I recently caught up with David Bach, who has written multiple New York Times bestselling books such as The Automatic Millionaire and Start Late Finish Rich. His latest book is called Debt Free for Life: The Finish Rich Plan for Financial Freedom. In total, he has more than seven million books in print, translated in over 19 languages. Bach has appeared several times on The Oprah Winfrey Show and is a reoccurring guest on The Today Show. He is the founder of FinishRich.com, a website dedicated to revolutionizing the way people learn about money. In this interview, he talks about how your career can impact your financial life, offers some career tips for succeeding in business, and more.
Does your career choice impact your long-term potential of becoming wealthy? Why or why not?
The obvious answer to this is “yes”, the real world answer however, is “no”. I will give you an example. When I was a financial advisor and a Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley I had a realization that I loved to teach people about money as much as I enjoyed managing people’s money. The challenge was, “teachers” don’t make a lot of money historically. My friends thought I was crazy to go spend time writing a book and teaching when I could simply manage money and make so much more. Today however, I teach millions to be smarter with their money, and I have earned millions as a result.
I took my passion and purpose of teaching people to take action financially and turned it into a multi-millionaire dollar business. In ten years, FinishRich Media, LLC has produced 9 consecutive New York Times bestsellers with over seven million copies in print and taught and trained millions of people our principles around the world. My work has been translated into 19 languages and can be found in over 50 countries. We have had some of the largest companies in the world partner with us to license our financial education content. All of this started from me teaching an adult education class at a local high school for free.
Is it wise to choose a career based on earning potential or is it better to do something you love regardless of your paycheck? Why?
I think personally, it’s important (actually critical) to find something to do that you deeply love. You have to be able to jump out of bed and be excited every morning when you start a business or a job, if you are going to be successful. The truth about business is that it’s normally very tough. It’s very rare that you will start something and succeed right away and if you do succeed, you might not make a lot of money.
Most businesses take at least two to three years to show profits. The other thing is that most huge success stories that we read about and see have been ten years in the making. I’m a true example of a “ten year overnight success story”. In 2004, my fifth book The Automatic Millionaire was the #1 book that year. It spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and reached #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Business Week bestseller lists. Most people thought that was my FIRST book when in reality, it was my fifth.
The beauty of truly loving what you do is you can get through the tough times, because you feel in your soul it’s your mission and purpose in life. And people can also tell when you truly love what you do versus doing something for the money. I believe this is what has truly worked for me.
With this all being said, there is a second route to go—and I have seen it work very effectively. I have friends that have started businesses purely because they have a specific mission and purpose to make a certain amount of money. I have a friend that built a business, in a space he didn’t care deeply about but he knew if he built the business he could sell it for a seven to ten times multiple of EBITA. He even had a great idea of who would buy it. He built the business over a seven year period and reached his goal (which was to sell the company for over $20 million dollars). My friend today is now focused on his real passion which is a charity built around helping moms and children that are victims of domestic violence. His business goals lead him to now have the time and resources to fulfill his true passion and purpose.