What are Financial Mutants? (Are You One?)

May 3, 2023

What exactly makes you a “financial mutant?” In this highlight, we explain what it takes to be a financial mutant and how to get there.


She says, “Could you guys explain exactly what a financial mutant is? For some context, our net worth is 2.5 million, but I’m not sure where we stand in the Financial Order of Operations. I’m a 40-year-old stay-at-home mom, and we want to retire at 62.”

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First off, let me just say, Tina, 40 years old, two and a half million dollars saved up, you are crushing it, right? You are absolutely killing it from a financial standpoint. It certainly sounds like you are on your way to being where you want to be. But that was not your question. Your question is how do I know if I’m a financial mutant? What is a financial mutant? Well, I think one of the things that’s really important to talk about is a lot of times we’ll throw terms out like someone’s a prodigious accumulator of wealth. That just means that there’s a mathematical number that we can apply to someone’s net worth to say where they are relative to their income. That’s something sort of math-minded that you can do. What I think is interesting, Brian, that I’d love for you to weigh in on is that financial mutant is more of a mindset. It’s a mentality. It’s not math. And so what you may find is that financial mutants come in all shapes and sizes and they are littered all throughout the financial life cycle. Whether you’re someone who is still working through college or maybe you’re that person who retired 10 years ago, all of those people can be a financial mutant if they have the right mindset.

Let me give you a few indicators. I knew from a pretty early age I process money a lot differently than my peer group in the world. And the fact that I mean I came up with the seven dollar date night when I was in high school, it’s amazing that I have a wife and children based upon this mindset, but it does show the difference. I mean if you ask any of my high school friends, they made fun of my George Costanza wallet because I always had coupons in it and all kinds of other things. But here’s what I figured out also, a dollar in my hands was going to go three to ten percent further than everybody else’s. And it’s hard to explain this and you’ll, this is when you have a superpower to realize that you just don’t waste money that comes into your possession. You look at the opportunity that every dollar could become if it becomes the best version of itself. And that’s why I always tell people it’s a mindset, but it’s also you can’t look past the value of what a dollar is. And that’s why you hear people, I was watching some content recently and I think we might have even reacted to it where they’re talking about wealthy people are more scared to be poor and that’s why they’re so cheap when they go to restaurants or they do other things. And I was like, no, I don’t think. I think there is entrepreneurial fear, don’t get me wrong, but I also think there’s a reason that you see wealthy people not fall prey to some of the trends out there. It’s because they know the intrinsic value of what a good is and what brings them happiness.

Tina, if you can understand these skill sets, that your mindset and obviously having two and a half million dollars at 40 years of age, I get the feeling, because it’s also, the financial mutant part is when the markets are down, you get excited because you know you’re buying in that day or the next day when markets, that’s also another indicator. You process the world differently, and you bear fruit from that.

Yeah, I think it’s interesting, bro. I want us to be clear here though because a lot of times you talked about the seven-dollar day and someone being financial. We used to equate in our minds financial with being a tightwad, like it was this idea that, ‘Oh, you’ve got to be tight and you’ve got to pinch every penny.’ That was our thought. That’s not true. A financial mutant is someone who recognizes when it makes sense to be a tightwad, but when it also makes sense to recognize value and when it’s okay to spend your money. They simply think about money differently. So, there might be stages in your life where you are a tightwad, and that does accurately describe you. Just because your financial circumstances change, just because later on, maybe you buy the nicer car, you move into the nicer home, or you go on the nicer vacation, it does not mean that you are no longer a financial mutant. It just means that you have matured in your financial walk to where being a financial mutant looks different for you. Understanding incremental decisions, like you understand why it matters if I’m doing pre-tax 401K versus Roth 401k, why does it matter if I’m not just thinking about asset allocation but I’m also thinking about asset location? A finance social media understands that the small little marginal decisions over time can have a huge impact. And, by the way, what I love about being a financial mutant is that if you think about a curve with my face on it with my different age groups, I mean, you can be an 18-year-old and be a financial mutant because you process even though you don’t have money, you don’t have resources, but you’re already seeing how money is a tool and only a tool and how you can maximize that. A 30-year-old, once again, see my face on the line, yep, you can be a financial mutant just like you can be with Tina, who’s got two and a half million dollars. I don’t want somebody to mishear this and say this is only something that the elite can be in, no, not at all. It is not that we are an open invitation club, but only a small select group can get in because their mindset, even if they don’t have a lot, processes what the value, the opportunity of every dollar is. That’s the superpower.

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