Why Most Wealth Building Systems Fail

Learn The Cause And Effect Chain That Builds Wealth So You Can Discover Which Broken Link In The Chain Has Held You Back… Until Now!

Key Ideas

  1. Explains how most approaches to wealth building are half-truths.
  2. Why you’ll only be as successful as the weakest link in your “wealth chain.”
  3. Reveals how to avoid breaking links so you can build your wealth faster.

Why do most wealth building systems and programs taught by financial experts fail?

To understand this problem, lets begin with a story.

It’s a famous Indian folktale about three blind men and an elephant.

In this story, each blind man is asked to walk up to the elephant, feel it with his hands, and describe what an elephant is.

The first blind man puts his arms around the leg and decides the elephant is sturdy and strong, like a tree.

The second blind man grabs the swinging tail and defines the elephant like a rope.

The third blind man holds the ear and believes the elephant is like a giant fan.

Each man is partly right, but dangerously wrong. None has grasped the bigger picture because the truth of the elephant is far more complex than any one blind man’s narrow experience can convey.

The same is true when building wealth.

Many people teach fragmented pieces of wealth building strategy – half truths – but they’re blind to the bigger picture. They don’t understand the entire elephant.

If you aren’t working all parts of the wealth building elephant together, then you’re setting yourself up for financial disappointment. You want to understand the whole elephant to put the odds of success on your side.

Wealth Building Systems image

The Three Schools Of Wealth Building

Most wealth education can be broken into three schools of thought:

  • The manifesting school: prosperity consciousness (laws of attraction)
  • The productivity school: work hard
  • The “how-to” school: developing skills.

Each school teaches a partial truth about wealth building.

The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care… – The Buddha

The manifesting school teaches prosperity-abundance-laws of attraction by emphasizing your thinking process. The underlying premise is when you change your thoughts, then success will follow, because success in the external world is a mirror reflection of your internal thoughts. It’s a new-age approach to wealth building. Your success, or lack thereof, is all in your head.

The work-ethic, productivity school teaches that your actions are what create results. It’s a salt of the earth, brick and mortar approach. You create your wealth by working hard to achieve it. The more you work, the more you make. Your success, or lack thereof, is all because of your actions.

The how-to skills school teaches the latest tricks and techniques to build wealth. The underlying belief is if you just knew what to do, then you would actually do it – all you need is better technique. This approach focuses on how-to skills and strategy. Your success, or lack thereof, is all because of what you know.

The reality is each school is a dangerous half-truth.

The wealth building systems they teach in their books, seminars and workshops are only partially correct, just like a blind man holding the tail of an elephant is only partially correct in defining the elephant as a rope.

Unfortunately, partial truths are also partially false. The elephant isn’t like a rope, and building wealth isn’t as simple as any one of these schools teaches. There is a subtle complexity to the process.

Building wealth with half-truths is like trying to build a house with only a hammer. Where are the saws, levels, punches, chisels, and blueprints?

The reality of home building is a more complex question than any one hammer can solve, and building wealth is more complex than any one school of thought can address.

You’ll grow your wealth with minimum resistance and maximum speed when you learn how to integrate all three schools into a single, cohesive cause and effect model. Building wealth isn’t an either-or situation where you learn certain skills, you manifest prosperity, or you become industrious any more than building a house is solely about a hammer and nails.

Each school of thought offers valuable tools for solving specific problems, but none is a stand-alone, complete solution. Each is just another tool in your toolbox.

Why short-change yourself and take the risk of working with only one tool?

Put the odds of success on your side by integrating all the schools of thought into one cohesive, simple cause and effect model. Give yourself a complete toolbox because the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts.

Overview – The Cause And Effect Model For A Complete Wealth Building System

The financial coaching programs at Financial Mentor blend all three separate schools of wealth building into an inseparable continuum of cause and effect.

Wealth is just an effect, and the cause is a three link chain where your probability of success is only as strong as your weakest link. Below are the links:

  • Link 1: Your thoughts determine your actions (manifesting school).
  • Link 2: Your habitual actions determine your results (work ethic school).
  • Link 3: Your results are limited by the effectiveness of the plan you implement (how-to school).

In other words, what you think determines what you do (link 1): what you do and how you do it determines your results (link 2): and your results are only effective at attaining a goal when they are focused and directed by a plan based on proven principles that actually work (link 3).

It all has to work together or it doesn’t work at all. That is a key point to understand.

Each link is essential because the chain of cause and effect is an inseparable continuum.

Unfortunately, almost none of the seminars, workshops, or coaching programs available offer this complete solution. Instead, they teach half-truths as if they were the whole truth, like the blind man defines the elephant based on his limited experience.

They are self-deceived.

Breaking The Cause And Effect Wealth System

Multiple studies prove only a small percentage of the population retires wealthy.

How does this happen in a world where most people desire financial security, and are inundated with offerings for educational seminars, workshops, books, and coaching programs teaching wealth building ideas?

Certainly, it’s not from lack of information.

Instead, lack of wealth can nearly always be traced back to a break in one or more of the three links in the cause and effect wealth chain. Let’s look at how that happens…

The first link is broken when you don’t believe you deserve wealth, ignore financial issues, or falsely conclude wealth isn’t really possible for you in this lifetime.

Thinking negatively about yourself, wealthy people, investing, or financial issues breaks the connection between link one (prosperous thoughts) and link two (action).

When you criticize any aspect of wealth, it only serves to separate you from having it. The content in your brain will determine the context of your life, and limiting thoughts about yourself and wealth will naturally limit your ability to reach the goal. It’s simple cause and effect.

There is never a shortage of time. Instead, there is a confusion of priorities. – Unknown

The second link in the chain is broken when your action is insufficient to create the desired result.

If you procrastinate, act inconsistently, or don’t follow through on your wealth building plans, then link two is a problem for you.

Maybe other life issues besides financial security are a higher priority for you, or maybe your daily actions aren’t based on your highest priorities due to a lack of clarity. Whatever the reason, your action is inadequate, which means your results will be as well.

The final link, link three, requires you to develop a plan to achieve wealth based on proven success principles. This link is a problem for you if you have no real plan to achieve wealth, your plan is poorly designed, based on incorrect assumptions, or is out of congruence with your resources and abilities.

A properly designed wealth plan helps you do the “right thing” rather than just “anything”. It keeps your actions focused and directed so that you reach your goal in less time using less effort.

This cause and effect chain explains why so few people achieve wealth. All it takes is for any single link to break, and that’s enough to slow or stop all progress toward building wealth.

Breaking only one link in the chain can set you up for financial failure, and that is why so few people actually succeed at building wealth.

Fixing The Cause and Effect Chain To Wealth

How does this play out in real life?

Based on coaching experience, most people need help developing more than one link to balance and complete their wealth building plans.

Most clients are typically strong in one link, and need help in the other two. This is because we all have natural tendencies based on our personality that make us strong at one link while weaker at others.

For example, analytical types are good at planning (link three), while driven types are strong action takers (link two). Visionaries and creative types are good at manifesting (link one). Very rarely is someone naturally good at all three types.

Few personalities are sufficiently balanced without coaching and other personal development work to excel in all three categories.

There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking. – Thomas A. Edison

That is why you should be careful with all the courses, workshops, seminars, and coaching programs that claim to teach a stand alone solution to the wealth building elephant, but are limited in scope to just one of the links in the chain. Building wealth simply doesn’t work that way: it requires a complete solution.

The danger is you’ll be attracted to and want to purchase educational information that is congruent with your personality type (we like what is most like us).

Analytical personalities will be drawn toward how-to courses, creative types will believe in manifesting knowledge, and the hard driving worker bees will believe the solution is to become more productive.

You’re attracted to what you already know because it’s easy and comfortable, but it’s the direct opposite of what you should be doing to achieve success.

If your goal is financial success, then you should strengthen your weakest links. Don’t play to your strengths, which is the natural tendency and comfortable thing to do. Instead, find your weakness and develop it into strength. Build on the links that are broken by doing what is uncomfortable. Your wealth depends on it.

Below are just a few examples to illustrate what can go wrong when your wealth plan has broken links.

Here's why most wealth building systems fail, and how you can overcome the obstacles.

Link One: The Tricks And Traps Of Prosperity Consciousness

Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives. Unfortunately most of us are completely unaware of this fact, and we don’t monitor our thoughts with the care needed so that we can create in our lives the results we say we want. Since the great majority of people don’t feel worthy and deserving of abundant good fortune, radiant good health and total success in all areas of their lives that overriding thought pattern controls the results people get. The first order of business of anyone who wants to enjoy success in all areas of his/her life is to take charge of the internal dialogue they have and only think, say and behave in a manner consistent with the results they truly desire. – Sidney Madwed

Some wealth seekers might be tempted to dismiss the laws of attraction, prosperity consciousness, and abundance thinking as “airy-fairy” or irrelevant.

However, this school teaches the valid principle that when thinking is focused on building wealth and awareness is increased, the result will be improved actions.

The more you focus on building wealth, the more wealth you’ll create. Your thoughts become your reality.

With that said, however, it’s equally important to understand that thought alone isn’t going to cut it in the wealth building game. Your heightened awareness must translate into improved actions to create reliable results, because action is where the rubber meets the road.

Thought is the first link, but it must connect to the second link (action) or the chain is broken. A broken chain means disappointing results.

For example, one trap I’ve noticed is “magical thinking”, where people falsely believe wealth and financial security will somehow take care of itself as if it were solely a matter of faith. They think this belief will magically manifest itself in reality.

When pressed for their plan or asked what actions they are taking today and tomorrow to make it happen, there is usually silence. Belief, when used as a rationalization to avoid concrete action and planning, violates the chain of cause and effect. It’s dangerous to your wealth.

You must do something to solve your money problems and build wealth – you must take action. Anything less is irresponsible. Everyone is worthy of wealth, but no one is entitled to it – it must be earned.

Trying to think the problem away or magically manifest financial security is like trying to build a house with blueprints but no tools. Not a lot of progress will be made. Why short-change yourself?

Conversely, those who lack a working understanding of prosperity consciousness often fall victim to their own limiting thoughts. They are also missing essential tools. The limiting thoughts act like a ball and chain, making the journey to wealth laborious, hard work.

Building wealth is a painful process when you’re missing the first link, and it flows much easier when the first link is functioning.

Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.– John Quincy Adams

The value in prosperity consciousness is it helps you release the brakes on your journey to wealth. The laws of attraction reduce friction and open up possibilities.

If you’re stuck in your thinking, have negative beliefs around yourself or money, limiting self-esteem issues, or can’t imagine yourself wealthy, then prosperity consciousness and the laws of attraction may be an appropriate next step for you.

Use prosperity consciousness to remove obstacles to wealth so that you’re motivated to greater action and develop strategic plans. Use it as a refinement to action and planning, but never use it as a substitute for action and planning.

Nobody is entitled to wealth, and no amount of positive thinking and manifesting can ever be a substitute for quality planning and action.

Link Two: The Tricks And Traps of Getting Into Action

Action is the most important link in the wealth chain because it’s the center link.

It’s the bridge that connects your thinking to your plan to produce results.

You may envision extraordinary financial success and develop genius plans to achieve it, but what you actually get done is what really matters. Results tell the truth.

Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of. – Unknown

The trap with link two is to falsely believe more action equals more wealth. “The harder you work, the more you make” isn’t a prescription for wealth, but instead is a prescription for an out-of-balance life.

Hard work will likely be involved in building wealth, but what is really required is working smarter.

Countless people work very hard to get ahead, but rarely do they achieve the goal. That’s why links one and three are essential. They help you work smarter.

For example, if your plan for wealth is based on trading time for money, then you’re doomed before you begin. No matter how many hours you work or how much you earn per hour, you’ll still fail at building wealth because your plan is fundamentally flawed (link 3 is broken).

Trading time for money lacks leverage, and leverage is an essential part of any plan to become wealthy. Trading time for money might earn you a nice lifestyle, but it can never make you wealthy. You need a better plan.

Similarly, you may work real hard executing a brilliant plan to build wealth, but get sidetracked in your progress by messing up one or two critical decisions.

Building wealth is governed by Pareto’s law where 80% of your results come from 20% of your decisions. Clients with negative thoughts about themselves and wealth (link one broken) are far more likely to botch up the critical 20% of decisions that can make or break financial success. The result is working too hard for too little wealth.

Link two is most effective when it’s used to convert healthy financial consciousness and well designed plans into material reality. In other words, don’t get too heavy into action until your plans and your thoughts are proven out first.

Test small and keep risk to a minimum until you have a proven formula – then roll it out with maximum action for maximum gain. That’s the smart way to build wealth.

Don’t fall prey to the trap of believing wealth is just about working harder – because it isn’t. You may have to work hard to implement your thoughts and plans, but just working hard isn’t enough.

You must work smart.

Link Three: The Tricks And Traps Of Your Wealth Plan

Your wealth plan is what brings purpose, focus, and consistency to your actions and thoughts. It provides the filter through which action and manifestation are processed.

Without a plan based on proven success principles, your actions will be diffused, disjointed, and possibly even pointing in the wrong direction. A well designed plan can help you achieve your financial goals with less effort and faster results.

Below are just a few of the principles that must be included in a successful wealth plan:

  • Leverage
  • Risk Management
  • Asset class growth limits
  • Personal skills, interests, abilities
  • Life Cycle of Wealth
  • Habits of self-made millionaires
  • Business Systems
  • and much more

When your efforts are consistent and congruent with proven success principles, then you’ll produce reliable results.

A frequent trap of wealth builders is to master their thinking (link 1) and take great action (link 2), but fall short of achieving the goal because their plan pointed them in the wrong direction.

For example, I coached a client whose goal was time freedom. He was mentored by a “half-truth” school to accumulate single family homes as his wealth plan. The result was he made plenty of money, but was unhappy.

He felt as if he had invested himself into another job and was no freer than before he began. The problem was he broke link three because his plan was incongruent with his goals and values. He climbed the ladder to success, but the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.

Another trap with link three is the “get ready to get ready” syndrome. In this trap, planning becomes a substitute for action.

You can’t get wealthy by attending seminars and reading books – you must take action. You can’t just intellectualize the process – you must make it happen.

There is a fine line that differentiates the practice of preparing a well thought out plan from the practice of analysis-paralysis. Action (link 2) must connect to planning (link 3), or the chain is broken. Balance is the key.

All science is concerned with the relationship of cause and effect. Each scientific discovery increases man’s ability to predict the consequences of his action and thus his ability to control future events. – Lawrence J. Peters

A final trap with link three occurs when contradictory principles are taught as part of link one and two.

For example, I’ve attended prosperity coaching programs and workshops that incorrectly encouraged people to purchase flashy cars or designer clothes so they could feel abundant and attract additional wealth from that positive state of mind. This is a flagrant violation of fundamental wealth building principles.

In fact, collapsing wealth and abundance thinking with material goods is one of the primary causes of debt and poverty. Making wealth about the pursuit of stuff instead of the pursuit of freedom is a vicious cycle that must be broken, otherwise spending grows as income grows, causing true wealth to remain forever elusive.

It’s the opposite of what actual millionaires practice, as evidenced by studies such as “The Millionaire Next Door”. Spending your way to prosperity may feel temporarily abundant, but your financial statement knows the truth. Nobody ever spent their way to financial freedom.

These are just a few examples of how half-truth teachings offered in isolation from the complete cause and effect chain may contradict what really works in practice to build wealth.

Putting It All Together Into One Wealth Building System

There are four key principles to take away from the cause and effect wealth chain:

  1. Building wealth is a big elephant to understand. Beware of single-link half-truths sold as complete solutions.
  2. Your odds of succeeding at building wealth are only as strong as the weakest link in your chain.
  3. Few people are good at all three links. Your job is to balance yourself by converting your weakest links into personal strengths.
  4. Up until now, no one has offered a complete solution that integrated all three schools of thought into one cohesive model. The result was unnecessary expense, wasted time, and wasted energy, as genuine wealth seekers fell into various traps on their journey to financial security.

“Seven Steps to Seven Figures” is a step-by-step wealth building system that integrates all three schools of thought into one cohesive financial coaching program.

Steps Two and Four work together to overcome the obstacles in your thinking that keep you from consistent and persistent action. Step three teaches you proven wealth building principles and shows you how to build your personalized plan to grow wealth so that your actions are efficient, laser focused, and purposeful.

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you add the financial steps in 1, 5, & 6 you have a complete wealth building coaching program so that none of the links in your cause and effect chain are weak or broken.

When you master the cause and effect wealth chain, you’ll know how to sidestep the tricks and traps that have stopped so many before you from successfully building wealth.

You’ll be actively working all three links so that your chain is strong and powerful. The result will be more wealth more consistently, with fewer problems.

It’s simple cause and effect.

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An interesting article, with some very good points. 

I feel like I am the 'getting ready to get ready type' - but I've just been made redundant again (7th redundancy in 24 years, so I think the universe is trying to tell me something... )

I've tried the 'work hard' method; Didn't attend seminars or what what, just taught that's the way you do it from little by parents: a) study hard and get good qualifications, b) work hard at it and you'll see results. Results? 50 and made redundant.... [being the UK, it is equivalent to a death sentence as far as securing employment is concerned.]

Then, I tried working hard, whilst trying to 'manifest' a better future, but you quickly learn that your 'positive thinking' might not cut it against your boss' 'positive thinking'. I'm saying that jokingly, obviously, but you know what i mean, the 'manifesting' or 'positive thinking' can only work when there are no 'adverse' forces wanting for you the opposite of what you try to manifest. 

I am just wondering, if your course is of any value for someone in my position: 50, no debts, but no money, and currently unemployed - or is it aimed at people who have a 'disposable capital' at the ready and a lot more time to reach their goals (i.e. in their twenties)

Financialmentor moderator

@kbvarol Your next step is the "source of wealth" piece of the equation. You must identify how you will build the wealth in the first place. Probably the Step 2 course will be a good starting point to build from, but unfortunately, that won't be ready for some time.

Just don't give up. Keep on keeping on. Persistence will win the day.

Wishing you the best!

Financialmentor moderator

@ariannemockabee Nobody is more frustrated by the delays in getting these courses out then me. I've been doing a lot of site infrastructure work to set a foundation to grow on for years into the future. Unfortunately, the infrastructure work (largely invisible to the user) has taken way longer than expected.

I'm very close to completion and hope to be able to offer the first course - Expectancy Investing - within months.

Thanks for asking, and thanks for your patience!


This is an intelligent, gem of an article that could save so many people from financial heartbreak.  I have definitely made the mistakes you describe and wish I had read your article 20 years ago. I appreciate not only your insights and wisdom but the free tools/resources you provide to your readers.  Thanks Todd!

Financialmentor moderator

@jmkronenberg Thank you for your encouraging feedback. After the prior comment by osuwebby I was wondering if I had totally blundered with these ideas that I thought were helpful. Glad to hear it was valuable for you.


This article makes some good points, but appears to be unnecessarily dismissive of other systems. This might be the only course addressing the links as "the three links", but it's not the only one system or coaching that addresses all three links. I get this was more of an ad than an article, but I found it misleading and disingenuous.

Financialmentor moderator

@osuwebby Fascinating response.

 I can see how you you might perceive it as an ad because I connected the lessons to the 7 Steps process that will eventually be for sale, but let me be clear that self-promotion was not the intent. The intent was to share these important principles that have literally kept people from achieving their goals. This should be all the more obvious when you consider that the 7 Steps process isn't even for sale yet so there is nothing to advertise. It is connected to it because... well, because it is connected to it. These principles are at the root of how the 7 Steps are put together.I would be remiss not to connect them.

I would like to know what you found "misleading and disingenuous"? I really like the ideas in the article and have found the structure shared here enormously valuable in helping people during coaching. I would think the ideas would be valuable for people to understand..

What is misleading and disingenuous about it?




First off, I'm neither a financial professional nor an author, so even I wouldn't value my opinion much here.  I read most of your articles and have respect for your work.

My problem isn't with the lessons or the theory.  I really enjoyed everything related to that.  What rubbed me the wrong way was the dismissiveness of the article as it relates to other options out there (i.e. "Unfortunately, almost none of the seminars, workshops, or coaching programs available offer this complete solution. Instead, they teach half-truths as if they were the whole truth, like the blind man defines the elephant based on his limited experience.").  Again, I don't have the experience you do, but almost all of the financial programs I've seen out there do teach to all three of your links even though they don't call them that.  I can see aspects of all three links in the teaching of programs like the Ayco counselling my work offers, to the Dave Ramsey courses a friend took, to the writings of some of the more extreme opinions out there like MMM or ERE.  Again, I have a limited perspective as I'm not living and breathing this every day, but from my experience, most of the larger voices I hear in the personal finance space do address all three links, just using different terminology or teaching methods.

I like your innovation in wording and approach, but what I found disingenuous was the discrediting of the other options when you stood to gain via your future product.  I don't believe this was your intention, but it bothered me enough to post.  I believe there are many a great products out there, and its hard for people to find the right one for them, so I wish this article had just stuck more to selling whats so great about your system than putting down others.

Financialmentor moderator

@osuwebby @Financialmentor Thanks for clarifying.

I don't feel it is disingenuous at all. That's why I wrote it.

In my experience coaching real people, most being highly educated, successful, well-read students on the subject, is that they aren't putting these principles into practice. This is hurting their results so I thought it would be helpful for my readers if I penned an article that addressed the issues.

Similarly, my experience of most books and courses is exactly as I communicated in this article. Are there exceptions? Yes. But that doesn't invalidate the important lesson.

Reading between the words, I think at the core of your critique is the self-promotion angle, and I was remiss in not addressing it in my first reply so let me be clear this time.


This web site is a business, and I make no apologies for that.

It is a financial education web site that sells financial education products. Those products will be promoted, when relevant, within the free content.

If that is not acceptable then your solution is simple - unsubscribe.

The truth is I offer tons of free, educational content and resources. The more the business makes the more I will invest back into the free resources to build a better user experience. 

Bottom line is if small amounts of promotion are perceived as disingenuous, irritating and cause for negative comments then you should probably reconsider being a part of this community since it is probably not the right fit for you.

Hope that helps...