Hey Honey—Show Me the Money

What are your true attitudes toward money? Are your attitudes blocking your business success and your financial security? Are you regularly saving as well as putting money aside for retirement? Take the following inventory to find out how you can improve how you handle the money.

Mark the items below, “Agree-Disagree”:

  1. I would have had plenty of money if only I (hadn’t gotten divorced, bought real estate at the wrong time, played the stock market, etc.)
  2. I can’t even pay my bills: how can I possibly put aside money for emergencies or retirement?
  3. I’ll start putting money aside as soon as the market gets better and I can pay off some of these bills.
  4. My financial problems really aren’t my fault: they’re the result of a lousy market or other things outside my control.
  5. I’m doing the best I can, but I know I’ll never really have enough.
  6. The good old days of making it big in real estate are over. Very few people are making the kind of money we used to make.
  7. I know how much I spend, how much I owe, and what my expenses are.
  8. I have committed to take at least five steps in the next twelve months to help improve my financial situation.
  9. I have a financial plan that I am following.
  10. I am putting money aside for retirement as well as for emergencies.
  11. I have stopped wasting money on things I really don’t want or need.
  12. I have at least six months of expenses in the bank that I don’t need.
  13. I regularly save and/or invest at least ten percent of my net income.
  14. My income is steady and predictable.
  15. I work because I want to, not because I have to.
  16. I have enough invested in passive sources of income that I can live quite comfortably for the rest of my life.


You will probably see a pattern to your answers where they shift from “Disagree” to “Agree”. Although you may have some “Agree” answers mixed within the “Disagree”, the critical factor is to notice where the primary shift occurs. The primary patterns and stages are outlined below.


Stage 1: You’re drowning in a sea of financial difficulty and there’s no lifeguard.
Agree: Items 1- 4
Disagree: Items 5- 16
You are aware of the gravity of your situation, but you see no way that you will ever be saved. Since 7% of the agents, according to NAR, are doing 93% of the business, there are plenty of people (i.e. 93%) who are facing the same dilemma that you are. Well at least you have lots of company as you sink deeper and deeper. Bankruptcy, foreclosures, poor credit are real issues. If you find yourself with inadequate funds or considering a career change, you do have the power to change the situation. The real question is, are you ready to make the changes that will be necessary to create a 180 degree change in your business and personal life?

Stage 2: Coming Up for Air.
Agree: Items 5- 6
Disagree: Items 1-4 and 7-16.
You’re aware your situation needs to change. Perhaps no one has ever shown you how to really master your finances. You may feel that you are a victim of circumstances over which you have no control. You may fall victim to the idea of winning the lottery, hitting it big in the next upturn of the real estate market, or merely be focused on having a good time. Whatever the reason for your present situation, it will take a conscious effort and deliberate choices to change course. The first step is to recognize the nature of the situation. Remember the old adage: “If you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same results.”

Stage 3: Treading Water.
Agree: Items 7-8
Disagree: Items 1-6 and 9-16.
You have faced the truth about your financial situation. It’s not great, but at least you’re getting by. You are pretty much resigned to the fact that you’re currently doing your best and it will probably never be quite good enough for you to never have to worry about working. You’ve grown accustomed to making enough to get by, but always living from commission check to commission check. Sooner or later, you’ll run out of energy to tread water.

Stage 4: Swimming for Shore.
Items 7-11
Disagree: Items 1-6 and 12-16
The shore is in sight. It’s a long swim. Will you have the energy and determination to make it? You have identified where you are losing money and are taking the steps necessary to stop the drains on your finances and energy. You have differentiated between your needs and your wants. You now allow your needs to be satisfied, but can put aside your wants in order to start saving or investing. You still don’t have enough to “retire tomorrow”, but you’ve created a plan that will get you there in the future.

Stage 5: Land ho.
: Items 7-14
Disagree: Item 1-6 and 15-16.
The safety of land is well within your reach. You have a reserve of at least six months of expenses, your income is steady and predictable, and you have a savings/investment plan that you follow monthly. All you need to do now is stay on course. The future looks safe and secure.

Stage 6: Safe on Shore.
Agree: Items 7-16
Disagree: 1-6
While others struggle, you’re sitting safely on your assets. Even if you retired tomorrow, you have enough saved to get by as long as you live. You have the option of working, but it’s not a necessity. You’re in a position where you can choose what you do and when you do it.
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