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Many people may lack the basic math skills and financial know-how to make decisions. One of my favorite books, which I reread from time to time, is the 1988 book Innumeracy by John Paulos; he coined the book’s title from people being slow in math as compared to illiterate. Math and money are very different, and learning the differences is crucial to building wealth securely.

Even though many adults across generations were functioning with medium levels of financial literacy, too many workers today possess low levels of Personal Financial Proficiency (PFP) and have difficulty applying financial decision-making skills to real-life situations.   

Here are a few general questions about everyday financial situations that stumped so many:

  • Determining wages and take-home pay, 
  • Questions about investment types, risk, and return, 
  • Understanding specific risk economic outcomes risk
  • Understanding that 401(k) are not pensions

This is where Americans exhibit the lowest scores, with less than one-third answering correctly.

Lack of financial understanding affects all ages and socioeconomic levels. The result is those who fall into the limited PFP category, even though financially literate, may not manage their financial resources effectively and may feel intimidated by retirement, budgeting, tax planning, and Social Security topics.

One way to help everyone become more confident about their personal finances is by building a solid foundation with Financial Proficiency. 

Financial literacy dark secret

People with higher levels of financial literacy “fluency bias.” are more likely to build weak foundations to support their financial houses. Sadly, in this case, a little knowledge is dangerous and prevents many from developing a strategy that works and won’t leave you in a pickle as you get to retirement age.

For more Healthy Money Tips Listen to our PodCast “Money 911”

Sign up for a Financial Fitness Strategy Session:  Meet with Kris Miller – Financial Fitness Strategy Sessions

You can reach me at Kris@HealthyMoneyHappyLIfe.com, (951) 926-4158


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Crack The Code and Glide!

Susan K Younger Personal Brand Origin Story:

“Susan, you are shy, smart, and tall which means people are going to mistake you for being conceited, stuck up, and arrogant. You will need to reach out to people, don’t assume they’ll come looking for you.” This was mom’s sage advice for as long as I can remember.

I was also a klutz.

Constantly tripping over my size 11 feet with an awkward gait. Yet on cold winter nights, when cars circled around our neighborhood baseball diamond to illuminate a sheet of ice, I became calm and graceful. Gliding effortlessly through a crowd of peers, skating backwards, and doing twirls in a blue and white parka. My skates had baby blue pom poms with bells, and I wore earmuffs to match. It was the only time my younger brother Fred – who thrived in all sports and in all social settings – did not mock me for being uncoordinated. Now in scholastics I had the upper hand, every grade Fred entered he got compared to his older sister, the smart, straight A-student.

“If I hadn’t been there for your birth, I wouldn’t know you were mine. You have a mole on your arm in the exact same spot as I do, and you look like your dad and act like him too.”

Mom called me her little Harold. It didn’t matter. Both of my parents loved us the same and encouraged us to become whoever we wanted to be. For me, from a young age that was an architect. Whenever we moved to a different house, which we did rather frequently, I’d sketch plans to solve problems my parents described in each home we considered. I was enthralled at the idea of being able to design a room.

Emboldened with this desire, in my junior year of college I walked into a local architectural firm, introduced myself, and asked if I could work as their summer apprentice. The position didn’t even exist but because I took the initiative and made a good impression, they created the job for me.

Taking this one bold step launched my career.

After that I managed teams of architects and drew plans for retail stores throughout the country, often finding myself as the only gal in the room. Quickly, I learned I needed to face my own ignorance and ask clarifying questions, even at the risk of sounding silly. Additionally, I had to understand what motivated people and how they made decisions. For a long time, I did this intuitively feeling the energies of a room or conversation, and then naturally was able to process what was needed to succeed. However, I had no way to communicate my process with others.

Once I got certified in BANK personality profiling – a simple, scientific methodology that takes less than 90 seconds to complete and reveals the primary way a person interacts with the world – I became empowered with a language to discuss the various energy dynamics happening at work and at home.

There are four personality types – Blueprint, Action, Nurturing, Knowledge – and each one is listed on a card with several values.

A person reads through and organizes the cards in the order of what is most important to them. I am a NAKB. Nurturing is my primary orientation backed by Action and then followed by Knowledge and Blueprint.

When I know people’s codes, I have key insights on how to communicate with them in their preferred style which is motivating to them, increases trust, and reduces a lot of friction and frustration. For example, when I managed two colleagues – one a Blueprint who thrives on structure and checklists, and the other an Active who enjoys freedom and creative control – I passed projects off to them differently to set them up for success.

For the Blueprint she wanted clear directives, so I’d encourage her to make a workflow that we could review together before she began. For the Active, this same approach would have stifled his creativity, so his projects were given with broad instructions and ample opportunity for him to make it his own. It’s also applicable in our personal lives. Looking back, it’s now easy for me to know that both Fred and my mom were Actives. They were vivacious, go-getters full of stories and always having fun. Often people will associate ‘architect’ with Blueprint but what fulfills me is designing a space that nurtures the people who are occupying it. How form can foster community.

Learning these codes enables me to dance among various personalities and feels akin to being back on that ice, gracefully gliding through the crowd.

If you are interested in ‘cracking your code’ you can do so for free here. Afterwards, feel free to reach out and have a conversation with me. We’ll discuss how this information can be immediately utilized to increase workflow and strengthen interpersonal communications either in the workplace or at home.

Biography and History Branding Case Studies Marketing Operations Strategy

WATCH: The Real Reason the Long John Silver’s Business is Sinking…

Long John Silver’s is the #1 fast food seafood restaurant in the United States.

But, they’ve been struggling for decades. Long John Silver’s has lost over half their franchises since their peak.  Here’s why…




The Real Reason Long John Silver’s is Struggling:

The original premise for the chain sounded good, at least on paper. During a family, vacation, businessman and restaurateur, Jim Patterson had a flash of inspiration:

Bring the sunny seaside fish and chips eating beach experience from the coast, to families nationwide.

When the chain first started, Long John Silver’s made an effort to impart each location with a seafaring theme reminiscent of the company’s vacation-inspired roots.

The company’s heyday was a ten-year period from about 1979 to 1989, during which it grew from a footprint of one thousand units to an all-time high of 1,500 locations.

Watch the full story on this episode of Company Man.




Then a String of Devastating Decline in Market share…

The chain has been on a decline since at least 1989 when, in response to mounting debt, it first took its business private. In the three decades since, it’s been handed off from one unhappy owner to another.

They’ve also been plagued with bad marketing (often self-inflicted).

For example, in 2017 they’re marketing team posted a video of a hostage being beheaded with a swordfish in an attempt to “go viral”…



They were forced to issue an apology:

Graphical user interface, text, application Description automatically generated

On top of some marketing flops, probably the biggest failure is their lack of vision against the original mission to bring people into a coastal dinner experience.


Long John Silver's

You know that feeling you get when you have a craving for fried cod, but you also  want a root beer float and a chili dog? Apparently, not too many other could relate either…

In addition to loosing half their franchises since their height, they lost 300 locations over the last 5 years alone and another 60 during the 2020 COVID lockdowns.

While millions of Americans enjoy the convenience of fast food, it appears for Long John Silver’s target audience, they preferred the original quality experience and cheap burgers over fish sandwiches.

Branding Marketing Personal Development Sales

Did You Know Bloomberg TV Sells $10 Billion SASS Solutions Every Year?

Did you know, that Bloomberg TV isn’t actually in the TV business?

Bloomberg makes all its money ($10B year) selling a software license?

Bloomberg TV is in fact a marketing platform to attract customers interested in what they really sell: the #1 financial software used by every major stock trader on WallStreet.

Long before billionaire and former Mayor of NY, Michael Bloomberg, became a presidential candidate, he was once the general partner at an investment bank called Salomon Brothers. Where he was heading IT development.

In 1981, at the age of 39, he took his $10 million severance package and started a company called Innovative Market Systems, that later become known as Bloomberg LP as we recognize them today.

Bloomberg is Actually a Software Company:

Michael Bloomberg originally developed and built a computerized system to provide real-time market data, financial calculations, and other financial analytics to Wallstreet firms. The Market Master terminal, later called the Bloomberg Terminal, was released to market in December 1982 selling just 20 units.

Overtime, in order to capture the attention and build a loyal audience of financial traders online, they created a media network that became so effective it now consists of a wire service (Bloomberg News), a global television network (Bloomberg Television), websites, radio stations (Bloomberg Radio), subscription-only newsletters, and two magazines: Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Markets.

The company now has 167 locations and nearly 20,000 employees. By operating first as a media network to attract the buyers they wanted to sell to.

How Did Bloomberg Created a Massive Audience:

1. They Created Content That Attracted the Audience They Wanted to Attract

They launched a 24-hour financial television news network that entered into cable broadcasting in 2000 to offer 24-hour programming aired to 200 million households.

2. They Focus on What Their Audience Wants

Bloomberg is regularly criticized in the press for not being a profitable news organization.

But what their critics don’t realize, is that Bloomberg media wasn’t necessarily meant to be profitable. (Not when the company’s main source of revenue is the Bloomberg Terminal subscription). Their news media is just a beautiful way to attract an audience generated for the terminal clients.

3. Bloomberg Stepped into Media Landscape

Bloomberg TV gets the company name out there, cements the brand and reputation.

4. They Up-sold Their List

Bloomberg captured his audience and converted 320,000 paying customers around the world at a subscription fee of $24,000/year to access their terminal software.

That’s $7.6B in annual revenue on their terminal product alone. Which is pretty impressive given they only made 20 sales their first year in business.

Bloomberg Marketing Summary:

By focusing on creating a network, Michael Bloomberg built a very significant brand (not to mention $59B net worth making him 8th on the Forbe’s list of richest people).

Michael Bloomberg didn’t just advertise on media networks. He f-ing built one!

So can you. You have access to all of the same broadcast tools. I can prove it.


Want to Build an Audience to Sell to Like Bloomberg?

In order to stand out in today’s cut-throat digital economy, you’re going to need to find ways to make your brand stand out where the traffic is.

You’re going to need to operate as a media brand and create content to attract an audience to sell to (just like Bloomberg did).

Want to learn the strategy to operate as a media company? We created a comprehensive overview, where I can teach you how to operate your business as a media brand in 32 pages.

Learn how to compete in a market place of content. Click the link below.

Download a copy HERE  <– Download

Branding Case Studies Culture Entrepreneurship Marketing Personal Development

This Rebrand Will Make You Cry Laughing!

A few years ago, in an office in Toronto, an Oglivy advertising intern named Hunter Somerville, was working a part time job for a Kraft Cereal brand client, called Shreddies.

Shreddies Cereal Had a Major Problem

The Shreddies brand was facing a major dilemma. It was 60 years old with an aging and declining customer base.

So Kraft hired Ogilvy, in a bit of a hail-mary attempt to come up with fresh ideas. Their goal was to return their crown as the rightful heir to the throne of the breakfast kingdom they had once dominated.

So Kraft tasked the Ogilvy to give their older brand an exciting new makeover. But only under one condition, the couldn’t actually change any aspect of the actual product…

With that massive caveat in mind, the Ogilvy team acccepted the challenge. But now how would the team alter the perceived brand value without changing the actual product?

Then an Idea Emerged…

The answer turns out, came in the form of a joke made by an intern in a client brainstorming session.

You see, during a team meeting, according to Fameable, Hunter Sommerville, reached into the cereal box, and pulled out one single square piece of Shreddie cereal.

Holding the square carefully in his fingers, he then rotated it 45 degrees, and jokingly boasted; “this isn’t a square, it’s a DIAMOND!”

It was in this moment, out of these fateful ashes, where Hunter planted the idea for the new, and far more exciting, Diamond Shreddies. I kid you not.

They Didn’t Change the Product – They Just Changed the Story

The team immediately jumped on the fresh idea. A square is a term that literally means boring. But a diamond, that’s rare, coveted, and exciting!

They spun Hunters joke into pure gold. They stepped into it and made it a full campaign. They made it into a viral sensation. Reviving the aging brand in awesome fashion.

They re-tooled the messaging while maintaining all the physical characteristics of the original. With a twist (literally).


They Became Worth Talking About

But wait, what happend to the square Shreddies version? Don’t worry, they came up with a concept to make them both available. In a combo pack! LOL!

They gave consumers the option of choosing between the two shapes, traditional or diamond. Both of which were, in fact, the same exact product. It became an inside joke that create awareness for the brand.

By updating their messaging they were able to create awareness for the product that translated to an increase in sales by 18%.

You can watch the entire campaign explained by Ogilvy executive, Rory Sutherland here:


Brand Conclusions:

For starters, it paid off to turn to an outside perspective for a fresh approach to solve an aging brand problem.  Specifically, from someone that occupied the demographic they were hoping to attract. 

Second, they choose to address the obvious elephant in the room, that their brand became became stagnant. They turned the problem inside out and openly made it into a campaign and something fun to talk. Finding a fresh way to tell the story of a 60 year old product to a new generation of buyers.

They brilliantly introduced themselves to a new era of Shreddies consumers that now view the brand as fun and creative.

The Shreddies story is a great example that innovation can take place without changing the product but how you introduce your product or service. Shreddies increased sales by 20%, just by simply talking about their product in a new way.


Biography and History Branding Personal Development

From Homeless to a $300 Million Dollar Brand

How Dwayne Johnson wrestled his brand to success



Everyone knows who Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is today, but fewer know his story and his gritty past.

Before He Was a Household Name

Before you dismiss his success as just some lucky lottery winner you can’t relate to. You should know that when he started building his path to success years ago. He started his journey with $7 to his name the day after he thought his life was over.

After he failed his dream of nearly getting into the NFL. His stardom comes from an unbelievable story of defying a life of adversity.

His story is legendary and as they say: “Legends aren’t born their made” and Dwayne Johnson certainly made a legendary brand from scratch and there’ s a lot to be learned from his unconventional story.

We talk a lot about building personal brands today. But we don’t honestly do a great job of talking about what REALLY, goes into them.


Before He Was Famous

His is a story of defying the odds, teaching us that building a personal brand is just that. Personal.

Before being named “Peoples’ sexiest man alive”, before he was ranked as the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.

Before he had a hit HBO show and popular YouTube channel with millions of social media followers and endless blockbuster movies. Before hosting SNL not once but 5 times, and long before Johnson teased a run for president, his beginning started from a place of quiet despiration.



Early Days Growing Up

Johnson was a regular kid born in California but grew up in Hawaii.

His father, a former professional wrestler who was let go from the circuit. Out of work, the family was evicted from their 1-bedroom apartment after failing to meet the deadlines for paying rent.

Dwayne was 14 years old. There wasn’t much he could do, but he quickly found solitude in a local gym lifting weights.


Turning Passion into Purpose

Johnson mentioned in his official Facebook page:

“I started training hard at 14 years old. Not for fame or a competition, but because we were evicted from our small apartment in Hawaii. I really hated that feeling of helplessness and never wanted that to happen again. So, I did the only thing I could control with my own two hands in hopes that one day my family would never worry about being evicted again – I trained,”



This experience changed him forever.

It was this moment that carved into Johnson a sense of urgency as a survivor. Forced off the island without a place to live.

The family wound up moving to a little motel outside Nashville, Tennessee where he stole steaks from a local grocery store only to realize that he didn’t have a way to prepare the meat in the motel room.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t all he stole.


Overcoming His Demons

Johnson joined a gang and had been arrested eight or nine times by age 16.

But thankfully the time and energy Johnson was putting into the weight room started paying dividends when he found himself a fatherly figure in football coach named Jodi Swick who gave him a chance to play on the football team.

Dwayne fell in love with competition and chose a more productive path in sports.

He trained and worked hard eventually earning his way play for the University of Miami. His future was starting to look brighter with pro football a possibility. Until a sudden injury cut his dreams into shreds.

Warren Sapp replaced his spot on the roster who ultimately went on to play in the NFL and became famous instead of Johnson. Crushing his dreams and everything he planned for up to that moment.


With Only $7 in His Pocket Left

After graduating Miami with no prospects Johnson went to Canada to play semi-pro for the Calgary Stampeders in 1995 only to be cut from the team after just 2 months.

With no job and a wife to support, Dwayne had $7 to his name and no idea what to do.

He called his father to pick him up and had to move back into his parent’s apartment.

The voice in his head told him. “You’re done. Your life is over. You failed! You’re worthless.”

He later recalled recalled dealing with a bought of depression:

“I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it… I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and say, ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK.
It’ll be OK.

I didn’t want to do a thing, I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was crying constantly. Eventually, you reach a point where you are all cried out.”.


He Had a Decision to Make

He spent that time pondering his next moves and if he even had any at all. Dwayne stayed cooped up in his family apartment biding his time simply cleaning.

Then one day his former Calgary coach called him up and asked him if he was interested in coming back.

But he wasn’t. Instead, Johnson turned to something familiar to him.

Watching his father and grandfather wrestle growing up, he decided to attempt a career in their footsteps. Only to receive some discouraging feedback from his family. After hearing his new career choice his father, Rocky, told Dwayne this was the worst mistake he would ever make.

But that didn’t deter Dwayne. And Rocky agreed to train him anyway. Johnson was able to arrange several tryout matches through the then WWF. He had his foot in the door. The professional wrestling journey for Johnson began in that awkward and disparaging beginning.


Making His WWE Debut

His father trained him and just a year after being cut from the Stampeders, Dwayne made his WWE debut in 1996 with the stage name “Rocky Maivia” combining the names of his father and grandfather. Later to be known simply as “The Rock”.

And once again, his experience didn’t go as he planned. The audience didn’t take to him or his character and it seemed as though his father was correct. It was all a mistake.

But Dwayne didn’t give up. He kept pushing forward. He made changes in his character and increased his efforts to stand out and personalize his stage presence. He went all-in.

He eventually won the audience over with his magnetic personality and became known as the most electrifying man in sports entertainment.

Dwayne started using his own catchphrases, so much so, that Merriam-Webster Dictionary officially added his “smackdown” phrase to the dictionary in 2007.


Leveling Up

After catching his stride in the ring and with his new and growing fans, the Rock was no longer surviving he was creating momentum.

Rather than being handed obstacles to deal with, he was finally making opportunities for himself.

Unbeknown to Johnson, at that same time, Saturday Night Live wanted to bring a pro wrestler on to host the show.

Because of the charisma he put into the ring, they chose him.


Hosting SNL

In 2000, Saturday Night Live asked the now well-known wrestling celebrity to take center stage and host a show.

It was at this moment that the outside mainstream world became aware of The Rock’s personality and energy. Things changed forever. Lorne Michaels recalled Johnson’s first hosting gig in a NY Times Interview:


“He has a wonderful sense of timing, he has an innate theatricality and because he projects strength, the audience kind of relaxes with him. He could do nuance, he could do subtle, he could do big and broad.”


Johnson stepped up to the plate in a big way.

He took the flame of success he created and added fuel to the fire. He decided to launch a book, a memoir for his life until that moment.


Building His Brand

The story of his life became number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. Another win that created more awareness and opened even more doors for him.

It was only five years after Johnson had started wrestling, and was thrown very quickly into the world of Hollywood films.

He adapted quickly. Bringing the charm he created in the ring to the studio. But he didn’t just hone his acting capability, he elevated his personal brand and marketing skills as well.

Johnson started changing the way movies were promoted.

Sharing set secrets and behind the scenes shots before a movie premiere used to be taboo. But the Rock turned the game upside down when he inked a deal to get paid an extra $1 million to promote his own movies due to the power to promote his project to his now enormous social followers.

That’s pretty badass.



And He isn’t Slowing Down

Dwayne currently has over

  • 100 million Instagram followers
  • 58.1 million Facebook followers
  • 13.9 million Twitter followers
  • over 2 million YouTube subscribers

Across all those channels he shares photos, videos, and announcements about the films he’s in as he’s working on them.

Johnson’s posts, featuring things like set photos with fans on set, often create organic media placements.

Creating even more coverage for the films he stars in, and it cost him nothing.


He not only stepped into Hollywood as a player, he quickly learned how to play the game and changed it.

Through his years of talented brand building. He adapted and capitalized by being the most entertaining player in his space.

At the beginning of Dwayne Johnson’s journey, it would be difficult to predict the success he would manifest if any at all. Through his perseverance and determination not to quit and race towards new opportunities, today Dwayne Johnson’s net worth is north of $320 million and climbing.

He’s a 100% certified self-made-man, an inspiration to millions, and the hardest worker in the room. But best of all, through his success, he remained as humble as the man that began the journey.

Threw his story, his actions, and his positive influence, he became a man worth following.


“Be the type of person that when your feet touch the floor in the morning the Devil says, “aww shit…there up.”

– Dwayne Johnson