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Larry Winget: On tough (financial) love with clients

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Larry Winget is known as the pitbull of personal development; he’s also the closing keynote speaker at Senior Market Advisor Expo this August in Las Vegas, and whether you’ve seen him live or read him on the page, you know one thing about Winget: He doesn’t pull his punches.

In fact, Winget is best known for throwing haymakers, at clients, no less. For Winget, a tough-love approach is the best way to get through to consumers. From a guy whose best-selling book is “Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get a Life,” would you expect anything less?

In a world of self-help gurus who espouse a get-better approach through holding hands and swaying while thinking positive thoughts, Winget’s kick-in-the-pants approach is unconventional, even radical, but effective.

In the coming months, look forward to seeing Winget’s writings and videos on Senior Market Advisor’s website. Following is his recent blog to consumers on “Four Money Thoughts That Can Change Your Life.” There’s good advice here for advisors to convey to your clients, if you want to use that tough love approach.

1. How to make more money.

You can’t. That’s right, you can’t make more money. You can only earn more money. You aren’t the Treasury Department and you don’t get to print it up when you need it. Money must be earned.

Some of you will immediately respond with “semantics” because you like to argue and would rather argue than think. But there is much more to this statement than mere semantics. We are at a sad place where people seem to have forgotten that wealth at every level is earned at some level.

Too many people don’t understand that their money is a payment for a service rendered. They certainly don’t like facing the idea that the reason they don’t have much money is because they don’t offer much of a service, or don’t offer a service that is worth much.

Sadly, I have discovered that people don’t really want to earn more money . . . they just want to have more money. I guess the Money Fairy is supposed to slip into their bank account during the night and deposit money. Even the Tooth Fairy expects you to leave a tooth behind in exchange for the money. You give up the tooth and the Tooth Fairy gives up a little coinage. That’s how the Money Fairy works too: You give up a little work, a little effort, a little service and the Money Fairy shows up with a little money.

So if you want to have more money, read on.

2. How to have more money.

There are only two ways to have more money: increase income and/or decrease expenses. Hopefully a combination of both. This little principle works for government, business and individuals.

I’m not going to spend any time here explaining what you could do to increase your income, as that is up to you, your talents and the time available. And if you want to know how to decrease expenses just look at how you are spending your money and figure it out. It’s not hard to look at your spending to evaluate what you need, what you want and what you can live without. It’s all about priorities.

3. Set good priorities.

Your time, your energy and your money always go to what is important to you. When I was doing my A&E television show, Big Spender, I would spend 10 minutes walking through someone’s house, another 10 minutes looking at their checking account and then their credit card statements and I could tell exactly what their priorities in life were. I had a couple that spent 40 percent of their income on food. You can guess their size probably but it was more than that. Food was their obsession. It was their priority to the point that their bills and house and cars and even their appearance suffered. I had a father who spent more money on his three-pack-a-day cigarette habit than he did on making sure his kid had a roof over his head and a car to ride in and milk in the refrigerator. His personal pleasure was more important than his family as evidenced by his spending. If you spend more money at the mall each month than you do on having a secure financial future, then looking cute if more important to you than being financially secure is.

Finances are like a good crime novel; if you want to know who is guilty, follow the money! Take a few minutes and evaluate your spending to see what your real priorities are and if yours need some realignment, then start now!

4. Get your mind right!

Each of these points I’ve made here are as much about how you think than anything else. It’s about getting your mind right. Begin to think in terms of earning money instead of magically making money. Get your mind wrapped around the simple idea of increasing income and decreasing expenses instead of easy way outs and get rich quick ideas. And most importantly get your mind right about what is really important to you. Is the temporary exhilaration of the moment more important than the long-term satisfaction that comes from investing your time, energy and money in things that really matter?


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