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“Why you should focus.” With Jason Hartman & Tom Wheelwright

This crisis has illustrated just how important it is to be comfortable with ourselves and not rely on others for our self-worth. We also must be willing and able to adapt on a daily basis to changes in the economy, supply chain and government rules. The innovators are going to be the most successful during […]

This crisis has illustrated just how important it is to be comfortable with ourselves and not rely on others for our self-worth. We also must be willing and able to adapt on a daily basis to changes in the economy, supply chain and government rules. The innovators are going to be the most successful during and after this pandemic, so don’t be afraid to be creative. Think about new ways to make money, do business and live life. Change can be stressful, and it also can be exciting when thinking of the future. Many businesses will thrive even more after this pandemic than they did prior to the pandemic.


Asa part of my series about “Investing During The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Wheelwright. Wheelwright is a CPA, CEO of WealthAbility®, Best-Selling Author of Tax-Free Wealth (Rich Dad Advisors Series), Speaker, Entrepreneur and Host of 2 popular podcasts: The WealthAbility™ Show with Tom Wheelwright CPA and The WealthAbility® for CPAs Show. He is the CPA for Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad) and speaks around the world with Robert to thousands of entrepreneurs, business owners and investors.


Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance industry?

Ihave always loved numbers and the law. Tax law is a great combination and very practical. I once thought about becoming an economist and found there was too much hedging and not enough doing in that profession. Tax accounting gave me the opportunity to apply economics on a practical basis to clients and help them achieve their dreams.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far?

People often ask me how I came to know Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. I like to tell people that “I bought him.” What happened was that I had split with the partners in my CPA firm and while half of the clients went with the other partners, all the staff stayed with me. So, I set about looking for an opportunity to acquire a CPA book of business. I received a postcard in the mail from a broker who said they had a practice for sale in the Phoenix area. I called and discovered that it fit very well with what my new partner and I wanted to do with our CPA firm. Shortly after my initial inquiry, I discovered that one of the clients in the practice was Robert Kiyosaki, his wife Kim and the Rich Dad organization. The day after this discovery, I received a note from a close friend announcing he had just become the CFO of Rich Dad. I also discovered that one of my good friends, Kim Butler, CFP, was a client of this practice and maintained a close relationship with many of the clients.

Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

Don’t ignore your “junk mail” when you are asking for help from the universe. You never know what you will find when you just start to look for it.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now?

Yes!!! We are developing a network of CPA firms across the country that can show people how to reduce their taxes permanently (and legally) and how to build wealth that will allow them to retire or otherwise reach their dreams.

How do you think that will help people?

One of the big problems for people seeking to improve their financial situation is a lack of good mentors and advisors who are willing to take the time to listen to them and what they really want to achieve. Our members are all entrepreneurs who just happen to be CPAs. They understand other entrepreneurs. Our goal is to revolutionize what is sometimes seen as a boring, stale industry. Nobody has more experience with more business and investing situations than CPAs. They just don’t have a system for teaching their clients. We have built that system and now are teaching other CPAs how to use it with their clients.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Certainly. My long-time partner, Ann Mathis has been instrumental in the success of WealthAbility and my personal success as an author and speaker. Ann is my perfect complement as a partner as she handles all the systems and details I don’t do well, and I handle all of the relationships and public relations she would rather not do. While she certainly is capable of handling everything I handle, she chooses to work behind the scenes which frees me up to concentrate on marketing relationships, writing and public speaking.

Let’s shift a bit to what is happening today in the broader world. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

This crisis has illustrated just how important it is to be comfortable with ourselves and not rely on others for our self-worth. We also must be willing and able to adapt on a daily basis to changes in the economy, supply chain and government rules. The innovators are going to be the most successful during and after this pandemic, so don’t be afraid to be creative. Think about new ways to make money, do business and live life. Change can be stressful, and it also can be exciting when thinking of the future. Many businesses will thrive even more after this pandemic than they did prior to the pandemic.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know the stock market and the economy in general have become extremely volatile and uncertain. Many people “dollar cost average” and put aside a monthly sum into a long-term savings plan for retirement, college, or a home purchase. If a loved one or a client came to you and said, “I have been saving and investing $500 every month in an S&P 500 index fund. Over the next few months until the dust settles, should I be doing something else with my money?”, what would you say to them?

Maybe it’s time to do something different with your money than just relying on the stock market. There are four asset classes, not just one. There is business, real estate and commodities in addition to stocks. Stocks are the most volatile and the asset class with the least amount of control. You cannot control the market. If you are in business, you can control how you respond to the market. It’s much easier to pivot in a small business than it is in a job or in the stock market. Take time to get some real financial education, not the phony financial education promoted by Wall Street and financial planners.

Eventually the economy will recover and rebound. Certain sectors, like travel and hospitality might be hurting for a while. But other sectors, like technology and healthcare, might do very well. If someone wanted to prepare today to take advantage of the future recovery, what would you suggest they do?

Get financially educated so you can take advantage of the new opportunities. Now is the time to understand the basics of business, the markets and real estate. Now is the time to put together a team to help you succeed. Investing is not a solo sport — it’s a team sport.

Are there sectors that provide exciting and lucrative investment opportunities today, specifically because of the volatility and uncertainty?

It’s never about the investment — it’s always about the investor. People will succeed in real estate and others will fail in real estate. Some restaurants are thriving while others are dying. Certainly, technology will play a much bigger role in our lives going forward. Don’t be relying on a bricks and mortar-based business. Be sure you can also use technology, whether it’s Amazon, Instacart or Zoom or any of the other technologies that make life easier in a crisis and beyond.

Are there alternative investments that you think more people should look more deeply at?

Always. Don’t forget that the biggest investment is in yourself and your education. I don’t mean getting educated for another job, that’s a losing proposition. Imagine a business that has only a single client going to the bank for a loan. Would the bank lend them money? Of course not. It’s way too risky to lend to a business dependent on a single client. And yet, that’s exactly what people do when they get a job. Their sole client is their employer. It’s way less risky to have a business with several hundred or thousand clients or real estate with several hundred tenants.

If a person in their thirties and forties came to you today and said that they have $10,000 that they want to put away today for a long-term investment what would you advise them to do with it?

Invest in their financial education. My mother once told me that she and my dad planned to spend all of their assets before they died. She felt that since they had provided us an education, we would not need any other inheritance. And she has been proved correct by the success of her children. $10,000 invested in the stock market means nothing. $10,000 invested in your education means everything. Start by investing $20 in a book like Rich Dad Poor Dad or Tax-Free Wealth.

Ok, thank you! Here is a more general finance question. You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive essentials for smart investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. Dare to Dream — Don’t settle for the standard financial planning questions of “When do you want to retire?” or “How much do you NEED to retire?” When you become a professional investor, you get to choose what you WANT instead of settling for what you need.
  2. Focus — Don’t diversify. The old adage “a niche will make you rich” absolutely applies. Nobody ever got rich diversifying in the market. Look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Walt Disney and Elon Musk. These people all made their money focused on a specific product in a very specific market. You simply cannot be good at a lot of things. The last thing you ever want is to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
  3. Team — Most people either turn their money over to someone else and forget about it or they try to do their own investing. It’s Better to find a team to assist you with the aspects of investing where you need help, whether that is due diligence, making a deal or researching a market. Investing is a team sport. The essential members of any team include yourself, your bookkeeper, your CPA, your attorney and your banker.
  4. Taxes — Taxes can be the most important component of your return on investment. For example, if you invest in an oil and gas project (as opposed to an oil and gas stock), the government will essentially fund up to 40% of your investment through tax breaks. Real estate investing has even bigger tax breaks than oil. Alternative energy and other direct (rather than paper) investments also can create huge tax benefits. Don’t focus on the pre-tax return. Always focus on the after-tax return of an investment.
  5. Strategy — Most important of all is to create a plan of action. Most amateur investors have no plan. They just look at any investment that comes their way. Professional investors are very focused and follow a pre-determined strategy. They only look at investments that meet their criteria for investing. This way, they reduce their risk, increase their returns, and permanently reduce their taxes.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Every problem has 50,000 potential solutions and we have only looked at one or two of them” — Ann Wheelwright (my mother). Rather than think outside of the box, just eliminate the box. Understand that there are always opportunities and solutions we haven’t discovered, and we just need to look at things from a different angle to fine the solution or opportunity that will work for us.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Revolutionizing the CPA profession to focus on the future for clients and not just the past. CPA’s have a tremendous influence on the economy and society as they are the most trusted financial professionals for entrepreneurs. They have a broad expanse of knowledge from working with hundreds and thousands of businesses. CPAs must recognize that if they don’t change and start looking at services that improve the bottom line of their clients’ businesses, then they will soon be obsolete from technology such as blockchain and AI. CPAs need to see themselves as entrepreneurs, not just support staff for their clients. They must recognize that as they develop themselves personally, they can contribute more to their clients, creating better clients, better practice, and a better life for themselves.

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