A hearty welcome to “Grandma’s Wealth Wisdom” with your neighborly hosts, Brandon and Amanda Neely. This is the only podcast that helps you take charge of your cash flow and leverage your assets, simply and sustainably, the way Grandma used to.
Amanda: Hi, friends. This is Amanda Neely, and welcome to our Grandma's Wealth Wisdom. That episode you're about to hear is one that was originally a YouTube Live, where Brandon interviews an awesome man named Mark Deulley. It was a really great conversation we wanted to, for sure, put it out here on the podcast as well.
If you are not subscribed to our YouTube channel, we highly recommend it. We have lots of content there that's not published here. If you've listened to the YouTube version of this or watched it on YouTube, stay tuned till the end. I'm going to add some of my own thoughts by way of recap and implementation of what you hear. I'll catch you at the end. Enjoy this interview between Brandon and Mark. [01:12.4]
Brandon: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Grandma’s Wealth Wisdom, where we help you take charge of your cash flow, leverage your assets, and breakthrough to a smart, stable financial future. That's exactly what we do at Grandma’s Wealth Wisdom, what we've been doing for several years now, and the reason we do it is we've been in the place of being in a hard spot often and being in a place where, hey, we need to take charge of our money.
Even though we were business owners, even though we were entrepreneurs, we were at a place of stress. We were at a place of overwhelm and we were at a place where we just, I don't know, we needed some help. We came across a concept that helped us get there and now we're doing this whole thing and helping entrepreneurs. [02:04.4]
Today is really fun because I am inviting a friend I’ve known for a long time. He’s also a client, and you will be surprised to hear that he is a Dave Ramsey coach. The reason you would be surprised to hear that is you might know some of our opinions on that and I love Dave Ramsey in some ways, some ways we don't, and if you don't know that, there's probably going to be linked somewhere on our thoughts on some of that. Go on the bottom of the show notes and you'll see some of our reaction videos and all that. But we're not here to talk about Dave Ramsey, maybe a little bit, but really I want to talk about Mark and why he's even in the Ramsey thing, right? [02:56.3]
A little bit about Mark. Since entering the financial services industry more than 15 years ago, he has built one of Indiana's premier financial coaching firms located in Indiana, Valparaiso. Mark and his team enjoys helping next gen, meaning Generation X and Y—it's, again, why I probably like him because we work with a lot of those guys and millennials—find peace of mind with easy to follow strategies for budgeting, debt elimination, and financial planning.
In addition to being a Ramsey Preferred Master financial coach, which we'll talk about, I'm sure Mark serves as a coordinator for Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University, as well as teaches for Junior Achievement in local elementary schools, so he's teaching them about money early, which is great. I think our financial system doesn't teach or our education system doesn't teach about money, and so to get in there young is probably super helpful. [04:04.3]
With that, let's welcome Mark to the podcast and show.
Mark: Hey, Brandon, how are you doing?
Brandon: Hey, how are ya? Welcome. I love that little picture in the back. Mohammed Ali there, right, I believe?
Mark: Yeah. Yeah. Mohammad Ali, quick story, I grew up with a poster in my bedroom that said “Impossible is nothing.” I don't remember if it was Nike or if it was Adidas, but it was a poster of him standing over Sonny Liston, saying, “Impossible is nothing,” and so, I don't know, that moment has always kind of spoken to me and I always loved his story, fighting for what you believe in, both inside and outside of the ring.
Brandon: Nice, there you go, and then it's inspiring to you as you come into the office every day, when, I bet you, you probably deal with, and I had conversations with some people just the other day saying this is impossible, this is hard, I can't overcome this, and to have that image there behind you. As they're lamenting and saying, I can't overcome this, you probably look and say that's hogwash. It is not impossible to overcome these barriers, right? [05:16.0]
Mark: Yeah. Yeah. I find people get stuck when it comes to money. They get stuck in up in the mud, down in a hole, and there are a lot of guys out there, not like you or me, but you have the talking heads out there that like to stand at the top of a hole and just say, You should do better. What did you even get down there for? What's wrong with you? Get yourself out. Come on, you’ve just got to want it harder.
Then there are other people that will climb down in the hole and sit with them for just a minute and say, Wow, this really sucks. I'm so sorry this happened to you. What can I do? How can I help? And then build out with them, help them out, as opposed to just standing over and saying, Hey, you should have done better. You should've known better. What's wrong with you? [05:57.0]
Brandon: I would say, I probably know, again, going back to your bio, some of those talking heads. And why, one of the reasons I don't like Mr. Ramsey so much is he's one of those people that say you're an idiot, you're stupid, and realizing that finances are complicated. There are no soundbites to solve everything. A lot of it is emotional. A lot is tailored. I don't know, I just don't like being condescending and yelled at and even saying-- I mean, again, I do Infinite Banking. When they say you're stupid and this, this doesn't work and you're just out to make buck, I’m like, You don't even actually know how it has affected me and how it's affecting my client.
Brandon: Does that make sense?
Mark: Yeah. No, there's very little seek to understand when it comes to anything that's outside the normal, and I see this with all sorts of people out there, the big ones, the Dave Ramsey, the Suze Orman. I see all the way down to the local guys here. Look, I have a plan. I have a process. If you follow my plan, if you follow my process, you're going to be successful. If you don't do it, then you're going to be a miserable failure and you have no one to blame but yourself, and it's that mentality. [07:14.0]
When we understand, as we go through and talk about everything today, Dave Ramsey, I grew up in the Financial Peace University system. I taught it. It's what a lot or some of the principles that I teach now are based upon where we go through all this management. Number one thing, I played football in high school. Dave Ramsey was like my football coach. He's the one screaming on the sideline that says, Get the first down or else you're an idiot. It's his personality style. It's how he's wired and it worked for a generation. Does it always work now? No. Does it speak to everybody? No. But there are people. It does work for a lot of people as it applies to … A coach's job is to give you a pat on the back when you need it and a kick in the you know what when you don't want it necessarily to get that going. He's got the kick in the pants down really well. [08:01.5]
Brandon: I feel like that's something even, I was talking to a client that I have the same conversation over and over again, just the other day. I was like, Dude, it's not an issue with insurance and not a big issue with the products. It’s maybe … have you ever budgeted before? Have you written down everything that you spend money on? And sometimes there’s a couple of things and he said his income has dropped. I was like, Okay, so what are you going to do to increase your income? You can only do two things really, increase income in a business, that's pretty much it, and save more money or keep more of your income. Oftentimes, and this is something I think about when it comes to budgeting, if you don't have a plan for your money, everyone has a plan for your money. Everybody out there. You just walk out the door and there's a plan for your money. [08:59.1]
Brandon: I see a comment from another Deulley. I think this might be a family member. “There's no one soundbite or even one solution that works for all financial circumstances a hundred percent of the time.” I think that's true. Everything is tailored and it takes more time. That's the problem where a lot of people, they don't understand money, so they don't take the time to actually understand their own crap, their own stuff, and I think that's a challenge. Let me ask you a question.
Brandon: What was money like growing up for you? How did you end up in this thing?
Mark: Oh, man.
Brandon: We talk a lot about Grandma’s wealth wisdom. What did Grandma teach you about money?
Mark: I had two opposite sides when it came to grandmother's wealth wisdom for me. One side was like just save as much as you can. Put it all away. There’s going to be a rainy day someday. And live way below your means, almost to the point of never having fun. Just money is like an Ebeneezer Scrooge kind of approach there. [10:14.5]
Then my other grandmother was extremely generous. She was such a giving person and went so far above and beyond. But the problem with that side of it was she had no solid financial backing. She had no understanding of how to grow income, and so whenever extra money was there, it was just giving away in a heart of generosity, which we love and we bless her for.
But it’s like there's somewhere a truth in between the two. I actually got to see both extreme spectrums growing up from my grandmothers.
Brandon: l see that, again, with clients. They're helping their kids through college. Yet they have no plan for their own retirement or when they get there, and I'm like there's a challenge that's going to happen and your kids are in through college. That's great. Hopefully, that's going to work out for them, but you might be sleeping on the couch at some point, right? [11:08.8]
Mark: Couch if you're lucky. If you're lucky, it will be a couch.
Brandon: And so you’ve got to figure out, okay, there's this idea of going into a … put on your oxygen mask first before you put on the oxygen mask of others, and your one grandma probably put on the oxygen mask, but she was not realizing what is enough, right? How do I build that to have? And it's a balancing act. That's a great, great thing to figure out. Okay, how do you take both sides and marry them into one? And, again, it's complicated. Each person is different.
Going into some of your backstory and I want to get really vulnerable here, what is one of your deepest regrets or failures that you're now using this failure to launch into what you're doing now? Failures in business … [12:10.4]
Mark: You're just coming out swinging here today. There’s no rev up, anything like that.
Mark: Let's just go for it.
Brandon: We’ve got to help these people. There's so much crap out there and knowledge or not knowledge, but learning from our failures is going to help these other people say, Hey, I don't need those failures. I want my own failures.
Mark: My biggest failure as a family, 2017 was a very, very bad year for us. My wife and I, we lost two businesses and two babies in the same year. I tend to believe that they were interconnected, that the stress of the businesses caused that, and just it was a very, very bad year for us. What I did not understand at the time, I was believing my own legend more than I should have been and I was thinking, okay, this is what I need to do. I need to go out. I need to go start a business. I need to go work on this. And I just messed it up really badly and I had to close the business. We had a really, really rough time. [13:07.0]
We ended up living, me and my wife and my daughter lived above a Papa John's pizzeria in a one-bedroom, 500-square-foot apartment. We gave the bedroom to our daughter. We had our bed in the living room, no furniture, no nothing. I mean, it was bad and I kept pushing because I was believing the entrepreneurial dream.
When I first jumped into the world of entrepreneurial … ism … ship, you just believed. Jump. Leap and the universe will respond. Like Wile E. Coyote or my favorite was more like Homer Simpson jumping Springfield Gorge where he's like, “I'm gonna make it! I'm gonna make it!” and then, wham, and then he’d get back to the top and something else happens. You go right back down and you fall down again. That was a really painful experience. We put everything in. We liquidated our retirement. We liquidated our home. We put everything into that.
One of the big takeaways that I learned in that process, I mean, tons of them, but the difference between purchasing power and money. People say, Oh, I don't have any money, but you have $20,000 of credit card availability. You have equity in your home. You have a 401(k). You have family and friends that you can ask for help and support. [14:12.7]
But what happens when all of that is gone, and, literally, you're looking at your checking account and you've got $10 in the account that’s going to last until the end of the week? Your daughter says, Hey, Dad, can we go get an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen, and you say, I'm sorry, sweetheart, we can't do that because I'm not making enough money, because I'm not taking care of our family.
I take this very seriously, understanding, you know what? When you're down to less than $10 of purchasing power, you really have to look back, though, what happened? Where did I go? What can I do about it? And that's what we did. My wife and I, we worked out of it, started building, doing more and more, and we stepped away from entrepreneurship, went back to working on a job and doing things and went back. Now we're back in entrepreneurship. [14:57.8]
The lesson for me in all of this that I couldn't hear it, but I had to experience it was that money is emotional. It's a highly emotional subject, and like you were talking earlier about the parents who want to pay for their kid's college more than they want to plan for retirement, it's because it's emotional. They know what it felt like to leave school with debt or maybe they didn't even get to go to school and they feel obligated. There's a social contract that says success means paying for school, and that's immediate. It's right in front of their eyes, and so that becomes the driving factor way more than, wait a minute, what about my retirement? What about paying off my house? What about planning for future income? Things like that.
They don't think about those things. They don't think about starting a business. They don't think about taking a side job. It's just about I'm in pain. How do I get out of pain? Or I have a goal I set for myself. I didn't think it through strategically on whether or not this is the most strategic thing I need to do and I'm just pushing and driving an engine. [15:56.3]
I liken money sometimes a lot to sitting up on an exercise bike. You're going to pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, and you're going to get the workout, but have you gone anywhere? And that's really the question as we go through this. It's like where are we going? And we can put the work in. It doesn't mean we're going to get to where we want to go.
Grandma always said, “Eat your vegetables. Look both ways before crossing the road, and never risk your financial future on elements of the market you can’t control.” That Grandma, always good for some tried-and-true advice, and although some of her wisdom seems to have skipped a generation, you don't have to be left behind.
Download “Grandma's Top Tips for an Independent Financial Future” absolutely free, when you visit Grandma’sWealthWisdom.com. Don't wait. Get Grandma's best tips today.
Brandon: I think about that, even from our business, we were in a very similar situation. Had a great business. Two years in, maybe three years into the business, we had a miscarriage. My father-in-law passed. My mother-in-law had a stroke, I think, that year. Cat died. My grandma died and our marriage was just shot because of our finances. [17:12.5]
Realizing that I wasn't valuing ourselves, like we are putting everything out and not taking care of ourselves. We could have maybe gotten more credit and more of that, but I didn't know if that was going to solve the problem, because we could get a credit card and solve it immediately maybe, but then that's actually not solving the problem or dealing with the heart and emotional stuff.
Then what I learned through that process and why we ultimately sold the business was I talked to a mentor and we said, We're almost debt-free, we’ve done all of this stuff, and he said, So, how much are you paying yourself? And I was like, That … let's not talk about that exactly totally, because we weren’t really paying ourselves and everyone else. [18:01.0]
Mark: Yeah, yeah, I’m there with you.
Brandon: And that's why I love the Profit First model of saying, okay, how do we make sure that the business is healthy, but also it's number one asset is healthy, too? And as a business owner, you probably now realize if you're unhealthy, your business is going to be unhealthy and it's going to affect your marriage and all of this, and money is a hundred percent emotional and not just a thing of ... And sometimes buying the product isn't necessarily about the rate of return. It's about what is it that it's giving me or my family? That's why I like life insurance. It’s amazing because it builds some stability of the life insurance, in essence. If something happens, your family around you is okay and I think that's powerful. I just wanted to share my story. Since you were being vulnerable, I shared mine. [19:04.2]
Yeah, so I liked that whole thing. How would you say with what you're doing? And we're going to get into is this variable income thing and I am a person who gets variable income now. Really, when we sold our business, I was in your same boat of my wife said go, get a job, and I'm like, Man, I'm not employable and it’s not going to happen. Of course, now I'm in financial services of all things.
But what do you tell somebody who has this huge variable income? Again, we're going into the budget. How do you coach them?
Mark: People who have variable income, it’s the default, the guy here, I can't budget because one month I’ll make $1,000 and next month I’ll make $10,000. I can't budget my life. Now, this could be real estate agents. It could be a car salesman I work with that does this, all sorts of salesmen. [20:04.0]
Entrepreneurs are probably one of the worst for it or the best, whichever way you look at it. They're one of the people that listen to this the most because they have this roadblock that all these budgets that are built out there are designed for people who get a bi-weekly or a weekly check and you can budget off of it and this is how much it is, and it becomes very difficult, though, when you're self-employed.
What I tell them is a concept called the “thin blue line.” Okay, this is the thin blue line right here. Everything above the thin blue line is your business expense. This is where you pay out marketing, advertising, operational expense, everything here. Then what crosses below the thin blue line is your personal expense. This is what you live on.
What ends up happening, which is right along the lines of what Profit First says to do, is separate owner you from employee you. What's his name? The E-Myth, Malcolm Gladwell.
Brandon: Michael Gerber. [21:00.8]
Mark: Michael Gerber. I had the right initials, totally one person, but Malcolm Gladwell is a good guy, too. But separate that owner you from the personal you, and when you do that, you start to realize, wait a minute, what are my top products? What's selling? And how much money is crossing the line?
I've actually helped a lot of entrepreneurs to go, wait a second, you're spending 70 to 80 hours a week making two to three grand a month on this business. Your skillset is way above that. We either need to fix what's going on up here and make the business pay you more. Basically, the bottom line is your business can't afford you. That's one of the things that we ended up coming into. That's the one extreme. That's the entrepreneurial side.
Then we have people who are just crushing it that are just killing it. They're making over a hundred grand a year, but they make variable income. What happens is they don't have a system. They don't have a process, and because of that, they say, I work for a corporation. There is no thin blue line.
No, up here, the money that comes into this account, it stays there and you pay yourself a flat amount every time, and then either quarterly or once a year, anywhere between twice a year, whatever is good for your lifestyle and your budget, you start paying yourself bonuses. You start paying yourself more a lot of the excess that's there. [22:11.5]
But because of that, you're going to be able to plan your life a lot better. All the stress and the chaos at home is going to go away, because you mentioned earlier, if the home ain’t good, if below the thin blue line isn't good, the foundation is not good, the business doesn't matter. The job doesn't matter. You have to have that bottom part. Nobody likes to buy from a desperate salesman. I'm going to do a second Simpson's reference. Remember Gil from the Simpsons?
Mark: He’s like, Oh, man, come on, you’ve got to buy it from me today. My wife's going to leave me. Come on. Nobody wants to buy from that person, and so, if we have a bad month, if we have two bad months, we start to become like that over entrepreneur variable income. How can we stop that? Here's what we do. You make 10 grand this month. You make one grand the next month. You make six grand the month after that. We start averaging and then we say, Okay, you know what? You're going to pay yourself five grand a month and then you're going to do it. For most people, it takes them three to six months to get this process up and running, but the peace of mind that flows from doing this is unprecedented, because what happens is that you start to work on your goals then. [23:08.7]
When you have that 10k a month, instead of going out and spending $5,000 that month, you have it in an account and then you wait. Every quarter or every six months, you make a decision about what you're going to do with that extra money. I'm a big believer in percentages, so you take it and you predetermined what the percentage is, 50 percent is going to be used for fun and 30 percent is going to be debt elevation, and 20 percent is going to be used for financing the future, retirement planning or paying off a house, whatever your next financial goal is.
When you get that 50, 30, 20 on all of your bonus money, you're still budgeting funds. You're still budgeting the things that you want to do. You're just planning this, and instead of your job leading you around or your business leading you around, you're starting to take the bull by the horns. You're able to be in control, and when you're in the driver's seat and you’ve got the hands on the wheel, oh, man, it is a great feeling. You wake up every day. You're excited to do what you do. [24:01.3]
You may love the work, but, man, when the money makes sense with it and you've got that peace of mind because you know what's going to happen, no matter what happens down the road, no matter who gets elected, no matter what the FED does, what the market does, you're in a great place because you’ve got a system going. That's a peace of mind you can't put a price tag on.
Brandon: I mean, again, that's why I liked the Profit First system and where we fell in love with that. It’s because it's all percentage-based and it kind of gave us parameters to deal with this. A couple months ago, I made quite a bit of money, more than I made even in a coffee shop world, and then the next month you're like, Oh, wow, I only made $4,000 and I'm going to eat ramen this month when last month I was buying a Mercedes. That’s the tension we fall into as business owners and where we're schizophrenic, I guess you could say. [24:57.7]
So, now what we've done is we've set ourselves a salary, right? I know without a doubt that my home life and everything else on the home life is going to be good, to get that all squared away, so that even if no money came through for a year, we'd be okay.
Mark: Can I say something real quick?
Mark: You mentioned feeling schizophrenic, and variable income people are a select breed. They call it the variable income lifestyle. It's a very rare select breed, because they will grind and hunt, and once they make the kill, there's a feeling of relief and there's an emotional response, like you mentioned, buying the Mercedes. You have that great month. You're like, man, the six months before this, you know how much work I had to do to make this month? I deserve and need to spend this money.
If we can be aware of those emotions and manage them in a healthy way, I mean, you don't even need a budget. You need emotion. You like the emotion. You just need someone to say, Hey, hold on a second. Great job, buddy. Great job draining that three-pointer. Let's get back on defense. Let's not celebrate and whoop and holler. [26:09.2]
Brandon: I think, even talking to my client the other day, I was like, Dude, you've been talking to the same conversation. You need to budget. You need to figure this out. You're saying that you're not making enough. Maybe you need to make more money, right? He's a W-2 guy. Maybe that's true, but really what are you spending your money on?
Most people, they say the car situation, I had to fix the car. It costs me 600 bucks. Whenever, again, you work in finance, you look at their numbers and you're like, You were lying. You actually spent a thousand bucks for this thing. I only go to dinner once a month or once a week, and then you find out, no, they go almost every other day and they just say it's McDonald’s so it's a $3-meal, so it's no big deal. You add those up and they're like, Here's where your money's going. [27:04.0]
Brandon: I also kind of think about this a lot, the budgeting. I absolutely, I think I told you this earlier, I hate budgeting.
Mark: You have variable income. That's why. You just can’t …
Brandon: That definitely is true. I hate it. My wife is always telling me we can't afford it or we need to do it this way or that, and I love and always have money meetings. We have the money meetings. In a business, and this is going to be my question, I like to look and have a P&L statement and know, hey, can I spend money on this or can I not? Having those guidelines is helpful, but putting that stuff into YNAB—and I like YNAB. Mainly I like looking at the reports that my wife has put together for me—but being able to then say, Okay, we're good. [28:04.4]
How do you balance that with an entrepreneur who is like, Hey, I need to go kill it, and talk about money and budgeting with them? How do you help them with that?
Amanda: Okay, a couple of thoughts here. Yes, Brandon does hate budgeting and, yes, I handled the budget, but I am not as heavy-handed or iron-fisted as Brandon makes me out to be. I just show him the real results of what the budget says, and when it says we can do something that he really wants to do, I let him know that.
I should also say, when he mentioned buying a Mercedes, I was like, LOL, I have no idea where that came from. We've never talked about buying a Mercedes. We bought a used, not very expensive car, so I have no idea where that example came from, but that's what he said and came out of his mouth, whatever. [29:02.5]
But for you, I wanted to highlight a couple things that I thought were really important that Mark Deulley was talking about. I love this thin blue line analogy, right? You're separating the business from the personal, but also I especially love that the personal is the foundation and that foundation must be good.
I feel like a lot of people with variable income, but especially entrepreneurs, forget that and we almost forget ourselves in the process. Whether it's the process of budgeting, building our business, scaling our business, whatever it might be, we can't ourselves.
That's also where I love how he talks about money is emotional because we need to bring ourselves into the process, not just the black and white of here's what the budget says or doesn't say, here's what the numbers say or don't say, but bringing our emotions to that. [29:57.6]
Then I wanted to share another thing that I get, but it was a little like I don't relate to it as much, and that's this whole what Mark called the variable income lifestyle that's about hunting and killing, and I absolutely don't approach building a business that way. Maybe that's my feminine nature. I'm not a very big meat eater maybe in general, but that's not how I approach making money, as hunting and killing. I imagine some of you are with me there.
But the interesting thing is that I still feel like there are those emotions of deserving, right? It might be like I just did such an amazing thing for this other person, I just changed their world. They're going to be in such a better place because of the service that I just did. I deserve another reward. Right? I deserve that donut or that new pair of shoes or whatever it is. So, I want to think more about what Mark kind of talks about with the sports, getting back on defense. [31:07.2]
It's like maybe the way we think about it is I just changed that person's life. That was amazing. I'd made such an impact, right? The world is going to be better because I did that. Now, how can I do that more? How? Who is the next person? That gave me so much life, I want to have even more life from that change or whatever. That can be the getting back on defense.
I want to think about that more myself. I want to encourage you to think about that a little bit more, too, both the foundation of personal, right, that being the foundation of your business. Then, secondly, catching those times when you say, “I deserve”, no matter where that comes from, more of the hunting and killing thing or the “I just did this amazing thing. I deserve”, right? Just notice what happens. No judgment here. I just want to bring that to our awareness and I'm really glad that Mark Deulley can share that with us. [32:02.4]
Then there's tons of value in the next half of this episode. Be sure that you subscribe and stay tuned for Episode 88. If you just can't wait for it, you can also check out the show notes or there's a link to the YouTube version of this episode, but then you won't get my colorful commentary at the end, so be sure to listen to the podcast version, too.
We'll catch you next time for Episode 88 where we continue this interview. In the meantime, keep building your wealth in a way that will make your grandma proud.
The topics presented in this podcast are for general information only and not for the purposes of providing legal, accounting or investment advice. On such matters, please consult a professional who knows your specific situation.
This is ThePodcastFactory.com