Tony Robbins, the seemingly ubiquitous American motivational coach who has been spewing life-changing advice for decades, is speaking in Dubai for the first time on Tuesday.
Although his seminars, events and books tackle various aspects of achieving a “healthier, wealthier, more fulfilling, passionate and purposeful life,” according to his website, financial freedom and success are among the key goals he seeks to help individuals and businesses reach.
Mr Robbins published his first book Unlimited Power in 1986 when he was only 26. His most recent bestselling books include Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom (2014) and Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook (2017).
In a 2014 interview on The School of Greatness podcast, he told host Lewis Howes, “I come from a very poor background. We had no money for food at times, quite literally, and it was rough. So I wanted to make sure that money wasn’t an issue for my future family.”
He added: “When I was — I don’t know — 23, I figured out how to make a million dollars in a year. I went from $38,000 (Dh139,574) to a million.”
Mr Robbins, who once worked as a janitor, began his career at 17 promoting seminars for motivational speaker and author Jim Rohn. Now he has a net worth of around $500 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Some of Mr Robbins’ personal finance tips are intuitive. For example, his four core principles of financial success are: protect the principal as much as possible, take only asymmetric risks, be tax efficient and be well-diversified. In other words: don’t lose money, take small risks for big rewards, figure out ways to reduce your tax bill and make a variety of investments.
Money Master the Game, which is nearly 700 pages long, includes insights from his interviews with more than 50 top financial experts including Charles Schwab, the founder of the eponymous low-cost brokerage, US businessman and investor Carl Icahn, veteran investor Warren Buffett, US publishing executive Steve Forbes, hedge fund manager Ray Dalio and Vanguard founder John Bogle. Here are Mr Robbins' seven simple steps to financial freedom:
Become an investor, not just a consumer
Commit a specific percentage of savings to go towards your “Freedom Fund” and invest it automatically for compounded interest.
Know the rules before you get in the game
Mr Robbins outlines the nine myths of investing, including “invest with us — we’ll beat the market” and “our fees? They’re a small price to pay”. He suggests you protect yourself by becoming an insider. For example, find out what percentage of mutual funds beat the market (or their benchmark) over any 10 years. Look at the difference in your final nest egg if you pay 1 per cent versus 3 per cent in fees.
Make the game winnable
Calculate your top three financial goals, which for many people are financial security, vitality and independence. Have a plan with real numbers. Look for and implement ways to speed it up so you can enjoy your rewards even sooner. Find ways to save, whether it be your mortgage or your daily purchases. “Remember, $40 a week can equal $500,000 over an investment lifetime,” Mr Robbins writes.
Decide on asset allocation
In simple terms, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Allocate your assets into a portfolio by putting a specific percentage in different buckets: security, risk/growth and dream. Consider your risk tolerance and your stage of life. “If you’re closer to retirement, you have less time to recover, and perhaps you need more in your Security Bucket.”
Create a lifetime income plan
Mr Robbins recommends the All Seasons portfolio, a simplified version of Mr Dalio’s All Weather portfolio, meaning it is able to withstand market volatility. Mr Dalio “has brought successful investment returns 85 per cent of the time and lost money only four times in 30 years, but never more than 3.93 per cent to date,” writes Mr Robbins. Consider strategies to protect your wealth for your children, grandchildren and even your great grandchildren, such as life insurance and setting up a living trust.
Invest like the .001 per cent
Learn from the “smartest financial people on earth,” including Charles Schwab, Yale’s David Swensen, JP Morgan’s Mary Callahan Erdoes, the anonymous personal finance blogger Dr Doom, Swiss investor Marc Faber and others.
Just do it, enjoy it and share it
Commit to being wealthy now, not at some point in the future. At the same time, Mr Robbins reminds people to find balance in their lives and cultivate gratitude. He quotes Sir John Templeton, the American-British investor who created the Templeton Growth Fund: “If you’ve got a billion dollars and you’re ungrateful, you’re a poor man. If you have very little, but you’re grateful for what you have, you’re truly rich.” Mr Robbins also advocates giving to charity and he writes, "the secret to living is giving". A philanthropist himself, Mr Robbins has provided over 400 million meals in his partnership with Feeding America through the Tony Robbins foundation and his matching funds.