Sunday, July 5, 2009

Madd Money: A Fly on Larry Winget’s Wall

One of the things that I tend to do is I get to reading someone, either like or dislike what they have to say, and then if I personally like them, I ponder what they have to say, and if I dislike them, I tend to shrug off what they have to say. Dave Ramsey is a great example. Personally, I like Dave, and I like his take that combines the practical and the spiritual. Being a Latter-day Saint, I appreciate someone who has a biblical and spiritual outlook when it comes to money, and is not afraid to harmonize the two. By contrast, Robert Kiyosaki’s approach just grates on my nerves, so I have been less compelled to read his material. The fact is, both have good information and good approaches to dealing with money.

Larry Winget has been a guy that has intrigued me for awhile now. Maybe it’s the bald head and the loud voice, maybe is the absolute brashness of his demeanor and his “take no prisoners” approach, but I’ve decided that it was time to dig in and see what Larry had to say about money and where to place efforts and emphasis. To that end, I decided to start with “You’re Broke because You Want to Be: How to Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead”. Much of the time, people get books like this for two reasons. The first one is that they are genuinely struggling, and they want to figure out how to get out of a mess. The second is that they may not be in a mess, or maybe they are already moving along, but they are stuck in cruise control, and want to shift gears. Personally, I feel I am in the second category, so I tend to focus on things that fit that second area. The take home message from Larry in this book is as follows (this is literally verbatim from page 200 of the book, so do not credit me or think these are my maxims… these are Larry’s, and sum up his philosophy in this book very well):

1. Know where you are.

2. Take responsibility for the situation.

3. Feel bad about it. Experience remorse.

4. Make the decision for things to be different.

5. Know exactly what you want your life to look life.

6. Create an action plan to get there.

7. Know what you are willing to give up to get what you want.

8. Spend less than you earn.

9. Figure out ways to earn more.

10. Stop all unnecessary spending.

11. Pay off debts as quickly as possible and only go into debt for things with long-term value.

12. Build a cushion. Save!

That’s it. What I find very interesting is that the first 7 could just as easily have been from the scriptures or from Spencer W. Kimball’s “The Miracle of Forgiveness”. In short, we need to recognize that we are on the wrong path, or even if the path isn’t wrong, realize there may be a better way to travel it. As a hiker, I can appreciate that meandering on a path uses up a lot more energy than picking a line and walking with a straight purpose. This is the point that Larry is making, that we all need to make a commitment to focus on our goal, make a plan to get there, and work like maniacs to achieve that goal. In a nutshell, that’s Larry’s big thing; people don’t succeed by luck or smarts alone, they succeed because they are willing to work longer, harder, smarter, faster and better than their peers. Something we all think we understand, but rarely do we really put it into action.

I know that I fit this category, so while I may not be in a situation where I am wanting for anything (I’m not the guy meandering all over the path or off the path), but it’s very possible that I need to review the map and make sure I know the best and most efficient trail to take, and that I observe review and adjust my pack for the journey. Some things will need to be jettisoned to get to my goal, some things will need to be better utilized (tools that are not used or are not in a condition to be used are better than having nothing, but just barely; having a dull knife is better than not having a knife at all, but having a properly sharpened knife is *lots* better and much more helpful).

My next Larry book is “It’s Called Work for a Reason: Success is Your Own Damn Fault”… and I’m looking forward to reading it :).

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