Mark Cuban knows a thing or two about money. The self-made entrepreneur has a net worth in the billions, and he famously sold the video portal Broadcast.com for $5.6 billion to Yahoo in 1999.
Since then, the 59-year-old Dallas Mavericks owner has added chairman and CEO of AXS TV to his resume. To top it off, he’s an investor in a variety of companies including Landmark Theaters, Dropbox and Axon Sports.
If you’re struggling with your finances — or want to start a business — get inspired by these motivating tips and quotes on managing your money.
1. Don’t Take the Easy Way Out
“There are no shortcuts in business,” Cuban wrote in a 2014 article in Entrepreneur magazine. He detailed the six things needed for success in business:
- Know how to sell
- Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
- Be tech savvy
- Have an eye for innovation
- Ask if your product will make the customer’s life better or easier
- Be nice
2. You Can Build Something From Nothing
Cuban once tweeted, “It was right around this date in November when I was 27 years old that I remember looking at a 0 dollar bank balance at the ATM.”
Knowing that a billionaire has also fallen on hard times reminds you that even some of the richest started with nothing. Use this as a motivator if you’re feeling discouraged by a low bank account balance no matter your age.
3. Easy Money Is a Thing of the Past
“The market for sub 25mm dollar raises is effectively dead,” Cuban wrote in a 2015 LinkedIn Influencer post describing why the current tech bubble is worse than the previous one in 2000. In the early millennium, popular companies people were investing in were public, he explained, so investors were able to sell stocks at their leisure.
However, he explained that companies that are a part of the current tech bubble are private, without the ability to go public, due to SEC regulations instated since 2000. This means investors can only earn money if the company is sold or if the business turns a profit — which he said won’t equate to the outsized payouts realized at the turn of the century.
4. Numbers Don’t Lie But Stockbrokers Might
“Price-earnings ratios, price-sales, the present value of future cash flows, pick one,” Cuban wrote on his blog, Blog Maverick. “Fundamentals are merely metrics created to help stockbrokers sell stocks, and to give buyers reassurance when buying stocks. Even how profits are calculated is manipulated to give confidence to buyers.”
Cuban doesn’t follow a textbook approach to investing. Instead of reviewing standard metrics, he explained his process of asking how soon he’ll get his money back and how much he can make from the venture when he’s asked to invest.
5. Hire the Best
In 2012, Cuban wrote an Entrepreneur article listing 12 rules for startups. In it, he outlined a detailed approach to hiring and compensating employees.
“Pay up for people in your core competencies,” Cuban wrote. “Get the best. Outside the core competencies, hire people that fit your culture but aren’t as expensive to pay.”
6. It’s Not Your Dream School If You Can’t Afford It
“Unless your parents are wealthy or you qualify for a full ride or something close, the days of picking a school because that is the school you always wanted to go to are gone,” Cuban wrote.
In a blog post aimed at high school and college students, Cuban emphasized the importance of obtaining a higher education, despite ever-increasing tuition costs. He recommended budget-savvy students complete at least some courses at local or online schools to save money. That way, they can avoid paying sky-high tuition at the most expensive colleges.
7. Do Your Due Diligence
“There will be another flash crash, and probably a crash far worse than the May 2010 flash crash simply because there are too many players looking for the trillion dollar score,” Cuban wrote on his blog. “They can’t all win, yet how many do you think wouldn’t risk everything, even what is not theirs, for that remote chance to score big?”
A strong opponent of high-frequency trading, Cuban believes Wall Street needs a major overhaul. He wants regulators to step in and help bring the markets back to a place of creating capital for businesses and allowing investors to be true shareholders.
8. Choose Solid Investments
“If you really think of it, when a stock doesn’t pay dividends, there really isn’t a whole lot of difference between a share of stock and a baseball card,” Cuban wrote on his blog. “If you put your Mickey Mantle rookie card on your desk, and a share of your favorite non-dividend paying stock next to it, and let it sit there for 20 years. After 20 years you would still just have two pieces of paper sitting on your desk.”
Cuban is saying if you buy a stock without dividends, make sure it’s marketed well so the value increases and you can eventually sell it for a profit. Anything less isn’t worth your investment.
9. Perfect Your Business Idea Before Raising Capital
“The best time for little guys to start a business is when the big guys are worrying about surviving in theirs,” Cuban wrote on his blog. “You don’t need to raise money. You need to be smart and be focused.”
Prior to the 2012 presidential election, Cuban wrote a blog post explaining why he believes the solution to solving America’s economic problems is reviving the country’s entrepreneurial spirit. While big companies focus on tax rates, he encouraged entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams of starting companies and creating amazing products that will breathe fresh life into the economy.
10. Read, Read, Read
“If you are considering investing in the market, any part of it, or if you are considering giving your hard-earned money over to someone else to manage, please, please read ‘The Number’ first,” Cuban wrote on his blog.
In a 2004 blog post, Cuban emphasized the importance of understanding exactly where your money is going, before turning it over to a broker. He encouraged prospective investors to read the book, “The Number: How the Drive for Quarterly Earnings Corrupted Wall Street and Corporate America” by Alex Berenson.
11. Beware of Student Debt
“The crush of college debt has taken an entire generation of graduates, current and future out of the economy,” Cuban blogged. “[This] is exactly why the economy hasn’t grown and won’t grow beyond microscopic growth rates we have seen so far.”
Cuban compared the current college debt crisis to the housing bubble — for awhile it was easy for anyone to get a loan, but after people realized they couldn’t turn a profit or afford the loan payments, the market tanked.
Similarly, he said the same thing is happening to the economy due to the student loan crisis. Americans are so bogged down with debt, they don’t have much money left in their paycheck to spend after paying monthly living expenses, which is slowing the economy.
12. Be Realistic With Your Business Ventures
“‘Follow your passion’ is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get,” Cuban wrote.
When it comes to money and career, Cuban is strongly against basing future plans solely on passion. Everyone is passionate about something, he notes, but that alone doesn’t make it a profitable venture. Instead, he advises taking a close look at where you spend most time of your time to determine your best route to success.
13. Live Like a College Student
“Your biggest enemies are your bills,” Cuban blogged. “The more you owe, the more you stress. The more you stress over bills, the more difficult it is to focus on your goals. More importantly, if you set your monthly income requirements too high, you eliminate a significant number of opportunities.”
So, quit wasting your money on that nice apartment, flashy car and designer wardrobe. Live within your means. Cuban said it’s okay to live like a student — even if you aren’t one — because the ability to afford your lifestyle is the most important thing.
14. Don’t Choose a Job Based on the Size of Your Paycheck
“It’s really easy to know if you are in the right job,” Cuban wrote. “If it matters how much you get paid, you are not in a job you really, really love.”
Clearly, billionaire Cuban wasn’t saying there’s anything wrong wanting to make lots of money and working hard to earn a high salary. He simply meant you should choose a job for happiness, not a hefty paycheck.
15. Eliminate Your Debt Before You Invest
“If you’ve got $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, you’re better off paying off any debt you have because that’s a guaranteed return,” Cuban told Business Insider. Instead of trying to beat the market with your investments, Cuban thinks paying off debt first is always the better move.
16. Hard Work Is the Only Way to Build a Successful Business
“It’s not about money or connections — it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business,” Cuban said in an interview with Entrepreneur magazine. “And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.”
The “Shark Tank” star encouraged entrepreneurs to focus on building a great business that adds value, instead of spending all their time trying to network and raise cash.
17. Buy in Bulk to Save Money
“Do a budget and look at the things you buy repetitively and then go and buy those things in bulk,” Cuban said in an interview with Entrepreneur magazine. “Stuff you’ll need all year, like toothpaste, shampoo and soap … As long as you’ve got a little room under your bed, if you buy a year’s worth or even two years’ worth of toothpaste, you’re going to get a 50 percent discount. If you save $1,000 a year doing that, that’s more than you’re going to earn on $10,000 in investing.”
So, put your Costco membership to work. You have Cuban’s approval.
18. Steer Clear of Credit Cards
“Credit cards are the worst investment, unless you pay them off every 30 days. Even then, don’t do it,” Cuban said in an interview with Entrepreneur. He said the best way to boost your bank account is to pay off your credit card debt or never take on any in the first place.
19. Money Buys You Freedom
In his debut monthly column for Men’s Fitness, Cuban was asked how much money is ‘enough.’
“‘Enough’ is what it takes to not worry about the bills,” he wrote. “‘A lot’ is enough that you never have to worry about working again. ‘F— you’ money means you can rent a jet to go wherever you want, whenever you want and no party is out of reach. ‘F— everyone’ money means you can have your favorite band in your backyard, not care how much it costs and lend them your jet to get there.”
20. Time Is Money
When questioned about the smartest and dumbest thing he’s ever spent money on, Cuban gave this reply to Men’s Fitness:
“Smartest? A plane,” he said. “It is obviously brutally expensive, but time is the one asset we simply don’t own. It saves me hours and hours. And the dumbest? Let’s see … if I could remember them, I could list you a couple hundred bar tabs with my buddies.”
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About the Author
Laura is a writer with nearly 10 years of experience in marketing and personal finance. She is a Los Angeles-based writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, legal matters and marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.