It's Not About the Money: A Financial Game Plan for Staying Safe, Sane, and Calm in Any Economy

It's Not About the Money: A Financial Game Plan for Staying Safe, Sane, and Calm in Any Economy

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by Brent Kessel

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What do the latest financial thinking and ancient spiritual teachings reveal to us about financial freedom? Top financial advisor Brent Kessel insists financial success and security is "not about the money." Rather, it's about what's inside us—first understanding your emotional relationship to money, and only then taking action. It's Not About the


What do the latest financial thinking and ancient spiritual teachings reveal to us about financial freedom? Top financial advisor Brent Kessel insists financial success and security is "not about the money." Rather, it's about what's inside us—first understanding your emotional relationship to money, and only then taking action. It's Not About the Money expertly and compassionately guides you along the path to financial security and true peace of mind.

Kessel, founder of two top wealth-management firms, has the inside scoop on the higher wisdom of personal finances, and he wants to share it with you. Through extensive experience as a financial advisor and spiritual seeker, Kessel has discovered that people need to understand their core financial story in order to make meaningful changes. Some of us are savers or caretakers, says Kessel, while others are pleasure seekers and spend like Hollywood stars; some people are idealists who place greater value on creativity or compassion than on financial security; some of us innocently believe our finances will work out without effort; and others obsess about building empires with lasting value. It's Not About the Money will help you identify your money type, providing information and resources as well as exercises and meditations to inspire a fresh approach to your relationship with money that will change your life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Financial planner by day, "yogi by dawn," Kessel offers "holistic financial advice" in this Buddhist-influenced debut promising both a better financial strategy and greater fulfillment and happiness. More money doesn't necessarily mean more enjoyment of life and freedom from worry, Kessel argues; people are often unhappy with their financial lives because traditional ways to think about money-spend less, save more-work from the outside in rather than the inside out. Kessel highlights the benefits of focusing awareness inward, allowing for the integration of outer actions with inner understanding. He explores eight financial archetypes (including "The Pleasure Seeker" and "The Empire Builder"), helps readers determine their type and suggests ways to overcome the problems each type typically faces. Pleasure Seekers, for example, should take a weekly break from "wanting" or redefine "the things that bring them pleasure." The rewards will be an abiding sense of financial fulfillment, a sense of security and confidence about the future and a greater ability to reach important financial goals. Readers interested in an Eastern-influenced approach will find useful advice on how to think about money, as well as insight into what makes us tick. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
This is a financial-planning guide unlike any other on the market, thanks mostly to Kessel’s skillful combination of yoga and wealth-management expertise. . . . Zen and the art of money management.
[It’s Not About the Money and] the accompanying interactive quiz will help you learn more about your own archetypal patterns--from “saver” to “pleasure seeker” to “empire builder”--and give you the insight and power to change.
A great job of marrying the emotional, spiritual and practical aspects of money, financial planning and wealth management. Highly recommended.
It’s a remarkably transformative book--the myriad of exercises Brent shares brought me to tears several times...VERY powerful stuff.

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It's Not About the Money
Unlock Your Money Type to Achieve Spiritual and Financial Abundance

Chapter One

You Will Never Have Enough

"Just a little bit more."
—John D. Roockefeller, when asked how much is enough

A friend of mine recently handed a homeless person on the street a dollar. The man looked at the money in his hand, looked up into my friend's eyes, and then quite matter-of-factly stated, "It's not enough." Though that dollar was probably not enough to meet the needs of this unfortunate person, even those with abundant financial means tend to approach money from this same "not enough" perspective. Why is it that so many of us feel such a deep sense of scarcity when it comes to money?

Compared not only to a person who relies on handouts for income but to a nineteenth-century monarch, you're probably relatively wealthy. You probably have a warm home and your clothes are comfortable. You can travel most anywhere you want at fifty times the speed of the monarch's fastest team of horses, and you can visit a modern health care facility for treatment if you become ill, a place where no one will try to bleed you or apply leeches as a cure.

Of course, some of you may answer that the reason you feel you don't have enough is that you simply don't. Indeed, you may be struggling. You might not be able to be admitted to that modern hospital due to a lack of insurance coverage or financial resources. You may have to choose between paying your heating bill or your car insurance or hesitate about investing in real estate for fear of not being able to pay the property taxes. If you facethis kind of dilemma, I acknowledge that you are in a very difficult position, one that my own experience with finances makes it difficult for me to fathom.

But no matter what our circumstances, our minds tend to promise us, falsely, that happiness is tied to getting more of what we want—better food, housing, transportation, recreation, health, and travel, to name just a few possibilities. If that were really true, though, wouldn't we all be happy beyond belief by now?

Over the last several decades, economic growth in almost all developed societies has been accompanied by a very modest rise in subjective well-being. In the United States between World War II and 1995, the increase in income has been dramatic and the amount of work time required to buy most goods has fallen substantially. Yet according to almost all of the scientific evidence, there has been little or no change in how happy Americans say they feel. And this is true the world over. In 1958, Japan had an average per capita income of about $3,000, an amount well below the present poverty level in the United States. By the end of the twentieth century, Japan was one of the wealthiest nations in the world, but still there was little discernible change in subjective well-being (a mere 3 percent increase over forty years). And in a survey of members of the Forbes 400 "richest" list, the world's wealthiest individuals rated their life satisfaction exactly the same as did the Inuit people of northern Greenland and the Masai of Kenya, who have no electricity or running water. Obviously, we're not that much happier despite our collective material progress. Why is that?

The Wanting Mind

Most of us would not consider ourselves greedy. Yes, we might want a bigger house in a better neighborhood, but we want it for our expanding family. Yes, we want a nicer, newer car, but it's because of its safety features or fuel efficiency, or because the reality is that our position in our company depends in part on how others perceive us. We may not want a specific material item, but instead want a better salary or a higher quality of life, the ability to take more vacations and enjoy time with our spouse or friends. But even when we crave something intangible like security or time off, there's no denying that most of us spend a lot of time just wanting. What's more, we often act on these desires in ways that leave us less than free financially. It's as if there's a force outside of us compelling us to squander our capital, be it financial or spiritual. This force is known in several Buddhist traditions as the Wanting Mind.

The Wanting Mind is always craving an experience different from the one it currently has. Whether we want money, love, that great new sweater, a 20 percent investment return, or a more equitable world, the Wanting Mind insists that things need to change in order for us to be happy, and money is one of its favorite objects to focus on. The Wanting Mind's whole reason for existence is to strategize and fight for a different future. It exists on the premise that what we have right here, right now, can't possibly be enough. The Wanting Mind continually takes us out of the present moment in its attempts to make us happy in some better tomorrow. And unless we inquire into the subtle and often hidden workings of the Wanting Mind, including whether its promises of happiness are actually true, we remain its slave and will likely spend a lifetime chasing its images of freedom.

The broader evidence shows how pervasive the Wanting Mind really is. In The Overspent American, Juliet Schor writes that between 1975 and 1991, the number of people who said that a vacation home was a key component of the good life increased 84 percent. During the period from 1987 to 1994, the income people said they needed to "fulfill all [their] dreams" increased from $50,000 to $102,000, much more than the rate of inflation. According to another psychological study, the majority of those people in industrial nations want more than they possess: 61 percent of those surveyed said they always had something in mind that they were looking forward to buying.

We all like to point fingers at the overspenders and insatiable materialists as the culprits, the real money addicts. However, in my experience, the Wanting Mind plagues everyone, from people on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder to the most aware spiritual teachers and the wealthiest members of society.

It's Not About the Money
Unlock Your Money Type to Achieve Spiritual and Financial Abundance
. Copyright © by Brent Kessel. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Brent Kessel was named one of the top 250 financial advisors in the U.S. by Worth magazine, and his company, Abacus Wealth Partners, which manages more than $800 million in client assets, was named one of the "top 250 wealth management firms in the U.S." by Bloomberg's Wealth Manager.

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It's Not about the Money 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you, like me, have struggled with integrating your spirituality with your economics, your self-awareness with your bank balance, and all the rest of the challenges that go with showing up consciously around money in our often frenetic lives, Brent Kessel, 'financial planner by day, yogi by dawn,' is your friend. And, his book, 'It's Not About the Money,' is a must-read. It's a remarkably transformative book--the 50+ exercises Brent shares brought me to tears several times--as I re-lived traumatic episodes around money from my childhood and witnessed how these experiences have affected me throughout my adult life. AND how I can now use this awareness to better understand my financial archetypes and create a more conscious life around money. VERY powerful stuff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book, unsure of what to expect, in preparation for interviewing Brent Kessel for my radio show. I was interested in the book because it promises information about spiritual and financial abundance AND it was written by someone who actually works in the financial planning field. I've read tons of books on abundance and prosperity, and learned what we all learn from them, but none of them really made any kind of difference in my life. This book somehow tweaked something in my psyche and actually spoke to me. I learned so much about myself and what I thought were just my own personal, goofy and dysfunctional ideas about money. Turns out my 'dysfunctions' are described WORD FOR WORD in this book. Better still, solid advice is offered to help me to move past them and into a much healthier relationship with money and financial planning. I strongly recommend the purchase of this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An extraordinary book that has changed my life in so many ways! Unlike any other personal finance or money management book out there, this book cuts to the heart of it all and shows us how to recognize and address our own motivations and behaviors surrounding money so that we can begin to transform our financial life. It helps us to align our finances with spiritual fulfillment and it offers practical ways to begin creating true financial security and freedom in our lives. The first part had my attention immediately and I think everyone including myself can relate to the idea of constantly wanting more without ever gaining true satisfaction. This book helped me to understand my own dominant financial archetypes and it has given me excellent practices to create balance in my life. It also has some wonderful, easy to understand, and effective financial planning strategies and techniques.
Guest More than 1 year ago
People have been waiting for a book like this for quite some time. it is so important for us as a society to really begin to address how important money is, and at the same time, how it isn't the most important thing in our life. If we can find the balance, we will naturally move towards a healthier, and happier place in our lives - with our families, with our purchases, with our friends, and most importantly, with ourselves. I highly recommend this book, and Brent's website.
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