Building Wealth Without Wall Street with Russ Morgan – EP 140

Interview with Russ Morgan

Mario Matavesco

Building Wealth Without Wall Street with Russ Morgan

Are you sick of playing Wall Streets’ rigged game? Fed up letting faceless banks and government entities play dice with your cash? You’re not alone.

Millions of people are getting tired of staking their financial future on the success of the failing banking system. And today’s guest is helping them do something about it. Russ Morgan is the Co-founder of Wealth Without Wall Street and leading the charge of declaring independence from traditional financial institutions.

Wealth Without Wall Street is an online community that re-educates business owners and families on how money truly works. Their goal is to teach people how to enhance savings, increase cash flow and create passive income, all without the help of Wall Street.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

Unique wealth-building strategies that don’t involve Wall Street.

✅ How to build a recession-proof passive income portfolio without breaking the bank.

✅ How to maximize cash flow and avoid the clutches of the traditional banking system.

Featured on This Episode: Russ Morgan

✅ What he does: Russ Morgan is the Founder and Partner in Wealth Without Wall Street. Known as “The Idea Guy.” Russ began his professional career as an investment advisor in 2004 after graduating from Auburn University. Russ started IBC in 2009 and eventually went on to found Wealth Without Wall Street in 2015. Russ’ mother was an enormous inspiration for him growing up. As a single mother with two young children, she took a rigorous, accelerated track through college while working multiple jobs, all with the goal of bettering her children’s lives. Russ’ creativity, fresh ideas, and knack for problem-solving are indispensable assets to his role at Wealth Without Wall Street.

💬 Words of wisdom: “You have to be in control of where your money is, and you have to not be in this hope-based approach to financial freedom, which most people have done.” – Russ Morgan

🔎 Where to find Russ Morgan: LinkedIn

Key Takeaways with Russ Morgan

  • Tips on avoiding being scammed by financial advisors without skin in the game.
  • How banks are ruining your dreams of being financially free.
  • Why passive income is your best bet for long-term financial freedom.
  • How to navigate Wall Street investing without being scammed.
  • How cash flow allows you to push back against the traditional banking system.
  • The top three asset classes in which you can build a large passive income portfolio at a low cost.
  • The three biggest mistakes people make with their finances – and how to avoid them.
  • Making money work for you, not for someone else.

Free Strategy Session 

For a limited time, my team is hosting free, personalized consultation calls to learn more about your goals and determine which of our courses or masterminds will get you to the next level. To book your free session, visit

The Lifestyle Investor Insider

Join The Lifestyle Investor Insider, our brand new AI – curated newsletter – FREE for all podcast listeners for a limited time:

Russ Morgan on Unmasking the Fragile Banking System

Russ Morgan Quotes

The average person has no clue as to how close they are to financial freedom.” – Russ Morgan


Rate & Review The Lifestyle Investor Podcast

If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Lifestyle Investor, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

Connect with Justin Donald

Get the Lifestyle Investor Book!

To get access to The Lifestyle Investor: The 10 Commandments of Cashflow Investing for Passive Income and Financial Freedom visit

Read the Full Transcript with Russ Morgan

Justin Donald: Hey, Russ, glad to have you on the show today. How are things?


Russ Morgan: Man, great, Justin. Thank you for having me on, man. I’ve been following you. It’s a pleasure to be here.


Justin Donald: Well, I love the work that you’re doing, and I feel like just the things that you and I are up to in the world, there’s so much similarity, there’s so much alignment. I had a ton of fun being on your podcast. And I think you guys just curate some awesome content. And I’d love to get into it, I’d love to talk about what Wealth Without Wall Street looks like and why the company and how you even got there. So, I’m excited for today’s episode.


Russ Morgan: Yeah, man, me too. It’s fun when you find people in the world that have similar values, similar thoughts on the way things should work, and also just has a passion for helping people, man. So just having you on the podcast and hearing your story. And then we can have a lot of fun today.


Justin Donald: Well, let’s do it. And I’m excited for people to hear your story because your story is different than many and the fact that you actually started on Wall Street. You actually started in the financial services industry and you quickly made your way away from it and out of it. And I’d love to hear kind of what that whole story and process looks like.


Russ Morgan: Yeah, the belly of the beast, right? And I know we talked about that a little bit on our show, but yeah, I started out in the financial advisory space. I went to work for a little boutique firm. I lived in Birmingham, Alabama, and my wife was a dentist and I didn’t know who I was going to talk to. So, I spent a lot of time in the dental and medical world. My brother-in-law was a vet. Another brother-in-law was an orthopedic surgeon.


And so, I spent a lot of time trying to help doctors who knew very little about money in business, but who were making a lot of it and showing them where to invest. I was putting money in all those qualified plans and all the Wall Street items. And for about four, four and a half years, Justin, man, I was an expert. Now, you know what makes an expert in the financial space, right?


Justin Donald: What makes an expert? I mean, I know what I would call an expert, but I don’t know what they call them in the financial space.


Russ Morgan: A rise in market. That sort of makes it, a financial expert, right?


Justin Donald: That’s good.


Russ Morgan: It wasn’t until September of 2008, I realized that I was not quite the financial expert that I really put myself up to be. And I remember the day, Justin, I was sitting or playing golf with a buddy of mine. And he looks over. This is back in the BlackBerry days. He says, “Man, the Dow just dropped 880 points today.” Well, today, that’s like, oh, well, that’s just a normal week. We experience those.


But then you didn’t see that, it didn’t move more than 25 or 50 points in any given day up or down. And it’d always been kind of going up and to the right. And I remember just sitting there thinking of all the people I had been talking to up into that point who had invested large amounts of their money that blood, sweat, and tears into investments and watching those accounts over the next four or five or six months drop.


And in some situations, there I was trying to say, well, we did better than the market. We didn’t lose 50% or 60%. We only lost 25% or 30%. And I was sitting there just trying to figure out and I was asking a lot of questions and curious kind of individual. And the question I kept coming back to that nobody would answer or knew how to answer was, what’s going to keep this from happening again? And that set me on a journey to really looking for alternative strategies that could help me and help the people that I was leading, if you will, to find ways to build cash and wealth and ultimately financial freedom.


Justin Donald: Well, I love that, Russ. I love that you’re willing to go against the grain, and actually, stare down the belly of the beast, as you said, and say, you know what, this isn’t the way, this isn’t the best way, this might not even be a good way. One of the things that’s so interesting to me is you said the word expert, and I love your definition of an expert in the financial industry because there are few industries where I feel like people somehow become experts or they’re presumed experts in very short order, like thought leaders, influencers, social media influencers, specifically, financial services, anyone working with dealing with money, investments, it’s like whatever happened to this whole idea that an expert is someone that has 10,000 hours on a particular subject that generally takes 10 or more years to gain that expertise if you’re really full time doing something, like if you’re in college for part of that, that doesn’t count, right? But you’re devoting your working hours, your career to a certain subject.


And so, for some people, it takes more than 10,000 hours and more than 10 years, especially if you’re multitasking or if you’re switching careers. So, it is so fascinating to me. And by the way, today, everyone’s a coach, everyone’s an influencer, or everyone’s a thought leader, everyone’s a financial expert, everyone’s an investment genius. But you’ve got to be careful because the last 10 years, everyone thought they were so good because it was hard to make mistakes.


And by the way, if you lost money in the last 10 years, that was a lot harder to do than any other time in history, in US history, right? These last 10 years have been tremendous. So, the danger is that a lot of people think they’re better than they really are. And I just have this conviction that if I’m going to coach with someone or look up to someone for mentorship or leadership, they need to be battle tested. They need to have the time in. They need to actually be great at the thing that they’re teaching, not just a jack of all trades, not just someone that had a good year, a good few years. And unfortunately, that’s where most people get into trouble is because the experts today, the coaches today think they can coach on anything even though they haven’t done it. People are coaching on all kinds of topics that they have never actually done themselves.


Russ Morgan: No. You know this, right? I know that your BS meter’s pretty high like mine. When you have people come on the podcast and they start telling you about the things that they’re having so much success, meaning their students, right? My student is really excelling in this area and they’re really doing this well. And man, we’re having a lot of success over here. And I’m like, the question that we always ask is, man, that’s amazing. Show me how that’s working for you.


Justin Donald: Right.


Russ Morgan: And the beauty is there’s a lot of people that are doing the thing that they’re selling and talking about. But there’s also a lot of them that are like, oh, I used to do that, right? I started out, like, I know you guys, you’re in in the mobile home park. I did that for a while. It was really cool. And then so, I just built this whole mobile home park teaching course. And I’ve just been doing that for the last 10 years, teaching people. I hadn’t bought any parks in 10 years. And you hear a lot of that kind of stuff where people are making money, selling the thing, but they’re not actually doing the thing.


Justin Donald: 100%. Yeah, I mean, a lot of people. I mean, take a look at authors, take a look at people that are promoting courses, the vast majority of them are not experts in the thing that they’re doing. They just found that there’s a niche in that area and they’re gaining market share. And a lot of these people, they didn’t make their money on the investments. They made their money on the products that they made to teach investing. I mean, this is so common.


And unfortunately, the sad truth of it is a lot of this was not exposed for a good amount of time. We’re starting to see getting exposed now as the economy is hitting a halt as we’re experiencing signs of recession. Some people think we’re in a recession. I tend to believe that we are in the midst of one and the beginning of it. We’ve got a lot of bank failures. We’ve got a lot of stuff going on. But one of the things that I’m seeing and I know you are too, I am seeing more Ponzi schemes popping up, people getting caught running Ponzi schemes than I can remember in quite some time, and literally, in just the last couple of years.


Russ Morgan: Yeah. So, I was telling me yesterday, there actually is that, I forget the site that’s tracking the number of Ponzi schemes, but we don’t hear it unless we or someone in our close sphere has experienced it. But there’s like, I think, on average, about 90 Ponzi schemes get exposed per year. It’s like a $5 to $8 billion a year type deal.


And it ultimately comes down to a lot of people are seeking ways to try to beat Wall Street, right? I mean, the first Ponzi scheme that I got exposed to was right after I left the financial firm that I was working for in 2015. And my business partner and I broke off. We started well to that Wall Street. I’m at an event with 100 other CPAs, CFPs, financial professionals, if you will, and there’s four or five different alternative investments being shared with the group.


And one of them, like the most “conservative” of the group, turned out to be a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. And the group that was pitching it had been in the real estate space for 20-plus years, had built this fantastic name and turned out the owner was buying real estate that it was supposed to be lending out to other people and he was the one buying it. Instead of them doing it at 60% loan-to-value, he was buying the property and taking all of the loan proceeds and everything, so doing 110% deals and taking cash in order to pay back investors, and obviously, ultimately, reared his head and people lost a lot of money in that.


Justin Donald: Yeah, and it’s unfortunate because a lot of these Ponzi schemes. So, sometimes, it’s like a good business that at a certain point, you can’t make payroll, you can’t pay the investors. And so, it worked until it didn’t work. It worked until the economic season shifted. Other businesses, and this is the real shame, a lot of them, it’s a greedy people that literally used and spent that money, bought for themselves, were huge consumers of those dollars. And it was never actually a business outside of maybe even the first year or the first few months.


Russ Morgan: Well, my business partner and I did a podcast recently and we called it the 3 Reflections From Investment Failures. And we went through and just kind of identified to the– somebody is listening, they’re trying to figure out, okay, how do I identify the bad deals, right? How do I avoid making the mistakes? Well, we gave three points. None of them is super unique, but one was trust but verify. And the verification is the part that nobody ends up doing, right?


I’m sitting there, I’m talking to Justin. I like Justin. I think Justin would never do anything bad. But we don’t know. Did Justin do the thing? Did Justin verify the data? And I know you would verify the data, but unfortunately, there’s people that don’t verify the data. So, if I just investor you, I might end up trusting in you. And you’re a good person to trust, except you didn’t end up doing the due diligence that you really needed to do. So, that ends up happening. The second thing is that my father has a saying, liars figure and figures lie, right? You’ve heard that before.


Justin Donald: Oh, yeah.


Russ Morgan: And I think what we need to know is the math always has to align. There has to be a story that explains how it’s a good deal for the person operating the business as well as me. And sometimes, you can see that the math gets out of line, like the deal gets so sweet. Maybe it’s the tax advantages, right? I know you have a lot of people listening who make a lot of money and the tax evading is we get toward the end of the year. We’re looking for the place that I can invest money, that could reduce my tax liability for the coming year.


Sometimes, we allow the tax tail to wag the dog. And then, ultimately, I think, so few people know the actual operators of the deals they’re investing in. They’re just investing in people, not actually the person doing the deal. And the two Ponzi schemes I’ve seen personally up front and close, neither time do we know the operator. And it was just like, oh, there’s the prime example of why we have to know at least who that person is and how they’re operating, even if we’re investing to someone else to get there.


Justin Donald: That’s right. And the track record needs, in my opinion, to be greater than 20 years, like they need to have gone through a recession. They need to understand what the economic climate looks like during a recession and have things check the boxes, like we need to have several pro formas of deals that have gone full cycle so that we know that this person has expertise. And yeah, if you are not the operator and you’re bringing in a third party, if this is not in-house, then you need to get to know the operators.


And by the way, the operators need to have that type of a track record of 20 years in the business. And if you do some of these simple steps, you’re going to mitigate a lot of the risks out there because a lot of the deals that are falling apart right now are people that started syndicating within the last 10 years all inside this crazy bull market. And maybe they had one or two or three deals go really well, but it’s all inside of this highly inflated market.


Russ Morgan: Yeah, no, I mean, you’re going to see that over the next couple of years from all the multifamily syndicators, right? As these loans that they got as those rate caps start expiring and they’re not able to refinance out the equity that they thought they were going to have and they’re going to have much higher rates on their debt, there’s going to be a lot of these deals coming to the market. But also, that creates opportunity, right? That creates opportunity for people who know what to do so that then they can take advantage of all of that.


Justin Donald: Yep. And I’m curious, what was the background of your partner, Joey, who, by the way, is a wealth of knowledge as well? Did he start in Wall Street or was he not in Wall Street? Did he have a different type of background and upbringing?


Russ Morgan: Yeah, he worked for the big banks. I mean, between the two of us, man, we beat up on banks and Wall Street and we do it because we came from it. Yeah, so he worked for one of the two or three largest banks in the US, Wells Fargo, for 13 years or something like that. And so, he was actually a client of mine. Once I’ve started learning different strategies, I went to him and I said, “Here, I want you to read this book. And once you’ve finished reading it, I’ll start referring business to you,” because we had a mortgage company at the investment firm I was with, and obviously, all the craziness when it happened, they changed all the mortgage regulations. We got out of that business and I needed somebody to refer clients to, but I didn’t want him telling them something stupid like do a 15-year mortgage or something.


And so, I wanted him to understand the kind of conversations we were having with our clients. And he was like, “Wait a second, this is something I should be doing.” I was like, “Yeah, you should.” And so, he started participating in about four years doing this as a client. He’s like, “Man, you kind of suck at telling people about this,” because he’d be like, “Hey, have you told this person at church or have you told this friend of ours,” because we ran in the same circles. And I’m like, “No.” He’s like, “Why?” I was like, “I don’t know.” I don’t really like to go talk to people about it, like people I know.


I’d rather get on a podcast or be on a stage with 500 people out in front of me, just because I don’t want people to feel like I’m trying to sell them something. He was like, “I need to come work with you, man. I needed. Can do that.” And ultimately, he left his job and I was making over $300,000 a year in the mortgage world and came to work with me. And I’m grateful he did because our partnership has really helped us blossom.


Justin Donald: Well, I’ll tell you what, working for Wells Fargo, which is many would say is like the most corrupt bank of any of the big banks. Like, what a great line of sight into just all the total corruption going on from the standpoint of creating fake accounts to charging people erroneous fees, closing accounts, taking collateral. I mean, Wells Fargo, I think, has been fined more money, like multiple fines of multiple billions of dollars, right?


And by the way, all the big banks are guilty, most of the banks out there. I mean, HSBC was caught money laundering. I mean, most of the big banks have been caught money laundering. Like, people think that they’re safe and we need to trust them. I am glad that some of the cracks are starting to take form in the banking industry. I did a podcast, I don’t know, two or three years ago, where my goal was to expose the banking industry, and really, the fraud that it is and the things that are going on. So, it’s interesting to see this play out this many years later. I’m curious, your thoughts on some of that.


Russ Morgan: Yeah, well, I mean, right now, obviously, the banking world is like it was in 2006 and 2007. Back then, they were holding a lot of bad mortgages that made bad bets. Well, now, they’re holding low-interest treasuries, where they’ve got a lot of unrealized losses on their books, where if we have runs on the bank where they need capital, like what we saw with the SVB and everything else, then you’re going to see banks all over.


I mean, the two years, 2009, 2010, we saw 150 banks close a year, right? And I feel like we’re going to see something near that over the next couple of years. We’re starting to see just the trickle-up effect. We’re getting higher than we’ve been outside of those two years. And man, the banking world, people have this, oh, the FDIC is going to protect me deal. And they don’t realize that they got pennies on the dollar for the amount of money. I mean, SVB, when it failed, it was the second largest bank to fail in the US history, right? The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation does not have enough money to protect all of the deposits that are out there. And people don’t know that, but that’s where they’ve been taught to save cash.


And now, as interest rates are rising, it’s like, oh, okay, why should I keep my money at the bank, right? You start getting forever. We got zero interest. So, we were trying to find ways to get money out of the banks. But now that they’re paying us 4% on a savings account, people are like, oh, that’s a good idea. Unfortunately, if something goes bad with their bank, they may realize that they’re in a situation where they have the bail-in, not the bail-out.


Justin Donald: Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. I mean, gosh, we could go into a ton of detail on it. I mean, we’ve got the unrealized loss situation and then we’ve got the commercial real estate situation. And then, just like all the loans that are going to be called here are on short-term bridge loans, like there’s going to be some carnage in this space, which is just crazy to think about. And by the way, we’re talking about Silicon Valley being such a big bank. First Republic is even bigger, right? So, you add that up and you add signature bank with it, you add these three banks, and it’s like the size of what’s going on, we’re in a crazy situation that potentially could be worse than ‘08, ‘09, but everyone’s kind of brushing it under the rug. That’s what’s mind boggling to me.


Russ Morgan: Well, here’s the thing, the only little bit of difference, right? So, we spent a little time the other day with a guy that he shared some information that I didn’t have. He said, kind of in the last 20 years, the average reserves on deposit at the banks for US is about $1 trillion. We’re at like $3.5 trillion right now. He’s like, so there’s a lot of people sitting on cash that they never had. So, now if the banks fail, now, that cash is going to get wiped away.


But I think what we’re seeing is that all that money that got printed over the last couple of years and just basically given to small business owners in particular, that money, some of it got spent on boats, but the rest of it got put in accounts. And people are paying 1% interest on the loans that they got. And they just took the money and stuck it off to the side. So, I do think there’s a potential ability to have a cushion, even though they’ve been definitely inflating the balloon.


But the so what to this is that you just got to take control, right? You have to be in control of where your money is and you have to not be in this hope-based approach to financial freedom, which most people have done. They bought it hook, line, and sinker into the retirement market that says, “Hey, I’m going to wait till I’m 59 and a half. I’m going to work for this company. They’re definitely going to employ me forever because I’m amazing. And when I get to 60, I’m going to have enough money in that account in order to ride off into the sunset.”


And the unfortunate is, is most people get there and realize that taking out 3% or 3.5% or whatever the number is now of their balance makes up about a third of what they actually need to live on. And so, they end up working well into their 70s and they don’t experience this retirement that they had envisioned 20, 25 years before.


Justin Donald: That’s right. And in fact, I really want to get into this because I want to get into some of the corruption of Wall Street. I want to get into some of the manipulation of Wall Street because what is touted will happen is based on a lot of things going right. I mean, let’s say that everything goes perfectly to plan except that when you retire, there’s a recession, like the plan doesn’t work then, right? And no one can control that. So that right there is like one easy situation where anyone who is retiring in ‘08, ‘09, and even for decades after that was totally– their retirement was disrupted, their wealth was disrupted in a negative way. Same is likely going to be true of anyone that’s going to be retiring here in the coming years. So, I’m curious, your thoughts on just some of the things that you saw in Wall Street that you know are not accurate, that you kind of teach and educate people in your network away from?


Russ Morgan: Yeah, well, I mean, the one that probably you’ve probably hammered a handful of times on your show or imagine is that you need to have multi-seven figures in a retirement account and that’s what’s going to make everything rosy and pretty, right? One, we don’t know really how close we are to financial freedom because we don’t know how much it’s going to take when we get there to basically live off of. There’s so many factors and those factors are constantly changing while we’re given, I remember as a certified financial planner, I had these rules, right? Here’s what inflation is. Inflation is 2.5% to 3%, right? Because that’s what it’s been over the last 30 years.


But once you really understand is that that basket of goods that they’re using for the CPI is constantly changing and adjusting to make it look better. We all know that eggs, milk, gas, that’s going up in a lot faster rate than 2.5%, not to mention homes, cars, everything else. Well, so there’s a big issue there. I think one is that the average person has no clue as to how close they are to financial freedom. I used to, when I was doing financial planning, we’d give them this great binder, really nice, beautiful charts, something that they could really pay a lot of money for, stick on their shelf and just have this warm and fuzzy feeling.


But right now as you’re listening to this podcast, you know exactly how close you are to financial freedom. And here’s why. Because financial freedom is when you have more passive income than you have monthly expenses. So, all you have to do is take the passive income that you have. Okay, that’s the deal I got thousand dollars a month coming in. How much do you have in monthly expenses? I got $10,000 a month monthly expenses. Take the number on the left, divide into the number on the right. It gives you a percentage. Iin that example, 10% of the way to financial freedom.


Now, you have a benchmark. You can say, “Okay, great. I just need to go get nine more of those kind of deals. I get to $10,000. I’m there.” And I’m seeing people, as you had, Justin, that does that in six months, six years. Everybody’s different depending on how much money they have, the opportunities come to them, how much time they have, experience, relationships they’re building, all that kind of stuff. And so, I think that that’s one of the things that is big.


Another big thing is that you’re not smart enough to do it, we need to do it for you. That’s why I went and got that designation to be a certified financial planner. Less than 5% of the financial advisors out there hold that. That was one of those things that was going to tout me as an expert.


Do you know when I was taking those exams, how many times I was actually arguing with my professor? The guy that was teaching our course on this, I was like, “There’s no way. This is not right. This is actually not real world.” I’ve been in the financial world for two years. I was by far not an expert, but I knew enough. And I’m like, “This isn’t real.” But in order to pass the test, I would have to give answers contrary to what I knew was actually right.


Justin Donald: Wow.


Russ Morgan: So, even in the material, they were guiding people to try to think a certain way. It’s like, that’s not the way it actually works. So, I think, unfortunately, the financial world are taught by Wall Street. So, the advisor that you have is they’re selling the mutual funds of the products that the wholesalers come in their office and take them out to golf and buy them lunches and tell them that are so great. And I think that too often times, they’re not independent and actually able to think for themselves. Not that that’s everybody, but as a large majority because I experienced it. The people that were senior in my office, people that had been there 20, 25 years, they were doing the same thing I was doing.


And now, I look back on that. I’m like, man, that is some really flawed thinking. Not to mention most of the financial advisors out there have very little money. They’re not investing money in the things that they’re telling you to invest in. So, if you’re investing money on the Wall Street, I would always tell people, if you’re going to go that route, you need to say, okay, show me what you’re doing. I want to see your accounts and I want to invest in the same things you invest in because I know that you will watch your money. It’s a hoax. It’s a myth that they’re going to watch yours. They’re just not, unless you have $100 million. They’re not watching your money. If you’re a family office, maybe. But outside of that, they’re not watching your money. They’re watching theirs. However much or little it is, they’re watching theirs. They’ll make decisions on their money. I mean, I can keep going on and on about the myths and different issues, but those are few.


Justin Donald: Well, yeah, and there’s a misalignment right out of the gates. Like what product are you going to put someone in if you make more money on Product A than you do Product B? Well, you’re probably going to put them in Product A. And by the way, there are great financial advisors and planners out there. The problem is with that whole industry, it is the industry itself, there’s so much manipulation, there’s so much propaganda and drinking of your own Kool-Aid that many of the people in the industry are, I mean, we’re talking great people, but they only know what they’ve been taught. And most people haven’t been taught to think for themselves. They’ve been taught to just follow the program.


And you see this even in medicine, where Western medicine is very much in many regards and not every regard, but many regards, it’s not fixing the symptom. It’s addressing the symptom, not fixing the problem, right? It’s Band-Aiding or it’s one product kind of fits all. And so, in the financial landscape, I mean, this whole idea that you’re going to save a nest egg and you’re going to retire at whatever age it is, and notice the age keeps going up, notice what’s going on in France right now where they increase the age by a year and total pandemonium, right?


And by the way, that’s not the end of it. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen here. And you use these products that don’t give you a lot of flexibility or options. Most people don’t self-direct them. And then you’re using all, like the financial services industry is basing stuff on something that’s outdated, like even the 60/40 split, like stocks to bonds, this is the safest portfolio allocation, so do this. That was one of the worst-performing allocations last year in 2022 of the last century, of a hundred years. And not to mention what numbers you’re projecting with, like you said, inflation at 2%, 2.5%. We’ve seen inflation up in the 9%, 9.5%, 8%, 8.5%. And yeah, we’re down a little more now, but those numbers aren’t accurate.


The CPI doesn’t include food or energy, which are two of the highest priced things. You mentioned it, it’s like changing what’s in the basket of what they’re going to do to figure out what our inflation is. And then on top of it, they have the gall to lie to the general public that what inflation is, is like, it’s this situation, it’s that situation, this political thing, it’s this war, it’s transitory. It’s like all this. No. Inflation is you printed more money. It devalued the money that’s in circulation. Therefore, dollars are worth less. They buy you less. That’s what inflation is. But I can’t believe how many people have bought the lie that these certain situations are causing inflation.


Russ Morgan: Yeah, the definition of inflation is the expansion of the money supply, right? So, when you start printing money, you have expanded the money supply, you have created the inflation. There is no other way. So, a couple of things you said I love, one, we have a saying on our show that financial advice is garbage and should be treated as such. It comes from the opinion of the person giving it, right?


And here’s the thing, is that you’ve probably heard somebody say, “Oh, you can do it because I did it.” But that’s garbage too, man, because the experience, like for you, we had a conversation, the fact that you were able to build a team, become so successful in the world that you were in before you started investing gave you experience that other people didn’t have, gave you grit that other people didn’t possess. You had a friend who started doing it. You had a network of people who were already doing the thing that you wanted to do, right? Your specific situation is different than everyone else. So, to assume just because I did it or you did it, someone else could do it too, that’s garbage. We should not assume that that’s the case. We all possess certain gifts and talents and we need to use those gifts and talents at the highest level because we are called to be in service.


The financial markets, one of the biggest issues you were alluding to was if I’m an advisor and I know, hey, I could go and do a deal with Justin and there’s this opportunity, I bring it to my advisor and say, “Hey, I’m hearing about this deal, this mobile home park. I’d really love to invest in it.” What is your advisor going to tell you? They’re not going to say yes because if they take the money out of the account, the management fee just went down.


Justin Donald: That’s right.


Russ Morgan: That’s the reason why when I first started in the financial world, almost every single 401(k) plan had an in-service withdrawal option, meaning that you could go to your employer, you could roll out your cash inside of your 401(k) to an IRA and do whatever you wanted to with it. Almost every plan. I mean, there were a few plans that were restrictive, but almost every single plan you could do it. Now, it’s exactly the opposite. Almost no plans have an in-service withdrawal feature. Why did they do that? For your good? No. Now, what did they sell out of– the Wall Street went and sold this to all the companies that said, hey, look, whenever the markets crash, people started using their cash. Shocking. They needed the money because half of them were laid off and their accounts were going to zero. But they need to keep their money in there. Otherwise, they’re not going to have money in retirement. So, we’re going to change this feature. We’re not going to let them have access.


And that’s why we said in our show that the biggest obstacle to becoming financially free is lack of access to cash because you don’t even know a good deal. Like, you listen to the show, you might hear Justin talking about breaking down deals and you start to understand it. But if you don’t actually have cash, you don’t have the ability even to act on a deal. You probably heard of the saying of the reticular activating system, that feature in your brain that filters out all the stuff that’s not important to you. Well, for most people, because they don’t have access to cash, they can’t, they don’t know that there’s deals going on around it because their brain is just filtering it out.


But when somebody puts their money in a place that they can access, now, their ears are attuned to looking for deals, and all of a sudden, everything becomes an opportunity. And I’ve heard you say this is we need to have a list of things that tell us what not to do, not to invest, which is great. But the thing is, most people don’t have that filter on because they don’t have any money. So, all of those potential opportunities they could be vetting and turning down and looking for the gold gym in the field, they haven’t even said it because they don’t even have any money they could touch.


Justin Donald: Totally. And by the way, we could do a whole podcast episode talking about the corruption, the manipulation, like all that’s wrong with Wall Street. We could literally spend hours upon hours on this. I had to be really selective and try and boil it down to what I thought were like the six biggest myths in my book, even though I had 30 to 40, maybe even 50 that I could have gone with, right? And I know you’re the same way. I know you talk about this a lot in your community, but one of the things that I like to do is share with people, I don’t want to be the Doom and Gloom podcast. Like, I want to make sure that we’re uncovering, like, here are risks, here are things that you’ve got to look out for.


But at the same point in time, there’s an abundance of opportunity out there. Right now, there will be tomorrow. There will be. Even if we enter in a full-blown recession, there is going to be opportunity. And if you are focused on finding the deal, finding the gold, you’re going to be able to find it. And so, it sounds like in your world, Russ, you’ve pivoted a lot to alts or alternative investments. And I’ve done a bunch of shows on alternative investments. I’ve talked a ton about how if you want to grow your wealth, model what the wealthiest people in the world are doing, model people that are utilizing family offices that have the resources to employ an office of people to just manage their financial life and the wealth that they’ve created. Look at people that have their own family office.


So, at a certain stratosphere of net worth, you have the ability to have a single-family office where you have a whole team, and all they do is focus on you and growing your wealth, protecting your wealth. And then you’ve got the next tier, which would be that multifamily office. And you’ve got another tier that might be like a fractional family office or a virtual family office. And so, each of these appeal to a different client base.


But the reality is most people that have their money managed that are the wealthiest people, have the smartest people on their teams really only expose somewhere between 20% and 30% of their net worth to the stock market. And it is my experience that most of those dollars are there, not necessarily to make money, maybe to keep up, but also to have leverage to borrow against it when there is a deal that they want to invest in. And then you look at the private equity, you look at the real estate, you look at all the other things. And in most portfolios you got your alternative investments being around 50% or greater. So, I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on what people can do to make good financial decisions, especially in the times that we’re in.


Russ Morgan: Yeah, I think that, we hear the word passive income, right? We talk about passive income on our show. Passive income doesn’t mean uninvolved, though. It requires involvement, at least on the front end, like Kiyosaki’s CASHFLOW Quadrant, talks about moving from the E to the S and then from the S to the B or I, right? And in order to create a B, business, they had to ultimately, almost every one of them started as an S, they ultimately were a solo entrepreneur who built this business, got a team of 15, 30, 50 people, whatever it is. And they started implementing and putting CFO, COOs, people to manage each aspect of it. And now, they sit in a CEO capacity. Well, that’s what we need to have for our own finances. We need to be the CEO.


And some of us, depending on how much cash we have, we may have to start out in the S for investing. Like, for instance, on our show, we interview lots of different people. And if you follow our podcast, you’ll hear us, every month, we do our passive income report. I want to go into that real quickly. People ask me all time, Russ, why do you guys publish your passive income report? Not that it’s glamorous, right? Most people, yourself included, passive income far exceed ours.


But here’s what a mentor told us one time. He said, “What you track grows, but what you track and report on grows exponentially.” When we first started tracking our passive income in 2020, it was $2,400 a month. Now, it averages typically somewhere between $50,000 to $60,000 a month. And I keep coming back for the accountability of it, to be able to be accountable to the world, which has me wanting to go deeper.


Well, on that passive income report are things that we learned, land flipping. Mark Podolsky’s land-flipping group is amazing at teaching people how to buy small tracts of land and turn around to sell them on owner-finance terms. And we’ve done that at a pretty high level. On a typical month, we have about $25,000 a month coming in from the notes from this land. Well, somebody may say, “Hey, I’ve acquired all the cash, I want to get into a done-for-you option.” And they connect with his team and are able to do that.


But some people, a lot of people that are in our community didn’t have that cash to do that and they went and learned how to do it themselves. And like Dawn, the teacher that was in Hawaii that wanted to figure out a way to spend more time with their two kids, and within 18 months of going through this program, was able to build up enough cash flow to where she was able to leave her job. Or Sid, he was driving an excavator for his family business. Within three and a half years, he’d built up $20,000 a month of passive income. Or Berto, who was an attorney down in San Antonio, was looking at the only way I’m going to make more money is bill more hours. And he was like, that doesn’t seem the path for me. And within about four years, he built up $40,000 a month in land flipping. That’s just one aspect.


Or people who are doing short-term rental, create a short-term rental business. Some people start out their managing operation. My business partner and I started a short-term rental operation, but we didn’t have any interest in managing it, so we went ahead and hired an operator. We scaled it from zero units, never doing it, to 27 units within about 18 months and allow that business to create passive income. I mean, I can talk about on and on. There’s so many different asset classes out there.


Sometimes we think there’s only one way to do it. I know early on when you were doing mobile home parks, you were way more hands-on. You talked about your wife doing the books, right? You’re way more hands-on then than probably you are today. And I think, too often times people think, oh, well, the only way I can do this is if I have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars just to invest in these syndications. But I can show you example after example of people in our community who found ways to do it themselves, who are buying property creatively, right? Doing seller finance notes, don’t even have to put up their credit. Doing subject two, don’t have to put up their credit. Buying homes and taking over the mortgages the people sell it to them and they turn around, doing mid-term rentals, short-term rentals, turning it into residential home health care facilities. I mean, you name it, the opportunities are abundant if you’re willing to take action on the ideas that you hear.


Justin Donald: There’s no doubt. And every episode that I do, I always challenge our audience to take a step, to make a move in the direction of financial freedom. And so, these are all great opportunities where people can make a move and take some action. So, I’m curious if there is anything. We’re getting close to the end of our time. Is there anything else you want to make sure that you share with our audience before we direct people to all the cool things you guys are up to and where they can learn more about you?


Russ Morgan: Yeah, I really appreciate that. Here’s the thing. The biggest obstacle to becoming financially free is lack of access to cash. The three biggest mistakes we see people make in, Justin, is that they’re trying to pay off debt instead of buy assets that produce income. They’re contributing and have the majority of their money in qualified plans that they can’t touch. And they got a lazy cash system, right? Their money sitting dead at a bank and they’re not able to use it and have it doing multiple jobs for them.


And if people can understand, if I can take control, not abdicate it to someone else, that no one’s going to care about it as much as I do, and they get really clear, like I know you talk about this in your four principles of mindset. So, for us, we have five pillars. The first pillar is strategy and vision. If you don’t know where you’re going, though, Yogi Bear, you’re probably not going to get there, you ended up somewhere else. And too often times, people don’t have a strategy or a vision to what they want to accomplish.


So, when they come in our world, they will go through a process to help them be really clear. And while it may seem a little woo-woo at the beginning, what I’ve seen is that people who were– basically, we had a guy that was on our podcast and he said, “I was going an inch deep in 12 different directions until I figured out what I really wanted to do, and I got really clear on it.” And since then, he’s been able to build a portfolio of over $200 million in assets of getting deep in the thing that he was great at. And I knew why he wanted to do it. So, that would be the thing. If people follow that approach and continue to follow you and the things that you’re doing, I think they’ll have a lot more success than following Wall Street.


Justin Donald: I love it. I think we both can strongly agree that Wall Street is not the answer. Maybe it’s the answer for 25% of your portfolio. If you have a strategy for using those dollars and you do it in the lowest way possible, the lowest fee basis, like just index most of the money managers we’ve already seen in the last 15 years, 95% of them don’t outperform the S&P 500 index. So, if you were to pick an index and there are various different indexes, they’re all the lowest fee type of strategy because most people aren’t going to be able to afford the people that have had some more consistency. But it’s interesting to see that very few people can even repeat. So, even of the 5% over the last 15 years that did outperform, they didn’t prior to that and they likely won’t after it. And to have access to some of the big names that you’ve heard, the big-time hedge funds, it’s just price prohibitive.


And it’s interesting, Russ, I have talked to several people here recently, and one is my friend actually where I just hear that they’ve got all this cash sitting in a bank way more than what FDIC covers and paying them next to nothing. And I’m just like, oh, my goodness, you could have this money in T-bills making you 4% or there are these preferred savings accounts with groups that have cool programs and packages for high net worth individuals. If you’re a high net worth, you might get a bump. But for a lot of different people, where you can right now be getting 4.6%, where your money is not exposed to any risks. So, it is mind boggling to me that people are sitting on so much cash in these banks even after the financial uncertainty and crisis we’ve seen in the banking sector here recently. There is just not enough financial education out there.


Russ Morgan: No, I agree wholeheartedly, man. Thank you for having me on the show. It was a pleasure to be here, man.


Justin Donald: Well, this is just so much fun. I mean, I feel like, we’re on such the same page that it’s just so fun talking and hanging. Where can people find out more about you and Wealth Without Wall Street?


Russ Morgan: Yeah. If you go to, we actually built an option where you can follow our socials, podcast. We have the ability for you to take a financial quiz. Most people go to that because they really want to go deeper into our community. One of our team members responds to every questionnaire that goes through there so that way they can point you in the direction. We built a community. We have a little over 7,000 people in it right now. It’s totally free. On the App Store, you can type in Wealth Without Wall Street and download it. And some people want to join in some other capacity. We gave you a bunch of options on that page.


Justin Donald: I love it. Well, thanks for sharing that. Thanks for being a wealth of knowledge and a great resource for our community. And I like to wrap up every episode with a question to my audience. So, if you’re listening to this right now, if you’re watching this, this is my question for you today. What’s one thing that is holding you back from financial freedom that you learned in this episode, specifically today from Russ that you can now use to conquer this milestone in your life? We’d love to hear about it. Send over some of the details of what that one thing is, the action that you can take, the action that you’re willing to take because we’d love to support you. Thanks so much. And we’ll catch you next week.

Keep Learning

Exiting Scribe, Investing in Hard Assets, and Building a Self-Sufficient Homestead with Tucker Max – EP 152

Interview with Tucker Max  Exiting Scribe, Investing in Hard Assets, and Building a...
Read More

The Secret Strategies of the Ultra Wealthy with Greg Smith – EP 151

Interview with Greg Smith  The Secret Strategies of the Ultra Wealthy with Greg...
Read More

Billion-Dollar Scaling Strategies with Michael Abramson – EP 150

Interview with Michael Abramson  Billion-Dollar Scaling Strategies with Michael Abramson In this episode,...
Read More