Paula helps you make daily decisions about how to spend money, time, energy, focus and attention and ultimately, our 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.
#181: Imagine that you’re going to take a 6-month to 9-month mini-retirement. How should you plan? What should you do? Sure, you’ll need to have enough savings to cover your expenses. You might want to find some part-time work. You may need to sell off a few investment. And of course, you’ll need to think about health insurance.
But what else should you consider? And how will your first taste of voluntary unemployment impact your mental and emotional health?
Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I discuss this in today’s podcast episode.
Nearly two decades ago, Stacy Berman, a personal trainer, launched a fitness bootcamp in New York City. She called it Stacy’s Bootcamp.
She invited her clients to join her for 5:30 am outdoor workout classes in Central Park. At first, only three or four people showed up. Then the group grew to 10 people. Then 20 people. Then demand grew beyond a capacity she could reasonably accommodate.
She hired personal trainers as independent contractors who led additional classes. She limited class size to 20 people who paid $30 to $37 per class, depending on the package they purchased.
Her business expanded to Manhattan’s Battery Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. After six years, Stacy’s Bootcamp grossed more than $1 million. The company had zero employees; the other teachers were contractors.
Stacy is one of the many entrepreneurs profiled by Elaine Pofeldt, author of the book The Million Dollar, One Person Business. In today's episode, we talk about solopreneurs who make a million without any employees.
She had a negative net worth until her late 20's, thanks to a combination of student loans, buying expensive cocktails and clothes, living far beyond her means, and not paying attention to her money. If you were to have met the 27-year-old version of Tanja, you wouldn't guess that she'd be a likely candidate for retiring early.
Yet a decade later, she's saved 40x of her annual cost of living.
How? Tanja worked as a political consultant in Los Angeles, and during her career, ascended to important high-ranking roles. Every promotion came with more grueling hours, accompanied by a raise.
Tanja maintained her same standard of living, banking every raise. This simple strategy allowed her to rapidly grow her net worth.
She didn't obsess about penny-pinching. She didn't clip 50 cent coupons for shampoo and soap. Instead, she focused her efforts on getting that next promotion, that next raise, and when it arrived, she saved and invested every additional cent.
Today, at age 39, Tanja has published her first book, Work Optional, about saving enough to retire and live a lifestyle in which paid work is an option rather than a necessity.
She joins us on this week's podcast to talk about the lessons she outlines in Work Optional.
Here are 5 takeaways from this conversation.
#1: We're taught that "you are what you contribute to the economy." Most of us learn, either explicitly or implicitly, that our self-worth is directly correlated with our economic efforts. This is an idea that we need to unpack and process as we face retirement, a mini-retirement, or any career transition.
#2: Research shows that we perceive all change as loss, even if the change is positive. Retirement is a loss of identity. It's one of the most stressful and anxiety-producing life events.
#3: Retirement and wealth will not create happiness. Money won't magically fix your life, health, relationships, outlook, or anything else. It's a tool that can help, but it's not a silver bullet.
#4: A morning routine is grounding. It's an effective way to start your day feeling centered and calm. I'd recommend this for everyone, regardless of whether you're retired or not.
#5: The easiest way to save is to keep living at the same level you're currently at, while earning more.
#177: Imagine that your job is extremely well-paying, but you don’t enjoy it.
You’d like to switch employers, even though this will probably require a paycut. But before you make the switch, you want to accomplish two goals: buy a home and catch up on retirement savings.
Should you pursue both goals? Or should you defer the home purchase, given the potential future paycut?
If you decide to pursue both goals, which one should come first?
This is one of the five questions that former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer in this week’s podcast episode.
We also answer a question from a listener who’s self-employed and wants to contribute more to his retirement accounts. We talk to another listener who’s living on $600 monthly paychecks while maxing out his Mega Backdoor Roth contributions.
We talk to a 22-year-old with an $80,000 salary who’s debating between paying off her student loans vs. investing. And we answer a question from a listener who’s wondering what she should do with 401k accounts from previous employers.
#176: Cal Newport created a philosophy called digital minimalism, which is idea of reducing your digital life down to only the most important core essentials. Remove the apps from your phone, then slowly re-introduce only the ones that are the most useful and beneficial. Take control of your smartphone, rather than letting it control you.
Digital minimalism is a philosophy of technology use. This philosophy pulls from the concepts of minimalism, essentialism, the slow movement, and the 80/20 principle, applying these ideas towards your digital life.
Cal discusses the digital minimalist philosophy on today’s episode.
#174: Should a 48-year-old New Yorker who’s retiring next year buy more rental properties? Should a Michigan-based first-time homebuyer use an FHA loan to buy a duplex for $135,000 that rents for $1,800 per month? Should a 40-year-old music professor who owns a duplex transfer his property into an LLC? Should a New Jersey condo owner sell her unit as For Sale by Owner? And should a woman who’s anxious about owning her own rental properties dive into real estate crowdfunding deals instead? I answer these five rental property questions in today’s podcast episode. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode174