Real Estate

Lynne Twist’s “Want Less, Obtain More” Philosophy All FI-Chasers Should Follow


Lynne Twist’s The Soul of Money sparked a conversation we needed to have. It didn’t make people think “how do I make more money,” instead it asked, “what world am I making with the money I have?” For decades, Lynne has been fundraising for charities and causes around the globe. From ending world hunger to fighting for the climate, she’s made sure that her dollars are best put to use, helping the most people she can with the money she makes.

Lynne’s rock-solid financial sense came from an unusual background. Her mother was raised well-off, but her family’s wealth came crashing down when they were forced to flee the home abroad they had made for themselves. Then, when Lynne’s father died, her mother became increasingly frugal, but for a good reason. Lynne’s mother wanted to use her money to give, not get, making every cent count in the budget. Later in life, Lynne and her husband lost a massive portion of their wealth, forcing her to ask the question—why pursue riches in the first place?

On today’s show, we have a lively discussion on the toxic money culture that has enveloped American society, why financial independence is worth pursuing, and what those with much can do to help those with so little. Lynne’s take on wealth-building opens up a refreshing debate among early retirees and forces you to ask “why” instead of “how” when it comes to making money. Tune in, and be sure to check out Lynne’s new book, Living a Committed Life

Mindy:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, where we interview Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, Living a Committed Life, and talk about Finding Freedom and Fulfillment in a Purpose Larger Than Yourself.

Lynne:
We’re like prey for the money grunging system that we’re in. And money’s innocent, money’s wonderful. I’m not against money, I love it, but the culture is just harsh, unforgiving, confusing and misleading, and I’m all about transforming that or at least strengthening people’s resolve so they’re not caught in that all the time.

Mindy:
Hello, hello, hello. My name is Mindy Jensen and with me as always is my enlightened co-host Scott Trench.

Scott:
I don’t know about enlightened, but I’m definitely beaming after this episode, Mindy. Lynne is fantastic.

Mindy:
Lynne is an absolute delight and you are going to love this episode. Scott and I are here to make financial independence less scary, less just for somebody else, to introduce you to everybody story because we truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone no matter when or where you are starting.

Scott:
That’s right. Whether you want to retire early and travel the world, go on to make big time investments in assets like real estate or peer into The Soul of Money, we will help you reach your financial goals and get money out of the way so you can launch yourself towards those dreams.

Mindy:
Scott, I am so excited to talk to Lynne Twist today. She is the author of The Soul of Money. I know so many people who credit this book as their absolute favorite book about money. My friend Stephanie, our producer Kailyn Bennett and Lynne does not disappoint. She is an absolutely wonderful person to talk to and you are going to be delighted every minute that you listen to this show.

Scott:
Absolutely. Lynne has had a massive impact on the world in combating hunger with The Hunger Project and has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for various causes. So just an incredible career and a really enlightened individual. I think it comes to thinking about what the purpose of money is and the fact that it is a tool, it’s like water and it flows and that it just amplifies who we are, what we want to do. She’s also the author in addition to The Soul of Money of Living a Committed Life, which just released and is also a fantastic read. Living a Committed Life can be found at soulofmoney.org. We will link to all of this in the show notes as can all the other information about Lynne Twist and what she’s up to and the ways to support her causes and help her out.

Mindy:
Before we bring in Lynne, let’s take a quick break. We want to welcome Lynne Twist to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. Lynne is the bestselling author of The Soul of Money. She is an activist, a coach, and a speaker. She has also recently released a new book called Living a Committed Life. Lynne, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. I’m so excited to talk to you today.

Lynne:
Thank you, Mindy. I’m delighted to be here.

Mindy:
Let’s jump right into it. Lynne, can you tell us a bit about your money journey?

Lynne:
Well, let’s see. I was raised in an upper middle class family, but my mother had gone through enormous wealth and then complete devastation. Her father made a fortune in Korea as an engineer building for the emperor there. And then when the Japanese occupied Korea, they took away everything and ran out any foreigners and claimed that they had built the railroads and the bridges and the electric system, which my grandfather’s company had built and took away all his ownership and they had to flee. My mom went from being in a very, very affluent family to like, and then her father died. And so she was very careful about money. My father was a musician and a very successful musician. He was a big band leader in the old big band days. We were upper middle class I’d say, but my mom was always terrified that it was all going to go away.
That was the way I was raised. And then when my father died, her father died, then my father died, she became incredibly frugal but also was a generous soul. She modeled some really beautiful money habits but also money fears. And then I grew up that way. But really was always so grateful to my mom for weathering the storm after my dad died. She was a widow for most of our childhood. And then when I went to Stanford and I met my beloved, my husband Bill Twist, who I’m still married to 56 years later and he became very successful. He got an MBA. He was right away top of his class and then he got a very good job and then started making a lot of money. We got caught in that, really caught in that. We thought we needed to be somebody we weren’t.
I wanted to make sure I had the right outfits all the time. Were they designery enough or were they really designers or were they fakes? We thought we need to know all about art and we needed to know about wine and we needed to have a BMW, at that time was the coolest car and we couldn’t just go to Yosemite with our kids, we had to go to France. We got in that track of status and pretending we had more than we had and keeping up with the Jones’s and being yuppies. And then I took the est training actually, which was a huge deal for me. It was like being hit over the hill with a two by four to realize I was living in what’s called an inauthentic life and then I could live a much more honest and authentic life and this really wasn’t who I really am.
And shortly after that, The Hunger Project was born. Really a project out of the est world to end world hunger, founded by Buckminster Fuller and Werner Erhard. And I was there at the right moment, at the right time. Bill and I, even though he was still making money, we started really dedicating ourself, our money, our livelihood, everything to ending world hunger and discovered the joy and thrill of generosity and philanthropy was way more satisfying than accumulation. And then at one point it was called Black Friday I think it was, or Blue Monday or some terrible name like that. There was a big stock market dip and the company that Bill was the president of, the stock took a big dive. It was a public company and we lost something like, I don’t know, it doesn’t sound like as much as it was at the time, but it was a lot than 13 million in a couple hours.
The stock, we didn’t have the money but it was in the stock. It went like that. I remember we looked at each other and we realized we’re just the same as we were three hours ago. We have a wonderful family, we have a wonderful home, we love each other, we have a lot of friends. We’re okay. It was all like a pipe dream anyway, a fantasy that having stock, it wasn’t money really. And it was in that casino called the stock market. And we decided we were absolutely fine and that this was probably the best thing that ever happened to us. And out of that, our capacity to make a difference with our lives and I’ve become, or I was then and I am now, for the last 50 years I’ve been fundraising, fundraising, fundraising, fundraising for the things I believe in.
I know that generosity and philanthropy and moving money towards the highest good is my dharma. It’s just my dharma. It’s why I was born maybe in many ways. I have an up and down and all around money story. And now we’re probably in our senior years and we have to really be attentive. But I feel like money flows in, it flows out. It’s not the purpose of life. It’s a wonderful part of life, but it can also, you can drown in it or you can go into some drought and then think that it’s all about you, that something is wrong with you, but money just flows and ebbs and it’s like water, it needs to move, when it’s moving it purifies and creates growth and cleanses. And when it’s hoarded and held and stuck just like water, it can become toxic to you and you can’t see the forest for the trees anymore.
I’ve been working with people and money in some way my whole life since I started fundraising in kindergarten. But since I wrote The Soul of Money, many people come to me with their money woes and you would think it would be people who don’t have any money, but a lot of the people who come to us are people who have billions and billions of dollars and they’re so anxious and upset and miserable and don’t know what to do with their children and are drowning in money. I’ve seen the whole picture working on hunger and poverty, working with Mother Teresa. I’ve seen abject horrendous poverty. I’ve worked with global billionaires and all of us normal folk in between. And I know money is a pariah, it’s a gift, it’s the source of anxiety, it’s the source of joy. But really it’s just this stuff that comes flowing around.

Scott:
What I’m picking up is that a cause, hunger actually became much more important. There’s a perspective shift that made that important. That’s why you’ve spent, you say 50 years fundraising to combat world hunger. Why did you choose that problem to solve as opposed to malaria or something like that? What was it about that challenge that you gravitated towards and could you highlight some of the work that you’ve done?

Lynne:
Well, I’ve been working on ending world hunger since The Hunger Project began in 1977. And in many ways the answer to your question is I was in the right place at the right time when The Hunger Project was created and it swept me off my feet, because as a child I’d always thought, is it really possible that some kids don’t have any food to eat, that they don’t have any water, that they’re thirsty and no one can feed them and their parents don’t know what to do? Is that really possible? Because I heard that that was going on, but I couldn’t even believe it. I remember thinking when I was little, I’ll do something about that when I grow up, little kid. And then here I was when The Hunger Project was born, really when it was created, when the idea of ending world hunger.
And it was both the issue itself, but also the idea of The Hunger Project to end world hunger, to go beyond alleviating suffering or making things just a little better. But to know that we live in a planet with enough food for everyone, everywhere to have a healthy and productive life and that it’s an integrity issue that we would have a billion children starving every day. It’s just unconscionable. The way The Hunger Project approaches it is through transformation of the way we hold who we are as a human family. And that really appealed to me. And secondly, it was part of this work of transformation that Buckminster Fuller and Werner Erhard came together to look at, what is the most severe breakdown in the human condition in 1977 that we can bring the principles of transformation to, to see if we can resolve it and not just make it not so bad, but resolve it?
I was attracted to both the methodology and the topic and then the people who were doing it were just awesome. I became one of them. And then of course, feeding people and having people provided for is really an act of love and service and relationship. And when you look at the front and the backside of the hand of hunger, the front side of the hand of hunger is malnutrition, starvation, malabsorption, hunger, seasonal hunger, physical hunger. The backside of the hand of hunger is the hunger for meaning, the hunger to make a difference with our life, the hunger to matter. And that’s a very severe hunger in our world. And these two hungers are one, they are the front and the backside of the same hand. And so you can’t end this hunger without addressing this hunger and you can’t end this hunger without addressing this.
The Hunger Project was just a perfect fit for me and I became one of its leaders and responsible for fundraising. I’ve raised hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars for ending world hunger. And now I don’t work for The Hunger Project any longer. I do the Pachamama Alliance and The Soul of Money work. Pachamama Alliance is working in the Amazon rainforest with indigenous people. That’s a whole nother world. But at the same time everything I learned at The Hunger Project has served me in working with indigenous people of the Amazon. And once again, of course fundraising is a central part of my life. I’ll just say since you’re giving me the opportunity in the microphone here, I think fundraising is absolutely sacred work.
I don’t think it’s the necessary evil associations with the nonprofit sector. I think it is central, central to living a committed life. It’s the privilege and opportunity to facilitate the reallocation of the world’s financial resources away from what we fear, which is where most of our money’s going, and reallocating that same money towards what we love, the health and wellbeing of our families, the health and wellbeing of our communities, the health and wellbeing of our children, the health and wellbeing of the environment, the health and wellbeing of all children, of all species for all time. And moving money away from what we fear, towards what we love and facilitating that is the blessed holy sacred work of fundraising.
I love asking for money, I love earning money, I love contributing money. I love the world of money. If we know that what it’s really about is our own humanity and money is an innocent and neutral carrier of our love or our greed and we get to choose.

Scott:
Wow, that was an incredibly profound set of wisdom and worldview that you just shared with us. I think it’s fantastic. Could you tell us a little bit about your book and The Soul of Money? Is that the essence that we’re getting at in the book and in your philosophy and is that what you’re trying to share with the world?

Lynne:
Yes. I’d say The Soul of Money book is the result of really decades of fundraising and dealing with people of enormous wealth and people living in conditions of poverty and hunger and then knowing about all of us in between and realizing that the dynamics and society’s relationship with money is very, very dysfunctional and also rooted in an unconscious unexamined belief in scarcity. And that unconscious unexamined belief in scarcity generates so much anxiety and worry and upset and misunderstanding. I consider it an unconscious unexamined mindset that’s actually a lie that is reflected in consumer culture, the commodify everything culture, this terrified fear that there’s not enough to go around and someone’s going to be left out and you have to make sure it’s not you and yours, whoever you think that is.
And so I wrote the book to blow the whistle on the mindset of scarcity so that we would realize that this world can accommodate all of us, that there’s enough for everyone everywhere to have a healthy and productive life. And so the book was, a lot of people encourage me to write a book. I’m not a natural writer, I like to communicate, but writing is scary because it’s all solitary. But I got a collaborative writer and she helped me get it out of myself. The book has been very helpful to people. This blowing the whistle on the mindset of scarcity is really an important part of what I think we need to do. Because even in this time of the pandemic, the time of a political horrendous divide and democracy being at risk and then massive climate crisis, you could say it’s all rooted in this fear of scarcity, in this you or me paradigm.
Either you make it at my expense or I make it at your expense, because we really unconsciously think there’s not enough for both of us. But when you find out there’s enough for everyone everywhere to have a healthy and reductive life, then you start to shift into a you and me paradigm. You and I can both make it at no one’s expense. And that’s a very, very different way to live. And it’s a much more healthy way to live, it’s a more radically, truthful way of living and it’s a much more fulfilling way to live. It will be how we get through all these crises is with a you and me, not a you or me paradigm and mentality and way of living. The book is an attempt, hopefully a successful one to get at this unconscious belief system so that we drop it, transform it, and realize we’re all in this together and we can make it.

Mindy:
You talk about the concept of enough in the book, in terms of not enough, not enough sleep, not enough time, not enough money. How can someone determine their own definition of enough? Because it seems like so many people want more, more, more, more, more, they can’t be happy with what they have.

Lynne:
Well, thank you, Mindy. I need to say that a couple things to make that answer makes sense. The answer I’m going to give you. And the answer is that enough is not an amount. Let me go back and say why I’m saying that. We live in this mindset, we’re swimming in this what I call the lie of scarcity, where we as you say, we wake up in the morning, immediately thinking we don’t have enough sleep. And then looking at the clock, I don’t have enough time. And then we don’t have enough this and we don’t have enough that. And in most meetings, most podcasts, everything is about what we don’t have enough of. And so the natural response to that is more, more of anything, more of everything, more, more, more, more square feet in my house, more money, more black pants, more this, more that, more traffic, more market share, more volunteers, more and more and more.
And it’s so indiscriminate now. And the messaging that you’re not enough until you acquire this, you’re not enough until you become that, makes us feel that we’re living in a deficit world and we have a deficit relationship even with ourself. It’s not just there’s not enough, it’s not enough. It starts to be I’m not enough. We have obesity, we have people just overdoing, eating more than they could possibly assimilate in their bodies. We have a mental illness breakdown, we have suicide rates going up. It’s all related in my view to this, there’s not enough belief system that has become an I’m not enough belief system, a deficit relationship with ourselves. So to get to your real question, how do we transform that really? How do we get from there to this experience of enoughness?
Which I consider the radical surprising truth of sufficiency. And sufficiency is not an amount of anything and enough in the way I’m talking about it, is not actually an amount of anything either. It’s a way of being in the world where you’re not scrambling for more, where you, I’ll tell you what I call the principle of sufficiency, which is the real answer to your question. And this is worth writing down for people who are taking notes. But first listen, if you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, which is what we’re brainwashed to want more of, it frees up all that energy, oceans of energy that’s tied up in the chase to turn and pay attention to what you already have.
When you pay attention to what you already have, when you nourish what you already have, when you love what you already have and when you share what you already have and make a difference with it, it expands. I’m going to say that again. When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up all that energy to turn and make a difference with what you have. When you make a difference with what you have, it expands. And another way of talking about it is what you appreciate, appreciates. What you appreciate, appreciates. The distinction of enough is really a way of being in the world where you let go of the craving and the demanding and the franticness of accumulating more all the time and take what you have and make a difference with it, whether it’s your money or your talent or your treasure or your intelligence or your love or your service.
And when you do that, what you have expands, rather than you have less of it, you have more of it. That’s a way of being in the world. It doesn’t mean you don’t need to earn money, I believe you do. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy things. Yes we should, we do. But when you’re in this state of sufficiency that you know you’re being met by the universe with what you need and want over and over and over again, and you’re deeply grateful for that, everything that you cherish expands in the nourishment of your cherishing and expands in the nourishment of your sharing it. We all know when we have an experience of prosperity, it’s not when we’re holding back, it’s when we’re sharing, that’s when we feel prosperous. It’s the opposite of what we think. Sufficient is not halfway between excess and poverty. It’s not halfway between more than you need and less than you need.
It’s a way of being in the world. It’s a state of being in radical sufficiency with yourself. And then from there you can build into natural abundance. I don’t think you can get to abundance, real abundance through the doorway of lack and fear. When you go through that doorway, you get a little bit more right away, but then it takes you to lack in fear again and you need more right away. And then that takes you to lack in fear. That’s an endless cycle. But if you start from I am enough, there is enough, we are enough, and begin to be in service from there, what you have and what you’re working with begins to expand into natural abundance.

Scott:
I think that’s just fantastic. And that is the worldview that more people should look through. When I think about the people who may be listening to this podcast, I know their mindset because I’ve been there. These are folks that are looking to become financially independent early in life. They want a one, two, two and a half million dollar net worth, perhaps as a baseline that produces enough passive income so they don’t have to rely on a job. I think that some people there’s never enough, but for a lot of people in the community, the Financial Independence community that I’ve met, that is enough. They still have a hard time quitting their job and those types of things. And there’s an existential question, what do I do with my life now that I’ve achieved this goal?
But I’m wondering if this concept of enough is truly easier to embody or embrace once you’ve reached some baseline level of financial abundance, that minimum level of financial freedom. I know that people can do it in all spectrums, but do you agree with that? Do you think that that’s something that’s built into psyche or the American life these days that you have to get to that baseline point?

Lynne:
Yeah, and I think it’s very wise to do that. Is it the FIRE network you’re talking about F-I-R-E?

Scott:
Yes. The Financial Independence.

Lynne:
Vicki Robin is my dear friend and she’s told me about that network and she’s such an icon for them and for me too. Her book Your Money or Your Life, is such a gift to people that are in that world and me too. Yes. I do think it’s really important to take care of yourself and to make sure your needs are met and the needs of your family. I guess what I should say is that Gandhi said there’s enough for our need but not for our greed. And that’s really the best answer to your question. We do need to take care of ourselves and our families. We do need to earn money, we do need to get to a place where we feel free with money. And some of that comes from attitude and freedom of the way we perceive the world, which is kind of my work.
And some of it comes from actually earning enough that you can be financially independent on paper, which is what the FIRE network is doing so beautifully. I love that, that you’re connected to those people and are among those people because I think that’s showing us all that there’s no limits to people being able to meet their needs but then not go overboard. The inequality gap is so, it’s such a disgusting, really obscene part of our culture. No one needs a billion dollars or $10 billion or $100 billion or a trillion dollars, that’s inappropriate for anybody to have that kind of financial power. It’s just not right. It’s not good for them, it’s not good for the world, it’s not good for their economy, it’s not good for anything.
But to be able to take care of yourself and become financially independent so that you can make the contribution that’s yours to make both financially, but with your energy and your time and your love, that makes total sense to me. I love that. And studies show, and I’m sure you probably teach this, I don’t know, the studies show that after your needs are met and you feel good about your capacity to take care of yourself, your happiness quotient doesn’t go up with more money, it goes down. In fact, money becomes a problem. You get so anxious about it. I’ve worked with some global billionaires who are so freaked out when the stock market goes up or when it goes down or when it goes sideways. They can’t sleep, they can’t eat, they can’t function. They’re like tied to the stats.
And here they are, they have billions of dollars, they can’t even begin to spend it. I think the FIRE Network is a huge service in really demonstrating, especially for young people, that you don’t need to accumulate a fortune, but it is appropriate if you can, to get to a place where you have some freedom, financial independence, and then can see what is your life really about. Because it’s not about making money anymore, it’s about making a difference. I really respect that and thank you for mentioning that home network. It’s a wonderful, it’s miraculous new development I think.

Mindy:
I agree. I love the FIRE movement, I love the people involved in it. I think that it’s a great concept to solidify your financial future, your financial situation so that you can act with purpose, with consciousness without worrying about, is this going to put food on my table? You’ve already taken care of that. Let’s talk about our current money culture in terms of America. Why do you think the current culture has toxic traits?

Lynne:
Well, it’s really bad now. We are so addicted to more of anything and everything. We’re so clueless about understanding that there are limits to this planet. That unlimited growth on a finite planet makes no sense and cannot continue. And that we are unabashedly pursuing that as if it’s a forever thing, is the source in many ways of our inequality crisis, our political crisis, our economic crisis, even our health crisis in my opinion. And so the culture we’re living in right now is so devoid of making sense of a relationship with money that would be functional rather than dysfunctional, that it’s very hard to swim in these, they’re shark filled waters really. And advertising and marketing is so intense and it just has get more intense.
When the goal is unlimited growth, you just have to compete more and more and louder and louder and more and more things written on your clothes and written on the sky and written all over. Every single podcast gets interrupted 10,000 times by commercials. You can’t watch a film anymore without a commercial. It’s just endless. I feel that the money culture is really, really harsh and hard on us, and it’s not money, but it’s the money culture doesn’t allow us to see the forest for the trees about what we truly value. Maybe it’s in its death rows, I don’t know. Sometimes I think maybe that would be good if the whole thing collapsed. Now I know that’ll be painful and it is painful already, but I love the new money systems that are being vented.
I love Kate Raworth’s, Doughnut Economics, if you’re familiar with that, where no one falls through the cracks and there’s limits to how much you take from the natural world. It just makes so much sense. And so I think we’re endangered by the culture we live in. It makes us think we need more of everything, when we don’t. And some people of course do, yes. I’m not talking about then, I’m talking about the people who are accumulating and I’m one of them sometimes. I find myself, it’s very compelling advertising and marketing. It’s really, everybody’s got our psychology really well. And then of course the algorithms that once you buy something online, it presents to you two seconds later, 10 things that appeal to you because they start to figure out exactly what will make you purchase again.
We’re like prey for the money grunging system that we’re in. And money’s innocent, money’s wonderful. I’m not against money, I love it. But the culture is just harsh, unforgiving, confusing and misleading. I’m all about transforming that or at least strengthening people’s resolve so they’re not caught in that all the time.

Scott:
You mentioned earlier on in our interview here, and I think it’s one of your most famous quotes, that money carries intention. Can you walk us through what you mean by that? Do you think that the intention of money in the context of the culture at large is more, as you would call it, is it as simple and perverse maybe as that?

Lynne:
Well, I wrote a book called The Soul of Money, as you’ve referenced. And people ask me, does money have a soul? And I say, it’s sort of a trick title. I say, no, money doesn’t have a soul, but you do. I do. We do. We can give soul to money. Money actually is a carrier. It’s innocent. It can carry greed and crime and hate and racism and domination and colonialism or it can carry forgiveness, love, nourishment, healing energy. It’s how we use it. It’s how we put our imprimatur on it. And so I work a lot with philanthropy and there have been times, there was one story I’ll tell when, well, I tell a lot of stories in the book, but here’s one I didn’t tell, the one that someone raced into our office at The Hunger Project and left a Safeway garbage brown paper grocery bag on the front desk and then ran out.
And it was a scruffy, a street looking person, a guy who hadn’t washed in a long, long time. We looked in the grocery bag and it was filled with cash, and it became clear to us that it was stolen or drug money or something. And he was unloading it at The Hunger Project. We called the police and they came over and they looked at the serial numbers and all the things that they do and they said, we don’t know where this came from. We can’t trace it. You should keep it. We thought we should keep it. It’s probably dirty money. Illegal money. It wasn’t counterfeit, nothing wrong with it. So they said you should keep it for your work. We put the money, I remember doing this myself. We poured out the grocery bag, you can picture this and put it in the middle of the floor on this carpet where we all sat in a circle at The Hunger Project staff.
And then we lit little vote candles around the money, made a little grotto, a little sacred altar like thing. And then we forgave the money for wherever it came from, whatever it was carrying, whoever had stolen it. Just let it be clean and clear it. We laundered it, we laundered it. And then we spent it, we put it in the bank. I think you can do that. I think you can do that. I think you can literally launder money, reaffirm that this is for the good, this is to nourish the world, the environment, children, animals, even political leaders. You can do that with your taxes. You can say, this is my contribution to roads, to education, to this is not something I’m trying not to do and I’m trying to get around it. No, this is me contributing, actually involuntarily in some ways, but to making this country, if you live in the United States or wherever you live, the country that we want it to be.
It’s really an energy that we give to money. Money is an energy too. But we give it its energy, we give it its imprimatur. I think there’s power in philanthropy for example, which I get involved in, sometimes can be harmful because it’s a gesture. It’s like relieving the suffering of the person who has too much money rather than the suffering of the person they’re trying to give it to. Sometimes it’s all about the philanthropist getting a good name or getting their name on the side of a building. But if the intention is clean and clear, this money is designed and I give my energy to it to serve, then it will. I really believe that money given to make a difference does. I think that it carries that power.

Scott:
One of our producer, Caitlin’s favorite quotes of yours is, “What appreciates appreciate.” Can you tell us what that means in this context?

Lynne:
Well, just if everybody could think about someone in their life who is quite judgmental and somewhat critical of you, maybe the jury’s out and they’re not so sure they like you and they’re trying to figure that out and they’re checking you out and not so sure about you. And when you just think about that person, if you can picture somebody like that, maybe you don’t have anybody like that, then you’re lucky. But if you do, think about that person, person, and when you think about them, usually there’s a little retraction, you retract a little bit, almost physically, you shut down a little bit, just when you think about them. And certainly when you’re around them, most people do.
So then think about someone who loves you, who appreciates you, who affirms you, who thinks you’re wonderful, who just adores and cherishes you, who loves all the qualities you have. Think about that person and your body opens up, you straighten up, you brighten up, you’re expanded. And so that’s just an example of what you appreciate appreciates, that which we appreciates becomes larger and grows in the nourishment of our appreciation. If I say to you both, I really, really, really, and this is true, appreciate that you’ve read The Soul of Money and that was useful to you, and that you’ve put it to work in your life and that you have this incredible program where you work with people and money, maybe, and I think probably using some of the principles from that book.
And not only do I appreciate that, but I want to just say to everyone who’s listening, how not only grateful I am, but how I appreciate that you didn’t just read the book and keep it for yourself, but you read the book and you’re making those precepts, those concepts, those ideas available to other people. And I really want to thank you for that and I appreciate that. Now telling you that hopefully makes you expand your capacity to do that because you’ve been appreciated for it. Perhaps it makes the people who hear me say that want to learn more and get more involved in you so that they can learn some of those principles. So what we appreciate grows in the nourishment of our appreciation, our children, our garden, nature, other people in particular, projects.
If you love a project, if you love a movie, just think about a restaurant or a movie, I love this particular movie, what is it called? My Friend the Octopus, let’s say. What’s it name?

Mindy:
My Octopus Teacher.

Lynne:
My Octopus Teacher. I love, love, love that movie. And every time I say I love it, then people ask me, what’s the name of the one you like so much? And they go and watch it and then they love it. So appreciation actually nourishes, it’s like gardening. It’s like watering and fertilizing the flowers that are most meaningful to you and they grow in the nourishment of that appreciation.

Mindy:
Lynne, what do you think the biggest money mistakes most people are making and how do you recommend our listeners have a healthy relationship with money?

Lynne:
Well, I do something on my website, which is the three steps of money forgiveness. Because I think what we don’t do or the mistakes we make, we think that it’s our fault that we screw up with money. And to some extent, you need to take some responsibility. But the money culture drives us in directions that are inconsistent with our humanity. The consumer culture has us buy things we don’t need, purchase things on a whim. Has us reactive. Uses fear. Advertising is about what are your pain points, pushing you into your own traumas to get you to sign up for something. The mistake we make with money is using it to resolve our pain. Making mistakes that are really about trying to go the easy route to have more money than we need and just get a windfall. We make money mistakes sometimes that hurt other people very deeply.
In partnerships, in business partnerships, we lose our way. We can’t see the forest for the trees anymore. The shiny object of more money has us lose a little bit of our humanity sometimes. And so most people have upsets, they did things they didn’t mean to do. They did things that they wish they hadn’t done. We all wish we’d invested in Apple computer a long time ago, for example. But other things that are really like we’ve made mistakes. And one of the mistake we make on top of the mistake is not forgiving ourselves, is carrying those mistakes forward as if they make us into a bad person. The culture we live in fosters and foments anxiety and upset and wrongdoing around money. And if we can stay in touch with our humanity, we’ll realize that we got caught in that and that we’re not flawed, but the system that we’re in is flawed.
And if we can forgive ourselves and stay in touch with and intact in our own integrity, we won’t make that mistake again. But forgiving ourselves is really, really important. I have a little video about that, 3 Steps to Money Forgiveness, which is helpful for people.

Scott:
Love it. I think that also in addition to the great points make about forgiveness, money, you’ve called it, is like water. Another word you could use to describe it as is as a tool. A tool is neither good nor bad, you just need to learn how to use the tool. And I think that that’s a big part of this as well as folks just don’t know how to use money and they’re not financially literate across the board. It’s not something that we emphasize in our culture, despite the glorification of money and more and more and more there’s not an understanding of basic financial literacy. I think that’s a big component of this. When you understand it, you can harness it and use it towards the purpose that you want to manifest in life.

Lynne:
I love that. That’s what you teach, right? That’s what you do, you guys?

Scott:
Financial literacy, that’s what we’re hoping to do.

Lynne:
I love that. Because financial literacy, it’s just a crime that it’s not in grade school. Come on. It’s supposed to be in grade school, middle school, high school, college, and if you don’t take accounting or bookkeeping, you might take economics but a lot of that’s so theoretical. It’s just to really learn how to balance a budget, to understand money, to understand a balance sheet and what’s the difference between that and cash flow and what’s equity? Nobody tells you that stuff unless you go to business school and not everybody’s going to do that. They can’t afford it, most of all.

Scott:
The only way to learn about those things is BP Money. Sorry.

Lynne:
Exactly.

Scott:
Where can we learn more about your new book that you’re coming out with? What’s it about and can you give us ways to go find it and buy it and read it?

Lynne:
Yes I can. Yes I can. I love that you’re mentioning that. It’s called Living a Committed Life: Finding Freedom and Fulfillment in a Purpose Larger Than Yourself. And it’s really about living a life where your commitment is larger than your own life, starring you. That it’s not all about you. It’s not all about whether you’re cool enough or you’re not enough or you’re not handsome enough or not cool enough or not thin enough, or all the stuff that we doubt ourselves about that consumes our life and makes us buy all kinds of weird stuff. And put all of that noise, once you have a big commitment, a commitment that’s worthy of your humanity, all that, I’m not good enough, that it’s not enough, we don’t have enough, I’m not this enough, starts to move to the background, doesn’t go away because it’s part of being human unfortunately.
The noise goes down, it moves to the background and your commitment moves to the foreground and you don’t really have time to entertain all those thoughts anymore because you’re too busy fulfilling a commitment that’s really meaningful to you, a big commitment. And so the book is about what kind of life that gives you and how it gives you joy, freedom, and fulfillment rather than trapping you in something, it frees you into something. And also a big commitment comes back into your life and shapes you into who you need to be to fulfill it. I’m sure the two of you when you started, I think three of you, when you started this Hope podcast thing, had a vision for it, and now actually delivering this material all the time has come back and shaped you into who you need to be to deliver this podcast, if you know what I mean.
The commitment to make the podcast brilliant shapes you into brilliant podcasters. And that’s the way that it works. It’s not the other way around. It’s not you have to be totally brilliant before you commit. No. You commit, you’re an ordinary human being. Gandhi was an ordinary human being who was thrown off a train and then he made this huge commitment and it shaped him into one of the greatest ontological or spiritual teachers of our time. Martin Luther King, his mother was struggling with too many kids. She was an organ player in the church, she got assassinated after he did. He grew up in poverty, but then he made a big commitment not just to people of color, but to all people. And that commitment shaped him into an orator, a genius, a brilliant speaker. So yes, we have gifts when we’re born, but all of us have them.
And what makes people extraordinary is when they give their award, like you have to do this podcast and help people with their relationship with money, like I have. And so it makes you into the person who can deliver the commitment you’ve made. The book is about that. It’s about the distinction between change and transformation. It’s about the difference between taking a position and taking a stand. It’s hundreds of, I don’t know, hundreds, but dozens and dozens of stories of people who are living a committed life and it’s completely transformed the world and them. It’s a book for everyone because I think this epic time in history that we all have a role to play. Everybody has a role to play. If you’re born now, you have a role to play in this epic, epic time in history.
It’s not a big role or small role, it’s just your role. I invite you through my book and through podcasts like this to find that dharma and to give your heart and soul to it, because that’s the source of freedom, fulfillment, and true prosperity.

Scott:
That’s I think so powerful is this concept of why, what are you doing? What’s your goal? What’s your mission with that? What we’re trying to do is we want to help a million people become millionaires, just like that baseline level of financial freedom for as many people as possible because that unlocks people I think in a way to go after something to play that role. I wouldn’t have phrased it like that previously, but I think that’s the right way to articulate it. To play that whatever role they have to their maximum capacity. And that’s what basic financial literacy and being comfortable with the tool of money and understanding what enough looks like, getting to enough and actually being satisfied with that, that unlocks human potential.
And that’s what gets me up in the morning about this. Go find that for yourself. What is that mission? And then get to a place where you can pursue it in the context of a free life.

Lynne:
I love you guys. That’s so awesome. I love what you’re doing. I love, love what you’re doing. I want my grandkids to get involved with you. I want everybody to get involved. Fantastic. Wonderful. I just love that. Bravo.

Mindy:
Lynne, where can people find more about you?

Lynne:
Well, they can go to soulofmoney.org. Soulofmoney.org. And there they’ll find The Soul of Money books, the Living a Committed Life book. I think it’s right now, probably right on the cover. They’ll find 3 Steps to Money Forgiveness. It’s a little three minute course that you can take. And all kinds of stuff on there if you just click here and there. Soulofmoney.org. And then I do want to say that the Pachamama Alliance, the work we do in the Amazon rainforest, which is really, really awesome and a chance for people to engage with indigenous wisdom and the courses we do that opens people’s hearts and minds to the natural world in new ways and social justice, is another thing that I want to just mention, because it’s another portal to really living a committed Life.
And that’s pachamama.org. P-A-C-H-A-M-A-M-A, Pachamama, all one word. Pachamama means mother earth. Dot org. That’s another thing. And then The Hunger Project of course that I spoke about. People probably want to know how to get there. Well you just say thehungerproject.org. It’s all pretty simple. Soulofmoney.org, thehungerproject.org, pachamama.org, are all things that I would love people to visit.

Scott:
Awesome. Well we will link to all of those in the show notes.

Mindy:
Lynne, thank you so much for your time today. This was so much fun and it was such an honor to talk to you. I really appreciate it and we’ll talk to you soon.

Scott:
Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.

Lynne:
Thank you, Mindy. Thank you, Scott. And thank you for what you’re doing. I really, really, really love it and want everyone to get involved with you. I’m so grateful to be part of your world and part of your podcast and let’s go forth and multiply.

Scott:
We admire the impact that you’ve had on the world in so many good ways. Thank you for sharing some of your wisdom with us.

Lynne:
Me too. My pleasure, my honor.

Mindy:
Okay. Scott, that was the fabulous Lynne Twist. Wasn’t she wonderful?

Scott:
Her perspective on money, life, was fantastic. One of the things I particularly appreciated was, I think sometimes when we talk about purpose and these things, people can take it to an extreme and think, on the one hand any accumulation of wealth is a missed opportunity to serve others, for example. And there’s no good that comes from accumulating wealth. That can be a perverse way to think about it. On the other extreme, you can get these folks that are really into, for example, effective altruism. And it’s like, I need to become a billionaire or make many multiple billions of dollars so that I can then have an impact on society with this. I really like the fact that, I think Lynne agreed largely with the way Mindy, you and I might view the world here where it’s important to get to a baseline level of enough, of modest to moderate level of financial freedom and then use that position to go towards your life purpose, your mission, the impact you want to have to do some good in the world.
And that I think is validating to hear Lynne agree with that and say that, my 20s where I really hustled very hard to become financially independent so that I can direct life of my own terms here is validated and is good and I can then go on and have that impact. But going after 10 or 100 or a million, 10 million or 100 million or a billion dollars, why? More, more, more, more, it’s not necessary. I think we’ve got it in the FIRE movement.

Mindy:
I think you’re right, Scott. I think that people who come into the FIRE movement who have maybe just heard about it are super excited about the retire early part and they don’t really focus so much on the financial independence part. I think the more time you spend in this space, in this community and you start hearing other people talking about what they’re doing and how they’re serving, you start to transform your thinking. And okay, let me get money out of the way so I can concentrate on my dreams. But then my dreams can sometimes morph into what can I do to help the world? It isn’t just about me anymore, it’s because I’ve gotten money out of the way, now I can give of myself without worrying about how much it’s going to bring in for me, because I’m financially independent.
I think that it’s a great starting place to start thinking about the greater world. It’s hard to make a lot of difference in the world when you don’t have any money. And that’s unfortunate. I mean you can. I’m not, oh boy, I am digging myself a big hole, but it’s a lot easier to make a difference with money and it’s a lot easier to make a difference with time. And if you are working full-time to put food on the table and pay your bills, it’s hard to give back outside of that time, especially if you have a family, especially if you’ve got all these other obligations. You know what I mean? Do I just need to stop talking because I keep digging?

Scott:
No, I completely agree. I would phrase it as power. There’s a tremendous amount of power that is unlocked when you feel financially independent and ready to actually do the things you want to do in approaching your life. And then I would imagine, I don’t know, but I don’t have a lot of billionaire friends. I don’t have any billionaire friends, but I imagine that that power continues to increase as your net worth increases, but it’s a diminishing marginal return. The ability to work against your purpose is unlocked when we hit financial freedom and it’s much lesser before that point because you feel like you have to go to work and you have to do this job and you have to put food on the table and get to be self-sufficient up until that point. That’s the philosophy that has really guided me for a long time. I’m never sure about these philosophies, but I feel like there’s a good validation today from Lynne.

Mindy:
I agree. All right, Scott, should we get out of here?

Scott:
Let’s do it.

Mindy:
That wraps up this episode of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. He is Scott Trench and I am Mindy Jensen saying, find your purpose and do good in the world. BiggerPockets Money was created by Mindy Jensen and Scott Trench, produced by Kailyn Bennett, editing by Exodus Media, Copywriting by Nate Weintraub. Lastly, a big thank you to the BiggerPockets team for making this show possible.

 

 

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