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

by Brent Kessel

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061734632
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/08/2008
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,133,512
File size: 653 KB

About 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
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.

Table of Contents

Introduction     xiii
It's Not About the Money     xv
Financial Planner by Day, Yogi by Dawn     xvi
Why This Book?     xviii
Financial Freedom for Your Soul     xx
The Nature of Mind
You Will Never Have Enough     3
The Wanting Mind     4
Wired to Want     6
If Only     7
In the Flow     9
But It Feels Good!     10
The Financial Toll of Wanting     11
Diminishing Returns     12
The More We Want, the More We Want     12
Financial Planning and Great Investment Advice Won't Get You "There"     13
Wanting Better Investment Returns     16
At War with Yourself     17
Not Wanting     20
The Unconscious Wins Every Time     23
We Get What We Think We Deserve     24
Your Core Story     25
The Script Is Written     26
The Seeds of the Core Story     30
Understand Your Story     31
To the Very Core     33
No Quick Fix     35
The Eight Financial Archetypes
Introducing the Archetypes     39
Our Stories Change     42
TheGuardian     45
The Guardian's Core Story     49
What the Guardian Feels     51
Seeds of the Guardian: Survival Mode     51
What the Guardian Thinks     55
The Payoff     55
Breaking the Guardian's Death Grip     57
The Pleasure Seeker     61
The Pleasure Seeker's Core Story     62
Seeds of the Pleasure Seeker-"Why Suffer?"     64
The Payoff: Death-Defying Buying     65
What the Pleasure Seeker Fears     66
The Dark Side of Pleasure-Seeking: Buy Now, Pay (Big) Later     68
A Different Kind of Pleasure     72
My Hands Are Empty     74
The Idealist     77
The Idealist's Core Story     78
Seeds of the Idealist-"The Eye of a Needle"     80
"Money Just Sucks"     81
Heads in the Sand     82
Hippies with Money     84
The Payoff     85
Breaking Free     86
The Saver     89
The Saver's Core Story     90
The Dark Side of Saving     93
The Payoff     95
Breaking the Saver's Death Grip     95
The Star     99
The Star's Core Story     100
Seeds of the Star-Bring on the Bling     101
The Payoff     103
A Painful Chasm     104
Freeing the Star     105
The Innocent     109
The Innocent's Core Story     110
What the Innocent Believes     111
Seeds of the Innocent     113
The Payoff     114
Get Comfortable with Money     115
The Caretaker     119
The Caretaker's Core Story     120
What the Caretaker Believes     121
Seeds of the Caretaker: "He's Not Heavy..."     122
The Payoff     123
The Dark Side of Caretaking     125
A Different Kind of Caretaking     128
The Empire Builder     135
What the Empire Builder Believes     137
The Wanting Mind and the Empire Builder     138
The Payoff     139
Treat Yourself Like You Treat Your Business     140
Removing the Blinders     141
In the World and of It
The Middle Way with Money     151
Think More     154
A Four-Year-Old Runs Your Financial Life     156
Your Money Mask     159
Your Innate Financial Wisdom     161
Hold Both     163
This Is Depressing!     165
The Middle Way for Each Archetype     165
Heart Racing?     175
Opposites Attract     175
Go Slowly     177
Play!     178
Your Divine Nature and Your Human Nature     178
The Conscious Investor     181
Holy Investing!     183
What Investing Is     183
Interconnected Versus Isolated Wealth     184
Investing as Though We're All One     187
Does It Really Work?     188
When the Past Does Not Equal the Future     189
Doing Good and Doing Well     190
The Middle Way for Investors     191
True Diversity     193
So How Does a Diversified Portfolio Perform?     196
Unearthing the Hidden Fees and Costs of Investing     198
Time Is on Your Side     202
Prepare Yourself     205
The Yoga of Money     211
Self-Centeredness     213
It's Not Just for Saints     216
Right Motivation     219
If Not Now, When?     220
How Much Should You Give?     221
Three Buckets     224
What Can You Give?     226
What's Your Cause?     229
Teach a Man to Fish     231
So You Want to Leave a Legacy     232
Don't Wait until You're Dead and Gone     233
You Have Arrived     237
Don't Do, Be     239
As Good as It Gets     241
The Nuts and Bolts     245
Ready-to-Go Investment Strategies     246
Cash Flow     249
Debt and Mortgage Management     250
Retirement Planning     253
Taxes     254
Annuities     255
Insurance     256
Estate Planning     260
Financial Planners     263
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)     263
Smart Philanthropy     263
Debt Reduction Services     264
Donor-Advised Funds     264
Characteristics of and Practical Recommendations for Each Archetype     264
The Guardian     264
The Pleasure Seeker     267
The Idealist     269
The Saver     271
The Star     273
The Innocent     275
The Caretaker      277
The Empire Builder     279
Resources     283
Acknowledgments     289
Index     293

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