26 Apr Understand Your Finances in 6 Steps
Have you ever had something that you wanted to understand so badly, but it felt too complex to wrap your head around? For the longest time, that’s how I felt about the topic of how to build wealth. They say that you don’t truly understand something until you can teach it. Well, I had built wealth myself through real estate, business, and a number of other investments, but I was still puzzled about how to translate that information to other people.
When I heard different teachings on wealth building, it felt like I was standing too close to an elephant. For instance, if a person had no concept of what an elephant was and someone pointedly asked them, “What is an elephant?” they wouldn’t really know how to answer. If they only saw the trunk of an elephant, they might say, “Oh, an elephant is a hose.” Or, perhaps, if they looked up and only saw the side of the elephant, they might say, “Oh, an elephant is a wall.”
You get the picture—much of what we know is an incomplete picture of the truth. Some teachers were all about getting out of debt, but that didn’t feel like a well-rounded truth. Some teachers were all about a specific type of investing, but that didn’t feel like a well-rounded truth either. I knew there was more, so I studied and prayed about how I could understand and fill in the gaps I recognized.
The Triple X Factor
Luckily, as believers, we have access to the Spirit of Wisdom. I want to extend a prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians to you: “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph. 1:17 KJV).
Now, because God is omnipotent and infinite, knowledge of him OF COURSE extends far beyond money mastery. However, because God is omnipotent and infinite, knowledge of him includes money mastery. If there’s any area that you want to understand and have a more complete picture of truth in, I encourage you to ask God for it. Study, pray, and reflect, and God will speak revelation to you.
I know that a large part of my assignment on this earth is to help people make sense of making money for making a difference, so I implored God about how he wanted me to view wealth. He gave me the Triple X Factor, which I call a 30,000-foot view of building wealth. Below you will find six steps that will show you how to use the Triple X Factor for your specific situation.
I encourage you to click here to view a video teaching of my Triple X Factor beforehand to get a foundation to work from.
1.Plot Your Expenses Each Month
To fill out your own chart, you need to be honest and understand your expenses. Start with the current month and begin to chart your monthly expenses: rent/mortgage, food, utilities, ‘fun’ items, tithe/giving, etc. For instance, let’s say you start when I’m writing this post in April. If your total expenses in March amounted to $2,700, you would place an asterisk next to the $2,700 month. You would do the same for April once you had all the data to calculate what you spent.
2. Plot Your Income Each Month
Chart your first month’s income in the same way you charted your monthly expenses. Unless you get a raise or undergo a job change, this line will probably stay horizontal for a while. However, as you grow in your job and learn to add value over time (you bring value, not time to the marketplace), your income should increase as well.
3. Build Your First X
Some people may have already built the First X, which means that they have more income than expenses. If this is your situation, you can go ahead and start building the Second X. However, if you have more expenses than income, some adjustments need to be made. Start working on your expenses immediately by cutting things out, making extra income, or driving down debt. If you need guidance on minimizing debt, check out my teachings on the Debt Snowball and our interactive Debt Snowball Calculator.
4. Gain Assets
Keep graphing your income and expense lines every month so you can monitor exactly where you are. For example, as the First X forms, you’ll notice that a gap develops between the expense line and the income line. That gap is indicative of excess capital that is now available to you. If you want to build wealth, you need to invest that excess capital. You can acquire paper assets, like stocks, ETFs and Mutual Funds, or REITs, for example. Or, my personal favorite, you can acquire hard assets like real estate. If you’re not in a financial position to acquire assets, you can create assets like starting a business or an eBay/Etsy shop outside your day job.
5. Build the Second X
The Triple X Factor really starts to take off when you acquire excess capital and put it into things that acquire excess capital for you. The dots will continue to go down, and all of a sudden, your cost of living will be covered by your passive income—money that is working for you! This is the point where you become financially free and, if you want, can quit your job. The first big goal should be to replace your earned income with passive income.
6. Build the Third X
After you quit your job and your passive income continues to increase, what should you do with the excess capital? This is the point where you can really partner with God and build wealth. If you are blessed, you will come to a point, as in the story of Luke, where you have a big choice. You can choose to build bigger barns and serve yourself. Jesus called this option foolish. This is where the Third X comes in. You can give your income away and invest your assets for social and spiritual impact. Now, you aren’t limited to a 10% tithe— you can give everything you earn from passive income away.
If you want to plot the Triple X Factor on your own, we have a free worksheet for you. Click HERE to download it!
I share this teaching in much more depth in my book, Money Mastery. If you specifically want to understand how to build wealth through Real Estate, I recommend the USB of our most recent Real Estate Workshop. It includes all of the teaching videos, audio, and PowerPoints from the weekend. It is currently on presale for just $299!