8 Silly, Cheery, and Amazing Personal Finance Videos

There’s a wealth of information that can be provided through video.To give us a little break on the reading, I scoured the internet for eight great, silly, informative, amazing, and cheery personal finance related videos for your enjoyment.

Grab some popcorn, a refreshing beverage and sit back and relax! Hopefully you learn something! 🙂


8 Great Personal Finance Videos

Below are 8 silly and fun personal finance videos for you to watch. I’ve included a short summary of each in addition to embedding the YouTube video into the page.


A Day in the Life of a Financial Advisor

I can only imagine being a financial advisor full time. People are irrational and don’t always think critically about their situation. I know I don’t always take a step back to think about what I’m saying some times.

The following video is pretty funny and is a meeting between a 45 year old person who wants to retire in five years, has $100,000 in savings, hates fees, wants to invest in gold, but doesn’t want to listen to the financial advisor.

I laughed quite a bit watching this one!


The 12 Days of FI Christmas

On the 1st day of FI Christmas, my true love gave to me!  An awesome music video for you and me!

My friend, I Dream of FIRE, came out with this music video just last week, and let’s just say, it’s amazing.

Combining Legos with anything is a great combination – but to then add personal finance, financial independence, and Christmas to the mix, and you definitely have a winner.


Santa Baby for Money Savers

“Santa Baby, please max out my four oh one K, all the way!”

Another great video that combines money and Christmas! My friends from Northern Expenditures have put a spin on Santa Baby.

If you’re a personal finance nerd like me, please give this a listen – I know you’ll love it.

As a bonus, this couple came out with another video this year! Here it is: Don’t Have to be Old to Retire


Everything You Need to Know About Finance – Presented by William Ackman

Do you want to be an investor in the stock market or in businesses? If so, it’s a requirement to understand the in’s and out’s of finance – particularly, the income statement and balance sheet.

In the following video, William Ackman, CEO of Perishing Square, breaks down everything you need to know about finance – going through an example of starting a lemonade stand business.

Regardless of what you think of hedge fund CEOs, this video has a ton of information, and helped me understand how businesses are valued and how finances are calculated and viewed to investors and business owners.



How the Economic Machine Works – Presented by Ray Dalio

Why does the economy experience booms and busts? Why do events like 2008 happen, when a credit bubble forms, and subsequently pops?  What are the main inputs to the economic environment?

Ray Dalio, Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates, answers all of these questions and more in his video, How the Economic Machine Works. Combining this video with the previous video by William Ackman will instantly make you smarter than 90% of the population when it comes to personal finance, economics, and the world.


Personal Finance Basics – Presented by Ramit Sethi

Building a solid personal finance foundation is essential to financial success.

Getting the basics from a personal finance expert will only add to your knowledge of the space – and will make you that much more potent as a budgeter, saver, debt destroyer and investor.


7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom – Presented by Tony Robbins

We previously featured Tony Robbins in our post on the seven steps to financial freedom.

I included this video because I love the way Tony Robbins inspires me to be a better person with his anecdotes and way with words.

Watch the following video for inspiration and motivation, but also for his message.


Calculating Numbers on a Rental Property – Presented by Brandon Turner

For all you real estate enthusiasts out there, here’s a great video from Brandon Turner over at Bigger Pockets that you can add to your personal finance toolbox.

Many people, including myself, are interested in rental properties. I think real estate is an amazing way to build wealth through the appreciation, cash flow and tax benefits the investment class provides.

However, when buying a new rental property, it’s important to run the numbers to make sure it’s a good investment. Without further ado, I’ll let an expert show you how to calculate the numbers on a new rental property:



I hope these eight personal finance videos have been helpful! After watching these videos, I know I feel a little happier, but also ready to tackle my finances.

There’s so much to learn in the world, and it’s great to combine the information with some jokes. I like to keep things light here at The Mastermind Within – pure information is boring. Spicing it up is the way to go!

I hope you enjoyed these eight personal finance videos – maybe you’ll learn something new! 🙂


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#1 Rule of Personal Finance: Personal Finance is Personal

Personal finance is just that, personal.

Personal finance is not about what your friends are doing with their money, what your parents are doing with their money, or what some celebrity is doing with their money.

Personal finance is the science and application of how you earn, spend, save, track, invest, and build your wealth over time. It’s personal – taking control of your finances is totally on you.

Personal Finance is Personal

When thinking about personal finance, thousands of questions can come up:

  • How much should I save?
  • How much should I invest?
  • What should I be investing in?
  • What companies or assets could give me the best return on my investments?
  • What banks or credit cards should I be using?
  • Who can I turn to for advice with my finances?

Before asking any of these questions, we should first turn inwards and realize it’s crucial to realize that personal finance is personal. We must first ask ourselves the right questions and figure out what our goals are.

Some questions to get started are below:

What kind of lifestyle do you want to live? What do you love to do? Do you want to travel around the world? What about spending more time with your family? Do you want to spend Minnesota winters in Florida? Do you want to go to the Super Bowl? Would you want to eat out every week? Do you want to start your own business? What about retiring at 45, 55, or 65? Do you want to pay for your children’s college?

The most crucial question you need to ask, and one that will have the greatest effect on your finances, is:

What is your relationship to money?

Once you’ve figured out where you want to go in life, and what lifestyle you want to live, then you can start crafting a plan, and finally start building the life of your dreams.

Crafting a Personal Finance Plan

It’s so simple, and yet, so many people don’t actually put in the time to first ask themselves the necessary questions and then put their plan into action through tracking your financial progress each month – be that through budgeting, saving X% a month, or paying down debts for the future. Again, it’s all up to you on how to put your plan into action.

Writing out your goal as a SMART goal can help in this situation:

SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Frame.

Specific:  What dollar amount is attached to your goal?

Measurable:  Can you measure your goal in some way?

Attainable:  Is the goal possible, like, “I’m going to get one new client a month for my side hustle”?

Realistic:  Is it realistic?  For example, we know I’m not going to make 1 billion dollars next year.

Time Frame:  Can you accomplish it in the next X months, years, etc.?

Write your goal down, work backwards from your goals, and create a plan.

Make a list: what is the smallest actionable item you can do today to get you going towards your financial goal?

By doing these 3 things, asking yourself the right questions, figuring out your wants and needs, and making a plan to reach your goal, you will be better off financially than before.

You will understand what your personal needs are financially, and can make adjustments over time to better align your actions with your goals.

My Money Story

rule of personal financeWhen I was a young boy, I was exposed to personal finance through my parents and my grandparents. My mom showed me how to balance a checkbook, budget, and how making a list for the grocery store can save money.

During the summertime, I’d visit my grandparents, where my grandma would give me $12 for the week to spend on whatever I wanted. She would make sure I understood that the $12 was all I got – if I spent the $12, I wouldn’t get any more.

From a young age, I understood the value of saving and building wealth for the future. Going into high school and college, I realized the power of saving over time, but now I needed to focus on building my income.

In high school, I was working as a lawn mower and trimmer for a local business, and refereeing basketball on the weekends. I was getting paid $9/hour cutting lawn, and $15 per basketball game.

I was using all of my earnings to go towards paying for college and not saving too much. Luckily for me, my parents had helped save up a little bit for my college education and I was able to get through my undergrad degree debt free.

Increasing my Income through Higher Education

During my senior year of college, my father’s company needed some help in the accounting department. For $12 an hour, I was offered to help out with bookkeeping, invoicing, and payroll. In the Fall, I would be pursuing a Master’s of Financial Math, and wouldn’t be looking for a job in the meantime, so I took the offer and started work.

In 2.5 years of working in the hotel management industry, I increased my pay to $16 an hour, and was able to leave my Master’s program with just $8,000 in student loans.

Before graduating with my Master’s degree, I took a job in the risk management department of a regional bank, which paid $63,000 a year, plus an 8% bonus.

In 5 years, I went from making $5,000 a year, to $20,000 a year, to $63,000 a year.

Building Wealth through Real Estate and Growing my Income

After graduation, I aggressively paid down my student debt, and started house hacking as a way to continue to build wealth.
In the summer of 2015, I bought a 3 bedroom house and had 3 roommates paying me $1,650 total a month. With a mortgage of $1,820, I effectively paid $170 in “rent” and banked the equity.

In the past 2.5 years, I’ve received more than $39,000 in rental income! This has helped me grow my income to nearly $100,000 a year.

While all of this was happening, I bought a used 2014 VW Jetta for $13,000, and promptly paid off the auto loan I took out.
In addition, I was proving my worth at work and in the past 3 years of working, I’ve increased my salary from $63,000 to $88,000.
Finally, I’ve been starting to hustle more on the side to increase my income. I’m blogging, performing statistical analysis and consulting for doctors, and doing various things as a small business owner.

Now, I’ve positioned myself in a great spot to pursue my goals.

My Goal and How I’m Applying the #1 Rule of Personal Finance

My goal is to build wealth for my future self, my future family, and to learn and grow over time in order to impact the lives of others.

For me, I’m looking to increase my income. I track my expenses each month, and identify where I’m succeeding and where I’m failing, but for me, increased income will help me save more and invest more. This will be much more impactful than reducing expenses each month.

I save about 35% of my income a month. I spend a little more than I should on housing, and eat out a little bit more than I should, but personal finance is personal. Yes, I could save 45-50% a month, but that would force me to adjust my lifestyle to move houses (potentially leaving a good commute situation), or start bulk cooking and packing lunches for work. In both cases, I’d only be saving a few hundred bucks more a month.

Through my hustle, I can add a couple hundred bucks a month in income much easier than cutting my expenses.

This is in line with my goals as well: increasing my income can help me increase my wealth. I’m adding many skills to my toolbox and learning a tremendous amount. These skills will translate into my ability to provide value to future employers and business partners. This value will be compensated for in a higher income in the future.

I know my goal, and I’m living it. I’ve identified my goals, and I hope this will inspire you to do the same.

My goal is to build wealth for my future self, my future family, and learn and grow over time to be able to impact the lives of others.

Other Potential #1 Rules of Personal Finance

When I was thinking about the number one rule for personal finance, there were a number of things that popped up in my head:

  • Live within your means
    • “Living within your means” means spending less than you make. If you never spend more than you make, you will never be in a situation where you are strapped for cash. Over time, your nest egg will increase, since you’ve had a net positive cash flow throughout your life.
  • Save X% a Month
    • Saving X% a month is similar to living within your means, but it puts a mathematical spin on the situation. If you are saving a certain percentage of your income a month, theoretically, you are living within your means. You aren’t spending more than you are making if you are saving.
  • Track all of your income and expenses
    • This is my #2 rule and a piece that is overlooked in many areas of life. What gets measured gets managed. The simple act of pulling in your transactions and categorizing them into an organized fashion to identify weaknesses and strengths of your spending habits can lead to improvement.

Here’s the thing though: all of these can be summed up with the statement, “personal finance is personal”. Really, if you want to be someone who travels the world, then you will start to adjust your budget, live within your means, and track your expenses to optimize your money situation to be able to do that.

Start with the why, and go from there!

The #1 Rule of Personal Finance According to The Mastermind Within Community Members

What’s great about having readers and being involved in the personal finance community is I can ask for help in gathering what others believe is right for their situation. I asked others what their #1 rule of personal finance is.

Grant, a blogger from Life Prep Couple, said the following:

Find an important reason why. Once you have a why, then you will figure out how.

A succinct and powerful thought in alignment with personal finance is personal. Thanks, Grant, for your contribution!

Diego, a regular reader of The Mastermind Within, says:

What gets measured gets managed. It brings self-awareness, which is quintessential in personal finance. But a few other rules I follow are: don’t share numbers with anyone, don’t brag, don’t envy, stay focused, and celebrate all milestones.

I love it – what gets measured gets managed is so important! Thanks Diego.

Trail to FI, a blogger focused on Financial Independence, says:

Automate your savings. For example, setting up your IRA contribution to be withdrawn from your bank account each month is great as it removes one more thing to worry about. It also keeps you from seeing extra cash in your bank account that you might be tempted to spend on stuff you don’t need.

I completely agree with this advice as well. If you never actually see the money, because it’s automated away from you, you can’t spend it! Thanks Trail to FI for your contribution.

These few contributions prove personal finance is personal. Everyone has a different spin on what’s important to their situation!


By starting with why, and figuring out what you want to do in life, you will be able to improve your financial situation.

It’s so simple, and yet, so many people don’t actually put in the time to first ask themselves the right questions, and then following up by putting their plan into action – whether that’s through budgeting, saving X% a month, or paying down debts for the future.

After reading this, I’d like you to assess where you are at financially. What is your dream? What kind of lifestyle do you want to live each and every day? Are your financial habits and actions in alignment with your goals?

Once you are done with this assessment, then you can make adjustments and changes to get you going towards your goals and dreams.

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Using Education to Increase Income and Speed Up Time to Financial Independence

Today, I have a guest post from a special friend: The Grounded Engineer. The Grounded Engineer has been on the financial independence path for a few years now and has amassed a solid portfolio before 30 years old. In this post, he is going to share with us how furthering his education has affected his income, savings rate, and investment portfolio for the future.

Thanks, Erik for having me on to guest post today. I tailored my post based on the inspiration I get from reading your blog. I’m thoroughly impressed with what you’ve been able to accomplish at such a young age. Specifically, increasing your income close to 6 figures, purchasing a rental property right out of college and making a nice income from it, and watching how you set goals and tackle the goals you set are awesome feats.

As a fellow math/engineering nerd that has about 5 years on you, I want to discuss my journey for increasing my income and how a high savings rate coupled with a high income is an ideal recipe for achieving financial independence.

The role of education on income

I’ve experienced a strong correlation between my education and my income. Let me walk you through myjourney of how I ended up in my current position as a Technical Sales Engineer.

I started working at age 12 or 13 picking strawberries. I got paid by the pound of strawberries picked and because I’m a naturally competitive person, I did quite well.

Also, getting paid was great.

Picking strawberries in Wisconsin is a seasonal job. After strawberry season, I had to go out and find a full-time job. I landed a job at a catering company as a jack of all trades. I washed dishes, served food, and mowed lawn – I did pretty much anything that was asked of me. My starting pay was a whopping $5.15/hour until I turned 18, when I got a raise up to $6/hour.

Now, at the time, I worked hard because that was how I was raised. I wasn’t trying to increase my income; honestly, I worked hard because I wanted to get more hours and with more hours, I would make more money. The thought of asking for a raise never crossed my mind. I held this job for about five years and eventually left after going off to college.

Entering college

As I finished up my senior year of high school, I contemplated becoming a math teacher or electrical engineer. I took an electronics class my last semester of high school and I really enjoyed it. Additionally, I found out that I was accepted into the Technology Institute (engineering school) at the University of Minnesota. This meant that I didn’t have to start in the College of Liberal Arts and apply for the Institute of Technology after my freshman year. This made the decision to pursue electrical engineering easy.

During college, I worked as an audio-visual technician during the school year because the job had a flexible schedule. There was also a lot of downtime, so I was able to work on my school work (or watch Lost). I made a little over $8/hour at this job. In the summers, I had a few different internships I worked while also working as an audio-visual technician.

For my first internship, I worked for a manufacturing company and increased my hourly rate by almost 30%. The following summer I only increased my hourly rate by a dollar, but I followed that up with another 30% increase at my last internship (making $16/hour). My last internship was technically a COOP position through the University of Minnesota. It was great because I not only was making money, but I received a total of 5 upper-class credits.

My first job

I graduated in 2010 and the job market was still pretty soft. I could have stayed on as an intern at the COOP position I had. But, I also received two job offers. One job was for an Electrical Engineering position at a company that makes hearing test equipment. The second job offer was a Sales Engineer position with a small manufacturer’s rep.

A manufacturer’s rep is a sales company that companies hire as their sales force in a given territory.

I really had no idea if I would be good at sales, but the job sounded exciting and the people were more upbeat than the hearing test equipment company. Also, the offer at the manufacturer’s rep was about $2k more in salary per year.

So, I took the Sales Engineer job! The salary was in the range as a normal engineering position, which at the time was in the $55k – $65k range.

In addition to a nice starting salary, the sales position had the upside for quarterly bonuses. Interestingly enough, a friend of my wife’s minored in Engineering Sales – a minor I never knew existed. Check out Iowa State’s program here.

The college education definitely paid off. I increased my salary almost 40% with my first post-college job.

Leaving my job in less than a year and then coming back!

I really enjoyed the Sales Engineer position. But I also enjoyed the company where I had my COOP position (even though they were not able to offer me a full-time job). After about 10 months working as a Sales Engineer, I received a call from my old boss at the COOP informing me they had a full-time engineer spot open and they wanted to know if I had interest.

This was a very difficult decision for me…

I decided to switch jobs because I wanted to try my hand as a real life, full-time Electrical Engineer. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking: typical Millennial. Switching jobs to increase your salary.

Well, I actually took a little bit of a pay cut switching jobs, which is not common.

I enjoyed my Electrical Engineering job, but I didn’t like the miniscule raise I received at my yearly review, even with high remarks in every area I was scored in. Right around the same time I had my yearly review, the manufacturer’s rep company had come back asking if I was happy and if I wanted to return to sales…

Those pesky student loans

debt eliminationOne thing that I should mention is the significant amount of student debt I had after graduating college. I finished undergrad with my electrical engineering degree, very little money saved up, and roughly $65k in student debt.

I am proud to say that I did have a plan to pay down my student loans. Many of my friends strung out their payments over 30 years, meanwhile, I had a plan to pay off my debt in 10 years or less.

Getting back to the job decision – stay in a design engineering role or switching back into technical sales. It was almost two years that I had been out of college and aggressively paying down my student loans. By now, I realized that the more money I could make the more I could put toward my student debt.

I vividly remember going to a local coffee shop to meet my old boss from the manufacturer’s rep company and discussing pay. I recall fighting for a high salary because I knew if I worked hard the bonus part of the package could have significant upside.

By the end of the discussion, I was able to negotiate a sizeable salary increase and within a year and a half, I had increased my total income by almost 40%… for the second time in my career!

Graduate school

After being back at the manufacturer’s rep company for two years, I decided I wanted a more formal training on the business side of things. The typical path that most people in my shoes would take is to pursue an MBA.

Instead, I found a more technical program called Management of Technology. Basically, this is a fancy name for an MBA that is tailored for folks with an engineering background and are looking to couple the technical and business side of things together. This program was great and it positioned me to move into Sales Management in the last year and a half.

Additionally, I’ve been included in more strategic discussions about how to position my company for the future. And I’ve been included in the discussions for the future leadership of my company.

I started school about three years ago and I graduated last May (2016). During this time, my income has increased almost 30%. I’ll let you run the numbers to get a rough estimate of where that puts me 🙂

How I eclipsed $100k in my 401(k) before age 30

what most people do with a windfallIf you are pursuing financial independence, you know that you need to save your money. The best way to save you money is to not spend it on useless things. You can really crush your pursuit of FI if you combine saving money with a high income.

Don’t follow the norm of saving 10% of your income. Break out of what is considered normal and start saving a significant amount of your income. If you are in debt, develop a plan to eliminate your debt so that you can start to save more. Create a debt snowball or avalanche plan. Once you eliminate your debt, take what you were paying each month for debt and start to save.

Trust me, your nest egg will start to grow and it will grow quickly.

In December of 2015, I was introduced to the FI community by Scott Alan Turner. I followed the debt snowball method and I paid off $97k of debt (student and car loans). Once the debt was paid off, my family took that debt snowball payment and applied it to savings/investments each month.

The results:

I turn 30 in a couple weeks. My family is on track to achieve FI in our late thirties and we are still discussing what our plans will be when that day comes. I really like the idea of giving back and going into teaching. Teaching allows me to continue to earn an income, save, let my investments keep growing, and taking the summers off to spend with my family.

So readers, did pursuing a higher education degree help increase your income?

Thanks again, Erik for letting me write this guest post for your audience. You can check me out on TwitterFacebook, and over at my blog The Grounded Engineer.

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