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Reading and wRiting and aRithmetic

Back-to-School on chalkboardIt’s Back-to-School season so we’re doing a ten-part series on lifelong learning. We’ve kicked it off with two shows on reading and writing. Now we want to talk about arithmetic.

We’re going to take a little different tack today than we have with the last two shows. We’re going to talk about two specific things we need to know when it comes to arithmetic.

These two things both involve our personal finances. That’s why they’re so important.

The power of compounding money

The first one is compounding. This can be a little complex so we’ll offer an example that’s so simple we won’t even need a calculator!

2 + 2 + 2 = 6. 2 x 2 x 2 = 8.

If we add two together three times, we get six. If we multiply two by itself three times, we get eight.

That’s the power of multiplication. And money multiplies if you manage it properly.

Stuffing it in your mattress

That’s just numbers. Let’s apply it to money to make it more tangible.

Let’s say you have $2. You stuff it in your mattress. Next year, you get another $2 and put it in the same mattress. The year after that, you do the same. Now you have $6 in your mattress.

But you haven’t earned any money on your money.

Investing it

Let’s assume that you could double your money every year. Now understand that we’re just doing this for the purpose of illustration.

We don’t know of anything you can invest in and double your money every year. If there was such an investment, it would likely involve taking a whole lot of risk.

So you start with the same $2 that you did before. Only now you invest it and earn 100% on your money each year. Instead of $6, you would end up with $8.

And you only invested $2 one time!

If you invested all $6 at the times suggested above, you would have $14 at the end of the period.

That’s the power of compounding interest. It’s how interest works for you.

But it’s a two-edged sword. It can also work against you. We’ll talk about that more in just a minute.

Building Net Worth

The second thing to understand about arithmetic is the basic accounting equation:

Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth.

Of course, our goal is to increase our Net Worth. If we understand this basic equation, we can quickly see there are only two ways to do that.

We increase Assets faster than Liabilities

We decrease Liabilities faster than our Assets are decreasing

Let’s look at the extremes to keep it simple:

  • If we increase our Assets without increasing our Liabilities, our Net Worth increases.
  • If we decrease our Liabilities without decreasing our Assets, our Net Worth increases.

A painful vacation

Let’s get away from words and look at something tangible. Let’s say you borrow money to go on a vacation.

You don’t increase Assets at all but your Liabilities increase. So your Net Worth goes down. You lose financially. You may reap psychic returns but that’s a different post!

It’s the pain we talked about earlier. You have to pay for the vacation over time. You also have to pay interest on the money you borrowed. This is a situation where compounding works against you.

So what’s the key?

Find ways to increase Assets without taking on more Liabilities or invest in Assets that earn a return higher than the cost of your debt.

Money multiplies if you manage it right. That’s a path to bigg success!


In case you haven’t heard, there’s a fantastic new book out. It’s called Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. This book shows you the path to grow and maintain the most important asset you can possess today, your network.


Thank you so much for checking in with us today.

We’ve talked about the 3 R’s we learned in school. Please join us next time when we begin talking about the 3 R’s of BIGG success. Until then, here’s to your BIGG success!

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