The handicap I didn't know I had
I was raised to save money. It was a necessity. We grew up middle class, four kids, and we simply “didn’t do” lots of the things that other people did...
- Paying for a personal trainer? "Talk about a rip-off."
- Hiring someone to mow your lawn? "That's what the kids are supposed to do. They don't have anything better to do, right?"
- Dining out? On the rare times we went on vacation (road trip, to see relatives), my mom would pack sack lunches. Eating out wasn't even considered.
So it's no wonder that younger me was obsessed with the things I didn’t want to spend money on:
- “Oh, I’ll never spend money on business class … that’s dumb”
- “I would never eat at those kinds of restaurants … you’re just paying for ambiance there”
- "Dry cleaning? … That's just a tax on people who buy expensive clothes"
My motto was: “LOL! Who would ever pay that much?”
Can you see the trap here?
When you start to define yourself by what you DON'T do, those walls become a box you can't escape from.
How can you hope to shop at Nordstrom if you only buy clothes at H&M?
How can you hope to see the world if travel is an unnecessary extravagance?
It's just like people who enjoy being the smartest person in the room … and then wonder why they never grow.
That was me, but with money.
If I could go back in time, I would find my 22-year-old self, shake him, and say, “OPEN YOUR DAMN EYES!! You're missing the point!”
Even though we didn't have a lot of money, I never felt poor.
I was rich in a lot of ways. I had a stable, loving family. I had good schools and good teachers. I had friends.
It didn't bother me that I couldn't afford most of the things the rich spent money on. I just thought the rich were different.
After a while, I even felt superior because I was surrounded by more meaningful things, like family, and wasn't distracted by expensive nonsense like "fashion" or gadgets. It was better that I didn't have those things.
Even more, I was better.
To be honest, I felt sorry for the rich. They were chasing money, but money can't buy happiness.
Or so I thought.
As I grew up, I started to notice some problems with the idea that "money can't buy happiness."
When I was in college, I saw friends who had been obsessed with working at Company A for years … completely change their life's goals as soon as Company B offered them $10k more. Did they make a good choice or a bad choice?
When I started writing about money, I read every piece of personal finance advice I could find … and I hated it. I didn't want to live the personal finance lifestyle of endless cutting back, always saying "no," obsessing over 1-ply or 2-ply savings. It felt like even if I "won" the personal finance game, I still lost. Something was missing...
When I took a trip to Napa with my buddies, we decided to hire a limo to drive us around. That way no one had to be the designated driver and we didn't have to worry about parking or logistics. It was a crazy idea to me at the time, but the trip was 10x more enjoyable because of it. And it wasn't that expensive in the end...
What if money could buy happiness?
I know there are many people who have trouble making ends meet. That's hard. I've been there.
But there are also a lot of people who are doing pretty well, making a comfortable living, and are addicted to the struggle. Instead of using their money to buy back time or help or happiness — they grind and save, grind and save, miserably.
I think it was Dan Kennedy who said, "Saying money can't buy happiness is like saying love can't buy soup. They're supposed to serve different purposes."
Money can buy happiness.
That little belief, that "money can't buy happiness," was a core piece of my identity. It was part of my family's identity. It shaped how I viewed the world and decided what to do each day.
And it was false.
The truth was like a slap in the face. It felt like I discovered a handicap I didn't know I'd lived with my entire life … except this one was voluntary.
It felt like blinders had been removed and now a bigger, brighter world stretched out before me.
All this from one belief about money — invisible, but toxic.
Once I discovered that one toxic money belief, it didn't take me long to spot others...
Which toxic money beliefs
are holding you back?
The sad fact is that the vast majority of people will never achieve their full financial potential. They can't because they're blocked by one or more of the following toxic money beliefs. We learn them from our mom and dad, our friends, the media.
Sometimes these beliefs are true, but most of the time they aren't. Most people don't know the difference and accept the beliefs without a second thought.
I've found that most people believe at least three toxic money beliefs.
Fair warning: Once you see these, you'll have a difficult time un-seeing them. You'll start to notice just how deep many of these ideas seep into the media we consume, the conversations we have, and the culture we live in.
If you don't want the red pill, stop reading.
I've added 9 of the toxic money beliefs to my "most damaging" list. These are the most common and damaging beliefs.
I'll share 5 of them with you below...
Toxic Money Belief #1:
"Money causes stress."
For a lot of people growing up, money was a cause of stress. They'd wake up to hear their parents arguing about the bills in the next room. Maybe you fight with your partner about money now.
"I can't believe you bought those shoes for $300!"
"Well, you bought that Xbox for yourself!"
When MONEY means STRESS to you, you'll find it difficult to talk about, manage, spend, and share. Even if you begin to earn more, you'll just find more money becomes more stressful until you remove this belief.
"The rich are corrupt. Money is evil."
American culture is bipolar when it comes to wealth. On the one hand, we love a good rags-to-riches story and celebrate financial winners like Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Jeff Bezos. They're heroes and role models.
And then we call the rich heartless and selfish and hate on them. The persona is so common we even have a name for it: Scrooge.
No wonder we're conflicted!
If you believe money is evil and the rich are corrupt, you'll feel better about not having a lot of money. You're not poor, after all — you're a saint … right?
Toxic Money Belief #3:
"Money can't buy happiness."
Here's the one that tripped me up. If "the best things in life are free," then why bother trying to earn more money?
Toxic Money Belief #4:
"I don't deserve
to make more money."
Low self-esteem can fuel many toxic money beliefs. One of the most dangerous is the idea that you don't deserve money.
Nobody would say this out loud, of course, but you can see it in their actions:
- They have a final interview to land their dream job and secure a big raise … but instead of preparing the night before, they get drunk. Then botch the interview the next day.
- They stay in a low-paying job that they're much too talented for … for years.
- Or my favorite: They win the lottery and blow all of it within a year. (Please don't do this.)
Toxic Money Belief #5:
"I can't win the game so
why play at all?"
This toxic money belief is even more damaging. If the whole money game is rigged against you, why bother playing at all?
Some people learn this belief from their parents. Others adopt it themselves after failing a couple times and giving up. What they don't realize is that the most successful people in the world actually fail MORE than anyone else.
(When I realized this, I created a "Failures" tab in Gmail so I could track how often I failed. If I'm not failing multiple times a month, I know I'm not pushing myself hard enough.)
The WORST part of all!
Here's the most twisted part of these toxic money beliefs.
Because they're invisible, we keep chasing random tactics instead of solving our core money issues.
We know we want to be more successful. We want to earn more money — and enjoy the Rich Life that comes with it — but how do we do it?
We search for a new productivity app that will finally make it easy to get things done … even though we know it won't.
We tell ourselves we'll "buckle down and work harder" … even though we know we never do.
We look for magic bullets (a keto diet, our morning routine, a bulletproof resume) … even though they never seem to live up to the hype.
We ALL do this!
But if we step back and take a broader look at what's going on, the reality is surprising.
For most of us…
- We make more money today than we did 5 or 10 years ago — but we're still fighting the same stress and fears about money. Why can't we get ahead?
We see people earn more than us who, frankly, are less smart and less talented than we are. Sure, some are lucky and some have family money and some are just in debt up to their eyeballs — but not everyone. What are we missing?
- We follow the best advice we can find — "get a good job, hustle, save more" — but we always feel like we're just treading water … if not slowly sinking.
Something doesn't add up!
One of the hardest things to do is identify your own mental biases.
I used to think the problem was just me. That if I wasn't earning the amount of money I wanted, I just needed to work harder and smarter. I just needed to pedal faster (even though a part of me knew that wasn't the right answer).
Other people in the same situation call themselves lazy and quietly give up. They tell themselves they'll never achieve their biggest goals or live a Rich Life. These are the people who wake up at 45 years old … living in a suburban cookie-cutter house they hate … commuting to a job they don't care about … wondering how they got there.
It wasn't until I saw my toxic belief that "money can't buy happiness" that I realized some people avoided this trap. Some people did not have toxic money beliefs. They didn't get stuck in random-tactic-chasing.
They lived their lives by a completely different "rulebook." Not only did they earn more money … they were stress-free around money all the time. And they knew how to enjoy the money they did have, without guilt.
What if you had the same "rulebook" that the wealthy did? What if you knew all those "taboo secrets" that no one else does … and could systematically change the way you think — for a lifetime?
THE TRUTH: The wealthy think very differently than everyone else
Here’s an example I’ll never forget.
The first time I visited New York City as an adult, I was meeting a potential business contact. He told me to meet him at the Union Square farmers market (“Meet me at the pretzel guy”), and from there we strolled around and eventually walked to a nearby parking garage.
He’d driven in from outside the city and left his car in the parking garage. When we walked down there, the manager took one look at him and said:
“We told you to leave your keys here!!”
He said, "What?"
“We told you to leave your keys here. We had to tow your car to move it out of the way. That’s a $50 charge.” (He pointed at the rules on a sign.)
This guy looked at the sign, then said, “Guys, I’m really sorry I forgot to leave the keys. Is there any way to not pay the fee?”
The manager just shook his head.
And this is where I couldn’t believe it.
The guy looked back, shrugged, and pulled out his wallet and paid the $50 fee.
No arguments. No whining. He knew he’d messed up, and he simply paid it.
Who has $50 in his wallet like that?
Who just shrugs and pays??
There were so many things I realized from just this one example:
1. He didn’t get angry. After all, the rules were laid out clearly and he was the one who messed up.
2. Because he could afford it, it wasn’t a real problem. To me, this would have ruined my day. To him, this didn’t even affect his day.
3. I realized I had a lot to learn about money...
How to make your problems disappear
Most people go through life feeling stressed, guilty, and anxious about money. They operate by a simple rule: "Spending money is bad." It doesn't even matter what they're buying or why.
When you think this way … small, everyday hiccups become big, life problems:
- You ran out of gym clothes … so you keep skipping your workouts. A few months later, you've put on 10 pounds.
- You have cat hair all over your apartment … so you're too embarrassed to invite anyone back to your place. Now your dating life suffers.
- You had to stay late at work … so you didn't have time to make dinner … I guess it's frozen fish sticks again. Sorry, honey.
That's how a toxic money belief slowly ruins your life.
The wealthy don't think this way.
They follow a different rule:
“If you have a problem that money can solve,
then you don’t have a problem.”
The wealthy actively look for ways to use their money to solve problems.
Run out of gym clothes? Not a problem. Buy 1-2 more gym outfits … now you'll never run out.
Cat hair all over? Not a problem. Hire a housekeeper to clean your apartment once a week. Now you can feel good about having guests over.
Crazy day at work? That doesn't need to ruin your evening. Have a nice meal delivered or go to that new Thai restaurant you read about.
Gotta pay a $50 towing fee? Whatever.
You don't have to be a billionaire Jeff Bezos to think this way, either.
$50 can solve most "everyday" problems … IF you have the mental framework that spending money to solve problems is a good thing.
The problem solver
This is just ONE MORE example of the difference between how most people view the world vs. how the wealthy view it.
Once I saw just how much these toxic money beliefs were invisible anchors, dragging us down, I made it a personal mission to uncover the others and cut them loose.
I didn't want to keep fighting or limiting myself. I wanted a whole "toolbox" of new mental frameworks … so when I felt nervous, or frustrated, or even scared about money, I'd have access to the very same strategies and tactics and insights that the wealthiest and most successful use to overcome these feelings.
On the hunt for taboo secrets of the 1%
Unfortunately, there's not a book on Amazon called Taboo Secrets of the 1%.
The wealthy actually HATE talking about their unique money mindsets and rarely discuss it with anyone outside their children and financial advisors.
And I don't blame them.
Anytime they do, people bring out the pitchforks. The wealthy have learned it’s best to be quiet and keep their secrets to themselves.
If you keep your ears and eyes open, you can find clues. Instead of laughing or complaining when I saw a wealthy person buy something I thought was ridiculous, I looked closer. Why did they do that?
Sometimes you even get lucky. Once, I sat next to a guy in first class. I heard him mention that his family was back in economy. Right or wrong, I wanted to know why, so I asked. He went further and broke down his whole financial system.
As my business grew, I met more and more entrepreneurs, many of them working and earning several levels above my own. I found that people were much more open to talking about their money in a trusted environment, like an "invite-only" mixer for speakers at a conference.
I kept digging.
What I wanted to know was how the wealthy faced the same challenges and hassles that everyone else faced … but always seemed to come out on top.
And I didn't just want high-level, trite suggestions or meaningless tactics … I wanted the best stuff from the trenches. The nitty-gritty thought process behind their decisions.
So I asked them, over and over. I probed. I pushed back on their responses, going deeper and deeper. And I took their rules and tested them myself.
Soon, I was putting together my OWN rulebook. And this set of mental frameworks has helped take me from a normal college student to a New York Times best-selling author with an international audience … and a multimillion-dollar business.
Why "Wealth Triggers" create wealth and happiness
After I identified hundreds of secrets, rules, and mental frameworks that the wealthy use every day — guidelines that most people never even consider — I tested each one exhaustively. Again and again, I was amazed to discover that even tiny shifts in mindset can have oversized impacts on your life.
Slowly, painstakingly, I culled the list down into a short list of the most essential mental frameworks.
I call these "Wealth Triggers" because the concepts are so powerful, so striking, that once you hear them, they trigger a change in the entire way you approach money … for LIFE.
For example, my friend Nick told me he spends just 90 minutes at any museum — and 30 minutes of that is at the cafe! When I heard that, I was shocked. My entire life, I had considered museums to be all-day affairs. Disneyland was a 12-hour marathon. How could he only spend 90 minutes?
Or take my wife's comment at the end of our honeymoon: "Normally, I'd be sad to end a trip. But now I know that we can always come back."
Both of these are eye-opening demonstrations of abundance.
I grew up in a home where money was scarce. We ate out only once every 4-6 weeks — maybe. With a coupon. And we'd share everything, including drinks. The idea of ordering a dish that I wasn't sure I would like was crazy. That was way too risky. What if it wasn't good?
Today, I view the world with an abundance mindset, not a scarcity mindset, and it's completely changed my life:
If I was still carrying around my scarcity mindset, where would I be today? I can guarantee you I wouldn't be as successful as I've been fortunate enough to become.
And that's just ONE Wealth Trigger.
I'd like to share 20 of them with you.
See, we know that tactics and hustle are worthless without the underlying foundations of a strong mental game. For example, my NYT best-selling book lays out the exact steps to automate your finances, optimize your credit cards, and achieve financial independence … but many people buy the book, read it, even agree with me … and still do nothing!
Because their toxic money beliefs and mental frameworks are actually deadweight "anchors," holding them back from success…
- They fear failure ("What if this doesn't work? What will my family think? That I did yet another ‘hare-brained’ scheme?")
- They fear success ("What if this takes off and people discover that I'm not really good at this? What if money changes me?")
- They worry what others will think and let critics chart their course
Yet some people persist. They focus not just on external learning, like productivity and health. Top Performers also systematically improve their internal growth. Their mental frameworks.
They know that ultimately, as you become more wealthy and more successful, tactics are a commodity — everyone knows them! What separates the truly successful, wealthy, and happy people is having mental strength.
The fortitude to persist when times get tough.
The perspective to cut through all of your mental biases and see the world as it truly is.
The passion to look beyond the next paycheck, the next deal, the next bill — and chart your own rewarding path through life.
The confidence to know you can do something … and the strength to "go your own way" even when family, friends, and society want you to sit still and play small.
And the conviction to say YES when it matters — and NO when something isn't right for you.
Over time, these mental frameworks become "burned" into invisible scripts. They become your instinctive responses, giving you an instant playbook for success.
Why leave your playbook up to chance?
I'm here to give you the secret playbook that the wealthiest people use.
Unlock your financial potential and live your Rich Life
Wealth Triggers is an online course that gives you the tools you need to finally achieve your Rich Life. Crack the mental blocks that have been holding you back financially and replace them with proven, powerful frameworks that the wealthy use every day.
- This is specific — we include exact concepts, examples, and phrases you can use right now.
- This is rapid — a 21-day course with new material that you can apply instantly. Take it at your own pace and revisit it whenever you want.
- And this is practical — if you’ve already tried the treadmill of random hacks and "trying harder" and you want to go beyond symptoms to focus on what truly works, Wealth Triggers gives you the precise, actionable steps to build these inner mindsets into your everyday life.
The ENTIRE Wealth Triggers course is available in video, audio, and transcript formats.
This is an active course where we’ll show you how to integrate the principles into your life. You’ll get a specific call to action every step of the way. Do these and you’ll quickly see how rapidly you can change.
Plus, lifetime access to Wealth Triggers. Revisit any module and video when you want to improve or get a boost. Feeling unmotivated? Discouraged by a new challenge? Afraid you'll make a bad choice with your money? The solutions will be in your back pocket, ready for you when you need them.
The difference between the wealthy — and everyone else
What do the wealthy do differently? How do they think and act when they face situations that would trip others up?
Wealth Triggers is an inside look at how the wealthiest and most successful people got and stay that way…
- How to uncover the hidden reasons why you – or anyone – makes the money decisions they make
How to change the financial programming you grew up with
Why believing the wrong stories can cripple your chances of success
Why I was OK with losing 30-40k subscribers when I had just started picking up steam with IWT — and what that has to do with my money beliefs
- The things I actually spend my money on (and where I cut costs)
- The one question I ask myself when thinking about time and money
- Simple ways you can use money more effectively to increase your happiness
How I justify spending extravagantly on travel and experiences (this is a "master key" to unlock)
- How to make sure you’re making the right decisions for big life events
The most powerful financial asset you can build and how to get started today
- The exact questions you should ask yourself when mapping out your Rich Life
- Get an inside look at my different income streams
- At more advanced levels, I’ve noticed that people usually have one overriding priority for their discretionary spending. I'll tell you why
How to have difficult money conversations with your friends, family, and significant other
How to talk about money when your partner makes more than you do (or vice versa)
- What to do if your family asks you for money
- Who I turn to for financial advice (and who you should never take advice from)
- My biggest money wins in the last 15 years — these are the kinds of things I’d recommend to anyone starting out
And that’s a sample of the insights packed into this course.
Go behind the scenes of a Rich Life
I built this course to give you a behind-the-scenes look at a Rich Life. Not the tactical nuts-and-bolts of personal finance. I'm talking about how the wealthy think differently, act differently, and most of all, how they enjoy lifestyles that most people only get to dream about.
The “rules of thumb” you’ll learn in this course are practical, easy to apply, and extremely powerful.
Best of all, they are FUN.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE learning about myself, recognizing the patterns, then working to improve them. Sure, it’s work — but it’s amazing to watch yourself change from the inside out.
In this course, I collected the very best tools and frameworks and shared them, along with specific stories. You can apply these to your life instantly.
Even one of these lessons can be worth its weight in gold. Put them together and you have a roadmap for overcoming your money blocks, unlocking your financial potential, and living your own Rich Life.
Wealth Triggers IS for you if...
- You're open to admitting that the way you've acted in the past may need to change if you want to achieve higher levels of wealth and happiness
- You want to stop blindly trying the latest "schemes" for earning more and saving more
- You've tried the "conventional advice" about success, wealth, habits, and self-improvement, and they haven't worked
"What if I fall behind?"
Don't worry about falling behind — each video is distilled down to just the "bite-sized" essentials and includes specific examples so you can spend your time taking action instead of reviewing tons of content.
Wealth Triggers also comes with lifetime access so you can take a break from the material if you'll be out of town, on vacation, or just get swamped for a few days. You'll have this resource for life. It will always be there when you're ready.
"I don't want this to become yet another thing on my to-do list…"
The last thing we need is another thing to juggle. Wealth Triggers isn't another set of to-dos you’ll have to force yourself to find extra time for. It's not a Band-Aid or a workaround.
Wealth Triggers is a condensed, at-your-own-pace program that will show you how to develop deep psychological strength and the peak performance that goes with it. Watch one a day or binge-watch them in a fun, transformational weekend. You can also download the material to listen to on your phone, or read the transcripts — whatever's easiest for you.
"How is Wealth Triggers different than Success Triggers and How to Win the Game of Advanced Personal Finance?"
In short, Wealth Triggers is focused on breaking through your toxic money beliefs, replacing them with the winning money mindsets that the wealthy use, and living your own Rich Life.
Success Triggers takes a broader look at the non-financial habits that drive success in your professional and personal life.
How to Win the Game of Advanced Personal Finance walks you through the tactical details of my advanced personal finance system.
All three courses are designed to support each other, and if you enjoy one of them I believe you will enjoy them all.
"How long will this course take?"
This is a 21-day course. Each video is short and focused. We recommend watching one a day, and with lifetime access you can revisit them whenever you like.
If you're ready, you can learn the taboo secrets of the 1% and unlock your financial potential — today.
A day I'll never forget
Let me give you one more example of how much is possible when you break through your toxic money beliefs and start to use the winning money mindsets of the wealthy and successful.
I always knew that I wanted my honeymoon to be unforgettable. My wife and I were thinking about doing a safari for our honeymoon. When we went out with a few married friends and told them, they said, “That sounds awesome!”
Then one of them said, “We had an amazing honeymoon. We decided to take 6 months off.”
Another one said, “Us too. We took a year off and traveled before we had kids.”
Cass and I looked at each other like they were speaking Martian. Six months? A YEAR? Who are these people?
But as we left and took a cab home, we couldn’t stop thinking about what they’d said.
In true American style, we’d automatically assumed we would take a 7- or 10-day honeymoon. But what if we decided to go for longer?
What if we decided to do something totally different?
We’re both entrepreneurs. We can afford it. So what would our Rich Life look like?
In the end, we extended our honeymoon to 6 weeks and visited Rome, Kenya, India, and Thailand.