Self-help guru Robbins gathers financial advice
By Robert Channick CHICAGO TRIBUNE
ANTONIO PEREZ CHICAGO TRIBUNE Self-help guru Tony Robbins has tapped the minds of many money and wealth wizards to write a 600-page financial-advice book.
CHICAGO — Tony Robbins, who launched a self-improvement empire with his once-ubiquitous infomercials, has made fire-walking a staple of his empowerment seminars for decades.
With his latest book, Money: Master the Game, he turns his attention to financial advice with one overriding goal: keeping average investors from getting burned.
Robbins, 54, has reached more than 50 million people through his motivational tapes and live seminars since publishing his first self-help book, Unlimited Power, nearly 30 years ago. He has coached such luminaries as former President Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.
Robbins spent four years researching, assembling and interviewing a who’s who of financial gurus, looking to find the specific strategies that make and keep the wealthy insulated, in good economic times and bad. The result is a 600-page book featuring the advice of Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, Vanguard founder John Bogle and other investors, with a dose of aphorisms and encouragement from Robbins sprinkled throughout.
Robbins was in Chicago recently to promote his book.
Q: Did Warren Buffett offer any good stock tips?
A: His whole philosophy at this stage is buy the index. When he passes away, 90 percent of his money is going to go straight into the index. That made (Vanguard founder and retired chief executive) John Bogle pretty happy.
The scary truth is, 96 percent of mutual funds fail to match the market, and the 4 percent that do, they’re always changing. Everybody has a different strategy, but everybody agrees that active management does not beat the market.
Q: Isn’t buying index funds common-sense advice?
A: Common sense is not too common. There’s $13 trillion in actively managed mutual funds. Vanguard has grown to be the largest mutual fund in the world today, but that’s where the smart money is and, unfortunately, that’s not where most money is.
Q: Did you find a common thread among these billionaire investors?
A: They know they’re going to be wrong, so they have a plan to protect against wrong. The average American thinks they’re going to be right based on some talking head. They invest, and they have no backup plan. Americans think these guys are giant risk-takers. The truth is, they believe in taking as little risk as humanly possible, for the maximum amount of upside. They’re looking for that spread of disproportionate risk-reward.
Q: The book says that people’s greatest fear is outliving their money. Other than getting very wealthy or working until the end, how can people plan to have money throughout their lives?
A: The best tool today is longevity insurance — they call it income insurance. Most people know the value of life insurance.
But what if you live? So instead of trying to guess one or the other, you plan for those 20 years and you get this income insurance. If you live beyond 85, you have money that’s guaranteed for as long as you live in the form of an annuity.
Well, this is after all Tony Robbins! Doesn’t everybody love Tony Robbins? I have certainly been fascinated by a tape or two which I have heard and of course, like almost everybody else — seen him inspiring others on television. So he is a well-loved icon. But I almost didn’t want to run this, simply because. . . these days, most people (perhaps, like me who used to be an investor), it just doesn’t apply to us any longer with so many just trying to survive this splendid, all time high market. Decidedly for the well-heeled The economy is one thing and it is Marvelous. . . it just doesn’t seem to apply to us in the great masses of our country.
But for those fortunate enough to be in that upper fringe of what used to be the ‘middle class,’ I’d bet anything, you’re gonna love this book. Jan