The Psychology of Money We Don’t Dare Talk About

The Psychology of Money

I was recently invited to be a guest on the talk radio show Mastering Your Money with the talented Ed Fulbright. The interview turned out to be some of the most important stuff I’ve ever shared on wealth and enjoying life with more time and freedom.

Enjoy the audio or the text below:

Click here to listen to the radio interview

Click here for Part 2

Ed Fulbright:    Welcome to Mastering Your Money. I’m Ed Fulbright, CPA, PFS.  This is where personal and business finances meet for your independence plan. 

Who wants to be rich?  I see a lot of listener’s hands going up, and I’m just being facetious here, but the question you really need to ask yourself is what are you doing to help yourself become rich? 

Now, to borrow a Pareto’s principle, that’s where 80 percent of the solution requires 20 percent of the effort.  And so, in other words, the working on 20 percent of the areas causing 80 percent of the problems can result in substantial improvement, and joining us for our discussion on eliminate your money worries is Chuck Rylant who is on the phone from his Santa Maria, California office. 

Chuck Rylant has been a SWAT Team member, a college teacher, police detective, gym owner, financial advisor and marketing consultant, and as you may have noticed, he does things differently in life. 

He is the author of How to be Rich:  The Couple’s Guide to a Rich Life without Worrying about MoneyWelcome to Mastering Your Money, Chuck.

Chuck:             Thank you for having me.  I appreciate the time.

Ed:                    Well, good.  I’m glad that you could take the time. Now, I need to also let our listeners know that Chuck is a member of the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors which I’m also a member of, and that’s how I know Chuck, but Chuck, you know, your book is entitled How to Become Rich: The Couple’s Guide to a Rich Life without Worrying about Money.

I like the idea of not worrying about money, and I know some multimillionaires who worry about money.  So, how did you get to the point of not worrying about money?

Chuck:              You know, it’s a good question, Ed, because I think most of us focus more on earning more money.  It’s usually what we’re chasing from the time we’re old enough to earn money until the end of life.  We’re trying to get more of it, but that’s rarely the solution. 

In fact, there are so many studies of people who have won the lottery who actually end up in worse situations than before they have received all that money. 

What it really comes down to, Ed, is getting the right mindset about money before your getting more of the money because if you don’t have your mindset right, getting more money is kinda like adding fuel to the fire, if that makes sense.

Ed:                    Sure, sure.  It’s almost like a drug.  I mean –

Chuck:              Exactly.

Ed:                    – you know, you can’t shoot it into your veins, but if it gets into people’s hot, little hands, it’s burning them up, and so they’ve gotta do something with it and get rid of it.  [Laughter]

Chuck:              That’s it.  That’s it.

Ed:                    So, let’s talk a little bit about your personal story, your personal money story ‘cause I think it’s kinda interesting.

Chuck:              Yeah, you know, I think for all of us it’s a never ending learning curve.  There isn’t a day that you wake up and you kinda look at yourself and say, “Okay, I’ve got it all figured out now.” 

So, we’re always learning, but for me nowadays it’s a lot less about learning about the numbers and the actual data.  You know, I’m a financial advisor so I’ve got that side of it figured out. 

What it’s more for me now is learning about the psychology of money, trying to understand what motivates us and what drives our decisions, some of them better than others. 

There never comes a time that we kinda have it perfect ‘cause sometimes we’re up in money, and sometimes we’re down, and it’s this never ending cycle, but as we grow up and we make mistakes, hopefully through each of those mistakes we learn from and we build. And at the end, on average, we’re in a better position than we were when we started. 

So, where I actually started, I was really poor as a kid.  I actually grew up in poverty, and that was both good and bad for a couple of reasons.  I think a lot of people that grow up poor, it gives them a sense of drive that a lot of other people that come from money don’t have.

But what it did for me on kinda the bad side was being young and seeing other people’s money like we see on TV and these kinda things, it gave me a sense of a perspective of money that having things equals a sign of success.

Ed:                    Yes.

Chuck:              And it turns out, Ed, that that’s a mistake that a lot of people believe.  And so, in my early 20s, I spent much of my life working really, really hard to buy a lot of monetary things, you know, things like cars and boats and things that we see on TV, and that led me to just working immensely long hours. 

I acquired a bunch of debt early in my young age, and in the end, all of that ends up leading to a lot of stress, and I think my pattern is not much different than a lot of people is when you start a family, your priorities begin to shift and you start realizing that money is more of a tool, not to buy things, but it’s a money to buy freedom.

 Ed:                    Yes.

Chuck:              And so, when we can use money to buy the things that matters most to us, that’s when we become most happy, and it’s really not that difficult to make money.  The challenge is making money on your own terms.

Ed:                    Well, you know, Chuck, I agree with you on that.  I think since we have high unemployment now, some of those people on unemployment might argue with the both of us, but I think it’s a process of getting your mind set correctly and watch out for you telling yourself, “No, you can’t do that.” 

Cause, you know, I have some clients that are going through this.  They’re liquidating their retirement account, and I’m like, “What in the world are y’all doing?  You know, you’re very talented.  You can do things. 

 Now, how can you take those skills and use it to make some money?”  “Well, I gotta do this.  I gotta do it this way.”  You don’t have that type of money.  You can’t go out and wine and dine and fly to Europe and speak at this conference and that conference and become this great expert on everything.

Chuck:              Mm-hmm.

Ed:                    You have to do what I call grower marketing.  You know, we have different people, and it’s possible for you to make worldwide changes in yourself and to start to make money, but if you can’t get other people to believe it, or if you believe that you have to do it a certain way, well, guess what? 

You’re right.  If you believe you can do it a different way and are willing to take baby steps, and I guess for a guy, you’ve had – I’m not sure how many careers.  You’ve had at least six or seven. [Laughter]

Chuck:              And some of them overlap, yeah, yeah.

Ed:                    Yeah, and you’re not that old, Chuck, you know?  So, I want to let them know that I’m not talking to a 70-year-old man over here.

Chuck:              Indeed, for sure, for sure.

Ed:                    Yeah.  So, I want to tell our listeners that it is possible.  So, it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done, but you’ve gotta get the right mindset and try to, I guess, focus on the right things. 

So, one of the things that I think is is that I think every listener out there needs to come up with their own definition of rich.  So, can you tell me what that is, for you – for you?

Chuck:              Yeah, it’s a good question, and you know, I don’t know if you mentioned it.  So, the title of my book is How to be Rich, and it’s, kind of, a spammy title, but it really isn’t when you get down to the core of it because being rich, it’s really different for everyone.

Ed:                    Yes.

Chuck:              And no one can decide what your definition of rich is.  So, I can’t tell you what you should be doing and vice versa; nobody should be telling me, but yet, we all do it, right?

Ed:                    Yes.

Chuck:              And whether we do it consciously or not, we allow others to decide for us what rich is, and this comes in the form at a very young age.  We get it from our teachers; we get it from our parents, and we get it from our coworkers and our bosses and our neighbors, and we look at it, and we receive messages from all of these different sources, and that is dictating to us what rich should be to us, what our lifestyle should be. 

And the problem when we do that is we often are pursuing things that are important to other people instead of to us, and that always leads us to being unfulfilled, and I’m sure you’ll agree, Ed, ‘cause you kinda mentioned it, but rarely is being rich about yachts or private jets or private islands. 

It’s very rarely about that for people.  What I’ve found working with clients is that for most people rich is about freedom.

 Ed:                    Yes.

Chuck:              People want to have more time and more freedom to focus on the things that are important to them.

Ed:                    And that makes a lot of sense.  I mean, you know, the question is is that, you know, some people are like, “Well, I’ve gotta have, you know, so many hundreds of thousands or millions in the bank in order to feel rich.” 

And the reality is if we can free you up from having to go to work every day but be able to maintain the lifestyle that you want, you know, isn’t that a definition of rich?  I mean, I –

Chuck:              That’s it exactly.

Ed:                    I would define that, but you know, one of the things that I think people – and I agree with you that a lot of times people get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses, I guess, or as you used the analogy, buying stuff.

Chuck:              Yes.

Ed:                    And when you get down to it, that stuff really doesn’t make you happy.  It may make you feel prosperous, but you know, you sure don’t feel well when you can’t afford the gas or the insurance to go in that boat – 

Chuck:              Right, right.


Ed:                    – that you’re making payments on.  You know, that may not be the greatest thing in the world.  So, one of the things that I really try to get people to figure out is what really matters to you and your significant other, and in this case, Chuck, this would be your wife ‘cause, you know, you’re married.

Chuck:              Mm-hmm.

Ed:                    So, I hope that’s the next most important person in your life.

Chuck:              Mm-hmm.

Ed:                    And so, how did you figure out what really mattered to you and your wife?

Chuck:              You know, it’s hard, and that’s a great question because it’s hard enough to manage money all by yourself, and then when you mix a spouse into the equation, regardless if it’s the husband or the wife, you have now two different people that you’re dealing with.

Ed:                    Sure.

Chuck:              And money, it’s not as much about the nuts and bolts as it is about understanding the emotions and learning to communicate those two emotions between two different people, and that’s really the challenge.  It’s really difficult to do that for two different people. 

And for us, personally, I think that my wife and I have learned the most, not through prosperous times but during challenging times.  So, I’ll give you an example, and you actually knew about this.  Years ago, we had opened one of our millions of businesses, and we built a gym.

Ed:                    [Laughter] Yes.

Chuck:              And this was one of our biggest ventures yet.  We built something – in hindsight, as you know–you know everything in hindsight.

Ed:                    Oh, you’re a genius in hindsight. 


Chuck:              Yeah, for sure.  So, this gym was too big, too fast for our level of experience, and also, during the beginning of the recession it was a challenging time to be taking on such risk.

Ed:                    Sure.  Chuck –

Chuck:              So, we – go ahead.

 Ed:                    – let me stop you right there because we’ve got about one minute to go before half before a commercial break.  So, I’ll bring you back, and we can talk about that challenging time, and for those of you who just joined us, the name of the program was – or is Mastering Your Money. 

I’m Ed Fulbright, CPA, PFS, and we’ve been discussing eliminate your money worries with Chuck Rylant.  He’s the author of How to be Rich:  The Couple’s Guide to a Rich Life without Worrying about Money

For more information about Mastering Your Money shows, visit for business and personal finance ideas, sign up for our free e‑newsletter and check out our Mastering Your Money Online section for old shows.  We’ll be back in a few to teach you more lessons on strengthening your independence plan.

Click here for The Psychology of Money Part 2 


4 Replies to “The Psychology of Money We Don’t Dare Talk About”

  1. Amazing interview Chuck!

    It is one of the most valuable lessons I learned when I embarked on my journey and started traveling across South America. We are not rich by the things we own, but by the things we are able to let go. Money is not a bad thing, but, like you said, the mindset is the most important thing!

  2. Hi Chuck… I enjoyed the interview and found myself wanting to hear the rest of the gym business story. *smiles* I’m heading over to And best of luck to you! Luck is always a useful financial tool too. …Yordie

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