29 June 2019


What is your price?

I have recently been on a personal endeavour to understand my relationship with money better, which is not groundbreaking in any sense of the imagination really. Especially as a young person just starting out a career and a foray into the "real world".

Money has never really been a topic for me to think deeply about in the past, mainly because I didn't have to I suppose. I worked a few jobs through high school and university, and had a supportive family so I always had enough to get by. Sure, I wasn't flying private or wearing expensive watches or had a closet devoid of socks with holes in them, but I had enough and things were alright.

In this personal endeavour, I resorted to one of my ever reliable and ever present teachers: books. And I figured there would be no better way to start than 'Money: Master the Game' written by the one and only Tony Robbins. I may not have known much about money then when I started (and am still figuring out my own journey now) but I at least had a couple of guidelines that helped me decide what resources to seek out.

First, my focus was to learn about principles and mindset because I believed these were to be the core foundations that tools, tactics and strategy will be built upon later on. There's no point opening an account on CommSec to trade on the market straight out the gate. I needed to understand the why. Second, the title of Robbins' book caught my attention straight up. Really? Money is actually a game? What does that even mean?

So, I then dove right into the 650+ pages.

“Who really wants to be crunching numbers and answering difficult questions at 8pm on a weekday?”

Now the caveat: the tricky thing with books, especially on a topic like money or even with advice in general is that timing and circumstance matters. A LOT. What worked for me from reading this book, at this very particular time in my life, and what I gained from it may not result in the same experiences for you - but I hope that as I make sense of these things for myself that there might be something in it for you reading this as well. Or maybe not, and that's okay with me as well.

. . .

I really enjoyed the book and went through it methodically, as if I were given a textbook to study and digest fully. I only read it when my mind was not too busy, typically on a quiet evening during the working week, and even had an open notebook completely dedicated to capturing quotes and any thoughts that prop up.

Tony Robbins definitely does go into the mindset and principles that revolve around the complexity of 'money', which is what I was looking for, and later in the book goes into specific tools and tactics that people can apply - which are great as well. After all, "Execution trumps knowledge" as Robbins' details in the book.

One of my key takeaways from the read were the activities around visualising what financial 'success' would actually look like, specifically to me as an individual. He lays it out in a few stages, starting out with Financial Security then Vitality, Independence and lastly Freedom. The first stage involves detailing how much money would you need to be financial secure, where all of your basic needs are met. Food, shelter and other basic necessities. Then as the stages progress, the goals become more expansive and so do the numbers.

"Okay, so what? Who cares? Why do I even need to do this?", you might be thinking. So did I. Who really wants to be crunching numbers and answering difficult questions at 8pm on a weekday? But, I persevered, and eventually I found myself progressing through each of the stages and ended up with numbers on a piece of paper detailing each of these levels of 'financial success' - what they actually look like for me, my current life and the life I envision for myself in the future.

And it was a complete paradigm shift, looking at the numbers on that piece of paper vs. the blurry, half baked vision of 'financial success' that I have always had at the back of my mind.

To help make more sense of this: think about winning the lottery and what $80 million cold, hard cash would mean to you and your life. $80 million sounds awesome, doesn't it? The world would be yours for the taking! You could buy houses, cars, clothes, holidays and anything and everything you could ever want!

It turns out that, for me, this stratospheric and almost mentally incomprehensible level of financial success doesn't necesssarily have to involve having access to $80 million. In reality, to reach those heights and to have all that I would ever want, I would need way, way less.

And it was this clarity that was incredibly empowering: to realise that instead of waiting around and wishing for an impossible miracle of $80 million to land in my lap, there are things that I could work on within this lifetime that could get me to a place where I could have all the money I could ever want and need - and it would end up being a tiny fraction of the $80 million in the first place!

Why do we arbitrarily and automatically envision $1,000,000 (or more) when we think about financial success? Is it for the number of zeroes? Why do we need that much money? What would we even do with all of that? All that potential (and responsibility) would probably be better off in the hands of a Scott Harrison of Charity: Water or Bill Gates who's funding an army against poverty.

"Lots of money" does not have to arbitrarily be the goal of this thing we are in, otherwise known as Life. Think about what does 'having enough' mean to you? Then consider, on the other end of the spectrum, what does 'having all that you could ever want and more' look like? Go high level, then come up with rough estimates and get them on paper. It does not have to be perfect.

Is it $50,000? Is it $500,000? Is it $5,000,000? 2 international trips a year? A roof over your head to call home? Annual donations to a foundation?

There is power in having that clarity.

Because it puts you in the drivers seat of your money and ultimately your life. Then, you can start making conscious decisions about what and where you would like to head towards as opposed to wandering aimlessly in the fog searching for that mythical and ever elusive pile of money.

“Money can't change who we are. All it does is magnify our true natures.
If you're mean and selfish, you have more to be mean and selfish with.
If you're grateful, you have more to appreciate and give.”
- Tony Robbins