today is pleased to have as our guest, Mike Finley author of Financial Happine$$: Discover what a pink wig, and a "crazy" way of thinking can do to change the course of your life, FOREVER!

Norm: Good day Mike and thanks for participating in our interview. Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.

Mike: I grew up in the wonderful state of Iowa. Lacking any direction in my life, I decided to join the United States Army at the age of 19 and I spent the next 26 years serving my country as a Military Policeman. During that time, I found my passion and along the way I also found “me.” I took a journey that I call Financial Happine$$.

I found financial freedom and more importantly, I found the keys to a happy and meaningful life. My book was created to help others find their path toward a better and more meaningful life.

Norm: What would you say is the best reason to recommend someone to read Financial Happine$$: Discover what a pink wig, and a "crazy" way of thinking can do to change the course of your life, FOREVER! How is it different from other books that have been written about the same subject matter? Whom do you believe will benefit from your book and why?

Mike: The best reason I would say, is to find a deeper meaning to life as the average person reaches for that elusive thing we call happiness. The book demonstrates the journey that one can take to reach a better place financially in one’s life by understanding all of the obstacles that stand in their way and then learning how to sidestep them toward reaching for something greater. Here we are talking about the onslaught of advertising and the financial industry that creates products to make money from the person, not for the person.

It’s all about challenging the world in which you live and that means stepping back and taking a good hard look at YOU. It may cause you to stick out from the crowd and be called names like strange, weird, and maybe, crazy.

This book on money is about a lot more than money. It’s about life and it’s about reaching for something wonderful. It’s about finding YOU.

Norm: How did you come up with the title Financial Happine$$: Discover what a pink wig, and a "crazy" way of thinking can do to change the course of your life, FOREVER!

Mike: I allowed that title to come to me naturally as I wrote the book. I realized that many people have a negative relationship with their money. They have financial unhappiness. My intent is to help them see a different way, a better way, as they create a financially free and happy life!

It starts with our thoughts, resonates with our words and takes form by our actions. It can be transformative as you allow your old self to die (metaphorically), creating your new self. It’s about creating the life you want to live!

Norm: How did you decide you were ready to write the book?

Mike: I knew I was ready to share what I had learned. It was time and I was done with the “one day” mentality. I felt compelled to do it and so I wrote out my plan, set a date for completion, and picked up my pen and pad. The words flowed (sometimes with a struggle) as I recalled a lifetime of experiences dealing with money and people.

My intent was pretty simple. What would I say to a young Michael who was leaving the classroom and entering the world? This book is my answer.

Norm: Can you share a little of your book work with us?

Mike: Sure. I spent 4 years writing the book, one week at a time. I started a newsletter where I shared 1 lesson per week over that time period. The financial topic was random and I just let it flow based on what came to my mind for that week. I did not start at the beginning or the end. I just started and gradually, the book was created and later I would piece it together through the editing process. The key was getting started and committing to the project. Just do it!

Norm: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your book?

Mike: I enjoyed the process, as I “became” a writer. I didn’t wait until I was ready so much as I jumped right in because “it was time.” I didn’t realize how much information I had accumulated over the years that I could now share. My education on personal finance and behavioural psychology came together as I shared my thoughts one week and one topic at a time.

I found it very therapeutic as I put word to paper and spoke to the reader. There were times that I felt like I was taking documents from a filing cabinet in my head and placing them on paper in my book.

Norm: It is said that writers should write what they know. Were there any elements of the book that forced you to step out of your comfort zone, and if so, how did you approach this part of the writing? As a follow up, what did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Mike: I think you are forced to self-examine what you know and where you learned it when you go through the grind of writing a book. This creative process caused me to do a great deal of research, which in many cases highlighted what I did not know or did not know very well.

I found myself digging much deeper into the subject matter of personal finance and the science of happiness. The feedback was my favourite part. Over the 4-year time span, readers would respond with positive comments and that was valuable in continuing the process. They were telling me “continue, we like what you are producing.” This meant a lot to me.

Norm: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Mike: I do here from them. I am lucky. I teach and speak on this subject so I hear from them face to face on the matter. I am always thrilled to hear from someone who tells me how they are taking control of their life and my book helped. It doesn’t get much better than that, I can tell you.

They talk about money matters much of the time, but I know they got the bigger message contained in the book when they start to talk about transforming the way they think and live. They are relaying the moment where they say Aha! I get to watch them experience what I experienced. It’s pretty neat.

Norm: What would you like to say to those people who are reading this interview and wondering if they can ever take control of their personal finances even though they have tried many times and failed?

Mike: YOU CAN DO IT! It starts with that belief in you. When I first started down my journey, I took that leap of faith in believing in my abilities and myself. It was scary, and I wasn’t totally sold on MY abilities, but knew it was important. Each of us has something significant to share with the world. We need to find that thing. A financial education will provide you the opportunities to do that. Believe in that and believe in YOU!

Norm: It is often said that it is not how much that you earn but rather how you manage your money. Do you agree and why?

Mike: I certainly do. It is what we do with the money that comes into our lives that counts. Chasing more money is not the answer even though many folks will hear that and think it. A person can end up bankrupt with a $200,000 a year salary, while another person can end up financial free with a $60,000 a year salary. It all comes down to how we handle that money. The answer lies with YOU.

Norm: Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We would love to hear all about them!)

Mike: Sure. My next book involves people who have started down that journey that I speak of. They tell their story in the book as I told mine. The goal is find folks from all walks of life as they share the process with the reader. The ability to connect with others is so very powerful. My hope is to find others who will inspire that next generation to reach for something greater. Reach for Financial Happine$$!

Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your book?

Mike: You can go to my WEBSITE and learn more on the topic and my book. The website is designed to help anyone who is ready to be helped. It will cost you nothing (no advertising allowed). You can also learn about the contest where I will be giving away $100,000! Yes, you read that right.

Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.

Mike: How have you changed throughout your journey? I found out what will truly bring happiness and meaning to one’s life. The wise application of money that providing me the freedom to live out my passions played a key part as I found the answers to a joyful life. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I promise you, the answers lie in the book and they lie with YOU.

Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavours.

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