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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.

520 Episodes
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.
Rewind Week! Throughout the week we'll replay some of our favorite shows from the past. We're kicking Monday off with an interview we've had plenty of compliments on. Newer listeners will appreciate this one, and older listeners will find Annie Duke's interview refreshingly timely. Our original show notes are below. Do you think you make the best decisions under most circumstances? Today’s guest will tell you that if you don’t have all of the information, the more adamant you are about your point of view, the easier you are to “beat.” Annie Duke was a professional poker player for 20 years, winning many top tier professional tournaments and taking on the best decision makers alive. Equally as important, she brings her academic career in cognitive psychology to bear on decision making that can help you with everything from your investments to your career and more. In our headlines segment, parents are spending TONS of money on their children’s extracurricular activities. Beyond avoiding vacations or planning vacations around some of our people, some parents are stopping contributions to their retirement and not putting money in college funds…just for extracurriculars. We’ll talk about what harm this does (and maybe have some surprising points of view) on today’s show. Plus, it looks like 5% interest rates on mortgages may be right around the corner. Currently, the average interest rate stands at 4.5%. What would a 5% rate do to the financial markets and to your debt load? A recent piece discusses all the different ways we’d be affected overall by higher and higher rates. We’ll of course have more from the world of financial planning, throw out the Haven Life line to lucky listener Ethan, who wonders about market cap weightings for indexes. Why do people invest in indexes that are weighted heavily toward the biggest components? We also answer a letter from John, who asks about our favorite financial books. What are they? You’ll have to listen to find out! Of course, we’ll still score with some of Doug’s delightful trivia, and more.
Wonder how your super-saver friends make pocketing Benjamins look so easy? Well, we come bearing good news because your questions are all going to be answered on today's show. MOST great savers trick themselves into saving more money and we'll dive into exactly how and what they do so that you can replicate all of their tricks. Spoiler: it's MUCH easier than you think. Michelle Jackson from the Michelle Is Money Hungry podcast will join Doc G from Earn & Invest podcast and Len Penzo from for today's exciting discussion AND Jennifer Mah from Choose FI will read today's piece we outline. Plus, remember hearing about those hairdressers that had Coronavirus? During today's not-so Fintech segment, we'll talk to the Evil HR Lady Suzanne Lucas on what that means for your job. We'll round out the show by answering a voicemail about rebalancing. While Jeff had asked if there are fees or taxes associated with rebalancing, we aren't stopping our roundtable there. During the Magnify Money segment our contributors will share their own rebalancing process. How frequently should an investor rebalance their portfolio? What should people keep in mind? Of course we'll also save time for some of Doug's amazing trivia and much, much more. Enjoy!
When does buying insurance cross the line from being smart to throwing away your hard earned cash? There are the regular choices of course: car, home, life, medical, and dental insurance. But what about all the other types of coverage out there? Between rental insurance, phone, electronics, various types of worker's insurance, travel insurance (and more!), a person could easily break the budget by trying to keep 100% of their life covered. Today we'll make sure you know what type of insurance is available to you, which kinds you should buy... and of course, the types of coverage that you should probably run away from. Plus, we'll share a story of an investor who discovered a huge negative balance on his Robinhood account. We'll share the series of investing choices that lead to a tragic outcome, and the problems behind investing as sport by people who don't know many of the basics. Debt can be extremely stressful, but it is not worth your life. Help is available. You can speak with a counselor today at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - (1-800-273-8255) or find more help at We'll also carve out some time in the middle of the show for Doug's family-themed trivia.
In these strange times, with so much uncertainty, how do you manage your money effectively? Today we'll ask some of our favorite experts about what you should be focused on, how to pay down debt, what to do with your retirement money, and how to manage your investments. Last week we hosted a LIVE YouTube two hour event featuring some of the top names in personal finance. We were joined today by representatives from Fidelity (Ken Hevert), TIAA (Shelly Eweka), T.Rowe Price (Josh Deitch), and Morningstar (Christine Benz). Plus, Bobbi Rebell from Money With Friends podcast and Doc G. from Earn & Invest pitch in to help us ask as many questions as possible so you can be better with your Benjamins. Because this is the audio from a YouTube recording, the audio stream will be a little different, but there's still lots of great tips here for you to enjoy.
You've probably heard the age-old arguments. Old dude on the radio says "all debt is bad." Your savvy neighbor says that there's "good debt" and "bad debt." You watch relatives YOLO with credit cards. Where's the line, REALLY? Today we'll ask three people who are good with money: contributors Paula Pant from the Afford Anything podcast and Len Penzo from are joined by great saver AND blogger Lance Cothern from the Money Manifesto blog. We'll dive into the good, bad and ugly of debt. BUT that's not all. On today's Friday Fintech segment we'll learn about a new company called Nestegg helping small landlords compete with the big kids. How does it work? We'll all find out together. Of course, we'll still have our trivia challenge, answer a call for help, and more! Enjoy!
After winning the lottery, would you go for a straight-out check OR the lifetime income stream? While people will decide which is their BEST choice pretty quickly, do you have the right information to make that choice? Today we sit down with the CEO of Saber Pension and Actuarial Services, Brent Henningson to talk not just lottery, but maybe also pensions, annuities, and life settlements. Wait a minute? Is the annuity thing just a smokescreen so we'd pay attention to something that's important but maybe not that interesting? Maybe so, but however we get you to the table, these are decisions with thousands of dollars on the table and you can't afford to make the wrong choice. Plus, is day trading easier than being a long term investor? We'll have some fun diving into why the Barstool Sports founder claims he is a better investor than Warren Buffet, and that day trading is "the easiest" game there is. David Portnoy is ALWAYS good for a quote or two. In the second half of our headlines segment, we'll share one list explaining why the RV life might not be the golden dream people are expecting. Even in retirement... informed planning is half the battle. During our Haven Life Line will answer a call from military dentist Joe (not our Joe, of course), who will be separating from service next year to pursue specialty training. While he's going through classes his only planned income will come from the GI bill. Joe's two questions are, one: can he still contribute to his IRA during his education with no taxable income? If not, would working a few days a month make him eligible? Two: he is currently maxing his Roth TSP account. Should he drop his contribution amount to get more liquidity before leaving service? As always, we're saving some time for Doug's trivia.
Want to change the world with your donations, but feel powerless? Are you unsure of the best WAY to donate money or time to an organization? Have you ever been burned by the ineffective use of the money you've loaned or gifted? Today we'll talk to someone who knows how to help you become the philanthropist you've always wanted to be. Not only will Kris Putnam-Walkerly share how to find great organizations and evaluate them, she'll also give us tips on using tools like donor-advised funds to make a larger impact (and maybe score some tax relief!). Don't worry if you like your news a bit on the harder-edged side - today's show has something for everyone: We'll ask how does an investor go from almost netting one million dollars to broke in two weeks? During our headlines, we'll look at how some investors got in over their heads in an attempt to earn huge returns... until the money train came to a screeching halt. In our second piece, we'll ask whether air travelers should expect airlines to raise fees to keep the middle seat open during the pandemic. Plus, where are the financial resources for people who DON'T want kids? During the Haven Life Line we'll answer a question from Maddie, who has become more interested in saving and planning for retirement. A lot of resources she's found so far have a focus on planning for the expense of children down the road. Maddie asks: what resources can she find for people in her situation?
Maybe you've heard of the term "anchoring" when it comes to sales. Most likely you heard it when a fast-talking salesman threw out a couple of high figures for a fancy car just outside of your budget. (But hey! That's okay, we have some more affordable models right over here... and look, you're five dollars under your limit!) But, is it possible to use the power of anchoring to actually help you reach financial goals? In our featured piece today, which is both written AND read on-air by Emily Guy Birken, we'll dive into how you can use the power of anchoring to cut your expenses, save more money, and find financial independence more quickly. Helping us dig into the topic is none other than the co-host of the BiggerPockets Money podcast (and Bigger Pockets CEO), Scott Trench. Of course, we'll also have help from Paula Pant of Afford Anything, and our very own OG. After we're done with our anchoring discussion we'll give our roundtable a little break while Joe rings up Angelo Poli from MetPro. Did being stuck inside for months on end cause you to pack on a Covid-19 pounds? Angelo will share some great strategies to get your lifestyle back on track. We mixed things up on our Magnify Money segment this week so we could give Scott Trench a little fun. With some inspiration from a Reddit Real Estate post, we asked this question to the roundtable: What are your real estate buying/selling horror stories? Of course, we're also carving out some time for Doug's trivia.
25 Ways to Fix Your 401k

25 Ways to Fix Your 401k


Do you feel just a little bit lost managing your retirement funds? Don't feel like your alone. A recent study shows that MOST Americans have no clue how to pick investments in their 401k, and worse yet, even more people feel like they're investing poorly for their retirement! If you want to fix your 401k plan (that thing you save into for retirement...), we're coming to the rescue. Today we'll discuss the good, the bad, and the stop doing this before you ruin your retirement. There are MANY ways to make your 401k grow faster, but today we'll discuss how to pick better investments, save more money, stop making trading mistakes, picking better funds, and more. Later in the show we'll throw out the Haven Life line to caller AJ, who wants our thoughts on buying a property at a discount to be used as an Airbnb. With the rest of AJ's bills paid, and the 401k and other retirement accounts fully funded, AJ and her husband have put in a $460,000 offer for a $540,000 house. So, is it a good time to make this investment? As always, we'll carve out some time for Doug's trivia.
Your boss offers you a several thousand dollar raise, do you turn it down? Probably not! Yet, one of California's top real estate agents says that home buyers and sellers both regularly leave thousands of dollars off the table. That's why today we're talking about better real estate transactions with Marin County, California's top real estate pro, Tracy McLaughlin. She'll share strategies from her new book, Real Estate Rescue, for staging, updating, and pricing a house so that it sells both for more money and more quickly. We're also diving into why financial advisors are losing faith in planning software tools. With plenty of highly-rated software on the market, should you be worried that your advisor is disregarding fintech? We'll jump into the "why" during our headlines AND cover why so many Americans had to dip into their retirement funds during the pandemic. Plus, could refinancing your home loan actually end up costing you more in the long run? During our Haven Life Line we'll answer a question from Niranjan, who heard on the show that because of the way amortization tables are structured, it might not always be a good idea to refinance a mortgage. He asks us to explain this a bit more in detail, and of course, Joe and OG oblige. During the segment, we'll explain financing, interest rates, amortization tables, and more. We'll also carve out some time for some of Doug (who seems to be acting a little suspicious today... more on that later) and his trivia.
Have you had trouble getting the people around you to understand the importance of saving, investing, and planning? Maybe you're having trouble connecting with people on their level or it's difficult to have a meaningful, lasting conversation? Worse yet, and on a much wider scope...maybe you don't understand current events and why things are happening. Today we dive into a piece from the Harvard Business Review that suggests there's a key piece that could be missing in your relationships: curiosity. Our roundtable will help us figure out the why behind your questions about what others are doing...and includes our friend from the financial blog Tread Lightly, Retire Early, Angela Rozmyn; Len Penzo from the blog, and our very own OG. After our awesome (if we don't say so ourselves...) empathy discussion, we'll give our roundtable a break while we chat with the founder of a new money-tracking solution. Between breaking your spending down into searchable categories, automatic bill and subscription detection, and budget capabilities, the Copilot app has a lot going for it. We'll chat with founder Andres Ugarte during our Friday Fintech segment to get the inside scoop. Plus, do you remember the first time you had to buy home essentials on your own? ("What??? Bacon cost THAT much!?") During our MagnifyMoney segment, we'll dive into some of the responses to our Twitter poll: What’s something you didn’t realize how expensive it was until you had to start buying it yourself? Here's one from the home team: shredded cheese (more than I thought it would cost anyway), cleaning supplies, and of course... going out to eat multiple times a week. KA-CHING!
Are you just beginning your journey toward investing or know someone graduating from high school or college? On today's show we'll field a letter from Jonathan with some help from our friend Christine Benz at Morningstar. What things should graduates and new savers think about first? Where do they make mistakes? What resources and books are great reads? We'll tackle all of those questions during today's episode answering your questions! We'll also tackle a question about target-date funds. Why do most target date funds stink? We'll explain. Also - have you thrown away your stimulus money accidentally? If it hasn't come yet, there's a good chance you have. We'll explain why there's been such a mix up on today's show. We'll also wonder aloud about the news last week out of Silicon Valley. Has COVID-19 created a new normal for workers which includes working from anywhere? Twitter says "Yes," and Facebook says...."Maybe." We'll explain.
Can you actually manufacture "luck"? Have you been hoping for your fortune to change? Do you feel like you've failed often lately? What if we told you that you COULD change your luck? , Today we tackle the recipe on luck with the man who actually co-wrote the book on the topic, Gay Hendricks. Between setting yourself up for success and being ready when opportunity comes knocking, Gay Hendrick has a wealth of information on how you can begin to operate your life, investments, savings, and budget with the power of the world on your side. Plus, has the current situation left you scrambling to pay rent? Or maybe you're a landlord still waiting on checks from struggling tenants? During our headlines we'll ring up rental real estate expert Justin Pogue for some advice on what you should do if you're stuck in a bad situation either way during these difficult times. In our second piece we'll cover some secondary effects of the troubled economy: teenagers across the country are finding out their usual summer jobs won't be waiting for them this year. Later, we'll answer the question: does the law of supply and demand mean that stock prices are currently artificially inflated? Caller Jay left a voicemail on the Haven Life Line and notes that the number of publicly traded companies have halved since 1996. Wouldn't supply and demand dictate that these companies stock prices go up (more demand, fewer shares), regardless of their performance? It's another fun show with much, much more. Enjoy!
Is Goal Setting Overrated?

Is Goal Setting Overrated?


Has goal setting helped your quality-of-life? Today we review a recent blog post where the author decides that goals have possibly ruined much of his life. Today our round table contributors will dive into this post from blogger Alex West, and talk about measurement of goals, a horizon that always seems to be unreachable, the randomness of progress, and more. After our discussion on goals (or the lack thereof), we'll shift gears to speak with Pam Andrews from The Scholarship Shark. How can you help someone not only get into the school of their dreams but help them get it paid for with scholarships? We'll discuss the problems students face, the important aspects to think about when targetting scholarships AND we're also thrilled to announce our brand-spanking-new partnership with Pam. Looking for more after our discussion? You can find out more at: We'll round out our show with sharing the results of a timely and special poll. A few weeks ago we asked our friends on social media what their best "investment" has been so far during this unprecedented quarantine. During today's Magnify Money question we'll ask our contributors to answer this same question and we'll also share some of the answers Twitter shared with us. One last thing... we'll always save some time for Doug's trivia.
We all wonder...this big stock market run-up lately...can it continue? Who should you listen to? What should you believe? Today we ring up a man WE believe, Phil Town, author of New York Times bestseller Rule #1, to provide some clarity. We'll ask him about the economy, the market, his strategy, and what he feels is the wrong way to invest in this climate. If you're ready for some straight talk from one of the best investment teachers, you'll enjoy today's discussion. Plus, are you in the market to purchase a home? Joe and OG roll out 12 great housing markets for first-time buyers. We’ll round out our headline with our second piece on credit cards: why are issuers now giving out lower holder limits, (and does it really matter to you anyway)? Later, we'll answer a question posted in our Stacking Benjamins Facebook group: Jason asks, what can he do to fix his father's retirement plan? His father is 60 and plans to work until he is forced to retire. At that point he plans to move in with Jason. With there being at least a decade of prep time remaining, Jason pleads asks us: what can he do in preparation?
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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