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Afford Anything

Author: Paula Pant

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You can afford anything, but not everything. We make daily decisions about how to spend money, time, energy, focus and attention – and ultimately, our life. Every decision is a trade-off against another choice.

But how deeply do we contemplate these choices? Are we settling for the default mode? Or are we ruthlessly optimizing around a deliberate life?

Host Paula Pant interviews a diverse array of entrepreneurs, early retirees, millionaires, investors, artists, adventurers, scientists, psychologists, productivity experts, world travelers and regular people, exploring the tough work of living a truly excellent life.

Want to learn more? Download our free book, Escape, at http://affordanything.com/escape
250 Episodes
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Covid-19 and the Bear Market

Covid-19 and the Bear Market

2020-03-2501:02:204

#248: We are living in a time of extreme uncertainty. Many of us are questioning how we can best use the funds we have to survive it. “Should I sell the funds I have invested in the market, or keep contributing?” “Should I continue with my plans to invest in real estate?” “Should I hoard all of my cash in case this gets worse?!” My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy joins me on today’s show to shed light on the answers and how to handle the stock market collapse.   Here are the key points we discuss in this episode: Don’t panic sell and convert paper losses into real losses. Stay the course. If this is your first bear market, welcome to being a real investor! This is how you grow in the long-term. Dollar-cost averaging is your best friend. How this upcoming recession might be different. The silver lining? The economy was doing well going into this. But the speed at which our markets recover depends on the speed and dedication with which we flatten the curve. The financial principles you can use that will guide you to security in these rough times. P.S. – Unless you’ve been tested, default to the assumption that you’re infected and act accordingly. For more information, visit https://affordanything.com/episode248
It's Quarantine Day 10, and thank goodness I've been staying in, because yesterday I learned that I have a 102.3 degree fever. I don't know if it's Covid-19 or if it's a fever with extraordinarily bad timing.
A new segment giving tips to help flatten the curve and manage your money during this global event.
#247: Caroline wants to buy her first home in Denver, CO. How can she calculate how much mortgage she can comfortably afford? Anne plans to retire later this year on rental income (woohoo!). She’s saved up a hefty emergency fund for her properties, and she wants to know 1) if she should invest a portion of this in index funds, and 2) whether she should rebalance her portfolio to account for this huge cash allocation. Anonymous Nurse has over $100,000 in debt, not including their mortgage. They want to invest in rental properties, but with so much debt, they're thinking of selling their home or renting it out. Which option is best given their interest in real estate? Joy wants to know if she should put $50,000 towards her primary residence mortgage, or use it as a downpayment on her first rental property. What are the pros and cons of each option? Anonymous owns a cash-flow positive condo...on leased land. The land will revert back to the owners in 32 years. When is the best time to sell this property? I answer these five questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at http://affordanything.com/episode247
#246: At 19 years old, after completing her first year of college, Jillian married her husband.  During their first year of marriage, they lived in a camper and earned a combined salary of $12,000. One year later, Jillian's husband graduated college and joined the military. They relocated to Washington D.C., where they earned a combined $60,000 per year. They saved half of their income and used that savings to chip away at $55,000 of debt. At 22 years old, Jillian and her husband adopted a son. Not long after that, they had a biological newborn. At 24 years old, they accumulated their first $100,000. Jillian and her husband remained committed to saving half of their income. This allowed them to buy a house in cash, invest in two rental properties, and invest in index funds. At 32 years old, Jillian and her husband achieved financial independence. All on a modest five-figure income.  How did Jillian and her husband live on $12,000 per year? How did they save $100,000 after three years on a $60,000 per year salary? What sacrifices did they make? And how did they transition from saving to spending? Find out in this raw, emotional interview. ____________ You'll enjoy this episode if: You earn less than six-figures and question your ability to reach financial independence Guilt prevents you from spending the money you’ve saved (“I can’t spend on X if I want to achieve FIRE!”) You want a relatable, realistic take on the journey to financial independence For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode246 
#245: Joe has a 24-year-old friend who won a $1 million settlement. How can she use this money to set herself up for financial independence? Jay is 52 years old and wants to retire at 59.5. He began investing in individual stocks to achieve this goal, and has had excellent returns so far. Is this a sound plan for early retirement? Or should he work until age 62 for Social Security? Steve is 54 years old. He plans to retire at 60, which is when he can collect 67 percent of his pension. A Vanguard advisor suggested that he direct some of his 403b contributions as Roth contributions, rather than pre-tax contributions. Should he act on this suggestion? Anonymous in New York City wants to invest their HSA contributions this year, but the expense ratios seem high. Can they move their HSA to a different provider? What fees are normal for HSAs? Brit has a similar question. She wants to know: is it possible to invest in the S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Free Index through Vanguard? My friend and former financial advisor, Joe Saul-Sehy, joins me on the show to answer these six questions. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode245
#244: Grant Baldwin felt burned out. He worked as a youth pastor, which felt like a 24/7 profession. He had to attend student events held late into the night, which left him exhausted. One night, he came home to find his wife crying. She told him that she felt like she had a roommate, rather than a husband, because he was gone so often. So Grant did something drastic: he quit his job, with negligible savings, when his wife was four to five months pregnant. For the following year, he waited tables and worked odd jobs, cobbling together gig-economy money while raising a newborn. During his rare unscheduled moments, he started crafting a new career for himself as a self-employed public speaker. Today, Grant Baldwin is a speaker, entrepreneur, coach, and author of The Successful Speaker. He’s earned multiple seven-figures in speaking fees and has helped over 2,000 people become professional speakers. He shares how he made his dream a reality in this episode. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode244
#243: Adam is 23 years old and wants to achieve financial independence as quickly as possible. However, he’s nervous about investing in the stock market and real estate. How can he overcome his fears? Paris, age 35, has a similar question. She earns $150,000 per year, is debt-free, and doesn’t own a home. How can she reach financial independence in less than 10 years? Paul wants to househack his first home, but none of the properties he's seen meet the one percent rule. He doesn’t want to rent forever. Does he need to compromise on his commute time, or wait until he finds an undervalued gem? Anonymous Househacker rents an apartment with three bedrooms, two of which he rents out on an inconsistent, short-term basis. They want to know: does the money they earn count as rental income if they aren’t making a profit on it? Ben is a real estate investor who’s curious about growing his portfolio from four units to 20 units. What’s the best approach to take? I answer these five listener questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode243
#242: Ash Ambirge grew up in a trailer park in Pennsylvania. She never met her father. Her disabled mother, who raised her on government assistance, passed away when she was 20. Her childhood goal? To join the middle class. She dreamed of becoming one of those people who eats lemon pepper chicken. What’s more middle-class than that?  She attended college on a full scholarship. When she graduated and accepted her first cushy office job, earning $30,000 per year, she blew her paychecks. She bought a brand-new car, rented a luxury apartment and financed a $5,000 mattress. Yet despite her material luxury, she felt that some important element was lacking. In her quest to find meaningful and creative work, she launched The Middle Finger Project, a company that teaches skills like entrepreneurship, battling perfectionism, and trusting your most dangerous ideas.  She joins us on today’s podcast episode to share her incredible story about struggling to join the middle class, shrugging off a conventional career, and trusting her most dangerous ideas. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/242
#241: Anton wants to accelerate his flight training so he can get hired within two to three months, rather than two to three years. He has to raid his retirement savings to achieve this. Should he? Linda and her husband have their eyes on early retirement, but they aren’t sure what their post-retirement lifestyle will cost. How can they budget for unknown expenses that include travel? Joseph contributes 15 percent of his income to both a Roth 457b and Roth IRA. He wants to retire before age 59.5. Given his early retirement goal, should he focus solely on his Roth 457b? Henry wants to know how rebalancing and dollar cost averaging interact with each other. Should he rebalance his all-equities portfolio? If so, what approach should he take? Joe maxes out his 401k and IRA each year. He can make after-tax 401k contributions, or fund his Vanguard taxable brokerage account. Which should he prioritize? As usual, my friend and former financial advisor, Joe Saul-Sehy, joins me on the show to answer these five listener questions. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode241
#240: Are you investing, speculating, or gambling? What are the three drivers of asset performance? Are you aware of who’s getting a cut from your investments? Do you even know who’s on the other side of the trade? David Stein is the author of Money for the Rest of Us, a book that answers these questions. He’s the former Chief Investment Strategist & Chief Portfolio Strategist at Fund Evaluation Group, a $70 billion investment firm. If you’re thinking of adding a new investment to your portfolio, David’s investment philosophy and framework can help you avoid expensive mistakes. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode240
#239: Lo is in a good spot with her career, but she’s struggling with a ton of student loan debt, and consequently, credit card debt. What should she do to manage it? Anonymous wants to know how to set up a backdoor Roth IRA. Eric and his wife own a property in Savannah, GA that brings in more money as an Airbnb than a traditional rental. They want to invest in more properties and are wondering if this model is the best path to take. James wants to own a vacation rental in the Vermont mountains that he can use when it’s vacant. What features or qualities would make a profitable vacation rental? What red flags should be on his radar? Ayesha is looking at buying a rental property that has a partial HUD claim on it. What kind of complications should she anticipate? Or should she let this property go completely? Shelbi and her husband own a rental property that they purchased for $178,000 that’s now valued at $300,000. They’re looking at a multitude of options - sell it, move into it, or keep it. What’s best given their FIRE goal? For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/239
#238: “If I had more willpower, I’d achieve my financial goals.” “I’m doomed to fail with money.” “I’m horrible for not keeping to a budget.” These are common thoughts, but they’re erroneous. You can’t willpower your way through money management, you’re not doomed to fail, and you’re not horrible for blowing your budget. You’re human, and humans make emotional decisions. Those emotional decisions don’t have to mean a financial death sentence, though. Jeff Kreisler, co-author of Dollars and Sense and Editor-in-Chief of PeopleScience.com, tells us how we can avoid common money mistakes and rewrite our financial future. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/238
#237: Katie wants to know how to purchase a business that’s already cash-flow positive. What indicators can she look for? Rob will retire from the military with an inflation-adjusted pension. Does he need a bond allocation in his investment portfolio? Brian conquered a large sum of credit card debt, but still has student loan debt and a mortgage. Should he pay off his student loans, refinance them, or refinance his mortgage? Jeff is curious about the pros and cons of investment apps. When should you use them? Another Kati (without an e!) wants to live a healthy and wealthy life before she’s 70. Where should she allocate her savings so she can retire early? We answer these five questions in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode237
#236: Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung achieved financial independence four years ago at age 31 and 32. They saved $1 million and live on $40,000 per year while traveling the world. Kristy and Bryce don’t worry about running out of money, they created new identities after quitting their jobs, and their community has quadrupled in size. Here’s how they achieved this lifestyle. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode236
#235: Anna has made the leap to self-employment … but what’s next? She lives in the Bay Area and she’s trying to choose between five business ideas; she needs to make enough money to stay in her high-cost area. Doug recently won $9,000 from an online poker side gig and is wondering how best to use the funds: pay off high-interest student loan debt, or keep it to increase his poker earning potential? Alex and his partner want to househack a single-family property with a mother-in-law suit. What should they consider as far as zoning goes? Darrell is on track to retire in two years at age 55 and wants to know what he should do with his primary residence. Should he rent it out? Or should he sell it and use the profit to invest in rental properties? Or use the profit to buy his retirement home? Mara is curious about 1031 exchanges. She has equity in a rental property that she’d like to harvest, but she wants more information before making the move. Michael and his wife are struggling with competing goals. They want to invest in real estate, but they also want to move into an apartment closer to work to reduce their long commutes. Should they sell their home and invest the equity into a rental property, or should they take a HELOC on their home instead? For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode235
#234: We review 26 quick, easy actions that improve your financial life, plus 10 new added bonus ideas that came directly from our community. We issue a challenge for you to tackle one action per week for the first 26 weeks (six months) of the year, so you’ll build stronger financial health by summertime. Download the free book that accompanies this episode at http://affordanything.com/2020kickoff and join us in the 2020 One Tweak a Week challenge!
#233: Deepak is considering downsizing his family’s home, but wants to know if the savings are worth the transaction costs he’ll have to pay. Anonymous and her husband hold $900,000 worth of privately-owned company stock. How should they plan for handling this money? Shelby is 25 years old and works for a company that awarded her restricted stock units. What should she do with these? Additionally, she traded in a 2013 Prius for a 2018 Subaru, for which she now owes $19,000. Should she sell it for a used vehicle or stick it out? Katelyn is interested in learning more about annuities. What should she know in order to make an informed decision? Max FI and his wife want to retire in 12 years. How should they invest to achieve this? Anonymous’s former employer offered a Roth and Traditional 401k, and his new employer only offers a Traditional option. How should he rollover his former Roth 401k? For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode233
#232: Anthony ONeal is the bestselling author of Debt-Free Degree, a book that teaches parents how to help their children graduate from college without student loans. He’s part of the Dave Ramsey Solutions team, which teaches people how to pay off and avoid debt, and he's the co-author of Graduate Survival Guide, along with Rachel Cruze. Anthony joins us on this episode to share tips and hacks to help you save on tuition and find money for college. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode232
#231: Avie needs to decide between two options: paying off a rental property, or funding a retirement account. Which should she choose? Lisa wants to know: when should you fund an HSA account? Sofia’s parents have lived with her for the past few years, but Sofia’s job is relocating her out-of-state. How can she transition her home to a rental for her parents? Jim is a saver and his wife is a spender. How can he interest her in frugality? Candice wants to know my thoughts about online real estate investment crowdfunding platforms. Good idea or bad idea? Kristen has a mortgage on her primary residence and a rental property. They have similar interest rates. Which should she pay off first? I tackle these questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/epidode231 
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Comments (24)

Eric Thompson

Get well soon Paula!

Mar 26th
Reply

Charlie Bradley

The first half is just them bantering and if you're interested in the personal life of the interviewee listen on, the second half gets down to the nitty-gritty and is very information-rich with a great summary that makes Paula's work some of my favorite podcasts.

Nov 21st
Reply (3)

Charlie Bradley

just so you all know, Starbucks is an incredibly hard job that would leave you drained. it is not a fun easy side gigs to get health insurance.

Oct 28th
Reply

Charlie Bradley

oh my God, like, you know? I can't, like, listen to this episode dash though I wanted to, you know? because, like, Jay, is like, just so f****** inane!!! ug!!

Oct 28th
Reply

Aaron Webb

never heard of some of the things in this episode before, thanks

Oct 10th
Reply

Billie Archuleta

I really responded to this episode. My path is super similar to Evelyn's. Thank you for this episode.

Sep 15th
Reply

Charlie Hilsabeck

mk.i. m

Sep 10th
Reply

AMama Lala

what was the link to their manefesto site? episode 11

Jul 20th
Reply

The Queen Next Door

The takeaways are always golden. Paula breaks it down so perfectly.

Jul 5th
Reply

Jamie Hanks

this show is life changing! must listen to this advice!

May 8th
Reply

fitzroy harvey

love it! I get so pumped when I listen to you.

Apr 28th
Reply

Gerardo Crolla

Hi Paula! interesting question on which way to invest with funds and rentals. I have to say that in my opinion and journey to FIRE, if you are going to leverage your money then it's wise to invest in rentals first as this will compound vthe returns much better than unleveraged stocks!!

Mar 28th
Reply

Ajit Nafade

Thanks for a very very informative episode.

Feb 3rd
Reply

jinx

Amen to the echo chamber. Love your show.

Dec 17th
Reply

LucilleF

I enjoy Size Orman. I've noticed that when she's talking positively about investing she uses impossibly high interest rates (12%) but now that she's casting a negative light she's using just 4%.

Nov 24th
Reply

Maxwell Sharpe

I really enjoyed this episode it was very informative.

Oct 2nd
Reply

Christie Brown

On the subject of high deductibles- I completely agree with the idea that you will go to the doctor less. I triple guessed myself on doctors visits when my deductible was $50. I also had a mouth full of cavities that were going to cost me about 5000, I did not fix them for another 3 years when I became an intern and took a major salary cut that made me eligible for Medicare!

Aug 23rd
Reply

Joanna B

The Vicki Robin interview is one of favorite interviews of all time, full stop. So much wisdom packed in about personal growth, lifelong learning, and the second part of life. Thank you!

Apr 8th
Reply

Melissa

This podcast drives me to become financially free. Great podcast!

Dec 15th
Reply

David Johnson

I love this podcast and listened to it every day during my work commute until I heard them all! My life's focus and goals have adjusted for the better. Thanks Paula!

Oct 26th
Reply
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