Adam Stock runs several businesses which touch many different aspects of personal finance. He’s the Founder and President of The Next Level Planning Group, one of the top revenue-producing wealth managers in the U.S. He’s also the Founder of Rising Stock, a profitability coaching program, and MyBooks.pro, a bookkeeping service. Adam worked in Cutco/Vector Marketing for about 6 years while in college and after graduating from Carleton College in Minnesota. He lives in the Chicago area with his wife and 5 kids. Through his guidance, Adam has been able to impact thousands of entrepreneurs and business people on their road to financial independence.



Q: I’d love to hear a little about how you got started with Cutco/ Vector and some of your early experiences and lessons.

  • I just finished my Junior year at Carleton College and was at my brother’s high school graduation where I found a flyer on a car.  I called the number, got an interview and got the job.
  • My first summer with Cutco I was #40 in the nation and earned an All-American Scholarship. My second summer I was a Branch Manager and then that fall I was promoted to District Manager.

Q: What were some early lessons you learned in your Cutco/ Vector experience that has stuck with you in your career?

  • Importance of having a positive attitude.
    • It’s easy to have a positive attitude when things are going well, so it’s important to learn how to have a positive attitude when things aren’t going well.
  • Cutco/ Vector was a proving ground for me to learn how to develop a work ethic.
    • I got to see a correlation between my hard work and my results.
  • I got to learn and practice public speaking and professionalism.
  • I learned the importance of thinking big.
    • “If you’re going to think at all, you might as well think big.” -Earl Kelly

Q: What made you decide to make the move from your Cutco experience and start your financial planning career?

  • I wasn’t a very successful manager but I was always very profitable.
  • I got an interview with Merrill Lynch and the manager looked at my resume and know about my experience with Cutco and he told me that if I can sell knives to people in their homes, I can sell financial services.

Q: You decided to start your financial planning career way back then and now you’re in charge of what’s become truly an empire.  Tell us about some of the plates you’re currently spinning with your businesses?

  • My primary business is called The Next Level Planning Group and we manage about $300 million in assets and we solve a structural problem that exists in the Financial Services industry.
    • Most people receive financial services by having a separate investment advisor, they have a separate accountant, they have a separate estate attorney, they have a separate insurance agent, and these people never get together to discuss your situation.
    • There are a lot of gaps that exist in that format so what we do is look at everything from a cross disciplinary basis and we find missed opportunities and in the end help people transform their financial lives and have extraordinary clarity.
  • I spend 90% of my work hours with Next Level Planning Group and 10% amongst Rising Stock (a bookkeeping and profitability coaching company for Cutco/ Vector managers) and mybooks.pro (a Quickbooks based bookkeeping and profitability coaching company for realtors).

Q: I really want to focus on financial lessons today because you are truly a master in that area… when it comes to financial success in business, what are some good habits and what are some of the common mistakes to avoid?

  • The first thing to talk about is your financial DNA.  What’s your financial story?
    • Everyone has financial influences from their parents and those around us and I think it’s critical that we understand what lessons and stories we learned about money.
    • What were the lessons you learned about money when you were growing up?
    • What were the stories you heard?
    • How did you feel about those lessons and those stories?
    • What did you do about them?
    • How does your current behavior reflect those stories and experiences?
  • Imagine earning 10 times more money than you’re currently making.
    • People often have an inner struggle with that thought experiment because they don’t feel like they’re worthy of that level of financial success.
    • I think it’s critical to clear away that line of thinking or belief so new habits can be created.
  • I’ve noticed that when people just get out of college they spend the same amount that they earn.
    • I think it’s important to get clear on how much you actually earn net, how much you pay in tax, how much you spend personally, and how much is left over.
    • Creating wealth is all about creating a gap between what you actually make and what you actually spend.
    • If that gap is really narrow, you’re never going to truly be wealthy so you either need to find a way to lower your expenses, increase your earnings or both.
    • You have to create more capital and let that money create even more capital.
    • It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep.

Q: What are some ways people can create a gap if they aren’t currently?

  • Creating the gap is first of all about clarity.  You have to know where you’re currently at right now.
  • You can either have nice things now or nicer things later.
  • Pay yourself first (savings) and do it automatically if you can.
    • It’s like lifting weights.  At first you lift 5 pounds. Then 10. Then 15.  The form doesn’t change, only the weight changes.
    • Similarly, paying yourself first is like weight lifting.  Start small and as your financial strength increases you can save more and more.
  • Set a savings and investment goal and if you have money left over, I feel ok spending it on nice things.

Q: Are there any other habits or mistakes that are notable

  • Get clear, grow the gap, invest early.
  • The Rule of 72- if you take the number 72 and you divide by the rate of return, it will equal the number of years it’ll take for that investment to double.

Q: Who else were some of your important mentors or influencers?

  • Maya Angelou.
  • People can teach you a lesson that are really valuable whether they’re positive lessons or negative lessons and I think in the US we underestimate the power of negative role modeling.
  • Jon Berghoff, John Ruhlin, John Kane, and Jon Vroman.
  • Julianna Raye. She started as my mindfulness coach and over the years she’s had an extraordinary impact on my life.
  • I’ve learned a lot from my kids. My oldest daughter taught me that I can learn from and be mentored by people younger than me.

Q: As you look ahead over the next 5-10 years, what most excites or inspires you as you look ahead?

  • Being able to travel with my kids as they grow up more and more.
  • Spending time during my family board meetings (1-on-1 time with each kid).
  • And growing my philanthropy.


Show Notes for this episode provided by Carlo Cipollina.

To learn more and get access to all episodes, visit our podcast page!


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