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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
332 Episodes
#302: Did you know that optimists worry about their finances 145 fewer days than pessimists? They’re also more likely to save money, and are 7x as likely to experience better financial health. Michelle Gielan, bestselling author of Broadcasting Happiness, defines optimism “as the expectation of good things to happen and the belief that our behavior matters.” She shares specific tactics and mindset shifts we can make right now to become more optimistic and resilient, and, in the process, develop a better relationship with stress. For more information, visit the show notes at
#301: Amelia is worried that she and her husband are under-insured. Should her husband get a short-term disability policy, even though it’s expensive and they’re unlikely to need it? Sarah wants to refinance her owner-occupied triplex, but she’s torn between a 15-year and a 30-year option. Which is better in her situation? Steven just discovered the financial independence (FI) movement in July 2020, and he wants to reach FI in 11 years. He has $30,000 in cash and $26,000 of student loan debt. How should he use his cash given his FI goal? The South American Anthropologist wants to make a career change. His baby daughter has inspired him to become an example of living life on your own terms. Will his financial independence plan sustain him and his family for years to come? Annalis and Mike are hunting for their first rental property, but they haven’t found anything nice that meets the one percent rule. Should they purchase a mansion and rent the rooms on Airbnb? For more information, visit the show notes at
#300: Here’s the deal: Target Date Retirement Funds are simple, automated, easy. The problem? What’s simple might not be optimal. Investment expert Paul Merriman joins us to discuss the two-fund portfolio, a mix of one target date fund and one small cap value fund. He describes why this could be the ultimate portfolio for buy-and-hold investors who want to boost their returns, without excessive complexity or risk. If you’re wondering what to do with your 401k, tune in. For more information, visit the show notes at
#299: Chris bought Tesla a few years ago and Jinko Solar eight months ago. Both of these have gone up in value by a lot. What tax strategies can he use to sell these shares? Holly and her three sisters stand to inherit two side-by-side duplexes. How can they structure the ownership of these properties in a fair way? Eric feels hopeless about health insurance as a self-employed business owner. Are DPCs or healthshares the way to go? Frank and his wife have a nine-year retirement plan that involves selling their home and moving to Costa Rica. How can they maximize their savings and existing investments to set themselves up for success? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy joins me to answer these four questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
#298: Money conversations with friends, family members, or significant others are unavoidable. Most of us dread these conversations - they’re awkward, heated, or draining. Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial Talks Money, shares tips and scripts for tactfully setting financial boundaries and expectations without drama. If you’re anxious about being in a wedding, splitting the tab with friends, or asking your siblings about taking care of your parents, this episode is for you. For more information, visit the show notes at
This morning, almost every major brokerage halted trading on the most volatile stocks, including GameStop, BlackBerry, Bed Bath & Beyond, Nokia, and AMC Theaters. We're in a situation where major trading platforms are blocking retail investors - us - from placing trades, while allowing hedge funds and institutional investors to drive prices. That is not a free market. When you don't let people buy, and you don't let people sell, you're locking people out of the game entirely. Yesterday, I was worried that grandma and grandpa would make the wrong investment choices and irrationally bet their life savings away. Now, they're prohibited from making any choice. 🤯 We deserve the right to make our own trading decisions. For the latest updates, follow me on Twitter ( or Instagram (; check out my stories). I'm updating there as things unfold.
If you blinked, you missed the biggest stock market story since the crash of March 2020. It’s a story that led GameStop, a brick-and-mortar company that sells *physical* video games (remember when games came on 5.25-inch floppy disks?), to skyrocket its share price by 700 percent in two weeks. It’s a story of short selling, of high-frequency trading, and of individual investors who harbor deep anger towards hedge funds. It’s a story of social media vs. Wall Street ... and the innocent bystanders who get caught in the crossfire. That's the story we cover in today's episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
#297: George is torn between paying down his student loan debt (which he deferred) or buying a househack. Which is better for his long-term goal of reaching financial independence? Mario is curious to know: is his two-fund portfolio at a 90/10 split is a good asset allocation for his Roth IRA? Hanan wants to figure out if a backdoor Roth IRA conversion will work for her. She also wants to investigate whether a Vanguard Institutional 500 Index Trust and a Vanguard Institutional Total Bond Market Index Trust are ideal. Are trusts different from index funds or mutual funds and if so, how? Vivian is worried about bridging the gap between when she retires and when she claims Social Security. Will her plan of doing a Roth conversion ladder work out the way she hopes? Lastly, June and her husband netted $400,000 from the sale of some golden parachute ISOs. They want to help their children pay for college and are trying to figure out how to strategically use this money. Should they pay off their home, buy rentals, fund 529s, or Roth their 401ks? My friend and former financial planner, Joe Saul-Sehy, joins me to answer these five questions. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
#296: There’s a lot happening in the market. The Dow is at a new high, there are runaway stocks causing irrational exuberance, and yet, unemployment claims are on the rise. How can this be? To make sense of this, we discuss how improving judgment and using mental models can protect us against risks and short-term thinking. We review one question people rarely ask that might save them from making costly investment mistakes. We then wrap up with a discussion on the so-called death of cities, and what this means for real estate investors. For more information, visit the show notes at
#295: How well do you know yourself and the reasons why you manage money in the way that you do? You might not know at all, or you might have some degree of understanding, but digging into your money story can shed insight on your behaviors with money today. Rachel Cruze, four-time bestselling author and daughter of Dave Ramsey, shares three frameworks that can help us better understand our money habits. For more information, visit the show notes at
#294: Jeffrey is curious: if I were to interview Suze Orman today, would I agree more or less with her thoughts on the financial independence retire early (FIRE) movement? Matt wants to know: if a property cash flows really well, is it worth paying significantly more than the appraised value to purchase that income stream? Sara and her husband are returning to the states after living abroad for a few years. They’re moving to an expensive area where three to four bedroom homes cost $800,000+. They have $150,000 saved for a downpayment, but a $600,000 mortgage isn’t what they had in mind. What should they do? Eva and her partner are squirreling away money before the birth of their baby. They’d like to pay off their $90,000 mortgage in three years, but they’re afraid to use the money in case of unexpected baby expenses. What’s their best move? Justin and his wife want to take a gap year with their children in three years. They plan to visit Spain and London for six months each. What are unexpected expenses that they should factor into their budget? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
#293: Geoff Woods, Vice President of The ONE Thing and host of The ONE Thing podcast, is an expert on ruthless prioritization, habit development, and goal setting. The simple framework he presents allows you to focus deeply and commit to the actions you need to take if you want to take your productivity to the next level this year. For more information, visit the show notes at
Sign up to take the 31-Day Challenge for an Awesome 2021 at
#292: Three Kids, FI has an all-equities broad stock market index portfolio that he’s held for years. He’s confident he can handle maximum volatility, so what investments can he lean into to that will provide him with great long-term returns? Jordan is a new listener and he has three questions: should he use $100,000 to buy more rental properties or invest in a brokerage account? Should he and his wife upgrade their home and buy a property that’s worth double their current home? And finally, how can self-employed individuals who earn more lower the cost of health insurance? Alex’s wife lost her job due to the pandemic. They live in Washington state and are married filing separately due to his wife’s student loans. Can he use half of his income to qualify her for Roth IRA contributions? Sarah rounds out this episode with a concern: a financial advisor told her that investing in VTSAX over-indexes her in large cap funds and technology stocks. Is this true, and what should she do about it? I answer these four excellent questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
Welcome back to PSA Thursday, a weekly-ish segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the year that is 2020. Today, we focus on the importance of end-of-year tax planning before you ring in 2021. We cover these tips: Open a retirement account  Adjust your tax withholdings Check your 529 Plan  Make charitable contributions Why this could be a good year to make a Roth conversion Spend down the balance in your FSA For more information, visit the show notes at
Tracy Tutor is the author of Fear is Just a Four-Letter Word as well as the first female real estate broker on Million Dollar Listing LA. Tracy took her 20 years of experience in the industry and distilled the lessons she learned into this book. During our conversation, she shares tips and tactics for overcoming a fear of speaking out, how humor can help us connect with others, and why it’s important not to silence our inner voices. For more information, visit the show notes at
#290: Sharon owns two condos that are worth $1.4M and has a cash cushion of $120,000 plus a $50,000 emergency fund. She’d like to move into a small house while keeping her cash cushion intact. Should she take out a home equity loan on her mortgage to essentially pay for her house in cash, or get a traditional mortgage and use her savings towards the downpayment? Jury and her partner are torn between two options: buying a condo, which would allow them to live off of one salary and invest the other, or buy a more expensive house – a much more attractive lifestyle option. Which should they purchase? Daine’s IRA balance is a result of 401k rollovers. He’s concerned that his lack of monthly contributions cause him to miss out on compound interest. What can he do to grow his retirement funds? Molly and her husband want to reach financial independence (FI) in 15 years, at age 50. They’re unsure of whether their rental property income will sustain their FI lifestyle. How can they plan for this? I answer these questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
An update on the latest news in student loan forgiveness and forbearance, plus smart strategies for student loan repayment in 2021.
#289: Josh Kaufman, bestselling author of The Personal MBA, discusses the five parts to every business and how this information applies to everyone - not just entrepreneurs. He shares many examples and ideas on how to level up your business or career through simple steps. For more information, visit the show notes at
#288: Karen and her wife are in their 50s, financially independent, and partially retired. They need $150,000 to buy a new home, and they aren’t sure which option is best. Should they take advantage of the CARES Act and pull money from their traditional IRAs? Raid their Roths? Or take out a mortgage? Ingrid’s mom is retiring this year. To fund her retirement, she’ll sell her property for $1 million. How should she invest this money so that she can live off of it in perpetuity? Elaine has saved $20,000 in a 529 plan for each of her two kids, but she realizes that they may not attend college. Should she keep the 529 plans, or save money elsewhere? Amanda is afraid to tap the equity in her home and use it to purchase a rental property. How should she think through whether this move is right for her? Lisa and her family plan to sell their home and move across the country. They might have the option to pay cash for a home, but they also want to buy an investment property. Should they get a mortgage on their new home or pay cash? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy joins me to answer your questions on this episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
Comments (29)

Rose grace

Love Suze,she always tells it like it is.

Jan 4th

Mike Applegate

You can do monte carlo simulations on Vanguard's website.

Dec 2nd

Mike Schmid

Can't download it using beyondpod. It keeps failing!

Nov 4th

Ryan Slot

I disagree with the advice to Andy. I believe these times are different and our monetary system is changing. I would encourage people to educate themselves on money and currency. I would hate to see Andy and his children's futures destroyed due to lack of education on REAL money.

Jul 9th

Joy Joey Rockwood

Great episode! Just a heads up, the referral link for Qapital from does not provide the referral for $25 or give any directions on how to complete that. At least for me the app seems glitchy and I was not able to set up anything beyond linking my financing account. contacting support via the app directly was most un helpful and even a bit rude. That makes me nervous to have that info in their hands now. Love the show and no reflection on the podcast and Paula's advice and other affiliations.

May 19th

Eric Thompson

Get well soon Paula!

Mar 26th

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

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

Aaron Webb

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

Oct 10th

Billie Archuleta

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

Sep 15th

Charlie Hilsabeck

mk.i. m

Sep 10th

AMama Lala

what was the link to their manefesto site? episode 11

Jul 20th

The Queen Next Door

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

Jul 5th

Jamie Hanks

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

May 8th

fitzroy harvey

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

Apr 28th

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

Ajit Nafade

Thanks for a very very informative episode.

Feb 3rd


Amen to the echo chamber. Love your show.

Dec 17th


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
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