(No, it’s not a robot, although that would be really cool!)

This past weekend the Kung Fu Family went to an awesome event here in the Bay Area called the Maker Faire (they now have them nationwide, so check the website if you’d like to attend one in your local area—I highly recommend it!).

The Maker Faire is “a two-day, family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement”, and let me tell you, it is a veritable feast of creativity—sort of Burning Man meets Computer Geeks meets Artists meets Musicians meets Imagination meets Productivity. Wow.

The “Maker Movement” is all about creating value for other people and being a producer instead of just a “consumer”, something we are big about here at Kung Fu Finance!

(If you haven’t read the recent QnA on “How to Build Wealth” and why I feel value creation is so important, you can do so here.)

The Maker Movement “offers the opportunity for us to see ourselves as more than consumers; we are productive; we are creative. Everyone is a maker and our world is what we make it.”

And boy, can these people make stuff!

We saw real, working 3-D printers, 3-D photographs, every type of self-powered vehicle you can dream up, a “live” R2D2, gorgeous art and fashion, amazing musical instruments, and so much more…it was a celebration of creation, and it reminded me of something I’ve wanted to write about for weeks—the #1 Predictor of Your Future Wealth.

Just what IS the #1 Predictor of Your Future Wealth?

I’ll give you some hints:

It’s not education.

It’s not income.

It’s not a great job.

It’s not whether or not you have kids.

It’s not whether or not you own your own business.

It’s not intelligence. (A 2007 study showed that people with above-average IQ’s are only 1.2 times as likely as those with below-average IQ’s to have a high net worth.[1])

No, it’s not any of those things (although you can make great arguments for all of them, and many of them do contribute in some way.)

So what is it?

The magical #1 predictor of your future wealth is…

Your “savings”!

It’s true…that magical number between how much you produce on this planet and how much you consume on this planet (or how much you earn vs. how much you spend) is the single-most important predictor of your future wealth.

What You Produce – What You Consume = “Savings”

(And hopefully that “Savings” is a positive number!)

But wait a minute…what does “savings” have to do with the Maker Faire and with creativity and creation?

Let me show you…but first I need to go all kung fu on that horrid word, “savings”.

Why I hate the word “Savings”

I have to be honest with you—I hate that word! (Gee, how do I really feel?)

But really, who actually likes that word? Let’s face it—saving money is not typically thought of as “fun”, and the word “saving” itself is a scarcity-based word, associated with sacrifice and with phrases like “scrimping and saving” (not fun) and “saving for a rainy day” (more scarcity…implying that you won’t have “enough” when that day arrives).

Even the dictionary says that savings is “a reduction”—I’m not lying; see for yourself!

From Google Dictionary:

savings (plural of sav·ing)

Noun:

An economy of or reduction in money, time, or another resource.
The money one has saved, esp. through a bank or official scheme.

Can you believe it?

YES, that’s right…this definition says that savings is a “reduction in money”!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to “reduce” my money at all…I want to grow it, expand it, and blow it up until there is so much of it I can’t possibly count it all! I want my money to be abundant!

But that’s not what “saving” is. Saving is conserving, economizing, reducing, “scrimping”, being frugal…no wonder most of us don’t like to save!

When most people think of “savings” they think of only the right half of the equation—“What You Consume” (or how to save on your expenses). They struggle over their budget, clip coupons to save on grocery expenses, pack their lunch instead of eating out, and otherwise try to be frugal.

This is not a bad thing, necessarily, but it is only half of the equation!

What You Produce – What You Consume = ?

It is time to redefine “savings”, much like Robert Kiyosaki redefined “assets” and “liabilities”.

(He said assets are things that put money into your pockets, and liabilities are things that take money out of your pockets, hence why your home is not an asset. Any homeowner will tell you just how expensive a house really is and how much money gets sucked out of your pocket each month to pay your mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, remodeling expenses, and on and on!)

On the same note, “savings” doesn’t fully explain the magic number equation, either—when you are “saving” money you are simply “not spending” it—it completely ignores the entire producing and earning and income side of the equation!

So, we need a new word to describe that magic number that is such an important predictor of your future wealth, one that accurately represents both sides of the equation, not just “expenses”.

Something like…

What You Produce – What You Consume = Your Stored Value

(or maybe Your Wealth Chest!)

Treasure Chest

Your Awesome Wealth Chest

(If you can think of something better / sexier, please let me know!)   🙂

Otherwise, I am going to take on mainstream finance (I know, good luck with that, Kung Fu Girl…) and change “savings” to “stored value” (or “wealth chest”…), which I believe is a much better representation of the equation (and predictor of your future wealth!) than “savings”.

You should constantly be trying to maximize your stored value, both by creating more value and helping more people (which will earn you more income) and by saving on your expenses. (Both Yin and Yang are equally important!)

Hopefully, you are creating immense value for others by solving their problems, whether you own your own business and solve your customers’ problems or whether you have a job and solve problems for your employer, and hopefully you aren’t consuming more value than you’re producing. (But if you are, fear not…heck, even the government is trillions of dollars in debt!)

So what is then left over from all of this awesome value you’ve created and not spent?

Why the value you’re storing for the future, of course– your stored value, your wealth chest, the money that will become your investing capital and build your future wealthy empire!

I have to be honest with you—I almost titled this article “What to Do if You Suck at Saving Money”, and I hope by now the answer is clear—don’t focus just on “saving” (which is really “how not to spend money” or “how to save money on your expenses by paying for them more cheaply”). Instead, focus on your income, too—on creating value for other people, just like the Makers do!

And then, store up all of that extra value you’ve created by helping other people (congratulations!) and build your awesome wealthy empire!

(And then PLEASE take over the world…we could really use someone with some sense to run this place!)

And please let me know what YOU think about “saving” in the comments!

To your financial success,
— Kung Fu Girl

[1] Jay L. Zagorsky (2007): “Do You Have to Be Smart to Be Rich? The Impact of IQ on Wealth, Income and Financial Distress.” Intelligence, 35 (5), 489-501.