In today’s economy, it’s no surprise that many people are feeling uneasy about their financial future. From worrying about paying next month’s bills to doubts about retirement, financial stability seems more like a dream than a guarantee.
As these concerns become a daily reality for many, there’s a growing need for clarity and direction to navigate the economic uncertainty. Today’s guest, Garrett Gunderson, cuts through the financial fog, revealing how to make and retain wealth while thoroughly enjoying the journey.
Garrett’s approach flips the script on traditional financial advice. Rather than merely weathering economic downturns, you’ll learn how to seize them as opportunities. Most importantly, you’ll learn the principles for creating a life so fulfilling and rich that retirement will seem unnecessary.
- Hard work doesn’t always lead to superior outcomes
- Always remember that you are your greatest asset
- Don’t let the economy’s state dictate your opportunities
- The importance of keeping a morning routine during stressful times
- Focus on creating value, and prosperity will follow
- With great challenges come greater rewards
- Why the Great Depression produced so many millionaires
- Isolation = Scarcity. Collaboration = Abundance
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Hal Elrod: Hello, friends. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And today, we’re talking about improving your financial situation. I was originally going to title the podcast, Improving Your Financial Future. But as I talked with our guest today, Garrett Gunderson, I realized that this is advice not for just your future. It’s immediately applicable to whatever financial challenges you might be going through.
And of course, if you’re in a good financial spot but you’re concerned about the future or you want to just maximize your financial abundance moving forward, this is the person you want to listen to. Garrett is a good friend of mine. I actually met him when I paid to go to his financial seminar back in 2015. It was like a three-day event. I think it was called the Wealth Accelerator.
And from there, I’m thankful we became friends because he’s one of those brilliant financial minds of our time. And he’s actually written nine books on the topic of money. He’s a multiple-time Wall Street Journal bestselling author with Killing Sacred Cows. One of his books hit number one and made the New York Times bestseller list. And his other book, What Would the Rockefellers Do? has been consistently among the top five titles in Amazon’s wealth management category since its publication, meaning what he knows and what he understands about money and finances and maximizing those things in your life, he’s one of the best in the world. And his most recent book, it’s titled Money Unmasked: Unlearn, Unlock, and Take Back Control of Your Finances and Life.
Today, I talked to him about the recession and not just the recession that we’re in the midst of, but the recession of 2008. I said, “Garrett, how did you navigate that time? What mistakes did you make? What would you have done differently? What did you learn moving forward?” And his advice is timeless, and it’s applicable right now in all of our lives. So, I’m excited to share this with you if you are wanting to, like I said, improve your current or your future financial situation.
Before we dive in, let me take a minute to thank our two sponsors. First and foremost, Organifi, and I want to mention a product that I don’t usually talk about. It’s their Red Juice. And the reason is I was talking to Josh on my team yesterday and he was drinking a Red Juice at home. He said, “I never hear you talk about Red Juice on the podcast. Don’t do you drink it?” I said, “I drink it every day.” He said, “Why don’t you talk about it?” I said, “I don’t know, because I get into the habit of talking about the same things every time, and I probably shouldn’t do that.”
So, Red Juice, it is a blend of berries, beets, a bunch of red fruits and vegetables that help you increase your energy without any caffeine. I take it every single day before I work out. I know a lot of people, Josh included, he takes it in the afternoon for a pick-me-up. And again, it doesn’t have any caffeine, so there’s no jitters. It’s just pure organic ingredients that fuel your body’s natural ability to increase blood flow throughout your body into your brain, which increases your energy. So, I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t yet.
If you’re watching this on YouTube, I’m holding up the Red Juice in the packets, the travel packs, which I use the travel packs. Sometimes, I buy the big canister. It just depends. But head over to Organifi.com/Hal, that is O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I, Organifi.com/Hal, and then use the discount code H-A-L, my name Hal, for 20% off your entire order. And I encourage you to try Red Juice. Again, I use it every day and I love it. And it’s a great natural way to give you a subtle boost of clean, pure energy.
Last but not least, I want to thank our sponsor, CURED Nutrition. And if you’re watching on YouTube, you see the product Rise. I always talk about this. It’s one of my favorite products of theirs, and it’s for focus and clarity. I took it this morning. I take it every single morning right when I wake up first thing in the morning. And if you want to improve your focus and clarity, I highly encourage you to check this out.
Of course, I also take their nighttime oil in the evening to help me fall asleep at night. But whether you want to fall asleep or you want focus in the morning or you want both, head over to CuredNutrition.com/Hal, that is Cured, C-U-R-E-D, Nutrition dot-com/Hal. Use that same discount code H-A-L for 20% off your order as a listener of the Achieve Your Goals podcast. So, two of my favorite sponsors, Organifi and CURED Nutrition.
Without further ado, let’s talk about how to improve your financial situation now and in the future with my good friend, bestselling author of nine books on the topic of money, the one and only Mr. Garrett Gunderson.
Hal Elrod: Garrett Gunderson, I’m going to say it again, I love you, brother.
Garrett Gunderson: Hey, man, I love you. It’s so good to see you and be back. I’ve been on this. It’s been so long ago, though, man. Such a long time. I don’t even know if you had interviewed me, like you might have been going through…
Hal Elrod: Oh, is that when maybe Jon Berghoff interviewed you when I had cancer?
Garrett Gunderson: Yeah, I think so, man.
Hal Elrod: That might have been. Yeah, that’s wild, man. And I mean, last time I saw you, you were doing standup comedy here in Austin, Texas.
Garrett Gunderson: Thank you for coming to support me, dude. It means the world that you came out and supported me. I know you live way out, and then you had to come all the way in this downtown.
Hal Elrod: In the sticks or out in the sticks, man.
Garrett Gunderson: Yeah, man. You know, like, probably shorter flight for someone than drive in for you, but you made it. So, it was great.
Hal Elrod: Of course, man. Dude, happy to. By the way, you look fantastic. I know a lot are going to be listening to this and not see your incredible lighting, but you look like you’re on a movie set right now, so props for that.
Garrett Gunderson: Yeah, man.
Hal Elrod: So, here’s why I asked you on the podcast. Again, your expertise is money, right? From New York Times bestselling author of Killing Sacred Cows, I mean, you’ve written how many books now on finances?
Garrett Gunderson: When my children’s book comes out in January, that will be my ninth book.
Hal Elrod: Ninth book, right?
Garrett Gunderson: You’re really smart. You have this book that sold more copies than all my books. So, that was a really smart idea. You’re out getting it in people’s hands. I’m in the lab typing, but I love it. So, it’s all good.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Different ways to skin a cat, right? So, when I survey our audience and I ask what they need help with the most, the top three answers are personal development, mental health, and money. And the first two, I cover almost every week, right? I’m always covering mental health, personal development. Money is not my expertise. It’s definitely not my expertise. I’ve done okay by following a lot of other experts, you being one of them. I mean, I went through your wealth event five years ago. That’s how we met.
Garrett Gunderson: I swear it was 2014, dude, or 2015.
Hal Elrod: Eight or nine years ago.
Garrett Gunderson: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hal Elrod: The time flies.
Garrett Gunderson: I remember, in the back seat there, man. You sat Clare in the back, but you took notes and did the work.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, you’ve been a mentor to me financially, so my audience will kind of know that. And so, right now, I think that people are really worried about their finances. A lot of people, not everybody, but I think it’s collectively, right? As a society, the economy is on shaky legs. And I think people are concerned with their present and also their future. What are things going to look like?
Some people obviously have been laid off already. I mean, they’re already in difficult spot. Other people maybe right now, they’re secure, but they feel like they’re on the edge of the cliff and they’re not sure what’s going to happen. And so, you have a new book coming out, Money Unmasked, by the way, which just happened to be when I reached out to ask you on the podcast, I was like, “Oh, you also have this book.” So, that’s Money Unmasked: Unlearn, Unlock, and Take Back Control of Your Finances and Life. But let’s talk about money right now. Let’s talk about finances, financial security. Let’s start actually with how did you get to be the expert or such a top respected expert in the world of finance?
Garrett Gunderson: So, it began really when I was 15 and I started a business detailing cars and I won money with it, third place for the state. And when I was 16 and I came with some money, then I was in second place, won $1,000 in first place.
Hal Elrod: So, wait, what do you mean second place? It was a contest?
Garrett Gunderson: So, yeah, they had Entrepreneur of the Year for 18 and Under.
Hal Elrod: Oh, okay.
Garrett Gunderson: And I won $5,000 in the end when I was 17 for that. And I grew up in a small town. My dad was a coal miner, so I wanted to get out of that town and I thought the best way to do it would be to invest money. I thought that, I lived in Utah and I lived in a small town of 12,000 people. So, even though Salt Lake is such a small city and the reality of things, to my mind at the time, it was big and intimidating. I was afraid to drive there. I mean, I grew up in this really rural community and a really loving community. I mean, there’s people from my hometown still cheering me on and excited about everything.
And so, I even did comedy and saw people that I hadn’t seen since I was 18 years old show up for me. So, I want to say like, I love that I grew up in price, even though it’s a coalmining, blue collar town, that there’s some small-mindedness there because of the environment, right? And so, they’re kind of like cheering on as I go through this. But I wanted to get to the city and the way I thought of doing that was investing my money.
But my mom wouldn’t sign up as a custodian because they put cash in coffee cans and put it in the cellar. That’s how her Dad did it, right? And so, I was like, “Hey, this is going to be really risky.” And it was because when I was 18, I invested in the market not knowing anything about it, and it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
But fortunately, I was asking professors and caught on in three months. So, I had a very minimal risk and downside. But that led me to interviewing people, figuring out where do I invest these 5,000 bucks, which wasn’t a lot of money, but it was to me. And that led me to talk to bankers that were in my fraternity that had graduated a decade before. And I eventually got offered an internship at 19, not realizing it was more like a sales opportunity to sell my family and friends a bunch of financial products, but it got me my start.
And when the market went down in 2000, this is what I think qualifies me for more than anything. There’s two factors. Number one, when the market went down, I asked questions that almost no one else in the field was asking at the time, which is why are we accepting this as just part of the process that you have to lose money, take risks, wait long periods of time, defer your life? I was just curious and inquisitive because I had early people in my life say the better the questions you ask, the better your life becomes.
And so, I was annoying to a degree at 18 and 19 because of the number of questions I asked. Ironically, one of my unintentional mentors, meaning he thought I was an annoying pissant at that age, is now paying me to come to my event for financial advisors in December, which was really cool that that turnaround happened. But it’s because of that curiosity. And when the market went down, I told everybody to cash out and find a different advisor or wait for me to find a better way. And I decided because I wasn’t married yet, that I was going to fly and meet with whatever the best minds were, wherever I had to go once a month while I was still in college.
And I was able to figure out what the ultra-wealthy were doing, number one, which was completely different than what I was teaching. And the second thing is, for whatever reason, I have almost this photogenic or photographed, whatever it is, memory. If I learn something about finance, I can remember it. I can just remember it and dissect it and question it. And 20 years later, it’s like I read it that morning.
And so, I can’t do that in technology. I remember I can’t even do that in accounting. Like I once when interviewed for this accounting job at a censure in L.A. and they used so many acronyms I’d never heard of and they still offered me the job, I’m like, I’m so ill equipped for this job at 20. But I was just interested of like what’s out there and possible was part of that journey. So, for whatever reason, I can remember anything about 401(k)s, IRAs, insurance, interest rates, all these things that seem really confusing, like collateralized debt obligations and derivatives.
And what I found out through most of it is designed to be confusing. And it’s part of the reason people are fearful of their money because they feel intimidated. And then when they feel intimidated, they hand their money over without understanding how it will work or why it will work, which robs them of three things – peace of mind, confidence, and clarity. And when they don’t have peace of mind, confidence, and clarity with their money, it creates internal stress and strife that leads to a heaviness in our life.
And so, I really start to understand that money is a concept, not a spreadsheet. Money’s an energy, not just a number. And when you start to see through that and ask different questions, you start to understand how it really works. And so, curiosity and ability, I don’t know why that was my ability, but I’m glad it was. It is.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. It makes sense. And I think about the company I used to work for, the guy that became the number one manager, he used to be the most annoying. Everyone was so annoyed by him because he would run around with a notepad and ask all the top managers questions. Before he was a manager, he was this snot nosed, ill, young kid. And he’s like, “Well, how do you do this and why do you do this? And what is this worry?” But he was like you. He was just assembling the best of the best of the best of the knowledge and strategies and methods and what worked. And then he went out in his first year as a manager, broke the all-time record. And you did that.
Garrett Gunderson: Mine was a red memo pad, red that fit in your pocket that you flip through. I always had it on me. And yeah, I always had this philosophy. I don’t care who’s right, I care what’s right. And so, I had to apply that to myself as well, which means I have to be willing to say I was wrong. And these were the lessons I learned.
And when I lost a lot of money in 2008, it was crazy because I wrote Killing Sacred Cows, which said, “We’re overly emphasizing net worth, we’re overly emphasizing risks.” I didn’t see the blind spot of I was overleveraged in real estate that I didn’t love, that I didn’t want to deal with, because real estate to me meant I meet with attorneys, I meet with bankers, I meet with property managers. I’m not actually feeling any level of value. I’m simply in this transactional cycle because everybody said, “Oh, the wealthy invests in real estate.” But what type of real estate would be part of the question, but more importantly, I was like, “Now, it’s about our investor DNA. It’s about who we are and how we relate to the investment.”
And for you, Hal, you’re an intellectual property person. Intellectual property is your greatest investment that’s outside of who you are, meaning it’s your asset. You’re the greatest asset. Your greatest investment’s really your intellectual property. You put dedication and focus to grow Miracle Morning to the point where early on, it wasn’t selling that much. And most people just give up and they go do the next thing. And you just kept at it and you kept focused on it and you grew that.
And then I learned so much from you, man, you taught me at Mastermind Talks that time, you’re like, “Hey, when I got feedback, I went and made the change. I had this acronym that made it where it was activated in them and I made it really practical.” And I was like, “So I just took so many notes for my future books from everything.” But it’s because intellectual property is the way that you invest, but the world wants you to think your investment should be outside of your control, outside of your influence, and that chaos creates that stress. So, I just want to acknowledge that in you.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I appreciate that. Thank you. Yeah, I love to get a royalty on all future books that you write after I gave you all that advice. I feel like that’s fair. So, you mentioned 2008. And I actually think that’s a good place for us to focus. And I think, I’m going to share right now just a quick kind of story for me of what happened in 2008, right? That’s when the Miracle Morning was born. And it was born out of the recession. It was the 2008 recession. I lost over half of my clients because they their businesses were affected by the recession and they couldn’t afford to pay for coaching. I was coaching them. So, they canceled their coaching and I lost over half of my income and I couldn’t pay my mortgage. I lost my house. It was foreclosed on by the bank. I’d pay top dollar for it at the top of the market, like many people did.
And the thing is, we’re literally seeing history repeat itself right now, right? Housing market went crazy. Everybody overpaid for their houses, including me once again, didn’t learn that lesson. But I learned some other ones that hopefully will insulate me from the fallout. So, here’s the thing is that when we’re in this collective economic picture, where it’s like the economy is crashing, businesses are failing, we’re going into a recession, it creates a lot of collective fear that impacts us individually and creates fear individually.
And for me, I felt hopeless back in 2008. I was like, I don’t know what to do. I feel helpless. And it was really, I feel at the mercy of the economy. I’m doing everything I’ve always done, but it’s not working anymore, and now, I can’t pay my frickin’ bills. And that’s what I want to address for where a lot of people either are or may be in the near future.
And for me, I created this thing called the Miracle Morning, right? I mean, it wasn’t even called that initially, but this morning ritual. And I realized that, wait, if I focus on getting better myself, improving myself, and don’t wait for the economy to improve, then I can adapt to the economy and I can become the person that I need to be to create the results financially that I want in my life.
And within two months, I more than doubled my income, even though the economy got even worse during those two months. And so, I’ve almost been waiting, like going, man, I know that things happen in cycles. I know that we’re going to experience another recession at some point in the future. And I’ve had this experience in my back pocket, like I’m going to give people hope and encouragement that, hey, the economy’s not going to determine where you end up. The recession is not going to determine where you end up. You’re going to determine where you end up. And it’s educating yourself, learning, okay, what do I do differently in the midst of these circumstances and this economy so that I can thrive, not just survive, but thrive?
And so, we can really take this wherever you want to go. But I would just love to address like, how did you get through 2008? What did you learn from that? What advice would you give to people now to deal with the next recession that we’re in the midst of?
Garrett Gunderson: This is going to fill plan but it’s not. It’s like the number one thing that helped me through 2008 was my morning ritual, 100%. So, everything you wrote about in the book and discovered at that time, I was going through. And the way that I framed it for myself was if I don’t do this first thing in the morning, I’m going to enter the day exposed to scarcity because everything in the narrative was this is melting down, the economy might not make it, where FDIC is tapped out, banks are failing.
My organization was like, hey, people aren’t buying like they bought before. They want to see it on the sidelines and see what happens here. And so, for me, I had a burst of content that I created during that time because pain forced me to look at things I wasn’t looking at before and taking the morning to journal, to meditate, to work out. I just did a lot of writing at that time that was with a paper and pen in the journal and started to think through things of like, what did I need to learn that this is showing and teaching me? And what else are people experiencing that they were exposed because they thought everything was always going to work and when it doesn’t, and then who’s going to hold on for too long?
So, I just had all the questions that I wouldn’t have asked during a time where everything was taking off really had me do this reflection and people were starting to really experiencing so much difficulty that I became 10 times more effective as a financial educator because now, (a) I felt that personally so it wasn’t just theory, so I had this new level of compassion; (b) content that couldn’t have been created without that started to arise. And then it gave me this conviction so I could show up so much more powerfully than just an idea because I was watching firsthand what was happening to families like, look, the number one reason people list for divorce is financial. That’s the number one reason.
It’s not that financial is really the reason. It’s that we stopped dreaming about a possibility of a better future because it’s so heavy of what’s happening in the moment. And unfortunately, most of those heavy moments come from mistakes in the past, and then people start to judge themselves in their worthiness based upon their mistakes. But look, mistakes are just part of life. It’s just that when we don’t seek help, when we don’t start our day by putting on that armor of abundance to start being like, look, I’ve got to take care of who I am and grow as a human being to be able to see past that because when we start to have a vision bigger than our problems, we move forward in a way that’s almost like a crusade. When our problems rise above our vision, it’s because we don’t start our day properly. It’s because we don’t ask for support. It’s because we don’t know how to ask the right questions to ourself.
And so, look, I just went through a painful situation selling my company of something I identified myself with in a lot of ways. But the amount of content I’ve created in the last few months is insane because I had to question things that I had never questioned before. So, if we look at recessions, the biggest problem is if someone doesn’t do their morning ritual, they’ll buy into the self-fulfilling prophecy of everything going bad and wrong. And the world is going to give really terrible advice. The number one piece of advice in 2008 was people should stop eating out, like that was going to solve the recession. Like, don’t go eat out, save that money. I’m like, “Yeah, don’t go out and enjoy life. Stay home and be scared.”
And what starts happening is look, early on, the people that really knew the recession was happening were people that were in real estate and mortgages. But the rest of the world started hearing about that before they had any impact in their life. And they changed their behavior of one of scarcity and shrinking rather than value creation and expansion. And that’s because they didn’t really develop themselves and they bought into this narrative and that story became everything they saw, heard, and experienced. Therefore, it was a downward spiral. So, this is the thing.
If we go back to the Great Depression, which is one of the worst experiences that someone could probably go through, well, yeah, a third of that was right. A third of the people had different rules. They lost their homes because you could just call a note, do what you can’t do in today’s world. And there was a third of the people that work twice as hard to maintain their lifestyle, so they just grind it out, right?
But a third of the people actually thrived during the Great Depression. And here’s why. The bigger the problem, the bigger the pay-off. And those people that were able to manage themselves and become a leader and say, “We’ve got solutions, follow me,” they led people out of that situation and they made a huge amount of money. There was more millionaires made during that time adjusted for inflation than any other time in America’s history.
And so, we understand this was from a Professor Gregory at the University of Washington. A third, a third, a third were really close to what the numbers were. Thrive, maintain, and just be the ones that we saw the pictures of. So, when we think about those pictures of a Great Depression, we start to manifest that in our world if we don’t manage our morning and if we don’t think about value creation, serving others, and solving problems and this is what happens in a recession, we get isolated and feel alone. And then we’re in these patterns that those thoughts just percolate of why things can’t work, why they won’t work. It decimates our confidence. There is no peace of mind. We start losing sleep. We start to feel like a failure. And then ultimately, we lose that clarity of how to add value in the world and its value that leads all money. Value creation first, money follows.
So, really, I’m telling you, during a recession, the best thing you could do is do your Miracle Morning and ask for support, ask for help by peers and mentors so that they ask questions that you wouldn’t ask yourself and it can help you get out of that. We think it’s because the economy is shrinking and money is the problem. But no, it’s how we view ourselves and our role in the economy that becomes the bigger problem.
Hal Elrod: You said so many things there that I want to discuss and reflect back. One is, yes, the morning routine, I mean, that’s what got me through it, right? The morning routine is how I figured out how to turn my financial situation around. And what happens is, I think, is that for most people, they become a reflection of their environment and they become a reflection of the outer world if they don’t take control of their inner world.
And so, when the economy crashes and people experience the negative impact of that, right? Oh, my finances are down. My spouse lost their job, whatever it is. The value of my home has dropped significantly. Then if we reflect our outer environment, we show up at our worst during the time when we need to show up at our best, right? And so, you have to ask yourself, are you going to allow your outer world to dictate your inner world, your environment to determine your mental and emotional well-being? And then, therefore, you’re showing up at your worst when you need to be showing up at your best.
Another thing you talked about is asking for help. The Miracle Morning wouldn’t even be a thing if I didn’t finally, after six months of this downward spiral into debt and depression and physical unhealthiness, I mean, I was just at my lowest point, I finally, thanks to my wife first was saying, “Hey, why don’t you call your friend Jon Berghoff and ask him for advice? You say he’s very smart. Maybe he can help you turn this around.” And I called Jon Berghoff, and it’s funny, his advice was, go get more advice. His advice was, “Hey, go listen to this Jim Rohn audio, this one Jim Rohn audio that will shift your thinking.” I’m like, “Dude, tell me how to make more money. I need a strategy to turn my income around really fast.” And if you’re listening, think about that’s where we would go, like, how can I just make more money really quick? And Jon’s like, “No, go learn how to be better. Go learn how to grow yourself better.”
And I heard this quote from Jim Rohn. Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development. And I went, “Oh, well, I’ve got to create a level 10 personal development ritual so I can become the level 10 version of myself to create the success that I want.” And so, if it wasn’t for that phone call from Jon Berghoff, I don’t know where I’d be. I’d probably be deeper in debt and maybe dead, I don’t know, right? But I reached out for help. So, I mean, so many things you said, so important. There was another one, another thing that you said. Anything to reply to that, and then as I’m trying to remember what I was going to say.
Garrett Gunderson: While you’re remembering it, like, look, there’s two really precious forms of capital that people don’t tap into enough. We think financial capital is the answer, but it’s just a byproduct of two more precious forms, number one, mental capital – ideas, knowledge, wisdom, insight, strategies, and tools. We multiply that by our relationship capital – networks, organizations, mentors, friends, and family. The bridge between mentor and relationship capital is what I would call business, and the currency of business is value creation, serving others, solving problems.
So, we might be one idea or one relationship away from the next level of prosperity, but we have to be willing to ask for support. The problem is, let’s say that you’re just a hard-charging entrepreneur that’s used to just pushing your way through hustle, grind, and work. But then you have this new problem and you think you’re going to just push your way through it when the rules have changed, when the game has changed, and so, this is where being like, what could I do to add value in a different way to serve more people, to solve bigger problems? Who would I have to become?
And a lot of it is we have to let go of who we identified ourselves in the past because it was, like in my 20s, I could do things I hate because I could just force my way through it. In my 40s, that’s exhausting and my body will be like, okay, I’ll be drinking, you’re just going to have a hangover tomorrow and you’re going to need extra sleep and you’re going to want to watch TV because you’re so exhausted, because you’re doing things you hate to do.
And the world has convinced us if we just trade our time for money and if we work hard enough, we’re going to be okay. But if we work hard with the wrong philosophy, we have limited results. And that’s where people are stuck and trapped. And it’s recessions that expose wrong philosophy. Because if you have a good philosophy and you design a life where you get to enjoy it and create the most value, you might make adjustments as economies change, but you don’t have to make overhauls. Those overhauls exist when we’re overly reliant upon something we don’t control, like a stock market or a crypto market, or we get speculative and we think that we’re the genius because real estate’s going up, but we know nothing about it.
And so, what recessions do is they expose our ignorance to ourselves and the people we serve. And usually, what happens is success breeds mediocrity. It sounds weird, but I mean is we get distracted and derailed because as it starts to happen, people start saying, “You should do this and you’re so good, you should do that.” And we get derailed and distracted because we lose focus. And that’s fine when all ships are rising with the tide.
But then, as Warren Buffett said, we find out who’s swimming naked when it rolls back, and the recession, it rolls back. And the people that make through are the ones that stayed focused and true to who they are and not distracted and invested in things they know nothing about. And far too many people are invested in things they know nothing about because it sounds cool, because it sounds seductive and sexy, and they could talk about their gains. But the reality is those are short-term gains because we know nothing about them. And we see these times where people are just invested in crazy stuff because like you said, “Well, I got to invest in real estate. God’s not building any more land.” I’m like, “Have you never been to Hawaii where the volcanoes keep extending the land?”
But there’s these sayings and these mantras that usually get tapped into where we have a fear of missing out or we get greedy and then we lose sight of who we are. And then the recession brings us back into focus to say, “What are we really going to do? And how do we really want to do this? And what can I learn?” And those people that learn actually grow at exponential rates. Those that don’t, repeat the same mistake when it’s more painful the second time around and the third time around and the fourth time around. And look, man, I’m guilty of not learning things the first time, and it’s usually by the third time, I’m like, “Wow, that’s a kick to the nuts where it was just a little slap to the face the first time. It’s time to learn.”
Hal Elrod: Yeah. What you said earlier about, and for anybody listening, just consider this, right? So, during the Great Depression, one third of people thrive, right? I mean, they became more millionaires than ever created in history. It reminds me of when I had cancer, when I was diagnosed with cancer, and I was given a 20% to 30% chance of surviving. And I think a lot of people, that would create a lot of fear. And what it did for me is I went, “Oh, okay.” So, what they’re saying is 20% to 30% of the people that get this cancer survive, not I have a 20% to 30% chance, 20% to 30% of the people that get this cancer survive.
And so, my wife, she heard that stat. Ursula was terrified. And I said, “Sweetheart, I want you to understand from my perspective, there’s a 100% chance that I will be among the 20% to 30% of those that survive this cancer. And so, I want you to think about that. I want you if you’re listening to decide, there is a 100% chance that you will be among the one third of those that thrive during the Great Depression, the next recession, whatever it is. You create your own statistic. Don’t ever allow yourself to be part of some global collective statistic because that’s a statistic based on people that give up, based on people that do nothing to fix things, people that allow themselves to wallow in self-pity, people that live in fear, people that don’t make the decision that they’re going to be among those that thrive, right?
And so, I really want people to just remember, hey, a third of the people during the worst economic time in history, or at least the United States, the Great Depression, one third of the people thrived financially. And so, in this next recession, whatever the percentage is, you just decide and put it in writing, don’t just– you’re going to forget this. You’re not going to remember this most likely. In writing, there’s a 100% chance, or maybe better yet, I am 100% committed to thriving for the rest of your life, for the next five years, then whatever, however you want to word it. But make that decision that you’re not part of the economic statistics, you create your own statistics based on who you choose to be, who you choose to become, and how you choose to show up, even in the midst of those difficult times.
Garrett Gunderson: How many people that write a book, what’s the percentage that sell more than a million copies? What’s the percentage?
Hal Elrod: It’s 1/1000 maybe, I don’t even know.
Garrett Gunderson: It’s so ridiculously small. But you are committed to that before evidence existed. And you stayed with it even when it was difficult, right? So, this is the thing. People often say they’re committed when they’re only interested. Like, imagine I’m in Vegas and I call my wife, I’m like, “Babe, I just want to let you know I love you so much. I’m 83% committed to this relationship.”
Hal Elrod: Because there’s some really beautiful women here at the casino.
Garrett Gunderson: Right. And so, either committed or we’re not, the thing is when we have these outs, when we have these– like, look, man, here’s my formula for commitment. It’s a very clear formula. When I decided I want to do comedy, it’s like I didn’t just want to do comedy. After two years, I was like, I want to do it at the highest level. I want to do it professionally. And so, I had to start with co-creation. Who did I know that was extraordinary at this that could show me what it’s like to be extraordinary and help accelerate my results? So, I always look for a co-creator any time I want to do something. If you don’t have a co-creator, the recession might eat you up. And this could just be a coach and a mentor, or this could be a business partner, or this could be a spouse. It’s just the person that you get out of the loops and that can show you the way and see what’s best in you.
Second, we’ve got to eliminate our escapisms. Recessions bring escapisms. Escapism is where people get caught up in like a TV show or a movie in that character rather than on reality because it’s hard sometimes to deal with people. But if we escape into that, we never know the price of a real relationship, especially one with ourselves. So, it’s easy to turn our focus to the news or social media or some other way to numb out when we don’t want to face reality. But all progress begins with truth and reality. So, if we could face it, then we eliminate those escapisms which might be sleeping too much, drinking too much, whatever it is that keeps us from what we want to do.
Then the third thing is when you build momentum, then you delegate to the things that– but when I say delegate, you delegate roles, R-O-L-E-S. You delegate a role to someone freeing you up, so there’s no micromanagement, so you could dedicate to that craft. And then fourth, you collaborate. Anything world class requires collaboration. So, in comedy, I called a runner-up on Last Comic Standing. I had to deal with my escapisms because I wanted to just watch comedy rather than do comedy some of the time because I was like, “Am I good enough to do this?” I’m looking for evidence where I might not be good enough. And I was like, no, I’m going to set up a comedy club in my basement from 5 to 6. Every day, five days a week, I’m doing comedy, whether it’s on Zoom or whether people show up at my house because I’m not going to go to comedy clubs and miss out on family time, right?
And then I was like, “All right, I’ve got to delegate thing, so I’m not going to do management and operations in Wealth Factory. I’m going to offload those things so I can dedicate to this craft.” And then collaboration was bringing in Marty Callner, who won an Emmy with Seinfeld and did Steve Martin’s first comedy special all the way to the hall on Netflix that came out last year, that celebrated the Hall of Fame for comedy for the first time for Richard Pryor and for Robin Williams, who he did a bunch of his specials. So, I got the world-class people through collaboration because I dedicated to the craft.
So, right now, if you feel stuck in this recession or potential recession or the shaky economy, what is it that brings out the best in who you are that adds the most value in the world? And find that co-creator to get past it, find time by eliminating your escapisms, and then as you build that momentum, delegate. And then when you’re really ready, you collaborate, like you collaborate so much on your book. You’ve got other coauthors for different industries. You’ve got people that are now bringing it out and republishing it and putting it out there. That’s all collaboration.
The podcast, you’re like, say, so we have to get to a world of collaboration, but when we’re in a recession, we go to isolation. Isolation is the relative to scarcity. Collaboration is the relative to abundance. We have to think about serving others, solving problems, and adding value in a collaborative effort and that takes being more abundant and also allowing for other people to support us. When we’re addicted to just solving things ourselves, that’s fine in good times. It’s the poison in a tough time. You’ve got to be willing to say, “Hal, man, I don’t have this thing figured out and I wish I did.” But if I come in with that and I ask questions, you’re like, “Well, here’s how I did my book and you’re sharing the best of who you have, and then all of a sudden, there’s more wealth in the world, not less.”
People think they got to hide from their best ideas or not share them because they’ll be stolen. I feel like ideas are stolen from the universe when we hide it from the rest of the world. But if you put it out there, then you get supported and people can come to your aid and you can inspire people. We need in these times more than ever, vision. Vision is the rarest commodity in the world. People that will create a vision that’s so compelling, other people will rally behind them.
And I think a vision like when the Wright brothers said, “If birds can glide for long periods of time, we can too.” And people are like, “Whoa, these guys are crazy.” But I love it. I love to support something like that because I want to witness a miracle, because I want to be part of something great, because I want to have a story that’s worthy of telling my friends and my kids and my posterity. But most people go, “Well, how much time do I have? How much money and how much ability?” These three limiting factors, time, money, ability are only limitations when we do too much on our own.
If we think we have to do things by ourself, we get limited by those factors. If we think that we can be inspiring and we’re bold enough to speak that vision into existence, like I want to inspire a billion people through entertainment because entertainment’s the gateway to transformation, so I can help restore love to humanity and put money in its proper perspective, not as something to worship, but as a byproduct of purpose, well, that’s something that I’m up to in the world of entertaining to educate, right?
Do I know how to do it? No. But by speaking into existence, other people show me the way. They show up in my aid. They show up because they want to rally around that because nobody wants to trade their time for money, nobody wants to work in jobs they hate. We’re looking for leaders that inspire. That’s what’s going to get us through any rough economy. And I know there’s tons of messed up things that happen in the economy – printing of money, taxes could raise, interest rates all over the place.
If we get caught up in what’s wrong with the world, there will always be a problem. No matter what solved, another problem appears. Worry about yourself and your home and your tribe. Don’t worry about the world because the only way we make any impact is by taking care of ourselves, your Miracle Morning, add value to the people that you know, learn from the people that are peers and mentors, and apply that in the world. And that formula with co-creation, elimination, delegation, and collaboration, you marry those two things together, you’ll be rock solid.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I love it, man. Extremely well said. All right. I think everybody listening knows that you know your stuff. Garrett, you are brilliant. So, I’d love for you to take a couple of minutes and talk about the new book, Money Unmasked: Unlearn, Unlock, and Take Back Control of Your Finances and Life. I just got the Advanced Reader copy. I started reading it a few days ago, and you talked a lot about shifting your mindset first and foremost, which is where every shift begins.
But why did you write the new book? You’ve written seven or eight already. Your ninth book will be a children’s book coming out next year. But why did you write Money Unmasked? And what do you hope it’ll do for people?
Garrett Gunderson: I wanted someone else to write the book originally because in 2008, I was like, what’s people’s money personality? What’s their money persona? And I didn’t have the answer. I saw rudimentary stuff out there like saver, spender, giver, avoider. I was like, it’s got to be more than that because in 2008, I found myself in a place where I was overleveraged and my wife was like, “Why did we get in this place? I didn’t ever ask for all this.” And I was like, man, I didn’t utilize her skill set as someone that is a planner because I was basically a creator. And a creator without a planner can get off the rails pretty quick. So, I was like, wait, I’ve always looked at it as I’m the gas, she’s the brakes. But the reality is I’m the gas and she’s the steering wheel.
And so, once that happened, I really started diving in and understanding like, what are people’s money personas? Because this is really the hidden factors that determine success or failure when it comes to our money. And it took a long time just to research. So, I started writing the book just over seven years ago once I had the basic idea of the pitfalls, but then it took me a couple of years to say, “Well, what are the winning sides? What are the good pieces of that?”
And I wrote the words in this book. There was no ghostwriter. I mean, I had amazing editors and a brilliant team that way and it took me writing and rewriting. And the reason I wrote it is because our relationship to money is really a reflection of the relationship to ourselves. And if we don’t heal that relationship, understand that relationship, then we’re going to be chasing money at the expense of life forevermore, either scared and holding on to it, playing not to lose, or running from something or running somewhere at the expense of today playing to win.
And the reality is we can create a game worth winning that creates a life we never want to retire from, that creates a win along the way because the wins in the work and the experience and the quality of life along the way. And I didn’t see anyone talking enough about love when it came to money and talking about quality of life when it came to lifestyle. And so, if we can understand money and have the right frameworks, then we can have an understanding of ourselves and stop chasing love by earning more and start having the earning because we already have a love in our life. And the byproduct is we add more value in the world and it flips everything upside down.
So, to me, this is my seminal work. I will spend 20 years putting this in people’s hands, inspired by the great Hal Elrod, putting however many years it takes to get Miracle Morning in every household. This is the book that I’m putting that level of commitment in. And so, yeah, there’s money persona quizzes that come with it. There’s understanding your money personas. There’s a comedy special that people can download eventually if they buy the book now, which is these comedy specials coming out on streaming services next year. So, yeah, man, I mean, it’s all like living by example and then documenting that journey and sharing it.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, the plan is this will release in a week. So, where can people go now to preorder the book, order the book? What’s the best place to go?
Garrett Gunderson: They can get the book now. It’s at MoneyUnmasked.com, but some of the bonuses may not be coming out till later. So, you might end up with the bonus, like you’ll get the money persona quiz right now. But I’ve been building out a tool for people to really dive into their money personas with an audio. We’re going to bonus that. I just don’t know when it will– it’s finished. It’s just not up on the platform yet.
And the comedy special is fully finished. Eight Emmy winners on the crew. It went phenomenally well. It’s called The American Ream. They’ll get access to that as well as the bonuses for getting Money Unmasked. It just might be that they get them 30 days from now, 60 days from now. I mean, I sold my company, so we’re a little bit more of a nimble, smaller team that takes a little bit longer to get a few things done.
Hal Elrod: That’s great. That’s actually fun, right? So, you go to MoneyUnmasked.com. You read the book, you learn from the book, you implement the book. It helps you during the recession, helps you thrive. And then you get to look forward to the surprise date when I might get this bonus and then I might get the comedy special, right? Yeah, that’s fun. I love it.
Well, cool, dude. Garrett, you are such a wealth of not just knowledge, but really of love. I know you personally. I’ve known you for years, so I know how much you care. And you combine that care and that love with your wisdom, your experience, your knowledge, and the strategies that you’ve used, that you’ve taught that have worked for me and work for so many other people. I think I feel blessed to know you. And I think everybody listening is blessed to get a chance to learn from you and read the new book and then just keep learning from you.
Garrett Gunderson: I love you, man, and I really appreciate you having me on. And I like that we get to spend a little time together.
Hal Elrod: Totally.
Garrett Gunderson: Yeah, I’m probably one of your longer-winded guests. You ask a small question, I have a long answer to it. But I think that this is probably different than what people would ever hear around the economy. I mean, they might hear everything you’re talking about with Miracle Morning, but I’m reinforcing that that is the key thing to keep you on track. I mean, you open up and ask other people for support, just like you did with Jon because that will unlock. And it was really this guy, Rich Christiansen, who you might have met.
Hal Elrod: I know Rich, yeah.
Garrett Gunderson: Yeah, yeah, like Rich in ’09 was like, spent a day with me and helped me get back on track by getting focused. He was the person I reached out to, and he said, “I got you.” And by 2010, we had the biggest year we’ve ever had at that point because we got back on track and got focused and got– otherwise, we were overcommitted and overleveraged.
And here’s the thing, a lot of people want you to believe you need to be diversified when it comes to money. That’s diworsification if you don’t focus. You focus, you maximize, and then you protect all along the way. If we get involved in too many things, our energy gets scattered, our time gets scattered. Even if you’re like, “Oh, I’m just investing in this,” you still put thoughts into that. If it goes down, it might impact your mindset.
Far too many people have too many things with their money rather than really dialing it in. And there’s much easier ways. And I think Money Unmasked helps a little bit with that. And then, I’ve got a YouTube channel where I’m releasing videos all the time around this topic because that’s the quickest way to get stuff out there. So, follow me there, subscribe there as well.
Hal Elrod: Awesome. All right. Well, the website, MoneyUnmasked.com, grab the book, get the bonuses, everybody. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I mean, Garrett overdelivers every time. And only I can call you Gary.
Well, goal achievers, I love you so much. Thanks for tuning in and I will talk to you all next week. Head to MoneyUnmasked.com, check out the book. And until next time, make it a great life. You deserve nothing less.