#50: How to Achieve Financial Freedom with Dustin Serviss

Whether you want to get better at saving money or you want to diversify your portfolio, in today's episode Dustin Serviss will teach you how to manage your money the right way and prioritize what is important in your life.

Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.

Dustin Serviss is a successful business owner in the wealth and lifestyle design space and he is the founder of Serviss Wealth Management.

Dustin is also the host of The Picture of Wealth Podcast where he gives his insights on investing, personal finance, money-saving, income sources, tax strategies, and insurance tips to help his audience be great at money decisions.

Learn more about Dustin: https://servisswealth.com/


Bryan McAnulty: Welcome to The Creator's Adventure, where we interview Creator's from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business. Today we're talking not only about how to get your finances in line, but how to manage the priorities in your life. Hey everyone. I'm Bryan McAnulty, the founder of Heights Platform.

Let's get into it.

Hey everyone. We're here today with Dustin Serviss, a successful business owner in the wealth and lifestyle design. And the founder of Serviss Wealth Management. Dustin is also the host of the Picture of Wealth Podcast, where he gives his insights on investing, personal finance, money, saving income sources, tax strategies, and insurance tips to help his audience be great at money decisions.

Dustin, welcome to the show.

Dustin Serviss: Hey Brian, thanks a lot. I'm looking forward to it .


Bryan McAnulty: So my first question for you is, what would you say is the biggest thing that you did or you are doing that has helped you achieve the freedom to do what you enjoy?

Dustin Serviss: That's a great question. So I would say the first thing that came to mind was my Fridays off.

So 4, 3, 4 years ago I started it didn't start right away, but it was going mountain biking from eight till 10 in the. on you know, on Fridays with a, with two other guys. And so I, I said, man, they're either one's a busy accountant and one's a busy lawyer. How are they able to go biking? You know, if I'm not first in the office and last out, then I'm obviously not successful, or my team won't think that that's leadership.

And I had all these different beliefs, but they were, you know, now knowing that they were wrong, but I thought, you know what, what's the risk? What's the worst that can happen by going out for a bike ride with an accountant and a. And have a good visit and, you know, get into the office by 10 30. So that led to one of the, it was the accountant said, you know, Hey, my house is close to the bike park.

Let's have a coffee after. And I was kind of like, oh you know, and you're trying to be cool in the parking lot and, you know, we just had a good ride. And, and I was like, thinking in my head, I'm like, I, you know, I gotta get to the office. And I thought, you know what the heck, I'm gonna go. You know, that led to coffee, became a regular thing.

And he had a beautiful pool and it overlooked the city. And he'd have a coffee. And and so then I get to the office about 1130. So then it became, I'm gonna try this. I'm gonna be available to my staff by cell phone on Fridays. Anyone can get me, but I'm not coming in. And so the idea was that I wanted to write a book, I wanted to do all these creative pursuits, and I thought on.

I'm gonna just do those. I'm going to mountain bike, have a coffee, then be available to staff. But I'm gonna work on those projects that always get pushed to the bottom. And I'll tell you what a powerful thing for increasing productivity on Thursdays . But that, you know, that freedom, just, just one little thing to, to free up so much bandwidth that it.

Way more creativity to Monday to Thursday. And, and I think now looking back and what we talk about to, to people and coaches, there's never going to be an email that comes in and says, Hey, you're approved to take Fridays off. You're always gonna be busy. You know, I have people say, I gotta just wait till I get this.

I gotta get my systems right. I gotta get the right person. The reality is there's always gonna be new problems. And so I thought, you know, the jumping off point was like, well, I'm gonna. As an experiment, the worst that can happen is I go back to working, being on the pulse again Thursday and Monday. You know, maybe some businesses you just couldn't do that.

There would be too much turmoil. You know, there would be, would would happen, but for lots of businesses there wouldn't be. And if you got good people and you just say, Hey, you're transparent with staff, listen, I'm going out. And I positioned it to my staff as a networking. It's an accountant, a lawyer, and I'm a financial planner.

So, It all kind of fit. It was like, well, that time I'm kind of justifying it cuz I'm networking, even though they're two close friends. But now the staff know, you know, and a lot of my staff is new. They come on, they're like, well, they know I don't work Fridays. And so we, we get together on Thursdays, they try and ask all their questions and that time, and then we connect again on Mondays.

So that, that's, I know long-winded answer to your question, but you know, that was a big one for me for, for. Is just commitment to that time off.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, that's awesome. I can definitely resonate with that. I don't exactly take Fridays off myself, but I do try to give myself time off to just say, Hey, today I'm gonna do whatever.

And sometimes that might be not spending time with family or friends, but that might even be just a productivity thing, like you said. where knowing that I'm gonna ignore any other distraction today and just focus on this, and it's difficult to do that as your business grows because you get to this point where it's like, well, the, the customer questions, the leads, whatever.

It doesn't stop coming in. And so it gets really easy to feel like, well, I can't stop. It's still, it's still there. I have to work nonstop because it's there. , but it, it doesn't stop. Right. And like you have to sleep. Right? So eventually, like what happens when you sleep, does everything like fall to pieces?

No. . So why not say like, that's great one, I'm gonna use that. That's a good one. Yeah. So why not say, I'm gonna take a couple more hours here or there and use that. And in reality, like, it is not even just about taking off, but like, it's what that gives you because it helps clear your mind, it helps open you up to be more creative when you do go back to work or if you are working, it helps you really stay focused on that, that one thing that will help you provide more value to your customers over time.

Instead of answering every question an hour or two faster or something like.

Dustin Serviss: It's it's very true. It's very true. My, my highlight right now, we moved about a couple years ago to a different town, so I don't mountain bike with those particular guys, but the highlight for Fridays off in the spring and summer is actually taking it was my four year old who's in preschool and going for a coffee meeting with him.

And I, you know, I talk to my kids. I have two sons, five and seven, but they, I talk to them just like. , you know, talking to a normal person. So I'm sure lots of people will go, oh, there's that guy at the coffee shop again with his, with his kid. And we, we crush a full hour, you know, whipped cream, hot chocolate and just visit and, you know, from, you know, maybe, we'll, we'll get into it, I'm sure.

But again, this was a major thing that work-life balance was not a, a thing that came natural to me. It was work first, family second, and if the work wasn't going well, then how could I provide for the family? And so to. You know, again, the creation of the Picture Wealth podcast and some of the tools that we're using now over the last kind of three, four years in my own life and what we help clients with, it really is, is is cool to see your own journey.

Come full circle cuz to think at 10:00 AM on a Friday, I'm sitting at a coffee shop with my four, four-year-old relaxed listening to what he's saying, talking to him. and then, you know, you know, maybe we're gonna go for a bike right after, maybe I'm gonna go home and, and read. I don't know, maybe I'm gonna go take my wife for lunch.

There's just so many options that is, is very not, is very foreign to it's normal now. It was very foreign to me. If you would've met me five years ago, that would've been impossible. So I think listener, you're maybe saying, well it does, you know, the money come first or do you commit first and. , you know, again, maybe we'll get into that, but I think that's an important thing to touch on is, you know, what does come first?

Is it, you know, if you have money then you can totally do that. Or could you do that first?

Bryan McAnulty: So I, yeah. Let you decide where you want to take that. Yeah, that's true. Like that, that's a challenge cuz even people listening to this, they might say, oh that's great for, for you guys that you found out how to do that.

But then like, maybe my business isn't in a great place right now. Like, how do I make that decision? And like, nobody teaches you that. Definitely that that is something. it, it takes effort and conscious effort and, and skill to work out for yourself and, and make that decision. And also it is something that at it can shift over time, right?

So there may be times when you wanna spend more time with friends or family and you're gonna take Thursday and Friday off, or, or, or take a week or two off, whatever. But there may also be times when like, the business really needs you, and you have to decide, is this really the time that the business does need me, that I have to spend a little bit more time?

Mm-hmm. .

Dustin Serviss: Yep. Yeah. So the, the, in your model, and again, listener, if you're a an online course provider or somebody that's, you know, a coach or you know, you're collecting recurring revenue. So it is, there is a metric that's easy to follow there. And I think of the first tool we teach people about in wealth management or coaching.

One is something called bam, which is your bear ass minimum, b a m. And these are the minimum expenses that exist for you to exist. So this is your, your mortgage or your rent payment. This is your car payment or your groceries, nevermind the Louis Vuitton or the travel or you know, I'm a big motor sports guy.

That spending is, that can all. If you were just down to the bare ass minimum, you wouldn't have those expenses. So once you find that number, you've got your bam. You then know, you could look at your courses, you know, how much, how many courses or a monthly subscription or how many people would I have to get to cover my bam.

And then you kind have a choice. Cuz once, once the volume of income is coming in that's higher than that, you could up your spending. Which I'm i I support cuz I think that's, I. Or you can look at me. I'm gonna keep my spending the same. I'm going to invest it so you can invest it in whatever, x, y, Z market, index, whatever you wanna pick, so you can invest it in, in, in something that produces some return, and in the future will be that for you.

You know, real estate could be part of that too. Or you could say, I'm, I'm gonna keep spending what I'm spending, but I'm gonna reinvest in leverage in the business. And that could be, I'm thinking Upwork, I'm thinking five, or I'm thinking over I think it's called Overdrive or overpass. It's basically like Upwork, you, you can get contractors for, for projects and taking that money and say, okay, well every month I've got an extra 1500, 2000.

I'm gonna take 400 for me and cut out my lifestyle and I'm gonna take 400 and I'm gonna put that into an investment and I'm gonna take a thousand and or 800 or however that math works out, and I'm gonna reinvest that and purposely spend it on growth things. And again, is . It's a huge scope of where you could spend that money, but if you're not getting enough people or you got better equipment, would give you a better course if you've got lots of people, but your, your game isn't as good as it could be.

You could up your cameras, you. You know, every month I'm trying to spend trying to spend money on, on whatever sort of growth. Things silo, whatever bucket, you know, the most overused words around, but like whatever those things are to try and move the needle and entrepreneurship 1 0 1, you have no idea if your spending is actually gonna work.

you know that the general gist is, but that's kind of the exciting part cuz some of the things you think are pretty basic might be home runs and then the other things you don't know, but you've gotta just continue that activity to to max. .

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, definitely. So, I, I wanna go into that a little bit deeper because I think this is something I feel like came a little bit natural to me as an entrepreneur, but I've seen a lot of small business owners where they're kind of afraid to invest in themselves when it comes to saying like, oh, well, if I could buy this software, this equipment, this contractor to help me, then it could speed me up and help me grow.

That, that's not like the first thing that they think of and they, they may tend to think, well, I'm just going to save my money and by save their money, it's not even like a conscious like investment to save it. It's more just like, leave it sitting there. I'm kind of of the mindset that like the money isn't useful until you use it for some purpose.

It sounds like you're kind of like thinking that way as well. So, cuz you mentioned like investing it, upgrading your lifestyle and creating leverage in your business. So what would you say to somebody who's maybe struggling with that idea?

Dustin Serviss: Well, the framework that, that I use for myself, and again, listener, you might have your own journey and, and I only share this just cuz it, it worked for us.

But you know, again, I mentioned at the start family first and work that did, that didn't happen. It was business then family. And I always thought it was, you could be really successful in business or you could be your really good dad and a husband. You couldn't have. So, you know, how could you be balanced, you know, when you're really a success.

So you know, we had a, a really hard sort of well, not sort of, it was a hard fertility journey. Journey which was super stressful on our marriage and, and for all the different reasons. But I, I wanted to really stick my head in the sand and not pay attention to what was happening at home. I just thought, well, you know, this sorted self.

You know, first year, second year, and it didn't, I started working harder. Didn't want to go home and address like the issues and, and, and talk about things. Cause it was, it was harder on my wife, but harder on us as well. And so it was, it was a tool that we now call the spending accelerator. But it was it was originally called the corporate Cash Cash Savings Model, I think.

But we call the spending accelerator. And what this tool was, is I built a spread. That is basically like imagine a machine that you know is in your basement and every start of the month, first the month, you go downstairs and out this machine comes $10,000 and I'm just pulling an income number out. So $10,000 comes out and onto a conveyor belt, and that $10,000 is moving along the conveyor belt and there's buckets underneath the conveyor belt.

So the first bucket kicks off your bam. So that's the monthly expenses that we had. So I need to kick off a little bit. Then moving along is the next bucket, which would be emergency savings bucket. So maybe we'll put $500 into that, you know, so that kicks it off. So then, you know, moving along is the investment bucket.

We call it a core investment. This is the thing that the boring, whether you, you do the s and p 500 index, or you do a, a dividend stock, you know, you pick, but something that that's not gonna potentially blow up or have, you know, significant risks. So you've got that. Middle of the road core investment, then we got a high risk bucket.

So again, my thing is penny stock and crypto, not that active in it right now, but was you know, I would put a smaller amount into that. So enough that, that when it, if it goes up or when it goes up, you're gonna feel it and it's gonna be exciting, but not enough that when it goes to zero and you lose all your money, you are impacted your family's ability to put groceries on the table.

So some little bit goes. and then you might have a real estate. So some people say, I don't really like the stock market. I like to save for real estate. I wanna buy a rental. Okay, great. Then have a real estate bucket that puts money in there. And the real estate bucket could be in front of the stock bucket, depending on listener, your, you know, philosophy on things.

And then if it's done right, you'd have at the end of the conveyor belt still a little bit of money that's coming off the end. And so you say, okay, well that I'm purposely gonna spend. , you could spend it on whatever you want, but have it be in line with your goals. So one of the things, you know, the example client I have, she was saying, you know, I wanna be more active.

I want to get outside more. You know, so we were brainstorming, and again, it, it's wintertime out right now, but this is a couple years ago. She said, you know, I just, my friends go snowshoeing. Mine are always breaking and they don't really work good in my boots. And so I was looking at her bam, or her bear ass minimum expenses, and I was looking down the items and I said, wow, you pay 300 a month for cable tv.

and she's like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Isn't that kind of normal? I said, no, it's not normal for two reasons. One, your goal is to be outside more. Two, that's an expensive cable package, so could you get by? Like what? What are you watching? Like are, you must have the best N H R A drag racing and like, you know, like fishing TV and like all this.

And she goes, no, no, we got some sports. You know. And so she ended up cutting the cable package down to one. and then we said, okay, in three months you're gonna have $450. You could buy a pretty good pair of snowshoes for that. Now that fits with your goals and you know you're gonna have one of the best pair of snowshoes, that you're in your old friend group.

So it's a higher ticket item where people are now realizing like, oh, I can't actually get a better quality thing becau, but I've always stayed away from it. Cuz you don't ever buy the most expensive thing. That's not how you know you. Get ahead. Well, no, getting ahead starts with this, this model. So again, if someone's struggling with, you know, even if you're like, well I don't have extra money, I've given you the bam and I've given the spending accelerator ideas to just, if you don't kind of get optics on what your scenario looks like or what a good plan looks like, then it's very hard to sort of set your course cuz you, you go, okay, I know the framework now I can work toward.

I need to have extra money at the end of the month. That might be the step one. I don't have an extra 10,000 at the end of the month. Okay, well let's work on a thousand because the, it all still works the same. And once you've established the framework, now the fund begins because now you can look ahead, say 15 years, 10 years, 20 years, and say, okay, well if I just did these kind of thousand here, 500 there, and I kept that going, okay, I could totally live.

You know that number when I retire. And so then you go, okay, well if that number is higher than what you need to live, then you could save less into some of those buckets, which means more would spit out the end of the, the conveyor belt to spend now. So it gives you, you know, sort of that permission to spend more now on you fill in the blank listener.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. Yeah. I like that. And having that, that knowledge and that being able to see that picture of your own finances really. Removes that uncertainty that allows you to either say like, okay, this is now I don't have to worry about things cuz I know it's, it's all set up. I figured it out. Or maybe you find like, okay, well you know what?

I wish that now that I did this whole exercise, I wish that I could earn a little bit more. Now you have that motivation of seeing the picture to say like, well now I want to do this to find a way to generate more income. But I, I also like that idea. The story you mentioned about the snowshoe. , I've always had the thought that like when you see somebody who, who purchased some kind of item that suddenly you think to yourself like, oh, that would be cool to have.

And w the way I look at it is if like for the average person, even if you don't have some, some crazy level of income, everybody can spend disproportionately on at least one thing in their life. And so what you're looking at sometimes is just what that person chose. . And so you have to think to yourself like, is that thing that you're, you're seeing that's interesting to you?

If it's the snowshoes, whatever, is that the thing that you wanna spend like disproportionately on? And if you think of it that way, and if it's not, then okay, well that's fine. But when when you see somebody who has some kind of hobby or they're, they're buying some kind of fancy, I don't know, fancy watch or fancy shoes, something like this.

You have to think to yourself that like that's the thing that they're choosing to spend a lot on. And so even if you're not so wealthy that you can just spend in everything, most likely, if you go through this exercise like you're talking about, you can find one area of your life where you're like, well, this is what I'm gonna spend a lot more in.

Dustin Serviss: Yeah. It starts with establishing, you know, what your values are and what your goals are, and you know, Talking about those openly. What, what you made me just think of was, I, I just had a call yesterday from a gentleman who you know, it's very classic for after sort of a hard year, you know, so again, last year wasn't very fun in the market.

We're kind of trying to battle back now, but you know, he said, you know, oh, you know, my friends say they got this. And you know, this is older gentleman. And I have some clients who have been referred to me and I've put them in different. . And so here's a scenario where you have two clients that get different rates of return and they say, well, you know, so and so said, you know, they're friends.

We got, you know, they got a better return than, than you know this. And so why, why is our return lower? And again, they're both in positive territory in this particular example, but what everyone doesn't realize and listen, I I would ask you, you know, have you ever been somewhere, looked at someone and said, you know, either, like what you're mentioning, Brian, of like, wouldn't the lab be nice or, you know, how did they do that?

Or, you know, how did they achieve that or something? Being someone who's been in the wealth business for 18 years and studied many different clients, tons of wealthy people turned away lots of people just cuz it, it wasn't a fit. So I got to see lots of scenario. , you never know what really is behind the curtain.

You never really know that the person who you never thought would have a grandma that passed away in another country and leaves them 2000 a month extra. So it's like, well, how's that person driving around in that car? Well, guess what? They don't tell you. I know because I deal with, I deal with both of.

but they, you know, have this extra money coming in. The other scenarios are sometimes people, and a lot of our, our clients are, are quietly wealthy and they're not flashy is you don't know the level of wealth of, of the people around you. So if someone is getting a higher rate of return than you, it might mean that their, their risk tolerance is higher, which you don't really know someone's risk tolerance unless you're in a position like me where you, you're questioning someone for an hour about it.

And so they've pick. Riskier investments. And so they aren't you, they don't feel the same as you. When they open their statement and it's up or down, they, you might not know that that person has an extra 2 million than you. Well, that person's with extra 2 million has a higher risk tolerance cuz their ability to fluctuate through things is far greater than someone with say, 600,000.

So, you know, and again, I'm using, put 'em in the older age categories. You know, if you're 20. and you know, you have a long time horizon. Then your wrist tolerance, maybe, you know, again, everyone's different could be higher. But again, there's so much emotion history, old gristle, belief gristle, what your parents have put in your head, what you've observed as being uh right.

And so again, there's no right or wrong answer in risk tolerance. It really just has to be experienced by you. So I know it's a long story to get to what you're saying though, that it's like when we see. and, and, and with the social media nowadays, it's, it's, you know, I have friends with Bentleys and you see it, it's just like, oh my goodness.

Like, how, how is this? How's this work? But you're only seeing , you're only seeing small parts of it. So thanks a lot for bringing that up, Ryan. I think that's important.

Bryan McAnulty: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Thanks for sh, for sharing that kind of view on it as well with the, the risk to. So I wanna ask, how did you get into the wealth management industry?

Was that something like you were always felt you were interested in finances?

Dustin Serviss: Yeah. Like from a young, like, I had a paper route at eight and, you know, I was trying to hustle around the neighborhood and try and sell the people on my route that that weren't getting the paper. And I was unsuccessful in three years.

But you know, so from eight to, you know, working on ranches to working at a golf course, to working at a mill you know, it is just, you know, the mill work was, you know, I'd go to school in high school. I got hired when I was my 16th birthday. It was my first shift cuz you needed a license to drive the forklift

So, you know, those, those are longstanding memories that I have that I, I look back and go, I, it looks intentional now. I didn't realize it. I just was, you know, looking around my hometown, which at that time was maybe a hundred thousand people. And it was like, well, where are the best jobs? And Saturday, Sunday shifts, you know, you got time on Saturday and then time and a half after eight and you know, we worked 12.

So then it was I think, double time after 10 on Sundays. It was time and a half all day, then double time over, you know, so I would work weekends and so, you know, you'd make, you know, reasonable money there. But my passion was originally was civil engineering, is what I took in university. And at the time it.

the Alberta oil patch kind of, you know, Western Canada was, was going crazy in, you know, the year 2002. So when I graduated, I went there and I I was, you know, in an office. I started in the field doing surveying, so minus 40 degrees C walking around the oil patch in fields and, and doing that. And then I gravitated into the office.

And once I got into the office, I started to realize it was you know, I could be on the computer. And so at that time, you know, this is 2003. You know, oh, the stocks. And so I went into the bank and I got a $50,000 line of credit, unsecured. I was 21 interest only payments. And I just, they said, well, what are you gonna use this for?

I said, oh, I'm gonna trade stocks. And they said, okay, no problem. . So this is pre financial crisis and maybe that's where the problem started. But yeah. So then I'm, you know, 21 and now looking back, realize how risky and how lucky I probably was that I didn't. Implode myself. But the the reality was I made more than I lost.

I lost lost, but I, I, I made money. And we, my philosophy wasn't, again, I was working in the oil patch making reasonable money, and I had a savings account. And so what I thought was, I've got this savings account of, let's call it 50,000, and I've got this $50,000 line of credit. I'm gonna max it out. I'm gonna trade these stocks for hours, days, whatever, and get out and try and clear the line of credit, make a, make a spread.

I thought, okay, well if this stock goes to zero and I end up with this line of credit, how many months of interest only would my savings of 50,000 cover? Because I thought, okay, well that 50,000 an interest only on a 50 grand line of credit would be like years . So I thought, well, I'll just keep paying interest only and I'll go work as a, as a rig guy on the rigs.

You know, cuz they were making like 160, 190,000 a year and I thought it's gonna be crappy work. But I'll go do that and I'll pay off that line of credit. So that never happened, thankfully. But that was my, my rationale in doing it. So long story short, working in the, the, the engineering office, people started coming to me and say, Hey, like what kind of stocks are you looking at?

And there was a group of, of guys who were 10 years older than me that I met at the gym who we would sit down on Sundays and we used to use this thing called Value Line, which it was, I think Warren Buffet owns it, but I don't think he created it. It basically is a weekly, Newspaper. And again, even with the internet, it's a newsprint thing.

I dunno if they printed, they probably just do it on internet now, but it was a booklet of like 600 companies and we would sit at Starbucks for four hours and we would just, each page is a company and we would just have these little markers that we just look at the page and it was just all this metrics, really small text of like what the company.

So we just look and there was a few things we'd all look for and we'd fold the bottom of the. . Then when we'd sit down at the end for the last hour, we'd all compare and see if we could find one page that we all like folded. And that was a very , very archaic way of sort of screening stocks. And then we'd, we'd all spend the next week sort of researching that stock.

So those guys were instrumental. Out of 2002, 3, 4, 5, the market was rallying outta the tech. So it wasn't necessarily that my stock picks or the, the RSP funds or the, the pension funds that I was helping people in the office pick were good. It just the, the market was going up. So I liked working with people.

I liked dealing with money. I wanted to drive a Ferrari and be a stockbroker. So I left the engineering job, came back to my hometown, got a job as a stockbroker, and it was just brutal. It was like literally, here's the postal code. List, call these postal codes and try and get a meeting. It was impossible.

I was 24 years old, 23 years old. Trying to call wealthy people was, didn't work well. So I left there I joined two other guys and so I worked with them for eight years and was sort of their advanced case specialist. I had all the credentials cause I thought, you know what, if nothing. , I'm gonna get educated and get all the best letters behind my name that I can, that if I this business flops, I can always go work for an insurance company and probably, you know, make over, you know, six figures.

So I thought that's my, my safety net. And then in 2014, I asked to have my name on the sign and or I was gonna maybe make a move and they said no and said that I wouldn't be getting my name on sign. So I left and started, you know, real, you know, Serviss wealth had existed before, but started Serviss.

As its own entity. And so that's, you know, where we've been for eight, nine years now. Cool.

Bryan McAnulty: So for the entrepreneur listening to this assuming most of them probably are individual, like single person businesses at this point but even if they're not, how much sense does it make or how much time should someone spend like staying up to date researching markets and investments?

And like balancing that with running and growing their business or is that something that they should really in general not do too much at all and then just kind of stick with a safe like investment?

Dustin Serviss: I think what it starts with is something called, we call the wealth edge. And so what a wealth edge is, you know, a carpenter could, you know, cause I have clients that'll come to me and they'll say, Hey, we gotta do investments.

And I'll say, okay, well I, you know, we'll start. and, you know, let's use the carpenter example. You know, that carpenter is able to, you know, maybe buy a flip house and put a, you know fix it up, sell it. Maybe they could put a suite in the basement. I don't have those skills to, to put move walls and, you know, put in kitchens and all that stuff.

So my risk is higher for me to take that project on, or my profit is lower, cuz I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna have to hire it out where that particular person. Lower risk, buy a rental property, do the sweat equity work on it, and, you know, get, get a lower risk, better potential investment.

So what, you know for coaches, consultants, people using your platform, their, their wealth edge is knowledge and understanding of the internet and the ability to share knowledge and, and sell. And find the right people. So in, in your audience, you know, my, my coaching would, would be more around, I think we could get a better return from making, first and foremost building up your business to a level where it is producing enough where we need diversification, where it becomes, hey you know, let's, let's use, say you have an extra thousand a month in a year, that's $12,000.

In 10 years, that's 120,000. Even if you're getting 7, 8, 9, 10%, it's, there's not money that you're gonna retire on if you took that money and re embedded in that in your business, you know, in Facebook advertising or whatever, you know, you know, into your platform, into you know, probably ads cuz you know, there's, there's lots of coaches that say like, well how, how are you gonna grow if no one knows you?

So putting that money into there, you know, if you've got a good product, then putting that advertising money out. But I would. The flexibility really would come probably above 2000 a month. 2000 a month that, you know, you're already building your business and you've still got 2000 and up to do something with.

So, you know, again, I talked about the spending accelerator. I think an easy way for people to, to do their first investment would be, do I have a house? Am I living in in a house? And, and is that something that I, that I like? Ownership in our. that has worked out well in other regions. If you know, again, I don't know the exact areas in the, in the US but if that hasn't been working out or like the flat values are flat, you know, lots of coaches say, why would you tie up 2, 3, 400, a million dollars in a house and say, yeah, I've got my house paid off.

It's like, you can take that million, rent a place for 25, 30,000 a year, take the million and buy a 12 plex. Rent it out. Collect income, you know, it's just like, kind of look at it like that. But in, in our society, and again, I think I'm, I believe in home ownership. I think it's, it's safe and secure in all that stuff.

But I think there is a, there is a rumbling now of people realizing, and I even have older clients now where their houses are worth 1.8 million or 2 million or 1.5, and they just say, we don't have kids here anymore. The likelihood of them coming and staying with us. So the grandkids is like one or two times a.

So we're gonna go to a townhouse. We're gonna sell for 1.8, we're gonna buy for 800, and we're gonna have a million dollars in, in investments or cash. And that's, you know, that's very, there's nothing wrong with that. I think it's been kind of taboo to like not own your house. Well, when you do the math, you think, well, what could you buy that you could rent out?

Well, for a million, that would probably be a $4 million place. Now you're getting into some good rent numbers and you could probably make it work.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. Yeah. That's great. So another question then is how would you ensure that your clients stay on track to meet their financial goals?

Dustin Serviss: W we use something called a Life Clarity summit, and I'm, again, I'm like, I like details and I like over-planning stuff.

I took engineering in. But what I don't like is a hundred page financial plan that I have to like read. And as soon as you build them, they're usually wrong. So we drew a one page Life Clarity summit, and what the Life Clarity Summit is, is at the bottom of your, you know, it's a shape of a pyramid. The base of the pyramid, the biggest, widest kind of part is your financial plan.

What does that mean? That is just a conversation around your goals, your bam. and what do you have? And you know, the, what do you have is, is just like, what are your investments? What are your savings account? What's your life insurance? What's your debt? What's your real estate? If you were to write down your investment accounts, savings accounts, real estate, mortgage payment, you know, all any other debts on a piece of paper and just had all of your stuff on one place, you would be ahead of probably 40 or 50% of North a.

So that's your, becomes your financial dashboard. This is like my, this is my speedometer, this is my stuff. Okay, so base of the, of the pyramid financial plan. Next layer up is risk management. So I've got my goals and I want to get to X. I want to double my revenue in my business in the next year. What would get in the way of that?

A risk would be if you got disabled or sick and couldn't work on your. . So, okay, so what's, what are the protection mechanisms I have? Well, my family's significantly wealthy. They'd help me out. Okay, well that, that might not be a responsible adult thing to say, but at the same time I've heard that other people might say, Hey, like I'm the only income murderer for my family.

That would be very bad. So listener, if you are the only income murderer for your family and your income stops, what is the plan? So disability insurance, critically illness insurance. Those are two things that can help with. savings could be used, refinancing, your house could also be used. So again, you know, there's, there's options.

Doesn't mean if, you know, insurance is the end all be all, but it's, it's a bit of a hedge, a will, it's 51% of North Americans don't have a will. So that's, that's a lot of lost tax revenue or lost money to taxes for the next generation. And it's a lot of headaches for a, a lot of people because as someone who is, is sort of dealt with estates and seen clients go.

Not having a will is not is not a very fun thing. Second of all, you've got personal spending, health and leisure. So again, a lot of financial planners don't necessarily talk about it, but I think it is important that there is a healthy amount of spending and that is in your risk management bucket, that that spending, especially with spouses.

Spouses. And so you, your partner and. is a very interesting three way, and if you don't get that right, it'll lead to half your net worth. And that is, that is a very real thing. So making sure that you have, you know, I've given you a couple tools, the bam, the spending accelerator. Yeah, and just having a conversation with your spouse, my wife and I, I don't know why, but every September, that's when my disability insurance kind of thing comes around.

But we review it and say, Hey, is this enough disability insurance based on our thing? And we'll say, okay, well how much do we spend? We will pull out our Visa stay. So on your online banking, you can. Print your last three months of visa statements. We print them. It's a safe environment. No one's allowed to get mad at each other.

And it is a review of where does the money go. That's all we're trying to figure out. No one's trying to point the finger. Again, we all believe that our partner maybe spends in the wrong places, but this is just life. So if. You know, two things are gonna happen. I usually see that some of the things I spend on, or the subscriptions I have are not in line with my goals and values, and so I can tweak those and get rid of them.

My wife realizes, okay, maybe I do spend at, at a certain place more than I thought. And so, you know, again, , if those are gonna continue, we just build that into the plan. It's like, that's not gonna change. We're 40 years old. Like this is probably gonna be what it's gonna be. So you've got now this, this framework.

So what do we do in the financial pyramid or the Life Clarity Summit? Financial plan at the bottom. Risk management, which includes what if happens if you die, get sick, get hurt and then the next layer up is your accumulation. So once you get your plan, once you get your risk, We're gonna start accumulating things, saving for retirement, re real estate ownership, debt pay down saving for your kids' education.

And one that's often, again, overlooked is mental health. What are you nourishing your mind with? What sort of things are you putting in your brain? You are the five, you know, the, the sum of the five closest influences around you. That could be your wife, ex-wife, coworkers, boss kids and just really sort of asking yourself these thoughts I have.

are they actually right? And you don't have to believe the thoughts that you have. And I think that's super important cuz we, we see it where people are significantly wealthy, age 60, 65, they've got terrible relationships with their family. They've got bad sort of negative mindset in their head, which leads to loneliness cuz no one wants to be around you.

And then you've got this spiral that happens. So again, you know, wealth to us is not necessarily the biggest amount of money it is, you know, kind of all these. And the final pin, you know, the, the peak of the Life Clarity summit is selling your business and estate planning. So that's the preservation.

So we got financial plan, risk management, accumulation, preservation, and transfer to the next generation. So that, that would be, you know, a really simple way for someone to kind of visualize how do I get.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. Yeah, I like that. And I like how you got into the, the health idea too. I didn't even get into how you have these different hobbies of snowboarding and golfing, fishing, shooting, all that.

And I, I think it's maybe a little bit less common for someone in the, the financial or wealth management space to be also talking about mental health and that kind of thing. , but definitely like that. That's the way I always see it. That like, especially in the US with the prices of health insurance and, and medical procedures and all that like, , it makes more sense to invest in mental health and physical health and the, the foods that you buy.

Things like that. Like, yes, it's more expensive to buy an organic thing or, or whatever, but really it's not, probably not the worst return on your investment, considering that if you don't take care of yourself, what you'll actually have to spend later. A hundred percent. But I, and not only spending, to be very clear, not only spending, but like what you'll put yourself through, like physically and mentally of what you'll have to deal with of like, as far as enjoying your life.

Dustin Serviss: Yeah. And I guess, you know, you know, you and I are, you know, maybe fairly young, maybe we're naive to when you get older you think different. But I think it, it does start with being very intentional. It starts with. Talking openly with your partner and saying, you know, I don't know how many, you know, listener, if you're married and or newly married and have a child and have a partner, or you're older and you have, you know, new wife or children, it's, it life is, is busy and it's easy to sort of get going in a direction, especially once you got kids.

Once you got a business, once you got friends, you know, a partner or a spouse that organizes stuff, you know you're gonna be going, it's like going on a. And where I've, where I've learned sort of one thing, and my wife and I talk openly about it, is having our own hobbies. We have hobbies that we do together.

We have things that we do as a family and we specifically allow each other to have, not allow, but we specifically make time to do things that we like by ourselves. And again, that, you know, mind snowmobiling, that's a one day a week thing that I'm out for the winter, so my wife knows. She calls herself a winter widow, but it's like for four months, I'm probably gonna be one day a week gonna be gone.

And then the rest of the summer, I'm, I'm around and we, you know, really max all the fun. But where it doesn't work is you give up all your hobbies, you get into all these, you know, family oriented things, which is super important. Then the kids move outta the house at 20 or 22 or 23. You're looking at each other going.

I don't really have the same friends. I'm not really interested in anything. I'm older and I'm not as curious anymore. I have the money, but you know, my body's not as, as adapt to, you know, doing the things I like. And you're like, okay, well I better get into something. I better. Well, meeting people when you're older isn't maybe as naturally easy.

There isn't as many natural settings that it happens, and it's a lot of freaking work. And so I see a disproportionate amount of people. Taking the approach of like keeping current with hobbies, keep trying things, keep learning more. People are the steady Eddie, and it's, it's sort of like, I'm retired, I've got my one thing, but you're still with your partner, so you better really like your partner.

And you know, if you're away from each other, you have more interesting stories to talk about to each other. So I'm not saying you need to be every day doing your own thing, but whatever your balance is and every partnership is. that, you know, each partner tolerance is different. But that's, that is super important.

And I, and I'm, I'm talking like I know what I'm talking about now. It's something we work at all the time. It wasn't definitely this smooth before and it could be a lot smoother, but at the same time, you need to be aware of things and be intentional about how you're living your life. Yeah.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. I love that.

That's great. I think yeah. What, what was I gonna add about that? Just that Like having your own hobbies, your own time to yourselves as well. Like as you said, like it's easy to get stuck in living a certain way. You're, everyone's brain wants to get into this pattern and is really good at following this pattern.

And so when you each have your own hobbies and experiences that you're doing separately, like you're both able to bring more to your relationship together because now you have these other experiences that you had outside where there's this, these new inputs or experiences that you can bring together and talk about.

and, and grow with each other with, so definitely agree with that. Yeah. Cool. All right, well, I've got one more question for you today, and that is, if you could ask anything to our audience, what would that be? So if something that you're curious about, something you want our audience to think about, what would that be?

Dustin Serviss: Well, if, if it's in a mechanism for getting feedback, it would be, you know, what is the biggest pain. Of being a consultant, coach, online person. You know, if, what is it? A listener, you know, you're, you're thinking, well, this is what it is. Send Brian a note, and he's like, this is the biggest pain point.

No, no handcuffs on the topic. It just could be anything that, that would be very interesting for, for me to know. And, and why I say that, I think is the first thing that popped in my head is the conf, you know, usually confidence in something. that you're unconfident in. When you are starting to get more confident in that topic, it it is because you've become more confident in some other area of your life.

So we use the tools that I've talked about, bam, spending accelerator, life Clarity Summit Financial Dashboard for people who haven't felt comfortable in sort of life in general, to bring it all together and go, okay, well finance. Outside of finances, there's only very few things that are, are complicated or hard to talk about in life or you know, some people get it more naturally, but for most people it's a very frigging important topic.

So, and again, we haven't talked about should you invest in stocks or crypto. We're just like getting, we're just getting clarity on where you are. And for a lot of people that confide. Then leads into their business. It leads into their relationship. It leads into the workouts that they have because they start seeing things different.

You start seeing your finances not as a drag. You start seeing them, oh, okay, well these guys just sort of repositioned a few things. It's the same , it's the same stuff that I had the day before, but it now is organized in a way that's like, okay, I can see progress. I can see what I'm supposed to do. Then when you go to the gym, you're not Ahm achy and pany.

It's like, I'm here to do something. In your relationship, you're not shying away from the conversation with your wife. It's like, Hey, we're married. We love each other, but we gotta talk about this. and that, that analogy I used with the three visa or the three months of visa statements is a great way to start.

Or just even the, even using, you know, we have a tool, I'm happy to, to send it out to your, your listeners, is the bam tracker, the bare ass minimum. And if nothing else, you print it, you know, we'll send it to you. You print it, you put it on the pa, put it on the on the table and say, I just want to talk about where the money goes for me.

And for you, it isn't about challenging where you spend the money. It is also for me to get awareness about where this money goes and so listener if, if that resonates with you. I think it's very powerful and there's a lot of weather parts of your life that you've become more confident in just by getting a little more clear on your finances.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. All right, great. All right, well, thanks so much, Dustin. Before we get going, where else can people find you?

Dustin Serviss: Sure, so it's Serviss wealth.com is our main me, our main website, so it's S E R V I S S wealth.com or the picture of Wealth or what we call t p podcast. And I'm on LinkedIn, Instagram, all that stuff.

Bryan McAnulty: All right, awesome.

Dustin Serviss: Thanks.

Bryan McAnulty: If you enjoyed this interview and won the chance to ask questions to our guests live, tune in on Tuesdays when new episodes premiere on the Heights Platform Facebook page. To learn more about the show and get notified when new episodes release, check out The Creator's Adventure dot com.

Until then, keep learning and I'll see you in the next episode.

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About the Host

Bryan McAnulty is the founder of Heights Platform: all-in-one online course creation software that allows creators to monetize their knowledge.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when he founded Velora, a digital product design studio, developing products and websites used by millions worldwide. Stemming from an early obsession with Legos and graphic design programs, Bryan is a designer, developer, musician, and truly a creator at heart. With a passion for discovery, Bryan has traveled to more than 30 countries and 100+ cities meeting creators along the way.

As the founder of Heights Platform, Bryan is in constant contact with creators from all over the world and has learned to recognize their unique needs and goals.

Creating a business from scratch as a solopreneur is not an easy task, and it can feel quite lonely without appropriate support and mentorship.

The show The Creator’s Adventure was born to address this need: to build an online community of creative minds and assist new entrepreneurs with strategies to create a successful online business from their passions.

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