Dec. 1, 2022

Healing Money Trauma and Achieving Financial Freedom with Ken Honda

Uncover the secrets to healing your money trauma and unlocking your financial potential with Ken Honda. Join Ken, a best-selling author and financial expert, as he explores the emotional and psychological blocks that hold us back from....
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Uncover the secrets to healing your money trauma and unlocking your financial potential with Ken Honda. Join Ken, a best-selling author and financial expert, as he explores the emotional and psychological blocks that hold us back from achieving financial success. Each episode delves deep into real-life stories and expert insights to help you overcome limiting beliefs and bad habits, and create a healthy relationship with money. Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your financial game to the next level, the Think Unbroken Podcast is your go-to resource for healing your money trauma and achieving financial freedom.

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest, speaker and author Ken Honda. Ken, my friend, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.

Ken: Hello Michael. I'm so happy to see you and this is such a great honor to be invited to your show. I'm so happy. I appreciate that.

Michael: Thank you. I am too, speaking of happy as the author of Happy Money, a book that actually really revolutionized my life when it came to money. I wanted to have, you want to have a conversation that intersects this idea of money and the way that it can be of service in our life and how our past can impact the way that we navigate our relationship with money. And the first time I discovered you was on an episode of Tom Bilyeu’s podcast Impact Theory and immediately I went and got your book and I read it the same day cuz it's a brilliant and simple read. And since that moment now three years later, I say thank you or Arigato Money almost every single day. So, my first question for you as we begin here is to really talk about the way that you think about money and your relation to it in the world that we live in today.

Ken: Thank you Michael for reading my book. This has been my dream this year is 20th anniversary of my becoming an author.

Michael: Congratulations.

Ken: Thank you so much. So, I'm so happy after two decades, I'm hearing feedback from Japanese readers and also international readers for the past three years. So, money touches every area of our life, it touches relationship, health and work, and your peace of mind, and also family. So, if you are in relationship is messed up with money, your life is miserable. And that doesn't mean that you have to be a millionaire or billionaire, it's just your relationship. I've seen many miserable millionaires and billionaires, and I have seen very happy people without any financial background. So, it's your relationship and it's the energy that runs your life. So, a lot of people watch their numbers, but they don't watch the energy. Money comes in with certain energy. If you make people happy and receive money you become happier. But if you receive money with bad energy, that means people didn't wanna pay you but paid it anyway because it's a contract, or people didn't like you, but they're forced to pay and that brings you into bad energy, a negative energy, I'd say. And I don't wanna sound so spiritual, but I guess, you know, we all have experienced unhappy money coming into your life. You didn't wanna, do that, but you did anyway to bring food on the table, to pay the bills of the rent so, and it gives you such a bad feeling inside. Oh, I shouldn't have done that, but I had to do it anyway for my work. So, um, that is unhappy money. And if you just increase the flow of more happy money into your life, it'll bring smile on your face, it brings peace in your family.

Michael: People, and I will tie myself into this question. When I was 20, I got a job with a Fortune 10 company here in America. And my background, I have no high school diploma. I was homeless as a kid and I have no college education. But I had figured out business and so I landed this job, I did extremely well and by the time I was 26 years old, I had made my first million dollars. However, I was over $45,000 in debt, oh, bad debt mind you. And one of the things that I see happen so frequently is money becomes this driver, this thing that we go when I have that life will be better, when I get that life will be good. I will love myself. People will like me. I'll have admiration. I'll be who it is I thought I was going to be. And yet, even if we move towards that, we still in some sense sabotage ourself, we still in some sense take away from ourself or lived into those old behavior patterns that our parents taught or the generations taught and so, we have money, but it's this negative energy. It's this unhappy energy. Why do we do that? Why is the relationship that we have with money this idea that it's going to make our life better? But it really doesn't.

Ken: That's a deep question, Michael. I've been thinking about this almost my entire adult life. Once again, money touches every area of your life. So, its money is tied up with your survival. And also in North America, unfortunately, it's tied up with their self-worth. In Japan and in Asia, it's a casual conversation among your college graduates or high school friends or buddies that you grew up with, to ask you how much we make each other. But in North America, if you ask your friend, you know, how much did you make a year? It's gonna freak him out or freak her out because it sounds like a taboo, right? So, think of money, you feel your heart is going, and heart rate is going up because you get scared, you feel a lot of shame, guilt, overwhelming emotions.

So, money pulls out the best and the worst part of you. So that's why people cannot feel emotionally stable around money. You know, the tricky thing is numbers cannot give you security. One, Michael, as you said, even if you make your first million dollars, you still cannot feel satisfied because all your friends when you get there are making $3 million. And then when you make $3 million, all your friends are making 10. So, they're having a private jet and once you have a private jet at the special terminal, your friend’s jet are three times bigger, so there's a never-ending story of wanting more. So instead of going toward that direction, you have to go inside. Why do I need more? You know, one is enough. And by asking those questions, you find the center in you that's my more zen approach to find who you are.

Michael: As you go deeper into that, how do you know the truth of who you are when it comes to the relationship with money? Because you know, many people that grow up in poverty, they grow up suffering, they grow up we see it especially on television. Buy the nice car, get the nice house, go to college and yet many of us, we watch our parents struggle and work two or three jobs or be a business person who's never there for us, or we borrow money from the government or deep in debt. When you've never had a healthy identity around money, how do you start to create one in a way that can really do what you just said?

Ken: So, my favorite question is, if money was a person, who would it be? That means, if you imagine money as a person, that person can be a scary, cold, mean person or happy, kind, generous person. And a lot of us feel money could be a threatening, scary person because we've seen so many people, including a parent, struggle or fight over this person. So, in our mind, we think money can be scary, so we need to heal our trauma, which is your expertise. And by healing a past, healing our traumas we know that money is not a big monster. Money can be actually a great friend or an angel to support our life. But money is a neutral energy, so, it's that comedian. If you want money to be monster, it becomes a monster. And when you want it to be an angel, it becomes an angel to heal so many people. I've seen many people donate money after the earthquakes and in the flood or mountain fire. And then, that money can be healing for so many people. So, in your concept, you can transform your relationship with the money in a positive way. So that way you don't need to be scared, you don't need to prove anything and you think money as money, but it takes a few steps because we've been so brainwashed, we've been so messed up emotionally since we are four or five. You know, all of us have been scolded over money for one reason or another. My mother is a very, very gentle peaceful soul, but I've seen her so upset with me about money, just a few dollars in terms of numbers, but she couldn't put up with my attitude that I wasted some money. And I'm sure everyone can relate to my story. It's universal. I have a fun hobby of collecting all the terrible words that our parents used to say.

Michael: As many of us do. If you were to break down, let's call it three steps and start to transform your relationship in moving money from either this evil demon to this beautiful angel like what would the two or three steps be that people could start thinking about to change that relationship?

Ken: Thank you. You know, what I love about you, is you have a great system in your head so people can take it to their life and use it. I think a genius that you have in you…

Michael: Thank you.

Ken: I'm so proud of you for that. So, first step would be to observe the flow of money and what kind of energy it has. You know, just observe the energy of your clients, of your boss, your colleagues, what kind of energy is flowing in their life? Is that the happy one or unhappy one? You know, people who are a business tycoon, they're good at moving energy that means they're good at making money, but money energy can be very violent. So that person almost takes advantage of other people and rub of somebody and then get money that is very unhappy money. So, look at what that does to his or her family and their employees. I've been to many companies and wanted to become a student of the owner. And once asked the secretary, what is it like in everyday life? And she said, I don't know, I started working here last week, that means he kept firing people or people keep leaving. So, you have to observe what kind of energy is flowing in your life and other people's life, and then observe and then you have an option, choice to choose what kind of energy you want to be in the flow with.

Michael: So, you go through observation, you look at it, you assess it. Okay, I see that maybe this isn't the way that I want to experience money, maybe this is, so what do you do next?

Ken: And the next step is my favorite. My mentor, Wahei Takeda, who used to be called “Warren Buffet to Japan” he passed away a few years ago, but he was once a major shareholder of more than 100 public companies in Japan, that means he's very wealthy. You know, I was in line with long line with the people who can ask one question or just say hello to him, you know. Imagine yourself being in the cute line for Warren Buffet, why would you ask him? And my question is, what is the secret to money? And Wahei with a big smile, said, he said, arigato to your money. And then I got pushed out from the person from my back, and arigato my money, what does that mean? That means thank you money. And about a month later, I had this opportunity to come back and just this time sit down with him for an hour.

So, he explained Arigato your money means appreciate your money, both coming in and going out because by understanding money can be precious. Think of your clients, if you are say coach, out of thousands of other coaches, your client chose you. Out of thousands of potential employees they chose you, the candidates could have college diploma or they're highly qualified, but they chose you who didn't have a high school degree, that is a miracle. So can you appreciate your company or client or your boss to hire you and they give you the precious money. So, there are so many reasons to appreciate about, and you may complain about the numbers of salary or fee, but still that is a miracle the money is given to you. So, can you feel the appreciation? And then, can you feel the appreciation when you pay the bills? If you start doing that, you become a different person. You become a magnet. I've heard all the fun stories from my students and my readers who got a big raise or bonus by just simply appreciating their boss, I'm so happy to work with you if you keep telling them that you appreciate about the job and you get a raise because your boss, remembers now I forgot to reward this person and so I want to pay him or pay her more. So, appreciation really pulls the best out of everybody around you and so including your family member. So, I hope you start doing it anyway, it's not just with money.

Michael: Yeah, I love that. And I think that I've actually seen this play out in real life over the course of the last few years, where for instance I hired a coach for myself and my life and it was very, very, very pricey. And as we transferred the money, I just said, thank you money, I'm so happy I have the opportunity to be able to work with this person because like, look, if the currency was pizza, I'd be like, thank you, pizza. But it's not, it's money so, thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this. I'm curious about your thoughts deeper in the mentality about money from this perspective. So many people look at things, experiences, the opportunity to be coached or go to a conference or join a seminar, and they see the numbers and the very first thing they say is, that's expensive. I'm really curious about when you see a price tag, how do you think about it?

Ken: You know, as I said, money is energy, so it's just exchange of energy. So, when you feel the price is bigger, when you think the certain thing is more expensive, that means that there is not a fair trade. So, it's interesting, you know, because say just a Bitcoin or gold people used to think Bitcoin is just a piece of just numbers. Long before a friend of mine was involved and starting of the Bitcoin and then you couldn't even buy a pizza or something, right? Very small number. And he had so much and then he thought it doesn't do anything. So, he sold it, you know, like 10 years ago or it's very at the time and he doesn't want to calculate how much it is worth now. But so certain thing it, at the time, if people say Bitcoin is worth say $10,000, people thought it's a ripoff, it's just numbers. And then if anybody offers a Bitcoin at $10,000, people say, wow, that's a good bargain. So, it's how much you think, how much it's worth like say, this is my friend artist made a few years ago, this is my favorite pen case, you know, fountain Pen case. And something like this could be sold for as little as like $10 or maybe $20. And since I design it, since I had a custom made, it's more pricey. So, my friends would say, that's a rip off, why would you pay so much money for pen case? But for me, I chose a letter and I chose the design and then texture. So, for me, a lot of love is put into this pen case from my friend who's an artist. For me, the result of I don't know, 10 hours or 20 hours work of labor. So, for me it's a fair deal.

So, when certain thing is, you feel expensive, it's just you are not making enough money. And so, like, when you go to a restaurant, it's the energy of the whole people, whole team putting their heart into one little thing. And if this one little dish, think this is, say, the per dish, it could be like a hundred dollars per dish and if this little appetizer is expensive, you shouldn't go to a restaurant like that. So, if some coaches are expensive, you shouldn't be coached by that person because you're out of the league.

Michael: Yeah, and you're not there yet. Right? And yes, that's one of the things I think about a lot because when I started my personal development journey about 12 years ago, the vast majority of my education came from the library where I would go there for free because even a $97 course to me was terrifying. I thought to myself, oh my God, $97, like, that's not gonna do anything, that can't possibly help me. And then as I grew and as I progressed, what I started to discover was like, oh, if you really wanna grow, the exchange of that energy in reciprocation is the information the person has that I want. And so, it was like, I want more information, I have to pay more money so, I have to create more value to be able to do that. But I think people get stuck in it, they look at money and they look at these transitions of life and these transactions of life, and they say, I'm not worthy, I don't deserve it, why should I ever spend anything on myself? And there are people right now where their shoes or the bag that they carry is worth more than anything they've ever invested in themselves. And Ken, I'll be honest with you, I was that person for a very long time. I had a $85,000 car, and yet I had never spent 1 cent on my own personal development and self. Why do you think people do that?

Ken: I think just people have different taste. My friend who is very fashionable, spends, I don't know how much, but I don't spend so much on clothes, for example, but she spends on High brown, like Channel or Louis Vuitton or tailormade stuff, and which I'm not so interested, but some people have certain taste in their clothes, and some people have taste around food. You know, Tokyo has most mission style restaurants in the world, so that means people, interesting food. And some people spend more money on houses and some people, like yourself, Michael people interested in buying nice cars, some people, even though he or she's a multi billionaire, they're not interested in anything so, some people have certain interests, but they may be interested in helping other people, so, it's up to what they believe. And I think anything is possible and you don't have to buy expensive things. People ask me, why do you not spend so much money on clothes and other things? And I say, I'm not interested. If I'm interested, I might do that. So, it's just your personal interest. And once again, even though you become a millionaire, billionaire, you don't have to be a certain way. And even though you're not making much money, you don't have to feel you are less than other people who have more expensive toys. It's just what kind of toys do you have? Do you want to have, and you don't need any toys. But I admit that some toys can be very fun.

Michael: Yes, very much so. Do you think that, or I guess the way I wanna phrase this question is I think about the idea that people believe there's not enough and people look at the, call it that 1%, right? We saw this big in America in 2008. We see it starting to happen again where people point fingers and they go, well, all the rich people have the money, they're greedy, they're not sharing, they're not helping. And it's almost a sense that people have, that they are owed to have success, they're owed to have money, they're owed to have fame and fortune. And I'm wondering, is that true? Are people owed money and success or is it something that they really have to earn? Or is it just changing your relationship with money and recognizing that you should move towards what it is that you desire?

Ken: Once again, it's up to what you believe. You know, I've known very generous millionaires and billionaires who truly believe sharing is very important. So, like Andrew Carnegie, you know, back in a hundred years ago, he believed in sharing, so after retiring at age 50 something, he focused on just giving, giving, giving. And somebody like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, they also focused on, along with other people who focus on giving back to the community so, there are people who are like that. And also, there are people who are not interested in any of those. And I think it's fine, but I think, to some extent, we have to start sharing what we have and there is a statistic showing that lower middle-class people have better attitude about giving because they've been there, they've been to a lot of hardships through their life so, they're more generous in terms of the ratio of giving. You know, millionaires and billionaires are not generous, as generous as lower middle income class people, percentage wise. And I understand because people who experience the suffering and hardship, they are more generous. So, I hope that we are learning how to share what we have, but I don't want it to be mandatory because it's not fun anymore. So, if we become a society that whoever shares most can be admired, if we have changed this atmosphere that way, you know, I think wealthy people are willing to donate more. So, they can get the recognition from other people. So, instead of just feeling jealousy and you should donate money, we can say, wow, you're donating so much money, you're so great. You know, they're so willing to donate money so, I think it's once added. And also, personally, if you attack, wealthy people in your mind, you cannot be wealthy because you don't wanna be the target of potential attack.

So, if you can let go of your jealousy, your hatred, your criticism against wealthy people if you can do that, you can become wealthy yourself. So that's something you have to watch out for if you want to be more abundant and happy.

Michael: Yeah. So much of this is tied into the Zen approach that you have around these concepts. I hear a lot in your words about gratitude, a lot about the mindset of navigating the world and this energy. And so, I wanna circle back though, to create a little bit of clarity in case we lost anyone in the beginning of this, can you explain a little bit more about your Zen approach to money and what that really means?

Ken: Thank you, Michael. You always clarify on certain things and I really appreciate that. So, my Zen approach can be simplified to this question. I get asked a lot in North America and in Europe. Ken, how can I make my money container bigger? I always talk about money container, we are born with a certain money, container size, and a lot of people want to make it bigger, but in Japan, I get more questions like, Ken, how can I satisfy myself with the money container I was born with? So, it's a different approach. So, do you want to have more, do you want to keep following more and more and more, or do you want to go inside and find satisfaction. In life, there are two kinds of enjoying going after what you want and also satisfying with what we got. And you need to have this balance between wanting more and also wanting what we attract. And if you cannot do that, you'll be in the rat race, you know, your rat race, will become bigger as you get richer so, your expenses go higher. So, even if you make $200,000, $300,000, your expenses can match that very fast. So, you get stuck in this rat race. So once again, when is enough, how much is enough, and you have to figure out. And unless you do that, you cannot find the true satisfaction in your life. So, you have to find two approaches and one positive, one negative, and you have to find yourself in the middle always.

Michael: What is the best way to do that?

Ken: So, when you're going into two positives, you have to balance out with negativity. Like, when somebody approaches me and say, Ken, you're like, God, you changed my life. I'd say in my mind, no, I'm not God. I'm not changing my life. He's changing his life. So, I'm sort of like, you know, balancing out and I don't get that a lot, but Ken, you're terrible. You're just a corn artist. You're just dragging people down when somebody says that. No, I'm helping people. I'm just a blessing people and I'm enlightened people, so I'm just bouncing out all the information in me. So, I'm not great, I'm not terrible. Otherwise, you crave more appreciation, you want more people to recognize you or acknowledge you.

So, a lot of people get stuck in this. I want to be praised more and then if your self force is tied up with how much money you make or how many people you help, you get sucked into this rat race. So always you have to find your center 24/7. And if you just do that, it's not with money, but with people or with yourself, you can always find peace and happiness in there.

Michael: I think a big part of it is to not be afraid of the peace, of the happiness, of the fact that you're allowed to have success and abundance, right?

Ken: Yes. So, I think, if Michael had said, do it scared right?

Michael: Yeah. And that holds so true because if you don't, then nothing about your life will be different because if you don't have the willingness to step into the discomfort of the unknown, you can't know what's on the other side. Right? And you only ever know what you know. One of the things that drew me, probably the thing that drew me to you the most, two, three years ago, whenever it was, I apologize, I don't remember that you had the conversation with Tom Bilyeu, I went deeper into finding everything I could about you. And the reason why is because you shared a story that if you're comfortable, I would love for you to share here about your father and when you were a little boy and how that transformed your life. And it was so vulnerable and so beautiful, it made me feel like there's no way you could be a con artist. Right. Even though you might have one or two people tell you that. But in that, I thought to myself, this is a man who was driven by a mission to make people's lives better. And so, I would love, I'd be honored actually, if you would share that story with this audience.

Ken: Thank you. My father was a very successful tax accountant and he was very generous and fun loving. So, I remember part of him who was like that but I think I was eight or nine at the time, so he must be in his forties. So, when I got back from school, one day I saw him, my father crying in the kitchen and I never thought guys are capable of crying. I've seen women, my mother and my sister and my aunt were crying, but I've never seen an adult and a guy cry. My father is a very macho guy, you know, experiencing karate and all that. And my mother took me aside and I was so surprised, and she was telling me my father's best friend committed suicide. And I understood that and not only committed suicide before he did that, my father's best friend killed his entire family and committed suicide that there's a term called family suicide. My father recommended my client to file bankruptcy because he borrowed so much, too much money from the loan shark. But my father had enough money, for his best friend who was in financial problem but after filing bankruptcy, he was going to give it the money to the family. But he's just a very traditional Japanese guy who doesn't talk. So, he never told that to his friend but my father's client got desperate and then he killed the family and commit suicide. And to my father's last day, he regretted that he didn't tell that to him. So, after that my father got into a heavy depression, my grandmother died around the time, so I think that triggered it. And then, he got very abusive. So, I've seen the impact of what money can do to a family. So, I was at the very young age, but I sought myself that in one day when I have my family, I'll make sure that my family is safe and also, I have this master called money.

So, and at the same time, I wanted to know what happened to my father, who was such a fun-loving guy, he was into music, he loved Elvis, so he was always, was dressing white, you know, like he was trying to dress like Elvis, which I hated. And so, but he was such a fun, loving person, but he never smiled after the suicide, so I set up for a quest to search for happiness and money at the young age. So, I started reading books and asking neighbors and all the adult people about money and happiness. So, my life has been driven in a sense by what happened almost 40 years ago, that thing was on the new local newspaper.

So, my father was in charge of the whole entire funeral for the family of four. So, up to this day, the tragedy of the family suicide, my father's depression, they have given me lot of energy to keep writing. I published more than 200 books in the world and I keep writing, and so I think I took the healthiest addiction I could think of book writing. So, I don't drink and I don't do any other drug thing, but I just book writing is my addiction that I cannot really get rid of.

Michael: Yeah. Well, I mean, of all the addictions to have, I think that one's pretty good, you know, and as I sit and I'm now writing my third book, I know how difficult and also fulfilling it can be and having read a few of your books, they're absolutely phenomenal. And I think the world needs and should be very grateful for having the words of someone like you. One of the things I'm curious about in that experience of dealing with your father and coming through that as a child and looking at this idea of the quest of pursuit, of finding happiness and money, I wanna rewind to when you were younger, ‘cuz I think this would be really important. When you were younger, what did you discover about money that started the trajectory towards where you are now?

Ken: At that time, I thought money is a symbol of freedom. If you have enough money, you don't have to work for somebody else or you don't have to work at a job you hate. And a lot of people respect people with money. So, at the very young age, I knew that money has some answers, not all the answers, but I think, it was such a convenient tool. So, I wanted to have that tool and I wanted to know how to use the tool because over the years, my father asked me to be an assistant on weekends, like Saturdays. My father's clients visited us at home during Saturdays and they ask for certain advice. So, I was the only one who just carry a couple Japanese tea and I had this role of asking preliminary questions, you know, how is your business, sir? You know, I was very small. And then this kid goes many questions like, what is your ROE and what is your ROI? Do you know the words, you know? And there's this kid trying to just give adult a hard time. I really enjoyed harassing those, you know, poor clients when I think back. And so, I learned all these words and also, I learned how money can be so big and abusive in people's lives. I started learning fast and also early about money and old aspects of money, I was very lucky. So that's why I could start my business at the age 20 and I could retire at the age 29.

Michael: Yeah, that's incredible. And one of the things that happens in Western Society and in America specifically, there is no education about money here. And a lot of what I have experienced, I'll just use myself for context. Growing up, we had a lot of debt, we were very poor in fact, our electricity would get turned off, our water would get turned off, we would be evicted, we lived in 30 different places when I was a child. I even at some points had to steal food to survive. Money was something we viewed as a nemesis, as dark and evil. And so, I would experience this and I would watch the environment and so it became my education that it was normal to be in debt, to have collectors call you, to have the electricity turned off. And in school there was no education, I don't recall one time ever learning about money in school.

And so, through studying work from people like you, like Tony Robbins and other people like Warren Buffet, I was able to start to really change the way I think about money and specifically around debt. And I know you have this really fascinating thought on debt about how it is that these people are trusting you. And I would love for you to explain that because we don't learn concepts like that here in America.

Ken: I think, people don't learn anywhere, that's my book sold 8 million copies. But I think, we probably talk more about money at home and also more Chinese culture who have this more relaxed attitude about money. So, I understand, especially in North America, people seem to feel heavy burden when you have a debt. So, it's almost like a dark cloud is just hovering over your head and just said, and keep saying, telling you, you are not good, you're bad, you know, you old society something. So, you feel like, uh, you are in debt emotionally.

And so, I just want you to start looking at debt from different perspective. Debt is in a different form because like say five years ago, 10 years ago, when the bank decided to give you the loan or your relatives, they did that because they trusted you to pay back the loan. You know, no banks would expect you not to pay, right? They trusted enough so they think you are worthy of the trust, so they give you the loan. So, in order to appreciate the trust that bank or other people had on you, in appreciation, you can pay the interest every month. Thank you for trusting me. You know, here I'm paying back the mortgage or paying back the money that you gave me. So, instead of just feeling the heavy dark clouds, it’s a happy loving, trust that is blessing you. So, when you say you have a $50,000 debt or a hundred thousand dollars in debt, instead of thinking, oh, this is heavy, you can feel like, oh, I'm so happier because this love and trust because of this, I could buy this, because of this I could get through our hard times in my life. So instead of just feeling burden and being dragged down, you can feel you are lifted up because the money, trusted money that you got a few years ago because of that, you are driving the car, you know, if it's like many years ago, you have to save up all the money to get a car. But because of the banking system you can live in, you can start living in house or you can start using the car long time before you have the money. So, in fact, you can appreciate, the banking system so much, but we just keep complaining about you know, that these big guys are just trying to crush us.

Michael: I love this idea. And even in real time I'm thinking about that. And I think to myself, if you can be more appreciative and have more gratitude even for your debt, that must equal more positive energy, right? So if you have more of that positive energy, then that helps create the balanceand when you create the balance, then that means that you set yourself up with the ability to actually become wealthy?

 Ken:Yeah, so, I'm always quoting this fun story of my friend who inherited 3 million debt and he was just working for a regular company. He didn't know much about management, but his father passed away because of the stroke or something. And he had this choice of just finding bankruptcy for him, that means he doesn't inherit any debt at all. You can do that within the 10 months of the death or just take up entire debt that his company made. You know, a lot of people just choose the first one, you know, I'm not gonna inherit any of those, like, both money or debt, you know, so you don't have to do anything. But my friend is a very unique person, so he thought my father created this mess, so I have to clean up the mess. So he left the company and then started working for his small dad’s company. And in order to pay back 3 million debts, you have to make at least $600,000 a year and then pay back the half, right? And so he did that for 10 years, he came up with a great ideas and because they have to make a million dollars in profit, otherwise they cannot pay back the debt. And within 10 years he did it, he did clean the bill and then pay back all the money. And not only that because he had this earning capacity of making $1 million in profit, he became a multimillionaire in a few years after paying back to debt. So, in retrospect, he said I didn't inherit debt, you know, my father left me, my earning skills in disguise as a debt. So, if he didn't leave anything, he's just another businessman, you know, making about a little money. But since my father left me, great skill set that I needed to acquire and also, in real life, his father didn't teach him anything but after his passing away, my friend had to be creative and just kept working to make money. So, when you take a look at this whole picture, his father left a blessing to make a lot of money with his skills. So, he very appreciated the fact that his father left a huge debt for him because that turned him into a business machine.

So, whenever you think of that, if you're just turning around, it becomes such a big money maker for you because you have to make twice as much other people to pay back the debt, that means you have this muscle, right? So, like a debt is like a training machine for your business too. So, if you just turn this old concept in you about money, you can transform your relationship with money. And I've seen people become financially independent within a few years and it's just because what they think about money gets shifted and you need only one shift in your idea.

Michael: Yeah. So much of what I hear in that is about perspective and choosing I'm gonna use that word, you can tell me if I'm wrong, but choosing to see it a different way. And I think so much of society looks at it, as you said, this dark cloud on our shoulders, it's so bad. It's the worst thing ever. But I love your thought process about shifting it to love and the fact that you're trusted to be a person of integrity to return that money. So, then I want to go in one other aspect ‘cuz I'm curious, if you look at debt as this happiness and trust and operating through integrity to return it, what role, if any, do you think bankruptcy actually does play in money? Or do you feel like you can never file bankruptcy and you absolutely have to always pay your debt so that you can keep that balance?

Ken: I think finding for bankruptcy is sometimes inevitable, right? And also there's this system, it's almost like a compulsive detox of your body. You can keep losing weight and become healthy, but also there's a certain time like you get sick and then get hospitalized and then lose 20 pounds automatically in a sense. So, filing bankruptcy is like a reset, but it's getting sick and then lose weight, it has consequences. You know, you lose certain trust that means that you cannot make credit cards for the next few years. So, it's like a penalty and if you do it once, you could do it twice because it's your attitude that force you into bankruptcy. I'm not just saying that you, you should never file bankruptcy. I'm saying there may be a certain circumstance that you may have to, but if your bankruptcy is caused by your inappropriate behavior, I think you are gonna do it again, right? So, once again, there is this cause and effect if you file bankruptcy, there are certain consequences related to that. So, I think you have to bear with it, it's certain penalty from society. So, once again, which way do you want to take which path?

Michael: If you did file bankruptcy, and let's say that makes the energy off balance, right? How do you make the energy balanced again after bankruptcy?

Ken: I think you can start fresh. So that means the more you give, the more you receive. So, what you give out to society will come back but the people who had to file a bankruptcy, they don't have the skillset to make both ends meet. So, unless he or she gets super changed because of bankruptcy, they'll are more likely to go back to the same state. It's like drinking problem or drug abuse, you know, even though you're going to a rehab center like at bankruptcy, right, just go in there. If you come back the same thing happens. So, if you haven't healed the core issue of bankruptcy, overspending, or little making you will go into the same mess again in a few years. So, I think you really have to change from the bottom.

Michael: As we start to head off here, are there maybe one, two, or three steps that someone can take that can help them start to heal their past and their traumas with money that they can start to use today?

Ken: So, I'm writing a book titled, “Healed Money Healed Life” In that book, I'm talking a lot about healing your money owns. We've been hurt by our parents so many times about money decisions. So, when we make a decision about money, we feel scared, we feel nervous because we are afraid of making a wrong choice. But when you come to understand that there's no wrong choice in life anyways, you feel more free. And at the same time, you may not know this, but we are so restricted by money, you know, because of money we're not changing jobs, because of money we never start our own, business because of money we never learn new things. So, if you heal yourself, as you heal yourself, you discover new doors opening up for you. There are so many things that you can learn there. There are so many places you can go visit. There's so many fun things in life. But unfortunately, people don't have the luxury of even thinking that they can be different. You know, I just come back from my world tour, it took me about 42 days. I started from Tokyo, Helsinki, Frankel, New York, LA, Australia, and back. It was fun. I wanted to do a world go around the world in a month or so, and now I know how big this planet is. So, I could have done that many years ago, but I never did. And so we are restricted because of money, because of work, and because of all the restrictions we put on ourselves. So, think of all the limitations that we tend to put on because of money and as we heal ourselves your possibility is limitless. So, you can do whatever you want in your life.

Michael: Yeah, I love that and I agree. I think that so much of what our parents ingrained in us, so much of what we learned from society, so many of the experiences, many of which I shared my own experiences today, they can keep you stuck. But this transformation in perspective, this stepping into it from a Zen approach, from looking at the glass half full instead of half empty, is really transformative and I will speak from myself. Your work has helped me change my life and my perspective with money in ways that I know are going to help set my future up that I can't even explain right now. And so, I would just like, before I ask you my last question, to just give you a massive amount of praise and gratitude and say thank you because without your information, there's a very high likelihood I wouldn't even be having this conversation right now. So, thank you for that, before I ask you my last question, can you please tell everyone where they can find out more about you, Ken?

Ken: So, a lot of information is still in Japanese, so you can find all my English activities at and I have this beautiful community called Arigato Living Community. It's an online community with about 600 people from 15 different countries. So, I start teaching in English too. So, I'm happy to share more ideas, on my teachings in English. So, I'm going to put all the information, a lot of them are free, so you can just check out my website and there are many YouTube videos that I've been interviewed by very intellectual people, very powerful loving people, including yourself, Michael. So, you can watch some of the YouTube videos and then you can get the core concept of what I'm sharing. I have impacted many of people's lives in Japan, so my dream is doing the same or more for English speaking people because this thing works. I've done this for 20 years, I've seen so many people change, some become super millionaires, some became very happy housewives, they chose their own path. So, I hope you find your right money container size and find your satisfaction and happiness. And it's actually easier than you think because it doesn't require ears of work or meditation, it just simply transform your relationship with money.

Michael: I love that. And of course, we'll put all the links in the show notes for the Unbroken Nation. My last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Ken: That's a deep question, Michael. I think, whatever happens, find your true happiness in whatever you see. So, if you get to do that you become unbroken because outside stimulation doesn't change who you are. So, find your inner peace no matter what is my answer.

Michael: Brilliantly said my friend. Thank you so much for being here. Unbroken Nation. Thank you for listening.

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Ken Honda


Money and happiness expert Ken Honda is a best-selling self-development author in Japan, with book sales surpassing eight million copies since 2001. His latest book is called “Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace With Your Money” (June 4, 2019, Simon & Schuster).

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.