets from creditors, taxes, and lawsuits, as well as providing a legacy for your loved ones.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “making your money work as hard as possible,” and in a nutshell, intentional action throughout each of these stages will do precisely that!
Related article: 5 Reasons Real Estate is the Most Effective and Lucrative
Above All, Value Your Time
Your time is your most precious resource, and when you start out, you don’t have much choice but to trade your time for money. You likely spend 40-60 hours a week contributing your expertise and energy in exchange for a paycheck.
But depending on your satisfaction with your work, your family life, and other factors, that might just not be a sustainable life/happiness model. To change that, you need to create enough cash flow so you have options. This starts with reaching the point where you’ve captured enough cash to begin investing in lucrative deals so you can reduce the amount of time you have to spend working, and instead spend it doing things you enjoy. This is where you reclaim your time.
Maybe that means hiring a personal assistant to keep you organized and run little errands for you, or perhaps that means hiring household services like laundry, a maid, and a landscaper. In your investment activities, maybe that means working with a partner or hiring an assistant (whether live or virtual) for tasks or roles you don’t need to do yourself.
In all areas of life, I encourage you to explore the activities you do, their worth, whether you like doing them, and how much of your time and energy they take. When you conclude that specific actions are not worth your time or energy, hire them out, and in exchange, use your time to learn about and pursue the next level of wealth generation.
Another way you can fast-track your wealth-building machine is to intentionally surround yourself with people who inspire you. Find connections who are ten
steps ahead of you and doing things you wish you could be doing, and then find ways to infuse their lives with value. Use your knowledge and expertise to support them and further develop a positive rapport with them, and they’ll likely feel good about reciprocating.
You’ve probably heard the quote by Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Well, recent research shows that who you are is even affected by your friends’ friends and their friends’ friends! This emphasizes how imperative it is to seek masterminds, mentors, and relationships with those you admire.
As you surround yourself with valuable connections, nurture the relationships you create, and outsource energy-sucking tasks, you create more space in which you can explore higher-level concepts and accelerate your wealth-building journey with fewer mistakes.
A last thought on time is that the younger you are when you progress through the four steps of money management, which we discussed above, the more time you have to build your cash flow and dramatically grow your wealth. But even if you’re learning this later in life, you can still positively impact your financial position. Regardless of your age, the key is to start and take action – don’t get bogged down in learning every little thing without acting (i.e., “analysis paralysis”).
Related article: How to Stop Trading Your Time for Money by Creating Passive
Continuously Break Parkinson’s Law
Finally, the most valuable high-level advice I can provide is that you have to break Parkinson’s Law repeatedly. Parkinson’s Law is the idea that the more income you make, the more you spend.
Most people find that with each raise or bonus achieved, they can afford something they’ve wanted, which is all exciting until years pass by and they’re stuck with no savings to show for all their hard work. Despite increasing their income, if they increase their expenses just as much, they’ll never reach that important
cash capture stage.
But with the four pillars, buying your time back, and taking action, you are destined to thrive in that cash capture stage and ensure your expenses are much less than your income. Beyond that, you have to continually refine your cash capture strategy, always ensuring you have more to invest.
With each raise, cash flow distribution, and bonus, strive to remain conscious of the temptation to spend more and break that cycle again.
While you focus on the high-level strategies outlined above, we at BluSky Equity Partners are focused on nurturing relationships with investors (like you) and presenting the best real estate syndication opportunities available to our BluSky Investor Club members.
For access to our private community of like-minded investors focused on wealth-building, you’re invited to join the BluSky Investor Club today, taking a huge step toward checking the so-called boxes on several of the high-level concepts discussed here.