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Andy Proper Wants To Help You Discover All the Things You Never Learned in School About Money, Investing, & Entrepreneurship

In this episode, I am talking with the Founder and CEO of WealthFit, Andy Proper.

You'll discover what WealthFit is doing to empower all of us to be savvier and to be better versions of ourselves in all areas of life — money, investing, lifestyle and entrepreneurship.

The other thing we talk about is Andy's $400,000 investment mistake. It's easy to see successful people and say, "They must never make mistakes. They'll never get hoodwinked. They'll never make bad investments," and he makes it real. He made a bad investment, it hurt, and he bounced back stronger than ever.

If you're just learning about Andy Proper, you should know this about him:

He has started, scaled and sold three technology companies that have produced over $38 million in combined sales. He is an avid investor whose portfolio includes ventures in real estate, oil and gas, green energy, private real estate lending, online startups and restaurants.

His passion is how to take financial education and make it accessible to everyone — to folks like you and me — so that we can make a difference in our lives and our families' lives, not just in this lifetime but in many legacies to come.

Let's dive in ...

Dustin
We've got a special treat. We are with the CEO of WealthFit and my good friend, Andy Proper. Thanks for being here, Andy.
Andy
Thanks, Dustin. It's exciting to see this podcast take off the brand-new get WealthFit Podcast and to be one of the first episode guests here. You and the production team has done an amazing job. The studio is incredible and it's great to be here.
Dustin
I'm excited because I want the audience, the nation to get an understanding of the why. You can have big, faceless brands and whatnot, but we're creating a movement. I want to tap into that now and give people the why with it so they can connect with it and get the achievements and transformation in their life.
Andy
I moved to Hawaii when I was 22 years old, armed with nothing more than a Computer Science degree, a backpack and about $60. I remember the day I looked down at the checking account registered in my checkbook and saw $60 as the balance there. I moved to Hawaii and I said to myself, "This is happening. I need to make this work, or I might somehow borrow the money to get a flight back home to Pennsylvania where I grew up.” I picked up surfing shortly after I got to Hawaii. I fell in love with it and here we are fourteen years later. It's one of my favorite things in the world to do.
Dustin
I'm big on why. Why the move to Hawaii? Were you escaping?
Andy
I wasn't escaping. I had done a one-month backpacking trip on the Island of Kauai when I was in college and somehow got credit. I was a three-credit class where I got to go hike in the mountains of Kauai for a month. I knew at the end of that trip that I wasn't done with Hawaii and that I will be back. There was more to explore in the land and the culture. Literally, a month after I graduated college, I was on a flight back out there. I bounced around from couch to couch initially but I got some jobs. I started paying the bills and made it work and eventually, I met my wife. That's my home now.
Dustin
I've got to ask for all the surfers out there, what's the biggest wave you've ever surfed?
Andy
This is a tough question because Hawaiians measure waves differently than everybody else. The rest of the world all measures waves by the face height. Looking straight on at the wave, that's how you determine whether it's six feet, eight feet, twelve feet or whatever. The Hawaiians eyeball it. We do a lot of things a little bit differently. If you've got to know, you've got to look at a wave and know that that's two feet. You agree, this guy over here agrees, and I agree that that's a two feet wave. That's what we call. The best way to say is I don't know how many feet, but maybe overhead and a half from me, which is I'm six feet three. That's about ten feet maybe I would say.
Dustin
Is this like fishing, when you go fishing you get doozy out on the boat?
Andy
Hawaiians understate the wave. What would be a ten-foot wave anywhere else in the world might be a four-foot or five-foot wave in Hawaii.
Dustin
There's that magical aura to the island. There's this crazy energy that people talk about there. I'm curious, in alignment with that, any close calls while you were surfing and any crazy stories?
Andy
I had split my lip open and had to go to the ER and get my lip stitched up. I've broken several boards. I saw a shark once and had to head in. That's what comes to mind initially.
Dustin
You’re a CEO and you're running WealthFit. It's a big organization. How often are you getting out?
Andy
Not as much anymore as I used to and that's partly the demand and the passion that I have for running WealthFit. The other part of it is I've got two boys. Ever since they were born, my priorities changed. Life happens in phases and this is a phase where my family and my business are our top priority, but there will be a future phase. I'm confident that surfing rises to the forefront again. It used to be an everyday thing for about ten years, but it's more of an occasional thing now and then. 
Dustin
I promise to get off surfing but just one more, how far is the office from surfing?
Andy
It's about four or five blocks. We've got several members on our WealthFit team in the Hawaii office. We have two offices in Hawaii and then one here in San Diego. Several of the guys are surfers and are known to frequent some waves on their lunch break. They'll head out, catch a few, grab some lunch and then come back in and work the afternoon. It's a great perk.
Dustin
Thanks for sharing that. I'm going to take a step back. I want to get into your other passions, entrepreneurship and starting a business. How did we arrive at starting WealthFit?
Andy
It was about a ten-year entrepreneurial and business journey that I went on. I started, grew and sold three different companies. To tie things together here, when I first arrived in Hawaii, I was taking part-time jobs. I worked security for a little show called Lost on ABC that ended up being a hit. I was the guy working the graveyard shift guarding the plane crash set on the beach in Hawaii.
Dustin
Did you think it was going to be a hit? Did you have any inkling?
Andy
I had no idea. I remember one night, to pass the time I had the script for the pilot in my hands. I read through it for a couple of hours in. Now that I knew it was a hit, I wish I would have hung onto that and hustled it on eBay. I went from that to a full-time job. I was a web developer in downtown Honolulu. That's what I had gone to school for. I worked that job for two and a half years until I started my first business, a little software company. I grew that and sold it. I grew this first software company. It was a little real estate lead generation software. I sold that company, moved on and started a little fantasy sports company. I always feel goofy talking about this because it seems so silly. Like amongst my other business ventures, this is the anomaly. It was my little adventure into a different type of business. We thought we saw an opportunity to go compete with FanDuel and DraftKings, the monsters in this industry.
We developed that technology and grew the site. We grew the site over a period of about a year and ended up selling it off to a company in New Zealand that turned it into a cricket betting site. They basically bought the technology from us. We broke even on it. We sold the company for about the same amount of money that we had put into it over that first year. What I learned from that was that no matter how much you feel or know that you have a better product than your competitors, it's tough to compete with guys like at that point, FanDuel and DraftKings had raised a couple of hundred million dollars each of funding and they had these war chest to operate on and we had a little couple of million dollar budget that we were trying to go compete with them. Ultimately, that was not a downfall, but why we weren't able to scale that company and make as much noise as we want it to during that time.
Dustin
It was like a pivot and maybe there's an attachment or an emotional story around that business. What I see there is you're big into fantasy sports and so you went for it. You talk about this a lot, passion and making sure that you leave it on the field. That's what I see you doing. Even though it didn't work out, you learned a lot, but at least you took the at-bat to create something.
Andy
At the end of the day, we broke even, we didn't lose money. It was a lot of learning that came from that. I went from there and went back to what I knew I could do and what I knew I did best, which was software and selling software online. We launched another real estate software CRM and grew that over a period of about five years. We ended up selling that company and move on. Ultimately, I consider that the first ten-year period where we were growing and selling companies quickly. I say we, myself and a partner, Justin, that I've had with me through all the ups and downs. Since day one, we've done all this together. I consider all that to be a training ground for what would become my magnum opus, my life's work and what I'm meant to do, focus on and the mission that I feel like I'm supposed to be fulfilling here, and that's WealthFit.
Dustin
You're in an amazing place in the world. You're having financial wins, so why keep starting? In the first two, you weren't set for life, but what’s that passion? What's that drive for you to start another business, yet you live in paradise and can so easily go surf? 
Andy
With WealthFit, this is the first business that I feel truly passionate about long-term. The others were more products and opportunities and I was trying to make a lot of money and find financial freedom. This is more of a mission-driven business. I've seen so many people close to me struggling financially, friends from college, friends from high school, family members and that is simply because most of our parents and most schools, if we're honest, do a pretty lousy job teaching us about money. Let's not blame our parents. They did the best they could. They had their own financial issues that they were dealing with and they did the best they could to pass us on lessons and the things that they know. I'm speaking in generalities here. Most people would consider this to be true.
We didn't learn much from parents but it's not their fault. We don't want to blame our schools. I had a lot of great teachers and professors over the years, but we can't expect a professor who's making $50,000 or $60,000 a year to be able to arm us with the skills that we need to go out there and make a million dollars a year. It's unrealistic. We saw an opportunity for WealthFit to pick up where schools and our parents leave off and provide a single place where anyone can come and learn all these things that you never learned in school about money, investing, entrepreneurship, and for us to make it simple, practical, tactical, and fun to learn about this stuff. That's a big barrier for a lot of people. It's boring and complicated to learn financial stuff and look at numbers.
A lot of people see numbers and spreadsheets and their eyes start crossing. It's our mission to make it fun to learn this stuff. Through a lot of the investors, entrepreneurs, and trainers that we're bringing in to be guests on your podcast and to teach our courses, we hold them to a pretty high standard. They not only have to be a successful proven investor or entrepreneur, but they have to be awesome at teaching how they got there and breaking it down step-by-step. That's the standard that we hold our education to. Our goal is to be a single place where people can learn these critical, necessary financial and entrepreneurial skills.
Dustin
I've often heard that when you grow up, that drives you later in life. I'm curious, in line with the WealthFit story, what was childhood like for you? Were you getting entrepreneurial stuff from your parents? Were they teaching you about personal finance or was there a lack of that and that's what possibly drives you in this?
Andy
Definitely not. My dad was a subscriber of Money Magazine. That was his attempt to get ahead of the game, financially and learn the things and pick up the knowledge that he needed to do the best thing with his money. I wasn't privileged, but we weren't broke either. It was a normal good country, middle-class lifestyle, Western Pennsylvania steel country, real blue-collar. It was a good life. Both of my parents worked very hard. My dad with his hands, there was never a moment that I can think of that he wasn't putting an addition on our house or working on a farm that we had or doing some hands-on project. He was working my entire childhood.
My mom is the ultimate achiever. She has been in school pursuing her PhD my entire life and teaching along the way. I get my desire to achieve certainly from her. People are motivated by different things in life. For some, it is to compete and win. For others, it is out of jealousy or not necessarily, but the desire for material things to stack up against others. Personally, it is this internal desire to achieve for myself and produce the best. I'm competing against myself and that's true. Often, I'll be playing a board game with somebody else and I feel guilty if I win. It's not this desire to beat anyone, but to truly bring the best out of myself in every business that I've started, every investment that I've done, I've wanted to be better than the last. I want to take the lessons that I've learned previously, apply them to the new venture and ultimately, grow it and produce more revenue and provide a better customer experience. If it's a business that we want to sell, we’ll sell it for more money than we did with the previous company.
Dustin
In line with that, this is a perfect lead up to this. Andy, I don't know if you know, but I asked the WealthFit team, “What are the questions that you've never asked Andy?” I wanted to make it fun. I want them to engage and they're good questions.
Andy
Mark is our awesome UI, user interface, user experience designer, creative director. He's a brilliant right brain creative. He's responsible for the look and feel of everything WealthFit.
Dustin
If you love the look and feel, I absolutely think it's on trend. It has a different and it’s amazing. Mark's question said, "Your prior ventures were virtual. You tell the story of working at Starbucks and running your empire in the corner there. You're managing a team in Hawaii, in-person team and there's a team in San Diego. Now, you've got real live humans in front of you, team members in front of you. How has working with that team or the WealthFit team, the people in front of you, help improve you as a person and as a leader?”
Andy
To set this up a little bit more, for that entire ten-year period where I was starting, growing and selling different companies, I've worked from home or I was that guy in Starbucks that was there in the corner every single day with the headphones on that everybody comes through ordering their coffee and wonders, "What is that guy doing? How is he making any money? He's been here for years and I've seen him in the corner.” I always had a team of employees, most of the time, fifteen to twenty people but everybody worked from home. We communicated on Skype, on the phone and by email. With WealthFit, it was the first time that I desired the extra efficiency of having a physical office and being able to pop around the corner, sit down, have a real meeting, look someone in the eyeballs, talk about and collaborate with a large team that I was working with so we did that.
I wonder what was the lost opportunity in those ten years by having a virtual company because it has exponentially more efficiency, better workflow and everything to have everyone physically together. What I have learned is mainly, I need to show up and bring my A-game every single day because the troops are only going to follow the tone and pace that the general sets. It's inspiring to work for a leader who is the hardest worker in the company. I take that to heart. I always want to be the first one in and the last one out and demonstrate an exceptional work ethic that I then expect everyone else to follow.
I like the challenge of having to provide both short-term tactical day-to-day leadership that gives everyone clarity on one-week, two-week, one-month goals, but also have to offer the long-term visionary leadership that gives everyone peace of mind and job security and the feeling that they're on board with the company that's headed somewhere great. I take that to heart too. It's been huge for my own development as a person, as a leader and as an entrepreneur, a business owner to have that physical office and that team together.
Dustin
I'm privy to this and I want to highlight this here and bring this out. You ran virtual companies because you had a preconceived notion, a belief essentially that it may be harder to grow a business, find talent or great team members in Hawaii. How has that changed? How have you been surprised by that? What have you had to do essentially to recruit great people to Hawaii or in Hawaii?
Andy
Like most entrepreneurs who are coming up in that 2006 to 2010, 2012 timeframe, The 4-Hour Workweek was our bible. That was what we all aspire to, Tim Ferriss' book. What I learned was you can launch and grow a business with the four-hour workweek model like that's your goal, but there's a ceiling on that and that depends on your business. It's maybe that $1 million to $5 million range. If you're not putting in more than four to eight hours a week on your business, you have a cap. If you want something greater out of your business, out of yourself, then I'd encourage you to stop working so hard for work-life balance. It's okay to have a little bit of imbalance especially for a short-term phase of your life. If something means enough to you and it's worth enough to you, then get imbalanced. Challenge yourself, stop seeking comfort so much. Get uncomfortable and work your butt off, work 40, 60, 80 hours a week.
As far as recruiting and bringing in talent locally in Hawaii. That was something that for some reason, I had limited thinking for a while. The economy in Hawaii is so driven by tourism and hospitality that there probably isn't that much high skill. A lot of what we needed over the years are developers and designers. For some reason, I felt I wouldn't be able to find that locally, but I never tried. To my pleasant surprise, I don't know what changed, but I realized that there are a million people on Oahu, where I live in. With that size of the population, there has got to be enough talent out there. With WealthFit for the first time, I started looking and it's certainly there. We have a team of A-players, hustlers and killers.
I try to be the first one in and the last one out every day, but a lot of times people beat me there in the morning and they stay longer than I do at night. They're working hard in between and not only that, we have a lot of fun too. We have great people. I've been shaped over the years by this book, Topgrading, which is all about finding quality talent, vetting them in advance, making sure that when you bring someone in and they get a full-time position at your company, you are hiring the top 10% of talent, as someone within the top 10% of talent available at a particular price point or salary. We do our best to follow that model. We vet people in advance and have them do evaluation projects before we bring them in and hire them full-time. I feel like I've gotten better over the years at qualifying and hiring talent in the first place. We're looking for character fit as much as skillset. I'm thrilled with the team that we have and there is talent aplenty in Hawaii for sure.
Dustin
I want to clarify, it's one of the favorite things I like about Andy. The way that he describes talent, he calls them killers and so this is a good thing for those of you who might not have gotten that reference. Somebody that's hungry and driven and speaking of one of those young killers is Ka'a. I want to ask this question because it's a great question and it's, “How has the landscape changed since you started as an entrepreneur? What do you think are some potential game changers coming up?”
Andy
The average person is way smarter now than they were ten years ago in how they use the internet and what they expect of an experience online these days. As an online company, you can't mark too aggressively and expect people to respond well or buy your product these days. That used to be a little easier ten years ago. Relationships with prospects and customers are playing out over a longer period of time and are a lot more organic these days like any relationship should be. Companies are forced to a much higher standard of making sure their site experience is incredible across every browser and device possible. That content and marketing need to deliver a ton of value in advance of any expectation of money changing hands of selling a product or service. That's ultimately a great thing.
Dustin
Andy, I want to take us in a different direction. We are a company about money and investing and so I want to get some of your highlights and your insights about that. Give us an idea of the kind of investments you've made in your life up to this point.
Andy
I've got a 500-acre oil lease about two hours south of Houston that has been an adventure. It has swayed like a teeter-totter. We might have a year where production is easy. There are no headaches, and this is the highest ROI investment that I've ever made. Then we have a year where mechanical stuff is going wrong down the well, 2,000 feet, 3,000 feet. We're trying to figure out what's wrong and troubleshoot, but we can't see. It costs a lot of time, money and production shuts down. 
Those years make you feel like a bad investment, but it's been fun overall. I've learned a lot about oil investing that way. What I like about oil is that I can see if we have a period where there are rising gas prices. In Hawaii, it's not unusual that the gas is over $4 a gallon, especially on the outer islands. I like the feeling of being able to look up at the gas prices. I'm driving by the gas station and knowing that everyone else is freaking out and sweating about that, but I'm making more money when gas prices are higher because I've got this underlying oil investment that rises when oil and gas prices rise. That makes that investment interesting.
I also have some green energy investments that offset any guilt I feel about mining so much oil. We've been involved with green energy with this company in Phoenix that's developing some awesome technology for the past few years. I've done some real estate, some private loans, two real estate investors. We're opening a restaurant in Honolulu. That is my first foray into the high-risk restaurant world, but I feel I have some amazing partners on that investment in that business. We've got a homerun concept and that's going to prove up. I've invested in some other startups over the years and owned some physical gold and silver as well. It's important to me to have a portfolio that's balanced. Not across stocks, bonds, and mutual funds like most people consider a balanced portfolio to be, but one that's balanced across the four main asset classes, so paper, real estate, commodities and businesses that ideally, I have an equity ownership in or controlling interest in.
Dustin
Are there any investments that are on the horizon, maybe one that freaks you out a little bit, but maybe one on the bucket list?
Andy
As long as this first restaurant location proves up, we fully intend to open additional locations. Besides that, I'd like to add a little more real estate, both in Hawaii and on the US Mainland. My portfolio wouldn't hurt to be a little more conservative. I tend to be more of a gunslinger risk-taker and that has worked, and it has not worked in other investments. What I'm looking forward to, what's on the horizon is this future restaurant location and also some real estate.
Dustin
What's your most worthwhile investment?
Andy
My most worthwhile, highest ROI investment I always say is my education, it's my financial and business education. It's deciding and figuring out early on that if I wanted to produce wealth in my life, grow a business, then I would need to transform myself into someone who is capable of doing so. I wasn't capable of the things that I had picked up from my parents, from school and from a book on business here and there. There was a point in 2007 where I set off on this pretty relentless pursuit of boosting my financial and business IQ. I was maxing out credit cards, traveling around the country to every business seminar and investment conference that I possibly could in search for little nuggets here and there. That would help me consolidate and pay off some debt or pick up a strategy that would help me market and grow my first business.
I picked up a mentor over here who would help me start investing money in the right places. An investment in yourself and in your education, that's the only investment where the sky is the limit, where your return can truly be millions of times over on what you invest. I probably have well into the six figures’ worth of plane tickets, hotel fees, rental cars, and conference admission fees over the years, but by far that has returned on itself many times over and that's certainly my best investment.
Outside of the education, oil during those good years feels pretty good and the numbers look good, during those peak years where all the wells are firing. Besides that, the most stable, consistent, moderate return investment that I have is the private loans, two other real estate investors and I partner with a firm on that. They're called Grand Coast Capital and my money has gone into a pool of funds of about $70 million or $80 million that is then loaned out to real estate investors and I'm paid a return on my share of that pool. Returns have been consistently 10% to 12%. It's safe and it's reliable. There's a monthly cashflow of passive income. That's my favorite most dependable high return good investment.
Dustin
What's the one end that you don't want to talk about?
Andy
Toward the end of that 2008 to 2012 recession period, I invested in a product that offered a hedge against rising interest rates but as you know, interest rates didn't necessarily rise as quickly as maybe the mainstream media and I expected them to. I ended up losing over $400,000 on that investment. That's by far my biggest loss. You take your blows, you learn from it and you keep moving forward. That's the only thing you can do.
Dustin
You look at a lot of investments or at least you have looked at investments of your time, investment into resources. I'm curious from the business standpoint or an investing standpoint, how do you vet deals?
Andy
First of all, I do the best that I can personally to get up to speed on that particular type of investment if it's new to me. I'm not an oil investor or a "restauranteur" by any means, but I've done my best to get up to speed and acquire the knowledge that would allow me to make a wise investment decision in a short period of time. Enough where I'm comfortable going in or out on that investment. That's part of it.

I also rely on my team. I have my business and investment partner, Justin McCormick, who almost every investment that we've done, we've done together. That's perfect to have someone to bounce ideas off and to vet so you can both go home with your due diligence then come back together three days later and challenge each other and make sure that together you're making the best investments.

I've got also a consultant and an attorney who provides third-party input. They're neutral third parties. They're not weighed one way or the other with any new investments. They're able to again review the due diligence themselves and give me other input before I make an investment decision. 
Dustin
Do you ever go against what the third-party person tells you? Is that a part of the puzzle and it's ultimately your call?
Andy
It's ultimately my call, but I trust my advisors. In a multitude of counselors, there's wisdom. I rely on them and if it's not a unanimous all-in endorsement for an investment, I'm not going in. What I've learned is there is no investment out there that is once in a lifetime. You might feel like it is early on especially in your investing career, you might feel like, "I've got a day to make a decision on this or it's gone forever," but I've learned that that's not true. There is another investment opportunity right behind it that is just as good or better. That would be one piece of advice that I give to investors new or experienced. To never have this feeling of pressure or urgency that any particular investment is once in a lifetime because there are more.
Dustin
What about that team, how did you come to find the team? That trust that you have, I would want that. How do you find a great advisor? How do you build that trust or how did they build that trust with you?
Andy
Justin, my business partner, we have been through the fire together, through ups and downs of good investments, bad investments, good businesses together, bad businesses together. He has all the trust in the world. Sometimes my wife feels like she's competing for time and attention with Justin, so I owe her sometimes. As far as the third-party consultants that I have, I was introduced to this firm there in Tampa, Florida by an old colleague of mine. Any relationship like that, you're not sure if you can trust them out of the gate. You test small. He consults on any investment that I do as well as asset protection strategy, tax strategy. They do my bookkeeping for my different businesses and prepare my tax returns every year. Give them a little bit of bookkeeping work and then you work up from there to tax return prep, then advice on your entities and your asset protection. Then ultimately, you're running major investment decisions by them. That's how I would recommend anyone start a new relationship like that, test small, iterate and develop trust over time.
Dustin
We're big on talking about money here. I know I can relate to this. It's easy for folks to micromanage every expense. You're big on not necessarily focusing a ton of time there, but rather shifting your focus into expanding your means. Will you speak a little bit about that?
Andy
Most people get so caught up and they focus so much time on living within their means, on budgeting, containing, and maintaining their financial situation and managing their money. My advice to anyone would be whatever amount of time you spend doing that, on living within your means and doing those things, spend ten times that amount of money focused on expanding your means on making more money.
Learn money-making skills, develop your capacity to create wealth, get out there, start a side hustle, and start your own business. I tell people, "You can do it," and I say that from personal experience. I'm no one special. I'll be the first to tell you, my wife will be the first to tell you, she's brutally honest. I'm a lower-middle-class boy from a steel country in Western Pennsylvania. I wasn't the smartest kid in my class. I just decided one day that I wanted a life of wealth and freedom badly enough. I then decided that what it was going to take to get there was training myself, developing the skills to create that wealth, start businesses, and invest wisely. I went out there, got that education, developed the skill set, went and did it.
Dustin
I'm super grateful for that because I know when I got into this game and I started thinking about money as I was a gunslinger too, we're still into a degree. I came across financial education and a lot of it was micromanaging things and so I became fanatical. When I get passionate, I can get behind it. I see a lot of people fall into that trap. It stressed me out, it stressed my relationship out. I'm also curious because I think everyone has a guilty pleasure. When it comes to money and splurging for yourself, what are Andy Proper's guilty pleasures?
Andy
I'm simple. At the end of the day, I just like to eat out breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. It's that simple. There's a particular health bar in my town owned by some friends of mine. I eat there every single day for lunch and sometimes twice a day. If I told you the amount of money that I spent there because I sat down and figured it out, I was like, "I have to be spending a crazy amount of money here on a monthly, yearly basis," and it was pretty crazy. I just like to eat out healthy if I can.
Dustin
In business, you've got to negotiate. Did you ever go back to this restaurant and say, "I'm spending a lot of money," or because they're your friends, you're like, "No, I just do it."
Andy
I actually did. I said, "I don't know if you realize this, but I'm responsible for literally 2% of your entire business. I deserve a little equity for this. It's just a little rebate on the amount of money that I spend there." They said, "No."
Dustin
You've got kids, how old are they?
Andy
Five and three. I have two boys.
Dustin
What are you telling them? How are you bringing that up? What advice are you giving to them about investments, about money and about entrepreneurship?
Andy
It's a little early, but we're laying the groundwork in two ways. First of all, my secret motivation for developing WealthFit, for growing this company, for growing our library of education that we offer is for them. I want them when they're old enough, for this to be the way that they learn about money, investing and entrepreneurship. To bring in investors and entrepreneurs to teach our courses and to be guests on this show that are worthy of my boys. I felt if I hold our education platform, our curriculum, and our guests to that standard, then it's good enough for the mainstream and it's going to help a lot of people. Secretly, that's my motivation, building a future of financial education for them.
Then the second thing is one of the strategies that has been critical and foundational for my wife and I is the use of what I call a wealth accelerator account. That's simply the use of a permanent life insurance policy in an unconventional way. Basically, you're using it for three purposes. One is as a short-term emergency savings account. Two is a long-term wealth or retirement savings account. Three, that's our investible pool of funds that we use throughout our lifetime to invest in different assets and produce passive cashflow throughout our lifetime. The death benefit that comes with it is obviously a bonus on top of that. It's something that has been incredible for us and it has accelerated our track to our financial goals. We actually set up both of our boys with their own policy as soon as they were born and started sinking $500 a month into each of their wealth accelerator accounts that we have for both of them.
What that means is by the time they're eighteen years old, they're going to have a $160,000 each saved up in these policies. They've earned interest for eighteen years. They can buy their first rental property, they can start a business or they can make some other investment. I'm going to give them a little bit of a nudge in the right direction, a little bit of know-how and I'm not going to leave them to themselves. Certainly, there's going to be some guidelines when they get access to this money. By the time they're 65, they're going to have about $6 million in these accounts that are going to go a long way toward helping them achieve their wealth goals.
Dustin
If you want to know more about that, definitely check out WealthFit for more info on how to do that. I want to get into your performance, routines and success patterns that you may have so that we could model it. If I'm sitting at home and I want to start a business, or I want to manage my money better, I look to model success. Do you have any special or secretive routines, maybe some Hawaiian ones?
Andy
I don't know that this is much of a secret, most of the WealthFit team has caught onto this. I take a twenty-minute nap every day after lunch. I close the door to the office. I've got a nice little couch in there. I lay down, turn off the lights, set my timer, and that is a refresher that rejuvenates me for the rest of the day. Not everyone is re-energized by a little power nap in the middle of the day, but I certainly am. I find that I'm able to accomplish in the next four hours of what probably would have taken me five or six hours had I not had that little refresher. That is a little shortcut that I use. This is not a hot take by any means. A lot of times people are looking for hacks, shortcuts or supplements.
In my experience, the biggest levers that you have for growth in your life, your energy, your productivity are foundational stuff: sleep, diet and exercise. Nothing is novel here but get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Limit your stimulus, your blue light exposure, your food intake, your caffeine for a couple of hours before you go to sleep. Get a twenty-minute nap in the afternoon. Exercise is self-explanatory. Move and it will make you think better, feel better, and sleep better. Regarding food, we expect our bodies, our machines to give us peak performance on a daily basis, but a lot of us are feeding it dirty fuel in the form of horrible processed food.
I encourage everyone to take a food intolerance test and Cyrex is one that I've taken that I recommend. How it works is, you send away a blood sample and they test it against 300 different foods. You get a report back a month later telling you which foods your blood reacted negatively to and are causing inflammation in your body. I learned there are all kinds of random foods, tomatoes, corn, mustard, that my body doesn't process well. Once I eliminated those things from my diet, I had so much more mental clarity and energy on a daily basis. Stop feeding your body dirty fuel to work with. Don't go your whole life without learning this stuff. Sleep, diet and exercise, learn your body and feed it with good stuff. It's pretty simple.
Dustin
You've got this laid-back Hawaiian vibe if you want to call it that. It's easy for people to take a look at that or understand that and think that you've got it made. I want to ask a question that cuts right to it. Do you experience stress and overwhelm?
Andy
I do.
Dustin
How do you handle it? You seem to handle it well with this quiet, giant attitude.
Andy
I've gotten better at it over the years. There are certainly two to three times a year where I feel like the gas tank is low. I wake up in the morning and I'm already at full throttle mentally and I've got no capacity to be creative or extremely productive on that day. When I first started feeling this way in the course of running different businesses and getting burnt out and having this physiological feeling inside, I didn't know what to do with it. I dealt with it for a month at a time trying to crack it and figuring out what was wrong.
I've gotten much better at determining the signals that are leading up to this point and cutting it off early. Ultimately, all it takes for me is unplugging and disconnecting. My family and I take an outer island trip. We'll go to Maui or Kauai for three or four days for a weekend and totally unplug and leave the business to my partners for a few days. They run it and I come back recharged. That's what I've learned that it takes for me to get things flowing again.
Dustin
This question is a mash-up, between Cash and Jesse. Do you want to give a little background on Cash and Jesse?
Andy
Cash is our amazing Social Media Manager. Prior to us, he was the managing editor at Freesurf Magazine. He's a great surfer and a great journalist. He had some social media experience. We brought him in and he's doing an amazing job at WealthFit. He published a book on autism. That's something that he's passionate about and specifically, how surfing can help kids and people with autism. Look for that and support Cash Lambert. Jesse Tomlinson is our Head of Customer Service. He is truly passionate about getting people the support and the answers that they need. He'll spend all day with someone on the phone and goes home fulfilled knowing that he's truly helped someone achieve either a little a-ha that gets them unstuck and moving forward or a major breakthrough in their life. He's an amazing, empathetic, great and brilliant guy.
Dustin
We talked about success so much in the business world, but failure and challenges have more impact on us rather than the wins and the successes. What has been your biggest obstacle in life and how did you overcome it?
Andy
I'm an introvert and there's nothing wrong with that. It definitely doesn't help sometimes when you're trying to network, launch, grow a business and you're attending different seminars and conferences and local social events and networking is the key. Making the right connections at that event is either going to make or break you at that phase in your business, so you need to suck it up. I've had to do that so many times, overcome my fears and get comfortable being uncomfortable and having conversations that don't necessarily come naturally to me or are easy for me. That's probably my biggest obstacle and something that I still deal with regularly. Doing this podcast is not normal, natural or easy for me, but it's worth it to spread the word, the mission and what we're up to here at WealthFit and how we're trying to revolutionize the way people learn about money and investing. It's worth it to overcome my fears for the greater good.
Dustin
Do you find yourself finding a bigger than Andy reason, a bigger than yourself reason to get you through those situations?
Andy
Absolutely. On one level, my wife and my kids depend on me bringing home the bacon, so it's worth it in that sense for them and it's worth it on a larger mission basis. I believe that WealthFit has this greater mission and purpose to lead millions of people to lives of true wealth and abundance of time, money, and influence in the lives of the people that they care about the most and the causes that they're passionate about; churches, charities, their community. Connecting with that greater mission and vision helps overcome any temporary feelings of, "This is an uncomfortable situation for me."
Dustin
Another question from a team member. “Looking back, what's your biggest defining moment? It's a single moment where you chose to embark on something that would, in your opinion, change the trajectory for you and your family.”
Andy
There were two of them. The first one was the transition between being a full-time employee, relying on someone else for income, a company and getting raises occasionally whenever they determine that I deserved the raise. Making a transition from that conventional life to this life of being an entrepreneur and starting my first business. How that happened to me initially was I attended a real estate conference. Everybody has seen these usually one to three-day event where at the end, you have the opportunity to invest in some coaching or ongoing education program. Usually, it's not cheap. In my case, it was $30,000 that I didn't have, but I made that investment and put it on different credit cards. Once you're $30,000 in debt, there is no turning back at that point. You need to make it work or I don't know what the alternative is.
At that point, my back was against the wall and that was my motivation, my turning point. It was my greatest investment because that turned into the motivation, the grit, the drive, the habits that it took to get that first business off the ground, successful, and ultimately sold. I'm so thankful for that turning point, that seminar that got me thinking of money, life and business in a different way. Thinking of it, how wealthy people see those things and making that decision to commit to a life of entrepreneurship and freedom and never looking back.
The second turning point in my life was shortly after I had started my first business, I sat down one day and I did this little exercise that we've incorporated into WealthFit, now at this point. We want everyone to sit down and do this. It's a three-step exercise. The first step is taking inventory of those things in your life that mean the most to you, whatever it is, the activities, the hobbies. What do you enjoy doing the most? For me, that was surfing, travel, yoga, exercise, and spending quality time with my family. Those are the things that meant the most to me. Also, the people that mean the most to you, your friends, your family. Taking the inventory and writing down those things that mean the most to you in the world and the people that mean the most to you.
Then step two is arranging those things and those people into your perfect day. If you could envision the ideal lifestyle, waking up and living the life that you would want to live. If money were no issue, you didn't have to work another day in your life, what would that day look like for you? What time would you wake up? What would you do in the morning? Would you get a morning workout in? What would fill your morning hours? Would you eat out for lunch or would you cook something at home? What would you do in the afternoons? What time would you go to sleep at night? 
It was helpful for me to sit down and define that goal, that destination and put some specifics to it. This was the light at the end of the tunnel, what I was working so hard for. It was my reason why and what life could look like. Once I had that goal in mind, that destination, and I knew where I was that moment, I knew where I was trying to get to, and then it was a matter of building a roadmap and changing my financial habits, and starting businesses to get to that destination.
The third step of the exercise was putting some numbers to it. I wanted to know what would be the budget that it would take to live that lifestyle? I sat down and determined, "I want this type of house and this will be the mortgage payment. This would be how much I would spend on food and private school, childcare, utilities, and taxes." I wanted a little budget for investment. I did a little dream budget for that dream lifestyle. Then once I had that, I added it all up and that was my target passive income. That would be the goal, that number, that specific target passive income that I would be working toward my entire life. It's been helpful. That's been my guiding context.
The moment I sat down, I did that exercise and had some clarity as to where I was trying to get to in life. That was a defining moment for sure too. Most people have never had that clarity. They just work towards some foggy idea of retirement that may or may not happen when they're 61, 65 and they hope they're saving enough money along the way. For me, doing that exercise and working toward it was a big turning point. 
Dustin
Thank you big time for being on the show. We're towards the end and there are so many more questions from the team. I would love to ask, and I could ask questions all day long of investing, money, your view of the world. Any final words of advice that you would have for a young killer, maybe somebody young, they're ambitious but they haven't done investing yet. They haven't started that biz. Maybe they're sitting in that cubicle, they feel that fire inside. What advice do you have for them to channel that person to get the success, to become WealthFit and to set them on a course that can make a difference in their life and in their family's life? 
Andy
Step one is to do that exercise that I described. Envision and figure out where it is you want to be in life. That will give you a starting point, a destination. Then all it is at that point, it becomes a matter of laying out a path to get there. That path involves boosting your financial and entrepreneurial skills, getting educated, trained, and capable of creating that lifestyle for yourself and then getting out there. I encourage anyone if you have even an inkling to be an entrepreneur, not everyone has this bug in them, but starting my own business was one of the greatest, if not the greatest decision that I've ever made. It's the only financial decision, and directional decision in life that has the potential, the power to do a few things, get you out of debt immediately, shatter any ceiling that you have on your income right now and get you leaps and bounds down the path toward your financial goals. 
I'd encourage anyone to get out there and start a business. Then if you start that business, I would encourage you to focus on not where most people focus their time and energy, which is on the product. A lot of people fall in love with a particular product idea or whatever, and that becomes their precious little baby. They spend six, nine months perfecting the product, marketing it, and selling it as an afterthought, but that's backwards. You almost need to be thinking 90% of your time needs to be thinking of marketing, getting exposure, eyeballs and attention on this product and selling the heck out of it versus just getting the product right. You'll have plenty of opportunities to iterate on the product once it's out into the world and you've proven it small. Focus a lot on marketing and selling and then equally get a business partner. Find someone who is going to challenge you, who counterbalances your strengths, and is willing to work as hard as you are at the business. That would be my advice.
Dustin
Thanks for being on the show. There's so much more to come out of WealthFit, the show, the biz, the courses and everything. WealthFit nation, stay tuned.
Andy
Thanks, Dustin.

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