| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth
Investing for All: Interview with Adam French from Scalable Capital

Investing for All: Interview with Adam French from Scalable Capital

Editor’s note: This is The Money Principle interview with Adam French, founder and CEO of Scalable Capital. Scalable Capital is an online wealth manager and has been in the news lately as the only European start-up included by CNBC in the list of the top 25 in the world. You’ll learn what this online wealth manager is, what it does and how it is different from other online wealth managers.

Maria: Hello, Adam, and let me say first how pleased I am to have you on The Money Principle.

Adam: Thank you very much for having me, Maria.

Maria: My pleasure. Adam, you are the CEO of Scalable Capital. Could you please tell my readers what is Scalable Capital and what does it do?

Adam: Yes sure. Scalable capital is well… we call ourselves a digital wealth manager. What we essentially do is, we provide investment management but digitally: online and through our mobile apps.

We do this for UK investors but also for European investors; we have a regulated entity in Germany. We are one of the few players in the market that operate cross-border and we currently have UK clients and we also have German clients.

What we’re looking to do is to build long-term globally diversified portfolios for our clients so that they can really build their wealth for the future. That is in essence what we are trying to do.

Maria: Adam, I’d like to ask you what is the unique value that scalable capital offers to investors?

Adam: What we are trying to do is to build a technology platform that not only makes the investment journey more convenient and more accessible; you know, having smooth customer journey and having low entry point, we are using technology to improve the investment methodology itself.

Maria: One of the things I’m trying to do on The Money Principle is to encourage more people to invest and particularly women. There is a problem with women and investing; as I put it when we invest we rock but unfortunately very few women invest. How easy, would you say, it is for a beginner to open an account on Scalable Capital?

Adam: I totally believe in what you’re trying to do the because if you look at the data there is a big problem in trying to get women to invest and we will hopefully form a part of the solution to this matter.

Yes, it is easy to open an account on Scalable Capital.

We have a minimum investment of £10,000 which is a hurdle that you will have to reach. We need this money because of the way in which our algorithm for calculating risk works; we need £10,000 for this to work robustly. But the onboarding is very simple. (Note: ‘onboarding’ translates as ‘opening an account’)

Look, investing is complicated and modelling it is complicated as well. But at the end of the day we are doing everything for you. This is very similar to buying a car. When you buy a car, you don’t understand fully how it works but you trust that it will; and if something goes wrong with the car you go and see a mechanic to get it fixed.

People need to think the same way about their finances. The markets are very complicated so they have to outsource investing to someone who is doing something very smart in terms of modelling the markets.

Opening an account on Scalable Capital is very straightforward. At the beginning, there is a questionnaire that guides you to decide on the risk categories that are most appropriate for you. Our clients can get on board within 15 minutes. We provide a lot of information on the way to help people decide whether this is something for them.

Obviously, there’s the website that uses building blocks that start simple but then get into the detail if people are interested in the detail.

We also host regular webinars where people can ask anything and during which I try to present a bit about the company and also a bit about our methodology. We host investment seminars and if you go to the website there is a banner at the top which you can use to get on one of those.

You can also come and meet the team in person. You see, computers are used to do the things that humans are not very good at; mainly number-crunching and removing emotion. We also have a team of 45 people who provide client services, monitor methodology etc. There are real people here and I believe that it should be made clear that it is a digital proposition but this doesn’t mean that there are no people behind it.

Maria: Adam, I may as well tell you that I’m a great admirer of Nutmeg. I have been investing with them since the moment they started. Could you tell my readers what are the main differences between Scalable Capital and Nutmeg?

Adam: I have a lot of respect for Nutmeg and I know the team there. We are different in one main aspect, that we have already covered a little bit, which is the way in which we invest money.

We take risks targeted approach. By focusing on risk, and particularly downside risk, by focusing on the amount you could lose in a certain year and then dynamically changing your allocation to make sure that the risk remains constant we are trying to keep you invested for as long as possible so you can sleep better at night.

The idea of using risk targeted approach, as compared to fixed allocation portfolio or even a human who is making buying and selling decisions, is what really sets us apart from everybody.

When it comes to Nutmeg we’re both low cost, we are both convenient, we both have apps; you know, we are both trying to do good things. I think it is the investment methodology that really differentiates us from each other.

Maria: Adam, I may as well tell you that I’ve opened an account with Scalable Capital and my £10,000 is moving in as we speak. I intend to have a little race and pitch you against Nutmeg. Who would you put your money on: Scalable Capital or Nutmeg?

Adam: This is a loaded question, I think. Still it is an interesting one; I mean nobody is doing this right now. As I said before nobody is looking under the hood. A lot of people compare services, you know, what does it look like, what does it feel like but no one is really looking at what they’re doing. What you are proposing is one way to do that.

I would actually add third instrument into the race: I will do something like a FTSE 100 tracker and compare the three services. Where, I think, you’ll see the difference is…

You see, it is very hard to compare performance over short periods of time because it can take years for the benefits of a particular investment strategy to show themselves against another strategy.

For example, in an upmarket when you invested hundred percent in equities you will do very, very well. But in a downmarket it will obviously do terribly. This is when the risk control strategy comes into its own because in a downmarket you have more protection and it keeps you in the market for longer.

To compare the performance of different investment instruments you will have to go through a full investment cycle.

What is easier for me than trying to predict what will happen in the future, which is difficult for me to predict with certainty, is to have a look at the data. So, using the data that we have, running all the simulations that we have, I am a big fan of the risk targeted approach. Because one it shows versus passive and active investment management strategies that it can outperform them and also from emotional point of view it keeps you, as the end investor, invested for longer.

I like to back the data so that is where my position will be.

Maria: Okay. So, you’re betting on Scalable Capital and I’ll let you know what the result of the race is in about a year.

Adam: Perfect. Sounds like a great idea.

Maria: My final question is: if you were to give one piece of advice to beginner investors what would it be?

Adam: I think it will be start early. You know, the power of compounding is one of the most powerful financial concepts in the world. Getting interest, dividends and income streams from investments and letting it compound really helps.

The flipside of this is obviously if you are in debt which is compounding against you because you have to pay interest on it.

My biggest advice would be: if you have debt pay it off. If you have the opportunity to start saving, start now.

Because, at the end of the day, and this is what people forget, investing is like buying your future self a present. You are not buying something now but in the future, you can buy something nicer. Hopefully it is not buying something nicer, it is getting a great retirement and a great life.

Start early, I think, would be my key advice.

Maria: Adam, thank you so much for coming on The Money Principle.

Adam: Thank you for having me, Maria.

7 Rock-solid and Simple Rules of Jobs I wish I Knew When I Was 20

7 Rock-solid and Simple Rules of Jobs I wish I Knew When I Was 20

rules of jobs

There were no jobs for us when we graduated in the 1980s.

There are no jobs for us when we are a p*ssing distance away from retirement.

I tell you, I was born on wrong side of a Kondratieff wave.

Still, there is a silver lining. I belong to the generation of people who know a thing or two about getting, keeping and advancing in a job.

As with many things in life, we’ve made everything around jobs – and work – far too complicated. There is much advice, some of it really sound, about day-to-day demands of getting and keeping a job.

I believe, that just like with much else, the secret of success in in remembering – and abiding by – very few, simple and rock solid rules of jobs.

Here are seven such rules that you can start following immediately and just watch your ‘luck’ change and your career take off.

Rule 1: Show them who you are

This is a rule of jobs that you simply cannot know until either you get to a position where you do the hiring or someone who does it sits you down and tells you that.

For my part, I didn’t believe it even after a friend of mine who was very senior in a large pharmaceutical company sat me down and told me 15 years ago. I had to start hiring to be convinced (but then again some people are slow learners).

This rule says:

“When applying/interviewing for a job, it is most important to show who you are; what you can do is taken for granted.”

In other words, all this effort you expand trying to convince a panel that you are technically competent for the duties that the job brings is wasted: they either assume you are or they are confident they can offer opportunities to learn.

What you should be doing instead is demonstrating that you are eager to learn, that you can get on with people and that you can work well in a team.

Yeah, I know. This is counter-intuitive but still works every time.

Rule 2: Any job worth doing is worth doing well

My son has a very convenient arrangement at the moment: he gets access to a high quality gym and personal training and in exchange does cleaning for the owner of the gym.

He’s been doing this for several months now and I’m very proud of him – after all he is only fourteen. But last time I was training I notices something weird: all surfaces were perfectly dusted but the ornaments on them were covered in dust.

Of course, it was my son’s last cleaning duty.

When I got home, I asked him about it.

“But they told me to dust the surfaces.” – he said.

I sent him back to finish the job. And hope to high heaven that he will remember that any job worth doing, is worth doing well.

Of course this raises issues about making the difference between jobs that are worth doing and ones that are not. Now, this is a subject for a whole new conversation.

Rule 3: It always pays to go the extra step

rules of jobs

I took this picture in a hotel in Tunisia. I was there for work and after a day of hard toil it brought a smile to my face.

You see, the cleaning lady didn’t have to do this; and the others didn’t. But this particular one did because she simply needed to leave her personal touch on the room: and the flowers were fresh.

Guess what? This particular cleaning lady got a generous tip from me.

It doesn’t matter what you do; it always pays to go the extra step. Or a mile.

Rule 4: Learn to be helpful

It is natural to think that you will impress your boss by being a star and letting your creativity shine. You will be wrong.

In the workplace you need to learn how to be a planet first; you have to master the art of shining with the reflected light of your boss (and the team).

Learning to be ‘appropriately’ helpful is absolutely necessary if you are to get, keep and progress a job. This doesn’t mean that you have to become a doormat. And here is the big challenge.

Rule 5: Learn to be useful

Many employees fall into the trap of ‘marking time’.

This is to be expected if the emphasis in many jobs is on time: we are paid by time, we are evaluated by how long we do things etc.

Work, except in the very rare cases of extreme bureaucracies, is about what you achieve not so much about how long you take to do it.

Try focusing on ways to be useful and to contribute value to the team, organisation and the customers every day. Soon you’ll notice that you have started ‘going places’ and you are seen as someone who will get far.

Rule 6: Prepare for your next job

I have never met anyone who got promoted at work because they are doing their present job very well.

At the same time, I hear often people being upset that they didn’t get promoted given they do their job so well.

Now, think about it! Being a good administrative assistant makes you (and keeps you) a good administrative assistant. If you want to move into management, you’ll have to show that you’ve been developing an entirely different skill set.

This is what I’m talking about. Focus on the job you want, not the one you have.

Rule 7: Demonstrate that you care

This sounds like a straight forward thing but it really isn’t.

Most of the signals about whether you care or not are non-verbal. Many of these are about how you look and how you look after yourself.

So there. If you look like you’ve needed a haircut for the last year, if your hair is not washed and your clothes not ironed it is a small wonder you can’t get a job; or that you don’t get promoted.

So, look in the mirror and come up with a plan: what are the three things that you’ll change about the way you look to send signals that you care?


These are the seven rock-solid and simple rules of jobs that I wish I knew when I was twenty years old. It took me slightly under three decades to figure them out and boil them down to simple rules.

So, go ahead and try them.

Can you add any more rules of jobs? What do you think got you your last job? Or your last promotion?

150 Wonderful Ways to Make Money and Why You Should Try Some of Them

150 Wonderful Ways to Make Money and Why You Should Try Some of Them

Do you know what you are looking at?

No, this is not a trick question. Still, if you though ‘machines’ you’d be wrong.

What you are looking at is the future of employment.

I took this picture couple of months ago at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. Do you remember the time when there were smiling and polite people at airports helping you to check your luggage, find the gate of your flight and re-direct if you’ve missed your connecting flight.

Well, I remember this time as well. But here is the deal: it’s gone!

Today, most airports are automated to some degree. Schiphol is a leader in that. It is like something from the science fiction novels I used to read in the 1980s.

You arrive at the airport and you either check in (using a machine) or you just collect your boarding pass (using the same machine).

Next, you go to the machines that take your luggage away.

After that, you use the scanners at passport control; there are still some people at security but it is only a matter of time before they are replaced as well.

And the machine on the picture?

Oh, well. This one you use if you’ve missed your connection and have to re-route your flight.

Now, I can tell you about the elderly little ladies looking completely lost; about the bother when any of these machines malfunctions and the aggravation when solving your problem needs a bit of flexibility and imagination.

But this is not what I’ll be telling you about. Automation is advancing fast and we’ll need to learn to cope with it.

Thing is, automation has very clear implications for labour markets and employment.

One is, that most people will have to compete for jobs that cannot be automated and these usually demand high level of imagination, creativity and flexibility. This is why, I believe that education today should snap out of the mode of raising experts and start creating mavericks – people who have flair, imagination and can generate ideas as fast and as smoothly as the blood flows through your veins.

The second one is that jobs are not only becoming different (demand different skills) but they are becoming fewer. This is why it is so important to be able to come up with ideas to contribute value, create work and make money.

What used to be ‘a bit of side hustle’ is becoming the way in which we generate income and sustain our lives.

I happen to believe that making money is no rocket science: you just have to spot opportunities, generate ideas and act on them. I’m also the first to admit that jump-starting this way of thinking is not easy.

This is why, I published the ‘Fifteen Ways’ posts: Fifteen Ways to Make Money Enough to Fill Your Fridge and Fifteen Ways to Make Money for Your Monthly Bills.

In this post, I share five awesome blog posts overflowing with ideas on how to make money. Between them (and my two post mentioned above) they contain approximately 150 diffrent ways to make money.

These ideas were created and published by bloggers that are not only on top of their craft but are also proven entrepreneurs. Here they are:

  1. 20 Weird and Wonderful Ways to Make Money [Step Change, Money Aware]: Yep, these are twenty tips on how to make money that you won’t find normally. Let’s put it this way: babysitting wasn’t mentioned at all and this is certainly a winner in my book. My favourite is becoming a ‘hangover helper’. Intrigued? Go check them out!
  2. 29 Smart Ways to Make Money on the Side in 2015 [ThePennyHoarder.com]: Okay. This one does have babysitting but you can’t avoid it forever. These smart suggestions more than compensate for it by (mainly) offering ways to make money that are (or can become) ‘proper’ freelance opportunities.
  3. 20 Ways to Make Money in Your Spare Time [MoneyWise.co.uk]: Now, this is different. How would you like to be a movie extra? (I did this when I was at university and in my opinion the fun is over-rated; still the money may be worth it.) Or renting your house to movie makers?
  4. 35 Ways to Make Money for 2015 [ChristianPF.com]: Some really interesting and actionable ideas here as well. I suspect that John would love to do the fourth one (test websites for money) – the man can break any programme, any site (and will make a list of the problems and send them for free; so why not get paid?).
  5. How to Make Money [wikiHow.com]: Many claim they’ve developed a ‘comprehensive’ guide and it’s usually BS. This post is the closest one will ever get. If you want to get ideas – and a lot of them – go have a look. It’s fun as well.
  6. How to make money blogging [AuthorityHacker.com]: much has been written about making money blogging still this is not an easy thing to do. Here is a detailed analysis of how 21 bloggers making decent income on line.

You see, my fiend; a bit of thinking, a bit of research and…there are close to 200 ideas on how to make money in these posts. Even allowing for some duplication, you still have easy access to 150 simple and actionable ideas on how to make money.

I dare you to try 20% of them! And let me know how it went.

Take these seven steps and watch your income grow

Take these seven steps and watch your income grow

income grow

When was the last time your income increased?

My income didn’t grow for years. I even believed I’ve reached my earning peak and that was that.

I believed this until, we found ourselves in a lot of debt.

Then I realised three important things:

In fact, doing this you can go all the way to building serious wealth, and fast.

I believe that anyone can make a living and make their income grow.

We did it and by the end of our debt paying journey our income was about 25% higher than when we started. I’m still watching my income grow!

And university professors are not supposed to hustle like street traders.

You can increase your income as well: you just need to follow some – or all – of these seven steps and watch your income grow.

Step One: Get Yourself Good Education

Some will say that ‘ignorance is bliss’. I say BS!

Ignorance is an affliction and education is the cure.

And I’m saying ‘education’ not a ‘degree’. My students’ main concern is what marks they will get; they care about their degrees not their education.

And they are making a big mistake Huge!

How you do in life (and labour markets) depends on your education not your degree. Even more importantly, it depends on how ready you are to learn and how you use different opportunities to do it.

What will get you beyond minimum wage jobs (if you’d like to break away from it, of course) is getting educated; learning new skills and competencies.

Step Two: Stop Selling Time, Sell Reputation

Okay, you can work harder or you can work smarter: it’s your choice.

Working hard is about selling time and time is a limited resource.

Working smart is about selling reputation and reputation knows no limits.

These are the main differences between ‘selling time’ and ‘selling reputation’.

Selling time Selling reputation
Being technically good

(A good seamstress can make you a black cocktail dress.)

Being an artist

(Coco Chanel created THE little black dress.)

You are in the realm of the replaceable

(Your competencies and skill are easy to replicate and there are many who can take you place/job. Copy writers, for instance, even good ones are easy to replace.)

You are in the realm of the unique

(You have gone beyond the reproducible and your competencies are unique; there is no replacement. No one can replace Kurt Vonnegut.)



(You are likely to be replicate things and your ‘products’ are for the mass market.)


(You create something new and unique; you are not part of a trend, you are creating trends.)

Being found

(It is likely that people find you when searching for the product or service you offer; in other words, you rely on ‘passing trade’.)

Being sought

(People look for what you offer.)


One can switch from ‘selling time’ to ‘selling reputation’ in any occupation.

You just have to decide to become ‘the best’; or at least to get to the top ten percent in your fireld.

Step Three: Learn to Negotiate

This is a bit more technical point but a very important one. Whether you sell time or reputation, whether you have a job or are building your own business you have to learn how to ask for what you want and get the maximum you can.

There are not fast and cut rules about learning to negotiate (there is some guidance around the Web but situations are very different). I believe, negotiating is a craft and as any craft is learned through trial and practice.

Step Four: Learn to Write

Whenever I mention this people have this vision of me asking them to become the next Jane Austin or James Joyce.

All I’m saying is that the advent of the network economy means many businesses move on the Internet and business success is becoming traffic dependent. What gets traffic is epic writing.

So, learn to write. Write anything, practice with persistence and focus. I won’t expect you to win a Nobel for Literature but this will certainly help you grow your income.

Step Five: Learn to Blog

Are you asking yourself what’s the difference?

After all, writing, building a website and blogging are often used interchangeably these days.

These may well be, but they are very different and blogging is the broader competence. Blogging is the cross-road between writing, technical understanding of websites and the ability to interact and build healthy communities.

Blogging is not a business; it is however the shop window of many businesses. Including unexpected ones. Did I mention that learning to blog helped me increase my reach and influence not simple as an academic researcher but also as a public intellectual?

So here you go!

Step Six: Learn to Spot Opportunities

Tim Ferris calls this ‘finding a MUSE’.

I believe that creating opportunities starts with a problem.

Many a time it is a problem you have or something that’s bugging you.

If many people share this problem and you offer a solution you’ve created an awesome business opportunity. And this is going to help you grow your income.

Step Seven: Focus on Value not Money

What I’ve found through experience is that when I focus on making money things don’t go well.

When I focus on value, on making someone’s life better/easier/fuller, money may be a by-product but it comes easy.

Try it; focus on value and see the money flow.


Do you want to know which ones worked for me?

Two, four and five! I’m working on mastering six.

photo credit: Nesster via photopin cc

Which one of steps have you tried? Have y

How to make more money in one simple step: from ‘working harder’ to ‘working smarter’

How to make more money in one simple step: from ‘working harder’ to ‘working smarter’


Editor’s note: I published a version of this article first on JeanChatzky.com several months back. Today I’m giving you, my reader, the updated version of the article.

How did you do it?

This is what people ask me when hear that we paid off £100,000 (and the interest) consumer debt in three years.

First I tell them that we had a simple strategy.

‘Be more specific’ – people say.

Then I tell them that frugality is not the answer.

‘What is the answer, then?’ – they say.

So here is my answer:

To be financially healthy and build sustainable wealth increase your income.

The specific ways to increase your income are many but in the end these boil down to three general strategies:

  1. You can take on more work (working hard);
  2. You can increase the level of pay you command (working smart); and
  3. You can try a combination of the two whereby you increase the level of pay you command and the amount of work you do (accelerated strategy).

Working harder you can make more money; unfortunately there are limitation in that your time is limited, it is exhausting and is impossible to sustain long term.

Working smarter’ or making more money by increasing the level of pay you can command, is a winner on two counts:

  • It gets you to your financial goals much faster. Remember the shameful amount of debt we paid off in three years I was telling you about? Well, this was done by using the intensive strategy to increase our combined income by about 30%. Yes, we worked hard but we worked even smarter.
  • It doesn’t get you ill from exhaustion. Not a joke. Working over certain number of hours per week and not getting enough rest has many negative consequences for our health, including high blood pressure, constant fatigue, clouded judgement and getting fat.

Moving from ‘working harder’ to ‘working smarter’ is the key for anyone who wants to make sustainably more money.

To achieve this shift, you have to realise that ‘working harder’ is about selling your time; ‘working smarter’ is about selling your reputation.

How much you’ll be able to charge for your services (and goods) depends on the ‘reputational capital’ we have amassed.

Here are the main differences between ‘selling time’ and ‘selling reputation’.

Selling time Selling reputation
Being technically good(A good seamstress can make you a black cocktail dress.) Being an artist(Coco Chanel created THE little black dress.)
You are in the realm of the replaceable(Your competencies and skill are easy to replicate and there are many who can take you place/job. Copy writers, for instance, even good ones are easy to replace.) You are in the realm of the unique(You have gone beyond the reproducible and hence your competencies are unique; there is no replacement. No one can replace Kurt Vonnegut.)


Replication(You are very likely to replicate things and your ‘products’ are for the mass market.) Creation(You create something new and unique; you are not part of a trend, you are creating trends.)
Being found(It is likely that people find you when searching for the product or service you offer; in other words, you rely on ‘passing trade’.) Being sought(People look for what you offer.)


One can switch from ‘selling time’ to ‘selling reputation’ in any occupation.

Muhammad Ali said that if he wasn’t the best boxer in the world, he would be the best rubbish collector in the world.

How to get there?

Try this six ingredients for switching from ‘selling time’ to ‘selling reputation’:

  • Choose your areas wisely. This is about choosing the area/field in which you can make the switch from selling time to selling reputation with care. Worn out as the ‘find your passion’ mantra is, there is some sense in it. But I don’t believe in finding passion, I believe in creating passion. So choose wisely but remember that the area where you could sell reputation will be the cross over between talent, interest (yours and others), inspiration and loads of hard work. It pays off, I promise.
  • Education. Words are important and you should note that I used ‘education’ not ‘a degree’. What will get you to the peak of your reputation is education, the systematic gathering of varied knowledge; some of it appearing completely useless at the time.
  • Continuous learning. Education is the knowledge you have acquired, learning is the process through which you acquire it. To be able to sell reputation you have to keep on top of your game; this means that learning ought to be your constant companion.
  • Patience. Switching from ‘selling time’ to ‘selling reputation’ can happen overnight and usually there are many nights involved. Be patient and keep yourself occupied by appreciating the wonderful steps that are taking you there.
  • Focus. Longer term endeavours often fail; more often than not they fail because somewhere along the way people lose sight of what they were looking to achieve. A technique to keep your focus that works for me is to ‘plan backwards’: I’d start with an image of where I want to be, work out the conditions to get there and then prepare these with the dedication of a cult follower.
  • Self-promotion. You could create unique artefacts but you are not an artist, and would never be sought, if people don’t know about it. Which brings me to the key point here: don’t tell people who and what you are; show them. This is the difference between telling people that you are ‘passionate about X’ and showing them your passion through your creations. It is the difference between saying ‘I am a great writer’ and stating ‘I wrote X and Y’. Self-promotion can be a great tool for reputation building when done with finesse and evidence.


Creating wealth is not only about making more money; it is also about creating immense value in exchange for which you get paid.

You can choose to continue selling time and working hard but I’ve made my choice: I am working towards selling reputation and working smart.

photo credit: carbonated via photopin cc

Fifteen ways to make money for our financial independence

Fifteen ways to make money for our financial independence

make money

You are not going to believe how long this post has taken me to figure out, write and have the courage to publish.

Why you may ask?

Because this one is very different from the two posts about making money I published previously. In the first one I shared fifteen ideas that can make you enough money to fill in the fridge for a month (about £300/$500). These were ideas that either don’t need much specialised skills (cleaning houses, for instance) or they didn’t demand single minded attention and devotion (teaching a school subject along the lines of your education).

In the second article, I upped the game a little and shared fifteen ideas that can make you enough money to pay the bills for a month (about £1,000/$1,700). These required some specialised skills (driving a taxi) and much higher level of commitment (building a blog or writing a book, for instance). Some of these ideas also need some capital to come to anything; e.g. buying blogs.

One thing this two sets of ideas share is that mostly anyone can realise them. Okay, some will be easier and more appropriate for some people but the activities are generic.

When we talk about how to make money enough for financial independence this is no longer true; these ideas are very personal and people have to work out what they will do themselves.

Before I tell you what ideas I came up with let me make five points:

1)      I believe in saving a large proportion of your earnings and this is what we’ve been doing for well over a year now (we currently save about 30% of our income after tax and this is on top of pension contributions). But I believe that saving a high proportion of a high income is what really does it. Hence, my focus on increasing income.

2)      It is very important when you do this to work out three numbers. These are: your ‘minimum’, your ‘comfortable’ and your ‘dream’. I know, for instance, that our ‘minimum’ is £400,000; our ‘comfortable’ is about £1,000,000 (or equivalent) and our ‘dream’ is £2,500,000 (or equivalent).

3)      You’ll have to work out where your strengths and talent are. Ask yourself the question ‘what is the one thing that I can do so well that I can be in the top 10% in the world?’. When you answer the question work on this competence with the persistence of a drug addict.

4)      Archimedes, the Greek dude who shouted ‘eureka’ and ran around naked, has probably done us more harm than good. Why? Because we’ve learned to celebrate the ‘eureka’ moment; the moment when an idea hits us like a bolt of lightning. It doesn’t work like that! Ideas come from hard work not from divine inspiration. So learn to brainstorm ideas, including the ones about making money enough for financial independence.

5)      You have to be very clear about timelines.

Here are the fifteen ideas I’ve come up to make money for our financial independence. I’ve brainstormed these many times and the list has changed a lot. It’s enough to say that when I started, the first idea read ‘rob a bank’.

Some of these ideas complement each other and some are not compatible. So, I have much more work to do.

Who said that this is easy?

1)      Become a Dean of a Business School or a Vice Chancellor of a university. Interestingly, this could be much easier for me to achieve than some of the other ideas on my list. I am regularly approached to apply for this kind of jobs and the pay is tempting; what stops me is that I dislike living in cognitive dissonance.

2)      Write a book on having impact (or making your mark) and knowing it. This needs more thinking but it links to one of my current research line. It will have to be written so that people from different walks of life read it and find it useful.

3)      Write a book on how not to write a PhD. There are many books on how to write a PhD and these usually touch on the more formal aspects of writing a PhD. There are sides to doing a Doctorate that people usually don’t talk about.

4)      Write historical novels. I love history and know rather a lot about the history of the East. I am thinking about writing historical novels about the Empires on the Balkans before the Ottomans arrived in Europe.

5)      Write guides and e-books on different aspects of personal finance. I’ve been researching, experimenting with and writing about personal finance for close to four years now. I have a list of products I will develop – just don’t want to bore you here.

6)      Develop a set of products for investing women. This is one of my interests and can grow into a book, a course and a training programme.

7)      Write books on personal finance for baby-boomers. These can developing income for retirement, boosting retirement savings and money management.

8)      Develop courses and training programmes on personal finance for baby boomers. See above.

9)      Build a public speaking line. This will take some doing but is not miles away from what I do now (teaching, key-notes and speaking to large audiences of politicians and policy makers).

10)  Make The Money Principle a destination. All metrics tell me that The Money Principle is a decent blog with decent traffic. Could I take it to the next level? Do I have the time, knowledge, speed and grit to do it?

11)  Start the slimming clubs business. I’ve mentioned this one before and it falls in one of the categories of the three types of businesses one has to be a real klutz to fail.

12)  Design a course on creativity. Again this has many synergies with my latest project at work.

13)  Start an academic publishing business. One of the ways to make a lot of money fast is to start an academic publishing house. And yes, it is a lot of work.

14)  Write a book on how to do what you love and charge what you want. This is about working smarter not harder and how to do the switch from ‘selling labour’ to ‘selling reputation’.

15)  Write a book about the ways to make money. This is not my idea and it came from one of my readers.


Gosh, I read this and what I saw is that it is a lot of books and the occasional course and business. This is to be expected: what I do (and what I do best) is research, analysis and writing.

And if you find the list overwhelming, it’s not only you. I feel humbled and slightly scared by the sheer work, planning, good will and luck these need to come to fruition.

Then again one can only try. What I’ll do is have another look and come up with the top five I’d start working on.

Then I’ll select one and go for it with all I have.

I need your help!

Which one of the ones I shared you think has the best probability of success?

What are your top ideas for making money enough for financial independence?

photo credit: fatboyke (Luc) via photopin cc