The beginning of the 21st century in the United States has been economically volatile and quite unpredictable. Crises resulting from the dot-com boom and bust to the real estate bubble and bank crises that fueled the Great Recession to the ever-changing geopolitical environment have led people to expect the unexpected and to fear the ways it might affect their financial future.

Many hope that the dust will begin to settle and things will return to a certain level of normalcy. However, what is important to remember is that the only thing that is certain about the world in which we live is its uncertainty. The world is becoming smaller through the advancements of telecommunications, so much so that it can become confusing and convoluted. The world will only continue to become more complicated and interconnected. This may have the adverse effect of leaving people in a state of information overload and wondering where is the right path for them to become financially secure.

Given this new economic environment, the first step in knowing what to do is to understand the fundamentals of today’s economy and how to invest wisely given that context.

As a third-generation financial planner and a professor of finance at W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, my understanding of financial planning and investing seems to be embedded in my DNA. I was mentored by some of the early pioneers of the financial planning industry: my grandfather and father. At the young age of 10, I began as my father’s apprentice, learning about the flow of money, the management of money, and the important psychology that goes with it.

I wrote this book to help you, the reader, understand that managing money and creating wealth isn’t rocket science but it does take some insight, tenacity, and skill, which is why many rely on professionals like myself to help them. Unfortunately, with the abundance of financial information aimed at us (some of it is actually incomplete or wrong); most of it becomes noise. Ultimately, some of the noise works: it gets eyeballs on TV screens, clicks on websites, and sales at the newsstands—but, in reality, the deluge of information just confuses and frightens people. I hope to introduce you to a financial mindset that takes into consideration many of the risks and rewards that exist in the 21st century.

This book contains many concepts that can help you take full ownership of your own financial situation. I will show you how to create and stick with a plan so you can grow, protect, and transfer your wealth to future generations.

I don’t want to perpetuate misconceptions about investing or financial planning, that is, the delusion that a successful plan can be created overnight through market timing and hot stock tips. Instead, I want to help you to take a step back, looking toward the long term and recognizing what you need, want, and wish for from money. After such a reflection, designing a financial plan that accurately portrays what you want from life, and abiding by that plan long term, can be far easier to accomplish. Throughout the process, you will also learn ways to diversify your portfolio to help protect it from exposure to the forces of the markets.

My overall goal for this book is to positively influence you to take more control over your financial life and move forward financially . . . armed with a new Money Mindset.

Who This Book Is For

My intention was to write a book that benefits the general public. People of all ages, income levels, and financial experience can enjoy this quick, easy read. With that being said, the demographics that can benefit the most from Money Mindset are Gen-Xers and Millennials, some of whom are students of mine at Arizona State University. They have time on their side to be able to incorporate these concepts and have them work to their advantage.

Our society lacks the proper financial education and urgency to plan and save to be able to utilize money as a tool and focus on long-term financial wellness. Here, I lay out the framework that can help get you started on the right path.

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