Plan d’attaque – Partie 1: la mise en place

Un systeme simple et automatique. Les quelques heures investies aujourd’hui dans cet effort ont un effet multiplicateur disproportionné à moyen terme (dans le bon sens du terme) sur votre gestion financière personnelle.

Les actions:

  1. Creation de comptes bancaires dédiés
  2. Mise en place de virement automatiques mensuels

1. Comptes bancaires

Un compte courant pour:
– recevoir son salaire
– payer ses impôts
– payer le loyer
– payer votre carte bancaire (et les factures qui ne peuvent pas être ajoutées sur la carte bancaire)

Quelle banque? Votre banque actuelle si vous en êtes satisfaits et que les frais sont réduits (des banques comme la Société Générale ou LCL ont des offres à 2€ / mois et Fortuneo a une offre gratuite). Un rendez-vous téléphonique avec votre conseiller peut permettre de réduire les frais. Si vous n’êtes pas pleinement satisfait c’est l’occasion idéale de changer de banque (pas si compliqué). Banque traditionnelle ou banque en ligne, ça n’a pas vraiment d’importance mais pas de neo-banque comme compte principal.

Un compte séparé, avec une banque aux frais reduits (type banque en ligne voire neo-banque) pour:
– l’épargne d’urgence (ça peut aussi être un Livret A)
– les fonds pour les investissement long terme (qui seront ensuite envoyés sur les différents supports de placement) – que l’on appellera Compte Epargne pour ce projet
– les projets court terme (y compris impôts)

Quel compte(s) en ligne? Bonne expérience avec N26 ; Boursorama et Revolut devraient faire l’affaire également. Comparatif Banques en ligne

C’est aussi le moment de cloturer vos autre comptes (en particulier les payants). Pas de comptes superflux afin de reduire la complexite de gestion.

2. Automatisation

Objectif: dès le virement du salaire, le système se met en marche automatiquement grâce aux virements programmés vers les comptes dédiés

Programmer ces virements:
– Virement automatique mensuel du compte principal vers Compte Epargne (~15/20% du salaire net)
– Virement automatique mensuel du compte principal vers compte projets (~5% du salaire net)
– Virement automatique mensuel du Compte Epargne vers epargne d’urgence (jusqu’a atteindre votre objectif)
– Virement automatique mensuel du Compte Epargne vers les differents supports de placements

Combien d’épargne? Pour cela il faudra passer par l’étape budget mais idéalement au moins 20% du salaire net et jamais moins que les impôts

– à chaque augmentation de salaire ou nouveau projet, ajuster les virements automatiques en consequences

Le budget

Comprendre où passe l’argent pour s’assurer qu’il va bien dans vos projets importants

Sur 1-2 semaines categoriser toutes les dépenses et les mensualiser:
1: identifier les postes fixes (loyers, factures, alimentaires…) afin d’avoir une idée des coûts recurrents et d’ajuster leur paiements de manière automatique pour suivre leur evolution dans le temps (idéalement via une carte de crédit ou par virements si impossible à mettre sur la carte)
2: les dépenses variables afin d’identifier les plus gros contributeurs (très variables en fonction de chacun)

Article dédié (en anglais)

Cartes de Crédit

Controversées mais peut être un super outil de gestion:
1 – vue consolidee des depenses mensuelles (et simple a verifier)
2 – le débit différé afin de s’assurer du suivi du budget en cours de mois et si besoin d’ajuster les depenses pour les semaines a venir

Attention aux coûts des cartes dans les banques: les 10-15 euros par moi sont pas forcément justifiés. Les banques en ligne type Boursorama / Fortuneo ont des tarifs attractifs pour les cartes de crédit.

Les cartes American Express sont parmi les plus intéressantes du marché Francais car elles permettent de cumuler des points que vous pouvez convertir en Miles (pour les compagnies aériennes) ou en Cashback.

Money – So you want to start investing in the stock market?

The following article does not constitute financial advice. Please always consult a regulated financial advisor before taking investment decision. I am not qualified to tell you what investments are relevant to your personal situation.

Following March 2020 stock market correction, I received record number of messages from people interested in starting to invest in the stock market. I was genuinely surprised as I tend to receive such kind of requests when markets are at record high and mainstream media project and upward-forever trend.

My first answer is usually “considering your savings, if you remove 6 months worth of your current spending, how much are you left with?”. If positive (usually 50% of the time), next question is “out of this remaining amount, how much can you afford not to use for the next 5 years?”.
My opinion is that your very first stock market portfolio shall only be a fraction of the last figure.

Then, I encourage people to read this article.

Considering the previously mentioned article is digested, let’s look at a few considerations regarding investment timing.

Is this a good time to invest?” That is a million dollar question that is almost impossible to answer because you need to take into consideration so many variables such as investment horizon and risk appetite. From historical perspective, the “good time” to invest was yesterday (or years ago) and if you read the recommended books, that won’t come as a surprise.

Markets dropped so much already, they have to come back up” Well, yes & no, that’s again a matter of other variables such as time horizon and stock valuation prior to the market correction. Let’s take the example of Citigroup. Before the 2008 Financial Crisis, it was trading above 500 USD but it never crossed 85 USD since then.

My final answer is simple: investments are a complex topic that need study as well as experience (lots of trial and error). Instead of rushing to the stock market, you may want to spend time to ponder the ressources available to you (books, websites, podcasts…) and speak to professionals advisors. Once you are ready to invest, before you reinvent the wheel, you may want to consider replicating some of the strategies & portfolios recommended by a professional advisor. To me, nothing beats experience when it come to investing.


MONEY – Forget New Year Resolutions, time to do some Accounting

Year end welcomes its deal of rituals. From New Year Resolutions to Past Year Review, I’ve tried many variations, with all sorts of associated accountability frameworks. Before we dwell in Past Year Review in a future post (definitely one of the most effective), I’d like first to encourage you to do two ultra-quick accounting exercices. This will ensure you start the year with your Finances on track –  and adjust your Christmas Shopping according to what you can actually afford, not based on your credit card limit.

Continue reading “MONEY – Forget New Year Resolutions, time to do some Accounting”

Health – Sleep science made simple

Sleep science has been taking Social Media by storm in the recent years. The new school of thoughts praises hustlers who clock-in 8 hours and still enjoy their power naps, far from the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality that prevailed not that long ago. Abundance of sleep related publications led however to a new source of stress linked to “sleep optimisation”. My conviction is that sleep does not have to be an over-engineered process. While marginal gains are interesting, they remain second order priorities and they can cloud the process toward restful sleep. After few years of experimentations, I believe the key to restful sleep lies with those four simple factors:

1 – Find your wake-up timing and stick to it

We often read that waking up as early as 4 or 5 am is the ultimate key to performance. That might be case, provided you get enough rest by this early time of the morning. In my experience, the most efficient decision I ever took was to work on finding the wake-up timing that works for me and sticking to it as much as possible. Finding your own timing is simply a try-and-error game. I found mine by observing the earliest time in the week I needed to be at work, then factoring in the time I need to prepare for a normal morning. That becomes your fixed wake-up timing. As for bedtime, simply reverse engineer  your estimated sleep need, this will give you a daily target bedtime. I encourage you to stick as much as possible to your wake-up timing: even if you don’t need to wake up early some days of the week, try to set your alarm clock at the same wake-up timing. Shall you need to increase your sleep duration to recover from any lack of sleep, I found it more efficient to incorporate variability in the bedtime

2 – Count cycles

Our body does not count hours, so we need to learn how our body-clock works. Sleep science established that average sleep-cycle takes around 90 minutes. During one cycle, different phases will come after another, and thanks to these phases the body finds some rest. Why is it important to follow such cycles? Because the cycle timing during which you wake up determines how rested you may feel. This means a longer rest is not necessary what you need.
I am not qualified to advise you on how many cycles your own body needs, but I found that 5 is my peak performance and 4 is usually enough to function normally the following day. Unless I accumulated some sleep debt, I don’t observe marginal improvements from 5 to 6 cycles. This is how I determine my bedtime: factoring the number of sleep cycles I target, based on my fixed waking-up timing.

3 – Get ready to sleep

Setting up a sleep routine significantly helped me to increase sleep quality. I did not develop an esoteric routine around  intense meditative practice or ice bath. Instead I rely on 5 simple steps:
  1. Dim the lights – use reduced lights with warmer tones. You don’t need to redecorate your place, simply use bedside lighting with warm colours bulbs and avoid direct lighting. Be mindful of the lights in the bathroom and kitchen that are usually cold. I added candles and small warmer light to the bathroom to avoid relying on the bright lighting before going to bed
  2. Switch off Tech – conscious effort to remove screens in the 90 minutes prior to target sleep time
  3. Read – few pages of a good book help my mind to shift away from work-related stress
  4. Drink – making and enjoying a hot drink sets the mood. The range of caffeine-free drinks is wide, simple chamomile works for me.
  5. Smell something familiar – especially while traveling, lavender essential oil proves an efficient way to put my brain into sleep mode
These steps evolved over time, with different experimentations.

4 – See the big picture

In the early stages of my sleep journey I was obsessed with achieving a “perfect” sleep every night. I was tracking and analysing each night, looking for the rational beyond non-standard patterns. This created an anxious mindset that disturbed my ability to rest and which forced me to drop all experimentations. As I kept reading more about sleep, I shifted my approach to an overall improved sleep quality. I focussed on building healthier routines and more pragmatic framework, accepting that my sleep-spreadsheets did not stand a chance versus real life. I now believe that quality sleep lies in understanding the 3 principles we discussed above and in my ability to stick to them over the longer run. My current target is to achieve 4 nights a week of 5-cycles.

If you wish to read more about sleep, I would advise to start with The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington, and Sleep by Nick Littlehales.

Book references here.

WISDOM – The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande

Main learning outcome
Systematic frameworks, such as checklists, tend to help us make the most of our capabilities and knowledge in hyper complex and stressful situations.

Checklists are tried and tested instruments that support complex decision making process. Their use in Aeronautics led surgeon Atul Gawande to partner with World Health Organization to study their potential use in the field of medicine. While working on such project, Gawande witnessed checklists’ use in fields such as construction or investment. Leveraging on such experiences and best practices, he designed medical checklists with data-backed proven efficiencies.

Why are checklists useful?

  • They foster collaboration and encourage information sharing, leading to collective empowerment
  • They help to address recurring mistakes
  • They support rational approach to otherwise emotionally involving decision making (for instance under pressure or involving potential financial gain)

How to build useful checklists?

  • Explain and document how you wish to use this checklist – it won’t be self evident for most users
  • Keep it short
  • Focus on core elements
  • Be specific, also on timing of such checks
  • Try and test, again and again
  • Date it – so it can be updated

Bridging the implementation gap

  • Review my existing checklists, leveraging on above principles
  • Expend the use of checklist to investment decisions
  • Print and display checklists

View the book (or ebook) The Checklist Manifesto on Amazon

Read in April-May 2019

How I came across The Checklist Manifesto
The book happened to be quoted on several occasions in podcasts, namely on Tim Ferriss’ show with Ramit Sethi and was featured in Tim’s blogpost The Unusual Books That Shaped Billionaires, Mega-Bestselling Authors, and Other Prodigies

WISDOM – Learning from the best: Zig Ziglar

“There is a difference between school and education: you can finish school but you can never finish your education”. This is one of the many quotes from Zig Ziglar, that despite its seemingly naive wording, carries enough power to change careers and lives.

I usually refer to Zig Ziglar as a mentor, despite the fact that I never got the privilege to meet him. The reason is his wisdom keeps guiding me year after year, from my professional live to my personal one.

Mentors are not available to everybody, that’s what good books and encyclopedias are for, would also say Ziglar. That could be the motto of this blog.

My absolute recommendation to start studying Zig Ziglar’s work is the audiobook version of Secrets of Closing the Sales, read by Ziglar himself. To me it works almost as a private coaching session.

Most of the wisdom shared across Ziglar’s work will not appear as groundbreaking or as the one thing that makes the difference. What Ziglar offers is a framework that helps to develop a proactive mindset.

Some of the tips I use:

  • Dedicate daily some specific timing to focus on my #1 business objective. Everyday a specific moment in my calendar is booked exclusively to call clients. This helps me to ensure that by default I keep building every day on what is my strongest skills: sales
  • As a salesperson, paying attention to treat any internal stakeholder as a client. Namely, I increased significantly the importance of training my team as I realized that they were likely to speak to make clients as much as I do, even if not more.
  • Keep studying everyday, especially learning from the best through readings. This is one of the reason I created this blog. Discussing about the learning points helps me to make the most of my readings.

WISDOM – The 5 Most Difficult skills to recruit in 5 books

As I read the 2018 Financial Times Skill Gaps Survey, I was surprised to discover what are said to be the 5 most difficult skills for employers to recruit. Although this study focuses on MBA graduates, I believe anyone would benefit from developing such skill set. Yet, it is not mandatory to get back to Business School to significantly improve your performance in such areas.

Here I wish to highlight 5 books that will definitely build up capabilities in what top recruiters consider today as the 5 most difficult skills to recruit. These books have so far been among the most influential ones to me. I encourage you to spend time to read and study them. Such books are also frequently quoted among most recommended books by successful entreprenors and investors such as Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or Tim Ferris.

1. Ability to influence others

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

This book taught taught me more than Organizational Behavior module. Its principles, although sometimes simple are the second to none to establish empathy & meaningful conversations, which are the two pillars of trust. What Carnegie teaches is influence lies in one’s ability to listen and develop empathy. It is not, contrary to popular belief, a manipulation playbook.

2. Strategic thinking

Sun Tzu, The Art of War or The Prince by Machiavelli, pick one!

These two strategy masterpieces will not be a straightforward “how to”. Yet, with time to pounder and translate the learnings into your daily situation and reality, they can provide powerful reasoning maps. The main learning outcome remains to focus on second and third order consequences of any action, or absence of action.

3. Drive and resilience

No other than Drive by Daniel Pink offers insights about what truly motivates us. The trilogy Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose provides a useful tool to reframe our job description. Ability to reframe the job in those terms will contribute to a genuine motivation.

4. Big data analysis

Factfulness by Hans Rosling.

This may sound far stretched as Rosling will not actually teach you about Big Data but I believe he builds the most important piece of the data analystics puzzle: the ability to suspend your pre-existing judgement, gather new sets of data, and then take a fresher look the situation. This is a pre-requisit to immerse yourself in the Big Data culture and supersedes to me all the technical elements.

5. Ability to solve complex problems

Ray Dalio’s Principles is a good start.

Complex problems require methodology to be solved, then can not be taken-on head first. Thanks to Dalio’s reasoning system, we are better equipped to face complex situations. The books offers a detailed framework that one can study and adapt to its own personal situations. The main learning element is to develop systematic approach to problem solving.

How did this list help you to identify gaps in your own skills? Share your thoughts in the comments!


The Unusual Books That Shaped 50+ Billionaires, Mega-Bestselling Authors, and Other Prodigies

Tribe of Mentors — Recommended Books from Mentors and Top Books from Tools of Titans

WISDOM – Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss – Book review

Do you think a former FBI negotiator may have something to teach you about negotiation? That is what Never Split the Difference is all about. Here is the summary and some practical knowledge from the book.

In no more than 300 words

In Never Split the Difference, former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss shares his field knowledge of high stakes negotiations. Personal experiences illustrate the wide range of skills and techniques that anyone can leverage on. Cornerstone of all techniques is to engage into deep active listening and encourage counterpart to keep talking. To achieve the later, Chris Voss relies on open-end calibrated questions (“how” and “what”), repetition of words just pronounced by its counterpart (mirroring) and empathy expression (labeling). This helps to uncover information about what the counterpart truly wants to achieve. Knowing such piece of information, seldom disclosed at first, gives the upper hand.

Contrary to popular wisdom, Chris Voss encourages to refrain from trying to achieve “yes” answers. Such answers may not signify compliance with your goals, but merely the desire of your counterpart to stop the conversation. On the flip side, the author urges to find the “no”, a genuine disagreement. From this clear line, one can use open questions such as “what about this does not work for you?”. Breakthrough is said to happen when you achieve a “that’s right”. This signifies a genuine understanding of your counterpart’s situation. Previously mentioned techniques are designed to ensure conversation reaches such situation.

The book refers at length to Prospect Theory (see Thinking, Fast and Slow for further information on this concept) and illustrates how to successfully tap on loss aversion and certainty effect (if these concepts are foreign to you, just get back to the link above). In practice, unfolding negotiation in a way the counterpart can see what he has to lose from a non-deal provides leverage.

Instead of cornering the counterpart into an agreement, it may be more effective to create an “illusion of control”, encouraging him or her to voice the design of the final solution, which can be achieved through “how” questions.

Finally, two “tips” for effective negotiation.
1 – Keeping emotions under control at all time, as rational thinking is only possible when you remain calm
2 – make a conscious effort – and train – to use voice inflection.

Final word: “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

Three takeaways

  • Frontal negotiation and traditional battle of arguments is unlikely to lead to a true successful negotiation. Research has found more efficient ways of leading someone to comply
  • Cornerstone of a successful negotiation is to uncover key pieces of information and to use them in a way that can lead your counterpart to comply. Techniques focus on keeping the counterpart actively engaged and actively speaking. Negotiator needs to pay extreme attention to every single details, including non-verbal elements.
  • Preparation and implantation of negotiation techniques considerably increase probability of successful outcome. Abundant ressources and regular practice can dramatically increase negotiation skills.

Bridging the implementation gap

  • Make a conscious effort to listen and encourage the counterpart to speak. Rely on mirroring, open-end calibrated question and labeling to keep the discussion going
  • Establish tactical empathy as the “default mode” (which is different from sympathy) and requires to understand your counterpart’s feelings
  • Don’t settle for compromise: leverage on the Ackerman model and keep bargaining hard. Keep in mind that “no deal is better than a bad deal”

Personal bonus implementation points

  • My negotiation type is assertive. This means I tend to come off as harsh. This reduces dramatically the changes of successful negotiation and the chances of collaboration. To reduce this biais, I need to work to intentionally soften the tone of my voice, in order to make it pleasant. Calibrated questions and labels will help me to be perceived as more approachable.
  • Shift from “is this a good time to talk?” To “is this a bad time to talk?

Do I recommend this book? Definitely, especially for all sales professionals

View the book (or ebook) on Amazon: Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

See how Never Split the Difference, ranks on the #neverendingbooklist

Never Split the Difference is part of my Sales toolkit

How useful was this article? Do you think your friends or colleagues may also get one or two insights from this short read? If so please help to share, that would be really appreciated!

WISDOM – The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

This bestseller by Malcolm Gladwell, a New Yorker journalist and author of several fascinating books, explores a topic all the more interesting in the age of social media: how a trend becomes viral.

In no more than 300 words

In The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell invites readers to consider how a trend starts. What makes something go viral is the combination of three rare factors. The initial reason if that a specific information or product encounters three type of very specific people that are labeled as Connectors (imagine your friend who knows everyone), Mavens (your other friend that is always aware of the new technologies and the best places to strike a deal) and Salesmen (the enthusiastic but sometimes annoying friend who stills the attention at diner parties). The second element that makes a viral trend is that the information is packaged into a simple and very efficient way: it sticks. Gladwell exposes how research proves that ability to achieve an outstanding level of information stickiness outsmarts the best possible creative marketing campaigns. Intense practical testing – via focus groups for instance – appears to be the only way (yet exhausting) to reach such efficiency. Finally, environment plays an extraordinarily important role into the unfolding of any trend. However, seemingly negligeable details, such as the immediate context (stressful situation, unfavorable environment, community type of organisation…) carries similar influence to the previous two factors.
In the age of social media, Gladwell provides simple queues to understand how viral content is created, and enables us to break down retroactively and understand existing or past trends. This is a powerful “How-To” that we can leverage on to promote causes dear to us or improve our marketing abilities.

Three takeaways

  • A trend is started by a very small number of highly specific people who fall into three distinct groups: Connectors (who know everyone), Mavens (who genuinely want to help) and Salesmen (who persuade others due to their mesmerizing skills)
  • There is always a simple way of packaging information to make it irresistible. Putting up the hard work to discover the right format is the most effective way to make information stick. There is no shortcut to testing: intuition can not tell you what really woks
  • Environment can have an immense impact on behavior, yet the seemingly little details tend to have the largest impact

Bridging the implementation gap

  • Identify and keep an eye on the Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen in my environment. They can play the role of canaries in the mine and help me spot trends
  • Put marketing strategies and material to test relentlessly. it is the best way to achieve maximum communication efficiency. Creative marketing can not replace this effort
  • Accept that environnement plays a major role in anyone’s behavior, including me. Focus on fixing negatively impacting elements of my environnent to ensure long term success and happiness

Do I recommend this book? It is indeed an interesting read but unless you are fundamentally interested by the research behind the conclusions, I would recommand you stick to the summary and action points

View the book (or ebook) The Tipping Point on Amazon

How does The Tipping point rank on the #neverendingbooklist project?

In this book, Malcolm Gladwell quotes a research paper that I am strongly influenced by. This paper is the Affective Communication Test by Howard Friedman published in 1980. It shows how salesmanship efficiency relies heavily on a quality that is highly difficult to measure: the ability to convey emotions. Research shows that, contrary to our intuition, this is mostly a non verbal process and that it can hardly be faked. In conclusion, charisma appears to be a gift. Friedman built a self test to assess levels of individual charisma. Such test has been proven efficient by many subsequent experience. I encourage any sales professional to use it as part of his recruiting method.
Read the paper:

Malcolm Gladwell on TED: