Creating Wealth is an in-depth conversation between Bill Taber, an experienced financial advisor, and his millennial daughter about personal finance, investing, and financial planning.
Episode 3: What is having an abundance mentality and how does it relate to your finances? Bill and Anastasia discuss how thinking abundantly, or positively about money, can set you up for financial success. Bill shares a time in his life where he discovered the importance of having an abundance mentality and Anastasia shares her experience of thinking positively during her first ski lesson.
For questions and comments, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anastasia: Welcome to Creating Wealth, I’m Anastasia.
Bill: Hi, I’m Bill.
Anastasia: We are starting a podcast on personal finance. We also happen to be father and daughter. My dad has been in the financial advisory business for decades, working at other companies, until founding his own investment advisory business in 1998. I feel like the things I have learned from my dad have set me up in many ways for financial success. I have also heard lots of people, especially millennials, wonder why personal finance isn’t a thing that is taught in schools. We learn, and maybe unlearn, how to solve for x, but we don’t know how to budget, we don’t know how to do our taxes, how to save, and live a financially abundant life. We hope this podcast will help fill in some of those gaps for you. We welcome our listeners to ask any questions they want to know the answers to, and maybe we’ll base a podcast episode from it. Please enjoy!
Anastasia: So today we’re going to talk about having an abundance mentality. What is having an abundance mentality?
Bill: Very simply, it’s focusing on what you have in life and being grateful for it, rather than focusing on what you don’t have and being unhappy about it.
Anastasia: How does that apply to how someone thinks about their finances?
Bill: Well, an abundance mentality requires understanding a law in life, the law of attraction, and that’s that you attract into your life that what you think about or focus on. Your life becomes what you think about, whatever we give our attention to and believe in tends to become our experience. So, life’s kind of like a mirror and will reflect back to us what we think into it. One way to develop an abundance mentality is to take a few minutes every day and just acknowledging the good things in your life – your good health, your loved ones, a comfortable place to live. Even things like watching a beautiful sunset or having running water, that’s both hot and cold, or a bus that runs on time. You know, just look around for the things that are good in your life. And then, take a few minutes to write them down and review them on occasion. Because as we practice abundance, we start to see positive changes showing up and beginning to change our lives. And when we focus on abundance and prosperity, more of it shows up.
Anastasia: That’s very nice. (Laughs)
Bill: It’s a simple thing. It is what we think about, what we focus on, tends to show up in our lives. So focus on good things instead of what you don’t want. There’s an example of the law of attraction that many young people, perhaps, can relate to and that’s having student loan debt, which is weighing on their ability to buy a house or start a family or travel or do other things that they’d like to do with their money. You know, and it’s one thing to have debt, but it’s quite another to be upset or angry or worry about it. So you can become consumed by it if you spend a fair amount of time thinking about it. And then, just the act of thinking about it more tends to attract more debt. And so one way to use the law of attraction and abundance is to develop a plan to gradually pay it off and then spend your time focusing not on the debt, and how you feel about it, but rather expanding your personal skills to provide more useful service to others and earn more money. So you can use the law of attraction to bring more abundance into your life.
Anastasia: I’m wondering if you’re able to share an anecdotal experience of someone who you know who maybe didn’t think positively about their finances or maybe other things in life. I imagine when you read about having an abundance mentality, you have stories of people who either adhered to it or didn’t and what the effects of that were.
Bill: Well, my career in the investment world started as a commissioned agent, and as such, the income that I received was dependent on whether someone bought or sold something. And there were times when things were going really well and people bought a lot. And there were times when people didn’t do much at all. So my income for my family was quite volatile. And I had not yet learned the process of budgeting in a job where you don’t have a consistent paycheck each month. And in the process of learning that, I was spending at a level that was commiserate with having a steady to fairly high level of income and then when the markets weren’t as strong and my income went down, I began to supplement that using short term debt, credit card debt. And that basically grew to a point where it was so large that it encompassed my thinking about it. I went to work basically thinking, “I have to get rid of this debt. I have to get rid of this debt.” And it became so consuming that I couldn’t see a way out of it. And it wasn’t until I learned this law of attraction that basically said you have to focus on positive things—focus on improving your skillset, providing useful services to others, and doing things that help others—that it began to attract more wealth into my life. Does that make sense to you?
Anastasia: Yeah. I think that’s a powerful example. I’m your youngest child so I’ve always seen you as having your financial life together. (Laughs) Like, you’re also like, “Oh wise one. Tell me how to succeed in life.” But that makes sense. You’ve learned a lot not just in your career and your particular industry, just working in that industry, but you’ve also learned through personal experience.
Bill: Personal experience is probably one of the best teachers, when you think about it. And I had to learn from a budgeting standpoint that you budget to what you think will be your minimal amount of income that you’ll bring in. In other words, I was working with volatile markets, and so I needed to budget to what the minimum I thought I would bring in as opposed to what I had brought in in the past. And when I started to do that and then at the same time focused on things that would allow me to increase my income which was becoming more knowledgeable and providing better service and more useful service to our clients, that’s when I started to get out of that hole, so to speak.
Anastasia: Yeah, I can see how thinking about like, “Oh, I’m in debt. I’m in debt,” feeling completely dragged down like that would make you a lot less productive and make you feel hopeless. But if you’re instead rerouting your brain’s pattern to focus on, “This is how much money I need to make in order to live the life that I want to live, and get to the place that I want to be.” That is then giving yourself an active seat in digging your way out of that, as opposed to a passive, “This isn’t going well. I’m never going to get out of this.”
Bill: And all the negative thoughts that come with that. Yeah, you’re exactly on track there.
Anastasia: Which is very painful too. Having, just carrying those kinds of negative thoughts with you everywhere. (Laughs)
Bill: (Laughs) Yes.
Anastasia: It’s like, who wants to actively spend time in that because that sounds awful. So just disclaimer, you are very successful now. (Laughs) You learned through personal experience how to be financially successful. And I’ve always thought that this abundance mentality, this kind of way of life, so to speak, is very interesting and I think it’s very useful. Especially for people who haven’t heard it before. Some people I think are just naturally optimistic in life, but I think there’s a lot of us who would say we’re more, or we would call ourselves realists, instead of pessimists. Even thought it might actually be more pessimism. We want to protect ourselves from thinking that something is going to go really well, and then when it doesn’t, that letdown is pretty severe, so instead we’re going to think of all of the worst scenarios. So when the worst does happen we’re like, “Okay, I was expecting that.”
Bill: Yeah and part of the learning process for me over the years has been to realize that you really can’t fail. In fact, failure is really not a part of my vocabulary any longer. What it is is an attempt to do something that either works or it doesn’t work. There’s no emotional connotation to saying either it worked or it didn’t work. If it worked, great, if it didn’t work, do something different. And so by looking at success as just a matter of continuing to make efforts to do things that work and show up in your life that create positive differences it allows you to be more motivated to continue to improve to the point to where you achieve what you want to achieve. So the term failure is basically not a part of my vocabulary. And there’s another one that you know of (laughs) I know over the years we’ve spoken of many times which is from Star Wars, from Yoda.
Anastasia: Oh, so great.
Bill: Yoda says—I forget who he said it to. He said—
Anastasia: He said it to Luke!
Bill: Said it to Luke! That’s right. He said, “Try, there is no try. You either do, or you don’t do.”
Anastasia: (Laughs) He is very wise.
Bill: And just the use of the word “try” implies, “Eh, I think I’m going to make an effort to try to get this to work and it might work, but it might not work.” And that as a negative connotation your brain basically hears, “It isn’t going to work.” (Laughs) So instead, just do it. And if it worked, great, and if it didn’t, do something different.
Bill: That’s philosophy for the day. (Laughs)
Anastasia: (Laughs) No, it’s just funny whenever Yoda comes up and that particular phrase comes up I always think of the Chinese ethics class that I took in college where I wrote a paper on how Yoda is a Daoist exemplar. We had to choose a character or a person, fictional or not, that embodies the Daoist principles. And Yoda fits that really well. It was great. It was a great paper.
Bill: Which explains why Star Wars has been so popular through multi-generations.
Anastasia: Oh yeah.
Bill: I mean, Daoism is basically a path and what is the path? The path is something that you are on to seek some goal or some truth or some end. And as long as you stay on the path, eventually you will get there.
Anastasia: Yeah, definitely rewards you for sticking with it as opposed to instant gratification.
Bill: Yeah, well patience and persistence is a large part of success as well. In fact, you know, part of why I’ve done as well as I have is, I simply haven’t given up. (Laughs) Because I truly believe you can’t stop someone that doesn’t give up.
Bill: They just keep working at it.
Anastasia: And you, you haven’t given up because you’ve been able to constantly remind yourself to think abundantly, to think positively, to attract success into your life.
Bill: Yeah, and think in terms of possibilities and opportunities. Say, “That’s an opportunity. It may or may not work. Let’s seek it out. Let’s go for it.”
Anastasia: I think that’s just such a great way of thinking. I think there are a lot of people who could really hear that, they really need to hear that.
Bill: Well, hopefully they’ll listen to our podcast.
Anastasia: (Laughs) Guys, all of the advice is here. It’s all great, um, yes listen, subscribe, tell all of your friends. (Laughs) So I guess we’ve talked about like if you have student loan debt. So that’s a good example. I don’t know if you have any other examples? No?
Bill: In general terms, some people have an expectation that they don’t want to lose money, and so they won’t put themselves in a position where they could potentially make money as a result of that, and that’s self-limiting.
Anastasia: So, like what?
Bill: Well, like for example the ownership of a mutual fund or ETF or individual stock that is not guaranteed in value like a bank CD under FDIC or a U.S.Treasury is. And basically has the opportunity to decline in value as well as go up. And so being fearful that, perhaps, some of the money that they worked hard to earn could go away because they put it in an investment that could go down, they simply refuse to put it in those investments. And that prohibits them from making a return that increases their wealth and increases their abundance and their ability to pay and have things in their lives that they would like to have show up. And it’s kind of fear driven, in a way.
Anastasia: Yeah. That would be more like the risk adverse people, right? Because when you take on a new client, you have them take a survey or questionnaire of what is their risk tolerance.
Bill: That’s right.
Anastasia: It’s a very important thing to consider when you’re building a portfolio for a client, is like how much risk that they want to have in their portfolio.
Bill: How much risk can they be comfortable with and basically it’s driven by their need for cash. If they have a need for cash at some point in time, then we need to invest the money in such a manner that we know that the money will be there for them. So that helps drive, you know, how much growth opportunity or risk aversion that we put into their investment portfolio for them.
Anastasia: Yeah, makes sense. Did you think of some key takeaways for this episode?
Bill: Basically, the key, and this is something that there are numerous motivational people out there that speak to this. I know this is something that Oprah has talked about many times. If you have Netflix, I think you can find it in a video called “The Secret”. It’s the law of attraction. And that’s that you attract into your life that what you think or you focus on. And your life becomes what you think. And so if you think positive things, those things tend to show up. And if you think negative things those things tend to show up. And it’s so simple. You know, over a period of time, people can change their habits, they can change their thinking habits, they can learn how to supplement a negative thought for a positive one. And when they do, then that opportunity opens up and something good can happen. But what I would say to people is if the thoughts are negative then there’s not really going to be any room for any positive things to show up. It’s going to be a negative result. So change your thoughts. That changes your feelings and that changes your actions. And good things happen from that.
Anastasia: I love it. (Laughs) It’s so wonderful! Well, I just have a very small anecdote that what you just said made me think of it. So I recently took skiing lessons for the first time and the instructor that I had was so positive and so optimistic and he was just such a delight to be around. I was skiing with like five other people in a group lesson. Pretty much all of the other people were feeling overwhelmed or feeling down about their abilities. They kept saying they’re not that good at it. They don’t know how to do this or that. I mean it’s their first day skiing, they’re being hard on themselves. And I don’t know if that’s how some people are taught to downplay their abilities all the time, but those people ended up skiing well, but they were afraid the whole time, and they could have done so much more. Whereas I was like I came to it with can-do, I’m going to do this, and even though this is terrifying because I am—you know, skiing is basically, like, you’re just accelerating down the slope. You’ve never skied before so you don’t know how to stop. Which seems like it’s a very important skill to learn. (Laughs)
Bill: Yeah. (Laughs)
Anastasia: Some might say the most important skill when it comes to skiing.
Bill: Yeah. (Laughs)
Anastasia: It’s just, it’s a terrifying activity. I don’t know why people do it. I think, probably the adrenaline.
Bill: Stopping on your own power is a lot better than running into a tree.
Anastasia: Right, exactly. I ended up doing super well. And he was so happy and he said I was one of his best students. And I don’t know, maybe he says that to everyone, or one person a lesson. But I felt from him sincerely that he was very proud of what I accomplished. And he said I was a level 4 skier by the end of the day and I don’t even know what that means. (Laughs)
Bill: It means you’re definitely off the bunny slope.
Anastasia: Right. Yeah, so I did double greens the next day, which was excellent. It was terrifying and it was great. But the whole time I was just like, you know what, I’m going to continue this positive mindset of, “I can do this, I’m not scared,” because as soon as you get scared, then that’s when you start failing. I saw this with another person skiing. She was skiing fine, but then she felt like, one second, she lost control and that’s when she started failing. That’s when she fell down.
Anastasia: So I posted about this and then another friend said (laughs), “I thought your fiancé had written that because it sounded not like you. It sounded so positive.” (Laughs) And I was like, “What? No, I wrote that.” I’m going need to work on this. I’m going to need to change how I come across to people. (Laughs) So that was what I was thinking of.
Bill: No, it’s perfect example of taking control over your thoughts and therefore how you feel about it and how well you did and you rose above your limitations and grew.
Anastasia: And it was really fun.
Anastasia: Way more fun than falling down. Because falling down does not look fun. But I also had several people say, “It’s okay if you fall down. Like that’s part of the learning process.” So like what you said with failure, just don’t make it a part of your vocabulary. If you fall, you fall. Just get up.
Anastasia: Alright, well I think that’s the end of our episode. Did you have anything else you wanted to mention?
Bill: Not today.
Anastasia: Excellent. Well, hopefully we can revisit this topic in the future, because I really like it.
Bill: Well it’s a key element in financial success so there will be many opportunities for us to talk about it.
Anastasia: Yay! Thanks Dad.
Anastasia: If you liked our podcast, please recommend it to your friends, leave us a review, or drop us a note. Thank you very much for listening and joining us on the path to financial abundance.