On Sunday evening, March 7, Let’s Get Real with Coach Menachem featured its 44th shiur. Rabbi Naftali Horowitz shared wise advice on all aspects of finances and the proper Torah perspective on money. Rabbi Horowitz shared his own background and how he moved into the job he does currently. He works as a manager at JPMorgan and advises people who are wealthy. He noted, “The money aspect is the easiest part of the job. The real challenge is the emotional and psychological things that money does to people.” He shared something that we all know, which is that money does not correlate to happiness and fulfillment or peace of mind. The Gemara teaches that thousands of times.
He shared that most of his day is spent helping people make sense of life and helping them keep their children from going off the deep end. You become intimate with their lives when you know about their money. He has had the z’chus of impacting 50-100 thousand people, and his goal is to help klal Yisrael as much as possible. “A person has to always know where things are coming from.” He has to work to uproot jealousy. “Wealth can derail a person’s life. When everything is available to you, it’s easier to go off the beaten path.” Chovos HaL’vavos teaches that the feeling of anxiety inside of us is a symptom of disconnect with Hashem. Hashem knows we have work to do. Frustration, anger, worry, and anxiety all show us that we lack bitachon.
The essence of bitachon is when a person internalizes that everything G-d does is for the good. “If you were meant to have more, then you would have more.” To attain this bitachon, we have to work on ourselves, learn, and change the narrative in our mind from “This is what I want and it’s not fair” to “I owe Hashem so much. I have so much to be thankful for.” There will always be people who have more; and if it causes me anger, then I’ll always be unhappy. We need to thank Hashem for all we have, and only after that ask Him for more.
He spoke about meditation and how it is mentioned in the Gemara as kavanah. This is when we try to align our heart and mind. Meditation aligns a person. Bitachon is a state of mind. It’s also a state of heart and a state of emotion. In his book, titled You Rebuild, he teaches meditative techniques to help you connect your head to your heart.
He taught that if I always felt connected to Hashem, then I wouldn’t be anxious. We have to learn things emotionally and then anxiety melts away. “It’s a process but it works. Rav Nachman of Breslov taught that a person should focus on the next step. You can’t plan to be a millionaire; instead, you should focus on building yourself into the kind of person worthy to be a millionaire.”
A person needs to find what skill sets he possesses and what skill sets he needs to learn to move from point A to point B. Rav Nachman teaches that a person should look at the next step and develop ways to get there. Look at the gifts Hashem gave you. Choose a field according to your gifts. He added that the most important skill is our people skills. Communication skills, listening skills, empathy, and reflecting back are all things we need to work on. He advised everyone to work on personal skills, thinking skills, motivation, confidence, and time management. You need to see which areas you are most deficient in and work on those.
Next, he spoke about practical ideas in terms of saving money. “Don’t leave saving as the last thing on your list.” Yosef taught the Egyptians how to save. Save money in a retirement fund. A 401(k) plan is the most successful saving plan. It will add up compounded by markets. “Saving for retirement is the prudent, responsible thing for everyone to do.”
Rabbi Horowitz taught a teaching from Chovos HaL’vavos that if a person is given abundance and he feels it belongs to him, then he is a fool. If a person has more than he needs, there’s no limit to tz’dakah. In a time of great financial stress, a person can give away more than 20 percent. We need to feel for others. We have to learn how to live a life of meaning and realize why we are here. The Torah says that if we fatten ourselves with pleasures in this world, we distance ourselves from Hashem. He exhorted one caller to be an example. Change the trend among your friends. Lead a simple life rooted in Torah. Your friends will respect you. The concept of feeling the pain of others should alleviate the drive to go after luxuries.
He suggested that we begin developing our muscles when we are younger. Give your energy, talents, and strength to help others. “Get into the mindset of giving to others.” He recommended we make a kabbalah and write it on a paper and sign it. Then ask a rav to check in with us every so often to make sure we are doing it.
He advised people to create a separate account only for tzedakah and you can only put money in and write checks from it.
He shared a tragic story of a dying woman who had four million dollars in the bank, but even at the last minute, though he tried to convince her, she couldn’t part with the money and start a foundation or give it to tz’dakah.
“It’s sad to take nothing with you to the next world. Only money you truly own is the money you give away!”
By Susie Garber