James Swanwick: James Swanwick here. Today we’re talking about your finances. We’re talking about wealth creation. We’re talking about how to get better with your money and we brought in an expert on all things money and wealth creation by the name of Caleb Guilliams. Caleb, thanks for being here mate. Great to have you here.
Caleb Guilliams: I’m so pumped to be here. And thanks for having me on.
James Swanwick: You know a bit about money, you know a bit about wealth creation, right? You’re the founder and CEO of Better Wealth, which shows people how to have efficiency and control over their money today. I think you’re in 46 states now with better wealth. Is that correct?
Caleb Guilliams: Yeah, that’s correct.
James Swanwick: Amazing. Tell us a little bit about that. You’re the founder and CEO, so just tell us a little bit about better wealth and your background and knowledge in terms of all things Finance?
Caleb Guilliam: Usually the first question, I’ll get it out of the way right away is, how in the world are you about to teach me anything about money, when you look like you’re 14 years old. Like that’s what everyone’s thinking if they’re watching this right now. I got started at a super young age, worked at a bank when I was 17. I ended up taking over the bank’s investment department at 19 years old and at that time, I’m a big Simon Sinek fan, I’m a big mission person. I realized that if you take a step back, the reason why people are hurting is they’re thinking about money the wrong way. They’re number one, you are your number one asset. A lot of people don’t think about themselves being the most important asset in their life and in fact, you don’t even show up on a financial balance sheet. So we’re focused on all the wrong things. I’m realizing that people are devaluing themselves in the way that they think about their time, their health, their energy, their passion, their money. At 19, I just knew that something was wrong and people are working so hard and having so little. I went out on a journey and just asked people, like beg people, I think people felt sorry for because they’re like, Oh, you like I need to help this kid. I just learned some non-typical ways to better control money, to better think about money to think about money in the form of efficiency. I’m a big fan of ROR, doesn’t stand for rate of return, stands for return on result, reverse engineer everything else to get the results that you want. I had an epiphany that most people are either being told to save for the future, or have control in the present, like there’s that trade off now or future. As an entrepreneur, you’re like, I noticed something called compound interest, but I want to invest in myself, and I don’t know. I realized that the people that really know what’s going on don’t have to choose anymore. That’s what I wrote my book on, that’s kind of the thesis of like, use money as a tool to live more powerfully today and in the future. So I became one of the youngest people to take over the bank’s investment department, then came one of the youngest people to actually leave at 21 years old, and started Better Wealth. We’ve taken this thing called Google virtual space and we can educate, help implement, help coach people in a powerful way. As you can imagine, people were like, this is super foolish of you to do this, you don’t have any gray hair, you don’t have a suit, whatever. I’m just so grateful that we stuck with it, we stay consistent and now that’s where we’re at. Better Wealth is a financial service company that helps people take back control of their wealth, so that they can live more intentionally now and in the future.
James Swanwick: Yeah, nice. And what are some of the most common mistakes that you see people make with their wealth creation and their Finance? And then we’ll get into some solutions for this.
Caleb Guilliams: The number one mistake people make is they don’t have they don’t think with the end in mind. I said something about ROR or being return on result, a lot of times they’ll literally type that into Google and then they’ll have Google tell them this is what you should do. What’s crazy to me is like, what we need to be avid about is we need to get clear, clear on where we want to go. Just like Alice in Wonderland, she’s at the fork in the road, the cat asked her where she wants to go and she’s like, I don’t know. The cat says something super profound, says if you don’t know where you want to go, any road will get you there. Is it not true that most people are wandering through life not having a direction of where they want to go. With that, that’s the number one mistake people make, they don’t have clarity. Then the number two mistake is people are focused way too much on retirement being this passive hope strategy, and less about how money can be used as an asset today. The number 3rd mistake is they’re not thinking about themselves as their greatest asset and it’s super clear in the way that they show up and how they think and make decisions.
James Swanwick: So if we break that down, people aren’t clear on where they want to go. If someone asks what your financial goals are I would assume most people would just say I’ll make as much as possible, right? So why is that a poor answer?
Caleb Guilliams: Because it’s not specific. One of the questions that we ask is if money wasn’t an issue at all, James, what would you do? You start taking a step back and you’re like, man, there’s more to life than just money. See, we hide behind money in retirement and account balances. If money wasn’t an issue, at all, what would you do? Another question to ask, and this is you can ask this in any industry, it’s like, how do you define financial success, and get them to actually verbalize how they define that? When you ask why a couple of times you get down to the deeper root-like, okay, this is what it’s all about. Because if you don’t get clarity on that, you’re gonna be focused on the wrong metrics.
James Swanwick: It’s funny, you know, because I remember 10 years ago, I was on the north coast of Colombia and I had jobs up until that point. I hadn’t been an entrepreneur and I remember I was sitting on the beach, and I was like, what do I really want, like, what do I actually want in the next 10 years. I remember saying to myself, I want to have the freedom to do whatever I want, wherever I want, however, I want, and more specifically, to have a location independent business, and a location independent life and lifestyle. It basically meant that I couldn’t have a job anymore like that, that result meant going to an office, I got to focus on online business creation and online business making. I remember saying at the time, all I want to do is just make $100,000 a year, and just be happy to just travel around and do whatever, as long as they don’t have to be anywhere. Then I wrote a little ebook, and I put it out and it bombed. It didn’t do particularly well but that set the chain of the ball in motion to get momentum and keep moving forward and a couple of years later, I got a mentor and I created an online business. Now I have two health and wellness businesses that both done seven figures plus and, you know, for the last 10 years, pretty much or probably nine years, I’ve been literally living all over the world, running my business from wherever, however, with whoever it’s, you know, all virtual. I actually have created that lifestyle for myself. The point I’m just trying to make is not to say, wow, isn’t that amazing? The point is, is that to speak to your point, you got to have a plan, a destination? Like I asked myself the question that you just put forward if money wasn’t an issue, what would you do? The answer for me then was to be able to do whatever I want in far-flung countries around the world. When you ask the question, you know, invite people to say, how do you define financial success? For me, it was like 100 grand and traveling around the world. Now I’ve generated millions of dollars since then but that was the plan then and that got me hitting in the right direction. So is that an example of kind of what you’re encouraging people?
Caleb Guilliams: Yeah, that’s an example but I would even ask why from there. Why is that important, you actually, you’re super clear, it’s the freedom. Yeah. freedom to do what? It’s not like something super ultra-clear but that then ultimately determines what we do. Because then I’ll go back, if that’s what you wanted to do should you max out a 401k? The answer is no. A 401k does not show up powerfully today, because I’m hearing that you want to travel not when you’re 65 but you want to travel now? Are there more efficient ways? We need to be willing to think non traditionally, but we need a framework and how we make those decisions. So often you see this in the health space, so often people just get in line and they don’t ask why and they don’t question what they’re being told.
James Swanwick: Right. So once our listener or our viewer has gone through this process, and they’ve got very clear. Let’s say they’ve defined financial success, and they’ve defined, you know, if money wasn’t an issue, what would you do? What’s the next step from that? How did they implement that or what other strategies should they do first?
Caleb Guilliams: The next step after you get clarity, is to audit your time and your money and your abilities. What that looks like is number one audit where you’re at, are you happy, what are you good at, get super self-aware of what’s going on. From the money perspective, we want to look at three things. We want to look at cash flow, everything in our life is built on cash flow, like everything that we go, talk about going forward needs to be based around cash flow. The question is, can you increase money coming in? Once you have cash flow, your money can either go to places, it’s either gone spent on taxes, lifestyle, kids education, whatever, or it’s saved for future consumption. So that’s real simple, can we increase it or can we keep more of it? Then the second thing is looking at assets. An asset is anything of value and essentially, like Robert Kiyosaki says an asset is anything that puts money in your pocket, the traditional aspect of a thing, even assets anything of value. So the next question is to audit that and say, are these assets, 401k real estate, SEP IRA, life insurance, annuities are these showing up in my life that I currently have? Are they best helping me with my desired result? Sometimes the answer’s yes, most of the time, it’s no. The third thing is looking at debt. There are people listening to this that are drowning in debt. Instead of just doing the shotgun approach, what if there was a better way to create a strategy on the knockoff toxic debt, potentially have the humility to say some data is not toxic and may be good, because by having that it’s helping me better live my mission. So you have to audit yourself, your time, but you have to audit your cash flow, assets, and debts. Get super clear and make sure that we’re being efficient and then the next step is the strategy. So a lot of people like to focus solely, they go right to the strategy, they don’t get clarity on what is really important to you and they don’t do an audit of what’s actually going on. They’re trying to diagnose you in the first five minutes, we see that all the time. We got to be really clear that we have to get clarity on you, we got to see where you’re at. But when I know someone and what’s important to them, and I know where they’re at, then you can then be in a position to give financial advice and actually give people the best foundation to move forward.
James Swanwick: So would you then refrain from giving financial advice, generally speaking, until someone actually has done that, got clarity on their financial success, done the audit on their cash flow assets and debt?
Caleb Guilliams: Yes, I would say the two things that I would say, after that, you want to be consistent. Consistency is everything. So most people have a savings problem. 98% of people that come through our world, they’re not financially in balance as it relates to cash flow there, that means they’re consuming too much so something needs to change. A lot of people are not thinking about their money in the form of use. Your greatest financial need is using money. Why aren’t we being taught strategies on how to best use your money. My book that put me on the map is actually on a special type of strategy on how to overfunded life insurance, and use it kind of like a bank to save your money, invest in things that you care about, and get dollars to do more than one job. That’s not for everybody. If you’re an entrepreneur listening to this, you’re an investor, it may be for you, for most of America, it’s not for. So when I first got started, I started on the strategy and was like, hey, you could do this. I was right principle wise, but the strategy wasn’t right for everybody. Yes, you’re right, strategy comes next. If you don’t have clarity on those two things, you got to be really careful who you’re taking advice from?
James Swanwick: On this particular conversation that you and I are having are you able to give generic strategic advice? Or are you able to break it and break it down into, if you’re this, then this is the strategy, if you’re this, then this would be the strategy?
Caleb Guilliams: Yep. I’ll break it down into three types of people that we see. So the first type of person is the person that’s drowning in credit card debt, they’re not able to save a lot of money. It’s very clear you got toxic debt and so our goal is to free up that debt, we do that with the cash flow scorecard or the debt scorecard strategy. The debt scorecard strategy is essentially taking your balance and dividing it by your minimum payment. You’re gonna get a range of numbers, you’re gonna get as low as 20 or so to as high as like, 150. The lower the number, the more toxic that debt is, that means there’s a lot of cash flow that’s getting drained into that debt. The higher the number is, the less cash flow that’s taking. If you’re like, 95% of people in America right now, we got to figure out a strategy on how to specifically knock off those bad debts. Then you gotta promise me when we free up that cash flow, it’s either going to go to you, or they continue to knock off bad debt, but the eventual goal is to take that cash flow and put it somewhere. If you can’t save more than $10,000 a year, my mind is going to go all to how do we make more money? Again, we could max out a Roth IRA, you could start an overfunded life insurance policy, but at the end of the day, man, if I’m being honest, we got to ask the question, how can we make more money? How do we position something where we can save a lot more than $10,000 because we need to feed the beast, the volume of savings is important. If you can save more than $10,000 then there are two types of people. There are the people that want control, the entrepreneur, the investor that’s like, I want to control capital, because I can use that capital to biohack my body, to invest in business, marketing. So control is going to be important. What they want to do is they want to save their money into something like what I write about in my book, The and Asset, which is essentially a special type of contract that allows your money to grow, but you can also use it all contractually guaranteed and tax-free so you can invest in yourself, but you also get the consistency of growth. If you’re not an entrepreneur, if you’re just like hey, I want a system where I can put my money somewhere, it’s fine. If there are fees associated, it’s fine. If it’s locked up, I just want it to grow, then you want to look at a low-cost index that you can put towards, and over time the growth is going to be pretty solid. You just want to make sure that you minimize fees, and you want to look at taxes and see if you can minimize the tax burden in the future. The two types of people that we really work with are we just identify like, what’s the outcome. If you seek more control, let’s go The And Asset route and if you don’t, then let’s go, maybe the typical, like low-cost growth route. And then the final part is like, a lot of people don’t have an end goal, the goal of climbing a mountain is to get down safely. A lot of people are going up the mountain and not thinking about coming down and so that’s a whole if you’re nearing retirement and you have assets. Honestly, you got to work with somebody that understands how to best take your assets, and create that, again, going back to cash flow, create that stability, certain cash flow coming down the mountain. I know, I said, three, those are four types of people. There are people that need to make more money and knock off debt. There are people that save money that need to decide which route they want to go. And there are people that are nearing that and want to translate their assets into cash flow and they need to figure out the right strategies on how to do that.
James Swanwick: I remember someone said once a number of years ago, just in relation to how to make more money. It was instead of saying, I can’t afford that, you ask yourself the question, how can I afford that? So when there’s been things that I’ve been entertaining, purchasing, I guess, or investing in for even better, like investing in something that’s going to pay off down the road will give me an ROI. I flip it around from you know, instinctively, I might feel I can’t afford that, oh hang on, how can I afford that? Just that simple exercise gets me into a world of possibility about how to create more money, more income. Any other little mental hacks or little things to get people in, like looking at situations of like opportunities versus like, you know, seeing obstacles in the way?
Caleb Guilliams: I asked myself that almost every day, that’s one of my favorite questions, is to ask the how. Because scarcity goes into the I can’t, you actually believe that, and when you say how can I, it puts you into a different mindset and there are endless opportunities. That goes back to if I was giving someone investment advice on where to put their $2,000 a year in, I’m actually not best serving them. Because we need to ask the question, how do we triple that, how do we10 X that? If you don’t think that’s possible, that’s a limiting belief, you have to get your mindset focused first, before we go into strategy. That’s why I started so much on mindset. If you talk to a lot of financial people, they’re gonna go right into the principal compound interest, if your mindset is not right, it doesn’t matter.
James Swanwick: You’re absolutely right. The thing is the mindset is not sexy for people. It’s like, forget the mindset, give me the nitty-gritty, you know, but you’re right, it’s like the most important thing. Like you said before, before, like in order to know where you’re going, you got to know where you are. So when you suggest doing the audit, again, that’s not sexy, because now you’ve actually got to look at that you’ve been avoiding looking at for a long time. I know speaking for myself some years ago I didn’t want to do the audit because I was afraid of what I was going to see. It was just easier for me to keep sort of like blocking it out, not looking at it. Then it was almost like, okay, let’s do the audit, let’s have a look at it, it was painful. If you’re going to fly to Brisbane, Australia, where I am now, well, you got to know where you are to figure out how to get there.
Caleb Guilliams: That’s why we’re so bullish on this idea of Xray audit. It’s because, yes, there’s growth in seeing where you’re at and knowing that and seeing the problem because how in the world are you going to find solutions if you can identify what the real issue is?
James Swanwick: We’re talking to Caleb Guilliams is the founder and CEO of Better Wealth and Caleb’s book is The And Asset. Just before we move on, do you want to just tell our listeners and viewers where they can grab that book, Caleb?
Caleb Guilliams: Yeah, they can go to https://betterwealth.com and get themselves a copy. I offered ahead of time, if we make our own domain, I would gladly even pay the shipping. So Better Wealth is the company and if we find a domain that’s betterwealth.com slash something, you name it, I’ll give your listeners a totally free copy.
James Swanwick: I want to switch the conversation slightly. So a couple of things that are just coming up. I’m a dual citizen. I live in America and I’m an American citizen. I’m an Australian citizen born and raised in Australia became a US citizen about seven years ago. One of the things that I learned when I went to America was how they reward you in America for carrying debt. You know, you build a credit history by having credit cards and responsibly paying it off. In Australia, they punish you for having credit cards, and for having a history of responsible debt, they don’t want you to have credit cards at all. So I’m curious, based on your experience, what do you think is the better system because like you said before, most Americans are crippled, or many Americans are crippled with debt. Even though they get rewarded with a high credit score, you know, and that increases borrowing capacity. If they have if they can demonstrate over a number of years that they’ve carried debt responsibly yet. In Australia, it seems we’re like no, we don’t want you to take on on debt
Caleb Guilliams: In Australia, if you pay off your balance, do you get dinged?
James Swanwick: Do you get a penalty?
Caleb Guilliams: Yeah
James Swanwick: If you pay off a home loan, like early then yeah, there are fees associated with that? I don’t think that’s any different to the US though. In terms of credit cards, I’m not sure, to be honest.
Caleb Guilliams: The credit score, good luck trying to figure that out. There’s a lot of people that make courses and write books and it doesn’t make any sense, it really doesn’t so it’s a weird system. I think the basic problem is, here’s what I think about debt. Debt is not a good or bad instrument. Good debt helps you put more money back in your pocket, bad debt, takes more money out of your pocket because it exists. I sat down with one of my friends the other day, and he’s like, when I got my first credit card, I thought they were giving me free money. I’m like, are you serious? And he’s like, yeah. So that’s a problem, It’s a problem with people over 18 who don’t know how a freakin ‘credit card works. That’s an issue. I think a lot of the problems that we’re getting ourselves into, if you look at the numbers, is students taking on massive debt, really not having clarity, going back to the clarity piece on what they want. Also supplementing with credit cards, you look at the interest, like there’s no way in the world that’s a good idea. When you look at the interest that you’re
James Swanwick: 100% interest.
Caleb Guilliams: I mean, I’ve sat down with someone that was 32 and you looked at all the points and fees. With that, you have people out there that their one goal in life is for you to be debt-free. My message is that you could be debt-free and broke, my message is so much bigger, what do you want and go make it happen. I write in my book, a mortgage, right now in the US, you can get a mortgage for under 4%. Here is how I think. A bank will let you live in a house if you can earn more than 4% with your resources, i.e. money, that’s good debt, it’s a good note to have. Yes, you’re paying a little bit of interest, but that’s allowing you to invest in business investments and other things. A credit card, there’s no way in the world you can justify earning more than 12% or 20%, consistently. You always have your unicorns that say like, I started the business on a credit card, and you kind of cringe, but they made a point there. So I think it’s more a financial education issue. I think many people are like that because they don’t know any different and our saving rate as a country is super small. So I think it’s more of a consumption problem, I don’t think a lot of people are doing debt because I’m gonna get rewarded to do this. I think that’s just the way they do it. It’s like, yeah, I’m gonna go on vacation, and I’m going to finance it, whereas wealthy people never pay a ton of interest to do a liability based activity.
James Swanwick: That’s right. Good debt, bad debt is a big difference. If you’re going into debt, that something’s gonna give you a return on that investment then that’s good debt. If you’re, you know, using debt to buy a car that you don’t need or whatever.
Caleb Guilliams: The thing is, people are using debt to buy things that they can’t afford. Even as I said, a mortgage is a good debt. It’s not if you’re buying a house that you wouldn’t have bought otherwise. So it’s like, it’s not the debt issue. It’s the lack of education and people are buying things that they shouldn’t have because of debt.
James Swanwick: Warren Buffett, I think said, If you buy things that you don’t need pretty soon you have to sell things you need. Any other final bit of advice then for people in terms of managing their wealth, creating wealth creation. I know we’ve got clarity on how you define your financial success doing an audit on your cash flow on your assets and on your debt and only then do you move into strategy. Anything else that’s out of those parameters or that’s the nitty-gritty,
Caleb Guilliams: It’s really taking responsibility and, and making decisions based on you being the most important asset in your life. I don’t want that to sound goofy but it’s like, if we get really clear on what’s important, you have your time, you have your God-given abilities, and you have resources. Those are the three variables that can make you win, and live the life of your dreams. So yes, it’s clarity, audit those things and then create a strategy around it, where you can use that money as a resource to be able to dominate and live more powerfully and take control of those in your life.
James Swanwick: Just to add on those great points, just to quote Warren Buffett again. They interviewed him on CNN, I think when the financial crisis was hitting back in 2008-2009 and they asked him, what’s the best investment? Is it property, is it indexes, is it the mutual funds, what is it? He said, the best investment is always in yourself, and by that, I took him to mean. Invest in knowledge, invest in education, invest in coaching, put stuff in your brain, and become aware of things, because investing in yourself will always give you the best rate of return. Do you share those sentiments?
Caleb Guilliams: Yeah. Hundred percent.
James Swanwick: Then just to borrow a quote from Tony Robbins as well. Tony Robbins, says it’s never a question of lack of resources it’s always a lack of resourcefulness. Another way of saying is like, I don’t have the resources, then you just do a little flip, you go, well, let me be resourceful. How do I create the resources?
Caleb Guilliams: Yeah, I love that and it goes back to the mindset. I can’t afford it versus how can I? It’s the same concept of how you think.
James Swanwick: Caleb Guilliams, thank you so much for your time, so appreciate that. Make sure you head over to www.betterwealth.com and you can grab a copy of Caleb’s book over there as well which is The And Asset. Caleb, thanks so much for joining us and guarding us with your expertise today.
Caleb Guilliams: James, it was a pleasure. I appreciate you and what you’re doing