MONEY Master the Game: Summary & Review

money master the game

MONEY Master the Game is a practical crash course on personal finance and investment, helping readers to invest successfully and retire wealthy.

Bullet Summary

  • Develop a system of automated withdrawals for your investment
  • Defend from downside risks: it’s more important than gaining
  • Don’t forget: money is only a tool and an enabler. Think about why you want and how you’ll use it


About The Author:
Tony Robbins is a self-help guru and not an investment expert himself. And with his brief forays into financial advice in his early work, he often left me scratching my head.
But things have changed with “Master the Game”, where he did his homework and where he consulted with top financial experts such as Ray Dalio.

More on Robbins:

Lucio: Robbins is a fantastic motivational speaker, a self-help “guru” with great content… And an endless marketer and covert bragger. Still thumbs up, though

These are the most important takeaways of “Money Master The Game”:

1. Develop an Automated Investment Plan

Don’t stress about money: develop a system.

Tony Robbins says that most people with a normal job will not manage to earn financial freedom unless they’re deliberate about it.

And that’s what you should do: be deliberate and build an automated withdrawal order for your investments.

Then forget about that money and let the compound interest do the work for you.

2. Know the Basic Investment Rules

Tony Robbins proceeds to bust some myths about the market that many people hold:

  • You can beat the market

No, only very, very few people manage to beat the market and only a tiny minority of professionally managed mutual fund does.

Better instead than you invest in an index fund matching the big indexes, such as an ETF.

  • Mutual funds hide their fees

There is a litany of hidden fees when investing in mutual funds, and the average total fee adds up to 3.17%.

That’s huge when you take into account that you will be missing a huge chunk of compound interest year after year.

That’s another huge reason to use ETF and passively managed index funds.

  • Mutual funds embellish their returns (ie.: don’t lose money!)

Tony Robbins says that a core tenet of investing is that it’s more important to avoid losses than to make gains.

If you go down 50% in your first years and you go back up 50%, you’re still overall down 25%.
But the mutual fund will mask that reality by only stating the nominal changes.

  • Brokers might not be on your side

Brokers need to increase your money and the company’s money.

Those are often mutually exclusive, so he often has a conflict of interests. For those who live in the US, a registered investment advisor is a much better choice.

  • Your 401(k) is not a good investment vehicle

The 401(k) is at the mercy of all the top three myths.

And it also taxes your withdrawals and doesn’t do anything to shield you from the timing risk (ie.: you need to retire your money during a financial crisis).

  • Target date funds aren’t that safe

Target date funds start very risky when you begin your contribution and become progressively more conservative as you get closer to retirement.

The idea is that by being more conservative you will not lose much on your retirement day if there will be a financial crisis.

The idea is good, but it often rests on a bad concept: that bonds are safer than stocks.

3. What You Really Want: Your Life Vision

Tony Robbins explains that nobody really wants money.

And you should better investigate what it is that you actually want.
He says what you want is something the money might help you to get and he introduces his principle of the six basic human needs.

Once you know what you’re really after, you can determine what it will cost you financially.

And you might easily find out you don’t need nearly as much as you thought -or you can find a way to get to your need at a fraction of the overall costs, for example by leasing or renting-.

4. The 5 Levels of Financial Success

Tony Robbins lists five levels of financial success:

1. Financial Security: half the basic costs 

When you reach a point where the returns on your investments and savings will pay for half of your basic costs (housing, food).

At that point, you reach a fundamental level of independence: you can choose a job you really like instead of a job that you might not like but which pays more.

You are also allowed to take risks to chase your dream: launch a startup or start freelancing for example.

2. Financial Vitality: half discretionary spending

If you can cover half of your discretionary spending (sports, entertainment) you are halfway through never having to work at all again.

3. Financial Independence: all basic costs

Once you can cover half your discretionary spending and all your basic costs, you reached the point where you do not have to work again unless you want to.

4. Financial Freedom: some luxury spending

When you can afford some significant luxury spending (sport-scar, holiday house, etc.)

5. Absolute Financial Freedom: whatever you want

There are many steps you can take to achieve the level you would like to achieve.

Cutting costs, saving more, finding a way to save on taxes, or… Move to a cheaper country. Or to a country that will provide you with lots of things you like.

Italy, for example, can give you the sea, the best food and wines in the world, and all the history and culture you want.

5. Learn The Investment Vehicles

Tony Robbins goes into the nuts and bolts of investment and describes many different investment vehicles you could use.

A simple Google search for each investment vehicle will give you all the basics about each one (ie.: stocks, bonds, options, and commodities being the four main ones).

6. Upside Without Downside: The Dalio Secret

This is possibly the best part of the book because Tony Robbins relies heavily on one of the best investors in the world: Ray Dalio.

Here’s the allocation:

  • Long-term US bonds: 40%
  • Stocks: 30%
  • Intermediate US bonds: 15%
  • Gold: 7.5%
  • Commodities: 7.5%

Backtesting this portfolio, you would have solidly beat the market.

The secret of this allocation is that it heavily shields you against losing years, which as we have seen are the years that really impair your long-term growth.

My Note:
Backtesting does not assure future performance. 
Especially now that this portfolio mix is out in the open.

7. Retiring in Safety

Robbins explains that with the advances in medicine, we can expect to live longer.

That’s great.
But it also means that once you retire you need to know how to allocate your resources.

Treasuries and CDs provide terrible returns, so he recommends fixed-indexed annuities

8. Money is Only a Tool

In the last part, Tony steps back from pure money talk and goes back to the big picture.

He says the three most important decisions in your life are:

  • What do you focus on
  • What does your life mean
  • What you will do (action)

Money only enables you to leverage your decisions in those three areas. And money will allow you to better enjoy life’s beauties, like experiences, quality time, and giving.

Use the money for growth and contribution and you’ll live a happier and healthier life.

money master the game

Real-Life Applications

Don’t Invest in Mutual Fund
Fees are often too high and eat away at your long-term growth

Don’t Use Brokers
They often have a conflict of fiduciary duties (between your interests and their companies’ interests)


“MONEY Master The Game” is the best book on personal finance and personal investment.

But it comes with a few cons, too:

  • The Past Doesn’t Equal the Future

The idea that all books on investment rely on is that financial assets will always go up… On a long enough timeline. As Nassim Taleb explains in Fooled by Randomness that’s not true:

  1. The past doesn’t equal the future, there are no guarantees that returns will beat inflation, let alone they will stay at 7%
  2. On a long enough timeline… We’re all dead

You might want to keep that in mind.

  • Good ol’ Compound Interest

“Money Master the Game” rests on the compound interest concept (including the usual crazy-sounding examples).

That concept makes you reach when you’re old… IF all turns out well. Which is a big if as we’ve seen above. Read the great The Millionaire Fastlane for an alternative to that method. Or check Rich Dad Poor Dad and Think and Grow Rich.

  • Conflict of Interest?

I haven’t investigated myself so I can’t deny or confirm, but it’s a flag I feel like I need to raise.

The highest-rated negative review on Amazon warns that Robbins’ son works for one of his highly recommended companies.
Check out the review and replies here and judge for yourself:

  • US – Centered

It’s not a con but a plus if you’re a US citizen. But if you’re not a US citizen, the practical side of Money Master the Game is US-centered.


Well Researched
Tony Robbins interviewed the who’s who of the financial industry here, which gives Money Master The Game an authority level that Tony couldn’t have reached on his own.

Top Information
I listed a lot of cons there, but if you’ve got lots of cash and want to grow your money with long-term investments, then Money Master The Game is one of the best books of its genre.


Tony has taken huge strides since his (poor) earlier years of financial advice.

With “MONEY Master The Game”, he has done some major legwork and interviewed many of the top financial minds.

And you can see the results.

What he says makes a lot of sense and some of the insights he shares can be life-changing for some. And even for those who don’t plan on living to invest such as myself, you will still gain super helpful insights.

In short:
MONEY Master the Game is a fantastic financial crash course based on some of the best investors in the world. Plus Tony Robbins’ wisdom is all over it.
Get the book on Amazon!

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