Caleb Guilliams on How to Build Wealth | PoP 518

Image of Caleb Guilliams speaking to Joe Sanok on this therapist podcast about how to build wealth

How can you make your money work better for you? Can you utilize your debt to help you instead of hinder you? How can organizing your financial life with clarity accelerate and encourage your wealth?

In this therapist podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Caleb Guilliams about how to build wealth and shares a 4 step framework you have to pay attention to.

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Meet Caleb Guilliams

Image of Caleb Guilliams speaks with Joe Sanok on this therapist podcast about building wealth.

After taking over the entire investment department of a bank by the age of 19, Caleb saw firsthand how 98% of Americans were financially failing despite “professional” financial advising.

After 3 years of traveling the country being mentored by the most successful financial minds, Caleb discovered a better way to build wealth. 

Leaving his prestigious position at the bank, Caleb founded the company BetterWealth, authored the best-selling book “The AND Asset”, hosts the Better Wealth Podcast, and speaks to thousands around the world. One of the youngest leaders in the industry, Caleb is quickly becoming The New Face of Finance.

Visit his website, connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Listen to his podcast here.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Caleb’s wisdom on money investments and mistakes
  • Caleb’s four-step framework
  • Rules of thumb about debt
  • Mindsets to get you on track towards wealth

Caleb’s wisdom on money investments and mistakes

We as individuals are our greatest asset, and if you think everything in our life, our ability to show up, work and provide value is the derivative of everything we’re experiencing. Any act, the financial industry, Wall Street, the banking industry, is literally doing the exact opposite. They’re telling us the exact opposite … I almost think of them as devaluing or minimizing their greatest asset and it’s showing up in the way they think about their money, and showing up in the way they think about their time. (Caleb Guilliams)

The institutions are not giving us the ability to take our money to the next level. Therefore, it is important to understand how money works not as a product, but as a framework. Understand how it works from its foundational point of view and you can utilize this framework in future investments and business collaborations.

Caleb’s four-step framework

  1. Looking inward and getting clear on what you actually want: The majority of people in life do not have clarity on how or where they want their life to go, and it shows up in the inconsistency of their work. Keep ROR in mind – return on result, meaning, get clear on where you want to go and everything going forward needs to be connected to creating this lifestyle.
  2. Creating efficiency through auditing: cash flow – which is money coming in as any income. Cash flow can be consumed or saved for a reason, and this is where many people get lost. By not tracking their money, so much gets lost and people can no longer save money effectively.
  3. Assets: ask yourself, is this asset that I own best serving the result that I want now and in the future?
  4. Debt: there is good debt and bad debt, and ask yourself if the debt that you have is putting money in your pocket, or is it literally taking money away from you?

Rules of thumb about debt

The interest rate

If you are paying 4% or lower on your house, are you able to create a greater result than 4%? If you say no, Caleb encourages you to rethink your business. In Caleb’s book, he discusses that you are better off emotionally, with control, and financially by not aggressively paying off your house and paying your house off a third a year mortgage.

Debt scorecard

Looking at your debt the same way you look at real estate. There is some debt that is efficient meaning, that it takes less money away from you and helping you create more money, while there is some debt that is toxic and takes a lot of your money.

Mindsets to get you on track towards wealth

People who are generally more successful in dealing with money are those who understand leverage, and what that means is that wealthy people know how to leverage their time, money, skillsets, and relationships. They understand how to live in the context that best benefits and uplifts them and those around them.

Some people who are wealthy also utilize the mindset that they are their greatest asset, and they live in that way, because whenever they make a decision, they go back to their clarity and what they want in order to make decisions that will further their goals.

Books mentioned in this episode

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]:
Look, paydays are great, but running payroll, calculating taxes, deductions, compliance, that’s not easy. Unless of course you have Gusto. Gusto’s simple. Online payroll and benefits built for small business. I use Gusto, personally. Gusto automatically files your payroll taxes and directly deposits your team’s pay. Plus, you can offer all kinds of benefits: 401k’s, health insurance, workman’s comp and more. And because you’re a listener, you get three months free once you run your first payroll. Go to www.gusto.com/joe. That’s www.gusto.com/joe.

This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 518.

I’m not sure if you’ve met with your accountant and your bookkeeper. But you’ve only got a couple days left to spend some of that money instead of paying taxes or paying as many taxes. Of course, consult your own accountant and bookkeeper. But if you are looking for ways to level up next year, and you want to sign up for anything with us, you can go over to practiceofthepractice.com/apply. We have lots of things for you to get kind of out of the way before year end over there.

And today we’re talking about building wealth. And you know, what’s really interesting is a number of years ago, my brother in law, Billy, I want to give him a shout out. He and I had a beer together. And we were talking about low fee, whole index funds. And which is I mean, we both were geeking out about. But he had done all this research through this group called the Boggle Heads, and basically Vanguard is one of those places where you can sign up for your retirement fund. They’re not one of our sponsors or anything, it’s just something that I personally use. But you can do these whole index funds that typically will beat mutual funds for low fees. And we’re going to talk about that today, about building wealth, we’re going to talk about a lot of different things.

I mean, I’ve been exploring all sorts of stuff. We have two Airbnb’s, we’re renting out our primary home while we’re on the road. I’ve been listening to this other podcast I just love. It’s called the Deep Pockets podcast, the deep pockets on real estate. And even just little things like if you spend 750 hours a year, and that’s your primary job. So if you have a stay at home parent as part of your equation, or you can do more of that on real estate. So for example, running an Airbnb, you can be a real estate professional. And there’s all sorts of tax benefits to that. And so sometimes we think about money in a way that it’s just, you know, oh, I want to charge X number of dollars per hour. Now, that’s great to give yourself a job, but it’s not really building that wealth.

And so what you want to do is start to think through those multiple streams of income. And so that could be real estate, that could be the stock market, which typically it’s 10% or so, even just being able to, like, help invest in your kids, if they can have some income so that they can start an IRA at a young age. These are all ways that you can build wealth in a way that’s authentic to who you are. That’s outside of just that one on one counseling. So today, we’re gonna be talking all about how to build wealth, and I’m so excited for you to meet Caleb. He has quite a story and I’m not gonna give that away now. But I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this.

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[JOE]:
Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Caleb Guilliams. After taking over the entire investment department of a bank by the age of 19, Caleb saw firsthand how 98% of Americans were financially failing, despite “professional” financial advising. After three years of traveling the country being mentored by the most successful financial minds, Caleb discovered a better way to build wealth. Caleb, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. [CALEB]:
Joe, it is a pleasure being on here. Thanks for having me on. [JOE]:
Oh, yeah. Well, let’s start with adventure and three years of traveling the country because as many of the listeners know, we’re living out of a camper. We’re in Colorado, we just figured out you’re like an hour away from where I am. So we talked about having dinner together. So, traveling the country after taking over a banking department, tell us that story. [CALEB]:
So really, what I have to do is I have to go backwards a little bit because if we were, if this was on video, your audience would be having a heart attack, man, they’d be like, how in the world does someone who doesn’t even look old enough to drive a car, have anything to say about money? And so really, that’s what’s happened. My whole entire life I’ve always been young. I worked at a chicken farm and that was one of my first jobs. And then when I was 17 years old, I was like, I want to do something a little bit more with my life than just work at a chicken farm. And I got a job at a bank through just a connection. And that was one of the first things that I realized is the power of people and the power of just really seeking people that want to help you. And that’s when I got a job at a bank at 17 years old.

And so I started working there and worked in almost every department. I’m a big reader, I knew that money followed value. And so what I wanted to do is I wanted to defer this idea of just making me an extra dollar and wanting to be more valuable and learn. And so what ended up happening was, I started working in our investment department when I was 18 years old as the investment assistant. And you have to understand, at that time, I got my very first business cards, and I was set, like I had my name, I just got into college. So I was living at home, working at a bank as an investment assistant, and also going to school full time. And that was great. And then when I was 19 years old, the guy that was running the bank’s investment department took another job and I became one of the youngest people in the country and quite frankly the world to have such a huge responsibility, taking over three branches’ investment department at 19 years old, sophomore in college.

And so that’s what very much put me on the map. The guy that was like a second father to me that was running the bank, he pretty much gave me a super cliche phrase. He’s like, Caleb, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. I was super well loved at the time. And so what I did was I went all in as it relates to really learning and seeking from experts. And I knew that most people are broke, because they don’t understand what I know. And so if we could just go all in, it would change people’s lives. And so that was kind of the upfront like what put me on the map. And obviously there’s a lot more that went into that. But that was like a quick story.

[JOE]:
I mean, when I was 19, I was playing in bands and snowboarding and doing school and it was having a “real job” wasn’t even on my map at that age. Was that something that your parents pushed? Or did you just have that self drive? How did you say even to yourself, I’m going to go work as an investment banker? That to me when I was 19 was not even something I thought that 19 year olds could have a job doing, or an 18 year old when you first applied. [CALEB]:
Right. So I was homeschooled. And my parents are not entrepreneurs. My dad’s actually a PhD molecular biologist. And what’s interesting is he didn’t teach me much about money. But there’s two things that he taught me. Number one is he taught me to be proactive. I used to hate working with him growing up. Because if I was just sitting around or standing around waiting for him to tell me what to do, he would literally get mad at me and tell me like, I’m like dad, like you haven’t told me what to do. And he’s like, Caleb, if you need to wait for someone to tell you what to do, you’re not going to amount to much and you know, he did it in a loving way. Like I don’t, I don’t want you to think that it was like, wow, that was super mean. But what he wanted to instill in me is most people go through life, and they’re not seeking what to do.

And then the other thing that happened was I started college in high school. And I got an A on my first test in macroeconomics. And I told him very excitedly, I was like, Dad, I got an A in my class, and he asked me, did I learn anything? I’m like, Dad, of course, I learned something, I got an A. He’s like Caleb, a lot of people get A’s through life, but don’t actually seek to understand. And so I think that, and then I was extremely short, I struggle with dyslexia, my mom, on another note, she was like, Caleb, the things that you can’t control, don’t worry about. But the things that you can control, you have a moral obligation to go all in. So reading is tough for me. But they encouraged me like, it’s, it’s my fault, if I’m gonna use that as a crutch, and to go all in on the things that I can control. And so that was very much my upbringing. I was also a typical oldest. So I think some of that came into play. But yeah, from 15 years old, I knew I wanted to be in the financial service business, because I just saw so many people not living great lives, and so many of them blamed money and ultimately looked back on like, I can’t do this because of money. I’m like, man, if I could suffocate this whole money excuse, things are gonna happen and it’s going to be powerful.

[JOE]:
Yeah, man, hearing the homeschooling side even right now we’re road schooling our kids as we’re on this big adventure. Just, what were things that in homeschooling your parents, like, how did they structure it because and this has nothing to do with Practice of the Practice, it’s more just my own, I have a podcast and I can ask you these questions. So how did they structure you know, writing, math, all of that, how much of it was kind of unschooling, follow your heart, do whatever you want versus like, super structured? [CALEB]:
Yeah, so my, my mom built our whole curriculum. So we definitely had some unschooling tendencies, but she was also like, okay, you have to check off the science, you have to check off the math, you have to check off those certain things. But what they did so well is they let us really determine how we were going to look at our day. And so when I got to college, man, there were people that did not know how to do time management. And honestly, my superpower, and it seems really basic, but I understand how to learn. I know how to get things done. And I can, like, understand time management. And so now I’m in a business and what is one of the most common failures that people that start a business, it’s like they don’t even know where to begin. Well, I learned that indirectly, through being homeschooled and yeah, 12 years old, like my, my little brother is actually 12 years old. He’s like learning time management. My mom’s not telling him, you have to do this. Like, obviously, there’s things that he needs to make sure to get done. But then the other thing is, I very much was entrepreneurial. And I listened to a lot of podcasts. I know that you were on Pat Flynn’s podcast. So it’s like, I listened to him early on. And that was like, a game changer for me. [JOE]:
Yeah, yeah, he was. He’s just so awesome. I think he was one of the first business people that I thought I can follow this guy. And I know that you recently interviewed the guy that wrote The Millionaire Next Door. That was one of my first business books I read where it was like, oh, it’s not caviar and fancy living. It’s just kind of doing smart things over an entire lifetime. I’m sure a bunch of people are listening now and saying, like, we want to know, how do you not be in that 98%. So as you were mentored, as you grew, and as you kind of have started, you know, your current website, what are some of those kind of core things that people typically do wrong, because when I think of financial advisors, or people that are in the financial advising type industries, and I’m not saying you fall in that, but oftentimes they’re saying work with me, I can beat the market, all these other things, and then they’re taking 2% or 3%. And it’s just like, there’s no way that you can get ahead when someone’s taking that much. And just putting your money into a whole market index fund through Vanguard, you’d probably do better. And so talk us through how to think about money, how to think about investing our time, our money, our assets, what have you learned as you’ve been talking to all these people that have mentored you. [CALEB]:
I first of all want to just say, I 100% agree with what you’re saying. When I was 19, coming on 20, learning about money, I just was very saddened by our industry. And quite frankly, man, I wanted to leave so many times, like I’m getting emotional just saying this, it’s like, it is so frustrating, if you actually know what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s frustrating what’s going on. But here’s what I’ll say is one of my big like, aha moments, and when I say this, you’re going to be nodding, and people listening to this are going to be like that makes 100% sense. We, as individuals, are our greatest asset. And if you think about everything in our life, like, our ability to show up, work and provide value is the derivative of everything that we’re experiencing. And yet, the financial industry, Wall Street, the banking industry, is literally doing the exact opposite. They’re telling us the exact opposite. They’re almost, if I saw what people are doing, I almost think of them as devaluing and that’s not necessarily a word, but like they’re devaluing or minimizing their greatest asset. And it’s showing up in the way that they think about their money, it’s showing up in the way that they’re thinking about their time, showing up in the way that they’re leveraging or the lack of leverage as relates to their abilities.

And so when I was working at the bank, I was like, okay, you have business owners, you have people working, you have people that are working so hard, and they can’t have a fraction of what they thought to “retirement”. And I’m like, what is going on? And I’m realizing that the institutions, quite frankly, it’s not giving us the ability to really take it to the next level. And so one of the things that I wanted to do is I wanted to learn from people that understand how money works, and not from a product, but from a framework because every, and you know this, every successful person has a framework of how they think about money. It’s not like, do this with your money or put it into this product, or to do, it’s like, no, I want to take a step back and say, how does this work from a foundation point of view, and if you understand the foundation, you can take it to any industry, any investment, and now you have a framework of how to think about that. And so with your permission, I would love to, like, walk through like those four steps that we walk people through. And the cool thing is, this will be a masterclass for your audience to really take to heart and apply to any area of their life.

[JOE]:
Yeah, let’s do it. [CALEB]:
Okay, so really, the first step is looking inward, and getting clear on what you actually want. The story I’ll share is Alice in Wonderland. In the fork in the road, the famous cat always says like, where do you want to go and she says she doesn’t know. The cat says, if you don’t know where you want to go, any road will get you there. Majority of people in life do not have clarity on where they’re going. And it’s showing up in every area. Wall Street wants to tell us that ROR or rate of return is the sole thing that we should be focusing on. And I want people to understand that ROR should stand for return on result, ie, get really clear and where you want to go and everything going forward needs to be pointing to that ideal lifestyle that you want to live.

So the first deal in principle, and this is true on almost anything in life, we don’t have clarity on what’s actually important. You can’t answer the question, what does financial success look like? Or what would I do if money wasn’t an issue? Make sure to take your time and figure that out. Because everything that I say going forward really only matters if you know where you want to go.

The second step or principle is all about creating efficiency, and really creating efficiency through auditing. There’s three things that really affect your money. There’s cash flow, cash flow is money coming in, and this is income, this could be money coming from pension plans, this could be money coming from real estate, or, you know, other businesses that you might not, you might run but your, is coming in passively. So money’s coming in. And cash flow can either be increased or decreased. And then once you have it, it either can go two places. It either can be consumed, or it can be saved. And it’s when you save it, you’re saving it for a reason. And so a lot of people are getting destroyed in this area. They’re either not making a fraction of what they could, or the money that they’re making, they’re not tracking it, they’re not, they’re, it’s, you know, quite frankly, it’s a disaster. And so when we say that 98% of people are not in balance, a lot of people aren’t saving money, period. And so cash flow is a really important thing. And just audits like where’s my money coming in? Can I increase it? And where is it going? Because once once you start tracking it, you just better control it.

And then the two other areas in that, in that efficiency is just looking at your assets. And an asset could be an S&P index, it could be your business, it could be real estate, it’s anything of value. And asking the question, is this asset that I own best serving the result that I want now and in the future? And for some people it is, and so there’s some business person that’s saving a lot of money in investments that they don’t have control over. And the number one thing that they need is to invest back in their business. And so that’s an example of there may be inefficiencies in the assets when you start auditing. And then finally its debt. And it’s looking at saying, okay, is the debt that I have…? There’s such things as good debt and bad debt. Is the debt that I have putting more money in my pocket? Or is it literally taking money away from me? And so once you audit your cash flow, your assets and your debt, and remember the mirror is the result that you want to live, it’s like, how is my cash flow, assets, and debt showing up? And how can I tweak what that is, so I can get to where I want to go? A lot of people are like cars, where they know where they want to go, but one foot’s on the gas and one foot’s on the brake. And what’s interesting, what I told you about clarity and efficiency, like, well, not a lot of financial people will talk about this, because there’s no way that we get paid by “helping you be more efficient”, but it’s the right thing to do. And a lot of people, I can tell you all these great strategies, but if you don’t have the foundation built, I’m telling you, it does not matter.

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[JOE]:
I’m so excited about one of our Podcast Launch Schooler’s podcasts that just started. The Communicate and Connect podcast for military relationships is dedicated to helping military couples know exactly how to communicate and reconnect with one another. In it, Elizabeth dives into how to survive deployment and readjust to the major life changes that come along with military family life. In the podcast, Elizabeth loves finding really interesting love stories of people beating the odds to have happy and healthy relationships. So listen to the Communicate and Connect podcast for military relationships on your favorite podcast player.

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[JOE]:
So like when people say, okay, I want to be audited in regards to kind of your model, how do you, or how does the website, or how do you recommend people think through that? For example, we have a couple Airbnb’s, we’ve got our retirement planning, I’ve got my business, I’ve got some new business ventures, and I’m living the lifestyle right now that I mean, as far as I know, I like living on the road. I like being this Gypsy, where, you know, we get to, you know, a month from now say, where do we want to go? So if we were working together, what kind of questions would you have me think through to make sure that I’m getting the strongest ROR on my money, on my life, on my time, and all those things that build wealth? [CALEB]:
Yep. It’s a great question. The first thing that we would do is, I would want to get all your financials, like Airbnb stuff, your retirement accounts, I would want to look at what’s coming in, and like, just get a snapshot of where you’re currently at. And then and then it’s really first of all, gaining clarity. And so it sounds like you have a lot of clarity in the way that you’re living your life. And so it’s like, okay, this is what I want and better, better wealth or wealth in general is, my metric is being able to live intentionally now and in the future. You could have $10 million, but if you’re not living intentionally, you’re not wealthy. So that’s number one. It’s like, figure that out. And then it goes, it goes into looking at those three things and asking, okay, your cash flow, and it literally is walking through. It’s like, okay, what’s coming in, and where’s it going? We can actually model that, like, from just knowing your cash flow and how much you’re saving, I can show you on a two line graph what, if nothing changes, when you’ll run out of money, or if you run out of money at all, it’s very eye opening.

And we have this as a free tool at our website. So that’s like, that’s the first thing that I do. And then I just look at your assets and your debts. And it just goes back to okay, on most people that we talk to that have debt are not being efficient. And they’re literally like, their version of paying off their debt is just take a shotgun, and they’re like, just shoot at all their debt. And it’s like, okay, you could, it could cost you five to six years of being in bad debt, just by not knowing the right strategy. Same thing goes with an asset is you have Airbnbs, and an S&P, but we can, now we can align, where’s the number one thing that you should be investing your money, your time and your abilities? And maybe your time and abilities are in your business but if I gave you 10,000 more dollars, your business, really, it wouldn’t really matter. Then we go to okay, what is the number one thing that you can invest in, and it may be the S&P for you.

For most people that I work with, that are business owners, they really have to take a step back and invest in marketing or an operator, or a coach, ironically, to really help them because they’re making a fraction of what they should be. And so I would actually, in that scenario, say, don’t invest in other things and get the source that all the money’s coming from solid first. And then once there’s a diminishing rate of returns, then ask the question, where can I put my money where I can start multiplying it? I don’t know if that makes sense at all. But like, that’s how I would work with you on, and then that, and then we would try to create a consistent strategy. And I always want people to understand that your greatest financial need is using money, not saving it. So ultimately, everything, we need to have the end in mind by saying, how can we create a spending plan? How can we create where you can use money in the best way? And so consistency and use are the other two really important, like when it comes to strategy. Well, a lot of people don’t have solid foundations. And so strategy doesn’t matter if you don’t have a foundation.

[JOE]:
Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, because there’s people like Dave Ramsey, that just basically say, at all costs, pay off debt. And there’s other people like Ramit Sethi that, you know, I’ll teach you to be rich, where he says, you know, pick a couple areas that will make you feel rich. And so, you know, for me, I realized going out to eat, that I always would just get the amount of food that I thought I would eat, which seems smart, it seems frugal, seems like how you should, but then I realized that there’s almost always three appetizers or so. They just look delicious. And I want to try them all, but I never would give myself permission to spend the extra 20 bucks. But when I gave myself that permission, and Ramit had said this on one of the podcasts, to just have small areas that I can just kind of go wild. It’s crazy. I don’t feel like when I go out to eat that it’s like a budget decision. But I’m not doing that everywhere. And so like when I hear your model, what for you seems to work with people like, why why does this system work? What from the psychology standpoint? What from the just like the numbers standpoint? Why is this how 98% of people don’t do it? And what are the first steps to kind of move forward? [CALEB]:
Well, I’m a big fan of Ramit. It’s weird because Ramit and Robert Kiyosaki don’t see eye to eye on everything. But I like to say I like to take a lot from Ramit and a lot from Robert Kiyosaki and that very much determines a lot of how I think about money. And you’re right, Dave Ramsey’s very much on scarcity, like, he breathes scarcity in everything that he does. And so I would say Ramit’s very, very clear on where he wants to go. And he actually writes about this, when you figure out how much money you need to be saving, and you’re doing that, you can have guilt free spending. And so one of the things that we get really clear on is when you can take a step back, and with clarity, when you have clarity, man, you know exactly what you need. And for a lot of people, it’s not exactly what they think, like, a million dollars doesn’t necessarily translate into you having financial success. So for instance, what that would look like for a lot of our clients, is they get clear on what they want, we then show them where they’re at, we create a plan on figuring out how much money we’re going to be saving, and how we’re going to be saving it and what like, that strategy. And once that’s in place, once you’re in “balance”, you can literally do whatever you want with the rest of your money.

I’m a big fan of not just reading scarcity. I’m a big fan of not saying I can’t afford that, instead of asking the question, how can I afford that? And while I’m not a foodie, I have a lot of people around me that are and so I’ve eaten pretty well and I’m big into health. And, you know, serving people is really important, relationships are really important. And I’ve spent quite a bit of money on that. And in fact, I don’t drive a junker. So it’s like certain things, it’s like I have the life that I want. And it’s like, it’s, it’s amazing and it’s fulfilling. And I don’t necessarily need things to make me happy. But I also know that the money that I’m saving and the strategy that I have, I like, I know where I’m at. And I think a lot of the problem is a lot of people don’t know where they’re at. And so whether they take the Dave Ramsey approach or the Ramit approach, you can, you might not feel guilty by spending that extra money on food, but you might just be putting your head in the sand. Or you might not feel guilty about running that credit card, but you might be putting your head in the sand. The same person could be putting their head in the sand that’s trying to aggressively pay off their mortgage, because that’s what they think is the best thing to do. And so, really, in summary, first of all know where you want to go and figure out some kind of indirect third party model to show you where you’re going. And then from there, you can create the guilt free spending, as Ramit says, to be able to live the life that you want to live.

[JOE]:
Now, are there some rules of thumb that you tend to follow? Such as, you know, if your debt is barely above inflation, so say, you know, one of our houses, I think it’s like 3%, or like, 2.75% for the mortgage, it’s crazy low, where we got in at a really good time. So for like are there rules of thumb, where if your debt is a certain percent, like don’t even pay it off, or other rules of thumb, just that you tend to say, this is how people really build wealth differently than people that don’t? [CALEB]:
Yep, great question. And the debt is a great, great point to talk about. It’s interesting. Earlier today, someone was talking to me in our profession, and he was bragging about how their company helps people pay off their house aggressively and save them on interest. And inside, I’m cringing, because I personally believe if you have your mortgage set up properly, it’s one of the greatest tools to build wealth. Because if you look at how cheap money is, it’s like it becomes one of the biggest no brainers. So this is how I think about that, I’ll give you two ways that I approach debt.

Number one is just the interest rate, if you’re paying 4% or lower on your house, or whatever, and the question is, are you able to, with your money, create more, a greater result than 4%? And if you’re a business owner, and say no to that, I would highly encourage you to rethink your business. So that’s the first thing is like, okay, if you can’t produce more than 4%, then mathematically, you’re better off paying off that debt, or going to someone like me, who can help you get more than 4%. So if you’re aggressively paying off your house, please hit the pause button and reflect on like, okay, is this rational? Because really the house situation, there’s three things that go into it, there’s the money side, then there’s the emotional side and then there’s the control side. And I’ve made an argument in my book, chapter three, because we see it all the time, that you are way better off emotionally, control, and financially, by not aggressively paying off your house and keeping a 30 year mortgage. And I back it up mathematically, I back it up with control. Like, and I could go down a rampage there. So that’s a great question.

The other thing is, if this, I’m going to give you a quick hack for your debt, and it will literally show you which ones that you should focus on and which ones you should keep. So we call this a debt scorecard. And essentially, the debt scorecard is looking exactly, looking at your debt, like we look at real estate. And it’s just looking at the cash flow that it provides. So there’s some debt that is efficient, and I would say an efficient debt is it allows money to be put back in your pocket, it’s taking less cash flow away from you, and helping you create more money. And then there’s some debt, a lot of like credit card debt, that’s very toxic by having it, a lot of your money goes to paying that off. And the interest rates are crazy.

[JOE]:
First ones, would that be like our Airbnb property where we’re making more than our mortgage off of that property? Would that be one of those debts that’s bringing money in? [CALEB]:
Yeah, that would be that’s that that’s bringing money in but even at your personal mortgage, let’s say you’re, and then we’re in Colorado, right now. So let’s say you buy a Junker for half a million. Okay. It’s like, you could pay cash for that. But half a million dollars. cash. Yeah, you’re paying no interest. But Dude, that’s going to cost you $7 million over your lifetime, just because that half a million dollars is never able to grow for you. [JOE]:
I understand what you mean by that $7 million, but break that down a little bit, how that half a million cost you over $7 million? [CALEB]:
Well, because half a million dollars in your house, what is that actually? Your house is going to grow in value but your money is not working for you. By having a mortgage you have a payment that you’re paying interest, but the money that’s not all in your house can be reinvested, could be saved for an opportunity. And over 30 years, you might be paying for your house twice, meaning that half a million-dollar house is now costing you a million. But now you have money that you could invest and use elsewhere like an S&P that over 30 years would be $3 million. So my question to someone would be, would you be willing to pay $500,000 of interest to make 2 million over 30 years? And the answer is, yes. And that’s what my book lays out. And so when people see it that way, it’s like, yes, I’m paying interest. But as long as I’m paying interest and making more, like, I see that by having that debt, I have more money after 30 years. That’s what I want people to understand, like, what is the outcome.

So the debt scorecard is really simple, it’s taking your balance, so a mortgage would be your house balance and a car loan, it’d be your car balance and your credit card, it would be your unpaid balance, and then dividing it by your minimum payment. So you take your mortgage, and then divide it by the minimum payment, you take all your debts and divide it by a minimum payment, and you’d get numbers. Okay? Now, the higher the number, the better, the lower the number, the more toxic. If you have debts, so you take your balance, divided by your minimum payment, and you get under 50, that’s a toxic debt, that debt is eating up a ton of cash flow. You almost need to look at that as if you knock that off, you’re freeing up a ton of cash flow, you want to knock those off and do that, like ASAP, like stop contributing to a 401k and knock those off. Anything above 50 to 100, it’s not super efficient, but you could, it’s not like the world’s not ending, like you can you can figure out maybe, consolidate, maybe just pay it off a little bit more aggressively, and then any over 100, so a lot of mortgages are over 100 or whatever, that’s actually a very efficient debt. And I would encourage you to just pay the minimum payment and reinvest elsewhere if you can get a better rate of return than three or 4%. And that’s how, that’s like another way to think about debt just from a cash flow is, you know, under 50 is like really bad, 50 to 100 is okay, over 100 is actually a pretty efficient debt.

[JOE]:
So we have just time for maybe a couple more things. When you think about bullet points of how people live that are actually trying to have better wealth. What are a couple other things? We talked about debt, but you know, what are other mindsets, ways they live their life, things they focus on that differentiate them from the other 98% that aren’t thinking this way? [CALEB]:
They understand leverage. And what I mean by that is wealthy people know how to leverage their time, know how to leverage money, and know how to leverage their skill sets and relationships. And I know when I say that last part, I like I never want to be known as someone that leverages someone that’s not a win. But they understand how to live in the context of that, it’s not necessarily how hard you’re working, or how hard you’re hustling. It’s like this podcast is a form of leverage, like our message is getting out to more than just one person. And yet most people in our business are talking to one on one, and that’s their whole life. And so when we talk to them about wait, there’s this thing called the internet. And the internet allows you to meet with more people and get your same message out to more people, that’s a form of leverage. And that can be a difference between 100,000 and 100 million. Like it’s crazy how scale works. And so what I find is, that’s a huge mindset. The other thing with wealthy people is they understand that they are their greatest asset. And they live in that way. And every decision they make, they go back to, they really know what they want. And if you look at where most people are at, they’re not leveraging anything, and they really don’t know what they want. And so they’re on this hamster wheel, and it’s showing up in every area of their life. [JOE]:
Such great tips. The last question I always ask is, if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [CALEB]:
I would want them to know that life is incredibly short. And really to reflect on, audit what they’ve done, and what they want their life to look like. The person that helped me co found Better Wealth died a year and a half ago with cancer, left three kids under the age of 18. And going through that was so purifying for me in a weird way. Because I, in starting Better Wealth, was focused on tons of stuff. And I was like very competitive and really wanting to make this work and wanting to give the middle finger to the financial industry. And what I realized is life is such an incredible gift. And I’m 24 years old, and when I do an exercise, I have people fill out boxes, we do 100 boxes, and I filled out 24, representing 24 years of my life. And like it went really quickly. And I reflected on what I want in my life, like what I actually want to do with my life and how I want to serve others. And I think if everyone was listening to this, if you just had a context that life is short, and you could think with the end in mind, I just think it could be a game changer for that one person listening that may need to pivot or may need to have that tough conversation or may need to call the person that there’s unforgiveness with and like I just like that is like the number one thing that I am telling myself and I really appreciate you asking that and that would be my how I answer that question. [JOE]:
Wow. So Caleb, if people want to follow your work, they want to learn about kind of what you’re doing, follow your podcast, where should we send them? [CALEB]:
So we have the domain betterwealth.com. Okay, so you can go to betterwealth.com, get my book, and take our free assessment. You can check out more of our podcasts and YouTube videos there. And my podcast is essentially Better Wealth with Caleb. I’m not very creative. So I stay on brand on everything. So yeah, that’s where people can find us. [JOE]:
Oh, so awesome. Well, Caleb Guilliams, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. [CALEB]:
Joe, thank you so much for having me. It was a true honor.

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[JOE]:
Wasn’t that awesome? I mean, Caleb has so much to cover around wealth building and at such a young age. Me, I remember my grandma gave me, I think it was $1,000, when I was in college, and she said, I want you to invest this and then use that money for your first home. And I signed up with one of these brokerage places that was taking like three or 4%. It got hardly any interest. And after like four years, I had less than $1,000 in that account because of all their fees and the mismanagement. And I just didn’t know what I was doing. And she just gave me this money. And I wish that she and I together had learned where should we put this money so it could grow because, you know, if it’s in the stock market, and it’s typically growing at 10% per year, or it sits there for a while. There’s so many other ways that you could do it in a way that actually makes you money. And we just aren’t taught that stuff in grad school. We aren’t taught about maximizing things, we aren’t taught about signing up for stuff that saves us time and saves us frustration, like Gusto.

Gusto is our sponsor today. Gusto has the best payroll solution out there. It’s what I personally use for Practice of the Practice. I love it. It’s so easy to be able to do all of our documentation at the end of the year. So head on over to gusto.com/Joe and you’ll get three months for free to test out Gusto for yourself. Again, that’s gusto.com/Joe. It’s an amazing tool. If you are still doing payroll by hand or however you’re doing it, it could be way easier for you. So thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have a great day.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music; we really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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