My worst month in 2 years, why I dont care, and why I intend to earn less in 2018

My worst month in 2 years, why I don’t care, and why I intend to earn less in 2018

 

The title says it all. Even  though there are still 5 days left in August I can say without a doubt that this will be the worst month I have ever had in over two years as far as income goes. Currently for this month I am at $16,696 in net profit, which is still a lot of money, but it is the first time I have failed to earn at least $20k in a month in over 2 years.

Now I could spend a lot of time trying to figure out the ‘why’ as to this being a low income month. However instead I have been thinking of a bigger question, which is: “Does  it really matter?” The truth is that barring anything terrible, like me losing touch with my followers, it really doesn’t. In fact the more I thought about it the more I realize that if I was smart, I would actually set my goals for the upcoming year to be less than what I have been earning and not more. Let me explain:

Last year in 2016 I earned a net profit of $494,000. This is how I spent that money:

-$172,000 paid in taxes (Federal, State, Local)
-$175,000 put into long term income  generating investments

-$25,000 in personal, non essential purchases, (I bought a car because I needed one, and a motorcycle because I wanted one)

-$90,000 added to my cash savings / nest egg

-$32,000 for my living expenses (including kid costs)

So setting aside the $25K I spent on things I really did not need, which will be largely one time purchases, I  only lived off of $32,000 even though I earned nearly half a million. I paid 34% of my  income in taxes, invested or saved  53% of my income, spent 5% of my income on one time large purchases, and lived off of just over 6% of the money I made. 2014, 2015, and this year 2017 have all been similar  with how I allocate my earnings. I tend to save or invest.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, well that’s great  Brett, being responsible is a very good thing. And it for sure is. However there is something important to note here, my lifestyle does not correlate to my income. One tactic that is a good idea is to live below your means while your building up a nest egg, or an investment portfolio, and then increase your standard of living after a few years. This is what I thought I was doing, but then I realized something, Im not materialistic, I really don’t care about getting ‘more stuff’.  Heck I own 14 homes and live in an apartment for crying out loud (I of course own the apartment building).  Its pretty obvouse that I don’t really care about big houses, fancy cars, etc. I mean nice things are nice of course, but Im just a person who is easily satisfied I guess.

Now in order to earn that kind of money I need to work a lot. Like a real lot. Think 10,12,14 hours a day on weekdays, and several hours on weekends. I realized that now that I have gotten to the point where I have some income generating investments, I have some cash saved, Im faced with two options. I can continue to work like crazy and make more money then I actually need or I can not and enjoy my life.

Im not lazy by any means. In fact I have been called a lot of  bad things in my life (many deserved, some not) but no one has ever called me lazy. However I realized that continuing to work very hard means I’m trading the most valuable thing I have for something that has almost no value at all.

Money has no value in itself. You cant eat money. Money wont keep you warm, or dry. Money is a means not an end. The only value from money actually comes from the spending of it. If you have some, beyond what you need to feel comfortable and secure, but don’t spend it then you might as well not even have it because its worthless until it is spent. Your life however is the most valuable thing you will ever have. Its 100% finite, you only have a specific amount of it, you cant ever get any more of it, and even worse no one has any idea how much of it they actually have.

When you work to earn money that you don’t actually spend, what you are doing is trading your most valuable asset ever, for something that has no value at all. I realized that this is what I would be doing if I continued to work like crazy in order to make 20X the amount of money I need in order to live a lifestyle that I am comfortable with. I realized that if I worked less, and earned less, I could  not only stop doing that, but I could increase my  standard of living and enjoy myself more. Let me explain:

By doing much less work I can earn $100,000 a year in profit (after taxes). But I have been living on a $32K standard for years now (I have no debt). What this means is I could double my standard of living, spend $64,000 every year, still have a good chunk of cash each year from the left over to save, and stop spending my most valuable asset (my life) in order to get money that I don’t spend or enjoy.

When you start doing well in the online business, or any business for that matter, there is always the fear that it will ‘go away’. This fear can drive you to work harder, to earn more, to save more, to invest more. This can be a good  thing initially, however at some point you have to say to yourself “Ok thats enough: I have enough of a security blanket, I have invested for my long term, its time to stop running on the hamster wheel and start enjoying myself. Its time to reap what I have sowed and enjoy my success.”  For me, because I dont want a $200,000 car or a 10 bedroom house on the beach, enjoying my success means no longer trading my life for money that I don’t even spend.

I turned 39 this year, this month in fact, and while I am not an ‘old man’ no one will ever call me a ‘young man’ again because I am not a young man. I am a middle aged man (literately, I have lived about 1/2 my life expectancy). I have worked very hard the last several years, I have been responsible, I have saved, I have invested, and soon its going to be time for me to enjoy what I have worked for. So yes, in 2018 I plan on earning about half as much (or even less) as I have been earning so far, but I plan to live twice as much and that is a success all in its own. The simple truth is that life should be about living, not about being a slave to money.

 

 

 


  
 
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  1. Dave Castle, 25 August, 2017

    Great thought provoking message here Brett.
    Thank you for laying this out so we could see inside what you were thinking… it make a lot of sense.

    You have a great rest of the summer!

  2. Vitaliy Stepanyuk, 25 August, 2017

    Very nice post, Brett, I’m glad you put it out here and made such a nice decision to not allow material things/money control your life. I also agree that money is rather an asset, a tool and it’s not something worth living for. Of course it’s a needed thing but shouldn’t be first on our life’s priorities. Best wishes, Vitaliy

  3. Ankur, 25 August, 2017

    5 more days to go 🙂

  4. Armand Girard, 25 August, 2017

    The biggest problem most people have while accumulating wealth (like you have been doing) is switching from accumulating to spending.

    We spend most of our working lives accumulating wealth until we retire. At that point, we need to start spending the wealth we accumulated but, because been in an accumulating mode most of our lives, it is difficult to “sit back and relax”. Trust me, I know. I am at the point I could do so but I enjoy working. The only difference is that I only work the hours on projects I want to work on.

    Brett, enjoy the fruit of your labor.

    Armand

  5. Pierre, 25 August, 2017

    Thankful for your honesty and openness, Brett. I once heard E Joseph Cossman say in a seminar that “money is a lubricant”. To me this means that money is not the objective…. the journey, with its challenges and successes and failures, is the most important aspect in marketing.

  6. Tom, 26 August, 2017

    One would be hard pressed to find a wealthy man that has not said much of the same toward money. When the poor stumble over money at every opportunity seeking to store it. For the wealth of man is the Gold stored is his heart and not his bank. Many a man will spend a lifetime figuring our where to place the gold, and die broke seeking the money.

  7. John Shaw, 26 August, 2017

    Sounds like you haven’t been seduced by the materialism/consumerism that our western capitalist system requires to keep the machine going. Shame on you Brett. (lol).

    Great insight into the mindset of a successful entrepreneur who genuinely has the well being of his customers at heart. As one of those, I really appreciate your generosity in giving your knowledge and experience, excellent products and service as well as your honest, blunt, no BS ethics. In the world of IM/MMO, in my opinion, this puts you up there with the best of them.

    I can sum it up in one word: trust.

    You’ve well and truly earned that from me and deserve the rewards you are reaping.

    Thanks Brett.

  8. JJ.Smith, 26 August, 2017

    That’s great Brett — sometimes you have to pop your head up and smell the roses! Your fortunate to be in a happy balanced place. 🙂 something I hope to achieve myself some time in the future.

  9. patrick, 26 August, 2017

    What a great perspective on what you’ve acheived and where you should go with it…truly happy for you because you’ve probably figured out the meaning to life WAY sooner than most ever do. Your work ethic goes with saying, but at some point..everyone have to ask themselves what am I working for? that’s what really matters…
    I’ve had rare bosses that cared about their employees tell me “you’ll never look back and think ‘man..I wish I’d worked more..’ ha-

    good luck man, you deserve all you’ve gained and more-

  10. jaime, 31 August, 2017

    You are right brett, life is worth living, sometimes you need peace, love and nothing more

  11. Ron Sampson, 10 September, 2017

    Excellent article Brett, well done!

  12. Bill, 11 September, 2017

    That is a refreshing thing to hear these days, and I respect you for being an authentic hombre, thanks for writing it.

  13. Tom, 20 September, 2017

    Great life lesson Brett. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Mike, 23 October, 2017

    The best advice my father ever gave me was to live below my means. Many of my friends bought increasingly larger houses, cars and “things” I decided that buying a 2 or 3 year old car was a lot smarter than taking a hit as I drove the new car off the showroom floor. Your new life plan is actually the perfect way to live your life. Enjoy more experiences and less things.

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