The Forbes Formula

Over the last decade, I have been fortunate and privileged to develop an ongoing friendship with Steve Forbes.  We first worked together in 1999 when he was producing a book entitled Great American Success Stories.  After that, I began visiting Mr. Forbes in his office on each of my trips to New York City.  Over the years, we have had many wonderful conversations sitting around the table in the library on the second floor of the Forbes Building.  I have often wished I could include the readers of my books, those who watch my movies, and you who read these weekly columns in those wonderful discussions with Steve Forbes.

Earlier this year, Mr. Forbes did a small cameo role, playing himself, in a movie based on one of my books —  After we shot his part in the film, Mr. Forbes and I sat down at the library table for another of our treasured conversations, but I captured this one on film to share with you and those who will buy The Lamp movie as the interview will be one of the special features on the DVD.

Steve Forbes is probably more associated with money and finance than anyone in the world today.  I believe his views on how our money relates to our lives are priceless.

Recently, my coauthor Tim Maurer and I have written a new book designed to help people take control of their lives and their futures by taking control of their money —The Ultimate Financial Plan.

I’m a firm believer that no one ever had a money problem.  They may have had an idea problem, a motivation problem, a management problem, or a lack of direction problem, but money is never the cause of your problems.  Money is a result.

Last year, there were several million quarter-inch drill bits sold in North America.  Ironically, no one really wants a quarter-inch drill bit.  They simply want a quarter-inch hole.  In much the same way, no one wants money.  They want the things and the security that money can bring.  We would be foolish, if not insane, to desire a huge pile of dirty, crumpled-up slips of paper with pictures of dead presidents.  What we want, instead, are the homes, cars, vacations, college educations, and retirements money can buy.  In The Ultimate Financial Plan we give readers the tools that they need to make their money start working for them as hard as they have worked for their money.

These are confusing and frustrating times in the financial world.  Your retirement plan has probably lost value, your savings may have dwindled, and you may be questioning the value of your home.  It is more important than ever that you keep your financial goals in mind and make sure that your money plan is custom designed to get you from here to there.

The current financial cycles will inevitably change, and there will be better days again and difficult days will follow that.  The important thing is that you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

As you go through your day today, remember:  Money is a tool and a vehicle.  It can serve you if you will harness and control it.

Today’s the day!

— by Jim Stovall

Winner’s Wisdom — The Ultimate Financial Plan

Recent turbulence in the financial markets has caused us all to question our financial plans.  We are bombarded daily with advertisements and sales pitches from self-proclaimed experts, financial gurus, and all manner of miracle money managers wanting to sell us their financial plans.  Buying someone else’s financial plan is much like buying someone else’s shirt.  Odds are it won’t fit, you won’t like it, and the process is somewhat distasteful.

Recently, my coauthor Tim Maurer, who is a certified financial planner, and I have completed a new book — The Ultimate Financial Plan.   In our book, we do not provide answers as much as we pose questions and give readers the criteria to develop their own strategies and surround themselves with their own team of experts.

In The Ultimate Financial Plan, I focus on what I call Timeless Truths.  These are the age-old principles that guide our lives and, therefore, our money.  Over the years, I have found that it is easy to manage my money, but it is difficult to manage me.  Money is a tool or a vehicle.  It has no use other than to do what you want it to do and take you where you want to go.  Any decent financial plan has, therefore, got to be customized for you.  No one else knows your hopes, dreams, and ambitions or the plans that you have for your family or your future.

Once you’ve decided where you want to go in your life, then you’ve got to make your money work for you as hard as you have worked for it.  My coauthor, Tim Maurer, has all of the credentials, certifications, and experience that I would want from any financial planner, but the reason I am pleased to have Tim as my coauthor is the fact that in his financial practice and in his life, he puts people first.

In our collaboration, Tim deals with Timely Tips designed to help you financially get from where you are to where you want to be.  He also helps you look beyond the smoke and mirrors created by bias in the marketplace.

You have got to understand that everybody who wants to sell you a financial product or charge you to manage your money has a bias.  This is not bad.  It is simply reality and a part of human nature.  We all know that when we wander onto a car lot, we will be invariably approached by a sales person wanting to sell us a car.  We all understand that the car dealer and his sales people have an ulterior motive in having us buy their car.  The same is true in the financial services industry.  Whether it be a broker, banker, insurance salesman, financial planner, or a guy like me who sells books, we all have built-in motives to get your business.  This can be healthy and natural when you begin to understand how the finances work and how the profit is structured behind the curtain.

It is my hope that The Ultimate Financial Plan will be entertaining, informative, and serve as your ongoing roadmap to reach your financial destination.

As you go through your day today, realize that the ultimate financial plan is the one that will take you on a customized route from where you are to where you want to be and will make your money work for you.

Today’s the day!

This is the latest “Winner’s Wisdom” column by Jim Stovall — co-author of The Ultimate Financial Plan.