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One Money Resolution that Can Make You Wealthy 2Note: This is a long post. At the end of it is a reduced price offer to join the Millionaire Money Mentors, the last one I’ll offer for some time. If interested you can join here.

I’ve been writing about money-related New Year’s resolutions for as long as I can remember.

My first site had it’s own “resolutions” category with the oldest post I can find as being written in 2005.

I’ve written about the topic so often because I like setting goals and then working little by little throughout the year to achieve them. It’s a process that has treated me well throughout the years. And setting new goals at the start of a new year just seems like a logical thing to do!

As such, I have written about resolutions backwards and forwards. How many ways can you cover a general topic like this?

Well, apparently there’s at least one more way — which I will be sharing today.

Fake Experts Abound

Before we get to my suggestion, let’s cover something that seems to have run amuck in financial circles these days: the fake expert.

I posted about this in the Millionaire Money Mentors forums with the following:

I see people all over the internet holding themselves out as experts in this or that.

Their qualifications seems sketchy at best, they are often barely old enough to have moved out of their parents’ homes, and when you dig into their “advice” it’s often shallow (little detail) and sometimes completely opposite of what someone should do.

Of course you can get more information/specifics by buying their course/book/whatever.

I see this in all sorts of topic areas, but it seems especially bad in money-related categories (particularly investing).

My question is, why does anyone listen to these people — or to much of the media for that matter (who are mostly simply journalists reporting on a topic – trying to appear knowledgeable — not a person experienced in the topic)?

It’s got me shaking my head this afternoon…

The mentors and members chimed in with their thoughts as to why this might be and we all commiserated on the subject.

But I’m still amazed at it (and not in a good way).

Sometimes it’s so bad that the “experts” can’t even get basic facts correct.

For instance, there’s a newer book about money that many bloggers and readers are raving about.

That are saying it’s so “amazing” and “such a fresh perspective on money.”

It has 4.7 stars on Amazon as of this writing.

I both read this book as well as listened to it on Audible and will be posting on it sometime. But for now, feast your eyes on this quote from it:

“Consider a rookie baseball player who earns $500,000 a year. He is, by any definition, rich.”

No, he is not. He is not rich. Or, more accurately, we don’t know if he’s rich. He could be or he couldn’t be.

Why don’t we know?

Because income is not a measure of wealth. Even many money neophytes know this.

Those who have been around a bit longer understand that income and wealth are not correlated.

Being “rich” or “wealthy” is measured by net worth, not income.

So, not only is he not rich by “any definition”, but he’s not rich based on the definition of rich (net worth) as far as we know.

Substituting income as a measure for wealth is a common mis-practice by many who know little about money management with media personnel and politicians being the worst offenders.

And yet this author has “such a fresh perspective” and is “amazing.”

Ugh.

The Opposite of Fake Experts

So, if we should avoid fake experts, who should we listen to?

I would suggest we lean into the opposite of fake experts — people who have actually accomplished what we want to accomplish.

People who have “been there and done that” if you prefer.

Which leads me to the one resolution I would suggest you consider this year:

Get money suggestions, tips, and ideas from people who are where you want to be.

I actually wrote about this way back in 2008. It’s just as appropriate for today as it was back then.

In the forums, Apex addressed this issue in a similar way:

What does NOT make someone an expert?

  • The title expert.
  • The title {insert useless title here}.
  • credentials.
  • education.
  • smarts.
  • knowledge.
  • to some extent even reputation.
  • to some extent even experience.

What does make someone an expert?

1. RESULTS – DECADES of PROVEN results in the exact field, methodology, and discipline they are talking about.

2. See #1.

For further details see my often expressed philosophy: NEVER TRUST EXPERTS!

Later, he added a bit more detail to the above…

The key word in the phrase to never trust experts is trust.

It doesn’t mean experts are always wrong. It just means that merely having the label expert assigned to you by whatever criteria is used is far from sufficient to indicate that whatever that person says is beyond questioning.

You should always question, always doubt, always ask for proof no matter who says it. In fact, the longer someone has been labeled an expert, the more likely it is that they might get lazy with their proclamations, because they stop being challenged to prove their conclusions. That is dangerous and can only be prevented if people refuse to unquestioningly trust experts. Ask for proof.

Hahahaha. True.

Apex and I aren’t the only ones who feel this way. There are several others recommending the exact same thing…

The Richest Man in Babylon Agrees

One of my favorite money books of all time, The Richest Man in Babylon, follows the same line of thinking in saying the following:

Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having. He who takes advice about his savings from one who is inexperienced in such matters shall pay with his savings for proving the falsity of their opinions.

I bet you can see why I like this book so much. 😉

More from Around the Web

There’s a lot of this sort of thinking on the web (though it appears to be in the minority compared to the unexperienced expert).

Here are a few quotes I’ve run across in the past few months…the first one is a bit long:

“Throughout human history, and long before there were such things as books, universities, or continuing ed programs, there has been on third and true path for learning a skill, craft, art, trade, or profession: go study with a master. All the great learning traditions say the same thing: if you want to learn how to do something well, go find someone who has already mastered that skill, and apprentice yourself.

The truth is, this third type of learning isn’t simply a valuable add-on. It’s essential. Learning pure information is not enough, and while adding the street smarts you gain from applying that information through personal experience can take you far, even that is not enough to go all the way toward the successful achievement of your goals. You need some way to process all that information and experience and integrate it. And there is only one reliable, solid way to do that: find someone else who has already achieved mastery in the area you’re looking at, and model your behavior based on their experience.

Personal development is not something you can pursue as an armchair expert, not something you can master from the sidelines. It has to be a contact sport—one where you are in contact with others you can help you on your journey. What we’re talking about here is the power of a mentor.” The Slight Edge

And a few more to the point:

  • “I think you should pay attention to people who have done what they’re teaching. That’s it. And can prove it. So I would really—there are many people out there who teach and don’t do. Or teach because they can’t do, or worse still, misrepresent and claim that they’re making six figures a month or a year or whatever and are really just preying upon people because there’s no means of verification. So I would say that caution is the better part of valor when it comes to coaches. Choose your influences very carefully. I’ve mentioned many, many, many times one of my favorite quotes is, ‘You are the average of the five people you associate with most.’ And if that is true—if we take that to be true, if you’re taking advice from anyone who hasn’t done what they are preaching, you are compounding all sorts of problems. I would simply say, if you’re looking at a mastermind, or a coach, you should ensure that you can verify whatever they are claiming they have done is true. That’s it. And that will eliminate 95 percent of them out there.” Tim Ferriss
  • “The key is to learn from the experts — those who have already done what you want to do.” The Miracle Morning
  • “When you get help from someone who’s done it before – that ‘it’ being whatever goal, task, or challenge you’re focused on – you leverage the blood, sweat, and tears of their real world experience to improve the odds of your own success.” Worldwide Wantrepreneur
  • “Colleagues are a wonderful thing – but mentors, that’s where the real work gets done.” Junot Diaz
  • “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” John C. Maxwell
  • “A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained.” Shawn Hitchcock
  • “If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.” J Loren Norris
  • “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” Otto von Bismarck
  • “Millionaires have mentors. Millionaires know that they cannot possibly know how to do everything, so they find someone to guide them through the highs and lows of making money. They lean on others for perspective and insight.” Business News Daily

Ok, you get the point. But how does someone put this idea into practice with their money?

I’m glad you asked! 😉

How to Find a Trusted Expert

The fact is that most people don’t have an experienced, successful money manager in their lives.

In a post I wrote on budgeting many years ago, I suggested this for step #5:

Have a Trusted, Financially Successful Friend Review Your Cash Flow Plan and Make Suggestions

Find someone you know, trust, and respect who is doing well financially and ask them to look over your cash flow plan. Specifically ask for them to help you identify places where you may be spending more money than you need to.

A reader responded with the following comment:

Finding a mentor I trust enough to share money matters with is the hardest part for me. I feel like my family is doing much better than most of our contemporaries or it’s just not a subject that is easily broached in conversation to be able to tell if that person would be a good person to discuss this topic with.

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Back then it got me to thinking: where would I go to find a mentor if I was in need of one?

So I listed some places I would personally would look for help as follows:

  • Church – Many churches (especially larger ones) offer courses by Dave Ramsey or Crown. While some may say that these aren’t generally that financially advanced (to which I would agree, though you don’t need to be a scholar to do well financially), they are usually pretty good at identifying places where a person could cover most of the money basics.
  • Friends – If you have no friends doing better than you are, you need some new friends. I can think of a few that I have asked for financial thoughts recently on one issue or another.
  • Online – I would seek out some advice from bloggers I trusted if I felt they could help me. Let’s face it, these are real people dealing with real issues, and they often have experience we could all learn from.
  • Research – If I was looking to cut costs, I’d Google a bit for online articles, check out appropriate library books, and look for free e-books on the subject on Amazon.

I’ve written separately how I had to find my own mentors in authors and the like since I had no one in my life growing up.

It was a poor substitute for the real thing, but better than nothing.

Of course, these days there is another option…

The Millionaire Money Mentors

I’m sure you were thinking I’d get to the Millionaire Money Mentors and perhaps you feel it’s a setup of some sort.

If you feel that way, I’m sorry. It’s not meant to be.

The Millionaire Money Mentors is meant to be a resource providing tremendous financial value to its members.

And it’s not just me who feels there is value in having mentors.

Here are a few comments I’ve collected about the forums in the three short months they’ve been running:

  • “The value of the site is amazing! I have learned so much. I only wish I had more time to read everything!”
  • “I believe the price of admission to this site is already undervalued! The value of the content more than covers the cost and then factor in the ability to ask questions.”
  • “Same. I have a link to this group at the top of my browser and I pop in at least once a day. I have saved $160 using Bill Fixers so that one tip alone has almost saved me enough to recoup the cost of the subscription. I have also had a detailed private conversation about HELOCs with an amazing mentor which was great! I have helped a few people with Amazon selling (as you have) which is very rewarding.”
  • “I am writing to you to express my gratitude that I found your community this month. My membership is worth it. I don’t have anyone in my circle who is pursuing the same things I do so I turned to forums like this to connect with like-minded people to learn from. The advice I got probably saved me thousands of dollars. More power to you and the community for bringing everybody together.”
  • “Just wow! This type of commentary blows me away. THANK YOU FOR CREATING THESE FORUMS!”
  • “MMM forum is amazing! It has proved to be extremely valuable and I recouped the entrance fee in minutes. It is really helpful to read about feelings and experiences of like-minded people. I highly recommend joining.”
  • “It has been a great experience with a great group of mentors and members. Great advice on multiple income streams, a great book of the month club, giving advice and if you didn’t already have umbrella insurance and were in the forums I would bet you do now! Thanks ESI!”
  • “I joined the MMM group because I didn’t have anyone in my life to talk about personal finance. The group has very quickly accepted everyone within and become much so much more. They are a community of extremely helpful, supportive individuals who share the good, bad, and ugly with everyone in the “safe space” of anonymity. My first “win” from being a member of the community: I had been sitting on the sidelines trying to convince myself to invest in real estate for a year and a half. The MMM’s helped me to gain the confidence needed to get off the sidelines.”
  • “I’m an active member. You seen others say it, and I’ll say it, too — with the MMM group I feel like I have “found my tribe.” The group celebrates everyone’s successes. It’s like having your own rooting section. The group is as diverse as America – all walks of life, myriads of vocations – in this land of opportunity there are so many pathways to financial freedom. Within the diversity there is a unity – everyone is a striver, an achiever. Participating in the group by offering advice on subjects you know, and getting advice on subjects you know less, makes each person that much sharper. I highly encourage you to join, and participate. For me, it was money well spent.”
  • “Initially, I only signed up for the monthly membership because I wanted to test the water. Thinking I can always cancel it if I don’t see any value. But I learned so much for the past two months, I decided to switch to yearly subscription and paid the $290 fee. It was money well spent IMO. So for those who are still hesitate, I say go for it.”
  • “Joining the MMM forums was one of the best investments I’ve made in myself this year. The community has pushed my thinking about what’s possible—yes, in saving and investing and setting myself up for financial success, but also in my career and habits. I’ve learned about topics I’ve never even heard of before. I’ve gotten helpful advice from a variety of different perspectives on a personal financial situation. I’ve shifted my perspective on money and finance in a way that is hard to articulate. I feel more knowledgeable, confident, empowered, and inspired to reach my goals. I truly feel as if I’ve leveled up by joining the forums.”

Those were some quick thoughts. Now let’s get to some longer posts.

Here’s one from a mentor who has learned a great deal himself (like I have) from participating in the forums:

“As a fairly active Mentor in the group I would highly recommend joining as my goal in being part of this group was to give back but at the same time being engaged with hundreds of very successful, smart and like minded individuals has provided me insights and ideas on things that have benefited me personally such as:

– Started to invest my HSA in equities and up $1,700 in the past month
– Invested 100K in my first multi-family real-estate syndication deal
– Helped organize a charitable giving idea that raised 8K for 4 charities

MMM has allowed me to stay anonymous and keep in stealth wealth mode but also talk and engage with some really smart people about topics I am very passionate and love talking about.”

Here’s one from Apex:

“I joined as one of the mentors and expected to just get a lot of questions from people who needed help or wanted advice. There is plenty of that too which is great and I enjoy sharing my experiences to those questions, but there is so much wisdom on the forums from both mentors and members that I am learning new things too which was not what I expected.

In fact I am not sure ESI will want me saying this but I spend so much more time on MMM that I don’t spend as much time here on ESI anymore. Frankly the content on MMM is just so much deeper, more engaging, and more relevant to me that I am drawn to it in a stronger way than I have been drawn to any other informational site I visit. It nearly replaces the content of multiple other sites.

I have never really thought about pay sites as paying for themselves. You pay for something and get the value from it. You buy a steak and eat it. You enjoyed the steak but are now out the money and that was worth the trade-off. It was only a few weeks into the site when member after member starting saying how they had already paid for their subscription or that they had received much more monetary value than they paid already. I kind of brushed it off as people who maybe were just a little eager to be complimentary and really enjoyed the site but they were probably exaggerating the monetary benefits.

But I have seen people report life changing decisions that they were already making that were going to bring large monetary benefits to them. I have since changed my opinion on the value proposition. Most places will promote a value proposition for their product and I find most of it to be exaggerated marketing. MMM has a real tangible monetary value proposition for a lot of people. I would argue probably for most people.

This may be one of the rare instances where you truly cannot financially afford to not be on this forum, and you don’t know how rare it is for me to even suggest something like that.

MMM has leveraged a gold mine of experiences that I am not sure where else you could get access to something like this. I am very successful but have never had the level of discussions around with so many successful people around so many issues that I have had here. I am willing to bet if I had been on this forum as a member 25 years ago, I would have gotten to where I am now in half the time. The secrets that everyone is always looking for that rarely exist? They are actually here, and they are real. They are being shared by those who personally did it, and they tell you how they did it and how to customize it to the specific situation you are asking about.

If you are thinking about it, you owe it to yourself to try it. You have a 7 day trial period so what have you got to lose? Nothing. But you do potentially have a lot more to lose if you don’t join based on the value proposition that so many existing members have already reported and that I personally witness every week.

It’s pure gold.”

And one from a millionaire yet to have her interview posted:

“Hopefully someone is reading is this who just on the fence thinking, well, there are so many personal finance groups out there, why should I invest in this forum membership?

Here’s why—- this is a steal. The best Black Friday money you will spend this year on something that you will reap rewards from. I sincerely believe this. It’s a terrific group of very smart and helpful people.

There are many private groups of HNW members who charge way more for membership and are not even close to the level of this forum. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be a member of a dynamic millionaire mentor community where members learn and sincerely contribute actively to help each other on their journey. There is something of interest for everyone who cares about money—-how to earn it, how to save, and how to invest it. If you can’t find something valuable here that is worth more than the price of admission, you are NOT going to find it anywhere else.

Don’t hesitate. I know we all hope to see new members join and participate in the forum. Invest in yourself and join. See you there!”

One Last Opportunity for Savings

This will be the third time I’ve offered the Millionaire Money Mentors to ESI Money readers at a great price.

And it will be the last for quite some time.

First of all, I don’t want to wear you out with the membership pitches. Yes, I feel it’s valuable and a great deal, but after three chances, if you aren’t into it, you probably aren’t ever going to be into it.

Second, we will switch our marketing focus to non-ESI Money readers this year. We will raise the price and offer it to others who really need an experienced money person in their lives.

I always want to give ESI Money readers a great value and the first, best shot at anything I offer. So one last time we’re offering membership to the Millionaire Money Mentors at a reduced price from now until Monday, January 4 at 5 p.m. Mountain time. After that, I’m not sure when (or even if) I’ll offer it again at these prices.

To subscribe, go here.

If you want more information on the membership, please review my intro post.

Whether you join or not, you should still seek out a mentor to help with your finances. As shown above, it can make a tremendous, positive difference.

BTW, the principle of “getting advice from people who are where you want to be” works in any area of your life, not just personal finance. It works in marriages, business, raising kids, and so on. Find someone successful in an area where you want to be successful, ask them for advice, and follow what seems to be right for you.

I wish you all a blessed and prosperous 2021!

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