It’s About You, Not Me

I announced a few weeks ago that my second book, a co-authored project with best-selling author, Jim Stovall, would be coming out shortly.  Upon release of that news and the book’s title—The Ultimate Financial Plan—a few of my closest friends gave me some good-natured ribbing for a title that could be presumed a dubious self-proclamation of preeminence.  So although I know they were only kidding, I’d like to use this as an opportunity to explain the origin and meaning of the title and make an exciting announcement about blog posts in the month of September.

Jim Stovall and I believe with every fiber of our beings that contained in this book is, indeed, the ultimate financial plan.  However, it’s not about us.  We don’t claim to be the brightest financial minds in the universe.  We don’t purport this book to be the number one source of all facts and numbers pertaining to the discipline of personal finance (thank goodness, because it would be too long and boring).  Nor do we allege it to contain the most cutting edge thinking that will revolutionize the business or practice of financial planning — with an advisor or on your own.

Personal finance is more personal than it is finance.

The reason we believe this to be the ultimate offering in its genre is quite the opposite.  It’s not so much about us, but more about YOU.  This book is strenuously focused on you, your values and your plans for the present and future.  We may appear to represent a financial industry, which, even after a timeless humbling through the financial crisis, still seems to muster a condescending tone.  Even some of my favorite personal finance gurus are famous for calling out the stupidity of their followers.  But we’re not.  We’re not talking down to you from the pulpit, but instead across the table.  We’re not sharing insight about concepts we’ve ginned up to sell a book.  We’re sharing personal narratives and experiences we’ve gained from employing these concepts—both in our own lives and in the lives of those we advise and influence.

Let’s also not forget this book is another in a series of books Jim has written that began with The Ultimate Gift.  Selling more than four million copies and seeing it turned into a movie starring James Garner, Brian Dennehy and Abigail Breslin was affirmation enough that the heart of Jim’s novel, a story about a wayward young man learning to earn his inheritance, impacted people deeply.   It was followed by The Ultimate Life (also soon to be released as a movie).  Frankly, when I approached Jim about co-authoring a book that would allow the timeless wisdom of The Ultimate Gift to be translated through a personal finance guidebook, he hesitated, having maintained a personal policy of not co-authoring.  But then Jim realized this could be his contribution to a world ever increasingly in need of applicable wisdom facing the big climb out of the financial crisis crater.

Simply put, we believe personal finance is more personal than it is finance, so our stories and advice and practical applications are skewed heavily in that direction.

A very special September

We’re going to commit a cardinal marketing sin and take the focus further off of us just as this week marks our official promotional kick-off of the book’s release.  Over the next four weeks, I’ll be featuring guest posts from four world-class authors and bloggers that have been an inspiration to me and millions of others through their work.  I’m honored and humbled that they’ve each shown a willingness to engage you, personally, on this blog.  You’ll surely not want to miss them:

  • Thursday, September 8th, you’ll enjoy a post from entrepreneur and the best-selling author of Anything You Want, Derek Sivers, explaining why he, after building a company that revolutionized the music sales industry (CD Baby), gave the $22 million proceeds from its sale to charity.  (Yes, you read that correctly.)
  • Thursday, September 15th, I’ll share a post from Chris Guillebeau, a travel and career author and blogger whose every move is followed by over 150,000 online readers.  Chris took the time to entertain and educate us on “The $30 Hotel and the Battleship Slumber Party.”
  • Thursday, September 22nd, our guest post will come from J.D. Roth.  J.D. is a blogging pioneer in the realm of personal finance who started the uber-successful blog, “Get Rich Slowly,” voted as one of Time magazine’s “Best Blogs of 2011.”  J.D. will be sharing his take on the intensely personal elements of personal finance.
  • Finally, on Thursday, September 29, I’m excited to see what Carl Richards has drawn up for us.  Carl is the cutting edge financial planner who has worked his way into the hearts of so many through his Behavior Gap blog featured in the New York Times, employing little more than a sharp wit and a Sharpie pen in his exploration of the relationship between money and values.

I look forward to bringing you these world class writers through

Oh, and by the way…

The Ultimate Financial Plan IS now available for purchase on and  You can also purchase it on your Kindle  and you should see it available on your Nook and in bookstores everywhere within a week.  Thanks for passing the word if you’re so inclined!


I am very excited to announce the release of The Ultimate Financial Plan, a book I’ve been privileged to co-author with the best-selling author of The Ultimate Gift, Jim Stovall.  The book will be released in early September, 2011 and is being published by John Wiley and Sons (Wiley), one of the world’s largest and most esteemed publishers.  The amazing story of The Ultimate Gift has continued to expand its reach both in the United States and abroad.  More than ever, the life-altering money lessons Jason Stevens learned in The Ultimate Gift beg to be reiterated.  So if you were one of the millions touched by Jim’s book or movie, you’ll find this book intuitively translates the heart of The Ultimate Gift into a personal strategy reflecting its timeless truths.  And if you’ve never been exposed to The Ultimate Gift, you’ll not be left behind in The Ultimate Financial Plan, but will instead be warmed by this more narrative approach to what can be the cold, do-this-don’t-do-that manner of most financial planning handbooks.

Spending some time with Jim and me in The Ultimate Financial Plan is sure to have a significant impact on the way you think about money. Examining the connection between actions, thoughts and feelings when it comes to all things financial, the book makes a revolutionary argument: that the key to getting the most out of personal wealth comes from the contentment found in balancing the influence of money in our lives with personal values and goals.  Through its own irresponsible actions, the behemoth financial industry has lost its centuries old claim to having the answers to our personal finances; this book only claims to be the ultimate financial plan because it’s focused intently on you.  Personal finance, after all, is more personal than it is finance.

Financial tools—like budgets, bank accounts, 401(k)s, IRAs, education savings plans and real estate—can play a major role in helping us generate the money we want, but real value comes from investments in our knowledge and understanding, which lead to purpose-filled careers, sleep-at-night security, artistic endeavors, creative philanthropy, fulfilled retirements and meaningful legacies.

And as you’ve probably noticed, the backdrop of has received a major upgrade.  The site not only looks better, but also has more to offer.  All previous posts, including the “90 Second Finance” video series, have been transferred to the new site and can be accessed by using the search bar or glancing through the “Find Your Topic” tool.  But additionally, we’re bringing the best of The Ultimate Financial Plan to  The Timely Applications, found at the end of each chapter to aid you in the process of everything from articulating your values and goals to determining the appropriateness of a mutual fund or life insurance policy, are housed here on the site.  They’re free for you to download and available to all readers, and you can find them by clicking the Timely Apps tab.  And as an added bonus, my co-author, Jim Stovall, is contributing his weekly syndicated column, Winner’s Wisdom, and sharing some classic videos from his speaking engagements.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering the book, you can do so by clicking HERE, or you’ll find it available at book stores, online retailers and even as an e-book for Kindle and Nook the first week of September.

Or, if you’d like to do some more research, click below: