Building Your Spiritual Money With Walter Clarke

ILBS 35 | Spiritual Money

 

Much like alcohol and drugs, money can become an addiction as well. Walter Clarke was once obsessed with earning more to satisfy his never-ending wants, but now leads a better life focused on spiritual money. He joins Tim Westbrook, MS as he looks back on how he chased money all his life, only to become miserable, devastated, and depressed. He reflects on his path to redemption, eliminating his unhealthy relationship with money. Walter has chosen to concentrate on providing value instead of simply being materialistic. He warns everyone not to be consumed by society acting as a huge Madison Avenue, painting happiness as if a by-product of amassing immense wealth and possessions.

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Building Your Spiritual Money With Walter Clarke

We started this show because there’s so much misinformation about addiction treatment, mental illness and recovery in general. There’s so much more to recovery than just going to inpatient treatment, seeing a therapist, and going to Twelve-Step meetings. All of those things are important and AA saved my life.

However, to find long-term recovery and live happy, joyous, and free, there’s a lot more to it than stopping the drinking, drugs, sex addiction or addictive behavior for that matter. To live a new life, a person needs new healthy lifestyle habits, amongst many other things. Typically, this includes new eating, sleeping, and exercise habits, new hobbies, interests and friends. Self-care becomes a priority and the list goes on. Those are the types of things that we talk about on this show.

I’m here with Walter Clarke and we are going to talk about money as it relates to a person in recovery. Walter was sober at 24 years old and he’s a man in long-term recovery. He spent years as a Financial Educator teaching at many prestigious universities like UC Berkeley, UCLA, ASU, DePaul, University of San Diego, UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis. In 2003, he started his investment firm and experienced chasing money, chasing 6 figures, 7 figures and then 8 figures.

He’s a great person to talk to when it comes to chasing money and the role of money for a person trying to get clean, sober and live a clean life. He’s committed to communicating and teaching the many lessons he and others have learned in the quest for happiness, keeping wealth without losing oneself or the people they care about. The title of this show is Spiritual Money. We are going to talk about the role of money for people in recovery. Walter, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Tim. Thanks for having me. Again, this is my second stint on your show. You do an amazing job. Money and spirituality are dear to my heart. Thank you.

Give me a quick version of your upbringing and how you’ve got sober and why you’ve got sober.

I’ve got sober young. You mentioned I’ve got sober at 24, I’ve actually got sober at 22. My path in recovery was my dad was recovering and I watched him. For me, it wasn’t anything that was ever planned. I didn’t want to be sober. I didn’t want to ever have to not drink but my life came apart very early on so I knew I needed to do something. As we look at this particular topic, recovery, money, and all those things, I remember vividly getting sober at 22, how do you have fun? How do you be successful? How do you do all these things early in sobriety? What is my life going to be like if I truly am a spiritual being?

I’m Catholic. There are a couple of things that are at forefront of my mind early on. There’s a biblical phrase that says, “It’s easier for a rich man to enter the gates of heaven than for a camel to fit through an eye of a needle.” I might have gotten that backward but it dignifies. For me, what I captured out of that is money and spirituality do not go hand in hand. You can’t have money and be spiritual. That was very problematic for me early on in my sobriety because I wanted to be successful. That was my path. I thought money was a taboo inside of spirituality. That was challenging in the beginning.

What gives you the right to claim you are an expert on spiritual money and building wealth?

Money and spirituality do not go hand in hand. You can't have money and be spiritual. Click To Tweet

I don’t know that I’m an expert. I have a tremendous amount of experience. I remember early in my sobriety, I said, “If I made six figures, that would be an amount of money that would be the standard of being successful.” I will never forget when I crossed that threshold and I was there. I thought, “That’s not as much money as I thought it would be.” When I made seven figures, that wasn’t as much money as I thought it would be. It’s interesting how the line moves. I have been a financial educator for years. I have been around almost every level of wealth that you can imagine. As a result of that, I have watched and seen a lot of things.

I have seen it personally and from people that I have been around at every level. What I capture from that is a lot of experience around the meaning of money, the pursuit of money, what I call healthy money versus unhealthy money, and problem money people versus not problem money people. With alcohol in general, some people have a very healthy relationship with alcohol. I didn’t. I needed help relative to money issues in my life, even though I was a financial educator. It’s interesting.

What’s the difference between healthy money and unhealthy money?

It’s very similar to the drink. For me, I pursued money because of what I thought money could do for me. Money as a thing is a status. What money could give and mean to me? What money could buy and what possessions I could have? Money was a measurement of who I was as a person. What car did I drive? What house do I live in? It was external.

I chased money because money was a vehicle that made me feel better. The more money I had, the more shit I bought and the bigger my life got. Anybody can ask themselves this question. You get an adrenaline rush from the new thing, whether it’s a new outfit, dress, car, house or anything. There’s a dopamine hit from it.

The problem with that dopamine hit is it doesn’t last, even the new car. I always say in my talks about money and possessions, it’s like a banana. It has a shelf life of about two weeks, and then it gets brown and rotten. Whatever you have bought, gets stale. It doesn’t have the long-term effect that you are looking for. That in and of itself is what I believe is a long-term unhealthy relationship with money. That’s the relationship I had with money because I wasn’t okay inside. I needed something external to make me feel better. You are on this constant treadmill of more stuff and things because you get something you feel good but then it evaporates and you’ve got to get something else to fill the hole.

That treadmill never ends. It never stops. I will never forget that I was teaching a class up in San Francisco at UC Berkeley and I had this kid. He was a very early employee at Google. He had one of the healthiest relationships with the money I have ever seen. I have learned so much from him. Money was not a thing to him. It meant something completely different than what it meant to me. Money for him was a by-product of the amount of service and impact he provided in whatever he was doing.

It was a measurement of his value inside Google and his community. It was a thing. It didn’t make him feel better. It was a measurement of the game. People that pursue money because it’s a vehicle for them to feel better, never get there. Others who look at money as a measurement of how much service and value they provide have a healthy view of it. To me, that’s the two roads. I have watched people go down both roads and I have watched myself go down both of them.

ILBS 35 | Spiritual Money

Spiritual Money: If you constantly feed your world with unnecessary wealth, it’s a dead-end street. It’s like a drug that never ends.

 

When you buy something new, it’s that dopamine hit. You get a rush. You buy a new house, outfit and car. It only lasts so long. It’s like a drink or a drug. You always need more. You need more once you crash. There’s a study that people need to make enough money to survive and pay their bills. Making more money than the amount of money that they need to pay their bills and live, and be somewhat comfortable doesn’t create more happiness. It’s pretty much in line with that.

I have seen it. Money is not the thing that generates happiness. Money is in itself. What’s frustrating is we are in a culture of Madison Avenue and you look at all these different speakers that are running around all over the place. They are showing their selves on private jets, big homes and big lives. That’s at the end of the day what will make you happy and it doesn’t. People look at that as a measurement of success. “I have a Lamborghini. I’ve got a plane. I’ve got a big house. I’m on these big vacations,” but you don’t know what’s behind that. Are they living that lifestyle because of leverage and loans?

Are they overextended? Are they living that life because they have generated and understand this financial equation called, “Here’s how much money I bring in. Here’s how much money I spend?” The measurement of financial health is called free cashflow. How much free cashflow do you have at the end of every month? What was incredible for me is I always thought I could out-earn my financial troubles. Meaning that if I made more money, eventually, I would earn so much that I would be in a great financial position.

What happened for me is my spending continued to match my income. If there are five drinks on the table, I’m going to drink five drinks. If there are ten drinks, I’m going to drink ten drinks. I thought, “You can’t spend six figures.” Until I was making seven figures and I had no money. It’s crazy. It happens. It’s easy to spend money. It’s easy to lock in the car dealership and get a loan and justify these behaviors. In your head, there’s always a good reason why. “Everybody needs a 10,000 square foot house.”

You and I both know that happiness is fulfillment. That’s how we are happy. People think they are going to be happier by buying the big 10,000 square foot house or the new car. This is what I’m gathering from what you said was people are fulfilled by creating value. If I create more value, if I’m of service and I get compensated for that service, then that’s a healthy relationship with money as opposed to how can I win the lottery?

If you look at the basic elements of the program, we are doing one thing. We are shifting from a self-centered world to an other-centered world. In the world of addiction, it’s all about us. In the world of programs for charity, it’s all about you. Money is the same thing. I made the huge mistake of getting sober and going, “I’m sober and I’m going to pursue money.” In a very selfish way. Everything I did and how I looked at the world was, “How much money can I make off of this? What’s in it for me?”

Where did that thinking come from?

I grew up in a very competitive environment. I grew up as an athlete. I grew up in, winning is everything. That mentality of performance, goal, and trophy was what drove me. I was very external all of my life. I’ve got acclimates when I won a race. When I lost the race, I didn’t get acclimated. I’m like, “What the fuck? What is up with that? How come these people don’t know me? How come they don’t like me?” I lost the race. Very quickly, I realized that my whole world revolved around performance and looking good. Money ties right into that, whether you are winning the race or money game. It’s everywhere.

The guy that shows up in the best car, has the biggest house, the nicest girlfriend and all that, he’s the guy that everybody looks at and says, “I want to be that guy.” At the end of the day, if you constantly feed your world with that, it’s a dead-end street. It’s like a drug that never ends. It’s a thirst and appetite. I have watched it everywhere. That’s why actors and celebrities commit suicide at a very high rate because they have fame, fortune and it’s not enough. They are still empty.

It's hard to get honest with money. It's like a drug and alcohol addiction. You drink, you end up in the gutter. Click To Tweet

They wake up one day and have everything they ever thought they wanted and they are still miserable because they haven’t fixed whatever it is inside that is empty. For all of us, it’s that spiritual connection. It’s the equation of others. Tim, if I’m of service to you, to my fellow man in my business and family, that’s the dynamic that creates that joy in my life. Money is a by-product of that action. That’s a very different way to look at all this stuff.

When did you realize that you had an unhealthy relationship with money?

That’s like the drinking addiction. I had it longer than I realized I did. When I look back, you can ask yourself some interesting questions about money. For me, I was always on the money edge. The other part of this addiction is when you are on the money train and you are spending more than you make, meaning that your financial life is chaotic and you are on the financial edge, there’s something wrong with that. That is an addictive behavior.

It’s the adrenaline rush of being on the edge. It’s a thrill read like, “Am I going to make enough money this month? Am I going to be able to meet my credit cards? Am I going to be able to pay that bill?” You buy something and you put it on a credit card and you are like, “Should I do that or not? Am I going to be able to make that payment at the end of the month? I want that dress. I want that trip. I want to go to Indonesia. I want to have that new Mercedes.” It’s one of those things, Tim. You’ve got to get beaten down. I lost my firm in 2012. I’ve got obliterated because I made some poor decisions relative to financial pressure. As a result, I was in the gutter and I was a guy that lost my firm who was making seven figures.

That was the gut check for me. I had to go down the elevator to the bottom of the financial ruin to wake up and go, “Holy shit. Maybe we ought to look at this stuff.” I’m the financial educator teaching classes at UCLA, UC Berkeley to a millionaire, centimillionaire, millionaire and billionaires. I had all walks of life in my class and here I was, the cobbler’s kids don’t have any shoes. It’s crazy stuff. I had to get honest. We all have different levels of when we get there.

For anybody reading this, what is your relationship with money and does money provide stress? Do you have the illusion that, “If I made more money, I would be okay. If I’ve got a better job, it would be okay?” No. Who buys lottery tickets? Wealthy people don’t buy lottery tickets. Homeless people buy lottery tickets. They are saying I’m homeless and don’t have money, yet they have enough money to buy lottery tickets.

The whole financial equation has fucked up for people and got to get honest about how much money they make, what they spend and how much they have leftover because there’s a dynamic at play around needs, wants, desires, and saying no to yourself and having discipline. It’s like fitness. You have an overweight person that doesn’t want to go to the gym. They’ve got to take a health assessment and see how healthy they were. Going to somebody that’s a financial coach and say, “I need help.”

What are some of the questions that someone can ask themselves to determine whether or not they have a healthy relationship with money? Do I spend more money than I make? Another thing I wanted to mention and you’ve told me this before is that, when people are making money, they think they are always going to make money.

ILBS 35 | Spiritual Money

Spiritual Money: When you have enough passive income to meet your obligations, you’re free.

 

That’s not always the case. Just because I’m making money now doesn’t mean I’m going to make money tomorrow. I’m making money now so I feel good about throwing something on my credit card but guess what? Tides change. Maybe I don’t make as much money next month or the month after, and then I’m in the hole. A lot of people end up making that type of decision.

It’s a relatively simple financial assessment. 1) You look at your job and how much money you make. 2) You look at what you spend. When you look at what you spend, you divide your expenditures up into two categories. One is your fixed expenses. Those are all the things that you have to pay for. Your loans and payments. They are fixed. There are your variable expenses. It’s lifestyle, clothing, trips, entertainment and food. You look at those relationships. The third is how much you have leftover.

If you are always hand-to-mouth, there’s never enough money, and you are always on the emotional edge at the end of the month, you’ve got to look at that. You’ve got to go, “What the fuck am I doing?” You’ve got to go back and look at your fixed. How much of your life is financed? I talk a lot about this and in programs and stuff. I tell people, “Never finance a depreciating asset ever. Never put a depreciating asset on a loan, terms, payment.” They go, “What is that? What’s a depreciating asset?” It’s any asset that when you buy it, immediately goes down in value.

That’s it. It’s a car or an outfit. Think about the dress that you buy wherever Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, the department store, you’ve got to have it. It’s $500, $1,000, $2,000. You can buy that same outfit at my sister’s closet, six months from now for $100 it goes down in value. You never finance something that goes down in value. Smart loans are things that go up in value homes, assets. People don’t understand, especially kids. They don’t understand the distinct difference between assets that go down in value versus assets that go up in value and that you’ve got to buy assets.

Sharon Lechter is such a great advocate of this. Buy assets. Assets are sexy. That’s not what sells. That’s not what gets followers and viewers. If you look at the gurus out there, they are talking about stuff. They are showing you bright, shiny cars, great trips, and outfits, big houses. It’s a simple assessment. Do you have free cashflow? Do you have money leftover and what do you do with that? Are you buying assets that generate a return? Therefore, you can get an alternate source of income. That’s the whole financial freedom equation.

Money is divided into two categories. Earned income, where you trade time for money versus passive income, where you wake up and it shows up in your mailbox. When you have enough passive income to meet your obligations, you are free. It’s not an amount of money. What it is, is an amount of money that generates passive income to where you can call in sick because you’ve got mailbox money. The higher your spending, the more money you need. The lower your spending, the less money you need. People ask me, “What do you need to be wealthy? Is it $1 million, $5 million, $10 million, $100 million?”

It all depends on how much you spend. I have seen people at $1 million that are very wealthy. I have seen others at $50 million that are poor. I get criticized for that because they were like, “How can you have $50 million and be poor?” You’ve got a lot of shit, loans and leverage. Think about the bankruptcies that we have seen of famous people. They had $50 million in assets but they had $200 million in debt.

If you are making $1 million, $2 million or $5 million a year, people will lend you a lot of money. You can buy tens of millions of dollars worth of shit because you make a good income. When that income stops, you get injured as an athlete, you don’t get the next movie deal. You get fired as the CEO and there’s a market downturn, you are in trouble.

What does the person do when they discover that they have an unhealthy relationship with money? What’s the next step?

People got to get educated financially. If you're not making enough income, get educated. Click To Tweet

That’s the first step.

What’s the next step after that? People intuitively know. If you are stressed out at the end of every single month, you are looking at your bank account, you are having to shuffle money around and trying to figure out, “How much money am I going to pay on this credit card? Don’t forget my car payment.” If that’s your line of thinking, you probably have an unhealthy relationship with money. What do they do next? What did you do when you discovered it and you were ready to do something about it?

Whether it’s sex, pills, drugs or money, it’s the same formula inside the steps. You’ve got to get with somebody that I believe is in a Twelve-Step program that is successful who has challenged these money issues. You’ve got to be able to relate to somebody that has been there. That’s what I did. My sponsor is uber-successful and has a very healthy relationship with money. He helped me quite a bit. You’ve got to get honest. It’s hard to get honest with money. Like drug and alcohol addiction, you drink, you end up in the gutter. You can exist for a long time in an unhealthy money addiction.

It will show up in your life in very different ways. It will create health problems because the stress associated with unhealthy money issues manifests itself in a lot of different ways. It’s breaking it down. The first step, it’s the inventory. It’s turning it over to God. It’s getting with somebody else that’s not you that understands the money equation that can help you get honest. It’s about accountability. For me, when I had money in my account, I was twitching. It’s like, “What can I buy?” I’ve got extra money. I wouldn’t tell anybody.

My fiancé is incredible. She has helped to slow me down. It’s about crafting new behaviors, methods, different views, being accountable, and having somebody there so when you go outside and you do something stupid, then you can take corrective measures. For guys like me and people who have an unhealthy relationship with money, it is not natural for me to be responsible for the money. I have to work at it. I don’t have a healthy relationship with alcohol and drugs. I have to go to Twelve-Step programs to remind me what is healthy.

It’s important and people need to understand in addiction recovery that if you drop the alcohol and the drugs, sex, gambling, and money are right around the corner. The problem with money is that everybody can pat you on the back and look like you’ve got a great life but underneath the covers, you don’t. You can have this image that you’ve got your shit together but you don’t. I had coffee with a good buddy of mine and he talked about a private equity guy that committed suicide.

I will bet you any money that when they start peeling back the curtain of that guy’s life, he had this rock star status life but underneath the cover is probably overly levered. Something happened in his world where his world started coming apart and he could not raise his hand and say, “I need help.” He offed himself as a way out. There was a high-profile case back in 2008. It was a guy by the name of Scott Coles. He was a big-money real estate lender in town who committed suicide because he got over-levered and his whole empire was going to come down.

Instead of raising hand capitulating, “I’ve got a problem.” Looking for help, the financial guys because there’s so much ego and arrogant wrapped up in who they are, that for them to fall down the financial ladder is something that they can’t even fathom. Suicide is an option. For me, thank God, my ego wasn’t big enough to where when I’ve got crushed, it was like, “It’s just geography. I will figure it out.” I was blessed in that respect. It’s devastating.

ILBS 35 | Spiritual Money

Spiritual Money: The problem with money is that everybody can pat you on the back and look like you got a great life, but underneath the covers, you don’t.

 

You’ve got to get humble and get with somebody that has been there. The premise of the steps, Tim, and the fellowship and the program, but sex and money are these two things that we don’t talk a lot about. I applaud you for having me on because I was on the sex deal a few months ago. Now, I’m on the money deal. Those things that we don’t talk about are the things that are going to kill us.

The only discussion of money is most people owe financial amends when they get sober. They need to figure out how to pay people back. As far as the relationship with money, chasing money, chasing 6 and 7 figures, that’s not talked about at all.

People sometimes in the fellowship, “I can’t talk about money. I don’t want to know what you do. We are going to be here for sobriety.” It’s whole bullshit. I sincerely believe that alcohol was not my problem. Alcohol was my solution. I drank to feel better. As a result of alcohol, that solution magnified itself. It made my problem worse.

Once I eliminate alcohol, I’m a pleasure seeker. I’m going to seek pleasure in either spiritual, service, money and sex pleasure. That’s who we are. It is not readily obvious to us initially that a spiritual life produces what we are looking for. It wasn’t for me. I thought I needed a nice girlfriend and a lot of money. I needed to go to the swanky places and do all this stuff that is considered to be successful and it would make me happy. It didn’t.

How did you feel when you’ve finally got to where you had the money, house, girl and car?

My life at that point was a wife, it was three kids. I didn’t buy just a house. I bought a compound. It had two gated entrances, one in the front, one in the back, 10,000 square feet, a guest house and 2.5 acres. It was incredible but not incredible from the standpoint of “look at me.” I remember when I bought that house, I thought, “I am the biggest deal on the face of the Earth.” I thought I had arrived. Again, I go back to the analogy that banana, a month later, all I had was a big goddamn house with a whole bunch of lonely people in it and I was right at the center of that.

I remember my wife was getting confirmed and we had this big celebration for that, which was very cool for her. We had all these priests over and I’m Catholic. I remember they were walking around and anytime anybody would walk around my house, they would talk about what an amazing person I was and this house. I’m like, “You have no idea of the emptiness that’s going on in me.” I remember that day very vividly. This one priest was like, “This is spectacular. We should have weddings here.” I wanted to figure out how to unwind this life that I was in.

You never get there. I know other people that have had bigger and multiple houses, planes and boats. It’s the same thing. The other thing too that I also don’t agree with is that people talk about, “I don’t need money. Those people that make all that money, they are whatever.” I don’t believe you’ve got to be poor to be spiritual. I think that’s totally backward because, in my world, money is a by-product of the amount of service I provide. I look at everything like, “How can I add value to your equation in my current business and relationships? How can I add value to the people that I hang out with? How can I help you?”

It’s a very different mindset because you look at service first and then you go, “The money will take care of itself. It will come if I do the right thing and I’m of service.” Where before I would look at a relationship and go, “That’s X amount of dollars to me.” I looked at money first and service second. Now I look at service first and money second. As a result, I told the guy, I said, “My overhead is a fraction of where it was before and it’s not going to change.” My free cashflow is high. My overhead is low. I have never gone back to high income, high overhead.

The skillset you need to make money is different from keeping your wealth. Click To Tweet

That is a recipe for disaster. It operates at every level. That’s the challenge when we look at this world, as you may look at somebody and go, “They’ve got such a great life.” I want to walk up to the guy in the Lamborghini and ask him, “Did you finance it? Did you lease it or buy it?” That’s not the answer I’m looking for. The answer I’m looking for is you should buy it for cash because if he’s wealthy enough to own an expensive car, he better not finance it. That tells me he’s extended. Smart people do not finance cars.

Is there a question that you have wanted to be asked or that you would like me to ask you? We are coming up to the end of the interview here. Is there a question that I have missed or a question that you would like that you wanted me to ask that I didn’t ask?

It’s a simple equation, Tim. People got to get educated financially. They’ve got to roll up their sleeves. It’s like anything else. There are two sides to the equation. There’s the income and the expense side. If you are not making enough income, go get educated. We are in an incredible time where you can go on the internet and learn a new skill and up your earning capacity. I don’t buy that, “I’m stuck economically.” The way the internet, the world, and how you can learn and be mentored is wide open. People like to be a victim.

They like to be stuck because then I can go, “It’s your problem, Tim. It’s my boss’s fault. It’s my upbringing. I’m not educated.” Bullshit. Take responsibility for where you are at, and then take responsibility for controlling you. Anyone who reads to this, the person you have to control to be financially successful and have financial freedom is yourself. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, do you have the ability to say no to you?

Once you get a handle on that and get people around you that you can be accountable to and learn this money game. The money game is not hard. I have taught the money game for years and it’s super simple. People make it complicated, “I don’t understand that.” It’s a simple equation. There are a ton of stuff out there on the internet. Once you understand the game, revenue, expenses, personal controls, and the ability to say no to yourself, “I always want new shit but I don’t buy new shit because I want money left over. I want freedom. If I got a problem, I want to solve it because I have the money to do it.”

I don’t want to always be on the financial edge so my life has to be perfect if there is an economic downturn. When we went through the 2008 and 2009 downturn, I was so leveraged and had many loans and payments. I had to make X amount of dollars a month to break even. When the downturn happened, I was screwed. Fast-forward heading into COVID and all the COVID stuff happened, and all that uncertainty, I was not levered. I had no debt. I had low overhead and money in the bank. It was still scary but I had a completely different view. I had a completely different experience in the different economic environments that we were in. That equation is got to be hammered in.

I liked that you say people do need to learn how to be responsible with money. I’m similar to you in that when the big real estate downturn in 2008 and 2009, I went through bankruptcy, divorce, my real estate license went away and a bunch of stuff happened to me. It was a freaking nightmare. When COVID hit similar to you, I had the money. I had the resources to deal with it. I learned how to handle my money and not overspend.

The other thing that I liked that you said is surrounding yourself with people. That’s what I did. I surrounded myself with people that had a healthy relationship with money, which helped me. That’s important to be around people that make good decisions financially because we are the average of the five people that we spend the most time with and that’s in every area. That has been my experience.

ILBS 35 | Spiritual Money

Spiritual Money: Financial guys have so much ego and arrogant wrapped up in who they are. They fall down the financial ladder because of things they can’t even fathom.

 

Financial coaches are invaluable because what’s great about a financial coach is they are not you. They are not buying the new car and the nice outfit. A guy hired me and he’s made and lost $100 million twice. Now he’s back from the downturn. He’s like, “I don’t want to go through that treadmill again and you know me better than anything.” My role with him is I’ve got to put guardrails around him because he suffers from this disease called optimism.

There’s always an opportunity to make more but at what cost? How many chips do we put on the table? One of the things that I try to help educate people on is once you make it, the goal is not to lose it. Shaquille O’Neal has a great line. He said, “Are you smart enough to keep the money that you have made?” Remember that the skillset you need to make money is different from keeping your wealth.

Making wealth is one skillset, maintaining and keeping your wealth are very different. You can make money on one hand but how do you keep, preserve and build it, and all of that on the other? You take an assessment and an inventory, and look at, “Are you good at this?” If you are not, then seek out people that can help you.

Walter, where can people find you if they want to find out more about you and what it is that you do?

You have all my contact info so they can reach out to you and you can provide that. There are different resources. I, myself, as a firm, have all kinds of learning tools. We are launching an online financial course. I recorded 21 hours’ worth of financial stuff with 35 different speakers from all walks of life. I’m super committed to financial literacy, not only for people that come into money. What’s sad is there are very few resources for kids. Kids get inundated with Madison Avenue by that athlete. It’s the same thing. They get the first contract and immediately go out and buy a house, a Mercedes and stuff for their boys. It’s all a complete mistake.

What’s your website?

It’s FamilyCFO.net.

Thanks so much for your time, Walter. Everybody, thanks for reading. I hope you have a great rest of your day.

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About Walter Clarke

ILBS 35 | Spiritual MoneyCEO for Family CFO, Educator, Speaker, Author, & Negotiator

Walter spent 20 years in the investment management industry, providing financial and investment advice to wealthy clients. During his time in corporate America, he noticed a recurring pattern of dysfunction within the families he served. He decided to start a company that focused on improving family dynamics, being a family advocate and has a deep understanding of the financial and direct impact in both those areas. Thus, Family CFO was born.

As an industry insider, Walter brings a comprehensive understanding of finances and financial products. He combines that with a remarkable aptitude for conflict resolution. As a result, he is able to convey complex financial information in a manner that each member of the family can understand, while also helping families deal with the ramifications of financial decisions.

Walter has spent 18 years as an adjunct financial educator teaching at prestigious universities around the world, including University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, Arizona State University, DePaul University, Texas Christian University, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of San Diego, University of California Santa Cruz, University of California Davis, and Tecnológico de Monterrey.  

He has spent most of his career studying the keys to a sound investment process, educating others about financial literacy, and helping clients establish necessary structures within their families. He is also the author of the upcoming book “7 Mistakes Millionaires Make”. Most of all, Walter is committed to communicating and teaching the many lessons he and others have learned in the quest for wealth and happiness—keeping wealth without losing oneself or losing loved ones.

Families often struggle with how to navigate, negotiate, and select from the endless options that are presented to “solve their problems.” Wealth creators are at an inherent disadvantage to the industry because they create their wealth in an industry other than financial. Walter and his team are experienced professionals who provide sanity, control, and systems to the complex affluent family. He can bring independence, cost control, and simplicity to you and your family.