Financial pundits are quick to offer advice about saving money that involves cutting things out of your everyday life. But the things they suggest cutting could be what bring you joy. It’s easy to transform a person’s life if they’re willing to scrape by, to eat franks and beans, take public transit, live in a house that isn’t your dream home, or to never travel. It’s a lot more complicated when you’re dealing with the vast majority of people. People have their wants and needs. Conversely, they have things in their lives that go wrong: they have a problem with a child, an illness comes up, they lose their job, or their marriage ends. These rough patches are all part of the normal course of life. But with a solid plan, you can deal with the chasms, bumps, and potholes that come up along the way. Making that happen is what’s important in my work with people. It’s how we continually transform lives.

Let’s take one of my long-term clients, who is also a good friend, Bob. Bob is a physician who I met in the early nineties. At that time, medicine was going through a lot of changes, and many popular pundits were out on the circuit telling young doctors to pay off their debts and hunker down because things were not going to be the same and physicians would be hitting hard times. These pundits were inciting a widespread panic. Bob was just starting out in his specialty practice when he came in, and we really connected, despite my advice to him being the total opposite of anything he had heard from others. I was telling him to keep his debt and to look to his cash flow. He asked me, “Why is everyone out there telling me something different?”

I explained that the pundits give advice that sounds easy and simple to people. Pundits patronize people and aren’t telling them what real finance is. I said, “You do it my way, and you’ll get wherever you want in life.” Over the next twenty years, he not only created a successful practice but also other businesses. He makes tremendous amounts of money and is very wealthy today, but he’s still that down-to-earth guy. More importantly, he lives life the way he wants.

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