It was the mid 1980’s, and life was humming.
I had a business that was paying me more in a month than many people were making in a year. I firmly believed I had achieved the American Dream. Ahh, the boundless confidence of inexperience.
One Friday our business’ sole supplier called to tell us they were shutting their doors. No warning! In fact, they had recently sold us thousands of dollars worth of their brochures for our direct mail campaigns. But that’s another story.
The relevant point here is that my income went from really good to really zero, over a weekend!
The “American Dream” Lifestyle Evaporated
Beginning that Monday, I faced a stream of bills for past purchases, that I no longer had current income to pay.
I call this my “insane period.”
Every day a bill or a 2nd or 3rd notice came in, and I’d hear my mind say, “Why are these people asking me for money? Don’t they know I don’t have an income anymore?”
The stress of dealing with collection letters and calls, and burning through what little savings we had, made me irrational. Add to that a growing awareness that I wasn’t going to find a job paying anything near what my business had, and I was sliding down the crazy slope.
I increasingly felt and looked like a prisoner of war.
But, One Morning the Prisoner Pushed Back
While shaving, I saw something different in the prisoner in the mirror’s eyes. Then I heard a voice state with unfamiliar confidence, “I will never be this vulnerable again!”
That’s how I had felt every day since the weekend our business crashed. Vulnerable to creditors who wanted to be paid or wanted their stuff back…including our home. There was no easy solution, like when I had a big income to throw at problems.
It made me angry, and like most humans, I looked around for someone to blame.
But, to my surprise, the prisoner in the mirror told me clearly, “This is YOUR fault! You signed on the line for every debt, every account, every loan. You promised away future income you had no way of knowing you would actually bring in to pay these obligations.”
That’s When I Realized I Had Just Been Renting a Lifestyle
Rent is defined as: “paying someone for the use of (something, typically property, land, or a car).”
That’s a pretty good definition of most of what I was in debt for. I was using the bank’s house and land, the leasing company’s car, the credit card bank’s TV, the finance company’s furniture, and I had used their money to pay for vacations and other experiences.
Oh sure, while I could make the monthly payments, these things appeared to be mine. However, if you’re ever confused about who really owns your stuff, just stop making payments for a few months, and the real owners will show up with their hands out. “The money or the keys, please.”
But That Morning Changed Everything
The prisoner in my bathroom mirror had made a decision, and from that moment the tide turned.
I had found a good job. It didn’t pay near what my business had, but combined with my wife’s income as a secretary, it would have to be enough.
Realizing that I obviously didn’t know how money really worked, I began a concentrated education: going to seminars, reading many books, and consuming 22 personal finance newsletters every month.
Soon the clouds of my understanding parted, and I could see a way of digging out. I developed a plan to pay off all our debts, including our mortgage, and we accomplished it in just 4 years 7 months!
The rest, as they say, is history.
I wrote my plan down and self-published it as a book and 4 cassettes. That grew to my publishing company being selected to the Inc 500 list three times.
My next course, Transforming Debt into Wealth, was publisher Nightingale Conant’s all-time best-selling program, and that led to Tony Robbins inviting me to teach at his Wealth Mastery events around the world.
All that has allowed me to help more than 3 million people.
So…What Are You Doing?
Are you building your life, or are you just renting your lifestyle?
It’s not hard to answer this question. If your current income is being used to pay for yesterday’s purchases, you are renting a lifestyle. If your current income is paying for today’s purchases and contributing to tomorrow’s wealth, you are building your life.
The difference is critical, because, if you’re renting a lifestyle, you’ll have to earn current income for the rest of your life to pay for yesterday. The only escape will be death.
The scary thing, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, is that 92% of Americans are renting their lifestyles and will never be able to completely retire at anything close to their working lifestyle.
How to Start Building a Life
There’s only one way to reverse this situation.
You need a plan to pay off yesterday’s purchases, and then focus a portion of your current income on building wealth that will take over providing income at some point in the future.
Fortunately, we have a couple of systems that can help you achieve this.
If you’re buried in debt, and don’t have much or any money left at the end of the month, our free DebtFree Academy course will help you do what I did – dig out!
If your situation is not that tight, but you’re still paying for some yesterdays, you should look at our SMART Wealth System Course. It will show you a little-known process that will grow your wealth with the SAME dollars it uses to pay off any debts you do have…at the same time!
If you don’t have any debts (and even if you do), my book, The Banker’s Secret to Permanent Family Wealth, will show you a wealth-building secret of the rich, that we’re nearly certain you’ve never heard of before. It’s easily doable, and we can help.
Don’t Waste Another Day
Time is a factor in all this. The longer you wait to start this transition, the more you lose the power of compound interest. So, please, at least check out the ways we can help you stop renting a lifestyle and start building your life.