Skip to main content

Steve Mayer is the founder of the 5 Buckets Foundation. He has written three books, and participated in a webinar with Books Inc in April 2021 sharing some of his insights and overviews on his books. With April being Financial Literacy Month, he provided his expertise on personal finance in a Q&A at the end of the event, and we have recreated the Q&A in our next blog post (link), hopefully you will learn something new!

When his father passed away, Steve was determined to honor his memory in a long-lasting and memorable manner. He wrote The Toughest Guy I Ever Knew and Other Short Stories, a book including 15 short stories that each resonate with a specific life experience and communicate a critical life lesson. He shared the wisdom that his father had given him, offering others a chance to learn from the knowledge that he had gained.

5 Buckets, 4 Shovels, a Beach and a Map: A Guide to Financial Security

For decades, Steve hypothesized that everyone wonders about their financial security (retirement, savings, etc.) and yet a large portion of those people lack the financial literacy to actually manage their own personal finances. He crafted 5 Buckets, 4 Shovels, a Beach and a Map: A Guide to Financial Security with this particular purpose in mind – to simplify the subject of financial planning in a relatable way through the use of easy to understand metaphors.

The book begins by explaining the five buckets, or asset groups. The five buckets are investments, liquid assets, insurance, personal assets, and retirement. Each of these buckets represent the financial assets a person accumulates throughout their lifetime.

Next, the four shovels represent the professionals who help to manage a person’s financial assets. They include an attorney, a CPA, an investment advisor, and an insurance agent.

The beach functions as a metaphor for a person’s life. It changes as someone gets older and depicts the challenges that everyone faces throughout their lifetime. The sand represents a person’s money. Over time the shovels function to help fill a person’s bucket with sand. 

Lastly, the map illustrates the way in which you will navigate your “beach”- through the use of cash flow, personal documents, insurance, etc. – as a person embarks on their journey towards financial security.

Adulting 101: A Guide to Personal Finance

Following the success surrounding 5 Buckets 4 Shovels a Beach and a Map, Steve recognized the lack of availability of personal finance knowledge for young adults. Hence, Adulting 101: A Guide to Personal Finance was written to fill this literacy gap.

Adulting 101: A Guide to Personal Finance spans 14 different personal finance topics that range from understanding a paycheck to reading a financial statement to the basics of paying and doing taxes.

5 Buckets Foundation

Through writing the aforementioned books, Steve came to realize the severe lack of financial literacy educational opportunities available to individuals of all ages, careers, and socioeconomic statuses. As a result, in 2019 he founded the 5 Buckets Foundation, a mission-guided nonprofit focused on ensuring that everyone — regardless of their stage in life — has the financial tools necessary to lead a successful future. All of the funds received from the three books go directly towards the 5 Buckets Foundation. The books are available at all Books Inc. locations as well as on their website,, and Amazon. The long term goal of the nonprofit is to teach financial literacy to 1 million people over the next 5 years through webinars and in-person workshops, and is working to translate programming into Spanish. Furthermore, the Foundation is currently working on creating a “Veteran’s edition” of the 5 Buckets book to aid veterans in their transition back to civilian life.

To learn more financial tips, read our Q&A with Steve Mayer, CPA here.

Learn more about 5Buckets by exploring the rest of our site.

Leave a Reply