There Are No Financial “Secrets”

The only secret here is a secret garden.

“A writer should have this little voice inside of you saying, ‘Tell the truth. Reveal a few secrets here.’”
–Quentin Tarantino

“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
–Benjamin Franklin

Let me let you in on a little secret. There aren’t any financial secrets. Nobody has the secret formula for investing in gold, options, emerging market funds in Bhutan, or pork belly futures that you don’t already know or can’t already find. There are no secret gimmicks for making you magically pay down your debt with some fancy payment system. There are no secret ways to invest in zero money down distressed real estate in Barrow, Alaska which will give you boundless income for life. There are no secrets for starting a business and making it successful which will suddenly make you cash flow positive and cause owners’ equity to soar. There are no secrets for allowing you to eat 2,000 calories per day more than you burn and not gain weight.

None. Zero. Zilch. Yet, it seems, everyone who advertises on the Internet, television, or radio has a secret that they want you to pay them money to reveal to you, and in doing so, they’ll give you a shortcut in life that will speed everything else along and make your life so great that you’ll live in a land of rainbows, unicorns, and maple-coated bacon.

Why the abundance of secrets, then?

By the way, once a secret is shared, even for the low, low cost of $9,999, isn’t it no longer a secret? I can answer that question in one word: marketing. Sellers want you to feel like you’re getting value for the money you’ve spent, and if you’re getting a secret, being let into an exclusive club, the [fill in the blank here] equivalent of the polo club, replete with ponies, butlers, and swank. They probably also want to upsell you on some other, better program which will cost even more money.

Truth in advertising would look something more like this: I’ve spent a lot of time learning my craft and perfecting what I do. I have a lot of expertise, which is garnered through hours and hours of study and through years and years of experience. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way and I’ve learned from them. You, too, could spend the time required to gain the level of knowledge and mastery that I have, and you’d be an expert too. However, you don’t want to spend that much time learning because you’d rather be traveling, reading, camping, exploring, giving, and spending time with your loved ones. Your time is valuable. Because of that, we’re going to make an exchange. You’re going to pay me to give you the most pertinent and valuable pieces of wisdom that I can offer regarding your specific financial situation and to set you up in a way that provides you with the greatest opportunity to win financially and to enable you to meet your goals in life as they pertain to money. You’ll get a game plan and be armed with the particular pieces of knowledge that you need to know in order to move forward confidently in your financial life.

I’ve spent a lot of time learning my craft and perfecting what I do. – Click to Tweet

If you don’t want to go forward with that particular deal, that’s fine. You won’t miss out on any secrets, and the world is your library. All of the “secrets” are out there, waiting to be discovered.

Personal Finance FAQ Series: What Are the MOST IMPORTANT Items I Should Budget For?

If you really wanted to, you could come up with a budget item for every possible thing that you’ll ever purchase in your life. From cars to cashews, you could create a line item for it. You’d also have no other free time and would lead what would have to be the most boring existence in the history of mankind.

If you’re going to make a budget, though, it’s important to get it right and to budget correctly.

What Are the MOST IMPORTANT Items I Should Budget For?

What questions would you like to see me answer? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Reasons to Keep More Than a Six Month Emergency Fund in Cash

Coming to save your emergency fund!

“Banks introduced the installment plan. The disappearance of cash and the coming of the credit card changed the shape of life in the United States.”
–Jerzy Kosinski

As Black Monday erupted and people were jumping out of windows, a phrase was born. “Cash is king” posited Per G. Gyllenhammar, the CEO of Volvo. Thus a phrase entered into our lexicon. You can utter that phrase to nearly anyone and get at least some din of recognition.

The typical financial advice that you’ll find is that you should have six months of expenses in cash or liquid assets such as CDs or money market funds. Are there reasons why you might want to keep more than a six month emergency fund in cash or liquid assets?

Here are reasons you might want to keep an emergency fund with more than six months of expenses.

Is it worth keeping more than six months of assets in cash? – Click to Tweet

While you don’t want to keep all of your assets in cash, unless you have a relatively low amount of assets, it might be worth strategically keeping more than six months of assets in cash if you can leverage that cash into more value than you can investing that cash.