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Help me, I am a Squirrel!!!

PokerRich

New Contributor
Jan 15, 2008
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Minnesota
I read through Jordan Goodman's book, "Master Your Money Type." It's not a mind-blowing book but it does break down common personality-types and how those types tend to deal with money. Some examples of the types are Ostriches, high-rollers, strivers and squirrels.

According to his classifications, I am a classic squirrel. Basically, I love money but worry about it a lot. I am extremely paranoid of losing it and I make ultra-safe investments. I hate debt and I rarely reward myself with anything nice. My deep fear of loss drives my my decision-making process.

In my life, this is a very accurate description. I am obsessed with paying off our debt. That was fine when we had consumer debt and car loans, but now that those are paid off I can't get it out of my head to pay off our mortgages and lower interest student loans. I have 100% of our liquid net worth in an online savings account that just dropped under 4% interest. This account is the equivalent of about 10 months of living expenses even if we had $0 money coming in but I am still paranoid about investing it elsewhere.

In my business life, I have a very tough time thinking fastlane. My ideas are all safe and S-quadrant. I have a very tough time delegating as I would rather do it right myself. I think about how to make a little bit more than my expenses, not about how to get fastlane.

I know this is a problem. My question is, are there any squirrels here? What have you done to overcome some of these obstacles within yourself? How about in your business life?
 

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Russ H

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I haven't read the book, but from your description, I was totally a squirrel.

Then we started playing Cashflow 101.

THEN, I played with the folks in San Francisco, and learned the art of leveraging.

My whole universe changed.

That was 2002/2003.

Our net worth was, oh, about 800K or so back then.

Fast forward to 2008: It's just about to pass $5M.

Leverage.

And (way important for me): Playing cashflow, over and over, with different investors, until I understood the principles of leverage and how to make it work in my favor, virtually ALL the time. :)

-Russ H.
 

GoldenEggs

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Sep 4, 2007
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I am not familiar with the book but I used to describe myself as a squirrel. I had several savings accounts, all with low balances and money hidden everywhere. I would re-read an old book and a couple of bills would come fluttering out of it.

I would have to agree with Russ about Cashflow 101. At first, I played very conservatively and it wasn't until I played with a lady who would borrow large amounts of money that I began to change my way of thinking.

I recently had a conversation about money with my husband. We're currently involved in an apt deal and some of the investors are scared of losing their money. Now, I am not a fan of losing any money but at the same time, I believe anything I would lose, I would be able to make it up again and probably sooner. When I lost my job, I was terrified that I would never be able to find another position that paid me 40K. So I took a job that paid me 36K and a year later ended up at 80K. And I left that job and am now working on an e-commerce business that I expect to give me double.

To help me stay in the fastlane frame of mind, I often come back to this forum for inspiration and support.
 

8 SNAKE

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Aug 15, 2007
239
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25
Midwest
According to his classifications, I am a classic squirrel. Basically, I love money but worry about it a lot. I am extremely paranoid of losing it and I make ultra-safe investments. I hate debt and I rarely reward myself with anything nice. My deep fear of loss drives my my decision-making process.
PokerRich,

This is very interesting, and if you don't mind I'd like to ask a couple of questions.

If I remember correctly, you have become a very good poker player. How were you able to become a good poker player while maintaining your squirrel mentality? I've never seen a good poker player that was afraid to risk his stack, because he'd get bullied right off the table. My guess is that you learned to let go of that fear while at the poker table because you trusted enough in your skills and abilities.

What's stopping you from taking your poker mentality and adapting it to the other facets of your life? Is it a lack of confidence? Lack of direction? Lack of planning? Solving this piece of the puzzle should allow everything else to fall into place for you.
 

Russ H

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8-Snake-

Perhaps it's *balance*.

-Russ H.
 
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PokerRich

New Contributor
Jan 15, 2008
56
12
15
Minnesota
PokerRich,

This is very interesting, and if you don't mind I'd like to ask a couple of questions.

If I remember correctly, you have become a very good poker player. How were you able to become a good poker player while maintaining your squirrel mentality? I've never seen a good poker player that was afraid to risk his stack, because he'd get bullied right off the table. My guess is that you learned to let go of that fear while at the poker table because you trusted enough in your skills and abilities.

What's stopping you from taking your poker mentality and adapting it to the other facets of your life? Is it a lack of confidence? Lack of direction? Lack of planning? Solving this piece of the puzzle should allow everything else to fall into place for you.
It is an ironic twist that I have been so attracted to gambling going as far as playing poker for my sole income (until I found out my wife was pregnant). When I am actually playing poker, money has 0 effect on me. It doesn't matter if I am playing a $20 tournament or a $1,000 buy-in cash game I play tough and extremely aggressive. I am not afraid to risk my stack with nothing if I think I am +EV. However, where my squirrel mentality has cost me a ton of money by now is what games I play. Most profitable players will risk up to 5% of their bankroll at a time. I have a tough time putting .5% on the line. I play relatively low stakes where I am all but guaranteed to win small but don't have to deal with downswings.

Ex. Right now, I play stakes that will net me $30/ hour very consistently. I will rarely have a losing session but I will never have a monster session either. I have the bankroll and ability to play stakes that will net me $100/ hour but I will have to deal with much larger swings and more losing sessions due to tougher players. Everytime I move up, as soon as I start to hit a downswing I head for the hills, take out a good portion of my profits and regroup. I have taken 6-figures out of poker over the last couple of years but taking that money out has probably cost me 7-figures.


""" What's stopping you from taking your poker mentality and adapting it to the other facets of your life? Is it a lack of confidence? Lack of direction? Lack of planning? """

I am not sure. I don't think it is lack of confidence. I don't think it's lack of planning. If anything, I suffer from planning paralysis as I will plan in way too much detail and talk myself out of things rather than just doing. Lack of direction has definitely been an issue, after a couple years I finally have 2 business ideas that I like. I just got my LLC approved for one and the other won't start until winter (it's about hockey). However, I am already falling into my traps of wanting to start small, not put much start-up money in and doing everything slowlane. I want to do everything myself from the accounting to the web-site rather than pay professionals to do it right and free up my time. I need to get myself out of this slowlane mentality before I cost myself money in business like I have done in poker.

Maybe there is no trick or easy fix to being a squirrel. Maybe I just need to man-up, kick my own a$$ and do it. It would be easier if there was a trick :)
 
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PokerRich

New Contributor
Jan 15, 2008
56
12
15
Minnesota
I am not familiar with the book but I used to describe myself as a squirrel. I had several savings accounts, all with low balances and money hidden everywhere. I would re-read an old book and a couple of bills would come fluttering out of it.

I would have to agree with Russ about Cashflow 101. At first, I played very conservatively and it wasn't until I played with a lady who would borrow large amounts of money that I began to change my way of thinking.

I recently had a conversation about money with my husband. We're currently involved in an apt deal and some of the investors are scared of losing their money. Now, I am not a fan of losing any money but at the same time, I believe anything I would lose, I would be able to make it up again and probably sooner. When I lost my job, I was terrified that I would never be able to find another position that paid me 40K. So I took a job that paid me 36K and a year later ended up at 80K. And I left that job and am now working on an e-commerce business that I expect to give me double.

To help me stay in the fastlane frame of mind, I often come back to this forum for inspiration and support.
Since both you and Russ have suggested CF101 I will look into that. I believe you can play online. How did you go from being a squirrel hoping for a 40k job to leaving an 80k job a year later? That's quite an evolution.
 

8 SNAKE

Contributor
Aug 15, 2007
239
44
25
Midwest
Maybe there is no trick or easy fix to being a squirrel. Maybe I just need to man-up, kick my own a$$ and do it. It would be easier if there was a trick :)
You've definitely got an interesting story! Thanks for the insights.

Is your desire to do everything yourself a function of a perceived cost savings or a preference to have direct control over everything in your businesses?

When you started out in poker, how did you transition from a newbie to a full-time player? Perhaps you're following a similar path with your business ventures? I don't know if any of this helps, but I'm quite intrigued with your story.
 

Russ H

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Jul 25, 2007
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PokerRich-

Please keep 2 things in mind as you move forward:

1. I made my cashflow breakthroughs by playing the BOARD GAME, not the e-game. The e-game is a waste of time for learning what we're talking about here.

2. You know yourself better than anyone. You have become successful playing poker when millions of others have NOT. I will not give you advice for playing poker, or changing your strategy. And I would strongly suggest you take others advice on this with a healthy cube of salt.

I'll say it again: You know yourself. Your playing style is based on WHO YOU ARE.

Unless you plan on becoming a different person, I would NOT change your playing style or strategy.

You need to function at a level that is within your comfort zone.

If you need to stretch that zone, then perhaps go into ONE game with a larger % of your bankroll, but know that you'll return to your regular style of play after that one game.

If you can develop or refine your style using a higher percentage bankroll, then great. But if not, at least you don't lose what you have already developed for yourself.

-Russ H.

PS Do you watch NUMB3RS? A few great gambling epis (and one on poker tells, which was fun).
 

Russ H

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Jul 25, 2007
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Nothing wrong with being a squirrel, after all . . .

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl7Ww5w2-BI&feature=related"]YouTube - Rocky & Bullwinkle Show[/ame]
 
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PokerRich

New Contributor
Jan 15, 2008
56
12
15
Minnesota
You've definitely got an interesting story! Thanks for the insights.

Is your desire to do everything yourself a function of a perceived cost savings or a preference to have direct control over everything in your businesses?

When you started out in poker, how did you transition from a newbie to a full-time player? Perhaps you're following a similar path with your business ventures? I don't know if any of this helps, but I'm quite intrigued with your story.
My desire to do everything myself comes from wanting to save money.

My escalation up the poker food chain was a gradual process. Lots of study and trial by fire. I could be on a similar path with my businesses but I want to avoid the mistakes I have made in poker with my squirrel tendencies.

All these questions and comments help. Looking at myself from a different POV and answering questions I wouldn't ask myself all helps. I am fairly narcissistic so I don't mind answering questions about my story :)

Russ- thanks for all your comments, they are much appreciated. I really enjoy Numbers. I haven't had a chance to watch any of the new episodes this season but they are sitting on my DVR waiting for a rainy day. I am excited for the poker tells episode.
 

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