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Afford Anything
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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
278 Episodes
Welcome back to PSA Thursday, a mostly-weekly segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the middle of a pandemic. This week, we focus on life and staying safe when venturing outside of your home. Many of us are concerned with reducing the risk of coronavirus infection in places like grocery stores, gas stations, or backyard BBQs, but the guidelines on how to stay safe aren't always clear. In this episode, we discuss specific precautions to take... When using a public toilet When picking up food at a quick-serve restaurant When you're exercising at the gym When filling your car with gas In your general day-to-day life when you're out and about For more information, visit the show notes at
#264: An anonymous listener, whom we call “Mary,” is curious about the auto-rebalancing feature offered by M1 Finance. Is it too good to be true? J isn’t happy with the target date retirement fund she chose for her 401k. She has limited options and is wondering: should she move funds around? If so, is now a bad time, considering the market volatility? Another anonymous listener is wondering how to choose the right mix of investments for a retirement portfolio. She also wants tips on rebalancing a portfolio. And when should she execute a Roth conversion? Tami has $160,000 in a G fund in her TSP. Should she move this money to a Lifestyle fund to increase her earnings? Andy and his wife contribute the maximum to their children’s 529 accounts, and they have three investment options to choose from. Should they continue with an aggressive managed portfolio, or choose something less risky? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
Here's the sordid history of the Payroll Protection Program, plus four additional options for getting pandemic relief as an entrepreneur. In this episode we share the following resources for small businesses: Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Employee Retention Credit. SBA 7(a) Program Mainstream Lending Program   For more information, visit the show notes at
#263: It’s been a tough year, and we’re only halfway through it. Today’s guest has insights and actions to help you build financial resilience in 2020. Not only will you emerge from the events of this year stronger, you’ll also face future personal challenges and economic downturns with more confidence and knowledge. Our guest is Dr. Brad Klontz, a clinical psychologist and Certified Financial Planner. He’s the author of five books on the psychology of money, a founder of the Financial Psychology Institute, a managing principal of Your Mental Wealth Advisors, and a fellow of the American Psychological Association. He’s also a former associate professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State. Dr. Klontz appeared on our show in April 2018 to discuss unhealthy attitudes towards money. We invited him back for his expertise on coping with recent situations and developing financial resilience For more information, visit the show notes at
#262: Tyson is taking a year off of work and plans to devote some of his time to domestic travel, volunteer work, and bolstering his rental property portfolio. He originally planned to travel internationally, but won’t due to the pandemic. How does this plan sound? Jace is wondering whether she should take advantage of the low stock market prices or keep a larger emergency fund due to the pandemic. Which is the better option, given her goal of financial independence? Jace also wants to know: where do you park your money after maxing out a 401k and Roth IRA? Venkat had to relocate after living in a condo for one year. He rents out the condo, but he’s in the red. Should he sell this condo? If so, when? TW has $250,000 in cash that he can use to either pay off his rental property or purchase two more properties. Which is the better option? For more information, visit the show notes at
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#261: I quit my job at the beginning of a recession and made it work. Two years ago, I did an interview with Lessons From a Quitter explaining how. Given that so many community members want to leave their jobs for something better in the future, whether it's freelancing, self-employment, or early retirement, I'm re-airing the interview. I hope my story sheds light on what's possible in the most inopportune times. For more information, visit the show notes at
Welcome back to PSA Thursday, a mostly-weekly segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the middle of a pandemic. In this episode, we cover how to manage student loans in the midst of the pandemic with Travis Hornsby, a Chartered Financial Analyst and the founder and CEO of Student Loan Planner. He's an expert in the complex topic of student loans. Travis shares deep insights into the changes that have occurred, and how those changes might alter the way you think about and manage your student loans going forward.
#260: Katelyn wants to fire her financial advisor and move her investments from mutual funds into Vanguard index funds. Should she do this during the pandemic? Or should she wait? Marisa asks: can you invest in a Roth IRA if your income is inconsistent and might exceed the cap? Anonymous Moving-for-a-New-Job had a Simple IRA at her old job that she can no longer contribute to. She also can’t contribute to a 401k until she’s been at her new job for a year. Where should she put her money in the meantime? Anonymous “Olivia” is interested in a Roth conversion ladder, but wants to know: does the pro-rata rule apply here as it does with a backdoor Roth conversion? Mary received an $80,000 grant of RSUs from her employer when she started. These RSUs began to vest after one year, and the price per share has increased 44 percent. What should she do with the shares? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
#259: Leadership comes in all forms. Whether you’re a small business owner, a manager or department head at work, or the head of a volunteer organization, having a crystal clear vision is critical to success. Without a clear vision, you’re likely to stumble along a path that leads to nowhere -- or worse, a dead end. Wouldn’t it be better to have an idea of where you’re going? Michael Hyatt, a prolific bestselling author on the topics of business and leadership, shares the pitfalls of not having a vision and 10 ways to nail down a solid vision that will lead you to the path you want to be on. Check out bonus resources:
We have muted the podcast thusfar this week, in support of the #amplifymelanatedvoices movement and in support of the #theshowmustbepaused movement. We have assembled a list of resources that highlight books, websites, podcasts, nonprofit organizations and GoFundMe campaigns that I would like to direct your attention to in lieu of our normal programming. These resources can be found at We are also matching $3,000 in donations to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and the Children's Development Association. Please DM me on Instagram with a screenshot of your donation and I'll match it. Instagram: paulapant
Let's start with the good news: the majority of U.S. households, 6 in 10, donate money to nonprofits and charities, and 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. volunteer their time and talent. The only way our society is going to get through the struggles and the stresses that we face is if we are good to each other. Compassion and common humanity are crucial. In this PSA episode we discuss strategies around giving, including how to donate money and volunteer time effectively, as well as how to embrace the opportunity to practice informal, random, spontaneous acts of kindness.
#258: “Burned Out in Boston” wants to reach financial independence. But she’s not sure she can stick it out in Boston much longer. She and her husband want to move to an area that doesn’t have many job prospects, and they want to make this leap soon, ideally before they reach FI. How do they know when it’s the right time to jump ship to their dream location? We tackle this topic, plus four other questions about stock market and real estate investing strategy, on today's Ask Paula episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
#257: “The checking account is like the trash can of personal finance.”   Today’s podcast guest, the famed behavioral economist Dr. Dan Ariely, is not a fan of checking accounts. Or supermarket end caps. Or anything that distracts us from our financial goals.   In this episode, he explains why.   Dan Ariely is one of the world’s most renowned behavioral economists. He’s the James B. Duke Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.   His TED Talks have been viewed more than 15 million times. In 2018, he was named one of the 50 most influential living psychologists in the world.   He’s the New York Times bestselling author of many books, including Predictably Irrational, a book that challenges our assumptions about our ability to make rational decisions. He also wrote Dollars and Sense, a book about our cognitive biases, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, a book about how we lie to everyone, including ourselves.   For more information, visit the show notes at
How can you find business and investment opportunities in today’s tough pandemic bear market? What should you do to emerge from 2020 stronger than you started? We cover 7 specific, immediate actions that can set you up to succeed in this recession. Here's a peek: think about hiring a team, create an original piece of work, take online classes, and keep your plans intact (even if that means quitting an unfulfilling job).   For more information, visit the show notes at
#256: Jon is wondering if now is a good time to move his RRSP into a tax-free savings account, given the market downturn. He knows you can’t time the market, but the opportunity is tempting. What should he do? Laurel’s question revolves around the CARE Act and early withdrawal from a 401k. She needs to rebalance her 401k and wants to buy a rental. Instead of selling stocks, should she sell bonds as a form of rebalancing and to withdraw for a rental property? After seeing so many businesses experience financial hardship, Rebecca and her husband are curious: why don’t companies have emergency funds? Salome sees the stock market downturn as an opportunity for tax-loss harvesting, but does this hold if you’ve held stocks for less than a year? Sheena has the option to purchase company stock at a 15 percent discount through an Employer Stock Purchasing Plan. However, it’s volatile right now. Should she contribute the maximum amount, or nothing? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy joins me to answer these questions. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
Before the pandemic, the U.S. housing market was strong. Home prices were at historic highs. Borrowers were more qualified than ever, with two-thirds of mortgage originations going to borrowers with excellent credit. As of January 2020, delinquencies (borrowers more than 30 days late on a payment) reached a 20-year low. How has the pandemic affected the market? Are we due for another spate of foreclosures? What's going to happen to housing supply? What about demand? Are buyers still buying? Are sellers still selling? And if you're thinking about buying a home -- either as an owner-occupant or as a rental property investor -- what do you need to know about the new pandemic landscape? We dig into depth in this short, researched-packed PSA Thursday episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
#255: When a crisis hits, do you stay calm and collected, or do you launch yourself down a rabbit hole of worry and worst-case scenarios? When the stock market spirals downward, do you shrug and stay the course, or do warning bells explode in your brain? When news of the pandemic hit, was your first instinct to form a calm and reasoned action plan, or rush to the store to buy months of supplies? Your personality influences your reactions to these scenarios. Today’s guest, Dr. Sarah Stanley Fallaw, has a Ph.D. in applied psychology and is the founder of DataPoints, a research firm based on the science of building wealth. What links between personality and money management has research uncovered? We discuss this topic in today’s episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
Lydia earns income as both a 1099 contract worker and a part-time W2 employee. She filed for unemployment as a W2 worker, but can’t find information on how to file as a contractor. Is there a process contractors can follow to file for unemployment? Florina and her husband have $70,000 in cash to invest. Where should they put this money in light of the current market? Ali and his wife saved eight months of living expenses in their emergency fund in case they get laid off during the pandemic. Is this too excessive? Danielle wants to take advantage of pandemic stock prices - what should she invest in? Anonymous in Real Estate wants to buy a multifamily property with the equity in their first rental as a downpayment. Their husband doesn’t want three mortgages. Should they accelerate mortgage pay-down and be one mortgage down in four years? I answer these five questions in today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
Welcome back to PSA Thursday, a segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the middle of a pandemic. Today, our focus is on money - specifically, the stock market. Why did it crash in March? What effect did that have on us as a society? Why has it rebounded in the middle of a shutdown, and what does that mean? Are valuations too high relative to earnings? How can we handle our investments and retirement savings at a time when the movements of the market seem irrational and unpredictable? We explore these questions in today's episode.
Comments (26)

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

Maxwell Sharpe

I really enjoyed this episode it was very informative.

Oct 2nd

Christie Brown

On the subject of high deductibles- I completely agree with the idea that you will go to the doctor less. I triple guessed myself on doctors visits when my deductible was $50. I also had a mouth full of cavities that were going to cost me about 5000, I did not fix them for another 3 years when I became an intern and took a major salary cut that made me eligible for Medicare!

Aug 23rd

Joanna B

The Vicki Robin interview is one of favorite interviews of all time, full stop. So much wisdom packed in about personal growth, lifelong learning, and the second part of life. Thank you!

Apr 8th
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