The Financial Matrix graph displays the four ways people can respond to the Defensive and Offensive principles needed for financial success. Strangely, most people, through a combination of ignorance, apathy, and arrogance, ignore these financial laws and suffer in consequence. 2017, however, is a new year, a year to erase past failures and replace them with future victories. This can be achieved through the Financial Fitness Program, the greatest financial game-changer on the market! But before I get ahead of myself, let’s examine the Financial Matrix quadrants to determine where the reader resides currently to ensure we develop the best personalized plan for the future.
Let’s start with the Broke quadrant, the one where people play neither Defense nor Offense. Disastrously, over 50% of households in the USA fall into this quadrant, service debts higher than current incomes and thus falling further and further behind every year. Moreover, they have little Offensive wherewithal to expand incomes and thus are stuck in a situation where they have more outgo than income with little hope of changing it. The 45 Year Plan for the Broke group, those who have no net worth (assets minus debts), displays expenses higher than incomes and debt loads increasing until they are rejected for further loans (debt maxes out around 3 to 5 times total household income). Needless to say, this is the worst spot in the Financial Matrix, because it maximizes debts and minimizes dreams. The Broke quadrant pays the price for revolving interest, penalty fees, and stress because they lack financial literacy. They live lives of quiet desperation with no assets, massive debt, and little hope to change unless they can access new information and inspiration. The most common expression one hears from the Broke quadrant is, “I owe; I owe; it’s off to work I go,” while the most common attitude is hopelessness because they see no way out of the Financial Matrix.
The Tightwad quadrant, on the other hand, plays Defense (expenses below incomes with decreasing debts), but doesn’t play Offense (little ability to increase incomes). The 45 Year Plan for Tightwads shows expenses under incomes with little debt to service. Although debt free (or at least progressing towards debt freedom), they only accomplish this by reducing their dreams. This is why most people HATE to talk about finances because they believe it’s just a plan to budget someone out of their dreams. While nothing could be further from the truth in the Financial Fitness Program, to be fair, this is where most financial gurus live. They spend hours talking about how to reduce debt and very little discussing how to increase incomes. As a result, most people do not follow apply Defensive principles because to do so results in them giving up their dreams to be out of debt. While this, to be sure, is better than remaining in the Broke quadrant, this Financial gurus are only teaching half the story, at best. For when a person surrenders his dream, a dream that drives his personal growth, he has thrown the baby out with the bath water. Sure, being debt free is a good, but the biggest enemy of great is good and I refuse to sacrifice the great on the altar of the financial gurus good! Why settle for debt-free without dreams when one can learn how to live dreams debt-free. The most common expression in the Tightwad quadrant is, “No thank you. We cannot afford this.” Naturally, after years of self-denial with little to show for it, the most common attitude that results is bitterness, a bitterness caused by repeatedly saying “no” to their dreams.
The Status quadrant, in contrast, plays no Defense (debts increase as fast as incomes), but has an impressive Offense (incomes capable of servicing all debts). The 45 Year Plan for this group displays both incomes and debts increasing. Because they have a solid Offense, but not a corresponding Defense, the total debt loads continue to increase (usually two to five times total income). To be sure, they have enough income to stay ahead of expenses, but only so long as they continue to perform at the top of their game. This group believes it can live their dreams, expand their debts, and live the good life. However, there is a major downside to living in the Status quadrant, namely, the inherent risk that something outside one’s control may occur. Similar to a bobber floating on top of the water, just one financial tug (job loss or health challenge) can lead to the household going underwater financially. After all, if someone lives at his debt limit, he runs the risk of financial catastrophe if the Offense is interrupted unexpectedly while the debt continues to compound expectedly. Debt, to the Status group, appears to be gold – they live their dreams while servicing their debt. But in reality, it’s a golden handcuff that tightens around its unsuspecting victim. Over time, the Status group realizes they are stuck on the financial gerbil wheel, running with everything they have, without the ability to jump off. The most common expression in the Status quadrant is, “Let’s buy it now because we can afford the monthly payments.” The danger, of course, is this commonly leads to arrogance, for when a person shows it all and owes it all, if he’s not careful, he can tend to believe he knows it all.
Unfortunately, by the time the Status quadrant realizes the errors in their strategy, it’s usually too late. Once the Offense loses some of its muster, it doesn’t take long for the Status household to start missing debt payments. Ironically, the group learning the most from the failures of the Status households is the auctioneers, who sell off the remaining assets of financially ruined families. As noted in The Millionaire Next Door, auctioneers are the profession with the highest percentage of millionaires, probably because they see and feel the pain of the families who have lost everything by playing Offense and ignoring Defense. This lesson reveals the insecurity inherent within the Status quadrant, a quadrant that believes it can outrun debt forever. As a result, most of the Status quadrant is one economic downturn away from bankruptcy. Debt is omnipresent and compounding continuously against the household; thus, it should not be played with for similar to fire, if you play with it, you will eventually get burned.
The final quadrant, the one everyone should aspire to join, is the Financial Free quadrant. This group plays both Defense (expenses below incomes with decreasing debts) and Offense (increasing incomes). The 45 year plan for this group displays expense remaining fairly constant while the incomes consistently grow. Debt decreases annually until it is eventually eliminated by the difference between incomes and expenses being used to wipe out the household’s debt cancer. The Financially Free group sacrifices in the short-term by living below their means and wiping out debt so they can live their dreams debt free! This quadrant is the most secure financially because they own assets and live their dreams debt free. This gives them great strength when financial setbacks do occur because they owe no one anything. Instead of reducing their dreams to pay off debt, they increase the size of their dreams without falling into debt; rather, they use dreams to drive personal improvement (Offense) and use the increased income to pay off debt even faster. In other words, increased dreams and decreased debts. This is the Financially Free lifestyle. The most common expression for Financially Free people is, “Let’s sleep on it first. Then, if we truly want it, let’s set an Offensive goal to achieve it.” Not surprisingly, the common attitude of this group is thankfulness because they realize they have been blessed by following certain financial principles and aim pay that blessing forward into other’s lives.
Laurie and I dreamed to escape the Financial Matrix and now dream of helping millions more do the same. The Bible teaches, “The borrower is slave to the lender,” indicating a person in debt is in bondage. If someone loves his bondage, then I am not here to argue him out of it. However, if someone recognized himself in one of the above sub-optimized quadrants and desires to live Financially Free by escaping the Financial Matrix, then he needs to get the Green Box (The Financial Fitness Pack). If a person is already Financially Free, then I ask you to get the Green Box and help me help others by teaching these financial principles to the world. In the Green Box, the person will learn the Defense, the Offense, and the pathway out of the Financial Matrix playing field. Further, he can plug into a community of winners to be held accountable to the proper financial principles, playing Defense and Offense, and referring others to do similarly.
In closing, the beginning of all breakthroughs starts the moment a person realizes the road he’s been on will not take him to the destination he desires. This was true for Laurie and me, as we lived in all three sub-optimized quadrants seeking to escape the Financial Matrix. It’s now 2017 and last year’s successes and failures are history. Now it’s time to start this year with momentum. If a person truly wants to live the life he’s always wanted, perhaps it’s time to address the issues you’ve always avoided.