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When I launched Millennial Money in 2015 I created a wish list of the 5 people that I hoped to one day interview. On that list was Tony Robbins, the #1 New York Times Bestselling author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist whose book Awaken the Giant Within inspired me deeply at age 21.
So it was an honor when Tony Robbins agreed to chat about money, meaning, life, and the release of the paperback of his book Unshakeable, of which, 100% of his profits go to Feeding America. Tony’s on a mission to donate 1 billion meals by 2025.
Tony interviewed 50 of the top global experts on money, like Jack Bogle, Warren Buffett, and Ray Dalio to get their thoughts on how we should save and invest our money. The result of those interviews are two great books: MONEY Master the Game, which at 670 pages is one, if not, the most comprehensive and one of the best money books I’ve ever read.
Since everyone doesn’t want to read a 670 page book, Tony wrote a much shorter and more accessible book on money and investing titled Unshakeable. In both books Tony pulls back the veil on Wall Street and the high fees and complexity they sell to scare investors into expensive, and often poor, investments. He teaches readers how to make, save, and invest money in way that is practical, actionable, and always backed up with data.
To say that I was stoked to do this interview is an understatement. We went really deep in this conversation. There is so much wisdom in this chat with Tony. He speaks from both experience and his heart. It’s been one of the highlights of my year. It was humbling when he told me that he’s been watching what I’ve been doing and shared:
“We are brothers on the same path of trying to contribute as much as we can. I can see by your path you are very clearly driven to contribute in a meaningful way.” – Tony Robbins
After the interview Tony invited me to hang with him backstage in November at his upcoming Unleash The Power Within event in New York City! I’m pumped to hang out and continue the conversation on changing lives in these increasingly challenging times.
FINANCIAL FREEDOM PODCAST EPISODE 5: MONEY & HAPPINESS W/ TONY ROBBINS
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Tony Robbins Interview (full transcript)
Grant: 00:21 Hey everyone. I’m really excited today on the Financial Freedom podcast to have a very special guest, the one and only Tony Robbins. Tony is a number one New York Times best selling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist. I’m a big fan of his work and really excited to have you on the podcast. Tony,
Tony: 00:40 Thank you Grant, it’s great to be with you.
Grant: 00:41 So what inspired you to write Money and then Unshakable? I mean they’re such comprehensive, well written money books. What inspired you to write a money book?
Tony: 00:51 Honestly, anger because I don’t really like writing. I love to speak because when you’re in an audience you never know what’s going to happen. It’s always changing and writing. as a solitary experience all by yourself sitting still. There’s no feedback while you’re doing it. So it’s. I hadn’t written a book in almost 20 years. Even though I have this large contract, Simon and Schuster, but what pushed me over the edge was 2008. I saw so many people suffering and I grew up with economic suffering. I have no money for food. It’s one of the reasons why, and I donated 100 percent of the profits of both of these books to feeding America. We fed 400 million people the last four years alone we’re going to feed a billion people over the next six years, but a huge part of that because the pain I went through and so there are only a certain number of subjects that really effect the quality of your life.
Tony: 01:35 It’s your emotions, it’s your relationships. It’s your business, it’s your career. And then you know, then there’s finance and so when I saw in 2008, all these people suffering and I, you know, I’ve worked with Paul Tudor Jones, one of the top 10 financial traders literally in the history of the world and I’ve worked with him for 24, 25 years now. Back then I was like, this is ridiculous. I knew this was happening. I was able to take advantage of this, this, you know, in the market and I really want to make sure that other people can find these answers and I kept thinking someone else is going to do something, government’s going to do something, and then in 2010 when I saw nothing was being done and I watched this documentary that’s called Inside Job. I don’t know if you’ve seen it.
Grant: 02:14 Yeah, it’s a great documentary.
Tony: 02:16 Anyone who’s not seen it’s worth seeing it won the Academy Award nominated for Academy award anyway, but it shows systemically, how a small number of people almost destroyed the entire world economy. And then their punishment was we gave them more of our money. So you ended up watching this thing and your either depressed or angry and I was the angry type because depressed doesn’t change anything and I thought I’m just one guy, but I do have a really unique gift. I have access to the smartest financial people on earth. So what if I interviewed 50 of the smartest? You know, Carl Icahn, Warren Buffett, Ray Dalio, Paul Tudor Jones, and I really found out from them what’s really true and market. What are the pitfalls, how do you succeed, how can the average person truly succeed? Because I wanted to write a book that a millennial could pick up and say, you know, got a ton of college debt.
Tony: 03:00 Looks like I’ll never be out of it and be done in a weekend with the book and go, Holy Shit. I have a new life. I know exactly what to do to get to where I want to be financially. Or you know, somebody older, somebody who is, you know, the parent of a millennial or, you know, say a baby boomer thinks. Oh my God, I started too late. It’s too late. And showing them how they can win as well. So it’s really a playbook to guide them from where they are to where they want to be in the shortest period of time with the least amount of stress. By understanding what really is true in the marketplaces that are predictable and that are consistent. And by giving the answers, not from me, but from the greatest traders in the history of the world.
Grant: 03:32 Yeah, I love that. I mean the book is so accessible. I’ve actually given it to a number of friends and recommended as the first money book that they read. I always felt like there, there’s a lot of kind of here’s how to get your financial life together books. But it wasn’t until I read Unshakable where I was like, you know, this is a comprehensive, really accessible book on investing how the markets work, how Wall Street works and not just one of these kind of fluffy traditional money books. So I, I absolutely love it and I’ve recommended it to a number of people as the first money book that they should read. Why do you think that Wall Street makes money so complicated? Or why do you think that people think that money is so complicated when really in Unshakable you’ve presented kind of an end to end strategy that anyone can follow even if they’re just starting to get their financial house in order?
Tony: 04:23 I think there’s two reasons. One is the industry itself wants to make it complicated because that’s how they get fees out of you. Right? So I’ll give an example. You know most people’s retirement is in two places in their home, in their 401k and for millennials, you know, maybe they do not yet have their first home or they only out of their first homes. There’s not a lot of equity. So there 401k is the place that they can build it. Well up until four years ago, this is a $6,000,000,000,000 industry that was not required to tell you what they charge you, what industry on the face of the earth can get by with that? Well, the way they get by with it is by making being so complex that you just give up 71 percent of people with a 401k think there are no fees and that is the biggest lie on the planet.
Tony: 05:05 And now you hear all these new pieces where they’re saying we have no, you know, we have no fees. They have no upfront fees. They have a dozen other fees. And so when I started to work with Jack Bogle and some, some of the most brilliant financial minds, Jack told me, he said, Tony, I know you’re sincere in wanting to help people. If you’re gonna help the average American, you got to help them with their 401k because they’re totally getting screwed there. Forbes did, you know they think they’re being charged nothing. Forbes did a, an evaluation and show that the average person is paying three point two, four percent doesn’t sound like a lot, but every one percent more that you’re paying than you need to cost you 10 years of retirement income. So if you paid two percent more than you need, let’s say one percent would be reasonable and you’re paying three and a quarter, you’ve literally give up two and a half decades worth of income for nothing.
Tony: 05:48 You’re not getting anything. I, I brought in this company, that I’m now associated with the company. I’m now a partner in this company. But when I started doing the research, I brought them this company and I said, tell me some companies that can analyze the 401(k)’s at my companies or my employees. And we brought in this company called America’s 401(k), and I was like, I called the owner and I said, great name, prove it. I said, come, come do this. So he came to my business and in 20 minutes he showed us how to have the exact same stocks, the exact same bonds, but without all the additional fees, we reduced the fees almost 80 percent and put $5,000,000 in the pockets of my all my staff. And we have the same stuff like we’re on earth can you go into an industry and one person is paying $30,000 for a Honda accord and the other person is paying $800,000. That’s the equivalent difference. You’re paying two percent on your, let’s say your Vanguard that maybe you’re able to get within your 401k. They’ll charge you these ridiculous fees under weird names. And then I can get it for you for point zero five percent. So five 100, seven percent, no five basis points. I mean the differences is thousands of percent difference. And the multiplication. We all know the way you get wealthy is going punk compounded interest, but when people don’t realize is fees and taxes compound as well and so I tried to do in this book is just show you the scams to show you what’s being done and show you the simple solution like you can go online to Americas Best 401(k) , give them three numbers and in five minutes you’ll know exactly what you paid and what it means over five or 10 or 15 or 20 years because people don’t realize the compounding of those fees and if you want you can change in a heartbeat, but those are the types of things.
Tony: 07:27 I want to do two things in this book. I want it to be able to protect people but also show them how to take advantage and eliminate the fear because one of the biggest challenges is people’s like, well, the market’s been up for so long. Well, there are the people. Twenty five percent of all investors and 401(k)s after 2008, 2009 stopped adding to their 401(k). Well that was the dumbest thing in the world. We’re up 300 percent since then. They missed one of the greatest economic times in history and everybody’s still saying, oh my God, oh my God, it’s high. We’re going to get a correction. It’s the longest bull we’ve ever had, but here’s what you need to understand. Every year we have a correction. A correction is from the top a drop of at least 10 percent, but not more than 20 percent. Once you hit 20 percent, it’s known as a bear market or crash.
Tony: 08:11 So we have corrections on average, not every year, but on average every year since 1900, two years ago, you may remember in 2016 in January, everybody’s freaked out because of the worst January in the history of the stock market. We lost $2,000,000,000,000. Market was down nine percent. Everybody’s freaking out. They went to Davos where all the richest people in the world are and CNBC ask Ray Dalio, the greatest financial investor, one of them the greatest hedgefund lived the greatest investor ever. And they said, Ray, what do we do? And he said, look, corrections happen every year and the average one is 14 percent. So it’s scary, but 80 percent of those corrections never become a bear market. Eighty percent. So think about it. The market is up 77 percent of the time over the last century, which means every four years you have three good years and one down year.
Tony: 08:58 That’s the average. Now we’ve gone a lot of years with no down years. So we’re going to have them. But I wanted people to understand if you don’t get in the game, you’re going to lose. You try to time it. You’re not going to time it, you know, Warren Buffett says the only reason they have market forecasters on CNBC is to make Gypsies and fortune tellers look good because none of them are right. He can’t figure out. They don’t know. So instead they have a different approach. It’s be in the game. I’ll give you a statistic also. So these bear markets, everybody’s afraid of, they use, they last on average a year. They usually have a 33 percent drawdown. Well that’s only 33 percent if all your money’s in the stock market. So if you have a diversified portfolio like we teach in the book and show you what to do, you’re not going to have a 33 percent draw down.
Tony: 09:44 And even if you did watch this, every single bear market, every single crash in the history of American business has turned into a bull. And usually, the first year is a giant jump. So you remember 2008, 2009, the market drops 50 percent. Well guess what? We were up 69 percent in the next 12 months. We’re up 300 plus percent since that time, but you got to get in the game and so people are trying to time the market. They don’t understand. Here’s some stats that your listeners should really listen up for right now as a millennial because you’re a millennial and you’re, let’s call you a 30 years old right now, and let’s say your lifespan is going to be at least 85. Most people who are millennials are going to live longer because some of the health technology that’s coming, let’s say you live to be 85, then you’re going to have literally 55 more corrections in your lifetime if you don’t learn to ride these corrections, you’re going to live in fear the whole time and we have a bear market on average every five years, so guess what?
Tony: 10:40 You’re going to have 12 more 11 more, you know, bear markets in your life. So you want to not have fear and what will give you no fear is to see every single one in our history we bounced back. The reason we do if you ask Warren Buffett is he said, listen, we have a population that’s always growing. We have the most efficient economy and we have the most efficient technologies in the world and we have an open system. He says, I’m wealthy because I lived in America and got good genes and I lived a long time and I got compounded interest. He goes, that’s why I’m a multibillionaire. That’s all it really takes. But what people don’t realize is these bad times aren’t forever. Winter isn’t forever. You know, winter’s coming, you don’t freak out about winter and some winters are colder and some are longer, and some are shorter, but winter always comes, but it’s always followed by springtime and winter makes prices go on sale.
Tony: 11:28 I mean if somebody told you you gotta have a $400,000 Ferrari for $75,000, you’d buy it in a second, but if someone takes a $400 stock and it drops to $75, they freak out. You know you got to do is you got to see what the longterm is and here’s one more stat. If you’re trying to time the market, which no one does successfully. You need to understand something about how the market really works. If in the last 20 years you were in the stock market and you’re in the S&P 500 index, which is really cheap, not a lot of fees and you just left your money in there, it compounded at eight point two percent. But if you tried to time the market, the market’s getting high, oh, it’s low and you tried to get in or out of the market. Guess what? If you were out of the market, just 10 days of those 20 years, 10 of the best trading days, and no one knows when they are, then your eight point two percent is down to four point one.
Tony: 12:18 If you’re out 20 days in 20 years, just 20 days one day out of the year and it’s one of the top trading days, then your return goes to two point one percent and if you’re out 30 days in 20 years, just 30 days out of all those years, all those days, and in those 20 years you got zero return for your money. And so if a person puts their money in and yeah, but what if I put my money in tomorrow and it’s the worst day, what if I put it in an hour later, the stock market crashes and loses 50 percent? Well, a JP Morgan did a study and they showed if you have the perfect timing like you got in the market right at the end of the crash on the day it started to lift, you got in then and he put 2000 bucks a year for 20 years. And your timing was that if you were, and the worst day of the market you got in an hour before the crash, paid the highest prices for everything, and then you know, only put two grand in a year from then and just kept investing.
Tony: 13:11 Where were you? The difference was $10,000 over 20 years. It’s not even noticeable. But if you had your money in cash, it was worth nothing. It was one of $40,000. So got to get in the game. You can’t afford to try and pick the timing. You’re never going to pick it right. And by the way, 10, six of the 10 best trading days in the last 20 years were within 10 days of six of the 10 biggest drops, which is when most people don’t want to get in the market because they’re fearful when things drop, that is your greatest opportunity. When you read Unshakeable and all those listening, I hope they’ll pick it up for themselves and also feed 50 people because I’m donating a hundred percent of the profits. But when you read this book, you’re gonna know exactly what to do. You’re going to know how to build it as a millennial. You have an advantage over everybody because you have the greatest gift, which is time.
Grant: 13:56 Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree with you more. I started investing in 2010 and I’ve been very fortunate and, and, and shared the same strategy with my readers as well. A lot of people make the mistake that they think that, oh, if the stock market drops, that means I lost 30 percent of my money, but your loss is only realized when you actually sell. And I just repeat that over and over to people. Um, and like a lot of things in life, the more experience you have and you know, it can be uncomfortable for a little while, but the more experience you have, the easier it is to, you know, weather you know the noise and the downturns and you’re absolutely right a lot of people just stay on the sidelines and especially right now in and a lot of cases, a correction would be the best thing ever for investors because we can get, get some values again,
Tony: 14:45 You’re absolutely right. I’m dying for a correction, but meanwhile I’m not going to assume that it’s going to happen tomorrow, the next day because it could happen tomorrow or the next day. It cannot happen. Significant one for I’m sure we’ll have some correction, but probably not a significant one for 24 months, 36 months. If you listened to Dalios and listen to people of that nature, but they also acknowledged, no one knows there could be a, you know, an event internationally. They could spark this. There’s so many things that could spark a correction or a bear, but right now our fundamentals look very strong. I just interviewed Ray Dalio yesterday, arguably one of the greatest investors in history, they call him the Steve Jobs of investing. You know, he was saying that no one knows for sure, but he’s put out a study of cycles and all the debt cycles and he made great money in 2008 when everybody else was getting handed their lunch. He’s done that multiple times throughout his life. That’s why he’s known as who he is, but he believes that we’ve got probably 24 to 36 months before we have a significant correction, we will probably have small ones. But again, nobody knows for sure, but when it happens, I want your leaders to be able to take advantage of it. That’s what this book is about.
Grant: 15:46 Yeah. There’s so many better things to do with your time and then to watch the stock market go up and down on your phone, on your phone. And so we embed money, you know, with so many emotions and fears and how can people get past that fear of investing, uh, get comfortable with it and really start to control money instead of letting it control them?
Tony: 16:08 I figured, you know, fear is usually based on a lack of knowledge. Fear is based on too many unknowns, right? We all hate uncertainty where all hate not being sure what it’s going to be. And so for most people look at the stock market, you have no control. You know, it could, it could go down tomorrow. I could be in big trouble, but they buy real estate and they go, this’ll be wonderful forever, and the only difference is real estate it’s harder to liquidate, so it takes longer to do because we remember back in 2008 when real estate took some significant hits as well. So what I tell people is it’s like anything, if you’re going to master it, you need to immerse yourself. You need to just decide that I’m going to master this and don’t let the words get in your way. You know, in the medical profession, most people don’t know that 125,000 people die a year of iategenic causes.
Tony: 16:49 Because if you and I hear iategenic, we don’t know what that is. Is that something special? Tropical Disease? No. It means doctor or physician induced, right? Somebody made a mistake. It’s the third biggest cause of people. Well, why don’t we call it iategenic? Why don’t we just say doctor or nurse induced medically induced disease? Well, because that doesn;t sound very good. So we use these complex words. Well, in the financial world, they use all these complex words, fiduciary, which people don’t know what the hell that is. It’s one of the most important words to know. Somebody legally has to take care of you. If they tell you to buy Apple and you buy it in the morning and it’s cheaper than the afternoon, they have to give you their stock. But you know, only 10 percent of all financial consultants that are professionals, most of them are brokers.
Tony: 17:30 Only 10 percent are registered investment advisors are fiduciaries. But the words get in the way. So one of the reasons I wrote these two books, I wrote money master the game, six different, 75 pages. And it’s so that anybody, my billionaire clients could read that, you know, like Steve Forbes said, if there was a pulitzer prize for, you know, a financial, this would hands down. So I wanted my billionaires to read it and go, wow. And I wanted a millennial just starting to go, wow, I wrote this book because anybody looks at 670 page book and goes, hmm, I don’t know if I want to do that. And I wrote this so you could read it in a weekend and know exactly what to do and that’s really what this is about. Getting a financial playbook and helping you understand so you’ll, you’ll know things by the end of the weekend reading this book that even many sophisticated investors don’t know. More importantly, that knowledge is power because it’s not gonna harm you. You’re going to be able to move to a different direction. You’re going to be able to take advantage of the places where most people are being taken advantage of.
Grant: 18:25 One of the things I liked that money master the game as well as unshakeable is a, you can really feel that you care about the reader, you know, not only are you pulling the veil back on some of these practices that, you know, a lot of us don’t see and don’t know, uh, you know, that they’re happening or that, you know, a lot of the finance industry is working against us in some cases. But there’s a level of encouragement and motivation and togetherness that I really enjoyed in the book. In all all of your work, I can tell that there’s. There’s a lot of love for your audience. I mean you’ve written now. Gosh, together with the two books, you know what? 800, 900 plus pages about money. You’re right. Writing is such a solitary act. I mean you’re, you’re just meeting with all these experts. I mean you, you know so much about it. How has your view of money really changed over your life?
Tony: 19:17 Well, it’s interesting. It’s a really good question. I would say when I was really young, I thought money would be the answer because I grew up so poor. We had no money for food. I mean one of the reasons I feed 100 million people a year, it’s because I was starving at one stage, it’s not I’m such a great person. It’s just I don’t want anybody to suffer because I’ve suffered. Right? So I want to make a difference in that area. So. But I think at the beginning I thought, you know, I had four fathers and my mom always complained about we didn’t have money for this and didn’t have money for food. And so I thought, you know, as a young kid, I thought if you have lots of money then everybody be happy. And then I made a lot of money as a young young man, like, you know, 17 to 23, I mean a lot of money by most people standards.
Tony: 19:53 And I was like, you know, my friends, I was like, hey, let’s go fly to Egypt and race camels between the pyramids. I had all these dreams as a little boy and it’d be like, easy for you. Can I be like, no, no, no, I’ll take us. It’s like, yeah, easy for you. And then we’re like, all of a sudden there was this resentment that I had money. Like, like somehow I was evil or something. And so I got rid of all the money. I unconsciously, it wasn’t conscious. I started sabotaging myself until I lost everything financially. And then I noticed everybody loved me again. I was like, you’re a great. And then I thought this is bullshit. If I can be smarter, should I be? And the answer’s yes. If I could be more giving, should I be the answer’s yes. If I can be more creative.
Tony: 20:31 Should I be? The answer is yes. If I could add more value in the business to my clients, should I answer yes? If I could make more money, should I? Why would the answer not be yes? If you’re gonna, grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally. This is just a game our culture has created and the reason it becomes so complex. One the system wants to make it complex because they make money off you off of not knowing, by giving up and saying you do it. Even though they’re not effective. I mean 96 percent of all mutual funds that you are going to see fail to match the market and you’re paying a premium for this and if you don’t like so I’m going to find the right mutual fund. Well, it’s like saying I’m going to play blackjack and someone gives you two face cards worth 20 and you’re playing to 21.
Tony: 21:11 You can’t go over your bust and you go hit me baby. You have an eight percent chance of getting an ace when you got to two cards there, you know, two tens and you’ve got a four percent chance of finding the right mutual fund. So they make it complex. They use language that makes it complex, and then the other thing makes it complex is we get so much emotion involved. What I’m trying to do with this book is change that. Show you how to make money fun, how to make it a game and how to win that game.
Grant: 21:37 I think not enough people talk about that spiritual side of money and really at it’s core, money only matters if it helps you live a life that you love and I wish that people started with the question of what kind of life do you want to live? And then followed with, okay, here’s how much money you need or here’s the relationship with money that you can have. And I think one of the most transformative things is that I’ve seen is when people start to look at how they spend, when they realize that they can make money in their sleep through investing, it becomes incredibly empowering and that actually has positive impacts, actually transformative impact in other areas of their life as well. Is that what you see in your work too?
Tony: 22:20 Absolutely. And I what I see as when you master one area of your life that it filters into many others. And when you don’t master an area, it affects everything else. You know, master money and a picture of relationships. It affects the way you feel about yourself. But if that’s your health. So it’s like money isn’t everything, but it’s a really important thing to do. To master and I always tell people it doesn’t change people. It’s bullshit. It makes you more about you are, it’s just a magnifying tool. If you’re mean, you’re more to be mean with if you’re loving and giving you more to give. And we just got to remember that it’s not about money. Money is an energy, and what we could do is if you use that energy well, you can leverage things. You can help more people, you can change lives.
Tony: 22:55 You’re going to have a great quality of life for yourself and for your family, but if you don’t master this area life for whatever excuse you give, there’s no excuse. You know, you can say they didn’t teach you in school. Well, yeah, most things that are valuable you don’t learn in school when it’s really about today is saying, what is it that I want to get good at? And there’s a few subjects that matter. Your body, your energy, in other words, your emotions, your relationships, your spiritual side of your life, your career or owning a business, and then there’s money and there aren’t that many areas and if you just say, listen, I’m going to get good in these six or seven areas, then you’re going to have an extraordinary life. You’re gonna have life on your terms, but if you don’t, then you become a victim and it’s easy to be a victim today because everybody likes being a victim.
Tony: 23:34 It seems to be the standard way of approaching things for a lot of people, but being a victim is not going to make you proud of being a victim, will not make you financially free of being a victim, will not help you, help other people, your family, your friends, your community, or anything else. So I think that making money gets bigger when you have goals that are bigger than yourself. It was just about covering yourself and making money. It’s one thing. It’s like now like if you asked me one of my goals, I’m feeding a billion people. I’m already at 400 million. You know I’m providing a quarter of a million people a day with fresh water. I’m going to feed, I’m going to provide a million in India because kids die there of waterborne disease, I, I, you know, I’ve freed 1500 girls in the last three years of slavery.
Tony: 24:10 I even went out on some of these bus with them in these foreign countries and did it and we’ve trained other policemen in these countries. What to do to capture these bastards. And you know, there’s more people in slavery today than any other time I’m going to free 10,000, um, you know, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve put an x prize together because you know, the Internet is invaluable and can change the world for people. But you know, you have somebody in Africa has got access stuff that President Clinton didn’t have when I coached him as President of the United States. They got access to Harvard schools. They got access to markets. Like I had everything on their cell phone, but the Internet is worthless if you can’t read, write and do basic arithmetic and 250 million children on this planet. There’s no way we’re going to get enough teachers to do that.
Tony: 24:49 There are lost unless we teach them. And then in addition, you got one out of seven adults are illiterate. So I’m along with Elon Musk and myself and two other people. We put up a $15,000,000 prize at x prize and we have all these teams competing with ipads and tablets and taking on communities were in 18 months. The kids have to teach themselves to read, write and do basic arithmetic within 18 months with no teacher and we’re down to the five teams and the winning team gets 15 million bucks, but the code becomes open source for the whole world. So I’m doing that as well. Um, you know, I have a private jet. I’m, you know, I’m conscious that allows me to, you know, I just did what I do. I just did 15 cities in eight countries in six weeks. I went from Las Vegas and LA and all these places in the U.S, Washington DC to all the cities in Canada, Vancouver.
Tony: 25:34 Then went down to Brazil and Panama of him. One day I went from Orlando and one day Scotland, Italy the next, Russia with 26,000 people next Siberia the next day for an, you know, an AI i’m building and then 22 hours down to Australia for big events. So without jet with me, we’ll do all that. But I also know these are carbon footprint. So I figured out you don’t want to the group and said how much carbon footprint or album, how many trees need to plant so that, I mean consciously, they said 3000. I said, screw that. I’m planning 100 million trees that I planted 5 million this year, 5 million every year going forward, those things excite me 10 million times more than can I get another house? Can I get a nice car? And they always have. There’s just so much juice in something that’s more meaningful and if you can find something that you want to serve that’s greater than yourself, whether it’s your family or your kids or your community or humanity, you get different insights. You get a different energy, a different passion, and you master things faster and quicker because there’s a higher purpose. I really believe motive does matter.
Grant: 26:31 I absolutely agree with you. I mean, I spent took me five years and three months to become financially independent from broke. And to be honest though, the entire time it was money, money, money, money, money, escape, escape, escape. And one of the things that I couldn’t have ever imagined was that once I got those first few reader emails that said, Hey, you helped me save my first $5,000, you know, you’ve helped me get on the right path. Those emails actually filled me with a level of joy that I’d never experienced before. And I, and I, I would’ve never. I would’ve laughed if you told me that I would have a mission or be a mission driven person. But there’s been so much more joy in my own life and helping others, uh, that I ever could have imagined. And it’s still growing. And I, I agree with you, it’s like once you kind of turn that clock and realize that money kind of has diminishing returns for yourself, unless you can use it to impact others. And uh, you know, we all have that, that, that responsibility
Tony: 27:27 I think. I think, you know, when people say money doesn’t create happiness, they don’t know where to shop. If you shop for things, you’re right. It won’t create happiness because things you burn out on and very quickly. If you shop fo experiences, experiences like a vacation with your family, those things stay with us for years, sometimes decades, but the most valuable thing in science has proven this. It’s not just my philosophy because they can now measure the hormonal changes in your body minute to minute by what’s happening in your mouth. Literally the saliva in your mouth gives them that much information at this stage and what they found is buying, giving for someone else not for yourself gives you more joy for a lasting period than anything you could buy it from yourself and human experiences. So it’s like, you know, a woman buys coffee per three people in line behind her and Starbucks and you look at it and you say, wait a second, you know, this woman is still high as a kite three days later over this little act. It’s not the amount of money. It’s the fact that you operate from a place where there’s more than enough by giving something to those who don’t know.
Grant: 28:27 Yeah, there’s a level of sustained joy, uh, that you start to curate and cultivate in it. Um, you know, we live in a world where success is defined as more money and the next job promotion and you or the best instagram profile and I think, you know, unfortunately we live in kind of a more and more and more world and you know, it’s, it’s tough for, for our brains, it’s tough for people to keep up and I think so much of life when it comes to money is, is answering that somewhat paradoxical question of how much is enough and can you talk a little bit about how can someone, given that our brains are on overdrive, we live in this 24 seven, 365 world. How can we learn to define success for ourselves and find peace in our life with or without money?
Tony: 29:15 I think you got to realize that there is no relationship between money and happiness and there’s no relationship between problems and happiness. You’re going to have huge problems and be totally happy. There are people lost their legs, their arms, their loved ones, and they’re happy. And there are people that are pissed off every day because they didn’t put enough secret sauce on Moby Jack or where the hell it is, said they bought, you know, so there’s no relationship and the research on money shows that once you get past approximately $70,000, there’s very little change in your experience of the quality of life beyond that. Now there I found there are certainly jumps in certain numbers that are available, but none of that matters if you’re wired for unhappiness. You know, if you got a billion dollars and everyone has what I call an emotional home. A set of emotions that we come back to.
Tony: 29:57 Some people I’m sure you know, that are always worried about something. They, if they’re not worried about things in their own life, they worry about the economy. They worry about other people. Some people that are emotional home is anger. They’re pissed off all the time. They always find things to be pissed off about if not in their own life and society. There are people out there that are not really funny, but they think they are and they crack themselves up and you might find yourself laughing too. So we all have an emotional home where we go back to and most people are, they have a highway to stress and they got a dirt road to happiness. Money won’t change that. The only way you can have that peace and joy that you’re talking about is not so much that it’s. It’s enough.
Tony: 30:32 It’s about making sure that every day you find those things to appreciate. Because you know, I asked Sir John Templeton, one of the first international investors, one of the first international investors, I shouldn’t say, became a billionaire after starting with nothing. I said, what does it take to be wealthy? And he said, you teach it. And I said, oh, that’s good. What is it? I teach? And he said, gratitude. He said, Tony if you’ve got a billion dollars and you’re not grateful, you’re poor as hell. But if you’ve got even a small amount of money or no money and you’re grateful for your heart, for your lungs, for your family, for God for your creation, for life. He goes, you’re rich. And he said. So I think gratitude is the more important element to wealth than any other one because there are lots of people, a lot of money, but they’re not wealthy. Wealth is mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and financial. And so when I’m talking about wealth, I certainly include money as part of that process, but I think we really have to expand our understanding what it is and really go for what’s gonna make us feel most fulfilled and give us more to deliver for those we love.
Grant: 31:28 I absolutely agree with you. I think it’s definitely much more holistic. And when it comes to financial freedom, you know, I just, I love that phrase, simply because financial freedom means so many different things to so many people. And it’s also one of the things I’ve found in my own life and in my, my readers’ lives and my audiences that, you know, you don’t have to have millions of dollars to feel free, you know, for the person who’s living paycheck to paycheck, simply having a few months of expenses so they can sleep better at night is a level of freedom. You know, having a year of expenses saved and you can get so many benefits, uh, and security that money can provide without having millions and millions of dollars. And that’s what I love about your book because it’s a very practical path to accelerate that process. I think a lot of the personal finance industry is built around scarcity. It’s about cutting back, cut back, cut, back, cut back. But that scarcity mindset, I think that turns so many people away. It’s like budgeting is actually the biggest barrier to people managing their finances. You know, there’s, there’s a limit to how much you can save. There’s not a limit to how much you can make a try. And I, I love that. You know, you’re, you’re extremely kind of bullish on people, you know, in the book.
Tony: 32:42 I want people to know that there are anyone can find a way to make more money if you just get obsessed with adding value, find somebody you want to serve some group of people who want to serve and do more from them than anybody else in the marketplace. If you structure things right you’re going to do well, but even in business, even people that make millions of dollars, you know, most people think, oh, if I can just earn enough, but how many athletes have you seen that made you know, ridiculous sums of money? 50 million. 100 million, a billion dollars. You know, Mike Tyson made a half a billion dollars and went bankrupt. I can, I can name 10, Fifty Cent. That’s all he’s worth now. He was worth $200,000,000, a million dollars, but he went out and spent like crazy. In fact, turning do manage those numbers. You’re never going to earn your way to a fortune.
Tony: 33:26 You can get to that fortune so easily as a millennial if you just understand compounding, right? You know, I mean like for example I gave, I just don’t want anybody to hear it in case you haven’t heard of before. If you just take like a 19 year old kid, right? And say, well, save 300 bucks a month and just put aside this investment account and don’t touch it will show you what to do with it. Just put this aside and let’s put it in an index, you know the index has produced over the last 20 years at 10 percent return, but say the last 20 years at eight percent return, eight point two to be exact. Well great get eight percent compounded on your money and all you do is you save 300 bucks a month and also I was like a lot, but you don’t have a lot of expenses at this stage from the time they’re 19 to your 27, just eight years.
Tony: 34:09 Now what? Stop investing. If you want to, you’ll have $1,800,000 at age 65. Boom. If you look at how much did you actually put in? Eight years at 300 bucks a month? You know its what, about $28,000, right? That’s it. $28,000 worth $1,800,000. That’s the power of compounding. Now, if you have a friend that catches on slower watches, you do this and wait until they’re 27 and he put 300 bucks aside and they do 300 bucks aside from 27 all the way to 65 and they now they have 40 years of investing, not eight years. They put in 140 grand, not 28 grand and they still have $400,000 less money than you do. That’s the power of every millennial listening to this has. If you’ll just get started, you don’t need a lot of money. In fact, there’s a great study. People tell me all the time, I don’t know if the money well, but you know, one of the best examples I know is a gentleman that worked for UPS.
Tony: 35:01 True story and this gentleman Theadore Johnson is his name. He never made more than 14 grand a year, but he retired with $70,000,000 and gave away 35 million while he was alive and how the hell that happened? A friend of his came along and said, you’re going to everything. I teach people. You got to start it. I know it’s boring, but the most important financial decision of your life is to become an owner, to not just be a common consumer of all this shit. You own Apple. Don’t just own an Apple phone and don’t just own Apple own a diversified portfolio. Some of the best companies in the world become an owner, become a capitalist. That’s how you get to be wealthy in the longterm, but in order to do that, you got to take a percentage and say, this part I’m setting aside and I’m not gonna, touch it.
Tony: 35:44 Well, Theadore Johnson had a buddy that said, we’re going to put aside 20 percent of your money. He’s only making 14 grand a year. He goes, I cannot do that, I can’t survive. He said, listen to me. If the government came by and said, there’s a 20 percent tax on you, you’d say, I hate it. I can’t pay it. I don’t. I don’t have it, and you pay it because you’d have to and after awhile you adjust to it. He said, this is a tax for you. That’s gonna make you wealthy. And that’s all they did. They took 20 percent of money put into a stock fund is with $70 million dollars in his retirement. So anyone, a millennial especially that starts now with a small amount of money and is just consistent can do it.
Tony: 36:16 I’ll tell you one more thing because they have no money to do this. When I teach people in business, same thing. It’s a tax, take it off the top, but if you don’t even own your business, you know, you’re just like, how do I do this? Well, there’s a group in the Midwest and he came up with this concept, these financial advisors experts, psychological experts, and they came up with this idea that people are good at dieting tomorrow, they’re good at saving tomorrow. They’re not good at saving today. So he came to this concept called save more tomorrow. They said, here’s what you do. Take three percent of the money you have right now. Anybody can take three percent. You’re never going to miss it. Automate it. So you’ve got a savings account, but then next, every time you get a bonus, every you get an increase in pay, set aside three percent more and put it in that fund, well, they found within 15 years the average person had saved 15 percent of their income by doing this and 65 percent of people were saving 19 percent.
Tony: 37:09 At those numbers anybody can get rich. Anybody can get wealthy when you save that much and you reinvest it. So I just want the millennials listening. You know, this is your ticket. You may be in tough financial shape right now. It may look impossible. The numbers of debt and so forth might seem unreasonable to you, but I’m here to tell you, you don’t understand compounding. If you’ll get in the game and you’ll stay in the game, you’re going to win because you’re not. Like Warren Buffet says, you don’t want to bet against the American economy. You’ve got almost three centuries of constant growth. We have corrections, we’ve had wars, we’ve had economic corrections, but none of them have lasted every single bear market has become a bull market in the entire history of America.
Grant: 37:47 Yeah. One of the things I recommend is the one percent savings strategy. Just increasing your savings rate one percent every month and you don’t miss it. You don’t feel it. And actually some of my readers have done this and after three years they’re saving over 40 percent of thier income. They never even missed it. And if you can get to that 40 or 50 percent savings rate, you’ve literally cut your time to retirement more than in half. Yeah, some of my readers have been trying that strategy and you know, when you start to think of instead of $5 at 25, that $5 is worth $50 you know at 60. I think. I, I think the financial services industry, I have two more quick questions. I think the financial services industry, it sells a level of precision that’s unrealistic. You know, how can I even begin to save for when I’m 65 when, who I was at 28, three years ago is different than I am today?
Grant: 38:42 And I think a lot of people, uh, you know, are afraid in so many areas of their life to kind of let themselves grow and to kind of invest in their, in their future because you don’t know who you’re going to be. You don’t know what opportunities are going to happen. And um, if, if someone hears this and they’re really feeling stuck in their life and they’re like, I just feel so stressed today, I can’t even begin to think about tomorrow or who I’ll be tomorrow. What are a few simple steps that they can take to get unstuck in their life and get on the right financial path?
Tony: 39:12 I’ll give you five quick steps because this is what I did to myself. You know, my, my father was a very intense guy. My mother was even more intense. And so one Christmas Eve, she kicked him out and then she thought, he went back to Chicago. And then when she thought he was on my, I was on his side, she kicked me out to chase me out with a knife and I knew she wasn’t going to hurt me, but I wasn’t going back in that house. And so, you know, I looked back and said, what do I gotta do? And I felt totally depressed and I’m in that depressed state, you can’t do shit. And so when I realized as I got to feed my mind every day, because if I don’t feed it, weeds grow automatically. Problems are always there. And if you don’t stand guard at the door of your mind, you’re in trouble.
Tony: 39:49 So my original teacher was a man named Jim Rohn and he used to say leaders are readers and he said, Tony, you know, miss a meal but don’t miss reading at least 30 minutes a day. And he was not some blog posts, not some click bait, but an actual book that you picked up because it’s got strategies or tools or insights or philosophies that can help increase the quality of your life or the people that you know. And so I started reading like that, and then I started reading biographies, which taught me that I might that as bad as my life was, you know some of the most successful people in the world had a life as bad or worse than I did in their childhood. So it inspired me, it showed me what was possible. But then I started listening to audio is because you know, I got into what I call net time.
Tony: 40:28 No extra time. I can listen to the audio while I’m driving my car, I can listen to the audio law. I’m working out and so I’d feed my mind. The second thing you’ve got to do every day is you got to feed and strengthen your body. What do I mean by that? Is you got to push your body. Cause fear is what stops people. And fear is physical. You can feel it in your body, it’s in your throat, it’s in your gut. But courage is also physical. And courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. If you’re not afraid, there is no courage and courage is you’re scared shitless, but you do it anyway. You find the drive to push through your fear. And so that encourages physical and I go on a run really intensely intense weights, anything of that nature and all the blood explodes through my body and their sense of certainty returns to you so the mind and body are tied together.
Tony: 41:10 So every day you got to do something, even if it’s 15 minutes, it just pushes you to get stronger physically. And that’ll make you stronger mentally and emotionally. You are feeding your mind every day you’re going to get stronger. And now the little shit which seemed like big shit will just bounce off of you. And then the third thing you need is a great role model. And, and I recommend multiple role models. So nobody’s perfect. You know, some people are really great with money and they’re terrible with their kids. They’re not my role model and how to raise my family. But they might be a good role model of how to invest, you know, same, similar thing. You might find somebody that just, they’re terrible, you know, in their business, but damn near the most beautiful relationship with their wife or husband.
Tony: 41:44 Model that part. So I think model somebody that’s out there. So for me Sir John Templeton was a role model because I saw this guy who was grew up in nothing, just like I did and he became a billionaire and he did it during the worst economic times when everybody else was scared, he saw opportunity. And so, you know, he became a role model for me. And then fourth, you need to take massive action. You know, a lot of people wait until they know everything they can know to began. That’s the wrong thing to do. You’ve got to get in the game, you’re going to have learned some things by trial and error and you got to do that. And then finally, fifth, get obsessed with adding value. Get obsessed with doing more for others than anybody else is doing. If you focus on giving, you’re not going to have to worry about getting because you know it’s impossible to give and give and give them millions of people or tens of thousands or 10 or two or anyone and not feel a benefit come back your way because there’s an aliveness that comes when you do that,
Tony: 42:30 So I would say if you’re feeling stuck, you need to train your mind, feed it, you need to train your body intensely, feed it, strengthen it. You need to get a great role model so it gives you a pathway to get there. You need to get your ass in gear and take some action and it doesn’t work just to keep changing your approach and model somebody, get you there quicker and then focus on giving because if you focus on giving in the midst of your problems, there’s always somebody worse off and if you’re going to help them, you won’t have a problem anymore. I often used to bring this group of people to my seminars in the evenings of the fourth night of a six day seminar and I called the night, you have no problems and I brought people up who’s entire bodies had been burned off. People that are blinded and people that lost limbs and we’re so damn happy compared to, you know, most people bitching that they’re jumping Jack didn’t have enough special sauce in it, right, so it’s a very different approach.
Grant: 43:16 Yeah. I often feel that people who have had those big life challenges or who have disabilities, I just sat on the train here in New York City and talked to a blind woman, a all the way from 4th street up to 103rd, and she was super interesting, super joyful, and I think a lot of those people, you know, because they are limited they learn to appreciate and love life at a level that is incredibly admirable. I have one last question. What does financial freedom mean to you?
Tony: 43:45 It means doing what you want, when you want, wherever you want, with whomever you want, as much as you want, and having resources to be able to touch people’s lives. Even when you’re asleep. It means freedom. It means stability. It means opportunity. It means the opportunity to be able to give in ways that are really unique, but it’ll never replace human emotion. It will never replace joy or love or gratitude because you know, money without those things is pretty much worthless. To me. It’s a vehicle that allows me to have the power to leverage. I’m able to reach people around the world, reach people I don’t even know in India and provide fresh water for them because I have this resource called money. I could do it with my time too, but that my time has, there’s a limit to my time. There’s not a limit to the money and especially if I keep adding value and growing.
Grant: 44:29 Hey Tony, I want to thank you for taking time and for being such an inspiration to me on my own journey. I read Wwaken The Giant Within when I was 21. Just the compounding impact of your work in my generation and for generations to come is just incredible. It’s something I strive for and I man just thanks for all the love and all the wisdom and all the insights and really appreciate you taking the time to write this book and, you know, tell the truth and share what works for everyone so they can get their, uh, their financial house in order. So thanks Tony.
Tony: 45:04 Well, you’re very kind. I really congratulate you on the work you’re doing and I know you’re driven by the same force. I can hear it in your voice and even though I don’t see you in person, I can see the work that you’ve done. And I think we’re brothers on the same path of trying to contribute as much as we can. And I think if you continue down that path as you already have, you’ve already proven, you know, it’s not. I always tell people you don’t know who I am by how my lips move, watch how my feet have moved for 41 years, you know who I am. You can’t fake that. And I can see by your path, you’re very clearly driven to contribute in a meaningful way. And that’s why I wanted to do this podcast with you. So thanks for having me on.
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