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Afford Anything

Author: Paula Pant | Cumulus Podcast Network

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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.

How do we make smarter decisions? How do we think from first principles?

On the surface, Afford Anything seems like a podcast about money and investing.

But under the hood, this is a show about how to think critically, recognize our behavioral blind spots, and make smarter choices. We’re into the psychology of money, and we love metacognition: thinking about how to think.

In some episodes, we interview world-class experts: professors, researchers, scientists, authors. In other episodes, we answer your questions, talking through decision-making frameworks and mental models.

Want to learn more? Download our free book, Escape, at http://affordanything.com/escape. Hosted by Paula Pant.

550 Episodes
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Jason Tartick, a former banker and TV star from The Bachelorette, discusses finances in relationships. He describes eight crucial questions about money that every couple should discuss. When a couple is dating, but before they get serious, he says, each person should divulge their debt-to-income ratio. This is your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income. Keeping this ratio below 30-40% is crucial for financial stability. Banks consider this when approving loans. Couples still in the dating stage should also discuss their credit scores. If you're thinking about becoming serious with someone, you need to understand their history with debt, and their attitude towards debt, since you'll likely be co-borrowing together if the relationship lasts. A couple with a good credit score can save around $100,000 on a $300,000 mortgage over 30 years. Couples should avoid shaming or blaming each other during these money conversations, he says. The goal is to understand each others' financial attitudes, habits and history -- not to point fingers or make judgments. After marriage or lifetime commitment, Jason emphasizes the importance of having both individual and joint bank accounts. This allows each person to enjoy autonomy, while also contributing towards shared expenses. Regularly reviewing your net worth as a couple provides transparency and helps avoid misunderstandings. He also talks about financial infidelity -- what is it, and how can you spot it? Finally, Jason encourages couples to discuss spending habits, in order to understand each others' values and goals. Here's a great question to ask your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or partner: "If you had an unlimited budget, what's the first thing you would you spend it on?" The answer reveals the persons' priorities. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode513 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#512: An anonymous caller who received a large inheritance feels paralyzed by all the investment philosophies he’s read about. How does he pick a winning strategy he can stick with? Josh is an expectant dad looking to buy a bigger house but doesn’t know how much everything will cost. Should he save more or invest more? Another anonymous caller worries that large expenditures like buying a new car or replacing her home’s roof will blow up her budget in retirement. How does she plan for unexpected expenses? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these three questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! P.S. Got a question? Leave it at https://affordanything.com/voicemail For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode512 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#511: Sara is five years from retirement with a paid-off house. But she’s worried that her money will run out before she turns 80. What does she need to do now to protect her future self?  Lauren is a personal finance nerd who gets it. But one question perplexes her: When should she should choose an ETF over an index mutual fund? What about vice versa? Paula and Joe explain. An anonymous caller plans to sell her house and live a “slow-madic” lifestyle. But she’s on disability and needs to keep her money safe. How should she invest her $500,000 windfall? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these three questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! P.S. Got a question? Leave it at https://affordanything.com/voicemail For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode511 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#510: Maybe you’re trying to convince: – Your spouse | to embrace the FIRE movement. – Your teenage kids | to invest some of their summer job money in stocks. – Your neighbor | to sell you their house in a private, off-market deal. – Your boss | to give you more vacation time. – Your client | to pay you more. Today’s episode is about how to change minds, build trust, navigate conversations, and influence and persuade others. We chat with Michael McQueen, a social researcher, strategist, and the author of 10 books. He’s spoken alongside Bill Gates, Apple co-founder Steve Woznick and Dr. John C. Maxwell, and was named Australia’s Keynote Speaker of the Year. His latest book, Mindstuck, focuses on how to be more persuasive. Here are some of the ideas we cover: Stubbornness: We tend to be stubborn because of our inherent desire to protect our existing beliefs and identities. This is partly due to the fact that the human mind has a tendency to make quick judgments and resist challenges. Logical Fallacy: People often rely on confirmation bias and tribalism when evaluating information. We tend to favor information that aligns with our existing beliefs and groups we identify with. Complexity over Extremes: When presented with opposing viewpoints, exposure to extreme viewpoints can – counterintuitively – make people more entrenched in their own beliefs. Introducing complexity and nuance can foster a more open-minded approach. Here are some of his tips: Uncover the Hidden Fear Address the Loss Aversion Use "Right and Reflect" to Get People Talking Build Rapport and Choose the Right Moment Frame Your Message for Impact Move Beyond Persuasion and Focus on Progress McQueen elaborates on these tips in today’s podcast episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode510 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#509: Rob wants to retire early, but a real estate investment led to $30,000 of credit card debt. Should he take on more debt to pay it off? An anonymous return caller took Paula’s advice and ran with it, doubling her income within a few years. Should she update her investment strategy now that she’s in a higher tax bracket? Humaira is tired of paying rent with nothing to show for. Can she leverage some benefits by using her credit card to pay the bills? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these three questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! P.S. Got a question? Leave it at https://affordanything.com/voicemail For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode509 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#508: Recently I chatted with Stanford researcher Dr. Mary Murphy, a renowned expert in the field of psychological and brain sciences. Dr. Murphy, who is a Professor at Indiana University and conducts research at Stanford University, shared insights into the concepts of fixed mindset and growth mindset. We deep dived into her extensive research on how these mindsets impact motivation, performance, and relationships at work and home. She conducted research alongside legendary psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck, who created the original studies around fixed vs. growth mindset. If you’ve ever read about fixed vs. growth mindset in the past, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Carol Dweck, who is legendary in the space. Dr. Dweck mentored Dr. Murphy at Stanford, the university from which Dr. Murphy received her Ph.D. Dr. Murphy's insights can help you cultivate a growth mindset to overcome challenges and achieve your goals. If you want to improve your performance — at work, at home, at the gym, as a world traveler, as an investor, or in any other domain — understanding the research behind mindset is critical. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode508 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#507: Robert was recently released from prison and wants to start his life on the right foot. What’s Joe and Paula’s advice for him? Suzy is excited to deploy her first corporate bonus but scared to invest everything in a lump sum. Should she stick with what’s worked in the past and just dollar cost-average? Meghan doesn’t understand how stock pricing affects capital appreciation. Is it always better to buy when share prices are low? Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these three questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! P.S. Got a question? Leave it at https://affordanything.com/voicemail For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode507 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#506: "Today's guest, Brandon Ganch, also known as the MadFientist, reached Financial Independence (FI) and quit his job as a software developer at 34. But then he faced a vexing question: what should he do with the rest of his life? In this episode, Brandon shares his journey with FI, revealing the gap between the ideal life you envision on spreadsheets and the reality that unfolds. He talks about reaching FI sooner than planned, having more money than anticipated, and the adjustments he had to make to his lifestyle. It's a refreshingly honest look at FI that goes beyond the numbers. We also dive into the changing landscape of work and the impact of automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Brandon talks about what he would do differently if he were in his 20's, and shares valuable insights on tools you can use to stay relevant and future-proof your career. You'll enjoy this if: -- You're on the FI path and want to ensure your plans are flexible enough for life's surprises -- You're curious about the unexpected realities of achieving FI -- You're concerned about automation impacting your job security For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode506 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#505: Ryan Johnson isn't your average CEO. He's a visionary reimagining city life, one car-free community at a time. In this episode, we chat with Ryan, the co-founder of Culdesac, about building walkable neighborhoods designed for human connection, not just traffic. We'll dive into his experience with Opendoor, his passion for electric bikes (he owns over 60!), and his audacious plan to revolutionize urban living. Buckle up (or maybe don't) for a conversation about the future of cities, the power of community, and why you might not need a car ever again. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode505 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#504: Brian Kelly faced a harsh reality during the Great Recession – $65,000 in income and crushing credit card debt.  He started a simple side hustle, a website called The Points Guy, as an attempt to earn a few hundred dollars a month.   Fast forward to today: The Points Guy boasts 11 million monthly visitors and a thriving team of 140 employees.   In this episode, Brian pulls back the curtain on his incredible journey, transforming a fledgling side hustle into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.  He also shares his signature expertise – the art of redeeming airline miles and points – empowering you to travel smarter. For show notes, visit https://affordanything.com/episode504 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#503: Lindsay’s husband struggles with a mental disability. She’s worried about the impact on her family’s finances. How does she maintain harmony in her marriage and protect her kids’ future? An anonymous caller is stoked about her young nephew’s interest in saving for retirement. What’s Paula and Joe’s advice for a teenage saver? Another anonymous caller wants to get personal about Paula’s personal finances. Following up on a discussion from episode 494, Melanie has exciting news to share about automating ETF investments at Vanguard. Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these four questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! P.S. Got a question? Leave it at https://affordanything.com/podcast-questions For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode503 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#502: The Fed met earlier this week and elected to keep interest rates at a 23-year high, in an effort to wrestle inflation closer to its two percent target. Despite this, the April jobs report, which was released today, shows that jobs grew for the 40th consecutive month, and unemployment remains under 4 percent, an historic low, for the 27th straight month. The 12-month inflation rate is 3.5 percent, based on March CPI data. Stocks remain on a tear, but performance is lopsided, with 10 companies driving 85 percent of this years’ gains. We cover this and more in our First Friday economic update episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode502 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
#501: Drop the mic! ChooseFI's Brad Barrett takes the host role in this special episode, interviewing Paula Pant about the financial independence community. This episode was recorded LIVE at a comedy club in Brooklyn, as the final installment of the Episode 500 and 501 celebration. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode501 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Enjoy Part 2 of our two-part Episode 500 special, recorded live at a comedy club in Brooklyn. Host Paula Pant and special guest Brad Barrett from ChooseFI answer questions from the audience, live on stage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Enjoy Part 1 of our two-part Episode 500 special, recorded live at a comedy club in Brooklyn. Brad Barrett, host of the ChooseFI podcast, joins us on stage to talk about what financial independence ideas and practices have changed … and what ideas and practices have remained consistent, universal and time-tested throughout the years. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode500 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
We delve into the world of Financial Independence (FI) with a pioneer -- Vicki Robin, the co-author of Your Money or Your Life. In the 1970s, Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, from vastly different backgrounds, came together over a shared vision: FI as a life philosophy, not just a savings strategy. Their book, "Your Money or Your Life," which sold more than one million copies, outlined a three-dimensional approach to FI: Financial Intelligence: Thinking clearly and objectively about money. Financial Integrity: Aligning your spending and earning with your values. Financial Independence: Breaking free from paycheck dependence and limiting beliefs about money. In this podcast episode, Vicki will discuss a new dimension she's added: Financial Interdependence: Recognizing the importance of giving and receiving within our communities and the world. Vicki and I discuss how to move beyond "just the money" during the quest for financial freedom. This episode originally aired in 2018. We're sharing this as part of GREATEST HITS WEEK, a 5-day series in which we're sharing 5 episodes, across 5 days, that we produced during the earliest years of the Afford Anything podcast. You may have missed it then; enjoy it now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Esquire Magazine editor-at-large and bestselling author A.J. Jacobs joins the show to discuss his experimental approach to life. Jacobs, whose TED Talks have been viewed more than 3 million times, shares best practices around motivation, habits, confidence, boosting happiness, and optimizing creativity. In this episode: -- Discover the benefits that come from frequently changing your habits -- Learn why "fake it 'til you become it" is A.J.'s secret weapon for habit development. -- Explore how extreme gratitude can transform your mindset. -- Hear a cautionary tale of healthy living gone wrong. -- Learn how to make any career or business connection by unearthing the way in which you're distant cousins (as everyone on earth is, at most, roughly 70th cousins) Plus, hear a hilarious story about Jacobs revealing his entire sexual history to actress Scarlett Johansson. This episode originally aired in 2017. We're sharing this as part of GREATEST HITS WEEK, a 5-day series in which we're sharing 5 episodes, across 5 days, that we produced during the earliest years of the Afford Anything podcast. You may have missed it then; enjoy it now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Stocks or skills? How should you invest? Should you pour money into unlocking your income potential? Or should you pour money into the market? Forget the motivational posters -- unlimited potential is real. But unlocking it takes investment. The question is: Do you invest in yourself or the market? Stocks, bonds, real estate offer clear returns. But what about investing in your skills, a side hustle, or education?  Financial advisor Michael Kitces joins us to crack the code on maximizing your return on investment, both personal and financial. Learn how to make smarter choices about your future and unlock your true potential. We're sharing this as part of GREATEST HITS WEEK, a 5-day series in which we're sharing 5 episodes, across 5 days, that we produced during the earliest years of the Afford Anything podcast. You may have missed it then; enjoy it now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
JL Collins, the author of "The Simple Path to Wealth," achieved financial independence in 1989 with a surprisingly simple strategy: saving half his income and investing in index funds. In this episode, JL breaks down his ultra-simple investing approach. He argues that keeping things uncomplicated leads to better results in the long run. "The less you mess with your investments," he says, "the more freedom you have to focus on what truly matters." This episode is for anyone who feels overwhelmed by complex investment strategies. Learn how to set your finances on autopilot and get on with living your life. We originally recorded and aired this episode in 2016. We're sharing this as part of GREATEST HITS WEEK, a 5-day series in which we're sharing 5 episodes, across 5 days, that we produced during the earliest years of the Afford Anything podcast. You may have missed it then; enjoy it now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Today’s guest is Jean Chatzky, financial editor for the TODAY Show, host of the HerMoney podcast and a frequent guest on TV shows like Oprah, Regis & Kelly, and The View. We discuss six money rules to guide your spending, including: #1: The more time you spend looking, the less happy you’ll be with what you find. #2: Your retirement trumps their tuition. #3: Losing money hurts more than it should. #4: Big numbers make smart people do stupid things. #5: Don’t lend money to friends & relatives, and don’t co-sign for loans. #6: If it's 50% off, it’s still 50% on. This leads us into discussing tactics to prevent wasteful spending, such as: -- The 10/10/10 Rule: How will you feel about this purchase in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years? -- The 24 Hour Rule: Delay the purchase by 24 hours. Do you still want it? -- Only Pay Full Price: Paradoxically, avoiding sales – and ONLY buying items at full price – might help you save more money in the long run. Finally, we chat about how to balance financial priorities when you and your spouse want different things. What if you want to retire early, but your spouse doesn’t? How do you handle this? Jean shares her ideas on these topics in this episode, which we originally recorded and aired in 2016. We're sharing this as part of GREATEST HITS WEEK, a 5-day series in which we're sharing 5 episodes, across 5 days, that we produced during the earliest years of the Afford Anything podcast. You may have missed it then; enjoy it now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (42)

ankita ashok

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Jan 11th
Reply

Valerie Welbourn

no offense to your cohost, but I'd love a podcast with just Paula. it's just that her style resonates more with me.

Dec 16th
Reply

Bill Kusumoto

,

Jun 30th
Reply

Robert Pintar

Hi Paula, love the show and I look forward to the new episodes. I know you generally try to be really positive answering the questions, but I was bothered a little with the one where the woman from Florida who wants to retire at age 60 and is currently 44 with no retirement savings. I think you and Joe did a good job of trying to keep her hopes up, but it seemed the bottom line for her was she just may not be able to retire when she wants to. She said she already had a debt to income ratio of 45 pct and continues to add to her debt and has no emergency fund. That combined with other expenses and her income of 112k I bet she would have a hard time saving even 10k a year for retirement. And even if she could do it, that amount over 16 years at 7pct return would yield less than $300k. Hardly a nest egg. I know you mentioned that she didn't say in her question if she would be working part time when she retires or not, but sometimes people just need the hard truth and I don't think she got

Mar 29th
Reply

ID21703228

Love you Paula!

Jan 26th
Reply

Bradley Friend

10:54 Are you going to die young and wealthy, or old and broke? As if those are the only two choices! Who is young and wealthy? You cannot have your cake and eat it too, unless you are extremely lucky AND diligent.

Dec 17th
Reply

Johannes Frederiksen

Thanks, it's actually useful! I can tell you that I've been planning of getting into this field for a while, and I've already installed kitchen and bathroom cabinets from https://kitchensearch.com/ in order to increase the price of my house, and I feel like after a while, I'll decide to sell my house.

Oct 3rd
Reply

sub60

Thanks so much for answering my question! -Eve

Mar 30th
Reply

Fitzroy Harvey

Another one

Jan 4th
Reply

Emilia Gray

The global gambling industry is becoming more and more cryptocurrency-friendly, I found here https://dailyiowan.com/2021/10/18/top-3-best-crypto-betting-sites-players-pick-in-2021/ the best options for my leisure

Nov 8th
Reply

Diana

Understand your objectives > Narrow down your strategies to achieve these > Apply the right tactics. I appreciate how you guys were able to break this down following Jordan's question. #FinancialWisdom 🤓

Oct 9th
Reply

sub60

What a loon. Paula trying to add nuance while this guy is one track.

Mar 25th
Reply

Mary C

Awesome episode! Thanks to both of you for breaking everything down so clearly!

Mar 16th
Reply

Rose grace

Love Suze,she always tells it like it is.

Jan 4th
Reply

Mike Applegate

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

Dec 2nd
Reply

Mike Schmid

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

Nov 4th
Reply

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
Reply

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
Reply

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)