184 Connection Between Managing Time and Money with Mel Abraham
It's not often that we have a male guest join the Work + Life Harmony Podcast for Overwhelmed Women but what you are about to learn from Mel Abraham today is going to blow your mind. I have been working with him for the past several months and it really has changed my life.
Mel Abraham is a CPA and entrepreneur who has been in the business game for decades. He is passionate about helping people marry their business with their life, finances, and money, and he believes that everyone has the possibility of being financially free.
When he became a single full-time dad to a 6-year-old, he realized that money was not the only way to create wealth. He learned the importance of being intentional with money and creating harmony between his work and home life. His message is that everyone has the possibility of being financially free if they are willing to talk about it, be intentional, and understand the power of time.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. How can we use our business to create wealth, rather than believing the business is the wealth itself
2. How can we use intentional conversations, money education, and habits to change our financial destiny
3. How can we shift from wants to wills to create a commitment and alignment toward our dreams
To connect with Mel, you can listen to him on his podcast The Affluent Entrepreneur Show, and find all the ways to work with him/follow him on social media at https://melabraham.com/.
Listen to the episode here!
Or watch the episode here!
Like what you heard here?
I’d be honored and grateful if you would head over to iTunes to leave a review and let other female entrepreneurs know what you learned! While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode.
Hey, there. You guys are in for a treat today. It's not often that I have a male guest on the show, but what you are about to learn from Mel is going to blow your mind, because I know when I look back at what I have learned out of closely working with him for the past several months, it really has changed my life. And one of the reasons why I know you will connect so well is that Mel shares the exact same philosophy and views on work life balance versus work life harmony. And you will see that the relationship that we have and our approach to planning and managing our time versus planning and managing our money are so closely connected. So without further ado, let's go ahead and jump in.
Welcome to the Work + Life Harmony podcast. I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner, teaching all things time management, organization, and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife, and. Just like you, I'm juggling #allthethings while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time, planning, and organization, to skyrocket your productivity so you can have Work Life Harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed. This is the show for you. And if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my Work + Life Harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram @MeganSumrell with the word Harmony, and my team will send it right over.
All right. I have an absolutely incredible guest here today on the Work + Life Harmony podcast. Mel, I'm going to let you introduce yourself first. Normally I do that, but I want you to introduce yourself first, and then I'm going to share because how I first kind of met you and came into your path. But I would love for you to just kind of share with everybody who you are, what you do, all the good stuff.
Yeah. First off, thank you for having me and all of that. I'm a CPA by education, but I have been an entrepreneur for decades. Actually, my very first entrepreneurial endeavor was at eleven years old. I figured out I had this love for magic because I watched a movie on Harry Houdini's Life with Tony Curtis and Janet Lee, and I fell in love with magic, and I found out at eleven years old that I could do magic shows for kids birthday parties and get paid $50 for a half hour show. And here I was at eleven years old, which would have been 1972. So you kind of go, that was a lot of money back then. I'm not even sure I filed a tax return. So shame on me. But that's what gave me the bug of the realization that you had the opportunity to live a life, that you wanted to define what you did, to take what you love doing a passion maybe, and serve people and change their lives or help them or entertain them and all that stuff. And so it lit this bug under me that stayed with me. And so I went the traditional CPA route, which quickly I found out I wasn't cut out for corporate. I found out that I was frankly, unemployable. That's why I'm self employed. And so I decided that I wanted to have a bigger impact with my skills and everything. And at a big consulting firm, I was just one little cog in the wheel of their life and that just didn't fit for me. I knew that there was something more I could do to impact people. And so that's when I just kind of left and started to do things on my own and consulting with businesses. I sit on boards of directors. I help people build their businesses, buy and sell businesses. But more importantly, how you marry business with your life and your finances and your money. Because the other thing that I've noticed is many, many entrepreneurs get into the business game thinking that their business is the wealth that they're creating. And the reality is that it's not. They think that they're going to get control, they think they're going to get freedom, they think they're going to get wealth, they're going to have all these things. And nothing could be further from the truth. The business was never meant to create all of that. It was meant to create a solution for people to serve and have an impact and to create cash flow. And we need to then use that cash flow. Your business is the creator of your wealth, but not the wealth itself. Use the cash flow effectively to build your wealth, which is where your freedom and control come in. And so that's really kind of been the journey and there's some points along the way that highlighted the need for it. I was a single full time dad raising my son at six years old. He was six, I wasn't. And so I had to figure out how do you pair and how do you do things in a way that I could take care of with the greatest gift that I had. And that was being a dad while not giving up the dream of being an entrepreneur or being financially free or being able to do the things that impact people's lives. And so that's kind of the high level journey. I've had a lot of years and a lot of pitfalls and mistakes and lessons along the way.
So good. And I love that you brought up because I was going to hoping that you were going to bring up the fact that you landed yourself as a single dad with a young kid. It is not often, as my listeners know, that I have male guests on the show, but I think one of the things that always I feel you are so relatable to men women alike, working home or not, is you've been in the trenches of being kind of the primary caregiver with young children along with juggling everything else. And for our listeners, I first met Mel several years ago in a coaching program I was in. You came in and were a guest speaker there, really talking about a lot on the finance side. And I was just so blown away because you were the first time I had come across someone who really talked about all the numbers and geeking out of finances and money and wealth and all of that, that I was a math major. I love numbers. But you were the first person to really talk about the relationship of time and money, and that the end game isn't about, like, great, so what if you're a gazillionaire, but you spend every minute working? You don't get to live any. And so I started following Mel on social media and did for several years. And then you did a reel, which was actually just a clip of you speaking on a stage a while back where you talked about work life balance versus work life harmony. It wasn't long after that I was like, all right. And I am now a student of Mel's, and I've learned so much. But I would love to hear kind of before we dive into the time money kind of conversation, what is your definition of work life harmony?
So here's the thing and why I don't believe in balance, and this is what came at. We can go back to me being a single dad, is that I got pushed out of my partnership by my partners when early on, and it happened to be the same year where I became that full time dad. And here I have a five and a half, six year old boy living with me that I'm supposed to take care of and everything. I have no clients. I have no client backlog. I had nothing except ferber in my heart to go get it. And so I did what most entrepreneurs did, and I got on the treadmill, I started running. I stuck my head down and I thought, all right, I'll get clients, I'll get cash flow. We'll be okay. I was 300,000 plus in debt because we just bought a house, and there I was. And so I started to get clients, cash started to come in. I'm thinking that things are great. I think that everything is going to work well. And then Jeremy comes running in. He says. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. I drew a picture of your school today. And so he was so excited. I stopped. I look at this picture and this blue felt tip pen, and it's me standing in front of two computer screens with a phone in each year and in the hands of a six year old boy, I got the greatest business lesson I could have ever imagined. Now, at the very beginning, I don't know that I was ready to accept it, because it would have been easy to sit back and say, kid, I got to do this. We need the profits to take care of things. We need the profits to go do the things, to go do the Disneyland and the trips and have all that. But we weren't having all that. And once I understood that it wasn't the profits that mattered to him, it was my presence that mattered to him. That's when I started to look at how do you do life, how do you do business, and how do you do money differently? Because everyone got in my ear at that time and said, Mel, you just got to find work life balance. And I thought, that's a myth, because the idea of balance requires two counterbalancing weights. It's like playing tug of war, and you're playing tug of war with your identity. You're playing tug of war with your energy. You're playing tug of war with everything, because you want to go live in your work bucket for 810 hours, and then you got to get out of that bucket, and you're going to go to the next bucket. And now we're at home. I'm in dad mode or I'm in mom mode or I'm in hobby mode. You have these compartmentalized existences. And I thought, how does that not create more friction in life? How does that not create more angst in life? And so that's when I started to look at it and say, it's truly about harmony. How do you do things in a way that feed your values, your vision, and the things that really matter? And there's a word that comes to mind when we do that, and that is intent being intentional. Now, there may be seasons of life where you just got to dig in and you got to get some things done. But where the problem is, I think where we lose harmony is when it is not by our own doing, when it is not intentional. When we got on a boat, on a river, on a current, without rudders, without paddles, we don't know where it's going, and someone else is dictating that. And you hear me talk about money a lot, but I think the ultimate curse currency is time, and that we should be measuring our wealth in time. Because when we do that, when we start to look at it and say, how many moments, how much of the moments of your life do you control? Do you have the ability to say yes or no to? Because the more I can control the moments of my time, the wealthier and richer I am and the more in harmony I will be. And that's where I start to see.
You need to put that on a shirt right there. I love that. So everybody listening now is like, okay, now I see why Mel is here on the show today. So when people first come to you, or you probably get people in all stages of finance when you first meet them, what is it that is typically you see as the biggest problem that people have today when it comes to managing and planning, when it comes to their finances and money?
I think the first thing is a willingness to talk about it. The willingness to acknowledge and get aware. We grew up in a society where money was taboo. We don't talk about money, we don't talk about religion, we don't talk about politics, and we don't talk about sex. I don't know, to me, if maybe we had more conversations around those things, some of those things probably wouldn't be as taboo and problematic. But the one thing I do know is that if we choose not to talk about issues in our life, they will never get solved. A problem gets solved by having conversation first. And that conversation a lot of times is with ourselves. And so the first thing is to be willing to have open conversations and to be okay with saying, hey, I don't know what I don't know, I'm okay with that, and to realize that most everyone out there and this is a very generalized statement when it comes to money if they're not intentional with it. We get our education from money. Not from learnings, but from observation. We're watching our parents, we're watching the media, we're watching social media now. We're watching commentators, and we're taking that in as if it was fact. But the problem is that in that process, we create interpretations in our mind which create stories, which create obstacles, which create a different money identity or set point, as I call it. So now you can't move or you choose not to move because you think you're not capable of it. I believe that doesn't matter where your age or stage of life is, doesn't matter what your circumstances are. It may mean that you have a bigger boulder and a heavier hill to climb, but everyone has the possibility of being financially free. And we start that by having conversations, being willing to say, hey, I don't know this. Can I ask a question? And one of the things that I try to make sure I do is I'm not here to sell investments, insurance or anything like that. I want people to be sold on their dreams, and I want to create a safe environment for them to be able to ask questions, not feel like it's silly, not feel like they should know it, not feel like because I'm not perfect. I've made a ton of mistakes so I think the first thing is really acknowledging it and having a willingness to be open to try and learn. Because I think the other threshold is that often we believe that it is complicated.
And I love that you bring that up because it's so. And you and I have had this conversation on just the parallels of my approach to helping people manage their time and your approach to helping people plan and manage with their money. It's not time management and finances typically are not something we are taught in school. You might know a little math on balancing a checkbook maybe, but they're not even teaching that anymore because now everything is credit card based. And I knew I had this kind of realization in my early 40s where I was like, I'm kind of feeling embarrassed that I didn't know more that I knew. But then I also realized, well, I haven't taken any of the classes and I think so many like I thought it was a all or nothing. Like, well, either I missed my opportunity to major in finance in college, therefore, I now am going to be a person who maybe gets a financial advisor and just kind of smiles and nods in our meetings, which is essentially what I had done for years, going, Well, I guess that's why I've hired him. I'll just kind of smile and nod my way through this, not understanding half of what they're saying, and the opportunities were there for me to ask questions. But then we feel embarrassed. And so the fact that you brought up you want to create that safe environment. I think that's one of the things I have loved so much in going through your program is I don't feel like I can't ask anything because I'm not made to feel silly for not already knowing it. And we shouldn't because I didn't major in finance. I'm not a CPA. I don't know all this stuff.
And that's the thing. So I didn't come from a financial background in the sense of my upbringing. And my dad was a chemical plastics engineer. I mean, if it was a slide rule in chemistry, he fixed everything with duct tape and epoxy cement. That's my upbringing. He certainly knew math, but he didn't know finance or investing and everything. But you think about just some simple things that if they just taught us in school like I get my hair cut with this young kid who's 23 years old, and I go in there, he knows what I do. So we talk money, we talk investments, we talk about that. And he says to me, one of my good buddies just bought a $5,000 watch. And I go, really? He said yeah. I said, does he make a lot of money? He said, no, he's like me. He's 23 years old. I go, So why did he buy it? He said, Because his friends thought it was cool. And I said, cool. I said, Can I do some math for you? And he said, yeah. I said, Every dollar that you put away in your 20s will turn into somewhere between 70 and $80 by the time you're 60, 65. I said, So $5,000 for a watch seems really cool to impress people that maybe aren't in your life after two or three more years. But what you actually did is if we take 80 times, you actually spent a $400,000 future, and I'm okay with it. I'll never tell people most often I'll never tell people not to do something. But just like we talked about the harmony, I just want them to be aware, conscious, and intentional. So if the person knows, hey, I'm spending $5,000, that could actually, if I invested, it could take me and build a $400,000 nest egg. If I did that, do I really need it? I love it. I'm going to do it. They're intentional. They do it cool. They made the proper decision. But I can assure you that this kid had no idea, and he thinks it's $5,000. But if we just got people, and especially our youth and at any stage of life, to start understanding how much time is a factor in our wealth creation and that by front loading things or doing some of that, we can change and shift their financial destiny by doing that. And truly, as much as time is how we respond to the day, how we interact with the day, wealth is less about money and more about behaviors and habits also. And when we understand that there's two sides to that coin now you're the only one responsible for where you are because it's a behavior issue. It's a decision, it's a choice, it's a habit. But the good side of that coin is you're responsible for where you go. We can change the behaviors. We can change the habits. We can change the decisions, and we can change the trajectory of ourselves financially.
And I know one of the things I've really appreciated that my husband and I are now we're having just very different conversations than we used to around having that awareness of what are the trade offs and what do they ultimately mean? So just as when we sit down and say, okay, I've got 8 hours today, sometimes it's easier to say, all right, how do I want to spend that? But we have to look at then what's the future impact? Right? Because it's not just about the here and now with both our time and our money. And so now we're having very different conversations around, well, if we choose this here's, what that means in the now versus what does this mean for us 15 potentially years later? And so it has been a real shift in feeling like instead of just as I want to make sure people aren't just passengers in the seat of their own life, like feeling like they have no control over their time, and they're just responding to everybody else. I've learned just how powerful it is to feel now like, you've got to also can't be a passenger in your financial life either because you'd just kind of be floating along like you talked about, instead of feeling confident enough to ask the right questions, have the conversations, understand what the impact of your choices are. And as you keep saying to all of us, there's no right or wrong. There's no good or bad. It's just you need to understand it to then make your decision with all the information at hand, which is so incredible.
It really is about educating and empowering and equipping people to be fully informed. And like it or not, I believe that the financial services industry, they have a bias. They have a vested interest in making it feel complicated to create a reliance on them. And if we're not careful, what we do is rather than working with an advisor, we relinquish control of our financial future to an advisor without understanding that they may have a bias or they may have they're never there to take the wheel from your hands. You're the captain of your financial ship. They're there to be the advisor, the navigator of the deck hands that will help you understand what is ahead. But always, always, we keep our hands on the wheel because no one's going to care about your financial future any more than you.
Yeah, so true. And it's been a real change for me now to feel like I know how to get behind the wheel. Still got a lot of questions, but at least more awareness of knowing what it is that we don't know to actually be able to do that. So when you first start out, you have an incredible framework inside of your program. Where do you typically start? People, when it's teaching them, come to you with a I don't know what I don't know? Where am I at? I don't even know. I think so many people just get confused on I don't even know where to start.
Yeah, well, I think that what I want to do first is define two points. The first point is what? And we call it the Affluence vision. Where do we want to go? Too often when we talk to advisors, they look at you and say, well, how much money are you making? I'm making $100,000. Okay, so they're working towards replacing the 100,000. Okay, well, that's fine if $100,000 a year will give you the vision of the life you want. But if it is far less than what you need, then we're not doing the right thing. And so I want to define the destination. I want to define what it looks like. I want to put a price tag on it, at least an estimate. I want us looking in that direction without the filter of how, because that how will get in the way of our grand dreams. And so I think that we define that piece of it first. The second element of that is when someone then says, well, this is what I want. The second element of that is why? Why? Because if it's an arbitrary number million dollars, $10 million, 100 million, whatever it is, it's an arbitrary number. There's no emotionally compelling reason to go towards it. And I think that we have a rampant level of want in our world today where people want too much, but they don't will enough. And what I mean by that is this is that it's easy to make a list of wants. We could do it at every New Year's week. I want this. I want this. I want to lose weight. I want to have this relationship. I want to have finances. I want, okay, and when we go through the year and we don't get there, we go, I wanted it. Well, I'll put it on the list for next year. See, to me, wants, there's no commitment behind it, right? But when we then strip down the wants, the list of, I don't know, 2030 wants down to three wills, where we're making an absolute declaration saying, I will be in shape. I will be financially free. I will have a wonderful relationship. Now, people don't like that because it's a commitment. It's a declaration. And now when we say that, we absolutely have to align our actions, our identity, and our work towards that. So a want is easier to be flexible on. And I think that when we define things in the form of declarations and wills, it completely changes the way we show up and everything. So vision the why and making it a declaration, then we look at it and say, okay, now we know where we want to go. Let's figure out where we're at. So let's look at the reality of today not to feel beat up, not to blame, but to understand. And now we see the gap, and now our role and your advisors roles and everything is saying, I now know the gap I want to fill, and I understand why, and it's driven by my values and everything else. And if you're in a committed relationship, want to be in a committed relationship or in a partnership of sorts, I think that's done together. I think that's done with everyone in a way that you have a chance to build it together properly because it is not a solitary pursuit. And I know I grew up in a traditional household. Dad took care of the money. Mom was the homemaker type of a thing. But both my wife and I saw our mothers freak out when we lost our dads because they said both of them thought, can we stay in the house? Am I going to be able to survive? And with her mom, we spent an extra. I said, let's just change our trip. I'm going to stay here another week. We'll settle things out. So I was able to settle everything down for her and say, you're fine, you're good. Here's how it's going to work, and you're good. And so there needs to be communication between couples in a way that isn't about, well, you know, honey, you spent $10 too much on this, because that's never going to go well. But it's around the vision for your life, because if you're committed to that vision and it is the will you're declaring it, that's what we want, then it's easier to say, well, then we need to do this in our finances, but if we do it from the bottom up, then we start to destroy relationships.
And I love that going through that process, and I wanted people to hear that because I think everyone thinks, oh, the minute you start with finance is the first thing we're going to have to do is start collecting bank state. And that's starting there, I think, is where most people start. And that is not a fun place to start if you haven't done that visioning. Because having when my husband and I went through that and really nailed down, what do we want retirement to look like? I mean, I want my travel budget to be massive. I loved it. That is my half, what we used to be, right? And so when you come at it from that angle first, then when we're sitting down to say, okay, what are our actuals what is the gap? Well, now we're having a conversation about our vision, not about finger pointing, of where things are going. And it was just a very gentle way, I think, of walking through that, but it gets everybody on the same page. And so I think that that is definitely what I feel is a superpower of yours, is making the money not just about the money. It's about your life, your communication, your dreams, your visions, your everything. The money part is the easy part to figure out once you have, like, that's just data that we could look at. So I think that what you are offering the world at large with this approach to thinking about your long term wealth harmony in your life and all of that is just such a tremendous gift. And I know it really has changed our life here. So I just can't thank you enough for that.
Thank you. It's certainly a passion for me. I feel like that's what in this new season and this new chapter of my life. That's why I need to be here.
For sure, for everybody listening, where is the best place for people to get connected with you, to learn more about your program as well and just everything that you have going on right now.
So oh, gosh, thanks. I'm on Instagram. Mel Abraham nine. I don't know who the first eight are, but we'll find.
I'll. Have the link in the show notes as well.
Also, I have a show called the Afternoon Entrepreneur Show. I do a lot of stuff on financial topics there, but I also will take questions from folks and the audience. Some will bring on live, some I'll do coaching, and they can actually submit questions to [email protected] if they want to. And then my website, Melabraham.com, we've got tools and stuff there. The whole idea is between the work that you do and the work that we do, if we can have control of our money and control of our time, we have controlled the two most important currencies that give us. And I think that the important thing is that it's and you kind of mentioned this, is that it isn't about the money. It really is about, one, the richness in life, which is not what's in the bank account. It's what's in your heart, it's how you experience it, it's how you feel. It the feelings and all that because there's plenty of people with lots of money and they got a miserable life or miserable health or miserable relationships. It's about having freedom, but not just financial freedom. I actually think financial freedom is the most rudimentary freedom we could ask for. It's financial freedom at the base, but it's to give us two other freedoms. It's to give us time freedom and it's to give us mind freedom. And when we have peace of mind and control of our time and the money to make that happen, we, I think, have created an environment of what I call affluence, because it's not opulence. Affluence is a meaningful life, an impactful life, a fruitful life, and a peaceful life. And that's the game I think that.
We should play so powerful. And for those listening, you do not have to be an entrepreneur to submit questions, to get help, all of that. That is certainly not a requirement. So I just want people to realize that. And I would definitely encourage everyone to go ahead and subscribe to the Affluent Entrepreneur podcast. I watch either the videos or listen to you in my ear every week as well. And if you're still nervous about asking questions publicly, that is a perfect place to get started because you provide so much knowledge and information there that I learn all the time. So thank you for sharing your what I consider your most precious commodity, which is your time with us here today. It really means a lot.
Oh, my God. Thank you for having me. Thank you for asking. And I feel blessed to be here.
Getting on top of all things time management, organization, and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one-tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the App Store or Google Play and download the Pink Bee app. It's one word, thepinkbee. It is jampacked with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony. And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five-star review.