Your Body is the Most Important Asset in Designing and Building a Good Life (Part 1)
Welcome you to Sound Financial Bites, where we bring you bite-sized pieces of financial knowledge to help you design and build a good life. Today we’re welcoming a friend of mine, Krisstina Wise. Krisstina’s done a great job at building a primary company — a real estate firm down in the Austin, Texas. She has subsequently built a coaching platform and philosophy where people go to events or pay her to coach them to teach them how to learn more about building what she calls a Wealthy Wellthy life. I think what you’re all going to take away is how you can use some of her techniques and philosophies to help you design and build a good life. This is part 1 of 2, so I look forward to you all being able to hear this over a couple of episodes.
Krisstina, I’m so glad you could join us today and I’m glad that you could speak to our audience. When it comes to people wanting to build wealth, what is the most important asset that they have to care for?
Well you set me up perfectly for that one. As you know, I love the money conversation; part of what I want to tackle is this psychology around money and that we can get over a lot of hangups about it. We can just start talking about it. I love talking about money, and just, in general, business, personal, however we want to invest in incomes, whatever. But in all these money talks, what I really like to emphasize is something that I don’t hear about in many conversations ever. To me, it’s the most important part of earning money, having money, growing money. We have one where it’s called an asset, and we know what that is; it’s the idea of our body as our #1 asset and it has to be put inside the money talk, the money conversation, and it’s missing, absent, and we’re blind to it.
With all this money terminology, language, and behaviors, what we have to insert into this conversation is this idea that money is great but for the sake of why? For me, it’s to live a good life and you and I are very aligned in that philosophical point of view and we design our lives to live a good life, but part of living a good life is our health. Our health is wealth, and our health, our bodies are an asset because we use our bodies to produce our wealth and to experience a good life. If we jeopardize, sacrifice, compromise, don’t take care of our health, all the money in the world is not going to matter. Our body’s our #1 asset and we need to think about how we invest in this asset and how we grow this asset just like we do in any of our other financial assets.
I often think of health as like having a piece of real estate to speak in your background and what many people have done is they’ve tried to build their income and over -leveraged their asset. They have taken way too many withdrawals without paying down any of the debt. What are the things that you’ve seen people do either in your first primary industry there in real estate or in others where people have done, unfortunately, out of their way, chasing the dollars of usually, people are throwing their body at their earning capacity? What worst case scenario have you seen and how did somebody turn that around?
Well, I actually use a very similar metaphor of what you just threw at me and I think it’s a really great one. Let’s just say, Aunt Betty died and bequeathed you $5 million. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But, when we don’t understand money and we just withdraw, withdraw, withdraw, and we don’t ever put deposits back into that bank account or we don’t invest it, let it grow, what’s going to happen overtime to that 5 million bucks?
It’s going to degrade.
It’s why the majority of lottery winners actually go bankrupt within 5 years of receiving their fortune. It’s the withdrawal mentality that it will just the money will always be there. It’s the same with our health; we live very the same mindset, we just withdraw, withdraw, withdraw, withdraw and we don’t put any money, investments, or time into our overall health and body just like we would any other investment. As a result, our bodies will break down. Just like our bank accounts will go bankrupt, our bodies go bankrupt.
I don’t like the world balance. It’s overused and I don’t think anybody knows what it means and and this is what I do for a living. I don’t know anybody that’s ‘in balance’. So I wouldn’t say we need ‘balance’, but there does have to be this awareness and organization of our lives and our behaviors around taking care of both is earning the money, putting the money to work so that we’re not just using our bodies to earn income. We then use our bodies to earn income and we use that income to turn into wealth but while, at the same time, we’ll have behaviors where we’re making our bodies as an investment and we’re putting money and resources and time there, too. So, it has be both of these pieces and it’s a delicate ‘balance’.
This last year I was getting certified to become a John Maxwell certified coach down in Florida and he said something brilliant about that topic of balance. He said, “Life is not balanced, because the definition would be equal and opposite forces creating said balance. There isn’t any. Life doesn’t come at you balanced.” If you have a business and then 15 opportunities are going to come all at once, that’s not balanced. When you’re on vacation with your family and you’ve taken two weeks and totally checked out, that’s not balanced either. In fact, what we have to do is build a life that works and be aware of what works.
I think, as you put it, our body, our health is such a center point barometer of whether or not we’re off and it has a pretty good mechanism to tell us when it’s not working well. But we don’t listen. Most of us don’t listen. We do just take, withdraw, withdraw, withdraw and there is a consequence to that. But, what’s hard about it too, and relate to the second part of your question, is that culturally, that’s the game; you just work, work, work, work, and you achieve, achieve, achieve, achieve, and you accumulate, accumulate, accumulate. You’re on that hamster wheel and it’s really hard to get off. When you’re in that hamster wheel and living a life according to this cultural requirement, what happens is that you do automatically start destroying other parts of your life with the lack of awareness.
We really have to get off that cultural hamster wheel, take a step back, and then ask: ‘How do I want my life to be?’. Money is a very important part of it, it under writes the cost of what we care about. It under writes the cost of everything we care about but we have to get to that philosophical place of, “What do I care about it?”. Of course, our health is related to our family and all these more obvious things, but our health tends to be something that’s not as obvious. It needs to be something that we have to care about. We have to have the money to care for it and we have to have practices for taking care.
That’s great. I think that corporate America, more than any place, there can be the person that’s climbing the ladder at some major technology company here in Seattle and they’re lauded for working 14 hour days. Maybe even celebrated for the fact that it’s okay that they’re creating breakdowns in other areas of their lives because they’re hitting those achievements that are ‘important’, like a title or an income rather than converse and, sometimes, even the consumption. In fact, more so.
I think the same way that people make withdrawals on their health and are unhealthy, which sometimes isn’t always immediately visible unless somebody’s in the practices, can be immediately unhealthy financially. The problem is, it looks good, right? The person that’s not setting aside at least 15% or 20% of their gross income, but has the slamming European car, has the house in just the right zip code, and has kids going to private school but doesn’t have anything building their balance sheet while they’re doing it. Too often, people are willing to give their ‘balance sheet’ away to many other parties. You just had a blog post on this on ‘What To Expect When You Stop Overspending’ . That one’s deceiving because it actually looks really healthy that they have the car and the house to an outsider. But the balance sheet may be hollowed out in order to produce those accouterments.
What you’re speaking there is that since money is not a topic of conversation, since it’s politically incorrect, and that the problem with money, for most of us, is that we think everybody else has the money thing figured out and we don’t so we don’t talk about it. We keep it quiet; we pretend like we know. Nope, very few people have the money thing figured out. So, just get over it and admit that you don’t know a darn thing about it, and the second you admit you know nothing about it, your whole life can change and that’s how you get rich.
It’s the day you admit that you don’t know anything about money, because how would we? — that’s step one. It’s like, if you go to Alcoholics Anonymous, step 1 is you have to admit you’re an alcoholic. Well, in this case, if you’re going to get rich, you have to admit that you don’t know squat about money because part of understanding how to get rich is all in the balance sheet. But, if you’re living a high income life and you’re spending everything on this consumption and buying all the toys in order to fit in culturally, you’ll never be rich because you’re paying all your money one way out to the bank. You’re not becoming your own banker and building your own bank accounts and your own assets.
Wealth is always on the balance sheet. This counter cultural is important to, maybe it’s somewhat of a shift in thinking. In normal culture, what you’re talking about, is all about income. It’s an income and expense game; the more money you make, the more money you spend. That’s the trap that because we’re taught to think that success is about a high income.
Part of what I teach is you can get rich without a high income. It’s all on the spending sides. Our natural tendencies and common sense say, “How I get rich is I need to make more money,” or, “How I solve my money problems is I make more money,” and I’m like, “No, no, no. I don’t care how much money you make. I can teach you to be rich on any amount of money because here’s the truth. The truth is it’s not an income game, it’s a spending game. You get rich by spending.” People say: “Wait a second. I get rich by spending?”.
How you spend your money is how you get rich, because you can spend it on toys, you can spend it on the big house, you can spend it on the fancy cars. You’re going to get in debt doing it. We all know you can’t get rich and have personal debt anyway. But how you get rich is you spend it. So I teach you, spend money on your investment bucket. Right at the top of my gross income is where you take 15%-20% off, you spend it. Where do you spend it? I spend it into a bank account that I use to invest in financial assets. I buy real estate, I buy other types of investments, but I spend money to buy the real estate. It’s a spending game but I’m not spending it to have the car, I’m spending it to buy the real estate, and the real estate makes me rich, not the car. I spend money on my health as an investment. Why? Because I nearly had my near death experience by withdrawing all my health bank accounts. I can promise you, you don’t want to be there. Don’t do what I did and nearly kill yourself in the achievement, high income game even if you’re smart and building the assets at the same time and kill yourself in the meantime because who wants to die early? That’s automatically what’s going to happen when we don’t understand health and we don’t invest in our health.
The problem is, as opposed to your point with money, you can go bankrupt pretty quickly. But your body bankruptcy doesn’t have to happen for 10, 20, 30 years after abuse and by then, it’s too late. Just like with investing in our financial assets, the sooner the better, because of the compound interest, which is the same with our body. The sooner we start investing with our body and taking care of it and know how to and we work on these things together the sum of those two parts is happiness.
The good life, the wellness, the financial wellness, the health wellness, the relational wellness; it’s all holistic. That’s why I teach holistic money planning because life is holistic. It’s never balanced but it’s all very integrated and you can’t compartmentalize and we have to learn how to blend all these conversations together. But really, at the end of the day, my body is an investment and I need to spend to invest in my health and my assets are investments. I have to spend in order to invest in assets. It’s a circle. As you get rich through spending, you don’t get rich through income. Income is just the accelerator. It means that you could the more money you make is if you have your money working the way, for example, I teach it and others, for example, that the more money you make is just the faster you can accumulate but it’s not it’s not the answer to getting rich. It’s not the answer to having enough money to underwrite the cost of living the good life that you care about that what you want for your family, your lifestyle, and then even hopefully, just leads to the point where you do have a legacy and you can live that ripple effect financially and with your time and your energy that you can only do if you if you have enough left over time and money.
Paul Adams is a Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Sound Financial Group is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian.
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