Chapter 1 – It All Starts With You
“We shouldn’t expect immediate major breakthroughs but there is no doubt we have embarked on one of the most exciting chapters of the book of life,” Professor Allan Bradley, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
Like the movie, The Matrix, there is a complex system operating around you. Instead of operating off of sleeping humans, like in the movie, the system operates with our finances. It impacts you every day without you knowing it. I’ve called this financial system the Financial Genome; comparing it to the Human Genome Project. Once you know about the financial genome, then you’ll be able to influence it to secure your future, protect your family, and understand the world around you. It is like the galaxy, infinite in all directions with complicated networks of connections. We’re going to start small and then expand farther out making “connections” with various parts. Every day that passes without you knowing and understanding it, the greater the influence other people have on you and soon you won’t have any more control.
I want you to embark on an exciting adventure as we explore the Financial Genome together—known as the genome from here forward. Exploring the genome can help you with your personal finances; though it’s not a personal finance book. Economic principles will be the highway as we explore the genome, but don’t worry, it’s not an economics book. This isn’t a self-help book either, but one of the key concepts of this book is that time will continue to push and evolve the genome, whether you understand, believe, or participate in it.
This is simply a way of understanding the genome and exploring the exciting connections around us. There are some great parts of the genome where the smallest, marginal, influences can create a positive impact on the whole genome. And unfortunately, there are a lot of dark areas in the genome where bad influences can negatively influence the genome—some overt and some covert. Simply knowing about these great parts and dark areas are can help most of us. In our vastly complex genome, we must start somewhere.
I had a hard time deciding where to start our journey into the genome. My first thought was to start with money—but what is money? The concept of money is extremely complex and we’ll cover our concept of money in another chapter. My second thought was to start with “the why” of exploring the genome. “The why” will be explored through each chapter as we go deeper into the genome. But for now, “the why” is simply to allow you to understand where you fit in the genome and, most importantly, apply force to your surroundings—creating a change in your financial environment.
The most logical point to start to me is to start with you. Not you specifically. You as a human being, which as a species, has accepted and participates as a functioning part of the genome. It’s important not to think of the genome as some linear shape with input and output, or a hole that we can go deeper into until we meet an end. Instead, think of the earth in the entire galaxy. If the galaxy is infinite, then you’d need to start somewhere, and most of us would start on Earth. You are the Earth of the genome.
99.9% of the time, the “person”, or you, our starting point of the genome, is a plugged-in member of our genome. When we discuss money in more detail, you’ll see that the entire genome relies on our belief in the entire construct. The genome slowly evolved into the complex system it is now. Once one of our ancestors traded a product for another product, it created a connection in our genome. Those two humans believed that those two products had an equal value in which a trade was completed. Assuming these two humans didn’t immediate kill each other, and the trade went through without conflict, then the first verbal contract was completed. The majority of our genome is simply a verbal contract, growing larger and larger, and more complex as technology advances.
The modern genome relies in your utmost faith and obedience to the verbal and written contracts you engage in every day. As a human, you absorb an input, typically as an income and you produce an output, typically as you spend, save, and are taxed.
You exert influence on genome connections in three ways. 1) You exert influence based on how much you believe in the system and how obedient you are. 2) Your influence is usually greater as your income increases. In almost all cultures, the rich are able to control more connections and exert influence on genome connections that increase their control. 3) The genome can exert influence on you through your output. Governments can tax you and companies can increase prices. Your ability to manage your consent, input, and output will determine your impact on the genome.
The genome is constantly evolving around you, regardless of how much influence you may have on the genome. No matter how complex it becomes, your understanding of how you influence the genome will help you navigate through it. Despite our knowledge of the system or how powerful some connections become, there are also outside pressures on the genome as well.
There’s an external pressure on the genome, that has nothing to do with your participation, understanding, or obedience. It is time. Time is the greatest pressure on the genome. It can be a negative or a positive force. The longer you remain ignorant of your presence in the genome, the more negative the force is perceived—like pressure building as you go deeper underwater. For those of us that become aware of the genome early, the positive force is like the wind in your sails pushing your boat effortlessly. Remember, time exerts its pressure on the genome no matter what you do.
The biggest secret of the genome is…the entire system can be altered, changed, and modified if enough connections (people in this case) make it so; however, the system has been carefully crafted to prevent that from happening. There is a surface layer that most of us know about—and accept and are obedient to. An example of a simple connection, in which we’ve accepted and are obedient to, is the 40-hour American work week. Back in the late 1800s, the 40-hour work week was actually an improvement on the average 100-hour work week that some industry workers experienced. The 40-hour work week isn’t common among all countries and neither is the Monday through Friday work week. We’ve accepted the 40-hour work week and the 5:2 work-to-rest ratio. Financially independent people don’t have a 40-hour work week. They may have more or they may be completely free. There are many more examples deeper into the genome. There are some we can modify ourselves, and some that require an entire culture to change. This is why it’s so important to explore the Financial Genome. Come with me.