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: Hey, I’m Amanda Neely, and welcome to our Grandma's Wealth Wisdom, where we help you break through to a smart, stable financial future, with the tried and true wisdom Grandma used.
Brandon: And I’m Brandon, and this is Episode 97, titled, “Making a contract with your future.” We chose this topic because the day this episode is released is New Year’s Eve. Hey, happy New Year, Amanda.
Amanda: Happy New Year.
Brandon: It seems everyone is thinking about the future year to come. That's what always happens right at this time. Yet we believe that people don't think about the future enough. They only think about it for two days, especially the long-term future. Even if you're listening to this episode in May or September, it's a crucial episode for your future. [01:11.0]
Amanda: Actually, I would add something very important. This episode is really about something much more than goals or resolutions. At times we are going to seem a little woo-woo, but the conclusion of today's episode, if you listen all the way to the end, what we're going to conclude with is something very practical, very tangible, and something that has totally helped us live very fulfilling lives. We look forward to hearing how you implement a contract with your future and how that helps you live life to the full.
Brandon: Let's start with what the average person might consider a, quote-unquote, “contract with themselves.” It's the typical, like I said, New Year’s resolution type deal where the terms of the contract are broken within the first few weeks. Have you ever been there, Amanda?
Amanda: Oh, yeah, and I like that you added quote-unquote since it's not really a contract at all. The resolutions or goals are typically more like hopes and dreams without much substance behind them. Been there, done that. [02:10.5]
Brandon: Yet there's something in our human nature that makes resolutions seem appealing. That's why we come back to it every year. We see the efforts are usually a fight against two laws of nature, the law of gravity and the law of entropy.
Lose weight, get fit, eat healthier, those are all about fighting the law of gravity. Like us, you may be less familiar with the natural law of entropy, which states that matter over time gravitates to its lowest, most
disorganized state. Any resolution to get organized, install better productivity habits, or spend more time with loved ones are all resolutions that fight the law of entropy. Amanda, I might think that I am your entropy.
Amanda: True, true, Brandon. But making resolutions does show us that we don't like what nature tends toward and we want to create an alternate. That's the good part. There's nothing wrong with wanting something better than what would naturally occur. [03:12.5]
Now let's talk about why resolutions don't often work. I think we all know this super well. I think the number one reason resolutions don't work is maybe something we don't expect. I think the common denominator is that there's so much about the future that we cannot control.
Think about it. It's the late night hunger pain that sends us to the donut shop when we have decided to give up sugar. It's the kid who wakes up in the middle of the night who makes us want to sleep in when we've resolved to get up and have this amazing warning routine. It's the last minute urgent request from a boss or a client that derails our best-laid focused task list, and so on and so forth. Resolutions most often don't and perhaps can't account for all the things that life throws at us. [04:00.6]
Brandon: What could account for a future we can't have complete control over? What's the alternative to resolutions, goals, vision boards, and the like?
Amanda: And let's call this alternative a future self-contract. Future self-contract is a contract with the future and we're going to share a few differences between a future self-contract and resolutions. Brandon, I think you've got the first one.
Brandon: A future self-contract is a firm commitment. You can't wiggle your way out of it. In fact, it's built to stand up against whatever the future holds. We were recently negotiating a contract ourselves. Our attorney gave us some amazing feedback. She mentioned also having the contract specifically spell out what happens if, and having the “what happens if” spelled out in advance protects both parties to the contract. In our example here, those parties are the current self and your future self. [05:03.3]
Amanda: Yeah, protect is a really good way to put it. The best contracts shield us from some of the worst things that could happen in our future. As another example to help you see how contracts work is all insurance is based on contracts, all the different kinds. When the worst happens, your car is totaled or your house burns down, or you end up in the ICU, you can depend on the terms of your car insurance contract or your homeowner's insurance contract, or the health insurance contract. It's part of why the insurance industry is so heavily regulated. It’s because the industry is based on contracts.
Brandon: On top of that, contract law is all about enforcing promises and it's one of the most basic essential components of a civilized society.
Amanda: The first big difference between a future self-contract and a resolution is that your contract with your future needs to have that firm commitment level to stand up no matter what life throws at you. It needs to account for some very possible what-ifs. [06:09.7]
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: Next, a future self-contract is also more motivating because it's tied to the meaning of life and lasts beyond your own personal future.
Amanda: Yeah, I’ve heard it said that the meaning of life can be summed up in one word: responsibility. We have more meaning in our lives than we know and live into our responsibility to self, to family, or to overall society. [07:09.8]
I think, deep down in each one of us, we have this desire to have some purpose, to have that purpose extend beyond ourselves in our own lives. Yet that purpose can ebb and flow from the forefront of our minds and from our day to day to-do list. Sometimes the responsibility feels burdensome. Sometimes it feels like an honor and a great sort of satisfaction. Sometimes we are unsure what our responsibility is.
Think over your lifetime, though. Does responsibility grow or shrink as we age? Do you have more responsibility when you're 30 years old or when you are 15 years old? Do you think you should have more or less the same meaning and purpose to life when you're 70 or 80 years old compared with when you're 40 or 50? [07:55.8]
Brandon: Yeah, why should your life purpose suffer because you're older or even because you die? What if your future self-contract lasted longer than you do? What if it lasted for a few generations? Your name might not last like Mother Teresa or William Wilberforce did or does, but what if your contract inspires or funds the next world-changing people whose work is recorded in the history books? What if?
Amanda: As you can see from these questions, a future self-contract is way deeper than simple New Year’s resolutions. But it can also feel overwhelming. We've talked about purpose and meaning type stuff. Isn't this supposed to be a podcast about money?
Brandon: Amanda, chances are you're going to need some money or at least have comfort that your basic needs are met, so that you can spend more time and energy on purposes and the meaning type work. Let's get practical. Let's say our listeners are in. They want to make a future self-contract. How do they make it happen? What do you think, Amanda? [09:05.8]
Amanda: Yeah, I think there are three options we're going to share. There might be other options, but we thought we're going to give you some ideas, get your mind rolling on how to write a future contract with yourself. A future self-contract.
I’ll start with the first. Contracts are built on trust. Perhaps, before you actually get to the future self-contract, there's some self-trust work that needs to happen. I think of a family member a long time ago. She did some work on defeating credit card debt once and for all.
She proved to herself that she could be responsible financially by getting out of credit card debt and then never falling into it again, and that built a level of trust for her that made it a whole lot easier to make a contract with her future. She could trust herself not to live beyond her means in the present and thus be ready to put more effort and money into the impact she wants to have on the future. [09:58.4]
Amanda: Perhaps before you jump into a contract with your future, you might consider some steps to build trust. It's like pre-contract negotiations and trust-building that you might do if you're assigning a contract with another individual, right? You want to make sure that you've negotiated and built some trust with them before you get into business or sign a contract with them that's legally binding, right?
You might even try what's called a memorandum of understanding, an MOU, and when you see that that MOU, the terms are fulfilled, you know you've got the trust that you can move onto a full contract. That's the first option, which is to do some of that self-trust kind of work.
Brandon: The second option is that you could sit in a room and write on a piece of paper. That's simple enough. In fact, there are multiple celebrities who have simply written a future-dated check or a letter to themselves. [10:58.2]
When Jim Carey was a struggling comedian, he wrote a check for $10 million dated five years into the future, and then, as you know or might not know, he became a household name right around that time and was able to cash that check.
In 1969, Bruce Lee was 28 years old and a minor actor. Yet he wrote a letter to himself saying he'd be worth $10 million by 1980. We have the full text to this letter. See how this inspires you. He says this:
I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental superstar in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.
Bruce Lee, Jan. 1969 [12:11.2]
Amanda: Now, this is purely conjecture, but perhaps Jim's inspiration was Bruce. When I looked into this part of the story, I found that Jim wrote his check at the same age as Bruce, 28 years old, and that it was for the same amount, $10 million, but Jim made one change. He did said five years, whereas Bruce Lee had 10 years. I guess maybe that's because 10 million in 1990 was very different than 10 million in 1969. But we digress. We want this to be an inspiration for you.
Brandon: Yes, we could just sit in a room, grab a checkbook or blank sheet of paper and make a future self-contract. Then go to work, making it happen. Maybe the law of attraction and some hard work will defeat the laws of gravity and entropy. But, Amanda, does the third option offer any more assurances? [13:08.3]
Amanda: Yeah, thanks for asking, Brandon. Both of the first two options are great places to start. But the thing about contracts is that they take relationships to fulfill the terms of the contract. Jim Carey and Bruce Lee, both needed other people to pay them for their skills in order to fulfill their contracts with their future selves.
Who knows how many other struggling actors have written those same kind of blank checks or letters and never saw them fulfilled? We all know life is likely to throw things at us that we could never prepare for. We also know there are bigger dreams we have than we could ever fulfill solely on our own.
As we look at this third option, I want to start by asking a question. Who else do you need in order to fulfill all the promises you want to put into your own contract with the future?
Brandon: That's a very powerful question, Amanda. Let's say it again. Who else do you need in order to fulfill all the promises you want to put into your own contract with the future? [14:12.3]
Amanda: If you're starting to feel like it's impossible, good. If you get really tuned into your meaning and purpose, it should be impossible. If it were possible or you could do it all on your own, it's probably not bigger or important enough. Yet what if you found a contract that made it way more possible, and what if millions of others had similar contracts that helped make yours possible?
Brandon: We’ve got our ultimate example of a contract with the future. The author of this agreement is anonymous. Listen for ways this agreement reflects responsibility and fulfillment of promises.
Amanda: You may not realize it, but you and I have similar purposes in this world. Just like you, I am an idea. I am a promise. I help families see visions, dream dreams, and achieve economic immortality. I am education for the children. I am savings. I am also property that increases in value from year to year. [15:10.4]
I lend money when you need it most with no questions asked. I pay off mortgages, so that the family can remain together in its own home. I allow fathers and mothers to dare to live and give them the moral right to die. I create, manage, and distribute property. I’m the great emancipator from want.
I’m tangible evidence that a man or woman is a good spouse and a good father or mother. I’m a declaration of financial independence, a charter of financial freedom. I’m the difference between an old man and an elderly gentleman between an old woman and an elderly lady.
I provide cash if illness, injury, old age or death cuts off the breadwinner's income. I supply investment capital that makes smoke go up chimneys, wheels turn, and motors hum. I guarantee that there will always be a Christmas with tinsel, a happy fireside, and the laughter of children, even if father or mother is not there. I am the guardian angel of the home. [16:13.2]
Now you see you and I have similar purposes in this world. It's your job to provide food, shelter, clothing, schooling, medicine, and other things for loved ones. You do this while I lie in your safe deposit box. I have faith and trust in you. Out of your earnings will come the cost of my upkeep. At times I may appear insignificant to you, but someday, and who knows when, you and I will change places.
When you are laid to rest in a box, they will open my safety deposit box and will take me out of mine. I may be used to help provide food, clothing, shelter, schooling, medicine, and other things your family will continue to need, just as you are doing now. [16:58.7]
When your work and labor are done, mine will begin. Through me, your hands carry on. Whenever you feel the price of pain for my upkeep is burdensome, remember that I can do more for you and your family than you will ever do for me. If you do your part, I will do mine.
Your life insurance policy
Brandon: Wow, that was pretty powerful. Which do you want for your future? A New Year's resolution or a future self-contract? If you're going to fight back against gravity and entropy, you're going to need some power. Nature has a clue, centeredness. Our solar system has a center, the sun. Trees have a center, the trunk. Our cells have a center, the nucleus. Even atoms have a center called the atomic nucleus.
We ask you to consider, what is your financial center to help you get closer to your meaning in life? Perhaps you need a contract that fulfills all its promises to be center for your financial life. [18:06.3]
We specialize in that. We specialize in helping people find their financial center and work from there. We'd love to assist you in creating a financial nucleus that's true. Let me go back. We'd love to assist you in creating a financial nucleus that's a true contract and can fulfill its promises.
Amanda: As we wrap up today, you can tell Brandon is from Texas. I would pronounce that word “nucleus”. Next time you talk to him, let him know how you pronounce it.
Brandon: What did I say? “Nuculus.”
Brandon: Nucleus. Anyway.
Amanda: But we wanted to give a very special, serious shout out to Mark Willis and then Not Your Average Financial Podcast. He was a great inspiration for this episode and introduced us to this idea of making a contract with your future. After you hit the subscribe button to our show, go check out Mark's podcast, Not Your Average Financial Podcast, and then get excited as we get closer to our 100th episode. We've got some major news coming your way soon. We'll share some spoilers in the next episode. [19:13.2]
Brandon: Until next time, keep building your wealth simply and sustainably, so you can break through to a smart, stable financial future.
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.
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