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A Million Dollars and 7 Sources of Income

A Million Dollars and 7 Sources of Income

By Fred Atwater, March 2018

Intentionally engineering your financial life to suit your talents, goals, and aspirations. Create financial freedom and a legacy of wealth.


Hello and thank you for taking a moment to read this. I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Frederick H Atwater (Fred for short). I’m an American born 48 year old (as of 2018) with nearly 100% British ancestry (all the way back to c. 1260!). I’m a retired Lt Colonel from the United States Air Force. I flew T-38s, F-15Es, MQ-1s, and MQ9s. It was a fantastic career that I loved, loved, loved. Many, many thanks to all my mentors, leaders, and friends that I met and served with over 24 years in that career.

I’m married very happily to my awesome wife, Kristi. We have a kindergarten aged son, and we live in Henderson, NV. I also have 2 older college aged kids from a previous marriage whom I hope to teach the blessings of financial freedom to, when they are ready.

I’ve been trading stocks, bonds, and mutual funds since I was 18 years old, although the amounts I traded back then were much smaller, they still set the foundation for engineering a life of financial freedom. Midway in my Air Force career, I took several weeks off and learned to trade options. There was an awful lot to learn. “Firehose effect” is what we called it in the military (where you hold a firehose of knowledge up to your face, and the instructors turn it on... imagine learning to fly fighters or trade options that way). What happened? I had uncovered another passion besides flying—options trading. I hired a mentor from the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and had the awesome opportunity to learn at the CBOE. What I learned was deeper than the mechanics of the money. It was the psychology of dealing with large amounts of money, learning how to set and take a stop loss, and learning how to take your profits off the table at the correct time.

In addition to “trading with the pros”, they also taught me to reinvest your money in something else. They warned me about the possibility of “blowing up an account” which meant having all your money VANISH in a very short time... money that could have taken you years to build up. I’ve seen it happen over and over and over again to people. And so had they. That’s what this short read is about—establishing your wealth, permanently. It’s all fine and great to have a million dollars, but if that money is at the fluctuation risk that is present in day to day stock market action, and you need that money to thrive and survive on, it creates this thing called stress...and worry...and stress! What if there was a way to mitigate risk? What if there was a way to minimize worry? What if?

Well there is. It’s called The Rule of 7 (or 8). It’s a rule-of-thumb that some of you will recognize from a different source. It originates in Ecclesiastes 11:2. I’m not a bible-reader or a church-go-er by any means. Haven’t been to church in years. If church is your thing, great. It’s not mine, but some of the lessons and guidance offered are spot-on. Read on if you’d like to learn more about my Rule of 7 (or 8).


Why are you seeking wealth? Here’s some ideas:

To pay bills? To be “rich”? To buy that new BMW? To impress your parents? Status? Look at some digital figure on a computer screen? Build a big-giant nice house with hardwood floors and a Jacuzzi/pool? On 100 acres of land? Make life easy? Hire a maid? Meet some imaginary goal in your mind? Be out of debt? Create a legacy?

Why are you seeking wealth? Here... write it down right here:


Why? You have to answer that for yourself. I’ll tell you my answer. It’s easy. Ready? Because being poor sucks. I’ve been without money before. I’ve been on the wrong side of ZERO. When I graduated Arizona State University back in the mid 1990’s, I was exactly ($55,000) net worth due to student loans and credit card debt (used to pay for food, books, beer, clothes, etc). Negative $55,000. That is broke. Oh, and I had a newborn son. Yes I still traded ($1000 here/$1000 there.. very small time), but I was in deep, deep negative territory. And I had to buy a car on a loan. Add another ($6,000) for that beat up, high mileage, faded paint-job 1989 Ford Bronco with a broken air-conditioner. In Tempe, AZ, in the summer, with a newborn son. Being poor sucks. What about the time I couldn’t pay a cheap motel bill because my checking account was overdrawn and I had to sleep in the car with the new family? Again. Poor sucks. It sucks people. Period. I’ve heard it put another way. “I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor. I like rich better”. There, see. I’m not afraid to say it. I’m rich, and I like it better than being poor. And being poor sucks. I didn’t get here by being handed the money. I consciously engineered my way out of poor and right into being rich. It took years.

What are your beliefs about money? Seriously. Have you ever gotten out a blank piece of paper and written them down? I have no idea what your beliefs are. No idea. I do know from evidence based observation that most of US and European culture believes in debt. Most of our culture believes that money is somehow scarce. That there’s not enough. Listen to the language. Listen to the words in songs you hear on the radio. Watch what themes recur over and over and over in television series and movie genre.

Here are some examples:

Language: “That’s too expensive...” “I can’t afford that...” “Geez, I can’t believe that costs so much...” “Honey, how are we going to pay for this...” “I can’t save for retirement right now because...” “How are we going to afford kids’ college”. And on... And on.... And on....

Music you hear: This one is my all-time favorite observations of debt-laden western culture that actually believes there is a lack of money. Yes, I said that correctly. People actually believe there is a lack of money... hence why they take on debt and self-sabotage their personal and family’s financial freedom. The song is by The Who. It’s called “Eminence Front”

The sun shines And people forget The spray flies as the speedboat glides And people forget Forget they're hiding The girls smile And people forget The snow packs as the skier tracks People forget Forget they're hiding

Behind an eminence front Eminence front, it's a put on It's an eminence front It's an eminence front, it's a put on An eminence front Eminence front, it's a put on Eminence front It's an eminence front It's an eminence front, it's a put on It's a put on, it's a put on, it's a put on Come and join the party Dress to kill Won't you come and join the party Dress to kill, dress to kill Drinks flow People forget That big wheel spins, the hair thins People forget Forget they're hiding The news slows People forget Their shares crash, hopes are dashed People forget...

That song is describing people constantly putting on a grand façade. A.k.a. an Eminence Front. If you don’t recognize that song, listen to it on youtube or whatever free music internet app you may have. You’ll probably recognize the tune. I bet you didn’t know it was at its core about western culture’s foundational belief that money is scarce. In the case of that song, money’s scarce, get yourself into debt, go to parties, go skiing, buy a speedboat...and when shares crash, your hopes are dashed. People forget.

Movie Genre and TV: How many movies can you think of where there’s some bank robbery or diamond heist? What about movies where someone is kidnapped and money is demanded? Or there’s some million dollar amount of money that is due to someone for something and the entire sequence of the movie is built around that?

Folks, its all the same. The movies are just reflecting what society and culture seem to behave as. And in the case of money, people easily default to the theme of lack and scarcity. It must be evolutionary or something like that. Maybe our 170,000 year old human species relatives had a lack of food and living resources, and somewhere along the line when money got invented, the same lack mindset was promoted. Problem is: it’s not true.

There is SO MUCH MONEY in the world that everyone in the US could be a millionaire today. Right now. There is no lack of money. There is, however, lack of belief. Lack of belief in yourself that you are worth it. Why is that? I can’t answer that for you. Again, all I can tell you is what I was taught to do. Write it down. In fact, I have a sheet for my trading rules that states my number one rule: “Believe in yourself, you are worth it”. It’s self-oriented, self- driving, self-motivating, and self-realizing. It overcomes good old grandpa-caveman from 170,000 years ago that thought that lack of food in the forests of pre-historic Eurasia somehow translated into lack of money.

There are a lot of sources out there that promote the lack of money mindset too. Namely, corporate lenders, banks, auto-dealers, mortgage-brokers, etc. They ALL want to lend you money because they are capitalizing on the culture of debt and belief system that there is not enough they’ll be glad to lend it to you if you pay it back with a little interest. If you’re reading this, make a mental note to block out debt culture. It is a lie. It is there to set up the Eminence Front mentality and to TAKE YOUR MONEY and to keep you poor. Don’t do it. Remember, being poor sucks.

Why are you seeking wealth? Write it down again:


The Rule of 7 (or 8)

And here we are. The magic. This is the “invest your money in something else” part. This is the key to longevity, to wealth, to legacy.

I remember reading “The Millionaire Next Door” when it first came out in the late 1990’s. I was absolutely immersed in my Air Force flying career at the time, but distinctly remember several things from that book. One thing in particular stood out with extreme clarity: most millionaire-next-door-people had 7 sources of income. I absolutely remember th