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Nov. 10, 2021

How to Build a Healthy Relationship with Money | Aaron West

How to Build a Healthy Relationship with Money | Aaron West

Before you build serious Financial Wealth - You need serious Financial Health.
Today's Guest is Aaron West - owner of "The West Experience" Real Estate Group in Modesto California. Aaron has over 20 years of experience in real estate and wealth creation, closing 120 million + in sales with his team and building a large investment portfolio himself in the meantime.

Aaron realized years ago that no matter how much more he EARNED, he still couldn't SAVE money - so something needed to change with his relationship and psychology towards money before the wealth could come. Today's show highlights the actions he took and mindsets changed to accomplish this goal.

Today's topics:

  • Ownership vs Stewardship
  • Advice for Savers (How to Invest)
  • Advice for Spenders (How to Control)
  • How to Reframe Money Psychologically
  • How to increase relationship health to truly build wealth

https://www.thewestexperience.com/
@brianluebben
@theaaron.west



Transcript
Unknown:

Welcome to the action Academy podcast. Stand back while I celebrate freedom, the show where we help you achieve financial independence with the mindset methods and actionable steps from guests who've already earned their freedom, the freedom to choose to do what you want, what you want with who you want with who you want, when you want when you want with another episode today. Now, here's your host, Brian Luebben. What's up everyone, and welcome back to another episode of the action Academy podcast, helping you get the mindsets methods and actionable steps from guests who have earned their freedom. Today, I've got a question for you. And that is how does your relationship with money look? Are you a saver saving every single dollar but you find it hard to reward yourself and be able to treat yourself whenever things go right or whenever there's a celebration? Or do you identify as a spender to where no matter how much more you earn, you just cannot seem to save money. Both are unhealthy sides of the coin. And our guest today talks about different strategies and different tactics to be able to get closer to the middle ground for each different archetype and how you can really really get your relationship with money right to be able to acquire and amass true wealth. Because unless your relationship with money is airtight, it's not going to happen. Today's guest is Aaron West owner of the West experienced real estate group based in Modesto, California. He's been in the real estate and investing industry for 20 years with over $120 million of real estate closed in his business and in his team. Aaron is a multifamily real estate investors single family investor, and also has many other areas and asset classes that he dives and dabbles in. And he is going to be a really, really good resource for this conversation in this topic today. He's absolutely an expert. And I come out the gate with him with some very, very actionable steps that you can take today to better your relationship with money. And also stick around for the story at the very end where he talks about his quote unquote $50,000 t shirt lesson. That is definitely an experience that hopefully some of us can avoid. So sit tight. Take some notes, and I hope you enjoy today's episode, leave us a rating and review. And let's get to it. Mr. Aaron, West, what is going on, buddy? How are you my friend, it is so cool to be able to have you on here. I really am excited. Because today we're going to specifically talk about the stewardship of money, and how we can actually use that in our day to day lives and change our entire relationship with money. So before we begin that, can you kind of give a background about what you do in your day to day and kind of what your team is involved in in California before we get into the specific topic? Yeah, so you know, I I've been in real estate since 2005 built a built a team over the course of the last couple of years and and really I'm now just involved in the day to day running of the team. I don't sell real estate anymore. I am just pouring myself into the members of my team and helping them be successful buy which you know, everybody wins and and adds to the success of my business and myself and then I'm an investor as well. So I own a number of single families and then some commercial and then some multifamily as well. Okay, awesome. So for everyone listening, Aaron's really good friend of mine, I heard him talk about this. And I was just telling him before the show, I think it was the title of the talk was relationship with money. And I was like, okay, Aaron's gonna tell me to invest in in, in real estate in an index fund. I'm not entirely sure what this show is about as I but it's Aaron freakin West. I'm going to listen and I'm getting my notepad out because I'm going to take friggin notes. And so nobody talks about money. Families don't talk about money. Friends don't talk about money. Aaron, why do you think that is? You know, I think a lot of it has to do with our relationship with money and the fact that for most of us, it's actually a relationship we have an emotional attachment to it or a fear of it, depending on where we fall in that that spectrum of you know, are we a spender Are we a saver, you know, both of those come from a place of fear and understanding what that looks like. And, and then also the other reason is, is because I think I think that when people talk about money, their fear is, is that you're either less than or greater than me, depending on where you are financially. And not understanding that I think if it's if it's talked about in a healthy way, it opens up this whole opportunity for you to help me if if you're ahead of me financially, or vice versa, me to help you, it also allows you to just take off another layer of that mask, you know, I love talking about money. And it's not because of, of who I am or how I feel about it, it's because I love the opportunities that it presents itself when you start having these conversations, to take a layer out of someone's off of that, that mask that we all aware and, and just see how starving people are to talk about it. I agree. And it's it's a tough mask to peel off, because it's a very, very generationally based mask, though a lot of it is really deeply rooted within how we were raised our entire upbringing from when we were children moving forward, our parents, like they don't want to talk about it. It's completely taboo. And now I feel like the only people that you see talking about money are two people. And that is going to be your online gurus that are talking about, hey, come to my paid online course and the Instagram and Tik Tok ads, and they're like, Come, I'll show you how to flip all these cars to make millions of dollars. I'll make you a millionaire on my Forex account. So that's the negative connotation. And then you've got your Dave Ramsey disciples that are going over here, and they're like, hey, hammer saving, saving, saving in scarcity, scarcity, scarcity into the freaking ground. And if you disagree with us, like we're showing you, Dave Ramsey speaks to a very specific niche of people who have an unhealthy relationship with money. And I was one of those guys, you know, my dad has, still is not comfortable with money. So we live our whole lives being broke no matter how much money we made, because we were comfortable with our backs against the wall. So we were spenders, I out earned my spending almost my whole life, really. And it wasn't until I had one of my mentors actually asked me, I don't know, remember, I've told this story or not to you. But one of my mentors, I went to him and I said, Brian, I don't know what's going on. I can't figure out why I can't save money. And he looked at me. And the conversation was literally less than a minute long. And it's amazing how many life changing moments happen in like a 32nd conversation or a one minute conversation. And he just said, What's your dad's relationship with money. And I literally felt like I had been punched in the stomach. And I remember walking away from that conversation kind of feeling days, because it was really the first time that I had ever really thought about the generational side of things about how you know, so many things that we get from our parents, you're either exactly like, or the polar opposite of right, you're either like, oh, that's what's normal to me. Or you say, I don't ever want to be that. And so obviously, that was what was normal to me. And it made me start really doing a deep dive into how I looked at money and what I was comfortable with, and then the disciplines that I had to put into place to start creating that healthy relationship with money to where, you know, when you speak to wealthy people, they have no relationship with money. Money is just simply a pawn in the game of life that they use to live the life that they want to. Whereas the vast majority of us, we have a have a relationship with money that for savers, they come from fear because they're afraid of losing money. And vendors come from fear because they're afraid of having money. It's like two totally different, two totally different spectrums of fear. And Dave Ramsey speaks to the spectrum of people who are afraid of having money. And so his mantra is save, save, save, you know, he doesn't even really talk about investing, he talks about just paying off all of your debt, because that's the only thing that resonates with people who are afraid of having with money is going to that polar opposite extreme. But I kind of liken it to a person who is extremely overweight. And someone they come to someone and someone says you need to eat nothing but these eight vegetables every single day and you'll lose 200 pounds. And that does happen. But that doesn't really change their relationship with food. And the same thing is true with Dave Ramsey and what he says and then also, savers savers are rewarded for saving money. And everybody's like, Oh, you've got $100,000 in the bank, but if you ask him to spend 5000 or invest 5000 out of that 100 There's a wolf There's so much anxiety and fear that wells up inside of them that they become paralyzed. And so it's really interesting once you start deep diving into the dynamics of what people's relationship with money is, and then what are the things you can do to start building a healthy relationship? out, I love what you just had to say there. And there's a couple of topics that I want to do a little deep dive on before we move forward. First, is you mentioned about Dave Ramsey. And I think that from that angle, I think that a lot of people, and Dave Ramsey is good to an extent. We can't there's gray area, you know, there's no, there's no black or white here. So I think Dave Ramsey is a good chapter one to the book of investing relationships with money. I think he's a great intro chapter one, like you said, but a lot of people will treat Dave Ramsey as the entire library. But I think in chapter one, get your house in order, I will say that he's better than just a good I mean, if if you're coming from that place, he's an amazing chapter one. I mean, people's lives are changed by listening to him. The difference is, is that if you only read chapter one, you don't get all the benefits of the stories that come from the rest of the book. Mm hmm. Yep, exactly. And then I want to give two examples of people that I know by to like basically archetypes, personas, and then have you hit on that to move into our next topic and move into this a little bit further. So you're talking about relationships with money, and you mentioned, no matter how much you spend, it's like you always you're still not able to save money. So that's person one is person that, hey, I'm successful. Oh, I'm making more and more commission checks, oh, I'm making more and more bonus checks, my incomes rising, Oh, I get to go to Miami. Now I get to go have a better dinner, I get to go do this and that. And then all of a sudden, I realized, and like I said, I'm guilty. I've been this person before. And then I realized I was literally worthless. Because I looked on paper, and I'm like, oh, cool, I made more money this year, I tripled it. And I spent all of it. So that's person one, that's archetype one, you go over on the other end of the spectrum, and you have your financial freedom person who has been saving every single penny lives on 90% Light lives on 10% of their income, saved every single dollar. And then they finally hit all of their goals, all their dreams, achieve all their financial goals. And they can't even like they can't even mentally bring themselves to celebrate, to even go out for like a dinner with their family. So these are both unhealthy relationships with money. So can you talk about like what you see from both, and even though they're different? Can you kind of hit on the similarities between the two personas, they're, they're the same. They're just, they're just different versions, one side of the record versus the other side of the record, it's still the same record, right. And the difference is, is that and you said something about ownership versus stewardship, and is that for most of us, as soon as we get a paycheck, we take ownership of it. It's the reason that the United States government, for most people takes the taxes out before they get their paycheck, because it would be, it would be impossible for them to collect taxes, because as soon as someone takes ownership of something, it's theirs. And they either if they're afraid of having money, they choose to spend it. Or if they're afraid of losing money, they choose to keep it and they hold on to it. But it's still the whole issue of ownership of money. And, and so, you know, going to the ownership versus stewardship thing. And I think where what a healthy relationship with money is a combination of both have ownership and stewardship, a saver can still be a saver and put themselves in a comfortable place. But if they're able to create that balance of so let me just give an example. Right? So if you were going to inherit a million dollars, and or win a million dollars on the lottery, the reality is, is that most people when they receive a million dollars in the lottery, statistically, I think 97% of them are broke within five years, no matter how big that amount is, because they immediately take ownership of that money. And then they go buy a boat, a house, whatever it is, right? That 3% is the ones that are the savers and they get that and they just put it in a bank account and it just sits there forever. But stewardship is so ownership is where you inherit a million dollars and you go spend it because it's your money. Stewardship is your best friend comes to you. And she says, Brian, I just found out I have terminal cancer. I have a life insurance policy that's a million dollars. And I have my five year old daughter And I want to entrust you with this million dollars, I'm going to, I'm going to will this million dollars to you, but I want you to grow it for my daughter so that she's comfortable in her life financially. Now, would you make different financial decisions with that million dollars? Absolutely, absolutely right, because you have stewardship of that money. It's not yours. And so as soon as you you start creating money and having stewardship of it, that's when you have the ability to make good financial decisions that aren't attached to those two areas of fear. So for me, personally, what I had to do was I made a black and white commitment that out of every single paycheck, I got, I was putting a portion of that paycheck into what I called, and I literally was a savings account. But you know how you can rename savings account, like, I literally put in there not my money, that was the name of my account. So when I pulled it up, it said savings account, checking account taxes account, not my money. And I made the commitment that that wasn't my money for today that that money was for the Aeron of who I wanted to be. And I and I knew I had the potential to be financially and by taking care of that money, who I could become as a person, because we all know, money is when you don't have money, life is just harder. Black and white, right? You know, people say money is the root of all evil. It's not money is the root of all evil, it's the love of money is the root of all evil. So I made that account. And as I flex that muscle, and was able to see it grow, I still had a lot of challenges. Once it got to a certain point, I had to go find a place to put that money, because I was going to spend it, the itch was just too great. So I would go buy an asset, so that I could pretend that I was broke again, and restart that and restart that. So I did that over and over and over and over again. And that's where most of my single family rentals came from, was that not my money account that I just made that hard commitment. But as that muscle got flexed, I became less and less attached to my money to where now I don't have that account anymore because I don't need it. Because I've I've separated money from what I get my salary that we get every month. And we spend that as freely as we want to, versus the money that's not my money, which is either the money that comes from business or an investment or a portion of the money that I make. Does that make sense? Absolutely. So and so the same thing is true. One of my agents right now, is he started working for us had $0 had been working at a bank making $15 an hour. And he has just built a lot of success. I mean, he is a rockstar and so we were talking about three months ago, and we talked finances like once every six months or so. But he hadn't really said anything. And I got Damien, how much do you have in the bank? He goes $200,000. I was like, what? Exactly, that is exactly what I said. I was like what, and he total fear, total fear still living in an apartment, living on his $2,000 a month salary. So everything that he was making, he was just dumping into a savings account. We had a conversation, he committed to buying a house. So he's literally closing on a house next week for him to move into. And as we were going through that he was talking about my goal is to work so hard that I put all that money back into a savings account, and so that I have my 200,000 again. But that's not a healthy relationship with money, he was just trying to pull that money back so that that fear was still there for him. So we committed to all of the money he makes while he's in escrow goes into a not my money account. Now full disclosure this morning, we were talking about it. And I said Damien, how much do you have in your not my money account, and he gave me this kind of deer in the headlights. Look, he didn't he he had let fear step in again. And he was putting all his money back into his savings account. So we redid that conversation, he's gone. And now he's put that money into a not my money account, so that he can start trying to create some stewardship of his money and create opportunities and be able to take advantage of opportunities that are out there. Because what he has in a savings account is plenty for him to live for a long, long time. So that's that's a little bit of the difference of how someone who is a saver they have to create that stewardship for themselves the same way that a spender does and then grow that muscle. Yeah, so let's let's stick on this saver archetype first and then we'll go into the spender archetype because the saver is definitely someone I'm familiar with. And I've been there too before. But then I feel like a lot of people listening to this will be like, I'm not can't relate to that. I'm an amount of money. I got that Amex on lock. So with the saver, um, we talked about we talked about this and having them have all of their money like stockpile stockpile stockpile stockpile. So, that comes from a fear, like, so what do you think that that comes from? Like, psychologically, so it's like your parents maybe not having enough before? No, you know, typically, savers actually come from savers. And, and money is stability and safety. So to them, every dollar that they take in and hold is there that much safer. And so they just associate that with, with just a warm, fuzzy safety, and every time they take $1 out of it, they're jeopardizing their future, because that that dollar is their safety. And, and at least that's in my experience, from talking to a lot of people who are savers. Every time we've had that conversation, virtually every single one of them has expressed that, that that for them to part with that money is like them partying with the safety net that they've created for themselves. So anytime they they're just not willing to do it. Because that is that's what's keeping them in their warm, warm, safe bubble. And it doesn't matter how much they have. One of my clients, one of my clients mother sold this huge piece of land to build a school on in 1990, so 30 years ago, and they paid her $800,000 for this piece of property. She has $800,000 in her savings account today. That's the exact same 800,000 that she got, she's never touched that money, because that's That was her stability. That was what she was going to give to the kids. If she'd done nothing but put that into any index, it'd be, it'd be $2 million right now, right. But that's not how a saver thinks. They think that if I put that money out of my control, I'm giving up all chance of safety. So a big thing that you said, that resonated with me and to anybody that's listening to this, that's a saver. And if you and spenders, don't worry, we're coming to you. We're just getting our Amex is ready for it. But for the Savers that are listening to this takeaway, what he just said about ownership versus stewardship, so you think that you are saving that money for your family, for your future family, for your future generations, but really, you're doing them a disservice by having your money sit there, because what is so we all have seen a flip inflation this year, and we've seen it, it's not transitory anymore, it's coming. McDonald's is going to be as double the price already, they're starting to double charge double the price. Everyone sees what's happening to real estate, you have your money sitting in a savings account, you are losing money, every single year, if not month, that is sitting there. So you said something about, think about what you would do if you're if your friend came to you with a dying wish, of what like, hey, my five year old child needs to survive off of this money. I instantly went my brain that was a perfect analogy, because my brain immediately went to, okay, what investment strategy would I use for that? So you have to think you're doing this for your child, for your future kids, for your future family, for your current family. That is their best interest is for you to take action and use that account. And here's here's the challenge though, too. And so I'm a big believer in what is the past is the past. Right? So so when we're having a conversation with someone who is a saver, so I'm having a conversation with you as a saver, that I typically the question to ask is when is enough enough? Right? So if you if you have $50,000 in your bank account, is that a good safe number? Because the reality is, is very few people ever go to zero? I mean, the government is going to supplement you right? So $50,000 is really going to be able to play it out, be able to be played out for a long time. And whatever number it is so with with Damian, it's 200,000 I'm okay with him leaving that 200,000 in there. As long as moving forward, he starts creating that stewardship relationship because he's already taken ownership of that money. So I'm not asking him to give up that ownership or asking you to give up that ownership. What what we're hoping to do is create another option for you in another bucket. So moving forward, instead of that money going into the savings account, which you associated with safety, if you have a safety net for you putting that money into another place a totally separate account that you look at totally differently with a total different lens of, I'm okay with this money, me investing this money, and then figuring out what that looks like for you and really just start taking baby steps because you're not going to change your relationship with money overnight. It's not like you're going to take $200,000 and go, Man, I'm good. Here's 100,000, let's go. This is this is not going to happen. Like what steps can we take today, by which we can start putting those disciplines in place to where you can not only have that safety net, but then also build a beautiful life that has wealth involved in it, versus holding on to that fear and holding on, which never, ever equals wealth. Exactly. And that's very beautifully said. So as we move from there, let's move on. Let's move on to the fun ones. Let's move on to the ones that just bought dinner for us last night. Let's move on to the ones that just threw that massive Halloween party. No, no. Hey. And you know, it's me at my core, so to speak that love language, spending money like nobody's business. Yeah, I I know what that battle looks like. And I know, I know what that challenge looks like. And, and really, you know, the fix is the same one. It's there's a book called The Richest Man in Babylon. By George S claesson. It was written in the 1934. It was originally called Gold ahead. And they turned it to Richest Man in Babylon in the 50s. But the number one principle is pay yourself first. And one of the things with spenders is that when we have a savings account, and I can speak for myself anyway, when we have a savings account, it's not a savings account. It's an emergency account. Yeah, that as soon as the tires go bad, as soon as something happens, you immediately go to that and go, Oh, I've got money here and you pull it out and it takes you right back to zero. And so it's that that savings account for a spender is it's it's just another spending account for all intensive purposes. Right. And and so the the steps, just like I talked about with the spender is creating an account that as a spender, you make a hard and fast black and white commitment to not spending no matter what, unless it is investing in something for yourself down the road. And if you do that, even if it's $10 $100, whatever that looks like. It's it's flexing that that money muscle in your head of creating disciplines. As you know, if I wanted to be an Ironman, I do triathlons. And so if I wanted to be an Ironman in six months, it's really easy to do. I mean, people go, Oh my God, you do it. And it is, it is it is an it is a feat, right. But the reality starts with lacing your shoes up and going for a run around the block. And, and so you can't change where you are today. If you're in $10,000, that fifth, you can't change that overnight. But what you can do is lace up your shoes and go run around the block. And that's create a place where you have stewardship of your money, instead of ownership, you can still come in and spend all the rest of that money, but that one little account that you've created is black and white, that that's not your money. That's for Brian 20 years from now. And if you go, Okay, I need to take care of Brian 20 years from now. And I'm going to start using this money to make sure that he's okay. That's a different mindset without account. And that's, that's what starts that discipline of being able to. And then what happens is this for both the saver and the spender is that as soon as you start seeing momentum in that account, and there's, you know, for me, I'll never forget when there was $1,000 in the account, and I was making $100,000 a year, but when there was $1,000 in that account, I was like, Dude, I did it, who was like the big deal. And then instead of putting $100 Out of every check, I put 250 in there and I was like my life's not changing. And then it went to 500. And then it just started carrying this momentum of its own until I had the ability to do something with it. Yeah, I absolutely love that. So before we move on, I want to hit a little bit about a person that's listening to this right now. So I'll try to think about the two different types that we're talking about. What percent, if you could give a percentage to it? And this is go, this is for the spenders. So they come to they come to us. They're listening to the show right now. And they say, Hey, I love what you're talking about. I get it. I've never saved more than a couple $100 in a month, I can't fathom saving 10% I think you're lying when you tell me you save 50%? I think it's all a bunch of baloney. I don't think that's possible. Well, first off, it is possible. But what would you tell that person because I feel like that's your standard person in America is someone like that, or someone that's not only like that, but they're 10,000 $20,000 in credit card debt in excess. So what do we do with that person? If that person is listening right now, what really answer is, is that you've never tried. So you don't know. And you've never, you've never put the discipline in place. So you don't know. And it doesn't have to be 10%. Start with 2%. So a 2%. And make the commitment that if my life doesn't change, by putting 2% into this account for the worst, because I'm out of money, in three months, I'll move it to 5%. And then if my life hasn't changed in three more months, I'll move it to 10%. And you can play that game for a long time and accumulate a lot of money by doing that. But but at the end of the day, until you've actually tried, you don't know if it works or not. And so that that would be the challenge is that it doesn't matter what the number is, make a commitment that you're going to do that number, and it is a absolute non negotiable, and then start that run around the block. And when you go in for your next paycheck, and you put that money in there, like holy crap, I've got 100 bucks in there right now, I haven't been able to save 100 bucks in who knows how long because as soon as it goes in and flows out, and that's been there for a month, and then you go three months, you're like, man, there's $350 in that account right now, and I haven't touched it, you know, I can put more than $50 in there. And let's, let's go, let's go 75, or let's go 100 Out of every paycheck, and then just make that commitment. And then what happens is, is that there comes a point where you look at that, and you're like, holy crap, there's $5,000 in that account, I need to do something with that, because I'm gonna go spend it because I, I saw something that I really liked that I want, and that 5000 can go away really fast, then you start, that's when they're having a conversation about money can help is if you just literally said, Hey, I've got $5,000 I need to invest, you'd be surprised at how many places that you can invest $5,000 that are safe investments that you can take that money out of your sight, and pretend that you're broke again and start that whole process again. Or even if you take that $5,000 And you move it out just out of your sight, go give it to your mom who's a saver and say, Mom Hold this for me and telling till I come back with another 5000. And you're not allowed to give that to me, no matter what I say. create that illusion that you're broke and start over again. But then you've got 10,000. And it's just again, it's all about just just putting yourself in a place to where you start taking those steps. What do you think is a healthy What do you think would be a healthy medium between the saver and the spender four months of expenses in an emergency account because for me personally, that three month has been like the sweet spot anything after three months of expenses, and this is net, everyone. This is after you get paid out this is for your rent, your you're going out to eat like you can you can do it either to where it's covering the necessities or it's covering your lifestyle, I do three months of lifestyle, and then anything over that I invest. So recommend so so the first part is for the spender that now my money account is not your savings account towards your three months of savings. Hmm, totally different account because that three months of savings, if you can't make your house payment, you go in and you start using that you're not my money account is not your money that is for you 20 years from now. So you can't touch that because the only person that can touch that is the guy who you become or the lady who you become 20 years from now. So that account is very different than a savings account. And and I think that it starts with getting to one month. And so you you have you're not my money account. As you start getting momentum there, it becomes easier to put it into a savings account that you don't touch, right. So you get to a month. Once you get to a month then typically most people stay at a month for a while because that's their comfort zone of having that much money accessible. And then you build to three months and then as as wealth starts to happen over an extended period of time and the The other thing that I would just say about all of this for, for all of you listening is that people want to get rich quick, but life is long, right? They want to take $100 and turn it into 1000, they want to take 1000 and turn it into 10. And, and you know, you can run it on Bitcoin, but Dogecoin is gonna drop at some point down to zero, because there's nothing that backs it. So, you know, you want to make sure that this is this is a long term game, this is getting a healthy relationship over a long term, you don't go from having daddy issues to having a healthy relationship with your husband in like a week. It just doesn't happen. It's a constant battle. And it's the same principle with money. It's a constant learning thing. Yeah, and by I want to be fully authentic on this podcast, I'll let y'all do a deep dive into my life, because I'm a perfect prime example of everything that Aaron's talking about. So last year, I was fully tenured in a sales job, right? saved up my goal, my goal by July was to save up $50,000 in cash. And I did it the most money I've ever had in my entire life safe because I invest every single frickin Penny. And I did that because if you're in a sales job, maybe you can use the strategy is I live off the base salary. And you mean in real estate, you obviously don't have a base salary. But I lived off my base salary, which was a it was a little bit, it wasn't that great. It was an average salary. And then my commission, I put into my emergency account until a built up and then any bonus I made went straight into like Aaron was talking about the basically my not my money account, I'm like, This is for my next house hack. This is for my next purchase. I got up to that goal, I hit the goal. And I was because that was all I was focused on. And then I don't think I saved $1 After that goal. And then come December Yes, I bought my next house hack, which I'm sitting in the basement of recording right now. And that was cool. But then I spent over $20,000 on a car because I was like, I've got too much money right now. And I don't feel the drive, I don't feel the burn because I'm sitting here on this cushion. And I was like, I need more drive, I need more fire I need put my back against the wall. Let's go. That was that was saver, Brian. And then so I just need the money. So on the flip side of that, now this year is like I left that job that I left, another job came back. And all of a sudden, it's like my income dropped by 75%. So I've still been living that same lifestyle. But now my relationship with money is changing back to him like, Okay, this is a different season. Can you talk a little bit about different seasons that people go through? Because, like you said before it, it fluctuates. And can you talk about going through your different seasons, and then finding when is the right time to transition maybe from one side to the other when you feel yourself going off kilter. So you know, there is no such thing as balance, it's balancing, right? For balancing, it's going out of balance, and then bringing yourself back into balance. And then you go out of balance the other way. And, and the goal is, is that every time you go out of balance, when you come back, you're a little bit closer to the center. And when you're in the center, then it's just little tiny, little tiny adjustments, right. And so the same thing is true with with our whole lives, and really everything that in our lives, our health, our money, our all of that there are seasons where you go way out of balance, you just described it your way out of balance, because you have this big, hairy audacious goal to say $50,000 to buy your house back. So you go out of season, and then all of a sudden you achieve that, and you're like, back to the other side, right? You're in this now you're in this place of fear where your backs against the wall and you're like, Okay, I need to get my crap together and come back this way. That's normal. I mean, that that's, that's normal to do that. So it's understanding that that's normal. And then also like, okay, next time because you invested in that house hack, you don't need to go out of balance as much because you have some stability there, you have that house that is your, your foundation, right? So you can go here, and you may be doing just as much work. But the the, the feeling isn't necessarily there because you've got that foundation, and then you may save up and buy another place. And now you have two houses and you're like, Whew, I'm going to go spend and you go spend, but now you don't spend quite as much because you remember how much work it was to get these other two houses and it just goes back and forth. And then all of a sudden, you're like, crap, I own 10 houses, I can't convince myself I'm not broke. And then you're in this place of like now it's just you're swinging from here to here, instead of here to here. So everything that you described is really normal for both kinds. But you're in the process of of exercising those disciplines, creating that foundation so that at some point in your life, people would look at you and go, Oh my God, he's so balanced. But the reality is, is that you're still making adjustments. They're just small adjustments that people don't necessarily see or that don't seem so extreme. So it's just like going to the gym and exercising a muscle, it's just exercising spending or saving muscle. Yep. And then what you're saying, just to wrap it all up with a bow is instead of it's like you're taking, it's like taking a giant pendulum, like one of those balls on a string, and you're bringing it all the way up as far as your arm can reach, and you're letting it go. And it goes all the way back all the way forward. So I feel like what you're saying is, is to summarize is change and adjust early and often. So as best you can, but just be aware of it, you know, be aware that when you make a decision to save, and then all of a sudden, like you did well, then all of a sudden you recognize that you're now spending, if you're aware of it, it's it's from, you know, there's the it's unconsciously incompetent, it's consciously incompetent, consciously competent, and then unconsciously competent, right. And so as soon as you start recognizing those pendulum swings, or understanding what your relationship is, with money, where you go from unconsciously incompetent, when it comes to having the money conversation, to consciously incompetent, that's a huge step in the right direction. And once you've done that, and you start recognizing what habits you have, and where they came from, now you're on the path to be able to start going towards that, you know, consciously competent of like, okay, I have a good life, I have my finances in order to being unconsciously competent to where you don't even have to ever think about money in a relational way anymore, because you've transitioned past that. Mm hmm. So I've got two questions. Two questions left, so I can be conscious of your time. The first one is, we talk a lot about the enough number. So we listen to Morgan Housel. Speak, he said that, and he's a big columnist for Forbes. And he came and spoke to us at an event. And he was talking about people's relationships with money. And he said that it's important to have an enough number because he was it was like, Bernie Madoff was already like, worth like 100 million legally. And like, legitimately, before he started, like doing his Ponzi schemes and everything. So because it just wasn't enough for him. 100 million wasn't enough. So then that becomes where it's not a number thing. It's a principle thing. So what what advice do you have about having an enough number? And how do you go about formulating that to where it's something where the goalpost is just continuously moving, moving, moving, moving, and you never find satisfaction? That's a great question. Because I think that there are there, there are phases to that. So your first enough number is going from survival to stability. And then you come up with a number that goes from stability to success, you know, maybe that survival, the stability is, is buying a house and owning a house. That's the stability part of it. And then the next step is, is I really want to be a millionaire. And so you go, and you're a millionaire. And then you realize that being a millionaire is still a freakin whole lot of work, and that you're still in the weeds. And then you're like, Okay, I want to be worth 5 million, or 10 million or 15 million, whatever that number is. The goal, I think with an enough number is understanding that there is no such thing as an enough number. There just isn't. Because everybody who's achieved their enough number that I know or that I read it, they get there and they feel flat. And so you interviewed Mark hintermann A while ago and someone asked him that question. We were interviewing him for a show that we do. And he said, You know what I because he's worth it's worth a lot. So he said, I was buying a property. And the person on the other side was just beating the crap out of me on every single dollar sent everything. And then he went quick, quiet on me for like three days and we've been talking every day. He goes, finally I called the broker, I'm like, Hey, what's going on with John and he goes, Oh, he went to go see his family for his 91st birthday. And this guy was worth 10s hundreds of millions of dollars. But he enjoyed the game. So it stopped being about the money. And it started being about doing something that he enjoys. And what I found for people who have achieved a lot of success in a healthy way and achieved a lot of money in a healthy way because Bernie Madoff was not was not a healthy relationship with money. He associated that with who he was and his power and all that kind of stuff. The people that I've met that have built a healthy relationship with money. Understand that by having money, you're able to do so many more things for other people. And they're so much more generous. And because they're more generous money flows through them like water. And they continue to build wealth, because they understand that by by spending and being healthy with money and not having any attachment to it, that that they become the law of attraction. And they just continue to build wealth. Because they don't have an a number. Their number is, I'm good. I mean, in my life right now, there really isn't a whole lot that could jack me up and make me not good. I still love playing the game and building wealth and talking to people about money and going through that whole process, because it's so much fun. And because I don't have an attachment to it, if I lose it, I have a $50,000 T shirt $50,000 t shirt, because I made a 50,000 my first my first investment other than real estate was into this tech company, this this website company, that was a guy that I knew there was actually a few of us that invested and I put in $50,000. And I told my wife, I said, Baby, no matter what happens with this $50,000 I'm okay if it 10 axes. But if it goes away, I'm okay with that, too, because I didn't have any attachment to that money. It was just, it was an investment. And it is, it's not dead yet. But they're standing there with the things going clear. The only thing I got from that was a purple t shirt, and I save that purple t shirt. And if that business goes out, I'm going to put it in a shadow box, and I'm going to hang it here in my office. And that's going to be my $50,000 t shirt. Now that's a ton of money. But it's all relative to where you are in your life too. So I don't have any time number because I know, I'm just gonna keep doing what I do, because I love it. Alright, that that that is genius. My question My question is, so first off, to hit on what you just said, I agree with the principle on the philosophy that money amplifies who you already are. So a good person is going to be a freaking great person, when they're rich, a bad person is going to be a bigger asshole when they're rich. So I feel like a lot of the stigma with you know, the rich and the wealthy and the upper class of society is you know, they're like, oh, you know, they're hoarders they're snobs. They're, they're terrible, but exactly what you just said, the person that has money, and that's one of the reasons I'm trying to accumulate this wealth is because I want to have, I don't want to make a splash. I don't want to be a pebble, you know, leaving a tiny little ripple in this fabric of life while I'm here, because this is temporary. I want to be a massive frickin asteroid that comes down and is affecting, you know, 10s of millions, hundreds of millions of people throughout the report. So my one question to you is, I love what you're saying. But what are some bumpers? It's like when you're bowling, you've got like some bumpers, like when you're going down the lane sometimes to make sure you don't go into the gutter to use Mike Eolas analogy. What are some bumpers that you can self impose for not having an enough number, but also making sure that your other buckets of life are full? And while you're enjoying the game, but you're not letting the game run you? Does that make sense? Yes. So there's, there's a couple answers to that. The first is there's seasons where you just have to let the game run you. And anybody who thinks that they can have success without paying the price. Everything is earned, nothing is given. So to build wealth, there are sacrifices that have to have to happen. The the, the most important thing and and it goes back to a subject that I really wanted to talk about for just a minute before we finished anyway, is that who you hang out with? And who you strive to be and who are your mentors, even if you don't know them? I have mentors that I have never met that are like, father figures to me, because of how much they've influenced my life with their words, blah, some of them are dead, but they they've totally impacted me in ways that just just shake me to my core just thinking about it. Right? So it's who you surround yourself with. If we're talking about money, talking about money, you know, it's like talking about sex. It's only awkward when you're talking to your kids about sex. It's only awkward if you make it awkward. They don't know any different right? So when you talk to people even if you don't need to say what's your net worth although I do all the time to people I don't know it's it's a conscious it certainly as a conversation starter, but just Hey, what do you invest on? name's Aaron, what's your worth, blah? Blah, but it's pretty fast. But But I get away with it because I have no emotional attachment to it. It's just an informational thing of me just going, Hey, what's your net worth? And they don't know, I'm like, you know, it's really important that you know, your net worth, what are you investing in right now? You know, what are you excited about? Where have you put your money in the past, and an opening, asking those questions to where you'd be surprised at how many people are okay, and comfortable talking about money. If you go and talk to your most successful friends, they don't talk about money, because they don't want to come off like a dick when they start talking about money. And if they come to you, actually, I was just reading this the other day, it's if people are running away from you, they never hear you talk, they can't hear what you're saying. So stop yelling at them. But if they turn, and they come to you, now they can hear what you're saying. So wealthy people don't talk to people who are running away from that, which is the majority of the people out there because they're afraid of money. If you you're the most successful business owner, you know, the the rich uncle, The Millionaire that, you know, is a millionaire. If you come to them and say, hey, I want to learn about money. Would you be willing to have some conversations about what you invest in right now what it looked like, when you were building your wealth? What challenges did you have, you would absolutely be blown away by the generosity and the openness of these people, because none of them got to where they are by themselves. And they are absolutely looking for people who want to learn and then want to become wealthy. I mean, it's it's just, it's obscene, how much you can get from how much information you can get from wealthy people by just asking. Because when you ask, you're showing that you're, you're not emotionally attaching who they are, by how much money they have, you're gathering information to become better to for who you want to be. And you, you'll be blown away by the response that you get. I think you just answered the question through that completely. Like, we just went a little bit off. But like that answered the question, because that was a whole separate point in and of itself. But I feel like the answer to the question is, if you want to be a good steward of money, have mentors and have people that you associate with that live that lifestyle, live that life and then read the books Richest Man in Babylon, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you know, the cloud, How to Win Friends and Influence People, all those principles don't change tactics do, right. So the principles to get rich in, in Egypt, and in Europe, and in South America, are the same principles that we use today, the tactics are different. So if you read the books that have the principles, the tactics all you know, Brian and I were talking before, it's like, if you focus on the activities, the why, and the activities, the how many times opens up, and it just becomes apparent, because the world and life and the universe rewards activity, no matter what, one one or the other rewards activity. So if you have a why, you know, I want to be able to get my kids through college. And so I'm going to start doing the activities, the how is going to be like that, it's just going to show up for you. So if if wealth and money is something that you want to achieve, start doing the activities, do the not my money account, read the books, ask people questions, and everybody thinks, I mean, if you do those three things, you will be wealthy, black and white. It's so much easier than people think it's just putting the disciplines in and then changing your relationship with it. And the world doesn't The universe doesn't reward your vision board, the universe doesn't reward your journal entries. But it sure as hell rewards you for taking the action behind the vision board in behind the journal entry. And that's what we're talking about here. So as we close out, my final question, to wrap all of this up with a bow is we're talking about in the beginning, I intentionally brought the previous generation into this to where it was like a lot of our parents would, especially for the millennials, a lot of our parents would not talk about money, or it was very taboo, or it was very black and white, or it's just frowned upon to even talk about and they didn't have a good relationship with money. I can't think of very many people's parents that had a good relationship with money. This next generation I think is very blessed and fortunate where it's an open conversation So, and now it's a lot more of, hey, you know, you don't have to wait until you're 65 or 75. To go do things that you enjoy, you can do this much sooner. What are you doing as a father and as a parent to teach your kids about how to be good stewards of money? That is a really great question, Brian, you know, we talk about money, they know my net worth, I, they I'm in front of the computer, I talk about the deals that we're doing, I talking about how much money they are, when I buy I collect watches, when I buy a watch, they know how much the watch costs, you know, so so they understand that I'm rich, they're not, and they need to earn it themselves. But I want them to be in a place where when they're talking to someone, and they hear them talking about money, they're not afraid to join the conversation, they're willing to step in and ask the questions of it. And so one of my friends, just to kind of wrap this all up in a bow is I'm, I'm going to be rich, I'm wealthy, now, there's a difference between rich and wealthy, right? Rich is where it's just you're freaking rich, I'm wealthy, I lead I lead a whole life that is just full of abundance. And money is a big part of that, right? So one of my friends told me that it's my responsibility as a parent, to make sure that my kids have the shoulders to bear the shoulders broad enough to bear the responsibility and weight of wealth. And that was just so powerful to me. In that, it's, it's my responsibility to make sure that my kids are financially educated and have a relationship with money. So that if when I die, they they receive a sum of money, or if I get too old, or if there's just too much money for me to manage myself, they have the shoulders to be able to step in and responsibly take care of that money, with the stewardship that I'd given it. And so that's, that's, I think that's probably I'll just stop with that right there. But that's, that's my feelings on raising my kids with money. And that's so powerful, because it's, you're saying, my, my job as a parent, and I'm not there yet, but in the next three to five years, my job as a parent, isn't to necessarily leave an X amount sum of money for my kids to thrive on. My job as a parent, is to give them the strength to carry the wealth, and the mental ability in the tool and mental tools to be able to create wealth of their own. So it's almost like give a man a fish, he eats for a day Teach a man to fish, a wife, it's the it's that I mean, it's, it's when we raise our children, i Our job is to try and re raise, we all have our own filter of what reality is right? And, and but, but it's our job as parents to remove as many of our filters from our children's eyes as we can. So they can see the colors better than we may be able to. Or they're able to go through life and see colors differently than we did, and hopefully in a better way. Now, I love that. So in closing here, this is the action Academy podcast, can you give five actionable tools from today's conversation that you think people can go and implement today, that will be that equivalent of lacing up their shoes to go run this race of being of keeping that pendulum swing as small as possible? Can you think of five takeaways or five things that people can go do this week? Well make, it'll be a good small first step in the path and the journey? You bet. So number one, is figure out what your net worth is. Take all of your assets, take all of your liabilities, and then figure out what that number is. And I've been a negative $200,000. So it doesn't matter what the number is. But if you don't know that number, you don't know how to improve upon that number. And if you go from a negative 200,000 to a negative 195,000, that is a win and a success. So number one is know your net worth. The second is read books that talk about money principle, richest man in Babylon. There's there's this is actually one of my favorite books. I have it on my desk. I read it up like eight years ago and I reread it again it's called Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker. And he talks about the how the difference between wealthy people and how they look at money versus how most of us look at money and going through that wealth journey, the first time I read it, I was not a millionaire yet probably wasn't even close to being a millionaire yet at that point to reading it today, you know, years later, and how true that book is when it comes to mindset. So read some books, I would say, Talk to successful people and ask them about money. And again, it's only awkward if you make it awkward. So if you just ask the questions, they will answer those questions for sure. Now, I probably wouldn't just go into the word it the correct way. I would say, hey, I want to have a conversation with money about you with you. Yeah, I'm just kidding. That was awkward. Yeah, I was like, I'll just think about Simon and David Osborne's messages and being like, what's up, man? What's your neck? No, it's not that because again, you have to come from a student's mindset, right? When you're talking to someone who's wealthy, you can't add value to them. When it comes to money. It's like, oh, you should invest in this. And they're like, What are you talking about? I'm worth 50 times what you are, don't tell me what to invest in, come to me, or peers, right? So when you talk to someone who's wealthy or successful, you're coming from a student's heart and you want to come out at with an insane curiosity. I think I heard Will Smith say this one time where he has an insane curiosity about stuff. And if you show up, and you just say, you know, what, I have been just, I've read a couple of books. And I just decided that the best way to learn is by talking to successful people like you. So would you be open to having a conversation and just, I want to learn about how money works, and what what lessons you learned and how you became successful. And you know, all of that kind of stuff, you'll learn one or two things, you'll either learn what's really good for you to implement, or they may be total assholes. And you may not you may learn how not to be right, that's the person you don't want to associate with the person you don't want to associate or emulate with emulate. So talking to people. And then what's that three, I don't give like 10 books, which would be 10 Step. Open, the not my money account for both of them for savers or spenders, open that not my money account, commit with all of your being that that's the money for you 20 years from now. And if you can, if you can make that switch in your brain, then you will be wealthy, full, I mean, that that is just a statement of fact, because you will start treating that money. And by by so doing, all the rest of your relationship with money will change, which is what starts that, that waterfall of money. You know, it starts with a little drip over over over a hill. And before too long, it just turns into a waterfall. And then you know, the fifth one is just be a giver, you know, to become wealthy, you have to give and every time, every time you give every time I've given something good happens. So give to charity, give your time, give, give to, you know, when I talk to wealthy people, and I go to lunch with them, I say what charity are you most passionate about? And then it started, I wrote a $10 check. The first time I did that, because I didn't have any money. I wrote a $10 check to it was the Boys and Girls Club or March of Dimes? I can't remember the Boys and Girls Club, I think. And then I just I just sent him a text and said, Hey, I just made a donation in your name to the Boys and Girls Club. Because I appreciate the time that you gave me. Right? I gave and by giving that person knew that I respected their time. And he was willing to give to me even more. Right? So so be a giver. So read books. Ask successful people be a giver. Now my money account. I don't remember what the fifth one was, but because they were all just rattling off but it's okay. They're right. Everyone listening to this right now. Their coffee, and they're just hyped up at this. Just hit back just to go through all five for sure. Yes, just hit back. So Aaron, where can people find you? And then tell us a little bit about your brokerage and what kind of region that you're helping with your real estate. Thank you for asking that. So I am in Modesto. So the Central Valley of California. We're about an hour south of Sacramento and an hour east of San Francisco. We have a pretty big footprint Stockton, Merced, all of that. I have an amazing team of real estate professionals that are truly truly rock stars. So if anybody knows anybody down there, it's Aaron at the West experience is my email you can reach out to me there. I'd rather you follow me and reach out on Instagram. It's V Aaron AR o n dot West is where you can find me on Instagram. Perfect and he also releases rolling And Halloween costume content. I do. You're not gonna you're not gonna miss out because me and him are going back and forth on Instagram not once a week. That is true. So anyways, my friend, thank you very much. This has been a very actionable episode of the action Academy podcast. And with that, we will leave it there. This has been your host Brian Luebben. And Aaron Elf on the Shelf Halloween costume award winner was signing off. Goodbye. You've been listening to the action Academy podcast helping you to choose what you want with who you want. When you want. You've been given the gift of freedom. Don't turn your back on that. We hope you've enjoyed the show. And we hope you've gotten some practical and useful information make sure to like rate and review the show. We'll be back soon. But in the meantime, hook up with us on social media. Remember financial independence is freedom. Red flag the freedom fly