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172 The Brain Hack you can use to grow your wealth on autopilot

February 24, 202116 min read


Do you want to grow your wealth, but find it difficult to make the changes necessary? That’s because your brain is hardwired to do things the way they’ve always been done. But with this brain hack, you can use that to your advantage…

Alongside that, in today’s episode I teach you how to plan a money system that I call the Five Tank System. Think of your money as the water supply of your life, and then treat it with the same respect... As we all know, it could run out at any time, so we need to put in place the tanks that store the money so we have it when we need it. 

This money system enables you to fill your storage tanks of money first, and then direct the water so your day to day and future needs are met. By following this system, you WILL grow your wealth!

Show Notes

The Ancient Water System of Wealth

  • [02.57] Why Your Best Life Castle needs a water system?

  • [07.06] The First Tank: Your Transactional Account

  • [08.22] The Cashflow tank 

  • [10.13] The Emergency Tank

  • [13.50] The Goal Tank

  • [14.48] The Investment Tanks

  • [15.15] But how do I fill that Emergency Tank?

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"When we change the way we think about something, it can make ALL the difference." - Lisa Linfield

"No matter how much people want to stay out of debt or save for their future, one of the biggest challengers to that goal is unexpected, unbudgeted for expenses that happen." - Lisa Linfield

"The reality is that if you lose your income, you cut your expenses immediately and tighten your belt." - Lisa Linfield

“We tend to stay doing, or not doing, things the way they’ve always been, or not, done.” - Lisa Linfield

“It doesn’t matter how much more you earn, you will always increase your spending.” - Lisa Linfield


The Ancient Water System of Wealth

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth.  I’m Lisa Linfield and I’m building a community of Women who are committed to the journey of living Financially Free lives – whether they’re just beginning, or nearly there, we support each other through our lessons learnt, good and bad, so ALL may benefit.

In last week’s episode, I was talking about how, when we change the way we think about something, it can make ALL the difference.  That something was tracking our expenses and budgeting.  We need to reframe how we think of them from something that is energy draining to a tool that can be your fortress around the money tower of financial freedom. 

·         Tracking your expenses helps you see the patterns emerge, and helps you be more mindful around how you spend. 

·         The process of getting all your expenses to fit into a budget often requires you to completely rethink things.  I love Stephen Covey’s story of ‘Big Rocks’.  In Budgeting, the big rock we need to put in first into our sheet is the money we need to build our emergency fund and saving for our future.

·         A Budget also can help you practically by telling you how much money you need per line item enabling you then to either use cash or prepaid cards to help train you to fit into your spend – because there is no more to use when what’s in your envelope goes

·         And lastly, the process of tracking your expenses each month against your budget can help you detect when you have leaks in your money – either debit orders going off that shouldn’t, or areas of your spending where you aren’t making budget.  Knowledge means you can change something.  Without it, the money keeps leaking away.

So please friends head to and pick up the free expense tracking and planning budget spreadsheet as well as my video on how to use it.

So if tracking your expenses against a budget is like the fortress wall protecting your Best Life, I wanted to spend time on the next most important thing in your Best Life Castle – the water system!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Why Your Best Life Castle needs a water system?

Over the ages, nations only rose to power when they could master water.  When people learn how to capture water, store it, conserve it, and channel it to where they need it, could their lives improve.  It meant they could have clean water to drink  - even in times of drought - so they lived longer, water available daily to wash in and so disease lessened, and water to grow crops so health and wealth improved.

So many of us in first world countries take water for granted - that when we open the tap, it will be there, and as much as we want.  Because usually it is.

 Until it’s not. 

And then we work out that whilst we actually CAN live without electricity and wifi (even though we think we can’t), not having water is TRULY the biggest challenge anyone can face.  It may be a burst pipe in our suburb that shows us this, or a drought.

But for many people it’s a daily challenge.  Either because they live in drought ravaged countries, or because there just isn’t the infrastructure because they live remotely.  Ask a farmer about water, and its management is in his DNA and part of his daily consciousness.

Over New Years, my family went to a remote part of the rural coast of South Africa, where there are no taps for municipal water.  Every drop of water is preciously safeguarded as it’s collected from the roof via a system of gutters that flow into a system of rainwater tanks. 

It made me see first hand the impact of wealth.  The poorest couldn’t afford a rainwater tank, and you could see that life was hard.  They’d walk miles each day to a communal tap that was near our house, and head home with a water container on their head.  People with more money could pay for a storage tank.

And if you’re wealthier, there are complex tank systems, that eventually are pumped up the hill to a tank that feeds the house, using gravity to create water pressure!

This system of storage tanks, mindfulness of usage, and an awareness that without effort, you will have no water really struck me.  You would NEVER let your kids waste water, you teach them from an early age how precious it is.

We need to start seeing our money as the water supply of our life.  And we need to treat our money with the same respect.

We need to know that it can run out at any time (just look around you during Covid), we need to put in place the tanks that store the money so we have it when we need it, and we need to make sure that every cent of it is mindfully collected and used, teaching our kids about its real value, and making sure we don’t waste it.

So, today I’m going to teach you how to plan a money system that enables you to fill your storage tanks of money first, and then direct the water so your day to day and future needs are met.

I call it The Five Tank System.

The First Tank:  Your Transactional Account

If we think of your Best Life as this amazing city you create that lives behind the fortress walls, the first tank of water you’d need would be the one that supplies all the day to day water needs of your city.

Every city everywhere has a reservoir that feeds it.  In some cases there’s one at a suburb level.  I had no idea about this until, following years of the local municipality not maintaining the water system, we started having water pipes burst or issues with the resevoirs… and then I quickly learnt all about why we didn’t have water and my mum in the next suburb did.

Your day to day transactional account is the reservoir that maintains your life.  Your debit orders need to go from that, your automated savings goes from it, and your daily spending goes from it… preferably via a fee free card so you can easily track every cent you spend.

And you need to make sure it has enough money in it, tracking your spending, so that your debit orders or transactions don’t bounce.


The Cashflow Smoother Tank

This is the tank that feeds your day-to-day transactional reservoir, making sure that there’s always enough.

Here’s the thing.  Despite earning the same amount every month, our expenses are never constant.  There are some months we are home, and some months we’re on vacation and spending more.  Some months our kids need new clothes, and some months they don’t.

One thing that always surprises me is that everyone forgets that Christmas comes every year.  As does back to school.  And every year, people get caught out, go into debt, and struggle to start the new year off well as they’re clawing their way out of debt.

And when I check their budgets, there may be a line item for Christmas… meaning they acknowledge that this is an expense they need to save for, but unfortunately, they don’t… using up that money that should be set aside for the day to day running of life… causing a problem later on.

Your Cashflow account is so important to smoothing out your expenses.

It’s a savings account linked to your transactional account.  Set up an automatic payment each month as soon as you’re paid from your transactional account to this savings account for all your one off or infrequent costs… such as holidays, medical bills, school fees if they’re paid termly – anything that’s not a monthly cost.  And, if there’s anything left over in a month, save it there.

Then, when you need to pay for the holiday, or the doctor, or school fees, that money’s there, you haven’t spent it.  And it smooths the expenses in months that cost more.


The Emergency Tank

One of the things I’ve come to see is that no matter how much people want to stay out of debt or save for their future, one of the biggest challengers to that goal is unexpected, unbudgeted for expenses that happen.  Because life happens.

These things are usually external stuff that happens TO you, not of your making.

And in my experience, these things happen in threes:

·         Your child gets sick

·         The car breaks down AND

·         The hot water geyser bursts.

I know, isn’t it amazing how seldom stuff happens in ones?  Always three or more!

And, because every cent is accounted for for our day to day life, we end up having to go into debt or cash in our savings.

So the best way to protect your financial freedom is to make sure you have an Emergency Fund.  Six months’ worth of expenses saved up that you never touch EVER. 

Until something external hits your daily budget out the park.  Then, and only then can you access your emergency fund.

This fund should be in a money market account, earning more interest.  You may even want it to be with another bank so you’re not tempted to access it.  Some people ask me if it should be a notice account, so that there’s a delay between when they apply to release the money and when they get it. 

The problem is, it’s for an emergency.  And when your child needs additional hospital treatment, you need the money now.

So you truly need to apply the rule that unless something has happened TO you, you don’t use it.  You get let go from your job… your car packs up… medical expenses… a car accident.  But not general maintenance – that needs to be saved for in the cashflow account… an unexpected emergency.

This is where your budget needs to create space to allow the saving for this account.  As a minimum, you need to set aside 10% of your salary to create this account – and then you will take 3-5 years to save your emergency fund.  The good news is that once it’s saved up, you get to direct those funds to your investments – as you’ll only need to top it up.

People ask me – do I need 3 months or 4 months or 6 months expenses?

The answer lies in your personal circumstances.

If you are single, or have a single source of income – either only one of you work, or both of you work in the family business – then you need 6 months.

However, if there are two of you actively contributing to the expenses, then if one of you loses your job, you only need to cover one income stream – then you could have 3-4 months.

The reality is that if you lose your income, you cut your expenses immediately and tighten your belt.  You also don’t put money away for savings.  So your expenses are less and the 4 months can stretch further.

The Goal Tank

This is the account you use to save for a goal – such as a new car, the deposit on a house, a bucket list overseas trip, your kids education etc.- within a 3-5 year horizon

This account should either be a money market account with a good rate of interest, or a multi-asset income fund.  What’s a multi asset income fund?  It’s a low risk unit trust or mutual fund that invests in cash, money market and investment grade bonds.  These are things that generate interest – far higher than savings accounts.

You don’t want to invest these in shares or mutual funds with shares in them because the time period of 3-5 years means that the markets could drop, and you would lose your money.  You want that money to earn a higher rate of interest, but not be at risk.

The Investment Tanks

This is the water system that sit away from your day to day spending – but that come off your income source first.

This is your long term investing – it’s the money that will grow over time to provide for your future.

But how do I fill these tanks?  You use the Brain Hack that grows your wealth.

I’m all about finding the easiest way to do things.  It makes change sustainable in the long run.  If things are hard, you give up after a little while.  And when it comes to changing long term grooves of behaviour we all get stuck in, I’m so passionate about it that I wrote a book about it!!!

The thing you need to know about the brain is that it uses a HUGE amount of energy.  So it’s developed ways to use less energy.  Habits, or hardwiring things is one of them.

But when we put its need for safety together with the fact that it doesn’t actually like to do new things that consume too much energy, we get the concept of inertia.  Which means that we tend to stay doing (or not doing) things the way they’ve always been done (or not done).

So if you’re not a regular saver, or you haven’t started investing, it takes quite a lot of brain energy to start.


This is one of the biggest reasons the wealthy get more wealthy, and people who aren’t saving don’t start.

You can use inertia to your benefit, or it will slowly work to our detriment.  You choose.

Using Financial Inertia to your benefit means that once you’ve set up automated monthly payments either as direct debits or as automatic transfers, it takes effort and energy to cancel them.  So you tend to keep those automatic savings and investing habits going, automatically.  Because it’s easier not to change it.

And, there’s another brain weakness automated saving works against.  Every one of us likes new things, and we are designed to want more – it’s why as humans we are always improving, but also why we’re always spending!  New things, more, releases a happy hormone in our brain called Dopamine.  And we like having Dopamine. But it’s the reason why it doesn’t matter how much more you earn, you will increase your spending.  One of my clients said:

“The more I earn, the more I find to spend it on, the less I have, the more I need to earn!”

That’s why that car you desperately wanted and were excited for at 18 just doesn’t quite do it for you in the same way at 25 or 40.  And the money you got by on at university somehow wouldn’t get you out the starting blocks at 30.  And when you add a family of humans with insatiable wants at 40, it doesn’t even make an impression on the mortgage!


Automated saving and investment is one of THE most important tools to successful money management.

It works against both these brain habits.  Once its set up, it takes too much effort to stop it, so you’re less likely to stop saving.  And, if you set up the automated payment so that it goes off the day you’re paid, you ‘take money off the table’.  In other words, because the money is no longer in your account, you get used to not having it, and you can’t use it to spend more.

So where do I start?

Your budget is the place you start.  As we discussed in last week’s episode, the most important aspect of a budget is that you start first by putting in ‘the big rocks’ of the Four Tanks that need to be filled first, and then, and only then, can you start filling your other expenses.

Your money flow has to reflect your values and your best life.  Without that, you will get the life you spend on.

So friends, if you want to get my free money tracker and planner budgeting excel spreadsheet, the very one I use, as well as the video that teaches you how to track your actual expenses, head over to and download that now!

Have a great week everybody!

I’m Lisa Linfield, and this is Working Women’s Wealth.

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Lisa Linfield

Lisa Linfield is on a God-given mission to free 1 million women from the weight and stress of money. She's a CFP, founder of a wealth management business, and podcast host of Working Women's Wealth

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