The Paula Gordon Show
Can 'Happy' & 'Money' Coexist?

Henry Brock

Henry S. Brock heads The American Financial Resource Center, Inc., (http://www.AFRC-INC.COM), one of America's largest fee-based financial consulting companies. He also heads Five Star Management Company, LLC, (http://www.5STAR-MANAGEMENT.COM) which provides financial advisory services, corporate and public financial workshops and money management services. He founded the non-profit Center of Resources for Economic Education and Development (CREED) (http://www.CREED.ORG) whose programs and services assist people in the US and abroad. He is a Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Financial Consultant, Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter, and has an MBA with an emphasis in investment analysis and taxation. He and his wife and seven children live in Salt Lake City, Utah. His book Your Complete Guide to Money Happiness is published by Legacy Publishing Company, Carson City,NV.

How unlikely. A CPA/MBA financial consultant who wants us to use money instead of money using us. In this conversation with Paula Gordon and Bill Russell, Henry Brock urges people to resist the "paint by the numbers" approach to financial planning heralded by most of the financial press. He wants us to lead whole, balanced lives focused on relationships and stewardship. And he's keen on helping people make good financial decisions to help reach those goals.

Remember, Brock is an accountant, a CPA with an MBA and lots of certifications. He also heads a very large fee-based financial consulting firm serving individuals and corporations. He has created a whole range of financial strategies and tactics. But he reminds us that these are tools -- not ends in themselves. They are designed to "break the bondage" of debt, acquisitiveness, excitement and peer group pressure.  He urges us to make decisions based on what he calls "happiness criteria."  This is the "...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" kind of "happiness." It's not based on what he call's "ego criteria" which are based on impulse and emotion, what lures people into financial decisions expecting only short-term gain -- fun, excitement, pleasure, and/or entertainment.

Brock thinks America's advertising industry and corporate values lead us astray, giving us misguided permission to confuse "wants" and "needs." While championing free enterprise, Brock urges people to combine their goals of financial success and security with a vision of creating peace of mind, not accumulating the most toys. He suggests people frame their financial decisions so they have the option to create their own freedom instead of bondage, to be mature and responsible adults. "Responsibility is what separates the adult from the child in us.

Once we have achieved financial and material success (at whatever level you decide is appropriate to your own personal or institutional fulfillment,) we have responsibilities in the larger world, says Brock. His sense of stewardship starts with the personal and ends up global. "We have a stewardship for the world, the environment, and our children. We must pass a legacy on to the generations who follow us."

At every level, Brock is confident one can use the power of economic well-being to serve a greater good. That, according to Henry Brock, is how one finds fulfillment and peace of mind -- when your financial strategies are congruent with personal growth and fulfillment and responsible actions toward others....when money frees you....when you are no longer money's slave.

Excerpts2:43

Conversation 1

Henry Brock joins Paula Gordon and Bill Russell talking about an America where advertisers and corporations lead us to redefine "wants" as "needs." Brock celebrates free enterprise for our (economic) standard of living and the leisure it allows.  He addresses the dilemma of simultaneously pursuing material well-being and lives of peace and fulfillment.

Brock argues money ought to have something to do with happiness.   It should allow people to buy opportunities to travel, learn about the world, and bless lives of others through service. He urges people to learn to make financial decisions in terms of "happiness criteria" instead of "ego criteria" ("keeping up with Joneses.") Brock has found that people who make financial decisions based on impulse and emotions -- fun, entertainment, pleasure, and excitement -- end up slaves to debt and in financial bondage. Base decisions on "happiness criteria."   Focus on the long term, on human relationships, family, friendships, experiences that yield fulfillment, joy, peace -- happiness. When money is seen as a stewardship, the decision-maker balances saving and spending, does not become a slave to debt or anything else.

Conversation 2

Brock says the financial press talks about financial strategies and tactics as if decisions in life are best made by the numbers and the tax code. Planning financial lives out of money magazines results in a "paint by the numbers" financial -- and personal -- life. (Bill Russell recalls "Scrooge McDuck.") Brock believes people end up incongruent when they make money decisions in a vacuum, with "tax blinders" on, driven simply to climb a ladder of success. "Young people can be congruent. You don't have to wait. Only the foolish have to touch every hot stove themselves! Money is a tool, a means, not an end in itself."

Brock is extremely wary of debt. "My clients who are not in debt -- who are at peace, congruent, living some type of better life -- are people who focus on the long term, not merely the acquisition of stuff.  They focus on human relationships. Material well-being and financial success are not evil. But there must be balance in financial planning."

Conversation 3

The concept of "standard of living" is typically one of economic well-being. Americans may in fact NOT have the world's highest "standard of living" if one expands the concept to include choices of what we do with our time and how we spend our freedom. Brock is concerned about freedom. He urges people to resist the bondage of debt as well as "lifestyle prisons" -- lack of time, addictions to "stuff" and to habits.

Brock affirms fundamental "correct principles" as part of "financial advise." He urges one: 1.) focus on freedom, 2.) focus on "happiness criteria" instead of "ego criteria" 3.) know that "character" still counts. "To have lasting financial success and security, one must be honest, trustworthy, and adhere to good old fashioned virtues that haven't worn out. Resist focusing on the material at the expense of the spirit. Balance material considerations with a long-term perspective. Exercise choices. Pay attention to spiritual, emotional, and social concerns including the well-being of succeeding generations. That's the way to achieve 'money happiness' -- ultimate peace of mind, true success and security."

Conversation 4

A fulfilling life requires that we integrate money as a means toward fulfillment, not life's goal. Brock wrote his "Guide" so people can choose, can "get ahead" financially to the extent they choose to "get ahead." "Whatever you choose, integrate money so you can have a balanced life. Set financial goals and strategies, tax strategies, investment portfolio strategies, plan estates to include getting out of debt, spending time with those you care about, and making this a better world."

These challenges apply to our society's financial plans and strategies too. We must define our mission/purpose/values -- whether public institutions or private individuals. Good, balanced decisions are often hard to make.

Conversation 5

When Paula counters, "Easy for you, you're already successful," Brock describes realistic ways people can "work their way" out of debt/poverty and achieve material success. Then it's our job to help others in our communities and the world. "If we want a wonderful life here in our protected, comfortable homes, we'll start to reach outside ourselves, look for ways to serve others."  Brock has created the non-profit Center for Resources for Economic Education and Development (CREED) [http://creed.org] as one such outlet.

"My book is full of strategies and tactics. At the heart of it is the notion that we have to make decisions, set our own agendas. Don't go through life reacting to Madison Avenue or corporate America or other people expectations. We are responsible for our own lives.  The level of both our financial success and our fulfillment is a direct result of choices we make."

Conversation 6

Good financial decisions must include family and friendships, relationships, freedom, maturity, and -- "the adult word" -- responsibility.  "Responsibility is what separates the adult from the child in us. We have a stewardship for the world, the environment, and our children.  We must pass a legacy on to the generations who follow us."


Related Links:
American Financial Resource Center, Inc., (http://www.afrc-inc.com)
Center of Resources for Economic Education and Development (CREED) (http://www.creed.org)
Five Star Management Company, LLC, (http://www.5star-management.com)


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