Exploring the 4 Pillars of Personal Finance with Andrew Fiebert

By Andy Hayes

We love the website Listen Money Matters. It’s led by a daring duo: a personal finance nerd and a productivity expert.  It’s a great combination for excellent insight and advice, and today we bring one half of the pair – Andrew Fiebert – to share some money matters insights.

Your 4 pillars of personal finance – growing your income, destroying your debt, budgeting like a pro, and investing your money – make a lot of sense.  Do you think 1 pillar is more important than the others?  Why or why not?

We actually had this original concept of “The Wealth Wheel” that had them all as pieces of a circle. I haven’t redesigned that area yet but perhaps the next iteration will have them as more of links of a chain or gears in an engine than just pieces of a circle.

What we really want to illustrate is that they are all core components such that a failure in any one category can be devastating to the entire picture. It doesn’t matter how many investments you have if your debt overwhelms your income or the value of those investments. You also may never be able to invest if you aren’t able to budget properly and spend less than you make.

Most people focus in on individual pieces and we really want to change that and instead constantly redirect their focus towards the whole picture. While it may seem overwhelming at first, our philosophy of breaking everything down in to manageable chunks and then automating it can help you spend less time in the details and more time on the big picture.

One half of your crew is a productivity expert.  Do you think productivity is an important component of building wealth?  Please elaborate.

Thomas is certainly a productivity expert. I get a lot done during the week but I have no doubt that he eclipses me in individual productivity. I think that for highly driven people there’s this whole concept of “productivity porn” where you’re constantly searching to improve efficiency and your overall output every day or week. I think productivity is important but to a point.

It really comes down to two core beliefs that we try to teach at Listen Money Matters. The first is that you don’t really want to be “wealthy”, you want to be “rich”. I wrote about it in my article “Being Wealthy is a Choice” – the gist of it is that wealthy people have a lot of money but rich people have a lot of time. Time to spend doing things they love – which may be making money but it shouldn’t have to be.

That then comes to the second core belief is that we’re not robots, nor should we try to perform like one. It’s unhealthy to work to the bone and it will only lead to an unhappy life. We want people to be productive in what they do as well as productive in their approach towards building wealth but only so far as it enables them to spend more time living.

Your popular podcast is all about “honest” money talk.  Money tends to be a taboo topic – how can we open up honest conversations about building solid finance foundations (besides listening to your show, of course!)

We labeled ourselves as “honest” money talk because the unfortunate reality is that there is a lot of garbage in the personal finance space where people are selling things like get rich quick schemes. We really want to distance ourselves as much as possible from that stuff and instead focus on discussing the hard truths.

Part of those hard truths rarely come to the forefront because of what you said – money is a taboo subject. We’ve found in our own lives and by working with many others to improve their finances that the most important thing you can do is talk about money. Listening is great and we highly encourage people to listen to the podcast but it’s much more impactful to discuss it.

Be it with your significant other, parents, friends or co-workers, conversation around money with normal people can be very insightful and important if for no other reason than to help you sort all of this stuff out in your head. There have been plenty of studies that show actively discussing your finances with others is one of the biggest indicators of financial success. It’s so important that after over 2.5 years we’rebuilding a financial Community to help do just that. Put the voices and suggestions of experts, financial nerds and normal people to your own financial situation. Financial success starts with honest, real conversation.

You’re at a dinner party, and the host mentions to the group that you run a blog about money.  Another guest (that you don’t know) asks you what’s the best piece of advice you’ve learned since you started blogging.  What do you tell them?

Well, if we were at a dinner party and someone asks this question, first my wife will cringe. Probably because it will launch me into some sort of epic rant 😉

I think the best piece of advice both financially and in terms of online business and blogging is that it’s not a race and you don’t have any competitors. When it comes to your finances you might not share your financial situation with friends for fear of being judged and that sucks. Maybe your friends could help you or they could be in the same place and you could work together. In online business it’s not much different, helping out others (even competitors) tends to only help you in the long run. There is more than enough people on the internet for all of us.

Imagine what you could accomplish in your life if you leaned towards collaboration instead of being a lone wolf. There are few great things that have been built by a single person and all the amazing people like Steve Jobs that you read about have only been able to achieve what they did by having incredible teams behind them. Everyone should focus less on comparing themselves and competing and more on building their incredible team.

Awesome advice, thanks Andrew!  For more of the same, be sure to follow Listen Money Matters on Twitter & Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *