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Afford Anything

Markets and Investing

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.

Location:

United States

Description:

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.

Language:

English

Contact:

707-728-5202


Episodes

Ask Paula: What to Do with a Six-Figure Windfall?

2/21/2024
#489: Cara made $100,000 in commissions this year, her biggest bonus ever. What should she do with the money if she wants to retire early? An anonymous caller is upset that the 401k plan he sold his boss on is charging him an Assets Under Management (AUM) fee. Should he keep the 401k at all? Remy and her husband need to come up with $30,000 for IVF treatments. How do they build their family without breaking the family finances in the process? Another anonymous caller and his partner have lived in an RV for years. They’re ready to settle. Should they sell most of his investments to purchase raw land and build an off-grid home? 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/voicemail For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode489 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:08:54

Gut Instincts and Big Decisions, with Morgan Housel

2/14/2024
#488: Ever made a flippant, seemingly minor decision that radically changed the course of your life? Morgan Housel has experienced this. At age 17, he made a quick decision that ended up saving his life. Sadly, two of his friends were less fortunate. He shares that story in today's podcast episode, and sheds light on the lessons he's learned from it. Housel says that his lifesaving choice -- and many of our other important decisions -- are snap verdicts, ones that we don’t spend much time thinking about. If pivotal moments are decided in a flash, how do we navigate risk? How do we evaluate our options? Housel says this comes understanding concepts that remain constant, consistent, and universal. We need to accept that humans aren’t rational. We must appreciate the reasons why the best answer doesn’t always win. We ought to remember that we overlook many good things happening around us. These constants will most likely impact our futures. Housel was named by MarketWatch as one of the 50 most influential people in the market. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Psychology of Money. His new book is titled Same As Ever. He joins us to discuss the ideas in his latest book. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode488 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:03:23

Ask Paula: "Should I Put My Dreams on Hold … and Buy a House Instead?"

2/7/2024
#487: Luis’s wife is killing it at her side hustle. The unexpected income has led Luis to YouTube for hacks to capitalize on their surplus. Can a 529 plan double as long-term care savings? Elizabeth is frustrated with the housing market. She’s been saving for years but isn’t anywhere near her goal. Should she give up and spend it on a dream pottery course instead? Steve has a dilemma. He doesn’t borrow money on principle. And his wife doesn’t want to sell their current house until they’ve closed on the next one. How is he going to make this work? Greta wants to “reverse” rollover an IRA into a 401k to avoid the pro-rata rule. Is that a thing? 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/voicemail For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode487 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:08:09

Stocks are Hot. Jobs are Hotter. What’s Next?

2/2/2024
#486: By every definition of the word, we’re in a bull market. The S&P 500 hit record highs for five consecutive days last week, and remained strong throughout this week. The Dow is above 38,000 for the first time in history. Unemployment has stayed below 4 percent for 24 months, marking the strongest employment in half a century. And consumer sentiment, which reflects more pessimism than the data warrants, is showing signs of improvement. The Fed met this week and decided to hold rates steady, as expected, but there are hints that they’ll start dropping interest rates within a few months. Inflation isn’t yet down to the Fed’s target rate of two percent, but it’s getting closer — with one notable exception. Auto insurance has skyrocketed; across the nation, car insurance is 17 percent higher than last year. Meanwhile, a shake-up in the real estate industry is creating tumult for the National Association of Realtors, which is facing its first serious challenge in 100 years. The outcome could determine how steeply you’ll have to pay when you sell your home. Where do we go from here? What’s next for the economy? We tackle these questions in this First Friday podcast episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode486 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:00:53:53

How to Start a Business in One Weekend, with Noah Kagan

1/31/2024
#485: If you’ve ever thought: "I’d love a business BUT …” I don’t have TIME I don’t have MONEY I don’t have IDEAS I have TOO MANY ideas and I don't know where to start I'm not technical I'm not creative or artistic I'm not good at sales You're not alone. Countless people don't start businesses or side hustles for these reasons. And they're losing thousands -- perhaps millions -- in opportunity cost. How much could you make if you started a side hustle that eventually scaled into a business? Possibly millions. Today's guest, Noah Kagan, is living proof. Noah was employee #30 at Facebook. His stock options, if fully vested, would be worth over $1 billion today. (If you want to do the math -- his stock options came to 0.1 percent of the company, which has a current market cap of $1 trillion.) But Noah was fired just a couple months before his stock options vested. So rather than getting a billion-dollar payout, he got nothing. He sank into a deep depression, eventually recovering with the help of a therapist who counseled him on how to reframe the experience. Then he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. He became a serial entrepreneur, building multiple businesses. His most successful venture now makes $80 million in gross revenue, and his personal take-home is $3.3 million per year (which comes from a $200,000 annual salary and $3.1 million profit distribution.) His net worth is $36 million. Not a billion, but still not too shabby. Noah recently wrote a book called "Million Dollar Weekend: The Surprisingly Simple Way to Launch a 7-Figure Business in 48 Hours." He sits down with us (in person!) to share: -- how to find business ideas -- how to overcome objections and rejections -- how to scale By the end of the episode, the common objections that you often hear -- like "I don't have time/money/ideas" -- will be quashed. Please enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode485 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:23:03

Ask Paula: The Hidden Cost of Student Loan Forgiveness

1/24/2024
#484: Kristen’s financial advisor charges a 1.3 percent fee on her investments. They also sold her term life, whole life, and long-term disability insurance. Do they have her best interests at heart? Casey has $290,000 in student loan debt. He committed 10 years to one employer for a chance at public service loan forgiveness. But five years in, Casey questions what he’s missing out on. Sara feels like it’s time to move to a more conservative asset allocation but she’s torn between buying bonds from Vanguard or Treasury Direct. What’s the difference anyway? 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/episode484 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:07:07

Thriving in a High-Pressure World, with Jennifer Breheny Wallace

1/17/2024
#483: Competitive. Results oriented. Driven to be the very best. These are a few ways to describe achievement culture. Achievement culture can also be described as stressful, high pressure and unhealthy. Yet, there is consistently the pressure – internally and externally – to make more money, be a better parent, spouse, friend, or employee. These burdens comes at a heavy cost to our well-being. Jennifer Breheny Wallace, author of the New York Times Best Seller “Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic - and What We Can Do About It” shares with us how to manage our need for success AND how to avoid the toxic traps that can accompany obsession with success. She offers insights into the consequences of this culture on individuals' mental health, and overall well-being, while also discussing practical solutions to common challenges. If you've ever felt the burn of trying to do it all, or if you just want a smarter way to navigate success without losing your sanity, the insights shared in this interview will help you develop a more fulfilling and balanced life. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode483 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:00:49:30

Ask Paula: Should We Drain Our Brokerage to Make a HUGE Down Payment?

1/10/2024
#482: A caller named “M” wonders if liquidating stocks for a larger down payment makes sense in a high-interest rate environment. An anonymous caller wants to take a pay cut to pursue his passions. But 75 percent of his net worth is in real estate. Is this too risky? Tiffanie hasn’t saved enough for early retirement, but she has a plan to use home equity to accelerate her goals. Is this going to work? 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/episode482 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:05:50

What’s In Store for 2024? Bitcoin, Home Buying, and Kiyosaki’s $1.2 billion in debt

1/5/2024
#481: Predicting the stock market is a terrible idea. But we can look at economic indicators and upcoming events to get a big-picture, 30,000-foot view of where our economy might be heading in 2024. In today’s episode, we explore what’s in store for 2024. We talk about the recent surge in Bitcoin prices, and the expected SEC approval of a Bitcoin ETF. We discuss when the Fed will lower interest rates, and the impact this might have on home buying. We talk about Robert Kiyosaki’s recent admission that he’s holding $1.2 billion in debt. And we take inventory of black swan events and election year abnormalities that might impact the flow of money. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode481 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:00:34:02

Your Blueprint for Life's Toughest Challenges, with Hal Elrod

1/4/2024
#480: The death of a sibling. Being declared dead after a head-on collision with a drunk driver. Suffering financially during the Great Recession. CANCER. Today’s guest, Hal Elrod, has battled all of these tough challenges. His little sister passed away in his mother's arms. Years later, Hal was hit by a drunk driver, broke 11 bones, declared dead, and once revived, learned that he might have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. (He eventually regained his ability to walk.) And after that, he was slammed hard in the wallet during the Great Recession. But he's a fighter. He needed to develop practices to build his resilience. So Hal created “The Miracle Morning,” a morning routine practice that gained massive popularity when he released it in 2012. The six-step Miracle Morning routine is coined S.A.V.E.R.S. -- silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing (writing). The routine became wildly popular, in part due to its flexibility; Hal explains that time-crunched people can start this as a six-minute routine; dedicating just ONE minute to each of these six steps. Over time, people can see the positive changes that this makes, and expand the time they allot for this. The routine is now the subject of a documentary, also called the Miracle Morning, available on Prime Video. Midway through filming, Hal was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and given a 30 percent chance of survival. He let the cameras roll as he coped with his diagnosis in real time. He joins us on this podcast to describe that experience, and to talk about the practices that he's used to stay productive in the face of grief, severe injury and cancer. He talks to us about: the powerful Five-Minute Rule that helped him recover from a nearly fatal car crash the six most popular personal development practices of the successful specific tactics you can harness to create YOUR most successful life. As we move into the New Year, many of you are setting goals and resolutions. Hal describes specific, actionable tactics that you can use to build scaffolding and support around your new goals. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode480 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:12:29

Ask Paula: Is Mom Getting Ripped Off by Her Investment Advisor?!

12/27/2023
#479: Nicole’s 78-year-old mom is paying huge fees for low returns. How can Nicole help her mom make better investments? Paul is a single dad, worried about paying his daughter’s college costs. He’s trying to figure out how to report lower income on the FAFSA, so that his daughter can get better financial aid. Nick is in his 40’s. His long-term care insurance rate is nearly doubling. Should he stop spending on this type of insurance? 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/episode479 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:10:55

Buy the Damn Guac, with Jamila Souffrant

12/20/2023
#478: Ever skipped that extra drink, pricey cheese, or a night out for the sake of your wallet? If this feels familiar, then you’ll appreciate today’s episode with Jamila Souffrant. Jamila is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, podcast host, and author, guiding us on making savvy choices to save while still having fun. Jamila explores the power of understanding our ""why not,"" staying motivated on our financial paths, shaping a success-bound mindset, and posing THREE crucial self-assessment questions for goal alignment. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode478 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:00:58:24

Ask Paula: Investing for the Future vs. Paying Down the Past

12/13/2023
#477: Kayla is torn between paying off a loan early or catching up on missed retirement contributions. Josh wants to retire early and meets the threshold for zero capital gains taxes. Should he put all his retirement savings into a brokerage account? An anonymous caller wants to know how to merge financial lives with her husband from another country. 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/episode477 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:00:18

Astronaut's Guide to Taking YOUR Moonshot, with Mike Massimino from NASA and Big Bang Theory

12/6/2023
#476: Mike Massimino stared in disbelief at his TV. The date was July 16, 1969, and he marveled as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. At that moment, he knew he wanted to become an astronaut. He was six years old. But as Mike grew older, he developed more “realistic” dreams. After all, every kid wants to become an astronaut. The chances of making it are incredibly slim. He went to a local college, studied engineering, and took a job at IBM. But he couldn’t shake the tiny voice inside that said – “why not try?” So Mike upended his life. He enrolled in a Ph.D. program at MIT, and then proceeded to fail the qualification exam so badly that his professors gently suggested that perhaps a doctorate isn’t right for him. He battled to pass the exam on his second attempt, and went on to teach at Georgia Tech, from where he repeatedly submitted applications to NASA for their astronaut candidate program – which they called “as* can.” He was thrilled when he finally received his acceptance – until he learned that he needed 20/20 vision. At the time, NASA required astronauts to have naturally 20/20 eyesight, without surgery. So he sought out a doctor to help him re-train his eyesight. Then he learned that he’d need to pass a swim test. He was in his 30’s and had never swum. “Can’t I just take a math quiz?,” he joked. But he … didn’t let that sink him. (Pun intended). In today’s special episode, former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino explains how anyone – including you – can take your own moonshot. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode476 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:28:35

Tribute to Charlie Munger, The Man Who Taught Warren Buffett How to Invest

12/1/2023
#475: Born in 1924, Charlie Munger was raised during the Great Depression. At the time of his death on Tuesday, his net worth was estimated at $2.6 billion. But Munger’s greatest achievement wasn’t merely the scorecard of his net worth. His wit and wisdom, which Munger shared with the world through his book, Poor Charlie’s Almanack, which made him one of the most respected investors of the last century. Munger is the man who taught Warren Buffet how to invest. He’s lauded as the moral compass of Berkshire Hathaway, the company where he has served as vice chairman since 1984. He’s the man who famously said, "In the short run, the market is a voting machine. But in the long run, it is a weighing machine." Munger and Buffett met each other in Omaha, their shared hometown, at a lunch at the local Omaha Club, where they were introduced by mutual friends. They instantly connected. Buffett was an unknown at the time, but Munger saw his potential. Munger’s wife once asked him, “Why are you paying so much attention to [Buffett]?,” and Munger replied, “You don’t understand. That is no ordinary human being.” Their business partnership and friendship has lasted for more than 50 years, and Munger played a key role in many of Buffett’s investing decisions. He passed away on November 28, 2023, at age 99. In today’s First Friday bonus episode, we pay homage to the late investing legend Charlie Munger. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode475 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:00:23:55

Surviving a $35,000 Credit Card Scam, Job Loss and Foreclosure, with Tiffany Aliche, The Budgetnista

11/29/2023
#474: When Tiffany Aliche was in her 20’s, she fell victim to a credit card scam. A crafty swindler convinced her to take out a cash advance against her credit card for $35,000. He said that he’d invest the money and produce Bernie Madoff-style returns. She was an inexperienced investor. She believed him. She never saw that money again. Aliche worked at a preschool. She didn’t make much money to begin with. But matters worsened when the school shut down, and she lost her job. She fell behind on mortgage payments and lost her condo. In order to recover from such huge setbacks, she had to grapple with an enormous sense of financial shame. Today, financial educator Tiffany Aliche, better known as The Budgetnista, shares how she overcame financial shame. She talks to us about the opposite of shame, which is a sense of financial wholeness. And she discusses practical tips for how to navigate the challenges of debt and scams. For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode474 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:06:04

Ask Paula: How to Pay Off a $8,000 Medical Bill Without Going Broke

11/24/2023
#473: Sarah has cash to pay a $8,000 medical bill but she’s reluctant to drain her savings. Should she sign up for the hospital’s interest-free payment plan? Jennie is an independent consultant but gets paid as a W-2 employee. Without access to a SEP IRA or a 401k plan, is there another option to save for retirement? An anonymous caller is wondering how to run a cost-benefit analysis on pursuing a graduate degree. Brian is getting inundated with spam calls as a real estate investor. Is there a way to stop the madness? 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/voicemail For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episodes473 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:00:56:01

Happiness Habits, with Harvard Professor Arthur Brooks

11/15/2023
#472: Imagine this: You’re a teenage musical prodigy, a world-class classical French horn player. You drop out of college at age 19 and spend your twenties touring the globe as a musician (including, once, tripping and falling off the stage at Carnegie Hall). At age 31, you retire from your musical career, get a Ph.D., and become a professor – first at Syracuse and then at Harvard, where you teach both at Harvard Business School and at the Harvard Kennedy School. You publish 13 books and write a column for The Atlantic, which gets noticed by Oprah Winfrey. Oprah then invites you to dinner, where she asks you to co-author a book together. This is the life of today's guest, Harvard Professor Arthur Brooks, whose collaboration with Oprah, a book called Build the Life You Want, focuses on the science and research behind happiness. Brooks teaches a class on leadership and happiness to second-year Harvard MBA candidates. In our conversation, we discuss a range of topics, including metacognition (thinking about how to think), the neurobiological basis of ruminating, and how to balance the concept of contentment with the innately human urge for ambition and progress. He also offers a formula for happiness: enjoyment + satisfaction + meaning and purpose. So – I hope you enjoy this episode; I hope you find it satisfying, and I hope it fills you with meaning and purpose! – Paula For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode472 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:04:40

Ask Paula: I Came Into A Lot of Money. What Should I Do With It?

11/8/2023
#471: Bob split a $350,000 windfall between savings and paying down his mortgage. But now he’s wondering if he made a good choice. Can Paula and Joe do the math to justify his gut-driven decisions? Julia wants to tap the equity from a second home to buy a third home in Texarkana, Texas. Is this a good plan? Joey Jr. wants to retire early, put two kids through college and buy a vacation home within the next five years. How can he afford to do it all? An anonymous caller wonders if $1 million is a good budget for a retirement pad. 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/voicemail For more information, visit the show notes at https://affordanything.com/episode471 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:01:04:18

The GDP Grew 4.9 Percent, Unemployment is at a Near-Record Low … and Everybody’s Stressed About Layoffs

11/3/2023
#470: The economy is booming. GDP grew 4.9 percent last quarter, the fastest rate of growth since 2021. Consumer spending jumped 4 percent. Unemployment is holding steady at 3.8 percent, historically low. The U.S. added net new jobs for the 34th consecutive month. And yet – people are worried. Online discussion around layoffs at its highest point since July 2020. High-profile headlines about major staffing cuts – most recently from Schwab, which is dismissing 2,000 employees – fuel these fears. Why is there such a disconnect between sentiment, which is pessimistic, and economic data, which is robust? We explore that qu estion in today’s episode. We also discuss the controversial Credit Card Competition Act, which if passed might eliminate credit card rewards like airline miles and cashback. We talk about Mint, the budgeting app with 3.6 million users, announcing that it’s shutting down. We also share details about the student loan repayment debacle. And we describe a landmark court ruling for $1.8 billion – yes, with a B – against the National Association of Realtors and several real estate brokerages, a verdict that may revolutionize the business model of how homes are bought and sold. Enjoy our First Friday of November 2023 episode! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:00:35:59