Principles of Wealth Creation for Business Owners

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Curtis May, Founder and Owner of Practical Wealth Solutions LLC., reveals timeless principles of wealth creation that empower business owners to achieve financial freedom.

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Curtis May, Founder and Owner of Practical Wealth Solutions LLC., reveals timeless principles of wealth creation that empower business owners to achieve financial freedom.

Curtis brings over 35 years of experience in financial planning, focusing on strategies that have helped families and businesses build substantial wealth over generations. His insights are not just about accumulating wealth but also about smart wealth management that ensures long-term prosperity and security.

Curtis has been a beacon of knowledge and strategy in the financial world, running the popular Practical Wealth Show Podcast and directly engaging with clients to tailor financial plans that reflect their unique situations and goals.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

Damon excitedly commences the Livestream with Curtis. He asks Curtis to talk about how he started helping people find and manage their money better.

Curtis shares his journey into financial advising, starting from his realization in college that a career in the NBA was unlikely. He was inspired by someone showing him a $400 check earned for four hours of work, leading him to get his insurance and investment licenses.

The guest has always been passionate about money, influenced by his family’s entrepreneurial background. His father and grandfather were self-employed, which introduced him to the belief that working for someone else wasn’t the path to financial success.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

Curtis further reveals that he initially followed conventional investment advice but had an epiphany after reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” which led him to explore alternative financial strategies. His personal experiences with family businesses, observing regulations, managing cash flow, and dealing with financial challenges fueled his desire to help others.

Damon brings to light Curtis’ approach to growing business revenue without spending additional money on advertising. He asks the guest to elaborate on his strategies.

Curtis explains his belief that every business, including churches, is fundamentally about marketing. Influenced by Jay Abraham and Dan Kennedy, he outlines four key ways to grow a business without additional advertising spend.
1. Lead Generation: Get more clients.
2. Increase Conversions: Improve the conversion rate of existing leads, which can significantly boost revenue.
3. Increase Customer Value: Raise prices, increase purchase frequency, offer add-ons, and develop joint ventures.
4. Increase Retention: Implement continuity and membership programs.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

Damon observes, and rightly so, that many business owners fail because, while they excel at their craft, they lack the skills to grow their business. He is interested in discussing financial planning, saying that traditional financial advice is often unsuitable for business owners.

Curtis believes financial freedom is to have passive income that exceeds expenses, over conventional retirement. He criticizes traditional financial advice centered on assets under management, which benefits financial institutions more than individuals. Instead, he advocates for the “velocity of money,” where returns are quickly reinvested to generate continuous income.

Similarly, the top wealth manager explains that true assets generate income without active work. He thinks protection and liquidity ensure financial stability, which can be achieved through permanent insurance. Curtis discusses Robert Kiyosaki’s focus on investment velocity over accumulation and references Benjamin Graham’s principle that investment should offer the safety of principal and reasonable profit.

For business owners, Curtis recommends keeping money accessible for reinvestment opportunities rather than locking it away in retirement accounts. He believes business success typically yields higher returns than conventional investments and encourages business owners to trust their instincts.

Damon finds it intriguing that financial planners often advise business owners to invest their money elsewhere, rather than in direct investments like real estate or farmland. This common financial advice conflicts with the principle of the velocity of money.

Curtis, agreeing with the host, explains that financial planning is more about preparation for unforeseen events than investment planning. Financial planning, according to its creator Lauren Dutton, aims to help average families manage cash flow, save (with savings being safe, liquid, accessible, and guaranteed), invest wisely, and ensure protection against risks.

Damon argues that understanding financial knowledge creates wealth according to one’s objectives.

Instead of focusing solely on returns, Curtis argues that minimizing losses and avoiding wealth transfers is a more lucrative approach. He takes his time to teach the concept of opportunity cost—how seemingly small expenses and taxes can significantly impact wealth accumulation in the long run.

To elaborate on his viewpoint, the President of Practical Wealth Solutions draws parallels between principles outlined in books like “Profit First” and “The Richest Man in Babylon,” finding it crucial to budget and forecast future financial health. Curtis shares personal experiences from the bar business to illustrate the significance of understanding numbers and managing expenses. Through his program, Cash Flow Mapping, he aims to help entrepreneurs track income, expenses, and taxes effectively, ensuring profitability and wealth accumulation while maintaining a sustainable lifestyle.

Cash flow mapping wins Damon’s attention. He argues that business owners must move beyond the bank balance blindspot and use cash flow mapping to gain a clearer picture of their financial health. Understanding basic metrics like income and expenses, rather than getting bogged down in complex calculations, is key. He reinforces this good point with a cautionary tale of a $50 million company misled by a large bank balance.

Curtis criticizes politicians who propose policies without understanding the economic impact on small businesses.

He says that business owners must be adaptable and proactive in managing their finances, particularly in the face of inflation.

Toward the show’s conclusion, Curtis reveals his approach to core principles: saving a portion of income, protecting assets, planning for legacy, maintaining liquidity, and prioritizing velocity (generating income) over chasing capital gains.

Furthermore, the guest critiques the contradictory nature of typical financial advice. While individuals are encouraged to buy and hold investments, financial institutions engage in rapid micro-trading. Similarly, advice to accelerate debt repayment primarily benefits financial institutions, enabling them to re-lend the money. Curtis advocates understanding both sides of the financial game to make more informed decisions.

Our Guest
Curtis May

Curtis is the Founder and Owner of Practical Wealth Solutions LLC. He brings over 35 years of experience in financial planning, focusing on strategies that have helped families and businesses build substantial wealth over generations. His insights are not just about accumulating wealth but also about smart wealth management that ensures long-term prosperity and security.

Curtis has been a beacon of knowledge and strategy in the financial world, running the popular Practical Wealth Show Podcast and directly engaging with clients to tailor financial plans that reflect their unique situations and goals.

The guest studied business administration at Gordon College.

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Damon Pistulka, Curtis May

Damon Pistulka 00:03
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I am your host, Damon pistulka, and I just realized I didn’t have the scenes matched up right, but I got them done now. So I am so happy, because today we are going to be talking about principles of wealth creation for business owners with none other than Curtis May. Curtis, thanks for being here today.

Curtis May 00:26
Yes. Damon, hey, my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Damon Pistulka 00:29
Oh, it’s gonna be awesome, man. Because I tell you what, we are ready. We are ready. We are getting we were talking in the back before we got on today. So much stuff, so much stuff ready for this. So, as we always like to do, Curtis, we’d like to know how you got into helping people in your company, practical wealth solutions, helping people find and manage their money better.

Curtis May 01:01
Look. It was a interesting route, because I I was in college, and I realized the NBA was not looking for 511 shooting guards my junior year. So somebody showed me a check for $400 and said this, why made for hours worth of work? And it turns out, so you got your insurance license, and then I got my investment licenses, and I did that like you would notice by term investor difference for about 13 years and but I was paying what happened was I was passionate about helping people about money. I’ve always been passionate about money, okay, and, and I always tell people I never got that. You know, people are taught, go to school, get your education, get a good job. I never got that talk. My father was a self employed. We own a supermarket growing up in Philly. My grandfather was self employed. So I’ve heard from a time I was seven, boy, you’ll never make any money work for somebody else. So we employed other people. It didn’t even occur to me. I thought you majored in business to go into business, and so didn’t even hurt me to get a job. And so I kind of had, I guess I was weird, but I guess I kind of had a head start, and then I just kind of fell into and I was a typical, you know, max out your 401, K person. And then I read a little purple book in 1999 2000 called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. And I was like, Huh? You know what he’s talking about and what I’m doing are not the same thing I thought I was doing because I was, you know, I was passionate about helping people understand it. And I said, you know, there’s other ways to skin a cat and that just, I’m a nerd. So I get, you know, I’ll get into a book, and then I’ll get into the bibliography, and then I read his old book called Becoming a banker, and I read a preacher from Jekyll Island and economics and one lesson. So now I’m going down the libertarian road of Austrian economics. And just because I want to know why things happen, you know, don’t tell me. The market goes out, the mark goes down. No, it’s going up and down, because the Fed is distorting things, you know, and I’m like that. So I’m like, if anybody does a Colby, I’m like, a seven out of 10. Fact, find, right? So I I need to know how stuff works. And so I kind of got into that. And then just, you know, living through business and, you know, with our parents having a fire, and then having, you know, being in, we were in the tavern business after that, and seeing my father, you know, bounce back and getting involved in that. And, you know, being in a brick and mortar where you got, you know, city regulations and license and inspections coming in, doing surprise visits and all this, you know, dumb stuff. You know, making payroll, hoping, looking at the guy at the at the bank. See, here’s what people don’t understand, right? I’m looking at, you got payroll Saturday morning. I’m looking at because when someone was cash, right? So I’m looking to bank out, looking in the in the safe, going, God, I hope we have, we had a party Friday night. And I’m we need to have a good Friday night so I can make payroll the next morning, right? And so most of y’all know what, what that feels like. And so I just, I felt that, you know, I just have a passion for helping people, because I just got beat up, you know, in that world, and I think there’s a separation between money business people don’t manage cash flow well, and I just started figuring stuff out. And I’m a good at learning it and teaching it, learning and teaching it. And I just started incorporating, you know, what pain me marketing, not having in place to go, inefficient cash flow, not understanding estimated taxes, all that stuff.

Damon Pistulka 04:38
Well, yeah, one of the things that I noticed when I was going through your background, you talk about three ways to grow revenue in your business without spending any new money on advertising, yes, and and when you talk about financial planners, that’s not usually a topic that comes up. So what are we talking about there?

Curtis May 04:57
So I what I realized. And I always tell people, I don’t care if you’re a pastor of a church, you’re in the marketing business, right? And so I was a big student of Jay Abraham back so I’ve been in Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham direct response marketing. And then in studying him, he says, Look, your your business is your number one investment. It’s not sending, you know? So what my belief is, it’s not sending money to some fund manager you never met, right? And so there’s really four ways to grow, right? And so what I kind of figured it out, because I’ve done it with our own business, is that the first way is, because I’m the guy that can talk about both. We can talk about your money, and we each talk about your number one asset, which is the business, right? Yeah. Well, how do you grow your revenue? Because that’s the thing, that’s the engine that drives a car. So number one, get more clients. Yeah, get more leads. Lead Generation. Okay, now the problem is, most business owners, especially if they’re older, they don’t know anything, so you’ll fall prey to people selling you media, selling you websites, selling you all this. Bs, right? It’s not BS, but it’s expensive way, because you’re only growing one way, trying to get more leads, right? Yeah, so I changed it a little bit before Jay says it. So I say three ways. So it’s get more leads, it’s increase your conversions. Okay, so if you are getting 100 people, and you’re only, you know, converting 30% of them, if you can convert 60 of them, 60 you know, six, double that to 60% now you’ve doubled your revenue on the same spin, right? Yeah. And so there’s a lot of ways to do that better. Follow up, having unique selling proposition, you know, having a database. Most sales happen after the most people. Most sales people go after the second interaction, but most sales happen between the seventh and the 11th. So if you follow up and keep in touch, you’ll pick up. See, none of that stuff costs money, right? Yeah, yeah. Third is you gotta have a database. So I’m big on database marketing. You need to put them somewhere and and be able to at least sort them through prospects who you want to convert to engage clients you want to get your clients to upsell them into something else, and then you want to reactivate your oil clients, right? And so they’ll, it’s like, like, it’s like, basic block and tackling, right? And then the what’s the third way? The third way is increased customer value, raise your prices, increase frequency, get them to buy more stuff, more offer add ons. You know, would you like to Biggie size that? Can you package stuff and joint ventures, right? Who else like I’m doing a joint venture. I thought of a product and with a bookkeeping most business owners, bookkeeping sucks. So I work on cash flow management, which I call cash flow mapping, which is telling you money where to go, but you still need your P and L is like looking at history, but you still need that, right? Yeah, so you could, but you need to forecast, right? So I’m working at somebody I don’t want, I don’t like bookkeeping, but I I want people to read the numbers, right? Yeah. And then so I kind of thought about, okay, how else can I serve more people? So boom, I’m going to create another product out of that that will increase my customer value. And then the fourth way, this is the bonus, is to increase retention, yeah, develop continuity, membership programs, that kind of stuff. And so you can do that now. Social media is five, right? But those four things I just talked about, you know, and strategic alliances, joint venture partners. So if you just focus on the three ways to grow, creating unique selling proposition, having integrating that into your current sales process, creating a database, and doing strategic alliances, you could grow any business. So if y’all want to grow your business, you already have, if you want to buy a business, you could go in and look for that. And you start looking, you could figure, okay, well, I could do this on an earn out, and I can grow, you know, grow to sales and pay for my money, you know. And so you but you gotta look some people, because some people are tired, like they did. They’re there, but they’re too tired to feel like doing that kind of stuff. So if you can look at stuff with fresh eyes. So I learned that, you know, going through a marketing program this guy that was a Jay Abraham mentor, and then I read, then I discovered Jay directly, and then I just, I used it on myself.

Damon Pistulka 09:15
Nice, nice, yeah, because that it is, you know, we talked with a lot of people about sales and marketing and other things and and you hit the main thing, first of all, conversion. I think it’s so easy, because if I have 100 potential, and I normally convert 20, if I convert 40, I doubled my revenue. I mean, it’s, it’s not finding new people. It’s just, you know, connecting better with the ones you have, or reactivating

Curtis May 09:39
me. You don’t have database of people that already said yes and done business with them, and they don’t talk to them, they don’t make enough they don’t ask them to do anything. And it’s like basic stuff, and you think you have to throw all this money at stuff, and you really just need to pay attention and look at the opportunities you have. Within your number one asset, your number one investment right now, because you know what asset is you right? But you know what investment is the business? Yeah. And you look at, how can I optimize this? How can I because Jay says, If you grow 10% more leads, 10% better conversions, and 10% like increase your customer value, that’s geometric. So that’s 33% new growth. Yeah, yeah, boom, there you go. Know what I mean? So, yeah, that’s my other favorite topic. It’s like a tie between money and business growth and marketing, because that’s, that’s where the robot, you know, it’s, it’s the difference

Damon Pistulka 10:35
between success and failure. I mean, you you see it. I’m sure every day, most people get into business because they’re good at something, but they’re not good at growing that business when they get into it. And that’s, that’s what kills most of the, most of the businesses that that we see is it’s like, you know, you’re really good I’m really good baker, but I’m not good at selling my pie, right? And that’s, that’s the thing is, is that you like you’re saying, you get more leads, you get the conversions, improving the value and keeping your customers around longer. It makes a big deal, that’s for sure. So as we’re going to we’re going to talk about money now, because we’re here to talk about, you know, principle for business owners, right? And this is, this is what I think is really interesting talking with you, and, you know, getting ready for the show. We were talking about why typical financial advice, planning advice, is bad for a business owner, because I just want to get that thing right out there so we can talk about that for a moment.

Curtis May 11:39
Yeah, yeah. So it’s because, so if you think about your objective, right, your objective is because you got, what I try to keep it to do is, what do you want? You want to become financially free. You don’t want to retire. Retirement is an age. Financial Freedom is a capability, which is a function of cash flow, passive income greater than your expenses. Okay? So now, if you look at most financial advice, is the typical financial advice that’s mainstream is focused around what AUM, assets under management. We’ve got this amount of assets under management. And so all financial advice is built with four rules in mind. Like, I don’t care what company, insurance, stock market, whatever, it’s four rules, right? They want your money, okay, they want it on a regular basis. Yeah, keep as long as possible. Yep, and they want to give it back as slow as possible, okay, if ever. Right, yeah, so, so if you had a, let’s say you had a million dollars assets under management, and you wanted to diversify and go buy an apartment complex, and you wanted a quarter million dollars for a down payment, they’re not going to be excited by that, because they there’s no way to make money on the grid. Offer their thing. Oh, we got Investment Trust. Oh, really. So what? You keep them right? I want to be a direct investor where I can create value and so that, because that lowers their income, they’re not bad. It’s just it is what it is. So you need them, but you’ve got to understand where their bread is buttered. Okay, yeah. And so if you want so their goal in Robert Kiyosaki, his book is called fake he says the magic doesn’t happen with assets under management. Their job is not to make you rich. Their goal is not make Damon rich, yeah. Okay. And so what I so we call, I call all of that is built on what I call the accumulation theory, right, which is buy and hold dollar cost, average, get out of debt, buy term investor difference. But if you took a corporate finance course, they don’t teach none of that stuff. What do they focus on? If you look at how institutions and wealthy people handle their money, they focus on velocity of money, right? What does Mr wonderful always say? You know, if I put my this half million dollars in your in your deal, how soon Am I getting my money back? Yeah, with friends, right? So, and you get it back, and then what did you do? Put it in something else, and then get it back. That’s velocity, right? You were taught to buy and hold Park and pray and hope the market goes up, okay? And so the second, you know, and then they focus on cash flow. So an ad, what is an asset? Income follows assets. So what is the asset? Something that puts money in your pocket without you working? So you have to learn how to buy and build assets. So gain was saying in Philly, we say gain recognizes gain. So the you know, if you remember Cash Flow Quadrant, right, E, S, B, I, so eyes, invest in good bees, business owners, right? And so if you want to be a come a good eye, you grow from being a business so you can, you know how to read financial statements, you understand money, and you can tell a good investment, because you were a B first, right? And then you want to focus on protection, like risk management, which is insurance. And that kind of stuff. You don’t jump out of Perfect, good playing without a parachute. And then, you know, a lot of times where people are taught the rent term insurance, we teach a strategy called being your bank, your own banker. But when you look at I interview this guy, Barry who wrote the powers in Manhattan, and he amazing research. He looks at the financials of all these big companies, their banks, their tier one capital is made up of permanent insurance, so they rest on certainty, having liquidity and having access to capital, right? Yeah. And so they don’t. And then the other thing is, if you read, so this is the nerd part coming out, right? So if you I’ll ask people they heard of Warren Buffett? They go, yeah. So you heard of Benjamin grant? They go, no. Most like 15% have you heard of Benjamin grant, which is Warren Buffett’s mentor, right? Yeah, mentor, and he’s in his book, in the Intelligent Investor, because people say, I want to invest. Let’s talk about investing and see if we talk about the same thing. Okay, so in his book, an investment is something where you were upon thorough investigation, you put your capital where you have safety of principle and a reasonable opportunity to make a profit. If it doesn’t fit that definition, you are speculating or gambling, right? So business owners will go out, do this big exit and then gamble with the rest of the damn money. They just give it to a fund manager where, you know, where that’s not how you got rich. You got rich, you built up, you took risks, you built the business. And what I’ll talk last thing, I’ll say, Damon on this point, is that we talk about the three rules of investing, you know, within our practice, right? So that gets me out of a lot of trouble. And every time, when I interview people on our show, I when I hear them, they’re doing syndications, whatever I I will stop them to point out this pattern. So my first rule is investing what you know, or invest in knowing. Like, if you’re not willing to invest in knowing, you’re you’re speculating. Okay? People say, first we know, we think about Bitcoin. I don’t think any about I don’t think anything I’m not saying is good or bad. I don’t know, and I don’t want to invest in knowing, so I don’t do it, right? This is my second rule, is invest in which you can control. What can you influence the outcome of the of the success or failure of the deal? Right? Can you, does it cash flow? Right? Those are the first two roles. And my third rule that I try to operate by is don’t chase returns, where most people, most regular people, most what I call civilians. I hate to say people with jobs. With Dan Katie says civilians, right? People, jobs, and so typical advice is designed for civilians. It’s designed for employees, right? What you need is a business owner. So advice will say, so you’ll get stuff like cash management plans solo 401, KS, or put money in 401, K so send money away from your business on a one way journey, right? Hoping, yeah, manager is really smart, right? And whereas if you want to put I teach people look, you want to have liquidity, you want to store it somewhere where you have access to it, so that if you need an opportunity or emergency, you can get to your money, redeploy it, buy another business, you know, invest in equipment, and you want to control the financing portion of your life. We call be in the bank. But basically, what you want to do is, if the main thing that’s creating wealth is the business, you don’t want to send money away never to be seen again. Yeah, no, you want to be it’s got to come back. You got to create velocity. And so typical advice doesn’t do that. That’s, that’s what I’ve discovered. So I, you know, I don’t, I think that you’ve got to try and your instinct. Here’s the thing, y’all your listeners, your instincts, tell you that, you know, all of them know that their business is making more than s, p, yeah, yeah, you so, you know, you know, you put $1 you make $2 that’s 100% I don’t know. I’d rather do that. Yeah, and so that’s why I say that. It’s just like you got it your your people fall into this is what I should do. Because everybody else who’s people on TV said I should do this. But you’re successful because you invest in what you understood, what you could control, and you didn’t chase returns, because, if you understand it, it’s not risky. Yeah, so I just try to free people up to fall, you know, listen to what the voice in their head, because you’re your best financial advisor. It’s not some fund manager, and they’re talking about standard deviation and all this other boot BS to sound important, you know, can you grow your revenue? Can you focus on three ways to grow Yeah, and say, okay,

Damon Pistulka 19:47
yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. That’s, that’s such I just, I’m just listening, man. I’m soaking it up, and I want to just acknowledge me now. Now, fired up. That’s good. That’s good. Well, we got Dale Underwood. He was talking, he put a comment in earlier. Thanks so much, Dale. He said, B to B. He sees B to B max manufacturers with 1000s of website visitors and sub 1% engagement, and they’re still trying to get more traffic. He was back to where you’re saying, Get your conversion rates up and things get better for your business, that’s for sure. And then my friend Curtis Tompkins in here today. Curtis out there on the east coast with you. He’s a little bit farther south, but he’s on the on the East Coast, there huge difference between financial advice given to business owners and everyday day people. Great layout provided here. I’m

Curtis May 20:36
obviously brilliant guy, you know, just got, you know, I’m a C, he’s a K, but that’s all right, the same.

Damon Pistulka 20:41
There you go. There you go. Well, this is, it really is interesting what you’re talking about, because I, I’ve heard the principle of velocity of money a lot and and, you know, as as we’re working with business owners, they’re, they’re generally, they’re increasing their wealth, right? They are increasing their wealth. They’re doing it. And they’re really looking for different ways. And it is amazing, though, how many times they get advice from financial planners. It is, ship your money off over here and we’ll take care of it. And like you said earlier, when they go and they say, Well, I want to invest in this real estate. I want to buy this apartment building. I want to buy this whatever, farmland doesn’t matter. Those people that have that money there are going, Well, what do you mean?

Curtis May 21:27
You can’t do that? Right? Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 21:29
exactly, everything out of their son to do that. It is interesting, because it is, you know, I like what you’re saying there. Not that I’m an expert guy anyways, in financial planning. But, you know, diversifying that money, but get it to where you can get it back fast and make the most money possible. And because

Curtis May 21:48
financial planning is not investment planning that, see, that’s the thing. So financial planning is really more about preparation for excuse suppressing happening, right? Yeah, because you know it’s most of it’s going to go wrong. So you need ensure you know so good financial planning. This is a guy whose name is Lauren Dutton, who created the the financial planning model, like 19 6970, good financial planning. So I always try to think like, this is five parts, right? It’s helping this, how they define it, helping average families. It wasn’t even for rich people, it was for middle income people. People got their roots because they want to chase elephants and just, you know, rest on assets under management. But it’s helping average families spend cash flow management, save, build, save. Let me define savings, safe, liquid, accessible, guaranteed. Okay, so stop chasing returns. Um, invest. But I already defined what I thought investment was, right? Yeah, and, uh, ensure you have to play defense. I’m the defensive coordinator. I don’t I don’t worry about you. Offense is your job. Grow the business. That’s offense. Buy real estate, that’s offense. I’m the make sure you don’t lose it. Guy is, grow it, keep it. Is, make it, keep it, grow it. I’m the keep it, grow it. Guy, okay, so I started staying my lane, although I understand it, I’d like to keep it part. So I’d lean more towards insurance protection, because stuff happens. So you have to, if you think about, while you’re on the path to chasing this the, you know, the brass wing, what could happen? You could you could get sick, you could get a fire, you could get in an at fault car accident. You could become disabled, you could die, you could get sued. I mean, that’s not like that. One is some of that’s going to happen along the way, and so you have to protect against that, like insurance is designed to indemnify you, right, which means to bring you back to where you were, so you don’t suffer a setback. You gotta dig out this hole. So you gotta protect yourself and your you know you should. Your plan should work no matter what sit, you know, uh, injured sued, down markets, up markets. You can’t just have a plan that only works when the sun is shining. So you have, it’s more about provisioning and protection. Because last time I checked, ain’t, nobody got a working crystal ball, you know. So, you know, and hope is not a good strategy, right? So I people about, you know, protection. So when we we’ll get into a little bit later. Bit later, the five principles of personal finance. This is where we, we teach people to think about, you know, developing a bulletproof plan that works no matter what. And so that’s what I do, because it’s not about investing. It’s not about wealth management. Wealth managers what you do once you made the money, right? But how do you build wealth? Look at the force 400 business, real estate, paper and commodities are the are the four asset classes. But when you look at them, it’s business, real estate, okay, yeah, in that order, right? And paper, paper and see, because paper is not just equities, paper is what else. Things that, like tax liens, yeah, optimize those life settlements, yep, notes. I got a client that just, he don’t buy the real estate, he buys the nose, and when, when they pay the mortgage, he gets paid because he’s the bank, right? Yeah, there’s all kinds of stuff, but you have to, they’re not efficient markets, and you kind of have to do your your homework. That’s why I always tell people, investing is about becoming something, right? So you have to educate yourself. You have to investigate. You got to learn how to do and it’s not easy, but it’s easier than being broke, right? Yeah, is so I kind of so some people don’t like me because I, I tell people, Look, is your money encourages. Money is and so it can be more important to me than into you. So I give homework. You got to read books. We going to talk about it. I’m not. Probably going to give you a direct answer. Where should I do? I don’t know. What do you know? What do you like? What’s the objective? You know? So it’s going to get three or four questions. But the difference is, what people say I do for them is I empower them. I change how they think, and we have a conversations, because at the end of the day, you need to be the captain of the ship. You can’t defer decisions. People want to defer decisions because they want to blame somebody if stuff doesn’t go right.

Damon Pistulka 26:18
Yeah, I think that well. And you know, there’s a lot of financial planners that are ready to take that on, I mean, and we’ll defend it to the end, right? Because they’re, they think that’s their role, to just take that right off your plate. Don’t worry about it. We’re gonna, we’re gonna grow your money whatever, like you said, ship it away, and they’ll, they’ll grow it at their whatever rate that’s they’re trying to do it and hope that it does.

Curtis May 26:42
Where does that ever work to anywhere else in your life where you’ve outsourced it and it turned out good and you abdicate it control, responsibility and knowledge that doesn’t work anywhere.

Damon Pistulka 26:55
I love it. I just had this conversation with someone that said, Hey, we should outsource this part of our business. I said, Yeah, then where’s that knowledge go? Yup, that knowledge. I mean, that knowledge is so critical, especially in a business or, you know, so in life, it is as well that financial knowledge, understanding how to invest your money and and really grow it the way that you want to. Yeah, good

Curtis May 27:19
stuff. So, and like i Those are friends of mine. I know some of the top people that are wealth managers in my company. I’m just saying that what I do is I put this message out there, and it resonates with a lot of people, because I’m just letting them know, because they’re thinking it, but I’m just letting you know, no, you’re not crazy, right? This is you’re thinking, right? And I just let them lean into what they’re already thinking, and just try to build some guardrails around that. And you know, I want to make sure you don’t lose because, see, most people are chasing returns, but there is more opportunity. See, if you want to create maximum wealth, you have to create maximum efficiency, right? You got to stop giving money away, and so most people are chasing returns, but there’s more opportunity in minimizing the losses, right into identifying eliminating wealth transfers. Most business owners will give away three to $5 million in their business, work and lifetime money don’t have a transfer as minus leaving your asset column to let’s say, if you pay a tax you didn’t have to pay, that’s leaving your asset column to the Treasury Department, right? But it’s worse than x, and people don’t factor in opportunity cost. This is what we try to get them to understand, right? So I’ll just make up a number. Let’s say, for easy math, let’s say you could get 7% on your on your on your money or invest in your business. So if you use a rule of 72 money will double at at 7% about every 10.2 years, about every 10 years. Let’s say so if you pay a $50,000 tax, you didn’t have to pay, well, okay, you tax. The money’s gone. But it never stops. Yeah, going right. So that means in 10 years, your 50 would be worth 100 your 100 worth 200 200 or 400 your four eight. That is the and so now add that up every year, yeah, and that’s just one, right? It’s, it’s, there’s like 10, but let’s say the six. How you pay your mortgage, taxes, how you fund retirement plans, okay, putting your money in a straight jacket because you want to accept. You know, people will do a SEP and they’ll write a $30,000 check to keep from writing a $3,000 check, $5,000 check, right? And tying up money in this thing you can’t touch to your 59 years old because you save them for retirement. Guess what? If you had $2 million in a in a retirement account. You need a lot of money to deliver the accumulation theory, right? Yeah, so the, if you had a million, what the, what’s it called the safe withdrawal rate, right? 4% some, some argues less than that. But a million dollars would bring you $40,000 a year off of that money if you, if you just without evading your principal. So, if you had. Yeah, and that’s 80,000 well, okay, you’re pulling quarter million dollars out the business, you know. So you need other things that throw off a check. Yes, yeah. I’m not saying not do that, because you need to accumulate, but you need to buy cash flow. I call cash flow engines, and I think you’d have to take your same entrepreneurs zeal, and, you know, deploy into that, or, or, you know, if you like, uh, I don’t want to say alternatives, but things like, uh, syndication, stuff like that, but you didn’t, you have to do your due diligence on the operator that, again, that’s investing in knowing, yeah, well, just throw it, give it to somebody, because they have a nice private placement around, they gave you a nice brochure.

Damon Pistulka 30:42
Yeah, yeah, that’s, yeah, that that is one of the big things that you really got to look out for. Those opportunities that that that you don’t know about, right? Because that can be really costly, that’s for sure. So you, you brought this up a little bit, but let’s talk about cash flow mapping. What are you talking about there? Because that sounds pretty interesting.

Curtis May 31:04
So what I’m known for, what I like to be known for, is really helping people get control of their so we have a program. And so I’ll give you a similarity. It’s it’s it. I would have people read the book Profit First, okay, which is basically pay, like, if you ever read The Richest Man in Babylon, part of all your earnings, yours to keep. Basically, Michalowicz is applying that to business owners, yep, right? And so, you know, just bucking, and this was a game change for me, because I’ve been doing this for like, four years, right? And, and so now I’m really about looking at my numbers, like every week. I want to see my number every month. I need to see my P and L. I really want to see it every week. But you know, when you look at cash flow map, what we do is we say that budgeting, or your personal finance, looking at your P and L’s is really it doesn’t work, because what you’re looking at is history. So it’s like driving a car looking through the rear view mirror, but you’re trying to go forward. So what I want people to do, and we have a program where we teach people to look out the windshield, look forward, right? I want you to forecast. I want when the money hit your account, you should know exactly where it’s going to go, right? And even with a fluctuating income, you still your bills, because you have to sort out. You got fixed bills, business and personal. You’ve got variable bills. So sometimes the variable bills go down. If your revenue goes down, sometime it goes up, but you got certain rent and certain things that are static. So to me, you you need to know, because what I found is, if I have, like, a group quarter, I’ll find all kinds of dumb stuff to buy, all coaching programs and little shiny objects. And I woke up, I was like, wait, I mean, that’s where did all my money go, right? And so you have to, you know, you have to stop it. You have to track it. So what we do is kind of help people, one, figure out where they are, you know, and what’s coming in and what’s going out, and we actually map it. Here’s your fixed bills, here’s your variable bills, here’s, you know, here’s how you set aside enough for taxes. How much do you need to run your household? So a lot of people still commingle where they’re running so much stuff, of their personal stuff, through the business. Then when you try to sell it, you got, you know this, you know you got to back that out. You got to back down the sales price, because you, you’re, you weren’t paying yourself a salary, and so the person that buys it doesn’t want to work. They want to buy an asset. So you gotta drop the sales price to cover the 300,000 you should have been paying yourself or whatever, right? And so you gotta, to me, you gotta know that early. And then, so if, because now, once you begin to know your numbers, you could look at, for example, if you’re like, I’ll look at somebody’s like, here’s, this is where I learned it. My family was in the bar business, right? And we had our CPA that I’d hired. My father was sick, so I was started. I was like, thrust into the, you know, unprepared, you know, didn’t know that my boxes of unopened tax bill. Oh, my really, you know. So I had a crash course in taxation. I mean, you know, I lost like, 15 pounds. I look great, but I lost this gray hair. My hair was jet black, you know. So I had, I had I two things. I had to deal with that stress, and I could get robbed at gunpoint, because both my all three are our bars were in North Philly, which is the hood for yo so I had all that. But anyway, he looked at my numbers ago, dude, they’re killing you. I was like, What are you talking about? And I didn’t get how to read the numbers, right? So here we’re looking at, uh, so in the bar business, if I spent the instance then, so I’ve been out in about 15 years now, but if I spent $1,000 I should have, like, in beer, I should have, like, five grand, if all my. But you know, if, yeah, if the stock is gone, I just have $5,000 in the register, right? Yeah. And it’s like, you know, six or one or so with liquor, right? And so he was looking at our history you made this week. Here’s what you which you spent in liquor and beer. And they weren’t adding up. It jumped out of him like that. And I didn’t know what he was talking about. So I went being a seven out of 10. Fact, find I went all in on inventory management, understanding numbers. And I think a lot of times, you know, we grew up in retail, so theft, internal theft, the delivery theft, is a big thing, and that kind of stuff. And I think a lot of people don’t know their numbers, like, I’ll look at you, look at the PnL, and you can look at, say, alright, well, how much you spend on marketing, and they don’t, or they cut it when things get tight, and you wonder why you’re not making money. We don’t sell anything, right? And so you know it’s like. So you can look at stuff once you really know the numbers and you know what leverage you need to pull. And that’s why I said so much opportunity in managing the business. So with cash flow mapping, we’re trying to one, get a handle on what’s coming in, what’s going out, making sure that you’re stopping enough on in it, so that you build wealth from the business, you know, and buy other assets. Because if you sell the business, you’re still supposed to be rich, right? You want to build other assets that kind of offsets you want to build passive income, great expenses. So if you can buy other assets, real estate, complimentary businesses, then now it takes the pressure off, because you’ve got more, you know, more than one way to make money. And now whatever you make from your primary business just running up the score. Yeah, yeah. So that’s, where, what we’re trying to do with cash flow map, and then keep your lifestyle in check, because, you know, so you can whip parks is law, right? Expenses rising income.

Damon Pistulka 36:48
Yeah. Well, I always laugh, because, you know, we do work with some contractors, construction contractors, right? They are notorious, man, you can see how the construction business is going because there’s a new boat, there’s new UTVs, there’s new cars, whatever it is, you know, it’s coming out.

Curtis May 37:07
I was watching this to YouTube. The other 4f 150 is like 112

Damon Pistulka 37:12
$12,000 yeah, yeah, yeah. They’re 100,000 plus the tracker

Curtis May 37:18
trail used to call 50,000 now you got some ford f1 50, yeah, yeah. But, you know, oh, I need that, because I gotta have all this stuff. And it’s got a multi, uh, false facet, you know, thing where I could open up the trunk, okay,

Damon Pistulka 37:31
yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s real quick. James Kunkel, thanks for stopping by today. Uh, appreciate it. Appreciate it. But it’s so funny because you’re going down the road that I think a lot of business, I love this cash flow mapping. I mean, we, we, we preach in and out, that if you don’t know how you’re doing every week, you don’t know how you’re doing, right? Yes, and it’s, it’s so important, and it’s not just how much is in the bank. I mean, I about, I about threw up. This has been a lot of years ago. I was in North Dakota, in the oil fields, and this was a $50 million company. And I’m not kidding you, the owner of the company told me they were doing good because there was a lot of cash in the bank. That’s as good as he knew the financials were going and I’m like, oh, but you know, it’s really important for people to, as you said, educate themselves, and I don’t mean to make fun of that situation, because that’s not something to make fun of. That’s a serious situation, because there are so many moving pieces in a business, like you said in a bar, you should know if I spend $1 on something, and I should get five in return. That’s a good thing to know. Every week I spent $100 in beer, and I should have 500 in the till. That’s a super important thing to be able to do, because those simple things right is what will save you in the end, it’s not the humongo calculation that’s doing something. It is the simple two or three things or five things that you can look at in your your life, your business, every week, that will save you.

Curtis May 39:13
Yeah, prices are too low. They’re not. They’re They’re one of my clients is a big contractor here in my area, and he says that most these guys go out of business because they don’t price your stuff, right? Yep, they they price it enough to get the job, then they take that money and go finish the other job. They under priced.

Damon Pistulka 39:33
Ooh, that’s tough, right?

Curtis May 39:35
So, you know, I’ve seen it, so it’s like, you know, because I got real friends that are, like, really in business, you know. So I didn’t come out of corporate, you know. And I remember I was, I was in school, I was a business major, and I I only had one professor I liked, because everybody else appeared to be reading from a book, you know, from the textbook. And, you know, you can tell when it’s coming from here out, not from here. You. Out where you could feel it, you know. And I realized I could have learned more from my dad and my grandfather than I could have learned in school, because I, like, people don’t understand one time we I was, I was maybe, like, 11, and it was July, and he had an order of, I remember seeing the price on so ice cream they just got from the people. It’s July, so it’s like, I don’t know, 99 degrees in the freezers not working. Somehow the freezer malfunctions. So he’s frantically trying to get the freezer working, and I’m seeing $1,300 melting on the floor that he bought that you can’t get it back. Yeah, you know what I mean, and and so people don’t understand, you have these politicians. I’m gonna go there too hard. But one time I was I was in speaking down in Delaware at the city council so and I did was a financial issue, someone asked me to come speak there, and I got into this discussion. Let’s just call it that with with the one is city council people there, and she was running for lieutenant governor, I think. And somehow we were talking about something, she said a trigger word for me, which is minimum wage, right? And I was like, Are you kidding me? And something about all these big corporations downtown. It’s like all the most of these companies that you see these big bills in Wilmington, owned by the banks. That’s not the real world, okay? I said most people are employed by business of 75 people or less. Okay? And do you want to come up with stupid stuff, like, I gotta pay you because you need leave, because your wife had a baby, but I see you wanted to get paid now I gotta hire somebody to replace your and pay them, and then pay you because you need time off or you want to raise minimum wage. Well, I said, Look memo. I went in on her for you know, I think somebody like, alright, Kurt, you got to come down. She’s, I said, Uh oh, what did I say? I said, you think? I said? I said, most politicians, you correct me, you public service. I was like, whatever at this point now I’m like, and I go think that income comes from some magic direct deposit payroll comes from some magic direct deposit machine. Out to Scott. We gotta go sell something, yes, to make these payrolls, right? And then you make it harder, and you want to raise, let cost of labor. If you raise labor, labor, labor supply and demand, if you raise the cost of something, labor, demand for it goes down, and you’re going to raise minimum wage is going to cause higher unemployment. Like that’s basic, but it’s not basic if you don’t understand money, or you don’t understand how the world works. So you just got, you know, policy, because you, you, you, I’m gonna calm down so, because that’s a trigger. So, but, but most business owners feel that with me, you know, like, like that. You know what I mean? And it’s, it’s not even political, it’s policy. You know what works in the real world? So, yeah, you have to. So you So, if so, one of the things I try to share with people, listen, you can’t control the economy, yeah, right. But you can control your personal economy, right? Your production and consumption as a family, as a business, and you gotta, you know, you gotta protect what you could protect. You know, if you think there’s inflation, what does inflation benefit? And you gotta see that coming and position yourself in front of that. What assets can I buy, or what can I do that where inflation helps? What other business can I buy? What other people can I joint venture with? And I think that we get in our own little bubble, but you gotta, kind of run what I call a West Coast offense when it comes to your money, right? You gotta, you gotta spread the ball around. So I just try to get people to think. And, you know, we work with people. Just try to encourage them. I try to always challenge my thinking. So I read a lot, and I try to, you know, have discussions with our people about their money. You know, we deal with cash flow. I deal with, you know, principles, which are? We just teach people the principles, right? So I don’t worry about the markets. I can’t control that, but I control, if I say, 1520, Cent, my gross income, my first principle, we can control maximum protection, which is your protect your stuff, protect your income, protect your cell phone liability, protect against your death, have trust and stuff. That’s my second one. You want to leave a legacy of wealth and wisdom, guaranteed. That’s my third principle, my fourth principle. And see this is where people drop the ball, and one of the things that we see is liquidity I want, so I’ll give you a list. So I have a report called the value of liquidity, so I want to get you I really am big on that, but you want six to 12 months of more of cash. Yeah, stuff happens, right? Or if nothing happens, wise Buffett, we talked about this before a recorder, why is Buffett sitting on $185 billion because it’s, it’s, well, I’m sure he has great peace of mind, because it’s not just sitting on cash. He’s got charges already 5% so you, you, I can, she’s probably the equivalent of that, right? And then when you see something, you can access your capital, buy up a competitor, expand something. So you want to look for you don’t have to stay fully invested all the time. You know what I mean. And then the fifth principle is focusing on velocity, not just on capital gains. Most people are buying low, hoping to sell high. And then what we try to teach our people, I try to train my I talk for me. I’m trying to train myself to look for opportunities to make money, whether Curtis gets out of bed or not, because I’m a really good beach bum, yeah. So yep.

Damon Pistulka 45:26
And that’s good. The velocity is really important. Because, you know, if you invest $1 and you can get it back tomorrow, you can invest it again, like you said earlier, and then that, then pretty soon, now I’ve got a couple dollars, and it goes a lot faster.

Curtis May 45:39
So, and that’s it. And so we’re taught the typical advice is the opposite of that. It’s like, leave it on the shelf. Like, yeah. And so, because they’re or you get the opposite advice. So you’re taught one thing, but you’re taught to buy and hold but they’re micro trading on the millisecond. Okay? You’re taught to accelerate your debt. All you’re doing is creating cash flow Finance, Financial Institutions so they can velocitize it and loan it to somebody else. So, so you got to see both sides of the game.

Damon Pistulka 46:07
Yeah. Yeah. Good stuff. Good stuff. Well, Curtis, it’s been awesome talking to you today. If someone wants to talk to you and and learn more about practical wealth solutions, what’s the best way to get a hold of you. Well,

Curtis May 46:21
one I tell you, listen more for the madness is Curtis to make love. Curtis to make sure you want to talk to me, but so and listen to our podcast, a practical wealth show on YouTube or iTunes. Okay? I encourage we have a lot of content out there about this kind of stuff and kind of the theme of wealth outside of Wall Street, okay? And then personal finance. And then you can go, if you’re on Instagram, you can go to my what’s that thing called? Or YouTube is called a link tree, yeah? Link tree, yeah. Link tree is a link tree is a link to my calendar. Link. I’m gonna give you all a gift. I’ll give to you Damon afterwards, but you can also text, be the bank, B, E, T, H, E, B, A, N, K, be the bank. All caps, all one word to 55444, and I’ll send you my report, the value of liquidity. We’ll also send you the special gift. And I’m an educator, so I like people to get to know us learn a little bit about that. And if I can help you, I’d love to you know offer you can reach out to us from the gift or from our website, practical wealth, practical wealth,, and you can follow what we’re doing. And if you want, you just reach out to us, and we will, you know, talk about, spend 20 minutes, talk whatever you want to talk about, and see if there’s a good fit for us to talk to each other.

Damon Pistulka 47:52
Awesome Curtis, so great talking to you today. And again, we’re talking about principles of wealth creation for business owners. Such a load of information here, so many good things. If you got in on this late go back to the beginning and listen to it. And, man, you were going to pick up some good stuff. I mean, just the number of books you dropped that were, you know, real wealth, just a wealth of knowledge. In those books you dropped a wealth of knowledge. What you said today, thanks so much for being here today. Curtis,

Curtis May 48:23
listen, thanks for having me. You know, I love talking now, business, money, marketing, all my favorite conversations. So we got to get them all in on one session. So I’m excited. That’s

Damon Pistulka 48:33
awesome. That’s awesome. Well, thanks everyone for being here. We’ll be back again later with another guest on the faces of business. You.

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