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Our Fad Finance Smackdown (plus a peek at our new Retirement Design Lab)

hey nick loper here from the 
side hustle show when i'm not   helping people earn money outside of 
their day job i'm stacking benjamins live from joe's mom's basement 
it's the stacking benjamin show i'm joe's mom's neighbor doug and gimmick diets 
don't work so we'll ask the question what are   the fad diets in personal finance joining us 
today from smart money mamas it's the woman we   refer to as a verb when she's not here chelsea 
brennan and from the afford anything podcast   paula pant from yup you guessed 
it it's the one and only mr t i'm just kidding   mr t is getting a fresh new birthday mohawk 
so you're just stuck with olen penzo plus   hoping to get a handle on your retirement we 
did you a solid and built you the ultimate   retirement design lab and internally we 
call it the retirement stack-a-lotter   we'll share how it works with our partner 
creator steve chen during our friday   fintech segment finally we'll magnify one lucky 
listener's money and i'll get the gears turning   with my tv related trivia and now a guy who i 
mean he just pities the fool it's joe saw see him i pity the fool that is it me with this group of 
people he kidding me i get to hang out with all   of you on a friday hey everybody let me be the 
first to welcome you to friday i'm jocelyn c hi   average joe money on twitter and we have a rowdy 
bunch of people here for a friday let's start deep   under los angeles where mr len penzo is huddled 
up in his bunker ready to podcast i am ready it's   great to be here joe as always and uh can't 
wait to see what you have in store for us   today i can't wait to see what i have was i 
supposed to plan something was i bringing the   show well i will say this the thing you sent me 
i thought you were trying to send me a message   actually about the weight loss so i you know 
i was like why did you just come out and tell   me directly instead of sending me this article 
but well you know you you hint first len that's   that's what friends do just kind of you know 
maybe you need to put down the ice cream big guy   and then there's the phrase big guy oh that's okay 
you're right that works for me i like hearing that   and from some other undisclosed location from 
the afford anything podcast paula pants here   can we divulge who today's guest is because i 
have such a follow-up comment that's going to come   after we reveal the identity of today's guest okay 
we'll get back to paula pant and here from smart   money mama juicer paula pan it is our good friend 
chelsea brendan and i love by the way chelsea when   you're on because whenever you come on the show 
there's somebody new to our facebook group who   goes you mean chelsea bread is a real person 
i am so glad to be mentioned in some of your   reviews it makes me feel you know super special to 
actually be invited back and talk to you in person   every time you're here we always have a good 
time so of course you're back how have you been   we've been good it's been busy i was gonna say 
you've been very busy i see all the stuff you're   working on tell the three people that don't know 
about smart money mamas what's going on there well   not the whole thing because that would take 
a long time but just the take a long time   we got two new things going on we just launched a 
new product suite called the new mama money plan   so we're working directly with brand new parents 
about how to financially prepare for a baby from   like budgeting to estate planning planning your 
career post baby which is really exciting uh and   then we're launching a youtube live show june 
1st so busy on both those projects crazy busy   and i'm so excited that's got to be 
intimidating and fun all mixed together   it is after doing the mama's talk money summit 
for two years live video and interacting with   our audience that way is like my favorite thing so 
is it really get back oh i will absolutely i will   take audio over video any day and i'll interact 
and have fun like if we can can have interaction   people if we could have our whole community here 
on audio that's great but we get the video i'm   like yeah i'll i'll pass but uh one i'm gonna brag 
on my friend chelsea for a second a lot of people   you know have their 15 minutes of fame on tv that 
wasn't enough for you you got one of your products   on tv i did we got to have our family emergency 
binder on the show dead to me on netflix and their   producer actually emailed us to ask about the 
product placement and i almost deleted the email   joe because i was like what is this nonsense 
like there wasn't really an email signature   and then he actually called and left a message 
and was like hey so they needed a product that   very much fit with our family emergency binder 
does and of all things somebody on the prop team   actually had purchased and used it in the past 
and so they were like instead of trying to mock   up one of our own why don't we just use this 
thing from smart money mamas and yeah it's in   two different episodes of dead to me that is so 
crazy that's so awesome and speaking of awesome   we have never introduced her before not earlier 
on the show paul pant is here can we can we   introduce you now are we good now all i have 
to say is that i really want to know if this   episode is going to be the day that i have 
a chance to chelsea brennan chelsea brandon we're gonna find out but we've got a great 
discussion first because we've got paula   here we got chelsea here we got len here we're 
about to have a great discussion i said but first   well if this is your first time listening to 
stacking benjamins you've missed me bragging on   my friends don and tom over at the talking real 
money podcast all week long actually i've done   it a lot lately haven't i that's because these 
two guys focus on making managing money easy and   understandable based on solid science because 
investing it's too simple to be as complicated   as wall street wants you to believe so like 
stacking benjamin's talking real money's more than   educational these guys are actually entertaining 
and the reason is don and tom have this unique   skill set where they've been on both sides there 
have been both broadcasters and financial experts   there's a variety of shows you can find whatever 
you want or just put it on play there's over 600   of them you'll learn how to invest better worry 
less and spend less in fees and commissions   you can listen right where you're listening to us 
now so give them a few shows i think you're going   to really like these guys i like the way that 
they talk to each other i of course have gone on   and on about how i drool over don's voice i wish 
i had that voice and i know that they are witty   and funny people and that's what i look for in any 
podcast you're going to get straightforward honest   advice on building the wealth you need for a more 
secure future at talkingrealmoney give them a few   episodes check them out at talkingrealmoney all 
right let's talk fad diets and money here we go   hello darlings and now it's time for your favorite 
part of the show our stacking benjamin's headlines   paul has been waiting to say that line for 
a week yes i am very excited because it can   happen today actually exactly because i'm in last 
as usual oh technically i'm tired i think chelsea   has to go first she does have to go first so 
she's not going to chelsea brennan anybody she's about to see what it's like to get chelsea 
yes today's piece comes to us from a blog called   both sides of the table dot com it's written by 
mark suster and at first i i didn't think this had   anything to do with money this this piece and it's 
uh how i lost 65 pounds in 18 months without any   fad diets or gimmicks and it's this great story 
about a man who lost a bunch of weight and yet   he doesn't talk about how it was keto or uh 
intermittent fasting or only grapefruits or any   any fad diet he just pretty much made himself 
a budget i'm gonna i'm gonna consume x   i'm gonna make sure that's less than than than 
what i spend that number's gonna be less than my   calorie consumption and shock of shocks he lost 
a bunch of weight and he said he feels great   he talks about how to get started he also 
talks about why a lot of diets don't work   and asked is food the most important thing or 
exercise and i'll give you a little spoiler it   turns out that it was probably both and what's 
interesting i'm going to link to this because if   you're looking to lose weight it's a super place 
for a starting point for people that want that   but for me it was just a jumping off point to a 
whole different thing which is he talks about fad   diets and he talks about what's really important 
and what's not important and i think that there's   a ton of analogies here when it comes to your 
money so chelsea you're our guest i'm going to   start with you biggest fad diet that makes 
you you're scrolling through social media   and you see somebody says something and you're 
like oh that's a fad diet with your money   what's that thing okay so we can go to one of two 
ways i'm gonna go with no spend challenges which   is people saying like i'm just not gonna spend 
money for 30 days or for two weeks and this is   gonna like help break all my spending habits where 
it's really just just like dieting this is going   to be a binge at the end of your no spend month 
thing right we're going to be completely deprived   and then we're going to overspend in three to 
four weeks and so that's one that i'm always like   what's your reasoning behind this how is 
this actually going to help you long term   i used to have that happen when i was a financial 
planner i would warn people do not go on a strict   cause they'd be all excited right you're finally 
getting your financial act together we're meeting   we're talking about your budget and we're going 
through and we're working on how much they're   going to spend and i warned them don't go on 
a shoestring diet because at the end you're   going to go hey we didn't spend any money for 
a month let's go buy a big screen tv on credit   and celebrate and it was it was horrible and it 
also breaks the rule that budgeting is supposed   to be an evolution and a way we're continually 
choosing how we spend our money and though this is   a reason that people set that super strict budget 
they break it and they're like see i just can't   budget yeah instead of like setting something that 
they know has to be flexible and work with them   the budget's the problem not me so i'm just 
going to get rid of budgeting all together   yeah len how about you man fad diet i would the 
fat i i was going to say actually it would be the   same thing it's you know i remember somebody just 
wrote wrote to me today saying about he has a no   spend friday and i was like okay no spend fridays 
well that's good but there's seven days out of the   week you know maybe you should up that to no spend 
you know maybe only spend only on fridays but   yeah i think it's the day where you decide not to 
spend or you you say i'm only going to spend on   minimize the number of days i'm going to spend 
in a month something like that something really   extreme like that or maybe hey i'm only going 
to spend you know the people that say hey i'm   only going to spend 10 of my income and i'm going 
to save the other 90 so i can retire by the time   i'm 30 years old so but i'm wondering i want to 
ask about this no spend friday thing because i   remember tim ferriss in the four-hour diet for 
our is it called the four hour diet the four hour   cookbook i think uh 24 hour chef the four-hour 
chef he talks about losing a bunch of 24-hour body   you know what it was in the four-hour body you're 
right it wasn't the four-hour chef he talks about   losing a bunch of weight and he said this may not 
be the healthiest way to do it but for six days   you eat this way you cut out carbs and you eat a 
certain way and then on the seventh day right you   have your massive cheat day and so i did this and 
i lost weight what was interesting about my cheat   day len was that i ate so grossly on that last 
day what i learned was the stuff i put in my   mouth on my cheat day was really the problem and 
i didn't want to eat like that like i went from at   the beginning of this diet to loving my cheat day 
to at the end hating my cheat day because i felt   so bad after donuts and ice cream and just all of 
this wonderful food i felt like crap maybe maybe   there's a lesson there i guess so i mean maybe 
you do find out if you do spend i mean you're   actually making the case for the the fat i guess 
is i mean you're making the case that hey if you   do train yourself not to spend a lot and then you 
end up spending and seeing the impact on that day   of on your bank account yeah that actually could 
demoralize you or make you realize hey that really   is stupid i'm wasting a lot of money so yeah i 
guess it can work that way as well and to that   point chelsea maybe the no spend challenge for 
a month i mean you do learn some things about   yourself over a short time frame like i i can 
live without this for a month and i was you know   let's go back to the eye roll same thing 
everybody talks about the lattes right yeah   i can live without lattes and who knew and i think 
the argument to it in the one place we've talked   about in our community is like do a no spend week 
and then do exactly what you said a spend week   like do whatever the hell you want to do for seven 
days and then make notes throughout both of those   weeks of like how did i feel how happy was i 
actually did this actually make me more content   and then figure out where the middle ground is and 
where it works for you where your spending values   actually are but just trying to do the no spend 
on your own i'm not sure if it identifies what   you're actually trying to learn yeah i like that 
instead of the a b test paula what's your fad diet   well you know so as as this conversation has been 
going on i've been trying to think about another   example of fad dieting in the world of money and 
budgeting wise i can't think of a better example   than what we've already discussed but in terms of 
investment i guess fad investment is whatever the   latest fomo yolo fomo investment is so whatever 
people are buzzing about on twitter whether it's   individual stock investors who are all piling into 
amc theaters and gamestop and nokia and blackberry   and then all of a sudden everybody is fomoing into 
crypto and and like don't get me wrong i'm not   i'm not saying that cryptocurrencies are a 
quote-unquote bad investment that is absolutely   annoying what i'm saying what i'm saying is that 
if you fomo into it because everyone on twitter   is blowing up about it and so you had no you 
were paying zero attention to it seven days ago   and now all of a sudden you're yoloing everything 
into it that is the wrong reason it might be a   good or it has nothing to do with the underlying 
asset class it's the wrong reason to go into   it i wondered a couple weeks ago out loud on 
twitter about uh elon musk on saturday night live   and the whole time he was on saturday night 
live dogecoin was going through the floor   uh during that time and i was wondering if paula 
to your point if there were a number of people   that had gotten into it because of fomo and all 
of a sudden realized it was a big freaking joke   like all like the first time ever that they 
realized that there are people laughing   about this coin honestly i i have a friend who 
bought dogecoin on 419 um because it was trading   at somewhere around 30 cents and he was like 
i bet it's going to get to 69 cents on 4 20.

And in fact it ended up getting to 69 cents 
the day before elon musk did his saturday night   live appearance and so when he went on snl it was 
trading at around 70 cents 75 cents maybe and then   of course once he got on snl it then like tanked 
yeah i mean dogecoin itself was created as a joke   it was created as a parody of a cryptocurrency 
and you know kind of to illustrate the like   haha wouldn't people buy anything and then sure 
enough they did right right it's so interesting   lin looking back over the the years i'm going 
to land for the old guy reference routine here   but you remember it feels a lot like 1999 right 
like and and and the the internet   you know that i remember cisco's i remember cisco 
cisco's still around but i remember that the   cisco was the same thing well i remember sitting 
with a growth fund manager and chelsea with your   experience you'll you'll appreciate this sitting 
with the growth fund manager who was telling me   all the rules had changed and that and then and 
then the old rules of looking at spreadsheets   and tracking fundamentals that was all out 
the window because now it was only technology   it was it was crazy did you get in on the tech 
boom len a little bit i did and uh i don't know   how i turned it you know because i it was diver 
i diversified so it's i really didn't get hurt by   it but i know a lot of people i think i've shared 
this story before my father and i spoke with cisco   because at the time cisco africa i graduated with 
a guy who got him with cisco almost at the ground   floor and he's the guy's you know boy is he 
yeah he's in good shape i wish i got a word   job at still when i got out of college anyways 
my dad jumped into cisco late in the game he got   really caught up because the it was going 
through the roof it was the hottest stock   at the time people were like well gosh they're 
server company i mean it's the internet guys   you're stupid if you don't invest this my dad got 
in at the top and he lost his ass on cisco oh no   and yeah he did if there was a point there where 
he was making some good money and then he just   held and and it went down but yes there was others 
and then there's others companies like my   gosh i can't even think of that so many companies 
so many like the van grocery remember the original   grocery van grocery stores i think it was um 
it was the it was the van with the big peach   on the side but it was an early internet grocery 
store company that one didn't go too far either   but yeah there were so many of those companies and 
you could it's like dogecoin you could make money   early on it but these were it was for the wrong 
reasons and over the long term the fundamentals   didn't pan out and if you held you got bit yeah 
it shocked that the world actually was the same   as it had been before before that run-up uh we're 
looking right now at a couple hot markets chelsea   and i'm seeing i'm seeing people really foam 
over a couple investments over number one crypto   right and number two real estate where people 
even trying to buy their first house are going   i'll wave the inspection i'll you know forget 
everything i'll give you 20 over asking price just   let me have the property i don't even need to look 
at it which one of those blows up first oh boy or do you think they're gonna blow up i mean 
i think the market will ultimately correct   i think crypto is one of those places i'm not 
super into it i'm not i don't invest in crypto   but it's one of those places that makes me nervous 
because of stroke of the pen risk you get you know   trying to undercut big national currencies at 
some point governments could just decide you   can't use that as currency to pay federal bills 
or whatever it is and so stroke the premix makes   me nervous with that but at some point you know 
the real estate market has to correct in a way   of if you're waving inspections if you're 
not putting down enough on a down payment   it's way too easy to get underwater right and so i 
actually was just talking recently about our first   home buying experience we did the inspections 
we did all the things and we got hit with   massive maintenance costs in the first year like 
over 35 000 maintenance costs in the first year   that's a hell of an inspector you had it wasn't 
we had the hvac system crap out we had it was the   record-breaking snow season in boston that 
started the day we moved in so we got an ice dam   and then the one thing that was missed is that we 
had a covered deck that held up our roof that was   not actually attached to the house and so when we 
got when that got caught we had to jack the roof   up and anyway we had a ton of maintenance that 
had to be done and those things do happen maybe   not that in that a grand scale but if you're like 
pillaging your emergency or small emergency fund   to buy a house you know at some point people are 
gonna end up stuck in those homes because they're   under water and so i think it does correct at 
some point calling which of those goes first   that's hard paula i disagree that the real estate 
market is going to crash for a few reasons number   one we have had a steady pattern of declining 
inventory that has gone on for several years   in fact in february of 2020 freddie mac put out a 
warning that the inventory levels were dangerously   low and now that was february 2020 that was prior 
to the pandemic which only halted construction it   halted renovations and it further depressed the 
inventory and so new household formation relative   to supply of homes has for years and years has 
for about a decade has steadily been declining and   that trend was accelerated by the uh pandemic 
you know and so number one we have like supply   and demand is such that demand is substantially 
higher than supply and that is that is a trend   that has been going on for a decade and that's a 
direct result of population growth and household   formation relative to supply number two lumber 
prices are through the roof and that fundamentally   causes the cost of both new construction and 
renovations to increase when lumber is double   triple quadruple what it was even a year ago 
then the cost of construction the material   cost is going to be significantly higher and then 
you add to that higher labor costs as a result of   you know labor shortages that are pandemic related 
and then you add to that if there's any inflation   and i think there's a i don't mean to be an 
inflation hawk but i think there's at least   a reasonable likelihood that we are going to see 
inflation in the next couple of years as a result   of some of the stimulus that's gone on and when 
you've got inflation you're in a situation where   labor and material costs continue to rise while 
meanwhile people who have fixed rate mortgages   have stable payments on their homes and so for 
all of those reasons you've got better qualified   buyers with fixed rate mortgages as inflation 
increases they're more likely to be able to   maintain the payments on their homes and the cost 
of both labor and materials continues to rise so   what breaks that i don't think it's going to break 
meaning i don't think that there's going to be a   decline in real estate values i do think that 
when lumber prices decrease that will cause a   leveling out so i think that it's it's possible 
that at some point real estate values will plateau   they will no longer continue their upward 
growth trajectory but i don't think they're   going to decline significantly i think i'm i'm 
just going to move into a vacant office building   for all the people who moved out during 
covet the businesses that aren't coming back   i'm going to move there i think paula sounds 
like dr irving fisher in 1929 where stock prices   reached a permanently high plateau if you 
want to see what's going to happen to the   housing market watch interest rates interest rates 
drive the market not lumber prices nothing else   it's interest rates and when interest rates start 
going up because when you're buying a house you   know you're buying a payment most people are 
buying a payment who aren't obviously aren't   paying with cash so you watch those interest rates 
if interest rates start going up that that's when   the housing market's gonna going to fall but 
as long as the fed can keep interest rates down   then that will i that should support the housing 
market it should well again that's my two cents   on that but getting back to the stuff that we 
can control right instead of taking out our   crystal balls and putting on our tin foil 
hats let's look at at some of the behavior   though now with all this cheap money len what it 
appears that we're seeing from some people is when   you talk about buying a payment you know i'm not 
worried about the person buying a lamborghini who   can afford the lamborghini i'm worried about the 
person who buys it because their neighbor owns it   the person who's in this bidding war for this 
house that really can't afford to be there   absolutely yeah i mean that happens and that's 
what gets most people in trouble is the ones who   want to keep up with the joneses and are letting 
others influence their purchasing decisions so i   absolutely agree i can't disagree with you on 
that joe it's uh self-control it all comes down   to self-control there's also an interesting point 
here where something is different where we have   moms in our community whose 13 14 year old kids 
have downloaded the robin hood app and our buying   game stop buying dogecoin and like the parents 
are coming to us asking what do we do about this   is this safe they think they're going to make a 
ton of money and they're putting themselves in   a lot of risk or investing money they don't even 
really have like parents money or whatever it is   and so that makes you know you nervous too you 
don't only have adults who are making emotional   decisions about buying but now you've got kids who 
aren't educated who are taking a lot of risk i'm   i'm smiling because one of my friends just texted 
me and his daughter had a robin hood account   and she freaked out because she realized 
that robin hood without her asking   she thinks but without her asking i don't know if 
they asked or not so to be clear i wasn't there   uh gave her margin right yep so this young woman 
is is i think uh 20 21 years old and thought wow   all of a sudden i've got this margin account i 
don't really like it what do i do and she and   her dad move to fidelity's brokerage account but 
i'm wondering i started smiling and i wanted to   tell that story because i'm wondering if robin 
hood's out there giving 13 year olds margin like   well they're not even supposed to be giving 
13 year olds accounts but this is just like   when they used to do like are you 18 and over 
button when you had to go to a website right like   yep absolutely yes yes most of 
these brokerages don't they give you the option   to buy on more you can choose to buy on margin 
or not buy a margin when you first open your   account right there's a lot of questions though 
len through the traditional brokerage houses   the answer is yes but there's a lot of questions 
but man robin hood's margin question is you know   can you fog a mirror yeah well that's interesting 
because my daughter asked me when she just started   investing you know got into the investing game 
a couple months ago and she opened up her schwab   account and the one of the first questions 
was do you know do you want to basically   have a margin account and i go absolutely not 
and what's funny is over the weekend she she   wanted to make a purchase this week and i said 
well the markets are closed and i mean i guess   but uh you're going to have to and besides you 
couldn't do pay anyways because she tried to   transfer her money or she did transfer money into 
account but it was still pending so she couldn't   have made a trade even if she wanted to because 
she didn't have enough money in her account   because she doesn't have the margin account so len 
told his daughter no absolutely not to margin i   told my kids no guts no glory so you got to be 
but you know what joe i think a lot of people   and new investors out there you've got to know 
what margin is because i think a lot of people   sign up for margin accounts and then they get into 
trouble and they buy on margin it's almost like   they you know what i'm saying maybe they don't 
even realize they're buying things on margin i   you know you get into trouble let's frame that 
question the way this discussion is framed with   this piece is margin up is using margin a fad 
diet that's going to blow up or what is it paula   i mean if we're using a diet analogy 
margin is like taking dangerous diet pills chelsea you're not i 100 agree right it's like 
okay this might work in the short term but you're   gonna end up in a way worse position down the 
road see i don't think so i i actually don't   think so len really i i'm with paul and chelsea i 
had boy that's that i think that's the anti-diet   actually i think i think i just think leverage 
is a tool and if you know how to use the tool   correctly leverage can take you a long way the 
problem is in using other people's money right   which is what i mean margins is another loan the 
problem is the application the tool and the fact   the person doesn't have the respect for the 
tool that they should have so in that way i   guess maybe it is polo like your diet pill right 
uh but i don't know that i'd ever take a diet pill   i don't i don't know enough about it you know 
my background's in hedge funds and we had times   we were releasing a new product we had to talk 
to lots of different financial advisors about   what the product was a leverage fund it was a 
shocking number of people in the room that did   not understand what we were talking about when 
it comes to leverage funds when i talk about   like the 20 year old who signs checks the box 
margin account you're right it can be a tool   but it's a tool that we should be offering like 
with just a check of a box no i totally go on   your merry way oh no no i totally agree with 
that i totally agree with that i mean that's   why i was joking about the 13 year old getting the 
margin account because oh and they'd have a blast   let's let's go once around the table though with 
like the basic thing here right he talks about the   basics what is your favorite basic if you're 
trying to go on a quote financial diet that works   uh we'll let our guest of honor 
go last paula we'll start with you   one of the points that he makes in his article is 
that you know you've got in terms of the order of   importance you've got things that others perceive 
as important like he talks about his peloton which   he classifies as gear you know that kind of gear a 
peloton bike and sleep tracking a wearable device   that sort of gear that other people think is 
really important actually doesn't matter that much   it's sort of like on the fringes but it's not the 
core and then he talks about how that core stuff   was like really understanding his psychology 
of food and his psychology of eating and those   things were the 80 20 of it right and so i think 
taking that analogy and applying it to finances   there are a lot of things that people think are 
going to be the linchpins of improving their   financial life like a 30-day no-spend challenge 
or you know diversifying five percent of their   portfolio into cryptocurrencies and then getting 
really excited about that or even one that people   here and i i feel lucky that you and i get to 
answer questions together so often on on your show   and we answer questions here together but often 
people that in our community think is the gear   how many times have people asked us should i move 
my money to vanguard and buy vtsax yeah exactly   that's exactly that's i mean don't get me wrong 
it's it's it's pretty cool gear but it's gear   exactly exactly oh should i switch so that i 
can get a one tenth of a percent expense ratio   improvement those are the things that people focus 
on like the super in the weed stuff but it really   that's the super in the weed stuff that's the 
if you're already a bodybuilder and you want to   competing in a bodybuilding competition and you're 
trying to get from like fifth place to first place   sure but if you are overweight and you're trying 
to get to healthy weight like that's not the   stuff that you worry about those aren't like 
the bodybuilding you don't need bodybuilding   supplements at that point you just need like to 
eat an apple so is your point then to focus on the   strategy and not the gear correct gotcha yeah yeah 
and focus on the fewer things that matter rather   than the many shiny objects that don't i love that 
mr penzo well i think it always and this is just   terrible i mean just because it's so but it's so 
true it's so cliche it comes down to spending less   than you earn but i think what everybody needs 
to do the most at the most basic level again   is set your baseline where you're at know your 
income know your outgo and then make sure that you   are spending less than you're earning so i mean he 
makes the point in here that you have to measure   your results so you have to set a baseline and you 
have to measure what you're doing so and and you   do that by knowing your income knowing where your 
money's going and then you can determine you can   set like paul said you can set your strategy 
from there i think that's at the most basic   level that's what it comes down to whether it's 
weight loss or personal finance it is funny say   that len because i hit a snag in my weight loss 
journey and it was when we moved to texarkana   and i was telling my coach that i just don't move 
anymore and so i started moving but you know i'm   i wasn't on a strict regimen of how i move him 
when i moved and then i bought some gear paula   i bought a watch that would tell me how often 
i move and it's funny because now every day i   make sure i move and my weight loss is begun 
again like the last week all of a sudden lend   to your point measuring but you don't need a fancy 
watch to do it right it isn't no but that's good   it's awesome because it's right there that what 
you're getting feedback on your wrist constantly   i mean that's really good when you're being 
reminded constantly of what your input your   output your you know what i'm saying i mean that 
is just incredible so yeah that's exactly right   i mentioned this a couple weeks ago on the show 
but for people that missed that episode i since   i brought my watch again i own this thing for five 
days the first day i had it i worked out the next   four days i did nothing and my wrist buzzed i 
looked and garmin was giving me an achievement   and i'm like it's like it's a video game gave me 
an achievement and my achievement was well rested   i'm like even even my fitness watch is smack 
talking me i gotta get my fat butt out moving yeah   like okay garmin game on uh chelsea 
you got the last word what's a basic   that you really all right i'm going to give 
you a basic but i got to talk about this line   at the beginning so he says and how to get started 
the first line i'm not a doctor so if you have any   health issues you should obviously consult a 
health care professional before with that said   dot dot this feels a lot to me like all the basic 
financial advice that we give that is without in   so many words being like unless you're in poverty 
unless you have a disability unless you're in all   these different situations right it's easy to 
say spend less than you make when you don't   make eight bucks an hour and are trying to raise 
two kids right so i think a lot of this you know   as much as the article was great and there were 
so many positive takeaways i'm gonna talk about   one of the ones that i think relates to money 
you do go through this article and you're like   oh this dude bought a wearable tracker he 
bought a bluetooth scale he had noom sign   up for a while he had daily harvest delivering 
him food right and at some point you're like   okay there's a lot here yes you're doing 
basics but all this feedback it does help   and it does help build that habit and 
so when we're talking about that like   everyone can do it just follow these simple rules 
narrative we do have to also talk about like   you're getting a lot of help here still in this 
article even though you're like i just went back   to basics right you're saying he's got a lot of 
gear he's got a lot of gear he's saying gear is   not important but then he's like i've got a lot of 
gear and i can afford a lot of gear and 90 minutes   a day to work out right that's another like well 
he did it in stages too though right he did in the   beginning he had almost none of that stuff going 
on right he had the the the noobs that was it and   then the stage two where he hit that plateau 
that initial plateau and and he had to figure   out a way to get around that plateau he added a 
few more items to increase his feedback and then   the third stage and then the fourth state and by 
the fourth stage that guys like you said chelsea   he was loaded with he was getting feedback from 
everything absolutely and i think that that's like   so my best takeaway that goes back to the basics 
here is he talks about how new made him look at   his emotional relationship to food and i actually 
think very similar to our emotional relationship   with money it starts with kids when we don't have 
a lot of awareness about it and so what triggers   our spending what triggers our eating we're not 
aware of it and so the more that you can do that   emotional work first figure out what your money 
stores are figuring out what your triggers are   they get easier and easier to avoid because just 
the awareness of them like he said you don't go to   the movie theater and get a giant tub of popcorn 
you bring a healthy snack right you don't go out   to drinks for your friends you invite them over 
to play a board game because you know you're gonna   buy five super expensive drinks if you go out 
with them it's that understanding the emotional triggers well today we have a very special friday 
fintech segment normally here we're going to talk   to a creator of uh something cool that you'll 
find on your phone or on your computer and don't   get me wrong we're doing that today however 
i've been really frustrated there is a huge   gulf between people that like to work 
on their financial plan themselves   and people who hire a financial planner and there 
are there should be there should be tools that   are much more robust than you can find online 
to give you a much more accurate view and some   accurate uh sandbox what if scenarios then exist 
well guess what we went out we found a partner and   we are bringing one to you ourselves we call it 
the stacking benjamin's retirement design lab   but of course in the basement we have another 
name for it we call it the stack of lotter   right you want to stack a lot of benjamins this 
is going to be the tool that will help you plot   your course toward doing that we always talk about 
begin with the end of mind so the creator of this   as our good friend certified 
financial planner steve chen   so let's talk to him about his new retirement 
tool the stacking benjamin's retirement design lab and here in the basement the man behind the stack 
of lotter and i know that that was he was wanted   to call it a stack of lotter from the beginning is 
my friend steve chen how are you man uh good joe   thanks for having me on it's uh it's great 
to be here with you in the in the basement   well you know it's a rare privilege for you i'm 
sure hanging out in mom's basement but of course   the cookies no extra fee right so that's good yeah 
that's awesome i love the uh the giant benjamin   behind you that's so thank you pretty amazing yes 
it's it's funny because that's a facebook ad like   i saw a facebook ad for that thing and went oh 
i gotta have it yeah talk about frugal that's   not very frugal but hey let's dive in this 
originally wasn't called the stack of lotter   it's the new retirement planning tool but you've 
allowed us to make some tweaks about the way that   we offer it put the stacking benjamin spin on it 
which i appreciate we love the tools so let's talk   about how you begin where did this idea come from 
initially to create the new retirement planning   tool basically the reason this got started 
was that my mom came to my brother and i   when she was in her early 60s and she was like 
hey listen you know i need to borrow some money   this year and this was kind of during an economic 
downturn of course we were like yeah we can help   you out she needed ten thousand dollars and we're 
like all right we can do this but can we kind of   dive into your situation really understand what's 
driving this need because you know we have young   families and the idea of kind of having to uh add 
this additional expense was a lot and so luckily   she said sure and we looked at her situation 
well first we try to actually help her find   assistance from like a financial advisor the 
reality was you know she was facing kind of   these more complicated decumulation challenges 
like really looking forward for 20 or 30 years   and understanding what what important decisions 
she had to make and how those would affect her   life and um most advisors one were focused on 
accumulation only and then also she her net worth   wasn't that big was like 250 000 including her 
home equity so many advisors today they're really   focused on it used to be half a million then it 
was a million in many cases now wealth advisors   they want to have at least two million dollars 
when you walk in the door but i really can't spend   the time because of how their instructions 
work i remember to your point steve just   over the years like just watching merrill lynch 
as an example getting rid of all their clients   i remember below a hundred thousand dollars right 
and then you know 250 000 and then half a million   like over watching that number go up like it was 
some serious inflation yeah i mean it reflects the   wealth concentration in this country you know 20 
percent of people in the us own 85 of the assets   so uh there's a lot of money to be made servicing 
those folks and and it's much easier just to spend   your time energy there so anyway we um you know 
ended up fixing our situation on the spreadsheet   and as we were doing this there were a lot of 
decisions that had to be made it wasn't just   like how do i save more and invest better i mean 
that's definitely part of it but it was like what   do i do with my home equity how do i think about 
health care how do i think about social security   how do i think about medicare you know should we 
downsize so we ended up making all these moves   and we really focus a lot on expenses right so 
that's a big part of fire as well it's like in   financial independence like hey get your expenses 
down and really understand that so we did this it   was a multi-year process we also made some other 
moves with her and you know we fixed her situation   up and we saw hey there's 120 million people in 
this country over age 50.

Everyone we look you   know we see around us is worried about this and it 
doesn't seem to be a great low-cost super scalable   solution so we started working on it we made it 
into a sas product now there's a free version and   a paid version that uh some people think of it 
like turbo tax for planning and we started with   retirement but it's evolving into kind of general 
financial planning it's interesting that uh   you mentioned people over 50 but when i when i 
even look at the tool though and i think about   beginning with the end in mind steve i also think 
that for people under 50 like figuring out what   you're going to have to do and starting to get a 
little granular maybe maybe earlier than a lot of   people think they should can be really helpful for 
sure you know a friend of mine came over yesterday   you know one of the first people i've seen kind 
of post pandemic to visit me in the garage here   with your version of the basement and uh you know 
he was saying hey listen i've started using your   product which is cool like in the wild and he's 
like it's really helping me he's got young kids   so he's like all right you know i'm thinking about 
how how much should i budget for college and how   is the 529 going to work and he recently came 
into a little money so he's like okay should i   get a second home up in tahoe or not you 
know should we fix our current house and   we had a good discussion around you know you 
really have to kind of think about these things   because it's easy to kind of in that situation 
where you have like you come into some money   crank up your lifestyle right lifestyle inflation 
i'm like well you know you could also potentially   ensure your whole future in a huge way if you make 
some more frugal choices but at least he's really   seeing how he can see the trade-offs between these 
decisions and and understand what they might mean   over the next 10 20 years in his life so much of 
success i think is just beginning with the end in   mind so let's dive in to to how it works so we'll 
send people to forward slash   retirement calculator and it really is more of a 
basis of a financial plan than just a calculator   what we have here so a way to figure out what your 
milestones are but walk us through it so people   go to that link stack forward slash 
retirement calculator and what are we going to see   and how do we get rolling so basically there's 
a process that most people follow which is you   create an account you go through this onboarding 
process and we have a fast way which is a couple   minutes or there's a more comprehensive way which 
is you know five to ten minutes and we're going   to ask you about your income expenses assets and 
debt and then from there you're going to get to   the dashboard which will look forward in time kind 
of give you an initial assessment of like what's   your probability of success what are kind of like 
the different scenarios that you're looking to   you know you have a 90 chance of in a worse 
case we're kind of like hey 90 of the time   you're gonna be this or better but your kind 
of average projected forecast looks like this   and we look at it from not just assets which is 
how most people think about it but also income   you know we're really we're running monte carlo 
behind the scenes and really the process people   go through is first build a complete plan so 
really you know what's different about us is   you think through and and we educate you as you go 
through like what does my income look like now and   what might it look like in the future you know 
how should i think about my assets not just my   you know qualified everyone's most people most of 
our users are piling money into their 401ks but   some of them have taxable assets many of them are 
thinking about roths as well you know do they have   funds in an hsa think about you know other income 
sources they have dividend income they have a   pension they have social security dive into your 
expenses so we let you do high level expenses you   know hey i think i'm gonna be spending this much 
money when my kids are you know younger and then   this much maybe when they go to college and then 
maybe it drops down after they graduate or you can   build a detailed budget we also go through housing 
and it supports you know if you have kind of a   own or rent and then also if you want to think 
through well what happens if i potentially   downsize in the future with you know what's 
happened with kovid and people being able to   live or many people go able to do remote work 
many folks are looking at low tax states so   you know wolf forecast this thing is also doing 
tax broadcasting behind the scenes which is a   big factor that many people don't really consider 
but like when you layer in federal and especially   state taxes and i live in california right so if i 
move from california to texas or washington states   with no income tax you can see that my state 
income tax goes away you know that can have a   massive impact so you walk through in more 
detail your income your expenses your assets   your debt as well and then healthcare will 
there's a component where it'll help you model   health care like what you're paying today 
that people have generally three phases   of health care they're working many people get 
employer-based health care many folks when they   post working or say they're doing gig work or 
they're taking a break before social security   they retire a little bit early or medicare kicks 
in at 65.

They have to fund their own healthcare   and that's like a huge challenge for many folks 
so we let we help you think that through and   bottle that up and then also once you're in 
medicare we're actually hitting medicare's   engine behind the scenes and we'll 
pull in your forecasted costs based on   your health condition so if you tell us 
you have high blood pressure or you smoke   it'll adjust and also where you live it'll adjust 
your expected cost that way so it really gives you   a comprehensive picture of like 
what this might look like and then   essentially what you're doing at a very high 
level so as you're setting a complete plan   we're helping you see what your opportunities 
are which might be do better with social security   do a bunch of tax efficient moves like roth 
conversions or you know explore how you can make   your portfolio a little bit more efficient and 
then essentially the products about taking action   and then monitoring it now those parts of it are 
getting more and more built out over time meaning   it's going to provide some advice on the back end 
once you input all of your data well today what   we do is we look at our product more as like 
planning and guidance we don't want to call it   advice we do have advice you can hire an advisor 
through us like an advisor that's on our team   but that's actually you're working with we have 
an ria inside of this company because there's   a very big difference between like 
hey you're using a tool yourself like   turbo tax you're getting results out that 
gives you some ideas that you can explore   and then you're paying someone money and they're 
telling you exactly what to do the latter is   advice and it's highly regulated and so it's a 
different relationship so you can go from planning   to advice we do leverage it's we we think of what 
we're doing is collaborative planning if you opt   to use services but most of our users they're 
doing it themselves they're building a plan   they're exploring it there's a community around 
this you know they're learning from sources like   you where they're going out and getting educated 
about what some of their opportunities are how   these things mechanics work and did you just 
accuse us of teaching something stop that don't   don't do that you're gonna wreck my reputation man 
yeah but so basically that's it it's really like   you know build a plan see what's possible decide 
and take hopefully smarter decisions and then   monitor it over time and stay on track i mean 
it is you know we're all facing hopefully   long retirements or lives and with financial 
independence and we have to make smart choices   to maintain that state so i've got 85 questions 
based on what you just said to dive into it even   further you mentioned with onboarding there's 
either a fast way to do it or a slow way   obviously there's a cost benefit to logging in the 
fast way versus the slow way what does one give me   that the other one doesn't sure i mean it's really 
mostly more precision you know we ultimately we to   make good decisions you want to look at your whole 
situation with as high resolution as possible so   if the system knows more about where you live what 
your income looks like what your taxes are going   to be like then it can make smarter and smarter 
suggestions so it's really just getting you to   a payoff faster or slower so there's an initial 
payoff of like hey i can kind of get a quick   high level picture in the dashboard when i first 
come to it but really if you want to see what all   your opportunities are you should go through the 
process of building a complete plan which might   take you another 15 minutes gotcha so i could do 
the fast way just to begin get some wide paint   brush strokes steve and then dive in and fill in 
all the blanks later exactly it's meant to be used   over time it's not a it's not a one and done thing 
sure next is assumptions do you decide what the   assumptions are for things like inflation you know 
the cost of college going up as an example or do i   input all those things and or or do you give us 
a suggested number and i can tweak them if i want   how does that work yeah that's exactly what you 
just said so we provide some suggested numbers   based on historical data we do break inflation 
is a huge driver for people's outcomes over time   you know if you uh have three percent inflation 
for a long period of time it'll cut your buying   power in half a hundred bucks today will buy like 
50 bucks worth of goods and services in 20 years   at historical inflation rates so we do separate 
inflation this is an example but for standard   goods and services and then one for healthcare 
one for housing many of our users have been   asking it separately for social security because 
they don't believe even though social security   is supposed to be indexed to kind of standard 
inflation many folks are like well they actually   give lower cost of living increases than what 
i see at the grocery store which is what's most   important it's magic it's magic yeah exactly 
and then you talk about probability success   you mentioned monte carlo simulation running 
in the background i think that's awesome   but i'm also an uber money geek a lot of our 
fans of the show very casual money geeks so   can you explain what that means monte carlo 
simulation because i think this is pretty powerful   yeah it is a really complicated topic but it's 
important to understand we've spent a lot of time   upgrading our architecture so that we can do this 
for everyone in most cases and then do it quickly   essentially what you're doing is you're running a 
simulation or a series of simulations forecasts in   the future about what is likely to happen based 
on what's in the system and also historical   performance it's it's mostly geared to investment 
assets so like the stock market historically has   gone up call it seven percent right but there's 
also a volatility around that so in any given year   it might be up or down eighteen to twenty percent 
around that seven percent so what happens is you   run passes that simulate okay what happens for the 
next 20 years year by year you're kind of running   it over and over again and you're seeing all right 
in 80 of the cases you know you're above a certain   threshold or 90 of the cases you're above a 
certain threshold so it's a way to predict   what is most likely to happen based on historical 
data and including variability and probability so   does that make sense yeah well and i love that 
too because the fact that i feel like when i   first started financial planning we would give 
this degree of uncertainty that you know i've   long ago learned is frankly not true it's not 
a pass fail thing and initially in financial   planning that's what i treated it like early in 
my career and most financial plans treat it like   either you you hey you're going to make it or no 
you're not going to make it and then things change   you know year 2000 2007 2008 maybe people lose 
their job they don't put money in the way that   they think that they are going to what all kinds 
of things can happen over time which is why i like   monte carlo so much better because instead of 
this hundred percent i don't know it gives me   some uh hope if i've got 65 and not to talk too 
long here before i ask you my next question but   it reminds me of i was listening to this guy 
on the radio a few years ago dr dean adele i   don't know if you're familiar with him but he's 
had this national radio show for a long time   and he was talking about a study that showed 
that if you told a patient that there was a 95   percent chance they were going to die they would 
die like and and i don't know who did this study   but if you told them there's a 95 chance of dying 
they would die but if you told them there was a 5   chance they were going to live way more than 
five percent of those people actually lived   so the optimism i feel with a monte 
carlo simulation that says hey right now   you have a 55 chance of success in the old days 
i would have said your host steve because because   you only have a 55 chance of success but i also 
know that as people you know plan too late in   life and don't save enough money i think if you 
tell somebody that thinks that their host that   you actually have a 55 chance of success yeah 
that's fantastic right yeah it's super important   and in fact so we just made a big change to our 
dashboard and it's a risk because we're kind of   highlighting the probability of success and i 
think the framing of it you know that you're   highlighting here is is super important and 
there's definitely work to be done i mean we   you do want to position things the right way and i 
was actually having an interesting talk with dana   hansbotch you know she's a signature planner and 
you know she has a very robust method for kind of   assessing people's probability success and and a 
lot of that stuff we're doing and planning to do   any do as well but she does something that you're 
doing you're describing as well she kind of they   frame it as like hey yes you know you have an 85 
chance of being successful great and in the 15   chance where maybe it doesn't work out the way you 
anticipated you can actually make small changes   and be fine and i think most people when they 
think about this are like yeah well there's a   percent chance that like everything's horrible and 
i'm just done and that's not the truth it's like   the reality is okay maybe there's a few situations 
where it's not quite as good and yet you know for   a couple of years you might have to you know 
not go on a nice vacation but like that's the   extent of it it's not like the end of the world 
kind of situations which brings up my next uh   question good transition there because most of the 
questions that we get on the show from stackers   are what if scenarios right they're like hey uh 
we're thinking about going from two incomes to one   what would that look like i'm looking at private 
school for my kids versus public school how do i   save for those what's the difference between those 
if i retire right now versus maybe semi-retire   cut back and work less for the next 10 years 
how does that look how robust is this when it   comes to what-if scenarios yeah that's the 
core gist of what we're doing everywhere so   the tool has the idea of a base plan plus you can 
create scenarios you can create five scenarios if   you want so you could have a scenario of like 
all right well i'm just gonna work till 65 or   i'm going to retire at 55 and i'm going to move 
to mexico for five years or i'm going to retire   at 58 and move to texas whatever it is there's 
you can create those and then quickly pop between   them and manage those independently but also just 
when you're building a plan every time you make   a change so okay what if i work a little bit 
longer or less long it recasts your whole plan   in real time which is what i think people will 
really love about it they're making changes and   they can see oh here's how it affects my income my 
future income my assets my probability of success   they're messing around and like seeing how i 
really can kind of get my hands they can one see   what levers matter right for them and then that 
that varies if you have a lot of money if you have   less money you know if you need social security 
if like social security is everything it's one   one way if it's like i've got a ton of qualified 
assets and something else uh so they can see what   matters to them and they can pull those levers 
and see what happens when they make those changes   you talk about tax planning i mean that makes me 
imagine that i could throw some data in there if   i'm uber nerdy and think about if i put this money 
in a roth versus putting it in a traditional like   because we get those questions all the time what 
if i pay off the mortgage early you know versus   take that money and invest it all those scenarios 
yeah so what's interesting is that's what the   product does today you can run those scenarios 
where we're actually going with this thing is   sometimes we talk about like tesla so tesla 
has a bunch of cars they're driving around   tesla's watching what these people are doing with 
their cars they're building maps and they're using   that to build self-driving cars we're doing some 
of the same stuff not personal but like aggregated   data we can see what kinds of actions leave to 
lead to success we're rolling out tools like   there's a roth explorer that will look at okay joe 
here's your qualified assets here's your future   income your tax and you know we're looking at all 
your marginal tax rates and the the roth play is   basically like hey find lower income years convert 
your qualified essence into roths earlier maximize   those marginal utility rates and then that's 
that's a winner for you or it's a kind of a   risk-free arbitrage tax arbitrage so it does 
that this kind of stuff is available only to   advisors normally but in our tool you can press 
a button it will run it it will tell you here's   the conversions to run but from which account 
and which years including multiple accounts   is basically running tons of simulations 
behind the scenes to solve for that kind of   optimization so that's kind of directionally those 
kinds of capabilities for roth for social security   in the future we'll be doing portfolio 
optimization like diving and have a   machine do a lot of the heavy lifting at least to 
discover what's possible not necessarily make the   change but like hey joe look you could do this you 
know maybe check it out and you can go deeper and   explore it on your own i want to dive into what 
this cost and before we do that if you're new to   the show anything that is a stacking benjamin's 
named product like the stack of lotter here   stack of lottery because you want to stack a 
lot of them come on uh is not going to be free   i mean just to let people know we we don't do 
free and the reason i don't do free is because   i believe two things number one if you have skin 
in the game you're gonna use the tool first of   all second of all i also think that free tools 
whenever i've used free tools you get what you pay   for which is which is not much and i also think 
for me that it frankly demeans something that's a   really good tool i have yet to find something that 
was free and valuable to me it might be valuable   to somebody not to me so we don't do that we 
do good stuff not free stuff so if you go to   forward slash retirement calculator you can 
take a look but there's a fee for it let's   talk through the fees and by the way stackers 
there's going to be some other things we're   going to roll out later on on top of this that 
i'm super excited about can't talk about today   by the way i also wouldn't wait for those things 
if you already start planning don't wait for joe   to change the game because the base tool is 
going to remain the base tool so with all that   steve let's talk about what it costs sure the 
planner plus costs eight dollars a month we charge   it as 96 a year so it's an annual fee of 96 bucks 
and yeah i think you're exactly right you know   we believe a couple things and we see this too 
most of our users are savers and planners you   know they're better than average you know 
they've got some savings and you know if   they were going to a traditional advisor who's 
charging one percent if you have half a million   bucks or a million bucks you know it's five to 
ten thousand dollars a year versus 100 so you   can have a very powerful tool get started on 
your own and many of our users use it and they   they actually send their plans to their advisors 
and they're like oh how does it compare and so   we get a lot of that that feedback but i totally 
agree with you yeah if people don't pay for things   they tend not to use it and value it and 
also we built our model this way on purpose   most of financial services makes money two 
ways one is charging a fee for your assets   that could be a mutual fund fee that could be 
an advisor or something else or transaction fees   so you're not directly paying we think it's 
important for people to pay so we work for them   that's harder because a lot of people are like 
well i can there's all this other free stuff   out there that's not really free if you're paying 
out the wazoo and you have no idea right it's not   transparent so we really believe in being upfront 
and being transparent and we built that into our   business model and that is exactly why we wanted 
to partner with you my friend two other things   by the way for people that uh if you buy it soon 
in the next few weeks i know we're planning with   your team to have facebook live where we actually 
walk through it and we'll talk to people about how   it works kind of teach you a little bit about 
using the the stack a lot of tool and some of   the scenarios that i think about with financial 
planning and then i know inside the tool you also   have other layers like you mentioned people can 
hire advisors if they want if they want a hired   advisor there there's also i know you guys have 
additional training on your end i should mention   there too you have a podcast that we need to talk 
about which our friend and contributor paula pants   been on recently as one for some reason we haven't 
been on but whatever i won't take that personally   that's okay but tell everybody what's going on 
there because you have a lot of fun on the show   yeah you know it's uh and by the way i'm 
very very much looking forward to having you   on our show i won't it won't be as meaningful for 
you as this is for us but yeah right right right   it has been amazing doing the podcast you know 
we had very low expectations but you get to have   these amazing conversations with very interesting 
people like this week on thursday the former ceo   of vanguard uh jack brennan's going to come on 
so we're going to get some insight into you know   what it was like building vanguard he took over 
from jack bogle like what the culture i mean it's   like the fact that you get the time of day from 
like folks like that morgan household we had a   nobel prize winner on it you know i mean 
it's a combination of like hey let's talk   about retirement let's talk about life and 
money and let's also explore some economic   or social issues not necessarily social but 
like kind of what are the economics of uh you   know what's happening in the world but it's been 
fascinating it's awesome and i love it and by the   way it's the new retirement podcast we'll also 
link to that in our show notes steve thanks a   ton and we're so happy to partner with you on the 
stack of lotter i know that uh you love the name we're rolling man forward slash 
retirement calculator everybody thanks a ton steve   all right thanks joe it's been great 
what joe come on ask my virtual assistant   first before you bang in my door to do the trivia 
segment it's international virtual assistance day   so yeah i've hired my own assistant the only 
issue is dude's been here a week and i'm having   a hard time getting him to actually do anything 
before i go lay the heavy hand of truth on this   kid let's get you to today's trivia question 
mr t always laid some truth on some bad guys   and today is his birthday he reportedly earned an 
estimated 80 000 a week while performing on the   1980s tv show the a team so how about this how 
many episodes of the a team were there in total   i'll be back with your answer faster than 
you can offload some of your own work well for those of you new to this show we have 
a trivia challenge every week between our three   regular contributors uh len paula and og because 
og has the day off chelsea today you're playing   on behalf of og and this score is tight a third 
of the way through the year nearly a third of   the way through the year og is in the lead with 
seven which means chelsea you're gonna kick this   off len has six and as the returning champion he 
will go second and paula for who knows what reason   also has six she's never this close this time 
of year i don't know what's going on but uh that   means paula gets to go last so chelsea you are 
kicking this off the a team how many episodes   i'm gonna apologize to og straight out 
i don't even know what the a team is   so you know you have no idea what the a 
team is no no clue wait a minute hold on   hold on hold on because that's not 
even your line that's paula's line   i also don't know what the a team is oh my god oh 
god i'm not alone do you know who mr t is uh guy   in commercials i think oh i feel like we've seen 
the gifts of this person lynch just shoot me now oh my lord so i'm gonna go with 63.

Chelsea chelsea how'd you come up with that answer all right len this is the part len where you take 
the stogie out of your mouth and go i love it when   a plan comes together which by the way chelsea 
and paul have no idea what that's about either   no i i i'm sure they don't let's see i'm 
i'm reluctant to even give any strategy   out here because i know paul is going to 
chelsea brent and me based on what i say so hmm well okay let's i'll just i'll we'll talk it 
out what the heck it's not like i get a you know   ten thousand dollars for the championship here 
right we were just changing it to you getting   oh well then i then i won't say anything no um 
let's see i that show was had a pretty good run   i think it had gosh that show had to have 
been on at least six or seven seasons   and let's see back in the day i think there 
were 23 22 episodes a season i'm gonna say   i'm just gonna do a little i'm gonna say 
100 and 54.

154 paula well it is a show what i'm aware of is that it is a show apparently 
a famous one to a certain demographic at least   apparently to a certain older demographic i guess 
for me the only question is um is chelsea closer   or is len closer and if so given that len knows 
the show i'm going to guess that len is closer   so just over under is really the 
question are you are you talking   to chelsea brent and chelsea brennan 
chelsea brandon right here i know right   it's my chance to chelsea brandon chelsea brennan 
but i think i'm going to chelsea brennan len penzo   i think chelsea brennan is going 
to escape on chelsea brennan let me tell you this i'm begging you paula 
if you chelsea brennan me and you are wrong   brennan could watch us chelsea brennan 
each other and chelsea brennan will win and then my plan will come together i feel so bad i feel so bad for people where 
the this is their first episode of our show i have no idea the eight i 
didn't know what the a team is   i don't know who chelsea brennan 
is i got no idea why she's a verb i'm pretty sure mr smith is going 
to do it on commercials though   i think i got that part right 
there's like commercials   the dude there's lots of commercials 
we won't even talk about george paparde so anyway so when your guest was 154 
yeah yeah paula don't do it paula   i'm begging you don't chels you can't you can't 
chelsea brennan me oh but i will it's just over   under that's the only question i'm gonna go in the 
direction of chelsea so i'm gonna go with 153 150   and chelsea brennan escapes on chelsea to live 
another day i love it when a plan comes together   i love it when a plan comes together i love it 
when a plan comes together i love it when a plan   comes together they got him say it at the end of 
every episode we'd love to find out paula if you   chelsea not chelsea brennan chelsea brennan 
and instead chelsea brennan len i think i'm   confusing myself it's a good strategy uh 
we don't do that yet we'll be right back   when it comes to sound design i feel like kind 
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to graphic design i know what i like and i so   appreciate packaging how many times have you 
bought something because it looked good i do that   sadly with uh my board game purchases sometimes 
if it's a good game that's great but if it doesn't   look good i'm not loving it and so i feel the same 
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people to outdoor movies this fall which will be   a ton of fun because i love movies and uh and 
it's gonna be gonna be great but my job on this   committee is social media and you know what i'm 
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see how much you could save it's geico easy visit today that's all right you 
kicked it off chelsea with uh 63 because of your   uh love of this show apparently exactly yeah 
intense knowledge of the 18 which is great   and uh mr penzo you kind of with uh some serious 
math and 154 feeling good well no i i'm not   feeling good because the ab because behind the 
scenes here the people didn't hear i know i'm not   i'm not feeling good at all joe you can't do that 
you got to play along a little bit oh sorry okay   so we gotta have a little bit of theater here 
the fourth wall you can't knock down the is   there how many walls are there in radio just say 
i feel great i feel great very kind of good yes   paula 153 how you feeling i'm i'm feeling 
pretty good i think that the winner is going   to be either myself or chelsea brennan i can't 
figure it out i'll soon learn whether i should   have chelsea brandon chelsea brennan or whether i 
did the right thing by chelsea brennan and glenn   penzo my head hurt so doug take him from 
here man who's who's gonna win this thing hey trivia fans it's me joe's mom's neighbor doug 
get this my assistant casey still nowhere and not   answering his pager well that's the last time 
i used texarkana community college for the va   he's assisting the biggest star in town and 
showing zero gratitude zero but the good news   i think i have a solution because i found a place 
for casey's replacement and man they must be good   because they call it the va that should work 
better i'm gonna go give this kid a piece of my   mind before i do let's get back to today's trivia 
the question was how many episodes of the a-team   were there the birthday boy of honor mr t was a 
big star with ea team which filmed a whopping 98   episodes over five seasons turns out that paula 
should have chelsea brennan chelsea brennan   because she is the big winner and lynne pitted the 
fool then see ya i told you i should have chelsea   brennan's chelsea chelsea brennan she's all a 
big mind trick everybody chelsea brennan chelsea   bran and us even though we didn't chelsea brennan 
her chelsea brennan dusk without chelsea brennan   it truly is chelsea's favorite show she 
was texting me earlier it was all a big   game in every episode all 98 multiple times and 
chelsea loves it when a plan comes together i do   i'm shocked did you say how many seasons that show 
was because i i could have sworn that show was on   more than a bit longer than five five seasons 
that's it okay yeah it seemed to be like the   hot thing len and it was really hot here and gone 
in a few years our family watched all the episodes   hey uh before chelsea gloats too much let's take 
out a magnifying glass and help somebody do better   with their money today's hotline call comes to 
us courtesy of when you go to magnifymoneychelsea 
you know what you find what do i find bro   those financial products use every day if it's 
at a brick and mortar bank probably not the best   in class because over 92 percent of the stuff 
that's out there whether it's checking accounts   savings accounts all ranked head-to-head against 
each other in fact i went to magnified money   when i got my ally high interest savings 
account forward slash   magnifymoney to see how everyone ranks 
against each other today we're going to   help anonymous with their money and paula you 
and i have a tradition where uh when we have   a caller who's anonymous we we assign them a name 
so paula so somebody reached out to me on twitter   and suggested a name they suggested 
the name ida last name no i don't know that's that's so good and uh apparently 
lud and chelsea don't get that you   maybe want to explain it again so they 
get it first name ida last name no come on   i don't know i don't know we got an eye to 
know here i don't get it say hello anonymous   hey joe and og anonymous here so three years ago 
when i started listening to you i was about 13   000 in the hole and i figured if these jokers can 
get it right so can i so today i'm 25 years old   i've got a net worth of about 19 twenty 
thousand dollars i'm quite proud of that   i've got a w-2 income and self-employment 
income so here's my situation this year from   self-employment i was able to score a deal for 
twenty thousand dollars now that's more money   than i've seen in my entire life my entire net 
worth basically and i want to handle it well on   the tax front i'm thinking the move is to put 
the remainder of my contributions to a regular   ira as opposed to a roth ira and then to maybe 
just bite the bullet with the rest of the taxes   i do have a simple ira for my w-2 job which i 
believe is similar to a 401k but i don't want to   ring any alarm bells with my boss as to why i'm 
suddenly increasing my retirement contributions   any help you can give me on this would be greatly 
appreciated though i do promise and solemnly swear   not to learn anything say hi to neighbor doug 
for me because i know he's running the show   see you thank you for that anonymous 
and uh congratulations by the way   on all that on starting early on uh on getting 
your financial house in order at a young age and   man the twenty thousand dollars in extra income 
besides your w-2 job that's that's fantastic so   let's uh let's begin uh chelsea you're the guest 
what do you think i think necessarily switching   from a traditional ira to a roth ira might not be 
the best move depending on what his overall income   is i think necessarily changing strategies just 
because of one income windfall if he still has   a relatively low income paying the taxes now at a 
relatively low rate and having the tax-free growth   might still be a better move even though it might 
save him today yeah uh len yeah i i was going to   say the same thing i i think um i don't know what 
his total income is i assume it's relatively low   i figured he'd be better off paying the taxes 
up front i will say this though you're not that   anonymous anonymous one i know you've i've we've 
listened to you i've heard one of your questions   before and i loved you in goodwill hunting and 
batman so ben affleck thanks for calling in   paula so here's what i think i have a lot of 
faith that anonymous income will go up over time   given that he was 13 000 in the hole a couple of 
years ago when he started listening to this show   and now despite not having learned anything from 
the show he's in a much better situation i think   that his income is going to continue to rise and 
that he will find himself in higher and higher   tax brackets over time and so i would recommend 
putting as much as possible into a roth ira right   now because i believe in his upward trajectory and 
then on top of that his comment about not wanting   to raise any red flags by putting more money 
into a simple ira i wouldn't worry about that   i think that he should after first he maxes out a 
roth ira then the second thing that he should do   is put as much money into a simple ira as possible 
and don't worry about the boss raising eyebrows   you know if a it's none of the boss's business 
and even if it was there's plenty of reasons   why a person might have the capacity to put more 
money into a simple ira maybe he hypothetically   moved in with his parents or moved in with a 
significant other who's paying the rent or you   know any any number of personal factors can free 
up a person's budget which allows them to make   bigger retirement contributions 
chelsea are nodding your head   yeah i agree i think in general employers 
don't pay a ton of attention to the percentage   that you put in i will say with a simple ira it 
indicates this is likely a much smaller company   in which case they might know more about your 
your life story anonymous and whether or not   you've actually moved in with your parents or 
significant other but i think most likely it's not   going to raise any red flags and even if so you 
just tell them that you started listening to this   badass podcast about money and that they 
should do it too boss should do it as well and   and it's going to be pretty exciting for everybody 
and then say hashtag to the moon at the end   and they'll get it should we do that should 
we like steal that for the stacky benjamin   show stacky benjamin's hashtag to the moon 
no everybody's doing it no okay fine uh i i   one more thing and that is if the self-employment 
income is going to be consistent you know i like   the idea of the traditional ira but i also like 
the idea of setting up your own retirement plan   uh through work as well because even though 
there's a maximum amount of money that you can   put in total retirement plans that would give 
you the ability to maybe put in more if you're   if you're already maxing the wanna work so 
i don't know what the future's going to be   with your self-employment income but if that's 
the case there might be an opportunity there   too to talk to a text advisor about 
so that's all i had to add nice job   guys thanks for your answers and thanks to you 
anonymous wait a minute not anonymous it's ida   i don't know affleck listen to him 
listen to him it's ben affleck listen uh if you've got a question for us head to forward slash voicemail   and we'll argue over what your name is too and 
maybe answer your question all right that's going   to do it for today again we'll let our guest of 
honor go last here so uh mr penzo what's going on   at my friend we look at the science 
behind value it's uh interesting look at uh what   value is versus price so come on by 
folks it's not what you pay it's what you get i   don't know i don't know paula what's happening at 
afford anything on the afford anything podcast we   have an interview with michael hyatt and his 
daughter megan hyatt miller where they talk   about how to both win at work and succeed at life 
so it's work-life balance except work-life balance   implies that there's a bit of a trade-off 
they talk about how to excel in both arenas   so that is on the afford anything podcast an 
interview with wharton professor katie milkman   where she talks about the science of behavior 
change is on the afford anything podcast and   of course we always have a guy by the name of 
josol sihai joining us every other episode to   answer questions from the community a guy 
who i heard knows math that's what i hear   i don't know maybe i don't know maybe maybe 
not and that's all at the afford anything   podcast where finer podcasts are found only 
the finest podcast can be downloaded and   i forgot len only on the finest 
internets where the finest blogs are downloaded   and where the persistent itch could be that's 
right chelsea thanks for joining us again thank   you for having me back and for letting us 
say chelsea brennan about five million times anytime we could do that oh man what's 
what's going on with you i don't know   if i should ask about the podcast should i ask 
about the new video series should i ask about   about a million things yeah what the hell should 
i ask about uh so absolutely check out our most   recent podcast episode we have denise duffield 
thomas on talking about money mindset and money   relationships in relation to building your own 
business or side hustle that's a great new episode   out and then tune in june 1st to our youtube 
channel we'll be doing a weekly live show on   only the finest youtube only the finest where the 
finest youtubers go i don't know what do you do   all right we'll have links to everybody's stuff 
on our show notes page at   doug you got it from here my friend what 
should we have learned today so what should   we have learned today first take a lesson from 
a round table discussion like dieting focusing   on financial gimmicks might get you short-term 
results but the key to long-term financial and   health-related success is to focus on the real 
game changers second begin with the end in mind   using a good calculator can help you identify 
what steps will help you meet your end goal   but the big lesson uh so a funny story turns out 
get this but that casey is actually mr casey and   and and he's the professor of the business class 
that i thought i was finding my assistant from and   uh yeah i i'd actually signed up to be his 
assistant and now um apparently i'm fired to learn more about our guests and for more 
resources you can head to our show notes page   at to learn more from 
len penzo just head on over to   to check out more from paula pant tune in to 
the afford anything podcast and to use the new   stacking benjamin's financial calculator the 
retirement design lab aka the stack of lotter   head over to the 
slash design chelsea brennan can be found   operating the smart money mama's 
podcast wherever you're listening to   us big thanks to our friend chelsea 
for all the fun again on today's show this show is created by josol sihai produced by 
karen rapine and engineered by the amazing steve   stewart online visit us on twitter at s benjamin's 
cast or on our facebook page i'm joe's mom's   neighbor duggan it appears i've fallen and i can't 
get up sb podcasts may receive payment on the show   from sponsors and guests in the form of books 
giveaway items discounts or other remunerations   that's a big word there's no way you take 
advice from these dorks but like joe's mom   always says don't take advice from people 
you don't know this show is for entertainment   purposes only and before making any financial 
decisions consult with a real financial advisor you know we talked about the a team earlier 
and uh shows that you like grew up with in our   apparently intergenerational round table that 
we're having today so uh chelsea when the family   gathered around the television set when you 
were young what was chelsea's favorite show   who my favorite show was gilmore 
girls what we watched as a family   every week without fail was lost uh you 
watched la you you got lost and lost   we did you know where lost lost me was when i 
heard a an interview with the writers of lost   and they admitted they had no idea where it was 
going yep yeah they made it up as they went along   that immediately lost me i'm like i 
thought there's this big thing going on   yes what happens when i press this button if 
the writer doesn't know what happens when you   press that button how am i supposed to know yeah 
did you guys watch lost no no i've never seen it   i keep intending to watch it because there are 
so many references to it but i've never seen it   it's good you know what though they didn't fall 
into the trap and there started to be a backlash   around i forget season three or four where it 
really did become apparent they didn't know what   the heck was going on i mean they just kept going 
and going there was a backlash and they finally   said hey we've got so many open threads we got 
to start closing these things up so yeah but it   was good i enjoyed it yeah uh len while we're 
talking while you're talking well that's i mean   that's when you're saying when we were kids right 
or younger or whatever so for me it was i mean   gosh i mean the brady bunch obviously which i'm 
dating myself here but but uh yeah i mean that was   that was oh my god i love that show my old house 
in texarkana look like the brady bunch house i   mean not exactly but it is that same style that 
same staircase coming down to a something did   you see on i think was it uh on i don't know home 
and garden channel or one of those channels where   they actually somebody bought the house yes you 
know when they showed the house in the beginning   because it it was obviously a stage set but they 
went in there and they turned that house into   the actual brady how they re renovated it and uh 
they did they it was pretty cool that was a cool   show so awesome you could have bought it lived 
in greg's room come on yeah or marsha's room it's a family show there lin oh sorry uh uh paula 
how about you so uh when i was a kid some of my   favorite shows were step by step full house saved 
by the bell i can't imagine though having met your   parents that you and your parents gathering 
around the tv watch and saved by the bell   no no definitely not in fact my parents often 
criticized me for watching save by the bell and   told me it was going to disrupt my studies um and 
so as a family we never really watched anything   like my dad would watch the news when he came 
home at night like the six o'clock news um or   the nine o'clock news you know whatever time we 
could but other than the news like there were no   shows that we watched together we had the vhs set 
of the ramayana which is an epic hindu poem and uh   a 24 vhs set set yeah we also had another 
24 vh set of the mahavarat but we didn't   watch that quite as much because we were more 
like a ram worshiping household than we were   you know like this the 
krishna worshipping so anyway   um yeah so like every now essentially what i'm 
saying is every now and again we would watch   hindu epics but that was about it you know 
other than news we weren't a tv watching family i think i'm just gonna end 
there i don't know where to how do i beat that i have no idea how to beat the   the 84 84 uh cd collection 
of all all the hindu hits but i myself loved chinese tiny 
toons were wild yeah that's great

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