Every day people are bombarded by ideas that could derail their financial future. Bad advice, differing expert opinions, and sales pitches are everywhere. They’re faced with important money decisions that could either be very costly or really pay off in the long run.

Whether they personally have $100,000 or $100 million, they feel the burden and stress of making the best moves for their future despite a lot of uncertainty. How do they decide what to do with their money? Where do they turn for financial advice? What if they’ve been misled?

Chad Willardson wrote Stress-Free Money to show people how to overcome the seven obstacles standing between them and financial freedom. He exposes the risks, biases, and major mistakes that keep so many people from reaching their goals. I recently caught up with Chad to learn what inspired him to write the book and which idea he shares is his favorite.

Published with permission from the author.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

Through my nearly twenty years of experience in working with entrepreneurs and families, I feel like there are so many lessons that I’ve been able to learn and gather from the experiences of these great entrepreneurs and families. Many of them success stories, some of them struggles and failures, and I’ve shared a lot of them through newsletters, social media, and on LinkedIn.

But I felt this need to put down on paper the most important things people can do to overcome the anxiety and stress they have about money. According to research, that’s 85% of us!

I felt that if I could get it down to seven obstacles for people to overcome, to find financial freedom and have that stress-free relationship with money, that it would be something that could really make an impact and a difference for someone, whether their net worth is $100,000 or $100 million. I’ve counseled and advised both of those sets of clients in dealing with their financial issues and their goals, so I knew these strategies could work across the board.

So there wasn’t a specific moment, but more of an accumulation of different experiences and lessons I’ve learned from helping advise and counsel families and entrepreneurs. I wanted to offer advice to a wider audience that could help set them free financially-speaking.

Published with permission from the author.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

One of my favorite ideas in the book is to come up with a clear and comprehensive financial strategy for your life. Think of it this way: who would go shooting into an archery range and have no targets? It makes no sense, however, that’s how most people approach their financial life. They have no target set up, so they go out and do what they think they’re “supposed to do.”

But with no way to measure if they’re on track, how can they know if they’ve made progress? You have to set clear written goals and come up with a comprehensive personal financial strategy for your business and for your family. Working with a fiduciary can really help in this regard. They can help you find the target and then work backwards once you have it.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this idea in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

I’ve applied these same principles to put myself in a position of cash, confidence, and not to have stress about money. I don’t worry about the financial markets for me or my clients because I’ve got confidence in the planning that we’ve done for them and for my own family.

I’m the chef who eats his own cooking, whether that’s automatically investing in savings from every paycheck, making sure the proper insurance protections are in place for my family, having clear and written goals, doing comprehensive planning, or ignoring financial fast food.

If it’s in the book, I’m doing it in my own life. I always practice what I preach.