Be Humble (And Pay Cash)

John Del Vecchio

The best advice I ever got about money came from my dad.

These are principles I’ve used whether I was washing dishes in a restaurant or running a multi-million-dollar business. As a result, I’ve always been in good shape financially.

The first piece of advice he gave me was to “stick to what you know, kid.” I know enough to know that there’s a lot I don’t know – certainly things that could get me into trouble financially.

For example, I cook a hell of a steak. World class. It’s up there with the best you’d eat in the finest restaurant. People love to be invited to my house for Steak Night. That doesn’t mean I should open a restaurant.

There’s a lot to managing that kind of business that I simply don’t know. So, I have no interest in owning a restaurant. I would only lose money.

I know people who do own restaurants, though. And most of them shouldn’t. They got lured by things like drinking “free booze” and flirting with the staff. It’s a tough business with crappy margins. And they have no idea what they’re doing.

They’ve lost boatloads of money.

In investing terms, this is like Warren Buffet’s advice to stay within your circle of competence. When you give it some good thought, that circle is probably kinda small. At the very least, it’s smaller than we assume it is.

It’s easy for us to believe we know more than we really do. Our ego wants us to feel like an “expert.” But that same ego gets in the way of securing and growing our net worth…

Check it at the door.

If you stick with what you know, it’s hard to get into trouble financially. You’ll find yourself naturally turning down opportunities you have no business getting involved with. Meanwhile, you’ll gravitate toward projects that pad your bottom line.

The second piece of advice is to pay cash for everything. I’ve stuck with that advice too.

The only exception is that I had a mortgage for 11 years. But, even though I started to make a lot more money, I resisted the temptation to buy a bigger or more expensive home. Mine was perfectly fine; it’s actually a beautiful place to call home. I just paid off the mortgage faster.

Here’s the thing: The more we make, the more we don’t need to spend.

If you stick with cash, you’ll find yourself not being as wasteful. It makes it harder to buy things that are out of reach and, in the end, don’t make you happier.

To paraphrase my favorite comedian, George Carlin, you don’t get rich buying shit you don’t need with money you don’t have and paying 18% interest on it.

That’s the key to Unbounded Wealth: Don’t keep up with the Joneses.

It might look like they’re rich with their two cars, fancy watches, and five flat panel TVs. But most of it is bought on credit. It’s a mirage.

The average American can’t even finance a $1,000 emergency. Scary!

Stick with what you know. And pay cash.

Following that advice will get you well ahead of the game and well on your way to freedom – financial and otherwise…

Unbounded Wealth: The Blueprint for a Healthy Financial Life

You see, when I was in third grade, I was a slow reader. I was placed in a remedial course. Administrators called my folks into the office to break some news. Turns out, they didn’t think I’d amount to much. They were preparing my parents for the worst.

Back then, you could throw shade on kids without consequences. You could be called a “moron.” There were no participation trophies. It was a different world. Kids today have lawyers on retainers. You can no longer criticize without consequence. Even adults are hypersensitive. Things have indeed changed.

I remember that time very well, even though it was long ago.

Of course, I did amount to something. I’ve created trading services like Hidden Fortunes. And Unbounded Wealth is my third book.

The First of Three: What’s Behind the Numbers?

My first, co-authored with my good friend, Tom Jacobs was published by a major house, won critical acclaim, and earned “Book of the Year” distinction from Stock Trader’s Almanac.

What’s Behind the Numbers? went on to become a best-seller and got translated into Chinese.

My folks were proud. My mom sent a copy of the book to my third grade English tutor, who cried when she received it. My dad, while noting what an accomplishment it was, pointed out one problem: “I read 30 pages and I didn’t understand a f***ing thing you said.”

As he often does, my dad had a good point. Tom and I wrote What’s Behind the Numbers? for people who like to get into the weeds of stock analysis. Professionals, finance students, and passionate stock market hobbyists found the greatest use of it.

That got me thinking: What could I do to help a broader audience? You know, everyone?

What good is a message if it’s over the heads of large numbers of people who might otherwise make good use of it? I don’t care anymore about “sounding” smart. I want the complex formulas we’d arrived at to be put to work. It’s not about me. It’s about you.

Unbounded Wealth Is an Investing Book Anyone Can Read and Enjoy

I set out to simplify some of the stuff Tom and I talked about.

And then read a book about marketing by Seth Godin, all in one sitting, on a flight from Chicago to Dallas.

It was an object lesson on the value of an easy read. He didn’t use big words. And I retained about 100% of the content without using a highlighter or underlining any passages. I walked off the plane confident I’d digested what I needed to know about Godin’s approach to marketing.

Not long after, I was sitting in a hotel room in Boston when I came up with the idea for the book that’s now in the final stages of the publication process. Of course, the goal was to write something that could also be read on a flight from Chicago to Dallas. That’s about two and a half hours, three if there are storms in Dallas.

And there’d be no big words; like I said, I’m not interested in making me look smart. I’m interested in conveying ideas and making you a better investor. To that end — communication — it would be illustrated. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I figured it’d be fun — and informative! — to have some cartoons to not only break up walls of text but also to reinforce ideas and concepts with visuals.

It basically boiled down to something like The Cat in the Hat for saving and investing.

You should be able to understand it without highlighting and going back time and again for review. It’s for all ages. And it’s the only book of its type you’ll ever need.

I sat on the idea for three years. Now, it’s just about ready to be published.

Becoming the Middle-Class Millionaire

Unbounded Wealth is the blueprint for how I live my financial life.

There are 10 chapters on getting your financial life headed in the right direction and two more on investing strategies, simple strategies. I’ll also include a “bonus chapter” for folks who want to take “the next step.”

The concepts are very simple to understand and apply. It’s timeless stuff.

Of course, life is nothing if not full of ups and downs. There will be trying times on your way to financial freedom. You just need to stick with it. Time heals those bumps and bruises. My goal is to help you establish a framework that gets you through that “real world” stuff.

One of my inspirations for the book was my cousin Nicky.

Nicky is a physical education teacher. He’s well-liked by his students and their parents. In many ways, Nicky is a star.

Before he became a teacher, Nicky was a great baseball player. Now, all those students and parents who love him are more than willing to pay him for lessons on how to hit a baseball.

In other words, he has a high-margin side hustle doing something he loves that can help boost his finances at the same time.

As a physical education teacher, Nicky is never going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

The thing is, he doesn’t have to. He can make his own financial freedom. And he’s doing it by applying the ideas and concepts I talk about in my new book.

At 26, he’s well on his way. I wouldn’t be surprised if his net worth is quickly approaching $200,000. Not a bad start.

Your Time, Your Money, and Your Freedom

Since the title of the book is Unbounded Wealth, I wanted to clarify… That doesn’t mean ostentatious, even conspicuous. It’s not about sipping overpriced champagne on an oversized yacht docked at an overbuilt Hamptons estate.

And it’s not about collecting things. It’s about breaking free of “The Man.” And it’s about living life on your own terms. I do, and I live a nice life. And I know others can too.

That’s why this project is so important to me. It’s my life’s work.

I hope you read it. I hope you share it with others or even gift it to your kids and grandkids. It’s a means to put your money to good use so that you can pursue life on your own terms.