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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
220 Episodes
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In a hectic world, stillness is the key to a calm, enjoyable life. That idea comes from Ryan Holiday, author of Stillness is The Key. Stillness is finding flow, staying present, and being impervious to the pressures of the outside world. It doesn’t mean removing yourself from society and sitting in a forest; to the contrary, many CEOs and world leaders have practiced remarkable stillness during times of crisis. Bestselling author Ryan Holiday discusses actionable tips on how to practice the art of stillness, as well as its applications to the pursuit of financial independence or any massive goal. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode220
#219: Stella is working toward FIRE and wants to know: how can she create passive income in her retirement years? Is a portfolio with stocks and bonds enough, or should she invest in real estate? Travis and his wife are also on the FIRE path, and are comparing their investment options. Travis is concerned about the inefficiency of reinvesting returns in real estate. How can you factor this into your decision when buying a property? Stephanie and her husband are also interested in FIRE (hooray!) and they have $20,000 to invest. How can they best use this money to help them FIRE sooner? Cade, a 24-year-old listener, wants to FIRE by age 30 (we’re on a roll!). He’s saving $4,000/month and wants to know how to invest these savings. Anonymous and their partner are taking a mini-retirement and have questions surrounding the logistics of healthcare. What options should they consider? On a different note, Amanda works in academia. After listening to Episode 12, she’s looking for tips on managing long-term, complex collaborative projects now that she’s in a leadership position. Steve’s question brings us to the topic of building an online business and social media following. Should he have one brand for all of his interests, or divide these interests into separate channels? I tackle these questions in today’s episode of the show. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode219
Kristen Berman is co-founder of Irrational Labs, a behavioral product design company, along with Dan Ariely. She has a fascinating job that involves looking into why people behave the way they do with their money, and discovering the easiest solution to help them create more positive financial behavior. In short, she’s a proponent of redesigning the current financial system to make saving automatic and easy, and that’s part of what we discuss in this episode. If creating better financial habits has been a challenge for you, or if you have trouble framing spending as a positive thing, rather than a loss, then Kristen has awesome advice for you. Here are some key takeaways from the interview: 1. Habits are overrated - one-time decisions are more effective. 2. Simplify decision-making by giving yourself a rule-of-thumb to follow. 3. Pre-commit to your financial goals. 4. Measure process versus outcome. 5. Use accountability partners to reach your goals. 6. The Three Bs - Behavior, Barriers, and Benefits. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode218
#217: It’s September! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts. Earlier this year, Cody and Justin from The FI Show interviewed me and asked some excellent questions about my journey to financial independence, entrepreneurship and passion, and minding the gap between your income and expenses. We talk about the importance of side hustling and how to create a well-paying job from your skills. We touch on real estate and why I chose this strategy to reach FI. We also discuss the bone I have to pick with the financial independence movement. Finally, we chat about what financial independence is really about, because it’s not about sipping margaritas on a beach. It’s about having the freedom to use your time in whatever way you want. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Thank you to Cody and Justin for giving us permission to air this interview. P.S. - Starting with the next episode, we’ll return to our usual routine of brand new interviews and Ask Paula episodes. :) For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode217
#216: It’s September! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts.  Welcome to another episode from our archives! This one was recorded in March 2018, and Dr. Wade Pfau had a ton of insight into the four percent rule that so many of us are concerned with. First, here’s a brief history of how the four percent rule came to be.  In 1994, William Bengen decided to look at 30-year timespans throughout U.S. History, beginning with the year 1926.  He worked under the assumption that a retiree held 50 percent stocks (in the form of S&P 500 Index), and 50 percent bonds (intermediate-term government bonds).  He looked at two things: the worst-case scenario, and how much an investor could sustainably withdraw from their portfolio under that worst-case scenario.  The year 1966 ended up being one of the worst to retire during, and an investor could withdraw 4.15 percent during the first year, and 4.15 percent, adjusted for inflation, every subsequent year.  That is how the 4 percent rule came to be.  Dr. Wade Pfau, a Professor of Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services, argues that the 4 percent rule may not be the end-all-be-all we think it is. He voices his hesitations and explains how you can determine how much you can afford to spend in retirement on this episode.  Enjoy! P.S. - We’ll return to our regular podcast production schedule in October!  For more information, visit the show notes at http://affordanything.com/216 
#215: We are really digging into the archives with today's episode. This originally aired back in 2016! Besides being another fun and fascinating interview, this is one of our most popular episodes. Which isn't surprising, given the topic we're exploring. :-) Financial independence means many things to many different people, which might be why we find it challenging to settle on a definition that everyone can agree on. Regardless of what your personal definition is, Joshua Sheats, a financial planner and host of the well-known Radical Personal Finance podcast, says that financial independence can be separated into seven stages. We explore these seven stages of FI in this episode, and we also talk about how to enjoy the journey no matter what stage you're at. Enjoy! For details, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/stages-financial-independence-joshua-sheats/
ChooseFI Interview

ChooseFI Interview

2019-09-0901:21:501

#214: It’s September! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts. I’m super excited to share an interview I did with Brad and Jonathan of ChooseFI back in December 2018. It was fun to have the tables turned, and Brad and Jonathan left no stone unturned in their interview with me. If you ever wanted to know my origin story, including where my love for travel comes from, where my desire for freedom came from, and how I combined both, then give this interview a listen. We talk about everything from: How travel wasn’t a big part of my life until college How I prefer to travel Why the idea of mini-retirements is so important Making the transition from freelancing to having my own business and giving up that business in favor of focusing on Afford Anything Dealing with imposter syndrome Overcoming and working with a scarcity mindset What financial independence means to me The importance of self-care Brad and Jonathan are two of the most thorough interviewers I’ve ever recorded with, and this interview was a lot of fun. If you want to learn more about them, I returned the favor by interviewing them on this show on this episode https://www.choosefi.com/105-you-can-afford-anything-but-not-everything-paula-pant Thanks to Brad and Jonathan and ChooseFI for giving us permission to air this interview! P.S. - We’ll return to our regular podcast production schedule in October! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode214
#213: It’s September! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts. If you missed the last episode, you might want to listen to it before diving into this one, as Andrew and I go into the finer points of investing here. Seriously. This is one of the most in-the-weeds shows I’ve done to date. If you’re playing catch up: Andrew Hallam is a teacher who became a millionaire in his 30s and reached FIRE in his 40s. His starting salary was $28,000 - net. If you want to know how he did it, and what his first three rules of building wealth are, then listen to episode 212. Otherwise, tune into this episode, where we review his six other rules that can turn middle-class people into millionaires: Understand your inner psychology. Conquer the enemy in the mirror. Learn how to build a balanced, responsible portfolio. Create an indexed account, no matter where you live. Don’t resign yourself to taking this journey alone. Inoculate yourself against slick sales rhetoric. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.a While these rules sound simple on the surface, Andrew and I go way beyond that, talking about hedge funds, human psychology, and casinos. This was a favorite among listeners back in 2017 and it’s one of the most enjoyable interviews I did. I hope you enjoy! P.S. - We’ll return to our regular podcast production schedule in October! For more information, visit the show notes at http://affordanything.com/episode213 
#212: It’s September!! If you’ve been listening to the show for the past few months, then you know that I’m on what I’ve dubbed my September Sabbatical, in which I’m taking a break from podcast production and traveling the globe. In light of that, we’re digging through the archives and airing some of my favorite interviews on the show, in between airing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts. First up is a two-part interview with Andrew Hallam, a teacher who became a millionaire in his 30s and reached FI in his 40s. How? Beyond investing small sums (we’re talking less than $100 per month) throughout college, he also saved half of his starting salary of $28,000. This episode is for anyone who thinks it’s impossible to reach FIRE on a low salary. I originally interviewed Andrew in January 2017, and we could not stop talking. Which is why our three-hour interview was divided into two parts. In this first part, Andrew shares his story - how he became a millionaire, and why he wanted to achieve FIRE in the first place. He also shares three principles from his book, Millionaire Teacher: Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School: Rule 1: Spend like you want to grow rich. (Don’t waste money on junk.) Rule 2: Use the greatest financial ally you have. (Time.) Rule 3: Small percentages pack big punches. (Avoid high-fee funds.) As for the other six, they’re coming up in Part 2. :) Enjoy! P.S. - We’ll return to our regular podcast production schedule in October!   For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode212
#211: Hey there! I’m writing this from Croatia, where I’m beginning five weeks of travel that I’m calling my September Sabbatical. From now through September 23rd, I’ll be exploring the globe and enjoying a one-month break. Today, I’m kicking things off with a community-based episode. Here’s the backstory behind today’s show: There’s an event called CampFI, which is a 3-4 day gathering for people who are interested in financial independence. CampFI holds around half a dozen events per year in various locations; I spoke at one in Colorado Springs this past July. While I was there, two other podcasters and I decided to interview the participants to find out their “why of FI.” What motivates them to build financial independence? These interviews and stories from the community are today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at http://affordanything.com/episode211
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Comments (17)

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
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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
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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
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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

NASIM BIN JASIM

Great episode

Sep 19th
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