Steven J Spence On The Future Of Money and Banking
An Interview With David Liu
Build a team. You will quickly learn that in real estate you will need a solid team that will produce a successful business. Most people cannot do this on their own. At least I cannot. First of all, God is at the head of my life and business, and then we structured the core team that is made up of my banker, accountant, lawyer, property manager and my contractor. Each one is equally important in their own role. It took me a while to get to this team as not all people have your best interests at heart. But with God’s favor and my team I can now look ahead and achieve the goals I have set instead of always looking back and trying to do things myself, especially when I am not good at them.
The way we bank has changed dramatically over the last decade. It was not too long ago when you had to wait in line in a bank to deposit money. Today things are totally different. You can do your banking without ever walking into a bank. In addition, the whole concept of money has changed. In the recent past, money usually meant bills and coins. But today, the concept of money has expanded to include digital currency and NFTs. What other innovations should we expect to see in banking in the short and medium term?
To address this, we are talking to leaders in the banking, finance, and fintech worlds, to discuss the future of banking and money over the next few years. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Steven J. Spence, author of Amazon’s #1 New Release, “Money, Plain and Simple; What the Institutions and the Elite Don’t Want You to Know”.
Steven J. Spence is a retired US Air Force veteran, airline mechanic, aircraft builder, and an owner of a real estate rental investment company. Throughout his military and airline careers, he taught airline safety to groups around the world. Spence grew up in a struggling financial environment with a single mom, who immigrated from Germany with her American military husband only find herself alone with two young sons in the wake of a divorce. With no role models, he had no understanding about how to build his financial future. Now a successful entrepreneur, Spence focuses on financial literacy as it relates to the ordinary person. He and his wife Adriana have two daughters, Shannon and Rachel, a son, Lucas, and one grandson, Julian.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started in this industry?
When I lived in Atlanta, I discovered the Florida pan handle for vacationing. The Destin/Panama City stretch was a wonderful place to go and relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. My problem was that I did not like paying someone to rent their house/condo for thousands of dollars a week and decided to see if I could own something there. At the time, it seemed impossible, but I pursued it none the less. I started studying and talking to people that could help me. I shifted my life around to focus on making this a reality and within two years, I bought my first place. It was spectacular and I house hacked it by renting it out when I wasn’t using it. After about four years, I sold it and bought in on another beach project house and did the same for about four more years. It is pretty awesome; I had a place to go that is paid for by others and it made money! When I moved to South Florida, I quickly discovered that holding on to the pan handle property was a little more problematic due to the long distance away. It was in the same state but a 9-hour drive with no traffic. So, I sold it.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
When I moved to South Florida, the job did not last that long, and within a year the company that brought me here closed down most of the plant where we built helicopters and they offered voluntary lay-off packages. I, at this point in life, was tired of chasing work and wanted to make a go at real estate investing. As you may have guessed, I elected for the package. It wasn’t that much to go on but anything helped. My wife was very supportive in this venture and because we had a warning of the shutdown, we were able to adjust our lives to live off of savings and her income while I built a brand-new real estate investing company. Talk about being risky business! I started to try to find houses to buy in my area but even then, the market in South Florida was a little too expensive for what I wanted to do. And banks are not really supportive for the new companies without any assets either, so capital to invest with was really tight. I was stuck and had the great idea of investing out of state. With only what I had gained from the beach house sale and my savings, I landed in Dayton, OH to invest. I purchased my first home for $55,000, and put in about $17,000 in improvements. This led to many more single-family homes in that area. I did not plan on out of state investing and yet that is what I do now!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
This one came to me a few years ago: “Humble yourself and always remain teachable”. I used to be a very prideful person and I would put things together in my mind and if it made sense, I would make that a fact. Then, I would build on these self-created facts, which could be right or wrong, but I would never know the difference. Sometimes, one thing would build on another, and before you know it, I had it all figured out. Don’t laugh at me if you already know what happens to people like me! It is very damaging and you can damage others with an incorrect mindset. Starting my investment business showed me a lot of things and shattered a lot of my core beliefs and understandings. I had to really humble myself, and truly understand how others perceived me versus how I perceived myself. That is a very hard pill to swallow. By going through this process, I was able to ‘rebuild’ my foundation and it opened my mind to see and learn many more things in a positive way.
Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell our readers about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
As a relatively new investor, one lesson led to another, and before you know it, I was moved to write a book about money. Not that there aren’t enough books about money available, but this is a book for the ordinary person who doesn’t have the time to read for various reasons, or perhaps you are more like me and you don’t really enjoy reading! All my life, from heavy jet aircraft maintenance training and management training, I learned how to break a topic down to make it understandable to almost anyone. Back to my project, is that my book “Money Plain and Simple; What the Elite and The Institutions Don’t Want You to Know” was published by Lucid House Publishing and my goal now is to get the info out to everyone who has the ears to hear and the eyes to read. We have been working on the audiobook that is soon to be released, and we translated the book in Spanish, that has a release date of 29 March, 2022. I am in the final stages of a Portuguese translation and will push it out as soon as possible. I believe that this book contains information that is required to know by everyone alive in our world. The more people I can help, then it is more people that they can help.
How do you think this might change the world?
This book is part of a greater movement that will change the world. I believe that instead of changing the world, it will change the reader’s world. I share the lessons I have learned about the financial industry that most of us ordinary people didn’t really know about and shine a light on how currency is created, what is money, what is a reserve currency and how it is working today via the petro-dollar. I also touch on crypto currencies and how they will be playing a role in banking in the future.
What most excites you about the banking or payments industry as it is today? Can you explain what you mean?
As I spoke of earlier, I may now be viewed as a contrarian as to how I see this unfolding. Having a basic understanding of fractional reserve banking and how the pandemic lifted any requirements for reserves allowed so much currency to flood the financial system. Our government denies the reasons of inflation I have come to believe as the cause. As always in any economy, inflating the money supply will create an increase of costs to goods and services later on down the road. We are seeing the beginnings of the effects of inflation now. What excites me about this is that the cracks of our current system are now exposed to the people as inflation is month over month at 40-year highs. I believe that this is the beginning to bring about a sound monetary system as more and more people awaken to the fiat, debt-based system we are currently in.
What most concerns you about the banking or payments industry as it is today? What would you suggest needs to be done to address that?
This is why I wrote the book! I want everyone to see the dangers ahead and I explain why we all should be concerned. What the mainstream does not talk about is the very real possibility of a dollar collapse. What will this look like? When will it happen? What will happen after the collapse occurs? My concern is that no one that I study really knows what will happen on the other side of a collapse. The modern world has never experienced this before. My suggestions are to read and listen to the financial experts that have us and society’s best interest, especially as a nation.
How would you articulate how the concept of money has changed in recent times? Is it really a change? How is it still the same? Can you explain what you mean?
For most, money has not changed. A dollar is still a dollar. What I expose starts with the understanding of fiat currency and how it is created. The feedback I get, is that people are amazed at what they didn’t know or understand. What is changing, and I believe it is due to high inflation, is hard working people are beginning to show an interest why the dollar is losing value so quickly. So, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the concept never changed, it is the American people that are quickly beginning to understand the concept of fiat currency and how it is created and going through the pain of their currency losing value at a very fast pace. People will want to know how to protect their wealth and their purchasing power.
Based on your vantage point as an insider in the finance industry, what innovations should we expect to see in banking in the short and medium term?
I am not pretending to be an insider of the finance industry, just a student that is revealing the money game that is played. From my simplistic view, it seems that our politicians have found the ‘money tree’ and are plucking all the leaves off as quickly as one begins to sprout. They are killing it with over $30 trillion in national debt now. Our GDP is over 125% and we are not doing anything meaningful to strengthen our economy. All the while, there are two super power nations, forced to use the US dollar for transacting with the west and they are Russia and China. As I write this, we are dangerously close to war with Russia. I recently wrote a blog highlighting how Russia has been taken major strides in strengthen their economy and being a part of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as economical trading partners. They cover almost half of the globe in population and real estate. It seems that Russia is going to attempt to hurt the USA economically through their economic strength and the denial of crucial exports. All while they are working with the Saudis to purchase oil in the Chinese Yuan, and not using the petro-dollar system. With all this said, we may see a digital currency system quickly arise, or perhaps a system of gold or commodities backed money system. Will the US be able to hold on to the world reserve currency status? After all, this is where our strength is today.
How has the pandemic changed the way banks interact and engage with their customers?
As an out of state real estate investor, so much can be done with a computer and a notary. I also enjoy the speed of how checks can be deposited with a picture of it!
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need to Create A Highly Successful Career In The Modern Finance, Banking and Fintech industries?
As I stated before, I won’t pretend to be on the banking side of the industry, but I will list the real estate investor side that is intertwined with the Banking industry.
- Education, and in today’s environment, there is so much available to you and for free. I started my journey in mid-2018 after learning that I was soon to be laid off. I have always wanted to be in real estate, but knew very little about the business. This is why most people do not get out of the starting gate as they do not know where to go next and quickly they let the dream die. It almost happened to me but then a weekend course came to town. It was very eye opening and exposed me to many ways to proceed. I think it was by design to confuse students as they had follow-on help/courses and they ranged up to $50K! Truthfully, I must say that I almost signed up. But I didn’t! This was my first lesson of due diligence. My wife and I were able to quickly find someone who did sign up in another state and they said that you could do this without them. “Use the money to buy a place” they said, so I did!
- Get a mentor. I found that there are many people willing to help and guide you and they do it for nothing. They know you are where they once were. Mentors can help with fine tuning and guiding where you want to go. They can also point you to contacts that also are important for success.
- Set goals. Setting realistic goals are crucial to any success of a business. I started with yearly goals and as I studied more, I learned that sometimes a one-year goal can be without accomplishments to unforeseen circumstances. This can de-motivate and slow things down. I expanded my goals to be over a 5-year plan with intermediate steps to achieve the bigger goal. I still adjust yearly to always have the 5-year plan.
- Build a team. You will quickly learn that in real estate you will need a solid team that will produce a successful business. Most people cannot do this on their own. At least I cannot. First of all, God is at the head of my life and business, and then we structured the core team that is made up of my banker, accountant, lawyer, property manager and my contractor. Each one is equally important in their own role. It took me a while to get to this team as not all people have your best interests at heart. But with God’s favor and my team I can now look ahead and achieve the goals I have set instead of always looking back and trying to do things myself, especially when I am not good at them.
- Understand money and the banking system. This is what led me to write my book! I then shared my lessons and then some. But it is very important to understand the principles of money as you need to be able to predict the economy that is ahead and plan accordingly.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I have come to believe that it is up to each of us to plan our financial course. What I mean is that we all have different starting positions when we are born, but in the USA, we each have the opportunity to chart our course and have a better financial life on the other end of our lives. We decide, by our dedication and actions and sometimes it is harder to do for some than for others. I wrote “Money, Plain and Simple” to expose the debt based financial system we all were born into. Since the system is against the people, does this mean we surrender to it? Of course not! Now you have the playbook in your hands and you can better navigate and chart out your dreams. Sometimes, people live in poverty because they were taught that this is the best for them. Now, this person needs to know that there is hope, but it takes education, work and dedication. We live in a world of free online teachings, books for $15 that share so much life changing knowledge and a lot of people who want to help you. Any excuse in today’s world is just an excuse. Jim Rohn teaches: “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better!” If a person can accept that they can do better and commit to this, they WILL win!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Please go to my website: www.moneyplainandsimplebook.com . I have a free sample of my book in English and Spanish to see if it is right for you. I also have a blog on the site and I have been writing about current events that will help anyone navigate through our financial system. Things are really speeding up right now due to the Ukraine-Russia Invasion. Vladimir Lenin is quoted (and very true right now) for: “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.