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GLENN: You know, we spend so much time in our society talking about money and talking about being rich and everything else, but when are we really actually taught how to be responsible with money, how to create wealth, how to hold onto wealth? We learn almost through osmosis about debt and how much debt we can have, and we are circled by sharks that make money on us borrowing money and yet our society teaches us that it’s all okay.
Right after World War II household debt was 22% of all of your disposable income, 22% right after World War II. America was reasonable. Today it’s 134% of all disposable income. That — excuse me? And we’ve done the same and that’s why our banks are collapsing, our government is having a hard time, everybody’s having a hard time because we were unreasonable for a very long time.
Seven words that will change your course, seven words that will change not only I believe your financial future but also the course of your life comes from Richard Paul Evans. Richard Paul Evans is a friend of mine, friend of the program. He’s a New York Times best selling author, et cetera, et cetera. He wrote the book Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me and now he’s written an updated version, Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught For Women. So Richard is on the phone with us. Tell me the seven words, Richard, that are the words that will change your life.
EVANS: Is that the best you can do?
GLENN: How do you mean it?
EVANS: Is that the best you can do? Glenn, my staff is required, anytime we’re buying something or entering a room or anything to ask that question. I’m in a hotel right now. My secretary calls and goes, "Do you realize we got 20% off just because I asked those words?" She goes, I’m getting so good at it. America’s kind of stopped negotiating. They don’t realize that they pay way too much for everything. So that’s just one of many of the tactics and techniques.
GLENN: Okay. So, you know, let me flip that up on its head because I think you have more power in that phrase than even you think. You say, "Is that the best you can do" to somebody, you walk into a store. I think — because the best advice I’ve gotten from somebody recently was at the end of the day before you close your eyes, ask yourself, "Did I do my best." If the answer is yes, then rest well because God’s going to take care of everything else. If the answer is no, you better figure out what you didn’t do and do it tomorrow until you can go to sleep in answering that question yes every night. So when you say "Is that the best you can do," I think if you ask that to yourself, if we as a nation started asking that to ourselves, "Is that the best you can do," if we start asking that to our children and everything else, not in a negotiation sense, I think it changes it even more. I think it changes the whole course of your life.
EVANS: I think you are absolutely right. The only time you don’t want to say that is to your wife, "Is that the best you can do."
GLENN: Okay, don’t ask that, don’t ask her, our wives that. Give me some of the stories where the seven words have played a role.
EVANS: Oh, and this — again, Glenn, this is just one technique in the book. But when I first taught this seminar, the five lessons, I did it for my own family and I brought my siblings in. My brother owed $1500 to a hospital. So he wanted to prove me wrong. So he went and called the hospital. He had already written the check out for $1500, asked the woman, is that the best you can do. He went back and checked and he came back and she apologized. She said, I’m sorry, sir, I can only give you 10% off. Well, think about it. That’s $150 tax and tithing-free that he just, a complete stranger gave him and apologized for.
GLENN: Do you do this in, like, regular stores? Do you just walk into a store?
EVANS: I’m a Costco, get a big screen TV, turned to the guy pushing the TV and said, is that the best you can do? He goes, I’ll go check. The best story I’ve heard — and I get these stories. I’ve had hundreds of them, maybe thousands, people to share their stories. The best is a friend of mine who had adopted a baby and they had about $20,000 of medical bills and she called the hospital and told them the situation and asked, is that the best you can do, and they came back and said, "We’ll cut it 80% if you can pay it off in the next month." And so they saved $18,000. So it’s incredible.
GLENN: There’s a better ending to the story. I really thought a friend adopted the baby, the adoption agency brought the baby and said, is that the best you can do? I thought this was going to have a different tragic sort of ending. I’m glad it ended the way it did.
EVANS: No, it ended wonderful. They have this beautiful baby and instead of being strapped for money and thrown in debt, they got the baby and they’re out of debt.
GLENN: So the five things that the millionaire taught you are what?
EVANS: Can I tell you the premise, Glenn?
EVANS: How it started? When I was 12 years old, my father, who was a building contractor fell on a building contractor, he fell on a job site and he fell and he shattered the bones in both of his legs. So with eight kids, no income and no insurance, we were financially decimated. The reason I slept on the floor, we moved into a small three bedroom duplex and I slept on the floor outside the kitchen for two years. Well, it was during this time a multimillionaire named Cary Heinze invited all the youth in the area to a free lecture about money and he got up there and he asked the question, is money evil. Even though it isn’t evil, we all quickly greed that it was evil because we were in a church and he proceeded to teach us that money is just power and power in the hands of good people is a good thing. So he taught me these five lessons and I’m 12 years old and I’m scribbling them down, completely transformed my life. By the age of 16, I had saved up enough to buy a car. I was paying my school expenses. By the age of 18, I had saved up enough for a church mission and my college. By the age of 31 I was a multimillionaire. I paid off my home, had no debt and so I started to share these lessons with other family members and I watched them get out of debt. And in fact, my niece who is on the verge of bankruptcy, she’s the one who told me to write the book because I taught her the lessons. She’s fighting with her husband, totally maxed out their credit cards, they’re in real trouble. In 15 months she not only got out of debt, she had saved more than $30,000. She said, "Uncle Rick," you need to share these lessons with the world." I was afraid what people would think. Because most people write books about money to make themselves rich. So I thought, I tell you what, if I give away all the royalties, all the proceeds so I don’t make any money off this, I can do it. So that’s what I did. We raised a lot of money for charity and the cool thing is all across the world — because this is an internatio nal best seller now. All around the world people’s lives are being changed and I was 12 years old when I learned these lessons. They are not that hard. Like you said, Glenn —
GLENN: Go ahead.
EVANS: Like you said, people just don’t, they don’t learn it. No one teaches them in society.
GLENN: So but this one is about — this one’s different than the five lessons taught to me by a millionaire. This one’s specifically for women. Are the lessons different for women?
EVANS: Well, it’s adaptive because women look at money very differently than money. And as soon as I found — what I started to do is I started doing seminars for couples. I started doing just women because I was finding all these single mothers and I realized that money is being shifted over to women, that more than 80% of all expenditures are made by women, that the purse strings in homes in America are being handled 2:1 over women by men and yet women have never been taught because they grow up with these mixed messages that, you know, good girls don’t worry their pretty little heads about money.
GLENN: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Costco, major bookstores. Pick it up now by Richard Paul Evans.