Money is time, money is confidence but most of all, money is freedom. It is not a pretty truth but if you want to become the best version of yourself, you need to become financially secure. The following are the key takeaways I have had from an on-going series of coffee meetings with wealthy mentors. These are not just some of the most helpful financial philosophies I have encountered, they are some of the most valuable philosophies I have encountered period!

  1. Debt is worse than evil, it is debilitating. If you want to be happy, unstressed and free, you absolutely need to wage an all out war on personal debt. Do absolutely everything you can to pay off debt as fast as possible. Don’t hold yourself to to societies normal standards regarding this fight. Be ruthless, unrealistic and ridiculous when fighting for your financial freedom. You have to be, think about your enemies: credit card companies and loan sharks.
  2. Money

    Debt is the real shackle that binds most people

  3. Money can buy happiness, it’s called a bicycle. Save money on insurance, gas and gym membership by investing in personal transportation. If it is good enough for billions of people worldwide, it is good enough for you.
  4. Buck the trend and focus on lowering expenses rather than raising income. Income is reliant on someone else (boss, clients, etc), expenses are usually entirely under your control.
  5. OWN LESS STUFF! (The capital letters and exclamation point mean I am yelling at you.) Stuff has both emotional and monetary weight. This means your possessions don’t only siphon fuel out of your wallet, they also siphon fuel out of your heart and mind. Don’t let the habit of unnecessary purchases add weight to your life. See this post for practical advice on paring down.
  6. fish food

    Fish eat out of habit even after they stop being hungry. They are also meals for the majority of the world’s carnivores. Be smarter than lunch, don’t spend money just because it has become a habit.

  7. Mommy and Daddy are the two most expensive titles in the world. Kids are wonderful but prohibitive and expensive. Be careful with those ugly regions your swimsuit normally covers.
  8. “Real estate is the greatest investment you can make” is absolute bullshit. It is a lie that is perpetuated by the industry that makes the most money from this untruth, banks. For every one success story of a real estate billionaire or house flipper there are 100 crying families who just had their houses repossessed by a faceless bank. Boo hiss!
  9. The best investment you can make is in yourself. Spend time broadening your mind and improving your health. You are going to be stuck with yourself your entire life, you might as well make you the best companion possible.
  10. Beware of the post-college living conditions money sucking death spiral – After college it is normal to move out of a dorm/cheap apartment/car and upgrade your living conditions. Beware that this is a difficult to reverse trend. It is easy to raise your living conditions but incredibly hard and painful to lower them. Take your time with this transition.
  11. In today’s world, having a specialization is far more valuable than have a lot of general skills. In the old world, being an “everything man” and having a breadth of skills did have some value. Then we humans invented the Internet. Now this is no longer the case. Specialize so you can get paid.
  12. Be your own boss but don’t hire employees. Many people grow up wanting to be a CEO or business tycoon but how many people with these job titles are happy? Running a big company requires lots of management. Management is extremely draining and takes you away from what drew you to your profession in the first place. Running a tiny business (just you) isn’t sexy but it is freeing.
  13. Boss

    Being a boss doesn’t require having gold hair but it sure does help!

  14. Money is necessary, being poor is being trapped, being trapped is awful.
  15. Make your dreams a priority, no one else will do it for you. Remember, if you don’t pursue your dreams, someone else will hire you to pursue theirs.


I wrote this post while sitting in a small speakeasy in a hidden corner of Saigon. I have been thinking a lot about money lately and wanted to get some of these ideas out of my head. Here at this speakeasy they were cranking super funky and uplifting house music “love makes you win, love makes you win, love makes you win” and I think it impacted my voice in this post. Maybe I should come here more often :-)