Everyone is now able to get an inside look at a Tony Robbins event. The motivational speaker opened the doors to his exclusive $5,000 per person, six-day workshop, “Date with Destiny,” to documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Metallica: This Monster Lives). And the result is the new Netflix documentary, Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru.
Tony Robbins has coached more than 50 million people from over 100 countries. More than four million people have attended his live events. This new doc gives a glimpse into the non-stop life of one of the best-known “gurus” in the world.
We caught up with Robbins ahead of the SXSW Film Festival premiere of the new movie to discuss everything from the film to his latest book (Money: Master the Game), and the state of the American economy, in this exclusive interview.
I&T Today: What’s it like being featured in a Netflix original documentary?
Tony Robbins: Netflix is the right partner. They have 39 billion hours of broadcast time now. They’re bigger than the biggest network. They’re a great platform, and my work is around the world. I do China every year. I do Singapore, I do Australia, I do London, I do Germany, and I do Poland. I go to all these different places — Canada, the U.S., and South America — and Netflix has a platform that reaches all of that.
I&T Today: How’d you come up with this idea for the documentary?
Tony Robbins: I’ve got 18 companies. I’m involved in so many different sectors. I do all my coaching. (Director Joe Berlinger) said, “I just want to give people a concert experience. I’m not here to filter them, you’re not here to filter them.”
He said, “I can’t capture the spirit that shows up in that room, where people feel like they start to care for total strangers and where everyone’s pulling for everyone. I don’t think I can do that job, but at least people can witness the change and get the sense of how people opened up in the environment you’ve created.”
I&T Today: Your book, Money: Master the Game, is now out in paperback. What can the everyday person learn about investments?
Tony Robbins: I interviewed all 50 of the top money people in the world, all self-made billionaires that started with nothing. Every single one of them was unique and different about how they made their fortunes. But Ray Dalio, who’s one of the most successful hedge fund managers ever, said the answer is asset allocation. He walked me through the general asset allocation he built. He said it’s the least amount of risk and the highest amount of return than anything that he’s experienced or studied.
He told me to test it over 75 years, the entire modern era of trading or investing. So I hired two firms and they both went out and did it. I get this phone call and the guy tells me it’s unbelievable. This formula makes money 85.2% of the time. And the less than 15% of time it loses money the average loss is 1.6% over 75 years. The highest loss is 2008 and it was just 3.9%. But the average return over 75 years was just under 10%.
I&T Today: What does this mean for the average investor?
Tony Robbins: All assets will drop 50 to 70% in your lifetime at some point. You just don’t want that to happen at the wrong time. We’ve seen oil down what 70% over the last few years, 50% over the last year. Every asset class does that, so if you don’t diversify, where are you going to put your money? Are you going to put it in cash? Okay. That’s one option, and you’re losing 2% a year at least. Second, you can decide to make a pick. I’m going to do gold. I’m going to do equities. I’m going to do bonds. And everybody is going to be wrong at times. And you’re going to take a big hit. Or you can do what Ray calls a risk parity investment. If you have 60% in equity and 40% in bonds, you’re not balanced. What Ray says is fallacy and why that doesn’t work — and everyone forgets this — is when there’s a market meltdown, all of it melts down. In reality, stocks are three times more volatile than bonds. So when you’re 60/40, you’re really 90% risk, 10% secure. The game that has changed now for the multi-billion dollar pension funds that he represents, and countries he represents, is this risk parity, where you balance the risk because no one knows what’s really going to go up or down. And that’s how you have the smoothest ride.
I&T Today: What are your thoughts on the current economy?
Tony Robbins: I’m fortunate to have very good credit. And sometimes I go get some large building or a plane or whatever for 3% interest or less. And the average person who needs to save money, they can’t get a return on their investment. Not in an environment so secure. So the Fed has made it so that everyone has had to put their money in risk assets. And nobody knows where this is going. The whole world is doing something that has never been done before. So I tell people to educate yourself and don’t invest when you don’t understand something. Diversification is everything. I’ve got 50 of the best investors in the history of the world and you can read what they say and find what appeals to you.
But there are certain fundamentals you have to live by and follow, and the average person isn’t doing it. One out of three people have no savings in this country. Forty-two percent of people can’t handle a $500 emergency. They don’t have the cash to do it. There’s got to be a shakeup in what’s happening in our society. We’ve been addicted to the idea of credit for everything, and we haven’t been earning it. I think we’re going to have to go through wintertime at some point here to weather the storm and get strong again.
I Am Not Your Guru is out on Netflix.