A Better Plan is self-help guide for the money-challenged. It’s really a direct and real-life money savings and management life plan that reminds people about old-fashioned working and saving to achieve your goals. You can use the resources you have around you and tips from around the world to help you focus on getting the money you want to feel financially secure. The book follows one Better Planner’s path from ninth grade, and includes all the other life stages and choices at any age until your do-not-need-to-do-formal-work-anymore-years (I do not say retirement).
To fight against the financial fear, I have been joined by Case Lane, author of ‘A Better Plan: A Real Life Guide to Building Wealth from Nothing and Living a Life without Financial Fear’. Case, I’ve prepped our machetes to cut through the jungle of fear that surrounds the wild concept of finance and wealth. Let’s go forth and eliminate the fear starting from your own first steps around the world of finance and the fear of it.
The entire plan comes from my own experiences aka lessons learned from my money management mistakes. First as someone who received no financial education growing up; then as a world traveler who saw how people who had so little were able to transform their lives through diligence. I decided to put together all I had learned, saw and heard into this guide.
So the earlier rumblings of this book came from your own experiences?
Yes, I drew on my own challenges with making financial mistakes and having absolutely no clue how to manage money and save for a comfortable future. You know most people receive no financial management education, it’s not taught in schools. So if you don’t come from a world where understanding money is a life lesson, you are on your own. A Better Plan is for all the people in that situation.
I continuously find it fascinating that some of the most basic skills of life like personal finance aren’t taught in schools and frequently the most accessible information that people come across to teach themselves come from outside parties with interests that are counterproductive to the accumulation of wealth. How did you approach the process of navigating through these resources to gather your own research?
The research is the life I have lived so far. Plus there are a bunch of endnotes for statistical information which I used to illustrate some of the financial points.
What was the primary financial point that you hope that readers take away from the book?
Achieve your financial goals through a resource you control – yourself. Good financial choices are not the easiest road, but I illustrate how you can follow the suggestions to a comfortable destination.
And what was the most rewarding aspect of this book for you? Was it the journey of writing it, the destination that you provide for others, or something else entirely?
Getting the story out. Too many people struggle with money their whole lives and never get to a comfortable position. If I had picked up A Better Plan in 9th grade, I would have been on my way to wealth much, much earlier. So hopefully people who enjoy the book share it with teens they know who are ready to prepare now for their future life.
As you hope that this book appeals to a younger crowd, did you find yourself including real stories or characters to make the book more accessible?
Well I do also write fiction but A Better Plan is a non-fiction book. The stories come from my life and are real stories. Plus I have a few example Better Planners thrown in to help illustrate the point about how different personalities can implement the same practices. For my fiction, those characters come to me directly. I just imagine them; maybe they are composites of people I have known.
Thanks for tossing out a little tasty temptation from your fiction field of writing, but before we go into that writing in more detail I’d like to ask you a little more about A Better Plan. Would you like to have a party all of those Better Planners that you included in the book to see a wide range of successful financial plans in action in the one room?
Absolutely. The more Better Planners in the world the better.
Do you think it would be a good idea to turn your book into a movie, perhaps a documentary? How would you go about casting the Better Planners in this situation?
For A Better Plan, the money challenge issues are universal. I could actually pick one actor from every demographic to play out the story in all forms of neighborhoods and cities and regions.
Spanning the demographics is a fantastic idea, and I really feel that it could work very effectively. Do you feel that your day job has aided your effectiveness compiling this book?
In summary, I am a writer with a self-publishing and business development business who also happens to be a lawyer, economist, experienced digital media executive, former management consultant and former diplomat. And all of my experience influences my writing. A Better Plan is a result of my global experience living in the developing world, and seeing how people adapted and used their available resources. Now the work has come full circle to work on investment and business development. My Life Online future tech thriller series comes out of my years working in digital media and seeing how the transition to a tech economy would affect all jobs. And the Laker Taylor political thriller series is about diplomats (which I used to be) and the exciting adventures they get caught up in while working abroad.
Okay, as this is the second time your fiction has been mentioned let’s go explore those flights of fancy. What flights of fancy fiction are currently on your mind?
My next book is ‘Front of Silence,’ and is the second in my Laker Taylor political thriller series. A diplomat and a law enforcement agent get caught up in a global money-laundering scheme in Eastern Europe.
Thrillers do seem a world away from the financial facts of ‘A Better Plan’, but I’m sure there’s a nice underlying connection that I just can’t see from my current angle. So, what keeps drawing you back to the keyboard to tap out another exploration of thrills or non-fiction angle?
Stories are in my head, lots and lots of stories and I really want to tell them.
With lots and lots of story ideas floating around in your head, how do you go about picking what to work on next? Do you pick the idea that you can see a solid ending for, or just whatever makes you think the most at a specific point in time?
Once I have a story idea I just sit down and write. The story usually appears like scenes from a movie running through my mind. I typically start out hand writing for about 20 to 50 pages on a yellow legal notepad. Handwriting allows me to rapidly put down story bullet-points all the way to the end. So I have a complete outline of the story, with details at the beginning. Then I get the laptop and write the novel out completely. I revise a lot because once I’ve got the story; I literally type really fast and end up leaving details out because the main story just has to be told.
Once you have your legal pad pan, do you have any techniques to ensure that you are going to have a successful and speedy typing session?
When I’m in writing mode, I write every day, generally in the same location. I always set a word deadline based on my planned release schedule and then I work to make sure I achieve it.
Do you have any favourite music to help you get into the zone?
Silence. Because I can clearly see the story unfolding, I have to hear the characters talking so I can get the story down.
Fair enough, you don’t want to drown out the voices of your characters with the latest charting music. Have you ever found yourself in a place of writer’s block before?
No writer’s block (see me touching wood). When I have a story ready to go I feel really compelled to write so the whole book or novel is created at once.
That’s impressive. And I hope that wood was genuine and that you don’t drop into the dreaded demons of writer’s block. When you are tapping away do you maintain a list of no-go words to make sure that each word adds rather than detracts from your craft?
No, but that’s an interesting question. I know my characters and there are words different people would not use in different situations (i.e. no swear words in front of kids), so I do that type of editing but nothing consciously for the whole book.
What kinds of conscious editing do you do? Or are you an author who outsources the bulk of editing?
Yes, I read and re-read and re-read again. I really want a polished product before it goes to other eyes, and I also want to make sure I’m set with my characters and their behavior.
And once your product and is ready for publishing you must be proud. Do you have any tips that other authors can use to try and instil pride towards their own self-publishing endeavours?
Keep at it. Don’t give up. This is such a great time to be an author. Technology has made it possible for so many more voices to be heard and there is definitely a market for them. So do not get discouraged. It’s a big world and readers definitely want diversity and to read about subjects they are interested in.
Thank you for encouraging others not to give up on the authorship game. The world is big and ridiculous, but there are always positive stories in that ridiculousness. Now, before I let you return to your own worlds of fiction, I’d like to wander through the whimsical world of the quick fire question round. Let’s kick off the quiz with; do you have any philosophies that you live by?
We should be striving towards living the best life we can. A Better Plan is a money management book, but the underlying message is to get you to a place where you are comfortable and happy. I’m really not sure what else we are supposed to be doing on this planet.
Being comfortable and happy seem like great goals to me. Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
Give me the geography, travel, world places, capital cities type questions.
Done. As a keen traveller you must have a good answer for my next question, what is your favourite ocean?
The Pacific – so huge – 63 million square miles. I know this because of a lot of the action in my book ‘The Motion Clue’ takes place under the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile (it’s a future tech thriller).
Oohhh, more little titbits from future novels. I appreciate your little tastes of future thrillers. Now for something just as thrilling; how are the colours in rainbows made?
I never get tired of looking at rainbows. As I recall it’s light reflecting off water or something like that.
One who is tired of rainbows is tired of life. Other acceptable answers for that question include Skittles, and unicorn tears. What is your favourite flavor of ice-cream?
This is an important question because one must differentiate a favorite ice-cream from a favorite flavor of ice-cream. My favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip. But to be clear, my favorite ice-cream is Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food so that’s the one to bring me as a gift.
Thank you for spending the time to really ponder this question, too often I have authors who underestimate the power of ice-cream, its flavors and the entire concept of iced confection, but I know I’ve meet a truly great mind when such effort is placed in this answer. What is your favourite word?
‘Amor’ in all its romance language iterations
Bien sûr, tout le monde aime l’amour. As you can see French is my personal favourite romance language. Now to completed our candid compilation of candour; what is your favourite quote?
Spend to Live, Save to Wealth (yes, from A Better Plan)
Bonus points are awarded to you for quoting your own work. Case, thank you for joining me today to parse through the parlance of prosperity and plenty with myself and the readers, and I wish you the best of luck with your promotion of ‘A Better Plan: A Real Life Guide to Building Wealth from Nothing and Living a Life without Financial Fear’.
Want to find out more about Case Lane? Connect here!