Afford Anything
Afford Anything
Paula Pant
Refresh episodes
You can afford anything, but not everything. We make daily decisions about how to spend money, time, energy, focus and attention – and ultimately, our life. Every decision is a trade-off against another choice. But how deeply do we contemplate these choices? Are we settling for the default mode? Or are we ruthlessly optimizing around a deliberate life? Host Paula Pant interviews a diverse array of entrepreneurs, early retirees, millionaires, investors, artists, adventurers, scientists, psychologists, productivity experts, world travelers and regular people, exploring the tough work of living a truly excellent life. Want to learn more? Download our free book, Escape, at
PSA Thursday - What’s in Store for the Rest of 2020?
After a brief hiatus, PSA Thursday is back! For this episode, we take a short break from covering current events to 1) reflect on why this show exists, and 2) give you a sneak peek of future PSA Thursday episodes. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
Oct 15
11 min
The Art of Decision-Making, with Annie Duke
#281: Annie Duke, best-selling author of Thinking In Bets and former world champion poker professional, discusses the decision making strategies and tools outlined in her new book, How to Decide. Learn how to make quicker decisions, overcome hindsight bias, make decisions with incomplete information, and improve your decision making skills. For more information, visit the show notes at
Oct 14
1 hr 17 min
Ask Paula - Could This NYC Couple Contribute Only $10,000 Per Year Towards Retirement?
#280: Amy and her husband have $900,000 saved for retirement. They’re 40 years old and plan to retire at 65. Due to a job change + pay cut, they might only have $10,000 per year to save for the next 25 years. Will this be enough, given their yearly expenses of $144,000? Janie wants to get a solar power system for her house, but isn’t sure how to pay for it. Should she borrow funds from her seven-month emergency fund, or use funds from a taxable brokerage account that were earmarked for retirement? CJ and his wife netted $200,000 from the sale of their home. They aren’t sure when they’ll purchase their next home – their timeline could be as short as three years or as long as six years. Where should they keep the $200,000 to use towards a downpayment on their next home? Brandon wants to retire in the next five to ten years. He contributes 20 percent to his Roth 401k. Since he can’t withdraw those contributions early, does it make more sense to contribute up to the match of his 401k and invest the rest in an IRA with the goal of doing a Roth conversion? Anonymous “am I missing out?” wants to know the deal with tax-loss harvesting. When is it worthwhile? My friend and former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these questions on today’s episode. Enjoy! For more information, visit the show notes at
Oct 6
1 hr 23 min
How to Avoid Financial and Life Disasters, with Dr. Gleb Tsipursky
#279: You might know several decision-making principles, but do you have a step-by-step strategy that pieces those principles together? Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is an internationally-recognized thought leader on decision-making strategies. He shares two decision-making techniques for any aspect of your life in this episode. For more information, visit the show notes at
Oct 2
1 hr 3 min
The Loopholes That Destroy Our Ability to Form Habits, with Gretchen Rubin
#278: Does this sound like you? You want to exercise, but you can never find the time for a workout. Eventually, you grow tired of putting exercise off. You commit to working out every morning. You become so enthusiastic, you buy new gym clothes for the occasion. Your enthusiasm carries you for five days, and on day six, you’re swamped with work. You promise yourself you’ll exercise tomorrow - after all, taking a break for one day won’t hurt. And then … you never get back on the wagon. The cycle repeats. Most habits and routines start with good intentions. But good intentions aren’t enough to carry you through tough times. Good intentions aren’t enough to overcome the excuses you’ll make, either. That’s what today’s guest, Gretchen Rubin, is here to explore. Gretchen Rubin is the New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, Better Than Before, and The Four Tendencies. She joins us on the podcast to discuss the loopholes that we use - the excuses that we make - when it comes to breaking bad habits and forming good habits. Why is this important? The more aware we are of loopholes, the better we can resist them. For more information, visit the show notes at
Sep 29
1 hr 16 min
Timeless Financial Lessons from My Grandma, with Michelle Singletary
#277: Michelle Singletary writes a Pulitzer-nominated personal finance column, The Color of Money, for The Washington Post. Her column is syndicated in more than 100 newspapers nationwide. She’s the author of three finance books and holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University. But her strongest financial education came from her grandmother. Her grandmother raised five grandchildren while working full-time as a Nursing Assistant at a hospital. She earned $13,000 per year, but never took welfare, was never late on a bill, and “handled her money like a pro.” In this podcast episode, Michelle shares timeless financial lessons she learned from her grandmother, including: Save from every penny or dollar you receive Live below your means Hate debt like it’s the devil Save for the future Don’t buy more than you can afford Don’t care about what other people think about what you wear or drive Michelle’s grandmother taught her resourcefulness, humility and the value of a strong work ethic. Michelle joins us to chat about the financial independence retire early (FIRE) movement, emotional spending, how her experience growing up poor gives her a unique perspective in financial media, and the falsehood behind the phrase “it’s not what you earn, it’s what you save.” You’ll enjoy this episode if… You’re new to the world of personal finance or FIRE and want to learn more about the basics. (#lessonsfromgrandma) You can’t relate to some of the discussion around FIRE because it seems unachievable to you. You love down-to-earth guests who tell it like it is. For more, visit
Sep 20
1 hr 10 min
Cut the Fluff and Become a Digital Minimalist, with Dr. Cal Newport
#276: Have you found yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds over the last few months? Have you also found yourself in a state of sadness, anxiety, or aggravation afterwards? We live in an increasingly noisy world. A world in which many of us use social media, or the internet in general, to escape. But our escapes often leave us feeling empty and annoyed at ourselves for wasting several hours of precious time. Here’s one possible remedy for this tiring, relentless cycle: embrace the philosophy of digital minimalism. "Okay, I’m in. But...what’s digital minimalism?" Digital minimalism is a term coined by Dr. Cal Newport, today’s guest. It describes a three-step process: Cull the time you spend staring at a screen Spend more time on digital activities that align with your values Ignore everything else For more information, visit
Sep 15
1 hr 22 min
Avoid These 13 Hidden Money Mistakes That Most People Make, with Jill Schlesinger
#275: Even the nerdiest of money nerds are susceptible to making a dumb financial mistake. “Nope, not me! There’s no way I make any financial mistakes. I live and breathe this stuff.” You’re not capable of making any financial mistakes? Even 'hidden' mistakes, like having the wrong life insurance policy, not having an estate plan, or listening to the wrong ‘experts'? Exactly. Jill Schlesinger, author of The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money, sets the record straight on 13 things you shouldn't do with your hard-earned cash. For more information, visit the show notes at
Sep 8
1 hr 16 min
Finding Hope and Happiness in a Confusing World, with Mark Manson
#274: What does it take to create a sustainable sense of hope? That’s the question that I invited Mark Manson, megabestselling author of Everything is F*cked and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, to answer. Mark says that three basic factors contribute to a sense of hope: 1) autonomy, 2) purpose, and 3) community. Mark and I keep these three factors in mind as we discuss how to define success, find new challenges, and choose what’s meaningful in life. We touch on the importance of emotional regulation and avoiding crises of hope. And we talk about how they relate back to the financial independence retire early (FIRE) movement. For more information, visit the show notes at
Sep 4
1 hr
The Emotional Complexity of Money, with Dr. Dan Ariely
#273: Dr. Dan Ariely, famed behavioral economist and best-selling author of Predictably Irrational, returns to discuss how to handle the emotional and financial volatility of 2020. Specifically: Preparing for a job loss The value of resilience Handling emotional spending Cutting through the noise to find a signal. For more information, visit the show notes at
Aug 31
56 min
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