A Money Lesson From Johnny Carson

|May 14, 2021

America is learning a tough lesson.

It’s learning that more money does not equal more wealth.

It’s a hard lesson to learn… especially when the government is handing out money to anybody with a pulse.

You see, we met with a prominent small business owner last night. He is successful… more successful than most.

“We want to have kids,” he confided. “I don’t want my wife to have to work, though. I want her to be able to stay home and raise our kids.”

We nodded along. It’s a cry we hear often.

“It’s not going to happen, though,” he said. “We need her income. The cost of living is just too high.”

After that, he showed us pictures of his new truck on his iPhone.

What a beauty.

And it cost only a year’s salary… the truck, that is, not the phone.

We told our friend what we’d tell anybody. Sell the stupid truck, get a cheaper phone and start over.

He’s got the best chance ever at building real wealth (a household with two solid jobs)… and he’s going to let it all flitter away because the poor fella has no idea that it’s not the money he’s after.

We told him to change his mindset. And that, if he did, within a decade he’d be happier and wealthier than he could ever imagine.

Best of all, he’d be off the paycheck-chasing hamster wheel.

Two Powerful Words

Johnny Carson, never known for his financial advice, lived by an important mantra. He always wanted to have enough of what he called “f—k you” money. (We can print that, right? We’re big kids here.)

His idea was simple.

By having enough cash in the bank, he had the freedom to pass up any job he didn’t want to do.

“All that means is that I don’t have to do what I don’t want to do.”

It’s a powerful idea.

It allows us to walk away from the things that don’t bring us joy.

Ultimately, that’s what we want, right?

We hear from readers nearly every day who would benefit from adopting Carson’s mindset.

They write to us and ask, “Where do I start?” They say they’ve got only a few bucks and can’t possibly get ahead.

And now, after reading what’s above, they’ll write us and cry, “It was easy for Carson to say, he was rich.”

Anybody who says that last line is missing not only the point… but also all that they yearn for.

Everybody Wants More

There are 7.674 billion people on this Earth. If we listed them all by their net worth, we’d find that every one of them wanted to be richer than the next guy on the list.

And the fella at the top of the list? Yeah… he still goes to work every day. He still wants more.

Jeff Bezos started one mammoth company… Now he is launching another.

It proves that money is not wealth. The ability to utter those words from Johnny Carson is.

Carson’s successor, Jay Leno, must have learned the idea well from his old boss.

He famously never spent the money he made while hosting The Tonight Show.

“When I got The Tonight Show, I always made sure I did 150 comedy gigs a year so I never had to touch the principal,” he said. “I’ve never touched a dime of my Tonight Show money. Ever.”

Here’s why…

“It sounds ridiculous,” Leno said, “but if everything ends tomorrow, I know I’ll be fine.”

Isn’t that what we really want?

It wasn’t the money Leno was after. It was the security.

Once he knew he could walk away – or be pushed away – and still survive, only then was he rich.

In an era with government lockdowns, gas shortages, soaring food prices and a mob of folks always looking to ruin their next victim, the idea is more important today than ever.

But here’s the thing. Leno didn’t wait until he was making more money than he could spend to start using this “trick.”

Again, this isn’t a tactic only the rich can use.

Nope. Leno and Carson both used it from the beginning.

“I always had two incomes,” Leno said. “I’d bank one, and I’d spend one.”

And he’d always spend the lesser amount, banking the greater.

Walk-Away Money

So what does this look like in the real world? What does it mean for somebody like the small business owner we talked to last night… with his two-income family?

Perhaps the best example comes in the form of the free money Uncle Sam recently sent so many Americans. Lots of families were given several thousand dollars in free money.

Most did exactly what the government (which is obsessed with the masses and not the individual) wanted them to do. They spent it. They went out to eat. They went on a road trip. They flooded Amazon with orders.

For an instant… they had a lot of money. But they still have no wealth.

And the only person they can utter Carson’s bold words to is the person who stares back at them in the mirror.

That stinks.

Don’t do it.

Cut your spending. Create another stream of income (stocks are a great place to start). And nail down exactly why it is you want to “get rich.”

We’ll bet all we have that it isn’t about the money.

Andy Snyder
Andy Snyder|Founder

Andy Snyder is the founder of Manward Press, the nation’s premier source of unfiltered, unorthodox views on money and what it means for a free society. An American author, investor and serial entrepreneur, Andy cut his teeth at an esteemed financial firm with nearly $100 billion in assets under management. Andy and his ideas have been featured on Fox News, on countless radio stations, and in numerous print and online outlets. He’s been a keynote speaker and panelist at events all over the world, from four-star ballrooms to Senate hearing rooms. Today, Andy’s dissident thoughts on life, liberty and investing can be found in his popular daily newsletter,  Manward Financial Digest.