SEARCH RFS:

Money Iz Stoopid, Brainz is Smrt

Never miss a glorious update - click here!

A lot of bloggers are doing “New Years” themed blog posts. I thought I’d chime in. So this week, I want to do a series of posts on some lessons I learned in 2010–in all aspects of life. Why I decided to open with a blog about money, I have no idea. In any event, on to business.

One thing I’ve learned over the course of this years is that money, by itself, has no value. It only has implied function.

Which isn’t to say that money isn’t important. In fact, I feel it’s very important, provided you do something with it. I guess the best way to put it is this:

Money is worthless, knowledge is priceless.

I know a lot of people have this viewpoint. I think I heard it best discussed by Mr. Tim Ferriss. At a conference I was at this summer, Tim talked about how his goal was never really to be in a position to have a limitless amount of “wompom” that he could trade. This spoke to me.

You see, seeking money–or solely seeking money–had never been satisfying for me. I grew up a poor kid, so I certainly have always wanted to better my situation, but I was never in love with the idea of being fabulously wealthy; instead, I just wanted to achieve an income where I didn’t have to “worry” about money. Which explains why I never sought to use my degree to get a “real” job, and instead was content to make a very nice living doing something I loved. Thankfully for me, if you do something you love, you tend to get good enough at it to make it lucrative, which is what happened with my training business.

But even when I was training and making more money than I needed, I stopped being excited about it pretty quickly. For a while I splurged on stupid shit (I do have a weakness for fashion), but I tired of that and began looking for ways to use it more intelligently.

The thing is, once your bills, needs and most of your wants are taken care of, the extra money just sitting in your account doesn’t do much for you by itself. You have to DO something with it. You can trade it—for either objects or experiences. I’m going to avoid going off onto a tangent about minimalism, but suffice it to say I have enough “stuff” and the only physical objects I buy with any regularity are books.

The other option is investment: if you’re not trading your coin for “stuff” or experiences, again, your money is devoid of any real value unless you invest and get a return on it.

For a lot of people, this is as simple as putting it in a savings account and letting the interest build up—and that’s fine. It requires no thought, yields no excitement, so while I certainly maintain a savings account (a few, in fact), I don’t really consider this an “investment” for me.

For others, it means investing traditionally, in things like stocks and bonds. While I’ve done this, it certainly doesn’t excite me. I know enough about myself to realize that the only interest the market holds for me is the interrelation is has with social issues and world events.

As an example, Apple is an interesting stock to me because the company is pretty incredible in the way their marketing works and how their products become so hot. As a tech junkie, I like this; as a student of social dynamics, I am endlessly fascinated by observing a cultural shift—when people all of a sudden “need” something (like an iPod) that literally didn’t exist a few years ago, it gets me going. So I like that.

Watching numbers and tracking rates, on the other hand, is about as much fun for me as re-reading Twilight. Resultantly, I don’t do much in the way of traditional investing.

Instead, I invest in my brain–which is an investment in my business.

This past year, I’ve spent more money thanI care to admit buying books, going to seminars, and on coaching. Some fitness related, some life related, some business related.

I’ve gone to mastermind meetings where I’ve sat and exchanged ideas with fitness icons like Bill Phillips, and I’ve gone to seminars led by marketing gurus like Frank Kern. Neither of these are cheap, but they’ve been worth it.

While I haven’t come across too many life-changing secrets, I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten a nugget or two from every single one.

If I spent 47 bucks on a fitness-related book and get even one or two worthwhile and actionable tips from it—things I can use to make me a better coach and get people better results—I think that’s a great return on my investment.

If I spend money to go to a seminar, even if I don’t learn “that much,” I will probably meet someone there who can continue to teach me something. I’ve come to learn that without exception, when it comes to business seminars, you learn as much (or more) from other people in the audience as you do from the speakers on the stage.

Despite the fact that attendance at some of these seminars is very often pricey, I have ceased the limiting mindset that would cause me to balk at spending hundreds of dollars on flights, hotel rooms, dinners, and travel. Instead, I have to look at it more openly: these are investments that will pay off (usually quickly) in terms of the knowledge I’ll gain and the relationships I build.

The simple fact of the matter is this: the more money I invest in my education–both as a coach and as a businessman–the more successful I consistently become in both arenas.

Of course, as this is a fitness related blog, it’s worth noting that one of the best investments you can make is in yourself: in your health and in your sexiness.

Why spend money on an “object” to decorate your body when you can spend the money on food and books that will allow you to make your body more desirable?

Is it more important to leave an extra hundred bucks in your savings account, or to use it on things that will allow you to live a longer and healthier life so that you can, in the long run, earn hundreds or even thousands MORE dollars by being sick less often and being able to work harder?

This has always been my mindset when it comes to my body. I prefer to spend money on organic foods, or supplements I consider to be essential than on crap I don’t need. (I sense a Tyler Durden quote somewhere in here).

When times have been tough financially, I simply cut back on other areas: less clothing, for example. In my view, I’d rather spend the money on building a nice body than on nice clothes to cover up one I’m not proud of.

It’s all an investment.

And this year, I’ll continue to invest in my body and my business, so I can continue to pay it forward: giving the best information I can to my readers, and having a body that makes me proud and serves as the calling card for this business and the knowledge this site represents.

I’d love to know what YOU’RE investing in this year.

Your portfolio?

Your business?

Your health?

Yourself?

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

  • Ted

    Money is fiction. An agreement, more than anything else. But, of all of man's contrivances, it is the most pervasive and dealing with it is functionally inevitable. Philosophy aside, I like having it and bust my ass to get more, because, even if it is a false metric, we are all in on it. I think the thrust of what people in this forum have figured out is that what you trade your dollars in for is what really matters. For some its books/education, for others, its classes and self improvement. They are all valid and the only thing I'll add is that as I get older I find myself most relieved when I spend my dough on stuff that adds security for me and mine. Broadly, this means financial security, physical security, and, odd as it sounds, emergency security. I initially listed some specifics, but when I reread them, I sounded like a paranoid, armageddon anticipating, whacko, which I am not, or at least I don't dress like one. If anybody is interested, I'd be happy to elaborate.

  • Tom

    I believe what you invest in with ones life is based on your upbringing (morally, socially, politically, religious, etc…) versus your current surroundings (friends, coworkers, fellow fitness professionals, bloggers, lifestyle, etc…)

    You see, being around the fitness industry since the early 90's up until now, I have really noticed a trend with young folks and old trying to follow all this “fitness marketing”, mastermind groups, seminars, online coaching, etc… to try and fit into the “cool club” of makeing the six or seven figure income constantly preached by the so-called “marketing experts” all over the internet.

    Without coming off as a hater, I think folks are forgetting the old saying “money doesn't buy happiness”. So no matter how much you think investing your money into all these books, seminars, mastermind groups, etc…. all you are doing is lining the pockets of these guys who have figured out a “niche” or created a product or seminar to make money.

    You see, I believe all folks, especially fitness professionals should invest their time, energy, and money in things that will not only enrich their lives, but the lives of their families, wife, kids, or ones close to them, as well as, give them a contingency plan or back-up plan in case life as a fitness trainer, blogger, writer, etc…doesn't pan out.

    This is why I believe every fitness professional should invest in EDUCATION first and foremost. I am not talking getting educated by only a certification, I am talking going to college, joining the military, tech school, get a good base first, then certs, then CEU's, all awhile reading books and and attending seminars that will help you become that expert of the 10yrs or 10,000 hrs as Mr. Boyle and many others have always alluded to.

    Now, of course, you have the college prodigy dropouts in the Tech world, but even Tim Ferriss whom many young fitness professionals are following his “lifestyle design theories”, even received his undergraduate degree in neuroscience while brouding his horizons thru other areas of interest in life….but he still went to college and got that good base or wealth of knowledge that one gets at places of higher learning.

    So, back as aforementioned, EDUCATION to me is the most important investment any young fitness professional or any other professional should focus on in life.

    If after getting an undergraduate degree, one wants to blow all their money on numerous books, seminars, mastermind groups, or other self-help classes, knock yourself out.

    As far as money or making more money from typical investments like real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds in Roth or Standard IRA's, savings, etc….it is all relative to what one needs to support ones lifestyle or future goals torward retiring, so with that, I agree with some of Tim Ferris's ideas on making enough money to support how you want to live.

    I remember before retiring from the military and starting my own fitness business, I always remembered hearing a statement that can be seen as religious in nature when it came to life and investing in ones business….”If you do a good job and take care of people the right way, the money will be there”.

    Yes, it takes hard work to build ones business and you have to have the correct Strategic Marketing Process in place, surround yourself with good people both personally and professionally, have goals and strategies in place, but if you have a good sense of self, treat people the way you want to be treated, believe and love your God if you believe in one, and have balance in your life, then you already have the right investments to live a great life.

    As always, I know everyone has their own opinions, these are just mine after living life and continually learning over 42yrs.

    Great post Mr. Romaniello!

  • Irene

    Nice post

    I have had poor times both growing up and since. I realised (and comented about it to mother) that i feel rich now that i can buy whatever food i want regardless of price tag, i get to buy nice organic healthy foods. It turnd out that my siblings have made similar comments. i'm a book-worm and cant call it an investment but i buy alot, too much considering the space i have. an investment the past year+ is geting accupunture to improve my health, especially allergies and astma, it helps. money is just a means to an end, what ever it is that makes quality of life for you (one for me is having a horse, big Qualit)

  • Kyle

    Johnny!

    Nice bloggery. So it sounds like the old saying “money can't buy you happiness” is true. I agree that investing in your own wisdom is a far better investment than on any material goods. I have a great passion for fitness as well and would love to hear your story of how you got started….mind sharing? I would love to get into that type of work!

  • Travis

    Great post John, one of my favorites thus far. I agree with your view and try to live my life accordingly.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Teresa

    Hey John,

    Great blog, and made me think a little, which is always good. 2010 was a good year for me in many ways. The most exciting though was making a commitment to myself to get in better shape. I gained 3 grandchildren in 2010, I was able to meet some great new people by traveling with my job, was able to support my husband in his goals and dreams, and we were able to start some concrete work on long term goals of ours. Money is an interesting thing. Definitely have spent more than I wanted this year on “things”, but I have to remember that I utilize these

    things to allow me the freedom to better spend my resources. My husband is a tech geek, and he has really helped me to streamline my business of me! But my most meaningful purchase this past year has been a piece of property that we plan on using for family get togethers, and will develop with no carbon footprint. Kinda makes everything else worthwhile in my books! Looking forward to 2011!

  • Miko Raud

    Good post, agreed with a lot of points. I was just wondering whether in these tough times people who are (in the immortal words of JBJ) two pay checks away from living out on the street can really relate. The part about good clothes vs good body was good though.

    I haven't invested in much these few years, but if anything, my son's education and my own body are on the top of my list. Since I live in a foreign country, I'll probably need to invest in some language lessons as well.

    And if I were you, I'd probably invest in something that'd check my posts for spelling :)

    “never been satisfyinf”

  • I wrote a long boring comment… wheres it gone?

  • Sue

    Awesome post, totally agree, without good health and fitness we have 'nothing'!

  • Kimberley in HK

    I started changing a couple of years back when I realised I wanted to be a better me. I did not want to be cynical, materialistic, unhealthy or living with regret.

    For me I invest in me, I invest in what I believe in and I invest in experiences. I am now spending my money on organic and sustainable foods, educating myself on my body and health, investing in small technologies that could make a big difference (such as different energy sources) even though I know I could lose this money, and I invest in experiences such as adventure travels including hiking the silk road in Uzbekistan, mountain biking through Jordan and sailing across the Pacific.

  • Kath

    P.S.

    “Actionable”

  • Kath

    People generally talk about 'resolutions' and 'goals' at the advent of a new year. I take a different tack and resolve to make changes when there is something in my life that is no longer working. Over the past few months I have been immersed in exploring exactly what needed to change, and then how to address those issues. Like Christine above, I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. It took a severe reaction to circumstances this past summer — and TONS of reading — to finally bring me to a place where I can begin to be hopeful, and heal. Therefore, I will continue to spend my time honing the power of my BRAIN, and in so doing, have complete faith that this will yield abundant health, wealth and happiness for my family. Have spent some money over time on fitness, and have amassed what I consider to be a comprehensive array of products, information and resources. I'll continue to invest in books, books, and more books. Now that I have gotten myself in better health, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I need to focus on preparing for a secure future for my boys, hoping that along the way, we can share more amazing, memory-making experiences. 2011 has some good energy. And I'm ready to rock it.

  • Anne-Mhairi

    I came to the same conclusion this year. Last year was all taken up with stuff that pretty much just depressed me, family issues and money being the major players.

    I am hopeless at taking care of myself but I have realised that this year I absolutely must. This has been brought home forcibly by the fact that I stopped going to the gym in the mornings because the darkness at 6am meant I couldn't get myself out of bed, and this has resulted in me being laid up for the last ten days with a bad back that has affected my sciatic nerve.

    Translation – PAIN.

    Not going through this again. Investing in myself this year, which means going to the gym and eating healthily so that this never happens again, and writing constantly so that I can make my living as a writer rather than a paper-pushing robot who is constantly stressed out and miserable.

    BTW, love your definition of a PG-13 site…

  • Jonathan

    Great post Roman. Investing in yourself is always a great idea. What I've found in life is that people often show some mastery (or at least somewhat have their sh*t together) in one or 2 areas of their life, but flounder in others. We can always benefit from coaching, seminars, and self-study and rounding yourself out to become a true “renaissance man” is a worthy goal.

    ~ mens sana in corpore sano

  • BigAl

    Great post John, for years I have felt like I was 'anti-money'. It just didn't interest me. I made enough to support my family and when I needed it I was able to attract a high income. More important to me was my on-going health and fitness, I now choose to participate in sport rather than earn money. Your comments made me feel 'normal'. Keep up the good work.

  • pedude

    your education is the one thing in life that can't be taken away.

  • Dan Hughes

    Roman, as always I enjoy your insight. This is a year for me to find what truly makes me happy. I have been a successful business owner for many years now and all I have done is collect more “stuff” what's the point? I want to be happy and fufilled. This year I am investing in knowledge to become healthier. Your information has helped me work out better at the gym and I enjoy your insights on your blogs without the constant pressure to buy something like other fitness professionals. You seem to genuinely want to help people. Believe me if people trust that the dollars will come. Thank you so much. Job well done….Dan

  • Dale

    I started investing in myself several years ago when I realized I wasn't getting any younger and my body and health were declining. So, I joined a gym, started eating only “clean” foods, and learning all I can about strenght, fitness, and nutrition. The result is: I am in the best shape of my life at age 56, and have not been sick in over 10 years. I have proved to myself that if you take care of your body, it will take care of you. Our bodies are wonderful self healing organisms.

  • Liz

    Good post :-)

    I'm a realist. Money is numbers, a virtual reality, until I interact with it. Buying “stuff” is one way of converting the numbers to reality. Like you I have enough stuff & I like fashion too. In fact since New Year I've been culling my wardrobe and stuff. Nature abhors a vacuum, so I'm told.

    Over the last 5 yrs my focused expenditure has been on self-education and training – studying the subjects, evaluating their effectiveness & looking at how they are marketed. Also becoming much more discerning over time about online offers.

    Losing 25kgs through healthy weight management in 2010 had a profound effect on my sense of self. Surrounding myself in a virtual sense (online support) has contributed to my success.

    Over time my sense of both what is possible for me (capacity) and my sense of where I fit in the mix has shifted.

    This year is about building on my progress last year, moving from being the perpetual student to implementation of what I have learned to maximum positive benefit (and cashflow) for myself, valuing myself and my IP appropriately and using what I have to create what I want (resourcefulness).

    A good tip: getting very clear about my 3 top life values (in detail) and living in accordance with these increases my effectiveness in all areas. It also assists me to stay on track when tempted by distractions & the demands of others that I change tack.

    2011: a manageable & enjoyable life.

    Have a fabulous year!

  • Christine

    Thanks Roman – I really enjoyed your post.

    I've spent most of the last 3 years working my way out of a severe depression including completing a diploma in counselling just to get a better understanding of the whole experience! My learning has also extended to getting a better understanding of the links between depression, nutrition, exercise and sleep…with the last being discovered with a diagnosis of sleep apnoea.

    I love to study and learn but recently realised I've been using my busy-ness as an excuse to not really live up to my full potential so that's what this year is about for me – putting some of my learning into action. I've got a long way to go to get my health back and a healthy-looking body but there are many days in a year and I know that this time next year I will be looking and feeling a lot different to how I am now!

  • Jarrod

    Great read, agree with you totally, and investment in yourself is the only sure thing.

  • Doug

    Great post.

    In 2010, I focused a lot on my body in getting rid of the fat and dropped 30 pounds. This actually cost me less in the long run as I was just eating less. However to make up for not spending on food, I bought a new summer wardrope to fit the new body. That cost quite a bit.

    In 2011 I will again be focusing on the body and learning how to feed it better, so investing in nutrition assistance so I can keep what I worked hard for, and still fit into the new clothes.

    The one comment I read above about whats more important, money or knowledge. I think its money. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but you cant do much with it, without money to purchase/lease/invest..etc..what your brain tells you it should. However if you have money and no knowledge, you can hire someone to teach you. :)

    Here's to a great 2011.

  • Bill S.

    Roman,

    Great post; you obviously have thought this through; who knew you really had a brain (LOL). Seriously, this was one of your best posts and quite thought provoking, Keep up the great work and I look forward to reading your blog in the future.

  • @Rick – That was an incredibly helpful comment, thank you SO much.

    Honestly, I sort of tossed out that bit about numbers and stats thoughtlessly, mainly to semi-support the point of the post–but you really nailed it.

    You made good points, have great info, and made me think. Well done.

    I'll look into it, and check out your site.

    Thank you again!

  • This was a fantastic read! Just found your blog through Ben Bruno and so glad– love your viewpoint and way of writing, such strong, sensible points. Thanks!

  • Ylwa

    Aaahh, the new years. And the resolutions. Last year was my first time in years that I actually made new year-wishes. I call them that because I think that this is what makes up most peoples resolutions. It's an outspoken wish of where you want to be. But seldom a true resolution. Like most wishes, they didn't all come true exactly as I wished. Some did but not all of them.

    This year I took a different approach to things. Rather than writing down new year-wishes, I wrote a mission statement. For me. I went through all the big aspects of my life, and wrote down everything I want to achieve for all those areas.

    I have one rule for myself in 2011 – I'm going to treat myself as a business. Work on myself everyday, with the same consistency as I would if I ran a business.

    I've made 2011 my year for personal development. I will focus on growing as a person rather than checking of various achievements. I guess they're two sides of the same coin but the mindset is different.

    Don't compromise with yourself. You're all you got.

  • If im your only reader from the Philippines i shoud be so proud( a little ass kissing) =)

    I totaly agree with doing what you love to earn money. Although thats very hard sometimes, being a theater actor in this country. So ive been very lucky to invest in the family biz, im earning well from that and it helps me co continue with acting.

    For training i want to get to my leanest ever. Last summer i got very lean with abs and all after 16 weeks of hard work, problem was, i still had minny love handles, this is even if my obliques were showing. Im planning to destroy those love handles with the fatloss workouts of new rules of lifting, my version of final phase fatloss(sorry about that), and the Tnation article FROM DUD TO STUD IN 30 DAYS! Wich is basically your program.=)

    I also plan to get stronger this year.

    Im pretty sure ill be reading your blog for the next 20 to 30 years.

    P.S. In your article from dud to stud, you wrote a specialization program for traps, im geneticaly gifted in that area, ive had good traps since grade 5. Question is can i just do more back work instead?

    2nd question(this is a little weird) Swear to god despite being very lean, i seem to only have a 5 pack. My sixth ab looks very flat! I mean how do you isolate your 6th ab? Hahahaha happy new year roman, thanks for your generosity.

    S

  • Hi, John,

    You've obviously got things together when it comes to your career and business. You're smart to focus on learning more to improve both your training and your marketing of your training business.

    I'd just like to put in a word for investing “traditionally” — stocks and bonds.

    It's NOT a matter of “watching numbers and tracking rates” — it's making your money work for you, instead of you working for money.

    Of course, at this stage of your life you must, and should, work for money and it's great you do something you love.

    But you can't take for granted that will last forever. Sh*t — and injuries, accidents and diseases — happen. Sometimes you're just out of work a few days or weeks. Sometimes it's permanent.

    And if something like that doesn't happen, building a portfolio of income-producing assets still leverages what you earn today, so you earn more tomorrow — which you may use to expand your life and/or business.

    When your portfolio produces more income than your business (which obviously won't happen for some years, but those years will pass faster than you can possibly now at your age realize), you'll have a comforting peace of mind. You can also afford to take more risks in your business. You can pick and choose who you do business with and what you choose to achieve.

    And eventually you may get married and have a family, and you'll have to think of their welfare — and college tuition.

    I won't write about “retirement.” You're young and in shape, and so you're likely to live through enough scientific breakthroughs that you won't suffer the disease we now call “old age,” and so may remain young for virtually forever.

    Myself, I advise folks to buy income-producing investments (stocks that pay dividends mostly), then set them and forget them. Watching the numbers etc IS a waste of time. I tell people to focus on increasing their income instead, so they'll have more money with which to invest. You've obviously got that philosophy.

    cheers,

  • I just spent my monies on the ACE training manual.

    but. . .

    I can't help spending my money on clothes and shoes. I worked hard to look like this so I'd like to decorate it nicely!

    In my personal opinion it does not cost much to get into sick shape. Some people over complicate things. You cannot (in most cases) buy yourself a rocking body, It takes desire, discipline and commitment.

    I am investing in my body and my business this year. Studying for the ACE, working my ass of so that people will trust me as a trainer (who's gonna trust a chubby trainer?) and getting myself out there as much as possible :D

  • Murds

    This was probably my favorite read about the new year so far as it was the most unique topic and has many interesting points. Regarding those points, which were about investing in a body rather than clothes to cover it up, I agree 100%. Despite having been weight training/competing in sports for the last decade, there was a time when I would relentlessly spend $$ on clothes, more clothes, and a crazy shoe fetish I had for a while. Over the past couple years that has cut down quite a bit and I find myself passing many of my clothes onto friends and Goodwill. What am I going to do with 15 pairs of jeans??? Anyways, lately I've been saving so I can move out west (CA), but with my fun money I've been buying books and tasty (and healthy) foods. In addition to that, I'm also spending a nice chunk monthly on my promiscous lady Sallie Mae. As for time investment, its going towards reading these books (studying for my CSCS too) and training as well as developing and maintaining healthy relationships and ridding of the toxic ones!

    I've been a regular follower of your site, but as of late I havent gotten around to it. However, Ben Bruno listed you on his “Good Reads for the Week” so shout out to him for that. I'm looking forward to some more informative and humorous articles this year. Caio for now!

  • A good chunk of my money is definitely going toward food and books. I'm going to finally lose this last 10 lbs. of flab, which I believe will improve my chances of being elected mayor of Awesomeville.

    I'd also like to get certified as a personal trainer, even I don't end up getting a job in a gym. I just want to feel more qualified.

    I'm also starting a small t-shirt business and a Youtube channel as well featuring both hilarious nonsense & helpful tips. Both will be connected to the blog.

    As far as investing my time goes, I've set a goal of reading at least 30 books this year, starting with The 4-Hour workweek and Crush it!.

    2011, prepare to be my bitch.

  • Great post Mr. Roman. Funny, it seems that for both of us, money was a big theme for 2010…although, I have a feeling you made a bit more than I ;))

    If you haven't had the chance, another book I recommend to my friends and clients, is “Your Money or Your Life”, and backs up Mr. Ferris's ideal about making enough to fit your ideal lifestyle.

    That, is the first step — figuring out what is *your* ideal fulfillment level. Then, basing your income goals off of that.

    As far as what I'm investing in? My muses: art, music, writing, cooking, and intimacy.

    Mojo's coming back.

    Chat soon!