Brian is the founder of Investor in the Family and Online Investor Conference. At Investor in the Family, Brian’s goal is to help protect investors from making big mistakes that jeopardize their portfolios and financial futures. Brian lives in Dallas with his wife and son.
So let’s dig in. Let’s meet today’s Master of Money….
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Choosing Sobriety, Humility, and Discipline
What sounds like three difficult traits to build your life around have become the very foundation for Brian’s financial decisions. When he has made a financial mistake, he can almost always trace it back to violating one of the three. Likewise, any success he’s had can be traced back to staying on target with those three traits.
These terms are all familiar ones to most of us but Brian uses them in a unique way when applied to finances.
Sobriety is simply being sober, or realistic, about your financial situation. This applies not only to getting out of debt but also to investing or increasing your income. A willingness to learn from others and make course corrections is at the heart of humility. And you need discipline to stick to all the things you learn.
Becoming a Better Steward
In 2012 as a newlywed, Brian knew that the decisions he and his wife were making regarding careers were going to affect their financial future and that he had to become a better steward of the income they did have.
They were both employed by nonprofits and Brian’s income 12 years into his career was what it would have been as a first-year employee if he had pursued a job in the financial field. With a small income and no raises in sight, it was time to get serious about what money they did make.
As an accounting and finance major in college, Brian has always enjoyed the topic of money and been intrigued by investing. He took that interest in investing and dove into learning as much as he could in order to secure a more stable future for his family.
When Brian began his investing venture, he started with some funds in a Roth IRA that his father had begun for him. At the same time, he was trying to learn how to build a business and he admits that he wasn’t disciplined enough at the time to do either well.
With his limited income, Brian couldn’t afford the riskiest of investments so he mainly stuck to stocks. Stocks aren’t a way to build wealth though, so he had to determine what his goals were for the income he could bring home and find a way to make more money. His focus over the past several years has been to build the business because he sees a much higher return for his family from that.
Living Beneath Your Means
It’s no secret that in order to be financially successful, you have to live beneath your means. That’s not so easy though when your income is limited. Brian admits that his wife is much more conscious about the need for frugality than he is.
As a couple, they tend to enjoy time together doing things that don’t cost money. That’s not to say they never go anywhere, because they definitely do, but they don’t spend a lot of money on entertainment. Brian’s wife grew up in a more affluent neighborhood but she didn’t develop an appetite for living large. They’re both happy sticking to things that are inexpensive in order to have a more secure future.
Brian and his wife both wanted her to be able to stay at home with their children when they started a family so when they purchased their first home, they kept their mortgage at around 20% of their income. They know that it’s the big expenses that can ruin a budget so they purposely kept it as low as possible.
One of the ways they’ve been able to travel extensively is through credit card hacking. Brian says he was late to the credit card hacking game but he has still been able to do some great trips with his wife and still uses a couple of cards; one a Delta card that’s helpful for travel points, and a Citibank double cash card that gives cash rewards for spending and for paying the card off.
Using Minimalism to Control Daily Expenses
Brian mentioned earlier that his wife is better at the frugality game than he is. They’ve been experimenting a bit with a minimalistic lifestyle: the “don’t buy it unless you really love it” idea.
This helps to keep some of those daily expenses under control that can tend to get away from you if you aren’t paying attention. Brian has no problem with not buying a bunch of big, expensive toys; it’s the small things that get him in trouble. Things that seem innocent enough, like books to add to your collection, can make a big difference in your financial situation.
Empowering People with Money
Brian spoke at length in this episode about growing his business instead of investing a lot of money in the typical ways. He feels strongly that his business is the way to secure his family’s future, not stocks and bonds.
Brian wants to make a lot of money but not so that he can buy more books or a bigger house. Yes, he needs to take care of his family and the needs there like education and medical stuff. But his desire for more money goes beyond his family to the world outside his home.
Brian is directly involved with several nonprofits and indirectly affiliated with several more. His passion is to use money to empower people who have nothing. Like the maternity hospital in Sudan that needs $150,000 a year to stay open and save the lives of women and children.
There are entrepreneurs who make $150K in a month, and while Brian isn’t one of them…yet…he wants to take his business to that level so that he can change lives. His current role with the nonprofit, Empower One, has him working with pastors and leaders in South Sudan. He works on curriculum and faculty development for a school there.
Entrepreneurship with a Full-time Job
One interesting thing about Brian is that he has no intention of leaving his day job. He is passionate about the people of Sudan and his desire is to continue to help them and to impact the country for as long as possible.
Brian’s business grew out of his own learning and a desire to share that with others. As he increased his understanding of investing, he felt like others would benefit from having someone they could trust to teach them how to do the same. And Investor in the Family was born.
His goal with the business is to help people understand what their options are when it comes to investing, how it works, some simple ways to get started, and how to set goals. Investing is a big mysterious thing for many people and Brian wants to change that. He shares not only his advice and his wins in investing but he is also open about his mistakes in hopes of helping folks not make the same ones he has made.
- Time Stamp-
- 02:00 Choosing sobriety, humility, and discipline as the foundations for your financial decisions
- 05:55 Becoming a better steward of a limited income
- 09:45 Making mature goals and building a business
- 12:25 Buying a fixer-upper in an up-and-coming neighborhood
- 14:55 Daily money systems for living below your means
- 17:55 Using credit card bonuses for travel
- 22:35 Tools for investing
- 34:00 “Don’t buy stuff unless you really love it.”
- 35:11 Using money to change people’s lives
- 40:15 Being an entrepreneur with a full-time job
- 42:50 How to begin investing
Links/Terms/Concepts from the Show
- Citi Cash Back Credit Card
- Delta Skymiles Credit Card
- USAA Online Checking
- Ally Invest
- Fidelity Investing
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This show is part of the FinCon Podcast Network and was produced by Steve Stewart.