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The Stacking Benjamins Show

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According to FastCompany, "the Stacking Benjamins podcast...strikes a great balance of fun and functional." Created live from Joe's mom's half-finished'll hear a parade of financial headlines, personal finance experts, creatives, and people with stories that inspire us. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, hosts Joe Saul-Sehy & OG meet at the card table and bring you guests, trivia, your letters about saving, investing, and risk management, and much more. Academy of Podcast winner for "best business podcast of the year," 2017 Plutus award winner for "best personal finance podcast," and Kiplinger magazine's only recommended personal finance podcast. You'll like this podcast if: you enjoy chatty, laid back money talk at a relaxed pace with lots of humor attached. You won't like this show if: you're looking for hard-core, genius money-nuggets presented at a fast pace.

535 Episodes
Here's a shock (or not....): LOTS of people are feeling stress right now - so if you're feeling overwhelmed, you aren't alone. Admittedly there aren't answers for everything, but that doesn't mean it's time to throw priorities, goals, and self-care out the window. In the words of Lin Manuel's Arron Burr: "I am the one thing in life I can control." (Thanks J.D. Roth, for reminding me there's a Hamilton line for everything!) During today's show, we'll ask our roundtable: when life becomes stressful, what's your emergency plan to take back the reins? How do you get life back on track? A big thanks to our contributors today: CFP Katie Brewer from Your Richest Life, Len Penzo from the blog, and Paula Pant from the Afford Anything podcast. Another special thanks to today's celebrity reader: Jason Vitug. You can find more from Jason at his site Halfway through the show we'll give our roundtable a break while Joe rings up Kelly Lannan, VP of Young Investors at Fidelity. The financial company has released a new investing app, Fidelity Inspire, and is designed to help young adults plan, save, and invest for their financial goals. We'll dive into all the different offerings and features the app brings during our interview with Kelly. After our fintech segment we'll keep Doug's Friday gameshow going strong. Tune in to see who wins it this week! We'll finish off today's show with an all-too real question posed to Peter Dunn: when your adult kid is laid off and needs help paying the bills, what do you do? We'll ask our roundtable for their take before rolling the end credits.
What if you could talk about inflation in a way that actually hit home? Today we'll do just that by diving into the cost of a brown bag lunch sandwich. What does a sandwich cost? How has the price changed over time? Len Penzo has been comparing the prices of brown bag sandwiches for twelve years, and for seven of those we've been tracking it on the show with him. Today's show is one long-time fans will know and love, and one that we hope our new listeners won't miss... it's our annual fan-favorite: the Len Penzo Sandwich Survey. How much has the cost of making classic sandwiches increased year over year? What sandwich gets you the most bite for your buck? We'll compare baloney, PB&J, turkey and swiss, the BLT, and more. Plus, is your neighborhood restaurant going to stay a little quieter for good? During our headlines segment of the show, we'll dive into a piece detailing how more than half of businesses that closed on Yelp during the pandemic are shutting their doors permanently. In our second piece, Jim from the Route to Retire blog has found his Panama retirement dream ending sooner than expected after the pandemic hit. What should you do if you find your retirement going off track during YEAR ONE? Later in the show, instead of answering a listener voicemail during the Haven Life Line, we'll use a blog piece covering what financial information you should have learned so far in 2020. This year has been full of lessons, and you'll want to make sure you haven't missed any. As always, we'll make sure and save some time for Doug's trivia. Enjoy!
Sure, financial planners work with people, but many only work with you ONCE you have your act together and you're ready to begin working on big-money problems. What do you do if you're just learning how to set up a budget, get out of credit card debt, or save systematically? Today we'll tackle all of that with Rebecca Wiggins, the executive director of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education, on how financial coaches (not financial advisors...that's something else!) help people like you set up a better financial life. Plus, we don't know if you've looked lately at gold prices...but if not, BAM! It's through the roof. Should you buy some? In our headlines segment, we'll share a piece that Joe and OG just might agree with on the topic.... Also, LSU football star Joe Burrows has become a rich man after signing an NFL deal. However, this star says that he only plans to live off endorsements... and his dad says Joe can finally get out of his parent's basement. (Looks like Joe should have thought twice before signing a cash-packed contract). Is living in a basement bad? Should Burrows think twice before saving all that money? We'll have some answers and takeaways today. After we break for Doug's trivia today, we'll finish up the show with the Haven Life Line. When the wealthy in-laws want to help finance your new house, do you take their money? How can you accept large sums of money without big tax implications? Should you accept a 6-figure gift from parents? We'll cover it all for Jim, who wrote in with his VERY first-world dilemma.
Ah, the simple life. With all of the chaos in the world, how do we get back to basics? Today our roundtable crew are going to help you reboot, rejuvenate, and revive your live with ideas from a recent blog post about 30 tips for simple living. We'll talk about everything from diet and exercise to reading more often. That'll help you focus better, feel stronger longer, and most importantly (for our show, anyway), Stack More Benjamins. Plus, during our Friday FinTech segment, we'll speak to Jesse Meacham, creator of You Need a Budget, or YNAB, as fans of the software call it. While you may be familiar with YNAB, have you heard the origin story of this groundbreaking system? Jesse will walk Joe through the early years and how YNAB works to help more people keep better track of their money. Of course, we'll still save time for Doug's amazing trivia. Would you like a sheet to begin working on our favorite tips? Joe's mom has made an accountability sheet! Just head to That way you can get started on actually implementing what you heard!
How do you make the topic of money actually fun? That's the question the Singleton Foundation asked, and CEO Shelly Miles and Executive Producer Lisa Freberg join us today to explain how they pulled it off. They not only found talented creators to bring together a video channel that resembles Netflix for money nerds, but they also thought deeply about exactly how to turn each story into a longer discussion. Today we'll talk about how they've made money discussions compelling, fun, and best of all, habit-changing. Big news happened recently in mutual fund land. Vanguard is throwing in the towel on one of its products. Plus, as they attempt to tread water, colleges have turned to mass layoffs. What does that mean for the college experience? We'll share our thoughts. And in today's Haven Life Line call, Seth has some business debt to pay off. He'd expected to make enough money on the side to pay it off but that hasn't happened. So instead, he plans to use his W2 income to wipe it out. Should he approach it like regular debt and pay off the highest interest loans first? ...and of course, we'll save time for some of Doug's "working like a dog" trivia. Enjoy!
Are we focused too much on being liked? From the workplace to our personal lives, most of us don't want to be the person who rocks the boat. Go with the flow, right? Antarctic expedition leader Rachael Robertson says that approach to leadership (or even following) couldn't be more wrong. An honest - yes that means having tough conversations! - workplace is more constructive than an office focused on making sure everyone is getting along every day. Plus, remember the 401k article going around suggesting a 401k plan doesn't make much sense anymore for savers? Yeah... hope you didn't immediately pull out your entire retirement fund after reading that because we're covering that topic today and may have a different opinion. During the Haven Life Line, how can Shawn figure out the right allocation for his portfolio? Should he go 90% stock, even 100%? When it's time to retire, how does Shawn pull out his cash? He's in his early 50s and think he has enough Benjamins to retire soon. As always, we'll also make sure and save some time for Doug's trivia.
Treat yo' self! It's a wonderful concept with one big downside: the phrase "treat yo' self" often means burning a big stack of cash on retail therapy. Don't get me - we're human, and we've all had those days ending with an oh-so-cathartic impulse buy of computer parts and beef jerky (too specific?). BUT self-care doesn't necessarily mean spending money. With a lack of Benjamins being one of the leading stressors among U.S. adults, taking control of your money can be one of the most effective self-care methods available. While it may not provide the instant dopamine-infused gratification jolt, becoming a master of your finances will hand you a more fulfilled life without snowballing debt, revolving credit, or phone calls from debt collectors. Being able to tap your card for the occasional splurge without worry about going into the red is nice, too. Have a garage full of tools or wondering how to finish your next project? After our discussion on self-care, we'll take a break from the roundtable while Joe rings up Stefan Cordova from borrowing site If there's one feeling even more ubiquitous than impulse buying a soda in the check-out line, it's tearing into a new home project only to realize that you don't have the right tools to finish the job. Stefan's idea aims to solve that. Everyday people (yes, like you and me), can put stuff up for rent that other people may need, and the people in need get to rent what THEY need without paying sticker price for a one time project. After we finish up our interview with Stefan, we'll crank up the music during Doug's gameshow turned trivia segment, where this week we quiz our roundtable on Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson in celebration of his birthday next week. Just how many octaves does ole Bruce have in him? We'll then round out the show by asking our roundtable: what song best describes your financial life? Thank you to the awesome contributors who made today's roundtable happen! This week's contributors include Stephanie McCullough from Sofia Financial, Len Penzo from the blog, and OG from our very own podcast.
Think it's impossible to make a million dollars working a blue-collar job? Millionaire and former ditch-digger Ken Rusk might have something to say about. For decades, the college experience has been pushed as THE prioritized option for high school graduates, but with the student debt crisis becoming worse year after year should you look elsewhere? Today, Ken Rusk will show you how forgoing the college route doesn't mean you're giving up your chance of financial independence...and it just might enhance it. It may only be Wednesday, but TGIF? Sofi is now offering an ETF that... wait for it... pays you every Friday. Sound familiar? You can check out our headlines from Monday's show if you're curious about what happened with two other investments promising some quick cash. Listen closely for just how much BIG money you'll receive every week in this new fund. Cha-ching. Plus, no Haven Life Line for today! Instead, Gertrude (from our Facebook Basement group) posed this question to our members: what's YOUR side hustle? We got a bunch of feedback and we can't cover everything, but we'll share a few of our favorite responses. Even with no voicemail, we'll always save time for some of Doug's trivia, who's going classic finance with today's question.
Have you ever thought, "Maybe I should be SPENDING more money?" Our guest today thinks that maybe you should re-examine how you're living. Bill Perkins, poker star and energy trader, says that investors have too much of their mindset set on the future, and not enough energy focused on the now of life. We'll discuss over-saving, being TOO frugal, and actually spending your money on today's episode. Plus, how does an ETF that literally pays YOU to invest not gain enough attention to take off? It turns out...that free might not actually mean better. Weird, huh? We'll cover what went wrong with this ETF and others like it, during today's headlines. In our second segment, we'll cover the results of a financial retirement report showing nearly half of all retirees have to make big spending cuts after 5 years. Here's a reminder: when you're planning for retirement, your cash has to last you through ALL of retirement. During the Haven Life Line we'll take a voicemail from Jenny, who wants to know the differences between a value fund and a growth fund. How can you tell one from another, and which is better? Should a portfolio include both funds for diversification? Are there different uses for each fund? Does the amount of time until retirement matter for picking a fund type? In the spirit of Bill Perkins, we'll also save some time for Doug's gambling-themed trivia. Enjoy!
FIRE, FIRE, FIRE! While we'll never disparage the basic goals of the #FIRE movement: becoming financially secure and having the option to retire early, we still have to ask the question, "Is fully subscribing to FIRE lifestyle naive?" Are we putting too much emphasis on the "Retire Early," and too little on "Financial Independence"? We ask our contributors: is it time to put the fire out? Our awesome roundtable team today includes: Don McDonald from the Talking Real Money podcast, Paula Pant from the Afford Anything podcast, and our very own OG. Plus, are you wondering how to teach your kids about money? Do you know someone (maybe YOU) that needs foundational knowledge about how finances work? After our FIRE discussion we'll take a break from the roundtable to introduce the new Stacking Benjamins Money Club! Aaron Velky from Ortus Academy is our head instructor at the Money Club, and he joins us to share how it all works. When we swing things back around to our roundtable, we'll break out the results of our question to the parents in our audience: how are you with finances and your children? Do you open the whole book to your kids? Do you give them basic financial advice? We'll see what the parents had to say PLUS hear a thing or two from our roundtable with their personal strategies.
Are we focused on the wrong priorities when it comes to elder care? While physical care is important, should our healthcare focus change to put more consideration on the emotional needs of our elders? Today we welcome Anne Basting to learn about how her strategies have been changing the eldercare experience for both healthcare workers AND families. The results are amazing and the methods she recommends aren't only easy to implement, but they solve many issues in elder care as it's currently presented. Plus, looking for a safe place to save your money? During our headlines we'll share all the reasons why investors are mistakenly pulling their money out of American markets and placing it in the last place you'd probably imagine. In our second piece we'll dive into an article covering how Richard Branson moved past some of his failed businesses. During the Haven Life line we'll take a question from Adam, who is investing for his kid's college fund. The cash is currently in a target date fund, and Adam is looking for some advice on how he can pull the money out when it's time. OG gives some great advice here on how you can transition from an all-stock plan to a safe cash-fund all by the time the kids graduate high school. As always, we'll save some time for Doug's trivia.
Golfing, RV life, fishing, board games (of course), and a cushy portfolio... what else is there to retirement? It turns out: there's still a bunch! Not to worry though, today we're throwing our special guest out into the rain and instead delivering a feature-length discussion on every little thing you need to consider BEFORE retirement. Plus, what's going on with the national coin shortage we've been hearing about everywhere? And why are financial advisors reporting having a hard time selling software? During our headlines we'll cover how social distancing has caused a coin shortage across the country, and also exposed how advisors may be approaching their business with the wrong focus. Plus in our Haven Life Line, Mat's employer is stopping the 401k match. Mat is thinking about taking that money and moving it over to an IRA for more flexibility, do we have any thoughts on this? Turns out... Joe and OG have a few different ideas than Mat expected for his money.
All that we hear about when we read financial pieces about hiring advisors is, "Ask about the fees," and "Hire a Fee Only Advisor." Sadly, the former and current advisor who operate this podcast know it isn't that easy. There are fee only advisors who are morons and a cheap fee means nothing if you find zero value in your "low fee" advice. So what SHOULD you ask? Today we gather together some of our favorite pros to ask them. What questions SHOULD people ask (but don't)? What should people look for in a good advisor? What are the things you should expect a good advisor to actually do for you? When is the right time to hire an advisor? We'll ask these and many more questions of Dana Anspach from Sensible Money, The Retirement Answer Man, Roger Whitney, and our very own OG. But that's not all. We're excited to hear today about one of the hottest companies in FinTech, SoLo Funds. Travis Holoway joins us on today's show to talk about lending made easy for people who traditionally struggle to find funding to make ends meet. Whether you're a lender or borrower, you'll want to hear about this company. Of course, we'll save time for the MagnifyMoney question AND ask our team of experts to weigh in on our weekly trivia question. That AND more on today's show! Enjoy!
What's worse than having a bunch of money? Having bunches of money and not knowing why you have it, or what joy it would bring...if any. So if you have no plan, what's waiting at the end of the rat race? Can there be more to riches than a bulky 401k, a big house, and of course... stuff? Today we'll invite a woman who is a Mindful Millionaire, Leisa Peterson. We'll discuss why for many the conventional path to wealth is an empty journey and how to set yourself on a much more fruitful financial journey. How's your 401k doing? Good news: not many people made trades in their workplace accounts in the second quarter (after a record-setting first quarter of moves). The bad news? The moves that people DID make were generally not what you'd hope for, if you're looking for good long term results. Plus, the US House of Representatives is trying to block the Securities and Exchange Commission from allowing hedge funds in your 401k plan. What does that mean? Are we for that or against? OG and Joe will have a nice discussion about it...or maybe even a little disagreement on the subject. Of course, that's not all. We'll give Doug enough time to share some amazing trivia AND we'll also throw out the Haven Life line to Rich, even though he's from Ohio.
What are the secrets behind great innovation? Whether in your work life - like creating a system to streamline mornings at the office - or your personal life, innovation has affected everything around you. But where do great ideas come from? Beyond simply coming up with new ideas, does innovation takes a willful, focused effort to succeed? What exactly are the steps needed to create the perfect environment for innovation? Sharing his secrets today on how to create a better (and more lucrative) future is TED speaker, commentator, and author of The Rational Optimist and The Evolution of Everything, Matt Ridley. In his newest book, How Innovation works, Matt shares how the history of innovation has shaped the world, covers many of the circumstances that made innovation possible, and outlines some pretty good guesses on what's coming to our world in the future. Plus, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has been making the rounds in the headlines for encouraging investors to "buy, buy, buy!" Dave claims making money in the market is beyond easy. To see if he agrees, we'll ring up Brian Barnes, the CEO of M1 Finance. While we have Brian on the line, we'll also ask about him the current day-trading mania, and if "winning" is really as easy as people online try to make it seem. In our other headline of the day, why are Vanguard and State Street holding out on the newest ETF craze to hit the market? Should everyday investors be just as wary? During our discussion on the new financial product known as ANTs (active nontransparent ETFs), we'll touch on the true issue behind the active vs. passive debate, the usefulness of having a technological, research-driven, approach to investing, AND the golden question: can you really outperform the market? We'll round out the show with a... I hesitate to use the term "question" here. (You'll see what I mean when you get there.) During the Haven Life Line Adam does asks us: why do people keep making the same financial mistakes over and over again when there's over a century of market data? Adam covers a bunch of great points that we mostly agree with, but we do get to hear one of OG's evolving theories. While I also hesitate to endorse Doug's segment today for personal reasons, we also give him some airtime for his donut-themed trivia.
Save more than you spend, don't take on a mountain of debt, live below your means... they're all phrases that the financially-savvy among us might take for granted, but let's be honest. Most of us didn't start out that way. Today we ask our contributors: what are some money lessons you had to learn the hard way? On today's show we'll hear some sage advice from Jen Smith (from the Frugal Friends podcast), Doc G (from the Earn & Invest podcast), and Len Penzo... of A special thanks to David Bakke from for reading today's featured piece. After our discussion on life lessons, we'll ring up Angelo Poli from the health and fitness gurus at Metpro. Even though COVID may be keeping you from your local gym, Angelo will share some great financially-minded tips on how you can still maintain your health at home without breaking the budget. PLUS, we're answering some questions listeners left for Angelo in the Stacking Benjamins Facebook group. By the way, if YOU want to be involved next time, you can join us here: The Basement Later, our contributors will weigh in on our Twitter poll: for people who were formerly bad with money, what inspired you to change? Just like in our title segment, you'll find that some super-savers have always had a special affection for finances, but others (talking about me here), have come to terms with their bad habits a little differently. As always, we'll save some time for Doug's Friday Gameshow. Hope you enjoy it as much as we had fun making it!
Is your job going bye-bye? Today's guest says, "Probably." But how do you succeed in an economy that seems structured against you? On today's show, we're excited to have a deep conversation with the co-founder of NPR's Planet Money and the creator of the new Passion Economy podcast, Adam Davidson. We'll touch on what the future of technology means for you, for the economy, and how our current economic situation is "more of the same" or "different" than the country's last two big downturns... and how you can STILL do what you love in an economy that's constantly changing. Plus, why in the world are people investing in bankruptcies? Is the Hertz stock fiasco ringing a bell? During our headlines we'll explain how the concept behind "knowing just enough to hurt yourself" caused amateur investors to lose their Benjamins. Later we'll throw out the Haven Life Line to Dave, who has been laid off this year. Dave and his spouse were previously unable to contribute to a Roth, but they're now eligible. Dave is thinking they should convert their traditional IRA over to a Roth and he wants to know our thoughts.
As we round the 4th of July holiday, we've all celebrated George Washington as the first President of the United States, the general who lead the Continental Army against the British, and the second or third most popular character in the Broadway play "Hamilton." However, did you ever think of George Washington as an entrepreneur? Economist John Berlau has thought about that AND how Washington's entrepreneurship aspirations molded both his vision as a future leader, and our country. Today he's with us to share stories from Washington's life, including how he became an entrepreneur, and some of his most prominent contributions to our country. If you're a history fan, entrepreneur, or just someone who wants to learn how the best-and-brightest made their way, today's show is for you. Of course, that's not all. We'll discuss the recent issues with the economy and your 401(k) plan. It turns out that you can still become a 401(k) millionaire. There's no need to get overly creative with your financial plan. That'll be good news for most of us. Plus, we'll talk estate planning. When someone chooses you to manage their affairs when they pass away, what should you do? For some of you we'll preview our best tips, and for everyone else, we'll share what you should think about when choosing an executor or contingent trustee. Don't know those terms? We'll even share what that means on today's show for no charge! Of course, we also save time for Doug's fireworks, including his trivia AND incredible wit. It's a kick-butt first show back for the SB team, and we're glad you're hanging out with us. Check out the show notes for ALL of the links in today's show!
Should you have an exit strategy for the stock market? In this rewind episode Paula Pant and Len Penzo go head-to-head with their own personal strategies. Also, during the Fintech segment we interviewed Kyle Robertson, co-creator of the now discontinued Lemon app. While you won't be getting your hands on Lemon, our discussion still serves as a great introduction to taking charge of your finances with the help of financial tools. You can read the original show notes below: It’s WAR in the basement today, as Len Penzo ( and Paula Pant (AffordAnything) square off about exit strategies. Should you think about selling if the market tanks but you haven’t yet reached your goal? We’ll talk about that for a LONG part of today’s super-sized show….but that’s not all. We also have other topics and the usual hilarity. At the halfway point, in the FinTech spotlight we talk to Kyle Robertson, the co-creator of the Lemon app (, about how his expense and money tracking app works. Not only does it show you how you’re spending money, but it’ll provide helpful data and tips so you can manage your money better in the future. Thanks to MagnifyMoney for sponsoring our podcast!
There have been plenty of retirement headlines shared online lately. While many of these articles share some great grounding advice, we've also seen a fair share of "scare" headlines as well. With that in mind we hand-picked today's rewind episode to dispel retirement fears you may have picked up the last couple of months. You can read our original show notes below: Retirement planning is all about starting early and planning well, which is why we’re excited author Emily Guy Birken (Choose Your Retirement) joins us in the basement to share her top 5 retirement myths. That’s not all we do on this show, though. OG & Joe share headlines about “smart beta” and the ROI of a college education. We take your letters about life insurance and improving your credit score….and much more.
Comments (6)

Eric Thompson

Actually the 84% is vegetarian and vegan. Google is your friend. 👍

Nov 4th
Reply (1)

Ari Fellman

this time, they recorded with Annette...

Jul 8th

Joe Reed

Katie didn't have a very good recruiter

Mar 21st

Joe Reed

I thought the headline was a joke. Did she really know what show she was going on? awesome trivia today

Sep 27th

Gabriel K Jones

Gentlemen, I will to disagree with the concept of over saving. Being prepared is never a bad idea, being prepared without a plan can be detrimental. Don't you agree?

May 19th
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