Trevor Mickelson – Tortoise and Hare Membership

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Janine Bolon: Welcome to this episode. This is Janine Bolon with The Thriving Solopreneur, and today I have with me Trevor Mickelson, what a wonderful guest. I have worked with Trevor for several years now and he and I have been working together usually in the financial world. What is cool is that Trevor has spent his career in the arena of Risk Mitigation and Financial Education. Do not worry, do not panic with the big words. We are going to be helping you understand what it means to go through Risk Mitigation. But basically, these are topics that you are never taught in school, much less in college, unless you specifically go into business management of some kind, and oh, good luck with the MBA, ever really talking about Risk Management when it comes to your own personal finances, they will talk to it in a business mindset, but not personal. What is great about Trevor, is that he and I both agree, our parents did not teach us this stuff. We had to learn it. So, we are here to help you with that. Trevor also has a passion for breaking down those complex financial information as well as all the principles into simple concepts, so others have that wonderful, life-changing ‘aha’ moment that comes over and over again when you start moving down your financial path. The coolest thing is that Trevor is a Senior Vice President for Five Rings Financial, and he is the Founder and the President of Tortoise & Hare Financial Affairs. Now, we all love that metaphor in the financial community, we will talk about that in a little bit. Anyhow, he also is the Creator of the Embrace Your Prosperity Mastermind Group, and his mission is to help every organization, employees, and their clients realized the daily opportunities to turn debt into wealth, protect their livelihood, and safeguard their future and business for generations to come. But most importantly, it is just to bring value to the world that you live in and basically align it with what you love to do and share your unique song with the world. So thank you so much Trevor for being with us today. It is great to hear from you.


Trevor Mickelson: Thank you very much Janine for having me today. It is an honor. I always love connecting with you and your network, so thank you very much for allowing me and inviting me to this opportunity to chat with you today.


Janine: You bet! What I want to let people know is that the very first time that I met Trevor, I was introduced to him as he wanted to help thirty or fifty thousand women, always forget how it was such a huge number. You wanted to help fifty thousand women with their finances. So, basically, ladies and gentlemen, this is a man who has stepped up to help women learn how to handle finances. He is basically our champion, but, he will help the guys too. And so, I just wanted to say thank you for being that. If you do not mind, kind of give us a little bit of a synopsis of what on Earth put you into or drove you into, or inspired you into the financial industry to begin with?


Trevor: I would love to say it was a nice rainbow-sunshine-unicorn-butterfly story, but actually it was the exact opposite of that. I just had this college life crisis, decided not to be a doctor, was going actually into the nursing field, and then my wife got diagnosed with a neuromuscular degenerative autoimmune disease, and also got a disc rupture in her lower back within a very short amount of time, and if anybody has ever gone through something life-changing like that, it dismantles everything you know about finances, your world as you know it, and has so much trauma in it. It is the number one cause of bankruptcies, foreclosures, small business failures, marriages, I mean, money issues, and that is exactly what happened to us. We lost everything, our marriage almost crumbled. We almost had a divorce every single night and weekends. It was literally hell for us, and it was really about a ten-year process. Now, just to let everybody know, my wife is doing great, she is really in the high 90 percentage of functionality. I would say, she is the most high functioning person in the world with her diagnosis due to health, and wellness, and mindset, meditation and whatnot, in the way that we approach life. So I want to just let people know that there is always options on that front, outside of the traditional stuff and for us, that was realizing that there is a different path than what is presented, or rather, not presented in high school or college from our parents and whatnot, because my mom was an accountant, my father-in-law is a CPA on his own practice, and yet my wife and I literally knew nothing about money except, go get a good job after getting a great education, get in a bunch of debt and then somehow you are going to figure it out. I know money is like this close to the importance of oxygen, but we are not going to teach you anything about it, and that is literally how they control the monopoly board of the world, it is let us take away that one piece of financial education that is so important, let us teach you that one critical foundational element of adulting and let us eliminate that. So when we went through this literally. ‘awakening’ of how we have been lied to of finances, I started to dive in and treat finances like I would any college education course. I was a professional tutor in college and high school and whatnot through most of my life, and always tutored very advanced biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, math, and I looked at money as a course, and I started studying it, basically I leveraged what I have learned, which is learn it, then teach it, master it and turn knowledge into wisdom. So I sought mentors, I sought people that I could teach this information so that I could really embed into my habit and very, very quickly, I realized that there was such a huge need for financial education and financial literacy. Financial literacy just does not exist anywhere in most schools. So whenever I was thinking about this, I was like, “Wow, there is a really, really, great opportunity in there.” And in between the medical shift of the doctor to the nurse, it was during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, and there were no jobs anywhere and the only place hiring was in a financial industry. So, I kind of got in the financial industry by happenstance of just, this is the only job that existed. “Hey Trevor come in you can work as hard as you want for a hundred percent commission, and if you win, you win, but if you fail, you burn out miserably.” So I happenned to succeed because I learned it and I approached it as an education process and a tutoring process versus a selling process, so I was able to in a very short amount of time, outsell I guess you could say, or outperform people who had been there for five or ten or fifteen years, plus I was that guy that always went on the trips and the cruises and the resorts, five stars all-expense-paid trips and whatnot. But then, when my wife had those instances of the disability and whatnot, even though I was learning about all of this beforehand, about how kind of money works, it was more on the growth, not so much on the protection, the longevity, legacy, wealth, if you will. It was never about creating wealth. It was always about creating a big pile of money for retirement. The idea of true wealth never came across our vision. When all that happened, it completely opened me up, and us up to the idea of how to go from about a hundred thousand dollars in debt, take those habits, which they are habits and it is generational, that I was taught from my parents, and to leverage that and shift that mindset to wealth creation strategies. And so for the last ten years now, I have been teaching Financial Education across the country, and about six years ago now, I was picked up by a company, they have wooed me because they said, “Hey Trevor!” And this was ten years ago, they found me right at the beginning and said, “Hey, you are teaching Financial Education, we are teaching Financial Education.” I am like, “No. I want to do my own thing. I do not want to sell Financial services or products. I want to teach, I am a teacher, I am a tutor.” That is what I love. I love helping people, and they go, “Well we do that too.” And I am like, “Yeah, yeah yeah.” So, three and a half years later…


Janine: Heard this all before. [laughter]


Trevor: Exactly. It is like palm trees and oases do not exist. But, after three and a half years of looking at Five Rings Financial, I realized that, “Oh my gosh, they are doing it the way that I would, except more expansive.” Because what I realized after three and a half years is that my clients wanted to work with me. After finding thousands of dollars a month literally for families, saving their marriage, their homes, their kid’s college education and whatnot, with this mindset, showing them how to reduce their taxes by twenty-five to fifty percent, how to save hundreds or thousands of dollars each month that could be funneled under their bed for all I cared at that point. But what I realize is people wanted to work with me. They did not want to get passed off to a traditional Financial professional that would put them in a state of fear. That was my whole process is getting them in this place of embracing prosperity, which is this unconditional acceptance of, “I am going to be all right because I came into this world fully funded, and once I realized that, ‘Wow, Trevor, I don’t want to go anywhere else’.” I ended up aligning with Five Rings Financial and with a very short amount of time, I expanded into a national-based business and one of the fastest-growing divisions in the company and it has just been completely amazing and for the last, gosh, five years, six or four-five years now, I have been working virtually, so I am helping everybody all over the country. Long story short, we went through hell. That is how I got into this position. So now my mission is to help people realize those lessons at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom, because when you hit the bottom and it breaks through, and then you hit the rock bottom and it breaks through, and you hit rock bottom again, and it is solid, that is a really great place to build foundational and move from there. So that is where I teach from, it is from literally rock bottom, so no one can tell me “Oh Trevor, I am going through this, I am going through that.” It is like, “Yeah, I understand.” “Oh, but Trevor what-” “I truly understand.” “But Trevor,-” And “I truly understand.” And so it is different. It is not that I will not work with millionaires or billionaires, there is ninety-nine percent of the population that will never get this kind of information. Basically, that is the clientele that I work with, these people who do not have five million dollars in assets and are not going to meet that threshold. Maybe they got a few hundred thousand dollars, maybe they do have a million or maybe they are scratching pennies together. Really for us, our focus is helping middle-income Americans, so that is how I got into the industry and I live a life on fire because I always get to help people and the people who desire help are really, really motivated, and so it is always, it’s like taking a C or D student to an A student. It just feels good to do that.


Janine: It really does. I absolutely, absolutely love that part, and I ran into the same thing when I was doing work with my financial situation and I want to bring it around to business owners, but a lot of times, in order to talk to business owners about how we can help them with their money, we really have to talk to them about their personal mindsets regarding money before we can say, “Okay. This is how we are going to help you with your business.” So first, it is like, get your personal house in order first, and the other thing is this: Do not go into debt for your business, and a lot of people will go into debt for their business and that is not what we were talking about as far as true wealth. You and I have had many, many discussions about… Look, what we are doing is trying to make enough money so that we can do all the things we want to do and still keep creating, and if you are not able to still keep creating, and you are not living life your way, something is seriously wrong with your mindset and Trevor can definitely help you with that. So, let us bring it around to ‘What is wealth?’ because this is like saying ‘What is time.’ Wealth means different things to different people, right? And for me, well, it means the financial freedom to do what I want, but what I want to do really does not cost a lot, and that was the turn around for me. What I wanted as far as my successful life was so simple and so easy to access, it shocked me. It really took me three years just to figure out, “Oh my gosh. I am there. I am there.” Right? And so, that is what you do for your clients as you help them realize, “Look, you are not as far down in the gutter as you think you are. Yes, it seems horrible, it seems big but let us help work with you a tablespoon at a time.” So give me like top three things that you would recommend to business owners to start the process of moving into that wealthy mindset.


Trevor: Mmm. Yeah, and that is it. You hit it, Janine. It is completely relative and the powers that the social media, whatever it is the publications of the world, really are pushing this, well, wealth is one way and if you are not this way, then you are not wealthy. ” No, ney, ney,” I say, “No. No.” Good for me.


Janine: Exactly.


Trevor: For me, camping like Cham-… I cannot even say it. I do not even want to say it. Champagne and caviar is not my idea of wealth. Going out and a yacht and cruising, I am sure would be great. It is not my idea of wealth. It is not. It is having a house in the middle of the woods and being able to spend as much time with my kids and my wife, and my friends and myself, as long as I want to, without anybody telling me what to do, where to go, how to do it, and having that freedom that in the event that, “Oh shoot!” A medical event pops up, a financial emergency pops up, or a vacation pops up. I am not worried about how I am going to create an income or focus on generating any money because I have shifted from an income-based focus to a profit flow from a passive perspective.


Trevor: So, for any business owner the top three things that I would recommend for them is stop focusing on income, and really start focusing on passive profits. It is a small shift, but without one degree, can set you to that boiling point because where a lot of business owners are investing, they are investing in this SEO that is marketing this paper-ad stuff and they are spending, yes, and in order to get their investment, that is great. But the question is, is it evergreen? Is it always going to be there? Is it accessible to the right people at the right time, wherever they are? And, are you also focusing on making your business virtual? There is a lot of people who work with their hands only, but seriously people, there are ways, multiple ways, and this is something I teach business owners, is to expand their service options, because if you are only serving a very… I know it is going to really trigger some people, in niches, there are riches, sure. But if you are not serving your niche the way that they want to, to the width and depth that they desire from you, then you are not truly serving them. So you are working with your hands, as an example, I do not know, acupuncturist or massage therapist, but in the event that, oh, I do not know, you cannot work with your hands, have you thought about what you would do to create passive profits. So, online stores, course creation, things like that that you can sell any day, anytime, anywhere, to anyone, wherever they are, that are searching for you. So it is really about focusing on how can you create profits, because there are ways, yes, that you can do it either free, low cost or with very affordably, that you can have yourself duplicate it through automation and systems. Then so you can step away, and this is the biggest part, which is number two, for business owners is having the availability as soon as possible to literally walk away from your business and still make the same amount of money. That leads back to the first, is first, you got to find ways. This could be something from, asking your client every time you connect with them, or sending out a survey, or doing A Facebook post of “Hey, what are you really interested in that I could offer you that I am not currently.” Ask, if you are not willing to ask your client, then, you are not really serving them to the next level because if you are not evolving, then you are dying. So, if you are not offering new and literally if you are not expanding, you are like a plant. If you are not expanding and growing, you are dying. You are on your way. It is about being able to offer more and then being able to step back, and that comes through automation, systems, it also comes through referral partners, it comes through power partners. Finding your soul client that can refer you to other soul clients or soul partners that are going to bring that around. So you have these multiple funnels, if you will, or what I like to call Aligned Rivers of Passive Profits, that are coming to you. Now, that is number two.


Trevor: Now, the third thing, this is going to probably make a lot of financial individuals pissed off. That is what I do, is I trigger people to get to the core of their initial trauma, so that we can really get to that part of that, their mindset to see really where they are on or off track. This is the one that it is like, “You know what, stop saving your money. Stop investing your money. Do not invest your income. Do not save your income in savings or in the stock market, yes, or wherever it might be, bonds… Do not invest your income. Invest your profits in a place that you can access it tax free without any fees from the IRS or any government agencies, to give you complete liquidity that is tax-favored and still gets growth and still gets protection. What I used to do is say, “Okay, you know, business owner, you are going to save with me five hundred dollars or a thousand dollars a month.” That is great. But really what that does, is it has the potential to decrease their cash flow of five hundred or a thousand dollars per month. So what does that do to their marketing? What does that do to their availability to pay payroll or buy additional resources or whatnot that they can reinvest in their business? So it is thinking more from a… Let us take what we have earned this month, because I do not pay myself first, oops. Anyway, I am just going to take all of this, a hundred percent of my money, and I am going to put it back into my business and there is going to be a small portion that I am going to save for retirement. Well, that is actually a lie, most business owners do not save for their retirement at all. They focus on selling their business and hope that it is at the peak of the market, right as they sell it so that they can have that champagne and caviar, which most that is not actually happening. Instead of looking at that few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars a month and saving it for retirement, in addition to selling your business, it is focusing on what are your true profits, so that instead of putting it towards a retirement program, it is putting it in a place that you can use it for retirement and leverage it for your business at the same time.


Trevor: This is where most business owners fail big time, and that is on the finance industry, and this is what I am looking to reinvent, if you will, because there are so many organizations that offer executive bonus programs and executive compensation programs that if you are a C-suite for Google or IBM or Apple, not only are you going to have hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars going into your “retirement program”, but you do not have to wait till fifty-nine and a half to use that money. You can access it now tax free without any penalties or surrender fees and actually, leverage your “retirement funds” for anything that you want. You want to go on a trip, you want to get a business, new location, you want to dive in and expand your business or learn, or go to this course or go to an event, or buy another location or whatever it might be. Well, if you have a traditional retirement plan, SOL, unless you want to access that money, it is fees and taxes and IRS, it is like borrowing money from the mafia just to be straight up. Most business owners do not know that there are ways to create retirement programs and also to create a large pool of money that you can access tax-free, no penalties, so that you can make business moves that can be leveraged. I love working with Real Estate Investors because of this, because instead of just putting money in a savings account or checking account, just waiting for broken pipes or the market to readjust or that perfect Fix and Flip home or whatever it might be, you can have it sitting in an account that will earn substantially more returns that is still safe, because I am a safe guy, I love sleeping well. I am just going to say that again, I love sleeping well. And so I [crosstalk].


Janine: So what is that called… Yeah. Excuse me, forgive me for cutting in on you like this, but what is that called, right? We have words for all these things, right? We call them IRAs or [inaudible] IRAs, and then you are saying, “Do not do that. Do not do that.” So what is it called, that you are talking about? What is that label?


Trevor: Oooh. All right, so they are either index accounts or tax-free index accounts, and this is something that ninety-three percent of the population has no idea that exists. You know what, Janine, when you are looking at the financial teeter-totter wealth, they are like, “Well, hey Janine, you have got the risk side, which is over here, and you have got the safe side, which is over here. They are exact opposite of the spectrum of the teeter-totter and you better have balance, so get some risk, get some safety, and you will be good. But in the event that one of those sides fails or has a correction or a crash, you are no longer on a teeter-totter. You have just created a catapult. Woooahh!


Janine: Yeah, I understand. I understand, which is why when I first learned about index funds and stuff like that, I was just like, “Ohh, yeah.”


Trevor: So, it is not an index fund.


Janine: You said index account.


Trevor: Account. A little bit different.


Janine: Yeah, so that is why I said that, because I wanted you to correct me, because there is a lot of layover. There is a lot of crossover in the financial industry, it can get very confusing that is done on purpose, to lead you down a Harry Hole that you cannot kind of see your way through, and so what do you do? And so, you get somebody like Trevor who can guide you and his best interest is that you do well because if you do well, then you are going to be a good referral partner for him. So it is all about doing the positive thing with that. So, thank you for playing along with the game. So, you want to set up an index account, so Trevor can go into more detail with you on that, but because of our timing, I wanted to help you move along there to step 3. [laughter]


Trevor: Step 3, well that is that step three, is put it in to take your retirement and put it into a place that is not locked up. It is not an IRS jai, so most people are going into the steps and IRAs and 401(k)s so they can get that growth, but then, they are taking all the risk, all the fees, and when they do retire, chances are, it might not be exactly what they thought it was going to be. So, it is looking at a place like an index account or tax free index account where not only can you get the gains of the market, but you can avoid all the downside losses. So, contractually guaranteed if the market goes down one percent or a hundred percent, you are not going to lose a dime. You are going to sit out that year and not experience any gains, but you are not going to experience any losses. With that, in that transition to an index account, it has a hundred percent liquidity, so you can have that liquidity, that if you needed twenty thousand dollars for a new piece of equipment or fifty thousand dollars to put on a downpayment to get a home or whatever, then you can take and borrow that money, pay yourself back, or if there is water here that blows up instead of having your money sit in a checking account, not earning anything, it can really get some really awesome gains and you can borrow from it, you can pay yourself back and use that as a point of leverage. Instead of just putting it aside forever until you are ready one day, hopefully, because then, your money is not flowing, you have eliminated cash flow completely from that segment of your fortune, your wealth. And that is what financial professionals want you to do as they say, “Well, he just put this money away forever and you will never be able to access it until you are done.” That significantly reduces your point of leverage to growing and expanding your business. So that is point three, is put that money in a place that, not only is it going to grow, it is for retirement, but you can also access it to leverage it without any taxes or penalties or fees.


Janine: Okay, so I will go through the three points as I heard them because the first one is stop focusing on income and instead focus on passive profits. Number two is be able to establish your business, so at one point you eventually can walk away from the actual running of it. And then number three is really start seriously investigating index accounts so that you can then leverage it. Did I get those three right?


Trevor: Nailed it.


Janine: I nailed it? Okay. Good. Glad to hear that because as we get ready to move forward, also wanted to let The Thriving Solopreneurs that are out there know, this is not to be expected to be done all within the next month. These are systems and projects that we are talking to you about, where there are people out there like Trevor, who, very much want you to be educated, and if you do not have the five million dollars or the million dollars to get access to certified financial planners who can talk to you about all this, what are you supposed to do in the meantime, right? You may think that twenty thousand dollars or fifty thousand dollars is a huge chunk of change, well it is not if you have been really maximizing your profit base, so I highly recommend that you check Trevor out. So Trevor, how can people get a hold of you? Say, they are in debt, okay, they are in debt, they know that I have written this book, ‘Money Is Not Just For Rich People’ and it has got the 60/40 principle. And yeah, that is all fine and dandy, but they are wanting a little bit more, right? So they want to come to you and say, “Hey Trevor, kind of educate me a little bit more, not only on index accounts, but also what I can do as far as my mindset shift.” So, where do they go?


Trevor: Absolutely. The easiest place they can go is I created a course and I practice what I preach, I am literally able to step out of ninety-five percent of the conversations, the hundred percent, really, if I wanted to, the intro 101 type of conversations, if you will. I choose to expand and be able to focus on those higher-level conversations. And so I created a course, and it is at no cost. I used to sell this thing for five hundred bucks. And then last year, late 2019, I got this ping from the universe saying “Hey, you are going to start giving away all your courses.” And I was like, “No!” But it has been the best thing that I have done because, basically, the more information I give away at no cost, people can dive in, it is a ten module course, and it goes over everything that I have been teaching for the last ten years. ‘How to Get Out of Debt 5-50 times Faster!’, ‘How to Pay Off Your Mortgage in 5-7 years,’ ‘How To Save 25-50% On Your Taxes,’ ‘How To Truly Protect Your Assets,’ because what are you going to do during a medical event? Sixty-two percent of people go bankrupt after a medical event and the bills that follow, fifty percent of foreclosures, forty-eight percent of small business failures are due to medical events. What are you going to do that is not going to break your bank every month, and then what are you going to do from a cash flow perspective in order to create that wealth, that true wealth, and dive into mindset? So, if they go to, it is right there. All of my information is going to be included, once you get the follow-up emails, and once you go through the course, you can set up a time to specifically connect with me, get on my calendar, we can have a follow-up conversation. When you go through those processes, it is going to completely, I mean, you are going to go into budgeting like a badass, and I love that part because it really will shift your mindset about what a budget is, and I am going to be adding some parts to that real soon here that are going to be even more expansive into that. That is going to be the easiest thing, and of course, you can search my name Trevor Mickelson ‘M’ like ‘Money’. M-I-C-K-E-L-S-O-N. I am on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter. Those are the main places that I play. Just connect with me there, and yeah let us have some fun and conversations, and if you have a company or corporation that you want to do a live presentation or do something like that, I might be open to that, depending on the time, but that will be the easiest way to reach out is All my contact information will be there, once you opt-in to the course.


Janine: Right, and I highly recommend this course, we have had a lot of fun having conversations regarding money, and working around a lot of labels because what some of the things that Trevor and I noticed when we were starting to talk was, I was like, “No, no, I do not budget either. I track my expenses.” And he is like, “Yeah, that is kind of what I mean with budgeting.” And so we would have to kind of work around and that is what I mean by ‘do not let labels put you off of anything that Trevor might be talking to you about’. I highly encourage you to dive deep into the free courses that he has available, but just because there are so many labels, and if you learn what he is talking about and how he is phrasing things, that will help change your mindset. So, make sure that you visit the tortoiseandhare – and that is H-A-R-E, like the bunny – so that you can get all those free assets. That way you can get your own assets and gear and get yourself into that mindset, that is a wealth accumulating mindset. Anything else you want to share with us Trevor before we go today?


Trevor: Wow. I really appreciate and I am honored to be able to connect with your network today Janine and I am honored to help anyone, especially those who think that “no one can help me, no one can help me.” Trust me, back then, I thought the only way I would ever get out of this mess is if I made more, I worked harder, I sacrificed more, and I got to tell you, wealth is the exact opposite. Now from the outside, it might look like I am working hard because I am a producer, I produce a lot. But I got to tell you, instead of being externally driven, I am internally inspired, and that is a huge shift that is all-encompassing in wealth. And if I can do it, [laughter] like if we can do it, seriously, if I can do it, then we can do it better. That is what this is all about.


Janine: Well, thank you very much for listening to this episode of The Thriving Solopreneur, where we talk about all things related to business, multiple different aspects, and I hope that you found this episode as helpful as I know many of my listeners have over the course of years as I have referred them to various financial professionals, and Trevor brings a fresh new perspective that is necessary as we enter 2021. We are in a whole different economy, we are in a different mindset, we are in a different place than we were before. The old rules of money are not going to apply to the new creation that people are working on today. We have more entrepreneurs and more virtual workers than at any other time in history, and because of that, our mindset and our education and finances has also got to change, and we are grateful to people like Trevor Mickelson who are leading the charge. Have a great day, and don’t you dare stop reaching for the Stars! See you in the next episode.