As wisdom tells us, relationships are one of the most important things in our lives.
Almost immediately, we think of the most important people in our lives, both personally and professionally.
But there are other relationships that are just as critical. Among them:
- Your relationship with yourself
- Your relationship with food
- Your relationship with money
I've seen firsthand how the money relationship can change your life.
My "unconventional" relationship with money has allowed me to do some pretty unconventional things like:
- Create a summer camp in college
- Leave behind six-figure compensation in Corporate America at 25
- Start a company where I get to do what I love every day
- Be comfortable not paying myself for the first 1+ year in business
I owe my relationship with money to three main experiences:
1. The Moheban Masters Game
When I was in high school, my dad created a money game called "Moheban Masters" for my brothers and me.
Each month, we earned a pretty big salary for a teenager, but after the expenses we owed him (rent, food, water, laundry, etc.), it ended up not being much at all. The first time, he actually handed us our full salary in cash, and then made us hand him back the money for expenses line-by-line.
This early understanding of income and expenses demystified a lot of the knowledge and skills most kids don't learn until they're living on their own.
2. Creating a personal budget
Right before starting my banking job after graduation, I sat down with my uncle to develop a monthly, line-by-line budget.
Money podcasts, courses and other tools are definitely helpful, but the benefits and lessons I've learned from reading personal finance books have outdone the other methods. Authors have no time limit on how much they can say which allows them to dive deep and simplify complex concepts.
When I sat down and thought about it, there are 4 books deeply impacted my relationship with money.
4 books that changed the way I think about money
This is one of the most comprehensive guides out there (600+ pages) on personal finance and easily one of my favorite books of all time.
Tony provides transformational guidance on how to use money not as the ultimate goal, but as a tool to create the life of your dreams. This is also where I first got deep into subjects like asymmetric risk-reward, alternative investments, and debunking the 9 most common money myths.
But the best part of the book is the interviews. Tony includes detailed conversations he had with some of the most legendary financial professionals of all time, including Charles Schwab, Carl Icahn, Ray Dalio and Paul Tudor Jones.
If 600+ pages is overwhelming, Tony also published a cliff notes version called Unshakeable.
"For some of us, money is vital and crucial but not paramount. Its simply a tool, a source of power used in service of others and a life well lived. Others are consumed with such a hunger for money that it destroys them and everyone around them. Some are even willing to give up things that are far more valuable to get it: their health, their time, their family, their self-worth, and, in some cases, even their integrity."
One of my friends described James Altucher as "the most vulnerable human being of all time". He is brutally honest about his failures and insecurities, but this is what allows him to be such a unique and powerful writer.
This book is all about rewiring the way you think about making money in the 21st century. Most of his advice includes some component that is the opposite of conventional financial wisdom, including chapters like "Why you have to quit your job this year" and "Stop paying your debts". He also shares crazy stories of how he became a millionaire, then lost it all.
Even as a current homeowner, this book made me question whether I ever want to own real estate again...
"What else do you owe? Credit card debt? Screw it... You never had to pay that back. Don't get a credit card ever again".
Ramit is one of my favorite all-time people to read, watch and listen to- especially on the topic of money. So when I finally bought his book, I wasn't surprised that it was outstanding.
What was so powerful about this book for me was simplicity. Ramit provides a step-by-step roadmap to automate your finances so that you can reduce your anxiety around budgeting, spending, saving, investing and living.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich includes a six-week program to financial control, word-for-word negotiating scripts, and a playbook with actual percentages of what you should invest and can comfortably spend each month.
"Do you need to be the Iron Chef to cook a grilled-cheese sandwich? No... The single most important factor to getting rich is getting started, not being the smartest person in the room."
This is my favorite book of all time.
In addition to his amazing strategies on entrepreneurship, retirement and productivity, Tim introduced me to two money concepts that completely changed how I valued money.
Absolute vs. Relative Income and The Freedom Multiplier were two of the main reasons I left my banking job to become an entrepreneur.
My only regret with this book was that I didn't read it sooner.
"$1,000,000 in the bank isn't the fantasy. The fantasy is the life of complete freedom it supposedly allows. The question is then, How can one achieve the millionaire lifestyle of complete freedom without first having $1,000,000?"
Just buy it
You never know. The next book might transform one of your most important relationships.
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