Money Viking Book Preface and Chapters

Dedicated to my Grandfather Henry and our families  Preface A note onTrue Wealth We live in a strange and exciting time. We have many more material comforts and opportunities compared to past generations. We walk around with super computers in our pockets and experience regular breakthroughs in technology and innovation. But ironically and sadly, most people cannot come up with $400 in case of an emergency expense, have little financial security and lack adequate time to care for family or their own health. Debt levels are at an all time high, and for many the American dream will never be anything but a dream. The financial stress can lead to sleepless night and general lack of well-being. This book is about addressing the shortcomings in our financial education and aims to clearly illustrate strategies to conquer financial freedom. Do this for you, for your family, for your kids… This book is about the tactics and tools required to make things better and live a life of what we call True Wealth. Many of us have a tremendous opportunity, if we are only wise enough to seize it and take action. Before we dive into the specific steps and strategies to build financial wealth, I want to take a moment to define what we call True Wealth. This book is about more than money. Jonathan Swift famously said “A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.” In other words, True Wealthis about strong financial habits, relationships, health and what we can each uniquely contribute. By applying various techniques combined with your own interests and passions, you can engineer a rich life that is specific to you. Many of us can feel something is not right in terms of our finances. We live in a world that through technology provides ever increasing abundance and wealth, beyond our ancestors wildest dreams. Yet, many people lack time to go to a child’s soccer game or music recital? A very few are able to keep the majority of wealth creation, while millions and billions of people struggle to pay the bills or eat. Debt for education, medical bills, car loans, etc. have skyrocketed to dangerous levels. And overall happiness and contentment have gone down in recent years. Therefore, one of the questions this book addresses is how we change this in our own lives? How can we each build and enjoy a slice of the American dream? Perhaps we do not need more stuff? Perhaps we need to better manage what we have? Perhaps the time has come to take our destiny into our own hands? That is the heart of our message, learn the system so you can make it work for you and make you stronger. Money and resources are a key element in shaping the world to be a better and more effective place for people. Money is an important human tool. It represents energy, a store of value, effort and serves as an efficient means of exchange. Money is something we engage with every single day and our relationship with it makes a huge impact on the quality of our whole life. Yet most people will never stop to think deeply about their relationship with money as a tool and source of security. Most folks fail to spend a small amount of time educating themselves on how they can make the most out of their money and their time. This book aims to arm those with some tools to make the most of their resources and ultimately make their money work for them. Why are we as a society overall so bad at managing money and harnessing the power of money as a tool? Unfortunately this is because we are raised to be workers and consumers, not owners, investors and shapers of our own destiny. Not many of us have the opportunity to learn the dynamics of money in a way that is truly aligned with our long term best interests. I personally believe this has hit crisis levels in a country where the majority of people have less than $1,000 saved. That is downright shocking and frightening in the country that has created more wealth than all of human history. This book itself is designed like a tool to take control back into your hands. We must fight and be strong “Money Vikings” in order to shape our own financial destiny. No one will do it for us, it is up to us. I for one am not going to wait around and rely on the government or wall street to put me and my family first, they never will. We evolved trading goats, gold and grain, but soon learned it is much more efficient to trade currency or money. But we are human with minds, dreams, goals and consciousness; and therefore life is about way more than money. But for some reason, money itself vexes the best of us. The most brilliant scientists, artists, even business people are often befuddled by their own personal finance. The awesome The Millionaire Next Doorbooks clearly illustrated through research the many high income earning folks who fail to accumulate any substantial wealth. There are literally millions of intelligent doctors and lawyers with pathetic personal finances. A life of True Wealthis about building strong relationships, love, health, experience, value, time and money. In other words, building wealth is a way for us to create security for our families, communities, enable us to add value and make the most of our time. That is the heart of our book. And we systematically compiled the “back to basics” fundamentals that have stood the test of time when it comes to building wealth. This is not a “get rich quick” book promising millions to be made overnight with complicated options trades and real estate. The information in this book is drawn from thousands of people and our own lives in terms of what it takes to reach financial independence and live a life of wealth. Another aspect of True Wealththat I will mention now is remembering how fortunate and blessed many of us are. GRATITUDE (In caps for emphasis) is truly the key to wealth. We are blessed to live in the United States, in the modern world and to have the opportunity to create a life that aligns with our higher values and purpose. It is about way more than a number in an investment account. Our relatives just 50 years ago reported higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness with half the material possessions and wealth. Perhaps it is time we rethink our priorities, develop a mindset of having enough, and building wealth in a constructive manner? We hope this book will inspire you to launch on your journey of True Wealthand thrive as the powerful Money Viking that is inside each of us!   ATTENTION: Any information contained in this book is the author’s opinion. It is not investment advice to any individual and does not represent the views of any organization. You should seek the advice and consultation of a fiduciary investment advisor with specific questions about your situation. This book is written for informational and entertainment purposes.  

Your Why?

 Why build wealth? Why do we do what we do?   I truly believe a life of True Wealth explores this question. Some of the most miserable people I have met in my life spent all their time thinking about themselves. Hands down this leads to a life devoid of joy. Yes, we must take care of ourselves and enhance our own view and abilities. But there must be more. In many ways we evolved working cooperatively within a small family or tribe, it is the only way we survived to this point. As a parent, I can tell you that hugging your kids and wanting them to experience a good world is an amazing motivator to be the best person you can be. There are so many people in this world that are less fortunate than us at no fault of their own. I guarantee that when you make your why about other people, this will be a strong pillar to a life of True Wealth.  

Who are these Money Vikings?

  We are The Money Vikings,Greg & Jerry. We are a couple of friends. We are normal middle class dudes. We are currently in our 40’s, raising families and building wealth one day at a time on a quest to “Conquer Our Financial Freedom!” and live a life of True Wealth. This is our fun way of saying we are achieving financial independence and enjoying the journey along the way. We are investing and aligning our assets with our higher values. We believe that many people in the middle class can do this with the right knowledge, habits and paradigms. The principles outlined can be applied at all ages to improve your financial situation for the better. This book is very straightforward and takes a person through an evolution of building wealth. No purported “secrets” or gimmicks, just back to basic strategies that most folks in the middle class can deploy to build wealth, live a life of “True Wealth”in the moment, and sleep well at night knowing they are on the path to a secure retirement. These are the concepts that have helped us as we have studied and practiced frugal living and investing for 20 years. We are not financial professionals. We have normal middle class jobs in areas such as real estate and tech. We make solid middle class salaries and practice several side hustles. We are passionate about providing for our families, investing, frugal living and building wealth. We have spent the last 20 years studying wealthy folks, investing and frugal living. We went to college, started working, and have spent years studying investing and wealth building. We have worked in various fields from tech, government, real estate and the arts. We have also interviewed dozens of wealthy folks. We mainly focus on the non-flashy wealthy folks from the solid American middle class. We focus on people with decent middle class jobs, family people, who are building wealth one day, week, month at a time. Oh, and I should add, making a few mistakes along the way like everyone else. Through a series of actions and habits we have been able to build substantial wealth by the time we hit our 40’s. It was not always an easy journey and both of us had our scrapes and cuts along the way. We did not inherit millions or have any kind of substantial leg up beyond being born in America to good families and have the opportunity to better ourselves through education. We take none of these things for granted. We admire Warren Buffett and the late Jack Bogle of Vanguard for their straightforward advice to the middle class on building wealth. In late 2017 we started our blog, moneyvikings.com. Our main motivation for starting the blog was to:  
  1. Learn new things about saving and investing.

  2. Connect with a community of like-minded folks.

  3. Have a creative outlet, learn in a fun way and motivate ourselves to do more.

  4. Produce some small “side hustle” income from our site.

 

We achieved all this and continue to this day!

  Who are we individually?   Greg (The bald Money Viking) Welcome to the Money Vikings plan to conquer financial freedom! I truly hope you glean inspiration and insight from our story so that you can thrive in life. I believe the more we all thrive, the better for our country, communities and children. Yes, I am a patriotic guy, we have our challenges in the US, but this is our country and it is up to us to make it strong. My story begins with dyslexia as a child. See, I had a really hard time learning to read as a child. I was falling behind in school and wrote whole pages of homework backwards, but not in that cool DaVinci way. Having a learning disability was stressful. Although, I had one really great advantage, wonderful and supportive parents. That blessing is not lost on me. I realized I had to work hard and use my creativity to make it. One thing I could do was draw and thankfully my parents encouraged my artistic pursuits. Although I went to college, earned a “practical” degree and landed a job in a mainstream field (real estate), I always kept at my artistic pursuits. Through this book you will see illustrations and cartoons that I have made that explain financial concepts in a fun way. Learning can be creative and fun!   Jerry Jerry is originally from Chicago and earned his Master’s Degree in Southern California. He was lucky in that his parents provided a good example of saving and frugality, an important first step in a life of True Wealth. They almost never ate out and the kids were not even allowed soda pop, which saved money and health. He has worked in the tech industry for over 20 years. One of his biggest tricks to building wealth has been to focus on always contributing to his 401k no matter what life threw his way. Life threw him a curve ball when he divorced, but he was able to rebound and rebuild his wealth through sound financial habits and management. He enjoys options trading with his “mad money” and learning new techniques to build wealth over time.   Why did we write this book? Jerry and I operate the Money Vikingsblog (moneyvikings.com), where we share ideas and inspiration to grow wealth and live a great life. One of the main reasons we wrote this book was because there is a huge gaping hole in our education system when it comes to financial knowledge. And, learning about personal finance should be straightforward and fun. Throughout the book you will find cartoons I have made that illustrate important personal finance concepts. Most people are really bad at managing their money and in many ways it is not their fault. We would not expect someone to get up one day and paint a masterpiece, code a computer or play an instrument masterfully. These pursuits take training, education and time. Why do assume something different when it comes to mastering money? Some very intelligent and good people are just plain bad at managing their money and investing for the future. I personally believe this has to do with a lack of financial education, a culture of consumerism, and constant advertising “demand signals” telling you that you are not complete until you buy brand X product, car, house, clothes, etc. These environmental factors exploit our natural weaknesses when it comes to money management.   Become Money Viking Strong We chose the name The Money Vikings as a kind of metaphor for the reality of the environment we all live in. We must be resourceful warriors to fight off the siren call of rampant consumerism, debt quagmires, and the simple fact that hundreds of forces are working against our own self-interests. Not to mention, we may naturally be our own worst enemy when it comes to managing our money. We did not evolve in an environment of cubicle work, index fund investing, compound interest, etc. In our million years of evolutionary history, these “human made” systems are rather new. The goal of this book is therefore simple: Provide an overview of the skills, techniques, and paradigms that made us “Money Viking Strong”. And let me be clear, it feels great and I sleep very well at night. I am not up all night worried about the stock market, debt, losing a job, etc. When you become Money Viking strong, you will not worry about these things as much.   F.I.R.E. We are loosely affiliated with the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement and are active members of this blogging community. I am grateful to this awesome community of thoughtful writers, content creators and investors. We are not financial professionals, but we are living in the real world of struggle to create wealth. We share the fundamental ways and ideas that are serving millions so they too can “Conquer Financial Freedom”.   You are where you are  This book is for most people. Most people struggle with finances. It can be a confusing topic in an inhospitable environment. DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP FOR FEELING BEHIND! We all have to start where we are today. Therefore, no going back in time and wallowing in “what I should have done!” It is over, make peace, make a plan, and take action today and tomorrow! The concepts captured here can help someone making $30k/year or $300k a year. If you are earning at the lower end, then the concept is to master the fundamentals. They will serve you well no matter the income level. We only have so much control over current income, but with time, some of the principals outlined here can help you increase your income potential.   How the book is structured This book is generally structured in a manner that walks someone through the journey of building a life of wealth and health. In other words, it starts with first things first and progresses through steps that can lead to financial independence. We use the metaphor of a “Viking longboat” to describe the vehicles to transport someone to a life of financial independence and wealth building. Achieving financial independence is a journey and one will need a vehicle to arrive; in this case various investment vehicles  

CHAPTERS & TOPICS

  Ch. 1: School & Work Ch. 2: Back to Basics, You Are Where You Are, You Can Be More Ch. 3: Managing Good vs. Bad Debt Ch. 4: Psychological Money Tricks (the mental game of battle) Ch. 5: Slaying The Rampant Consumerism Dragon (becoming a creator/owner/investor) Ch. 6: What Grandfather Taught Me About Money and Life Ch. 7: Rules of Thumb For The Big Things (Housing, Cars, etc.) Ch. 8: Declutter Your Finances & Life (Look hard at your truth) Ch. 9: Habits (first you form them, then they form you) Ch. 10: Investment Longboat #1 (Stock Index Funds, 401k’s, Roth IRA’s, Vanguard, etc.) Ch. 11: The Investing Trifecta Ch. 12: Investment Longboat #2 (Dividends Portfolio) Ch. 13: Simple Financial Math Ch. 14: Investment Longboat #3 (Bonds) Ch. 15: Investment Longboat #4 (Real Estate, REIT’s, Crowdfunding, Leverage, Management, etc.) Ch. 16: Investment Longboat #5 (Passive Income Goals) Ch. 17:  Relationships, Kids, Marriage Ch. 18: Investment Longboat #6 (alternative “fun money”) (options, individual stocks, covered calls, cryptocurrency…) Ch. 19: Health & Wealth Techniques Ch. 20: A Life of True Wealth Ch. 21: Conquer “Your” Financial Freedom (Do not live someone elses’ life, everyone has a unique journey, learn, try, grow, expand and never give up!)M

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